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Tue, 26 Jul 2016
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Wall Street

Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank to shut 188 German branches and cut 3000 staff

© Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) confirmed on Thursday it had struck a deal with its works council to shut a quarter of its German branches, slightly fewer than expected, as it cuts costs and revamps retail banking.

Germany's biggest lender has embarked on a strategic overhaul, announcing in 2015 that it would cut 9,000 staff positions, of which 4,000 would be in Germany.

It will first shed almost 3,000 jobs in Germany, with 2,500 in its retail unit, while talks with employee representatives about further cuts continue, Deutsche Bank said in a statement.

This will leave Deutsche Bank with 535 branches in Germany, compared to an original target of 500. It will start closing down branches before the end of the year, with the bulk to be shut in the first half of 2017.

"We are meeting challenges of low interest rates, tougher regulation and especially a changed behavior of customers," retail head Christian Sewing said, adding that job cuts - which the bank hopes to carry out without forced redundancies - were needed to keep it competitive.

Snakes in Suits

Too late, damage done: DNC chair Wasserman Schultz steps down amid WikiLeaks revelations

© Scott Audette / Reuters
Debbie Wasserman Schultz has said she will step down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the end of party's convention following the WikiLeaks revelations, indicating that the committee plotted against Bernie Sanders.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Wasserman Schultz said the "best way" for her to accomplish the goals of the party was for her "to step down as Party Chair," after the DNC's Convention, which runs from Monday to Thursday in Philadelphia.

The DNC's Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as the Interim Chair until an election for the position takes place, according to DNC Communications Director, Luis Miranda.

Jet1

Dirty dealing: Canada ditches Boeing jets after Lockheed threatens loss of 10,000 jobs

© AP Photo/ Airman Magazine
Lockheed Martin pointed an economic weapon of mass disruption at Ottawa and it appears that Justin Trudeau has blinked caving to the defense contractor's threats.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rose to power last fall on a pledge not to purchase the defective F-35, an aircraft that he has said "does not work," is too expensive, and is wholly incompatible with Canada's defense needs pushing his country instead to move towards a deal to acquire Boeing's Super Hornet - a fighter jet with greater air maneuverability allowing it advanced performance in air-to-air combat.

That promise crashed along the shores of political reality this week as Canada reneged from its earlier proposal to acquire Boeing Super Hornet jets on an interim basis to plug the country's air defense capability gap after Lockheed Martin threatened to pull all of its operations out of the country which would result in a massive layoff of some 10,000 employees and potentially bankrupt portions of Canada's defense sector that benefits from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

Arrow Up

Will Turkey leave NATO?

© AP
With polls showing that only 17% of Turks welcome the US in their country and with the country's leadership accusing the United States of staging the attempted government overthrow and even threatening war against the Americans, this relationship appears doomed to fail.

The death of NATO appeared to be all but written on the wall in the wake of the failed coup attempt when Turkish Labor Secretary Suleyman Soylu said during a live interview with Haberturk television that "The US is behind the coup" - a statement that Ankara still refuses to condemn.

The situation became worse as the country's provocative President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the US extradite the "head of terrorist" referring to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara claims was behind the failed government overthrow effort while the crowd sang "death penalty for Feto"

​But it was Prime Minister Binali Yidlirim who really lowered the boom threatening to go to war with "any" country that supports Fethullah Gulen - a direct reference to the United States.

Since accusing the United States, their long-time ally, of masterminding a failed attempt to overthrow a government whose connections to Islamic terrorist organizations - with evidence showing that Ankara has been engaged in regular weapons and oil trade with Daesh and reports connecting the Erdogan regime with a false-flag sarin gas attack in Syria - already much too close for Washington's liking many believed that the United States would pack up and leave.

Bug

Gulf-backed moderate rebels massacre civilians in Aleppo public park

The Gulf-backed rebels of Nouriddeen Al-Zinki struck again on Friday after their forces brutally beheaded an unarmed teenager in Aleppo City earlier this week.

However, this time, the former US-backed rebel group targeted a large civilian gathering in west Aleppo, killing a total of 10 people and wounding 44 others while they hosted a picnic in a public park.

Nouriddeen Al-Zinki massacred these civilians by firing several missiles into this public park in west Aleppo, where there was no military presence whatsoever.

Gruesome photos were released by local citizens after the attack, causing outrage amongst the people of Aleppo as they deemed this missile strike as a targeted assault by Nouriddeen Al-Zinki.

The aforementioned rebel group has not issued a statement regarding this blatant attack against civilians.

Comment: See also: Syria: Beheading of Palestinian child prompts US to disassociate from its proxy psychopaths

and: Syrian commandoes hunt down, kill 'moderate rebels' who beheaded 12-yo Palestinian boy last week


Chess

Moving towards Russia? EU membership is 'no longer a strategic goal for Erdogan'

© AFP 2016/ ADEM ALTAN
While European states express their concerns about the developments that take place in Turkey, Brussels still seeks to rescue the deal with Ankara on refugees.

