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April 28, 2009

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Econ Student

it also seems like people in macro economic related fields rarely agree on anything. It all depends on what models you choose to apply.

Michael

That's not the real question. The real question is why any economist at any time did not look at the housing bubble and say, "Hm, that's gonna pop at some point."

Because our profession is useless if we don't do that.

MW

Academic economists seem to be very detached from what's going on in the "real world"; they're too busy building DSGE models etc. Obviously there are some exceptions --- Tim Duy, for example.

hcg

That's not the real question. The real question is why any economist at any time did not look at the housing bubble and say, "Hm, that's gonna pop at some point."

Oh, some did, but were ignored. See http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opinion/08krugman.html

Harry Wilson


"It is indeed hard to escape the sense that many leading economists became complicit in the financial crisis by remaining so complacent about the risks of financial liberalization"


Yes. So why not name and shame these economists. After all, either their understanding of real world economics was clearly faulty or they lacked intellectual integrity, and their actions have caused incalculable harm not just to the world's economy but also to the reputation of academic economics.

Let me begin by naming a few such economists. The links provide the evidence. Please feel free to add more names.

1. Robert Lucas http://home.uchicago.edu/~sogrodow/homepage/paddress03.pdf
2. Larry Summers http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/sympos/2005/PDF/GD5_2005.pdf
3. Glenn Hubbard http://www.slate.com/id/2077330/

raivo pommer-www.google.fi

Private investment groups GEM (Global Emerging Markets) Global Yield Fund Limited and GEM Investment Advisors Inc. had committed investing up to P300 million in local technology firm IPVG Corp. through the purchase of new IPVG shares and shares from existing shareholder Elite Holdings Inc.

The investment, which is for primary as well as secondary shares, involves both the company (IPVG) and one of the principal shareholders (ELITE).

The agreement also provides that IPVG shall issue to GEM or to GEM’s order, one or more warrant(s) to subscribe for up to 30 million shares.

The funding will be used for IPVG’s future business activities and engagements, and for the expansion of its operating subsidiaries.

IPVG CEO Enrique Gonzalez said the investment provides IPVG financing for expansion and for the organic capital requirements of our business subsidiaries. We welcome GEM’s entry into our company as they bring with them a strong track record in private equity and capital markets from their investment activities around the world.

“Despite a challenging global macro environment, this deal is evidence that well run companies can attract smart capital,” Gonzalez closes.

The GEM Group, comprising GEM Investment Advisors Inc. and GEM Global Yield Fund Limited and their affiliates, which was founded in 1991, is a $2.7 billion alternative investment firm engaged in the management of a diverse set of investment tools centered on emerging markets all over the world.

raivo pommer-eesti.

The long awaited 2009 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) that lists business projects qualified for tax incentives from the government remains unsigned nearly after a quarter has passed into the year earning howls of frustration from the business sector which is currently reeling from a global recession.

The Board of Investments (BoI) expected Malacañang’s approval of the yearly list by the end of last month but petitions from various sectors for changes in the list that Malacañang ordered to be heard delayed its signing, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said.

Favila said the BoI had to conduct new hearings for the late petitions despite the BoI completing all public hearings along with involved government agencies on the list as early as February this year.

“The IPP has been completed and the President has to sign it,” Favila said.

Favila, however, declined to explain what specific areas of the draft IPP were changed during the Malacañang-initiated hearings.

Favila was also asked if the President will sign the IPP before she leaves for Egypt today but he quipped “I do not ask the President for commitment.”

Initially, the BoI said the 2009 IPP focuses on the granting of incentives to all domestic micro, small and medium enterprises that would include the smallest type of projects such as sari-sari stores and three-wheel vehicles operators.

The scheme is part of plans drafted by the BoI along with other government agencies in line with a directive from the Arroyo administration to safeguard jobs and attract investments while the country suffers from the effects of the global financial slowdown.

BoI managing head and Trade Undersecretary Elmer Hernandez earlier said the new IPP may include new types of incentives that are still in the process of discussions by the IPP inter-agency committee.

raivo pommer-eesti.

BANK ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) board has agreed to triple its capital base to $165 billion to cope with the financial crisis, the bank
said on Thursday. This would ensure "much-needed resources to respond to the global economic crisis and to the longer-term development needs of the Asia and the Pacific region," the bank said in a statement.

An "overwhelming majority" of the ADB's 67 countries approved the multilateral institution's fifth general capital increase in its 42-year history on yesterday, the statement said.

"This substantial increase is a resounding vote of confidence from our shareholders for what we can achieve as a premier development partner in the region," ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda was quoted as saying.

raivo pommer-www.google.fi

Credit Crisis


More on our friends at Healthcare Connections, currently doing a roaring trade flogging Tamiflu to people worried about swine flu – for a total consideration of around £60, compared to the £7.10 NHS prescription price. A reader gets in touch to say that the company's sales staff told him it could take several weeks to get the medication out to him once he parted with his cash. A little disappointing since Tamiflu is most effective when used during the first few days of infection.

Horlick feels the heat again

Another blow to Nicola Horlick, right, the City superwoman who looked a little less clever when it emerged that her fund management company, Bramdean, had taken a big hit from the Madoff affair. One of Bramdean's biggest shareholders, Elsina, controlled by the entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz, has now called an extraordinary general meeting of the company, in a bid to unseat its entire board.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Do you think the posh grocer Whole Foods Market is struggling to get punters through the doors of its flagship outlet in Kensington High Street in London? Efforts to pull in a crowd seem to have been stepped up: the store is hosting a series of events, ranging from Cuban dancing shows to a lecture series on coping with allergies. There is even a "Free Salsa Class for Thirsty Thursday Customers". Given the price of some of its food, perhaps a seminar on how to do a full week's shop without giving your bank manager heart failure might be more appropriate.

Primark outfoxes the demonstrators

Primark hasn't got where it is today without some smart thinking. When executives discovered the opening of a new store in Tooting, south London, due today, was to be the target of a demonstration by War on Want, they acted quickly. An embarrassing scene was avoided by the simple trick of opening the store 24 hours early – the doors were thrown open yesterday morning.

raivo pommer-eesti.

Pian kaikki maailman pankit kriisissa

SPAIN BANK CHRISE

Spain's Santander, the euro zone's largest bank, on Wednesday said its first quarter net profit dropped by only 5 percent amid Spain's economic slump and increasing bad loans.

