Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, a champion of housing, civil rights and immigration issues, died Tuesday at 65.  Lee and his wife were grocery shopping at a Safeway supermarket just blocks from their home in San Francisco's Glen Park neighborhood when he collapsed from a heart attack about 10:30 p.m. Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Lee was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and died early Tuesday, according to his family.“It is with profound sadness and terrible grief that we confirm that Mayor Edwin M. Lee passed away," a statement from the mayor's office said. "Family, friends and colleagues were at his side. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his family.” San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed steps in as acting mayor. The city's Board of Supervisors, the equivalent of a city council, will vote on a new mayor in the coming weeks. Lee was appointed in January 2011 to replace then-mayor Gavin Newsom, who won election as the state's lieutenant governor. Lee won a full term that November and was re-elected in 2015.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A US appeals court panel has said that federal officials must reconsider their decision not to regulate the size of airline seats as a safety issue. In a ruling on Friday, one of the judges called it “the case of the incredible shrinking airline seat”.  The Flyers Rights passenger group challenged the Federal Aviation Administration in court after the agency rejected its request to write rules governing seat size and the distance between rows of seats.  New York senator calls for FAA action over 'shrinkage' of airplane seats A three-judge panel for the federal appeals court in Washington said the FAA had relied on outdated or irrelevant tests and studies before deciding that seat spacing was a matter of comfort, not safety.  The judges sent the issue back to the FAA and said the agency must come up with a better-reasoned response to the group’s safety concerns.  “We applaud the court’s decision, and the path to larger seats has suddenly become a bit wider,” said Kendall Creighton, a spokeswoman for Flyers Rights.  The passenger group says small seats bunched too close together slow down emergency evacuations and raise the danger of travellers developing vein clots.  FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency was considering the ruling and its next steps. He said the FAA considers the spacing between seat rows when testing to make sure airliners can be evacuated safely.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A bizarre interview that Bannon gave to the liberal magazine the American Prospect – in which he claimed there was no military solution for North Korea, called the far right a “collection of clowns”, and said the left’s focus on racism would allow him to “crush the Democrats” – may have altered the balance of the power inside the West Wing. For an aide long suspected of leaking freely about rivals, Bannon’s excuse that he thought the call was off the record was not helpful.  Bannon’s departure leaves a major void in the White House, depriving it of a man once seen as Cardinal Richelieu in cargo pants, an unkempt schemer adept at manipulating the president, who was famously depicted as a childlike naif to his aide’s Grim Reaper in a Saturday Night Live sketch. The characterization – summed up in a Time magazine cover that hailed “the great manipulator” – reportedly annoyed the famously thin-skinned president and contributed to his fall from grace.  Josh Green, the author of the book Devil’s Bargain about Bannon and Trump, told the Guardian: “Bannon may be the only person in the White House with clear and distinct politics of his own.”  His absence means more power and influence for figures such as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the national economic council chair, Gary Cohn, who have few, if any, ideological ties to the Republican party and the conservative movement.   Bannon has long occupied an unusual position in the White House. In an administration that one outside ally compared to Baskin Robbins, “composed of 31 flavors,” Bannon represented “the nationalist Trump coalition” as opposed to “a lot of people that were not only not Trump supporters but anti-Trump people”.  One Bannon ally told the Guardian that the West Wing had seen a “four-on-one fight” recently, with Bannon taking on a coalition of Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Cohn and national security adviser HR McMaster. In the ally’s eyes Bannon represented the populist “burn it all down” path while others in the administration wanted Trump to “move the center” and work with the establishment.  A White House source claimed to Axios: “His departure may seem turbulent in the media, but inside it will be very smooth. He has no projects or responsibilities to hand off.”  Bannon had also stood out as the lone White House staffer to defend Trump’s comments on Charlottesville in recent days.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a "temporary hold" before it can be released.  The communications director for President Donald Trump's transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency's website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth's climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.  Ericksen clarified his earlier statements he made to The Associated Press, which reported that the Trump administration was mandating that any studies or data from EPA scientists undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. He said he was speaking about existing scientific information on the EPA website that is under review by members of the Trump administration's transition team. He said new work by the agency's scientists is subject to the same "temporary hold" as other kinds of public releases, which he said would likely be lifted by Friday. He said there was no mandate to subject studies or data to political review. Former EPA staffers under both Republican and Democratic presidents said the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations. Ericksen said no decisions have yet been made about whether to strip mentions of climate change from

Monday, January 23, 2017

Donald Trump is planning a new deal for Britain this week as Theresa May becomes the first foreign leader to meet him since the inauguration. 
