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Saudi prince visits Israel in secret

September 8, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

A Saudi prince visited Israel in secret over the past few days, Voice of Israel radio reported yesterday. The radio station quoted its correspondent saying: “A prince from the Royal Court visited the country in secret over the past few days and discussed the idea of pushing regional peace forward with a number of senior Israeli officials,” according to Russia’s Sputnik news agency. “The prime minister and Foreign Ministry offices refused to comment on this matter,” it continued. #WikiLeaks The radio station had reported on Wednesday night that the Israeli prime minister had met with a senior Gulf official, without identifying the official. Simon Aran, an Israeli Broadcasting Corporation correspondent, reported the same. This comes one day after Israeli Prime […]

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Qassam Brigades: Cement wall will not stop resistance’s tunnels

September 8, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

“The cement wall that the Israeli occupation forces have started to build around the Gaza Strip to prevent the resistance’s tunnels will not restrict the resistance’s ability,” the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement. “The solutions and experiences by Israel over the past years have amounted to nothing in the face of the resistance’s tunnels,” it added. “The occupation is still chasing a delusional mirage,” referring to Israel’s latest announcement that it will build an over and underground cement wall with equipment to detect tunnels. Hamas: Israel seeking to legitimise its crimes by claiming tunnels exist under Gazan houses The wall’s effectiveness was questioned with the Brigades saying that the announcement is a media stunt from Israel to reassure […]

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A Market Solution For Dangerous Disputed Territories

September 8, 2017 Steve H. Hanke 0

Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.

Earlier this week, China and India said they had resolved their differences over the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Both claimed victory over their two-month-long dispute in the remote Himalayan Kingdom. But, statements by both sides created confusion and doubts over how long stability would prevail. And, Bhutan is not the only piece of real estate in the Himalayas that India is in a flap over. Kashmir remains a tinderbox. And just this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed that Israel would not force any more of its so-called settlers to move from the occupied territories of the West Bank.

There are many other disputed and potentially dangerous territories. Don’t forget the Falklands. It has recently flared up in an ongoing spat between the United Kingdom and Argentina. Indeed, both Prime Minister Theresa May and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond began dueling it out over the Falklands with Buenos Aires earlier this month. 

This brings back memories of the Iron Lady and the Falklands War – a war that officially commenced on 2 April 1982, only three short years after Margaret Thatcher assumed the reins as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Since 1833, Britain has been able to maintain its colonial settlement of the Falklands against the objections of Argentina. The Falklands? Well, even Samuel Johnson had something to say about the Falklands. This is what he wrote in 1771:

What, but a bleak and gloomy solitude, an island thrown aside from human use, stormy in winter, and barren in summer; an island which not even southern savages have dignified with habitation; where a garrison must be kept in a state that contemplates with envy the exiles of Siberia; of which the expence will be perpetual, and the use only occasional; and which, if fortune smiles upon our labours, may become a nest of smugglers in peace, and in war the refuge of future Buccaniers.

When Margaret Thatcher took over from Jim Callaghan, her government was given a brief on the festering Falklands sore. As Sir Lawrence Freedman summarized in his authoritative two volume The Official History of the Falklands Campaign:

The briefing note prepared for the incoming Government described the problem. A remote set of islands, with a dwindling population and limited economic prospects, was reliant for communications and supplies upon a neighbouring country. This country claimed sovereignty, and if it acted on this claim with armed force then the small RM garrison would provide scant defence, and a subsequent effort to retake the Islands would involve a major amphibious operation. The sovereignty claim might be ‘unsound’ but it still cast a shadow over relations with Argentina and caused Britain difficulty in the UN. Any long-term development of the Islands required a solution to this problem but efforts to find a negotiated settlement had not got very far. The islanders had been given an undertaking that only solutions that they supported would be brought to Parliament, but no proposals that were of interest to Argentina appealed to them.

The Thatcher government did not realize that danger was lurking, as is always the case when disputed territories are in the picture. Indeed, Britain’s intelligence about what Argentina’s military government was up to was wanting. When the Galtieri government struck, Britain was caught off guard and the Falklands War ensued, resulting in more than 900 casualties. And, as they say, what goes around comes around. As the preparations for next year’s G2O summit, which will be hosted in Buenos Aires, proceed, tensions are on the rise, yet again. 