The bank, the biggest in Spain, said "the financial crisis and the economic slowdown have resulted in slower growth in activity and increased non-performing loans, which have required greater provisions."

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Santander said its loan-loss provisions were up 73.2 percent to ?2.234 billion ($2.9 billion). Bad loans as a proportion of lending stood at 2.49 percent, nearly double the 1.25 of a year before.

The results, described as "excellent" by bank vice president Alfredo Saenz, were seen as better than expected and pushed shares up 4.1 percent to ?6.83 ($8.87). Banks around the world have reported huge losses stemming from the collapse of securities based on U.S. mortgages to people with shaky credit.

The bank said that the year-on-year results were affected by the integration of two British acquisitions, Alliance and Leicester and the deposits and distribution channels of Bradford and Bingley, which contributed ?66 million ($85.75 million) in the quarter, as well as two months of results from U.S.-based Sovereign Bank, which registered an attributable loss of ?20 million ($25.98 million).

It added that the depreciation of the British pound and certain Latin American currencies had an impact of between 7 and 8 percentage points in profit growth in euros.

"Excluding these effects, the group's attributable profit would be practically the same as in the first quarter of 2008," Santander said.

It pointed out that net profit was actually up by 8 percent compared to the fourth quarter of the 2008.

Spain, one of Europe's economic success stories for more than a decade, has seen its economy stumble badly over the past year due to the collapse of a real estate bubble and tighter credit conditions owing to the international financial crisis.

The country has gone from being among the Europe's largest job creators to having its highest unemployment rate at 17.4 percent.

raivo pommer-www.google.fi

THE Australian dollar

At the local close, it was trading at US72.45c, up from Thursday's close of US72.36c.

During the session, the unit traded between US73.24c and US72.24c.

It began the local session at a six-month high of US73.18-22c.

ICAP economist Adam Carr said risk appetite was boosted by the declining US dollar.

The safe-haven currency declined during the four-day Easter break after news that US bank Wells Fargo had posted a better-than-forecast guidance for its first-quarter earnings.

"The Aussie's tracked higher," Mr Carr said. "We've had a couple of bounces up a couple of hundred points.

"US dollar weakness has been the key thing over the Easter period. Today, we've given some of those gains back, but not a lot. Significantly, we've held over US72c."

According to Wells Fargo, it expects "record" net income, about $US3 billion ($4.1 billion) for the first three months of 2009.

Markets considered it another sign of improvement in credit and lending markets. But Mr Carr said the overnight offshore session could prove volatile for the Australian dollar.

raivo pommer-www.google.fi


BRITICH BILLIONARE

These women are the latest in a long line of billionaire offspring who have decided to work for mom or dad. The allure seems obvious: lots of responsibility at a young age, little chance of being fired by the boss and the opportunity to contribute to the family's legacy.

But how seriously do these women take these jobs, and how likely is it that they'll actually inherit the corner offices, eventually run billion-dollar enterprises and oversee thousands of employees?

To find the most promising progeny, we scoured the daughters of the world's 793 billionaires and found 25 worth watching. They range in age from 25 to 59, include a couple sets of sisters and hail from 12 countries and work in such diverse industries as cosmetics, media and shipping.

Not included are any heiresses who have already inherited the fortune as well as the business, thus eliminating someone like Margaret (Maggie) Magerko, 43, who now runs and owns 84 Lumber, founded by her father. Also left off are ones who are succeeding on their own, such as Ralph Lauren's daughter Dylan, who owns the popular Manhattan store Dylan's Candy Bar.

So who are the rising stars? One of the best known is Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, who seems destined for the job. At 27, she has already become a fixture in her father's empire as an executive vice president for the Trump Organization and a star in her dad's primetime show Celebrity Apprentice. Enterprising as the Donald himself, Ivanka has also found time to be a fashion model and the face of Ivanka Trump Jewelry, her own luxury diamond line.

Others already sit on the boards of the world's largest public companies. Vanisha Mittal Bhatia, 28, is a board member of steel behemoth ArcelorMittal (market cap $37 billion), along with its chief executive, her father Lakshmi Mittal, and American billionaire Wilbur Ross. She is the only family member besides her dad on the board, though her brother Aditya Mittal is CFO and member of the Group Management Board.

Meanwhile, France's Delphine Arnault-Gancia, 34, became the first woman board member of luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, run by her father, at age 28 and was named deputy managing director of Christian Dior in April 2008.

raivo pommer-www.google.fi

Better news on manufacturing in Europe, China and India, and positive signs on U.S. home sales and construction raised hopes on
Monday that the deepest economic slump in decades may have bottomed out.

Manufacturing in Europe declined at its slowest pace in six months, and grew in China and India in April, while pending sales of existing U.S. homes rose unexpectedly in March and U.S. construction spending rose a slim 0.3 percent the same month, its first increase since September.

A top U.S. Federal Reserve official said the recession is fading and growth will resume later this year.

"While overall activity is still contracting, it now appears as if the pace of contraction is diminishing, and at some point later this year, activity will bottom out and begin expanding again," Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said in a speech to business leaders.

European and U.S. shares rose -- Wall Street's leading indexes jumped 2.5 percent or more as investors bet the government's "stress tests" won't be bad for banks and hoped the housing data meant the recession is ending. The S&P 500 topped the psychologically important 900 level for the first time since early January.

raivo pommer-eesti.

German sportswear maker Adidas said yesterday its first quarter net profit fell 97 per cent as the economic crisis crimped the company's sales, especially in North America.

The Herzogenaurach-based company said net profit for the January-March period fell to just €5 million ($11.5 million) from €169 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Sales for the period fell 2 per cent to €2.58 billion from €2.62 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

The company, whose brands include Reebok and TaylorMade Adidas Golf products, said it expects sales to decrease at a low to mid-single digit rate this year.

The results pushed Adidas' stock more than 11 per cent lower to €26.21 in Frankfurt trading.

"We've faced a number of economic and market challenges in the first quarter of 2009," said Herbert Hainer, Adidas' chief executive.

