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Economic Storm Trump Will be Blamed For Because of Bad Advisers

Economic Storm Trump Will be Blamed For Because of Bad Advisers 

There is a very Dark Cloud hovering over the world economy and at the center of this cloud lies not just Europe, but Germany – the strongest economy holding up all of Europe. The German manufacturing sector is in freefall. Trump will be blamed calling this the result of his Trade War. It is probably too late to get him to even understand that his advisers are old-school and completely wrong with respect to trade. Their obsession with currency movements is what they taught back in school during the 1930s. My advice to China, let the yuan float and Trump will quickly see that China has been supporting its currency, not suppressing it.

Manufacturing indicators have deteriorated globally, yet in a very disproportionate manner. Trump will be blamed for this and his badgering the Fed to lower interest rates is also a fool’s game. Nobody looks at the elderly who were told to save for retirement and you will live off the interest. Their house values were undermined in the 2007-2009 New York Banker’s Mortgage-Backed scam that blew up the world economy from which we have been unable to fully recover. The younger generation cannot afford to buy a house as they are saddled with student loans thanks to the Clintons for degrees that are worthless as 65% cannot find jobs in what they have degrees for these days.

The insanity of those in power knows no boundary when it comes to stupidity around the world. All they have is interest rates and after more than 10 years of excessively low to negative interest rates failing to stimulate the economy in Europe, what do they do? They argue that all physical money must be eliminated because people are hoarding cash and thus defeat their lower interest rates policy.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Human Activity Caused Latest European Heat Wave, Scientists Say

Human Activity Caused Latest European Heat Wave, Scientists Say

The latest heat wave that crippled Paris with 109 degree Fahrenheit heat and saw the mercury hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the Netherlands and Belgium was caused by humans, according to a new studypublished on Friday, as the Associated Press reported. 

The rapid attribution study by a team of respected climate scientists from the international partnership at the World Weather Attribution Group found that the heat wave in France was made 10 to 100 more times more likely by human activity. And, the heat wave that had Great Britain sweltering was made twice as likely by human activity, according to the BBC.

“It is noteworthy that every heat wave analyzed so far in Europe in recent years (2003, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2018, June 2019, and this study) was found to be made much more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change. How much more depends very strongly on the event definition: location, season, intensity, and durations,” the World Weather Attribution Group’s report explained, as Common Dreams reported. “The July 2019 heat wave was so extreme over continental Western Europe that the observed magnitudes would have been extremely unlikely without climate change.”

The group published this report, just one month after studying another European heat wave. The back-to-back heat waves are unusual and jarring. The report’s lead author sounded the alarm that this latest heat wave is a foreboding omen of what is coming down the pike.

“What will be the impacts on agriculture? What will the impacts on water?” said Robert Vautard of the Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace in France, as the AP reported. “This will put really tension in society that we may not be so well equipped to cope with.”

The record-setting temperatures in France and Germany smashed the previous highs by more than 2 degrees Celsius. The study concluded that without temperature rises due to the human-induced climate crisis, temperatures would have been 1.5 to 3 degrees Celsius lower, according to the AP.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Latest Weapon of US Imperialism: Liquified Natural Gas

Latest Weapon of US Imperialism: Liquified Natural Gas 

One of the most important energy battles of the future will be fought in the field of liquid natural gas (LNG). Suggested as one of the main solutions to pollution, LNG offers the possibility of still managing to meet a country’s industrial needs while ameliorating environmental concerns caused by other energy sources. At the same time, a little like the US dollar, LNG is becoming a tool Washington intends to use against Moscow at the expense of Washington’s European allies.

To understand the rise of LNG in global strategies, it is wise to look at a graph (page 7) produced by the International Gas Union (IGU) where the following four key indicators are highlighted: global regasification capacities; total volumes of LNG exchanged; exporting countries; and importing countries.

