Friday, 30 November 2007

Understanding a question's key words

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for writing an exam answer is simply understanding the question and its key words!
These words have featured in exam questions on Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and other Unit 4 novels over the last few years. Write brief definitions for these words. It is better that YOU do this rather than me – as you will remember YOUR definitions if you do. (It’s all about active learning!)






Fragmentation/fragmented narrative

Different points of view



Comedy and tragedy (find definitions from Aristotle for a deeper understanding. Wikipedia will be good enough, too.)

Treatment of social issues


Post modern nature of the text
(This needs to be defined, otherwise you will be using it as a cliché) Post modernism



Writing Exam Essays - preparation and structure

For Shakespeare/Emma/Poetry/Drama questions

In mixed ability groups of four
You need: a group leader to keep you all in line, a recorder to write down the group’s ideas and paragraphs and one or more spokespersons for feeding back the group’s essay work.

Choose a past question (Don’t waste too much time on this)
Analyse the question’s key words and phrases to get to the root of what is being asked of you.

Form the essay plan which will be composed of:

One main argument (the seat and support with four sub arguments –legs)

Write the introduction. This should contain your main argument. The sub arguments can wait until you reach them later.

Write one of the sub arguments up as a sustained paragraph. Remember to introduce with a topic sentence, give appropriate evidence, comment on your evidence and link it to the question’s key words or phrases or other aspects of the text and its arguments.

Explain your essay plans and read out your introductory paragraphs. Discuss all the group's essay plans and introductions in class so you can take into account other viewpoints and arguments.

Consider the relevance and richness of the evidence (quotations) that you intend to use in your essays. For instance, will you be able to sustain your points with them/or make links to other relevant parts/themes, etc. of the text?

Afterwards, write the essay for homework.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

"Captain Corelli's Mandolin": past exam questions from Edexcel

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin OLD Edexcel Exam Questions from the pre 2008 syllabus. NOTE that the assessment objectives have changed also in how they are numbered and in what they assess. Treat this page as useful but no longer applicable for the modern exam.

Answer one question in the exam

This unit (6394) targets Assessment Objectives AO1 and AO4 and also assesses AO3 and AO5ii.


Specimen Question Paper


(a) At the time of its first publication in 1994, reviewers of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin disagreed over the significance of some of it major characters.

Turn to Chapter 56 and to the paragraph that begins: ‘when the truck arrived at the pink walls of the brothel, Gunter Weber’s knees began to buckle’ (page 322 Minerva edition). Re-read to the end of the chapter.

Then turn to Chapter 73 and read the paragraph on p. 426 (Minerva edition) that begins ‘He wanted to do something to compensate’, and ends, ‘Or perhaps he’s a bishop.’

Using a careful consideration of these two extracts as your starting point, discuss the importance of Weber in this novel. Is he more significant to its plot and themes?


(b) By selecting and exploring three short examples of your own choice, consider the claim that the range of view points used in the novels conveys a world where the values and perspectives are constantly changing.



(a) ‘ . . . the spirit of Carlo Guercio shall live in the light as long as we have tongues to speak of him and tales to tell our friends.’

What contribution does de Bernieres’ portrayal of Carlo have on the total effect of the novel?


(b) Turn to Chapter 64, ‘Antonia’. About three and a half pages into the chapter, a paragraph begins: ‘The first great crisis of this life occurred in 1950 . . .’

Read from this point until the end of the chapter. What do you find of interest in this chapter, bearing in mind your knowledge of the whole novel?



(a) E.M. Forster once wrote: ‘I do not believe in Belief . . . Tolerance, good temper and sympathy – they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long’.

How far, and in what ways does Captain Corelli’s Mandolin support the view that ‘tolerance, good temper and sympathy’ are more important than ‘Belief’ in a cause or ideology’?


(b) Turn to Chapter 31, ‘A Problem with Eyes’.

How does Captain Corelli’s character influence the developing relationship with Pelagia as it is revealed in this chapter?

