Reuters

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Ebola Devastates West Africa: Revenues Down; Markets Not Functioning; Projects Canceled; GDP Plunges 4%





The market, in its infinitely rigged wisdom, has concluded that the worst Ebola outbreak in history is a non-event, even though it has put virtually all of western Africa on indefinite lockdown, and as Reuters reports, is "causing enormous damage to West African economies and  draining budgetary resources." In fact the damage from Ebola to Africa is already so acute, it is expected that economic growth in the region will plunge by up to 4 percent as foreign businessmen leave and projects are canceled, according to the African Development Bank president said. Revenues are down, foreign exchange levels are down, markets are not functioning, airlines are not coming in, projects are being canceled, business people have left - that is very, very damaging," African Development Bank (AfDB) chief Donald Kaberuka said in an interview late on Tuesday.

 
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Frontrunning: August 27





  • Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base (Reuters)
  • Buffett Burger King Funds Flip Obama’s Inversion Calculus (BBG)
  • Equities Reach Record $66 Trillion as S&P 500 Hits 2,000 (BBG)
  • Central Banks Playing Own Version of Plaza-opoly With FX (BBG)
  • Russia court closes McDonald's branch for 90 days (Reuters)
  • Finland Says NATO an Option After Russia ‘Violates’ Border Laws (BBG)
  • Netanyahu Hit With Domestic Criticism Over Gaza Truce (BBG)
  • Biggest Danish Fund Readies for Rate Shock as Exit Narrows (BBG)
  • Nonprofit Hospitals' Profits Fall (WSJ)
 
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Meet ICREACH: The NSA's Own Secret "Google"





The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

 
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Are Political Winds Turning Against the Fed?





The popular view concerning the Fed is that it is apolitical. Anyone who considers the timing of the Fed’s actions knows this is false. However, for the vast majority of Americans, including financial professionals, the Fed is thought to be an apolitical entity focusing exclusively on economic and financial matters.

 
 
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Ukraine Releases Video Of Captured Russian Troops; They "Entered Accidentally" Russia Claims As Putin-Poroshenko Meeting Begins





A Moscow military source told Russian news agencies that a group of soldiers had surrendered to Ukrainian forces after crossing the border by accident. Needless to say, Ukraine didn't buy it: "This wasn't a mistake, but a special mission they were carrying out," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing. Russian news agencies quoted a defence ministry source as confirming that Russian servicemen had crossed into Ukraine but saying they did so inadvertently.  "The soldiers really did participate in a patrol of a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, crossed it by accident on an unmarked section, and as far as we understand showed no resistance to the armed forces of Ukraine when they were detained," the source said.

 
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Frontrunning: August 26





  • That will teach the UAE who's boss: U.S. Won’t Consult Syria on Militant Strikes: White House (BBG)
  • Putin Set to Meet Poroshenko as Ukraine Tensions Escalate (BBG)... but the de-escalation algo?
  • Tim Hortons’ Canadian Fans Squeamish of American Hookup (BBG)
  • Israeli air strikes target more Gaza high-rises (Reuters)
  • How Steve Ballmer Became a Rookie Basketball Mogul (WSJ)
  • Buffett to Help Finance Burger King Tax-Saving Deal (BBG)
  • U.S. Factories Keep Losing Ground to Global Rivals (WSJ)
  • Boehner, Camp Profit From Corporate Bid to Avoid U.S. Tax (BBG)
  • Experimental U.S. hypersonic weapon destroyed seconds after launch (Reuters)
  • The Neo-Neocons (WSJ)
 
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US Furious After Source Of "Mystery" Libya Bombing Raids Revealed





Over the past week a new geopolitical mystery emerged: an "unknown" party was launching airstrikes against Libya, which is already reeling in its latest political crisis. The strikes puzzled various media outlets, such as Reuters which over the weekend reported that "Unidentified war planes attacked positions of an armed faction in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday." This follows a similar report when on Monday, the government said unknown fighter jets had bombed positions from armed factions in Tripoli, an attack claimed by a renegade general in Benghazi. Turns out the renegade general was lying, and merely trying to take credit for another party's intervention. That party, or rather, parties has been revealed as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which "have secretly teamed up to launch airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli" And sure enough, "US diplomats were fuming about the airstrikes" as the US was never given advance notice of these attacks.

 
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Sanctions Costs: German Exports To Russia Collapse, "Risk 50,000 Jobs"





Just a month ago, Germany's powerful business lobby threw its weight behind tougher sanctions against Russia (dropping its previous objections). It appears they are now regretting that decision. As The Federation of German Industry (BDI) reports today, exports to Russia in H1 2014 dropped 15.5% from 2013 and "may drop by as much as 25% - posing a risk to 50,000 German jobs." We are sure, as Zee Germans look across the pond at the S&P 500 hitting record highs, BDI's conviction that Russia's action must face significant consequences may just fall apart again.