With hundreds of thousands of people across the world protesting his presidency, Mr Trump’s team was working with Number 10 to finalise plans for White House talks.
Mr Trump has even taken to calling Mrs May “my Maggie” in reference to the close Thatcher-Reagan relationship he wants to recreate, according to sources....
The historic trip comes as: 
  • A deal to reduce barriers between American and British banks through a new “passporting” system was being considered by Mr Trump’s team
  • A US-UK “working group” was being prepared to identify barriers to trade and scope out a future trade deal
  • A joint statement on defence was expected to demand EU countries spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence and promise collaboration in tackling Isil
More than 60 million people in this country are hopeful — they want Mr. Trump to work on behalf of them to restore jobs in their dilapidated towns, to improve the education for their children, to help unite this fractious Republic, by making the American dream obtainable to all Americans.  They’ll dance at the balls this weekend, or toast champagne from within their homes. All are uncertain at what a Trump presidency may bring, but they are willing to give the man a chance.  All but the mainstream media that is.  Network heads and newspaper editors are filled with anxiety — yes, Mr. Trump’s supporters are jubilant, but the other half of this nation (including most within their own newsrooms) are devastated. And to them, that devastation is more powerful, more convincing. And thus, their coverage has reflected those fears, and none of the optimism.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Wages in the US grew at their fastest pace since 2009 last month, pointing to continued momentum in the labour market and putting the country on course for a string of interest rate rises this year. Average hourly earnings increased by 2.9pc compared with the year before, the largest annual increase in more than seven years, while 156,000 jobs were created in December. Although the employment figure fell short of the 178,000 widely expected by economists, it was enough to suggest that the economy is steaming ahead.  The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7pc in December, from a nine-year low of 4.6pc in November, as more people entered the labour market, in a sign of confidence in the economic recovery. Over the course of 2016, more than two million jobs were created in the US.  This set of jobs data will be the last for President Obama, as he makes way for Donald Trump, who is set to take office later this month.  President elect Trump has pledged to increase spending on the country's infrastructure, cut taxes and reduce red tape, three measures widely expected to boost growth this year.  The US jobs market is expected to hit full employment this year, and the country's central bank, the Federal Reserve, is set to push through interest rate rises in response.  Last month, the Fed increased the benchmark rate by .25 percentage points to a range of 0.25pc to 0.50pc. A further three rate increases are forecast for this year.  Kully Samra, managing director of Charles Schwab in the UK, said that despite December’s numbers missing forecasts, the US economy still had a robust labour market.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Britain’s economy will slow down but should not go anywhere close to a recession, according to economists at credit ratings agency Moody’s, while growth in the rest of the world is also “stabilising.” Although markets dived on the referendum result in June, stock prices have recovered and now economists also believe the impact of the vote will be relatively modest, compared with some early fears.  The lower pound should support economic growth in the UK, Moody’s said, while the government is expected to loosen the purse strings to shore up GDP.
Moody’s economists predict growth of 1.5pc this year and 1.2pc in 2017.
SAN FRANCISCO — Cisco Systems, the computer-networking giant that is in the midst of a major technological pivot, on Wednesday said it will eliminate up to 5,500 jobs.
