- Xi Says China Conflict With U.S. Would Be Disaster (BBG)
- Short selling drops to lowest level since Lehman (FT)
- Scoping the new subprime as watchdogs cry 'bubble' (Reuters)
- Carlos Slim to break up América Móvil empire (FT)
- Jury Acquits Rengan Rajaratnam in Insider-Trading Case (WSJ)
- Hamas rockets land deep in Israel as it bombards Gaza Strip (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Buyers Queue for New Homes After Prices Plunge (BBG)
- Rebel Stronghold in Ukraine Braces for Its Showdown (WSJ)
- Tiny Houses Big With U.S. Owners Seeking Economic Freedom (BBG)
- Chinese Cash-Bearing Buyers Drive U.S. Foreign Sales Jump (BBG)
Pro-Russian separatist forces have been forced to retreat from their stronghold in Slavyansk following "massive shelling" in the early morning from Ukraine's 'anti-terrorist' forces. Armored vehicles entered the city and the rebels, according to RT, decided to move back to their headquarters in Kramatorsk to 'prepare' in advance for further offensives. Just days after the cease-fire was lifted, newly-appointed Defense Minister Valery Heletey commented the "order to free Slaviansk from the (separatist) fighters has been carried out," but pro-Russian supporters are not done yet and exclaimed: "Pass on these words to Putin: the people of the Donbass believed him for some reason when he said he would help. But now they (government forces) are killing peaceful civilians and if that is not genocide I would like to know what is."
While numerous massively indebted administrations around the world hope to divert the attention of what's left of their struggling middle class away from its daily impoverished existence and distract it with flashing lights and glitzy animations showing another all time market high on a daily basis, a significantly more important shift taking place behind the scenes is appreciated by very few: the ongoing de-dollarization of the world. For the latest example of how increasingly more countries are setting the stage for the final currency war, we go again to Russia where VOR's Valentin Mândr??escu explains that slowly but surely the BRICS - that proud Goldman acronym which was conceived to perpetuate the great American way of life by releasing trillions in US-denominated debt in heretofore untapped markets - are morphing into an anti-dollar alliance.
Vladimir Putin commented at a German-Russian official function: “We value the accumulated potential of Russian-German relations and the high level of trade and economic cooperation. Germany, one of the European Union leaders, is our most important partner in enhancing peace, global and regional security.” We would contend that we are seeing a decisive shift in the political character of Eurasia as 'continental empires' are starting to challenge the monopoly of 'legal' international violence that the US has exercised for the last 25 years. Such struggles have the potential to become major regional problems, but what is intriguing is the emerging continental alliance between Russia and Germany - a combination of German industrial might and Russian raw materials and military strength would instantly create a colossus.
Recall that about a month ago we reported that shortly after France was stunned to see its largest bank slammed by its bestest buddy, the US, with a record $9 billion fine, "France responded to the fine by announcing it will train hundreds of Russian seamen to operate the French-Made Warship", the Mistral. In other words, for all the angry rhetoric of sanctions against Russia, France was merely the latest country to admit that it too can't exist without Russian business (not to mention natural gas) even if, or especially if, it means incurring US wrath which is taken out on its banking institutions. After all, if the US is engaging in scorched earth tactics France needs a stable trade partner, especially if it is one who turns on the gas, so to speak. However, it turns out that was only a small part of the story. Earlier today, when speaking to Russian diplomats in Moscow, Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. of blackmailing France to scrap a contract to sell Russia Mistral warships by offering to cut a record $8.97 billion fine against BNP Paribas.
There are some out there in the economic world that believe that banknotes are detrimental to the health of the economy and that they are currently stifling the recovery of the markets. Their solution: burn the damn things and let them go up in smoke. Replace them with electronic money and then the central banks around the world will be able to do more than just providing alternatives that don’t work to revamping the financial markets and boosting economic growth.
It was a week ago when we learned that in yet another diplomatic masterstroke, Russia's Vladimir Putin took advantage of the vacuum in relations between the US (which now wants its heretofore puppet prime minister in Iraq removed) and the Iraqi PM (who has been increasingly vocal against US allies in the region, namely Saudi Arabia, and US demands for a coalition government) and offered his "complete support" to the Iraqi leader. Today, the Iraqi leader has decided to take Putin up on his offer and has announced he has bought used Russian jets which he will use instead of US fighter planes in his war against ISIS. "I'll be frank and say that we were deluded when we signed the contract [with the US]," Maliki said. "We should have sought to buy other jet fighters like British, French and Russian to secure the air cover for our forces; if we had air cover we would have averted what had happened," he went on.
