Gold & Silver Daily

Ed's Critical Reads

Sep 13, 2014

Yahoo Faced $250,000-Day Fine for Not Giving U.S. User Data

Yahoo! Inc. said the U.S. government threatened in 2008 to fine it $250,000 a day for refusing to comply with national security-related requests for its users’ Internet data.

In small victory for Yahoo’s legal challenges to U.S. surveillance practices, a court today permitted the company to release 1,500 pages of documents that shed light on the scope and force of the government’s data-collection methods.

The company and competitors including Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have been trying to protect their reputations following revelations that began in June 2013 by former government contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency had access to information about the Internet use of the companies’ customers. Yahoo first challenged the NSA requests in court in 2007-2008.

This news item showed up on the newsmax.com Internet site at 6:27 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening---and it's courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.

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IEA again cuts forecasts for oil demand

The International Energy Agency Thursday trimmed its forecast for the rise in oil demand this year for the third month in a row, calling the recent slowdown in demand “nothing short of remarkable.”

In its closely watched monthly oil market report, the Paris-based energy watchdog said it expects global oil demand to grow by 0.9 million barrels a day in 2014, a decrease of 65,000 barrels a day compared with last month’s forecast and down by 300,000 barrels a day since July.

According to the IEA, oil demand growth in the second quarter was at its lowest in 2½ years, dented by economic weakness in Europe and China, a trend the agency expects will continue to weigh on demand.

This article appeared on the marketwatch.com Internet site at 5:18 a.m. EDT on Thursday morning---and I thank 'David in California' for sharing it with us.

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Alasdair Macleod: Currency turbulence

You'd think that the U.S. dollar has suddenly become strong, and the chart below of the other three major currencies confirms it.

The U.S. dollar is the risk-free currency for international accounting, because it is the currency on which all the others are based. And it is clear that three months ago dollar exchange rates against the three currencies shown began to strengthen notably.

However, each of the currencies in the chart has its own specific problems driving it weaker. The yen is the embodiment of financial kamikaze, with the Abe government destroying it through debasement as a cover-up for a budget deficit that is beyond its control. The pound is being poleaxed by a campaign to keep Scotland in the union which has backfired, plus a deferral of interest rate expectations. 

And the euro sports negative deposit rates in the belief they will cure the Eurozone's gathering slump, which if it develops unchecked will threaten the stability of Europe's banks.

So far this has been mainly a race to the bottom, with the dollar on the side-lines. The US economy, which is officially due to recover (as it has been expected to every year from 2008) looks like it's still going nowhere. Indeed, if you apply a more realistic deflator than the one that is officially calculated, there is a strong argument that the US has never recovered since the Lehman crisis.

This commentary by Alasdair was posted on the goldmoney.com Internet site on Friday BST sometime---and I plucked it from a GATA release yesterday.

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Martin Hutchinson: The death spiral of capitalism

No less than six sovereign borrowers are now paying negative nominal interest rates on their 2-year borrowing in euros. In other words, they are making money by going into debt. In real terms, medium-term U.S. TIPS and British index-linked gilts have had negative interest rates for several years. Contrary to the views of the happy Keynesians around us, this is very dangerous indeed. If negative interest rates were to persist, the world's stock of capital would eventually disappear. Without capital, we'd be back up the trees.

You don't even have to be a decent credit risk to borrow money at negative interest rates in euros—France's 2-year bond yield has just turned negative. Since France hasn't balanced its budget since 1969 and is enduring a prolonged period of stagnation caused by having one of the world's largest public sectors, to rational investors it ranks as a credit with substantial risk. Of course, today's bond-market investors aren't rational; their brains are fogged by six-years-and-counting of monetary "stimulus."

Negative interest rates are damaging for savers, who can't earn a return on their money without taking undue risks. However, over time they are even more damaging to the financial system as a whole because they reduce the capital stock outstanding, thereby de-capitalizing the economy. If risk-free interest rates are minus 1% in real terms, then after a year the capital stock is 1% smaller than it had been a year earlier (absent substantial net new savings). Of course, some investors have earned positive real returns by taking risks, but over the business cycle as a whole, those returns will disappear, as the risks turn out to have been misguided.

This longish essay, which is certainly worth reading if you have the time, was posted on the prudentbear.com Internet site on Monday.

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Doug Noland: "King Dollar and the Peripheries"

An interesting week saw that Brazilian real get hammered for 4.2%, as Brazil’s stocks sank 6.2%. Venezuela Credit default swap (CDS) prices surged 158 bps to 1,464 bps (lagging Argentina at 1,840!). Turkish stocks were hit for 5.3%, in what Bloomberg called the emerging-market stocks’ “steepest decline in 15 months.” Commodities currencies were also pummeled. The Australian dollar dropped 3.6%, the South African rand 3.0%, the New Zealand dollar 2.1% and the Canadian dollar 1.9%. The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index was hit for 2.4%, trading this week to the lowest level since the tumultuous summer of 2012. Brent crude fell to a two-year low, wheat to a 50-week low and gold to an eight-month low. Spanish yields jumped 30bps, with Italian yields up 20 bps and France’s 17 bps. U.S. junk bond CDS jumped 21 bps this week. In the face of unsettled global risk markets, 10-year Treasuries jumped 15 bps this week.

Market and macro analysis remains extraordinarily challenging. The U.S. economy shows momentum and financial conditions remain ultra-loose. Wall Street strategists are universally bullish. A recent survey (Investors Intelligence) had the smallest reading of bears since 1987. Sentiment is buoyed by the view that it will be years before the Fed raises rates to the point where they would weigh on risk asset prices.

It’s no surprise that I see the greatest financial Bubble in history. I believe asset market inflation and Bubbles have been fueled by speculative leverage exceeding pre-2008 crisis levels. I see global financial and economic imbalances that have been exacerbated by six years of the most extreme monetary policy measures. By now, this type of analysis has been completely discredited. Few will care that I discern acute vulnerabilities.

Doug's latest Credit Bubble Bulletin didn't show up on the prudentbear.com Internet site until late Friday evening---and I'd been checking for it for hours on end, as I knew it would fall directly into the absolute must read category, which it does.

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Russian Sailors to Take Part in Mistral Warship Sea Trials in France

Russian sailors, who are currently training to crew Mistral-class helicopter carriers, built in France for the Russian Navy, will go to sea Saturday morning to take part in sea trials of the first ship ordered by Moscow, the Vladivostok, a source familiar with the situation told RIA Novosti.

"Yes, Vladivostok will indeed sail Saturday morning for tests. As far as I know, about 200 Russian sailors and the same number of French personnel will be on board," the source said.

This is the first time the ship goes to the sea since the two crews of Russian sailors, a total of 400 people, arrived in the French town of Saint-Nazaire in June.

This news story was posted on the RIA Novosti website at 10:53 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday evening---and it's the first contribution of the day from South African reader B.V.

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Hollande pledges to expand France’s role in battle against IS

President François Hollande promised on a visit to Baghdad Friday to increase French military aid to Iraq to help the country in its battle against a jihadist insurgency by the Islamic State (IS) organisation.

"I came here to Baghdad to state France's availability in providing even more military assistance to Iraq," he told a press conference alongside Iraqi President Fuad Masum.

Hollande did not specify what form an increase in military aid would take, reserving the details until after a conference on Iraqi security set for September 15 in Paris.

“The goal (of the conference) is to coordinate aid, support and action for the unity of Iraq and against this terrorist group,” Hollande told journalists.

This story showed up on the france24.com website on Friday sometime---and I thank Orlando, Florida reader Dennis Mong for finding it for us.

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1.8m people, 11km line: Catalonians stage their biggest independence rally

Europe saw one of the largest demonstrations in recent years: at least 1.8 million people formed an 11km red-yellow line to show their support for the upcoming independence referendum. A mosaic was made in the form of a 'V' for 'vote'.

At least 1.8 million Catalans, dressed in red and yellow, the colors of the Catalan flag, gathered on Gran Via and Avenida Diagonal, two of the main streets in Barcelona. Seen from the air, the rally formed a 'V' 11km long. According to the organizers, 'V' represented 'vote', 'victory' and 'will' (voluntat in Catalan).

The number of people participated in the rally – 1.8 million - even surpassed the number of population in Barcelona, which is about 1.6 million. There were more people than the whole population in Luxemburg, Lichtenstein, Monaco or Vatican.

This colourful photo essay put in an appearance on the Russia Today website at 11:55 a.m. Moscow time on their Friday morning---and it's the first contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Switzerland's bank fines not tax deductible, cabinet decides

Criminal fines imposed on corporations should not be tax deductible, but tax rebates could be claimed on illegally gained profits that a court has ordered a company to pay back, the Swiss government advised on Friday.

The cabinet was responding to a parliamentary motion to clarify the situation in light of a CHF2.6 billion ($2.8 billion) fine imposed by the United States on Credit Suisse bank earlier this year for the part it played in tax evasion offences.

The suspicion that the bank might try to claim tax expenses against the fine raised political hackles, prompting the motion from centre-left Social Democrat parliamentarian Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer.

This article appeared on the swissinfo.ch Internet site at 5:47 p.m. Europe time yesterday afternoon---and it's the second offering of the day from South African reader B.V.

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MH17 crash: Investigation focuses on '25 metal shards'

The investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is searching for clues in 25 pieces of metal recovered from bodies and debris.

Dutch officials heading the inquiry say they want to establish whether the iron fragments could prove the theory that a ground-to-air missile struck the plane.

Flight MH17 came down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July, killing all 298 people aboard, mostly Dutch citizens.  The investigation has been hampered by continued fighting near the crash site.

Detectives are relying heavily on forensic samples taken from bodies and baggage, as well as satellite data, interviews with witnesses, computer reconstructions, online evidence and intercepted communications.

