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Five Banks Fail in Friday Night Massacre
By Philip van Doorn - TheStreet.com
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- State and federal regulators shuttered five banks Friday evening, bringing this year's total number of bank failures to 22.
All five failed banks were previously included inTheStreet's fourth-quarter Bank Watch List ofundercapitalized institutions, based on regulatory data provided by HighlineFI.
Plantation Federal Bank - Pawleys Island, S.C.
Inter Savings Bank, FSB - Maple Grove, Minn.
HarVest Bank of Maryland - Gaithersburg, MD
Bank of the Eastern Shore - Cambridge, MD
Palm Desert National Bank - Costa Mesa, Calif.
The unwitting move towards a global gold standard
Posted by Izabella Kaminska - FT.com
Professor Lew Spellman, from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, has an interesting new post out on the changing role of gold in the global economy.
It relates to the notion that a shortage of safe assets may be driving an epic hunt for "safe collateral" — driving down yields on traditional fixed-income investments — because there are more debt liabilities/obligations than safe collateral in the system.
Gold posts biggest weekly rise since late February
By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey
(Reuters) - Gold rose for a fourth consecutive session on Friday and posted its biggest weekly gain since late February, as disappointing U.S. growth and European debt jitters boosted investment demand for the precious metal.
Bullion buying accelerated after a report showed U.S. economic growth cooled in the first quarter as businesses cut back on investment.
Some safe-haven demand also supported prices after a credit downgrade of Spain's sovereign debt by Standard & Poor's.
Gold Traders Get More Bullish as Central Banks Hoard More
By Nicholas Larkin - Bloomberg.com
Gold traders are more bullish after central banks expanded their bullion reserves and hedge funds increased bets on a rally for the first time in three weeks.
Fourteen of 28 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to gain next week and nine were neutral, the highest proportion in two weeks. Mexico, Russia and Turkey added about 44.8 metric tons valued at $2.4 billion to reserves in March, International Monetary Fund data show. Fund managers raised their so-called net-long positions by 2.5 percent in the week ended April 17, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Silver to hit $40/oz by late 2012-2013; decline to $25 in 2014
NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Silver to approach $40/oz by the end of 2012 or early2013 as stronger industrial and investment demand tightens up supply/demand conditions, said TD Securities in a commodity briefing.
But longer term, TDS looks for supply to outpace demand starting in the latter part of 2013, with silver perhaps sliding to $25 in 2014 and below $20 over the longer run, TDS added.
Topping Dollar: Good News for Commodities Now,
Bad News for Economy Later
BY CHRIS PUPLAVA - FinancialSense.com
The currency markets are the largest financial market in the world, and thus tracking currency movements and spotting inflection points can provide vital clues for how other asset classes will respond. Given the USD's reserve currency status and that the bulk of global transactions are denominated in dollars, it is crucial to always keep an eye on trends in the USD, particularly for US investors. The USD appears to be in the early stages of breaking down and an intermediate-term selloff would have widespread implications. Typically, weakness in the USD leads to immediate strength in commodities and foreign equities, while also sowing the seeds for future inflation as rising commodity prices and import prices bring about rising inflationary pressures that weaken the economy down the road.
Dollar Pain Is Commodities Gain
I believe the dollar is setting the stage for a decline based on the price action of the USD Index and the USD's strength versus other currencies. Shown below is the USD Index over the last six months and a clear triangle can be seen with it breaking to the downside recently and looking set to test both the 200 day simple moving average (200d SMA) and the February low ahead. My guess is that after the USD Index hits the 200d SMA it will get a small relief rally before eventually breaking down further.
Any US economic, dollar weakness
would revive Gold investment interest: Deutsche Bank
LONDON (Commodity Online): The private-sector investors have shunned gold in recent months but central-bank purchases accelerated, said German based Deutsche Bank in a weekly commodity briefing.
"We would expect the most likely trigger for more private-sector involvement in the gold market would be from a deterioration in the U.S. labor market alongside a weakening in the U.S. Dollar. Certainly the weakness in U.S. oil demand would indicate that strong job creation in the U.S. will remain challenging," Deutsche Bank added.
Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis
By Doug French - Townhall.com
The talk is all about jobs, jobs, jobs in Washington and on the campaign trail as the unemployment rate continues to be elevated and long-term unemployment is higher than ever. Since getting government out of the way isn't an option, late last year congressional leaders decided to turn up the volume while crying that American workers are being damaged by China's undervalued currency — the renminbi (or yuan).
Bipartisan support was summoned to declare China a currency manipulator, triggering retaliatory tariffs on Chinese imports in hopes that China would allow the renminbi to rise against the dollar.
Father of Treasury Floaters Says Now Worst Time for Sales
By Liz Capo McCormick and Meera Louis - Bloomberg.com
Almost two decades after advising the U.S. to sell floating-rate notes to lower debt expenses, Campbell Harvey says starting to issue the securities now would be a costly mistake for American taxpayers.
"In an environment with historically low interest rates, the Treasury should avoid floating-rate debt as it introduces risk," Harvey, a finance professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina, said in a telephone interview April 17. "If interest rates go up, it puts the government at risk because they will need to come up with a lot of extra revenue to pay the interest bill."
The 2% Catastrophe:
How One Number Explains the Miserable Economy
The Federal Reserve is crucifying the U.S. economy
on a cross of two-percent inflation.
By Matthew O'Brien - TheAtlantic.com
The Federal Reserve balance sheet contains roughly $2.5 trillion worth of Treasuries, Fannie Mae bonds and mortgage-backed securities. But there is one asset the Fed considers invaluable. Credibility.
Most people think the central bank's job is manipulating interest rates, but the Fed is really in the business of making and keeping promises about the economy. Lately the Fed is obsessed with a narrow construction of credibility that is holding back the entire country.
The Fed Will Come to the Rescue but Deliberately Late
BY SY HARDING - FinancialSense.com
There can be no doubt anymore that the global economic recovery is in trouble again.
In the U.S. we can see it in the reversals of previously positive economic reports; unexpected declines in durable goods orders, industrial production, new home sales, existing home sales, new home starts, construction spending, new jobs creation, personal income, consumer confidence, small business confidence, and so on.
The Chicago Federal Reserve's National Activity Index (CFNAI), designed to measure nationwide economic activity, was reported this week to have declined for the third straight month, dropping into negative territory in March.
Europeans will never accept a federal banking system
Hope springs eternal when it comes to efforts to save the euro.
By Jeremy Warner - Telegraph.co.uk
The latest crackpot idea for shoring up Europe's monetary union, much discussed at last week's spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and now widely promoted by eurocrats, is the establishment of a federal banking system, with a single framework for regulation, bailouts, deposit insurance, supervision and resolution.
There is, of course, nothing particularly new in the proposal; for many economists, it's long been seen as an essential precondition for successful monetary union, at least as important as the federalisation of fiscal and political systems. The one cannot work without the others.
As the Mutiny Spreads, It's Clear:
Europeans Have Had Enough!
by ALEXANDER COCKBURN - CounterPunch.org
Watch Europe tip left and right as voters rise in fury against the austerity menu that's been bringing them to utter ruin. In Holland, the right-wing Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders brought down the governing coalition on Monday bellowing his defiance for the "Diktats from Brussels", and asserting that "We must be master of our own house." Labour and Christian Democrats, Holland's major parties, are crumbling.
Almost certainly doomed is France's Nicolas Sarkozy, with François Hollande poised to win in the second round, but Marine Le Pen's fiery, anti-banker populism has reaped her deserved rewards. As Ambrose Evans'Pritchard writes in the Daily Telegraph:
In Spain, Protests By Tens Of Thousands
Against Health, Education Cuts
By HAROLD HECKLE - HuffingtonPost.com
MADRID -- Tens of thousands of people across Spain protested Sunday against education and health care spending cuts as the country slid into its second recession in three years.
Unemployment is at a eurozone high of 24.4 percent, more than half of Spaniards under 25 years old are jobless, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government has introduced stinging austerity measures in its first five months in office.
