Category Archives: international

Muslim Policies on Democracy in the West by Mohammad Nazeeh (Toronto, ON) – Facebook

I wanted to continue the conversation we were having regarding voting to bring it in a slightly different direction. As you all know, the muslim brotherhood released a memorandum in 1992 I believe stating that we needed to destroy the west from within so that we could establish Islam as the dominant religion. The words are below taken from an islamophobic webpage lol just for fun so you coudl see how pathetic they are. Islamophobes, ha what racists.

eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” their miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions.

Anywho, I see voting as the perfect way to do this. For those of you who do not, let us say we become 60% of a population through our birthrate inshallah. Now, we get to that point and then what? Do we consider to live under kafir law? do we continue to get robbed because the punishment is light?

For those who do not vote- what do you suggest we do when we are in a position of power and can place an Islamic government in power. We could form OUR own party and just vote them out.

Hypo Real Gets EU50 Billion Government-Led Bailout (Update1)

By Brian Parkin and Oliver Suess

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — The German government and the country’s banks and insurers agreed on a 50 billion euro ($68 billion) rescue package for commercial property lender Hypo Real Estate Holding AG after an earlier bailout faltered.

Germany’s financial industry agreed to double a credit line for Hypo Real Estate to 30 billion euros, Torsten Albig, a spokesman for Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The federal government’s guarantee for the credit line remains unchanged, Albig said.

The government and the Bundesbank have said that Hypo Real Estate, Germany’s second-biggest property lender, is too big to fail. They met with banks and insurers in Berlin all day yesterday to discuss a revamped rescue package after private banks on Saturday withdrew their support for a 35 billion-euro rescue package brokered a week ago.

Under the previous rescue plan, the Bundesbank intended to contribute 20 billion euros to a credit line for Hypo Real Estate, while a group of unidentified financial institutions agreed to provide another 15 billion euros. The German government and banks and insurers also planned to provide an additional guarantee for the repayment of the 35 billion-euro loan, of which the government would cover 26.5 billion euros.

Hypo Real Estate, run by Chief Executive Officer Georg Funke, 53, since it was spun off from HVB Group in 2003, was forced to seek the lifeline after its Dublin-based Depfa Bank Plc unit, which lends to governments, failed to get short-term funding amid the credit crunch

Hypo Real Estate spokesman Hans Obermeier declined to comment on any details of the new bailout.

Paris Meeting

Governments from Dublin to Moscow are racing to shore up Europe’s faltering financial institutions as the global banking crisis widens. European leaders meeting in Paris this weekend pledged to bail out their own nations’ banks, while stopping short of a regional rescue effort.

BNP Paribas SA, France’s biggest bank, will take control of Fortis‘s units in Belgium after a government rescue of the Brussels and Amsterdam-based company failed.

Belgium and France on Sept. 30 threw Dexia SA, the world’s largest lender to local governments, a 6.4 billion-euro lifeline. UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, plans to boost its capital by as much as 6.6 billion euros and the Icelandic government is reportedly trying to arrange a 10 billion-euro injection into its banking system.

Government Guarantee

The German government yesterday said it will fully guarantee personal savings accounts in a bid to ease concerns about the stability of the nation’s banking system. Until now, private savings accounts, including the accounts of small, privately held companies, have been guaranteed by 180 banks in Germany. This covers 90 percent of an account’s balance to a maximum of 20,000 euros.

Failure to provide the rescue package to Hypo Real Estate “may have triggered unpredictable consequences for the German financial and economic system similar to those of the collapse of U.S. financial group Lehman Brothers,” the Bundesbank and German financial-services regulator BaFin said in a joint letter dated Sept. 29 and addressed to Finance Minister Steinbrueck.

Hypo reported a surprise 390 million-euro writedown on collateralized debt obligations on Jan. 15. The company said Aug. 13 that second-quarter pretax profit plunged 95 percent because of further markdowns on debt-related investments.

A group led by J.C. Flowers & Co., the buyout firm run by Christopher Flowers, bought a 24 percent stake in Hypo Real Estate for about 1.13 billion euros in June.

Hypo Real Estate’s shares have declined 79 percent this year, valuing the Munich-based company at 1.6 billion euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net; Oliver Suess in Munich at osuess@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: October 5, 2008 18:24 EDT

European Nations Struggle to Address Financial Crisis


05 October 2008

Governments across Europe are scrambling to save failing banks Sunday, a day after European leaders called for a more coordinated response to the global financial crisis.

