Sep 18

- Gold Tumbles To 2014 Lows As China Unveils Anti-Rigging Benchmark (ZeroHedge, Sep 18, 2014):

With a Fed hinting at exit strategies, gold has tumbled to 2014 lows (and almost in the red year-to-date) as traders apparently forget Japan, China, and European central banks continue to (or are set to) print more money into the global reflation trade. It appears that as the West continues to sell ‘paper’ gold, the East remains enamnored as the PBOC announced this morning:

  • *CHINA TO FORM SHANGHAI GOLD BENCHMARK, PBOC GOVERNOR SAYS
  • *PBOC CHIEF ZHOU: GOLD MARKET IMPORTANT PART OF FINANCIAL MARKET
  • *SHANGHAI GOLD MARKET HAS TO AVOID SYSTEMIC RISK: PBOC’S ZHOU

Furthermore, traders have noted physical buying interest continues in the Asian region as premiums rise in China and India.

As Bloomberg reports, PBOC’s Zhou says Chinese gold market is crucial: Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- It’s Not Just The Police – The Feds Are Also Militarizing Public Schools With Grenade Launchers, M16s & Tanks (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Sep 17, 2014):

Events last month in Ferguson, Missouri (read my detailed thoughts here) forced Americans to confront the frightening reality that many of of the nation’s police departments have been quietly, but consistently, militarizing over the past couple of decades. It’s one thing to intellectually understand that this has happened, it’s quite another to see cops deploy tanks and point sniper rifles at peacefully protesting U.S. citizens.

Just as disturbing as the scenes themselves, is the fact that this has been happening for so long under the 1033 transfer program with only muted criticism. The program was originated in the late 1990′s under the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 (recall that the NDAA is also being used to allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial), and it allows for the transfer of excess Department of Defense equipment to domestic police. In other words, it has been public policy for almost two decades to militarize the police.

With the issue squarely still in the public consciousness, it would behoove us to understand that this program is not only arming police with weapons of war. In fact, public schools are also receiving such items, including grenade launchers, M16s and MRAPs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that: Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Scottish Independence: Politicians Love Democracy So Much They’re Trying To Subvert It (Sovereign Man, Sep 16, 2014):

The polls in Scotland will close this week on one of the more important elections in recent history… perhaps one of the only elections that actually matters.

Rather than a typical vote to see who the captain of the Titanic will be, Scots are deciding whether they want to be free and independent from the UK. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

Eritrea-US-IRS

- An Appalling Practice Used In Only Two Nations, Of Which The US Is One (Doug Casey’s International Man):

It’s sort of an obscure story, but it’s also incredibly instructive.

That’s the story of how Eritrea—a tiny, mostly unheard-of country in East Africa—taxes its citizens who live abroad.

Eritrea is one of only two countries in the entire world that taxes its nonresident citizens on their global income. Specifically, Eritrea levies a flat 2% tax on the income of its citizens who reside abroad.

Nearly every other country in the world bases its tax system on residency rather than citizenship. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Russia To Deploy “Full-Scale Military Unit” In Crimea (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

Just a day after NATO began military exercises (with troops from the US) near the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine, WSJ reports Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is responding to the “rising foreign military presence,” near Russia. In a not-so-de-escalatory move, Shoigu explained that NATO’s comments were “light-minded” and his ministry’s key task now is to “deploy a full-scale and self-sufficient force grouping” in the Crimea region.

