Billionaire John Paulson has bet big on Gold, raising his firms investment in the metal to 44%. He has been big on gold since 2009 but his luck has not been so hot for the past 2 years with record losses.
He is betting that gold will remain a great hedge against currency debasement, rising inflation and the possible break up of the euro. All things that everyone of us should be concerned about! He must be really concerned with a bet that size.
Seriously folks, while this guy’s recent track record isn’t the best his long term record is pretty dang good! For those of us out there that continue to hold gold and silver we can take comfort in the knowledge that some very sophisticated investors are feeling the same way as we are and doing the same thing..buying gold and silver.
The prices are down and the macro economic situation hasn’t changed at all, in fact in my view it is even worse. Now you have the Israelis talking about bombing Iran again. Syria is falling apart and the news on the Euro, Spain and Greece is just not improving. Added to all this is the threat of a world wide food shortage and I have not listed all the bad stuff out there either!
Time to get prepared? I would think so in spades! Food, water, gold and silver make up a really great starter kit!
Since my last posting on this subject,not a whole lot has changed. Well, except the fact that this situation is getting worse, as we all knew it would, and the markets are noticing.
The stock markets have fallen in 3 of the last 4 days and most of the MSM is placing the blame on the European Financial crisis. Our corporate earnings are getting hit, with more to come many think, and the prices are diving.
It was just the other day that one of the ‘doomsday’ guys, that have good track records by the way, was saying we have fallen off the financial precipice. I don’t think he is far from wrong.
Common sense indicates that the world wide economy, including our own, has yet to see the worst. That is coming on a daily basis. Please don’t believe these talking heads when they tell you that they are ‘fixing’ the problem. I am not sure they, nor anyone else, know what the problem really is!
When you don’t know the problem, you certainly can’t fix it, even if they could and I for one don’t believe that the efforts (read money they are printing) undertaken will do any good at all.
The entire system is crumbling as I write. Since the Lehman debacle we have seen far too many financial houses succumb tot he economic pressures and of course sheer greed and fraud.
Look at PFG, the future clearing house that went broke and dang few of these people will ever see any money. Given the fragile state of affairs, why would anyone want to put their money in such a clearing house, just to take more risk to make money that, due to the risk of bankruptcy of the futures firm, they might never see again!
Folks, this financial crisis will slowly unravel the fundamentals of our economy. I suggest you get prepared…take a look at where your money is and how easy or difficult it will be to access it in the event of some financial catastrophe. Do you own any gold or silver? How easy is that to get to? I am all for the Boy Scout Motto here “Be Prepared”!
As the financial disaster in Europe continues, the German Chancellor Merkel tells Spain to think again on a bond issue backed by the European Community. Spain’s borrowing costs have sky rocketed and are close to 7%. To put that in perspective that is a historical high! For a sovereign country to pay more than a corporation is somewhat indicative of the financial disaster that most of these countries are experiencing.
The problem is that the private companies are really going to get hit hard as the ‘ripple’ of the economic woes spread outward, even to the shores of our country. As we all know we don’t need any more economic pain, enough already!
Merkel Rebuffs Rajoy Plea, Shuts Door to Euro Area Bonds
By Tony Czuczka and Patrick Donahue – Jun 27, 2012 7:14 AM MT
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shut the door to joint euro-area bonds as a means of lowering Spain’s borrowing costs, saying they are the “wrong way” to achieve the greater European integration needed to stem the debt crisis.
Speaking three hours after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made a plea for help from tomorrow’s European summit, Merkel said that euro bonds, euro bills and debt redemption funds are unconstitutional in Germany and economically “wrong and counterproductive.”
“I fear that at the summit there will be much too much talk about mutual liability and far too little about improved oversight and structural measures,” Merkel told lower-house lawmakers in Berlin today. “Oversight and liability have to go hand in hand. There can only be joint liability when adequate oversight is ensured.”