In Germany today, government and business leaders met to discuss efforts to save the troubled commercial property lender, Hypo Real Estate AG.  A $48 billion rescue plan to salvage the German company fell through Saturday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said officials are working hard to secure the lending company.  She said Berlin will not allow the distress of one financial institution to distress the entire system.

In Belgium, financial officials struggled to find a buyer for Fortis, a Belgian and Dutch banking and insurance group.  The Netherlands recently nationalized the group’s Dutch operations.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (l), and the head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn following their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, 04 Oct 2008

The leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Italy met Saturday in Paris and agreed to sign a formal pact to support their individual banking sectors.

Europe’s financial system has been hard hit by the U.S. economic crisis.

In the United States, banking giant Citigroup announced today that a judge has agreed to temporarily block the sale of troubled Wachovia Bank to rival Wells Fargo Bank.  Citigroup says the deal violates an earlier agreement it had reached to take over Wachovia.

U.S. lawmakers approved $700 billion financial bailout plan on Friday.  The plan allows the U.S. government to buy failing investments from troubled financial companies in an effort to restore lender and investor confidence, and to restart economic growth.

Germany guarantees bank deposits

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück announcing their plan for Hypo Real Estate in Berlin on Sunday. (Pool photo by Rainer Jensen)

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück announcing their plan for Hypo Real Estate in Berlin on Sunday. (Pool photo by Rainer Jensen)

 

FRANKFURT: As German leaders and bankers worked feverishly to rescue a lender considered too big to fail, the government announced Sunday that it would guarantee all private savings accounts in Germany – worth about €500 billion – in an effort to reinforce increasingly shaky confidence in the financial system.

Officials in Berlin were frantically trying to salvage a €35 billion, or $48 billion, bailout devised just a week ago for Hypo Real Estate, a major German property lender based in Munich and member of the benchmark stock index, after commercial banks withdrew their support, fearing greater losses.

The Belgian authorities, meanwhile, were looking for ways to secure the future of Fortis operations in Belgium, after its Dutch operations had been nationalized by the Netherlands on  Friday.

In Iceland, where the government seized control of a bank last week, officials were considering more sweeping measures to stabilize finances there as well.

And the board of UniCredit, which is based in Milan and also operates in Germany and much of Eastern Europe, met to consider a capital increase after being buffeted by a week of speculation about its solvency. A nightmare outcome for Europe would be the failure of a major, border-straddling bank like Unicredit.

Much of the weekend activity was undertaken with a view toward having solutions in place by the time financial markets opened Monday in Asia, a trigger point that officials around the world have come to view warily.

With memories of how the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers put the crisis into high gear three weeks ago, officials fear letting investors wake up to a festering problem. That could easily provoke new losses in stock markets and test the limits of tight credit markets, the core of the crisis.

Worried that the continued turmoil at Hypo Real Estate would lead to a depositors’ panic at other German banks, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück made a rare Sunday appearance before television cameras in Berlin on the steps of the Chancellery to assure a jittery public about the safety of their savings.

The government first promised the deposit guarantee obliquely and later added a more explicit promise, with plans to seek any necessary legislation to carry it out.

“This is an important signal,” Steinbrück said, “so that it comes to some calming down, not to reactions that would be out of proportion and would make our crisis management and crisis prevention that much more difficult.”

Mindful of the rising public anger at the use of public money to buttress the business of high-earning bankers, Merkel promised a day of reckoning for them as well.

“We are also saying that those who engaged in irresponsible behavior will be held responsible,” Merkel said. “The government will ensure that. We owe it to taxpayers.”

German deposits are already guaranteed through a mixture of deposit insurance plans, with the first line of defense being a state fund.

A second line is the programs to which Germany’s public, private and community banks contribute. The Finance Ministry said the new blanket guarantee would be effective immediately, although it was unclear whether new legislation would be needed.

“We think this will create the confidence we need,” said a ministry spokesman, Stefan Olbermann. “That means the cost could be nothing.”

Reports about the banking crisis had created “great uncertainty” among ordinary Germans, prompting the guarantee, Olbermann said. Over the past week, the German media have engaged in an angst-ridden discussion about the safety of private savings.

However radical, the German move stops short of what Ireland did with its banks last week. The Irish government backstopped savings accounts as well as other liabilities of six domestic banks, a step that effectively lent a sovereign guarantee to creditors of the banks and ensured their solvency.

