Saturday, June 11, 2011
Jim Tucker’s anonymous steering level Bilderberg inside source told him war in the Middle East is at the top of the elite’s agenda.Speaking with Alex Jones today, the long time Bilderberg sleuth said the elite believe the world is over-populated and war represents a partial solution.They are unified on their war project, said Tucker, citing his Trilateralist-Bilderberg source, their rationalization the world is too crowded anyway, they have to limit the population growth, the one way to do it is with our wars. They have been emphasizing that all day.The elite are outraged at the presence of activists outside the gates of the exclusive resort where they are cloistered in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Tucker said.Following a call by Alex Jones to protest the globalists, activists are beginning to arrive in the village for a demonstration to be held tomorrow, Saturday, June 11.
ZECHARIAH 12:1-5 King James Bible
1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.
5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
ZECHARIAH 14:1-9 King James Bible
1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Israel seeks Kosovo-type EU split on Palestine
ANDREW RETTMAN 10.06.2011 @ 18:15 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The Israeli foreign ministry is targeting Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania in an attempt to split the EU on giving full UN recognition to Palestine in September.The diplomatic game plan was put forward in a set of internal cables from senior foreign ministry officials, including director general Rafael Barak, the head of the Western Europe department, Naor Gilon, and the head of the Eurasia section, Pinhas Avivi, to embassies across the EU. The dispatches were sent out last week and seen by Israeli daily Haaretz.The cables divide EU countries into three groups: countries already opposed to the UN step, undecided countries and resolutely pro-Palestinian countries.The second group - containing the six former Communist EU countries - is to be the top priority, with the Israeli PM and FM to make visits to their capitals in June.The anti-UN-move countries are listed as Germany and Italy. The pro- countries are said to be Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and Sweden. France, the UK and Spain are not listed in the cables but the Israeli foreign minister believes it will be very hard to convince them to go against the resolution.One of the Gilon cables said the EU will have difficulty reaching a consensus decision on recognising a Palestinian state, as happened with regard to Kosovo.It added: Our goal is to create a momentum against recognition of a Palestinian state in September by creating a significant bloc of EU states that voice their opposition as early as possible.The cables say the main message should be that the UN move delegitimises Israel and undermines the prospect of a negotiated solution.
A Barak dispatch said:Your plan must include approaching the most senior politicians, mobilising the relevant force multipliers [such as local Jewish communities, nongovernmental organisations], using the media, influencing local public opinion.Gilon said ambassadors should try to urge pro-Palestnian countries to stay silent, to facilitate phone calls between EU countries' leaders and the Israeli prime minister, foreign minister and president, to encourage anti-recognition statements by opinion makers and to generate anti-recognition media articles and op-eds.An Israeli diplomat told EUobserver he had seen some of the cables but could not vouch for the veracity of all the content.The contact noted that while the leak could generate ill-will, the basic message is consistent with what Israel has been saying publicly all along. We've been sending a very clear message that if you don't do this [establish a Palestinian state] through negotiations, it could create even more tension, even more instability in the region,the source said.A senior EU diplomat gave an indication of the lack of trust between EU and Israeli structures.
The idea of Israel is to create a homeland for all the Jewish people around the world and they are still encouraging many people to come. It is not in their interest to have fixed borders because it is unclear how many people they will need to accommodate in future,the contact said.The EU foreign relations service is currently trying to work out a joint position on the UN initiative and to convene a meeting of the Quartet - the EU, Russia, the UN and the US - at foreign-minister level to discuss the way forward.Another senior EU official described UN recognition of Palestine as a train crash. EU institutions are currently trying to persuade Israel to give the Palestinians a real incentive to set aside the plan and to return to the negotiation table.
Former leaders tell US, EU to support Palestinian unity ANDREW WILLIS 10.06.2011 @ 09:20 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A group of prominent former politicians has called on the United States and Europe to support the reconciliation process between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, warning that failure to do so would jeopardize the prospects for peace in the region.If Palestinian reconciliation is undermined, it will throw the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an even deeper impasse, the group said in a letter addressed to US state secretary Hillary Clinton and EU high representative Catherine Ashton on Friday (10 June).In May Hamas agreed to accept an Israeli state based on 1967 borders, calling a truce with Israel as part of plans to form a new unity government with Fatah.While Ashton has indicated that the EU is willing to work with Hamas if it abides by the new terms, the US and Israel have urged Fatah to walk away from the unity agreement.This, said the group of 24 prominent former officials, is a mistake.Asking Fatah to choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with Israel presents a false choice: a lasting peace with Israel is only possible if Hamas is on board,states the letter.The signatories include Gareth Evans (former foreign minister of Australia), Shlomo Ben Ami (former foreign minister of Israel), Hanan Ashrawi (former Palestinian negotiator), Massimo D'Alema (former prime minister of Italy), Louis Michel (former EU commissioner for development) and Hubert Védrine (former foreign minister of France).
The former leaders argue that:Palestinian reconciliation is also an opportunity to enhance Israel's security, including by helping to consolidate a ceasefire, prevent renewed attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilians and facilitate exchange of Palestinian prisoners for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.In line with Israeli opinion, US President Barack Obama last month rejected Palestinian efforts to form a unity government.How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? he asked, referring to Hamas' 1980s-era charter which calls for the obliteration of Israel, something Israeli diplomats quickly point out has yet to be deleted.In his speech however, Obama said future Israeli-Palestinian borders should be based on lines established before the 1967 war, bringing US policy closer in line with the EU position.The long-running efforts to secure peace between the two sides come amid ongoing turmoil in the Arab world, dividing commentators as to whether this provides a unique opportunity or challenge.At the same time, Palestinian officials are preparing to seek full UN recognition of its statehood at a meeting in New York this September.Ten EU countries are reportedly ready to recognise the new state, including Greece, Ireland, France, Spain and Sweden.
LAND FOR PEACE (THE FUTURE 7 YEARS OF HELL ON EARTH)
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
THE WEEK OF DANIEL 9:27 WE KNOW ITS 7 YRS
Heres the scripture 1 week = 7 yrs Genesis 29:27-29
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
27 And he( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:3
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
ISAIAH 28:14-19 (THIS IS THE 7 YR TREATY COVENANT OF DANIEL 9:27)
14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
Abbas Is Trapped With September
by Gavriel Queenann 06/10/11
Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas wants to climb down from the tree and restart talks with Israel, but can't due to widespread pressure, the Associated Press reported Thursday.According to PA sources several senior PA officials are advising Abbas to forgo plans to seek a unilateral declaration of PA statehood at the UN in September due to opposition to the move from the United States.However, the sources say the sense is that having announced his intentions to pursue the unilateral UN path, Abbas has left himself with little room to maneuver and may proceed with the UN gambit simply to avoid a loss of credibility.We are trapped with September,one official told the AP.We don't know what to do after that.The PA officials, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, said several top PA advisers were having second thoughts about the unilateralist track at the UN.Among them are PLO second-in-command Yasser Abed Rabbo, PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat; and former PA representative to the UN Nasser Al-Qidwa.Qidwa noted the limits of Abbas's unilateral UN track earlier this week, saying the PA should still rally behind statehood efforts at the UN,but we should distinguish between getting support and getting recognition.We cannot get recognition simply because the US will veto it, the AP quoted Qidwa as saying.
Qidwa's comments suggest a growing realization that the unilateral UN track is problematic and promises an unclear conclusion that may not only change nothing, but may backfire and trigger a new wave of violence PA leaders cannot control.Abbas attempt to step down from his self-created political precipice may be due to serious discussion in the US congress over cutting funding to the PA, which comes as the PA finds itself amidst another budget crisis. Abbas had previously said he would pursue the unilateral track irrespective of US objections - and even if US funds were cut.
Earlier this week, senior Israeli and PA negotiators traveled to Washington and held separate meetings with US officials to explore the possibility of restarting negotiations.The meetings come as reports say that Hamas is considering leaving the business of politics and governance to Fatah saying its involvement therein has weakened the resistance enterprise.(IsraelNationalNews.com)
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog,(RULER) the land of Magog,(RUSSIA) the chief prince of Meshech(MOSCOW)and Tubal,(TOBOLSK) and prophesy against him,
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech(MOSCOW) and Tubal:
4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws,(GOD FORCES THE RUSSIA-MUSLIMS TO MARCH) and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
5 Persia,(IRAN,IRAQ) Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
6 Gomer,(GERMANY) and all his bands; the house of Togarmah (TURKEY)of the north quarters, and all his bands:(SUDAN,AFRICA) and many people with thee.
