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- The Congress of Deputies of Spain (the lower house of parliament) on Wednesday has voted in favor of sending troops to Iraq to train the country’s army to fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants, with 314 lawmakers out of 329 supporting the move.
“IS is a rather strong enemy. They have at least 30,000 militants, about 12,000 of which are foreigners. They have a lot of seized artillery ammunition in northern and central parts of the country,” Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes said, addressing lawmakers.
Spanish soldiers will train the Iraqi military to take part in special, and mine clearance operations. The Spanish troops will not participate in military operations.
Morenes stressed that 300 Spanish soldiers will be deployed to Iraq in the end of 2014, or in the beginning of 2015. They will stay close to Iraqi city of Nasiriyah for up to six months, and the operation will cost Spanish government about $44 million.
“The participation of Spain in the international coalition against the IS shows country’s willingness to maintain peace and stability in the world,” Morenes added.
Twenty two countries already said that they are willing to provide some sort of assistance in battling IS, which has recently taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on the controlled territories.
Spain was the first country to withdraw their troops from Iraq in 2004, after a terrorist attack in Madrid on March 11, 2004, which claimed 191 lives.
- China accused the United States of undermining stability in the Asia-Pacific region by positioning an X-band missile defense radar in Kyoto, Japan. The statement highlights simmering tensions over a small, disputed archipelago in the East China Sea.
- Japan’s defense ministry said the radar system was delivered on Tuesday to the US military’s communication facility in Kyoto and would be fully operational by year’s end.
- In a clear reference to the United States, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “relevant countries” should not use their own security interests as an “excuse to damage the security of others, China’s Xinhua daily reports.
- “Some countries have pushed forward anti-missile system deployment in the Asia-Pacific region to seek unilateral security, which runs against regional stability and mutual trust as well as peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” Hua told a news conference on Wednesday.
- “This move causes even more concerns, under the backdrop of complex and sensitive regional situation,” she said.
- The spokeswoman added that all interested parties should be committed to maintaining security via political and diplomatic means.
- Following its economic ascendency and the Obama administration’s so-called Asia pivot, China has invested heavily in its naval capabilities, including anti-ship ballistic missiles.
- This, coupled with an often heated dispute over the Senkaku or Diaoyu island group, has rattled Japan in recent years.
- On Wednesday, reports surfaced in Japanese media that the US and Japan will boost military cooperation and intelligence sharing in space to counter China’s growing capability to shoot down satellites.
- And earlier this month, Japan and the United States agreed to create a new defense partnership to counter the perceived Chinese threat.
- The measures, intended “to prevent the deterioration of Japan’s security in all phases,” represented the first time the two countries had revised their bilateral security arrangements in 17 years.
- The previous month, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on China’s army to modernize and improve their combat readiness, so they could “win a regional war.”
- In July, Japan further sparked ire in China by reinterpreting Article 9 of the country’s post-war constitution, which had bared the country’s forces from ever fighting on foreign soil.
- The reversal is both intended to defend Japan and its allies in case of the attack. US President Barack Obama had earlier vowed to back Japan in any conflict over the disputed island group.
- Just days before Obama’s announcement, Japan began work on a high-tech radar outpost close to the islands. The radar is expected to become operational in 2016.
- Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang dismissed the deepening cooperation at the time, calling the Washington-Tokyo alliance “a bilateral arrangement from the Cold War and ought not to harm China’s territorial sovereignty and reasonable rights.”
10.23.14 – “Warning Signs” & The Fed’s Grand Illusion
- Ever since Bullard’s agoraphobic performance last week on Bloomberg TV, it should be crystal clear to the FOMC and investors just how powerfully markets will react to any shifts in Fed policy or attempts at policy normalization. An equity market freefall abruptly took an about-face, resuming its ‘melt-up’ trade, after a worried Bullard merely hinted at the possibility of more QE stimulants.
- The FOMC should take this as a warning sign. It would be irrational for the Fed to believe that after QE purposefully elevated asset prices and generated a one-way moral hazard spectacle, that there is not going to be some-type of reversal (reaction) when QE is withdrawn and the first hike nears.
