2008 News and Interesting History Tidbits

The News Stories For 2008 are organised by month and will updated throughout the year

July 2008






Oil Prices Takes Affect On Inflation Around The World
As the increased cost of oil and energy filters through to the market inflation around the world increases causing concerns for governments and consumers.

Inflation Rates



Russia 15.0%

Turkey 12.0%

India 11.0%

South Africa 11.7%

China 7.7%

Brazil 5.8%

Spain 5.0%

U.S.A. 4.9%

UK 4.6%

Germany 3.8%

Canada 2.4%



Gas Prices Per Gallon



Germany $9.30

Spain $9.10

England $8.96

Brazil $6.38

Canada $5.50

India $4.81

South Africa $4.41

U.S.A. $4.11

Russia $3.90

China $3.40


These are not exact and vary according to daily exchange rates and the city where the petrol is purchased, all calculations have been done using litres to gallons as most countries now sell by the litre and current US dollar exchange rate as of today 15th July 2008






Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Bailout
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who own or guarantee about $5.3 trillion worth of home loans about half of all US mortgages have seen a loss of confidence my the market due to the mortgage forclosure increase and the drop in property values in the United States. Both company Shares have been under increasing pressure and have lost as much as 80% of share value in just 12 months . The Fed has given the green light for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York authority to lend any money needed to allow them to continue providing mortgages at 2.25% and will expand its current line of credit to the two companies and buy shares of the companies if needed to prop up share price in these troubled times. Congress is also to approve a package next week which includes a foreclosure rescue to help strapped homeowners get new, more affordable government-backed mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration.






Iran Tensions with Israel and Missile Testing
The Tension between Iran and Israel is increasing as Iran shows the strength of it's resolve both in words and sabre rattling this week as Iran tests more missiles and tells the world if Israel attacks it will strike Tel Aviv and US Military bases .
Meanwhile Israel is committed to stopping Iran gaining Nuclear weapons capability in any way and any how with the Israel defence minister talking about Israel's readiness to strike Iran.

The possibility of a win by presidential nominee Barack Obama who has pledged to pursue diplomacy routes rather than confrontation with Iran and who may not provide Israel with US backing for an attack on Iran leaves many including Iran concerned that the window of opportunity for Israel to attack Iran with US backing is slipping away as it is thought the current Bush administration would provide the backing Israel needs.






Oil Hits All Time High $147.00
Oil hits an all time high of $147 a barrel following further missile testing by Iran in the middle east and concerns over oil supplies should tensions increase further between Iran and Israel over Iran's Nuclear program.






Sudan Peacekeepers Hijacked
Peacekeepers in the Darfur region of Sudan are hijacked when their convoy is ambushed in Darfur by hundreds of rebel gunmen on horses and with 40 trucks outfitted with mounted machine guns. The peacekeepers were outnumbered and suffered 7 dead and many more injured. The latest attack brings into question how long the Peace Keepers can stay in the region without more men and advanced equipment including helicopter gun ships to better protect those whose role it is to protect others.
The President of Sudan Omar Hassan al-Bashir is facing indictments by the International Criminal Court for alleged atrocities and crimes against humanity in the region which left 450,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced.






Bull Run First Day Pamplona, Spain
On the opening day of the bull run in Pamplona Spain the six bulls and some tame steers plough into spectators leaving 13 injured including tourists who were watching the famous run .






California Wild Fires
After 2 weeks of wild fires in California mostly started by lightning strikes fueled by warm winds, dry brush and trees are at last coming under some control, nearly 20,000 fire fighters have been fighting the hundreds of fires over the last 14 days and are exhausted. The two largest wildfires in near the towns of Goleta and Big Sur are now thought to be under control.
California has always been susceptible to wildfires but normally from late summer to early autumn but over the last couple of years the trend is changing with wildfires beginning in mid summer.






