Friday, August 14, 2009

Jokes

Why did the first monkey fall out of the tree?Because it died.Why did the second monkey fall out of the tree?Because it was holding hands with the first monkeywhy did the third monkey fall out of the tree?because it thought they were playing a game!


A thief went to a house to rob it but was caught by the house wife that was very fatty,she sat on him and told her son to call 911 thief: please hurry!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jokes

One day there was a pregnant women who was about to go into labor with 3 children.Her husband didn't want to be any part of this so he decided to leave her and took the car.So she had to walk to the hospital all by herself. All of a sudden she came to a dark alley and of course she went through it and all of a sudden a man pops out and shoots her in the stomach. When she got to the hospital she was ok and the babies were fine as well.16 years later16 years later the first child who was a girl came to the mother and said "mom mom guess what?" "What?"I pissed out a bullet.So the mother told her what happened 16 years ago.Then the second born child who was also a girl came to her mother and said "mom mom guess what I pissed out a bullet."So the mom told her what happend 16 years ago.Then the 3rd born child came in who was a boy said "mom mom guess what?" The mom said "let me guess you pissed out a bullet." "No i was peeing and i shot the dog!"


There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.When asked to define "great" he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.


It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

Jokes

Alright from now , this blog is gonna be about jokes and funny encounters.

Lawyer Jokes:

A local United Way office realized that the organization had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer. The person in charge of contributions called him to persuade him to contribute."Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to the community in some way?"The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?"Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, "Um ... no."The lawyer interrupts, "or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?"The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology, but was interrupted again."or that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!"The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no idea..."On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again, "So if I don't give any money to them, why should I give any to you?"



1. Was that the same nose you broke as a child?
2. Now, doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn't know anything about it until the next morning?
3. Q: What happened then? A: He told me, he says, "I have to kill you because you can identify me." Q: Did he kill you?
4. Was it you or your brother that was killed in the war?
5. The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
6. Were you alone or by yourself?
7. How long have you been a French Canadian?
8. Do you have any children or anything of that kind?
9. Q: I show you exhibit 3 and ask you if you recognize that picture. A: That's me. Q: Were you present when that picture was taken?
10. Were you present in court this morning when you were sworn in?
11. Q: Now, Mrs. Johnson, how was your first marriage terminated? A: By death. Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
12. Q: Do you know how far pregnant you are now? A: I'll be three months on November 8. Q: Apparently, then, the date of conception was August 8? A: Yes. Q: What were you doing at that time?
13. Q: Mrs. Jones, do you believe you are emotionally stable? A: I used to be.Q: How many times have you committed suicide?
14. So you were gone until you returned?
15. Q: She had three children, right? A: Yes. Q: How many were boys? A: None. Q: Were there girls?
16. You don't know what it was, and you didn't know what it looked like, but can you describe it? 17. Q: You say that the stairs went down to the basement? A: Yes. Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?
18. Q: Have you lived in this town all your life? A: Not yet.
19. A Texas attorney, realizing he was on the verge of unleashing a stupid question, interrupted himself and said, "Your Honor, I'd like to strike the next question."
20. Q: Do you recall approximately the time that you examined the body of Mr. Edington at the Rose Chapel? A: It was in the evening. The autopsy started about 8:30 p.m. Q: And Mr. Edington was dead at the time, is that correct? A: No, you stupid, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy


Joe grew up in a small town, then moved away to attend college and law school. He decided to come back to the small town because he could be a big man in this small town. He really wanted to impress everyone. He opened his new law office, but business was very slow at first. One day, he saw a man coming up the sidewalk. He decided to make a big impression on this new client when he arrived.As the man came to the door, Joe picked up the phone. He motioned the man in, all the while talking.."No. Absolutely not. You tell those clowns in New York that I won't settle this case for less than one million..""Yes. The Appeals Court has agreed to hear that case next week. I'll be handling the primary argument and the other members of my team will provide support..""Okay. Tell the DA that I'll meet with him next week to discuss the details.."This sort of thing went on for almost 5 minutes. All the while the man sat patiently as Joe rattled instructions. Finally, Joe put down the phone and turned to the man. "I'm sorry for the delay, but as you can see, I'm very busy.What can I do for you?"The man replied "I'm from the phone company..I came to repair up your phone."


A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a priest were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble.In spite of the best efforts of the pilot, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot grabbed a parachute, yelled to the passengers that they had better jump, and bailed out.Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining. The doctor grabbed one and said "I'm a doctor, I save lives, so I must live," and jumped out.The lawyer then said, "I'm a lawyer and lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live." He also grabbed a parachute and jumped.The priest looked at the little boy and said, "My son, I've lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace."The little boy handed the parachute back to the priest and said, "Not to worry, Father. The 'smartest man in the world' just took off with my back pack."


