Monday, July 15, 2013

Monetary Policy Of The FED Causing All The Economic Problems, The Worst To Come Depression Or HyperInflation

Everyone Knows that the Federal Reserve Banks Are PRIVATE … Except the American People

Most Americans Still Don’t Know that Federal Reserve Banks Are Private Corporations

The country’s most powerful “agency” – the Federal Reserve – is actually no more federal than Federal Express.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1928:
Instrumentalities like the national banks or the federal reserve banks, in which there are private interests, are not departments of the government. They are private corporations in which the government has an interest.
The long-time Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee (Charles McFadden) said on June 10, 1932:
Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies ….

The Fed itself admitted (via Bloomberg):
While the Fed’s Washington-based Board of Governors is a federal agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act and other government rules, the New York Fed and other regional banks maintain they are separate institutions, owned by their member banks, and not subject to federal restrictions.
Jim Rogers – The World Is Floating On A Big Lake Of Artificial Money

Economic Collapse – The Worst To Come Depression Or HyperInflation - The Markets Are Manipulated

The dirty secret of Britain's power madness: Polluting diesel generators built in secret by foreign companies to kick in when there's no wind for turbines - and other insane but true eco-scandals

  • Moving to wind power is expected to cost £1 billion a year by 2015
  • Official figures on the size of the green economy are extremely misleading
  • They exaggerate the worth of the sector by up to 700 per cent

