Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wall Street advances on central bank comments, data

By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks advanced on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 on track to stem recent losses after comments from central bankers in the U.S. and China eased recent concerns about a credit crunch and an end to stimulus measures.
The People's Bank of China said it would not press banks too greatly in its efforts to curb easy credit as it sought to ease worries of a possible banking crisis.
The S&P 500 (.SPX) on Monday closed at its lowest level since April 22 after China's central bank said the country's banks need to do a better job of managing their cash and due to continued worries about a reduction in stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve.
But equities pared losses late in the session after two Fed officials downplayed the notion of an imminent end to monetary stimulus. The benchmark S&P index has fallen 4.8 percent since the Fed signaled last week that it may begin to lessen stimulus should its economic forecasts hold true, including a 1.4 percent drop the day of the announcement.
"Today everything seems to be calmed down - you've got every Fed President going out at every opportunity trying to assure everyone that they have overreacted," said Ken Polcari, Director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in New York.
Housing-related stocks advanced, buoyed by a flurry of data that showed continued momentum in the industry's recovery. The PHLX housing sector index (.HGX) climbed 2.1 percent.
Adding support was data showing durable goods orders increased 3.6 percent in May, above the 3 percent forecast, the latest signs of a pick-up in economic activity.
Data from the Conference Board showed consumer confidence jumped in June to 81.4, its highest level in over five years, and above expectations for a 75.4 reading.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) gained 67.85 points, or 0.46 percent, to 14,727.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) added 7.47 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,580.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) rose 10.12 points, or 0.30 percent, to 3,330.88.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of house prices in 20 metropolitan areas gained 1.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, topping forecasts for 1.2 percent, indicating the housing recovery continues to gain momentum.
New home sales data increased 2.1 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 476,000 units, the highest since July 2008.
Lennar Corp (LEN.N) climbed 3.3 percent to $36.13 after the No. 3 U.S. homebuilder reported a 53 percent jump in quarterly revenue as it sold more homes at higher prices, and said orders rose 27 percent.
Walgreen Co (WAG.N) slumped 6 percent to $45.17 as the worst performer on the S&P 500 after reporting weaker-than-expected results, citing slow front-end sales and a challenging economy.
Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N) tumbled 13.3 percent to $16.32 after the largest U.S. bookstore chain reported its quarterly net loss more than doubled.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Kenneth Barry and Nick Zieminski)

Atlanta Police Department email says traffic money to fund future pay raises

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has obtained an email sent to Atlanta police that says traffic ticket money will fund future pay raises.
An Atlanta police source told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri there are concerns that linking pay raises to tickets creates an indirect quota system, but the Mayor’s Office and the author of the email insist there’s no push to write more tickets.  
The email from police union President Ken Allen explains future police pay raises will be funded through traffic tickets and court revenue. It comes on the heels of the passage of the city’s budget.
“The mayor has designated traffic court/ticket revenue for future pay increases  …  (This is) the first time ever that a revenue stream has been designated to salaries,” Allen told officers in the email. “Future pay increases are in our hands. We need only enforce traffic violations as we are now, but increase our attendance in court to prevent cases being dismissed.”
By phone, Allen told Viteri drivers cited for ticket offenses are slipping through the cracks.
“A bunch of people get out of legitimate traffic citations that have already been issued that are beating the system based on how the system is running,” Allen said.
A representative for the mayor’s office iterated sentiments about improving how the police department engages in traffic court, “especially regarding operations and the collections process  …  There is no push to increase revenues through the writing of additional tickets.”
But a police source told Viteri the plan could make officers work toward increasing citations, in hopes of a higher wage. Some drivers Viteri spoke to agree.
“I’m probably going to switch from sales and join the police force in that case, if that’s the way it’s working,” Ken Miller said.
Allen said enforcement of traffic laws won’t change.
An Atlanta police representative said the department has not issued any directive for officers to write more tickets, nor informed them ticket writing is directly tied to their compensation.

Ratings Agency Tantrum? Moody’s Downgrades Hong Kong

Ah Geography. It is tough being a ratings agency. They expect you to know the little things. Like Hong Kong being exposed to China. Because, well, Hong Kong is a part of China. Undoubtedly the banking system deserved a downgrade, a while ago. It is the timing of if it that makes it laughable.
Over the weekend, the where in the world is Edward Snowden game started in full force. No offense, but wasn’t the whole point of the PRIMS and Bonesaw programs to find people through electronic devices. He has four laptops full of documents. Should make a healthy drone strike target for the NSA. Or at the very least, the US should not look like Keystone cops on Sunday talk shows bumbling about his location.
So the US asked Hong Kong to extradite him back to the US, and the Hong Kong authorities gave US authorities the most diplomatic kiss off ever and referred us back to their questions over hacking operations in Hong Kong territory.
So started his journey which even had someone instagramming an empty aeroloft seat bound for Cuba. Yes, some journalist literally applied a filter to an empty seat saying he’s not here. Snowden probably earned himself a nice stay in Russia or he’s bound for Ecuador where he already has asylum.


Enter stage right Moody’s. Obviously China has been having issues with their banking sector for about the past year. Non performing loans, housing bubble, you name it. Anyone looking at the macro data coming out of China could see the at the very least it was heading for a soft landing, if not a full on crash.
Moody’s this morning came out a downgraded the Hong Kong banking sector outlook to negative. They cited concerns over real negative interest rates and cited the possibility of real Hong Kong property bubbles. One has to find it hard to believe they are just now realizing the outsized prices in the Hong Kong property market.
But the kicker is Moody’s main concern is Hong Kong’s increasing exposure to mainland China. Because a part of China being exposed to China is something new and must be monitored.
This doesn’t mean the downgrade wasn’t warranted. China has systemic issues. It is the timing that makes it funny. Hong Kong downgraded the US foreign policy to pathetic with an outlook of do you even know what you are doing over the weekend. So this makes it look more than coincidental.

Former TBTF Bank Chief Receives Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card

