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Fatster’s Roundup

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Good morning!

International Developments

? “According to the latest polls, all center and left-wing parties [in Israel] will win fewer seats than in the current Knesset.” It appears the right wing has about 50% of the potential vote. Elections are due next month.

? “Syrian Vice-President Farouq al-Sharaa has said neither the government’s forces nor rebels can win the 21-month-old conflict.” He noted the “worsening situation” and said the stalemate could be ended by an “historic settlement”.

? Libya will be closing its southern borders temporarily and declaring “seven southern regions restricted military areas.” There is official concern about “stemming the flow of illegal immigrants and goods” but an “upsurge in violence and drug trafficking, and the presence of armed groups that act with complete impunity” are also worrying.

? The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has ruled that Ghana “shall forthwith and unconditionally release” Argentina’s ship the Libertad which was seized on October 2nd “at the behest of a US fund [Elliott Associates] seeking to collect on defaulted bonds.” Argentina is to fly the 98-member crew back to Ghana tomorrow. Argentina’s Economy Minister tweeted “Vultures, you shall not pass.” Caution: the fat lady hasn’t sung–yet.

International Finance

? Iceland shines! Iceland’s Parliament will soon be considering a motion to form a committee “to report on the benefits/costs of full reserves banking”–that is, separating money creation from money lending in banks. (Iceland’s Parliament is called the Althing. Would that our Congress were an Althing rather than the Special Interest things too many members seem to be.)

? While the US and the eurozone are bogged down in their economic situations, much geopolitical shifting is occurring elsewhere. Latin America, where many economies are rising, is establishing links with Gulf countries, and both groups are engaging with China and other Asian countries. Stay tuned.

? What will FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) do? Barclay’s is complaining that the proposed fine of $470 million for manipulating US power prices in 2006-08 is “‘unjustified’ and the allegations will not stand up in court.”

? German Chancellor Angela Merkel is urging Europe to “‘work very hard’ . . ., spend more on research and education and overhaul its tax and labour markets to restore competitiveness.” She’s concerned there is too much social spending and with the population in the eurozone, including Germany, aging, something must be done, though she didn’t specify what. Yep. [cont’d.]

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David Dayen

David Dayen