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US Bans Huawei, ZTE Telecom Equipment Citing Threats To National Security

US Bans Huawei, ZTE Telecom Equipment Citing Threats To National Security Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), U.S. regulators have imposed a ban on electronic equipment created by several major Chinese tech corporations, citing national security concerns. Surveillance cameras are seen in front of a Huawei logo in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Marko Djurica/Reuters) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules on Nov. 25 that will prohibit the import or sale of Chinese communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security. The new rules will bar equipment from Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE from being imported into or sold in the United States. The order will also prohibit telecommunications equipment and video surveillance equipment produced by Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua, as well as the companies’ subsidiaries or affiliates By unanimous vote, the FCC concluded that the products posed an “unacceptable risk to [the] national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons,” according to a statement. “The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.” Products from the companies will not be allowed for import, marketing, or sale until the FCC approves the measures taken by the companies to remedy how their products might be used against the national interest. Congress voted to bar all federal agencies from purchasing products from the five listed companies back in 2018. The new rules will expand and modify the FCC’s “Covered List” of banned products to prevent private entities from bringing the items into the United States. “Today, the FCC takes an unprecedented step to safeguard our communications networks and strengthen America’s national security,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. “Our unanimous decision represents the first time in the FCC’s history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of communications and electronic equipment based on national security considerations.  And we take this action with the broad, bipartisan backing of congressional leadership.” The order on Friday implemented requirements from the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden last November, the FCC said. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the United States have all declared the use of Huawei telecommunications equipment, particularly in 5G networks, to pose significant security risks to infrastructure. U.S. officials and experts have also sounded the alarm that the company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party mean that its products could be used to spy on Americans or interfere with the free flow of data worldwide. Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 11/28/2022 - 02:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 28th, 2022

US Bans Huawei, ZTE Telecom Equipment Citing Threats To National Security

US Bans Huawei, ZTE Telecom Equipment Citing Threats To National Security Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), U.S. regulators have imposed a ban on electronic equipment created by several major Chinese tech corporations, citing national security concerns. Surveillance cameras are seen in front of a Huawei logo in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 11, 2020. (Marko Djurica/Reuters) The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules on Nov. 25 that will prohibit the import or sale of Chinese communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security. The new rules will bar equipment from Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE from being imported into or sold in the United States. The order will also prohibit telecommunications equipment and video surveillance equipment produced by Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua, as well as the companies’ subsidiaries or affiliates By unanimous vote, the FCC concluded that the products posed an “unacceptable risk to [the] national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons,” according to a statement. “The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.” Products from the companies will not be allowed for import, marketing, or sale until the FCC approves the measures taken by the companies to remedy how their products might be used against the national interest. Congress voted to bar all federal agencies from purchasing products from the five listed companies back in 2018. The new rules will expand and modify the FCC’s “Covered List” of banned products to prevent private entities from bringing the items into the United States. “Today, the FCC takes an unprecedented step to safeguard our communications networks and strengthen America’s national security,” said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. “Our unanimous decision represents the first time in the FCC’s history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of communications and electronic equipment based on national security considerations.  And we take this action with the broad, bipartisan backing of congressional leadership.” The order on Friday implemented requirements from the Secure Equipment Act of 2021, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden last November, the FCC said. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the United States have all declared the use of Huawei telecommunications equipment, particularly in 5G networks, to pose significant security risks to infrastructure. U.S. officials and experts have also sounded the alarm that the company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party mean that its products could be used to spy on Americans or interfere with the free flow of data worldwide. Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 11/28/2022 - 02:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 28th, 2022