7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
8 After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.(RUSSIA-EGYPT AND MUSLIMS)
10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
3 They (ARABS,MUSLIMS) have taken crafty counsel against thy people,(ISRAEL) and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they (MUSLIMS) have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:(TREATIES)
6 The tabernacles of Edom,(JORDAN) and the Ishmaelites;(ARABS) of Moab, PALESTINIANS,JORDAN) and the Hagarenes;(EGYPT)
7 Gebal,(HEZZBALLOH,LEBANON) and Ammon,(JORDAN) and Amalek;(SYRIA,ARABS,SINAI) the Philistines (PALESTINIANS) with the inhabitants of Tyre;(LEBANON)
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south( EGYPT) push at him:(EU DICTATOR IN ISRAEL) and the king of the north (RUSSIA AND MUSLIM HORDES OF EZEK 38+39) shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.(JORDAN)
42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal: (TUBOLSK)
2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts,(RUSSIA) and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands,( ARABS) and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
6 And I will send a fire on Magog,(NUCLEAR BOMB) and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
3 A fire(NUCLEAR BOMB) devoureth before them;(RUSSIA-ARABS) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army,(RUSSIA,MUSLIMS) and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.(SIBERIAN DESERT)
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(NUCLEAR BOMB)
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Police Storm Temple Mount After Stones Thrown
by Gavriel Queenann 06/10/11
Israel Police and Border Guard forces were forced to storm the Temple Mount compound Friday after stones were hurled at the end of afternoon prayers. Officers dispersed dozens of rioters using crowd dispersal means and isolated them. No injuries have been reported.Three muslim men involved in the incident were arrested - one for hurling stones; two for suspicion of having incited the violent incident. Dozens of Muslim youths began to hurl stones at the Moroccans' Gate adjacent to the Western Wall as Friday prayers in the Old City ended. Security forces were forced to enter the compound to put a stop to the violence.The three were taken into custody for questioning as the rest of the worshippers left the area. Jerusalem Police said more arrests are expected over the weekend.Unlike previous weeks, police decided not to restrict the entrance of young worshippers to the Temple Mount this week.Police usually only allow worshippers over the age of 50 to enter the site when there is intelligence suggesting others may try to cause provocations.The decision to allow youths in this week may have been based on eight months of quiet at the site.
Libyan Arms Pipeline to Gaza Feared
by Gavriel Queenann 06/10/11
Israeli defense experts are concerned a large quantity of weapons have flowed from Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi's arsenal to terrorist arms dealers due to a loosening of the embattled dictator's grip on his government.According to defense experts at least some of these weapons were smuggled to Gaza. It is believed hundreds of 120-122mm Grad missiles, which can reach ranges of 60-70 miles are now in Hamas hands. Such missiles could easily threaten Ber Sheva, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.It is also believed shorter-range 60 mm rockets, and stores of guns and ammunition, were smuggled from Libya to Gaza. In addition, Israel now believes surplus Russian anti-tank missiles from Libyan stores may be smuggled to Hamas from Sinai.Officials believe the new smuggling route, departing from Libya, goes through Egypt into Sinai from which arms are smuggled to Gaza via tunnels. Egyptian military officials claim they are trying to fight the new phenomenon, but many - if not most - convoys still manage to get to the tunnels.
Rafiah An Invitation to Smugglers
Meanwhile, the opening of the Rafiah crossing by Egypt has led to Israeli concerns the crossing will be exploited by terrorists seeking to smuggle weapons into Gaza, along with continued activity through the smuggling tunnels.Israel has made it clear it holds Egypt directly responsible for everything that passes through the Rafiah Crossing. On Sunday Egypt abruptly closed the crossing after catching two arms smugglers despite its touted security arrangements.Israeli officials say, despite Egyptian assurances, they do not know what measures Egypt has taken to curtail smuggling from Sinai to Gaza.Amos Gilad, who heads the political-security staff at the Ministry of Defense, visited Cairo recently. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the issue of the Rafiah crossing, but also on the agenda were issues pertaining to Sinai, the captivity of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, and other security concerns.(IsraelNationalNews.com)
US defence chief: Europe may no longer be worth defending VALENTINA POP 10.06.2011 @ 19:01 CET
BRUSSELS / EUOBSERVER - Under pressure to cut its military spending, the US is losing patience with Europe's unwillingness to pay for its own defence, outgoing US defence minister Robert Gates said Friday (10 June) in an unusually blunt speech in Brussels, casting doubt over the very survival of Nato.On his last trip to Europe before retiring on 30 June, Gates - who has served as defence minister both in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations - allowed himself to speak bluntly during a conference organised by the Security and Defence Agenda, a Brussels-based think tank.Looking first at Afghanistan, he noted that the operation got bogged down in national caveats which hampered the range of actions European soldiers were allowed to do - a hint at Germany's restrictions on its troops to use lethal force, which meant that they could not be deployed in combat against the Taliban.As for troop withdrawal, with the Netherlands suddenly pulling out after a government was forced to resign last year over the Afghan war, Gates said:We cannot afford to have some troop-contributing nations to pull out their forces on their own timeline in a way that undermines the mission and increases risks to other allies. The way ahead in Afghanistan is in together, out together.Nato's flagship mission in Afghanistan has also exposed significant shortcomings in the military alliance - both concerning capabilities and political will.Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform – not counting the US military – Nato has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25 to 40,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and much more,Gates said.
When it comes to the more recent mission in Libya, similar shortcomings made it painfully clear that they can undermine the success of a campaign that has broad political support, no troops on the ground and is a mission in Europe's neighborhood deemed to be in Europe's vital interest.While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission. Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can't. The military capabilities simply aren't there.He cited lack of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, which make even the most advanced European fighter jets useless. Italy's ambition to run the air campaign from a Naples-based headquarters in fact meant that mainly US targeting specialists had to be deployed there to do the job.The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country – yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the US, once more, to make up the difference.With more security-consuming European allies than partners able to shoulder the burden in Nato, Gates questioned the very rationale of this alliance born out of America's willingness to protect Western Europe against a potential Soviet invasion during the Cold War.Some two decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the US share of Nato defence spending has now risen to more than 75 percent – at a time when politically painful budget and benefit cuts are being considered at home,Gates said.Frustrated by years of convincing work with European allies to step up their defence spending and upgrade their military capabilities, Gates projected a dim, if not dismal future for the transatlantic alliance: that the US simply stops footing the bill.The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the US Congress – and in the American body politic writ large – to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defence.
Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed, future US political leaders – those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me – may not consider the return on America's investment in Nato worth the cost,he warned.Responding to this doomsday scenario, Nato spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said during a press briefing on Friday that this was in line with repeated calls from Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen to improve military spending and make smart defence cuts where necessary.There is clearly a long-standing concern about the transatlantic gap in defence spending, there is a risk that European allies may even fall behind in terms of technological development. We all know there is an economic and financial crisis going on and when all parts of budgets are being cut, defence budgets cannot be exempt,she said.
Poland looks to Schengen deal in September
VALENTINA POP 10.06.2011 @ 09:20 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A phased-in accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the border-free Schengen zone may be agreed upon in September, with the Netherlands the only country left to convince, Polish interior minister Jerzy Miller has said.We hope that during our EU presidency, possibly in September, we will be able to secure a decision about how and when these countries will join the Schengen area,Miller told a group of journalists on Thursday (9 June) after attending a meeting with his EU counterparts where the issue was discussed.The Polish minister suggested that a compromise may be formed on gradual accession, with airports included first in the common border area, while sea and land borders would be opened at a later stage. Special Schengen terminals separating intra-EU flights from those from beyond Europe have been set up in both countries, which initially hoped to join the area in March.
