Monday, January 13, 2014

If You Are Waiting For An “Economic Collapse”, Just Look At What Is Happening To Europe

European Union
If you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the "economic collapse", just open up your eyes and look at what is happening in Europe.  The entire continent is a giant economic mess right now.  Unemployment and poverty levels are setting record highs, car sales are setting record lows, and there is an ocean of bad loans and red ink everywhere you look.  Over the past several years, most of the attention has been on the economic struggles of Greece, Spain and Portugal and without a doubt things continue to get even worse in those nations.  But in 2014 and 2015, Italy and France will start to take center stage.  France has the 5th largest economy on the planet, and Italy has the 9th largest economy on the planet, and at this point both of those economies are rapidly falling to pieces.  Expect both France and Italy to make major headlines throughout the rest of 2014.  I have always maintained that the next major wave of the economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  The following are just a few of the statistics that show that an "economic collapse" is happening in Europe right now...
-The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is still sitting at an all-time record high of 12.1 percent.
-It Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent.
-The youth unemployment rate in Italy has jumped up to 41.6 percent.
-The level of poverty in Italy is now the highest that has ever been recorded.
-Many analysts expect major economic trouble in Italy over the next couple of years.  The President of Italy is openly warning of "widespread social tension and unrest" in his nation in 2014.
-Citigroup is projecting that Italy's debt to GDP ratio will surpass 140 percent by the year 2016.
-Citigroup is projecting that Greece's debt to GDP ratio will surpass 200 percent by the year 2016.
-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach32 percent in 2015.
-The unemployment rate in Spain is still sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent.
-The youth unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 57.7 percent - even higher than in Greece.
-The percentage of bad loans in Spain has risen for eight straight months and recently hit a brand new all-time record high of 13 percent.
-The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen by 90 percentsince the peak of the housing boom.
-The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16 year high.
-For 2013, car sales in Europe were on pace to hit the lowest yearly levelever recorded.
-Deutsche Bank, probably the most important bank in Germany, is the most highly leveraged bank in Europe (60 to 1) and it has approximately70 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives.
Europe truly is experiencing an economic nightmare, and it is only going to get worse.
It would be hard to put into words the extreme desperation that unemployed workers throughout Europe are feeling right now.  When you can't feed your family and you can't find work no matter how hard you try, it can be absolutely soul crushing.
To get an idea of the level of desperation in Spain, check out the following anecdote from a recent NPR article...
Having trouble wrapping your head around southern Europe's staggering unemployment problem?
Look no further than a single Ikea furniture store on Spain's Mediterranean coast.
The plans to open a new megastore next summer near Valencia. On Monday, Ikea's started taking applications for 400 jobs at the new store.
The company wasn't prepared for what came next.
Within 48 hours, more than 20,000 people had applied online for those 400 jobs. The volume crashed Ikea's computer servers in Spain.
Of course that should kind of remind you of what I wrote about yesterday.  We are starting to see this kind of intense competition for low paying jobs in the United States as well.
As global economic conditions continue to deteriorate, things are going to get even tougher for those on the low end of the economic food chain.  Poverty rates are going to soar, even in areas where you might not expect it to happen.  In fact, one new report discovered that poverty has already been rising steadily in Germany, which is supposed to be the strongest economy in the entire eurozone...
A few days before the Christmas holidays, the Joint Welfare Association published a report on the regional development of poverty in Germany in 2013 titled “Between prosperity and poverty—a test to breaking point”. The report refutes the official propagandathat Germany has remained largely unaffected by the crisis and is a haven of prosperity in Europe.
According to the report, poverty in Germany has “reached a sad record high”. Entire cities and regions have been plunged into ever deeper economic and social crisis. “The social and regional centrifugal forces, as measured by the spread of incomes, have increased dramatically in Germany since 2006,” it says. Germany faces “a test to breaking point.”
Of course poverty continues to explode on this side of the Atlantic Ocean as well.  In the United States, the poverty rate has been at 15 percent or above for three years in a row.  That is the first time that this has happened since the 1960s.
And this is just the beginning.  The extreme recklessness of European banks such as Deutsche Bank and U.S. banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Goldman Sachs is eventually going to cause a financial catastrophe far worse than what we experienced back in 2008.
When that crisis arrives, the flow of credit is going to freeze up dramatically and economic activity will grind to a standstill.  Unemployment, poverty and all of our current economic problems will become much, much worse.
So as bad as things are right now, the truth is that this is nothingcompared to what is coming.
I hope that you are getting prepared for the coming storm while you still can.

