Wednesday 31 October 2012

Magnetic reversal

Pole Shift May Be Imminent

Earth's Force Field

The Earths magnetic field, the protector of all life on Earth is under constant attack from deadly cosmic radiation. 

This invisible shield that we live in is weakening in a region over the South Atlantic, leaving it exposed to potentially lethal radiation. 

Is the Earth losing its magnetic field and doomed to a fate similar to Mars? 

Many scientists believe the answer lies in paleomagnetic data, and that this weakening may be a precursor to a magnetic field reversal; scientists know Earth is long overdue. 

However, humans were not around when the last reversal took place, so what does this mean for life?

West Virginia snow storm

West Virginia crippled by massive snow storm
Parts of West Virginia were digging out from up to three feet of snow dumped in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a deluge that cut power to hundreds of thousands of residents and shut down main highways.

30 October, 2012

The thick blanket of snow at higher elevations across the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, including in parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania, also brought concerns that rivers and creeks in low-lying areas could flood later in the week as the snow melts, with temperatures expected to reach 60 degrees. Falling trees and storm-related traffic accidents claimed the lives of three people in Maryland, three in Pennsylvania and one in West Virginia, state officials said Tuesday.

Close to 300,000 West Virginia residents were without power Tuesday afternoon, as high winds and heavy snow snapped branches and downed power lines, and officials expected the number to rise. Outages at several utilities had left some areas without access to water, and officials were sending out trucks to deliver bottled water.

"West Virginia continues to be hard hit," said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat. "Right now, my main focus is on life safety, power restoration and critical infrastructure.…We are doing everything we can to help the folks in need."

More than 30 of West Virginia's 55 counties had snow, with the heaviest snowfall at higher elevations, said Liz Sommerville, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Charleston, W.Va. Bowden, above 3,000 feet, recorded 24 inches by early Tuesday, compared with 16 inches in Beckley, elevation 2,300 feet, and 9 inches in the capital of Charleston, elevation 980 feet.

"Trees are coming down. I got a feeling that a lot of weaker structures are going to come down," said Gary Berti, of Davis, W.Va., where 30 inches of snow had fallen by Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Berti, 54 years old, said all the stores along the main street of Davis were closed Tuesday and only pickup trucks with four-wheel drive were braving secondary roads. Restaurants without power were making food for rescue workers using gas stoves, he said: "They're cooking everything they've got because they know they're going to lose it."

Snow was expected to keep falling on mountainous areas through Wednesday, and blizzard warnings remained in effect in more than a dozen counties Tuesday. At lower elevations, snow was expected to turn to rain by Tuesday night.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation reported accidents on three major highways in the state and said fallen trees and power lines were complicating efforts to clear roads. The agency urged residents to stay home. Marshall University canceled classes at various campuses around the state, and West Virginia State University closed for the day.

Western Maryland recorded two feet of snow, and blizzard warnings remained in effect Tuesday. While eastern areas of the state endured some flooding, officials were bracing for worse, said Ed McDonough, a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. More than 300,000 people in the state were without power Tuesday, with many outages in the Baltimore area. About 50 people were evacuated late Monday from the town of Crisfield, which sits on the Chesapeake Bay, after floodwaters spilled into homes.

In Pennsylvania, 1.25 million residents remained without power Tuesday. Gov. Tom Corbett warned that the central part of the state could see minor flooding, but far less than what storms last year brought to the region. The highest point in the state, Mount Davis, received 9 inches of snow, with several more inches expected. There is "nothing of major significance at this point in time that we have great concern about," Gov. Corbett said at a midday news briefing.

Pennsylvania officials planned to have a shelter open in West Chester, Pa., to house 1,300 people from New Jersey, and another in East Stroudsburg, Pa., to aid 500 people displaced in New York. In addition, Pennsylvania officials were providing 35 ambulances and a large vehicle to transport people, as well as providing a rescue team requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to New Jersey.

Gulf of Mexico

Focus on Canada

Credit-rating agency, Moody's, slams Canada's banks‎

Moody's has threatened to downgrade six of Canada's major banks. The credit rating agency has expressed concern with ballooning consumer debt in Canada as well as the spike in house prices in recent years.

Joshua Blakeney, Press TV, Calgary

Economic outlook not so rosy, Flaherty told

30 October, 2012

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is being told the Canadian economy will perform significantly lower next year than was forecast in his federal budget in March.

