Archive for the ‘holiday’ Category

War Hardly Possible for Australia: Navy On Two Month Holiday

November 18, 2008

Most of Australia’s navy is to be given two months off over Christmas as part of a new strategy to cope with crew shortages, the defence minister says.

Joel Fitzgibbon said the extended break was a way of encouraging sailors to stay in the service.

From the BBC

The number of sailors who stay aboard docked ships will be reduced, to make sailors’ duties more family-friendly.

Mr Fitzgibbon rejected claims by the opposition that the move would affect national security.

The opposition said the venture was an admission that the government had failed to recruit enough sailors.

‘Innovative ways’

Mr Fitzgibbon said: “We’re doing a lot of work trying to find new and innovative ways both to retain skilled people and recruit new people.”


Above: HMAS Darwin

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7734770.stm

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U.S. Must Confront Possibility of Long, Deep Recession

October 16, 2008

By ADAM GELLER, AP National Writer 

NEW YORK – The U.S. has not endured a deep and prolonged recession in more than a quarter century — enough time for many Americans to forget what one feels like.

But unlike the last two relatively short recessions, this one could be much longer and more severe, potentially bringing with it anxiety and job losses not seen in many years.

“In thinking about recessions, people will naturally think back to the last couple” in the early 1990s and in 2001, said Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto. “What they should be looking back at is further.”

That requires dredging up memories of the economic slides in the 1970s, when an Arab oil embargo starved the nation of energy, and the early 1980s, when unemployment and inflation soared.

The last recession — coinciding with the collapse of the tech stock bubble and the terrorist attacks of 2001 — lasted just eight months. It was known more for the slow “jobless” recovery that followed than for the depth of the downturn.

Many economists agree that the nation won’t be so fortunate this time.

“I don’t think we can escape damage to the real economy,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker said this week in Singapore. “I think we almost inevitably face a considerable recession.”

The Fed’s current chairman, Ben Bernanke, delivered a more measured, but similarly grave assessment to economists, saying the recent financial turmoil “may well lengthen the period of weak economic performance and further increase the risks to growth.”

The signs of stress are starting to show: The U.S. has lost 760,000 jobs since late last year, and retail sales in September plunged 1.2 percent, the largest drop in three years.

Every recession is driven by its own dynamic and psychology. The current slump started with the collapse in the housing market and got worse with sharp restrictions on credit that pressured consumer spending and businesses.

That is a different environment from 1973, when an oil crisis was the culprit, squeezing U.S. businesses and consumers. In the early 1980s, raging inflation and high interest rates took their toll.

Both periods saw millions of Americans out of work. In 1975, the unemployment rate peaked at 9 percent. In 1982, it jumped to 10.8 percent.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20
081015/ap_on_bi_ge/meltdown_
recession;_ylt=AtgNO7MiepobjPABCppxQ_qs0NUE

Stock Market Dives 733 or 8% on Fears of U.S. Recession; Second Biggest Drop Ever

October 15, 2008

I’m no economist but apparently I am smarter than the current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and President Bush.  They still have not acknowledged the recession we are in now….even after former fed Charman paul Volcker said we were in a recession yesterday.

DA!

We can all read and think and I stated categorically last March 8, 2008, that the United States was in a recession.  I made this statement after mulling over the facts starting around September 2007.  Turns out I was fully seven months ahead of former Fed Charman Paul Volcker who made the declaration yesterday.

Go figure!

By Matt Egan
Fox Business

Fears the U.S. will sink into a recession slammed Wall Street on Wednesday, sending the Dow plunging 700 points lower and below the 9000 threshold.

An ugly report on retail sales served as a wake-up call for the markets, reminding Wall Street that even as the ailing credit markets appear to have improved, the economy is still in a precarious state. 

Today’s Market

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 758.80 points, or 8.15%, to 8552.03, the broader S&P 500 dropped 92.11 points, or 9.23%, to 905.90 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 150.68 points, or 8.47%, to 1628.33. The consumer-friendly FOX 50 fell 64.93 points, or 8.68%, to 683.27.

The economic pessimism kept the pressure on the markets on Wednesday as the major indexes ended at session lows, never even peeking into positive territory. The selloff add to modest losses from Tuesday, combining to erase more than half Monday’s record 936-point surge on the Dow. 

“There’s still a little bit of gloom and doom in front of us,” said Michael Mainwald, head trader at LEK Securities. “Until some of these government-sponsored rescue plans work their way into the [financial] system, we’re going to have these 3% to 5% moves either way.”

