Friday, 24 August 2012

Videonews: Empire State shooting News Conference

News Report: Norway Jails "Sane" Breivik For Maximum 21 Years

Anders Behring Breivik; Photo Credit: AFP

Credit: Reuters

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was jailed for a maximum term on Friday when judges declared him sane enough to answer for the murder of 77 people last year, drawing a smirk of triumph from the self-styled warrior against Islam.

An unrepentant Breivik, 33, gave the Oslo court a stiff-armed, clench-fisted salute before being handed the steepest possible penalty, 21 years. His release, however, can be put off indefinitely should he still pose a threat to a liberal society left traumatized by his bomb and shooting rampage last July.

Justifying blasting a government building and gunning down dozens of teenagers at a summer camp as a service to a nation threatened by immigration, he had said only acquittal or death would be worthy outcomes. But his biggest concern was being declared insane, a fate he said would be "worse than death".

Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen dismissed a prosecution call for her to label Breivik mad, a ruling that would have seen him confined indefinitely to psychiatric care rather than prison.

Some survivors of the slaughter at the Labour party youth camp on Utoeya island, and much of the Norwegian public, had been keen to see Breivik held clearly responsible for his actions - and to avoid the insanity verdict that would have prompted him to demand lengthy and traumatic appeals hearings.

For many Norwegians, still shocked by their bloodiest day since World War Two, the details were academic, however.

"He is getting what he deserves," said Alexandra Peltre, 18, whom Breivik shot in the thigh on Utoeya. "This is karma striking back at him. I do not care if he is insane or not, as long as he gets the punishment that he deserves."

Breivik, who had surrendered to police on the island without a fight, admitted blowing up the Oslo government headquarters with a fertiliser bomb, killing eight, on Friday, July 22, 2011, then shooting 69 at the ruling party's summer youth camp.

Dressed in a black suit with a tie and still sporting the blond, under-chin beard familiar from the 10 weeks of hearings that ended in June, Breivik smirked when he entered the courtroom and smiled again as the judge read out the verdict.

He will not appeal, his lawyer said. "He will accept this verdict," Geir Lippestad told Reuters. During the trial Breivik said: "I would do it again" - an attitude which, if maintained, would prevent his being released at the end of his sentence.

Bereaved Satisfied:
A lawyer for some victims and their families said they, too, were satisfied: "I am pleased, although that's not really the right word, and relieved. This is what we hoped for," said Mette Yvonne Larsen, who represented some of those affected in court.

"This is justice served and they are happy it's over and will never have to see him again."

The killings shook the nation of five million which had prided itself as a safe haven from much of the world's troubles, raising questions about the prevalence of far-right views in a country where oil wealth has attracted rising immigration.

But the trial, which some had dreaded Breivik might turn into a "circus" of hatred, has been hailed as a model of dispassionate Scandinavian justice that offered closure to the grieving; and Norwegians refused to let fear drive them to curb their easy-going daily lives with cumbersome security measures.

Breivik will now be kept in isolation inside Ila Prison on the outskirts of Oslo inside relatively spacious quarters that include a separate exercise room, a computer and a television.

His diatribes against centre-left governments' acceptance of Muslim immigration, spread over the Internet, and aired on television during the trial, drew support from a militant few in Europe. But even most of the hardest right-wing fringe groups kept their distance from the self-confessed mass killer.

Police found his claims to belong to a shadowy European network he called the Knights Templar, a nod to the mediaeval Crusader order, were probably the imaginings of an angry loner.

Norway's anti-immigration Progress Party, which Breivik had once briefly joined, suffered in municipal elections after the massacre, forcing the second biggest party in parliament to tone down its rhetoric. Opinion poll support for liberal immigration policies even grew and the attack brought many young people, now often referred to as the Utoeya generation, into politics.

Defiant Killer:
Although his victims were mostly teenagers, with some as young as 14, he rejected being called a child murderer, arguing that his victims were brainwashed "cultural Marxists" whose political activism would adulterate pure Norwegian blood.

He stalked his victims dressed as a policeman, tricking them into thinking he was the help sent from the shore after the initial attack. He then shot them from close range before finishing them with a shot to the head.

