'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march

'Dump Trump': Tens of thousands join global march
Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the 'Women's March on Washington' on January 21, 2017 (AFP Photo/Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide

March for Science protesters hit the streets worldwide
Thousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of scienceThousands of people in Australia and New Zealand on Saturday kicked off the March for Science, the first of more than 500 marches around the globe in support of science

Bernie Sanders and the Movement Where the People Found Their Voice

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)


.
A student holds a sign reading "Don't shoot, listen!!!" during a protest
on June 17, 2013 in Brasilia (AFP, Evaristo)

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini

FIFA scandal engulfs Blatter and Platini
FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) shakes hands with UEFA president Michel Platini after being re-elected following a vote in Zurich on May 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/Michael Buholzer)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018

Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl' statue to stay until 2018
The " Fearless Girl " statue on Wall Street is seen by many as a defiant symbol of women's rights under the new administration of President Donald Trump (AFP Photo/ TIMOTHY A. CLARY)



“… The Fall of Many - Seen It Yet?

You are going to see more and more personal secrets being revealed about persons in high places of popularity or government. It will seem like an epidemic of non-integrity! But what is happening is exactly what we have been teaching. The new energy has light that will expose the darkness of things that are not commensurate with integrity. They have always been there, and they were kept from being seen by many who keep secrets in the dark. Seen the change yet?

In order to get to a more stable future, you will have to go through gyrations of dark and light. What this means is that the dark is going to be revealed and push back at you. It will eventually lose. We told you this. That's what you're here for is to help those around you who don't see an escape from the past. They didn't get their nuclear war, but everything else is going into the dumper anyway. … “

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Debate over monetary system grows

Nearly all money is created by commercial banks in the act of lending. They also decide whom to lend it to, and for what purposes. Is this good for the economy? A growing movement is arguing for an alternative.

Deutsche Welle, 28 Nov 2014


Where does money come from? Printing it yourself, unsurprisingly, is illegal. But in today's digital society, creating money has less and less to do with the printing of notes or minting of coins.

"If you ask people where money comes from, most of them will say it's made by the government," says Ben Dyson, founder of the UK organization Positive Money, part of a growing international movement pushing for reform to the current monetary system."But the reality is that the government is only responsible for creating three percent of the money that we use, and that three percent is the cash: the coins and the paper money."

In fact, money is created when commercial banks issue credit, or "make loans". Banks don't take money from someone else's account when they make a new loan. Rather, they enter the amount of the loan simultaneously as a debt and a credit, in equal amount, on either side of a double-entry bookkeeping ledger.

“When a bank makes a loan ... it credits the borrower's bank account with a bank deposit ... At that moment, new money is created," explains the Bank of England in its 2014 introduction to money in the modern economy.

That is how new money - and debt - enter the financial system. Conversely, when a borrower pays back a bank loan, the entries on both sides of the ledger are cancelled - both the "money" (credit record) and the corresponding debt are destroyed.

Cash is actually just a physical token
that people can obtain for money that
 originally arose as an electronic credit
record in the banking system, when a loan
was approved
So if everyone in the Eurozone paid back the principal of all their bank debts tomorrow, at the end of the day, there would be no debt, but neither would there be any money left anywhere in the system. The modern monetary system, in fact, is a scorekeeping system composed of precisely equal amounts of bank credit and bank debt.

Transferable IOUs administered by the banking system

What we think of "money" is really nothing other than transferable IOUs created and administered by the banking system, and supported by contract law.

The banking system's job is twofold: First, to keep track of exactly how much is owed to whom - by debtors to banks, and by banks to creditors.

And second, to decide on the allocation of new loans - to whom, and for what purposes. That's a powerful role - and a growing international movement is pushing for a wide social and political debate over the role of banks in making such decisions.

Creating electronic money

In the UK, 97 percent of the money that exists, Dyson says, is electronic money – money which exists only in computer banking systems and not in physical form. This is created not by the state, but by commercial banks.

In Germany, where many businesses do not accept card payments, around 85 percent of money is electronic and created by commercial banks, and 15 percent is cash, according to a German branch of the monetary reform movement called the Monetative.

While governments create money as coins and notes, commercial or high street banks create money as debt.

