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    Default You Can't Make This Stuff Up

    Hard to believe this site needs yet another thread, but I came across the following, figured it would take the edge off the sometimes serious tone we get into around here, couldn't figure out where to put it, so I started this thread thinking others could just add anything similar - amusing, incredulous, revealing, impossible to be true, whatever...

    What follows is dead serious. You can't make this stuff up...

    Saudi divorces wife for watching male TV host:
    Date: 9/29/2007 4:25:00 PM

    A Saudi man divorced his wife for watching alone a television programme presented by a male, an act he deemed immoral, the Al Shams newspaper reported on Saturday.

    The man, whom the paper did not identify, ended his marriage on the grounds his wife was effectively alone with an unrelated man, which is forbidden under the strict Islamic law enforced in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the paper said.

    Men in Saudi Arabia have the authority to divorce their wives without resort to the courts.

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    Default Re: You Can't Make This Stuff Up - US Navy Swastika?

    Google Earth Forces the Navy to Do Some Remodeling

    By sonia zjawinski September 28, 2007
    The Naval Base Coronado near San Diego has gone unnoticed since it's groundbreaking in 1967. Then Google Earth had to come in and ruin everything. The satellite mapping site revealed to the public that, from the air, the structure was shaped like a swastika (oops!). Turns out that the Navy knew about this all along, but since the airspace over the Navy yard is restricted they thought no one would ever notice. Well, the Anti-Defamation League did.

    Now the Navy is spending $600,000 to tweak the roof via landscaping and structural adjustments. May I suggest a green roof?

    Here's the weblink if you want to see the Google Earth picture
    http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2007...-earth-fo.html

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    Default Re: You Can't Make This Stuff Up - US Navy Swastika?

    I can't tell if you are saying making the roof NOT look like a swastika is a good thing or a bad thing? (who's being singled out, the Navy for doing this or the League for being hugely sensitive?)

    http://www.hindubooks.org/sudheer_bi...ory/omkar.html
    The next religious symbol which is also revered by Hindu and ranks second only to OM is the Swastika.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
    Archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates from the Neolithic period. It has long been widely-used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

    Quote Originally Posted by GRG55 View Post
    Google Earth Forces the Navy to Do Some Remodeling

    By sonia zjawinski September 28, 2007
    The Naval Base Coronado near San Diego has gone unnoticed since it's groundbreaking in 1967. Then Google Earth had to come in and ruin everything. The satellite mapping site revealed to the public that, from the air, the structure was shaped like a swastika (oops!). Turns out that the Navy knew about this all along, but since the airspace over the Navy yard is restricted they thought no one would ever notice. Well, the Anti-Defamation League did.

    Now the Navy is spending $600,000 to tweak the roof via landscaping and structural adjustments. May I suggest a green roof?

    Here's the weblink if you want to see the Google Earth picture
    http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2007...-earth-fo.html

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    Default Re: You Can't Make This Stuff Up - US Navy Swastika?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    I can't tell if you are saying making the roof NOT look like a swastika is a good thing or a bad thing? (who's being singled out, the Navy for doing this or the League for being hugely sensitive?)

    http://www.hindubooks.org/sudheer_bi...ory/omkar.html
    The next religious symbol which is also revered by Hindu and ranks second only to OM is the Swastika.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika
    Archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates from the Neolithic period. It has long been widely-used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
    I'm not saying anything. This item just caught my eye as one of the absurdities of daily life on the planet today, that's all.

    There will be all sorts of opinions I am sure, including the advisability of spending $600k of the taxpayers dollars.

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    Default Re: You Can't Make This Stuff Up - JP Morgan on CLO-squared

    When I started this thread I never expected such rich pickings.

    Read the last line of the JPM item, and then think about what these dudes are actually telling clients to do. Yep, you just can't make this stuff up!

    If anyone is not certain about the advisability of this strategy, I am sure any of the credit rating agencies would be happy to provide you with trusted advice...for a small fee.

    CLOs-squared offer way for investors to monetise illiquidity premium, says JP Morgan research
    News Digest, 27 September 2007
    In a new research report entitled "Leveraging CLO illiquidity premia", JP Morgan says that the combination of historically wide CLO liability spreads and near-zero default rates makes this an optimal time for buy-and-hold investors to consider investing in CLOs-squared. It says this is a way to efficiently monetise the current illiquidity created in the "spread rout of 2007".