Putin Scores Another Historic Victory: Austria Signs South Stream Pipeline Deal In Defiance Of EuropeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2014 07:23 -0400
In the great chess-vs-checkers game, Putin just keeps steamrolling his clueless opposition.
It has been a while since Obama and Putin held one of their signature phone conversations purely for public theater and photo-op purposes. Moments ago, we learned that following weeks of silence, the world leaders had spoken earlier today, when first the Kremlin, the the White House, released details of the just conducted phone conversation.Topics discussed: Ukraine, Iraq, Syria. Also on the docket: the usual threats by Obama in the form of "costs." No comment on today's disastrous performance by John Kerry in Egypt. Probably better that way.
Until this moment, mocking the administration's imploding foreign policy was largely a domestic issue, for the simple reason that foreigners were too busy annexing Crimea, taking over Kurdish oil fields, or repelling US-trained, if divided Al-Qaeda militants to spare time to troll the first lady. That changed this past week when none other than the Al-Qaeda extremist spinoff which in recent weeks has overrun half of Iraq, ISIS, and which as we reported managed to "confiscate" an unknown number of US-made Black Hawk helicopters and Humvees, decided to use the same outlet, Twitter, to not only mock Michelle Obama, but US foreign policy in Iraq. According to Al Arabiya, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a mockery of the U.S. first lady Michelle Obama through series of tweets accompanied by the hashtag: #bringbackourhumvee.
Russia Reignites The Proxy War: Putin Offers "Complete Support" To Iraq Prime Minister Scorned By ObamaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/20/2014 20:50 -0400
The Kremlin said in a statement that al-Maliki informed Putin on Friday about his government’s steps to combat the “terrorist groups in the north of the country.” It added that the insurgency threatens security of the entire region. Putin confirmed Russia’s “full support for the Iraqi government’s action to quickly free the territory of the republic from terrorists,” the Kremlin said, adding that Putin and al-Maliki also discussed bilateral cooperation. Putin’s expression of support for the embattled Iraqi prime minister comes as al-Maliki’s rivals have mounted a campaign to force him out of office, with some angling for support from Western backers and regional heavyweights.
UPDATE: Not going well... UKRAINE REBELS SAY WON'T DISARM UNTIL KIEV WITHDRAWS TROOPS:AFP
Petro Poroshenko earlier called Russia's Vladmimir Putin to explain his 14-point plan (to be unveiled to the public later today) to curb the pro-Russia insurgency in the east. As AFP reports:
UKRAINE PRESIDENT SAYS UNILATERAL CEASEFIRE TO BEGIN TODAY TO JUNE 27
Ukraine peace plan to call for 10-km buffer zone on Russia border
As Reuters notes, it was not clear if the whole of the proposed demilitarized no-man's land would be on Ukraine's side of the border or part of it on the Russian side. It was also not clear what the status of people living in border areas would be. Putin's initial response is to demand the "immediate end to military operations" against pro-Russian separatists.
US Accuses Russia Of Sending 10 Tanks Into Ukraine; Russia Responds Merely "Enhancing Border Security"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/20/2014 11:11 -0400
US officials are "readying targeted sanctions on finance, defense, and tech sectors," as they tell Bloomberg that 10 Russian tanks crossed the border into Ukraine in the last 24 hours. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official noted that EU-US discussions on Ukraine are intensifying. Russia has responded, "we are surprised by statements of alleged deployment of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. In this case, there is no military buildup, there are only measures to strengthen the border security of the Russian Federation, measures taken on direct instructions from Russian president." This is all occurring with the background of Poroshenko's cease-fire plan.
You name the Obama administration scandal/screw-up and Hillary Clinton is distancing herself from it as she prepares to run in 2016 on a clean slate of 'well, I would have done it better/different'. As Reuters reports, recent interviews on Fox and CNN show her claiming she tried but failed to persuade Obama to arm the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; that NSA spying was "absolutely uncalled for"; and that "changes need to be made at the IRS" seemingly disagreeing with Obama's claims that it was a "phony scandal." With friends (party colleagues) like this, who needs enemies.
Investigators have opened a probe into the bizarre death of the former deputy head of the Interior Ministry's anti-corruption department, who reportedly jumped out of a window during questioning on Monday. "During the interrogation, the investigator and lawyer left the room, and at that moment my client dove out the window. He is dead," said Georgy Antonov, the lawyer of Boris Kolesnikov, Interfax reported. Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group and a veteran human rights campaigner, cast doubt on the official version of events, calling the situation "very strange." "When he ran, knocked over the guards, he just knew that a window was open somewhere? It's very strange somehow. It's unclear whether he jumped himself or was thrown out," Alexeyev said in comments carried by Interfax.