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Archive for June, 2007

Asian stock Markets down danger ahead – 2007 – update

Posted by Adrian on June 27, 2007

All Ordinaries 6276.3 -61
Dow Jones 13337.66 -14.39
FTSE-100 6559.3 -29.1
Hang Seng 21759.59 -43.98
NASDAQ 2574.16 -2.92
Nikkei 225 17933.03 -133.08
S & P 500 1492.89 -4.85
SPI Futures 6260 -76

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

Asian stock Markets down danger ahead – 2007

Posted by Adrian on June 27, 2007

Due to the extreme slow down in the US housing markets, which in turn has dragged on the Japanese stocks on export concerns. which means that the demand for export goods (from Japan) has dropped off. Pointing to the US economy going into a full recession. In my opinion this is very serious for stocks and other aspects of the financial markets. Why? because we also have a out of control economy in China, stocks, consumption all overinflated (any correction/crash effects world markets), oil will continue to rise and the ‘credit crunch’ will be a hard one. Due to the fact that consumers are still reliant on credit, even as borrowing rates have increased.

Watch the markets carefully.

Links:

Bank for International Settlements concern that a depression is looming

Rates rises pushes housing to ‘Bloodbath’

Japaneses stocks drop on concerns of housing meltdown/consumer spending in the US

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

Hatebreed Defeatist clip

Posted by Adrian on June 22, 2007

One for the Iriver mp3 player I reckon.

Posted in Popular Culture/Culture | Leave a Comment »

The end of cheap money?

Posted by Adrian on June 22, 2007

Not good. This could be the “credit crunch” anticipated by various economists. Brought on by the total collapse of the sub prime housing market which has now spilled over into other sectors. Borrowed money now will come with higher interest, credit ratings for higher risk companies will be adjusted. So the end of loose liquidity is just around the corner.

CNN business here

All Ordinaries 6387.9 -24
Dow Jones 13545.84 +56.42
FTSE-100 6596 -53.3
Hang Seng 21903.84 -50.83
NASDAQ 2616.96 +17
Nikkei 225 18110 -130.3
S & P 500 1522.19 +9.35
SPI Futures 6370 -22

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

Shooting in Melbourne CBD, Australia 18th June 2007 – updated 22nd June 2007

Posted by Adrian on June 22, 2007

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(above photo of King Street Melbourne CBD from wikipedia)

After three days, the gunman Christopher Wayne Hudson a member of the Hells Angels , who shot three people in broad daylight on Monday morning during peak hr in the central Business district in Melbourne, handed himself in to police. The Victims were Brendan Keilar, 43 a Melbourne solicitor shot dead, Dutch backpacker Paul De Waard, 25 – critically wounded (three gunshots wounds! he was shot twice), stripper/model Kaera Douglas – critically wounded (shot in stomach).

All sorts of reports came out after his surrender, one was that his lawyer negotiated a deal to have Hudson transported to a remote town north of Melbourne. That he not be intercepted by police special operations. The police were also not to arrest anyone else connected with him i.e affiliated groups, Hells Angels. It also seems the Hell Angels had cut him loose – he is now on his own. It also appears he may have tried take his own life, before being sent straight into custody he was admitted into a hospital to have surgery on his wrist.

According to news reports Hudson was at inner city strip club (Kings street) with Autumn Daly-Holt and Kaera Douglas (both strippers). After some altercation with Holt, he beat her up, left her on the pavement – apparently unconscious. Douglas called for help and apparently had an ambulance called. She then left the club and was dragged by the hair from a taxi near Williams street. Williams St intercepts over King Street, all these streets are south of the central CBD. King street is a stretch of road that heads down to Southbank (Casino and apartments, overlooking the Yarra River). During business hrs it is a low key stretch, there are various strip joints and bars – all in the prefabricated ‘up market’ look. After hrs the street turns into a all night club stretch – when most of the city empties it’s self of workers. Friday night and weekdays King Street activates. It is a violent, drug orientated and organised crime area. It’s mandatory news when you hear of brawls, stabbings and the occasional death occur from King Street after hrs. King and William street sit at the tale end of the legal precinct of the city. In fact one of the biggest law firms in the southern hemisphere Minter Ellison overlooks Kings Street from the Rialto towers.

I was annoyed to hear on a breakfast morning show the naivety of the presenters , who interviewed a women that comforted the dutch backbacker Paul De Waard after he was shot, saying ‘I hope he doesn’t go back to Holland with a bad impression of Melbourne/Australia’. Melbourne is a violent city, you are in a daydream of blissful naivety if you think otherwise. A gang war that has lasted for 10 years has just been rapped up. The death toll: 28 people dead, namely associates of various groups affiliated with the key members of the war. Admittedly this didn’t spill out to the greater public, never the less the shooting occurred in public and exposed places, restaurants, parks and inner urban streets. It’s now finished, as most of the main characters are either locked up, fled the country and/or are dead.

