DAVOS - Oil executives are resigned to a rise in security costs which will be steep, even for an industry used to working in dangerous places, as they strengthen defenses against militants and cyber attackers alike. Full Article
The Daily IndigoStar7 / News Ticker
Angela Merkel will have the last word
Germany is happy for Britain to negotiate a new deal with the EU. But only on its terms
By Daniel Johnson
8:36PM GMT 25 Jan 2013
At Waterloo, as the British infantry endured Napoleon’s relentless assault, Wellington anxiously awaited the arrival of the Prussians. “Give me night,” he remarked, “or give me Blücher!” David Cameron might well echo the Iron Duke, for his bold gamble on Europe depends on Angela Merkel riding to the rescue.
As the Prime Minister finally delivered the most important speech of his life, it was the German reaction that mattered most. There was palpable relief at Downing Street when the speech received a qualified thumbs-up from Berlin.
Chancellor Merkel made a point of saying that not only Germany but she “personally” attached great importance to the British role in Europe. She was open, she said, to serious negotiations leading to a “fair compromise” with the British.
So far, so predictable: a show of solidarity by Europe’s two leading conservatives. The contrast between Mrs Merkel’s dignified response and the undiplomatic snub from the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius – whose socialist boss, President Hollande, did not even bother to comment on Mr Cameron’s speech – could hardly have been clearer.
It was ever thus. From the moment that Mr Cameron’s hero, Harold Macmillan, first applied to join the European Economic Community (as it was then) and was unceremoniously rejected by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963, a humiliation that was repeated in 1967, the French have always seen the British as unwelcome interlopers rather than fully paid-up members of their grand project.
Yet despite the pomp and circumstance of this week’s 50th anniversary celebrations of the Franco-German Elysée Treaty, the German view has always been that the British are a necessary ally to preserve the delicate balance between the German-led North Europeans and the French-led Club Med.
However impatient the German elite may express itself with what Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle criticised this week as British “cherry-picking”, in private they admit that they need the Brits on board....
Is it time to grasp the debt restructuring nettle?
Patience, we’re constantly told, is what’s needed to get through this painfully slow recovery. Sir Mervyn King and George Osborne make the point so often you need the patience of a saint just to keep listening.
11:47AM GMT 26 Jan 2013
Everyone’s fed up with waiting, though. Unemployment may be coming down but it hardly feels like a recovery. It’s been almost five years since the end of the boom. The economy has flat-lined since mid-2011. GDP per head - according to Citi’s Michael Saunders - is now 6.7pc below the pre-crisis peak, worse even than Japan’s “lost decade”. And the pound in your wage packet really won’t be worth as much tomorrow.
Vincent Reinhart, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist who was a senior US Federal Reserve official and is the author of seminal papers on post-financial crisis responses, thinks there is an alternative, though. That there is a quicker way back to prosperity.
“A financial crisis is really about an enormous loss of wealth,” he told me at the Word Economic Forum in Davos. “And it’s only when you recognise that loss of wealth that you can set about rebuilding.”
What he was talking about was writing down private sector debt – that of over-borrowed households, companies and banks. According to the Bank of England, there may be as much as £60bn of unrecognised losses in the UK.
Writing down that amount of debt would normally lead to an awful lot of pain – with some families losing their homes and jobs lost as companies go bust. But if the debts aren’t written down, the rest suffer too.
“If you buffer the people who made bad decisions from their wealth loss, then the people who didn’t make bad decisions suffer a wealth loss too,” Mr Reinhart said. That manifests itself in a long period of slow growth and - worst of all - youth unemployment. Effectively, the innocent victims of the recession end up being the ones that also pay for it.
A little bit of honesty here from the political classes would go a long way, Mr Reinhart reckons.
In the wake of a major financial crisis, he said, the authorities have two options: denial - letting banks, companies and households pretend they can service their debts and sparing them short-term pain.
Or forcing writedowns upfront. Individuals would suffer and unemployment would almost inevitably rise, but the country would get over the hump quicker....