As a former Communist country and a strong supporter of European re-unification, Poland insists that the promises made to Bulgaria and Romania need to be kept, especially since the technical requirements have all been met for the two to join Schengen.With Bulgaria holding presidential elections in October, unjustified further delay may have political consequences, the minister warned.But the Dutch interior minister on Thursday made clear that his government thinks it is still too early to take any decision on the matter before 2012.Asked about the Dutch position, the Polish minister said it had a different background and that up until recently, others were reluctant too but have meanwhile changed their mind.We hope the Netherlands will change its mind as well,he said.France, who last year wanted to delay Romania's Schengen entry due to a row over repatriations of ethnic Roma, in December joined the Dutch and the Germans in voicing concerns over corruption in the new EU state and warned against premature accession to the border-free area.On Thursday, however, French interior minister Claude Geant suggested that phased-in entry may be an acceptable compromise, involving a first stage in autumn with the opening of air borders in the presence of police from other states.A second stage could take place later, in 2012, with the opening of land borders, there again with the help of border guards from other EU countries.All eyes are now on the EU commission, due to publish a report next month assessing how the two countries are fighting corruption and organised crime.
Anti-nuke protests in Japan, 3 months after quake
By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press – 06/11/11
TOKYO – Protesters in Tokyo prepared Saturday to hold mass demonstrations against the use of nuclear power, as Japanese marked the three-month anniversary of the powerful earthquake and tsunami that killed tens of thousands and triggered one of the world's worst nuclear disasters.The magnitude-9 earthquake that hit off Japan's northeast coast March 11 caused a massive tsunami that devastated the coastline. The disasters knocked out power and cooling systems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, setting off explosions, fires and large radiation leaks at the facility.Official reports released earlier in the week said the damage and leakage was worse than previously thought, with nuclear fuel in three reactors likely melting through their main cores and larger containment vessels. The reports also said radiation that leaked into the air amounted to about one-sixth of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.Hundreds of plant workers are still scrambling to bring the crippled Fukushima reactors to a cold shutdown by early next year and end the crisis. The accident has forced more than 80,000 residents to evacuate from their homes around the plant.The disasters have renewed a national debate on the use of nuclear power in Japan, which has few natural resources and is heavily reliant on atomic energy. Some nuclear plants across the country have been shut down in the wake of the disaster, leading to fears Japan may not have enough electricity for the peak summer months.Three months after the disasters, which killed about 23,000 people, 90,000 are still living in temporary shelters such as school gyms and community centers. Some families have been moved into temporary housing, but supplies are short and sufficient housing is not expected to be completed for several more months.
All along the coast, a massive cleanup effort continues as cranes and dump trucks haul away the wreckage from hundreds of thousands of buildings that were destroyed or damaged by the tsunami.Also Saturday, embattled Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan was scheduled to visit a tsunami-damaged region in northern Iwate prefecture (state).
Kan, who reached the one-year mark of his tenure earlier this week, has been under fire for his handling of the disasters and the country's recovery plans. He survived a no-confidence vote earlier this month, in part by promising to step down once the country's recovery takes hold.Speculation about when he will step down has been rampant since, with Japan's two main opposition parties considering a grand coalition to lead the country's recovery. Kan is Japan's fifth leader in four years.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
THE FIRST JUDGEMENT OF THE EARTH STARTED WITH WATER-IT ONLY MAKES SENSE THE LAST GENERATION WILL BE HAVING FLOODING
6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
GOD PROMISED BY A RAINBOW-THE EARTH WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED TOTALLY WITH A FLOOD AGAIN.BUT FLOODIING IS A SIGN OF JUDGEMENT.
Hurricane Adrian weakens to Category 2 in Pacific
– Fri Jun 10, 11:16 pm ET
MIAMI – Forecasters say Hurricane Adrian has weakened to a Category 2 storm off the Pacific coast of Mexico and is expected to stay offshore.Forecasters say maximum sustained winds for the first hurricane of the 2011 season decreased Friday evening to about 110 mph (177 kph). It is expected to weaken further over the next two days.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami predicts the storm's center will stay well offshore but will generate large swells that could affect the southwestern coast of Mexico into the weekend.The center of the storm was about 505 miles (813 km) south of the southern tip of Baja, Calif. It is moving west-northwest at 9 mph (14 kph).
Flooding overwhelms Montana, supplies ferried in By MATTHEW BROWN and STEPHEN DOCKERY, Associated Press – Fri Jun 10, 7:56 pm ET
BILLINGS, Mont. – Emergency workers ferried supplies to more than 300 people cut off Friday by flooding that has overwhelmed Montana towns and caused an estimated $8.6 million in damages to date.Heavy rain and the runoff from record mountain snowpack have caused rivers over much of the West to spill from their banks. Montana has been hit particularly hard over the past few weeks, with hundreds of homes inundated and scores of roadways swamped.River levels were retreating throughout the state on Friday, but more rain this weekend was expected to cause flood waters to linger across southeastern Montana.There, roads washed out by the raging Musselshell River left people in a sprawling rural neighborhood in the hills outside the town of Roundup with no way to get out.Stranded residents were able to call in grocery orders that emergency officials delivered by boat, said Cassie Degner, a local volunteer firefighter. A trailer filled with water, diapers and other essentials had been brought into the neighborhood before access was lost Wednesday.Mary Brower, 81, said she had not been able to get into town since May 20 and the roads have further deteriorated since that time.They're going to bring in my medications today by, I don't know, rowboat or whatever, said Brower, who suffers from congestive heart failure.
Up the road from Brower, rancher George Smith said he and his wife, Loris, were rationing gasoline but otherwise planned to get by with a few cans of different stuff we have on hand.My wife makes corn bread and I'm a bean maker, Smith said.We might get to fighting a little bit, but we're good for another week anyway.
Authorities in Roundup began pumping out a portion of the downtown that has been swamped twice since the Musselshell started to rise in late May. Workers also were scrambling to rebuild a makeshift dike along the edge of town that was overtopped and severely eroded earlier in the week.The main highway out of Roundup to Billings reopened Friday after being closed for two days when it was under water.Repairs on the road into the cut-off neighborhood were not expected to begin for several days because portions of it remained under water, said Musselshell County Commissioner Sue Olson. Another boatload of groceries and other supplies was to be ferried into the neighborhood Friday evening.The Musselshell River was forecast to drop slightly Friday before rising again to stay above major flood stage until Sunday.As soon as the water comes down it comes back up. We're at the mercy of the river — and it's not so forgiving lately,Degner said.Gov. Brian Schweitzer estimated the flooding has caused more than $8.6 million in damage across the state since the end of May.That figure was included a Thursday letter to President Barack Obama in support of a previous request for a disaster declaration. Schweitzer's office said it could rise with additional damage.
The request for federal assistance covered 31 Montana counties and four Indian reservations. Schweitzer, who is traveling in China, reviewed the letter before it was sent to Obama, spokesman Jayson O'Neill said.Several Montana rivers hit record levels this week. While many were receding Friday, flooding is ongoing in the basins of at least 10 major rivers across Montana.The melting snow and rain caused the Army Corps of Engineers to release water from the Fort Peck Dam into the Missouri River at a record 60,000 cubic feet per second. That sent torrents of water gushing downstream, flooding low-lying areas of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and adding to flood pressures in North and South Dakota.The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday said it would provide $600,000 each to Montana, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming to be used immediately for emergency restoration projects.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement the funding targeted states where the record snowpack poses flooding risks. The money will be used for projects that could include removing debris caught in culverts and under bridges and efforts to prevent soil erosion.In Utah, the National Guard used helicopters Friday to help fix a 30-foot-wide break in a levee that has begun flooding west Weber County.The levee separating the swollen Weber River and a small canal broke Thursday, and troops at the site about 10 miles west of Ogden were putting 50 one-ton sandbags into place, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther.The river is expected to remain above flood stage through the middle of June. Residents in the area already have sandbagged their homes but fear the worst after seeing their yards inundated.Crews in eastern Idaho have lined sandbags around areas prone to flooding as steady showers and the melting snow caused flooding in lowland farm fields.Idaho Gov. C.L. Butch Otter flew over three eastern counties Thursday to get a sense of the flooding and meet with local officials bracing for rivers and creeks to swell even more. Last month, Otter signed a disaster declaration for Jefferson, Madison and Bingham counties, allowing officials to tap the state for sandbags, water pumps and technical support.In Colorado, the Colorado River was flooding near Rifle. Officials in Greely closed several roads because of high water and debris. And turbid waters prompted officials to partially restrict access to the Cache la Poudre River.The Larimer County sheriff's office said Friday that inner tubes, some types of air mattresses and small inflatable rafts have been banned from the river until the waters calm down. Restrictions could stay in place until early July.In northern Wyoming, the Bighorn River was rising rapidly near Basin after more than 2 inches fell in the region. Some low-lying areas there were expected to flood Friday.
