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"In the age of the internet, the average life expectancy of a government lie can be clocked with an egg timer!" -- Michael Rivero
After striking their historic peace deal which was mediated by China in Beijing over a week ago, Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to make strikes toward full normalization of ties, after being archenemies for decades - and before that their peoples having been rivals for centuries when it comes to the religious Shia-Sunni divide.
An Iranian official has announced Sunday that the King of Saudi Arabia has issued a formal invitation to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to visit Riyadh in an unprecedented move. Raisi is said to have "welcomed" the invite from King Salman. Now what remains is setting a date.
Update (1500ET): We finally have a deal, and what was at first a CHF1 BN acquisition priceof Credit Suisse by UBS, which then rose to CHF 2 BN, has now cranked up one final time to CHF 3BN (US$3.25 billion), or 0.76 per share, specifically shareholders of Credit Suisse will receive 1 share in UBS for 22.48 shares in Credit Suisse. As part of the deal, the Swiss National Bank is offering a 100 billion-franc liquidity assistance to UBS while the government is granting a 9 billion-franc guarantee for potential losses from assets UBS is taking over, i.e., this is a taxpayer-backed bailout.
More importantly, however, the bank's entire AT1 tranche - some CHF16BN of Additioanal Tier 1 (AT1) bonds, a $275BN market - will be bailed in and written down to zero, to wit: "FINMA has determined that Credit Suisse’s Additional Tier 1 Capital (deriving from the issuance of Tier 1 Capital Notes) in the aggregate nominal amount of approximately CHF 16 billion will be written off to zero."
This wipe out, pardon, bail-in is the biggest loss yet for Europe’s $275 billion AT1 market, far eclipsing the approximately €1.35 billion loss suffered by junior bondholders of Spanish lender Banco Popular SA back in 2017, when it was absorbed by Banco Santander SA to avoid a collapse.
Germany said over the weekend that it is ready to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he ever travels to its territory, following the Hague-based International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant last week related to alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine.
German Justice Minister Marco Bushman stipulated the Russian leader will be detained if he steps foot on Russian soil. "I expect that the International Criminal Court in The Hague will swiftly approach Interpol as well as the contracting states and ask them for enforcement," Bushman told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley panned reports of the looming potential case against former President Donald Trump after the former commander-in-chief announced he may be arrested in the next week.
As The Epoch Times' Jack Phillips reports below, alleged unnamed court sources have told multiple news outlets that Trump could be indicted in the near future, while Trump said via Truth Social that he expects to be arrested by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office on Tuesday. Bragg’s office has not publicly confirmed reports that he may possibly indict the former president for allegedly misclassifying a $130,000 hush payment made to Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump has denied claims that he had an affair with Daniels in the early 2000s. However, unconfirmed reports alleged that a grand jury in New York has been empaneled and may be seeking an indictment of the former president.
But Turley said that based on those reports, the DA’s case against Trump “is legally pathetic” and “is struggling to twist state laws to effectively prosecute a federal case long ago rejected by the Justice Department against Trump.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that struck down a federal law preventing people under domestic violence-related restraining orders from having guns.
The Biden administration asked in its new petition (pdf) for the high court to hear the case on a “highly expedited schedule” because of the “significant disruptive consequences” of the lower court’s ruling. The petition was reportedly filed with the court on March 17 but had not been docketed as of press time.
The case comes as courts nationwide are playing catchup regarding the Supreme Court’s landmark June 2022 ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen that held firearms restrictions must be deeply rooted in American history if they are to survive constitutional scrutiny.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on March 15 that the Bruen ruling offers little guidance to lower courts on interpreting the decision, as Courthouse News Service reported.
Before you read the following quote from a Fed employee, you had better set your coffee, beer or wine down so you don’t spray all over the carpet or the person next to you. This is how dense the Fed is when it comes to learning from its own mistakes after it first tried quantitative tightening (QT) in late 2017-2019 and failed miserably:
The principle lesson was that we can do QT. It had never been done in the size that the Fed was trying at the end of 2017, we accomplished that goal, we ran down the balance sheet successfully – you know, you had some volatility towards the end, but by and large it was a very successful program.“A Havenstein Moment.“
The truth is the Fed fell far short of its stated QT goal and had to hit the brakes and eventually even reverse course back to QE. So, it did not accomplish that goal. That’s an outright lie or bald-faced stupidity. Aside from that crash of the stock market in the final quarter of 2018 that was only averted as it entered a bear market because the Fed rushed in to say it would be backing off its planned interest hikes and its stated goal for quantitative tightening much sooner than it had originally indicated … and aside from that massive repo crisis I referred to as the “Repocalypse” in the latter half of 2019 … it went splendidly well.
Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, has agreed to buy its ailing rival Credit Suisse in an emergency rescue deal aimed at stemming financial market panic unleashed by the failure of two American banks earlier this month.
“UBS today announced the takeover of Credit Suisse,” the Swiss National Bank said in a statement. It said the rescue would “secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy.”
UBS is paying 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.25 billion) for Credit Suisse, about 60% less than the bank was worth when markets closed on Friday. Credit Suisse shareholders will be largely wiped out, receiving the equivalent of just 0.76 Swiss francs in UBS shares for stock that was worth 1.86 Swiss francs on Friday.
Extraordinarily, the deal will not need the approval of shareholders after the Swiss government agreed to change the law to remove any uncertainty about the deal.
The chief of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) David Pekoske said that the agency is considering biometric technology to reduce traveler processing times and reduce the number of screening officers. He made the comments at the South by Southwest conference, which focused on aviation security.
Pekoske noted that the TSA’s role is maintaining security and the transportation system and staying ahead of threats. For those reasons, it is “critically important that this system has as little friction as it possibly can, while we provide for safety and security.”
The TSA has been relying on biometric technology in the identification verification process. According to the agency, the newest technology it has been using is over 99% effective and does not have problems identifying darker-skinned people like the old technology.
“We’re upgrading our camera systems all the time, upgrading our lighting systems,” Pekoske said. “[We’re] upgrading our algorithms, so that we are using the very most advanced algorithms and technology we possibly can.”
“They went big last weekend, which was the right thing to do,” said the Chairman, a veteran of financial crises, the two of us discussing the ongoing bank run, how policy can end it.
“But the market always tests statements of confidence, whether from companies or the government,” he continued.
“This week, at the first real test, policymakers mumbled.”
Treasury Secretary Yellen’s responses to Senator Lankford in Thursday’s Senate hearing gave a glimmer of light to the worst fears of small business owners and savers at America’s non systemically important banks.
The administration’s failure to dash these fears for depositors of $2, $5, $10 million has created a two-tier banking system in which the big banks are safe and most others are not.
On Saturday, President Biden's social media galaxy brains tweeted out a twice-corrected lie, quoting the president telling said lie, that billionaires are getting away paying just 3% of their average earnings in taxes.
"You know the average tax billionaires pay?
No billionaire should be paying a lower tax than somebody working as a schoolteacher or firefighter," reads the erroneous tweet.
To which Musk replied: "I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average!"
"I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022."
On 24 February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a twelve-point plan entitled ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’.
This ‘peace plan’, as it has been called, is anchored in the concept of sovereignty, building upon the well-established principles of the United Nations Charter (1945) and the Ten Principles from the Bandung Conference of African and Asian states held in 1955. The plan was released two days after China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow, where he met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s interest in the plan was confirmed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov shortly after the visit: ‘Any attempt to produce a plan that would put the [Ukraine] conflict on a peace track deserves attention. We are considering the plan of our Chinese friends with great attention’.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the plan hours after it was made public, saying that he would like to meet China’s President Xi Jinping as soon as possible to discuss a potential peace process. France’s President Emmanuel Macron echoed this sentiment, saying that he would visit Beijing in early April. There are many interesting aspects of this plan, notably a call to end all hostilities near nuclear power plants and a pledge by China to help fund the reconstruction of Ukraine. But perhaps the most interesting feature is that a peace plan did not come from any country in the West, but from Beijing.
After French President Emmanuel Macron pushed through pension reform without a vote in parliament, the backlash has been fierce, and there is now a good chance that a no-confidence vote this week could collapse his government. Even if he survives the vote, commentators say that Marine Le Pen has never been in a better position, with the conservative populist emerging as the “victor” in the fierce debate over pension reform.
Macron’s decision to turn to Article 49.3 of the French constitution, which allows him to bypass parliament and increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 via decree, had been labeled the “nuclear option” by the French press.
For many years, the successive leaders of Kyrgyzstan could not capitalize on their country’s strategic location along the shortest route connecting China to Central Asia and further onward to the Middle East and Europe. Now, hopes are cautiously mounting that this might be changing. Current Kyrgyzstani President Sadyr Japarov is determined to redefine his country’s role in regional and wider international relations, as evidenced by his signing of agreements with the likes of Uzbekistan and China, among others, regarding improved cooperation on infrastructure and transit development (Akipress.com, February 7, 2022; Newscentralasia.net, January 28). This renewed optimism is based on the announced plans that, by the end of 2023, Kyrgyzstan will begin the construction of its part of the strategic China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan railway line (The Diplomat, September 26, 2022). Although the details of the funding mechanism for this project remain unclear, Kyrgyzstani officials are confident that all matters will be gradually resolved.
