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How The Swiss Deal With Police Brutality

With all the world's eyes firmly focused on Ferguson, Missouri; we thought the following clip from a Swiss soccer match would provide some context for what is possible...



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Russia Shuts Moscow McDonalds Due To "Sanitary Breaches"

Sanctions blowback? Russian food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has ordered the closure of four McDonalds restaurants in Moscow, according to Reuters, due to "numerous sanitary breaches."

*MOSCOW TEMPORARILY CLOSES SEVERAL MCDONALD'S RESTAURANTS

This was not entirely a surprise since Russia had previously raised concerns over McDonalds cheese and was angered when the fast-food restaurant ceased operations in Crimea. This also comes on the heels of McDonalds problems in China and Japan over food supply issues. It appears the "tangible losses" Putin promised, are beginning.



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Why The Casino Is Dangerous: There Is Nothing Below

The algos and chart traders are making another run at 2000 on the S&P 500, attempting to convince the wary investor one more time that buying on the dips is a no brainer. And in that proposition they are, ironically, correct.  To buy this utterly manipulated market at these nosebleed valuation levels is about as brainless of an undertaking as is imaginable.



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"Worst. Recovery. Ever." Except For Bankers

For most (practically all) Americans, this is officially the worst recovery ever. As we pointed out previously, wage growth has never been slower in a post World War II recovery. However, not everyone is hurting...

*GOLDMAN SACHS SAID TO RAISE JUNIOR STAFF'S SALARIES ABOUT 20%

This comes just weeks after Morgan Stanley announced it would raise junior banker salaries by 25%. It appears President Obama's hopes for 'fair, livable' minimum wage is being heeded by the banking community - good patriots, they are.



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It's Official: For Caterpillar, The "Great Recovery" Is Now Worse Than The "Great Recession"

In October 2008, the month after Lehman failed and the Great Recession started, industrial bellwether Caterpillar underwent a series of 19 consecutive, record, declines in Global dealer retail sales declines, finally emerging from its unprecedented funk in May of 2010, just in time to celebrate the start of financial and economic Greece's collapse which ended with a sovereign default. Well, as of July 2014, that record is no longer valid, because starting with a -1% drop in Global retail sales in December 2012, CAT has now posted a new record of 20 consecutive global delaer retail sales declines, after a -9% Y/Y print for the month of July.



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Ten Killed From "Ebola-Like Symptoms" In Africa's Second Largest Country

While the world awaits the test results from an Ebola suspect in Sacramento to learn if Ebola has now officially entered the US, the epidemic in Africa has now drifted away from the confines of its original hotspots of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and after spreading to Africa's most populous nation Nigeria, and the third most populated city in the world, Lagos, it appears to have just entered the second largest country in Africa by area, and fourth most populous African nation: the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



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1000s Of Firms Aren't Paying An "Obamacare Tax", IRS Audit Finds 24% Shortfall

It appears Sen. Orin Hatch's comment that "everything from this ill-conceived tax's structure to its implementation has been a disaster," are coming true. As AP reports, an "Obamacare" tax on medical devices is falling short of its revenue target because thousands of companies aren't paying it, according to a government audit released Tuesday. An audit found the IRS received only 5,107 returns (against expectations of over 9,000) with a 24% shortfall in revenues. The tax is projected to generate $29 billion over the coming decade, so a 24 percent shortfall - if it were sustained - would be significant.



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Ebola Suspect Tested In California: Statements From Kaiser Permanente And Dept Of Public Health

With the Ebola epidemic raging in west-Africa, and increasingly more countries paranoid, with good reason, the epidemic may enter to their borders, the worst case scenario so far for the US has been avoided: namely an Ebola patient zero arriving on US shores. That may have changed overnight when CBS13 reported that a patient admitted to Kaiser Permanente may have been exposed to the Ebola virus, and test are currently being done to determine whether the virus is present. Shortly thereafter, the California Department of Public Health released a statement late Tuesday saying it had no confirmed cases of Ebola in the state, but that a patient it describes as low-risk was being tested in Sacramento.



