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Hundreds Dead After Devastating Nepal Earthquake Topples Structures, Starts Avalanches





A little over four years after the devastating Japanese earthquake led to a tsunami that triggered the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, overnight Asia was once again the epicenter of a massive, 7.9 magnitude earthquake, this time not on the Pacific Rim but deep in the Himalayan mountain range, striking the small country of Nepal and sending tremors deep in Northern India, resulting in at least 449 deaths, countless injured, toppling a 19th-century tower in the capital Kathmandu and triggering avalanches on Mount Everest.

 
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An Austrian Province Just Requested A State Bailout





Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling has said repeatedly that the Austrian government isn’t liable to cover Carinthia’s guarantees." Herr Schelling's warning is about to be tested. Yesterday, Carinthia officially asked Vienna for financial support. The spokeswoman said Carinthia would run out of money in June without help, confirming local media reports. No Austrian province has ever gone bankrupt and there is no legislation on how to handle such an event.

 
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Puerto Rico Warns Of Imminent Government Shutdown Due To "Liquidity Crisis"





"A government shutdown is very probable in the next three months due to the absence of liquidity to operate," Puerto Rico's finance officials warn, in an effort to shock lawmakers into action and avoid a potential "PRimbo".

 
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Election ‘Chaos’ In UK Could Trigger ‘Lehman Moment’ For Pound





UK debt has continued to rise throughout the recovery and has soared to an eye-watering £1.48 trillion. In recent days, a slew of foreign exchange analysts have warned that the pound is vulnerable to falling in value. The incumbent government have not reined in public and trade deficits and have been accused of juicing the property market and the economy to postpone a crisis until after the election. 

 
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Frontrunning: April 24





  • Obama’s Drone-Strike Rules to Be Reviewed (WSJ)
  • Hostage locations difficult to track - and may be getting harder (Reuters)
  • Varoufakis Said to Take Hammering From Riled EU Ministers (BBG)
  • EU Frustration Mounts as Greeks Try to Bypass Aid Process (BBG)
  • Kleiner Perkins seeks almost $1 million in costs in Pao case (Reuters)
  • Google Misses, Caps Costs as Growth Slows (WSJ)... stock surges 
  • Oil prices trade near 2015 highs on Yemen worries (Reuters)
  • Pentagon Announces New Strategy for Cyberwarfare (NYT)
  • Bloomberg Oil at $65 Seen Freeing 500,000 Barrels From Shale Fracklog (BBG)
  • ‘Flash Crash’ Trader Navinder Sarao: It Was Wits, Not Bits (WSJ)
 
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Futures Fizzle After Greece "Hammered" In Riga, Varoufakis Accused Of Being "A Time-Waster, Gambler, Amateur"





Even though no rational person expected that the Greek situation would be resolved at today's talks in Riga, Latvia, apparently the algos were so caught up in spoofing each other to new record highs that futures, after surging once more overnight following the latest Google miss which sent the company and the Nasdaq soaring, actually dipped modestly into the red following headlines that the latest Greek talks have broken down after a "hostile" Troika "hammered" the Greek finmin, who was accused by European finmins of "being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur."

 
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Greek Bank Will Write Off Up To €20,000 In Debt For "Poverty-Stricken" Borrowers





Instead of merely plugging the hole left from declining liabilities (deposits), what the ECB's ELA funding appears to also be doing is compensating for a rapid write down in bank assets (loans) as well, in the form of charged off Non-Performing Loans. According to Reuters, one of the leading Greek financial institutions, Piraeus Bank will write off credit cards and retail loans up to 20,000 euros ($21,484) for Greeks who qualify for help under a law the leftist government passed to provide relief to poverty-stricken borrowers, it said on Thursday.

 
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China's "Animal Spirits" May Call For "Draconian" Measures To Curb Rally, UBS Says





“It’s absolutely possible we’ll see some draconian measures from the regulators,” a UBS strategist tells Bloomberg, referring to steps Beijing may have to take to curb China's equity mania. Meanwhile, in a new note, the bank says that "the challenge with almost all retail-driven liquidity rallies (like this one) is that they generally don't abide by the more fundamental rules we follow." It's all liquidity and "animal spirits" in China folks — look out below.

 
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Hillary's Charities Suffer A "Geithner Moment", Will Refile 5 Years Of Taxes





It appears as though Hillary Clinton may be witnessing her “Geithner moment,” because as Reuters reports, several Clinton family charities will now refile a half decade worth of returns after failing to report “tens of millions” in contributions from foreign governments.

 
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Frontrunning: April 23





  • Clinton charities will refile tax returns, audit for other errors (Reuters)
  • China Warns North Korean Nuclear Threat Is Rising (WSJ), or another country realizes war is the only "exit"
  • Shares, euro sag after euro zone PMIs disappoint (Reuters)
  • China Manufacturing Gauge Drops to Lowest Level in 12 Months (BBG)
  • Deutsche Bank Said to Pay $2.14 Billion in Libor Case (BBG), or roughly a €20,000 per banker "get out of jail" fee
  • Brazil’s Petrobras Reports Nearly $17 Billion in Asset and Corruption Charges (WSJ)
  • Can This Oil Baron’s Company Withstand Another Quake? (BBG)
  • Bad for Q1 GDP: Raytheon sales fall amid weak U.S. defense spending (Reuters)
 
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"China Has A Massive Debt Problem", And Why It Is About Get Much Massiver





"China has a $28 trillion problem. That’s the country’s total government, corporate and household debt load as of mid-2014... equal to 282 percent of the country’s total annual economic output," Bloomberg notes, adding that efforts to deleverage this massive debt burden aren't compatible with the measures Beijing needs to take to boost economic growth. But if you thought the debt problem was bad now, it's going to get worse because as Reuters notes, China is about to activate the ABS machine.

 
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When Did We All Become Murderers?





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.

 
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Mission Dis-Accomplished? Saudis Resume Bombing Yemen





Less than 24 hours after Yemen announced an end to Operation Decisive Storm and its airstrikes on Yemen - in hopes of initiating Operation New Hope aimed at resuming a political process - The NY Times reports, warplanes from a Saudi-led military coalition conducted airstrikes in the southwestern Yemeni city of Taiz on Wednesday. Mission Dis-accomplished or Operation 'Empire Strikes Back'?

 
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Frontrunning: April 22





  • Because it just gets funnier: UK speed trader arrested over role in 2010 'flash crash' (Reuters)
  • ... and funnier: Mystery Trader Armed With Algorithms Rewrites Flash Crash Story (BBG)
  • Presidential hopeful Rubio reaches out to gay Republicans (Reuters)
  • Varoufakis Sees Differences Narrowing in Creditor Talks (BBG)
  • China Debt Mess Brings Out the Yin and Yang in Policy Makers (BBG)
  • Hedge Fund That Made 18% on Dollar Strength Now Bets on Drop (BBG)
  • Whistleblower Jim Marchese Scores Millions in Payout—Again (WSJ)
  • Release of Benghazi Report on Hillary Clinton Likely Pushed to Election Season (BBG)
 
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Asian Euphoria Sends Nikkei Above 20,000, Fizzles In Europe On More Greek Fears; US Futures Down





Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.

 
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