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“The Dollar Is Becoming Toxic” – Russian Intel Chief Slams “Aggressive, Unpredictable” US Behavior

With the latest TIC data showing China following Russia’s lead and reducing its US Treasury exposure (to two-year lows), as it increases its gold reserves (for six straight months), the unipolar US hegemon faces an ugly trend among the ‘rest of the world’ attempting to de-dollarize, as Sergey Naryshkin,  director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, calls the US dollar is an anachronism of the modern world economy.

Countries across the globe, including Russia, China, India, and others, have been working to diversify their foreign reserves away from the greenback.

Kyle Bass Sees Hong Kong Politics ‘Speeding Up’ Pressure on Dollar Peg

And, as RT reports, the head of the Russian intelligence service has now voiced those concerns clearly – that the use of the dollar presents risks and more nations are looking into finding alternative tools for doing business.

“It seems abnormal that the United States, behaving so aggressively and unpredictably, continues to be the holder of the main reserve currency.”

“Due to the objective strengthening of multipolarity, the monopoly position of the dollar in international economic relations becomes anachronistic. Gradually, the dollar is becoming toxic.

And it’s not just talk, as RT notesRussia has taken concrete steps towards de-dollarizing the economy. So far, Moscow has managed to partially phase out the dollar from its exports, signing currency-swap agreements with a number of countries, including China, India, and Iran. Russia has recently proposed using the euro instead of the US dollar in trade with the European Union.

This comes on the heels of Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad proposing a gold-backed currency as a unit of account for trade between East Asian nations.

Infinite growth on a finite planet, what could possibly go wrong?

Evacuations Ordered As Japan Issues Tsunami Alert After Large Offshore Quake

Evacuations Ordered As Japan Issues Tsunami Alert After Large Offshore Quake

large magnitude 6.8 quake has struck off the northwestern coast of Japan. Kyodo news reports that authorities have issued a tsunami alert…

The quake hit at 22:22: 20 Japan time.

NHK reports than people working at ports on the northwest coast of Japan should evacuate, as tsunami warnings for waves as high as 1m are issued.

Additionally, NHK reports that there are no concerns over the nuclear reactors in Kashiwazaki.

Developing…

“This Has Never Happened Before”: Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay

“This Has Never Happened Before”: Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay

Millions of people and entire cities descended into darkness as a massive, unprecedented power failure kept Argentina and Uruguay in the dark on Sunday morning, the same day as provincial elections were to be held in parts of Argentina. Parts of Brazil and Paraguay also were affected, according to the BBC.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Ahora en Boedo se ve como CABA está sin luz, aún no hay información oficiall de @OficialEdesur . Estoy esperando al medicio a domicilio por mi hija de 2 años con 39 de fiebre. Vivo en un 9° piso. #SINLUZ #APAGON

According to Buenos Aires-based electricity supplier company Edesur, Argentina suffered a “nationwide” blackout, which also affected neighboring Uruguay, said the company’s spokesperson, Alejandra Martinez, adding that “Something like this has never happened before.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Replying to @carlosrsucho @OficialEdesur

Absolutamente todo sin luz!!! Increíble

The company had earlier explained that the massive power outage happened due to a failure in the electrical interconnection system. The blackout itself started at 7:07am local time on Sunday, according to Argentinian officials.

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

Meet “Gekko”: The Robot Bond Trader Being Developed By Quant Funds

Meet “Gekko”: The Robot Bond Trader Being Developed By Quant Funds

We pointed out earlier this year that “factor based” quant funds were having difficulty finding strategies to beat the market – especially now that all quant funds are doing the same thing. But now, the computer scientists at Cantab Capital, based out of Cambridge, have taken on another challenge: trying to create the next “bond king” out of algorithms and data, according to FT.

The company’s computer scientists have backgrounds in astrophysics and molecular biology and are trying to write programs that “surf the undulations” of the bond market in order to copy the best features from human traders, while leaving their frailties behind.

Anthony Lawler, co-head of GAM Systematic, the arm of the Swiss asset manager that owns Cantab said: “An active credit trader is ‘feeling the tape’. We want our models to replicate that behaviour.”



This is now the new world of bond investing, formerly an old-school industry that, for decades, had been limited to wealthy fund managers in places like London and New York. The rarely anointed title of “bond king” – usually used by the media – was reserved for traders like Bill Gross and Jeff Gundlach in the past. It’s now being sought after by computers.

