Daily Digest

Daily Digest 11/23 - Drivers Log Fewer Miles, Alberta Projecting $3.1B Deficit, Local Food Pantries Cut Back

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 10:44 AM
  • Belgian bond yields jump on renewed political woes
  • Afghanistan will need $7 billion a year over next decade: WB
  • Ireland Faces $26 Billion Export Headache as Drugs Stop Working
  • Michigan, U.S. drivers log fewer miles on the road
  • Two million set to strike next week
  • Harrisburg School District sitting on 'severely high' bond debt
  • Alberta now projecting $3.1 billion deficit
  • Portugal may need 25 billion euros more in bailout: ex official
  • European Bank Borrowing From the ECB Hits Highest Level of the Year
  • ECB Coene: Sovereign Debt Is No Longer A Risk-Free Asset
  • IMF Revamps Credit Lines to Lure Nations Facing Shocks
  • Italians want to cut debt, but without personal sacrifice
  • Abandoned McMansions make pretty cool dorms in Merced
  • Local food pantries adjust to growing demands by cutting back
  • Young and jobless: UK’s lost generation
  • Many above U.S. poverty line struggle to make ends meet
  • Cleveland woman shows her struggle with condemned homes on YouTube

Our 'What Should I Do?' guide has steps to cook, see & stay warm in times of power outage


Belgian bond yields jump on renewed political woes

Belgium saw its 10-year government bond yield jump 25 basis points to 5.03% Tuesday, a day after Elio di Rupo, who has been attempting to broker an end to a 17-month impasse that has left the country without a government, offered to resign.

The developments don't bode well for Belgium's bond market and could result in pressure for a downgrade on the country's rating, warned strategists at Lloyds Bank in London. Moody's Investors Service in October warned that it may downgrade Belgium's Aa1 rating.

Afghanistan will need $7 billion a year over next decade: WB

Afghanistan is likely to need around $7 billion a year from the international community to help pay its security and other bills long after foreign troops leave, even if two large mines start production as planned, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

That annual spending, projected for the decade to 2021, does not include the cost of thousands of foreign troops expected to stay in Afghanistan to support and train Afghan forces after 2014, the deadline for NATO-led combat soldiers to return home.

Ireland Faces $26 Billion Export Headache as Drugs Stop Working

The strength of Ireland's drugs industry may turn into a weakness as the country drags itself out of the worst economic slump in its modern history.

Five of the world's top-selling dozen medicines are produced in Ireland, and their sales will fall 52 percent to $13 billion by 2013 from $27 billion in 2010 as their patents expire, according to data compiled by Bloomberg based on analysts' estimates. They start with Pfizer Inc.'s cholesterol treatment Lipitor, which loses its patent protection this month.

Michigan, U.S. drivers log fewer miles on the road

Americans hit the brakes on driving in September. They logged 3.7 billion fewer miles as driving fell for the seventh straight month in the face of high gas prices. The Federal Highway Administration said Americans have driven 29.8 billion fewer miles in the first nine months of 2011, which remains on pace to be the lowest yearly number of miles driven since 2003.

Two million set to strike next week (UK)

The number of public sector workers set to strike next week has reached two million following the latest union votes to back the Trades Union Congress day of action. The growing support for the protest against the government's proposed pension reforms means November 30 could be the biggest day of industrial unrest since the 1979 Winter of Discontent.

Harrisburg School District sitting on 'severely high' bond debt

City officials are worried that tax increases likely needed to pay down Harrisburg’s $317 million of incinerator debt will further cripple its population, as about 30 percent of Harrisburg residents are at or below the poverty level.

The school district’s $282 million of refinanced debt makes the picture that much bleaker, they said.

Alberta now projecting $3.1 billion deficit

Delivering its second-quarter fiscal update on Monday, the government is projecting a $3.1-billion deficit at the end of its 2011-12 fiscal year. While that’s still ahead of initial budget estimates of a $3.4-billion deficit, it’s considerably worse than the $1.3-billion deficit predicted after the first quarter than ended June 30.