From 1990 to today, the world has grown from 220 million tons per annum (MTPA) to around 850 MTPA of regasification capacity. The volume of trade increased from 20-30 MTPA to around 300 MTPA. Likewise, the number of LNG-importing countries has increased from just over a dozen to almost 40 over the course of 15 years, while the number of producers has remained almost unchanged, except for a few exceptions like the US entering the LNG market in 2016.

There are two methods used to transport gas. The first is through pipelines, which reduce costs and facilitate interconnection between countries, an important example of this being seen in Europe’s importation of gas. The four main pipelines for Europe come from four distinct geographical regions: the Middle East, Africa, Northern Europe and Russia.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Spain Battles Self-Combusting Manure As “Heat-Wave From Hell” Torments Europe

Spain Battles Self-Combusting Manure As “Heat-Wave From Hell” Torments Europe

Update (1240ET): Temperatures were even hotter than expected across Europe today and, as Accuweather reportsthe extreme heat wave is suspected of killing several people as it set an all-time high in France.

The highest temperature ever measured across France in the entirety of record keeping was set on Friday afternoon. Temperatures soared to 45.8 C (114.4 F) at Gallargues-le-Montueux in southeastern France, exceeding the nation’s previous all-time record high of 44.1 C (111.4 F) at Conqueyrac on Aug. 12, 2003.

In neighboring Spain, the heat has been blamed on the deaths of several elderly people as hundreds of firefighters are battling a major wildfire near Tarragona in northeastern Spain. About 10,000 acres of forest and vegetation are being threatened by the blaze, which has been described by regional government officials as one of the worst in 20 years. More than 50 people have been evacuated.

CNN reports that the fire may have been started by an “improperly managed” pile of manure that self-combusted, similar to the threat that wet hay bales pose.

Sadly, Europeans will have to wait until Monday for the start of any relief…

*  *  *

Record-breaking heat scorches central Europe as many braced Thursday for temperatures above 100 F.

Wednesday was one of the most sizzling days on record across Europe with average June temperatures and all-time temperature records broken, reported AccuWeather.

Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic recorded its highest temperatures ever during June.

Temperatures were 100.8 F at Radzyń, Poland, on Wednesday, while Coschen station (Berlin-Brandenburg) printed 101.5 F in Germany. However, temperatures in Germany didn’t surpass the 104.5 F all-time high, set in Kitzingen on August 2015.

Czech Republic, Doksany recorded 102 F, hitting an all-time high for the country that was previously set at 100.8 F at Brno-Žabovřesky in June 2000.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Europe Gives Up On Sound Money, Prepares To Join The Currency War

Europe Gives Up On Sound Money, Prepares To Join The Currency War

Not so long ago, Europe seemed to have its financial house more-or-less in order. German government spending was actually falling. Industries that had been nationalized in the socialist 70s were being privatized. The European Central Bank – run by sound money advocate Jean-Claude Trichet – was smarter and more cautious than the incoherently rambunctious Bernanke Fed. The euro, for a while, was actually preferred by many over the dollar. 

Then – gradually at first and now very quickly – everything went sideways.

Mario Draghi took over for Trichet at the ECB and promised to do “whatever it takes” to generate at least 2% inflation. Then he proceeded to deliver on that promise with massive asset purchases and negative interest rates. 

Inequality – which, we’re now coming to realize – is fed by low interest rates and easy money, rose to near-US proportions. Immigration was mishandled to the point that it became THE political issue. And populist parties opposed to the existing system attracted enough votes to rattle the mainstream parties. 

The entrenched political/financial class, shocked by the unwashed masses’ effrontery, are now responding exactly as you’d expect, with massive increases in social spending, promises of even easier money (Draghi actually claimed that there was “plenty of headroom” to cut rates from the current -0.4%) and, well, whatever else it takes to stay in power.

Here, for instance, is Germany’s government spending. Note the uptrend now that the Greens are contenders:

German government spending Europe currency war

From today’s Wall Street Journal

To win voters lost to an anti-globalization backlash, Europe’s mainstream parties are going back to the 1970s.