A lawyer died and was delivered into the devil's hands. "You will be spending eternity here, but I'll let you pick your own room from three I'll show you," the devil said.In the first room were thousands of people standing on their heads on a brick floor. "I don't like that," said the man. "Show me the second."In the second room were thousands of people standing on their heads on a wood floor. "Well, that's better than brick," the man said, "but show me the third."In the third, thousands of people were standing ankle-deep in a room full of maggot infested garbage, all drinking coffee. "I'll choose this room," he said. Into the room he went and the door slammed behind him.Immediately, the voice of a minor demon rang out, "OK, coffee break is over, back on your heads."


As Mr. Smith was on his death bed, he attempted to formulate a plan that would allow him to take at least some of his considerable wealth with him. He called for the three men he trusted most his lawyer, his doctor, and his clergyman. He told them, "I'm going to give you each $30,000 in cash before I die. At my funeral, I want you to place the money in my coffin so that I can try to take it with me." All three agreed to do this and were given the money. At the funeral, each approached the coffin in turn and placed an envelope inside. While riding in the limousine to the cemetery, the clergyman said "I have to confess something to you fellows. Brother Smith was a good churchman all his life, and I know he would have wanted me to do this. The church needed a new baptistery very badly, and I took $10,000 of the money he gave me and bought one. I only put $20,000 in the coffin." The physician then said, "Well, since we're confiding in one another, I might as well tell you that I didn't put the full $30,000 in the coffin either. Smith had a disease that could have been diagnosed sooner if I had this very new machine, but the machine cost $20,000 and I couldn't afford it then. I used $20,000 of the money to buy the machine so that I might be able to save another patient. I know that Smith would have wanted me to do that." The lawyer then said, "I'm ashamed of both of you. When I put my envelope into that coffin, it held my personal check for the full $30,000."


Fart Jokes:


There once was an old couple who had been married for thirty years.Every morning the old boy would wake up and give off an enormous fart, much to his long suffering wife's annoyance."You'll fart your guts out one of these days," she always complained.After a particularly bad week the wife decided to have her revenge and got up early, placing some turkey giblets in the bed next to the old boy's arse.While making breakfast downstairs she heard his usual morning fart reverberate through the floorboards followed by a scream.Twenty minutes later a rather shaken man came downstairs."You was right all along Missus," the old man says, "I finally did fart my guts out, but by the grace of God, and these two fingers, I managed to push 'em back in!"


Doctor, "What seems to be the problem?"Patient, "Doc, I've got the farts. I mean I fart all the time,"The Doctor nods, "Hmm."Patient, "My farts do not stink and you can't hear them. It's just that I fart all the time. Look, we've been talking here for about 10 minutes and I've farted five times. You didn't hear them and you don't smell them, do you?""Hmm," says the Doctor,He picks up his pad and writes out a prescription.The patient is thrilled "Great doc. This prescription, will it really clear up my farts?""No," sighs the Doctor, "The prescription is to clear your sinuses. Next week I want you back here for a hearing test."


A man worked hard all day digging the garden and felt very stiff and sore.His wife fluttered about him, pleased with the amount of work he had done and anxious to get him to do some more."Have a nice soak in the bath and I'll bring you a drink," she suggested smiling."Good idea," says the husband looking forward to being waited on.He's in the bath when she comes in with a nice glass of Scotch which he accepts happily."If there's anything else you'd like just call," says the wife as she leaves the bathroom.When she got halfway along the landing the husband relaxes completely and lets off an enormous long fart in the bath.A few minutes later, despite it being a very warm Summer's evening, the wife comes in with a fluffy bed warmer"What the heck is that for?" asks the husband snappily."Oh Darling," says the wife, flustered, "I thought I heard you say, "Whataboutahottawaterbottle