This story was posted on the bbc.com Internet site at 11:18 a.m. EDT on Friday morning---and it's another contribution from reader B.V.

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Uneasy calm in Ukraine's battle-scarred Donetsk

Since the start of a ceasefire last Friday, a fragile and uneasy calm has descended over eastern Ukraine's rebel stronghold of Donetsk, where the scars of five months of devastating clashes are plain for all to see.

But despite the pause in hostilities, the deep divisions between the separatists and the rest of Ukraine seem more entrenched than ever.

In the northern suburbs of the city, FRANCE 24's reporters encounter rebel soldiers guarding a bridge close to the front line – just a kilometre away, Ukrainian troops are dug in at what was once an international airport.

For the separatists, the ceasefire agreement changes little.

This news item appeared on the france24.com Internet site on Thursday---and once again I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

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‘There is no sincere will for peace in Ukraine from the main actors in the West’

Russia has been put into an impossible situation, meaning they are responsible not only for what has been done in Lugansk and Donetsk, but also for what has been done on the side of Kiev, political analyst Alexander Pavic told RT.

RT: Apparently, the truce in Ukraine is not enough for the EU to hold back on yet more sanctions. This somewhat contradicts what European leaders were saying earlier, doesn't it?

Alexander Pavic: The ceasefire was, first of all, the reflection of the very bad military situation for the regime in Kiev. They needed a breather to redirect, recompose their troops, to settle their fronts because they were losing badly, they were in danger of losing Mariupol. Unfortunately, the desire for peace was not honest, was not sincere. On the other hand, the chance to present peace should have been taken. We have had for the past few months one side, Russia, which has been bending over backwards to try to de-escalate the situation, we had several European countries who are trying as best as they could to also de-escalate [the situation] and raise the voice against sanctions. I’m talking about countries like Slovakia, even Italy, not official Germany so much but pretty important political forces inside Germany as well. Unfortunately, the voice from Washington and London was stronger, and as a result no ceasefire is going to be prominent until we have a change of direction, change of policy in the White House, in London and until Berlin decides it is working in the favor of Europe and not in favor of the EU, NATO and Anglo-American alliance.

As I've said before, dear reader, the U.S. and Britain want an armed conflict of some sort. This very interesting interview, which I consider worth reading, put in an appearance on the Russia Today website at 12:01 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday afternoon---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens once again.

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Russia, Ukraine, E.U. Reach Compromise on Kiev's European Integration

Russia, Ukraine and the European Union on Friday reached a crucial compromise on Kiev's free trade pact with the E.U. postponing its entry into force until the end of 2015, Russia's economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said.

"Until the date that we agreed upon - the end of 2015 - the Russian Federation pledges not to apply protective measures," Ulyukayev told reporters following the second round of trilateral ministerial talks on Ukraine-E.U. association agreement.

"We will continue the discussion of the issue that concerns us the most - what form [of a solution] we could find to alleviate our worries," Ulyukayev said.

"So far, we have agreed to continue dialogue for the next 15 months, we will present our arguments while our colleagues will offer theirs," the minister added.

This brief news item appeared on the RIA Novosti website at 8:41 p.m. Moscow time [12:41 p.m. EDT] on their Friday evening---and the stories from Roy Stephens just keep on coming.

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West pushes crippling sanctions on Russia's oil industry despite Ukraine ceasefire

Europe and the U.S. are to press ahead with fresh economic sanctions against Russia despite the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, aiming to choke off credit and technology vitally needed to arrest the decline of Russia’s oil industry.

The E.U. is to ban loans to five state-owned banks and three energy companies from Saturday, targeting new oil ventures the Arctic and the Siberia shale basin rather than gas operations.

U.S. President Barack Obama said his country will “deepen and broaden” its own array of measures. These are aimed directly at the Russian oil industry, threatening to paralyse Exxon’s $3.2bn joint venture in the Arctic with Rosneft. The sanctions may force BP to shelve its plans for shale development with Rosneft in the Volga Urals.

The rouble fell to a record low of 37.53 against the dollar. The MICEX index of stocks dipped 1.3pc yet it remains far above levels seen earlier this year, suggesting investors are starting to treat each wave of sanctions as political theatre.

This commentary by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 9:42 p.m. BST on their Thursday evening---and it's another offering from Roy Stephens.

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U.S. intensifies sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

The United States hit Russia's largest bank, a major arms maker and arctic, deep water and shale exploration by its biggest oil companies with new sanctions on Friday to punish Moscow for its intervention in Ukraine.

The sanctions, coordinated with similar European Union steps, were triggered by what the West sees as Moscow's recent effort to destabilize eastern Ukraine by backing pro-Russian separatists with troops, heavy arms and cross-border shelling.. They are the latest economic penalties imposed by the West since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

The sanctions target companies including Sberbank, Russia's largest bank by assets, and Rostec, a conglomerate that makes everything from Kalashnikovs to cars, by limiting their ability to access the U.S. debt markets.

They also bar U.S. companies from selling goods or services to five Russian energy companies to conduct deep water, Arctic offshore and shale projects. The Russian firms affected are Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegas and Rosneft.

This Reuters article, filed from Washington, appeared on their Internet site at 3:32 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and it's another contribution from Dennis Mong.

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Russia Threatens Lawsuits With WTO Over New Western Sanctions

New Western sanctions against Russia give Moscow additional incentives to appeal them in the World Trade Organization as they contradict the WTO regulations, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Friday.

“I believe that even the previous round of sanctions was the reason enough to appeal with the WTO. And we will certainly do it,” Ulyukayev told reporters in Brussels.

“We will not rush the issue and prepare our appeals in the most argumentative and well-warranted manner,” the minister said.

This story appeared on the RIA Novosti website at 9:30 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday evening, which was 1:30 p.m. EDT.  It's courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Putin: West Makes Use of Ukrainian Crisis to Destabilize International Situation

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that the West uses the crisis in Ukraine to destabilize the international situation, while the country itself is of no interest to anyone.

"I have a conspiracy theory that Ukraine itself is of no interest to anyone, but simply being used as a tool to destabilize international relations," Putin said after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.

"Ukraine is used as a tool, as a hostage to the desire of some participants in the international dialogue, to, say revive NATO. And not only as a military organization, but also as one of the key instruments of US foreign policy," the Russian leader said.

This is another story from the RIA Novosti website.  This one put in an appearance there at 8:36 p.m. Moscow time on Friday evening.  It's also courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Russia Containment 2.0---with Stephen Cohen and John Mearshiemer

What does Washington's "containment" policy mean? What threats does it pose? Will it work against today's Russia? And does this mean Washington has declared a new Cold War? CrossTalking with Stephen Cohen and John Mearsheimer.

This excellent 27:42 minute video interview appeared on the Russia Today website in late April---and it's now up on youtube.com.  If you're a student of the New Great Game, this is definitely worth watching.  I thank reader Larry Galearis for bringing it to our attention.

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Sergey Lavrov: Throwing Russia off balance is ultimate aim

In an interview for the ITAR-TASS project 'Top Officials'---Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Washington and some European countries had made a decision to isolate Russia long ago

Over the more than ten years in office as Russia’s foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov has appeared at thousands of news conferences and granted hundreds of interviews. Minutes before the interview that follows (which lasted for more than two hours) he first loosened and took off his necktie. Then he unbuttoned the top button of his shirt, but only the top one.

On the feeling of despair and the boiling point

- Sergey Viktorovich: you’ve had a really hot time for the past six months.

- And it’s not all over yet. Generally speaking, there has been no calm in foreign politics for a long time. But in summer I did have some time for recreation. In Russia, mind you.

- Don’t you get despaired due to the lack of calmness in foreign affairs?

- No, never ever. That’s not the type of feeling I may have deep down in my heart. We cannot afford to get desperate. We must keep doing our job right.

This very long one-on-one interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is also a must read for any serious student of the New Great Game.  It was posted on the ITAR-TASS Internet site at 1:11 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon---and it's courtesy of reader B.V.  It had to wait for today's column for length reasons.

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U.S. opposes Iran's presence at French-hosted conference on Iraq

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday it was "not appropriate" for Iran to join talks on confronting Islamic State militants, as he appeared to play down how fast countries can commit to force or other steps in an emerging coalition.

Kerry met Turkish leaders to try to secure backing for U.S.-led action against Islamic State militants, but Ankara’s reluctance to play a front line role highlighted the difficulty of building a willing coalition for a complex military campaign in the heart of the Middle East.

As he tours the region to gather support for President Barack Obama’s plan to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier to defeat Islamic State Sunni fighters, Kerry said Shi’ite Iran should have no role in talks on how to go about it.

This article was posted on the france24.com Internet site early this morning Europe time---and I thank Roy Stephens for sliding it into my in-box just after midnight Denver time this morning.

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Robert Fisk on Isis campaign: Bingo! Here’s another force of evil to be ‘vanquished’

Resurrection, reinvention and linguistics. Barack Obama did the lot. And now he’s taking America to war in Syria as well as Iraq. Oh yes, and he’s going to defeat Isis, its “barbarism”, “genocide”, its “warped ideology” – until the bad guys are “vanquished from the earth”. What happened to George W. Bush?

But let’s go through this with a linguistic comb. First, Obama is going to resurrect the Sunni “Awakening Council” militias – a creature invented by a certain General David Petraeus – who were paid to fight al-Qaeda by the Americans during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but who then got blasted by al-Qaeda and betrayed by the Shia-dominated Iraqi government. Obama has even invented a new name for these militias: he called them “National Guard Units” who will “help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from Isil”. National Guard indeed!

