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Flight MH-17 Black Boxes To Be Analyzed In "Impartial" London

Now that the black boxes from flight MH-17 have been handed over by the Ukraine separatists to Malaysian authorities (somewhat denting the credibility of the fabricated Ukrainian YouTube clip in which the rebels were "instructed" by Moscow to hide the black boxes), there was one question: which impartial entity and/or country would be tasked with an objective retrieval and analysis of the contents. A little while ago we got the answer courtesy of none other than UK Prime Minister David Cameron. "We've agreed Dutch request for air accident investigators at Farnborough to retrieve data from #MH17 black boxes for international analysis." This is the same Cameron who at the same time called on Europe to impose “hard-hitting sanctions” on Russia and "invoked the spectre of the Second World War and compared Russia’s aggression to that of Nazi Germany."



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Venezuela's Transformation To Socialist Utopia Is Nearly Complete As Its Factories Grind To A Halt

The good news about this particular banana republic: everything else may be imploding, but at least still has bananas.



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Efficient Markets? August Oil Futures Flash Smash & Crash Into Expiry

August WTI Crude Oil futures expired at 230pm today... a fact that has been known for years... and yet, in the minutes before the 'last trade' settlement, the 'efficient' markets in which traders trade saw August futures flash smash higher by over $1 (running stops to the upside) and then crash to the day's lows (running stops to the downside) before closing modestly lower on the day. "unrigged"



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Bubblenomics And The Future Of Real Estate

?Economics is like a Monet painting. Stand too close and all you see is a bunch of seemingly random paint strokes. Back up a few steps and an image emerges. The painting of bubblenomics started with the Plaza Accord, September 1985, where five nations agreed to manipulate the dominant currencies at the time. Japan enjoyed a 50% devaluation of the US$ vs the yen, artificially enriching its citizens so they could travel the world in busloads with eighty pounds of cameras around their necks. The consequences of that bubble have yet to be corrected. Based on healthy guidelines, the price of real estate is far too expensive today, or, more precisely, the cost of housing is too high but we may need another crisis before the market will wake up to the needed changes. In the meantime, money printing and hype will continue.



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Portugal President Admits Espirito Santo Failure Could Be Systemic As Another HoldCo Goes Bankrupt

As RioForte joins its parent ESI in bankruptcy, in a strangely honest turn of events from a European leader, Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva warned on Monday that fallout from the financial troubles of the founding family of Banco Espirito Santo (BES) could affect the wider economy. With Portugal's hope-strewn GDP growth expectations at only 0.9% for 2014, they do not have much room for disappointment before the nation (whose yields remain near record lows) double- or triple-dips back into recession. Silva concluded, "We cannot ignore that there will be some impact on the real economy," which is odd given every talking-head has explained it is "contained" and "priced-in."



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Ackman Has 6 Months Left To Come Up With The Devastating-est HLF Presentation Ever

UPDATE: This is now the biggest single-day rise in HLF's history...

Bill Ackman's "most important presentation of his career" is not going so well. The 'Death Blow' expectations Ackman created yesterday (that sent the stock down 13%) have been entirely wiped away as a 2-hour presentation, 100s of slides, and nothing really new sent stocks 16% higher today... It appears time is running out for Mr. Ackman as his massive put position (bleeding value every day that passes) is set to expire in six months... and we suspect Carl Icahn can outlast Ackman's view of market 'irrationality'.



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How Effective Have The Fed's QE Programs Been?

It is quite clear that Bernanke achieved his goal of inflating asset prices by expanding the Federal Reserve's balance sheet by 371.64% since the end of the financial crisis. However, was he as successful in fulfilling his other objectives? The following charts perform the same cost/benefit analysis on real economic health... Did the Fed's monetary intervention programs keep the economy from sliding into a much deeper recession?  Probably. Have the programs been effective in achieving Bernanke's stated goals? Not really.

 



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With 1 Week Left Until Argentina's 'D'efault-Day, Judge Blasts "Judgments Are Judgments"

Day after day, headlines from Argentina implore Judge Griesa to do the "fair, responsible" thing and lift his judgment that holdouts get paid before current bondholders receive their payments... and day after day Argentina's demands are met with silence or denials. Today, though, with 1 week left until Argentina must put up or shut up, Judge Griesa has come out swinging...

*U.S. JUDGE SAYS OF ARGENTINA RULINGS: 'JUDGMENTS ARE JUDGMENTS'; ARGENTINA'S 'INCENDIARY` RHETORIC `UNFORTUNATE,'
*U.S. JUDGE URGES 'SENSIBLE STEPS' TO AVOID ARGENTINA DEFAULT

While CDS spreads have surged once again, bonds trade with default probabilities around only 50% which, according to Jefferies "are expensive on underestimating the risk of default."



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After Delta Reroutes Flight Into Israel, 5 Other Airlines Suspend Flights To Tel Aviv On Missile Worries

Update: U.S. FLIGHTS TO ISRAEL HALTED BY FAA

About two hours ago, and in the aftermath of the public outcry regarding flights in conflict zones, first Delta then most other major international carriers announced they would suspend flights to Israel "until further notice" amid concerns that a rocket landed near Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. The list of confirmed airlines that have halted such flights is shown below.



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William O'Brien, Infamous CEO Of BATS, Has Left The Firm

Remember when IEX' Brad Katsuyama swept the floor with BATS CEO Bill O'Brien, exposing him as a liar on national TV in his spirited defense of HFT and an "unrigged market"? Well, Bill has just left the building: as BATS reported moments ago he is no longer with the firm.



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US Government Releases Alleged Evidence Of MH17 Missile Trajectory

The 'information war' is hotting up. On the heels of yesterday's 30-minute detailed presentation of Russia's 10 awkward questions for Ukraine (and the US), CNN reports that the US government has released a satellite trajectory map of what it says was the flight's path and the site from which the missile was shot. Of course, the epicenter of the MH17 launch is Snizhne, in pro-Russian separatist-held territory. Rebel leader Alexander Borodai responded, "we don't have the technical ability to destroy this plane. Ukrainians are not interested in the truth."



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As Gaza Death Toll Surpasses 600 Israel Ambassador Says IDF Deserve Nobel Peace Prize For "Unimaginable Restraint"

The situation in Gaza has crossed beyond the rabbit hole (or perhaps in this case, tunnel) and has entered the surreal zone.



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The Rot Within, Part I: Our Ponzi Economy

Depending on blowing the next bubble to temporarily prop up the economy is the height of foolhardy shortsightedness.



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Europe Agrees To Disagree Over New Russian Sanctions

As usual, Europe is talking out of both sides of its mouth (or other orifices). On the one hand, we are told:

  • EU foreign ministers failed to agree new sanctions against Russia at a Brussels meeting

And on the other hand:

  • Dutch minister says EU imposing new sanctions on officials over Russia

So - which is it Europe?



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In Potentially "Lethal Blow" For Obamacare, US Appeals Court Finds Insurance Subsidies Invalid In Most States

Moments ago, in what NBC classified as a "potentially lethal blow to Obamacare" a federal appeals court has ruled that the federal government may not subsidize health insurance plans bought by people in states that decided not to set up their own marketplaces under Obamacare. The law clearly says that states are to set up the exchanges. But 34 states opted not to, and the federal government took over in those states. The court ruled that federal government may not pay subsidies for insurance plans in those states. As the Hill reports further, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Affordable Care Act does not permit the IRS to distribute premium subsidies in the federal ObamaCare exchange, meaning those consumers must bear the  full cost of their insurance.



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