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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama outlined plans on Thursday to limit the use of U.S. drone strikes against extremists abroad and took steps aimed at breaking a deadlock on closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

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Here's an optimistic headline on the Financial Times that could easily be off by a factor of 10 or more: Spain’s banks need €10bn more provisions. Spanish banks will need to put aside extra provisions of up to €10bn to cover loans that borrowers will struggle to repay, according to an internal estimate by the Bank of Spain. According to recent data, Spanish banks rolled over more than €200bn of loans before they expired – often because corporate borrowers would be unable to repay

Read more: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Banks looking to judge shop in RMBS putback cases filed in New York State court are going to get shut out of the process. Apparently there are so many cases to litigate against banks, like JP Morgan and Credit Suisse selling billions of garbage mortgage securities to investors, that administrative judge Sherry Heitler has decreed all RMBS cases as of March 2013 now go to one judge. Roberta McClinton, Heitler's law clerk, confirmed this today giving the reason that similar cases need to go to one judge now because it's for ‘judicial economy'.

Read more: Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed

CONAKRY (Reuters) - One person was killed and around 10 injured when security forces and supporters of Guinea's president clashed with protesters marching in the capital on Thursday against planned legislative elections.

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Today one of the wealthiest people in the financial world spoke with King World News about what he described as the most extraordinary contrarian indicator he has ever seen in his life. Rick Rule, who is business partners with billionaire Eric Sprott and the CEO of Sprott USA, also shares with KWN readers how they can make fortunes going forward in these turbulent markets. Below is what Rule had to say in this tremendous interview.

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I've always liked the state of Vermont -- but mainly because it was a nice place to visit. But, now the state appears to be declaring war on patent trolls. A new anti-patent trolling law has been quietly enacted, H.299, which targets patent trolls. Or, as it says "bad faith assertions of patent infringement." It does this by amending the state's consumer protection laws, to give tools to judges to recognize when patent litigation is done in bad faith (i.e., for trolling, rather than

Read more: Techdirt.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Eastern Congo has the best chance in years to secure a lasting peace but the United Nations stands ready to pacify the region by force if need be, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

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LONDON (Reuters) - British police arrested two more people on Thursday in a hunt for accomplices of two British men of Nigerian descent accused of hacking a soldier to death on a London street in revenge for wars in Muslim countries.

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President Barack Obama gave a wide and ranging speech on national security today -- covering everything from drones, to press freedoms, to terrorism. One part of his speech we were listening to: Guantanamo. Others were listening, too. A heckler, Madea Benjamin, interrupted Obama multiple times, at one point causing the president to say: "The voice of that woman is worth paying attenion to. Obviously I don't agree with much of what she said and obviously she wasn't listening to me," he said. "These are tough issues." From his prepared remarks: As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries, or imprisoning them in the United States. These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress’s support. When I ran for President the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO. No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. Given my Administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened. Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee. The numbers in Obama's speech gave us pause, and we looked back at some of the number we pulled out earlier this month on the world's most expensive prison: 166: Number of detainees currently at Gitmo. $177 million: Total operating budget for 2013. $1,066,265: Amount U.S. taxpayers will spend on each detainee in 2013.  Compare the previous number to $33,903: Average cost per inmate at a maximum security Federal prison. See the rest of the numbers for Guantanamo here.

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California has unveiled the prices of health insurance to be sold on a state-run exchange starting next year. A key part of the Affordable Care Act, the exchange is designed to give more people access to insurance, but there could still be cost issues.    The fear was that a state-run market for health insurance would mean sky-high premiums for consumers. The reality? "An array of choice and what appears to be pretty competitive prices," says Marian Mulkey of the California HealthCare Foundation. Costs vary, but the average premium offered by the 13 insurers comes to $321 a month for an individual. If insurance companies lose money at the announced prices, that could undermine the new system, according to Alan Weil, exectuive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. "Then the next year they don't want to play, or they radically increase their rates," Weil says. Mulkey says to expect healthcare costs to continue to rise, even if state exchanges succeed. "It's probably too big a task to think that they're going to be able to turn the tide," she says. For 2014, Blue Shield of California predicts an average premium hike of up to 13 percent, compared to about 12 percent this year.

