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NORTH KOREA LAUNCHES ROCKET

NORTH KOREA FIRES ROCKET

PASSED OVER THE JAPAN…

BOOSTER MECHANISM FALLS INTO SEA OF JAPAN…

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Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FINANCIAL TIMES CHIEF DECLARES ‘NEW WORLD ORDER’ AS POWER SHIFTS TO CHINA AT G20 MEETING

DURING TONIGHT’S LIVE BROADCAST OF CNBC WORLD’S ‘SQUAWK BOX EUROPE,’ FINANCIAL TIMES EDITOR LIONEL BARBER DECLARED THAT WE ARE NOW LIVING IN A ‘NEW WORLD ORDER’ WHERE THE ‘GROUP OF 20’ (G20) COUNTRIES WILL BE MAINLY FOCUSED ON WHAT CHINA WILL DO, INSTEAD OF THE UNITED STATES, IN SOLVING THIS FINANCIAL CRISIS. HE OFFERED THE IDEA THAT THE G20 OUGHT TO BE REFERRED TO AS THE G2 WITH THE U.S. AND CHINA BEING THE TWO HEGEMONIC POWERS…

FT Editor Lionel Barber interviews China’s Premier Hu Jintao

TEN-THOUSANDS PROTEST IN START OF ‘SUMMER OF RAGE…”

OBAMA MEETS BROWN FOR TALKS (VIDEO)…

OBAMA PREACHES GLOBAL ‘UNITY’ IN INTERVIEW WITH FT…

Filed under: Economics, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. Admiral: North Korean Missile Could Reach Hawaii

WIRE: America’s top military officer said on Friday that a rocket North Korea plans to launch next month has a range that could possibly reach Hawaii. Asked if the North Korean rocket could reach the US states of Hawaii or Alaska, Admiral Mike Mullen told CNN: “In some cases, yes, they could probably get down to Hawaii…”


Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Japan to Activate Missile Defense if North Korea Fires, Orders ‘Destruction Order’

Japan’s Self Defense Forces plan to deploy Aegis destroyers off Japan and move PAC-3 missile units now stationed in 6 locations to northern Japan, over which a missile would likely pass…

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand GDP Better Than Expected

New Zealand’s economy shrunk by -0.9% in the three months ending 2008 after economists had expected this south-Pacific country’s GDP to contract by more. The move marks the fourth straight quarter that the island-nation has seen its annual output decrease.

Since July the central bank has slashed interest rates by 5.25% to 3.0% in an effort to provide short-term liquidity to businesses and financial markets in order to stave off the effects of the global recession.

Now, in its fourth straight quarter of contraction, the New Zealand economy has shed thousands of job. In the final three months of 2008, their unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 4.6%, the highest level since 2003. Their Treasury department predicts that it will get worse. They have forecast that by early 2010 the jobless rate may jump to an 11-year high of 7.2%.

Yesterday, the IMF released a report stating that New Zealand’s economy would contract a total of 2.0% in 2009 after 2008 experienced a slight 0.1% decrease. One key “vulnerability” that is likely to keep the country under water is the extensive amount of short-term borrowing from abroad, the IMF said.

This final period of the year saw the country’s currency depreciate by as much as -20.95%, but ended the quarter down only 10.15%.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand Trade Balance Soars on 11.6% Decline in Imports

New Zealand’s trade balance in February improved substantially from that which was expected. The figure jumped to 489.0 million from an expected 75.0 million after imports fell 11.6%.

The alleviating news comes just a day after Bill English, the nation’s Minister of Finance, said that the current account gap is “uncomfortably large.”

Imports fell as the New Zealand Dollar continued to stifle the purchasing power that domestic residents had for goods produced abroad. The first two months of the year saw their currency depreciate 16.57% against its U.S. counterpart and 9.12% against a trade-weighted basket of currencies.

The amount of goods shipped to the country from Europe fell by a staggering 21.3% and 14% from Asia.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Strip Club Invites Australian Prime Minister and His Wife Back for More After Visiting Obama

NET: PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd and wife Therese Rein have been invited to a special dinner at the New York  nightspot scene of his infamous pole-dance experience. Rolling out the red carpet, the strip club formerly known as Scores has offered to entertain the VIP – and his wife – with dinner and a private room during his time in Manhattan…

Filed under: Humor/Irony, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. Criticized Over Immigrant Rights by Amnesty International

Amnesty International has said tens of thousands of people are being held in US immigration jails without receiving a hearing to determine whether their detentions are warranted.

About 30,000 immigrants are held on an average day, the rights group said in a report released on Wednesday, triple the number in custody a decade ago…

Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Zealand Economy Will Contract 2% in 2009, Says IMF

In a report filed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Washington-based body said that the New Zealand economy will contract by 2.0% this year. “The near-term outlook is weak,” they mentioned. “Households are constrained by high debt levels, falling house and equity prices and uncertain employment prospects,” they added.

