Sunday, February 8, 2015

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - RadioShack Files For Bankruptcy; 1,784 Stores Will Close By March 31st!

Wikimedia Commons

February 8, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- On February 5, RadioShack filed for bankruptcy.

As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, the company is going to close a number of its stores, while others will survive as part of an agreement with Sprint to create a "store within a store."

In court documents posted by RadioShack, the company and its creditors detailed plans for which RadioShack stores will close and when.

In all, the company plans to close at least 1,784 stores by March 31, with the closures coming in three waves, or tranches.

The first tranche of closures includes 162 stores and is set to be complete by February 17.

The second tranche includes 986 stores set to be closed by February 28.

And the third tranche includes 636 stores slated to be closed by March 31.

There's some language in a court document here that says with notice by February 18, certain of the second tranche stores can have their closing date extended to the March 31 deadline.

But either way: 1,784 RadioShack's will be gone in less than two months. - Business Insider.

RadioShack Begins Wave of Liquidation Sales

This weekend will see the start of a final round of sales at 1,700 RadioShack stores, the first wave slated for liquidation as the consumer-electronics retailer tries to cut down its chain in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Judge Brendan Shannon authorized the beginning of store closure sales Friday, less than 24 hours after the Fort Worth, Texas, company sought bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

RadioShack argued it couldn’t afford to lose a weekend of liquidation sales, especially with consumers geared up to find bargains and creditors anxious for cash.

With a fight over its bankruptcy financing brewing, RadioShack brokered a deal that will allow it to spend its cash over the weekend, as it launches a double-barreled restructuring strategy. While 2,100 stores have been marked for liquidation, RadioShack is attempting to sell off the remaining retail outlets, saving part of the business.

Judge Shannon granted interim authority for cash use, closing sales and other emergency measures at RadioShack’s bankruptcy court debut, but warned no final court orders will be signed until unsecured creditors have had their say over the company’s strategy. Bondholders owed $330 million, trade creditors owed $124 million, and landlords owed $30 million, for openers, will form ranks over the coming week to weigh in formally on RadioShack’s future.

RadioShack’s bankruptcy filing Thursday followed years of sliding sales and uncertainty about the fate of the aging chain, which pioneered selling technology to consumers but was overtaken by new industry players.

One of those players, wireless provider Sprint Corp. , could be the key to a salvage operation for some 1,750 RadioShack stores. An alliance agreement with Sprint, which is being put into final form, will be available to any buyer of RadioShack outlets that the wireless provider finds acceptable.

Source: RadioShack Corp. Note: Five locations in Puerto Rico could not be mapped.

RadioShack is expected to return to bankruptcy court for a debate over whether it needs to sign up for $285 million worth of Chapter 11 financing, under an arrangement that lender Cerberus Capital Management says is pricey and unnecessary.

Sprint has agreed to operate stores-within-stores for hedge fund Standard General, which is the proposed opening bidder at auction where RadioShack will invite competing offers. The deal isn’t exclusive, though, and Sprint can extend the alliance opportunity to any bidder.

“More than 10” potential bidders have signed up to review the data in confidence and will weigh whether to make a bid for RadioShack outlets, a company lawyer told the judge at Friday’s court hearing.

While falling sales and supplier worries restricted RadioShack’s liquidity, the company has enough money to implement its bankruptcy strategy, Cerberus said. When it filed for bankruptcy, RadioShack had $44 million in cash. Thanks to store closing sales, that figure is expected to rise so that by the end of February, RadioShack will have more than $118 million in cash in its coffers, according to Cerberus.

The proposed bankruptcy financing carries more than $6 million in fees, and gives RadioShack only about $13 million worth of new borrowing power, Cerberus said in court papers. Most of the loan is a refinancing of existing top-ranking debt, to lenders that include Standard General, the proposed buyer.

Cerberus is owed $100 million by RadioShack. Another lender, Salus Capital Partners LLC, is owed $150 million. Salus has agreed to go along with the bankruptcy financing, but Cerberus says the loan provides “no meaningful benefit” to RadioShack.

RadioShack is expected to defend its financing arrangements when the loan comes up for review. - WSJ.

PARADIGM SHIFT: Precursors To The End Of The Petrodollar And The Collapse Of The United States Corporation - President Putin Says Russia And Egypt Will Drop U.S. Dollar And Use National Currencies In Bilateral Trade!

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Reuters / STR)

February 8, 2015 - RUSSIA
- Russia and Egypt might soon exclude the US dollar and use their national currencies in the settlement of accounts in bilateral trade, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview to Egyptian media ahead of his Monday visit to the country.

The issue of abandoning the dollar in trade is “being actively discussed,” Putin told Al-Ahram daily newspaper ahead of his two-day trip to Egypt. The Russian president was invited for a bilateral meeting by his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

“This measure will open up new prospects for trade and investment cooperation between our countries, reduce its dependence on the current trends in the world markets,” Putin said.

“I should note that we already use national currencies for trade with a number of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] states, and China. This practice proves its worth; we are ready to adopt it in our relations with Egypt as well. This issue is being discussed in substance by relevant agencies of both countries.”

Egypt is a long-time and trusted partner of Russia and the relationship between the two countries has been rapidly developing, the Russian president said.