Contributed by Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain. His blog, Raging Bull-Shit, is a modest attempt to challenge some of the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media.
Just over two weeks ago, Miguel Blesa, the former president of Spanish savings bank Caja Madrid, was sentenced to jail for his alleged role in irregularities in the bank’s purchase of City National Bank of Florida.
It felt like a historic moment. Finally, after five long years of false hopes and dashed dreams, a TBTF bank chief had been sent down for his role in the lead-up to the financial crisis. With the pounding of his gavel, it seemed that Judge Elpidio José Silva had sent Spain spinning into some weird parallel dimension, a quixotic universe where the richest, most powerful and most corrupt individuals could no longer operate above and beyond the law.
It seemed too good to be true, and in the end it was. This week, reality returned with a jolt when Madrid’s High Court, under concerted pressure from both Blesa’s defense team and the public prosecutors, decided to overturn Judge Silva’s ruling. Two days later, Blesa walked out of El Soto prison a free man, to be reunited with his family and the millions of euros he amassed while laying the foundations for the biggest bankruptcy in Spanish history.
But it won’t be just Blesa celebrating the Madrid High Court’s ruling. Banking and corporate executives up and down the land will be breathing a sigh of relief, comforted by the knowledge that, whatever charges they may face in the future, Spain’s government and its highly politicised public prosecutor’s office have got their back.
Back to Business
The message to Spain’s banking and corporate elite could not be clearer: you are free to continue cutting legal corners, “misappropriating” funds, bribing politicians, evading taxes and laundering money. In a startling admission, Juan Rosell, the president of the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations (CEOE) — an institution that prides itself on being the “voice” of Spanish business — said that if Blesa had been punished for his model of management, ”in the end all of us could go to prison.”
Which, ironically, is precisely what happened to Rosell’s predecessor at the helm of the CEOE, Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, one of just a handful of Spain’s business elite to have felt the sharp end of the law in this post-crisis era. Díaz Ferrán is now serving a prison sentence after being found guilty of concealment of property from the authorities, tax evasion and money laundering while CEO of now-bankrupt Spanish travel agency Grupo Marsans. He is also accused of receiving a very dubious loan package worth some 26 million euros from Blesa during his stewardship of Caja Madrid.
Blesa, meanwhile, denies all charges against him, and is now calling for an “impartial judge” to preside over his trial.
And so the witch hunt against Judge Silva begins — a witch hunt that bears a striking resemblance to the recent smear campaign orchestrated by powerful right-wing groups against Spain’s most renowned legal figure, Baltasar Garzon.
Prosecuting Judges, Pardoning Bankers
Garzon first came to international attention, in 1998, for issuing a warrant for the arrest of former Chilean President, General Augusto Pinochet. Twelve years later, however, he was disqualified from the Spanish bench after daring to launch an investigation into the torture, disappearances and summary executions perpetrated from 1932-1952 under General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship – a definite no-no in a country that has, to all intents and purposes, undergone a collective lobotomy of all the human rights abuses that occurred during the Franco years.
Garzon was specifically accused by the government and many of his judicial colleagues of overreaching his authority by ignoring Spain’s 1977 Amnesty Law, which provided all former members of Franco’s government and police state with blanket protection from prosecution for crimes they had committed.
As Alejandro M. Garro and Cesar Chelala wrote in the Japan Times, the case launched against Garzon set a worrying precedent:
Whatever personal opinion one may hold on Garzon as an individual and beyond his controversial civil war investigation, the decision to go after this judge for opening an investigation of Franco’s worst human rights abuses seriously undermines judicial independence and Spain’s credibility in fighting against impunity. More importantly, it ignores that, under international law, Spain’s sovereign decision to forgive and forget its past cannot be adopted at the expense of the victims’ right to justice, truth and adequate reparations for serious and systematic human rights abuses.
Since Garzon’s dismissal, the Spanish government has directly intervened in two other high-profile cases: first, to drop all charges against the King’s daughter La Infanta Cristina for her role in the Noos Scandal; and now, to overturn Silva’s decision to refuse Blesa bail.
In this sorry excuse of a democracy, independent-minded judges are hounded and prosecuted for daring to protect the public from big-time perpetrators of white-collar crime, while senior bankers, corporate executives, kings, princes and politicians are insulated from the consequences of their criminal activities.
Living in Griftopia
In his book Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and the Long Con That is Breaking America, Matt Taibbi wrote that there are two Americas, one for the Grifter Class and one for everybody else:
In everybody-else land, the world of small businesses and wage-earning employees, the government is something to be avoided, an overwhelming, all-powerful entity whose attentions usually presage some kind of financial setback, if not complete ruin. In the grifter world, however, government is a slavish lap dog that the financial companies… use as a tool for making money.
Unfortunately, the “grifter world” of which Taibbi speaks is not a phenomenon constrained to U.S. shores. It has spread to virtually every village, town and city of the Western world, and its dogma — the corporatocracy’s ruthless pursuit of wealth and power at any moral, social, environmental or financial cost — is now the dominant paradigm of the world in which we live.
In a flagrant breach of their duties to their citizenry, governments around the world have pawned themselves to the highest bidders, and are now little more than fawning agents of a dominant class of super criminals. It is hardly any surprise, therefore, that not a single member of that class — the senior banker caste — has faced the music for their role in arguably the biggest financial heist of modern history.
And it’s a trend that seems set to stay, if not grow. For as long as the world’s biggest banks continue to pay — or, better put, own — the piper (that is, national and regional governments, regulators and central banking institutions), they will continue to operate beyond all bounds of legal or moral authority. Contributed by Don Quijones.
Also by Don Quijones: Steppenwolf’s The Pusher, the opening song for the 1969 movie, Easy Rider, was about dealers who “push” tainted drugs on unsuspecting users. The pusher “don’t care if you live or if you die,” it goes. Similarly, Spanish banks pushed investment products called preferentes on unsuspecting clients. Read....  (Spanish) Banks Worse Than Pushers