Death of a Fairy Tale
By PAUL KRUGMAN - NYTimes.com
This was the month the confidence fairy died.
For the past two years most policy makers in Europe and many politicians and pundits in America have been in thrall to a destructive economic doctrine. According to this doctrine, governments should respond to a severely depressed economy not the way the textbooks say they should — by spending more to offset falling private demand — but with fiscal austerity, slashing spending in an effort to balance their budgets.
BY PATER TENEBRARUM - FinancialSense.com
The complexity of global economics has gone beyond comprehension. It can no longer be explained by any of the mostly western based and now obscure mainstream economic theories. Central bankers are in denial, still egoistically believing that their PhD diplomas have given them something akin to divine knowledge. Until they realize that they do not have the answer, they will continue down the path of destruction, never pausing to look for better alternatives.
Hollande's 'Growth Bloc'
spells end of German hegemony in Europe
For two years Germany has had its way in Europe,
treating historic nations much as Bismarck treated Bavaria – sovereign only in name.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
The French-led counter-attack and rumblings of revolt through every branch of the EU institutions last week have brought this aberrant phase of the eurozone crisis to an abrupt end.
"It's not for Germany to decide for the rest of Europe," said François Hollande, soon to be French leader, unless he trips horribly next week. Strong words even for the hustings.
"If I am elected president, there will be a change in Europe's construction. We're not just any country: we can change the situation," he said.
A Berlin Consensus?
By Andrew Sheng - Project-Syndicate.org
HONG KONG – A recent trip to Berlin brought back memories of an earlier visit in the summer of 1967, when I was a poor student who marveled at the Wall that would divide and devastate an entire society for another two decades. Berlin today is vibrant and rejuvenated, rebuilt by the German peoples' hard work and sacrifice to unify the country, and an apt setting for the conference of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), which I was there to attend.
The conference's theme was "Paradigm Lost," with more than 300 economists, political scientists, systems analysts, and ecologists gathering to rethink economic and political theory for the challenges and uncertainty posed by growing inequality, rising unemployment, global financial disarray, and climate change. Almost everyone agreed that the old paradigm of neoclassical economics was broken, but there was no agreement on what can replace it.
Brussels to relax 3pc fiscal targets as revolt spreads
The European Commission is preparing a major shift in economic strategy, fearing that excessive fiscal tightening will inflict unnecessary damage on a string of eurozone countries.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard - Telegraph.co.uk
Officials believe they have enough legal leeway to relax budget deficit targets for eurozone states without violating the Stability and Growth Pact, though the plans risk a serious showdown with Germany. "The Stability Pact is not stupid. There are elements of flexibility when growth is lower than expected," said a senior Commission strategist.
Current EU rules stipulate that every state must cut its deficit to 3pc of GDP by next year but this is not written in stone. "So long as a country is doing its homework and taking 'effective action', we can show some flexibility," the strategist said.
Glenn Beck, National Decline
And The Story Of The Roman Empire
By Jerry Bowyer - Forbes.com
In my last installment in this series I argued that talk show host Glenn Beck was raising legitimate concerns about the state of the nation, but that he had a history of predictions of imminent disasters which did not pan out. Why didn't they? After all, the left really does have a strong totalitarian bent. No nation is guaranteed eternal life, let alone eternal prosperity and hegemony. And the United States is, indeed, aggressively moving in the wrong direction.
So why didn't the dollar collapse? Why is it still the reserve currency of the world? Why don't we have hyperinflation? Why did gold stall and then fall last summer? Was there a food shortage? Nope. Widespread urban violence? Nope. Depression, stock market collapse, bond market collapse? Nope, nope and nope. Why not?