Dockery reported from Helena. AP writers Lynn DeBruin in Salt Lake City, Todd Dvorak in Boise, Idaho, and Bob Moen in Cheyenne, Wyo., also contributed to this report.
Gates: NATO alliance future could be dim, dismal
By ROBERT BURNS and DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press – 06/11/11
BRUSSELS – In a stern rebuke, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Friday that the future of the historic NATO military alliance is at risk because of European penny-pinching and distaste for front-line combat. The United States won't carry the alliance as a charity case, the outgoing Pentagon chief said.Some NATO countries bristled, but Britain quickly and heartily agreed.Gates' assessment that NATO could face a dim if not dismal future echoes long-standing concern of U.S. policymakers about European defense spending. But rarely, if ever, has it been stated so directly by such a powerful American figure, widely respected in the United States and internationally.The remarks, at the close of Gates' final overseas trip, reflect a new reality of constrained American finances and a smaller global reach.Earlier in the week Gates played bad cop to U.S. President Barack Obama's good, criticizing Germany's abstention from the air campaign in Libya two days after Obama lavished an award and fancy White House dinner on visiting Chancellor Angela Merkel.But Gates spoke for the Obama administration, and his warning Friday was aimed squarely at Europe's priorities.The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress, and in the American body politic writ large, to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense, he said.That assessment may cause Europeans to question the future of their defense relationship with the United States, on whom they have counted for a large measure of their security for six decades.
It comes on the heels of the withdrawal of one American combat brigade from Europe as part of a significant reduction of U.S. troops in Europe.The U.S. has been the brawn behind NATO since its birth in 1949. But the disparity between strength and allies' investment has only grown wider.In a question-and-answer session after his speech, Gates, 67, said his generation's emotional and historical attachment to NATO is aging out. He noted that he is about 20 years older than Obama, his boss.For many Americans, NATO is a vague idea tied to a bygone era, a time when the world feared a Soviet land invasion of Europe that could have escalated to nuclear war. But with the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO's reason for being came into question. It has remained intact — and even expanded from 16 members at the conclusion of the Cold War to 28 today — but European reluctance to expand defense budgets has created what amounts to a two-tier alliance: the U.S. military at one level and the rest of NATO on a lower, almost irrelevant plane.Gates said this presents a problem that could spell the demise of the alliance.What I've sketched out is the real possibility for a dim if not dismal future for the trans-Atlantic alliance,Gates said. Such a future is possible, but not inevitable. The good news is that the members of NATO — individually and collectively — have it well within their means to halt and reverse these trends, and instead produce a very different future.Without naming names, Gates blasted nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.A German foreign ministry spokeswoman defended that nation's contribution and noted Obama's recent praise.
However, defense spending is uneven within Europe.Liam Fox, defense secretary in Britain, a strong U.S. ally, told NATO Thursday that European governments were undermining military co-operation with the U.S. by failing to spend enough on defense. He also said other European nations should be more willing to send their forces to NATO operations such as Afghanistan.He praised Gates as a champion of the trans-Atlantic relationship.Unless Europe carries more of the share of its own defense, we should not assume his successors will do the same, Fox said.Over the past two years, military spending by NATO's European members has shrunk by about $45 billion — the equivalent of the entire annual defense budget of Germany, one of the alliance's top-spending members.As a result, the U.S. defense budget of nearly $700 billion accounts for nearly 75 percent of the total defense spending by NATO members. The combined military spending of all 26 European members is just above $220 billion.The White House stood by Gates' comments Friday, though officials emphasized that the outgoing defense secretary was not guaranteeing a dim future for NATO, only saying that the possibility existed if allies cannot provide the resources needed. I don't think anyone would argue with that,said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council.Gates has criticized the Europeans before. He bruised feelings at NATO by publicly calling for larger troop contributions in Afghanistan. He has also criticized the heavy restrictions many European governments set for their soldiers, including bans on night patrols that mean many of them rarely leave their bases.In February 2010 at the National Defense University in Washington he said NATO was in danger of becoming a paper tiger.The demilitarization of Europe, where large swaths of the general public and political classes are averse to military force and the risks that go with it, has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st,he said then.To illustrate his concerns about Europe's lack of appetite for defense, Gates pointed to Libya, where France and other NATO nations pushed hard for NATO intervention and where the U.S. insisted on a back seat role.
While every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission,he said.Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate but simply because they can't.Such inequality is unacceptable, Gates said, and so is the poor follow-through that occurred once the mission began.The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country, yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference, he said.During his first two years on the job, Gates alternately coaxed and complained, often loudly pressing allies to send more forces and funding to Afghanistan and to lessen their restriction on the troops they had there.After a while he scaled back his constant hounding, acknowledging that it wasn't paying off much. And he frequently joked that NATO colleagues weren't shy about mentioning his megaphone diplomacy.NATO did send more forces over the past two years, and Dutch, British and other European forces have taken heavy losses. But as the Afghan war approaches its 10th anniversary, the U.S. has more than twice as many forces in Afghanistan as all other nations combined. Several NATO nations have withdrawn forces or have announced plans to do so. The U.S. shares the NATO goal of ending combat there by 2015.Gates offered praise and sympathy along with his chiding, noting that more than 850 troops from non-U.S. NATO members have died in Afghanistan. For many allied nations these were their first military casualties since World War II.Gates spoke at the Defense and Security Agenda think tank in Brussels, where earlier in the week he attended a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers.Desmond Butler reported from Washington Robert Burns can be reached at http://twitter.com/robertburnsAP Desmond Butler can be reached at http://twitter.com/desmondbutler
FIRES AND EXPLOSIONS
7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
Forest fire teams press attack on Arizona blaze
By David Schwartz – 06/11/11
PHOENIX (Reuters) – Forest fire teams in eastern Arizona took advantage of a second straight day of light winds on Friday to press their assault on a monster blaze that has displaced some 10,000 people and scorched well over 600 square miles.Cooler temperatures, rising humidity and diminished winds helped freshly bolstered air and ground crews to begin curtailing the fire 12 days after it erupted in the mountainous terrain and thick, tinder-dry pine groves of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest.By Friday night, firefighters had managed to carve a perimeter of containment around 6 percent of the fire, which authorities suspect was started from an unattended campfire.U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Suzanne Flory said firefighters were aggressively attacking the blaze on Friday to take advantage of a second day of favorable weather before the return of higher winds forecast for Saturday.There's a sense of urgency today, she said, adding that progress made so far was limited relative to the fire's enormous size.We have a ways to go before we can really say that we've turned the corner,she said.It's going to be a long fight.
Late on Friday, Governor Jan Brewer announced she was canceling a trip to Paris for an aerospace and defense trade show out of concern about the potential for further devastation in the days ahead from the Wallow Fire.The firefighting force was increased on Thursday to more than 3,000 personnel, up from about 2,000 earlier.The easing of high winds that had rapidly spread the flames for several days allowed a fleet of water-dropping helicopters to return to the skies on Thursday, joined by a DC-10 supertanker carrying payloads of fire retardant.Ground crews worked around the clock with bulldozers to cut buffer zones between the fire's edge and populated areas and to set backfires designed to draw flames away from homes.Flory said the helicopter crews, too, were taking part in backfire operations, dropping aerial ignition canisters into remote, hard-to-reach stretches of forest behind fire lines.
Their job was eased as the blaze, which ranks as Arizona's second largest on record, began burning out of the heavy timber into areas with fewer trees, fire officials said.The latest aerial infrared images of the fire showed it has consumed nearly 409,000 acres, or almost 639 square miles, since erupting on May 29. The state's largest wildfire ever was the Rodeo-Chediski fire in eastern Arizona, which charred nearly 469,000 acres in 2002.