The 441 TRILLION Dollar Interest Rate Derivatives Time Bomb

by Michael
The Derivatives Time Bomb
Do you want to know the primary reason why rapidly rising interest rates could take down the entire global financial system?  Most people might think that it would be because the U.S. government would have to pay much more interest on the national debt.  And yes, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose to just 6 percent (and it has actually been much higher in the past), the federal government would be paying out about a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.  But that isn’t it.  Nor does the primary reason have to do with the fact that rapidly rising interest rates would impose massive losses on bond investors.  At this point, it is being projected that if U.S. bond yields rise by an average of 3 percentage points, it will cause investors to lose a trillion dollars.  Yes, that is a 1 with 12 zeroes after it ($1,000,000,000,000).  But that is not the number one danger posed by rapidly rising interest rates either.  Rather, the number one reason why rapidly rising interest rates could cause the entire global financial system to crash is because there are more than 441 TRILLION dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there.  This number comes directly from the Bank for International Settlements - the central bank of central banks.  In other words, more than $441,000,000,000,000 has been bet on the movement of interest rates.  Normally these bets do not cause a major problem because rates tend to move very slowly and the system stays balanced.  But now rates are starting to skyrocket, and the sophisticated financial models used by derivatives traders do not account for this kind of movement.
So what does all of this mean?
It means that the global financial system is potentially heading for massive amounts of trouble if interest rates continue to soar.
Today, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasury bonds rocketed up to 2.66% before settling back to 2.55%.  The chart posted below shows how dramatically the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has moved in recent days…
10 Year Treasury Yield
Right now, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is about 30 percentabove its 50 day moving average.  That is the most that it has been above its 50 day moving average in 50 years.
Like I mentioned above, we are moving into uncharted territory and this data doesn’t really fit into the models used by derivatives traders.
The yield on 5 year U.S. Treasuries has been moving even more dramatically…
5 Year Treasury Yield
Last week, the yield on 5 year U.S. Treasuries rose by an astounding 37 percent.  That was the largest increase in 50 years.
Once again, this is uncharted territory.
If rates continue to shoot up, there are going to be some financial institutions out there that are going to start losing absolutely massive amounts of money on interest rate derivative contracts.
So exactly what is an interest rate derivative?
The following is how Investopedia defines interest rate derivatives…
A financial instrument based on an underlying financial security whose value is affected by changes in interest rates. Interest-rate derivatives are hedges used by institutional investors such as banks to combat the changes in market interest rates. Individual investors are more likely to use interest-rate derivatives as a speculative tool – they hope to profit from their guesses about which direction market interest rates will move.
They can be very complicated, but I prefer to think of them in very simple terms.  Just imagine walking into a casino and placing a bet that the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries will hit 2.75% in July.  If it does reach that level, you win.  If it doesn’t, you lose.  That is a very simplistic example, but I think that it is a helpful one.  At the heart of it, the 441 TRILLION dollar derivatives market is just a bunch of people making bets about which way interest rates will go.
And normally the betting stays very balanced and our financial system is not threatened.  The people that run this betting use models that are far more sophisticated than anything that Las Vegas uses.  But all models are based on human assumptions, and wild swings in interest rates could break their models and potentially start causing financial losses on a scale that our financial system has never seen before.
We are potentially talking about a financial collapse far worse than anything that we saw back in 2008.
Remember, the U.S. national debt is just now approaching 17 trillion dollars.  So when you are talking about 441 trillion dollars you are talking about an amount of money that is almost unimaginable.
Meanwhile, China appears to be on the verge of another financial crisis as well.  The following is from a recent article by Graham Summers
China is on the verge of a “Lehman” moment as its shadow banking system implodes. China had pumped roughly $1.6 trillion in new credit (that’s 21% of GDP) into its economy in the last two quarters… and China GDP growth is in fact slowing.
This is what a credit bubble bursting looks like: the pumping becomes more and more frantic with less and less returns.
And Chinese stocks just experienced their largest decline since 2009.  The second largest economy on earth is starting to have significant financial problems at the same time that our markets are starting to crumble.
Not good.
And don’t forget about Europe.  European stocks have had a very, very rough month so far
The narrow EuroStoxx 50 index is now at its lowest in over seven months (-5.4% year-to-date and -12.5% from its highs in May) and the broader EuroStoxx 600 is also flailing lower. The European bank stocks pushed down to their lowest in almost 10 months and are now in bear market territory – down 22.5% from their highs. Spain and Italy are now testing their lowest level in 9 months.
So are the central banks of the world going to swoop in and rescue the financial markets from the brink of disaster?
At this point it does not appear likely.
As I have written about previously, the Bank for International Settlements is the central bank for central banks, and it has a tremendous amount of influence over central bank policy all over the planet.
The other day, the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements, Jaime Caruana, gave a speech entitled “Making the most of borrowed time“.  In that speech, he made it clear that the era of extraordinary central bank intervention was coming to an end.  The following is one short excerpt from that speech…
“Ours is a call for acting responsibly now to strengthen growth and avoid even costlier adjustment down the road. And it is a call for recognizing that returning to stability and prosperity is a shared responsibility. Monetary policy has done its part. Recovery now calls for a different policy mix – with more emphasis on strengthening economic flexibility and dynamism and stabilizing public finances.”
Monetary policy has done its part?
That sounds pretty firm.
And if you read the entire speech, you will see that Caruana makes it clear that he believes that it is time for the financial markets to stand on their own.
But will they be able to?
As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. financial system is a massive Ponzi scheme that is on the verge of imploding.  Unprecedented intervention by the Federal Reserve has helped to prop it up for the last couple of years, and there is a lot of fear in the financial world about what is going to happen once that unprecedented intervention is gone.
So what happens next?
Well, nobody knows for sure, but one thing seems certain.  The last half of 2013 is shaping up to be very, very interesting.

Roger Wiegand Predicts a Brand New World for Gold

Peter Byrne of The Gold Report (6/24/13)
The quant who produces Trader Tracks newsletter tells The Gold Report that the technical charts project a brightening future for precious metals. Technical market analyst Roger Wiegand tracks annual trading cycles while keeping an expert eye on potentially disruptive world events. He is a stickler for fundamentals, though, when it comes to picking out the best juniors for safe bets in a cash-poor industry.
The Gold Report: In early 2012, Roger, you predictedthat the price of gold would rise to over $2,000/ounce ($2,000/oz) during the year. But as the overall stock market increased in value, the yellow metal went in the opposite direction. What happened?
Roger Wiegand: Two things happened. First, the last gold peak almost made it. It went to $1,923/oz, and that was a technical and fundamental top. Then it sold down. The other thing that happened is that the U.S. Treasury intentionally sold gold to protect the stock and bond markets. Treasury feared that if gold ran up too high too quickly, people would dump securities en masse.
We are in the seasonal cycle when many markets go sideways. We have seen the selloff at the end of last week. A triple bottom is extremely bullish. The snap back in the price going long could be impressive.
TGR: What factors are keeping gold down in the near term?
RW: Gold is taking a pounding since the big bullion banks have full control and they have to cover their radical short positions taken at the behest of the FOMC and U.S. Treasury to preserve the fiat markets. Briefly, they kept the gold market under control to prevent a runaway for the FOMC and are now using TARP bank capital and derivative dollars to drive gold to the basement. Next, they are accumulating all the gold bullion they can to preserve their wealth in the forthcoming legendary crash. In addition, they get to buy it on the cheap as the dumb money is in full exit in fear.
Also, China, South Korea and Japan have problems and each central bank is dealing American bonds. Recently, China sold American paper through its own markets in order to offload Treasury bonds for currency. All kinds of problems are looming in China; some experts claim that China’s export trade numbers are only half of what was actually reported. South Korea is clearly weakening, and Japan is experiencing an emergency, causing it to stimulate at twice Mr. Bernanke’s rate. That is simply unsustainable. Japan is the Achilles heel of the whole financial system. If the yen runs away, it’s a disaster.
What does that mean for gold? Starting in August, the price will likely rise until the end of September. Then harsh political and economic factors will create serious problems in the global markets: I’m calling for a 50% correction in the U.S. stock markets in Q4/13.
TGR: In your June 6 newsletter, you said that we are on the verge of a brand new world.
RW: The brand new world is imminent because the lessons of 2008 were not learned. The banks are doing the same bad things they were doing before the crash, only worse. The derivative markets are larger now than they were back then. A huge number of student loans might well be written off. And the real estate market is doing a rerun. Incredible! People with foreclosures who may not be qualified for a new mortgage are receiving Federal Housing Authority-insured loans in a desperate effort to try to prop up the home loan industry, which is a major sector of the U.S. economy.
We are in a depression, not a recession. The real numbers for unemployment in the U.S. are 25%. They were 25% in the 1930s. In Spain, 54% of the workers under age 25 are unemployed. The down-the-hill slide is global and in slow motion. People still believe a lot of media nonsense, but this market simply has not corrected. The ultimate jobs program will be a new war.
TGR: Where do you think a war will break out, Roger?
RW: Iraq is cranking up for another round. War is on the agenda in Turkey. Libya has bad problems, not to mention the horror that is Syria. China is beating a war drum, but that’s just talk. North Korea is not capable of going to war. But more wars over energy resources will continue to break out in the Middle East.
War creates jobs. World War II ended the Depression of the 1930s. I don’t think there will be a nuclear war, but three or four conventional wars can go on simultaneously, hire a lot of people, square away the economy and get things righted in the bond market.
TGR: Given such a dismal scenario, how will that affect the price of bullion and shares in gold mining firms?
RW: In the short term, gold and silver shares will follow the futures and cash markets. We are still in a corrective phase, which can last for another six weeks. But once gold and silver start to climb, the shares will follow. It’s a big mistake right now for people to unload shares in good junior companies just because the stock has been beaten down. The companies with good fundamentals and enough cash to sustain operations for the next two to three years are going to do better. Look for good management with a project next door to a senior that is going to buy out reserves. Cash-starved greenfield juniors out in the middle of nowhere with no senior around to buy them out will not make it. It is like the salmon going upstream—some fish fall by the streamside, some make it home to nest.
TGR: What technical tools do you use to analyze the future of gold?
RW: I look at the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ), which is the Index for the juniors group. Right now, the graph of that technical tool looks like an upside down head and shoulders, and that’s very bullish. It is going to take a few more weeks for the junior stocks to pick up steam.
TGR: Do you have any junior names that meet your criteria for success?
RW: Watch California Gold Mining Inc. (CGM:TSX.V) at $0.08/share. The company has top management from Northern Gold Mining Inc. (NGM:TSX.V). It is located in a region with gold mining activity historically. Six mines are in various stages at that location. California Gold Mining stock had a low of $0.03 and a high of $0.24/share. Technically, we add the high and low and divide by two and find a 50% retracement. That is half of $0.27 or almost $0.14. The company has money and it has strong backers.
One of the standards out there that has been very good to our readers for the last four years is Timmins Gold Corp. (TMM:TSX; TGD:NYSE.MKT). It is a steady play, always on the upswing. When the futures and the cash markets rise, Timmons runs alongside. The near-term price is between $2.50 and $2.75/share. We’re looking at $2.85 to $3/share in the next 30–60 days, roughly.
We have followed Canasil Resources Inc. (CLZ:TSX.V) for years. It is trading around $0.055/share. Rounding to $0.06, we are looking at $0.125 as a goal within 90 days. A key point with Canasil is it is primarily a silver exploring company in northern Mexico. Its partner is MAG Silver Corp. (MAG:TSX; MVG:NYSE), and the two companies just signed a partnership agreement, expanding a major project with an injection of several million dollars. MAG Silver has a lot of capital. MAG Silver’s Peter Megaw is one of the top geologists in the business. He told me that the company plans to build a 100 million ounce silver reserve and make it as big as the biggest of the precious metal mines in Mexico. So far, it is doing exactly that. Canasil also has some wonderful projects in British Columbia that just got permits.

