World economic crash
"As anticipated, the global financial system is now in free-fall. The bankruptcy of Lehman, the government take-over of Fannie/Freddie (essentially, a gov't takeover of the entire US mortgage market), the fire sale of Merrill Lynch (moments before it too went into free-fall), the expansion of Federal Reserve emergency lending into securities (which codifies its position as the only source of capital for big financial firms), the looming failure of AIG (the world's biggest insurance company), the impending failure of Washington Mutual (which will deplete the entire FDIC fund in one whack) all point to tougher times ahead.
The easily foreseen failure in the US/UK mortgage markets due to rampant corruption has now developed into a financial black swan that due to entanglements (connectivity), opacity, size, speed, and complexity is beyond the capacity of the US (and its allies) to control. It will get worse as the run on the massive (30 times larger than the US economy) shadow banking system begins in earnest.
To many, this developing situation will be uncharted territory. However, for those of us that have already embraced the trend lines, the roadmap for the next decade is increasingly clear.... (((And, no, you don't even wanna look. But you kinda have to.)))
RFE/RL: Writing in "The Moscow Times," you said on August 8 that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin "made his greatest strategic blunder" and single-handedly "wiped out a half a trillion dollars of stock market value, stalled all domestic reforms, and isolated Russia from the outside world." Explain that stock-market loss part.
Anders Aslund: Well, what happens when you start an aggressive foreign policy is that you also start an aggressive foreign trade policy. And you block domestic economic reforms. And you sharply increase the political risk in your country. And UBS [United Bank of Switzerland] has assessed that this increase in the political risk means that stock prices should be 20 percent lower -- that's $300 billion right off there, off the stock market. The bond yields that are demanded now for loans to Russia are 2-3 percent higher than a month ago.
RFE/RL: You also write that, despite what happened in Georgia, the Russian economy has been headed for a slowdown for some time. Why?
Aslund: Well, it's at the end of a business cycle, the oil price has fallen by one-third, and the Russia economy suffers from massive overheating. So that's the time when you really need reform, and then Putin is turning his back on it.
RFE/RL: Russia has made it an official goal to reach half the U.S. per capita GDP by 2020. You don't think this is going to happen. Why not?
Aslund: I would say that I think that the most important [factor] is the combination of massive corruption and [the] inability to build infrastructure when the need is at its greatest. Russia today can't build motorways; they can't build pipelines. And they need some of them very badly. The traffic chaos in Moscow is just characteristic of the main problem in Russia today...
A wave of bittersweet melancholy has descended on the thousands of phishers, hackers and credit card swindlers inhabiting the computer crime supersite DarkMarket.ws. On Tuesday the site's operator, known as Master Splyntr, announced that he was shuttering the forum, which has hummed along for nearly three years as a premier vehicle of criminal commerce.
"[R]ecent events have proven that even in our best efforts to expel and deactivate the accounts of suspected LE [law enforcement], reporters, and security agents, it is obvious that we haven't been entirely successful," Splyntr wrote in a message on the site.
Chief among those recent events is last week's arrest of Cha0, a Turkish hacker -- and alleged kidnapper -- who served as one of DarkMarket's administrators. Cha0 was known for selling high-quality ATM-skimming hardware that crooks could affix to cash machines to grab debit card swipes and PINs. Turkish police arrested Cha0 on Friday, identifying him as one Cagatay Evyapan.
Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- China's benchmark stock index rallied the most since the gauge was created in April 2005 after the government said will buy shares in three of the largest state-owned banks and scrapped the tax on equity purchases to halt a slide that erased $2.64 trillion of market value.