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Mutant Ebola Behind Devastating Epidemic

West Africa recently suffered from one of the biggest ebola outbreaks they have ever seen, and it is all because ebola has mutated. A study,...

MI6 dismisses claims Lee Rigby killer Michael Adebolajo was radicalized by Kenyan torturers

Claims by one of soldier Lee Rigby’s killers that he was tortured and mistreated by...

Zika & Ebola outbreaks could be predicted by studying climate & population trends

Predicting zoonotic diseases such as Ebola and Zika may now be a reality through the...
video

Video: Russia presents Ebola vaccine at WHO meeting in Geneva

Russia has presented its vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus to the UN Office in Geneva. RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! Via Youtube

Ebola Crisis Highlights Urgent Need for Reform

The world's worst Ebola crisis broke out in December 2013 and swept across West Africa claiming the lives of over 11,300 people. It decimated...

Sierra Leone Ebola cases could have been halved had UK acted sooner — experts

Ebola cases in Sierra Leone could have been cut by 50 percent had the UK had set up beds in the stricken nation’s treatment...

16yo teen invents world’s fastest Ebola test, grabs Google science prize

A 16-year old teenager from Connecticut has invented an express test to detect the deadly Ebola virus in just 30 minutes at a cost...

Ebola Nurse Nina Pham Used as PR Pawn, Damaged by Experimental Medications

She became the face of the Ebola crisis during its publicity peak last fall. But nurse Nina Pham, the first known case of an...

UK military experts warn of ‘weaponized Ebola’

British military experts fear terrorists could ‘weaponize’ Ebola, a heavily redacted Ministry of Defence (MoD) report has revealed. The report, released on Friday, identified a...

‘It Doesn’t Look Good’: World Health Body Fails to Meet Ebola Containment Goals

'The most dangerous thing would be if people now think Ebola is over and become complacent,' warns Ebola expert Lauren McCauley The World Health Organization has...

A Bigger Threat to U.S. Health than Ebola

Factory farms are breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Nicole McCann and Anna Meyer Despite all the panic, Americans don’t face any great risk from Ebola right now. But...

Was Ebola Weaponized? Outbreak Caused by New, Potentially Much More Lethal Strain

Noted infectious disease experts have said that the current strain of Ebola virus plaguing Africa and slowly spreading in the United States is potentially...

Is Ebola Airborne?

Ian Goddard This video is a short summary of the literature resulting from 19 different laboratory studies (the list of which are on the YouTube...

Top 5 Things More Americans will die of than Ebola this Year

Juan Cole The odd hysteria about ebola is being driven more by a media frenzy than the actual public health risks. Ebola is not...

Top Scientist: This Version Of Ebola Looks Like ‘A Very Different Bug’

Michael T. Snyder RINF Alternative News Barack Obama and the head of the CDC need to quit saying that we know exactly how Ebola spreads. Because...

The Ebola Response: American Stupidity at Its Finest

CHARLES R. LARSON The story goes something like this (that is, if you read what’s on the Internet): President Obama (born in Kenya, as all conservatives...

The Entry of Ebola into the US Has Hallmarks of a Planned Happening

Paul Craig Roberts RINF Alternative News More information is available that suggests the the government had advance information that ebola was coming to the US and...

Will the US Go to “War” Against Ebola?

These days, two “wars” are in the headlines: one against the marauding Islamic State and its new caliphate of terror carved out of parts...

The Government Is Hogging All the Ebola Gear

The National Institute of Health has placed a massive order for protective clothing and supplies that could make it impossible for you to procure your...

Threat of Ebola Highlights Problems in the US Public Health System

Emily Cerciello On October 15, the second case of Ebola transmitted in the United States was confirmed in Texas between patient Thomas Eric Duncan and a health...

Former CIA Insider: Obama’s Ebola Failure is Criminal Neglect

President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) incompetent to the...

Is Ebola virus man-made, a biowarfare agent?