First this…

Russian Defense Ministry official calls light-minded NATO general’s statements about Russian military presence in Ukraine

Then, as The Wall Street Journal reports, Continue reading »

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Sep 18

muppets-kermit-dead

- Goldman’s Former Head Of Housing Research Predicts Housing Crash, Recession Within Three Years (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

When a former Goldman executive and the prior head of its housing research team comes out with a shocking analysis so contrary to what the same individual would do in his “former life” when he would be extolling the “inevitable” rise of home prices from here to eternity and beyond, and also throw in an open letter to none other than president Obama, predicting at least a 15% crash in home prices in the next three years, a move which would without debt catalyze the next US recession, it is time to pay attention. Meet Joshua Pollard, who in February 2009 took over coverage of US Housing at Goldman Sachs.  His point, in short: “House prices are 12% overvalued today. They have already started to decline. Today’s misvaluation matches the excess of 2006-07, just before the Great Recession… 5 of the last 7 US recessions were led by a weakening housing market… I am lamentably confident that home prices will fall by 15% within three years.” Or, as some may call it, crash.

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Sep 18

A firefighter battling the King Fire watches a backfire burn along Highway 50 in Fresh Pond

More photos here:

- California Is Burning: Postcards From The Inferno (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

As if the drought was not disastrous enough for California, a consequence of the state’s dryness is that nearly 6,000 firefighters are battling 12 separate wildfires raging across the Golden State.

As the Cal Fire chief notes, “We’ve seen a lot more fires, and with those fires, more and more people are at threat. Every day we continue to see new fires ignite, forcing hundreds to evacuate,” and the following images from the infernos suggest there is no end in sight as “we start to see winds pick up and conditions are at their driest.”

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Sep 18

Related info:

- ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Sign Non-Aggression Pact With ISIS; Iraq Defies US


House Votes To Fund Arms To Moderate (For Now) Syrian Rebels (And Ex-Im Bank) – Live Feed (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

*HOUSE HAS VOTES FOR U.S. AID TO SYRIAN REBELS; VOTE CONTINUING

Those sneaky politicians… The House has just begun voting on whether to amend the US Spending Bill to enable funding for Obama’s grand strategy of training “moderate Syrian rebels.

  • *SYRIAN REBEL AID IS PROPOSED AS AMENDMENT TO U.S. SPENDING BILL
  • *HOUSE BEGINS VOTE ON U.S. AID TO SYRIAN REBELS SOUGHT BY OBAMA

However, what few have also noticed is that the bill also includes an extension for funding the Export-Import bank.

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Sep 18

- Got (Record-High-Priced) Milk? (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s low PPI and this morning’s falling CPI, we thought it worth noting (given The Fed’s pre-occupation that inflation is running too low) that the price of milk – that staple of the American diet – just hit an all-time high. Nope, no inflation here… Continue reading »

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Sep 18

The Fed’s Laughable GDP “Forecast” Just Got Even Funnier (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

What in January 2012 was a 2014 GDP forecast range of 3.7%-4.0% collapsed to 2.1%-2.3% in June (because clearly the Fed couldn’t possibly forecast snow in the winter), and three months later is now 2.0%-2.2%. In short, a 43% forecasting error. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Abenomics Crushes Sony: Electronics Giant Forced To Cancel Dividend For First Time Ever (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

It was over a year ago, when contrary to the propganda spewed on a daily basis by the Japanese government hell bent on destroying the domestic economy, now suffering its Keynesian death rattle, just to push stocks to highs which nobody except for a few thousand people will be able to monetize on, that the CEO of Sony explicitly warned that “the preconception is that a weaker Yen is good overall. Unfortunately for us, versus the USD, it goes the other way… we are actually at a disadvantage.” He wasn’t kidding and just under a year later, back in May, Sony shocked everyone when the electonics giant not only posted a massive net loss of $1.3 billion, far worse than previously expected, but also slashed its profit outlook by 70%.

Fast forward to today, when minutes ago the Yen hit another multi-year low against the dollar, which sure enough, is great for the nominal value of Japanese stocks, if horrible for the actual Japanese companies, the Japanese middle class, and pretty much everyone except for a few superrich people. Such as Sony. Because the (now former) electronic giant, which once upon a time was the target of an activist campaign by none other than Dan Loeb who mysteriouly saw value in the company, once again stunned everyone when it reported overnight that it expects its annual loss to swell to $2 billion, but, far worse, canceled the payment of its dividend for the first time ever after writing down the value of its troubled smartphone business.

