In November, we discussed how the post-Party Congress measures to deleverage and crackdown on the worst abuses in China’s credit bubble took an important step forward with the announcement of a new era of regulation for China’s $15 trillion shadow banking and asset management industry. See “A New Era In Chinese Regulation Means Turmoil For $15 Trillion In China’s Shadows”. In particular, the authorities turned their sights on wealth management products (WMPs). *** On the way out are ‘guaranteed returns’ and ‘capital pools’ which had turned the $4 trillion sector into a leveraged Ponzi scheme. We joked that in a ‘radical and shocking’ departure from the norm, financial institutions would have to offer yields based on the risk and returns of the underlying assets. Paying out guaranteed returns with new funds from depositors would no longer be allowed.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.
Dear Readers, support your website Michel Chossudovsky, a distinguished professor in Canada, directs the Centre for Research on Globalization and the website Global Research, a font of important information unavailable from the presstitute Western media. In this article he tells us that if we do not focus on peace instead of war, we are all going to die: Professor Chossudovsky makes an important point, made to me some years ago by my colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski and recently by former Secretary of Defense William Perry (see:). Professor Chossudovsky reminds us to ‘bear in mind that mistakes are often what determine the course of world history.’ A US attack on North Korea would be a mistake that could precipitate a nuclear war. There is no doubt that Chossudovsky is correct. Additionally, the continued demonization of Russia, China, and Iran could precipitate a nuclear war. In other words, we are surrounded by very real threats created by Washington that receive no attention from Western governments and the presstitute media. As I wrote on December 5, we are ‘walking into Armageddon.’ Professor Chossudovsky has amassed a huge amount of information that makes clear the vast difference between the level-headed era of JFK/Khrushchev and the insanity of the post-Reagan era of the re-start of hostilities for the sake of the power and profit of the US military/security complex and the neoconservatives’ ideology of US world hegemony.
Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Is the world’s center of gravity shifting to the heart of the Indo-Pacific – a new pivot to Asia? *** In the context of the New Great Game in Eurasia, the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), integrates all of China’s instruments of national power – political, economic, diplomatic, financial, intellectual and cultural – to shape the 21st century geopolitical/geoeconomic order. BRI is the organizing concept of China’s foreign policy for the foreseeable future; the heart of what was conceptualized, even before President Xi Jinping, as China’s ‘peaceful rise.’ The Trump administration’s reaction to the breath and scope of BRI has been somewhat minimalistic. For the moment, it amounts to a terminological switch from what was previously known as Asia-Pacific to ‘Indo-Pacific.’ The Obama administration, up to the former president’s last visit to Asia in September 2016, always referred to Asia-Pacific.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.
North Korea is warning the United States that their ‘threats’ in the form of joint military drills with South Korea are making the outbreak of war ‘an established fact.’ Kim Jong-Un’s regime is now saying that war is unavoidable. China continues to urge calm between the two heated nations, as two American B-1B heavy bombers joined large-scale combat drills over South Korea on Thursday. These drills are being regarded by North Korea as acts of aggression. According to Reuters, a spokesman for the North’s foreign ministry blamed the drills and ‘confrontational warmongering’ by U. S. officials for making war inevitable.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 7th, 2017.
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.
Via GEFIRA, The world’s third largest economy has an aging and shrinking population and will simply disappear. The low fertility is not unique to Japan. The same problem besets Taiwan, China and Korea as well as the United States and Europe. In the West the establishment has opted for population replacement. Countries like the UK, France and Sweden see a population growth only thanks to mass migration from Africa and Central Asia. The US replenished its dwindling population stock with migrants from Mexico to such an extent that in some counties Spanish is now the language of the majority. After the Second World War Japan experienced the post-war baby boom. In 1948 a law was passed, most probably serving American interests, enabling easy access to abortion. At that time the fertility rate (average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime) was more or less stable – about 2.1 – which is the level needed to maintain population. However, in 1973 it started to decline rapidly and in 2005 it reached the lowest value of 1.26; in the same year the number of deaths has been higher than the number of births. Nowadays it stands at about 1.46.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.
