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Puerto Rico defaults for 1st time ever; is ‘death spiral’ next?

by on Aug.03, 2015, under News Events

© Alvin Baez
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is now in default for the first time in history after it only paid $628,000 of a $58 million debt payment it owed over the weekend.

According to the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico (GDB), the commonwealth simply did not have the cash to make the bond payment owed to the Public Finance Corporation (PFC). Puerto Rico is currently some $72 billion in debt.

“Due to the lack of appropriated funds for this fiscal year the entirety of the PFC payment was not made today (the first business day after the Saturday deadline),” GDB President Melba Acosta-Febo said in a statement.

READ MORE: Debt-ridden Puerto Rico fails in bid for municipal bankruptcy rights

“This was a decision that reflects the serious concerns about the Commonwealth’s liquidity in combination with the balance of obligations to our creditors and the equally important obligations to the people of Puerto Rico to ensure the essential services they deserve are maintained.”

As a result of the tiny payment, the credit rating agency Moody’s said that Puerto Rico has defaulted on its debts.

“Moody’s views this event as a default,” Emily Raimes, vice president at Moody’s Investors Service, said in a statement toCNBC. “Debt service on these bonds is subject to appropriation, and the lack of appropriation means there is not a legal requirement to pay the debt, nor any legal recourse for bondholders.”

Raimes added that it does not believe the island has enough cash to make all the payments it needs do, and that similar news is on the way.

“This event is consistent with our belief that Puerto Rico does not have the resources to make all of its forthcoming debt payments,” she said. “This is a first in what we believe will be broad defaults on commonwealth debt.”

According to CNN, Puerto Rico owed a monthly debt payment of $483 million. The vast majority of that was actually paid except for the $58 million owed to PFC, something the outlet described as a strategic decision since that debt is owned by credit unions and Puerto Ricans – mainly retirees – who don’t have much of a chance to battle the move in the courts.

READ MORE: ​No federal bailout for Puerto Rico – White House

The next step in the process could involve Puerto Rico and the PFC getting together to negotiate some kind of restructuring plan. It’s possible that such a plan will push the island’s government to back austerity by raising taxes and lowering spending.

In June, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the commonwealth cannot pay its debt and warned that a “death spiral” could occur if restructuring wasn’t possible.

“There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math,” Garcia said at the time. “My administration is doing everything not to default … But we have to make the economy grow. If not, we will be in a death spiral.”

The White House has already ruled out providing the commonwealth with a bailout, and since the island is not a municipality of a state, it does not qualify for bankruptcy. The Obama administration said it would ask Congress to look into the possibility of allowing Puerto Rico to do so, but it’s unclear how lawmakers will act in response to the situation.

“There’s no one in the administration or in DC that’s contemplating a federal bailout of Puerto Rico,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in June. “But we do remain committed to working with Puerto Rico and their leaders as they address the serious challenges.”

Puerto Rico’s problems run the gamut from a heavily damaging, decade-long recession and high unemployment to government mismanagement and excess spending. Between 2010 and 2013, some 48,000 people left Puerto Rico to find jobs in the US mainland every year.

One resident, 26-year-old Omar Rodriguez, just recently left with his family and moved to Austin, Texas, where both he and his wife obtained jobs.

“I wouldn’t imagine having the same quality of life in Puerto Rico at the moment and that saddens me,” Rodriguez said to CNN. “Saying goodbye to my parents …it was a bit unbearable.”

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Obama: G7 to discuss ‘Russian aggression in Ukraine’

by on Jun.07, 2015, under News Events

Obama: G7 to discuss ‘Russian aggression in Ukraine’

9 hours ago

President Obama has said the leaders of the G7 nations will discuss “standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine”.

Speaking at a news conference in Bavaria with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, he also joked that he had forgotten his lederhosen.

He said the two-day summit would discuss a range of issues including the global economy, violent extremism and climate change.

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Ted Nugent: Native Americans Are ‘Unclean Vermin’ Who Don’t ‘Qualify As People’

by on Apr.12, 2015, under News Events

AUTHOR: JULY 23, 2014 3:47 PM

Ted Nugent
In response to Idaho Native Americans canceling one of his performances, Ted Nugent displayed the behavior that caused the tribe to do so in the first place.