The FCC revokes authorization for China"s largest telecoms company to operate in the US, citing national security concerns

China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, "is subject to exploitation by the Chinese government," the FCC said. The headquarters of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C Andrew Kelly/Reuters The FCC voted to revoke the authorization for China Telecom's US subsidiary to operate in the US. The regulator cited national security concerns in its decision on Tuesday. China Telecom "is subject to exploitation" and "control" by the Chinese government," the FCC said. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to revoke the authorization for China Telecom's US subsidiary to operate in the US on Tuesday, citing national security concerns.The decision means China Telecom Americas must now discontinue US services within 60 days. China Telecom, the largest Chinese telecommunications company, has had authorization to provide telecommunications services for nearly 20 years in the US.The FCC found that China Telecom "is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight."The US regulator added that Chinese government ownership and control "raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities" for the company and the Chinese government "to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute US communications.""The FCC's decision is disappointing. We plan to pursue all available options while continuing to serve our customers," a China Telecoms America spokesperson told Reuters.China Telecom served more than 335 million subscribers worldwide as of 2019 and claims to be the largest fixed line and broadband operator in the world, according to a Senate report. It also provides services to Chinese government facilities in the US.The US government said in April 2020 that China Telecom targets its mobile virtual network to more than 4 million Chinese Americans, 2 million Chinese tourists a year visiting the United States, 300,000 Chinese students at American colleges, and the more than 1,500 Chinese businesses in America.In April, 2020, the FCC warned it might shut down US operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies, citing national security risks, including China Telecom Americas, as well as China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks, and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet (USA) after US agencies raised national security concerns.FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, said the FCC "must remain vigilant to the threats posed" by China. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.US Sens. Rob Portman and Tom Carper, who issued a report in 2020 on Chinese telecom companies' US operations, praised the FCC decision in a joint statement that cited "substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks."In March, the FCC began efforts to revoke authorization for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks, and its wholly-owned subsidiary ComNet to provide US telecommunications services.In May 2019, the FCC voted unanimously to deny another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, China Mobile, the right to provide US services.The FCC has taken other actions against Chinese telecoms and other companies.Last year, the FCC designated Huawei Technologies and ZTE as national security threats to communications networks - a declaration that barred US firms from tapping an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies. The FCC in December adopted rules requiring carriers with ZTE or Huawei equipment to "rip and replace" that equipment.In March, the FCC designated five Chinese companies as posing a threat to national security under a 2019 law, including Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Zhejiang Dahua Technology.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2021

Futures Steady As Fed Blackout Begins, China On Holiday, Earnings Galore

Futures Steady As Fed Blackout Begins, China On Holiday, Earnings Galore US equity futures were little changed, trading in a narrow ten point range during a muted overnight session on Monday as investors braced for a moderation in Fed rate increases after the Fed mouthpiece suggested a 25bps hike is now the baseline (coming at a time when the Fed is now in a quiet period until the Feb 1 FOMC meeting), while bracing for a busy week of earnings. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures each rose 0.1% at 7:45 a.m. ET after both underlying benchmarks rallied on Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index has posted three weeks of gains, the longest winning streak since mid-August. 