The job reduction is Cisco's second major one in two years. The San Jose, Calif.-based company laid off 6,000 in a restructuring in 2014.  The Silicon Valley company announced the cuts — about 7% of its global workforce — during its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report. Sluggish spending by corporations and telecom carriers on network switches and routers, Cisco's big moneymakers, have prompted it to shake up staff ranks as it turns toward other fields, such as cloud computing.  The news sent Cisco shares (CSCO) down 1%, to $30.36, in after-hours trading.
Cisco slightly beat analysts’ estimates with a quarterly profit of $2.8 billion, or 56 cents a share, on revenue of $12.64 billion, off 1.6% from a year ago. Adjusted profits would have been 63 cents. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted adjusted earnings of 60 cents a share on revenue of $12.57 billion.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Even in recent weeks, Fed policymakers remained split over whether the economy is finally ready for higher rates. On the one hand, the unemployment rate has fallen sharply from 10% in 2009 and monthly job growth has averaged well over 200,000 the past two years, developments that led Fed Chair Janet Yellen to state that a rate increase was likely before the end of 2015. Still, many Americans continue to work part-time even though they prefer full-time jobs or have given up looking for work, though the ranks of such Americans have fallen. Partly as a result of this surplus labor supply, wage growth has only recently shown signs of accelerating beyond the tepid 2% annual pace that has prevailed throughout the recovery.  Broader inflation has been stuck well below the Fed's annual 2% target, both because of meager pay gains as well as low oil prices and a strong dollar that has kept imports cheap for U.S. consumers. The Fed reiterated Wednesday that it expects energy prices and the dollar to stabilize. In September, global economic troubles, which has combined with the rallying greenback to clobber exports, and related market turbulence stayed the Fed's hand.  Citing those forces and feeble inflation, Fed board members Daniel Tarullo and Lael Brainard were among those who have argued for caution, saying the risks of moving too soon and derailing a still-vulnerable recovery outweighed the hazards of waiting and possibly having to raise rates more rapidly to catch up to inflation.  Since October, though, the mood has shifted. China's economic troubles eased somewhat and failed to spread to other emerging markets, stock markets rallied, and U.S. job growth rebounded strongly in October and November from a late-summer slump. As result, momentum for a rate hike began building, both among some Fed policymakers and in financial markets.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


A company doesn’t find its way on Fortune‘s 100 Best Companies to Work For list by skimping around bonus time. That goes double for Houston-based Hilcorp, which landed at No. 20 on this year’s list on the strength of its generous bonus policy. The company told us earlier this year that if employees meet certain goals, that every one of them would receive a generous $100,000 bonus.  Well, it would appear that Hilcorp employees have fulfilled those goals because the firm just issued the bonuses as an early Christmas present, according to a report on KTVU in Houston.  “It’s just a true gift and I don’t think that myself along with everyone is not going to give less than 100% every day,” receptionist Amanda Thompson told the TV station.  This isn’t the first time that Hilcorp employees have been treated so generously by CEO Jeff Hildebrand. Fortune described the company’s attitude toward compensation earlier this year:  A “we are all in this together” culture, installed by Jeff Hildebrand when he founded this oil and gas company in 1989, manifests itself in open book management, rich bonuses averaging 33% of pay and outrageous rewards for meeting certain goals. In 2011 every employee received a voucher for $50,000 to buy a new car, or $35,000 cash (prorated based on hire date).  Fortune has reached out to Hilcorp and will update this story if the company responds.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control researchers say it is one of the strangest and most unsettling cases they have ever encountered. The researchers say that scans of a very ill man in Colombia revealed what "looked like cancer, but the tumors were composed of cells that were not human," NPR reports. The tumors had come from the man's resident tapeworm, which had developed cancer and somehow spread the disease to its host, according to the scientists, whose study published in the New England Journal of Medicine describes the "invasion of human tissue by abnormal, proliferating, genetically altered tapeworm cells" as a "novel disease mechanism." The man died 72 hours after researchers pinpointed the cause of the tumors, Live Science reports.