At Trader Tracks, we like Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd. (SCZ:TSX.V; 1SZ:FSE) at CA$1.15/share. We are looking for a 50% retracement back to CA$1.75/share.
And there is Gold Standard Ventures Corp. (GSV:TSX.V; GSV:NYSE) in Nevada, right next door to Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM:NYSE). The chief geologist for Newmont has done the exploratory work and the results look good. The firm’s shares have big support by some very wealthy investors and are going up. The price was down to CA$0.50/share in May, and it is at CA$0.67 today. Gold Standard Ventures is the perfect example of a company that is building good reserves next door to a senior that, in my opinion, is going to buy it out.
One of our old favorites is Hecla Mining Co. (HL:NYSE). Today, it is at $2.79/share. The company went through a spate of problems during the last three years. But after settling a lawsuit with the Environmental Protection Agency, it expanded the Lucky Friday mine in Idaho. It bought out Rio Tinto Plc’s (RIO:NYSE; RIO:ASX) partnership shares there. It now totally owns the Greens Creek project on Admiralty Island in Alaska, which has a silver life of 50 years. That island mine was running on electricity generators, and now it is connected by wire to the mainland. Hecla has been busy with a gold mine in northern Mexico in an area that is very rich, with four seniors operating in the region. We are looking for a high of $4.88/share in three to six months. Hecla’s stock likes to go to $8 or $9/share, and then retreat on a correction.
TGR: Roger, can you tell us what kind of technical information you look at to come up with your recommendations?
RW: I am mainly a chartist and a technician, but one cannot neglect the fundamentals, particularly considering the state of political economy in the world. First off, does a firm have good management? Is it located in an area that’s politically reliable? Does it have expertise in engineering and geology? Then, we look at valuations.
Remember, if you want to find gold or silver, go where the old mines have been prolific. Just because a lot of ore has been pulled out successfully does not mean that there is not more there to be mined. California Gold is a perfect example. The two big mines that Hecla runs in Idaho and Alaska are examples. The old mines in northern Mexico are loaded with silver. First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR:TSX; AG:NYSE; FMV:FSE) is an intermediate-size miner in Mexico that has done exceedingly well. Its stock is lofty in price, but the company continues to prove its way down the road and make money by expanding the business.
After assessing the fundamentals, we examine the technical side with a long-range chart of 5 or 10 years. Then we narrow it down to a one-year chart. We next narrow it down to the cycles. Historically, gold and silver do very well between Nov. 1 through April. From May through mid-August, everything slows down. The annual fall rallies start the second or third week of August and run until the middle of October. Traders and investors in gold and silver know that the two big contracts in Q4 for gold and silver are the December futures, and they expire in November.
TGR: The futures explain the cycles?
RW: Yes. August gold is not that big a deal. December is the really big one for gold. In silver, March is the big one. July is less important. September is big because it’s in the middle of the peak season going higher. The other big cycle for silver is December. So keep these cycles in mind when trading and investing. Those are the times of year a trader or investor with average experience can profit from quantification. Chart the time of year when prices consistently bottom out and then start to rise.
TGR: Any junior names for us outside of North America?
RW: We follow Global Minerals Ltd. (CTG:TSX.V; DPF:FSE) in Slovakia. It has great reserves. It is a previously exploited, proven mine. Slovakia is a business-friendly, Westernized country with all the big auto and consumer companies operating there. Global Minerals had a dewatering project that went on for about eight months. The pumping is completed, and the engineers and geologists are working at the 3,000-foot level, doing the exploratory work for the next move.
TGR: Do you own stock in Global Minerals?
RW: I trade futures and commodities. Because I recommend stocks for the Trader Tracks newsletter, ethically I cannot buy them. That breaks my heart, sometimes, because I’ve seen some dandies that I knew were going to do well. But I personally trade futures in gold, silver, currencies, the energy sector and grains.
TGR: Any parting advice, Roger?
RW: Please have patience, gold investors. Some analysts are predicting crazy numbers, like $900/oz. Not me.
TGR: Thanks, Roger.
Roger Wiegand—aka Traderrog—produces Trader Tracks newsletter to provide investors with short-term buy and sell recommendations and give them insights into political and economic factors that drive markets. After 25 years in real estate, Wiegand has devoted intensive research time to the precious metals, currency, energy and financial market for more than 18 years. He creates a weekly column forJay Taylor’s Gold, Energy & Tech Stocks newsletter.
Want to read more Gold Report interviews like this? Sign up for our free e-newsletter, and you’ll learn when new articles have been published. To see a list of recent interviews with industry analysts and commentators, visit our Streetwise Interviews page.
1) Peter Byrne conducted this interview for The Gold Report and provides services to The Gold Reportas an independent contractor. He or his family own shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
2) The following companies mentioned in the interview are sponsors of The Gold Report: Timmins Gold Corp., MAG Silver Corp., Santacruz Silver Mining Ltd., Gold Standard Ventures Corp. and Global Minerals Ltd. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services or as sponsorship payment.
3) Roger Wiegand: I or my family own shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I personally am or my family is paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I was not paid by Streetwise Reports for participating in this interview. Comments and opinions expressed are my own comments and opinions. I had the opportunity to review the interview for accuracy as of the date of the interview and am responsible for the content of the interview.
4) Interviews are edited for clarity. Streetwise Reports does not make editorial comments or change experts’ statements without their consent.
5) The interview does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports’ terms of use and full legal disclaimer.
6) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned and may make purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise.

