Nov 01 2010

The Morality of the Market

Monday Business Edition

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman quotes with approval a comment from this post on Irish austerity-

Most people don’t realize that “the markets” are in reality 22-27 year old business school graduates, furiously concocting chaotic trading strategies on excel sheets and reporting to bosses perhaps 5 years senior to them. In addition, they generally possess the mentality and probably intelligence of junior cycle secondary school students. Without knowladge of these basic facts, nothing about the markets makes any sense- and with knowladge, everything does.

How the Banks Put the Economy Underwater

By YVES SMITH, The New York Times

Published: October 30, 2010

The banks and other players in the securitization industry now seem to be looking to Congress to snap its fingers to make the whole problem go away, preferably with a law that relieves them of liability for their bad behavior. But any such legislative fiat would bulldoze regions of state laws on real estate and trusts, not to mention the Uniform Commercial Code. A challenge on constitutional grounds would be inevitable.

Asking for Congress’s help would also require the banks to tacitly admit that they routinely broke their own contracts and made misrepresentations to investors in their Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Would Congress dare shield them from well-deserved litigation when the banks themselves use every minor customer deviation from incomprehensible contracts as an excuse to charge a fee?

The large banks, no doubt, would resist; they would be forced to write down the mortgage exposures they carry on their books, which some banking experts contend would force them back into the Troubled Asset Relief Program. However, allowing significant principal modifications would stem the flood of foreclosures and reduce uncertainty about the housing market and mortgage securities, giving the authorities time to devise approaches to the messy problems of clouded titles and faulty loan conveyance.

The people who so carefully designed the mortgage securitization process unwittingly devised a costly trap for people who ran roughshod over their handiwork. The trap has closed – and unless the mortgage finance industry agrees to a sensible way out of it, the entire economy will be the victim.

(Nobel Prize Winning) Economist Stiglitz: We need stimulus, not quantitative easing

By Ezra Klein, Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, October 30, 2010; 9:07 PM

The Fed, and the Fed’s advocates, are falling into the same trap that led us into the crisis in the first place. Their view is that the major lever for economic policy is the interest rate and if we just get it right, we can steer this. That didn’t work. It forgot about financial fragility and how the banking system operates. They’re thinking the interest rate is a dial you can set and by setting that dial, you can regulate the economy. In fact, it operates primarily through the banking system, and the banking system is not functioning well. All the literature about how monetary policy operates in normal times is pretty irrelevant to this situation.

(T)he reason the private market for mortgages has dried up is that everybody knows the moment the government withdraws from the mortgage market, the effect will be that there will be a capital loss on the mortgages – and the same thing goes for our long-term bonds. Now we don’t use mark-to-market accounting, so we’ll pretend they don’t occur, but they will have occurred. We’ll have experienced a loss. The third point is that to avoid recognizing the loss, the Fed is likely to do silly things, like rather than buying and selling government bonds, they’ll pay interest on deposits banks make to the Federal Reserve in order to absorb the liquidity.

There are two problems with this. First, it’s costly, as we’re now paying interest when we didn’t before. Second, we don’t know how well this will work. And because it’s uncertain, you might say that the financial markets, recognizing we’re going into uncharted territory, will request a risk premium. That’ll hurt the U.S. Treasury and would be bad for the economy. So this is not costless. If it were the only instrument, you might say we have no choice. But it’s not. Fiscal policy is a choice, or it should be a choice. By putting fiscal policy off the table, we’re moving down the cost-benefit curve to something much riskier and much less cost-effective.

Mugged by the Moralizers

By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

Published: October 31, 2010

So what should we be doing? First, governments should be spending while the private sector won’t, so that debtors can pay down their debts without perpetuating a global slump. Second, governments should be promoting widespread debt relief: reducing obligations to levels the debtors can handle is the fastest way to eliminate that debt overhang.

But the moralizers will have none of it. They denounce deficit spending, declaring that you can’t solve debt problems with more debt. They denounce debt relief, calling it a reward for the undeserving.

And if you point out that their arguments don’t add up, they fly into a rage. Try to explain that when debtors spend less, the economy will be depressed unless somebody else spends more, and they call you a socialist. Try to explain why mortgage relief is better for America than foreclosing on homes that must be sold at a huge loss, and they start ranting like Mr. Santelli. No question about it: the moralizers are filled with a passionate intensity.

