Archive for 10/07/2011

Fitch Slices Spain and Italy Credit Ratings As EU Crisis Deepens, Moody’s Downgrades Nine Portuguese Banks

10/07/2011 Leave a comment

“The ratings agencies are at it again. We have noted that the PIIGS will continue to see downgrades and that is what we are seeing today. Fitch downgraded both Italy and Spain. Shares of iShares MSCI Italy Index (NYSE: EWI) are still up 0.4% at $12.58 on the day but shares were up around $12.80 earlier today. Shares of iShares MSCI Spain Index (NYSE: EWP) are down only $0.02 at $33.65 but shares were above $34.00 earlier this morning.

Italy was cut to ‘A+’ from ‘AA-‘ today noting that the crisis is a significant financial and economic shock for Italy. It also notes that Italy has been hesitant to respond and it has eroded confidence.

Spain was downgraded to ‘AA-‘ with a negative outlook due to risks of fiscal consolidation efforts. It noted that it could go down to the ‘A-‘ range if the FROB costs are more than expected.” Read more.

Moody’s Downgrades Nine Portuguese Banks – “Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its ratings on nine Portuguese banks on Friday, citing the increased asset risk linked to their holdings of Portuguese government debt and the sovereign downgrade of Portugal in July. The ratings agency downgraded by one or two notches the senior debt and deposit ratings of nine banks and the standalone ratings of six of them. In early trading, Portugal’s top listed bank Millennium fell 1.7 percent.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters

Israel: IDF Simulates War Call-Up in Prepration for Possible Middle East War

10/07/2011 Leave a comment

By Yoav Zitun – “The IDF is taking no chances on the eve of Yom Kippur. In an unusual and rare step, The IDF’s General Staff alerted two reserve divisions as part of an emergency drill in army bases in central and northern Israel. The purpose of the exercise was to test the soldiers’ level of response and readiness for war.

On Wednesday evening, at 6 pm, reserve soldiers received a phone call ordering them to report to their units immediately. The drill ended on Thursday at 4 pm.

“The timing is more than a coincidence and is part of the army’s preparation for the upcoming days in light of changes in the region,” Head of the Operations Division’s Inspection Department, Col. Shlomi Fayer said. “The two divisions were duly found to be highly ready and capable.”

A check conducted by the Inspection Department revealed that 90% of the soldiers who were alerted reported for the drill. Commanders were on full attendance.” Read more.

Israel: High alert on Yom Kippur for fear of riots – “Security and rescue forces are on high alert ahead of Yom Kippur with reinforced deployment in sensitive areas. The Magen David Adom emergency services have raised their alert to the highest level, while police are gearing up for possible riots mainly in the north following the arson of a mosque in Tuba Zangaria. Riots are also feared in the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem around Friday prayers. The IDF will impose full closure on the West Bank which will be lifted on Saturday at midnight. Passage will only be approved in medical, humanitarian and unusual cases and subject to the Civil Administration’s approval.” Read more.

UK: Moody’s Cuts Credit Ratings of 12 British Banks, IMF Advisor: We May Have a Meltdown Across European Banking System in 2 or 3 Weeks

10/07/2011 Leave a comment

“Moody’s on Friday downgraded its ratings for a dozen British banks, including state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB, due to the removal of government financial support.

Moody’s said it chose to downgrade five large banks and seven small lenders as government action had ‘significantly reduced the predictability of support over the medium to long-term.’

The downgrades did not concern HSBC, Barclays or Standard Chartered banks, the agency said. But it added that it believed Britain’s government was in the current climate more likely to allow small lenders to fail if necessary.

The announcement comes as the European Union seeks swift recapitalisation of the region’s banks to avert the spreading across borders of the eurozone debt crisis.

Friday’s downgrades could result in banks facing higher rates of interest when looking to borrow money on markets, further hindering their attempts to return to better health.

Moody’s said it had downgraded Royal Bank of Scotland and Nationwide Building Society each by two notches to A2 from Aa3; Lloyds TSB Bank and Santander UK were cut by one grade to A1 from Aa3; the Co-Operative Bank was downgraded one level to A3 from A2.” Read more.

IMF Advisor: Could See Eurozone ‘Meltdown’ in 2 Or 3 Weeks – “In an interview on the BBC (via ZeroHedge), IMF advisor Robert Shapiro said some incredibly alarmist things. He tells broadcasters that if eurozone leaders don’t address the crisis properly we will see a meltdown as soon as later this month. In his words: ‘If they can not address [the financial crisis] in a credible way I believe within perhaps 2 to 3 weeks we will have a meltdown in sovereign debt which will produce a meltdown across the European banking system.'” Read more.

Bank of England Governor: The World is Facing the Worst Financial Crisis in History, A ‘Titanic’ Disaster for Pensioners, Savers and Workers Approaching Retirement – “‘This is the most serious financial crisis we’ve seen, at least since the 1930s, if not ever. We’re having to deal with very unusual circumstances, but to act calmly to this and to do the right thing.’ Announcing its decision, the Bank said that the eurozone debt crisis was creating ‘severe strains in bank funding markets and financial markets’… Financial experts said the committee’s actions would be a ‘Titanic’ disaster for pensioners, savers and workers approaching retirement. Sir Mervyn suggested that was a price worth paying to save the economy from recession.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters

Australia: Sixteen Horses Die at Kooralbyn Property and Authorities Don’t Know Why

10/07/2011 Leave a comment

“A mystery illness has killed 16 quarter horses on a property west of the Gold Coast, and vets and Biosecurity Queensland are trying to pinpoint why so many healthy animals died so quickly.

With Hendra virus ruled out as the cause on Friday, scientists and local vets are leaning towards the possibility the animals may have fallen victim to some type of toxic weed.

Devastated owner Steve Hogno says his horses started dropping dead on Thursday.

Mr Hogno, who was working at a mine site in Western Australia, returned to his home at Kooralbyn near Beaudesert on Friday morning.

‘They appear to have died quickly. They just dropped, and that was that,’ he told AAP.

‘The Hendra tests have come back clear. That still leaves it a mystery as to what caused the problem, but at least it does put the local community’s mind to rest a little bit, knowing there’s not Hendra in the area.’

Autopsies have been performed on some of the dead quarter horses, but Dr David Ahern from Scenic Rim Veterinary Service says results won’t be known until Monday or Tuesday.

‘Samples of brain, lungs, spleen and other organs have been taken, and they have to be fixed in formalin for a few days before thin slices can be taken and examined under a microscope to see if an infectious disease or a toxin has killed the horses,’ he said.

Queensland’s chief vet Rick Symons said there was no sign of foul play and the RSPCA has ruled out neglect.

Locals noticed five dead and three sick fillies and mares, which were infested with ticks, in a paddock near Kooralbyn on Thursday.

The three sick horses were euthanased, but the death toll increased to 12 on Friday morning. By late afternoon four more had been put down, lifting the death toll to 16 with only nine surviving.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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