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Fri, 24 Mar 2023
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Eurozone can't recover wealth lost to energy crisis, 'high uncertainty' ahead - Lagarde

Christine Lagarde
© Thierry Monasse / Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde attends a hearing of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in the European Parliament on November 28, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium. The burden will ultimately be shared between firms and workers, the head of the European Central Bank warns.
The euro area won't be able to recover massive terms-of-trade losses incurred by rising energy prices, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde explained, during a conference at Frankfurt's Goethe University on Wednesday.

According to the head of the bloc's regulator, the cost of those losses must ultimately be shared between firms and workers.

"And it is important that there is fair burden-sharing between them, with both accepting that they cannot fully recover the income that the euro area has paid to the rest of the world and the ensuing loss of output," Lagarde explained.


Hungary would not arrest Putin, ICC statute is not part of country's legal system - Orban's Chief of Staff

Gergely Gulyas
© REUTERS/Gergely Szakacs/File Photo
Gergely Gulyas, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff speaks during an interview in his office in Budapest, Hungary on September 16, 2019.
Hungary would not arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he entered the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff said on Thursday, adding that it would have no legal grounds.

Hungary signed and ratified the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued an arrest warrant on Friday accusing Putin of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. It said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility.

When asked if Putin would be arrested if he came to Hungary, Orban's chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, told a briefing that the Rome Statute had not been built into the Hungarian legal system.

Comment: It's likely that, since signing the Rome Statute in 1999, Hungary has reconsidered its position towards the compromised ICC.

Better Earth

Fyodor Lukyanov: Here's the real reason why Russia and China want to replace the US-led international order

putin xi meet 2023
© Vladimir Astapkovich/Sputnik/EPA-EFE
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a peace plan for the war in Ukraine as they met in Moscow Tuesday, March 21, 2023. The two powers share the same goal, but circumstance dictates they have to take different roads to make it happen.
Russia and China don't fit into the international system built under Western auspices after the Cold War. They are therefore in favor of replacing it. And it is easier to change it together.

"We hope the world will become a better place, and we have reason to believe it will. At the same time, we are well aware that the future is bright, but the road there is winding."

This statement by Xi Jinping, which echoes a similar argument made by Mao Zedong in the 1940s, is exactly ten years old. The recently elected President of China was paying his first official visit to Moscow, during which he gave a lecture at MGIMO University.


NATO sending depleted uranium shells to Ukrainian military in major escalation

depleted uranium
Scottish Baroness Annabel Goldie, a conservative deputy minister of defense in the government of the United Kingdom, has confirmed that the U.K. will be sending depleted uranium shells to the Ukrainian military for use against Russian forces.

In response to a parliamentary crossbench question from Lord Hylton on March 20, Goldie stated:
"Alongside our granting of a squadron of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, we will be providing ammunition including armor-piercing rounds which contain depleted uranium. Such rounds are highly effective in defeating modern tanks and armored vehicles."
Depleted uranium is highly toxic to humans, leading to cancers, birth defects and other horrific outcomes. According to the journal Scientific American:
"Used as ammunition, it penetrates the thick steel encasing enemy tanks; used as armor, it protects troops against attack. And when it was used in the Gulf War and later during the Allied bombing of Yugoslavia and Kosovo, depleted uranium (DU) was hailed as the new silver bullet that would solve most of the military's problems. After the end of Operation Allied Force, however, several Italian soldiers were diagnosed with leukemia. Politicians and the media soon forged a link between the disease and depleted uranium use. They further drew a parallel with Gulf War Syndrome, and in no time, depleted uranium became the Agent Orange of the Balkan conflict."

Control Panel

Cashless society: FedNow instant payments are coming and CBDCs will follow

There's absolutely no doubt that our financial system is in flux right now. We're watching a storm approach, and it's about to envelop the entire nation in chaotic conditions. If you think things are crazy now, just hang on to your halo...it's about to get a whole lot worse.