Merkel is under growing pressure from her European and global counterparts to soften her opposition to debt sharing in the euro area and do more to cut borrowing costs for Spain and Italy. Rajoy, outlining his goals for the two-day European Union summit beginning in Brussels tomorrow, said that Spain can’t go on financing itself at current borrowing rates for long.
“The most important thing today is being able to finance ourselves in the markets, that’s the main issue,” Rajoy said in Parliament in Madrid. “And on that point Spain, Italy and other countries are going to push for reasonable decisions to be made,” using the “available instruments.”
Spanish 10-year bond yields were little changed at 6.86 percent after jumping 24 basis points yesterday, nudging the 7 percent level that forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to call for sovereign bailouts. Equivalent German bonds yielded about 1.54 percent.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, speaking at a separate event in Berlin, said his country’s borrowing costs are “unnaturally” low and shouldn’t continue. “It’s more an expression of anxiety than stability” in financial markets, he told reporters.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels are due to discuss a plan for closer European integration spearheaded by EU President Herman Van Rompuy that centers on common banking supervision and deposit insurance, along with a “criteria-based and phased” move toward joint debt issuance. The blueprint also suggests that the EU could impose upper limits on annual budgets and debt levels of nations that use the euro.
While Merkel said that she welcomed the Van Rompuy proposals and agreed with his four building blocks toward integration, she rebuffed any notion Germany shoulder the cost.
“I decisively reject the presumption in this report that the principle of collectivization takes priority,” she said. Rather, individual countries must “keep to agreed rules” and raise their competitiveness through structural reforms, using the best in Europe as the standard “rather than mediocrity.”
“The sovereign debt crisis shows us daily that deficiencies in one euro-zone country can cause difficulties in the entire euro zone,” Merkel told lawmakers. “It also shows us that national answers aren’t enough to secure the euro area’s stability.”
Merkel is increasingly isolated as Rajoy, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti unite to push for quicker action to ease the crisis that emerged in Greece in late 2009. The three leaders back the creation of euro bonds and are pushing for measures to spur growth. Merkel is due in Paris later today for talks with Hollande, and will travel to Rome to meet with Monti on July 4.
“The key negotiators, including the German chancellor, do not really understand the timeframe we’re working under,” Niall Ferguson, a professor of economic history at Harvard University, said at a conference in London. “The timeframe for financial crises is days. The timeframe for structural reforms is years.”
Spain formally requested a European bailout for its banks on June 25 and discussions continue as to what conditions lenders will have to meet and whether the loan of as much as 100 billion euros ($125 billion) would take precedence over other debts in the event of default.
Rajoy said he will fight so that rescue loans “aren’t superior to the rights of other creditors of public debt.” Germany, Finland and the Netherlands want official loans to Spain to be repaid first in the event of default, undermining the interests of existing bondholders, two European officials said this week.
Rajoy also backs a so-called banking union, which he says includes joint deposit-guarantee funds and would allow Europe’s rescue funds to recapitalize banks directly without going via the government. German officials have rejected those proposals.
“It all hinges on her,” said Ferguson of Merkel. “She has to realize the cost of disintegration to Germany would be mindblowing.” Whatever happens, “Germany pays,” he said. “Do they pay through massive defaults or fiscal transfers?”
I continue to buy silver and think gold is also a great buy in here. I also continue to get prepared with more storable food and water. My son is buying guns and ammo as well.
We are now a week out from the infamous vote in Greece to decide whether they stayed in the Euro or left. What has changed? To be quite honest, nothing! Our markets continue to be very volatile, including gold and silver. The markets, especially the sovereign debt markets are getting hammered. Spain is on the brink of becoming Junk Bond status.
So what was all the fuss about with the Greece vote? In my opinion it really had all to do with the news cycle, and the MSM putting way too much emphasis on this one vote when there was never going to be any impact on the global Euro situation at all. I think most have already discounted the Greece debt and don’t really consider them a viable country. I believe that defacto they will, perhaps already have, left the euro.
As always for those of us outside of Greece, those folks are considerable screwed in so many ways, how will further issues/problems in the European community and the Euro affect us all?