"Our results have been materially affected by higher input prices, currency devaluation effects and restructuring costs," Hainer said.

raivo pommer-www.google.ee

Source says Bank of America needs $34 bln in capital


Stocks slid and the yen rose on Wednesday after news Bank of America needs $34 billion in fresh capital, sending shivers through investors ahead of official results of stress tests on U.S. banks due for release on Thursday.
U.S. S&P 500 futures were down 1 percent, indicating a lower market open later in the day on Wall Street, after a source familiar with the government test results on 19 banks told Reuters that Bank of America has been deemed to have additional capital needs worth nearly half its current market cap of $69.4 billion.
The yen strengthened across the board as dealers scrambled to relative safety, knocking the Australian dollar down 1.7 percent despite much stronger-than-expected Australian retail sales numbers.
"This could put a dent in the rally we've seen," said Jan Lambregts, head of Asia research at Rabobank in Hong Kong. "Definitely we'll have a breather until we get these (stress test) results. Perhaps there are a few surprises in there," Lambregts said.
The MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan fell 1.2 percent, after hitting a seven-month high on Tuesday. Cyclical sectors like energy and materials in addition to financials led the index lower.
Japan's markets were closed for a holiday.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 0.8 percent, weighed by 2.7 percent drop in shares of China Construction Bank after the Financial Times said Bank of America was considering the sale of an $8 billion stake in the firm.
Investor willingness to take risks has been steadily increasing over the last new months and has been strengthened by signs around the world that the global economic downturn is easing.
That has prompted a rally in equities, commodities, emerging market debt and high-yielding currencies, which may only slacken momentarily because of uncertainty over the stress tests.
"In the short term, fundamentally, a correction is overdue and U.S. bank stress test results could well become a trigger as they will reveal capital needs without any real immediate remedy," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist with SJS Markets in Hong Kong.
"However, market positioning is likely to trump fundamentals, and it seems real money is coming out of the trenches and shooting with not just sniper fire but machine guns," he said in a note.
The U.S. dollar was down about 0.7 percent against the yen to 98.22 yen.
High-grade credit spreads in Asia widened slightly on the Bank of America news, though they remained near the tightest levels since October, the Asia iTraxx investment-grade index showed.
U.S. crude for June delivery was nearly unchanged on the day at $53.80 a barrel after rising to a high for the year overnight of $54.83.

raivo pommer-eesti.

Microsoft

has always been the direct result of the talent, hard work, and commitment of our people, eliminating positions is hard.

Today’s action includes positions in the United States and in a number of countries around the world. In the US, affected employees will be notified directly by their managers today. In other countries, local leadership teams will provide more specific information about the impact to their organizations.

With this announcement, we are mostly but not all done with the planned 5,000 job eliminations by June 2010. We are moving quickly to reach this target in response to consistent feedback from our people and business groups that it’s important to make decisions and reduce uncertainty for employees as quickly as possible, and so that organizations can concentrate their efforts and resources on strategic objectives.

As we move forward, we will continue to closely monitor the impact of the economic downturn on the company and if necessary, take further actions on our cost structure including additional job eliminations.

For those of you directly affected by today’s announcement, I want to thank you for your contribution to Microsoft and assure you that we will continue to provide support as we did during the previous job eliminations.

And for everyone across the company, I want to reemphasize how much I appreciate the way you have pulled together to help the company respond to this difficult economic environment. There’s no doubt that these are very challenging times. But together, we are making the right choices to ensure that we will continue to deliver great products and position ourselves for strong future growth and profitability.

raivo pommer-eesti.

Krach im Aufsichtsrat der Dresdner Bank

Erst einen Tag vor der Aufsichtsratssitzung erteilte der Wirtschaftsprüfer das Testat für den Jahresabschluss der Dresdner Bank - Wirrwarr gab es rund um die Kernkapitalquote

10. März 2009 Das Zusammengehen von Commerzbank und Dresdner Bank wird durch einen weiteren Vorfall belastet. Der Aufsichtsrat der Dresdner Bank weigerte sich, die Bilanz für 2008 festzustellen, obwohl das Testat des Wirtschaftsprüfers KPMG vorlag.

Am Abend vor der Aufsichtsratssitzung am vergangenen Mittwoch hatte Klaus Rosenfeld, Finanzvorstand der Dresdner Bank, die Bankenaufsicht, nicht aber seinen Vorgesetzten, den inzwischen auch zum Vorstandsvorsitzenden der Dresdner Bank ernannten Martin Blessing, darüber informiert, dass die Dresdner Bank nach Ansicht des Prüfers KPMG gegen eine gesetzliche Mindesteigenkapitalanforderung zum 31. Dezember 2008 verstößt. Von Blessing, im Hauptberuf Vorstandssprecher der Commerzbank, wurde anschließend von Teilnehmern der Aufsichtsratssitzung berichtet, dass er überrascht reagiert habe, als ein Prüfer von KPMG von einer Kernkapitalquote der Dresdner Bank von 3,7 und nicht – wie gesetzlich vorgeschrieben – von 4 Prozent sprach.

raivo pommer-eesti.

Travelers from Spain

Last year, the City welcomed a projected 382,000 visitors, a 20% increase over the previous year. Spanish visitors collectively spent an estimated $389 million in 2008. Travelers from Spain stay on average more than six nights and enjoy shopping and dining out as their top two activities. 84% who visit New York City come for leisure purposes and 84% stay in hotels.

“Currently, Madrid ’s tourism promotion office has an institutional agreement with NYC & Company to grow the image of both destinations,” said Pablo Bautista, CEO of the Madrid Tourist Board. “This exchange between both cities’ tourism offices started last year in New York City with the presence of the City of Madrid in a campaign that promoted its cultural and tourist attractions.”

Bautista has underlined the importance of such a cooperation between New York and Madrid and has mentioned that "there is a strong intention to reinforce in the future these agreements between both cities that will create new joint initiatives".

The New York City ads appear on street furniture throughout Spain in cities such as Madrid, Bilbao , Barcelona, Sevilla, and more. The posters promote the City’s new Real Deal promotion (nycgo.com/realdeal), which offers discounts at the City’s hotels, attractions, cultural organizations, shows, , a yearlong initiative to boost gay travel to New York City in 2009 during the 40th-anniversary year of the Stonewall Rebellion, the birthplace of the modern Gay Rights Movement. The ads launched on April 20 and will be in place until early June.

