Archive for category Ukraine

one down…thousands to go

Like trafficking rings, much internet treachery falls under the protected business of organized crime.

It’s that “Russian Mafia” again, Russian meaning Jewish, because the top bananas have Israeli passports, and they’re safe there from the T-rex arms of the law.

rule of law! rule of law!



Rings need lots of soldiers. Guys like this.

About six months ago Alberto Gonzalez was arrested and charged with hacking something like 130+ million credit and debit card numbers.

Alberto Gonzalez, 28, from Miami, and two unnamed computer hackers, based in or near Russia, allegedly targeted 7-Eleven and other large corporations by uploading millions of customers’ details from internal computer systems onto servers that worked as hacking platforms.

They allegedly breached the firewall of Heartland Payment Systems, a New Jersey-based bank card payment processor, stealing 130 million numbers. They allegedly stole 4.2 million card details from Hannaford Brothers, a Maine-based supermarket chain. An undisclosed number of card details were hacked from 7-Eleven, the Texas-based convenience store chain with outlets around the world, prosecutors said in a statement.

They men started in 2006, scouting potential victims by visiting retail stores to identify payment processing systems and their vulnerabilities, prosecutors claimed. They used malicious software known as malware and so-called injection strings to attack the computers and steal data, prosecutors said.

The suspects allegedly planned to sell the data to others who would use it to make fraudulent purchases. They tried to trade their wares with computers in New Jersey, California, Illinois, Latvia, Ukraine and the Netherlands using “sophisticated hacker techniques to cover their tracks and to avoid detection by anti-virus software used by their victims,” the Justice Department said.

“These servers, located in New Jersey and around the world, were used by the coconspirators to store information critical to the hacking schemes and subsequently to launch the hacking attacks,” prosecutors said.  “The scheme is believed to constitute the largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted by the US Department of Justice,” the statement said.

This definitely qualifies as a ring, an international crime ring in fact, and other people were also arrested in May 2008.

The DOJ also announced charges Tuesday against Christopher Scott and Damon Patrick Toey, both of Miami. Other defendants face numerous charges in California and New York, the DOJ said. Three of the defendants are U.S. citizens, one is from Estonia, three are from Ukraine, two are from China and one is from Belarus, the DOJ said. One individual is only known by an online alias, and his place of origin is unknown. [Maksym "Maksik" Yastremskiy of Kharkov, Ukraine, Aleksandr "Jonny Hell" Suvorov of Sillamae, Estonia, Hung-Ming Chiu and Zhi Zhi Wang, both of China, and a person known only by the online nickname "Delpiero," Sergey Pavolvich of Belarus, and Dzmitry Burak and Sergey Storchak, both of Ukraine - ed.]

Gonzalez and others were allegedly able to conceal and launder their fraud proceeds by using anonymous Internet-based currencies and by channeling funds through bank accounts in Eastern Europe, the DOJ said.

Funny how they can’t find that one guy.

Also, and this might surprise you or maybe not, but:

Gonzalez was previously arrested by the Secret Service in 2003 for access device fraud. During the course of that investigation, the U.S. Secret Service discovered that Gonzalez, who was working as a confidential informant for the agency, was involved in this case, the DoJ said….These indictments and complaints are the result of a three-year undercover investigation conducted out of the San Diego Field Office of the U.S. Secret Service.

Oh, oops.

The Secret Service was paying him $75,000 a year.

The information comes from one of Gonzalez’s best friends and convicted accomplices, Stephen Watt. Watt pleaded guilty last year to creating a sniffer program that Gonzalez used to siphon millions of credit and debit card numbers from the TJX corporate network while he was working undercover for the government.

Watt told Threat Level that Gonzalez was paid in cash, which is generally done to protect someone’s status as a confidential informant. The Secret Service said it would not comment on payments made to informants. Gonzalez’s attorney did not respond to a call for comment.

“It’s a significant amount of money to pay an informant but it’s not an outrageous amount to pay if the guy was working full time and delivering good results,” says former federal prosecutor Mark Rasch. “It’s probably the only thing he was doing — other than hacking into TJX and making millions of dollars.”

Haha, yeah aside from that…

Rasch says Gonzalez’s $75,000 is nothing compared to the million-dollar payouts some undercover informants get for high-risk, high-value cases such as Mafia investigations. But Gonzalez’s payments dwarf the meager handouts given previous computer crime informants….The Secret Service’s embrace of Gonzalez as a professional informant may have reinforced his criminal behavior. Gonzalez felt he’d been rewarded for his preoccupation with computers, according to a letter written by his sister to one of his sentencing judges.

Yes, it seems fair to conclude so.

Meanwhile…

Stephen Watt is described as a “minor participant,” but prosecutors have hundreds of pages of phone and text messages to say otherwise.

Stephen Watt

Watt, a 7-foot-tall software engineer who was working for Morgan Stanley at the time the hacks occurred, pleaded guilty in December to creating a sniffing program dubbed “blabla” that Gonzalez and others allegedly used to steal millions of credit and debit card numbers from TJX and other companies. …After Watts moved to New York, his lifestyle changed. He began experimenting with drugs and hanging out in clubs. He left Morgan Stanley in 2007 for a higher paying job at Imagine Software, developing real-time trading programs for financial firms, earning about $130,000. That is, until August 13, 2008, when authorities swooped into his work place to search the premises. Watt was promptly fired and is now banned from working in the securities industry.

^^^^^^^

You can read more about this here and here.

It’s always fascinating how some people and companies manage to keep their names secret.

Admitted TJX hacker Albert Gonzalez has identified two Russian accomplices who helped him hack into numerous companies and steal more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers….The two Russian hackers, who have until now been named in court documents only as “Hacker1? and “Hacker2?, are identified in the new memo only by their online handles “Grigg” and “Annex.” The document indicates that Gonzalez identified four credit card processors that were “under attack” by the Russian hacking team at the time of his arrest, though it does not identify the processors.

^^^^^^^

A US judge sentenced Gonzalez yesterday to two concurrent 20 year sentences.