The Colombian man had HIV, which meant the tapeworm's growth in his body was not halted the way it would have been by a healthy immune system, Live Science notes. A CDC pathologist tells the Washington Post that it took dozens of tests to reveal the cause of the illness, and finding tapeworm DNA in the tumors was a huge surprise. "This is the first time we've seen parasite-derived cancer cells spreading within an individual," he says. "This is a very unusual, very unique illness." The Post notes that the study raises questions about what other parasites dwelling in the human body can develop — and spread — cancer. (For more tapeworm horror, read about what caused this man's headache.)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Well, Deutsche Bank, VW, immigrant welcome mat manufacture rates down, Mother Merkel beatification questioned. Bit bumpy huh!...Deutsche Bank has unveiled plans to split-up its struggling investment banking operations as part of a shake-up which will see the departure of a host of senior executives. The bank, which employs more than 8,000 people in the UK, said Colin Fan, who was co-head of the investment bank, has resigned, while Michele Faissola, the head of the asset and wealth management business, will also leave. Stefan Krause, who was Deutsche’s finance chief until earlier this year, is also departing at the end of the month. Stephan Leithner, currently a member of the lender’s management board, is quitting to join private equity house EQT ... The dramatic overhaul is part of a plan by John Cryan, who became co-chief executive in July, to revive the lender’s fortunes. As well as the personnel changes, Deutsche said that its investment bank, which is Europe’s largest, will be divided into two divisions: a new unit called Global Markets, comprising sales and trading activities, and another called Corporate & Investment Banking, incorporating its corporate finance and global transactions banking operations. The shake-up comes less than a fortnight after the bank revealed that it would slump to a €6.2bn loss during its third quarter. The huge loss was driven by a €5.8bn impairment charge that Deutsche blamed on a higher capital requirements, which hit the value of the investment bank, and a write-down of its Postbank business, which is being sold.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

During the weekly meeting of commissioners, Juncker  made it clear that new chapters in Turkey's accession negotiations could be opened. Furthermore, Turkey is to receive a billion euros for the refugee camps, in addition to the billion euros that have already been promised.  There will be no solution without Turkey, but what motivation does Erdogan have for making Merkel's life easier. The chancellor has always been opposed to Turkish accession to the EU. Furthermore, there are parliamentary elections in Turkey on Nov. 1 and 68 percent of the Turkish population is in favor of stricter rules pertaining to refugees. It sounds nice when Merkel says that fences aren't the solution. But such positions also make her susceptible to political blackmail. What if Erdogan isn't really interested in a solution? What if he is happy to see the camps on the Turkish-Syrian border empty out? What if he is okay with the situation in Syria worsening?  At the end of February, Merkel visited Pope Francis in the Vatican, and brought back with her a question that has remained with her ever since: What if the Middle Eastern conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites is the modern-day version of the Thirty Years' War, the battle between Catholics and Protestants that turned half of Europe into rubble in the 17th century?  To that question, Merkel has no answer. She has said that Germany will grant protection to those who need it. But if her plan to pacify the world doesn't work, it could be that so many people will come to Germany that Germans will no longer stand for it. Merkel is aware of that, which is why she doesn't want to become involved in a discussion about numbers. She doesn't want to name her own threshold of failure.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finding solutions for Syria was amply debated  by the European Parliament. Protecting innocent lives and achieving peace for the sake of the whole region is the number one priority. EPP Group MEPs showed their concern about escalating violence, Russia's military intervention and the threat of expanding the conflict throughout the region. They stressed that the impact on Europe is critically important. MEPs called for more EU involvement at international level to put an end to the conflict, combat the so-called Islamic State and stop the migration flow.  The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Elmar Brok MEP, stressed that the current network of different political interests must be stopped: "Russia, the US and the EU must come together and talk about a common geopolitical strategy like they did in the past in the case of nuclear arms in Iran. The current proxy war, especially by Saudia Arabia and Iran but also Turkey, must come to an end. Regional cooperation should be in the interest of all of them. We need to find a common solution for the situation in Syria to finally achieve progress in the peace process and the migration crisis."
