Appalled doesn’t cover it. Disgusted won’t do either. Angry doesn’t come close. Maybe we have yet to learn of a word that would express our feelings on the following topic. There’s a disease, an epidemic, that spreads through out the western world. We are all turning into accomplices to murder. And we still believe we are better than that. Just perhaps not all of us.
Politics in Ukraine continues to be characterized by the East/West divide that was so clearly visible in maps of Ukrainian elections and the distribution of the Ukrainian and Russian language (see “Mapping the Conflict in Ukraine” for details on this). While the new government wants to be seen as embodying Western values in contrast to the kleptocracies that previously governed the country, both its actions and omissions very often seem at odds with this aspiration, to say the least.
It appears, while Washington continues to proclaim they have single-handedly 'isolated' Russia and crushed its economy, nations around the world continue to want to do business with Putin and his nation...
*SISI: RUSSIA, EGYPT AGREE ON FREE TRADE ZONE W/ EURASIAN UNION
*SISI STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF MILITARY COOPERATION W/ RUSSIA
Judging by the images of welcome on the streets of Cairo, the people of Egypt are anything but looking to 'isolate' Russia... even after the US "bailed them out" and they still have US-taxpayer-backed guaranteed bonds.
Just a flashing headline for now from Bloomberg citing AFP:
HOSTAGES TAKEN IN POST OFFICE IN PARIS SUBURB, POLICE SAY: AFP
Three people have been taken hostage by an unknown gunman at a post office in Colombes, a northwest suburb of Paris, French media reported. The gunman is armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, French RTL radio reports. He is holding from two to five people hostage, Le Figaro reports, citing police sources.
Update: Liberation now backtracking on the arrest report, saying this instead: The Interior Ministry denied the arrest of the suspects, but police sources, it was confirmed their location and identification.
Having managed to escape after their murderous rampage at the Charlie Hebdo offices, some were skeptical if the police would be able to catch the shooting suspects, who were identified minutes ago, alive. Moments ago French newspaper Liberation reported that the three suspects have indeed been arrested: google translated
The three suspects have been identified. This is Said K., born in 1980 in Paris, Sherif K., born in 1982 in Paris and Hamyd M., born in 1996. All three are from Gennevilliers (Hauts-de-Seine). They were reportedly arrested but no official confirmation comes in time for the Interior Ministry.
Note there is no official confirmation from French authorities yet so it is not exactly clear where Liberation is getting its information.
The oil price drop is a big problem - not just for Russia, or for the other over-levered emerging market currencies that stand to be traumatized by a rising dollar, but ultimately even for the US itself
Thanks to a 5-word text message to his father, a Bloomberg reporter was taken hostage by Ukrainian soldiers at a checkpoint near Donetsk. What ensued is both frightening and fascinating...
Who could have seen this coming? Following the US imposition of further sanctions on Russia last week, specifically the import of Kalashnikov firearms, CNN reports gun stores across the US are experiencing a run on AK-47s. Yet another unintended consequence of US foreign policy...
If you thought the latest round of US sanctions against some largely unknown Russians and a few new companies listed here, most notably Rosneft and Gazprombank - but not Gazprom, never Gazprom - that would cut off Russian gas to Europe and Merkel doesn't want that - would be largely a non-event, you are right. Unless you own a Kalashnikov, aka AK-47 rifle. In which case read on.
Just as they promised (and acting unilaterally as Europe declined to go along with The White House), President Obama has unleashed a set of 'sectoral' sanctions to wreak havoc in Russia. The sanctions include the standard travel bans but adds rules that block several of Russia's largest firms from American debt markets. The plan - to restrict funding availability for Russian firms to under 90-days - is however, dead-on-arrival. As we explained here, Russian companies, facing $115 billion of debt due over the next 12 months, will have the funds even if bond markets shut as "the amount of cash on balance sheets of Russian companies, committed credit lines from banks and the operating cash flows they will get is sufficient for the companies to comfortably service their liabilities." This will do nothing but raise Putin's ire even more.
This morning we were treated to the usual stupifying comments from Greek leadership that "Greece won't need more loans," and will "start becoming a normal country," because the Greek 'recovery' is "built on solid foundations." However, it appears the public-at-large is not so happy as the BBC reports shots were fired at the German ambassador's residence in Athens. Samaras said Greeks "have gone through hard times." With over 60 bullets fired, it seems the someone is upset that their union overlords won't lift those hard times anytime soon...
It is perhaps ironic that the creator of the AK-47 assault rifle, also known as the Kalashnikov named for its creator Mikhail Kalashnikov, and of which there are between 70 and 100 million in circulation making it the world's most popular weapon, has just passed away from what is essentially old age, at 94. "It is difficult and sad to realize that Mikhail Kalashnikov is no longer with us. We have lost one of the most talented, memorable and committed patriots of Russia, who served his country throughout his life,” said the statement from the press secretary of the Udmurtia administration Viktor Chulkov.
We have shown the recent surges in both sales and capitalization of several far, far smaller weapons-makers in the US: Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger (along with the world's seemingly inexorable demand for 'bulk ammo'), but one can only wonder whether the market cap. of Kalashnikov (the maker of the world's most popular rifle) would be greater than that of AAPL if the firm had been based in the US and gone public at inception.
- Investors Shift Money Out of China (WSJ)
- Rajoy Risks Riling ECB in Bid to Avoid Union Ire (Bloomberg)
- Romney-Ryan See Fed QE as Inflation Risk Amid Subdued Prices (Bloomberg)
- Spanish savers offered haircut then money back (FT)
- Must wipe all traces of illegality and settle for $25,000: Standard Chartered Faces Fed Probes After N.Y. Deal (BBG)
- Greece debt report backs cuts plan (FT)
- Greece seeks two-year austerity extension (FT)
- Brevan Howard Looks To U.S. To Raise Money For Currency Fund (Bloomberg)
- Can he please stop buying gold? Paulson, Soros Add Gold as Price Declines Most Since 2008 (Bloomberg)
- BOE Drops Reference to Rate Cut as It Considers Policy Options (Bloomberg)
- EU Banking Plans Asks ECB to Share Power, Documents Show (Bloomberg)
Earlier today, we remarked on the story of a 77-year old Greek, now identified as Dimitris Christoulas, who at around 9 am took his life in the middle of Athens' central Syntagma Square with a bullet to his head. His full suicide note has been released. The note, presented below, ends in a solemn call to arms to "hang the traitors of this country."