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Saturday
Mar152008

Foreign Buyers Swoop Up American Property Due to Weak Dollar

Stephane Torriglia flew in from Spain about a month ago to check out a rowhouse for sale on Capitol Hill and declared it the "perfect" buy for someone like him, a foreign businessman with euros to invest.

"The idea is we'll convert our euros into dollars," Torriglia said. "We can rent the place out. Maybe in five years or six, the dollar will be strong again and the real estate will gain value. It's an opportunity."

With the U.S. dollar at its weakest level in decades, international buyers are chasing housing bargains here, eager to take advantage of their purchasing power and the declining prices in some of the best-known U.S. cities.

Against that backdrop, the Washington area is luring more than the usual crowd of diplomats. Now that the dollar is cheap, the region's appeal has broadened, enticing international business types and sophisticated investors who find comfort in the area's global reputation as a recession-proof market.

Several area real estate agents said inquiries from abroad have at least doubled since a year ago, mostly from wealthy Europeans and people in such growing economies as India and Russia, where the currencies are gaining against the dollar. Some are making all-cash offers. Even Web sites are seeing a surge in page views from overseas. The international traffic for D.C. area listings was recently up 60 percent year over year on http://Zillow.com, a popular real estate Web site.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Chinese Forces Say They’ve Secured Tibet’s Capital

Thousands of Buddhist monks and other Tibetans clashed with the riot police in a second Chinese city on Saturday, while the authorities said they had regained control of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, a day after a rampaging mob ransacked shops and set fire to cars and storefronts in a deadly riot.

Conflicting reports emerged about the violence in Lhasa on Friday. The Chinese authorities denied that they had fired on protesters there, but Tibetan leaders in India told news agencies on Saturday that they had confirmed that 30 Tibetans had died and that they had unconfirmed reports that put the number at more than 100.

Demonstrations erupted for the second consecutive day in the city of Xiahe in Gansu Province, where an estimated 4,000 Tibetans gathered near the Labrang Monastery. Local monks had held a smaller protest on Friday, but the confrontation escalated Saturday afternoon, according to witnesses and Tibetans in India who spoke with protesters by telephone.

Residents in Xiahe, reached by telephone, heard loud noises similar to gunshots or explosions. A waitress described the scene as “chaos” and said many injured people had been sent to a local hospital. Large numbers of military police and security officers fired tear gas while Tibetans hurled rocks, according to the Tibetans in India.

“Their slogans were, ‘The Dalai Lama must return to Tibet’ and ‘Tibetans need to have human rights in Tibet,’ ” said Jamyang, a Tibetan in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, who spoke to protesters.

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Saturday
Mar152008

Fed Efforts Foiled By Banks as Mortgage Rates Rise!

By Bob Ivry and Sharon L. Lynch / Bloomberg

Ben S. Bernanke can't revive the housing market and the banks are no help.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has cut interest rates five times since September and this week pumped $200 billion into the financial system. Yesterday its New York branch provided funds to help rescue Bear Stearns Cos.

Those initiatives haven't brought down mortgage rates for residential borrowers, whose success in refinancing or buying would help bolster the U.S. economy. The interest rate on a 30- year fixed-rate mortgage has climbed to 6.37 percent from 5.5 percent since Jan. 24, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, as financial institutions try to cover $195 billion in mortgage-related losses and save capital for future losses.

``The mortgage rate isn't down as much as it should be because the banks are in desperate straits and they need to maintain a larger spread than they normally would,'' said Alan Nevin, chief economist with the California Building Industry Association in Sacramento. ``The banks need to generate income and the easiest way to do that is to broaden the spread. If they pay 3.5 percent and charge 6 percent, that's a lot of money.''

Over the past 10 years, the average spread between 10-year U.S. Treasuries and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages has been 1.75 percent. Last week, it 2.83 percent, pushing mortgage costs up.

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Saturday
Mar152008

The Ron Paul Revolution Continues

The High Tide could be a lifting anthem for the Ron Paul Revolution as it seeks ways to voice its message in the post-campaign era.

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Friday
Mar142008

Fed Chief Warns Anew on Foreclosures

Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, added fresh warnings on Friday about a gathering wave of home foreclosures bearing down on American communities, while pledging new regulations to limit the impact and crack down on predatory mortgage lending.

“Mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates have increased substantially over the past year and a half,” Mr. Bernanke said during a speech in Washington. “Behind these disturbing statistics are families facing personal and financial hardship and neighborhoods that may be destabilized by clusters of foreclosures.”

“These realities challenge to find ways to prevent unnecessary foreclosures,” and “ensure a regulatory environment that promotes responsible lending,” he added.

The chairman’s words before the annual meeting of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition were perhaps most notable for what they left unsaid: At a time of grave concern about a recession that many economists believe has already begun, Mr. Bernanke offered no clues as to whether another cut in interest rates is in the offing when Fed governors convene on Tuesday.

