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Thu, 26 Jan 2023
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Stocks see worst day of the year

© gareyvarvel.com
A gloomy U.S. jobs report and signs of a global economic slowdown hammered Wall Street Friday, wiping out the stock market's gains for 2012 and leaving investors wondering where to turn.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank 275 points, or 2.2 percent, chalking up its biggest one-day drop in more than six months.

Market participants had expected to see a mildly negative employment report Friday, but they "hadn't discounted the kind of numbers we saw this morning," Barton Biggs, a hedge fund manager at Traxis Partners, told CNBC Friday.

Biggs also warned that the chance of a "mild double-dip recession" is now about 40 percent.

"I'm not that bearish about the economy and the market, but am I ready to step in in a big way? No," he said.

Comment: "The downturn in the aggregate U.S. market has shaken some $1 trillion out of investors' pockets". And where does that investor money end up? It didn't just catch on fire.

The housing bubble is still burst and the Job market is stagnant. So where did the Recession end and the double dip begin?

The actual numbers for Unemployment are well beyond what is being reported. 8.2 percent Unemployment is a number based on those who are on Unemployment, not the percent of the population unemployed. Take off those rose colored glasses now, and prepare for what is to come.


More Americans Continue to Accept Creationism Than Evolution

© imageZebra | Shutterstock
American who say humans evolved over millions of years into our current form, without intervention from God, are in the minority.
The percentage of Americans who believe God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years is about the same as it was 30 years ago, a new survey indicates.

Today, 46 percent of Americans accept this creationist explanation for human existence, a negligible change from the 44 percent who said they agreed with it in 1982, according to Gallup polls.

In the most recent poll, conducted by phone in May, 15 percent of Americans fell on the other end of the spectrum, saying they believed God played no part in human evolution, a process that had taken millions of years. Nearly all of the rest of the respondents, 32 percent, choose the third option, saying they believed humans had evolved, but that God had guided the process, a belief called "theistic evolution."

Beginning in 1982, Gallup has asked Americans which of these three explanations of human origins they believe. With respect to the original numbers, a slight shift showed up this year with regard to those who agreed that humans evolved without God, which was above the 30-year average, and the theistic evolution explanation, which was below the average.


US job market all but stalls in May

© David Mcnew/Reuters
Job seekers fill out applications during the 11th annual Skid Row Career Fair the Los Angeles Mission in Los Angeles, California, May 31, 2012.
The U.S. economy created a scant 69,000 jobs in May, much lower than expected and all but confirming that the U.S. economy is heading into its third consecutive spring slowdown.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the unemployment rate edged up to 8.2 percent, its first increase in 11 months, as American employers fretted over Europe, higher pump prices and the persistent problems in the housing market.

Non-farm payrolls rose by 69,000, the lowest increase in a year and well below the 150,000 jobs that economists had expected. The previous two months' numbers were also revised lower, adding to the concerns about a sputtering recovery.

"It's an awful number. Not only is it awful in its numerical terms, it comes at a very skittish time in the markets because of the European crisis," said Rick Meckler, president of Libertyview Capital Management.

Bad Guys

Manufacturing growth slows in May, survey shows

© Stout
It was bad news Friday for the U.S. economy.

Not only did the unemployment rate rise for the first time in 11 months, and auto sales indicate slowing demand, but the pace of growth in the manufacturing sector, which has been a buzzing engine for the economy, also slipped a bit in May.

The Institute for Supply Management's widely-watched manufacturing survey showed that the growth rate of the nation's factory output slipped to 53.5 from 54.8. It was the 34th straight month of growth. (A reading above 50 indicates expansion.)

On the bright side, the new orders index hit 60.1 percent in May, up 1.9 percentage points and the highest since April 2011.

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Chrysler, Ford sales point to slowing demand

© Vehicle makers
Logo's of various Automobile manufacturers.
Chrysler posted a smaller-than-expected U.S. sales gain in May, and Ford posted mixed results, suggesting industrywide demand slowed from the strong pace of the first four months.

Ford's sales rose almost 13 percent, which was below what Barclays and Edmunds.com expected but better than estimates by some other firms. Sales at Chrysler, controlled by Italy's Fiat , rose 30 percent to a five-year high for the month, but fell short of expectations.

General Motors sales rose 11 percent on strong sales of trucks and the new, pint-size Chevrolet Sonic.

