Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Roundup: November 26

Gasner Bros. is on vacation for Thanksgiving. We'll be back in December.


Barack Obama has announced a new economic recovery advisory board to be chaired by Paul Volcker. CDS on US government bonds were trading as high as 56bp this morning, putting them in line with weaker industrial sovereigns like Italy and the strongest corporates.

The Bank of China sharply cut reserve requirements for banks and benchmark interest rates after the OECD cut its 2009 GDP growth forecast from 9.5% to 8%

Nearly 30 million Americans are currently using food stamps, approaching the all-time high set after Hurricane Katrina. The four-week moving average of weekly unemployment claims is at a 25 year high.

The NYT has another must-read infograph breaking down the bailout so far: where it's gone, how it's gone, and what's been spent. Alphaville says explicitly guaranteed bank paper, such as that issued by Goldman with a Federal backstop yesterday, may act as a drug on the market for agency debt. Porsche, VW, and Audi have announced production cuts.

The Council for Foreign Relations has a brief biography of Timothy Geithner, Obama's likely nominee for Treasury secretary, along with selected readings from his major work and speeches.


It is not yet clear whether coordinated bombings and gunman attacks at Mumbai hotels and the city's Victoria Station which killed at least 80 tonight are the work of terrorists or of criminal gangs.

Morgan Tsvangirai has publicly rejected the mediation of former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki, after months of partiality and support for the Zanu-PF and a recent letter that infuriated the MDC. The cholera outbreak is the "worst crisis" ever to hit Zimbabwe, according to Mr. Tsvangirai, and it underscores the need for a functioning government to return. The US Treasury has frozen the assets of four major supporters of Mr. Mugabe. Botswana is openly calling for Mugabe's ouster, as President Ian Khama takes a bigger role as a regional leader in the crisis. Separately, a Harvard study proposes that as many as 365,000 deaths were caused by Thabo Mbeki's refusal to acknowledge HIV/AIDS while president of South Africa.

Extra police have been put on duty guarding New York City's transit systems after an unsubstantiated source indicated that Al Qaeda associates had discussed an attack in the holiday season as recently as September. Several officials said that the plans never reached beyond the "aspirational" stage, but that the extra vigilance was necessary regardless.

The Thai army is calling for new elections, disappointing anti-government, royalist protestors hoping for a coup.

The SOFA is widely expected to pass after the Sunni parties in Iraq extracted a major concession; a national referendum on the continued presence of US forces will be held next year, potentially forcing the US out a year earlier than the 2011 deadline in the SOFA.

Martine Aubry's victory in elections for the leadership of the French Socialist Party was confirmed after a recount in which she won by just over 100 votes. Segolene Royal's supporters are crying foul, but the Party leadership has voted to accept Mme. Aubry's victory.

The Palestinian wire service is reporting Libya has sent a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.


President Bush is asking mayors and other state officials from around the country to send written formal letters to the EPA detailing how much they do not want carbon emissions to be regulated. The letter warned that any regulation would "effectively stop" all major infrastructure and energy projects. Hopefully, this is one last last hurrah from our famed "world's biggest polluter." Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the chorus vociferously.

BBC News has a much easier to read synopsis of a paper in Monday's edition of PNAS, which discusses ocean acidification and the possibility that acidification as a result of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations may be increasing far faster than previously expected.

Slate profiles the car horn, and it reveals that, contrary to expectations, car horns increase the rate of dangerous collisions, as drivers become more complacent and less alert when a horn is available.

Andrew Revkin at DotEarth discusses yesterday's shameful recommendations on the quota for the bluefin tuna catch in the Atlantic.

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