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Sat, 16 Feb 2019
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US piles on sanctions as foreign investors pour more money into Russia

2019 Russia
© Global Look Press / Konstantin Kokoshkin
Zaryadye Park in Moscow
Russian companies' stocks attracted the most foreign investment in 5 years, adding nearly $576 million in January, the Central Bank of Russia reported. Investors also actively poured money into Russian bonds despite US sanctions.

The ruble-based Moscow stock exchange (MOEX) index has reached a new all-time high, surging 6.4 percent since the beginning of the year, the regulator said in its report on liquidity of the banking sector and the financial markets issued on Tuesday.

The index hit several records in January, finishing the month at 2536.28 points, and later reached a new all-time high of 2551.97 points on February 6.

Comment: RT reports on Russia and Germany's increasing trade ties:
Nothing stopping Russian-German trade turnover's rapid growth

Trade turnover between Russia and its second largest trade partner, Germany, increased 8.4 percent and reached nearly €62 billion ($70 billion) in 2018 compared to previous year, according to the German trade lobby.

Year-on-year imports from Russia to Germany expanded 14.7 percent, amounting to €36 billion ($40 billion). Export to Russia rose by 0.6 percent to €25.9 billion ($29 billion), the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, which represents over 800 German firms, reported on Monday citing the Federal Statistical Office.

This is despite sanctions against Moscow and threats from the US to penalize German companies involved in the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

"German business has successfully increased exports to Russia despite the market difficulties, sanctions and counter-sanctions. This has also improved our expectations for 2019," the chairman of the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, Matthias Schepp, said in a statement.

At the end of last year, Schepp said German firms boosted their investment in the Russian economy in spite of economic sanctions, adding such an investment volume has rarely been seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Speaking to RT at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in May, the head of the German trade lobby said that it's not only car manufacturers investing heavily in Russia but medium-sized businesses as well.

Germany is Russia's second largest trade partner, behind China. The trade turnover between Beijing and Moscow also surged last year by 24.5 percent to $108.3 billion, with $56.1 billion of it amounting to Russian exports to China. This is the first time since 2006 that Russia has had a trade surplus with its Eastern partner.
It's becoming clear to investors that the US sanctions regime is a flop and that Russia is a force to be reckoned with: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Trump Ditches Europe, Europe Bluffs, Russia and China Carry on With Eurasian Integration


Stock Down

UK secures only 7 of 69 trade partners ahead of looming Brexit

GBP pound burn
© CC0 / PIxabay
British Trade Minister Liam Fox fended off criticism in the Parliament, arguing that many countries would find it much easier to strike a trade deal with the UK, than with a bloc of 28 countries.

Britain has so far managed to secure deals with 7 of the 69 countries - UK's trade partners under preferential EU free trade agreements. The struck agreements account for £16bn of the near-£117bn of British trade with the countries involved.

Given, that in less than two months, the UK may leave the EU without any deal, let alone remaining part of the bloc's customs union and single market area - British lawmakers barged their criticism onto the Trade Minister on Wednesday.

Comment: For the sake of all countries involved it's likely a deal would eventually be struck. But when we consider the UK's legacy of destruction around the world, maybe it's not such a bad thing that the country is taken down a peg or two: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Bullseye

On a roll: After backlash for AIPAC comments, Ilhan Omar lays into war criminal Elliott Abrams over past support of genocide

ilhan omar elliott abrams
Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was clearly in no mood to waste time when war criminal and convicted liar Elliott Abrams appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday.

This was despite the fact that in recent days she's faced a bipartisan furor for tweeting the truth about AIPAC's outsized role in the buying and selling of politicians, as well as calls for her resignation from President Donald Trump for her alleged "deep-seated" anti-Semitism - an ironic statement coming from a man whose stock-in-trade has been open bigotry targeting Mexicans, Central Americans, Muslims, immigrants, and black people.

So when Abrams - now the Trump administrations special envoy to Venezuela and a hatchet man for the slow-motion coup against the Maduro government - appeared before Congress, Omar went straight for the jugular.

Comment: If Omar keeps up the relentless dropping of truth-bombs at this rate one has to wonder how long it will be before she's silenced.

See also:


Rainbow

Church and state equal partners 'for the first time in history' - Russian Patriarch Kirill

Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill
© Global Look Press / Kremlin Pool
Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill
On February 1, 2009, Patriarch Kirill officially became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus and Primate of the Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox Church builds equal dialogue and shares common goals with the Russian state, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia stated on Thursday during a ceremony held at the State Kremlin Palace and timed to the tenth anniversary of his enthronement.

"We are offered the opportunity to discuss various issues that concern our people, our society, and, of course, our Church," the patriarch said.

"And I would even dare say that for the first time in Russia's history, such a relationship has established itself between the Church and the state. Because even in the times of the Russian Empire, the church did not have an equal partner in the face of the government. It had always been subordinate to certain government institutes," he added.