As part of the promotion, Viva Tours is offering Spanish consumers a five-day package from 749 euros, which includes air, hotel and transfers from Spain to New York City. The prices are valid through June 19. Viva Tours travel packages can be booked by Spanish consumers through a local travel agent.

“As the leading tour operator of the Spanish market in America, and particularly in New York, this agreement with NYC & Company represents a unique opportunity to reinforce our most important international destination,” said Enrique Martin-Ambrosio, General Manager of Viva Tours. “At this time, we are managing approximately 30% of the holiday packages that Spaniards are contracting to the United States, thanks to the exclusive agreements we have with the airline Iberia, which has an extensive presence in America . Furthermore, Iberia has two daily direct flights to New York City from Madrid as well as another one from Barcelona. We hope that alliances such as this one presented today will help us to increase this quota, increasing our leadership.”

raivo pommer-eesti.

Spain Chrise


unemployment rate has topped 17%, and economists expect it to hit 20% next year. But Depression-era scenes don't dot its landscape.

Spaniards aren't, en masse, sleeping under bridges. Tent cities haven't sprung up outside Spanish towns. Labor has yet to call a single major strike.

Europeans are notoriously quick to take to the streets to defend their economic interests. Yet, as the Continent endures its worst economic crisis since the end of World War II, things seem unusually calm.

Even Friday's May Day marches were more muted than expected. Though hundreds of thousands of people across Europe took part in the annual demonstrations, calling on governments to support jobs and workers, overall participation was less than unions had hoped for, considering the severity of the downturn.

Exact reasons for the subdued mood vary from country to country, but a common theme emerges: The very factors that make some European economies sluggish and inflexible during times of plenty also help cushion the impact of the downturn.

Spain exemplifies this. During the good times, its economy is held back by low productivity, an extensive underground economy and scant labor mobility. Studies show that Spaniards are unusually reluctant to move away from their home region -- a trait that acts as a drag on the economy.

Today, however, being close to one's extended family is a lifeline. Members of Spanish families help one another pay the mortgage, so there are fewer foreclosures. Even when they lose their homes, Spaniards rarely end up on the street. For the most part, they move in together.

"The family represents kind of a social-welfare network that allows the country to withstand a much higher rate of unemployment," says Rafael Doménech, chief economist for Spain and Europe at BBVA bank.

Then there is the question of who would lead any unrest. The huge job losses in Spain have been borne almost entirely by temporary workers -- women, immigrants and the young -- who aren't represented by anyone. The types of workers who tend to belong to labor unions -- middle-aged men on full-time contracts -- have scarcely been touched by layoffs. In fact, the latest jobs report showed they had slightly increased their number in the first quarter of the year -- even as 800,000 temporary and self-employed workers lost their jobs.

Another issue Spain shares with other southern European countries is its extensive black economy. During the good times, economists have encouraged countries like Spain and Italy to bring the black market under control. In the bad times, however, that market can give many Spaniards secret, undeclared sources of income that can keep them afloat.Analysts say it could represent as much as one-fifth of the Spanish economy, providing work for people who are formally unemployed.

raivo pommer-eesti.

President Obama predicted Wall Street, whose shenannigans he blames for the nation’s economic collapse, won’t play as dominant a role in the economy after he’s done reforming the financial system.

Obama said he expects that government efforts to fix the economy will cause long-term changes and lead people to search for jobs in other parts of the economy, Obama said in an interview in this week’s New York Times [NYT] Magazine.

“I actually think that’s healthy. We don’t want every single college grad with mathematical aptitude to become a derivatives trader,” Obama said.

Obama is restoring more regulations on the financial sector to avoid some of the risk-taking that helped cause the current economic problems.

“Wall Street will remain a big, important part of our economy, just as it was in the ’70s and the ’80s,” he said.

“It just won’t be half of our economy.”

raivo pommer-eesti.

But there are at least three other parallels between Mr. Obama and Mr. Trudeau: First, both have been hailed as healers of national rifts - Mr. Obama, between black and white, being both; and Mr. Trudeau, between Canada's two solitudes, French and English, being both.

Second, both Mr. Obama and Mr. Trudeau used classical rhetoric to win audiences over to their plans. In this, both leaders took advantage of North Americans' astonishing ignorance of rhetorical techniques, which makes North American residents peculiarly vulnerable to structured language's hypnotic power.

(As an aside: In the 1980s, when I was research director on Bay Street, I had all my analysts take a simple course on rhetorical delivery, both written and spoken; and in one firm all six analysts became ranked No. 1 in their fields.)

Finally, the third similarity: Mr. Obama is, and Mr. Trudeau was, essentially a liberal activist who, using rhetorical techniques, centralized power. In the case of Mr. Trudeau, it cost Canada some economic wealth and alienated the West; in the case of Mr. Obama, the cost is only beginning. When the president of the largest mercantile power on earth effectively says the sanctity of contracts is not for the courts to uphold, and the mesmerized populace (and media) meekly assent, all commercial contracts thereby become devalued, and the market for such contracts - for what are stocks and bonds but that? - must eventually tank.

I'll therefore repeat what this column noted on Feb. 28: The market, just like in 1938, would likely stage a 40- to 50-per-cent rebound from the then-6,600 Dow's fair-value level, before likely going into a two-year funk. The rebound is two-thirds there, and you can forget the "likely": Mr. Obama just ensured the funk would be upon us before year-end.

From here on, the Dow could rise another 1,000 to 1,200 points - say about 15 per cent more. Enjoy it, but don't get taken by Mr. Obama's hypnotizing rhetoric. I'd use the last few hundred Dow points to lighten up. And if you own non-government bonds, be equally wary, because Mr. Obama will have no compunction taking your money and handing it to the unions that helped elect him. Can you hear the bell ringing?

raivo pommer-eesti.

Revolution der Weltwirtschaft.


Joschka Fischer, 61, (Bündnis90/Grüne) war Bundesaußenminister und Vizekanzler von 1998 bis 2005. Er schreibt exklusiv für Project Syndicate und die Süddeutsche Zeitung. (Foto: dpa)

Wer an einem See sitzt und das Wasser betrachtet, der rechnet womöglich mit vielem, aber sicher nicht mit dem Vorbeiziehen eines schwarzen Schwans. So verhält es sich auch mit der aktuellen Krise: Wenn der schwarze Schwan das Symbol für das völlig Unerwartete ist, für das Unmögliche, das aber dann doch eintrifft und das Weltbild oder gar die Welt auf den Kopf stellt - dann wird es in diesem Jahr reichlich Anlässe geben, schwarzer Schwäne zu gedenken und sich auf die Ankunft weiterer vorzubereiten.

