Month: June 2011


U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc. Announces July Distributions for Closed …

June 30, 2011

Business

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MINNEAPOLIS, Jun 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
The closed-end funds listed below, which are advised by U.S. Bancorp
Asset Management, Inc., today declared their July distributions. The
distributions will be allocated on a per-share basis on the common
stock. The distributions have a July 1, 2011, ex-dividend date and will
be paid on July 20, 2011, to shareholders of record on July 6, 2011.

Fund NYSE July Change from
Symbol Amount Previous Month
————————————— ——— ——- ————–
American Strategic Income Portfolio ASP $0.0979 (a) $0.0000
American Strategic Income Portfolio II BSP $0.0838 (b) $0.0000
American Strategic Income Portfolio III CSP $0.0800 (c) $0.0000
American Select Portfolio SLA $0.0890 (d) $0.0000
American Income Fund MRF $0.0525 $0.0000
American Municipal Income Portfolio XAA $0.0775 $0.0000
Fund NYSE July Change from
Alternext Amount Previous Month
————————————— ——— ——- ————–
Minnesota Municipal Income Portfolio MXA $0.0700 $0.0000
Minnesota Municipal Income Fund II MXN $0.0675 $0.0000

ASP, BSP, CSP and SLA distributions were declared pursuant to a level
distribution policy adopted by the Board of Directors. Under this
policy, ASP, BSP, CSP and SLA currently anticipate paying fixed monthly
distributions to shareholders in the amounts set forth in the table
above. It is expected that distributions under the level distribution
policy will consist primarily of net investment income and a return of
capital to shareholders, although the exact tax characteristics of the
funds’ distributions in any fiscal year will not be known until after
the end of that fiscal year. A return of capital represents a return of
a shareholder’s original investment in a fund’s shares, and should not
be confused with a dividend yield. The level distribution policy is
subject to suspension, revision or termination at any time without
notice to shareholders. The distributions are payable in cash or,
pursuant to the funds’ dividend reinvestment plans, reinvested in
additional shares of the funds’ common stock. Under each fund’s plan,
fund shares will be purchased on the open market when the price of the
fund’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange plus per share fees is less
than a 5% premium over the fund’s most recently calculated net asset
value per share. If, at the close of business on the dividend payment
date, the shares purchased in the open market are insufficient to
satisfy the dividend reinvestment requirement, payment of the dividend,
or the remaining portion, will be accepted in authorized but unissued
shares of the fund. These shares will be issued at a per-share price
equal to the higher of (a) the net asset value per share as of the close
of business on the payment date or (b) 95% of the closing market price
per share on the payment date.

MRF distributions are payable in cash or, pursuant to the fund’s
dividend reinvestment plan, reinvested in additional shares of the
fund’s common stock. If you participate in the plan, you will receive
the equivalent in shares of the fund as follows: (1) if the market price
of the shares on the payment date of the dividend or distribution is
equal to or exceeds the fund’s net asset value, participants will be
issued fund shares at the higher of net asset value or 95% of the market
price; or (2) if the market price is lower than net asset value, the
plan agent will receive the dividend or capital gain distributions in
cash and apply them to buy fund shares on your behalf in the open
market, on the New York Stock Exchange or elsewhere, for your account.
If the market price exceeds the net asset value of the fund’s shares
before the plan agent has completed its purchases, the average per-share
purchase price paid by the plan agent may exceed the net asset value of
the fund’s shares. This would result in the acquisition of fewer shares
than if the dividend or capital gain distributions had been paid in
shares issued by the fund.

XAA, MXA and MXN distributions are payable in cash or, pursuant to the
funds’ dividend reinvestment plans, reinvested in additional shares of
the funds’ common stock. Under each fund’s plan, fund shares will be
purchased on the exchange on which the fund is listed or elsewhere on
the open market.

Each fund listed above will provide a notice, as required by Section
19(a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, for any
distribution that does not consist solely of net investment income. Any
such notice will provide information regarding the estimated amounts of
the distribution derived from net investment income, net realized
capital gains and return of capital. Such notices will be for
informational purposes only and the amounts indicated in such notices
likely will differ from the ultimate federal income tax characterization
of distributions reported to shareholders on Form 1099-DIV after year
end.

(a) The distribution includes an estimated $0.0647 from net investment
income and $0.0332 return of capital.

(b) The distribution includes an estimated $0.0496 from net investment
income and $0.0342 return of capital.

(c) The distribution includes an estimated $0.0391 from net investment
income and $0.0409 return of capital.