And those who should know better lack all conviction.

John Boehner, the House minority leader, was widely mocked last year when he declared that “It’s time for government to tighten their belts” – in the face of depressed private spending, the government should spend more, not less. But since then President Obama has repeatedly used the same metaphor, promising to match private belt-tightening with public belt-tightening. Does he lack the courage to challenge popular misconceptions, or is this just intellectual laziness? Either way, if the president won’t defend the logic of his own policies, who will?

Business News below.

From Yahoo News Business

1 Fed set to apply new stimulus, question is how

by Veronica Smith, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 6:06 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Having tipped its hand, the Federal Reserve is likely to announce this week it will resume large-scale asset purchases to boost an economic recovery too weak to bring down high unemployment.

Since Fed chairman Ben Bernanke first suggested the possibility in late September, and confirmed it in October, markets and most economists have penciled in another round of quantitative easing (QE) as a solid bet.

With the long drum roll heightening expectations, the central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee is expected to announce the second round of bond purchases, dubbed QE2, after a meeting Wednesday.

2 India predicts 40% leap in demand for fossil fuels

by Penny MacRae, AFP

29 mins ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Premier Manmohan Singh told India’s energy firms on Monday to scour the globe for fuel supplies as he warned the country’s demand for fossil fuels is set to soar 40 percent over the next decade.

The country of more than 1.1 billion people already imports nearly 80 percent of its crude oil to fuel an economy that is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and at least nine percent next year.

Demand for hydrocarbons — petroleum, coal, natural gas — “over the next 10 years will increase by over 40 percent,” Singh told an energy conference in New Delhi.

3 Australia, Singapore PMs discuss stock markets merger

by Madeleine Coorey, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 12:16 am ET

SYDNEY (AFP) – Prime Minister Julia Gillard Sunday warned critics of the planned merger between Singapore and Australia’s stock exchanges against seeking to “disturb” long-standing foreign investment processes.

Gillard said she discussed the proposed 8.2 billion US dollar takeover of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during talks at the ASEAN summit in Hanoi.

She said both understood the community interest in the bid which needs approval from both Australia and Singapore and aims to create the world’s fifth biggest exchange with a market capitalisation of 12.3 billion US dollars.

4 China’s Wen says World Expo good for reform

by D’Arcy Doran, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 10:19 am ET

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday that Shanghai’s World Expo had given the fast-developing country the confidence to keep pushing reform, as visitors flooded the exhibition on its final day.

More than 73 million people — a record for the extravaganza — visited displays by 189 countries during the half-year culture and technology showcase that brought snapshots of the world to ordinary Chinese.

“The success of the Expo has strengthened China’s confidence and resolve to pursue reform and opening up,” Wen told a forum at the Expo attended by Chinese and international officials on the final day.

5 Airlines relish rebound after two lean years

by Delphine Touitou, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 3:06 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – Commercial airlines in the United States, Europe and Asia are seeing a rebound in their financial fortunes, announcing profit spurts after two very lean years.

The civil aviation sector in recent months has enjoyed a pronounced pick-up in both passenger and freight demand, with airlines welcoming the return of high-end travellers with deep pockets.

US carriers United, Continental, American Airlines and Delta Airlines earlier this month reported solid net earnings, followed this past week by upbeat announcements from airlines in Europe and Asia.

6 Syrian silk industry hanging by a fine thread

by Dominique Soguel, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 11:32 am ET

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Buffeted by economic realities that have forced farmers to replace mulberry trees with olive groves and fruit orchards, Syria’s once-famous silk industry is these days hanging by a very fine thread.

In the green mountains of Deir Mama in western Syria, near the imposing Masyaf citadel, Mohammed Saud and his family however still raise silk worms in the spring and still spin the loom in the autumn, determined to keep the ancient tradition alive.

“We are in this from A to Z. From raising the silkworm to making the shawl,” said Saud defiantly, even though he would make more money simply by selling his cocoons.

7 Asia must avoid ‘distortions’ in handling hot money: ADB

by Martin Abbugao, AFP

Sat Oct 30, 6:39 am ET

HANOI (AFP) – Developing Asian nations must carefully manage a massive inflow of foreign capital and avoid remedies that could create destabilising “distortions”, the Asian Development Bank chief warned Saturday.

Haruhiko Kuroda told Asian leaders at a summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi that capital flows are one of two risks that regional economies face as they rebound from the global downturn that began in 2008.

