Monday, 10 April 2017

Russian Roulette.

Baltic Dry Index. 1223 +08       Brent Crude 55.33

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

A government must not waiver once it has chosen its course. It must not look to the left or right but go forward.

Otto von Bismarck

We seem to suddenly have entered a new cold war with Russia, with America under President Trump suddenly playing a dangerous version of Russian Roulette. Just a week ago the Trump administration said it could live with President Assad. After an alleged Sarin gas attack in Idlib Syria, President Trump turned 180 degrees on a dime after an anti-Russian coordinated media blitz, without any investigation of the facts, and for one night turned his new cold war, hot. At the same time he ordered a large US Navy attack force towards North Korea, ordering China to act in North Korea or the USA will take unilateral action.

With NATO tanks and planes in Estonia just 85 miles from St Petersburg, arguably Russia’s most important city, Russia is forced onto an existential hair trigger response any time it thinks it sees NATO prepping for a first strike.  Think Israel in the six day war of 1967. Faced with an existential threat, Israel struck first and destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground. Faced with an existential threat, nations just do what they have to do to survive.

Below, where we now stand in the Middle East. A President in America, leader of the free world, who can be rolled by the media spin. Just one Russian Roulette mistake away from all out war. Add to holdings of fully paid up physical gold and silver. Dark grey just turned black.

All treaties between great states cease to be binding when they come in conflict with the struggle for existence.

Otto von Bismarck

Sun Apr 9, 2017 | 5:34pm EDT

Assad allies say U.S. attack on Syria air base crosses 'red lines'

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi | AMMAN
A joint command center made up of the forces of Russia, Iran and militias supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday said the U.S. strike on a Syrian air base on Friday crossed "red lines" and it would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for its ally.

The United States fired dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian air base on Friday from which it said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched earlier in the week, escalating the U.S. role in Syria and drawing criticism from Assad's allies including Russia and Iran.

"What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well," said the statement published by the group on media outlet Ilam al Harbi (War Media).

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meanwhile, blamed Russian inaction for helping fuel the chemical weapons attack it had reacted to, saying Moscow had failed to carry out a 2013 agreement to secure and destroy chemical weapons in Syria.

He said the United States expected Russia to take a tougher stance against Syria by rethinking its alliance with Assad because "every time one of these horrific attacks occurs, it draws Russia closer into some level of responsibility."

Rebels and residents in northwestern Idlib province said jets believed to be Russian conducted eight raids on Sunday on the town of Khan Sheikhoun where the chemical attack took place but no casualties were reported.

Raids hit several other rebel-held towns including Saraqeb and Sarmin in the province, where the rebels and activists said incendiary bombs were dropped.

The death toll from an air strike on Saturday on the rebel-held town of Urum al-Joz in Idlib province rose to 19 people, including six children, activists and residents said.

In the southern city of Daraa, jets believed to be Russian escalated strikes on Free Syrian Army (FSA) and jihadist groups on Saturday and Sunday in an attempt to roll back their gains in the Manshiya district where battles have been raging for nearly two months.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani said in a phone call that aggressive U.S. actions against Syria were not permissible and violated international law, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

The two leaders also called for an objective investigation into an incident involving chemical weapons in Syria's Idlib and said they were ready to deepen cooperation to fight terrorism, the Kremlin said in a statement on its website.

----The joint command center also said the presence of U.S troops in northern Syria where Washington has hundreds of special forces helping the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to oust Islamic State was "illegal" and that Washington had a long-term plan to occupy the area.

The regional alliance said the U.S. cruise missile strikes on a Syrian base which Washington said was involved in a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians would not deter their forces from "liberating" all of Syrian territory.

In Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the U.S. missile strike was a "a strategic error, and a repeat of the mistakes of the past," the state news agency IRNA reported.

Six-Day War

In EUSSR news, Europe goes off the rails, yet again. Why would anyone want to remain in a club like this?

Italian Government to Revise Privatization Target Downward

by Sonia Sirletti , Chiara Albanese,  and Lorenzo Totaro
8 April 2017, 12:20 BST
The Italian government is set to revise downward its privatization target in the budget planning document that the cabinet is expected to discuss April 11.

Italy targets stake sales amounting to “0.3 percent to 0.4 percent of output for 2017 and for the following years," Deputy Finance Minister Enrico Morando said in an interview at the Ambrosetti Workshop in Cernobbio, Italy. That is less than the 0.5 percent previously planned for 2017 and 2018.

Italy last year failed to meet privatization targets it said were key to reducing a public debt that stands at 2.25 trillion euros ($2.4 trillion), or more than 130 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The Treasury failed to make good on commitments to sell a stake in the national railway as well as a second tranche of Poste Italiane SpA, the postal company that is also one of the country’s main insurance and financial operators.

Morando said that, in addition to Poste and Ferrovie dello Stato SpA, the government may also consider selling further tranches in Enel SpA and Eni SpA. Asked about the revision at a press briefing in Malta, Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said the figures will be made public after their approval.

Europe Should Stick to Rules on Bank Rescues, ECB's Mersch Says

by Sonia Sirletti, Chiara Albanese, and Chiara Vasarri
7 April 2017, 20:38 BST 8 April 2017, 07:00 BST
Europe should follow its own rules when it looks at the rescue of Italian banks, European Central Bank Executive Board member Yves Mersch said.

“If Europe gives itself rules, then it should also abide by the rules,” Mersch said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Friday at the Ambrosetti Workshop in Cernobbio, Italy. “That rule respect is a very important element where Europe has to make a little bit more progress.”

The European Union has enacted procedures for failing banks meant to end taxpayer bailouts with the so-called “bail-ins.” The new rules came after governments used nearly 2 trillion euros ($2.12 trillion) in state aid to rescue the financial sector from 2008 to 2014.

In their first test, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA and other two small Italian lenders requested a precautionary recapitalization, which funnels government money to solvent banks without sending them into resolution. It also addresses a capital gap in a stress test and imposes lower losses than a full “bail-in” to investors.

“This is a process that is still underway,” Mersch said in the interview with Kevin Costelloe of Bloomberg News. “The ECB is involved from the point of view of supervision but we have a strict separation between the supervisory side and the monetary policy side.”

EU Jobs Carve Up Starts Again With Dijsselbloem Under Threat

by Zoe Schneeweiss and Alessandro Speciale
7 April 2017, 05:00 BST 8 April 2017, 17:32 BST
For five centuries, Valletta’s Fort St. Elmo was the perfect place to spot changing winds and new foes on the Mediterranean horizon.

Euro-area finance chiefs gathering there from Friday might find it the ideal setting to scout out the competition for a reshuffle of top jobs over the next two years that includes a successor to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

The meeting in the Maltese capital -- to discuss topics such as Greece’s bailout and deeper economic and monetary union -- will be convened by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who faces losing his post as Dutch finance minister after his party was routed in elections. That potentially puts his leadership of the group of his counterparts, known as the Eurogroup, up for grabs earlier than scheduled, feeding into a series of term expiries that will see two-thirds of the ECB’s Executive Board, the regional bank supervisor and possibly the head of the European Investment Bank replaced by the end of 2019.

Those jobs are all within the gift of governments, who like to ensure their countries get a share of the key European posts. So let the horse-trading begin.

Which positions are coming up and how are they decided?

Dijsselbloem’s term in charge of the Eurogroup runs until January 2018, if he lasts that long, as does that of Germany’s Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank. Portugal’s Vitor Constancio vacates the post of ECB vice president in May 2018, and France’s Daniele Nouy will leave her position as chair of ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism at the end of that year.

The ECB will see an even bigger shakeup in 2019 when arguably the three most influential members of its six-person Executive Board step down. Chief Economist Peter Praet of Belgium leaves at the end of May, Italian native Draghi retires five months later, and France’s Benoit Coeure goes at year-end.

The posts are all negotiated by governments and voted on by euro-area finance ministers, or European Union ministers in the case of the EIB. Appointments to the ECB also need sign-off from the European Parliament.

Treaties, you see, are like girls and roses; they last while they last.

Charles de Gaulle

At the Comex silver depositories Friday final figures were: Registered 29.18 Moz, Eligible 159.28 Moz, Total 188.46 Moz.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
No crooks or banksters today. Today a look at future air travel developments, maybe. The robotic waiter beverage cart sounds downright dangerous, and having the aisle passengers pass around hot drinks comes with big legal issues.

