en Search For Disappeared Air Asia Flight Suspended: Summary Of The Facts So Far <p>About 12 hours after AirAsia flight QZ8501 with 162 people on board disappeared and lost all contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 6:17 am local time (11:17 pm GMT Saturday), the aircraft searching for any clue of what may happened to the second unexplained disappearance of an airplane flying in the region, have been called off due to nightfall even as ships will continue their search through the night. As Sky News reported, "Rescuers scouring the Java Sea have halted their search because it is getting dark, Indonesia's transport ministry said.&nbsp; Hadi Mustofa said: "We ended at 5:30 pm (1030 GMT) because it was getting dark. The weather was also not too good as it was getting really cloudy. "Tomorrow we will begin at 7 am, or even earlier than that if the weather is good."</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="272" /></a></p> <p>For those who missed the <a href="">coverage last night</a>, here is what is known so far, <a href="">via Reuters</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501, an Airbus 320-200 carrying 155 passengers and seven crew, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 6:17 a.m. (2317 GMT on Saturday). No distress signal had been sent, said Joko Muryo Atmodjo, an Indonesian transport ministry official.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On board were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain, plus a French pilot, the airline said in a statement, correcting earlier information. Tatang Kurniadi, head of Indonesia's National Committee of Safety Transportation, expressed hope of locating the aircraft quickly and said it was too early to detect any of the so-called electronic pings from its black box recorder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We are using our capacity to search on sea and land. Hopefully we can find the location of the plane as soon as possible," he told a news conference."What I need to emphasize is until now, we have not found out how the plane fell or what kind of emergency it was."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Indonesia AirAsia is 49 percent owned by Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia (AIRA.KL), which has had a clean safety record since it began operating 13 years ago. The AirAsia group also has affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India. The aircraft had accumulated approximately 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights, according to Airbus (AIR.PA).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pilots of QZ8501 "was requesting deviation due to en-route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost," the airline said in a statement. Singapore, Malaysia, Britain, South Korea and Australia offered to help in the search and any investigation. Malaysia said it was sending vessels and a C130 aircraft while Singapore had also sent a C130. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a P3 Orion aircraft was on standby if needed.</p> </blockquote> <p>The suggested location of the disappearance is shown in the map below: Flight QZ8501 was between Tanjung Pandan on Indonesia's Belitung island and Pontianak, in West Kalimantan province on Borneo - almost halfway between Surabaya and Singapore - when it went missing. There was bad weather over Belitung at the time and the aircraft had been flying at 32,000 feet before asking to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid clouds.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="281" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes said it is too early to say what happened to flight QZ8501 and every assistance must be given to the search and rescue effort some are thanking their lucky stars they avoided it in the last moment: </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>A man named Purnomo told TVOne in Surabaya of a lucky escape. "I should have been on the flight," he said. "We, seven people, had planned to go to Singapore for vacation but this morning I had an emergency. I had my passport in hand."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tony Fernandes, chief of Malaysia's AirAsia, said he was heading to Surabaya. "My only thoughts are with the passengers and my crew. We put our hope in the SAR (search and rescue) operation and thank the Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysian governments," he said on Twitter.</p> </blockquote> <p>Others were not so lucky:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Louise Sidharta was at Singapore's Changi Airport waiting for her fiancée to return from a family holiday. "It was supposed to be their last vacation before we got married," she said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Some other known facts: the pilot of the missing plane had 20,000 hours of flying experience - 7,000 of which were with AirAsia. It has yet to be revealed if like the pilot of missing flight MH-370 he too had a flight simulator at home on which he was training landing at unexpected venues. As a reminder, 9 months later there is still no trace of the missing MH-370, which as we reported recently, a former airline CEO shocking claimed it was shot down by the US.</p> <p>Below is the plane's full Flight Dispatch Release courtesy of <a href="">Aviation Safety</a>.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="354" /></a></p> <p>And the flight's Load and Trim Sheet:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="629" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That largely covers the facts. And now the unconfirmed speculation begins. According to a report in <a href="">the Malaysian Insider</a>, a family member claims receiving text message missing plane safe citing Indonesian news portal </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>It reported from Surabaya that a family of a missing passenger received a glimmer of hope via a Blackberry Messenger (BBM) text. The portal quoted Intan, the sister of passenger Martinus Djomy as saying: "Kabarnya mendarat darurat di Belitung Timur, semua selamat. Tapi kita tetap butuh kepastian." </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(We got word that that the plane made an emergency landing in Belitung Timur, everyone is safe. But we still need to be sure.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Intan said she learned about this from a friend who sent her the text message via BBM. Her brother Martinus was travelling to Singapore with his wife, child and babysitter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> reported that the piece of information was passed on to the authorities at the crisis centre in Juanda. The news portal added that unfortunately, there remains no confirmation from relevant authorities whether the information was accurate or otherwise. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a separate story, also quoted Nasional Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) Jakarta chief Sutrisno as saying that the agency's radar did not detect the flight's Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT). </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said the ELT would go off if there was impact or if the plane had gone under water. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"If the plane landed smoothly on water, it wouldn't have gone off, unless the device was not working. It didn't go off so Basarnas doesn't know its position now," Detik quoted him as saying.