The startling words come after Bill English, New Zealand’s Minister of Finance, said that the current account gap is “uncomfortable large”. Indeed, the actual figure for the current account balance in the final quarter of 2008 came in at -4.026, surprisingly better than in the three-month period prior. Despite what would look to be as a positive sign, the deficit-GDP ratio actually became weaker, coming in at -8.9% from -8.6% the period prior.

Claims of weakness in the country are legitimate. Now, in its fifth straight quarter of contraction, the New Zealand economy has shed thousands of job. In the final three months of 2008, their unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 4.6%, the highest level since 2003. Their Treasury department predicts that it will get worse. They have forecast that by early 2010 the jobless rate may jump to an 11-year high of 7.2%.

One “key vulnerably” is the country’s substantial level of short-term financing from abroad. With the central bank slashing rates by 5.25% since July, foreigners have been continuously disincentivized to invest in these debts with maturities of less than one year. The IMF may have been too cautious here. Albeit this may seem to be a risk on an absolute basis, the fact that short-term rates abroad are much lower than those in New Zealand may actually direct a greater amount of these foreign cash flows towards this South-Pacific economy.

Now, since Mid-March the New Zealand Dollar has fallen by as much as 40.4% against it’s U.S. counterpart. Generally, such a bearish movle would lead investors in domestically denominated short-term debt to flock away in hysteria. But what if their was an expectation that the currency would begin to rise in value? Under such a case, one would expect exchange rate risk to be of less of concern.

We are seeing such a pattern now. From the low on Mar. 3rd, the currency has rebounded 17.95%. This may be due to the inflationary fears that the Federal Reserve, with its plan to buy $1.2 trillion in treasury and agency/mortgage securities, has sparked among global investors. During this time we have also seen gold rally 7.43% and crude (West Texas Intermediate) break out of a range bound environment and rally 37% to as much as $54.18.

Historically we have seen a strong correlation between the New Zealand currency and commodities. A 180-day rolling correlation with the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodities Index shows that these two instruments have a correlation of .9688, a very substantial relationship.

Thus, if inflationary fears are correct (which the commodities markets seem to believe) then the New Zealand Dollar is likely to continue rising. Hence short-term financing from abroad may actually increase and not decrease.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NORTH KOREA LOADING ROCKET ONTO LAUNCH PAD

WIRE: North Korea is loading a Taepodong rocket on its east coast launch pad in anticipation of the launch of a communications satellite early next month, U.S. officials say. U.S. counterproliferation and intelligence officials have confirmed Japanese news reports of the expected launch between April 4 and 8…

Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Geithner Open to China Using Non-Dollar as Reserve; Dollar Plummets

WIRE: Geithner was initially asked at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York about proposals from People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan for a new international reserve currency. He said “as I understand his proposal, it’s a proposal designed to increase the use of the IMF’s special drawing rights. And we’re actually quite open to that…”

geithner

Filed under: Global Economics, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fedex Cargo Plane Crashes at Tokyo Airport (Video)

AP: Police say the pilot and copilot of a FedEx cargo plane that crashed at an airport in Japan are dead…

plane1

Filed under: Media, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Japan Prime Minister: Must Build Defense

Japan Prime Minister“You must be well aware that we face many issues in the Asia-Pacific region, including North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development...for us to assure peace and stability in Japan, it is extremely important to further strengthen the Japan-US alliance as well as to make its own efforts for self defense…”

U.S. To Move Troops From Japan to Guam…

Filed under: Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Investment Bankers Suspect Fed Knows China Will Stop Buying U.S. Treasury Bonds

“There is a concern that the Fed knows something about the economy or perhaps they believe there will be less buying from the Chinese, so they have decided to push rates sharply lower,” says John Spinello, strategist at Jefferies & Co…

Filed under: Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Study Shows That Wages and Employment Rose After Immigration Raids

“Wages and employment increased for legal workers after raids on six Swift & Co. meat-packing plants in several U.S. states in 2006, a study indicated.

Noting that the plants raided were back in production within five months, Jerry Kammer of the Center for Immigration Studies said there was “good evidence” that the number of U.S.-born workers increased, concluding that the plants “could operate without the presence of illegal workers,” The Hill reported….”

Filed under: Economics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

N.Z. Prime Minister Key Sees Nation Emerging Stronger After Tax Cuts

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that the nation’s economy will emerge from this recession much stronger. “I, for one, am confident that New Zealand can come out of this recession stronger than many other countries,” Key said. “These tough times could be a springboard for much better times ahead.”

Since reaching a high of 0.8213 in late Feb. 2008, the New Zealand Dollar has lost as much as 40.4% against its U.S. counterpart. But the Prime Minister has sees this as a positive shift. Indeed, “the exchange rate is acting as a buffer.” That is, “firms in some industries, including for example, sheep meat, venison, and even niche manufacturing, are getting better incomes as a result of the lower currency,” he added.

