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PFTF March 19 2012 Major alarm bells around the world
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Post PFTF March 19 2012 Major alarm bells around the world
Exclusive: U.S., Britain set to agree on emergency oil stocks release



Britain is poised to cooperate with the United States on a release of strategic oil stocks that is expected within months, two British sources said, in a bid to prevent fuel prices choking economic growth in a U.S. election year.

A formal request from the United States to the UK to join forces in a release of oil from government-controlled reserves is expected "shortly" following a meeting on Wednesday in Washington between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, who discussed the issue, one source said.

Britain would respond positively, the two sources said, and Cameron said a release was worth considering.

"We didn't make any decision, this has to be discussed broadly. We've got to look at this issue carefully, it's something worth looking at. Short-term should we look at reserves? Yes, we should," Cameron said during a meeting with students in New York.

"We'd both like to see global oil prices at a lower level than they are."

Details of the timing, volume and duration of a new emergency drawdown have yet to be settled but a detailed agreement is expected by the summer, one of the sources said.

Other countries may also be approached by Washington to contribute, a further source said, Japan among them.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama and Cameron discussed rising oil prices, but he declined to comment on whether the leaders discussed a release of reserves. He said no deal had been reached on a release or timetable for such a move.

"As has been the case every time I'm asked about that issue (the Strategic Petroleum Reserve), I'm not going to discuss specifics about it," Carney said.

"I can tell you that among the many topics of discussion that the British prime minister and the president had were energy issues and the situation globally with the rise in the price of oil."

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/exclusive-u-br ... 20122.html

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:34 am
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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Housing bubble a danger to economy, TD says

Bank warns household debt also a hazard



Overvalued housing markets in several Canadian cities and high household debt poses a "clear and present danger" to Canada’s economy, TD Bank warned in a report Friday.

The study by the bank’s chief economist, Craig Alexander, proposes the government introduce measures to keep personal debt levels from rising further.



The report flags Vancouver as the market with the greatest risk of a housing price correction, because of an influx of foreign buyers, likely in the order of 10 to 15 per cent.

Toronto could also see a drop in prices because of overbuilding in the condo market, which raises questions about the ability of the market to absorb the new listings or find renters for all of the investment properties.

And all cities are at risk, Alexander says, when interest rates eventually rise from their present "exceedingly" low levels.

Household debt growth over the past decade has been fuelled not as much by credit card borrowing, he said, but largely by loans secured by real estate, in particular home equity lines of credit.

The ratio of debt-to-personal disposable income, which is now above 150 per cent, Alexander predicted, is likely to reach by late next year the 160 per cent peak experienced in the U.S. and the U.K. before their real estate corrections occurred.

With interest rates expected to remain low in both Canada and the U.S. as the recovery limps along, banks are expected to compete for lending business.

Higher rates could consume 40% of income for some

The answer is not, Alexander says, for banks to agree to lend less.

“To do so would be collusion,” he said, “and it is illegal.”

When rates do return to more normal levels, higher by two to three percentage points than they are now, the bank estimates more than one million Canadian households, or about 10 per cent of those that currently have debt, will have to devote 40 per cent or more of their income to making their monthly debt payments.

The Bank of Canada calls that a level that puts households in a financially vulnerable position.

The number will climb, Alexander says, if debt growth continues at its current pace.

The report proposes several options for heading off further growth in household debt. One is to shorten the maximum amortization on mortgages from 30 years to 25.

A second possibility is to impose a sort of stress test on borrowers in order to qualify for a mortgage. Alexander suggests requiring borrowers to demonstrate they could handle interest rates in the order of 5.5 per cent.

And another option would be to require applicants for home equity lines of credit to demonstrate their ability to pay it off in 20 years. Finally, the minimum down payment for a mortgage could be raised from five per cent to seven.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2 ... -debt.html

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:24 am
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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Consumer Prices in U.S. Rose in February as Gasoline Jumped


The cost of living in the U.S. rose in February by the most in 10 months, reflecting a jump in gasoline that failed to spread to other goods and services.