Wow: Nearly All Americans Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

The economy isn't getting better and the unemployment numbers we keep seeing are far from accurate. According to CNN Money, 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.

Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all.

 "It's disappointing," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst. "Nothing helps you sleep better at night than knowing you have money tucked away for unplanned expenses."

Even more disappointing; The savings rates have barely changed over the past three years, even though a larger percentage of consumers report an increase in job security, a higher net worth and an overall better financial situation.

Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen Report shows the majority want the government to cut spending in order to spur economic growth.

The Entire Stock Market Is(And The System It Supports) Completely Corrupted!! The “Borrowed Time” Isn’t Well Used As QEs Compounding The Risks, And Now China Is Looking For A Change!!! “Bad News Is No Longer Good News”

Mobius: China’s Problems as Big as US Subprime
Ways to avoid another 2008 stock crash
Markets need morals and regulators need muscle
“Is the entire stock market (and the system it supports) completely corrupted?”
When that question appeared in a recent MarketWatch poll, 76% of the nearly 1,400 respondents agreed with: “Yes, it’s legalized theft.”
Legalized theft? Like the bribes Mexican police demand or the taxes dictators seize to build villas? Investors think the stock market is theft?
Sure. And it’s easy to see why.
The Crash of 2008 exposed deep-rooted chicanery and few have yet gone to jail for it. Follow-on scandals have won wide press. In another MarketWatch piece, one financial felon claimed cheating is essential to succeed on Wall Street.Another said most insider trading is too subtle to catch; the SEC is hunting microbes with a toy magnifying glass. These crooks may be projecting, or seeking the excuse of the crowd: I got the ticket, but everyone was speeding! Yet they also have little to lose. Moreover, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has echoed them, and Neil Barofsky, former TARP inspector general, wrote, “The suspicions that the system is rigged . . . are true.”
Stop ‘Retarding’ Economies With Loose Policy: BIS
Central banks cannot do more without compounding the risks they have already created,” it said in its latest annual report released on Sunday. “[They must] encourage needed adjustments rather than retard them with near-zero interest rates and purchases of ever-larger quantities of government securities.”
Instead the BIS has called for reforms by governments to enhance productivity and encourage employment growth. It also urges households and firms to complete the difficult job of repairing their balance sheets and says governments must step up their efforts to ensure the sustainability of their finances.
The “borrowed time” central banks have created with ultra-low interest rates following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 has not been well used, it said, and has fueled a false sense of comfort that reforms and deleveraging can be resolved later.
Why China Is Purposely Pushing Its Banking System To The Edge Of A Crisis - Short-term pain for long-term gain.
China’s Xi-Li leadership appears committed to reforms and willing to accept slower growth and short-term hits to ensure the longer-term health of the economy.
So the question on everyone’s mind is how much of a liquidity crunch will the Chinese central bank tolerate.
“Surgery is meant to cure, not kill, the patient – and while some pain is inevitable, we firmly believe the PBoC is in control,” said Green.

The central bank can address a severe cash crunch through various tools. It could reverse repo transactions, cut the reserve requirement ratio, add liquidity through short-term liquidity operations (SLOs), though this tool has yet to be used.
“Immediately there are gonna be convulsions, which they’re going to address in the short-term with re-injections of capital,” Arthur Dong, professor of strategy and economics at Georgetown University told Business Insider.
“In the longer term the senior party leadership has pretty much sent the signal, and they’re sending it through the PBoC as well as through their banking systems, that the day of wine and roses, the days of free and unlimited capital are over.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/rising-chinese-rates-show-commitment-to-reform-2013-6#ixzz2XA67Js4Z
Market’s ‘Hall Pass’ Is Gone: “Bad News Is No Longer Good News”
Stocks Drop 200 at Open on Fed, China Worries
Global markets reel
We face another crisis – listen to those who got it right last time
They Said To Sell In May… They Were Right
In the last month we have had 7 Hindenburg Omens and even Art Cashin was paying attention to it when we had five.

The World Is Now On The Edge Of Total Collapse

Supreme Court makes it harder to sue businesses

Washington — A sharply-divided Supreme Court on Monday made it more difficult for Americans to sue businesses for discrimination and retaliation, leading a judge to call for Congress to overturn the court’s actions.
The court’s conservatives, in two 5-4 decisions, ruled that a person must be able to hire and fire someone to be considered a supervisor in discrimination lawsuits, making it harder to blame a business for a co-worker’s racism or sexism. The court then decided to limit how juries can decide retaliation lawsuits, saying victims must prove employers would not have taken action against them but for their intention to retaliate.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote both dissents for the court’s liberal wing and in a rare move read one aloud in the courtroom, said the high court had “corralled Title VII,” a law designed to stop discrimination in the nation’s workplaces.
“Both decisions dilute the strength of Title VII in ways Congress could not have intended,” said Ginsburg, who called on Congress to change the law to overturn the court.
In the first case, Maetta Vance, who was a catering specialist at Ball State University, accused a co-worker, Shaundra Davis, of racial harassment and retaliation in 2005. Vance sued the school under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying the university was liable since Davis was her supervisor. But a federal judge threw out her lawsuit, saying that since Davis could not fire Vance, she was only a co-worker, and since the university had taken corrective action, it was not liable for Davis’ actions. The 7th Circuit upheld that decision, and Vance appealed to the Supreme Court.
But Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, said for the university to be liable, Davis must have had the authority to “hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline” Vance.
“We hold that an employee is a ‘supervisor’ for purposed of vicarious liability under Title VII if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim,” Alito said. “Because there is no evidence that BSU empowered Davis to take any tangible employment actions against Vance, the judgment of the Seventh Circuit is affirmed.”
Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron said the court made the wrong decision. “Deferring to the powerful at the expense of the powerless, the Supreme Court majority has imposed heavier burden for victims of workplace harassment and discrimination seeking justice in our courts,” she said. “This decision makes it far easier for employers to evade responsibility for discrimination and harassment in the workplace.”
In the second case, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center wanted a discrimination lawsuit won by Dr. Naiel Nassar thrown out. Nassar left in 2006 after complaining of harassment, but Parkland Hospital withdrew its job offer after one of his former supervisors opposed it. Nassar sued, saying the medical center retaliated against him for his discrimination complaints by encouraging Parkland to take away his job offer. A jury awarded him more than $3 million in damages.
The medical center appealed, saying the judge told the jury it only had to find that retaliation was a motivating factor in the supervisor’s actions, called mixed-motive. Instead, it said, the judge should have told the jury it had to find that discriminatory action wouldn’t have happened “but-for” the supervisor’s desire to retaliate for liability to attach.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion, agreed with the lower court and the university, saying people “must establish that his or her protected activity was a but-for cause of the alleged adverse action by the employer.” But he didn’t rule completely for the medical center, sending the case back to the lower courts after saying a decision on the resolution of the case “is better suited by courts closer to the facts of this case.”
Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Legal Center, cheered the decision.
“If courts were allowed to label employees with little managerial authority as ‘supervisors,’ that would have substantially increased the number of frivolous lawsuits brought against small businesses and would have done little, if anything, to reduce harassment,” she said. “For small businesses, the increased possibility of liability and ensuing costs would have been devastating. We are very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision.”
Kennedy, Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas voted together in those cases.
Ginsburg, and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented together both times.
Ginsburg said she hopes Congress intervenes in both cases, just as it did in past Title VII cases. “Today, the ball again lies in Congress’ court to correct this court’s wayward interpretations of Title VII,” she said.
In other actions, the court:
— Sent a Texas case on race-based college admissions back to a lower court for another look. The court’s 7-1 decision leaves unsettled many of the basic questions about the continued use of race as a factor in college admissions.
— Announced that it would issue additional opinions on Tuesday as it begins to wrap up its work for the summer. Justices still have not decided major cases involving gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act.
— Decided to reconsider the constitutionality of a 2007 Massachusetts law that bars protests in 35-foot “buffer zones” around abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways.
— Agreed to review a federal appeals court decision that found President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate last year to appoint three members of the National Labor Relations Board.
— Rejected challenges to Environmental Protection Agency decisions allowing an increase in ethanol content in gasoline.
— Ruled generic drug manufacturers can’t be sued in state court for a drug’s design defects if federal officials approved the brand-name version the generic drug copied.
— Ruled that a convicted military sex offender who completed his sentence can be prosecuted for not updating his whereabouts in a federal sex offender database, even though that law was passed after he finished serving his sentence and was discharged from the military.
The cases are Vance v. Ball State University, 11-556 and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar.

