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The USA is the most corrupt country in the world and I have 10,000 posts that point heavily to that fact…

Russia Pledges $10 Billion in Eurozone Aid December 16, 2011

Russia says it is ready to commit more than $10 billion to the International Monetary Fund to help support the struggling eurozone economy.

President Dmitry Medvedev made the pledge Thursday in Brussels during the biannual EU-Russia summit. “We will abide by all the commitments being the participant of the International Monetary Fund, and we are ready to invest the necessary financial means to back the European economy and the euro zone. We are ready to look at and consider other measures of support,” he said.

His economic adviser, Arkady Dvorkovich, earlier said $10 billion would be the minimum commitment Russia would make.  The offer follows last week’s summit of European leaders in which nearly all EU countries pledged up to $200 billion in funds and loans to the IMF rescue fund.

Mr. Medvedev says 41 percent of Russia’s currency reserves are invested in euros, and that Russia is interested in seeing the European Union preserved as a powerful economic and political force.

“Only Europe will be able to help Europe, but other countries should provide conditions for Europe to liberate itself from the crisis burdens as soon as possible and recover from this downturn as soon as possible,” he said.

Thursday’s summit gathered EU President Herman Van Rompuy, EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and Mr. Medvedev, among other officials, and comes just days after Russia’s much criticized parliamentary elections.

At a news conference after the summit, Van Rompuy criticized the vote, saying the EU is concerned about irregularities, but he welcomed Russia’s pledge to monitor future polls.

On Friday, the World Trade Organization is set to approve Russia as a member, after 18 years of trying to join.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Al-Qaida makes demands for release of 70-year-old American aid worker December 2, 2011

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility Thursday for the kidnapping of a 70-year-old American aid worker in Pakistan in August, and issued a series of demands for his release.

In a video message posted on militant websites, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri said Warren Weinstein would be released if the United States stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also demanded the release of all al-Qaida and Taliban suspects around the world.

“Just as the Americans detain all whom they suspect of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban, even remotely, we detained this man who is neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan since the 1970s,” al-Zawahri said, according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant messages.

Weinstein was abducted by armed men from his house in the eastern city of Lahore on 13 August. Police and US officials have not publicly said who they believed was holding him, but Islamist militant groups were the main suspects.
Weinstein, who has a home in Rockville, Maryland, worked in Pakistan for several years and spoke Urdu.

He was the country director in Pakistan for JE Austin Associates, a US-based firm that advises a range of Pakistani business and government sectors. The company has said Weinstein is in poor health and provided a detailed list of medications, many of them for heart problems, that it implored the kidnappers to give him.

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US stores hope for retail bonanza November 25, 2011


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Thanksgiving is a big holiday: 3.5 million people watched Thursday’s New York parade, and 152 million are expected to shop at the weekend

US retailers hope hordes of bargain-hunters can lift the economic gloom as the holiday shopping season begins.

After polishing off Thanksgiving turkeys, millions of Americans will head to the shops on Friday for the busiest shopping day of the year.

Black Friday – so-called as it is when many retailers head out of the red and into the black – sees many stores open at midnight, or even earlier this year.

Half of the entire US population is expected to hit the shops this weekend.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) said 152 million people would visit stores in search of bargains this weekend, up 10% from last year.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of US economic activity.

Staff-hiring hopes

Economists and business executives will be watching the 2011 retail bonanza closely.

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A bad holiday season would raise recession fears again, whereas a strong one would start to dispel those fears”

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Scott Hoyt
Moody’s Analytics

For the past six years, a combination of increasingly early opening times and an array of discounts have helped make the day after Thanksgiving the biggest shopping day.

Between 25-40% of annual US retail sales take place during November and December.

Analysts say a powerful start to the shopping season could stimulate more hiring of staff by the retail industry, which supports about one-quarter of all jobs in the US.

Retail hiring for the season has still not yet rebounded to its 2005 pre-recession peak of 642,000 workers, according to the NRF.

