Friday, April 20, 2012

Brother JohnF - Silver Bubble?

Apr 19, 2012 by

Cryptocat puts privacy back on the Web

Apr 19, 2012 by RTAmerica

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (CISPA) could change the way we use the Internet. Congress is attempting to pass legislation the legislation, which in turn would infringe on online users' freedoms. CISPA is being pushed as a necessity to help protect national security and would allow companies and the government to spy on whoever they wish, but should the masses lose their privacy for the potential wrong-doings of a few? Fear not, one individual has developed CryptoCat, a service which denies third-party access to private conversations online. Nadim Kobeissi, computer security researcher and the creator of the software, joins us to discuss why he developed CryptoCat

Weekend Chillout - Tomorrow

This weekend's chillout is inspired by Julian Assange's TV show The World Tomorrow and the media pigs in their money troughs sniping at him for doing a real interview with someone of importance.

Capital Account with Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts makes an excellent point at the 06:40 mark onwards that lowing interest rates in the US has not caused a recovery in jobs as so many high paying jobs have been offshored, jobs that wont ever come back.

Apr 19, 2012 by CapitalAccount

Double Standards - The rise and fall of Al-Jazeera Arabic

Apr 15, 2012 by PressTVGlobalNews

Mongolia's "ninja" miners help sate China lust for gold

By David Stanway

BORNUUR, Mongolia | Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:28am EDT

Orignal source

(Reuters) - In a hot, concrete hut filled with acetylene fumes, an elderly Mongolian miner struggles to contain her excitement as she plucks a sizzling inch-long nugget of gold from a grubby cooling pot and raises it to the light.

Khorloo, 65, and her sons spent the day scrutinizing half a dozen CCTV screens as workers at the Bornuur gold processing plant whittled 1.2 metric metric tonnes of ore down to 123 grams of pure gold that could earn the family as much as $6,000.

Near the plant, separated from Mongolia's capital, Ulan Bator, by 100 km of rocky pasture and mostly unpaved road, life has remained largely unchanged since Genghis Khan's "golden horde" rampaged across Asia nine centuries ago.

But Khorloo is a member of a new horde of at least 60,000 herders, farmers and urban unemployed trying to extract the riches buried in the vast steppe with metal detectors, shovels and home-made smelters.

In the last five years, dwindling legal gold supplies and a spike in black market demand from China have made work much more lucrative for Mongolia's "ninja miners" - so named because of the large green pans carried on their backs that look like turtle shells. For thousands of dirt-poor herders, the soaring prices alone are enough to justify years of harassment, abuse and hard labor.

"It took us a week to dig this out," Khorloo said, holding the nugget. "But we dug for three years to reach the vein."

China's annual gold output reached a record 361 metric tonnes last year, but demand continues to outstrip supply. While Beijing doesn't publish full import figures, deliveries from Hong Kong hit 428 metric tonnes in 2011, three times more than a year earlier.

Spot international gold prices hit a record high of $1,920.30 an ounce in September as investors bought the metal as a safe haven amid uncertainties surrounding the euro zone and its debt. The price has fallen back to around $1,636 but gold remains at historically high levels after a decade-long rally.

China has certainly driven the gold rush in Mongolia - from the giant $6 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project currently being developed by Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto to the makeshift holes that honeycomb the hills and valleys of Bornuur.

While the government in Ulan Bator hopes to use growing mineral output to drag its largely pastoral economy into the 21st century, many lawmakers are wary about turning Mongolia into "Minegolia" - a choking, resource-dependent blackspot tearing itself apart to deliver raw materials to China.

However, policies aimed at cutting output to more sustainable levels have played into the hands of the ninjas and a shadowy network of black market traders.

Read more

Sanction hit Syria tries to sell its Gold Reserves

From Arab News

Original source

PARIS/DUBAI: Syria is trying to sell gold reserves to raise revenue as Western and Arab sanctions targeting its central bank and oil exports begin to bite, diplomats and traders said.

Another diplomatic source said Turkey intercepted a vessel in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying weapons and ammunition to Syria yesterday.

"We received information that the vessel has a cargo of arms and ammunition headed for Syria," the source said.

Western sanctions have halved Syria’s foreign exchange reserves from about $17 billion, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday after a meeting with about 60 nations aimed at coordinating measures against President Bashar Assad’s government.

“Syria is selling its gold at rock bottom prices,” said a Western diplomatic source, declining to say where it was being sold.

A second diplomatic source confirmed the information, adding that Damascus was looking to offload everything it could to raise cash, including currency reserves. On Feb. 27, the European Union agreed more sanctions including prohibiting trade in gold and other precious metals with Syrian state institutions, including the central bank.

Two gold traders in the United Arab Emirates said the Syrian government had been offering gold at a discount, with one saying it was making offers at about 15 percent below the market price.The trader said Damascus was selling small volumes of around 20-30 kg which were easier to offload, with offers being made through private accounts set up with free e-mail providers.

Another trader said deals as of yet had not gone through in Dubai because the Emirati authorities were blocking unauthorized trades and few potential buyers were willing to take the risk of these deals.

“We have been getting offers for gold purchases from Syria and North African countries at 15 percent discount, but there are tough restrictions in Dubai that don’t allow any unauthorized trades,” said the trader.

The meeting on Tuesday was aimed in part at tightening up existing sanctions and trying to pinpoint countries that were offering Damascus ways to sidestep them.

The World Gold Council estimates Syria had about 25.8 metric tons of gold as of February 2012, representing about 7.1 percent of its total reserves.

