The Daily IndigoStar7 / News Ticker

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:03am
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Don't Be (April) Fooled: New ETF Money Flows Still Bond-Bound

Don't Be (April) Fooled: New ETF Money Flows Still Bond-Bound

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 09:00

With the first quarter of 2012 just about in the books, Nic Colas (of ConvergEx) looks at how the Exchange Traded Fund 'Class of 2012' has done in terms of asset raising to date. There have been 82 new ETFs listed thus far for the year and they have collectively gathered $1.1 billion in new assets through Wednesday’s close of business. While 63% of those funds have been equity-focused, fully 67% of the asset growth for the year has flowed into fixed income products. Just over half the total money invested in these new funds has had two destinations: the iShares Barclays U.S. Treasury Bond Fund (symbol GOVT, with $297 million in flows) and Pimco’s Total Return ETF (symbol TRXT, with $267 million in flows). The standout new equity funds of 2012 in terms of flows are all iShares products – Global Gold Miners (symbol: RING), India Index (symbol: INDA) and World Index (symbol: URTH). Bottom line: even with the continuous innovations of the ETF space, investors are still targeting international and fixed income exposure, a continuation of last year’s risk-averse trends and while 'ETFs destabilize markets' might be the prevailing group-think, this quarter’s money flows into newly launched exchange traded products reveals a strong 'Risk Off' investment bias. Interestingly, the correlation between inception-to-date performance and money flows is essentially zero.

https://www.zerohedge.com/articles/authors/news.goldseek.com/MillenniumW...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:04am
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The Phony "Economic Recovery," Stress and "Losing It"

Charles Hugh Smith On The Phony "Economic Recovery," Stress and "Losing It"

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 10:50 credit union default ETC recovery

Everyday Stress Can Shut Down the Brain's Chief Command Center. Neural circuits responsible for conscious self-control are highly vulnerable to even mild stress. When they shut down, primal impulses go unchecked and mental paralysis sets in. (Scientific American; subscription required, hopefully your local library has a copy) This helps explain the natural "fight or flight" response we feel when suddenly confronted with danger or potential danger, but more importantly it illuminates how we lose the ability to analyze circumstances rationally when we are "stressed out." Once our rational analytic abilities are shut down, we are prone to making a series of ill-informed and rash decisions. This has the potential to set up a destructive positive feedback loop: the more stressed out we become, the lower the quality of our decision-making, which then generates poor results that then stress us out even more, further degrading our already-impaired rational processes. This feedback loop quickly leads to "losing it completely." Doesn't this describe our increasingly dysfunctional and disconnected-from-reality legislative process?

https://www.zerohedge.com/articles/authors/news.goldseek.com/MillenniumW...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:05am
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Jim Grant: Explains Why A Gold Standard Is The Best Option

Must Read: Jim Grant Crucifies The Fed; Explains Why A Gold Standard Is The Best Option

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 11:36

In the not quite 100 years since the founding of your institution, America has exchanged central banking for a kind of central planning and the gold standard for what I will call the Ph.D. standard. I regret the changes and will propose reforms, or, I suppose, re-reforms, as my program is very much in accord with that of the founders of this institution. Have you ever read the Federal Reserve Act? The authorizing legislation projected a body “to provide for the establishment of the Federal Reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper and to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes.” By now can we identify the operative phrase? Of course: “for other purposes.” As you prepare to mark the Fed’s centenary, may I urge you to reflect on just how far you have wandered from the intentions of the founders? The institution they envisioned would operate passively, through the discount window. It would not create credit but rather liquefy the existing stock of credit by turning good-quality commercial bills into cash— temporarily. This it would do according to the demands of the seasons and the cycle. The Fed would respond to the community, not try to anticipate or lead it. It would not override the price mechanism— as today’s Fed seems to do at every available opportunity—but yield to it.

https://www.zerohedge.com/articles/authors/news.goldseek.com/MillenniumW...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:06am
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Mark Grant Explains The Farce, The Hustle, And The Scam

Mark Grant Explains The Farce, The Hustle, And The Scam

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 12:13

When considering the financial condition of each and every country in the European Union there are certain facts that are left out and left out on purpose. In our opinion, the structural deformity of the European Union is, in itself, one of the main reasons that any attempt at a fiscal or economic fix never seems to work. Whether some proposed firewall is $760 billion or $1.3 Trillion or $13 Trillion makes no difference as in zero, nada, nothing and null. It is an IOU, a promise to pay and it is not counted in any European sovereign debt numbers nor is it counted in the figures for the European Union’s debt. It will not stop Spain or Portugal or Italy from asking for or needing money. This whole discussion is a head fake, a deception and a ruse carefully plotted out for investors in one more attempt to mislead the entire world. If you wish to be a statistic in the Greater Fool Theory be my guest but I refuse to be apart of this unadulterated scam.

https://www.zerohedge.com/articles/authors/news.goldseek.com/MillenniumW...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:07am
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Is The Chinese Stock Market About To Crash?

