World Bank

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Guest Post: Russia Is Dominated By Global Banks, Too





As the Ukrainian crisis festers and other dangers in the Pacific and the Mideast grow, an odd consensus among alternative analysts is taking hold — namely the belief that President Vladimir Putin and Russia represent some kind of opposition to globalization and the rule of corporate financiers. Perhaps moments in Putin’s rhetoric have seduced elements of the Liberty Movement into assuming that Russia is a “victim” in the grand schemes of Western oligarchy and that Russia is truly the "white knight", the underdog willing to stand up against the New World Order. We're sorry to say that nothing could be further from the truth. Russia is just as much a tool of the global elite today as it was after the Bolshevik Revolution, and Vladimir Putin is just as much a socialist puppet as Barack Obama.

 
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Futures Surprise Nobody With Now Mundane Overnight Levitation





Being that markets are unrigged and all, at least according to every single proponent of HFT that is, futures have done their overnight levitation as they have every day for the past month driven by the one staple - the Yen carry trade - even if in recent days the broader market slump during the actual daytrading session mostly impacted biotechs yesterday. And since any news is good news, we don't expect today's main event, the ECB's rate announcement and Draghi press conference, both of which are expected to announce nothing new despite Europe's outright inflationary collapse which most recently dropped to 0.5%, the lowest since 2009.

 
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Guest Post: The Absurdity Of US Natural Gas Exports





Quiz - 1. How much natural gas is the United States currently extracting?

(a) Barely enough to meet its own needs
(b) Enough to allow lots of exports
(c) Enough to allow a bit of exports
(d) The United States is a natural gas importer

 
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Meanwhile, Tens Of Thousands Of Russian Troops Continue Piling Up At Ukraine's Borders - The Full Update





With Russia continuing to diplomatically assure the world that no invasion is pending, and rather comically asking for President Obama's benevolent aid in policing the treatment of Russians in non-Crimean Ukraine; it seems from all actions (as opposed to words) that Putin is pressing ahead with building his forces (up to 60,000) around the divided nation and as Dmitry Tymchuk notes, planning for invasion from Chernihiv to Donetsk. Internal politics continue to roil as Klitschko pulls out of the Presidential election (just as the US wanted) but we suspect the Ukrainians will be confused to discover their USA saviors have been spying on the future Premier Tymoshenko for years. The people of Ukraine are likely a little upset at We are sure Kerry and Lavrov will have plenty to discuss tomorrow in Paris and perhaps the following map will be a good starting point.

 
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And Now The Real Economic Pain Begins As IMF Unleashes $27BN Bailout In "Near Bankrupt" Ukraine





Gazprom must really be demanding payment on overdue Ukraine invoices which is the only way we can explain the unprecedented speed with which the IMF has managed to cobble together a makeshift bailout package of up to $27 billion - the bulk of which will naturally go to Russia - which has just made Ukraine its latest vassal state. There are of course, conditions: "Approval is “expected in April, following the authorities’ adoption of a strong and comprehensive package of prior actions aiming to stabilize the economy and create conditions for sustained growth,” IMF mission chief Nikolay Gueorguiev said in the statement. Disbursement may start next month, he said at a news conference in Kiev." And then comes the hyperinflation: "Monetary policy will target domestic price stability while maintaining a flexible exchange rate. This will help eliminate external imbalances, improve competitiveness, support exports and growth, and facilitate the gradual rebuilding of international reserves. The NBU plans to introduce an inflation targeting framework over the next twelve months to firmly anchor inflation expectations"...  Very high inflation targeting.

 
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Guest Post: Does The World Need China's Leadership?





For more than two decades China has abided by former leader Deng Xiaoping’s “keep a low profile” strategy in foreign affairs. But things are changing — China is ready to take on a leadership role in international affairs, and the world may benefit from it. Does the goal of a more stable and prosperous world necessitate a China that’s more active and assertive in global affairs.

 
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Beef Prices Surge Most In A Decade As Food Inflation Soars





Just a month ago we warned that food inflation was on its way. Today we got the first confirmation that problems are on their way. While headline data washes away the nuance of what eating, sleeping, energy-using human-beings are paying month-in and month-out, the fact, as WSJ reports, that beef prices surged by almost 5% in February - the biggest change since Nov 2003 - means pinching consumers and companies pocketbooks that are still grappling with a sluggish economic recovery. "Things are definitely more expensive," exclaimed on mother of three, "I can't believe how much milk is. Chicken is crazy right now, and beef - I paid $5 a pound for beef!" Just don't tell the Fed!

 
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Crimea's Economy Summarized





As the clock ticks down to tomorrow's Crimea referendum, where residents will vote to align with Russia or to stay in Ukraine, Russia Today looks at what the sunny Black Sea peninsula can offer economically and what ties it has with Moscow and Kiev. At first glance, Crimea has certain problems - a lack of energy, and more dangerously, freshwater resources. The republic's annual GDP is only $4.3 billion - 500 times smaller than the size of Russia’s $2 trillion economy. However, whatever the results of the referendum are, fixing the dilapidated state of infrastructure and transport could offer a real investment opportunity for both Russian companies and Crimean entrepreneurs.

 
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The Photo That Reveals Why US and EU Bankers Despise Russia's Putin So Much





Below is the photo that reveals why US and EU bankers despise Russian President Putin so much

 
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Why Bankers Want Control of Ukraine





We all know about the important military consequences of controlling Ukraine to the US and Russia, but an equally important and overlooked topic is why bankers want control of Ukraine’s monetary supply.

 
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G-7 Countries Put Sochi June Vacation Plans On Hold





By now it was only a formality, as the likelihood of the G-8 meeting taking place in Sochi in June, months after the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, was zero at best. So the fact that G-8, pardon, G-7 countries announced the halting of their preparation for a June vacation on the Black Sea should not surprise anyone.

 
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Look In The Mirror, America!





Listening to the media gleefully hype the numerous construction flaws and rumors of corruption at the Sochi Olympics, we couldn't help thinking that Americans in general have no clue about Russia.  Here are some of the similarities and differences... "Russia is rising.  Maybe we can give her a high five on our way down.  Instead of criticizing others, look in the mirror America."

 
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Guest Post: How To Dismantle The American Empire





U.S. foreign policy is aggressive, reckless, belligerent, and meddling. It sanctions the destabilization and overthrow of governments, the assassination of leaders, the destruction of industry and infrastructure, the backing of military coups, death squads, and drug traffickers, and imperialism under the guise of humanitarianism. It supports corrupt and tyrannical governments and brutal sanctions and embargoes. It results in discord, strife, hatred, and terrorism toward the United States. The question, then, is simply this: Can U.S. foreign policy be fixed? We propose a four-pronged solution from the following perspectives: Founding Fathers, military, congressional, libertarian.

 
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America's Make-Work Sectors (Healthcare & Higher Education) Have Run Out of Oxygen





If we strip away obscuring narratives, we can clearly see that the two employment sectors (healthcare and higher education) that have expanded rain or shine for decades have functioned as gigantic make-work projects. However, that growth has started to slow for the simple reason that they've run out of oxygen: we can no longer afford their expansion or their out-of-control costs. Much cheaper and more effective systems are within reach, if only we look past failed models and politically powerful cartels and fiefdoms.

 
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