Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades.
The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.
Saudi Arabia and the other nations leading the blockade – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – launched an economic and diplomatic blockade on the energy-rich country a fortnight ago, initially claiming the Qatari royal family had licensed the funding of terrorism across the Middle East for decades. Since then, the allies appear to be pushing for the isolation of Iran and the suppression of dissenting media in the region.
The list of demands, relayed to Qatar via mediators from Kuwait, represents the first time Saudi Arabia has been prepared to put the bloc’s previously amorphous grievances in writing. Their sweeping nature would, if accepted, represent an effective end to Qatar’s independent foreign policy. According to one of the points, Qatar would have to ‘align itself with other Arabs and the Gulf, militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as in financial matters’.

This post was published at The Guardian

Shock Footage: Protester Shot Dead On Live TV During Venezuelan Riots

We’ve repeatedly warned our readers that a collapse of life as we know it in America would quickly devolve into violence, looting and outright anarchy. As the economic landscape in America deteriorates it is likely only a matter of time before millions of starving Americans make their way to the streets in protest. When that happens they’ll be met with a heavily armed response. It’ll start with tear gas and rubber bullets, but that won’t be enough to stave off the starving and hopeless masses, so we can fully expect real bullets to start flying in short order.
To see a real-world example of this one need only turn their attention to Venezuela, where the collapse of their currency has led to hyperinflation to the point that supplies of bare essentials like flour, meat, medicine and toilet paper are unavailable to the general population. The situation has been playing out for several years and it appears to be coming to a head.
As evidenced by the video below, which appeared on Live television, Venezuelan riot police and military are now to the point where they are willing to kill to ensure the security of the State.

This post was published at shtfplan on June 26th, 2017.

Cash Is Falling Out of Fashion – Will It Disappear Forever?

Bhaskar Chakravorti, Tufts University
On June 27, the ATM turns 50. Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker once described it as the ‘only useful innovation in banking.’ But today, the cash that ATMs dispense may be on the endangered list.
Cash is being displaced in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. There are credit cards and electronic payments; apps such as Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash; mobile payments services; cryptocurrencies that operate outside the purview of central banks; and localized offerings such as Kenya’s mPesa, India’s Paytm and Bangladesh’s bKash. These innovations are encouraging cashlessness across communities worldwide.
Listen to India and the Cashless Society
It’s reasonable to expect cash to follow the path of other goods that have been replaced by digital alternatives, such as photos, music, and movies. Will cash – and the ATMs that dispense it – experience a ‘Blockbuster’ moment and disappear from our neighborhoods?
Not so fast. Cash will likely become less popular, thanks to the high cost of using cash and the growing array of alternatives. But I expect it will remain with us forever. The future will be ‘less cash,’ rather than cashless.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/26/2017.

The Hidden Motives Of The Chinese Silk Road

China’s Belt and Road Forum, hosted with great fanfare, signals the priority of this flagship connectivity initiative while also underlining its credentials as the new ‘shaper’ of global trends and norms. Exhorting all countries to participate, Chinese President Xi Jinping suggested that ‘what we hope to create is a big family of harmonious co-existence.’
But India, an emerging economy that shares a contested border with China, worries about containment and new pathways for aggression from Pakistan. Other nations wonder if hegemonistic designs are hidden behind the rationality of connectivity and trade. The policy initiative aims to enhance China’s centrality in the global economic unilateral approach in how the project is conceived and implemented so far belies the rhetoric of multilateralism emanating from Beijing.
Taking inspiration from the ancient Silk Road trading route, China’s One Belt One Road initiative, or OBOR, hopes to link more than 65 countries, encompassing up to 40 percent of global GDP. Xi’s signature foreign paradigm – linking China to Asia, Europe and Africa via an ambitious network of ports, roads, rail and other infrastructure projects. Beginning in China’s Fujian province, the projected Maritime Silk Route passes through the Malacca Strait to the Indian Ocean, moving along the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, ending in Venice.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 25, 2017.

Ep. 937 How to Deal With Annoying/Scammer Telemarketers: Sic These Hilarious Bots on Them

Roger Anderson, a telecommunications contractor and consultant with nearly 25 years of experience, decided that unsolicited telemarketing calls, which half the time are from scammers trying to get your financial information, needed to be dealt with. So he designed a series of clever bots that appear to be real people and keep the telemarketer tied up on the phone, and therefore temporarily unable to bother or victimize everyone else.
It’s a brilliant and hilarious private-sector response.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

This post was published at The Tom Woods Show on 23rd June 2017.

Megyn Kelly: did NBC hire her to destroy FOX?