“The volume of bilateral trade has increased significantly over the past years: In 2014, it increased by almost half compared to the previous year and amounted to more than $4.5 billion,” he said urging for this trend to be strengthened.

He also praised the development of “mutually beneficial and effective” cooperation in the sector of agriculture. “Egypt is the major buyer of Russian wheat, Russia provides about 40 percent of grain consumed in the country; as for us, we import fruits and vegetables.”

Moscow imposed a full ban of EU, US, Australian, Canadian, and Norwegian food exports to Russia on August 7 for one year. Amid Russian sanctions, Egypt said in August that it was ready to boost agricultural deliveries to Russia by 30 percent.

During 2013, Egypt’s deliveries of agricultural products to Russia amounted $440 million, while during the first half of 2014, Cairo supplied $460 million, said the head of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Fedorov in August 2014.

Moscow and Cairo are also engaged in energy, automobile manufacturing and transport cooperation, developing the intergovernmental trade, economic and scientific-technical cooperation commission as well.

During Sisi’s last visit to Russia in August 2014, the two leaders agreed to look at a possibility of creating a free trade zone between Egypt and the countries of the Customs Union. Meeting in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the presidents also agreed upon the creation of a Russian industrial zone in Egypt, which will be part of a new Suez Canal project.

Egypt launched a Suez Canal development project worth $4 billion in August 2014. The project envisages the digging of a new canal parallel to the original built 145 years ago with the aim of speeding up traffic along the existing waterway and boosting the country’s economy. - RT.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Small Plane Crash Near Tipton Airfield, Maryland - Two Men Injured!

Rescue crews work to free the person trapped after a small plane crash(Photo: Anne Arundel County Fire & Rescue)

February 8, 2015 - MARYLAND, UNITED STATES - Two people were injured in a plane crash near Tipton Airfield on Bald Eagle Drive Sunday, Anne Arundel fire officials said.

Both victims are conscious and alert, officials said. One victim was transported with non-life threatening injuries and the other was extricated from the aircraft and was also transported to the hospital, officials said. They are both at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The victims have been identified as 57-year-old, Jeffry P. Barnett, of Glen Burnie and Thomas L. Cline, 82, of Silver Spring. Barnett was piloting the plane, officials said. Cline's friends said he is a retired NASA engineer.

Friends say 80 year-old Tom Cline is pictured with his plane that crashed at Tipton Airport

Both men were flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Rescue crews responded to the plane crash around 2 p.m. to Bald Eagle Drive and Combat in Ft. Meade, officials said. The plane was on its top in a wooded area. that was found upside down in a wooded area, according to officials.

Investigation shows that the plane had just taken off from Tipton Airport, located in the 7500 block of General Aviation Drive in Ft. Meade, officials said. The crash happened only a few hundred yards from the airstrip.

The plan is a single-engine 1970 American AA-1, according to authorities. The plane is based at the Tipton Airfield and registered to Barnett, Cline and an additional person.

It is not clear where the plane was headed at the time of the accident.

Federal aviation and transportation officials have been at the scene investigating the crash. They will return to the scene Monday.

State troopers are maintaining security in the area of the crash site overnight, officials said. - WUSA.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Another Banker Bites The Dust – JP Morgan Chase Banker And Wife Found Dead In Alleged Murder-Suicide In Closter, New Jersey; Wife Stabbed And Strangled; Husband Stabbed Self; Town In Shock?!

Michael Tabacchi (left) and his wife, Iran Pars Tabacchi (right), who went by Denise, died in an apparent murder-suicide Friday evening, authorities said.

February 8, 2015 - NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES
- A Closter man apparently strangled and stabbed his wife, before fatally stabbing himself in the chest, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Sunday.

We believe that the husband killed the wife but do not know what prompted all of it," Molinelli said Sunday in an email.

Autopsies on the couple, who were found dead in their home, showed that Iran Pars Tabacchi, 41, who went by the name Denise, died from strangulation and a single stab wound to her chest and her husband, Michael, 27, died from a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest, Molinelli said in a tweet Sunday morning.

The stabbings took place around 11 p.m. Friday, said Molinelli on Saturday. The couple were discoverd in their home at 595 High St. with their 15-month-old son, who was unharmed, Molinelli had said.

The toddler by all accounts the centerpiece of a young marriage that was taking root in a quiet, suburban neighborhood and was with his paternal grandparents Saturday, authorities said.

The autopsies were conducted Saturday, Molinelli had said. One knife was found, apparently a kitchen knife, near Michael Tabacchi’s body.

On Sunday, the area around the High Street home was sleepy and quiet – with no evidence that such a grizzly incident had occurred just days before. Orange and white “Closter OEM” barricades and “road closed” signs no longer blocked the busy street, but instead laid haphazardly on snowbanks at the intersections of Piermont and Closter Dock roads. The home’s front sidewalk was still covered in footprint-laden snow.

Authorities have no knowledge of marital or financial issues facing the couple, but are pursuing those lines of inquiry, Molinelli added. There were no signs of forced entry at the house, and authorities found no note, he said.

