One California lawmaker is seeking to have the state ban all vehicles powered by fossil fuels by the year 2040. Should the bill succeed in becoming a law, the state of California would not allow residents to register any vehicle that emits carbon dioxide. According to Bloomberg, California Assemblymember Phil Ting, a Democrat who is chairman of the chamber’s budget committee, said he plans to introduce a bill that, starting in 2040, would allow the state’s motor vehicles department to register only ‘clean’ vehicles that emit no carbon dioxide, such as battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell cars. ‘Until you set a deadline, nothing gets done,’ Ting, who represents much of San Francisco, said in a phone interview Tuesday.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 6th, 2017.
Days after North Korea launched its most advanced ICBM which reportedly can hit a target anywhere in the United States with its 8,000+ mile range, Pyongyang said the U. S. is “begging” for a nuclear war by planning the “largest-ever” joint aerial drill with South Korea, according to Bloomberg. ‘Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U. S., the U. S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,’ North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As we previously reported, the statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U. S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind. Meanwhile, in addition to Lindsey Graham’s warning that US civilians in South Korea should evacuate ahead of “military conflict”, in response to North Korea’s recently enhanced capabilities, the United States is beefing up security on the West Coast.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.
Just days after Pyongyang launched its most advanced ICBM, one which experts warned has the potential to hit a target anywhere on the territory of the United States, North Korea said the U. S. is ‘begging’ for a nuclear war by planning the ‘largest-ever’ joint aerial drill with South Korea just after concluding an exercise with nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, Bloomberg reported. ‘Should the Korean peninsula and the world be embroiled in the crucible of nuclear war because of the reckless nuclear war mania of the U. S., the U. S. will have to accept full responsibility for it,’ North Korea’s state-run KCNA said Saturday, citing a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The statement came after Yonhap News reported that six U. S. Raptor stealth fighters planes arrived in South Korea on Saturday for a joint air drill named “Vigilant Ace 18” scheduled for Dec. 4 to 8. The F-22s flew into South Korea together in a show of force. The stealth fighters, however, were just a small part of the upcoming show of force: according to local media, some 230 aircraft and up to 16,000 soldiers and airmen are taking part in the drill, which is one of the biggest ever of its kind. As part of “Vigilant Ace”, US and South Korean forces will be rehearsing for a full-scale war with North Korea, with Yonhap noting that “allies plan to stage simulated attacks on mock North Korean nuclear and missile targets.” Despite Pyongyang’s harsh rhetoric, US commanders have downplayed the drill – claiming it is ‘regular’ and not a direct response to North Korea. According to the WSJ, at least 230 US and Southg Korean warplanes will take part, alongside 12,000 US troops from the Air Force, Marines and Navy and airmen with another 4,000 expected to represent Seoul.” The drill, which lasts from December 4 until December 8, will see aircraft flying over eight airbases in across the Korean Peninsula.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.
The Brooklyn prosecutors who won a guity verdict against former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli over the summer are demanding the ‘Most Hated Man in America’ forfeit $7.4 million in cash and assets as part of his punishment. In order to do this, Bloomberg says Shkreli will likely need to surrender the $5 million bail he posted in late 2015, and the one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan album he purchased for more than $2 million shortly before his former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, was exposed for hiking the price of Daraprim, a live-saving AIDS drug, by 5,000%. Shkreli tried to sell the album on eBay back in September. He managed to secure a winning bid of more than $1 million, but was abruptly jailed before he could work out the details with the winning bidder. Prosecutors asked that Shkreli’s bail be revoked after he published messages about Hillary Clinton that prosecutors felt were threatening in nature. Shkreli maintained that they were satirical. Shkreli was convicted in August on three counts of fraud related to a scheme where he tried to make investors in his two failed hedge funds whole by hiring them as ‘consultants’ at Retrophin, the pharmaceutical company Shkreli founded before Turing. In their filing, the prosecutors list assets they could possibly take. Among them are the Wu-Tang Clan album, a Picasso painting, an Enigma machine from World War II, and Shkreli’s remaining interest in Turing.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.
Seemingly in capable of heeding Senator John McCain’s advice to stop whining and “just shut up,” failed US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed both U. S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in remarks via video to a conference in Beijing on Tuesday. *** As Bloomberg reports, Clinton said the Trump administration had retreated from diplomacy. She called on both the U. S. and China to avoid ‘bluster’ or ‘personal taunts’ in dealing with North Korea, and said the six-party talks on denuclearization should resume (which as a reminder is the process by which we have arrived here with Kim lobbing ICBMs across Japanese land and test-fiirng nukes). Perhaps Clinton’s $250,000 check did not clear, because in a somewhat unusual move, Clinton decided to tell the Chinese what to do too…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 27, 2017.