  • Stopgap: Banks of diesel generators that have been built for when wind turbines fail to produce electricity because of lack of wind
    Stopgap: Banks of diesel generators that have been built for when wind turbines fail to produce electricity because of lack of wind
    Thousands of dirty diesel generators are being secretly prepared all over Britain to provide emergency back-up to prevent the National Grid collapsing when wind power fails.
    And under the hugely costly scheme, the National Grid is set to pay up to 12 times the normal wholesale market rate for the electricity they generate.
    One of the main beneficiaries of the stopgap plan is the Government itself, which stands to make hundreds of millions of pounds by leasing out the capacity of the generators in public-sector property including NHS hospitals, prisons, military bases, police and fire headquarters, schools and council offices.
    But the losers will be consumers who can expect yet further hikes in their electricity bills in the name of ‘combating climate change’.
    The scheme is expected to cost £1 billion a year by 2015, adding five per cent to energy bills.
    This scheme is a direct consequence of the renewable energy policy adopted by the Coalition but first developed by Tony Blair in response to EU renewables directives to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.
    As more and more wind turbines are built to replace fossil fuels, so the National Grid will become increasingly unstable because wind power is intermittent, unpredictable and unreliable.
    Wind now constitutes about ten per cent of Britain’s energy mix. Under current Government targets, the plan is to increase this to 25 per cent by 2020.
    However, some experts, such as economist Professor Gordon Hughes in a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, warn that such a high proportion of renewables is unsustainable, because of the dramatic ebbs and flows of power being supplied in the grid.
    Blot on the landscape: The Walters diesel site, surrounded by agricultural land between the villages of Thorpe in Balne and Trumfleet, near Doncaster
    Blot on the landscape: The Walters diesel site, surrounded by agricultural land between the villages of Thorpe in Balne and Trumfleet, near Doncaster
    Last year, Professor Hughes estimated the cost of creating this wind capacity by 2020 to be £124 billion. To produce the same amount of energy from gas would cost just £13 billion.
    The National Grid’s eye-wateringly expensive solution to counter the instability of wind power is known as the Short Term Operational Reserve, or STOR, to generate a reserve capacity of eight gigawatts (GW) by 2020, the equivalent of about five nuclear plants.
    The diesel-generators will provide immediate computer-controlled back-up for that significant period when the wind turbines are not working, but at a hefty premium.
    Currently the wholesale price for electricity is around £50 per megawatt hour (MWh) but diesel-generator owners will be paid £600 per MWh.
    At 12 times above the market rate, this represents a bigger cash bonanza even than that currently enjoyed by wind developers, who receive a subsidised price of between two and three times the market rate, depending on whether their turbines are on land or offshore.
    David Cameron
    Eco-friendly: The dirty and expensive back-up for wind turbines makes a mockery of David Cameron's green pledges
    Although STOR was devised in April 2007 and modified in December 2010, it has not been widely advertised by the Coalition. Besides making energy considerably more expensive, it would appear to make a mockery of David Cameron’s promise to lead the ‘greenest government ever’.
    Any benefits of the supposedly ‘clean’ energy produced by wind turbines are likely to be more than offset by the dirty and inefficient energy produced by their essential diesel back-up.
    ‘Yes it may stop the lights going out, but as a way of producing energy it’s a complete nonsense,’ said Dr Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
    ‘Burning diesel is nearly as dirty and CO2-intensive as burning coal. But worse than that, it is so unnecessarily costly and inefficient.’
    Not everyone is complaining, though, as canny businessmen have spotted a lucrative opportunity in the Government policy.
    Among them are American David Walters, former governor of Oklahoma. His company Walters Power was the first to take advantage of what he calls Britain’s ‘progressive energy policy’, buying up a site surrounded by agricultural land near Doncaster in South Yorkshire, and filling it with diesel generators.
    It doesn’t matter whether they actually produce any electricity or not: Most of the money they are paid by the National Grid is simply for being available in case of emergencies.
    For smaller producers, electricity will be channelled by companies called ‘aggregators’ which can turn the various diesel generators on and off remotely.
    Around Britain, in similarly remote sites from Lincolnshire to Cardiff and a quarry in Somerset, entrepreneurs are hurrying to cash in. The incentives are huge and the risks risibly small.
    Even when the scheme began  in 2010, an owner of just one  1MW generator, which would  cost around £500,000, could expect to receive £30,000 to £45,000 a year. By 2020 that figure is expected to have more than  trebled. Other significant beneficiaries of the scheme will be  public institutions such as military bases and hospitals.
    Glasgow General Hospital, for example, has 20MW of generating capacity; but even an average-size hospital stands to make around £500,000 a year merely for agreeing to allow its generators to be used in emergencies.
    While this may sound like a heartening funding boost for vital  public services, the money will  in fact be just another type of indirect taxation which comes straight out of consumers’ pockets in the form of cripplingly expensive energy bills.
    In 2010, the scheme was already costing £205 million a year; by 2020 this is expected to rise  to £945 million – a vast expense  to prop up the illusion that renewables are a viable part of Britain’s ‘energy mix’.
    What the lessons from continental Europe show is that this is only the beginning of Britain’s miseries.
    In Germany, where the renewables sector is significantly more developed (it has 31GW of wind energy – compared to the UK’s 8GW), the green experiment has been little short of disastrous. 
    Sudden fluctuations in Germany’s power grid caused by the ebb and flow of wind have led to serious industrial damage.
    Antipathy: Many communities, such as Llanllwni, in West Wales, have been strongly opposed to having the wind industry blotting their local landscapes
    Antipathy: Many communities, such as Llanllwni, in West Wales, have been strongly opposed to having the wind industry blotting their local landscapes
    According to the Association of German Industrial Energy Companies, the number of short interruptions in the grid has increased by 29 per cent in the past three years, with some of the association’s  members reporting damage running into hundreds of thousands  of euros as a result of unexpected stoppages.
    In 2006, when wind farms were few and far between, engineers in eastern Germany running coal, gas and nuclear power plants took action to stabilize the grid roughly 80 times a year.
    Today, as the amount of electricity generated by the region’s 8,000  wind turbines rises and falls by the hour, engineers have to intervene every second day in order to maintain network stability. Neighbouring Czechs and Poles are so fed up with the instability that they are on the verge of blocking the disruptive wind-produced electricity from their power lines.
    Currently, electricity from northern Germany is transmitted to customers in the south via its neighbours because the German grid cannot cope with the fluctuations. However, both countries are urging Germany to put its energy system in order.
    Unfortunately, Britain is potentially in a much worse position. Being an island, we won’t find it so easy to export our sudden power surges to continental neighbours.
    So the more on- and off-shore wind farms that are built in the next few years, the more expensive and more unstable our energy economy is going to become.

    How wind industry buried the devastating evidence of turbine noise for 25 years...

    Wind turbines can be dangerous for human health – and the industry has known it for more than 25 years.
    Bitter blow: Health risks of turbines have been known for decades
    Bitter blow: Health risks of turbines have been known for decades
    A newly rediscovered report,prepared in 1987 for the US Department of Energy, showed that inaudible infrasound produced by the generators can cause problems for local residents, which become worse over time.
    People living near wind farms have complained of problems such as nausea, headaches and insomnia – so-called Wind Turbine Syndrome.
    The 1987 evidence contradicts the claims of advocates for the wind industry that symptoms are all in the mind.
    Until recently, trade body RenewableUK claimed: ‘In over 25 years, no member of the public has been harmed by the normal operation of wind farms.’
    It further stated that claims wind farms emit ‘infrasound and cause associated health problems’ were ‘unscientific’.
    But the 1987 report, led by N.D.Kelley from the Solar Energy Research Institute in Colorado, found ‘impulsive infrasound’ caused health problems and recommended noise curbs on turbines.
    However the industry code of practice specifically excludes infrasonic frequencies. The report lends weight to claims of campaigners such as Australia’s Dr Sarah Laurie, who claims a concerted industry cover-up.
    But RenewableUK said: ‘We don’t accept there are health impacts caused by wind turbine noise. [The 1987 report] was based on antiquated machines. Turbine design has become more sophisticated.'