- The new flaw in Fed communication that has arisen recently, and that was amplified by Bullard’s interview, is how Fed policymakers fundamentally assess and mollify the trade-off between attempts at stimulating real economic activity and financial stability risks.
- For several years, the FOMC has been confronted with the delicate balance between removing accommodation too slowly and removing it too quickly. Since the Fed is basically out of effective bullets and its balance sheet has ballooned to the practical limits of prudence, the Fed is therefore trying to err on the side of not removing accommodation too quickly. In this regard, the Fed has allowed the fog to roll in, by repeatedly and cunningly changing the markets’ focus in order to ‘buy time’. (As a case in point, the first hike never arrived when the unemployment rate hit 6.5% as the Fed initially said it would.)
- Yet, how far can this asymmetrical leaning go before negative second-order effects and risks to financial stability via asset bubbles make this stance a (ever-growing) poor trade-off. It seems to me that if the Fed were truly data dependent then it would have ended QE a long time ago and even hiked rates already.
- The Unemployment Rate is currently 5.9%; not far from the 5.5% level that is widely considered full-employment. It could be argued that technological advancements or demographic shifts alone could have structurally lifted the level considered full-employment. Given this, and the plenty of other economic indicators that look quite strong, I find it astonishing that the Fed is still providing depression-like policies, let alone not already hiking.
- No wonder why financial markets are (temporarily) in ‘melt-up’ mode’: the appearance of an accommodative Fed, maintains the relative-peer-performance race that is driving so many portfolio managers.
Last week’s wild trade was a precursor of the unwind trade that will occur when the one-way bets have to find a two-way equilibrium clearing price. Dreadful market liquidity due to regulatory constraints have been evident recently and will cause a down-side overshoot during the unwind process. I suspect that barring some negative global event, the Fed will want to hike in March (if not sooner to regain some credibility). However, the chance of 6 months passing without encountering a problem is probably small; thus the Fed could be confronted with losing its ideal window to do so.
- The FOMC’s dialog needs to change immediately. The current trade-off is not the contemporaneous one between more versus less policy stimulus today, but is an intertemporal trade-off between more stimulus today at the expense of more challenging and disruptive policy exit (and disruptive markets) in the future.
- Another factor that has magnified market stresses and helped to keep a bid in the Treasury market recently has been the release by the Fed and other regulators of the final version of the liquidity coverage rule (LCR). LCR-mandates have led to large bank hoarding of ‘level-one’ risk-free highly-liquid securities (e.g., Treasuries) at the expense of riskier less-liquid securities. Volatility has increased partially due to those risks migrating to less well-capitalized institutions. This factor is not going away any time soon.
- I still expect long-dated Treasuries to maintain an underlying bid and grind to lower yields over time.
I expect the pace toward lower yields to quicken once the Fed’s policy pivot leads to unwinds of the QE-generated asset bubbles that have been created; and which were chased by so many who were fearful of missing the upside or of underperforming peers. This circumstance is a Hobson’s choice which now has a shortening ‘half-life’.
“Someday soon we’ll stop to ponder what on Earth’s this spell we’re under” – Styx
10.23.14 – US air defense on alert over Canada shooting
- The United States put its air defense on alert and placed its embassy in Ottawa on lockdown following shooting incidents in Canada including one inside its parliament building.
- The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is taking “appropriate” measures to ensure quick reaction to “any incidents involving aviation in Canada,” said a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
- On Wednesday, a gunman shot dead a Canadian soldier at a war memorial in Ottawa and was chased by police toward the Canadian parliament. Following a gun battle inside the building, the gunman was fatally shot by officers.
- Witnesses said over 20 shots were fired inside the parliament building and at least three people were taken to hospital for treatment.
- The Canadian soldier was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a family source told CNN. Also, police identified Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as the suspected gunman.
- In response to the Wednesday shootings, President Barack Obama said that Washington does not know yet whether the incident was a terrorist act.