FIRST EVER CASE OF EBOLA WAS IN THE 1970s....! A CIA gambit in Pakistan threatens a global vaccination program http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinion... Experiments could cause deadly bird flu pandemic,...

CDC Memory-Holes “Unacceptable” Ebola Safety Guide

A CDC safety guide that was flagged up by a prominent doctor as dangerously wrong has been quietly removed from the agency’s website, despite...

Liberian Scientist: U.S. is Responsible for the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Timothy Alexander Guzman RINF Alternative News A History of Guatemala’s Syphilis Experiment: How a U.S. Led Team Performed Human Experimentations in Central America Dr. Cyril Broderick, A...

British Big Pharma warns Ebola vaccine will come ‘too late’ to halt spread

One of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies says a vaccine to tackle Ebola will “come too late” to curb the current epidemic, as the...

Ebola epidemic might trigger major food crisis – UN

The United Nations and non-governmental organizations believe an Ebola crisis that continues to strengthen in the coming months will cause food shortages that could...

Dallas Commissioners Will Declare State Of Disaster Over Ebola

While the message from the President is 'keep calm and avoid bodily fluids', it appears the commissioners in Dallas are slightly more concerned at...

Ebola: A Symptom of Economic Inequality

While the Ebola virus is spreading globally, its impact will mostly felt in the world’s poorer regions, especially Africa and the Asian subcontinent. Rob Prince Of...

Obama’s Cynical, Stilted Response to Ebola vs. Cuba’s Magnificent Mobilization

“After centuries of fattening the colonial bat, the Ebola-afflicted countries have almost no structural defenses against even the tiniest invaders.” The World Health Organization is...

Nurses Warn of ‘System Failure’ as Ebola Spreads to US Healthcare Worker

Privatized hospitals not providing proper training and equipment to front line workers, charges country's largest nurses union Lauren McCauley Privatized U.S. hospitals are driving a "system...

The Federal Govt’s Highest Agency for Fighting Disease Finds US Ebola Outbreak ‘Deeply Concerning’

Federal health officials in the US admitted on Sunday they were deeply concerned by a “breach in protocol” after it was revealed that a...

Dallas Hospital Worker Tests Positive For Ebola In First Person-To-Person Transmission On US Soil

And then there was #2. A few hours ago, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, announced that a health care worker who cared for dying Ebola...

How The 24/7 Ebola Scare Serves The Control System To Perfection

Bernie Suarez RINF Alternative News Are we all enjoying 2014? How about the two years prior to this? The political rollercoaster ride is enough to age...

An Ebola Outbreak Would Be Advantageous For Globalists

It’s sad to say with such finality, but a universal fact of existence is that most of the people you meet in this life...

US Has More Sanctions Against Russia Than Against Ebola

Paul Craig Roberts RINF Alternative News We have known since . . . well, when haven’t we known that our public officials are incompetent. Their incompetence...

Pentagon: US troops to have contact with Ebola virus

Several dozen U.S. troops could come into contact with Ebola while testing for the deadly disease in Liberia, the Pentagon said Tuesday. The highly trained...

CDC Fails to Institute Ebola Screening at Major International Airport

A report out of Washington state reveals that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not ordered the state’s largest international airport...

Pentagon Claims Ebola Not a Huge Risk to Troops in West Africa

KIT DANIELS The 4,000 service members being deployed to “combat Ebola” in West Africa will be “kept safe” from the virus, the Defense Department claimed,...

New York Times: Some May Carry Ebola Without Showing Any Symptoms

Washingtons Blog Is the “Conventional Wisdom” All Wrong? The New York Times reported in 2000: The Ebola virus, which has caused deaths from high fever and bleeding...

CIA Insider Warned of Ebola False Flag in September

Former CIA insider Robert David Steele warned during a September 18 appearance on the Alex Jones Show that a staged Ebola false flag attack...

Why Won’t Obama Ban Air Travel From Countries Where Ebola Is Out Of Control?