10Y TSY yield rose 2bps to 3.50%, while the dollar rebounded from nine-month lows against the euro and a group of other currencies, after a slew of Federal Reserve officials laid out the case for a downshift in the Fed's rate-tightening campaign. China and most Asian markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. In premarket trading, Tesla rose more than 2% as sentiment toward the EV maker recovers after aggressive price cuts are seenas helping it gain market share. Salesforce climbed 4.1%  after hedge fund Elliott Investment Management took a substantial activist stake in the enterprise software giant. Western Digital shares gained 1.4% after a Bloomberg report that the company and Kioxia are progressing in their merger talks. Western Digital would spin off its flash business and merge it with Kioxia, creating a publicly traded company in the US, according to people familiar with the matter. Spotify shares advanced 2.6% in US premarket trading, after Bloomberg reported that the music streaming company is said to be planning job cuts as soon as this week, amid layoffs in the broader tech industry. Bank stocks are lower in premarket trading following their best day since November on Friday. In corporate news, Germany’s antitrust regulator opened an investigation into PayPal over potential obstruction of competitors. Here are some other notable premarket movers: AMD and Qualcomm rise after they were upgraded at Barclays, while Applied Materials declines amid a downgrade. Barclays says it’s more positive on semiconductor companies with data center, PC and handset exposure, but remains negative on semiconductor capital equipment stocks. AMD gains 2.5%, Qualcomm advances 2.1%, Applied Materials declines 2% Pliant Therapeutics surges 69% after the biotech announced data from its phase 2 trial for bexotegrast, its treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), prompting analysts to raise their price targets on the stock. Western Digital shares gain 1.4% after a Bloomberg report that the company and Kioxia are progressing in their merger talks. Western Digital would spin off its flash business and merge it with Kioxia, creating a publicly traded company in the US, according to people familiar with the matter. Keep an eye on Warner Music as it was downgraded to equal-weight from overweight at Barclays, which said the recording company’s financial performance has been too volatile to justify a premium valuation. Peer Universal Music is maintained at overweight. Keep an eye on Flywire as it was initiated with an equal weight rating at Morgan Stanley, with the broker expecting faster growth due to the payments company’s “significant competitive product advantages” and untapped potential with global colleges and universities. Planet Labs stock could be in focus after it was initiated at equal-weight by Morgan Stanley, which expects the wireless telecom firm to boost annual revenue by 20%-25% over the next two-to-five years and achieve positive free-cash flow toward the end of that period. Deutsche Bank expects another volatile year for US software stocks as investors look for a bottom amid weakening fundamentals. Downgrades Check Point, Matterport, Workday, CrowdStrike and SentinelOne, while raising Shopify and Confluent. PTC Inc. is upgraded to overweight from sector weight at KeyBanc, with analysts saying the US software provider could be “one of the best” free cash flow growth stories over the next three years. Investors are increasingly contrasting the US picture with a relatively rosier outlook for Europe, which many reckon will manage to dodge recession this year. Forecasts of a US recession in the second half of 2023, the ongoing wrangling in Congress over the debt ceiling and signals from companies weighed on equity index futures, which struggled to build on Friday’s momentum that lifted S&P 500 after four days of losses. On Friday Fed Governor Christopher Waller, one of the more hawkish officials at the US central bank, joined other policymakers in backing another moderation in the size of rate increases when they next gather. Investors are also weighing the incoming stream of corporate earnings for signs of how corporate margins are holding up against inflation and economic slowdown pressures. By contrast, ECB policymakers Klaas Knot and Peter Kazimir spoke in favor of continuing with half-point interest-rate increases at the next two meetings, adding to the hawkish comments made last week by fellow ECB officials. And while there were several notable bullish calls over the weekend, most notably at Goldman where traders clashed over the fate of the market, one place where there was no change in the dour mood was Morgan Stanley whose strategist Michael Wilson said that the improving sentiment toward US equities is at odds with a backdrop of weakening economic data and earnings: “The question is when will equity indices price the current weakness in the leading data and the eventual weakness in the hard data?,” said the strategist, who ranked No. 1 in last year’s Institutional Investor survey. “We think it’s this calendar quarter.” Earnings were also a concern for JPMorgan strategist Mislav Matejka, who notes that the environment will be particularly challenging this year, with corporate pricing power starting to reverse, just as margins are near record-high in the US and in Europe. European stocks also opened higher as they looked to continue their solid start to the year but gains have since evaporated with the Stoxx 600 now trading flat. Tech, miners and real estate are the strongest performing sectors while chemicals and travel underperform. The Stoxx 600 index was steady, having risen nearly 7% this year, almost double the S&P 500’s gain. Meanwhile, the euro strengthened to the highest since April 2022. The single currency is up almost 2% this year against the greenback, after falling nearly 6% last year. “The market has decided recession risks were overdone for Europe and you can see that in the outperformance of European stocks and the euro,” Rabobank strategist Jane Foley said. Here are some of the biggest European movers on Monday: Intesa gains as much as 3.3% after Citi