Emerging Markets Crack as $3.9 Trillion Funds Unwind: Currencies

June 20 (Bloomberg) — Investors are pulling money from emerging markets at the fastest pace in two years as slowing economic growth and the prospect of less global stimulus sink stocks, bonds and currencies from India to Brazil.

More than $19 billion left funds investing in developing-nation assets in the three weeks to June 12, the most since 2011, according to EPFR Global. Foreign investors dumped an unprecedented $5.6 billion of Brazilian stocks and $3.4 billion of Indian bonds this month, exchange data show. The tumble that has sent JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s emerging-currency index down 1.4 percent this quarter extended today as the rupee and Turkish lira hit record lows.

“These are pre-quake tremors: something big is coming,” Stephen Jen, the co-founder of hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners LLP, said in a phone interview from London on June 12. “There’s tremendous deceleration in emerging markets. You may see crisis-like price actions without having a crisis.”

 The reversal of the $3.9 trillion of cash that flowed into emerging markets the past four years has been compounded by popular protests in Turkey and Brazil challenging government policies on everything from fighting inflation to developing infrastructure. China, the largest developing economy, is forecast by the World Bank to expand at the slowest pace since 1999 this year, while current-account deficits in Indonesia, Brazil and Chile have grown to the widest in a decade.

“While cyclical opportunities will come and go, the era of structural outperformance for EM is probably over,” Dominic Wilson, the chief markets economist at New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. who predicted the rise of the biggest emerging markets in 2003, wrote in a report dated yesterday.

Cheap Money...(continued)

French Submarine ‘Sinks’ Entire US Aircraft Carrier Group During Wargames

A series of joint naval drills between the United States and France recently didn’t quite turn out the way the US, no doubt, expected. The practice scenario ended with the French nuclear submarine that was acting the part of an enemy ship “sinking” the American aircraft carrier and most of its escort.The exercises took place over 10 days starting in mid-February off the coast of Florida. The French nuclear attack submarine (SNA) — named Saphir — joined US Carrier Strike Group 12, comprising the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (nicknamed the “Big Stick”), several Ticonderoga cruisers or Arleigh Burke destroyers and a Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/news/20150306/1019130173.html#ixzz3TuygabP7

CIA Report: Israel will fall in 20 years

A study conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has cast doubt over Israel’s survival beyond the next 20 years. The CIA report predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947-1948 and 1967 refugees. The latter being the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”

Neturei Karta, an organization of anti-Zionist rabbis from Munsey, New York, traveled with the Viva Palestina caravan, along with Cynthia McKinney and M1 of dead prez. During their 24 hours in Gaza, Rabbi David Weissman said during a press conference with Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that Jews, Christians and Muslims had coexisted peacefully in Muslim countries for centuries prior to the birth of Zionism. He asked the people of Gaza to join him in praying for the peaceful dismantlement of the state of Israel. – Photo: Courtesy of Cynthia McKinney

Neturei Karta, an organization of anti-Zionist rabbis from Munsey, New York, traveled with the Viva Palestina caravan, along with Cynthia McKinney and M1 of dead prez. During their 24 hours in Gaza, Rabbi David Weissman said during a press conference with Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh that Jews, Christians and Muslims had coexisted peacefully in Muslim countries for centuries prior to the birth of Zionism. He asked the people of Gaza to join him in praying for the peaceful dismantlement of the state of Israel. – Photo: Courtesy of Cynthia McKinney

 

The study, which has been made available only to a certain number of individuals, further forecasts the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of 2 million Israelis – who would move to the U.S. in the next 15 years.

“There are over 500,000 Israelis with American passports and more than 300,000 living in the area of just California,” international lawyer Franklin Lamb said in an interview with Press TV on Friday, adding that those who do not have an American or Western passport have already applied for them.

“So I think the handwriting at least among the public in Israel is on the wall … [which] suggests history will reject the colonial enterprise sooner or later,” Lamb stressed.    READ

Obama imposes new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

Russia has failed to take steps to end the Ukraine conflict, President Barack Obama said Wednesday in announcing expanded sanctions targeting two banks, two energy companies, Ukraine separatists and defense companies. European Union leaders also said they intended to increase sanctions signaling 103843369-european-sanctions-against-russiagrowing Western concern over Russia’s continued support for separatists battling the Ukrainian military in the country’s eastern region. “We have to see concrete actions, and not just words that Russia in fact is committed to trying to end this conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border,” Obama told reporters at the White House. With the new sanctions, “what we are expecting is that the Russian leadership will see once again that its actions in Ukraine have consequences, including a weakening economy, and increasing diplomatic isolation,” the President said.  His Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, warned that the sanctions were harming ties between the two nations. “They generally have a boomerang effect and, without a doubt, in this case, are driving the Russian-U.S. relations into a stalemate and seriously damaging them,” he said, according to a Kremlin transcript of his remarks to reporters on a visit to Brazil……READ