In the biggest concentration of property losses yet reported from the Wallow Fire, the Forest Service said 22 homes were demolished and five more damaged on Wednesday in the town of Greer, a small mountain retreat of about 200 dwellings.On Friday, the agency said seven more homes had been destroyed elsewhere in the fire zone, and 35 nonresidential buildings have been lost overall.No serious injuries have been reported.Fire crews have so far kept flames from encroaching on two larger nearby towns of Eager and Springerville, ordered fully evacuated on Wednesday.The towns are home to roughly 8,000 permanent residents combined, accounting for most of those displaced in the White Mountains region, a popular vacation destination for Arizonans seeking to escape the summer heat.Flory said an estimated 1,900 people already had been forced from their homes by the time Springerville and Eager were evacuated.Springerville Mayor Eric Baca, 38, who has lived in the area his entire life, called the fire a punch in the gut.This is devastating,he told Reuters by telephone.This couldn't have happened to a more pristine area. This is our lifeblood ... and now a lot of it is gone.A handful of additional mountain hamlets west of Arizona's eastern border with New Mexico have remained empty since their residents were ordered out days ago.The easternmost flank of the blaze burned a short distance across the New Mexico line late on Thursday, Flory said, and several small towns in that state have been placed on alert for possible evacuations.Work continued on a bulldozed fire break stretching more than 10 miles into New Mexico, and Governor Susana Martinez ordered National Guard troops to the town of Reserve to assist in preparations for the blaze.(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Jerry Norton)
Fed prepares for last spurt of easy money flood
By Richard Leong – Fri Jun 10, 4:11 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The flood of Federal Reserve money that has supported Wall Street and the rest of the U.S. economy for 2-1/2 years will shrink to a trickle with the conclusion of the Fed's bond purchases announced on Friday.The Fed said it will buy $50 billion of Treasuries, the final series of government bond purchases that marks the last phase of the $600 billion program it launched in November 2010 to prevent another recession.As a result, once the purchases are concluded on June 30, the financial sector will receive only a fraction of the roughly $100 billion a month in easy money it has been getting from the Fed.The conclusion of the Fed's bond-buying program, known as Quantitative Easing 2, does not mean the stimulus will come to a complete stop. The Fed will reinvest maturing securities, mainly mortgage-related debt, which analysts predict will run at $12 billion to $16 billion per month.From a psychological standpoint, it is important for the market to still feel the constant presence of the Fed, said Ralph Axel, interest rate strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York.This gradual approach to unwind policy support is likely needed given investor anxiety over a slowing U.S. economy and the festering public fiscal problem in Europe.While still a lot of money, it is a huge step down from stimulus levels at the height of the buying campaign, dubbed by markets as QE2 because it was the second round of Fed asset-buying in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.A key aim of QE2 was to hold down long-term interest rates to stimulate investment in capital equipment and risky assets. It came almost eight months after the Fed's first round of bond purchases, primarily in mortgage-related securities.
The initial bout of quantitative easing, worth $1.73 trillion, began in December 2008 and ended in March 2010. It was created to stabilize the housing sector, which was the epicenter of the financial turmoil and has yet to show signs of recovery.The Treasury bond component of the first round of purchases totaled $300 billion, from March to October 2009.The Fed's buying assets has been controversial from the start. Critics say it is tantamount to printing money, and it has been credited with fueling a stock market rally but blamed for a surge in oil and food prices.The end of QE2 has been well-flagged. The Fed said at the outset it would run until the end of June 2011.Still, investors expect stocks, bonds, gold and the euro to fall after it ends, according to a Reuters poll of 64 analysts and fund managers last month.
Come July, the Fed will rely on cash generated from its $1 trillion holding of mortgage-related securities to anchor Treasury yields and support the economy.
Proceeds from Fed's maturing mortgage-backed securities and debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) will fluctuate monthly depending on house sales and mortgage refinancings.Recent evidence suggested the real estate conditions are deteriorating again with single-home home prices dropping below their 2009 low in March. The double-dip in housing will likely be compounded by an abrupt slowdown in job growth in May.This grim development portends that a housing recovery is farther than previously thought and would take longer for people to sell their homes and to pay off their mortgages. This means mortgage securities will not be prepaid quickly.We are still at least two to three years away from seeing signs of even a baby upturn in home prices, said Anthony Karydakis, senior economist at Commerzbank in New York.Going back to the 1950s, housing starts have typically returned to their pre-recession levels in 1-1/2 to 2 years after they hit bottom. But the current housing market is showing atypical behavior since its euphoric highs earlier this decade, Karydakis said.Housing starts are stagnant after 1-1/2 years into the current economic recovery and more than a year since the initial bout of bond purchases. They had enjoyed a brief revival due to a federal first-time homebuyer credit program.Housing starts have stabilized at very low levels, but there have been no signs of a recovery,Karydakis said.In April, housing starts fell 10.6 percent to an annualized rate of 523,000 units.(Additional reporting by Burton Frierson and Chris Reese; Editing by Diane Craft)
Dow, S&P end sixth losing week - is seventh on tap?
By Angela Moon – Fri Jun 10, 5:25 pm ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Dow and S&P 500 closed out their sixth week of losses on Friday as further signs of a global economic slowdown set the stage for more losses ahead.The deepening gloom raised the prospect for the S&P, which suffered its worst week since August 2010, to break below the year's low of 1,250 next week.The Nasdaq wiped out its yearly gains on Friday and also posted its biggest weekly decline since August 2010, as the latest deterioration in sentiment came on fear of flagging Chinese growth and fresh worries about Greece's debt crisis.The Dow closed below 12,000 for the first time since mid-March.Reflecting the bearish sentiment, options traders eyed calls on the CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX), Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, which moves inversely to the S&P 500's performance. The VIX rose 6.1 percent to end at 18.86.We broke below the April low, which was about 1,295 (on the S&P 500) pretty much at the open today. We are probably going to test the March lows if data next week remain weak, said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.But investors are very susceptible to any kind of news and since we are very oversold here, we could see the market instantly bounce back if we get anything remotely good.The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) fell 172.45 points, or 1.42 percent, to 11,951.91. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) slid 18.02 points, or 1.40 percent, to 1,270.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) tumbled 41.14 points, or 1.53 percent, to 2,643.73 at the close.For the week, the Dow was down 1.6 percent, the S&P 500 was off 2.2 percent and the Nasdaq was down 3.3 percent.The S&P 500 has fallen about 6.6 percent from its intraday peak early last month. Many see the benchmark index sliding back down to around 1,250, its March low, where valuations could bring investors back into equities.At 1,250, the S&P 500 would be roughly 1.7 percent below current levels and approaching a 10 percent decline commonly referred to as a correction.
Bank stocks, already under pressure, finished lower, with the KBW Banks Index (.BKX) dropping 0.4 percent after sliding more than 2 percent earlier in the day. The Federal Reserve said it will subject more banks to annual stress tests to determine whether they have enough capital and can raise their dividends.Some of the biggest decliners were regional bank stocks that are now going to face annual tests.Northern Trust Corp (NTRS.O) fell 1.2 percent to $46.77 and M&T Bank Corp (MTB.N) lost 1.2 percent to $84.41.But large banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) and Bank of America (BAC.N), rose in a late rebound, on a news report that the extra capital charge on big banks will likely be 2 percent to 2.5 percent, compared with the widely predicted 3 percent, traders said.Bank of America shares rose 1.4 percent to $10.80 and JPMorgan added 0.2 percent to $41.05.The S&P energy index (.GSPE) declined 1.9 percent while the S&P index of industrial stocks (.GSPI) lost 1.6 percent.China's sales to the United States and the European Union slumped to their weakest since late 2009, excluding Lunar New Year holidays, underlining the view that the world economy is stumbling.In another negative for stocks, the euro tumbled more than 1 percent against the U.S. dollar as fears about Greece's debt returned to the forefront and investors curbed expectations about the European Central Bank's interest-rate hikes. Investors have been recently trading the correlation between stocks and the dollar.The PHLX semiconductor index (.SOX) slid 1.7 percent, sinking to its lowest since early December. The SOX fell below its 200-day moving average for the first time since last October.About 7.47 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Amex and Nasdaq, compared with the daily average of 7.59 billion.Declining stocks beat advancing ones by 2,419 to 587 on the NYSE while on the Nasdaq, decliners beat advancers by 1,987 to 593.(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jan Paschal)
Carstens, Lagarde battle over IMF job
by Paul Handley – 06/11/11
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The pullout of two dark-horse candidates left France's Christine Lagarde and Mexico's Agustin Carstens the only apparent competitors to head the IMF as nominations closed.Barring any last-minute submissions, the International Monetary Fund's executive board would face a difficult political, rather than merit-based, decision when it meets Monday to begin hashing out who would become managing director of the world's crisis lender.In Lagarde, France's finance minister, board members would have someone intimately up to speed on Europe's crisis du jour, the crumbling Greek rescue, as well as a leader in the much-needed reform of the global financial system.In Carstens, Mexico's central bank chief, they would have someone who has already served three years as the IMF's number three and who could satisfy developing country calls to break the Europeans' 65-year lockhold on the job.The pullout of two other potential candidates -- Grigory Marchenko of Kazakhstan and Trevor Manuel of South Africa -- underscored the widespread belief that Europe already has a done deal.It's more or less obvious that Christine Lagarde is going to be elected, Marchenko, the Kazakh central bank chief, told CNN.