In my opinion, there will be a gradual decline into chaos so to speak. The Central Banks will do only what they can and are used to doing-printing more money-and they will continue to call it adding liquidity. This influx of liquidity into the money supply will eventually lead us into an inflationary scenario.
Once this arrives, and it is anyone’s best guess as to will it hit the U.S. or Europe first, there will be a period of uncertainty. No one can really remember the last time we had inflation and this time around it will be quite different.
Some things that we use everyday, like food and gas, will skyrocket, while other ‘hard’ assets like real estate could very well remain in the doldrums-we will see on this one. The respective governments will consider and after much hemhawing inact price controls.
What happens after that one can study the history of such efforts in various countries and learn how those peoples reacted and i don’t think the people of today will behave much differently.
There are some tough times ahead, even tougher than what we are experiencing now….
Oanda, which offers ‘after market’ trading will not accept trades this Sunday due to the potential for wild volatility as Greece election results come in. The ‘Forex’ market will open as usual Monday morning.
This is huge folks. I can’t remember a single instance of this occurring and I have been in the business since 1985. There are also rumors that the Central Banks will be doing something very big soon. Perhaps as early as this weekend depending on the way things go in Greece.
I suspect that if Greece votes to exit the European Community that there will be complete and total havoc in the markets, all of them-stocks, bonds, currencies, gold you name it and there will be some volatility. Only the very strongest will survive such swings in the market.
If we do see this sort of volatility I think you will see the Central Banks in Europe and the U.S. act ‘in concert’ to try and avert a major meltdown in the markets. Greece adopted capital controls last week to limit the amount of money the citizens can withdraw. I suspect that we will see this in Spain next, that is if we get to Tuesday without some catastrophic events occurring on Monday!
Be vigilant here, this could be a major swing point…in my opinion.
When you see the world printing more and more paper money you always find more and more people fleeing to hard assets like Gold and Silver. Real estate, thanks to the rascals on Wall Street, is no longer an option as prices continue to fall amid the overhang in supply and foreclosures.
Gold and Silver are set to really get going this year as the printing presses work over time putting more ‘liquidity’ in the system…If it weren’t for the real estate crisis you would see inflation in the broader measures. Already you are seeing some price inflation in food.
P.M. Kitco Metals Roundup: Comex Gold Ends Firmer, At 2-Month High; Bulls Have Technical Power
2 February 2012, 2:04 p.m.
By Jim Wyckoff
Of Kitco News
Kitco News) – Comex April gold futures prices ended the U.S. day session higher and near the daily high as bargain hunters stepped in to buy the early dip in prices. Prices hit a fresh two-month high today and bulls continue to build upon their upside near-term technical momentum. April gold last traded up $9.10 at $1,758.60 an ounce. Spot gold was last quoted up $12.80 an ounce at $1,756.25. March Comex silver last traded up $0.348 at $34.155 an ounce.
Gold and silver both started their rallies right around the time of Thursday morning’s testimony by Fed Chairman Bernanke to the U.S. House of Representatives. While Bernanke said nothing really new or surprising, he reiterated the U.S.’s path to better economic times remains a tough one. It’s likely that gold rallied in part due to Bernanke’s general reaffirmation of last week’s FOMC statement that pledged continued low interest rates well into 2013 and hinted more quantitative easing could be forthcoming—which was bullish for the precious metals.
The U.S. dollar index was slightly higher Thursday on a short-covering bounce following recent selling pressure. The dollar index bears still have some downside near-term technical momentum. Crude oil prices traded sharply lower Thursday and hit a fresh six-week low of $95.44 a barrel. Crude oil bulls are fading and that did somewhat limit the upside for gold and silver Thursday. Crude oil and the U.S. dollar index will remain the two key “outside markets” that will have a daily influence on gold and silver price moves.
There were a few fresh developments coming out of the European Union debt crisis Thursday. A Spanish bond auction saw mixed results but with lower yields fetched.
A debt- restructuring deal between the Greek government and the private sector has still not been reached, but an agreement is closer, reports said. The EU debt crisis appears to have stabilized for the moment. But if recent history plays out again, the EU debt crisis will be back on the front burner of the market place.
