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TORONTO — The Toronto stock market plunged over 200 points as emerging market worries persuaded investors to avoid riskier assets like equities and commodities.
The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 215.18 points to 13,717.79. The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.21 of a cent to 90.31 cents US.
The Dow Jones industrials fell 318.24 points to 15,879.11 after plunging 176 points on Thursday. The Nasdaq was 90.7 points lower to 4,128.17 while the S&P 500 index was down 38.17 points to 1,790.29.
Investors are worried about sharp drops in the values of currencies in several emerging markets, including Turkey, Russia, South Africa and Argentina.
These drops were sparked by moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut back on its massive bond purchases, a key stimulus measure that kept long-term rates low.
But U.S. bond yields have risen as the Fed moves to taper its purchases, and investors have responded by taking their money out of emerging markets.
World equity risk 7:22
Toronto’s benchmark stock index hit its highest level in more than 2.5 years on Friday as the rebounding gold price and new confidence about the global economy pushed equities up.
Around midday the S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 60 points to 13,891.64. It closed the day at 13,888, up 56.81. Higher commodity prices buoyed the resource-heavy TSX, even in other sectors.
“There’s definitely a will to buy equities. There are very little immediate headwinds,” Manulife director Kevin Headland told Reuters. “Canada seems to be moving higher based on better global economic data and expectation of the demand for resources.”
Seven of the 10 sectors on the TSX were higher. Gold was a particular source of strength, with February bullion up $11.70 to $1,251.90 US an ounce. Barrick Gold advanced 69 cents to $20.61 while Goldcorp gained $1.05 to $25.43
The sector fell almost 50 per cent last year and “I think a lot of people dumped it at the end of last year to get it off the books and now you’re seeing the relief rally,” said Cieszynski.
The tech sector climbed 1.37 per cent as BlackBerry rose 61 cents to $9.98
Closing in on 13,900 points puts the TSX at the highest level it’s been since the middle of 2011, more than two and a half years ago.
The loonie fell 0.42 of a cent to 91.11 cents US.
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Japanese (And American) Governments Go to Extreme Lengths to Cover Up Fukushima and Other Disasters
Japan and the U.S. are doing everything they can to cover up the danger of the Fukushima crisis.
The Daily Beast notes:
The Japanese government, which already has a long history of cover-ups and opaqueness, is on its way to becoming even less open and transparent after the lower house the Diet, Japan’s parliament, passed the Designated Secrets Bill on Tuesday. With new powers to classify nearly anything as a state secret and harsh punishments for leakers that can easily be used to intimidate whistleblowers and stifle press freedom, many in Japan worry that the if the bill becomes law it will be only the first step towards even more severe erosions of freedom in the country.
Even politicians inside the ruling bloc are saying, “It can’t be denied that another purpose is to muzzle the press, shut up whistleblowers, and ensure that the nuclear disaster at Fukushima ceases to be an embarrassment before the Olympics.”
The new law would enact harsher punishment to leakers and ominously would allow journalists who obtained information by “inappropriate means” and whistleblowers to be jailed for up to ten years. The law would also allow the police to raid the offices of media organizations and seize evidence at their discretion.
The bill has even grants no longer existent agencies the power to classify secrets.
Despite the bill’s enlargement of the state’s power over information, it contains no oversight process to act as a check on ministries and government agencies designating large amounts of information as ‘secret’ for capricious or self-interested reasons.
Masako Mori, the Minister of Justice, has declared that nuclear related information will most likely be a designated secret. For the Abe administration this would be fantastic way to deal with the issue of tons of radiated water leaking from the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant since the triple meltdown in March of 2011.There seems to be no end to stopping the toxic waste leaks there but the new legislation would allow the administration to plug the information leakspermanently.
Mizuho Fukushima, former leader of the Social Democratic Party, compared the bill to the pre-World War II Peace Maintenance Preservation Laws and other Secrecy laws at the time, remarking that there was a time in police-state Japan when the weather reports could be considered “secret.”