Before we have more nationalistic posturing, sanctions, protracted skirmishes, a new war, and only then a “solution,” let’s move the Falklands dispute out of what is mucha teología (many theological arguments) territory, try to think creatively and design market-based treaties applicable to dangerous disputed territories (see the accompanying table). 

For the Falklands, the governments of the United Kingdom and Argentina would agree that those Falklanders who were qualified to vote would be allowed to do so in a referendum. The referendum would allow the settlers — who are English-speaking and English by custom, institutions and loyalties — to vote on whether they prefer the status quo, or whether they would agree (“yes”) to an Argentine take-over. A super-majority “yes” vote, of say 80%, would be required by the Falklanders to allow Argentina to claim sovereignty.

This is where markets come in. The Falklanders would have to be compensated by Argentina. The referendum would be designed so that Argentina could offer a cash incentive. Before the referendum, Argentina would deposit an amount (let’s say USD $500,000) in escrow, in Swiss bank accounts for every man, woman and child who had proven their Falklands residence prior to the referendum. If the referendum went in Argentina’s favor (over 80% of eligible voters casting a “yes” vote), then the funds in escrow would be transferred to the Falklanders, and Argentina’s unambiguous sovereignty over the Falklands would be established. Argentina’s cost, in this hypothetical, would be about USD $1.6 billion.

A transparent market solution for the Falklands and other disputed territories would be a cost-effective way to unambiguously establish sovereignty — a way that avoids blundering into unwanted wars and spilling blood, sweat and tears.

 

This piece was originally published in Forbes.

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Can Kicked: House Passes Debt Ceiling, Government Funding, $15Bn Storm Relief Package

September 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

After the Senate passed Trump’s “pivotal” bill to extend the debt ceiling by three months, while buying the government enough time to avoid shutdown until December 8, as well as $15 billion in funding for storm relief, moments ago the the package got a…

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Israel and UAE are normalising relations

September 8, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Normalisation between the UAE and Israel is ongoing via secret and public channels and through the Emirati Ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, Wikileaks has exposed. Relations between the two countries have strengthened since the opening of the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi in 2015. In 2010 the UAE hosted the Israeli Judo team and Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh was assassinated in Dubai with the cooperation of Mossad. Read more: Secret correspondence between UAE’s Al-Otaiba and an Israeli general revealed Abu Dhabi prevents the Palestinian flag from being raised in public places and official institutions. The friendship between the UAE and Israel is growing; they are partnered in economic projects, military exercises, and air travel. Abu Dhabi has become […]

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“Deadly, Devastating” Hurricane Irma Closes In On Florida; Millions Expected To Be Left Without Power

September 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

After “carving a path of destruction through the Caribbean,” a path which left 90% of Barbuda “uninhabitable” and nearly a million people without power in Puerto Rico, a slightly weakened, but still devastatingly massive Category-4 Hurricane Irma is closing in on Florida.  Here is the latest from the National Hurricane Center:

Irma is forecast to remain in a favorable warm water, light shear environment for the next 36-48 h.  The intensity guidance shows a slow weakening during this time, but Irma is expected to remain at least a Category 4 hurricane until landfall in Florida.  After landfall, a fairly quick decay in maximum winds is expected due to land interaction and increased shear, although Irma’s large wind field is likely to still produce hurricane-force winds over a large area.  There are two caveats to the intensity forecast.  First, some additional weakening could occur during the eyewall replacement, followed by re-intensification as the cycle completes.  Second, the ECMWF, UKMET, and NAVGEM forecast a track over or close to the coast of Cuba that is not currently a part of the track forecast. If this occurs, Irma could be weaker than currently forecast along the later parts of the track.

 

KEY MESSAGES:

 

1. Irma is an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane and will continue to bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas through Saturday.  Heavy rainfall is still possible across portions of Hispaniola through today.  Hurricane conditions will also spread over portions of the north coast of Cuba, especially over the adjacent Cuban Keys through Saturday.