The London P.M. gold fixing was $1,751.00 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,740.00.
Technically, April gold futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday and hit a fresh two-month high. Gold managed gains despite bearish “outside markets” that saw a firmer U.S. dollar index and sharply lower crude oil prices. Yet, gold rallied anyway on its technical strength. Gold bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage and still have upside near-term technical momentum on their side. A steep five-week-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside technical breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at the December high of $1,769.70. Bears’ next near-term downside price objective is closing prices below chart trend-line and psychological support at $1,700.00. First resistance is seen at Thursday’s high of $1,763.80 and then at $1,769.70. First support is seen at $1,750.00 and then at Thursday’s low of $1,743.30. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 8.0.
March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday and hit a fresh 2.5-month high. Silver also scored gains despite bearish “outside markets” that saw a firmer U.S. dollar index and sharply lower crude oil prices—showing its near-term technical strength. Silver bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A five-week-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the October high of $35.68 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at this week’s low of $32.93. First resistance is seen at Thursday’s high of $34.35 and then at $35.00. Next support is seen at $34.00 and then at Thursday’s low of $33.455. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 7.0.
March N.Y. copper closed down 535 points 378.85 cents Thursday. Prices closed nearer the session low. The key “outside markets” were in a bearish posture for copper Thursday, as the U.S. dollar index was firmer and crude oil prices were sharply lower. Copper bulls still have the near-term technical advantage. Prices are in a six-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls’ next upside breakout objective is pushing and closing prices above major psychological resistance at 400.00 cents. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at 367.50 cents. First resistance is seen at 380.00 cents and then at 385.00 cents. First support is seen at this week’s low of 376.30 cents and then at 375.00 cents. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.0.
Follow me on Twitter! If you want daily, or nightly, up-to-the-second market analysis on gold and silver price action, then follow me on Twitter. It’s free, too. My account is @jimwyckoff .
By Jim Wyckoff contributing to Kitco News; firstname.lastname@example.org
I am always on the look out for dips in prices to buy more Gold and Silver…Silver especially!
This article just in from Jim Sinclair a highly respected metals industry insider, trader and investor. The system broke with the bankruptcy of Lehman and now we are seeing the worst possible scenario with MF Global’s demise. I suggest everyone read this article and prepare themselves!
My Dear Extended Family:
We all know bank’s balance sheets are cartoons due to FASB’s capitulation on the fair market value issue, that the euro financial leaders do not deserve the title leader, and that the Fed is the source of liquidity for Euroland in unlimited cheap dollar swaps, but there is more.
That more is the first failure of a major clearing house.
Clearing is the mechanism of all markets.
It is the guts of the system.
It is the engine under the hood of finance.
It is the pulleys that turn inside the watch.
It is basic to finance for without clearing trades cannot close.
Without faith in the clearing house system where is faith that what your account statement says means anything whatsoever?
Unless MF clients are made whole in every way, the system is broken. It is as if the heads blew off the engine of finance. Where can you keep your money and investments if a clearinghouse is allowed for whatever reason to go broke, therein leaving the clients to suffer?
Are you safe even in a custodial account if the clearing mechanism can erase assets across the board as a product of insolvency for any reason?
The system is in a critical seizure.
It may take some time, but even the financial sheeple are going to worry about their own funds. God help you if you hit gold right on a paper exchange with the wrong clearing facility.
You are wholly dependent on the ability of the clearing house to pay into your account the winnings by deducting those funds from the loser. You are wholly dependent on the ability of the clearing house to guarantee the safety and security (are T Bills securities?) beyond SIPC levels. SIPC is underfunded but would be made whole by funny paper.
God help all the exchange traded funds that are nothing more than houses of derivative paper requiring a sound clearing system to have even an excuse for existing.
If the clearing system fails then you have nothing whatsoever. God help you if you are a farmer hedging your crop or livestock if you the farmer have nothing whatsoever due to a broken clearing house. You are insolvent regardless of the fact that your hedge may have been perfect for the needs of your operation.