    The report concludes that CLOs-squared offer reasonably low risk relative to the underlying CLOs. Junior tranches in particular offer higher spreads than triple B and double B tranches of regular CLOs with similar or lower risk.

    The researchers point out that CLOs-squared are conceptually similar to ABS CDOs, but that they are better suited for leverage. Corporate loans are simpler than subprime mortgages and hence more predictable, argues the report.

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    Default Re: You Can't Make This Stuff Up - Saudi Arabia Segregates Bankers

    Here we go again. This is an example of what I was referring to when I mentioned on another thread a few weeks back that the GCC countries, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, were continuously becoming more conservative Islamic societies. I have noticed quite a change just in the few years I have lived in the Gulf. This may seem far away for many of you, and of no real consequence, but I think these are indicators of a recent acceleration in a long standing trend (goes back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the first Gulf War) with potential ramifications that go well beyond global oil supply...

    Saudi bank segregation not yet confirmed

    by Lynne Roberts on Tuesday, 03 July 2007
    Reports by news agencies that stricter measures will be enforced to segregate men and women at Saudi banks’ headquarters have yet to be officially confirmed, according to Arab News.

    According to the newspaper no written circular has been issued, although women bankers claim to have heard about new rules, and in some cases have reported to work to find themselves relocated to women-only suites.

    Male and female employees have always been separated at individual branches, but have worked together at headquarters until now.
    A recent Reuters report claims officials from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and the Labour Ministry met with bank managers earlier this month to inform them of the new system, and giving them until the end of the summer holidays to comply.

    Banks are expected to provide separate floors, elevators, entrances and cafeterias for men and women.

    A SAMA official denied any new rules or directives, but admitted that banks are expected to segregate. “There have been many complaints and written requests from different government agencies to strictly enforce the segregation because some banks continue to have mixed administrations at their headquarters” he told Arab News.

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    Default Re: Peak Oil? What's That?

    This just has to be an indicator of something...but I'm not sure exactly what. Obviously he's not paying for it with profits from Citi stock.

    Should come in handy to escape to Geneva when the revolution comes...

    Airbus: Saudi prince snags private superjumbo
    Manufacturer says ‘flying palace’ to cost north of list price — $320 million
    The Associated Press
    updated 4:28 p.m. ET Nov. 12, 2007

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - In the annals of excess, it could be a new high: a more than $300 million dollar, super-sized luxury airplane, bought and outfitted solely for the private comfort of a Saudi Arabian billionaire.
    Once done, the Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger plane, will be a "flying palace" for Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the manufacturer announced Monday.

    Airbus SAS would not give a specific price tag for the VIP double-decker jet, with its football field-length wings, saying only that it would cost more than the aircraft's list price of $320 million.
    That doesn't even include the money the prince will spend to custom fit the nearly 6,000-square foot plane to include whatever he wants. The options include private bedrooms, a movie theater or even a gym with a jacuzzi. He'll also need a flight crew of about 15 to operate the luxury liner.

    "Prince Alwaleed is the first, and so far the only customer of this aircraft," said David Velupillai, the spokesman of the Airbus, which announced the luxury order at the Dubai International Airshow.
    It's all just spending cash for bin Talal — Citigroup Inc.'s biggest individual shareholder and the world's 13th richest person with assets around $20 billion.

    As a member of the Saudi royal family, he benefits from the country's vast oil wealth. But much of bin Talal's huge fortune comes from his investment firm, the $25-billion Kingdom Holding Co., which has stakes in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Inc., Time Warner Inc., Apple Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Walt Disney Co. to name a few major corporations.

    The prince, who is in his early 50s, appears to have a taste for super-sized jumbo jets. He already is the only private owner of a Boeing 747-400, Airbus said.

    "It's like buying a new car or a new TV," Velupillai told The Associated Press. "One wants something bigger and better."

    Airbus would not release many details about bin Talal's VIP A380, which dwarfs the 747 —formerly the world's most spacious plane. Staff who answered the phone at bin Talal's office on Monday in Saudi Arabia said he was unavailable to comment.

    The commercial A380, which made its maiden voyage with Singapore Airlines last month, is as tall as a seven-story building with each wing big enough to hold 70 cars. It is capable of carrying 853 passengers in an all-economy class configuration.
    Take out the seats, and the plane can be transformed into a flying mansion.