Michael Snyder RINF Alternative News Why does Barack Obama refuse to take even the most basic steps to protect Americans from Ebola? Even though it has...

US Exploiting West Africa Ebola Outbreak to Establish Military Foothold

Niles Williamson Under the guise of a humanitarian mission aimed at containing the spread of the Ebola virus, the Obama administration is exploiting the outbreak...

World Health Organization (WHO) Blocked Shipments of Highly Effective Ebola Treatment to Africa

Efforts to bring natural Ebola treatments to suffering West Africans have been squelched by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently blocked multiple shipments...

BREAKING: Has Ebola Hit Washington D.C?

Patient had traveled to Nigeria recently; is being isolated and tested A patient with Ebola-like symptoms is being treated at Howard University Hospital in Washington,...

Experts: Ebola Could be Transmitted “At a Distance” From Infected Victims

Professors at the University of Illinois in Chicago assert that the Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via “infectious aerosol particles both...

First US Ebola patient was in contact with school-aged children – Texas governor

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has confirmed that the first US diagnosed Ebola patient, who is now in serious but stable condition in Dallas, had...

80 people were in contact with Dallas Ebola patient — health officials

The Dallas Ebola patient had come into contact with as many as 80 people, according to Texas health officials. This figure is significantly higher...

CONTAGION: Second Ebola Case Suspected In Dallas: “This Is Real”

Mac Slavo Less than 24 hours after the first US-based Ebola infection was confirmed in Dallas, TX it is being reported that another individual who...

CDC and Texas Officials Allow Ebola to Spread in Dallas

Officialdom will not quarantine people who came in contact with Ebola patient Five students within the family circle of the Dallas Ebola patient will not...

Ebola in America — The Deadly Implications

So, Ebola has finally arrived. I’m not surprised, and you probably aren’t, either. But, there are a few things that you might not be...

How Ebola Will Irreversibly Transform America

Dave Hodges RINF Alternative News Instead of protecting America, this administration is sending 3,000 soldiers, untrained in dealing with Ebola outbreaks, to Africa for reasons that...

A Widespread Power Failure Plus An Ebola Outbreak Would Become America’s Extinction Level Event

Dave Hodges RINF Alternative News On November 13 and 14 of 2013, DHS and NERC conducted a simulated power grid takedown drill. Despite the fact the...

Militarizing the Ebola Crisis

Few would oppose a robust U.S. response to Ebola, but the Obama administration's deployment of 3,000 troops to Liberia comes amid a broader U.S.-led...

Scientists Warn Ebola Transmission May Be Airborne

Ethan A. Huff With so many questions still remaining as to how folks like Dr. Rick Sacra, who never even treated Ebola patients, somehow managed...

Liberia Running Out Of Room For Ebola Patients

Michael T. Snyder RINF Alternative News There is not a single empty bed available for an Ebola patient in Liberia right now, but thousands more cases...

More Media Fear Porn: ‘Ebola Outbreak Could Spread Sixfold’

The West African Ebola outbreak is accelerating and could grow six times larger and infect as many as 20,000 people, the World Health Organisation...

Liberia overwhelmed by number of Ebola dead

Red Cross says Monrovia's crematorium cannot keep up with deaths, turning away dozens of infectious corpses every day. The crematorium in Liberia's capital Monrovia is...

Experimental drug success: US Ebola doctor to be discharged after recovery

An American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday after being treated...

Ebola and the Absent “Humanitarians”

Ulson Gunnar The US spent over two billion dollars during NATO’s armed assault on Libya both in ordnance used during months of aerial bombardment and in...

Ebola Outbreak ‘Vastly Underestimated’: Health Experts

"The scale of what we need to be doing versus what we are doing is...log-scale differential" Andrea Germanos The Ebola outbreak has been "vastly underestimated" and...

Investors eye profits while poor die of Ebola

The British media are determined to spread fear about the Ebola virus, the disease that has killed nearly 1,000 people in West Africa this...

