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"Out Of My Face Please" - Why Are US Soldiers In Mariupol?

Amid the devastation of yesterday's Mariupol artillery strikes which killed or wounded dozens, an 'odd' clip has emerged that appears to provide all the 'proof' a US intelligence officer would need to surmise that US military boots are on the ground in Ukraine. As the following clip shows, a Ukrainian journalist approaches what she thinks is a Ukrainian soldier (since he is wearing a Ukrainian military uniform and is carrying an AK) and asked him as they run through the battlezone, "tell me, what happened here?" His response, which requires no translation, speaks for itself.



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Israel's President Refuses To Meet With Obama

Israel indicated earlier today that it has finally had it with Obama, with the above sequence of events culminated in what Haaretz described was a reciprocal snub of the "leader of the free world" by Israel's president Reuven Rivlin, who declined a White House invitation to meet with Obama during his upcoming US trip: After consultations, Rivlin finally declined the American suggestion. His advisers explained to the Americans that the two leaders’ schedules do not overlap, because Rivlin is expected to return to Israel before Obama gets back to Washington.  “At this stage, it has been agreed not to hold a meeting during his visit, due to the schedule constraints of both leaders, and that a meeting would be scheduled at a later date,” the statement said.



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Shocking Images Of China's Dire Pollution Problem

China has some stunningly beautiful natural landscapes, but, as boredpanda.com explains, they may not count for much when, in other parts of the country, pollution runs totally unchecked. China is very close in size to the USA.  Yet, as The Burning Platform notes, their population is the size of the entire Western Hemisphere, plus Japan, Germany, and France. The land can not support this mass of humanity without very dire consequences, and these shocking photos show what severe pollution people have to deal with in some parts of China...



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Chinese Currency Plunges To Peg Limit Against USDollar, Strongest Against Euro In 14 Years

The drop in the Yuan over the past 2 days is the largest against the USDollar since Nov 2008 as USDCNY nears its highest (CNY weakest) since mid-2012. What is more critical is that for the first time since the new 2% CNY peg bands, USDCNY is trading at the extremes - 11.5 handles cheap to the fix. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the EURCNY just dropped below 7.00 for the first time since June 2001 with the biggest 2-day strengthening of the Chinese currency against the Euro in almost 4 years. It appears the consequences of ECB QE, SNB volatility, and now Greek concerns continue to ripple through the rest of the world.. and at a time when China faces its ubiquitous new year liquidity squeeze, that is not a good sign.



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Greece's New FinMin Warns "We Are Going To Destroy The Greek Oligarchy System"

Over two years ago, we first highlighted Yanis Varoufakis' perspectives on the destruction of Greece and Europe's bogus growth pacts. Since then he has grown in both reason and popularity as his no-nonsense discussons of the mis-design of the euro (and potential solutions) have made him the front-runner to be Syriza's new finance minister. Never one to  mince words or play politics, Varoufakis tells Channel 4's Paul Mason in this brief (but chilling for Brussels) interview, what his party would do if it gets into government in Greece, and admits the prospect of power in Europe is "scary". As he sums up, "we are going to destroy the Greek oligarchy system," and with it, we suspect, much of the narrative that holds the fragile European Union together...



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About That "Strong Dollar" - Corporatism Speaks

To think that multi-national companies are not complaining to government officials at this very moment is to be fully naïve. We would not doubt, given where the Treasury Secretary is, if he hasn’t been waylaid repeatedly about “doing something” about that “strong dollar.” Unfortunately, he cannot come right out and say that corporatism despises it so the administration, like those before, would prefer it sinking like a rock. Like monetarism, the fiscal side prefers not currency stability but their own, specific brand of instability.



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The New "Shadow Of The Crisis Has Passed" Normal (In 1 Fact-Ridden Chart)

If the 'shadow' of the crisis has passed, does that mean the actual 'crisis' is about to appear?



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Obamacare Website Funneling Private Consumer Data To Private Companies

The government’s health insurance website is quietly sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing... but it's for your own good - The Obama administration says HealthCare.gov’s connections to data firms were intended to help improve the consumer experience.



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Today Athens, Tomorrow Madrid

The picture that Brussels' bureaucrats are most afraid of...



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S&P Tumbles 15 Points At Open, Erases All ECB QE Gains; EURUSD Opens Below 1.1150 As Traders Seek Safety Of Swiss Franc

Equity futures markets have opened with a flush lower as Friday afternoon's anxiety was proved correct by the Greek vote this afternoon. S&P 500 Futures dropped over 15 points at the open before bouncing back modestly. With FX markets now more fully open, the kneejerk moves in the early illiquid trading have stabilized. EURUSD is 65 pips lower, breaking below 1.1150 (with BNY Mellon suggesting a move below 1.10 is possible in the next 24 hours and Citi noting any further risk-off contagion could be satiated by ECB QE). Swissy is bid with EURCHF down over 40 pips at around 0.9820. Gold and USD/JPY are flat for now.



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Japan's Solution To Lack Of Sex: A "Handsome" Tax

It is well known that Japan faces a demographic crisis, as it's aging population (more than 1 in 4 over 65 years old) drags on economic potential. But at the other end of the age spectrum, Japan has a bigger problem: as Bloomberg's Emily Greenhouse calls it - a libido crisis. The birthrate is falling fast. By 2060, the population is expected to go down by a third, and, by 2100, if trends continue, by 61%. Simply put, there is not enough procreation. We previously noted the fact that young Japanese has stopped having sex, but the situation has got worse and government and economists are looking for solutions: from imposing "handsome taxes" to make it easier for uglier men to get laid, to changing women's attitudes towards sex as "bothersome." However, we suspect this phrase sums up the 'virtual' problem best, "I want to tell them that human women are also great fun!"



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Tsipras Addresses Greece, Says Bailout Agreements, "Troika Era" Are Over

The first public address of Greece's new leaders, Alexis Tsipras has begun. The key highlights of his speech so far:

TSIPRAS SAYS GREEK PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN HISTORY
TSIPRAS SAYS GREECE IS TURNING PAGE, LEAVING AUSTERITY BEHIND
TSIPRAS SAYS BAILOUT AGREEMENTS HAVE ENDED FOR GREECE
TSIPRAS SAYS TROIKA ERA IS OVER FOR GREECE

Europe will not be pleased.



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"This Won't Remain Confined In Greece"

"...if Greece’s rebellion was to occur in a coherent way,...it would be only a matter of time before it was replicated in other parts of the continent." But don't think 'they' will let it happen peacefully. They'll organize huge social unrest, inject violence, and then try to use it to clamp down on the population and reinforce their grip on power. This won't remain confined to Greece.



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The Slick Lies Of Obama's "Robin Hood" Economy (In 2 Awkward Cartoons)

Take from the 'redefined rich' and give to the who again?



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"Historic" Blizzard To Slam Northeast On Monday Night: Over A Foot Of Snow Expected In New York City

"CHILLY AND BLUSTERY CONDITIONS EXPECTED THROUGH MONDAY. A MAJOR AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC WINTER STORM WILL AFFECT THE REGION MONDAY NIGHT INTO TUESDAY NIGHT...TRAVEL MAY BECOME IMPOSSIBLE AND LIFE THREATENING. DRIER WEATHER FOLLOWS WEDNESDAY INTO EARLY THURSDAY...BUT WILL HAVE TO WATCH FOR ANOTHER CHANCE OF SNOW BY THE END OF THE WORK WEEK." - National Weather Service



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