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Now it's official: US in recession since 2007, one of the longest downturns since the Great Depression of 1930's

Officially, the U. S. economy refuses to enter a full-scale recession. I’ve enjoyed all the euphemisms – ‘slowdown,’ ‘contraction,’ ’turndown,’ ‘softness,’ ‘pullback,’ and my personal favorite, ‘growth recession.’

(quote)

The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, making official what most Americans have already believed about the state of the economy.

The NBER is a private group of leading economists charged with dating the start and end of economic downturns. It typically takes a long time after the start of a recession to declare its start because of the need to look at final readings of various economic measures. The NBER said that the deterioration in the labor market throughout 2008 was one key reason why it decided to state that the recession began last year.

the NBER did not give any reasons or causes of the recession. But it is widely accepted that the housing downturn, which started in 2006. The current recession is one of the longest downturns since the Great Depression of the 1930's.  read more »

Piracy renewed: almost 40 ships seized by Somali pirates & more than $150m(£101m) in ransoms paid so far this year

three British security guards board a helicopter to be transferred to a Royal Navy vessel

Troubled waters & age-old problem renewed: pirates inspired by Johnny Depp’s antics or by oil - the new treasure?

(quote)

Three escape pirate-hijacked tanker

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Three British guards jumped overboard and were rescued from the water after battling in vain to prevent pirates hijacking a chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia. The Liberian-flagged Biscaglia came under "sustained and heavy attack" early Friday morning, Nick Davis, Director of Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions (APMSS), said in a statement. The three APMSS-employed security guards -- all former British servicemen -- mounted "sustained non-lethal resistance" but were unable to stop the attackers seizing control of the ship, Davis said.

The trio were airlifted to safety by a German naval helicopter and flown to a French frigate after the vessel summoned assistance from coalition warships. They were later transferred to a British Royal Navy ship. All three were unhurt, Davis said. "I have spoken with my team leader on the phone and he informs me that the level of violence was significant and forced them reluctantly to leave the vessel after every effort was made to ensure the safety of the ships crew," Davis said. Pirates continued to shoot at the three in the water, Davis said. "The hijacked vessel with pirates in control then attempted to run them down."  read more »

Greenland, semiautonomous Danish territory, takes symbolic leap: 75% voters vote for independence. Oil, key issue?

Greenland town

(quote)

The inhabitants of the world's largest island turned out yesterday in midwinter darkness to vote for what many believe is the first step towards independence. The people of Greenland voted overwhelmingly for increased autonomy from Denmark - a move that will see the 56,000-strong population take greater control over the island's potentially huge natural resources and mean Greenlandic becomes the official language.

Greenland iceberg

According to the island's election commission, 76% of voters supported the proposal, which outlined a system for sharing future oil revenues with Denmark and gave locals control over the courts, the police and the coastguard. Denmark would retain responsibility for security and foreign relations. The referendum was supported by the Danish government.

Around 72% of the island's 40,000 registered voters cast their ballots at voting stations in 18 municipalities. The high turnout came despite the small number of daylight hours and sub-zero temperatures in many parts of the island, 80% of which is covered by ice. The system is likely to come into effect from June 21 next year, the island's national day. It is almost certain to be rubber-stamped by the Danish and Greenlandic parliaments.  read more »

Buffett said in March, US in recession; now, recession declared by Germany, Italy, 15 Eurozone nations, and Japan

Germany declares official recession

(quote)

Germany has become the first of the G7 powers to declare an official recession. After Germany and Italy officially declared recession status, it was the turn of the entire 15-nation euro zone to make a similar declaration on Friday, November 14, 2008.

Gross domestic product in the Eurozone fell by 0.2 percent for a second consecutive quarter in the third quarter, according to figures from Eurostat, satisfying the technical definition for a recession. The contraction means that two of the world's three major economies, Japan and the Europe's euro zone, are now in recession.

Frankfurt's Eurotower, which houses the European Central Bank

Germany and Italy logged third quarter declines on their gross domestic products by 0.5 percent for July to September and 0.4 percent for the second quarter. France narrowly missed joining the recession club because it had a 0.1 percent GDP growth rate in the third quarter after it had a minus 0.3 percent growth in the previous quarter.

Like the UK, the group of 15 countries has been hit hard as the crisis that started in the US banking sector feeds through into the wider economy. The worst affected has been Germany, Europe's biggest economy, where GDP fell by 0.5pc in the third quarter after a 0.4pc in the second. Italy suffered falls of the same proportion in both quarters.  read more »

Global financial summit from G7 to G20; new strong voice of BRIC nations: Brazil, Russia, India and China

Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy

(quote)

Western nations began to cede some control as countries including Brazil, India and China – which with Russia form the so-called BRIC nations – managed to guarantee a greater presence on the international stage.

All three will now join the board of the Financial Stability Forum – the global economic policy powerhouse that to date has been the bastion of the G8.

an overall view of world leaders attending the first Plenary Session at the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy at the National Building Museum in Washington, November 15, 2008

Each is likely to play a stronger role in the reform of major institutions such as the International Monetary Fund than might previously have been witnessed under the old economic order.

The final summit communiqué also gave particular reference to emerging and developing economies, urging them to undertake commitments consistent with their capacities and roles in the global economy – a clear admission of their increased importance.  read more »

"Maintain the Gross National Happiness", vows 28-year old Oxford graduate newly crowned the fifth King of Bhutan

Bhutan's fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck crowns his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth King

(quote)

The United States was not the only country to name a new leader last week. In Bhutan, an insular nation of about 600,000 people located high in the Himalayas, a new king was crowned. 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, an Oxford-educated bachelor, was crowned as Bhutan's fifth king - now the world's youngest reigning monarch. Bhutan also has the distinction of being the world's youngest democracy - having held parliamentary elections last March for the first time ever. The young ruler vows to maintain a stance of protection against the worst aspects of globalization, maintaining the "Gross National Happiness", a measurement of national progress that places a high value on spiritual development. Gross National Happiness is a term invented by, and proudly embraced by Bhutanese since 1972.

Above: Bhutan's fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (right) crowns his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth King of Bhutan, in the Throne room of the Tashichhodzong Palace during the coronation ceremony in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. With medieval tradition and Buddhist spirituality, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan on Thursday, to guide the world's newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world.

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck  read more »

US national debt: $10+ tril, increasing $3.99 bil daily. US population: 305 mil; each citizen’s share: $35k

US National Debt has continued to increase an average of $3.99 billion per day since September 28, 2007

Shocking figures about the US National Debt:

(quote)

1.
7 Oct 08 - National Debt passes $10 trillion (Huffington Post)
Bush Administration adds $4 trillion to National Debt (CBS News)

2.
The estimated population of the United States is around 305 million.
So each citizen's share of this debt is close to $35k.

3.
The (National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$3.99 billion per day since Sept. 28, 2007!

(unquote)

Original Source: brillig.com

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