Facts All US Citizens Need to Know About Israel and Palestine

  • Gaza (along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem) is occupied Palestinian territory under international law, determined by the vast majority of the world, as well as the highest court in the world, the UN’s International Court of Justice. Gaza cannot commit aggression against Israel, since Israel is in constant and continual commission of illegal aggression against Palestine by occupying it (illegally and sadistically blockading it and frequently committing terrorism against its civilians, including by targeting them with chemical weapons provided by US taxpayers – see “Rain of Fire” by Human Rights Watch). As documented by Amnesty Int’l, Human Rights Watch, and many others, Israel intentionally targets and murders civilians, including children, en masse.
  • But, even ignoring international law and that Gaza is under illegal Israeli occupation, Gaza did not initiate this current round of violence; Israel did:
    • Western/US/Israeli propaganda says the violence started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths on June 12th. That is a lie:
    • On May 20th, the Israeli government murdered 2 unarmed Palestinian teens, one on video, and wounded a third.
    • The firing of pathetic scrap metal rockets from impoverished Gaza, which have killed no one, were in fact launched in response to earlier Israeli bombings, killings, assassinations, and arrests of Palestinians, including children.
  • Since the year 2000, Israel has killed 1,500 Palestinian children, while Palestinians have killed 132 Israeli children. That means Israel has killed over 1,000% percent more Palestinian children than vice versa.

READ

The U.S. Elite Run a Ukrainian Genocide While American Public Are Ignorant of It

On Wednesday, July 2nd, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko resumed unlimited war against the residents of southeastern Ukraine, whom he calls “terrorists” for their wanting not to be killed by his troops. European leaders (especially Merkel of Germany, Hollande of France, and Putin of Russia) urged him not to resume his bombing campaign against the southeast, but the U.S. (specifically President Obama) supports the bombings, and that’s enough for Poroshenko; so, he did it. As the U.S. State Department said, “he has a right to defend his country.” Reuters reports that Poroshenko gave as his reason for the resumption, “to rid Ukraine of ‘parasites’.”  Adolf Hitler had given the same reason for ethnically cleansing his country.

Here are videos and photos of the Obama Administration’s sponsored ethnic cleansing to reduce the population in the areas of Ukraine that had voted overwhelmingly “the wrong way” in Ukraine’s final nationwide election, in 2010:  the areas of Ukraine that overwhelmingly chose as Ukraine’s President the man whom Obama’s coup overthrew in February 2014. After this ethnic cleansing, maybe Ukraine can have another nationwide election, which will produce the type of outcome that the U.S. Government likes. But on 25 May 2014, we held in Ukraine an election where people voted only in the pro-American portion of Ukraine, and only leaders who were acceptable to the U.S. White House were allowed onto the ballot.

America’s “news” media are not reporting on America’s ethnic-cleansing program in Ukraine. It’s happening in the dark, as far as the American public are concerned: they don’t know about it. But, here it is: this, is what they are hiding from you….READ

Should dual citizen of US/Israel be vice chair of our Federal Reserve Bank?

FisCherTwo weeks back, Forbes and CNBC reported that President Obama plans to nominate Stanley Fischer to be the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve if the current vice chair, Janet Yellen, is confirmed by the Senate as Fed chairwoman in the new year.

This would be a giant sop for the Israel lobby: Fischer is the former head of the Bank of Israel.

Fischer, a dual-citizen of the U.S. and Israel, served as the head of Israel’s central bank for eight-years before stepping down on June 30 of this year.

Fischer is disliked on the left because of his ruthless neoliberalism, as shown in this documentary about the International Monetary Fund, where he was once an exec. But the dual nationality question is also in play. Matthew Yglesias deemed Fischer extraordinarily well-qualified, but did arch an eyebrow:

This is a bit of a surprising development if only because Fischer didn’t seem to be seriously considered as a contender for the top Fed job. I figured that was either because Fischer wasn’t interested in a government job or because the White House deemed him insufficiently American. If either of those were the case, it would seem to disqualify him for the vice chairmanship too…..Read

REVEALED: Central Banks Explain How They Control Money

Recently, the Bank of England (BoE) released a report entitled “Money Creation in the Modern Economy” which outlines that most people do not understand how banking works and the populist ideology regarding financial business is correct.

Through fractional reserve banking (FRB), technocrats are able to get away with dangerous lending practices; however the central banks continuously feed printed fiat into the system at the request of smaller banks.

