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Old 2010-02-15, 10:08   Link #6101
SaintessHeart
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Exports Boost Japan's GDP Growth

Quote:
By TOMOYUKI TACHIKAWA

TOKYO—The gloom is lifting a bit from the Japanese economy, as sharp growth from China and other Asian neighbors is lifting exports and spurring more capital spending by the nation's manufacturers, though Beijing's recent moves to prevent overheating could limit Tokyo's recovery.

While the spotlight in recent weeks has been on the travails of two corporate icons—quality problems at Toyota Motor Corp. and the bankruptcy of Japan Airlines Corp.—profits for most Japanese companies surged at the end of 2009, while the economy grew faster than a 4% annualized pace for the three months ended Dec. 31.

Significant problems still hang over the world's second-largest economy—a distinction Japan retained by expanding just enough to stay bigger than China, at least through the end of last year. Economic growth was elevated by government stimulus spending that is slated soon to expire and will be hard to extend, given the country's huge public debt. Profit growth came off a low base and was largely the result of cost-cutting, as revenues continued to fall amid persistent deflation.

Still, policy makers and some economists have been turning a bit more positive about Japan's near-term prospects. Monday's data "appear to show signs that the Japanese economy may return to a sustainable recovery path," Keisuke Tsumura, a parliamentary secretary at the cabinet office, told reporters. "The risk of a double-dip recession has decreased a little."

Meanwhile, Japan's relatively strong economic performance likely will reduce pressure on the Bank of Japan to further ease monetary policy in the near term. The central bank's target interest rate is now at 0.1%; it also provides liquidity to the money markets in an effort to stoke demand. The BOJ's policy board is holding a two-day meeting ending Thursday, and is expected to keep policy unchanged.

Japan's 4.6% annualized growth rate for the fourth quarter—announced by the government Monday morning—follows robust growth reports for the same period from the U.S., which posted 5.7% expansion over the previous quarter, and China, which had 10.7% growth. Europe, for now at least, has replaced Japan as the central drag on global growth among the world's leading economies, reporting expansion last week of just 0.4% for the period.

Separately, Daiwa Capital Markets released on Monday a survey summarizing the results of the recent earnings period, showing that, on average, the 300 major Tokyo-listed companies reported a 217.1% increase in pretax profits during the October-December quarter.

Japanese auto makers, in particular, are seeing their profits rise because of improved overseas market conditions. Nissan Motor Co., for example, said last week it now expects a net profit of 35 billion yen (about $389 million) in the fiscal year ending March 31, compared with its earlier forecast of a 40 billion yen net loss. This makes Nissan the latest Japanese car maker to upgrade its full-year forecast, following solid earnings reports from Toyota and Honda Motor Co. earlier in the month.

The rise in profits is coming mostly from the manufacturing sector. Those companies reported nearly a 30-fold average increase in pretax profits, compared with nonmanufacturers, whose profit increase was a more modest 24.6%, according to Daiwa. Overall, the profit increase came on a 7.6% drop in sales for the same period.

Underscoring the uncertainty still hanging over Japan's economy, stocks fell modestly Monday, despite the strong economic data. Among other things, investors appeared worried about Beijing's recent moves to tighten monetary policy, which could slow Japan's main growth engine.

The GDP report said corporate capital investment increased for the first time in seven quarters, rising 1%. A 5% climb in exports inspired company managers to spend more on their facilities to meet the increased overseas demand, analysts said. The most recent data released by the finance ministry showed that Japanese exports to Asia increased 31.1% year-to-year in December.

The economic figures also showed that a slight increases in domestic demand also helped lifted Japan out of its worst recession in the post-war era.

Private consumer spending, which accounted for about 58% of real gross domestic product, rose 0.7%, supported by government measures to encourage purchases of energy-efficient electrical appliances and cars. That was the third straight quarter of gains.

