Senate paves way for Berlusconi exit (FT)
Italy’s senate on Friday approved reforms to cut the budget deficit and liberalise the economy, setting the stage for the expected resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister over the weekend and his replacement by an interim government led by technocrats. ... Mr Berlusconi is then expected to resign, as he promised to Giorgio Napolitano, head of state, on Tuesday after losing his absolute majority in the lower house. Mr Napolitano would next open formal consultations with the main figures in parliament with the aim of nominating Mario Monti, former European commissioner, as prime minister as early as Sunday.
Papademos Seeks to Avoid Greek Collapse (Bloomberg)
Lucas Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank who will be sworn in as prime minister of a Greek unity government today, faces the immediate task of securing funds by implementing budget cuts to avert an economic collapse. ... “I am confident the country’s participation in the euro zone is a guarantee of monetary stability,” Papademos said. “The country’s participation in the euro zone, despite the difficulties it is facing, will facilitate the adjustment of the economy and growth and we must all be optimistic on the final outcome as long as we are united.”
Inside the Hunt for MF Global Cash (WSJ)
"Their books are a disaster," Scott O'Malia, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, one of the regulators leading a hunt that has stretched 10 days so far, said in an interview. "We're trying to figure out what numbers are the real numbers." ... "I always knew the records were in shambles, but I didn't know to what extent," said Thomas Peterffy, chief executive of Interactive Brokers Group Inc., which had for years considered doing a deal with MF Global. The company walked away from a handshake agreement to rescue MF Global after discrepancies in its books emerged, according to people involved in the discussions.
Ahead of New Rules, Europe’s Banks Go on a Selling Spree (DealBook)
Banco Santander, Deutsche Bank and others are trying to sell assets and loan portfolios to reduce their exposure to worrisome private and sovereign debt as part of a broad strategy to refocus on their home markets and comply with new regulatory requirements. It is an extraordinary fire sale. Europe’s financial sector is expected to sell or write down more than $1.8 trillion in loan assets in the next decade, according to the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. That compares with just $97 billion from 2003 to 2010.
Nouriel Roubini: Why Italy’s days in the eurozone may be numbered (FT)
Italy and other illiquid, but solvent, sovereigns need a “big bazooka” to prevent the self-fulfilling bad equilibrium of a run on the public debt. The trouble is, however, that there is no credible lender of last resort in the eurozone. ... Only if the ECB became an unlimited lender of last resort and cut policy rates to zero, combined with a fall in the value of the euro to parity with the dollar, plus a fiscal stimulus in Germany and the eurozone core while the periphery implements austerity, could we perhaps stop the upcoming disaster.
How the Plummeting Price of Cocaine Fueled the Nationwide Drop in Violent Crime (Atlantic Cities)
Once the margin of profit for dealing small amounts of crack cocaine disappeared, being part of the drug trade was no longer worth the persistent threat of violence or the stiff criminal penalties. A 70 percent drop in cocaine prices like the one that occurred in the mid 1990s combined with competition from decentralized sources for methamphetamines and prescription narcotics would completely eliminate the minimum wage drug dealer as a viable profession.
Rick Perry explains debate gaffe (NYDN)
"I just learned Justin Bieber is my father."
Facebook Retreats on Privacy (WSJ)
[T]he agreement prohibits Facebook from making information that's already on the site available to a wider audience than previously intended, without the user's express consent. In general, the settlement won't dictate how Facebook obtains user consent for new features. The Facebook settlement is part of a broader government push to hold companies more accountable for the personal data they collect, store and trade. The FTC last year called for the development of a "do not track" system that would make it easier for Internet users to protect their browsing activity from outside snooping. The Obama Administration has called for a "privacy bill of rights" that would regulate the commercial collection of user data online. And lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen privacy bills in Congress this year.
Invisible Run on Banks Becoming Conversation With Italian Yields Above 7% (Bloomberg)
“The Italian banks are trapped,” said Roger Doig, a London-based analyst at Schroders Plc, which manages about $58 billion in fixed-income assets. “They are where they are and that’s with the Italian sovereign. The austerity required if the sovereign wants to remain in the euro zone means there’s going to be a recession, which will mean losses for the banks.”
Happy Veterans Day (SF Chronicle)
[F]ew Americans know what it's like to return home from armed conflict. Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has been on active duty at any given time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "Not only that, but (Iraq war veterans) are coming back to a society that is in recession and very pinched right now," said Michael Blecker, head of San Francisco's Swords to Plowshares veterans aid agency. "Everything is difficult, and it's even harder for veterans."
Happy Corduroy Day (City Room)
To prepare for the grandest day of them all, Joseph Blake Winston IV spent two hours cutting corduroy Wednesday night in Brooklyn, his cheeks flushed like those of a young man who had never held a sewing needle. With help from volunteers at the City Reliquary, Williamsburg’s quirky museum, Mr. Winston proudly placed the finished brown bow tie on his white oxford shirt, draped with a brown corduroy scarf and accompanied by well-worn navy corduroy pants. He was ready for the Grandest Meeting of the Corduroy Appreciation Club, to be held on Friday, 11|11|11 — the date that most closely resembles corduroy — ever. “The wales have aligned,” proclaimed Mr. Winston, 26, referring to the raised ridges of the fabric he has loved since a child growing up in an unlikely corduroy hotbed, Houston.