Aug 21

- EU farmers complain €125mn compensation is just drop in the ocean (RT, Aug 20,  2014):

The €125 million in emergency EU support to its food producers may not be enough to cover the damage, as some estimates have it more than a hundred times higher.

On Monday, the European Commission announced €125 million in emergency funding for European farmers hit by the Russian trade ban. Continue reading »

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Aug 21

- Switzerland to EU: We don’t want to sidestep Russian food ban (RT, Aug 20,  2014):

Switzerland has said it will not re-export European agricultural products to Russia that now can’t get access to the country’s market.

“We have had requests from European countries, including the producers of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat, but we didn’t give permission to have their products imported to Switzerland and then exported to Russia,” as ITAR-TASS quotes Jurg Jordi, a spokesman at the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture. Continue reading »

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Aug 20

- Wall Street banks ‘may desert UK for Ireland’ if Britain leaves EU (RT, Aug 19, 2014):

Wall Street banks could abandon Britain for the Republic of Ireland if the UK decides to leave the EU, senior figures in the industry have reportedly said. This is despite a Forbes report that names London the world’s ‘most influential city’.

Changes to EU banking rules could see London stripped of its financial preeminence. Some major institutions including Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are believed to be drawing up plans to desert the City amid concerns the UK is drifting further from the EU.

This is despite a Forbes list of “The World’s Most Influential Cities 2014″ which ranked London as the most influential city in the world, because it attracts more than double the amount of foreign direct investment deals than New York, which came in second. Continue reading »

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Aug 19

Planned and orchestrated … civil war coming to a country near you?


- 15% of French people back ISIS militants, poll finds (RT, Aug 18, 2014): 

Up to 15 percent of French people said they have a positive attitude toward the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The share of ISIS supporters is largest among France’s younger generation, a new poll says.

Twice as many French people expressed a positive reaction to Islamic State (IS) militants than in Britain, where the number of people favorably disposed to the IS stands at 7 percent, and Germany, where a meager 2 percent of the respondents sided with the IS, according to a poll carried out in July among 1,000 people aged over 15 years (over 18 in Britain) in each country. The poll was conducted by ICM Research for the Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya.

france_isis

The Islamic State is a jihadist group, widely regarded as a terrorist organization and designated as such by the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and several other countries. Continue reading »

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Aug 19

- Europe unveils €125mn in ‘exceptional support’ to food producers (RT, Aug 18, 2014):

The European Commission said it will provide up to €125 million from Monday till the end of November to compensate food producers coping with Moscow’s food ban.

“The exceptional measures announced today will include market withdrawals especially for free distribution, compensation for non-harvesting and green harvesting. The financial assistance will cover all producers whether they are organized in producers organizations or not,” the European Commission said in the statement. Continue reading »

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Aug 18

- Germany tapped John Kerry’s phone, spied on Turkey for years – report (RT, Aug 17, 2014):

Germany’s foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped at least one telephone conversation of US Secretary of State John Kerry and spied on NATO ally Turkey since 2009, Der Spiegel newspaper revealed on Saturday.

Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) picked up the phone call “by accident” in 2013, the weekly newspaper reported in a pre-publication citing unnamed sources. Kerry was discussing the Middle East tensions between Israelis, Palestinians and Arab states in a satellite link, according to Der Spiegel.

The new revelation comes after German media – Daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR – reported on Friday that BND intercepted at least one phone call made by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The date of the call was not given and the media said that it was also picked up “by accident”. Continue reading »

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Aug 17

putin smile_0

- “Anti-Putin” Alliance Fraying: Germany, Slovakia, Greece, Czech Republic Urge End To Russian Sanctions (ZeroHedge, Aug 16, 2014):

Last week Germany reported that in the second quarter, its GDP declined by 0.2%, worse than Wall Street consensus. This happened a few shorts days after Italy reported a second consecutive decline in its own GDP, becoming the first Europen country to enter a triple-dip recession. What’s worse, Europe’s slowdown took place before the brunt of Russian sanctions hit. Surely in the third quarter the GDP of Germany, a nation whose exports accounts for 41% of GDP, will be even worse, with whisper numbers of -1% being thrown casually around, but one thing is certain: Europe is about to enter its third recession since the Lehman collapse just as we forecast at the end of 2013, a “triple-dip” which may become an outright depression unless Draghi injects a few trillion in credit money (which will do nothing but delay the inevitable and make it that much worse once the can can no longer be kicked), and unless normal trade ties with Russia are restored. Continue reading »