 

– See more at: http://www.occupycorporatism.com/home/revealed-central-banks-explain-control-money/#sthash.EVaFQXkl.dpuf

Recently, the Bank of England (BoE) released a report entitled “Money Creation in the Modern Economy” which outlines that most people do not understand how banking works and the populist ideology regarding financial business is correct. Through fractional reserve banking (FRB), technocrats are able to Bankers2get away with dangerous lending practices; however the central banks continuously feed printed fiat into the system at the request of smaller banks. Central banks were intended to regulate fiat supplies within nations and control inflation, as the story goes. Printing fiat and not printing too much is the oversight role of the central bank. They are supposed to fund private economic trends and not governments through purchasing treasury bonds. In 2012, quantitative easing round 3 turned into QE Infinity because the Federal Reserve Bank under former chair Ben Bernanke purchased mortgage-backed securities (MBS) at $85 billion per month which is now being tapered back. The report reads: “Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits. In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money ‘multiplied up’ into more loans and deposits.”

Read More

Le Pen: We need to destroy the European Soviet Union

SPIEGEL: Ms. Le Pen, having won 25 percent of the French vote, your Front National party stands as one of the primary beneficiaries of the May 25 European Parliament election. How could such a thing come to pass?

Le Pen: The French want to regain control of their own country. They want to determine the course of their own economy and their immigration policies. They want their own laws to take precedence over those of the European Union. The French have understood that the EU does not live up to the utopia they were sold. It has distanced itself significantly from a democratic mode of operation.

SPIEGEL: Yet, prior to the election, it was said that the establishment of lead candidates for the two biggest groups–Jean-Claude Juncker for the center-right and Martin Schulz for the center-left–would strengthen democracy in the EU….more

UKIP’s Farage hopes for deal with Italy’s 5-star leader Grillo

(Reuters) – The leader of Britain’s anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) said on Sunday he hoped to form an alliance with Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in the European Parliament.

UKIP’s Nigel Farage met with 5-star leader Beppe Grillo earlier this week after both parties performed strongly in European Parliament elections earlier in May.

Anti-establishment parties across the continent more than doubled their representation in the election, tapping into voters’ anger with Brussels over austerity, mass unemployment and immigration.

“I met Beppe Grillo last week … I am hoping we can do a deal with him and our group will sit bang in the middle politically of that parliament with a strong Europsceptic agenda,” Farage told the BBC in an interview…more

Ukraine paying Russia $786 million as 1st step to defuse gas spat, more talks set for Monday

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — Ukraine said Friday that it ordered a $786 million payment to Russia in a first step toward paying off its gas debts, and another round of talks aimed at resolving the two countries’ dispute over gas prices and preventing a possible supply cutoff was set for Monday.

Russia has stepped up pressure on Ukraine over gas lately, calling for Kiev to pay its debts and saying it wants payment up front for deliveries starting in June. It has threatened to restrict supplies starting Tuesday if no payment is made…more

Black Hole: China’s Days are Numbered

Harry S. Dent Jr., Senior Editor, Survive & Prosper

I have been warning for years that the greatest — and final — bubble to burst, in this century of bubbles, would be China. Now that cracks in the great red dragon’s economy are widening, it’s time to prepare for the worst.

China has a unique, state-driven model of capitalism that clueless economists have hailed as the “new model for economic success.”

But I say China’s model (and economy) will fail drastically, proving once and for all that government-planned economies do not work as well as free market capitalism balanced by democracy.

China has massively overbuilt everything: industrial capacity, housing, offices, malls, infrastructure, you name it.

It’s overbuilt twice as much, and for twice as long, as any other government-driven emerging economy ever has. In fact, the last government-driven over-investment spree occurred in Southeast Asia, and it resulted in a financial crisis between late 1997 and late 2002. And China has made that situation look puny by comparison.

There is no way this can end any way other than very, very badly. The question is: when will an economic collapse come? The answer is, sadly: sooner than you’d like.

Here are the seven signs the end is near…

Sign #1: Recently, a large Chinese property developer decided, for the first time, to discount condos by 40% when sales stalled.

The thing is, this is a shocking step to take in China. It’s just not done.

The affluent Chinese line up to buy overbuilt, empty condos at insanely overpriced levels. They don’t rent them out because there is no rental culture in the country. Ninety percent of homes are owned. They simply buy the property and let it stand empty… so when a developer cuts prices and thus devalues their investment, they get bitterly angry.

But this discounting trend is likely to spread rapidly now as more developers are forced to discount prices just to raise cash and avoid bankruptcy.

Sign #2: The richest man in China, with $31.9 billion, is Li Ka-shing. He and his son, Richard, have sold $3 billion of prime commercial properties in the last nine months. That tells me the smart money is leaving before the bubble bursts!

Sign #3: A Bain & Company/Chinese bank survey of affluent households showed that 60% of the rich are considering moving overseas because they don’t trust government or the bubble, pollution levels are getting intolerable, and they want to get their kids an English-speaking education.

Sign #4: A number of major developers have gone bankrupt. These developers are highly leveraged and pose the greatest threat to the banking system, which has grown more through shadow banking and sub-prime lending in the last few years than anything sustainable. The worst new statistic, as developers pull back, is that housing starts in floor space dropped 37% in the first four months of 2013.