Authorities are investigating a murder-suicide that occurred in a High Street home in Closter Friday evening. (Justin Zaremba | NJ Advance Media)

Michael Tabacchi’s father came to the house and discovered the scene Friday night after receiving a text message from his son, Tabacchi’s next-door neighbor said.

The neighbor — Kurt Vreeland, who is also Closter’s assistant fire chief — said Tabacchi’s father ran to Vreeland’s house seeking help. Vreeland’s wife is an EMT. She tried to resuscitate the couple, Vreeland said.

“It was too late,” he told reporters outside his home Saturday. Molinelli said Tabacchi’s father called 911; Vreeland said that he, too, had called 911.

Vreeland’s wife, whom he declined to identify by name, told reporters: “The only quote you’re going to get from me is that the love that they had for that little baby never wavered, despite the things that happened last night.”

Typical family

Michael A. Tabacchi, and Iran Pars Tabacchi,, who went
by the name Denise, with their son.
Those who knew the couple had trouble Saturday reconciling the sudden violence with their impression of the family as a typical household trying to make their way in suburbia.

Vreeland described the Tabacchis as a regular couple, adding that he never heard any disturbances at their home. Other neighbors for the most part had similar impressions. And the couple’s online postings portrayed theirs as a happy marriage that revolved around their son.

“My life is about as far from perfect as it can get,” Denise Pars wrote on her Facebook page in December. “But everyday I leave a job I really like with people I really enjoy, to spend the night with my gorgeous, healthy, baby boy, cat and husband … not a bad life.”

Neighbors and friends confirmed the Facebook pages belonged to the couple.

The couple married in a civil ceremony in July 2013 and had a church ceremony the following May, Molinelli said. Their son was born in October 2013. A month later, Michael Tabacchi bought the house at 595 High St., at the corner of Piermont Road, for $360,000. Property records show he co-owns the home with an apparent relative, James Tabacchi.

The incident brought police and media to the neighborhood, one block from the borough’s main business district. On Saturday morning, police had High Street blocked off from Piermont to First Street.

The house is a 1½-story wood-frame structure with dark shutters and white trim. A wreath was hanging from the still-illuminated light fixture on the front porch. A bright blue Mustang was parked in the driveway, along with a maroon Subaru sedan.

Yonca Bickici, who lives three doors down from the Tabacchi house, said that she had met Michael Tabacchi when she asked him to sign a petition to lower the speed limit in the neighborhood.

“He said, ‘Of course I’ll sign it because I have a toddler,’ ” she recalled. “He thanked me for what I was doing and was very nice.”

She did say that she had once heard the couple yelling at each other in the driveway while she was walking her dog.

'Nice, young couple'

Police at their home on High Street in Closter on Saturday
after the couple were found stabbed to death.
If there was any domestic strife, there’s no sign of it in the portrait of the family that exists online.

Michael Tabacchi’s Facebook page shows pictures of him with his son, posing in their matching Yankees jerseys and hats, and at his wife’s bedside on the day the boy was born. He worked for ­JPMorgan Chase and attended Bergen Catholic High School, according to the page.

Myles Evans, who lives across the street, said, “On the surface they seemed happy.”

“They always walked their dog up and down the street and would say hi,” he said. “They seemed like a nice, young couple just starting out in life.”

Denise Pars grew up in Hillsdale and worked as an administrative assistant at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, according to her Facebook page.

Molinelli said that at one time she also was an actress.

In a profile of Iran Denise Pars posted on a theater website, she wrote that she attended William Paterson University, where she “discovered her love of theatre.”

More recently, she wrote on her Facebook page about feeling guilty that her work took her away from her son, who she referred to as “Augie.”

“Had a pang today that I can’t do fun things like take Augie to the library because I work during the week,” she wrote. “Then Mike and I took a walk and passed the Closter library … it hit me, duh, library’s are open Saturday … And our little man doesn’t know what day it is, he just knows Mommy and Daddy read fun books to him today.”

She also recently wrote that she was “in love” with her husband. In September, she concluded an anecdote about advice her husband had given her with: “LOVE this man.” In October, she posted about celebrating her son’s first birthday: “Mommy and Daddy love you so much!” she wrote. Pictures show them enjoying a vacation to Disneyland in November, smiling as their son sits in a stroller.

Town in shock

Police on the scene outside the Closter home on Saturday. 
Closter Mayor John Glidden was walking by the Tabacchis’ home Saturday afternoon. He said he couldn’t remember a similar tragedy in his 20 years in Closter, a town of about 8,500.

Down the street at Courtesy Cleaners in Closter’s Heidenberg Plaza, owner John Kim said his customers all morning were saying the same thing.

“They’re shocked,” he said. “It always happens in New York City,” he said, but not here.

Glidden, the mayor, said: “I’m glad the child that was there is healthy and with his grandparents.”

A number of visitors were going in and out of a Demarest home owned by James and Silvana Tabacchi, Michael Tabacchi’s parents, on Saturday afternoon. Some were delivering dozens of bags of groceries. A man who answered the door declined to identify himself or provide comment.

It was a similar gathering of family and friends that met on a much happier occasion in early November, when Pars documented the first time her son walked.

“Last night Augie took 4 steps on his own in front of both Mike and I, his grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends,” she wrote. “Talk about waiting for an audience … it was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”  - North Jersey.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Former Head Of The Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan Predicts Collapse Of The Euro-Zone, Greece's Exit Is "INEVITABLE"!