Latest US Jobless Figures
The latest US employment figures show US companies have cut workers for the sixth month in a row ( June 62,000 jobs cut) fueling fears that the world's largest economy is heading towards a recession.




June 2008






Handgun laws Overturned

Following the US Supreme Court decision that a ban on the private possession of handguns in Washington DC was unconstitutional as it violates the Second Amendment. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is planning to fight similar bans in other states and cities including San Francisco and Chicago.






Aid Agencies Asked To Leave


With the upcoming election in Zimbabwe between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai the government has banned the Care International aid group from operating in the country for allegedly campaigning for the opposition.
It is thought up to 4 million Zimbabweans a third of the population - are in need of food aid.










GM / General Motors Closes Plants


Following a lower market share of the US car market and sales down by an additional 25%, General Motors has announced it is closing four truck and sports utility vehicle (SUV) plants in the US, Canada and Mexico.










Major International Relief Ships Leave


Following the refusal by the ruling military junta in Burma to allow foreign aid to land, British, French and US Naval Ships are now planning to leave Burma's coastline because of the continued refusal of the government to allow them to land helicopters and other supplies to help victims of Cyclone Nargis.
The Cyclone has left more than 133,000 people dead or missing and 2.4 million facing starvation.










National Protests Over Gas Price Increases


Following an increase of 10% in the cost of natural gas and petrol, communist and opposition parties in India are holding nationwide strikes involving shops, airports, markets, schools and colleges closed. India is already suffering with much higher inflation and consumers feel this will make matters worse.









G8 Members Press OPEC Members to increase production


A meeting of the world's leading industrialized nations have met in Japan over concerns that the continued soaring oil prices ( $139 a barrel ) could damage the global economy. Currently G8 members are pressing OPEC members to increase oil production who seem reluctant to increase production which would bring the price of oil down, OPEC have stated no decision will be made until the scheduled meeting in September.







Relations Between the US and Pakistan Worsen

A US air strike by Afghanistan-based US forces against Taleban militants in Pakistan territory causes the death of 11 Pakistan troops has been condemned in Pakistan as an act of aggression by US forces and has caused anger in Pakistan as this attack and others are widely seen as a violation of its sovereignty.






Severe Flooding In US Midwest States
After 7 days of violent storms in the Midwest a number of US states are now suffering serious flooding due to rivers bursting their banks, and reservoirs overflowing.

The states worst affected are :
Iowa with Iowa City under severe flood warnings.
Illinois where levees have failed causing thousands of acres of farmland to be flooded causing concerns over this years crops which were already predicted to be lower than normal.
Indiana where the White River has breached in a number of places.
Wisconsin where rivers have reached flood level and in areas of Milwaukee main roads are now closed.

Five states have now declared a state of emergency in one or more counties and concerns over further storms scheduled for later in the week could bring even more flooding.

A tornado in the Midwest causes one of the most deadly tornado's so far when a twister strikes a Boy Scout camp in Little Sioux, Iowa. leaving 4 dead and 40 injured.






Inflation Rate around the world

Yearly current Inflation Rates published for May 2008 countries around the world

Argentina : The Inflation Rate In Argentina is above 20%
India : The Inflation Rate in India hits 8.5%
China : The Inflation Rate in China hits 7.7%
Australia : The inflation rate in the Australia hits 4.4%.
United States : The inflation rate in the US hits 4.2%.
France : The Inflation Rate in France hits 3.3%
Germany : The Inflation Rate in Germany hits 3.1%
Japan : The Inflation Rate in Japan hits 2.0%
UK : The Inflation Rate in Great Britain hits 2.0%
Canada : The Inflation Rate in Canada 1.9%

The inflation figures are from government figures except Argentina which is independent figure.

Much of the inflation around the world is attributable to increases in oil price which in turn has driven up the cost of wholesale prices which are feeding into an increase of overall inflation which is expected to increase further in the next six months.






