Nov 272021
 
 November 27, 2021  Posted by at 9:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  85 Responses »


Henri Rousseau The waterfall 1910

 

Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (WHO)
This Is How Scientists Detect New Variants Of Covid-19 (WEF)
New Covid-19 Variant Could Show Immune Evasion, Enhanced Transmissibility (CNN)
Big Pharma Unveils Plans To Tackle New ‘Omicron’ Strain (RT)
Biden Delayed Africa Travel Ban On Advice Of Advisers Led By Fauci (NYP)
Decolonize This! (Kunstler)
Why The Retail Industry Is Fighting Vaccine Mandates (NYT)
A Pandemic Of The Vaccinated Or Ivermectin Ignored? (Hope)
Florida Reports Lowest Daily Coronavirus Cases Per Capita In Nation (Fox)
Pharmacy Chains Found Liable For Opioid Crisis In Ohio (PM)
Ukraine Says It’s Ready To Defend Itself Against Russia (RT)
US Stonewalls Probe Into Firm That Spied On Assange For CIA – Spanish Judge (Y!)

 

 

All 4 cases of the new variant in Botswana were in fully vaccinated people.

 

 

Zuby Tucker

 

 

 

 

McCullough Oz

 

 

Dr. Doug Corrigan @ScienceWDrDoug
1) Unleash billions of leaky, mono-antigenic vaccines that create the perfect pressure to generate Spike variants/vaccine-escape mutants.
2) Track variants globally, and when a vaccine resistant strain is found, create media hysteria and blame the unvaccinated.
3) Repeat 1-2.

Something curious about the dates. The WHO on Nov 26 2021:

Classification of Omicron (B.1.1.529): SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (WHO)

The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus. The TAG-VE was convened on 26 November 2021 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529.The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.

There are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant. WHO will communicate new findings with Member States and to the public as needed. Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron.

Read more …

And the WEF 4 1/2 months ago, on Jul 12 2021. B.1.1.529 wasn’t just discovered.

This Is How Scientists Detect New Variants Of Covid-19 (WEF)

Scientists in South Africa have discovered a small number of cases of a new COVID variant. They’re working to understand its potential implications but told a news conference that it had a ‘very unusual constellation’ of mutations. They’re concerned that they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make the variant – named B.1.1.529 – more transmissible. These scientists are part of a global network of government scientists and academics searching for new strains of COVID-19, like this and other previous variants – like Delta.

[..] Viruses are microscopic parasites that can’t survive for long outside the body of a host animal. As living organisms, they are much smaller than bacteria – the polio virus, for example, is 10,000 times smaller than a grain of salt. But they do have their own DNA or RNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid and Ribonucleic acid), the building blocks of life. This allows them to mutate into new forms. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, scientists have so far identified four variants that have been classified as being of concern because they spread more easily, are more virulent or resistant to vaccines.

[..] It’s too early to tell whether vaccines will offer the same level of protection against B.1.1.529 as they do against previous COVID variants. But, vaccine makers, like Pfizer, have been preparing for a scenario where a new COVID variant is able to evade immunity established by existing vaccines and previous infection. However, existing vaccines have continued to offer protection against other variants, such as Delta. “The good news is that all of the WHO emergency use-listed vaccines do protect against developing severe disease, hospitalization and death due to the Delta variant,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, on 1 July.

Read more …

Or it could not. We just don’t know. Do let’s panic.

New Covid-19 Variant Could Show Immune Evasion, Enhanced Transmissibility (CNN)

South Africa’s health minister announced Thursday the discovery of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country. “Initially it looked like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday, the indication came from our scientists from the Network of Genomic Surveillance that they were observing a new variant,” Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said, stressing that it is currently unclear where the variant — currently dubbed B.1.1.529 — first emerged. It has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa, Phaahla added. During a news briefing, genomic scientists said the variant has an unusually high number of mutations, with more than 30 in the key spike protein — the structure the virus uses to get into the cells they attack.


Professor Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, said the variant has “many more mutations than we have expected,” adding it is “spreading very fast and we expect to see pressure in the health system in the next few days and weeks.” He advised the public to “try to avoid super spreading events.” Officials also expressed concern that the mutation could result in immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility of the virus, but added it is too early to tell what kind of impact the mutations will have on vaccine efficacy. More studies also need to be conducted to understand the clinical severity of the variant compared to previous variants, officials said. “The full significance of this variant remains uncertain and the best tool we have is still the vaccines,” De Oliveira said. He added that lab studies still need to be carried out to test vaccine and antibody evasion.

Read more …

200-300 days of Delta: nothing.

But after 100 days of Omicron a tailor-made vaccine is supposed to be available.

Let me guess: $1,000 a pop?

Big Pharma Unveils Plans To Tackle New ‘Omicron’ Strain (RT)

A number of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms have announced strategies to address a newly identified Covid-19 variant, dubbed Omicron, including plans to alter existing vaccines and develop new boosters. With the World Health Organization (WHO) designating Omicron the latest “variant of concern” following an emergency meeting on Friday, warning that the highly mutated strain could be more infectious than those seen before it, Big Pharma quickly launched into PR-mode, as several firms rushed to outline how they would combat the new variant. Pfizer – which has produced one of the world’s most commonly used Covid immunizations alongside its German partner BioNTech – told Fox Business that it is “remaining vigilant” and “constantly” monitoring new variants that could “potentially escape protection” from its vaccine.

“In the event that [a] vaccine-escape variant emerges, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in approximately 100 days, subject to regulatory approval,” the company added, though did not say whether any specific research had been conducted into Omicron so far. BioNTech, in a separate statement, noted that Omicron “differs significantly from previously observed variants as it has additional mutations located in the spike protein,” referring to the mechanism by which the coronavirus gains access to host cells and causes infection. The company also said that a so-called “escape variant” could “require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally.”

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, two other major Covid vaccine developers, issued similar missives on Friday, with the latter company stating that it’s already testing a booster shot for healthy adults that contains twice the vaccine dosage than what is currently approved. Moderna also said that it is now studying two booster candidates specially designed to “anticipate mutations such as those that have emerged in the Omicron variant.” J&J, whose single-dose vaccine differs from the others on the market, also told Fox that it is testing its Janssen immunization efficacy against Omicron and “closely monitoring” mutations in the virus’ spike protein.

Read more …

“Obviously as soon as we find out more information we’ll make a decision as quickly as we possibly can.”

Biden Delayed Africa Travel Ban On Advice Of Advisers Led By Fauci (NYP)

President Biden said Friday that he delayed implementation of a new ban on travel from southern Africa on the advice of his medical advisers, who are led by Dr. Anthony Fauci. A reporter asked Biden why the emergency precaution will take effect Monday, rather than immediately to contain the potentially more contagious Omicron version of COVID-19. “Why not do it now like other countries have done?” the journalist asked Biden, who is spending a long Thanksgiving weekend in Nantucket. Biden said “because that was the recommendation coming from my medical team.” Fauci is Biden’s chief medical adviser and led a half hour briefing for Biden on Friday.

Biden said “we don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern and it seems to spread rapidly — and I spent about a half hour this morning with my COVID team led by Dr. Fauci and that was the decision we made.” But Biden seemed to have a poor grasp on the travel rules. He misstated the number of countries impacted and said the policy would bar people traveling “to and from” the region, despite official releases only noting restrictions on travel from — but not to — southern Africa. “I’ve decided that we’re going to be cautious and make sure there is no travel to and from South Africa and six other countries in that region, except for American citizens who are able to come back,” Biden said. The eight countries covered by the ban are Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Biden also attempted to reassure spooked financial markets. He called a steep drop in stock values during the holiday weekend-shortened session “expected” because of prior drops after poor pandemic news and said he was “not at all” worried. Just hours before the new travel ban was announced, Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, gave the impression he wasn’t recommending such bans and cited a need for more data. “There is always the possibility of doing what the UK has done, namely block travel from South Africa and related countries,” Fauci said in a CNN interview. “That’s certainly something you think about and get prepared to do. You’re prepared to do everything you need to protect the American public. But you want to make sure there’s a basis for doing that.” Fauci added in that interview: “Obviously as soon as we find out more information we’ll make a decision as quickly as we possibly can.”

Read more …

“..the blue mommies of America follow Pied Pipers like NPR and Sanjay Gupta holding hands with Big Bird to vax-up the kids.”

Decolonize This! (Kunstler)

Now that Thanksgiving with all its racist trimmings is put to bed, will Americans be able to “decolonize” their minds? Not if the masters of universal hysteria can help it. Here it comes, just in time to reignite the limbic channels in your brain with pulses of cosmic terror on the runway to Christmas: The B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant out of Botswana. It’s a beauty, with thirty-two mutations on its decorative spike protein, supposedly making it a deadly hazard to the already-vaccinated. Except the already-vaccinated were already catching the boring old Delta variant that so energized the year 2021, with its Fauci-inspired affronts to the Bill of Rights, working needle-in-arm with the mystery managers of “Joe Biden,” the cigar-store Indian who has decolonized the oval office from the brutish grip of western civ and all its dastardly legalities.

Yes, I am sorry to tell you that the mRNA “vaccines” are just not working that well. The already-vaccinated millions, marinated in the goodness of their obedience to authority, live in terror of the unvaccinated, who so knavishly spread disease to those vaccinated against it. Say, what? Something ain’t workin’ right here. Half the nation can’t think straight, and for a good reason: The relentless mindfuckery abroad in this land courtesy of your politicized news media, the despotic social networks, the bottomless greed of the pharmaceutical-makers and their errand boys in the CDC, plus the malevolent generosity of sponsors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and George Soros. Thus, the blue mommies of America follow Pied Pipers like NPR and Sanjay Gupta holding hands with Big Bird to vax-up the kids.

It’s just a cult initiation ceremony, you understand. Vaxing the kids reinforces the psychotic mass formation intoxication of the blue mommies. It does absolutely nothing good for the kids, who realistically have a near-zero chance of being harmed by Covid-19 — but have a fair chance of being harmed by the mRNA “vaccines,” which will mess with their still-developing immune systems and their various organs. All the authority of Anthony Fauci’s officialdom presses remorselessly toward the ever-receding horizon of max vax. It begins to look like enough parents are onto the game and will refuse to go along with it.

Dr. Fauci and his evil network are in the process of being smashed at long last. First, there is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s book just out, The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. I was up reading it at two-thirty in the morning. The Kindle version is $2.95, cheap. Get it. It’s a seamless, gripping, and lucid legal brief against a bureaucratic monster who was allowed to run amuck in forty-plus years of power-seeking, malicious money-grubbing, and death-dealing, and who has capped that career by destroying the economies of the western world and our accustomed liberties with it. RFK lays out exactly what Dr. Fauci has done, footnoted to the max with fact and numbers to back it all up, so that the people still capable of thinking cannot avoid the conclusion that they have been viciously played.

Read more …

Survival instinct.

New York Times through a local Greek paper.

Why The Retail Industry Is Fighting Vaccine Mandates (NYT)

The holiday shopping season has arrived, and retailers are ringing it in by doing everything from cutting prices to stocking showrooms to lure back customers who stayed at home last year. What the biggest of them are not doing is the one thing the White House and many public health experts have asked them to: mandate that their workers be vaccinated. As other industries with workers in public-facing roles, like airlines and hospitals, have moved toward requiring vaccines, retailers have dug in their heels, citing concerns about a labor shortage. And a portion of one of the country’s largest workforces will remain unvaccinated, just as shoppers are expected to flock to stores. At the heart of the retailers’ resistance is a worry about having enough people to work.

In a tight labor market, retailers have been offering perks like higher wages and better hours to prospective employees in hopes of having enough people to staff their stores and distribution centers. The National Retail Federation, the industry’s largest trade group, has estimated that retailers will hire up to 665,000 seasonal workers this year. Macy’s, for example, said it planned to hire 76,000 full- and part-time employees this season. The retailer has offered referral bonuses of up to $500 for each friend or relative whom employees recruit to join it. Macy’s asked corporate staff this fall to be vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 to enter its offices. But store workers are a different story.

“We have a lot of stores that have a lot of openings, and any ruling that we have to mandate those colleagues be vaccinated prior to Christmas is just going to exacerbate our labor shortage going into a really critical period for us,” Jeff Gennette, Macy’s chief executive, said in an interview. The industry showed how strongly it feels about the issue this month when the Biden administration directed companies with 100 or more workers to mandate vaccines or weekly tests by Jan. 4. Five days after that announcement, the National Retail Federation sued to stop the effort.

“We all agree with the premise that vaccines are good and vaccines save lives,” Stephanie Martz, chief administrative officer of the NRF, said in an interview Monday. “But by the same token, you can’t just say, ‘OK, make it so.’” The order is now held up in litigation, challenged by a number of lawsuits from a broad coalition of opponents, and could make its way to the Supreme Court. Court filings by the administration warn that blocking the rule would “likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.”

Read more …

The anti-IVM campaign will continue.

A Pandemic Of The Vaccinated Or Ivermectin Ignored? (Hope)

Gibraltar is the most vaccinated place on the planet with more than 99% of its population fully vaccinated, and with many also having received a booster. A total of 94,019 vaccine doses have been administered to Gibraltarians. Considering Gibraltar has a population of some 30,000, that works out to an average of three shots per person. Newsweek reports that Gibraltar has administered enough shots to have vaccinated about 140% of its population. One might expect that they have no COVID-19 cases. After all, the rest of the world is led to believe that the Holy Grail of herd immunity will come once we have sufficiently jabbed enough people with vaccines and boosters.

However, the truth of the matter is much simpler. Attempting to vaccinate into an active pandemic involving a rapidly mutating virus is not working. It does not prevent transmission, nor does it prevent infection. While smallpox is a DNA virus that is very slow to mutate, COVID-19 is caused by an RNA virus that is prone to rapid mutation. While the vaccines were highly protective against the original Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, they are no longer as effective against the Delta variant. Gibraltar is not alone among highly vaccinated populations exhibiting massive virus surges. According to the CDC, Vermont has a higher vaccination rate – at 72% – than any other state, yet it also has one of the highest rates of new COVID cases, according to an ABC news report.

Where do we find low or no rates of COVID-19 cases, you might ask? Perhaps we could observe those countries or areas and note what they are doing differently to account for their success. For example, we know that India has eliminated its COVID-19 Pandemic after implementing a national Ivermectin policy in the protocol. As a result, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have no more problems with pandemic surges. Over the last 75 days, Delhi has recorded less than 10 COVID-19 deaths. Likewise, Uttar Pradesh, with more than 230 million people, has recorded fewer than 20 COVID deaths in the past 60 days, while the United States, with a roughly similar population, has recorded some 87,300 deaths – more than 4,000 times as many.

India’s only remaining hotspot remains the highly vaccinated state of Kerala, which continues to pay the price. Over the last 30 days alone, Kerala has logged over 10,000 deaths. The main difference between Kerala and the rest of India was its lower use of Ivermectin, as I wrote on August 23, 2021, in an article published in the Desert Review. Out of India’s 267 deaths reported on November 19, 2021, fully 204 came from Kerala. With 36 million people, tiny Kerala represents only 2.5% of India’s population of 1.399 billion. However, they have 76% of India’s daily COVID-19 deaths. In other words, it is 30 times more likely for an Indian resident of Kerala to die from the virus compared to a resident outside the state.But look at other cases. For example, Indonesia adopted Ivermectin and saw their COVID-19 cases drop from 45,000 in July to 347 cases per day in November of 2021 – a drop of 99.2%.

Read more …

“Since then our cases are down by over 95% with no restrictions on people’s freedom.”

Florida Reports Lowest Daily Coronavirus Cases Per Capita In Nation (Fox)

Florida is reporting the lowest amount of coronavirus cases per capita in the nation after Gov. Ron DeSantis was widely criticized by media outlets for his handling of the virus. The Sunshine State reported a daily average of 1,393 coronavirus cases as of Friday, six per 100,000, which was a two percent decrease over the last two weeks. DeSantis has been slammed by critics in the media since the start of the pandemic over his opposition to government-imposed mask and vaccine mandates. In 2020, DeSantis was accused by a Democratic politician of going on a “killing spree” for opposing mask mandates and a Vanity Fair headline from September of this year referred to the governor as an “angel of death.”

At the same time Florida reported the lowest amount of new cases in the country per capita, coronavirus cases are surging in many states where strict lockdown orders were issued by Democratic governors. Michigan, where Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer imposed some of the most controversial restrictions in the nation during the height of the pandemic, leads the nation in daily coronavirus cases per capita. New York is reporting a daily average of 6,666 cases which amounts to 34 per 100,000. Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who resigned in disgrace earlier this year, was widely praised by the media for his handling of the coronavirus and even received an Emmy Award.

“It just shows once again the success of Governor DeSantis’s science based and data based policies,” DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News Digital about the case levels in Florida. “He’s always made decisions based on the data and that continued even during the Delta surge this summer what he realized would help was not mask mandates in school or lockdowns but provide treatment that actually works.” “He opened the 25 state-supported monoclonal antibody sites and provided that treatment all over the state free of charge to over 150,000 Floridians, saved thousands of lives, and that happened starting in August,” Pushaw added. “Since then our cases are down by over 95% with no restrictions on people’s freedom.”

Read more …

Next: Covid vaccines.

Pharmacy Chains Found Liable For Opioid Crisis In Ohio (PM)

Walgreens, Walmart, CVS and several other pharmacy chains have been found partially responsible for the opioid crisis in Ohio. According to The Daily Wire, the chains were found liable by a federal jury. “This decision was the first-ever ruling against the retail pharmacy industry and could set the tone for countless other lawsuits across the country that seek to hold pharmacies responsible for the flood of highly addictive opioid pills into communities,” The Hill reported. “For decades, pharmacy chains have watched as the pills flowing out of their doors cause harm and failed to take action as required by law. Instead, these companies responded by opening up more locations, flooding communities with pills, and facilitating the flow of opioids into an illegal, secondary market,” said the plaintiffs who want a payout of about $1 billion to both Lake and Trumbell counties in Ohio.


The opioid crisis is a significant issue in the state of Ohio. J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Ohio, has even highlighted the crisis in his campaign. “Opioid addiction has devastated my family and my community. More and more Ohioans are falling victim to addiction, which means an entire generation of children orphaned, and another generation of grandparents forced to step up for our community’s kids,” Vance says on his website. As noted, J.D Vance’s family has had a history with opioid addiction, which is visualized in his biographical Netflix film, Hillbilly Elegy. The pharmacy chains also responded to the decision. CVS has expressed interest in appealing the ruling. “[T]he simple facts are that opioid prescriptions are written by doctors, not pharmacists; opioid medications are made and marketed by manufacturers, not pharmacists; and our health care system depends on pharmacists to fill legitimate prescriptions that doctors deem necessary for their patients,” Mike DeAngelis of CVS said in a statement.

Read more …

They’re capable of starting a war in their own territory, and blame Russia.

Ukraine Says It’s Ready To Defend Itself Against Russia (RT)

The Ukrainian armed forces are preparing to use all available resources to hold the front line against any Russian invasion, the country’s foreign minister has insisted, as the war of words between East and West ramps up. Speaking during a closed online discussion with French foreign policy think tanks and reporters, Dmitry Kuleba said that Kiev, with Paris and Berlin, continues to stress the importance of negotiating a political and diplomatic solution to avoid a potential conflict with Russia.The top official claimed that his country and its partners are now focusing all of their efforts on deterring Moscow from hostile actions. “At the same time… no one should have any doubts that in the case of a new stage of full-scale aggression from the Russian Federation against our state, Ukraine will be protected by all available means,” he insisted.

Kuleba’s comments come amid rumors of a buildup of Russian troops and military hardware near Ukraine’s border. Several publications have published stories in recent days about a possible armed conflict breaking out between the two Eastern European states after Kiev’s domestic intelligence agency published a theoretical plan of how Russian troops could invade. Ukraine’s top diplomat sounded the alarm earlier this month in communication with his French and German counterparts, urging the two nations to be prepared for the possibility of a Russian attack against his country. “If Russia starts acting, you simply won’t have time physically to coordinate, to go through all the bureaucratic procedures, to coordinate decisions.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegations and derided photographs purporting to show military hardware stationed hundreds of kilometers from the border, accusing the US of being behind a disinformation campaign designed to inflame tensions. President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, hit back by arguing that “the movement of some of our military equipment or army units across the territory of the Russian Federation is exclusively our business.”

Read more …

Allegedly.

US Stonewalls Probe Into Firm That Spied On Assange For CIA – Spanish Judge (Y!)

The Justice Department has failed to respond to multiple requests from Spanish authorities for help in an investigation into a local security firm suspected of being used by the CIA to conduct aggressive — and potentially illegal — surveillance of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. “I am not so pleased about it,” said Santiago Pedraz, the investigating judge in charge of the case, in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, when asked about the failure of officials in Washington so far to cooperate with his probe. “They have absolutely not answered anything.” Since June of last year, Spanish judges have sent three requests for information to the Justice Department primarily seeking information about the ownership of IP addresses believed to be in the United States that had access to files documenting Assange’s activities while he was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, according to copies of the requests reviewed by Yahoo News.

Despite a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) between the U.S. and Spain pledging to assist each other in criminal investigations, none of the Spanish requests have yet elicited any substantive responses from the United States, the judge said. Instead, Justice Department lawyers have asked Spanish authorities for more information about the basis for the inquiry before taking any action. Chief among those puzzle pieces is whether U.S. intelligence officials — as Assange’s lawyers have alleged — arranged for the Spanish security firm UC Global to violate Spanish privacy and bribery laws by installing cameras and hidden microphones inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, including in a women’s bathroom where Assange would sometimes take meetings.

This in turn allowed the company to secretly record or otherwise eavesdrop on conversations that Assange had with his lawyers, doctors, advisers, journalists and others, including in one case a U.S. congressman, according to internal documents from the Spanish case.“We want to find out what was done with this material,” Pedraz said. He pointed to the CIA’s potential role as a principal “theory” that “we are trying to investigate.” He did not rule out, however, that there could be other explanations for the alleged data transfer.

Read more …

 

 

 

Selfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solari

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime; donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

Nov 222021
 
 November 22, 2021  Posted by at 9:46 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  75 Responses »


Marcel Duchamp Nude descending a staircase 1912

 

UK Data Shows The Vaccines Are Not Saving Any Lives At All. Zero. (Kirsch)
Now Germany Is Set Make Covid Vaccinations Compulsory (DM)
Dutch Deaths More Than 20% Higher Than Previous Years’ Average (FWM)
Scientists Mystified, Wary, As Africa Avoids Covid Disaster (AP)
Pfizer Co-developer Says Covid Vaccination Will Be Annual (RT)
Fauci Gives A ‘Perfectly Honest’ Response To Booster Question (RT)
Fauci Comes Up With New ‘Rule’ To Wear Masks (RT)
It’ll Be ‘Jab Or Death’ For Anti-vaxxers, Orban Predicts (RT)
Fighting For Our Lives: Humanity’s Weapons Against Covid-19 (RT)
Fresh Protests, Violence Against Covid Restrictions (RFI)
Like Covid-19, Digital Passports Could Be With Us Forever (Ford)
Russia Set To Launch Winter Invasion Of Ukraine: US Media (RT)

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

“We are mandating a vaccine which basically kills ~ 800 people per M fully vaccinated..”

UK Data Shows The Vaccines Are Not Saving Any Lives At All. Zero. (Kirsch)

My good friend Mathew Crawford is an amazing statistician. He’s one of the smartest people I know. He just published a new analysis on his substack showing that the UK data show that the COVID vaccines aren’t saving any lives at all. It’s all statistical noise as shown in the graph below from his article. Please check it out and if you like his work, please honor him by subscribing to his substack. Mathew’s work really shouldn’t come as a surprise. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to me. Norman Fenton pointed out two months ago that the UK data shows that vaccinated people are dying at a greater rate than the unvaccinated (even after adjusting for age).

More recently, Fenton showed that with a simple time skew of deaths, we can make the vaccines look extremely effective even if they do absolutely nothing (paper and video). Fenton’s conclusion: we currently have no real evidence that the vaccines work. So now we have two statisticians that I have very high respect for claiming the vaccines are, at best, not saving any lives. And for some odd reason, nobody wants to challenge them in a live video debate. I can’t figure that one out.


We are mandating a vaccine which basically kills ~ 800 people per M fully vaccinated. When you couple that with my 8 ways of estimating the number of deaths from the COVID vaccines in America gives a minimum of 150,000 deaths, our government is basically trying to mandate a vaccine that is a killing machine. Nobody wants to debate this with us. I recently offered $1M for any of the members of the CDC or FDA outside committee members to debate us. Apparently, their time is worth more than a million dollars an hour because none of them accepted my more than generous offer. Is there anyone in a decision making capacity on the vaccines/mandates who wants to talk about the science and the statistics? Or are they all chicken?

Read more …

Don’t do it. You will not be able to contain the mayhem.

Respect your ancestors. These things were not born in a vacuum:
1) Nuremberg Code
2) UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (art.6).
3) UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (art. 7).
4) UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 3).

Now Germany Is Set Make Covid Vaccinations Compulsory (DM)

The protest came just hours after it emerged Germany is set to follow Austria’s example in making vaccinations compulsory with ministers admitting that the move is ‘unavoidable’ amid a fourth wave of the pandemic which is crippling the country’s hospitals. Last night also saw similar demonstrations against virus restrictions take place in Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Italy, Northern Ireland, Austria and North Macedonia on Saturday, a day after Dutch police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in Rotterdam. Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic once again, with the World Health Organisation warning that the Continent was the only region in the world where deaths had increased as Covid-related fatalities spiked by five per cent just this week.


In France, the government has warned that the fifth wave of coronavirus are rising at ‘lightning speed’, with new daily Covid cases close to doubling over the past week. In Belgium, cases have been surging, with infections reaching 13,836 on Sunday. In response, the government has introduced restrictions including a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars, and an order to work from home at least four days a week. Police said 35,000 protesters marched from the North Station in Brussels on Sunday afternoon against a fresh round of Covid measures announced by the government on Wednesday.

Read more …

A world filled with mysteries.

“Other “experts” sadly had no explanation for vaccine failure either.”

Dutch Deaths More Than 20% Higher Than Previous Years’ Average (FWM)

According to the statistical office, the higher mortality can be seen in all age groups. Statistics Netherlands does not yet have an explanation for the higher mortality. More deaths of Corona patients were registered at RIVM last week. According to the CBS, the excess mortality has clearly increased in recent weeks. But since the beginning of August, the mortality has already been above the usual numbers during this period. It is estimated that 2 100 people aged 80 and older died last week. That is almost 500 more than expected. Mortality in this age group has been remarkably high for four weeks. This also applies to people aged 65 to 80. In this age group, 1 200 people died last week, nearly 300 more than expected. Among people under the age of 65, the death rate last week was an estimated 450, more than 50 more than expected.

In the Netherlands, 85 percent of people over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, and many had their jabs only recently. Vaccine salespeople maintain that the shots offer protection in the first few months before the “protection” starts to wane. They blame the unvaccinated for the rise in deaths. This is obviously false. The number of people getting infected has never been worse, despite the high vaccination rate. The jabs are evidently not doing what had been promised. In total, 23 680 cases were reported on Thursday, the fourth day in a row of record-setting case numbers following a week that broke the record for the highest number of new infections (110 000) since the pandemic began – a 44 percent rise over the week before, and this week’s figures have not yet been added.

Dutch officials have started injecting those 80 with boosters on Thursday, weeks earlier than planned. Anke Huckriede, professor of vaccinology at the University of Groningen, said the intramuscular jabs do not offer protection in the upper respiratory tract, where the virus enters our bodies. With only some 15 percent of the adult population unvaccinated, the Dutch have a higher vaccine uptake than the majority of the world. But Bas van den Putte, professor of health communication at the University of Amsterdam and a member of the scientific advisory board of the RIVM’s Corona Behavioural Unit admitted that he could not explain the dramatic rise in deaths.

Other “experts” sadly had no explanation for vaccine failure either. Frits Rosendaal, professor of clinical epidemiology at the Leiden University Medical Center, blamed geography and population density while Huckriede said she had no idea why this was happening. “We just don’t know.” Based on weekly data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the UK, vaccinated people under 60 are twice as likely to die as unvaccinated people. And overall deaths in Britain are far above normal. As in Germany, Swedes also appear to die at rates 20 percent or more above normal for weeks after receiving their second Covid jab, according to data from a Swedish study.

Read more …

Not one word on IVM. Use is widespread. Mystery sounds better?!

Scientists Mystified, Wary, As Africa Avoids Covid Disaster (AP)

“COVID-19 is gone, when did you last hear of anyone who has died of COVID-19?” Ndou said. “The mask is to protect my pocket,” he said. “The police demand bribes so I lose money if I don’t move around with a mask.” Earlier this week, Zimbabwe recorded just 33 new COVID-19 cases and zero deaths, in line with a recent fall in the disease across the continent, where World Health Organization data show that infections have been dropping since July. When the coronavirus first emerged last year, health officials feared the pandemic would sweep across Africa, killing millions. Although it’s still unclear what COVID-19’s ultimate toll will be, that catastrophic scenario has yet to materialize in Zimbabwe or much of the continent.

Scientists emphasize that obtaining accurate COVID-19 data, particularly in African countries with patchy surveillance, is extremely difficult, and warn that declining coronavirus trends could easily be reversed. But there is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.

Some researchers say the continent’s younger population — the average age is 20 versus about 43 in Western Europe — in addition to their lower rates of urbanization and tendency to spend time outdoors, may have spared it the more lethal effects of the virus so far. Several studies are probing whether there might be other explanations, including genetic reasons or exposure to other diseases. Christian Happi, director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria, said authorities are used to curbing outbreaks even without vaccines and credited the extensive networks of community health workers. “It’s not always about how much money you have or how sophisticated your hospitals are,” he said.

Read more …

Jeffrey A Tucker @jeffreyatucker:
“They changed the definition of case. They changed the definition of infection. They changed the definition of herd immunity. They changed the definition of vaccine. And they wonder why so many people are suspicious that something odd is going on..”

A subtle shift towards normalization here: “Subsequent … vaccinations may only be needed every year – just like [with] influenza,” he said.

Pfizer Co-developer Says Covid Vaccination Will Be Annual (RT)

People around the world will need to get a jab against Covid-19 once a year, at least when it comes to the Pfizer vaccine, BioNTech’s CEO Ugur Sahin said in an interview on Sunday, as he praised the quality of its booster shot In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper on Sunday, Sahin said he considers the vaccine, co-developed by his company, to be “very effective.” When asked whether people should be worried about the “breakthrough infections” – in which those vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine still developed Covid-19 symptoms – he dismissed such concerns, saying that the jab offers a “90 percent protection” against cases that require intensive care in those aged over 60.

A “very high” level of protection against severe illness lasts for up to nine months, the BioNTech CEO maintained. He said this level starts decreasing “from the fourth month,” however. To maintain the protection, Sahin strongly pushed for booster shots, arguing that they would not just restore levels of antibodies but would potentially help “to break … chains of infection.” He also encouraged doctors to be “as pragmatic as possible” when it comes to greenlighting vaccination and “not to send people home unvaccinated even though they could be vaccinated without any problems.” In the future, people might need to get booster shots once a year, the BioNTech CEO believes. He said that he expects protection from a booster shot to “last longer” than the initial immunity one acquires after getting two doses of the vaccine.

“Subsequent … vaccinations may only be needed every year – just like [with] influenza,” he said. Currently, the German Federal Center for Health Education – an agency subordinated to the Health Ministry – recommends a booster shot six months after one gets the second dose of a vaccine. It also says that “booster vaccination makes sense after a minimum interval of about four months.” Sahin’s interview comes days after it was revealed that Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are making a combined profit of $65,000 every minute – all thanks to their Covid-19 jabs. That is according to estimates made by the People’s Vaccine Alliance (PVA) – a coalition demanding wider access to vaccines. The PVA estimated that the three companies are to earn a total of $34 billion in combined pre-tax profits this year alone, which roughly translates into more than $1,000 a second and $93.5 million a day.

Read more …

“We don’t know right now, we have to be perfectly transparent and honest.”

Fauci Gives A ‘Perfectly Honest’ Response To Booster Question (RT)

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the “guidelines” for what makes someone ‘fully vaccinated’ against Covid-19 could soon be changing, depending on the “science.” Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Fauci was asked if booster shots would soon be required for someone to be considered fully inoculated, something required for many to work and enter certain businesses. While not giving a direct yes or no answer, the infectious disease expert said the current administration is open to it. “We’re going to be following that very carefully,” Fauci said, adding that the Joe Biden administration “might modify the guidelines” for what constitutes being fully vaccinated, based on the lasting effects of boosters. We don’t know right now, we have to be perfectly transparent and honest.”

Americans “should not be put off by the fact that as time goes by and we learn more and more about the protection,” the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ might change, Fauci stressed. Those given two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson are currently considered fully vaccinated, but according to Fauci, Pfizer and Moderna recipients should already be getting boosters after six months and Johnson & Johnson recipients after two months. In a separate interview with ABC, Fauci said if boosters need to provide “durability,” or more boosters will be required in the future.

“We’ll continue to follow the data because right now when we’re boosting people, what we’re doing is following them,” he said. “We’re going to see what the durability of that protection is.” If the durability is not up to par, Fauci explained, people could need to get shots every six months to a year. “We would hope, and this is something that we’re looking at very carefully, that that third shot with the mRNA not only boosts you way up, but increases the durability so that you will not necessarily need it every six months or a year,” he said.

Read more …

‘I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on,..”

“Sally Quinn, an author who used Fauci as the inspiration for a character in an erotic work of fiction ..”

Fauci Comes Up With New ‘Rule’ To Wear Masks (RT)

White House health adviser Anthony Fauci was seen at an elite book party regularly taking his mask on and off, confusing many attendees. An author says Fauci explained to her why he chose to wear it around some and not others. Appearing at a book launch party for journalist Jonathan Karl this week at Cafe Milano in Washington DC, Fauci gained the attention of onlookers, according to Politico, by repeatedly putting on and taking off his mask as he talked to numerous people. This also happened as “gawkers” attempted to get a picture of the unmasked infectious disease expert. Sally Quinn, an author who used Fauci as the inspiration for a character in an erotic work of fiction, eventually approached the doctor and asked about his “ambivalence” towards mask-wearing at the event.


“He said, ‘I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on,” the author recalled from her conversation with Fauci. The head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases was apparently on his own with his mask-wearing tactics, as Quinn reported all others at the event were not masked. Quinn described the “paparazzi” as trying to catch Fauci in a “gotcha” moment, but also suggested that the doctor “was being safe.” All those who attended the party had to show proof of vaccinations beforehand. Washington, DC recently dropped its strict mask mandate, though this does not go into effect until Monday, November 22. Masks will no longer be required in numerous indoor spaces, though they are still required in schools, libraries, public transportation, etc. Private businesses have the option to require or not require masks, under the new guidance.

Read more …

Firmly in the Fauci camp. Good luck with that.

It’ll Be ‘Jab Or Death’ For Anti-vaxxers, Orban Predicts (RT)

Vaccination of all Hungarian citizens against Covid-19 is inevitable, PM Viktor Orban has said, stating that even the most hardline anti-vaxxers will ultimately face a choice between dying with the virus and getting a jab. Speaking to Kossuth radio on Friday, the Hungarian leader lashed out at those reluctant to get vaccinated against coronavirus, branding them a threat “not only to themselves but to all others.” In the end, everyone will have to be vaccinated; even the anti-vaxxers will realize that they will either get vaccinated or die. So, I urge everyone to take this opportunity. The EU member state is currently experiencing its fourth wave of coronavirus, Orban stated, blaming the situation on those who had not got vaccinated. “If everybody were inoculated, there would be no fourth wave or it would be just a small one,” the PM claimed.


Apart from urging the unvaccinated to go and finally get their jabs, Orban also promoted booster shots, revealing that he had already taken three doses of a coronavirus vaccine. “The only thing that protects us from the virus is vaccination. And we are now also seeing, at least the experts are unanimous in saying, that four to six months after the second vaccination, the protective power of the vaccine weakens. Therefore, a third vaccination is justified,” he said. Hungary has already announced new anti-Covid measures, though somewhat short of the strict measures proposed by the nation’s Medical Chamber on Wednesday. The medical body called for a blanket ban on mass events, and suggested making entry to restaurants, theaters and other indoor venues conditional on bearing a Covid-19 inoculation certificate. Instead, Budapest rolled out compulsory mask wearing for most indoor environments, as well as making booster shots mandatory for all medical workers, starting from Saturday.

Read more …

Even RT only talks about new, and yet-to-be invented, drugs. But that’s not what will solve this.

Fighting For Our Lives: Humanity’s Weapons Against Covid-19 (RT)

Vaccines are not a silver bullet, unfortunately, given the not-so-high level of global immunization and the constantly emerging new strains of the virus. “People might get infected despite having had a vaccine, but I still think the vaccine strategy is going to be central to how we manage this kind of virus going forward,” Prof. Dockrell says. “But we will have other strategies that will be very important. We will have other elements. When we put them all together, it gives us the best opportunity that people can live with coronaviruses, and hopefully, the mortality can be limited to much lower extense than what we’ve sadly seen in the last eighteen months.” Monoclonal antibodies will be central to the ongoing vaccine strategy, Prof. Dockrell explains. These are the antibodies similar to those the body uses to fight the virus.

They are produced in labs and given via infusion or injection to boost the patient’s response against certain diseases. Monoclonal antibody treatment is used for people under a high risk of developing severe infection (including older patients 65+ years old or those with chronic medical conditions). It’s already being used in the US, following last year’s FDA approval. Earlier in November, the European Medicines agency recommended authorizing two monoclonal antibody medicines. In October, UK’s AstraZeneca reported positive results of a Phase 3 study of its antibody combination, which, according to developers, is highly effective in both prevention and treatment of coronavirus. Researchers are also working on a possibility to save Covid-infected patients from the so-called ‘cytokine storm’ – a situation when the immune system reacts so intensely that kills not only the virus, but the whole organism itself. A drug to ‘calm the storm’ was registered in Russia this year, and it’s already being used on patients.

Another way to fight Covid-19 is to use antiviral drugs. When the pandemic started, medics had to use something already existing (like anti-influenza Favipiravir) or something being authorized for emergency use (like remdesivir). Now, more than a year on, the work to create a special drug to specifically cure Covid-19 is giving its results. This month, Russia registered its first injectable anti-Covid medicine. A bit earlier, the UK became the first country to approve an antiviral pill produced by the US-based companies Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Another American firm, Pfizer, got positive results from trials of its drug of the same kind. Both firms hope that with a drug in the form of a pill it would be easier to treat people at home. Appreciating all the efforts on the field of developing anti-Covid treatment, Prof. de Noli points out that still, the key issue now is to reduce the spreading of the virus. “The new medicines are developed for people who already got the disease,” he says.

Read more …

This will not go away.

Fresh Protests, Violence Against Covid Restrictions (RFI)

A fresh wave of protests broke out in several European cities and in some French overseas territories Sunday, as protesters reacted, sometimes violently, to moves to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions. Police and protesters clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels, in several Dutch cities and overnight into early Sunday in the French Caribbean territory Guadaloupe. There were fresh demonstrations in Austria, where the government is imposing a new lockdown and Covid-19 vaccine mandate. In Brussels, violence broke out at a protest against anti-Covid measures which police said was attended by 35,000 people. The march, in the city’s European Union and government district, largely focused on a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars.

It began peacefully but police later fired water cannon and tear gas in response to protesters throwing projectiles, an AFP photographer witnessed. Police told Belga news agency that three officers were injured. Several of the demonstrators caught up in the clash wore hoods and carried Flemish nationalist flags, while others wore Nazi-era yellow stars. Protesters set fire to wood pallets, and social media images showed them attacking police vans with street signs. Protests also erupted in several Dutch cities Sunday, the third night of unrest over the government’s coronavirus restrictions. Demonstrators set off fireworks and vandalised property in the northern cities of Groningen and Leeuwarden, as well as in Enschede to the east and Tilburg to the south, said police. “Riot police are present in the centre to restore order,” a Groningen police spokeswoman told AFP.

Authorities issued an emergency order in Enschede, near the German border, ordering people to stay off the streets, police said on Twitter. A football match in the nearby city of Leeuwarden was briefly disrupted after supporters, who are barred from games because of the Covid restrictions, threw fireworks into the ground, Dutch media reported. On Friday night, there was unrest in Rotterdam and last night in The Hague. So far, more than 100 people have been arrested around the country and at least 12 people have been injured during the demonstrations. From Monday, 8.9 million Austrians will not be allowed to leave home except to go to work, shop for essentials and exercise. And vaccination against Covid-19 in the Alpine nation will be mandatory from February 1 next year.

Read more …

“There is no “finishing the fight” against an endemic virus.”

Like Covid-19, Digital Passports Could Be With Us Forever (Ford)

When a government radically alters the way we live and relate to one another, it should be able to explain, at a minimum, why it is doing so. And when their plans involve extraordinary new powers to surveil, coerce, and control the population, we might also hope for an account of how and when those powers will be rescinded, and what limiting principle will constrain their use. Proponents of digital health passports have failed to clear even the most basic of these hurdles. Instead, they have offered conflicting, unrealistic, and sometimes incoherent explanations of what the new digital passport regime is meant to achieve. Are vaccine passports supposed to let us “finish the fight” against SARS-CoV-2, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised? Of course not. There is no “finishing the fight” against an endemic virus.

Will the passports end transmission of the disease? No. The vaccines are not designed to stop transmission, and the virus can be spread by vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. Is the point to ensure that hospitals and ICUs are not overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients? That is a legitimate goal, but it’s undermined when vaccine mandates result in the firing or suspensions of thousands of front-line healthcare workers, many of whom already have natural immunity. Maybe the passports are just a psychosomatic measure, meant to help vaccinated people feel safer and less anxious as they go about their lives. Or are they a blunt instrument to drive up vaccination rates in hopes of achieving herd immunity? If so, how high does the rate need to be? 80 percent? 90 percent? 100 percent?

What will we do when the vaccine’s efficacy fades, or if new variants emerge with mutated spike proteins that escape vaccine-induced immunity? No one seems to know. Lacking clear or realistic objectives, there is no way to evaluate the success of these new public health measures. And if success or failure cannot be measured, neither can they be declared. This should worry us, because the elected leaders currently enacting vaccine passports have not committed to any limits—either practical or temporal—on these new powers. We should not be overturning our most taken-for-granted social norms without first considering the risks and probable long-term consequences. Because once we go down this road, we may ruefully discover that there is no off-ramp.

Read more …

Why does Russia even react to this stuff anymore?

Russia Set To Launch Winter Invasion Of Ukraine: US Media (RT)

Russia is growing more inclined to invade Ukraine now that colder days are approaching, a weekend American media report has claimed. Western officials have accused Russia of staging a military buildup along Kiev’s eastern borders. The likelihood of a potential Russian assault on Ukraine is “increasing as the weather gets colder,” CBS News reported on Saturday, citing the customary unnamed US intelligence “sources.” Quite why Moscow would choose the coldest months of the year, with the shortest days, is left unclear. “An incursion is weather-dependent, but could happen in a matter of weeks, barring intervention from the West,” it continued.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday urged Moscow to “be more transparent on the buildup of the forces around on the border of Ukraine.” Austin added that he was “not sure exactly” about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan of action. Ukraine initially refused to back the reports in US media about the buildup of Russian troops, but later changed its tune. Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s chief military intelligence officer, told the Military Times on Sunday that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine by the end of January or the beginning of February. The Ukrainian military produced a map showing how Russia in a “short-term perspective” could invade Ukraine from all directions, including an incursion from the territory of Belarus.

Russia has denied amassing troops along the Ukrainian border. When reports of possible preparation for an invasion began appearing in US media this month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed them as “fake” news that she said was part of a larger disinformation campaign waged against Russia. In an interview broadcast on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Sunday, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the Kremlin, said the West was “artificially stoking hysteria.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime; donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.

 

Aug 312021
 


Vincent van Gogh Courtyard of the hospital in Arles 1889

 

SARS-COV2, Vaccines Accelerate Biological Age (France Soir)
Open Letter to CDC (Steve Kirsch)
Anti-Androgens As Promising Therapies For Covid-19 (Cadegiani)
Why Covid-19 Is Not So Spread In Africa: How Does Ivermectin Affect It? (medRxiv)
Schools Across Europe Must Stay Open, Say WHO And Unicef (G.)
Mandatory Vaccines Will Be ‘Applied In Full’ As Deadline Looms (K.)
Ohio Judge Orders Hospital To Treat Covid-19 Patient With Ivermectin (JTN)
750,000 US Households Are About To Be Evicted (ZH)
A Heedless Aftermath (Kunstler)
Julian Assange’s Warning: Humanity’s Last Stand (Hayase)

 

 

 

 

Truck driver revolt

 

 

Google translate.

All too short part of a fascinating article in France Soir that shows, among other things, why spike proteins from vaccines do more damage than those in the virus. Telomeres.

SARS-COV2, Vaccines Accelerate Biological Age (France Soir)

Are the spike proteins from RNA vaccines more harmful than the spike protein from the SARS-CoV2 virus? The following three experimental and then theoretical explanations allow us to answer in the affirmative. The “apprentice living technologists” thought to make the RNA of vaccines more stable by doping it with G bases, without modifying the corresponding amino acids, something made possible thanks to the “mode of operation” of the universal genetic code which allows several triplets to be produced. separate codons to encode one and the same amino acid. Unfortunately, in the context of vaccine RNAs, this leads to a diametrically opposed result since the latter become more unstable, more fragile and more brittle.

1 – The article “vaccine-induced Covid-19 mimicry” syndrome (Marschalek et al., 2021) shows how this doping in G bases of the spike RNA can cause changes in the reading frame of codons, therefore partial sequences of different amino acids, which may ultimately lead to thromboembolic events in patients immunized with covid-19 vaccines.

2 – In addition, it has been demonstrated how this excess of bases G of the RNA of the spike of the vaccines reduces to zero the megastructures according to AU / CG proportions defined by Fibonacci whereas, on the contrary, the spike of the virus and especially that variants see the complexity and quantity of such structures enriched. To put it simply, this means that the RNA of the vaccines is only a stack of nucleotides without the slightest backbone ensuring it a megastructure at medium and long distance, while the variants acquire day by day a greater solidity and cohesion. overall of their RNA. ( Perez JC 2021 )

3 – This inconsistency can also be visualized in the figure below as a kind of “fractal roughness” which is much more unstable and inharmonious in the RNA of the vaccine spike (Pfizer more particularly) than in the RNA of the spike of the vaccine. virus . This has been shown using the master code method.

[..] To date, the health response to the management of the crisis consists of the injection of substances still being tested, still in phase 3 at the time of this article’s publication, for which the definition of the word “vaccine” had to be. modified by the WHO itself. In addition, it is accepted that injection with messenger RNA technology results in increased production of the spike protein while not reducing transmission (Pfizer treatment reported only 42% effective against the delta variant). This vaccine barrier would also promote the creation of variants that seek to bypass it. In countries which have massively vaccinated, the data published by the authorities tend to show that a high percentage of people hospitalized are people whose vaccination course is complete.

[..] Several questions arise about the virus: 1 – Is it better to catch the disease randomly and develop a natural global immune response or to try the vaccine experience by incurring the many side effects reported by pharmacovigilance, as well as a risk of increased cell senescence? 2 – Is the deterioration in biological age the same in Covid patients and in vaccinated people? Is one worse than the other? At this stage, no one can give a precise answer to these questions. In any case, this virus causes an increase in the biological age in people who contract the disease, the effect of which is probably accentuated by the vaccine injection. With the decrease in efficacy on contamination, it is therefore essential to prevent the worsening of the disease and for this, early management is imperative.

By letting the disease progress beyond the first few days and using vaccines as the only solution, there is a risk that the lifespan of both adults and children will be reduced . At a time when women and men alike are looking to age in the best possible conditions and stay young as late as possible, do we want to take the risk with regular injections of ruining all these efforts? Faced with the desire to vaccinate children who are not affected by SARS-CoV2, the remedy should not be worse than the disease . Faced with the feelings of some patients who have contracted the Covid and / or some vaccinated people testifying that they have the impression “of having taken ten years at once”, science would bring it at the right time, once again , evidence for a response in favor of early treatment? A final step, which some will not hesitate to take, is to declare that the acceleration of biological age would lead to a decrease in life expectancy.

Read more …

“.. one of the world’s top pathologists ascribed at least 30% of all deaths to the vaccine.”

Open Letter to CDC (Steve Kirsch)

I am the founder of the COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund (www.treatearly.org). Our work in funding early treatments for COVID was featured on 60 Minutes. I have been vaccinated and my entire family has been vaccinated. However, shortly after I was fully vaccinated, I began to hear stories from my friends that were very troubling. For example, one friend had three relatives who were formerly healthy die after getting the vaccine. Another friend had a heart attack 2 minutes after the injection and is now disabled, apparently for life. I assembled a team of over 19 doctors and scientists listed at the end of this comment to investigate the available evidence. Using the VAERS database and other official government data sources from the US and around the world (covering 35% of the world’s population), we found evidence that clearly demonstrates that the current vaccines are significantly more dangerous than has been previously believed.

Our most important findings include:

1/ The “real world” fatality data from VAERS does not match the fatality data from the Phase 3 trials. They aren’t even close. Using multiple independent methods, we estimate that over 150,000 Americans have already been killed. It is urgent to resolve this discrepancy as soon as possible as we strongly believe that the real world data is right and the vaccines should be immediately stopped.

2/ None of the COVID vaccines reduce all-cause morbidity. It’s the opposite: they all significantly increase all-cause morbidity by as much as 4.2 times baseline (p<=0.00001). The CDC must know this since this information is hiding in plain sight in the published literature. What is the point of offering an optional medical intervention which significantly increases all-cause morbidity when safer alternatives such as early treatment are available?

3/ There is an error in the adverse event detection formula used by the CDC that appears to have prevented the CDC from seeing the safety signals that were obvious to our VAERS experts.

4/ Early treatment and prophylaxis protocols are a superior option to the current vaccines, yet have been inexplicably ignored by the NIH:
• Higher relative risk reduction (over 99%)
• Greater safety (minor temporary side effects, known safety profile)
– They lower both all-cause mortality and all-cause morbidity
– They work equally well on all variants
– They do not promote escape variants
– They do not cause vaccine enhanced infectivity/replication
– They do not cause prion diseases
– They prevent long-haul COVID syndrome nearly 100% of the time
– They enable people to acquire recovered immunity which is both 13 times stronger and more durable than vaccine-induced immunity

We recommend the committee take the following actions:
• Require autopsies for all deaths within 4 weeks of any COVID19 vaccination so that data is available to compute an estimate of the true all-cause mortality.
• Make available the analysis of the 11,000 deaths investigation in VAERS for public inspection. It’s important for the public to understand why the CDC couldn’t attribute a single death to the vaccine whereas one of the world’s top pathologists ascribed at least 30% of all deaths to the vaccine.
• Explain publicly why there is a death peak on the second day after vaccination if the vaccinations are perfectly safe and not causing deaths.
• Explain publicly why the severe adverse side effects are dose dependent

[..] • Recommend that vaccine mandates should not be issued without evidence of a statistically significant all-cause morbidity decrease (which there is not in this case).
• Define a COVID vaccine stopping condition after which that vaccine should be halted until the stopping issues are addressed. In 1976, the stopping threshold was 35 deaths.

Read more …

Twitter thread.

Anti-Androgens As Promising Therapies For Covid-19 (Cadegiani)

Studies with proxalutamide resulted from a solidly constructed scientific knowledge pathway. In this thread, I briefly describe the process from the beginning. Since the beginning of the pandemics, men were found to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19, irrespective of other risk factors. In March 2020, overrepresentation of bald men was found in among patients in ICU due to COVID-19 in Spain. This finding was consistent across several countries, which was further confirmed to be an independent risk factor for COVID-19. How could we justify male alopecia (baldness) to be a risk factor for COVID-19? The justification was not only found to exist, but was strong. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, enters into cells through a protein called ACE2.

However, in order to couple to ACE2 and enter into cells, the virus must be ‘prepared’ by another protein, an enzyme called TMPRSS2. Without this ‘preparation’, the ability of the virus to infect cells becomes much weaker. The point is that the only known regulator of TMPRSS2 are the androgens (hormones with ‘testosterone actions’). Male baldness is a sort of maximized biological expression of high androgen activity, resulted from the in-tissue ratio between androgenic hormones and sensitivity of androgen receptors (more sensitive receptors lead to more testosterone action). The resulting equation can be called as ‘level of androgen activity’. Bald men has therefore ‘high androgenic activity’ (which does not necessarily correlates with sex drive, muscles, etc).

High androgen activity leads to high TMPRSS2 expression. Consequently, the COVID-19 virus gets ‘more prepared’ to couple to ACE2 and gets more easily into cells. This leads to increase in SARS-CoV-2 infectivity (ability to infect) and pathogenicity (ability to cause harm). Further epidemiological data reinforce the hypothesis. Pre-pubertal children have way less severe COVID-19, while babies under 1 y/o have relatively higher risk of severe COVID-19 than pre-pubertal children above 1 y/o. This likely happens due to a physiological phenomenon called ‘mini-puberty’: babies under 1 y/o may have unblocked steroid hormonal production.

Although women have much lower testosterone and overall androgen levels than men, their androgen receptor tends to be more sensitive. That’s why females may present severe COVID-19, in special women with higher androgen activity.
While men are at higher risk of severe COVID-19, those at androgen deprivation therapy for severe prostate cancer, supposedly to be at higher risk due to the frailty of sarcopenia and metabolic disorders due to lack of testosterone action, were actually protected.

Read more …

March 26 2021

Why Covid-19 Is Not So Spread In Africa: How Does Ivermectin Affect It? (medRxiv)

At least for now, it seems that Africa will be in completely different situations under the coronavirus infections. Some scientists have cited a higher proportion of young people [1,2], a warmer climate [3], and widespread BCG vaccination [4] as possible factors. While these are positive theories, they do not provide scientific evidence to explain why the spread of new coronavirus infections in Africa appears to be at a slower pace than in other parts of the world. In the meantime, based on a growing data of recently reported data on a large number of published and unpublished trials, it is suggested that ivermectin being a well-known antiparasitic agent with antiviral activity and anti-inflammatory effects, has activity against SARS-CoV-2 [5]. On the other hand, ivermectin has been administered in Africa for onchocerciasis under the WHO strategy.

In 2012, WHO’s neglected tropical diseases (NTD) Roadmap set a goal of elimination where feasible by 2020, and the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control advanced the goal to elimination in 80% of countries by 2025 [6]. The community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) is the basic strategy to eradicate onchocerciasis in Africa. More than 99% of the infections have occurred in the 31 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa listed below: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania. In the rural populations of sub-Saharan Africa where health systems are weak and under-resourced, the community-directed treatment strategy is proving to be one of Africa’s most successful in reducing disease at low cost [7].


If ivermectin has an antiviral effect on SARS-CoV-2, the morbidity, mortality, recovery, and fatality rates caused by COVID-19 would be reduced in the community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) countries compared to non-endemic untreated ones. Therefore, epidemiological analyzes of the two groups are necessary. These results will validate the effect of ivermectin intervention on COVID-19. This study aims to evaluate the impact of ivermectin interventions for onchocerciasis on morbidity, mortality, recovery rate, and fatality rate caused by COVID-19.

Read more …

So they can jab all the kids?

Schools Across Europe Must Stay Open, Say WHO And Unicef (G.)

Schools across Europe must stay open and be made safer for staff and children, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef have demanded, as a new term gets under way with the highly transmissible Delta variant still dominant in the region. “The pandemic has caused the most catastrophic disruption to education in history,” said Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO’s Europe region. “It is vital that classroom-based learning continues uninterrupted.” Kluge said that while the pandemic continued, “educating children safely in a physical school setting” was of “paramount importance for their education, mental health and social skills”, and must become “a primary objective” for governments.

Forty-four out of 53 countries in the WHO’s Europe region closed their schools nationwide at the height of the pandemic’s first wave in April 2020, and while most reopened that September, surging infection rates sparked new restrictions and more closures in dozens of countries during the autumn and winter. Mass absences and frequent school closures have continued in several countries through the spring and early summer, with more than 1 million children, or 14.3% of the age group, out of school for Covid-related reasons – either self-isolating or because their school was closed – in England in late July.

“We encourage all countries to keep schools open, and urge all schools to put in place measures to minimise the risk of Covid-19 and the spread of variants” throughout the new school year, Kluge said in a joint statement with the deputy regional director of the UN children’s fund for Europe and central Asia, Philippe Cori. The two organisations said teachers and other school staff must be primary target groups for national vaccination programmes, adding that all children aged 12 and over with underlying health conditions should also be inoculated.

Read more …

Greece threatening everyone who’s not vaccinated.

Mandatory Vaccines Will Be ‘Applied In Full’ As Deadline Looms (K.)

With the deadline for health workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19 or face suspension without pay expiring Tuesday, the government is sending a “clear” message that the law will be strictly applied – with all that entails. “The law will be applied in full. The salary paid [to unvaccinated workers] in advance at the end of August will also be returned,” government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou said Monday, noting that there are no guarantees that suspended health workers, “even when they choose to get vaccinated, will return to the same positions, given that the character, needs and organization of the national health system will to a degree have changed.” “The epidemiological burden in our country remains at high levels and the next period will be extremely crucial in the evolution of the pandemic,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiment regarding the enforcement of the law, Minister of State Akis Skertsos stressed earlier that the government is not going to back down on the issue of mandatory vaccinations for health workers, emphasizing that “it is a matter of protecting the healthcare workers themselves and the health of the patients.” He added there is still time for those few thousand that did not get their jabs to do so Monday or Tuesday, “so that there are no problems with their work or with the operation of the national health system.” Meanwhile, the application platform for the recruitment of auxiliary staff will open Tuesday as final data on the unvaccinated are expected.

Concerned with a new surge of cases expected in the fall, the government is keen to increase vaccination rates and testing. To this end, pharmacies will supply free self-test kits to eligible groups this week and mobile vaccination teams from the Health Ministry will be parked on public squares and outside churches. “Data from the National Public Health Organization show that the pandemic at this stage mainly threatens our unvaccinated fellow citizens,” said Oikonomou, noting that the need to shield the public from the possibility of new universal restrictions is dictating the nature and content of the safety measures to protect both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Read more …

With horse dewormer, you said?

Ohio Judge Orders Hospital To Treat Covid-19 Patient With Ivermectin (JTN)

An Ohio judge ordered a Cincinnati hospital to administer Ivermectin to a COVID-19 patient at his wife’s request, as he has been in an intensive care unit (ICU) for over a month. Last week, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Gregory Howard ordered West Chester Hospital to treat 51-year-old COVID-19 patient Jeffrey Smith with Ivermectin, Ohio Capital Journal reported. Smith’s wife of 24 years, Julie, filed a lawsuit on behalf of her husband, requesting that he be given 30mg of Ivermectin every day for three weeks as prescribed by Ohio physician Dr. Fred Wagshul.


Smith tested positive on July 9 for COVID-19, was hospitalized and admitted to the ICU on July 15, and on Aug. 1 was sedated, intubated, and and placed on a ventilator. He has since developed another infection. Julie found out about Ivermectin and contacted Wagshul, who is a founder of the nonprofit Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, according to the Journal. He prescribed Ivermectin for Smith but the hospital would not administer it. Ivermectin was first developed for deworming livestock animals prior to doctors using it to fight parasitic diseases in humans, the Journal reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn against using Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.

Read more …

2 or 3 times that, I would think.

750,000 US Households Are About To Be Evicted (ZH)

Goldman estimates that the number of housing units at risk of eviction, based on uncollected tenant revenues in 2021Q2 for large property managers, representing 20mn tenant-occupied housing units, and based on survey data reporting the share of consumers who owe back rent and also “lost employment income” during the pandemic, representing the remaining 25mn units. Because the moratoriums also deferred hundreds of thousands of evictions unrelated to the pandemic, one should also add an additional backlog to reflect these missing filings.

Together, the bank estimates that 2½-3½ million households are significantly behind on rent and at risk of eviction without policy support. Since roughly half of eviction filings historically result in eviction (47% over 2006-2016), Goldman assumes that barring a new eviction ban from Congress or a much faster pace of ERA distribution, 750k households will face eviction in the fall and winter months. With 8-9 million Americans currently unemployed and emergency unemployment programs winding down, the sudden loss of tenant protections could plausibly generate an eviction episode of this magnitude.

Translating these figures to a dollar amount of back rent based on the stock and flow of bad tenant debt among residential REITs, implies 4.4 months of rent payments outstanding on average across tenants who are behind on rent. This is consistent with research from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimating average tenant debt at 3 months rent. Taken together, some $12-17 billion of bad tenant debt accumulated during the crisis.

Read more …

“They know we no longer produce things of value. What are we good for, exactly? Absurd ventures in gender confusion and race hustling? Drugs and pornography? Is that what stands behind the dollar?”

A Heedless Aftermath (Kunstler)

We will not submit. We’re nearing the end of this medical reign of terror. The trouble is, the medical establishment won’t survive it. They’ve perverted and undermined what used to be called science — truth-driven inquiry into what’s real and what is not — and, anyway, the medical system had already poisoned itself with racketeering so outlandish and cruel that it makes the old Mafia look like a charity organization. Not only do Americans get a Covid virus whose development was funded and guided by America’s chief public health official, Tony Fauci, but if it puts them in the hospital, their doctors deny them treatment with efficacious medicines, and, if the patients happen to survive the ordeal, they’re hit up with million-dollar bills. This conduct exhibits a kind of sadism that goes beyond just adding insult to injury.

Half the country is also paying attention to the invasion of border-jumpers coming in from Mexico with the assistance of the Deep State. They’re also noticing “Joe Biden’s” failure to comply with the recent US Supreme Court decision that he must enforce the standing procedure to return “asylum-seekers” to Mexico to await any decision on their eligibility. Many of these migrants come from the farthest corners of the world, including places full of people who don’t like us or our country. How many of them are coming here to blow things up and shoot American citizens? Nobody knows. The Deep State doesn’t want to know and they don’t want you to find out.

Finally, there is the question of the financial system which, lately, has become the proxy for what used to be the productive US economy, its Potemkin false front. The various plans to spend about $8-trillion in non-existent money on more social experiments such as paying citizens to be idle, would have been enough to sink American money, the US dollar. Now that the world has witnessed the humiliating withdrawal of the US from our 20-year-long war in Afghanistan, the process will accelerate. The world sees that we can’t be depended on in any foreign crisis. They know we no longer produce things of value. What are we good for, exactly? Absurd ventures in gender confusion and race hustling? Drugs and pornography? Is that what stands behind the dollar?

Read more …

It’s all connected.

Julian Assange’s Warning: Humanity’s Last Stand (Hayase)

As the U.S. loses face in the Afghanistan debacle, a video of Julian Assange speaking in 2011 about the goal behind the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan went viral on social media. While war criminals walk free, Assange who exposed the U.S. government’s war crimes in the Middle East and its illegal torture in Guantanamo, is in jail – tortured, suffering and isolated. The U.S. government’s attempted prosecution of the WikiLeaks publisher is an unprecedented attack on press freedom. With this celebrated journalist behind prison walls, this war on free speech now continues to expand, turning the internet into a battleground.

As the Covid-19 crisis has progressed, censorship has become rampant. From the onset of the pandemic, tech companies – pressured by the U.S. Congress – have been aggressively removing content that is deemed ‘inaccurate’ and/or ‘harmful’ by designated health authorities such as the WHO and CDC. In the name of protecting public health, social media networking services like Facebook and Twitter have silenced physicians and scientists whose views counter the official pandemic narrative. This includes credible medical professionals such as Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA vaccine technology and Dr. Pierre Kory, chief medical officer of the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance [FLCCC], who has been censored for discussing documented benefits of Ivermectin for early treatment of COVID-19 and the medical establishment’s cover-up of its efficacy.

Assange, now silenced inside London’s maximum-security prison, warned us about the censorship via private corporations that is moving our society into authoritarianism. In January 2018, a little over a year before the UK police illegally arrested him inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange predicted “the future of humanity is between humans that control machines and machines that control humans”. He continued: “While the internet has brought about a revolution in our ability to educate each other, the consequent democratic explosion has shaken existing establishments to their core. Burgeoning digital super-states such as Google, Facebook and their Chinese equivalents, who are integrated with the existing order, have moved to re-establish discourse control. This is not simply a correction action. Undetectable mass social influence powered by artificial intelligence is an existential threat to humanity.”

In this ‘cancel culture’, now the ‘new normal’, civil liberties are suspended through algorithmic control. From stay home orders to lockdowns that destroyed small businesses, with the aid of social media conglomerates, the government has imposed their top down solutions on the public. As our economy has yet to recover from the pandemic crisis, changes in the system that could usher in the machine takeover of a society are now quietly taking place.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

May 232020
 


Adam Zyglis The son of man May 19 2020

 

US Grants Tentative OK For 15 Air Carriers To Cut Service To 75 Airports (R.)
UK Confirms 14-Day Quarantine Post-Travel (Y!)
Remdesivir Study Finds Mortality Too High For Standalone Treatment (ZH)
NIH Trial: Redesivir Works Best In COVID Patients On Oxygen (R.)
US Veterans Agency Has Given HCQ To 1,300 Coronavirus Patients (R.)
COVID19 ‘Taking Different Path In Africa’, Says WHO (G.)
Peruvian President Extends Nationwide Lockdown Through June 30 (CNN)
Chileans Rediscover Community Kitchens As Coronavirus and Hunger Bite (R.)
Car Rental Giant Hertz Files For Bankruptcy (Solomon)
This Sucker Is Going Down (Kunstler)
Argentina Set For Default As Bondholders Reject New Terms (G.)
FBI Launches Internal Investigation Into Its Handling Of Flynn Case (JTN)
FBI Opened Russia Probe On Third-Hand ‘Suggestion’ Of Collusion (JTN)

 

 

Global new cases in past 24 hours: 107,743

New cases in:
• US + 23,591
• Russia + 9,434
• Brazil + 21.461
• India + 6,568
• Chile + 4,726

New deaths in past 24 hours:
• US + 1,260 (total deaths 97,655)
• Russia + 139
• Brazil + 1,034
• Spain + 688
• UK +351
• Mexico + 337

 

 

https://twitter.com/SteveGuest/status/1263901535462928386

 

 

 

Cases 5,326,230 (+ 107,743 from yesterday’s 5,218,496)

Deaths 340,383 (+ 5,314 from yesterday’s 335,069)

 

 

 

From Worldometer yesterday evening -before their day’s close-

 

 

From Worldometer

 

 

From SCMP:

 

 

From COVID19Info.live:

 

 

 

 

Now that their lockdowns end, the US and UK take measures they should have when they started. The cart and the horse.

How is this not insane? During the lockdowns, US airlines have kept flying everywhere, and people have entered the UK without even being checked (an official policy).

Now that the virus is solidly embedded in the home population, they start acting to prevent it from embedding itself in the population.

US Grants Tentative OK For 15 Air Carriers To Cut Service To 75 Airports (R.)

The U.S. Transportation Department said late on Friday it had granted tentative approval to 15 airlines to temporarily halt service to 75 U.S. airports because of the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines must maintain minimum service levels in order to receive government assistance but many have petitioned to stop service to airports with low passenger demand. Both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines won tentative approval to halt flights to 11 airports, while JetBlue Airways, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines were approved to stop flights to five airports each. The department said all airports would continue to be served by at least one air carrier.


The Transportation Department said objections to the order can be filed until May 28. U.S. air carriers are collectively burning through more than $10 billion in cash a month as travel demand remains a fraction of prior levels, even though it has rebounded slightly in recent weeks. They have parked more than half of their planes and cut thousands of flights. The department has previously granted airlines waivers to cancel some additional flights and denied others. On May 12, the department said it would allow carriers to halt flights to up to 5% of required destinations.


Getty

Read more …

Millions of travelers since January, and 100,000 air passengers alone from April 1-26, have entered the UK unhindered. No More! We have all the virus we need!

UK Confirms 14-Day Quarantine Post-Travel (Y!)

The UK government confirmed in a statement that it will put in place a 14-day period of quarantine for anyone that lands on British soil in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The move, which was announced at the government’s daily press briefing, will be a huge blow for the airline industry that is predicted to lose $314bn this year, according to the latest prediction from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). That number is still 25% more than previously forecasted. This is also due to a 55% drop in 2020 passenger revenue compared with last year.


Home secretary Priti Patel confirmed at the daily coronavirus briefing from Downing Street on Friday that alongside the 14-day quarantine, those under that lockdown could be contacted regularly throughout this period to ensure compliance. “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border,” she said in a statement. “We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave. “I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures. But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others.”

Read more …

When a ‘pivotal’ study is released on a Friday at 6pm, you know something’s wrong. But we still see headlines today like:

“Gilead’s drug works best in COVID patients on oxygen” and “Anti-viral drug ‘remdesivir’ effective against coronavirus, study finds”.

Remdesivir doesn’t work. It may have a little effect on people who already get oxygen, but that’s it. It doesn’t cure a thing.

There’s a Chinese study out on a drug with the great plus that it hasn’t killed anyone in phase 1 testing.

That is the new standard. All investors should move in! This could be the one!

Remdesivir Study Finds Mortality Too High For Standalone Treatment (ZH)

… According to a pivotal study published in the New England Journal of Medicine late on Friday, Remdesivir, which was authorized to treat Covid-19 in a group of 1063 adults and children (split into two groups, one receiving placebo instead of remdesivir) who need i) supplemental oxygen, ii) a ventilator or iii) extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), only significantly helped those on supplemental oxygen. Meanwhile, and explaining the 6pm release on a Friday, the study also found no marked benefit from remdesivir for those who were healthier and didn’t need oxygen or those who were sicker, requiring a ventilator or a heart-lung bypass machine.

The NEJM, almost apologetically, stated that “the lack of benefit seen in the other groups might have stemmed from a smaller number of patients in each group.” Still, as a result of the partial benefit for patients in the supplemental oxygen group, the study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was evaluated early and led to the authorization of remdesivir before the full trial was completed. Our findings highlight the need to identify Covid-19 cases and start antiviral treatment before the pulmonary disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation.

A visual representation of the outcomes is below; it shows that whereas there was a modest benefit only to patients who were receiving oxygen, the results were statistically insignificant vs placebo for patients not receiving oxygen, while in a surprising twist patients on high-flow oxygen or mechanical ventilator/ECMO did modestly better in the placebo group than those taking remdesivir. Also, the overall results showed a very modest, but not statistically significant improvement in the remdesivir group vs placebo. [..] Another disappointment: the study found that overall “mortality was numerically lower in the remdesivir group than in the placebo group, but the difference was not significant”, in other words the alleged “miracle drug” has largely the same effect as a placebo in terms of overall disease mortality.

Read more …

It looks like advertizing gone wrong.

NIH Trial: Redesivir Works Best In COVID Patients On Oxygen (R.)

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Friday said that data from its trial of Gilead Sciences Inc’s (GILD.O) remdesivir show that the drug offers the most benefit for COVID-19 patients who need extra oxygen but do not require mechanical ventilation. The peer-reviewed data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial, for which final results are still trickling in, showed that recovery time for patients given remdesivir was shortened by four days, or 31%, compared to placebo patients. The biggest benefit was seen in patients who were sick enough to need supplemental oxygen, but were not on a ventilator. The data detailed in the journal is similar to early results that the NIH released last month from the study, which began in February with 1,063 participants in 10 countries.


Researchers now calculate that after follow up, 7% of patients given remdesivir will have died, compared with 12% in the placebo group, but they said the difference in the death rate was not significant. “Our findings highlight the need to identify COVID-19 cases and start antiviral treatment before the pulmonary disease progresses to require mechanical ventilation,” the researchers wrote. They noted that “given high mortality despite the use of remdesivir,” it is likely that the antiviral drug would be more effective in combination with other treatments for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Gilead said it expects results from its own study of remdesivir in patients with moderate COVID-19 at the end of this month.

Read more …

Chuck Schumer is only interested because he can smear Trump. That the VA employs thousands of doctors makes no difference. They are all wrong.

US Veterans Agency Has Given HCQ To 1,300 Coronavirus Patients (R.)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has treated 1,300 coronavirus patients with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which a study has tied to an increased risk of death, according to a document released by a Senate Democrat on Friday. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who received the information from the VA in response to questions he submitted on the issue, said he was “deeply troubled” by the data. President Donald Trump has long urged use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus and recently said he has been taking it himself, despite evidence that the treatment could be harmful.

A study published on Friday in the medical journal Lancet tied the drug to an increased risk of death in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In April, doctors at VA itself also said hydroxychloroquine did not help COVID-19 patients and might pose a higher risk of death. The VA, which provides care to 9 million veterans, said that about 1,300 coronavirus patients who received the drug are among more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients it has treated.

It has also dispensed hydroxychloroquine to about 7,500 patients with other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The VA said it will continue to dispense the drug under the guidelines of the Food and Drug Administration. In answer to a question from Schumer, the VA said it was not pressured into using hydroxychloroquine by the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services or any other federal agency. “VA, like so many medical facilities across this nation, is in a race to keep patients alive during this pandemic, and we are using as many tools as we can,” the VA told Schumer.

Read more …

Sure, younger population. But more than that, no health care systems, no ways to keep track of infected or dead, let alone with what.

Different path alright.

COVID19 ‘Taking Different Path In Africa’, Says WHO (G.)

There had been apocalyptic forecasts for the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Africa. On Friday evening, after the 100,000th case was reached, the World Health Organization’s Africa office circulated a note saying that it now seemed clear that the pandemic “appears to be taking a different pathway in Africa.” The note continued: Case numbers have not grown at the same exponential rate as in other regions and so far Africa has not experienced the high mortality seen in some parts of the world. Today, there are 3,100 confirmed deaths on the continent. By comparison, when cases reached 100,000 in the WHO European region, deaths stood at more than 4,900.

Early analysis by WHO suggests that Africa’s lower mortality rate may be the result of demography and other possible factors. Africa is the youngest continent demographically with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. Older adults have a significantly increased risk of developing a severe illness. In Europe nearly 95% of deaths occurred in those older than 60 years. WHO also noted that African governments swiftly imposed restrictive measures on their populations in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease. However, it also said that despite “significant progress in testing”, rates of testing remain low in comparison to other regions.

It insisted that, despite the relatively low number of cases, “the pandemic remains a major threat to the continent’s health systems”. Now that countries are starting to ease their confinement measures, there is a possibility that cases could increase significantly, and it is critical that governments remain vigilant and ready to adjust measures in line with epidemiological data and proper risk assessment.

Read more …

Peru has it bad.

Peruvian President Extends Nationwide Lockdown Through June 30 (CNN)

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra announced Friday that a national state of emergency, which includes mandatory social isolation measures, will be extended through June 30. He announced that “a national state of emergency is being declared from Monday, May 25 until June 30, including obligatory social isolation, quarantine, due to the grave circumstances that affect the life of the nation due to Covid-19,” according to state news agency Andina. Vizcarra first declared a nationwide state of emergency, which included mandatory self-quarantine and closed the country’s borders, on March 15. With the current extension, Peru will be under a state of emergency for at least three and a half months.

Read more …

“On the first night, the word “hunger” was projected onto one of Santiago’s tallest buildings.”

Chileans Rediscover Community Kitchens As Coronavirus and Hunger Bite (R.)

Poor neighbourhoods in the Chilean capital Santiago have seen a resurgence in the use of community kitchens once prevalent in the darkest days of dictatorship, as coronavirus shutdowns put pressure on jobs and send thousands into poverty. With winter approaching and temperatures chilling, canteen-style operations provide plates of hot food to those with dwindling incomes or nothing at all. They are organized by neighbors, local leaders and councils, who donate money or food. “My people are getting desperate, they have nothing to eat so we asked for help and as always, the people answered,” Sandra Cariz, the president of a community association, told Reuters in the Puente Alto suburb of Santiago on Friday.


The kitchens come alongside a growing number of drives circulating on social media for food, money and clothing donations. Chile has about 62,000 coronavirus cases and 600 deaths. Its economy has taken a hit unlike anything since the 1980s, government officials have said, when almost half of Chileans lived below the poverty line and the country was rocked by protests against Augusto Pinochet’s regime. When the coronavirus hit in March, Chile was just recovering from intense social protests over inequality which included arson attacks and looting. Protests restarted this week, with skirmishes between police and people denouncing the highest job losses in a decade. On the first night, the word “hunger” was projected onto one of Santiago’s tallest buildings.

Read more …

Uber.

Car Rental Giant Hertz Files For Bankruptcy (Solomon)

Hertz Global Holdings on Friday eveing filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as large debts and 700,000 vehicles mostly idled by the pandemic brought the car rental giant to its knees. The Florida-based company, which listed more than $24 billion in debt, took the action in a Delaware bankruptcy court in an effort to avoid permanent closure and a liquidation of its fleet. The company said it had $1 billion in cash to keep operating on a limited basis while it negotiated with its lenders and vendors. Its financial problems became apparent last month when it missed a round of payments. Hertz is the nation’s second largest car rental agency and boasts the brands Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, and Firefly.

Read more …

“As in any extinction event, it will be the smaller organisms that survive and eventually thrive and that’s how it will go in the next edition of America..”

This Sucker Is Going Down (Kunstler)

It was only a few decades ago that Walmart entered the pantheon of American icons, joining motherhood, apple pie, and baseball on the highest tier of the altar. The people were entranced by this behemoth cornucopia of unbelievably cheap stuff packaged in gargantuan quantities. It was something like their participation trophy for the sheer luck of being born in this exceptional land, or having valiantly clawed their way in from wretched places near and far – where, increasingly, the mighty stream of magically cheap stuff was manufactured. The evolving psychology of Walmart-ism had a strangely self-destructive aura about it. Like cargo cultists waiting on a jungle mountaintop, small town Americans prayed and importuned the gods of commerce to bring them a Walmart.

Historians of the future, pan-frying ‘possum cutlets over their campfires, will marvel at the potency of their ancestors’ prayers. Every little burg in the USA eventually saw a Walmart UFO land in the cornfield or cow-pasture on the edge of town. Like the space invaders of sci-fi filmdom, Walmart quickly killed off everything else of economic worth around it, and eventually the towns themselves. And that was where things stood as the long emergency commenced in the winter of early 2020, along with the Covid-19 corona virus riding shotgun on the hearse-wagon it rolled in on. We’re in a liminal, transitional moment of history, like beach-goers gawking at the glassy-green curve of a great wave in the throes of breaking. Such mesmerizing beauty!

Alas, most people can’t surf. It looks easy on TV, but you’d be surprised at the conditioning it takes, and Americans are way, way out of condition. (All those tattoos don’t give you an ounce of extra mojo.) And so, in this liminal moment, the people still trudge dutifully to the Walmarts with their dwindling reserves of cash money to get stuff, going through all the devotions that we took for granted before the wave welled up and threatened to break over us. Which is happening. Despite all the fake-heroic blather from the Federal Reserve, from Nancy Pelosi, from Mr. Trump and Mr. Mnuchin – from everybody in charge, to be really fair – and in the immortal words of another recent president — this sucker is going down. Specifically, what’s going down is the aggregate of transactions we call “the economy.”

[..] As in any extinction event, it will be the smaller organisms that survive and eventually thrive and that’s how it will go in the next edition of America, whether we remain states united or find ourselves organized differently. Accordingly, the giants must fall. When the communities of America rebuild, it will be the thousands of small activities that matter, because they will entail the rebuilding of social capital as well as exchanges that amount to business. Social capital is exactly what Walmart and things like it killed in every community from sea to shining sea. People stopped doing business with their neighbors. It took a cataclysm for them to finally notice.

Read more …

On average once every decade?!

Argentina Set For Default As Bondholders Reject New Terms (G.)

Argentina is on course for a technical default on its government borrowing on Friday as the country continues to hold talks with international investors over plans to restructure its debts. Financial investors said they expected the country to miss $500m (£410m) in interest payments on its borrowing, according to the Reuters news agency, as the government tries to renegotiate its borrowing before a 2 June deadline. With the economy in recession even before the coronavirus outbreak and spiralling inflation, Argentina has about $65bn in debt owned by overseas investors, which both the state and its creditors believe is unsustainable. The government has asked bondholders to accept significantly lower interest payments on its debts and to defer payments until 2024. Investors had thus far rejected the terms proposed by president Alberto Fernández’s centre-left government, which came to power late last year.


This month, a group of leading economists including Thomas Piketty and the Nobel prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz urged bondholders to take a constructive approach to restructuring Argentina’s debts. They argued debt relief for the country would be “the only way to combat the pandemic and set the economy on a sustainable path”. A group of international investors – including Ashmore, BlackRock and AllianceBernstein – that hold about $16.7bn of Argentinian bonds said on Friday that they recognised the country was seeking a comprehensive deal, even though failure to pay would trigger a default, Reuters reported. Sarah-Jayne Clifton, director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said that Argentina was right to demand a deep debt restructuring and to default if lenders did not accept a deal. “Reckless lending at high interest rates helped to create the current crisis, so lenders and speculators should share in the costs,” she said.

Read more …

Oh, get serious.

FBI Launches Internal Investigation Into Its Handling Of Flynn Case (JTN)

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday ordered an internal investigation into the bureau’s handling of the Michael Flynn case, just two weeks after the Justice Department declared that it was dropping the case against him and that federal investigators had no standing to interview the general in early 2017. Wray “today ordered the Bureau’s Inspection Division to conduct an after-action review of the Michael Flynn investigation,” the FBI announced on Friday. The Inspection Division essentially functions similarly to an internal affairs office found in lower law enforcement agencies. Fox News reported on Friday that the bureau will seek to identify whether any current FBI officials “engaged in misconduct” during the investigation, as well as whether or not the agency can improve its investigation process moving forward.


The bureau “does not have the ability to take any disciplinary action” against former employees, the FBI’s statement said. Flynn’s plight has received new attention in recent weeks, starting with the stunning Justice Department announcement at the beginning of the month. Following the department’s decision, the judge overseeing the Flynn case, Emmet Sullivan, declined to immediately dismiss it per the recommendation from Justice, instead inviting an amicus curiae brief from retired Judge John Gleeson in support of continuing the case against the general.

Read more …

Boy what a sh*tshow.

FBI Opened Russia Probe On Third-Hand ‘Suggestion’ Of Collusion (JTN)

The FBI’s probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia was opened on a third-hand “suggestion” of wrongdoing and the thinnest of suspicions that illegal foreign lobbying had occurred, according to a declassified memo released Friday that shows agents immediately flagged the strong limitations of their evidence. The July 31, 2016 electronic communication that officially open the counterintelligence investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane was obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. It shows the criminal basis for opening the probe was suspected violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, but it did not identify a single episode that it said violated the law.

Rather it focused on a “suggestion” passed on by Australian ambassador Alexander Downer that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos might be coordinating with Russia the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Downer had heard the information about the Russians during a bar conversation in May 2016 from Papadopoulos, who had heard it two months earlier from a European professor who had heard it from Russians allegedly. The memo shows the case agent, Peter Strzok, expressed some doubts and reservations about the limitations of the evidence even as he opened the probe. The memo cited concerns about “suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”

Papadopoulos “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia” that it had damaging information, the memo said. But Strzok’s memo immediately noted the limitations of the allegations forwarded from the Australians. “It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer,” the memo stated. Kevin Brock, the former chief of intelligence for the FBI, said the electronic communication did not meet the bureau’s rigorous standards for predicating the opening of a criminal or counterintelligence case. [..] Asked whether as an FBI assistant director he would have approved opening Crossfire Hurricane based on what was in the memo, Brock said: “Not in a millions years. I wouldn’t have approved it as a squad supervisor either. This would have set off alarm bells in any FBI field for not meeting our standards for a predicate.”

Read more …

We try to run the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the interaction.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Mar 162020
 


DPC Manhattan landmark Flatiron Building under construction 1902

 

UK Corona Crisis ‘To Last Until Spring 2021, 7.9m To Be Hospitalised’ (G.)
NYC & LA Mayors Order Bars, Nightlife, Gyms, & Restaurants To Shut (ZH)
Americans Urged To Scrap Gatherings Of 50 Or More People (G.)
Anger In Germany At Report Trump Seeking Exclusive Coronavirus Vaccine Deal (G.)
More Coronavirus Cases Outside Of Mainland China Than Inside (CNN)
Scientists Worry About Coronavirus Spread In Africa (ScienceMag)
The American Mask of Death (Lauria)
Goldman Sachs Predicts A 5% Contraction In The US Economy In Q2 (CNBC)
Fed Cuts Rates To Zero, Launches Massive $700 Billion QE (CNBC)
The End of the Central Bank [Put]? (Jim Bianco)
Fed Disaster: S&P Futures Crash, Halted Limit Down; Gold, Treasuries Soar (ZH)
America’s Biggest Banks Suspend Buybacks In Effort To Support Economy (F.)
China’s Industrial Output, Retail Sales Plummet (MW)
World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer Tasked With Finding COVID19 Cure (ZH)

 

 

We’re setting regrettable records, and there’s very little reason to think the upward trend in cases and deaths will halt any time soon. Most of Europe is under some form of quarantine, only supermarkets and pharmacies remain open, and the UK and US have no choice but to follow suit -preferably very- soon. A -very- different world.

The central banks are so off in their approaches it’s getting harder to see how they will survive in their present shapes. This is not a time to bail out banks, it’s a time to help people. But they refuse that.

 

Cases 170,852 (+ 13,375 from yesterday’s 157,477)

Deaths 6,526 (+ 681 from yesterday’s 5,845)

 

These numbers are fit to silence a body. Just look at all the new cases.

From Worldometer yesterday evening (before their day’s close)

 

 

While everyone is discussing whether the case mortality rate is 0.1%, 1% or 2%, the rate for known cases just crept back up to 8%. That is much scarier than I see anyone admit.

From Worldometer (NOTE: mortality rate is back up to 8%!)

 

 

From SCMP: (Note: the SCMP graph was useful when China was the focal point; they are falling behind now)

 

 

COVID2019.app graph is not avaliable, the site is closed. But this is even better:

 

 

Note: what this graph does not sufficiently reflect is that Switzerland has 10 million people, and China 1,400 million. The graph starts at the 10th death.

 

 

The UK cannot hospitalize 7.9 million people, not even spread over a year. Does that cover all of your questions?

UK Corona Crisis ‘To Last Until Spring 2021, 7.9m To Be Hospitalised’ (G.)

The coronavirus epidemic in the UK will last until next spring and could lead to 7.9 million people being hospitalised, a secret Public Health England (PHE) briefing for senior NHS officials reveals. The document, seen by the Guardian, is the first time health chiefs tackling the virus have admitted that they expect it to circulate for another 12 months and lead to huge extra strain on an already overstretched NHS. It also suggests that health chiefs are braced for as many as 80% of Britons becoming infected with the coronavirus over that time. Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, has previously described that figure as the worst-case scenario and suggested that the real number would turn out to be less than that.

However, the briefing makes clear that four in five of the population “are expected” to contract the virus. The document says that: “As many as 80% of the population are expected to be infected with Covid-19 in the next 12 months, and up to 15% (7.9 million people) may require hospitalisation.” [..] “For the public to hear that it could last for 12 months, people are going to be really upset about that and pretty worried about that”, said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia. “A year is entirely plausible. But that figure isn’t well appreciated or understood,” added Hunter, an expert in epidemiology. “I think it will dip in the summer, towards the end of June, and come back in November, in the way that usual seasonal flu does. I think it will be around forever, but become less severe over time, as immunity builds up,” he added.

[..] The document also discloses that an estimated 500,000 of the 5 million people deemed vital because they work “in essential services and critical infrastructure” will be off sick at any one time during a month-long peak of the epidemic. The 5 million include 1m NHS staff and 1.5 million in social care. However, the briefing raises questions about how Britain would continue to function normally, warning that: “It is estimated that at least 10% of people in the UK will have a cough at any one time during the months of peak Covid-19 activity.”

[..] A senior NHS figure involved in preparing for the growing “surge” in patients whose lives are being put at risk by Covid-19 said an 80% infection rate could lead to more than half a million people dying. If the mortality rate turns out to be the 1% many experts are using as their working assumption then that would mean 531,100 deaths. But if Whitty’s insistence that the rate will be closer to 0.6% proves accurate, then that would involve 318,660 people dying.

Read more …

Time to make it a national policy. And as I said yesterday, cut down on domestic flights, close down highways, the works. There’s no escaping anyway, and delaying it will kill lots of people.

NYC & LA Mayors Order Bars, Nightlife, Gyms, & Restaurants To Shut (ZH)

Update (1130ET): Shortly after New York’s mayor de Blasio pulled the plug, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered the closing of all bars, nightclubs, gyms and entertainment venues from midnight March 16 until March 31. Restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery. Grocery stores will remain open. “There is no food shortage and grocery stores will remain open. We’re taking these steps to help protect Angelenos, limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and avoid putting a dangerous strain on our health care system. This will be a tough time, but it is not forever. Angelenos have always risen to meet difficult moments, and we will get through this together.”


Update (1030ET): After announcing earlier that restaurants and venues would be enforced to ensure no more than 50% occupancy, Mayor Bill de Blasio just tweeted that he is ordering all “nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues to close”. That leaves restaurants still open, but with max 50% occupancy, as the city encourages residents to order our and stay in instead of venturing anywhere outdoors.

Update (1630ET): Germany joined the list of European nations reporting new coronavirus figures on Sunday, and like France and Italy, it reported its largest daily spike in new cases, confirming another 1,228 new cases for a new total of 5,813, a roughly 20% increase. It also reported 4 new deaths, bringing its national total to 12. Update (1555ET): France just reported 901 new cases diagnosed on Saturday, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases to ~5,400. The death toll climbed by 29 cases to 120.

Read more …

Yeah, yeah, let’s pretend Fauci contradicts Trump. Scores well with 50% of the people. Problem is, they have two very different tasks in this. And Trump’s is not to worry Americans. It’s to reassure them, while working to solve issues. If you want to blame Trump for saying things are not so bad, you need a crash course in politics. If you want to blame him for policy failures, you’re right, but you will have to do the same with just about every other world leader as well. They all make such mistakes. How about Italy PM Conte to begin with? A lot more of his people died so far.

Americans Urged To Scrap Gatherings Of 50 Or More People (G.)

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that gatherings of 50 people or more be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, as officials across the country continued to curtail freedoms to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The CDC guidance was soon followed by an announcement on Sunday night that several Las Vegas hotels and casinos would suspend operations, and New York City would limit restaurants, bars and cafes to only offer take-out and delivery starting on Tuesday, and nightclubs, movie theaters and other entertainment venues would close.

“These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement on Sunday night. “But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.” Moments later, the Washington state governor, Jay Inslee, took a similar step, announcing restaurants and bars would be limited to take-out only until the end of March, and entertainment and recreational facilities such as gyms would also close. Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts had already taken similar steps. MGM Resorts International, which operates several vast Las Vegas hotels and casinos including Bellagio and Luxor, said it would begin to suspend operations in the city from Monday.

[..] The new advice came as the nation sank deeper into chaos over the crisis. Hours earlier, Donald Trump urged Americans to refrain from panic buying basic supplies, as the administration announced plans to expand testing for the virus and health officials were preparing to release “advanced guidelines” on how to mitigate its spread. During a press briefing at the White House on Sunday evening, Trump again appeared to downplay the threat of the virus. “Relax, we’re doing great,” he said, during short, meandering comments that focused mostly on celebrating a decision by the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates. “It all will pass.”

But the president’s remarks stood in marked contrast to his lead infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, who used the same conference to warn: “The worst is ahead for us”, describing the crisis as reaching a “very, very critical point now”. Earlier in the day, Dr Fauci had declined to rule out a national lockdown of bars and restaurants as he urged more aggressive measures, similar to those in Europe and elsewhere, to contain the virus. “I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” said Fauci, a member of the White House task force on combating the spread of coronavirus. He heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Read more …

Don’t worry, I know exactly what half the (US) population will say about what I say here. It doesn’t matter. If Trump wants to buy a German medical company that makes a vaccine (and that’s two really big ifs), how can that be portrayed negatively? Well, we’ll say he wants to keep it all to himself. But doesn’t he perhaps want it for the 330 million Americans, those his job description tells him to look after? Cue: this is an anonymous source quoted by a German yellow paper.

“The German government is trying to fight off what it sees as an aggressive takeover bid by the US, the broadsheet Die Welt reports, citing German government circles. The US president had offered the Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company CureVac “large sums of money” to gain exclusive access to their work, wrote Die Welt. According to an anonymous source quoted in the newspaper, Trump was doing everything to secure a vaccine against the coronavirus for the US, “but for the US only”.”

Along the same line, I see a lot of people combining Trump’s “We have no shortages” with pictures of empty shelves, insinuating he is lying. But those can exist together, and in fact do in many European countries as well as the US. The cause is panic buying. Would these folk like to blame those empty EU shelves on Trump as well? Or are they caused by these countries’ own politicians, many of whom claim to despise Trump? Your call.

Look, Trump makes a lot of mistakes. But saying that things are not that bad is not one of them (literally: “Relax, we’re doing great; It all will pass”). Would you rather he said things are terrible, thereby inviting more panic buying and empty shelves, that you could then blame on him as well? That way you could blame him for two completely opposite things.

Anger In Germany At Report Trump Seeking Exclusive Coronavirus Vaccine Deal (G.)

German ministers have reacted angrily following reports US president Donald Trump offered a German medical company “large sums of money” for exclusive rights to a Covid-19 vaccine. “Germany is not for sale,” economy minister Peter Altmaier told broadcaster ARD, reacting to a front page report in Welt am Sonntag newspaper headlined “Trump vs Berlin”. The newspaper reported Trump offered $1bn to Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company CureVac to secure the vaccine “only for the United States”. The German government was reportedly offering its own financial incentives for the vaccine to stay in the country.

The report prompted fury in Berlin. “International co-operation is important now, not national self-interest,” said Erwin Rueddel, a conservative lawmaker on the German parliament’s health committee. Christian Lindner, leader of the liberal FDP party, accused Trump of electioneering, saying: “Obviously Trump will use any means available in an election campaign.” The German health minister, Jens Spahn, said a takeover of CureVac by the Trump administration was “off the table”. CureVac would only develop vaccine “for the whole world”, Spahn said, “not for individual countries”.

[..] At a news conference on Sunday, interior minister Horst Seehofer was asked to confirm the attempts to court the German company. “I can only say that I have heard several times today from government officials today that this is the case, and we will be discussing it in the crisis committee tomorrow,” he said. A US official told AFP on Sunday that the report was “wildly overplayed”. “The US government has spoken with many [more than 25] companies that claim they can help with a vaccine. Most of these companies already received seed funding from US investors.” The official also denied the US was seeking to keep any potential vaccine for itself. “We will continue to talk to any company that claims to be able to help. And any solution found would be shared with the world,” the official said.

Read more …

That still took a long time.

More Coronavirus Cases Outside Of Mainland China Than Inside (CNN)

There have now been more cases of the novel coronavirus outside of mainland China than inside, according to numbers from the World Health Organization and from public health agencies tracked by CNN. While China, the early epicenter of the outbreak, has still had more confirmed cases than any other country – more than 80,000 – a number of other countries have surged in recent days, including Italy with more than 24,000 cases, Iran with almost 14,000 and Spain with more than 7,000. On February 26, the World Health Organization reported for the first time that the majority of new cases per day had come from outside of China. This trend has continued as newly confirmed cases in China have dwindled in recent days, while other countries have discovered thousands of new infections – including the United States, which has now reported more than 3,000 cases.

Read more …

It’s starting. 100 million frail forms at Europe’s door soon?

Scientists Worry About Coronavirus Spread In Africa (ScienceMag)

Late on Sunday evening, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, in a televised address to the nation, declared that COVID-19, the respiratory disease spreading globally, had become a “national disaster.” [..] “Never before in the history of our democracy have we been confronted by such a severe situation,” Ramaphosa said before announcing a raft of measures to curb the virus’ spread, including school closures, travel restrictions, and bans on large gatherings. So far, the official numbers seemed to suggest that sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than 1 billion people, had been lucky. The interactive map of reported COVID-19 cases run by Johns Hopkins University shows big red blobs almost everywhere—except sub-Saharan Africa.


But now the numbers are rising quickly. South Africa, which had its first case 10 days ago, now has 61. According to Ramaphosa, the virus has begun spreading inside the country. And just yesterday, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, and Namibia all reported their first cases, bringing the number of affected countries to 23. Some scientists believe COVID-19 is circulating silently in other countries as well. “My concern is that we have this ticking time bomb,” says Bruce Bassett, a data scientist at the University of Cape Town who has been tracking COVID-19 data since January. And while Africa’s handling of the pandemic has received scant global attention so far, experts worry the virus may ravage countries with weak health systems and a population disproportionately affected by HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and other infectious diseases. “Social distancing” will be hard to do in the continent’s overcrowded cities and slums.

Read more …

“And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all..”

The American Mask of Death (Lauria)

The U.S. is unlike the rest of the industrialized world, which, since the end of the Second World War, has had some kind of nationalized health insurance covering all citizens, regardless of their ability to pay. Many of the partisans who helped defeat the Nazis were socialists who demanded something in return from their governments after the war. Many British soldiers were Labour voters. They threw out war leader Winston Churchill in the 1945 election and the National Health Service was begun in 1948. Though Harry Truman around the same time floated the idea of socialized medicine in the U.S., and the 1965 Medicare Act was to eventually cover all Americans, the greed of medical business interests has always won. It leaves millions of potentially infected Americans unable to be tested or treated. And that endangers even those in their high towers who “might bid defiance to contagion.”


The Mask of the Red Death by FlamiatheDemon (Deviant Art- flamiathedemon.deviantart.com)

“And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”


When the oligarchs’ economic system crashed in 2008 from over-speculation, the U.S. government did the unimaginable. It nationalized industries to save them. It used socialism to rescue capitalism. But it was temporary. Once the economy had sufficiently recovered, the U.S. returned to its market fundamentalism. If the coronavirus crisis approaches the numbers recent studies point to—as many as 240 million Americans infected and one million dead—expect serious consideration to a single-payer system sweeping through Congress and signed into law. But once the virus is contained expect your premiums to rise again. Just like the nationalizations in the 2008 financial crisis, a temporary national health insurance would only be enacted to save the oligarchs from the Red Death.

Read more …

Can the US fall 5% without breaking?

Goldman Sachs Predicts A 5% Contraction In The US Economy In Q2 (CNBC)

Goldman Sachs on Sunday downgraded its outlook for the economy in the first two quarters of 2020 as the coronavirus zaps all growth from the U.S. Jan Hatzius, Goldman’s chief economist, lowered his first-quarter GDP growth forecast to zero from 0.7%. The economist also sees a 5% contraction in the second quarter, followed by a sharp snapback for the remainder of the year. “We expect US economic activity to contract sharply in the remainder of March and throughout April as virus fears lead consumers and businesses to continue to cut back on spending such as travel, entertainment, and restaurant meals,” Hatzius said in a note to clients Sunday. [..] The rapid spread of the virus has sent stocks tumbling into a bear market, with both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 now trading more than 20% below their record highs set just last month.


“Even with monetary and fiscal policy turning sharply further toward stimulus … these shutdowns and rising public anxiety about the virus are likely to lead to a sharp deterioration in economic activity in the rest of March and throughout April,” Hatzius said. In addition to the consumer spending hit, Goldman also noted the growing likelihood of “significant supply chain disruptions” as the outbreak sends business activity to a standstill. Hatzius believes that U.S. economic growth should pick up in the second half of 2020. He expects GDP growth of 3% in the third quarter and a 4% expansion in the final three months of the year. Factoring in his new estimates, for 2020 he sees the economy growing 0.4%, compared with a prior growth estimate of 1.2%.

Read more …

Save people not banks. Didn’t we say that 10 years ago as well?

Fed Cuts Rates To Zero, Launches Massive $700 Billion QE (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve, saying “the coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States,” cut interest rates to essentially zero on Sunday and launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus. The new fed funds rate, used as a benchmark both for short-term lending for financial institutions and as a peg to many consumer rates, will now be targeted at 0% to 0.25% down from a previous target range of 1% to 1.25%. Facing highly disrupted financial markets, the Fed also slashed the rate of emergency lending at the discount window for banks by 125 basis points to 0.25%, and lengthened the term of loans to 90 days.

Despite the aggressive move, the market’s initial response was negative. Dow futures pointed to a decline of some 1,000 points at the Wall Street open Monday morning. The discount window “plays an important role in supporting the liquidity and stability of the banking system and the effective implementation of monetary policy … [and] supports the smooth flow of credit to households and businesses,” a separate Fed note said. The discount window is part of the Fed’s function as the “lender of last resort” to the banking industry. Institutions can use the window for liquidity needs, though some are reluctant to do as it can indicate they are experiencing financial issues and thus sends a bad message.

The Fed also cut reserve requirements for thousands of banks to zero. In addition, in a global coordinated move by centrals banks, the Fed said the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank took action to enhance dollar liquidity around the world through existing dollar swap arrangements.

Read more …

The Fed is choking on its own policies.

The End of the Central Bank [Put]? (Jim Bianco)

The past week has seen unprecedented market movements and action taken by central banks. We have also seen unprecedented action by governments. Given the events that took place in 2008, this is saying a lot.

We’ll save detailing what happened for another time. Instead, we’ll focus on what it means and what to focus on next. Two titanic forces are at play. First, the economy is at a real risk of collapsing. This is not hyperbole. Goldman Sachs has already revised its Q2 GDP forecast to -5%.

We fear this might look optimistic in a few weeks. Yes, this virus-driven economic collapse is temporary, one or two quarters, but the risk is very real that long-lasting damage is being done that will hamper the economy for years. The other titanic force is world central banks and governments going “all in” to keep markets from falling further. They have effectively done everything they can. This better work. This better stimulate risk markets to hold last week’s low. If risk markets continue to fall, effectively there is nothing left that central banks can do. They can always invent more programs, but they already fired their most potent weapons.

Many will argue that the Fed should buy corporate bonds and/or equities, but this requires Congress amending the Federal Reserve Act. Considering Congress has still not passed virus relief, this will not happen fast enough and is not advisable as it could make things worse. Simply put, if this does not work, the central bank “put” no longer works. So stop devising new ways to exercise it and move on to other actions. So that leaves one tool left should risk markets continue to fall through last week’s low – close financial markets before they collapse.

The S&P 500 has already declined more than 25% in just 16 days. We have never seen this big a decline this fast. Should stock prices fall to new lows and corporate bond prices decline accordingly, it risks chaos in financial markets. Margin calls will force involuntary liquidation. The inability to properly price illiquid securities like high yield bonds and emerging market securities may prompt funds to halt redemptions. People’s money may be trapped. Covenants will be triggered, forcing unwanted restructurings or change of control. Pension fund minimum funding requirements are at risk of being violated.

Read more …

Not done yet.

Fed Disaster: S&P Futures Crash, Halted Limit Down; Gold, Treasuries Soar (ZH)

The Fed may have a very big problem on its hands. After firing the biggest emergency “shock and awe” bazooka in Fed history, one which was meant to restore not just partial but full normalcy to asset and funding markets, Emini futures are not only not higher, but tumbling by the -5% limit down at the start of futures trading on Sunday evening… … with Dow futures down over 1,000, and also limit down… … the VIX surging 14%…. … perhaps because the Fed has not only tipped its hand that something is very wrong by failing to wait just an additional three days until the March 18 FOMC, but that it can do nothing more to fix the underlying problem, while gold is surging over 3% following today’s dollar devastation (if only until risk parity funds resume their wholesale liquidation at some point this evening when we expect gold to tumble again)…


… as US Treasury futures soar (which will also likely be puked shortly once macro funds are hit again on their basis trades), as it now appears that the Fed’s emergency rate cut to 0% coupled with a $700BN QE is seen as not enough by a market which is now openly freaking out that the Fed is out of ammo and has not done enough. In short, with the ES plunging limit down, this has been an absolutely catastrophic response to the Fed’s bazooka; expect negative interest rates across the curve momentarily… oh and Trump demanding Powell’s resignation in the next 48 hours.

Read more …

Jamie Dimon loves you long time. Nationalize the suckers. Divvy up the spoils and start anew.

America’s Biggest Banks Suspend Buybacks In Effort To Support Economy (F.)

America’s largest and most important lenders are temporarily suspending their stock buybacks so they can help pump money into an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The move means that Wall Street is prioritizing supporting the U.S. economy with its cash, instead of using it to engineer stock prices higher after a sharp market drop. Eight of the biggest banks in America said on Sunday evening they will be suspending their stock buybacks for the remainder of the first quarter, ending on March 30, and the second quarter, so as to use the spare cash to lend to individuals and businesses in need of credit. Banks suspending their buybacks are JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of New York Mellon and State Street.


The coordinated move, among firms who’ve recently bought back a collective tens of billions of dollars in stock annually, underscores Wall Street’s vital role in helping to pull the American economy though what economists increasingly forecast will be a deep recession. “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for the world and the global economy and the largest U.S. banks have an unquestioned ability and commitment to supporting our customers, clients and the nation,” said the Financial Services Forum, an advocacy group for banks, on behalf of the eight lenders. “The decision on buybacks is consistent with our collective objective to use our significant capital and liquidity to provide maximum support to individuals, small businesses, and the broader economy through lending and other important services,” it added

Read more …

CHINA BREAKING NEWS:
• Jan-Feb Fixed Investment: -25.5% vs -2% estimate
• Jan-Feb Retail Sales: -20.5% vs -4%
• Jan-Feb Industrial Production: -13.5% vs -3% estimate

“#China is able to achieve 6% GDP growth in 2020 despite #COVID19, as the impact is temporary and China has uniquely high savings to help cushion shocks by black swan events”
Liang Hong, chief economist of China International Capital Corp

China’s Industrial Output, Retail Sales Plummet (MW)

China’s economic activity contracted sharply across the board in the first two months of the year amid Beijing’s aggressive measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic. Industrial output declined 13.5% in the January-February period from a year earlier, compared with December’s 6.9% increase, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. The result was worse than the 3.0% drop expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. China typically combines economic data for the first two months to reduce distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday.

Fixed-asset investment, a gauge of construction activity, slid 24.5% during the period, reversing growth of 5.4% in 2019. Economists expected fixed-asset investment to fall 1.0%. Retail sales tumbled 20.5% in the first two months of the year–typically a boom season for consumption–compared with growth of 8.0% in December. Economists expected retail sales to fall 5%. Meanwhile, China’s urban unemployment rate rose to 5.7% in February from 5.2% in December, official data showed. To contain the spread of the coronavirus, Beijing in January locked down cities hit most by the epidemic, ordered an extended shutdown of factories and businesses and advised residents to stay home.

Read more …

Somehow I could see this succeed. In 2021.

World’s Most Powerful Supercomputer Tasked With Finding COVID19 Cure (ZH)

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have used the world’s most powerful supercomputer to identify 77 drug compounds that could lead to scientific breakthroughs to combat Covid-19. The supercomputer, dubbed Summit, has been tasked to run complex computation across existing databases of drug compounds to see which combinations could thwart Covid-19 from infecting cells. Summit has been able to “simulate 8,000 compounds in a matter of days to model which could impact that infection process by binding to the virus’s spike, and have identified 77 small-molecule compounds, such as medications and natural compounds, that have shown the potential to impair COVID-19’s ability to dock with and infect host cells,” read an IBM press release, whose technology is present in Summit.

“Summit was needed to rapidly get the simulation results we needed. It took us a day or two whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer,” said Jeremy Smith, Governor’s Chair at the University of Tennessee, director of the UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics, and principal researcher in the study. “Our results don’t mean that we have found a cure or treatment for COVID-19. We are very hopeful, though, that our computational findings will both inform future studies and provide a framework that experimentalists will use to further investigate these compounds. Only then will we know whether any of them exhibit the characteristics needed to mitigate this virus.” Smith’s team is expected to pass on the findings to others in the scientific community, who will then begin to experiment on Summit’s 77 compounds to see which one is the most effective against Covid-19.

Read more …

 

Things to do while staying home: feed a mini donkey, watch the remarkably enticing marble racing.

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1239196410857340933

 

 

If you read us, please support us. Help the Automatic Earth survive.

 

Jun 112019
 


While filming “The African Queen” everyone fell sick from drinking the water except for Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, who drank whiskey

 

 

Luke Harding is a former journalist for the Guardian. I say former because while he is still writing for the paper, he lost his one remaining shred of credibility last November with an article about Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange multiple times in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which soon was discredited as badly as an article can be, but has still not been retracted or corrected by the paper.

If you get caught in that kind of nonsense, you’re surely not a journalist. Of course that was just one in an endless list of blubber that Harding produced about the likes of Assange and Trump. And Putin of course. And now he’s back with more. About Putin.

Somewhere in this new article by Luke Harding and Jason Burke for the venerable publication, they say that Russia only became interested in Africa in 2014. And obviously you know you can stop reading right there. Russia’s been interested in Africa for decades. Because it’s laden with resources. Because everybody else is there to get to those resources.

But Harding manages to write up a piece that makes Russia’s interest terribly suspicious and menacing. Because, you know, Skripal. The Russians did it. He’s basing this on docs he claims to have seen, but doesn’t provide, given to him by an “investigative unit” based in London and funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin’s worst domestic enemy.

 

Leaked Documents Reveal Russian Effort To Exert Influence In Africa

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

There are 54 countries in Africa today. Russia SEEKS to bolster its presence in 13. Scary! At the same time, how many countries do you think France has a presence in? Or UK, Italy, US? How about China? And now that we’re on the subject, what do you think they’re all taking out of Africa, leaving the people behind with nothing?

And Russia is supposed to be the threat? You ever heard about Belgian King Leopold and the Congo, and the millions of deaths he caused? 60 years ago there were still African children paraded out in ”human zoos” in Belgium. But Russia is the threat?! How about a history lesson or two?

The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off “pro-western” uprisings, the documents say.


In 2018 the US special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts. According to Mueller, his troll factory ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump.

Prigozhin is a caterer who runs a troll factory. Not saying this is impossible, but it’s certainly poorly written.

The Wagner group – a private military contractor linked to Prigozhin – has supplied mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and Syria. The documents show the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub.

What operations? Catering operations?

Multiple firms linked to the oligarch, including Wagner, are known by employees as the “Company”. Its activities are coordinated with senior officials inside Russia’s foreign and defence ministries, the documents suggest.

And we have a picture of the beast. Not scary enough? We’ll get one where he eats babies.

 


Yevgeny Prigozhin in Vladivostok in 2016. Photograph: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Putin showed little interest in Africa in the 2000s. But western sanctions imposed in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea have driven Moscow to seek new geopolitical friends and business opportunities.

Oh yeah, sure, Russia only started looking at Africa in 2014. See, stop reading right there…

Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say.


On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press spokesman, they will service Russian-made military equipment. So far Moscow has signed military cooperation deals with about 20 African states.

The west, France, UK, US, has literally raped the Congo, richer than any other place on earth in resources, for many many decades. And now that Russia starts looking, the west gets a dumb fcuk like Harding to write up a scare story about it.

Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend. The aim is to foster political, economic and cultural cooperation.

The leaked documents were obtained by the Dossier Center, an investigative unit based in London. The centre is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman and exiled Kremlin critic.

Prigozhin has been approached for comment. He has previously denied any links to the troll factory and has said of Wagner that it does not exist. Putin has previously said that entities linked to Prigozhin do not constitute the Russian state.

A map from December 2018 seen by the Guardian shows the level of cooperation between the “Company” and African governments, country by country. Symbols indicate military, political and economic ties, police training, media and humanitarian projects, and “rivalry with France”. Five is the highest level; one is the lowest.

The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.

Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”. The Kremlin has recently stepped up its ground operation in Libya. Last November the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar travelled to Moscow and met the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. Prigozhin was spotted at the talks. Egypt is described as “traditionally supportive”.

 


 

We don’t get to hear where Khodorkovsky got the docs from or how reliable they are, and we don’t get to see any of them. We have to believe Luke Harding on his blue eyes. But even then, is there anything shocking here for the non-Skripal crowd? Or is Harding just once more doing the MI6’s job for them?

The graphic gives an overview of “Company” activities and achievements. It claims credit in CAR for getting of rid of politicians who are “orientated to France”, including national assembly representatives and the foreign minister. This appears to be Charles-Armel Doubane, sacked in December. It has “strengthened” the army and set up newspapers and a radio station. Russia is an “83% friend”, it says.

In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.

Another key territory is Sudan. Last year Russian specialists drew up a programme of political and economic reform, designed to keep President Omar al-Bashir in power. It included a plan to smear anti-government protesters, apparently copy-pasted from tactics used at home against the anti-Putin opposition. (One memo mistakenly says “Russia” instead of “Sudan”.)

One ploy was to use fake news and videos to portray demonstrators in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities as “anti-Islam”, “pro-Israel” and “pro-LGBT”. The government was told to increase the price of newsprint – to make it harder for critics to get their message out – and to discover “foreigners” at anti-government rallies.

I love it when people like Harding use the term “fake news”. Because he’s the very person who’s been caught producing just that, in the Manafort-visits-Assange article mentioned above. That was 100% fake.

Now, don’t get me wrong please. Of course Russia tries to play out factions and parties and countries against one another. Like all others do. They may do it in Sudan, in Comoros, examples Harding makes claims about, and elsewhere:

[..] Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon. Neither has so far happened.


A plan to revive “pan-African consciousness” appears closely modelled on the idea of Russkiy Mir, or Russian world. The concept has become fashionable under Putin and signifies Russian power and culture extended beyond current borders.

Have you ever seen purer baloney? Russia trying to get Africa to unite because that would look like some ancient idea of turning the whole world Russian? Maybe Stalin has such ideas, but he was Soviet, not Russian, and Putin, who is Russian, doesn’t have it, as you can grasp from his military expenditures. All Putin wants is to keep Russia safe from American and NATO invasions.

One working paper is titled “African world”. It calls for a developing “African self-identity”. It recommends collecting a database of Africans living in the US and Europe, which might be used to groom “future leaders” and “agents of influence”. The eventual goal is a “loyal chain of representatives across African territory”, the March 2018 paper says.

That little paragraph says it all. There’s not one little letter in there that poses any threat to anyone.

More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings. It is unclear how many Prigozhin initiatives have actually gone forward. There is evidence that media projects mentioned in the documents are now up and running – albeit with marginal impact. They include a website, Africa Daily Voice, with its HQ in Morocco, and a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo. Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics. One policy paper, titled “Russian influence in Africa”, says Moscow needs to find “reliable partners among African states” and should establish military bases.

And there the whole story has fizzled out into emptiness. Yeah, it says with some vague thing about military bases, but do you know how many western military bases there are in Africa? Tons. So there’s nothing left, zero, from the original threatening tone Harding started off with, but it doesn’t matter, because who’s going to read the whole thing anyway?

Main thing is, the tone, the narrative, have been established once more. Putin is a big threat, re: Skripal and eating babies, and so are Trump and Assange. And they all work together to bring down your safety and quality of life. No, your own government doesn’t do that!

 

 

 

 

Jan 062019
 


Paul Gauguin Osny, rue de Pontoise, Winter 1883

 

You Won’t Hear The Ugly Truth From The Fed (Henrich)
Yellow Vests Torch Cars In Chaos Of France’s 8th Weekend Of Clashes (Exp.)
If Corbyn Backs Brexit, He Faces Electoral Catastrophe (O.)
Brexit Deal Critics Risking Democracy – May (BBC)
EU Dashes May’s Hopes Of Landing Better Brexit Deal (Ind.)
Hackers Release 9/11 Papers, Say Future Leaks To Burn Down US Deep State (RT)
Documents Link UK Govt-Funded Integrity Initiative To Anti-Russia Narrative (RT)
Fears Grow In Africa That The Flood Of Funds From China Will Start To Ebb (O.)
It’s Nancy Pelosi’s Smile That Gets Me (Jim Kunstler)
Ex–NY Times Editor Jill Abramson Says Fox Took Her Words Out Of Context (AP)

 

 

Because the Fed IS the ugly truth.

It is sad that so many people still look at the Fed to save the “markets”. Sad and blind. Like nobody has any interest in having functioning markets and societies, and it’s all only about a quick buck.

You Won’t Hear The Ugly Truth From The Fed (Henrich)

In March 2009 markets bottomed on the expansion of QE1 (quantitative easing, part one), which was introduced following the initial announcement in November 2008. Every major correction since then has been met with major central-bank interventions: QE2, Twist, QE3 and so on. When market tumbled in 2015 and 2016, global central banks embarked on the largest combined intervention effort in history. The sum: More than $5 trillion between 2016 and 2017, giving us a grand total of over $15 trillion, courtesy of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan:

When did global central-bank balance sheets peak? Early 2018. When did global markets peak? January 2018. And don’t think the Fed was not still active in the jawboning business despite QE3 ending. After all, their official language remained “accommodative” and their interest-rate increase schedule was the slowest in history, cautious and tinkering so as not to upset the markets. With tax cuts coming into the U.S. economy in early 2018, along with record buybacks, the markets at first ignored the beginning of QT (quantitative tightening), but then it all changed. And guess what changed? Two things. In September 2018, for the first time in 10 years, the U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) removed one little word from its policy stance: “accommodative.” And the Fed increased its QT program. When did U.S. markets peak? September 2018.

[..] Global central banks did the dirty work for the Fed between 2016 and 2017, adding ever more artificial liquidity. But then the ECB slowed its QE program and finally ended it in late 2018. How did the DAX (German stock index) handle all that removal in artificial liquidity? Not well.

[..] don’t mistake this rally for anything but for what it really is: Central banks again coming to the rescue of stressed markets. Their action and words matter in heavily oversold markets. But the reality remains, artificial liquidity is coming out of these markets. [..] What’s the larger message here? Free-market price discovery would require a full accounting of market bubbles and the realities of structural problems, which remain unresolved. Central banks exist to prevent the consequences of excess to come to fruition and give license to politicians to avoid addressing structural problems.

Read more …

Macron still does everything wrong. Now he chides the protesters for not accepting a debate on his terms.

Yellow Vests Torch Cars In Chaos Of France’s 8th Weekend Of Clashes (Exp.)

The yellow vest protesters who have entered their eighth week of street rallies are trying to topple President Macron and his administration, according to a French government spokesman. The movement made up largely of working and lower middle-class citizens has won widespread public approval as it is seen by many as a means of making the voices of ordinary men and women heard. But after months of unrest in Paris and other French cities, Benjamin Griveaux said the gilets jaunes are not interested in the three-month debate on the reforms promised by Mr Macron, but instead want to overthrow the young president. Speaking at a press conference on Friday after the weekly cabinet meeting, Mr Griveaux said members of the movement “seek insurrection and basically want to overthrow the government”.

He added: “They are henceforth involved in a political struggle to contest the legitimacy of the government and of the president of the republic. “Those who called for a debate don’t want to participate in a big national debate.” Mr Macron said he intends to write a letter to the French people this month outlining how he will deliver his ambitious plans. [..] ‘Angry France’, one of the group which makes up the yellow vests, rejected the president’s offer of a national debate. A statement issued by the group read: “Mr President, this movement that you don’t recognise is nevertheless spreading and strengthening itself even as your fellow citizens are cudgelled, gassed and detained for hours in an unbelievable lack of respect for citizens’ rights.”

Read more …

Corbyn has already built a disaster.

Westminster voting intention:

CON: 40% (-1)
LAB: 34% (-5)
LDEM: 10% (+3)
GRN: 4% (-)
UKIP: 4% (+1)

via @YouGov, 21 Dec – 04 Jan
Chgs. w/ 17 Dec

If Corbyn Backs Brexit, He Faces Electoral Catastrophe (O.)

I have seldom seen a poll on a subject dividing the nation for which the lessons are so clear. The biggest survey yet conducted on Brexit shows that Remain would comfortably win a referendum held today – and that Labour would crash to a landslide election defeat if it helped Brexit go ahead. YouGov questioned more than 25,000 people between 21 December and last Friday. It tested two referendum scenarios. If the choice is Remain versus the government’s withdrawal agreement, Remain leads by 26 points: 63% to 37%. If the choice is Remain versus leaving the EU without a deal, Remain wins by 16 points: 58% to 42%. The difference is explained by the views of those who voted Leave in 2016.

Many of them want a clean break with Brussels, but back away from an agreement that fails to redeem the promise in 2016 to “take back control”. Among all voters, only 22% support the government’s deal. Among Leave voters the figure is not much higher: 28%. The larger point is that the nature of the choice has changed since 2016 – 52% voted Leave when it was a general aspiration with little apparent downside. Today support for Brexit is significantly lower when Leave is more clearly defined. This pattern is familiar to referendums in different countries: many people support the broad idea of change, but back away when the details are laid out. They want “change”, but not “this change”. That is clearly the case today: 80% of people who voted Leave two years ago still say they want Brexit to go ahead; but the figure falls to 69% if the choice is a “no deal” Brexit, and only 55% if the referendum offers the withdrawal agreement.

The rest say they don’t know, or switch to Remain. (The respective loyalty rates on the other side – Remain voters in 2016 who would stick with Remain today – are significantly higher.) [..] The conventional voting intention question produces a six-point Conservative lead (40% to 34%). This is bad enough for an opposition that ought to be reaping electoral dividends at a time when the government is in crisis. However, when voters are asked how they would vote if Labour failed to resist Brexit, the Conservatives open up a 17-point lead (43% to 26%). That would be an even worse result than in Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1983, when Labour slumped to 209 seats, its worst result since the 1930s.

Read more …

“..fewer than one in four voters..” support May’s deal. But opposing it risks democracy. You tell me.

Brexit Deal Critics Risking Democracy – May (BBC)

The prime minister has urged MPs to back her Brexit deal, saying it is the only way to honour the referendum result and protect the economy. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Theresa May said her critics – both Remainers and Brexiteers – risk damaging democracy if they oppose her plan. But a poll carried out for the People’s Vote campaign suggests fewer than one in four voters support her Brexit deal. MPs are due to vote on whether to back Mrs May’s Brexit plan next week. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 – regardless of whether there is a deal with the EU or not. A deal on the terms of the UK’s divorce and the framework of future relations has been agreed between the prime minister and the EU – but it needs to pass a vote by MPs in Parliament before it is accepted.

The House of Commons vote had been scheduled to take place in December but Mrs May called it off after it became clear that not enough MPs would vote for her deal. The debate on the deal will restart on Wednesday, with the crucial vote now expected to take place on 15 January. Writing in the Mail, Mrs May said: “The only way to both honour the result of the referendum and protect jobs and security is by backing the deal that is on the table.” She said “no one else has an alternative plan” that delivers on the EU referendum result, protects jobs and provides certainty to businesses.

“There are some in Parliament who, despite voting in favour of holding the referendum, voting in favour of triggering Article 50 and standing on manifestos committed to delivering Brexit, now want to stop us leaving by holding another referendum,” she said. “Others across the House of Commons are so focused on their particular vision of Brexit that they risk making a perfect ideal the enemy of a good deal. “Both groups are motivated by what they think is best for the country, but both must realise the risks they are running with our democracy and the livelihoods of our constituents.”

Read more …

May is now holding the entire country hostage.

She’s going to have to have that vote soon. But today’s Telegraph reports she wants to delay it again. Because she knows she will lose.

EU Dashes May’s Hopes Of Landing Better Brexit Deal (Ind.)

Theresa May’s hopes of securing the legally binding changes needed to win support for her Brexit deal are fading, after EU sources said it was unlikely there would be a new European summit to approve them. An emergency council like the one held in November would be needed to sanction any changes that would have legal force. But diplomats have told The Independent that any concessions offered would be unlikely to require a meeting. It means any alterations or new language secured by the prime minister will probably not satisfy enough rebel Tories or her DUP partners in government to win the Commons vote expected in the coming weeks. Only this week the DUP warned the prime minister that unless Brussels gave significant ground on the hated Irish backstop it would not support her plans.

MPs return to Westminster next week and begin several days of debate on Ms May’s deal before it is put to a vote that most people expect the prime minister to lose. Downing Street has been trying to play down expectations that Ms May will secure a major change before the vote due on 15 or 16 January, but there had been talk that European officials are holding back one concession that they could make to the UK later in the year. But even for those changes to have legal force, a new summit would need to be called as currently there is only one scheduled for the end of March – far too late to do anything meaningful before the UK drops out of the EU on 29 March. European insiders told The Independent that the idea of a summit had been considered, but this was now looking less likely.

Read more …

They want a lot more money.

Hackers Release 9/11 Papers, Say Future Leaks To Burn Down US Deep State (RT)

The Dark Overlord hacker group has released decryption keys for 650 documents it says are related to 9/11. Unless a ransom is paid, it threatened with more leaks that will have devastating consequences for the US ‘deep state’. The document dump is just a fraction of the 18,000 secret documents related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks believed to have been stolen from insurers, law firms, and government agencies. The Dark Overlord initially threatened to release the 10GB of data unless the hacked firms paid an unspecified bitcoin ransom. However, on Wednesday, the group announced a “tiered compensation plan” in which the public could make bitcoin payments to unlock the troves of documents.

A day later, the Dark Overlord said that it had received more than $12,000 in bitcoin – enough to unlock “layer 1” and several “checkpoints,” comprised of 650 documents in total. There are four more layers that remain encrypted and, according to the group, “each layer contains more secrets, more damaging materials… and generally just more truth.” The hackers are asking for $2 million in bitcoin for the public release of its “megaleak,” which it has dubbed “the 9/11 Papers.” [..] By design, the “layer 1” documents – if authentic – do not appear to contain any explosive revelations. The publications focus mostly on testimonies from airport security and details concerning insurance pay-outs to parties affected by the 9/11 attacks. However, the data dump suggests that the group is not bluffing.

Read more …

British smear is second to none.

Documents Link UK Govt-Funded Integrity Initiative To Anti-Russia Narrative (RT)

The Integrity Initiative, a UK-funded group exposed in leaked files as psyop network, played a key role in monitoring and molding media narratives after the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal, newly-dumped documents reveal. Created by the NATO-affiliated, UK-funded Institute for Statecraft in 2015, the Integrity Initiative was unmasked in November after hackers released documents detailing a web of politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics involved in purportedly fighting “Russian disinformation.” The secretive, government-bankrolled “network of networks” has found itself under scrutiny for smearing UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Kremlin stooge – ostensibly as part of its noble crusade against anti-Russian disinformation.

Now, new leaks show that the organization played a central role in shaping media narratives after Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were mysteriously poisoned in Salisbury last March. It’s notable that many of the draconian anti-Russia measures that the group advocated as far back as 2015 were swiftly implemented following the Skripal affair – even as London refused to back up its finger-pointing with evidence. Days after the Skripals were poisoned, the Institute solicited its services to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, offering to “study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread, and evaluate how the incident is being perceived” in a number of countries. After receiving the government’s blessing, the Integrity Initiative (II) launched ‘Operation Iris,’ enlisting “global investigative solutions” firm Harod Associates to analyze social media activity related to Skripal.

Read more …

China’s taken the place of the IMF.

Fears Grow In Africa That The Flood Of Funds From China Will Start To Ebb (O.)

Concerns over Chinese growth could spell problems for Africa and other parts of the developing world. Beijing funded an overseas investment boom in the past few decades as it strove to become the world’s second largest economic superpower, while also buying vast amounts of the natural resources produced by emerging nations. The scale of the expansion forms part of China’s multibillion-dollar “Belt and Road” Initiative, a state-backed campaign to promote its influence around the world, while providing stimulus for its own slowing economy. The transcontinental development project launched by China’s president, Xi Jinping, in 2013 aims to improve infrastructure links between Asia, Europe and Africa, with the aim for China to reap the benefits from increasing levels of global trade.

Mounting tensions between China and the US, however, have acted as a handbrake on rising levels of world trade. The IMF forecasts Chinese growth will slow to 6.2% this year from about 6.6% in 2018, due to escalations in the trade dispute that erupted last year. There are also rising fears over the rapid growth of debt in China used to fuel its expansion over the past decade. With Chinese investment in some African nations worth more than some of those states’ own domestic spending, analysts fear the prospect of weaker investment in future and fading demand for commodity exports. Figures from the United Nations’ development agency, Unctad, show that weakness in global commodity prices in 2014 and 2015 caused foreign direct investment flows into Africa to fall from $55bn in 2015 to $42bn in 2017, showing how Africa might be hit by a Chinese slowdown.

Read more …

“Nancy’s smile is full of malice and bad faith..”

It’s Nancy Pelosi’s Smile That Gets Me (Jim Kunstler)

It’s Nancy Pelosi’s smile that gets me…oh, and not in a good way. It’s a smile that is actually the opposite of what a smile is supposed to do: signal good will and good faith. Nancy’s smile is full of malice and bad faith, like the smiles on representations of Shiva-the-Destroyer and Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec sun god who demanded thousands of human hearts to eat, lest he bring on the end of the world. It’s not exactly the end of the world in Washington D.C., but as the old saying goes: you can see it from there! It’s out on the edge of town like one of those sinister, broken-down circuses from the Ray Bradbury story-bag, with its ragtag cast of motheaten lions, crippled acrobats, a crooked wagon full of heartbroken freaks, and a shadowy ringmaster on a mission from the heart of darkness.

The new Democratic majority congress has convened in the spirit of a religious movement devoted to a single apocalyptic objective: toppling the Golden Golem of Greatness who rules in the House of White Privilege. They’re all revved up for inquisition, looking to apply as many thumbscrews, cattle prods, electrodes, waterboards, and bamboo splinters as necessary in pursuit of rectifying the heresy of the 2016 election. The simpleton California congressman Brad Sherman (D-30th dist.) couldn’t contain his glee, like a seven-year-old boy about to pull the wings off a fly. As soon as the Democratic majority was sworn in, he filed his articles of impeachment to impress his Wokester San Fernando Valley constituents out for deplorable blood.

That was even a bit too much for Madam Speaker who reminded Sherman that some scintilla of a predicate crime was required — but surely would be available when Special Counsel Robert Mueller hurls down his tablets of accusation from on high.

Read more …

But Kurtz simple quoted directly from her book?! Here’s thinking she got a few angry calls. Genre: if you ever want to work in this town again….

Ex–NY Times Editor Jill Abramson Says Fox Took Her Words Out Of Context (AP)

Jill Abramson, the former editor of the New York Times, said Fox News took her criticism of the newspaper’s Trump coverage in her upcoming book “totally out of context” for a story that appeared this week. The Fox News story, headlined “Former NY Times editor rips Trump coverage as biased,” quotes from Abramson’s book, “Merchants of Truth.” She wrote that although current Times executive editor Dean Baquet publicly said he didn’t want the newspaper to be the opposition party, “his news pages were unmistakably anti-Trump.” With an audience perceived to be mostly liberal, “there was an implicit financial reward for the Times in running lots of Trump stories, almost all of them negative,” she wrote in the book.

In a Saturday tweet, Trump commended Abramson as “100% correct” about the paper’s “[h]orrible and totally dishonest reporting on almost everything they write” and suggested it justified his calling the Times “fake news”. [..] Abramson was executive editor of the New York Times Co. flagship from 2011 to 2014 before being fired following a dispute with Baquet, then one of her deputies. She said in an email interview with the Associated Press that the Fox article’s author, “Media Buzz” host Howard Kurtz, had ignored compliments that she had for the Times and the Washington Post. “His article is an attempt to Foxify my book,” she wrote in the email, saying her book was “full of praise” for the New York Times and the Washington Post “and their coverage of Trump.”

Kurtz said in a phone interview with the AP that he was “sorry to see Jill back away from her own words” and that his report was accurate. “I would have written this story the same way if I were working for any news organization,” said Kurtz, a former Washington Post media columnist. “Her sometimes harsh criticism of her former paper’s Trump coverage leaps off the page and is clearly the most newsworthy element in the book because of her standing as a former executive editor.” [..] Abramson wrote that the more anti-Trump the Times was perceived to be, the more it was mistrusted for being biased. The late publisher Adolph Ochs’s promise to cover the news without fear or favor “sounded like an impossible promise in such a polarized environment, where the very definition of ‘fact’ and ‘truth’ was under constant assault,” she wrote in the book.

Read more …

Sep 042018
 
 September 4, 2018  Posted by at 9:04 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Edward S. Curtis Lucille, Dakota Sioux 1907

 

Department of Homeland Security Lied About Russia Hacking US Voter Sites (CN)
Housing Bubble Pops in Sydney & Melbourne
Sydney, Melbourne Have Zero Cashflow Positive Suburbs Left (News.com.au)
Europe’s News Agencies Blast Google, Facebook For ‘Plundering’ Content (AFP)
The Emerging Market Crisis Is Back. And This Time It’s Serious (CNBC)
Bringing Up The Bodies in Emerging Markets (Napier)
Brexit Is The Wrong Diagnosis Of A Real Crisis (LSE)
China Says It Is Helping Africa Develop, Not Accumulate Debt (R.)
The Uncomfortable Hiatus (Kunstler)
Brazil Court Lifts Ban On Monsanto’s Glyphosate Weedkiller (AFP)

 

 

Read this excellent piece by Gareth Porter and you’ll never believe another single word about meddling. DHS made it all up, because it wanted to be the no. 1 cybersecurity unit in the US.

Department of Homeland Security Lied About Russia Hacking US Voter Sites (CN)

The narrative of Russian intelligence attacking state and local election boards and threatening the integrity of U.S. elections has achieved near-universal acceptance by media and political elites. And now it has been accepted by the Trump administration’s intelligence chief, Dan Coats, as well. But the real story behind that narrative, recounted here for the first time, reveals that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created and nurtured an account that was grossly and deliberately deceptive. DHS compiled an intelligence report suggesting hackers linked to the Russian government could have targeted voter-related websites in many states and then leaked a sensational story of Russian attacks on those sites without the qualifications that would have revealed a different story.

When state election officials began asking questions, they discovered that the DHS claims were false and, in at least one case, laughable. The National Security Agency and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigating team have also claimed evidence that Russian military intelligence was behind election infrastructure hacking, but on closer examination, those claims turn out to be speculative and misleading as well. Mueller’s indictment of 12 GRU military intelligence officers does not cite any violations of U.S. election laws though it claims Russia interfered with the 2016 election.

Read more …

“With impeccable timing, there is a flood of new condos expected to be completed over the next two years..”

Housing Bubble Pops in Sydney & Melbourne

In Sydney, breeding ground for one of the world’s biggest housing bubbles, prices of single-family houses dropped 7.3% in August, compared to a year earlier. Prices of “units” — condos in US lingo — fell 2.2% year-over-year. Price declines were the sharpest at the high end, with prices down 8.1% in the most expensive quarter of home sales. Prices of all types of homes combined fell 5.6%, according to CoreLogic’s Daily Home Value Index. The index is down 5.8% from its peak last September:

Melbourne, where the inflection point has been lagging a few months behind Sydney’s, is in the process of catching up. Over the three month-period, June-August, prices fell 2.0%, making Melbourne the weakest housing market among the capital cities. By segment, house prices fell 2.7% from a year ago while condo prices still inched up 1.5%. At the most expensive quarter of sales, prices fell 5.2% from a year ago. For all types of dwellings combined, prices declined 1.7% year-over-year, to the lowest level since early June 2017, according to CoreLogic. Prices are down 3.6% from their peak at the end of November 2017:

[..] With impeccable timing, there is a flood of new condos expected to be completed over the next two years, something avid crane-counters in Sydney and Melbourne have been swearing for a while. Here are some of these astounding numbers that CoreLogic estimates based on data it collected from the industry: Greater Sydney: In 2019: 31,500 new condos are scheduled to be completed. In 2020, another 45,500 condos are expected to be completed. This brings the two-year total of new condos to 77,000 units, which will increase the total stock of condos by 9.3%! Greater Melbourne: The oncoming flood of new condos is expected to reach 29,000 units in 2019 and nearly 50,000 units in 2020. Over the two years, this will increase the total stock of condos by nearly 79,000 units, or by 11.5%!

Read more …

“Even property investors have been priced out of the market.”

Sydney, Melbourne Have Zero Cashflow Positive Suburbs Left (News.com.au)

Even property investors have been priced out of the market. There are “currently no suburbs” in Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra where an investor can buy a detached house and expect it to be cashflow positive with a deposit of 20 per cent or less, according to an analysis by Propertyology. Releasing a list of the country’s “best capital city cash cow suburbs”, the research firm said buyers would have to travel to the Central Coast, 100km from the Sydney CBD, before finding an investment property with decent cashflow. Even then, a median-priced $490,000 house in Lake Munmorah — the least worst “Sydney” suburb identified in Propertyology’s list — will leave the investor $3093 out of pocket.

“Victoria paints a similar picture, with greater Melbourne’s best locations for cash flow investors within the municipality of Melton — 40km northwest of the CBD,” Propertyology head of research Simon Pressley said in a statement. It comes as CoreLogic figures showed national dwelling values fell for the 11th consecutive month in August, led by weakness in the two major capitals that comprise about 60 per cent of Australia’s housing market by value. Negatively geared properties — when the rental return is less than the interest payments and other costs — are “okay when you’re getting 10 per cent capital growth year in, year out”, said AMP Capital chief economist Dr Shane Oliver.

But investors now face falling house prices, rising interest rates, tighter lending conditions and the possibility of a future Labor government cracking down on negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks. “The equation gets more complicated,” Dr Oliver said.

Read more …

Getting rich off of other people’s work.

Europe’s News Agencies Blast Google, Facebook For ‘Plundering’ Content (AFP)

Europe’s biggest news agencies accused Google and Facebook of “plundering” news for free on Tuesday in a joint statement that called on the internet giants to share more of their revenues with the media. In a column signed by the CEOs of around 20 agencies including France’s Agence France-Presse, Britain’s Press Association and Germany’s Deutsche Presse-Agentur they called on the European Parliament to update copyright law in the EU to help address a “grotesque imbalance”. “The internet giants’ plundering of the news media’s content and of their advertising revenue poses a threat both to consumers and to democracy,” the column said.

European Parliament lawmakers are to set to debate a new copyright law this month that would force the internet giants to pay more for creative content used on their platforms such as news, music or movies. A first draft of the law was rejected in July and the plans have been firmly opposed by US tech firms, as well as advocates of internet freedom who fear that the regulations could lead to higher costs for consumers. “Can the titans of the internet compensate the media without asking people to pay for access to the internet, as they claim they would be forced to? The answer is clearly ‘yes’,” the column said. The joint statement from the agencies, which are major suppliers of news, photos and video, said Facebook reported revenues of $40 billion (34 billion euros) in 2017 and profits of $16 billion, while Google made $12.7 billion on sales of $110 billion.

Read more …

Been here before. This time is wider and deeper.

The Emerging Market Crisis Is Back. And This Time It’s Serious (CNBC)

Markets have a very short attention span. Like babies, they move on quickly from one toy, or in this case an event, to another. For instance, markets seem to have moved on from the formation of the “Fragile Five,” a group of countries that suffered heavily when the U.S. Federal Reserve started to roll back its bond-buying program in 2013. Made up of Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa, this group was marked by heavy currency depreciation, high current account deficits and political instability at home. The slump in commodity prices and fears of a Chinese slowdown kept the pressure on these economies. However, they have started to see a comeback; in India and Indonesia, for example, a change in government has led to political and economic reforms.

Investors started crowding this space and inflows into funds with exposure to these markets increased. But markets are feeling a sense of deja vu. Blame it on a stronger dollar, escalating tensions since President Donald Trump came to power, worries over a full-fledged trade war with China or rising interest rates in the U.S., this time around the crisis seems to have entered a new phase. The damage is far more widespread. The crisis has engulfed countries across the globe — from economies in South America, to Turkey, South Africa and some of the bigger economies in Asia, such as India and China. A number of these countries are seeing their currency fall to record levels, high inflation and unemployment, and in some cases, escalating tensions with the United States.

Read more …

“..the rise of the rule of man begins to squeeze out the rule of law..”

Bringing Up The Bodies in Emerging Markets (Napier)

Investors brought up in the developed world take for granted the stability and continuation of the rule of law. They expect it to be as available and constant as air. Anyway, what role can a consideration of the rule of law play in trying to obtain index beating quarterly returns? It is this myopia and not the myopia associated with the short-term dumping of assets, because they are labelled ‘emerging markets’, that is particularly dangerous. The history of emerging markets is the history of populism, the real populism that subverts human rights and property rights. On the rise in emerging markets, this populism is resulting in a growing exodus of what are now very large sums, even in global terms, of local savings.

It is the shift in local savings, more so than foreign savings, that is pushing emerging market exchange rates to ever lower levels. It is not the flighty financial capital seeking slightly better interest rate differentials that departs in situations like this. It is the financial capital that funds development and growth that flees, as the rise of the rule of man begins to squeeze out the rule of law. The loss of such capital has profound long-term economic impacts. There is a key reason why the strong men are on the rise and the rule of law on the decline: the world is failing to inflate away its debts. Even before we invented paper money, there was a well recognized method of inflating away debts.

Perhaps most famously Henry VIII’s so-called great debasement (1544-1551) inflated away the excessive debts run up to fund wars with France and Scotland, as well as a bit of lavish spending by the king himself. Your analyst meets investors almost every day who believe that inflation is currently playing a similar role. However, such an assertion ignores the fact that the global non-financial debt to GDP ratio is now 244% up from what seemed a dangerous level of 210% of GDP as the global economy peaked in December 2007.

Read more …

A nation that hasn’t moved in decades.

Brexit Is The Wrong Diagnosis Of A Real Crisis (LSE)

The Leave campaign in 2016 had a lot in common with the 1979 Conservative election manifesto. Both evoked the threat of a bureaucratic super-state and something approaching a conspiracy of that state against the public. Both promised to rescue a Greater Britain from the conspiratorial political forces that were holding it back. Both campaigns were a misdiagnosis of the real crisis at hand. This time we face a crisis of ungovernability potentially far more severe than that of the 1970s; but its roots are less in Europe than in the failures of the homegrown neoliberal reforms of the British state.

The last three decades of state reform in Western democracies have aggravated rather than resolved the social divisions that emerged with de-industrialisation. Over the last thirty years, liberal market economies in general and the UK in particular have transformed the character of their states through privatization and outsourcing, through the development of quasi markets in welfare, and the rejection of industrial policies. At the same time, permissive tax and regulatory regimes have encouraged large corporations to opt out of their former social obligations in the name of maximising shareholder value.

The ‘supply-side revolution’ of the last thirty years was driven by the dominant New Right diagnosis of the economic crises of the 1970s and based on the radical public choice economics aligned with the Chicago and Virginia schools. According to this diagnosis it was the state that was primarily responsible for the end of the post-war ‘golden age of growth’ because of its inhibition of the market. Thus, according to the New Right and later New Labour too, it wasn’t technological change, or de-industrialisation in the face of emerging markets, it wasn’t the Nixon shock, or the end of Bretton Woods, nor rising exchange rate instability, it wasn’t stagflation or the oil crises that had confronted the country with a need to re-evaluate its production regime. It was the state. And so it was the state, above all else, that had to be transformed.

Read more …

But still there’s “A wave of African nations seeking to restructure their debt with China”. Care to explain?

China Says It Is Helping Africa Develop, Not Accumulate Debt (R.)

China is helping Africa achieve development, not accumulate debt, a top Chinese official said on Tuesday, as the government pushes back against criticism it is loading the continent with an unsustainable burden during a major summit in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged funds of $60 billion to African nations at the opening of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation, matching the size of the financing package offered at the last summit in Johannesburg in 2015. A wave of African nations seeking to restructure their debt with China has served as a reality check for Beijing’s relationship with the continent, though most countries still see Chinese lending as the best bet to develop their economies.

“If we take a closer look at these African countries that are heavily in debt, China is not their main creditor,” China’s special envoy for Africa, Xu Jinghu, told a news conference. “It’s senseless and baseless to shift the blame onto China for debt problems.” China would carefully choose projects that avoid causing debt problems when pushing forward with Xi’s pledges to Africa, she added. “When we cooperate with African countries we will conscientiously and fully carry out feasibility studies, to choose which projects can go ahead. These projects will take into account their development prospects so as to help African countries achieve sustainable development and avoid debt or financial problems.”

Read more …

“The shale oil “miracle” was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates..”

The Uncomfortable Hiatus (Kunstler)

Energy: The shale oil “miracle” was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday (The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground). For all that, the shale oil producers still couldn’t make money at it. If interest rates go up, the industry will choke on the debt it has already accumulated and lose access to new loans. If the Fed reverses its current course — say, to rescue the stock and bond markets — then the shale oil industry has perhaps three more years before it collapses on a geological basis, maybe less. After that, we’re out of tricks. It will affect everything. The perceived solution is to run all our stuff on electricity, with the electricity produced by other means than fossil fuels, so-called alt energy.

This will only happen on the most limited basis and perhaps not at all. (And it is apart from the question of the decrepit electric grid itself.) What’s required is a political conversation about how we inhabit the landscape, how we do business, and what kind of business we do. The prospect of dismantling suburbia — or at least moving out of it — is evidently unthinkable. But it’s going to happen whether we make plans and policies, or we’re dragged kicking and screaming away from it. Corporate tyranny: The nation is groaning under despotic corporate rule. The fragility of these operations is moving toward criticality. As with shale oil, they depend largely on dishonest financial legerdemain. They are also threatened by the crack-up of globalism, and its 12,000-mile supply lines, now well underway. Get ready for business at a much smaller scale.

Hard as this sounds, it presents great opportunities for making Americans useful again, that is, giving them something to do, a meaningful place in society, and livelihoods. The implosion of national chain retail is already underway. Amazon is not the answer, because each Amazon sales item requires a separate truck trip to its destination, and that just doesn’t square with our energy predicament. We’ve got to rebuild main street economies and the layers of local and regional distribution that support them. That’s where many jobs and careers are.

Read more …

In the most corrupt places on earth, Monsanto can do what it wants.

Brazil Court Lifts Ban On Monsanto’s Glyphosate Weedkiller (AFP)

An appellate court on Monday lifted a court-ordered suspension of licenses in Brazil for products containing glyphosate, an industrial weedkiller in common use in Latin America’s agricultural powerhouse. Federal appeals court judge Kassio Marques ruled that “nothing justified” the suspension by a lower court, saying it had been abruptly imposed “without previous analysis of the grave impact it would have on the country’s economy and on production in general.” The suspension, which had been ordered August 3 by a federal judge in Brasilia, was supposed to go into effect on Monday until a “toxicological re-evaluation” of all products containing glyphosate could be completed by Brazil’s sanitary authority.

The ban also was to have extended to products containing the chemicals thiram and abamectin. Glyphosate is used in weedkillers like Roundup, made by Monsanto, whose parent company Bayer had urged that the ban be scrapped. Bayer hailed the suspension as “very good news for Brazilian farmers.” It comes just weeks after a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a dying former school groundskeeper for failing to warn him of the risk that Roundup might cause cancer.

Read more …

Sep 032018
 
 September 3, 2018  Posted by at 8:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  12 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Courtyard of the hospital in Arles 1889

 

China’s ‘Silk Road’ Project Runs Into Debt Jam (AFP)
Should Africa Be Wary Of Chinese Debt? (BBC)
China’s Xi Says No Strings Attached To Funds For Africa (R.)
Anatomy Of A Fusion Smear (WSJ)
No-Deal Brexit: Study Warns Of Severe Short-Term Impact On UK (G.)
Boris Johnson Launches Fresh Attack On May’s Brexit Plans (G.)
Half The Staff Leaves UK’s Brexit Department (Ind.)
Britain Loses Medicines Contracts As EU Body Anticipates Brexit (G.)
Emerging Markets Haunt Spanish Banks (DQ)
Capitalism Is Beyond Saving, and America Is Living Proof (TD)

 

 

I’ve been saying for a long time that the BRI (Belt and Road) is China’s attempt at exporting its overcapacity. They make poor countries borrow billions, which these can’t pay back. And then… Only now do other parties wake up to that. And Xi is trying to do some damage control.

China’s ‘Silk Road’ Project Runs Into Debt Jam (AFP)

China’s massive and expanding “Belt and Road” trade infrastructure project is running into speed bumps as some countries begin to grumble about being buried under Chinese debt. First announced in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, the initiative also known as the “new Silk Road” envisions the construction of railways, roads and ports across the globe, with Beijing providing billions of dollars in loans to many countries. Five years on, Xi has found himself defending his treasured idea as concerns grow that China is setting up debt traps in countries which may lack the means to pay back the Asian giant. “It is not a China club,” Xi said in a speech on Monday to mark the project’s anniversary, describing Belt and Road as an “open and inclusive” project.

Xi said China’s trade with Belt and Road countries had exceeded $5 trillion, with outward direct investment surpassing $60 billion. But some are starting to wonder if it is worth the cost. During a visit to Beijing in August, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said his country would shelve three China-backed projects, including a $20 billion railway. The party of Pakistan’s new prime minister, Imran Khan, has vowed more transparency amid fears about the country’s ability to repay Chinese loans related to the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Meanwhile the exiled leader of the opposition in the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has said China’s actions in the Indian Ocean archipelago amounted to a “land grab” and “colonialism”, with 80 percent of its debt held by Beijing.

Sri Lanka has already paid a heavy price for being highly indebted to China. Last year, the island nation had to grant a 99-year lease on a strategic port to Beijing over its inability to repay loans for the $1.4-billion project.

Read more …

“This debt acquired from China comes with huge business for Chinese companies, particularly construction companies that have turned the whole of Africa into a construction site..”

Should Africa Be Wary Of Chinese Debt? (BBC)

African countries have shown a healthy appetite for Chinese loans but some experts now worry that the continent is gorging on debt, and could soon choke. The Entebbe-Kampala Expressway is still something of a tourist attraction for Ugandans, nearly three months after it opened. The 51km (31 mile), four-lane highway that connects the country’s capital to the Entebbe International Airport was built by a Chinese company using a $476m (£366m) loan from the China Exim Bank. It has cut what was a torturous two-hour journey through some of Africa’s worst traffic into a scenic 45-minute drive into the East Africa nation’s capital. Uganda has taken $3bn of Chinese loans as part of a wider trend that Kampala-based economist Ramathan Ggoobi calls its “unrivalled willingness to avail unconditional capital to Africa”.

“This debt acquired from China comes with huge business for Chinese companies, particularly construction companies that have turned the whole of Africa into a construction site for rails, roads, electricity dams, stadia, commercial buildings and so on,” the Makerere University Business School lecturer told the BBC. The Chinese loans come as many African countries are once again in danger of defaulting on their debts more than a decade after many had their outstanding borrowing written off. At least 40% of low-income countries in the region are either in debt distress or at high risk, the International Monetary Fund warned in April.

Chad, Eritrea, Mozambique, Congo Republic, South Sudan and Zimbabwe were considered to be in debt distress at the end of 2017 while Zambia and Ethiopia were downgraded to “high risk of debt distress”. “In 2017 alone, the newly signed value of Chinese contracted projects in Africa registered $76.5bn,” Standard Bank’s China Economist Jeremy Stevens wrote in a note. “However, despite a sizeable remaining infrastructure deficit on the continent, there is a concern that African countries’ debt-service ability will soon dissolve,” he says.

Read more …

Until you can’t pay up. China knows many countries won’t be.

China’s Xi Says No Strings Attached To Funds For Africa (R.)

Xi said at a business forum before the start of a triennial China Africa summit their friendship was time-honoured and that China’s investment in Africa came with no political strings attached. “China does not interfere in Africa’s internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa. What we value is the sharing of development experience and the support we can offer to Africa’s national rejuvenation and prosperity,” Xi said. “China’s cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development. Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most,” he said.

China has denied engaging in “debt trap” diplomacy but Xi is likely to use the gathering of African leaders to offer a new round of financing, following a pledge of $60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago. Chinese officials have vowed to be more cautious to ensure projects are sustainable. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development. Beijing has also fended off criticism it is only interested in resource extraction to feed its own booming economy, that the projects it funds have poor environmental safeguards, and that too many of the workers for them are flown in from China rather than using African labour.

Read more …

The Wall Street Journal is the only remaining paper of record. This is an editorial.

Anatomy Of A Fusion Smear (WSJ)

A partner at Foley & Lardner, Ms. Mitchell was astonished to find herself dragged into the Russia investigation on March 13 when Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee issued an interim report. They wrote that they still wanted to interview “key witnesses,” including Ms. Mitchell, who they claimed was “involved in or may have knowledge of third-party political outreach from the Kremlin to the Trump campaign, including persons linked to the National Rifle Association (NRA).” Two days later the McClatchy news service published a story with the headline “NRA lawyer expressed concerns about group’s Russia ties, investigators told.” The story cited two anonymous sources claiming Congress was investigating Ms. Mitchell’s worries that the NRA had been “channeling Russia funds into the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump.”

Ms. Mitchell says none of this is true. She hadn’t done legal work for the NRA in at least a decade, had zero contact with it in 2016, and had spoken to no one about its actions. She says she told this to McClatchy, which published the story anyway. Now we’re learning how this misinformation got around, and the evidence points to Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the outfit that financed the infamous Steele dossier. New documents provided to Congress show that Mr. Simpson, a Fusion co-founder, was feeding information to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. In an interview with House investigators this week, Mr. Ohr confirmed he had known Mr. Simpson for some time, and passed at least some of his information along to the FBI.

In handwritten notes dated Dec. 10, 2016 that the Department of Justice provided to Congress and were transcribed for us by a source, Mr. Ohr discusses allegations that Mr. Simpson made to him in a conversation. The notes read: “A Russian senator (& mobster) . . . [our ellipsis] may have been involved in funneling Russian money to the NRA to use in the campaign. An NRA lawyer named Cleta Mitchell found out about the money pipeline and was very upset, but the election was over.”

Read more …

But they still claim damage won’t be long-lasting..

No-Deal Brexit: Study Warns Of Severe Short-Term Impact On UK (G.)

The short-term impact of a no-deal Brexit on Britain’s economy would be “chaotic and severe”, jeopardising jobs and disrupting trade links, warn experts from the thinktank UK in a Changing Europe. The Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, has said he believes 80% of the work on completing an exit deal with the EU27 is already done, as negotiations enter their final phase. But his cabinet colleague Liam Fox recently suggested a no-deal scenario – which would occur if negotiations broke down, or both sides agreed to disagree – was the most likely outcome. In a 30-page updated assessment of the impact of no deal, the thinktank said on Monday it would mean “the disappearance without replacement of many of the rules underpinning the UK’s economic and regulatory structure”.

Its analysis claimed that in the short term: • Food supplies could be temporarily disrupted – the beef trade could collapse, for example, as Britain is heavily reliant on EU imports, and would be forced to apply tariffs, in accordance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. • European health insurance cards, which allow British tourists free healthcare in the EU, would be invalid from Brexit day. • There would almost certainly have to be a “hardening of the border” between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, including some “physical manifestation”. • The status of legal contracts and commercial arrangements with EU companies would be unclear, as the UK would become a “third country” overnight. • Increased and uncertain processing times for goods at the border would be “nearly certain”, risking queues at Dover and forcing firms to rethink their supply chains.

In the longer term, UK in a Changing Europe’s experts say, the UK would have time to normalise its trading status, and agreements could be struck with the EU27 to tackle many other practical challenges. “It should not be assumed that the damage, while real, will necessarily be long-lasting,” the report says.

Read more …

6 months to go. It’ll be a spectacle.

Boris Johnson Launches Fresh Attack On May’s Brexit Plans (G.)

Boris Johnson has used his first newspaper column of the new parliamentary term to attack Theresa May’s Chequers plan, saying it means the UK enters Brexit negotiations with a “white flag fluttering”. The declaration amounts to a significant escalation the former foreign secretary’s guerrilla campaign against the prime minister and her Chequers plan a day before the Commons returns and at a time when party disquiet over the direction of the divorce talks is mounting. Johnson wrote that “the reality is that in this negotiation the EU has so far taken every important trick. The UK has agreed to hand over £40 billion of taxpayers’ money for two thirds of diddly squat”.

Johnson added that by adopting the Chequers plan, which will see the UK adopt a common rule book for food and goods, “we have gone into battle with the white flag fluttering over our leading tank”. It will be “impossible for the UK to be more competitive, to innovate, to deviate, to initiate, and we are ruling out major free trade deals,” he added. The intervention comes after a summer in which the former minister, who resigned over the Chequers deal, had avoided touching on Brexit in his Daily Telegraph column – although he did unleash a storm of complaint by describing fully veiled Muslim women as looking like letter boxes and bank robbers. It will be seen as preparing the ground for a leadership challenge to May just as the Brexit negotiations reach their critical phase in the autumn, which is to culminate in any final deal agreed by the UK government being put to parliament for a vote.

Read more …

“..the average age of workers left in the department is 32..”

Half The Staff Leaves UK’s Brexit Department (Ind.)

The number of officials who have left the Whitehall department trying to deliver Brexit is equivalent to more than half of its total staff, shock new figures reveal. Data seen by The Independent shows hundreds of civil servants went elsewhere as the department tried to get on its feet and cobble together a negotiating stance for the UK over the last two years. The exodus means the average age of workers left in the department is 32, though they are tasked with winning a complex deal that could change Britain for a generation.

The information obtained by the Liberal Democrats appears to corroborate previous reports about an extraordinarily high turnover at the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu), with critics now claiming it points to “deep instability” at the heart of the government’s Brexit operation. According to the turnover data obtained under freedom of information, a staggering 357 staff have left the Dexeu in just two years. Yet the total number of those employed at the Whitehall department amounts to only 665, indicating a turnover rate of more than 50 per cent in that period.

Read more …

Expect many more similar examples.

Britain Loses Medicines Contracts As EU Body Anticipates Brexit (G.)

Britain’s leading role in evaluating new medicines for sale to patients across the EU has collapsed with no more work coming from Europe because of Brexit, it has emerged. The decision by the European Medicines Agency to cut Britain out of its contracts seven months ahead of Brexit is a devastating blow to British pharmaceutical companies already reeling from the loss of the EMA’s HQ in London and with it 900 jobs. All drugs sold in Europe have to go through a lengthy EMA authorisation process before use by health services, and the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in Britain has built up a leading role in this work, with 20-30% of all assessments in the EU.

The MHRA won just two contracts this year and the EMA said that that work was now off limits. “We couldn’t even allocate the work now for new drugs because the expert has to be available throughout the evaluation period and sometimes that can take a year,” said a spokeswoman. In a devastating second blow, existing contracts with the MHRA are also being reallocated to bloc members. Martin McKee, the professor of European health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has given evidence to select committees about Brexit, said it was a disaster for the MHRA, which had about £14m a year from the EMA. The head of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry said it was akin to watching a “British success story” being broken up.

Read more …

Draghi!!

Emerging Markets Haunt Spanish Banks (DQ)

Almost exactly six years ago, the Spanish government requested a €100 billion bailout from the Troika (ECB, European Commission and IMF) to rescue its bankrupt savings banks, which were then merged with much larger commercial banks. Over €40 billion of the credit line was used; much of it is still unpaid. Yet Spain’s banking system could soon face a brand new crisis, this time not involving small or mid-sized savings banks but instead its alpha lenders, which are heavily exposed to emerging economies, from Argentina to Turkey and beyond. In the case of Turkey’s financial system, Spanish banks had total exposure of $82.3 billion in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

That’s more than the combined exposure of lenders from the next three most exposed economies, France, the USA, and the UK, which reached $75 billion in the same period. According to BIS statistics, Spanish banks’ exposure to Turkey’s economy almost quadrupled between 2015 and 2018, largely on the back of Spain’s second largest bank BBVA’s madcap purchase of roughly half of Turkey’s third largest lender, Turkiye Garanti Bankasi. Since buying its first chunk of the bank from the Turkish group Dogus and General Electric in 2010, BBVA has lost over 75% of its investment under the combined influence of Garanti’s plummeting shares and Turkey’s plunging currency.

But the biggest fear, as expressed by the ECB on August 10, is that Turkish borrowers might not be hedged against the lira’s weakness and begin to default en masse on foreign currency loans, which account for a staggering 40% of the Turkish banking sector’s assets. If that happens, the banks most exposed to Turkish debt will be hit pretty hard. And no bank is as exposed as BBVA, though the lender insists its investments are well-hedged and its Turkish business is siloed from the rest of the company. In Argentina, whose currency continues to collapse and whose economy is now spiraling down despite an IMF bailout, Spanish banks’ total combined investments amounted to $28 billion in the first quarter of 2018. That represented almost exactly half of the $58.9 billion that foreign banks are on the hook for in the country. The next most at-risk banking sector, the US, has some $10 billion invested.

Read more …

Maybe you should define capitalism first.

Capitalism Is Beyond Saving, and America Is Living Proof (TD)

Real wage growth has been nonexistent in the United States for more than 30 years. But as America enters the 10th year of the recovery—and the longest bull market in modern history—there are nervous murmurs, even among capitalism’s most reliable defenders, that some of its most basic mechanisms might be broken. The gains of the recovery have accrued absurdly, extravagantly to a tiny sliver of the world’s superrich. A small portion of that has trickled down to the professional classes—the lawyers and money managers, art buyers and decorators, consultants and “starchitects”—who work for them. For the declining middle and the growing bottom: nothing.

This is not how the economists told us it was supposed to work. Productivity is at record highs; profits are good; the unemployment rate is nearing a meager 4 percent. There are widely reported labor shortages in key industries. Recent tax cuts infused even more cash into corporate coffers. Individually and collectively, these factors are supposed to exert upward pressure on wages. It should be a workers’ market. But wages remain flat, and companies have used their latest bounty for stock buybacks, a transparent form of market manipulation that was illegal until the Reagan-era SEC began to chip away at the edifice of New Deal market reforms.

The power of labor continues to wane; the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision, while ostensibly limited to public sector unions, signaled in certain terms the willingness of the court’s conservative majority—five guys who have never held a real job—to effectively overturn the entire National Labor Relations Act if given the opportunity. The justices, who imagine working at Wendy’s is like getting hired as an associate at Hogan & Hartson after a couple of federal clerkships, reason that every employee can simply negotiate for the best possible deal with every employer.

Read more …

Jul 092017
 
 July 9, 2017  Posted by at 8:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  Comments Off on Debt Rattle July 9 2017


Hieronymus Bosch St. John on Patmos 1489

 

The Trump Effect Turns Every Paper Into A Tabloid (G.)
G20 Launches Plan To Fight Poverty In Africa (AFP)
The Russian Economy If You Aren’t Wearing NATO Night-Fighting Goggles (Helmer)
Britain Isn’t Greece, Prime Minister (BBG Ed.)
Baby Boomers Not Financially Prepared For Retirement (MW)
UK Homebuyers Desperate To Know Who Really Owns Their Freehold (G.)
Wall Street Cash Pumps Up Shale Oil Production Even as Prices Sag (WSJ)
Polluted Indian River Reported Dead Despite ‘Living Entity’ Status (G.)

 

 

An inevitable story. And a too-easy trap: the Guardian presumes that it itself escapes this. It doesn’t. Blaming Trump for that is false: he doesn’t write the stories. Every news outlet is responsible for its own journalistic standards. “Trump made me do it” lacks all credibility. And besides, the Guardian, like so many US media, has been trying to put Trump down for a long time. Just like it hammered Jeremy Corbyn as ‘unfit’ and much worse until it did an embarrassing 180. Is Trump right in reacting as agressively as he has and does? Perhaps not, probably not. But is he justified? Perhaps he is. In the end for the media this is about the beam in thine own eye.

The Trump Effect Turns Every Paper Into A Tabloid (G.)

You can find exactly the same fractured dialogue in Britain, too. What did the surprise of the Brexit vote show? Here’s another tidal wave of articles talking about the non-metropolitan forgotten masses. That, briefly, seemed a national call for understanding and change, one inchoately confirmed in the June election. But see how deafness and disdain soon set in. Let’s blame something – Boris, Rupert Murdoch, Paul Dacre, the BBC – for Brexit. Let’s contemplate the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and press a panic button. The Mail talks about “fake news, the fascist left and the REAL purveyors of hate”. Guardian columnists denounce the “open sewer” of Dacre coverage. Terms like “Tory scum” float from protesters’ posters into the new mass media. Jon Snow, amongst others, gets pasted for his supposed views about modern Conservatism. Irate Leave MPs stomp on the BBC welcome mat.

And every new day seems to bring fresh ingredients. Kensington council seeks to shut journalists out of its crucial meeting. Andrea Leadsom extols a “patriotic” press. There’s a raw edge to the debate now, sharpened after Grenfell Tower by outbreaks of pure and, sometimes, simulated rage. But: “Sit up, though, and look around. You may notice that, amid almost no public outrage whatsoever, we are quite a lot closer than once we were” to losing press freedom, says Hugo Rifkind in the Times. This is politics, and journalism, from the trenches as trust in the media plummets both here and in the US: American trust in the media down to just 38% in the latest Reuters Institute findings, the UK seven points down to 43%. Blame “deep-rooted political polarisation and perceived mainstream media bias”, says Reuters. In short, blame the frenzied state we’re in.

[..] observe how the new nihilism of scum and sewers brings its own narrow benefits. Richard Cohen in the Washington Post arrives clear-eyed. “Circulation is up. Eyeballs are popping. Trump is political pornography – gripping, exciting, lewd, fascinating. He devours adjectives so that, soon, we run out of them. The bizarre becomes ordinary. But he has done his damage. He has normalised contempt for the news media, framing it as a daily tussle between him, the tribune of the people, and us, vile overeducated snobs.”

And Jeet Heer of the New Republic pushes the argument on a notch as he charts the advantage of Trump’s alignment with the likes of the National Enquirer: “The tabloids offer a sordid vision of society, where the mainstream image of celebrities elides their secretly miserable lives (whether because of addiction, ageing, infidelity, or bankruptcy). In this nihilistic world, everyone is corrupt and every public statement is a lie. And if everyone is equally bad and untrustworthy, there’s no reason to hold Trump to any higher standard. This, ultimately, is why Trump and the tabloids were made for each other: They’re both committed to defining deviancy down.”

Read more …

And while we’re at it, Guardian, let’s denounce this kind of thing for what it is. The G20 countries are responsible for poverty in Africa, and they’re not now going to solve it too. Just like the Paris agreement is complete nonsense: schemes to get rich.

G20 Launches Plan To Fight Poverty In Africa (AFP)

G20 nations launched an unprecedented initiative Saturday at the group’s summit in Germany to fight poverty in Africa, but critics called the plan half-hearted. Under German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Investment Compacts”, an initial seven African countries would pledge reforms and receive technical support in order to attract new private investment. More than half of Africans are under 25 years old and the population is set to double by mid-century, making economic growth and jobs essential for the young to stop them from leaving, Merkel has said. Germany’s partner nations are Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia, while Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda and Senegal are also taking part. Far poorer nations such as Niger or Somalia are so far not on the list.

“We are ready to help interested African countries and call on other partners to join the initiative,” said the G20 in their final communique. The plan, as well as multinational initiatives on helping girls, rural youths and promoting renewable energy, would help “to address poverty and inequality as root causes of migration”. Some 100,000 people, most of them sub-Saharan Africans, have made the dangerous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean in rickety boats this year as the migration crisis shows no sign of abating. Anti-poverty group ONE said that the investment compacts “promised much, but too many G20 partners missed the memo and failed to contribute. “The flimsy foundations must now be firmed up, follow through and improved, especially for Africa’s more fragile states.”

Read more …

“..it is the most self-sufficient and diversified economy in the world.” Which is funny when you hear Putin argue against protectionism.

The Russian Economy If You Aren’t Wearing NATO Night-Fighting Goggles (Helmer)

If your enemy is waging economic war on you, it’s prudent to camouflage how well your farms and factories are doing. Better the attacker thinks you’re on your last legs, and are too exhausted to fight back. A new report on the Russian economy, published by Jon Hellevig, reveals the folly in the enemy’s calculation. Who is the audience for this message? US and NATO warfighters against Russia can summon up more will if they think Russia is in retreat than if they must calculate the cost in their own blood and treasure if the Russians strike back. That’s Russian policy on the Syrian front, where professional soldiers are in charge. On the home front, where the civilians call the shots, Hellevig’s message looks like an encouragement for fight-back – the economic policymaker’s equivalent of a no-fly zone for the US and European Union. It’s also a challenge to the Kremlin policy of appeasement.

Hellevig, a Finnish lawyer and investment analyst, has been directing businesses in Russia since 1992. His Moscow-based consultancy Awara has published its assessment of Russian economic performance since 2014 with the title, “What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger.” The maxim was first coined by the `19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He said it in a pep talk for himself. Subsequent readers think of the maxim as an irony. Knowing now what Nietzsche knew about his own prognosis but kept secret at the time, he did too. The headline findings aren’t news to the Kremlin. It has been regularly making the claims at President Vladimir Putin’s semi-annual national talk shows; at businessmen’s conventions like the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF); and in Kremlin-funded propaganda – lowbrow outlets like Russia Today and Sputnik News, and the highbrow Valdai Club.

A charter for a brand-new outlet for the claims, the Russian National Convention Bureau, was agreed at the St. Petersburg forum last month. Government promotion of reciprocal trade and inward investment isn’t exceptional for Russia; it is normal practice throughout the world. The argument of the Hellevig report is that the US and NATO campaign against Russia has failed to do the damage it was aimed to do, and that their propaganda outlets, media and think-tanks are lying to conceal the failure. Small percentage numbers for the decline in Russian GDP and related measures are summed up by Hellevig as “belt-tightening, not much more”. Logically and arithmetically, similarly small numbers in the measurement of the Russian recovery this year ought to mean “belt expanding, not much more.” But like Nietzsche, Hellevig is more optimistic.

Here’s what he concludes:
• “Industrial Production was down merely 0.6%. A handsome recovery is already on its way with an expected growth of 3 to 4% in 2017. In May the industrial production already soared by a promising 5.3%.”
• “Unemployment remained stable all through 2014 – 2016, the hoped-for effect of sanctions causing mass unemployment and social chaos failed to materialize.”
• “GDP was down 2.3% in 2014-2016, expected to more than make up for that in 2017 with 2-3% predicted growth.”
• “The really devastating news for ‘our Western partners’ (as Putin likes to refer to them) must be – which we are the first to report – the extraordinary decrease in the share of oil & gas revenue in Russia’s GDP.”
• “In the years of sanctions, Russia has grown to become an agricultural superpower with the world’s largest wheat exports. Already in the time of the Czars Russia was a big grain exporter, but that was often accompanied with domestic famine. Stalin financed Russia’s industrialization to a large extent by grain exports, but hereby also creating domestic shortages and famine. It is then the first time in Russia’s history when it is under Putin a major grain exporter while ensuring domestic abundance. Russia has made an overall remarkable turnaround in food production and is now virtually self-sufficient.”
• “Russia has the lowest level of imports (as a share of the GDP) of all major countries… Russia’s very low levels of imports in the global comparison obviously signifies that Russia produces domestically a much higher share of all that it consumes (and invests), this in turn means that the economy is superbly diversified contrary to the claims of the failed experts and policymakers. In fact, it is the most self-sufficient and diversified economy in the world.

Read more …

Bloomberg argues that austerity is bad for Britain but good for Greece. Blind bats.

Britain Isn’t Greece, Prime Minister (BBG Ed.)

Britain’s government isn’t due to announce a new budget until the autumn, but debate is already raging over public-sector pay. With Brexit bearing down, the embattled prime minister, Theresa May, will have to choose between making another embarrassing U-turn and defending a policy that is both unpopular and unnecessary. Sadly for May, the U-turn makes better sense. For years it was an article of faith among Britain’s Conservatives that the budget deficit had to be eliminated — by 2020, if not yesterday. Some Tories are now ready to abandon that line of thinking; others still hold the principle, if not the timetable, sacrosanct. Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, May came down firmly on the side of austerity: Greece shows you where fiscal indiscipline leads, she argued.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was unmoved. He decried the “low-wage epidemic” and argued that the 1 percent cap on increases in public-sector wages should be removed. Corbyn has a point. Britain’s workers are getting squeezed, especially in the public sector, thanks to rising inflation caused in part by the Brexit-induced fall in sterling. But he’s wrong to look at wages in isolation. Public-sector pay is only one of many claims on the government’s budget. The National Health Service, for instance, is in a state of permanent crisis; spending on care for the elderly and other needs is woefully inadequate. The list of other worthy expenditures is endless. Trying to meet all such claims would indeed be a formula for fiscal collapse. The government has to prioritize.

Where higher wages are needed to recruit and retain workers for essential services, raise them. Where additional public spending is needed to provide vital infrastructure, spur productivity, and support growth, make the investment. In such cases, higher taxes and/or higher public borrowing can be justified. If caps and ceilings are used in a way that makes this necessary flexibility impossible – not as emergency measures, moreover, but as a system of long-term control – they’ll do more harm than good. May’s embrace of blanket austerity, by the way, is bad politics as well as bad economics. Most British voters have forgotten, or never experienced, the ruinous consequences of profligate public spending.

That’s why Corbyn’s expansive promises are more popular than you might expect – and why there’ll be greater support for fiscal control if it’s seen to be smart and discriminating, rather than an act of blind ideological faith. To be sure, the timing for a change of fiscal strategy is hardly propitious. Brexit has alarmed investors, giving the government less room for maneuver. Even so, the government shouldn’t be paralyzed – and shouldn’t argue that cautious flexibility would make the country another Greece. That line won’t fly. Targeted spending to improve vital services and drive future growth is good policy, and Britain’s best buffer against the perils ahead.

Read more …

What a surprise. Maybe it’s time to inject some reality.

Baby Boomers Not Financially Prepared For Retirement (MW)

Retirement is right around the corner for baby boomers – if they haven’t already entered it – yet so many are financially unprepared. Baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, expect they’ll need $658,000 in their defined contribution plans by the time they retire, but the average in those employer-sponsored plans is $263,000, according to a survey of 900 investors by financial services firm Legg Mason. Older boomers, who are 65 to 74, have an average of $300,000. Their asset allocation for all of their investments are also conservative, according to QS Investors, an investment management firm Legg Mason acquired in 2014, with 30% in cash, 24% in equities, 22% in fixed income, 4% in non-traditional assets, 8% in investment real estate, 2% in gold and other precious metals and 8% in other investments.

“They have less than half the assets they hope to have in retirement,” said James Norman, president of QS Investors. “That’s a pretty big miss.” Americans across the country, and all age groups, are drastically under-saved for retirement. Only a third of Americans who have access to a 401(k) plan contribute to it, and previous research suggests the typical middle-aged American couple only has $5,000 saved for the future. Meanwhile, millennials may not be able to picture themselves in retirement at all, though are urged by financial professionals to make a habit of saving, if even only as little as $5. There are a multitude of reasons people may not have enough for retirement, such as having to leave the workforce in between their prime years to care for loved ones, not working long enough to qualify for certain government benefits. or choosing to pay for their childrens’ college tuition instead of saving for their own retirement.

Still, not saving enough was the biggest regret among older Americans, according to a survey of 1,000 participants by personal finance site Bankrate.com. Generation X, or those born between 1965 and 1981, aren’t doing all that much better, though they have the benefit of more time to reach their financial goals. More of them have a defined contribution plan, according to the Legg Mason survey, with an average of $199,000 stashed away for a goal of $541,000 by retirement. They are also investing conservatively, with 25% in cash, 21% in equities, 17% in fixed income, 11% in non-traditional assets, 16% in investment real estate, 7% in gold and other precious metals and 4% in other investments. Conversely, QS Investors suggest their Gen-X aged clients have 80% in equities, which faces more risks from the stock market but could also realize higher returns.

Retirement isn’t the picture-perfect image of lounging on a beach with the idea of a 9-to-5 job long gone. Benefits aren’t the same, either – for example, in 1985, retirees could expect Social Security to cover most of their income and employers typically covered most health-care costs. Retirees 30 years ago also probably didn’t expect to live for decades after resigning at 65, whereas now people are being told to plan to live well into their 80s.

Read more …

A medieval society.

UK Homebuyers Desperate To Know Who Really Owns Their Freehold (G.)

Buyers who purchased new properties direct from some of the UK’s biggest builders have been left in the dark as investment companies play pass-the-parcel with the land their homes stand on. Take Joanne Darbyshire, 46, and her husband Mark, 47. They bought a five-bedroom house in Bolton from Taylor Wimpey in 2010, and are among thousands of unfortunate leaseholders put on “doubling” ground rent contracts that in extreme cases have left their properties almost worthless, with mortgage lenders refusing loans to future buyers. The only way to escape the escalating payments is to buy the freehold. But in Darbyshire’s case, Taylor Wimpey sold it to Adriatic Land 2 (GR2) in 2012. In January 2017 that company transferred it to Adriatic Land 1 (GR3), while some of Darbyshire’s neighbours have seen their freeholds transferred from Adriatic Land 2 (GR2) to Abacus Land Ltd.

“You have no idea who owns the land under your feet,” says Darbyshire. “Your dream house is traded from one offshore company to another for tax reasons, or who knows what else?” Paul Griffin (not his real name) bought a property from Morris Homes in Winsford, Cheshire, in November 2014. By last year, when he decided to add a conservatory, his freehold was in the hands of Adriatic Land 3 and managed by its fee-collecting agents HomeGround. Young was horrified to discover he had to pay £108 just to look at his file. Although the conservatory didn’t need local authority planning permission and was not subject to building regulations, HomeGround then demanded £1,200 for a “licence” for the work to go ahead. This was broken down into solicitors fees (£480), surveyors (£360), and its own fee of £360.

On top of this it demanded numerous official documents at Young’s expense totalling about £400. Helen Burke (not her real name) in Ellesmere Port, meanwhile, was shocked to discover that after Bellway sold her freehold to Adriatic, the cost of seeking consent for a small single-storey extension rocketed. Initially, she had applied to Bellway – the freeholder at the time – and it wanted £300. But after putting off the work for a few months she discovered that Bellway had sold the freehold to Adriatic Land 4 (GR1) Ltd. HomeGround then demanded £2,440 for consent. That is not planning permission, which householders must obtain separately from the local authority. It is simply a fee charged without any material services provided.

“It’s daylight robbery,” says Burke. “The most disgusting thing is the developers like Bellway think they are doing nothing wrong selling the freeholds on and state that our T&Cs don’t change. Yes, the lease terms don’t change, but for a permission fee to increase from £300 to £2,440 in a matter of months is disgraceful and it should absolutely be pointed out to new homeowners, up front, that this might happen if they don’t buy the freeholds.” Burke said she was quoted £3,750 to buy the freehold off Bellway, but once it was sold to Adriatic the price quadrupled to £13,000. After a long legal battle she has acquired it for £7,680.

Read more …

“..$57 billion Wall Street has injected into the sector over the last 18 months.”

Wall Street Cash Pumps Up Shale Oil Production Even as Prices Sag (WSJ)

Easy Wall Street cash is leading U.S. shale companies to expand drilling, even as most lose money on every barrel of oil they bring to the surface. Despite a 17% plunge in prices since April, drillers are on pace to break the all-time U.S. oil production record, topping 10 million barrels a day by early next year if not sooner, according to government officials and analysts. U.S. crude fell again on Friday, dropping 2.8% to $44.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yet the U.S. oil rig count rose Friday to the highest level in more than two years. Operators have now put more than 100 rigs back to work from Oklahoma to North Dakota in the past three months. Companies have more capital to keep drilling thanks to $57 billion Wall Street has injected into the sector over the last 18 months.

Money has come from investors in new stock sales and high-yield debt, as well as from private equity funds, which have helped provide lifelines to stronger operators. Flush with cash, virtually all of them launched campaigns to boost drilling at the start of 2017 in the hope that oil prices would rebound. The new wave of crude has again glutted the market. The shale companies are edged even further from profitability, and a few voices have begun to question the wisdom of Wall Street financing the industry’s addiction to growth. “The biggest problem our industry faces today is you guys,” Al Walker, chief executive of Anadarko, told investors at a conference last month.

Wall Street has become an enabler that pushes companies to grow production at any cost, while punishing those that try to live within their means, Mr. Walker said, adding: “It’s kind of like going to AA. You know, we need a partner. We really need the investment community to show discipline.” Even if companies cut back on drilling now, it wouldn’t be enough to stop a new wave of oil from hitting the market in the second half of the year: U.S. shale output typically lags behind new drilling by four to six months, analysts say. “There’s been insufficient discrimination on the part of sources of capital,” said Bill Herbert, an energy analyst with Piper Jaffray’s Simmons. Big shale companies “are able to get what they want and invest what they want.”

Read more …

Well, that status was declared dead too. So there. People are next.

Polluted Indian River Reported Dead Despite ‘Living Entity’ Status (G.)

One morning in late March, Brij Khandelwal called the Agra police to report an attempted murder. Days before, the high court in India’s Uttarakhand state had issued a landmark judgment declaring the Yamuna river – and another of India’s holiest waterways, the Ganges – “living entities”. Khandelwal, an activist, followed the logic. “Scientifically speaking, the Yamuna is ecologically dead,” he says. His police report named a series of government officials he wanted charged with attempted poisoning. “If the river is dead, someone has to be responsible for killing it.” In the 16th century, Babur, the first Mughal emperor, described the waters of the Yamuna as “better than nectar”. One of his successors built India’s most famous monument, the Taj Mahal, on its banks.

For the first 250 miles (400km) of its life, starting in the lower Himalayas, the river glistens blue and teems with life. And then it reaches Delhi. In India’s crowded capital, the entire Yamuna is siphoned off for human and industrial use, and replenished with toxic chemicals and sewage from more than 20 drains. Those who enter the water emerge caked in dark, glutinous sludge. For vast stretches only the most resilient bacteria survive. The waterway that has sustained civilisation in Delhi for at least 3,000 years – and the sole source of water for more than 60 million Indians today – has in the past decades become one of the dirtiest rivers on the planet.

“We have water records which show that, until the 1960s, the river was much better quality,” says Himanshu Thakkar, an engineer who coordinates the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, a network of rights groups. “There was much greater biodiversity. Fish were still being caught.” What happened next mirrors a larger Indian story, particularly since the country’s markets were unshackled in the early 1990s: one of runaway economic growth fuelled by vast, unchecked migration into cities; and the metastasising of polluting industries that have soiled many of India’s waterways and made its air the most toxic in the world.

Read more …