February 8, 2015 - GREECE
- The former head of the US central bank, Alan Greenspan, has predicted that Greece will have to leave the eurozone.

He told the BBC he could not see who would be willing to put up more loans to bolster Greece's struggling economy.

Greece wants to re-negotiate its bailout, but Mr Greenspan said "I don't think it will be resolved without Greece leaving the eurozone".

Earlier, UK Chancellor George Osborne said a Greek exit would cause "deep ructions" for Britain.

Mr Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, said: "I believe [Greece] will eventually leave. I don't think it helps them or the rest of the eurozone - it is just a matter of time before everyone recognises that parting is the best strategy.

"The problem is that there there is no way that I can conceive of the euro of continuing, unless and until all of the members of eurozone become politically integrated - actually even just fiscally integrated won't do it."

Following the election in Greece of the anti-austerity Syriza party, Greek ministers have been touring European capitals trying to drum up support for a re-negotiation of its bailout terms.

Euro break-up

However, there appears little willingness in Berlin, or at the European Central Bank, to alter the terms of its €240bn (£182bn) rescue by the European Union, ECB, and International Monetary Fund.

"The [bailout] conditions with Greece were generous, beyond all measure,'' German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last week. He saw no justification for relaxing them further.

Greenspan says only political integration will save the euro

Mr Greenspan said: "All the cards are being held by members of the eurozone."

He also warned that trying to hold the 19-nation euro bloc together "is putting strain on everybody". He said as well as Greece leaving the eurozone, there was a real risk of a "much bigger break-up" with other southern European countries forced out.

Analysis: Joe Lynam, business correspondent

Alan Greenspan has long been a critic of the European single currency. Now, the 88-year-old former chairman of the US Federal Reserve has repeated a claim that nothing short of full political union - a United States of Europe - can save the euro from extinction.

Given that few (if any) of the current 19 sovereign governments which make up the eurozone would choose to create such an entity at this time, that means - for Greenspan at least - the euro is doomed.

Before all that, though, he foresees Greece quitting the single currency, but the euro surviving intact. Grexit, he says, is more manageable now than it would have been when Greece got its first EU bailout in 2010.

But Greenspan has been badly wrong before. He said markets (and banks in particular) would always act rationally and prevent self destructive crashes. Then the financial crisis happened in 2008 - plunging the world into a massive recession. He did, though, admit his error.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Osborne told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the UK was stepping up contingency planning to prepare for a possible Greek exit.

"This stand-off between Greece and the eurozone is increasing the risks every day to the British economy," the chancellor said.

A Greek exit from the single currency would create instability in European financial markets and cause "real ructions" in Britain, too, he added.

Greece's prime minster Alexis Tsipras (seated) and his finance minister Yanis Varoufakis have been on a whistlestop tour of European capitals.

Greece's prime minister Alexis Tsipras wants to put in place a short-term financial plan enabling the country to pay its way while it renegotiates the austerity cuts and conditions attached to its bailout terms. The existing bailout ends on 28 February.

Mr Tsipras made his first major speech to parliament since taking over as prime minister on Sunday evening.
He said he would stick to his campaign pledges, which include giving free food and electricity to the poor. He promised to cut politicians' benefits, such as ministerial cars and said he would fight against corruption and tax avoidance.

He also said he would seek a loan, not an extension to the bailout.

Mr Tsipras is to meet EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Mr Varoufakis will meet eurozone finance ministers the day before. - BBC.

ICE AGE NOW: Boston Schools To Close Monday And Tuesday Ahead Of ANOTHER "UNPRECEDENTED" Snowstorm - TWO MORE FEET Of Snow Possible; City Already Slammed With RECORD-SETTING Accumulations!

(Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

- Boston Public Schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday as the city prepares for another major snowstorm, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Sunday.

Up to two feet of snow may pile up in Boston by Tuesday morning, and the city has already seen record-setting snowfall in recent weeks.

Walsh said city employees who are not emergency personnel should stay home on Monday, and he’s asking local businesses to let their employees work from home.

“This is an unprecedented area that we’re heading into now in the city of Boston as far as the amount of snow,” Walsh said.

A snow emergency and parking ban will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday for Boston. About 350 pieces of snow equipment were in Boston plowing and treating roads Sunday, and the city will look to clear snow from about 4,000 handicap parking spaces on Monday, Walsh said.

Walsh also said the city would be upping ticketing for cars parked in crosswalks and non-shoveled sidewalks. About 1,500 noncompliance tickets have been issued so far residents not shoveling their sidewalks.

The city’s $18 million snow budget has already been surpassed, Walsh said.

Our snow budget? We’ve spent it,” Walsh said. “Right now I’m concerned about public safety.”

Walsh noted that the snow days are starting to stack up for Boston students.

“We’re looking now at where do we do makeup days in the city of Boston,” Walsh said. - CBS.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "All We Need Now Are Angels Singing" - Amazing Aurora Borealis Lights Up Skies Above The United States, Russia!