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Aug 16

- Europe Says Would Consider Any “Unilateral Military Action By Russia A Blatant Violation Of International Law” (ZeroHedge, Aug 15, 2014):

While we await to see any actual proof of either a Russian armed convoy entering Ukraine territory, or that this convoy was shelled by Ukraine artillery, because as a reminder this is first and foremost a war of relentless propaganda on all sides, here is the latest from Europe, which moments after stating it may roll back sanctions just announced it is now considering even more actions against Russia. From Reuters:

  • EU FOREIGN MINISTERS SAY WOULD CONSIDER ANY UNILATERAL MILITARY ACTIONS BY RUSSIA IN UKRAINE AS BLATANT VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

And from Bloomberg: Continue reading »

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Aug 16

checkmate

- Europe Blinks – May Cancel Russian Sanctions (ZeroHedge, Aug 15, 2014):

It appears the pain that Europe is already suffering post-Russian sanctions, is too much to bear (as we explained here). While NATO admits it saw Russian military forces cross the Ukraine border, European leaders, after discussions on widespread ‘aid’ for nations suffering from Russia’s food ban, have said they are ‘ready to review Russia sanctions’ if the situation stabilizes. Furthermore, snubbing Washington, European leaders said they do not want to impose more sanctions on Russia. Obama alone again?

As Bloomberg notes, Continue reading »

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Aug 16

NATO Accuses Russia Of Escalating Ukraine Conflict, Demands Withdrawal Of Russian Troops From Border (ZeroHedge, Aug 15, 2014):

Update: it just got interesting:

  • RASMUSSEN ASKS RUSSIA TO WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM UKRAINE BORDER
  • RASMUSSEN SAYS RUSSIA RESUPPLIED MATERIALS TO SEPARATISTS
  • RUSSIA CROSSED UKRAINE BORDER LAST NIGHT, RASMUSSEN SAYS
  • NATO SEES CONTINUOUS FLOW OF RUSSIAN WEAPONS INTO UKRAINE

And now, we await tweets of more de-escalation while Putin is laughing, even as the world officially enters Cold War 2.0:

  • NATO COUNTRIES MUST GRADUALLY RAISE DEFENSE SPENDING: RASMUSSEN

… first for conventional weapons, then for tactical and strategic ICBMs? Continue reading »

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Aug 16

FYI.


- Jewish group demands renaming French village called ‘Death to Jews’ (RT, Aug 12, 2014):

Expressing its shock and outrage after discovering that a tiny French village is still bearing a medieval name La Mort aux Juifs or ‘Death to Jews’, a Jewish group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, has urged the French interior minister to rename it.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s director of international affairs, Shimon Samuels, wrote to the French interior Bernard Cazeneuve, saying he was “shocked to discover the existence of a village in France officially called ‘Death to Jews’. It is extremely shocking that this name has slipped under the radar in the 70 years that have passed since France was liberated from Nazism and the (pro-Nazi) Vichy regime.” Continue reading »

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Aug 15

Gazprom To Europe: We Own You (At Least Until 2016) (ZeroHedge, Aug 14, 2014):

It is no secret that in scrambling to find an alternative to Russia’s energy-export dominance, Europe is actively seeking to recreate the US shale miracle (at least superficially, recall that a month ago Germany shelved shale-gas drilling plans until at least 2021, when it would again reassess the shale ban). Curiously, one of the few places that features as a most probable candidate for shale drilling, is none other than Ukraine itself whose Dnieper-Donets basin is a place targeted by local energy company Burisma, where as we have reported extensively in the past, none other than Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has been strategically placed as a director to give the US a front line of sight into drilling developments.

There is one problem, however, and a rather major one at that: it will take Europe years, in a best case scenario at that, before it can bring its shale output online. In fact, according to Gazprom’s quarterly report released on Wednesday, shale gas production in Europe could be possible in Europe not earlier than in 2016-2018. Which, of course, is Gazprom’s polite way of saying that for at least the next two years, and likely far longer, European marginal gas needs will be met by the dreaded Russian semi-nationalized monopoly, which in turn means that for all the posturing, the Kremlin will have an exclusive “right of first refusal” to determine European economic growth with the literal push of a button.