Sign #5: Bad loans are rising fast in China. The country’s private debt is now higher than that of the U.S. or Europe, as you can see in the chart below. At 190% and rising, it’s higher than emerging countries in Asia in 1998, when private debt peaked at 160% before a five-year currency and financial crisis.

But note that this chart doesn’t include financial sector or government debt. When you add those numbers into the pot, my estimates of the country’s total debt is around 277% of GDP. That’s much higher than other emerging countries like Brazil, which is at 152%, India at 130%, and Russia at 78%.

Emerging countries don’t have nearly the private debt of developed nations because their incomes are low and their citizens and businesses are less creditworthy. So for China to have a total debt of around 277% is unprecedented for an emerging country.

Sign #6: A major agricultural co-op closed its doors and investors couldn’t withdraw their deposits.

Sign #7: A major Chinese solar company defaulted on its bonds — the first to occur in China.

Thus far, the government has quietly bailed out or covered over the defaults and cracks. But they’re now hinting that they’re going to let more defaults happen to “slowly let the air out of the balloon.”

The Chinese government simply doesn’t have a clue. Actually, no government does. They always think they can deflate bubbles slowly to ensure a soft landing.

Soft landings never occur in major bubbles.

Bubbles don’t correct. They burst.

They get so extreme — and China’s bubble is the most extreme of all — that once they start to unwind, you get an avalanche of deleveraging and defaults that build on each other.

Bubbles become black holes.

I expect major problems in China likely by the summer or fall.

When China blows, there won’t be an effective stimulus policy from the U.S., Europe, or Japan, to counter such a shock. It will make the U.S. sub-prime crisis look like a Sunday afternoon picnic.

Euro zone first-quarter growth disappoints, puts pressure on ECB to act

(Reuters) – The euro zone economy grew much less than expected at the start of the year and inflation remained locked in the ‘danger zone’ below 1 percent, increasing pressure on the European Central Bank to ease monetary policy at its next meeting in June.  The 9.5 trillion euro economy expanded only 0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the first three months of 2014, the same as the downwardly revised rate in the last quarter of 2013, while economists hadeurozone expected 0.4 percent growth.  The first quarter figure stayed positive mainly thanks to strong growth in the biggest economy Germany, which compensated for stagnation in France and shrinking output in Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Finland.  “Today’s figure is a major disappointment, as it suggests that the euro zone is still far away from reaching the escape velocity required for a sustainable recovery,” said Peter Vanden Houte, chief euro zone economist with ING...more

 

William Hague deceived House of Commons over Ukraine

1. Foreign Minister William Hague deceived the House of Commons about the legitimacy of the new regime in Ukraine in a statement 4 March 2014.
2. He led the House to believe that the Ukrainian parliament had removed President Yanukovich from power on 22 February 2014.
3. Supposedly in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution and that therefore ‘it is wrong to question the legitimacy of the new authorities’.
4. He gave the impression that the procedure prescribed in the Ukrainian constitution for the removal of a president from office had been followed, when it hadn’t….more

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140304/debtext/140304-0001.htm

http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/william-hague-deceived-house-commons-ukraine/

 

Ukrainian Province of Donetsk Declares Independence

May 12 2014 “ICH” – “RT” –  Donetsk People’s Republic has proclaimed itself a sovereign state and has asked Moscow to consider its accession into Russia, the Republic’s council said.

“We, the people of Donetsk, based on results of the May 11 referendum and the declaration of sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic, declare that from now on DPR is now a sovereign state,” Republic Co-Chairman Denis Pushilin said. “Given the will of the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and in order to restore historical justice, we ask Russia to consider the issue of our republic’s accession into the Russian Federation,” he added.

Earlier on Monday the results of referendums have been announced in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, showing the majority of voters support self-rule, amid an intensified military operation by Kiev which resulted in several deaths…more

NAFTA’s Impact on US Workers

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) was the door through which American workers were shoved into the neoliberal global labor market.
By establishing the principle that U.S. corporations could relocate production elsewhere and sell back into the United States, NAFTA undercut the bargaining power of American workers, which had driven the expansion of the middle class since the end of World War II. The result has been 20 years of stagnant wages and the upward redistribution of income, wealth and political power.
NAFTA affected U.S. workers in four principal ways. First, it caused the loss of some 700,000 jobs as production moved to Mexico. Most of these losses came in California, Texas, Michigan, and other states where manufacturing is concentrated. To be sure, there were some job gains along the border in service and retail sectors resulting from increased trucking activity, but these gains are small in relation to the loses, and are in lower paying occupations. The vast majority of workers who lost jobs from NAFTA suffered a permanent loss of income…more

*What’s most interesting is how NAFTA paved the way for China to take over*

Government of the Rich, by the Rich and for the Rich: It’s Time for ‘Militant Nonviolent Resistance’

We now live in a two-tiered system of governance. There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and its corporate allies, and another set for you and me.

