End Times

May 19, 2010

IMF still prefers its two ideas for global bank tax

Filed under: One World Goverment — Steven @ 3:34 am

MILAN (Reuters) – The IMF still favours either a form of international deposit insurance levy or a tax on financial institutions’ profits and remuneration as ways of preventing a repeat of the financial crisis, a senior official said on Monday.

Business  |  G20

Amid intense public anger at banks in many developed countries, the multilateral lender has been asked to prepare proposals for a summit of G20 leaders next month in Canada on how to make banks pay for a bailout that cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

But when the IMF’s put its initial proposals for the two levies before a G20 meeting in April they proved controversial.

While countries that had experienced severe problems, such as Britain, were committed to taking action, others such as Canada, whose banks passed through the 2007-2008 financial crisis without government assistance, oppose a blanket tax.

To allay concerns that a global bank tax might punish banks that performed well during the global crisis, the G20 told the IMF to consider “individual countries’ circumstances.

The IMF has said the deposit insurance option, dubbed a “financial stability contribution,” could be a simple levy on a selected set of balance sheet variables, but could be fine-tuned to weigh more heavily on firms that pose larger systemic risk.

Carlo Cottarelli, director of the International Monetary Fund’s fiscal affairs department, told reporters the Fund did not like the idea of a financial transaction tax or “Tobin Tax,” which is widely believed to be distortive and easily avoided.

He said the IMF still broadly favoured the two methods presented in April: a levy “similar to deposit insurance to insure the liabilities that are not covered at the moment,” and a financial activity tax, “which would be a tax on profits and remuneration in the financial sector.”

Some economists have questioned whether broadening deposit insurance could lead to increased “moral hazard” in the banking system by encouraging investors to ignore default risk.

The bank levy is part of a regulatory response aimed at addressing the circumstances that led to the global crisis, including stricter regulation of derivatives, hedge funds and ratings agencies, closer attention to bank capital ratios and liquidity and renewed discussion of global financial imbalances.


Syria turned down Peres peace offer

Filed under: Division of Jerusalem,Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:29 am


'Syria turned down Peres peace offer'
Photo by: Associated Press

Assad says president offered Golan in return for subdued Iran ties.


President Shimon Peres sent a message to Syria, offering to return the Golan Heights in exchange for a promise that Damascus would sever its ties with Iran and various terrorist groups, Syrian President Bashar Assad told the Lebanese As-Safir paper in an interview published Tuesday.

Assad was quoted as saying that Peres sent the message through Russian President Dmitry Medvedev while on a visit to Russia last week. Medvedev embarked on a visit to the Middle East later that week. He visited Turkey and Syria, where he met with Hamas officials as well as Syrian ones.

The president’s office issued a clarification following the publication of the interview, confirming that Peres had indeed sent a message to Assad through Medvedev, but that he had not offered to hand over control of the Golan Heights.

According to the clarification, Peres stressed in his message to his Syrian counterpart that “Israel does not plan to attack Syria, nor does it intend to cause an escalation [of tensions] in the North.”

His message further stated that Israel was interested in peace and “prepared to immediately engage in peace talks with the Syrians.” He added, however, that Jerusalem would “not allow Syria to continue to two-time Israel by demanding a withdrawal from the Golan Heights on the one hand while setting up Iranian missiles on the mountains of the North.”

Peres further stated that Israel would not “enter into peace talks while being threatened,” urging Damascus to cease its support of Hamas and Hizbullah’s terrorist activity.

‘It is a mistake to write off the option of resistance’

“We do not trust the Israelis … we are ready for war or peace at any moment,” Assad told the newspaper. “Some make the mistake of writing off the option of resistance (a term used in the Arab world to connote militant warfare, especially against Israel), and they turn into prisoners of the peace option. They should be fully prepared for both,” he said.

Assad added that Syria had entered mediated negotiations with Israel in 2008 fully intending to reach a “clear and final” solution, but that it seemed resistance was necessary for achieving peace. “If you are not strong, you are not respected,” Assad said. He stressed that peace was not merely a symbolic olive branch, but a tangible and very real way to sort out the balance of power in the region. He then described the positive qualities of resistance, citing his achievements in recent years – among them renewed ties with the US and the West and Syria’s “rich, strong national unity” – as manifestations of Syria’s success.

When asked what Syria’s position would be in the event that Israel attacked Lebanon, Assad smiled and told his interviewer, “I think the Israelis want to hear the answer to this question, and I will not fulfill their wish.” Threats of war, he said, were about as likely to become a reality as suggestions of peace.

In April, the Kuwait-based Al-Rai newspaper reported that Syria had transferred ballistic Scud missiles to Hizbullah. According to the report, the missiles were recently transferred to Lebanon, prompting a stern Israeli warning that it would consider attacking both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response.

The Syrian president stressed that he would not put pressure on Hamas or other Palestinian terrorist movements to disarm or act against their will. Concerning the rift between Hamas and Egypt, Assad said his country did not “strive to play a part at [Egypt’s] expense” and that despite disagreements between the two countries, there were no severe issues between them, but rather a basis for improvement. He added that unlike former US president George W. Bush, the Arab states did not employ a policy he described as “he who is not with me is against me.”

Asked about Syria’s regional interests, Assad replied that his country’s “key interests” were “unity in Iraq, stability in Lebanon and dialogue with the US.” In describing the way the relationship between Damascus and Washington had changed in recent years, Assad referred to his ties with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which had morphed into “mutual respect.”


Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:24 am

TEHRAN, May 17 (Reuters) – Iran will continue its uranium enrichment activities, including production of 20 percent enriched uranium, even after signing a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil on Monday, a senior official told Reuters.

“There is no relation between the swap deal and our enrichment activities … We will continue our 20 percent uranium enrichment work,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.

May 3, 2010

Iran develops new version of anti-cruise missile system

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:36 am
Tehran, May 2, IRNA – Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Sunday that his ministry has produced a new version of anti-cruise missile system.
The Iranian experts have successfully built a short-range air-defense system which can fire 4,000 rounds per minute, he said.

The ministry is now working on different short-range, mid-range and long-range air-defense systems, underlined the minister.

The system has been designed to target flying objects at low altitudes such as cruise missiles, he said.

The mass production of the new system will start in near future, Vahidi said.

Syria, Iran arm Hezbollah with improved missiles

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies — Steven @ 3:32 am

ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday accused Iran and Syria of arming Hezbollah with increasingly sophisticated rockets and missiles, saying the militia’s arsenal undermined stability in the region.

“Syria and Iran are providing Hezbollah with rockets and missiles of ever-increasing capability,” Gates said at a joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak.

“And we’re at a point now, where Hezbollah has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world, and this is obviously destabilizing for the whole region and we’re watching it very carefully.”

Gates did not say if Syria was supplying Hezbollah with Scud missiles as Israel has alleged.

Barak voiced serious concern over Syria’s support for Hezbollah but did not repeat the allegation that it was providing Scuds to the Lebanese Shiite militia.

Damascus has vehemently rejected the charge.

Barak said Syria was arming Hezbollah with “weapons systems that can turn or disrupt the very delicate balance in Lebanon.”

He added: “We do not intend to provoke any kind of a major collision in Lebanon or vis-a-vis Syria.”

Last week, the most senior Syrian diplomat in Washington, Deputy Chief of Mission Zouheir Jabbour, was summoned to the State Department to review what the United States called “Syria’s provocative behavior concerning the potential transfer of arms to Hezbollah.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said it was regrettable that the United States had accepted Israel’s accusations against Damascus as true.

The Scud allegations come as the United States steps up dialogue with Syria, and US lawmakers have seized upon the accusations to argue against any rapprochement between Washington and Damascus.

Both Gates and Barak said their countries agreed about the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, with the Israeli defense minister endorsing Washington’s efforts to secure fresh sanctions against Tehran.

But he said Israel wanted to see sanctions with a time limit.

“We expect the sanctions to be effective and to be limited in time so we will be able to judge …what kind of results stem from the sanctions regime,” Barack said.

Amid recent tensions between the United States and Israel, both men stressed the strength of the bond between the two allies.

Gates said “our defense relationship is stronger than ever, to the mutual benefit of both nations.”

The US defense secretary also sought to clarify how the American military views the effect of the stalled Middle East peace process.

Asked about recent congressional testimony from General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, Gates said the United States viewed the lack of progress in the peace process as providing “political ammunition to our adversaries in the Middle East and in the region.”

He said “progress in this arena will enable us not only to perhaps get others to support the peace process, but also support us in our efforts to try and impose effective sanctions against Iran.”

But he said that “General Petraeus did not say that the lack of progress in the peace process is costing American lives.”

Khamenei ally says Iran not to accept fuel swap abroad

Filed under: Endtime Prophecies,Uncategorized — Steven @ 3:30 am
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// // ImageTEHRAN, April 30 (Reuters) – Iran will never accept swapping its low-enriched uranium with nuclear fuel abroad, a senior adviser to the country’s top authority said on Friday, making clear Tehran’s continued defiance in a row with global powers.

Some countries, such as Turkey, have offered to mediate with the West to defuse mounting tension with Iran over the Islamic state’s disputed nuclear activities, which the United States and its European allies fear is a cover for building bombs.

“We must be very naive to trust the West … Why do they insist on swapping nuclear fuel abroad? It shows they have satanic intentions,” Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top adviser on international affairs, told Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

“Iran will never trust the West to send its Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) abroad,” he said.

Turkey has suggested itself as a third country where the uranium could be exchanged.

Asked whether such a swap could happen in Turkey — a NATO member which borders Iran and is also a temporary member of the U.N. Security Council — Velayati said: “The West can break its promises easily … and Turkey cannot force them to fulfil their promises (to deliver nuclear fuel to Iran).”

Iran agreed to a Western offer last October to ship 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of its LEU — enough for a single bomb if purified to a high enough level — to Russia and France to make into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Iran later said it would only swap its LEU for higher grade material and only inside its soil, conditions other parties in the deal said were unacceptable.

The United States is pushing U.N. Security Council members, to back a fourth round of international sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks, to pressure it to curb its nuclear activities. Iran says its nuclear programme is aimed solely at generating electricity.

Iran’s foreign minister and the U.N. atomic watchdog chief met on Sunday to discuss the stalled fuel deal. Sources in Vienna told Reuters that during the meeting Iran made another counter-offer to the deal.

The sources said Iran proposed an exchange on Iranian soil using a lower amount of LEU than in the International Atomic Energy Agency offer. Under Iran’s new plan, this amount could be swapped simultaneously for half of the equivalent reactor fuel, with the rest of the fuel coming later.

Iran started enriching uranium to a higher level itself in February to create fuel for the research reactor. The move brings Iran’s enrichment closer to levels needed for making weapons-grade material — uranium refined to 90 percent purity.

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