 Needless to say, Sony’s stock which doubled in 2013 for the completely wrong reasons, is now crashing. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- ISIS Releases New Video, Warns “Fighting Has Just Begun” (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

The Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL has released its initial ‘rebuff’ propaganda response to President Obama’s declaration of war against the ‘non-islamic’ terrorist organization. The brief video entitled “Flames of War” is shot like a blockbuster-movie-style trailer and threatens US troops and the White House. As Politico reports, the militant terror group vows that the “fighting has just begun” in the minute-long video, which features clips of American military forces under fire and a wounded U.S. soldier being taken from the battlefield. The video concludes as the words “Flames of War” flash on the screen, followed by “Fighting has just begun” and ends ominously: “Coming Soon.” Even more concerning perhaps is al-Qaeda branches calling for all jihadists to unite against the common threat from a US-led coalition.

Brief Michael-Bay-esque video below (warning: disturbing and graphic images)

Continue reading »

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Sep 18

- Which Global Hegemon Is on Shifting Sands? (Of Two Minds, Sep 17, 2014):

Given that all the leading candidates for Global Hegemon are hastening down paths of self-destruction, perhaps there will be no global hegemon dominating the 21st century.

Which nation with aspirations of global dominance (i.e. hegemony) has these attributes?

1. The nation’s recent prosperity is based on a vast expansion of credit.

2. The nation has 100+ million obese/diabetic citizens. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

FYI.


- Seth Klarman: “We Are Recreating The Markets Of 2007″ (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

Exceprted from Seth Klarman’s Baupost letter to investors,

We don’t know now (nor do we ever know) what the overall market will do. As we’ve discussed in recent letters, there are reasons for investors to be frightened but also numerous individual opportunities worth seizing. Today’s limited opportunity set means that we are still holding sizable cash balances, about 35% of the portfolio at June 30. This dry powder will become more valuable if the markets become more turbulent.

Equity markets continue to hit successive record highs, volatility remains strikingly low in equity and most other markets, and inflation is ticking higher. Investors have clearly grown weary of worrying about risky scenarios that never seem to materialize or, when they do, don’t seem to matter to anyone else. U.S. GDP, for example, was recently restated to minus 2.9% for the first quarter of 2014. Normally, this magnitude drop signals recession. Equities, nevertheless, marched relentlessly higher. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

From the article:

“It’s the final excesses and steps of a broke society. It’s madness to the power of infinity. The only thing that’s certain is that in the end, your money will all be gone. That’s how Mario Draghi ‘saves’ the EU for a few more weeks, and that’s how the big boys of finance squeeze more from what little you have left (which is already much less than you think).

A world headed for nowhere.”

- Debt Rattle Sep 16 2014: Subprime Is Back With A Vengeance (The Automatic Earth, Sep 16, 2014):


CarOnSlope1920
Christopher Helin Franklin car on slope, San Francisco. 1920

A few days ago, I wrote an essay about how ECB head Mario Draghi seeks to redefine the definitions of certain words and terms, like the one that define financial instruments, because he needs to find hundreds of billions in new spending money in Europe without adding to the behemoth existing debt (Germany won’t let him do that). And yes, that is indeed as impossible and meaningless as you think it is. But these are desperate times.

Thing is, I called that essay Draghi To Save Europe With Semantics , and maybe I shouldn’t have, because it’s obviously not the most sexy and catchy title on the planet, but my problem there was, it captures what I was talking about. And it’s all much broader and bigger than that, but then that’s what the article tries to explain.

Moreover, the financial press also catches up. To the fact that semantics and re-defining are the flavor du jour, once again, just like they were in 2005-6-7. When ratings agencies used the confusion about what things actually mean to stamp AAA ratings on everything including your kids’ snot nose tissues and toilet paper. And that is an important development, if you care about preserving some of your remaining wealth. Which I think you’d like to do, so please bear with me. Continue reading »

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Sep 18

H/t reader squodgy.


Terrorism

- TUT Broadcast Sept 17, 2014 (The Ugly Truth):

Pt. I–Back door war with Syria using ISIS/ISIL as the pretext, the real goal being the dismemberment of the building anti-Zionist coalition building between countries such as Syria, Iran, Russia and Latin America

Pt. II–reading of the recent essay Zionist Terrorism, from the book of Genesis to modern day Gaza and beyond–None dare call it Judaism.

Listen Here

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Sep 17

Symphony of Lies
Ukraine-Symhony-Of-Lies

Under Cover of Ceasefire, NATO-Armed Kiev Poised to Attack (Ron Paul Institute, Sep 16, 2014):

Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. According to the terms of the ceasefire, the pro-independence fighters were to lay down their arms, cease their offensive to regain lost territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk region, and disband. Continue reading »

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Sep 17

porsche-panamera

- What The “Porsche Indicator” Tells Us About The Greek “Recovery” (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

As the “Big Mac Index” is to global purchase price parity levels of inflation, so when it comes to the state of the “recovery” if not for everyone, then certainly for the 0.1%, there is no better metric than the “Porsche Indicator.” Recall: “Porsche Reports Record Sales in 2013; 21 Percent Increase Over 2012” which certainly didn’t come on the back of yet another year of declines in real incomes for the middle class (spoiler alert: it came on the back of some $10 trillion in liquidty injections by the world’s central banks). Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Germany Issues 2Y Note At Record Low Yield Of -7bps (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

Germany sold EUR 3.34 billion 2-year notes to a desparate-for-collateral, safe-haven-seeking, ECB QE-front-running, deflation-pricing market (with exceptional demand – an elevated 2.26x bid-to-cover) for a stunning -0.07% yield… an all-time record low yield issuance for Germany. We have nothing to add…

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Sep 17

ben_bernanke_janet_yellen

- Janet Yellen Trolls America’s Poor: Tells Them It Is Important To Get Rich (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

The Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as “the middle.” Her message? Build assets, or said otherwise…  get rich.

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Sep 17

How Banks Continue FX Rigging Right Under The SEC’s Noses (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

The good news is that the rigging of the FX markets – now conspiracy fact, not conspiracy theory – has, according to Bloomberg, forced the world’s biggest banks to overhaul how they trade currencies to regain the trust of customers and preempt regulators’ efforts to force changes on an industry tarnished by allegations of manipulation with the “modernization of processes that probably should have been brought in 15 or 20 years ago.” However, the FX market is far from ‘clean’ as Bloomberg notes, while banks can limit access to details about client orders on their computer systems, they can’t keep employees from talking to one another. Some traders also are still communicating with clients and counterparts at other firms via Snapchat, circumventing their company’s controls right under the nose of the SEC. As one trader commented, “these [reform] changes look like fig leaves.”

As Bloomberg reports, positive changes are happening (on the surface)… Continue reading »

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Sep 17

++ Iraq: al Baghdadi appare in immagini in moschea Mossul ++
A welcome distraction: the Islamist dude with the $6.500 James Bond watch.

(The Mossad and our CIA are obviously paying well. More info down below.)

- NSA Warns “Bad Guys Are Everywhere” As Spooks Run Afoul Of German Laws Again (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

Successfully Distracted …

We can probably “thank” ISIS for having distracted everyone from the ongoing spy scandal. A new barbaric and powerful terrorist group the danger of which is blown out of all proportion by politicians and the media is no doubt a Godsend for the national security apparatus and the military-industrial complex. In fact, this reminds us that ISIS looks suspiciously like an artificial creation anyway, one that has at some point undoubtedly received assistance from one or more states.