“Commercial shale gas production in Europe can begin not earlier than in 2016-2018 even with positive geological surveys. But production volumes will not bring about major changes in the European gas market due to a decline in conventional gas production,” the report said. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

Putin chess

- Putin Says The Petrodollar Must Die, “The Dollar Monopoly In Energy Trade Is Damaging Russia’s Economy” (ZeroHedge, Aug 14, 2014):

On one hand, despite initial weakness following Europe’s triple-dip red alert, futures declined only to surge higher after some headline or another out of Russia was again spun to suggest imminent Ukraine de-escalation (something which Russia whose only interest is to keep crude prices high, has absolutely zero interest in), perpetuating a rumor which was set off by a Russian media outlet tweet last week that has sent S&P futures over 50 higher in less than a week on… nothing.

On the other, Putin just said the following, which no matter how one spins it, shows precisely how Russia is inclined vis-a-vis future (un-de-counter) escalations.

PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA SHOULD AIM TO SELL OIL AND GAS FOR ROUBLES GLOBALLY, AS DOLLAR MONOPOLY IN ENERGY TRADE IS DAMAGING ECONOMY

Reuters adds:

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia should aim to sell its oil and gas for roubles globally because the dollar monopoly in energy trade was damaging Russia’s economy.

“We should act carefully. At the moment we are trying to agree with some countries to trade in national currencies,” Putin said during a visit to the Crimea region, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine earlier this year. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

Putin-laughing

- Russia Sanctions Blowback: Finland’s Largest Dairy Lays Off 800, Spain Seeks EU Aid, Poland Complains To WTO (ZeroHedge, Aug 13, 2014):

Well that didn’t take long. Mere day after Russia announced its ban on Western nation food imports, European countries are scrambling (as we explained why here). Greece has already expressed dismay, but now Spanish officials will meet with EU leaders to discuss offsetting the country’s estimated up to $800 million in food and agriculture losses due to sanctions. Poland is pissed and has complained to the WTO claiming “Russia has broken international law in both its embargo;” and Finland’s largest dairy producer has announced 800 layoffs due to the sanctions. When does Europe tell Washington – enough!

Spain demands aid… (despite Rajoy’s support for anti-Russia sanctions)

Spanish Agriculture Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina said the restrictions have prompted her ministry to convene a meeting with the European Commission in Brussels on Thursday.

The Spanish government has estimated that agricultural losses will amount to €337 million, or about 1.8 percent of Spanish exports. Other groups, like Spain’s opposition Socialist Party, have estimated the losses to be higher- €581 million. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

Putin chess

- On the Path To War ( Peak Prosperity, Aug 11, 2014):

Putin plays chess, the “markets” play Tic-Tac-Toe

The US is clearly now pushing Russia towards war. But if you read the signs correctly, Russia has been preparing for exactly this outcome for many years.

Out of several reasons that US power brokers specifically — but western power brokers more generally — are deeply unhappy with Russia right now is that Russia is committing a cardinal sin: it is openly, brazenly calling for an end to dollar dominance and has moved aggressively with China to achieve that aim. Continue reading »

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Aug 14

H/t reader I.G.


- ”Sweden – Europe’s closest thing to a fascist, hate-based regime” (Dispatch International, Feb 11, 2014)

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Aug 13

- China Begins Direct Sales Of Fruit & Vegetables To Russia (ZeroHedge, Aug 12, 2014):

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?

As RT reports, Continue reading »

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Aug 13

- Priest With Ebola Dies In Spanish Hospital As Eight Chinese Workers Quarantined (ZeroHedge, Aug 12, 2014):

Sadly, the Spanish missionary priest who became infected with Ebola treating patients in Liberia has died in hospital in Madrid. As AP reports,Father Miguel Pajares died despite receiving the experimental drug ZMapp, and is one of 3 patients to receive it (the American doctors in Atlanta being the other 2). This morning the WHO confirmed the use of “experimental, unproven” Ebola drugs such as ZMapp was ethical in this situation, as the death toll tops 1000 in what WHO called the “most severe and most complex outbreak of Ebola virus disease in history.” Perhaps most concerning of all this morning is news that China is quarantining 8 of its West African nurses (as the death toll among health workers surges).

 …

 

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Aug 13

- France’s ‘Recovery’ In 1 Hard-To-Believe Chart (ZeroHedge, Aug 12, 2014):

With French government bonds trading at record low yields under 1.5%, it is hard to argue that the troubled socialist nation is ‘priced’ for either recovery or credit risk… but then again, thanks to Draghi’s promise and domestic banks’ largesse, none of that matters. With joblessness at record highs, the following chart of France’s “recovery” shows near-record high bankruptcies and record-low profitability. Oh the beauty of socialism…as Europe’s core diverges dramatically.