Image Credit: NASA / Jamie Adkins

February 8, 2015 - EARTH
- A NASA astronaut on board the ISS has recently been busy snapping the Northern Lights in various locations around the globe. Be it at sunrise over the US coast, or in the dead of night above central Russia, the images are stunning.

WATCH: Aurora Touching Sunrise.

Barry “Butch” Wilmore, US astronaut on the International Space Station, also managed to capture the lights of Aurora Borealis dancing dazzlingly over central Russia’s snowy landscape between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Earlier this week, NASA revealed an incredible video clip that shows how the sun rising over the northeast coast of the US as it met the polar light show. Wilmore made the video over Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts, and it was posted with a caption: “All we need now are angels singing”.

Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, is nature’s spectacular show usually seen in the skies near the magnetic poles, in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Its dancing lights are an effect of particles from the sun triggering reactions in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, when photons of light are released by oxygen and nitrogen molecules.

The International Space Station, which can be partly seen on the video, captured by NASA, is currently home to six astronauts, three Russians among them. - RT.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC MELTDOWN: Precursors To A Global Financial Collapse - Greece Gambles On "CATASTROPHIC ARMAGEDDON" For Europe; Warns It "ONLY HAS WEEKS OF CASH LEFT"!

February 8, 2015 - GREECE
- One of the bigger problems facing the new, upstart Greek government, which has set before itself the lofty goal of overturning 6 years of oppressive European policies and countless generations of Greek cronyism, corruption and tax-evasion is not so much the concern about deposit outflows and bank runs - even though it most certainly will be in the next few days unless the Tsipras government finds some resolution to the dramatic standoff with Merkel and the ECB - but something far more trivial: running out of money.

Recall that two weeks into the Greek elections, Greece was rocked by a dire, if entirely underappreciated development, when its already "tax-paying challenged" population decided to completely hold off paying any taxes in advance hopes that the Tsipras government will "overturn" austerity. We wrote:
... while there will be no official confirmation whether Greece did or did not have a bank run for months, unless of course some bank keels over and dies in the interim, one thing is certain: with an increasing probability they may not have a "continuity-promoting" government in less than two weeks, Greeks tax remittances to the government, which were almost non-existent to begin with, have ground to a halt!

According to a second Kathimerini report, budget revenues have slumped over the last few days as a result of the upcoming elections and taxpayers’ uncertainty about the future: "Most taxpayers have chosen to delay their payments, given that the positions of the two main parties leading the election polls are diametrically opposite: Poll leader SYRIZA promises to cancel the ENFIA and even write off bad loans, while ruling New Democracy acknowledges the difficulties but is avoiding raising issues that would generate problems and fiscal consequences.

The dwindling state revenues will not only hamper the next government’s fiscal moves, but, given that the fiscal gap will expand, also negotiations with the country’s creditors.
The tax collection mechanism appears to be largely out of action while expired debts are swelling due to taxpayers’ wait-and-see tactics and the reduction in inspections.
So for battered, depressed Europe "austerity" really meant "taxation" - it is no surprise then why so many in peripheral Europe, who for the past 7 years have not seen any benefits from Germany's delay in reintroducing the Deutsche Mark (and keeping its export industry humming, and Deutsche Bank solvent, courtesy of the much lower Euro), hate "austerity" so much: after all there really should be no "austerity" without representation and most European voices hardly matter in a monetary "Union" where only bankers and unelected eurocrats are heard.

But going back to the main topic, namely the Greek liquidity situation, it was none other than the Eurogroup which late on Friday gave Greece a 10 day ultimatum to cede all demands and resume work under the Bailout program, or face a liquidity collapse and effective expulsion from the Eurozone. Which means suddenly Europe is engaged in the biggest bluff since 2012, as Greece and Europe both desperately try to outbluff each other that the "adversary" need it more than vice versa.

The problem is that Greece may not even have 10 days. As the WSJ reports, "Greece warned it was on course to run out of money within weeks if it doesn’t gain access to additional funds, effectively daring Germany and its other European creditors to let it fail and stumble out of the euro."
Greek Economy Minister George Stathakis said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that a recent drop in tax revenue and other government income had pushed the country’s finances to the brink of collapse.

“We will have liquidity problems in March if taxes don’t improve,” Mr. Stathakis said. “Then we’ll see how harsh Europe is.
As we reported last month, "Government revenue has declined sharply in recent weeks, as Greeks with unpaid tax bills hold back from settling arrears, hoping the new leftist government will cut them a better deal. Many also aren’t paying an unpopular property tax that their new leaders campaigned against. Tax revenue dropped 7%, or about €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion), in December from November and likely fell by a similar percentage in January, the minister said. Other senior Greek officials said the country would have trouble paying pensions and other charges beyond February."

Said otherwise, when Yanis Varoufakis responded to Europe that "Greece already is bankrupt" he knew exactly what he was talking about.

And as the WSJ further details, this means that the infamous ultimatum on Greece may have been set by none other than Greece itself!
Greece has made no secret of its precarious financial position, but the minister’s comments suggest the country has even less time than many policy makers thought to resolve its standoff with Europe.