Quite a few people do have credentials... But again, it's not about a fair competition, it's about politics. And I think there, a political decision has been taken already.Manuel, South Africa's planning minister, praised Lagarde as very competent but criticized Europe's presumption of owning the post.A lot more should have been done to persuade Europeans that this birthright is not a birthright that should find a resonance in an institution as important as the International Monetary Fund, he said.Neither candidate was acting as if it was settled: Lagarde went to Lisbon to woo members of the African Development Bank, while Carstens was in New Delhi pitching for support.The job opened unexpectedly after Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned on May 18 to fight sexual assault charges in New York.The 24-member executive board, representing all the IMF's members, has targeted the end of June to reach a consensus on one of the candidates, the way it has decided in the past.But that process has brought harsh criticism of non-transparency and backroom deals that always favors the Europeans -- with IMF power Washington getting one of its own to head the World Bank in a longstanding trans-Atlantic quid pro quo.
Europe has come out in force for Lagarde, as it struggles to keep the IMF-led bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portgual on the rails.The United States and Japan, the IMF's other power brokers, remain publicly uncommitted.Carstens has meanwhile strained to gather endorsements, even in Latin America. An emerging economy bloc has not coalesced.At this stage, they don't care enough about this position... to expend the political capital to want to change the status quo, explained Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.Former Western Hemisphere Director at the IMF Claudio Loser said the Europeans have a unified vision, while the emerging countries still have a nationalist vision.Both candidates have wooed Brazil, Russia, India and China -- the so-called BRICs -- which could expand their shareholding in the Fund under the next director.After starting in Brazil, Lagarde was in Beijing and then New Delhi this week. Carstens also launched his campaign in Brazil, and was disappointed when he failed to get the endorsement of a fellow Latin American power.After New Delhi, he was to land in Washington on Monday before heading to Beijing.The BRICs haven't tipped their hands, but in private they have already conceded that they are mostly likely to back Lagarde,said Brookings Institution analyst Domenico Lombardi.They see her as an important backstop to the European crisis, he added.Despite its strength, Lagarde's candidacy is clouded by a pending investigation in France into her alleged abuse of authority, in a multi-million-euro business dispute.The court will not rule on whether the investigation would go ahead until June 9, after the IMF executive board is to make its decision.
Lagarde has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Amnesty condemns sharp rise in Saudi beheadings
– Fri Jun 10, 3:13 pm ET
CAIRO – Amnesty International is condemning what it says is a sharp rise in beheadings in Saudi Arabia and is urging authorities in the kingdom to halt executions.Amnesty said in a Friday statement that the kingdom has executed at least 27 people this year. That's equal to the total number put to death in all of 2010. The rights group says more than 100 others are on death row. Many of them are foreigners.The group highlighted the case of two brothers sentenced to death in 1998 for murder and at imminent risk of execution. Amnesty says they had no access to lawyers.Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed — usually with a sword.
Six powers push defiant Iran to address nuclear fears
By Sylvia Westall and Fredrik Dahl – Thu Jun 9, 3:06 pm ET
VIENNA (Reuters) – Russia and China joined Western powers Thursday in telling Iran its consistent failure to comply with U.N. resolutions deepened concerns about possible military dimensions to its nuclear program.The United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China issued the statement a day after Iran said it would triple production of high-grade uranium and shift it to an underground bunker which would be protected from possible U.S. or Israeli air strikes.Russia and China have in the past been less inclined to try to isolate Iran over its uranium enrichment which Tehran says is solely to generate electricity. Western nations suspect the Islamic Republic wants to enrich uranium to a higher level so as to be able to make nuclear weapons if it chooses.We call on Iran to cooperate fully with the agency, said a joint statement by the six powers at a closed-door session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.Outstanding issues need to be resolved in order to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. It did not mention Iran's plan to expand enrichment.Washington's envoy said separately that Iran's plan to speed up enrichment with a more advanced model of centrifuge machines in a mountain bunker showed its brazen and deepening defiance of international demands to curb the activity.Iran's refusal to halt enrichment has led to four rounds of U.N. sanctions on the major oil producer, as well tighter U.S. and European Union restrictions on top.World powers have also offered Tehran trade incentives to give up enrichment, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday no inducement could persuade Iran to stop. U.S. President Barack Obama said further sanctions were likely.
Iran's IAEA representative hit back at a tense board meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, vowing to resist Western pressure.Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh launched a verbal attack on IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano and accused him of bias.The Japanese IAEA chief has taken a blunter approach to Iran than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei, saying in his first report on the country early last year that he feared it may be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile.He is not doing his job. Instead, with his reports, he is paving the way for more confrontation between member states, Soltanieh told reporters.But the six powers united to throw their weight behind Amano, who last month asked Tehran to provide access to sites and officials to help answer the agency's queries.
Iran rebuffed the request.
The United States and Israel, Iran's arch-adversaries, have not ruled out military action to knock out Iranian nuclear assets if diplomacy fails to resolve the eight-year-old dispute.Iran says it is refining uranium to the 3.5 percent level for electricity production and to 20 percent purity for medical applications.But its decision last year to raise the level of enrichment beyond that needed for power plant fuel to 20 percent increased disquiet in the West because this would bring Iran significantly closer to the 90 percent threshold suitable for bomb fuel.(Additional reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Jon Hemming)
Friday, June 10, 2011
HAGMANN & HAGMANN-JUDI MCLEOD REPORT SAT'S 8-10PM ON BLOGTALK RADIO
LAURIE ROTHS SITE
DOUG HAGMANNS SITES
CANADA FREE PRESS-JUDI MCLEOD
OLIVE TREE MINISTRIES LATES SHOWS
Blair: EU should have elected leader
ANDREW WILLIS 09.06.2011 @ 09:28 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the European Union must have an elected leader to give it the clear leadership to successfully spar with rising powers such as China in the future.Previously touted as a potential candidate for European Council President, Blair said the fundamental reasons behind European integration had altered.The rationale for Europe now is power, not peace, he told The Times newspaper in an interview published on Thursday (9 June), adding that European citizens were willing to support this new direction for the European project.The crucial thing is to understand that the only way that you will get support for Europe today is not on the basis of a sort of postwar view that the EU is necessary for peace.For my children's generation, that is just a bizarre argument. They don't see that as a real threat.What they can understand completely is that in a world in particular in which China is going to become the dominant power of the 21st century, it is sensible for Europe to combine together, to use its collective weight in order to achieve influence.At a time when the eurozone debt crisis and rising nationalism across the region appear to be threatening many of the EU's most ambitious projects, the former Labour leader urged the bloc to move closer together and form common policies in areas such as energy, defence, immigration and crime.He warned his more eurosceptic compatriots, who have traditionally favoured Britain's special relationship with the US over more Europe, that the island nation has little chance of wielding influence if it acts alone.We won't have the weight and influence a country like Britain needs unless we're part of that European power as well,he said.
But more European integration to combat the rising powers of China, Brazil and India, must be accompanied by greater democratic legitimacy, Blair added.If you want to have a debate about the direction of Europe it seems to me very hard to have that on a European-wide basis unless you have some means by which people elect something that is Europe-wide in nature.European federalists have frequently touted the idea of an elected European leader to lead the 27-member bloc, while more statist politicians fear such a post would greatly undermine their own authority.In the interview, Blair himself conceded that the idea had no chance of being accepted at the present time.On recent events in the Arab world, Blair said he strongly supports the intervention in Libya, and by implication the efforts of Britain's current Conservative leader David Cameron.A special envoy of the Quartet in the Middle East - the EU, Russia, the UN and the US - Blair said the West must formulate a clear plan on dealing with the current unrest, despite what some critics perceive as his relative silence in the area.This is a situation in which you definitely need a plan,he said.If you get a situation where people get the right to vote but no other change, no jobs, then two or three years down the line other people will say that Islam is the answer. So our task is not to be spectators.