The laws which apply to the majority of the population allow the government to do things like sending SWAT teams crashing through your door in the middle of the night, rectally probing you during a roadside stop, or listening in on your phone calls and reading all of your email messages, confiscating your property, or

monty1

Coming Soon Neo-Feudalism

indefinitely detaining you in a military holding cell. These are the laws which are executed every single day against a population which has up until now been blissfully ignorant of the radical shift taking place in American government.

Then there are the laws constructed for the elite, which allow bankers who crash the economy to walk free. They’re the laws which allow police officers to avoid prosecution when they shoot unarmed citizens, strip search non-violent criminals, or taser pregnant women on the side of the road, or pepper spray peaceful protestors. These are the laws of the new age we are entering, an age of neo-feudalism, in which corporate-state rulers dominate the rest of us, where the elite create the laws which can result in a person being jailed for possessing a small amount of marijuana while bankers that launder money for drug cartels walk free. In other words, we have moved into an age where we are the slaves and they are the rulers.

Ukraine: Vladimir Putin threatens to turn off the gas In threat to switch off Ukraine’s gas, Russian president acknowledges gas deliveries to the European Union would also be jeopardised

President Vladimir Putin threatened the “extreme measure” on Thursday of cutting off Russian gas for Ukraine unless the country pays in advance for all its supplies.

In a stark letter to 18 world leaders, Mr Putin acknowledged that, in such a “critical situation”, gas deliveries to the European Union would also be putin4jeopardised.

The EU buys a third of its gas from Russia, about half of which arrives through pipelines running across Ukraine. But Mr Putin accused the EU of causing the current crisis, leaving Russia with “no alternative” but to toughen its approach…more

Putin Expected to Sign China Gas Deal as Crisis Forces Hand

Vladimir Putin is more likely to sign a 30-year deal to supply pipeline gas to China next month after more than a decade of false starts because the crisis in Ukraine is forcing Russia to look for markets outside Europe.putin3

While Putin and President Xi Jinping will make the final decision in Beijing next month, Russia’s need for new customers means it’s pushing to complete a deal first mooted in 1997, a manager at gas-export monopoly OAO Gazprom (GAZP) and a government official said, asking not to be named because talks are ongoing. In China yesterday, Russia’s deputy prime minister said he “hoped” a deal would be signed in…more

Putin Threatens Ukraine’s Imports to Turn Economic Screw

President Vladimir Putin told his government to develop plans to replace imports from Ukraine and said Russia can’t subsidize its neighbor permanently, increasing economic pressure as the government in Kiev battles separatists.putin2

Russia “continues to provide economic support and subsidize Ukraine’s economy with hundreds of millions and billions of dollars,” Putin told a cabinet meeting outside Moscow yesterday. “This situation, of course, can’t go on forever.”

Putin urged talks before possibly requiring Ukraine to make advance payments for natural gas, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the country owes Russia $16.6 billion in energy debts. Ukraine’s government, which is trying to accelerate approval for an international bailout, said yesterday it may use force to remove pro-Russian activists from official buildings in the east…more

Economic sanctions are an act of war – Ron Paul

As Ukraine is caught in a socio-political whirlwind, Russia is locked in a standoff with the US, and Europe is counting losses from the transcontinpaul RTental crisis, we talk to a very special guest on SophieCo. A former US Congressman, presidential candidate, and a man with nationwide support for his views on what government should be. A legend of American politics, Ron Paul is on our show today…Transcript & Video

Crude Oil and the Syrian Conflict

syriaqatarpipeline

Noticed something whirring overhead? Must be the smell of drama. It seems that the Arab countries are willing to fund the entire operation of any U.S. military adventure in Syria. Says, Secretary of State John Kerry, “That’s how dedicated they (Arab Gulf states) are at this. That’s not in the cards, and nobody’s talking about it, but they’re talking in serious ways about getting this done”.

But why would the Arab Gulf states want to pay for the marauding invasion of Syria?

Arguably, Syria isn’t a major producer of oil and gas. Depletion of oil reserves is a vital problem facing the energy sector of the country. The oil production has decreased over the years. Syria had 2,500,000,000 barrels (400,000,000 m3) of petroleum reserves as of January 2010. So, the whole hullaballoo about Syria is definitely not about oil in the Syrian territory. What then?

Because of its strategic location vis-à-vis energy transit routes. As it turns out, many key energy transit routes to Europe run through Syria…more

Putin Threatened With More Sanctions as Russia Out of G-8

obama-clown

The world’s top industrial powers threatened further sanctions to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from taking over other parts of Ukraine and suspended Russia from participating in the Group of Eight.