French forces in Mali seize airport, bridge at rebel-held Gao
By Richard Valdmanis
KONNA, Mali | Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:57am EST
KONNA, Mali (Reuters) - French special forces in Mali with air support on Saturday seized the airport and a key bridge over the Niger River at the Islamist rebel-held stronghold of Gao as France accelerated its ground offensive against al Qaeda-allied fighters.
"The rebels have melted in to the local population. There is harassment. The operation is still under way. It is a bit complicated," a French officer in Mali, who asked not to be named, told Reuters, referring to the assault on Gao.
France's Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the seizure of the airport and bridge at Gao, the largest town in Mali's Saharan north which was occupied last year by a coalition of Islamist groups including al Qaeda's North African wing AQIM.
France's defense ministry initially gave few details of the operation at Gao, but there were unconfirmed reports from Malian sources that it involved French paratroops.
The French officer said the attacking French forces were facing "harassment" attacks but no solid line of resistance.
The speed of the French action at Gao suggested French and Malian government troops intended to drive aggressively into the north of Mali in the next few days against other Islamist rebel-held towns, such as Timbuktu and Kidal.
For two weeks, French jets and helicopter gunships have been harrying the retreating Islamists, destroying their vehicles, command posts and weapons depots. The French action had already halted a sudden Islamist offensive launched in early January that had threatened Mali's southern capital Bamako.
A French defense ministry statement quoted minister Le Drian as saying that many of the Islamist fighters' vehicles and logistics bases had been destroyed.
News that the French forces were at Gao came as African states struggled to deploy a planned 6,000-strong African intervention force in Mali, known as AFISMA, under a U.N. mandate.
African Union leaders meeting at a summit in Addis Ababa were calling on the United Nations to provide emergency logistics and funding to allow the AFISMA force to deploy.
AU officials say AFISMA is severely hampered by logistical shortages and needs airlift support, ammunition, telecoms equipment, field hospitals, food and water. It also required training to operate in Mali's desert and arid mountains.
So far, only around 1,200 soldiers of the African force, to be mostly comprised of troops from neighboring West African nations, have arrived in Mali.
In contrast, France has 2,500 soldiers already on the ground in its former colony, taking the lead in the offensive against the Islamist groups.
The United States and Europe strongly back the U.N.-mandated Mali operation as a counterstrike against the threat of radical Islamist jihadists using the country's inhospitable Saharan north as a launch pad for international terrorist attacks.
But Washington and European governments, while providing airlift and intelligence support to the operation, are not planning to send in any combat troops.
(DPH: That's almost laughable.)
Italian Scandal Widens As Italy's Third Largest Bank Set To Get Third Bailout In 3 Years; Draghi, Monti Implicated
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2013 - 12:09
While little has been said in the mainstream western press about the ongoing fiasco surrounding Siena's Banca Monte dei Pasci, Italy's third largest bank and the world's oldest which may get its third bailout in three years - or even be nationalized - as soon as today, for fears that it may break the thin veneer of "recovery" in the European financial system, the situation on the ground in Italy is getting more serious by the minute, and will have implications on both next month's general election, on Mario Monti, on Silvio Berlusconi, on frontrunner for the Prime Minister post Pier Luigi Bersani, and reach as far up as the head of the ECB - Mario Draghi....(cont.)
U.S. to Aid French With Aerial Refuelings in Mali Mission
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pledged the increased support for France in a phone call with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Little said in a statement yesterday.
The U.S. has already been providing France with intelligence gathering and an airlift that has delivered hundreds of troops and hundreds of tons of supplies for the Mali operation, Little said.
Panetta also discussed plans by the U.S. to transport troops from African nations, including Chad and Togo, to Mali, Little said. He didn’t say when the additional assistance would begin or offer more details.
France intervened in Mali on Jan. 11 after Islamist fighters overran the town of Konna, sparking concern they might advance toward Bamako, the capital. The French Defense Ministry said that 2,500 soldiers have arrived in the landlocked West African country, which gained independence from France in 1960. African nations are deploying a force that may total as many as 3,300 troops.