Gerald Celente's 2014 Predictions

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Semporna kidnap: White Rajahs of Pulau Pom Pom


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Red Bull sued for $85 million over man's death

Red Bull
Monday, November 11, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: Red Bulllawsuitenergy drinks

(NaturalNews) Red Bull is being sued for wrongful death after a healthy 33-year-old man collapsed dead on a basketball court after gulping the high-caffeine drink.

The lawsuit, for $85 million, is believed to be the first wrongful death suit against the world's largest energy drink company.

Construction worker Cory Terry - survived by a 13-year-old son - was healthy, active and a non-smoker, his grandmother, Patricia Terry, said. However, he regularly drank large amounts of Red Bull.

"He drank that stuff all the time," she said. "He said it perked him up."

About a year ago, Terry downed a can of Red Bull about 45 minutes into a basketball game. Shortly after, he grew dizzy, collapsed and died. Doctors discovered that he had suffered idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), meaning that his heart had simply stopped. The medical report noted that he had consumed Red Bull right before the attack.

Although DCM can have many causes, doctors were unable to pinpoint any particular reason for Terry's death.

"I know he was healthy and I couldn't find no other reason for why he died," his grandmother said.

Wrongful death

According to the lawsuit, at least nine previous deaths have been linked to Red Bull. The suit cites research demonstrating the health risks of energy beverages, particularly for people who are highly active. It also alleges that the marketing slogan "Red Bull gives you wings" is targeted at adolescents and athletes, the very groups most vulnerable to the beverage's ingredients.

Red Bull has "extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee," lawyer Ilya Novofastovsky said. "They are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on."

Noting that the FDA has long known of research suggesting that energy drinks might be dangerous, Novofastovsky called on the agency to reevaluate the drinks' safety.

The FDA has confirmed at least 18 deaths potentially linked to energy drinks. Between 2004 and 2012, it received 21 reports from healthcare providers who suspected Red Bull of causing side effects ranging from fatigue and dizziness to chest pain.

Indeed, the FDA is already investigating whether energy drinks might have led to the deaths of five separate people, including a 14-year-old who fell dead after drinking two 24-ounce Monster beverages over the course of two days.

Deadly brew?

Pediatricians and health researchers are raising increasing concern over the risks that energy drinks might pose to children and adolescents, in particular. Rutgers University recently issued a report warning that children might be in danger from any caffeinated beverages at all, particularly if they consume such beverages regularly or drink a large quantity over a short period of time.

"These drinks are made for adults," drug educator Bruce Ruck said. "When young children drink them, they consume a large quantity of caffeine for their body mass."

"Children also might have trouble falling asleep or experience tremors, anxiety, agitation, heart palpitations, nausea or vomiting," he said. "Of more concern, they may experience a rapid heart rate or seizures."

Another recent study, published in Pediatrics in Review, focused on the risk energy drinks pose to teenagers.

"We know kids are more affected by caffeine than adults," researcher Kwabena Blankson said. "What really worries me are the daily users. They experience symptoms like headaches, digestive problems, hypertension and heart palpitations."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum daily caffeine intake of 100 mg for adolescents, yet some energy drinks contain as much as 240 mg (Monster Energy XXL) or even 505 mg (Wired X505 24-ounce) of caffeine - not even counting other stimulating or bioactive ingredients, such as guarana or taurine.

