Prominent Politician And Putin Critic Shot To Death In Moscow; "Shocked" John Kerry Urges Russia To Bring JusticeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/27/2015 17:00 -0500
Update: John Kerry has decided to comment: U.S. URGES RUSSIA TO ACT IN EXPEDITIOUSLY IN NEMTSOV MATTER, SAYS BORIS NEMTSOV SOUGHT TO REFORM RUSSIA
Just nine hours after tweeting "Putin annexed Crimea and is now handing over Siberia to the Chinese," and three ours after calling for a "Russian Spring" march, prominent Vladimir Putin critic and opposition politician (who back in 1997 was also deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation) Boris Nemtsov, has been killed in the center of Moscow. As The BBC notes, the Russian opposition politician and former deputy PM was shot to death on a Moscow street. Life News is reporting he was shot in the chest four times on a street very close to Red Square.
Two words can describe yesterday's first impromptu anti-government protest "organized" by the far-left Antarsya party now that the Greek honeymoon with the new Syriza government is over: disorganized and violent, especially since calling it a "protest" is a stretch - if anything was just young, unemployed, angry people tossing Molotov cocktails. Which is why today's first truly official protest organized by the Greek communist party in front of the Greek parliament on the well-known Syntagma square, will get far more attention, especially since it was Syriza's own anti-bailout protests that filled the same venue as recently as a few weeks ago.
Another day, another currency hits a record low against the US Dollar. The Turkish Lira has collapsed in recent weeks since Erdogan rampaged against the 'independence' of the Central Bank and extended losses today after the economy minister said the government should discuss changing central bank regulations. Nihat Zeybekci said the Central Bank of Turkey’s independence should be conditional on the body taking “national interest” into account. Turkey continues to dump gold at record rates (money laundering to Iran via Switzerland?) and social unrest is on the rise (despite new laws to clamp down on protests) as the US consulate faces bomb threats.
UPDATE: *PIRAEUS BANK CFO DENIES SPECULATION OF CASH SHORTAGE
It appears the worst fears of many Greeks may be coming true following a Stratfor report that Piraeus Bank ATMs in downtown Athens appear to have run out of money - telling "customers that there is no cash and the situation will last through the weekend." However, locals, reporting on Twitter, claim this is false. Greek stocks (especially banks) are down hard, as is the EURUSD.
When a Russian bomber flew over international waters some 25 miles off the southwest tip of England last week, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called Russia "a real and present danger." The UK government scrambled jet fighters to meet the Russian aircraft as a show of force.
Yet yesterday US combat vehicles conducted a military parade and show of military force just 300 yards -- yards! -- from the Russian border.
"An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life," according to President Obama and it appears his perspective on the heavy hand of government regulation inserting itself into the last bastion of freedom and dynamism in the US economy, is how best to achieve "openness." Having pressured FCC's Tom Wheeler, the vote just came down: U.S. FCC APPROVES NET NEUTRALITY INTERNET RULES IN 3-2 VOTE. While potentially good for a consumer's pocketbook, the handing over of "fair-use" decision to the government, as we previously noted, could be the first step on a slippery slope to increased censorship. Welcome to "internet of political things."
As soon as tomorrow, the one part of the US government which to many is a manifestation of all that is broken with the current US "big brother" state of pervasive, ubiquitous surveillance and broken immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security which was created in response to September 11, and which houses the agencies with jurisdiction over immigration law, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may be shut down. Here is what happens next.
The fact that Walmart raised wages in the manner that it did ought to have alerted the Fed that something is going on in the underlying employment dynamics of the labor market that they aren`t addressing with their current ZIRP stance.
With Prime Minister Yatsenyuk putting his foot down and squeezing the central bank to lift capital controls, Ukraine's currency is totally collapsing this morning. Up over 5 handles to a fresh record low of 33.75/USD, we suspect currency trading will be halted any minute. While we discussed the endgame for Ukraine last night, on the street, things are dire with ATM lines, shelves emptied, and local currency exchanges marking up levels dramatically more than the 'official' rates...
Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?
Behavioral economics suggests that a little QE can change human behavior at the margins, but no amount of QE is enough to change human nature at its core. The High Priests of the IMF, the Fed, and the ECB are blind to this because all of modern economic theory – ALL of it – is based on a single bedrock assumption: humans are economic maximizers. Yes, we are maximizers of reward. But we are also minimizers of regret. We seem destined to learn the hard way... once again... that you can’t change human nature by government fiat. But individual investors and allocators can listen and learn from these old good ideas, and that’s how you survive the Golden Age of the Central Banker.
The last thing Janet Yellen needs to be doing right now is cheer-leading more risk taking on behalf of financial market participants!
Just in case there wasn't enough on the calendar, between Yellen, Greece, consumer confidence, housing data, Richmond Fed, and of course stocks at another all time high, the latest news out of California is that a Matrolink commuter train struck at least two trucks between Oxnard and Camarilo, in a repeat of a similar tragic accident that took place in New York two weeks ago.
This will increase the official gold import numbers...