- “Obviously we’re all shaken by it,” said Obama, noting it is “very important for us, I think, to recognize when it comes to dealing with terrorist activity — Canada and the United States have to be entirely in sync”.
- Obama also spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper over the phone and offered assistance Canada might need to deal with the situation.
- According to the White House, Washington and Ottawa have had regular contacts over the likelihood of terrorist attacks in Canada by fighters who were trained by ISIL in the Middle East.
- And ISIL terrorists were trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government. They now control large parts of Syria and Iraq.
- The US and Japan will boost military cooperation in space to counteract China’s growing capability to shoot down satellites, a leading Japanese daily reports. The plan follows recent moves to increase space-based intelligence sharing between the states.
- The plan comes as part of the revised Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation, due to be published by the end of the year, Asahi Shimbun reported on Wednesday.
- The plan will fundamentally alter Japan’s previous commitment to the peaceful utilization of space, and put an end to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) only monitoring Japanese space satellites.
- The space surveillance functions will be conducted by a special unit to be created within Japan’s Self-Defense Forces after 2018. JAXA’s surveillance functions will be relegated to the new unit in phases.
- In May, Japan agreed to pass on data gathered by JAXA to the US.
- Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center. The US military has likewise provided Tokyo with classified information on space security since last year.
- The news follows an announced made by US deputy assistant secretary of state for space and defense policy, Frank Rose, who said China had conducted a weapons test for an attack on a satellite in July.
- In an earlier interview with Asahi Shimbun, Rose said Washington is “very concerned about development of China’s anti-satellite capabilities.”
- His comments echoed those made by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper earlier this year.
- “Threats to US space services will increase during 2014 and beyond, as potential adversaries pursue disruptive and destructive counter-space capabilities,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February.
- He noted that Chinese and Russian military leaders understand “the unique information advantages” space systems afforded states, saying both are “developing capabilities to disrupt the United States’ use of space in a conflict.”
- In 2007, a Chinese test to destroy a space satellite create 3,500 pieces of space junk. The experiment highlighted the double threat of anti-satellite missiles; they both destroy their target and send out a spray of debris which can strike other satellites.
- On Monday, China launched the Yaogan 22 satellite into space, the country’s seventh space launch this year.
- Chinese media report the satellite was deployed for scientific experiments and other civilian purposes, but Western analysts believe it will be used to conduct global surveillance.
- The United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) Space Control and Space Surveillance Network maintains a worldwide network of 30 space surveillance sensors (radar and optical telescopes, both military and civilian) to observe around 16,000 objects orbiting Earth.
- Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the agency has cataloged 39,000 such objects, with many of them already reentering the atmosphere.
- Two days after two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, “converted to Islam recently and called himself Ahmad Rouleau,” Bloomberg reports:
- *SHOTS FIRED AT CANADA WAR MEMORIAL
- *SOLDIER SEEN FALLING TO GROUND AT CANADA WAR MEMORIAL
- As Glenn Greenwald remarked after the attacks on Monday, the right-wing Canadian government wasted no time in seizing on the incident to promote its fear-mongering agenda over terrorism, which includes pending legislation to vest its intelligence agency, CSIS, with more spying and secrecy powers in the name of fighting ISIS.
- CANADIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS IN LOCKDOWN AFTER REPORT OF ACTIVE SHOOTER
- Military moving in on Parliament building…
- As Bloomberg reports,
Shots were fired at Canada’s war memorial close to Ottawa’s parliament buildings.
A soldier was on ground, apparently shot
Police are on the scene
- * * *
- Live Feed from local news: (click image for feed – no embed)
- * * *
- As Glenn Greenwald remarked (regardin Monday’s attack):
The right-wing Canadian government wasted no time in seizing on the incident to promote its fear-mongering agenda over terrorism, which includes pending legislation to vest its intelligence agency, CSIS, with more spying and secrecy powers in the name of fighting ISIS. A government spokesperson asserted “clear indications” that the driver “had become radicalized.”