De Bernieres: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Minerva or Vintage)


(a) ‘The ultimate truth is that history ought to consist only of the anecdotes of the little people who are caught up in it.’ (Carlo)

What is your response to de Bernieres’s presentation of history through the eyes of ‘little people’ in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin? You should include in your answer an examination of Carlo’s narrative in Chapter 6 (L’Omosessuale (2) ) and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.


(b) ‘Greece lies on both a geographical and cultural fault-line that separates east from west; we are simultaneously a battleground and a site of cataclysmic earthquakes.’ (Dr Iannis)

Explore your response to de Bernieres’s presentation of the island of Cephallonia and its people in the light of this statement. You should refer to two or more appropriate passages from the novel in your answer.



(a) Look again at Chapter 35: A Pamphlet Distributed on the Island, Entitled with the Fascist Slogan ‘Believe, Fight and Obey’.

How far would you agree that in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin de Bernieres presents politics and politicians as objects of ridicule?

You should include in your answer an examination of this chapter and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.


(b) He wasn’t just another hero, was he? He was more complicated. Poor Carlo.’

What is your response to the presentation of Carlo in the light of Pelagia’s final comment?

You should include an examination of two or more extracts from the novel.


(a) ‘The presentation of Pelagia in the early part of the novel is transformed by her growing independence as a single woman in post war Cephallonia’.

What is your response to de Bernieres overall presentation of Pelagia in the light of this comment? In your answer you should in include an examination of at least two appropriate passages.


(b) ‘Although Hector is presented to the reader as a caricature, he and his kind are seen as the real enemies of Greece.’

What is your response to de Bernieres’s presentation of Hector and the other Greek resistance fighters, in the light of this comment?

In your answer, you should include an examination of Chapter 34, ‘Liberating the Masses (3)’ and at least one other appropriate passage of our choice.



(a) History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and than again as tragedy’.

Explore the presentation by de Bernieres ‘Of the German occupation’, and its aftermath, in the light of this quotation.

You should include an examination pf Chapter 62, ‘Of the German Occupation’, and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.


(b) Dr Iannis tells his daughter: ‘Technically the Captain is an enemy’.

Explore de Bernieres’ presentation’ of the war-time relationship between Pelagia and Corelli in the light of this remark.

You should refer to at least two appropriate passages of your choice in your answer.



(a) ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then again as tragedy.’

Explore the presentation by de Bernieres of the German occupation of Cephallonia, and its aftermath, in the light of this quotation.

You should include an examination of Chapter 62, ‘Of the German Occupation’ and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.


(b) Dr Iannis tells his daughter: ‘Technically the Captain is an enemy.’

Explore de Bernieres’s presentation of the war-time relationship between Pelagia and Corelli in the light of this remark.

You should refer to at least two appropriate passages of your choice in your answer.

Summer 2007


(a) ‘One of the strengths of de Bernières’s writing in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is its ability to present catastrophes in terms of the fates of individuals.’

How far do you agree?

You should include in your answer an examination of Chapter 65 ‘1953’ and at least one other appropriate passage of your choice.


(b) ‘Dr Iannis’s political debates with his communist friends, Kokolios and Stamatis, are presented with humour, but, as the events of the novel reveal, politics is no laughing matter.’

In the light of this opinion, what is your response to the ways in which de Bernières presents political debate in the novel as a whole?

You should refer in your answer to at least two appropriate passages of your choice. Q1

Examiner’s Mark Scheme for these questions.

This Unit targets the following Assessment Objectives:
AO1 and AO4 and also assesses AO3 and AO5ii.

Answer ONE question.

1. de BERNIÈRES: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
(a) One of the strengths of de Bernières’s writing in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is its
ability to present catastrophes in terms of the fates of individuals.’

How far do you agree?

You should include an examination of Chapter 65 ‘1953’ and at least one other
appropriate passage of your choice.