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gulf War

The Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), known also as the Gulf War, the First Gulf War, or often as the Second Gulf War or more commonly Desert Storm and by Saddam Hussein as the Mother of all Battles was a military conflict initiated by a coalition force from 34 nations, with United Nations authorization, between Iraq and the coalition with the purpose of expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after Iraq's occupation and annexation of Kuwait in August 1990.
The great majority of the military forces in the coalition were from the
United States, with Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Egypt as leading contributors, in that order. Around US$40 billion of the approximately US$60 billion cost was paid by Saudi Arabia.[15][page needed]
The invasion of
Kuwait by Iraqi troops had been met with immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council, and with immediate preparation for war by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait began in January 1991 and was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, which took over Kuwait and entered Iraqi territory.
Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and bordering areas of
Saudi Arabia. Iraq launched missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia, and at civilian centers in Israel in an attempt to precipitate retaliation by the Jewish state that would destabilize the coalition by alienating its Arab members.
After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, U.S. President
George H. W. Bush deployed U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard units to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation Desert Shield, while urging other countries to send their own forces to the scene. UN coalition-building efforts were so successful that by the time the fighting (Operation Desert Storm) began on 16 January 1991, twelve countries had sent naval forces, joining the regional states of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, as well as the huge array of the U.S. Navy, which deployed six carrier battle groups.
Eight countries had sent ground forces, joining the regional troops of
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the seventeen heavy and six light brigades of the U.S. Army and nine Marine regiments, with their large support and service forces. Four countries had sent combat aircraft, joining the local air forces of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine aviation, for a grand total of 2,430 fixed-wing aircraft.
Iraq had only a few
gunboats and small missile craft to match the coalition's armada, but approximately 1.2 million ground troops, 5,800 tanks, 5,100 other armoured vehicles, and 3,850 artillery pieces all made for a greater strength on the ground. Iraq also had 750 fighters and bombers, 200 other aircraft, and elaborate missile and gun defenses.
"Operation Desert Storm" was the U.S. name of the
air and land operations and is often incorrectly used to refer to the entire conflict; although the U.S. Postal Service issued a postage stamp reflecting Operation Desert Storm in 1992, and the U.S. military awarded campaign ribbons for service in Southwest Asia.
Each nation participating had its own operation name for its contribution: U.S. - Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; UK -
Operation Granby; Canada - Operation Friction, etc.
The Gulf War was followed in 2003 by the
Iraq War

Tensions with Kuwait

By the time the ceasefire with Iran was signed in August 1988, Iraq was virtually bankrupt, with most of the debt owed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq pressured both nations to forgive the debts, but they refused. Kuwait was also accused by Iraq of exceeding its OPEC quotas and driving down the price of oil, thus further hurting the Iraqi economy.
The collapse in oil prices had a catastrophic impact on the Iraqi economy. The Iraqi Government described it as a form of economic warfare, which it claimed was aggravated by Kuwait
slant-drilling across the border into Iraq's Rumaila oil field.
Iraq claimed Kuwait had been part of the
Ottoman Empire's province of Basra. Its ruling dynasty, the al-Sabah family, had concluded a protectorate agreement in 1899 that assigned responsibility for its foreign affairs to Britain. Britain drew the border between the two countries, and deliberately tried to limit Iraq's access to the ocean so that any future Iraqi government would be in no position to threaten Britain's domination of the Persian Gulf. Iraq refused to accept the border, and did not recognize the Kuwaiti government until 1963.
In late July 1990, as negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait stalled, Iraq massed troops on its border with the
emirate. On August 2, 1990 at Iraq launched an invasion. The main thrust was conducted by commandos deployed by helicopters and boats to attack Kuwait City, while other divisions seized the airports and two airbases.
In spite of Iraqi
sabre-rattling, Kuwait did not have its forces on alert and was caught unaware. After two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard or escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia. After the decisive Iraqi victory, Saddam Hussein installed Ali Hassan al-Majid as the governor of Kuwait.[

Saddam Hussein detained several Westerners, with video footage shown on state television
On 23 August 1990 President Saddam appeared on state television with Western hostages to whom he had refused exit visas. In the video he is seen ruffling the hair of a young boy named Stuart Lockwood. Saddam then asks through the interpreter "Is Stuart getting his milk?". He went on to say "We hope your presence as guests here will not be for too long. Your presence here, and in other places, is meant to prevent the scourge of war.


Pre-War Diplomacy

UN resolution

On 2 August 1990, Saddam launched the invasion of Kuwait. Within hours of the invasion, Kuwaiti and US delegations requested a meeting of the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 660, condemning the invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Iraqi troops. On 3 August the Arab League passed its own resolution. The resolution called for a solution to the conflict from within the League, and warned against outside intervention. On 6 August UN Resolution 661 placed economic sanctions on Iraq.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 665 - In 1991, leading up to the Persian Gulf War, United Nations Security Council authorized the naval blockade to enforce the embargo against Iraq when it issued United Nations Security Council Resolution 665 which authorized the “use of measures commensurate to the specific circumstances as may be necessary … to halt all inward and outward maritime shipping in order to inspect and verify their cargoes and destinations and to ensure strict implementation of resolution 661.”