Is The Chinese Stock Market About To Crash?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 13:57 China Meltdown Reality

"The eternal optimists would have us all believe that China will awaken from its slumbers amid a blaze of new, debt-fuelled spending initiatives and so buy up all the goods we find so hard to sell at home (without offering a substantial concession in price)" is how Sean Corrigan begins his assault on the non-reality that is China's 'save-the-world' protagonists. It is worth noting, however, that those who actually invest in the place seem to be too busy selling their equities to pay much attention to the Panglossians and Polyannas. With a 10% slump in the past 12 sessions in the main indices (retracing a major fib interval of the 2012 rally), there seems little enthusiasm there for clinging on in the hope that the PBOC will bail anyone out - and the wedge is closing on something big in the chart. Plain vanilla economics might well be correct in telling the bulls that they may rely on a Zhou Xiaochuan Put to spare them too much future pain, but the law of the political jungle, red in flag, tooth, and claw, may well dictate otherwise. As we write, it seems beyond dispute to say that the Chinese hierarchy is battling it out behind closed doors to determine the long term future of the regime and, by implication, the direction of the entire nation. In such momentous times, we would perhaps be foolish to think that the routine application of short?term countercyclical policy will bear overmuch weight in their counsels. Simply out, there is too much political infighting for any large-scale action to be taken as "Having moved against the state-capitalist left of old man Jiang and his Chongqing bruisers, surely the last thing Hu & Co. would want in their final months in office would be to unleash another oligarch?enriching orgy of speculation of the kind such a mass stimulus would be almost bound to foment."

https://www.zerohedge.com/?search_block_form=romania&form_build_id=form-...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:09am
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European Bailout Stigma Shifts/Bundesbank Refuses PIG Collateral

European Bailout Stigma Shifts From Banks To Sovereigns As Bundesbank Refuses PIG Collateral

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 14:41

Back in early February, the ECB's Margio Draghi told a naive world when discussing the implication of taking LTRO bailout aid, that “There is no stigma whatsoever on these facilities." We accused him of lying. Additionally, we also suggested to put one's money where Draghi's lies are, and to go long non-LTRO banks, while shorting LTRO recipients. In two short months the spread on that trade has doubled (see below), which intuitively is not surprising: after all, as a former Goldmanite (and according to some - current), Draghi is merely treating Europe's taxpayers like the muppets they are. As such, fading anything he says should come as naturally as Stolpering each and every FX trade. Yet what that little incident shows is that despite all their attempts otherwise, the central planners can not contain every single natural consequences of their artificial and destructive actions. Today, we see learn that the same Stigma we warned about, and that Draghi said does not exist, is starting to spread away from just the bailed out banks (becuase we now know that the LTRO was merely a QE-like bailout of several insolvent Italian and Spanish banks), and to sovereigns. From Bloomberg: "Germany’s Bundesbank is the first of the 17 euro-area central banks to refuse to accept as collateral bank bonds guaranteed by member states receiving aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported." And where Buba goes, everyone else is soon to follow. And what happens then? Since it is inevitable that Spain and Italy will be next on the bailout wagon, what happens when over $2 trillion in bonds suddenly become ineligible for cash collateral from the only solvent central bank in the world (aside for that modest, little TARGET2 issue of course).

https://www.zerohedge.com/?search_block_form=romania&form_build_id=form-...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:10am
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Will India Stop Buying Gold?

Guest Post: Will India Stop Buying Gold?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 20:12

We've read mixed reports about how lofty gold and silver prices are affecting demand in India. One month we're told demand is up, and the next it's supposedly down. I'm not suggesting that official reports are inaccurate, but it is admittedly confusing and doesn't help us understand the real trend in the country. Why should we care about the gold market in India? Well, let's face it; the nation is one of the biggest consumers of the metal, a major driver that can give us hints about demand and investment trends, along with what to perhaps eventually expect here in North America. But reading third-party reports about India is very different than getting information firsthand from a credible source in the country. I wanted to get to the bottom of what's really going on in India by talking to a reputable bullion dealer who could give me the inside scoop, an up-to-the-moment dispatch from the front lines, as it were. So I did just that.

