Majority of GM Bondholders Back Debt-for-Equity Deal – WSJ.com

It will be interesting to watch the markets monday..

Majority of GM Bondholders Back Debt-for-Equity Deal – WSJ.com: “DETROIT — General Motors Corp. moved a step closer to what it hopes will be a smooth bankruptcy process after a majority of investors holding $27 billion in the company’s bonds agreed to forgive the debt for equity in the new company.

A battle with the group was one of the biggest hurdles GM faced in orchestrating a quick exit from Chapter 11.

The Obama administration plans to usher GM into bankruptcy court Monday as part of its ambitious effort to remake the American car industry at the tail end of its decades-long decline. President Barack Obama is expected to announce the government’s plans for GM in a speech that will try to convey the message that the government can rebuild GM and Chrysler LLC and salvage some of the taxpayers’ investments.”

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | What is North Korea’s game plan?

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | What is North Korea’s game plan?: “North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, in undated image released on 9 June by state news agency KCNA
Is Kim Jong-il sending a hard-line message or covering for internal strife?

Even by its own shrill standards, North Korea’s recent behaviour is hyper-militant. But why?

Last month’s launch of a long-range dual-use rocket – maybe a satellite, certainly a potential missile – prompted censure by the UN Security Council.

North Korea must have expected this, having been similarly rebuked twice for missile and nuclear launches in 2006.

Yet Pyongyang professed high dudgeon at what was in truth mild UN Security Council remonstrance: just a statement, not a full resolution.

On this flimsy pretext, in a fine show of pique it repudiated the six-party talks and said it would resume its nuclear programme.

Monday’s nuclear test showed this to be no idle threat. But why? Why now? What is really going on?

Less well known is that four separate high-level US delegations – nominally private but including Stephen Bosworth, now the Obama administration’s point man on North Korea – visited Pyongyang earlier this year.

All got a frosty reception. Their hosts professed no interest in full relations with the US, long regarded as the ultimate prize sought by Kim Jong-il.

So how does this latest North Korean jigsaw – with too few and misshapen pieces, as always – fit together?

Stringing along

There are two broad possibilities and variants within either of those.

What message is Kim Jong-il trying to send, and to whom? Getting Obama’s attention is one widely-touted suggestion. Yet on closer inspection this hardly adds up.

Barking louder than ever may be their way of scaring us off while they effect a delicate transition

Everyone knew, because he told us, that Barack Obama was ready to engage with America’s foes. He means it, and he is doing it. With Cuba and others, change is already under way.

So surely this is the US President Kim Jong-il has been waiting for? True, Obama is busy with the Middle East and the financial crisis. But his door, and mind, are open.

It did not need a bomb or rocket to blast a way in and get a hearing in Washington. To the contrary, these were bound to backfire.

There have to be more Security Council resolutions and maybe sanctions, however ineffectual, when a rogue state makes a mockery of international law.

Kim Jong-il is no fool. So we must conclude, definitively now, that he has no intention of emulating Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi and ever giving up his weapons of mass destruction.

The six long years of the six-party talks were just stringing us along. Without nuclear weapons, North Korea would be just another miserable tyranny. With them, it commands attention – if not respect.

Or maybe Kim Jong-il would have made peace, but hardliners used his illness last year to seize the helm and batten down the hatches.

Yet abandoning diplomacy altogether is hardly a serious long-term option, for a failed state reliant on Chinese aid to feed its hungry people.
Farmers till the land in North Korea, seen from China, on 26 May 2009
Making peace would bring financial rewards to the impoverished state

Provoking Beijing is a risky game. A patient patron hitherto, China may finally snap and pull the plug on so tiresome a client – as Moscow did in 1991, devastating the North’s economy.

Is the new turn merely tactical? If so, it is a dire miscalculation. Mr Kim’s old game of militant mendicancy – doing bad things, to be paid to stop – will no longer wash. Everyone is fed up.