In Germany, the U.K, Denmark, France and Spain, these parties are aiming to reverse decades of pro-market policy and promising greater state control of business and the economy, more welfare benefits, bigger pensions and higher taxes for corporations and the wealthy. Some have discussed nationalizations and expropriations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Hell Is Coming” Dangerous Heatwave Strikes Europe

“Hell Is Coming” Dangerous Heatwave Strikes Europe

Most of Europe will be blanketed by an oppressive heatwave as the continent suffers unreasonable warmth this week, with officials across the European Union announcing severe warnings against dehydration and heatstroke. The heat wave will be centered from Spain into France and Germany.

AccuWeather said a storm stalling over the Atlantic Ocean and high pressure over central and eastern Europe will push hot desert air from Africa northward across Europe. This setup has triggered dangerous heat wave warnings across western and central Europe for the remainder of the week.

From Madrid to Paris, Belgium, Frankfurt, and Berlin, these metropolitan areas are likely to see a multi-day heat wave, with daily temperatures around 90F-100F.

Overweight Positions in the Pound Are Way Forward on Brexit, Says Legal & General’s Jeffery

High humidity in some areas could make it feel like 116F, experts warned. “El infierno [hell] is coming,” tweeted meteorologist Silvia Laplana in Spain.

Embedded video

El infierno is coming.

Officials in France have set up “cool rooms” in government buildings, opened community pools for extended hours, and installed water fountains across the city to prepare for the heat wave this week, reported The Guardian.

“I’m worried about people who are downplaying this, who are continuing to exercise as usual or stay out in the sun,” the health minister, Agnès Buzyn, said. “This affects all of us, nobody is a superman when it comes to dealing with the extreme heat we’re going to see on Thursday and Friday,” she told a press conference.

Emmanuel Demaël of Météo-France said the heat wave is so unprecedented that “we haven’t seen this since 1947.”

Record monthly and all-time highs are likely to be set across France this week, Demaël said, and overnight temperatures could stay above 70F.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

No, Rate Cuts Were Not Discussed: ECB Insiders Out Draghi as Fabricator & Schemer, and Talk to Reuters

No, Rate Cuts Were Not Discussed: ECB Insiders Out Draghi as Fabricator & Schemer, and Talk to Reuters

Draghi’s shenanigans get hilarious, months before his term ends.

So here’s ECB President Mario Draghi, whose term ends in October, and he’s at the ECB Forum in Portugal, and in a speech on Tuesday titled innocuously, “Twenty Years of the ECB’s monetary policy” – so this wasn’t a press conference after an ECB policy meeting or anything, but a speech on history at an ECB Forum – he suddenly threw out a whole bunch of stuff…

How, “in the absence of improvement” of inflation, “additional stimulus will be required,” in form of “further cuts in policy interest rates” and additional bond purchases, and how “in the coming weeks, the Governing Council will deliberate how our instruments can be adapted commensurate to the severity of the risk to price stability,” and that “all these options were raised and discussed at our last meeting.”

Whoa! Wait a minute, said the good folks who were part of the ECB’s June meeting. These options were not discussed, they told Reuters on Tuesday.

Draghi had ventured out there on his own – apparently trying to push his colleagues into a corner single-handedly as his last hurrah.

His vision laid out on Tuesday was quite a change from the June 6 post-meeting announcement, which didn’t mention anything about even discussing rate cuts. It said that the ECB expects its policy rates to “remain at their present levels at least through the first half of 2020,” before the ECB would begin to raise them, with the bias still on raising rates, not cutting rates. That was less than two weeks ago, and there had not been another ECB policy meeting since then.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“The Countdown Has Begun:” Iran Warns It Will Breach Uranium Stockpile Limits In 10 Days

“The Countdown Has Begun:” Iran Warns It Will Breach Uranium Stockpile Limits In 10 Days 

Iran certainly isn’t planning on backing down in the face of Washington’s accusations about the country’s role in last week’s tanker bombings, and as a result, the possibility of a boots-on-the-ground military conflict in the Islamic Republic cannot yet be ruled out. Making an already tense situation infinitely more precarious, Iran on Monday reminded the world that it’s preparing to violate the terms of the Iran deal during the next ten days.