As for the rest of the ring? No doubt they moved on long ago. Just like every other type of organized crime problem — drugs, human trafficking, guns — the criminals always seem to be just out of reach of those short little arms of the law.

bring out your dead

Three problems likely encountered by organ trafficking rings and their likely solutions:

1. Problem: Establishing a legal paper trail for the donation. Solution: Get the donor to sign a health care power of attorney, and work with hospitals that don’t ask too many questions.

Organ donations fall under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which emphasizes your rights to give your organs away after your death. Conveniently, the Act lets a third party decide what to do with your organs if you simply sign some paperwork before you die.

For instance, in Texas, the order of legal next of kin is as follows:
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Court appointed Guardian
  • Spouse, unless legally separated
  • Adult children, majority
  • Parent
  • Domestic Partner (if unmarried and another person has not assumed financial responsibility for the patient)
  • Adult brother or sister
  • Close friend

Can you envision some poor person who doesn’t speak English, totally stressed out, signing a piece of paper that grants a Healthcare Power of Attorney to some stranger who promises to pony up a few thou for a kidney? Too easy.

Once the donor signs that paperwork, the hospital just needs to look the other way, which they do.

GRIFFIN: A few weeks after answering the ad with a promised pay off of $20,000, Rosen said he was flown to New York and hustled to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he and the patient he never met before told hospital staff they were cousins.

They didn’t ask for family records or anything like that?

ROSEN: No.

GRIFFIN: So, basically, you were just two guy that came in, declared yourselves as cousins –

ROSEN: Yeah.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Barbara Murphy is in charge of the hospitals kidney unit, she says screening is rigorous, but –

DR. BARBARA MURPHY, MT. SINAI HOSPITAL: We’re not detectives. We’re not the FBI. We don’t have methods that they have at our disposal and people can on occasion deceive us.

So you see, if you look at it this way, the hospitals are actually the victims here, of deceptive people who use their facilities to procure illegal organ transplants, despite the “rigorous” screening. ‘Kay?

And for the future, instead of addressing why so many people suffer from kidney failure (since that might lead back to big pharma and our poisoned food supply and environment), the experts will just keep pushing “presumed consent” so that doctors can take out whatever organs they need from any dead patient without even bothering to ask permission. And that will make everything go so much smoother.

^^^^^^^

2. Problem: Matching organ donors for wealthy clients. Solution: Databases are great, but blood type and some basic info will suffice. It’s actually not that complicated. But!! Really fluff up the complexity so people will think it’s impossible to run organ rings. Conflate the needs of the donor and the recipient, even though the donor will be given the bare minimum of care and cut loose ASAP — if she or he even survives. Keep talking about the recipients and their end of the procedure.

Like this over-the-top pearl-clutching drama written in perfect academic bullshit style for the benefit of the terminally gullible:

Hoo!
In order for an organ transplantation to have any chance of success, a number of sophisticated medical procedures must be conducted to determine the suitability of various organs for transplantation and to permit a match with potential recipients. In particular, correct tissue and blood typing is critical to matching donor organs and potential transplant recipients. Crossing the blood group barrier from transplant donor to recipient can result in death. An equally important consideration is histocompatibility, which measures the extent to which a donor organ and a recipent match.

…In transplantation, it is vital to the survival and well-being of the recipient to identify and match the donor’s HLA types. This can only be accomplished in a laboratory designed to test histocompatibility, and requires individuals with specialized laboratory skills to conduct the testing.

After the organs have been extracted from a donor, an extremely delicate and complex procedure that involves a transplant surgeon and support staff including an anesthesiologist, attending surgeons, and operating room nurses, the organs must be transplanted as rapidly as possible, typically by helicopter or airplane, to the hospitals where the transplants will occur. Before transporting the donor organ, special preservation solutions must be infused into it. Proper insulation and temperature controlled packaging including adequate ice or refrigeration must be used to protect the organ during shipment. Absolute sterile conditions must be maintained for the organ to remain viable for transplant.

Organ transplants must be accomplished extremely rapidly because the time that organs can survive outside the body is severely limited. Hearts must be transplanted within 5 hours, livers within 24 hours, pancreases within 6 to 12 hours, and lungs within 5 hours. Kidneys can survive the longest, but most surgeons will not transplant a kidney that was removed more than 48 hours ago.

Sophisticated surgical equipment and highly skilled medical personnel are necessary for a transplant to take place. At a minimum, one needs 20 individuals, including three members of a surgical team, one scrub nurse, one circulating nurse, one anesthesiologist, one perfusion technician, and one general function technician. For all transplant surgery, a large area needed for the operating table, instrument table, laboratory insturments, anesthesia equipment, monitoring equipment, spare supplies, gas sources, and personnel access.

In addition, in order to prepare for a kidney recipient’s surgery…..

Thus, the daunting technical requirements of the transplant process make it impossible that transplants could occur clandestinely, as the child organ trafficking rumor alleges. …the technical resources required could not be assembled outside of major medical centers.

When in fact, pretty much all they need to know about the donor is blood type (A, B, AB, O) and maybe size (child or adult). The recipient, of course, will be given anti-rejection drugs and receive the best care in the major medical centers. All this other itemized bullshit, like “temperature controlled packaging including adequate ice or refrigeration” (ie: a cooler?) — not a problem. If money can fix it, it’s not a problem.



For the future, when people cannot get to China for a nice fresh Falun Gong killed-to-order organ-donor prisoner, there might be some database available for the countless orphans of Haiti, and maybe Guatemala, Mexico, Thailand….and that should make everything go much smoother.


^^^^^^^

3. Problem: Getting rid of the evidence, the bodies. Solution: Well there are plenty of people walking around with scars from selling their kidneys. But what about those who are killed for their organs? What about those who are killed in snuff films? Where are their bodies? This is the question that needs to be answered. As long as those bodies remain disappeared, the guilty parties will continue to claim that “no credible evidence exists” of their murderous, despicable, loathsome organized crime rings.


Indian men sell their kidneys

In Cuidad Juarez: “thousands of women have disappeared from the town, and hundreds of bodies bearing signs of rape and sexual mutilation were dumped on waste ground in the city. Thousands more have never returned.”

Maria, which is not her real name, said the gang held young women in a house on the Mexican border until they were sold to the US as sex slaves. But she said they also dealt in children and told of on one occasion when the gang was contacted by a woman in New York. “She called and was very angry. She said she needed a seven-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy - and she needed them in three days….I saw the Americans taking kids,” she said. “A four-year-old and another boy, he barely walked, he was only about two years old. They took them to New York.”

