http://www.freeintertv.com/news_pic/2301.jpgObviously the simple answer to this question is "all of them", and in particular all those countries who are members of the OECD. Perhaps that is the feature which best defines what is happening this time round (and which separates our present problems from, say, the Asian crisis in 1998) since this is a crisis whose focus has been, and still is, in what are often termed "the advanced industrial" economies, even though some of these are now more services than manufacturing-industry driven. But, come-on, within that ever so long list - which includes each and every member of the OECD (and a goodly number of those who aren't) - whom exactly are going to be the worst affected?

I don't think I have made any secret on this blog that I think the principal focus of the present crisis is now situated in what Paul Krugman calls 'Europe's periphery' - by which I would mean Central and Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Ireland and the UK. To that list I would simply add those economies who are largely export driven, and who thus suffer most directly from the sharp contraction in global trade.

In particular: Germany, Japan and China. My principal guess is that China is really going to be one of the worst case scenarios, and that consensus thinking still has some way to go in catching up with events here. Hong Kong based UOBKayHian have a Q4 estimate for year on year Chinese GDP growth of 6.3% for China, and I think few people other than professional macro economists and bank analysts (and far from all of these if truth be told) really realize what this means - it means the quarter on quarter rate of expansion was very low indeed, possibly verging on the negative.
http://www.freeintertv.com/news_pic/2202.jpgFrom the very beginning the U.S. dollar has been having some kind of destructive influence on the world's financial system. The people, who created first U.S. dollar notes, placed some mystical signs and symbols on them. The financial crisis may force the USA to issue a new currency because of those signs.
Experts say that the next four years may define the future of the U.S. currency. The number of problems in the world's financial system increases every day. The U.S. budget deficit has set a new record during the recent three months as it reached the amount of 485 billion dollars. Trying to solve their financial problems, the Americans automatically create a strong disbalance in the financial systems of other countries.

The Americans are very pragmatic. If they come to conclusion that the collapse of their national currency will help them get rid of their international debt, they will do it immediately, - says Alexander Baranov, an expert with the FSB Academy.

There are a lot of examples of such actions in world history. Germany chose to proceed so after the First World War. The link between the national currency and gold was broken, which caused one of the most serious inflations in German history.

It is not actually difficult to find reasons to change the U.S. currency. For example, a union between Mexico, the USA and Canada can be created instead of the USA. This union will be based on the new currency called Amero, - says Alexander Baranov. The situation will be the same as in E
http://www.freeintertv.com/news_pic/2201.jpgWe know a lot more about Barack Obama than we did on Election Day. He wastes little time making big decisions. He was serious about surrounding himself with seasoned people, even if they are outsized personalities likely to jostle one another and unlikely to salute on command. He intends to move quickly to put his personal stamp on government and national life.

Yet much about how the 44th president will govern remains a mystery—perhaps even to Obama himself.

The stirring rhetoric witnessed on the campaign trail and in Tuesday’s inaugural address is laced with spacious language — flexible enough to support conflicting conclusions about what he really believes.
Only decisions, not words, can clarify what Obama stands for. Those are coming soon enough.

Until then, here are the questions still left hanging as the Obama administration begins:

Let's face it — there are lots of reasons to hate McDonald's: calories, cholesterol and, for me at least, that queasy feeling after munching on McNuggets. Then there's always that kid at the drive-through who forgets the ketchup.
Well, add one more reason to spite Ronald: as the global economy spirals downward, McDonald's is minting money. The company addicts us to its food, and now it's making out on our misery? But maybe it's time to change our attitudes about the Golden Arches. What may be bad for the waistline may be good for the wallet. In these tough times, those $3.50 Big Macs never tasted so good. (See the evolution of McDonald's fine-food chain Chipotle.)

"In the worst of times for the restaurant industry, it's the best of times for McDonald's," says Burt Flickinger III, managing director of the Strategic Resources Group, a retail-consulting company. McDonald's reported global same-store-sales growth throughout 2008 — and in November, global sales rose 7.7% over 2007 (sales jumped 4.5% in the U.S.). In fact, the company's sales have increased for 55 straight months. Profits grew 11%, to $1.2 billion, in the third quarter of 2008 (the company will report its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 26). McDonald's and Walmart were the only two companies in the Dow Jones industrial average whose share prices rose during 2008. Merrill Lynch, which rates McDonald's a "buy," said in a research report that the stock is "in a world of its own.
http://www.freeintertv.com/news_pic/1901.jpg Susan J. Crawford was general counsel for the U.S. Army in the Reagan administration and the Pentagon inspector general under Dick Cheney in the first Bush administration. She went on to be chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Crawford now has the title "convening authority of military commissions." She is the top government official charged with deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to trial. She told Bob Woodward in a story published in The Washington Post this week that she will not bring charges against Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi accused of planning to participate in the Sept. 11 attacks, because Qahtani was tortured at Guantanamo. "We tortured Qahtani," said Crawford. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

Qahtani was denied entry into the United States on Aug. 4, 2001, by a suspicious immigration officer. He was to be met at the Orlando airport by Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. Later, Qahtani was captured in Afghanistan.
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