The consumer-price index climbed 0.4 percent, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after increasing 0.2 percent the prior month, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The so-called core measure, which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, climbed 0.1 percent, less than projected.


--------------------------------------

Today’s report showed energy costs increased 3.2 percent from a month earlier. Gasoline jumped 6 percent, the most since December 2010.

Escalating oil prices has pushed up the cost of the fuel. Regular gasoline in February averaged $3.56 a gallon, or 18 cents more than January, according to AAA, the nation’s biggest auto group. It was the highest monthly average since September.

The cost has kept climbing, reaching $3.82 on March 14, the highest in 10 months.

Fed’s View

The Fed, nonetheless, said it anticipates that the pressure on consumer prices from energy will wane later in the year.

“Inflation has been subdued in recent months although prices of crude oil and gasoline have increased lately,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement following a March 13 meeting. Oil will “push up inflation temporarily, but the committee anticipates that subsequently inflation will run at or below the rate that it judges most consistent with its dual mandate” of stable prices and maximum employment.

The central bank’s preferred inflation gauge, the measure calculated by the Commerce Department and tied to consumer spending, rose at a 1.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter. Fed officials have set an explicit inflation goal of 2 percent.

Today’s report showed food costs were little changed, the
least since July 2010.
Clothing Less Expensive

The increase in the core measure reflected higher prices for new cars and hotel stays. Clothing costs dropped by the most since July 2006, and used-cars were also cheaper last month.

“We feel like inflation will moderate,” Charles Holley, chief financial officer at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), said during a March 7 investor conference. “The one wildcard, though, is going to be gas prices. If oil continues to go up, I think that could be a drag on economies around the world

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-1 ... anged.html

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
2 more swine flu deaths, four in three days (India)


Pune Two swine flu deaths were reported in the city on Friday.

Fourth swine flu death in three days has led the National Institute of Virology (NIV) to closely study and analyse the genome of the H1N1 virus. Deputy director of NIV Dr Vidya Arankalle said the institute has received several samples and they were being sequenced to understand the characteristics of the virus that has struck again after a gap of one and a half years.

On Friday, Shubangi Kulkarni (58) from Ghorpadi gaon became the third swine flu victim in three days. She was a diabetic and a patient of hypertension, said Dr Sham Satpute, assistant medical officer of health at Pune Municipal Corporation and nodal officer in charge of swine flu. She was unwell from March 8 and was treated by a private practioner till March 12 after which she became serious and was admitted to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital. She was given Tamiflu on March 14 but by then her condition had worsened and she succumbed on Friday morning, doctors said.

Amruta Joshi (10), who was born with Down’s syndrome was unwell since March 8. Doctors said she had not taken any medicine. She was admitted to Bharati Hospital on March 15 where she died on Friday morning.

Treatment was delayed in both the cases.

District civil surgeon Dr Vinayak More said since March 1 there were 34 swine flu cases with five persons on ventilator support at Prayag, KEM, Aditya Birla and Global Hospitals.

A total of 13 patients have been successfully treated, four are being treated on an OPD basis and the remaining nine have been admitted to hospitals.

A meeting of experts from National Institute of Virology, government medical colleges and others will be held in Mumbai on Saturday to emphasise that immediate action was the need of the hour.

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news ... ys/924890/


Cats Killed by H5N1-Infected Turkey Consumption


ISRAEL - The Israeli veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Hadarom.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) received an immediate notification yesterday, wherein it was reported that H5N1 was diagnosed in turkeys on 8 March 2012.

On 9 March 2012, just before the culling of the birds, cats were seen eating carcasses. On 14 March 2012, four cats were found dead around the affected pen and some showed clinical signs such as respiratory signs and weakness. On 15 March 2012, the authorities succeeded to catch 16 cats roaming around the infected pen and euthanized them.

Out of 50 susceptible cats, eight cases were reported, out of which four deaths occurred. 16 were destroyed.

Clinical signs appeared on the cats about one week later.