Some of these human beings go to New York. Presumably they are killed in New York. What happens to their bodies in New York? Hospital crematoriums? Cemetaries? How many ways do the corrupt have to get rid of bodies that never existed in the first place?


In British Colombia, witnesses claim that corrupt government officials operate The Musqueam Reserve as a mass grave and body dumping site since at least 1989. Where else might such sites be located? Could parts of military owned or privately owned land be used to dispose of the evidence of human trafficking rings in the US and elsewhere?

In Albania, former KLA fighters witness that Serbs were kidnapped and taken onto ships into international waters, where Western doctors harvested their organs and murdered them. Were some of the bodies dumped at sea, or were they all returned to land for burial?

Apart from burying the remains of kidnapped Kosovo Serbs who had their vital organs extracted for sale in the vicinity of their training, prison and death camps, KLA was also hiding bodies of these victims by burying them with remains of their fighters, like at Qafa Prušit and Morina (both on border between Serbia and Albania), as well as in the village and city graveyards throughout Kosovo province and Albania. (source)

In Palestine, the Israelis have used several techniques to hide the evidence of their organ stealing: keeping the bodies, or burying them in unmarked graves, or giving them to the families at night and under strict guard to be buried immediately in the dark. (also see here)

In Sri Lanka, does this look like the description offered by the US Embassy to debunk organ stealing in Problem #2… “an extremely delicate and complex procedure that involves a transplant surgeon and support staff including an anesthesiologist, attending surgeons, and operating room nurses…”?

Tamil youth murdered and their organs stolen

In Ukraine, people are sometimes pressured to sign a release at the morgue. Body parts are sent to a German company, Tutogen Medical GmbH, which uses corpses to make medical spare parts.

In doing so, they reuse almost everything the human body has to offer: bones, cartilage, tendons, muscle fascia, skin, corneas, pericardial sacs and heart valves. In the jargon of the profession, all of this is referred to as tissue. Bones and tendons, the parts that interest Tutogen the most, are subjected to complex processing. The company degreases and cleans bones, cuts, saws or mills them into the desired shapes, then sterilizes, packages and sells the finished product in more than 40 countries around the world.

In Japan, crematoriums raid the ashes of the dead for precious metals.

Tokyo collected some 700 grams of gold, 500 grams of palladium and 1.9 kg of silver from cremated bodies in 2007, adding Y3.2 million (£24,600) to the city’s bank account. The city also banked around Y90,000 (£690) in coins left as offering inside the coffins.

We know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with human hands, eternal in heaven. So we are always courageous…

^^^^^^^

At Reagan’s funeral…
Oh come now. Why such long faces?
They don’t look particularly courageous, do they.

scarcity: the devil’s game

The Haitians have hydrocarbons:

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

And the Palestinians have hydrocarbons:

The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

Russian and Ukrainian scientists discovered something very important more than half a century ago.

It is critical to note that, more than half a century ago, a group of Russian and Ukrainian geophysicists, working in state secrecy, confirmed that hydrocarbons originated deep in the earth’s mantle under conditions similar to a giant burning cauldron at extreme temperature and pressure. They demonstrated that, contrary to US and accepted Western ‘mainstream’ geology, hydrocarbons were not the result of dead dinosaur detritus concentrated and compressed and somehow transformed into oil and gas millions of years ago, nor of algae or other biological material.[6]
The Russian and Ukrainian geophysicists then proved that the oil or gas produced in the earth’s mantle was pushed upwards along faults or cracks in the earth as close to the surface as pressures permitted. The process was analogous to the production of molten lava in volcanoes. It means that the ability to find oil is limited, relatively speaking, only by the ability to identify deep fissures and complex geological activity conducive to bringing the oil out from deep in the earth. It seems that the waters of the Caribbean, especially those off Cuba and its neighbor Haiti, are just such a region of concentrated hydrocarbons (oil and gas) that have found their way upwards close to the surface, perhaps in a magnitude comparable to a new Saudi Arabia.[7]
Geopolitics revolves around extracting, moving and controlling natural resources like hydrocarbons, minerals, and precious metals.
The peak oil psyop — SCARCITY, FEAR — has been used to JUSTIFY military intervention to control oil assets…..because otherwise our economy will collapse and we’ll all die. I used to believe it myself.
How many people have died over that one lie, in a half a century?
This comes down to the banking system, again, and the people who control the banking system, and their murderous desire to remain in control at all costs. Because, at present, all oil must be purchased with US dollars. (Correction: Iran sells oil in Euros and other currencies. See how troublesome they are?! -ed.) And the US dollar fiat currency has reached it’s mathematical limits and needs to be replaced with a new fiat currency, falling under the same people’s control.

In the early seventies, OPEC was formed and then massively increased the price of oil over the following years. The major oil companies (and their client governments) rolled over without much fuss at all and accepted the new staus quo. There were no invasions. I remember being surprised at the time and the answer to the riddle came along in due course. The oil majors (who, remember, are owned by the major banking families) made a deal with the Saudis (and the other OPEC nations followed) to only sell their oil through the oil “bourses” in London and New York and the sales to be denominated in US dollars. This neat trick meant that the major banks could issue huge amounts of dollars (out of thin air) as loans to the value of the world’s oil sales because everyone now needed to get the US$ before they could get the oil. This is how the US dollar was cemented in place as the reserve currency of the world. And this is how, too, they have been able to deliberately dismantle the US domestic economy over the last thirty years through globalisation (thank you Milton Freidman!) and not see the value of the US dollar plummet. This is how the US has financed its huge military buildup. It would have not been possible otherwise. It has been able to spend, spend, spend all this new found wealth from the interest gained from the vast loans as well as spending the money outright. It may take a while to get your head round this but, believe me, it really is as simple as its sounds.

Perhaps now you will see new meaning in Saddam Hussein’s selling of oil in currencies other than the US$ which he started shortly before he (and all Iraqis) came to grief. This accounted for the timing of the war as well as its raison d’etre. Perhaps you will extend that new meaning to encompass Iran’s decision to do likewise. Not only has this threatened the viability of the US’s continued military dominance (it buys from all over the world with its currency backed by others oil), but just as importantly, it threatens the introduction and viability of their projected New World Order currency. This makes Iran target number one. If the US and these bankers can’t control or own Iran’s oil, they must, at least, stop them from selling it in anything other than $US for the moment and the OWC in the future. Bombing their oil fields and have the Iranians block the Straits of Hormuz in retaliation would achieve that just fine.