In January 2022, just around the time the Fed announced it was launching its most aggressive tightening campaign since Volcker, we warned "remember, every Fed tightening cycle ends in disaster and then, much more Fed easing"
Fast forward to just over a week ago, when the Fed tightening cycle indeed ended in disaster when SIVB became the first (of many) banks to fail, triggering a chain of dominoes that culminated with today's collapse of Credit Suisse - a systematically important bank with $600BN in assets.
And then, at 5pm, the easing officially began, because while a bunch of laughable macrotourists were arguing on FinTwit whether last week's record surge in the Fed's discount window was QE or wasn't QE (answer: it didn't matter, because as we said, it assured what comes next), the Fed finally capitulated, just as we warned over and over and over that it would...
The White House has come out against a ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow to potentially mediate between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart in Kyiv.
Xi is due to arrive in Moscow on Monday and is expected to speak virtually to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his talks with Putin. Xi’s trip comes after Beijing released a 12-point peace plan for Ukraine that called for the two sides to cease hostilities and for peace talks to begin.
Zelensky expressed openness to China’s proposal, but it was immediately rejected by President Biden.
“We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday, according to Newsweek. “We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.”
Two important and revealing news stories appeared on the same day in late February. One announced that the United States and its allies imposed yet another round of economic sanctions on Russia. The other reported the conclusion of U.S. intelligence officials that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is considering selling military drones to Moscow. That story was even more specific than Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement a week earlier that Beijing was contemplating providing Russia with “lethal support”—including weapons and ammunition—to help the Kremlin’s war effort in Ukraine. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas‐Greenfield subsequently told the press that both President Biden and Secretary Blinken had conveyed warnings to their Chinese counterparts that such a move would be a “game‐changer” in U.S.-PRC relations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara would approve Finland’s NATO application before the country’s May election. Erdoğan made the announcement after meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Ankara.
Finland submitted a joint application with Sweden to join the North Atlantic alliance last May. While most members of the alliance wanted to expedite membership for the Nordic countries, Turkey resisted due to Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish groups that Ankara views as terrorists.
In June, Turkey signed a trilateral pact with the two Nordic countries that would see Sweden and Finland join NATO. However, Ankara has repeatedly said that it could not admit the two countries into the alliance because Sweden was not living up to their end of the agreement.
As the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq approaches, a leading research institute on Wednesday said that "the total costs of the war in Iraq and Syria are expected to exceed half a million human lives and $2.89 trillion" by 2050.
The Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs said that "this budgetary figure includes costs to date, estimated at about $1.79 trillion, and the costs of veterans’ care through 2050."
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C. on Saturday afternoon to demand a stop to endless U.S. wars and the "War Machine," two days before the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
The anti-war demonstration was the second of its kind in the American capital in less than a month.
"It's just a terrible mistake," Claudia Lefko, a protester from Northampton, Massachusetts, told Xinhua when asked to comment on the Iraq War. "The country is a ruin. We've destroyed it ... The Iraqis are still suffering the consequences."
"We started to attack a country already destroyed by years of sanctions," Lefko continued. "There was no work. There was no infrastructure. The country was already destroyed, and we just put it further into the ground."
US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief, General Michael Kurilla, said on 16 March that the Russian air force has increased the frequency of “unprofessional” and “unsafe” flyovers of US occupation bases in Syria.
“They fly over our bases with ground attack aircraft with weapons on them in an attempt to try to be provocative,” Kurilla said, calling the flyovers “unsafe, unprofessional, and not what we expect of a professional air force.”
Around 900 US troops are still deployed in the Levantine nation, controlling nearly a third of the country and a large portion of its oil fields. Their deployment is illegal under international law as it was not approved by the government in Damascus and was launched by abusing Washington’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Contrary to the illegal US occupation and their hijacking of Syria’s resources, the Russian army has been present since 2015 after Damascus requested military assistance to push back against ISIS and other US-sponsored extremist groups.
China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang has told his Ukrainian counterpart that Beijing is concerned about the war with Russia spinning out of control and urged talks on a political solution with Moscow.
Qin told Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba that China wanted to see peace negotiations advance, during a rare phone conversation on Thursday, the foreign ministry in Beijing said in a statement.
