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China Backs Europe, Euro for Investment, Central Bank Deputy Governor Says

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© Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
People's Bank of China Deputy Governor Yi Gang.
Europe and the euro will remain among the most important areas of investment for China's world-record $2.65 trillion of foreign-exchange reserves, a central bank official said in the nation's latest show of support.

"The euro and the European financial markets are an important part of the global financial system and were, are and will be one of the most important investment areas for China's foreign-exchange reserves," Deputy Governor Yi Gang said in a statement on the central bank's website.

China's statements of support have included Vice Premier Li Keqiang this week expressing confidence in Spain's financial markets and pledging more purchases of that nation's debt. In backing European economies, China may help to prop up demand in the region that is its biggest market for exports and also the value of its euro-denominated assets.

Radar

Thousands Of Egyptian Muslims Show Up As 'Human Shields' To Defend Coptic Christians From Terrorism

On New Year's Day, a devastating terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 others. Although the identity of the culprits was not known, it was assumed that they were Muslim extremists, intent on targeting those they saw as heretics. Religious tensions immediately rose in the country, and angry Copts stormed streets, battled with police, and even vandalized a nearby mosque. The riots and heightened tensions between the Muslim and Coptic communities was likely what the terrorists wanted - to divide the Egyptian community and create sectarian strife between different religious groups.

Yet by Coptic Christmas Eve, which took place Thursday night in Egypt, things had changed completely. As Egyptian Copts attended mass at churches across the country, "thousands" of Muslims, including "the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak," joined them, acting as "human shields" to protect from terrorist attacks by extremists. The Muslims organized under the slogan "We either live together, or we die together," inspired by Mohamed El-Sawy, an Egyptian artist:
Egypt's majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as "human shields" for last night's mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

"We either live together, or we die together," was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the "human shield" idea. Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole. "This is not about us and them," said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. "We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together."

Bizarro Earth

UK: Yet another hanging in Bridgend

Talented young rugby player Andrew Evans was found hanging in a suspected suicide, it has emerged.

As reported in yesterday's Echo, Mr Evans, 22, was found by his family at their home on Monday morning in Sandfields, Aberkenfig.

He was described by friends as a real character who loved playing for Tondu Rugby Club.

South Wales Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Mr Evans - popularly known as Evs - went to Pandy Infant School and Tondu Juniors before studying at Ynysawdre Comprehensive.

It is believed he was working with his father, John, who is self-employed, and was celebrating the start of 2011 with friends in Bridgend town centre on New Year's Eve and January 2 - the night before his death.

Comment: Interesting that these events still don't seem suspicious to the general public especially in light of the recent death of many species of animals.

For more information regarding Brigend deaths, see these Sott inks:

Suicide number 22: Three Bridgend 'hanging victims' lived in same street

What's going on? UK: Another hanging death in Bridgend

Bridgend Suicides: Another young person's body found


Arrow Up

World Food Prices Surge to Record, Passing Levels That Sparked 2008 Riots

World food prices rose to a record in December on higher sugar, grain and oilseed costs, the United Nations said, exceeding levels reached in 2008 that sparked deadly riots from Haiti to Egypt.

An index of 55 food commodities tracked by the Food and Agriculture Organization gained for a sixth month to 214.7 points, above the previous all-time high of 213.5 in June 2008, the Rome-based UN agency said in a monthly report. The gauges for sugar and meat prices advanced to records.

Arrow Down

Ireland - Property prices down 40% from peak

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© Cathal McNaughton / Reuters
Property developer Johnny Owens does odd jobs around his practically deserted housing development in Mullingar, Ireland, on July 28, 2010. Owens sold three houses of his 45-property Coill Rua estate in June 2007 and then nothing until last January.
A survey from property website Daft.ie has found that asking prices for homes fell by 14% last year, with prices falling by 5% in the final three months of the year.

Daft.ie says prices have now fallen by 40% from their peak, with the average price now just below €220,000.

During 2010, asking prices in Dublin fell 14% on average, compared to a fall of 15% outside major cities. Prices in Galway were 13% lower than a year before, after prices fell sharply in the final quarter of the year.

