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Fri, 29 Jul 2016
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Dominoes

The dominoes teeter: Deutsche Bank profit plunges 98 percent

The biggest and most important bank in the biggest and most important country in Europe continues to implode right in front of our eyes. If you follow my work regularly, you probably already know that I issued a major alarm about Deutsche Bank last September. Subsequently, Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low. Then I sounded the alarm about Deutsche Bank again back in May, and once again that was followed by another all-time low for Deutsche Bank. And then I warned about Deutsche Bank again in early June, and you can probably imagine what happened after that. Over the past year, this German banking giant has literally been coming apart at the seams, and in so many ways it is paralleling exactly what happened to Lehman Brothers back in 2008.

Today, we got some more bad news from Deutsche Bank. Compared to the exact same period last year, profits were down 98 percent. A nearly 100 percent drop in net income spooked a lot of investors, and Deutsche Bank shares got hit hard on Wednesday. Of course Deutsche Bank shares are already down by more than half over the past 12 months, and the financial sharks can smell blood in the water.

Just like Lehman Brothers in 2008, Deutsche Bank is essentially in panic mode at this point. They recently announced that they will be closing 188 branches and that 3,000 workers will be losing their jobs. But this could just be the beginning of the layoffs at the bank. According to some reports, the bank could cut up to 35,000 jobs by the year 2020, and CEO John Cryan recently admitted that they "may have to accelerate cost-cutting measures".

What makes all of this even more alarming is that Deutsche Bank is widely considered to be "the most dangerous bank" on the entire planet. The following comes from a CNN article posted just today entitled "The world's riskiest bank is in trouble"...

Sheriff

Indiana community fires its police force — town doesn't descend into chaos


Galveston town council meeting
After the Galveston Marshal's office allegedly went rogue, refusing to obey the orders of the town's council, the council voted this week to eliminate their police force.

Dozens of protesters turned out to voice their discontent and fears about ridding the town of 1,200 of their police force.

After only being in office for a month, Town Marshal Shawn Durham had made many enemies. According to council documents, Durham was found guilty of violating the rules, neglecting or disobeying orders, conduct unbecoming of an officer, and another breach of discipline.

The charges stem from an apparent power struggle that entailed after Durham was sworn in back in June. According to the council, Durham displayed insubordinate behavior when he refused to grant Town Council President John Hart's requests on behalf of the council for keys to the police department and police vehicles, passwords to police computers and the code to the department's surveillance camera system.

Snakes in Suits

Arkansas SWAT team refuses to give back 'medal of valor' for killing 107-yo man

Neither tactical genius nor exceptional valor is necessary to bring about a bloodless end to a standoff involving a 107-year-old man armed with a handgun and surrounded by police officers inside an otherwise vacant house. Patience, discipline, and familiarity with the art of de-escalation would be sufficient for that purpose. But that approach doesn't win official commendations, at least in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Members of the Pine Bluff PD's SWAT team were awarded "lifesaving medal of valor" awards following a September 7, 2013 standoff that ended with 107-year-old Monroe Isadore dying in a torrential outburst of gunfire. Let it not be said that the department is incapable of discretion. The awards were done with so little fanfare that the public - including Isadore's son and daughter - wasn't aware of them until Pine Bluff alderwomen Thelma Walker introduced a resolution on July 5 to rescind the commendations.

"It was shocking when I found out about it," Tyrone Isadore told the local ABC affiliate.

"I looked up 'valor,' and I'm like, 'No, that doesn't fit to what they did to my dad," added Isadore's daughter, Paula Aguilar.

Nuke

Who will develop uranium deposits of Tajikistan? No one yet

The sharp drop in the popularity of nuclear power after the disaster at the Japanese power station, Fukushima-1, turned out to be temporary. Limiting energy consumption is not feasible not least because hydrocarbon energy resources are non-renewable natural resources. The World Nuclear Association has already made predictions that see the number of nuclear reactors in the world go up to 650 by 2032 (over 20 reactors are currently under construction in China alone and 192 nuclear power stations are in operation in 31 countries worldwide). Accordingly, as the need for nuclear fuel rises, so too does the cost. This means that the countries that have large uranium deposits may soon well find themselves turning a profit.

This, however, is only provided that these countries are able to manage them properly. There are huge uranium deposits in the Central Asian region. Up to 21% of the world's uranium reserves can be found in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which ranked first in the world for its extraction in 2009. In other Central Asian countries, there are also large deposits, but the extraction and processing of the natural resource are poorly developed.

Bad Guys

Explosion rocks apartment complex in Malmö, Sweden

© Wikipedia
Aerial view of central Malmo
There has been an explosion in an apartment in a residential area in central Malmo, Sweden, local media report, citing police. Emergency services and police are at the scene and the area has been cordoned off.

"There has been an explosion in one of the apartments," police spokesperson Anna Goransson confirmed to reporters, adding that the cause of the blast is being investigated.

According to the initial report received by police around 10 pm local time, the explosion occurred indoors in an area around Trelleborg Road. According to the preliminary information, no one has been injured as result of the explosion.