DOCTOR DOCTORIAN FROM ANGEL OF GOD
then the angel said, Financial crisis will come to Asia. I will shake the world.
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
19 They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.
16 And he(FALSE POPE) causeth all,(WORLD SOCIALISM) both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:(CHIP IMPLANT)
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.(6-6-6) A NUMBER SYSTEM
WORLD MARKET RESULTS
HALF HOUR DOW RESULTS FR JUNE 10,2011
09:30 AM -2.43
10:00 AM -108.95
10:30 AM -110.46
11:00 AM -134.64
11:30 AM -143.76
12:00 PM -137.79
12:30 PM -126.51
01:00 PM -137.79
01:30 PM -150.08
02:00 PM -154.78
02:30 PM -142.33
03:00 PM -132.71
03:30 PM -123.71
04:00 PM -172.45 11,951.91
S&P 500 1270.98 -18.02
NASDAQ 2643.73 -41.14
GOLD 1,532.60 -10.10
OIL 99.33 -2.60
TSE 300 13,084.00 -171.70
CDNX 1934.93 -23.64
S&P/TSX/60 750.96 -9.57
YEAR TO DATE PERFORMANCE
Dow -63 points at 4 minutes of trading today.
Dow -187 points at low today.
Dow +0.68 points at high today so far.
GOLD opens at $1,531.00.OIL opens at $100.35 today.
Dow -187 points at low today so far.
Dow +0.68 points at high today so far.
Dow -187 points at low today.
Dow +0.68 points at high today.
GOLD ALLTIME HIGH $1,573.50 (NOT AT CLOSE)
Lagarde backs greater role for China in IMF
ANDREW WILLIS 09.06.2011 @ 17:33 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - French finance minister Christine Lagarde has backed a greater role for China in the International Monetary Fund, the Washington-based lender currently propping up a number of European economies.Tipped as the most likely contender to take over from former IMF-chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, currently facing sexual assualt allegations in the US, Lagarde also said her two days of meetings in Beijing, during which she lobbied for her candidacy, had gone well.I am very satisfied with my visits, she said on Thursday (9 June), but declined to clarify whether she had won Chinese support for her bid.Asked whether she might pick Zhu Min, a senior economic advisor inside the IMF, as her deputy, Ms Lagarde said it would be fully appropriate if he played a key role.As well as the question of senior positions, emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil have repeatedly expressed their desire for a re-weighting of IMF voting rights, frustrated by the West's disproportionate decision-making power.Chinese voting rights were increased from 3.65 percent to 6.4 percent last autumn, a trajectory that Lagarde said should continue after a meeting with Chinese vice-premier Wang Qishan and central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuanon on Wednesday.The trends of reforms that has taken place must be continued and must be developed, both in relation to the governance of the fund, in relation to the appropriate representativeness of its members, particularly with those countries that are underrepresented, as is the case with China,she said.Friday is the deadline by which candidates must register for the IMF's top post, with Lagarde's biggest challenge coming in the form of Agustín Carstens, governor of the Mexican central bank.The Mexican official has so far failed to win open backing from key emerging countries however, while the US has indicated its support for the French finance minister.A possible French inquiry into Lagarde's role in a 2008 arbitration payout appears to be her main obstacle.
Commission says troika report leak only outline of full assessment LEIGH PHILLIPS 09.06.2011 @ 18:45 CET
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has said that reports emanating from Germany of a leak of the latest assessment report from EU-IMF-ECB inspectors in Greece is nothing of the sort, but instead just a bare-bones outline and that the full report will not be released until the end of next week.This was not the troika report. The college of [EU] commissioners has not even discussed this yet,EU economy spokesman Amadeu Altafaj-Tardio told EUobserver.What emerged in the German papers was just a summary of the main findings.[Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude] Juncker had asked if we could circulate a brief document outlining some ideas ahead of a teleconference on Greece for a review of the next steps,he continued. Eurozone finance ministers launched official talks on Wednesday on a second Greek bail-out.But this was not supposed to be a pre-release specially for German MPs. Things repeatedly get leaked in Germany no matter what we do.On Thursday (9 June), a detailed leak of the document was widely reported in the German media and further afield after German MPs were presented with the document.The summary report said that Greek austerity efforts have stalled and that the country is not succeeding in meeting its fiscal projections and that it will need another round of financing.
Greece will likely not be able to return to markets in 2012,the document declared.The financing strategy needs to be revised. Given the remoteness of Greece returning to funding markets in 2012, the adjustment program is now under-financed. The next disbursement cannot take place before this under-financing is resolved.The document said that the recession appears to be somewhat deeper and longer than initially projected,with a further contraction of 3.8 percent this year following last year's fall of 4.5 percent.The paper also said that the austerity and structural adjustment efforts have ground to a halt and called for a renewed effort: After a strong start in the summer of 2010, reform implementation came to a standstill in recent quarters.If no further action is taken, it warned, the government deficit for 2011 is likely to remain close to the 2010 level, above 10 percent of GDP.However, the paper also said that the country has a trump card to play in its wealth of property still held by the government and called for a deep fire-sale of such assets.The Greek government is one of the European sovereigns with the richest portfolio of assets,the document continued.Most of these assets have not provided any relevant revenue; loss-making state-owned enterprises have actually been a source of costs borne by the taxpayers. Privatising those assets will contribute to reduce the government balance-sheet.The paper also said that the privatisation programme of the government will be overseen by an independent body rather than the government itself.
To accelerate the procedure, and ensure the irreversibility of the whole process, the appropriate governance is being put in place: a privatisation agency managed by an independent and professional board.The commission and eurozone states are to nominate observers to its board of this agency and binding quarterly targets on privatisation receipts would be part of the conditionality of a second bail-out.The independent board with external oversight but no veto amounts to something of a compromise between Athens, which was willing to set up an agency independent of government and the position of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, which have said they do not trust the government to follow through on privatisation and said it should be externally controlled. The commission for its part has said that the Dutch proposal amounts to too much of an infringement of sovereignty.The troika document also said that work should be performed to shift taxation away from progressive forms on labour to consumption-based taxation, similar to calls from the commission on Tuesday in its assessment of all 27 EU states' economic plans.The paper said this was one possible area of concurrence with the Greek conservative opposition, which believes that massive tax cuts will deliver a return to growth. The troika, which is concerned that the government, with its unruly backbenchers unhappy about austerity measures, is unstable and is keen to push the opposition to embrace a new austerity package, which was due to be presented to parliament on Thursday. The overall tax cut plans however, it said, were unrealistic.Opposition leader Antonis Samaras was in Brussels on Wednesday, where he was pressured by commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Council President Herman van Rompuy to act responsibly and support the plans.Van Rompuy called on Samaras to urgently give his backing.Barroso for his part urged his fellow conservative to reach a broad national consensus so that Greece can face in the most determined and effective manner its present historical challenges.
New system of European governance demands still deeper austerity LEIGH PHILLIPS 09.06.2011 @ 10:09 CET
EUOBSERVER / ANALYSIS - The European taskmaster has cracked the whip. However much austerity has been imposed by EU member states, it is simply not enough.That is the overriding message from the European Commission that runs through its recommendations for each of the 27 member states in the new, post-crisis system of radically centralised oversight and correction of national economic policies by the EU known as the European Semester.We are now implementing the new system of European governance,commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, heralding the unveiling of 27 detailed - or granular, to use the adjective EU officials use - national prescriptions, telling member states what they are getting right and wrong with their fiscal policies and what they must do to fix their economies.It goes further than fresh call for austerity: it is a recipe for much deeper liberalisation of the European economy than has yet been seen.From intervening in collective bargaining to cut wages, to making it easier to fire workers, to a shift away from progressive taxation, through the new system, the EU hopes to utterly transform its member-state economies to be more competitive with the likes of the US, China and emerging economies.Under the new, six-month system repeated annually, the commission in January sketches out a rough idea of what it expects national economic policies to look like for the coming period, a document that is then endorsed by the European Council, representing the member states.