Financial instability, social disadvantage

"What this means for the economy is that because it is the banks that are creating the money and deciding who to lend it to, they get to choose where that money goes, for what purposes," Dyson told DW. The monetary reform movement argues that this is not only undemocratic, but damaging to the economy too.

According to Positive Money's research, in the ten years leading up to the financial crisis, around half of the money created by commercial banks was going directly into mortgage lending - loans to enable people to buy houses or commercial property - and around a third into the financial market, in order to buy existing financial assets, not to make new investments in things like factories.

"All that mortgage lending had the effect of pushing up house prices, and created a lot of instability in the market," Dyson says. Unaffordable housing has been a particular problem for the UK during the past couple of decades, as mortgage over-lending has relentlessly inflated a bubble in the price of housing.

If and when that bubble pops, many people will be left with housing debt in excess of the current market value of the house they borrowed so much money to buy. Precisely that problem - the bursting of a huge bubble in real estate prices - is what led to the economic depression in Spain after 2008. Instead of spending money on consumer goods or investment, Spaniards have been trying to pay down excessive debt accumulated pre-2008 during a decade-long era of real estate speculation.

Post-crisis public spending austerity has hit
 the UK hard - yet critics say it could be
 ended tomorrow with fresh central bank
money
Growing debate

Dyson and his counterparts around the world – the International Association for Monetary Reform lists initiatives in 20 countries – are not alone in believing in the need for change. The debate is also taking off among economists and politicians, particularly in the UK, where last week a backbench parliamentary debate took place to discuss the issue took place.

Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, has written several recent columns in favor of stripping the banks of their monopoly on the power to create money.

Lord Adair Turner, former head of the UK's Financial Services Authority, recently wrote a Financial Times opinion article calling on the UK government to direct the Bank of England to create debt-free money to fund the government deficit.

The government could spend a carefully calibrated amount of new, debt-free money into circulation to stimulate demand - for example, by using it to build new low-carbon energy infrastructure or improved rail systems. The new infusion of cash in workers' pockets would circulate, and as it got into the hands of debtors, it would them a source of fresh funds with which to pay down excessive previously accumulated debt, Turner and others have argued.

Mervyn King, who headed the Bank of England for ten years until 2013, has also called for reform of the monetary system, saying that "of all the many ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today."

Calls for monetary reform from such prominent figures remains "barely imaginable" in Germany, says Klaus Karwat of the Monetative. "The banking sector plays a much greater role in the UK economy than it does here, so the need for debate is much more pressing there," he told DW.

The movement's focus is raising awareness of how the current system of money creation works: surveys conducted by Positive Money and Monetative showed that many MPs in both countries lacked a general understanding of the monetary system.

Returning the power to create money to the state

"What we're saying is that commercial banks shouldn't have the ability to create electronic money, the deposits in your account, because they have incentives to lend recklessly. The more they lend, the more interest they can charge. So they over-lend, especially in housing, and create bubbles - debt bubbles and housing price bubbles.

Lloyds TSB was one of the UK banks
to receive a government bailout in 2007
Dyson and his colleagues propose that the power to create money should be returned to the central bank, which is owned by the government, working closely with the Treasury. The state would then control the creation of electronic money as well as notes and coins.

"But the government monetary authority's job will be to create what the economy needs, looking at the economy as a whole and on a long term basis, whereas the banks are currently looking at the very short term, and only at their opportunity to profit rather than the wider needs of the economy," Dyson said.

"We don't need banks nearly as much as we think we do," added Dyson. "And if we take the power to create money away from them, we'll need them even less, because we'll have a source of money created by public central banks which will come into the economy without debt - without anybody having to borrow it."

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Argentina charges HSBC with helping tax evasion

Argentina's tax investigation agency has charged the British bank HSBC with helping thousands of Argentines to commit tax evasion. The charges were said to be related to bank accounts in Switzerland.

Deutsche Welle, 28 Nov 2014


The Argentine inland revenue service AFIP said on Thursday that it had charged HSBC with helping more than 4,000 Argentines evade some $3 billion (2.4 billion euros) in taxes.

The money was said to have been handled by intermediaries using offshore accounts, including accounts in Switzerland that were linked to HSBC Argentina.