US ‘to send’ untested Ebola drug to Liberia

Liberia has said it will receive doses of an experimental Ebola drug to treat infected doctors in the West African country. A statement, published on...

The One Question About Ebola That Nobody Can Seem To Answer

Michael Snyder  RINF Alternative News How in the world is it possible that more than 170 health workershave been infected by the Ebola virus? That is the...

The Politics of the Ebola Serum: Harriet Washington on the Ebola Outbreak

Ebola is all over the headlines in the United States. After two American health care workers were infected with the deadly virus in Liberia,...

25 Critical Facts About This Ebola Outbreak That Every American Needs To Know

Michael T. Snyder RINF Alternative News What would a global pandemic look like for a disease that has no cure and that kills more than half...

The U.S. Is Quietly Establishing Ebola Quarantine Centers

Dave Hodges  RINF Alternative News Most border crossings in Liberia, located in West Africa, have been closed and communities hit by an Ebola outbreak face quarantine to...

The Ebola Virus Pandemic: “A Weapon of Mass Destruction”?

This year’s first outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever virus Ebola started in February in the West African nation of Guinea. It then began spreading to...

‘Moral bankruptcy of capitalism’: UK’s top public doctor shames western society over Ebola

Western countries should tackle drugs firms’ “scandalous” reluctance to invest in research into the virus which has already killed over 700 people in West...

Ebola Kamikazes: Terrorists Seek Ebola Bomb (Video)

By Susan DuclosIt isn't the first time terrorists have tried this type of thing but it does go to show the evil of terrorism as Guineeinformation reports that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is actively searching Guinea, which has seen the most ...

Woolwich murder, the MI6 connection: Younger brother of Michael Adebolajo ‘was paid thousands to...

ROBERT VERKAIKUK Daily MailJune 2, 2013 The younger brother of one of the men accused of...

Online abuse of women laid bare in new report — RT UK News

From tweets threatening violence to emails detailing graphic descriptions of rape, a new survey has...

Is this justice? Here’s a list of those who HAVE and HAVE NOT been...

Cuts to the UK legal aid system have prompted a Great British backlash after it...

Terrorist jailed for killing soldier ‘influenced’ inmates, yet judge says he deserves legal aid...

Published time: 31 Oct, 2017 17:42 Michael Adebolajo, one of two Islamist terrorists who murdered...

Viking squirrels may have brought leprosy to Britain, according to Cambridge study — RT...

Published time: 25 Oct, 2017 17:16 Viking squirrels may have been responsible for bringing leprosy...

Hug a jihadi or prosecute hate preachers? UK counter-terror watchdog sends mixed messages —...

Hate preachers in Britain should not be jailed unless they have committed or plotted an...

Galveston’s BioLab Amid Global Warming

Special Report: During Hurricane Harvey, a story questioning the wisdom of putting a biocontainment lab on vulnerable Galveston island revealed not...

The Case of Cuba: “Human Rights” as a Club

This document was submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Office of the Commissioner, based in Geneva, Switzerland in the name of Cuba...

Lee Rigby killer in £100,000 ‘blood money’ court claim, says wardens ‘damaged’ him

Published time: 8 Sep, 2017 10:26 The killer of soldier Lee Rigby is seeking £100,000...

‘Jihadist jails’ set up within British prisons to isolate extremists

Three British prisons will soon feature special “jihadi jails” in an effort to stem radicalization...

Lee Rigby murderer branded ‘most dangerous’ inmate in UK

Lee Rigby’s murderer has been branded “Britain’s most dangerous prisoner” amid allegations that he has...

Potential Migrants Worldwide

Viruses, violent conflicts and a host of other regional calamities helped revive peoples’ desire to migrate permanently to another country between the years 2013...

Trump Escalates Attack on Healthcare, Women With Rebranded and Expanded Global Gag Rule

President Donald Trump spent part of his first Monday in office following in the footsteps of other Republican presidents by reinstating the Global Gag...