AO1 Candidates should pick up the opposition provided in the proposition, its status as a value judgement and the key word ‘presents’. Lower band answers may be limited or rely on a narrative or descriptive approach and perhaps have a limited response to
‘writing’ in a literary way. Higher band answers should explore ‘writing’ in a more
literary way.
AO4 The ability to challenge or explore the terms or implications of the proposition are likely discriminators. Lower band answers may be limited in their ability to explore
or challenge and present at best an assertive or simple critical view. Higher band
answers will be likely to be exploratory and/or challenging in their approach and be
able to provide evidence of a more sophisticated critical response.
AO3 The ability to link the designated chapter to the novel as a whole may be a central discriminator. The key word in the proposition: ‘writing’ invites consideration of the ways in which the novel is written. Lower band answers may be limited in their
ability to deal with a wide range of reference or issues to do with language. Higher
band answers should be more confident in moving towards an overview, a sense of
structure and an ability to deal with language analytically.
AO5ii The chapter named in the question should suggest the historical context of a real event to candidates. Lower band answers may not provide detailed awareness of this and other appropriate contexts, but higher band answers should provide evidence of confident and detailed handling of the links between fiction and the real events on
which it is based.

1. de BERNIÈRES: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
(b) ‘Dr Iannis’s political debates with his communist friends, Kokolios and Stamatis, arepresented with humour, but, as the events of the novel reveal, politics is no laughingmatter.’

In the light of this opinion, what is your response to the ways in which de Bernières
presents political debate in the novel as a whole?

You should refer in your answer to at least two appropriate passages of your choice.

AO1 It is important that candidates pick up the contrasts suggested in the proposition andexplore varied ways in which political debate is presented in the novel. Lower bandanswers may provide limited evidence for this, possibly approaching it in a narrativeor descriptive way, whereas higher band answers will be more exploratory andanalytical in the ways in which the proposition is treated.
AO4 It is possible to agree or disagree with the proposition but the candidates should
engage with the idea of ‘political’ critically. Lower band answers will be likely to be
less contentious, or be so in an assertive or purely illustrative way. Higher band
answers will provide evidence of a consistently argumentative and critical approach
and be aware of different critical responses to de Bernières’s controversial
presentation of politics in the novel.
AO3 The ways in which candidates select their passages and deal with them in the context of the whole novel, as appropriate to the terms of the question, will be the probable discriminators. Lower band answers may take episodes in isolation and provide little evidence of exploration of language. Higher band answers should take a whole text approach and seize on the oppositions suggested by the proposition to explore linguistic presentation of material.
AO5ii Political contexts are very central to this topic and there are many ways in which they can be approached. Awareness of critical responses to the novel may well be a relevant context for exploration. Lower band answers may show little evidence
beyond stating the kinds of political stances presented in the novel. Higher band
answers should provide evidence of a more sophisticated and detailed approach.

Examiner’s Report 2007
6394/02 Modern Prose
The most popular text remains Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with Alias Grace and Howards End almost tying for second place. The Bell remains the least popular text although it retains a not inconsiderable following with a good range of answers. This is the first summer session in which the scripts have been marked by epen and examiners have said that it is quicker to mark scripts in this way. Scripts not marked in this way have been either those typed by the student or an amanuensis, or the few which have proved to be illegible online.

Some features of lower band answers
Part of the AO1 literary awareness derives from being able to show how a novelist uses arange of narrative skills to achieve the effects desired, which are very different to the skills of s dramatist.

A good answer will deal with all aspects of the proposition and question in detail. The following approach takes this on at a very simple level:

De Bernières throughout Captain Corelli always shows the catastrophes through an
individual, this no were near as noticeable as in the early part of the book and the
trouble caused by the war. The idea of this allows us, as a reader to become closer
towards the character but also to give deeper sense of confusion and angst that an overall view wouldn’t allow.

There seems to be something quite helpful struggling through the very uncertain expression. This candidate goes on to deal with the Good Nazi (2) chapter which:

…places us into the character of Gunter Weber. De Bernières chose this to show us that not all Nazis were jackbooted thugs but it also shows the reader the corruption of power and also the disregard for the moralistic in war.

The rest of the paragraph comments on the presentation of an individual catastrophe and comments on the reader’s reaction to this. The remainder of the essay then dealt briefly, and on the same kind of level, with Chapter 65. There is a very simple literary awareness emerging which does rate the essay in band two.