Honda Begins Selling The Honda FCX Clarity.
Honda delivers the first 200 Honda FCX Clarity's which run on hydrogen and electricity, emitting only water vapour. They are only available on lease and in California where there are a few hydrogen fuelling stations.

The Honda Honda FCX Clarity is claimed to be three times better fuel efficiency than a traditional petrol driven car.

General Motors have had a number of customers testing it's latest hydrogen-powered car The Chevy Equinox on test since early this year

Chevy is also releasing the Chevy Volt all electric car with a 40 mile radius and no gas or hydrogen engine

Volkswagen also has a fuel cell car on test in the US the HyMotion concept which features a fuel cell system in the engine compartment capable of 107 horsepower.

Before we see a large scale roll out of hydrogen powered fuel cell cars there are still two barriers in the way.

1. Lack of hydrogen fuelling stations.
2. Bringing the cost down.

Both should be in place by 2010 - 2011 and we will see a new battlefield emerging in the car industry between those who have invested in the technology and those who have not.
The current leaders in the the hybrid market are Honda and Toyota but with the Chevy Volt for short journeys and the work on Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology GM could regain prominence.








World Questions "Free Elections" in Zimbabwe
As the world watches on the "free elections" become more tainted with each passing day.

Zimbabwe's public broadcaster ZBC has said it will no longer carry campaign adverts from the opposition party "Movement for Democratic Change" MDC.

Violence, intimidation and the arrest of opposition leaders.

Mr Mugabe has also stated that whatever the outcome he will not give up his 28-year rule.

Pressure from the International Community grows with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing concern and an informal UN Security Council meeting on Zimbabwe .

As the world watches there appears to be nothing they can do to ensure free and fair elections with observers believing the failure to do so could well lead to a civil war in the country following the results.

Following the continued problems the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai decides to pull out of the presidential run-off handing automatic victory to President Robert Mugabe.






Israelis Carries out simulated attacks on Iran
100 Israeli fighter jets carry out manoeuvres to simulate an attack on Iranian "nuclear facilities" creating increased concern over the future of oil supplies from the region and helping to keep the price of oil at an all time high.

Israeli officials are denying that the exercise was for Iranian targets and only said the air force "regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel".

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned on 4 June that drastic measures were needed to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and the Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz - a former defence minister - said that military strikes to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons looked "unavoidable".










May 2008


Ongoing Drought


Australia's drought continues and is presently in the grip of what the locals call the "Big Dry" the worst period of drought in a century. The effects of this ongoing drought range from up to 10% of farmers giving up to wheat production going from a high of 25m tonnes of wheat each year to wheat crops below 10m tonnes per year a decrease of more than 50%.











Easing of Restrictions


The new president of Cuba Raul Castro continues the easing of restrictions on previously banned consumer goods, including mobile phones, DVD players and personal home computers.








Cyclone Burma


A tropical cyclone has devastated parts of the Irrawaddy region of Burma / Myanmar with three out of four buildings reportedly blown down in many areas of the country. Burma has declared Irrawaddy and four other regions, including the main city Rangoon, to be disaster areas.
The world's richer nations have all offered aid to the region but the current military backed leaders of Burma are still hesitant to allow foreign aid workers in to the country to distribute the much needed aid.
After 3 weeks more than 75,000 have been identified as dead with still a further 50,000 missing which could well take the death toll to over 100,000 making it one of the worst natural disasters in modern times.









Earthquake Magnitude 7.8 China


An Earthquake measuring 7.8 strikes near Chengdu, Sichuan's provincial capital in south western China. Early reports indicate primary school buildings collapsed in the Chongqing area leaving hundreds of children buried in the rubble.

As the full scale of the destruction caused by the largest earthquake in China for many years become known, the death toll is expected to reach 60,000 and up to five million Chinese are now homeless.

Following the devastating earthquake in the Chengdu area the "Chengdu Population and Family Planning Committee" will allow couples whose only child was killed or severely injured during the earthquake to have one more child.