 

2. Severe hurricane conditions are expected over portions of the Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys beginning Saturday night. Irma is likely to make landfall in southern Florida as a dangerous major hurricane, and bring life-threatening storm surge and wind impacts to much of the state.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect for southern Florida, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay, while Hurricane Watches have been issued northward into central Florida.

 

The NHC is currently forecasting that Irma will make its Florida landfall sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning as a powerful Cat-4 storm…

 

packing winds of 155 mph

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

  • INIT  08/0900Z 21.7N  73.8W  135 KT 155 MPH
  • 12H  08/1800Z 22.1N  75.7W  135 KT 155 MPH
  • 24H  09/0600Z 22.6N  77.8W  135 KT 155 MPH
  • 36H  09/1800Z 23.3N  79.4W  135 KT 155 MPH
  • 48H  10/0600Z 24.5N  80.4W  130 KT 150 MPH
  • 72H  11/0600Z 28.0N  81.5W   90 KT 105 MPH…INLAND
  • 96H  12/0600Z 33.0N  84.0W   40 KT  45 MPH…INLAND
  • 120H  13/0600Z 36.0N  87.0W   25 KT  30 MPH…INLAND

 

and a storm surge of up to 10 feet in the Florida Keys.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

  • Jupiter Inlet to Bonita Beach, including Florida Keys…5 to 10 ft
  • Bonita Beach to Venice…3 to 5 ft
  • Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet…3 to 6 ft

 

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.  For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

 

Meanwhile, the strong winds are expected to take a toll on Florida’s power grid leaving a million or more people without power, potentially for weeks.  Per Reuters:

Hurricane Irma poses a bigger menace to power supplies in Florida than Hurricane Harvey did in Texas because Irma is packing near 200 mile-per-hour winds (320 km/h) that could down power lines, close nuclear plants and threats to leave millions of homes and businesses in the dark for weeks.

 

Irma’s winds rival the strongest for any hurricane in history in the Atlantic, whereas Harvey’s damage came from record rainfall. Even as Houston flooded, the power stayed on for most, allowing citizens to use TV and radio to stay apprised of danger, or social media to call for help.

 

“When Harvey made landfall in Texas it made it fully inland and weakened pretty quickly. Irma, however, could retain much of its strength,” said Jason Setree, a meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group.

 

Most Florida residents have not experienced a major storm since 2005, when total outages peaked around 3.6 million during Hurricane Wilma. Some of those outages lasted for weeks.

 

Setree compared the projected path of Irma to Hurricane Matthew in 2016, which knocked out power to about 1.2 million FPL customers in October.

 

“Should Irma’s worst fears be realized, our crews will likely have to completely rebuild parts of our electric system. Restoring power through repairs is measured in days; rebuilding our electric system could be measured in weeks,” FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy said.

Power

 

And, of course, panic hoarding has already set in and left store shelves empty across much of Florida.

#hurricaneirma2017 #Florida Wal-Mart pic.twitter.com/MlpyVWBDLs

— #TheResistance (@BoneKnightmare) September 6, 2017

 

Not surprisingly, the mad rush to evacuate has left about 40% of the gasoline stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region without fuel. Floridians have turned to the Crowd-Sourced ‘Gas Buddy’ App to determine which stations still have gas.

 

Not surprisingly, the shuttered stores have resulted in massive gas lines with people reportedly waiting up to 90 mins for fule.

Another night of long gas lines in South Florida as people prepare for #HurricaneIrma — LIVE in Sunrise NEXT at 11pm on @NBC6. pic.twitter.com/OvWDZ5v2Xk

— Michael Spears NBC6 (@MikeSpearsNBC6) September 7, 2017

Meanwhile, as we noted yesterday, meteorologists from Weather Underground are warning that the most devastating impacts of the storm could be felt much further north in towns along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina where the storm surge could be a catastrophic 20-28 feet high in certain areas.  To put that in perspective, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 set a record for the largest storm surge ever recorded along the U.S. coast at 27.8 feet.

If Irma makes a trek up the East Coast from Miami to southern South Carolina as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, as the models currently suggest, the portions of the coast that the eyewall touches will potentially see a massive and catastrophic storm surge, breaking all-time storm surge records and causing many billions of dollars in damage. Even areas up to a hundred miles to the north of where the center makes landfall could potentially see record storm surges. The area of most concern is the northern coast of Florida, the coast of Georgia, and the southern coast of South Carolina, due to the concave shape of the coast, which will act to funnel and concentrate the storm surge to ridiculous heights. If we look at wunderground’s storm surge maps for the U.S. East Coast, we see that in a worst-case Category 3 hurricane hitting at high tide, the storm tide (the combined effect of the storm surge and the tide) ranges from 17 – 20’ above ground along the northern coast of Florida, and 18 – 23 feet above ground along the Georgia coast. If Irma is a Cat 4, these numbers increase to 22 – 28 feet for the coast of Georgia. This is a Katrina-level storm surge, the kind that causes incredible destruction and mass casualties among those foolish enough to refuse to evacuate.

As Weather Underground notes, Savannah in Southern Georgia could see a surge of up to 23 feet if Irma strikes as a Category 3 storm.  Obviously, the surge would be even larger if Irma manages to maintain Cat-4 winds.

Maximum of the “Maximum Envelope of Waters” (MOM) storm tide image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 3 hurricanes (sustained winds of 120 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 3.5’) along the coast of Georgia. What’s plotted here is the storm tide–the height above ground of the storm surge, plus an additional rise in case the storm hits at high tide. Empty brownish grid cells with no coloration show where no inundation is computed to occur. Inundation of 19 – 23’ will occur in a worst-case scenario along most of the coast.

Meanwhile, further north in Charleston, SC the surge could also exceed 20 feet and flood areas many miles inland from the shore.

Maximum of the “Maximum Envelope of Waters” (MOM) water depth image for a composite maximum surge for a large suite of possible mid-strength Category 3 hurricanes (sustained winds of 120 mph) hitting at high tide (a tide level of 2.5’) along the coast of South Carolina near Charleston. If Irma is a Cat 3 in South Carolina, a worst-case 17 – 21’ storm tide can occur.

 

All of which should make for a fairly depressing weekend of storm watching.

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The 1% Has Started To Embrace Bitcoin – Why It Matters

September 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Other than widespread fascination over its meteoric price rise, much of the discussion around Bitcoin in 2017 has revolved around questions over the future direction of the protocol, most specifical…

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Trump expresses doubts that Israel-Palestinian peace deal possible

September 8, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

US President Donald Trump seemed to express scepticism Thursday that his administration will be able to forge a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, speaking at a White House press conference with Kuwaiti emir Amir al-Sabah. Responding to a question from Al Arabiya about whether to “expect a new American initiative to move the [peace] process forward”, Trump described it as “the world’s most complex and difficult deal”, before adding: “But it is something that could happen”. While Trump claimed that “the relationships that we have with both [Israel and the Palestinians] can help”, he then added that “it’s an event that’s just never taken place. Sometimes people think they’re close and it never happens, or it never happens successfully”. […]

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AP bureau chief in Jerusalem: Many in Israeli government ‘trying to shut people up’

September 8, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Jerusalem bureau chief for Associated Press has accused “many people” in the Israeli government of “trying to shut people up” as part of an attack on freedom of expression. Josef Federman, who is also chair of the Foreign Press Association in Israel, made the remarks Thursday at a state-sponsored event about freedom of speech. The previous day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered the Press Office to exclude Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem bureau chief Walid Al-Omari from proceedings, the latest episode in a wider attack on the Qatari network and its staff by Israeli officials. Responding to these developments, Federman said he would defend Al Jazeera’s “right to report whatever they want”, telling the audience that “what it boils […]

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BullionStar’s Website Features Content Rich Media on the Precious Metals Markets

September 8, 2017 BullionStar 0

Submitted by BullionStar.com

In addition to offering a full transactional platform for buying gold and buying silver, BullionStar’s website features a wide variety of original research, analysis and content addressing the global precious metals markets. BullionStar’s goal with this content is to provide readers and viewers with unique and up-to-date insights into the precious metals markets that are not available elsewhere.

A case in point is the BullionStar Perspectives video series which provides viewers with free access to original and independent opinions on the precious metals markets. In July, BullionStar had the privilege of hosting an exclusive interview in Singapore with legendary investor, author and financial commentator Jim Rogers, and this interview has now been published as part of the BullionStar Perspectives series.

