Archive for 02/13/2012

Moody’s Downgrades Six European Countries, Debt Outlook of Three Others ‘Negative’, Numerous Banks Downgraded

02/13/2012 Leave a comment

CNN – “Moody’s cut the credit ratings of six European countries on Monday amid continued anxiety over the continent’s debt crisis and its sluggish economy.

Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain were all downgraded, while three other countries — Austria, France and the United Kingdom — had the outlook on their current Aaa ratings changed to ‘negative.’

Ratings for Italy and Spain now sit at A2 and A1, respectively, while Portugal is rated Ba2, all with negative outlooks.

Moody’s said in a statement that the main drivers of the ratings changes included ‘the euro area’s prospects for institutional reform of its fiscal and economic framework’ and ‘the resources that will be made available to deal with the crisis.’ The agency also cited fragile market confidence and Europe’s ‘increasingly weak macroeconomic prospects.'” Read more.

Fitch cuts ratings on 4 Spanish banks, citing previous downgrade of country’s sovereign debt – “Fitch Ratings downgraded four banks in Spain Monday as a result of its downgrade of that nation’s credit rating. The downgrade of Spain’s debt last month will weaken the government’s ability to support its largest banks, Fitch said in a statement. That makes those banks’ debt more risky. At the same time, a weak real estate market and economy will also depress the values of assets held by the banks, Fitch said.” Read more.

S&P Downgrades 34 Italian Banks After Reducing Nation’s Rating – “UniCredit SpA, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA were among 34 Italian financial firms downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, after the credit-ratings company reduced the nation’s grade last month. UniCredit, Italy’s biggest bank, and No. 2 Intesa had their long-term ratings lowered to BBB+ from A, S&P said yesterday in a statement. Monte dei Paschi, the No. 3 bank, was reduced to BBB from BBB+. All three have a negative outlook, S&P said. Italy’s credit rating was cut two levels to BBB+ from A on Jan. 13 as S&P said European leaders’ struggle to contain the region’s debt crisis would complicate the country’s efforts to finance borrowings.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters

U.S., Israel Face Unconventional Weapons Threat from Islamic Extremists

02/13/2012 2 comments

By AARON KLEIN – “TEL AVIV – If the U.S. or Israel strikes Iran, fringe elements of the Pakistani intelligence apparatus that allegedly work with al-Qaida may attempt to coordinate terrorist attacks internationally, including using unconventional weapons, according to Arab diplomats in Pakistan.

The Arab diplomats, speaking to WND, said they did not have specifics on the nature of the attack, such as whether it would employ chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The diplomats also said they did not have specifics about the exact location of any possible terrorist threat.

TEL AVIV – If the U.S. or Israel strikes Iran, fringe elements of the Pakistani intelligence apparatus that allegedly work with al-Qaida may attempt to coordinate terrorist attacks internationally, including using unconventional weapons, according to Arab diplomats in Pakistan.

The Arab diplomats, speaking to WND, said they did not have specifics on the nature of the attack, such as whether it would employ chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The diplomats also said they did not have specifics about the exact location of any possible terrorist threat.

Precautions were put into place by the institutions, ABC reported Feb. 3, citing a letter from the head of security for the Israeli consul general for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

The letter reportedly related a higher security threat to ‘guarded sites’ such as Israeli embassies and consulates, and ‘soft sites’ such as synagogues, as well as Jewish schools, restaurants and Jewish community centers.” Read more.

Flashback: 35 Islamic Terror Training Camps Now Operating … Inside the United States – “A radical jihadist group responsible for nearly 50 attacks on American soil is operating 35 terrorist training camps across the nation, but the U.S. government refuses to include the organization on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Jamaat ul-Fuqra, known in the U.S. as ‘Muslims of America,’ has purchased or leased hundreds of acres of property – from New York to California – in which the leader, Sheikh Mubarak Gilani, boasts of conducting ‘the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare.’ In a recruitment video captured from Gilani’s ‘Soldiers of Allah,’ he states in English: ‘We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America.’” Read more.