Nugent had been scheduled to perform a concert at Couer D’Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho on Aug. 4, but it was canceled after tribal officials were made aware of the racism Nugent has spewed over the years. The conservative rocker didn’t take the news very well, of course, and went on a disgusting rant during an interview with Gannett Wisconsin Media in which he called those who canceled the concert “unclean vermin” who aren’t real people.

“I take it as a badge of honor that such unclean vermin are upset by me and my positive energy,” Nugent hatefully said. “By all indicators, I don’t think they actually qualify as people, but there has always been a lunatic fringe of hateful, rotten, dishonest people that hate happy, successful people.”

To be blunt, it sounds like Nugent is talking about himself considering the racist remarks he has made about President Obama in recent years. The Idaho Native Americans who made the decision to cancel the concert did so precisely because of how hateful, dishonest, and rotten ‘The Motor City Madman’ is. We’re talking about a man who crapped his pants to avoid serving in Vietnam, a man who married a teen girl he was the legal guardian of just so he could have sex with her, a man who has called for the execution of Democrats and the President of the United States, and a man who has made racist comment after racist comment.

Native Americans are not only people, they’re the first people and original inhabitants of North America. Their ancient culture has played a large role in shaping America, and it’s because of hateful bigoted people like Nugent that Native Americans have been nearly wiped out.

This isn’t the first time Nugent has been stopped from performing a concert. Earlier this year, a town in Texas actually paid him $16,000 to stay away from them, and it’s amazing that more towns don’t do the same thing. But if the Couer D’Alene tribe wants a real rock star to perform at their casino, I suggest asking rock legend Tom Petty. Not only will they get to see a better show, they’ll get a better human being.

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Saudi Arabia starts bombing Yemen – envoy

by on Mar.25, 2015, under News Events

Published time: March 25, 2015 23:49 

Edited time: March 26, 2015 01:21

Reuters / Fahad Shadeed

Reuters / Fahad Shadeed

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Saudi Arabian forces, joined by nine other countries, have launched a military operation in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels, the Saudi ambassador to the US said. The offensive, which started with airstrikes, will also involve “other military assets.”

According to Ambassador Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, the military operation in Yemen started at 7 p.m. EST (11 p.m. GMT). The US is not participating in the operation, the envoy stressed.

Al Arabiya reported that warplanes of the Royal Saudi Air Force bombed positions of Yemen’s Houthi militia, targeting their air defenses.

Reports from the ground indicate that Saudi forces have bombed an office belonging to Houthi rebels in Sanaa’s Jiraf area, with many casualties.

Residents are saying that warplanes are targeting the capital’s airport, according to Reuters.

Houthis are allegedly using heavy anti-aircraft fire to respond to the bombing.

Another warplane attack was said to have been launched on Sanaa’s Dulaimi military airbase. The aircraft’s affiliation could not be immediately confirmed.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait issued a joint statement saying that they “decided to repel Houthi militias, Al-Qaeda and ISIS (Islamic State) in the country.” The Gulf states said they were responding to a “major threat” to the stability of the region, saying that their cause is to “repel Houthi aggression” in Yemen.

Al-Jubeir said the 10-country coalition launched the campaign “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after his appeal to intervene. Hadi is believed to have fled the country as Houthi rebels captured the southern seaport of Aden, the deposed leader’s stronghold.

Egypt is providing political and military support for the operation, the country’s state media said. Cairo is prepared to take part in air, naval and ground operations if necessary, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has announced.

While the Saudi envoy insisted Washington only “consulted” Riyadh, a US official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that America has been supporting the military operation in an unspecified way.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia moves heavy arms to border with chaos-stricken Yemen

Houthi leaders have in turn branded the Saudi offensive as “aggression” and warned that it will drag the entire Gulf region into conflict.

“There is an aggression underway on Yemen and we will confront it valiantly,” a member of the Houthi political office, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, told Al Jazeera. “Military operations will drag the region to a wide war.”

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