Read the rest:
http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/futures
-decline-earnings-return-prominance/

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U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson (R) listens as Federal ... 
Above U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson (R) listens as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (L) talks about financial markets, fear of recession and the Market Stability Initiative in the Cash Room of the Treasury Department in Washington, October 14, 2008.
REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)

I’m no economist but I can read and think and I stated categorically last March 8, 2008, that the United States was in a recession.  I made this statement after mulling over the facts starting around September 2007.  Turns out I was fully seven months ahead of former Fed Charman Paul Volcker who made the brilliant deduction today, October 14, 2008, that the U.S. was in a recession.  The current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and President Bush have still not acknowledged the recession we are in now.

Read the rest:
https://johnibii.wordpress.com:80/2008/10/14/obama-
really-believes-in-wealth-redistribution-money-goes-
from-those-who-earned-to-those-who-didnt/

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By TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK – Investors agonizing over a faltering economy sent the stock market plunging all over again Wednesday after two disheartening reports convinced Wall Street that a recession, if not already here, is inevitable. The market’s despair — fed by a stream of disheartening economic data — propelled the Dow Jones industrials down 733 points to their second-largest point loss ever, and the major indexes all lost at least 7 percent.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October ... 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 15, 2008. U.S. stocks slid at the open on Wednesday as investors worried that efforts to ease the credit crisis would not avert a recession, overshadowing solid profits from Coca-Cola Co , a bellwether for consumer spending.REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES)

The slide meant that the Dow, which lost 76 points on Tuesday, has given back all but 126 points of its record 936-point gain of Monday, which came on optimism about the banking system in response to the government’s plans to invest up to $250 billion in financial institutions.

Wednesday’s selloff began after the government’s report that retail sales plunged in September by 1.2 percent — almost double the 0.7 percent drop analysts expected — made it clear that consumers are reluctant to spend amid a shaky economy and a punishing stock market.

The Commerce Department report was sobering because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. The reading came as Wall Street was refocusing its attention on the faltering economy following stepped up government efforts to revive the stagnant lending markets.

Then, during the afternoon, the release of the Beige Book, the assessment of business conditions from the Federal Reserve, added to investors’ angst….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081015/ap_on_bi_st_ma_re/
wall_street;_ylt=AigXgb9565eUtw4z5BSaNZys0NUE

Make-or-Break Holiday Season Looms Large for Retailers Amid Global Financial Crisis

October 9, 2008

By Ylan Q. Mui and Kendra Marr
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 9, 2008; Page A01

Each day of financial tumult is bringing more pressure to bear on the nation’s retailers — and time is growing short.
Yesterday, as the clock ticked ominously down to the critical holiday season, department stores and clothing retailers reported a sharp drop in sales while Target said its shoppers are delinquent in their store credit card payments. Port traffic, meanwhile, has been plummeting as retailers cut back on inventory.

“I don’t think anyone predicted a crisis of this magnitude that couldn’t be fixed quickly,” said Bob Carbonell, chief credit officer for Bernard Sands, a retail rating and credit services agency. “If the American housewife puts the money under the mattress, we’re in deep trouble.”

In a year that seems to be defying all economic expectations, retailers are struggling to plot a course through the make-or-break holiday season, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of their sales each year. Will they have access to credit? How much merchandise should they order? Will anyone buy it? The moves they make now could determine where they stand in January.

The past three months were expected to bring the deepest cuts in consumer spending since the 1991 recession. September’s dire economic news — from the collapse of Lehman Brothers to the freefall in the financial markets to the government’s $700 billion rescue plan — have spooked shoppers and eroded confidence. On the day that the House of Representatives rejected the rescue plan, mall traffic plunged 12 percent, according to research firm ShopperTrak.

Scott and Elaine Bourdeau feel the ripples. The couple, who live in Herndon, had planned to travel to Italy for their 10th anniversary but opted instead to save money with a short trip to the San Francisco Bay area. They’re postponing remodeling their bathroom and focusing on necessities — clothes for their two daughters.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/08
/AR2008100804024.html?hpid=topnews

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Can Be Too Costly

March 16, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Saint Patrick’s Day

When graded by your local police, Saint Patrick’s Day is a more troublesome day for alcohol abuse than even New Year’s Eve.  In fact, except for Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day is the number one “holiday” for arrests, citations and emergency room admissions. 
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All because we Americans sometimes think it is OK to drink and over-drink until we are drunk.  On these three holidays and others, including Independence Day on July 4th we act as if we had a license to drink – a mandate from God to allow drunkenness and bad behavior.

Saint Patrick

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA),alcohol abuse and its related problems cost society many billions of dollars each year.

Estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse attempt to assess in monetary terms the damage that results from the misuse of alcohol. These costs include expenditures on alcohol-related problems and opportunities that are lost because of alcohol.

This Alcohol Alert addresses issues pertaining to estimates of the costs of alcohol abuse, focusing on the types of costs considered and on the various problems associated with their estimation.