Sources for this article include:

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Gerald Celente - Trends In The News - "Peace Prize Killer" - (11/4/13)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

14 Facts About The Absolutely Crazy Internet Stock Bubble That Could Crash And Burn In 2014

TwitterShouldn't Internet companies actually "make a profit" at some point before being considered worth billions of dollars?  A lot of investors laugh when they look back at the foolishness of the "Dotcom bubble" of the late 1990s, but the tech bubble that is inflating right in front of our eyes today is actually far worse.  For example, what would you say if I told you that a seven-year-old company that has a long history of not being profitable and that actually lost 64 million dollars last quarter is worth more than 13 billion dollars?  You would probably say that I was insane, but the company that I have just described is Twitter and Wall Street is going crazy for it right now.  Please don't get me wrong - I actually love Twitter.  On my Twitter account I have sent out thousands of "tweets".  Twitter is a lot of fun, and it has had a huge impact on the entire planet.  But is it worth 13 billion dollars?  Of course not.
When it comes to the Internet, what is hot today will probably not be hot tomorrow.
Do you remember MySpace?
At one time, MySpace was considered to be the undisputed king of social media.  But then something better came along (Facebook) and killed it.
It is important to keep in mind that Facebook did not even exist ten years ago.  Yes, almost everybody is using it today, but will everybody still be using it a decade from now?
But the way that the financial markets are valuing these firms can only be justified if they are going to make absolutely massive profits for many decades to come.
Will Twitter eventually make a little bit of money?
Probably, as long as they get their act together.
In fact, Twitter should be making significant amounts of money right now if it was being run correctly.
But will Twitter ever make 13 billion dollars?
No, that simply is not going to happen.  But that is what Wall Street says that Twitter is worth.
The utter foolishness that we are witnessing on Wall Street right now is so similar to what we saw back in the late 1990s.  It is almost as if we have learned nothing from our past mistakes.
These days I keep having flashbacks of the sock puppet.  For those too young to remember, the following is a brief summary fromInvestopedia about what happened to
It's impossible to think of the first Internet era without thinking of the sock puppet. He was everywhere and was nearly as well-known as the Geico gecko is today.
That familiarity, in part, persuaded many investors to lay down money in the company's February 2000 IPO (which was backed by raised $82.5 million – but nine months later it folded, due to major recurring losses. Part of the reason for that was aggressive advertising, but the company also lost money on virtually every item it sold. In the third quarter of 2000, reported negative gross margins of $277,000. (The second quarter had seen a $1.7 million margin loss.) That same quarter (its last full quarter as an operating entity), the company lost $21.7 million on $9.4 million in revenue.
As for the puppet, he went on to shill for BarNone, which helps people with bad credit histories get car loans. He's still there today, front and center on that website.
Everyone loves to laugh at the poor little sock puppet, but the truth is that the tech bubble that is inflating right now is far worse than the Dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.  The following are 14 facts about the current tech bubble that will blow your mind...
#1 In just a few days, the Twitter IPO is expected to raise close to 2 billion dollars even though Twitter actually lost 64.6 million dollarslast quarter and has a long history of not being profitable.
#2 It is being projected that after the IPO Twitter could have a market valuation of more than 13 billion dollars.
#3 Twitter is not expected to make a profit until 2015 at the earliest.
#4 According to CNBC, Pinterest is currently valued at 3.8 billion dollars even though it has never earned a profit.
#5 Yahoo paid more than a billion dollars for Tumblr even though Tumblr's revenues are so small that Yahoo is not even required to report them on financial statements.
#6 Snapchat, an Internet service that allows people to send out messages that "self-destruct", is supposedly worth 4 billion dollars.  But it actually has zero revenue coming in, and many believe that it is essentially worthless as a money making enterprise.  For one extensive analysis by a tech blogger, please see this article.
#7 The stock of Rocket Fuel, an online advertising company, is trading at about 60 dollars a share and it has a market valuation of about 2 billion dollars even though it has never made a profit.
#8 The stock of local business review website Yelp is up 241 percentthis year even though it has never earned a quarterly profit.
#9 just raised 165 million dollars from investors even though it recently laid off 44o employees.
#10 LinkedIn stock has risen in price by 136 percent since the 2011 IPO, and it is now supposedly worth more than 18 billion dollars.
#11 The head of engineering at Twitter, Chris Fry, got a 10.3 million dollar pay package when he joined Twitter last year.
#12 Facebook's VP of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, earned 24.4 million dollars in 2011.
#13 Office rents in San Francisco (where many of these tech companies are based) are now 23 percent higher than they were at the peak of the real estate market in 2008.
#14 Facebook stock is up close to 140 percent over the past 12 months and the company is now worth more than 120 billion dollars.
And I am certainly not the only one that is concerned that we are repeating the mistakes of the late 1990s...
“When you look at valuations and look at the lack of earnings and revenue, it seems to me much like the dot-com bubble,” said Matt McCormick, a money manager at Cincinnati-based Bahl & Gaynor Inc. who helps oversee $10.2 billion. “This market looks a little frothy and Twitter is the personification of a risky trade.”
In fact, as the Wall Street Journal recently noted, we have seen some of these tech stocks crash more than once during the Internet age...
"It's fascinating to me that today's mini-mania includes shares of Amazon, Netflix and Priceline that have previously peaked and crashed before—in some cases they've peaked and crashed twice before," says Darren Pollock, portfolio manager at Cheviot Value Management. "Stocks like these have again captured the imagination of speculators. We're skeptical that there is enough underlying intrinsic value to many of the highfliers to support today's prices."
So how long will it be until the current tech bubble implodes?
That is a very good question.  Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below...


