Tuesday, July 31, 2012

LIBOR and EURIBOR fraudulent fixing

LIBOR and EURIBOR were meant to provide a fair and equitable way of determining inter-bank lending rates that determined other interest rates.

But we now know that they were manipulated to provide an unfair and inequitable advantage to the manipulating banks.

Funny how in the 21st century, with computers everywhere, doing everything, the Libor rate was set by fallible and corruptible humans rather than automatically calculated from actual transactions!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Great 'natural' imports ... ?

TOBACCO: When Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco from America to England, it was deemed to be a wonder drug.  But several centuries later tobacco is the cause of lung cancer and multi-million $ in health care.  

"In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh helped found the infamous settlement on Roanoke Island in Virginia. Although this colony was short-lived and no one quite knows for sure what happened to its residents, Roanoke did leave at least one lasting legacy that continues to influence our lives to day. It was at Roanoke that Europeans first had experience with tobacco. Thus, our multi-billion dollar cigarette industry (and its effect on the general health) is the direct product of the efforts of those early settlers on Roanoke Island to popularize the drug in Europe. http://socyberty.com/history/how-sir-walter-raleigh-helped-introduce-tobacco-to-europeans/#ixzz20ynzQ1AV

POTATO: And Sir Walter Raleigh is credited with importing the potato. Another wonder produce that helped to improve people's diets, until in 1845 there was a potato blight that changed teh face of Ireland forever.

"During the summer of 1845, a "blight of unusual character" devastated Ireland's potato crop, the basic staple in the Irish diet. A few days after potatoes were dug from the ground, they began to turn into a slimy, decaying, blackish "mass of rottenness." Expert panels convened to investigate the blight's cause suggested that it was the result of "static electricity" or the smoke that billowed from railroad locomotives or the "mortiferous vapours" rising from underground volcanoes. In fact, the cause was a fungus that had traveled from Mexico to Ireland.

"Famine fever"--cholera, dysentery, scurvy, typhus, and infestations of lice--soon spread through the Irish countryside. Observers reported seeing children crying with pain and looking "like skeletons, their features sharpened with hunger and their limbs wasted, so that there was little left but bones." Masses of bodies were buried without coffins, a few inches below the soil.
Over the next ten years, more than 750,000 Irish died and another 2 million left their homeland for Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. Within five years, the Irish population was reduced by a quarter.

MORPHINE & OPIUM: Although used for millennia, Opium and morphine did not become problems until the 19th century in England and in China. Initially it was used as medication, but abuse soon caught on. Today, of course along with cocaine, these drugs are the root cause of a lot of crime in most Western countries.

TEA: When English merchants brought tea from China to England in the latter part of the 17th Century, it slowly grew to be such a great drink that housewives did not trust their maids to look after the cupboard where it was stored but rather kept the key themselves. Sadly, along with silk and porcelain, England found that the trade balance was impossible to sustain as the Chinese apparently desired nothing in return apart from silver.  This led to the infamous Opium Wars and the quasi-colonialisation of China and the 'century of humiliation'.
http://chindia-alert.org/why-is-chindia-a-big-deal/ and http://chindia-alert.org/historical-perspectives/china-20c-timeline/

Once again we see the Law of Unintended Consequences at play.

Monday, July 16, 2012

'Spare the rod and spoil the child'?

From Daily Mail: "A growing lack of adult authority has bred a 'spoilt generation' of children who believe grown-ups must earn their respect, a leading psychologist has warned.
The rise of the 'little emperor' spans the class divide and is fuelling ills from childhood obesity to teenage pregnancy, Aric Sigman's research shows.

Attempts to 'empower' children and a lack of discipline in the classroom have also fostered rising levels of violence, at home, at school and in the street.

Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, said nursery-age children are becoming increasingly violent and disrespectful towards their teachers, 'parent battering' is on the rise and the number of policemen attacked by children is soaring.

Dr Sigman said: 'Authority is a basic health requirement in children's lives.
'Children of the spoilt generation are used to having their demands met by their parents and others in authority, and that in turn makes them unprepared for the realities of adult life. 

'This is partly the result of an inability to distinguish between being authoritative versus authoritarian, leaving concepts such as authority and boundaries blurred.'This has consequences in every area of society, from the classroom to the workplace, the streets to the criminal courts and rehabilitation clinics. Being spoilt is now classless - from aristocracy to underclass, children are now spoilt in ways that go far beyond materialism.

'And the consequences are measurable - Britain now has the highest rates of child depression, child-on-child murder, underage pregnancy, obesity, violent and antisocial behaviour and pre-teen alcoholism since records began.'

For his report, The Spoilt Generation, he drew on 150 studies and reports, including official figures on crime and data on parenting strategies."

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1213236/The-spoilt-generation-Youngsters-lack-respect-authority-attacking-parents-police-teachers.html#ixzz20oPRLAyF

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ordination of Bishops Increases Tensions Between China and Vatican

NY Times: “In a sign of rising tensions between the Vatican and China, authorities in recent days have ordained one Catholic bishop without Rome’s consent and detained another after he made a dramatic break with the country’s Communist-run religious hierarchy.

On Friday, government officials organized the consecration of the Rev. Joseph Yue Fusheng as bishop in the northern city of Harbin. Bishop Yue’s nomination had not been approved by the Vatican, and reports said bishops loyal to the Vatican were forced to participate — a common practice meant to give Beijing-appointed bishops legitimacy in the eyes of local believers. The Vatican immediately excommunicated him.
Then, on Saturday in Shanghai, the most important city for China’s Catholics, the Rev. ThaddeusMa Daqin, a man widely seen as acceptable to both Beijing and Rome, was consecrated as auxiliary bishop, which would put him in line to succeed Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, 95, who had been approved by both Beijing and Rome.
But Bishop Ma stunned hundreds of worshipers in the city’s Cathedral of St. Ignatius by announcing that he would no longer work for the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the government-run body that oversees Catholics in China.
“In the light of the teaching of our mother church, as I now serve as a bishop, I should focus on pastoral work and evangelization,” Bishop Ma told the crowded church. “Therefore, from this day of consecration, it will no longer be convenient for me to be a member of the patriotic association.”
The announcement, captured on video and posted on foreign and Chinese Web sites, was met with sustained applause from the congregation.
Bishop Ma’s fate is unclear. Catholic Church members in Shanghai said he did not lead Mass on Sunday as scheduled. They say he was taken away after the service and is being held at the Sheshan Catholic seminary, on the outskirts of Shanghai.”
This series of confrontations between the Chinese authorities and the Vatican could well have the unintended consequence of increasing conversion to the Catholic churchand, most certainly, increase church attendance.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Child trafficking in China - unintended consequence of one-child policy

NY Times: "The police have arrested 802 people on suspicion of child trafficking and have rescued 181 children in a major operation spanning 15 provinces, the Ministry of Public Security said Friday. The recent operation broke up two trafficking rings and led to the arrests of the ringleaders, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site. China’s strict one-child policy has driven a thriving market in babies, especially boys because of a traditional preference for male heirs."
'It is good to have only one child'

One of the unintended but direct consequences of the Chinese one-child policy.
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