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Archive for March, 2009

>How China Will Deal With Growing U.S. Debt

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Sponsored Link: This secret system “x-rays” stocks and “lights up” future price movements

The Three Ways China Can Go

By William Patalon III
And Jason Simpkins
Money Morning Editors

Although there’s a veritable laundry list of obstacles that could blunt the U.S. government’s ongoing economic turnaround efforts, its single-biggest challenge may come from its single-biggest creditor – China.

When China announced a new array of stimulus measures earlier this month, this very important plan was overshadowed by China Premier Wen Jiabao’s concerns about the United States’ quickly growing debt load.

“We have lent a huge amount of money to the United States,” Premier Wen said. “Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little bit worried. I request the U.S. to maintain its good credit, to honor its promises and to guarantee the safety of China’s assets.”

China has cause to be concerned: As of December, the most recent figures available, China held $727.4 billion in Treasuries – about 26% more than the $578 billion in U.S. government securities the Asian giant held at the end of 2007. More than half of China’s nearly $2 trillion in foreign currency reserves are tied up in U.S. Treasuries and notes issued by other affiliated agencies of the U.S. government – including beleaguered mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE).

However, the value of U.S. Treasuries has dropped steadily since the government began selling record amounts of debt to finance its economic stimulus packages. Investors have lost an average of 2.7% in 2009, according to Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.’s U.S. Treasury Master Index.

China’s leaders “are worried about forever-rising deficits, which may devalue Treasuries by pushing interest rates higher,” JP Morgan & Co. (JPM) analyst Frank Gong told The Associated Press. “Inside China there has been a lot of debate about whether they should continue to buy Treasuries.”

And as the U.S. debt soars as the government works to halt the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, China’s concerns about this country’s growing deficits – and its creditworthiness – are escalating in kind.

Depending upon how it did so, were China to stop buying U.S. debt – or even worse, to start dumping it – the economic fallout could be widespread, and perhaps even catastrophic:

* The U.S. dollar would drop 15%-20%.
* U.S. stocks would get hammered.
* Inflation would spike and interest rates on Treasuries would jump into the 8% range.
* And the economy would end up flat on its back – where it would stay, with no rebound on the horizon.

Detailing the Deficit

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>Washington Post Opinion on Obama Speaking At Notre Dame Graduation Ceremonies

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» This Story:Read +| Comments

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By Kenneth L. Woodward

Monday, March 30, 2009; Page A17

The nation’s Catholic bishops have another sticky issue on their plates. President Obama has accepted an invitation to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame in May and to receive the customary honorary degree. It is quite a coup for the nation’s most resonantly Catholic university. American Catholics and their bishops should be proud.

This Story

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But the bishops have a policy that says “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our [Catholic] fundamental moral principles.” Upon taking office, Obama lifted Bush administration restrictions on funding for abortions and for embryonic stem cell research, as he had promised to do. Both actions violated fundamental Catholic principles on the protection of human life.

