Iran

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Hillary "Has Betrayed All That Was Right About The Baby Boomers" David Stockman Blasts





Hillary rose to fame delivering an idealistic commencement address at the beginning of her career. But like the generation she represents, she has betrayed those grand ideals over a lifetime of compromise, expediency, self-promotion and complacent acquisition of power, wealth and fame. She doesn’t deserve another stint at the podium - let alone the bully pulpit.

 
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Frontrunning: April 14





  • Shale Oil Boom Could End in May After Price Collapse (BBG)
  • Oil above $58 on U.S. shale output report, Mideast (Reuters)
  • Ackman Says Student Loans Are the Biggest Risk in the Credit Market (BBG)
  • Alibaba Disputes U.S. Group’s Claim it Tolerates Fake Goods on Taobao (WSJ)
  • Petrobras takes steps to avert a technical default (FT)
  • Yen’s Drop Is Approaching Its Limit, Says Abe Adviser Hamada (BBG)
  • 'Slicing and dicing': How some U.S. firms could win big in 2016 elections (Reuters)
  • Fed official warns ‘flash crash’ could be repeatedv (FT)
 
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Futures Slump As Asian Stock Bubble Calls A Timeout





Judging by the recent action in equity futures, the continuously rangebound US market since the end of QE may be entering its latest downphase, catalyzed to a big extent by the recent strength in the JPY (the EURJPY traded down to 2 year lows overnight), especially following yesterday's not one but two statements by Abe advisor Harada saying a USDJPY at 125 isn't "justified" and a 105 level would be appropriate. A level, incidentally, which would push the Nikkei lower by about 20% and crush Japanese pensions which are now mostly invested in stocks. Not helping matters was the pause in the Chinese and Hang Seng stock bubbles, with the former barely rising 0.3%, while the former actually seeing its first 1.6% decline after many days of torrid, relentless rises.

 
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Russia Warns "Attempts At Isolation Are Counterproductive & Useless"





Attempts to isolate Russia and ignore its position are useless and counterproductive, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said on Monday, ahead of the decision to lift sanctions on anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. With the Russian stock market among the top performers of the year and The Ruble the strongest currency in the world this year, it appears he may be on to something...

 
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Proxy War Escalates: Russia Lifts Ban On Selling Anti-Aircraft Missiles To Iran





UPDATE: *RUSSIA WILL SUPPLY S-300 TO IRAN QUICKLY: INTERFAX

We showed yesterday the web of interconnected rifts and relationships among The Middle East's local and proxy war members and it seems this morning tensions are escalating once again. As Bloomberg reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday lifting a ban on the delivery of S-300 anti-missile rocket systems to Iran. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 under pressure from the West following UN sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.

 
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China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar Surge





If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v

 
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How NSA Surveillance Was Birthed From The Pre 9/11 Drug War





The now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA’s intelligence arm, was the government’s first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched...

 
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No Longer Quiet On The Eastern Front (Part 3)





The Middle East’s ongoing descent into chaos and China’s impending ascendancy to the status of global superpower are just two of the many threats that the US, European Union and Russia all share.  Each of these issues should certainly occupy a higher position on their respective agendas than the breakup of Ukraine or the insolvency of Greece.  Leaders of all three governments would be well-advised to set aside their differences, or at least to prevent those differences from obstructing cooperation on more important issues.  Unlike its predecessor, the Second Cold War will not be bilateral.  Today’s world is far more chaotic, kinetic and dangerous than it was fifty years ago.

 
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Two Iran Officers Captured In Yemen





In a move that, if confirmed, is certain to escalate the Yemen conflict which as a reminder is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, overnight local media first, and Reuters subsequently, reported that local militiamen in the southern Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels, during fighting on Friday evening.

 
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How Much Longer Can OPEC Hold Out?





OPEC has been in the line of fire from the western world in light of its stance of not reducing the production levels of its member nations (excluding Iran). Most view this as a strategy to squeeze the American shale production and other non OPEC nations. How much longer can it hold out?

 
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Iran Unveils "Suicide Drones" Amid Nuclear Deal Talks





While the deal to discuss the deal that may or may not become a deal in June is still lingering in the news cycle, it seems Iran (fresh from its demands for complete sanctions lifting) is comfortable with some sabre-rattling. As the Washington Times reports, citing U.S. Army analysis, Iran’s army is creating military explosive-mounted killer drones, increasing the risk for Israeli and U.S. ships in the Gulf. So while all eyes are firmly focused on the threat of nukes, the US military reports states that "no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles.. promises to make American operations in both the Persian Gulf and Gulf Aden [at the Red Sea] more complicated."

 
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Asia Superbubble Unstoppable: Hong Kong Up 10% In Past Week; Soaring Dollar Pushes Euro Back Under 1.06





Overnight market news was once again driven by the Asian superbubble, where as expected, the Hang Seng (+1.22%) soared once more and is now up 9.5% for the week, following news the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx) expects it will "substantially increase" quotas for the stock connect program between Hong Kong and Shanghai, HKEx Chief Executive Charles Li said on Friday. The exchange could boost the current quotas, which cap how much mainland investors can buy Hong Kong stocks and vice versa under the trading link, by more than 20 or 30 percent, Li said at a media briefing in Hong Kong. Li did not give a precise date for when the quotas would be raised, but one thing is clear: everyone in China, and Hong Kong, must be all in stocks if the Chinese housing bubble can not be reflated. The Shanghai Comp closed higher by almost 2.0% following better than expected Chinese inflation data, while HK stocks continued their recent rally to closer higher by 9.5% for the week.

 
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"Saudi Arabia Is Going For it" - Why The Saudis Just Boosted Oil Production To A Record High





Instead of leaving its own production flat in an attempt to stabilize oil prices and hit its "optimistic" outlook sooner rather than never, Saudi Arabia would boost production quite sharply to claw back market share. Specifically al-Naimi, revealed that the kingdom’s oil production in March was 10.3-million barrels a day – a record high. .. Why is Saudi Arabia opening the spigot? There is no doubt that country’s own domestic demand is rising, thanks to heavy investment in new refineries, requiring more production. But it also appears that Saudi Arabia is making renewed push for market share for fear that a gusher of Iranian oil will soon hit the export markets as the Iranian embargo is ratcheted back

 
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America's Intervention Legacy: "Iraq Is Finished"





As the international community struggles to understand how the interplay between a series of US foreign policy failures and geopolitical wrangling over what are viewed as “strategic” Middle Eastern states has somehow managed to produce multiple bloody proxy wars, there are many who still ask: “Who is ISIS?” A new piece from The Atlantic seeks answers from Iraqis with first-hand experience.

 
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Despite Constant Saudi Bombing, Yemen Rebels Advance, Seize Key Town; Ayatollah Trolls US, Saudis on Twitter





It appears that when the US inadvertantly "misplaced" $500 million of weapons in Yemen, the bulk of which fell right in Houthi rebel hands, it created a very credible adversary... for the US and its Saudi-backed coalition allies. Because despite the bombing campaign by the Saudi-headed coalition, AP reports that the rebels seized a key provincial capital in a heavily Sunni tribal area on Thursday as their patron Iran called the two-week air campaign a "crime" and appealed for peace talks. According to media reports the Houthius overran Ataq, capital of the oil-rich southeastern Shabwa province, after days of airstrikes and clashes with local Sunni tribes. The capture marked the rebels' first significant gain since the Saudi-led bombing began.

 
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