Good morning and/or evening, welcome to TGS on this lovely December 8th. Today’s a Thursday so we’ll at least know the weekend’s coming. We’re pushing into the last week or 2 of finals for college students and their winter classes., but if you’re doing semesters this will probably be the end of the 2nd or 3rd. And since nothing new has happened lately I won’t bore you with a boring intro.

Let’s start off with this video from Stephen Colbert.

http://on.cc.com/sxCRM3

 

With the video aside let’s go to today’s figurine post.

 

Himari Takakura Beach Queen Figure

Author: Leon

Fans of little Himari from Mawaru Penguindrum may want to get their hands on Wave’s latest Beach Queen figure, available in June 2012.

Next up is another shitty top 10 list. Really Sankaku? You couldn’t have been arsed to get some real news instead of boring me with your lame top [insert number here] lists.

 

Top 10 Anime Girls You Want To Spend Christmas Eve With

Author: Leon

Otaku have been voting on which anime girl they most fancy spending their Christmas Eve with – or, in other words, who they would most like to have hot December sex with, as Japan’s twisted version of Christmas is noted for dumping its traditional significance as the year’s premier retail event in favour of sleazy love hotel sex.

The ranking:

1. Taneshima Popura (Working!!)

2. Tamura Manami (Ore no Imouto)

3. Ikaros (Sora no Otoshimono)

4. Asahina Mikuru (Haruhi)

5. Nagato Yuki (Haruhi)

6. Haruhi Suzumiya) (Haruhi)

7. Kousaka Tamaki (To Heart 2)

8. Erica Hartmann (Strike Witches)

9. Morishima Haruka (Amagami SS)

10. Nymph (Sora no Otoshimono)

So Poplar made it to 1st, kays.

Ya I’m heading to the west now.


EU Weighs Central Bank Loans Via IMF at Last-Chance Summit

By James G. Neuger and Mark Deen

(Updates with EBA comments on banks’ capital needs in seventh paragraph. See EXT4 for more on Europe’s debt crisis.)

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) — European central banks may channel 150 billion euros ($200 billion) through the International Monetary Fund to fight the debt crisis in exchange for fresh pledges of fiscal probity from European governments at a last- ditch summit, a European Union diplomat said.

Plans to recycle central bank funds through the IMF started to fall into place as French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned “there’ll be no second chance” for Europe in the absence of a credible crisis-containment strategy at a summit that starts this evening in Brussels.

Marching in lockstep with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sarkozy today pressed for ironclad barriers against excessive deficits and debt in an overhaul that plugs holes in the economic-management system that failed to prevent Greece, Ireland and Portugal from skidding toward financial ruin.

“We need more solidarity in the euro zone and more discipline,” Sarkozy said at a pre-summit meeting of conservative leaders in Marseille. Europe is in an “extraordinarily dangerous situation.”

European leaders are navigating a labyrinth of political and economic constraints amid unrelenting pressure from financial markets in an effort to craft a fifth “comprehensive” package to stamp out the crisis that began with the Greek government discovering an unexpected budget hole in October 2009.

‘Artillery and Air Force’

The European Central Bank provided breathing space today, trimming its main interest rate by a quarter-point to 1 percent and pledging to offer commercial banks unlimited cash for three years to tide them through the crisis.

Europe’s banks will need to raise 114.7 billion euros in fresh capital as part of measures introduced in response to the debt crisis, the European Banking Authority said today. German banks need 13.1 billion euros and Italian banks 15.4 billion euros in core tier 1 capital. European lenders will have to raise a total of 8 billion euros more than previously estimated by the EBA in October.

“After a series of ‘final’ summits, it would be nice this time to have a real ‘final’ summit,” Jean-Michel Six, Standard & Poor’s chief European economist, told reporters in Paris today. The ECB “is the only one with the firepower” needed. “It’s the only one with artillery and an air force.”

ECB Bond Purchases

Still, ECB President Mario Draghi signaled no intention to expand the bank’s 207 billion-euro bond-purchasing program and said it would be “complex” to engineer a way for national central banks to recycle funds through the IMF.

“One cannot channel money in a way to circumvent the treaty provisions,” Draghi told a Frankfurt press conference. “If the IMF were to use this money exclusively to buy bonds in the euro area, we think it’s not compatible with the treaty.”

The euro fell after Draghi’s comments, trading at $1.3304 at 5:09 p.m. in Brussels, down 0.8 percent on the day.

Germany, Europe’s dominant economy, hasn’t taken a public stance on the proposal to funnel central bank money through the IMF, which would include as much as 50 billion euros from non- euro EU countries. Merkel has insisted that the rest of Europe first bow to tighter rules on budget deficits in order to reassure central bankers about the euro region’s longer-term economic health.