The single child rule was bought in during the 1970's when population growth in China caused concerns in the Chinese Government over over population.

A new series of aftershocks measured as high as magnitude 5.7 have struck the area once again destroying an additional 420,000 homes. The official death toll from the original quake in Sichuan province is 67,183 with a further 20,000 still missing. Even before these new aftershocks latest estimates are that more than five million people are homeless since the earthquake.

Later in the month dditional major problems including Lake Tangjiashan a lake that was created during the earthquake now risks breaking through the dams and flooding large areas of Mianyang, so far over 200,000 have been evacuated. It is a race between the Chinese troops who are digging diversion channels to relieve pressure on the lake and nature which is filling the lake to overflowing at an alarming rate










Drug Cartels


As the violence has escalated between cartels in Mexico and the number of both senior and junior police officials murdered. Mexico's President Felipe Calderon has pledged to take back the streets from the cartels and has sent thousands of additional troops and police to combat the country's drug cartels in Sinaloa.









California Same Sex Marriages


California's Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Same Sex marriages and has said the "right to form a family relationship" applied to all Californians regardless of sexuality.












19 Arrested Over Witch Burning


Eight women and three men, aged between 80 and 96, were burned to death when they were accused of being witches in the western Kisii district of Kenya 19 have now been arrested connection with the murders.










Concerns Over Corn Crop In The U.S. Corn Belt


Following an unusualy late planting season in the rain-soaked Midwest Concerns over this years crop in the Corn Belt bring further fears that on top of the much increased cost of Gas causing inflationary preasures in the food chain, a poor crop this year could further impact food prices and inflationary preasures in the US.








April 2008




Unemployment


The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits increased last week to the highest level since September 2005. The jobless numbers are blamed on a housing recession and mounting losses in financial markets causing a credit squeeze and consumers to slow their spending.











Olympic Torch Relay Protests


Olympic Torch Relay arrives in London, England sparking huge protests by pro-Tibetan independence and pro-Human Rights supporters causing the route to be changed. The next day when the Olympic Torch Relay arrives in Paris, France due to the large number of protests the route is shortened at the demand of Chinese officials following widespread protests by pro-Tibet and human rights activists and due to problems the flame is extinguished five times. Just a few days later when Olympic Torch Relay arrives in San Francisco, California where once again large numbers of protesters disrupt the progress of the torch and force a change in it's route









Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamist Temple Sect Raided


A Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamist Temple Sect is raided in West Texas, the authorities suspect that older men had sex with under-age girls and practised polygamy at Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the ranch in Eldorado, Texas. During the raid 416 children were placed in temporary state custody on suspicion of being abused or under the threat of abuse or neglect.











Food Prices Problem


As food prices continue to increase due to multiple reasons including gas prices, poor harvests and the increased use of ethanol based fuel. The people who are the most affected are the poorest members of the world who spend the highest percentage of income on feeding themselves. The World Bank President Robert Zoellick has appealed to richer nations to increase the food aid to some of the countries worst effected after riots in Haiti, Bangladesh, Egypt and other countries over surging food prices.









Gas Taxes and Pump Prices Around The World ( April 2008 )
Gas Taxes and pump prices in The United States and around the world as of April 2008 , To provide a rough guide in comparison all figures are changed to US dollars and based on 1 gallon of Gas.

United States: 47 cents Tax per gallon Price Of Gas at The Pump $3.65
The average state tax is 28.6 cents Tax per gallon, plus 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax making the total 47 cents per gallon

United Kingdom: $4.27 Tax per gallon Price Of Gas at The Pump $6.88
The average tax on a litre of petrol in US Dollars is $1.08 which works our roughly to $4.088 per gallon

Australia: $2.63 Tax per gallon Price Of Gas at The Pump $5.88
The average tax on a litre of petrol in US Dollars is $.71 which works our roughly to $2.63 per gallon

Canada: $1.00 Tax per gallon Price Of Gas at The Pump $4.69
The average tax on a litre of petrol including State and Federal in US Dollars is $.24 which works our roughly to $1.00 per gallon










Pirates


The problem of Somalia Pirates on the coast of Africa continues to worsen with more tankers being boarded by pirates who then use the Somalia territorial waters to make good their escape. A new UN Security Council resolution sponsored by France and the US will authorise countries to chase and seize pirates when they flee into territorial waters.