Private-sector analysts informed Flaherty at a meeting Monday that they see economic growth of 2 per cent in 2013, well below the 2.4 per cent prediction indicated in the 2012 budget.

For 2014, however, the economists see the economy bouncing back to 2.5 per cent growth, slightly higher than the 2.4 per cent forecast in the budget.

Recession’s legacy has food-bank usage soaring in Canada
30 October, 2012

A record number of Canadians visited a food bank this year, an indication the recession’s legacy continues to bite.

More than 882,000 people used a food bank this March, a 2.4-per-cent increase from last year. Demand is now 31-per-cent higher than before the recession, a study to be released Tuesday says.

Food banks were never supposed to be a permanent part of Canada’s landscape. They sprang up during tough economic times in the early 1980s as a temporary way to alleviate hunger. Thirty years later, more than three quarters of a million Canadians are using food banks each month.

This year’s elevated numbers show “the recession is still affecting us, while low-paying jobs and inadequate social programs continue to challenge a lot of Canadians,” said Katharine Schmidt, executive director of Food Banks Canada, which is releasing its 16th annual tally.

Need has broadened in the past four years to “those who we might least expect visit a food bank,” from employed people to homeowners and two-parent families, the report said.

Nearly a fifth of employed Canadians are working poor, earning less than $17,000 a year, reflecting a shift in the economy towards lower-paying services jobs, Ms. Schmidt noted.

The statistics show nearly 93,000 people are first-time clients of a food bank.

Cashama Charlery is one of them. She arrived in Canada last December from St. Lucia with her now seven-month-old son, hoping he would have a brighter future here. She holds a college degree in hospitality from her home country and has two years’ experience as a customer services rep for the cellphone company, Digicel.

The only work she’s found since, however, is erratic shifts at a frozen food manufacturer that pay $8-an-hour (below minimum wage) with no benefits. After paying for a babysitter and medical bills, she has no money left.

People don’t see this struggle, they don’t know how hard people are trying to make it here,” said Ms. Charlery, 22, who gets diapers, baby food and basic staples from a food bank in north Toronto. “I’m very ambitious and I know I can make it. ... I just want to have a chance to show how I can work and give back to this country.”

Demand varies by province. Newfoundland and Labrador is the only place to see lower rates of food-bank usage in both the past year, and the last four years – a reflection of that province’s vastly improved labour market.

Elsewhere, Manitoba saw the biggest jump in food-bank clients in the past year. Usage also rose in Ontario, British Columbia and the other three Atlantic provinces.

Food inflation is putting particular pressure on people in the North. One Iqaluit food bank saw an 18-per-cent jump in the past year, with reports of $12 milk and $29 cheese spread. Soaring food prices prompted protests in the region earlier this year.

The paper recommends boosting access to affordable housing, creating a new model for food security in the North (where it says food insecurity has become a “dire” public-health emergency) and revamping social assistance programs to support self-sufficiency.

The increased demand may seem at odds with Canada’s modest economic growth in recent years. But it’s typical to see food bank and welfare rates rise two to three years after a recession, says John Stapleton, an independent consultant in Toronto.

It’s counter-intuitive, because people think, ‘Oh, well, if the recession’s over, everybody’s fine.’ It just doesn’t work that way.”

Rather, it takes time for the recession to hit home, which might begin with a job loss, and spiral as severance runs out, support ebbs from family and friends and savings dry up. “You don’t immediately go into poverty after a recession starts.”

Social researchers tend to scrutinize food bank numbers as a proxy for how low-income people in Canada are faring. Unlike the United States, Canada doesn’t produce statistics on national welfare rates or the number of people whose jobless benefits end without landing work, while information on incomes is published with a two-year lag.

The annual release is based on counting the number of people who get groceries and meals over the month of March. It is not independently verified, though its numbers typically tend to move in tandem with the unemployment rate.

Poll: Canadians overspending, rely on luck

30 October, 2012

The majority of Canadian consumers are overspending each month and some are counting on luck with a lottery or inheritance, a survey Tuesday indicated.

The survey for Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Capital One Canada of 822 consumers in September found one-third of respondents pinned their hopes on future financial security on winning a lottery jackpot or inheriting a large sum.