Eurozone officials have asked Greece to come up with a specific funding plan by Wednesday, when finance ministers have called a special meeting to discuss the country’s financial situation.
The country needs €4 billion to €5 billion to tide it over until June, by which time it hopes to negotiate a broader deal with creditors, Mr. Stathakis said, adding that he believes “logic will prevail.” If it doesn’t, he warned, Greece “will be the first country to go bankrupt over €5 billion.”
What happens then: "If the Greek government runs out of cash, the country would be forced to default on its debts and reintroduce its own currency, thus abandoning the euro. Most of the €240 billion in aid that Europe and the International Monetary Fund have pumped into the country would be lost."

Of course, Greece knows all this. The bigger question is what does a Grexit mean for Europe. Recall it was in May 2012, just around the time of the second Greek bailout, that Charles Dallara, who as head of the International Institute of Finance (IIF) spent months in Athens negotiating the largest ever sovereign debt restructuring, said that "the damage to the rest of Europe from Greece leaving the euro would be "somewhere between catastrophic and Armageddon."
"I think that it (a Greek exit) is possible, but I wouldn't call it inevitable and I wouldn't even call it likely because the costs for Greece, for Europe and for the global economy are likely each in their own way to be immense."

"The pressures on Spain, Portugal, even Italy and conceivably Ireland could be immense and the need for Europe to step up with much greater support for the banking systems would be substantial."
If that isn't enough here is what Willem Buiter predicted:
As soon as Greece has exited, we expect the markets will focus on the country or countries most likely to exit next from the euro area. Any non-captive/financially sophisticated owner of a deposit account in that country (or in those countries) will withdraw his deposits from banks in countries deemed at risk - even a small risk - of exit.  Any non-captive depositor who fears a non-zero risk of the future introduction of a New Escudo, a New Punt, a New Peseta or a New Lira (to name but the most obvious candidates) would withdraw his deposits from the countries involved at the drop of a hat and deposit them in the handful of countries likely to remain in the euro area no matter what - Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland.

The funding strike and deposit run out of the periphery euro area member states (defined very broadly), would create financial havoc and mostly like cause a financial crisis followed by a deep recession in the euro area broad periphery.
A banking crisis in the euro area and in the EU would most likely result from an exit by Greece from the euro area. The fundamental financial and real economy linkages from the rest of the world to the euro area and the rest of the EU are strong enough to make this a global concern.
And of course, there was Carmel's presentation from the summer of 2012, comparing the costs to Germany from a Euro staying together versus falling apart:

That is precisely the gambit the Greece is playing right now: in fact, that is the only gambit it has left - one final gamble that kicking Greece out of the Eurozone will have far more devastating consequences on the Eurozone, where not only is the ever-persistent threat of deposit bank run from the periphery one flashing red headline away, but where one after another anti-European party, from Spain's Podemos to Marine Le Pen's surge in France, are ascendent and may seek to recreate the Greek example unless Germany steps in in the last minute and concedes the Greek demands.

The problem is that as Merkel understands very well, should she concede to Greece, then she would be expected to concede to Italy, and Spain, and Portugal, and Ireland, and anyone else who came knocking at her door with a loaded gun and threatening to commit suicide. The WSJ picks up on this as well:
Europe wants Athens to commit to further labor-market and other reforms as a precondition for more money. The new government is refusing, arguing that it was elected to turn back many of the painful measures Europe and other creditors have demanded of it. 

Berlin worries that the eurozone would lose leverage over Athens if it gives into its request for an interim loan. Without a binding agreement from Greece to continue its reform program, officials say Germany is unlikely to back down.

Berlin, which is counting on financial pressures to force the Greek government’s hand, believes time is on Germany’s side.
And for now, it is correct: "Those pressures are being felt across Greece’s economy. Its banks lost €8 billion to €10 billion in deposits in January alone, government officials say. The banking system’s woes were exacerbated by the ECB’s decision earlier in the week to no longer accept Greek government bonds as collateral from banks seeking funds."

As Zero Hedge pointed out several times last week, both the ECB, the Eurogroup and even S&P, are no longer concerned about starting a bank run in Greece, as this would be the surest way to crush support for the new Greek government and force it to the negotiating table with its tale between its legs. Furthermore, in order to avoid giving the Greeks the satisfaction that their strong-arm policy is working, the central banks have done everything in their power to keep stock markets afloat and levitating this week, to avoid giving the impression that anyone in the world is concerned about contagion side-effects should Greece in fact exit the Eurozone. Or as we put it:

This strategy may, however, backfire and result in even more support for the government which unlike its predecessors who were perceived merely as Europe's lackey muppets, refuses to concede to Merkel, which is a distinct risk for the German chancellor:
Germany’s strong-arm strategy carries substantial risk. In addition to possibly triggering Greece’s exit from the euro, it carries political overtones.

Many Europeans already view Germany as the continent’s unyielding paymaster. Refusing to compromise with Greece’s new government over a few billion euros would further cement that image and open Berlin to accusations that it is ignoring Greece’s plight and riding roughshod over the democratic process.

Such resentments could fuel Europe’s other ascendant anti-austerity movements, particularly in Spain, where the Podemos party, modeled on Greece’s governing leftists, has recently surged in the polls.
And that's the gamble in a nutshell: Greece has already bluffed with everything it has (even raising the specter that it will cooperate with Russia if Europe kicks it out, giving Putin a foothold on the continent) while Europe desperately pretends that Charles Dallara's warning from less than three years ago is no longer relevant and that a Grexit is not only neither "catastrophic" nor "Armageddon", but instead is welcome and perfectly normal.