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Friday
Mar142008

Sydney Conference: 9/11 - Physics and Findings: Challenging the NIST Report

Dr. David Leifer, Registered Architect and Incorporated Engineer of the Faculty of Architecture, Design Science and Planning at the University of Sydney

In Sydney a conference is now under way challenging the official version and lack of investigation into what happened during the September 11, 2001 attacks in the USA.

Dr David Leifer, Registered Architect and Incorporated Engineer of the Faculty of Architecture, Design Science and Planning at the University of Sydney was the first speaker at the conference.

"We've all seen graphic video images of planes smashing into WTC 1 and 2 on 11th September 2001, we also saw in real time the two towers spectacularly collapse, for which it appears obvious to all that the impact of the planes and subsequent fires were the cause" he started his speech. Seemingly only a fool or subversive would question this chain of events..." he said.

"The official explanation for a string of events surrounding 4 hijackings, the collapses of WTC 1, 2 and 7 and the attack on the Pentagon are anomalous or involve such a large number of unlikely individual events that when strung together are so statistically improbable as to be impossible.

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Friday
Mar142008

German Scientist Exposes Chemtrails As Military Operations

A TV news report from Germany available at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVc9GX5K_As) confirmed that the German Military is manipulating the climate in Germany. As a result scientists have filed a lawsuit against the government for climate manipulation.

The video concludes, "We can state with a 97% certainty that we have on our hands chemical trails (chemtrails) comprised by fine dust containing polymers and metals, used to disrupt radar signals."

The purpose of chemtrails, which are well documented over the United State and other parts of the world, according to researchers, is to manipulate the weather. Karsten Brandt, German meteorologist states, "The Federal Army is Manipulating the Meteorological maps."

The disruption of radar signals is the main purpose theorizes Mr. Brandt in the interview. "I was surprised that this artificial cloud was so wide-spread.

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Friday
Mar142008

No Immunity for Law-Breaking Telecoms in New Democratic Bill

The House on Friday approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government's eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States.

The bill, approved as lawmakers departed for a two-week break, faces a veto threat from President Bush. The margin of House approval was 213-197, largely along party lines.

Because of the promised veto, "this vote has no impact at all," said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

The president's main objection is that the bill does not protect from lawsuits the telecommunications companies that allowed the government to eavesdrop on their customers without a court's permission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The vote sent the bill to the Senate, which has passed its own version that includes the legal immunity for telecom companies that Bush is demanding.

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Friday
Mar142008

Stocks Tumble on Bank’s Troubles

Stocks were down sharply on Wall Street on Friday afternoon after JPMorgan Chase and the Federal Reserve moved to bail out Bear Stearns, the beleaguered investment bank.

An early-morning bounce gave way to a vertigo-inducing drop after Bear’s announcement, which ignited fears that large banks remain vulnerable to the continuing credit crisis. The Dow Jones industrials plunged 300 points, recovered much of that ground and then sank anew.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m., the Dow was down 287.62, or 2.4 percent, at 11,927.40.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broader measure of the stock market, was down 2.9 percent after following a similar morning trajectory. The Nasdaq composite index lost 3.1 percent. Major European markets closed off about 1 percent.

The news from Bear Stearns came after the bank had insisted for days that its finances were in adequate shape. But the situation rapidly changed.

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Friday
Mar142008

New Audits Show Americans Targeted by FBI

The FBI has increasingly used administrative orders to obtain the personal records of U.S. citizens rather than foreigners implicated in terrorism or counterintelligence investigations, and at least once it relied on such orders to obtain records that a special intelligence-gathering court had deemed protected by the First Amendment, according to two government audits released yesterday.

The episode was outlined in a Justice Department report that concluded the FBI had abused its intelligence-gathering privileges by issuing inadequately documented "national security letters" from 2003 to 2006, after which changes were put in place that the report called sound.

A report a year ago by the Justice Department's inspector general disclosed that abuses involving national security letters had occurred from 2003 through 2005 and helped provoke the changes. But the report makes it clear that the abuses persisted in 2006 and disclosed that 60 percent of the nearly 50,000 security letters issued that year by the FBI targeted Americans.

Because U.S. citizens enjoy constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, judicial warrants are ordinarily required for government surveillance.

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Friday
Mar142008

Dollar Squeezed From All Sides

Ordinarily, it only takes one major setback to drive down the value of the dollar: huge trade and current account deficits, falling Federal Reserve interest rates, rising U.S. inflation or a loss of confidence in the U.S. economy.

But the United States is grappling with all of those economic problems at once, and yesterday that sent the dollar to record lows against the euro and pushed it below 100 yen for the first time since 1995. Gold topped $1,000 an ounce as investors sought to invest in something they thought would retain value.

"It's a potent mix," said Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard University and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. "The dollar could drop much further."