"We have filed a charge for tax evasion and illicit association relating to bank accounts in Switzerland," said AFIP director Ricardo Echegaray.

Echegaray alleged that some accounts in Geneva are owned by HSBC Argentina's president, as well as other bank executives. He gave no details about whether the bank's operations had been suspended in Argentina.

"There's no doubt that the AFIP will keep cracking down on tax havens because our objective is to collect taxes and to avoid harming those who have less," said Echegaray.

Bank's troubles in Europe

AFIP said that it had received information from France, where the bank was last week placed under formal investigation for suspected aiding of tax evasion. HSBC has also been charged with fiscal fraud in Belgium.

The Argentine branch of HSBC along with some of its executives have now been charged in an Argentine federal court.

The bank's directors in Buenos Airies denied any wrongdoing. "HSBC Argentina emphatically rejects its participation in any illegal association, including any organization that allows capital flight aimed at evading taxes," the bank said in a statement.

Argentina's left-leaning government has recently denounced several foreign firms over alleged tax irregularities, including the household goods giant Proctor & Gamble which was accused of tax fraud and which had its activities in the country suspended.

Argentine officials have been particularly eager to keep capital in the country for the central bank to pay off government debts. The country has been barred from global credit markets since it defaulted on its debt in the 2001-2002 financial crisis and suffered a further default in July this year.

rc/jm (AP, AFP)
Related Articles:


HSBC apologised for its lapses, said reforms had been put in place, and
admitted it was 'horrified' by what it found. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Spain Health Minister Ana Mato resigns over scandal

Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato has resigned after her former husband was linked to a corruption scandal that involved the ruling People's Party. A judge had earlier accused her of benefiting from a bribery scandal.

Deutsche Welle, 27 Nov 2014


The minister on Wednesday said she was standing down for the good of her party as well as the government.

Mato made her announcement only hours after a judge in Spain's Audiencia Nacional higher court accused Mato of having benefited from the illegal business activities of her former husband while he was mayor of the Madrid suburb of Pozuelo.

"I don't want, under any circumstances, to damage the government of Spain, the president or the People's Party by remaining in this post," she said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, officially the president of Spain's government, is due to give an important speech on corruption this Thursday.

The massive bribes scandal, known as the "Gurtel" case, allegedly extends to six regional governments led by the People's Party (PP) and operated between 1999 and 2009, when an investigation began.

'I had no knowledge'

Mato stressed that she had not been charged and faced only the possibility of fines "because of my family situation at the time the alleged events occurred."

"The ruling in no way accuses me of any crime," she said. "It signals that I had no knowledge of any crime that could have been committed."

The minister may have to return 50,000 euros ($62,000), the value of which the judge said the family had received from one of her husband's contacts, Francisco Correa.

Travel and gifts are alleged to have been given as kickbacks for public contracts that involved Mato's husband at the time, Jesus Sepulveda.

Speaking at the Audiencia Nacional, Judge Pablo Ruz said he planned to ask Mato whether she knew about the provenance of gifts that were received by her family. As well as hotel stays and flights, they included luxury goods and family parties.

Clowns and confetti

Spanish media have reported that the family were treated to designer goods, first-communion celebrations and even clowns and confetti for children's birthday parties. Ruz is expected to determine the exact amount that Mato benefited from "shortly," and she may be summoned to appear in court.

The judge has dropped accusations against former Interior Minister Angel Acebes, who remains under investigation for suspected illegal funding of the People's Party. However, 43 people are to be charged over alleged involvement in the scandal.

Mato's popularity has been on the wane with the public, particularly after criticism about her handling of the case of a Spanish nurse who became infected with the Ebola virus.

Rajoy is set to make a speech about corruption as his party approaches an election year. The subject has enraged many Spaniards, with corruption the second-biggest concern for the electorate after unemployment. Disillusionment with the two main political parties has fueled support for an up-and-coming leftist newcomer, Podemos.

rc/mkg (AP, APF, dpa, Reuters)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Spanish police arrest several priests in pedophilia inquiry

Spanish authorities have arrested four Catholic priests accused of child abuse in the southern city of Granada. The country's Interior Ministry says investigations into the case began "some time ago."