Comment: The current state of the West and the failed atheistic systems around the world attest to the fact that faith can play a critical role in society. But it is also true that not just any old blind faith will do and there is a reason that Putin maintains his particular faith and why he has chosen to strengthen the Russian state's ties with the Russian Orthodox Church: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Hourglass

The new abnormal, the 'Doomsday Clock' and the demise of the INF Treaty

nuclear explosion
Late last month, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists unveiled its "Doomsday Clock" for the 26th time since its creation in 1947, declaring that the hands on the clock would remain where they had been at the last setting, in 2018. Rachel Bronson, the bulletin's president, described the environment in which the bulletin assesses the threats faced by the world today (which have expanded beyond nuclear to include climate change and cyber) as the "new abnormal," and noted that no one should take comfort from the fact that the hands of the clock have not moved.

"This new abnormal," Bronson wrote in her statement explaining the decision, "is a pernicious and dangerous departure from the time when the United States sought a leadership role in designing and supporting global agreements that advanced a safer and healthier planet. The new abnormal describes a moment in which fact is becoming indistinguishable from fiction, undermining our very abilities to develop and apply solutions to the big problems of our time."

Comment: See also:


Star of David

Why the entire political-media class just attempted to end Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's career - AIPAC

Ilhan Omar
Well, now we all know what happens when a public official criticizes AIPAC. And of course, that was the whole idea.

https://twitter.com/IlhanMN/status/1095046561254567937

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has published an apology for making self-evident observations about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an immensely influential lobbying firm which, like all lobbying firms, works to influence government policy toward a specific agenda, in this case the interests of the Israeli government. She issued the apology after hours upon hours of shrill, hysterical shrieking accusations of antisemitism from the entire establishment political-media class.

If you're lucky enough to have been away from Jack Dorsey's insufferable hellsite for the last 24 hours I'll type out a very quick recap of the shit show which you are free to scroll past, or read about it more in-depth by clicking this hyperlink.

Comment: Don't miss: Cynthia McKinney, Interviewed on Press TV: Every Incoming Member of Congress Must Sign Pledge of Allegiance to Israel

and more coverage about the Omar-AIPAC brouhaha:


Gear

According to Kiev junta, just proposing to abide by the Minsk Accords is treason

UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia

UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia
We could call it the Volker Doctrine: Lugansk and Donetsk Republics do not exist, and it is purely a matter of Ukraine VS Russia. The Kiev line is the same: Not "civil war," but "Russian Aggression." Russia's ambassador to the UN does a reality check.

Novorosinform

The essence of the Minsk agreements, obliging Ukraine to negotiate with the Donbass, gets a categorical rejection in Kiev, and sometimes even equals treason, the Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, said at a Security Council meeting on the anniversary of the Minsk agreements.

He drew attention to the consistency in the non-fulfillment by the Ukrainian side of the responsibilities that they assumed, as well as the fact that Western partners, instead of influencing Ukraine, cover for it.

"Prescribed in the Minsk agreements, the need for a direct dialogue with the authorities of the LPR and the DPR causes Kiev to be an idiosyncrasy (rejection). Kiev consistently and deliberately does not fulfill the Minsk agreements, but sabotages them, and our Western partners cover all its illegal actions," RIA Novosti quotes the diplomat.

Comment: Not a day goes by it seems when we don't hear some new development out of Kiev that reminds the world of what head-to-toe pathological governance looks like:


Stormtrooper

The Pentagon's National Military Strategy is done, but will the public ever see it?

Joseph Dunford pentagon
© Lisa Ferdinando/DoD
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks at a press conference with Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Pentagon on Aug. 28, 2018.
Gen. Joe Dunford, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has finished his new edition of the National Military strategy - but currently has no plans to roll out a public version of the traditionally unclassified document.

"The 2018 National Military Strategy was approved by Gen. Dunford in December and submitted to the secretary of defense and Congress in accordance with statutory requirements," said Col. Patrick Ryder, Dunford's spokesman, in response to a question from Defense News.

"The strategy is classified to enable the chairman to fully assess the joint force operating environment and provide unfettered military advice in support of the 2018 National Defense Strategy," Ryder continued. "An unclassified version is not currently available."

Vader

Media Applauds as Trump Makes Globalism Great Again

smug trump
© Tom Pennington
Maybe Donald Trump isn't as stupid as I thought. I'd hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn't help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and "the brink of fascism" that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election. I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn't find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer. Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz, or any other Nazi stuff ... which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we've been subjected to for the last two years.

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire ... the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.

Eye 2

Netanyahu confirms another airstrike on Syria, contradicting top brass

Benjamin Netanyahu
© POOL/ REUTERS
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a naval base in Haifa, Israel, February 12, 2019.
Defense officials seek to restore the policy of ambiguity regarding Israeli strikes, but Netanyahu has all but ended it

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday evening that Israel struck Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. The confirmation runs contrary to the position of the Israeli defense establishment, as senior defense officials refrained from addressing the incident on the Syrian Golan Heights.

"We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region," Netanyahu said as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.


Comment: This is the same conference that Russia and even the EU chose not to attend.


Syrian state media reported on Monday that Israeli tank shells hit a demolished hospital and an observation post in Syria's southern Quneitra province near the border with Israel.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: Israeli-French Deception Downs Russian Spy Plane Off Syria, US Escalates 'Regime Change' Against Iran