While the French President uses the propaganda to convince the world they are in a recovery unemployment surges to new record highs. Retail in America is imploding as Toys R Us lays off more people. The housing marketing is set to collapse as big cash buyers leave the market. Ukraine parliament rejects the bailout over the conditions of the agreement. The Pentagon sees no evidence of a build up of Russian troops. Turkey has been setting up a false flag event to get the US into war with Syria, the false flag is backfiring. The President is worried about a nuclear bomb going off in NY at the same time the Obama administration proposes to reduce funding to New York City for a nuclear-attack preparedness initiative.
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Current News – 03.27.2014
- The number of people out of work in France surged in February by 31,500 to a new record, dealing a blow to President Francois Hollande’s government during local elections.
- Labor Ministry data showed on Wednesday that the number of people registered out of work reached 3,347,700 in mainland France, up 0.9 percent over one month and 4.7 percent over one year.
- The increase was the biggest since a computer glitch caused a huge jump in September. Excluding that month, it was the worst deterioration in the job market since April 2013.
- Hollande’s poll ratings have dropped to record lows after he failed to fulfill a promise to get unemployment, which stands at 10.2 percent, on a downward trend by the end of last year.
- A growing number of Americans quitting the labor force are likely gone for good, offering a cautionary note to the Federal Reserve as it tries to gauge how tight the jobs market is and how quickly to raise interest rates.
- For a long time, data suggested a significant portion of the decrease in labor force participation was because many job seekers had grown frustrated with their search and had given up looking. If the job market tightened enough, the thinking went, these Americans would be lured back to hunt for work again.
- Initial jobless claims dropped 10k this week to 311k – the lowest in 4 months– offering little bad-news-is-good-news hope for renewed un-tapering to pump stocks back up. Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania (all weather-related) saw the biggest drops in claims in the prior week. Continuing claims also fell 53k to 2.82 million, its lowest in 3 months.
- It appears that Walmart has admitted the potentially severe adverse impact a reduction in food stamp payments could have on its bottom line. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who reads this site, as I have written about this many, many times. Most notably in the very popular post: McDonald’s Math: You Can’t Survive Working for Us.
- Wal-Mart’s annual report, issued late last week, puts a different spin on things. Buried within the long list of risk factors disclosed to its shareholders–that is, factors “outside our control” that could materially affect financial performance–are these: “changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, (and) changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans.”
- Yes, that says “materially impact.”
- Wal-Mart followers say this is the first time the company has made a disclosure like that.
- Caesars Entertainment announced in a press release Wednesday that it will close Harrah’s Tunica on June 2.
- This is one of three casinos Harrah’s operates in Tunica in northern Mississippi.
Abercrombie & Fitch first announced its plans to close 180 stores
Barnes & Noble announced plans to shut a third of its stores
Aeropostale is the in the midst of closing 40 to 50 stores
J.C. Penney announced 33 store closings, to be completed by May, leading to the loss of about 2,000 jobs
15 of its Office Depot stores and seven OfficeMax locations
Sears has closed roughly 300 stores
Staples recently announced plans to close 225 stores
- ZipRealty. (http://www.ziprealty.com) analyzed all its transactions from January 2012 through December 2013 and concluded that one of every four real estate transactions closed without financing.
- “Upon first glance, it may seem high that a quarter of all ZipRealty home sales closed without financing in 2012 and 2013,” said ZipRealty CEO and President Lanny Baker.
- “But based on our own internal analysis and data from the National Association of Realtors, the percentage of all-cash real estate transactions may actually be moderating. Nationwide, the percentage of all-cash real estate transactions reached a five-year high in 2010 at 27%, and the percentage of all-cash property sales has slowly declined or flattened every subsequent year.”
- All-cash transactions accounted for 20% of the residential real estate market in 2009, and 25.6% of the market in 2011, NAR reports. According to ZipRealty’s analysis, 26% of all the real estate transactions closed by ZipRealty agents were purchased with cash, while 25% of the homes purchased through ZipRealty agents in 2013 were acquired with cash.
- Two important market forces have made all-cash financing more prevalent in the residential real estate market over the past few years, including:
- · Increased investor activity in the housing market
- · Historically low housing inventory levels
- (Note: I reported last summer in the EPJ Daily Alert that certain hedge funds were becoming major players in the housing market and that housing inventories were extremely low.)
