The European Central Bank this week, for the first time, published details of its former bond-buying initiative, known as the Securities Markets Program. The timing of the release, on the eve of Italy´s Feb. 24-25 elections, is as interesting as the data. The bank used to publish weekly information on the total amount of bonds it purchased under the program, until August last year when ECB President Mario Draghi replaced it with a new one called Outright Monetary Transactions. At times during the financial crisis, this indicator was watched more closely than any other,
Comments: Not a good idea. Voters don´t like being pushed around and being told who to vote for.
An internet troll who harassed successful sellers on eBay in a bid to put them out of business has been exposed after years of abuse. Charles ´Chuck´ Fitch, from Canton, Michigan, is said to be the man behind the mask who calls himself Ebayisajoke and harasses not only the ecommerce website and PayPal but also those who use it. A television reporter in Detroit, Michigan, hired private investigators to track down the man who targeted individual customers, sending them a torrent of threatening abuse. They found him living in an apartment in the commuter town of Canton, but when they
Panama is insisting that the case of a North Korean ship carrying contraband Cuban weapons must be handled by the United Nations despite a soothing diplomatic note from Pyongyang, according a Panamanian government official. The verbal note from Pyongyang’s embassy in Havana noted that the ship did not seek to endanger the security of the Panama Canal and that North Korea hopes for “amiable cooperation” to resolve the case “diplomatically,” the official said. North Korea also asked in the note Friday that two of its diplomats be allowed into Panama to provide consular services to the 35 crewmen
Is there such thing as “class” in America? Not if you ask Rick Santorum. The once and possibly future GOP presidential candidate spoke to a Republican gathering in Lyon County, Iowa late last week and shared this piece of advice with his party: “Don’t use the term the other side uses.” That includes the “middle class.” Santorum proceeded to tear into President Obama for constantly invoking the term “middle class” in his speeches about the economy. “Since when in America do we have classes?” Santorum asked. “Since when in America are people stuck in areas
Labor activists using tactics adopted from the Occupy Wall Street movement are crashing restaurants across the nation in an effort to raise wages for workers – and they’re getting taxpayer money to fund the effort. Using a combination of federal grants and grants from left-leaning organizations, the Restaurant Opportunity Center, or ROC, is technically a charitable nonprofit and not a union. But their pro-worker messages, anti-employer protests and self-proclaimed goal of organizing service sector employees for the purposes of negotiating higher wages make ROC look and sound much like a labor union.
Argentina has begun distributing a free state-produced version of the erection-boosting drug Viagra for the first time, in a move intended to curb its misuse, health authorities announced Thursday. They said 200,000 doses of sildenafil, better known under the Viagra brand name, is to be distributed free of charge through the public health network of the province of Santa Fe. The drug is being produced in Santa Fe by the state-owned pharmaceutical firm LIFSE, which plans to eventually distribute it nationally.
NAIROBI, Kenya — Officials in Kenya investigating the massive airport fire that gutted the arrival hall at Nairobi’s main airport said Thursday that first responders looted electronics, a bank and an ATM during and after the blaze. The officials said first responders stole electronics and money from an ATM. Another official said that police guarding the site overnight attempted to a take a safe from a bank in the burned-out arrivals hall, which also houses several foreign currency exchange shops.
PHOENIX Margaret Pellegrini, one of the original Munchkins from the 1939 classic movie "The Wizard of Oz," has died. She was 89. Pellegrini suffered a stroke Monday at her Glendale home and died Wednesday at a Phoenix-area hospital, said Ted Bulthaup, a Woodbridge, Ill., resident who owns a Chicago theater where Pellegrini and other Munchkins have made special appearances. Bulthaup said he learned of Pellegrini´s death from her relatives. With her death, only two of the original 124 Munchkins in the movie are still alive. Pellegrini has said she was 16 when
Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18 and from London, were working as volunteer teachers on the island. Their mothers, Nicky Gee and Rochelle Trup, said they expected them to return to the UK on Thursday night. The Foreign Office said it was "concerned to hear of an attack on two British nationals" and was "providing consular assistance". The women´s mothers said in a statement: "Both families are extremely upset and distressed at this completely unprovoked attack on their lovely daughters who had only gone to Zanzibar with good intention. We understand that they will be flying home overnight.
Archaeologist Anya Shetler cleans an inscription below an ancient stucco frieze recently unearthed in the buried Maya city of Holmul in the Peten region of Guatemala. Sunlight from a tunnel entrance highlights the carved legs of a ruler sitting atop the head of a Maya mountain spirit. The enormous frieze—which measures 26 feet by nearly 7 feet (8 meters by 2 meters)—depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. It was discovered in July in the buried foundations of a rectangular pyramid in Holmul. Maya archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli
NAIROBI, Kenya A small fire that an under-resourced fire brigade reacted slowly to swelled into a raging inferno that engulfed the arrival hall at Kenya´s main international airport Wednesday, an official said, shutting down East Africa´s largest airport and forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights. By late Wednesday, the airport re-opened for domestic and cargo flights, an official said. The massive, early-morning fire sent billows of black smoke high into Nairobi´s sky. The blaze burned for more than four hours before officials declared it contained, and flames continued to burn two more hours after that.
CENTER, MO. -- Rescue workers want to thank a higher power for coming to the rescue early Sunday morning. Emergency crews spent an hour and a half trying to extricate a 19-year-old Quincy woman trapped in her in crushed car on Missouri 19 near Center, Missouri. The Missouri Highway Patrol says 26-year-old Aaron Smith crossed the center line, hitting Katie Lentz head-on. Now, friends, family and those who rescued Lentz would love to find and thank a mysterious priest who they say helped make the rescue possible.