True extent of foreign aid fraud must be revealed, MPs demand

Ministers have been told to admit the true extent of fraud in the foreign aid...

Trump’s budget cuts could ‘eviscerate’ USAID

The Trump administration’s budget proposal includes cuts of one to two-thirds in funding to the USAID...

Bill Gates warns terrorists could weaponize smallpox

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has raised the alarm over a growing threat from bioterrorism, warning that that it could cause tens of millions of...

‘Jihadi jails’: Separate anti-radicalization units being built for extremist prisoners

The British Ministry of Justice has announced that plans will go ahead to separate extremist...

Theresa May confirms Britain’s foreign aid budget will remain

Theresa May has confirmed she has no plans to cut the foreign aid budget amid...

UK primary school take pupils on day out to meet ‘extremist’ Islamic preacher

Children from a London primary school spent a two-day school trip with an imam described...

UK jail to get first of its kind ‘extremists only’ block – report

In an apparent first of its kind attempt, the UK is planning to move convicted...

5 terrorist attacks that shook London

The car-and-knife attack in Westminster on Wednesday was the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK’s...

Islamist who murdered British soldier Lee Rigby seeks $25k for teeth knocked out in...

Michael Adebolajo, an Islamic extremist who ruthlessly murdered Lee Rigby, has found a lawyer to seek £20,000 in compensation after his teeth were knocked...

There’s No Cure for It

Like the game of party line we played as kids, myths about colds and other short-term illnesses prevail.  The reality is that the common...

‘Force for good’: Kerry defends Obama’s international legacy

The US is "on the right path" and has accomplished much under Barack Obama, outgoing Secretary...

Deaths, Deportations and Arrests: Violence Against Migrants in Morocco

"We are in MoroccoHere, many Blacks have lost their livesHere, it's BoukhalefThe Moroccans call us azziaThey talk about us to scare their childrenAnd when...

Obama’s humility: ‘We really are an indispensable nation’

Humility in foreign policy “is useful trait,” outgoing President Barack Obama said, adding that America is...

Italy: More Invaders So Far This Year Than All 2015

More Africans have now invaded Italy this year than the total number who did so last year—and there are still over two...

The Truth About Flu Shots

By Dr. Mercola Flu season is rapidly approaching and, with it, constant reminders to get vaccinated. This despite the fact that mounting research suggests this...

EU army would undermine NATO, says Defence Secretary Fallon

British politicians are intent on killing plans for an EU-wide army, following a Franco-German push for a stronger EU defense policy. The tug-of-war between Europe’s...

‘Fragmented oversight’: GAO probe finds 21 cases of lethal pathogens shipped by mistake

Laboratories around the US sent out highly contagious viruses and bacteria samples they mistakenly believed were...

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Radical UK cleric Anjem Choudary jailed for 5.5yrs for supporting ISIS

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ALBA’s humanistic growth model pushes Latin America ahead

From continent to continent, policies promoting regional integration have become a core tenant of 21st century development strategies. Whether laying the foundations of transportation and communication infrastructure or shaping trade opportunities, broader market access and economic development, the politics of regional integration are central to consensus building and cooperation in our era.

Regional integration in itself, however, has not proven to a recipe for dynamic policies – as evidenced by public disenfranchisement with traditional politics throughout the European Union. The growing popularity of once-fringe nationalist parties throughout Europe should be seen as a response to economic policies centered on liberalization and denationalization by broad deregulation and austerity measures; a disproportionate focus on free trade; the erosion of state sovereignty by supranational bylaws and one-size-fits-all monetary policies.

Events that have unfolded in Latin America over the last decade, although woefully underreported by the globe’s dominant media outlets, have set an example that demands a reevaluation of conventional regional integration strategies. The embassies of Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador recently held a panel discussion in Kuala Lumpur to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Treaty of Commerce of the People (ALBA-TCP), an alternative regional development platform for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Since its formation in 2004, originally as an alliance between Cuba and Venezuela, the ALBA grouping has positioned itself as an alternative to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement championed by the United States, which sought to remove trade barriers and introduce sweeping intellectual property laws that would have limited the cross-importation of pharmaceuticals. Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and several other Caribbean states later joined the ALBA bloc.

