Nothing like a good diamond heist to get the juices flowing on a cold winter’s morning

The Wall Street Journal reports heavily armed robbers broke into the national airport in Brussels and stole more than 120 packages of diamonds from a Swiss-bound flight Monday night, in one of Europe’s most brazen and valuable tarmac holdups in a decade.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Monday, two black vehicles with blue lights resembling police transport pulled up to a Helvetic Airways Fokker 100 jet plane, operating for Swiss International Air Lines, that had just been loaded, according to Belgian prosecutor Ine Van Wymersch and other people familiar with the events.
Eight masked men with machine guns held the ground staff, crew and passengers at gunpoint as they forced security workers to open the plane’s cargo door. The men selectively removed at least 120 packets of diamonds, Ms. Van Wymersch said. The vehicles then sped away. No shots were fired and nobody was hurt in the theft, she said.

Energy writer Deborah Rogers isn’t a big fan of shale oil exploration and production. She argues investment banks were instrumental in crafting convoluted financial products such as VPP’s (volumetric production payments); and despite of the obvious lack of sophisticated knowledge by many of these investors about the intricacies and risks of shale production, these products were subsequently sold to investors such as pension funds. Further, leases were bundled and flipped on unproved shale fields in much the same way as mortgage-backed securities had been bundled and sold on questionable underlying mortgage assets prior to the economic downturn of 2007.

Alaska Airlines operated 160,679 flights in 2012 and according to FlightStats.com more than 87.26 percent of them were on time. That made the Seattle-based airline, which is under the same ownership as Horizon Air, was the No. 1 on-time major carrier in North America for the third year in a row.
The average on-time performance was 79.62 percent among North American carriers.
FlightStats’ on-time rate for Alaska Airlines differs from the official U.S. Transportation Department number of 87.52 percent because it relies on more sources for information.

Ken Hoover of the Washington Business Journal explains why Congress isn’t likely to halt the coming sequestration .
“There’s always a chance there’ll be a breakthrough the week of Feb. 25 to avoid sequestration — just like there’s always a chance the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series. Both outcomes are highly unlikely, however.”

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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