In Cork, Limerick and Waterford, prices fell by between 10% and 12% over the course of the year. Elsewhere, the extent of price falls varied from less than 10% in Mayo to 20% or more in Wexford and Kilkenny.

House

U.S. Home Foreclosures May Top 100,000 In January

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© Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A bank-owned home in Miami, Fla., where foreclosure sales made up 39.7 percent in the most recent quarter, according to RealtyTrac. Analysts expect more foreclosures in early 2011.

Over the holidays, many lenders put foreclosures on hold. But that temporary freeze is over now. Industry watchers are expecting thousands of foreclosed properties to hit the market in the weeks and months ahead.

Home foreclosure sales slowed down at the end of 2010 for two reasons: the regular holiday foreclosure freezes, and the remnants of the so-called robo-signing scandal.

In the fall, many lenders put evictions on hold while they reviewed their foreclosure procedures. Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac says that's behind us now - and the pace of foreclosure is about to pick up.

Dollar

2011 year of US economic apocalypse?

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US job seekers
US economy faces a grim outlook in 2011 as Washington's steps taken to handle the financial crisis, including money printing, have put the country on the verge of "bankruptcy," an expert says.

In an interview with Press TV's Max Keiser, Karl Denninger of market-ticker.org noted that neither Europe's austerity measures nor United States' money printing could solve their economic crisis.

"They are both wrong in that neither of these elements proposed in taking those people who made bad loans and holding them to account," Denninger said.

"You have to take these institutions like these banks or whoever has it, and forces them to take the writedowns and mark discredit off," he added.

"The problem is if you do that they are insolvent. So, we have a political system both in the United States and in Europe that is unwilling to stand up to these bankers and say you are bankrupt," Denninger argued.

Camera

Anorexic model who appeared in shock fashion campaign dies at 28

Isabelle Caro, a French actress and model whose anorexic image appeared in a shock Italian ad campaign, has died at the age of 28.

Her longtime acting instructor, Daniele Dubreuil-Prevot, said that Caro died on November 17 after returning to France from a job in Tokyo.

Dubreuil-Prevot said she did not know the cause of death but that Caro 'had been sick for a long time,' referring to her anorexia.

anorexia

Tragic: Isabelle Caro, who appeared in this 2007 Italian ad campaign, has died at the age of 28

Eye 2

Psychopathic Counter-terror 'Expert' Tells Cops: Kill Militant Muslims, 'Including Children'

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A counter-terrorism consultant told a meeting of law enforcement officials that the way to combat militant Muslims is to "kill them ... including the children," says a news report.

Walid Shoebat, a self-described "former PLO terrorist" who "now speaks out for USA and Israel," reportedly made the comment at a speech during a conference of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association in Las Vegas this past October, according to the Huffington Post's Chip Berlet.

The comment highlights growing concerns among human rights advocates that US law enforcement is turning to extremists for training in the fight against terrorism. It also highlights concerns among senior counter-terrorism officials that standards for counter-terror training are inappropriate, and possibly harming national security.

According to Berlet's anonymous source, Shoebat's comments got a warm reception from at least some of the people attending the conference:
Our source had turned around after Shoebat's speech and asked the woman in the chair behind them at the conference what she thought was the solution offered by Shoebat.

"Kill them ... including the children ... you heard him," was the full response.

Shoebat's Las Vegas speech was described by our source as "frightening."

Yoda

Jesse Ventura brings the truth about the Gulf oil spill to mainstream America

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© TruTV
Jesse Ventura's TV show Conspiracy Theory is turning out to be hard-hitting stuff for the US mainstream media. His latest episode touches on the nuts and bolts of the scale of BP's ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico - the toxicity, the coverup, the questions about deliberate sabotage of the Deepwater rig, comparisons with Katrina, etc. It even brings up Obama's possible background as a CIA asset, interviews Gulf community leader Kindra Arnesen, talks about depopulation/evacuation programs to relocate the entire population of the Gulf Coast. It even brings up the fact that the Gulf Loop current became severed from the Gulf Stream and how this would contribute to a global "mini ice age".

It is perhaps unsurprising then to see "conspiracy insider" Alex Jones being planted next to Jesse because that is a sure sign that his vectoring is planned.