Liberalizing trade regimes and economic policies have failed to achieve economic development and alleviate poverty in Latin America, according to Lourdes Puma Puma, Ambassador to Ecuador in Malaysia, during her address to the panel, explaining the factors that contributed to the expansion of ALBA into a nine-nation regional grouping. Based on the emancipatory ideas of Simón Bolívar and José Marti, both being historical figures that symbolize the independence of Latin American nations from colonial Spain, the ALBA grouping defines itself by emphasizing policies that create social uplift and focus more on complementarity rather than competition.

ALBA’s unique significance compared to other regional organizations, according to Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), is precisely on the tremendous importance it places on human welfare and social justice with programs that provide free medical care and treatment for the disabled. ALBA’s integration strategy is built on the foundations of a people-centered, inclusive model though prioritizing the common distribution of medicines, emphasizing food self-sufficiency, and ambitious projects to eradicate hungry and illiteracy.

One of the features of ALBA’s complementarity economics is the use of compensated trade through direct product exchanges so that countries can use their resource advantages in a mutually beneficial way that doesn’t necessarily imply a financial transaction. A common example of this is how Venezuela provides oil to Cuba in exchange for doctors and healthcare professionals; this system of trade-offs also includes educational and medical services, scientific projects and commodities.

Cuba, which has punched far above its weight in the fight against Ebola, has more doctors per capita than any other country in the world by virtue of its state-run healthcare system. One of the crowning achievements of ALBA’s partnership has been the ‘Operation Miracle’ project that saw the deployment of Cuban ophthalmologists across Latin America to perform surgeries on vision-impaired people suffering from cataracts and glaucoma. Some 3.4 million people have had their sight restored, free of charge.

Throughout the ALBA bloc, 1.2 million disabled people have been treated while more than 2 million consultations have taken place. Another regional initiative has been the Grand-National Project of Literacy and Post-Literacy, offering universal primary education. More than 3.8 million people have been made literate through the “Yo si peudo (Yes I can)” program to promote reading and writing, which has been recognized by UNESCO. ALBA has also incentivized scholarships for higher education and academic exchanges within the bloc.

Contrary to traditional regional economic intergradation schemes that encourage the scaling back of the state in favor of the market, ALBA countries believe that the state has a role to play in regulating economic activity in the interest of maintaining social welfare. As both an economic and political alliance, the grouping shares common positions on the principals of sovereignty, multi-polarity, self-determination, environmentally sustainable development strategies and an opposition to interventionism and war.

ALBA’s drive to create a complementary economic zone with PetroCaribe, a separate grouping between Venezuela and Caribbean states, has enormous potential for development as a region encompassing 21 nations within a 7 million km zone, boasting a workforce of 60 million people. Investment opportunities are also aplenty, in areas ranging from mining and energy to tourism. The grouping has also launched a bank and a digital currency – the Sucre – as a mechanism for international payments and the use of local currency for payment of imports, in addition to reducing dependence on US dollar transactions.

The United States, with its long-standing hostility toward Cuba and continued unilateral blockade of the island’s economy, views the independent direction of ALBA as an affront to its interests. ALBA countries believe that the media coverage of developments in Latin America throughout the West are tinged with bias and misinformation, which led the bloc to introduce a number of television and radio stations such as Telesur and AlbaTV to present their side of the story to international and domestic audiences.

There are undoubtedly challenges ahead as ALBA solidifies its indigenous regional integration model and deepens cooperation with other regional blocks in Latin America, such as CELAC and Mercosur, of which many ALBA states are participants. In attempting to reverse the legacy of hegemony and dominance in the region, the nations of ALBA understand the limitations of the nation-state. A regional body has far more clout to enact systemic changes that the people of Latin America have been enormously supportive of.