"The contribution of the countries of the region is key to preventing the further propagation of radicalisation", stressed Mariya Gabriel MEP, Vice-Chairwoman of the EPP Group responsible for relations with Mediterranean countries: "A clear and specific commitment of the countries of the region should be made to contribute to the improvement of coordination and to the opening of an exit window. The role of the EU is to work to make this commitment happen and play a balancing role in the redistribution process of influences in the region and to bring back both regional and great powers to the table for a peace process in Syria."  Russia's military intervention worries the EPP Group's Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Cristian Preda MEP: "Russia has already shown us in the past its willingness to impose its vision of things by force. Its intervention in Syria is no different and makes the situation all the more fragile. By creating more pressure in Syria, Russia is doing nothing short of accentuating the refugee crisis. This is clearly against EU interests. We are deeply concerned about the recent incursions in Turkey's airspace. Turkey is our NATO partner."  The EPP Group Members believe that a lasting solution requires a political transition through a Syrian-led inclusive process with the support of the international community. All parties in the conflict should ensure the protection of the civilian population and honour their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law.  By August 2015, 12.2 million Syrians were in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the European Commission.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

China is the world's largest creditor. Beijing's massive money reserves (it is still the largest holder foreign holder of US government debt) currently stand at a healthy $3.6 trillion.  For more than two decades, the world's second largest economy has built up a war chest of foreign currency assets to act as a buffer against global headwinds. But the decision on August 11, to tweak its exchange rate regime and engineer the largest single devaluation of the renminbi in 21 years, has thrust the question of reserve depletion into sharp relief. What most People don't realize is, it's a Game that cost lives who ain't playing it, all the Banks, including the Central Banks in existent, bar 3 Countries to date, that aren't under the control of the Rothschild, Rockefeller Bankers, the main players, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, so it's an illusion that any Country act's independently regarding anything to do with Fiat Money, the Dollar of make believe with Interest, that wasn't tied to Oil for nothing, cause when you control the Money Supply over the last 3 Centuries , you can scam your way into Wealth , control all the major Industries on the Planet, including all those that have a habit of blowing Folks up in the name of Democracy, who just happened to fund Hitler and all his ideals.
The Dollar's worthless, they want to move away from it, they start taking another Currency for the Oil etc, like Saddam, or  Gaddafi going Gold with the rest of Africa, which was to commence in 2011, then we get fed lies via the Media that they control, the Politician's and these People end up Dead, Countries destroyed , but these Rothschild Bankers don't hang around long before they've got a Central Bank up and running, that's the reality, but China's been buying and mining Gold for over 15 years, waiting for the day for it to all explode, Gold is going to be their Savior, unlike USA who've only got others and Brown, well he sold most of Britain's, pocket change to China, they ain't daft, it's only matter of time before China is declared the Winner...With US$, GBP, Euro and Yen increase of money supply (M1) and near negative money velocity (M3); any creditor including China would be bonkers to hold on to US$ denominated assets. The Chinese devaluations of the RMB to US$ have in effect increased their profits measured in RMB. Smart moves.  Why should China care about US$ denominated assets created by a debtor, especially since the US and European economies are in implosion mode, except for a loss of market which is substitutable with the likes of Russia, India or Africa?  However, think ahead and after the implosion of the US economy, the Chinese will mop up all those good value insolvent companies and other hard assets worldwide with the new global substitute for the US$- Brilliant and playing the game like a true capitalist. 'Trust the free market', said the Chicago School of economics, Reagan, Clinton, Bush(s), Blair and Brown.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

"The United States is a nation-state with enough of a sense of shared political community to accept majoritarian democratic rule. Unlike the eurozone. Germany and France sharing a government? Hard to imagine. Germany and Greece? Impossible." An excellent point, but the writer seems to ignore the obvious conclusion: that a common currency cannot exist where political traditions and aims are so incompatibly diverse. The point about the US - constantly swept under the carpet - is that for all the foundation state freedoms, no single state (not even the southern Confederacy) was completely self-governing, racially and linguistically distinctive and hostile to its neighbours for any length of time - and certainly not for a millennium. It became a country dominated by the politics and philosophy of English liberalism and united colloquially by the English language.   The glaring exceptions were weeded out by the Louisiana Purchase and the wars with Mexico.  France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain (for example) are the five most unlikely candidates for political union imaginable.   The way Greece has been treated is treason. Treason against basic human rights, treason against the very reason of existence of the EU, treason against the fathers of Democracy as we (thought to) intend it, treason against any decent and modern view of society... I am not Greek, but I do sympathize for them. and if I will be burdened with £20 to help them pay their debts, well...better reason than pay £300 for a stroll to Parliament, is it?
