Archive for 10/08/2011

Entire System of Global Trade At Risk, ‘The Difficulties of 2008 Were But a Foretaste’ of What’s Coming as Politicians and Economists Sense We’re Out of Options

10/08/2011 Leave a comment

“Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, this week called the current financial crisis ‘the most serious… since the 1930s, if ever’, in justification for a further £75 billion of ‘quantitative easing’. Since Sir Mervyn cited the chaos of the inter-war years, it seems appropriate to quote Winston Churchill: ‘Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusions of counsel, until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features that constitute the endless repetition of history.’

We are at just such a moment again. Little more than two years ago, global leaders were happily congratulating themselves on having avoided the mistakes of the 1930s, thereby averting a depression. But now it appears that the difficulties of 2008 were but a foretaste of what was to come. With the European banking system again on the verge of collapse, there is a sense that politicians and economists are out of options, that governments and central banks are powerless before events. The best of the cavalry has been sent into battle, and it has come back in tatters. The fiscal armoury has been exhausted, the support offered by the boom in emerging markets such as China and India over the past two years seems to be on its last legs, and there is but the small rifle fire of the central bank printing presses left to defend us.

If it has been obvious for some time that we are caught up in an extreme financial crisis, the extent of its severity has acquired greater clarity in being described by the Governor of the Bank of England. Never before has the global financial system been so interlinked and integrated, which means that problems in one part of the world are capable of causing severe stress almost everywhere else. We once more face a perfect storm of cascading default, contracting credit and collapsing economic activity.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters

Report: Food Crisis Grips North Korea

10/08/2011 Leave a comment

“HAEJU, North Korea – In a pediatric hospital in North Korea’s most productive farming province, children lay two to a bed. All showed signs of severe malnutrition: skin infections, patchy hair, listless apathy.

‘Their mothers have to bring them here on bicycles,’ said duty doctor Jang Kum Son in the Yellow Sea port city of Haeju. ‘We used to have an ambulance but it’s completely broken down. One mother travelled 72 kilometers . By the time they get here, it’s often too late.’

It’s also getting late for North Korea to get the massive amount of food aid it claims to need before the harsh winter sets in. The country’s dysfunctional food-distribution system, rising global commodities prices and sanctions imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs had contributed to what appears to be a hunger crisis in the North, even before devastating summer floods and typhoons compounded the emergency.

The regime’s appeals for massive food aid have gone mostly unanswered by a skeptical international community. Only 30 percent of a United Nations food aid target for North Korea has been met so far. The United States and South Korea, the two biggest donors before sanctions, have said they won’t resume aid until they are satisfied the military-led communist regime won’t divert the aid for its own uses and progress is made on disarmament talks.

South Korea also says the North is exaggerating the severity of its food crisis. Visiting scholars, tourists and charity workers have sent out conflicting views about it.

The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), for instance, said last month after visiting the North that ‘the damage was not so significant.’ Another U.N. body, the World Food Programme, which has a regular presence in the North, warned in March of growing hunger. The sharp divergence of views is one reason why the U.N.’s emergency relief coordinator will visit this month to assess the situation.” Read more.

Canary Islands: Something is Happening at El Hierro as Magma Churns Below Surface and Earthquake Swarms Increase

10/08/2011 Leave a comment

“CANARY ISLANDS – An intensified sustained earthquake swarm is now taking place at the Canary Islands and it appears the magma is now on the move again bubbling closer to the surface and incinerating more rock in the process. Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen the depths of the tremors rising up to within 11 km from a depth average of about 14.5 to 15 km. The number of seismic volcanic tremors has also doubled at El Hierro since Wednesday. On Wednesday, October 5, there were 79 recorded seismic events. On Thursday, there were 160 and on Friday, October 7th, there were 177.” Source.

Nevada: More Than 1,900 Birds Dead From Avian Botulism Near Stillwater, Starting to Get ‘Out of Control’

10/08/2011 Leave a comment

By Jeff DeLong – “Nearly 2,000 ducks and other birds are dead from avian botulism in one of Nevada’s more significant outbreaks of the disease.

Mallards, green-wing teals, redhead ducks and other birds including American avocets and white-faced ibis began dying at a private lake about 20 miles southwest of Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge on Aug. 30.

The number of bacteria-killed birds has been on a steady rise ever since and could make 2011 one of the 10 worst years for botulism outbreaks since state records started in 1949.

‘It’s starting to get a bit out of control,’ said Russell Woolstenhulme, a migratory game bird specialist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

The die-off is occurring at Six Man Club, a private hunting lake near Carson Lake south of Fallon. On Wednesday, crews working by air boat fished 398 dead birds out of the water and on Thursday, another 344, Woolstenhulme said. As of Friday, 1,942 birds have died.” Read more.

US: Listeria Outbreak Death Toll Rises to 21, More Illnesses Expected Through October

10/08/2011 Leave a comment

“Federal health authorities say a nationwide outbreak of listeria in Colorado cantaloupes is now responsible for 21 deaths and the number may continue to grow.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported new deaths in Indiana and New York. The CDC also confirmed a death in Wyoming that state officials reported last week. CDC said 109 people have been sickened in the outbreak — including the 21 dead — in 23 states from California to the East Coast.

The agency previously reported five deaths in Colorado, five in New Mexico, two in Texas, two in Kansas and one each in Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. CDC said it is also aware of one miscarriage associated with the outbreak.

The death toll in the cantaloupe outbreak is now tied with a 1998 outbreak of listeria in hot dogs and possibly deli meats made by Bil Mar Foods, a subsidiary of Sara Lee Corp. That outbreak was also linked to 21 deaths. The deadliest outbreak in the United States before that is believed to have been listeria in Mexican-style soft cheese in 1985, which was linked to 52 deaths.

CDC officials have said the symptoms of listeria can take up to two months to show up and that they expect more illnesses through October.” Read more.

Categories: Pestilence
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