Portugal may need 25 billion euros more in bailout: ex official

Portugal may need a further 20-25 billion euros in rescue funds to finance public companies that have had their access to market funding cut off, a former government official who negotiated the country's bailout earlier this year said on Tuesday. Carlos Pina, who as treasury secretary in the previous Socialist administration was a key official involved in negotiations for Portugal's 78-billion-euro bailout in April, said the loan from the European Union and IMF did not reckon with the closure of markets for public companies.

European Bank Borrowing From the ECB Hits Highest Level of the Year

The ECB Tuesday allotted EUR247.175 billion in its seven-day funds at its weekly main refinancing operation at a fixed rate of 1.25%, up considerably from the previous 2011 high of EUR230.265 billion hit at last week’s tender.....Distrust among banks is growing as fears mount that upheavals in the bond market will contaminate banks’ balance sheets. That is prompting some banks to hoard cash while forcing banks that are shut out of money markets to turn instead to the ECB for funds.

ECB Coene: Sovereign Debt Is No Longer A Risk-Free Asset

European regulators must learn many lessons from the crisis, including that sovereign debt is no longer a haven from risk, ECB governing council member Luc Coene said Tuesday. "Several open questions remain linked in part to the challenges of regulatory reforms," Coene told the Belgian Financial Forum here. "One question is that sovereign debt can no longer to be considered to be a risk-free asset.. the risk element of sovereign debt must be adequately recognized by banks."

IMF Revamps Credit Lines to Lure Nations Facing Shocks

The International Monetary Fund revamped its credit line program to encourage countries facing outside shocks to turn to the fund with few conditions attached as European leaders fail to end their debt turmoil.

The Washington-based IMF today said the new instrument, the Precautionary and Liquidity Line, can be tapped by countries with strong economies currently facing short-term liquidity needs.

Italians want to cut debt, but without personal sacrifice

An AP-GfK poll shows that 93% of Italians consider cutting the country's huge public debt a top priority but few are willing to make personal sacrifices to do so.The poll released Tuesday shows only about a quarter of Italians favor reforming labor laws to make it easier to fire workers or approve of raising the retirement age to 67. Those reforms are considered critical to curbing Italy's public spending and boosting its economic growth.

Abandoned McMansions make pretty cool dorms in Merced (Blog)

Merced then found itself on the one hand with too many homes and no buyers who could afford them. On the other hand, UC Merced offers only 1,600 dorms though enrollment this year was over 5000 students. Speaking to the Times, former Merced mayor and real estate broker Ellie Wooten summed up the answer to this little math problem simply: ”Five students paying $200 a month each trump families who cannot afford more than $800 a month.”

And why wouldn’t students want to pay $200 a month for several thousand square feet, for multi-car garages, master suites with jacuzzi tubs and walk-in closets bigger than those dorms back on campus?

Local food pantries adjust to growing demands by cutting back (NY)

ACDP and the Office of Assemblyman Guillermo Linares have been surveying the pantries in Upper Manhattan to ascertain if they have been able to keep with the demand. After talking to a dozen of food pantries and soup kitchens in the area, the answer is a resounding “no”. The food pantry at the JCC, for example, services approximately a hundred households every day they are open, and the organization limits the amount of times a resident can pick up a food package to once a month.

Young and jobless: UK’s lost generation

Unemployment among British youth, defined as those 16 to 24 years old, rose above the politically sensitive threshold of one million in the three months through the end of September, the Office for National Statistics said. That is the highest level since 1992. An estimated 20.6 per cent of British young people not pursuing a full-time education were without a job, an increase of 1.8 percentage points from the previous three months. The problem is not confined to younger people. Total unemployment in Britain rose by 1,29,000 to 2.62 million in the third quarter, bringing the jobless rate to 8.3 per cent, the highest in 15 years.