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Although the bishops’ policy is directed at dissident Catholic politicians such as Sen. Ted Kennedy, Notre Dame is being criticized for putting institutional prestige ahead of moral principle by allowing its graduating class to hear from the president of the United States, who is not a Catholic. And at least some Catholic bishops agree with the critics.
Already, Bishop John D’Arcy, in whose Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese Notre Dame lies, has announced that he will not attend the president’s speech, having failed to persuade the university to withdraw its invitation. Other bishops are likely to join D’Arcy in distancing themselves from the university. In 1992, when Notre Dame conferred its highest honor, the Laetare Medal, on Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a low-key pro-choice Democrat who opposed “partial birth” abortions, New York’s Cardinal John O’Connor flew to South Bend for a meeting of the American bishops at Notre Dame but in protest refused to step on the campus.
I am an alumnus of Notre Dame. I am adamantly pro-life, independent as a voter — and greatly pleased that Obama has agreed to speak at my alma mater. He joins six other sitting presidents going back to Dwight D. Eisenhower — including George W. Bush — who have addressed the university. Politically, I had disagreements with each of them. Yet I never supposed that by granting them the commencement podium the university was signaling its approval of their policies. Neither, now, should the bishops.
On the dais at Notre Dame, Obama will find a familiar face: Harvard Law professor Mary Ann Glendon, Bush’s ambassador to the Vatican, who will receive this year’s Laetare Medal in part for her peerless defense of human life. It’s important that the president hear her message as well as deliver his own. It is equally important that this kind of engagement take place at a university devoted to both faith and reason. Where else but in a university setting should we expect this kind of principled presentation of issues?
No question, Notre Dame will pay a price for doing what a Catholic university can and should do. The Internet is smoking with protests from conservative Catholic bloggers and pro-life Web sites. One of them claims to have collected 206,000 signatures opposing the president’s appearance. These pressure groups are aghast that “Our Lady’s University” would welcome so resolute an opponent of the church’s position on abortion. Some alumni, especially Republicans, are threatening to withhold contributions and bequests. The Vatican is receiving e-mail demanding disciplinary action.
Catholicism is not a sect that shuns the world as evil. As a body, the American hierarchy has usually been both principled and open to political engagement. The bishops have congratulated the new president on his victory and pledged to work with him on issues affecting social and economic justice. Do they now find him morally unfit to speak at a Catholic university?
Obama is not coming to Notre Dame to press a pro-choice agenda but to address issues that affect all American citizens, including Catholics. He will be speaking to students who, like other Americans, gave him a majority of their votes. He will receive an honorary degree because it is the custom, not as a blessing on any of his decisions.
American bishops should remember that it was only a few decades ago that a Catholic was considered unfit for the White House. Do they now believe that a sitting president is unfit to address a Catholic university? It’s time the bishops gave a clear and principled response.
The writer is a contributing editor at Newsweek, where he served as religion editor for 38 years.

The following are my comments to Washington Post readers:

Hey, gaga19832002: Bush is not a Catholic and neither is Obama, but there is a lot of difference in their moral beliefs, especially in regards to abortion. Yours was a poor argument. The worst argument, however, is that of the author — that maybe Obama can learn something by hearing the other speeches. Number two was the author’s statement that Catholicism is not a sect that shuns the world as evil. No one is saying Catholics shun the world, they are in the world but should not be of the world. And since when do we equate those religions which shun evil as sects? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Our Savior and King, Jesus Christ, said he could not look upon evil with the least degree of allowance and it is he who showed us the example about little children, “Let them come unto me.” To take the life of anyone is a terrible weight to bear. But Obama, of all people, being invited to speak to a graduating class of a Catholic University, or any religious school, doesn’t just seem wrong, it is wrong. Obama isn’t just some guy who is speaking at the Nation’s best known Catholic university, he is supposed to be a role model for our children, but he isn’t. He and the Pope met and he told the Pope he didn’t believe in abortion. The very next week he is announcing American taxpayer money would go to fund foreign abortion clinics. What’s that if it isn’t defiance of the Pope and all he stands for? Is that what you want to leave with our Notre Dame grads as a parting shot? Don White, Church Wire

If you can’t find something in this web site, please hit the COMMENTS button and tell us how we can change. Your input is valuable to us, let us know your views, or merely give us a simple thumbs up that we are doing what we can to make this an enjoyable blog. At any rate, we want to hear from you. Publisher, Don White

>Today’s News From Finland

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THIS WEEK
Updated 24.3. Next update on Tuesday 31.3.2009, c. 17:00 (GMT + 3)


FOREIGN

Returning to Baghdad to testify

Returning to Baghdad to testify

In March 1988 Helsingin Sanomat journalist Jussi Vuotila was one of the first Western journalists to witness the aftermath of a deadly poison gas attack on the Iraqi Kurdish town of Halabja. In the years since the event the 63-year-old Vuotila has retired from the correspondent’s life, but he was recently invited to revisit the town, and to testify in the trial of Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali”, who is accused of being behind the attack and many other atrocities. Rather than skiing leisurely in the Helsinki woods, he found himself last week in court in Baghdad. Helsingin Sanomat followed his return to Iraq.

