In The News Today

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Here is our Friday surprise – a busted bank.

Georgia bank closed in 23rd failure of year
By John Letzing, MarketWatch
Last update: 5:36 p.m. EST Dec. 5, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — First Georgia Community Bank was closed by regulators Friday, marking the 23rd bank failure of the year amid the ongoing financial crisis.

The closure also represents the fourth so far this year in the Atlanta area.

The four branches of Jackson, Ga.-based First Georgia will re-open Saturday as United Bank, which has assumed First Georgia’s deposits, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in a statement.

United Bank agreed to assume the deposits for a 0.811 premium, the FDIC said, and it will purchase roughly $60.6 million of First Georgia’s assets.

As of Nov. 7, First Georgia had $237.5 million in assets and $197.4 million in deposits, the FDIC said.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Every major employer everywhere will be bailed out as the Obama Fiscal Stimulation Package provides the fuse to light Quantitative Easing.

Leaders in Congress Agree on Auto Bailout Plan
The New York Times
Friday, December 5, 2008 — 8:33 PM ET

Details were not immediately available but senior aides said that the bailout would include billions in short-term loans.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Note the recreation facilities for our paper tigers, the Hedge Fund Managers.

They should have arrested the Hedge Fund Managers.

Manhattan madam gets probation
The Associated Press
11:30 AM EST, December 5, 2008

A Manhattan madam who ran three escort services that employed $900-an-hour hookers has been sentenced after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution.

Kristin Davis was sentenced Thursday to the three months in jail she has already served, plus five years’ probation.

Davis was arrested in March at her apartment. Police said her client book contained the names of lawyers, actors, sports stars and hedge-fund managers.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This is an excellent development for the entire African Continent.

Removal of Mugabe would establish for the first time that a league of nations taking action to remove a cancer from the continent can be successful. This action would transmit a strong new message to those living in the past history of Africa.

Leaders like President Jakaya Kikwete are on the ascendancy.

Africa is on the move.

Go Mugabe or face arrest – Tutu

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe must resign or be sent to The Hague for the "gross violations" he has committed, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said.

The Nobel Prize winner also told Dutch television that Mr Mugabe should be removed by force if he refuses to go.

On Thursday, Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga said African governments should oust Zimbabwe’s leader.

Archbishop Tutu said Mr Mugabe had ruined "a wonderful country", turning a "bread-basket" into a "basket case".

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has also repeated US calls for Mr Mugabe to go, saying a "sham election" has been followed by a "sham process of power-sharing talks".

Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency over the cholera outbreak, which has killed at least 565 people – the most deadly in the country’s history.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

If you want to see the real numbers consider a subscription to www.shadowstats.com

November Jobs Plummet 732,000 Net of Revisions, Down 873,000 Net of Concurrent Seasonal Factor Bias

– Official Recession Start Is Late, As Usual Required Reserves Surge Anew

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

As Trader Dan said, good riddance to this rotten garbage.

D.E. Shaw, Farallon Restrict Withdrawals as Fund Freeze Deepens
By Saijel Kishan and Katherine Burton

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — D.E. Shaw & Co. LP, the investment firm run by David Shaw, and Farallon Capital Management LLC limited withdrawals by clients, joining more than 80 hedge-fund managers to impose restrictions in the past two months.

D.E. Shaw, which oversees $36 billion, capped redemptions from its Composite and Oculus funds, said two people familiar with the New York-based company. Farallon, a $30 billion firm based in San Francisco, did the same with its biggest fund after investors asked to get back more than 25 percent of their money.

The firms are two of the biggest to block withdrawals, known as putting up gates, so they aren’t forced to liquidate investments at distressed prices to raise cash. New York-based Fortress Investment Group LLC said yesterday it froze an $8 billion fund after getting redemption requests for 40 percent of its assets. Tudor Investment Corp., the Greenwich, Connecticut, firm run by Paul Tudor Jones, locked the $10 billion BVI Global fund last week ahead of plans to split the fund into two.

“There’s no longer the stigma associated with putting up gates or suspending redemptions as it was before this crisis,” said Jaeson Dubrovay, head of the $19 billion hedge-fund group at consulting firm NEPC LLC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “It’s actually being encouraged by some large institutions as a way to protect longer-term investors from those who panic and redeem.”

Darcy Bradbury, a spokeswoman for D.E. Shaw, and Steve Bruce, a Farallon spokesman, declined to comment.

Industry assets peaked at $1.9 trillion in June, data compiled by Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. show. Investment losses and withdrawals may shrink that amount by 45 percent by the end of this month, according to estimates by analysts at Morgan Stanley.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

What goes around comes around.

Fortress suspends redemptions as investors seek to pull $3.5 billion
Miles Costello
December 4, 2008

Fortress, the New York-listed hedge fund, became the latest victim of the market crunch last night as it suspended redemptions on four of its flagship Drawbridge funds after investors moved to pull $3.5 billion (£2.4 billion) – almost half the funds’ assets.

Shares in Fortress, one of the few listed hedge funds, lost more than 25 per cent as it said that redemptions meant the assets managed by the four funds would fall to $3.65 billion by January.

Wes Edens, Fortress’s co-founder and chief executive, has already told shareholders that investors were preparing to redeem capital as they seek safer-haven assets to escape the hedge fund rout. Despite this, yesterday’s alert sent shares as low as $1.71 in early trading before they closed at $1.87.

At the end of September, Fortress was one of the world’s biggest hedge fund managers, with assets under management of $34.3 billion. Its latest decision underscores how wide-reaching the hit on the industry has become. Fortress said that its move was temporary but gave no date for unfreezing the funds.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The deluge of printed money and massive fiscal stimulation in the trillions by the incoming US Administration is unavoidable.

Record number of Americans using food stamps: report
Wed Dec 3, 2008 6:22pm EST
By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Food stamps, the main U.S. antihunger program which helps the needy buy food, set a record in September as more than 31.5 million Americans used the program — up 17 percent from a year ago, according to government data.

The number of people using food stamps in September surpassed the previous peak of 29.85 million seen in November 2005 when victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma received emergency benefits, said Jean Daniel of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

September’s tally — the latest month available — was also boosted by hurricane and flood aid, Daniel said on Wednesday.

But anti-hunger groups said the economic downturn is the main reason behind the higher figures.

"It’s a disturbing trend," said Ellen Vollinger, legal director with the Food Research and Action Center. She said she expects more people will turn to food stamps as unemployment figures rise and the economy remains weak.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

We live in a dangerous world with major social and economic consequences.

Report: Israel Preparing to Strike Iran Without U.S. Consent
Thursday, December 04, 2008

Israel is drawing up plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and is prepared to launch a strike without backing from the U.S., an Israeli newspaper reported Thursday.

Officials in the Israeli Defense Ministry told The Jerusalem Postthat while they prefer to act in consultation with the U.S., they are preparing plans that would allow them to act alone.

"It is always better to coordinate," a senior Defense Ministry official told the newspaper. "But we are also preparing options that do not include coordination."

It would be difficult, but not impossible, to launch a strike againstIran without permission from the U.S., as the American Air Force controls the Iraqi airspace Israel’s jets would have to enter on a bombing mission.

"There are a wide range of risks one takes when embarking on such an operation," a senior Israeli official told the Post.

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