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Wall Street

Vince Cable advises shareholders: throw out bank cheats!

Vince Cable banking system
© Ray Tang/Rex Features
Vince Cable wants to purge corrupt executives, who he says have allowed 'systemic abuse' to take root in the banking system.
Bosses preside over 'moral quagmire', says business secretary, as Barclays chief Bob Diamond is summoned to face MPs

Vince Cable has urged shareholders in UK banks to rise up and purge their companies of corrupt executives, who he says have allowed "systemic abuse" to take root in the banking system.

The business secretary, writing in the Observer says it is now clear that no one at Barclays Capital, the investment bank that triggered the market-rigging scandal, is prepared to take responsibility for endemic corruption, so the ultimate owners of banks must take matters into their own hands.

Describing the problems in UK banking as "a moral quagmire of almost biblical proportions", Cable says the government is taking urgent action, including creating a clearer separation between "casino-style investment banking" and retail banking on the high street. Ministers will this week begin a review into the Libor system under which banks lend to each other and Cable hints that US-style criminal sanctions, such as the threat of prison terms, could be considered against those who abuse it.

But he says shareholder power will be crucial. "Regulators are a backstop: they don't own banks," he writes. "The governance at the top of our leading banks has been shown to be lamentably weak. No one at the top of Barclays will take responsibility for systemic abuse.

"Shareholders, the owners, have a major responsibility here. I am bringing in legislation to strengthen their control over pay and bonuses, through binding votes, but shareholders have to get a stronger grip on weak boards and out-of-control executives."


Barclays Bank Chairman Marcus Agius to Resign over Libor Lending Rate Scandal

© 2012indyinfo.com
Marcus Agius is to resign as the chairman of Barclays in the wake of the Libor lending rate scandal.

BBC business editor Robert Peston says Mr Agius will admit to an "unacceptable standard of behaviour" at Barclays when he makes the announcement on Monday.

It comes after Barclays was fined £290m ($450m) for attempting to manipulate the Libor inter-bank lending rate.

Earlier, it emerged RBS had sacked four traders over their alleged involvement in the Libor-fixing scandal.


Six Injured in Seattle House Party Shooting

© Komo
Police and medics responded to the scene of the shootings in South Seattle.
Six people were injured -- one of them critically -- when gunfire erupted at a large party at a South Seattle home early Sunday, police and witnesses said.

Officers are now looking for two or three suspects who remain at large.

A Seattle Police spokesman said the shots were fired just before 2 a.m. Sunday at a home on Lindsay Place in South Seattle.

There was a big party there, with nearly 100 people, and as more people arrived, tensions kept rising. Police say they were called to the scene twice earlier in the evening before shots were fired.


Update: Arrest made in shooting death of 7-year-old Chicago girl

Jarrell Dorsey
© Chicago Police Department
Jarrell Dorsey
A 26-year-old man was arrested late Friday night and formally charged Saturday in the death of Heaven Sutton who was shot in front of her Chicago home.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Jerrell Dorsey has been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Last Wednesday evening, Heaven was outside her home with her mother and some friends. The little girl, who was to enter Grade 2 next year, had a stand where she sold lemonade and candy. She had just finished for the night and was sitting with her mother.

Shortly after 10:30 p.m., two men walked up and began shooting into the crowd. Heaven was hit once in the chest and was taken to Loyola University Medical Center where she later died. A 19-year-old man was shot in the ankle. The shooters then fled.
Heaven was the 253rd person murdered in Chicago this year.

Heart - Black

Heaven Sutton, 7-year-old Chicago girl latest victim of rising Chicago gun violence

© ABC News
Heaven Sutton, 7, died Wednesday after being struck in the back by a stray bullet as she reportedly raced for cover from a stand where she was selling candy in front of her Chicago home.
A 7-year-old girl has become the latest symbol of surging violence in the Windy City.

Heaven Sutton died Wednesday after being struck in the back by a stray bullet as she reportedly raced for cover from a stand where she was selling candy in front of her Chicago home.

Sutton was the fourth person killed in her neighborhood on the city's west side this week and the 20th person under age 17 killed by gunfire in Chicago this year, the Chicago Tribune reported. Overall, the city has had more than 250 homicides this year, a nearly 40 percent rise since 2011.

The brother of Heaven Sutton, 7, who died Wednesday after being struck in the back by a stray bullet as she reportedly raced for cover from a stand where she was selling candy in front of her Chicago home.

"She loved to sing, dance and crack jokes," Ashake Banks, Sutton's mother, told ABC News. "And she always smiled."

Banks told ABC she hoped gangs would stay away from the candy stand, which Banks set up to give kids a safe place to gather. "But they really didn't even care...They killed my baby," she added.


Attacks on 2 Kenyan Churches Kill at Least 15 People

© Chris Mann/The Associated Press
A sheet covered a body outside the African Inland Church in Garrisa, Kenya, near the border with Somalia. Four gunmen threw grenades there on Sunday then fired at fleeing worshipers.
Nairobi, Kenya - Masked gunmen hurled grenades into two churches in eastern Kenya on Sunday and then sprayed gunfire at fleeing worshipers, killing at least 15 people in one of the worst terrorist attacks Kenya has suffered in years.