““Once you open the door to such kind of laws, the government will have the right to designate anything as a state secret and by speaking about it or mentioning it, you can be arrested and prosecuted.” Ms. Fukushima explained, “Especially during war time, it was very difficult for defendants and lawyers to fight their court cases, because they were not told what exactly what was the state secret that they had been accused of having revealed.”
Outspoken Upper House Councilor Taro Yamamoto, who is known to be a strong supporter of investigative journalism, minces no words: “The path that Japan is taking is the recreation of a fascist state. I strongly believe that this secrecy bill represents a planned coup d’état by a group of politicians and bureaucrats,” he warned.
While his statement may seem alarmist, even a senior official of the National Police Agency agrees. “I would say this is Abe’s attempt to make sure that his own shady issues aren’t brought to light, and a misuse of legislative power.
The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association, the Civil Broadcasters Federation, and most major news organizations in Japan’s have expressed staunch opposition to the bill.
Japan is about to take a giant step back into its oppressive past. When one also considers Prime Minister Abe’s stated ambition to restart Japan’s nuclear power plants and remove Article 9 from the constitution, the article which prevents Japan from waging war, it seems like the Empire of The Sun may be moving towards darker times.
Indeed, Ex-SKF notes that :
A citizen was forcibly removed from the balcony in the Diet where he was observing the debate of the State Secrecy Protection Law in the Lower House on November 26, 2013, as he shouted his opposition to the passage of the law. His mouth was stuffed with cloth so that he couldn’t shout any more while being removed by several guards against his will.
(From Tokyo Shinbun, 11/26/2013, via this tweet)
What’s even scarier to me than the man being forcibly removed by the guards is people sitting near him. They just sit there as if nothing is happening. They are not even looking; the one in the same row even looks away.
It’s not just Fukushima … and It’s not Just Japan
It’s not just Fukushima …
Governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for 50 years.
There has been a cover-up by the American government ever since the Fukushima earthquake. TheAmerican (and Canadian) authorities virtually stopped monitoring airborn radiation, and are not testing fish for radiation.
The U.S. government increased allowable radiation levels so that we could be exposed to radiation. Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that high-level friends in the State Department told him that Hillary Clinton signed a pact with her counterpart in Japan agreeing that the U.S. will continue buying seafood from Japan, despite that food not being tested for radioactive materials.
The American government controls Japanese nuclear policy. And the Japanese would never have proposed such a draconian bill without U.S. backing. Indeed, the U.S. Charge d’Affairs Kurt Tong saidof the Japanese bill:
It’s a positive step that would make Japan a “more effective alliance partner.”
Earlier this year, the acting EPA director signed a revised version of the EPA’s Protective Action Guide for radiological incidents, which radically relaxed the safety guidelines agencies follow in the wake of a nuclear-reactor meltdown or other unexpected release of radiation. EPA whistleblowers called it “a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace.”
It’s not just nuclear accidents … it’s everything.
The American government repeatedly covers up how bad things are, uses claims of national security to keep everything in the dark, and changes basic rules and definitions to allow the game to continue. Seethis, this, this and this.
When BP – through criminal negligence – blew out the Deepwater Horizon oil well, the governmenthelped cover it up (and here). As just one example, the government approved the massive use of ahighly-toxic dispersant to temporarily hide the oil.
The government covers up the disgusting and unhealthy natureof much industrially-produced food.
The government’s response to the outbreak of mad cow disease was simple: it stopped testing for mad cow, and prevented cattle ranchers and meat processors from voluntarily testing their own cows (and see this and this)
In response to new studies showing the substantial dangers of genetically modified foods, the government passed legislation more or less pushing it onto our plates.
The Centers for Disease Control – the lead agency tasked with addressing disease in America – covered up lead poisoning in children in the Washington, D.C. area.
The former head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy says that the government whitewashed the severity of the Tennessee coal ash accident.
And after drug companies were busted for using fraudulent data for drug approval, the FDA allowed the potentially dangerous drugs to stay on the market.
Indeed, the cynical might say that the main function of government these days is to throw money at giant corporations and to cover up for them when their misdeeds are revealed.
And the American government is censoring reporters at least as much as Japan.