Then there’s the reinvention of the “moderate” Syrian opposition which was once called the Free Syrian Army – a force of deserters corrupted and betrayed by both the West and its Islamic allies – and which no longer exists. This ghost army is now going to be called the “Syrian National Coalition” and be trained – of all places – in Saudi Arabia, whose citizens have given zillions of dollars to al-Qaeda in Iraq, Isis, Isil, IS (you decide on the acronym), Jabhat al-Nusra and sundry other bad guys whom Obama now wants to “vanquish from the earth”.

Fisk carves Obama a new one in this commentary that appeared on the independent.co.uk Internet site on Thursday---and it's another contribution from reader B.V.

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Global banks retreat as the U.S. and China tighten in lockstep

The world financial system is at an inflection point as the US and China both switch off monetary stimulus, a form of synchronized tightening by "G2" superpowers.

Bank of America has warned clients that the glory days of "maximum liquidity" we have enjoyed in the post-Lehman era are coming to an end, with sweeping implications for asset markets across the world.

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries - the benchmark price of global money - has already jumped 20 basis points to 2.54pc since mid-August as it becomes clear that the US economy has survived its Winter wobble and is moving into an incipient boom. Growth reached 4.2pc in the second quarter, with the ISM manufacturing gauge near 30-year peaks.

Bank of America expects yields to jump to 3.1pc this year, and 3.75pc by the end of 2015 as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in earnest.

This commentary by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 8:19 p.m. BST on their Friday evening---and it's the final contribution of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.  [Note: This should be read in the context of what Doug Noland had to say in his Credit Bubble Bulletin posted further up in the Critical Reads section]

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Three King World News Blogs

1. Paul Craig Roberts: "World's Most Powerful Banks to Loot U.S."  2. Ronald-Peter Stoferle: "World to Enter Second Terrifying 2008-Style Global Meltdown"  3. John Mauldin: "This Great Danger May Trigger a Worldwide Crash

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Hugo Salinas Price: Fiat money and independence for Scotland

Fiat currency is a cause of national separatism, currency wars, and social division between rich and poor, Hugo Salinas Price of the Mexican Civic Association for Silver writes this week in commentary headlined "Fiat Money and Independence for Scotland," posted at the association's Internet site, Plata.com

I found this commentary posted on the gata.org Internet site---and I hope the link works, as I always have problems getting this website to load up on my computer.  But I managed to get it to work this time---and it's certainly worth reading.

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Gold price reform to focus on improved transparency, governance controls

Instead of scrapping the century-old London Gold Fix altogether, gold industry role-players are calling for the modernisation of the method used to determine global gold price benchmarks, which is currently the subject of ‘intense’ debate, but not regarded as fundamentally broken.

This comes after increased scrutiny by European and U.S. regulators of gold and silver fixes, along with other commodity benchmarks, regarding the processes and methods used to set commodity prices.

Incidents include the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, case of widespread interest rate manipulation in 2012 and, more recently, Barclays, the group that controls South Africa’s Absa Bank, being fined £26-million by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority in May for failures in internal controls that enabled a gold options trader to manipulate the setting of gold prices.

Industry players note that an optimal gold fix reform will require strengthening through transparency and governance improvements, among other improvement options.

As you already know, dear reader, the London p.m. gold 'fix' is only part of the problem.  It's the negative bias in London trading [since January 1, 1975] that is the overlying concern.  Pile on top of that the criminal CME Group, aided and abetted by the CFTC---and the problems of the London fixes, gold or silver, fade into insignificance.  I thank South African reader B.V. for his final contribution to today's column---and if you decide to read this commentary that was posted on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday, I'd do it for entertainment purposes only.

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Koos Jansen: India's gold imports for June were highest in 12 months

Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen reports that India's official gold imports for June were the highest in 12 months, which seems to contrast strangely with the Reuters report that India may be falling out of love with gold.

I found this story in a GATA release yesterday---and I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraph of introduction.  It's certainly worth your time.

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7 Times People Found Money in Bizarre Places

A pot of gold doesn't always sit at the end of a rainbow.

Instead, it can sit quietly in backyards, bathroom walls and even right beneath your feet. Some people set out to hunt for treasure, while others somehow manage to accidentally stumble onto valuable items.

We took a closer look at those who found fortunes unexpectedly, and discovered that many strange places have been home to some of the world's most expensive treasures.

This interesting compilation appeared on the mashable.com Internet site a couple of days ago---and I thank Elliot Simon for today's last story. 

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Sep 12, 2014

9/11 After 13 years --- Paul Craig Roberts

The tragedy of September 11, 2001, goes far beyond the deaths of those who died in the towers and the deaths of firefighters and first responders who succumbed to illnesses caused by inhalation of toxic dust. For thirteen years a new generation of Americans has been born into the 9/11 myth that has been used to create the American warfare/police state.

According to the official story, on September 11, 2001, the vaunted National Security State of the World’s Only Superpower was defeated by a few young Saudi Arabians armed only with box cutters. The American National Security State proved to be totally helpless and was dealt the greatest humiliation ever inflicted on any country claiming to be a power.

Osama bin Laden, a CIA asset dying of renal failure, was blamed despite his explicit denial. For the next ten years Osama bin Laden was the bogyman that provided the excuse for Washington to kill countless numbers of Muslims. Then suddenly on May 2, 2011, Obama claimed that U.S. Navy SEALs had killed bin Laden in Pakistan. Eyewitnesses on the scene contradicted the White House’s story. Osama bin Laden became the only human in history to survive renal failure for ten years. There was no dialysis machine in what was said to be bin Laden’s hideaway. The numerous obituaries of bin Laden’s death in December 2001 went down the memory hole. And the SEAL team died a few weeks later in a mysterious helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The thousands of sailors on the aircraft carrier from which bin Laden was said to have been dumped into the Indian Ocean wrote home that no such burial took place.

No surprises here for me.  Questions that nobody in the U.S. government will answer.  This commentary by Paul Craig Roberts appeared on this website on Wednesday---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it to me yesterday.  It's a must read for sure.

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NYC Watches WTC Building #7 Come Down Again This 9/11/14

Times Square in New York City is now the site of the largest 9/11 TRUTH video presentation since 2001. It will host a 45-foot Building #7 video-billboard created by the Architects and Engineers for 9/11.

The billboard has been installed at the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in Times Square, Manhattan. This 9/11 TRUTH video-billboard has been quite strategically located within very close proximity to the New York Times Building.  In fact many Times employees will be able to view the video as they walk by it on their way to and from work.

What is particularly significant is that The New York Times has persisted in ignoring the facts surrounding the 9/11 event. The Grey Lady and national newspaper of record, as it is universally known, has all but refused to cover with any credibility the greatest terrorist attack in U.S. history; one that occurred in its own backyard!

The video shown below will repeat the following statements and the 15-second spot will air every two minutes for four straight weeks.

5:20 PM on 9/11, WTC7 came down in a classic controlled demolition. The government says fire brought it down, but anyone who watches the video can see otherwise.

This must read/watch article was posted on the stateofthenation2012.com Internet site yesterday---and it's the second offering in row from Roy Stephens.

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Deutsche Bank: The Bubble Must Go on to Sustain the "Current Global Financial System"

When all is said and done, it all basically boils down to this: from Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid.

"The bubble probably needs to continue in order to sustain the current global financial system and the necessary future deleveraging. However with yields moving ever lower in many parts of the world in recent times, partly due to weak growth, and with debt levels still moving higher, the chances are that most government bondholders are unlikely to achieve a positive real return over the medium to long-term from this starting point. Inflation or even the risk of sovereign restructuring will likely prevent this."

So there you have it: either the bubble goes on, or the "current global financial system" gets it.

What is left unsaid is that it is only the "1%" who benefits from the bubble. The wealth and income of everyone else gets progressively less, as even the Fed has been forced to admit, until there is nothing left. And should the bubble burst? Why the central banks will just reflate yet another bubble, which translated in lay man's terms means steal even more from the global middle class and give to the world's richest.

This short piece appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 4:22 p.m. EDT on Wednesday---and I found it in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

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American credit-card debt hits a post-recession high

U.S. consumers may be relying too heavily on their plastic.

Americans added $28.2 billion to their credit cards in the second quarter of 2014, the largest amount in the last six years and nearly 200% more than in the second quarter of 2009, when the economy emerged from the depths of the Great Recession, according to new research from personal finance website CardHub.com. After paying off $32.5 billion owed during the first quarter of 2014, consumers ran up roughly 86% more debt during the following quarter.

The average household’s credit-card balance now stands at $6,802, up slightly from $6,628 in the first quarter, but still down from $8,431 at the end of 2008. By the end of the year, this figure is expected to exceed $7,000, reaching levels not seen since the end of 2010. U.S. consumers will be roughly $1,300 away from the credit card debt “tipping point,” where minimum payments become unsustainable and delinquencies skyrocket, the report says.

This news item appeared on the marketwatch.com Internet site at 3:32 p.m. EDT yesterday---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Foreclosure Activity Rises for Second Straight Month in August: RealtyTrac

U.S. foreclosure activity jumped in August for the second consecutive month as banks started the process on more properties and scheduled more housing auctions, industry firm RealtyTrac said on Thursday.

Overall, 116,913 properties were at some stage of the foreclosure process, which includes foreclosure notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, the group said.

That pushed overall activity up 7 percent from July, it said. From a year ago, foreclosure activity was down 9 percent.

Lenders started the foreclosure process on about 55,000 properties in August, up 12 percent from July, but unchanged from a year ago. It was the second consecutive month in which foreclosure starts were up month-over-month.

This article appeared on the moneynews.com Internet site at 10:23 a.m. EDT on Thursday---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for sharing it with us.

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Marc Faber: McDonald’s tells us why the market will collapse

Marc Faber has long predicted that a collapse in U.S. stocks is coming. On Thursday he reiterated that call, saying there is fresh evidence that a bear market is ahead—courtesy of the Golden Arches.