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to a separate and largely <a href="">contradictory report from IBT</a>, a loud bang was reportedly heard by fishermen over Belitung Island at around 07:00 to 08:00 in the morning, Indonesian news website Bangka Tribun News reported.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"There are fishermen who heard the explosion, but not yet certain. Its location is near the island of Jackfruit," a member of Tagana Beltm told the website. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The flight was reportedly over the Java Sea between Kalimantan and Java islands when it lost contact. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the fishermen could not ascertain the source of the explosion and assumed that the bang came from within a five-mile radius between Coconut Island and Bird Bath Beach, Damar. Belitung is an island on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, in the Java Sea.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The fishermen who were at sea engaged in their regular fishing activities near Coconut Island also claim that the explosion was quite powerful.</p> </blockquote> <p>Considering the numerous unconfirmed reports that sprung up in the aftermath of the MH-370 disappearance, this is only the beginning. </p> <p>More on the missing flight as we see it. </p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="976" height="530" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Australia India Reuters Twitter Twitter Sun, 28 Dec 2014 14:57:15 +0000 Tyler Durden 499615 at Supreme Court Rules Police Can Violate The 4th Amendment (If They Are Ignorant Of The Law) <p><a href=";id=22d4524f6b"><em>Via The Rutherford Institute</em></a>,</p> <h2 class="h2" style="color: #202020;display: block;font-family: Arial;font-size: 18px;font-weight: bold;line-height: 100%;margin-top: 0;margin-right: 0;margin-bottom: 10px;margin-left: 0;text-align: left;">U.S. Supreme Court Rules 8-1 that Citizens Have No Protection Against Fourth Amendment Violations by Police Officers Ignorant of the Law</h2> <p>WASHINGTON, D.C. &mdash; <strong>In a blow to the constitutional rights of citizens, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in <em>Heien v. State of North Carolina</em> that police officers are permitted to violate American citizens&rsquo; Fourth Amendment rights if the violation results from a &ldquo;reasonable&rdquo; mistake about the law on the part of police. </strong>Acting contrary to the venerable principle that &ldquo;ignorance of the law is no excuse,&rdquo; the Court ruled that evidence obtained by police during a traffic stop that was not legally justified can be used to prosecute the person if police were reasonably mistaken that the person had violated the law. The Rutherford Institute had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hold law enforcement officials accountable to knowing and abiding by the rule of law. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Court&rsquo;s lone dissenter, warned that the court&rsquo;s ruling &ldquo;means further eroding the Fourth Amendment&rsquo;s protection of civil liberties in a context where that protection has already been worn down.&rdquo;</p> <p><u><a href="" style="color: #336699;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;">The Rutherford Institute&rsquo;s <em>amicus</em> brief in <em>Heien v. North Carolina</em> is available at</a></u>.</p> <p><em><strong>&ldquo;By refusing to hold police accountable to knowing and abiding by the rule of law, the Supreme Court has given government officials a green light to routinely violate the law,&rdquo;</strong></em> said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of the award-winning book <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1590799755&amp;link" style="color: #336699;font-weight: normal;text-decoration: underline;"><u><em>A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State</em></u></a>. <strong><em>&ldquo;This case may have started out with an improper traffic stop, but where it will end&mdash;given the turbulence of our age, with its police overreach, military training drills on American soil, domestic surveillance, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, wrongful convictions, and corporate corruption&mdash;is not hard to predict. This ruling is what I would call a one-way, nonrefundable ticket to the police state.&rdquo;</em></strong></p> <p>In April 2009, a Surry County (N.C.) law enforcement officer stopped a car traveling on Interstate 77, allegedly because of a brake light which at first failed to illuminate and then flickered on. The officer mistakenly believed that state law prohibited driving a car with one broken brake light. In fact, the state traffic law requires only one working brake light. Nevertheless, operating under a mistaken understanding of the law, during the course of the stop, the officer asked for permission to search the car. Nicholas Heien, the owner of the vehicle, granted his consent to a search. Upon the officer finding cocaine in the vehicle, he arrested and charged Heien with trafficking. Prior to his trial, Heien moved to suppress the evidence seized in light of the fact that the officer&rsquo;s pretext for the stop was erroneous and therefore unlawful. Although the trial court denied the motion to suppress evidence, the state court of appeals determined that since the police officer had based his initial stop of the car on a mistaken understanding of the law, there was no valid reason for the stop in the first place. <strong>On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that even though the officer was wrong in concluding that the inoperable brake light was an offense, because the officer&rsquo;s mistake was a &ldquo;reasonable&rdquo; one, the stop of the car did not violate the Fourth Amendment and the evidence resulting from the stop did not need to be suppressed.</strong> In weighing in on the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Rutherford Institute attorneys warn against allowing government agents to &ldquo;benefit&rdquo; from their mistakes of law, deliberate or otherwise, lest it become an incentive for abuse.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Affiliate attorney Christopher F. Moriarty assisted The Rutherford Institute in advancing the arguments in the <em>amicus </em>brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="592" height="373" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Corruption Washington D.C. Sun, 28 Dec 2014 04:40:34 +0000 Tyler Durden 499612 at Air Asia Confirms Lost Contact With Indonesia Flight After Crew Asked For "Unusual Route", 155 Passengers On Board <p>UPDATE: <strong>*SINGAPORE AVIATION: SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS ACTIVATED<br /></strong></p> <p><strong>An Air Asia Indonesia flight from Surabaya in east Java to Singapore carrying 155 passengers has gone missing</strong>, Air Asia has confirmed. As Bloomberg reported, the flight departed Surabaya at 5:20am local time and lost contact soon after... Contact was lost at 6:17 a.m. local time (23:17 GMT on Saturday),<strong> after the crew asked for an “unusual route.” </strong><em>The latest discussions are that the loss of contact could be weather-related.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=";feedName=topNews&amp;utm_source=twitter"><em>As Reuters reports...</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>AirAsia flight number QZ8501, bound from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore, has lost contact with air traffic control, the airline has confirmed. The missing flight is an Airbus A320-200 with 155 people on board,</strong> Reuters reports.