As a result, domestic demand added 0.6 percentage points to GDP growth, and external demand—exports minus imports—contributed 0.5 point. This was the first time since January-March 2008 domestic demand pushed growth higher.

But with last year's 12-trillion-yen stimulus plan ending soon and being replaced by more modest measures, consumer spending is expected to fade. "The pace of the growth is expected to become slower early this year, as areas like consumption are largely supported by government policy," said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist Nikko Cordial Securities.

Economists now expect real GDP growth to slow to an annualized 0.8% January to March and 0.75% the following quarter, according to a survey of 39 economists released last week by the government-affiliated Economic Planning Association.

And the GDP report also indicated that deflation, a persistent fall in prices that hurts economic activity by dragging down corporate earnings and increasing the debt burdens of companies and individuals, continues to weigh on demand.

The GDP deflator—an indicator that gives a broad reading of price trends—worsened to a record low of a 3% decline in October-December from the previous year, compared with a 0.6% decrease in the previous quarter. A fall in domestic prices pushed down the deflator as the gap between supply and demand is still increasing.

"While there is a glimmer of light shining between the clouds, we can't be complacent," Finance Minister Naoto Kan told reporters.

Reflecting the severity of last year's economic downturn, real GDP for all of 2009 shrank 5%, marking the sharpest slide since records began in 1955. That put Japan's total GDP at $5.085 trillion last year, still slightly higher than China's $4.909 trillion and keeping it the world's second- largest economy, according to the Cabinet Office.
If you guys want to see more of

Spoiler for this (WARNING : MOE):


buy more of it. Help boost Japan's economy by supporting its export of moe.
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Old 2010-02-15, 10:12   Link #6102
MeoTwister5
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I would but I haven't seen awesome Yui Hirasawa figurines worthy of my money.

Goddammit.
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Old 2010-02-15, 13:59   Link #6103
Vexx
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Oye, you're supposed to buy the entire line-up Quick, mortgage everything!
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Old 2010-02-15, 15:15   Link #6104
mg1942
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anti-choice activists playing the race card



http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...l6NjgD9DS3HLO0
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Old 2010-02-15, 15:47   Link #6105
ShadowSeed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mg1942 View Post
anti-choice activists playing the race card



http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...l6NjgD9DS3HLO0
Note what's over the advert: C? BS!
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Old 2010-02-15, 15:57   Link #6106
Zu Ra
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Keitai (Cell-Phone Books)

Quote:
Wolf Boy.X.Natural Girl

Apologies to Tolstoy, but one of the biggest novelists these days is a 15-year-old in Japan who wrote a book from her cell phone using her thumbs. Really. The new type of storytelling is called "keitai" — cell-phone novels. Aimed squarely at those who can't be parted from their mobiles, teens — mostly young women readers and writers — have turned the cell-phone story into the must-read phone book.


According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, the way it works is writers keep to a cell-screen-friendly 1,000-character limit per page and upload from their phones to publishing websites, then get instant feedback on plot twists and helpful fixes on typos. With a million cell-phone books and 6 million users, fans are giving the new craze a ringing endorsement. The Jane Austen of the text-u-scripts is a 15-year-old who goes by the handle Bunny. Her three-volume book "Wolf Boy x Natural Girl" got its start on cell screens but ended up in print. She has sold a whopping 110,000 books so far and raked in over $600,000 in sales. Not bad for a first-time author who hasn't even taken her high-school entrance exams. The Harlequin-style romance that reads more like notes passed in class has embarrassed the author enough that she continues to go by her alias.


No offense, but you can see why when you read some typical lines: "Miku was in a pink one-piece dress, wearing white heels. She looks mature because her hair is lightly curled. She's looking straight at me. It's hard to keep my cool when she's looking at me like that." The mobile-book trend actually took off last decade through an older author who wrote a serious story called "Deep Love," about a woman who sells herself to pay for her boyfriend's surgery, then ends up dying from AIDS. Seriously, people read that on their cell phones? Well, not any more. The economic downturn has been good for mobile books that are more escapist than edgy. Well, we can't all be Tolstoy.

