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

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Friday, June 3, 2011

World News!

  • Greece has apparently agreed in principle to a new bail-out package.  Greece has agreed to another 6.4 billion euros in austerity measures and to (finally) start its 50 billion euro privatization program, and in return they will be granted some debt reduction and loans.  The total size is unknown, but it is reported that it should cover Greece's borrowing needs through 2012.  Now it just needs to be signed off on by the eurozone finance ministers, the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the Greek parliament.
The Hague
North Korea Crazy[1]
  • Robert King, the US envoy on human rights to North Korea, has said that his visit to North Korea was successful.  "They were willing to talk about human rights.  They were willing to look at some of the issues that we are raising with them."  He did not indicate whether talking about human rights included actually being willing to end trafficking of girls and women into China, ending forced labor and the torture of political prisoners, or granting freedom of speech and assembly to the populace.
  • Pakistan and the United States have agreed to resume cooperating.  "There will be joint operations.  These could be intelligence sharing," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua.
  • Following up on the governmental amnesty offer, Syrian troops bombarded Rastan, killing 15 people.  The Syrian government will most likely indicate that all 15 were members of "armed terror gangs", and is presumably maintaining "armed terror gang seeking unguided artillery shells" as a proprietary state secret.  The ability to fire artillery into a residential area and only kill the "armed terror gangs" is quire remarkable, after all.
United States
  • Moody's - the ratings agency Moody's, if you aren't sure which one I'm talking about - has announced that it will consider cutting the United States' sovereign debt credit rating if the White House and Congress do not make progress on talks to raise the debt limit.  Republicans have (of course) seized on the warning as proof of the need to make sharp spending cuts, while Democrats have (of course) seized on the warning as proof of the need to increase taxes.
  • The hacker group LulzSec hacked the Sony Pictures Entertainment servers and published the names, birth dates, address, emails, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of people who entered Sony contests.
  • Goldman Sachs is being investigated.  Again.  This time by the New York Attorney General, who is investigating them as part of a probe into the mortgage operations and securitization practices of seven banks.
  • The FBI has begun investigating the phishing scam that compromised hundreds of Gmail accounts.
  • Since the civil war in Yemen is still being reported as "violent protests", protesters shelled the home[2] of President Saleh, possibly in retaliation for Yemeni loyalist troops shelling the home[3] of Sheik Hamid al-Ahmar (the brother of the leader of the "violent protesters").  The Prime Minister is reported to have been wounded.
[1]  Who announced their new tribute album "Hackin' Yo'" by releasing a cover of Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me", the follow up Kim Jong-Il's blues-style remake of Billy Idol's "Neuromancer".
[2]  They're calling it a "compound", so it must be the residence of an Official Bad Guy.
[3]  Described as a "home", so it must be the residence of an Official Good Guy.

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