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The plane lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control on Sunday, Indonesian media said,</strong> citing Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mustofa said the contact was lost at 6:17 a.m. local time (23:17 GMT on Saturday),<strong> after the crew asked for an “unusual route.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to an unnamed Indonesian transport official,<strong> there are 155 passengers and crew aboard the plane. </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The flight was due to land in Singapore at 8:30 a.m. local time (00:30 GMT) and was listed as “delayed.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>The missing flight's path before losing contact..</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="535" height="338" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and while previous flight paths show fading coverage, it would have been picked up again by now...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Look at previous <a href="">#QZ8501</a> flights shows <a href="">@flightradar24</a> has weak coverage in area, but would have been picked up again. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) <a href="">December 28, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Air Asia has confirmed via the following statement...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>JUST IN: <a href="">@AirAsia</a> confirms flight <a href="">#QZ8501</a> from Indonesia to Singapore missing <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) <a href="">December 28, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>MISSING PLANE AIR ASIA <a href="">#QZ8501</a>:&#10;- 6 crew members&#10;- 138 adults&#10;- 16 children&#10;- 1 baby&#10;- 3 Koreans&#10;- 1 Singaporean&#10;- 1 Briton&#10;- 1 Malaysian</p> <p>&mdash; Breaking News Feed (@PzFeed) <a href="">December 28, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></p><p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>The latest thoughts are that the disappearance could be weather-related...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Satellite image around time <a href="">#AirAsia</a> flight went missing, very vigorous thunderstorms (black) north of Surabaya <a href=""></a></p> <p>— James Reynolds (@EarthUncutTV) <a href="">December 28, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>There have been 85 large aircraft disappearances since 1948...</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="742" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="535" height="338" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Reuters Twitter Twitter Sun, 28 Dec 2014 04:16:09 +0000 Tyler Durden 499614 at North Korea Trolls Obama: Compares US President To "A Monkey In A Tropical Jungle" <p>While it is certain that in a few weeks, not even America's staunchest "patriots" will remember <em>The Interview</em>, one thing is certain: the trolling comedy that has been unleashed by North Korea in response to Obama's own "proportional response" will live in infamy for a long time. Case in point, North Korea's full official statement following the re-release of the The Interview, which hit select theaters on Christmas day, just as initially scheduled despite the endless drama, as well as countless streaming distribution services (which at a rental price of $5.99 promptly made it the <a href="">most pirated movie of 2014</a>, despite an epic marketing campaign that essentially made it unpatriotic for Americans not to see the movie). </p> <p>So the movie came and went, but not before for some inexplicable reason, "<em>an unknown</em>" power decided to escalate matters further and following the FBI's and Obama's threat for a "proportional response", killed North Korea's internet for hours, because surely that will teach those evil North Korean hackers to never again mess with one of the world's most powerful transnational corporations, and halt future dissemination of emails revealing Sony Pictures' execs as a bunch of coddled racists. Or, as the administration called it, a "<em>matter of national security." </em></p> <p>To be sure, North Korea did not keep quiet through this entire farce, and while it made it very clear that it had nothing to do with the Sony hack, it did demand a full UN-backed investigation, a proposal quickly shot down by none other than the US which always demands full "transparency" of all actions except when actions are its own, or when the resulting transparency would shine an unwanted light on the hypocrisy behind US national interests. Furthermore, in its first statements regarding The Interview, North Korea was actually quite cordial, and said nothing offensive regarding Obama.</p> <p>All that changed overnight when in its first official statement since its Internet went dark - something which if indeed North Korea did not hack Sony, as it claims, would be seen as a clear act of war if it were to happen to <em>any </em>other "developed" country - North Korea finally lost it and decided that the time to troll the US president has finally arrived, when, as the TV anchor says beginning 1:10 minutes in the clip blow, "<em>Obama always goes reckless in speech and action <strong>like a monkey in a tropical jungle.</strong></em>" </p> <p>Clearly, North Korea has had enough, and as the Former British ambassador to <a href="">North Korea John Everard said</a>, "they have calculated there is nothing to be gained from trying to be nice to him." That, and it also shows that not even deep technological backwaters, countries which <a href="">barely have night-time lighting </a>let alone supercomputers needed to bypass state of the art firewalls, have no fear, or respect, of the current iteration of the world's most powerful man. </p> <p>What is perhaps even more disturbing is that while replete with the usual propaganda, the North Korean statement actually made some valid points. From the statement:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"We'd like to ask if somebody made a film concerning terror, and if somebody intends to instigate terror to do harm, can Obama talk about freedom of expression and value of modern civilization. We take this opportunity to clearly announce once again: the hacking attack on Sony Pictures has nothing to do with us. We make it clear that our target is not such individual corporations as Sony Picture but the US imperialist brigands who left grudge on our entire nation. <strong>If the US intends to insist that we are the hacking attackers they must present evidence now.</strong>&nbsp; Actually the big United States shamelessly began to obstruct the internet operations of major media of the DPRK like hide and seek of innocent children. We have already warned them not to act in the way of shaking fist after being hit by somebody. Of course, we do not expect our warning would work on the brigands because it is the United State that makes truth recognized by all people falsehood, triggers a war of aggression, and unhesitatingly intervenes in the internal affairs of a sovereign state if it is to satisfy their aggressive ambitions."</p> </blockquote> <p>The trolling continued: <strong>"If the US persists in American-style arrogant, high-handed and gangster-like arbitrary practices despite (North Korea's) repeated warnings, the US should bear in mind that its failed political affairs will face inescapable deadly blows</strong>."