Flow of Weapons
Since the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that unleashed a flow of weapons to militants in the region, the Obama administration has been torn between wanting to avoid entanglements in North Africa while warning of the dangers of advancing Islamist extremism. The U.S. has shown reluctance to provide weapons or U.S. troops to the fight in Mali, just as it has largely sidestepped the civil war in Syria.
U.S. officials say shifting alliances among at least four rebel groups in Mali have made it difficult to get a clear picture of the conflict there.
While the U.S. provided intelligence and some airlift in the initial weeks of the Mali operation, it had stopped short of offering refueling support. Panetta, on a trip to Europe this month, pointed to legal questions in explaining the need for caution....
North Korea Will Defend Itself Against U.S. Hostility, Kim Says
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to defend his country against hostility from the U.S. after the totalitarian state said last week it will test a nuclear weapon.
Kim supported government statements that “powerful physical countermeasures would be taken to defend” the dignity and sovereignty of the nation, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a report yesterday. Kim expressed the resolution to take “substantial and high-profile important state measures,” KCNA said, without elaborating.
North Korea has probably made enough progress to test a weapon in “a few weeks or less” once the leadership gives the order, according to a statement posted on the 38north.orgwebsite of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where recent satellite photos were analyzed.
North Korea on Jan. 24 threatened to test a nuclear weapon to derail “hostile” U.S. policies, after the Obama administration pushed through United Nations sanctions against the country for launching a rocket last month. The White House said the threat is “needlessly provocative” and will lead to further isolation and sanctions.
Kim spoke at a meeting of foreign affairs and security officials discussing events on the Korean Peninsula, KCNA said. U.S. reaction to North Korea’s rocket “indicates that the U.S. has reached its height in its anti-DPRK strategy,” the news agency said, citing a report to the meeting. DPRK refers to the country’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Punggye-ri nuclear site, where previous detonations were conducted in 2006 and 2009, may be in a continued state of readiness, according to the 38north.org website. Analysis of the area was based upon satellite imagery taken Jan. 23 and previous images, it said.
“Snowfall and subsequent clearing operations as well as tracks in the snow reveal ongoing activity at buildings and on roadways near the possible test tunnel,” 38north reported.
A photo from Jan. 4 shows a group of personnel, troops or security guards, in formation in the yard of the administrative area near the test tunnel entrance, the institute said.
Imagery from Dec. 24 shows a new pile of material near the command bunker in the same area...
In February 2000, Pervez Musharraf, then chief of army staff and head of Pakistan government, created a nuclear command, which included a strategic plans division (SPD), which has physical custody of the weapons. Hoodbhoy argues, “Whatever the procedures and equipment Pakistan may adopt, they can only be as good as the men who operate them. Mindsets and intentions matter more than anything else.”
He adds, “The fear of loose weapons comes from the fact that Pakistan’s armed forces harbour a hidden enemy within their ranks. Those wearing the cloak of religion freely walk in and out of top security nuclear installations every day.” He emphasizes, “The fear of the insider is ubiquitous and well-founded,” and describes the Pakistani army as “a heavily Islamicised rank-and-file brimming with seditious thoughts.”
War hysteria in China has not been this screechy since the 1970s.The newly appointed supreme leader President Xi Jinping has completely revamped the command structure of the People’s Liberation Army and given the world’s largest military force a central mission: get ready for a war, quickly.
Much of China’s call to arms is related to Beijing’s increasingly unyielding stance on many of its territorial disputes with neighbors, and China has disputes with almost all of them. Some of the more-tense discord is with China’s maritime neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Japan is to launch a new spy satellite on Sunday to strengthen its monitoring capabilities amid concern that North Korea may carry out more missile and nuclear tests. A rocket carrying a radar-equipped satellite is scheduled to blast off from a space centre at Tanegashima in the southwest, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has announced. The space agency said the satellite would be used for information-gathering, including data following Japan’s 2011 quake and tsunami, but did not mention North Korea by name.
Our first foray into laser-equipped combat aircraft was the Airborne Laser Testbed, a Boeing 747 with a gigantic chemically-pumped megawatt laser turret in its nose. It was pretty awesome from a conceptual standpoint, but it didn’t work very well, and was scrapped last year. This doesn’t mean that the idea of high-powered lasers on aircraft doesn’t make a lot of sense, and DARPA is still for ways to make it work. It’s working on two at the moment: the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS), and Aero-Adaptive/Aero-Optic Beam Control (ABC).
Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, aren’t just used for spying and dropping bombs. The civil applications for unmanned aircraft are numerous, from spreading pesticide on fields, to delivering medical supplies in remote areas, to monitoring hundreds of miles of oil pipelines for leaks.
The University of North Dakota recognizes this huge potential – the school now offers an undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations. Most soon-to-be graduates will end up in jobs that support the military. But program head Ben Trapnell said civilian uses will eventually far outpace those for defense.
The U.S. military has blacklisted Afghanistan’s largest private airline, alleging it is smuggling “bulk” quantities of opium on civilian flights to Tajikistan, a corridor through which the drugs reach the rest of the world.
Kam Air was barred this month from receiving U.S. military contracts by U.S. Central Command chief Marine Gen. James Mattis, according to U.S. military officials. “The U.S. will not do business with those who fund and support illicit activities,” U.S. Army Maj.-Gen. Richard Longo, the commander of Task Force 2010, a coalition anticorruption unit, said in an interview. “Kam Air is too large of a company not to know what has been going on within its organization.”
State-owned Banks Cut Profit Expectations for 2013
By staff reporter Wen Xiu
(Beijing) – Four of the five state-owned banks have reduced their expectation for this year's profit growth, as banking reform continues and regulators keep a firm grip on credit supplies.
Only Agricultural Bank of China, the last of the five to list publicly, expects profit to grow at levels comparable with previous years because of a smaller base, executives from the five banks said in a recent industry meeting.
The other three of Big Four banks plus the Bank of Communications all anticipated profit growth to slow to a single-digit rate this year from an estimated level of 10 to 14 percent for 2012.
There is no consensus over how much profit banks should be able to make. Some said the predicted decline is natural under market reforms. But two bank executives said a healthy profit growth rate should be around 15 percent, or roughly the same as the GDP growth rate when inflation and other nominal appreciation of assets are excluded.
Lower profit expectations partly reflect bankers' concern with the central bank's agenda on this year's credit supply. Sources close to the regulator said it would cap bank loans at 9 trillion yuan for the year.
The figure increased by 800 billion yuan from last year, but is still likely to be well short of the scale banks would need to offset the loss from lower profit margins.
Bank executive at the conference said they expect narrowing interest spreads to weigh substantively on their profits.
"Banks would still rely on interest spreads for an extended period of time, but their profitability would inevitably fall," an executive at a large bank's corporate banking department said.
The decline was mainly a result of last year's interest rate changes, which adjusted the floating ranges of deposit and lending interest rates and limited banks' pricing power over capital. The cost of capital rose also because many customers opted for better-paying wealth management products over ordinary savings accounts....
Iraq Warns Exxon on Kurdish Deals Amid Plans for BP Development
Iraq’s oil minister asked Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) to stop dealing with Kurds if it wants to work with the central government even as he proceeded with plans for BP Plc (BP/) to develop fields in northern areas claimed by the Kurdish authorities.
Chevron Corp. (CVX), Total SA (FP) and Exxon, which operates the West Qurna-1 oil field in southern Iraq, are among companies that have angered the central government with proposals to explore in the Kurdish area. While the Baghdad authorities don’t recognize contracts signed by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government without their permission, foreign investors say Kurdish authorities offer them more attractive terms.
“Any company that signs deals without the approval of the central government, we don’t deal with them,” Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said in Baghdad today. “We can’t allow Exxon to step over the constitution. It can’t continue to work in both places at the same time, they have to choose to work either in Iraq or in Kurdistan. We are waiting for a final answer in the coming few days.”
The central government and the Kurds are entangled in a feud over disputed land and the sharing of energy revenue. The Kurdistan Regional Government halted exports of crude by pipeline last month, with shipments currently limited to volumes being trucked to Turkey. Iraq is seeking to boost oil sales to rebuild the economy after decades of wars and sanctions.