https://www.zerohedge.com/?search_block_form=romania&form_build_id=form-...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:11am
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Massive $17 Trillion Hole Found In Obamacare

Massive $17 Trillion Hole Found In Obamacare

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/30/2012 - 22:47

Two years ago, when introducing then promptly enacting Obamacare, the president stated that healthcare law reform would not cost a penny over $1 trillion ($900 billion to be precise), and that it would not add ‘one dime’ to the debt. It appears that this estimate may have been slightly optimistic… by a factor of 1700%. Because coincident with the recent Supreme Court debacle, in which a constitutional law president may be about to find that his magnum opus law is, in fact, unconstitutional, someone actually read the whole thing cover to cover, instead of merely relying on the CBO’s, pardon Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs’, funding estimates. That someone is Republican Jeff Sessions who after actually running the numbers has uncovered that the true long-term funding gap is a mind-boggling $17 trillion, just a tad more than the original sub $1 trillion forecast. This latest revelation means that total underfunded US welfare liabilities: Medicare, Medicaid and social security now amount to $99 trillion! Add to this total US debt which in 2 months will be $16 trillion, and one can see why Japan, which is about to breach 1 quadrillion in total debt (yen, but who's counting), may want to start looking in the rearview mirror for up and comer competitors. And while Obama may have been taking creative license with a number that is greater than total US GDP, he was most certainly correct when saying that Obamacare would not add a penny to US debt. Because the second the US government comes to market to fund a true total debt/GDP ratio of 750%, it is game over, and the Fed will have its hands full selling Treasury puts every waking nanosecond to have any time left for the daily 3pm stock market ramp.

https://www.zerohedge.com/?search_block_form=romania&form_build_id=form-...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:12am
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California Slammed With Fukushima Radiation

California Slammed With Fukushima Radiation Submitted by George Washington on 03/30/2012 12:26 -0400

The Journal Environmental Science and Technology reports in a new study that the Fukushima radiation plume contacted North America at California “with greatest exposure in central and southern California”, and that Southern California's seaweed tested over 500% higher for radioactive iodine-131 than anywhere else in the U.S. and Canada:

Projected paths of the radioactive atmospheric plume emanating from the Fukushima reactors, best described as airborne particles or aerosols for 131I, 137Cs, and 35S, and subsequent atmospheric monitoring showed it coming in contact with the North American continent at California, with greatest exposure in central and southern California. Government monitoring sites in Anaheim (southern California) recorded peak airborne concentrations of 131I at 1.9 pCi m−3

Anaheim is where Disneyland is located....

https://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-13-30/california-slammed-fuku...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:16am
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IDF and Hamas battle Jihad Islami snipers trying to provoke...

IDF and Hamas battle Jihad Islami snipers trying to provoke Gaza warfare

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 30, 2012, 12:50 PM (GMT+02:00)

IDF marksman on the Gaza border

The most violent event of Palestinian-backed Earth Day Friday, March 30, was a battle around the Gaza-Israeli Erez crossing between Israeli forces and marksmen of the Iran-backed Palestinian Jihad Islami, debkafile’s military sources report. The shooters were laying down fire to cover a mass Palestinian rush on the Israeli border and the crossing so as to force Israeli soldiers to shoot into the crowd. Multiple Palestinian casualties would have given Jihad the pretext for reviving its missile offensive against Israeli towns and villages.
Our sources report that IDF fire was not aimed at the demonstrators but the marksmen. All the same, in the subsequent melee, one Palestinian man was killed – Mahmoud Zachout, member of a prominent Gazan family, and 14 were injured. At an early stage, members of the Hamas internal security battalion intervened. They split up - one section to stop the Jihad fire, the other, to block the procession’s march on the Israeli border. Zachout may have been killed by bullets from either side. Their source is under investigation.

debkafile has not established whether the rare collaboration between Israeli forces and Hamas was planned or that both sides happened at same point to appreciate their shared goal, which was to stop Jihad Islami violence and de-escalate the tension. The result was to save a demonstration from descending into a bloodbath.
Israeli commanders commented at the end of the day that, although all the country’s borders remained intact and Palestinian mobs were prevented from breaking through to Israeli areas, as they had planned in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, the turmoil may not be over...

https://debka.com/article/21879/

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:23am
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Spiegel: Merkel Braces for Possible Sarkozy Election Defeat

First Contacts with Hollande Camp

Merkel Braces for Possible Sarkozy Election Defeat

Angela Merkel initially refused to receive French presidential candidate François Hollande when he offered a meeting recently. But as his victory against Nicolas Sarkozy seems more likely, the German Chancellery has made its first contacts with the Socialist Party politician's camp. After all, Berlin and Paris must stick together. By Florian Gathmann and Stefan Simons more...

