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Stock Down

Russia will not give consent to restructuring Ukraine's $3 billion debt - finance minister

© TASS/Dmitry Astakhov
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov
"We'll be waiting for Ukraine to fulfill its obligations," said Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

Russia will not give its consent to restructuring Ukraine's $3 billion debt, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reports in response to a request to comment on the remarks by his Ukrainian counterpart Natalya Yaresko who said that restructuring Ukraine's Eurobonds worth $3 billion related to the London Club mechanisms.

"We won't give out consent to any restructuring. We'll be waiting for Ukraine to fulfill its obligations," he said.

If Kiev fails to honor its commitments, Russia will go to court. "We'll apply to the court of arbitration in accordance with the U.K. laws, the way it was stipulated in case of default or non-fulfillment of Ukraine's obligations towards Russia," Siluanov said. He added that the conclusions to this effect could be made in December, when Ukraine was due to repay the loan.

Ukraine received $17.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund in February. Under the agreement, Kiev must restructure its $15.3 billion debt to private investors. Russia is not planning to take part in the restructuring program and expects Ukraine's debt to be repaid in December 2015.

Comment: Russia has shown Ukraine tremendous patience out of consideration for the suffering of its citizens.


Stock Down

Are we on the brink of global financial collapse?

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© www.ponziclawbacks.com
A reverse repurchase agreement, also called a "reverse repo" or "RRP," is an open market operation in which the Desk sells a security to an eligible RRP counterparty with an agreement to repurchase that same security at a specified price at a specific time in the future. LINK...IMF tells regulators to brace for global 'liquidity shock' - LINK.

The financial news spin-doctors are attributing today's abrupt sell-off to a report of a Bloomberg terminal outage and to a report that China has expanded its list of stocks available for shorting. This explanation for the plunge in stocks globally is so absurd it almost leaves me speechless.

I have been postulating since mid-December that the strange volatility we've been experiencing in the markets - combined with the most intensive effort I've ever seen by the Plunge Protection Team (the Fed + the Treasury's Working Group on Financial Markets) to prop up the stock market and keep a manipulative cap on gold - is occurring because there is a massive derivatives melt-down going on behind the scenes. The volatility reflects the turmoil and the market intervention in stocks and precious metals reflects the effort to keep the problem covered up.

Comment: Might the above explanation be related to this:

Signs that the American elite are feverishly preparing for something BIG


Eagle

Dzokhar Tsarnaev's family speak out: U.S. secret services responsible for Boston bombing

© AFP
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Members of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's family tell TIME they tried in vain to dismiss his defense lawyers

Throughout the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old who was convicted last week of bombing the Boston Marathon in 2013, his family resisted the urge to speak out publicly in his defense. Tsarnaev's defense team had advised them not to grant interviews, they say, as it could risk his chances at trial. But when the jury issued its guilty verdict on April 8, convicting him on 17 counts that could each carry the death penalty, some of his relatives decided to go public with their outrage.

On the evening of April 14, three members of the Tsarnaev family met at a café in the city of Grozny, close to their ancestral home in southern Russia, and told a TIME reporter how the trial had torn their family apart, how helpless they felt against what they see as an American conspiracy against them and, above all, how they still hope to convince Tsarnaev to fire his legal team and seek to overturn the verdict on appeal.

"It would be so much easier if he had actually committed these crimes," says his aunt Maret Tsarnaeva. "Then we could swallow this pain and accept it."

Whistle

Agent in charge of FBI anthrax investigation blows whistle, claims whole thing was a scam

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The FBI head agent in charge of the anthrax investigation - Richard Lambert - has just filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit calling the entire FBI investigation bullsh!t:
In the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, a series of anthrax mailings occurred which killed five Americans and sickened 17 others. Four anthrax-laden envelopes were recovered which were addressed to two news media outlets in New York City (the New York Post and Tom Brokaw at NBC) and two senators in Washington D.C. (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle). The anthrax letters addressed to New York were mailed on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the 9/11 attacks. The letters addressed to the senators were mailed 21 days later on October 9, 2001. A fifth mailing of anthrax is believed to have been directed to American Media, Inc. (AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida based upon the death of one AMI employee from anthrax poisoning and heavy spore contamination in the building.

Executive management at FBI Headquarters assigned responsibility for the anthrax investigation (code named "AMERITHRAX") to the Washington Field Office (WFO), dubbing it the single most important case in the FBI at that time. In October 2002, in the wake of surging media criticism, White House impatience with a seeming lack of investigative progress by WFO, and a concerned Congress that was considering revoking the FBI's charter to investigate terrorism cases, Defendant FBI Director Mueller reassigned Plaintiff from the FBI's San Diego Field Office to the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters and placed Plaintiff in charge of the AMERITHRAX case as an "Inspector."While leading the investigation for the next four years, Plaintiff's efforts to advance the case met with intransigence from WFO's executive management, apathy and error from the FBI Laboratory, politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters, and yet another preceding and equally erroneous legal opinion from Defendant Kelley - all of which greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.

Bad Guys

Oil leak goes almost unnoticed: Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf

© Gerald Herbert | Associated Press

In this March 31 photo, a supply vessel crosses an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. The New Orleans-based company has downplayed the leak's environmental impact.
U.S. lets Taylor Energy shield information as trade secrets

Over the Gulf of Mexico | Down to just one full-time employee, Taylor Energy Company exists for only one reason: to fight an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that has gone largely unnoticed, despite creating miles-long slicks for more than a decade.