Some features of higher band answers
Higher band answers are totally literary in their approach and even if terminology is not always used, the conventions of the novel are at the forefront of the discussion. This kind of sentence does exactly that:

Forster clearly communicates through his authorial voice that the Wilcox family has
values to be respected.

Then the writer continues:
A passage near the start of Chapter 12 demonstrates this. Margaret ponders the Wilcox values, her thoughts communicated by the narrator.

A detailed exploration ensues. The final paragraph begins to evaluate:

Overall, Forster is clearly not completely comfortable with the Wilcoxes, yet he has to concede that many values he respects less reservedly are dependant on the Wilcoxes…

This candidate has used the proposition to shape his answer.

Finally the ways in which contexts can be used are many and various. Examiners have
noted much confident knowledge incorporated into answers and one example will suffice:

Achebe wrote his novel in English for a reason and one of Achebe’s main motives in
writing this novel was to display to an English speaking people that Africa did have a rich and diverse culture.

These illustrations are from answers which were high in band five.

DE BERNIÈRES: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

This was by far the most popular question on the paper. There was a very wide range in the quality of the responses. Some candidates had difficulty in interpreting the terms ‘catastrophe’ and ‘fates’ clearly and precisely. Where candidates did engage with these terms and responded clearly to ’how far do you agree?’ they were able to construct a reasonably analytical argument with a sense of the text as a construct. This literary approach with full engagement with all terms in proposition and question demonstrated the approachability of the question. We were occasionally disappointed by the limitations in discussing Chapter 65, the need to focus on character at the exclusion of everything else, and the often limited range of other passages used as illustration. Some candidates are determined to write about the ‘Good Nazi’ chapters at all costs, and some got there rather too quickly.

Good answers to this question were able to deal with the comic and tragic issues posed with confidence and a wide range of illustrations. Many candidates wrote about the Mussolini chapters well, often discussing chapter 35 as well chapter 2. They were able to deal with the idea of satire with understanding. We also noted confident and wellinformed references to Naziism, Fascism and Communism and the different levels at which they were dealt with in the text.

Weaker candidates were much less confident about doing anything other than describing the sections they chose for identification. They often recycled material from previous questions, provided character sketches of Dr Iannis or referred to the fates of the ‘little people’.


Monday, 26 November 2007

Coming soon - study notes for "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"

These have been taking me some time to get ready. There's more than a hundred pages of them and my students need them well before Christmas, in time for the January exam.

Conjuncts And Connectives To Help With Writing Essays

Press on the image to Dog

Saturday, 24 November 2007

We are at major inflexion point for the Dow and Gold

Greg Silberman's latest article suggests as much. With the fall in the Dow through the Dow Theory point of 12845 the other day, goldbugs need to make up their minds on whether they think their stocks will fall with the main market or rise with the inexhorable rise in the price of gold. I'm staking everything on the latter.

For Silberman's article
Press Here

Monday, 19 November 2007

HUI…wave ii support and wave iii price objectives (by Rambus)

Rambus is one of the best chartists and posters who posts at Goldtent. With gold and its PM stocks falling over the last few days this post is one worth posting here as I believe that it shows where the precious metals complex will go VERY SOON, UP - UP - UP! He advises goldbugs "to be strong and buy the pain". Great advice, Rambus. With the banks and the Dow on the ropes and seasonal strength ready again to renew the gold sector, it's a timely message. The current washout and the monthly falls in the main markets are similar to what happened last time the gold sector shot up over several months between 2001-2002 in what was then Wave I.

-> Posted by Rambus @ 13:40 pm on November 19, 2007
We have had a good run from the August 16th bottom at 285 to the November high at 463 for a grand total of 178 points in alittle over 10 weeks. What is becoming apparent at this point is, that rally phase was our wave i up and we are now in the middle to 2/3’s done already with our wave ii down. The chart below is how I am seeing things at this point in time as everything seems to be lining up quite nicely. I think we will see either a 38% or 50% retrace of wave i up and not a 62% retrace, as a 62% retrace would put us under the top rail of our big 16 month triangle consolidation. Click on the chart to enlarge it.