On Tuesday, McDonald's reported that global same-store sales in August fell 3.7 percent in August, well short of expectations. The worst drop occurred in the Asia-Pacific region on the back of a Chinese meat safety scandal, but even U.S. sales slid 2.8 percent.

For Faber, those results are a perfect example of the damage being done by central banks—and the harbinger of more bad news to come.

This 11-minute CNBC interview with Mark appeared on their website yesterday sometime---and it starts at the 1:10 minute mark.  I thank reader Ken Hurt for finding it for us.

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How important is the financial sector to Scotland's economy?

Scotland has a long, rich history in the financial sector. Royal Bank of Scotland has been based there for nearly 300 years, while money manager Standard Life has had its headquarters in Scotland for 189 years.

But several Scottish-based financial institutions have now said they will relocate to England if Scottish voters back the break-up of the UK in next week's referendum on independence.

Uncertainty over the currency an independent Scotland would use, who would be the lender of last resort for Scottish banks and who would regulate them have led to concerns of "capital flight" - where deposits are moved out of the country.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond denied uncertainty in the markets was caused by the Scottish government's stance on a shared currency, and instead blamed "the unreasonable posture of the UK government who have refused to discuss this at any stage throughout the last two years".

This article showed up on the bbc.com Internet site at 11:24 a.m. BST on Thursday---and I thank Washington state reader S.A. for sending it our way.

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Only Germany is holding together as separatists threaten to rip Europe apart

Europe is disintegrating. Two large and ancient kingdoms are near the point of rupture as Spain follows Britain into constitutional crisis, joined like Siamese twins.

The post-Hapsburg order further east is suddenly prey to a corrosive notion that settled borders are up for grabs. "Problems frozen for decades are warming up again," said Giles Merritt, from Friends of Europe in Brussels.

The best we can hope for - should tribalism prevail - is German political hegemony in Europe. The German people so far remain a bastion of rationalism, holding together as others tear themselves apart. The French are too paralysed by economic depression and the collapse of the Hollande presidency to play any serious role.

The far worse outcome is that even Germany succumbs to centrifugal forces, leaving Europe bereft of coherent leadership, a parochial patchwork, wallowing in victimhood and decline, defenceless against a revanchist Russia that plays by different rules.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has the 'Chicken Little'/fear mongering alarm bells ringing before there's anything for them to ring about.  But the British establishment has their knickers in a twist over Scotland at the moment---and AE-P is only doing the bidding of his masters.  If you decide to read this, do so with a big grain of salt.  It was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 9:10 p.m. BST on their Wednesday evening---and its another contribution from Roy Stephens.

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Most of France Wants Early Resignation of President Hollande: Poll

Over 60 percent of French voters want President Francois Hollande to leave office before his term runs out in in 2017, according to a new poll conducted by Ifop for Le Figaro Magazine, the media outlet reported Thursday.

"According to Ifop, 62 percent of Frenchmen would like to see Francois Hollande leave the Elysee Palace [the official residence of the President of the French Republic] before the end of his mandate. This would be preferable to the dissolution of the National Assembly [the lower house of the Parliament] of France or the replacement of the country's prime-minister," Le Figaro said.

Earlier in September, Hollande announced that he will not step down before the end of his term.

This brief news item was posted on the RIA Novosti website at 3:16 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon---and it's the first offering of the day from South African reader B.V.

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Half of Europeans against U.S. Interference in European Policies: Survey

Half of Europeans are against US interference in their international policies, the 13th Transatlantic Trends survey by The German Marshall Fund reveals.

"Fifty percent of Europeans said they would prefer to see their country take a more independent approach from the United States, up 8 percentage points from last year," reads the statement published on the fund's website on Wednesday.

The survey, which also showed that the majority of Americans (53%) disapprove of President Barack Obama's international policies, had the most notable response registered in Germany, where 57 percent of the population expressed a strong preference for such an approach in security and diplomatic affairs that would as independent from the United States as possible.

This is another RIA Novosti story from yesterday---and it's the second offering in a row from reader B.V.

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German Business Calls Russia Key Partner Despite Sanctions

Despite the sanctions, Russia is still key partner for German businesses, Michael Harms, Chairman of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce in Moscow, said Thursday.

"Unfortunately, the paradigm of our cooperation has changed significantly. At the beginning of the year I was working on the framework of a new Germany- Russia Partnership for Modernization, and today we have to speak about the impact of sanctions. Nevertheless, I would like to emphasize that from the perspective of the German business, Russia remains its strategic economic partner," Harms noted at the news conference presenting the results of the poll on the impact of sanctions.

According to the survey conducted by the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce revealed Tuesday, most German companies operating in Russia believe that economic sanctions against Moscow are not proving effective. Almost 80 percent of the polled enterprises believe that economic sanctions are counterproductive and not conducive for political objectives. One third of the respondents agree that sanctions still need to be introduced. Two thirds, on the contrary, think that the sanctions are not necessary. The respondents said the sanctions will lead to further deterioration of the economic environment. Some 71 percent of enterprises expect economic slowdown by the end of the year.

This RIA Novosti article put in an appearance on their Internet site at 2:36 p.m Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon---and it's the third contribution in a row from reader B.V.

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Despite economic fears, the E.U. sanctions Russia again

The European Union on Thursday slapped more sanctions on Russia for helping separatists destabilize Ukraine, limiting Russia’s access to its financial market, hitting the country’s vital oil industry, curbing high-tech exports and targeting more officials with travel bans and asset freezes.

Many E.U. members had been loath to increase the sanctions against Russia for fear of jeopardizing their close trade relationships with Moscow. But a compromise struck in a video conference call with top EU leaders broke a deadlock that had paralyzed the 28-nation bloc from taking tougher action over the past ten days.

Under the compromise hashed out by leaders including Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande, the sanctions could be reversed within weeks if the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine holds.

This AP story showed up on the washingtonpost.com Internet site at 1:51 p.m. EDT on Thursday afternoon---and it's the second offering of the day from Elliot Simon.  The BBC also had a story about this yesterday---and it was headlined "Ukraine crisis: New E.U. sanctions hit Russia on Friday".  It's courtesy of reader James Skinner.

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U.S. to sanction Sberbank, tighten limits on other Russian banks, sources tell Reuters

The United States will take new steps on Friday to limit the access of major Russian banks, including Sberbank, to U.S. debt and equity markets to punish Russia for its intervention in Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said.

The sanctions are timed to coincide with fresh European Union economic penalties, with both sets aimed at the Russian energy, financial and defense sectors.

They are the latest sanctions imposed by the United States and the E.U. following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March and what the West sees as an effort since to further destabilize Ukraine by backing pro-Russian separatists with troops and arms.

This Reuters article, filed from Washington, put in an appearance on their website at 4:29 p.m. EDT on Thursday---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site.

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Finance, energy and defense sectors: E.U. and U.S. set to impose new Russia sanctions

Barack Obama says he is joining the E.U. initiative to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia. Both Washington and Brussels say the sanctions will target finance, energy and defense sectors – yet can be revoked if the situation in Ukraine improves.

The U.S. is to provide details of their sanctions on Friday.

“We will deepen and broaden sanctions in Russia’s financial, energy, and defense sectors. These measures will increase Russia’s political isolation as well as the economic costs to Russia, especially in areas of importance to President [Vladimir] Putin and those close to him,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement on Thursday.

The U.S. says that Russia has sent heavily armed forces to Ukraine. Obama added that the U.S. may withdraw sanctions if Russia fulfills obligations under the Minsk agreement.

This news item showed up on the Russia Today website at 1:19 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon, which was 5:19 a.m. EDT.  It's another contribution to today's column from Roy Stephens.

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Moscow Views New E.U. Sanctions as Illegitimate: Kremlin

Moscow regrets E.U. decision to impose new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and views them as illegitimate, the Kremlin spokesman said Thursday.

“We regret the decision by E.U. countries to introduce a new round of sanctions [against Russia],” Dmitry Peskov told reporters in the capital of Tajikistan.

“We have said on numerous occasions that we do not understand and reject the idea of sanctions imposed earlier, while considering them as illegitimate,” Peskov said.

The spokesman added that the new sanctions did not make sense in view of efforts made recently by Russia to stop the bloodshed and to assist in a peaceful resolution of the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Well, dear reader, if you haven't figured out by now that the U.S. and NATO don't want to resolve this issue peacefully, then you should give up reading these types of stories.  This one appeared on the RIA Novosti website at 10:33 p.m. Moscow time yesterday evening.  I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

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Russia’s New Package of Retaliatory Measures to Western Sanctions Ready: Kremlin

Moscow has prepared a new package of retaliatory measures to Western sanctions, that include restrictions on imports of cars and textile products, but hopes that common sense will prevail, a senior Kremlin official told RIA Novosti Thursday.

"There is a whole range of non-agricultural products that make our, first of all European, partners dependent on us," he said. "For example, imports of cars, primarily second-hand cars, as well as certain types of textile products that we are quite capable of producing on our own. Not all of them, but certain kinds," presidential aide Andrei Belousov told RIA Novosti on the sidelines of the Samara economic forum.

Moscow has already imposed a year-long ban on the import of meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, as well as milk products from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway as a response to Western sanctions.

This story appeared on the RIA Novosti Internet site at 4:33 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon---and my thanks go out to reader B.V. once again.

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The Attack on ISIS Expands to Syria: New York Times Editorial Board

By the time President Obama announced the authorization of airstrikes in Syria Wednesday night, he clearly felt that he had little choice militarily or politically. For three years he resisted American military involvement in Syria, where the Assad government and rebel forces are engaged in a bloody civil war.

But with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — the vicious Sunni extremist group also known as ISIS and ISIL, which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and beheaded two Americans — Mr. Obama explained that he had to expand the fight into a perilous new horizon. “ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel and facilities,” he said. “If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies.”