More info on Keitai here

Credits : Claudine Zap
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Old 2010-02-16, 12:37   Link #6107
Reckoner
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_463308.html

Quote:
AT WAR: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban Commander, Captured

We are blogging the latest news about America's war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Email us at AfPak [at] huffingtonpost.com. Follow Nico on Twitter; follow Nicholas on Twitter. See archives of 'At War' here.

11:18 AM ET -- "It is hard to know whether Monday was a very bad day or a very good day for Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig. On the one hand, he was shot in the head. On the other, the bullet bounced off him."

Top Taliban commander captured in secret raid. The Taliban's top military commander has been captured in Pakistan in a joint operation by Pakistani and U.S. intelligence forces, The New York Times reported.

AP reports:

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, described as the No. 2 behind Taliban founder and Osama bin Laden associate Mullah Muhammad Omar, has been in Pakistan's custody for several days...


Baradar was captured in Karachi, Pakistan, in a raid by Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, with CIA operatives accompanying the Pakistanis, the Times reported. Pakistan has been leading the interrogation of Baradar, but Americans were also involved, it said.

Baradar heads the Taliban's military council and was elevated in the body after the 2006 death of military chief Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Usmani. Baradar is known to coordinate the movement's military operations throughout the south and southwest of Afghanistan. His area of direct responsibility stretches over Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces.

If confirmed, Baradar's arrest would be a major setback for the Taliban.
Story continues below

He may also have information on the whereabouts of Omar and bin Laden.

CNN analyst Peter Bergen: This is a "huge deal... This guy...is the number two political figure in the Taliban."

Taliban claims Baradar is still free. "A spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that Baradar was still free, though he did not provide any evidence. 'We totally deny this rumor. He has not been arrested,' Zabiullah Mujahid told the AP by telephone. He said the report of the arrest was Western propaganda aimed at undercutting the Taliban fighting against an offensive in the southern Afghan town of Marjah, a Taliban haven. 'The Taliban are having success with our jihad. It is to try to demoralize the Taliban who are on jihad in Marjah and all of Afghanistan,' he said."

New York Times delayed publication of capture. From the Times report:

The New York Times learned of the operation on Thursday, but delayed reporting it at the request of White House officials, who contended that making it public would end a hugely successful intelligence-gathering effort. The officials said that the group's leaders had been unaware of Mullah Baradar's capture and that if it became public they might cover their tracks and become more careful about communicating with each other.


The Times is publishing the news now because White House officials acknowledged that the capture of Mullah Baradar was becoming widely known in the region.

What will be the impact of Baradar's capture? The initial consensus: who knows? Analysts seem to agree that the Baradar development is major news, but it's too early to say whether it will mark a major turning point in Afghanistan.

Joshua Foust at Registan effectively sums up the different possibilities:

Baradar supposedly runs the Quetta Shura, which is largely responsible for insurgent activity in the South - including the areas surrounding Marjeh. What his capture means for the day-to-day and strategic activities of the Taliban is unclear, though it could be game-changing.


On the other hand, the Taliban has weathered the death of senior, effective, influential figures before, like the former Taliban "senior military commander" until his death-by-America in 2007. The Taliban, notably, regrouped and kept on fighting hard.

At least in the short term, this could be a great wedge for the U.S. to wield against local powers. In the long term, it might actually mean little because he's really not that much of a wedge. [...]

Baradar wrote the Conduct Guidebook, which was meant to moderate some fo the Taliban's more nastier excesses. Much like the assassination of Nek Mohammed is what gave us five years of Baitullah Mehsud, there is a chance that Baradar's successor will be much worse. There is also the chance he'll be weaker and less formidable.

Worth reading his post in full.

Additional thoughts from Michael Cohen (who is more optimistic) and Gregg Carlstrom (who is less so).