Bank Transfers and Services Suspended in China: ATMs, POS Machines, Online Banking Paralyzed 50 Minutes

Several readers sent a link to an article regarding online bank outages and suspended services in China. The translation show below is very choppy. If a reader has a better translation or a different source I will post it.

Please consider Bank of China, Bank of suspension of transfers morning counters were unable to apply for online banking

WASHINGTON (correspondent with Xuan) Following the ICBC, the Bank of China also go awry again. This morning, the Bank of China Bank moratorium on transfers, online banking, counters are inoperable.

10:00 many, many people began to receive messages sent to the Bank of China, "the end result of the Bank of China Bank failures, bank customers can not carry on through the Bank transfers, please Bank online banking, bank counter or use of other bank transfer system, Bank system will be restored promptly notify you. "large number of transfer business banking needs of the people turned to online banking, counter, but according to the instructions of the public still found text messages can not handle.

Reporters call the BOC, customer service said, now silver has been fully suspended phase transfer services, online banking, the counter can not be handled, and now has the background system response, recovery time is not yet known.

As of 12:00, the Bank customer service said handle part of the user's online banking has been restored.

Just yesterday, 10:35, Shanghai and other places ICBC system failures, ATM machines, POS machines, online banking appeared paralyzed more than 50 minutes, all kinds of businesses can not properly handle.

The ICBC bank system failure comes trouble "money shortage", inevitably lead to speculation that many people guess the bank is not money.

To solve this problem, ICBC relevant person in charge told reporters that morning, business process slow, the analysis on the host software upgrade, emergency treatment, 11:27 various businesses all returned to normal.

As for speculation that the crash might be the last two days the inter-bank "money shortage" relevant, ICBC has denied.
The above is an unedited Google translation. Is this a massive software glitch or is something else in the works?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

AIG-Collapse Player Appointed Bank of Israel Governor

On June 24, 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that Jacob Frenkel had been appointed to be the next Governor of the Bank of Israel.
"He is the best of the bests, the most excellent among the excellent," said Netanyahu. Carried away by the frivolity of his own poetry, Netanyahu forgot to mention Frenkel's involvement in the collapse of USA's insurance giant AIG.
Shocked by this, I almost forgot to mention that Frenkel's first two terms were plagued with personal corruption.
Startled by that, I almost skipped the fact that under the current law regularizing the function of the Bank of Israel, no Governor can serve more than two terms. Frenkel was governor in two consecutive terms between 1991 and 2000. Netanyahu must change the law to allow his good friend a way back home.
Jacob Frenkel
Jacob Frenkel
Speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya
The Center is a bastion of Israel's Security Services*
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
AIG Share Value 2008 2013
AIG Share Value 2008—2013

Israel, USA
Let's be sincere, without the USA, Israel cannot even feed itself. Despite the kibbutz-propaganda, Israel depends on grains imported from the USA. The same goes for oil and several other strategic resources. Expectedly, this led to extensive and intensive economic links between these two organizations, which like to portray themselves as "democracies."**
Even in the limited topic of today, the links are obvious. The current Governor is an American, Stanley Fischer. Before being appointed in 2005, he served between 2002 and 2005 as Vice Chairman of Citigroup, President of Citigroup International, and Head of the Public Sector Client Group. In 2001, he had joined the Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty. From 1994 to 2001, he was the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). From January 1988 to August 1990, he was Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist at the World Bank. I needed to check twice that he hadn't been a member of any American Government in this period. Maybe he will run for the American presidency after he leaves the Bank of Israel. He got Israeli citizenship only after having got the exclusive position.

Frenkel and Netanyahu
Compared to our Stanley, Jacob resume is not less worrying, but for different reasons. Since 2009, he was Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International and Chairman and CEO of the abovementioned Group of Thirty. Between 2004 and 2009, he had been Vice Chairman of American International Group (AIG), role that he filled during the company's collapse. From 2000 to 2004, he was Chairman of Merrill Lynch International, and Chairman of Merrill Lynch's Sovereign Advisory and Global Financial Institutions Groups. As mentioned, before that he had been Governor of the Bank of Israel.
AIG ynet Logo
"The Collapse of the Century"
AIG ynet Logo
It Is Circumstantial Evidence!
Our Frenkel is not a fool. Let me skip all his honorifics and just state that he was the one to stabilize Israel's economy after years of hyper-inflation followed by a scary stagnation. Was this the reason for Netanyahu's surprising attempt at poetry?

The collapse of AIG almost brought down the American economy. Was it engineered abroad?

This outstanding Israeli economist and patriot was Vice Chairman of AIG while it collapsed. He claims to have failed to predict the sub-prime disaster. He can say that to a senatorial committee; he would never dare to mention that to an Israeli. The State of Israel would have benefited from the fallout in a myriad of ways as it did from the collapse of its own banks.

An American would be surprised how tightly the Israeli banks are controlled by the government, especially after the 1982 collapse.+ Credit cards in Israel are different from the Americans. Banks don't give credit but offer a sophisticated payment system based on the client's guarantees. The AIG collapse couldn't have happened in Israel, where citizens are practically slaves of the State in a tightly controlled system of mortgages (see Mossad, Matrix and Mortgage).
This was true also during the Frenkel period as Governor of the Bank of Israel. He knew that. Yet, once he was parachuted at the very top of AIG, he forgot all his studies and was unable to recognize a simple bubble-scheme. Frenkel, go tell the story to an American. Don't try it with one of your former Israeli-slaves. The collapse had been engineered; maybe from outside America.

Shortly after the collapse, Frenkel left AIG. Things were left to cool down for a while, and now, Netanyahu had done everything to thank Frenkel, who got back his fiefdom as the main banker of the Zionists, even at the cost of changing the law.

"It is circumstantial evidence!" Cried our Frenkel.