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If you’ve ever damaged your cell phone, you know how expensive repairs can be, especially if you have an iPhone. Apple has sold more than 350 million iPhones since it first introduced them back in 2007, and so far Americans have spent more than $6 billion fixing broken ones. Parts for the latest model, the iPhone 5, are even more expensive than past generations. iPhone users under 35 are apparently the clumsiest; half of them have accidents that cause damage, according to a survey by the consumer electronics insurer SquareTrade. Twenty-four-year-old Elena Delvac lives in Los Angeles, and she’s broken the screen on almost every iPhone she’s owned. “I did continue using my [iPhone] 3 for a long time until pieces of glass started coming off onto my face,” Delvac says.  She has an iPhone 4 now and paid $80 to fix the screen. Delvac is thinking about upgrading to the iPhone 5, but it would cost even more to fix because there are fewer replacement parts available. “That for me is a huge deterrent, because I drop my phone at least four times a week.” There’s been lackluster demand for the iPhone 5 since it came out in September. Apple has cut orders for replacement parts, and doesn’t supply them to independent shops, so some repair companies are charging twice as much to fix iPhone 5 screens as they do to repair the 4. “The parts have been difficult for people to manufacture,” says Kyle Weins, founder of, a site that supplies parts for electronics. “We haven’t gotten enough of them out in the marketplace where the price of used phones has come down to the point where we can cannibalize used phones for the parts.” Weins says Apple controls the repair price so they can steer people into upgrading their phones instead of getting them fixed.  Others accuse Apple of trying to corner more of the lucrative iPhone repair market. But Gartner tech analyst Hugues de la Verne doesn’t suspect any foul play. “Apple’s got a pretty good reputation with their end users and I don’t think they would risk a black eye that would come from something like that,” says de la Verne. Apple declined to comment, but pointed to reports on the durability of the iPhone versus its competitors.

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PRISTINA (Reuters) - European Union police said on Thursday they had arrested five people, including a wartime ally of Kosovo's prime minister, and were investigating the ambassador to Albania on suspicion of war crimes during Kosovo's 1998-99 conflict.

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Today President Obama announced a major shift on his policy on overseas drone strikes. He's placing new restrictions on who can be targeted for attacks. This announcement comes on the heels of a plan to transfer control of the CIA's drone program to the Pentagon. As a result, Congress will have more oversight, and it could mean big changes to the program's budget. It's tough to say exactly how big the drone industry is. A lot of the information is classified. The Department of Defense budgeted $3.8 billion this year for drones or, as the industry calls them, unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. Next year that number will decrease. But this is an industry in its infancy, and according to Phil Finnegan at the Teal Group, there will be a revival in spending based on a reorientation of the military's drone fleet. "The U.S. is looking at the development of a new set of drones which are able to penetrate defended airspace," Finnegan says. Unlike much of the existing drone fleet used in Afghanistan and Iraq, these new drones will be built specifically for use in Asia and other countries with highly contested airspace -- they'll need to be faster and have stealth capabilities. Finnegan says that as foreign governments start buying drones to keep up, the global demand will explode. The best place to see the booming drone industry is San Diego. "San Diego has the lion share, probably well north of 60 percent of UAV activity in the U.S. when it comes to manufacturing and research and development," says Erik Bruvold, who studied the economic impact of the industry in San Diego. The report he co-authored found $1.3 billion flowed into the county as a result of drone spending. "And that supports about 7,000 jobs," says Bruvold. About 2,000 of those were aerospace jobs that pay roughly twice what the average private sector worker makes. The other 5,000 were indirect jobs that ranged from warehouse employees to waitresses. "Our expectation, which is a fairly conservative estimate, is that worldwide demand for UAVs will double over the next 10 years," Bruvold says. That includes an increase in commercial drones. In 2015, the FAA plans to open U.S. airspace to drones. Farmers could use them to dust crops in rural America while police in the city could pursue fugitives from the sky. And as the price of drones drops and individuals can afford them, there will no doubt be all kinds of things to do with a drone that we haven't thought of yet.

