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Chatter: JP Morgan takes a hit

JP Morgan Chase has announced losses of at least $2 billion after a trading bet went bad.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
                           
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Need to know:
America's biggest bank, JP Morgan Chase, has announced an unexpected trading loss of at least $2 billion.

The bank's Chief Investment Office, which manages risk, bet big and lost. Chief executive Jamie Dimon called the hit "self-inflicted," describing a trading strategy that was "flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored" in a hastily arranged conference call last night.

Traders are already worrying about the fallout. JP Morgan shares fell 6 percent after-hours; other banks' stocks followed.

Want to know:
Egypt has held its first ever presidential debate, ahead of the election on May 23.

Last night's contest, watched by millions of TV viewers, was fought between the two front-running candidates, former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh. They sparred over issues ranging from employment to Islamism, education to affiliation with the former government of Hosni Mubarak.

Neither candidate emerged as a clear winner, and it remains to be seen what voters will make of their four-hour debate. As GlobalPost's correspondents report, Egyptians outside Cairo are more concerned with the economy and security than religious issues.

Dull but important:
London's Occupy encampment may be gone, but one of their causes has been picked up by an unlikely new campaign group: shareholders.

Investors in the UK rarely rock the boat. But the past few weeks have seen them stage something of a revolt as simmering discontent over "fat-cat" pay and poor dividends finally comes to the boil. And what's being called the "Shareholder Spring" has coincided with fresh government debate over executive accountability.

So, could shareholders succeed in reshaping the business landscape where Occupy activists and others have failed?

Just because:
Haiti, October 2010. A cholera epidemic is threatening the thousands of people living in unsanitary temporary shelters after the earthquake. One of the simplest ways to halt the disease's spread is to hand out soap to wash with. So, where do you get the soap from – a supplier on the island, or the US?

Until recently, the answer would have been the US. But an NGO network has been working to change that, building contacts between foreign aid groups and local businesses so that Haitian companies get paid to provide the much needed supplies that go on to benefit other Haitians.

GlobalPost reports from Port-au-Prince, as part of our ongoing series on the impact that aid money's making in post-quake Haiti.

Strange but true:
So, it looks like you may have to buy a 2013 daybook after all. 

Researchers have found another Mayan calendar, which they say is both older and not nearly so Doomsday-y as the other one. Rather than ending abruptly on Dec. 21, 2012, this one keeps going for "billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future," said one excited archaeologist.

Scientists have been saying the same thing for a while. Now, no offense, NASA – but it's just more credible coming from dead people.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-jp-morgan-takes-hit

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