Russian deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov said on Monday that “an apocalyptic scenario of developments” on the Korean Peninsula is possible, but Russia hopes that a common sense would prevail among the involved parties. “A scenario of the apocalyptic development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula exists and we cannot turn our blind eye to it,” Morgulov said speaking at the opening of the eighth annual Asian Conference of the Valdai discussion club in Seoul. “I hope that a common sense, pragmatism and an instinct of self-preservation would prevail among our partners to exclude such negative scenario,” the Russian diplomat said, quoted by Russia’s Tass. Fire and brimstone aside, Morgulov noted that a phase of calm appeared to be returning as North Korea’s current pause in provocations – the longest since last winter – indicates a step toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. ‘I think North Korea’s restraint for the past two months is within the simultaneous freeze road map’ suggested by China and Russia, Morgulov told reporters in Seoul on Monday according to Bloomberg. North Korea’s last provocation was on Sept. 15, when it fired its second missile over Japan in as many months. The 73-day pause is the longest since a 116-day break between October 2016 and February. Russian and Chinese foreign ministers proposed in July a ‘double freezing’ initiative, under which North Korea refrains from missile and nuclear tests, and the U. S. and South Korea halt large-scale military exercises, however the U. S. has rejected this proposal, arguing that its drills are defensive in nature. Earlier this month, it carried out its first exercise in a decade using three aircraft carriers in the region, and plans to conduct drills with South Korea’s air force in early December.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 27, 2017.
The Irish government was on the verge of collapse as it faced a vote of no confidence in the deputy prime minister by a party whose votes are critical for Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to pass laws (the government is a minority administration). As Reuters reported late on Thursday, the opposition Fianna Fail party threatened it would put a motion of no confidence in Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald on Tuesday – a move sparked by Fitzgerald’s handling of a legal case involving a police whistleblower – and which would breach the “confidence and supply” agreement that allowed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael party to form a minority government 18 months ago. And, as UBS notes, if the government were to lose such a vote, it would have implications within Europe over the Brexit process. *** Fianna Fail indicated it might withdraw the motion if Fitzgerald resigned, but Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told state broadcaster RTE that Fitzgerald would not resign. Additionally, as Bloomberg reports, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar won’t ‘abandon’ deputy Frances Fitzgerald, Coveney also told RTE. Fitzgerald faces a ‘trumped up charge,’ Varadkar told his party lawmakers late on Thursday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 24, 2017.
In October, we discussed Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s, decision to hand over $32bn to recapitalise India’s state banks. The motivation was India’s slowing growth rate and the need to add one million Indians to the workforce every month. Crippled by massive bad debts, the state-owned banks were struggling to extend more credit to the economy. The announcement caused a surge in India’s Sensex equity index, led by the banks. India has the second highest bad debt ratio of the world’s largest economies – possibly third since China’s official figure is patently incorrect. *** Enter Uday Kotak, Asia’s richest banker (net worth over $10 billion) and managing director of India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank. Kotak is a self-made man. Turning down a job offer from a multinational, he set up a financial services conglomerate, beginning with bills discounting before adding stockbroking, investment banking, mutual funds and car finance. Kotak thinks he’s spotted a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ in Indian finance…so it probably bears considering. Nor is he alone as sovereign wealth funds and pension funds are also taking a close look. The opportunity is in India’s bad loans, as Bloomberg explains.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.
Russia-gate blame-scaping is accelerating across Europe… and now it is being embraced by none other than European Council President Donald Tusk. *** In what is an unprecedented attack by an EU leader on a member state’s sitting government, Bloomberg reports that Tusk explicitly suggests the ruling Law & Justice party is merely a ‘puppet of Putin’ and just forwarding Russian interests… ‘Strident dispute with Ukraine, isolation in the European Union, walking away from rule of law and judicial independence, attack on non-governmental sector and free media,’ Tusk wrote on his personal Twitter account on Sunday. ‘Law & Justice strategy or Kremlin plan? Too similar to sleep well.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2017.
Over the past several months we’ve frequently noted the devolving relationship between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and billionaire financier George Soros. Tensions escalated last month when Orban took it upon himself to mail a Soros-related questionnaire to all 8 million Hungarian voters (see: Hungary Launches Anti-Soros Political Campaign) and then followed that up with an announcement that Hungary’s intelligence services had been instructed to “map” Soros’ network of influence. As Orban’s ruling party gears up for parliamentary elections in April – where it is the prohibitive favorite to win largely thanks to its refusal to accept refugees under a plan devised by the European Commission – the prime minister has instructed his intelligence services to map what he described as the networks run by the billionaire financier’s ’empire’ targeting his country, Bloomberg reported. Intelligence agencies will help evaluate what he sees as efforts by Soros to get Hungary punished by EU institutions pursuing a ‘mixed-population’ continent, Orban said in an interview with Kossuth Radio on Friday. The Associated Press added that the investigation will also focus on alleged Hungarian members of the network. Intelligence agencies will help evaluate what Orban sees as efforts by Soros to get Hungary punished by EU institutions pursuing a ‘mixed-population’ continent, Orban said in an interview with Kossuth Radio on Friday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 20, 2017.
