Irregular Reporting of Societal IssuesSM

"Get your news weakly"SM 28 January 2008

French Bank Scam Raises Concerns

What is the state of education in business and finance in the French Republic? That is the question most concerning the brightest minds in France today. Last week, the world awoke to find that a 31-year old futures trader at the second-largest French bank had lost more than $7 billion dollars.

The banking scam at Société Générale, the largest in French history, is troubling for the French government on many levels, but dwarfing the concerns about risk management, bank stability, proper regulation of national and trans-European banking and trading regulation, global market reaction, and bank transparency, are the twin concerns of finance education and the quality of the French labor pool.

Jerome Kerviel, the alleged perpetrator of the far-reaching scam, has been described as a "computer genius" by French regulators. Indeed, the scale of the scam would seem to support this notion. However, the very fact that Kerviel is not believed to have profited at all from the scam, runs the risk of serving seven years in prison, and voluntarily surrendered to police might be taken as evidence to the contrary. Dominique Chabert, the head of the finance master's degree program at Lyon University summed up an opposing view, saying, "If he was a genius, we didn't notice it".

French finance ministers expressed outrage at the young trader's inability to profit. "What has zis countrie become?", asked a Gaulois-smoking functionary, expressing the frustration of many citizens. Accordingly, the French finance ministry has announced an investigation in the hiring practices of the major banks in France to determine why they are hiring traders who are not even smart enough to make money illegally. Daniel Bouton, president of Société Générale agreed, saying, "This situation is utterly unacceptable".

Edwards Drops Out Of Presidential Race

Democratic candidate and former senator John Edwards announced that he would withdraw from the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Some analysts were surprised by the news until Senator Edwards was able to expand on his rationale, saying, "I feel it is time to devote more focus to my vice presidential nomination". Experts feel the race for vice president has already heated up, with Arizona governor Bill Richardson and John Edwards in a virtual tie in their virtual race.


Giuliani To Expand Strategy

While apparently announcing an end to his candidacy, high level advisors within the campaign of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani indicate that this is merely a shift in his winning strategy.

Up to this point, Giuliani has focused his campaign for the Republican nomination entirely on Florida, neglecting the bell weather states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, as well as Wyoming and Michigan. Analysts across the board agree that this has proven to be a brilliant strategy with clear results for the former mayor, as his results in the Florida primary indicate. "If you have a winning strategy, you should definitely do more of the same, and maybe even kick it up a notch", says political analyst and Giuliani advisor Mike Ostrich, "The poll numbers indicate that our strategy is working". For subsequent states, the campaign will ensure that the former mayor will make no appearances or speeches, preferring instead to gain the nomination by appearing to not run at all.

The former mayor addressed supporters saying, "America is ready for a different kind of campaign and we are going to give it to them". Giuliani went on to emphasize themes that have been key to his success with voters, saying, "We know that the most important thing is to keep our country's focus on terrorism. If we can do that, in about nine or 11 months, we can change the world".

Fed Sends Strong Message

In a surprise move, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that the Federal Open Market Committee would remove interest rates entirely. "If a rate cut is such a good thing, it just makes the most sense to go the rest of the way", said Chairman Bernanke. When asked if he thought this might have an impact on inflation, Bernanke replied, "Who cares about inflation? We need to keep people spending money".

While seeming a positive development, Wall Street reaction was mixed. Some critics have pointed out that credit-based industries might be impacted by the move to eliminate interest rates, though this remains purely conjecture.

Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan issued a statement on the matter in the form of a haiku, accompanying himself on saxophone. Markets were up sharply following Greenspan's statement, despite the fact that Talmudic and Daoist scholars are still working to interpret its meaning.

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