NBC lured FOX ice queen Megyn Kelly into their house because…
NBC execs are either dumb as rocks, or it’s part of a plan to send FOX down the drain.
The dumb-as-rocks part: NBC gave Kelly her own Sunday night ‘news’ show; that time slot, up against CBS’ 60 Minutes, is a sure loser. NBC plans to roll out Kelly in their morning line-up, where cheery and happy and bubbly are prerequisites; Kelly works more along the line of a surgeon operating on a patient without anesthetic. NBC apparently plans to put Kelly in an afternoon slot, where Oprah and Ellen made their bones; Kelly connects with the afternoon-women audience the way a leopard connects with bunny rabbits.
If NBC-programming big shots aren’t that dumb, then they stole Kelly from FOX to facilitate the downfall of FOX, the only mainstream refuge of ‘conservatives.’ NBC will eat her salary for a while, and then, as one pundit speculated, they’ll dump her at MSNBC, the extreme left-liberal cable cemetery, dedicated these days to haunting Trump for every move he makes or doesn’t make. Kelly will probably wind up alongside Brian Williams, who’s serving time at MSNBC for famously lying about an RPG hit his helicopter took in Iraq. The Brian and Megyn Show. She’ll turn further left, and he’ll try to rehab her image. Brian will say, ‘She’s both brilliant and caring. She hates injustice and tries to root it out wherever she finds it. She’s committed to righting wrongs done to people who have no voice. Megyn gives them that voice. I’m honored to be working with her. When she was in Iraq and her helicopter was shot at, I dressed a chest wound she suffered…’

This post was published at Jon Rappoport on June 23, 2017.

What Is the Most Likely Outcome of the Qatar Crisis?

The diplomatic crisis resulting from sanctions against Qatar raises fresh questions concerning the political and economic environment in the Gulf. A guest post by Anas Abdoun.
Just a fortnight after President Trump’s visit to the Middle-East, many members of the GCC as well as Egypt, severed diplomatic, economic and security relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Yemen, made this momentous decision, joined days later by Mauritania and the Maldives.
These measures are particularly hard for Qatar as this is not merely a closing of embassies. In 2014, Qatar had a crisis with its neighbors, who shut down their embassies to protest against Doha’s foreign policy. The crisis was resolved with an agreement, which Saudi Arabia now claims has not been respected by Qatar.
This time, in addition to cutting diplomatic ties, the five countries decided to enforce a major economic embargo against Qatar, which is financially powerful but geographically very small. The GCC is now caught up in the worst diplomatic crisis since its creation in 1981, dividing the organization which yields great power within the region and with the entire group of Arab countries.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/22/2017.

Schaeuble Warns US Pullback Could “End Our Liberal World Order”

Less than a month after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that ‘Europe must take its fate into its own hands,’ Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble implored US President Donald Trump to reconsider his ‘America First’ policy, claiming that a pullback by the US would risk the destruction of ‘our liberal world order’ by ceding influence to the Chinese and the Russians.
Trump’s hostility toward his European partners has strained relations between the US and its Continental allies. Since taking office, Trump has insulted fellow G-7 and NATO leaders, pulled out of the Paris Accord and attempted to ban travelers and refugees from six Muslim majority countries. Though Trump has treated at least one NATO leader with respect: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, whom he honored with a Rose Garden press conference.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 22, 2017.

Indians Have A Choice: Buy The iPhone 6S Or Pay For One Year Of Groceries

As we noted first thing this morning, Mizuho downgraded Apple to neutral from buy, slashing its price target on the world’s largest company to $160 to $150 on the view that robust sales growth for the next product cycle has already been factored into the company’s share price. Among other things in its report, Mizuho took a look at some of the company’s key growth markets – notably India – to try and quantify the potential for sales growth in the coming years. It found that the iPhone’s ability to gain market share in the world’s most populous country could be problematic to say the least, and will likely be constrained by the high “opportunity costs” that buyers associate with these products.
Some observations:according to Mizuho, ‘the amount spent on the iPhone 6S would pay for one month’s rent for a two-bedroom apartment in a large metropolitan city.” These prohibitively high costs make it extremely unlikely that the Indian market will swell to hundreds of millions of users of Apple products in the near, or not so near term, like the company hopes.
‘In the exhibit below, we provide added perspective by evaluating the opportunity cost of buying an iPhone in India based on an average smartphone user’s living expenses. For instance, the amount spent on iPhone 6S could allow a consumer to purchase five round-trip cross-country air tickets or pay for one month’s rent for a two-bedroom apartment in a large, metropolitan city.”
‘Similarly a consumer can pay for one year’s worth of groceries, or four years’ worth of cell phone payments with the same amount. In contrast, in the US, smartphone users finance their phones with only $200-300 paid up-front.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.