His comments came shortly before the US Federal Reserve is expected to announce it will go into a second round of quantitative easing, injecting more money into the banking system to further stimulate the world’s biggest economy.

8 Vietnam Airlines to buy eight Boeing Dreamliners


Sat Oct 30, 12:00 pm ET

HANOI (AFP) – Vietnam Airlines on Saturday signed a deal to buy eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in a ceremony witnessed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The national flag carrier will take delivery of the first aircraft in 2015, Vietnam Airlines president and chief executive Pham Ngoc Minh was quoted by Dow Jones Newswires as saying.

He said the airline was also in talks to buy a further eight of the aircraft and lease another three.

9 Portugal government, opposition seal austerity budget

by Thomas Cabral, AFP

Sat Oct 30, 11:55 am ET

LISBON (AFP) – Portugal’s minority Socialist government and its centre-right opposition PSD sealed a deal on Saturday that will ensure parliament approves a crucial austerity budget for 2011.

The agreement, reached late Friday after weeks of haggling and a break in the negotiations for a time, will see the PSD abstain in the first reading vote on the budget on November 3.

The government needs at least a PSD abstention as all other opposition parties have said they would vote against the budget, deemed vital to cut Portugal’s massive deficit and restore market confidence.

10 BG Group commits 15 billion to Australian LNG project

by Madeleine Coorey, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 7:37 pm ET

SYDNEY (AFP) – British gas firm BG Group Sunday announced it will spend 15 billion US dollars on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia, an investment Canberra hailed as a boost for the national economy.

The investment will expand existing coal seam gas production in Queensland state and go towards the construction of a 540 kilometre (335-mile) underground pipeline linking gas fields to a pioneering new LNG plant.

BG Group, one of several companies seeking to convert Queensland’s rich coal seam gas deposits into LNG for export to meet surging Asian demand, made the final investment decision after receiving environmental approval on October 22.

11 Zimbabweans feel pinch of strengthening rand

by Godfrey Marawanyika, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 3:52 am ET

HARARE (AFP) – Luke Nyoni thought dollarising Zimbabwe’s economy meant an end to inflation, but the weaker greenback is causing headaches in a country that relies on imports for most of its goods.

Much of Zimbabwe’s food and consumer goods now come from neighbouring South Africa, where the rand in October touched a 33-month high against the US dollar, driving up prices in Zimbabwe.

“It’s difficult this side without the rands. We have been forced to cut down on some essentials such as flour. Last month we bought four packets of flour, but this month we bought three packets,” said Nyoni, a civil servant originally from Mberengwa, 430 kilometers (268 miles) south west of the capital said as he strolled a Harare shop with his wife.

12 ECB to hold fire, Fed loads second stimulus round

by William Ickes, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 2:37 am ET

FRANKFURT (AFP) – The European Central Bank governing council meets this week after European leaders moved to shore up eurozone stability and as the US Federal Reserve mulls a second round of monetary stimulus.

The ECB is sure to maintain its main lending rate at a record low of 1.0 percent, analysts say, while focusing potentially tense talks on whether to continue unwinding its own unconventional measures.

A rift between ECB governors has opened over pursuing purchases of eurozone government debt, with German central bank chief Axel Weber saying he will stick to his guns even if it means passing on a chance to be the next ECB president.

13 German workers want their share of a bigger pie

by Francois Becker, AFP

Sun Oct 31, 2:31 am ET

FRANKFURT (AFP) – German workers who made sacrifices during the financial crisis say it is payback time now that the economy is thriving, company profits are climbing and unemployment has fallen below a key benchmark.

“Unions demonstrated a lot of responsibility during the crisis,” putting wage demands aside in exchange for job security, said Gernot Nerb, a specialist at the Ifo economic institute.

With annual sector salary talks approaching, workers want to make sure their efforts now pay off.

14 Special Report: For GM IPO, the government is back-seat driver

By Clare Baldwin, Soyoung Kim and Kevin Krolicki, Reuters

Mon Nov 1, 1:31 am ET

NEW YORK/DETROIT (Reuters) – Steve Girsky remembers sitting at his kitchen table in New York on the eve of President Barack Obama’s election when he realized that General Motors was going to run out of cash.