In a “clearly prearranged exchange,” a conservative MP, during parliamentary “question time,” asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pictured above) whether this was considered a “terrorist attack”; in reply, the Prime Minister gravely opined that the incident was “obviously extremely troubling.” Canada’s Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney pronounced the incident “clearly linked to terrorist ideology,” while newspapers predictably followed suit, calling it a “suspected terrorist attack” and “homegrown terrorism.” CSIS spokesperson Tahera Mufti said “the event was the violent expression of an extremist ideology promoted by terrorist groups with global followings” and added: “That something like this would happen in a peaceable Canadian community like Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu shows the long reach of these ideologies.”
In sum, the national mood and discourse in Canada is virtually identical to what prevails in every western country whenever an incident like this happens: shock and bewilderment that someone would want to bring violence to such a good and innocent country (“a peaceable Canadian community like Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu”), followed by claims that the incident shows how primitive and savage is the “terrorist ideology” of extremist Muslims, followed by rage and demand for still more actions of militarism and freedom-deprivation.
- “They know Baghdad. They’ve lived in Baghdad,” said Lt.Col Oliver North, warning over the weekend that sources in Iraq believed ISIS was planning a “major attack” against the embassy in Baghdad. Yesterday we get some confirmation – via ISIS – that they did in fact reportedly strike the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. As Inquisitr reports, on Tuesday the Islamist militant group took credit for a mortar attack against the embassy in Baghdad. The group bragged about the attack on social media, claiming that there were likely casualties – “Four rockets strike Green Zone in #Baghdad; helicopters hovering over the Green Zone; ambulances heading that way after strikes!!” one ISIS militant noted on Twitter. As North concludes, “They are at the gates of Baghdad. They’re coming for us.”
- As Inquisitr reports,
- ISIS has reportedly struck the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in what could be the furthers incursion yet into Iraq’s capital.
- On Tuesday the Islamist militant group took credit for a mortar attack against the embassy in Baghdad. The group bragged about the attack on social media, claiming that there were likely casualties.
- ISIS has been increasing its attacks on Baghdad in recent weeks, including a wave of car bomb and mortar attacks on Sunday that left at least 150 people killed. Four car bombs exploded in Shia districts of Baghdad, leaving 36 people dead and 98 wounded in a span of two hours.
- ISIS fighters have been encamped in suburbs surrounding Baghdad, and earlier this month sent four mortar shells into the Green Zone, the heavily protected location of the U.S. Embassy and other government buildings.
This is likely no surprise as Lt.Col Oliver North has warned…that sources in Iraq believed ISIS was planning a “major attack” against the embassy in Baghdad.
- “They know Baghdad. They’ve lived in Baghdad,” North said of the militants reportedly planning the attack.
- They are at the gates of Baghdad. They’re coming for us,” he added.
- But North’s predictions were also tinged in political criticism, as he used the prediction as a way to attack President Obama and allege a conspiracy to let ISIS take over Iraq for his own benefit.
- “I don’t think he gives a d**n,” North said. “I think he’s hoping that he can hold the lid on this until after this election so it won’t be just another disaster for this administration.”
- Russia will have military control of the entirety of its 6,200 km Arctic coastal zone by the end of 2014, just a year after Moscow announced its ambitious plan to build military presence in the region, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced.
- “We have set quite a pace in our foray into the Arctic,” Shoigu said during a military council meeting in Moscow. “By the end of the year we will already deploy most of our units in the region – from Murmansk to Chukotka.”
- Moscow announced its intentions to create a special force grouping in the strategic region in December last year, with Vladimir Putin saying that Russia needs to activate “all the levers for the protection of its security and national interests” in the “promising region.”
- The undertaking, which Shoigu labeled “fundamental,” is now in full flow.
- “Many of the sites in the region have to be repaired. In fact, a lot of them, such as airfields, logistics facilities, water intakes, power stations will have to be built from scratch, which is what we are doing right now.”
Russia’s Northern Fleet, which is headquartered in Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula, has been assigned as the core of the new Joint Strategic Command, and also the main strike force.
- Two Borey-class nuclear submarines, which will form the spine of the refurbished fleet, have been armed this year, and a third one has just completed trials. In total, eight Borey vessels are expected to be built by the end of the decade, though some of them may be re-deployed with the Pacific fleet.