Rare Fund Freeze Attracts Scrutiny of U.K. Regulators

Paul Kamenski, co-head of credit at Man Group’s Numeric unit said: “This feels like the early days of the ‘quant’ equity industry. A lot of the research is in the early stage but the pace of advancement is likely to be faster. There’s a realisation that this is an untapped market.”

Man Numeric launched a bond platform late last year that was initially focused on US junk bonds. Now, it plans on expanding into investment grade corporate debt.

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

“Treason!” NYT Story Reveals US Cyber Ops Against Russian Power Grid Hidden From Trump

“Treason!” NYT Story Reveals US Cyber Ops Against Russian Power Grid Hidden From Trump

President Trump has hurled the dire charge of “Treason” at the New York Times for its lengthy investigative piece alleging US intelligence has stepped up systematic cyber attacks on Russia’s power grid. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…” Trump tweeted Saturday evening in response to the story which ran hours earlier. 

He then hastily added in a follow-up tweet in all caps, “ALSO, NOT TRUE!” — as if only then realizing his initial tweet seemed to actually vouch for the story. The follow-up further excoriated the Times for their reporting with “not even the slightest thought of consequence!”

Whether this means the president is outraged that a true and verified report could be detrimental to US credibility and national security, or that fake news could hurt the US and invite unnecessary cyber retaliation is still not fully evident, but Trump’s impulsive Saturday evening tweets appear to back the former. 

 · 12h

Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…..

…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

And the Times was quick to respond to the “treason” charge as follows:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Replying to @realDonaldTrump

Accusing the press of treason is dangerous.
We described the article to the government before publication. As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns. https://nyti.ms/2FdpKV1

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

Goldman: Here’s Why The Fed Is About To Shock The Market

Goldman: Here’s Why The Fed Is About To Shock The Market

As discussed earlier, and as both Bank of America and JPM explained, the biggest risk for the market next week is if the Fed not only doesn’t cut – the market assigns a very low probability to such a “pre-emptive” move – but fails to signal an aggressive dovish reversal in the form of a rate cut in July. And yet, despite its upbeat outlook – it still expects the S&P to close the year at 3,000, Goldman’s strategists are certainly taking the over on how hawkish the Fed will sound next week.

As Goldman’s chief economist Jan Hatzius writes, the bank expects “unchanged” policy at the June 18-19 FOMC meeting and sees the subjective odds of a June cut at only 10%. More importantly, while Goldman looks for a dovish tilt to the proceedings it won’t be nearly enough to appease markets that have aggressively priced rate cuts in the fall. 

Barring an unlikely surprise on the funds rate, we expect the market to focus on four key developments:

  1. the statement’s policy stance/balance of risks paragraph,
  2. the number of participants projecting cuts in the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP),
  3. the extent of dovish changes to the statement and economic forecasts, and
  4. the tone of Powell’s press conference.

Rather than Goldman’s standard “Then and Now” table, the chart below “plots the setup for next week’s meeting across three dimensions, as well as their averages ahead of three major dovish shifts: September 2007 (at which the Fed abandoned the hiking bias and cut 50bps in response to subprime turmoil), September 2010 (formally signaled QE2), and March 2016 (scuttled the hiking cycle until global risks abated). Here, Hatzius also shows the three-month evolution of these four variables: stock prices, IG credit spreads, and consensus GDP growth.

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

Japanese Tanker Owner Denies Ship Hit By Mine, Says Crew Saw “Flying Objects” Before Attack

Japanese Tanker Owner Denies Ship Hit By Mine, Says Crew Saw “Flying Objects” Before Attack

For a moment on Thursday, it appeared that the US Navy had produced the ‘smoking gun’ to which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had alluded during his statement from earlier in the day: CENTCOM footage which the Navy said purported to show Iran’s IRGC ‘caught in the act’ of trying to remove an unexploded  mine from the Kokuka Courageous, one of the two tankers damaged in Thursday’s attacks.

CENTCOM said the video it released showed the IRGC removing an unexploded limpet mine from the side of one of the tankers, suggesting Tehran had sought to remove evidence from the scene.

Embedded video

Just in: Pentagon video of what it says is an Iranian boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

After the video’s release, Iran continued to deny any involvement in the attacks. And perhaps now we know why. 

