Friday, 6 September 2013

The Unstoppable War?

Baltic Dry Index. 1279 +64

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”

Mark Twain.

Is the Syrian war unstoppable? It certainly seems to be unstoppable by the G-20. A modern day repeat of July and August 1914? Other than Al Qaeeda and their fellow travellers, I can’t see who gains from America and France becoming Al Qaeeda’s airforce, but I’m not a genius sitting in Washington or Paris. With crash season arriving, is 2013 going to rank alongside 1914 and 1939?

There was never a good war, or a bad peace.

Benjamin Franklin.

September 5, 2013, 8:46 p.m. ET

Iran Plots Revenge, U.S. Says

Officials Say Intercepted Message to Militants Orders Reprisals in Iraq if Syria Hit

WASHINGTON—The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.

Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran's fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

While the U.S. has moved military resources in the region for a possible strike, it has other assets in the area that would be ready to respond to any reprisals by Syria, Iran or its allies.

Syria crisis: Barack Obama faces growing opposition to airstrikes as he arrives for G20

President Barack Obama is facing growing international opposition to military intervention in Syria as China, the European Union and the Pope all warned against attacks on the Assad regime.

Mr Obama arrived St Petersburg for a tense G20 summit amid signs that Russia's opposition to US airstrikes was gaining significant international support.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, welcomed Mr Obama to his home town in an encounter that laid bare the increasingly difficult relationship between the two men.

After exchanging a stiff handshake and stern looks, Mr Obama and Mr Putin offered fixed smiles for the cameras before entering the Konstantinovsky Palace.

----The awkward initial encounter came after some other leaders arriving in St Petersburg pointedly sided with Russia in its opposition to US-led military action.

Intervention would damage the global economy by pushing up oil prices, China said. Syria is not a significant oil exporter, but the prospect of conflict in the Middle East often pushes up oil prices.

"Military action would have a negative impact on the global economy, especially on the oil price - it will cause a hike in the oil price," said Zhu Guangyao, the Chinese Vice Finance Minister.

Brazil, India and South Africa also worry that intervention would do economic harm, according to Mr Putin's officials.

----Herman van Rompuy, the EU president, arrived at the summit with a warning against military action.
"There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict," he said. "Only a political solution can end the terrible bloodshed, grave violations of human rights and the far-reaching destruction of Syria,

Before the summit began, the Pope also cautioned against intervention, urging all leaders in St Petersburg to end the "the futile pursuit of a military solution".

G-20 Wrangles Over Stimulus Exit as Syria Roils Markets

By Stepan Kravchenko, Henry Meyer & Anatoly Temkin - Sep 5, 2013 11:00 PM GMT
Leaders of the world’s biggest economies at a Group of 20 summit in Russia grappled with threats to the global economy as the effects of the Syrian conflict added to the fallout from a potential stimulus exit.

The BRICS countries pledged yesterday in St. Petersburg to create a $100 billion pool of currency reserves to guard against shocks even as Russia said U.S. President Barack Obama sought to ease concern about an abrupt pullback. Chinese and Italian officials warned that military intervention in Syria would risk harming the global economy.

Emerging markets, which helped pull the world out of a recession after the global financial crisis, now face an exodus of cash and sliding currencies in anticipation of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s eventual tapering of its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases in its most recent quantitative easing program. The prospect of U.S. military strikes against Syria is also adding to volatility as investors gauge whether oil flows from the region will be disrupted.

“The tapering of QE will dominate the agenda,” Victor Bark, who oversees about $2.8 billion as the head of asset management at Alfa Capital in Moscow, said by phone. “The U.S. won’t look at the situation in emerging markets -- they’ll act based on their own interests.”

Away from the G-20, the news was of deep concern.

There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

Sun Tzu

Egypt: British teenager loses leg in Cairo bomb attack

A British teenager has lost her leg in a suspected suicide bomb attack in northern Cairo, described by the Egyptian interior minister as the "beginning of a new wave of terrorism".

No one was killed in the attack, the first in the capital since Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president, was deposed in July. But more than 20 people were injured.

Among the most seriously injured was Deqa Hassan, 16, a British girl of Somali origin who lived in Brixton but has been at school in Egypt where she lives with her parents. Last month, after a visit to Dubai, she wrote on Twitter that she was afraid of returning to Egypt because of the violence there.