said the Italian lender remains adequately capitalized even after latest charges linked to EBA guidelines that will impact capital this year Atos rises as much as 6.2%, after French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported that engineering firm Astek was interested in buying a stake in Atos’ data and cybersecurity unit Evidian Boliden rises as much as 2.9% after Berenberg raised to buy from hold and lifted price target. The miner is well placed to benefit from the rally in commodity prices, Berenberg writes GTT rises after the French group acknowledged the suspension of a decision by the Korea Fair Trade Commission relating to its activities with Korean shipyards in relation to LNG carriers National Express shares jump after the public transport group announced its German rail subsidiary won a €1b contract to operate the RE1 and RE11 Rhein-Ruhr-Express lines until 2033 ISS shares rise as much as 3.3%, with Morgan Stanley saying the organic growth and free cash flow reported by the Danish facilities manager is ahead of prior expectations Symrise drops as much as 8.6% after a larger- than-anticipated margin miss. Peers Givaudan and Croda also fell DSM falls as much as 5.5% after the Dutch chemicals and ingredients group extended the acceptance period for shareholders to tender ordinary shares Juventus shares fall as much as 13% in Milan after authorities penalized the soccer team, with a cut in its point standing because of how it accounted for player transfers Informa shares fall on Monday after UBS downgrades to neutral from buy, saying the consensus has largely priced in a recovery in the events firm’s China business Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose with Japan leading gains as much of the region was closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, as prospects for slower Federal Reserve policy tightening lifted investor sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4%, on track for its highest close since June 9, driven by gains in Tokyo-listed technology shares including Keyence and Tokyo Electron. Key share gauges also rose in India. Trading overall was light with markets shut in Greater China and a number of other countries. Asian equities have been outperforming global peers this year amid optimism over China’s reopening and its easing crackdown on large tech companies. While further moderation in Fed rate hikes should be another tailwind for the region, questions linger over the outlook for the global economy. Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller, one of the more hawkish officials at the US central bank, Friday joined other policymakers in backing another moderation in the size of rate increases when they next gather. “If the inflation rate drops as expected, and the Fed finally decides to stop raising interest rates, it would then be positive for stock prices in the long term, but we are probably not there yet,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. in Tokyo. The MSCI Asia benchmark is up 7.7% so far in 2023, more than double the gain in the S&P 500 Index, and is trading above technical levels often seen as overbought. Japan’s Topix has underperformed with a rise of less than 3% amid expectations the nation’s central bank may move away from its ultra-easy monetary policy. Japanese equities rose, following US peers higher as comments from Federal Reserve officials calmed concerns over aggressive monetary tightening.  The Topix Index rose 1% to 1,945.38 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.3% to 26,906.04. Keyence contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.8%. Out of 2,161 stocks in the index, 1,832 rose and 263 fell, while 66 were unchanged. “The rebound of US Nasdaq had a positive influence on Japanese equities, as it cooled concerns over tech-related stocks,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. “While the stock market rallied on potential easing of monetary tightening by the Fed officials, it might be still early to be optimistic about the economic situation,” Sera said. Australian stocks ticked higher, extending their winning streak to four days. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.1% to close at 7,457.30. Energy and technology stocks contributed the most to the benchmark’s advance. Karoon was the top performer after reporting higher reserves at its Bauna oil project in Brazil. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 11,948.72 In FX, the diverging rate bets pressured the dollar, which stayed just off nine-month lows against a basket of peers. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index dropped as much as 0.3% before paring, and the greenback weakened against all of its Group- of-10 peers apart from the yen. Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies were the best performers. Pressure on the greenback has increased after last week’s weak retail sales data and a slump in business equipment production reinforced the challenges for the world’s biggest economy. The euro rose as much as 0.7% to 1.0927, the highest since April 21, before paring. Options gauges however point to downside risks for the euro. The pound rose to a seven-month high of 1.2448. Gilts advanced, led by the front end of the curve The yen was sold in the Asia session and Japanese bond futures extended gains as the BOJ’s offer of five-year loans drew strong demand, spurring traders to cover their short positions. Institutional investors have turned bullish on the yen for the first time since June 2021 as speculation mounts over the future of the BOJ’s ultra-easy monetary policy In