Void of Reason: President Obama Proposes Sending $800 Million in Taxpayer Dollars to Aid the ‘Arab Spring’

02/13/2012 10 comments

Way to go, Mr. President. Other than fueling the Islamist agenda and expanding America’s $16 trillion dollar deficit waistline, throwing away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to promote the “Arab Spring” will do nothing. Why not just donate stacks of greenbacks to the homeless who are freezing right now throughout Europe? They could put it to good use and burn it for some much needed warmth. But it seems that you’d rather aid the “Arab Spring” in an effort to somehow instill sudden, fuzzy-warm feelings in the hearts and minds of Islamists instead.  President BO, not only do your policies stink, you’re much more out of touch with reality than I could have ever imagined …

By Susan Cornwell – “(Reuters) – The White House announced plans on Monday to help ‘Arab Spring’ countries swept by revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while maintaining U.S. military aid to Egypt.

In his annual budget message to Congress, President Barack Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years — $1.3 billion — despite a crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe targeting American democracy activists.

The proposals are part of Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2013, which begins October 1. His requests need the approval of Congress, where some lawmakers want to cut overseas spending to address U.S. budget shortfalls and are particularly angry at Egypt.

Obama proposed $51.6 billion in funding for the U.S. State Department and foreign aid overall, when $8.2 billion in assistance to war zones is included. The ‘core budget’ for the category would increase by 1.6 percent, officials said.

Most of the economic aid for the Arab Spring countries — $770 million — would go to establish a new ‘Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund,’ the president said in his budget plan.

Analysts said it was difficult to tell how much of the proposal was actually new money.

‘As presented it’s very difficult to determine if the Arab spring fund is new wine in new bottles or old wine in new bottles,’ said John Norris, a former U.S. foreign aid worker now at the Center for American Progress.” Read more.

Flashback: The Terrifying Truth Behind the So-Called Arab Spring – “For the watching world, it encapsulates the reality that Egypt is rapidly sliding back into brutal tyranny. The overthrow of President Mubarak’s despotic regime in February is already a distant memory, and hopes for a new era of freedom following the Arab Spring have turned to dust… There has been little condemnation from the Islamist political parties, led by the Muslim Brotherhood. That is because the Islamists, no allies of the pro-democracy movement, are playing the long game. Ultimately, what they aim to construct is a Muslim state run according to strict, fundamentalist Sharia law. And they are well on their way to that goal.” Read more.

Flashback: ‘Arab Spring’ Becoming a Nightmare for Christians – “As Islamic groups gain power throughout the Middle East, Christians here fear for their safety and are concerned about their role with regard to the future of the volatile region. ‘I fear for the Christians of the Middle East because it’s a bad situation for them,’ Lebanese parliamentarian Samy Gemayel told WND… Christians have been a minority in numerous Middle East countries for several decades, facing routine mistreatment and occasional persecution for much of that time. However, in the last year, the so-called Arab Spring has sparked intensified concern, with reports of an increase in attacks against Christians …” Read more.

Flashback: Iranian General on the ‘Arab Spring’: Whether You Like It Or Not, Egypt and Other Nations Are Becoming ‘New Irans’ – “Egypt is becoming the new Iran, ‘whether you accept it or not,’ says a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. As the radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood movement waits for an expected victory in the long and drawn-out legislative electins in Egypt, Iran is looking forward to Egypt being its next cog in the Islamic Empire that it hopes for and wants to head. ‘A number of major (new) Irans have been born in the region today. Egypt is a (new) Iran, whether you (the US-led West) accept it or not,’ reported the Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency, quoting Guards commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.” Read more.

Iran: Ayatollah Strategist Declares, ‘In the Name of Allah, Iran Must Attack Israel by 2014’

02/13/2012 Leave a comment

And “by 2014” is a euphemism for “as soon as possible”, beginning with reprisals against soft Israeli targets such as synagogues and embassies before any major strike against Israel proper …

Update: Ouch

Reuters – “Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s strategist provided the legal and religious justification for the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people, in a document published on conservative Farsi website Alef. Reports of the document began to circulate the internet this week.

The document, written by strategy specialist Alireza Forghani, outlined the reasons why, ‘In the name of Allah, Iran must attack Israel by 2014.’

Claiming to only represent the personal opinion of its author, and not the Iranian government, the doctrine was published on a website believed to have close ties with the Ayatollah.

Forghani called the Jewish state a ‘cancerous tumor for the Middle East’ and reminded his readers that ‘All our troubles are due to Israel!’

‘Every Muslim is obliged to equip himself against Israel,’ he urged, reasoning that if the Muslim world does not attack Israel in the near future, ‘the opportunity could be lost and it may not be possible to stop them.’

The document explained that the war against Israel must be carried out in the name of ‘defensive jihad’ – or the protecting of Islam against aggressors ‘who want to gain domination over the Muslims and kill them.'” Read more.