    ...and how Ministers got green sums wrong by £100 BILLION

    Official Government figures on the size of the green economy are totally bogus, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
    The figures, issued by the Department for Business and Skills, are said to show that the environmental sector was worth a staggering £122 billion last year, making it the fastest-growing part of the economy, writes David Rose.
    Ministers have repeatedly used the figures to justify crippling energy taxes and subsidies for wind farms. They claim the figures show that these policies will open the way to a booming future of ‘green jobs’ and low-carbon prosperity.
    Misleading: Official figures exaggerate the scale of the sector's value by up to 700 per cent
    Misleading: Official figures exaggerate the scale of the sector's value by up to 700 per cent
    But documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the true value of the green economy is actually between only £16.8 billion and £27.9 billion, depending on exactly how the term ‘green economy’ is defined. In other words, the official figures exaggerate the scale of the sector by up to 700 per cent.
    The so-called Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) figure has no known basis in reality.
    For example, calculations assert that renewable energy is worth £37 billion a year – when, according to the Department of Energy, the entire UK electricity market is worth less than £30 billion.
    Even the Renewable Energy Association – an industry lobby group which tries to persuade the Government to increase its subsidies – says that the total value of the renewable sector is less than £10 billion.
    Roger Helmer MEP
    Report: Roger Helmer MEP wants a full review of all policies to investigate the costs of the green economy
    The LCEGS figures also include billions of pounds from activities which few people would class as ‘green’ – such as water supply, landfill sites for rubbish and, most bizarrely of all – accounting for almost £9 billion – ordinary windows and doors.
    Another £11.7 billion is supposedly contributed by the liquid propane and natural gas markets. This figure is many times greater than the industry’s own estimates – while gas is a CO2-producing fossil fuel.
    Analysis of the LCEGS data came in a six-month report by independent researcher Ben Pile, commissioned by UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.
    The politician said there should be a full review of all policies influenced by the data. ‘The previous and current governments made big promises about the “green economy”, based on research that was hidden from public view and which now seems to have been skewed to favour the green agenda,’ he said. ‘They have misled people, including MPs.’
    This newspaper gave a copy of the report to the Business Department, asking if it contained anything that could be factually disputed.
    A spokeswoman replied that the green economy ‘is a complex area to assess as there is no standard industry classification. However, the LCEGS data has helped to inform the debate’.
    Business Secretary Vince Cable has cited the bogus figures to back his case for a new Green Investment Bank, claiming they prove that ‘green sectors have outperformed the wider economy’.

    Don’t build near my hall – and I’ll give £5,000 to your wife’s opera society

    Magazine boss William Cash has made a bizarre bid to stop two giant wind turbines being erected near his country mansion, writes Charlie Lankston.
    Mr Cash, son of the Eurosceptic MP Bill, is offering to give £5,000 to a local musical society if the plans are dropped.
    He acted after an application to build two 260ft turbines near his 16th Century home, Upton Cressett Hall near Bridgnorth, was submitted to Shropshire Council last month.
    Historic: William Cash's country mansion Upton Cressett Hall, Near Bridgnorth in Shropshire
    Historic: William Cash's country mansion Upton Cressett Hall, Near Bridgnorth in Shropshire
    Critics say they will blight a landscape immortalised by A.E. Housman and P.G. Wodehouse.
    The plans were put forward by farmer Clive Millington, and  Mr Cash, 46, said: ‘What better way than to stop dividing the community over this issue, which has led nearly to bloodshed, than to withdraw the planning application and help the Bridgnorth Operatic Society.
    ‘I understand the wife [Suzanne Millington] is something of a diva within the operatic society. I think it’s important to put pressure on the farmer to do what is right for the community, as opposed to just thinking of himself.’
    Donation: Suzanne Millington of the Bridgnorth Musical Theatre Company
    Donation: Suzanne Millington of the Bridgnorth Musical Theatre Company
    Mr Cash, who is the founder and editor-in-chief of wealth management magazine Spear’s, made the offer in a one-page advert in his local newspaper.
    He went on: ‘I have lived in Upton Cresset for nearly 40 years and I would never dream of applying to put wind turbines on my land in an attempt to turn a profit. But the local farmers have their noses in the trough.’
    Mr Cash looks set to be disappointed. Mr Millington, 57, said: ‘I put this forward as a community project because I thought it was something that the local people could get involved in.
    ‘We don’t want the landscape devastated, but one or two turbines can make a contribution.
    ‘Mr Cash is a larger than life character, but he is someone who has had no involvement with the community at all.
    ‘My wife had been involved with the operatic society but  not for over five years now, so it was a bit bizarre that he put this offer forward.’
    Howard Marsh, chairman of what is now the Bridgnorth Musical Theatre Company, said: ‘The society would never accept a donation linked to this controversy.’

