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Travel Photo: Leaning Tower of Garisenda, Bologna, Italy

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Travel Photo: Leaning Tower of Garisenda, Bologna, Italy

Leaning tower of Garisenda, Bologna

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Travel Photo: Sassi di Matera II, Italy

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Travel Photo: Sassi di Matera II, Italy

Recinto Fiorentini, Sassi di Matera

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Stuxnet Virus explained

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stuxnet Virus explained

Motion designer Patrick Clair tells the story of Stuxnet, “a Microsoft Windows computer worm discovered in July 2010 that targets industrial software and equipment.”
This great video explain what is considered the first digital weapon of mass destruction.
Stuxnet can stay dormant and undetectable until needed and can increase pressure in nuclear reactors and turn off oil pipelines, all the while showing monitors everything is fine.
More incredible though it is open source and in parts downloadable on line.

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Italy’s Monday Madness

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Italy’s Monday Madness

Italy has officially entered the hit parade of the Eurozone victims and it has rightfully taken the pole position shadowing immediately any other country.
Greece and Portugal are no longer a problem if next week the market will keep shooting on the Italian treasury bonds and if a clear sign from both Rome and Frankfurt will not be passed to the bond vigilantes.
Few days more like Friday and we are facing potentially a Lehman collapse multiplied 10+ times.
That this situation is getting out of control is demonstrated by today’s pre-emptive declarations in view of tomorrow’s Black Monday on the european markets.
The first pre-emptive strike came today from the EU summoning an emergency meeting tomorrow on the Italian situation, after scaring everyone with this sudden move they tried to diminish the event saying it was about Greece and Portugal and they will talk marginally and briefly about Italy, after noticing that it was too a pathetic attempt to cover up the real subject of the meeting they went on confirming that it was not about Italy but was going to discuss about the Italian crisis (reading: we are scared and we do not know what to do).

In the meanwhile the usual unnamed European Central Bank source was quoted telling Die Welt newspaper on Sunday that “The existing rescue fund in Europe is not sufficient to provide a credible defensive wall for Italy,” the central bank source was quoted telling the newspaper in an advance text of an article to appear on Monday.
“It was never designed for that,” the source added.
The newspaper said that the rescue fund might have to be doubled to up to 1.5 trillion euros. But it was not clear if it was the central bank source calling for the increase. Regardless this is sending a message to international investors that the ECB would be unable to shield Italy if push come to shovel. Either this is an insanely naive declaration or the message is forget a bailout of Italy if the situation get dire next week. Furthermore even if it was doubled Spain is facing a bigger spike than Italy on yields and once this escalate it would be impossible to bailout 2 of the biggest economies in Europe which would be followed almost immediately by France.
Right to the point as usual and back to writing right in time for the epilogue Ambrose Evans Pritchard in his article on The Telegraph is clearly outlining the sorrow state of Spain and Italy.

A brief excerpt below:

If the ECB’s Jean-Claude Trichet is right in claiming that Europe was on the brink of a 1930s financial cataclysm a year ago – and I think he is – it is hard see how the threat is any less serious right now.
Yields on Italian 10-year bonds hit a post-EMU high of 5.3pc on Friday. This is not just a theoretical price: the Italian treasury has to roll over €69bn (£61bn) in August and September; it must tap the markets for €500bn before the end of 2013. The interest burden on Italy’s €1.84 trillion stock of public debt is about to rise very fast.  
Spanish yields punched even higher, through the danger line of 5.7pc. The bond markets of both countries are replicating the pattern seen in Greece, Portugal, and Ireland before each spiraled into insolvency. And the virus is moving up the European map. French banks alone have $472bn (£394bn) of exposure to Italy and $175bn to Spain, according to the Bank for International Settlements. 
Italy’s premier Silvio Berlusconi has chosen this moment of acute danger to undermine his own finance minister, Giulio Tremonti, the one figure in his cabinet respected by global bond vigilantes. “He’s not a team player, and thinks he’s genius and that everybody else is a cretin,” said Mr Berlusconi.
Meanwhile, Mr Tremonti is living free in the Rome house of a political ally just arrested on corruption charges. Resignation rumours circulate hourly. You can hear the knifes sharpening.
“The government ceased to exist months ago,” wrote Massimo Giannini in La Repubblica.
“What other country would allow itself the suicidal luxury of offering cynical markets such a spectacle of political disintegration and institutional decay at a time when Europe is destabilized by Greece’s sovereign debt and haunted by contagion? We have a band of poltroons dancing under the volcano, and the volcano is about to erupt.” 
The PMI data for Italy and Spain have dropped below the recession line. The Goldman Sachs global PMI indicator shows that 80pc of the world is tipping into a slowdown, including India and China. Taiwan’s bell-weather exports to China sank 12pc in June from the month before. 