Deutsche Welle, 24 Nov 2014


The arrests came a week after a 24-year-old man wrote to the Vatican alleging a number of priests sexually abused him when he was an altar boy in a Granada church. Media reports claim that Pope Francis ordered an inquiry into the allegations and had personally called the man in August to apologize on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church.

"Police this morning arrested four priests implicated in this affair," Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters on Monday, adding that he could not divulge more details because of the nature of the case.

Francisco Javier Martinez, the Archbishop of Granada, removed several priests from their duties last week and initiated the church's own probe.

News agency AFP reported last week that Spanish officials had launched an investigation involving 12 people.

Pope Francis has pledged a zero-tolerance towards child abuse scandals related to the church since he took over from Pope Benedict XVI last year.

On Sunday, Granada's archbishop and six other priests prostrated themselves in front of the altar as a gesture to seek pardon for alleged sexual abuse.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Former Portuguese PM Socrates arrested in tax case

Former Portuguese prime minister Jose Socrates has been arrested on suspicion of tax evasion. It's the second potential scandal to hit Portuguese politics in a week, after the interior minister's resignation last Sunday.

Deutsche Welle, 22 Nov 2014


Former Socialist prime minister Jose Socrates was arrested at Lisbon airport late on Friday as part of an inquiry into tax fraud, corruption and money laundering, the public prosecutor's office said.

Socrates was expected to appear in court on Saturday, local media reported. He is one of four people detained in connection with the case, following a string of police raids involving more than 60 officers.

The prosecutor's office added that the investigation centered on bank operations and money transfers from an unknown source. It stressed, however, that the case was not linked to the money laundering investigation which led to the July arrest of Ricardo Salgado, the former head of crippled Portuguese lender Banco Espitiru Santo (BES).

Socrates led the Socialists to their first majority in parliament in 2005, one year after he was elected leader of the party.

The 57-year-old served as prime minister for six years, during which time he was involved in several controversies, including his decision to approve the construction of a shopping mall on protected land near Lisbon. Questions were also raised over the authenticity of his university degree.

Socrates resigned in 2011 after the Social Democrat opposition rejected his minority government's fourth austerity package in less than a year. Just two weeks later Portugal was forced to request a bailout package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund - a move Socrates had resisted.

Second scandal in a week

Last Sunday, Portuguese Interior Minister Miguel Macedo announced that he was stepping down in the wake of a corruption scandal involving several senior government officials.

The officials were arrested as part of a probe into money laundering and influence-peddling around "golden visas" - a scheme allowing foreign investors who buy property worth 500,000 euros ($620,000) to receive residency rights in Portugal, as well as visa-free travel throughout the European Union's Schengen zone.

The program was launched in 2012 during the country's debt crisis. "Golden visas" have so far have been issued to around 1,500 people, most of them Chinese.

nm/ipj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Friday, November 21, 2014

1 ton in banknotes found in ex-Chinese military leader's home

Want China Times, CNA 2014-11-21

Xu Caihou in an undated photo. (Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese investigators have found one metric ton of Chinese yuan and foreign currencies during a search of the home of Xu Caihou, former vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, amid an investigation of corruption, according to a report by Hong Kong's Phoenix Weekly.

When investigators opened the basement of Xu's 2,000-square meter luxury residency in Beijing, they found one ton of bills, including US dollars and euros, in addition of piles of valuable jades, emeralds, ancient paintings and calligraphy works, the report said.

The historic art was said to date as far back as the Tang Dynasty (618-907CE).

It took 15 trucks to take the notes and antiques away, said the weekly, which is sponsored by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television Holding and is legally allowed to circulate around China.

Xu reportedly has many properties all around China, and investigators have found at least four properties in Shanghai registered under the name of his three-year-old grandson, the weekly said.

In addition to Xu, his personal driver has also aggregated a large fortune for allegedly being the go-between for people offering the high-powered official bribes, the report said.

Xu, 70, and his wife were taken away March 15 from a military hospital where Xu has received treatment for bladder cancer after being told about the corruption allegations.

He was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) on June 30.

State-controlled media said Xu, who was vice chairman of the commission from 2004 to 2012, has been charged with abuse of power, accepting bribes directly or via family members in exchange for promotions, and advancing the interests of those close to him through the powers vested in his office.