In broadening the operation beyond airstrikes in Iraq, Mr. Obama says the aim now is to retake ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq and to degrade and ultimately destroy it wherever it operates, including in its strongholds in Syria. But even if discrete military goals are achieved in the short term, the expansion of the American role in that regional conflict carries substantial and unpredictable risks that Americans may not be willing to bear.

That’s why this open-ended operation, which Mr. Obama says will take time, demands congressional approval, despite his claim of authority to expand the campaign in Iraq and take the fight to Syria under the Iraq war resolution and the War Powers Resolution.

This editorial appeared on The New York Times website late in the evening on Wednesday---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.  It's worth reading.

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Struggling to Gauge ISIS Threat, Even as U.S. Prepares to Act

The violent ambitions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been condemned across the world: in Europe and the Middle East, by Sunni nations and Shiite ones, and by sworn enemies like Israel and Iran. Pope Francis joined the call for ISIS to be stopped.

But as President Obama prepares to send the United States on what could be a years-long military campaign against the militant group, American intelligence agencies have concluded that it poses no immediate threat to the United States. Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.

Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counter-terrorism adviser during Mr. Obama’s first term, said the public discussion about the ISIS threat has been a “farce,” with “members of the cabinet and top military officers all over the place describing the threat in lurid terms that are not justified.”

“It’s hard to imagine a better indication of the ability of elected officials and TV talking heads to spin the public into a panic, with claims that the nation is honeycombed with sleeper cells, that operatives are streaming across the border into Texas or that the group will soon be spraying Ebola virus on mass transit systems — all on the basis of no corroborated information,” said Mr. Benjamin, who is now a scholar at Dartmouth College.

This news item, filed from Washington, was also from The New York Times website on Wednesday---and it's worth reading as well.

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Russia warns U.S. against strikes on Islamic State in Syria

Russia has warned that U.S. air strikes against militants in Syria would be a "gross violation" of international law.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesman said any such action, without the backing of the UN, would be "an act of aggression".

It comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia to try to build a coalition against Islamic State (IS) militants.

President Obama has threatened action against IS in Syria as well as Iraq.

Good points, of course, but the U.S. government and military are now beyond any law---domestic or foreign.  This article appeared on the bbc.com Internet site at 11:36 EDT on Thursday---and it's courtesy of reader B.V.

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Turkey Refuses to Take Part in U.S.-led Attacks in Iraq, Syria: Reports

Turkey will not allow a U.S.-led coalition to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria from its air bases and will not take part in combat operations against militant groups, a government official told Agence France Presse Thursday.

"Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The announcement comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is holding talks in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to encourage Middle Eastern countries to create an international coalition to fight terrorism, particularly the Islamic State (IS) group.

This is another story from the RIA Novosti website that was posted there late yesterday afternoon Moscow time---and it's also courtesy of reader B.V.

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Iran Doubts Emerging Coalition Members Ready to Fight IS Militants

Tehran expressed doubts that the members of an emerging international coalition truly intend to fight radical Islamists in Syria and Iraq, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Thursday, citing Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham.

“There are serious ambiguities in the real intention of an emerging so-called international coalition against the terrorist group of Daesh (also known as ISIS),” Afkham was quoted as saying by the agency.

She added that certain coalition members provided financial and technical support to the terrorists in Iraq and Syria. At the same time, other members proved unable to carry the responsibility put on them by the international community when it came to Iraq and Syria.

Once again reader B.V. has sent us a story from the RIA Novosti website that was posted there at 5:53 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday afternoon.  There was also a story about all this in The Guardian yesterday evening BST as well.  It's headlined "Assad, Moscow and Tehran condemn Obama's plan for air strikes against ISIS"---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens---and it's final contribution of the day, for which I thank him.

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China, Russia reported to build huge seaport in North Asia

China and Russia are to build one of the largest ports in northeast Asia on Russia's Sea of Japan coast, Chinese media reports. It is the latest step by Beijing and Moscow to bring their economies closer, and diversify from Western influence.

The new seaport will be located in Russia’s Far East, just 18 kilometers away from the Chinese border and will be capable to handle up to 60 million tons of cargo a year, China's state-run People's Daily Online reported.

The deal between the two countries was signed at May's Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai, the report said.

This Russia Today article showed up on their website at 10:53 a.m. Moscow time on their Thursday morning---and it's the final offering of the day from South African reader B.V.

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Three King World News Blogs

1. Art Cashin: Remembering the Horror, Atrocity, and Heroes of 9/11  2. Keith Barron: "Swiss Gold Initiative---and the PPT Losing Control of the Gold Market"  3. Egon von Greyerz: "This Terrifying Black Swan to Collapse Global Financial System"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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India's Love Affair with Gold May Be Over as Prices Slide

Kiran Laxman Salunkhe used to buy jewellery during religious festivals, but sliding gold prices have led the young Indian farmer to break with his family's traditional investment.

This year Salunkhe has deposited his hard-earned savings at the bank for the first time in a decade and bought farmland.

"I bought jewellery when gold price was 32,000 rupees (per 10 grams) last year. Now jewellers won't pay me more than 27,000 rupees if I want to sell. Why should I invest in gold," said Salunkhe, who farms 15 acres of sugar cane in Vangal, a village 250 km (160 miles) south of Mumbai.

"Nowadays it is risky to keep jewellery. Burglaries are rising," he said. "With a fixed deposit there is no risk."

This longish Reuters story, filed from Vangal, India, certainly has a strong anti-gold slant---and it was posted on their website at 8:17 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening---and I found it embedded in a GATA release.  I doubt very much that this story is representative of the entire nation, but it's worth skimming nonetheless.

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China Holds “Gold Congress” - Positioning Itself as Global Gold Hub, “In China, Gold is Money”

The China Gold Congress is currently in full flight in Beijing. The three day Congress is China’s biggest gold industry event of the year, drawing in participants from across the Chinese and international gold sectors including central banks, mining companies, bullion banks and refiners.

The event, co-sponsored by the World Gold Council (WGC) and the China Gold Association, showcases China’s gold industry and acts as a focus point for what is now the world’s largest gold market in terms of demand and product innovation.

Discussions and forums during the event cover everything from reserve asset management for the official or central banking sector, through to investment products and mining supply. One of the key themes this year is the internationalisation of the gold market.

China’s gold market accounts for one third of global demand, and according to the WGC, is expected to grow another 20% cumulatively from now until the end of 2017.

This excellent commentary by Mark O'Byrne showed up on the goldcore.com Internet site yesterday---and in my opinion is a must read.  I borrowed the headline from the Zero Hedge piece on this.

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CME to launch Asia gold contract as race for pricing power heats up

CME Group Inc said it will launch a physically deliverable gold futures contract in Hong Kong later this year, joining a race in Asia to provide a viable price benchmark in the biggest gold-consuming region.

The planned launch of CME's 1 kg gold contract comes as China and Singapore are also preparing to launch physical bullion contracts with an eye on gaining pricing power of the metal at a time when the global benchmark is under scrutiny.

The moves underscore rising pressure from Asia, home to the top two gold consumers - China and India - to have pricing references that better reflect the region's market dynamics, and the growing disenchantment with prices set in the West.

The century-old London fix, the global benchmark for spot gold that is determined by a group of four banks over a teleconference, is being investigated by European and U.S. regulators under suspicion that it may have been manipulated.

If the CME Group is involved, you just know its going to be crooked.  This Reuters article, filed from Beijing, appeared on their Internet site at 10:32 a.m. IST on their Friday morning---and it's a gold-related news story I found on the Sharps Pixley website in the wee hours of this morning.

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China gold group, WGC ink co-operative agreement

The World Gold Council (WGC), the London headquartered market development organisation for the gold industry, and the China Gold Association have signed a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Agreement’, at the official launch of the China Gold Congress & Expo 2014 in Beijing.

The aim of the agreement is stated to be to enhance the global understanding of the gold market and supply chain and China’s role within it through the exchange of research, data insights and developing innovations for gold in investment, technology and jewellery.

One hopes that this may give WGC researchers perhaps a better understanding of the Chinese gold supply and demand situation than seems to be the case at present where known import figures, stated gold demand figures and published data out of the Shanghai Gold Exchange seem to suggest a wide disparity in apparent demand in particular. However given the China Gold Association’s ties with the Chinese government, as will have any Chinese trade organisation, which may have an agenda to only let Western organisations, like the WGC, know what it wants them to know, then the co-operation agreement might not actually provide a great deal of new information on these disparities, although any such regular contact should be helpful.

It is also highly unlikely to throw any new light on whether the Chinese Central Bank is surreptitiously increasing its gold reserves without reporting them to the IMF - as many Western analysts believe - or not. We will almost certainly have to wait until the Chinese government deems it politic to announce any reserve upgrade, if any, before we know for sure.

This commentary by Lawrie appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site on Thursday sometime---and it's definitely worth reading.

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Gold engagement ring from 17th Century discovered lying in field by pensioner

A gold engagement ring from the 17th Century has been unearthed by a pensioner with a metal detector - more than 300 years after it was lost. 

Tom Ross, 69, was sweeping his metal detector over a ploughed farmer's field near Newtownabbey in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, when he stumbled across the item.

The rare 'posy' ring, which dates back to the late 1600s and is 85 per cent gold, bears the Old English inscription 'I noght on gift bot gifer', or 'Look not on the gift, but the giver'. Also known as a 'betrothal' ring, it pre-dates the custom of proposing with an engagement ring, but essentially served the same purpose.

Men and women exchanged the items from the 1500s onwards to symbolise their future commitment to each other.