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Failed States Index 2011

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Failed States Index 2011

The annual Failed States Report has been issued, full scores are listed below.

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Just in: New Earthquake strike Japan, Tsunami alert launched

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just in: New Earthquake strike Japan, Tsunami alert launched

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of northern Japan Sunday, prompting tsunami advisories for several coastal regions, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck at 10:57 a.m., about 143 miles east of Sendai, Japan.
Tsunami advisories were issued for the coastal regions of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the JMA said.

The areas were among the hardest hit by this year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

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Italy crisis gaining momentum

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Italy crisis gaining momentum

Italy crisis gaining momentum while the spotlights are moving from the Greek crisis to the Euro core.
Bloomberg issued an interesting chart below showing what would be the impact of a country default on the CDS.
What the market is most confused by is that Spain, which everyone thought would be the next to fall after Portugal has been skipped (sort of) by the bond vigilantes who decided to go straight to the gateway to Europe’s core. Italy.
Italy is on the grill and the pain is only just beginning: as the chart below shows, there are dozens of Treasury issuances about to be unleashed by the Italian Treasury.
The biggest surge though in recent months in net notional has not been Italy, nor Spain, nor any of the other PIIGS, but.. France, the domino effect has started already and it could be already too late to contain the infection.

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15 Global Stress Points

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Friday, July 8, 2011

15 Global Stress Points

According to Oxford Analytica, there are 15 “Global Stress Points” ranging from medium to extreme high impact to the entire world. These are listed below ranked by their potential impact.

  1. Dollar Collapse
  2. Taiwan / China Armed Hostility
  3. Israel / Iran Armed Conflict
  4. Mexico State Hollowing
  5. Global Protectionism
  6. Latin America Hydrocarbon Disruption
  7. Iraq State Institutions Collapse
  8. Russia Military Aggression
  9. End of Euro
  10. India / Pakistan War
  11. Pakistan State Collapse
  12. Argentina Sovereign Default 2.0
  13. North Korea Military Conflict
  14. War in North Africa
  15. Lebanon Civil War
  • Dollar Collapse

  • Taiwan / China Armed Hostility

  • Israel / Iran Armed Conflict

  • Mexico State Hollowing

  • Global Protectionism

  • Latin America Hydrocarbon Disruption

  • Iraq State Institutions Collapse

  • Russia Military Aggression

  • End of Euro

  • India / Pakistan War

  • Pakistan State Collapse

  • Argentina Sovereign Default 2.0

  • North Korea Military Conflict

  • War in North Africa

  • Lebanon Civil War
  • (Click to enlarge) Chart Source: Oxford Analytica
    It can give us Europeans some comfort that the euro’s demise is surprisingly not as big a deal as the Dollar Collapse or a China/Taiwan war.

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    Iceland’s most feared volcano: Hekla ready to erupt

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    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Iceland’s most feared volcano: Hekla ready to erupt

    Last year’s Eyjafjoell and the recent Grimsvotn eruptions will have been a walk in the pyroclastic park if, as AFP reports, the most feared of all Iceland volcanoes, Hekla, is indeed about to blow.
    “Experts say one of Iceland’s most feared volcanoes looks ready to erupt, with measurements indicating magma movement, raising fears of a new ash cloud halting flights over Europe.

    The Iceland Civil Protection Authority says it is closely monitoring the situation.
    “The movements around Hekla have been unusual in the last two to three days,” University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson said.” Hekla’s eruption would certainly have far more dire consequences on European airspace than Grimsvotn: “The volcano, dubbed by Icelanders in the Middle Ages as the “Gateway to Hell,” is one of Iceland’s most active, having erupted some 20 times over the past millennium, most recently on February 26, 2000. Over the past 50 years, Hekla has gone off about once a decade.”

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    Travel Photo: Dubai Wind Towers

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    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Travel Photo: Dubai Wind Towers

    Wind Tower
    Dubai Wind Towers are the traditional Persian air conditioning system, inside there is a spiral conduit bringing to the courtyard or room below. Sea breeze entering the tower was spiralled down and thus cooled when entering living quarters.

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