 
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London Mayor's Stunning Proposal: "Terrorist Until Proven Innocent"





With all of England on edge because the ISIS executioner of James Foley, known as "Jihadi John" sported a British accent, and who may or may not have been identified as Abdel-Majed Bary, although UK government sources have not yet officially revealed his identity, one person has decided it is time to not waste yet another crisis. The person: London mayor Boris Johnson who as the Guardian reports, has called for the presumption of innocence to be reversed in cases where Britons travel to Iraq or Syria and said he wants the jihadist who beheaded an American journalist to be killed in a bomb attack. If Johnson's proposal for a "swift and minor" law change passes, any Brit traveling to Iraq or Syria will automatically be branded a terrorist and suffer the appropriate consequences.

 
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France In "Political Turmoil" After Hollande Unexpectedly Dissolves Government





Earlier this morning, those expecting an out of control European deflationary tumble got one step closer to their goal when French President Francois Hollande asked his prime minister, who only assumed the post a few short months ago in March, to form a new government, following what Reuters reported was him "looking to impose his will on the cabinet after rebel leftist ministers had called for an economic policy U-turn" spearheaded by economy minister Arnaud Montebourg demanding an end to French "austerity." The Guardian is somewhat more direct and to the point: "France has entered uncharted political waters after the prime minister, Manuel Valls, presented his government's resignation amid a political crisis triggered by his maverick economy minister who called for an end to austerity policies imposed by Germany."

 
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Frontrunning: August 25





  • Jackson Hole Theme: Labor Markets Can’t Take Higher Rates (BBG), or anything else for that matter
  • Kidnappers free American missing in Syria since 2012 (Reuters)
  • More unpatriots: Burger King in merger talks with Canada's Tim Hortons (Reuters)
  • California Quake to Cost Insurers Up to $1 Billion, Eqecat Says (BBG)
  • Congo declares Ebola outbreak in northern Equateur province (Reuters)
  • Missouri Governor Defends Ferguson Prosecutor (BBG)
  • Kuroda Douses Japan Stimulus Expectations (WSJ)
  • London Jihadi Call Vies With Banks in Canary Wharf Shadow (BBG)
  • Netanyahu Signals Expansion of Air Attacks in Gaza (WSJ)
  • Libya's Islamist Militias Claim Control of Tripoli (WSJ)
 
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S&P 500 To Rise Above 2000 On Hopes Euro Collapse Accelerates, Euro Yields Hit New Records





It's been one of those days. First, the CME broke for 4 hours due to what some suggested were HFT connectivity issues, then Russia announced it would send a second humanitarian convoy into Ukraine (a big risk off move the first time it was announced, now not even an algo stirred), then Germany reported that the IFO Business Confidence/Climate dropped for the fourth consecutive month to 106.3 from 108.0, below the 107.0 expected, with the IFO chief economist stating that German GDP expectations are likely to be cut to 1.5% from 2.0% later in the year, and finally the French government collapsed due to disagreement over policy between finance minister Valls and economy minister Montebourg. All in all, a typical day in Europe's slow-motion implosion. So why are Spanish and Italian bank stocks soaring and European bond yields reaching new record highs? Simple: following Draghi's speech on Friday at Jackson Hole, which at initial read was hardly as dovish as many had expected, the FT and various other media outlets promptly changed the narrative and made it seem as if the ECB head was about to unleash QE.

 
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China Plans To Unveil Domestic "Operating System" In October





With Russia pushing to end its government's dependency on Microsoft's Operating System, it is perhaps not surprising (especially following the various raids that have been undertaken) that another BRICS member, as Reuters reports, China could have a new homegrown operating system by October to take on imported rivals such as Microsoft, Google, and Apple, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday. A spokesperson stated, China hoped domestically built software would be able to replace desktop operating systems within one to two years and mobile operating systems within three to five years.

 
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WHO Lied As Congo Admits To Ebola Outbreak While Ebola-Infected Brit Returns Home





It appears that yet another international organization has been caught lying. Three days ago, in a clear attempt to avoid spreading a panic, a WHO spokesman when asked if the latest Ebola-like disease to claims over 70 lives was the virus in question responded, "this is not Ebola." He lied:  Reuters confirms: Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province on Sunday after two out of eight cases tested came back positive for the deadly virus, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said. "I declare an Ebola epidemic in the region of Djera, in the territory of Boende in the province of Equateur," Kabange Numbi told a news conference. Sadly, this simply means that the WHO is just the latest global organization willing to sacrifice its credibility in order to avoid the spread of social panic, even though the truth always emerges in the end, and when society realizes it can't even trust those mandated with telling the truth, the end panic is orders of magnitude worse.

 
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India, Pakistan Intensify Shooting Across Border; Iran Downs Israel Drone; ISIS Seizes Military Airport





Since in the New Normal no geopolitical events appear to have any adverse impact on risk and asset prices (because the central banks are always there to protect investors should the market "plunge" by say 5%) with general newsflow completely irrelevant on what has been a straight line up in the S&P since the announcement of QE4 in December 2012, one might as well see how much further geopolitical events can be pushed further before it all crashes. In other words, time for this weekend's geopolitical update which covers everything from India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Syria and Qatar. 

 
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