1:43 AM ET -- Baradar 'providing intelligence.' So says the BBC, citing "senior officials."

1:33 AM ET -- More civilian deaths. "Three more Afghan civilians have been killed in the assault on a southern Taliban stronghold, NATO forces said Tuesday, highlighting the toll on the population from an offensive aimed at making them safer."

The AP has details:

The deaths -- in three separate incidents -- come after two errant U.S. missiles struck a house on the outskirts of the town of Marjah on Sunday, killing 12 people, half of them children. Afghan officials said Monday that three Taliban fighters were in the house at the time of the attack. [...]


In two of the most recently reported incidents, Afghan men came toward NATO forces and ignored shouts and hand signals to stop, NATO said. The troops shot at the men and killed them. One of the shootings appeared to match an incident previously reported by The Associated Press.

In the third incident, two Afghan men were caught in the crossfire between insurgents and NATO forces. Both were wounded and one died of his injuries despite being given medical care, NATO said.

Taliban fighters have stepped up counterattacks against Marines and Afghan soldiers in Marjah, slowing the allied advance to a crawl despite Afghan government claims that the insurgents are broken and on the run.

Taliban fighters appeared to be slipping under cover of darkness into compounds already deemed free of weapons and explosives, then opening fire on the Marines from behind U.S. lines.

Ackerman: Don't torture Baradar. Spencer Ackerman writes:

Apparently Baradar has been in custody since last week and is being interrogated by both the Paks and us. (This is why the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group exists.) The ultimate point of fighting the Taliban is to compel them to give up fighting and accept some version of a post-Taliban order in Afghanistan. Torturing Baradar -- which the Pakistanis have been known to do -- is counterproductive to that effort. If we treat the guy respectfully, in a demonstrated way, it might spur a reconsideration of Taliban goals. I am not counting any chickens, but any hope of a game-changing possibility will be foreclosed upon if we or our allies torture Baradar.
I'm surprised this hasn't been posted. Looks like the Republicans can't say that Obama hasn't been fighting terrorism. They'll probably draw the attention in foreign affairs to Iran because of this.
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Old 2010-02-16, 13:13   Link #6108
SaintessHeart
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Euro Rises After Chinese New Year

Dammit man! I wished my relatives would give me my red packets before CNY! I was betting it would happen last week!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_463308.html

I'm surprised this hasn't been posted. Looks like the Republicans can't say that Obama hasn't been fighting terrorism. They'll probably draw the attention in foreign affairs to Iran because of this.
I am seeing more fragmented insurgencies in the future. Different groups claiming to be fighting for the Taliban. Marjah is going get a whole lot bloodier. If they don't hurry, the Taliban will be buying a nuke off the black market.
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When three puppygirls named after pastries are on top of each other, it is called Eclair a'la menthe et Biscotti aux fraises avec beaucoup de Ricotta sur le dessus.
Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.

Last edited by SaintessHeart; 2010-02-16 at 13:32.
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Old 2010-02-16, 13:34   Link #6109
Vexx
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Actually, there's been a fair amount of Republican "we don't think the US voters can remember 5 minutes ago, much less 5 years" lately (not that they might not be right about that). Yesterday, I connected this sequence of news releases:

Quote:
February 8th:
Republican House leader John Boehner sent a letter to the White House demanding that the White House post online any health care proposal it wished to discuss at the health care summit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boehner
If the President intends to present any kind of legislative proposal at this discussion, will he make it available to members of Congress and the American people at least 72 hours beforehand?
February 12:
White House announced it would post a legislative proposal online more than 72 hours before the summit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WH Press Release
Since this meeting will be most productive if information is widely available before the meeting, we will post online the text of a proposed health insurance reform package.
February 13:
Boehner attacks the White House for giving into his demand:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boehner
A productive bipartisan discussion should begin with a clean sheet of paper.
"It is to laugh. Ha. Ha. " - Daffy Duck.
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Old 2010-02-16, 13:43   Link #6110
cors8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Actually, there's been a fair amount of Republican "we don't think the US voters can remember 5 minutes ago, much less 5 years" lately (not that they might not be right about that). Yesterday, I connected this sequence of news releases:

"It is to laugh. Ha. Ha. " - Daffy Duck.
"It's a trap!" - Admiral Ackbar

So far, Republicans have gotten away with doing nothing and letting the Dems. kill themselves.