“A bad holiday season would raise recession fears again, whereas a strong one would start to dispel those fears,” said Scott Hoyt, of Moody’s Analytics.

Holiday parade

Black Friday usually sees shopping chains thrown open their doors in the early hours. But this year that rush has crept into Thanksgiving Day itself.

Wal-Mart, which opens many of its “super-centres” 24 hours a day, will also open the rest of its stores at 22:00 on Thanksgiving.

About 1,000 Gap stores will be open on Thanksgiving and several large retailers, including Target, Best Buy and Macy’s, will open at midnight.


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Barack Obama: “It’s one of the worst days of the year to be a turkey”

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama officially proclaimed the holiday, which celebrates the Pilgrims’ first harvest in what is now the state of Massachusetts.

An estimated 43 million Americans are expected to travel by road and air before and after Thanksgiving, the highest number since 2007.

Meanwhile, the annual Thanksgiving parade made its way on Thursday through the crowded streets of a sunny New York.

About 3.5 million people were expected to join the route, with an estimated 50 million watching from home.

The event – which began in 1924 – this year featured more than 40 giant helium balloons, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders.

Elsewhere in New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters were marking the holiday with an “open feast” of 3,000 individually wrapped plates of food at Zuccotti Park, organisers said.

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Twitter must give user info in WikiLeaks probe November 11, 2011


November 11, 2011

by legitgov

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Twitter must give user info in WikiLeaks probe 10 Nov 2011 FALLS CHURCH, Va. — A federal judge on Thursday sided with government attorneys investigating the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks, and upheld a ruling that the website Twitter must turn over certain account information to prosecutors. Lawyers for three Twitter account holders, all of whom have some connection to WikiLeaks, had argued that forcing Twitter to cooperate with the investigation by turning over the data amounts to an invasion of privacy and chills Twitter users’ free speech rights.

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World Markets Soar After EU Approves Debt Plan October 27, 2011

World financial markets soared Thursday after the European Union approved a plan to cut Greece’s debt in half and significantly increase a bailout fund designed to contain the eurozone debt crisis.

The Paris stock exchange jumped more than six percent, with the Frankfurt market advancing more than five percent. The London exchange closed up nearly three percent, and U.S. indexes were all ahead by more than two percent in midday trading.

Reaction to agreement


AP

French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives for an EU summit in Brussels on Oct. 26, 2011.

European leaders said the debt-relief agreement could help resolve the continent’s two-year-long crisis and give Greece a chance to regain its economic footing. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “we have done what needed doing.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said it was a “credible and ambitious” plan, while Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the result would be “a new era, a new chapter” for his country.

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the deal as a “critical foundation” to help solve the eurozone crisis and said the United States will support its European allies to address global economic problems.

What’s included

Following 10 hours of tense negotiations in Brussels, EU leaders said they had convinced banks and investors to accept a 50 percent loss on Greek government bonds, effectively reducing Greek debt by $140 billion. At the same time, the banks are required to raise an additional $148 billion by June. The 17-nation bloc that uses the euro currency is increasing the firepower of its bailout fund to $1.4 trillion to cover future assistance for debt-ridden nations.

The deal still leaves Greece with a significant debt burden – estimated at 120 percent of its economic output in 2020, down from 160 percent now. But Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that debt level “becomes viable” for the country.

The Euro

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said the deal has effectively saved the European single currency, telling French radio that it will “stabilize the eurozone and global growth.”  World Bank chief Robert Zoellick welcomed the deal, as did officials in China and Japan.

Financial analysts and world leaders outside Europe have said in the past that the continent’s leaders were too timid in dealing with the crisis. International creditors have approved single bailouts for Ireland and Portugal and two for Greece. Those bailouts failed to calm the fears of financial markets that Greece would evenutally default on its obligations, and that the debt contagion would spread to bigger European economies in Italy and Spain.

Analysts said Thursday the Brussels agreement could give the continent’s weaker economies more time to grow and adapt to the austerity measures their governments have imposed.

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