This interesting news item put in an appearance on the dailymail.co.uk Internet site on Wednesday---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

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Sep 11, 2014

U.S. stocks rise on Apple; rate hike views boost dollar

U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, helped by a rebound in Apple shares, while expectations for a stronger economy and thus higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve boosted the dollar to a six-year high against the yen.

Yields on U.S. Treasuries continued their advance higher, with investors increasingly seeing momentum in the world's strongest economy prompting central bank action soon.

Worries over a vote for Scottish independence, scheduled for Sept. 18, spooked investors in Europe, where shares closed flat.

"There are so many factors that are supporting the dollar at the moment, mainly its better performance in the U.S., which will likely bring a more hawkish tone from the Fed," said Sireen Harajli, a foreign exchange strategist at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York.

This Reuters article, filed from New York, appeared on their Internet site at 5:10 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon.  That's very strange considering the fact that Orlando, Florida reader Dennis Mong sent me this link at 5:34 a.m. EDT yesterday morning---and at that time the headline read "Shares fall, yields rise as Fed, Scotland dominate".  And some readers wonder why I doubt the veracity of the U.S. media.

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New York Golf Courses Rejected Obama Holiday Weekend Visit

President Barack Obama was rejected by several New York golf courses over Labor Day weekend, according to NBC News.

A number of sources told the network that top golf courses in the Westchester area turned down requests by the president's team for Obama to tee off on Saturday, Aug. 30. The clubs include Trump National Golf Club, the Winged Foot, and Willow Ridge.

Club managers, who were approached just a day or two before the requested visit, allegedly did not want to inconvenience their members by shutting down the club to accommodate the president.

This cute story showed up on the newsmax.com Internet site at 8:14 a.m. EDT on Wednesday---and I thank reader Brad Robertson for sharing it with us.

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Coming soon: 3D printable solar panels capable of powering…anything

Printable solar panels are going to be available to us very soon and could power “entire skyscrapers,” Australian researchers say. The very near future will see personal electronic charging transformed, but the potential is growing quickly.

A team of 50 scientists in various fields worked for years to develop paper-thin, printable solar panels as part of the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium. They hope to see commercial market production for use in low-power applications in the very near future.

The key benefit of such technology is in transforming the way personal electronics are charged. "iPad covers, laptop bags, skins of iPhone [will no longer be] just for casing electronics, but to collect some energy as well and power those electronics," Fiona Scholes, a senior research scientist at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, told ABC News.

What’s more, the energy source can be transported to the world’s remote and developing regions in a cheap and easy way.

Since I don't have all that many stories for you today, I thought I'd slide this off-topic Russia Today article into the mix, rather than saving it for Saturday---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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British P.M. begs Scots not to break up 'family of nations'

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday begged Scots not to rip apart the United Kingdom's "family of nations", flying to Scotland to man the barricades against a surge in support for independence eight days before a referendum.

Cameron appealed to Scots to use their heads and their hearts when they voted on Sept. 18. He reminded them of their shared history and bonds with England, Wales and Northern Ireland - twice evoking World War Two and the fight against Hitler.

He also warned that an independent Scotland could not keep the pound currency, jobs would head south, and the country's security be weakened.

Cameron's visit was a sign of the panic that has gripped the British ruling elite over the possible disintegration of the 307-year-old union since two polls in the past showed the campaign for independence, led by Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party, gaining support to run neck-and-neck with the "No" campaign, which until a few weeks ago was looking comfortably ahead.

This Reuters article, filed from Edinburgh, Scotland, appeared on their website at 6:50 p.m. EDT on Wednesday afternoon, at least according to the dateline.  Dennis Mong sent me this story at 5:32 a.m. EDT yesterday morning, so it's obviously been through some changes in the interim.  It's prior headline read "U.K. ... Please Scotland ... Please do not divide the U.K."

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France says will not meet E.U. deficit rules until 2017

Crisis-wracked France on Wednesday said it would not be able to get its public deficit under the EU maximum of three percent until 2017, pushing the target back by two years.

Finance Minister Michel Sapin said France's deficit would be 4.4 percent of output in 2014, dropping only slightly to 4.3 percent in 2015. He added the target of getting below the three-percent ceiling would not happen until 2017, instead of 2015 as previously forecast.

France will never get back into compliance.  They, like almost all European countries, are in an economic slump that they can never get out of---along with a national debt that they can never pay off.  Bankruptcy is the only answer.  This short 2-paragraph story is all there is to this AFP offering that appeared on the france24.com Internet site at 9:51 a.m. Europe time yesterday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sending it our way.

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Santander weighs as European shares fall for fourth session

Europe's leading shares fell for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, with Spain's top lender Santander the biggest drag after the death of its chairman prompted worries over a successor.

Sentiment on the broader market was sapped by the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary conditions, which - along with the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East - has unnerved investors.

EU states will discuss on Wednesday whether to implement new sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

This Reuters piece, filed from London, showed up on their website at 4:23 a.m. EDT on Wednesday morning---and it's another contribution from Dennis Mong.

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V for Victoria: Catalans Want Independence Too

There are two questions that could secure a prominent place in the history books for Oriol Junqueras. The first is: "Do you want Catalonia to be its own state?" The second: "Do you want that state to be independent?" Junqueras, a 45-year-old historian from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, is the man behind the referendum that could result in independence for Catalonia.

The president of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Junqueras is convinced that a majority of his compatriots in the region in Spain's northeast would like to live in an independent state. Since the European Parliament elections in May, the ERC is Catalonia's strongest political party, partly the result of Junqueras' unflagging support for independence.

Junqueras' popularity is such that he was also elected mayor of his hometown, Sant Vicenç dels Horts, three years ago. "Even though 80 percent of village residents speak Spanish instead of Catalan, they elected a separatist," he says. Now, he is hoping to win over all of Catalonia to his cause.

This article put in an appearance on the German website spiegel.de late Wednesday morning Europe time---and my thanks go out to  Roy Stephens for finding it for us.  The story has had a headline change, as it used to read "Catalonia Seeks Independence Referendum Despite Madrid Rejection".

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Unidentified Fragments Found in Bodies of MH17 Crew: Dutch Safety Board

Unidentified fragments have been found in the bodies of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 pilots, their origin is currently being established, a Dutch Safety Board (DSB) spokeswoman told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

“Some fragments are found in the bodies of flight crew, pilots. We have to investigate them to see if they are fragments of the plane. If they are not, it might be fragments of the objects, coming from outside. We’re not sure yet what these pieces are fragments of. Experts are working with bodies,” DSB spokeswoman Sara Vernooij said.

On Tuesday, the DSB released a preliminary report on the MH17 crash. According to the report, the flight broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by “a large number of high-energy objects” that penetrated the aircraft from outside.

This RIA Novosti news item appeared on their website at 1:49 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday afternoon---and it's another offering from reader B.V.

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Azov fighters are Ukraine's greatest weapon and may be its greatest threat

"I have nothing against Russian nationalists, or a great Russia," said Dmitry, as we sped through the dark Mariupol night in a pickup truck, a machine gunner positioned in the back. "But Putin's not even a Russian. Putin's a Jew."

Dmitry – which he said is not his real name – is a native of east Ukraine and a member of the Azov battalion, a volunteer grouping that has been doing much of the front line fighting in Ukraine's war with pro-Russia separatists. The Azov, one of many volunteer brigades to fight alongside the Ukrainian army in the east of the country, has developed a reputation for fearlessness in battle.

But there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine's most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, leanings of many of its members.

This longish essay, which is definitely worth reading, showed up on theguardian.com Internet site at 1:36 BST on Wednesday afternoon---and my thanks go out to Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention.

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Ukraine’s President signs law allowing sanctions against Russia

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a law allowing future sanctions against Russia, which could include a ban on the transit of Russian gas, and sanctions against Russian banks, according to the website of the upper parliament.

The President’s signature means that Ukraine now can legally enact special economic restrictions against Russia should it choose to, according to the document posted on the website Wednesday.

On August 14, the Ukrainian Parliament approved the first reading of the bill that allows Ukraine to impose sanctions on Russia. They will apply to 172 individuals and 65 companies that have supported the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and those that “violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine” according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk.

The prime minister has said the sanctions against Russia may include a ban on the transit of Russian natural gas across its territory.

Talk about shooting yourself in the head.  You couldn't make this stuff up.  This Russia Today story was posted on their website at 9:49 a.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday morning.  This story is courtesy of Roy Stephens as well.

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Russia stokes tensions with the west by cutting gas exports to Poland

A decision by Russia to cut gas exports to Poland without warning has rekindled fears about Europe's reliance on Siberian gas at a time of increasing tension between Moscow and the west.

The Polish state energy group, PGNiG, said it was trying to find out why volumes had been slashed by up to 24% when it had been exporting gas itself to Ukraine to make up for Russian shortfalls there.

Its counterpart in Kiev, Ukrtransgaz, accused Kremlin-controlled Gazprom of penalising Poland and undermining onward gas supplies to Kiev.

"Today Russia started limiting gas supplies to Poland in order to disrupt the reverse (flows) from Poland that we receive ... Poland stopped reverse supplies to Ukraine in the range of 4m cubic metres," said Ihor Prokopiv, chief executive of Ukrtransgaz, according to the Russian news agency, RIA.

This is another article from The Guardian courtesy of Roy Stephens---and it appeared there at 6:32 p.m. BST Wednesday evening.

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U.S., E.U. to ban Exxon, BP and Shell from oil exploration in Russia – report

The E.U. and the U.S. are going to ban energy giants like Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell from searching for crude oil in Russia's Arctic, deep seas and shale formations, three American officials anonymously told Bloomberg.

These sanctions would reportedly not interfere with current oil drilling and production from conventional land-based wells and those along the shallow edges of inland seas, some of which have been pumping crude for decades, according to the officials interviewed by Bloomberg News.

The ban reportedly targets crude reserves that wouldn’t supply oil to the international energy market for at least 5 years.

All of the officials asked to not be named. The E.U. has failed to agree on whether to impose its new round of sanctions on Russia. The announcement of the final decision has been held off as the ambassadors from the 28 E.U. members convene to continue discussions on Thursday.

This article appeared on the Russia Today website at 8:28 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday evening---and was edited at 6:57 a.m. Moscow time this morning.  I thank reader B.V. for sliding it into my in-box just before I hit the send button on today's column.

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Putin: Russia will not get involved in arms race

Russia is not going to get involved in a new arms race, President Vladimir Putin said as he ordered his government to work out “balanced and realistic” defense strategy for 2016 through 2025.

“Someone really wants to unleash a new arms race,” Russia’s president said at a meeting with senior defense industry officials. “We, of course, are not going to be involved in this race.”

Putin tasked the defense industry to work out a new military doctrine by December. His comments came a week after Russia said Sept. 2 it would review the doctrine, in response to NATO announcing its intentions to expand in Eastern Europe amid Ukrainian crisis.

This Russia Today news item appeared on their Internet site at 12:33 p.m. Moscow time yesterday afternoon---and it's the final contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Russia and China agree to settle more trade in their own currencies

Russia and China pledged on Tuesday to settle more bilateral trade in ruble and yuan and to enhance cooperation between banks, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said, as Moscow seeks to cushion the effects of Western economic sanctions.

Shuvalov told reporters in Beijing that he had agreed on an economic cooperation pact with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli that included boosting use of the ruble and yuan for trade transactions.

The pact also lets Russian banks set up accounts with Chinese banks, and makes provisions for Russian companies to seek loans from Chinese firms.

This Reuters piece, filed from Beijing, was posted on their website at 6:22 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning---and I found it embedded in a GATA release yesterday.

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Bank of Japan Buys Government Debt at Negative Yield

Tuesday marked another milestone in the topsy-turvy world of monetary easing in Japan: The Bank of Japan bought short-term Japanese government debt at a negative yield for the first time, according to market participants.

The BoJ scooped up some of the three-month No. 477 Treasury bill, which has traded at a negative yield for the past two trading days amid strong demand, the market participants said.

Normally, people who buy debt expect to get their money back plus some interest. Negative yield means the buyer gets back less than he or she puts in.

Why would the Bank of Japan buy under such conditions?  Traders said the bank wanted to show the market that it would meet its asset purchase goals–literally at whatever the cost.

Reader Brad Robertson sent around this Wall Street Journal piece, filed from Tokyo I presume, that was posted on their website at 10:32 p.m. JST on their Tuesday evening---and it's worth reading.

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Three King World News Blogs

1. Rick Rule: "Takedowns in Gold, Silver and Oil to End Badly For Bears"  2. Jeffrey Saut: "Quote of the Week---and a Chart That Will Shock KWN Readers"  3. Stephen Leeb: "Putin Has Won in Ukraine---and What China and Germany Are Up To"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Weak hands have been shaken out of gold, Butler and Skoyles contend

Fund manager and author John Butler and Jan Skoyles, CEO of The Real Asset Co., interviewed in London the other day by financial journalist Lars Schall, concurred that the weak hands have been shaken out of gold and that most gold investors are holding for the long term, expecting market fundamentals to prevail.

The interview is 6:05 minutes long and was posted at Matterhorn Asset Management's Internet site, goldswitzerland.com.  I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraph of introduction.

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Dimitri Speck: Platinum's price is suppressed like gold's and silver's

Analysis by market analyst and GATA consultant Dimitri Speck shows that the platinum market is manipulated just as the gold and silver markets are, largely through futures contract sales keyed to the morning and afternoon platinum price fixings.

Speck writes: "There have long been hints that systematic manipulation of gold and silver prices via the futures markets is taking place -- also during the fixing. Due to the many similarities, it seems likely that the futures market also plays a decisive role with respect to manipulation of the platinum fixing.

"The one-sided direction of the fixing manipulations over many years is conspicuous. Conventional manipulations can be excluded as a possible reason. These could, for instance, have the goal of creating profits for option writers or other holders of securities tied to a benchmark. However, in such manipulations, one would expect that prices would be manipulated to the upside just as often as to the downside. This is, however, not the case with platinum, and neither is it the case with gold and silver.

"Thus, the manipulation of the platinum fixing, similar to that in gold and silver, amounts to systematic price suppression."

No surprises here.  All one has to do is take a cursory glance at the latest Bank Participation Report for platinum to see that.  That goes for palladium as well.  Speck's analysis is headlined "Platinum Fixing Under the Microscope" and was posted on thehedgefundjournal.com Internet site back on Sunday, August 31.  I thank Chris Powell for writing 'all of the above'---but the first person through the door with this story was South African B.V.  It falls into the must read category.

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Sep 10, 2014

James Rickards: Fed Tapering Signals Trouble for Economy, Stock Market

The Federal Reserve is in the midst of winding down its third round of quantitative easing (QE3), and economist and financial author James Rickards says that doesn't bode well for the economy and financial markets.

After the Fed's prior two quantitative easing operations, both the economy and the stock market suffered, he notes. Rickards is the author of "The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System."

"It's happening again, but in slow motion, because the QE3 taper was gradual and from a higher level," he tells CNBC. "When this third taper is done in November, the weakness will become apparent."

This short piece appeared on the moneynews.com Internet site at 8:15 a.m. EDT on Tuesday morning---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for today's first story.

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Big Banks Headed Straight for Another Bailout

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which included the orderly liquidation living wills requirement, was meant to prevent future rescues of systemically important financial institutions. But the idea that current regulations are capable of solving the too-big-to-fail problem was challenged by the recent regulatory rejection of 11 banks' living wills. Some argue that living wills are a work-in-progress that will improve over time. However, the truth is that living wills are a myth meant to calm the populace. It is impossible to neatly unwind a failed SIFI, since the failure of such a large institution will necessarily cause unacceptable collateral damage.

The most likely course of action is that regulators will maintain the status quo and change nothing of substance, relying on cosmetic fixes to give voters a false sense of security. Some free market enthusiasts might argue that the status quo isn't so bad, so long as customers and not regulators decide how big banks should be. But the SIFI market is anything but free. The big bank model failed in late 2008; in a free market, these banks would have ceased to exist. They survived because they are the creations of the government, not the free market. Exempt from market discipline, they represent crony capitalism at its worst.

This brief essay, which is certainly worth reading, showed up on the americanbanker.com Internet site at noon on Monday---and it's something I found in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

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Ron Paul---Nixon’s Revenge: The Imperial Presidency Lives On

Forty years ago many Americans celebrated the demise of the imperial presidency with the resignation of Richard Nixon. Today it is clear they celebrated too soon. Nixon’s view of presidential powers, summed up in his infamous statement that, “when the president does it that means it is not illegal,” is embraced by the majority of the political class. In fact, the last two presidents have abused their power in ways that would have made Nixon blush.

For example, Nixon’s abuse of the Internal Revenue Service to persecute his political opponents was the subject of one of the articles of impeachment passed by the US House of Representatives. As bad as Nixon’s abuse of the IRS was, he was hardly the first president to use the IRS this way, and the present administration seems to be continuing this tradition. The targeting of Tea Party groups has received the most attention, but it is not the only instance of the IRS harassing President Barack Obama’s political opponents. For example, the IRS has demanded that one of my organizations, Campaign for Liberty, hand over information regarding its major donors.

Nixon’s abuse of federal power to spy on his “enemies” was abhorrent, but Nixon’s abuses of civil liberties pale in comparison to those of his successors. Today literally anyone in the world can be spied on, indefinitely detained, or placed on a presidential “kill list” based on nothing more than a presidential order. For all his faults, Nixon never tried to claim the power to unilaterally order anyone in the world detained or killed.

This short essay by Ron Paul appeared on David Stockman's website on Monday---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it.

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U.S. Refuses to Declassify Information About Foreign Involvement in 9/11 Attacks

The Obama administration refuses to declassify the information about the involvement of certain foreign governments in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, despite the calls and efforts of the Congress members, congressman Stephen Lynch told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

"We've had dialog. And the families have had dialog. But it hasn't been productive up until now," Lynch said.

H. Res. 428 is a resolution introduced to make public 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001. The pages, initially classified by President George W. Bush, have remained classified under President Barack Obama. The resolution states that declassification of the pages is necessary to provide the American public with the full truth surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, particularly relating to the involvement of foreign governments.

This news item showed up on the RIA Novosti website at 3:15 a.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday morning---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sliding it into my in-box just before I hit the send button on today's column.

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Doug Casey: “There Is a Rogue Elephant in Your House”

One time when I was in Burma (now Myanmar), I spent a couple of days riding around the forest by elephant back. Elephants are a fine thing to have in the forest but, believe it or not, you have one living in your house with you. And you should do something about it now, before your house is wrecked and you and your family get stomped in the process.

Any amount of financial success won’t mean much if you get stepped on by the elephant in the room. The damage you routinely suffer from the elephant—not to mention the lingering threat that he’ll go completely berserk someday—dwarfs the importance of the best investment decision you’ll ever make. So, I’m going to invite your attention to a problem of overriding importance: How can you protect yourself and your wealth from the elephant?

The elephant in the room is, of course, the government.

This excellent commentary by Doug showed up on the Casey Research website on Monday---and it's well worth reading.

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British P.M. to head to Scotland as independence campaign gathers steam

British Prime Minister David Cameron implored Scots on Tuesday not to vote for independence in next week's referendum after an opinion poll showed a surge in support for a break from the United Kingdom.

Cameron pledged to do all he could to keep the United Kingdom together and said he would head north to Scotland on Wednesday to join the fray.