(d) The distribution includes an estimated $0.0650 from net investment
income and $0.0240 return of capital.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc., formerly known
as FAF Advisors, Inc., serves as investment advisor to the First
American Closed-end Funds. A subsidiary of U.S. Bank National
Association, U.S. Bancorp Asset Management focuses on providing
investment management services to institutional clients, including
corporations, public entities and nonprofits. It has combined assets
under management of more than $55 billion as of May 31, 2011. First
American Closed-end Funds are subadvised by Nuveen Fund Advisors, Inc.
and Nuveen Asset Management, LLC.

U.S. Bank National Association is a separate entity and wholly owned
subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp

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, the fifth-largest commercial bank
in the United States, and provides a comprehensive line of banking,
brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services
products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp and its
employees are dedicated to improving the communities they serve, for
which the company earned the 2011 Spirit of America Award, the highest
honor bestowed on a company by United Way. Visit U.S. Bancorp on
the web at
www.usbank.com .

Investment products, including shares of closed-end funds, are not
obligations of, or guaranteed by, any bank, including U.S. Bank or any
U.S. Bancorp affiliate, nor are they insured by the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, or any other agency.
An investment in such products involves investment risk, including
possible loss of principal.

SOURCE: U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc.

U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, Inc.
Investor Services, 800-677-3863

Copyright Business Wire 2011

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Volume: 14.25M
June 29, 2011 4:00p


Israeli Rabbis Condemn Dog to Stoning

June 29, 2011

Monetary

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Seth Abramovitch
A rabbinical court in Jerusalem has sentenced a dog to stoning, according to Behadrei Hadarim, a Hebrew website for ultra-Orthodox Jews. The sentencing came after a large dog wandered into the Monetary Affairs Court in the neighborhood of Mea Shearim.

From ynetnews.com:

The dog scared the courts visitors and, to their surprise, refused to leave even after they attempted to drive him away.

The stubborn mutt reminded one of the judges of an incident from 20 years earlier:

[A] famous secular lawyer who insulted the court was cursed by the panel of judges, who wished that his spirit would move on to the body of a dog…The lawyer passed away several years ago.

The report goes on to say that one of the judges then ordered the children outside to throw stones at him in order to drive him away. The court now denies the story. The dog escaped unharmed.

UPDATE: The Israeli newspaper Maariv, apparently the source of the story, has published an apology regarding their coverage. Apparently a dog wandered into the court, but no child-stonings were ordered.

It read:

On the 3rd of June 2011 we published a story titled Mea Shearim: Rabbinnical court orders the stoning of a dog. The story reported a police complaint filed by the Association for Animal Rights (Tzaar Baalei Chaim) against the Jerusalem Rabbinnical Court for Financial Affairs. The story also featured the total denial of the Chief Justice of the court, Yehoshua Levin, of the complaint. The Rabbi said, among other things: There is no basis for the abuse of an animal, neither from the Halacha nor by common sense. According to him, employees of the municipality have collected the dog from the court. The title of the story didnt fully present the entire story, and we apologize for the anguish caused to the court and its members.

[ynetnews.com, image via Shutterstock]


SBA Opens Business Recovery Centers in Limestone and Marshall Counties

June 28, 2011

Business

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ATLANTA, Jun 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the opening of Business
Recovery Centers in Athens and Guntersville, Alabama to help businesses
that were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, high winds and
flooding that occurred from April 15 through May 31, 2011. The new
Centers open Friday, June 17 at 12 p.m. at the Limestone
County Clinton Street Annex, 101 South Clinton Street, Athens, AL 35611
and at the Marshall County EMA Office, 3550 Creek Path Road,
Guntersville, AL 35976.

Businesses and private non-profit organizations of any size may borrow
up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real
estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
The SBA may increase a loan up to 20 percent of the total amount of
disaster damage to real estate and/or leasehold improvements, as
verified by SBA, to make improvements that lessen the risk of property
damage by future disasters of the same kind.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses
engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations, SBA
offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs
caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is
available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical
property damage.

SBA’s representatives will be on hand at the Business Recovery Centers
located throughout the disaster area to issue loan applications, answer
questions about the disaster loan program, explain the application
process and assist individuals to complete their applications. The
Centers are located in the following communities:

Limestone County
————————————————————-
Limestone County Clinton Street Annex
101 South Clinton Street
Athens, AL 35611
Opens: Fri., June 17 at 12 p.m.
Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Closing: Fri., June 24 at close of business
Marshall County
————————————————————-
Marshall County EMA Office
3550 Creek Path Road
Guntersville, AL 35976
Opens: Fri., June 17 at 12 p.m.
Hours: Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closing: Fri., June 24 at close of business
Tuscaloosa County
————————————————————-
Tuscaloosa Annex Building
800 22nd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice

SBA provides disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses of all
sizes. Interest rates are as low as 2.563 percent for homeowners and
renters, 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for
businesses with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by
the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Additional assistance may be obtained by calling the SBA Customer
Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or
hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

Those affected by this disaster may fill out a loan application online
by visiting SBA’s website at
https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ .

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage
is June 27, 2011.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is January
30, 2012.

For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit
our website at
www.sba.gov .

Release Number: 11-481, AL 12545/12546

SOURCE: U.S. Small Business Administration

U.S. Small Business Administration
Michael Lampton, 404-331-0333

Copyright Business Wire 2011


The Law Firm of Weiss & Lurie Announces Investigation of Ness Technologies

June 28, 2011

Business

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NEW YORK, Jun 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) —
Weiss & Lurie, a national class action and shareholder rights law firm
with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, is investigating possible
breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of law by the Board of
Directors of Ness Technologies, Inc. ,
arising from its proposed acquisition by Citi Venture Capital
International.

Under the all-cash transaction, Ness stockholders will receive $7.75 per
share. The transaction is expected to close in the next three to six
months, subject to Ness stockholder approval and regulatory approvals.

Weiss & Lurie is investigating whether Ness’s Board acted in the best
interests of shareholders in approving the transaction. Notably, Ness’s
book value per share as of December 31, 2010 was $9.02. For its first
quarter ended March 31, 2011, Ness reported net income from continuing
operations of $4.2 million, an increase of 497% year-over-year. Yet,
this deal only provides shareholders with a premium of 22.3% (calculated
based on a 20-day trading average), while, according to data from
Bloomberg, the average premium paid for U.S. computer services companies
during the last three years was over 60%.

If you own Ness shares and would like more information about your rights
as a shareholder or additional information concerning our investigation,
please contact Julia J. Sun either by email at info@weisslurie.com
or by telephone at (888) 593-4771.

Weiss & Lurie has litigated hundreds of stockholder class and derivative
actions for violations of corporate and fiduciary duties. We have
recovered over a billion dollars for defrauded institutions and
individuals and obtained important corporate governance in these cases.
If you have information or would like legal advice concerning possible
corporate wrongdoing (such as insider trading, waste of corporate
assets, accounting fraud, or issuing materially misleading press
releases or SEC filings), consumer fraud (such as false advertising,
defective products, or other deceptive business practices), or
anti-trust violations, please email us at info@weisslurie.com
or fill out the form on our website,
http://www.weisslurie.com/contact/report_fraud/ .

Attorney Advertising. Past results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

SOURCE: Weiss & Lurie

Weiss & Lurie
Julia J. Sun, Esq.
1500 Broadway, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10036
T: 212.682.3025
F: 212.682.3010

www.weisslurie.com

Copyright Business Wire 2011


Jim Dow Lecture

June 28, 2011

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Jim Dow has made a lifelong project of American popular and material culture, starting with his home turf in the Boston area. Of particular interest have been the signs and architecture devoted to pastimes like baseball, movies, eating, and other recreations, coupled with a fierce commitment to automotive landscapes. This lecture occurs in conjunction with the May release of his new monograph, American Studies (PowerHouse, 2011, published in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University). Books will be sold at the lecture, and Dow will be signing copies following the presentation.?

Monday, June 20, 2011
6:30 pm
Photonics Building, Room 206
8 St. Marys Street, Boston

Members (must present membership card): $5
Non-members: $10
Students: $5
No charge for students of PRC member institutions.
To register: https://co.clickandpledge.com/?wid=42692

Photographic Resource Center? at Boston University?
832 Commonwealth Avenue ?Boston, MA 02215

Five Myths About Business in China

June 26, 2011

Business

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The first in a new weekly series from WSJs The Source which looks at the lessons learned by business leaders, academics and commentators.

For starters, weve spoken to Professor John Quelch of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), one of the leading business schools in China. He has a unique insight into business in the East and West having been Dean of London Business School.

Here, he describes five myths and common misconceptions about business in China:

1. Chinese consumers dont consume

To anyone who walks down the Nanjing Road in Shanghai, this statement will seem ridiculous: China will soon become the number one market in the world for luxury brands and more Ferraris (and many other high-end auto brands) were sold in China last year than anywhere else.