"I stand by what I have done and I would still do it again." he said during his court testimony.

Breivik, a high school dropout who once spent an entire year devoting himself to computer games, suffered troubles from early childhood and a psychiatric evaluation proposed removing him from his family, a verdict social workers finally rejected.

After business failures and frauds that included selling fake diplomas and a diamond scam in Liberia, he moved back in with his mother in 2006. It was then, she said, that he became obsessed with politics and changed from a "kind and caring" son to becoming "completely crazy".

Some Norwegians now believe their country must draw on the experience to debate issues like immigration, and a commission investigating the attack also concluded the country need radical changes, including gun controls and more sweeping police powers.

Still, very little has changed over the past year; ministers still walk the streets of Oslo without bodyguards and private cars can drive right up to the parliament building.

"This attack has not in any way succeeded in redefining our liberal democracy," said Oslo University philosophy professor Lars Fredrik Svendsen. "The Norwegian judicial system has shown itself as rock solid during this trial."

Speech: Briefing By The Governor, Central Bank Of Nigeria On The Proposed Currency Restructuring Exercise, “Project Cure”

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; CBN Governor

Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you to the briefing on the currency restructuring exercise being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Before I proceed, I would like to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to you all for the support you have given to the Bank thus far, by helping in disseminating information about our policies, programmes and activities. I urge you to continue along this path of fruitful collaboration and support in the interest of our economy.

I am delighted to brief you today on the CBN’s proposed currency restructuring exercise, which we have code-named “Project Cure”. As you all know, one of the core mandates of the CBN, like monetary authorities across the world, is the issuance and management of the legal tender currency. This implies that the CBN is responsible for the entire process of currency production and it includes the following elements: design, production, storage, distribution and the disposal of unfit banknotes. An important component of our responsibility is ensuring an optimal currency structure in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness and balanced mix of various denominations. It entails the CBN being responsive to the changing needs of the economy and keeping pace with evolving trends in contemporary currency technology-world.

In addition, in line with international best practices, monetary authorities are required to review their nations’ currencies at intervals of between five (5) and eight (8) years. This is done in order to address, among other factors, inevitable weaknesses and challenges identified in the circulating banknotes and coins. These factors usually arise from innovations in technology, aesthetics, security considerations and so on.

In the case of Nigeria’s currency, the following table clearly shows the period some denominations have been circulating without any major review:
S/N Denomination    Date Restructured No. of years
1.    N100 December 1999    13
2.    N200 November 2000    12
3.    N500 April             2001   11
4.    N1,000 October 2005       7

In Nigeria, the last comprehensive review of the currency was carried out in 2005. It resulted in the introduction of the N20 polymer banknote followed by the varnishing of the N5, N10 and N50 paper banknotes in 2007. These lower denomination notes were eventually converted into polymer banknotes in 2009.

As a first step towards this routine exercise, the CBN carried out a review of the existing currency series in 2010. The exercise threw up several revelations and challenges such as the following:
*Public apathy towards the usage of the 50K, N1 and N2 coins, introduced in February, 2007.
*The varnished lower denomination banknotes failed to adequately meet expected longevity.
* Significant difficulties associated with the processing and destruction (briquetting) of the polymer banknotes. It is important to add that this situation has largely constrained the realization of the benefits expected from polymer banknotes over paper notes.
*The tactile feature for the visually impaired on the polymer notes has not been as effective as desired. In the light of the observed challenges, the CBN conducted several stakeholders’ fora in 2011 on currency restructuring to gauge public and independent perspectives on the existing banknotes and coin series. The issues raised and the subsequent findings and decisions were summarized as follows:
*Due to inflationary pressures, the CBN should coin lower denominations of currency up to N100. The relevant denominations in this category are N5, N10, N20, N50 and N100;
*Need to encourage the usage of coins; and
*Enhancement of the quality of banknotes.
*The CBN should introduce higher denomination banknotes to discourage dollarization, reduce the volume of banknotes as well as the overall cost of currency management.