25 Horrible Statistics About The U.S. Economy
That Barack Obama Does Not Want You To Know
By Michael Snyder - EndOfTheAmericanDream.com
The human capacity for self-delusion truly is remarkable. Most people out there end up believing exactly what they want to believe even when the truth is staring them right in the face. Take the U.S. economy for example. Barack Obama wants to believe that his policies have worked and that the U.S. economy is improving. So that is what he is telling the American people. The mainstream media wants to believe that Barack Obama is a good president and that his policies make sense and so they are reporting that we are experiencing an economic recovery. A very large segment of the U.S. population still fully supports Barack Obama and they want to believe that the economy is getting better so they are buying the propaganda that the mainstream media is feeding them. But is the U.S. economy really improving? The truth is that it is not.
[UK] Double-dip recession to trigger house price fall
Britain's official return to recession has raised the risk of a sharp fall in house prices, economists have warned.
By Emma Rowley - Telegraph.co.uk
Fears for a slide in property values emerged after new figures revealed last week that the UK has "double-dipped" into a fresh downturn.
The figures are expected to deal a blow to already weak consumer confidence, underscoring the likelihood of a market slump.
"It is not good news for the housing market, given it's already struggling," said Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global insight. "In the current environment it's quite a large step for people to commit to buying a house."
Pricey oil could put the brakes on US recovery
The outlook for the American economy is improving. That was the message from the Federal Reserve last Wednesday, as the US central bank issued new forecasts showing faster GDP growth and lower unemployment.
By Liam Halligan - Telegraph.co.uk
But no, America's economic prospects are actually getting worse. That was the clear implication of disappointing official growth numbers published less than 48 hours later.
The US economy expanded 2.2pc during the first quarter, we learnt, well below market expectations and sharply down from the 3pc growth rate notched up during the final three months of 2011.
Jerome Corsi: Oil creation process
discovered by Nazi's kept hidden by US Govt
Kenneth Schortgen Jr - Examiner.com
On the April 23rd broadcast of Coast to Coast AM, award winning journalist and author Dr. Jerome Corsi provided new information and insights on the vast oil conspiracy, where processes created by Nazi scientists during World War II are being suppressed by the US government and oil corporations to keep the price of petroleum high to the world.
In his interview with Corsi, host George Norry explores the abiotic oil theory that most scientists reject due to their promotion of 'Peak Oil', and how German scientists not only stumbled upon a process of how to change coal into workable liquid fuels, but also in what they believe is the process the earth uses to create abundant oil from the mantle and core regions of the planet.
53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless
A college diploma isn't worth what it used to be. To get hired, grads today need hard skills.
By Jordan Weissmann - TheAtlantic.com
More than half of America's recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree, the Associated Press reported this weekend. The story would seem to be more evidence that, regardless of your education, the wake of the Great Recession has been a terrible time to be young and hunting for work.
But are we really becoming another Greece or Spain, a wasteland of opportunity for anybody under the age of 25? Not quite. What the new statistics really tell us about is the changing nature, and value, of higher education.
The No Retirement Plan:
25% Expect to Work Till 80 (Greater than Life Expectancy);
What About the Expected Retirement of Nuclear Power Plants?
By Mike Shedlock - GlobalEconomicAnalysis.com
Given major delays in retirement plans, 80 is the new 65 says CNN Money.
A quarter of middle-class Americans are now so pessimistic about their savings that they are planning to delay retirement until they are at least 80 years old -- two years longer than the average person is even expected to live.
It sounds depressing, but for many it's a necessity. On average, Americans have only saved a mere 7% of the retirement nest egg they were hoping to build, according to Wells Fargo's latest retirement survey that polled 1,500 middle-class Americans.
The Family Farm Is Being Systematically
Wiped Out Of Existence In America
By Michael Snyder - theEconomicCollapseBlog.com
An entire way of life is rapidly dying right in front of our eyes. The family farm is being systematically wiped out of existence in America, and big agribusiness and the federal government both have blood all over their hands. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the United States has fallen from about 6.8 million in 1935 to only about 2 million today. That doesn't mean that there is less farming going on. U.S. farms are producing more than ever. But what it does mean is that farming is increasingly becoming dominated by the big boys. The rules of the game have been tilted in favor of big agribusiness so dramatically that most small farmers find that they simply cannot compete anymore. Back in 1900, about 39 percent of the U.S. population worked on farms. At this point, only about 2 percent of all Americans now live on farms. Big agribusiness, the food processing conglomerates, and big seed companies such as Monsanto completely dominate the industry. Unless something dramatic is done, the family farm is going to continue to be wiped out of existence. Unfortunately, it does not look like things are going to turn around any time soon.