</p> <p>The full trolling statement below:</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>So what was the immediate response to the North Korean statement comparing Obama to a monkey, and the US to a schoolyard bully? Well, as <a href="">reported earlier</a>, "someone" managed to take down not only the communist country's internet but all its cell phone service. </p> <p>And while Obama has yet to respond to North Korea's latest escalation in trolling, if not hacking, the president did take the time to provide some propaganda of his own, not surprisingly on a very contextual topic, and one very near and dear to Obama's heart: <em><strong>race</strong></em>. In fact his statement to NPR, as <a href="">reported by The Hill</a>, was no less laughable: "<strong>President Obama believes that the United States is less racially divided than when he took office in 2009</strong>. Asked in an NPR interview set to air starting Monday whether the nation is more racially divided than six years ago, Obama said "No."</p> <p>"<strong>I actually think that it's probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided," </strong>Obama told "Morning Edition" host Steve Inskeep. Excerpts of the interview were released before broadcast by NPR.</p> <p>And while there is Obama's version of reality, where his favorite TV channel, ESPN, apparently does not cover events like Ferguson or the slaying of NYPD cops, for everyone else things are different: a majority of Americans, 53 percent, believe that race relations have worsened under America's first black president, compared to 36 percent who say they have stayed the same and 9 percent who say they have improved, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll released earlier this month. </p> <p>The NPR interview took place Dec. 18, a day after People magazine published remarks by the president and first lady Michelle Obama saying that they themselves had experienced racial prejudice. </p> <p>"I think people forget that we've lived in the White House for six years," the first lady said.&nbsp; <strong>"Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs,"</strong> she added. </p> <p>"There's no black male my age, who's a professional, who hasn't come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn't hand them their car keys," the president said.</p> <p>Perhaps, or perhaps this is merely another example of "<em>reckless speech and action</em>" just like North Korea alleged, all designed to stoke, not sooth, racial conflict and hatred in America. </p> <p>At the end of the day the only real question is whose propaganda is more convincing (or at least more amusing): </p> <p><em>His</em>.</p> <p> <a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="364" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Or his:</em></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="490" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="880" height="634" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama national security None North Korea President Obama Reality Transparency White House Sun, 28 Dec 2014 02:58:07 +0000 Tyler Durden 499613 at After Hong Kong's "Money Drop", 2 Arrested For 'Picking Up' $2 Million <p><a href=""><em>As we reported Christmas Day</em></a>, the streets of Hong Kong's Wan Chai district were awash with cash when a security van accidentally 'spilled' millions of dollars scattered among busy traffic. Onlookers rapidly 'picked up' the spilled cash but <a href="">as RT reports,</a> Christmas joy was short-lived for two people, who scavenged almost $2 million dollars in cash. <em><strong>"We found the money stored under the bed at their homes and they admitted they took the money on Gloucester [Road] after getting off the taxi they were in,"</strong></em> Police Chief Inspector Addy Li Chi-kin said at a media briefing. <em>The 'scavengers' were clearly not Keynesian economists who would have passed-by the money assuming someone else would have picked it up.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="337" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As RT reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Christmas joy was short-lived for two people, who scavenged almost $2 million dollars in cash after a security van’s faulty backdoor scattered money all over the road.</strong> The two have been arrested after piles of bills were found under their beds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A 43-year-old businessman and a 36-year-old cosmetologist were passengers in a taxi that passed by Gloucester Road, near Hong Kong’s financial district, when an estimated sum of 15 million Hong Kong dollars (US$1.9 million) accidentally spilled on the highway on Christmas Eve</strong>. The security van transporting the cash contained a total of HK$270 million (over $34 million), according to police.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"<strong>We found the money stored under the bed at their homes and they admitted they took the money on Gloucester [Road] after getting off the taxi they were in,</strong>" Police Chief Inspector Addy Li Chi-kin said at a media briefing, as cited by South China Morning Post.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><strong>At least 30 people have returned a total of HK$5.69 million ($733,299) to police officials.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Li added that police officials will arrest “as soon as possible” all those people identified picking the cash up on Christmas Eve.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Media reports state the van had a faulty rear gate, which led to piles of money falling out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A witness told the South China Morning Post that <strong>most of the cash “was gone within minutes.”</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>“There were 20 or 30 people picking up cash from the road on Christmas Eve. They looked like school kids who knew they were being naughty, but thought: “ ‘This is once in a lifetime thing.’ Everyone had the same look on their face.”</strong></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Bank of China (BOCHK) said the <strong>security service company G4S had promised to pay for all the losses.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="">#Christmas</a> comes early to <a href="">#HongKong</a>, folks grab cash after bank truck spills <a href=""></a> via <a href="">@CoconutsHK</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Coconuts Bangkok (@CoconutsBangkok) <a href="">December 25, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="690" height="388" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> China Hong Kong Twitter Twitter Sun, 28 Dec 2014 02:00:02 +0000 Tyler Durden 499608 at The Keynesian End Game Crystalizes In Japan’s Monetary Madness <p><em><a href="">Submitted by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog</a></em>,</p> <p><strong>If the BOJ&rsquo;s mad money printers&nbsp;were treated as monetary pariahs by the rest of the world, it would at least&nbsp;imply that a modicum of sanity remains on the planet.</strong>&nbsp;But just the opposite is the case.&nbsp;Establishment&nbsp;institutions like the IMF, the US treasury and the other&nbsp;major central banks urge them on, while the Keynesian arson squad led by Professor Krugman actually&nbsp;faults&nbsp;Japan for being too tepid with its &ldquo;stimulus&rdquo;.</p> <p><strong>Now comes&nbsp;several new&nbsp;data points that absolutely&nbsp;confirm Japan is a financial mad house&mdash;-even as its policy model is embraced by mainstream officials and analysts peering from a distance.</strong> Front and center is the newly reported fact from&nbsp;the Cabinet Office that Japan&rsquo;s household savings rate plunged to minus 1.3% in the most recent fiscal year, thereby entering negative territory for the first time since records were started in 1955.