Of course, the Chinese population is more than four times that of the US, but more important, domestic consumption in China accounts for only one third of GDP, compared to two-thirds of GDP in the US Why is this the case? For the ninety percent of the Chinese population living on less than $5,000 per year, life is full of risk

The most significant risk is getting sick because there is no social safety net in China. Hospitals often require cash up front. Thanks to economic growth, the Chinese are living longer but the nations one child policy has meant many older Chinese have to survive without the traditional level of family support and without significant pensions.

Bottom line: the Chinese have to save a much higher percentage of their income for a rainy day than Americans do.

Now, the Chinese government is investing massively in health care provision to provide the safety net that will enable Chinese consumers to increase greatly their domestic consumption. When that happens, China, with one-fifth of the world’s population, will truly become the engine of world economic growth.

2. Chinese consumers arent social

In China, competition is intense. In a highly mobile economy, this means that the brands you display signal status and worth. It also means that your guanxi or connections can be very important as a tie-breaker when a hundred equally-qualified applicants are after the same job.

Continue reading on The Source


Royal Bank of Canada sells retail business to PNC for $US3.45bn

June 26, 2011

Business

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PNC may pay for the deal using a mix of cash and stock, although the final composition wont be known until next year. Were regulators to ask PNC to raise capital for the deal, the bank would issue as much as $US1bn in common stock to RBC under the terms of the merger agreement, the people familiar with the matter said. The Canadian bank would then own a stake in PNC.

Last week, US bank Capital One Financial Corp struck a $US9bn deal to buy the US online bank of Dutch financial giant ING Groep. ING was required to sell the business as a condition of receiving government money during the crisis.

Citigroup recently sold a $US1.7bn portfolio of private equity assets to AXA Private Equity. These assets were part of the roughly $US600bn in assets, including troubled loans and securities, Citi earmarked for sale in 2009.
Meanwhile, HSBC Holdings has put its US credit-card business on the market.

Canadian banks weathered the recession better than many of their peers, and RBC rivals Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal have recently been acquisitive in the US. In December, Bank of Montreal bought Marshall amp; Ilsley Corp for $US4.1bn, followed by Toronto-Dominions purchase of Chrysler Financial Corp for $US6.3bn.

RBC, which entered the US market in 2001 with the $US2.2bn purchase of North Carolina-based Centura Banks, is exiting from a business that has lost money for several straight quarters. The retail bank was pummelled by the collapse of the US real-estate market, forcing RBC to take a $US1bn writedown.

In the PNC deal, RBC gets to keep about 180,000 snowbird customers Canadians who spend part of the year in Florida and other Southeastern states.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised PNC, and JP Morgan advised RBC.


Deepening crisis casts shadow over Lagarde IMF bid

June 25, 2011

Monetary

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Jun 17, 2011

PARIS (AP) — Christine Lagarde’s bid to head the International Monetary Fund could face new scrutiny now that Greece’s worsening debt storm risks toppling one of her candidacy’s key pillars — her track record shepherding the eurozone through the worst crisis of its 12-year existence.

With Greece coming close to a default, which would spark a chain reaction that some fear could break up the eurozone, the crisis management strategy of Lagarde and her European colleagues will come in for renewed criticism, analysts say.

Lagarde, France’s finance minister, heads to Washington D.C. next week to try to drum up critical U.S. support for her bid. Her distant lead over the rival candidate, Mexican central banker Agustin Carstens, means a Greek default now is unlikely to derail her campaign.

But it will come back to haunt her — should she be chosen — because Europe’s indecisive and disjointed handling of the crisis has caused the total size of the final bill to balloon, experts say.

Ever since Greece began its death spiral early last year, Lagarde has been one of the highest profile architects of the European response. She once threatened to pull the plug on Europe’s financial lifeline to Greece if the country didn’t honor its terms.

But a year on from its bailout, Lagarde and her European cohorts are again preparing yet another rescue package for Greece, despite its failure to meet promised deficit cuts.

“She’ll argue that she’s well placed, with political skills and managerial skills to broker compromises,” said Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Center for European Reform, a London-based think tank. “But the problem is that in many people’s eyes the eurozone leadership is discredited” by its failure to get a handle on its Greek problem once and for all.

“I think she’d make a brilliant president of the EU Commission, but I’m not entirely convinced she’s the right person for this job,” Tilford said.

Many investors and economists say Greece’s debt problems will eventually end in default and that European leaders are guilty of misdiagnosing the crisis from the beginning.