Canada has dozens of government-operated lotteries that pay lump sums, tax-free and the weekly news of winners has apparently skewed financial planning for some, Credit Canada Debt Solutions Chief Executive Officer Laurie Campbell said

Israel keeps up war rhetoric

Netanyahu: A War on Iran Would Be Good for Arabs
War on Iran would destabilize the region, harming the interests of Arab regimes and worsening the lot of Arab populations

30 October, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday tried to convince Arab states that an Israeli military strike on Iran would benefit their interests and that “a feeling of relief would spread across the region” immediately following an attack.

After failing to pressure the Obama administration to back a preventive Israeli strike on Iran before the US presidential elections, Netanyahu has continued to make veiled threats of war catered for different audiences.

In an interview with a French magazine, Netanyahu pushed back against the claim that an Israeli strike on Iran would destabilize the region and worsen tensions.

Five minutes after, contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region,” he said.

Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel,” he said.

But experts generally agree that such an attack would spark a regional war, embolden Iran, and in fact motivate Tehran to build a nuclear weapon, a decision they have not yet made and one that Netanyahu is right to say Arab governments don’t want.

As a recent report by former government officials, national security experts and retired military officers concluded last month, the Iranian nuclear program is too redundant for a surgical strike – probably all Israel is capable of – to delay the program for any considerable length of time.

The report also concluded that an attack would prompt a large-scale Iranian retaliation that would spark an uncontrollable regional war, and this would be severely destabilizing for Arab governments, contrary to Netanyahu’s pandering.
Importantly, the report also warned the attack would increase Iran’s motivation to build a bomb, in order to deter further military action and that ”achieving more than a temporary setback in Iran’s nuclear program would require a military operation – including a land occupation – more taxing than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.”

Netanyahu’s claim that a war on Iran would be good for Arabs is based on the tensions the Arab dictatorships in the Middle East have with the government of Iran. Those tensions come from incompatible competing national interests, and do not reflect how the actual Arab population feels about an Israeli strike. That is something Netanyahu ignores completely

Israel says Iran has pulled

back from the brink of

nuclear weapon - for now

Iran has drawn back from its ambition to build a nuclear weapon but the respite is only temporary and Tehran will still have to be confronted by next summer, Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said on Tuesday.

30 October, 2012

An immediate crisis was avoided in the summer when Iran quietly chose to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, delaying the moment when it could have built a nuclear bomb. Without this decision, Mr Barak told The Daily Telegraph, the situation would “probably” have peaked before the US presidential election.

In the event, Iran delayed the “moment of truth” by “eight to 10 months”, but Mr Barak predicted that sanctions and diplomacy would still fail to resolve the stand-off. If so, he said that Israel and its allies would probably face the decision over whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2013.

Israel reserved the right to act alone, added Mr Barak, who stated bluntly that any “operation against Iran” would be less dangerous “now” than when the country had crossed the nuclear threshold.

Mr Barak, the most decorated soldier in Israeli history, became defence minister five years ago with one driving preoccupation. His central task – indeed what he views as his historic responsibility – is to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran from threatening Israel and casting a shadow over the world.

With every passing month, Mr Barak believes that Iran is progressing steadily towards its goal. In his London hotel room, the minister laid out how, on his watch, Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium had grown from 850kg to 6.8 tons.

His gnawing concern is that Tehran will fortify its nuclear plants, particularly the enrichment facility dug into a mountainside at Fordow, to the point where they become invulnerable to the striking power of Israel’s air force. If Iran reaches this “zone of immunity”, Israel would lose its ability to deal independently with a crucial threat, forcing the country to trust the rest of the world and break the principle of self-reliance that underlies its very foundation.

Earlier this year, however, Iran delayed the arrival of that moment. Tehran has amassed 189kg of uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity, a vital step towards weapons-grade material. In August, the country’s experts took 38 per cent of this stockpile and converted it into fuel rods for a civilian research reactor, thus putting off the moment when they would be able to make uranium of sufficient purity for a nuclear bomb.

Mr Barak said this decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to 10 months”. As for why Iran had drawn back, the minister said: “There could be at least three explanations. One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer. It could probably be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] 'oh we comply with our commitments’.”

Mr Barak added: “Maybe it’s a combination of all these three elements. I cannot tell you for sure.”

But this decision had probably avoided a crisis. Asked whether the critical moment would otherwise have arrived “about now”, Mr Barak replied simply: “Probably yes.”

Yet the minister stressed how Iran’s move was not a genuine change of heart. The fuel rods could be converted back into medium-enriched uranium, although this would take months and waste much of the material. In any event, Iran is now using 9,852 centrifuges to enrich uranium, according to the IAEA, so its stockpile is being replenished.