March 2008




YouTube violent or sexually explicit content


YouTube is facing criticism and possibly criminal charges for making it too easy for people to upload violent or sexually explicit content to the Internet. A three-minute video showing a mother from South London being sexually assaulted by three boys after her drink had been spiked was seen by 600 viewers on Youtube before it was taken off line. YouTube has said it is impossible to review every video posted, but if a visitor sees content they believe is inappropriate, they can flag it and it will be reviewed.











Brett Favre Retires


Brett Favre ( 38 ) the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers has announced his retirement. He has achieved a number of records including most touchdown passes (442) and most passing yards (61,655) and started 275 consecutive games, including the playoffs, a quarterbacks record.








Waterboarding


President Bush has vetoed a bill that would explicitly prohibit the Central Intelligence Agency from using interrogation methods including include waterboarding.









China Suppresses Tibetan Protests
After protests in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region Chinese Military round up protesters and the violence and protests move to Hezuo in China's Gansu Province. Much of the violence, protests and demonstrations are due to a pent up anger in Tibetans that the Han Chinese are increasing moving to Tibet and Tibetans complain they are losing their culture, and jobs.

After the protests in the late Eighties China has sunk large amounts of investment into the area but the Tibetans believe the biggest gainers are the Han Chinese who have moved into the area along with the investments.

The Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetans in exile in India, says he wants more autonomy for Tibet, not independence, and that violence is not the answer from Tibetans or the Chinese Government.











IRS announces stimulus payments Dates


The Internal Revenue Service will begin to send more than 130 million economic stimulus payments in May and the Social security number will determine the date checks are sent.

Last two digits of SSN as listed below determine when Check should be mailed by

00-09.............................May 16

10-18.............................May 23

19-25.............................May 30

26-38.............................June 6

39-51.............................June 13

52-63.............................June 20

64-75.............................June 27

76-87.............................July 4

88-99.............................July 11












Interest Rates


The Federal Reserve continued to slash interest rates when it cuts its federal funds target rate by 75 basis points to 2.25 percent, its lowest level since December 2004.










Verizon Wireless


Verizon Wireless wins the lion's share of the communications spectrum during the Federal Communications Commission's auction.










4,000 U.S. troops Lost


A roadside bomb in Iraq kills four U.S. soldiers, bringing the U.S. death toll to 4,000 since the Invasion of Iraq by US forces just over 5 years ago.











Olympic Torch Relay Begins


Olympic Torch Relay starts from in Olympia, Greece to take it round the world promoting the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Countries the torch relay will be going through.
Greece, China, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia, United Kingdom, France, United States, Argentina, Tanzania, Oman, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macau.
The Olympic Torch Relay will end in China on August 8th at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.










February 2008




Baghdad Attack


A coordinated attack on two pet bazaars in Baghdad by two women wearing explosives under traditional black Islamic robes which were detonated remotely kill 90 people in the al-Ghazl pet market and a bird market in southeastern Baghdad making it the deadliest attack since the US surge of an additional 30,000 extra troops sent to the capital last year.










Tornadoes Kill 54 people across the South


The worst tornadoes in over two decades strikes 5 states in the south including the worst hit Tennessee with over 30 reported dead , Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.









Rebel Uprising Crushed


Government forces are once again in full control of Chad after three days of fierce fighting between government troops and rebels leaving many of the rebels lying in the streets for days the dead bodies are now bloated and covered in flies.