One indication of that strategy’s cost was given Thursday by a top official at the European Central Bank. Nout Wellink, a member of the ECB’s rate-setting council, said European governments need to be ready to increase the size of their bailout fund to euro1.5 trillion — double the size of the package that Lagarde and other officials said only months ago would be enough to stave off disaster.

“For the sake of argument, a year’s delay has cost at least euro750 billion,” Neil MacKinnon, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. And that excludes indirect costs such as higher interest rates and bond yields, particularly in countries on Europe’s troubled periphery such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Europe’s leaders have been “kicking the can down the road, and now we’re running out of road,” he added.

In launching her candidacy, Lagarde said she’d “bring all my expertise as a lawyer, a minister, a manager and a woman” to the job.

Her popularity is based in part on her reputation for deftness in international negotiations to stabilize the world economy during the world financial crisis. She also was seen as instrumental in getting the IMF and European Union to agree on rescue plans for Greece, Ireland and Portugal when their debt crises threatened the entire shared euro currency.

The 55-year-old headed the law firm Baker & McKenzie in Chicago before joining French politics in 2005. With excellent English, a direct manner and relatively pristine image, she is seen by many as a good candidate to quickly step into the job vacated by Dominique Strauss-Kahn and manage Europe’s continuing debt difficulties as well as the myriad other challenges to the world economy.

Carstens, Lagarde’s rival, has won the support of 12 Latin American countries, but not those with the most voting power — Argentina and Brazil.

The United States has continued to stay on the sidelines with the Obama administration not announcing its support for a candidate yet. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met with Carstens on June 13 and is expected to confer with Lagarde when she is in Washington next week.

The top position became vacant after Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned last month following his arrest on sexual assault charges, allegations that he denies.

The IMF’s 24-member executive board is expected to interview both Lagarde and Carstens next week and aims to make a decision by June 30.

Lagarde was unavailable for an interview. Her spokesman Bruno Silvestre said that the potential worsening of the European financial crisis would have no bearing on Lagarde’s candidacy. “She’s ridden the wave, she knows how to handle a crisis,” Silvestre said. Without Lagarde’s input, the crisis “could have been a lot more severe for a lot more people,” he added.

That argument holds little water with Tilford, however.

Europe’s ineffective and divisive handling of the Greek debt crisis “has caused a lot of damage to political relations between member states,” Tilford said. “That’s going to make it difficult to bring about what’s needed, which is closer political integration,” Tilford said.

___

Greg Keller can be reached at http://twitter.com/Greg_Keller

AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger in Washington, DC contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Strauss-Kahn After Arrest

June 25, 2011

Monetary

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BY MICHAEL ROTHFELD

As he was arrested on suspicion of sexually attacking a hotel maid, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn asked to use the bathroom, complained about his handcuffs and told police he had diplomatic immunity, a court document filed Thursday said.

Is that necessary? Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62 years old, asked a Port Authority police detective as he was handcuffed at John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 5 pm on May 14, some five hours after the French politician allegedly assaulted a maid in his suite at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.

Yes it is, Detective Diwan Maharaj responded.

I …


How the IMF might save Afghanistan from its leaders

June 25, 2011

Monetary

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How the IMF might save Afghanistan from its leaders
Daniel Korski 7:10pm

The International Monetary Fund used to be hated, blamed for the privatisation
programmes it imposed across the world in exchange for loans. Then it spent a decade in relative obscurity. Now, as countries like Greece are forced to beg for loans, the Bretton Woods institution
has again become a popular bogeyman. Every Greek protester thinks that all would be well if only their government had a Love, Actually
moment and told the IMF where to go.

But the IMF with its hard-nosed, unsentimental policies is often what is needed to save governments from themselves. Take Afghanistan. As The Guardian reported yesterday, the Afghan government will struggle to pay its bills within a month, after the
IMF rejected proposals for resolving the Kabul Bank scandal. The IMF is holding out because Hamid Karzais government have not agreed that taxes, rather than foreign aid, should repay the 820m
taken out of central bank reserves last year to prop up the bank, and they are stalling on criminal investigations against managers and politically-connected shareholders.

Hamid Karzai has persuaded himself that it is all somehow the Wests fault because the US did not react to an audit report into Kabul Bank. He will likely do as he always does, which is to
throw a childish tantrum, and the US will back down for fear of further problems. The IMF tends not to have any such qualms. They will hopefully push the Afghan government towards doing what it has
never had to do: take responsibility. This will be an important marker of things to come, as the US draws down its presence and moves attention elsewhere.

In that way, the IMF may do more for the state-building process in Afghanistan than millions in assistance, 100,000 soldiers and countless diplomats have been able to do so far.