The World from Berlin

'Even a 1-Trillion Euro Firewall Wouldn't Be Enough'

European finance ministers meeting in Copenhagen on Friday agreed to boost the euro-zone firewall to over 800 billion euros. The move marks another U-turn on the part of the Merkel administration, which recently dropped its opposition to increasing the fund. German commentators warn that even the new firewall may still be too small. more...

https://www.spiegel.de/international/

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 11:08am
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Obama Plans Overhaul of Student-Loan Debt Collector Practices

Obama Plans Overhaul of Student-Loan Debt Collector Practices

By John Hechinger - Mar 31, 2012 12:00 AM ETSat Mar 31 04:00:01 GMT 2012

The Obama administration proposed requiring that debt collectors let student-loan borrowers make payments based on what they can afford, rather than on the size of their debt.

(IS7: Huh?)

The U.S. Education Department, which hires private collectors, said yesterday it would mandate that the companies use a standard form to gather debtors’ income and expenses. If borrowers protest, they would be offered an income-based formula, which can result in payments as low as $50 a month for an unmarried person with $20,000 in income and $20,000 in loans.

The collection companies -- which receive commissions of as much as 20 percent of recoveries -- are facing complaints that they insist on stiff payments from defaulted borrowers even though the Obama administration and Congress have approved more-lenient plans, Bloomberg News reported March 26. The education department is also reviewing the commissions it pays collectors.

“We definitely feel a sense of urgency to make sure we are doing everything we can to serve the interests of taxpayers and students,” Justin Hamilton, an Education Department spokesman, said in a telephone interview. (IS7: Election year vote buying)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-30/obama-plans-overhaul-of-studen...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:22pm
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Clinton Says Will Soon Be Clear If Iran Serious About Talks

Clinton Says Will Soon Be Clear If Iran Serious About Talks

By Nicole Gaouette - Mar 31, 2012 10:07 AM ET

Secretary of State Hillary Clintonsaid it will soon be clear whether Iran is serious about talks on its nuclear program, and warned that the window to engage“will not remain open forever.”

Negotiations between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany are set to be held April 13 and 14 in Istanbul, Clinton said, even as the U.S. and its allies pursue a range of sanctions against the Islamic republic. While the U.S. says Iran must allay concerns that it’s pursuing nuclear weapons, Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes, including medical research.

“It soon will be clear whether Iran’s leaders are prepared to have a serious, credible discussion about their nuclear program,” Clinton said today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital.“It is up to Iran’s leaders to make the right choice. So far they have given little reason for confidence. What is certain is that Iran’s window to seek and obtain a peaceful resolution will not remain open forever.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-31/clinton-says-will-soon-be-clea...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:25pm
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Switzerland Wants German Investigators Arrested on Espionage

Switzerland Wants German Investigators Arrested on Espionage

By Richard Weiss and Leigh Baldwin - Mar 31, 2012 9:13 AM Switzerland is seeking to arrest three German tax investigators who negotiated the purchase of data on Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) clients for economic espionage, a German government spokeswoman said.ETSwitzerland

The tax investigators from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia negotiated the 2.5 million-euro ($3.3 million) purchase of personal information of clients of Credit Suisse who may have evaded taxes in Germany in 2010. Ingrid Herden, the spokeswoman for the state’s finance ministry, said she couldn’t confirm more details.

The two countries have been trying to agree on a proposal for a withholding tax that would legalize undeclared assets by Germans held in Switzerland by imposing a retroactive income tax. German political parties have been fighting over the proposed tax rate.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the warrant won’t affect efforts by the two countries to reach such an accord...

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-31/switzerland-wants-german-tax-i...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 12:58pm
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European Central Bank urges more resources for IMF

European Central Bank urges more resources for IMF

The International Monetary Fund needs more resources to tackle challenges in the global economy, not just Europe, European Central Bank vice-President Vitor Constancio said on Saturday.

3:11PM BST 31 Mar 2012

Eurozone finance ministers raised the combined lending capacity of their two bailout funds to €700bn from €500bn on Friday after many G20 countries made a stronger eurozone firewall a pre-condition for committing more money to the IMF.

"These resources (for the IMF) would be for the general resources of the IMF, not for any specific fund or for any specific account for Europe," Mr Constancio told a news conference after a meeting of European Union finance ministers and central bank governors in Copenhagen.