Unless MF clients are made whole in every way the system is broken.
People did not realize then and some even now that the failure of Lehman broke the technical procedures (mechanism) for the functioning of the OTC derivative and for that reason broke the Western world’s financial system for which we are paying dearly today.
MF is a Lehman Brothers, but worse. OTC derivatives have always been a fraud but could have, before Lehman failed, been globally netted to practically zero.
The lack of faith in the clearing house system breaks the mechanism of the marketplace, even for legitimate transactions. This leaves gold in your possession as the asset of last resort. This is quietly driving the gold price towards Alf’s objective of $4500.
For your sake immediately take delivery of your gold and silver.
For your sake immediately take paper delivery of your gold and silver shares from those very few companies still willing to facilitate that kind of transaction.
For your sake immediately make your general securities positions “direct registration” as a second best method of protection the asset against failure of your clearing facility.
You all have clearing facility dependence even if you do not know it. Unless MF clients are made whole in every way, the system is broken.
This is no time to take any unnecessary risk.
This is no time to be lazy.
If you do not know how to do direct registration, get paper securities or take delivery of paper gold and silver, ask me.
This is really quite serious and I suggest you act accordingly.
I wish I had better news this Monday morning, but the housing crisis as we all know has not abated and is in fact picking up some steam. Since 2008 home prices are down about 30% from their peak and the foreclosures are going to really increase this year, up to 20% more this year than last as over 28% of homeowners are upside down now.
With that many foreclosures home prices are going to get really hammered as the distressed homes come into the market. Some homeowners are strategically deciding not to pay their mortgage even though they can while others just can’t. Some economists say that this ‘additional’ income that families are getting by not paying is really helping out our economy since it is about 70% consumer spending-in itself an unsettling statistic don’t you think?
Meanwhile Goldman Sachs is trying to talk the commodity markets down saying that the recent rout in commodity prices is taking all the steam out of the speculators engines. To me that is not a bad sign, however I would heartily disagree with their analysis. Commodity prices will continue to increase as the dollar becomes weaker. Gold and Silver are great hedges, especially silver considering the fall it experienced just last week. I am a buyer now.
Will the recent floods of crop land, tornadoes, fires and droughts affect our ability to buy food in the grocery store? I think we will continue to see some shortages and will see some items at very high prices in the days and weeks to come.
As always please stay focused on the events around you, read between the lines of the news and make some preparations if you feel so moved.
Folks, no matter how this fight turns out we are in for escalating oil and gas prices and fast! If Qaddafi wins we all lose, the people on the ground in Libya and everyone else as he will hold his oil hostage-for a price, and not always in dollars. If he loses there does not appear to be any cohesive plan for a unified governing body, which again translates into supply issues-how to pay how to collect etc., and higher prices.
Again, the oil dominant way of life we have all become accustomed is fast becoming history.
Tune in tonight on www.survive2thrive.net for some practical ways that we can go about rebuilding our communities, beginning with techniques for constructive conversations…without judgment.
Qaddafi Forces Battle Rebels for Control of Libya’s Oil
By Ola Galal, Mariam Fam and Alaa Shahine – Mar 2, 2011 12:45 PM MT
Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi counterattacked rebels in the coastal region where much of the country’s crude is refined or shipped abroad, while Qaddafi asserted that he still controlled the oil fields.
Rebels regained control of an oil facility in Brega, on the Gulf of Sidra today, driving away government forces, according to a local oil official. Qaddafi’s warplanes bombarded the area around Ajdabiya, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Brega, where rebels took over a military camp, a witness said.
Qaddafi, speaking on state television, said his government retains control of oil fields though output has fallen to “the lowest level” after workers fled. He said Chinese and Indian oil companies can fill the gap if Western producers leave. In a speech lasting almost three hours, Qaddafi warned of piracy in the Mediterranean and sabotage of gas pipelines if Libya becomes unstable.