Operation Desert Shield

One of the main concerns of the west was the threat Iraq posed to Saudi Arabia. The conquest of Kuwait had brought the Iraqi army within easy striking distance of the Saudi oil fields. Iraqi control of these fields as well as Kuwait and Iraqi reserves would have given it control of the majority of the world's reserves. Iraq also had a number of grievances with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had lent Iraq some 26 billion dollars to prosecute its invasion of Iran. The Saudis had backed Iraq as they feared the influence of Shia Iran's Islamic revolution on its own Shia minority (most of the Saudi oil fields are in territory populated by Shias). After winning the war Saddam felt he should not have to repay the loans due to the help he had given the Saudis by stopping Iran.
Soon after his conquest of Kuwait, President Saddam began verbally attacking the Saudi
kingdom. He argued that the US-supported Saudi state was an illegitimate and unworthy guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. President Saddam combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis.Acting on the policy of the Carter Doctrine, and out of fear the Iraqi army could launch an invasion of Saudi Arabia, U.S. President George H. W. Bush quickly announced that the U.S. would launch a "wholly defensive" mission to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia – Operation Desert Shield was when U.S. troops were moved into Saudi Arabia on August 7, 1990 (or August 8 depending on time zone used). This "wholly defensive" doctrine was to be quickly abandoned. On August 8, Iraq declared parts of Kuwait to be extensions of the Iraqi province of Basra and the rest to be the 19th province of Iraq.
The
US Navy mobilized two naval battle groups, the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Independence and their escorts, to the area, where they were ready by August 8. A total of 48 U.S. Air Force F-15s from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, landed in Saudi Arabia and immediately commenced round the clock air patrols of the Saudi–Kuwait–Iraq border areas to discourage further Iraqi advances. The U.S. also sent the battleships USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin to the region. Military buildup continued from there, eventually reaching 543,000 troops, twice the number used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Much of the material was airlifted or carried to the staging areas via fast sealift ships, allowing a quick buildup.

Creating a coalition

A long series of UN Security Council resolutions and Arab League resolutions were passed regarding the invasion. One of the most important was Resolution 678, passed on 29 November 1990 giving Iraq a withdrawal deadline of 15 January 1991, and authorizing “all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution 660,” a diplomatic formulation authorizing the use of force.

H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and President George H. W. Bush visit US troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990
The United States, especially
Secretary of State James Baker, assembled a coalition of forces to join it in opposing Iraq, consisting of forces from 34 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Spain, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States itself.[28]
Although they did not contribute any forces, Japan and Germany made financial contributions totaling $10 billion and $6.6 billion respectively. US troops represented 73% of the coalition’s 956,600 troops in Iraq.
Many of the coalition forces were reluctant to join. Some felt that the war was an internal Arab affair, or did not want to increase US influence in the Middle East. In the end, many nations were persuaded by Iraq’s belligerence towards other Arab states, offers of economic aid or debt forgiveness, and threats to withhold aid.
[29]

