Thursday, 26 February 2015 18:11

World News Desk 02-26-2015

From Jenna Orkin:

Headlines

Russia's Military Exercises Are 10 Times Larger Than NATO's

Amid Probe, NY Governor Cuomo Orders Mass Deletion Of Government Emails

“In an Onion-esque story almosty too unbelievable to be real, IB Times reports, in a memo obtained by Capital New York, Cuomo officials announced that mass purging of email records is beginning across several state government agencies. The timing of the announcement, which followed through on a 2013 proposal, is worth noting: The large-scale destruction of state documents will be happening in the middle of a sprawling federal investigation of public corruption in Albany.

As IB Times reports, earlier this month, New Yorkers watched an inferno tear through a warehouse full of old government records from the bygone paper era.

Many probably felt relief in thinking that such records are now often digitized and therefore not at risk of being accidentally incinerated. Yet as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is showing this week, many records are vulnerable to another form of destruction: deliberate deletion.”

As Capital New York reports...

“The Cuomo administration has now fully implemented a policy of automatically deleting emails of rank-and-file state workers that are more than three months old, resulting in an effective purge of thousands of messages in recent days.

According to memos obtained by Capital, mass deletions began Monday at several state agencies after officials finished consolidating 27 separate email platforms to a single, cloud-based system called Office 365. It lets I.T. administrators purge any older messages, and can be set up to do so each day.

...

But more than a dozen advocacy organizations—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, New York Civil Liberties Union and Sunlight Foundation, as well as New York-based good government groups—sent a letter to the governor late last month, arguing his policy was technologically unnecessary and out of step with the federal government, which saves emails from rank-and-file employees for seven years…””

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Nothing to see here, move along… - Wes

Greece Suffers Biggest Bank Run In History: January Deposits Plunge To 2005 Levels

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Greek negotiation and ultimately, bailout extension, was just how panicked was the Greek population and domestic corporations. Recall that as explained previously, the tension boiled down to this: the Troika did everything in its power to accelerate the bank run in order to crush any negotiating leverage Varoufakis may have; Greece on the other hand was desperate to make its cash drain appear far better than rumored.

Moments ago the Bank of Greece presented its latest, January, deposit data. And it's a doozy: following a record €12.2 billion monthly outflow, greater in absolute and relative terms than anything experienced during any of the previous Greek crises and bailouts, the total amount of Greek corporate and household deposits has now tumbled to just €148 billion, down 7.7% from the month before, and down 10% since November. This number is in line with some of the more pessimistic expectations, and brings the total cash holdings at Greek banks to the lowest level since August 2005…


Economy

Brazil Consumer Confidence Collapses To Lowest. Ever.

“It appears all the emerging/emerged economies of the world that are supposed to be the dynamic growth engines to lead the world to escape velocity are, well, not. Perhaps no better example is Brazil where hyper-growth expectations have disappeared into a black hole as business and consumer confidence collapsed this week to historical lows. As Goldman noted, "This poses major headwinds for private consumption and overall activity in the coming months."

As Goldman summarizes:

“According to the monthly FGV Index, consumer confidence (CC) posted a large 4.9% mom sa decline in February, adding to the even larger 6.7% mom sa decline recorded in January. The overall consumer confidence index is now at its lowest level since the index started to be reported in September 2005. Furthermore, consumer confidence is currently 34% below the April 2012 peak and 26% below the average of the last five years…””

Ukraine has become the world's 57th case of hyperinflation

“Since the New Year, Ukraine’s currency – the hryvnia – has collapsed, losing 51 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar.

To put this rout into perspective, consider that the Russian ruble has only lost 8 percent against the greenback during the same period.

Like night follows day, the hryvnia’s meltdown has resulted in a surge of inflation. The last official Ukrainian year-over-year inflation rate is 28.5 percent. This rate was reported for January and is out of date.

That said, the official inflation rate has consistently and massively understated Ukraine’s brutal inflation. At present, Ukraine’s implied annual inflation rate is 272 percent. This is the world’s highest inflation rate, well above Venezuela’s 127 percent rate (see the accompanying chart)…”

NY investigators have flagged 'millions' of potentially illegal money laundering transactions — all at one bank
...which is not identified in the article. - JO 

 

Energy/Resources

The new Silk Road? China completes its first successful 16,000-mile shopping trip to Spain on the world's longest railway 

First full body transplant is two years away, surgeon claims

Owl attacks prompt Dutch town to arm itself with umbrellas

Season of the witch Why young women are flocking to the ancient craft

It wasn't rats but gerbils that caused the Black Plague

TEPCO Admits Delaying Report Of Major Radiation Leak Into The Pacific Ocean For 10 Months

I’m introducing a new acronym into the common lexicon: TFS, meaning “Totally Fucking Shocking” (sarcastic). - Wes

Scientists are trying to figure out if a common food additive is linked to diseases like Crohn's and colitis

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Common additives in ice cream, margarine, packaged bread and many processed foods may promote the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease as well as a group of obesity-related conditions, scientists said on Wednesday.

The researchers focused on emulsifiers, chemicals added to many food products to improve texture and extend shelf life. In mouse experiments, they found emulsifiers can change the species composition of gut bacteria and induce intestinal inflammation.

Such inflammation is associated with the frequently debilitating Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis as well as metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase risk for type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Mice were fed emulsifiers diluted in drinking water or added into food, which were found to trigger low-grade intestinal inflammation and features of metabolic syndrome such as blood glucose level abnormalities, increased body weight and abdominal fat weight.

Consuming emulsifiers increased the risk of colitis, mimicking human inflammatory bowel disease, in mice genetically susceptible to the condition, the study found.

Georgia State University microbiologist Benoit Chassaing, whose study appears in the journal Nature, said the effects seen in mice "may be observed in humans as well."

The study involved two widely used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. The researchers are planning human studies and are already studying other emulsifiers…”

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Yet another reason to eat natural foods. - Wes

 

Military/Intelligence

Mexican teachers hit by police crackdown amid protests on unpaid salaries and missing students 'murdered by drug cartels' 

Spain wants to ban drunk walking. What next for pedestrians?

Sex, Lies and Espionage: Did a Professor Spy for the FBI? 

Iran Televises Major Naval Drill Against Fake US Aircraft Carrier In Persian Gulf

Google is planning a massive new HQ in California

New York's touted whistleblower act shows how Europe is miles behind the US

'Drugs tunnel' – complete with a lift, lights and ventilation – found running from Arizona to Mexico


Civil Unrest/Politics
Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has been cleared of a cover-up charge

 

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