So wird sich im November zum zwanzigsten Mal der Fall der Berliner Mauer jähren. In der Nacht des 9. November 1989 begann das Ende der Sowjetunion und ihres Imperiums - und damit auch der bipolaren Welt, die über mehr als fünf Jahrzehnte hinweg Deutschland und Europa geteilt hatte.

Kaum jemand hatte zuvor dieses weltumstürzende Ereignis für möglich gehalten, und doch geschah es, quasi über Nacht. Nach dem Verschwinden der Sowjetunion und der bipolaren Weltordnung dominierte der damals siegreiche westliche Kapitalismus, angeführt von der alleinigen Weltmacht USA, unangefochten die globale Politik und noch mehr die globale Wirtschaft.

raivo pommer-eesti.

Mit 60 Milliarden Euro will die Notenbank dem Pfandbriefmarkt der Europäischen Währungsunion unter die Arme greifen.

Mit ihrem Aufkaufprogramm, also der Abschöpfung von Papieren am Sekundär- und womöglich auch am Primärmarkt, wird die EZB das mittel- und langfristige Renditeniveau in diesem Marktsegment drücken, mithin indirekt das Zinsniveau lang laufender Baukredite senken.

Zu den gedeckten Bankschuldverschreibungen gehören allen voran die deutschen Pfandbriefe und mit Hypotheken besicherte Covered Bonds aus anderen Ländern. Sie erfreuten sich im vergangenen Jahr trotz der dramatischen Finanzkrise immer noch einer besseren Nachfrage und verhielten sich am Markt tendenziell stabiler als mit Hypotheken besicherte, strukturierte Kreditprodukte (MBS) und in weiteren Verschachtelungen an den Markt gestreute Kreditprodukte (CDO), deren Sekundärmarkt nahezu komplett zusammenbrach.

Gerade weil Banken jedoch mit anhaltendem Kapitalmangel kämpfen und ihnen die Möglichkeiten des Abverkaufs von Kreditrisiken an die Märkte strukturierter Kreditpapiere derzeit noch verwehrt sind, ist die Stellung des Marktes für Covered Bonds und Pfandbriefe so wichtig, um das Bau- und Hypothekengeschäft in Schwung zu halten. Die Bedeutung zeigte sich kürzlich darin, dass die Deutsche Bank eine Pfandbrief-Lizenz beantragt hat.

raivo pommer-eesti.

Islands Krone versucht sich zu stabilisieren

Wegen vieler hausgemachter volkswirtschaftlicher Probleme zählt Island zu den Ländern, welche die Kreditkrise am stärksten in Mitleidenschaft gezogen hat. Anfang Oktober 2008 war der Bankensektor des Landes, der massiv in Übersee expandiert war, kollabiert. Island brachte der Zusammenbruch seines Bankensystems kurz vor den Staatsbankrott. Dieser konnte am Anfang des Jahres nur durch Kredite des Internationalen Währungsfonds (IWF) und befreundeter Länder verhindert werden.

Heftig zugesetzt haben die Turbulenzen auch der Krone. Begonnen hat der Abstieg der isländischen Landeswährung aber schon viel früher, nämlich Ende 2005. Im Tief kostete da ein Euro noch 71,43 Kronen, bevor es dann im April 2009 in der Spitze sogar mehr als 197 Kronen war.

Dritte Zinssenkung seit März

In den vergangenen Wochen hat die Krone nun auf dem ausgebombten Niveau unter volatilen Schwankungen Stabilisierungsversuche unternommen. Zuletzt ist es ihr dabei gelungen, sich bis auf aktuell 168,22 Kronen zu befestigen. Geholfen hat ihr dabei natürlich wie allen anderen Schwachwährungen die zuletzt wieder gestiegene Risikobereitschaft der Investoren.

Diese Entwicklung hat auch dabei geholfen, dass die Krone auch den eingeleiteten Zinssenkungsprozess bisher gut überstanden hat. Erst an diesem Donnerstag hat die Zentralbank den Leitzins um weitere 2,5 Prozentpunkte auf 13 Prozent gesenkt. Ingesamt war dies der dritte Zinsschritt seit März (damals wurde um 100 Basispunkte gesenkt und im April um 150 Punkte). Und das Ende der Fahnenstange soll damit noch nicht erreicht sein. Zumindest stellten die Verantwortlichen weitere Zinssenkungen in Aussicht.

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Mexikanischer Peso

Als die Schweinegrippe in Mexiko ausbrach, geriet der Peso Ende April kurzfristig unter Druck. Inzwischen beginnt sich nicht nur das Alltagsleben wieder zu normalisieren. Auch Mexikos Landeswährung ist dabei, die Kursverluste auszubügeln.

Als Stütze erweisen sich mehrere Faktoren. So hilft die größere Risikobereitschaft, aber auch die sich mehrenden Zeichen einer konjunkturelle Stabilisierung in Amerika. Als am Freitag der Arbeitsmarktbericht besser ausfiel als erwartet, legte auch der Peso auf 13,0316 Peso je Dollar zu. Insgesamt betrug das Wochenplus 5,7 Prozent, was die beste Wertentwicklung unter den lateinamerikanischen Währungen war. Auch im Verhältnis zum Euro wird die Notiz derzeit deutlich entfernt von dem im März markierten Tief von 19,55 Peso gehandelt.

Mexiko liefert rund 80 Prozent seiner Exporte in die Vereinigten Staaten. Und die Nachfrage aus Amerika ist wichtiger denn je, befürchtet das Finanzministerium unter Einberechnung der negativen Effekte der Schweingrippe doch damit, dass die Wirtschaft in diesem Jahr um 4,1 Prozent schrumpft.