Reasons and campaign for intervention

On 12 January 1991 the United States Congress authorized the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The votes were 52-47 in the US Senate and 250-183 in the US House of Representatives. These were the closest margins in authorizing force by the Congress since the War of 1812. Soon after, the other states in the coalition also followed suit.
The United States and the United Nations gave several public justifications for involvement in the conflict. The most prominent reason was the Iraqi violation of Kuwaiti territorial integrity. In addition, the United States moved to support its ally Saudi Arabia, whose importance in the region and as a key supplier of oil made it of considerable
geopolitical importance. During a speech given on 11 September 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush summed up the reasons with the following remarks: "Within three days, 120,000 Iraqi troops with 850 tanks had poured into Kuwait and moved south to threaten Saudi Arabia. It was then that I decided to act to check that aggression."
The Pentagon claimed that satellite photos showing a buildup of Iraqi forces along the border were the source of this information, but this was later shown to be false. A reporter for the Saint Petersburg Times acquired commercial satellite images made at the time in question, which showed nothing but empty desert. Polls showed that upwards of 80% of the American public supported the troop deployment.Other justifications for foreign involvement included Iraq’s history of
human rights abuses under President Saddam. Iraq was also known to possess biological weapons and chemical weapons, which Saddam had used against Iranian troops during the Iran–Iraq War and against his own country's Kurdish population in the Al-Anfal Campaign. Iraq was known to have a nuclear weapons program as well.
Although there were human rights abuses committed in Kuwait by the invading Iraqi military, the ones best known in the US were inventions of the
public relations firm hired by the government of Kuwait to influence US opinion in favor of military intervention. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the organisation Citizens for a Free Kuwait was formed in the U.S. It hired the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for about $11 million, paid by the Kuwaiti government.
Among many other means of influencing US opinion (distributing books on Iraqi atrocities to US soldiers deployed in the region, 'Free Kuwait' T-shirts and speakers to college campuses, and dozens of video news releases to television stations), the firm arranged for an appearance before a group of members of the
US Congress in which a woman identifying herself as a nurse working in the Kuwait City hospital described Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and letting them die on the floor.
The story was an influence in tipping both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen said the testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senators referenced the testimony in debate. The Senate supported the military actions in a 52-47 vote. A year after the war, however, this allegation was revealed to be a fabrication. The woman who had testified was found to be a member of the
Kuwaiti Royal Family, in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. She had not been living in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.
The details of the Hill & Knowlton public relations campaign, including the incubator testimony, were published in a
John R. MacArthur's Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Berkeley, CA: University of CA Press, 1992), and came to wide public attention when an Op-ed by MacArthur was published in the New York Times. This prompted a reexamination by Amnesty International, which had originally promoted an account alleging even greater numbers of babies torn from incubators than the original fake testimony. After finding no evidence to support it, the organisation issued a retraction. President George H. W. Bush then repeated the incubator allegations on television.
At the same time, the Iraqi army committed several well-documented crimes during its occupation, such as the
summary execution without trial of three brothers after which their bodies were stacked in a pile and left to decay in a public street. Troops also ransacked and looted private Kuwaiti homes, one residence was repeatedly defecated in. A resident later commented, "The whole thing was violence for the sake of violence, destruction for the sake of destruction... Imagine a surrealistic painting by Salvador Dalí".

Air campaign

The Persian Gulf War started with an extensive
aerial bombing campaign. The coalition flew over 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs, and widely destroying military and civilian infrastructure. The air campaign was commanded by USAF Lieutenant General Chuck Horner, who briefly served as Commander-in-Chief - Forward of U.S. Central Command; while General Schwarzkopf was still in the United States.

Stock Market

A stock market is a public market for the trading of company stock and derivatives at an agreed price; these are securities listed on a stock exchange as well as those only traded privately.
The size of the world stock market was estimated at about $36.6 trillion US at the beginning of October 2008. The total world derivatives market has been estimated at about $791 trillion face or nominal value, 11 times the size of the entire world economy. The value of the derivatives market, because it is stated in terms of
notional values, cannot be directly compared to a stock or a fixed income security, which traditionally refers to an actual value. Moreover, the vast majority of derivatives 'cancel' each other out (i.e., a derivative 'bet' on an event occurring is offset by a comparable derivative 'bet' on the event not occurring.). Many such relatively illiquid securities are valued as marked to model, rather than an actual market price.
The stocks are listed and traded on stock exchanges which are entities of a corporation or mutual organization specialized in the business of bringing buyers and sellers of the organizations to a listing of stocks and securities together. The stock market in the United States includes the trading of all securities listed on the
NYSE Euronext, the NASDAQ, the Amex, as well as on the many regional exchanges, e.g. OTCBB and Pink Sheets. European examples of stock exchanges include the London Stock Exchange,
Participants in the stock market range from small individual stock investors to large hedge fund traders, who can be based anywhere. Their orders usually end up with a professional at a stock exchange, who executes the order.
Some exchanges are physical locations where transactions are carried out on a trading floor, by a method known as
open outcry. This type of auction is used in stock exchanges and commodity exchanges where traders may enter "verbal" bids and offers simultaneously. The other type of stock exchange is a virtual kind, composed of a network of computers where trades are made electronically via traders.
Actual trades are based on an
auction market model where a potential buyer bids a specific price for a stock and a potential seller asks a specific price for the stock. (Buying or selling at market means you will accept any ask price or bid price for the stock, respectively.) When the bid and ask prices match, a sale takes place on a first come first served basis if there are multiple bidders or askers at a given price.
The purpose of a stock exchange is to facilitate the exchange of securities between buyers and sellers, thus providing a
marketplace (virtual or real). The exchanges provide real-time trading information on the listed securities, facilitating price discovery.

New York Stock Exchange.