- According to the study, the metros with the most real estate purchased with all-cash in 2013 include:
- Metro Area% of All-Cash Sales
in 2013Las Vegas48%Orlando43%Chicago33%Richmond, Va.32%Los Angeles29%
- Must be the weather… (though if you want to believe that, do not look at the regional breakdowns)… Pending home sales fell 10.2% YoY – the worst in 3 years (notably worse than the 9% drop expected by the meteorologists in the economics departments of the big banks). This is the 8th month in a row of home sales drops (pre-weather).
- Don;t worry though – a glimpse at the charts shows things are stabilizing as NAR’s Larry Yun suggests..
- In court Wednesday, Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against California State Senator Leland Yee and accused him of conspiring to commit wire fraud and traffic firearms.
- A total of 26 people, including former school board president Keith Jackson, were indicted on charges related to an extensive crime ring headed by well-known Chinatown figure Raymond Chow. According to the Los Angeles Times, Chow was also arrested and charged Wednesday.
- This revelation could end the political career of the well-known Democrat. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg called on Yee to resign or face swift action by the State Senate.
- “We’re going to demand that Leland Yee — yes, innocent until proven guilty — leave the Senate and leave it now,” Steinberg said at a news conference in his office, where he was joined by 14 fellow Democratic senators.
- According to the indictment, Yee and Jackson defrauded “citizens of honest services” and were involved in a scheme to traffic firearms in exchange for thousands in campaign donations to the senator.
- Federal prosecutors also allege Yee agreed to perform official acts in exchange for the money, including one instance in which he introduced a businessman to state legislators who had significant influence over pending medical marijuana legislation. In exchange, the businessman — who was actually an undercover FBI agent — agreed to donate thousands to Yee’s campaign fund, according to the indictment.
- Corruption is at epic portions for Senate Democrats in California — Yee is the third Democratic senator to have been charged or convicted of wrongdoing in the last several months.
- Ironically, Yee has been fighting for more gun control in California. See video below.
- One hundred nations declare Crimea referendum illegal, with 11 against and 58 abstaining in largely symbolic resolution.
- The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution affirming Ukraine’s territorial integrity and calling the referendum
- that led to Russia’s annexation of its Crimean peninsula illegal.
- The vote on the Ukraine-sponsored resolution was 100 countries in favour, 11 opposed and 58 abstentions.
- The “yes” vote was higher than many diplomats had predicted, and the fact that more than half the 193 UN member states supported the resolution reflected widespread international opposition to Russia’s military intervention and takeover of the strategic Black Sea region.
- Unlike the more powerful Security Council, resolutions in the General Assembly cannot be vetoed but are not legally binding.
- The US Senate is more than happy to hand over a few billion and confirm sanctions:
- *SENATE PASSES UKRAINIAN AID BILL WITH RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
- *HOUSE PASSES VERSION OF UKRAINIAN AID, RUSSIAN SANCTIONS BILL
- But, it seems the IMF’s requirements for Ukraine’s bailout are too much for the locals to bear:
- UKRAINE PARLIAMENT FAILS TO SUPPORT FIRST BID TO PASS ANTI-CRISIS LAW REQUIRED FOR IMF DEAL
- Lawmakers will continue to work on the bill as it seems they approve the top-line budget but not the taxes required to get there… beggars can be choosers again maybe
As part of the IMF agreement, the Ukrainian government agreed to cut
the budget deficit to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2016 and
to raise retail energy tariffs toward their full cost, according to the
Washington-based lender. The central bank will shift toward a flexible
exchange rate and the country will tackle bad debts in the banking
industry, it said.
To wit: Ukrainian economy to shrink 3% this year, inflation to be 12%-14%, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk tells parliament in Kiev. He added the GDP forecast based on passage of “unpopular reforms. If those laws aren’t adopted, we see default and 10% economic decline. This package of laws is very unpopular, very difficult, very tough reforms, which we should have done in the last 20 years.
- The Swiss federal government on Wednesday decided not to impose sanctions against Russia for its seizure of Crimea, claiming it wanted to find a “balance” between international law and Switzerland’s interests.
- “The position of our country is independent of the UN,” Swiss president Didier Burkhalter told a press conference in Bern, saying Switzerland can only use sanctions when they are based upon “international law and the interests of the Swiss”.