Mr Barak insisted that Iran was still resolved to build nuclear weapons, predicting that success would trigger an arms race in the Middle East and “make any non-proliferation regime impossible.Saudi Arabia will turn nuclear within weeks – according to them. Turkey will turn nuclear in several years. The new Egypt will have to follow”.The world would start the “countdown” to the “nightmare” of “nuclear material ending up in the hands of terrorist groups”.

Because the possible consequences were so terrible, Mr Barak said that America and Europe shared Israel’s analysis. “We all agree that the Iranians are determined to turn into a military nuclear power and we all share the declaration that we are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear and all options are on the table,” said Mr Barak. “We mean it – we expect others to mean it as well. So it’s not something just about us. But we, for obvious reasons, see the Iranian threat in much more concrete terms.”

In the final analysis, Mr Barak insisted that Israel would decide for itself whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. “When it comes to the very core of our security interests and, in a way, the future of Israel, we cannot delegate the responsibility for making decisions even into the hands of our most trusted and trustworthy ally,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we would be sorry if the Iranians come to the conclusion on their own. The opposite is true. But, if no one acts, we will have to contemplate action.”

He added: “Basically, it’s about the question of when they come into this zone of immunity, where no Israeli surgical attack, probably somewhat later not even an American surgical attack, can delay them significantly. That’s the issue that bothers us.”

As for when Iran will reach the “zone of immunity”, depriving Israel of its military option, Mr Barak forecast this would probably happen “next spring or early summer”.

Mr Barak acknowledged that the sanctions on Iran were “unprecedented in scale and depth”, but he still predicted their failure. “To tell you the truth, out of long experience of the Middle East, I am extremely sceptical about the chances that it will lead the ayatollahs to sit together at any point in the foreseeable future and decide to give up their intention to go in the footsteps of Pakistan and North Korea and turn into a military nuclear power,” he said.

They think of themselves as a major regional power from the dawn of history and they are determined not to fall into the trap that, in their mind, in their judgment, the late Gaddafi fell into.”

The costs and risks of a preventive war would only mount, so the option of acting “now” must be retained, he stressed. “It’s not a minor decision to contemplate an operation against Iran, but however complicated, dangerous – it probably carries some unintended consequences – an operation against Iran could be now – think of what it means to try it when Iran is already nuclear, several years down the stream,” he said.
It would be much more complicated, much more dangerous and – with far-reaching, unintended potential consequences – much more costly in terms of human lives.”
Mr Barak offered a message of cold realism. “Don’t misread me,” he said. “We would love to wake up one morning and learn, against my expectations, that the ayatollahs gave it up. I don’t believe it will happen.”


One NHS trust in five is in bad financial trouble – and Department of Health is failing to plan for bankruptcies
Only urgent, radical action will prevent failures, warns Public Accounts Committee

30 October, 2012

The spectre of hospitals going bankrupt is raised today in a damning report by MPs which suggests that one in five NHS trusts is in serious financial trouble and “there is a real concern that some will fail”.

The scale of the challenge facing the NHS is revealed in figures showing that 34 trusts ran up combined debts of £356m in 2011-12 and another 42 relied on handouts from local health authorities or the Department of Health (DoH) to keep them going – almost 19 per cent of the 411 NHS organisations in total, MPs say.

Although the NHS as a whole is in surplus, parts of it are facing bankruptcy. But the DoH has been unable to explain what will happen if a trust fails to pay its debts or how services to patients would be maintained.

The broadside from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) comes as administrators appointed to oversee the crisis-hit South London NHS Healthcare Trust recommended that it be broken up and run by neighbouring NHS trusts, or offered to private companies.

The trust, which runs three hospitals in south London – the Princess Royal in Bromley, the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich and Queen Mary's in Sidcup – overspent by £65m last year, or more than £1m a week, and became the first in the country to be taken over by government-appointed administrators.

The same fate awaits other trusts unless they take radical action to cut budgets by closing departments and merging services with neighbouring organisations. Barking Havering and Redbridge received £55m in handouts from the DoH last year, Peterborough and Stamford got £41m and Mid-Staffordshire received £21m, according to the National Audit Office.

The DoH expects every trust to have to reconfigure services, but the PAC said there was an "alarming" lack of data to help them compare options.

