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Rebels Shoot Down Two Ukraine Fighter Jets, Defense Ministry Reports - Video Coverage

At this point it is beyond any one (or countless number of) human beings to distinguish truth from lies from epic propaganda, so we won't even try. Here is the latest relevant news that just crossed the stream from Ukraine's defense ministry, according to which moments ago Pro-Russian rebels have shot down two Ukrainian fighter jets, a spokesman for Ukraine's military operations said on Wednesday. The spokesman said the two were downed near Savur Mogila in eastern Ukraine. No details were known about the pilots.



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Caption Contest: The Lifecycle Of An ISIS Fanatic

From life-saver to life-taker...



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An Annotated History of World Oil Price Shocks

A sharp increase in Middle East geopolitical tensions, first with the resurgence of a radical al-Qaeda affiliate – now called the Islamic State – making substantial territorial gains in major oil producer Iraq, and more recently with an escalating military conflict between Israel and Hamas, has barely caused a blip in global markets and even in oil prices despite the fact that oil supply today is tight. At the same time, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia – the largest oil producer globally – has reached a more dangerous level, also with little oil price response. Indeed, it is difficult to identify another point in recent history when the Middel East – for all its troubles – was in such a precarious state; yet, as Goldman, rather rhetorically asks, this raises the question of whether the markets are being too dismissive about the recent turn of events.



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Insolvent Chinese Construction Company Gets Last Minute Bailout, Avoids China's Second Bond Default

Those keeping track and hoping the second default would finally hit have to hold their breath again after yet another last minute bailout has now made a complete mockery of China's "deliberate" intentions to clear up the rot plaguing its bond market. As Reuters reports, Huatong avoided a "landmark bond default at the last minute on Wednesday, raising enough funds to pay off both principal and interest on a 400 million yuan ($64.51 million) bond." Who bailed it out? Why the same government which continues to say one thing and do something totally different.



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Frontrunning: July 23

  • Here come the gates which we predicted in 2010: SEC Is Set to Approve Money-Fund Rules (WSJ)
  • Dick's cuts 400 jobs as golf now less popular (MW)
  • Kerry arrives in Israel, pushes for peace (Reuters)
  • Pay Penalty Haunts Recession Grads as U.S. Economy Mends (BBG)
  • Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Rulings on Health-Law Subsidies (WSJ)
  • Rebel Stronghold Donetsk Holds Breath as Shellfire Mounts (BBG)
  • Business executive wins Georgia Republican runoff in U.S. Senate race (Reuters)
  • Five held in China food scandal probe, including head of Shanghai Husi Food (Reuters)
  • Jobs Hold Sway Over Yellen-Carney as Central Banks Splinter (BBG)


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Overnight Futures Levitation Mode Engaged But Subdued

Despite yesterday's lackluster earnings the most recent market levitation on low volume was largely due to what some considered a moderation in geopolitical tensions after Europe once again showed it is completely incapable of stopping Putin from dominating Europe with his energy trump card, and is so conflicted it is even unable to impose sanctions (despite the US prodding first France with BNP and now Germany with the latest DB revelations to get their act together), as well as it being, well, Tuesday, today's moderate run-up in equity futures can likely be best attributed to momentum algos, which are also rushing to recalibrate and follow the overnight surge in the AUDJPY while ignoring any drifting USDJPY signals.



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"Is College Worth It?" - Here Is The Fed's Answer In One Chart

The topic of whether college is worth it (costs vs benefits) has been discussed at length (here, here, and here most recently) but no lesser entity than the San Francisco Fed's PhDs have crunched the numbers and found that in the new normal, median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers. Furthermore, they are not optimistic - "because college grads face wages and hiring conditions that are especially responsive to business cycle conditions, this low earnings growth, together with shifts in the distribution of graduates’ labor market status, suggests continued weakness in the overall economy."