rates, Treasuries drift lower with the curve steeper and long-end yields cheaper by up to 2.5bp on the day. No strong catalyst for price action with S&P 500 futures little changed near top of Friday’s range. US 10-year yields trade just over 3.50%, cheaper by ~2bp vs Friday’s close with bunds and gilts slightly outperforming in the sector; front-end Treasuries steady, steepening 2s10s and 5s30s by ~1bp.US auctions resume Tuesday with $42b 2-year note sale, ahead of $43b 5-year and $35b 7-year notes Wednesday and Thursday. Euro-area bonds followed US Treasuries. Focus Monday will be on the host of ECB speakers including for hints on the direction of policy ahead of next week’s rate decision. US session is light on calendar events with Fed speakers in quiet period ahead of Feb. 1 policy announcement. In commodities, crude futures advance with WTI gaining 0.5% to trade near $82.00. G7 is considering two price caps for Russian oil products, one for expensive products such as diesel or gasoline and another for cheaper products e.g. fuel oil, via Politico citing EU diplomats. India is planning to lower gold import duty to prevent the increase in smuggling, according to Reuters sources. Spot gold has been waning from its USD 1,935.41/oz overnight peak, with traders citing profit-taking following the yellow metal’s recent run higher. LME Copper printed a +6month peak overnight given the positive demand picture and supply-side concerns regarding Peru. Bitcoin is supported on the session and resides at the top-end of a USD 22.94k-22.30k range, albeit it is yet to re-test the January 21st YTD peak of USD 23.35k. Today's calendar is relatively quiet with just the Leading index on  deck. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,987.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 453.10 MXAP up 0.5% to 167.79 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 551.49 Nikkei up 1.3% to 26,906.04 Topix up 1.0% to 1,945.38 Hang Seng Index up 1.8% to 22,044.65 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,264.81 Sensex up 0.6% to 60,975.85 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,457.27 Kospi up 0.6% to 2,395.26 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.18% Euro up 0.4% to $1.0902 Brent Futures up 0.5% to $88.07/bbl Brent Futures up 0.5% to $88.07/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,924.23 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.30% to 101.71 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Responding to massive state aid the US is providing for its green transition, European Council President Charles Michel is proposing steps to strengthen the bloc’s economies that would involve a new bond program to even out the different financial situations of EU member states The ECB should continue with half- point interest-rate increases at the next two meetings and the time to slow the pace of hikes is “still far away,” according to Governing Council member Klaas Knot ECB Governing Council member Olli Rehn said “there are grounds for significant increases” in the key interest rate in the winter and early spring, reiterating comments he’d made earlier in the week Japanese government representatives at the BOJ’s December policy meeting requested an urgent time out in a likely sign of their surprise at planned adjustments to the bank’s yield curve control program Some BOJ board members said the bank must communicate clearly that adjustments to the conduct of yield curve control aim to make easing more sustainable and aren’t a policy shift toward an exit, according to minutes of December policy meeting Australian central bank chief Philip Lowe’s prospects for an extension of his role are far from clear-cut, according to economists, with some highlighting political hurdles to his reappointment A more detailed recap of overnight news courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks began the week with a positive bias but with gains capped amid mass closures across the region. ASX 200 was rangebound as weakness in the defensive sectors was counterbalanced by gains in energy and tech, in which the latter took impetus from last Friday’s outperformance in the Nasdaq after Netflix’s strong subscriber numbers and Google’s announcement to cut its workforce by 12,000. Nikkei 225 was the biggest gainer and rose above 26,900 to print a fresh monthly high where it then met some resistance, while overnight newsflow was extremely light and China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are all closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Top Asian News China's box office film sales totalled CNY 1.34bln on the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday (2022 1.45bln YY; 2021 1.67bln YY), via SCMP. China CDC chief epidemiologist said the possibility of a large-scale rebound of a COVID outbreak during the next two or three months is very small as 80% of China’s population has already been infected, according to Reuters. Furthermore, China reported that COVID-19 deaths in the week leading to the Lunar New Year topped 12,600. Japanese PM Kishida said will pick the new BoJ Governor by taking the economic situation in April into account and it is too soon to say if there is a need to change the government-BoJ accord, according to Reuters. It was also separately reported that PM Kishida said the government will nominate the new BoJ Governor in February. BoJ December meeting minutes stated the central bank will add some easing if necessary and several members said the effect of powerful monetary easing will continue even if the BoJ widens the yield target band. Furthermore, a