- “And in this case the rights and the interests play a role… we need to find a balance,” he added, as well as noting that Russian interests in Switzerland were “very large”.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed regret over the decision by a number of companies to limit the operation of their payment-processing systems in Russia.
- “It is a great pity that several companies have made a decision about well-known restrictions, I think this will simply lead to them losing certain segments of the market, quite a profitable one,” Putin said at a meeting with members of the Federation Council’s house council.
- “This is not our decision, we must protect our interests and we shall do this (create a national payment-processing system),” the Russian president added.
- Russia will create national payment-processing system; Japan, China are examples – Putin
- Via Charles Davis, the Washington Post reports on comments made by President Obama today:
- Speaking in Brussels, Obama dismissed suggestions by Russia and its supporters that the Iraq war undercuts the United States’ credibility in criticizing Russia’s incursion into Crimea in Ukraine.
- “It is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate – not just around the world, but in the United States as well,” Obama said. “I happened to oppose our military intervention there.”
- Obama added: “But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory, nor did we grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state could make decisions about its own future.”
- This is perhaps the most asinine thing the president has said in the entirety of his presidency. The invasion of Iraq was an illegal, preventive war based on lies. It got hundreds of thousands of people killed and cost trillions of dollars. The U.S.-backed dictator of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, is ruling the nation with an iron fist, as the country slips back into civi war. Nothing but chaos, ruin, and rivers of blood resulted from the criminal invasion. For Obama to even dare to compare Crimea to Iraq is a sick joke.
- More than 30 warships and support vessels formerly in the Ukrainian navy could enter into Russia’s Black Sea Fleet by the end of the year, but only after they pass inspections, a source in the fleet’s headquarters said Thursday.
- “Ships that were sailing previously under the Ukrainian flag will not be automatically included in the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet until they have undergone a technical evaluation and we can decide which ships will enter the fleet, and which ones will be scrapped,” the source said.
- He added the ships’ condition would be evaluated by specialists from the Russian navy and shipyards of the Black Sea Fleet.
- “This process could take some time, but we hope that it will be completed by the end of the year,” the source said, adding the ships currently closest to being combat-ready include three corvettes, two amphibious assault ships and a command ship.
- Less than 15 percent of the 18,000 Ukrainian military personnel stationed on the peninsula chose to leave.
- As of Monday, all military units stationed in Crimea were under the control of the Russian military.
- As many as 100,000 Russian troops have been sent to Ukraine’s border supposedly to conduct military exercises – but Pentagon officials say there hasn’t been any proof of that and worry that a full invasion is near.
- Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that the Russians continue to build up along the southern and eastern border with Ukraine. In a phone call last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu assured Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the buildup was to conduct “springtime exercises” and assured him that troops would not cross the border.
Africa troop build up Documents Reveal Blinding Pace of Ops in 2013, More of the Same for 2014
- For years, the U.S. military has publicly insisted that its efforts in Africa are small scale. Its public affairs personnel and commanders have repeatedly claimed no more than a “light footprint” on that continent,
- Last year, according AFRICOM commander General David Rodriguez, the U.S. military carried out a total of 546 “activities” on the continent — a catch-all term for everything the military does in Africa. In other words, it averages about one and a half missions a day. This represents a 217% increase in operations, programs, and exercises since the command wasestablished in 2008.
- In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, Rodriguez noted that the 10 exercises, 55 operations, and 481 security cooperation activities made AFRICOM “an l U.S. military operations to be more extensive than previously reported. They also indicate that the pace of operations in Africa will remain robust in 2014, with U.S. forces expected again to average far more than a mission each day on the continent.
- Previously undisclosed U.S. Army Africa records reveal a 94% increase in all activities by Army personnel from 2011 to 2013, including a 174% surge in State Partnership missions (from 34 to 93) and a 436% jump in Advise-and-Assist activities including ACOTA missions (from 11 to 59). Last year, according to a December 2013 document, these efforts involved everything from teaching Kenyan troops how to use Raven surveillancedrones and helping Algerian forces field new mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, or MRAPS, to training Chadian and Guinean infantrymen and aiding France’s ongoing interventions in West and Central Africa.