Margaret Hodge, the PAC chair, said: "The DoH could not explain to us how it will deal with an NHS trust that goes bankrupt. Nor could it provide reassurance that financial problems would not damage the quality of care or equality of access to all citizens, wherever they live.

"The overall surplus of £2.1bn across all NHS bodies in 2011-12 masks the fact that a significant minority are in financial difficulty. In London, two trusts have a combined deficit of £115m, one of which, South London Healthcare NHS Trust, has been placed in special administration.

Ms Hodge added: "It very much looks like the department is inventing rules and processes on the hoof rather than anticipating problems and establishing risk protocols."

The committee is especially critical of the effect of Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals, used to build or redevelop hospitals, which "inevitably distort priorities" and are "especially worrying at a time when resources are constrained".

Contracts agreed under the PFI scheme are covered by safeguards which guarantee that investors have first call on NHS cash. The DoH is already facing a bill of £1.5bn to bail out seven trusts with PFI problems – equivalent to £60m a year, the PAC says.

"We are particularly concerned that the financial viability of a number of trusts is being undermined by the fact that they are locked into unaffordable PFI contracts. It is unclear how the department will continue to underwrite payments once most of the money moves to the NHS Commissioning Board," Ms Hodge said.

Critical list: London hospitals facing uncertain future

A bankrupt NHS trust operating three hospitals that serve a million people in south London looks set to be carved up between the NHS and the private sector, according to controversial proposals to be revealed today.

South London NHS Healthcare Trust was declared bust and administrators called in three months ago after overspending about £1m a week to accumulate debts of £150m.

Its three hospitals, Queen Mary's in Sidcup, Princess Royal (PRU) in Bromley and Queen Elizabeth (QEH) in Woolwich – have struggled with patient satisfaction and spiralling debt since they were merged into a super-trust in 2009.

Matthew Kershaw was parachuted in as special administrator by Andrew Lansley, the former Health Secretary, after it became clear that its two hugely expensive private finance initiative (PFI) deals meant the status quo was impossible for the taxpayer to sustain.

Mr Kershaw's radical proposals would have a knock-on effect for neighbouring hospitals, including the merger of the PFI-built QEH with the neighbouring Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust, with the loss of one A&E department.

The PRU could be taken over by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or, more controversially, its services put out to tender – keeping alive several private companies' hopes for a slice of the franchise.

One of the biggest changes would see Queen Mary's taken over by a mental health foundation trust, Oxleas, and land sold off to pay the debts. The new "health campus" would no longer provide complex surgery but would concentrate on day cases, radiotherapy and endoscopy.

Mr Kershaw called on the Government to pay "the excess costs" of the two PFI hospitals until the 25-year contracts expire. He also recommends a comprehensive re-organisation of emergency, community, maternity and elective services across south-east London.

Thirty-nine organisations have expressed interest in running parts of the trust, including Circle, Care UK, Serco and Virgin Care.

The proposals will now go out to public consultation for 30 days, and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, is expected to make a decision early in February.

British banking jobs at risk as UBS announces plans to cut 10,000 jobs worldwide
More British banking jobs were at risk today after UBS said it is to cut up to 10,000 roles worldwide in moves to shrink its investment banking arm.

30 October, 2012

The Zurich-based bank plans to reduce its headcount from 64,000 to 54,000 by 2015, with some 75% of the losses made outside Switzerland.

UBS, which has around 6,500 staff in London, said the restructuring would deliver savings of 5.4 billion Swiss francs (£3.5 billion) by 2015.

The bank, which wants to shift focus away from investment banking operations, reported a 40% slide in pre-tax operating profits to 2.3 billion Swiss francs (£1.5 billion) in the six months to June 30.

UBS wants to concentrate on its traditional strengths in advisory, research, equities, foreign exchange and precious metals and exit other business lines, mainly in fixed income.

The bank said these divisions had been "rendered uneconomical by changes in regulation and market developments".

The job cuts will target "front-to-back processes" across the bank, UBS said, and simplify its product portfolio and production processes.

Group chief executive Sergio Ermotti said: "This decision has been a difficult one, particularly in a business such as ours that is all about its people.

"Some reductions will result from natural attrition and we will take whatever measures we can to mitigate the overall effect. Throughout the process we will ensure that our people will be supported and treated with care."

The bank announced the plans as part of its third-quarter results, which revealed a loss of 2.2 billion Swiss francs (£1.4 billion) in the three months to September, compared with a profit of 1 billion Swiss francs (£670 million) last year.