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultryne ... onsumption


H1N1: Ventilator, Tamiflu syrup shortage(India)

After four deaths in three days, no death due to swine flu was recorded in the city on Saturday. However, at a meeting called by Jayant Kumar Banthia, Additional Chief Secretary, the issue of shortage of Tamiflu in syrup form in the city was raised by local health officials.

District health officials said that a total of 1,266 persons were screened on Saturday, out of which 50 persons showed symptoms but did not test positive. Their treatment has been started.

Since March 1, a total of 41 cases of swine flu infections have been detected in the city out of which six patients are currently on ventilator support.

PMC chief medical officer ST Pardeshi said that there were only two ventilators at Naidu Hospital and they have made a demand for additional ventilators.

At Sassoon General Hospital, medical superintendent DG Kulkarni said that additional arrangements will be made at the hospital for accommodating swine flu patients. At a meeting Bandhia assured that he has written to the central government for procurement of the Tamiflu in syrup form. According to Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer, the meeting took stock of number of issues related to the need of more ventilators and isolated wards for the swine flu wards.

Doctor RR Iyer, chief medical officer, PCMC who attended the meeting in Mumbai said, “Instructions are given to medical officers to involve private practitioner, start treatment as early as possible and not to create a panic situation. The experts from NIV who attended the meeting said that as per survey carried by them in Janata Vasahat slum there was an increase in number of cases of swine flue infection this year.


http://www.indianexpress.com/news/H1N1- ... ge/925230/



Pune Municipal Corporation maps areas to stem spread of H1N1
Mar 18, 2012, 06.26AM IST

PUNE: The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has taken steps to tackle the spread of H1N1 influenza in the city. Mayor Vaishali Bankar on Saturday said that the administration would undertake screening of suspected patients.

According to the civic body, as many as 33 positive cases of swine flu have been detected in the city, so far. People suffering from cough, cold and fever have been advised to visit doctor for a check-up. There are five critically ill swine flu patients in Pune district at present.

The city has witnessed a surge in H1N1 infections due to fluctuation in the day and night temperatures in the last few days. The administration has undertaken mapping of all areas where H1N1 patients were detected so far.

"We have enough stock of Tamiflu tablets. The screening of suspected patients is being undertaken at 47 PMC-run hospitals and 13 private hospitals in the city. All suspected patients are being administered Tamiflu doses. The civic body has set up a process to send the swabs of suspected patients to National Institute of Virology (NIV)," Bankar said.

The H1N1 patients are being treated at Naidu and Kamla Nehru hospitals which have isolation wards. Besides these, 13 private hospitals have about 43 ventilators for treatment of H1N1 patients. As many as 10 patients have been discharged from various hospitals in the city, she added.

The task of mapping suspected areas has been taken up and further steps will be planned on these observations. Schools have been issued instructions to keep a watch on students, said Bankar.

The PMC has sent a report to the state government. The deputy chief minister and district guardian minister Ajit Pawar on Friday took stock of the situation. He instructed the health department officials to conduct an awareness drive and to rope in private practitioners.

At present, five patients are critically ill in Pune district.

Seven people had tested positive on Friday.

In the last few months, seven people have died in the state which includes four deaths in Pune.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city ... 312514.cms

ppp ppp and then in India we have

Tripura experts to study bird flu cause

Worried at the frequent outbreak of bird flu and its effect on the poultry industry, the Tripura government has decided to urge the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries under the Union agriculture ministry to send special expert-teams to study the reasons of occasional resurfacing of the contagious disease, an official said here on Saturday.

"Sporadic outbreak of bird flu has been badly affecting the poultry industry in the northeastern states, bordering Bangladesh, where avian influenza is rampant in many districts," animal resources development department director ,Manoranjan Sarkar said.

Bird flu influenza has resurfaced in the state-owned Gandhigram Poultry Farm in western Tripura after one-and-a-half months, forcing the authorities to cull thousands of poultry birds, ducks and poultry products in the farm and in the adjacent four villages in a three km radius.