He is the highest-ranking current or former military officer to be caught up in the crackdown on corruption launched by Chinese president and CPC general secretary Xi Jinping.

Related Article:


Thursday, November 20, 2014

How China is reshaping global development finance

The BRICS Development Bank, the AIIB and the Silk Road Fund – recent initiatives spearheaded by China that symbolize its growing influence in development funding and potential new sources of financing, says Rajiv Biswas.

Deutsche Welle, 19 Nov 2014


Over the past couple of months, China has played a major role in launching initiatives to increase infrastructure financing for developing countries. In July 2014, China, together with the other BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa - agreed to create a new development bank (NDB) that would have initial capital of 50 billion USD.

More recently, in October, 21 Asian countries agreed to establish a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for which China will provide up to 50 percent of initial capital. The bank's aim is to provide funding for infrastructure projects such as roads in underdeveloped Asian countries. Just last week, at the APEC Leaders Summit in Beijing, President Xi also announced the creation of a new Silk Road Fund to improve connectivity in Asia, for which China will provide USD 40 billion of capital funding.

While the initiatives have been criticized by some as a way for China to simply challenge Western-backed institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) - as a result of Beijing's growing discontent with these bodies - there are others who believe the new development banks might have a positive impact on emerging economies.

Biswas: 'China wants to substantially
 increase the role it plays in multilateral
development financing'
Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific Chief Economist at the analytics firm IHS, says in a DW interview that with the correct design, these new institutions could become important new sources of financing to address the economic development and infrastructure financing needs of developing countries worldwide.

DW: What are the main differences between these new development banks and what role does China play in them?

The NDB has been established by the BRICS, with a global remit to lend to developing countries. The AIIB is focused on Asia, with the 21 founding members all Asian countries and a mandate to provide infrastructure financing for Asian developing countries. Both banks will be headquartered in China, with the NDB headquartered in Beijing and the AIIB headquartered in Shanghai. Clearly, China will play a major role in both banks as a key source of capital, but the decision-making structure will comprise a governing board with representatives from other developing countries.

Why is China helping create all these development banks?

Although these initiatives were all launched in 2014, the decisions reflect the growing discontent which has been developing for many years amongst developing nations that the governance structure of the IMF and World Bank has not evolved to reflect the increasing weight of emerging markets in global GDP. These new institutions, if successfully implemented, could give developing nations greater influence in global development financing.

Doesn't Asia already have a development bank, the ADB?

Although the ADB does have significant representation from developing countries in its governance, the balance sheet of the ADB is relatively moderate compared to the infrastructure financing needs of Asia. Therefore, the new AIIB and other Asian financing initiatives will help to boost total development financing for Asia.

What role does China aim to play in development finance and why?

China's rapid growth has transformed it into the world's second largest economy, but its ability to play a proportionate role in development finance through the World Bank has been constrained by the low voting rights currently allocated to China. Although China has been playing an increasingly significant role in international development financing through its Chinese state-owned banks such as the Development Bank of China, it also wants to substantially increase the role it plays in multilateral development financing flows through the creation of the NDB, AIIB and the Silk Road Fund.

What influence would China have on the financial system by doing this?

China's new development finance initiatives have the potential to significantly reshape the global development finance architecture that was originally established under the Bretton Woods system established in 1944. This structure has remained largely unchanged until now, and China's new initiatives have the potential to create a revolution that will transform the shape of the global development finance architecture.

Where is the Chinese money to fund these institutions coming from?

China has accumulated foreign exchange reserves of USD 3.9 trillion dollars, so the capital it is prepared to subscribe for the NDB, AIIB and Silk Road Fund would amount to only around five percent of its total foreign exchange reserves. Moreover, since these institutions will be providing infrastructure lending rather than grants, the return on capital from these investments could be significantly higher than the current returns China is getting from its foreign exchange reserves, with a large share currently invested in low-yielding US government bonds.

Development aid usually comes with some strings attached. What could these be in the case of China?

The governance structure of the NDB and AIIB will be much wider than just China, since other emerging markets are also members of both of these new development banks. However, as a major provider of capital for both banks, it is likely that China will want to have a significant role in the governance of both banks. Beijing will want to be seen as an inclusive member of both banks though, since it will not want to repeat the mistakes of the IMF and World Bank governance which became perceived by developing countries as overly dominated by the US and EU.

