Reuters

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De-escalation Delayed: NATO Chief Warns Again "High Probability" Of Russian Intervention In Ukraine





Deja vu all over again. Just as he stole the jam from the market's donut last week, NATO Chief Rasmussen has done it again:

NATO'S RASMUSSEN SEES "HIGH PROBABILITY" THAT RUSSIA COULD INTERVENE MILITARILY IN EASTERN UKRAINE

He also adds he sees no sign of troop withdrawal. So, despite the market's confidence that it's fixed and Putin has folded, it seems NATO is not so sure. Un-De-Escalation begins.

 
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Frontrunning: August 11





  • Maliki digs in as U.S. pushes for new Iraq government (Reuters)
  • Ukraine's forces say close to taking rebel-held Donetsk (Reuters)
  • Anger Over Michael Brown Shooting Leads to Looting (WSJ)
  • German Economy Backbone Bending From Lost Russia Sales (BBG)
  • Kinder Morgan to Consolidate Empire (WSJ)
  • Early Failure to Detect Gaza Tunnel Network Triggers Recriminations in Israel (WSJ)
  • You’ll never guess how much BuzzFeed raised from Horowitz (FT)
  • The dumb money is now chasing Chinese oligarchs: Norway’s Wealth Fund Buys $576 Million of Mayfair Area (BBG)
  • Clinical trial to start soon on GSK Ebola vaccine (Reuters)
  • No drone skeet shooting any time soon (WSJ)
 
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Military Coup In Iraq: Prime Minister Maliki Refuses To Step Down; Security Forces On Alert, Encircle Presidential Palace





Just days after the US launched a campaign that implicitly aides the current regime headed by the supposedly outgoing PM, al-Maliki, it appears that latest US intervention has already led to "unexpected" consequences, this time with the prime minister appearing to have just staged a coup overthrowing Iraq's president President Fouad Massoum moments ago.

 
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Guest Post: The U.S. Airstrikes In Northern Iraq Are All About Oil





This week, President Barack Obama announced that he was authorizing American airstrikes in Iraq. He described his intervention as a “humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain” and as an effort “to protect our American personnel.” One word that he didn’t mention is “oil,” but it lies near the center of American motives for intervention.

 
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Hundreds Of Yazidis Found In ISIS Mass Grave, Many Buried Alive





If the stated purpose of US intervention in the "country formerly known as Iraq", which saw the fourth consecutive US president launching military strikes in a nation now absolutely destroyed thanks to US involvement, was humanitarian (it isn't) and allegedly to "protect" the Yazidi ethnic minority members stuck on a mountain near Sinjar, then it needs some fine-tuning. The reason: as Reuters reports, Islamic State militants have slaughtered at least 500 Yazidis during their latest offensive in the north, with Iraq's human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani adding that the ISIS jihadists also buried alive some of their victims, including women and children. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he added.

 
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Gold Breaks Out As Tensions In Middle East, With Russia Intensify - Technicals and Fundamentals Positive





Gold is nearly 2% higher this week and its technical position has further improved (see key charts). On Wednesday, gold broke out of bullish descending wedge chart pattern that has formed in recent months. Another buy signal for gold came when gold rose above the 20 EMA and 50 EMA (exponential moving averages). Also positive is the fact that the price momentum oscillator (PMO) has turned up, indicating that a positive momentum shift has occurred.

 
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Nigeria Declares "State Of Emergency" As Study Finds West African Ebola Virus Is Previously Undetected "New Strain"





Following the WHO's warnings, (the ironically named) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a "state of emergency" over the Ebola outbreak that is rapidly escalating in his nation. This comes on the heels of a US medical journal study that finds, as Reuters reports, the Ebola virus that is ravagaing West Africa was not imported from Central Africa but caused by a "new strain" of the disease - raising the specter of further regional epidemics.

 
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Iraq Airstrikes Begin Despite Warning ISIS Retaliation Could Put Baghdad Underwater





Pentagon Press Secretary Admiral John Kirby confirms:

US military aircraft conduct strike on ISIL artillery. Artillery was used against Kurdish forces defending Erbil, near US personnel.

2 F-18A Aircraft dropped 500lb bombs. We anxiously await ISIS' response which - as the State Department warns "could leave Mosul under 100 feet of water."