Meeting for the first time since last week’s annexation of Crimea by Russia, Group of Seven leaders said last night they won’t attend a planned G-8 meeting which was to have been held in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics, and will instead hold their own summit in June in Brussels…more

**As if anyone actually gives a…..hoot.**

Bloodshed and chaos in Egypt with more than 50 dead

Cairo (CNN) — Top Egyptian security officials defended army and police actions in clashes Monday in Cairo that led to the deaths of more than 50 people, saying they were defending the Republican Guard headquarters against EgyptJuly2013 attackers.  Health Ministry official Khaled al-Khatib said 51 died and 435 others were wounded when Egyptian security forces fought with supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood outside the headquarters….more

Eurozone crisis live: Italy denies wrongdoing over derivative contracts

Euro DiceItaly is reportedly facing losses of around €8bn on controversial derivative contracts taken out in the late 1990s, and restructured at the height of the eurozone crisis.

Confidential government papers seen by the Financial Times suggest the Italian Treasury is sitting on an €8bn loss after restructuring eight debt contracts with foreign banks in early 2012, at what appear to be poor terms.

The FT explains that the 29-page report is fascinating both for what it shows, and what it doesn’t:

While the report leaves out crucial details and appears intended not to give a full picture of Italy’s potential losses, experts who examined it told the Financial Times the restructuring allowed the cash-strapped Treasury to stagger payments owed to foreign banks over a longer period but, in some cases, at more disadvantageous terms for Italy.

The report does not name the banks or give details of the original contracts – questions that worried the state auditors – but the experts said they appeared to date back to the period in the late 1990s. At that time, before and just after Italy entered the euro, Rome was flattering its accounts by taking upfront payments from banks in order to meet the deficit targets set by the EU for joining the first wave of 11 countries that adopted the euro in 1999….more

Obama Pledges Indirect Support to Al Qaeda. McCain Applauds.

President Obama has promised to send military aid to the rebel forces in Syria. Senator McCain and ex-President Clinton both had publicly chastised Obama for hesitating. On Tuesday evening, Clinton warned Obama that he risked looking like a “total wuss” and a “total fool” if he continued to sit to the sidelines. On Wednesday, Obama made his pledge to do what Clinton recommended. The White House has not yet identified which accusation President Obama is trying to avoid: being a total wuss or a total fool. This announcement was good news for the Jabhat al Nusra Front, which is one of the rebel groups. Its chief recently swore allegiance to Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri, who is generally regarded as having replaced Osama bin Laden as the head of Al Qaeda. USA Today reports the following….more

Banks ‘still leave small firms in the cold’ a year after the Government launched emergency scheme to help rescue them

Small businesses are being ‘left out in the cold’ nearly a year after the Government launched an emergency cash lifeline to rescue them, official figures revealed yesterday. On another dire day for Britain’s banks, the Bank of England warned net lending continues to drop sharply, down £300million between January and March. Net lending is the total amount handed out by banks, building societies and other lenders, minus the total amount repaid by their customers...more

China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom

BAGHDAD — Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day, and is angling for an even bigger share, bidding for a stake now owned by Exxon Mobil in one of Iraq’s largest oil fields.

“The Chinese are the biggest beneficiary of this post-Saddam oil boom in Iraq,” said Denise Natali, a Middle East expert at the National Defense University in Washington. “They need energy, and they want to get into the market.”

Before the invasion, Iraq’s oil industry was sputtering, largely walled off from world markets by international sanctions against the government of Saddam Hussein, so his overthrow always carried the promise of renewed access to the country’s immense reserves. Chinese state-owned companies seized the opportunity, pouring more than $2 billion a year and hundreds of workers into Iraq, and just as important, showing a willingness to play by the new Iraqi government’s rules and to accept lower profits to win contracts….more

**We have a suspicion that the only ones that will benefit are the oil companies. None of it will ever make it home & the cost of this “event” went from 50 billion to 2 trillion (on the low side)

Thanks To QE Bernanke Has Injected Foreign Banks With Over $1 Trillion In Cash For First Time Ever

Two years ago, Zero Hedge first made the observation that the bulk of Fed reserves (also known simply as “cash created out of thin air” because money is first and foremost fungible no matter what textbook theoreticians may claim, and the only cash allocation preference is the capital allocation IRR analysis) had been parked not with US banks, but with foreign banks with US-based operations. We followed that with more analyses, showing explicitly how the Fed was providing a constant cash injection to foreign banks courtesy of the rate on overnight reserves which is the amount Fed pays to banks that hold reserves with it, as the bulk of reserves continued to end up with foreign banks – a situation set to become a huge political storm some time in 2014-2015 when the IOER has to rise and the Fed is “found” to have injected tens of billions of “interest” not into US banks but in foreign banks operating in the US, and which then can upstream the “profits” to insolvent offshore domiciled holding companies….more

Iraq: Baghdad Car Bomb Attacks Kill ‘Over 50’