Gentlemen of the Press, we are now about to embark on another comprehensive review of our national currency structure. The impending review exercise is aimed at achieving the following objectives:

(i) Upgrading the design of the entire existing range of currency denominations in order to enhance the quality and integrity of the banknotes;
(ii) Incorporating a more effective feature for the visually challenged;
(iii) Introducing new security features on the redesigned banknotes. The intention here is to enable us take ownership and control of the new features on the series and eliminate payment of royalties on patented security features;
(iv) Achieving an optimal currency structure that will ensure cost effectiveness and balanced mix and utilization of all the currency denominations;
(v) Introducing new series of coins that would be generally acceptable for purposes of transaction; and (vi) Reducing the cost of production, distribution and disposal of  banknotes by introducing a higher bill that would reduce the volume and cost of notes in circulation. The savings would be channeled to provide incentives for the usage and acceptance of coins. As a means of realizing the above objectives, several entities have collaborated to redesign the new currency series. These include the Currency Operations Department, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPM) Plc, along with competent international consultants.

On the 28th of November, 2011, the CBN Board considered and approved the new currency series. It subsequently sought and on the 19th of December, 2011 obtained the approval of His Excellency, the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR. Under the new structure, the existing denominations of N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 will be redesigned with added new security features. It is our pleasure to inform you that a new high currency denomination will also be introduced. It is the N5,000 note. In the same vein, the lower banknote denominations of N5, N10 and N20 will be coined.

Consequently, the Naira currency structure will now be twelve (12); these are
six (6) coins and six (6) banknote denominations. The details are as follows:
Coins Banknotes
50K      N50
N1       N100
N2       N200
N5       N500
N10     N1,000
N20    N5,000

Presently, efforts are being put in place to ensure that the redesigned N50 and the new N5,000 banknotes should be launched early in 2013.

It has been argued that the introduction of a higher denomination banknote could
exert inflationary pressures in the economy. Ladies and gentlemen, inflation in Nigeria is a monetary phenomenon. Secondly, in some countries such as Singapore, Germany and Japan the highest denominations are 10,000 SGD, €500 and Yen10,000 respectively. These denominations have relatively high dollar equivalent. The levels of Inflation are, however, low at 2.8, 1.1, and -0.7 as at 2010.

Furthermore, we believe that the introduction of a higher bill would complement the Bank’s cash less policy as it would substantially reduce the volume of currency in circulation particularly in the long term.

To encourage the usage of coins the CBN would liaise with relevant MDAs, DMBs, road transport workers, market operators, small businesses, supermarkets, vendors, etc to create avenues for the usage of the coins. We would ensure that coin collection is convenient and the infrastructure readily assessable.

Please note that the introduction of the new currency series will be a gradual process, as the banknotes will circulate simultaneously with the old series until they are fully withdrawn from circulation. Therefore, there would be no urgent need for exchange of the old for the new banknotes by the general public for as long as the old banknotes are in circulation, they will remain legal tender.

Gentlemen of the Press, this is an overview of our currency restructuring exercise, known as “Project Cure”. I request that you join us in our effort to provide our country with a befitting currency structure that will be an effective facilitator of economic activities.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CON
Governor, CBN
23rd August, 2012

Special Report: South Africa’s Selected Economic Indicators From 2008 To 2012

Credit: International Monetary Fund(IMF)

(Annual percent change; unless otherwise indicated)


Real GDP
CPI (end of period) 1,2
Unemployment rate (percent)
Broad money 2
National government budget balance (percent of GDP) 3
National government debt (percent of GDP) 3
External current account balance (percent of GDP)
External debt (percent of GDP)
Gross reserves (SARB, in months of next year's total imports)
International liquidity position of SARB (in billions of U.S. dollars) 2
U.S. dollar exchange rate (rand per U.S. dollar) 2

Sources: South African Reserve Bank; IMF, International Financial Statistics; and IMF staff projections.

1. Since January 2009, a reweighed and rebased CPI replaced the previously used CPIX (the consumer price excluding the interest on mortgage loans) as the targeted measure of inflation.

2. End of period.

3. Calendar year.