Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dow Hits 13,000 in a Struggling Economy


Dow Touches 13000
but Can't Hold On
Feb-21-2012-- The Dow Jones Industrial Average pierced the 13000 level for the first time in almost four years, but traded largely below the mark and ended the day in positive territory.
The Dow passed above 13000 a few times Tuesday, rising as high as 13005. It ended the day at 12965.69, up 15.82 points, or 0.1%.
In Europe, euro-zone finance officials and Greek political leaders agreed on a new bailout and debt restructuring for the Mediterranean country. In Beijing, central bank officials loosened bank lending requirements. In recent months, twin concerns about the debt woes of Europe and a slowdown in China had weighed on investor sentiment, even as the U.S. economy recovered.
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US officials doubtful of Israeli attack
Feb-21-2012--According to American defense officials, an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites would be a highly complex operation. Apparently Israeli jets would have to refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran's air defenses and attack multiple underground sites simultaneously.
CIA director, Michael V. Hayden, said that airstrikes capable of
seriously setting back Iran's nuclear program were
"beyond the capacity " of Israel.
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UN nuke agency reports failed Iran talks
Feb-21-2012-VIENNA - The UN nuclear agency on Wednesday acknowledged its renewed failure in trying to probe suspicions that Tehran has worked secretly on atomic arms, in a statement issued shortly after an Iranian general warned of a pre-emptive strike against any nation that threatens Iran.
Iran over the weekend announced that it will stop selling oil to Britain and France in retaliation for a planned European oil embargo this summer.
The move was mainly symbolic -- Britain and France import almost no oil from Iran -- but it raised concerns that Iran could take the same hard line with other European nations that use more Iranian crude.
The European Union buys about 18 percent of Iran's oil exports, though most of that comes from sales to just two countries: Italy and Spain.
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Strike Apart:
Israel & US clash over Iran attack
Feb-21-2012--Cracks appear to widen in US/Israeli relations over opposing views on how to approach the Iranian issue. Tel-Aviv is upset by Washington's opposition to launching strikes on Tehran's nuclear facilities and now says that position actually play into Iran's hands.
Meanwhile the UN nuclear inspectors are back in Iran - for the second time in less than a month. The IAEA team is expected to hold key talks over Tehran's nuclear program - with the Islamic state hoping to to dispel all allegations of it's military purpose. Despite growing international pressure triggered by Iran's atomic development, some experts say the West's war rhetoric is misguided.
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Syrian Allies Reject Calls for Unified Pressure to Halt Violence
Feb-21-2012--CAIRO - China, Russia and Iran all made declarations of support for the Syrian government on Tuesday, reaffirming their alliances in the face of broad, intense international lobbying for unity against President Bashar al-Assad as his nearly yearlong crackdown on domestic opponents has sharpened against restive areas. Iranian officials, at a regular Foreign Ministry news conference in Tehran, did not explicitly discuss the conference, but denounced Western meddling in the affairs of Syria, its longstanding ally, as benefiting Israel at the expense of those who resist its power.
“What is happening in Syria serves the best interests of Israel and weakens the resistance,”
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Syrian violence rages despite truce calls
Feb-21-2012--Syrian government forces are said to be bombarding the city of Homs, ignoring calls from the International Committee of Red Cross for a two-hour daily truce to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped by the unremitting violence.
Activists say at least 12 people - including 2 children have been killed by artillery fire.
Local opposition groups say they have not been consulted, fearing a ceasefire will only give government troops time to organise more attacks.
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Greece Bailout Wards off Europe Meltdown
Feb-21-2012--The bailout has saved Europe, for now, but it's unlikely to save Greece.
The euro130 billion ($172 billion) rescue — agreed to Tuesday after an all-night summit of European ministers prevented an uncontrolled bankrupcty and calmed investors worried that a Greek default would have started a chain reaction across Europe. But it left key problems unresolved.
Draconian budget cuts could keep Greece mired in recession after five straight years. The deal doesn't directly address the debt problems in other struggling countries in the 17-country zone that uses the euro. Spending cuts could reduce tax revenue and possibly worsen the government's finances.
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Doubts remain over new Greek bailout
Feb-21-2012--The complex Greek bailout deal that was finally reached in Brussels in the early hours of Tuesday morning will buy time to stabilise the eurozone and strengthen its financial firewalls -- to protect against further contagion from the currency bloc's weaker economies.
However there remain deep doubts about Greece's ability to recover and avoid running out of money again in the longer term.
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