Iran

By increasing its stockpiles of enriched uranium, Iran is bound to elicit accusations that it’s once again working on a nuclear bomb. Tehran has always maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but American neocons like John Bolton have warned that this was merely a ruse, and that Iran could target American allies like Israel with a missile.

The Iranian government announced on Monday that it was set to breach the cap on enriched uranium, unless Europe finds a way to trade with Iran, or otherwise fulfill its financial obligations made under the deal.

European officials have been somewhat more skeptical of Iran’s role in last week’s tanker attacks, though many have acknowledged that if this were to be true, it could seriously complicate efforts to preserve the nuclear deal. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who visited Tehran last week, said Germany is still looking at evidence on whether Iran was responsible for last week’s attacks. Meanwhile, the UK has decided to deploy 100 Elite Royal Marines to the region to serve as a “rapid reaction force” to protect British assets.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for the Iranian atomic energy agency, said Iran has “already increased” uranium production at a nuclear research site in Natanz in the central Isfahan province, according to RT.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Europe Will Not Be Europe”

“Europe Will Not Be Europe”

  • In the United Kingdom, the Brexit Party victory at 31.6% of the vote was a remarkable achievement that showed the persistent willingness of millions of Britons to leave the European Union. The “populist” positions — the defense of national sovereignty and European civilization, refusal of uncontrolled immigration and diktats of Brussels technocrats — have gained ground.
  • The parties that have ruled Europe for decades obtained weak results, but, with rare exceptions, did not collapse — and will continue to dominate the European Union.
  • The Greens may gain more influence – along with its consequences. To anyone who read the Greens’ programs, it is evident that they are essentially leftists with an environmental green mask. They support unrestricted immigration and multiculturalism. They are…resolutely hostile to any defense of Western civilization, to free enterprise and free markets. They are often in favor of zero growth. Most of them support an apocalyptic vision of climate change and say that the survival of humanity will be at stake around the corner if Europe does not take drastic measures to “save the planet”. All of them are in favor of authoritarian decisions imposed from Brussels to all of Europe.
  • A European parliament placed under the influence of the Greens will almost certainly accelerate the slide towards more power given to the unelected members of the European Commission, and a phasing out of nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Policies favorable to still more immigration already are in preparation.

On the evening of May 26, Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini commented on the results of the European elections, “A new Europe is born.” The party he leads, the League, had just won with 34.3% of the vote. Other parties defined in Europe as “populist” also won: in Hungary, the Fidesz-KDNP alliance (Hungarian Civic Alliance and the Christian Democratic People’s Party) received 52.3% of the vote.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Center Isn’t Holding in Europe

The Center Isn’t Holding in Europe 

If there is one big takeaway from the recent European Parliamentary elections it is that centrist parties which stand for nothing in particular represent a lot fewer people. From both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ the center lost ground across Europe.

The Euroskeptics got a lot of press in the run up to these elections and the final result was pretty much in line with expectations, with a couple of exceptions. The pro-EU left lost a lot more ground in Sweden than expected but the Dutch People’s Party were rejected thoroughly in the Netherlands.

Otherwise the polls were mostly in line with the results. And while the early spin tried to put a brave face on results in the U.K. and France Marine Le Pen outpolling sitting president Emmanuel Macron just two years after he beat her in the presidential election is notable.

The results in the U.K. were a microcosm of the trends we’re seeing across Europe. The major parties, both campaigning from the center, lost the confidence of the people on both sides of the divisive Brexit argument.

Those that want Brexit in no uncertain terms bolted to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party while those fed up with Labour’s indecision on not only Brexit but a host of other issues bolted for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

And a lot of those seats that would have went to the Social Democrats via Labour in the European Parliament now belong to Guy Verhofstadt and ALDE.