The New Orleans-based company has downplayed the leak's environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps that the Gulf routinely absorbs.

But an Associated Press investigation has revealed evidence that the spill is far worse than what Taylor — or the government — has publicly reported. Presented with AP's findings, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that is about 20 times greater than one recently touted by the company.

Outside experts said the spill could be even worse — possibly one of the largest ever in the Gulf, albeit still dwarfed by BP's massive 2010 gusher.

The roots of the leak lie in an underwater mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan's waves in September 2004.

That toppled Taylor's platform and buried 28 wells under sediment about 10 miles off Louisiana's coast at a depth of roughly 475 feet.

Without access to the buried wells, traditional "plug and abandon" efforts wouldn't work.The Coast Guard said in 2008 the leak posed a "significant threat" to the environment, though there is no evidence oil from the site has reached shore.

Ian MacDonald, a Florida State University biological oceanography professor and expert witness in a lawsuit against Taylor, said the sheen "presents a substantial threat to the environment" and is capable of harming birds, fish and other marine life. Even after spending tens of millions of dollars to contain and stop the leak, Taylor said nothing can be done to completely halt the chronic oil sheens.

Attention

US shocked at Beijing's unbelievable progress of airstrip in South China Sea

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© AP Photo/ Roley Dela Pena, Pool
New satellite imagery shows the extent of China's construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. Fiery Cross Reef could soon serve as a military-grade runway in the middle of the ocean. And despite its own military presence in the region, US officials are in panic.

Dredging sand from the seafloor, the Chinese government has been steadily building artificial landmasses atop sunken reefs in the Spratly Islands archipelago. In part, the islands will be used to bolster emergency response in the region. But Beijing also says the islands will be used as military defense posts, which worries officials in Washington, already concerned about a growing Chinese influence.

Images obtained by IHS Jane's Defense Weekly from Airbus Defence and Space show just how rapid the island growth has been. With construction beginning only last year, Fiery Cross Reef is now home to China's first airstrip in the South China Sea. With 503 metered already paved, the runway could be as long as 3,000 meters once completed. That's long enough to support heavy military transport planes and fighter jets, according to Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Comment: Whenever China or Russia improve their defenses, Washington always looks at it as 'aggression'.


Question

Obama surprised Russian ban on missiles sale to Iran 'held this long'

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© AP Photo/ File
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting the ban that was originally put in place following the 2010 UN Security Council embargo on arms deliveries to Iran.

"I am frankly surprised that it [the ban on S-300 air defense systems to Iran] held this long given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons."

On Thursday, Putin said that there were no reasons for Russia to keep the embargo on providing Iran with S-300 air defense systems, underlining that it is a purely defensive weapon.

Comment: So if this was a surprise to Obama, then no problems for Congress to lift Iranian sanctions right?


Bad Guys

Al-Qaeda seizes key military camp in Yemen including tanks and artillery

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© Reuters / Stringer
Al-Qaeda militants have taken control of a strategic military camp in the city of Mukalla in southeastern Yemen, seizing tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons.

The takeover of the base has established Al-Qaeda's full control of Mukalla after they seized the city's airport on Thursday.

"Today Al-Qaida fighters took control of the 27th Mechanized Brigade's camp and seized heavy weapons including tanks and artillery," an unnamed Yemeni official told AFP.

Residents of Mukalla, the capital of Hadramawt province, said the army camp fell into the Islamists' hands "without resistance."

Comment: Will Saudi Arabia allow Al-Qaeda militants to seize more territory in Yemen?


Arrow Up

Putin makes it clear that Moscow will continue to stand up to America

© RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev
April 16, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions from the public during the annual Direct Line with Vladimir Putin special broadcast live on Russian television and radio.
Much commentary about Russia is hyperbolic and infused with emotive exaggeration. By contrast, Vladimir Putin's 13th annual Q&A was an extremely calm and assured affair.

So that's a baker's dozen for Putin: Thirteen years of a unique question and answer marathon which has no comparison that I know of in the rest of the world. Whatever your opinion of the Russian president, you have to admire both his stamina and his grasp of his brief.

While many Western leaders can barely issue a compete sentence without a teleprompter, Putin is able to wax lyrical for just shy of 4 hours on topics as diverse as milk prices and fleeing a burning banya with a former German Chancellor. One questioner even solicited relationship advice.

On the subject of dairy, I don't think anyone believes that the president pops down to Olga's product store on a regular basis to check grocery costs. However, his mastery of milk industry intricacies did reveal something - Putin isn't a bluffer and he forensically studies consumer data supplied to him. It is part of his populist style of governance and it also partially explains why he's managed to maintain overwhelming support for so long. Sections of the Western media will come up with a million reasons to explain Putin's high poll ratings - most of them nefarious - but few will concede that perhaps he's just good at his job?

Red Flag

'No Jab, No Pay' Australia policy ends payouts to citizens who refuse vaccines

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No Jab No Pay - Government calls the shots
In a stunning example of the disregard held toward the rights of individual Australians, the Australian government has not only passed measures to "tighten" guidelines on the ability to obtain religious exemptions to vaccinations but has also passed a "no jab no pay" policy ending government welfare payouts to those families who refuse to vaccinate.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently announced the new policy to eliminate the "conscientious objector" status for individuals who are morally, evidentially, or philosophically opposed to vaccination beginning in January, 2016.

Abbot and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said in a joint statement that
"The choice made by families not to immunize their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments."

Comment: Additional examples on the 'frontal assault on individual liberty and the right to choose':