    Germany's Lufthansa Technik, which declined to comment Monday on bin Talal's purchase, has created a general rendering of what a VIP A380 jumbo could include: spacious bedrooms on the plane's upper deck, separated by a reception area and a bar next to central stairway. The master bedroom could include an office, private dinning room, a gym featuring a steam bath and exercise machines.

    The lower decks could feature a lounge-type quarters equipped with a conference area and dining room. A third level, normally used for cargo, could be transformed into another passenger space or cinema.
    This type of custom design does not come cheap. Experts say it could rack the price up by another $50 million to $150 million.

    Purchases of private airliners has mushroomed in recent years, but most orders are in the category of a Learjet or Gulfstream — small and cheap at $2 million to $5 million in comparison to the A380, said David Bain, editor of a British-based online wealth analysis service, wealth-bulletin.com.

    "It seems the Saudis really like these huge planes, and they have the money to do it," said Bain, who believes about a dozen other individuals own commercial jets. "Very few people buy commercial planes. It's a bit over the top."

    But he and Airbus expect that number to grow. The airline company said it expects at least six other A380 VIP jets to be sold to clients in the Middle East, and Central and South Asia.

    "The amount of billionaires has sky rocketed in recent years, and the really rich ones are looking to buy a commercial airline rather than a Learjet," Bain said.

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    Default Re: Fore!

    If a custom Airbus, like the surviving Citi Prince just ordered, seems a tad ostentatious (yes Virginia, there is such a thing as TOO MUCH money) then maybe this might be an alternative that is less likely to prompt the relatives from coming around asking for a loan (the gates outta keep em out if they get any stupid ideas).

    Don't miss the Bespoke Interiors section (:eek and the part about the Greg Norman Signature Range Rover Sport in the garage :cool:

    http://www.fireside.ae/jge_home.asp?nav=5



    ...but before you send your deposit cheque, remember that the summer temperatures regularly exceed 50 deg C (120+ F.) and the humidity is normally in the 90's %. We have long summers. Very long summers. Fireside? Ya right.

    Enjoy the golf.

    Oh, did I mention we have very long, hot summers?
    Last edited by GRG55; 11-18-07 at 02:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Fore!

    Quote Originally Posted by GRG55 View Post
    If a custom Airbus, like the surviving Citi Prince just ordered, seems a tad ostentatious (yes Virginia, there is such a thing as TOO MUCH money) then maybe this might be an alternative that is less likely to prompt the relatives from coming around asking for a loan (the gates outta keep em out if they get any stupid ideas).

    Don't miss the Bespoke Interiors section (:eek and the part about the Greg Norman Signature Range Rover Sport in the garage :cool:

    http://www.fireside.ae/jge_home.asp?nav=5



    ...but before you send your deposit cheque, remember that the summer temperatures regularly exceed 50 deg C (120+ F.) and the humidity is normally in the 90's %. We have long summers. Very long summers. Fireside? Ya right.

    Enjoy the golf.

    Oh, did I mention we have very long, hot summers?
    veeeery niiiiice. so where do they get the water?

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    Default Re: Fore!

    Quote Originally Posted by metalman View Post
    veeeery niiiiice. so where do they get the water?
    August 14, 2007


    Water Levels in 3 Great Lakes Dip Far Below Normal



    Water levels in the three upper Great Lakes are wavering far below normal, and experts expect Lake Superior, the northernmost lake, to reach a record low in the next two months, according to data from the international bodies that monitor the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater reservoir.


    Although the cause of the falling levels is in dispute, the effects in Lakes Michigan and Huron are visible everywhere. Ship channels are overdue for dredging. Wetlands in some areas like Georgian Bay, east of Lake Huron in Ontario, have dried up, leaving fish and birds without accustomed places to reproduce.


    Beaches around Saginaw Bay in Michigan have reverted to marshes as shorefront reverts to wetlands. One-third of the Michigan boat ramps are unusable...




    What do you think they haul back in those "empty" tankers after they unload the oil? If you don't believe me, just ask Tet.

    Notice there was no Great Lakes water level problem until AFTER the real estate boom started in Dubai...

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    Default Re: Fore! - keyboard and monitor alert

    keyboard and monitor alert

    Quote Originally Posted by GRG55 View Post
    August 14, 2007


    Water Levels in 3 Great Lakes Dip Far Below Normal



    Water levels in the three upper Great Lakes are wavering far below normal, and experts expect Lake Superior, the northernmost lake, to reach a record low in the next two months, according to data from the international bodies that monitor the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater reservoir.
    FRESH water? man, that's comedy RHODIUM there.