In turn, the Kurdish authorities said in a Jan. 17 statement that the central government would be acting illegally if it proceeds with a plan to allow BP, Europe’s second-biggest energy company, to work on oil fields in disputed territory. BP made a “good offer” to develop the Kirkuk fields and the Oil Ministry in Baghdad has sent the proposal to the government energy committee for approval, al-Luaibi said today.
Iraq started to export crude through a second single-point mooring facility in the south of the country, al-Luaibi told reporters today. The nation also signed an agreement with Kuwait Energy Co. and Dubai-based partner Dragon Oil Plc (DGO) to explore and develop oil in Block 9 along Iraq’s border with Iran....
Four killed, many hurt at funerals in Egypt port city
By Edmund Blair and Shaimaa Fayed
CAIRO | Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:33pm EST
CAIRO (Reuters) - Four people were shot dead and hundreds were injured in Egypt's Port Said on Sunday during the funerals of 33 protesters killed at the weekend, part of a wave of violence piling pressure on Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
State television said Mursi would address the nation later on Sunday. A total of 46 people have been killed in demonstrations around the country since Thursday and his opponents have called for more protests on Monday.
"Down, down Mursi, down down the regime that killed and tortured us!" people in Port Said chanted as the coffins of those killed on Saturday were carried through the streets.
Port Said's head of hospitals, Abdel Rahman Farag, told Reuters an 18-year-old man and three other people died from gunshot wounds on Sunday. More than 429 people suffered from teargas inhalation, while 38 were wounded by gunshots, he said.
Gunshots had killed many of the 33 who died on Saturday when residents went on the rampage after a court sentenced 21 people, mostly from the Mediterranean port, to death for their role in deadly soccer violence at a stadium there last year.
A military source said many people in Port Said, which lies next to the increasingly lawless Sinai Peninsula, possess guns. But it was not clear who was behind the deaths and injuries.
In Cairo, police fired teargas at dozens of stone-throwing protesters in a fourth day of clashes over what demonstrators there and in other cities say is a power grab by Islamists two years after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.
The protesters accuse Mursi, elected in June with the support of his Muslim Brotherhood group, of betraying the democratic goals of the revolution. Most of the deaths since Thursday were in Port Said and Suez, both cities where the army has now been deployed.
The violence adds to the daunting task facing Mursi as he tries to fix a beleaguered economy and cool tempers before a parliamentary election expected in the next few months which is supposed to cement Egypt's transition to democracy.
It has exposed a deep rift in the nation. Liberals and other opponents accuse Mursi of failing to deliver on economic promises and say he has not lived up to pledges to represent all Egyptians. His backers say the opposition is seeking to topple Egypt's first freely elected leader by undemocratic means.
Although Sunday's violence was less severe than the previous two days, Mursi may have little respite. The opposition Popular Current and other groups have called for more protests on Monday to mark what was one of the bloodiest days of the 2011 uprising.
The Popular Current, led by leftist Hamdeen Sabahy, said it "denounces the state of silence of the presidency and the government during the sad events that the country went through the past 48 hours".
"BLOOD BEING SPILT"
On a bridge close to Tahrir Square, youths hurled stones at police in riot gear who fired teargas to push them back towards the square, the cauldron of the uprising that erupted on January 25, 2011 and toppled Mubarak 18 days later.
"None of the revolution's goals have been realized," said Mohamed Sami, a protester in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday.
"Prices are going up. The blood of Egyptians is being spilt in the streets because of neglect and corruption and because the Muslim Brotherhood is ruling Egypt for their own interests.".....
China’s Yi Warns on Currency Wars as Yuan Close to ‘Equilibrium’
China’s foreign-exchange regulator urged Group of 20 nations to improve collaboration to avoid any so-called currency wars while signaling he’s comfortable with the value of the yuan.
On a global level, there needs to be “better communication and coordination” on foreign exchange among the G-20, Yi Gang, who is also a deputy governor of China’s central bank, said in an interview at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 26. “Right now, it is pretty much close to the equilibrium level,” he said, referring to the Chinese currency’s exchange rate.
Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said in Davos that his nation aims to defeat deflation rather than weaken the yen, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for laxer monetary policy sparked a slide in the currency. His comments on Jan. 26 followed a week in which German and Canadian policy makers joined a worldwide chorus highlighting a recent plunge in the yen as a worry.
“A currency war, a series of tit-for-tat competitive devaluations, would trigger trade protection measures that would damage global trade and therefore growth globally,” said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in Hong Kong who previously worked for the World Bank. “That would not be good for any country with a stake in the global economy.”
The yuan is still “somewhat below ‘fair value,’” Kuijs wrote in a Jan. 25 note. He estimated that its nominal effective exchange rate, the relative value of the yuan compared with other major currencies, has appreciated 2.5 percent between the end of September and Jan. 23.
Criticism over China’s exchange-rate system has abated in recent months. Lawrence Summers, the former top economic adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, said Jan. 14 that the yuan is no longer as undervalued as it was five years ago. The currency, which has strengthened about 17 percent against the dollar since the end of 2007, rose 1 percent last year, the least in three years.
The People’s Bank of China on Jan. 25 set the daily yuan fixing at the lowest level to the dollar since Jan. 9, spurring speculation the central bank is seeking to cap gains as a slide in the yen makes Japanese exports more competitive.
China’s new leadership, headed by Xi Jinping, is seeking to support a recovery in the world’s second-biggest economy without triggering inflation and a surge in banks’ bad debts. Gross domestic product increased 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the first acceleration in two years.
Industrial companies’ profits rose in December for a fourth month, a statistics bureau report yesterday showed, adding to signs the country’s rebound is gaining momentum. Net income increased 17.3 percent from a year earlier to 895 billion yuan ($144 billion), after a 22.8 percent jump in November. Earnings for the full year gained 5.3 percent, down from a 25.4 percent pace in 2011.
Yi, who heads the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, said he’s concerned about the potential fallout from expanded asset-purchases programs and near-zero interest rates in the world’s advanced economies.
“Quantitative easing for developed economies is generating some uncertainties in financial markets in terms of capital flows,” Yi, who is also head of China’s foreign-exchange regulator, told reporters. “Competitive devaluation is one aspect of it. If everyone is doing super QE, which currency will depreciate?”
The SAFE warned last week that China will see fresh speculative inflows of money after the U.S. and Japanese central banks said they would pump more funds into their financial systems.
“The policies in major economies of monetary easing and low interest rates will boost global liquidity, increase risk preferences in the market and drive speculative funds into China,” the regulator said on its website on Jan. 25....
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2013 - 14:55
One of the first axioms of analysis is: "Garbage In, Garbage Out"! If your data is flawed, everything you do with it and the decisions stemming from it are flawed and dangerous to your financial health. Experienced analysts will often be found relentlessly checking, rechecking and validating their inputs and assumptions. If only our economists and the sell side analyst community were this diligent. But then it isn't their money. Only a year-end bonus for the 'extras' in their life is at risk. If economic practitioners were held to higher standards of accountability, they simply wouldn't accept the raft of fundamental data points that are the pillars of most economic assessment. Markets have become so dysfunctional with so much cheap money chasing so few real opportunities, that collateral values within the rehypothecation process are now in jeopardy and exposed to collateral contagion. The question is - what would things look like if the Fed wasn't engaged in Monetary Malpractice?
I am talking specifically about government inflation numbers such as CPI and PPI, the Deflator and GDP growth statistics and true debt levels using sound GAAP accounting principles and reflecting off balance sheet special purpose entities, contingent liabilities and financial guarantees. The list of government reporting irregularities is pervasive and for unknown reasons, simply accepted.
It is incredulous that we can just accept, without challenging, the statistical hyperbole of Hedonics, Substitution, Imputation and Proportional Distribution, justifying inflation numbers that don't even pass the common sense of an unemployed high school dropout. I don't mean to disparage the high school dropout, but I do point the figure at the 'six figure' analysts who accept this tripe as gospel, and from whose analysis fiduciary investment decisions are made with the unsuspecting public's hard earned savings....(cont.)