few members said the BoJ must clearly explain that widening of the yield band is not a move eyeing the exit from ultra-loose policy, while a member said the BoJ must conduct a review of its policy framework sometime in the future. New Zealand’s ruling Labour Party voted to choose Chris Hipkins as the new PM and Carmel Sepuloni was named as the Deputy PM, while incoming PM Hipkins stated that Finance Minister Robertson indicated that he wants to continue in the role, according to Reuters. European bourses are modestly firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.2%, amid a relatively quiet start to the week given the mass APAC closures from the Lunar New Year holiday. Sectors have a similar mild positive bias with Tech and Basic Resources the marginal outperformers. Stateside, futures are essentially unchanged, with the ES capped by 4k and the Fed blackout period underway going into the second busiest week of earnings this season. Banks including Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan (JPM) are said to be planning payment wallets to compete with the likes of PayPal (PYPL) and Apple Pay (AAPL), according to WSJ. Top European News UK electricity network operator National Grid had emergency coal-fired plants warm up amid expectations of tight supply and increased demand due to cold weather, while it will pay households to use less power during early Monday evening, according to FT. UK has started a post-Brexit review of EU's investor fund regulations amid concerns that Europe is not acting fast enough on appropriate safeguards, according to FT. Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister has described ongoing NI Protocol talks as "very challenging", according to BBC's Parker; “We would hope that those negotiations would be successful but they are very challenging.” French President Macron said Germany is to join the new hydrogen pipeline project between Spain and France, according to Reuters. Fitch affirmed Ireland at AAA; Outlook Stable and affirmed Norway at AAA; Outlook Stable, while it affirmed Hungary at BBB; Outlook Cut to Negative from Stable. ECB ECB’s Knot said to expect the ECB to hike by 50bps in February and March, followed by more steps in May and June, according to Reuters. ECB's Nagel says ECB is to return inflation to target without causing a recession, via Econostream; thinks this will be achieved by the end of 2024/25.   ECB's Villeroy said the ECB will continue to raise rates, but possibly at a slightly slower pace than in recent months, but will do so to a level necessary to keep inflation under control, via Econostream. FX The DXY has eased further to the benefit of most peers across the board as the Fed blackout period commences with a 25bp hike almost entirely priced in. AUD and NZD are among the outperformers ahead of inflation data, with AUD/USD surpassing 0.70 and NZD/USD testing 0.65. EUR continues to benefit from hawkish ECB guidance, EUR/USD above 1.09 at best, while JPY is the relative laggard after dovish December minutes. CHF gleans modest support from Credit Suisse lifting its SNB forecast for March to 50bp vs prev. 25bp while the CAD is relatively steady pre-data/Wednesday's BoC. Brazil and Argentina aim for greater economic integration and decided to advance discussions regarding a common South American currency that could be used for financial and commercial flows, according to an article jointly penned by the countries' leaders. Fixed Income Hawkish ECB vibes continue to hold sway as sellers fade upticks in debt, Bunds sub-138.00, Gilts under 104.00 after brief bounces to 138.44 and 104.63 respectively. T-notes a bit more resilient as Fed hawk Waller joins 25bp hike advocates for February's FOMC, 10 year bond within 115-07/114-30 range vs last Friday's 115-02 close Commodities Crude benchmarks are somewhat choppy in contained ranges of circa. USD 1/bbl given the mass APAC closures; though, prices overall are underpinned by a rosier demand picture. Kuwait temporarily suspended operations at three ports on Sunday due to bad weather, according to state news agency KUNA. US Treasury Secretary Yellen said western countries are working on price caps for Russian refined petroleum products to ensure the continued flow of diesel but added it is complicated and there is a possibility that things may not go to plan, according to Reuters. G7 is considering two price caps for Russian oil products, one for expensive products such as diesel or gasoline and another for cheaper products e.g. fuel oil, via Politico citing EU diplomats. EU Securities Watchdog ESMA says EU gas price cap could impact the orderly functioning of markets and impact financial stability, according to a draft report cited by Reuters. Japanese insurers will raise insurance by about 80% on ships carrying LNG in Russian waters, according to Nikkei. Netherlands seeks to close the Groningen gas field this year which is the largest in Europe and earthquake-prone, while an official noted that it was very dangerous to keep operating the field and that they aim to shut it by October 1st but would wait to see if there is a shortage of gas after the winter, according to FT. India is planning to lower gold import duty to prevent the increase in smuggling, according to Reuters sources. Spot gold has been waning from its USD 1,935.41/oz overnight peak, with traders citing profit-taking following the yellow metal’s recent run higher. LME Copper printed a +6month peak overnight given the positive demand picture and supply-side concerns regarding Peru. Geopolitics Joint French-German statement following a summit between