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Finanzexperten raten zu Gelassenheit

Genau diejenigen sorgen sich: Mehr als die Hälfte aller Deutschen bangt erheblich ums Ersparte, belegt eine aktuelle Umfrage des Deutschen Instituts für Altersvorsorge (DIA). Rund 75 Prozent der Deutschen fürchten, dass sie im Ruhestand viel weniger Geld zur Verfügung haben als gedacht. 2005 waren es nur halb so viele. Jeder Zweite spürt bereits, dass die Krise auf sein Einkommen oder seine Ersparnisse durchschlägt. Und jeder Fünfte beklagt Verluste bei der Geldanlage - also nicht bloß Buchverluste, sondern erlittene. Denn etliche Sparer lösten noch im Herbst ihre Aktiendepots auf.

Gerade Ältere haben nun Angst, dass sie die Rückschläge, die sie erlitten haben, nicht wieder aufholen. Mit welchem Produkt soll das auch in Zeiten der Niedrigstzinsen gehen? Aber selbst wer an Aktien und Fonds festhielt, fragt sich nun: Soll er bei den derzeitigen Aussichten nicht lieber verkaufen, bevor die Papiere noch mehr verlieren?

Ruhig bleiben, raten alle Finanzexperten: "Der größte Fehler ist: Sparer gucken nur auf ihr Aktiendepot, nicht aufs Gesamtvermögen", sagt Bernd Katzenstein vom DIA. Sie betreiben mentale Kontenbildung und versuchen unter allen Umständen - und oft mit hohen Kosten - dieses eine Konto durch wildes Hin- und Herschichten zu optimieren. Dabei verlieren sie aus dem Blick, dass ihr Gesamtvermögen viel stabiler ist und zwischenzeitliche Verluste auf dem Aktienkonto ausgleichen kann.

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Die größte britische Bank HSBC sieht sich nach einem positiven Jahresstart für weitere Herausforderungen gut aufgestellt. Abschreibungen und Kreditrücklagen seien im Auftaktquartal 2009 im Vergleich zum Schlussquartal vergangenen Jahres zurückgegangen.

Das teilte das Institut am Montag in London mit. Erträge sowie der Vorsteuergewinn vor Neubewertung von Krediten hätten sich zwischen Januar und März erholt. Grund sei vor allem ein starkes Geschäft im Investmentbanking, das sich auch im April weiter fortgesetzt habe. Die Kernkapitalquote lag Ende März bei 9,9 Prozent.

Gegenüber dem Vorjahresquartal waren Abschreibungen und Risikovorsorge allerdings deutlich angestiegen, der Vorsteuergewinn vor der Neubewertung von Krediten lag unter dem Vergleichswert. HSBC- Chef Stephen Green sagte, das Umfeld sei weiterhin unsicher und Signale aus der Wirtschaft seien gemischt. Es gebe allerdings einige Anzeichen für eine vorsichtige Erholung.

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Kreditkartenabrechnung hat das Amtsgericht München die Rechte der Verbraucher gestärkt. Nach einem neuen Urteil muss die Bank im Zweifelsfall nachweisen, dass der Kunde die von ihm bestrittenen Kreditkartengeschäfte wirklich getätigt hat.

Kann sie diesen Nachweis nicht führen, muss die Bank den abgebuchten Geldbetrag dem Kunden erstatten. Das Urteil ist rechtskräftig (Az.: 242 C 28708/08).

Das Gericht gab damit der Klage einer Frau statt, die von 2007 an festgestellt hatte, dass in der Kreditkartenabrechnung von ihr nicht veranlasste Abbuchungen auftauchten. Sie ließ darauf hin die Karte sperren, und die Bank erstattete zunächst auch anstandslos die nicht akzeptierten Beträge. Die Kundin selbst ließ für ihre Online- Geschäfte vorsichtshalber ein Anti-Viren-Programm auf ihrem Computer installieren.

Im September 2007 erhielt sie eine neue Kreditkarte, doch abermals gab es von ihr nicht veranlasste Abbuchungen. Sie ließ auch die zweite Karte sperren, erstattete Strafanzeige und versicherte an Eides statt, dass sie die Umsätze nicht getätigt habe. Nach Ausstellung der dritten Kreditkarte wiederholte sich das Spiel. Sie entdeckte erneut dubiose Umsätze, von denen sie nichts wusste. Die Bank erstattete ihr dieses Mal aber nur noch knapp 60 Euro, den Rest in Höhe von rund 700 Euro jedoch nicht mehr. Daraufhin erhob die Frau Klage beim Amtsgericht.

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Der weltgrößte Reisekonzern TUI hat im ersten Quartal dank des Verkaufs der Containerreederei Hapag-Lloyd gut eine halbe Milliarde Euro verdient. Der den TUI-Aktionären zustehende Überschuss belief sich auf 553,1 Millionen Euro, wie das MDAX-Unternehmen in Hannover mitteilte.

Ohne den Verkaufserlös von knapp einer Milliarde Euro hätte TUI allerdings deutlich im Minus abgeschlossen. Auch für das Gesamtjahr rechnet der Vorstand dank des Sondererlöses mit einem deutlich verbesserten Konzernergebnis.

In der Touristik erwartet das Management vor Steuern, Zinsen und Abschreibungen auf Unternehmenswerte (EBITA) und Sondereffekten im Jahr 2009 ein stabiles Ergebnis. Hapag-Lloyd, die nur noch zu 43,33 Prozent zum Konzern gehört, dürfte nach dem Sondereffekt zum Jahresbeginn ab dem zweiten Quartal ein negatives Ergebnis abliefern, hieß es.

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- Nach Milliardenverlusten im vergangenen Jahr hat die Commerzbank-Tochter Eurohypo einem Zeitungsbericht zufolge im ersten Quartal 2009 wieder einen Gewinn erzielt.

Dazu habe vor allem die Staatsfinanzierungssparte beigetragen, in der ein Gewinn in niedriger dreistelliger Millionenhöhe angefallen sei, berichtet das «Handelsblatt» (Montag) unter Berufung auf Finanzkreise. Die Verluste der Gewerbeimmobiliensparte seien niedriger gewesen. Der Commerzbank- Konzern habe in dem Geschäftsfeld, das von der Eurohypo dominiert werde, 54 Millionen Euro verloren.

Noch 2008 habe die Eurohypo ihrer Mutter Commerzbank einen Milliardenverlust eingebracht. Hintergrund seien starke Kursverluste bei Staatsanleihen gewesen. Nun wirkten die Stabilisierung in den Finanzmärkten und die gewinnträchtige Auflösung eines Absicherungsgeschäfts (Total Return Swaps) für US-Kommunen in die andere Richtung. Auf Druck der EU-Wettbewerbsbehörde muss sich die Commerzbank von ihrer Tochter Eurohypo trennen.

