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IMF estimates necessary global write-downs: $4.1 trillion

Lots of big, depressing, IMF-related news this morning:

  • The IMF released its biannual Global Financial Stability Report. The big news: the global economy may need $4.1 trillion in write-downs on around $58 trillion in assets before the crisis is over.  It estimates that the United States leads the world in ripping the bandaid off -- completing about half of necessary write-downs; European countries are lagging. Banks will take the brunt of that cost, around two-thirds. The report included European- and Japanese-originated assets for the first time.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama sent a message to members of Congress, asking for them to approve a $100 billion loan to the IMF. The loan is part of, not in addition to, the money the United States promised the organization at the G-20 summit.
  • Colombia became the third country to come forward and seek a $10 billion "flexible credit line" loan from the IMF, designed to insure the country's ability to meet its spending requirements.
  • Look for the first two chapters of the IMF's World Economic Outlook  to be released within the next hour or so. We'll have an analysis up as soon as possible afterwards. 

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Pirate overkill

Check out this video of smiling Somali criminal mastermind malnourished 16-year old Abdul Kadhir Muse arriving in the U.S. to face trial. I counted about 20 guards from the NYPD and FBI escorting him which, I must say, comes across as a bit excessive. 

This makes me worried that the inevitable U.S. media circus around Muse's trial -- the first U.S. piracy prosecution in over a century -- is going to try to paint him as some kind of arch-terrorist of the seas. He's unlikely to fit the bill. Muse's country has been wracked by civil war and anarchy since before he was born and he's quite possibly smiling because he's happy to be out of it and getting enough to eat for once.

Muse should certainly be prosecuted for participating in a criminal act that endangered the lives of U.S. sailors, but it would be unfortunate if too much attention were paid to the trial of one teenage gang member while the hellish situation that produced him continues unabated.

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images