Remember how we talked about CBDCs a few weeks ago, and lots of people in the comments said never, no way, and heck no? Well, unfortunately, it's being rolled out and soon.

Of course, they're not calling it CBDCs. Not yet.

It's under another name, and it's not quite a federal digital currency. I'm sure this, too, will be called a conspiracy theory, but the Federal Reserve is launching FedNow, an instant digital payment system. This in itself is not a Central Bank Digital Currency, but it puts into place the framework needed to make the idea a reality.

FedNew will be launched in July, according to a press release from the Federal Reserve.

Star of David

Haaretz: IDF ran illegal psyop on Gaza

IDF gaza airstrike israel
© Getty Images / Ali Jadallah
IDF airstrike hits Gaza City
Israel's military has admitted it made a 'mistake' by targeting civilians in an effort to shore up support for its 2021 campaign

Israel's army illegally targeted the country's population with a social media psychological operation to convince citizens that its airstrikes were "taking a toll" on Gaza during the 2021 'Guardian of the Walls' military operation, a Haaretz investigation published on Wednesday has revealed.

Several days into the 2021 military operation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson's Unit used dozens of fake Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok accounts to post videos and images of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza using the hashtag #GazaRegrets. The unit even worked with popular Israeli influencers in order to conceal the military origin of the astroturfing campaign.

Comment: "Mea culpa, it won't happen again" . . . . until the next time.

Better Earth

Axis Moscow - Beijing 2.0

© gelios515
Chinese Drago flies to Moscow
The visit of the CPC head to Moscow is perceived worldwide as symbolic. It is no coincidence that the leaders of China and Russia preceded this meeting with program articles. Putin described how he sees the relationship with China. Xi Jinping gave his assessment. In general, the positions of the two world leaders coincide: China and Russia are close strategic partners rejecting the hegemony of the modern West and consistently advocate a multipolar world. Both Xi Jinping and Putin give the whole picture of the world in their texts. It is already multipolar, with China, Russia and the collective West as the most established poles. At the same time, both leaders emphasize that neither China nor Russia seek to impose their own model on other peoples, recognizing the right of each civilization to develop according to its own logic, that is, to become a full-fledged pole with a sovereign system of values. The West adheres to the exact opposite attitude, and does not give up its hopes to save the unipolar model, which is completely discredited itself - with only one (liberal) ideology, with the system of gender politics, unlimited migration, total mixing of societies and posthumanism. Russia and China unanimously reject Western hegemony and declare their unwavering will to build a democratic, truly free multipolar world.

The very meeting between Xi Jinping and Putin in Moscow will be a seal of sorts, sealing a document on the era of multipolarity.


Banking crisis: Warren Buffett is on the phone with the Biden administration

© Dmitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Warren Buffet • Bill Gates
The sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on March10 caused the most serious crisis of confidence in banks since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, which devastated the global economy and threatened to bring the financial system to its knees.

The Californian bank had bet on interest rates, by investing in high quality bonds. The problem was that SVB (SIVB) - Get Free Report bought these bonds and mortgage-backed securities when interest rates were low and did not protect itself in the event that rates rose. The bank simply did not hedge its risk.

When the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates from the second half of 2021, the bank's bonds began to lose value. This problem coincided with the fact that SVB's clients -- mostly startups and venture capital firms -- could no longer easily find cash to finance their operations and projects, as was the case during the pandemic, a period during which the federal government had printed money in large quantities.

Comment: A schmoozer from Gater to Buffy: Bill Gates claims Buffet gave the best advice he's ever received...

Even artificial intelligence wants to learn from Bill Gates.

When the Microsoft co-founder sat down for an interview with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month, the two answered questions generated by a ChatGPT-like AI chatbot.

The bot asked Gates about the best advice he's ever received and how it has influenced his own life. In response, the 67-year-old pulled out some words from his longtime friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett on the subject of friendship.
"Warren Buffett talked about [how], in the end, it's how friends really think of you and how strong those friendships are [that matters]."
Gates and Buffett have been friends for more than three decades. Their shared interests go beyond their wealth: The pair co-founded The Giving Pledge, which encourages the world's wealthiest people to donate at least half of their wealth to charitable causes, and are occasional bridge and golf partners.