Mugabe is meeting heads of security forces. This is the first time we're seeing the participation of Air Force Commander Perence Shiri, Police commissioner Chihuri and Prisons chief Zimondi. (Pics via @HeraldZimbabwe) pic.twitter.com/J44vK0hYWL — Zim Media Review (@ZimMediaReview) November 19, 2017
Update 8: Bloomberg is reporting that Zimbabwe’s ruling party will proceed Monday with its plans to impeach President Robert Mugabe after the long-term leader refused to resign Sunday evening, as was expected. Bloomberg’s sources said Mugabe’s speech, including a vow to preside over the party conference in December, deviated from an earlier agreement with military authorities to read a prepared statement of resignation. Unsurprisingly given his past remarks, it seems Mugabe is comfortable risking a civil war if it means retaining his tenuous grip on power. So with the path forward for Zimbabwe looking dangerously uncertain, the AP has published a timeline reminding readers exactly how we got to this point… Nov. 6: After a campaign of public insults against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe fires his longtime deputy, later accusing him of plotting to take power via witchcraft. Mnangagwa flees the country. Nov 13: Army commander Constantino Chiwenga issues a rare public rebuke, saying the military won’t hesitate to “step in” to calm political tensions and criticizing the handling of the once-prosperous southern African nation’s crumbling economy. Nov. 14: Armored personnel carriers are seen on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. The military moves in overnight, taking control of the state-run broadcaster.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 19, 2017.
Unsurprisingly, the Republican tax plan moving forward in the U. S. Congress and championed by Donald ‘Drain the Swamp’ Trump, is very swampy. Today’s post will highlight a few examples. First, let’s hear some of what billionaire fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach had to say. Via Bloomberg: Jeffrey Gundlach, chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, said the congressional tax plan would expand the federal deficit and help a small fraction of the U. S. population, including hedge fund managers. ‘I’m very disappointed incidentally about the shape of this tax cut that is being proposed,’ Gundlach told a gathering of industry participants at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on Wednesday. ‘I am just appalled that we are going to continue to have a carried-interest scheme for hedge funds.’ The House bill set to be voted on Thursday keeps the carried-interest tax treatment that benefits private-equity managers, venture capitalists, hedge-fund managers and certain real estate investors. During last year’s campaign, President Donald Trump had vowed to get rid of the loophole. White House top economic adviser Gary Cohn has said Trump is committed to ending the tax break. ‘After I saw that tax bill, I lost hope with the drain the swamp concept,’ Gundlach said. ‘The swamp keeps getting bigger.’ Carried interest is the portion of a fund’s profit – usually a 20 percent share – that’s paid to managers. Currently, tax authorities treat that income as capital gains, making it eligible for a rate as low as 20 percent. The top tax rate for ordinary income is 39.6 percent.
In the last two days, the Zimbabwe stock market has crashed almost 10% as a ‘not-military-coup’ has ousted 93-year-old President Mugabe – the question is, what happens next? Bloomberg reports that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s refusal to publicly resign is stalling plans by the military to swiftly install a transitional government after seizing power on Wednesday, two people familiar with the situation said. That uncertainty is clearly showing up in Zimbabwe stocks…
The military wants Mugabe, who’s under house arrest, to agree to step aside so it can claim its action isn’t a coup and head off tension with the Southern African Development Community, which includes Zimbabwe and South Africa, the people said. The group previously intervened when the army took over in Lesotho.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.
Just over a week ago we highlighted how China’s financial regulator had instructed companies to delay the reporting of bad corporate news until after the Party Congress. As Bloomberg noted… China’s securities watchdog has asked some loss-making companies to avoid publishing quarterly results this week as authorities seek to ensure stock-market stability during the Communist Party Congress, according to people familiar with the matter. The China Securities Regulatory Commission made its requests via the country’s stock exchanges, the people said, asking not to be named as they’re not authorized to talk to the media. At least 17 Shenzhen-listed companies announced delays to their earnings reports from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, up from three during the same period last year, exchange filings show. Now that the Congress is out of the way, announcements of corporate debt defaults are also reportable it seems.
The latest relates to Dandong Port Group as the WSJ reports… A debt-laden port management company in northeast China defaulted on $150 million in bonds, as highly leveraged businesses get squeezed by Beijing’s campaign to weed out risks in the financial system.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 1, 2017.
Overnight we noted that the Chinese stock and bond markets ‘turmoiled’ as The National Congress came to an end and the forced repression of any weakness ended. Perhaps the most critical aspect of the moves was the push to new record levels of inversion in the Chinese sovereign bond curve. The Chinese yield curve has now been inverted for 10 straight days – the longest period of inversion ever… *** As Bloomberg reports, Qin Han, chief fixed-income analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co., doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the rout in Chinese bonds. “Considering the pace of the slump, which is very fast, it’s fair to say we are likely in a bond disaster…”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 30, 2017.
While former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli languishes inside a federal jail in Brooklyn, the trial of his former attorney – and alleged co-conspirator – Evan Greebel is just beginning, with the defense and prosecution giving opening statements Friday. The timing is unfortunate. Shrekli’s trial – which ended in him being convicted of three out of eight counts of fraud – briefly revived the public rancor over his many misdeeds. Given Shkreli’s toxic public image, it comes as no surprise that Greebel’s lawyers are already seeking to distance their client – who was arrested on the same day as Shkreli and whose picture was splashed across cable news networks alongside Shkreli’s – from the disgraced pharma executive, who was jailed last month after a judge revoked his bail following a series of controversial and vaguely threatening Facebook posts, Bloomberg reported. As many will remember, Shkreli’s comfortable life as a successful young pharmaceutical CEO began to unravel in September 2015 when the New York Times reported that Turing had hiked the price of a life-saving toxoplasmosis drug by 5,000%, thrusting Shkreli into an uncomfortable public spotlight and drawing a public rebuke from Hillary Clinton, then presumed to be the next president of the United States.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 21, 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet formally declared his intention to seek another term as leader of Russia, but many observers noted that a sweeping speech he gave at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi this week served as a template for his campaign ahead of the March election. The speech’s overarching theme was to burnish Putin’s accomplishments as the man who restored ‘power and respect’ to Russia. But in doing so, he heaped abuse on the US and its western allies, accusing them of selectively adhering to international law, and of taking advantage of Russia during the 1990s when the country was struggling to rebuild following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bloomberg reported. He accused the US of abusing Russia’s trust, and seeking to take advantage of the political and economic chaos that persisted for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, according to Russia Today. ‘The biggest mistake our country made was that we put too much trust in you; and your mistake was that you saw this trust as a lack of power and you abused it,” he said during a question-and-answer session that was carried on national television. What was needed, he said, was ‘respect.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 20, 2017.
Not even a full day after Senators reached a “bipartisan” deal to keep subsidies to health insurers for the next two years, this latest attempt to keep Obamacare alive appears to be dying, because moments after Fox News reported that the Alexander-Murray Bill “will be dead in the House” as many in the GOP “want full repeal and replace”, Bloomberg reported that the bipartisan deal has “stalled out” according to Senator Thune, while Senator Hatch said that he opposes the Alexander-Murray fix altogether. ALEXANDER/MURRAY HEALTHCARE BILL WILL BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL IN THE HOUSE. HOUSE GOP INSISTS ON REPEAL/REPLACE – SOURCES: FOX NEWS ALEXANDER-MURRAY PLAN `HAS STALLED OUT,’ GOP SEN. THUNE SAYS SEN. ORRIN HATCH SAYS HE OPPOSES ALEXANDER-MURRAY OBAMACARE FIX
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.
Last week we wrote about how some former HSBC FX traders, led by Mark Johnson, orchestrated a carefully crafted plan to front-run a massive buy order for British Pounds using the code phrase “my watch is off.” Now, courtesy of court filings in a British case to extradite one of the participants, Stuart Scott, we learn exactly how much each HSBC trader made for his trading book in the illicit scheme that netted a total of $8 million in profits. Per Bloomberg: “The defendant personally obtained over $500,000 profit,” the U. S. Justice Department, represented by British lawyer Mark Summers, said in written arguments prepared for the hearing. “The offenses of which he is accused are highly serious. They involve a systematic and organized conspiracy to defraud, committed in breach of trust.” Scott was charged, along with his ex-boss Mark Johnson, by the Justice Department in July 2016 with using insider knowledge to front-run a $3.5 billion currency deal by Cairn Energy Plc that made the bank $8 million. Johnson is on trial in New York and a jury there could begin deliberations this week.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.
Update: Late Thursday, the administration said it would immediately stop paying what are known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies. The payments go to health insurers in the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income people with co-pays and other cost sharing. Without them, insurers have said they’ll dramatically raise premiums or pull out of the law’s state-based markets. According to Bloomberg, the White House said the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services both concluded that there is no appropriation for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare. ‘The bailout of insurance companies through these unlawful payments is yet another example of how the previous administration abused taxpayer dollars and skirted the law to prop up a broken system,’ the White House said in the statement. The payments will stop immediately, with no transition period, Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. They next payments were due next week. ‘Congress has not appropriated money for CSRs, and we will discontinue these payments immediately,’ the department said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.