The benchmark rate for more than $300 trillion of contracts was based on honesty. New evidence in banking’s biggest scandal shows traders took it as a license to cheat. Graphic: Bloomberg Markets The benchmark rate for more than $300 trillion of contracts was based on honesty. New evidence in banking’s biggest scandal shows traders took it as a license to cheat. Graphic: Bloomberg Markets
Every morning, from his desk by the bathroom at the far end of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s trading floor overlooking London’s Liverpool Street station, Paul White punched a series of numbers into his computer.
White, who had joined RBS in 1984, was one of the employees responsible for the firm’s submissions for the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the global benchmark for more than $300 trillion of contracts from mortgages and student loans to interest-rate swaps. Behind him sat Neil Danziger, a derivatives trader who had worked at the bank since 2002.
On the morning of March 27, 2008, Tan Chi Min, Danziger’s boss in Tokyo, told him to make sure the next day’s submission in yen would increase, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its March issue. “We need to bump it way up high, highest among all if possible,” Tan, who was known by colleagues as Jimmy, wrote in an instant message to Danziger, according to a transcript made public by a Singapore court and reported on by Bloomberg before being sealed by a judge at RBS’s request.
Danziger typically would have swiveled in his chair, tapped White on the shoulder and relayed the request to him, people who worked on the trading floor say. Instead, as White was away that day, Danziger input the rate himself. There were no rules at RBS and other banks prohibiting derivatives traders, who stood to benefit from where Libor was set, from submitting the rate — a flaw exploited by some traders to boost their bonuses.
The next morning, RBS said it would have to pay 0.97 percent to borrow in yen for three months, up from 0.94 percent the previous day. The Edinburgh-based bank was the only one of 16 surveyed to raise its submission that day, inflating that day’s rate by one-fifth of a basis point, or 0.002 percent. On a $50 billion portfolio of interest-rate swaps, RBS could have gained as much as $250,000.
Read it all at BLOOMBERG.
Read about the arab fling at Hope n’ Change.
Here’s a little fantasy for you to ponder: what if one of our senior foreign policy officials accidentally swallowed some sodium pentothal (aka “truth serum”) before some public hearing or press conference, and started speaking the truth about one of those issues where prevarication, political correctness, and obfuscation normally prevail? You know: what if they started saying in public all those things that they probably believe in private? What sorts of “inconvenient truths” might suddenly get revealed?
In that spirit, here’s my Top Five Truths You Won’t Hear Any U.S. Official Admit.
Quantum biology: Do weird physics effects abound in nature?
Disappearing in one place and reappearing in another. Being in two places at once. Communicating information seemingly faster than the speed of light.
This kind of weird behaviour is commonplace in dark, still laboratories studying the branch of physics called quantum mechanics, but what might it have to do with fresh flowers, migrating birds, and the smell of rotten eggs?
Welcome to the frontier of what is called quantum biology.
It is still a tentative, even speculative discipline, but what scientists are learning from it might just spark revolutions in the development of new drugs, computers and perfumes – or even help in the fight against cancer.
Continue reading HERE.
Study finds eating deep-fried food is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer
Frequent, regular consumption has strongest effect and is linked to more aggressive disease
SEATTLE – Jan. 28, 2013 – Regular consumption of deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, and the effect appears to be slightly stronger with regard to more aggressive forms of the disease, according to a study by investigators at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Corresponding author Janet L. Stanford, Ph.D., and colleagues Marni Stott-Miller, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow and Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D., all of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division, have published their findings online in The Prostate.
While previous studies have suggested that eating foods made with high-heat cooking methods, such as grilled meats, may increase the risk of prostate cancer, this is the first study to examine the addition of deep frying to the equation.
While studying abroad in the Netherlands a few years back, the opportunity came up to tag along on a field trip to the NATO headquarters in Brussels. Does it matter that I’m not in this class? Nope.
Myself and one other like-minded fellow who also wasn’t in the class came along for the adventure. Finding no adventures whatsoever at NATO, which was kind of boring actually, we decided to invent some.
In exchange for sitting through dull lectures we were given meal tickets for the cafeteria. My heart soared when I realized they could be redeemed for beer. Not just any beer, but classy Belgian beers. Awwww yeah. Who needs food anyway? Plenty of opportunities to eat, few to get drunk at NATO.
The sale of bankrupt electric-car battery maker A123 Systems to Chinese firm Wanxiang America has been approved by the necessary interagency panel.
The Hill reports:
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved Wanxiang America’s purchase of A123 Systems’ automotive, energy storage, commercial and government operations for $256.6 million.
“The future is bright for A123. It is a company with exceptional talent and potential, and Wanxiang America is committed to its long-term success and the continuance of its U.S. operations,” Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, said in a statement.
CFIUS, an interagency panel led by the Treasury Department, has the power to negate deals with foreign firms if they harm national security. Some GOP lawmakers worried that was the case with the bid for Waltham, Mass.-based A123, and they lobbied CFIUS to block the transaction.
Long troubled, A123 filed for bankruptcy in October 2012. The company had received $133 million of a $249 million grant from the Department of Energy, and received $1 million from the federal government the day it filed for bankruptcy. After security concerns arose among some Republicans about the sale, A123 sought a lobbying firm earlier this month while securing the sale to Wanxiang.
Every once in a while you run across something that is so outrageous, it has you in tears from laughter before you can even finish the whole text. Well, I found such an animal and it came in the form of a “Letter to the Editor” published in the local paper for Morehead City, North Carolina. Please brace yourself before reading this letter. From the Carteret County News-Times:
Go and read it all HERE.
One thing you can count of from the Obama administration is that they are going to look into what is best for America, and do the exact opposite.