We are testing the 38% retrace as we speak at 395. The old high at 401 is also a good spot to look for support. There are several chart patterns that are suggesting a move to the 50% retrace of wave i may actually be in the cards at this point. Either way we are only talking about another 15 to 20 points lower where we can then launch our wave iii of 3 of III. I can’t believe I just typed out wave iii of 3 of III. This next wave up will be the exact center of this bull market and should be at least 288 points from whichever fib retrace we bounce off of. This should be a good place to pick your spot to get on board the gold train. The sweet spot of this bull market should be close at hand IMHO. Be strong and buy the pain.
Click on the chart to enlarge it.

All the best…Rambus

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Creative AS Anthology Poetry Presentations

I like the presentation given above as the meaning of the poem is clear through how Augustine declaims it. His enthusiasm for the poem is present too. (He does not let the passing aeroplane distract him either!)

You (my students who drop by here) can take a number of different, creative approaches to present your learning on your chosen poems.

You can:

Memorise,act out and declaim your poem in a dramatic manner as Augustine does above. A friend can film it. Find suitable background music that you can use whether you film your work or not.

Write an formal essay in which you analyse the poem and prepare a handout which deals appropriately with the poem's themes, form, imagery, language (key words and phrases) use of rhythm, tone, style of narration, and other poetic techniques such as assonance, alliteration, sibilance, etc. (See the class hand-out for this.)

Produce a collage of the poem's central ideas, words and images and then justify and explain your work.

Produce a series of photographs that higlight key words, ideas and images that are central to your chosen poem.

Produce with friends a series of freeze frames which help explain the narrative or key ideas/themes and images in a poem.

Annotate a poem on A2 and present and discuss your annotations.

Produce a Powerpoint presentation or Blog on the poem by breaking your presention into key analytical features of the poem. (For instance, themes form, narration, imagery, language, tone, features such as alliteration, assonance, etc. as appropriate.)

Find and present on the electronic whiteboard a paintings/music that can be associated with your poem. Explain how their imagery and thematic links and relationships can be linked with your poem.

A short film of your chosen poem that highlights its key ideas and features.

A storyboard of the poem in which film language helps depict the poem's key ideas, themes and images.

Your ideas. But do run them by me, first.

Good luck!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Talk of Worst Recession Since the 1930s

Gold and silver taking their haircut today was expected. It's all noise as they will rise together very shortly. As a matter of fact today's dips will allow the advance to continue in a healthy fashion. Meanwhile . . .

Talk of Worst Recession Since the 1930s
November 12, 2007

After what Los Angeles money manager Arnold Silver called "a brutal three days," the question is: What now for the market?

A Wall Street superstar this year who runs Balestra Capital Partners, Jim Melcher, says he's "worried about a recession. Not a normal one, but a very bad one. The worst since the 1930s. I expect we'll see clear signs of it in six months with a dramatic slowdown in the gross domestic product."

Press here for the article

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Ambrose -Pritchard Evans Discusses The Current Crises With Banks and CDOs


Copy and Paste into your address bar.

Ambrose reports stories that most British business journalists are either unaware or cannot. That makes him one of the most important journalists who reports business news. I read everything he writes - and I do not necessarily agree with everthing. Yet, I still rate his reporting as honest, factual, experienced and knowledgeable. He also does this for a living and I do not. In this five minute discussion he talks with a fellow Telegraph journalist Tom Stevenson about the current crises for US and British banks. The discussion also ranges over the economic state of the world, including Japan and China. Stevenson gives the expected arguments of "The Yellowbrick Road".

Friday, 9 November 2007

Minerva find gold nuggets up to 10mm in diameter at Tulu Kapi (Ethiopia) after heavy rains

I own some shares in Minerva Resources and I find it amusing that such large nuggets would be ready for anyone to pick up. It's like finding REAL money in the wild! The shares appreciated today by over 81% and are likely to do handstands on Monday too.

Here's the official announcement. If only this type of thing happened every few days or months!