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Deutsche Unternehmen wünschen sich bei ihrem Engagement in der Golfregion mehr Unterstützung durch die Politik.

In Ländern, in dem traditionell die Wirtschaft von Herrscherfamilien und damit von der Politik dominiert werden, brächte dies wesentliche Vorteile im Wettbewerb mit den USA, Großbritannien und Frankreich.

Dieses Argument brachten mehrere Firmenvertreter während des dreitägigen Besuches von Bundeswirtschaftsminister Karl- Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) in den Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate (VAE) und Saudi Arabien vor, der am Montag zu Ende ging.

Guttenberg appellierte in Riad an die EU und an die Golfstaaten, ihre ins stocken geratenen Gespräche über eine Freihandelszone wieder aufzunehmen und zu einem erfolgreichen Abschluss zu bringen. Es seien nur noch wenige Probleme zu lösen. Die beiden reichen Ölstaaten luden deutsche Unternehmen zu mehr Engagement am Golf ein.

Zugleich bekundeten die Regierungen in Abu Dhabi und Riad ihr Interesse an Investitionen in Deutschland. Allerdings wurden während der Reise von Guttenberg keine konkreten Projekte vereinbart. Weit gediehenen ist den Angaben zufolge ein Projekt der Bundesdruckerei mit den VAE über die Herstellung biometrischer Pässe.

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Belastet von Gewinnmitnahmen hat der deutsche Aktienmarkt Kursverluste verbucht. Damit rückt für den DAX die Marke von 5.000 Zählern erst einmal wieder aus dem Blick, betonten Händler, nachdem der Leitindex am Freitag noch etwas unter dieser Schwelle bei 4.913,90 Punkten geschlossen hatte.

Gegen Mittag fiel der DAX um 1,29 Prozent auf 4.850,48 Punkte, und der MDAX sank um 3,28 Prozent auf 5.714,27 Zähler. Für den Technologiewerte-Index TecDAX ging es um 2,90 Prozent auf 604,26 Zähler nach unten.

Frank Geilfuß, Marktanalyst beim Berliner Bankhaus Löbbecke, sagte: "Nach den jüngsten Kursgewinnen machen die Anleger zum Wochenbeginn erst einmal Kasse." Zudem habe sich die Stimmung besonders für die Finanzwerte eingetrübt und hiervon belastet würden nun auch die US-Märkte zur Eröffnung im Minus erwartet. In den USA haben sich aktuell mehr Menschen mit dem Schweinegrippe-Virus infiziert als in Mexiko, fuhr der Experte fort, und dies verunsichere die Anleger ebenfalls.

Am DAX-Ende verloren die Titel der Commerzbank 8,53 Prozent auf 5,735 Euro. "Die Luft nach oben ist erst einmal raus", resümierte Sebastian Reuter, Analyst bei Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers, die Kursentwicklung. Die Papiere haben sich seit ihrem Tief Anfang März bei 2,27 Euro mittlerweile mehr als verdoppelt.

Zudem hatte das "Wall Street Journal" am Wochenende berichtet, die 19 führenden US-Banken bräuchten noch mehr frisches Kapital als die laut Stress-Test verlangten 75 Milliarden Dollar. Die US-Notenbank (Fed) habe bei der Prüfung ursprünglich weitaus größere Kapitallücken festgestellt als schließlich bekanntgeben worden sei, berichtete das Blatt. Titel der Münchener Rück fielen indes um 3,49 Prozent auf 98,30 Euro.

Ebenfalls gemieden wurden die Aktien von MAN, die um 4,43 Prozent auf 46,78 Euro absackten. In dem Schmiergeldskandal des Münchner Maschinen- und Nutzfahrzeugkonzerns richten sich nach Medienangaben die staatsanwaltschaftlichen Ermittlungen auch gegen Führungskräfte. Aktien von K+S verloren derweil 3,16 Prozent auf 48,42 Euro.

Sowohl die UBS als auch Morgan Stanley hatten sich negativ zu dem Düngemittel- und Salzproduzenten geäußert. Die Analysten prognostizieren, dass der in den nächsten drei Monaten erwartete chinesische Vertragsabschluss deutlich schlechter ausfallen dürfte als derzeit am Markt prognostiziert.

Im MDAX zählten die Titel von TUI nach Zahlen mit minus 5,59 Prozent auf 7,60 Euro zu den größten Verlierern. Das Zahlenwerk des Reiseriesen fiel nach Einschätzung von Börsianern schwächer als erwartet aus - und das, obwohl der Verkauf der Containerreederei Hapag-Lloyd bereits eingerechnet sei. Zudem habe der Ausblick negativ überrascht.

Die Papiere von Leoni gerieten nach ebenfalls mit Enttäuschung aufgenommen Zahlen zunächst ebenfalls deutlich unter Druck, konnten sich dann aber etwas erholen und sanken zuletzt nur noch um 1,69 Prozent auf 11,60 Euro. Analyst Jürgen Pieper vom Bankhaus Metzler sieht als einzige kleine Hoffnungszeichen die Aussagen, dass es im März etwas besser gelaufen sei, als im Januar und Februar 2009.

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Mit einem bundesweiten Aktionstag haben Tausende Mitarbeiter des größten deutschen Stahlkonzerns ThyssenKrupp gegen einen drohenden Stellenabbau protestiert.

In einem Autokorso fuhren Stahlarbeiter mit 300 Wagen durch Duisburg, teilte die Polizei mit. In Emden demonstrierten 1500 Werftarbeiter vor den Nordseewerken, an einer Kundgebung bei HDW in Kiel nahmen 1000 Beschäftigte teil. Vor dem Stahlwerk in Bochum richteten die Beschäftigten eine Mahnwache ein. Flächendeckend hatte die IG Metall zudem bundesweit zu Informationsveranstaltungen an den ThyssenKrupp- Standorten aufgerufen.

ThyssenKrupp will die Zahl der Konzern-Sparten von fünf auf zwei oder eine verringern und im Stahlbereich 1800 bis 2000 Stellen streichen. Dabei soll es keine betriebsbedingten Kündigungen geben. Die IG Metall befürchtet konzernweit den Verlust von mindestens 5000 Arbeitsplätzen.