Western powers are debating how to stop the violence as two U.S. Navy warships head toward Libya for possible humanitarian operations. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke with a rebel commander, General Abdul Fattah Younis, today about the military situation and possible imposition of a no-fly zone, according to a press release from Hague’s office.
Crude Tops $100
Crude oil for April delivery climbed $2.08, or 2.1 percent, to $101.71 a barrel at 12:06 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yesterday, the contract surged 2.7 percent to $99.63, the highest settlement since September 2008. Prices are up 28 percent from a year ago. As much as 1 million barrels a day of Libyan output has been shut, the International Energy Agency said today. Total SA said output at its Mabruk onshore field in Libya is likely to halt, though output at the offshore al-Jurf field continues.
Saudi Arabia’s main stock index fell 3.9 percent, taking its loss this week to 15 percent, and the Bloomberg GCC200 regional benchmark fell 3.3 percent. Dubai’s index dropped to the lowest in almost seven years.
Fighting over Brega began in the early hours of today. Rebel forces regained control of the town’s oil facility, Ahmed Jerksi, a manager at the chairman’s office of Sirte Oil Co., said by phone from Benghazi. Al Jazeera earlier reported fighting over the town with both sides claiming control. At least five people were killed, and opposition forces were running short of ammunition, the Benghazi-based Yosberides newspaper said. The Washington Post reported at least 14 were killed in and around Brega.
The refinery at Brega has an effective capacity of about 8,400 barrels per day, and the town also has a gas liquefaction plant with an effective capacity of 2.5 million cubic meters a day and an export terminal for crude oil and refined products, according to the Arab Oil and Gas Directory for 2006.
Northeast of Brega, fighter jets bombed an area near Ajdabiya, said Irham Ali, an electrical engineer at a project based 27 kilometers from the town. Ali said he heard the sound of bombing at dawn and again at 11 a.m., coming from the area where rebels have taken control of a military camp.
“We heard the sound of aircraft flying over and then a loud sound of an explosion,” he said by phone today. “We went outside to see what’s going on but there was dust and wind, so we couldn’t really see anything.”
Al Arabiya television reported that 16 people were killed in Ajdabiya.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said yesterday that discussions about a no-fly zone over Libya, to prevent Qaddafi forces from carrying out air strikes against the rebels, are continuing with North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. He said there is “no unanimity” within NATO about the use of force.
Imposing a no-fly zone would require an attack on Libya “to destroy the air defenses,” Gates told a House appropriations subcommittee today. “That’s the way we would do a no-fly zone.” The effort would require more aircraft than are stationed on a single aircraft carrier, he said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said military action against Libya is “not appropriate” at this time, as he repeated his call for Qaddafi to step down.
The Arab League said that it could impose a no- fly zone over Libya in cooperation with the African Union if fighting continues in the country, according to a statement issued in Cairo by the group.
Opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, are discussing a possible request for UN-backed air attacks on Qaddafi’s military installations, the New York Times said citing four people with knowledge of the debate.
Qaddafi said “thousands would die” in a NATO or U.S. attack on Libya. He said loyalists have surrounded opposition forces, though they aren’t firing on them, and said rebel leaders may be allowed to escape to Egypt or Tunisia while their young supporters who were “misled” will be pardoned.
Nouri el-Mismari, Qaddafi’s former protocol chief who left the country in November, argued against foreign military intervention, and predicted a drawn-out conflict.
“Bombings would kill lots of innocent people, and foreign troops wouldn’t be accepted,” he said at a press conference in Paris today. Qaddafi will fight to the end because his supporters “still think they will win” and also “have committed lots of crimes that won’t be forgiven,” he said.
The city council running Benghazi has called for mass protests later today to “show that the people have regained their rightful position,” said Fathi Baja, a council member, in a phone interview. A military council of ranking officers who sided with the protesters has been formed in the city to protect Benghazi and other eastern cities from a Qaddafi counterattack, he said by phone today.