Australia’s neighbor has been in recession since the first quarter of 2008. It is likely that throughout the entire year, New Zealand’s economy shrank at least 0.3%. In that 12 month period, the unemployment rate rose from 3.4% to 4.6%. Since June the central bank has slashed the overnight cash rate by 525 basis points from 8.25%, the most of any nation throughout that period.

Key has taken steps to ‘think outside-of-the-box.’ His latest piece of legislation aims to give incentives for Australians to vacation in New Zealand. He has increased Tourism New Zealand’s budget by $2.5 million, an increase of more than 25% of its current $9 million budget. “The impact of the global recession is likely to result in New Zealand becoming a more attractive holiday option as Australian consumers tighten their spending,” Key said.

‘Trickle-down economics’ seems to be what Key really wishes to aim for. The Prime Minister plans to cut income taxes on Apr. 1. But such action won’t be adequate. His comprehensive plan also seeks to increase infrastructure investments. In an effort to enhance their transportation efficiency, he plans on increasing the petrol tax by NZ6 cents per liter. Other spending will include school building programs because he is ‘determined to build on these strengths so that when the world starts growing again, New Zealand can be running faster than the countries we compete with,” he said.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama Admin. Allows Record $2.1 Billion Arms Sale to India

“President Barack Obama’s administration has cleared a $2.1 billion sale to India of eight Boeing Co P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, the largest U.S. arms transfer to India to date.

The State Department said in a March 12 notice to the U.S. Congress that it would license the direct commercial sale having factored in “political, military, economic, human rights and arms control considerations…”

Obama Secretly Endorses Islamic Law in Northern Pakistan…

Filed under: Obama, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Australia Plans to Cut Skilled Visas by 14% as Labor Market Weakens

Australia’s Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, has said that the nation will be reducing the number of skilled migrants visas by 18,500. This will be the first of such cuts in 10 years as the domestic labor market weakens to 5 year highs. Such a move will shrink the intake of skilled visas by 14% to 115,000.

In February, the unemployment rate leapt to levels last seen in Oct. 2004. The figure jumped by 0.4% points to 5.2% after economists had expected the figure to print to only 5.0%. The second month of the year also saw 53.8K full-time jobs converted into 55.6K part-time ones, signaling deeper labor-market weakness.

Evans told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio station that “we don’t want people coming in who are going to compete with Australians for limited jobs.”

The actions taken by the country’s immigration board may bolster inflation. In the final quarter of 2008, general consumer prices actually fell by -0.3%; the country felt the effects of deflation. Now, since there will be less workers available to meet the labor needs of job providers, employers will need to bid up the price of labor. As this happens the extra cost of labor is likely to be transferred to the cost of goods sold to the public. Hence inflation may rise.

This may sound good in theory, but since the visa cuts will only apply to skilled workers, the effect of such higher prices may only be felt in those goods which employ such people. Such goods may include electronics, research and development, and financial services.

Hence, the visa cuts might not actually help the common Australian, but instead aid those who are highly educated and are well-off on a long-term basis.
– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CHINA’S PREMIER WEN JIABAO ‘WORRIED’ ABOUT U.S. INVESTMENTS

CHINA ‘WORRIED’ ABOUT U.S. INVESTMENTS

In November, the Chinese government announced that it would be implementing a stimulus package worth $915 billion. Details of the plan were not so readily available and made it difficult for economists to estimate the impact that it would have on the global economy. Just recently, however, the former head of the nation’s statistic bureau stated that they would be removing export taxes on many industries hurt by the crisis.

Moments ago China’s Premier Wen Jiabao spoke at a news conference and offered greater insight into the government’s thinking. He stated that the communist government has prepared other measures in case of greater problems head. He also said that they had a “full arsenal” to stimulate the economy. Wen may have been taking a shot at the U.S. legislature, saying that China can “at any time…introduce new stimulus.” It has “reserved adequate ammunition” to do so.

In a startling note, he also mentioned that they are concerned over the security of its investments in the U.S. He then urged the U.S. government to “ensure the safety” of its American assets. “We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States” and that “of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am a little bit worried.”

On foreign exchange intervention, Wen seemed a bit defensive. He argued that that the Yuan appreciated against a wide-range of currencies, but that the currency’s upward swing has hurt its exports. He also reiterated their stance on diversifying the basket against which the Yuan is pegged to. “No country” can “pressure” them to appreciate or depreciate the currency.

– LG

Filed under: Global Economics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. Naval Destroyer Sent to Protect Ship Near China

“The USS Chung-Hoon, armed with torpedoes and missiles, is stationed in protection of the USNS Impeccable, an ocean surveillance ship. On Sunday, five Chinese vessels surrounded the Impeccable, which is unarmed. The Chinese ships approached to within 25 feet and blocked the Impeccable’s path with pieces of wood, the official said…”

USS Chung Hoon

USS Chung-Hoon

Troops Moved From Japan to Guam…

Filed under: Obama, World, , , , , , , , , , ,

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