    Peter Schiff & Rick Santelli: Monetary Policy Of The FED Causing All The Economic Problems

    SF Fed admits a private corporation, pay dividends!!!

    If You Like the Surveillance State, You’ll Love E-Verify

    From massive NSA spying, to IRS targeting of the administration's political opponents, to collection and sharing of our health care information as part of Obamacare, it seems every day we learn of another assault on our privacy. Sadly, this week the Senate took another significant, if little-noticed, step toward creating an authoritarian surveillance state. Buried in the immigration bill is a national identification system called mandatory E-Verify.
    The Senate did not spend much time discussing E-Verify, and what little discussion took place was mostly bipartisan praise for its effectiveness as a tool for preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining employment. It is a tragedy that mandatory E-Verify is not receiving more attention, as it will impact nearly every American’s privacy and liberty.
    The mandatory E-Verify system requires Americans to carry a “tamper-proof” social security card. Before they can legally begin a job, American citizens will have to show the card to their prospective employer, who will then have to verify their identity and eligibility to hold a job in the US by running the information through the newly-created federal E-Verify database. The database will contain photographs taken from passport files and state driver's licenses. The law gives federal bureaucrats broad discretion in adding other “biometric” identifiers to the database. It also gives the bureaucracy broad authority to determine what features the “tamper proof” card should contain.
    Regardless of one’s views on immigration, the idea that we should have to ask permission from the federal government before taking a job ought to be offensive to all Americans. Under this system, many Americans will be denied the opportunity for work. The E-Verify database will falsely identify thousands as "ineligible," forcing many to lose job opportunities while challenging government computer inaccuracies. E-Verify will also impose additional compliance costs on American businesses, at a time when they are struggling with Obamacare implementation and other regulations.
    According to David Bier of Competitive Enterprise Institute, there is nothing stopping the use of E-Verify for purposes unrelated to work verification, and these expanded uses could be authorized by agency rule-making or executive order. So it is not inconceivable that, should this bill pass, the day may come when you are not be able to board an airplane or exercise your second amendment rights without being run through the E-Verify database. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the personal health care information that will soon be collected by the IRS and shared with other federal agencies as part of Obamacare will also be linked to the E-Verify system.
    Those who dismiss these concerns as paranoid should consider that the same charges were leveled at those who warned that the PATRIOT Act could lead to the government collecting our phone records and spying on our Internet usage. Just as the PATRIOT Act was only supposed to be used against terrorists but is now used to bypass constitutional protections in matters having noting to do with terrorism or national security, the national ID/mandatory E-Verify database will not only be used to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining employment. Instead, it will eventually be used as another tool to monitor and control the American people.
    The recent revelations of the extent of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans, plus recent stories of IRS targeting Tea Party and similar groups for special scrutiny, demonstrates the dangers of trusting government with this type of power. Creation of a federal database with photos and possibly other “biometric” information about American citizens is a great leap forward for the surveillance state. All Americans who still care about limited government and individual liberty should strongly oppose E-Verify.