In the west of the country, rebels in Zawiyah, 28 miles west of Tripoli, held the city yesterday after an attack by pro- Qaddafi forces who also targeted Misrata, 115 miles east of the capital. Loyalists reclaimed control of Libya’s western border with Tunisia on Feb. 28.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague said today it concluded a preliminary investigation into possible crimes in Libya during the uprising, and will announce the names of suspects tomorrow.
More than 150,000 people have fled Libya to neighboring Egypt and Tunisia since Feb. 19, the UN refugee agency said yesterday. China has evacuated more than 35,000 nationals, Xinhua news agency said. Thousands of foreign workers are stranded in Benghazi and on the Tunisian border, New York-based Human Rights Watch said today, adding that “evacuation efforts have not adequately included the plight of African workers.”
World Food Program Director Josette Sheeran said she saw tens of thousands of Libyans fleeing the country and massing on the border with Tunisia, according to a statement emailed by the agency today that called for “increased humanitarian action to prevent a disaster inside Libya.” The WFP is launching a $38.7 million emergency operation to provide food assistance to 2.7 million people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, she said.
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and amphibious transport ship USS Ponce are expected to transit the Suez Canal today and arrive in position for humanitarian operations within two days.
Roughead said the ships, which will have Marines aboard, are carrying food, water and other supplies for humanitarian relief. He also said the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in Norfolk, Virginia, is preparing for a scheduled deployment to the Middle East region. “They could go today if they had to,” he said.
The Navy currently has two aircraft carriers in the region, including the USS Enterprise and the USS Carl Vinson.
The Libyan revolt follows the ousting of longtime rulers by protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt in the past two months. Anti-government demonstrations have also erupted in Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Iran and Iraq.
Governments throughout the region, including the royal family in Saudi Arabia, holder of the world’s biggest oil reserves, have announced increased spending on social programs, such as food and energy subsidies and job creation plans, to assuage the unrest. The protesters are demanding moves toward democracy as well as higher living standards.
Watch as oil, gold and silver prices soar along with most other commodities and inflation takes off. I hope that everyone is prepared for what is certain to come now.
As reported here last week, Bahrain protesting was to get underway….I expect to see Kuwait demonstrations next. Our contacts in the Mid East are saying things will change pretty dramatically over the next 6 to 9 months in just about every country. No one wants to be left out.
Expect large fluctuations in currencies, big moves in Gold and Silver and some downside to our stock market. Of course, oil prices will get ridiculous. Also, get ready for some really big price increases in coffee…the spot commodity market is up to heights never before seen and going up to new highs daily…I have never witnessed such before.
Bahrain protesters take control of main square
By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Brian Murphy, Associated Press – 1 hr 28 mins ago
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates –
Bahrain protesters take control of main square
Security forces have battled demonstrators calling for political reforms and greater freedoms over two days, leading to the deaths of two protesters and the main opposition group vowing to freeze its work in parliament in protest.
In a clear sign of concern over the widening crisis, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa made a rare national TV address, offering condolences for the deaths, pledging an investigation into the killings and promising to push ahead with reforms, which include loosening state controls on the media and Internet.
“We extend our condolences to the parents of the dear sons who died yesterday and today. We pray that they are inspired by the Almighty’s patience, solace and tranquility,” said the king, who had previously called for an emergency Arab summit to discuss the growing unrest.
As the crowds surged into the Pearl Square in the capital of Manama, security forces appeared to hold back. But key highways were blocked in an apparent attempt to choke off access to the vast traffic circle — which protesters quickly renamed “Nation’s Square” and erected banners such as “Peaceful” that were prominent in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests there.
The dramatic move Tuesday came just hours after a second protester died in clashes with police in the strategic island kingdom, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
Oppositions groups aren’t calling for the ruling Sunni monarchy to be ousted, but they do want an end to its grip on key decisions and government posts.
Other demands — listed on a poster erected in the square — included the release of all political prisoners, more jobs and housing, an elected Cabinet and the replacement of longtime prime minister, Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
Click image to see photos of protests in Bahrain
The nation’s majority Shiites — about 70 percent of the population of some 500,000_ have long complained of discrimination and being blackballed from important state jobs.