- Russia is also in the process of unsealing at least seven airstrips that were shut down following the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Tiksi in Yakutia expected to house the bulk of the Arctic air force.
- Work also began in September on a permanent base located on the New Siberian Islands in the Laptev Sea. A military group consisting of two brigades will be stationed in the far North as part of the new military district.
- The Arctic has attracted an increasingly intense gaze from the powerful nations that border it in the past decade, not least because it is thought to contain up to 30 percent of the world’s oil and gas. As technologies have advanced, more and more of those hydrocarbons have become recoverable and viable. The stretch of sea can also provide new shipping lanes for goods traveling between Asia and America and Europe.
- Russia already has rights to any territories located within 370 km of its border, but has lodged claims on a much bigger part of the territory with the UN, due to the existence of an underwater shelf, which would make a sizeable portion of the Arctic an extension of Russian territory.
- Canada and other Arctic powers have followed suit, with the exact divisions of territories expected to be decided over the course of the next decade.
- Despite concerns from environmentalists, Shoigu said that the military would play a positive role in safeguarding the unique Arctic environment, and said that units are already engaged in a program of clearing up debris “that has accumulated for centuries.”
- Facebook has written a letter to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, demanding it stop operating fake profile pages and cease all agency activities on the social network that involve impersonation of others during ongoing DEA investigations.
- “Requiring people to use their real identities on Facebook is the primary mechanism we have to protect millions of people every day, all around the world, from real harm,” wrote Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan in a letter to DEA administrator Michele Leonhart.
- According to Sullivan, using Facebook to impersonate others “makes people feel less safe and secure when using [the] service.”
- “Indeed, as we have observed at Facebook, such deceptive actions are often used to further harmful conduct, such as trolling, hate speech, scams, bullying, and even domestic violence. This impact is markedly different from undercover investigations conducted in the ‘real’ world.”
- The social network demanded the DEA “immediately confirm that it has ceased all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonation of others or that otherwise violate our terms and policies.”
- “We recently learned through media reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration created fake Facebook accounts and impersonated a Facebook user as part of its investigation of alleged criminal conduct unrelated to Facebook,”
- DEA sued for setting up fake Facebook account for arrested woman
- The letter is a response to a lawsuit fired by New York woman who claimed that the US Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account, with photos and other personal data from her cellphone.
- Sondra Arquiett was arrested in 2010 on charges of possessing cocaine and intent to supply, and the social network’s page was used to trick her associates into disclosing information.
- The account showed Arquiett’s ‘status updates’ on missing her boyfriend, posing on the hood of a BMW, or with her son and niece. However, it was all the work of DEA Agent Timothy Sinnigen, according to Arquiett’s federal lawsuit.
- In a suit filed in August, Arquiett is claiming $250,000 in compensation, saying she went through “fear and great emotional distress” and that Sinningen had put her life in danger by communicating through her fake identity with the “dangerous individuals he was investigating.”
- The DEA does not dispute Arquiett’s essential allegations, says Sullivan in the letter.
- But the DEA claims Arquiett ‘implicitly consented’ to the agency’s conduct “by granting access to the information stored in her cell phone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in an ongoing criminal investigation, Facebook is deeply troubled by the claims and legal position,” Sullivan adds.
- The hunt for missing October continues.
- Recall that over the weekend, one of the less reported stories was that Sweden had deployed its various army, navy and air force units to hunt down what was reportedly a damaged Russian sub that had sunk in the Stockholm archipelago, something which Russia vehemently denied.
- Since then, things have escalated and as both the FT and RIA reported, Swedish authorities declared a safety distance of 10,000 meters (5.4 nautical miles) from all military vessels taking part in the search for the alleged foreign sub.
- According to the Swedish Expressen newspaper, air traffic over the search area has been suspended. Such a large area of Swedish airspace has not been cordoned off since the ’80s, the newspaper added. The fly ban will not affect passenger flights.