The
New York Stock Exchange is a physical exchange, also referred to as a listed exchange — only stocks listed with the exchange may be traded. Orders enter by way of exchange members and flow down to a floor broker, who goes to the floor trading post specialist for that stock to trade the order. The specialist's job is to match buy and sell orders using open outcry. If a spread exists, no trade immediately takes place--in this case the specialist should use his/her own resources (money or stock) to close the difference after his/her judged time. Once a trade has been made the details are reported on the "tape" and sent back to the brokerage firm, which then notifies the investor who placed the order. Although there is a significant amount of human contact in this process, computers play an important role, especially for so-called "program trading".
The
NASDAQ is a virtual listed exchange, where all of the trading is done over a computer network. The process is similar to the New York Stock Exchange. However, buyers and sellers are electronically matched. One or more NASDAQ market makers will always provide a bid and ask price at which they will always purchase or sell 'their' stock. .
The
Paris Bourse, now part of Euronext, is an order-driven, electronic stock exchange. It was automated in the late 1980s. Prior to the 1980s, it consisted of an open outcry exchange. Stockbrokers met on the trading floor or the Palais Brongniart. In 1986, the CATS trading system was introduced, and the order matching process was fully automated.
From time to time, active trading (especially in large blocks of securities) have moved away from the 'active' exchanges.
Securities firms, led by UBS AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group, already steer 12 percent of U.S. security trades away from the exchanges to their internal systems. That share probably will increase to 18 percent by 2010 as more investment banks bypass the NYSE and NASDAQ and pair buyers and sellers of securities themselves, according to data compiled by Boston-based Aite Group LLC, a brokerage-industry consultant
Now that computers have eliminated the need for trading floors like the
Big Board's, the balance of power in equity markets is shifting. By bringing more orders in-house, where clients can move big blocks of stock anonymously, brokers pay the exchanges less in fees and capture a bigger share of the $11 billion a year that institutional investors pay in trading commissions

Market participants

A few decades ago, worldwide, buyers and sellers were individual investors, such as wealthy businessmen, with long family histories (and emotional ties) to particular corporations. Over time, markets have become more "institutionalized"; buyers and sellers are largely institutions (e.g., pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, hedge funds, investor groups, banks and various other financial institutions). The rise of the institutional investor has brought with it some improvements in market operations. Thus, the government was responsible for "fixed" (and exorbitant) fees being markedly reduced for the 'small' investor, but only after the large institutions had managed to break the brokers' solid front on fees. (They then went to 'negotiated' fees, but only for large institutions.[citation needed])
However,
corporate governance (at least in the West) has been very much adversely affected by the rise of (largely 'absentee') institutional 'owners'

History

Historian Fernand Braudel suggests that in Cairo in the 11th century, Muslim and Jewish merchants had already set up every form of trade association and had knowledge of many methods of financial dealings, disproving the belief that these were originally invented later by Italians. In 12th century France the courratiers de change were concerned with managing and regulating the debts of agricultural communities on behalf of the banks. Because these men also traded with debts, they could be called the first brokers. A common misbelief is that in late 13th century Bruges commodity traders gathered inside the house of a man called Van der Beurze, and in 1309 they became the "Brugse Beurse", institutionalizing what had been, until then, an informal meeting, but actually, the family Van der Beurze had a building in Antwerp where those gatherings occurred ; the Van der Beurze had Antwerp, as most of the merchants of that period, as their primary place for trading. The idea quickly spread around Flanders and neighboring counties and "Beurzen" soon opened in Ghent and Amsterdam.
In the middle of the 13th century,
Venetian bankers began to trade in government securities. In 1351 the Venetian government outlawed spreading rumors intended to lower the price of government funds. Bankers in Pisa, Verona, Genoa and Florence also began trading in government securities during the 14th century. This was only possible because these were independent city states not ruled by a duke but a council of influential citizens. The Dutch later started joint stock companies, which let shareholders invest in business ventures and get a share of their profits - or losses. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company issued the first share on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. It was the first company to issue stocks and bonds.
The
Amsterdam Stock Exchange (or Amsterdam Beurs) is also said to have been the first stock exchange to introduce continuous trade in the early 17th century. The Dutch "pioneered short selling, option trading, debt-equity swaps, merchant banking, unit trusts and other speculative instruments, much as we know them" (Murray Sayle, "Japan Goes Dutch", London Review of Books XXIII.7, April 5, 2001). There are now stock markets in virtually every developed and most developing economies, with the world's biggest markets being in the United States, UK, Japan, China, Canada, Germany, Korea and France.