Many in the square waved Bahraini flags and chanted: “No Sunnis, no Shiites. We are all Bahrainis.” It also appeared they were planning for the long haul. Some groups carried in tents and sought generators to set up under a nearly 300-foot (90-meter) monument cradling a giant white pearl-shaped ball that symbolizes the country’s heritage as a pearl diving center.
Bahrain is one of the most politically volatile nations in the Middle East’s wealthiest corner despite having one of the few elected parliaments and some of the most robust civil society groups. A crackdown on perceived dissent last year touched off weeks of riots and clashes in Shiite villages, and an ongoing trial in Bahrain accuses 25 Shiites of plotting against the country’s leadership.
A prolonged showdown could draw in the region’s two biggest rivals: Saudi Arabia, as close allies of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, and Iran, whose hard-liners have spoken in support of the nation’s Shiite majority.
Bahrain is also an economic weakling compared with the staggering energy riches of Gulf neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which can afford far more generous social benefits. Bahrain’s oil reserves are small and its role as the region’s international financial hub have been greatly eclipsed by Dubai.
One protester, 24-year-old Hussein Asamahiji, echoed the complaints from Tunisia and Egypt: a lack of jobs and allegations that the ruling elite monopolizes the best opportunities.
“We simply want the chance at a better future,” he said. “Egypt showed it’s possible.”
The bloodshed already has brought sharp denunciations from the largest Shiite political bloc, which suspended its participation in parliament, and could threaten the nation’s gradual pro-democracy reforms that have given Shiites a greater political voice.
The second day of turmoil began after police tried to disperse up to 10,000 mourners gathering at a hospital parking lot to begin a funeral procession for Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, 21, who died in Monday’s marches.
Officials at Bahrain’s Salmaniya Medical Complex said a 31-year-old man became the second fatality when he died of injuries from birdshot fired during the melee in the hospital’s parking lot. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to journalists.
After the clash, riot police eventually withdrew and allowed the massive funeral cortege for Mushaima to proceed from the main state-run medical facility in Manama. He was killed Monday during clashes with security forces trying to halt marches to demand greater freedoms and political rights. At least 25 people were injured in the barrage of rubber bullets, birdshot and tear gas, relatives said.
The main Shiite opposition group, Al Wefaq, denounced the “bullying tactics and barbaric policies pursued by the security forces” and said it was suspending its participation in parliament, where it holds 18 of the 40 seats.
The declaration falls short of pulling out the group’s lawmakers, which would spark a full-scale political crisis. But Al Wefaq warned that it could take more steps if violence persists against marchers staging the first major rallies in the Gulf since uprisings toppled long-ruling regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
A statement from Bahrain’s interior minister, Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, expressed “sincere condolences and deep sympathy” to Mushaima’s family. He expanded on the king’s pledge: stressing that the deaths will be investigated and charges would be filed if authorities determined excessive force was used against the protesters.
But that’s unlikely to appease the protesters, whose “day of rage” Monday coincided with major anti-government demonstrations in Iran and Yemen.
In the past week, Bahrain’s rulers have attempted to defuse calls for reform by promising nearly $2,700 for each family and pledging to loosen state controls on the media.
State media reported that the king telephoned the head of Egypt’s ruling military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, on Tuesday. No further details were given, but Bahrain had earlier appealed for an emergency summit of Arab leaders to discuss the widening protests.
Bahrain’s ruling Sunni dynasty also has extremely close ties with the leadership in Saudi Arabia, which is connected to Bahrain by a causeway. Bahrain has given citizenship to Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and across the region to bolster its ranks against the country’s Shiite majority.
Bahrain’s Sunni leaders point to parliamentary elections as a symbol of political openness. But many Sunnis in Bahrain also are highly suspicious of Shiite activists, claiming they seek to undermine the state and have cultural bonds with Shiite heavyweight Iran.
Things are heating up, I can only hope that you are prepared mentally, physically and spiritually for the changes I think we will be seeing.