While many difficulties in cost estimation are common to cost-of-illness studies in other health fields, two problems are particularly relevant to the case of alcohol abuse. First, researchers attempt to identify costs that are caused by, and not merely associated with, alcohol abuse, yet it is often hard to establish causation. Second, many costs resulting from alcohol abuse cannot be measured directly. This is especially true of costs that involve placing a dollar value on lost productivity. Researchers use mathematical and statistical methods to estimate such costs, yet recognize that this is imprecise. Moreover, costs of pain and suffering of both people who abuse alcohol and people affected by them cannot be estimated in any reliable way, and are therefore not considered in most cost studies.

These difficulties underscore the fact that although the economic cost of alcohol abuse can be estimated, it cannot be measured precisely. Nevertheless, estimates of the cost give us an idea of the dimensions of the problem, and the breakdown of costs suggests to us which categories are most costly. In the most recent cost study, Rice and co-workers estimated that the cost to society of alcohol abuse was $70.3 billion in 1985; a previous study by Harwood and colleagues estimated that the cost for 1980 was $89 billion.

By adjusting cost estimates for the effects of inflation and the growth of the population over time, Rice projected that the total cost of alcohol abuse in 1988 was $85.9 billion, and Harwood projected that the cost in 1983 was $116 billion.

Some clinicians, working closely with economy analysts, today estimate the total cost of alcohol abuse in America as in excess of $300 billion annually.

Although these figures are staggering, they have little deterrent impact on a drinker headed out for a night on the town.

So let’s just bottom line this beast alcohol right now.Attend any Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting and you are likely to hear a story of how alcohol lead someone to total professional and personal ruin.  Many successful men and women succumb to the disease of alcoholism.  They can tell stories about losing their spouse, kids, job, fortune, house (or houses) and car (or cars). 

I personally know people who, after being highly successful and relatively wealthy, ended up living in shopping carts.  I even have a friend that was thrown out of a bridge overpass and his “home” in a cardboard box.  It seems his excessive drinking was too much for his wino “roommates – who asked him to leave.

And every reader (just about) who has made it this far will say: “I am not an alcoholic.  I just drink.”

Everyone says this at first.  AA calls it “denial.”  Honest self assessment and a desire to be sober are essential to AA – and are in fact the only entry ticket you need to go to any AA meeting.

Related:
Why Americans love the Irish (St. Patrick’s Day in Monday)

China’s Communist Leaders Apologize for Gigantic Snafu In Snow

January 30, 2008

By Edward Lanfranco
The Washington Times
January 30, 2008

BEIJING — Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, with bullhorn in hand, offered early wishes for the Lunar New Year and apologies to marooned travelers as record-breaking winter storms paralyzed much of east, central and south China ahead of the holiday.
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An estimated 100 million to 300 million workers in China’s large cities travel to their hometowns over a monthlong period that officially begins Feb. 7 this year and is the Chinese equivalent of Christmas.
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Mr. Wen left Beijing Monday night bound for Changsha, the capital of southern Hunan province, one of the places hit hardest by winter storms.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080130/FOREIGN/714504656

Major Retailers Feel the Squeeze From Consumers

December 27, 2007
December 27, 2007
As the nation’s merchants began poring — or weeping — over holiday sales receipts Wednesday, a surprising pattern emerged: even brands that for years have inspired the undying devotion of shoppers felt the pinch of tightening wallets.Once seemingly invincible marquee chains like Coach, Target, Starbucks and Abercrombie & Fitch are settling for ho-hum growth this winter, after surpassing even the most rosy expectations season after season.Though they sell very different products, at very different prices, these companies all shared the same bragging rights. Their customers considered them indispensable, even expressions of who they were.

But in this turbulent economy, the indispensable is becoming disposable…..

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/27/business/27shopping.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Pakistan’s Tyranny Continues

December 23, 2007
December 23, 2007
Lahore, Pakistan

THE chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and his family have been detained in their house, barricaded in with barbed wire and surrounded by police officers in riot gear since Nov. 3. Phone lines have been cut and jammers have been installed all around the house to disable cellphones. And the United States doesn’t seem to care about any of that.

The chief justice is not the only person who has been detained. All of his colleagues who, having sworn to protect, uphold and defend the Constitution, refused to take a new oath prescribed by President Pervez Musharraf as chief of the army remain confined to their homes with their family members. The chief justice’s lawyers are also in detention, initially in such medieval conditions that two of them were hospitalized, one with renal failure.

As the chief justice’s lead counsel, I, too, was held without charge — first in solitary confinement for three weeks and subsequently under house arrest. Last Thursday morning, I was released to celebrate the Id holidays. But that evening, driving to Islamabad to say prayers at Faisal Mosque….

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/opinion/23ahsan.html?_r=1&oref=slogin