"It is a recognition that, in general, for the world economy, the IMF needs to have more resources if we think ... what in a future emergency situation could be the needs of the IMF to fulfill its role anywhere in the world," he said.

Finance ministers from the world's 20 biggest developing and developed economies, the G20, meet in April in Washington to discuss an increase of resources for the IMF.

"That is very important to understand - this linkage with the European situation has in my view been overplayed and exaggerated by some," Mr Constancio said...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9178020/European-Cen...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 1:00pm
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Noteworthy: China arrests six over coup rumours

China arrests six over coup rumours

China has arrested six people and shut down 16 websites for spreading rumours that the military was preparing to launch a coup.

By David Eimer, Beijing

8:22AM BST 31 Mar 2012

The arrests are a sign of the ruling communist party's (CCP) extreme nervousness in the wake of an extraordinary few weeks in which an unusually public power struggle amongst the party elite has seen the one-time politburo contender Bo Xilai deposed.

Rumours that a coup was imminent began spreading after Mr Bo was removed from his position as CCP chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing two weeks ago. Posts on microblogs claimed that armoured personnel carriers and tanks had been seen on the streets of Beijing.

China's state news agency Xinhua reported late on Friday that six people are under arrest for "fabricating or disseminating online rumours".

Sixteen websites have been closed for posting reports of "military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing". An unknown number of people were "admonished and educated" for their part in spreading the rumours, according to police in Beijing.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9177717/China-arre...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 1:02pm
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U.S. militant focus may slow Yemen army reform

Yemen

U.S. militant focus may slow Yemen army reform

By Joseph Logan

DUBAI - By prodding Yemen's army to take on Islamist militants, the United States may entrench a split within its ranks and risks undermining the shaky political accord devised to stave off a descent into all-out civil war. Full Article

https://www.reuters.com/

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 1:04pm
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Militant who targeted Australian nuke plant held in France

Militant who targeted Australian nuke plant held in France

Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:12am EDT

PARIS (Reuters) - A French Muslim convert convicted in 2007 for planning an attack on an Australian nuclear plant is one of the suspected militants being held for questioning after a series of raids throughout France, a police source said on Saturday.

Willy Brigitte was arrested on Friday at his home in Asnieres, a northwestern suburb of Paris. Authorities found no weapons but seized his computer and a mobile phone, the source told Reuters.

The crackdown followed a pledge by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is three weeks away from the first round of presidential elections, to rid France of radical Islamists...

https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/31/us-france-islamists-brigitte-...

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Sat, Mar 31, 2012 - 1:06pm
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Noteworthy: Clinton promises U.S. will back Gulf security

Clinton promises U.S. will back Gulf security

RIYADH | Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:51am EDT

RIYADH (Reuters) - The United States will work with Gulf Arab nations to strengthen their shared defenses against threats including Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.

Speculation about Tehran's nuclear ambitions is a source of anxiety among Sunni-led Gulf Arab states, for whom Shi'ite Iran has long been a regional rival.

"The commitment of the United States to the people and the nations of the Gulf is rock-solid and unwavering. Our strong bilateral relationships are a rock of stability in the region," Clinton said in prepared remarks delivered in the inaugural meeting of a new U.S.-Gulf security forum.

"Now we look forward to expanding our multilateral cooperation as well," she said at the opening of the meeting with foreign ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes six Gulf countries...

https://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/31/us-saudi-clinton-idUSBRE82T1F...

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Sun, Apr 1, 2012 - 4:00pm
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Japan Borrowing Costs Concern Top Bankers

Japan Must Overhaul Taxes to Avoid Bond Rout, Bank Lobby Says

By Shigeru Sato and Takako Taniguchi - Apr 1, 2012 11:00 AM ET

Japan must quickly overhaul the tax system to prevent government borrowing costs from spiraling in the next decade, the new head of the nation’s banking lobby said.

“The risk of a tumble in government bond prices would increase if taxation and social security reform are left unsolved for years,” said Yasuhiro Sato, whose tenure as chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association began yesterday.“The country’s financial assets are dwindling with the aging population dipping into savings.”

Japanese banks hold a record amount of the nation’s bonds, prompting central bank Governor Masaaki Shirakawa to warn in February that lenders risk incurring trillions of yen in losses if yields rise. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda faces opposition to his plan to double the sales tax by 2015 to pay for swelling welfare costs and contain the world’s biggest public debt.

“Any delays to the reform that’s being debated may raise concern that bonds may be unable to be absorbed domestically in the long run, say, in 2022,”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-01/japan-must-overhaul-taxes-to-a...

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