    GlaxoSmithKline routed China bribes through travel agencies: police

    By Michael Martina
    BEIJING (Reuters) - British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L) channeled bribes to Chinese officials and doctors through travel agencies for six years to illegally boost sales and to raise the price of its medicines in China, police said on Monday.
    Four senior Chinese executives from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had been detained, said Gao Feng, head of the economic crimes investigation unit at the Ministry of Public Security.
    Since 2007 the company had transferred as much as 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to more than 700 travel agencies and consultancies, Gao told a news conference. He did not make clear how much of this money was spent bribing officials and doctors.
    Last week the Ministry of Public Security said GSK executives in China had confessed to bribery and tax violations.
    Until Monday, Chinese authorities had released few details on the probe into Britain's biggest drugmaker, one of a string of investigations into foreign firms and their pricing practices in the world's second-biggest economy.
    "We have sufficient reason to suspect that these transfers were conducted illegally," Gao said.
    "You could say the travel agencies and GSK were criminal partners. Among the partners, GSK was mainly responsible. In a criminal organization there is always a leader."
    GSK officials were not immediately available for comment on Monday. The company has previously said it had found no evidence of bribery or corruption in China, but added it would cooperate with the authorities. It has said it was only told about the investigation in early July.
    The detained executives include Liang Hong, vice president and operations manager of GSK (China) Investment Co Ltd and Zhang Guowei, the company's vice president and human resources director, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
    It was unclear if any of the executives had legal representation.
    China is an increasingly important country for international drugmakers, which are relying on growth in emerging markets to offset slower sales in Western markets where many former top-selling medicines have lost patent protection.
    IMS Health, which tracks pharmaceutical industry trends, expects China to overtake Japan as the world's second biggest drugs market behind the United States by 2016.
    The charges of bribery make the GSK case the highest profile corporate investigation in China since four executives from mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) were jailed in March 2010 for taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets.
    Gao gave no specific examples of how the bribery involving the GSK executives worked in practice. He said there were also instances of "sexual bribery", although he did not elaborate.
    The official People's Daily newspaper said GSK collaborated with travel agencies to funnel bribes to doctors and officials by creating fake "conference services" as expenditure for GSK in order to misappropriate funds, some of which would then be spent on bribes.
    GSK supplies key products such as vaccines in China, as well as drugs for lung disease and cancer.
    Xinhua, given access to Liang by the authorities, quoted the detained executive as saying medicine which cost 30 yuan to make could end up being sold to patients for 300 yuan. It did not specifically say Liang was referring to GSK drugs.
    The police last Thursday said the case against GSK involved a large number of staff, with bribes offered to Chinese government officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors.
    Legal experts said the fact the police had disclosed so much information during its investigation suggested the executives would be charged and found guilty.
    Under China's legal system, formal charges would only be announced after preliminary investigations are completed.
    "The police would not usually reveal the details of cases they are handling ... they usually wouldn't reveal so much information before a final judgment is handed down," said Yang Zhaodong, partner at Chinese law firm King & Capital, while declining to comment specifically on the GSK case.
    "If they are already revealing such information, it means that they feel they have a fairly complete set of evidence."
    In the Rio Tinto case, the four executives - one a China-born Australian citizen and three Chinese nationals - received jail terms of between seven and 14 years after being found guilty of getting information from confidential strategy meetings of the body representing China's steel industry in negotiations with iron ore suppliers.
    Police said they had taken no action against any British nationals in the GSK case. No information had been received from GSK's UK headquarters, they added.
    China has targeted foreign firms on multiple fronts in recent months, including alleged price-fixing, quality controls and consumer rights, forcing companies to defend their reputations in a country where international brands often have a valuable edge over local competitors in terms of public trust.
    European food groups Nestle (NESN.VX) and Danone (DANO.PA) recently said they would cut the price of infant milk formula in China after Beijing launched an investigation into the industry.
    Units of GSK, Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N), Astellas Pharma Inc and other foreign and domestic drugmakers are also being investigated by China's top economic planning agency on cost and pricing issues.
    Gao said police had uncovered information during their investigation which pointed to similar money transfers made by other multinational pharmaceutical companies.
    "Whether they (other companies) were engaged in illegal behavior, you can go interview them. But they will not respond to you," said Gao.
    "You just need to ask them one question: Are you sleeping well at night?"
    (Writing by Kazunori Takada and Paul Carsten. Editing by Dean Yates)

    Bij 5.000 gezinnen werd vorig jaar het water afgesloten

    Binnenland In 2012 is bij zo'n 5.000 gezinnen in Vlaanderen het drinkwater afgesloten. Dat is 0,2 procent van het totale aantal huishoudelijke drinkwaterklanten. De cijfers blijken uit de eerste publicatie van de sociale statistieken rond openbare watervoorziening die minister van Leefmilieu Joke Schauvliege vrijdag heeft bekendgemaakt.

    De CD&V-minister wijst erop dat er nog een reeks maatregelen in de pijplijn zit om gezinnen, zeker sociaal kwetsbare gezinnen, beter te beschermen tegen het afsluiten van drinkwater. Midden 2011 werd het Algemeen Waterverkoopreglement van kracht. Dat reglement regelt de rechten en plichten van watermaatschappijen en hun klanten. Het verplicht waterleveranciers onder meer tot een jaarlijkse rapportering over hun verhouding tot hun klanten.

    8 procent met late factuur

    Uit het eerste overzichtsrapport blijkt dat Vlaanderen in totaal ruim 2,5 miljoen huishoudelijke klanten telt. Van die 2,5 miljoen klanten waren er zo'n 200.000 of 8 procent die een ingebrekestelling ontvingen voor het niet tijdig betalen van de factuur. En in 23.000 gevallen (1 procent van totale aantal gezinnen) werd aan de Lokale Adviescommissie (LAC) gevraagd of de betrokken klant mocht afgesloten worden. Dat gebeurde ook effectief in ruim 5.000 gevallen.
    "Bijna 1 procent van de huishoudelijke klanten wordt geconfronteerd met een dreiging tot afsluiting van de watertoevoer", zegt minister Schauvliege. Dat cijfer bewijst volgens haar de noodzaak voor de hervorming van de afsluitregeling. Die plannen liggen ook al een tijdje klaar.