More exactly, the Dear Leader could have cleaned up if (and only if) he stuck with the six-party talks.

Peace and real disarmament would bring North Korea huge financial rewards: $10bn (£6.3bn) for full relations with Japan, and surely much more from a relieved Seoul.

One faint hope is that they may not really mean all this. That brings us to the second broad hypothesis.

Succession plan?

Rather than being any kind of odd signal to the wider world, North Korea’s new militancy might be primarily driven by internal events, largely invisible to outside eyes.

Perverse as it sounds, barking louder than ever may be their way of scaring us off while they effect a delicate transition.

This could be a smokescreen behind which, not before time, one of Kim’s mysterious and untried sons is being wheeled into place as his eventual successor.

If so, we may get more sense out of Pyongyang once such internal ructions settle down. But to speculate thus may be clutching at straws.

The view that North Korea is a rational actor – if only we are patient and avoid upsetting them – looks, let’s face it, increasingly threadbare.

My fear is that defining itself against the world is hardwired into North Korea’s outlook.

For over a decade, Bill Clinton, former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, China, Russia and others strove to lead this most stubborn and suspicious of mules to water. But none could make it drink, beyond a few sips.

A toe in the water is as far as Kim Jong-il will ever go, on economic reform and peace alike. When it comes to the crunch, he refuses the fence.

At the risk of flogging equine metaphors to death, some blame the likes of George W Bush – before his U-turn to engagement – for frightening the horses with ‘axis of evil’ rhetoric, so reinforcing Pyongyang’s paranoia.

But ultimately, the choice and fault is Kim’s. China and Vietnam show there is another way – the only way. North Korea is on a road to nowhere.”

Astronauts Spot Mysterious Ice Circles in World’s Deepest Lake | Wired Science | Wired.com

Astronauts Spot Mysterious Ice Circles in World’s Deepest Lake | Wired Science | Wired.com: “Astronauts aboard the International Space Station noticed two mysterious dark circles in the ice of Lake Baikal in April. Though the cause is more likely aqueous than alien, some aspects of the odd blemishes defy explanation.

The two circles are the focal points for ice break-up and may be caused by upwelling of warmer water in the lake. The dark color of the circles is due to thinning of the ice, which usually hangs around into June. Upwelling wouldn’t be strange in some relatively shallow areas of the lake where hydrothermal activity has been detected, such as where the circle near the center of the lake (pictured below) is located. Circles have been seen in that area before in 1985 and 1994, though they weren’t nearly as pronounced. But the location of the circle near the southern tip of the lake (pictured above) where water is relatively deep and cold is puzzling.

The lake itself is an oddity. It is the largest by volume and the deepest (5370 feet at its deepest point), as well as one of the oldest at around 25 million years. The photo above was taken by an astronaut from the ISS. The photo below was taken by NASA’s MODIS satellite instrument.”

Make Money With Google Adsense – Adsense Tutorial – Adsense Tips

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7 Powerful Ways To Make Money From Adsense Using Only Free Tools

7 Powerful Ways To Make Money From Adsense Using Only Free Tools: “There is really no doubting that there are amazing incomes currently being made on Google Adsense and the really interesting thing is that even relatively small sites and blogs are finding new ways to make money from their Adsense sites every day.

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Make Money with Adsense

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How to Make Money With Google Adsense

This site seems like it has some good advice and free

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Google Latitude Now Lets You Publish Your Location To Gmail Chat And Your Blog

Google Latitude Now Lets You Publish Your Location To Gmail Chat And Your Blog: “Google has released two nifty applications for Google Latitude, a feature launched through Google Mobile Maps that allows you to broadcast your location to select friends, family, and colleagues based on the coordinates of your cell phone (via GPS or otherwise). Google says that since Latitude’s launch, users expressed interest in sharing their location with people who are not their Latitude friends. The two apps rolled out today allow users to do this.”