The book I was reading was the classic “Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life,” by Herman Melville and I was feeling at the moment like one of his sailors who were being chased by cannibals. Anxious to get away from his prying eyes, I moved to my bed and hid behind the opaque curtain separating me from his line of sight, to read:
“What a striking evidence does this operation furnish of the wide difference between the extreme of savage and civilized life! A gentleman of Typee can bring up a numerous family of children, and give them all a highly respectable cannibal education, with infinitely less toil and anxiety than he expends in the simple process of striking a light; whilst a poor European artisan, who through the instrumentality of a lucifer performs the same operation in one second, is put to his wit’s end to provide for his starving offspring that food which the children of a Polynesian father, without troubling their parents, pluck from the branches of every tree around them.” Deprived from any real possibility of providing for a utopian offspring, I knew that my society would let me perish without giving me a slice of bread or a cup of water...
Excerpt from The Cross of Bethlehem
* The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya is the only private college in Israel. Looking at its website it looks pretty innocent. However, this is the main university in Israel serving IDF officers. Professional officers need an academic degree if wishing to advance beyond lieutenant colonel. Most of them don't qualify for proper universities. The Interdisciplinary Center is their main provider of easy academic titles (see From the Third Reich to Reichman).
** De·moc·ra·cy [noun] 1: Government by warmongering corporations. Typical of the Late Western Period.
+ The bank was owned by the Histadrut workers union until 1983, when it was nationalized following the Bank Stock Crisis. The bank was held by the Israeli government until 1996 when it was sold to a group of investors led by Ted Arison in a circular deal. He took a loan from Israel second largest bank, Leumi, whiich at the time was alsoowned by the State, and with this loan paid for the other bank. With the profuits of Bank HaPoalim, he paid the loan. Shari Arison was born in New York to Ted Arison. She inherited from him the shares of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank. These were practically given to her father for free by the State of Israel (see The Cross of Bethlehem). This gift wasn't the result of Ted’s pretty smile, but because of a lifetime collaboration with the Mossad.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, “Deflation first and then MASSIVE INCREDIBLE inflation”

Hyperinflation coming after a fake-deflation…
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – Former US Treasury Official, Co-Founder of Reaganomics, Economist & Acclaimed Author – Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist, a columnist and recent author of “The Failure Of Laissez Faire Capitalism”. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as a co-founder of Reaganomics. He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service who has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy. Dr. Roberts has written extensively that during the 21st century the Bush and Obama administrations have destroyed the US Constitution’s protections of Americans’ civil liberties and has been a critic of both Democratic and Republican administrations.


Barclays tells customers it will sell their spending habits as poll finds growing public concern about online privacy

Barclays Bank is to sell data on the spending habits of millions of its current and savings account customers to third parties.
The bank has written to customers to tell them it is going to package together ‘information about the transactions on your account’ to compile reports on spending trends across Britain. 
The data could then be sold on other companies or government departments.
Big brother: Barclays Bank has told customers it intends to sell data on their collective spending and saving habits to third parties potentially including the government
Big brother: Barclays Bank has told customers it intends to sell data on their collective spending and saving habits to third parties potentially including the government

It comes as civil liberties organisation Big Brother Watch released details today of a poll, which showed three quarters of people around the globe are concerned about their privacy online.
The poll of over 10,000 individuals across nine countries including the UK, German and France carried out by ComRe also found 41 per cent of people felt consumers were being harmed by big companies gathering large amounts of personal data for internal use.
Meanwhile, two thirds of people felt national regulators should do more to force Google to comply with existing laws concerning online privacy and the protection of personal data.
The decision by Barclays is part of a growing trend of companies generating revenue through monitoring customer behaviour patterns, and then selling that information on to others.
The planned changes, which come into effect in the autumn, will also see the bank starting to track customers through their mobile phones or other devices - to help protect them from fraud.
If a payment is made in a certain country, Barclays will ‘ping’ the customer's mobile number to check if the phone is in that country.
Watchful eye: Barclays has said it will also be monitoring customers mobile phones to track where they are if a transaction on their account is made from abroad
Watchful eye: Barclays has said it will also be monitoring customers mobile phones to track where they are if a transaction on their account is made from abroad
The decision by the bank was set out in new terms and conditions which have been sent to customers around the country and will take effect from the start of October, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Barclays said any customer data it sells would never be sold on in such a way that an individual customers was ‘identifiable’.
A spokeswoman said the data collected would be ‘high level’ numerical information, not personal.
The bank believes customers will benefit from the information it collects. Such benefits could include informing customers they are spending more than the rest of the neighbourhood on their energy bills, the bank suggested.
Barclays' new terms and conditions will cover all of their 15 million current and savings account holders. Customers will only be able to opt out of having their mobile phone tracked.
A spokesperson for the bank said: ‘We will only be using information in a very high level  anonymised way
'When we say share with third parties what we are talking about is spending habit data of thousands of customers so for example we might share data with restaurants that consumers have started eating out more on Wednesdays than in the past.
'It's not about selling our customer's personal details to call centres of anything of that nature. That's absolutely not what this is about.'
Barclay's mobile phone tracking would also only be part of a number of fraud prevention checks, the spokesperson added.
Citing an example of if a customer appeared to be withdrawing £1,000 in Thailand the bank might choose to 'ping' the customer's mobile phone to see if they were connected to a local network in the country thereby establishing that they were genuinely there. Should that establish the customer was in fact still in the UK, Barclays would be able to identify the transaction as fraud and prevent it from taking place by refusing to release the funds from the customer's account.
Barclays added it had worked in partnership with the Information Commissioner to establish the terms and conditions and to ensure they were adhering to industry best practice.
In recent years the business of accumulating personal details about consumers to better target them for advertising has turned into a multi-billion pound industry.
A number companies now scour our web searches, social networking profiles, records of our recent purchases and public records to build up a very sophisticated picture of our habits, likes and dislikes.
It is now possible for companies to use personal information to find out whether someone is planning to buy a house, make a big purchase, or are about to have a baby.
This knowledge is invaluable to the right people and the industry has grown so quickly that such personal information is being sold for a fraction of a penny.
The cost of details of someone intending to buy a car, for example, is $0.002, according to a recent report by the Financial Times. The cost of knowing someone’s movie choices is $0.003, it added.
Last week, the biggest mobile phone operators in the country, Vodafone, EE and O2, said they would start selling bundles of anonymous data on their customers to big advertisers to help them target different age groups and demographics.
Tesco was the first company to spot the potential of ‘big data’ when it launched its Clubcard loyalty card 20 years ago. Data collected through the scheme was packaged together and sold to big food and drink companies so they could plan promotions or new campaigns.
In May, Barclaycard launched a Groupon-style service, where customers signed up to receive vouchers from the likes of Shell and British Airways based around their spending patterns.

Inside Anglo: the secret recordings

Exclusive: Tapes reveal the lies and deception that led to the bank bailout


TAPE RECORDINGS from inside doomed Anglo Irish Bank reveal for the first time how the bank's top executives lied to the Government about the true extent of losses at the institution.