“I put down my pad,” said Girsky, a banker brought in by the United Auto Workers union to report on GM’s finances. “I turned to my wife and said, ‘Remember this night. This is the night we figured out GM’s going out of business.'”

Two weeks later, the same realization was sinking in across America as the chief executives of GM, Ford and Chrysler — and the head of the UAW — flew to Washington to ask Congress for an unprecedented bailout. By November 2008, GM was on a path to become “Government Motors,” with the U.S. Treasury its majority shareholder.

15 BHP in no rush to raise Potash bid ahead of ruling

By Sonali Paul and Michael Smith, Reuters

2 hrs 14 mins ago

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – BHP Billiton needs to clear three hurdles over the next week before it will be free to raise its $39 billion bid for Potash Corp, as widely expected.

The UK’s Sunday Times, citing sources close to the situation, reported that BHP plans to sweeten its offer for the world’s biggest fertilizer maker by 10 percent.

A person familiar with the situation, however, said BHP was focused on clearing regulatory hurdles, including winning approval from the Canadian government, before it does anything else.

16 Politics of the Fed’s easy money

By Emily Kaiser, Reuters

Sun Oct 31, 6:49 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While voters cast ballots on Tuesday in an election expected to shift Congress to the right, the Federal Reserve convenes what could be its most pivotal meeting since the height of the financial crisis.

The central bank was designed to be above political influence. But its policy decisions are not completely immune to the political environment.

A more conservative Congress would reduce the already slim chance that more fiscal support will come, putting the burden squarely on the Fed’s shoulders to shore up a limp economy.

17 Stocks’ week of reckoning arrives

By Edward Krudy, Reuters

Sun Oct 31, 11:58 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The wait is almost over.

After a two-month rally in the stock market, some investors are about to see if they get what they wished for: more Republicans in Congress and lots of cheap money.

The U.S. stock market has priced in the Republicans gaining ground in Tuesday’s midterm elections, an outcome widely seen as more business-friendly, as well as the Federal Reserve pumping billions into the economy through Treasury debt purchases. The Fed’s statement on Wednesday afternoon at the end of its two-day policy meeting is widely anticipated for details of the central bank’s economic stimulus plan.

18 Tribune creditors file three reorganization plans

By Tom Hals, Reuters

Sat Oct 30, 11:18 pm ET

WILMINGTON, Del (Reuters) – Three different groups of creditors to Tribune Co filed rival proposals for ending the newspaper publisher’s near two-year stay in bankruptcy.

The three plans, which were filed Friday with Delaware’s Bankruptcy Court, will compete for creditor support against the company’s proposed plan.

Like the company’s plan, the proposals allow for Tribune’s businesses, such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, to exit bankruptcy while creditors fight over how to apportion blame for its bankruptcy.

19 Judge releases Halliburton cement to government

By Anna Driver, Reuters

Fri Oct 29, 4:37 pm ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Federal investigators will have access to materials Halliburton Co used in the cementing job on BP Plc’s blown-out Gulf of Mexico well after a New Orleans federal judge overseeing litigation related to the disaster ordered its release.

The move came a day after a government panel said Halliburton had used flawed material to cement the well.

Halliburton was hired by BP to seal the Gulf of Mexico well, which ruptured on April 20, killing 11 workers who were on the Transocean Ltd rig contracted to drill it. The disaster caused the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

20 GDP growth tepid in Q3, more Fed easing seen

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

Fri Oct 29, 4:12 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. economic growth edged up as predicted in the third quarter but not enough to chip away at high unemployment or change expectations of more monetary easing from the Federal Reserve next week.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.0 percent annual rate as consumer spending rose at its fastest pace in four years, the Commerce Department said on Friday.

While consumer spending quickened and business investment continued to expand, much of the rise in demand was met by overseas production and domestic goods continued to pile up in warehouses, suggesting tepid growth in the fourth quarter.

21 As they look to 2011, CEOs see more of the same

By James B. Kelleher, Reuters

Fri Oct 29, 2:47 pm ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. corporate leaders are breathing a little easier these days, no longer haunted by the specter of a double-dip recession in the world’s largest economy.

But as they deliver preliminary assessments of the coming year, the picture they paint of the U.S. economy’s prospects provides scant comfort to the 14.8 million U.S. workers who are officially unemployed — and the millions more who are either underemployed or too discouraged to look for work.

That’s because the consensus in U.S. boardrooms — based on what executives have said this earnings season — is that the U.S. economy will continue to grow in 2011, but not fast enough to create a significant number of jobs.