Jim Rogers – Catastrophe and Opportunity

Rogers, who currently resides in Singapore, co-founded the famous Quantum Fund in 1973, and has written a number of best-selling investment and travel themed books.

The interview touches on potential crises that Rogers thinks could impact the global economy and the opportunities that such crises may offer investors. According to Rogers, catastrophe and opportunity can be viewed as two sides of the same phenomenon, and catastrophe and panic often create buying opportunities.

Ideally, Rogers thinks the Federal Reserve should stand aside or even be aolished given that it is the cause of many finanical market problems, for example, for having driven interest rates to zero which is wiping out savers. Realistically, however, Rogers doubts that the Fed would be abolished, and in a future crisis will, as per usual, be pressured by vested interests into generating financial market rallies, reallies which will ultimately be futile.

Crucially, Rogers believes in the importance of acquiring physical gold and silver as an insurance policy, and in understanding what you are investing in. Everybody, he says, should have some gold and silver as an insurance policy if nothing else. “You hope you never need it”, but “its the best insurance policy in the world” he says.

Rogers owns his own physical gold, and thinks that due to future financial market instabilities, gold could well turn into its own bubble. This is because, when financial crises hit, people go to gold and silver as a safe haven asset. “That’s what they do“, he says.

Rogers appreciates that the gold market is a fractional-reserve market, with only partial backing by real physical metal. On the subject of paper gold versus physical gold, Rogers envisages that in a real crisis, there won’t be a paper gold market – the paper gold markets will close down due to widespread market chaos. That is why there is a need for physical gold ownership, gold in your pocket or gold stoted in a vault.

Jim, who has some of his own gold stored in Singapore, thinks that Singapore is a better jurisdiction than most for storing gold, and offers an added attraction is that buying investment gold and silver in Singapore is free of sales tax (GST free).

The Jim Rogers Interview, which is just over 14 minutes long, can be viewed here:

Other videos in the BullionStar Perspectives videos series include Marcus Grubb of the World Platinum Investment Council on the Case for Platinum. Bron Suchecki of Monetary Metals on the intricacies between the physical and paper gold markets, Chris Powell of GATA on price manipulation in the gold market,  analyst Jayant Bhandari on the Indian gold market, and Ronan Manly of BullionStar on Secrecy vs Transparency in the gold market.

The BullionStar website also features in-depth factual gold market information in BullionStar’s Gold University portal, original research and analysis of the global precious metals markets by BullionStar analysts Koos Jansen and Ronan Manly, a unique monthly review of the world’s most important physical gold markets in chart form in BullionStar’s Gold Market Charts series, and a specific company-focused blog series known as BullionStar Blogs (aka ‘Inside BullionStar’).

BullionStar’s Gold University is a Wikipedia-style resource for use by the gold industry, by financial media and reporters and by general readers. It features contemporary factual information covering the world’s gold markets, a selection of the world’s largest gold vaults, profiles of the world’s largest precious metals refineries and mints, and profiles gold industry associations. It also contains sections addressing the core concepts of the Chinese gold market, central bank policies on gold, and the mechanics of bullion banking and gold ETFs.

Articles and analysis by BullionStar analysts Koos Jansen and Ronan Manly, published in the form of blogs, keep readers up to date with developments in the precious metals markets. These blogs contain original research, such as in-depth analysis of the Chinese and London gold markets, and these blogs are popular across the precious metals industry as well as being frequently featured across many other websites.

BullionStar’s Gold Market Charts uses charts by webite www.GoldChartsRUs.com to capture current developments and demand and flow trends in the world’s most important physical gold markets. These markets include China, India, Russia and Switzerland.

The BullionStar Blog’s series (Inside BullionStar) features posts relevant to the company BullionStar and its products, but also extends to hosting interesting articles on aspects of the gold market and it also hosts BullionStar’s unique Infographics on the gold market, such as an infographic on the Chinese Gold Market.

All of the above content can be found on the BullionStar site under the ‘BullionStar Research’ menu.

This article originally appeared under the title of ‘BullionStar Media‘ on the BullionStar.com website.

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