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/28/2013 - 18:29
Given our recent discussion (here and here) of the rising importance of Africa in the world's power and money echelons, it is not entirely surprising that the NY Times reports that US military command in Africa is actively preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase "unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups" that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region. It would appear Niger will be the most likely place for the base - from which officials envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones though, of course, they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Perhaps, actually scratch the "perhaps", what is really happening is the US now has a drone base with which to supervise Chinese expansion in Northweast Africa, anda drone fleet to use defensively and offensively as it sees fit....
And so it would appear we can draw a big red circle over northwest Africa in the map above which is where the US will literally have a bird's eye view of all the resources that China is sequestering, and all the infrastructure that the world's most populous nation is setting up.
Next we need a little dose of the perpetual "Al-Qaeda" bogeyman in Central, Eastern, and finally South Africa and the US will have military control over a continent that China is rapidly doing all it cen to colonize from the ground up.
The United States military command in Africa is preparing plans to establish a drone base in northwest Africa to increase unarmed surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.
For now, officials say they envision flying only unarmed surveillance drones from the base, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point if the threat worsens.
If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country...
The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
A handful of unarmed Predator drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region and fill a desperate need for more detailed information on a range of regional threats, including militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. American military commanders and intelligence analysts complain that such information has been sorely lacking.
The United States military has a very limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali. ...
If approved, the base could ultimately have as many as 300 United States military and contractor personnel, but it would probably begin with far fewer people than that, military officials said.
Some Africa specialists expressed concern that setting up a drone base in Niger or in a neighboring country, even if only to fly surveillance missions, could alienate local people who may associate the distinctive aircraft with deadly attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Officials from Niger did not respond to e-mails over the weekend about the plan, but its president, Mahamadou Issoufou, has expressed a willingness to establish what he called in a recent interview “a long-term strategic relationship with the U.S.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who heads the Intelligence Committee, said on the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday that in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, there was “an effort to establish a beachhead for terrorism, a joining together of terrorist organizations.”
General Ham said during an interview on his visit to Niger that it had been very difficult for American intelligence agencies to collect consistent, reliable intelligence about what was going on in northern Mali, as well as in other largely ungoverned parts of the sub-Saharan region.
“It’s tough to penetrate,” he said. “It’s tough to get access for platforms that can collect. It’s an extraordinarily tough environment for human intelligence, not just ours but the neighboring countries as well.”
The State Department has been extraordinarily wary of allowing drones to operate in the region, fearful of criticism that the United States is trying to militarize parts of Africa...
American drones regularly conduct surveillance flights over Somalia and occasionally launch airstrikes against people suspected of being members of the Shabab, a militant group linked to Al Qaeda.
“Without operating locations on the continent, I.S.R. capabilities would be curtailed, potentially endangering U.S. security,” General Ham said in a statement submitted to the House Armed Services Committee last March. “Given the vast geographic space and diversity in threats, the command requires increased ISR assets to adequately address the security challenges on the continent.”
DPH: You could see this coming a mile away. I'm pretty sure there is already some type of operations base currently being used by this point. They used drones in Libya and those were set-up either inside Libya or in a neighboring country.
A base(s) already exists.
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/28/2013 - 13:38
As Mark Carney steps aside from his role at the Bank of Canada to undertake all manner of easy money in the UK, we thought a reflection on the 'stealth' QE that he has been engaged with, very much under the radar, in the US' neighbor-to-the-north was worthwhile. It seems quietly and with little aplomb, Carney's BoC has grown its balance sheet by over 21% YoY - the most since 2009. If that was not enough to make someone nervous, the quantity of Canadian government bonds on the BoC's balance sheet has grown at a remarkable 46% YoY! All of this has taken place during a time when 'supposedly' the Canadian economy has been reasonably strong and foreign demand for debt high. With Canada's CAD267bn debt due in 2013, we suspect this 'stealth' QE will continue to rise.
The Bank of Canada's balance-sheet has grown at over 21% YoY...
and its ammassing of Canadian govvies has risen at over 46% YoY...
which looks set to continue as they enter 2013 with a massive CAD 267bn due...
(h/t Mark Hanson)