We should know who will crack first as soon as this week, just before or during the Eurogroup emergency meeting on February 11, although Greece already appears to be regretting its liquidity shortfall threat, as Reuters reported earlier today it "will not face any cash crunch while negotiations with its euro zone partners on a new programme to roll back austerity take place, its deputy finance minister said on Saturday. "During the time span of the negotiations there is no problem (of liquidity). This does not mean that there will be a problem afterwards," Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said on Mega TV. "Asked whether state coffers may encounter a cash crunch if talks drag on until May, the minister said he did not expect the negotiations over a new deal to last that long."

Indeed, if Greek negotiations fail, read if the bluff does not succeed, by May Greek state coffers will likely be getting funding from Beijing and or Moscow. Which then begs the question: has Greece indeed lost everything, allowing it to be finally free to do anything?

Additional reading: Game theory and euro breakup risk premium

- Zero Hedge.

ICE AGE NOW: Paper Declares Global Warming As The "BIGGEST SCIENCE SCANDAL EVER" - Official Records "SYSTEMATICALLY ADJUSTED" To Show Heating!

February 8, 2015 - EARTH
- When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.

Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.

The “vanishing” of polar ice (and the polar bears) has become a poster-child for warmists. Photo: ALAMY

Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.

One of the first examples of these “adjustments” was exposed in 2007 by the statistician Steve McIntyre, when he discovered a paper published in 1987 by James Hansen, the scientist (later turned fanatical climate activist) who for many years ran Giss. Hansen’s original graph showed temperatures in the Arctic as having been much higher around 1940 than at any time since. But as Homewood reveals in his blog post, “Temperature adjustments transform Arctic history”, Giss has turned this upside down. Arctic temperatures from that time have been lowered so much that that they are now dwarfed by those of the past 20 years.

Homewood’s interest in the Arctic is partly because the “vanishing” of its polar ice (and the polar bears) has become such a poster-child for those trying to persuade us that we are threatened by runaway warming. But he chose that particular stretch of the Arctic because it is where ice is affected by warmer water brought in by cyclical shifts in a major Atlantic current – this last peaked at just the time 75 years ago when Arctic ice retreated even further than it has done recently. The ice-melt is not caused by rising global temperatures at all.

Of much more serious significance, however, is the way this wholesale manipulation of the official temperature record – for reasons GHCN and Giss have never plausibly explained – has become the real elephant in the room of the greatest and most costly scare the world has known. This really does begin to look like one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time. - Telegraph.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Volcano/Earthquake Expert Stan Deyo Warns Of A SUPER VOLCANIC ERUPTION COMING SOON; Growing Number Of Earthquakes In Areas NOT KNOWN FOR THEM!

February 8, 2015 - EARTH
- Alex Jones talks with volcanic expert Stan Deyo about the growing number of earthquakes and what this could mean for super volcanoes around the world.

WATCH: Stan Deyo - Super Volcanic Eruption Coming.

- Info Wars.

ICE AGE NOW: Mini-Ice Age 2015-2030 - More Top Scientists Forecast A Repeat Of The 1600s Maunder Minimum; Global Cooling Is "INTENSIFYING"!

February 8, 2015 - EARTH
- 10 Top scientists now forecast a new Maunder Minimum type of cooling event at the doorstep. Average global atmospheric and oceanic temperatures will drop significantly beginning between 2015 and 2016 and will continue with only temporary reversals until they stabilize during a long cold temperature base lasting most of the 2030’s and 2040’s. The bottom of the next global cold climate caused by a “solar hibernation” (a pronounced reduction in warming energy coming from the Sun) is expected to be reached by the year 2031.

WATCH: More Top Scientists Forecast a Repeat of the 1600's Maunder Minimum.

The predicted temperature decline will continue for the next fifteen years and will likely be the steepest ever recorded in human history, discounting past short-duration volcanic events.

Space scientist Shrinivas Aundhkar, director of India’s Mahatma Gandhi Mission at the Centre for Astronomy and Space Technology, says declining sunspot numbers in the last two solar cycles could mean a “mini ice age-like situation” is around the corner,

Horst-Joachim Luedecke and Carl-Otto Weiss of the European Institute for Climate and Energy

Sunderland University

Climate and Environmental Physics and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Berne in Switzerland


- Adapt 2030.

SOLAR WATCH: Dark Solar Filament - The Next Big Solar Explosion Could Come From A Massive Magnetic Filament That Hangs Over The Surface Of The Sun; Over 400,000 km Long! [PHOTOS]

February 8, 2015 - SUN - Most solar flares come from sunspots. The next big explosion, however, could come from a different source: A huge magnetic filament is hanging over the surface of the sun, and it could erupt at any moment. Sergio Castillo photographed the structure from his backyard observatory in Corona, CA:

"This dark filament wish is really easy to spot using a backyard solar telescope," says Castillo. "Many amateur astronomers are photographing it."

The structure is, essentially, a tendril of plasma more than 400,000 km long held suspended above the surface of the sun by magnetic forces. Its scale is nicely illustrated in this diagram prepared by reader Sefano Sello of Pisa, Italy.

