Saturday Selections

SEC Has A Powerful Ally In Renewed Pursuit Against Wall Street Preet Bharara, US attorney in New York, just announced more charges in the government’s criminal insider-trading probe of hedge-fund giant SAC Capital Advisors. The far-reaching probe, analysts say, is a sign of the newly aggressive approach being taken by Securities and Exchange Commission nominee Mary Jo White. And in Bharara, White has quite an ally, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Read Bharara’s biography here.

“Since August 2009, Bharara’s office has charged 81 defendants on Wall Street and corporate America with insider trading. As the head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the southern district of New York, Bharara oversees more than 230 prosecutors,” notes reporter Andrew Tangel.

Iraq’s Future May Lie In The Hands Of Its Neighbors

With the threat posed from Iran increasing Iraq’s Arab neighbors appear to be abandoning their hands-off approach posit Yoel Guzansky and Gallia Lindenstrauss, research fellows at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University,

“After the withdrawal of American troops, the neighboring Arab states became more willing to invest in their relations with Iraq, thereby affording them a better vantage point from which to affect the state’s development and curb Iranian influence,” they write in an article for the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

In addition to the risks posed by the Iranian regime, many Arab states are fearful of the consequences of an Iraq divided by sectarian conflict and possibly “disintegrating into three separate entities poses both risks and opportunities for its neighbors.”

They continue: “On one hand, it may consolidate Iranian influence on the Iraqi Shiites, but on the other hand, it will mean the Sunni and Kurdish entities will be highly dependent upon the Gulf States and Turkey, respectively.”

Behind Ghana’s Successful Polio Eradication Program
Having traveled extensively to Ghana in recent years, Bill Gates offers some insight on the success the African nation has experienced in combating polio.

Book Review: The Great Deformation
In “The Great Deformation” David Stockman details the large and small events which have led to the capitalist financial system in the US going dramatically astray.

Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, says matters were made worse by a “pattern of chronically shortsighted political decision-making and craven tax policies that distorted sound business practices and encouraged self-destructive behavior by the private sector.”

Yet, as dysfunctional as Stockman believes the system has become in the last 40 years – producing a series of “bubbles” and endless spending – he does not hold the view that a government response to crises is the right path.

“Washington’s massive intervention in September 2008 could not thwart a Great Depression 2.0 because the collapse of Wall Street could not have caused one,” Stockman writes.

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