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How To "Value" Sovereign Bonds In 2 Words: US 'Friend' Or 'Foe'





If a trader knew nothing about the growth, the debt, the inflation, the exporters vs. importers, the serial defaulters, currency manipulators, hot-money or conversely deflation fighters; simply grouping the nations of the world on whether they were 'friend' or 'foe' to the US would provide an odd highly correlated value perspective on the interest rates paid on 1yr and 10yr sovereign debt... It appears your status with the central bank cabal was more important than your ability to repay the loaned money?

 
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China Begins Direct Sales Of Fruit & Vegetables To Russia





Despite the ongoing mainstream media meme that Russia is becoming 'isolated' from the rest of the world thanks to Western sanctions, it appears they have found a few new 'old' friends to become un-isolated with. On the heels of Russia's food-import-ban sanctions last week, Russian and Chinese officials have announced an agreement that China will start selling fruit and vegetables directly to Russia via a special logistics center in Russia's far east. Notably, this week saw Russia's GDP beat consensus expectations, Ruble rally, and stocks jump as German confidence plunged - can you say blowback?

 
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Russia Launches Another Military Drill In Northwest: 3000 Paratroopers, 30 Aircraft And Helicopters To Take Part





As we said yesterday, it was only a matter of time before Russia announced yet another drill just to show to the west that it is by no means telegraphing any weakness through the timing of drills. We were about 12 hours early, because later that same day, Itar-Tass reported that some 3,000 paratroopers will be airlifted in two districts of Russia’s north-western Pskov region as part of command and staff exercises of the 76th air assault division starting on Monday, Airborne Force spokeswoman, Major Irina Kruglova said. As a reminder, Pskov is located right next to the Baltics, bordering Estonia and Latvia, both of which have been on a rather belligerent diplomatic track with the Kremlin, and thus will likely result in a substantial escalation in Russia-Baltic tensions, not to mention Ukraine as well, now that Putin is no longer counter-un-de-escalating, again.

 
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If Goods Don't Cross Borders, Armies Will





While the conflict in Ukraine rages on, EU member states havedecided to impose (not so much more stringent)economic sanctions against Russia, which was predictably followed by Russian counter-measures. The question which isn't being asked often enough, is whether these sanctions will actually improve the situation. Here's an analysis following four concrete questions:

1. Can things get even worse in Russia?
2. Is the West able to guide Russia and Ukraine down the right path?
3. Can the West contribute to a sharpening of the crisis?
4. How can the West protect itself against this conflict?

 
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This Is How Putin's Advisor Sees The Ukraine Crisis Playing Out





“The point of a series of regional wars organized by the Americans, especially today’s catastrophe in Ukraine, centers on the U.S. securing control over all of north Eurasia” to bolster “its position against China. That’s how the U.S. military and oligarchs are trying to maintain leadership in the global competition with China....Task no. 1 is to block those threats to economic security that are now coming from the U.S., neutralize them by reducing the dependence of our external economic activity on the mercy of American politicians, whose aggressiveness threatens the entire world."

 
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The West's Reckless Rush Towards War With Russia





For reasons that have no rational explanations at this time, the US and Europe have embarked on a concerted program to demonize Putin, ostracize Russia, and bring the world as close to a major conflict as it's been since the Cold War, a time hardly memorable to many in the current crop of our elected officials. A dangerous dynamic is brewing between the West and Russia/Putin. We are seeing a rush to war very similar to the one that led up to Saddam's ouster, but this time, we have much less justification (hard to believe) and the opponent is tremendously more capable. There is little sense in the course the West is currently pursuing, little to gain, and much to lose. The main conclusion here is that not only is the US poking the bear, but it is doing so with increasing frequency and upping the ante dangerously with each step.

 
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On Dominoes, WMDs And Putin's "Aggression": Imperial Washington Is Intoxicated By Another Big Lie





Imperial Washington is truly running amuck in its insensible confrontation with Vladimir Putin. The latest round of new sanctions is a counter-productive joke. But it is the larger narrative that is so blatantly offensive - that is, the notion that a sovereign state is being wantonly violated by an aggressive neighbor arming “terrorists” inside its borders. Once again, the American Warfare State has confected a false narrative to justify policies and missions that have nothing to do with the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE and Wooster MA. Unfortunately, false narratives are what the Warfare State does.

 
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Laundering Illegal Money? There's Ultraluxury New York Real Estate For That





Today, we can finally end any debate on the topic of just where the world's illegal money comes to roost. The answer: ultra-luxury real estate, primarily in New York, courtesy of a report in New York magazine that catches up with what we first said in the summer of 2012, and which is titled, appropriately enough: "Stash Pad."

 
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LNG: The Long, Strategic Play For Europe





Liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe isn’t a get-rich-quick scenario for the impatient investor: It’s a long, strategic play for the sophisticated investor who can handle no small amount of politics and geopolitics along the way. When it comes to Europe, Russia’s strategy to divide and conquer has worked so far, but Gazprom is a fragile giant that will eventually feel the pressure of LNG.  Robert Bensh is an LNG and energy security expert who has over 13 years of experience with leading oil and gas companies in Ukraine. He has been involved in various roles in finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and government for the past 25 years. Mr. Bensh is the Managing Director and partner with Pelicourt LLC, a private equity firm focused on energy and natural resources in Ukraine.

 
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UK Scrambles 7 Fighter Jets To Intercept Russian Aircraft





Britain's Ministry of Defence said this week it had scrambled Typhoon fighter jets after four separate groups of aircraft were detected in international airspace near the Baltics by NATO air defenses. The British jets intercepted seven Russian military aircraft that, as Reuters reports, did not file a flight plan and did not use their transponders, making them invisible to civilian air traffic control and a safety hazard to commercial air traffic. "The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way," noted the ministry. This follows an event last Thursday when Latvia said NATO fighters had scrambled a record four times after a total of 16 Russian military planes were spotted close to the country’s air space.

 
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As Russia Dumps A Record Amount Of US Treasurys, Here Is What It Is Buying





Last week we commented that based on TIC data, while "Belgium's" unprecedented Treasury buying spree continues, one country has been dumping US bonds at an unprecedented rate, and in March alone Russia sold a record $26 billion, or 20% of its holdings. So as Russia is selling a record amount of US paper, what is it buying? For the answer we go to Goldcore which tells us that "Russia Buys 900,000 Ounces Of Gold Worth $1.17 Billion In April."

 
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ECB: Gold “Important” And No Plan To Sell Significant Quantity Of





The ECB, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Riksbank of Sweden announced a new gold agreement this morning. They announced they have no plans to sell significant quantities of gold and reaffirmed the importance of gold bullion as a monetary reserve asset.

 
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Bill Clinton’s Epic Double-Cross: How "Not An Inch" Brought NATO To Russia’s Border





American foreign policy is mindlessly driven by the machinery of our Warfare State - a vast accretion of economic, diplomatic, spying and military capabilities which are ceaselessly in search of missions and justifications for their colossal call on the nation’s resources. Absent a dismantlement of the Warfare State machinery, giant policy errors like the Bill Clinton’s double-cross on NATO and Obama’s foolish present confrontation with Putin are nearly guaranteed to recur.

 
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Europe's "Very Disappointing" Q1 GDP In Charts





Thank god for Germany, whose Q1 GDP printed at 0.8%, above the expected 0.7%, and higher than Q4's 0.4%, or else the Eurozone's very disappointing Q1 GDP, which printed at 0.2% or half the expected 0.4%, could have been flat or negative.

 
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