"In all 12 rapid response teams (RRT) have already begun culling of ducks and poultry birds at the farm, 20 km north of here and adjoining villages," said the official. "The paramilitary Border Security Force has been alerted to prevent the entry of ducks and fowl from across the border," he added. agencies

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city ... 308771.cms



Bird flu outbreak surprises Agriculture Ministry


Moshav Shalva and Kibbutz Hulit in southern Israel have been hit with bird flu.

Senior Ministry of Agriculture officials admit that the outbreak of bird flu last week at Moshav Shalva and Kibbutz Hulit in southern Israel has found that the ministry is unprepared to deal with the disease on a massive scale, and that it is necessary to urgently replace equipment. The destruction of birds infected with bird flu requires extreme caution due to concern that the people who are involved could contract the potentially lethal strain of the disease. In an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Ministry of Agriculture considered the option of urgently flying in the poison foam used to destroy the infected birds from the US.

Following the bird flu breakout in 2006, a designated emergency system was formed by then deputy director of veterinary services, Yehuda Meirovich. The system included special machines that would spray foam into the infected chicken coops, which would strangle the birds quickly. Special protective clothing and decontamination showers for the people involved in the treatment were also provided. Hundreds of foam barrels were imported.

The emergency system was purchased in the US for NIS 17 million, and has been kept in a "dry storage" ministry facility in Beit Dagan. Ministry of Agriculture director general Yossi Yishai subsequently assumed direct responsibility for this emergency system, taking it away from the Veterinary Services.

As "Globes" has reported, over the past two years the Newcastle disease, which is not dangerous for humans, has been raging in Israel. The destruction of birds infected with Newcastle disease does not required stringent cautionary measures like the bird flu does, and usually the birds can be poisoned through their drinking water.

Apparently, Ministry of Agriculture officials permitted the emergency equipment to be used to eliminate birds infected with Newcastle disease. As a result, the foam machines have become run down and new ones were not purchased to replace them. Worse still, the supply of poisonous foam has run out, and replacement foam has not been purchased. As a result, the ministry is not prepared for a massive emergency bird flu breakout.

"In a humane way"

The Ministry of Agriculture said, "These statements are completely baseless. The proof is that if the supply of foam in ministry warehouses had been depleted, then the spread of the disease in poultry in the current breakout would not have been contained."

The ministry also said, "The Ministry of Agriculture holds a regular supply of foam designated only for use in an outbreak of bird flu, and not for any other use. Following usage of the foam in the current outbreak, more foam needs to be bought to replenish the foam that was used so that we will have a full supply on hand."

The Ministry of Agriculture says, "A decision has not yet been made how to replenish the supply. It has not yet been decided to import the foam by air."

However, the Ministry of Agriculture added an interesting comment: "Foam is the most humane way to kill the birds, and despite the fact that it is more expensive than available alternatives, the Ministry of Agriculture uses it in times of need, so when it is necessary to kill birds, this can be accomplished in the most humanitarian way possible."

http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/ ... 34&fid=942

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
What would happen if a nuclear bomb hit Washington D.C.? The terrifying report that predicts damage a terror attack would wreak on the nation's capital

&& && why another report on this now...they have already known for years the problems with radiation fall out...thats why we have rad tabs



It is perhaps unsurprising that a nuclear bomb set off in the nation's capital would cause devastating and widespread damage.
Yet the simple conclusion did not put the government off, and they commissioned a report to assess the impact of a potential terror attack on Washington, D.C.

The results are far from comforting: the half-mile radius around the bomb would have a low chance of survival and most buildings - including that of the federal government - would be destroyed.


The study simulated a nuclear strike on 16th and K streets, which is the heart of the city and just a couple of blocks from the White House.

Buildings including the White House, the Capitol, Treasury Department, Old Executive Office Building and many along the National Mall would be instantly destroyed.

The next half mile would suffer extensive damage, fires and serious injuries, and those within three miles could suffer minor injuries and slight damage to their homes.