22 Merck sales disappoint, takes big Vioxx charge

By Ransdell Pierson, Reuters

Fri Oct 29, 1:18 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Merck & Co Inc reported disappointing quarterly sales and took an almost $1 billion charge related to a previously disclosed U.S. government probe of its recalled Vioxx arthritis drug, sending its shares 2.1 percent lower.

Merck (MRK.N), like most big U.S. drugmakers in the third quarter, beat profit forecasts on Friday even though its sales fell short, as results were bolstered by cost cuts or other factors. And as with its rivals, investors seemed to pay greater heed to the sales disappointment.

“The third quarter featured slightly lighter revenues, better expenses and better tax rate,” said Credit-Suisse analyst Catherine Arnold of Merck’s results, describing them as a “low quality beat” because of the sales shortfall.

23 Why the economy’s growth isn’t easing unemployment

By PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer

19 mins ago

WASHINGTON – An economy growing 2 percent a year might be tolerable in normal times. Today, it’s a near-disaster.

A growth rate of 5 percent or higher is needed to put a major dent in the nation’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Two reasons why that’s unlikely well into next year and maybe beyond:

  • Construction – both residential and commercial – collapsed last year. And it isn’t expected to regain its strength for years. Typically after recessions end, construction booms and powers a new economic expansion.
  • The recession that began in December 2007, after the housing bubble burst, became the Great Recession once the financial crisis erupted in September 2008. Economic recoveries that follow a financial crisis are typically long-lasting. Banks usually take years to resume lending normally.

“To really get ‘Morning in America’ and get people feeling like jobs are really coming back, I would want to see something close to 5 percent” annual economic growth, says economist Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute, referring to the iconic 1984 Reagan re-election ad.

24 Iraqi MPs get handsome pay for little work

By BARBARA SURK, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 1, 4:10 am ET

BAGHDAD – Iraqi lawmakers have collected their $90,000 stipend, they’re raking in $22,500 a month in salaries and allowances, and they’re spending free nights in Baghdad’s finest hotel – and they’ve only worked about 20 minutes this year, without passing a single law.

As the parliament prepares to hold what will be only its second session since the inconclusive election in March, lawmakers’ lavish salaries and privileges are deepening resentment among Iraqis struggling to make ends meet and frustrated with the political deadlock.

The Shiite religious leadership – always tuned into sentiment among the Iraqi religious majority – has warned politicians against living the high life while ordinary people lack basic services, such as electricity and water.

25 Broadcasters keep upper hand in TV disputes

By RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer

Sun Oct 31, 8:59 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – A recent spate of TV blackouts and the lack of government intervention suggests that broadcasters have the upper hand over TV signal providers when it comes to negotiating fees, at least until Congress decides to act.

New York-area cable TV operator Cablevision Systems Corp. tested the limits of government intervention in October, calling early and often for the Federal Communications Commission to step in and force News Corp.’s Fox to keep providing its broadcast signal while it pressed for arbitration in a fee dispute.

Fox declined and the FCC did little more than suggest mediation if both parties were willing to participate. When the two sides couldn’t reach a deal, Fox blacked out its signals to 3 million Cablevision subscribers for 15 days, through two games of baseball’s World Series. On Saturday, Cablevision finally accepted terms it said were “unfair” for the sake of its customers.

26 Deal or punt decision on Bush tax cuts is Obama’s

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 3:40 am ET

WASHINGTON – Will Congress extend the Bush tax cuts into 2011 in the weeks after Tuesday’s election or let the automatic increase start cutting into most people’s paychecks early next year?

It’s really pretty much up to President Barack Obama.

Despite the punishment his fellow Democrats are expected to take from voters, Obama has shown no sign of retreating from his insistence that families and small businesses with incomes above $250,000 return to higher, Bill Clinton-era tax levels starting Jan. 1.

27 Will UK’s cuts force poor families out of London?

By DAVID STRINGER, Associated Press

Sun Oct 31, 7:02 am ET

LONDON – It’s been at the heart of London’s identity for decades: Bakers and bankers live on the same city streets in patchwork neighborhoods where swank mansions sit in the shadow of grim tower blocks, and residents from all walks of life mingle in shops, schools and subway stations.