In a previous missive (see “Equal Opportunity Spy-Fest” for details), we discussed an article in German news magazine Der Spiegel (which has by the way done some excellent sleuthing beyond merely reporting on the content of the Snowden files). The article at Der Spiegel inter alia mentioned occasions when representatives of the “national security” apparatus or government spokesmen speaking on its behalf were caught in blatant lies and noted in its conclusion: Continue reading »

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Sep 17

Related info:

- Goldman’s Take On China’s “Stealth QE”:

“Domestic media (Sina) reported that the PBOC conducted RMB 500bn of Standing Lending Facility operations with the big 5 commercial banks (ICBC, BOC, BoCOM, CCB, ABC). The reports note that the duration is 3 months and the RMB 500 bn is evenly split among the banks. This amount is roughly the same as a 50 bps cut to RRR for the whole banking system on a static basis. There is no official confirmation from the PBOC yet. Still, such an easing would be consistent with our expectation that (1) monetary policy will loosened amid the drastic slowdown in activity growth and falling inflation, and (2) full scale RRR and interest rate cuts are unlikely because they would be viewed as aggressive stimulus.”

- What Happened After China’s Last “Stealth QE”?:

In a worrying sense of deja-vu all over again, today’s rip higher reflects perfectly the US equity market’s knee-jerk reaction to the last ‘Stealth QE’ from China on July 28th. That did not end well as hot money flowed out to the instantaneously “easiest” central bank in the world…

Markets React Violently To China’s Stealth QE:

From copper to high-yield credit and from stocks to bonds and gold, markets are reacting violently to the headlines from China that they are unleashing another 500bn Yuan “stealth QE”everything is rallying.. except the USD (biggest drop since May).


China Launches CNY500 Billion In “Stealth QE” (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

It has been a while since the PBOC engaged in some “targeted” QE. So clearly following the biggest drop in the Shanghai Composite in 6 months after some abysmal Chinese economic and flow data in the past several days, it’s time for some more. From Bloomberg:

  • CHINA’S PBOC STARTS 500B YUAN SLF TODAY, SINA.COM SAYS
  • PBOC PROVIDES 500B YUAN LIQUIDITY TO CHINA’S TOP 5 BANKS: SINA
  • PBOC PROVIDES 100B YUAN TO EACH BANK TODAY, TOMORROW WITH DURATION OF 3 MONTHS: SINA

Just as expected, the Chinese “derivative” currency, the AUD, goes vertical on the news, and the S&P 500 goes vertical alongside: Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Obama To Send 3,000 Ebola-Fighting Boots-On-The-Ground To Africa; CDC Warns America “Now Is The Time To Prepare” (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

On the heels of yesterday’s almost unbelievable forecasts of the exponential rise in Ebola case counts – and warnings of a 20% chance of Ebola reaching the USA by year-end, WHO officials have confirmed that their previous forecasts of 20,000 cases “does not seem like a lot today.” This has, according to Reuters, the United States announced on Tuesday that it would send 3,000 troops to help tackle the Ebola outbreak as part of a ramped-up response including a major deployment in Liberia, the country where the epidemic is spiralling fastest out of control. Perhaps even more worrisome – for those who explained how ‘contained’ Ebola was – is the CDC’s release of an Ebola checklist warning American healthcare workers “now is the time to prepare.”

WHO warns the scale of the epidemic is unprecedented… Continue reading »

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Sep 17

boots

- Preparing For All Out Iraq War: Joint Chiefs Of Staff Back US Troops In Combat “If Necessary” (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

Who could have seen this coming? In yet another example of untruthiness, it appears, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, President Obama would back U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle to combat Islamic State militants if necessary. For now, Dempsey noted, Iraqi security forces are “doing fine,” but as Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe noted, “it is foolhardy for the Obama administration to tie its hands and so firmly rule out the possibility of special operators on the ground.” Following Hagel’s remarks that the fight will “not be an easy or a brief effort,” Dempsey said if it doesn’t succeed, he would not rule out advising Obama to use U.S. ground forces.