US Urges Beijing To Impose First Round Of Sanctions Against Chinese Firms Trading With North Korea

The Trump administration has asked Beijing to impose what would be the first round of sanctions against nearly 10 Chinese companies and individuals that trade with North Korea, part of a strategy to starve, and ultimately shut down, Kim’s nuclear program, the WSJ reports.
Recall that while U. S. sanctions on North Korea target virtually the nation’s entire economy; U. N. sanctions are less stringent and still allow for significant nonmilitary trade, especially between the isolated nation and its biggest trading partner, China. While there is no firm deadline, senior US officials cited as sources by WSJ indicated that the Treasury Department could impose unilateral sanctions on some of these entities before the end of the summer if Beijing doesn’t act.
The Journal did not name the entities being targeted, however clues to their identities can be found in a report released Monday by a Washington-based nonpartisan research group, C4ADS, that identifies several Chinese entities of concern in the hopes of exposing illicit trading networks. Those include a Chinese businessman and his sister said to be connected to a ship intercepted by Egypt last year while smuggling 30,000 North Korean rocket-propelled grenades. US officials told WSJ that the report reflects part of its strategy towards North Korea.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 12, 2017.

Trump Meets Romanian President Klaus Iohannis: A Preview

As “infrastructure week” draws to a close, President Donald Trump is preparing to meet with his Romanian counterpart, President Klaus Iohannis, in the Oval Office on Friday before the two hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden to talk security, defense spending and other economic concerns.
The press conference is set to begin at 2:45 ET.
Romania, which joined NATO in 2004, increased its defense budget to equal 2% of its GDP this year – one of only 5 NATO members to hit that target. Trump, who has waffled back and forth on whether he considers the alliance ‘obsolete,’ said last month during a meeting of NATO leaders at the defense alliance’s new headquarters in Brussels that its members owe the US a lot of money for paying for their defense.
The visit by Iohannis is meant to underscore the defense and military ties between the two countries. Romania is host to an $800 million ballistic missile shield built by the US that was ‘switched on’ last month. US officials say the shield is meant to counter the threat from Iran.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 9, 2017.

OPEC at the Crossroads

OPEC is currently in a difficult situation. How should it react to the oil glut that followed the emergence of shale oil technology? In our view, today’s situation is comparable to the oil glut in the 1980s. Back then OPEC unsuccessfully tried to support prices by curtailing supply with the result that core-OPEC members were sitting on vast amounts of idle capacity for nearly two decades. Thus, we view the recent production cuts as an attempt to speed up the drawdown of the global inventory overhang rather than a sign that OPEC has returned to a policy of balancing the market. If OPEC, going forward, truly allows market forces to play out without carrying a lot of spare capacity, unforeseen shortfalls could result in violent price swings.
View the Entire Research Piece as a PDF here.
Trading oil has been challenging over the past few months. To be fair, it has been challenging for a while, but those trying to predict price movements based on fundamentals have had a particularly hard time recently. Rather than moving with improving fundamentals, the oil market has hung on every word from OPEC officials, which has sent oil prices on a rollercoaster ride. In the past two weeks, fundamentals continued to improve with U. S. oil inventories showing counter-seasonal draws, yet prices collapsed on May 25 after OPEC announced it would extend production cuts by nine months. The price action indicates that market participants were hoping for an even larger cut and were disappointed that the current cuts were merely extended, but the current curtailments have already had a profound impact on inventories (we saw and continue to see large counter-seasonal draws in high frequency data), which is what we suspect OPEC had intended.
OPEC is currently in a difficult situation. How should it react to the oil glut that followed the emergence of shale oil technology? In our view, OPEC’s options and its influence on oil prices are limited. To understand this, we must go back to the 1980s, which is the last time OPEC was faced with a technological step change that led to an oil glut from non-OPEC producers.
OPEC was founded in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The founding members were later joined by Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962 – 2008; rejoined 2016), Libya (1962), United Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973 – 1992; rejoined 2007), and Gabon (1975 – 1994; rejoined 2016). By 1973, OEPC had increased its production to about 30 million b/d, just over 50% of world production. Supported by Egypt and Syria, the Arab members of OPEC imposed an oil embargo against the United States and other countries that supported Israel during the Yom Kippur war in October 1973. OPEC output subsequently dropped by close to 4 million b/d, which was about 7% of global output. As a result, oil shortages occurred in the west and prices soared from USD3.29/bbl in 1973 to USD11.58/bbl in 1974, and prices remained high even after the oil embargo ended in March 1974. In 1979 oil prices moved sharply higher again to as high as USD40/bbl. In our view, the 1979 price increase must be attributed to several factors; the Iranian revolution and ensuing Iran-Iraq war certainly played their part, but general USD price inflation was rampant, reaching 20% per annum. Arguably, part of the reason why inflation was so high was because oil prices had previously risen on the back of the oil embargo, which trickled into general price inflation. But even without the tightness in oil fundamentals, USD inflation would have been high given the monetary environment of the time; however, the price inflation in oil was several magnitudes higher than broad price inflation, suggesting that the tightness in the oil market itself was the main reason for the sharp price increase in oil. Most importantly, this prolonged period of extremely high oil prices and the crippling effect the oil shortages had on western economies led to profound changes in oil and energy markets.

This post was published at GoldMoney on JUNE 06, 2017.