Simón Bolívar once said that it was the inexorable destiny of Latin America to be united – there is no question that ALBA is at the forefront of this struggle for dignity and social justice.

This article was appeared in the November 26, 2014 print edition of The Malaysian Reserve newspaper.

Nile Bowie is an independent journalist and political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His articles have appeared in numerous international publications, including regular columns with Russia Today (RT) and newspapers such as the Global Times, the Malaysian Reserve and the New Straits Times. He is a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian NGO promoting social justice and anti-hegemony politics. He can be reached at [email protected]. 

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Authored by Mint's Bill Blain,

European GDP and Spain – where it’s going?

Europe Q4 GDP declines 0.6%, and economy contracts 0.9%. No one should be surprised at the latest disappointing European GDP numbers, but they hide important trends – Germany’s Q4 0.6% GDP drop was worse than expected, although the expectations remain for growth later this year. France is going to miss the 3% GDP deficit target because of low growth. For the rest of Europe the numbers were generally worse than expected – and no one credible is talking about significant growth prospects. (Sure, the Euro Elites are telling us they see growth tomorrow.. but tomorrow is always tomorrow..)

The poor GDP numbers are likely to have significant knock-on effects in terms of confidence and the Euro – sure enough European Stocks are lower. France GDP was down 0.3%, Netherlands down 0.2%. And the critical peripheral worries: Italy down 0.9% in Q4. Spain Q4 contracted by 0.7% when its number was released in Jan.

Of course, slowing economies would normally be good news for bonds – rates should fall as the need for economic stimulus rises. True for Germany, but since the rest of Europe moves in step with Germany… until it doesn’t, and renewed doubts about the Euro economies take over!

Are we likely to see another round of Euro Peripheral weakness?

The difference now is NO-ONE really believes the Euro is going to break up. There are some doubts about Italy as the political tensions rise, and the Euro Elites face up to the implications of a Berlusconi resurgence. He’s back, and this time he’s serious... Get over it.

Let’s look at Spain. I’m assured there is nothing to worry about. The country is determined to stick with the programme and stay within the Euro. Sure, there have been some wobbles in terms of agreeing GDP/deficit targets, bailing out the banks, and refusing to be handcuffed to OMT shackles.

Let’s go back to 26th July 2012, the day Draghi promised to “do what is needed to preserve the Euro”... If you bought Spain that July day, you are sitting pretty. 5-year Spain CDS rallied from 642 to 244 in Jan. Spain’s worst of a bad bank bunch, Bankia, has seen its senior CDS tighten from 1575 in July to 709 currently! Spain stocks, IBEX, is up 38%.

What’s not to like..? Think hard about that one.

As we all know, the moment to exit a position is when you first think about it... not when you have to. So if you are bought into the Spain rally, let me ask... what’s the next move? Hold for now, hold to maturity, or sell?

What are the risks for Spain? We have few doubts it will stay in the Euro. If needed, it will get a bailout in whatever form the ECB can make acceptable -  unlimited bond purchases and/or direct cash injections if markets close. Anything will be done to avoid an embarrassing default. The risks are more subtle – economic and the long-term consequences of economics.

I spent yesterday’s quieter moments reading through rafts of Spain stuff – particularly some excellent stuff from David Watts at CreditSights. I generally ignore most of the bank analysis – it’s ever so slightly biased and as turgid as over-ripe halibut. No bank is going to write negative Spain comment when there are potential Spain bond mandates to be won.

My current interest in Spain was pricked by Blackrock CEO Larry Fink’s comments to ABC following a visit to Madrid. He reckons “Spain will be a star economy if reforms continue”  but it still faces 3-4 years of hard adjustment. Hmm.. so Blackrock has become establishment – agreeing with that the Spanish claims of an: “unprecedented fiscal consolidation effort”. However, there was nothing in the press release to back up any of Fink’s claims with real data or trends.