Senior German officials meeting in the chancellor’s office Sunday morning were joined by Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, and Klaus-Peter Müller, chairman of the Association of German banks and Commerzbank, a large retail and corporate bank.

The Hypo Real Estate rescue plan, announced last Monday, quickly fell apart over the company’s liabilities, which are linked to the U.S. municipal bond market, according to a person briefed on the talks, who requested anonymity because the outcome was still unclear.

Talk in Berlin of winding the bank’s operations down as the price for the bailout had accelerated its problems – and further depressed its share price – over the past week, said a Hypo spokesman, Hans Obermaier.

Depfa Bank, a Dublin-based lender that was acquired by Hypo last year and specializes in government lending, is at the center of its problems. Depfa underwrote a package of U.S. municipal bonds that were subsequently downgraded by ratings agencies. That step obliged Depfa to buy the bonds back, a contractual requirement that would create almost immediate liquidity problems at Hypo itself, given the difficulty of getting short-term funding in today’s credit markets.

Banks from outside Hypo uncovered the problem after the bailout plan was completed last week, and they soon realized that the €35 billion that was supposed to sustain the bank through the end of 2009 was inadequate. Instead, it would need €50 billion by the end of this year and €10 billion in 2009.

After the magnitude of the problem became clear, the banks – which were not publicly identified – revoked their participation in the plan, which had been a joint public-private deal.

One option now might be to allow Hypo to use the bonds as collateral for drawing liquidity from the European Central Bank, the person briefed on the talks said.

“The problem is not outrageous,” the person said. “You can get a solution, but you need the assistance of the government.”

 

Sarah Palin claims Barack Obama would ‘pal around with terrorists’

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 8,000 in Carson.
John McCain’s running mate questions the Democrat’s ties to William Ayers during a rally in Carson. The Republican running mate also visits Costa Mesa, and is expected to appear today in Burlingame.
By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 5, 2008
You can’t say she didn’t warn them.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin introduced herself to the nation with a now-famous joke about lipstick being the only difference between a certain dog breed and a hockey mom. On Saturday, the Republican vice presidential nominee unleashed her inner pit bull, accusing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of being someone who would “pal around with terrorists.”

Her accusation — made before an overflow crowd of more than 8,000 at Home Depot Center’s tennis stadium in Carson, and earlier in the day at a Denver fundraiser — signaled an increasingly abrasive stance toward Obama on behalf of her running mate, Republican nominee John McCain.

In Carson, Palin signaled her intentions early on in her 23-minute speech.

“One of my campaign staff said as I was walking out here, ‘OK, the heels are on, the gloves are off,’ ” she said.

The “terrorists” to whom Palin was referring is William Ayers, founder of the 1960s radical group Weather Underground, who is now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an acquaintance of Obama.

Palin began the attack with a wry observation about her disastrous Katie Couric interview — she appeared to draw a blank when asked which newspapers and magazines she reads. Palin, who later told Fox News that she reads the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications, said she was annoyed by Couric’s question.

Clearly buoyed by a well-received performance against her Democratic opponent, Sen. Joe Biden, in their only debate Thursday, Palin apologized for what she described as her “impatient” response to Couric.

“Evidently there’s been a lot of interest in what I read lately,” she said. “I was reading today a copy of the New York Times. And I was really interested to read in there about Barack Obama’s friends from Chicago. Turns out one of his earliest supporters is a man who, according to the New York Times, was a domestic terrorist, that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and the United States Capitol.’ ”

The New York Times article, an investigation published Friday into whether Obama had a relationship with Ayers, concluded that the men were never close and that Obama has denounced Ayers’ radical past, which occurred when Obama was a child. The article also said Obama “has played down his contacts with” Ayers.

“This is not a man who sees America as you and I see America,” Palin said of Obama. “We see America as a force for good in this world. We see America as a force for exceptionalism. . . . Our opponents see America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who would bomb their own country.”

The Obama campaign responded forcefully. “Gov. Palin’s comments, while offensive, are not surprising, given the McCain campaign’s statement this morning that they would be launching Swift Boat-like attacks in hopes of deflecting attention from the nation’s economic ills,” said spokesman Hari Sevugan.

“In fact, the very newspaper story Gov. Palin cited in hurling her shameless attack made clear that Sen. Obama is not close to Bill Ayers, much less ‘pals,’ and that he has strongly condemned the despicable acts Ayers committed 40 years ago, when Obama was 8. What’s clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy.”