Because in comments that cast the entire narrative promulgated by the US in doubt, Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the Kokuka Courageous, said Friday that he doesn’t completely believe Washington’s version of events.

Instead, he said he believes the vessel wasn’t damaged by a mine, but by some kind of projectile, like, say, a torpedo. He called reports of a mine attack “false.” One reason is because a mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level, like what was seen with the Courageous. 

“A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level,” said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. “We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship,” he said.

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

New Report Shows Plane-Sized Drones Are Coming To Skies Across America

New Report Shows Plane-Sized Drones Are Coming To Skies Across America

Can you imagine? Plane sized autonomous delivery vehicles zooming above major metropolitan areas delivering goods that could radically transform the cargo industry.

According to The Verge, delivery drones are being pilot tested across the country. In the last 5.5 months, Amazon has announced plans to deliver packages, Alphabet’s Wing received FAA approval for deliveries, and UPS has been testing its medical drone delivery service in Northern Virginia.

Instead of sending truckloads of goods on congested highways, cargo drones can seamlessly fly between distribution centers and businesses, reducing their carbon footprint but also cutting down delivery time significantly.

The Verge noted that cargo drones are “coming in all shapes and sizes.”

Last month, Boeing completed the first outdoor flight tests of the cargo air vehicle (CAV). The CAV is designed to carry a payload up to 500 pounds.

Sabrewing, a startup in Camarillo, Calif., is developing a prototype cargo-carrying drone that’s due to begin test flights in 2020. The drone can fly 180 knots (207 miles per hour) with a cruising altitude of 22,000-feet.

Cargo drone startup Natilus is working on a 30-foot drone that’s about the size and weight of a General Atomics’ MQ-1 Predator.

Sichuan Tengden Technology, a Bejing based Chinese startup company, is developing a cargo drone that can haul 20 tons of cargo.

Each of these companies is developing a long-range cargo drone, hoping they can be the first to soar through the skies.

Natilus, Sichuan Tengden Technology, and Elroy Air are expected to be operational by next year.

Elroy Air’s autonomous Chaparral system is expected to partner with FedEx, DHL, and UPS for package deliveries. According to David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air, building cargo drones at this scale has been an enormous investment, but it’ll likely pay off in the coming years.

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

UK Signs DOJ Request To Extradite Assange; Lengthy Legal Battle To Ensue

UK Signs DOJ Request To Extradite Assange; Lengthy Legal Battle To Ensue

Early on Thursday UK home secretary Sajid Javid revealed that he has signed a US extradition request for Julian Assange, putting the WikiLeaks founder a step closer to facing prosecution for espionage and hacking on American soil, where he’s almost assured life in prison or worse after the US justice department filed 17 new charges against him following the initial May count of conspiring with Chelsea Manning (totaling 18 counts).

But first a lengthy legal battle will likely ensue while he’s held at London’s maximum security Belmarsh prison on skipping bail. The extradition order, which was expected, is the first step in the process. The home secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today on Thursday:

He’s rightly behind bars. There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow.

Among the 18 US counts include charges under the Espionage Act, which could potentially bring the death penalty; however, Assange’s lawyers can use the potential for a capital crimes case hanging over him in the US to argue British law prevents his extradition to American soil (according to the “Extradition Act 2003”).

The UK was expected to weigh the option of extraditing him to either Sweden or the US, but last week a court in Upssala declared he did not need to be detained by Swedish authorities

Javid further said

“It is a decision ultimately for the courts, but there is a very important part of it for the home secretary and I want to see justice done at all times and we’ve got a legitimate extradition request.” He added, “so I’ve signed it, but the final decision is now with the courts.”

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

Honey Bee Colonies Across Europe Plunge 16%, Says Study

Honey Bee Colonies Across Europe Plunge 16%, Says Study

The total number of honey bee colonies across Europe plunged 16% over the winter 2017–18, according to COLOSS(Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes), an international, non-profit organization based in Switzerland, tasked with the goals of protecting honey bees.

Allison Gray, the lead researcher on the study, sent a COLOSS questionnaire to 25,363 beekeepers in 36 countries: 33 in Europe, plus Algeria, Israel, and Mexico.

The data collected revealed an overall loss rate of 16.4% of honey bee colonies during winter 2017/18 between the countries.