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ISIS Beheads Captured American Journalist, Threatens To Kill Another

An American journalist, James Foley who was previously held captive by pro-Gaddafi forces for six weeks in Libya, was captured again in 2012 in Syria by - at the time 'unidentified' gunmen - which we now know was ISIS. James Foley - a freelance reporter from Boston - was kidnapped Thanksgiving Day 2012. We now know the sad ending of this young man's life. In the following shocking clip just released from ISIS, Foley explains - at the point of a blade - "I call on my friends, family members and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government" - and is then gruesomely beheaded. In the last few minutes, the captor shows another poor soul.



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Frontrunning: August 20

  • Ferguson at Turning Point After Night of Relative Calm (BBG)
  • Gaza war rages on, Hamas says Israel tried to kill its military chief (Reuters)
  • Surge in Putin Patriotism Masks Pain of Sanctions (BBG)
  • Bank of England splits over rate hike for first time in 3 years (Reuters)
  • Putin Meeting Leaves Kiev With Tough Choices (WSJ)
  • European Gas Reverses Biggest Drop Since 2009 on Ukraine (BBG)
  • "Isolation"  Mongolia Seeks Economic Lifeline With Pivot to China, Russia (BBG)
  • Uber Picks David Plouffe to Wage Regulatory Fight (NYT)
  • China Levies Record Antitrust Fine on Japanese Firms (BBG)


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Futures Flat With All Headline-Scanning Algo Eyes On Today's FOMC Minutes

While everyone's (algorithmic) attention will be focused on today's minutes from the July 29-30 FOMC meeting for views on remaining slack in U.S. economy following recent changes in the labor market (especially a particularly solid JOLTS report which indicates that at least on the openings front, there is no more) and any signal of policy change by the Fed ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole on Aug. 22, a curious thing happened overnight when a few hours ago the BoE's own minutes show the first vote split since 2011, as Weale and McCafferty argue for a 0.75% bank rate. Then again, if the Russians are finally bailing on London real estate, the inflationary pressures at the top of UK housing may finally be easing. In any event, every FOMC "minute" will be overanalyzed for hints of what Yellen's speech on Friday morning will say, even if stocks just shy of all time highs know quite well she won't dare say anything to tip the boat despite her warnings of a biotech and social network bubble.



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Worst. Recovery. Ever.

Literally.



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Pulitzer Prize Winner: Obama Is "The Greatest Enemy Of Press Freedom In A Generation"

James Risen is not just a phenomenal reporter, he is also an extremely courageous and honorable American patriot. The Obama Administration is threatening the pulitzer prize winning journalist with prison unless he reveals the source behind one of his stories. The fact our own government would resort to threats of incarceration in order to instill fear in the press to prevent it from doing its job is quite telling and extremely dangerous. Mr. Risen understands this danger more than just about anyone else, which is why he has previously stated he is prepared to go to jail in order to defend the First Amendment from Obama, who he calls "the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation."



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China Bond Default Risk Reignites, Despite "Never Anticipating Any Risks"

When, six months ago, we first brought the market's attention to Chaori Solar - China's first corporate bond default in history - there were 2 narrative sin play: 1) it's all good, government knows the contagion risk and will bail them out (that happened), or 2) if government bails them out, it will merely delay the inevitable and stoke further risk exposure (that happened too). However, as Bloomberg reports, the consequences are coming as bondholders met today to discuss the value of any assets left (Chaori’s liabilities were more than 700 million yuan greater than its assets). With China's TSF collapsing last month, perhaps demand is finally waining for these high-risk assets, but expectations of implied government support remain, as one Chaori 'loser' laments, "never anticipated any risks with the securities."



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Things That Make You Go Hmmm...Like Gold's Sudden Ignorance Of Geopolitical Risk

This time really is different, jokes Grant Williams, as it appears the New Cold War is, suggested by the chart below, apparently not even remotely troubling. In fact, gold is trading below where it was when the Russians first dipped their toes in Ukraine to test the water. Curious, opines Williams, but when it comes to gold, there are the thinkers; there are the traders, like the millions day-trading GLD for a penny here and there; and then there are the holders. The question for all of them is the same: why? The last time the world faced a meaningful threat of a large-scale conflict between East and West, the gold price soared. This time it hasn’t moved. Why?



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