Political Unrest


The political unrest in Pakistan continues following the murder of Benazir Bhutto and the detention of the deposed chief justice. An estimated 100,000 supporters of Benazir Bhutto turned out for her party's first major election rally since her assassination. Meanwhile in the capital of Islamabad riot police used water cannons and tear gas on protesters over the detention of the deposed chief justice. Also at a political gathering Saturday in northwestern Pakistan, a bomb is detonated killing at least 25 people.









Shooting At Northern Illinois University


A former student of Northern Illinois University opens fire at a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University killing 7 and injuring 14 more . The black-clad gunman wielding a shotgun and two handguns opened fire on students in De Kalb, near Chicago killing six people.









Mercedes Smart Car comes to the US
The Mercedes Smart Car comes to the US market , available in early 2008 and Mercedes announces 30,000 are already pre-ordered , current base model price $12,000, will it take off in the US as well as it has in Europe , many believe it will.









Cuba Fidel Castro


Fidel Castro who has ruled Cuba since the revolution in 1959 has decided to end his presidency of the country after nearly fifty years..










Satellite Shot Down


The US shoot down a disabled spy satellite 153 nautical miles above the earth using an SM-3 missile fired from a warship in waters west of Hawaii, proving that the country's missile defence system works.










Chumpy


The latest in Electronic / Internet Gadgets is released. Chumby a tiny computer enclosed in a stuffed leather pillow the size of two fists with a 6-inch LCD touch-sensitive screen which shows pictures, news headlines, games, incoming e-mail from the Internet.







January 2008



Ethnic Violence


The violence in Kenya continues to worsen following the Election with mob shootings and ethnic violence breaking out. The latest is the murder of 50 ethnic Kikuyus as they looked for refuge in a local church when a mob torched a church containing women and children, many were hacked to death with machetes as they tried to escape the burning church. The ethnic violence is beginning to look like Rwanda over again and currently the world is looking on in dismay .










The Race For President


After 12 months of campaigning the real race is about to begin as voters in Iowa have been bombarded with TV adds and speeches on a daily basis in the Iowa's caucuses.

All the contenders are now concentrating on getting their voters to the polls as with such a small number of voters a well organized party machine that can get just a few thousand voters to vote on the day could swing the result.


The three front runners for the Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards are locked in a close three-way fight with just a few percentage points separating them according to the latest polls.

The two front runners for the Republicans are Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney .









Oil Breaks the $100 a Barrel


After a few months with the price of oil flirting with the $100 per Barrel it has finally broken the barrier and is expected to increase further now the physiological price barrier is broken









The People's Car


The Tata Group introduces the Nano it's ultra cheap, ultra small car, created for the common man in India costing 100,000 rupees the equivalent of $2,500 which is half the cost of the world's cheapest car on the market.








Cloned Animal Meat OK


After six years of study, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that meat and milk from cloned pigs, cattle and goats and their offspring is safe and does not need to be labelled as derived from cloned animals.









Possible Recession


Economists, The Federal Government, Politicians and everyone else are for the first time mostly agreeing and discussing a possible recession and how to avert..


The triggers for the change in defining current state of the economy have been the continuing concerns over sub-prime mortgages and defaults


An increase of defaulters on other loans and credit cards


Worse than expected consumer spending during the holiday season


Large losses on the US stock market with a high of 14,160 in October 2007 dropping 2,000 points to 12,159 on January 17th 2008 in just over 3 months.


Employment figures going over the 5% barrier


Property values continuing to decline with larger numbers of property available on the market ( many through default )


Concerns over inflation pressures caused by increased fuel and high government spending which in turn make it harder for the fed to pump large amounts into the economy.


And possibly the worst news is that this is not just a US problem as governments as far away as France and Britain and even some of the high flying Asian economy's


The figures released in the next few months including inflation, employment, housing and if the credit squeeze tightens will determine which it will be Adjustment, Bear or All Out Recession










Recession Measures


Following stocks plunging around the world on Monday 21st January, The Federal Reserve slashed a key interest rate by 3/4 of a percentage point on federal funds rate from 4.25 percent down to 3.5 percent on Tuesday 22nd January, and signaled that further rate cuts were likely.