    Nieuwe procedures

    Zo komen er duidelijk afgelijnde procedures die de watermaatschappijen moeten volgen vooraleer ze kunnen overgaan tot afsluiting. Op die manier moet de klant beter beschermd zijn tegen afsluiting. Die hervorming wordt normaal gezien volgende week gestemd in het Vlaams Parlement.
    Daarnaast keurde de Vlaamse regering onlangs een besluit goed dat het statuut "beschermde klant" invoert. Leefloners, bejaarden met een minimuminkomen en gehandicapten krijgen op die manier bijkomende rechten zoals een gratis waterscan, de mogelijkheid tot maandelijkse betalingen en afbetalingsplannen op maat. Zij worden voortaan ook vrijgesteld van de vaste vergoeding voor drinkwater.

    Global Corruption: Economies and Political Systems Worldwide Are Being Destroyed By Corruption

    We’ve extensively documented that institutional corruption in the United States has led to a collapse in trust … which is hurting the economy.
    And that the same thing is happening worldwide:
    And that .
    CBS News reports today:
    According to a survey released Tuesday [by the international anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International], a majority of people across the globe feel that corruption has worsened in their countries, and that their governments are ineffective in combating it.
    According to the survey, more than one in four people reported paying a bribe in the past year.
    The survey asked respondents to rate the corruption level of their countries’ institutions on a one-to-five scale, in which five meant “extremely corrupt.”
    Political parties were considered to be the most corrupt globally, with an average score of 3.8 out of 5.
    “As political parties require money in order to run their campaigns, one of the big corruption risks for political parties is how they are funded,” Transparency International wrote in its report. “The interests of the people and organizations that fund political parties can have a large influence on the actions of those parties.”

    Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Barometer” asked respondents to rate institutions on a corruption scale./ Transparency International
    Political parties fared worse in the United States, where the 1,000 respondents surveyed gave them a corruption score of 4.1.
    Globally, police came in a close second, with a corruption score of 3.7. Nearly a third of respondents who came into contact with police reported having paid a bribe.
    And while 53 percent of respondents felt corruption had increased in the last two years, a majority also believed that their governments couldn’t fix the problem. According to the report, 54 percent of respondents view government as ineffective in combating corruption, up from the 47 percent recorded in Transparency International’s 2010-2011 survey.
    “When there is widespread belief that corruption prevails and that the powerful in particular are able to get away with it, people lose faith in those entrusted with power,” Transparency International said.
    In the survey, 54 percent of respondents felt that governments largely run for the benefit of self-interested groups. In the U.S., 64 percent said the government is run by a few big interests, compared with 5 percent who felt the same in Norway, and 83 percent in Greece.
    CNN Money notes:
    “The majority of people around the world believe that their government is ineffective at fighting corruption and corruption in their country is getting worse,” Transparency International said in the report, which was based on a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries.
    The surveys suggest that corruption cuts across societies and demographics.
    “Impunity is anathema to the fight against corruption and, especially in the judiciary and law enforcement sectors, is a direct challenge to the rule of law,” the group said.

    Asian stocks, Aussie dollar show relief over China data

    By Ian Chua
    SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose on Monday, while the Australian dollar popped higher as investors heaved a sigh of relief after a batch of Chinese data showed the slowdown in the region's economic powerhouse was not as bad as feared.
    European shares were expected to track gains in Asia bourses, while U.S. stock index futures were up 0.2 percent.
    "European equities are set to start the week with a slight bid at the open on the Chinese data," said Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads in London.
    China's second-quarter economic growth cooled to 7.5 percent versus a year earlier, from 7.7 percent in January-March, in line with expectations. Other figures showed a healthy rise in retail sales, while industrial output slightly undershot forecasts.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> advanced 0.2 percent, erasing most of Friday's decline.
    Mainland Chinese stocks (.SSEC)<.csi300> climbed more than 1 percent, while gains were much smaller elsewhere in Asia. Japanese financial markets were closed for a public holiday.
    "The key is that while the rest of the world would like China to grow at 10 percent, policymakers are happy for growth to maintain between 7-7.5 percent over the coming year," said Savanth Sebastian, economist at CommSec in Sydney.
    "The good news is that the latest readings don't suggest that a hard landing is on the cards. And indeed if more stimulus is required, the central bank is well placed to wade in with additional liquidity, with inflation well contained," he said.