She was taken to the nearby Nasr Medical Insurance Hospital where her left leg was removed to her knee.

"I was walking with my friend and at the end of the street we heard the sound of an explosion," she said from her hospital bed. "I just hit the floor. People were screaming everywhere. It was very scary.

"Eventually two policemen walked up to us. We were screaming for help but they just walked away. It wasn't human."

----Mohammed Ibrahim, who was appointed interior minister by Mr Morsi but supported his overthrow, was driving in a convoy near the ministry when the attack which police said "appeared to be a suicide bombing" happened shortly after 10.30am. He had previously said he had received death threats.

A man was heard to cry "Allahu akbar" after the explosion, which was followed by a brief gun battle which left bullet holes down the side of the minister's vehicle. Two men alleged to be attackers were said to have been killed by the security services.

The minister was interviewed shortly afterwards, saying that the attack had been by means of a "remote controlled device" – believed to be hidden in a motorcycle.

"It was a heinous attempt," he said. "Even if I am martyred, another minister of interior will come and continue the war on the evil terror until we secure the country."

Opponents of the military-backed regime's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its forced dispersal of protests with the loss of more than 1,000 lives have warned that it might trigger a violent response.

Letta Risks Losing Control as Berlusconi Splits Alliance

By Andrew Frye - Sep 5, 2013 2:53 PM GMT
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta risks losing control of his parliamentary coalition as lawmakers argue over proceedings to strip ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi of his seat in the Senate.

The debate intensified yesterday and is splitting Letta’s alliance. In a closed-door meeting, lawmakers loyal to Berlusconi failed to convince their coalition partners to agree to slow down the expulsion debate, according to Mario Michele Giarrusso, an opposition senator present at the encounter. Berlusconi postponed plans to withdraw support from Letta and will re-evaluate next week, Corriere Della Sera reported today.

----“I would say we are in a red alert situation,” said Giovanni Orsina, a history professor at Luiss Guido Carli University in Rome. “The only possible compromise at the moment is getting more time to think about it.”

German Exports Unexpectedly Dropped in July in Uneven Rec

By Jeff Black & Jana Randow - Sep 6, 2013 7:00 AM GMT
German exports (GRBTEXMM) unexpectedly fell in in July, even as a recovery gathered pace in the 17-nation euro area, its biggest trading partner.

Exports, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, fell 1.1 percent from June, when they gained 0.6 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists predicted an increase of 0.7 percent, according to the median forecast of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports rose 0.5 percent.

New Snowden documents say NSA can break common Internet encryption

SAN FRANCISCO | Thu Sep 5, 2013 5:42pm EDT
(Reuters) - The U.S. National Security Agency has secretly developed the ability to crack or circumvent commonplace Internet encryption used to protect everything from email to financial transactions, according to media reports citing documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The Guardian, The New York Times and journalistic nonprofit ProPublica reported on Thursday that the U.S. intelligence agency used a variety of means, ranging from the insertion of "back doors" in popular tech products and services, to supercomputers, secret court orders and the manipulation of international processes for setting encryption standards.

The publications said the NSA and its British partner Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) reported making strides against Secure Sockets Layer technology, which protects millions of websites beginning in "Https," and virtual private networks, which are common for remote office workers and for people seeking to obscure their locations.

We end for the day with “tell us what you really think of H.M.G.’s  U-turn Dave.” In sanctity of pro-normal marriage Russia, that would be not very much. Full marks to the Russians I think. With our soon to be down to 75,000 army and Navy building two aircraft carriers, one to be sold on completion, the other not getting any planes until 2020, welcome to Britain’s Lilliput and Ireland’s Blefuscu.

'U-turn Dave sat on a wall:
U-turn Dave had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put U-turn Dave in his place again.'

With apologies to Lewis Carroll and Alice.

Russia mocks Britain, the little island

Russia mocked Britain today as “a small island no one listens to”, sparking a diplomatic spat with David Cameron.

The Prime Minister insisted that Britain remained a major world power.

Tensions surrounding the Syrian crisis boiled over at a G20 summit in St Petersburg. Mr Cameron has backed calls for military intervention in Syria after the Assad regime allegedly used chemical weapons.