The loss was driven by a one-off charge of 3.1 billion Swiss francs (£2 billion) linked to the restructuring of its investment banking division and a debt-related charge of 863 million Swiss francs (£574 million), UBS said.

Unveiling its half-year losses in July, UBS claimed that the botched stock market listing of social networking giant Facebook cost it 349 million Swiss francs (£227 million).

It blamed the loss on the "gross mishandling" of the flotation by Nasdaq, which involved a series of technical errors that caused a delay in the start of trading of Facebook shares in May.

A former UBS banker, Kweku Adoboli, yesterday denied being a rogue trader when he lost the bank £1.4 billion.

The 32-year-old is currently on trial at London's Southwark Crown Court, accused of gambling away the money while working for UBS during the global financial crisis.

Occupy protesters were right, says Bank of England official
The anti-capitalist protesters who occupied St Paul’s Cathedral were both morally and intellectually right, a senior Bank of England official said last night.

30 October, 2012

Andrew Haldane, a member of the Bank’s financial policy committee, said the Occupy movement was correct in its attack on the international financial system.

The Occupy movement sprang up last year and staged significant demonstrations in both the City of London and New York, protesting about the unequal distribution of wealth and the influence of the financial services industry. Members of the movement occupied the grounds of St Paul’s and remained camped there for more than three months until police evicted them in February last year.

Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason; they are right,” Mr Haldane said last night. Mr Haldane, the Bank’s executive director for financial stability, was speaking to Occupy Economics, an offshoot of the Occupy movement, at an event in central London.

In a speech entitled Socially Useful Banking, he said the protesters had helped bring about a “reformation” in financial services and the way they are regulated.
Partly because of the protests, he suggested, both bank executives and policymakers were persuaded that banks must behave in a more moral way, and take greater account of inequality in wider society.

Occupy’s voice has been both loud and persuasive and policymakers have listened and are acting,” he said. “In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir.”

The protesters had been right about bankers’ behaviour and the consequences of extremely high salaries and bonuses in the financial sector and other industries, he said.

I do not just mean right in a moral sense,” he added.

It is the analytical, every bit as much as the moral, ground that Occupy has taken. For the hard-headed facts suggest that, at the heart of the global financial crisis, were — and are — problems of deep and rising inequality.”

Mr Haldane concluded by telling the activists that they had helped bring about nothing less than a new financial order.

If I am right and a new leaf is being turned, then Occupy will have played a key role in this fledgling financial reformation,” he said.

You have put the arguments. You have helped win the debate.”

In the text of his speech distributed by the Bank last night, Mr Haldane made no reference to the techniques employed by the Occupy protesters.

The occupation of St Paul’s last year was controversial, and led to claims that the protesters were despoiling the cathedral’s grounds.

The protest ended after the Corporation of London won a legal order allowing the activists to be evicted.

Earlier this month, members of the group marked the first anniversary of the St Paul’s protest by entering the cathedral during a service and chaining themselves to the pulpit.

NY subways shut down indefinately

New York Paralyzed As Subways Shut Down Indefinitely: Subway Chief: "Worst Disaster Ever"

30 October, 2012

As everyone who has been to New York City knows, without its underground arteries - the subway system - the city is if not dead, than certainly in an indefinite coma. By that logic, New York will not get out of the critical ward for many days, because hours ago the head of the New York City’s transit system just called Hurricane Sandy "the most devastating event to the city’s subway system ever." At last check seven subway tunnels under the East River had flooded, as did the Queens Midtown Tunnel—and Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman Joseph Lhota said there is “no firm timeline” for when the system would be back up and running. According to other MTA employees it would take between 14 hours and 4 days just to pump the water out of the subway system. We'll take the over. And as long as there are no subways, there are no clerical and support workers, there is no Wall Street, there is no beating heart to the city.

A summary of which subway lines are most susceptible to flooding via the NYT, and brief commentary:

Seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded, according to Joseph J. Lhota, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman. A spokesman said it was unclear how long it would take to pump them out. The Long Island Rail Road erected a water dam at its West Side Yards to keep Penn Station and East River tunnels dry, but one tunnel had flooding, Mr. Lhota said. Metro North lost power on two of its lines north of 59th Street.

Instead of subway trains... water:

A representative (unverified) snapshot of what NY's subways looked like at the peak.

via @HeyVeronica
For some stunning footage of what will certainly be an epic struggle to regain control of New York's underground floods watch the clip below: