An intelligence report given to the AP by “a nation closely monitoring Iran’s nuclear program” suggests that the Stuxnet worm which penetrated computer systems at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant could cause a massive meltdown once the plant becomes full operational:
Monthly Archives: January 2011
Kiriyenko told the Iranian president that the Russian engineers employed at the reactor notified Moscow that Stuxnet was again attacking the Bushehr systems after apparently taking a rest from its first onslaught last June. There was no telling which systems had been infected, because a key feature of the virus is that the systems’ screens show they are working normally when in fact they have been fatally disarmed. Activating the reactor in these circumstances could cause an explosion far more powerful than the disaster at the Russian reactor at Chernobyl, Ukraine in April 1986, which released 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Indeed, just when Wall Street and Washington seemed to have most investors convinced that “the debt crisis is history,” a whole new series of shocks have rocked the world:
Egypt and Tunisia — supposedly models of economic stability and growth — are now prime candidates for financial defaults.
Egypt has substantial reserves to avoid an external payments crisis but these could be seriously depleted within weeks if political protests continue, while its banks may struggle to cope with a rush of withdrawals.
As politicians, executives and financiers networked at parties and panels last week in Davos, Switzerland, Barrie Wilkinson was in a nearby hotel, warning that a 2015 financial catastrophe may be looming.
“The fundamentals haven’t been addressed at all,” Wilkinson, a London-based partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, said in an interview at the Hotel Morosani Schweizerhof. “The things that caused the previous crisis — loose monetary policy and trade imbalances — they’re actually bigger now than they were then.”
By Carl Walter and Fraser Howie
John Wiley & Sons, 19.99 ($29.95)
The financial crisis has delivered a heavy blow to the American model of capitalism. Chinese officials do not hesitate to trumpet the point as they rejoice in the shift in the balance of economic power to Asia. Yet there are questions about how well their own model stands up to scrutiny. In Red Capitalism Carl Walter and Fraser Howie, both long-standing experts in Chinese banking and securities markets, ask quite a few; and their conclusions are unflattering.