"In the end, it is for the Scottish people to decide, but I want them to know that the rest of the United Kingdom - and I speak as prime minister - want them to stay."

Cameron's move made clear that the break–up of the United Kingdom - previously thought to be a pipe dream - was now a distinct possibility. His spokesman said Scotland's blue and white flag would be flown over Cameron's London residence in Downing Street until the vote next week.

This Reuters article, co-filed from Edinburgh and London, appeared on their website at 1:05 p.m. EDT yesterday afternoon---and I thank Orlando, Florida reader Dennis Mong for sending it our way.

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Get your money out of Britain: Global banks warn investors 'Yes' vote would be 'cataclysmic' for U.K. economy

International investors have been warned to pull their cash out of Britain to protect themselves against the 'cataclysmic' impact of Scottish independence.

Japan's biggest bank, Nomura, warned sterling could plunge by 15 per cent in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote – amid warnings over a ‘run on UK assets’ threatening savings and pensions of ordinary families.

It came as it emerged David Cameron has pleaded with business chiefs to publicly warn against Scottish independence.

The Prime Minister asked company bosses at a Downing Street drinks event last night to 'highlight the dangers of a Scottish exit in any way we can'. 

This news item appeared on the dailymail.co.uk Internet site at 8:48 a.m. BST on their Tuesday morning---and it thank South African reader B.V. for sharing it with us.

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Lavrov Hopes Ceasefire in Ukraine to Be Consolidated in Next Few Days

Moscow hopes that within the next few days the ceasefire in Ukraine will be consolidated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“In speaking of the assessments of how the ceasefire is being observed, we naturally rely on the opinions of the OSCE observers. They aren’t panicking. They do acknowledge that there are some isolated incidents from both sides. However, one senior observer said in an interview that unfortunately this is the usual case at the beginning period of a setting up a ceasefire and bringing the agreement of a ceasefire to life. So, we hope that in the next few days this regime will be consolidated,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly.

Representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed to a ceasefire between Kiev and Ukrainian independence supporters during the September meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk.

This article appeared on the RIA Novosti website at 1:57 p.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday afternoon---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens.

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The Ukraine Crisis Remains Unresolved — Paul Craig Roberts

Some Western commentators interpret the cease fire in Ukraine obtained by President Putin as a victory for Russia. The reasoning is that the cease fire leaves Ukraine with disputed borders, which rules out Ukraine’s membership in NATO.

But will the cease fire hold? The right-wing Kiev militias, whose members often wear Nazi insignias, are not under Kiev’s complete control. These militias can easily violate the cease fire, and there are already reports of violations. Moreover the billionaire oligarch that Washington has installed in Kiev as president of Ukraine will violate the ceasefire on Washington’s orders, unless, of course, Putin has put the fear of God in him.

To a military strategist the Russian response to the trouble that Washington has caused Russia in Ukraine, longer a part of Russia than the U.S. has existed, is a mystery. Russia lost Ukraine because of its weakness when the Soviet Union collapsed, and Washington forced Russia to permit an independent Ukraine, which served Washington’s purpose of breaking up the Russian Federation.

The western Ukrainians, who fought for Hitler during World War II, maintained an impressive lobby organization in Washington and secured their independent country, but they did not control Ukraine because much of the country consists of former Russian territories made part of Ukraine by Soviet leaders in the 20th century.

This Paul Craig Roberts commentary falls into the absolute must read category, especially for all serious students of the New Great Game---and it's a Roy Stephens offering as well.

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Russian MP urges ‘nationalization’ of Google over security fears

A ruling party lawmaker has said he will press for Google to register a subsidiary in Russia and comply with all Russian laws after uncovering the software giant’s alleged cooperation with foreign security services.

We hold that in due time we must see the nationalization of Google, meaning that Google’s operations concerning Russia must fall under Russian jurisdiction and competence,” MP Yevgeny Fyodorov of the parliamentary majority caucus United Russia told a press conference on Tuesday. This will mean national control over the legal entity and all the company communications, the lawmaker explained.

Fyodorov wants Google to register a subsidiary in Russia by the beginning of 2015.

The MP said the Russian Federation would now face a long period of foreign aggression and that it must prepare all its defenses, including those in mass media and information. He added that the authorities must gradually transfer the control of all sensitive internet resources in the country to Russian specialists’ control. This would assure that Russian laws are observed in full and also give a boost to the hi-tech sector of the economy, Fyodorov said.

This article appeared on the Russia Today Internet site at 1:34 p.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday afternoon---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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The Mother of All Blowback: Eric Margolis

President Barack Obama is being lambasted by US Republicans for admitting that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with the rise of the militant group, ISIS, or Islamic State, as it’s now known.

Given that the US had made an unbelievable mess of its Mideast policies, the president is right to pause and think, something his shoot –from- the- lip Republican critics rarely do. They are demanding the US attack both Iraq and Syria without asking “what then oh brave Washington warriors?” These are the Republicans who ardently supported George Bush’s catastrophic invasion and destruction of Iraq.

The problem is that too many cooks in Washington are spoiling its Mideast soup. In his magnificent new book, “The Sleepwalkers,” Prof. Christopher Clark of Cambridge describes how World War I was in part ignited by small numbers of anti-German officials in France, Russia, Serbia and Britain who often undermined their own government’s moderate policies.

The same process occurred under President George W. Bush when cabals of neocon officials in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and media drove the US into a calamitous war whose negative effects are still being felt.

This short essay is your second absolute must read of the day---and it was posted on Eric's website on August 30. I thank reader B.V. for bringing it to our attention.

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Lavrov: West may use ISIS as pretext to bomb Syrian government forces

If the West bombs Islamic State militants in Syria without consulting Damascus, the anti-ISIS alliance may use the occasion to launch airstrikes against President Bashar Assad’s forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

There are reasons to suspect that air strikes on Syrian territory may target not only areas controlled by Islamic State militants, but the government troops may also be attacked on the quiet to weaken the positions of Bashar Assad’s army,” Lavrov said Tuesday.

Such a development would lead to a huge escalation of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a meeting with the foreign minister of Mali.

This story appeared on the Russia Today website at 4:10 p.m. Moscow time on their Tuesday afternoon---8:10 a.m. EDT---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

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Three King World News Blogs

1. Art Cashin: "There is a Huge Problem in Europe---and a Shock in Key Markets"  2. John Embry: "Vladimir Putin, the U.S. Dollar, Gold---and a Warning"  3. James Turk: "Despite Recent Weakness in Gold, Revaluation Spike is Coming"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Brian Domitrovic: Transacting in gold can shaft the IRS

In 2011, the state of Utah passed a law banning taxes on the use of gold and silver coins as currency and permitting residents to remit state taxes in these coins. Big deal, you might say. That’s already in the Constitution: “No state shall…make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.”

Oklahoma has done something similar, confirming that transactions taking place in gold and silver are free from state taxes on the exchange medium. Currently, in federal law, if you buy things with gold, for example, you have to declare as taxable the gain on any market appreciation of the gold you used to make the purchase.

Actually, it’s not real federal law. It’s just a piece 0f “administrative law,” that poor relation of real law, which an agency, the Internal Revenue Service, came up with outside of the Congressional and the judicial processes. If you look at real law, statutes signed by the president and Supreme Court decisions from over the centuries, it has been affirmed time and again that the feds must consider gold and silver coins and their own paper notes as dollars as denominated, one and the same.

This opinion piece appeared on the forbes.com website on Monday---and I found this on the gata.org Internet site.

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Koos Jansen: German gold repatriation accelerating

Bloomberg News would have the world believe that Germany's Bundesbank has stopped repatriating gold from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen says that the repatriation is likely accelerating, though of course with such a slow start almost anything might qualify as acceleration.

Jansen's commentary is headlined "German Gold Repatriation Accelerating" and it was posted at the bullionstar.com Internet site on Sunday.  I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraph of introduction.

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Lawrence Williams: Goldcorp CEO expounds on Peak gold and $900 gold price

Goldcorp CEO, Chuck Jeannes, has been on the interview trail recently and has come up with some interesting, although not altogether surprising, views on gold and the gold price. Indeed if one analyses them from the Goldcorp perspective they are wholly logical given what is one of the most successful of the world’s mega gold miners’ current financial and operating situations.

Followers of the gold sector will be aware that not only has the pace of gold exploration dipped dramatically, as majors have cut back and juniors are cash strapped, but the discovery of new major gold deposits has diminished to close on zero, while big new projects under development are pretty well coming to an end, as the majors cut back on capital programmes, and finance for multi billion dollar mega projects is tough, if not impossible, to raise in the current financial climate. ‘Peak gold’ has been discussed in the gold-oriented media from time to time, but it probably has needed the comment from a heavy hitter like Jeannes to get it the prominence it perhaps deserves.

Yes, Peak Gold is indeed close. In fact the only thing preventing it having happened already is, ironically, the lower gold price, which has forced big miners to mine higher ore grades and thus raise production (thereby lowering unit costs) but at the expense of mine lives. But their scope for doing this diminishes the whole time. We may yet thus see a small increase in global gold production this year as a result and as the remaining projects, already in the pipeline, come on stream. But the industry’s scope for maintaining this is diminishing by the minute and Jeannes is almost certainly correct in his prediction that global gold output is about to turn downwards, and may well remain on a downwards path for many years to come.

I would hazard a guess, dear reader, that unless we see some radically higher gold prices soon, the "many years" to which Lawrie refers to in his last sentence, could wind up being a decade or more.  Not only don't the ore bodies exist to be mined, but the deposits being found now are much smaller, as the low-hanging fruit was picked long ago.  The other casualty of high prices will be production from existing mines, as it will plunge, because the owner/operators will jettison high-grading the moment it happens.  I found this story on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.

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