The drug barons of Melbourne made their cash from speed, heroin and in some cases cocaine (for the wealthy clients). Starting in the 90’s and now into the 21st century. But now it is methamphetamine.

The tragedy of the shooting was the random insanity of the gunman. The story goes, whilst he was trying to pull Douglas out of a cab, her screaming drew the attention of solicitor Brendan Keilar and dutch backpacker Paul De Waard. Both apparently who came to the aid of Douglas, at that point he shot all three of them. Then ran. If it comes out that Hudson was on meth, or other type amphetamine. It just shows the dangerous disposition that the drug has on it’s uses Already there were calls for stricter handgun laws. Which is ridicules, as it ignores as usual, the core issue. Drugs. Like all major cities in the world with outdated and antiquated anti drug and drug enforcement laws, violence will always be the extreme temperament as the by product. Melbourne City is by no exception. ‘Ice’ (meth) is widely used, hence the various ‘drug lords’ trying to claiming a footing in the market.

There needs to be a reality check on drugs. The daydreaming of ‘everything’ is fine and the war on drugs is working is a false dichotomy. As it ignores the underbelly of illegal drugs and profit. Simply, an illegality based law system on drug use does not work.

So worlds will always collide on the streets of Melbourne City.

Article from SMH
(regarding capture)

Article from The Age
(regarding female vitcims)

Posted in Melbourne City Urban Visuals. Mixed images | 6 Comments »

Spotlight on ‘Punisher War Journal’ Marvel Comics. Writer Matt Fraction. Art Ariel Olivetti

Posted by Adrian on June 21, 2007

It was great to see a revival in the Punisher War Journal series, as far as the character and his place in the wider Marvel Universe. Garth Ennis who has been writing a solid and definitive Punisher run on Max comics (Marvel Adult comic spin off) for awhile now, and he has been able mold the character into a gritty, dark and very distinct style. Garth Ennis established the everything is “black and white” persona in a world where there is only Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) and the bad guys, no superheros, just the contemporary issues of terrorism, sex slavery in Eastern Europe, company corruption and organised crime.

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Matt Fraction has opened The Punisher back up into other possibilities, set him up back in a world with superheros and mixes the contemporary issues of the day. Fraction has does this extremely well. He has formulated a character with a little more depth and unique style, which is needed. As the two Punisher’s (Garth Max Punisher and Fraction’s Punisher) are alike and not alike at the same time, which is good. As the reader can enjoy two characters that are written extremely well. So in the sense the two Punisher publications (Max and the Marvel general title) do not come across as a competitive aspect from the two writers, rather a complementary respect for the core character, Frank Castle aka The Punisher.

Fraction introduced his style within the Punisher War Journal in the middle stages of the Marvel Civil War run. It was a stellar introduction, backed up by some of the most stunning comic art seen today, courtesy of Ariel Olivetti. Olivetti draws comic art like a South American social realist (he is from Argentina), exaggerated characters, pale colours, lot’s of details and expression in the character faces and background environments. Sparse in the amount of drawn backgroud characters but full of atmosphere and emotion. Amazing art. So the team of Fraction and Olivetti embark on returning the Punisher to the Marvel universe, which is in turmoil. The registration act has been introduced, and Frank Castle continues on removing the bane of humanity, the shitty underworld of killers, drug dealers and anyone else involved in the direct exploitation of the innocent. So we see in Fraction’s world for the Punisher, the crooks happened to have various superhuman powers, as opposed to Ennis’s Punisher, where the Punisher operates in a world like ours, reality based with no superhumans

The Civil war run of the Punisher was the nice wedge between those two inevitably hopeless sides, Ironman who is Pro superhuman registration and Captain America’s Anti superhuman registration. Fraction created an interesting contradiction with the Punisher who neither stood on either side of the Civil War and is a wanted fugitive – which was basically a paradox for the civil war conflict. Although the Punisher somewhat aligns himself with Captain America’s side, in which we learn of some old history between Captain America and Frank Castle, which occurred prior to Frank going to Vietnam. Fraction attempts to create some depth to Frank’s character, as Captain America gives the troops a brief lesson in hand to hand combat, he asks Frank to attack him. In which Frank refuses to, thus gets a beating from Captain America. What was Fraction trying to project? Maybe it is that distinct ‘black and white’ aspect that Frank Castle (The Punisher) later developed whilst meeting Captain America at ‘bootcamp’ pre Vietnam. So the beginning of Frank’s early perspective of defining what is good and bad in the human character; occurred within the early historic altercation with Captain America (pre The Punisher). Even if he didn’t like Captain America, he was good, one of the good guys.