But that would be a temporary solution. What is needed really is complete control of Iran. This same scenario applies to Russia as well. [and Haiti, Palestine... - ed.] The oil fields need to be under the international bankers control before the OWC can be introduced. Time is running out. This juggernaut has been put in motion and they cannot afford to stop it in mid stride for fear the whole plot, hatched over decades (if not longer), will collapse.

So they have to maintain and enhance their control over oil before they can effect this switch to a new fiat currency. Large oil supplies like Haiti’s must come under their control, but they didn’t have a good excuse for invading Haiti, and they don’t necessarily want people knowing about the oil there. That wouldn’t look good. Conveniently, the “earthquake” JUSTIFIED descending upon and reorganizing Haiti. Similarly, something will have to JUSTIFY the continued abuse of the Palestinians in Gaza. And something will have to JUSTIFY an attack on Iran. The options narrow by the day. I think they will be forced to do a false flag, and I hope that their evil plans blow up in their faces before another innocent person has to die for all this greed.

scarcity: the devil’s game

The Haitians have hydrocarbons:

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

And the Palestinians have hydrocarbons:

The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves. This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

Russian and Ukrainian scientists discovered something very important more than half a century ago.

It is critical to note that, more than half a century ago, a group of Russian and Ukrainian geophysicists, working in state secrecy, confirmed that hydrocarbons originated deep in the earth’s mantle under conditions similar to a giant burning cauldron at extreme temperature and pressure. They demonstrated that, contrary to US and accepted Western ‘mainstream’ geology, hydrocarbons were not the result of dead dinosaur detritus concentrated and compressed and somehow transformed into oil and gas millions of years ago, nor of algae or other biological material.[6]
The Russian and Ukrainian geophysicists then proved that the oil or gas produced in the earth’s mantle was pushed upwards along faults or cracks in the earth as close to the surface as pressures permitted. The process was analogous to the production of molten lava in volcanoes. It means that the ability to find oil is limited, relatively speaking, only by the ability to identify deep fissures and complex geological activity conducive to bringing the oil out from deep in the earth. It seems that the waters of the Caribbean, especially those off Cuba and its neighbor Haiti, are just such a region of concentrated hydrocarbons (oil and gas) that have found their way upwards close to the surface, perhaps in a magnitude comparable to a new Saudi Arabia.[7]
Geopolitics revolves around extracting, moving and controlling natural resources like hydrocarbons, minerals, and precious metals.
The peak oil psyop — SCARCITY, FEAR — has been used to JUSTIFY military intervention to control oil assets…..because otherwise our economy will collapse and we’ll all die. I used to believe it myself.
How many people have died over that one lie, in a half a century?
This comes down to the banking system, again, and the people who control the banking system, and their murderous desire to remain in control at all costs. Because, at present, all oil must be purchased with US dollars. (Correction: Iran sells oil in Euros and other currencies. See how troublesome they are?! -ed.) And the US dollar fiat currency has reached it’s mathematical limits and needs to be replaced with a new fiat currency, falling under the same people’s control.

In the early seventies, OPEC was formed and then massively increased the price of oil over the following years. The major oil companies (and their client governments) rolled over without much fuss at all and accepted the new staus quo. There were no invasions. I remember being surprised at the time and the answer to the riddle came along in due course. The oil majors (who, remember, are owned by the major banking families) made a deal with the Saudis (and the other OPEC nations followed) to only sell their oil through the oil “bourses” in London and New York and the sales to be denominated in US dollars. This neat trick meant that the major banks could issue huge amounts of dollars (out of thin air) as loans to the value of the world’s oil sales because everyone now needed to get the US$ before they could get the oil. This is how the US dollar was cemented in place as the reserve currency of the world. And this is how, too, they have been able to deliberately dismantle the US domestic economy over the last thirty years through globalisation (thank you Milton Freidman!) and not see the value of the US dollar plummet. This is how the US has financed its huge military buildup. It would have not been possible otherwise. It has been able to spend, spend, spend all this new found wealth from the interest gained from the vast loans as well as spending the money outright. It may take a while to get your head round this but, believe me, it really is as simple as its sounds.

Perhaps now you will see new meaning in Saddam Hussein’s selling of oil in currencies other than the US$ which he started shortly before he (and all Iraqis) came to grief. This accounted for the timing of the war as well as its raison d’etre. Perhaps you will extend that new meaning to encompass Iran’s decision to do likewise. Not only has this threatened the viability of the US’s continued military dominance (it buys from all over the world with its currency backed by others oil), but just as importantly, it threatens the introduction and viability of their projected New World Order currency. This makes Iran target number one. If the US and these bankers can’t control or own Iran’s oil, they must, at least, stop them from selling it in anything other than $US for the moment and the OWC in the future. Bombing their oil fields and have the Iranians block the Straits of Hormuz in retaliation would achieve that just fine.

But that would be a temporary solution. What is needed really is complete control of Iran. This same scenario applies to Russia as well. [and Haiti, Palestine... - ed.] The oil fields need to be under the international bankers control before the OWC can be introduced. Time is running out. This juggernaut has been put in motion and they cannot afford to stop it in mid stride for fear the whole plot, hatched over decades (if not longer), will collapse.

So they have to maintain and enhance their control over oil before they can effect this switch to a new fiat currency. Large oil supplies like Haiti’s must come under their control, but they didn’t have a good excuse for invading Haiti, and they don’t necessarily want people knowing about the oil there. That wouldn’t look good. Conveniently, the “earthquake” JUSTIFIED descending upon and reorganizing Haiti. Similarly, something will have to JUSTIFY the continued abuse of the Palestinians in Gaza. And something will have to JUSTIFY an attack on Iran. The options narrow by the day. I think they will be forced to do a false flag, and I hope that their evil plans blow up in their faces before another innocent person has to die for all this greed.