“Recovery”?

20140812_france2

*  *  *

The widening popularity gap between Angela Merkel of Germany and Francois Hollande of France reflects the countries’ diverging economic performances.

Continue reading »

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Aug 12

- ​US, NATO war crimes against thousands of Afghan civilians ignored – Amnesty (RT, Aug 11, 2014):

Apparent war crimes committed by US and NATO troops in Afghanistan have gone uninvestigated, leaving the families of thousands of the victims without justice, Amnesty International said in a new report.

“Thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured by US forces since the invasion, but the victims and their families have little chance of redress. The US military justice system almost always fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

“None of the cases that we looked into – involving more than 140 civilian deaths – were prosecuted by the US military. Evidence of possible war crimes and unlawful killings has seemingly been ignored.” Continue reading »

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Aug 12

- Ukraine Quickly Backs Off Threat Of Halting Russian Gas Transit After Europe Screams (ZeroHedge, Aug 11, 2014):

That didn’t take long.

A few short days after Ukraine’s always entertaining puppet government, whose very existence is to benefit its western overlords and certainly Victoria Nuland‘s superiors, briefly forgot it has absolutely zero leverage should it alienate not only Russia but also Europe (read Angela Merkel) and announced it may halt Russian energy transits through the country (i.e., Russian gas deliveries for Germany) without obtaining Angela Merkel’s preapproval to such a ridiculous threat, Europe – suffering a major flashback to early 2009 and realizing winter is just around the corner – promptly reminded Kiev just who is in control and advised its puppets that it opposes any Ukrainian cut-off of Russian gas, Bloomberg reports citing an EU official. Continue reading »

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Aug 12

- Sanctions bite-back: Bickering, EU infighting over Russia retaliation (RT, Aug 11, 2014):

There is growing dissent in the EU over policies that led to a de fact trade war with Russia. Meanwhile the countries not toeing the line are reaping the benefits, irritating those who jumped on the sanctions bandwagon.

Greek members of the European Parliament demanded Sunday that the EU cancel sanctions against Russia. MEPs Kostantinos Papadakis and Sotiris Zarianopoulos said in a letter to some senior EU officials that Russia’s ban on food import from the EU, which was Moscow’s response to anti-Russian sanctions, was ruinous to Greek agriculture.“Thousands of small- and middle-sized Greek farms producing fruit and vegetables and selling them primarily to the Russian market have been hit hard now as their unsold products are now rotting at warehouses,” the letter said. Continue reading »

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Aug 11

- Malaysia accuses US and EU backed Ukraine regime of MH17 shoot-down (4bitNews, Aug 9, 2014):

  1. A Thursday article in the New Straits Times, Malaysia’s flagship English-language newspaper, charged the US- and European-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev with shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 in east Ukraine last month. Given the tightly controlled character of the Malaysian media, it appears that the accusation that Kiev shot down MH17 has the full backing of the Malaysian state.
  2. The US and European media have buried this remarkable report, which refutes the wave of allegations planted by the CIA in international media claiming that Russian president Vladimir Putin was responsible for the destruction of MH17, without presenting any evidence to back up this charge. Continue reading »

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Aug 09

- This Is How Putin’s Advisor Sees The Ukraine Crisis Playing Out  (ZeroHedge, Aug 8, 2014):

Vladimir Putin’s chief “integration” advisor, Sergei Glazyev, has been regularly featured on these pages in the past (see Putin Advisor Threatens With Dumping US Treasurys, Abandoning Dollar If US Proceeds With Sanctions and Putin Advisor Proposes “Anti-Dollar Alliance” To Halt US Aggression Abroad for two examples). So now that the Ukraine situation has once again escalated, this time with both sides openly engaged in trade war and many suggesting all-out war just over the horizon, how does Putin’s advisor see the Ukraine conflict playing out?

For the answer we go to Bloomberg: Continue reading »

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Aug 09

- German Handelsblatt Releases Stunning Anti-West Op-Ed, Asks If “West Rabble-Rousers Are On The Payroll Of The KGB” (ZeroHedge, Aug 8, 2014):

Up until this point Angela Merkel, and German media in general, had been staunchly on the side of the west when it comes to dealing with Russia, Putin and realpolitik in broader terms. That changed dramatically today when Gabor Steingart, the chief editor of Handelsblatt, Germany’s leading economic newspaper, came out with a stunning op-ed, in German, English and Russian, titled simply that “The West on the wrong path” in which the editor comes out very vocally against the autopilot mode German media has been on for the past several months and calls for an end to a strategy of sanctions and Russian confrontation that ultimately “harms German interests” and is a dead end.