HOME
More and more Finns work from their holiday homes

HOME
Greenhouses in Seinäjoki become winter refuge for birds

HOME
“I left the Laestadian revival movement”

HOME
Weddings of foreign visitors latest hit product of Lapland tourism

CULTURE
Bonnier Journalistic Award goes to Minna Lindgren

PEOPLE
Bon Garner floored the Finnish winter

WEBORTAGES

>HOME

Slump in aviation not slowing Finnair investments

Slump in aviation not slowing Finnair investments

The economic slowdown, which has reached nearly historic proportions in commercial aviation, has not made the Finnish airline Finnair reconsider plans to modernise its fleet of aircraft. On Thursday evening, the first of Finnair’s new Airbus A330-300 planes landed at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. On Thursday evening, the first of Finnair’s new Airbus A330-300 planes landed at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. The new Airbus models are considerably more fuel-efficient than the MD-11 aircraft that they replace.

FOREIGN

Online espionage directed from China reaches Finland

Online espionage directed from China reaches Finland

A mysterious Internet espionage ring, apparently directed from China, has infiltrated computers around the world and stolen thousands of files and documents. The main targets appear to be the governments of South and Southeast Asian countries, as well as Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The diplomatic outposts of Romania and Portugal in Helsinki have also been targeted. The GhostNet malware seems to be an unusually effective espionage tool, which can even utilise the microphones and cameras of a computer in such a way that the spies are able to see and hear what is happening in the room.

SPORT

<b>SATURDAY</b> World Cup Qualification, Wales 0 Finland 2: Age cannot wither him...

SATURDAY World Cup Qualification, Wales 0 Finland 2: Age cannot wither him…

Finland went to Cardiff on Saturday for a must-win World Cup qualifier against Wales in UEFA Group 4, and came home with three points after goals from Jonatan Johansson and Shefki Kuqi at the end of each half. The result means the Finns leapfrog above Wales into 3rd place in the group, behind Germany and Russia, with seven points from four games played. Instrumental in the victory was an inspired second-half performance by the 38-year-old Finnish midfielder Jari Litmanen, who rolled back the years and gave a classic lesson that form is temporary, but class is permanent.

HOME
 Earth Hour cuts down on electricity consumption

HOME
 Left Alliance and SDP accuse True Finns leader Timo Soini of playing tricks over European Parliament

FOREIGN
 New evidence in case of Rwandan suspected of genocide

BUSINESS & FINANCE
 Recession brings more economic crime to Helsinki

>A Quick View of Finland

>On the train to Turku-- the conductor enters. Taken 2007-07-11 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler aardvark.Interesting architecture. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler aardvark.The rather simple subway system for Helsinki. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler aardvark.'Koff' is a popular brand of beer. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler aardvark.I don't know if this is the 'meat' that I'm familiar with. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler aardvark.exterior cladding - kiasma. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.

from outside - kiasma. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.from under the ramp - Kiasma. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.Kiasma - Concrete Work. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.Kiasma - from top of entry. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.Kiasma 3. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.Kiasma Light Well. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.

Kiasma 2. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.Kiasma Museum of Modern Art. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.Kiasma Art Museum Entry. Taken 2008-08-03 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bolioboy.An Indian Restaurant called ' Namaskar ' in Central Railway Station, Helsinki. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.the famous 'Stockmann ' departmental store in the city. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.Sennate Square. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.

An beautiful wedding dress shop in the city. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.Great Upskensy cathedral with me. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.An beautiful shop showcase in the city. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.Helsinki, Central Railway Station. Taken 2008-07-28 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler somasung.American Car Show, Helsinki. Taken 2008-03-22 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler eccuuu.<img class="thumb" src="http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/s/15/155729-some-sweet-cars-3-helsinki-finland.jpg" alt="Some sweet cars!

It's nice that English is Europe's default language. Taken 2007-07-09 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Bus and Subway Station with shopping complex-- Entrance above ground. Taken 2007-07-09 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Open air jazz concert. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Lunch-- (No, I didn't buy the overpriced reindeer sausage!). Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.I got a double scoop here. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.The Kauppatori (main outdoor market square). Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.