If the filament were peeled off the sun and stretched out, it would easily reach from Earth to the Moon. It could also be wrapped around the circumference of giant Jupiter many times over.

If the filament becomes unstable and erupts, it could hurl parts of itself into space. Pieces of the filament falling back to the solar surface would explode upon impact, creating one or more Hyder flares. Astronomers with backyard solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the structure as it turns toward Earth. A photogenic explosion may be in the offing.


Solar activity on Saturday starts off at low levels.

Minor C-Flares are being detected around both regions 2277 and 2280. Additional C-Flares will be likely this weekend with a chance for an isolated M-Flare.

Region 2280 will be the most likely candidate to produce such an event. Attached image is courtesy of Ron Cottrell who captured a large filament channel on Friday from his location in Arizona:

This plasma dense solar feature is now turning into a geoeffective Earth facing position. Although currently magnetically anchored in place, filaments can sometimes become unstable and collapse, leading to bright coronal mass ejections. 

- Space Weather | Solar Ham.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Guatemala's Fuego Volcano Erupts - Belching Ash And Rock Into The Sky, Causing Mass Evacuations And Flight Cancellations!

Guatemala's Fuego volcano belched black ash. Photo: AP

February 8, 2015 - GUATEMALA
- Guatemala's Fuego volcano belched black ash into the sky on Saturday, causing the government to evacuate 100 nearby residents and forcing the closure of the capital's international airport, President Otto Perez told reporters.

Cars covered in ash. Credit: AP

Guatemala's Fuego volcano belched black ash into the sky on Saturday, causing the government to evacuate 100 nearby residents and forcing the closure of the capital's international airport, President Otto Perez told reporters.

Streets have been covered in ash. Credit: AP

The volcano, about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, forced the cancellation of several flights as Guatemala's main airport shut down and workers sought to clear the runways of ash.

The airport was closed. Credit: AP

Officials said the amount of falling ash was moderate but urged nearby residents to use masks or wet cloth to guard against breathing dangerous contaminants.

Residents have been urged to use masks or wet cloth. Credit: AP

The airport is expected to reopen by early Sunday morning. - ITV.

MASS SHOOTINGS: "The Worst I've Ever Seen In 20 Years Of Law Enforcement" - Man Shoots Seven People In Atlanta, Georgia; Five Dead, Including Three Children!

Five people, including three children, were killed Feb. 7, 2015, in and around this house in Douglasville, Ga.(Photo: Duffie Dixon, WXIA-TV, Atlanta)

February 8, 2015 - GEORGIA, UNITED STATES
- A man shot seven people, including his ex-wife, before turning the gun on himself, authorities said Saturday.

In all five people are dead, including three children. Two other children are injured, said Lt. Glenn Daniel of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.

"It tears at your heart. It doesn't make any sense," he said. "I've been in law enforcement out here 20 years, and this is the worst I've ever seen."

Horrified neighbors called 911 and tended to the severely injured victims in this suburb about 20 miles west of Atlanta as best they could before rescuers arrived.

WATCH: 5 dead in suburban Atlanta shooting.

The shooter, whose name was not immediately released, appeared to have targeted his ex-wife and his own family, including several children who tried to flee. Daniel said he did not immediately know when the couple divorced or whether the family had prior contact with police.

The family had five children, who had been living there about three years, neighbors said. Their mother and her boyfriend lived with them there.

The property was last sold in 2001, according to Douglas County tax records.

The victims were found both inside and outside of a house when police were called to the scene around 3 p.m. ET, Daniel said.

Some of the victims died on the way to the hospital. The shooter, who also was transported to a local hospital, died later of his self-inflicted injuries.

Feb. 7, 2015: Police stand in the doorway of a home while investigating the shooting scene where authorities say five people are dead,
including the gunman, in Douglasville, Ga. (AP)

Teresa Carter, 59, said she heard the gunfire from inside her home but did not see what happened. The children often played in their driveway and around the neighborhood.

They enjoyed petting her dog.

"I heard shots, and I heard the girl scream," Carter said. "And then I heard four more shots."

Brandon Hallman was working on a car a few houses down when the shooting started.

"I heard a couple quick shots, you know, back to back to back. Went out there and, you know, looked and it was already over," Hallman said. "We just grabbed some towels and kind of went down there to try and help before the paramedics got here."

Authorities are still working to identify the victims and confirm their relationships, Daniel said. They have not released their names because next of kin have not yet been notified.

"Inside the home I could see the wife was on the floor and a man was still moving," neighbor Andrews Ansah said.

His wife, Angela Ansah, struggled to explain to her own children what happened to their slain friends a few houses down. Ansah said some of the children targeted Saturday often came over to her house to play with her own children.

"These are children I see every day, every blessed day," Ansah said.

Investigators obtained a warrant to enter the home, now surrounded by crime scene tape, so they could take and exam evidence from the crime scene. A definite motive in the shootings was not immediately clear.

The shooter parked his car up the hill away from the home, walked to it and started shooting, they said. The car later was towed away as a piece of evidence."It's still too early," Daniel said. "We're on the scene and maybe we'll get some answers." - USA Today.