But the U.K. isn’t alone in this splitting along ideological lines. Germany has seen the collapse of the Social Democrats give spark to the Greens there as well. The Greens outpolled Angela Merkel’s Grand Coalition partners by more than five points, coming in 2nd behind the CDU/CSU with 20.5%.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Threatens Europe With “Loss Of Access To US Financial System” Over SWIFT-Evading Iran SPV

US Threatens Europe With “Loss Of Access To US Financial System” Over SWIFT-Evading Iran SPV

It’s going from bad to worse for Europe, whose currency had just hit session lows after Brussels confirmed that Italy faces a massive fine over its debt, when the Euro was hit with a double whammy after Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration is escalating its battle with “European allies” over the fate of the Iran nuclear accord, and is “threatening penalties against the financial body created by Germany, the U.K. and France to shield trade with the Islamic Republic from U.S. sanctions.

According to Bloomberg, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, sent a letter on May 7 warning that Instex, the European SPV to sustain trade with Tehran, and anyone associated with it could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect.

As a reminder, last September, in order to maintain a financial relationship with Iran that can not be vetoed by the US, Europe unveiled a “Special Purpose Vehicle” to bypass SWIFT. Back then we predicted that Washington would not be too delighted with this development seeking to undermine the dollar’s reserve status. We were right.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

“I urge you to carefully consider the potential sanctions exposure of Instex,” Mandelker wrote in the letter to Instex President Per Fischer. “Engaging in activities that run afoul of U.S. sanctions can result in severe consequences, including a loss of access to the U.S. financial system.”

Germany, France and the U.K. finalized the Instex system in January, allowing companies to trade with Iran without the use of U.S. dollars or American banks, allowing them to get around wide-ranging U.S. sanctions that were imposed after the Trump administration abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trust is On Trial in Europe and the World

Trust is On Trial in Europe and the World

“It seems that if there was any truth to our language, ‘trust’ would be a four-letter word.”

Joel – “Risky Business”

Trust is the most important aspect of human endeavor. Without trust there can be no interaction. No communication.

No friendship. No love.

No Commerce.

The key to understanding economics is understanding people. The basis for all human interaction is the basic trust that a trade once completed will be honored.

The global economy runs solely on trust. Without the trust that contracts signed today can be fulfilled tomorrow and disputes settled with a reasonable degree of amity, there can be no iPhones.

No Amazon.

No oil.

When politics become toxic, when the sides refuse to cooperate on the very basic functions of government, uncertainty reigns. And uncertainty filters down to the people getting up everyday, going to work and providing a home for themselves and their families.

It’s like that great scene in the classic movie “Trading Places” where Eddie Murphy talks about the guy who’s worried he won’t be able to buy his kid that “G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu Grip” for Christmas.

That guy was the barometer for the market. That guy knew something about trust.

I had one of those G.I. Joe’s as a kid. My dad rarely let me down in supplying the most important things on my Christmas list.

It’s part of the reason why I loved him and trusted him completely. He was very human, but he kept his promises and I always knew where the boundaries were.

He and mom did what they could without making promises they couldn’t keep.

That example, despite the heartbreaks and the setbacks, shaped my approach to being a husband and a father. I don’t make promises to my daughter or my wife I can’t keep.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tainted Russian Oil Crisis May Drag On For Months

Tainted Russian Oil Crisis May Drag On For Months

Crude Oil

It’s been a month since Russian oil flows through the Druzhba pipeline were suspended due to contamination, and despite Russia’s assurances that clean oil will resume flowing through the pipeline westward to Europe in the second half of May, analysts and traders say the progress is very slow while costs could be very high.

Last month, Russia halted supplies via the Druzhba oil pipeline to several European countries due to a contamination issue, which the Russians say was deliberate

Refineries in Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany have been impacted by the contamination issue as clean Russian oil is not flowing normally yet, while Western refiners and Russian companies are in a dispute over who’s paying for the clean-up and when.