But it was the fallout which the National Capital Region: Key Response Planning Factors for the Aftermath of Nuclear Terrorism study - held last year - suggested could be the most fearful aspect.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1pN33sM6K

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Two 'terrorist explosions' reported in Damascus

Twin bombings struck government targets in the Syrian capital early Saturday, killing security forces and civilians and leaving pools of blood and carnage in the streets, according to state-run television.

The violence comes as the country's yearlong uprising, which started with mostly peaceful protests, descends into a nascent civil war involving large-scale government assaults on rebel-held cities. President Bashar Assad's regime blamed the explosions in Damascus on the "terrorist forces" that it claims are behind the revolt.

According to the state-run news agency, SANA, preliminary information indicated the blasts were caused by car bombs that hit the aviation intelligence department and the criminal security department at around 7:30 a.m local time. Shooting broke out soon after the blast and sent residents and others who had gathered in the area fleeing, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said.

The bombings were the latest in a string of suicide attacks in Syria, which have killed dozens of people since late December.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks. But the regime has said the blasts are proof that it is being targeted by "terrorists." The opposition, however, accuses forces loyal to the government of being behind the bombings to tarnish the uprising.

SANA posted gruesome photographs of the scene Saturday, with mangled and charred corpses, bloodstains on the streets and twisted steel.



Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20 ... z1pN3kXrBH

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Unseasonable heat wave may bring drought, bugs


:::CH :::CH and with bugs(some bugs) can come disease

Canadians from Alberta to Quebec are soaking up the rays in a bizarre and unseasonal March heat wave, but the warm weather now may prove troublesome later.

If it continues, we may be in for a insect-filled, drought-ridden summer, said Environment Canada Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips on Friday.

"The weather you're blessing may be the weather you're cursing later on," he told CTV's Canada AM. "Clearly there are issues."

Phillips says temperatures in the recent string of warm days have been closer to what we could expect in late spring -- an average of about 12 degrees warmer than usual. It's even more extreme in places such as Winnipeg, where the mercury has climbed up to 21 degrees Celsius this week, compared to seasonal temperatures that usually land around -1 C.

"The duration of this heat wave has really got me," he said. "It's been going on for 10 or 12 days."

Warm air coming north from the United States has had more of an effect than it usually would due to the lack of snow on the ground in many places. Instead of being cooled off by the melting snow, the air stays just as warm as when it arrived, he said.

While the warm weather may allow farmers to start planting early -- something particularly desirable in the Prairies, which lost a lot of last year's growing season to flooding -- it could contribute to droughts as the year progresses.

"But one good, soaking rain in April will change that situation," Phillips said.

There is also a high likelihood of more forest fires due to the heat and dryness, he said, noting some are already starting in Alberta. And without a serious stretch of cold temperatures this winter, the recent warmth may help insects flourish earlier in the year.

"Cold weather… kills the vermin and varmints and disease, like ticks, weavils and black flies," he said. "We may see an abundance of those species come this summer.

"Some people are enjoying (the warm air now), but there's always winners and losers when the weather acts all crazy."



Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20 ... z1pN4BOrWx

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Trump Warns ‘Massive Inflation’ Coming, Prepare ccc ccc

Billionaire Donald Trump says the U.S. economy is poised for “massive inflation” and is warning investors to take steps now to protect themselves.

In the gripping CNBC interview, Trump also told investors they should not trust official government statistics.

He even questioned the “official unemployment” numbers. “It’s over 20 percent. It’s not 8.3 percent,” Trump said.

Trump also thinks skyrocketing oil prices will cripple the U.S. economy. “Right now, [oil] is at an all-time record for this time of the year, in the summer they predict $5 gasoline, maybe $6.”

But Trump isn’t the only expert warning the U.S. economy may go off the cliff. Robert Wiedemer, author of the New York Times best-selling book Aftershock, stated in a recent interview, “The data is clear, 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market drop, and 100% annual inflation . . . starting in 2012.”


When the host questioned such wild claims, Wiedemer unapologetically displayed shocking charts backing up his allegations, and then ended his argument with, “You see, the medicine will become the poison.”

