Latvia

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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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Moldova Puts "Borders On Full Alert" As Latvia Admits "Society Has Fear"





The activity across the entire Eastern European region is starting to rattle the nerves of more than just the well-meaning sanctionsers in Washington. Today saw Moldova:

*MOLDOVA PUTS ITS BORDERS ON ALERT CITING UKRAINE UNREST

And Latvia:

"The society has fear... We know what it means to be under Russia."

Both nations are also extremely divided along ethnic Russian lines and leadership is gravely concerned that any further gains by a pro-Russian force in Ukraine will either a) spill over physically into their nations; and/or b) instill confidence in the deeply divided nations' Russian-speakers.

 
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Warning: Ukraine Is At A Flashpoint





As tensions between all parties in Eastern Europe boil over, Chris Martenson provides a brief tour through just some of the antics surrounding the US' involvement in bringing about change (you can believe in!) in Ukraine. We raise these items to counter the usual clutter and complete lack of context being provided in the US press and to illustrate that the US is already in pretty deep and therefore unlikely to back down now. Before we move on, do you not find it at all strange that the US media, usually extremely sensitive to anti-semitism, has given the McCain and Nuland support of the Svoboda party a complete pass? I find it to be like the case of "the dog that did not bark", meaning the silence reveals a very fickle moral compass at the heart of the western press. The demonization of Putin as the bad guy here is near complete in western media. But there’s plenty of mischief all around and, as usual, the US finds itself with some pretty strange bedfellows as it seeks an outcome it likes.

 
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Russian Warplanes Repeatedly Enter Ukraine Airspace; Helicopter Buildup By Latvia Surges





If the following news had been "sourced" by Ukraine news agencies, we would caveat it by saying it is almost certainly propaganda. However, since the source for this AP story appears to be "US officials", we will only assign a 98% probability to it being propaganda. Hot on the heels of our report that the Russian "Doomsday Plane" had been seen in the vicinity of the Baltic states, we learn of more Russian airborne acrobatics, this time involving Russian fighter jets which flew into Ukrainian airspace a "handful of times over the last 24 hours, in what one called a continued provocation of the heightened tensions in the region." One, of course, being a "US source" - the kind that was behind the original armed coup in the first place, so one should take this "news" on a somewhat salty basis too.

 
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Guest Post: Investors Are "Whistling Past The Graveyard" Over Global Geopolitics





Despite the considerable risks created by the situation in eastern Europe, most western stock, bond and property markets, fed on massive central bank fiat liquidity, continue to flirt with new highs. This strikes me as an exercise in whistling past the graveyard. In the short term, investors may continue to profit from risk-taking in financial markets. In the larger picture, much of the geopolitical balance of power that has been in place for much of the past 25 years will be tested on the banks of the Black Sea. Investors should take a few minutes from their daily technical chart analysis to consider these major developments.

 
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Here Come The Boots On The Ground: US Troops Heading To Eastern Europe





It seems the truce "deal" is well and truly dead...

600 U.S. TROOPS HEADING TO EUROPE FOR EXERCISES: PENTAGON
U.S. AIRBORNE TROOPS GOING TO POLAND, LITHUANIA, LATVIA,ESTONIA
U.S. MILITARY EXERCISES ARE IN RESPONSE TO UKRAINE CRISIS:KIRBY
MORE MILITARY EXERCISES 'COMING THROUGH' NATO: PENTAGON

The question now, of course, is - what will Putin do in response to this action?

 
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China General Says "War With Japan Increasingly Likely" As Russia Conducts New Army Drill Near Latvia, Estonia





Just in case escalating tensions along Russia's western border - and one can be certain Estonia and Latvia will scream bloody murder any second - here is a retired Chinese general who just told SCMP that a "war with Japan over territorial disputes is becoming increasingly likely" and that China is more than capable of defending itself.

 
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Ukraine Official Warns "Chance Of War With Russia Growing" As Mike Rogers Calls For Sending Weapons To Ukraine





Concurrently with out post on what the odds are of a war between the US and Russia over Ukraine, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, and war hawk, appeared on TV this morning saying that the United States ought to provide weapons to the Ukrainian army "so it could defend the country from a Russian invasion." This is the same Mike Rogers who last August did everything in his power to perpetuate the lie that Syrians had used chemical weapons against "rebels" (who subsequently turned out to be mostly Qatari-funded Al Qaeda mercenaries and other Islamic extremists) “There are things that we can do that I think we’re not doing. I don’t think the rhetoric (from Obama administration officials) matches the reality on the ground,” he said. And while US neocons are warmongering, Ukraine is all too happy to raise the tension level just a bit more, hoping that NATO will finally intervene and present Putin with at least some hurdle to overrunning all of East Ukraine, using exactly the same template as already show in Crimea: Ukraine’s top diplomat warned Sunday that the chances of war with Russia “are growing” due to the buildup of Moscow’s forces along his country’s eastern border. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia said Kiev “is ready to respond” should Russia–which has already seized the Crimea–move further in Ukrainian territory.

 

 
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