- Swedish Navy vessels have reportedly sealed off a channel between Nynashamn and the island of Nattaro south of Stockholm. A large number of military vessels and helicopters are reported to be moving southward.
- The Swedish Armed Forces first launched a major operation off the coast of Stockholm on Friday after receiving information, reportedly from a civilian, about the presence of an unknown underwater object in the region.
- According to the Swedish Armed Forces, there have been three “very credible sightings” of an unknown object off the Swedish coast, suspected to be “foreign underwater activity.” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven stressed Monday that the ongoing operation is “not a submarine hunt,” but an “underwater investigation.”
But the key question remains, just whose sub is it that is missing? Earlier on Monday, a Russian Defense Ministry source told RIA Novosti that the unidentified object in Sweden could be a submarine belonging to the Dutch Navy.
- A spokesperson for the Royal Netherlands Navy told RIA Novosti that a Dutch submarine had recently visited Stockholm, but stated that it was no longer in Swedish waters when the “suspicious object” was first observed in the Stockholm archipelago.
- Additionally, Bloomberg reported that a distress call caught in Swedish territorial waters on Oct. 17 has been incorrectly linked to presence of Dutch submarine, citing His Majesty’s Bruinvis, Karen Loos-Gelijns, spokeswoman for Defense Ministry says in e-mailed statement. She said the submarine went to Tallinn on Friday morning, stayed there over the weekend. She added that Dutch navy ships Tromp, Amsterdam, Evertsen, Zealand, submarine Bruinvis participated this month in international exercise Northern Archer in the Baltic Sea.
- In other words, the Netherlands is refusing to take blame for the sub. As it Russia – recall that previously a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry denied that the damaged sub belongs to Russia, stating that “there have been no extraordinary, let alone emergency situations involving Russian military vessels.”
- But while the originating nation of the offending sub, if there is indeed one, refuses to step up, Sweden is starting to lose patience. According to an update by TheLocal.se, battleships, minesweepers, helicopters and more than 200 troops continue to scour the area where they believe the sub is located.
- An online draft proposal from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it will look for a vendor to supply the blank cards
At least 4 million per year for five years, including a possible 9 million in the early going
Document says the move is ‘to support possible future immigration reform initiative requirements’
Obama has pledged to unilaterally change US immigration policy this year, but recently pushed back his timetable until after November 4 elections
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to seek a vendor to produce as many as 34 million blank work permits and ‘green cards’ – the paperwork that authorizes illegal immigrants to live and work in the United States – as the White House prepares to issue an executive order after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
- According to a draft solicitation published online, the government agency will look for a company that can produce a minimum 4 million cards per year for five years, and 9 million in the early stages.
- President Barack Obama has pledged that he will make a move on immigration reform this year. His original timetable called for a decision by the end of the summer.
- Republicans have decried the plan as an ‘amnesty’ for millions of illegal immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of unaccompanied minors who have come across the U.S.-Mexico border this year.
- A draft RFP – a Request For Proposal – is typically published in advance so government contractors can prepare to submit their bids when the final version is published.
- The draft came complete with photos of what the finished cards will look like.
- Breitbart.com first reported on the planned solicitation.
- Obama’s high numbers of illegal immigration ‘removals’ – what used to be called ‘deportation’ – has earned him the nickname ‘deportation president,’ but most of those ejected border-crossers never get to the interior of the U.S.
- Still, activists have protested his policies, including some who heckle his speeches. One yelled at him Sunday in the middle of a campaign stump speech supporting Democratic Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown.
- Fruit and vegetables imports from Ukraine will be banned from Wednesday for fear they may originate from the EU, Russia’s consumer health watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has said.
- Any unmarked agricultural cargo coming from Ukraine to Russia runs the risk of originating from the European Union, which violates Russian sanctions against importing EU products.
- “To date Rosselhoznadzor hasn’t received a response from Ukrainian counterparts, and having taken into account the full range of threats and risks of the current situation, the deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Aleksey Saurin, has decided, as of tomorrow, to introduce temporary restriction on imports from Ukraine, as well as the transit of produce through its territory,” RIA reports the watchdog as saying.
