"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

World News! Now With Exploding Watermelon!

  • In a move that surprised nobody, the IMF has named Christine Lagarde - the European candidate - President.  Contender Augustin Carstens was described as "well qualified", but lacked certain key qualities[1].
  • Following yesterday's French airlift of weapons to Libyan rebels - a possible violation of a UN arms embargo and of the terms of the UN resolution currently being used to justify NATO attacks on Libya - NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen has said that NATO was not involved.
  • The African Union has condemned the French decision to air-drop weapons to Libyan rebels, expressing fears that the civil war could spill over into neighboring countries.
  • Police arrested six men for attempting to smuggle and sell 1.8 kg of uranium-235, the weapons- and reactor-grade isotope.  The uranium is believed to have come from Russia, and it is unknown to what level it was enriched.
United Kingdom
United States
  • Quantitative Easing 2 has officially ended today.  So far, the markets appear unconcerned.
  • The latest Wikileaks embarrassment?  Revelations that contractors for Fruit of the Loom Hanes, and Levi's obtained the close cooperation of the US Embassy to Haiti to limit the 2009 minimum wage increase for textile workers in that nation to $3 per day.  Workers in all the other sectors got an extravagant $5 per day minimum wage, still $7 per day below the cost of living for a family of three, but which was still protested by the US Embassy for failing to "take economic reality into account".
  • Firefighters are struggling to contain a wildfire in Arizona that has burned 110 square miles already, and that threatens to reach radioactive waste stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Radioactive fire - which sounds like the name of an early-80s metal band  - is a genuine possibility.
  • TDL-4, a new botnet capable of hiding in the Windows master boot record, is your new internet security nightmare.  Most security programs don't scan the master boot record.
  • The IMF has warned that the US debt burden is on an "unsustainable trajectory", and that failure to take action on the current US debt issue would not only "have significant global repercussions", but could also lead to a downgrade in the country's AAA debt rating.
  • The city of San Francisco is contemplating banning pet sales, and sales of live animals for non-human animal food, as a way to prevent animal cruelty.  Buying lobsters to boil alive will still be legal, as long as your dog doesn't get the leftovers.
[1]  Those qualities being 1) European and 2) white.

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