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US State Department "Confident" MH17 "Mistakenly" Downed By Separatists, Finds No Direct Link To Russia

UPDATE: US Intelligence officials identify Rostov as Russian military installation providing support to separatists... offers more evidence-less proof - Senior U.S. intelligence officials cited sensors that traced the path of the missile, shrapnel markings on the downed aircraft, voiceprint analysis of separatists claiming credit for the strike, and a flood of photos and other data from social media sites. With a somewhat shocking lack of evidence, AP reports that US officials (on condition of anonymity) have stated that intelligence suggests Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was mistakenly shot down by separatists and can find no link to Russia. However, the unnamed non-proof-providing officials believed Russia "created the conditions" for the downing of MH17. For now there is not even a YouTube clip to confirm this... as officials do not make the new technical evidence public...



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The Stealing Of America By The Cops, The Courts, The Corporations And Congress

“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.



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Cows Versus Bulls

In yet another example of central planners not comprehending the unintended consequences of their actions, Glenn Stevens - head of the Reserve Bank of Australia - commented last night on the curious lack of animal spirits holding back the global economic recovery. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes though, of course, his argument is disingenuous at best since it is the actions (and consequences) of central banks crowding out other market participants and creating a culture of investors who moo (herd-like along with their yield-chasing, buyback purchasing, capex cutting peers) rather than roar... Central banks have turned investors from bulls to cows...



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Poroshenko Demands Ukraine Separatists Be Declared "Terrorists" Under International Law

As the tit-for-tat public relations blitz continues to play out, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has demanded that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) be recognized as terrorist organizations, "so that any cooperation or support the terrorists receive is recognized as such under international law." Now that the US has 'proved' that the separatists shot down MH17, we suspect the calls will grow louder... even as Poroshenko says he opposes martial law.



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After Bubble Pops, Saudi Arabia Opens Stock Market To Foreign "Greater Fool" Investors

Shortly after we highlighted the utter ridiculousness of the bubble frenzy in Dubai stocks (30x IPO oversubscription for a firm that did not exist), the Dubai General Financial Markets Index tumbled 30% popping an epic 250% rally since The Fed started QE3. It seems Saudi Arabia is getting nervous at its neighbor's fall and so The Kingdom has decided it needs more great fools to keep its dream alive... and as The WSJ reports today, Saudi Arabia plans to open its $530 billion stock market to foreigners for the first time early next year, a move that will allow the Middle East's biggest economy to attract more international investment and reduce its dependence on oil revenue. Did we just find another China inflation outlet?



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Whi(t)ney Tilson Does It Again

After an incredible day in Herbalife - its best performance ever - following Bill Ackman's "death blow," none other than Whitney Tilson (who oddly has not been seen on CNBC for many months) has penned a letter to his investors explaining "why I am more confident of my Herbalife short position." As a gentle reminder, Mr. Tilson entered his Herbalife short in December 2012 in the low $20s (shortly after Ackman's initial pitch) and recently made it one of his firm's largest short positions. It appears there are now two ways by which Herbalife shares implode - Ackman buys a 'minority stake' and 'fixes it' or Whitney Tilson gets on TV and shifts to a long position...



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NY Fed Slams Deutsche Bank (And Its €55 Trillion In Derivatives): Accuses It Of "Significant Operational Risk"

First it was French BNP that was punished with a $9 billion legal fee after France refused to cancel the Mistral warship shipment to Russia (which promptly led to French National Bank head Christian Noyer to warn that the days of the USD as a reserve currency are numbered), and now moments ago, none other than the 150x-levered NY Fed tapped Angela Merkel on the shoulder with a polite reminder to vote "Yes" on the next, "Level-3" round of Russia sanctions when it revealed, via the WSJ, that "Deutsche Bank's giant U.S. operations suffer from a litany of serious problems, including shoddy financial reporting, inadequate auditing and oversight and weak technology systems." The shortcomings amount to a "systemic breakdown" and "expose the firm to significant operational risk and misstated regulatory reports," said the letter from Daniel Muccia, a New York Fed senior vice president responsible for supervising Deutsche Bank.



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Despite Warmest May/June On Record, Misses Blamed On "Unseasonably Cool" Weather

"Weather," it appears, is the new 'dog-ate-my-homework' no matter how much facts get in the way.



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