Political risk has returned with a vengeance. The first food revolutions of our Malthusian era have exposed the weak grip of authoritarian regimes in poor countries that import grain, whether in North Africa today or parts of Asia tomorrow.
If you insist on joining the emerging market party at this stage of the agflation blow-off, avoid countries with an accelerating gap between rich and poor. Cairo's EGX stock index has dropped 20pc in nine trading sessions.
Events have moved briskly since a Tunisian fruit vendor with a handcart set fire to himself six weeks ago, and in doing so lit the fuse that has detonated Egypt and threatens to topple the political order of the Maghreb, Yemen, and beyond.
As we sit glued to Al-Jazeera watching authority crumble in the cultural and political capital of the Arab world, exhilaration can turn quickly to foreboding.
This is nothing like the fall of the Berlin Wall. The triumph of secular democracy was hardly in doubt in central Europe. Whatever the mix of aspirations of those on the streets of Cairo, such uprisings are easy prey for tight-knit organizations - known in the revolutionary lexicon as Leninist vanguard parties.
In Egypt this means the Muslim Brotherhood, whether or not Nobel laureate Mohammed El Baradei ever served as figleaf. The Brotherhood is of course a different kettle of fish from Iran's Ayatollahs; and Turkey shows that an 'Islamic leaning' government can be part of the liberal world - though Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan once let slip that democracy was a tram "you ride until you arrive at your destination, then you step off."
A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was "neutral" on the program.
TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.
Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have "opted out" of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.
The push to "opt out" gained attention in December amid the fury over the TSA's enhanced pat downs, which some travelers called intrusive.
Rep. John Mica, a Republican from Florida, wrote a letter encouraging airports to privatize their airport screeners, saying they would be more responsive to the public.
At that time, the TSA said it neither endorsed nor opposed private screening.
"If airports chose this route, we are going to work with them to do it," a TSA spokesman said in late December.
But on Friday, the TSA denied an application by Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri to privatize its checkpoint workforce, and in a statement, Pistole indicated other applications likewise will be denied.
"I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time," Pistole said.
He said airports that currently use contractor screening will continue to be allowed to.
Pistole said he has been reviewing TSA policies with the goal of helping the agency "evolve into a more agile, high-performance organization."
Told of the change Friday night, Mica said he intends to launch an investigation and review the matter.
"It's unimaginable that TSA would suspend the most successfully performing passenger screening program we've had over the last decade," Mica said Friday night. "The agency should concentrate on cutting some of the more than 3,700 administrative personnel in Washington who concocted this decision, and reduce the army of TSA employees that has ballooned to more than 62,000."
"Nearly every positive security innovation since the beginning of TSA has come from the contractor screening program," Mica said.
"...a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension" which may fuel unprecedented unrest. Tom Dennen
Money talks and here is what it is saying: Here are the current account balances of 163 countries in the world compared with levels of street violence (Egypt is high on the positive side of the debt list unlike Spain, the UK and the others at the bottom, and is not likely rioting over austerities):
Notice the amazing entry at the bottom of this list (scroll down) taken from Gerald Celentes' Trends Journal, the full report, 2011.
The current acount balance records a country's net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
Iranian courts on Sunday sentenced two people to death for running porn sites, prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said, quoted on the Islamic republic's official IRNA news agency.
"Two administrators of porn sites have been sentenced to death in two different (court) branches and (the verdicts) have been sent to the supreme court for confirmation," Dolatabadi said, without naming the two convicts.
Last December, Canada expressed concern over the reported death sentence handed down to an Iranian-born Canadian resident for allegedly designing an adult website.
Saeed Malekpour, 35, was convicted of "designing and moderating adult content websites," "agitation against the regime" in Tehran, and "insulting the sanctity of Islam," according to an online campaign calling for his release.
If you would like to know what the White House really thinks of Obamacare, there's an easy way. Look past its press releases. Ignore its promises. Forget its talking points. Instead, simply witness for yourself the outrageous way the White House protects its best friends from Obamacare.
Last year, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had granted 111 waivers to protect a lucky few from the onerous regulations of the new national health care overhaul. That number quickly and quietly climbed to 222, and last week we learned that the number of Obamacare privileged escapes has skyrocketed to 733.
Among the fortunate is a who's who list of unions, businesses and even several cities and four states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee) but none of the friends of Barack feature as prominently as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
How can you get your own free pass from Obamacare? Maybe you can just donate $27 million to President Obama's campaign efforts. That's what Andy Stern did as president of SEIU in 2008. He has been the most frequent guest at Mr. Obama's White House.
Backroom deals have become par for the course for proponents of Obamacare. Senators were greased with special favors, like Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson and his Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and her Louisiana Purchase. Even the American Medical Association was brought in line under threat of losing its exclusive and lucrative medical coding contracts with the government.
Not only are the payoffs an affront to our democracy and an outright assault on our taxpayers, the timing itself of the latest release makes a mockery of this administration's transparency promises. More than 500 of the 733 waivers, we now know, were granted in December but kept conveniently under wraps until the day after the president's State of the Union address. HHS is no stranger to covering up bad news; in fact, this is becoming a disturbing pattern. Last year, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hid from Congress until after the Obamacare vote a damning report from the Medicare and Medicaid Office of the Actuary showing Obamacare would cost $311 billion more than promised and would displace 14 million Americans from their current insurance.
I couldn't find statistics for local utility shut offs in my area, but I knew we would start to see more and more of this.
Houses everywhere are going vacant. People don't say goodbye, they don't leave a number, they just disappear. With their disappearance we add another vacant house to the street. But families living in housing without utilities is a new sight for me to behold. I spoke recently with a rep from So Cal Edison who, full time contacts residence who have had their electricity turned off due to non payment. She has a negotiator sent in and they work on a reduced payment. It's amazing to me, that now, it is becoming acceptable in California to camp out in your home.
People are losing their homes, losing their cars and losing their dignity. How are we going to afford kids clothes and school supplies for the coming year? How can we expect families to pay for all these additional costs when the economy is in the shape it in. I ask myself this everyday.
This is Commentary about Camden New Jersey cutting half of its police department, Flint, Michigan closing 2 fire houses and Detroit Schools. The video covers many economic realities faced by Americans.
Alpharetta, Georga -- The father and aunt of a 4-year-old girl have been charged with killing her.
According to Alpharetta Police Department spokesman George Gordon, the 4-year-old girl died as a result of "extreme alcohol toxicity."
Officers told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik that they were called to a condo unit on Homestead Trail in Alpharetta for a medical emergency just after midnight Friday. Neighbors said the home is occupied by a family with several children.
A 4-year-old girl was transported from the home to an area hospital and later died, police said. They aren't releasing the child's name because she is a minor.
Zohar Blumenkrantz Haaretz.com Sun, 16 Dec 2007 12:21 UTC
The [Israeli] government approved on Sunday a proposal declaring pirate radio a threat that constitutes "aerial terror" and endangers the peace and security of passengers flying over Israeli skies.
The approval of the proposal, initiated by Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, means that the government will increase its activities against illegal broadcasting. For the first time, a pirate radio offense will be termed an "economic crime," and will be enforced as such.
The enforcement plan includes adding five police teams to deal with locating and dealing with pirate radio infrastructure, and placing two prosecutors with the economics crime division of the police to work on the legal end.
The tax authority will also be involved, by hunting advertisers, financers and broadcasters. The government will recommend that the attorney general prepare a punishment policy suited to the gravity of the offense.