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" class="rg_i alignleft" data-="" data-sz="f" name="x5h2kBYBTtfo3M:" src="" style="height: 391px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Indeed, Japan had been heralded as a nation of savers only a generation ago. </strong>During the era before&nbsp;it&rsquo;s plunge into bubble finance in the late 1980s,&nbsp;households&nbsp;routinely saved 15-25% of&nbsp;income. But after&nbsp;nearly three decades of Keynesian policies,&nbsp;Japan has&nbsp;now stumbled into an insuperable demographic/financial trap; and one that&nbsp;is unusually transparent and&nbsp;rigidly delineated,&nbsp;to boot.</p> <p>Since&nbsp;Japan&nbsp;famously and doggedly refuses to accept immigrants,&nbsp;its long-term demographics are rigidly&nbsp;baked into the cake.&nbsp;Accordingly, anyone&nbsp;who will make a difference over the next several decades&nbsp;has already been born, counted, factored and&nbsp;attrited into the projections.</p> <p><strong>Japan&rsquo;s work force of 80 million will thus&nbsp;drop to 40 million by 2060.</strong> At the same time, its current 30 million retires will continue to rise, meaning that its retiree rolls&nbsp;will ultimately exceed the number of workers.</p> <p>Given those&nbsp;daunting&nbsp;facts, it follows that&nbsp;on the eve of its demographic bust Japan needs high savings and generous interest rates&nbsp;to augment retirement nest eggs; a strong exchange rate to attract foreign capital to&nbsp;help absorb its staggering $12 trillion of public debt, which already stands&nbsp;at a world leading&nbsp;230% of GDP;&nbsp;and rising real incomes in order to shoulder&nbsp;the heavy taxation that is&nbsp;unavoidably necessary to close its fiscal gap and contain its mushrooming public debt.</p> <p><strong>With&nbsp;its debilitating&nbsp;Keynesian fiscal and monetary policies now re-upped&nbsp;on steroids under Abenomics, however, it goes without saying that nearly the opposite conditions prevail.</strong> Most notably, no household or institution anywhere in Japan can earn anything on liquid savings. The money market rate which&nbsp;determines deposit money yields was driven from a &ldquo;high&rdquo; of 100 basis points (as ridiculous as that sounds)&nbsp;at the time of the financial crisis to 10 basis points today, which is to say, nothing.</p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src=";d1=20080101&amp;d2=20141231" style="height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p>But what is even more astounding is that the yield on the 10-year JGB dipped to an all-time low of 0.31% in recent trading. Given the militant insistence of the BOJ that it will hit its 2% inflation target come hell or high water, it is accurate to say that the official policy of Abenomics is&nbsp;to cause holders of&nbsp;the government&rsquo;s&nbsp;long-term debt to loose their shirts.</p> <p><strong>In fact, however, failing to think more than one step ahead, the BOJ actually wants banks, households and other financial institutions to sell their shirts at a handsome profit. </strong>That is to say, the BOJ&rsquo;s bond&nbsp;purchase program is now so massive that it&nbsp;is buying 100% of the government&rsquo;s gross debt issuance. In practical terms this means the&nbsp;float of public debt is actually&nbsp;being shrunk, and that the&nbsp;government bond market for all practical purposes has been extinguished by the BOJ.</p> <p><strong><u>There is nothing left except one relentless bid by the central bank.</u></strong> Recent data from Japan&rsquo;s government pension insurance fund (GPIF), for example, show that the GPIF alone has already sold several hundred billions dollars worth of government bonds to the BOJ.</p> <p><strong><u>Needless to say, this radical monetization of the entire&nbsp;government bond market is an act of financial suicide.</u></strong> The BOJ now dares not stop the&nbsp;printing presses&nbsp;because absent the central bank&rsquo;s big fat bid, the market would gap up violently. Yet 40% of Japan&rsquo;s government revenue is already absorbed by servicing its gargantuan public debt. Even a 180 basis point increase in average yields (meaning that the 10-year JGB&nbsp;would still be under 2%) would absorb the remainder. That&rsquo;s right, 100% of government revenue would be pre-empted by debt service.</p> <p><strong>This obviously amounts to a&nbsp;fiscal Looney Tunes scenario, but it is nonetheless embedded in the math. </strong>Even after the consumption tax increase from 5% to 8%, Japan&rsquo;s general government is spending about&nbsp;100 trillion yen&nbsp;per year while&nbsp;obtaining only 50 trillion yen in tax revenue.</p> <p><img alt="copy_of_figure2.gif" class="image-inline" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 396px;" /></p> <p><strong>As is evident in the chart above, this yawning gap has been building since the early 1990s when Keynesian missionaries converted the local fiscal apparatchiks to the religion of deficit finance.</strong> Now, having wasted 25 years figuratively&nbsp;building highways and bridges to nowhere, the Abe government has obtained a mandate not to raise taxes further until at least 2017. This means that the public debt will continue to soar,&nbsp;and that&nbsp;the BOJ will be under unrelenting pressure to monetize 100% of the new debt&nbsp;issues, least it risk a devastating flare-up in yields.</p> <p><strong>That makes for a juxtaposition that is out of this world. </strong>Since the early 1990&rsquo;s Japanese&nbsp;bond yields have been falling owing to the BOJ&rsquo;s financial repression, supplemented by the disinflationary boom stimulated on a worldwide basis by central bank fueled credit expansion. For all practical purposes, Japan&rsquo;s government debt yields are at the zero bound, and, in fact, maturities up to two years are trading at negative yields.</p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src=";d1=19900101&amp;d2=20141231" style="height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p><strong>By the same token, the public debt burden has been climbing relentlessly&nbsp;since the early 1980s owing to the embrace of Keynesian fiscal policies, as so vividly demonstrated in the graph below. </strong>And now owing to Abenomics, another 7-10% of GDP will be added annually to the public debt&nbsp;in the years just ahead.</p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src=";d1=19800101&amp;d2=20141231" style="height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p><strong>The desperate nature of Japan&rsquo;s debt trap could not be more vividly depicted than in the chart below. </strong>In yen terms&mdash;-and that&rsquo;s the metric that drives&nbsp;Japan&rsquo;s budget receipts&mdash;&ndash;national income has not experienced&nbsp;any net growth since 2006! &nbsp;And Abenomics has not altered the picture in the slightest.&nbsp;During&nbsp;the most recent quarter nominal yen GNP was no higher than in January 2013.</p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src=";d1=20060101&amp;d2=20141231" style="height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p>In short, Japan&rsquo;s fiscal equation is caught a brutal vise in which the denominator (GNP) is stranded on the flat line, while the numerator (public debt outstanding)&nbsp;continues to soar. So for the moment at&nbsp;least,&nbsp;Japan&nbsp;has resorted to 100% printing press finance of its public accounts.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s the thing. The BOJ is destroying the yen and absolutely foreclosing the option of international capital inflows in the years ahead&mdash;save for short-term speculations by carry-traders in New York, London and the lesser gambling arenas around the globe.