North Korea, multi-purpose tool, links into all the hotspots

1. firms in 5 countries linked to N. Korean arms smuggling: Kazakhstan, Ukraine, New Zealand, UAE, Sri Lanka, Iran (natch)

Five companies in five countries were involved in a complex process of cargo laundering for a shipment of North Korean arms that was confiscated at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport last month, according to media reports.

Efforts to track the cargo were complicated by the involvement of a Kazakh arms dealer and his wife who handled the arms through a ghost company, AP said Tuesday. Thai police discovered 40 tons of North Korean arms including multiple rocket launchers, 40 surface-to-air missiles, and hundreds of rocket-propelled grenades worth an estimated US$18 million on an Ilyushin cargo plane operated by Air West of Georgia, which landed in Bangkok on Dec. 12.

All five crew were arrested, but it was not easy to trace the route the arms had taken. Alexander Zykov, a Kazakh dealer in illegal arms, is allegedly behind the transport. He hired five crew for an air freight company he owned named East Wing in Kiev, Ukraine, in July last year. Three days later, a friend of Zykov’s established a ghost company named SP Trading in New Zealand.

SP Trading then leased the cargo plane from Air West, which is also effectively run by Zykov and had earlier leased it to Overseas Trading FZE, a company in the United Arab Emirates owned by Zykov’s wife. Once SP Trading had leased the plane, it received an order from a Hong Kong-registered firm, Union Top Management, to transport “petroleum industry components” from the [North] Korean General Trading Corporation.

The plane took off from Kiev and flew via Azerbaijan and the UAE to North Korea. Once the freight had been loaded, it was scheduled to stop for refueling in Thailand and fly west to Ukraine by way of Sri Lanka and the UAE. From there, some reports say it was leapfrogged via Iran to Montenegro, but the tiny peaceful principality seems an unlikely final destination for the cargo.

source: chosun ilbo

2. North Korea also supplying ‘Congolese insurgents’

North Korea smuggled about 3,400 tons of weapons into the Democratic Republic of Congo in the midst of a civil war there in January, with some of them going to Congolese insurgents or nearby countries, VOA quoted a UN official as saying Wednesday.

Christian Dietrich, a member of the UN Security Council committee investigating Congo, told VOA that the North Korean ship Birobong arrived in the port of Boma, Congo on Jan. 21, where it unloaded some 3,400 tons of weapons, 100 times the amount seized in Thailand earlier this month.

more @ chosun ilbo

3. US congressional report says NK also passing WMD tech to Syria, through Iran of course — sorry no details classified into, you understand

A new U.S. congressional report claims North Korea is transferring weapons technology to Syria through Iran. In the report, the Congressional Research Service, an entity that works exclusively for the U.S. Congress, revealed that Iran was assisting in the procurement of weapons of mass destruction-related technology by providing North Korea with a platform for such trade with Syria. The report however does not offer further details on the alleged interaction.

source: chosun ilbo

4. Hillary Clinton — very worried about NK and Burma

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says military cooperation between North Korea and Burma would be very destabilizing for the region, and would pose a direct threat to Burma’s neighbors. She says Washington is taking regional concerns about this connection “very seriously.” Clinton addressed the concerns on Tuesday in Bangkok after meeting Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. She will join a regional security conference in Phuket on Wednesday.North Korea’s possible cooperation with Burma made headlines in June, when the U.S. Navy began tracking a North Korean ship believed to be traveling to Burma with suspicious cargo. The ship returned to North Korea without ever docking in Burma.

more @ chosun ilbo

5. Iran buys masses of arms from North Korea, ships them all over the world, including to Hamas and Hezbollah, according to WaPo, citing US and UN officials. yup they know all about it.

Iran has imported piles of North Korean-made conventional weapons, the Washington Post reported Thursday, even though both countries are under UN sanctions over their nuclear programs. Weapons also went to two Palestinian militant organizations, the Iran-backed Hezbollah and the Islamist Hamas, the paper said.

To avoid international pursuit, the North Korean weapons were “shipped halfway around the globe in sealed containers, labeled as oil-drilling supplies, that passed through a succession of freighters and ports,” including China, Southeast Asia and the Dubai free trade zone, before reaching Iran, it said.

One example was a shipment of North Korean weapons aboard the ANL Australia which was confiscated by United Arab Emirates authorities on July 22. According to U.S. and UN officials, the ship carried 2,030 detonators for 122 mm multiple rocket launchers, as well as electric circuitry and solid-fuel propellant for rockets, which Hamas and Hezbollah use when attacking Israel.

The UAE made no official announcement, but the paper said the shipment of North Korean weapons consisted of 10 cargo containers. They left the North Korean port of Nampo on May 30, five days after the North’s second nuclear test on May 25 and before the UN Security Council adopted a fresh resolution sanctioning the North.

The UNSC adopted Resolution 1874 on June 12, extending the arms embargo on North Korea and authorizing member states to inspect its cargo on land, sea, and air. By that time, the vessel carrying the arms had already arrived in China. The containers were transferred to a Chinese ship in the northern port of Dalian on June 13.

From there, they were ferried to Shanghai, where they were moved to a third ship, the ANL Australia, a 47,326 ton freighter. They were finally discovered at the port of Khor Fakkan in the UAE. The officials claimed that there were as many as five such smuggling attempts since early this year.

source: chosun ilbo

6. on top of all that, the North Koreans are firing away past an imaginary line in the ocean

North Korea vowed to continue artillery drills Wednesday along the West Sea border after firing dozens of shells on two separate occasions there, reiterating that the de-facto inter-Korean border should be redrawn. After the first batch of about 30 artillery shells in the morning, South Korea responded by firing warning shots, but no casualties or damage occurred.

The North began firing again at 3:25 p.m., with a dozen more shells landing north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto western sea border. But the South did not respond.  This is the first time that the North has fired artillery into the NLL in the West Sea, though the navies from both Koreas have exchanged gunfire near the border before.  No casualties or injuries were reported as both sides fired in the air and no fishing boats were present, a spokesman for the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

more @ korea times



Georgia, Iran, Ukraine. sorry about Saakashvili

1. Georgia apologizes for extraditing Iranian national to the US in 2008

Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze has apologized to Iran for the extradition of an Iranian national to the United States in 2008. Vashadze made the apology during a meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on Monday.  He said the extradition of Amir-Hossein Ardebili took place at a time when Georgia was in a complex political situation.[when Saakashvili attacked South Ossetia - ed.]

