Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Roundup: December 23


The Treasury sold $20.9bn of 4-week notes today at 0%, with a bid-to-cover of more than 4.5 -- which should give pause to those heralding swift recovery in credit markets.

CIT has won approval to convert into a bank holding company and says it will seek up to $2.5bn from the TARP.

Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, CEO of Access International Advisers, committed suicide today after his firm lost $1.5bn with Bernie Madoff.

One of the ways in which unemployment and layoffs are disguised is through wage freezes. Another is the suspension of non-wage benefits.

Vladimir Putin is trying to talk up the price of natural gas.

EconomPic carries a great graph of wealth concentration in the US.


Israel is evaluating military options after rocket attacks from Gaza; a worrisome start to the post-ceasefire era.

India is rattling her sabers, talking about precision airstrikes into Pakistani territory to attack the organizations behind the Mumbai attacks.

It's the holiday season, so there must be another gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

The LA Times interviews Hamid Karzai.

Small Wars Journal gives an overview and short portfolios of the colonels in the Iraq war who were one of the driving forces behind the strategic overhaul of the U.S. Army.

An article called the "Great Crash, 2008" in the Jan/Fed Foreign Affairs epitomizes what might be called the Zakaria thesis.

The NYT runs a story on famine in Zimbabwe, saying the WFP is short of half the food it needs to feed Zimbabweans in January and many are turning to scavenging for food.

There has been a coup d'etat in Guinea.


The EPA has released the list of tribal lands and counties within states that fail to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5 pollution. PM2.5 is a blanket designation for all particles suspended in air with an average diameter of less than 2.5 microns--the threshold at which human lungs can detect the particles and trigger coughing to eject them.

A paper in Nature Geoscience touts biochar as a new means of carbon sequestration; low-tech and inexpensive.

Contracted prices for bulk silicon for solar cells are set to drop by around 30% in 2009, with a corresponding reduction in the cost of silicon-based solar panels of around 10%.

Beijing used five billion plastic trash bags for domestic refuse in 2007.

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