In The News Today

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American Foreign Policy in Iraq is ‘Ridiculous’
June 12, 2014

Ron Paul discusses news about Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants made up of Al Qaeda overrunning Mosul, Iraq. He says the system is falling apart there, and that there is nothing positive to show for since we went into Iraq in 2003.

Episode Duration: 11:07

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Each step towards the Ruble and Chinese currency is a step away from the US dollar.

Russian companies prepare to pay for trade in renminbi
By Jack Farchy and Kathrin HilleAuthor alerts

Russian companies are preparing to switch contracts to renminbi and other Asian currencies amid fears that western sanctions may freeze them out of the US dollar market, according to two top bankers.

“Over the last few weeks there has been a significant interest in the market from large Russian corporations to start using various products in renminbi and other Asian currencies and to set up accounts in Asian locations,” Pavel Teplukhin, head of Deutsche Bank in Russia, told the Financial Times.

Andrei Kostin, chief executive of state bank VTB, said that expanding the use of non-dollar currencies was one of the bank’s “main tasks”.

“Given the extent of our bilateral trade with China, developing the use of settlements in roubles and yuan [renminbi] is a priority on the agenda, and so we are working on it now,” he told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a briefing. “Since May, we have been carrying out this work.”

The move to open accounts to trade in renminbi, Hong Kong dollars or Singapore dollars highlights Russia’s attempt to pivot towards Asia as its relations with Europe become strained.

Sanctions are pushing Russian companies to reduce their dependence on western financial markets while US and European banks have dramatically slowed their lending activity in Russia since the annexation of Crimea in March.

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Obama contemplates military action as US tensions rise over Iraq crisis
For the US to recommit air power to Iraq would be embarrassing concession that the US desire to leave Iraq has come at a cost
Spencer Ackerman in New York
theguardian.com, Thursday 12 June 2014 20.59 BST

The dilemma the Obama administration faces as Iraq appears to be on the brink of collapse is this: its only achievement there, getting the US out, is now threatened by the military action it is contemplating against the marauding jihadist army advancing toward Baghdad.

President Obama did not announce a new US military commitment to Iraq on Thursday, befitting the tension within an administration proud of what it used to call a "responsible end" to the war, but he signaled one is forthcoming.

Ground troops are not under consideration. Air strikes are. “There will be some short-term, immediate things that need to be done militarily," Obama said.

If the White House does come to Iraq’s aid, it will do so kicking and screaming. Its initial response, right before the Iraqi army evaporated, was to urge the government there to "step up". But the credible fear of a jihadist assault recasting the borders of both Iraq and Syria is tearing up a longstanding post-withdrawal US strategy of keeping Iraq at an arm’s length. At this point, US military options under consideration are unlikely to be decisive.

In truth, the path Obama took to ending America’s exhausting Iraqi misadventure was less decisive than its endpoint suggested. The Obama administration attempted unsuccessfully to negotiate a residual force of American soldiers and airmen, something the Iraqis rejected, possibly to their current regret. Thousands of security contractors and a few hundred troops at the US embassy are the last remnant of the war.

But once the military left Baghdad in 2011, Obama was eager to wave away those complexities and reap the benefits of ending a war that the American public, and almost all of official Washington, had rejected. "Four years ago, I promised to end the Iraq war. I did," Obama said in his speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

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Carney tells UK to prepare for rate rises
By Chris Giles and George Parker

Mark Carney has warned households, companies and financial markets to prepare for an interest rate rise, saying the first increase “could happen sooner than markets currently expect”.

In his first hawkish comments since becoming governor of the Bank of England almost a year ago, Mr Carney stressed on Thursday evening that the widely anticipated action by the central bank this month to cool the housing market will not be a substitute for gradual interest rate rises.

Having last year guided people to expect rates to remain at the emergency level of 0.5 per cent until 2016, financial markets currently expect the first rise in spring 2015 and the governor’s Mansion House speech to a City audience is bound to bring expectations further forward, perhaps towards the end of this year.

“There’s already great speculation about the exact timing of the first rate hike and this decision is becoming more balanced,” Mr Carney said.

The governor’s remarks will heighten expectation that the BoE will be the first major central bank to raise rates since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Is this about warships or banks?

BNP Paribas: EU’s Barnier wants ‘fair’ US action over fine
12 June 2014 Last updated at 20:05 ET

One of the European Union’s top officials has intervened in the controversy over a potential huge US fine on BNP Paribas.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s internal markets commissioner, said any penalty on the giant French bank must be "fair and objective".

There are reports that the US may hit BNP with a fine of $10bn (£6bn) for allegedly violating sanctions rules.

France has expressed alarm at the fine, warning that it could hurt trade talks.

Mr Barnier told a press conference: "Given the importance of this case and the importance of this bank… we are closely following the situation and we simply wish that this affair be handled in a proportionate, fair and objective manner."

The bank is accused by US regulators of breaking sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009.

France’s President Francois Hollande has raised the matter with US President Barack Obama, who has made it clear he will not interfere with the judicial and regulatory process.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The Dude in the box of shame.

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Now Obama expects Iran to bail him out in Iraq
By Con Coughlin
Last updated: June 13th, 2014

If anyone was in any doubt about the dramatic decline that has taken place in American power and influence during the presidency of Obama, they should consider the hopeless position the White House now finds itself in as it watches the takeover of large swathes of Iraq by jihadist militants.