Importance of stock market:

Function and purpose

The stock market is one of the most important sources for companies to raise money. This allows businesses to be publicly traded, or raise additional capital for expansion by selling shares of ownership of the company in a public market. The liquidity that an exchange provides affords investors the ability to quickly and easily sell securities. This is an attractive feature of investing in stocks, compared to other less liquid investments such as real estate.
History has shown that the price of
shares and other assets is an important part of the dynamics of economic activity, and can influence or be an indicator of social mood. An economy where the stock market is on the rise is considered to be an up and coming economy. In fact, the stock market is often considered the primary indicator of a country's economic strength and development. Rising share prices, for instance, tend to be associated with increased business investment and vice versa. Share prices also affect the wealth of households and their consumption. Therefore, central banks tend to keep an eye on the control and behavior of the stock market and, in general, on the smooth operation of financial system functions. Financial stability is the raison d'être of central banks.
Exchanges also act as the clearinghouse for each transaction, meaning that they collect and deliver the shares, and guarantee payment to the seller of a security. This eliminates the risk to an individual buyer or seller that the
counterparty could default on the transaction.
The smooth functioning of all these activities facilitates
economic growth in that lower costs and enterprise risks promote the production of goods and services as well as employment. In this way the financial system contributes to increased prosperity.

Relation of the stock market to the modern financial system

The financial system in most western countries has undergone a remarkable transformation. One feature of this development is disintermediation. A portion of the funds involved in saving and financing flows directly to the financial markets instead of being routed via the traditional bank lending and deposit operations. The general public's heightened interest in investing in the stock market, either directly or through mutual funds, has been an important component of this process. Statistics show that in recent decades shares have made up an increasingly large proportion of households' financial assets in many countries. In the 1970s, in Sweden, deposit accounts and other very liquid assets with little risk made up almost 60 percent of households' financial wealth, compared to less than 20 percent in the 2000s. The major part of this adjustment in financial portfolios has gone directly to shares but a good deal now takes the form of various kinds of institutional investment for groups of individuals, e.g., pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance investment of premiums, etc. The trend towards forms of saving with a higher risk has been accentuated by new rules for most funds and insurance, permitting a higher proportion of shares to bonds. Similar tendencies are to be found in other industrialized countries. In all developed economic systems, such as the European Union, the United States, Japan and other developed nations, the trend has been the same: saving has moved away from traditional (government insured) bank deposits to more risky securities of one sort or another.

The stock market, individual investors, and financial risk

Riskier long-term saving requires that an individual possess the ability to manage the associated increased risks. Stock prices fluctuate widely, in marked contrast to the stability of (government insured) bank deposits or bonds. This is something that could affect not only the individual investor or household, but also the economy on a large scale. The following deals with some of the risks of the financial sector in general and the stock market in particular. This is certainly more important now that so many newcomers have entered the stock market, or have acquired other 'risky' investments (such as 'investment' property, i.e., real estate and collectables).

