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peHUB First Read

Cofee* The Satyam scandal has revived fraud fears among private equity pros investing in Asia.

* Some banks want their old bailout back.

* Morning Call: U.S. futures are mixed, FTSE inches up on bank gains, rest of Europe falls on oil, both the Nikkei and Hong Kong take dips.

* Capitalism freezes in winter of discontent.

* Bernie Madoff to his co-op neighbors: “Please accept my profound apologies for the terrible inconvenience that I have caused over the past weeks. Ruth and I appreciate the support we have received.”

* Speaking of Madoff, it seems that the scandal will lead to the closure of GMB Capital Management, a Boston-based hedge fund run by MIT professor Gabriel Bitran and his son. The pair promised that it would operate on Bitran’s complicated algorithms, but instead were funneling money to Madoff (without their investors’ knowledge). Here’s to hoping tenure doesn’t protect this guy.

* 2009: The Year of the Hedge Funds?

* A financial blogger was arrested in South Korea. His crime? “Doom-mongering.”

* Last week, Costa Rica suffered one of the worst earthquakes in its recent history. Not only was it extremely strong, but it was centered just 22 miles outside of the capital city of San Jose. There were more than 15 people dead at last count, and hundreds more trapped in areas cut off by landslides. This has gotten very little attention in the U.S., so I wanted to share a few photos (some of which were taken by Reuters photogs).

As regular readers know, I have a strong personal connection to Costa Rica, as my wife is from there and all of her family still lives there. They are shaken but safe. My prayers go out to everyone there, with sincere hopes that they can quickly recover and rebuild.