But, the Civil War conflict didn’t do much for The Punisher after disposing of two underworld villains in front of Captain America (Captain America was trying to look for more people willing to defect to his side – even if the were bad guys), Captain America delivers a brutal beatdown upon The Punisher and of course the Punisher doesn’t fight back. So this is the beginning of the end of any kind of allies for the Punisher, apart from hooking up a weaponsmith by the name of Stuart Clarke, a nerdy, character obsessed (doesn’t like Ironman) genius. Olivetti draws a nice contrast of the overpowering Punisher and the nerdy Clarke as they become general fugitives – with S.H.E.I.L.D in close pursuit. Lead by G W Bridge, who is obsessed about capturing the Punisher.

Fraction is also prolific in recreating some background characters and giving them substance. In the case of G W Bridge, the first issue of Punisher War Journal shows G W Bridge praying in a mosque. So obviously he is a Muslim, hired by a US government agency (S.H.E.I.L.D) to hunt down the Punisher. Again, Fraction throws in some complexity into the background of the comic, outside from Frank Castle’s black and white perspective. It really separates the character of the Punisher from other characters in the comic, although Fraction has opened up some interesting insights within the Punisher’s mental makeup.

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After failed attempts at capturing the Punisher, G W Bridge is sacked as a contractor for S.H.E.I.L.D. Meanwhile on the run with Clarke and the Punisher heading towards the Mexican boarder, an alarming situation unfolds. A local journalist in a nearby town on the Mexican boarder discovers that a Nazi super criminal by the name of the Hate Monger who has massacred Mexican immigrants who live in a border ‘layup’ town, whose inhabitants eventually were going to cross the boarder into America. She is caught and forced to capture the massacre as it unfolds by the Hate Monger and his army.Frank decides to go after the Hate Monger.

Fraction introduces some political commentary to the Punisher story. Namely the illegal Mexican immigrants that make it across the boarder into America and right wing policy of turning a blind eye to vigilantes that attempt to stop the flow of Mexicans entering America. So the extreme racist character of the Hate Monger is a clear representation of what would happen to illegal immigrants by a white supremacist. Fraction allows Clarke to make the social commentary regarding illegal immigrants. That most of these illegal immigrants are from extreme poverty looking for a better future, hardly criminals or people that threaten America. The Hate Monger is the epitome of racist thought in America, as he (Hate Monger) declares, ‘America should be white, Christian and right’.

The Punisher infiltrates the Nazi’s inner circle after an initiation blind folded, which involved confronting a crazed bull. After successful smacking the poor thing over the head with a ripped off piece of wood. He is then brought into the inner circle.

Things do not turn out to well for Frank, the Punisher is found out, tired to a pole and attacked by the Hate Monger. You have some interesting duality going on, since the death of Captain America. The extreme version of what the American dream should be have emerged. One being The Hate Monger, in a similar attire as Captain America. The Punisher also feels he needs to project a type of homage to Captain America, and also adorns a uniform similar to Captain America.

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It’s Fraction exploring that missing hero complex. As Frank castle says, ‘he hated my guts’ (Captain America) but Frank cannot abide by seeing the Hate Monger distort and attempt to justify slaughter of Innocent in the name of America.

Of course Olivetti handles the art exceptionally though out this comic arc, the various drawn contrasts between the Hate Monger and The Punisher. Stuart Clarke and (we find out in this story) his girlfriend the reporter Tantia (the woman who photographed the massacre).

Punisher War Journal is a great comic and it is correct to say that Matt Fraction is a rising star in the comic world. What can be said about Ariel Olivetti’s art? It’s just amazing. I hope there is a continued partnership between Olivetti and Fraction they have both made a solid entry into the Punisher stories. It really can only get better.

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Posted in Books, Comic Reviews | 6 Comments »

Nanoparticle to Treat Glaucoma

Posted by Adrian on June 19, 2007

Nanoparticle and the treatment of Glaucoma

ScienceDaily here

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

Shooting in Melbourne CBD, Australia 18th June 2007

Posted by Adrian on June 18, 2007

A man shot three people (one was killed, two are in a critical condition in hospital) in the Melbourne CBD – about 5mins from where I work. It happened in the morning, apparently 8:30am. The Police shut down a good portion of the CBD, the main banks in the area were locked down, as were some of the main buildings close by to the shooting. You needed clearance just to enter the foyer areas. The police theory is a gunman had escaped and hid out in one of the buildings closer to the scene. So that makes it about 7hrs (now 3:40 pm) where a killer, although now apparently unarmed (he threw away his firearm into a work site) is still lurking around the crime scene, or other parts of the city.

Some pics from the crime scene, from The Age

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Articles

The Age

BBC

CNN

Posted in Melbourne City Urban Visuals. Mixed images | Leave a Comment »

Sid Vicious “My Way”

Posted by Adrian on June 14, 2007

Sid’s version was stuck in my head today after thinking about the end of GoodFellas. “My way”(Sid Vicious version) was the closing track to the 1990 Martin Scorsese flick based loosely on the life of wiseguy ‘snitch’ Henry Hill.

Posted in Popular Culture/Culture | 1 Comment »

Coming comic ‘Spotlight’ for June 2007

Posted by Adrian on June 14, 2007

Punisher War Journal – Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »