May 202021
 
 May 20, 2021  Posted by at 8:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Amedeo Modigliani Nu allongé 1917

 

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)
Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)
Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)
Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)
Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)
Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)
Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)
Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)
Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)
Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)
European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

 

 

 

 

Plasma: vaccines wipe out antibodies

 

 

Shocking claims from French Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier…

 

 

“Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now.”

Government Scrubs Stats on Vaccine-Related Deaths (Mercola)

According to Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and known for being one of the top five most-published medical researchers in the United States, COVID-19 vaccines are killing “huge numbers” of people and the government is simply ignoring it. In a video interview with investigative journalist and founder of Liberty Sentinel, Alex Newman, McCullough says the U.S. government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and health agencies around the world have all committed to vaccinating the global population while sitting on data showing the COVID-19 “vaccines” are turning out to be the most lethal vaccines ever created. [..] During a recent Texas state Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, McCullough noted that, according to available data, early treatment could have prevented up to 85% of COVID-19 deaths. Early at-home treatment also minimizes the spread, as the amount of time you’re infectious can be reduced from two weeks to about four days.

Yet, despite being inexpensive and readily available, early treatments have all been censored and suppressed, apparently in order to secure this global mass vaccination campaign. In fact, as McCullough notes, there’s been no clarified guidance on COVID treatment at all, not even hospital protocols. The entire focus of our health agencies has been on masking, lockdowns and waiting for a gene therapy “vaccine.” The results have been devastating. Five months into the mass vaccination campaign, more than 10,000 in the U.S. and European Union have already died after getting the shots. Any other vaccine would have been pulled from the market by now. For example, in 1976, the U.S. government vaccinated 45 million people against pandemic swine flu. The entire program was canceled after reports of just 53 deaths, according to Fox News. Note: The number of deaths reported after the 1976 inoculation program varies from three to 53, depending on the source.

Now, health authorities are shrugging off more than 3,800 deaths after COVID-19 vaccination as either coincidental or inconsequential. Think about that. Five months into the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we’re looking at a death toll that is 7,000% greater than during the swine flu vaccination campaign, which was canceled after the vaccine was deemed too risky. The COVID-19 “vaccine” is also on a level of magnitude more dangerous than the seasonal flu vaccine. As reported by McCullough, on average, there are 20 to 30 deaths reported following the seasonal flu vaccine, which is given to about 195 million Americans each year. Compare that to these novel COVID-19 gene therapies. So far, an estimated 124 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the death count is already at 3,837, as of April 30, 2021.

Read more …

“Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir?”

Ivermectin Crushes Delhi Cases (DR)

Just three weeks after adding Ivermectin, Delhi now leads India out of the deadly second surge of the COVID pandemic. Cases that had peaked at 28,395 on April 20 plummeted nearly 80% to just 6,430 on May 15. Deaths peaked May 4, and now they are also down 25%. On May 10, the Indian State of Goa adopted an even more ambitious policy of preemptive Ivermectin for all adults in the state. The Chief Minister of Goa is Dr. Pramod Sawant, a progressive 49-year-old physician persuaded by science. In particular, he read Dr. Pierre Kory’s Dr. Tess Lawrie’s and Dr. Andrew Hill’s robust meta-analyses. As a direct result, Goa has seen a drop in cases from 3,124 the day after the announcement to 1,314 five days later.

Meanwhile, three other Indian states have followed Goa’s lead in adding Ivermectin: Uttarkhand, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. And, as expected, they have seen a drop in new daily cases as well, with Uttar Pradesh down nearly 75% from a peak of 37,944 just four days after they began following the April 20 AIIMS guidance to just 10,505 on May 16. The tragic story in all this is that the Indian state of Tamil Nadu installed a new leader on May 7, 2021. He suddenly reversed their state’s decision to adopt Ivermectin. Readers of my book all know about Peruvian President Sagasti’s fateful decision to outlaw Ivermectin. Before taking power, the COVID deaths had dropped 14 fold to almost nothing with Ivermectin use. However after Sagasti was elected, Ivermectin was stopped, and deaths roared back at 13 fold.

Peru paid the price in skyrocketing cases and 78,000 preventable deaths. Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MK Stalin, also chose to forgo Ivermectin. Instead, he ordered tens of thousands of doses of Remdesivir, a drug that sells for 3,000 dollars per dose. So now Tamil Nadu’s cases are rocketing as well. In contrast to Goa’s young physician Chief Minister who had read the latest science on Ivermectin’s dramatic effect on reducing COVID death, MK Stalin is a 68-year-old non-physician socialist and atheist who is towing the party line by forbidding Ivermectin.

Stalin now requests allocations for some 20,000 daily doses of Remdesivir for the Tamil Nadu citizens despite the science that shows no reduction in COVID death with this drug. [..] Twenty thousand doses of Remdesivir cost 60 million dollars, while 20,000 doses of Ivermectin go for a few hundred. Where is a developing country getting the 60 million dollars a day to purchase the Remdesivir? Why is their leader throwing away a cheap drug, Ivermectin, that has saved lives in other countries? ”

Read more …

Remdesivir is the worst choice.

Amid Concerns Over Effectiveness, Govt Ramping Up Remdesivir Production (BS)

The Indian government, on Wednesday, claimed it has ramped up the production of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug prescribed for treating moderate-to-critical Covid patients, by 10 times. From 1 million vials per month in April, the Centre claims it will produce 10 million vials this month, as it has increased the number of plants manufacturing Remdesivir from 20 to 60. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Remdesivir may soon be dropped from the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Covid treatment protocol, as experts have questioned its effectiveness in Covid treatment. The news comes just days after plasma therapy was dropped from ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol.

The last few weeks saw a severe shortage of Remdesivir injections across the country, along with an acute shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders, leading to a record rise in Covid fatalities. The Centre said it is monitoring the supply of drugs such as Remdesivir, Ivermectin and Favipiravir, essential for treating moderate to critical Covid patients. The Centre said it had ramped up production of these drugs and imported them in large quantities to ensure uninterrupted supply. A couple of days ago, the Indian government said it had received 530,000 Remdesivir vials as foreign aid from various countries such as the US and France, to help combat the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The availability of these drugs is being monitored by implementing a three-pronged strategy of supply chain management, demand side management and affordability,” the Centre said in a statement. The drugs whose supply is being monitored include those in ICMR’s Covid treatment protocol, such as Remdesivir, Enoxaparin, Dexamethasone and Ivermectin, and non-protocol drugs such as Favipiravir, Amphotericin and Apixaban. The Centre added that it will increase the production of Ivermectin, a Covid protocol drug, by five times, from 15 million 12 Mg tabs last month to 77 million this month.

Read more …

London, Ontario. AI scans.

Rock Music? No. Road Hockey? Yes (LFP)

There won’t be any music festivals in London this summer, but there will be road hockey. Jones Entertainment Group says it is again postponing Start.ca Rocks the Park until 2022 but will go ahead with HockeyFest — Game On, a three-on-three street hockey tournament, June 25-27. London will be the first of nine cities to play host to the tournament, which will be held across Canada and in parts of the U.S. The London tournament will be at Westmount Shopping Centre and Saunders secondary school. New technology, similar to metal detectors common at airports, will be used to scan all participants for COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone showing symptoms will be tested for the coronavirus to determine whether they can play, coach, referee or watch the games.

“It’s cutting-edge, world-class technology, one more thing to lead the charge into somewhat normal activities,” said Brad Jones, president of Jones Entertainment Group and HockeyFest. “What a better place to start than our own hometown of London? This will be a game-changer in getting back to some sort of normalcy in the sports and entertainment industry.” The new artificial intelligence (AI) technology, called Safe Entry Stations, was developed by Toronto-based Predictmedix and built by another Toronto firm, Juiceworks. It can identify symptoms of infectious diseases and can also be used to detect alcohol or marijuana use.] Predictmedix co-founder and chief operating officer Rahul Kushwah said the new technology was used successfully at this year’s Super Bowl and may become as common as metal detectors at airports, including at work places.

They can be permanently installed or a mobile unit can be leased for events such as concerts. “It’s about creating safe environments, whether it’s a concert or a workplace,” Kushwah said, noting the new technology has a 95% success rate identifying symptoms. “It’s going to help open up our cities. Walking through one of these is analogous to a triage when you walk into a hospital.” Those hockey players who test negative are given a wristband. Those who test positive for symptoms will be given a Covid-19 test and, if positive, will not be allowed to play and will be instructed to leave along with anyone who travelled with them to the tournament.

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Putin for the win.

Biden Permits Nord Stream 2 (Greenwald)

It is true that Trump, like Obama before him, spoke of the potential to partner with Russia rather than viewing it as an enemy, just as it is true that both presidents imposed sanctions on Moscow. And it is also true, and understandable, that Moscow likely favored a Trump victory rather than having supreme war hawk Hillary Clinton in the White House (the same reason Ukraine worked in 2016 to help Hillary win). But over and over, Trump undermined, not advanced, core Russian objectives. As Obama himself said in 2016, it is hard to imagine doing anything more provocative and harmful to Russian vital interests than sending lethal arms to Ukraine — exactly what Obama refused to do, despite bipartisan pressure. Yet the Trump administration quickly did exactly that: bizarre behavior for a Kremlin asset, to put that mildly.

Trump found one thing even more threatening to the Kremlin’s vital interests than arming Ukrainians: namely, doing everything possible to destroy Russia’s ability to complete construction of its new underwater natural gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2. That new pipeline is designed to double Russian sales capacity to an EU addicted to cheap Russian natural gas, producing massive revenue for the Russian economy and giving Moscow greater leverage when dealing with its European neighbors. But it provides an even more important benefit: it allows Russia to bypass Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, thus avoiding costly transit fees and the risks of political instability or anti-Russian manipulation by outside forces, including the U.S. government.

For all those reasons, few priorities were more important to Putin and the Russian economy than this new pipeline. Yet for at least the last two years of his presidency, Trump — even as he was shrilly depicted as an agent of the Kremlin — was obsessed with stopping the Russian pipeline and thus sabotaging Putin’s key geopolitical project. The Trump administration caused a halt to the project in 2019 when it imposed sanctions on companies working on it. Trump did everything he could to pressure, cajole and even threaten the Germans to pull out of the deal, warning that it would leave a winter-plagued Europe captive to Russian pressure and insisting that Berlin had the obligation to buy gas from the U.S., not Russia, given NATO expenditures to protect Germans. Trump even tried to pull close to 10,000 U.S. troops out of Germany to pressure the Merkel government, but the pro-war alliance of hawkish Democrats and Liz-Cheney-led neocon Republicans voted to defund that effort.

Any minimally rational or honest media would have taken note of these events and instantly realized that their years-long conspiracy theory about Trump being controlled by Putin was sophomoric nonsense, the opposite of the truth. That a Putin-controlled Russian asset would send lethal arms to Ukraine and do everything possible to sabotage Nord Stream 2 is so blatantly absurd that it could be ratified only by a media aggressively committed to spreading disinformation and lies. All of this became even clearer on Tuesday when President Biden reversed Trump’s blockage of the Russian natural gas pipeline. Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported that “the Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany,” which “indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline.” Swan wrote what is clearly true: “the completion of Nord Stream 2 would be a huge geopolitical win for Putin and give him substantial new leverage in Europe.”

Read more …

Bitcoin?

Colonial Pipeline Confirms It Paid $4.4m Ransom To Hackers (AP)

The operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4m to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems. Colonial Pipeline said Wednesday that after it learned of the 7 May ransomware attack, the company took its pipeline system offline and needed to do everything in its power to restart it quickly and safely, and made the decision then to pay the ransom. “This decision was not made lightly,” but it was one that had to be made, a company spokesman said. “Tens of millions of Americans rely on Colonial: hospitals, emergency medical services, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, airports, truck drivers and the traveling public.”


Joseph Blount, Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal he authorized the payment because the company didn’t know the extent of the damage and wasn’t sure how long it would take to bring the pipeline’s systems back. The FBI discourages making ransom payments to ransomware attackers, because paying encourages criminal networks around the globe who have hit thousands of businesses and health care systems in the US in the past year alone. But many victims of ransomware attacks, where hackers demand large sums of money to decrypt stolen data or to prevent it from being leaked online, opt to pay. “I know that’s a highly controversial decision,” Blount said. “I didn’t make it lightly. I will admit that I wasn’t comfortable seeing money go out the door to people like this.” “But it was the right thing to do for the country,” he said.

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Cyber-warriors.

Pentagon Reportedly Running Secret Army Of 60,000 Around The World (NYP)

The Pentagon is running a 60,000-strong secret army made up of soldiers, civilians and contractors, who travel the world under false identities embedded in consultancies and name-brand companies — without the knowledge of the American people or most of Congress — according to a report. The top-secret army was created by the Pentagon over the past 10 years as part of a program called “signature reduction,” and operates both domestically and internationally using a low-profile force of clandestine warriors who sometimes wear civilian clothes as they carry out their assignments, Newsweek reported. The force is 10 times the size of the covert elements of the CIA, comes with a cost of more than $900 million, and engages about 130 private companies in operations in locales like the Middle East and Africa, the report said.


Despite the undercover army’s size and budget, Congress has never held a hearing on it. About half of the “signature reduction” force is made up of special forces, the highly trained commandos who pursue terrorists around the world, including in Iran and North Korea. Military intelligence specialists comprise the second-largest element inside the force. But the newest and fastest-growing group in the unit is made up of cyber-warriors who use false personas and “nonattribution” or “misattribution” techniques online to disguise themselves so they can track high-value targets, collect “publicly accessible information” and engage in influence campaigns to manipulate social media.

Read more …

So much for Russiagate.

Accused Russiagate ‘Spy’ Kilimnik Speaks (Maté)

The man cast as a linchpin of debunked Trump-Russia collusion theories is breaking his silence to vigorously dispute the U.S. government’s effort to brand him a Russian spy and put him behind bars. In an exclusive interview with RealClearInvestigations, Konstantin Kilimnik stated, “I have no relationship whatsoever to any intelligence services, be they Russian or Ukrainian or American, or anyone else.” Kilimnik, a longtime employee of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, spoke out in response to an explosive Treasury Department statement declaring that he had “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy” during the 2016 election. That press release, which announced an array of sanctions on Russian nationals last month, also alleged that Kilimnik is a “known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf.”

Treasury’s claim came shortly after two other accusatory U.S. government statements about the dual Ukrainian-Russian national. In March, a U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment accused Kilimnik of being a “Russian influence agent” who meddled in the 2020 campaign to assist Trump’s reelection. A month earlier, an FBI alert offered $250,000 for information leading to his arrest over a 2018 witness tampering charge in Manafort’s shuttered Ukraine lobbying case, which was unrelated to Russia, collusion, or any elections. Treasury provided no evidence for its claims, which go beyond the findings of the two most extensive Russiagate investigations: the 448-page report issued in 2019 by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the 966-page report issued in August 2020 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Treasury has declined all media requests for elaboration on how it reached conclusions that those probes did not. Two unidentified officials told NBC News that U.S. intelligence “has developed new information” about Kilimnik “that leads them to believe” that he passed on the polling data to Russia. But these sources “did not identify the source or type of intelligence that had been developed,” nor “when or how” it was received. “Nobody has seen any evidence to support these claims about Kilimnik,” a congressional source familiar with the House and Senate’s multiple Russia-related investigations told RCI. Despite the absence of evidence, the Treasury press release’s one-sentence claim about Kilimnik has been widely greeted as the Trump-Russia smoking gun. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC that Treasury’s assertion about Kilimnik proved that Russian intelligence was “involved in trying to help Trump win in that [2016] election. That’s what most people would call collusion.”

Read more …

Biden to meet killer Putin?!

Blinken, Lavrov Seek Cooperation Despite ‘Serious Differences’ (R.)

Top diplomats from the Biden administration and Russia in their first in-person meeting on Wednesday stressed that the former Cold War foes have serious differences in how they view world affairs but struck an optimistic tone for the talks, saying the two sides can still find ways to work together. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his first meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a veteran diplomat, said it was “no secret that we have our differences” and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries’ leaders worked together. Lavrov, speaking through a translator at the opening of the meeting in Reykjavik on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting, said Russia and the United States have “serious differences” but have to cooperate “in spheres where our interests collide.”

Senior U.S. State Department officials said there were no breakthroughs in the meeting, but described it as a “good start” to work on relations between the two countries in “weeks, months and years to come.” Blinken said Biden wanted “a predictable, stable relationship with Russia” and said the two countries could work together on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, combating climate change, dealing with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and the conflict in Afghanistan. “We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people and indeed good for the world,” Blinken said. The pair also discussed cyber security and Russia’s troop movements on its border with Ukraine, issues that have tested the already fraught ties this year, senior State Department officials told reporters. They repeatedly insisted that the meeting was “table setting” for future talks.

Wednesday’s meeting, the first high-level, in-person discussion between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, lasted one hour and 45 minutes, longer than the expected one hour. Lavrov told Russian state media the talks were “constructive” and that Russia was ready to discuss all issues between the two countries “on the basis of mutual respect.” The two diplomats would prepare proposals for a possible meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lavrov said. State Department officials referred questions about a presidential meeting to the White House, but said there was acknowledgment that “strategic stability” would be discussed.

Read more …

Nice headline. The Greens are set to become a force in German politics.

Germany’s Greens Are Neoliberals With Bicycles (Jac.)

The Greens’ recent victories notwithstanding, their attempt at balancing highly contradictory interests in the name of ecological pragmatism has already become a strain on the party. Only through the meteoric rise of the Fridays for Future movement have the Greens been able to establish themselves as the strongest party among under-thirty-year-olds. Yet, Habeck and Baerbock have spared no efforts to improve their standing with German industry and shake their old antibusiness image. In 2019, Baerbock gained recognition with the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI), Germany’s leading federation of industrialists and corporations, for putting forward an economic agenda that is especially aggressive against China. She insisted that Germany must be part of a European economic and digital infrastructure that is independent of Chinese corporations such as Huawei.

She added that new climate regulations could actually prove advantageous for German businesses, especially if Chinese competitors who supposedly undercut these regulations were subject to extra taxation. Baerbock’s foray into a sort of Green anti-Chinese economic policy has since been praised by German business representatives. It is not hard for them to accept this — especially given that questions of union rights and worker representation are noticeably absent from this vision. Accordingly, Baerbock has commended initiatives such as Elon Musk’s new Tesla factory in Brandenburg, regardless of the fact that Musk has repeatedly made clear that he will accept neither union representation nor collective bargaining agreements in his new factory.

The Greens have also proven to be very generous partners to German industry — or rather, industrialists — in the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Winfried Kretschmann has governed for ten years as the party’s first and so far only state-level prime minister. Baden-Württemberg used to be a stronghold of the CDU but has been won over by Kretschmann with an agenda which adds a green face to conservative, pro-business parties. Kretschmann has since established his party as the strongest in the state — but also continuously irritated its activist base with his stance protecting the interests of automobile manufacturers like Daimler-Benz and Porsche, and his cautious position on the transition to electric cars.

While Kretschmann’s administration has presided over a decline in public infrastructure and a rise in poverty — especially among children and pensioners — it has actively fended off social initiatives such as a popular petition for free childcare and remains committed to conservative fiscal policies. The Greens have also alienated parts of the climate justice movement, for instance when the CDU/Green government in the state of Hesse pledged its support for the controversial extension of the A49 highway and, connected to this, the clearing of the Dannenröder Forest. Protesters who tried to prevent the clearing in November 2020 were met with numerous incidents of police violence — provoking much negative publicity for Hesse’s government and its transport minister Tarek Al-Wazir, a member of the Greens.

Read more …

Hmm. Keep your enemies closer, we were told.

European Parliament to Suspend Turkey’s EU Accession Talks

Turkey’s accession talks for entry into the European Union were suspended on Wednesday as relations between Turkey and the bloc have become increasingly strained over the last several years. The European Parliament also called for Turkey to implement an immediate change of course regarding the rule of law and human rights as a prerequisite for the country’s accession to the EU. European lawmakers passed the proposal to suspend Turkey’s accession by 480 votes in favor, 64 against and 150 abstentions in a European parliamentary session. Today’s move came after Members of the European Parliament cited many violations of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey. Turkey is one of the countries having been through the longest negotiation process to enter the EU.


It became an official candidate for membership in 1999 at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Official accession talks started in 2005 but have been stalled since 2016. According to Nacho Sánchez Amor, who drafted the report on the country, Turkey must change course and “put expressions of good will into concrete actions. “The report is probably the toughest ever in its criticism. It reflects all that has unfortunately happened in the country in the last two years, in particular in the fields of human rights and rule of law, which remain the main area of concern for the European Parliament,” he said. The latest report adopted by the Committee of Foreign Affairs states that the Turkish government has deliberately distanced itself from European values and has led its relations with the EU to a “historic low point.”

Read more …

 

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Oct 192018
 
 October 19, 2018  Posted by at 9:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Paul Gauguin Horsemen on the beach 1902

 

Implosion of Stock Market Double-Bubble in China Hits New Lows (WS)
Trump Trade War Forces Beijing To Retreat From Its Anti-Debt Battle (CNBC)
Italy’s Debt Crisis Thickens (DQ)
Italian Bond Yields Spike To 4-Year Highs As EU Slams New Budget Plan (CNBC)
EU Leaders Ready To Help May Sell Brexit Deal To Parliament (G.)
Tory MP Calls UK Government ‘A Shitshow’ (Ind.)
Greens Surge Across Europe As Centre-Left Flounders (G.)
Male Birds Can Be Good Singers Or Good Looking, But Not Both (NS)
Jurors Urge Judge To Uphold Monsanto Cancer Ruling (G.)
World’s Smallest Porpoise Faces Extinction (AFP)
Microplastics Found In 90% Of Table Salt (NatGeo)

 

 

Tomorrow is a travel day, no posts.

 

 

Up a bit this morning, plunge protection, but Shanghai down 30% for the year. Stocks are not Xi’s worst fear, though, the housing market is, along with debt. And you wonder how this is possible with all the GDP growth numbers.

Implosion of Stock Market Double-Bubble in China Hits New Lows (WS)

Today, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped another 2.9% to 2,486.42. In the bigger picture, that’s quite an accomplishment:

• Lowest since November 27, 2014, nearly four years ago
• Down 30% from its recent peak on January 24, 2018, (3,559.47)
• Down 52% from its last bubble peak on June 12, 2015 (5,166)
• Down 59% from its all-time bubble peak on October 16, 2007 (6,092)
• And back where it had first been on December 27, 2006, nearly 12 years ago.

The chart of the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (SSE) shows the 2015-bubble and its implosion, followed by a rise from the January-2016 low, which had been endlessly touted in the US as the next big buying opportunity to lure US investors into the China miracle. Investors who swallowed this hype got crushed again:

Over the longer view, the implosion is even more spectacular. Today’s close puts the SSE back where it had first been nearly 12 years ago, on December 27, 2007. This dynamic has created a double-bubble and a double-implosion, with every recovery rally in between getting finally wiped out. The index is now down 59% from its all-time high in October 2007, the super-hype era in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. It is not often that a stock market of one of the largest economies in the world is whipped into two frenetically majestic bubbles that implode back to levels first seen 12 years earlier – despite inflation in the currency in which these stocks are denominated.

Read more …

Betcha China’s foreign reserves are dwindling.

Trump Trade War Forces Beijing To Retreat From Its Anti-Debt Battle (CNBC)

Just as China started to come to grips with the scale of its massive debt accumulation, the impact of the trade war with the U.S. is forcing a retreat. One expert said that could prove “disastrous” for the country’s economy. Years of big-ticket investment projects helped spur double-digit growth in China’s GDP, sending the country into position as the world’s second-largest economy — trailing only the United States. The price tag, however, was a mountain of debt that needed to be drawn down as authorities refashioned growth to a more sustainable model. The plan has been to base the more mature economy on the increasing spending power of China’s rising consumer class rather than old-fashioned investments in infrastructure.

But the trade war is denting China’s economic growth and forcing a rethink in debt reduction — known as deleveraging — as authorities look for ways to juice the economy to make up for hits resulting from U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese exports. Economists increasingly see future tariffs as likely to apply to all shipments from China to the United States, meaning Beijing is set to even further loosen financial taps. That’s already been seen in the form of cuts to reserve requirement ratios for banks, which set the amount of funds they must keep on hand. The recent moves mean banks have more money to lend out, stimulating the economy with more debt.

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To what extent is this Brussels teaching Rome a lesson?

Italy’s Debt Crisis Thickens (DQ)

Italy’s government bonds are sinking and their yields are spiking. There are plenty of reasons, including possible downgrades by Moody’s and/or Standard and Poor’s later this month. If it is a one-notch downgrade, Italy’s credit rating will be one notch above junk. If it is a two-notch down-grade, as some are fearing, Italy’s credit rating will be junk. That the Italian government remains stuck on its deficit-busting budget, which will almost certainly be rejected by the European Commission, is not helpful either. Today, the 10-year yield jumped nearly 20 basis points to 3.74%, the highest since February 2014. Note that the ECB’s policy rate is still negative -0.4%:

But the current crisis has shown little sign of infecting other large Euro Zone economies. Greek banks may be sinking in unison, their shares down well over 50% since August despite being given a clean bill of health just months earlier by the ECB, but Greece is no longer systemically important and its banks have been zombies for years. Far more important are Germany, France and Spain — and their credit markets have resisted contagion. A good indicator of this is the spread between Spanish and Italian 10-year bonds, which climbed to 2.08 percentage points last week, its highest level since December 1997, before easing back to 1.88 percentage points this week.

Much to the dismay of Italy’s struggling banks, the Italian government has also unveiled plans to tighten tax rules on banks’ sales of bad loans in a bid to raise additional revenues. The proposed measures would further erode the banks’ already flimsy capital buffers and hurt their already scarce cash reserves. And ominous signs are piling up that a run on large bank deposits in Italy may have already begun.

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So far the government is sticking to its plans.

Italian Bond Yields Spike To 4-Year Highs As EU Slams New Budget Plan (CNBC)

Italian sovereign debt yields hit fresh multi-year highs Friday morning, as investors grow cautious over lending to the embattled government after it unveiled new budget plans. Ten-year and 30-year bond yields — yields have an inverse relationship to a bond’s price — hit their highest levels since early 2014, according to Reuters, just hours after the European Union warned of rule breaches in Italy’s draft budget. Investors have shown concerns over Italy’s 2019 budget, which was officially sent to the EU this week for analysis. The anti-establishment and partly right-wing government in Italy plans to increase public spending in the country, sticking with campaign pledges before the general election in March this year.

There are strong concerns that the fiscal plan will derail the reduction of the country’s debt pile — which is the second largest in the euro zone, totaling 2.3 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion). Italy’s prime minister has defended its free-spending budget this week, after officials in Brussels criticized the plans and labelled it an unprecedented breach of the EU’s budgetary rules.

Read more …

Picked up the graph apart from the article. It says exactly why there won’t be a deal: it’s not possible.

EU Leaders Ready To Help May Sell Brexit Deal To Parliament (G.)

EU leaders are preparing to back Theresa May in building a “coalition of the reasonable” in the UK parliament, in a desperate bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Following what has been described by diplomats as a “call for help” by the prime minister at a crunch summit in Brussels, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, stressed that the EU had to pursue “all avenues” to find a deal that can get through the Commons.“I think where there is a will there is a way,” she said. Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, said: “It will be done.” He is understood to have told EU leaders that May needed “help” to sell a deal in parliament.

While ruling out major concessions, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said it was clear that the roadblock to a deal did not lie in Brussels. A potential agreement had been derailed on Sunday when Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, made an unscheduled visit to Brussels to inform the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, that May could not get an agreement past her cabinet or the DUP, on whose votes her government relies.

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A bit of honesty.

Tory MP Calls UK Government ‘A Shitshow’ (Ind.)

A Tory MP has labelled the government “a shitshow” and said he would not vote Conservative. Johnny Mercer, a former army officer, claimed his party was being run by “technocrats and managers” and labelled Theresa May’s Brexit plan a sign of a “classic professional politician”. He vowed to launch a “serious shit-fight” to stop the UK heading “towards the edge of the cliff”. The Plymouth Moor View MP launched the astonishing attack on his own party as he voiced concerns that it no longer shared his values. He told The House magazine: “The party will never really change until you have somebody who is leading the party who has won a seat and knows what it’s like to go out every weekend and advocate for what you just voted for that week.

“We’ve lost this ability to fight, to scrap for what we believe in. Until we get that art back – ultimately our core business as politicians is winning elections. That is our basic core business. “We’ve lost focus on that for some very good, very capable but ultimately technocrats and managers. That’s not what Britain’s about.” [..] in a shock admission, he said that, were he not an MP, he would not vote for the Conservatives. Asked how the Johnny Mercer who left the military in 2012 would vote now, he said: “I wouldn’t go and vote. “Just being honest, I wouldn’t vote. Of course I wouldn’t, no.” He added: “There’s no doubt about it that my set of values and ethos, I was comfortable that it was aligned with the Conservative Party. I’m not as comfortable that that’s the case any more.”

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The political center vanishes everywhere.

Greens Surge Across Europe As Centre-Left Flounders (G.)

In conservative Bavaria, the Greens doubled their vote in state elections to become the second largest party. In Belgium’s local elections they achieved record scores of more than 30% and finished first in several Brussels districts, and runners-up overall. In Luxembourg’s general election they increased their tally of MPs by 50%. The elections in three countries last weekend suggest that as Europe’s historic mainstream parties plummet in the polls and struggle to see off the far right’s challenge, for liberal-minded voters the Greens look like an answer. Offering a pro-EU stance, a humane approach to migration and clear positions on issues such as climate change, biodiversity and sustainability, Green parties in several countries are now polling higher nationally than the traditional centre-left.

“They represent a clear place where people can go who are frustrated with the traditional mainstream parties but who don’t like the far right,” said Alexander Clarkson, a lecturer in European studies at King’s College London. “They offer a very clear counter-model to the positions and arguments of parties like Germany’s AfD. Also they’ve been around for a while now, more than 40 years, and they’ve governed responsibly both locally and regionally. They kind of look like the adults in the room.”

In Germany, where the Greens partner parties from the centre-right to the hard-left in nine of the 16 state governments, recent national polling put the party ahead of the centre-left SPD, Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, with a 17%-plus share of the vote, compared with 8.9% in last year’s federal election. In the Netherlands, the GreenLeft party boosted its representation from four to 14 MPs in elections last year and has advance further since then, from 9% to a second-placed 18% in the polls.

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Fun research.

Male Birds Can Be Good Singers Or Good Looking, But Not Both (NS)

The call of a male peacock is no pleasure to listen to, but its splendid tail means it doesn’t matter. Now an analysis of more than 500 species shows that this is a common trade-off in the bird world: the best lookers aren’t the most talented singers, while the best vocalists aren’t as easy on the eye. Sexual selection is an evolutionary process that shapes traits that animals use to attract mates, and birds are well known to resort to elaborate songs and flashy feathers in the name of reproduction. To investigate which species use which traits, Christopher Cooney at the University of Oxford and his colleagues collected the songs of 518 species, and compared these with their feather colours.

In particular, they looked at how much feathers differed between the males and females of each species – a sign that sexual selection has influenced their plumage. They found that birds in which one sex has more showy plumage than the other tend to have less interesting, more monotonous songs. In species in which the males and females more closely resemble each other, the males sing longer songs over a larger range of musical notes. The reason why bird evolution favours one trait over the other is unclear. It might be that birds living in dense forests with lower visibility rely more on their songs instead of colour to attract mates, but Cooney’s analysis didn’t find any relationship between sexually selected traits and habitat.

Instead, his team think that mate-attracting traits are costly to develop, so a species tends to evolve only one. Alternatively, once one attractive trait has begun to emerge, it may simply be pointless to develop a second.

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“Why do we have a jury system if the judge can just toss it out?”

Jurors Urge Judge To Uphold Monsanto Cancer Ruling (G.)

Jurors who ruled that Monsanto caused a dying man’s cancer are fighting to uphold their landmark $289m verdict, publicly urging a judge not to overturn their decision in a groundbreaking trial. Four California jurors told the Guardian that they were shocked and angry to learn that the judge overseeing their trial had moved to throw out their unanimous verdict, which said the agrochemical corporation failed to warn consumers that its popular weedkiller product posed health risks. The ruling in August, which sparked concerns across the globe about the Roundup herbicide, included $250m in punitive damages to the plaintiff, Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, who has terminal cancer.

But San Francisco superior court judge Suzanne Bolanos stunned campaigners and jurors last week when she issued a tentative ruling on Monsanto’s appeal motion, saying she would likely grant a new trial due to the “insufficiency of the evidence”. “I was just gobsmacked and outraged. I was astonished,” Robert Howard, juror No 4, said in an interview on Thursday. “Why do we have a jury system if the judge can just toss it out?” Bolanos hasn’t yet made a final ruling, leading to an unusual public plea from the jurors and mounting pressure on the judge in recent days. Some jurors said they became emotionally invested in the trial and now felt it was their duty to advocate for their decision and fight for Johnson to receive his award.

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The list is endless. They’re all leaving.

World’s Smallest Porpoise Faces Extinction (AFP)

The near-extinct vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise, has not yet disappeared from its habitat off the coast of Mexico, a research team said Wednesday after spotting six of them. The vaquita has been nearly wiped out by illegal fishing in its native habitat, the Gulf of California, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned in May that it could go extinct this year. But “all hope is not lost” for saving the species after the recent sightings, said Lorenzo Rojas of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), presenting the researchers’ findings. In an 11-day study conducted in late September and early October, marine scientists spotted six vaquitas, including a calf.

The team emphasized that the study was not a full population estimate, which they will present in January after further research. In the last full population estimate, carried out in 2017, CIRVA found there were only 30 vaquitas left. Known as “the panda of the sea” for the distinctive black circles around its eyes, the vaquita has been decimated by gillnets used to fish for another species, the also endangered totoaba fish. The totoaba’s swim bladder is considered a delicacy in China and can fetch up to $20,000 on the black market. Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim have thrown their backing behind the campaign to save the vaquita.

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Select your salt wisely.

Microplastics Found In 90% Of Table Salt (NatGeo)

Microplastics were found in sea salt several years ago. But how extensively plastic bits are spread throughout the most commonly used seasoning remained unclear. Now, new research shows microplastics in 90 percent of the table salt brands sampled worldwide. Of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, according to a new analysis by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia. Using prior salt studies, this new effort is the first of its scale to look at the geographical spread of microplastics in table salt and their correlation to where plastic pollution is found in the environment. “The findings suggest that human ingestion of microplastics via marine products is strongly related to emissions in a given region,” said Seung-Kyu Kim, a marine science professor at Incheon National University in South Korea.

Salt samples from 21 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia were analyzed. The three brands that did not contain microplastics are from Taiwan (refined sea salt), China (refined rock salt), and France (unrefined sea salt produced by solar evaporation). The study was published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The density of microplastics found in salt varied dramatically among different brands, but those from Asian brands were especially high, the study found. The highest quantities of microplastics were found in salt sold in Indonesia. Asia is a hot spot for plastic pollution, and Indonesia—with 34,000 miles (54,720 km) of coastline—ranked in an unrelated 2015 study as suffering the second-worst level of plastic pollution in the world.

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