    Graphics for
    China trade:
    China GDP and exports
    China PMI, industrial output
    Despite Monday's rebound, Asian stocks underperformed their U.S. peers, which hit record closing highs for a second session on Friday (.DJI)(.SPX).
    Underpinning Wall Street was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's latest pledge to keep monetary policy loose for some time, dovish comments that made markets rein in hawkish expectations.
    That has weighed significantly on the U.S. dollar, which fell 1.7 percent against a basket of major currencies last week in its second-biggest weekly fall this year.
    The dollar index (.DXY) has since found some stability, hovering just above a two-week trough plumbed last week.
    Weakness in the greenback has helped the euro jump as high as $1.3208 last week, from lows around $1.2755. The common currency last stood at $1.3072.
    The standout in currency markets was the Australian dollar, which climbed about a quarter of a U.S. cent following the Chinese data, reaching a session high at $0.9119.
    It had fallen below 90 U.S. cents on Friday for the first time in three years amid talk that growth in China has slowed even more than forecast. China is Australia's single biggest export market.
    Commodity markets saw small gains after the Chinese data, but these then slipped away. Copper rose initially, then fell 0.3 percent to $6,935 a ton. U.S. crude also edged up, but later was flat near $106 a barrel.
    Gold traded at $1,290 an ounce, maintaining its momentum after last week's near 5 percent rally - its biggest weekly advance in nearly two years.
    (Editing by Richard Borsuk)

    China's GDP growth slows to 7.5 percent, tests reform push

    By Langi Chiang and Jonathan Standing
    BEIJING (Reuters) - China's GDP growth slowed in the second quarter to 7.5 percent year-on-year as weak overseas demand weighed on output and investment, lining up a test of Beijing's resolve to revamp the world's second-biggest economy in the face of deteriorating data.
    Other figures showed industrial output in June rising slightly less than forecast compared with a year earlier, but retail sales increasing more than had been expected.
    The latest year-on-year economic growth reading compared with the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 7.5 percent and showed the pace of economic activity easing from 7.7 percent annual growth in January-March.
    "These figures are not surprising, adding to signs of downward pressure on China's economy," said Zhou Hao, an economist at ANZ Bank in Shanghai.
    The Australian dollar, which is highly sensitive to Chinese demand for Australian raw materials, rose on relief the GDP numbers were not weaker, following last week's report of a surprise fall in exports in June from a year earlier.
    China's statistics bureau said the economy's performance in the first half of the year was stable overall and that indicators were within a reasonable range.
    New Premier Li Keqiang has been prominent in pushing for economic reform over fast-line growth, suggesting the government is in no rush to offer fresh stimulus to revive an economy in a protracted slowdown.
    With the latest GDP data, China's growth has slowed down in nine of the last 10 quarters.
    The government's official growth target for 2013 is 7.5 percent, impressive by world standards but it would be the slowest pace in 23 years for China.
    The latest data showed the economy grew 7.6 percent in the first half of the year from a year earlier, just ahead of the full-year target.
    Analysts have cut their forecasts for 2013 full-year growth in recent weeks following a run of weak data and government comments on slowing growth. Ahead of Monday's economic figures, they were mostly forecasting 2013 growth between 7 and 7.5 percent.
    Last week, customs data showed China's exports fell 3.1 percent in June against forecasts for a rise of 4 percent, while imports dipped 0.7 percent versus an expected 8.0 percent rise. The customs administration added that the outlook for July to September was "grim.
    Other figures had shown factory-gate deflation persisted for a 16th straight month, backing the view that the economy, plagued by industrial overcapacity, is losing momentum.
    Annual consumer inflation accelerated more than expected in June, but remained subdued at 2.7 percent, below Beijing's annual target of 3.5 percent.
    The main worry for China's leaders is if the economic slowdown leads to high unemployment that could spark social unrest. So far government officials say employment is stable.
    So for now, economists do not see any major stimulus or policy shift and instead expect the government to tough out the slowdown as they pursue a longer-term vision of reforming the economy towards consumer-led, rather than export- and investment-led growth.
    Beijing is still cleaning up trillions of dollars in local government debt left over from its last spending spree during the 2008/2009 global financial crisis, while trying to rein in off-balance-sheet loans.
    "The focus is still on reforms. The chances of a cut in interest rates or banks' reserve ratio look slim," Xu Hongcai, senior economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), a think-tank in Beijing, said before the release of the GDP data.
    "Previously, when the economy was not good, local officials held out their hands for money from the central government. But now they have to embrace reforms as no money will be given."
    (Additional reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Neil Fullick)

