Obama Administration Sets Record In Lack Of Transparency: Denies Information In 77% Of FOIA Requests

The Obama administration set a record for the number of times its federal employees told disappointed citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn’t find a single page requested under the Freedom of Information Act. In more than one in six cases, or 129,825 times, government searchers said they came up empty-handed last year. Such cases contributed to an alarming measurement: People who asked for records under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, also a record. In the first full year after President Barack Obama’s election, that figure was only 65 percent of cases. The new data represents the final figures on the subject that will be released during Obama’s presidency. Obama has said his administration is the most transparent ever.

Profit Margins Tumble To Lowest In Four Years... And It's Not Just Oil's Fault

Five of the ten sectors are projected to see lower net profit margins in Q1 2016 relative to the 3-year average for each sector, led by the Energy sector (0.1% vs. 6.5%). Excluding the Energy sector, the estimated net profit margin for the S&P 500 would be 10.0%. However, this would also mark the lowest net profit margin for the index excluding the Energy sector since Q1 2014 (9.9%). Thus, other sectors are also contributing to the expected lower than average net profit margin for the index for Q1 2016.

New CCTV Footage Shows Moment Of Deadly Istanbul Suicide Attack

For the fourth time this year and the second time in seven days, one of Turkey’s major cities has been hit with a deadly suicide bombing. Just six days after an explosion ripped through a transit hub in Ankara’s Kizilay neighborhood killing 34 people and wounding more than 100, a bustling shopping street in Istanbul was shaken by a powerful blast on Saturday.

The Lego Movie Economy

After the February jobs report, President Obama said “America’s pretty darn great right now.”  He then went on to disparage the “doomsday rhetoric” of the Republicans, which he said was pure “fantasy. I think that there is a good chance that this will enter the Hall of Fame of miss-timed statements, right up there with this jewel from Ben Bernanke in March 2007:  “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the sub-prime market seems likely to be contained.”

Buyback Blackout Period Starts Monday: Is This The Catalyst That Ends The S&P Rally?

"Buyback blackout period starts Monday. An increasing number of S&P 500 companies will enter into their blackout period starting next week, about a month before the earnings season kicks into high gear in the third week of April."  This is taking place as institutional clients have been aggressively dumping stocks for the past seven weeks, while corporations have been soaking up all this liquidating activity. Should the selling continue for yet another week, who will soak up the selling this time?

This Is How Venezuela Exported 12.5 Tonnes Of Gold To Switzerland On March 8, 2016 Via Paris

Approximately 50 tonnes of BCV gold has been exported from Venezuela to Switzerland within the first 10 weeks of 2016. How much longer can this outflow continue? This gold is being exported by the BCV in order to participate in swaps (or maybe even outright sales) in order to provide external financing to the Venezuelan Government. The fact that the gold is being picked up by Brinks Switzerland suggests it is being brought to a Swiss gold refinery. The main reason gold is sent to Switzerland is so that it can be refined or recast.

Dramatic Footage Of Flydubai Boeing Crashing On Landing In Russia, Killing Everyone On Board

A Boeing 737-800 operated by Dubai-based budget carrier Flydubai, flying from Dubai to Russia, crashed yesterday at 0340 local time (0040 GMT) on its second attempt to land at Rostov-on-Don airport on Saturday, Russian officials said. All 62 people on board, most of whom were Russian. were killed. "The aircraft hit the ground and broke into pieces," the Investigative Committee of Russia said in a statement on its website.

Goldman Throws Up On Global Easing Party, Warns US Economy Close To Overheating

"One interpretation of the recent moves by the major central banks is that they represent a coordinated attempt to ease global financial conditions while avoiding upward pressure on the US dollar," Goldman writes. Yellen, the bank says, was more than happy to participate - this time. But as the US economy hits full employment, the Fed's calculus will change. Then come the hikes. Or so says the Squid.

Bundesbank President: "Helicopter Money Isn’t Manna Falling From Heaven"

"Helicopter money isn’t manna falling from heaven, but would rip huge holes in central bank balance sheets," Weidmann, who heads Germany’s Bundesbank, said, “The euro area states and taxpayers would pay the bill in the end.... Monetary policy is not a panacea, doesn’t replace the necessary reforms in individual countries and won’t solve all of Europe’s growth problems.”

The Government Actually Has A Zombie Apocalypse Plan - And It's Just Been Declassified

A few years ago, the Center for Disease Control launched a zombie preparedness initiative that drew significant attention. The Department of Defense followed suit and developed an entire training course intended for the Joint Operational Planning and Execution System (JOPES). The complete response plan, called CONPLAN888, was recently declassified, and it’s just as weird and creepy as you might imagine.

Greek Banks Admit To Charging Customers To Exchange Big Bills For Smaller Ones

Earlier this month, a reader noticed something rather disturbing. Piraeus Bank seemed to have added a new line item in one of its reports and that new line item appeared to suggest that the bank was set to charge customers for exchanging €500 notes for smaller bills. Sure enough, two weeks later, our suspicions are confirmed.

Gawker Ordered To Pay Hulk Hogan $115 Million In Sex Tape Lawsuit

In a closely watched trial by the media community, shortly after 7pm on Friday night, and less than six hours after starting deliberations, the jury sided with ex-pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and awarded him $115 million in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker Media. The trial lasted two weeks. The award consists of $55 million for economic injuries, and $60 million for emotional distress. It may also mean the end of Gawker.