GM sold 245,256 cars and trucks in May, its highest monthly total since the Cash for Clunkers deal in August 2009.

Sales of small cars rose 16 percent compared with last May thanks to the Sonic subcompact. Buick sales rose 19 percent due to demand for the new Verano small car.

Comment: The article seems like a mixed batch of data. The title says slowing demand, which is likely in the future, but the data shows increased sales by several of the automakers through May. Strange as it is, I guess when we're speaking of the economy the numbers can never be considered solids (?).


'I could do anything with him that I wanted': In his own chilling words, pedophile priest gives harrowing account of how he abused 17 young boys

© Unknown
Disgraced: Former priest and convicted sex offender, Robert Van Handel
The priest always started his favorite 'game' by having the young boy remove his underwear and put on loose-fitting shorts so he could fondle him more easily.

Then, the Rev. Robert Van Handel would run his hands up and down the child's body as he stretched across his lap, Walkman headphones on his ears, pretending to be asleep.

The recollection appears in a 27-page 'sexual history' written by Van Handel, a defrocked Franciscan cleric who is accused of molesting at least 17 boys, including his own 5-year-old nephew, local children in his boys' choir and students at the seminary boarding school where he taught.

The essay, penned for a therapy assignment and kept secret for years, provides a shockingly candid and detailed window into the troubled mind of a notorious pedophile priest.

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Global markets go into meltdown: unemployment surges to record highs across Eurozone

© Reuters/Vincent West
People look at job offers at the Clara Campoamor centre in Barakaldo during an annual open day in which local council organization Inguralde arrange interviews between job seekers and businesses, May 17, 2012.
Euro zone unemployment has hit a record high, and job losses are likely to keep climbing as the bloc's devastating debt crisis eats away at businesses' ability to hire workers while indebted governments continue to cut staff.

Around 17.4 million people were out of work in the 17-nation euro zone in April, or 11 percent of the working population, the highest level since records began in 1995, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Friday.

"This 11 percent level is going to continue edging up in the coming months and probably until the end of the year," said Francois Cabau, an economist at Barclays Capital who sees the euro zone's economy contracting 0.1 percent this year.

"The economic activity situation tells you the story of the labor market. There's been basically no economic growth since the fourth quarter of last year and indicators are pointing to very weak growth momentum for the second quarter," he said.


Wasting Time Is New Divide in Digital Era

In the 1990s, the term "digital divide" emerged to describe technology's haves and have-nots. It inspired many efforts to get the latest computing tools into the hands of all Americans, particularly low-income families.

Those efforts have indeed shrunk the divide. But they have created an unintended side effect, one that is surprising and troubling to researchers and policy makers and that the government now wants to fix.

As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.

This growing time-wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it.


Shooter's guns traced to shop where 2002 D.C. sniper got rifle

© Unknown
Many people are asking how a man with mental issues like Seattle shooter Ian Stawicki gets his hands on a gun.

Investigators have traced the guns through a federal database and discovered Stawicki purchased handguns earlier this year at Bullseye Shooter Supply in Tacoma. Preliminary information shows the sale was legal because Stawicki had no felonies or restrictions to buy firearms.

Bullseye made national headlines in 2002 following the D.C. sniper killings that left 10 people dead. A trace of the bushmaster rifle that John Muhammed and Lee Malvo trained on innocent civilians revealed that it came from Bullseye.

Subsequent ATF audits showed that Bullseye had lost track of hundreds of guns in its inventory and couldn't verify that background checks had been run on buyers.

Bullseye store manager said Thursday she has been told not to comment on the case. Owner Chris Kindshuh, who did not own Bullseye in 2002, did not return calls.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms would only confirm that it performed the gun trace. It said, by law, it can't comment on the results of that trace. That information will have to come from the Seattle Police Department, who declined to comment on Thursday.


Rapist who held student hostage for 13 hours has jail term reduced

A man who held armed police at bay while repeatedly raping a student has succeeded in his attempt to have his minimum sentence cut.

Sean McKay, 43, was jailed for life in 2008 after being convicted of carrying out the 13-hour ordeal.

Judge Lord Kinclaven gave him a Lifelong Restriction Order which means he can only be released if a parole board decides he is no longer a threat to the public.

At the time of sentencing, Lord Kinclaven set a minimum sentence of nine years before he could be considered for release.

During his trial, the court heard McKay held his 27-year-old victim prisoner at his flat in Edinburgh's Abbeyhill on January 23, 2008.