All 27 states then submit their budgets and broader economic plans to the commission - before they are submitted to national parliaments - to see if they are sufficiently rigorous.Then in June, in the current and penultimate step in the process, the commission gives its appraisal of these plans, setting out what must be corrected, a series of recommendations that must also win endorsement from the European Council.Over the following 12-18 months, governments must put in place all the changes ordered by the Council-Commission duo.If countries are in the eurozone, this oversight is backed up by the imposition of stiff fines for delinquent governments up to a maximum of 0.5 percent of GDP. For an economy the size of Spain, such a fine would amount to €5.25 billion.In announcing its recommendations, sensitive to accusations of a power grab, the EU executive denied that it was replacing national parliaments: This is not about dictating policy ... National governments retain responsibility for economic policies implemented in member states.
But the impact of those policies no longer stops at national borders,it continued, laying out its argument as to why such unprecedented centralisation is necessary: The commission is the only EU institution with the political autonomy, the technical expertise and the pan-European perspective to be able to oversee this process.The commission did however acknowledge the anger regular Europeans feel at the austerity and liberalisation that has already been imposed in response to the crisis, but argues there is no alternative and that these changes should have been made years ago.There is discontent among citizens in several member states, the EU executive concedes in its main document giving an overview of the changes that it says need to be made.However, under the pressure of events, many of the changes needed to remedy structural weaknesses, which have often been delayed for years, are now being considered or implemented.A mantra - whose wording changes subtly here and there, but whose essence is the same - is repeated through all the documents: Fiscal room for manoeuvre is very limited.We know that achieving the goals we have collectively set ourselves means sometimes hard choices. But these efforts, if made seriously and by all, will allow Europe to leave the crisis behind it and safeguard our future prosperity.Indeed, with just five centre-left governments remaining in the EU after a series of electoral debacles (two of which, in Spain and Greece, are on their last legs), the right, which also controls the three European institutions, feels increasingly confident that the growing number of strikes and protests are an unrepresentative irrelevance. Most citizens approve of the strategy of austerity, they believe.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Barroso, a conservative himself, crowed how in his native Portugal that parties that rejected austerity had been trounced in the recent general election.
Insufficient ambition, vague, lacking focus
Overall, the commission's conclusion is that the economic programmes submitted by the member states broadly reflect the priorities it outlined in January, but that some countries, according to Barroso: show an insufficient level of ambition, and others are lacking in specificity.Many member states need to show more ambition when it comes to fiscal consolidation,he said. The commission also described many of the proposed measures as vague, lacking sufficient focus.The general semester recommendations for all states call for a review of wage-setting systems to ensure that wages keep in line with productivity in order not to undermine competitiveness. They also look to increasing the statutory retirement age across Europe and then automatically linking regular adjustments to this age to changes in life-expectancy. Early retirement should also be phased out.Such efforts will not be easy to implement in many places. Efforts to increase the French retirement age last year provoked widespread strikes and blockades that paralysed much of the country as critics argued that such changes would hit blue-collar workers hardest and increase youth unemployment.Governments should make it easier to hire and fire workers, the commission also recommends, although the language deployed is a more technocratic call to rebalance employment protection.Urgent action should be taken to ease the regulation of companies while payroll taxes should be reduced.Brussels has also called for taxation in general to be shifted away from labour, where the higher the income, the higher the rate paid, and onto consumption, where everyone pays the same rate, regardless of income levels. Many countries have also been ordered to introduce so-called debt brakes - legislative or constitutional changes to enforce budgetary discipline.It is not all dour news however: the recommendations in many cases also call for efforts to reduce school drop-out rates, increase the participation of women in the workforce, boost support for vocational training and life-long learning, and achieve greater energy efficiency.However, the reality is that almost all countries apart from Britain will have to significantly up their game.The thread running through almost all the recommendations is that the masochism must continue.
COUNTRIES UNDER EU-IMF TUTELAGE
NB. Five governments, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, and Romania, received only one recommendation: to follow through on the austerity and structural adjustment imposed in return for national bail-outs.
- Accelerate deficit reduction
- Consolidate the health-care sector
- Phase out early retirement
- Increase women's statutory retirement age
- Stricter conditions on pensions of invalids
- Reduce labour taxation and social security contributions
- Further liberalise trades and professions
- Increase effective retirement age
- More ambition in reducing deficit, further spending cuts
- Reform wage bargaining and wage indexation to match productivity gains
- Shift taxation from labour to VAT and green taxes
- Boost retail, energy sector competition
- Speed up austerity
- Introduce debt brake
- Speed up pension reform
- Keep older workers in employment longer
- Reform wage bargaining and wage indexation to match productivity gains
- Expand the temp agency market
- Abolish electricity and gas price controls
- Use any extra revenues for faster debt and deficit reduction
- Strengthen supervision of banks and credit co-operatives
- Extend the years of pension contribution
- Increase water prices
- Link the statutory retirement age to life expectancy
- Reform wage bargaining and wage indexation to match productivity gains
- Further austerity in the event of 2011 revenue shortfalls
- Faster increase in the retirement age than planned
- Promote private pension savings
- Increase availability of part-time jobs
- Link university funding to performance reviews
- Speed up deficit reduction if economy improves
- Introduce debt brakes for local, regional and central government
- Phase out early retirement
- Reform disability pensions
- Review land-use legislation
- Liberalise municipal and regional public procurement
- Reform mortgage rules and property taxes
- Reduce taxation and social security contributions
- Link the statutory retirement age to life expectancy
- Further liberalise the services sector, especially retail
- Use any windfall revenues to reduce the deficit faster
- Further measures to achieve cost savings in public sector
- Introduce structural changes to respond to an ageing population
- Use any windfall revenues to accelerate debt and deficit reduction
- Further measures to reform the pensions system if needed
- Ease employment protections
- Limit minimum wage growth
- Shift taxation from labour to VAT and green taxes
- Further liberalise trades and professions and services and retail sectors
- Restructure regional banks - the Landesbanken
- Liberalise professional services and craft sector
- Extend debt brake to regional level
- Insufficient austerity
- Use any windfall revenues to reduce the deficit faster
- Ease regulation of business
- Expand the powers of the Fiscal Council, a body of economic experts independent of government that advises on budgets
- Lower labour taxation
- Speed up debt and deficit reduction
- Introduce debt brake
- Reform employment protection
- Reform wage bargaining to match productivity gains
- Make it easier to dismiss employees
- Further liberalise services sector
- Lower social assistance and eliminate disincentives to work
- Shift taxation toward energy use and increase energy taxation
- Liberalise very strict labour regulations
- Reform state enterprises prone to inefficiencies
- Speed up deficit reduction
- Introduce debt brake
- Expand temp work sector
- Further reduce the deficit
- Discourage early retirement
- Link the statutory retirement age to life expectancy
- Reform wages setting system and link wages to productivity
- Further austerity to prevent excessive 2011 deficit if necessary
- Introduce 'debt brake'
- Accelerate the increase in retirement age and link it to life expectancy
- Eliminate wage indexation
- Increase the statutory retirement age and link it to life expectancy
- Raise the effective retirement age
- Prepare a blueprint for reform of long-term elderly care
- Introduce road tolls
- Introduce debt brake
- Eliminate early retirement for miners and armed forces
- Raise statutory retirement age for women
- Reform the farmers' social security fund to encourage them to leave the sector
- Streamline construction and zoning legislation
- Introduce debt brake for central government and social security
- Create an independent Fiscal Council - a body composed of economic experts independent of government to advise on budgets
- Link retirement age to life expectancy
- Introduce incentives to retire later
- Reduce asymmetries between protections of permanent and temp workers
- Deeper budget cuts if revenues prove worse than projected
- Introduce debt brake for both national and regional governments
- Warns against the parliament introducing changes to law raising retirement age
- Further measures to raise the effective retirement age
- Warns over role of local authorities in governance of savings banks
- Overhaul the unwieldy collective bargaining system, going beyond the current labour market reforms
- Move away from sectoral bargaining to firm-by-firm bargaining
- End automatic extension of collective agreements
- End wage indexation
- Deliver greater wage flexibility
- Reduce employer social security contributions and replace lost revenues with increased or broadened VAT and increased energy taxes, especially fuel taxes
- Reform mortgage rules
- Reform property taxes
- Reform rent controls and subsidies
- Warns against slippage in spending cuts
- Further competition in the banking sector