A US-led invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003, with a force of 150,000 US troops, followed in number by UK troops as well as Australian and Polish soldiers.
Millions of protesters in countries around the world were not convinced that the war was justified, pouring onto the streets of their cities to condemn what they believed was an “unjust, illegitimate” war.
Here are some pictures of the protests against the invasion of Iraq that took place from 2003-2010.
Russia's Wagner mercenary group plans to recruit approximately 30,000 new fighters by the middle of May, its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday.
He said in an audio message on Telegram that Wagner recruitment centres, which he said last week had opened in 42 Russian cities, were hiring on average 500-800 people a day.
He gave no evidence to support the numbers, which Reuters could not independently verify.
Prigozhin's men have sustained heavy losses while leading Russian efforts to capture the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has held out since last summer in the longest and bloodiest battle of the year-long war.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed on Sunday to establish a mechanism to curb violence during a meeting aimed at preventing already surging violence from escalating further when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins later this week.
In a statement issued at the end of a meeting in Egypt that was also attended by U.S., Egyptian and Jordanian officials, the parties also emphasized the necessity of both Israelis and Palestinians preventing any actions that would disrupt the sanctity of Holy Sites in Jerusalem during Ramadan.
The parties reaffirmed the necessity of de-escalation, and reconfirmed commitments made at a previous meeting in Aqaba last month. These included an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months, and to stop authorisation of any outposts for six months.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the military’s chief of staff on Sunday to contain a wave of protest from within the ranks over a contentious government plan to overhaul the judiciary.
Netanyahu’s remarks come as Israel is embroiled in a major crisis that has sent tens of thousands of people into the streets protesting every week for the last two months. The divide over Netanyahu’s plans to change the legal system has not spared the country’s military, its most trusted institution, where many reservists have pledged not to show up for duty under what they see as impending regime change.
Starting Sunday, more than 700 elite officers from the Air Force, special forces, and Mossad said they would stop volunteering for duty. The typically taboo talk of refusal to serve in a military that is compulsory for most Jews and is highly respected by the Jewish majority underlines how deeply the overhaul plan has divided Israel.
Pakistani police stormed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s residence in the eastern city of Lahore on Saturday and arrested 61 people amid tear gas and clashes between Khan’s supporters and police, officials said.
Senior police officer Suhail Sukhera, who led the operation in an upscale Lahore neighborhood, said police acted to remove a barricade erected by members of Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party and his defiant supporters. He said they blocked the lanes around Khan’s residence with concrete blocks, felled trees, tents and a parked truck.
Khan was not in the home, having traveled to Islamabad to appear before a judge to face charges he sold state gifts while in office and hid his assets. The judge postponed that hearing until March 30.
Sukhera said baton-wielding Khan supporters attempted to resist police by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails and a man on the roof of Khan’s residence opened fire. At least three police officers were injured.
Here's What You Need to Know: While Russia’s military is smaller than during the Cold War, it still fields a powerful force of howitzers, multiple rocket launchers and ballistic missiles.
The U.S. Army’s big guns have problems.
The Army’s field artillery is outgunned by Russian weapons. And, it would face difficulties in knocking out entrenched North Korean artillery, or mobile Iranian weapons.
That’s the conclusion of a report on U.S. Army artillery—or ground fires—capabilities by the think tank RAND Corporation, which examined an Army artillery arm that has suffered two decades of neglect since the Pentagon began focusing on counterinsurgency in the early 2000s. During that time, aircraft and helicopters replaced artillery as the main source for fire support during small-unit operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while highly trained gunners were relegated to infantry duties such as manning checkpoints.
Kuwait’s Constitutional Court has ruled that last September’s parliamentary election, in which the opposition made gains, was void and that the previous assembly must be reinstated.
The move on Sunday comes at a time of renewed friction between the elected parliament and government and follows the reappointment this month of the country’s prime minister, whose government had resigned in January in the standoff with parliament.
Police in the Pakistani capital filed charges Sunday against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, 17 of his aides and scores of supporters, accusing them of terrorism and several other offenses after the ousted premier's followers clashed with security forces in Islamabad the previous day.
For hours on Saturday, Khan's followers clashed with police outside a court where the former prime minister was to appear in a graft case. Riot police wielded batons and fired tear gas while Khan's supporters threw fire bombs and hurled rocks at the officers.
More than 50 officers were injured and a police checkpoint, several cars and motorcycles were torched. Police said 59 of Khan's supporters were arrested during the violence.
Khan never actually appeared inside the court to face charges that he had sold state gifts received while in office and concealed assets.