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    Default Re: Fore! - keyboard and monitor alert

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartacus View Post
    keyboard and monitor alert



    FRESH water? man, that's comedy RHODIUM there.
    great lakes water? fresh as grandma's underwear.

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    Default China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    This sounds almost as good as a Wall Street hedge fund

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Thousands of people in north-eastern China have protested on the streets and surrounded government offices demanding help recovering money from a get-rich-quick scheme to raise ants to make an aphrodisiac tonic.

    Hundreds of anti-riot troops and police in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, were deployed to stop protesters reaching the provincial government and Communist Party headquarters, residents said on Wednesday.

    The irate investors from across Liaoning, a rustbelt province striving to attract investment, have demonstrated in Shenyang since Monday and sporadic clashes with police have broken out, they said.

    Several thousand protesters gathered near the provincial government offices on Wednesday, a resident told Reuters by telephone.

    The investors -- many of them laid-off workers or farmers -- put their savings into Shenyang's Yilishen Group for a scheme in which they raised ants to provide ingredients for a health tonic promising an aphrodisiac boost.

    For every 10,000 yuan (655 pounds) they paid the company as "deposit", investors were promised a dividend of 3,250 yuan.

    The tonic was promoted on television by Zhao Benshan, the country's best-known comic who specialises in playing innocent bumpkins with a north-eastern twang.

    But since October, the group has twice delayed payment of dividends, fuelling investor fears that it was on the brink of bankruptcy or that the government might have frozen its funds.

    "We strongly demand the government offer a way out for Yilishen!" read a banner held by protesters as they marched along a Shenyang street. A photo of the banner was posted on Internet and blog sites.

    China has seen rising protests from farmers and disgruntled workers as inequality and corruption stoke popular resentment

    The unusual origin of this latest uproar was a reminder that even as China's economy booms, there are pitfalls that can spark discontent from citizens eager for a share of wealth.

    Chinese media have said the scheme collected more than 10 billion yuan from hundreds of thousands of Liaoning residents.

    USELESS RUSE?

    Some local reports have said the ants were a useless ruse for an illegal scam, but the group has survived several probes in the past eight years and investors had previously received their dividends on time, protesters said.

    As they looked for reassurance, panicked investors have turned their ire on the government.

    "If Yilishen goes bankrupt, the government will be the chief culprit," said a message that appeared briefly on domestic Chinese Web sites before it was removed. "The government will be drinking our blood."

    A Shenyang resident told Reuters that about 1,000 people had collected in front of the company's head office on Wednesday. Repeated calls to the office by Reuters went unanswered.

    Investors said the group's good relations with the government and its commercials on state television had convinced them Yilishen was legitimate.

    "It has been out there for eight years and the government has given the company and the manager so many honours. We thought there mustn't be any problem," investor Li Dechun told Reuters.

    He said he had poured more than 200,000 yuan into the scheme.

    A spokesman for the Liaoning provincial government said officials had been talking to the protesters, and the company's failure to pay dividends was not due to any government action.

    "Most of the investors are from the lower class of society. Some have threatened to take more radical actions, such as blocking trains at the railway station," a local resident surnamed Cong told Reuters.

    Online discussions about the protests and the ant scheme were quickly removed from Web sites, as were recent news reports about Yilishen. The Group's Web site was also shut, announcing "service unavailable".

    (Reporting by Beijing office, editing by Nick Macfie and Roger Crabb)

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by zoog View Post
    This sounds almost as good as a Wall Street hedge fund

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Thousands of people in north-eastern China have protested on the streets and surrounded government offices demanding help recovering money from a get-rich-quick scheme to raise ants to make an aphrodisiac tonic.

    Hundreds of anti-riot troops and police in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, were deployed to stop protesters reaching the provincial government and Communist Party headquarters, residents said on Wednesday.

    The irate investors from across Liaoning, a rustbelt province striving to attract investment, have demonstrated in Shenyang since Monday and sporadic clashes with police have broken out, they said.

    Several thousand protesters gathered near the provincial government offices on Wednesday, a resident told Reuters by telephone.

    The investors -- many of them laid-off workers or farmers -- put their savings into Shenyang's Yilishen Group for a scheme in which they raised ants to provide ingredients for a health tonic promising an aphrodisiac boost.