Minerva Resources Operations Update

RNS Number:4055H
Minerva Resources PLC
09 November 2007

9 November 2007

Minerva Resources Plc (AIM:MVA)

("Minerva Resources" or "the Company")

Operations Update - Tulu Kapi Gold Project, Ethiopia


* Drilling intersects extensions of mineralised zones at Tulu Kapi
* Second drill rig arrives at Tulu Kapi
* Gold nuggets picked out of soil at Tulu Kapi after rains

Minerva Resources' recent drilling has intersected extensions of mineralised zones at Tulu Kapi. The Company is targeting a 500m section of a larger gold zone delineated by numerous mine workings and recent exploration activity.

A second Ethiopian Geological Survey (EGS) drill rig has started drilling at site. The first EGS drill rig has completed 644m of the 3,000m, Phase 2, drilling programme.

The EGS rigs are drilling holes 10 and 11 at Tulu Kapi. Samples from holes 8 and 9 have been submitted for analysis to the ALS Chemex Laboratory in South Africa and results are expected in early January 2008.

The drilling to date confirms that there are three broadly continuous sub-parallel zones of mineralisation, which dip to the southwest. Each of the three zones appears to be approximately 10m thick, with good strike and depth continuity. Most recently, hole 10 has intersected two mineralised zones, one of 20m from 17-37m downhole and one of 34m from 41-75m downhole. Hole 11 has intersected a similar 25m thick mineralised zone, from 12-37m downhole and is now at a depth of 45m.

The drilling to date has concentrated on a 500m long limb that strikes to the northwest, although indications of gold mineralisation extend beyond this central section both to the northeast and to the southwest. Minerva Resources is grid drilling this central resource with fence lines 80m apart and initially 3 holes 40m apart on each fence.

Minerva Resources has also entered into negotiations with private drilling companies to drill an additional 3,000m. In addition to further drilling at Tulu Kapi, drilling will also be undertaken at the nearby Guji prospect and a number of satellite prospects close to Tulu Kapi and Guji.

Finally, after seasonal heavy rains gold nuggets up to 10mm in diameter were picked from soil at Tulu Kapi. The gold nuggets are highly angular grains and aggregates indicative of a local source with little or no transport occurring.

Commenting today Terry Ward, Managing Director, said "We are delighted at the continued delineation of gold mineralisation at Tulu Kapi. The good core intersections, good strike and depth continuity to the mineralised zones, and presence of gold nuggets at surface all add to our confidence that Tulu Kapi is
shaping up to be an asset of merit."

For further information please contact:

Terry Ward
Minerva Resources plc
Tel: +44 (0)20 76294800/(0)7989571576

Jane Stacey/Ed Portman
Conduit PR
Tel: +44 (0)20 74296606/(0)7922923306

James Joyce / David Porter
W. H. Ireland
Tel: +44 (0)20 72201666

The information in this release which relates to exploration results is based on
information compiled by Chris Wilson, BSc(Hons), PhD, FAusIMM (CP), FSEQ. Dr. Wilson is a consultant to Minerva Resources plc and has provided Best Practice and QA/QC training resources to the Company's geologists in Ethiopia. He is auditing the current drill programme and is responsible for signing off exploration results for news releases to the market. Dr. Wilson is a Competent Person as defined in the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves and has reviewed and approved this release.

Note to Editor

Minerva Resources plc ('Minerva Resources' or 'the Company') is a UK based mineral exploration and development company quoted on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM: MVA). The Company is intent on delivering shareholder value by increasing and developing its mineral resources in a socially and
environmentally responsible manner.

The main focus is resource development in Ethiopia where the Company has first-mover advantage on prospective ground on the Arabian-Nubian shield. Key projects include the gold resources at the Tulu Kapi and Guji prospects and the Yubdo Platinum Mine, located in western Ethiopia.

Drilling programmes are underway at the Tulu Kapi and Guji gold projects in western Ethiopia. The two projects are 7km apart, allowing significant sharing of logistics and infrastructure.

Tulu Kapi was mined in the 1930s by an Italian company. In the 1970s the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) mapped and drilled Tulu Kapi. Tan Range carried out soil sampling and further mapping and drilling in the 1990s. These two phases of work confirmed mineralisation extending over a strike length of 1.5km and the project is undergoing second phase drilling after encouraging early Minerva Resources drill results.