"It's not clear that we know how to get out of this," said Edwin M. Truman, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former head of the Federal Reserve's international finance division. He said that a number of factors go into currency markets but that for the dollar, "all the factors are pointing in the same direction." He added, "the notion that the United States is at top of its game is not there."

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Friday
Mar142008

Elite Plan to Watch Armageddon in HD Underground

By Stanley Needler / NWO666

Mount Weather is a top-security underground installation an hour's drive from Washington DC. It has its own leaders, police, fire department - and laws. A cold war relic, it has been given a new lease of life since 9/11. The elite, as we sometimes call them, aren't too worried about the end of the world! They have underground cities complete with hospitals that will protect them from the rotten fruit of their labor. They are indeed delusional and possessed by evil! They think they can destroy the Earth and humanity and escape the wrath of Nature with nary a scratch! Maybe, they'll leave their underground bunkers one day and fly to another galaxy or travel in a worm hole to a new space and time. They would then be the new Adam and Eve. Their dream would finally be realized. Margaret Sanger and many others would be so happy! The tale of Eve being an African woman and that all of humanity emanated from African DNA would be a tale long forgotten! Little do the elite know, they'll be a plague upon the universe!

The world has witnessed untold evil by this group of thugs! The list of evil is unparalleled but sufficeth to say... it reaches up to Heaven. The NWO makes a mockery of reality. And we suck in their filthy lies like a kid in a candy store licking his  favorite lollipop!

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Friday
Mar142008

Abbas accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of implementing policies he claimed were part of an "ethnic cleansing" campaign in the Palestinian areas of Jerusalem.

Speaking at a summit of Islamic countries in the Senegalese capital Dakar, Abbas said Israel had carried out policies designed to force Palestinians out of the city.

"Our people in Jerusalem are under an ethnic cleansing campaign," Abbas said in a speech. "They are suffering from a series of decisions like tax hikes and construction prohibitions."

Abbas said Palestinians "are facing a campaign of annihilation" by the Israeli state.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that "we would not use that term to describe the situation. I think it's probably an example of some overheated political rhetoric."

"We would urge both sides, both the Israelis and the Palestinians, to keep their focus on the political process," McCormack said.

At the summit of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim organization, Abbas appealed to Muslim leaders for support during a difficult junction in the Mideast peace process.

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Friday
Mar142008

U.S. Accused of Altering Gitmo Evidence

A U.S. military commander altered a report on a firefight in Afghanistan to cast blame for the death of a Delta Force commando on a Canadian youth who was captured after the shooting stopped, a defense attorney said Thursday.

The attorney, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, made the allegation at a pretrial hearing as he argued for access to the officer, identified only as "Col. W," as well as details about interrogations that he said might help clear his client of war-crimes charges.

The U.S. military has charged Omar Khadr with murder for throwing a grenade that killed Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during a U.S. military raid on July 27, 2002, on an al-Qaida compound in eastern Afghanistan. Khadr's case is on track to be the first to go to trial under a military tribunal system at this U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

The military commander's official report the day after the raid originally said the assailant who threw the grenade was killed, which would rule out Khadr as the suspect.

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Thursday
Mar132008

FBI Tries to Hide Their Illegal Acquisition of Phone Records

FBI headquarters officials sought to cover their informal and possibly illegal acquisition of phone records on thousands of Americans from 2003 to 2005 by issuing 11 improper, retroactive "blanket" administrative subpoenas in 2006 to three phone companies that are under contract to the FBI, according to an audit released Thursday.

Top officials at the FBI's counter-terrorism division signed the blanket subpoenas "retroactively to justify the FBI's acquisition of data through the exigent letters or or other informal requests," the Justice Department's Inspector General Glenn Fine found.

The revelations come in a follow-up report to Fine's 2007 finding that the FBI abused a key Patriot Act power, known as a National Security Letter. That first reports showed that FBI agents were routinely sloppy in using the self-issued subpoenas and issued hundreds that claimed fake emergencies.

With the flawed follow-up letters, the Counterterrorism division attempted to provide retroactive legal justification for telephone data the division had gotten on 3,860 phone numbers, gotten either through verbal requests to the companies or false emergency requests.

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Thursday
Mar132008

Dollar's Tumble Rattles World Markets

Wall Street joined the global equity market sell-off this afternoon while the FTSE 100 ended the day down 1.5% as fears over a weak dollar, credit market turmoil and impending recession continue to rattle nerves.

Markets in Asia, Europe and the US have all been sold off over the last 24 hours. The dollar is also coming under significant pressure, not helped by more bad news from the US economy today, this time on high street spending. Meanwhile oil and gold have shot up to record highs on the back of the weakening US currency.

The dollar fell below 100 yen for the first time in 12 years today and hit a new record low against the euro amid fears in currency markets that the US financial system is vulnerable to the recession spreading from the crisis-hit housing sector.

With troubled hedge fund Carlyle Capital Corp (CCC) lurching towards collapse, stock markets fell sharply as investors feared that the financial turbulance was approaching a new level.

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