"What we know, no one has been injured. But we choose to cordon off the area because an explosion was observed in an apartment and we have called the bomb technicians to the scene," said Paul Juhlin, a police officer at the scene, as cited by Expressen.

Windows were reportedly shattered by the blast. The building has not been evacuated, police say.

Bomb technicians have been ordered to the scene, Sweden's Expressen reported. Police have also asked the public in the area to stay indoors.

Roses

Schoolgirl dies after an elephant hurls rock at her head in Moroccan zoo


A girl has died after an elephant (pictured) hurled a rock (bottom right) at her head from its enclosure at a zoo in Morocco
This is the heartbreaking moment a schoolgirl lies dying at a zoo after being struck on the head in a freak accident by a rock hurled at her by an elephant.

The seven-year-old was having a picture outside its enclosure with her family when the tragedy happened at the zoo in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

The female elephant, named Assia, picked up the large stone in its trunk and threw it into the air, hitting her on the back of the head.

The youngster was knocked unconscious and died in a nearby hospital after failing to overcome her injuries.


Footage taken by a bystander on a mobile phone and posted on social media showed the girl lying on the ground being tended to by staff as her anguished family gathered round her.


Airplane

Cost to fly President Obama to Paris for COP21: $2,840,896.80

© wattsupwiththat.com
Up, Up and Away ($)
According to Judicial Watch, analysis of government documents obtained via a FOIA lawsuit against Homeland Security show that flying President Obama's party to attend Paris COP21 ran up $2,840,896.80 in air transport bills - bring President Obama's total travel costs to date to $83 million.
Obama Travel Cost Taxpayers over $83 million to Date

(Washington DC)—Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of the Air Force detailing the costs of Obama's trip to attend the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. Secret Service charges for Obama and his staff to attend the Conference cost taxpayers $1,324,171.60. Flight expenses cost $2,840,896.80, bringing the total expenditure for the conference to at least $4,165,068.40. To date, Obama's known travel expenses total $83,795,502.33.

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for these documents on January 6, 2016. The records were released in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed on May 6, 2016, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00863)).
...
"Obama's Paris junket is another example of wasteful and unnecessary presidential travel that abuses the taxpayers, the military, and the U.S. Secret Service," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
All this for a Presidential signature on a ridiculous document, which has been carefully defined as not being a treaty, to try to avoid the need for ratification by the US Congress or Senate, and therefore has no legal impact whatsoever on the conduct of US affairs.

Comment: No worries. Cashing in his presidential frequent flyer miles...could get Obama through the rest of his term on the cheap.


Sherlock

French police received tip about planned attack in the days before killing of priest in Normandy

© Steve Bonet / Reuters
Police and rescue workers stand at the scene after two assailants had taken five people hostage in the church at Saint-Etienne-du -Rouvray near Rouen in Normandy, France, July 26, 2016
French police received a tip-off about a planned attack in the days before the killing of a priest in Normandy, sources close to the investigation have said. The warning was about the second attacker in the murder, who has just been identified.

"Following DNA tests, it emerged that the terrorist has been identified as Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean," a source in the Paris prosecutor's office said, as quoted by AFP.

Petitjean - who was shot dead by police outside the church following the attack - was 19 years old and was from eastern France.

He had been on the security forces' watch list - the co-called 'Fiche S', indicating he could present a risk - since June.

Before the attack, police had been searching for Petitjean for several days, and allegedly had information that he was preparing an attack, French media reported, citing sources close to the investigation.

Megaphone

Pope Francis speaks up after murder of French priest: "World is in a state of war"

© David W Cerny / Reuters
Pope Francis addresses faithfuls from the "John Paul II" Papal window of the Bishops Palace in Krakow, Poland July 27, 2016
The spate of recent terror attacks in Western Europe - the latest of which saw an elderly French priest murdered by Islamist militants - serves as proof that the world is now in a state of war, Pope Francis said during his visit to Poland.

The pontiff made his strongest statement in a long time on Thursday while flying to Krakow with a group of journalists, when he was asked about the murder of Father Jacques Hamel - the French priest who was brought to his knees at the altar of his own church before having his throat slit by Islamists of Algerian origin.

"The word that is being repeated often is insecurity, but the real word is war," Pope Francis said, as quoted by Reuters.

"Let's recognize it. The world is in a state of war in bits and pieces," he said.

Nuke

Unknown hazardous material at US Air Force Base sends 14 to hospital

© Fairchild.af.mil
An unknown hazardous material at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington has sickened 24 people, 14 of whom were treated by base personnel and sent to a local hospital. The affected building has been evacuated.

The incident took place around 8:30 a.m. local time at the base's Logistics Readiness Squadron in Building 2045, Air Force officials told KXLY.

Fairchild Air Force Base is located approximately 12 miles (20 km) southwest of Spokane. It's host unit is the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, which is assigned to the Air Mobility Command's 18th Air Force. It opened in March 1942.