Thursday, September 29, 2016

In U-Turn, Saudis Choose Higher Prices Over Free Oil Markets

Saudi Arabia has ended its flirtation with free oil markets.

It took the kingdom’s new oil minister, Khalid Al-Falih, just six months to blink, ending the country’s two-year policy of pump-at-will.

The decision at this week’s meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Algiers to cut production was necessitated by Saudi Arabia’s tattered finances. The kingdom has the highest budget deficit among the world’s 20 biggest economies, may delay its first international bond issue and now faces fresh legal uncertainty after the U.S. Congress voted Wednesday to allow Americans to sue the country for its involvement in 9/11 ....

Facebook Chrome extension shows everything that the site knows about its users

The huge amount of data that Facebook collects on every one of its users has been exposed. And all it takes is a small Chrome extension.

The site’s ad tracking uses a huge amount of information about its users to provide marketing that it thinks will be both useful and successful. The algorithms that power that work are what has made Facebook such a huge success – but they remain mostly secret.

They are built from a huge set of different inputs. The site can watch, for instance, for people liking a particular status and then decide what sort of films they might be into. They might tag photos at a particular place, write their favourite music on their profile, comment on an article about a politician or change their relationship status – and each of those pieces of information are logged as ways of knowing more about a person ....

Saudi Arabia Reacts To Sept. 11 Bill Veto Override

Officially. Unofficially the NYT reported on April 15 that Saudi Arabia had told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes the JASTA bill.

For now, however, there is no official statement, and no official reaction from Saudi Arabia after the votes, and in the short-term, few expect little more than a curt statement of disapproval from Riyadh. However, unofficial channels have been more forthcoming.

Meanwhile, as we reported this morning, the Saudi currency and assets are crashing: long-term forward points (a proxy for borrowing costs and The Kingdom's stability) have exploded ....

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to attend funeral of Israeli ex-president Peres

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will attend the funeral of Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, Palestinian officials told AFP on Thursday, in what will be a rare visit to Jerusalem.

Several Palestinian officials confirmed his participation in Friday's funeral on condition of anonymity.

An Israeli defence ministry unit also said Abbas had asked for it to coordinate his participation ....

Trump Attacks Clinton in Iowa: ‘She Would Put the Oval Office Up for Sale’

Donald Trump spent the majority of his campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Wednesday attacking his opponent Hillary Clinton for being part of the political establishment and controlled by donors.

The Republican nominee also scrutinized her involvement with the controversial Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state.

“Everything you need to know about Hillary Clinton can be understood with this simple phrase, ‘Follow the money,’” Trump told the supporters gathered to see him at the Mid America Center Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon ....

Israeli ex-president Shimon Peres's death has met with official silence in most Arab countries

Mourned internationally as a peacemaker, Israeli ex-president Shimon Peres's death has met with official silence in most Arab countries, where public opinion vilified the Nobel laureate as a "war criminal".

Of the 21 Arab states, only two -- Egypt and Jordan -- have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Even in those countries, the legacy of their destructive wars with Israel and its policies towards Palestinians continue to influence public opinion ....

3 dead, 100 reportedly injured as commuter train smashes into New Jersey station

A New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed into the Hoboken terminal during rush hour, causing major structural damage and numerous injuries. Emergency services say three people have died.

Local media are reporting "major structural damage" and "multiple injuries," while the first responders are setting up triage.

The cause of the crash is still unknown ....

Canada urged to cancel controversial torture directive

TORONTO, Canada – Ottawa is facing questions about why a controversial ministerial directive allowing the Canadian intelligence agency to use and share information obtained through torture remains in place.

The criticism re-surfaced this week in response to a series of CBC reports about the role Canadian intelligence and police agencies played in the torture of Canadian citizens imprisoned in Syria between 2001 and 2004 ....

State Dept. Threatens Terror Attacks in Russia if Moscow Keeps Fighting ISIS

In extraordinary comments that have gone virtually unnoticed by the media, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby threatened Moscow with terror attacks in Russian cities and even shoot downs of Russian jets if Vladimir Putin continued his fight against ISIS in Syria.

“Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft,” Kirby told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing, adding that if the war in Syria continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.” ....

Clinton: US should use 'military response' to fight cyberattacks from Russia and China

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party presidential nominee and former US secretary of state, has said that if she becomes president cyberattacks against US interests will be treated "like any other attack" – and that includes military action.

The candidate, who has been investigated by the FBI over use of a private email server to store classified material, was speaking on the campaign trial at the American Legion National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on 31 August ....

Hillary Clinton Could Easily Push America into Open Conflict with Russia

One especially disturbing trend in global affairs is the marked deterioration in relations between the United States and Russia. Much will depend on the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Donald Trump has staked out a reasonably conciliatory policy toward Moscow. And in the highly improbable event that Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson emerged victorious, the United States would certainly pursue a less interventionist, confrontational foreign policy toward Russia as well as other countries.

But Trump and a handful of other dissenters have triggered the wrath of the foreign-policy establishment by daring to suggest that Washington’s Russia policy may be unwise and that the two countries have important mutual interests ....

A Vote For Hillary Clinton Is A Vote For Wars Against Russia, China, Others

If you believe United States presidential wars with Russia and China (not declared by Congress) are necessary to fulfill a divine mission to bring freedom, justice, dignity, and civilization to the Russian and Chinese peoples, then you should vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

If you believe like former Democratic Secretary of State Dean Acheson that “[i]n the final analysis, the United States is the locomotive of mankind and the rest of the world the caboose,” an arrogance that begot the gruesome Vietnam War, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

Her bellicose, jingoistic foreign policy views bugled in a speech before the American Legion on August 31, 2016 confirms that her presidency would bow to Mars (the God of War), not to Minerva (the Goddess of Wisdom) ....

US Spox John Kirby threatens Russia with “more body bags, attacks on Russian Cities”

In a veiled threat against the Russians, US State Department spokesman John Kirby warns Russia of ‘more body bags” and “attacks on Russian cities” if the Russians will not cooperate with them in Syria.

Kirby’s words didn’t go unnoticed by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

“And those [acts of terrorism] will be perpetrated by ‘moderate’ [Syrian opposition groups]?” Zakharova asked in her Facebook post. “Just the ones that Washington has been unable to separate from Al-Nusra for as long as six months?” ....

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Brexit can make UK highly attractive, says Axel Springer chief

One of Germany’s most prominent businessmen has said Brexit will be more painful for the rest of Europe than for Britain, and a UK outside of the EU might prove “highly attractive” to foreign investors — in a sharp break with the German consensus on Britain’s post-EU future.

Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, one of Europe’s largest media companies, said Britain was bound to experience short-term pain as a consequence of its June 23 vote to quit the EU, “but in three to five years from now, my bet would be that England will be better off than continental Europe”.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Döpfner said he saw Britain moving towards a “more free market-oriented model, while Europe is step by step transforming into a transfer union”  ....

Janet Yellen On The Fed Buying Stocks: "Maybe In The Future, Down The Line..."

This was her response:
"Well, the Federal Reserve is not permitted to purchase equities. We can only purchase U.S. treasuries and agency securities. I did mention in a speech in Jackson Hole, though, where I discussed longer term issues and difficulties we could have in providing adequate monetary policy. Accommodation may be somewhere in the future, down the line that this is the kind of thing that Congress might consider, but if you were to do so, it's not something that the Federal Reserve is asking for."
Not asking for yet, because we are certain that there was a time when neither the BOJ nor the SNB imagined they would have to officially intervene in the stock market to keep it propped up ....

'Your parents are not good people': Bill Clinton 'rape' accuser Juanita Broaddrick lashes out at Chelsea Clinton after former first daughter calls dad's sex scandals a 'distraction

A former Arkansas nursing home administrator who has accused Bill Clinton of raping her nearly 40 years ago lashed out at Chelsea Clinton on Wednesday for minimizing her father Bill's past sex scandals.

'Your father was, and probably still is, a sexual predator. Your mother has always lied and covered up for him,' Juanita Broaddrick wrote on Twitter.

Chelsea said in an interview with Cosmopolitan on Tuesday that focusing on the former president's reputation as a sex abuser was a 'distraction' from issues important to voters in the November election ....

Radio Host Michael Savage Taken Off Air, Censored For Saying 1 Word

Popular radio host Michael Savage was pulled off the air during his program yesterday in a shocking move. His show, with over 20 million listeners, went dead on WABC New York, but Savage, known for his hard-hitting style, continued on. However, he was then pulled from a slew of affiliates. It was clear censorship, and you’ll be shocked to learn the one word that Savage said that caused him to be sabotaged.

What was so controversial that WABC had to censor Savage? Well, Hillary Clinton’s health of course. That’s right, all Savage was talking about from a medical standpoint was Hillary’s health and the rumor that she takes Levodopa, the Parkinson’s disease drug. After Savage mentioned Levodopa, that was all it took, just that one word, to cause the liberal CEO to take him off air mid-show ....

Obama to attend Shimon Peres funeral in Jerusalem

Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama will join other world leaders in attending the funeral of Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, the White House said Wednesday.

The president "will lead the US delegation to Jerusalem to participate in the funeral," the White House said. He is to depart for Israel Thursday and return after the ceremony on Friday ....