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China's Christmas Present To The World: Beijing Eases Again, Sets Non-Bank Deposit Reserve To Zero

In another Christmas surprise, China once again decided to adjust the cost of money, only this time instead of hiking, it eased, and in an effort to shore up the world's second-largest economy, China Business News reported that the PBOC will waive reserve requirements for non-bank deposits.  As the WSJ adds, at a meeting with big financial institutions on Wednesday, the People's Bank of China told participants that they will soon be able to add deposits from nonbank financial institutions to their calculations of their loan-to-deposit ratios, according to the executives. The move would add considerably to the banks' deposits and allow them to lend more. Chinese stocks, which had been pricing in further easing by the PBOC for the past 3 months, a period during which the Shanghai Composite soared over 50%, were delighted by the latest easing move and surged even more, surging higher by the most in the past three weeks.



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CDC Admits Its Researchers Were Exposed To Ebola Several Days Ago

Somehow news about Ebola in the US managed to get past the Ron Klain media gauntlet.



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Caught On Tape: What Happens When A California Driver Finally Snaps

In the idyllic foothills of the Sierras amid the forested beauty of Tahoe National Forest, it appears the California drought finally got to Deirdre Orozco. As the following crazy clip shows, the 50-year-old Santa Clara woman went full Mad Max on two young female drivers after they reportedly made "a rude gesture" to Orozco after she had been tailgating. The dramatic cellphone video of the event has ended with Orozco being charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of false imprisonment, unlawful use of a badge, reckless driving and resisting arrest. Happy Holidays America.



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"Happy" Holidays From Jim Grant

Having previously reduced the world's predicament to two short paragraphs, Jim Grant has outdone himself with this holiday card this year...



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50 Numbers From 2014 That Sound Fake But That Are Actually Real

2014 was quite a bizarre year. The past 12 months brought us MH370, Ebola, civil war in Ukraine, civil unrest in Ferguson, the rise of ISIS and the fall of the Democrats in the midterm elections. Our world is becoming crazier and more unstable with each passing day, and we have a feeling that things are going to accelerate greatly in 2015... despite record-er-est US stock prices.



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The Christmas Hope: A To-Do List for a Better World

"I’ve seen enough of the world in my 68 years to know that wishing is not enough. We need to be doing. It’s not possible to solve all of the world’s problems right away. For most people, putting an end to world hunger, poverty, disease and the police state may seem too insurmountable a task to even tackle. But, there are practical steps each of us can take to hopefully get things moving in the right direction..."



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Fukushima Children Thyroid Cancer Rate Continues To Rise

Fukushima prefecture has been conducting regular checkups of over 360,000 people who were in Fukushima in March 2011 and were age 18 or under when the nuclear crisis struck. As WSJ reported in August, a study by researchers in Fukushima prefecture found 57 minors in the prefecture have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer so far and another 46 are showing symptoms that suggest they may also have the disease. Today, as The Japan Times reports, four more children are suspected of suffering from thyroid cancer in the latest survey bringing the total to 107 out of 385,000 now surveyed. This is dramatically higher than the normal "between 5 to 11 cases per million people," that Okayama University professor Toshihide Tsuda cites for national statistics between 1975 and 2008.



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We Live In A New World And The Saudis Are The First To Get It

We live in a new world, and the Saudis are either the only or the first ones to understand that. Because they are so early to notice, and adapt, I would expect them to come out relatively well. But I would fear for many of the others. And that includes a real fear of pretty extreme reactions, and violence, in quite a few oil-producing nations that have kept a lid on their potential domestic unrest to date. It would also include a lot of ugliness in the US shale patch, with a great loss of jobs (something it will have in common with North Sea oil, among others), but perhaps even more with profound mayhem for many investors in US energy. And then we’re right back to your pension plans.



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Make No Mistake, The Oil Slump Is Going To Hurt The US Too

If you only paid attention to the mainstream media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the US is going to get away from the collapse in oil prices scot free. It’s a crying shame. The US has come so close to becoming energy independent. But it’s going to have to get its head around the idea that it could become a big oil importer again. In the end, the US energy boom may add up to nothing more than an illusion dependent upon the artificially cheap debt environment created by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy.



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The Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Tip List

Battling the mob of moar-buyers in the mall? Here are some crucial tips...



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The Dangerous Economics of Shale Oil

For years, we've been warning that the economics of the US 'shale revolution' were suspect. Namely, that they've only been made possible by the new era of 'expensive' oil (an average oil price of between $80-$100 per barrel). We've argued that many players in the shale industry simply wouldn't be able to operate profitably at lower prices. Well, with oil prices now suddenly sub-$60 per barrel, we're about to find out. Using the traditional corporate income statement, it is difficult to determine if shale drilling companies make money. There are a lot of moving parts, some deliberate obfuscation at some companies, and the massive decline rates make analysis difficult – since so much of reported profitability depends on assumptions made regarding depreciation and depletion. So, can shale oil be profitable? If so, at what price? And under what conditions?



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Chinese Gold Diggers Drop Their Shovels As Gold Miner Bankruptcies Begin

For those wondering where US shale exploration and production companies will be in about 2-3 years, look no further than the gold miners, where the disconnect between undaunted physical demand and relentless paper supply (after rebounding above 0%, GOFO is once again negative through the 3 month mark), and where high production costs and low selling prices, after two years of balance sheet pain, is finally leading many over the cliff. Case in point, Canadian gold-miner San Gold, which had a capitalization of over $1 billion in 2010 just filed for bankruptcy protection. It isn't the first gold-miner to wave the white flag, and it certainly won't be the last.



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The Keynesian Desperation Regarding 1920-21 Is Now Embarrassing

It is truly amazing to see the contortions into which some analysts twist themselves, trying to make the historical facts fit their economic models.



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Thank You Fed

America's wealth gap - between middle-income and upper-income families - is at its widest on record. Guess when it started to surge...



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Why Everyone Is About To Rush Into Subprime Mortgage Debt (Again)

If there is one thing the investing public has 'learned' in the last few years, it is 'no matter how bad the fundamentals, if it's been working, buy moar of it'. And so, it is with almost certain confidence that we should expect a resurgent flood of yield-chasing muppetry into no more egregious idiocy than the subprime-mortgage-debt market. As Bloomberg reports, the subprime-slime-backed securities that were created in the years before the financial crisis in 2008, which marked the last time they were issued, have gained almost 12% this year, or six times more than junk-rated corporate debt, according to Barclays. As one money 'manager' proclaims, "a lot of the uncertainty around the asset class has been taken away." Indeed, home prices will never go down ever again, right? (Just ignore this and this)



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