Dershowitz: US must make it clear to Iran: An attack against Jewish-American targets is an attack against America – “The Iranian government has now made crystal clear that it is at war not only with Israel and Zionism but with Jewish communities throughout the world. As Iran’s Rafah news website—identified with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—threatened last month, Iran plans to ‘take the war beyond the borders of Iran, and beyond the borders of the region.’ And last week an Iranian News Agency headline declared that ‘Israeli people must be annihilated.’ These and other recent threats have, according to news reports, led Israeli and American authorities to believe that Iran is preparing attacks against Israeli embassies and consulates world-wide …” Read more.

Iran Suspected of Attacks Against Israeli Embassies in India and Georgia, Iran Blames Israel

02/13/2012 Leave a comment

If Ahmadinejad sneezes at dinner, it is blamed on Israel. Must be Jewish pepper. If the great Ayatollah stubs his toe in the dark, it is blamed on Israel. Must be a Jewish light bulb. If an earthquake strikes Iran, it is blamed on promiscuous women. The Jews must have corrupted them. Yes, everything that happens is the work of Israel and the Jews.  Except for the lack of rain in Iran. That’s Europe’s fault.  But the technology must be Jewish …

“A bomb attack aimed at members of the Israeli embassy has injured four people in New Delhi, India, according to NDTV.

Israeli officials have said there was another attempt on a diplomat’s car in Tbilisi, Georgia, but the device did not go off. A Georgian worker at the Israeli embassy in Tbilisi said he heard strange noises in his car and alerted the police, according to Haaretz.

Security officials found the explosive device underneath the car and prevented the attack. Israeli diplomats were also reportedly targeted in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The blast in New Delhi took place late Monday evening and is reported to have occurred near the Indian prime minister’s home on Aurangzeb Road. Eyewitnesses said they saw the attackers stick explosives onto the car at a traffic signal and drive off.

NDTV has reported that the Indian defense ministry has identified the explosive as a sticky bomb that is said to contain foreign substances. Indian police officials had no CCTV coverage in the area and the investigation is now being handled as a terrorist attack.

The injured Israeli diplomat has been identified as Tal Yehoshua Koren. She was on her way to get her children from the American school. The Indian driver of the car was also injured in the attack.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the attack according to Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid.” Read more.

‘Iran says Israel attacked its own embassies’ – “Israel bombed its own embassies in New Dehli and Tbilisi in order to ‘tarnish Iran’s friendly ties with the host countries,’ Iran said on Monday, after denying Israeli accusations that Tehran and its ally in Hezbollah launched the attacks. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that ‘Israel perpetrated the terror actions to launch psychological warfare against Iran,’ according to the state Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). He said that such actions were in Israel’s ‘innate nature,’ adding that Iran condemns terrorism in the strongest terms.” Read more.

Greece: Government Passes New Austerity Measures as Rioting, Chaos Reigns in Athens

02/13/2012 Leave a comment

Update 2/13/2012: At least 45 buildings set ablaze, over 70 injured so far, at least 67 arrested. Read more

By DEREK GATOPOULOS – The Associated Press – “ATHENS, Greece — Greek lawmakers on Monday approved harsh new austerity measures demanded by bailout creditors to save the debt-crippled nation from bankruptcy, after riots in Athens and other cities left stores looted and burned and more than 120 people hurt.

The historic vote paves the way for Greece’s European partners and the International Monetary Fund to release $170 billion (euro130 billion) in new rescue loans, without which Greece would default on its mountain of debt next month and likely leave the eurozone — a scenario that would further roil global markets.

Lawmakers voted 199-74 in favor of the cutbacks, despite strong dissent among the two main coalition members.

In response, the Socialists and conservatives expelled 22 and 21 lawmakers, respectively, reducing their majority in the 300-seat parliament from 236 to 193.

Violence was also reported in six other cities, the worst in central Volos where the town hall and a tax office were damaged by fire, police said.

Sunday’s clashes erupted after more than 100,000 protesters marched to the parliament to rally against the drastic cuts, which will ax one in five civil service jobs and slash the minimum wage by more than a fifth.

At least 45 businesses were damaged by fire, including several historic buildings, movie theaters, banks and a cafeteria, in the worst riot damage in Athens in years. Fifty police officers were injured and at least 70 protesters were hospitalized. Sixth-seven suspected rioters were arrested and a further 70 detained.” Read more.

Categories: Man-Made Disasters
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