 
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WHO Declares "Health Emergency", Admits "Stretched To Limit" On "Out Of Control" Ebola Outbreak As Nigeria Cases Soar





CDC Director Frieden's worst nightmare is coming true - Nigeria, of which he was "deeply concerned" due to the population density in Lagos for instance, has admitted 139 patients are now being monitored for Ebola (up from 8 mere days ago). This, along with "the outbreak moving faster than we can control it," drive the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare West Africa's Ebola epidemic, an "extraordinary event" and now constitutes an international health risk. As Reuters reports, the agency said that, all states with Ebola transmission - so far Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone - should declare a national emergency, as former WHO official warned "governments appear to not have been engaged as necessary."

 
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Frontrunning: August 8





  • Pope Francis calls for action as Iraqi Christians forced to flee (Reuters)
  • Richest Russians Deprived of Luxury Foods by Putin’s Ban (BBG)
  • Exxon Drilling Russian Arctic Shows Sanction Lack Bite (BBG)
  • Israeli Jets Strike Gaza Targets After Rockets Shatter Truce (BBG)
  • U.S. starts aid airdrops in Iraq but no strikes yet (Reuters)
  • Banks Said to Be Arranging Argentine Debt Buyer Group (BBG)
  • Siberia Flight-Ban Threat Forces Airlines to Mull Options (BBG)
  • Malaysia Airlines to Be Delisted in $429 Million Buyout (BBG)
  • Erdogan poised to win Turkey's first popular presidential vote (Reuters)
  • African Bank Fights Collapse in Espirito Santo-Like Drama (BBG)
  • China to build lighthouses on five isles in defiance of U.S. call (Reuters)
 
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70% Of Americans Believe Illegal Immigrants Threaten Way Of Life





In recent weeks, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, President Obama and congressional Republicans have begun to offer the same simple-sounding solution for dealing with the flood of children crossing the U.S. border alone: Send the kids home. But with tens of thousands of them churning through the system, some just toddlers, the logistics are overwhelming. Since October, more than 57,000 children have arrived by themselves, most from Central America (as we show below), and 22,000 more have been detained with their parents (mostly children under 12). The American people appears considerably more concerned than the politicians - a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows 70% of Americans - including 86% of Republicans - believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs.

 
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Separatist Donetsk People's Republic Gets A New Leader "To Beef Up The Military Wing"





A few hours ago, the existing head of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic in East Ukraine, Aleksander Borodai, current head of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR), and one of the Russian nationals that have taken top roles among the pro-Russia rebels, was said to be quitting his post. Moments ago RIA confirmed that Borodai is indeed out and would be replaced with Alexander Zakharchenko, a native of Donetsk, who heads a heavily armed rebel unit called Oplot. Contrary to some early erroneous speculation that this replacement is a sign of moderation of hostilities, Reuters reports, citing a source, that "He is being named to beef up the military wing."

 
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Unintentional Headline Humor Du Jour





Presented without comment.

 
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Frontrunning: August 7





  • Russia bans all U.S. food, EU fruit and vegetables in sanctions response (Reuters)
  • Snowden receives three-year Russian residence permit (Reuters)
  • Headline of the day: Europe's Recovery Menaced by Putin as Ukraine Crisis Bites (BBG)
  • Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy (Reuters)
  • Almost 90% of Uninsured Won't Pay Penalty Under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 (WSJ)
  • Germany’s Bond Advance Sends 2-Year Note Yield Below Zero (BBG)
  • Gaza War’s Critics in Crosshairs as Israelis Back Offensive (BBG)
  • The 1% May Be Richer Than You Think, Research Shows (BBG)
  • Bank of America Near $16 Billion to $17 Billion Settlement (WSJ)
  • Deep Water Fracking Next Frontier for Offshore Drilling (BBG)
 
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China's "Prelude To A Storm" As Record Private Bonds Mature





With Shanghai having limited retail exposure to high-yield bonds, and the Chinese corporate bond market has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest and is set to soak up a third of global company debt needs over the next five years, it is no wonder that, as Bloomberg reports, analysts fear "a prelude to a storm." Privately issued notes totaling 6.2 billion yuan ($1 billion) come due next quarter, the most since authorities first allowed such offerings from small- to medium-sized borrowers in 2012. This week a 4th issuer has faced a "payment crisis" and while officials are trying to expand financing for small companies (which account for 70% of China's economy, with debt-to-equity ratios exceeding 200%, this is nothing but more ponzi. As Goldman warns, it appears China's Minsky Moment is drawing near (as the hangover from Q1's credit impulse kicks in).

 
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