During the meeting, Larijani expressed disapproval of the presence of foreign powers in the region. “The problems and crises of the region should be revolved through regional countries, and the presence of foreign powers only complicates the situation,” Larijani said. He went on to say that the insecurity in Afghanistan and Iraq affects all other countries in the region.
more @ press tv

2. Georgia backs Iranian nuclear program

Tehran : Visiting Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said on Monday that the Islamic Republic of Iran as signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty should benefit from nuclear energy for civilian utility. The Georgian foreign minister made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in Tehran. The issue of confidence-building is of prime importance which should be taken into account in talks between Iran and the international community, he said. He said that his country welcomes active role of Iran to implement various development projects in Georgia mainly in energy sector. He thanked Iran for helping Georgia with gas supply when Russia stopped gas flow to Georgia in the winter 2006. “Iran proved its sincerity through timely action.” Expressing satisfaction with expansion of ties and cooperation with Iran during his talks with the Iranian foreign minister, he underlined the need to enhance level of trade between the two countries.

source: two circles

3. Georgia leaves CIS — sort of

On January 22 Georgian parliament will officially secede from the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) explaining that the assembly has always been a formal structure without any functions. Remarkably, saying good-bye to the CIS Georgia plans to stay in nearly 75 international treaties signed within CIS framework. A logical question arises: whom do current Georgian authorities want to show their independence from the CIS to and why?

As is known, Georgia joined the CIS in 1994 closing the list of members. Tbilisi seriously expected that CIS membership would solve problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia that already then pressed for their independence.

Nonetheless, with Mikheil Saakashvili’s advent to power Georgia drastically changed the vector of its foreign policy pursuing US interests in South Caucasus. In the aftermath of August 2008 events Tbilisi decided to leave the CIS on the pretext that after the war with Georgia Russia recognized Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s independence.

A short while later the European Union announced launch of Eastern Partnership scheme, essentially the CIS’s direct competitor, aimed at close cooperation with 6 ex-USSR republics - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine and Belarus. Except for financial profit, free trade zones and facilitated visa regime were promised to the members. In May 2009 Mikheil Saakashvili swore Georgia had irrevocably seceded from the CIS and now the EU is its “natural partner”.

It is noteworthy that so far Tbilisi and Europe are not exactly on “free-trade terms”: the related agreement is still under preparation. As for visa-free access to Europe for Georgian citizens the recently reported seizure of a train in Poland by Georgian migrants will make Brussels think thoroughly before taking a decision like that.

Remarkably, the CIS is not upset about Georgia’s departure from the Commonwealth. The Georgian parliament’s decision to secede from the Inter-parliamentary assembly was taken ambiguously. First of all, the organization believes that if Georgia departs from the CIS IPA it will not be for a long time. Secondly, in November the Secretary General of Inter-parliamentary Assembly Council informed about Georgia’s intention to remain in 75 treaties and contracts including a crucial free trade zone agreement.

In reality Georgia wants to adhere to free trade zone agreements within Eastern Partnership and CIS frameworks. Here is a question: why did Tbilisi decide to leave the Commonwealth for good?

source: georgia times

4. Saakashvili accused of interfering in domestic affairs of Ukraine by sending a couple thousand election monitors

According to the statement of the pro-opposition of Democratic Movement-United Georgia movement council, by sending over 2000 monitors to presidential elections in Ukraine, the government of Georgia rudely interfered in the domestic affairs of the country and impaired Georgia’s image - RIA Novosti. The party believes that sending the aforesaid monitors “caused tension in electoral process.”

…The first tour of presidential elections in Ukraine took place on January 17th. Before the elections 400 Georgian “monitors” arrived in Donetsk. The President of Georgia commented the incident and said that monitors were sent on the request of Ukrainian people, and “their arrival was hailed with heart and soul”. According to Saakashvili, “their stay there was on my order agreed with all political forces, we received confirmation and agreement from all. Surely, before the second tour we’ll ask them again whether they want to involve our monitors. It’s up to them to decide.”

more @ georgia times

5. Laborites apologized to Ukrainians for Saakashvili

The Labour party of Georgia condemns President Mikheil Saakashvili for his actions in regard to Ukraine and apologizes for the incident with Georgian “monitors” to Ukraine and its people - Georgia Times correspondent in Tbilisi. At today’s press conference Shalva Natelashvili, the party leader, on behalf of the Georgian people apologized to Ukrainians and asked not to make equal Saakashvili and Georgian society.

He said that events in Ukraine again confirmed that Saakashvili is the biggest, global threat for Georgia.

“Sending to Kyiv, Donetsk and other cities and regions of Ukraine the so-called monitors who in fact turned out special services employees, can spoil relations between Ukraine and Georgia, ” Natelashvili said.

He alluded to the statements of Ukrainian politicians about possible visa regime between the countries and said it would be followed by deportation of thousands of Georgians, staying in Ukraine. Besides, he was worried about Yanukovich’s team making statements about possible recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

source: georgia times

not well liked

1. Mexican billionare Moshe Saba dies in copter crash — helicopter burst into flames midair in the fog

Mexican Jewish billionaire Moises (Moshe) Saba, 46, along with members of his family, have died in a crash of a helicopter outside Mexico City,. Six people were killed altogether, including the pilot. The Saba family is one of Mexico’s wealthiest families. The family’s pharmaceuticals firm, Grupo Casa Saba SA de CV (NYSE; Mexico: SAB) is one of the family’s business interests, which also include real estate, communications, and media. Moshe Saba was one of the investors whom Joseph Maiman approached to participate in the investment in Channel 10 in 2004, but he declined. Eyewitness accounts said that the helicopter burst into flames while still in the air. The helicopter hit a billboard before hitting the ground. Rescue services found no survivors. Although the accident occurred in a built-up area, there were no casualties on the ground.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard went to the site of the crash. He said that Mexico’s civil aviation authorities had opened an investigation. The accident was believed to have been caused by the stormy and foggy weather conditions at the time in the area on Sunday night. Moshe Saba was close to Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and was a donor to many haredi (ultra-orthodox) institutions. He also a donor to Zaka - Identification, Extraction and Rescue, which today announced that a delegation would go to Mexico City to identify the dead. Ovadia Yosef’s son, Rabbi David Yosef, will accompany the delegation.