Late last week, China for the first time confirmed the deployment of its J-11B jet fighters to the heavily disputed South China Sea islands. Footage was released by Government-run China Central Television (CCTV) in the form of military propaganda directly challenging the United States and its allies in the disputed waters. The footage confirmed the aircraft are residing in various hangars on Yongxing island, a Chinese name for Woody Island, which is in the contested Paracel Island chain. *** According to Global Times, ‘the presence of the bombers showcases China’s improving air and sea control in the South China Sea.’ Breaking down the footage, there appears to be more than one J-11B aircraft participating in sophisticated nautical combat exercises around Yongxing island. At the end of the video, there is evidence that the creation of infrastructure to support the aircraft was built in the form of speciality hangars.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.
An earthquake struck North Korea less than two miles away from the reclusive nation’s nuclear test site. The regime’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is heightening tensions globally that are set to snap at any moment. The 2.5-magnitude earthquake which shook North Korea early Saturday morning near its nuclear test site was initially picked up by Seoul’s weather agency. According to Newsweek, around 7:45 a.m. local time, the quake struck Kilju, a county in the North Hamgyeong Province, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) reported. Kilju is located about 1.7 miles away from the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility, where the country has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006. Although the KMA believes that this quake was natural, North Korea’s nuclear test in September could have played a role. ‘Kilju is a rocky area where natural earthquakes normally do not occur. However, the quake could have been caused by geological changes created from the recent nuclear explosion,’ a KMA official who asked not to be named, told the United Press Association. Following the September 3 underground atomic explosion, a 6.3 magnitude quake rocked the test site and even shook houses in China, according to The Washington Post. The group 38 North – who closely tracks the country’s nuclear activity – believes the seismic activity is potentially a sign of ‘Tired Mountain Syndrome,’ which is when the rock is altered as a result of detonated nuclear bombs. ‘What we are seeing from North Korea looks like some kind of stress in the ground,’ Paul G. Richards, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told The Washington Post. ‘In that part of the world, there were stresses in the ground, but the explosions have shaken them up.’
This post was published at shtfplan on December 4th, 2017.
Jihadism has been radiating out of Pakistan for decades and causing problems for the country’s relationships with other governments. Lately, however, it’s been Pakistan itself that is suffering from its homegrown Islamism. The country was founded on a contradiction between secularism and Islamism, and though it has covered up its incoherence, it has never overcome it. The contradiction is finally catching up to the country, and things in Pakistan will get worse before they get better. Warning Signs Evidence that things in Pakistan are reaching their boiling point came, paradoxically, from the outside. A Nov. 22 report by a Pakistani daily said that a Chinese delegation visiting Pakistan had expressed concerns that political instability could adversely affect the tens of billions of dollars that China was investing in the South Asian nation. The report said that on Nov. 21, a joint committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – part of China’s One Belt, One Road initiative – approved the broad parameters of a long-term plan for the CPEC but failed to agree on development projects and financing for special economic zones. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, a Pakistani minister who serves as the country’s point man on the CPEC acknowledged that political unrest since 2014 was undermining the mega-development project.
Maybe this series should be renamed ‘Galloping Fascism’: China’s Tech Giants Have a Second Job: Helping Beijing Spy on Its People (Wall Street Journal) – HANGZHOU, China – Alibaba Group’s sprawling campus has collegial workspaces, laid-back coffee bars and, on the landscaped grounds, a police outpost. Employees use the office to report suspected crimes to the police, according to people familiar with the operation. Police also use it to request data from Alibaba for their own investigations, these people said, tapping into the trove of information the tech giant collects through its e-commerce and financial-payment networks. In one case, the police wanted to find out who had posted content related to terrorism, said a former Alibaba employee. ‘They came to me and asked me for the user ID and information,’ he recalled. He turned it over. The Chinese government is building one of the world’s most sophisticated, high-tech systems to keep watch over its citizens, including surveillance cameras, facial-recognition technology and vast computers systems that comb through terabytes of data. Central to its efforts are the country’s biggest technology companies, which are openly acting as the government’s eyes and ears in cyberspace. Companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , Tencent HoldingsLtd. and Baidu Inc., are required to help China’s government hunt down criminal suspects and silence political dissent. Their technology is also being used to create cities wired for surveillance.
The US and South Korea launched their largest aerial drills yet on Monday, less than a week after North Korea tested its new Hwasong-15 missile which military observers said has the capacity to strike Washington DC, or nearly any other location in the continental US. The launched shattered nearly two months of calm as many suspected the North’s benefactors in China were making good on their promises to rein in the restive state’s belligerent behavior. As we reported Sunday, the annual US-South Korean drills, called Vigilant Ace, will run until Friday. Six F-22 Raptor stealth fighters will be deployed among the more than 230 aircraft taking part. The North has condemned the exercises as yet another provocation. F-35 fighters will also participate in the drill, which will involve the largest number of 5th generation fighters, according to a South Korea-based US Air Force spokesman quoted by Reuters. Around 12,000 US troops, including the Marines and Navy, will join South Korean troops. Aircraft participating in the drills will take off from eight different US and South Korean military installations.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.