Beekeepers were asked several questions about their hives: (a) were alive but had unsolvable queen problems (e.g., a missing queen, laying workers, or a drone-egg laying queen), (b) were dead or reduced to a few hundred bees and (c) were lost through natural disaster (from various possible causes).

Gray and her team determined that Portugal, Northern Ireland, Italy, and England had the most significant colony collapses of more than 25%. The authors noted that smaller bee farms experienced higher loss rates than large-scale ones.

“The overall loss rate in winter 2017/18 was highest in Portugal (32.8%), a new country to the survey. Other countries with high losses (above 25%) were Slovenia, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Italy, and Spain, countries mostly in Western Europe,” wrote Gray.

A year earlier, loss rates were the lowest in Norway, Northern Ireland, and Algeria, and the year before that in Central Europe.

Winter losses linked to queen difficulties was 1% in Bulgaria to 20.3% in Slovenia, whereas for winter 2016/17, the rate for this loss for Slovenia was the lowest for the study.

Each hive’s queen is crucial for the survival of the overall colony. If a queen goes missing or doesn’t lay eggs to create more drones, the colony will collapse. Honey bees are also at risk from parasitic mites.

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

Top Iranian Diplomat: US Cannot ‘Expect To Stay Safe’

Top Iranian Diplomat: US Cannot ‘Expect To Stay Safe’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a series of threats over ongoing tensions in the Persian Gulf amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat who sought to diffuse the situation.

On Monday, Zarif threatened that the United States”cannot expect to stay safe” after initiating an economic war against the Islamic republic in the wake of President Trump’s decision more than a year ago to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal, along with tough sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector. 

“Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” said Zarif according to the Associated Press, adding “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.”

Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it,” he added. 

For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisted his country and other European nations want to find a way to salvage the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. But he acknowledged there were limits.

We won’t be able to do miracles, but we are trying as best as we can to do prevent its failure,” Maas said.

However, Europe has yet to be able to offer Iran a way to get around the newly imposed U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, a July 7 deadline — imposed by Iran — looms for Europe to find a way to save the unraveling deal. –Associated Press

Anger over Israel

At one point during the meeting, Germany’s Heiko Maas angered the Iranian diplomat while discussing Israel. 

“Israel’s right to exist is part of Germany’s founding principle and is completely non-negotiable,” said Maas, adding “It is a result of our history and it’s irrevocable and doesn’t just change because I am currently in Tehran.”

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

NYT Covers Up CIA Skripal Lie With Even Worse CIA Skripal Lie

NYT Covers Up CIA Skripal Lie With Even Worse CIA Skripal Lie

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the fact that the New York Times has corrected its CIA-Skripal story, saying that no ‘dead ducks’ or ‘sick kids’ in Salisbury due to the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent.

The New York Times corrected a report that stated UK officials shared photos with the CIA showing children and ducks who head been exposed to the Novichok nerve agent after coming into contact with the Skripals.

The NYT reported on April 16 that the British government had supplied images of “young children hospitalized” and of dead ducks, poisoned after interactions with Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia at a park in Salisbury in March of last year.

The NYT profile of CIA Director Gina Haspel had claimed the ‘dead duck’ images were used to convince US President Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US in response to the Skripal case. The New York Times now says no photos ever existed, and its report of such photos was inaccurate.

A number of people, including myself, wrote to the New York Times journalist, Julian Barnes, to point out that the piece he and his colleague, Adam Goldman, published on 16th April 2019 about the CIA Director, Gina Haspel, contained a part which unwittingly showed that she had misled President Trump into expelling 60 Russian diplomats in March 2018Here were the paragraphs of interest:

“During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the “strong option” was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia’s attack.

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

More Americans Worried About ‘Fake News’ Than Terrorism, Racism And Climate Change: Poll

More Americans Worried About ‘Fake News’ Than Terrorism, Racism And Climate Change: Poll

A new survey from Pew Research Center has found that Americans view fake news as a bigger threat than terrorism, violent crime, climate change, racism and illegal immigration

The survey also found that 68% of US adults say that made-up news and information “greatly impacts Americans’ confidence in government institutions,” while 54% say it’s having a major impact on confidence between fellow Americans, and 51% say it impacts the ability of political leaders to get work done. 