Nevertheless both banks will need to put in place rigorous management structures and lending processes to ensure that their infrastructure loans are subject to risk management and other lending quality controls. A key focus of the lending will be for infrastructure development in emerging markets. The NDB will have a global remit, while the AIIB will focus on Asian developing countries.

What are the reasons for China's discontent with institutions such as the IMF or World Bank?

The status quo in terms of the current distribution of voting rights remains distorted, most notably for China amongst the BRICS nations. China, the world's second largest economy, has 3.81 percent of voting rights in the IMF but it accounts for 12.4 percent of world GDP. As China continues to account for a larger share of the world economy, this disparity will continue to widen. By 2024, IHS forecasts that China will account for around 20 percent of world GDP, so unless China's share of voting rights increases dramatically, it will be heavily underrepresented in the governance and decision-making of the IMF and World Bank.

What are the main concerns about these new institutions?

The institutions will face considerable hurdles, including establishing efficient governance and a world-class prudential regulatory structure that will avoid the pitfalls of overt politicization of the new institution. However, with the correct design, the new BRICS Development Bank and AIIB could become important new sources of financing to address the economic development and infrastructure financing needs of developing countries worldwide.

Biswas: 'The institutions will
 face considerable hurdles'
Will these new banks compete with the role of the World Bank?

The establishment of these institutions at approximately the same time has the potential to generate large new sources of development funding for infrastructure projects in developing countries. In Asia alone, it has been estimated by the Asian Development Bank that eight trillion USD in infrastructure financing will be required in this decade.

A significant share of this will be funded by domestic government and private sector financing, but this still leaves a large shortfall which requires international financing from other governments, multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, or foreign private investment. The new institutions such as the NDB, AIIB and Silk Road Fund will help to raise significant new flows of development finance to help to meet this large need for infrastructure funding.

Will these new banks compete with the role of the World Bank?

The impact on development financing flows to developing countries from these initiatives could be very substantial. The NDB will have initial authorized capital of USD 100 billion and initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion and also a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) with capital of USD 100 billion. The AIIB will have initial authorized capital of USD 100 billion, with subscribed capital likely to be around USD 50 billion.

Furthermore, both the NDB and AIIB will be catalysts for other sources of government and private sector funding for infrastructure projects. Both the NDB and AIIB are likely to benefit from having good access to funding from the state-owned banks of the BRICS countries, notably from Chinese state-owned banks, which would provide a very large potential source of financing for the NDB.

Rajiv Biswas is Asia-Pacific Chief Economist at IHS, a global information and analytics firm. He is responsible for coordination of economic analyses and forecasts for the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Icelandic bank ex-head sentenced over market manipulation

The former boss of Icelandic bank Landsbanki has been sentenced to 12-month imprisonment by a court in Reykjavik for manipulating the market.

Deutsche Welle, 19 Nov 2014


Sigurjon Arnason, 48, was convicted of manipulating the bank's share price and deceiving investors, creditors and the authorities in the dying days of the bank between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3, 2008.

Two other former executives of the bank were sentenced to nine months with three months served over the same allegations. All pleaded innocent to the charges.

"This sentence is a big surprise to me as I did not nothing wrong," Sigurjon Arnason told news agency Reuters after the sentencing. He and his attorney had not yet decided whether to appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court, Arnason added.

Iceland's banks had gone on an international buying spree in the early 2000s fuelled by cheap foreign loans.

But the global financial crisis in 2008 froze credit markets and Iceland's banks quickly foundered. Landsbanki was one of three banks that racked up $75 billion (59.8 billion euros) in debt before collapsing and crashing the country's economy in 2008.

The fallout from the 2008 crisis continues to this day. Earlier this week, Landsbanki and its successor Landsbankinn agreed to extend a deadline to restructure bonds to the end of the year. If a deal is struck, it will help the government lift capital controls which were imposed due to the crisis.

sri/cjc (AFP, Reuters)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Italy captures mafia initiation rites on film, 40 arrests

Yahoo – AFP, Ella Ide, 18 Nov 2014

Rome's National Anti-Mafia headquarters on February 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Filippo Monteforte)

Rome (AFP) - Secret mafia initiation rites have been caught on camera for the first time by Italian police, who on Tuesday arrested 40 suspected gangsters in raids across the north of the country.