Data and graphs are the territory of my Macro-Man – Martin Malone - but he’s currently glad-handing in Japan, so let me present my own Spain snapshot:

  • The government is extremely unpopular – that’s why the apparently faked attempts to frame them as slush fund recipients had limited effect. Rajoy et al are already marginally less welcome than Ebola fever.
  • The government still has many unpopular spending decisions to take. Domestic tension remains high and with still rising unemployment, it could get worse. Which could spawn yet more anti-centralisation from the regions.
  • Lowering Spain wages has made Spain more “competitive”, but only in European wage terms.
  • Sadly, Spain’s only competitive advantage is lower wages: Spain isn’t a leader in the value-added factors of mature European economies; like cutting edge technology, unmatched engineering prowess, world class design, financial innovation or even sophisticated marketing. There are exceptions; Spain’s top company Zara is successfully selling middle market clothing on a pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap basis. Otherwise, Spanish manufacturing is basically making things cheaper than others.
  • While European manufacturers may well be looking to move production to Spain because of low wages, it doesn’t help the strong Euro makes the whole country uncompetitive  on the world stage, and that European consumers aint consuming very much.
  • The improvements in Spain do mean it’s well placed in the short-term if… if… there is a recovery. Long-term prospects look worse with the university educated future generation now working as barista’s in London or anywhere outside Europe, and little being done to invest in a technology driven future.
  • Emigration of the best and brightest adds to the demographic time bomb ticking in the Spain pension funds.
  • Although the 25% plus Spain unemployment probably underestimates the black economy – it’s a simple fact the whole Spanish private sector is massively overleveraged, especially as family heads are losing their jobs. Falling wages and job losses increase the burden. Banks remain massively vulnerable to rising retail distress.
  • All the above without even mentioning fact the economy is burdened by millions of unsellable homes with no one likely to buy. I really don’t understand how SAREB (the Spanish bad bank) is apparently selling property 30% above market.. If I don’t understand it.. my default position is its dodgy.
  • Spanish banks may be funding again.. whoopee.. But that’s not a factor of better conditions or outlook – it’s entirely a factor of the scramble for yield rather than better Spain financial fundamentals.

When I ask the question.. what’s not to like about Spain..? Well actually quite a lot.. What are the positives. Well, turning to Mr Fink, the Euro Elites and the IMF, they all praise Spain for making great progress.. In what way? Last year the Spaniards told us they were targeting a 6.3% Deficit GDP. Everyone harrumphed and whined, but had little choice but to accept the number.

Guess what. Spain will miss that number by a significant margin. Now they say 7.4% is likely due to the cost of bank bailouts. But as CreditSights point out, they are probably underestimating the true impact of the 3.5% GDP cost of the bank bailouts. Even the Spain MOF predicts a 8.1% deficit number!

CreditSights suggests a significant Deficit miss will undermine Spain’s borrowing position. They say investors should lighten up on Spain because the likely deficit miss is one sided: if the number was hit, it won’t move market higher, but on a miss there will likely be a sell off – particularly at the long end.

Perhaps... but I’d add Spain’s borrowing position is only sustained by the Draghi promise of OMT support. What if that proves to be just talk and illusion? If Spain is so obviously failing to control its deficit, name a German politician who will be keen to allow them access to emergency OMT funding if there is a reversal? German election later this year.

One Key CreditSights soundbite: “Spain last ran a balanced budget in Q1 2008 when growth was 2%. Now the economy is shrinking 1.7% on an annualised basis.” That’s a massive amount of catch up to be achieved.

The real danger in Spain is long-term. Thus far the government has contained youth unemployment and social unrest. But long-term how will that fare as Spain comes to realise that the only future for it within the Euro is to remain the most competitive production country by dint of lower wages. That’s hardly an attractive option within the United States of Europe – being little more than low-paid arbiters for Corporate Germany.

We are looking at another 3-4 years of economic misery just to get the Spanish economy back into the EU’s 3% deficit/GDP groove. Then we’re looking at on-going relative poverty for Spanish workers within Europe. At some point... something has to give...

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