At the same time, Erdogan's actions cause ever growing concerns across the EU. In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz urged Europe to maintain its strength and refrain from trying to implement the refugee deal "at any cost".

Former EU Ambassador to Turkey Marc Pierini sees the reason behind Erdogan's actions in a sharp change of his priorities, Deutsche Welle wrote.

"Earlier the Turkish President considered European norms as the main criterion for all his actions, but now the EU is being seen only as an obstacle to the establishment of a presidential republic, and therefore membership in the EU is no longer a strategic goal for Erdogan," Pierini said.

Comment: After the failed western-backed coup attempt in Turkey, is Erdogan moving away from NATO and towards Russia?


Info

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond explores multi-billion pound free trade deal with China

© AFP/Getty Images
Philip Hammond met Chinese vice premier Ma Kai in Beijing before the G20 summit.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has begun discussions with China on an ambitious free trade deal which could see greater access for major Chinese banks and businesses to the UK economy.

The Chancellor told the BBC it was time to explore "new opportunities" across the world, including with China, one of the UK's biggest inward investors.

That is despite a short term economic shock from leaving the European Union.

He added that the EU is not in "punishment mode" over the Brexit vote.

"What we now need to do is get on with it in a way that minimizes the economic impact on the UK economy in the short term and maximizes the benefit in the long term," Mr Hammond said, admitting that there had been "global disappointment" about the Brexit vote.

Chess

Geopolitical chessboard: Kyrgyzstan is being exploited to destabilize Central Asia while undermining Russia and China

Most Westerners would have a hard time locating Kyrgyzstan on the world map, in spite of the role it plays upon the geopolitical chessboard. However, this country has been actively exploited recently by various forces in a bid to destabilize Central Asia, and undermine China and Russia's positions in the region. Both China and Russia have active relations there, working in close cooperation with Kyrgyzstan. For this reason, the role of Kyrgyzstan amid the political intrigues of various "external players" has significantly increased.

In order to understand the place of this small Central Asian country upon the geopolitical chessboard on must first get familiar with general facts about Kyrgyzstan. The Wikipedia would state:
Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, formerly known as Kirghizia, is a landlocked country located in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south west and China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.
According to official data, Kyrgyzstan paces as the 86th largest country in the world. Despite its size, we see its importance if we are to remember the geopolitical concept of well-known American political mastermind Zbigniew Brzezinski: "Whoever controls Eurasia controls the world."

Comment: To further complicate matters, terrorist networks are moving their operations to Central Asia increasing the threat of destabilization - which would perfectly suit the purposes of US geopolitical interests. In efforts to expand American influence in the region, Washington has repeatedly provided support for local extremist and terrorist organizations in a bid to overthrow any unwanted local regimes.


Info

Erdogan: The sultan of (emergency) swing

Amidst an astonishing, relentless, wide-ranging purge that shows no signs of abating, with 60,000 - and counting - civil servants, academics, judges, prosecutors, policemen, soldiers jailed, fired, suspended or stripped of professional accreditation, it's relatively established by now the Turkish government was very much informed a military coup was imminent on July 15. The information may have come from Russian intelligence, although neither Moscow nor Ankara will reveal any details. So, once and for all, this was no false flag.

A top, secular Middle Eastern intel analyst with an Istanbul front seat view to the coup clarified the internal political context even before the - widely expected - proclamation of a state of emergency (if France can do it, why not Turkey?):
"They knew five to six hours beforehand that a coup was in the works and let it go ahead, knowing, as they must have, that it would fail... This affair has propelled Erdogan to semi-divine status among his supporters. The way is clear for him to get what he wants, which will be a powerful presidency and removal of the secularism principle in the constitution. This would set the stage for the introduction of aspects of Sharia law. He tried this in the early years of the AKP government with the introduction of Zina, a strictly Islamic provision, which would have criminalized adultery and could have opened the door to the criminalization of other islamically illicit sexual relations as Zina is about this in general and not just adultery. But when the EU objected he backed off".

Bad Guys

US-backed forces in 'fight like we haven't seen' against Daesh terrorists in Manbij

© AFP 2016/ Delil souleiman
The Daesh terrorists ignored an 48-hour ultimatum to leave the city of Manbij, a key pipeline for the terrorist organization with the rest of the world and what some are now calling the jihadists headquarters.

Daesh terrorists clashed on Saturday with US-backed fighters in the Syrian town of Manbij, a town that US Defense Secretary Ash Carter described as the terror organization's pipeline to the rest of the world, engaging in a fierce defense of the jihadist stronghold and ignoring a deadline to evacuate.

The jihadists refusal to abandon Manbij has led to growing fears for the safety and wellbeing of civilians trapped in the city which has long served as a supply route for Daesh from neighboring Turkey and a territory that some US military analysts are now referring the terror organization's "caliphate" or land controlled by the self-proclaimed prophet and Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as opposed to Raqqa.

Comment: See also: US will continue bombing Manbij despite massive civilian casualties
  • ISIS fighters captured in Manbij while fleeing besieged town dressed as women