source: globes

2. Norwegian mafia tied to car trunk murders

Police in Oslo are to investigate suspicions that Norwegian drug gangs may be connected to the grisly find of two burned bodies in the boot of a car in western Sweden last week….Though a full identification is not expected until the end of the week, family members of the supposed victims, with a background in northern Iraq, have already begun grieving their loss, Expressen reports.  “The car is mine. I have lost hope that my son and his uncle are still alive. This is the worst catastrophe of my life,” the 25-year-old’s father told Expressen.  The 42-year-old, a resident of Arvika in central Sweden, had previously lived in Oslo where he ran a business and had a large number of contacts. He was believed to have been travelling from the Norwegian capital to Malmö on the day of the macabre find.  With him in the car was his 25-year-old nephew and three million Norwegian kronor ($535,000), believed to have been the proceeds of a drug deal, Dagbladet reports.

read more @ the local

3. Natelashvili called McCain the ‘godfather and lobbyist’ of Saakashvili

Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of Labour party of Georgia, accused Senator McCain in support and lobbying of Mikheil Saakashvili - GeorgiaTimes correspondent in Tbilisi. “Despite our great respect to American people, we must state that Senator John McCain continues lobbying “terrorist and dictator” Mikheil Saakashvili and remains his godfather. Together with Bush grouping, Mr. McCain is responsible for the anti-constitutional coup d’etat, Saakashvili presidency and constant whitewashing his criminal policy,” Natelashvili said. In his view, for Georgia it will end with loss of independency, turning into colony, disintegration and elimination of the state. Natelashvili highlighted the visit’s aim was support and saving Saakashvili government. The fact the Labour party wasn’t invited to the meeting with opposition in Batumi, the leader explained with his constant and harsh criticism in McCain’s address. Natelashvili called on American people to investigate the political activities of the grouping which was planning and conducting “coloured revolutions” all over the world, spending billions and making irreparable harm to the authority of the USA.

source: georgia times

4. drug firms cashed in on scare over swine flu: Euro health chief

The swine flu outbreak was a ‘false pandemic’ driven by drug companies that stood to make billions of pounds from a worldwide scare, a leading health expert has claimed.  Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, accused the makers of flu drugs and vaccines of influencing the World Health Organisation’s decision to declare a pandemic.  This led to the pharmaceutical firms ensuring ‘enormous gains’, while countries, including the UK, ’squandered’ their meagre health budgets, with millions being vaccinated against a relatively mild disease.

read more @ daily mail

flu resurges suddenly in Ukraine

1. Recombinomics - Ukraine fatalities jump to 827,. 100,000 new cases in one day

Ukraine Fatalities Jump to 827 - 100K New Cases in One Day
Recombinomics Commentary 13:20
January 6, 2010

3,905,542 Influenza/ARI

225,925 Hospitalized

827 Dead

The above update is from the Ukraine Ministry of Health.  The 24h increases included 22 more deaths and over100,000 new cases.  Much of the activity is in the eastern half of the country, with the biggest increases in cases, 6,563 to 343,583, and deaths 5 to 113 in Donetsk.  However, Kiev had a large increase in cases , 4,945 to 327,003 and deaths, 3 to 40), and there were another 4,355 new cases in the surrounding Kiev oblast (see updated map)..

Media reports have described a deteriorating situation in Donetsk, with severe cases and fatalities in doctors and health care workers.  Yesterday’s report had an increase of 8 fatalities in Donetsk, and today’s total of 113 is well ahead of Lviv, which has 102 fatalities and had been the highest oblast prior to yesterday.

New sequences from Russia, Turkey, and Sweden highlight changes at position 225 and early sequences from Ukraine had D225G or D225N in all fatal cases.  These same changes have now been reported in fatal cases in Russia, which continues to raise concerns that such sequences may become more widespread.

Release of additional sequences from fatal cases in Ukraine, including multiple samples from collections from different tissues would be useful.

source

2. in remarkable coincidence, CDC hopes to prevent repeat of 1958 mortality surge

Jan 7, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Warning against complacency about H1N1 influenza, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said she doesn’t want to see a repeat of what happened in 1957-58, when a perception that the pandemic was over was followed by a winter surge of flu- and pneumonia-related deaths.

To prevent that, Schuchat, head of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, urged the public to get the vaccine, now widely available. …Schuchat referred to a graph showing that deaths attributed to flu and pneumonia peaked in October of 1957, dropped back to a nearly normal level in December, but then surged again in the winter, peaking in late February. (Accounts of the pandemic say the second mortality peak, strangely, was not accompanied by widespread flu outbreaks.)

“In 1957 they essentially gave the all-clear whistle in that December-January time period,” Schuchat said. “They had vaccine, but they didn’t encourage its use, and they did go on to see that increase in mortality.”

She cautioned that no pandemic is the same as any other, adding, “I do not know that the 1957 story is what we’re looking at today, but I do know that we have vaccine and we don’t have to repeat history.”

“The H1N1 virus is still circulating,” she said. “We have an uncertain future. We want and need to avoid complacency.”

read more @ CIDRAP

Gaza, or Lebanon, or both?

1. report: Israeli troops training for new Gaza war

Israeli occupation forces completed a large-scale military drill in the Negev, the country’s Channel 10 news reported, preparing troops for a military offensive against the Gaza Strip. The report, aired Tuesday evening, speculated that the training could even be seen as preparation for a re-occupation of the area….According to Channel 10, training saw occupation soldiers educated in the use of a new digital device on Merkava Tanks, the largest of the armored vehicles, which allows soldiers in the units to track troops on the ground in densely-populated areas. It is intended to prevent “friendly fire” incidents.

pfft.