Western oil traders tell Bloomberg’s Javier Blas that the contamination issue and the subsequent clean-up, blending of dirty oil, and restart of normal deliveries via the pipeline will be much costlier than initial estimates and could take much longer than anticipated.

The cost could be as high as US$1 billion, according to traders and executives at refiners in Moscow, Geneva, and London, who spoke to Bloomberg. Traders also believe that the contaminated oil volume could be as high as 40 million barrels, double the 20 million barrels that Russian officials are claiming

Earlier this week, Russia said that it is already sending clean within-standards crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline toward Hungary and Slovakia, with first clean oil expected to arrive at the metering stations in those countries within a week.

A spokeswoman for Czech pipeline operator Mero told Reuters on Friday that clean Russian oil via the pipeline is expected to reach the Czech Republic on Monday afternoon. Russian oil reached Slovakia on Wednesday evening.

The now month-long suspension of Russian oil supply to several European countries comes as global supply outages mount with Venezuela and Iran, and with increasing supply disruption risks in Libya and the Middle East.  

Sanctions or Sucking Up? US Grovels in Ukraine

Sanctions or Sucking Up? US Grovels in Ukraine 

The US sent Energy Secretary Rick Perry to the inauguration of the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to announce the sanctions bill on Gazprom’s Nordstream 2 pipeline would pass.

I can’t tell what’s more pathetic at this point, the neocons in Trump’s administration thinking that sanctions actually achieve their goals or using them to suck up to a new president they don’t actively control yet.

Think about this. Perry goes to Kiev for nothing more than a photo op to assure Zelenskiy that the US won’t abandon the struggle stick it to the Russians. He does this with no sense of shame or irony after spending five years destroying Ukraine with an ill-advised coup which ushered in the chaos that brought Zelenskiy to power.

The hypocrisy of it all is stunning.

Outgoing US puppet Petro Poroshenko was such a disaster that Ukrainians voted 3 to 1 to get rid of him in favor of a political neophyte and television comic.

That’s how badly the US has mismanaged Ukrainian post-coup affairs. And the Russians are supposed to be the bad guys in this scenario?

And now Perry is going to virtue signal that the US will sanction Nordstream 2 to keep their access to Ukraine’s highest office? Zelenskiy may be a neophyte but he’s not stupid either.

The US’s opposition to Nordstream 2 is mainly for its own purposes. Just like its interest in Ukraine is purely selfish. President Trump wants the gas volumes slated for Nordstream 2 to go to US LNG exporters first. Ukraine isn’t all that important in the end to him.

Stopping Nordstream 2 is supposed to do two things. Force Russia to the bargaining table with Naftogaz, the Ukrainian state gas transit company, and cut a new deal since the old one is expiring at the end of this year.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will The U.S. Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

Will The U.S. Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

Nord Stream 2

There is a growing push in the U.S. Congress to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The pipeline under construction would carry Russian natural gas to Germany, and has been a lightning rod of controversy both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Many governments and officials from Eastern Europe fear deeper dependence on Russia for gas supplies, a sentiment echoed by the U.S. government. Meanwhile, many in Western Europe are less concerned, viewing Russia as a rather reliable low-cost supplier of gas.

The U.S. has long tried to pry away Europe from Russia for geopolitical ends, and Nord Stream 2 is merely the latest chapter in this Cold War-era calculus. But, increasingly, the pipeline has commercial implications for the United States. The U.S. has become a major exporter of LNG, a position that will only grow over time with several gas export terminals along the Gulf Coast. The flood of shale gas is finding its way around the world.

At first, when U.S. LNG exports began in 2016, shipments were going to a smattering of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Soon, top importers included South Korea, Japan and China. Only a handful of countries in Europe have imported U.S. LNG in any significant way.

But that is starting to change with more U.S. shipments arriving in European ports. U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has likened U.S. gas to American soldiers liberating Europe from the Nazis. “The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent,” he told reporters in Brussels earlier this month. “And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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