- June saw members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Niger, Uganda, Ghana, and on two separate missions to Malawi; in July, troops from the team traveled to Burundi, Mauritania, Niger, Uganda, and South Africa; August deployments included the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Niger, two missions in Malawi, and three to Uganda; September saw activities in Chad, Togo, Cameroon, Ghana, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Uganda, and Malawi; in October, members of the unit headed for Guinea and South Africa; November’s deployments consisted of Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Guinea; while December’s schedule consisted of activities in South Sudan, Cameroon, and Uganda, according to the documents. All told, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division carried out 128 separate “activities” in 28 African countries during all of 2013.
- Locations, Locations, Locations
- Senators hurled a flood of insults at senior State Department officials on Wednesday, insisting that the international push to remove chemical weapons from Syria has benefited, not punished, strongman Bashar al-Assad at the expense of tens of thousands of Syrians who have died since the deal was negotiated last year.
- The chairman also wanted to know what the U.S. plans to do with any chemical weapons Assad has not yet disclosed—and what tangible consequences Syria will face if it does not destroy its declared stockpiles by June 30
- New York Port Authority Police Department officers participate in a 2009 counterterrorism drill in Manhattan. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday criticized an Obama administration proposal to reduce funding to New York City for a nuclear-attack preparedness initiative. (Timothy Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
- The Homeland Security Department “must recognize the problem with their decision and reverse it immediately,” Schumer said in apress release. The statement says the proposed funding reduction would “deal a major blow” to radiation-sensor activities by local law enforcement.
- The plea came a day after Obama said that concerns about Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region are minimal when compared with the danger of a possible nuclear strike.
- “As President Obama correctly noted, our biggest fear is a nuclear weapon going off in New York City, so why would DHS want to cut funding for such a vital program here?” the senator said.
- Syria has formally called on the United Nations to take all essential measures to halt Turkish involvement in backing military offensives by anti-Damascus militants from its Liwa Iskenderun area against Syria’s Kasab district.
We understand that the central bankers/US government need, want to get into Syria and replace Assad. They have tried the false flag chemical attack in 8/2013 – failed, Geneva II talks (agenda remove Assad)- failed, charging Assad with UN war crimes – failed, now the invasion by Turkey – so far failed. They are becoming desperate, be prepared for a false flag event.
- As we noted here, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan had blocked Twitter access to his nation ahead of what was rumored to be a “spectacular” leak before this weekend’s elections. Then this morning, amid a mad scramble, he reportedly (despite the nation’s court ruling the bans illegal) blocked YouTube access. However, by the magic of the interwebs, we have the ‘leaked’ clip and it is clear why he wanted it blocked/banned. As the rough translation explains, it purports to be a conversation between key Turkish military and political leaders discussing what appears to be a false flag attack to launch war with Syria.
- Among the most damning sections:
- Ahmet Davutolu: “Prime Minister said that in current conjuncture, this attack (on Suleiman Shah Tomb) must be seen as an opportunity for us.”
- Hakan Fidan: “I’ll send 4 men from Syria, if that’s what it takes. I’ll make up a cause of war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey; we can also prepare an attack on Suleiman Shah Tomb if necessary.”
- Feridun Sinirliolu: “Our national security has become a common, cheap domestic policy outfit.”
- Ya?ar Güler: “It’s a direct cause of war. I mean, what’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”
- Feridun Sinirolu: There are some serious shifts in global and regional geopolitics. It now can spread to other places. You said it yourself today, and others agreed… We’re headed to a different game now. We should be able to see those. That ISIL and all that jazz, all those organizations are extremely open to manipulation. Having a region made up of organizations of similar nature will constitute a vital security risk for us. And when we first went into Northern Iraq, there was always the risk of PKK blowing up the place. If we thoroughly consider the risks and substantiate… As the general just said…
- Yaar Güler: Sir, when you were inside a moment ago, we were discussing just that. Openly. I mean, armed forces are a “tool” necessary for you in every turn.
- Ahmet Davutolu: Of course. I always tell the Prime Minister, in your absence, the same thing in academic jargon, you can’t stay in those lands without hard power. Without hard power, there can be no soft power.
- A full translation can be found here
- And just in case you had faith that this was all made up and Erdogan is right to ban it… he just admitted it was true!
- #Turkey’s PM Erdogan live in Diyarbakir calls leaking of meeintg at Foreign Mins. “immoral.”
- — Emre Peker (@wsjemre) March 27, 2014
- To summarize: a recording confirming a NATO-member country planned a false-flag war with Syria (where have we seen that before?) and all the Prime Minister has to say is the leak was “immoral.”