Five Innovations That Could Transform Air Travel

by Nicholas Brautlecht
4 April 2017, 04:00 BST 4 April 2017, 10:22 BST
Amid a dearth of new plane models, the aviation industry is intensifying the search for in-cabin innovations to lure passengers with wider seats, faster service and even fresh pancakes.

Among developments this year, Qatar Airways revealed a business berth which can be swiveled to form a meeting area for four or a double bed. Dubai-based Emirates, which already offers airborne showers on its A380 superjumbos, is giving its flying bars a saloon-style redo. Meanwhile, Airbus Group SE on Tuesday said it’s redesigning the A380 double-decker’s so-called grand staircase to create more space for passengers.

The next generation of gizmos, on show at the 2017 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg starting Tuesday, includes innovations aimed at boosting seat density, automating in-flight service (watch out cabin crew!) and keeping passengers entertained. Alongside the more practical advances are others that may not ever see the light of day. Bloomberg picks out five innovations worth a look.

Cyborg Server

Tired of losing the beverage-cart lottery? Paris-based Altran has invented a robotic waiter that takes your drink and snack order in advance and rolls it up to your row. The self-driving trolley also collects garbage at the end of the flight, which leaves more time for human attendants to focus on important issues like safety. 
And fashion violations. Alas, the robot lacks arms, so the job of passing hot coffee to window-seat passengers will be outsourced to the lucky aisle-seat occupants.

Germ Killer

Using technology that’s already in action to disinfect hospitals and municipal water supplies, the GermFalcon will zap ultraviolet light across the cabin to sanitize armrests, tray tables and even toilets. It looks like a beverage cart with arms and can destroy bacteria and viruses on 54 seats in 1 minute. There’s already so much radiation at airports and in planes, who’s going to be bothered by a few rays more?

Technology Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Built from the bottom up, nanoribbons pave the way to 'on-off' states for graphene

Date: March 30, 2017

Source: DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Summary: A new way to grow narrow ribbons of graphene, a lightweight and strong structure of single-atom-thick carbon atoms linked into hexagons, may address a shortcoming that has prevented the material from achieving its full potential in electronic applications. Graphene nanoribbons, mere billionths of a meter wide, exhibit different electronic properties than two-dimensional sheets of the material.
"Confinement changes graphene's behavior," said An-Ping Li, a physicist at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Graphene in sheets is an excellent electrical conductor, but narrowing graphene can turn the material into a semiconductor if the ribbons are made with a specific edge shape.
Previous efforts to make graphene nanoribbons employed a metal substrate that hindered the ribbons' useful electronic properties.
Now, scientists at ORNL and North Carolina State University report in the journal Nature Communications that they are the first to grow graphene nanoribbons without a metal substrate. Instead, they injected charge carriers that promote a chemical reaction that converts a polymer precursor into a graphene nanoribbon. At selected sites, this new technique can create interfaces between materials with different electronic properties. Such interfaces are the basis of semiconductor electronic devices from integrated circuits and transistors to light-emitting diodes and solar cells.
"Graphene is wonderful, but it has limits," said Li. "In wide sheets, it doesn't have an energy gap -- an energy range in a solid where no electronic states can exist. That means you cannot turn it on or off."
When a voltage is applied to a sheet of graphene in a device, electrons flow freely as they do in metals, severely limiting graphene's application in digital electronics.
"When graphene becomes very narrow, it creates an energy gap," Li said. "The narrower the ribbon is, the wider is the energy gap."
In very narrow graphene nanoribbons, with a width of a nanometer or even less, how structures terminate at the edge of the ribbon is important too. For example, cutting graphene along the side of a hexagon creates an edge that resembles an armchair; this material can act like a semiconductor. Excising triangles from graphene creates a zigzag edge -- and a material with metallic behavior.

No country without an atom bomb could properly consider itself independent.

Charles de Gaulle

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished March

DJIA: 20,663  +131 Up. NASDAQ:  5,912 +165 Up. SP500: 2,363 +135 Up.

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