As Politico reports, Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Desperate Californians steal water from fire hydrants as rich community pays half a million dollars for overwatering lawns (Natural News, Sep 15, 2014):

The ongoing water crisis in California has sparked an apparent crime wave in some parts of the state, with desperate residents illegally taking water from fire hydrants in the middle of the night to keep their lawns green and their animals happy. Reports indicate that, in some areas, as much as 10 percent of the water supply has gone missing, presumably due to theft, a premonition of much worse things to come if rains remain at bay.

The city of Lemoore, for instance, a community of some 25,000 people south of Fresno, has seen numerous water thefts in recent weeks — a growing black market for water amidst one of the worst droughts in California history. According to The Hanford Sentinel, thieves are believed to be attaching hoses to fire hydrants throughout the city and pumping water into large plastic tanks affixed to the back of trucks. Continue reading »

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Sep 17

Barbaras-cereals-non-GMO-project-verified

- Food brand update: Annie’s sells out to General Mills while Barbara’s gets its cereals Non-GMO Project Verified (Natural News, Sep 15, 2014):

General Mills, one of the most deceptive food companies in the world and a processed food giant that funds efforts to block GMO labeling transparency, is reportedly purchasing Annie’s for $820 million. [1]

Annie’s, based in Berkeley, California, is a well-known organic food brand that has long been favored by organic consumers. General Mills, on the other hand, works hand in hand with the Grocery Manufacturers of America, a GMO food industry front group that engages in criminal money laundering operations to make sure consumers remain ignorant about the toxic GMOs hidden in the foods they buy. Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Humans have increased animal extinction rates by 1,000 times (Natural News, Sep 15, 2014):

The current global extinction rate is 1,000 times higher than it was before humans came along, according to a study conducted by researchers from Brown University, Duke University, Microsoft Research and the University of Georgia, and published in the journal Conservation Biology.

“We’ve known for 20 years that current rates of species extinctions are exceptionally high,” senior author Stuart Pimm said. “This new study comes up with a better estimate of the normal background rate — how fast species would go extinct were it not for human actions. It’s lower than we thought, meaning that the current extinction crisis is much worse by comparison.”

Ten times worse than previously thought

Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Meanwhile In Ukraine, The Parliament Is Being Stormed, Again – Live Webcast (ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

Yesterday, in the aftermath of the popular anger aimed at Ukraine’s president Porohsneko following his “Bohnering” on Ukraine’s demands for a free trade agreement with Europe, we said the new president’s days are likely numbered. Less than 24 hours later, this has started to play out, and as the live feeds below show, the Kiev parliament is being stormed by what appears to be discontent from the right wing “Right Sector” political group, despite today’s ratification of the meaningless EU pact, whose purpose was to offset popular anger at the delay of the trade agreeement. Moments ago from Bloomberg:

  • UKRAINE PROTESTERS ATTEMPT TO ENTER PARLIAMENT BUILDING: UNIAN

Below is a live feed of what may soon be the second political coup in Ukraine in under 1 year. Continue reading »

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Sep 17

- Ukraine Currency Crashes To Record Low As IMF Blasts “Gross Abuses”(ZeroHedge, Sep 16, 2014):

Despite celebrations of de-escalations and truce in US equity markets (by asset-gathering commission-takers), the situation continues to go from bad to worse in the nation almost forgotten now that ISIS is stealing American headlines. The Hryvnia plunged 7.5% this morning – its biggest single-day drop on record – following the release of a scathing IMF letter and devaluation warnings from BofA. The IMF blasted Ukraine’s “premature emission of extra money,” and demanded it “immediately halt these gross abuses,” as BofA warns of risk of “10-20% devaluation” in the next year is high given reserves are at a “critical level.”

UAH plunges 7.5% to record lows this morning…

20140916_UAH

As far as the truce is concerned, we leave it to Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow to explain the idiocy… Continue reading »

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