The arrests, on charges of criminal association, illegal arms sales and extortion, followed a two-year investigation using wire-taps and hidden cameras in locations known to be frequented by mobsters, police said.

"For the first time the swearing-in ceremonies have been recorded live," Milan prosecutor Ilda Boccassini told journalists at a press conference following raids which saw 37 people landed behind bars and another three placed under house arrest.

Italian prosecutor Ilda Boccassini 
gestures during a press conference
 in Milan on December 1, 2011 (AFP
Photo/Giuseppe Aresu)
"For the first time we heard it from the voice of the mafia," instead of relying on details from police informants, she said.

Those arrested are believed to belong to three clans based near Milan but affiliated with the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, an organised crime group made up of networks of hundreds of family gangs even more feared and secretive than the Sicilian Mafia.

Police said the arrests were fresh proof of the deadly southern group's expansion into the rich industrial north of the country. Those in handcuffs include a 17-year old boy and boss Giuseppe Larosa, known by the nickname "Peppe the Cow," according to Italian media reports.

The video and audio recordings revealed the swearing in of 'Ndrangheta mobsters to an elite membership known as "Santa".

New members swore allegiance "in the silence of the night and under the light of the stars and splendour of the moon" to "safeguard my wise brothers".

Bullet with your name on it

An unnamed boss leading the rite in police videos published on Italian newspaper websites can be heard telling the new Santa that they are now expected to be their own executioners should they stray from the 'Ndrangheta's code.

"From now on it will not be other men who judge you, you will judge yourselves," the man says.

In what he describes as the "oath of poison", he says there are two alternatives open to the disloyal: "Either you poison yourselves or you take this (gun) which shoots. There must always be a bullet reserved; one for you."

Boccassini said the Santa's affiliation "is in their DNA and under their skin and they can leave the 'Ndrangheta either by collaborating with the state or through death".

The name 'Ndrangheta comes from the Greek for courage or loyalty. Its tight clan structure has made it famously difficult to penetrate.

She referred to a conversation wiretapped in July last year, where boss Michelangelo Chindamo was heard saying that "the music may change but the rest remains... we can never change".

He warned mobsters with him that "having a mobile phone in your pocket... is like having a policeman in your pocket," and cited anti-mafia magistrate Boccassini and police wiretaps as exactly the sort of threat the clans faced.

Notebooks were discovered during the police raid which detailed the rites, investigators said.

Boccassini said the proof gathered by the police was so solid that those arrested would be dealt with under a fast-track trial procedure which would do away with preliminary hearings.

288 economic fugitives nabbed in China's Fox Hunt 2014

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-11-18

One of the suspects escorted by police in Beijing, Sept. 27. (Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese police have seized 288 suspects in an international manhunt beginning in July targeting corrupt officials and economic criminals that have fled the county, China's Ministry of Public Security said Monday.

Twenty-one of the suspects have been at large for more than 10 years, the ministry said.

A total of 84 suspects were seized from developed countries such as the US, Canada, Japan and Belgium.

Overall, 126 suspects turned themselves in. The ministry urged those still at large to turn themselves in as soon as possible in order to seek lighter punishment, giving a deadline of December 1 this year.

China is in the middle of an anti-corruption campaign targeting both high-ranking "tigers" and low-level "flies," the terms assigned to different officials depending on rank and level of corruption.

The Fox Hunt 2014 operation was launched in July to "block the last route of retreat" for corrupt officials after the country's crackdown narrowed the space for abuse of power.

China has also helped forge a cross-border law enforcement network to strengthen transnational anti-corruption cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region, which was adopted by APEC leaders earlier this month.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Belgium charges HSBC with fraud involving diamond dealers

Yahoo – AFP, November 18, 2014

Belgium charges HSBC with fraud, laundering: prosecutor

Brussels (AFP) - Belgian prosecutors charged a subsidiary of British bank HSBC on Monday with fraud and money-laundering worth hundreds of millions of euros, mainly for diamond dealers in the industry's international hub of Antwerp.