It's much more dangerous for them to actually have to present ideas and solutions on live TV. It also means they have to take ownership of their actions and can't just blame everything on the Dems doing nothing.
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Old 2010-02-16, 14:31   Link #6111
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cors8 View Post
"It's a trap!" - Admiral Ackbar

So far, Republicans have gotten away with doing nothing and letting the Dems. kill themselves.

It's much more dangerous for them to actually have to present ideas and solutions on live TV. It also means they have to take ownership of their actions and can't just blame everything on the Dems doing nothing.
Aye, its no wonder some Dem politicians are all about "gun control" ... they shoot themselves in both feet constantly.
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Old 2010-02-16, 18:50   Link #6112
cors8
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FCC to propose higher broadband speeds

I hope this goes through. Not surprised at some of the resistance though.
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Old 2010-02-16, 19:50   Link #6113
Kamui4356
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
If they don't hurry, the Taliban will be buying a nuke off the black market.
That's assuming there are nukes available on the black market. While a major concern, and the plot of many bad action movies, there has of yet never been a nuclear weapon so sold. Nuclear weapons are a huge investment, requiring the backing of a state to build, and nations that have such weapons keep them under tight control. For all the talk about how there were "loose nukes" in Russia after the cold war, no such threat materialized. If the Taliban gets nukes it'll likely be from capturing Pakistani nukes, rather than buying some.
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Old 2010-02-16, 19:56   Link #6114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Aye, its no wonder some Dem politicians are all about "gun control" ... they shoot themselves in both feet constantly.
There is so much incompetence from both political parties in Congress, you have to wonder how the hell any of them got elected in the first place. -epic facepalm-
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Old 2010-02-16, 20:08   Link #6115
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinstrife View Post
There is so much incompetence from both political parties in Congress, you have to wonder how the hell any of them got elected in the first place. -epic facepalm-
Not a third choice and aggressive blocking by both parties to ensure no other choices. Then the special interests only have to buy two candidates
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Old 2010-02-16, 20:14   Link #6116
Xellos-_^
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justinstrife View Post
There is so much incompetence from both political parties in Congress, you have to wonder how the hell any of them got elected in the first place. -epic facepalm-

it is call gerrymandering
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Old 2010-02-16, 20:14   Link #6117
cors8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Not a third choice and aggressive blocking by both parties to ensure no other choices. Then the special interests only have to buy two candidates
Not to mention districts are gerrymandered, campaigns are extremely costly, every little indiscretion gets magnified and blown out of proportion, and no term limits.
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Old 2010-02-16, 20:28   Link #6118
Kamui4356
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A lot of them get elected based on "Damn, there's so much wasteful pork barrel spending in congress. Why can't those bastards be like my congressman who keeps getting all these programs to help my district?" People's problem with congress is congress as a whole. Their congressmen are doing a great though.
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Last edited by Kamui4356; 2010-02-16 at 20:51.
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Old 2010-02-16, 21:38   Link #6119
mg1942
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cors8 View Post
FCC to propose higher broadband speeds

I hope this goes through. Not surprised at some of the resistance though.
I get 30Mbps download... 100 is icing on the top
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Old 2010-02-16, 22:04   Link #6120
Seitsuki
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Guess what, we get 500kbs here on good days. Due to bs pricing (our "plan" is around the equivalent of 70usd for 10gb) capping occurs very often and when that happens download speed can drop to around 20kbs.
Stupid money grabbing corporates
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