That would be “never”, right? You’d think I’d killed a cat on national television yesterday with my article on where Trump sits right now in regard to Flynn’s guilty plea. The claims of incipient (in other words, “you’re guilty even though you haven’t done it yet”) bad faith on my part, including “wow, man, I’m gonna archive this post before you change it” crap on Twatter, never mind the hate-email, rivaled that which I got back when I started the series on Obama and his little document forgery exercise. Never mind more than 10 years of reporting on political sleaze in this country on both sides of the aisle. I call ’em like I see ’em, and who gets pissed off about that doesn’t bother me in the least. Here’s the real issue and why it’s barely worth the time to write on anything any more. Despite utterly irrefutable evidence, as it’s been admitted, that Hillary not only broke the law when it comes to classified information our government has, in prison right now, people it has jailed for doing far less than she did, some of whom were active service members that never let any of the information travel beyond their personal devices (unlike Hillary who both did and intended to — cough-Huma-cough-cough), despite clear evidence and admissions that our own FBI and BATFE intentionally ran guns into the Mexico, including weapons that were then used to murder a border agent, despite proof that Herr Clinton sold targeting technology to the ****ing Chinese in exchange for illegal campaign contributions in the 1990s while knowing at the time that the Chinese had stolen an advanced nuclear warhead design from us not one economic or political retributive action was taken in response and in fact hundreds of billions a year in trade deficit has continued to accumulate since under every single Administration and Congress forward, both Republican and Democrat.
hina should cut off North Korea’s access to crude oil following the latest missile launch from Pyongyang, and Washington has asked it to do just that, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said, adding that ‘if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.’ The US has for months insisted that more radical measures be taken against the North Korean regime, but Beijing has been reluctant to step up the pressure too much, wary of bringing a refugee crisis on its own head in case of an open military conflict in the region. Haley’s warning comes on the heels of the third intercontinental missile test launch that North Korea announced earlier this week, claiming now its missiles can hit any location in the United States. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un said this test showed that North Korea had become a full nuclear power.
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.
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.
The continuing American obsession with Russia plays directly into Beijing’s hands and makes it less likely that Washington will develop an effective strategy to deal with China… *** When thinking about male-pattern baldness, what comes immediately to mind? Genetics? Thanks for this, grandad. But then I conducted my own scientific research and discovered the following: I started losing hair at the temples or the crown of the head when Vladimir Putin first held the position of president from 2000 to 2008, and my hairline receded big time after the Russian leader took office again in 2008.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.
In mere months, China will have a ballistic missile completed and ready to strike anywhere in the world. And it can carry up to ten nuclear warheads. The Dongfeng-41 missile, which is said to have the longest range of any ballistic rockets in the world, has undergone its eighth test and is now near completion, according to state-run media. Previous reports have claimed that the missile has a range of at least 7,500 miles (12,000km) and could carry up to 10 nuclear warheads – meaning it could strike multiple targets. The new missile also has a speed of more than Mach 10, or ten times the speed of sound (7,672mph) and can use decoy devices to find its way through the enemy’s missile defense systems.
This post was published at shtfplan on November 22nd, 2017.
Apple and Foxconn have a well-documented history of labor abuses ranging from underpaying employees to compulsory over time that have been blamed for a slew of deaths and suicides among Foxconn’s workforce. These abuses were widely covered in the media around 2012 but largely disappeared from the headlines after Apple CEO Tim Cook said he would pressure Foxconn into adopting more humane labor conditions. *** But apparently the unprecedented production problems that plagued the company’s rollout of the iPhone X put Foxconn in an uncomfortable situation where they couldn’t find enough seasonal workers to ramp up production fast enough. To compensate for the shortfall, the company recruited “interns” – who were also studying as full-time students – to work grueling 12-hour shifts at a factory in mainland China. The story was uncovered by the Financial Times, which sent a reporter to China to talk with Foxconn interns, who worked the long hours. This violated not only Apple and Foxconn’s policies, but local laws governing labor abuses.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.