Republicans have long been expected to attack Obama on the issue. In August a major fundraiser for McCain spent $2.8 million on an ad by the American Issues Project that questioned Obama’s relationship with Ayers.

(The donor, Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, helped fund Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that damaged John F. Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign when it called his Navy service into question.)

The anti-Obama ad aired in Ohio and Michigan in the summer. Last week, the McCain campaign said it would pull out of Michigan, a tacit admission that it expected Obama to carry the state. Palin, who did not know the campaign pulled out of Michigan until she read about it Friday, according to McCain aides, implied Saturday in Denver that she regretted the decision.

“Well, as I said the other day, I would sure love to get to run to Michigan and make sure that Michigan knows we haven’t given up there,” Palin said as she left a diner after visiting with soldiers’ mothers. “We care much about Michigan and every other state.”

California is a reliably Democratic state in the presidential race — yet it also is a reliable source of cash for Republicans. After the Carson rally Saturday, Palin attended a fundraiser in Costa Mesa.

Today she is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Burlingame, after which she is expected to leave for Florida. McCain, meanwhile, will take time off to prepare for his second debate with Obama, on Tuesday.

In Carson, Palin was interrupted numerous times by protesters, who were in turn shouted down by the crowd. She said that her father, Chuck Heath, was born in North Hollywood and that her grandfather was a Los Angeles photographer who specialized in shooting boxers. “I learned a few points about fighting from him,” she said.

Many people in the Carson crowd compared Palin favorably with Ronald Reagan.

“What’s wonderful about Sarah is that she’s liberated without being liberal,” said LaDell Jorgensen, 42, who drove from San Clemente for the rally. “She really connects with the old Ronnie Reagan patriotic people who love America.”

Paul Nissan, 56, of Culver City, said it gets kind of lonely being a Republican on the Westside of Los Angeles.

“What’s been set in motion with her makes it seem like California can get in the mix,” he said. “It’s encouraging for those of us out here in Reagan Country.”

Nissan’s friend, Jeanne Tanigawa, 57, said she was a McCain supporter even before he chose Palin.

“She’s like the cherry on top,” Tanigawa said.

Neither Nissan nor Tanigawa was bothered by Palin’s claim that Obama “would pal around with terrorists.”

“I’m aware of the background there,” Nissan said. “I think it’s down to where we’ve got to be blunt about associations and values. The ideological differences are so stark.”

robin.abcarian@latimes.com

No Joint European Strategy On Banks

4 Top Economies Seek World Summit 

Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, October 5, 2008; Page A01

 

PARIS, Oct. 4 — The leaders of Europe’s four largest economic powers vowed Saturday to protect their banks from the continuing reverberations of the increasingly global financial crisis but could not agree on a common Europe-wide strategy.

Unlike the United States, which last week committed $700 billion in government money to shoring up Wall Street, Europe plans to continue dealing with its financial problems on a case-by-case basis. That approach, which has involved tens of billions of dollars at a step, is complicated by the transnational presence of so many large European financial institutions.

But the European leaders did call for a global economic summit by year’s end aimed at revamping the international financial system, which is a legacy of a conference held at Bretton Woods, N.H., in the waning months of World War II.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Europe’s most vocal advocate of a continent-wide response, announced that for now, he and the leaders of Britain, Germany and Italy agreed in four hours of discussions only that each country would use “its own means” to safeguard banks from collapse but would do so “in a coordinated way.”

The outcome seemed to fall well short of the common policy that French and other officials had spoken of in recent days amid a rapid series of financial failures and a freezing up of the capital markets in Europe, which rival or by some measures exceed the size of the U.S. markets. The disunity in Europe also was apparent in complaints by some other countries that they were not even included in the discussion.

Failure to pursue a broader bailout reflected particularly strong opposition from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain to any attempt at pooling resources for a Europe-wide fund to protect weak banks. Each government should handle its own banking problems, they said, because each country — and even each bank — has specific problems that must be dealt with in different ways.

Indeed, even as the leaders discussed restoring confidence in the banking system, news reports said Germany’s $49 billion rescue last week of the Hypo Real Estate Bank may not have been enough and that a further injection of government cash is under discussion. Similarly, the governments of Belgium and Luxembourg were said to be in negotiations to buy up remains of the giant Fortis financial group in their countries, following up on the Netherlands’ nationalization last week of Fortis operations there. The Fortis rescue demonstrated the transnational nature of Europe’s financial problems.