Now Britain’s debt-shredding austerity measures will slash housing benefit payments used to subsidize rents for the low-paid, threatening to price tens of thousands of poor families out of their homes and force them toward the fringes of the country’s capital – an exodus that could permanently erode London’s famed ethnic, economic and cultural mix.

Outspoken London Mayor Boris Johnson likens the plan to “Kosovo-style social cleansing.” Some fear London will become more like Paris, where rich elites monopolize the city center and the poor stagnate in decaying housing projects ringing the capital.

28 Pontiac, maker of muscle cars, ends after 84 years

By TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer

Sun Oct 31, 2:39 pm ET

DETROIT – Pontiac, whose muscle cars drag-raced down boulevards, parked at drive-ins and roared across movie screens, is going out of business on Sunday.

The 84-year-old brand, moribund since General Motors decided to kill it last year as it collapsed into bankruptcy, had been in decline for years. It was undone by a combination of poor corporate strategy and changing driver tastes. On Oct. 31, GM’s agreements with Pontiac dealers expire.

Even before GM’s bankruptcy, Pontiac’s sales had fallen from their peak of nearly one million in 1968, when the brand’s speedier models were prized for their powerful engines and scowling grills.

29 Shanghai World Expo ends; drew 72 million visitors

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press

Sun Oct 31, 9:36 am ET

SHANGHAI – China wrapped up its record-breaking World Expo on Sunday with a lavish display of national pride, as organizers of the mammoth event pledged to continue pursuing more sustainable, balanced growth.

More than 72 million visitors have been treated to a smorgasbord of cultures and technologies focused on the theme “Better City, Better Life” in the biggest, most expensive expo since such events began with the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London, which marked the coming of the Industrial Revolution.

The event showcased China’s rise as a modern industrial power, and drew accolades from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said it “offers hope for tackling global challenges.”

30 Cowherds discovering that ticks are for the birds

By ERIC NAKI, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 1, 3:18 am ET

MOKOPANE, South Africa – South African cowherds are discovering that when it comes to debugging their cattle, nature knows best.

Generations of cattle owners who dipped their livestock in pesticides ended up killing not only the ticks that feast on them, but also the red-billed oxpeckers that eat the ticks. Now environmentalists want to cut out the pesticides, hand the job back to the birds, and in the process save them from extinction.

“We are repairing the damage done 100 years ago and (putting) nature the way it should be,” says Arnaud Le Roux, whose Endangered Wildlife Trust is overseeing Operation Oxpecker.

31 Experts say end of NJ tunnel project hurts region


Sat Oct 30, 12:36 pm ET

NEW YORK – When he killed the construction of a new rail line to New York under the Hudson River, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie saved his state’s taxpayers at least $3 billion.

But at a cost, critics say – specifically, 44,000 jobs that might have been created, 22,000 cars left on the highway and an unrealized $30,000 bonus in real estate value for every New Jersey home located near a train stop.

“It really would have been a transformative project for land use in New Jersey,” said Peter Kasabach, executive director of New Jersey Future, a group that promotes sustainable growth. “It would have set the tone for the next 50 to 100 years.”

32 Analysts: Halliburton contract offers protection

By SANDY SHORE, AP Business Writer

Fri Oct 29, 6:00 pm ET

Halliburton Co. should be protected by its contract with BP from having to pay for most damages for the Gulf oil spill despite new concerns about the cement mix used to seal BP’s ill-fated well, two analysts said Friday.

Shares of Halliburton gained 18 cents to close at $31.86 a share, a day after they plunged 8 percent when the oil services company acknowledged skipping a critical test of the cement.

Argus Research analyst Phil Weiss said investors may have seen the previous day’s plunge – and Friday’s lower opening – as an opportunity to buy the stock.

33 Judge orders test on Halliburton cement in BP well

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press

Fri Oct 29, 5:40 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge is ordering tests to be performed as soon as possible on cement Halliburton Co. used to seal the BP well that later blew out catastrophically in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said some of the components may be “deteriorating over time” and that tests should be done “as soon as reasonably practicable.”

The cement components had been subpoenaed by federal investigators looking into what caused the April 20 blowout of a BP well being drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig. Halliburton was hired to seal the well with cement. The explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and led to a spill of more than 170 million gallons of crude in the Gulf.


  1. ek hornbeck
  2. BobbyK

    the president won’t defend the logic of his own policies, who will?”

    Krugman nails it. again.

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