This follows a continued series of bad market news from the financial sector and retail sales that appear to confirm the US is heading for a recession.


For the first time in a long time the Republican President and Democratic Congress have also agreed to work together to bring a stimulus package to support the economy which could include tax rebates of $800 to $1,600 for individuals and couples and so-called bonus depreciation to allow companies to deduct 50 percent of business investments made this year. The package may also include boosts in unemployment benefits, food stamp payments and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.


Due to the severity of the problem it could be just 3 weeks before a bill is passed and placed on the presidents desk to sign into law. Lightening quick in today's political climate.









Rogue Trader


A rogue trader ( Mr Kerviel ) at "Societe Generale" has lost over 7 billion dollars , to put this in context the rogue trader ( Nick Leeson ) who was at the centre of collapse at Barings Bank in England in 1995 lost in the order of $1.28 billion dollars. Societe Generale, one of France's largest banks, has arranged a rights issue worth 5.5bn euros in new capital in order to offset the losses, but has stated it would still show a profit balance for 2007.






August 2008



Olympic Games 2008
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad will be held in Beijing, China / Hong Kong, China (Equestrian events)


Below is a list of earlier venues that have hosted the Olympic Games since The first modern Summer Olympic Games where held in 1896.

1896 Athens, Greece
1900 Paris, France
1904 St. Louis, United States
1908 London, United Kingdom
1912 Stockholm, Sweden
1920 Antwerp, Belgium
1924 Paris, France
1928 Amsterdam, Netherlands
1932 Los Angeles, United States
1936 Berlin, Germany
1948 London, United Kingdom
1952 Helsinki, Finland
1956 Melbourne, Australia / Stockholm, Sweden (Equestrian events)
1960 Rome, Italy
1964 Tokyo, Japan
1968 Mexico City, Mexico
1972 Munich, Germany
1976 Montréal, Quebec, Canada
1980 Moscow, Soviet Union
1984 Los Angeles, United States
1988 Seoul, South Korea
1992 Barcelona, Spain
1996 Atlanta, United States
2000 Sydney, Australia
2004 Athens, Greece
2008 Beijing, / Hong Kong, China

And the Olympic games has been awarded to London, England for 2012








November 2008

US Presidental Elections



The Political Symbols



Well with the big run for power by the boys and girls from the Democratic and Republican parties , I thought it would be nice to check out a few things about the parties they represent


The Symbols History



Democratic Donkey In the 1828 Presidential Elections opponents of Andrew Jackson told all who would listen that Andrew Jackson was a "Stubborn Jackass" Jackson was proud of his reputation for stubbornness and even wanted to use it as a good quality, so started using a donkey on his campaign posters . Democrats have been using the symbol of the Donkey ever since.

Republican Elephant The republican elephant started in a very different way when a political cartoonist ( Thomas Nast )who did not think President Ulysses S Grant should run for a third term had a cartoon published in Harper's Weekly in 1874 depicting the Republican Party as a stampeding Elephant.





The History



Democratic / Republican Party is the oldest political party in the United States dating back to the ( Joint Democratic-Republican Party ), founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792.

Democratic Party was formed when the two parties split in 1912

Republican Party was formed when the two parties split in 1912


It is interesting when you visit the two party websites and find that both claim the period prior to 1912 with neither willing to acknowledge the others contribution up to 1912

One other interesting thing I found was

I looked at both party sites to see if they had a simple mission statement which would provide a two or three sentence paragraph explaining in simple terms what they stood for ( I could not find a mission statement for either party ) , I then checked the Labour Party and the Conservative party in Britain to see if they had a mission statement and also no simple statement of what they stood for either.

I wonder if this is a reflection of politics in general and if so think it is a shame .












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