Read more

Where is Australia's Gold? - Update

19th Century Gold scales on display at the RBA museum
I have been doing more research on this topic discussed earlier this week here on where Australia's Official Gold Reserves are physically stored and whether they are leased out.

On the leasing question I found the following two articles on the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) website. It seems that in the year 2000 all of Australia's 80 tonnes of gold was on "loan" but by end 2011 only 1 tonne was on "loan".

For those who are not familiar with the concept of precious metal "loans" let me explain. When most people loan something they do so on in the basis they will actually get back what they loaned. If you lent your blue ford falcon to someone for a year (for a fee) you would expect to get your blue ford falcon back.

This is not the case with Central Bank loans. Central Banks "loan" gold into the market for which they receive a fee (interest), but what happens to the gold is that it is sold by those who borrow it. Borrowers are usually large mining companies forward selling gold they have in the ground but have yet to mine it, or bullion banks who act as an agent for refiners and other end users. 

At the end of the term of the loan either the loan is rolled over, at the prevailing interest rate (the most common practice) or the borrower has to go into the market and buy the same amount of gold to repay the loan. Basically it is the equivalent of your mate borrowing your blue ford falcon then selling it and when you want your car back going out and buying a "blue ford falcon" to repay loan.

I know gold is fungible, i.e. one bar of the same purity and weight is interchangeable for any other bar but the principle still stands Central Bank "loans" would be by normal people called sales or at best swaps for a paper promise.

Operations in Financial Markets

Year 2000:

In addition to investments in foreign currencies, the RBA also holds about 80 tonnes of gold, currently valued at $1.2 billion. No outright transactions in gold were undertaken during the year, but an active gold loan program, involving virtually all gold holdings, was maintained. The average maturity of loans out- standing is six months, with the longest maturity at a little over one year. Total returns for gold- lending operations for the year were $21 million, a little higher than in the previous year.

Year 2011:

In addition to foreign currency assets, the Reserve Bank holds 80 tonnes of gold on its balance sheet. Over 2010/11, the price of gold rose by 21 per cent in US dollar terms but declined by 4 per cent in Australian dollar terms. As a result, the value of the Bank's holdings of gold declined slightly to $3.6 billion at the end of June. The lack of activity in the gold lending market, noted in recent annual reports, continued in 2010/11. Reflecting this, income from gold lending fell to just $0.1 million for the year and, at the end of June 2011, there was only 1 tonneof gold on loan.

-------- / -------

On the where the 80 Tonnes of gold is stored, Australia or offshore, I received this response from the RBA's Media & Public Relations Office today:

"Thank you for your email.

The Bank does not publish the location of its gold reserves."

Make of that what you will. Personally I didn't think it would have killed them to say "Australia", after all it is a big place, plenty of space to hide 80 tonnes of gold with giving anything away.

Lastly on the topic of the sale of most of the RBA's gold in 1997 I found a confidential white paper from Dec 1996 outlining the RBA's view on its gold reserves and the actions they should take to convince the then newly elected Howard/Costello federal government to let them sell the gold and to keep the proceeds to "re-invest" in interest bearing foreign government bonds. Interesting to read that the RBA thought the following:

"This would require (meaning the gold sale) the approval of the Treasurer to allow the realised gains to be retained for the Reserve Bank Reserve Fund. The current budgetary climate suggests that the chances of gaining the Treasurer's agreement to this are better now than they have been for some years." 

I have just gained more respect for Paul Keating that the RBA didn't dare take this ludicrous suggestion to him when he was Treasurer or Prime Minister.

And the subsequent press release issued after the sale in 1997

Clarke and Dawe - Important new research reveals enterprise doomed from the start

One of their funniest for a long time.

Apr 19, 2012 by ClarkeAndDawe

Are Australian companies offshoring jobs ignoring this extraneous risk?

When Australian and US companies offshore critical business functions to India and Communist China do they even know that most of India's and China's nuclear weapons are designed with the sole object of obliterating each other?

Most probably don't even know that they fought a war against each other or that culturally both sides have long held "attitudes" to each other stretching back into the distant past when both fought for the title of world's largest economy (until the West discovered fractional reserve banking).

"Never mind the quality Sir, feel the price" ~ Tears of the Moon, 2005.

Maybe I need to update my quote to add risk as well.

Original source

BHUBANESWAR, India, April 19 (Reuters) - India successfully test-fired on Thursday a nuclear-capable missile that can reach Beijing and Eastern Europe, thrusting the emerging Asian power into a small club of nations that can deploy nuclear weapons at such a great distance.
Footage showed the rocket, with a range of more than 5,000 km (3,100 miles), blasting through clouds from an island off India's east coast. It was not immediately clear how far the rocket flew before reaching its target in the Indian Ocean.
The defence minister said the test was "immaculate."
"Today's successful Agni-V test launch is another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a message to the scientists who developed the rocket.
Almost entirely Indian-made, the Agni-V is the crowning achievement of a programme developed primarily with a threat from neighbouring China in mind. 

Rebuilt WTC Nears Historic Height

Apr 19, 2012 by AssociatedPress

As construction continues, the rebuilt One World Trade Center is about to reclaim its position as the tallest building in New York City.

Keiser Report: Vicious Circle of Bankster Huddles

Apr 19, 2012 by    Follow Max Keiser on Twitter:

In this episode, Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert discuss huddles and cuddles with the Goombahs of Wall Street and the technical violations that cannot be called by name. In the second half of the show Max talks to Rolling Stone journalist, Matt Taibbi, about the Wall Street mafia, their small and big time rackets and the process of writing these crime stories for a wide audience.