Shame on all European politicians...but...hey! Where the REAL POLITICIANS are...? all gone fishing, I guess...only profiting gangsters remained...that's why the likes of SNP and UKIP are taking spaces...So, indeed, shame on all of us that defend a society based on money.
I am not Labour, but...welcome Corbyn! You may be able to bring back some common sense here!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

America has marginalized the productive sectors often identified as labor. Most of us are living pay check to pay check because there is no lawful system regulating 'good business'. This in turn allows the top earners to supplement their incomes by building asset islands on the backs of those they hire at ever decreasing rates. Their assets being over valued. provision them with flipping incomes... and increased liquidity outside of taxable income. This game has been played for years.... Banks are left holding the lower income earners limited resources and often failing credit.
So the Banks are now heading for negative interest rates to supplement their portfoolio's (Spelling correct) On the downside.. The Federal Government also insures them for loss and thus they pay trillions in default payments... Putting the taxation system into a spiral.... Now even the Federal Government is looking towards drugs to supplement their losses... at the behest of President Obama and George Soros... To leaders with amoral views and no limits to their own investments for Power and Greed.... Congress is broken in the middle with partisanship leading our Country towards complete failure.  I doubt anyone with a voice will be allowed to speak the truth any longer... The censors will likely veto even this message... But heck it won't be the first one I have written which will never see the light od day.... QE is an inflationary policy. This is not a matter of debate. Lowering interest rates and increasing the monetary supply always, 100% of the time, creates inflationary pressure. Since I'm feeling bored at work;), I'll expand. You observed lower inflation (not deflation) because the inflationary pressure generated by massive QE on the US Dollar was weaker than global fear during the great recession.  The idea is that people and governments worldwide were so fearful that they decided they would rather park their money with the strongest government on earth (US Bonds) for slightly negative real ROI, than invest anywhere else, even though much higher returns were to be had. The EU will probably see some inflation out of QE, but the Euro, like the dollar, is also seen as a global safe haven, so I doubt it will be runaway. No one really knows what will actually happen in the future.
And that's what I'd like to emphasize. No one really knows what will happen in the future, so it's important not to look at the pleasantly surprising low inflationary environment that recently correlated with QE in the USA and extrapolate that QE won't cause inflation in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2015

WASHINGTON — It was perhaps inevitable that the Greek crisis would hijack the spring meeting of International Monetary Fund this week, but the damage to the international lending agency could grow much worse as the situation in Europe becomes increasingly acute.
The standoff between a new Greek government seeking debt relief after five years of grinding recession and authorities at the IMF and European Union, who were unbending in their demands to follow through on further austerity measures to get more bailout money, dominated discussions at the meeting that brings economic policymakers from around the world.
