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Putin To Head Military-Industrial Commission, Sees Nuclear Deterrence As Top Task





When we exposed the shift in Russia's military doctrine towards one of nuclear deterrence and pre-emptive strikes, many eschewed it as fantastical thinking of extremists. They were wrong. Speaking at a defense meeting this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he is taking charge of Russia's military-industrial complex:

*PUTIN SAYS NEW MILITARY DOCTRINE READY BY DEC, CALLS ENSURING NUCLEAR DETERRENT TOP DEFENSE TASK TO 2030

This does not seem like de-escalatory conversation as NATO continues to push - to justify its existence - and Putin now prepares an increasingly Cold-War-esque response threat (following an overnight nuclear missile test).

 
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Germany Openly Hostile To Putting Frenchman In Charge Of European Financial Affairs





Current finance minister Sapin, perhaps unsurprisingly, has admitted that France will miss EU deficit targets and needs more time to rein in public finances - proclaiming, as Reuters reports, that it may take until 2017 to bring it in line. Germany's response "nein, nein, nein" with Merkel demanding EU nations stick to commitments (rejecting any plans to 'bend rules') and Schaeuble blasting that Germany is "certain France is aware of its responsibilities." But the real stunner is that as France shows its utter ineptitude in managing an economy, EU President Juncker has placed former French finance minister Moscovici in charge of Europe's taxes and finances. German lawmakers exclaimed this is "not a wise personnel decision." The core splinters...

 
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Frontrunning: September 10





  • British PM begs Scots: Don't rip apart our UK 'family of nations' (Reuters)
  • Obama has become Bush: Obama’s Task: Rally U.S. Public, Allies in Terror Fight (BBG)
  • Alibaba's record IPO covered after first few roadshow meetings (Reuters)
  • Ferrari chairman Luca Di Montezemolo to quit after 23 years (BBC)
  • Combat Reversals Pressure Assad (WSJ)
  • Top LBO Fund Investors Pile on Leverage to Boost Returns (BBG)
  • BOJ's Iwata upbeat on economy, unfazed by post-tax hike slump (Reuters)
  • Carney Can’t Escape Housing as Debt Colors BOE Policy (BBG)
  • Detroit Clears Crucial Hurdle on Bankruptcy (NYT)
 
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Albania Central Bank Governor Arrested Over Theft Of $7 Million From Bank Vaults





About a month ago we mocked the Albanian central bank when reports emerged that "two employees" had been charged with the theft of some $6.6 million in cash from the bank's vaults. Specifically, back in July the arrests come five weeks after a worker at the central bank admitted to stealing money over the course of four years, taking new bank notes printed in Switzerland when they arrived at his workplace and replacing them with old books. As it turns out, since there is a central bank involved, there is once again more than meets the eye, and the story has since mutated into something far more grotesque than even we could imagine, with news coming out late last week and over the weekend that not only was the theft by "two employees" a misdirection, but that the guilty party was none other than the Albanian version of Janet Yellen, the governor of the central bank himself Ardian Fullani.

 
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Frontrunning: September 9





  • Showtime for Apple: Big phones, smart watches and high expectations (Reuters)
  • Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney Signals Spring Rate Rise (WSJ)
  • Quebec Shows Scots Question Returns Even If Answer Is No (BBG)
  • Hush money with a 9 year vesting period: Ex-SAC Fund Manager Martoma Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison (BBG)
  • Dreams on hold, Brazil's 'new middle class' turns on Rousseff (Reuters)
  • Fed to Hit Biggest U.S. Banks With Tougher Capital Surcharge (WSJ)
  • Egypt court sentences Brotherhood leader, cleric to 20 years in jail (Reuters)
 
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Merkel Ally Slams Draghi's Plan To "Buy Junk Paper"





While Italian and Spanish political (and business) leaders are lauding Mario Draghi's plan to buy more assets and print more money, it appears not everyone is so excited. As Reuters reports, Christian Social Union chairman and Bavaria state premier Horst Seehofer (who is well known as an ally of Angela Merkel), blasted the ECB's plan: "It's only going to frighten a lot of people when ECB chief Mario Draghi opens up the central bank's money tap and at the same time buys junk paper," somewhat breaking the political taboo of criticizing the potential independence of the central bank.

 
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"You Can Take Your Scottish Freedom... But You'll Never Take Our Gold"





We can see it now, a wine-stained David Cameron staggers slowly towards Hadrian's Wall eying the hordes of Scottish gentlefolk staring at him; he glances back at his supporters (who cheer somewhat begrudgingly) before rapidly returning his eyes to the Scots and proclaiming... "you can take your freedom; but you'll never take our... Gold." As Reuters reports, an independent Scotland could lay claim to a part of the United Kingdom's 310-tonne gold reserves if votes go in favour of the "Yes" campaign this month, with ownership of Britain's bullion hoard up for negotiation along with other assets.

