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Archive for March 31st, 2010

European Union Debt Crises: Ireland Next

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Bloomberg reports that Ireland banks need a $43 billion dollar bailout due to “appalling” lending practices, using the same Wall Street “financial innovations” that got Greece into so much trouble:

“Our worst fears have been surpassed,” Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said in the parliament in Dublin yesterday. “Irish banking made appalling lending decisions that will cost the taxpayer dearly for years to come.”

Dublin-based Allied Irish needs to raise 7.4 billion euros to meet the capital targets, while cross-town rival Bank of Ireland will need 2.66 billion euros. Anglo Irish Bank Corp., nationalized last year, may need as much 18.3 billion euros. Customer-owned lenders Irish Nationwide and EBS will need 2.6 billion euros and 875 million euros, respectively.

Greece wasn’t the first European country to go under, and it sure as hell wont’ be the last. After Ireland goes, Italy, Portugal, Spain, or even “Great” Britain are all worthy candidates for the next European collapse.

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Written by pavanvan

March 31, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Posted in Economy

Tagged with , ,

Ghosts of Vietnam

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I want to draw attention to the Chicago Tribune’s fantastic investigative series on the long-term effects of our chemical warfare in Vietnam (euphemistically, “Agent Orange”). Millions of Vietnamese and thousands of former US infantry continue to suffer the effects of our indiscriminate spraying of “herbicides” throughout Vietnam during the ’70s, with birth defects, limb amputations, mental degradation and premature death.

An excerpt from their flagship article:

In central Indiana, two sisters struggle through another day, afflicted by a painful condition in which their brains are wedged against their spinal cords. They are in their 30s, but their bodies are slowly shutting down.

Thousands of miles away, amid the rice paddies of Vietnam, a father holds down his 19-year-old daughter as she writhes in pain from a seizure brought on by fluid in her skull, which has been drained four times in the past four years.

“The doctors said that they were sorry, but they could not cure her,” the father says. “They told me I should take her home and that she would pass away very soon.”

These women come from different cultures, from nations separated by more than 8,300 miles. Their fathers fought on opposite sides of the Vietnam War, but they are linked by the stubborn legacy of Agent Orange and other defoliants sprayed by the U.S. military decades ago.

Contaminated with dioxin, a chemical now considered the most toxic ever created by man, the defoliants are linked to a higher risk of multiple cancers, birth defects and other conditions that are contributing to a dramatic increase in financial compensation for U.S. veterans and their families.

Remember when we invaded Iraq because we thought Saddam Hussein was planning to manufacture chemical weapons?

Written by pavanvan

March 31, 2010 at 12:44 pm