    Boeing's latest 787 fire poses major test of jet's carbon skin

    Aviation engineers inspect an Ethiopian Airlines' 787 Dreamliner after it arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport in Kenya’s capital Nairobi 
    By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher
    SEATTLE/PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing(BA) faces a public and revealing test of the carbon-composite technology used in the 787 Dreamliner following a fire that broke out aboard one of its planes at London's Heathrow airport.
    British investigators say that the Ethiopian Airline's (EAD.PA) lithium-ion batteries likely did not cause Friday's fire, allaying fears about a return of the problem that grounded the Dreamliner for more than three months earlier this year, when one battery caught fire and another overheated.
    Wall Street, and passengers, so far appear little concerned: the stock is expected to stabilize on Monday after slipping 4.7 percent on Friday from a near all-time high. Airlines are keeping their 787s in the air and passengers are not canceling trips in Japan, the 787's biggest market.
    But the visible scorching on the top rear of the fuselage of the 250-seat plane puts a major innovation of the 787 - its lightweight, carbon-plastic composite construction - under a spotlight with a fresh set of questions around the plane that Boeing and investors had hoped were behind it.
    The key question for both: can the burned plane be fixed easily and at a reasonable cost?
    While composites have been used in aerospace for decades, the 787 is the first commercial jetliner built mainly from carbon-plastic materials, whose weight savings, combined with new engines, are supposed to slash fuel costs 20 percent and operating costs by 10 percent compared with traditional aluminum alloy.
    In designing the Dreamliner, Boeing engineers also added a weight-saving electrical system that was sorely tested when its lithium-ion batteries overheated on two 787s in January. The system also suffered a fire in 2010 during the plane's test phase, and could come under scrutiny again if the Ethiopian Airlines blaze is traced to an electrical fault.
    The two systems are supposed to put Boeing at least a decade ahead of its rivals in the way aircraft is designed, built and operated. Boeing wants the 787 to become its most profitable passenger plane - and a fountain of innovation to feed designs of other future planes.
    Now they are both being tested again at a time when the company is designing new planes and building up its factory production to fill a record book of orders.
    Boeing declined to comment other than to say it is cooperating with the investigation of the fire.
    Such extensive composite repairs have not previously been performed on an operating commercial plane. So the Ethiopian Airline fire is the first chance airlines, financiers and competitors will have to see a real example of how and at what cost the repair can be done.
    "Everyone in the industry is going to follow this closely," said Hans Weber, president of TECOP International and an aviation consultant who has worked on composite testing technology. "It's the ultimate test."
    Carbon-composite technology and repair have been in use much longer than lithium-ion batteries. Boeing and others have had carbon fiber in military planes, such as the B2 Stealth Bomber, for more than 25 years.
    The 787's composite skin can be patched by grinding out the damaged section, applying fresh layers of fiber and resin and then curing with heat under vacuum pressure, according to a Boeing engineer with knowledge of the process. The work can be done on site, and repair stations have been learning to make repairs to service the plane around the world.
    But the true cost and complexity of repair remains a key question for industry, airlines and competitors. In developing its rival A350 plane, Airbus(EAD.PA) used composite panels that are bolted to a framework, much like aluminum planes are made, a technology it saw as less risky to build and service.
    Boeing chose to build one-piece, barrel-shaped fuselage sections that are bolted together to form a fuselage that it says is more aerodynamic and cheaper to maintain.
    Boeing could make a new piece of fuselage and attach it if the damaged area was not too large, said the Boeing engineer. In a worst case, the entire rear section of the fuselage could be replaced, Weber said, an expensive fix that might cost more than the plane is worth.
    The Ethiopian Airlines fire was noticed eight hours after the plane had been parked at a remote stand, the airline said, adding it was not a safety issue because the plane was not in flight and no passengers were aboard.
    Fires break out on parked planes about 60 times a year, and most are from "human error" such as leaving a circuit on or cigarette butt, Weber said. A fire on a different type of plane might have gone unreported. Britain's Air Accident Investigations Branch termed the 787 fire a "serious incident" and said the initial investigation was likely to take several days.
    Passengers appear to be sticking with the Dreamliner for now. Over the weekend, major travel agents in Japan, where most 787s are operating, said they had not seen reduction in bookings for 787 flights, and the plane remains in flight on the 13 airlines that currently operate it.
    "We've received no such inquiries," said an official at JTB's Yurakucho branch in Tokyo. The company typically sells package tours, "and if there's a trouble, we change aircraft or routes for our customers."
    In the near term, many stock analysts say they expect the stock to rise following the Friday decline. "I think investors will largely look past the incident, absent more info that suggests ongoing problem," said Carter Copeland, an analyst at Barclays in New York.
    Boeing's stock has climbed more than 40 percent this year as investors focused on the company's record pace of jet production, which is generating cash.
    Some are more cautious. Jeff Straebler, managing director and investment analyst at John Hancock Financial Services, said: "Until there is more information available on the cause, I don't think any judgments should be made."
    (Additional reporting by Osamu Tsukimori in Tokyo; Editing by Edward Tobin, Peter Henderson and Jeremy Laurence)