Gates has previously discussed the lessons he's learned from the 92-year-old Buffett, from investing to time management. He's consistently put Buffett's advice on friendship at the top of that list.
"I've learned many things from Warren over the last 25 years, but maybe the most important thing is what friendship is all about. Even though he keeps up a hectic schedule, Warren still finds time to nurture friendships like few other people I know. He picks up the phone and calls to say hello. He regularly sends articles he's read that he thinks ... I will find interesting."
Buffett often speaks about the importance of choosing good friends, and being a good friend yourself. That means surrounding yourself "with people that are better than yourself," so you can learn from and be inspired by them, he said at a 2017 talk with Gates at Columbia University. "You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with."

Gates agreed: "Some friends do bring out the best in you, and so it's good to invest in those friendships."

Gates and Buffett have a combined net worth of $220 billion, Bloomberg estimates, but they seem to agree that the happiness derived from lasting friendships is a true mark of success.

In a 2001 speech at the University of Georgia, Buffett said:
"When you get to my age, you'll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. "I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them," he continued. "But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don't care how big your bank account is — your life is a disaster. That's the ultimate test of how you have lived your life."


West wants Ukraine to be destroyed - Moscow

© AFP/Ben Birchall
Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace poses in front of a Challenger 2 tank with Ukrainian soldiers undergoing training in UK
The UK is showing "recklessness" with its plan to supply armor-piercing depleted uranium shells to Ukraine, Russia's Foreign Ministry says...

The British government's plans to send depleted uranium shells to Kiev for use in the conflict with Moscow show that Western claims of caring about peace and the future of Ukraine are lies, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik on Wednesday she insisted that the statement by London is a sign of the "absolute recklessness, irresponsibility and impunity" of the US and Britain when it comes to international affairs.

She stressed that munitions containing depleted uranium are not only more powerful and have greater penetrating ability, but they also contaminate the soil with radiation, delivering lasting damage to the environment and affecting many generations of people living in the area.

Zakharova said:
"Everything that we hear from those countries [the US and UK] about peace, the settlement of the conflict, the future of Ukraine, the well-being of the Ukrainian people - it's all a lie, falsehood and absolute disorientation of the international community. In reality, the goal is completely different. There can't be any doubts that we're talking about is the strongly pronounced intention of the collective West, headed by the US and Britain, to see Ukraine completely destroyed."

Comment: See also:


Putin and Xi standing firm on the right side of history

Xi and Putin
© Public Domain
The historic summit this week between the Russian and Chinese leaders provoked paroxysms of angst in the Western media. President Vladimir Putin's hosting of China's Xi Jinping in Moscow was presented as the "world's two most prominent autocrats" purportedly establishing a hostile "anti-West axis".

The American and European media - slavishly echoing the talking points of their imperialist regimes - were in hyper-bogeyman mode. The meeting of Putin and Xi was distorted in every way to appear as something illegitimately threatening and sinister to the Western "rules-based global order" (euphemism for Western capitalist privileges and predation.)

Bogeyman mode also entails collective amnesia. The summit coincided with the 20th anniversary of the U.S. and British launching their war on Iraq - arguably the biggest crime of the 21st century so far. Yet this vile anniversary has hardly stirred any Western media condemnation or shame, never mind legal accountability.

The wanton cynicism towards the Putin-Xi meeting belies the deep anxiety among the U.S.-dominated clique of Western states that the much-vaunted "rules-based order" is collapsing. A collapse caused by its own inherent corruption and systematic abuse of power and international law over many decades.

Both Putin and Xi emphasized that the Russia-China alliance was not meant to threaten any third party.

"We are always for peace and dialogue," said China's President Xi who was in Russia on a three-day state visit.