<strong> Consequently, the sharp fall of the exchange rate since 2012 is at risk for an accelerating&nbsp;plunge the longer the BOJ prints massive amounts of new yen to finance 100% of the government&rsquo;s deficit.</strong></p> <p><img alt="Historical Data Chart" id="ctl00_ContentPlaceHolder1_ctl00_ChartUC1_ImageChart" src=";d1=20120101&amp;d2=20141231" style="height: 275px; width: 601px;" /></p> <p><strong>Currency collapse, in turn, means that the cost-of-living on an economic archipelago that imports 100% of its energy and most of its raw materials is bound to rise, causing real wages to fall.</strong> In fact, that marks&nbsp;another&nbsp;fraught&nbsp;in-coming data point. In November,&nbsp;real cash wages plunged&nbsp;by 4.3% on a year/year basis, marking the 17th straight monthly decline and the steepest&nbsp;slide since December 2009.</p> <p><img alt="japanrealwaf" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-39061" src=";h=900" style="width: 601px; height: 430px;" /></p> <p><u><strong>Thus, the Keynesian disaster is complete. </strong></u>Massive BOJ money printing to fund the deficit is eroding real wages, thereby mitigating against tax increases capable of closing the fiscal gap and reducing the financing burden. The mad men at the BOJ are also, and simultaneously, obliterating the domestic saver with ZIRP&nbsp;and warding off international investors with a plunging exchange rate. Consequently, there is no honest way to finance the public deficit, meaning that the printing presses will continue to run red hot.</p> <p><u><strong>That this policy&nbsp;amounts to a financial suicide mission is obvious enough. But what is&nbsp;truly scary is that Japan&rsquo;s policy model has been greenlighted and adopted in one form or another by governments and their central banking branches all around the world.</strong></u></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="532" height="347" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Abenomics Archipelago Bond Central Banks Demographics Gambling Japan Krugman Mad Money Monetization Savings Rate Tax Revenue Yen Sun, 28 Dec 2014 01:00:29 +0000 Tyler Durden 499609 at 2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age <p><em>By Raúl Ilargi Meijer of <a href="">The Automatic Earth</a></em><a href=""></a></p> <p><strong>2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age</strong></p> <p>From just about as early in my life as I can remember, growing up as a child in Holland, there were stories about World War II, and not just about Anne Frank and the huge amounts of people who, like her, had been dragged off to camps in eastern Europe never to come back, but also about the thousands who had risked their lives to hide Jewish and other refugees, and the scores who had been executed for doing so, often betrayed by their own neighbors.</p> <p>And then there were those who had risked their lives in equally courageous ways to get news out to people, putting out newspapers and radio broadcasts just so there would be a version of events out there that was real, and not just what the Germans wanted one to believe. This happened in all Nazi – and Nazi friendly – occupied European nations. The courage of these people is hard to gauge for us today, and I’m convinced there’s no way to say whom amongst us would show that kind of bravery if we were put to the test; I certainly wouldn’t be sure about myself.</p> <p>Still, without wanting to put myself anywhere near the level of those very very real heroes, please don’t get me wrong about that, that’s not what I mean, I was thinking about them with regards to what is happening in our media today. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think Joseph Goebbels had anything on US and European media today.</p> <p>That propaganda as a strategic and political instrument has been refined to a huge extent over the past 70-odd years since Goebbels first picked up on Freud’s lessons on how to influence the unconscious mind, and the ‘mass-mind’, as a way to ‘steer’ an entire people, not just as a means to make them buy detergent. These days, the media can make people believe just about anything, and they have the added benefit that they can pose as friends of the people, not the enemy.</p> <p>But there is a reason why such a large ‘industry’ has developed on the web with people writing articles that don’t say what the mass media say. That reason for is, obviously, first and foremost that not everybody believes whatever they are told. The problem is equally obvious: not nearly enough people are being reached to make a true difference, and to question the official narratives.</p> <p>Me, I have no claim to fame outside of the appreciation I get from first, my readers and second, from my colleagues and peers. I get a lot of both, and I thank you for that, but this certainly is not about me. If anything, it’s about trying to live up to the desire for truth in the face of odds squarely stacked against it, and against the people I try to reach out to. Trying to do just 0.1% of what the WWII underground press was about.</p> <p>A few days ago, I wrote in <a href="">About That Interview</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><em> The FBI claims they are certain the hackers are North Korean, but they have provided no proof of that claim. We have to trust them on their beautiful blue eyes. I think <strong>if anything defines 2014 for me, it’s the advent of incessant claims for which no proof – apparently – needs to be provided</strong>. Everything related to Ukraine over the past year carries that trait. The year of ‘beautiful blue eyes’, in other words. Never no proof, you just have to believe what your government says.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>And that truly defines 2014 for me. A level of propaganda I don’t recognize, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. 2014 has for me been the year of utter nonsense. To wit, it just finished in fine form with a 5% US GDP growth number, just to name one example. Really, guys? 5%? Really? With all the numbers presented lately, the negative Thanksgiving sales data – minus 11% from what I remember -, the so-so at best Christmas store numbers to date, shrinking durable goods in November and all? Plus 5%?</p> <p>It really doesn’t matter what I say, does it? You have enough people believing ridiculous numbers like that to make it worth your while. After all, that’s all that counts. It’s a democracy, isn’t it? If a majority believes something, it becomes true. If you can get more than 50% of people to believe whatever you say, that’s case closed.</p> <p>With well over 90 million working age Americans counted as being out of the labor force, and with 43 million on food stamps, you can still present a 5% GDP growth number, if only you can get a sufficiently large number of people to ‘believe’. And you do, I’ll give you that. As far as the media goes, we have achieved the change we can believe in. We may not have that change, but we sure do believe we have, don’t we? And isn’t that what counts? Are congratulations in order?</p> <p>Well, not where I’m at, they’re not. I should do a shout out to the likes of Zero Hedge, Yves Smith, David Stockman, Wolf Richter, Mish, Steve Keen, Jim Kunstler, and so many others, we’re a solid crowd by now even if we’re neglected, and please don’t feel left out if you’re not in that list, I know who you are. The problem is, we’re all completely neglected by the mass media, even though there are a ton of very sharp minds in this ‘finance blogosphere’. And perhaps we should make it a point to break through that ridiculous black-out in 2015.