Some of the “must read” excerpts: Continue reading »

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Aug 09

SUICIDE-GUN

- Ukraine Prepares To Impose Russian Gas Transit Ban, Commit Economic Suicide (ZeroHedge, Aug 8, 2014):

While Ukraine has long since ceased being a customer of Gazprom (for the simple reason being that it can’t afford to pay for historical gas purchases let alone future ones, and with a long cold winter just 3 months ahead, Kiev is praying that its brand new Western “allies” will give it the loans it needs to buy Europe-sourced gas), the bulk of Russia-sourced gas into Europe still transits through Ukraine.

russian gas ban

Not surprisingly, Ukraine correctly understands this is the last trump card it has in any negotiation with the west, or the east. It is this trump card that went into play moments ago when Ukraine’s Prime Minister who recently resigned and whose resignation was not accepted, said that Ukraine is considering banning the transit of all Russian “energy resources”, i.e. European gas.

More:

Ukraine ready to impose sanctions against any transit via its territory, including air flights and gas supplies to Europe, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Friday. Ukraine’s Parliament will vote on the sanctions on Tuesday. Kiev has also prepared a list of 172 Russian citizens and 65 companies predominantly Russian to put under sanctions for “sponsoring terrorism, supporting the annexation of Crimea, and violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Yatsenyuk said at a briefing on Friday. Continue reading »

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Aug 09

- Italy Moves Into Recession & the End of Democracy (Armstrong Economics, Aug 7, 2014):

Italy has entered that phase of zero-point growth. Italy’s people have been beaten by Europe and no longer expect recovery. But then, yesterday, the Statistical Office of the economic data for the second quarter of 2014 released economic numbers that ??froze a dumb look even on the faces of the hardcore pessimists. For the second time this year, Italy experienced a slump of its gross domestic product by 0.3% year on year. The economic data is so bad to the point it has not been seen for 14 years, that everyone no matter what side of the political fence is whispering or shouting the same world – “Recession!”

Italy-GDP

The advantage of Italy and its legendary corruption has been its equally inefficient government that has allowed the people to just ignore it and get along with life in the real world of the underground economy. When you look at the numbers at the gross level, one cannot imagine how Italy has functioned economically. However, looking closer one sees the vibrant underground economy that has allowed the people to make their own living and still prices, taxes and debt per capita are much lower than everywhere else in Europe, Italy’s real problem – it joined the Euro which did not benefit the Italians and only increased their national debt in “real terms” as the Euro rallied to excessively high levels in this wave of deflation. Continue reading »

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Aug 09

- You wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price! (The Vineyard of the Saker, Aug 7, 2014)

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Aug 08

- Experts: Fukushima ‘globally enhanced’ cesium-137 levels in air by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude — Radioactive plume that reached Europe “contaminated the land, and as a consequence the whole food chain” — Concentrations greatly underestimated (ENENews, Aug 4, 2014):

Environmental Science & Technology (American Chemical Society), Published Sept. 3, 2013: Size Distributions of Airborne Radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident at Several Places in Europe [...] Before the FDNPP accident, average 137Cs levels were typically of 1 μBq m−3 in Central Europe and lower average values (<0.3 μBq m−3) were characteristic of northern, western and southern Europe. […] During the passage of contaminated air masses from Fukushima, airborne 137Cs levels were globally enhanced by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude. Continue reading »

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Aug 07

Putin chess

- Russian Retaliation: Putin Orders Ban On All Food Imports From Sanctioning Countries For A Year (ZeroHedge, Aug 6, 2014):

Last week we noted Russia was considering banning fruit from Europe (as well as various other sanctions retaliations) but this morning Vladimir Putin has come out swinging by signing ‘a decree on countermeasures to Western sanctions’:

  • *PUTIN BANS FOOD IMPORTS FROM COUNTRIES SANCTIONING RUSSIA: IFX
  • *PUTIN ORDERS GOVT TO PREVENT ACCELERATED GROWTH OF FOOD PRICES

So trade wars escalate externally and price controls internally. It appears the US (and Europe) will indeed feel “tangible losses” despite Jack Lew’s promises.

Putin adds: Continue reading »

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