The Kauppatori (main outdoor market square). Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Couple from Canada I met in Berlin-- Just happened to be leaving by train now!. Taken 2007-07-11 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Train station-- About to travel to Turku. Taken 2007-07-11 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Department store waterbed. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Musicians. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Harry Potter is everywhere, even in a Helsinki subway platform. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.

Pretty girl at a bus stop. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.I had lunch here at the Kauppatori-- note the price for the reindeer!. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Breakfast cereals. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Mushrooms at the Kauppatori (main outdoor market square). Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Breakfast cereals. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.The Kauppatori (main outdoor market square). Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.

The train station-- note the really buffed dudes in stone at the upper right. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Harbor area. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Inside a department store. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.'Five and dime' store. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Inside a department store-- note the mannequins in bikinis on the left. Taken 2007-07-10 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.Helsinki main bus station-- Underground, with shopping center. Taken 2007-07-09 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Aardvark.

Cool? Embarrassing? (Campaign against alcoholism). Taken 2007-09-05 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler finland.Cool? Embarrassing? (Campaign against alcoholism). Taken 2007-09-05 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler finland.Stan (Tcheck flatmate) and me. Taken 2007-08-29 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler finland.Juan and me (Spanish flatmate). Taken 2007-08-29 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler finland.When standing at the top step, the statues can still see you.... Taken 2007-02-06 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler bimmer19.Frozen water in -20 degree Helsinki.. Taken 2007-02-06 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Bimmer19.

Street at night as people walk by.. Taken 2007-02-06 in Helsinki, Finland by traveler Bimmer19.

>Wake Up Finland. Welcome to Kaupunki, Or is It Cowpunki?

>

A good steam helps sauna-mad Finns cope with life

Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:15pm EDT

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By Agnieszka Flak
HELSINKI (Reuters Life!) – Forget horoscopes and fortune-tellers — steam is the hot way to ensure marital bliss for a bride-to-be in sauna-loving Finland.
A few days before Anna Solovjew’s big day, friends invited her to a bridal initiation in a steam room to ensure good fortune in her married life.
“It was the first time I profoundly thought over what getting married and married life really means,” Solovjew said.
One of her fellow bathers rubbed salt into her back and whipped her with a whisk to chase away all her old loves.
All those present poured milk on the bride’s body symbolically to impart gentleness to her married life and honey to ensure the union would soon produce children.
“After that, I was more ready to tie the knot and was totally sure I wanted to do it,” she said.
The ritual stems from the centuries-old tradition of using a sauna to cleanse the body and the soul.
Finns say the darkness of the room and the scalding hot steam are an escape from everyday troubles and provide an opportunity to indulge in positive thoughts.
The sauna is embedded in Finns’ lifestyle, with one sauna for every three people.
Saunas are found in other parts of the world but the Finns have made it an intrinsic part of their life.
With winter temperatures falling to minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country, in the past the sauna was the room Finns constructed first when building their homes.
“That’s how we survived, because we needed it for the warmth, to wash ourselves and to dry meat,” said Merja Hedman, the head of the 3,800-member Finnish Sauna Society in Helsinki.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS
Routines vary, but the basic idea is the same: basking in temperatures of between 70 to 140 degrees Celsius (160 and 280 Fahrenheit) followed by a quick cool-off.
Having a washing attendant, flaying oneself with birch twigs, plunging into a hole cut into the ice of a frozen lake or rolling in the snow are optional extras.  Continued…


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>Wake Up Finland! Welcome to Your Blog

>

In Finland the title of this blog means city, except it is spelled Kaupunki.
I hope that we can develop a Finnish audience and participation on this blog, because that’s what was intended.

Last I heard, the best high tech company in the world, conceived and located in the beautiful land of Finland, Nokia, was laying off some people.
Can someone comment below and tell me about it.

Also, I would like emails from real Finns in English, with facts and figures on any subject they would like to expound on, and that means almost anything in good taste. There are real Finns all over the world — in Canada, America, South America, Europe, Russia, and especially in Finland. Send it with Subject “Cowpunki” to
dusanotes@yahoo.com
Thanks, Don White
 _________________________________________________________________
dusanotes@yahoo.com

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