Greece faces a deadline Friday to submit a list of specific reforms to the European Union that will unlock nearly $8 billion in bailout funds that it needs to meet loan repayments falling due next month.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Clearly there are some who have not realized the new economic tectonic shift in power towards the East.  The U.S. has an unpayable debt of nearly 200 TRILLION dollars, when you include unfunded liabilities.  The western shadow banking system is hiding over a 1000 TRILLION in derivatives, that have zero backing.  The plain truth is that Russia is dependent on sales of a product that will NEVER recover to its old price level.   $60 a barrel is the new norm.  This is a disaster for the Russian economy.  The prosperity it enjoyed in the days of $100+ a barrel are gone forever.
And worse times are coming for Russia as the Little Russian Psychopath persists with his grossly transparent plan to get a secure land route from Russia to Crimea through puppet "republics" in Soutern Ukraine... RBS, which maintains an office in Russia, said in its full-year results that it had “reduced limits to customers affected by [sanctions], including tightening transactional controls to mitigate credit risk while ensuring sanctions compliance”, and that it had placed restrictions on new business in the country. Its net exposure fell by £120m last year to £1.8bn, around half of which is fully hedged. While half of RBS’s loans to the country are to corporates, most of Barclays’ exposure is to the financial sector. The retreats represent a major pull-back for Britain’s banks in Russia, after a pre-crisis investment splurge. In 2008, at the height of the banking boom, Barclays paid £373m for Expobank, before selling it for an undisclosed sum in 2011. In the same year, HSBC closed its retail banking operations in the country, having opened them just two years earlier. Other banks cut funding last year, including the French bank Société Générale, which is one of the largest foreign lenders in the country.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Searching for support and "handouts" (from the US) as usual ...

German Chancellor (Merkel) arrives in Washington late  this sunday for upcoming  meetings with President Obama that start Monday..."We think it's wise to have an (...) accord tied to achievements and bench marks,"  = this is a funny statement though.  Anyway,  here's what they will talk about ( this is the "public agenda" - background talks about further economic support from the FED not made public by neither of the participants - Germany needs help for sure):
"One of the most pressing issues is the crisis in Ukraine," said Peter Wittig, Germany's ambassador to Washington. "All of us are concerned this is a spiraling military conflict. We want to explore the diplomatic options."  Merkel's visit comes as Obama considers providing modern weapons to Ukraine, which has been losing territory in the country's eastern regions to pro-Russian separatists armed with tanks and personnel carriers sporting Russia's most advanced armor.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday asked Western leaders at the Munich Security Conference to push for a quick cease-fire and defensive weapons capable of countering the separatists' armored assaults... Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Friday during a meeting in Moscow to draft a peace plan for Ukraine based on ideas proposed by Putin and Poroshenko, but previous agreements have fallen apart even as the conflict has resulted in more than 5,300 dead in Ukraine.  Merkel has opposed sending weapons to Ukraine. On Saturday, she said she "cannot imagine any situation in which improved equipment for the Ukrainian army leads to President Putin being so impressed that he believes he will lose militarily," according to the Associated Press.  Wittig, who briefed reporters in Washington in advance of Merkel's visit, said that if the West delivered weapons to Ukraine, "Moscow would probably reciprocate" by providing separatists with more weapons.  "How far are we willing to escalate that military spiral? I'm not sure that we are," Wittig said.
Finally, the two leaders will discuss a thorny trade pact, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would unite the economies of the USA and the 28-nations of the European Union. The deal would eliminate most trade barriers for many products and financial services.
Backers say it could produce free-market prosperity, but the negotiations have also been controversial because the pact would increase competition. Greece's new leftist ruling party, Syriza, has said it opposes the plan.
Obama and Merkel will also discuss a training center Germany is setting up in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, to train and provide arms to Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting against the Islamic State, which has seized territory in Iraq and Syria. Merkel will also discuss German interest in pursuing other tracks of destabilizing the militant group, including counter-financing and supporting messages that de-legitimize the group's claims that its actions, including the murder by fire last month of a captured Jordanian pilot, are backed by Muslim religious ideals.
Source - USA Today