read more @ al manar tv

2. Israel closes Gaza crossing after Palestinian mortar fire

GAZA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) — Israel shut down a main cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip on Thursday in response to Palestinian mortars at Israeli army posts near Gaza commercial crossings. Ten mortars landed near Kerem Shalom crossing, a major passageway used by Israel to deliver humanitarian aid and fuel to the besieged territory [what aid??? - ed.], and a military site near the closed Kissufim crossing in southeast Gaza, said Palestinian security sources. No injuries or damage were reported in the mortar attacks. Following the incident, Radio Israel said that Kerem Shalom crossing was sealed off. …Also on Thursday, Israeli planes dropped flyers in northern Gaza Strip, warning residents to stay away from an electric fence between the Hamas-controlled coastal Strip and Israel. The leaflets, printed with telephone numbers and emails, urged people to inform the army of any activities of the Palestinian militants in the border area.

pfft.

read more @ chinaview

3. Israel blames Lebanon for Israel’s failure to withdraw from Ghajar

Israel is not withdrawing from the northern part of Ghajar because of Lebanon’s “adamant refusal” to reach an understanding with Israel over security arrangements in the Lebanese part of the village, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday. “The Lebanese government, apparently under pressure from Hizbullah, is not willing to provide any kind of commitments” that would allow a UNIFIL plan on Ghajar to be put into practice, The Post said. Beirut “fears” that the plan’s adoption would be seen as giving Israel legitimacy, according to the newspaper. “The talks, therefore, are solely between Israel and UNIFIL, with Lebanon unwilling to participate even indirectly,” the Israeli daily said. “The negotiations with UNIFIL are over what security arrangements and commitments UNIFIL - not the Lebanese - will provide.”

Foreign Ministry Director-General Yossi Gal and his team are scheduled to hold a second round of talks with UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano and his staff Thursday. The first round of talks on the Ghajar issue was held in early December.The Israeli government has reportedly approved a plan to turn over control of the northern half of the village to UNIFIL. Under the plan no physical barrier would be built between the northern and southern parts of Ghajar, but rather UNIFIL would patrol both the northern half and the perimeter. Graziano is to be replaced by Spanish Maj.-Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas on January 28. The Post said Israeli officials denied that Graziano’s departure was a deadline for “closing” the Ghajar deal, saying the Jewish state would continue talking to UNIFIL about the issue until it gets a commitment. According to Haaretz daily, Gal is also expected to congratulate Graziano on finding explosives near the Lebanese town of Khiam on December 26.
source: naharnet

4. Lebanese man killed in Ukraine
The body of a 47-year-old Lebanese, who was killed in Ukraine, arrived in Beirut overnight as his family urged Beirut authorities to ask officials in Kiev to follow up the investigation into the murder of Mounir Abdo Mansour. The National News Agency quoted Mansour’s family members as saying Thursday that they are planning to visit the Ukrainian embassy in Beirut to urge judicial authorities in Kiev to probe the man’s murder.

The family told NNA it was not the first time that a Lebanese was attacked in the Ukrainian capital. It said authorities there have also previously tampered with evidence at crime scenes to cover up the “heinous crimes” rather than bringing perpetrators to justice. “Lebanese youth are killed without restraint from anyone,” Mansour’s sister, Rima, told NNA. “Involved officials should interfere to follow up the issue.”

source: naharnet

5. Syrian parliament speaker: expansion of relations between Muslim states foils plots

In a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here in Tehran on Thursday morning, al-Abrash said, “Tehran-Damascus strategic relations is effective in the region.”  He also called for using all opportunities of the two neighbors to mature bilateral ties, the Iranian students news agency reported.  Ahmadinejad on his part called for strengthening relations between the two sides and said, “The resistance of nations including Iran and Syria has caused a deadlock in policies of Arrogant System in economic, political and military sections.” He also turned to presence of bulling powers’ forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen and said, “The enemies’ plots will harm themselves.”

source: fars

6. Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations “historic” — qualified: Abbas meets Kuwaiti emir…not sure that conflates to “Kuwaiti-Palestinian” relations in fact pretty sure it doesn’t but anyway, here you go.


the trouble with money

1. domestic politics imperil IMF deals in Europe, Ukraine

Almost all mainland Europe’s most exposed economies — notably Ukraine, Latvia, Hungary — hold major elections in 2010, meaning short-term political ends will likely take priority over meeting IMF requirements….If countries do not follow its prescriptions, the IMF will have to decide whether to walk away and risk letting them collapse and potentially default — which could spark a wider market rout — or become less stringent in its demands.

That in itself will likely come down to how the powers that dominate IMF board voting rights choose to play it. Many of these countries, such as Britain, are simultaneously facing demands from ratings agencies to make painful cuts themselves to square their ballooning budget deficits. Troubled emerging economies will likely feel hard done by and may even band together if richer countries are slow to tackle their own debt but continue to lecture weaker states.

read more @ kyiv post

2. surprise Chinese tightening signal hits copper

Copper fell from an 18 month high but has since steadied after China’s central bank unexpectedly made moves that traders say could signal the start of monetary tightening by the super power….The People’s Bank of China unexpectedly raised rates at a three-month bill auction, which traders said could signal the start of monetary tightening.

read more @ mineweb

3. global financial overhaul soon

WASHINGTON/LONDON - GLOBAL financial regulation has changed little since the 2008 banking crisis, but that won’t be the case much longer. US and EU authorities are expected to hammer out the final shape of a new regulatory order in 2010 that will fundamentally change how world banks and markets operate. Stricter limits on leverage and capital will emerge, leading eventually to slimmer profits for banks, policy analysts said. Formerly unregulated off-exchange derivatives markets will have to conform to new procedures. Lenders’ power to package and securitise mortgages and other forms of debt will face new limits, while hedge funds - once the darlings of high finance - will face new scrutiny.

read more @ straits times

4. counterfeit US dollars all over Africa

Counterfeit United States Dollars are in huge calculation in most African countries as hardly a month passes by without arrests. Tuesday morning, both Zambian and Zimbabwean authorities announced arrests involving huge sums of counterfeit notes.

In Zambia, police Tuesday arrested a 37 year old state security intelligence officer, suspected of being member of a larger group, for being in possession of nearly US $80,000 counterfeit notes. Richard Nzala, a constable in the Office of the President, was arrested and detained by the Drug Enforcement Commission when he attempted to sell off the counterfeits to unsuspecting people, reports say….He becomes the second security personnel to be arrested in recent months following the arrest of a Zambia Army soldier who was arrested for possessing over US$ 2.5 million dollars of counterfeit notes.

read more @ afrik.com