Swiss subsidiary HSBC Private Bank SA (Suisse), which is wholly owned by the Asia-focused banking giant, allegedly helped hundreds of clients cheat the Belgian state, a statement from the prosecutors said.

HSBC said in a statement that it "will continue to cooperate to the fullest extent possible".

It is the latest in a series of international investigations into practices ranging from currency exchange rigging, Libor rigging and product mis-selling that has damaged the reputation of major banks.

Banking practices also had helped to spark the 2008 global financial crisis that led to a worldwide recession.

The Belgian prosecutor said the HSBC subsidiary was being charged with serious and organised fraud, money-laundering, criminal conspiracy and illegally functioning as a financial intermediary.

It said the allegations "date back several years and involve soliciting and managing the assets of wealthy clients, mainly from the Antwerp diamond industry."

"The Swiss bank is also suspected of knowingly favouring and encouraging fiscal fraud, giving privileged clients to offshore accounts, particularly in Panama and the Virgin Islands."

Antwerp, a port in Belgian's northern Flemish-speaking region, is home to the global dealers syndicate for diamonds.

In 2012, Belgium's justice minister ordered an inquiry into a growing controversy over possible tax fraud among diamond traders in Antwerp after French authorities handed a list of dozens of dealers suspected of placing assets in Switzerland.


HSBC apologised for its lapses, said reforms had been put in place, and
admitted it was 'horrified' by what it found. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Germany warns Uefa may quit Fifa if World Cup report not published

• German League president attacks ‘complete loss of credibility’
• Report summary clears Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing
• Investigator says his findings were misrepresented

Guardian, Owen Gibson, The Observer, 15 November 2014

Uefa has called on the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, to stand down and is looking
for a candidate to take on the Swiss. Photograph: Ito Takashi/AMA/Corbis

The president of the German Football League has warned that Uefa’s 54 member nations could take the ultimate step of quitting Fifa if Michael Garcia’s report into World Cup bidding is not published in full.

Dr Reinhard Rauball laid bare the tensions within Fifa over the split between the ethics committee judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, and Garcia, the US attorney who heads the investigatory arm and spent 18 months probing the race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Garcia has disowned Eckert’s summary of his 430-page report, which effectively cleared Russia and Qatar.

“The result was a breakdown in communication, and it has shaken the foundations of Fifa in a way I’ve never experienced before,” said Rauball.

“As a solution, two things must happen. Not only must the decision of the ethics committee be published, but Mr Garcia’s bill of indictment too, so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged,” he told the German website kicker.de.

“Additionally, the areas that were not evaluated [in the report] and whether that was justified [should be published]. It must be made public. That is the only way Fifa can deal with the complete loss of credibility.”

He said that if the report was not published in full – and Eckert has already said that he will not do that, while Fifa argues it cannot intervene – then Uefa should consider its own position within Fifa. “If this doesn’t happen and the crisis is not resolved in a credible manner, you have to entertain the question of whether you are still in good hands with Fifa,” Rauball added. “One option that would have to bear serious consideration is certainly that Uefa leaves Fifa.”

Rauball’s intervention comes against the backdrop of Uefa’s calls for the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, to stand down, as he promised to do at the end of his current four-year term. Although the Uefa president, Michel Platini, has opted against standing against Blatter in next year’s election, Uefa is continuing to cast around for an alternative candidate to take on the 78-year-old Swiss.

Before the Brazil World Cup, a series of speakers at Uefa’s congress stood up to call for Blatter to make his current term his last, while the FA chairman, Greg Dyke, denounced Blatter for claiming corruption allegations in the media were motivated by racism.

Fifa confirmed on Friday night that it had received formal notification of Garcia’s intention to take Eckert’s summary of his investigation to its appeals committee.

Meanwhile, one of the two whistleblowers discredited in Eckert’s statement, Bonita Mersiades, the head of communications for Australia’s 2022 bid, was scathing in her assessment of Fifa’s handling of the investigation. “It’s an organisation that, in terms of governance, is just a farce,” she said.

“The only people that come out well in that summary report by Eckert is Fifa. [It says] they got their decisions right in respect to Qatar and Russia, and there’s even a sentence and a reference in there that Sepp Blatter ran a wonderful process. It’s almost like high comedy.”

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