The behavior of
the stock market
From experience we know that investors may 'temporarily' move financial prices away from their long term aggregate price 'trends'. (Positive or up trends are referred to as
bull markets; negative or down trends are referred to as bear markets.) Over-reactions may occur—so that excessive optimism (euphoria) may drive prices unduly high or excessive pessimism may drive prices unduly low. New theoretical and empirical arguments have since been put forward against the notion that financial markets are 'generally' efficient (i.e., in the sense that stock prices in the aggregate tend to follow a Gaussian distribution).
According to the
efficient market hypothesis (EMH), only changes in fundamental factors, such as the outlook for margins, profits or dividends, ought to affect share prices beyond the short term, where random 'noise' in the system may prevail. (But this largely theoretic academic viewpoint—known as 'hard' EMH—also predicts that little or no trading should take place, contrary to fact, since prices are already at or near equilibrium, having priced in all public knowledge.) The 'hard' efficient-market hypothesis is sorely tested by such events as the stock market crash in 1987, when the Dow Jones index plummeted 22.6 percent—the largest-ever one-day fall in the United States. This event demonstrated that share prices can fall dramatically even though, to this day, it is impossible to fix a generally agreed upon definite cause: a thorough search failed to detect any 'reasonable' development that might have accounted for the crash. (But note that such events are predicted to occur strictly by chance , although very rarely.) It seems also to be the case more generally that many price movements (beyond that which are predicted to occur 'randomly') are not occasioned by new information; a study of the fifty largest one-day share price movements in the United States in the post-war period seems to confirm this.
However, a 'soft' EMH has emerged which does not require that prices remain at or near equilibrium, but only that market participants not be able to systematically profit from any momentary market '
inefficiencies'. Moreover, while EMH predicts that all price movement (in the absence of change in fundamental information) is random (i.e., non-trending), many studies have shown a marked tendency for the stock market to trend over time periods of weeks or longer. Various explanations for such large and apparently non-random price movements have been promulgated. For instance, some research has shown that changes in estimated risk, and the use of certain strategies, such as stop-loss limits and Value at Risk limits, theoretically could cause financial markets to overreact. But the best explanation seems to be that the distribution of stock market prices is non-Gaussian (in which case EMH, in any of its current forms, would not be strictly applicable). Other research has shown that psychological factors may result in exaggerated (statistically anomalous) stock price movements (contrary to EMH which assumes such behaviors 'cancel out'). Psychological research has demonstrated that people are predisposed to 'seeing' patterns, and often will perceive a pattern in what is, in fact, just noise. (Something like seeing familiar shapes in clouds or ink blots.) In the present context this means that a succession of good news items about a company may lead investors to overreact positively (unjustifiably driving the price up). A period of good returns also boosts the investor's self-confidence, reducing his (psychological) risk threshold.
Another phenomenon—also from psychology—that works against an
objective assessment is group thinking. As social animals, it is not easy to stick to an opinion that differs markedly from that of a majority of the group. An example with which one may be familiar is the reluctance to enter a restaurant that is empty; people generally prefer to have their opinion validated by those of others in the group.
In one paper the authors draw an analogy with gambling. In normal times the market behaves like a game of roulette; the probabilities are known and largely independent of the investment decisions of the different players. In times of market stress, however, the game becomes more like poker (herding behavior takes over). The players now must give heavy weight to the psychology of other investors and how they are likely to react psychologically.
The stock market, as any other business, is quite unforgiving of amateurs. Inexperienced investors rarely get the assistance and support they need. In the period running up to the 1987 crash, less than 1 percent of the analyst's recommendations had been to sell (and even during the 2000 - 2002 bear market, the average did not rise above 5%). In the run up to 2000, the media amplified the general euphoria, with reports of rapidly rising share prices and the notion that large sums of money could be quickly earned in the so-called
new economy stock market. (And later amplified the gloom which descended during the 2000 - 2002 bear market, so that by summer of 2002, predictions of a DOW average below 5000 were quite common.)

Irrational behavior

Sometimes the market seems to react irrationally to economic or financial news, even if that news is likely to have no real effect on the technical value of securities itself. But this may be more apparent than real, since often such news has been anticipated, and a counterreaction may occur if the news is better (or worse) than expected. Therefore, the stock market may be swayed in either direction by press releases, rumors, euphoria and mass panic; but generally only briefly, as more experienced investors (especially the hedge funds) quickly rally to take advantage of even the slightest, momentary hysteria.
Over the short-term, stocks and other securities can be battered or buoyed by any number of fast market-changing events, making the stock market behavior difficult to predict. Emotions can drive prices up and down, people are generally not as rational as they think, and the reasons for buying and selling are generally obscure. Behaviorists argue that investors often behave 'irrationally' when making investment decisions thereby incorrectly pricing securities, which causes market inefficiencies, which, in turn, are opportunities to make money. However, the whole notion of EMH is that these non-rational reactions to information cancel out, leaving the prices of stocks rationally determined.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average biggest gain in one day was 936.42 points or 11 percent, this occurred on October 13, 2008


Investment strategies

One of the many things people always want to know about the stock market is, "How do I make money investing?" There are many different approaches; two basic methods are classified as either fundamental analysis or technical analysis. Fundamental analysis refers to analyzing companies by their financial statements found in SEC Filings, business trends, general economic conditions, etc. Technical analysis studies price actions in markets through the use of charts and quantitative techniques to attempt to forecast price trends regardless of the company's financial prospects. One example of a technical strategy is the Trend following method, used by John W. Henry and Ed Seykota, which uses price patterns, utilizes strict money management and is also rooted in risk control and diversification.
Additionally, many choose to invest via the
index method. In this method, one holds a weighted or unweighted portfolio consisting of the entire stock market or some segment of the stock market (such as the S&P 500 or Wilshire 5000). The principal aim of this strategy is to maximize diversification, minimize taxes from too frequent trading, and ride the general trend of the stock market (which, in the U.S., has averaged nearly 10%/year, compounded annually, since World War II).

Taxation

According to much national or state legislation, a large array of fiscal obligations are taxed for capital gains. Taxes are charged by the state over the transactions, dividends and capital gains on the stock market, in particular in the stock exchanges. However, these fiscal obligations may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction because, among other reasons, it could be assumed that taxation is already incorporated into the stock price through the different taxes companies pay to the state, or that tax free stock market operations are useful to boost economic growth.
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