This gripping, no-nonsense interview is quickly becoming a financial beacon in an economic tsunami with over 30 million people from around the world listening in.

But it’s not just the grim predictions that are causing the sensation; rather, it’s the comprehensive blueprint for economic survival that’s really commanding global attention

The interview offers realistic, step-by-step solutions that the average hard-working American can easily follow.

The overwhelming amount of feedback to publicize the interview, initially screened for a private audience, came with consequences as various online networks repeatedly shut it down and affiliates refused to house the content.

“People were sitting up and taking notice, and they begged us to make the interview public so they could easily share it,” said Newsmax Financial Publisher Aaron DeHoog, “but unfortunately, it kept getting pulled.”

The controversy stems from direct allegations that the people in Washington have failed miserably. They include former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, tasked with preventing financial meltdowns and keeping the nation’s economy strong through monetary and credit policies.

At one point, Wiedemer even calls out Bernanke, saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.”

This wasn’t the first time Wiedemer’s predictions hit a nerve. In 2006, he and his team of economists accurately predicted the four-bubble meltdown in the housing, stock, private debt, and consumer-spending markets that almost sank America.

Regardless of his warnings and survival advice, Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media.

The question Americans need to ask themselves is this: Even if half of Trump and Wiedemer’s predictions come true, ARE YOU PREPARED? ppp ppp ppp ppp ppp


http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/Tru ... ODE=E67B-1



Charles Goyette: 'High Inflation Crisis' Looms for U.S.

Runaway government spending and excessively loose monetary policies are set to send U.S. inflation rates spiking, says Libertarian author Charles Goyette.

To combat what it saw as deflationary threats and uncomfortably high unemployment rates, the Federal Reserve bought trillions in mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds from banks during the past couple of years, flooding the economy with inflation-fueling liquidity in the process.

Considering all that liquidity remains in the economy while government spending remains rampant, consumer prices are set to soar.


I'm afraid the stage is already being set right now and it's certainly a high inflation crisis. You can see the incipient signs of rising prices in all kinds of areas," Goyette told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.

A good portion of that excess liquidity has ended up in commodities markets, which has sent crude and food prices rising.

"These things don't start going up because of the phases of the moon or because of the weather," said the author of the recently released “Red And Blue And Broke All Over.”

The rises in commodities prices across the board is a result of the Federal Reserve trying to monetize the deficit and give the politicians cover for their irresponsible spending by printing the money to cover it up so we don't have to go out and borrow it," Goyette says.

The Federal Reserve isn't the only culprit, as central banks worldwide have been flooding their respective economies with liquidity to stave off recession without giving thought to the inflationary consequences that tend to follow.

"We're not the only ones doing it. The Bank of England is doing it, the Bank of Japan. China is inflating, even the Swiss for crying out loud, and the European Central Bank. We have a global problem of money printing that's going to explode in our faces in the next year or so."



http://www.moneynews.com/Headline/Goyet ... /id/432848

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Thieves steal family-run petrol station's entire supply of fuel in audacious raid

Fuel thieves have drained a family-run village petrol station, siphoning off 2,000 litres of diesel.
Owner Sue Collinge, 49, and her father Frank Pullen, 72, did not realise they had been raided overnight on Sunday until they got their morning delivery and checked the underground storage tanks.

About £3,000 worth of diesel had been stolen.


Record prices at the pumps have been blamed on an increase in fuel thefts across the country, as well as soaring numbers of motorists filling up and driving off without paying.

Mrs Collinge said: 'This is a massive blow. It's hard enough in the current climate to make ends meet, then something like this happens.

'We just cannot believe thieves would be cheeky enough to steal such a large amount of fuel.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1pOjwziqw

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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
High-tech Sweden edges closer to becoming cashless society && &&


Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661. Now it's come farther than most on the path toward getting rid of them.

"I can't see why we should be printing bank notes at all anymore," says Bjoern Ulvaeus, former member of 1970's pop group ABBA, and a vocal proponent for a world without cash.

The contours of such a society are starting to take shape in this high-tech nation, frustrating those who prefer coins and bills over digital money.