The lack of common strategy among leaders of Europe’s main economies at a time of crisis with direct effects on the well-being of their citizens suggested that the 27-nation European Union, while united in many ways, still has a long way to go before becoming the continent-wide economic and political authority it has set out to be. In addition, some of the grouping’s smaller members chafed at being left out of Saturday’s summit, with Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen calling the restricted invitation list “a very bad idea.”

Seeking to reassure nervous Europeans, however, the four leaders described their summit as a demonstration of resolve to prevent further bank crashes, make sure depositors do not lose their savings and get money flowing through the choked financial system again for businesses and consumers.

“Today was expressed with great clarity the will of our countries to guarantee citizens’ savings and preserve citizens’ confidence in the banking system, which must continue to support the real economy,” Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy told reporters.

Merkel, whose government irritated French officials with public opposition to the European bailout fund proposal, called the summit conference “an important contribution” to restoring confidence in the continent’s financial system. She and others pointed to the expression of determination not to let banking failures spread, indicating European governments are ready to intervene individually if not collectively.

“We jointly commit to ensure the soundness and stability of our banking and financial system and will take all the necessary measures to achieve this objective,” a communique said.

“We will work cooperatively and in a coordinated way within the European Union and with our international partners,” it added. “In the spirit of close cooperation within the European Union, we will ensure that potential cross-border effects of national decisions are taken into consideration.”

This language was seen as a rebuke to Ireland, which last week decided to offer guarantees to all Irish depositors. The decision, taken unilaterally, irked Brown and his lieutenants in London, who feared it might lead Britons to pull their money out of British banks and put it in Irish banks instead to enjoy the guarantee.

Sarkozy, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the summit, emphasized that the financial crisis is a global problem and should be dealt with in cooperation with nations outside Europe as well, particularly the United States. “It is a worldwide problem, and it should get a worldwide response,” he said.

At his urging, the four European leaders endorsed an earlier French call for an international summit conference before the end of the year to begin revamping the world financial system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. In addition, they made it clear that increased regulation around the world should be part of the retooled system, a message Sarkozy has been sending strongly since the crisis erupted.

“We call for the holding of a summit at the earliest possible date,” they said in their statement. “Such a reform should notably be underpinned by a comprehensive framework of supervision. All parties with significant financial impact should be appropriately regulated or under surveillance.”

The four leaders also issued a call for establishing clear rules of responsibility between banking executives and regulators, on one hand, and the failure of banks under their control on the other. This also has been a Sarkozy rallying cry, a politically popular stand insisting that high-flying bankers must pay if their institutions go under.

For instance, a top executive at Dexia, a collapsing bank rescued by the French and Belgian governments last week, was forced not only to resign but also to renounce his severance package on insistence from the French government, which since the rescue holds a 25 percent stake in the bank’s capital.

Muslim MP becomes justice minister

Shahid Malik promoted as part of cabinet reshuffle

Britain’s first Muslim minister, Shahid Malik, has been promoted to the department of justice as part of Gordon Brown’s cabinet reshuffle.

The Dewsbury MP, who is currently a minister for international development, said he hoped to make Britain “a more just society” in his new role as a minister in the department for justice.

“While I have truly loved my international role working to deliver justice for the poorest around the world, I’m now relishing the opportunity to make Britain an even fairer and more just society for all its citizens,” he said.

As an MP, Malik gained experience of violent youth crime in Britain when a teenager was murdered by a gang of young people in his constituency in May this year.

After the killing, the MP, who lives just a few minutes walk from the scene of the attack, called for “a change in society”, warning that too many young people were adopting a culture where violence was an accepted part of life.

In another government move, Tom Harris, transport minister, has been sacked. The Glasgow South MP said: “Obviously I’m disappointed; I really enjoyed being a minister. But I was always realistic – ministerial jobs come and go, but the role of an MP is more important than any other. And of course I will continue to support the government from the backbenches.”

The finishing touches to the government reshuffle are being announced over the weekend. The posts of immigration minister and police minister at the Home Office have yet to be filled.

A number of senior ministers have today been speaking out in support of Peter Mandelson, who has been brought back to the cabinet as business secretary.

Ed Miliband, who was appointed to the new post of Energy and Climate Change Secretary in yesterday’s reshuffle, said Mandelson would make the government “stronger”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “Peter Mandelson has people who like him and people who don’t like him, but even his critics would accept that this is someone of immense talent and someone of even greater experience now that he has been the EU Trade Commissioner for three years.”

Ed Balls, the schools secretary, described Mandelson’s appointment as “the right thing to do”.