The astonishing tapes show senior manager John Bowe, who had been involved in negotiations with the Central Bank, laughing and joking as he tells another senior manager, Peter Fitzgerald, how Anglo was luring the State into giving it billions of euro.
Mr Fitzgerald had not been involved in the negotiations with the Central Bank and has confirmed he was unaware of any strategy or intention to mislead the authorities. Mr Bowe, in a statement last night, categorically denied that he had misled the Central Bank.
The audio recordings are from the bank's own internal telephone system and date from the heart of the financial crisis that brought the State to its knees in September 2008.
Anglo itself was within days of complete meltdown – and in the years ahead would eat up €30bn of taxpayer money. Mr Bowe speaks about how the State had been asked for €7bn to bail out Anglo – but Anglo's negotiators knew all along this was not enough to save the bank.
The plan was that once the State began the flow of money, it would be unable to stop.
Mr Bowe is asked by Mr Fitzgerald how they had come up with the figure of €7bn. He laughs as he is taped saying: "Just, as Drummer (then-CEO David Drumm) would say, 'picked it out of my arse'."
He also says: "If they (Central Bank) saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean?
"They might say the cost to the taxpayer is too high . . . if it doesn't look too big at the outset . . . if it looks big, big enough to be important, but not too big that it kind of spoils everything, then, then I think you have a chance. So I think it can creep up."
Mr Fitzgerald, the Director of Retail Banking, is heard saying: "Yeah. They've got skin in the game and that is the key."

Mr Bowe's comments in the audio recording reveal that Anglo's strategy was to lure the State in, leaving taxpayers with no choice but to continue to provide loans to "support their money".
The recording also shows Mr Bowe and Mr Fitzgerald laughing as they say how there is no realistic chance of ever repaying the loans.
For the first time, taxpayers get an exclusive insight into the banking shenanigans that cost Ireland our sovereignty.


Economic well-being of US children slips

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — It wasn’t so long ago that David Hutchinson spent a month sleeping under a bridge while his wife and young daughter spent their nights at a domestic violence shelter.
But this wasn’t a case of domestic violence. The couple simply had no choice. There were just no shelters in Phoenix with room for another homeless family, and their top priority was finding a safe place for their daughter.  
The family is one of many in the U.S. that have been trying to raise children in the face of joblessness and homelessness. An annual survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the number of children living in poverty increased to 23 percent in 2011, after the recession.
The Southwest has been hit particularly hard. New Mexico, for the first time, has slipped to worst in the nation when it comes to child well-being. More than 30 percent of children in the state were living in poverty in 2011 and nearly two-fifths had parents who lacked secure employment, according to this year’s Kids Count survey.
Nevada is ranked No. 48, followed by Arizona. Mississippi, which has traditionally held last place, made slight improvements in early childhood education while reading and math proficiency for some students increased, putting the state at No. 49.
Overall, the report shows there have been gains in education and health nationally, but since 2005, there have been serious setbacks when it comes to the economic well-being of children. “There’s little doubt that things are getting worse,” said Kim Posich, executive director of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “Aside from the fact the New Mexico economy has been so slow to turn around, the systems that generally serve people who are the working poor and suddenly lose their jobs or face greater hardship, all those systems have been strained beyond the max.”
In Arizona, charities and government programs were cut during the recession, making it more difficult for families to get by and rebuild, said Dana Wolfe Naimark of the Children’s Action Alliance in Phoenix.
“So many things were slashed just when people needed it the most,” she said. “That is a key policy issue that we do have choices over. We can find ways to rebuild that investment. It’s not OK to just throw up our hands and say, ‘We can’t.’”
According to the Kids Count report, a lingering concern is the effect of unemployment on children, particularly long-term unemployment. Researchers found that more than 4 million workers were unemployed for more than six months, and more than 3 million were without work for a year or more.
David Hutchinson and his family eventually ended up in Albuquerque. He has been looking for work for months. Finally, he landed a job just this week with a contractor who installs fire suppression systems.
“If I wasn’t so crippled, I’d be doing backflips,” he said, pointing to the rod and pins in his forearm, an injury that ended his career in the U.S. Navy. His wife, Chelsea, said she knows her husband is ready to put aside any pain because the prospect of their family being able to move from Joy Junction, the shelter where they have been staying since December, hinges on a regular income.
William and Elimar Roper are in the same boat. They and their four children have been at the shelter for about a year. William just landed a job in the kitchen and Elimar has graduated from the shelter’s recovery program, which helps those addicted to drugs or alcohol.
“We’re happy because we’ve upgraded from being homeless to something that can help us stabilize. It’s the first step,” Elimar Roper said. William Roper served in the U.S. Army for nine years and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the military, he worked as a janitor and then lost his job. The family’s savings soon ran out, leaving them homeless.
The Kids Count report shows the percentage of children whose parents don’t have secure employment has been increasing. That’s more than one-third of children in each of the four states at the bottom of the Kids Count list.
“Growing up in poverty, it just has these terrible repercussions and you see these associations with much lower rates of high school graduation, lower performance overall in school, much lower rates of college attendance and the cycle perpetuates,” said Curtis Skinner, director of Family Economic Security at the National Center for Children in Poverty.
Skinner said the center’s research is showing a troubling trend in the aftermath of the recession: Poverty rates are rising in what used to be the middle class, in two-parent households and in families where parents have college educations.
While there is a lag in the Kids Count data, officials in New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada believe some of their numbers will start to turn around in the coming years thanks to investments in education, particularly pre-kindergarten programs.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has pushed for doubling pre-K funding and funneling more money to early literacy and high school graduation efforts. “Clearly, doing things the way they’ve always been done hasn’t worked for our kids,” said Enrique Knell, a spokesman for the governor. “And reform efforts must include ending the practice of setting our children up for failure by passing them on to the next grade level when they can’t read.”
The well-being of their children has been the motivating factor for both the Hutchinson and Roper families. They want something better for their kids, and they say things are starting to turn around. “Finally, being to the point of stabilizing and being able to get the kids out of this environment, that’s a good feeling,” Elimar Roper said.
Kids Count Data Book: http://www.aecf.org/MajorInitiatives/KIDSCOUNT.aspx
National Center for Children in Poverty: http://www.nccp.org/
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty: http://nmpovertylaw.org/
Joy Junction: http://www.joyjunction.org/
Associated Press writers Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas and Cristina Silva in Phoenix contributed to this report.

Golden Minerals Suspends Production Until Gold & Silver Prices Rise to a “Sustainable Cash Margin”

The plunging paper prices for gold and silver are making mining operations no longer sustainable (at the paper futures prices).
One of the first casualties appears to be Golden Minerals Company, who Friday announced that it has suspended all operations at its Velardena mine until prices for silver and gold “indicate a sustainable margin for operations.

From Golden Minerals:
GOLDEN, Colo., June 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Golden Minerals Company (NYSE MKT: AUMN); (TSX: AUM) (“Golden Minerals” or “the Company”) announced that it has suspended operations at its Velardena mine as of June 21, 2013, in order to conserve the asset until operating plans and prices for silver and gold indicate a sustainable cash margin for operations. The employees at the Velardena mine were informed of the Company’s decision in the afternoon of June 21, 2013.  In February 2013 the Company anticipated the Velardena operations would achieve operating cash neutrality during the third quarter 2013, assuming gold and silver prices of $1,600 per ounce and $30 per ounce, respectively. In May 2013 the Company projected a $5 million negative margin from the operations for the remaining three quarters of 2013 at prices of $1,500 gold and $25 silver.  Metals prices have continued to decline and remain below these levels.
(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120803/LA52082LOGO)
The Company is placing the mine and processing plants on a care and maintenance program to enable a re-start when operating plans and metals prices support a cash positive outlook for the property.  Approximately 470 positions at the Velardena operations are being eliminated as a result of the suspension.  The Company is presently negotiating the specific terms of a severance package with its labor unions.  The Company plans to retain a core group of approximately 50 to 60 employees to facilitate a re-start of operations and to maintain and safeguard the longer term value of the asset.