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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stock traders around the world might be wishing they had some of what Tim Hudak had, as this day progressed.. anything to bring a smile to some exceedingly dour faces.. Tims story will finish up this entry..

But to begin..more signs of economic weakness triggered a global selloff in stocks today.. The Dow Jones fell more than 400 points in a return to the wild swings which typified the market last week..
Figures released in the United States.. show that more people joined the unemployment line last week than a week earlier.. gasoline prices contributed to higher inflation and manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic..
In Europe, bank stocks slid on worries about the region's debt problems.. In Asia, Japan's exports fell for the fifth straight month..
The U.S. and European economies are "dangerously close to recession," Morgan Stanley economists reported.. "It won't take much in the form of additional shocks to tip the balance."..
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 456 points, or 4%, to 10,954 at 1:55 this afternoon in New York.. about a half-hour into trading.. it was down 528 points
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 55 points, or 4.6%, to 1,138..
All but three of the 500 stocks in the index fell..
The Nasdaq composite fell 127, or 5%, to 2,383..
"This is yet another stage of panic selling," said Gene Peroni Jr., a portfolio manager with Advisors Asset Management.. they handle some $7.3 billion in client assets.. "Investors are reacting first and asking questions later."..
Last week was one of the wildest in Wall Street history.. The Dow moved more than 400 points on four straight days for the first time in the history of the exchange..
While stocks had been relatively stable earlier this week because investors were calmed by strong earnings reports and a flurry of corporate acquisition deals.. The Dow had fallen 76 points Tuesday and risen four points yesterday.. the first time that the average rose or fell by less than 100 points on two straight days in nearly three weeks..
That came to an end today..
And with stocks down big, money flooded into U.S. Treasurys and gold, both considered safer investments.. Gold rose to a record of $1,829.70/troy ounce before falling back to $1,821.80.. That's up from $1,400 at the start of the year.. and more than double the price several years ago.. The price of gold has set one record after another, with some investors looking for stability and others simply looking to cash in..
The U.S. and European economies are “dangerously close to recession,” Morgan Stanley economists reported.. “It won’t take much in the form of additional shocks to tip the balance.”..
We're teetering on the edge of a full-blown Depression.. and perhaps it's time for our economists, and politicians, came clean with us..
Among today’s disappointing U.S. economic news.. 408,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week, up from 399,000 the week before and the most in four weeks.. Inflation at the consumer level rose 0.5% in July, the highest since March.. It had fallen 0.2% in June.. Manufacturing has sharply weakened in the Philadelphia region, according to a report from the Federal Reserve.. Manufacturing had been one of the economy’s strongest industries since the recession ended in 2009, but its growth has slowed this year.. and the National Association of Realtors said the number of people who bought previously occupied homes dropped in July for the third time in four months..

Something to take note of.. for the first time the US explicitly called today for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.. and imposed new economic sanctions likely to be followed up by the European Union..
Obama delivered his ultimatum after five months of a brutal Syrian government crackdown against protesters seeking an end to the 41-year reign by the Syrian president and his late father, Hafez al-Assad..
The fresh U.S. sanctions would freeze Syrian government assets under U.S. jurisdiction.. bar U.S. individuals or companies from transactions with Assad's government.. and ban U.S. imports of Syrian petroleum..
The U.S. sanctions are likely to have limited impact because of the low level of U.S.-Syrian trade and the minimal U.S. imports of Syrian oil.. but will likely be followed by European nations with greater economic leverage..
Britain, France and Germany also demanded that Assad go.. as did the EU.. whose Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, said the bloc's 27 members were preparing to target more Syrian entities and looking at ways to broaden their sanctions..

Here, we'd call it 'reality TV'.. In China, it's a diplomatic debacle..
A bench-clearing brawl at an exhibition game between American and Chinese basketball teams today.. marring the orchestrated harmony of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to China..
The fight between the Georgetown University men's basketball team and the Bayi Rockets last night in Beijing forced the game to end early.. Biden did not attend the game.. However, on Wednesday he watched the Georgetown team beat the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons 98-81..
Georgetown Hoyas head coach John Thompson III said in an emailed statement that the team regretted the incident..
"Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams," he said. "We sincerely regret that this situation occurred."..
The brawl Thursday was the latest instance of on-court fighting by China, whose players have been fined tens of thousands of dollars by the world and Asian Federations for scrapping with opponents..
Photos from the game circulating on China's popular microblog Sina Weibo show players from both teams pushing one another..
The Washington Post said the melee broke out in the fourth quarter as members of both teams tackled and threw punches at one another.. Chairs and water bottles were also thrown as the Georgetown players left the court with about nine-and-a-half minutes remaining..
Makes the prospect of the upcoming Olympic basketball games just that little bit more exciting..

But.. back to Tim..
It's rare these days, to get an honest answer to a question posed to a politician.. but it seems Canadian politics isn't as jaded as that in other countries..
Ontario Premier Tim Hudak says he smoked dope in his youth..
And.. he inhaled!
Hudak made the admission on today in response to questions from reporters about his latest campaign pledge to get tough on crime.. He said he would set up a registry of homes that are used as grow-ops and meth labs..
“I was wondering if this would come up,” Hudak said, when asked if he ever inhaled.. “Listen,” he said, “I lived a pretty normal life growing up as a kid.. So.. yes I have.”..
When it comes to politicians’ past drug use, Hudak is in good company..
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty admitted during the 1999 provincial election campaign to having tried pot..
And former U.S. President Bill Clinton admitted during his first White House campaign in 1992 to trying marijuana but.. he said.. he did not inhale..
And we, both those who reported his comment, along with those who read it.. had the same thought..

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