Student Loan Debt Slaves In Perpetuity -
A True Story Of "Bankruptcy Hell"
Submitted by Tyler Durden - ZeroHedge.com
The numeric implications as well as the magnitude of the student loan bubble have been discussed extensively before. Yet just like most people's eyes gloss over when they hear billions, trillions or quadrillions, so seeing theexponential chart of Federal Student debt merely brings up memories of a math lesson from high school, or at best, makes one think of statistics. And as we all know statistics are faceless, nameless and can never apply to anyone else. It is the individual case studies that have the most impact. Which is why we would like to introduce you to Devin and Sarah Stang - student loan debt slaves in perpetuity.
Senate Passes Plan to Save Postal Service
By Newser - TheStreet.com
A plan to save the U.S. Postal Service from financial collapse has passed the Senate with unusual speed. The Senate plan calls for a major overhaul of the service, which is losing $36 million a day.
The bill would allow the service to cut its pension and retiree benefit costs, and to cut Saturday service by 2014, the New York Times reports. It would also place restrictions on the closing down of post offices and on compensation for Postal Service execs.
Think Tanks and Liberty
Mises Daily: by Gary North
There is a fight going on inside the Cato Institute, which is a very well-funded libertarian think tank that deals with policy issues. That is what think tanks do. They are policy oriented.
Cato is a nonprofit organization that is literally as well as figuratively inside the Washington Beltway, close to the corridors of power. Ed Crane runs it. He is now in a fight for control with board member Charles Koch.
This has happened before. It was cofounded by Murray Rothbard, Ed Crane, and Charles Koch in 1974, butRothbard was removed in 1981 by the board. The board wanted to move Cato into political policy making. Rothbard thought it should be devoted to scholarship.
On Facebook, Your Privacy Is Your Friends' Privacy
No man is an island. Especially online.
By Megan Garber - TheAtlantic.com
We tend to think about privacy in personal terms: my data, my personal information, my relationship with Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest. As our social networks grow and normalize, though, it's increasingly more accurate to think about privacy as a communal affair, something heavily contextual and owned, collectively, by networks. Which means that privacy is something that all of us, as individuals and as a group, are responsible for.
U.S. Escalates Google Case by Hiring Noted Outside Lawyer
By DAVID STREITFELD and EDWARD WYATT - NYTimes.com
Federal regulators escalated their antitrust investigation of Google on Thursday by hiring a prominent litigator, sending a strong signal that they are prepared to take the Internet giant to court.
The Federal Trade Commission is examining Google's immensely powerful and lucrative search technology, which directs users to hundreds of millions of online and offline destinations every day. The case has the potential to be the biggest showdown between regulators and Silicon Valley since the government took on Microsoft 14 years ago.
Pentagon preps chopping block for next round of base closures
By Rowan Scarborough-The Washington Times
Defense Department officials are quick to say the formal process of selecting U.S. military bases for closure will not begin until Congress says so.
But people inside the Pentagon already are talking about candidates for the politically charged process that often triggers intense opposition from governors, mayors and local business leaders.
How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes
By CHARLES DUHIGG and DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI - NYTimes.com
RENO, Nev. — Apple, the world's most profitable technology company, doesn't design iPhones here. It doesn't run AppleCare customer service from this city. And it doesn't manufacture MacBooks or iPads anywhere nearby.
Yet, with a handful of employees in a small office here in Reno, Apple has done something central to its corporate strategy: it has avoided millions of dollars in taxes in California and 20 other states.
Cybersecurity bill passes, Obama threatens veto
By David Goldman - Money.CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The House of Representatives, as expected, approved a controversial cybersecurity bill late Thursday, staring down a veto threat. But the fight to protect the United States from a cataclysmic cyber attack is far from over.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which has been revised several times over the past week, allows the government and private companies to share information with one another with the aim of warding off cyber threats.