It is regarded as an essential personal grooming product, and even more so during the hot weather. Yet a generation of young men appears to be ditching the deodorant as soaring graduate unemployment changes their habits and squeezes their finances, according to research by the Grocer magazine. It found that 7% of young men aged between 17 and 24 have stopped using deodorant at least once a week; a further 5% in the same age group have stopped washing their hair; while 5% have stopped styling their hair at least once a week.
President Obama asserted the unilateral power to "tweak" inconvenient laws in last Friday´s news conference, underscoring his Administration´s increasingly cavalier notions about law enforcement. So it´s good that the judiciary—a coequal branch of government, in case the Administration forgot—is starting to check the White House. In a major rebuke on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unusual writ of mandamus, which is a direct judicial order compelling the government to fulfill a legal obligation. This "extraordinary remedy" is nominally about nuclear waste, writes Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the 2-1 majority, yet the case "raises significant questions about the
LOS ANGELES -- Oprah Winfrey says she's "sorry" a media frenzy emerged after saying she experienced racism during a trip to Switzerland."I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. I'm really sorry that it got blown up. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland," Winfrey said "I was just referencing it as an example of being in a place where people don't expect that you would be able to be there," she continued.In recent interview with "Entertainment Tonight," Winfrey recalled a clerk at an upscale Zurich boutique refusing to show her a handbag. Winfrey said she was told she could not afford the $38,000 purse. Staff has added more text.
Oprah Winfrey says she´s kinda sorta "sorry" for the fallout that ensued after she told the media about a "racist" encounter at a purse store in Switzerland ... saying, "I´m really sorry that it got blown up." Yeah, right. Oprah addressed the media at the premiere of "The Butler" in L.A. last night -- backpedaling after the shop in question started to refute O´s allegations of racism during an incident last month. The shop owner says the whole thing was a "misunderstanding" and had "nothing to do with racism." Last night, Oprah said ... "I think that incident in Switzerland."
Soon after the 10th anniversary of the foundation bearing his name, Bill Clinton met with a small group of aides and two lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Two weeks of interviews with Clinton Foundation executives and former employees had led the lawyers to some unsettling conclusions. The review echoed criticism of Mr. Clinton’s early years in the White House: For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and
The Missouri chapter of the NAACP appealed for the U.S. Department of Justice and the Secret Service to launch an investigation and open a federal case against the rodeo clown who donned a mask of President Obama’s face and mocked with the crowd: Do you want to see a bull run down Mr. Obama? The NAACP says the clown was guilty of inciting violence against the president. In a statement reported by Breitbart, the NAACP’s state president, Mary Ratliff, wrote: “The activities at the Missouri State Fair targeting and inciting violence against our president are serious and warrant a full
Last week I wrote a column about the reality that House Republicans are ready to cave on so-called comprehensive immigration reform. There was a final paragraph in that column my editor decided not to use. That is the editor’s right for two reasons: one, every site has a voice they wish to adhere to interns of form and content; and two, he who pays, gets the final say. Ironically, what was omitted by my editor was not lost on scores of astute letter writers who commented on the piece. I would like them to know that I have the same feelings
IRS? A system of voluntary tax compliance cannot survive a dishonest IRS. Lois Lerner and company have virtually ruined the agency. For the foreseeable future, each time an American receives a tax query, he will wonder to what degree his politics ensures enhanced or reduced scrutiny — or whether his name as a donor, activist, or partisan has put him on a watch list. Worse still, when a high commissioner of the IRS takes the 5th Amendment, it sends a frightening message: those audited go to jail when they refuse to testify; those who audit them who do the same
In the wake of a rodeo clown’s anti-Obama skit this weekend, the Missouri State Fair is forcing all clowns to undergo sensitivity training. The state fair commission voted Monday to ratify the decision to ban the clown in question who wore an Obama mask as the rodeo announcer asked if the crowd wanted to see him get run down by a bull. The crowd enthusiastically approved, according to local media reports. But the state commission went further, saying it will require that before the Rodeo Cowboy Association can take part in any future state fair, “they must provide evidence to
Reggie Love says he and President Obama played cards during the Osama bin Laden raid, and that the president told him, "I can´t watch this entire thing." (Snip for video)"“Most people were like down in the Situation Room and [President Obama] was like, ‘I’m not going to be down there, I can’t watch this entire thing,’ We must have played 15 games of spades,” said Love at a public event. Love was Obama´s "body man," and spent much time with his boss while he worked for Obama at the White House.
Over the weekend, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “for big government and trying to go along to get along.” She added that Christie has “got a schtick going there where he’s got a YouTube videographer following him around, kind of these set-up situations sometimes so he can be seen as perhaps a little bit avant-garde and going rogue on things.” Christie said nothing in return. He should. Here’s why.Taking on Palin is good politics for Christie or Jeb Bush or anyone else who is planning to run as a quasi-establishment candidate for president in
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that she will soon tour the nation and deliver a series of speeches to promote more trust in government. She made her remarks at an annual American Bar Association meeting in San Francisco. More specifically, Mrs. Clinton said she was launching a series of speeches on foreign policy. And as part of those addresses, she planned to speak about the need to restore faith in government, Breitbart reported. She also bashed voter identification laws, telling 1,000 members of the
The Missouri State Fair will force rodeo clowns to complete sensitivity training after a clown mocked President Obama in a stunt one spectator likened to a Ku Klux Klan rally. The fair’s commission also approved a lifetime ban on the offending clown. The controversy began on Saturday at the fair in Sedalia. A clown in an Obama mask with a broom handle attached to his backside moved into the arena as another clown called out over the microphone, “This bull’s going to get’cha, Obama! He’s gonna get’cha!” The fair commission has called the stunt “unacceptable,” and approved a measure that would