</p> <p>2014, in my eyes, has been the year of propaganda outdoing even its own very purpose, and succeeding too. We are supposed to be living in a time of the best educated people in the history of mankind, and everyone thinks (s)he’s mighty smart, but precious few have even an inkling of a clue of what transpires in the world they live in. Talk about a lost generation. Or two.</p> <p>We really need to question the value of higher education, if all we get for it is a generation of people so easily duped by utter blubber. What do they teach people at our universities these days? Certainly not to think for themselves, that much is clear. And then what is the use? Why spend all that time raising an entire generation of highly educated pawns, sheep and robots? I can think of some people liking that, but for society as a whole, it’s devastating if that’s all higher education is.</p> <p>And if you would like to raise doubts here, the very existence of finance blogosphere I mentioned before is proof that we indeed have raised a generation of sheep. If we had functioning media, there’d be no need for that blogosphere. We are the people who keep on pointing out where the mass media fail, let alone the politicians, simply by being there and being supported to the extent we are by the few people who escape the sheep mentality.</p> <p>But that’s not nearly enough. Journalists, reporters, whatever they call themselves, working for Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC etc. should at the very least quote Zero Hedge on a daily basis, and Mish, and Steve, and Yves, and perhaps even me – though it’s fine if they continue to ignore me, as long as they give the rest their rightful place.</p> <p>There are many people in the blogosphere who are many times smarter than the people who write for the mass media, and that’s a very simple and hardly disputable fact that needs to be recognized. When you read something in your paper or at your online news provider, it should be second nature to ask yourself: but what would Tyler Durden say, or the Automatic Earth, or Naked Capitalism, or David Stockman?</p> <p>But we’re nowhere near that, are we? We’ve been fooled with economic stats for years, not just in the US, not even just in the west, but all over, they all grabbed on to the potential of providing people with numbers that have little to do with reality, but that simply feel good. Or even just look good.</p> <p>Still, boy, have we been, and are we being, fooled. Then again, most of you wouldn’t know, would you? We people tend to discount the future, to see today as more important than tomorrow, and in the same manner we find our children’s future much less important than our own. Because that feels good too. If we are comfy right now, screw them. Not that we’d ever put it into those terms.</p> <p>But you know, that’s really all old hack by now. 2014 brought us a whole other class of nonsense. And we swallowed it all hook line and entire sinker.</p> <p>2014 gave us Ukraine. And you just try and find anyone today who doesn’t think Vladimir Putin is and was the evil genius mind behind the whole thing, including the 4500+ people who died there over the past 10 months. Why is it so hard to anyone who doubts that narrative? Because our media told us Putin is the bogeyman. And ‘we’ never asked for any proof. That is, except for those of us in that same blogosphere.</p> <p>Meanwhile, round after round of sanctions against Russia have been set up and activated by EU and US, causing hardship for both Russian people and European businesses. But why, what exactly is Putin allegedly guilty of?</p> <p>The US/EU installed a government in Kiev in February (yeah, yap about it), which is still in place, with a bunch of US citizens recently added for good measure – and for profit-. The chocolate prince president was indeed elected months later, but the prime minister – Yats – was handpicked by America, and is still -amazingly – in place. That’s the same government that had it own army murder thousands of its own citizens, and not a thing has been resolved so far.</p> <p>The whole thing came to a head when MH17 was shot down over the summer. That too was blamed on Putin. Or was it? Well, not directly, nobody said Putin ordered that plane to be shot. Nor did anyone say Russia shot it. There is the accusation that Russian speaking Ukrainian ‘rebels’ did it, but proof for that was never provided in the 6 months since the incident. And there must be a best before date in there somewhere.</p> <p>Is it possible the ‘rebels’ did it? We can’t exclude it, but that’s for the same reason we can’t exclude the option that little green Martians did it: we don’t know. But even then, even if they did, there’s the question whether that would have been on purpose. Which seems really stretching it: nothing they want would be served by shooting down a plane full of European, Malaysian and Australian holiday goers.</p> <p>But here we are: no proof and layer upon layer of sanctions. And nary a voice is raised in the west. If one is, it’s to denounce the Russians as bloodthirsty barbarians. Even though there is no proof they did anything other than protecting what they see as their own people. Something we all would do too, no questions asked.</p> <p>Ukraine defines 2014 as the year western propaganda came into its own. Not just fictional stories about an economic recovery anymore, no, we had our politico-media establishment ram an entire new cold war down our throats. And we swallowed it whole. We may have had a million more years of higher education than our parents and grandparents, but we sure don’t seem to have gotten any smarter than them.</p> <p>There is a lot of information out there, written by people inspired by things other than monetary incentives or job security or anything like that, people who simply want to get information out that your trusted media won’t give you anymore than Goebbels’ media did in occupied Europe in the 1940s. And you don’t even have to risk your lives to access that information. All you have to do is to get off your couch.</p> <p>The Automatic Earth is but a small part of a very valuable and fast growing resource that warrants a lot more attention than it’s been receiving to date. A reported 5% US GDP growth print is one reason why, the entire Ukraine fantasy story is another. The blogosphere is full of functioning neurons, which is more than you can say for your papers and online MSM.</p> <p>As far as media is concerned, 2014 has been downright scary in its distortion of reality. Let’s try and move 2015 a little bit closer towards what’s actually happening.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1000" height="1000" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Eastern Europe ETC Fail FBI Naked Capitalism Reality recovery Reuters Tyler Durden Ukraine Vladimir Putin Sat, 27 Dec 2014 23:31:53 +0000 Tyler Durden 499596 at Holiday Hangover - UPS Expects 15% Surge In "Dirty Business" Of Xmas Gift Returns <p>United Parcel Service expects to <strong>handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15%</strong> from two years ago as online sales continue to grow as returns "represent a larger percentage of overall sales." <a href="">As WSJ reports</a>, more than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season - representing <strong>$60 billion in merchandise</strong>. While returns may be a boon for delivery companies, they are costly for retailers as returns, replacements and damaged goods represent about<strong> 10% of revenue.