Belgium

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Guest Post: Has The Pope Abandoned Europe To Islam?





In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said what no Pope had ever dared to say -- that there is a link between violence and Islam. Ten years later, Pope Francis never calls those responsible for anti-Christian violence by name and never mentions the word "Islam." To scroll the list of Pope Francis's apostolic trips -- Brazil, South Korea, Albania, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Cuba, United States, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines -- one could say that Europe is not exactly at the top of his agenda. The two previous pontiffs both fought for the cradle of Christendom. Pope Francis, on the contrary, simply ignores Europe, as if he already considers it lost.

 
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Is OPEC A U.S. National Security Threat?





Republican Kevin Cramer from North Dakota is cosponsoring a bipartisan bill that will set up a commission to probe whether OPEC has used unfair means to bolster its dominance over the market and propose possible remedies on the grounds that the matter is important from a national security standpoint, reports the Financial Times. Though similar efforts in the past against OPEC have been ineffective, another cosponsor, Republican Trent Franks, is optimistic about the outcome this time around. “If our bill does nothing more than to raise this question on to the agendas of business leaders and policymakers . . . it will have achieved something,” he said.

 
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The Case For Brexit





"I don’t see Brexit as a panacea, but merely the chance to manage one’s own affairs and to conduct one’s own debates over what should or should not be done by the state in one’s name...In Britain’s case, the change would inevitably give rise to economic winners and losers and it may easily be imagined to involve some additional, net short-term expense of time and effort as the country moves to adapt. But to pretend, for example, that Europe will maliciously shut out UK exports or discourage the tourists and holiday-homers from visiting in their droves and so risk a devastating retaliation from its biggest source of external income is worse than a joke."

 
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Frontrunning: May 23





  • Global stocks see-saw, yields slip as investors get week off to cautious start (Reuters)
  • Bayer defies critics with $62 billion Monsanto offer (Reuters)
  • Iran has no plans to freeze oil exports, official says ahead of OPEC meeting (Reuters)
  • U.S. lifts arms ban on old foe Vietnam as regional tensions simmer (Reuters)
  • Anthem, Cigna Privately Bicker as They Seek Merger Approval (WSJ)
 
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The Last Minutes Of Crashed EgyptAir Flight MS804: 22,000 Foot Drop In 2 Minutes, Violent Swerving; Crash Debris Found





Most critical appears to be the 2 minute interval from 3:27 to 3:29, when according to the Greek defence minister cited by the Guardian, there was a dramatic change in the plane's attitude and direction. It was in this two minute period when the plane made a 90 degree swerve left and dropped from 37,000 feet to 15,000 feet before swerving 60 degrees right and vanishing at 10,000 feet ten to 15 miles inside Egyptian air space.

 
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In Unexpected Twist, Saudi Arabia Was Buying US Treasuries Over Past Year





Instead of selling US Treasurys, as many has expected, Saudi Arabia appears to have been buying US paper over the past year according to government data.

 
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The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time





One month ago, when the NYT reported that Saudi Arabia would liquidate as much as $750 billion in Trasurys should the US pursue legislation that could hold it liable for the September 11 bombings, many asked: does Saudi Arabia own that many Treasurys?  We now have the answer courtesy of a Bloomberg FOIA submission to the US treasury, and our estimate of "far less" Saudi holdings was indeed accurate. As Bloomberg reports, "the stockpile of the world’s biggest oil exporter stood at $116.8 billion as of March."

 
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"The Global Negative Feedback Loop" - Why Investors Are Fleeing Capital Markets





Investors are fleeing and volumes are falling due to extreme valuations amid global uncertainties related to monetary policy and political decisions made in wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. It’s a flight that’s creating a negative feedback loop. "First it’s China, then Japan, then the ECB. When you singe the fingertips of speculators, they don’t like to play anymore," says Brean Capital managing director Russ Certo. Investors "are stewards of other people’s money and they don’t want to allocate capital to a pyramid scheme."

 
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Liquidity Problems? Deutsche Bank Offers 5% Yields If Depositors Lock Up Their Money For Three Months





We were surprised to find that in a promotional offer by Europe's biggest (and by many accounts most insolvent) bank, Germany's Deutsche Bank is not only not rushing to penalize depositors, on the contrary it is offering its Belgian clients a 5% gross return for new €10,000 - €50,000 deposits if this money is locked up for the next three months. The offer is only valid for the next 40 days, until June 24.

 
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Why Were Texas Game Wardens Just Issued Nuclear Radiation Detectors?





After countless reports about the potential for nuclear or radioactive weapons of mass destruction being smuggled into the United States, the State of Texas is has begun to take the threat seriously.

 
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Spain Sells 3x Oversubscribed 50-Year Bond





Following a scramble by European nations to issue ultra long-dated government paper, which saw France and Belgium sell 50-year bonds last month, while Ireland and Belgium went all the way and issued century bonds, with even Switzerland locking in 42-year paper yesterday, moments ago Spain was the latest to extend maturities all the way to 2066 when it sold €3 billion in 50 year bonds at Midswaps+50. According to MarketNews, the issue was over 3 times oversubscribed with the orderbook closing at €10.5 billion.

 
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France Discusses Ban Of Imported U.S. Shale Gas





After French media accuses government of hypocrisy, French Energy Minister Segolene Royal is discussing with French parliament a potential ban on the import of U.S. shale gas.

 
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US Futures, European Stocks Drop As USDJPY Tumbles





One day after the biggest jump in stocks in two months on what has still been an undetermined catalyst, overnight global equities did a U-turn with European stocks falling toward a one-month low and U.S. stock index futures declining, as crude oil dropped toward $44 a barrel. A driver the move lower was a sharp reversal in the USDJPY which dropped 100 pips from yesterday's highs which took places just as Goldman predicted the USDJPY has finally bottomed, facilitated by a weaker dollar (also following a Goldman report yesterday forecasting the USD was about to surge).

 
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