Baghdad car bomb attacks

A wave of bomb attacks in Shia neighbourhoods across Baghdad has killed more than 50 people. Iraqi officials said several parked cars packed with explosives detonated across the city, killing and wounding dozens. Reuters said over 50 people had died while the Associated Press put the day’s death toll at 57.  Police and hospital officials reported deadly explosions in the largely Shia neighbourhoods of Sabi al Boor, Bayaa, Kazimiyah, Sadria, and al Maalif, where six people were killed and 12 wounded when back-to-back blasts hit an open air market…more

10 Scenes From The Economic Collapse That Is Sweeping Across The Planet

When is the economic collapse going to happen?  Just open up your eyes and take a look around the globe.  The next wave of the economic collapse may not have reached Wall Street yet, but it is already deeply affecting billions of lives all over the planet.  Much of Europe has already descended into a deep economic depression, very disturbing economic data is coming out of the second and third largest economies on the globe (China and Japan), and in most of the world economic inequality is growing even though 80 percent of the global population already lives on less than $10 a day.  Just because the Dow has been setting brand new all-time records lately does not mean that everything is okay.  Remember, a bubble is always the biggest right before it bursts.  The next major wave of the economic collapse is already sweeping across Europe and Asia and it is going to devastate the United States as well.  I hope that you are ready...more

Jack Roberts: Is it time we limited presidents to one six-year term?

It’s been a rough week for the Obama administration. It started with new allegations by whistle-blowers at the State Department that top officials failed to respond in an honest and timely manner to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans were killed. Then there was the shocking admission by the IRS that two years ago they targeted conservative political groups, particularly those affiliated with the Tea Party, in order to challenge their tax-exempt status….more

Greece’s youth unemployment hits 60% as recession continues to cripple the country

Greek youth unemployment rose above 60 per cent for the first time in February, reflecting the pain caused by the country’s crippling recession after years of austerity under its international bailout. Greece’s jobless rate has almost tripled since the country’s debt crisis emerged in 2009 and was more than twice the euro zone’s average unemployment reading of 12.1 percent in March. While the overall unemployment rate rose to 27 per cent, according to statistics service data released on Thursday, joblessness among those aged between 15 and 24 jumped to 64.2 percent in February from 59.3 percent in January..more

China Moves Against the Dollar

The following video by Storm Clouds Gathering provides an excellent summary of continuing Chinese efforts to chip away at the US dollar. These include a recent trade agreement between China and Australia to use the yuan and Australian dollar – rather than the US dollar – in bilateral trade. China entered into a similar trade agreement with Russia in 2010 and with Japan in 2011. Another major concern for the Obama administration is recent massive Chinese gold purchases, which suggest they may intend to create a gold-backed currency to rival the US dollar….here

China challenges Japan’s ownership of Okinawa

Japan has lodged a diplomatic protest with China over an article in a state-run publication that challenged Japan’s ownership of Okinawa, home to major US bases, officials said today.

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, yesterday published a call for a review of Japan’s sovereignty over Okinawa, suggesting that Beijing may be the rightful owner.

The call came as the two countries are already at loggerheads over islands in the East China Sea.

“We have protested both in Tokyo and Beijing over the commentary issued by the People’s Daily, followed by a Chinese foreign ministry comment,” a Japanese foreign ministry official in charge of Chinese affairs said….more

Local Council Elections: UKIP Make Big Gains

The UK Independence Party has made huge electoral gains and declared itself the “official opposition” – largely at the expense of the Tories – as Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to win back Conservative voters who had defected.

With UKIP averaging 26% of the vote in county council polls, leader Nigel Farage said he was “astonished” by the party’s breakthrough, and put it down to what he described as the “total disconnect” between the “career politics” of Westminster and ordinary people on the streets.

“UKIP is actually speaking the language of millions of ordinary voters,” he told Sky News’ Boulton & Co programme.

Speaking in his Oxfordshire constituency, Mr Cameron said he would “work really hard” to win back voters who switched support.

The Conservative leader said all the mainstream political parties had “major lessons” to learn….more

US Military secrets leaked to Chinese hackeers for 3 years

A US military contractor was allegedly hacked by those associated with the Chinese military. The company reportedly ignored signs of security breaches, allowing hackers to access military technology and classified documents for three years.

QinetiQ North America was attacked by a Shanghai-based hacker group from 2007 to 2010, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The hacking collective has been coined the “Comment Crew” by security experts….more

Far-left protesters reject austerity on Hollande anniversary

PARIS, May 5 (Reuters) – Ten of thousands of far-left French protesters marched to denounce economic austerity on Sunday to mark the end of President Francois Hollande’s first year in office. The march, organised by the Left Front coalition, drew a range of left-wingers from greens to trade unionists to the symbolic venue of Bastille Square, site of a Paris prison that was stormed during the French Revolution of 1789.Turnout was estimated by organisers at 180,000 but by police at just 30,000. Although not massive, it highlighted fierce opposition on the left to the Socialist president’s market-friendly reforms, such as corporate tax breaks and the loosening of labour rules to make hiring and firing slightly easier….more

Syria: Attack on military facility was a ‘declaration of war’ by Israel

Damascus, Syria (CNN) — A series of massive explosions illuminated the dark sky over Damascus early Sunday, igniting renewed claims that Israel has launched attacks into the war-torn country.