All-Time High Unemployment: The Economic Depression In Europe Just Keeps Getting Deeper

Greece Riots - Photo by Master of PuppetsThe unemployment rate in the eurozone is higher than it has ever been before.  This week we learned that eurozone unemployment came in at an all-time high of 12.2 percent for September.  Back in January 2012, it was sitting at just10.4 percent.  So anyone that believes that "things are getting better" in Europe is just being delusional.  In fact, the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper.  The funny thing is that the mainstream media will barely call what is going on in Europe a "recession" even though the unemployment rates in both Spain and Greece are now much higher than anything that the United States ever experienced during the "Great Depression" of the 1930s.  There haven't been as many headlines about the financial crisis in Europe lately because the ECB has been papering over the debt problems of the periphery (at least for the moment), but the economic conditions on the ground for average Europeans just continue to get even worse.  Later on in this article, you will read about a 25-year-old Spanish man with three college degrees that moved to London in a desperate search for a job who is now cleaning up poop for a living.  The economic collapse of Europe continues to march on, and there is no end in sight.
All you have to do is look at the latest unemployment numbers to realize that things are getting worse in Europe.
In Italy, the unemployment rate is up to 12.5 percent.
In January 2012, less than two years ago, it was sitting at just 8.9 percent.
In Greece, the unemployment rate is up to an astounding 27.6 percent.
In January 2012, it was sitting at just 21.4 percent.
In Spain, the unemployment rate is up to 26.6 percent.
In January 2012, it was sitting at just 22.8 percent, and all the way back in January 2008 it was just 8.6 percent.
The youth unemployment statistics in the eurozone are even more horrifying...
Unemployment among the under-25s rose by 22,000 in September to 3,548,000 – nudging up youth jobless rate to 24.1%. In France, the youth jobless rate jumped from 25.6% to 26.1%, while in Italy it increased from 40.2% to 40.4%.
But as bad as those numbers are, they are nothing compared to what is going on in Spain and Greece.  In Spain, the youth unemployment rate is up to 56.5 percent, and in Greece the youth unemployment rate is up to 57.3 percent.
And of course unemployment is not the only problem that the European economy is dealing with right now.  The following are some more facts about the European economy that show that the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper...
-European car sales are on pace to hit a 23 year low in 2013.
-The percentage of "bad loans" in Spain has soared to a new all-time record high.
-The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen 90 percentsince the peak of the market.
-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach32 percent in 2015.
-Over the last several years, Italy has experienced the biggest collapse in GDP growth that it has ever seen.  Overall, the GDP of Italy has contracted by about 8 percent since 2008.
-The number of unemployed workers in Cyprus is now five times higher than it was before the financial crisis of 2008.
-It is being projected that Spain's debt to GDP ratio will rise to nearly 100 percent by the end of next year.
-The debt to GDP ratio of Portugal is already up to 123 percent.
-The debt to GDP ratio of Italy is already up to 127 percent.