In most Swedish cities, public buses don't accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cellphone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.

"There are towns where it isn't at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash," complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden's National Pensioners' Organization.

He says that's a problem for elderly people in rural areas who don't have credit cards or don't know how to use them to withdraw cash.

The decline of cash is noticeable even in houses of worship, like the Carl Gustaf Church in Karlshamn, southern Sweden, where Vicar Johan Tyrberg recently installed a card reader to make it easier for worshippers to make offerings.

"People came up to me several times and said they didn't have cash but would still like to donate money," Tyrberg says.

Bills and coins represent only 3 per cent of Sweden's economy, compared to an average of 9 per cent in the eurozone and 7 per cent in the U.S., according to the Bank for International Settlements, an umbrella organization for the world's central banks.

Three per cent is still too much if you ask Ulvaeus. A cashless society may seem like an odd cause for someone who made a fortune on "Money, Money, Money" and other ABBA hits, but for Ulvaeus it's a matter of security.

After his son was robbed for the third time he started advocating a faster transition to a fully digital economy, if only to make life harder for thieves.

"If there were no cash, what would they do?" says Ulvaeus, 66.

The Swedish Bankers' Association says the shrinkage of the cash economy is already making an impact in crime statistics.

The number of bank robberies in Sweden plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011 — the lowest level since it started keeping records 30 years ago. It says robberies of security transports are also down.

ttt ttt yup yup all on the guise of bank robberies...now the government will know where you spend every dime of your money including how much you tithe to the church...watch out big brother is a watching you...

"Less cash in circulation makes things safer, both for the staff that handle cash, but also of course for the public," says Par Karlsson, a security expert at the organization.

The prevalence of electronic transactions — and the digital trail they generate — also helps explain why Sweden has less of a problem with graft than countries with a stronger cash culture, such as Italy or Greece, says economics professor Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Austria.

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/high-t ... 35110.html

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Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:39 am
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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
London, Ont., police urge rioters to come forward

Students' St. Patrick's Day parties end in vandalism, injuries


Police have arrested 11 people after St. Patrick's Day celebrations took an ugly turn in London, Ont., and are urging others involved in the riot to "do the right thing" and step forward.

Seven of those arrested after parties spilled into the street and became violent have been identified as students of the city's Fanshawe College, London police Chief Brad Duncan said Sunday. He said they face charges including unlawful assembly, assaulting police and resisting arrest.

After personally reviewing many video clips showing vandalism and violence that left several people injured, Duncan called the incident a "dynamic, dangerous and highly charged situation" that continued into early Sunday.

"There were a number of individuals burned last night. The severity of this mob mentality could easily have resulted in death," Duncan said, vowing investigators will track down more of those involved.

Firefighters were the first emergency responders, arriving to deal with a reported brush fire on Fleming Drive, just east of the college, at 10 p.m. Saturday, Duncan told reporters. However, they had to call for police backup after they came under attack by flying bottles and bricks.


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/201 ... alism.html

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Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:15 am
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Post Re: PFTF March 19 2012
Stocks' correction coming? Not that again


Investors are beginning to wonder if this "Energizer Bunny" of a rally can just keep going without taking a break or a fall.

Every Friday for the past couple of months, the question has hung in the back of investors' minds: Is the stock market's rally strong enough to continue without a correction?

Even with the S&P 500 above levels unseen since before the financial crisis, the answer remains: Yes.

The broad market index broke through 1,400 -- a psychologically important level -- for the first time in four years last week. On Friday, the S&P 500 closed at 1,404.17, its highest since May 20, 2008. At Friday's close, the index was up for nine out of the past 10 weeks.

The rally has taken the Nasdaq up to a 12-year recovery high, while it lifted the Dow (DJI:DJI) comfortably above 13,000 to its highest level since December 2007.

"We are seeing this unbelievable rally in the market and yet the market is unbelievably complacent. We haven't been this bullish for a long time," said Randy Frederick, director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, based in Austin, Texas.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/stocks-co ... 40890.html

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Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:20 am
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