Mr Putin has opposed intervention and questioned Western claims about the attack. Britain has faced questions about its role and influence in the world since Mr Cameron was embarrassed by last week’s Commons vote to rule out a military strike against Syria.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s official spokesman, is said to have highlighted that embarrassment, telling Russian journalists that Britain was now diplomatically irrelevant.

Britain is “just a small island … no one pays any attention to them”, Mr Peskov is reported to have said. The blunt remarks appeared to realise British fears that the Russians would use the St Petersburg summit to upstage Mr Cameron over his criticism of Syria, Russia’s closest Middle Eastern ally.

The Russian official is also said to have joked about Russian “oligarchs” buying up large parts of Chelsea and other upmarket London districts.

The remarks, which were reported by the BBC, could not be verified, but were apparently accepted as genuine by the Prime Minister in a BBC interview.

In the interview, Mr Cameron angrily rejected the Russian dismissal of British influence. “I don’t accept that for a moment,” he said, insisting that Britain remained a power in world affairs.

Someone warn U-turn Dave to stay away from the Russian tea, and bring him up to speed on what being “a power in world affairs” really means.

'When I use a word,' U-turn Dave said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

With apologies to Lewis Carroll and Alice.

At the Comex silver depositories Thursday final figures were: Registered 41.65 Moz, Eligible 121.37 Moz, Total 164.02 Moz.  

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner
The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

No crooks again today, or maybe I’m wrong. Those tax exempt nerds over at Google GB, have just been given permission to build their huge hideous HQ in London’s King’s Cross region of Camden. Not the prettiest region of London by a long way, but surely they didn’t deserve this! With almost a million square feet of office space, my guess is that probably half of it is allocated to America’s NSA, for onward spying on EurAsia, and Europe’s all too ready to cheat and rig markets, banks. Whatever happened to “do no wrong?” Google shareholders needn’t worry about UK tax. With a Google office located in Dublin, all EU profits will be written through there.

We require from buildings two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well: then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.

John Ruskin.

Google wins final approval for huge British HQ

Google has won final approval for its new UK headquarters in London.

Camden Borough Council next to King’s Cross train station gave the green light to the 920,000 square-foot building, which will have a swimming pool and a running track on the roof for its 5,000 workers.

The new Google site is expected to include a 20,000 square feet area for bike parking, about the size of seven tennis courts, and a climbing wall between floors, a source close to the project told Reuters.
Google submitted its plans for the low-rise 1m square feet development to Camden Council in June, and plans to relocate staff based in Victoria and Holborn to the King's Cross development once it's completed in late 2016.

The building's 330 metre length is larger than the 310 metre tall Shard, one of the tallest skyscraper in western Europe, and sits in a 2.4 acre site that has cost Google £650m.

Construction will start early next year and it will be one of the internet giant's largest offices outside its so-called Googleplex corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

The internet giant's London site is expected to draw other technology companies to King's Cross - especially small start-ups - and help bump up rents. Google's site will sit within a 67-acre redevelopment area, King's Cross Central, which is expected to be an area for 35,000 jobs overall.

Most of the area will be used as office space but there will also be 50,000 square feet of retail space. The building ranges in height from seven to 11 storeys.

King's Cross Central, which sits on a former fish, coal and grain goods yard to the north of the city, spans 67 acres and will contain homes, offices and shops. It is being built by the King's Cross Central Limited Partnership which includes developer Argent Group.

Google has traditionally leased its overseas offices but in the past two years has purchased premises in Paris, Dublin and now London.

----The building was designed by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, which was inspired by the areas industrial heritage.

Simon Allford, director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said: "This building is underpinned by cutting edge design intelligence and technologies to provide a sophisticated twenty first century working environment for Google's staff.

World's 10 ugliest buildings

From Thailand to Toronto and both American Washingtons--these 10  office towers and public buildings, say Reuters photographers, are the ugliest in the world.

“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant 

Frank Lloyd Wright.

Another weekend and a wet one expected here as autumn returns. Ith the G-20 unable to derail President Obama’s plan to bomb Syria back to the stone age, it looks like only the German election on the 22nd, might delay the onset of a new Middle Eastern war. Time still to add to physical gold and silver. Have a great weekend everyone. Time to collect blackberries, elderberries and the early sloes.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished August:
DJIA: +162 Down. NASDAQ: +189 Up. SP500: +194 Down. Two red flags. Only the “stock market for the next hundred years,” remains optimistic.

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