-Even though Greece has implemented a whole host of "austerity measures", the debt to GDP ratio of Greece is now up to 156 percent.
But what these numbers cannot really communicate is the tremendous amount of pain and despair that millions upon millions of Europeans are experiencing right now.
For example, consider the story of Benjamin Serra Bosch, a 25-year-old Spanish man that moved to London in a desperate search for a job.  He has three college degrees, including a Master's Degree from the IEBS Business School in Barcelona.  The following is a rough translation of a message that he recently posted on Facebook...
My name is Benjamín Serra, I have two bachelor degrees and a master's degree, and I clean toilets.
No, it is not a joke. I do it to pay the rent for my room in London.
I've been working in a famous chain of cafes in the United Kingdom since May, and for the first time today, after 5 months working there, I see it clearly. I have been cleaning toilets. My thought was: "I received distinction in my two degrees and I clean other peoples' poop in a country that isn't my own." Well, I also make coffee, clean the tables and wash cups.
And I am not ashamed to do so. Cleaning is a very decent job. What embarrasses me is having to do so because no one has given me an opportunity in Spain. Like me, there are many Spaniards, especially in London. "You are a plague," I was told once here. And let's not kid ourselves. We are not young people on an adventure to learn the language and have new experiences. We are immigrants.
I've always been very proud, I am not going to deny. Those who know me, you know. And I have to bust out a smile at customers who look over my shoulder as I am simply a "barista" (as they call it here). Some are so outrageous that it makes me want to pull out my University and master degrees and put them in their face. But it would not really do anything.  It appears that those titles now only serve to clean the poop that I clean from the toilets in the cafe. A pity.
I thought that it deserved something better after putting so much effort in my academic life. It seems that I was wrong.
As economic conditions continue to decline all over Europe, anger and frustration with the "European experiment" continue to grow.  UKIP's Nigel Farage expressed these sentiments very eloquently during a speech on the 23rd of October when he stated that "what we are saying, large numbers of us from every single EU member state is: we don't want that flag, we don't want the anthem that you all stood so ram-rod straight for yesterday, we don't want EU passports, we don't want political union."
Unfortunately, the elite of Europe are so obsessed with their little experiment that the only "solutions" to these economic problems that they are even willing to consider involve even more European integration.
And Americans certainly should not be looking down their noses at what is happening in Europe.
What is going on in Italy, France, Spain and Greece will be coming here soon enough.  In fact, even during the midst of this so-called "economic recovery", poverty continues to absolutely explode in the United States.
Economic conditions in both the United States and Europe have never even gotten close to where they were prior to 2008, and now the next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.
This is just the beginning.  Things are going to get much worse in the years ahead.

The stolen children of India

Heart-rending story of parents seeking to get back children snatched from them and then sent for adoption abroad.

