Saturday, March 01, 2014

In like a lion

Reported in local news this past week Sentinel Management Group CEO Eric Bloom's fraud trial has begun. From the Chicago Tribune article:
The downfall of Sentinel has been described as one of the largest financial fraud cases ever prosecuted in Chicago's federal court. The company’s sudden fall into bankruptcy rocked markets just as the global mortgage crisis was strengthening its grip on lenders. Prosecutors alleged that when the markets seized up and it became clear that Sentinel might default on more than $400 million it had borrowed on a Bank of New York credit line, Bloom used misleading account statements to keep clients in the dark about the deteriorating situation. Sentinel’s head trader, Charles Mosely, pleaded guilty to fraud last October [2013] and agreed to testify for prosecutors at Bloom’s trial.
Moving on to Bloomberg's Business Week on the US's winter weather:
“Not one of our better forecasts,” admits Mike Halpert, the Climate Prediction Center’s acting director. The center grades itself on what it calls the Heidke skill score, which ranges from 100 (perfection) to -50 (monkeys throwing darts would have done better). October’s forecast for the three-month period of November through January came in at -22. Truth be told, the September prediction for October-December was slightly worse, at -23. The main cause in both cases was the same: Underestimating the mammoth December cold wave, which brought snow to Dallas and chilled partiers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
And then there's the Ukraine. From the Financial Times: Obama warns Putin against Ukraine intervention. 2014-03-01
After an opposition force chased Yanukovich out of Ukraine to Moscow, they installed Oleksandr Turchynov as president of the interim government. The decision by the Russian parliament on Saturday to authorise the deployment of troops into Ukraine has raised the spectre of war on the European continent for the first time since the Russia-Georgia conflict of 2008. In reaction to the threat of Russian invasion, president of the interim government Oleksandr Turchynov told journalists that Ukraine’s national security and defence council had decided to mobilise the army and was preparing a “detailed plan” to counter “direct military aggression from the Russian Federation”. Sergey Aksyonov, the new Russia-friendly Crimean prime minister, confirmed that armed men guarding buildings and patrolling the streets were Russian soldiers.
The story is not complete until somebody weighs in on Twitter:
Nato’s secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen weighed in on Twitter saying there was an “urgent need for de-escalation in Crimea”.