    For every 10,000 yuan (655 pounds) they paid the company as "deposit", investors were promised a dividend of 3,250 yuan.

    The tonic was promoted on television by Zhao Benshan, the country's best-known comic who specialises in playing innocent bumpkins with a north-eastern twang.

    But since October, the group has twice delayed payment of dividends, fuelling investor fears that it was on the brink of bankruptcy or that the government might have frozen its funds.

    "We strongly demand the government offer a way out for Yilishen!" read a banner held by protesters as they marched along a Shenyang street. A photo of the banner was posted on Internet and blog sites.

    China has seen rising protests from farmers and disgruntled workers as inequality and corruption stoke popular resentment

    The unusual origin of this latest uproar was a reminder that even as China's economy booms, there are pitfalls that can spark discontent from citizens eager for a share of wealth.

    Chinese media have said the scheme collected more than 10 billion yuan from hundreds of thousands of Liaoning residents.

    USELESS RUSE?

    Some local reports have said the ants were a useless ruse for an illegal scam, but the group has survived several probes in the past eight years and investors had previously received their dividends on time, protesters said.

    As they looked for reassurance, panicked investors have turned their ire on the government.

    "If Yilishen goes bankrupt, the government will be the chief culprit," said a message that appeared briefly on domestic Chinese Web sites before it was removed. "The government will be drinking our blood."

    A Shenyang resident told Reuters that about 1,000 people had collected in front of the company's head office on Wednesday. Repeated calls to the office by Reuters went unanswered.

    Investors said the group's good relations with the government and its commercials on state television had convinced them Yilishen was legitimate.

    "It has been out there for eight years and the government has given the company and the manager so many honours. We thought there mustn't be any problem," investor Li Dechun told Reuters.

    He said he had poured more than 200,000 yuan into the scheme.

    A spokesman for the Liaoning provincial government said officials had been talking to the protesters, and the company's failure to pay dividends was not due to any government action.

    "Most of the investors are from the lower class of society. Some have threatened to take more radical actions, such as blocking trains at the railway station," a local resident surnamed Cong told Reuters.

    Online discussions about the protests and the ant scheme were quickly removed from Web sites, as were recent news reports about Yilishen. The Group's Web site was also shut, announcing "service unavailable".

    (Reporting by Beijing office, editing by Nick Macfie and Roger Crabb)
    By chance I am currently reading The Coming Collapse of China by Gordon G. Chang; he tells us that such incidents are common. A very interesting read.

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Coles View Post
    By chance I am currently reading The Coming Collapse of China by Gordon G. Chang; he tells us that such incidents are common. A very interesting read.
    Published July 31, 2001?

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Coles View Post
    By chance I am currently reading The Coming Collapse of China by Gordon G. Chang; he tells us that such incidents are common. A very interesting read.
    a fool and his money are welcome everywhere

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    The earliest book I have in my library was printed 1825 a fifth edition of book 3 of Tales from a Grandfather by Sir Walter Scott, Bart. (I do have the full work published 1869, being the history of Scotland from the earliest times, addressed to his Grandson, Hugh Littlejohn (John Hugh Lockart))., while I have read The Wealth of Nations and indeed The Principia by Isaac Newton. Again History of Inductive Sciences by William Whewell, D.D., my copy 1857, has opened up a new line of thought on the subject of the history of the discovery of gravity. However, to get back to the above two remarks; recently a friend had given me a copy of 1421, that led me to buy 1434 and then the book that you two seem to think a stupid buy. No one has all the answers; it is simply that I read a lot, right across the ages. Any point of view has its use, the challenge is to take it all in and then make a choice of where it fits into ones personal view.

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Coles View Post
    By chance I am currently reading The Coming Collapse of China by Gordon G. Chang; he tells us that such incidents are common. A very interesting read.
    Gordon chang, being an american, doesn't understand how things work in China.

    The peasants are irrelevant.

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by touchring View Post
    Gordon chang, being an american, doesn't understand how things work in China.

    The peasants are irrelevant.
    And I am sure the same thing was said in France a few centuries ago.

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    Default Re: China ant aphrodisiac scheme

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Coles View Post
    And I am sure the same thing was said in France a few centuries ago.
    Indeed, my thoughts immediately took to remind me that I have a copy of Honore DAUMIER, 240 Lithographs selected and introduced by Wilhelm Wartmann, Translated by Harry C. Schnur, London Nicholson & Watson 1946. One of my best "finds" recently.

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