Who’s to blame? According to those surveyed, political leaders and activists are more responsible for fake news than journalists, however they believe that it is the primary responsibility of those in the news media to fix the problem. They also said that the issue will become worse down the road. 

The vast majority of Americans say they sometimes or often encounter made-up news. In response, many have altered their news consumption habits, including by fact-checking the news they get and changing the sources they turn to for news.

In addition, about eight-in-ten U.S. adults (79%) believe steps should be taken to restrict made-up news, as opposed to 20% who see it as protected communication. –Pew

Nearly four-in-ten (38%) of Americans reported ‘often’ coming across made-up news and information, while another 51% say they ‘sometimes’ do. In response, Americans have changed their news and technology habits

Around 78% of respondents say they fact-check news stories, while 63% have stopped getting news from a particular outlet. 52% say they have changed the way they use social media, while 43% have reduced their overall consumption of news. 

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

China’s Central Bank: “Everyone, Please Don’t Worry”

China’s Central Bank: “Everyone, Please Don’t Worry”

Many unhappy returns. Thirty years ago, British ambassador Sir Alan Donald cabled home his classified report on the bloody goings-on in Tiananmen Square: “Students linked arms but were mown down. Armored personnel carriers then ran over the bodies time and time again to make, ‘pie’, and remains collected by bulldozer, incinerated and then hosed down drains. . .”

Unsurprisingly, the Xi Jinping-led government has little interest in commemorating the event, or in allowing others to pause and remember. Domestic social media platforms have “barred users from changing their profile photos and other information,” Bloomberg says, while financial data company Refinitiv has blocked all Tiananmen-related stories from its Eikon terminals, after the Cyberspace Administration of China “threatened to suspend the company’s service,” according to Reuters.

While Refinitiv may suffer a reputational knock in the West for this evident kowtow, its social credit score looks poised for an upgrade.       

If only the recent trouble in China’s banking system could be so easily suppressed. Following the government’s takeover of distressed Baoshang Bank Co., the People’s Bank of China tried to calm the situation by assuring investors that no further such interventions were in the cards: “Everyone,” says a message on the PBOC website: “please don’t worry. At present we don’t have this plan.” But Bloomberg reports today that a pair of smaller institutions, Guilin Bank Co., Ltd. and Jincheng Bank Co., Ltd., have delayed plans to sell RMB 1 billion ($140 million) in tier-2 bond sales following the Baoshang news.  

Over the weekend, Bank of Jinzhou, which holds $113 billion and $53 billion of assets and deposits, respectively, saw its auditor Ernst & Young Hua Ming LLP resign due to “indications that some loans to institutional customers weren’t used in ways consistent with the purposes stated in documents,” per Bloomberg. In response, the bank’s 5.5% dollar-pay perpetual bonds fell below 65 from 81 a week ago, for a 19.2% yield-to-call.

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

Saudi King Urges Global Coalition To “Use All Means To Stop Iran” At Emergency Summit

Saudi King Urges Global Coalition To “Use All Means To Stop Iran” At Emergency Summit

Perhaps sensing that the US “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran is fast deflating, with even ultra-Hawk John Bolton late this week saying American military build-up had successfully “deterred” imminent Iran threats – suggesting the crisis has been averted – the Saudis are now going on the offensiveImage source: AP via Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia’s aging King Salman went on an anti-Iran tirade during an emergency meeting of Arab leaders hosted in Mecca on Thursday, saying the Shia country is the greatest threat to global security for the past four decades. He also echoed past US and Israeli charges that Tehran is currently developing nuclear and ballistic missiles in order to threaten its neighbors and extend its influence over the region. 

He said Iran’s leaders were “harboring global and regional terrorist entities and threatening international waterways.” He called for “using all means to stop the Iranian regime” from its regional “interference”. Iran for its part rejected these as “baseless accusations” and has denied it had any role in a spate of recent “sabotage” attacks in the Gulf region. 

The king further condemned Iran’s tactics to disrupt maritime trade and global oil supplies in “glaring violation of UN treaties” following Riyadh’s blaming Iranian operatives for using underwater mines to attack and “sabotage” four tankers near the Strait of Hormuz weeks ago, two of which were Saudi flagged. 

The Iranian regime has been interfering in other countries’ affairs, developing their nuclear programs and threatening international navigation,” King Salman said during his speech, according to a translation by Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya.

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