Having taken the unwise decision to turn his back on Iraq in 2011, when Obama refused to maintain any sort of American military presence in the country, he now finds himself impotent to help the Iraqi government as ISIS jihadis threaten to overrun the Iraqi capital.

Faced with the deepening crisis taking root in one of the Arab world’s pivotal countries, Mr Obama has said that he is looking at "all the options". In reality, his options are limited, not least because the president himself is reluctant to involve himself in any complicated overseas entanglements.

The only realistic option open the President is to send arms to the Maliki government, and perhaps offer to launch air strikes against the jihadists’ positions. But after he backed away from taking similar action in Syria last year, this seems unlikely. Furthermore, US air strikes alone against the jihadists are not going to make any serious impact on their progress towards Baghdad.

The only way to eradicate the jihadist threat is by deploying properly equipped and trained ground forces, something the Americans – and, come to think of it, the British – are not prepared to do.

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Ukrainian PM orders govt: ‘Prepare to stop Russian gas imports’
Published time: June 13, 2014 14:25
Edited time: June 13, 2014 16:18

Ukrainian Prime Minster Arseny Yatsenyuk has ordered Energy and Coal ministries, regional governments, and Naftogaz to get ready for Russian gas supplies to be cut starting Monday, the cabinet’s website said.

The measure is dubbed “the energy sector’s functioning plan which involves the cessation of gas deliveries from the Russian Federation” and comes into effect on June 16, the document states.

With that, Kiev will launch its case against the Russian energy giant Gazprom at the Stockholm Court of Arbitration, the statement said. Yatsenyuk called for “preparations to be completed” for the process.

Moscow set Monday as a deadline for Ukraine to pay off part of its gas debt of $1.95 billion.

Yatseniuk also ordered the national regulator to revise transportation tariffs for Russian gas via Ukraine as Russia ships around a half of its gas exports to Europe through Ukraine.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Bail in is for certain for the entire Western world, but so many of you refuse to even consider GOTS (get out of the system).

RPT-Fitch: Hypo Alpe Losses Are Another Sign of Waning State Support
Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:45pm IST
Bayerische Landesbank

(Reuters) – (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

The Austrian government’s new proposed legislation to wind up Hypo Alpe Adria, including the bail-in of certain subordinated debt, is another sign of waning state support, Fitch Ratings says. We have already factored waning state support into our Negative Outlook on Austrian bank ratings, so there are no immediate rating changes from the state’s actions.

The ratings were put on Negative Outlook in March, reflecting a weakening of support propensity as further progress is made to address both the legislative and the practical impediments to effective bank resolution. The proposed legislation from the Austrian authorities is specific to Hypo Alpe Adria, and we do not consider it an indication that Austria will implement the bail-in tool more broadly ahead of the 2016 deadline for EU banks.

We still expect to remove or reduce sovereign support from many of our bank ratings in late 2014 or in 1H15. This is likely to result in downgrades. We have a rating on Hypo Alpe Adria subordinated debt guaranteed by the Austrian central government but not on other bonds issued by the bank or the bank itself. This debt we rate is not affected by the authorities’ actions and we are maintaining its ‘AAA’ rating. Losses are being applied to EUR890m of subordinated debt with a deficiency guarantee from the province of Carinthia and EUR800m of loans from Bayern LB, its previous shareholder.

The deficiency guarantee on Hypo Alpe Adria’s debt from its province is typical for Austria’s Landeshypothekenbanken. We don’t rate other Landeshypothekenbanken, which might be more severely affected by potential spillover from the subordinated debt bail-in at Hypo Alpe Adria. Nevertheless, Fitch-rated Austrian banks are vulnerable in the short-term to funding disruption. Access and costs of funding may be affected by the actions on Hypo Alpe Adria. Spreads may widen and be more volatile. But we don’t believe Austrian banks’ funding and liquidity would come under threat.

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DOJ Seeking More Than $10 Billion From Citigroup, Lawsuit Imminent
Tyler Durden on 06/13/2014 11:00 -0400

First it was JPM and Bank of America, now it is Citigroup’s turn to confirm that in the New Normal, and especially with no volume to speak of, banks are nothing but piggybank utilities for the government to extract cash from whenever it so desires. From Bloomberg:

U.S. SAID TO SEEK MORE THAN $10 BLN IN CITIGROUP MORTGAGE PROBE

U.S. PROBE RELATES TO CITIGROUP’S MORTGAGE-BOND SALES

However, Citi appears less than excited at the prospect of paying $10 billion to buy itself out of trouble. In fact, as the price of justice is being negotiated, Citi has offered only 40 cents on the dollar to tip the scales of what is right and wrong under the Eric Holder regime. Sadly for it, the government wants more:

CITIGROUP SAID TO HAVE OFFERED LESS THAN $4 BILLION TO SETTLE

U.S. SAID TO BE PREPARING LAWSUIT AGAINST CITIGROUP

U.S. SAID TO HAVE BROKEN OFF TALKS WITH CITIGROUP

Which means:

U.S. SAID TO CONSIDER FILING CITI LAWSUIT AS SOON AS NEXT WEEK

Remember that joke we made about recurring "non-recurring", legal charges and non one-time "one-time" legal fees? Yeah, so do we.

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