Betriebsratschef Thomas Schlenz kündigte Bereitschaft für ein mögliches Sondierungsgespräch mit dem Konzern-Vorstand vor der Mittwoch stattfindenden Aufsichtsratssitzung an. «Ich erwarte wesentliche Zusagen zu unseren Eckpunkten, um in eine Verhandlungsposition zu kommen», sagte er der Deutschen Presse- Agentur dpa. Die Arbeitnehmer fordern die Sicherung von Arbeitsplätzen und Einkommen sowie den Erhalt der Mitbestimmung.

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A growing number of banks are eyeing quick repayment of US government capital injections after stress tests showed major lenders are healthy enough to manage without public support.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and others said they would seek early reimbursement of the capital aid injections that began last year to shore up the US financial system.

Others, notably Citigroup, may improve capital ratios by converting some of the government preferred shares to common stock, which will make the US Treasury a large stakeholder.

The Treasury has injected roughly $200 billion (R1.6 trillion) in capital into dozens of banks out of a total programme commitment for $250bn within the Capital Purchase Program and Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp).

Some banks had argued that the capital programme was forced on them and had imposed conditions such as limits on executive compensation. They raised fears about the state meddling in bank operations.

"These (stress test) results produced a collective sigh of relief heard around the world," said Patrick O'Hare at research firm Briefing.com.

"It has been the market's conclusion that these collective results are much less worrisome than had been thought weeks ago. Accordingly, it is now envisioning a new phase for the banks in which they start earning their way out of the Tarp halfway house in which they now reside."

The review by regulators showed that 10 big US banks need $74.6bn in extra capital buffers.

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Germany, the land of Goethe, Thomas Mann and Beethoven, has an unlikely pop culture hero: Donald Duck. Just as the French are obsessed with Jerry Lewis, the Germans see a richness and complexity to the Disney comic that isn’t always immediately evident to people in the cartoon duck’s homeland.
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Comics featuring Donald are available at most German newsstands and the national weekly “Micky Maus”—which features the titular mouse, Goofy and, most prominently, Donald Duck—sells an average of 250,000 copies each week, outselling even “Superman.” A lavish 8,000-page German Donald Duck collector’s edition has just come out, and despite the nearly $1,900 price tag, the publisher, Egmont Horizont, says the edition of 3,333 copies is almost completely sold out. Last month the fan group D.O.N.A.L.D (the German acronym stands for “German Organization for Non-commercial Followers of Pure Donaldism”), hosted its 32nd annual congress at the Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, with trivia and trinkets galore, along with lectures devoted to “nephew studies” and Duckburg’s solar system.

“Donald is so popular because almost everyone can identify with him,” says Christian Pfeiler, president of D.O.N.A.L.D. “He has strengths and weaknesses, he lacks polish but is also very cultured and well-read.” But much of the appeal of the hapless, happy-go-lucky duck lies in the translations. Donald quotes from German literature, speaks in grammatically complex sentences and is prone to philosophical musings, while the stories often take a more political tone than their American counterparts.

Whereas in the U.S. fans of Donald Duck tend to gravitate to the animated films, duck fandom in Germany centers on the printed comics published in the kids’ weekly “Micky Maus” and the monthly “Donald Duck Special” (with a print run of 40,000 copies), which sells mainly to adult readers.

Donald Duck didn’t always find Germany so hospitable. In the years following World War II, American influence in the newly formed Federal Republic was strong, but German cultural institutions were hesitant to sanction one U.S. import: the comic book. A law banning comics was proposed, and some American comics were eventually burned by school officials worried about their effects on students’ morals and ability to express themselves in complete sentences.

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Before those killings, accommodation was the rule. The Mafia was Italy's secret vice: it kept Sicily in order, doled out rough justice and provided safe Sicilian seats to politicians cunning and ruthless enough to do deals with them. Falcone and Borsellino were given the task of bringing the Mafia to book and ending Mob rule in the island, and unlike their predecessors they went about it vigorously.

They organised the first mass trials of Mafiosi, and cajoled the government into giving convicted gangsters uniquely tough conditions in jail to prevent them continuing to run the gangs from inside. The Mafia had a beginning, Falcone argued, so it must also have an end.

Infuriated by the challenge, the Mafia began turning on its former friends in the political world. First to die was the former mayor of Palermo, Salvo Lima, Giulio Andreotti's key contact in the Mob. Falcone and Borsellino were murdered months later.

But now the man who killed Falcone has testified in court in Rome that, even after Lima's death, the politicians had not given up hope of sweet-talking the Mafia into another cosy arrangement.

The testimony of supergrasses is often suspect, but if an authority as important as Antonio Ingroia, a top anti-Mafia magistrate in Palermo, gives credit to what he says, it is to be taken seriously. In their last months, both Falcone and Borsellino felt that the political establishment had hung them out to dry. "In Sicily," Falcone said, "the Mafia kills the servants of the state that the state has not been able to protect." He saw it coming. Now we know chillingly that he was right, and that he had been abandoned. The survival of the political establishment was considered to be far more important than the breaking of the Mafia.

Months later both men were dead and for the first time the ordinary people of Palermo took to the streets in furious protest. This was partly out of sympathy for the dead men and their families, and partly because the autostrada bombing could easily have wiped out innocent Sicilians along with the magistrates (one reason the Mafia had been tolerated up to that point was because they only killed their own kind). With a start, the Italian state woke up: finally it saw that its very existence was at stake. A new age was under way.

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President Obama predicted Wall Street, whose shenannigans he blames for the nation’s economic collapse, won’t play as dominant a role in the economy after he’s done reforming the financial system.

Obama said he expects that government efforts to fix the economy will cause long-term changes and lead people to search for jobs in other parts of the economy, Obama said in an interview in this week’s New York Times [NYT] Magazine.

“I actually think that’s healthy. We don’t want every single college grad with mathematical aptitude to become a derivatives trader,” Obama said.

Obama is restoring more regulations on the financial sector to avoid some of the risk-taking that helped cause the current economic problems.

“Wall Street will remain a big, important part of our economy, just as it was in the ’70s and the ’80s,” he said.

“It just won’t be half of our economy.”

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