Youth unemployment has been climbing in many EU member states as economies struggle and governments impose stringent austerity plans. The youth unemployment rate in Spain reached 45 per cent in the second quarter, the worst among EU members, followed by Greece with 42.9 per cent rate, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

Many above U.S. poverty line struggle to make ends meet

Nearly half of all Americans lack economic security, meaning they live above the federal poverty threshold but still do not have enough money to cover housing, food, healthcare and other basic expenses, according to a survey of government and industry data.

Cleveland woman shows her struggle with condemned homes on YouTube

Rebecca Kempton claimed she's been trying to get condemned homes in her Cleveland neighborhood torn down for years, so she turned to her still camera and YouTube hoping to make a statement.

Kempton took dozens of pictures of abandoned homes within a 2-mile radius of her house. Sadly, it wasn't difficult for Kempton to find plenty of vacant homes to detail her video story.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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In Europe's Squeezed Middle, Life Gets Tougher

Special Report: In Europe's Squeezed Middle, Life Gets Tougher (November 22, 2011)

"Like thousands of other young qualified Greeks, George has started to think his family should pack up for good and leave - possibly for Australia.

"'If we go it will be for twenty years,' he says as he holds 7-month-old Dimitris, babbling happily in his arms. 'It's a big decision.'

"Georgia's mother, who is preparing lunch for the baby, shakes her head at the idea the family might have to emigrate but says they should do whatever they think is best. A 65-year-old retired teacher, Margarita Katharaki blames her own generation.

"'I feel disappointed and sad... our generation lived at the expense of their children and their grandchildren,' she said."


George, the 35-year-old husband and father, whose familiy moved in with his wife's parents, is a surgeon. Shit.


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US Urges Americans To Leave Syria "Immediately"


Yesterday we reported that the Arab League (with European and US support) are preparing to institute a no fly zone over Syria. Today, we get an escalation which confirms we may be on the edge. Just out from CBS"The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart "immediately," and Turkey's foreign ministry urged Turkish pilgrims to opt for flights to return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria." But probably the most damning evidence that the "western world" is about to do the unthinkable and invade Syria, and in the process force Iran to retaliate, is the weekly naval update from Stratfor, which always has some very interesting if always controversial view on geopolitics, where we find that for the first time in many months, CVN 77 George H.W. Bush has left its traditional theater of operations just off the Straits of Hormuz, a critical choke point, where it traditionally accompanies the Stennis, and has parked... right next to Syria.

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Gregor MacDonald on the Keiser Report.

I see that Gregor MacDonald was interviewed on the Keiser Report. I agreed with everything he had to say which gives me great hope as I usualy get everything wrong.

It was not clear to me that Max understood the connection between oil and debt. We should encourage him to take the Crash Course.

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Greaaaat...... "Russia


"Russia Retaliates Against US: Puts Radar Station On Combat Alert, Prepares To Take Out European Missile Defense Systems"


Earlier today, we presented the latest developments in the escalating possibility of an imminent air (and potentially land) campaign targeting Syria by the "western world", a move that would infuriate not only Iran, but also Russia and China, both of which have made it clear they would not sit idly by and let such an "aggression" stand. Now it is Russia's turn to retaliate. Cutting straight to the chase - in a nationally televized appearance by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev: in response to what the Russian believes is an active incursion and a potential act of eventual aggression on behalf of NATO countries in Eastern Europe (and hence the US), he he said the following (7 minutes in): "First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert. Second, protective cover of Russia's strategic nuclear weapons, will be reinforced as a priority measure under the programme to develop out air and space defenses. Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads. Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems if need be... Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system, in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region. Other measures to counter the European missile defense system will be drawn up and implemented as necessary. Furthermore, if the situation continues to develop not in Russia's favor we reserve the right to discontinue further disarmament and arms control measures. Besides, given the intrinsic link between strategic offensive and defensive arms, conditions for our withdrawal from the New START Treaty could also arise." That said, he concludes that Russia is still open to dialog. However, if Obama merely intends to bomb any nation at will, we are very much concerned that everything Medvedev has just threatened will be enacted. And exponentially more so when Putin comes back in charge. One thing is certain - Russia is not North Korea, and taking this speech for more empty jawboning is probably not the wisest option.

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