‘Stronger Firewall’

EU leaders meet for a working dinner at 7:30 p.m. in Brussels, their mission complicated by Standard and Poor’s decision to issue a downgrade warning for 15 euro-area governments pending the summit outcome.

Merkel and Sarkozy are pushing for EU treaty amendments that would anchor balanced-budget rules in national constitutions, stiffen penalties on fiscal sinners and enable unprecedented intervention by European authorities in budget- setting by countries that fall afoul of the rules.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, on the final leg of a three-day trip to Europe, has urged policy makers to work with central banks to erect a “stronger firewall.”

“The leaders of Europe are moving this week to strengthen the foundations of monetary union,” Geithner said after talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Milan. “These are vital and critical but also very challenging reforms. And they will take time.”

In a joint letter to European leaders yesterday, Merkel and Sarkozy set a March 2012 deadline for an agreement on EU treaty amendments, calling on euro states to go it alone in the absence of an accord among all 27 EU governments.

Permanent Rescue Fund

That appeal plus a call for a financial transaction tax set up a showdown with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, head of the biggest EU country still using its own currency. Cameron comes to Brussels vowing to defend London’s status as Europe’s premier financial market.

A consensus is emerging to speed the setup of a permanent rescue fund, the 500 billion-euro European Stability Mechanism. It is likely to go into operation in late 2012, instead of mid- 2013 as originally planned, the EU diplomat said.

In a concession by Germany, the revamped permanent fund will follow IMF practices on imposing potential losses on holders of bonds of debt-ridden states. Merkel agreed in yesterday’s letter that the two writedowns imposed on Greek bondholders this year were “unique and exceptional.”

National sensitivities pervade the negotiations, such as Finland’s objection to scrapping the unanimity rule for decisions by the fund to grant aid

“The world is watching Europe,” European Commission President Jose Barroso said in Marseille. “What I expect from all heads of state and government is that they don’t come saying what they cannot do, but what they will do for Europe. What the world expects from us is not more national problems, but European solutions.”

And our last story…

Republican: heads must roll in Fast and Furious

By PETE YOST, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican lawmakers told Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to fire some Justice Department subordinates over the flawed arms-trafficking investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.

At a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin said impeachment is an option if Holder does not “clean up this mess” quickly.

Sensenbrenner and other Republicans hold the attorney general responsible for the operation, in which federal agents failed to track hundreds of illicitly obtained weapons that were later recovered in Mexico and the U.S., many of them at crime scenes.

“If you don’t get to the bottom of this,” there is only one alternative, and “it’s called impeachment,” said Sensenbrenner, without specifying whom he had in mind.

“Why haven’t you terminated the people involved?” asked Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that is investigating the arms-tracking operation.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the Justice Department had given inconsistent statements about what Smith called “a reckless and dangerous law enforcement program.” Smith said many questions remain about who authorized the operation.

Holder, the sole witness at Thursday’s hearing, says it was inexcusable for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to use a controversial tactic known as “gun-walking” in its effort to identify and prosecute major arms trafficking networks along the Southwest border.

Amid probes by Republicans in Congress and the Justice Department’s inspector general, the department already has replaced U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke in Phoenix, acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson and the lead prosecutor in Operation Fast and Furious.

In that operation, two of the guns purchased at a Phoenix gun store were recovered from the scene of a shooting that killed border agent Brian Terry on the U.S. side of the border.

On Wednesday, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, whose inquiry brought the tactic used in Operation Fast and Furious to light, called for the resignation of one of Holder’s top aides, criminal division chief Lanny Breuer.

Breuer has said he made a mistake in not telling Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole that the controversial gun-walking tactic — letting guns “walk” across the border in an effort to identify higher-ups in gun networks — had been used in an earlier ATF probe called Operation Wide Receiver, which Breuer had known about since April 2010.

Grassley said that in addition to not informing his superiors, Breuer gave misleading answers when the senator asked whether Breuer had reviewed a Justice Department letter to Congress last February that said ATF makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally — an assertion that was incorrect in both Operation Wide Receiver and Operation Fast and Furious.

Breuer told Congress he cannot say for sure whether he saw a draft of the inaccurate letter and that he has no recollection of having done so. At the time the letter was drafted, Breuer told one of the letter’s main drafters, “As usual, great work.”

Breuer “needs to go immediately,” Grassley said.

In response, Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said Breuer has acknowledged his mistake to Congress and to the attorney general and said Holder “continues to have confidence in assistant attorney general’s Breuer ability to lead the criminal division.”

Schmaler said Breuer’s division has led important prosecutions against high-ranking gang members, secured the extradition of dangerous fugitives and spearheaded efforts with Mexico to enhance that country’s law enforcement capacity.

Not much comments here to be frank mostly cause there’s not much to say cause the year’s winding down. Good luck with Christmas everyone, enjoy the holidays. I’ll see you next time.