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If there were an Indy 500 for construction, the National Craft Championship would be it: more than 100 plumbers, carpenters, metal workers and electricians facing off in a competition that's all about skill and speed. They had six hours to finish a job. And then, time was up. Twenty-eight-year-old Holley Thomas, defending her gold medal, charged through her welding task. She finished 90 minutes before the clock ran out. Talking to her afterward, she sounded like she just played in the Super Bowl. "I know that I came in here and gave it 100 percent. And I feel good about what I did. So at the end of the day, I could walk away and feel good about my achievements here," she says. Holley makes welding sound really simple. "Pretty much we take two pieces of pipe that are beveled, and you put 'em together you leave a gap between the two pieces of pipe, and you have to weld it up," she says. And that's part of the problem. The assumption a lot of people have about trades like welding is that you don't have to be very smart to do them. Which is the challenge Holley and others in her profession face. "These are the guys, I mean every one of these guys are mathematicians. There's not a craft here that doesn't require high-end math skills," says Greg Sizemore, who headed up the craft competition. "So to think that this is a unskilled trade is probably the furthest thing from the truth. We refer to these guys as craft professionals. " Sizemore isn't the only one working to change the perception of tradesmen. Holley's company, Houston-based KBR, sends Holley out to schools and camps and community colleges to spread the word. "Well I think we have an image issue," says Tom Uremovich, who heads up a nonprofit to promote careers in construction. He says when he was in high school, his teacher laid it out like this: either go to college, or become a ditch digger. Uremovich says things are different. "A ditch digger today climbs into a half a million piece of equipment, closes the doors, turn on the a/c and pulls levers almost like a video game, and goes home at the end of the day just as clean as when he started the day." Uremovich says his group is trying to attract unemployed veterans and kids in urban areas to the field. He tells them college isn't the only path to a good career. And for many students, college comes with crushing debt and uncertain job prospects. "Or you have a young person that goes to work in the trades and within four years can be making $75k to $100k a year easily," he says. Jobs like pipefitting, plumbing and brick masonry are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Community colleges are creating more programs geared toward trade careers.   Which is a good thing, given the huge demand for workers. Matthew Clark recruited Holley to his company, KBR, and gave her more training. "KBR builds petroleum, chemical refineries. And you know I need 500 Holley's right now on a project in Louisiana," Clark says. Across the country, especially in regions where there's a lot of growth in energy and housing, thousands of positions are going unfilled, says Tom Tveidt an economist with Garner Economics. "They're just begging for workers because they're seeing explosive growth in the double digits in construction employment," he says. Begging for workers? We haven't heard a lot of that lately.

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Your lunchtime viewing: Dudley Discusses Taper Decision, Mandates, Yellen

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Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, is in court today addressing her role in a $366 million payout to Bernard Tapie, a close friend of former president Nicolas Sarkozy who was also Lagarde's boss at the time. Lagarde was Sarkozy's finance minister. Reuters reports IMF's Lagarde in court for French arbitration case. IMF chief Christine Lagarde was questioned in court by French magistrates on Thursday over her role in a 285-million-euro ($366 million) arbitration payment made to a supporter of

Read more: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

LONDON (Reuters) - In the lurid scene of the red-handed knifeman describing his motives for hacking to death a British soldier in broad daylight, perhaps the most chilling aspect for Londoners was the man's unmistakably familiar accent.

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MILAN (Reuters) - Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was involved in a tax fraud scheme while he was head of government, a Milan court said in a document released on Thursday explaining its earlier decision to uphold his four-year conviction.

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CONAKRY (Reuters) - Ten people were injured when security forces and supporters of Guinea President Alpha Conde clashed with protesters marching in the capital against planned legislative elections on Thursday, a hospital source said.

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