A top Syrian official told CNN in an exclusive interview that the attack was a “declaration of war” by Israel. Syria’s government said the target was a military research facility outside Damascus.

Syrian authorities vowed to retaliate against Israel but did not specify what action they would take….more

Officials: Israel launches airstrike into Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — Israel launched an airstrike into Syria, apparently targeting a suspected weapons site, U.S. officials said Friday night.The strike occurred overnight Thursday into Friday, the officials told The Associated Press. It did not appear that a chemical weapons site was targeted, they said, and one official said the strike appeared to have hit a warehouse...more

Neil Macdonald: The illusion of growth

Mark Grant sits on the aft deck of his yacht in South Florida’s spring sun, ostentatiously relishing his wealth as only an American does, and dispensing advice. He’s made his money, and he likes to wear it.The surge in 'new money' on central bank balance sheets since 2008.

Grant’s personality is as big as his mansion and as flashy as his collection of exotic cars — he actually calls himself “The Wizard,” a tribute to his own financial acumen….more

Spain’s economy shrinks for seventh straight quarter

(Reuters) – Spain fell deeper into recession in the first three months of the year, the seventh straight quarter it has seen its economy shrink, data showed on Tuesday.

Rising exports and weaker imports, reported separately, provided some relief by cutting the trade deficit.

The data showing further contraction will add to a Europe-wide debate about whether countries should tone down austerity programs intended to cut debt in favor of more growth-focused policies, particularly given concern about rising unemployment…..more

Afghan president confirms he received tens of millions of dollars from the CIA in suitcases and sacks ‘for access to Karzai’s inner circle’

Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed today that his national security team had been receiving payments from the U.S. government for the past 10 years. Karzai revealed the payments when he was asked about a story published in The New York Times. The article said the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags in return for access to his inner circle. The cash payments are the first known to be given directly to President Karzai…Read more

Everything is Rigged: The Biggest Financial Scandal Yet

Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.[Image]

You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments. When that sprawling con burst into public view last year, it was easily the biggest financial scandal in history – MIT professor Andrew Lo even said it “dwarfs by orders of magnitude any financial scam in the history of markets.”

That was bad enough, but now Libor may have a twin brother. Word has leaked out that the London-based firm ICAP, the world’s largest broker of interest-rate swaps, is being investigated by American authorities for behavior that sounds eerily reminiscent of the Libor mess. Regulators are looking into whether or not a small group of brokers at ICAP may have worked with up to 15 of the world’s largest banks to manipulate ISDAfix, a benchmark number used around the world to calculate the prices of interest-rate swaps.

Interest-rate swaps are a tool used by big cities, major corporations and sovereign governments to manage their debt, and the scale of their use is almost unimaginably massive. It’s about a $379 trillion market, meaning that any manipulation would affect a pile of assets about 100 times the size of the United States federal budget.

It should surprise no one that among the players implicated in this scheme to fix the prices of interest-rate swaps are the same megabanks – including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and the Royal Bank of Scotland – that serve on the Libor panel that sets global interest rates….more

Spanish unemployment rate at record 27.16%

Spain’s unemployment rate soared to a new record of 27.16 percent of the workforce in the first quarter of 2013 as the number of those without jobs surpassed six million, official data showed on Thursday. The unemployment rate jumped from 26.02 percent in the previous quarter. The number of unemployed climbed by 237,400 people to 6.2 million, the National Statistics Institute said. Spain, once the motor of job creation in the 17-nation eurozone, is in a double dip recession, having yet to recover from the collapse in 2008 of a labour-intensive property boom in 2008 which had allowed economic growth to outpace the European union’s for more than a decade.  The Spanish economy, the eurozone’s fourth biggest, contracted by 1.37 percent last year, the second worst yearly slump since 1970, and the government forecasts it will shrink again by between 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent this year. Spain’s jobless rate fell to an almost 30-year low of 7.95 percent in the second quarter of 2007 at the peak of an economic boom that allowed the country to create more than half the new jobs in the euro zone between 2002 and 2005….more

IMF, ECB square off in Europe austerity debate

(Reuters) – A heated debate about Europe’s austerity drive flared back into life on Thursday with leading IMF and European Central Bank officials sharply at odds and Angela Merkel declaring that Germany required higher interest rates.

With the threat of the currency bloc’s break-up receding, some euro zone officials are saying now is the time to throttle back on debt-cutting drives because calmer financial markets will not react badly.

The International Monetary Fund is also pushing that prescription – for both the euro zone and Britain – but Germany and the ECB are opposed….more