House Passes Controversial Cybersecurity Bill With Surprise Vote
by Michael del Castillo - Portfolio.com
The House of Representatives today passed a cybersecurity bill that encourages corporations to share information with the government. And now it's up to the Senate to decide whether the benefits of such an arrangement outweigh the costs.
In a surprise vote this morning, the House of Representatives has passed the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, designed to encourage corporations to share information with the government in the name of protecting U.S. national security.
Missiles stationed on residential roof for Olympics
The Army is set to station soldiers and high velocity surface-to-air missiles on top of a block of residential flats to ward off any airborne terror threats during the Olympics.
Residents in the private, gated flats in Bow, east London, have received a leaflet warning them that a team of 10 soldiers and police will be stationed at the building - home to 700 people - for the duration of the Games.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) leaflet says the missiles will only be fired as a last resort, said resident Brian Whelan.
He said: ''They are going to have a test run next week, putting high velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment and on the back of it they're stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months.
US Deploys F-22 Stealth Jets In Southwest Asia
by: Ria Novosti - EurasiaReview.com
The U.S. Air Force has deployed its fifth-generation stealth fighters, F-22 Raptor, in Southwest Asia, the Washington Post newspaper said, citing an Air Force spokesman.
The paper quoted An Air Force spokesman, Capt. Phil Ventura, as saying that the deployment was "regularly scheduled" and was directed at improving "tactical interoperability."
The number of F-22s, as well as the location of their base, was not disclosed "to protect operational security," Washington Post said.
Bo Xilai Said To Have Spied On Chinese Top Official
By Elly Mui– OpEd - EurasiaReview.com
In another surprise twist in the ongoing case of former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai, he is accused of being responsible for wire-tapping the phones of President Hu Jintao and that the discovery of the surveillance may have led to his downfall.
Until now, the downfall of Mr. Bo has been cast largely as a tale of a populist who pursued his own agenda too aggressively for some top leaders in Beijing and was brought down by accusations that his wife had arranged the murder of Neil Heywood, a British consultant, after a business dispute. But the hidden wiretapping, previously alluded to only in internal Communist Party accounts of the scandal, appears to have provided another compelling reason for party leaders to turn on Mr. Bo.
Steel lies behind Pyongyang's war rhetoric
By Donald Kirk - Atimes.com
SEOUL - The job of a journalist for the North Korean propaganda machine surely must be one of the more fun-filled gigs in the media business. Imagine the laughs the writers up there must be having as they dream up fresh turns of phrase with which to pillory South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak.
"The mischief made by rat-like Lee Myung-bak reminds one of a rabid dog barking towards the sky," goes one of the lines churned out by Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Then, as if the "rabid dog" image were not compelling enough, the next sentence mangles the metaphor by calling Lee's utterances "no more than squeaks made by the rat before being killed by all people for its wrong doings".
What's Iran Up To? We Know, Says Netanyahu
By Ken Blackwell (Archive) - PatriotPost.us
Editor's Note: This column was co-authored Bob Morrison
It was just a short clip on CNN. Reporter Erin Burnett recited some statistics that suggest Iran's oil tankers are all tied up, that the Islamic Republic's oil revenues have been hard hit. Economic sanctions have been tightened on the Mullahs' tyrannical regime by the UN, the European Union, and the U.S.
"It appears the sanctions are working," said Burnett. She challenged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assessment of Iran's headlong drive to build a nuclear weapon.
US caught between Iran and Israel
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi - ATimes.com
With less than a month to the much-anticipated meeting in Baghdad between Iran and the "P5+1" nations, indications are that the two sides are seriously contemplating successful talks that could yield a mutually acceptable breakthrough and pave the way to a gradual resolution of the Iran nuclear crisis.
The "P5+1", also known as the "Iran Six" - the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia) plus Germany - have been involved in negotiations with Iran for several years over its nuclear program, which in some quarters is said to be designed towards building nuclear weapons, something Tehran steadfastly denies.
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