 Last Modified: 06 Nov 2013 11:29
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Nagarani, right, and her husband Kathirvel, had their son stolen in 1999 [Shaikh Azizur Rahman /Al Jazeera]
Deep furrows line her forehead as Nagarani, a resident of a Chennai slum in southern India, lives a life of despair.
For 14 years now, she had been trying to get back her son – stolen and then sent for adoption abroad – without any luck.
"Long years have gone by. It seems we are losing our fight. I doubt if I shall ever get back my son," she says in between uncontrollable sobs, squatting in her tin-roofed ramshackle shack.
Nagarani's frustrating quest is shared by many other Indian parents, whose children were stolen by child traffickers and then sold into adoption in foreign countries.
According to figures from India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), one child goes missing in the country every eight minutes and forty per cent of these children are never found.
Follow our special India coverage
Last year, India's minister of state for home affairs said in the parliament's upper house that 60,000 children had been reported missing in the country in 2011.
According to Rakesh Senger, a researcher with the Indian child-rights NGO, BachpanBachaoAndolan, only half of the cases of missing children are reported to the NCRB.
"A good number of the lost children end up as prostitutes and bonded labourers or joins the homeless population in big cities," Senger told Al Jazeera.
"Some of the missing children land in orphanages, and a percentage of those reach their adoptive families in India and abroad."
Nagarani's poignant tale is illustrative of the tragedy that has befallen many others in India.
Wife of a daily wage labourer, she and her children were sleeping outdoors one night to beat the oppressive summer heat. When she woke up, she found that one of her sons, Sathish, was missing.
For years, her search yielded nothing, until the police busted a child trafficking network in south India in 2005.
The traffickers confessed that they had secretly passed on several children, Sathish included, to a Chennai-based orphanage with a licence to offer children for adoption abroad.

Long years have gone by. It seems we are losing our fight. I doubt if I shall ever get back my son
Nagarani, Mother of a trafficked child "Sathish"
Investigations into the racket unearthed sordid details: the orphanage had sent at least 350 children for adoption abroad, having fudged the identities of some 100 of them.
The case kicked up a furore and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – the country's highest investigating agency – stepped in to probe deeper. It was soon revealed that the orphanage had recorded Sathish under a false name, Anbu. According to their records, Anbu had been "abandoned by his unwed mother Miss K Mala".
Two other stolen children – Zabeen and Subash – also had their identities changed by the orphanage. They were renamed as Suji and Ashraf and sent for adoption abroad.
From the office of the orphanage, police recovered photos of scores of stolen children. Nagarani spotted one of them as her missing child – sent for adoption in the Netherlands.
The boy has been tracked down since then – he is living with his adoptive parents under a new name. But Nagarani has not succeeded in getting any closer to him.
No to DNA test
She raised money and visited the Netherlands twice in an attempt to prove that she was Sathish's biological mother. But his adoptive parents – who had paid $35,000 to the orphanage for the adoption – refused to subject him to a DNA test.
Dutch courts have refused to come to the rescue – ruling that a plea for DNA testing risked inflicting severe emotional trauma to the minor.
Against Child Trafficking (ACT), a Netherlands-based NGO, is now fighting Nagarani's cause.
"All legal remedies having been exhausted in this case in the Netherlands, we have now filed a suit against the Dutch government in the European Court of Human Rights," ACT activist ArunDohle told Al Jazeera.
By all accounts, the adoptive parents were not complicit in any crime. They were simply unaware of the background of the child.
Fathima says her stolen daughter has been adopted by a family  in Australia [Shaikh Azizur Rahman /Al Jazeera]
But it is of little solace for mothers like Nagarani.
"What has been exposed is only the tip of the iceberg," says Chennai's former police chief, R Natraj.
There are more than 11.5 million abandoned children in India and its adoption authorities regularly urge western countries to adopt children from country's hundreds of orphanages. According to India's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) about 1,000 Indian children go for adoption abroad with bulk of them going to the US.
According to CARA guidelines a foreign couple adopting an Indian child should not pay more than $3500 in donation to the Indian orphanage. However, in reality, foreign parents often are forced to pay up to ten or twelve times more money to an Indian agency, making the "adoption business" very lucrative in India.
But the likes of Nagarani have lost out badly as the adoption business flourishes.
So has Fathima, the mother of Zabeen, who has found a new home in Australia after being stolen.
"I have information that my daughter is growing as an adopted daughter in an Australian family in Queensland. Her skin or hair colour must be different from those of her adoptive parents.
"My heart tells me, one day she will start searching for her birth parents and we will reunite," Fathima told Al Jazeera. She has not run out of patience yet, despite the wait being painful.