</strong> With return rates as high as 50%, one manager explains <strong><em>"'returns' is just a dirty business... Retailers are really losing their shirts on it."</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe src="" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As WSJ reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>More than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season—about $60 billion in merchandise</strong>, according to Optoro, a logistics provider.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The U.S. Postal Service handled 3.2 million returns in the two weeks that followed last Christmas and said there will be even more this year. <strong>United Parcel Service Inc. expects to handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15% from two years ago</strong> as online sales continue to grow.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Returns may be a boon for delivery companies, but they are costly for retailers.</strong> Best Buy Co. estimates that returns, replacements and damaged goods represent about 10% of revenue and for the year cost the electronics retailer $400 million. The chain is trying to reduce those losses by selling more so-called open-box inventory online and at its stores around the country. Hudson’s Bay Co. , which owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord &amp; Taylor, has tried to encourage customers to return products to its stores, so it can try to land another sale in the process.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Returns—it is just a dirty business,” </strong>said Frank Poore, chief executive of logistics platform CommerceHub, which connects manufacturers with major retailers to fill online orders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Last January, some retailers were surprised by the high number of returns, </strong>said Bala Ganesh, retail-segment marketing director at UPS. Mr. Ganesh said some retailers had as many as 30 trailers full of returns sitting outside their distribution centers waiting to be processed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“Retailers are really losing their shirts on it,” </strong>said Tobin Moore, Optoro’s CEO. “As the returns rate increases, more retailers are paying attention to it.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, <strong>62% of consumers said they had returned an item bought online in 2014</strong>, compared with 51% in 2012.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The <strong>return rate for online purchases is about three times as high as for items bought in stores</strong>, where shoppers can try on and test their choices. UPS’s Mr. Ganesh said that <strong>some high-end apparel retailers have return rates as high as 50%.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The holidays are the real crunchtime for returns, said co-founder Matt Watson. <strong>“If you don’t manage to sell them in season, they might not sell at all.”</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *<br />It's the thought that counts... and before the credit card bill arrives, it looks like returns will make retail sales this holiday look even less exciting than they already are.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="252" height="191" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Best Buy Saks Sat, 27 Dec 2014 23:00:18 +0000 Tyler Durden 499607 at Yellen Capital LP Was 'Half-Right' In H2 2014 <p><a href="">On July 15th 2014, The Federal Reserve uttered the following warning to exuberant equity investors</a>, <strong><em>"Valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched -- particularly those for smaller firms in the social-media and biotechnology industries."</em></strong> 5 months later, Yellen Capital LP is half right... </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="313" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Social-media shares declined</strong> after the report, as shown above, which tracks the performance of the 10 smallest U.S. companies by market value in the Solactive Social Media Index. They <strong>fell 15% as a group through yesterday</strong>, judging by an index that was equally weighted as of June 30.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Smaller biotech companies, on the other hand, rebounded from an initial slump.</strong> The Wells Fargo Biotechnology Small Cap Index, used in the chart,<strong> climbed 37 percent through yesterday</strong>. The median market value for the indicator’s 170 companies is $401 million, compared with about $1.5 billion for the social-media stocks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The broad <strong>Russell 2000 small-cap inde is up just over 5% since the Fed's warning.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Of course, we must always remember the Fed's follow-up explanation:</p> <p>there’s no sign “we are obviously in bubble territory”</p> <p>And...</p> <p>Yellen: Can't Detect Asset Bubbles With Any Certainty</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="963" height="503" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Federal Reserve Russell 2000 Wells Fargo Sat, 27 Dec 2014 22:00:47 +0000 Tyler Durden 499606 at "Blind Faith In Policymakers Remains A Bad Trade That's Widely Held" <p><em>Exceprted from Archaea Capital letter to investors,</em></p> <p><strong>Blind faith in policymakers remains a bad trade that’s still widely held.</strong> Pressure builds everywhere we look. Not as a consequence of the Fed’s ineptitude (which is a constant in the equation, not a variable), but through the blind faith markets continue to place on the very low probability outcome – that everything will turn out well this time around.</p> <p>And so the pressure keeps rising. <strong>Managers are under pressure to perform and missing more targets, levering up on hope.</strong></p> <p>As we wrote last year, bad companies were allowed to push their debt up in order to pay generous shareholder dividends and director packages that are now (in an uninspiring turn of events) higher than their free cash flow. <strong>Buybacks are “all-in” at cycle-highs, funded with shareholder money while insiders continue to cash out their own. </strong>Individual investors pressured to pick up yield became their debt or equity holders – lured by higher returns, easy-to-use ETFs, and asking no questions.</p> <p>And so, just as Moody’s suggested a year ago would happen (and we presented in last year’s report), <strong>high yield spreads have widened all year – in stark contrast to the gains in stocks and one of the most supportive government Bond rallies in history.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="316" /></a></p> <p><strong>The default cycle doesn’t appear to be that far off anymore, and not just in U.S. markets.</strong> Credit markets have embarked on a new fundamental narrative – bills still need to be paid, and not everyone deserves to sell new paper at the same price.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Markets are illiquid, fractured, and in many cases unable to sustain any real test of selling.</strong></span></p> <p><strong>Meanwhile it’s business as usual at the Fed, where credibility remains intact and market participants blindly expect another magic trick for Equities in the coming year.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>So BTFATH!!</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="965" height="508" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond BTFATH default High Yield Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:00:52 +0000 Tyler Durden 499605 at