Πέμπτη, 17 Ιανουαρίου 2013
marilena: TENS OF MILLIONS GATHER AT INDIA'S MAHA KUMBH MELA...: In Allahabad, northern India, a megacity of millions is sprouting up at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. For millennia, Hi...
In Allahabad, northern India, a megacity of millions is sprouting up at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. For millennia, Hindu devotees have flocked to these holy banks to participate in a ritual cleansing known as the Kumbh Mela; this year’s Maha Kumbh Mela is a particularly auspicious iteration in cycles of these pilgrimages, which occur four times every 12 years. In 2001, nearly 70 million flocked to the Ganges’ shores here.
Read more: http://world.time.com/2013/01/15/tens-of-millions-gather-at-indias-maha-kumbh-mela/#ixzz2IGCioW8I
Employees of the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank, stack gold bars for a news conference in Frankfurt. (Frank Rumpenhorst / EPA / January 16, 2013)
By Renuka Rayasam
January 16, 201312:35 p.m.
BERLIN -- Germany's central bank announced Wednesday that it would reverse a decades-old policy of storing gold abroad and reclaim $36 billion of bullion from New York and Paris to ensure that half of the country's reserves were on home soil by 2020.
About 674 metric tons of gold -- sent abroad to keep it out of the reach of the Soviet Union during the Cold War -- is to be "repatriated" and deposited in the Bundesbank's vaults in Frankfurt. The move would eliminate Germany's gold reserves in Paris and reduce those in New York, but would leave its bullion in London untouched.
"The two most important functions of gold reserves are to build domestic confidence and to ensure the option that the gold can be quickly exchanged into foreign currency," Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a board member of the Bundesbank, told reporters Wednesday.
Thiele said the move had nothing to do with the reliability of Germany's allies in storing the gold. Rather, he said, it was no longer necessary to maintain reserves in Paris now that France and Germany share a common currency, the euro.
The shift in strategy comes on the heels of a critical report from Germany's Court of Auditors in October calling for more stringent oversight of the country’s gold reserves. The report said the Bundesbank should verify that Germany's gold is still accounted for in foreign vaults.
Some politicians seized on the report as an opportunity to criticize the Bundesbank's policy of storing gold abroad and demanded that all its reserves be shipped back home. When Thiele was summoned to explain the policy to the German parliament last year, he said that the Bundesbank had more pressing problems.
Wednesday's announcement signaled that the Bundesbank had acceded to lawmakers' demands.
In total, the Bundesbank has 3,391 metric tons of gold reserves, worth about $182 billion. Only the United States keeps more gold on hand.
Germany built up its gold reserves during its postwar economic boom, when exports were booming. The world was still on the gold standard then, and Germany traded in its dollars for gold.
When the gold standard came to an end in 1971, most countries slowly dissolved their reserves. Germany, however, held on to the precious metal, but shipped much of it abroad to keep it safe from the Soviet Union.
Now that the Cold War has ended, Germany no longer needs to keep its gold "as far from the Iron Curtain as possible," Thiele said.
Los Angeles times
Τρίτη, 15 Ιανουαρίου 2013
marilena: Dolce and Gabbana Become Billionaires Amid Global ...: Designers Stefano Gabbana, left, and Domenico Dolce attend the Dolce&Gabbana and Martini gold Dance Art Garage party in Moscow. A su...
marilena: Pope's secretary "Gorgeous George" on Vanity Fair ...: ( Reuters ) - Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Pope Benedict's private secretary, who has been dubbed "Gorgeous George" by the Italian media...
(Reuters) - Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Pope Benedict's private secretary, who has been dubbed "Gorgeous George" by the Italian media, is now a real-life cover boy.
The prelate has landed on the cover of Vanity Fair.
The cover on the Italian edition of the magazine shows the 56-year-old archbishop smiling, his blue eyes beaming, above a headline that reads "Father Georg - It's not a sin to be beautiful."
The magazine calls Ganswein "The George Clooney of St Peter's" and says it dedicated a cover story to honor his recent promotion to the rank of archbishop and as recognition of his growing power in the Roman Catholic Church.
A spokeswoman for the magazine said Ganswein was not interviewed for the article and did not pose for the cover photo, which she said was a close-up of an existing picture.
Ganswein, who has been Benedict's personal secretary since the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Roman Catholic leader in 2005, was elevated to the rank of archbishop earlier this month.
A German like the pope, he was also promoted to the job of Prefect of the Pontifical Household, a position that will significantly increase his power as the pope gets older and frailer.
As prefect, Ganswein - already one of the most recognizable and powerful figures in the papal court - will arrange all the pope's private and public audiences and his daily schedule.
And, because he will be keeping his job as chief private secretary, he will have even more power in deciding who has access to the 85-year-old pope.
Vanity Fair said the article about Ganswein was a "close up profile of a particular monsignor". The magazine goes on sale on Wednesday.
(Reporting By Philip Pullella, editing by Paul Casciato)