- Rosselhoznadzor asked Ukraine’s hygiene agency, Gosvetfitosluzhbe, to provide proper labeling and information on fruit and vegetables that may be EU re-exports by October 21, which hasn’t happened.
- Russia’s consumer hygiene authority said it has observed a sharp increase in imports of apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, pears and plums to Russia from Ukraine in August and September after the ban, compared to the same period last year.
- Rosselkhoznadzor said that the products don’t meet Russian food safety regulations, which leads them to suspect they are not originally from Ukraine.
- Three months ago, the CEO of Total, Christophe de Margerie, dared utter the phrase heard around the petrodollar world, “There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars,” as we noted here. Today, RT reports the dreadful news that he was killed in a business jet crash at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow after the aircraft hit a snow-plough on take-off. The airport issued a statement confirming “a criminal investigation has been opened into the violation of safety regulations,” adding that along with 3 crewmembers on the plane, the snow-plough driver was also killed.
CEO of France’s Total dies in jet crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport – report http://t.co/AWNpuaAuCq pic.twitter.com/oA8aWLRCOZ
— RT (@RT_com) October 20, 2014
- De Margerie, 63, joined Total in 1974 after graduating from the École Supérieure de Commerce in Paris. He served in several positions in the Finance Department and Exploration & Production division. In 1995, he became President of Total Middle East before joining the Total’s Executive Committee as the President of the Exploration & Production division in May 1999. In May 2006, he was appointed a member of the Board of Directors. He was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total on May 21, 2010.
- As RT reports,
- According to preliminary data, the light aircraft collided with a snow-cleaning machine on takeoff, a source at the capital’s airport told RIA.
- The aircraft was sending distress signals while still in the air and reporting an engine fire and fuselage damage, LifeNews reports. Upon crashing on the runway, the aircraft was engulfed in flames, reportedly killing everyone on board.
- While initials reports suggested four people died in the tragedy, officials report that five bodies were found at the crash site, one allegedly being the driver of the snow-cleaning vehicle.
- Vnukovo Airport has temporarily suspended all flights following the incident.
- “A criminal investigation has been opened into the violation of safety regulations after a light aircraft crash in the capital’s Vnukovo airport,” transport official Tatyana Morozova told RIA.
- An investigative group is working at the crash site, Morozova added. In addition to people who were on board the plane, she said, the driver snowplow was killed.
- Debris from the aircraft was scattered up to 200 meters from the crash site, according to the rescue services. The engine was found some 50 meters from the crash site, while one of the landing gears was ripped off and discovered nearly 200 meters from the main mass of debris.
* * *
- The plane he was aboard…
- DEVELOPING: Passenger of crashed plane was head of French oil company – reports http://t.co/AWNpuaAuCq pic.twitter.com/pq5Y4SDXEW
— RT (@RT_com) October 20, 2014
* * *
- Of course this could merely be a desparately sad accident… aside from the coincidence of this so recently…
- Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of Total (the world’s 13th biggest oil producer and Europe’s 2nd largest), believes “There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars.” Clearly, based onhis comments, that we have passed peak Petrodollar.
- As Reuters reports,
- Oil major Total’s chief executive said on Saturday the euro should have a bigger role in international trade although it was not possible to do without the U.S. dollar.
- Christophe de Margerie was responding to questions about calls by French policymakers to find ways at EU level to bolster the use of the euro in international business following a record U.S. fine for BNP.
- “There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars,” he said. He said the fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars per barrel did not mean that payments actually had to be made in that currency.
So even a major beneficiary of the status quo appears to see the end in sight for the Petrodollar.
- * * *
- Furthermore, despite Western-imposed sanctions on Russia that prohibit western financing and technology transfer to some Russian energy projects, Total is continuing to pursue a natural gas project in Yamal, a joint venture with Russia’s Novatek and China’s CNPC.
- “Can we live without Russian gas in Europe? The answer is no. Are there any reasons to live without it? I think – and I’m not defending the interests of Total in Russia – it is a no,” the Total boss told Reuters back in summer.
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