When Kenyan forces stormed into Somalia eight months ago, Somalia's fiercest militant Islamist group, the Shabab, vowed to wreak vengeance, saying it would topple Nairobi's skyscrapers and kill Kenyan civilians.

The skyscrapers are still standing, but militants believed to be connected to the Shabab have carried out more than a dozen attacks in Kenya, scaring off tourists and putting a serious dent in this country's economy and sense of security.

At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, four gunmen attacked the African Inland Church in Garissa, an outpost town in the arid flatlands near the border with Somalia. Kenyan police officials said the gunmen had hurled two grenades into the church and shot and killed two police officers who had been posted at the church's door because of several recent attacks in Garissa.


Mass Protests in Hong Kong Over China's 15-Year Rule

© unknown
More than 100,000 residents took the streets
More than 100,000 Hong Kong residents marched through the streets yesterday to protest against Chinese rule on the 15th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Beijing.

The protest was designed as a message of defiance to the visiting Chinese premier Hu Jintao, who was greeted by Hong Kong's new chief executive Leung Chun-ying ((below left, with Mr Hu), that Hong Kong values its autonomy and does not want to be a puppet of Beijing.

"Hong Kong has freedoms and we have the right to protest. Why do you stop us from walking?" said a councillor and democracy activist, Lee Cheuk-yan. During Mr Hu's speech, a heckler who called for an end to one-party rule and dictatorship in China was led away by police.

Wall Street

Middle-class Americans, Suddenly Homeless and Living in their Cars

© Mark Seliger
Janis Adkins lives in her van at the Goleta Community Covenant Church in Santa Barbara.
Every night around nine, Janis Adkins falls asleep in the back of her Toyota Sienna van in a church parking lot at the edge of Santa Barbara, California. On the van's roof is a black Yakima SpaceBooster, full of previous-life belongings like a snorkel and fins and camping gear. Adkins, who is 56 years old, parks the van at the lot's remotest corner, aligning its side with a row of dense, shading avocado trees. The trees provide privacy, but they are also useful because she can pick their fallen fruit, and she doesn't always­ have enough to eat. Despite a continuous, two-year job search, she remains without dependable work. She says she doesn't need to eat much - if she gets a decent hot meal in the morning, she can get by for the rest of the day on a piece of fruit or bulk-purchased almonds - but food stamps supply only a fraction of her nutritional needs, so foraging opportunities are welcome.

Prior to the Great Recession, Adkins owned and ran a successful plant nursery in Moab, Utah. At its peak, it was grossing $300,000 a year. She had never before been unemployed - she'd worked for 40 years, through three major recessions. During her first year of unemployment, in 2010, she wrote three or four cover letters a day, five days a week. Now, to keep her mind occupied when she's not looking for work or doing odd jobs, she volunteers at an animal shelter called the Santa Barbara­ Wildlife Care Network. ("I always ask for the most physically hard jobs just to get out my frustration," she says.) She has permission to pick fruit directly from the branches of the shelter's orange and avocado trees. Another benefit is that when she scrambles eggs to hand-feed wounded seabirds, she can surreptitiously make a dish for herself.

Red Flag

17 Reasons To Be Extremely Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012

panic button graphic
© John on Flickr
What is the second half of 2012 going to bring? Are things going to get even worse than they are right now? Unfortunately, that appears more likely with each passing day. I will admit that I am extremely concerned about the second half of 2012. Historically, a financial crisis is much more likely to begin in the fall than during any other season of the year. Just think about it.

The stock market crash of 1929 happened in the fall. "Black Monday" happened on October 19th, 1987. The financial crisis of 2008 started in the fall. There just seems to be something about the fall that brings out the worst in the financial markets. But of course there is not a stock market crash every year. So are there specific reasons why we should be extremely concerned about what is coming this year? Yes, there are.

The ingredients for a "perfect storm" are slowly coming together, and in the months ahead we could very well see the next wave of the economic collapse strike. Sadly, we have never even come close to recovering from the last recession, and this next crisis might end up being even more painful than the last one.

The following are 17 reasons to be extremely concerned about the second half of 2012....

Black Cat

Clinton-Bush Haiti "Reconstruction" Fund Used to Build Five Star Hotels

As some 500 000 Haitians still live in displaced camps, five star hotels are being built amid shanty towns.

As part of the country's "Reconstruction", The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund recently invested $2 million in the Royal Oasis Hotel, a deluxe structure to be built in a poverty-stricken metropolitan area "filled with displaced-persons camps housing hundreds of thousands". Royal Oasis belongs to a Haitian investment group (SCIOP SA) and will be managed by the Spanish chain Occidental Hotels & Resorts.

AP reported in April that funds raised by the former US Presidents to help the neediest Haitians are now being used to build a hotel for "rich foreigners" including tourists as well many foreign NGO "aid workers" currently in Haiti. (Daniel Trenton, AP: New hotels arise amid ruins in Haitian capital, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, April 29, 2012)