The Company also has a strong presence in Central Asia, operating a Technical Services Division undertaking contract geology and contract drilling work from the Kyrgyz Republic. In Sierra Leone the Company holds gold, platinum and diamond exploration licences which will for the most part continue to be developed by existing Joint Venture partners.

This information is provided by RNS

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Professor John Mullan's interview in early September 2007 with Louis de Bernieres on "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"

It's an informative interview that will be beneficial for students, particularly for AO4 ( that is, the reception of the text and students own and others'interpretation of the text) and AO5ii (The cultural and historical contexts). I learned a few things from this. It's well worth a listen.

Press here

Credit derivatives' volumes exceed $ 45 trillion: ISDA survey

The half-yearly credit derivatives data released by ISDA says that credit derivatives volumes, as of end June, 2007, have gone beyond $ 45 trillion, at about $ 45.46 trillion. This scales a growth of 32% from the $ 34 trillion data as of end 2006, and nearly 75% growth over the half year of 2006.

Credit derivatives have been growing at an annual rate of nearly 100% over the past 3-4 years.

During the tremendous credit squeeze that started in the wake of the subprime crisis, credit derivatives volumes are likely to be affected this year. There are several reasons for this - hedge funds who became primary players in credit derivatives in 2004 onwards are likely to stage a retreat, or at least slow their activity this year. CDO activity is completely moribund post July 2007. In general, the market has become risk averse.

Increased role of hedge funds has increased risk of correlated movements in credit markets: Fitch

Rating agency Fitch recently came up with a special report on the role of hedge funds in the credit markt [Hedge Funds: The Credit Market's New Paradigm, report dated 5 June 2007]. The report states something that anyone having an insight into the credit derivatives market might surely know, but what might look shocking to an outsider. The credit derivatives market is not where banks meet to swap each other's credit risks. It is fast becoming an arena for risk-takers and betters who take leveraged positions on credit risks. Hedge funds occupy nearly 60% of this market today.

Apart from the sheer volume of trade, "(T)he impact of hedge funds on the credit markets can not be measured simply by trading volumes, but also must consider hedge funds’ willingness to be risk takers by investing lower in the capital structure. By investing in instruments that are themselves levered, hedge funds are able to create a multiplier effect by
combining financial leverage with so-called economic leverage. The combination of the two can be thought of as the effective leverage", says Fitch.

There is ample evidence that hedge funds, in search for high returns, take subordinated positions in pools of credit. That apart, they are major players in equity tranches of the indices.

What does this highly leveraged position of hedge funds imply for the credit market? The downgrades for GM and Ford in May 2005 brought sharp MTM losses for several players because of the highly correlated moves by several hedge funds trying to unwind their positions due to their mandates or deleverage triggers. Fitch says that a similar result is almost inevitable. "Credit assets could behave in a more correlated, synchronous fashion if one or a number of hedge funds were forced to liquidate positions following some catalyst event in the markets. Investor redemptions and/or increased margin calls from prime broker banks could exacerbate a larger unwind of credit assets". Hedge funds are far more unstable investors than buy and hold investors of relationship banks.

Besides, hedge funds are typically short-term strategy based. Many of them have short horizons within which they either perform or must wind up. While hedge funds have continued to improve their risk management abilities, there is no way they can eliminate risks, and the next downturn in business cycle may really bring forth this critical situation.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

It's a great day for PMs and associated stocks!

The Rally Monkey!

The big Kahuna is being landed! Rally Time is here! What follows is some consolidation before higher highs.

The banks are skating on very thin ice

To get a clue about just how deep banks may fall have a look at the links on the site with the link below. Banks are ready to sink under the weight of their CDOs. Jim Sinclair thinks that the credit default obligations will be the next big thing to hit the banks - and it looks like they already are.

Have a peak at this. It's the best argument I know for investing in gold and silver.

Press here

I'll be making several posts with notes on Captain Corelli's Mandolin over the next couple of weeks.

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.