 
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Anxious EU Leaders Delay Russian Sanctions For "Few Days"





Whether it is confidence in Poroshenko's statements that "the ceasefire is holding" or fears over Russia's threats of "asymmetric" retaliation, Europe's leaders - having convinced the Finns not to veto - emerged from their emergency meeting and declared tough new funding sanctions on Russia's big three oil companies... will be "delayed a few days." It would seem - as we noted earlier - Europe is debating whether or not it can last the winter cold better than Russia can withstand the funding lock.

 
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Miami Hospital Reports Potential Ebola Case





While details of the case and patient are not immediately known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier that a potential case of Ebola is being treated at a Miami-are hospital. This comes as the WHO reports a surge of "many thousands of new cases" in Liberia in recent days and fears rise that the dreadful disease could be spread by animals.

 
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ISIS Now Has A Navy, Launches Gunboat Attack Near Baghdad





First it was UN and US military hardware and artillery, second it was hijacked Syrian fighter jets, and now ISIS has 'commandeered' a Navy. As Reuters reports, Islamic State fighters attacked a riverside town north of Baghdad on Monday with gunboats and a car bomb, killing 17 people and wounding 54, a security source said. We anxiously await President Obama's Wednesday unveiling of the strategy to 'defeat' The Islamic State on land, and air, and now water...

 
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Frontrunning: September 8





  • Scotland split jitters send sterling to 10-month low (Reuters)
  • S&P 500 Beating World Most Since 1969 Doesn’t Spark Flows (BBG)
  • Happy ending guaranteed: Vietnam building deterrent against China in disputed seas with submarines (Reuters)
  • China Posts Record Surplus as Exports-Imports Diverge (Bloomberg)
  • Russia, U.S. to hold talks on 1987 arms accord (Reuters)
  • Halcon’s Wilson Drills More Debt Than Oil in Shale Bet (BBG)
  • Deadly Disappointment Awaits at Ebola Clinics Due to Lack of Space (WSJ)
  • Latinos furious at Obama on immigration delay, vow more pressure (Reuters)
  • Japan GDP Shrinks at Fastest Pace in More Than Five Years (WSJ)
 
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De-Dollarization Continues: China-Argentina Agree Currency Swap, Will Trade In Yuan





It appears there is another nation on planet Earth that is becoming isolated. One by one, Russia and China appear to be finding allies willing to 'de-dollarize'; and the latest to join this trend is serial-defaulter Argentina. As Reuters reports, China and Argentina's central banks have agreed a multi-billion dollar currency swap operation "to bolster Argentina's foreign reserves" or "pay for Chinese imports with Yuan," as Argentina's USD reserves dwindle. In addition, Argentina claims China supports the nation's plans in the defaulted bondholder dispute.

 
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NATO Allies Deny Ukraine Official's Claims Of Military Support





The constant to-and-fro of lies, propaganda, and misinformation continues among all sides in Ukraine; but this 'denial' occurred very rapidly. As Reuters reports, a senior aide to Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said on Sunday that Kiev had reached agreement during the NATO summit in Wales on the provision of weapons and military advisers from five member states of the alliance. However, four of those five swiftly denied making any such pledge.

 
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Putin, Poroshenko Speak; Kiev Church Says Russian "Under Satan's Spell", Locals Say "Ceasefire Just Theater"





So far, and contrary to most expectations, the latest ceasefire between Ukraine and the eastern separatists, which was announced early yesterday, has managed to hold up. "Contrary" because while it is the talking point of the west that it is Putin's desire to perpetuate the proxy civil war, in reality it was Ukraine's own troops who voiced against a ceasefire as we reported yesterday:  "A ceasefire would be a disaster, we would lose everything. By fighting we can resist the invasion and send them back. With a ceasefire they will consolidate and carry on after a while," said Ukrainian soldier Taras. Ironically, their rebel opponents share the same but opposite opinion: "The ceasefire is looking good for now but we know they (the Ukrainian side) are only using it to bring in more forces here and ammunition and then to hit us with renewed strength," said one rebel commander in Donetsk known by his nickname Montana. In other words, both sides believe their adversary is merely using the break in the fighting to regroup and reinforce. But for all the rhetoric and posturing, one person summarized it best: "This is no ceasefire but a theatre," said Donetsk resident Ksenia. "This war will go on for five to nine years. Slavs are killing Slavs, there can be nothing worse than that."

 
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