French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz stated they will support and assist Ukraine for as long as necessary and they support efforts to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes, according to Reuters. Furthermore, French President Macron commented at the summit that he doesn’t rule out sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine and that training time needs to be taken into account, while he added that sending tanks should not endanger France’s own security. German Defence Minister Pistorius said he thinks there will be a decision soon regarding tanks for Ukraine whichever way it may fall, while it was also reported that German Foreign Minister Baerbock said Germany would not stand in the way if Poland sends Leopard tanks to Ukraine, according to Reuters and French television LCI. A Russian warship armed with hypersonic missiles will participate in joint naval exercises with China and South Africa in February, according to Reuters. Russian Kremlin says that there have been no announcements yet on whether President Putin will run for another term in office in 2024. EU ministers have agreed a new sanctions package against Iran, according to the Swedish EU Presidency. US Event Calendar 10:00: Dec. Leading Index, est. -0.7%, prior -1.0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Morning from an exceptionally cold and misty England. I've been feeling dreadful after a virus struck me down on Friday. I've had three very bad colds since the end of November, an ear infection, and now a virus that for the first time in this spell has given me a fever! My wife has had a similar path over the last two months and the kids have all had strep A. The difference is that within 2-3 days they bounced back completely whereas us old timers can't get a break this winter and have to look after their hyperactivity at the weekends while we lie on the sofa feeling sorry for ourselves. We've done more covid tests as a family recently than we needed to do throughout the entire pandemic. All negative! I can only assume that our immune systems had a break for 2 plus years around covid and are now taking a winter to rev back up! We'll get the latest health check on global growth momentum this week amid releases of Q4 US GDP (Thursday) and global PMI numbers (tomorrow). US leading indicators today will also be of note as we are around levels only previously associated with recessions. In addition, PCE, personal spending (both Friday) and durable goods orders (Thursday) will also be released. Key central bank events will include the BoC decision, and Summary of Opinions and minutes from the BoJ's shock December meeting (all Wednesday). In earnings, all eyes will be on Microsoft (tomorrow), Tesla and ASML (both Wednesday), amongst others. The Fed are now in their blackout period so the usual mini vol around Fed speakers won't be there this week. However, there are quite a few growth signposts to engage markets. We'll expand upon a few of the key upcoming events now. It's not a top tier release but today's US leading indicators (consensus -0.7% vs -1.0% last month and likely around -5.5% YoY) will likely remain at levels only previously associated with recessions. Last month the Conference Board, who publish this series, said the following: “Only stock prices contributed positively to the US LEI in November. Labor market, manufacturing, and housing indicators all weakened—reflecting serious headwinds to economic growth… The US LEI suggests the Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening cycle is curtailing aspects of economic activity, especially housing. As a result, we project a US recession is likely to start around the beginning of 2023 and last through mid-year.” This is interesting as we felt when we did our 2023 outlooks we were the opposite way round to consensus. We expected a good start for risk assets this year but a very bad end to the year on our long-standing H2 23 recession call. To be honest, the US data has generally been poorer than anticipated this year so far which is fascinating as markets are rallying hard. We'll get a good read on global growth momentum with tomorrow's global flash PMIs which will take into account China’s reopening and falling gas prices. Then we'll see how growth was faring going into this year with Q4 US GDP on Thursday. Our economists expect +3.2% annualised (consensus +2.7%). Interestingly they expect +1.8% for Q1 with H2 being where the US recession hits. Consensus on Bloomberg is around 0% for Q1 so that's a potential battle ground once actual hard data comes through. Other notable data releases on Thursday include durable goods orders, new home sales, and the Chicago Fed national activity index. All will be closely watched for signs of weakness seen in the data so far this month. Friday’s core PCE release will occupy the Fed's minds on their blackout period ahead of next week's FOMC. Our economists don't expect the same declines as recently seen in CPI as some of the stronger components in PPI last week are better correlated to PCE components. They expect a +0.4% monthly gain in the core PCE price index. With that Fed blackout, ECB speakers will take center stage, especially today with Lagarde being the highlight. Dutch CB chief Knot continued his recent hawkish rhetoric over the weekend suggesting that “We made a step down in December from 75 to 50 basis points — that will be the pace for a multiple number of meetings… So that means at least the two in February and March.” So that will challenge the Euro rates bulls after the recent rally. We saw a big reversal from the yield lows (+20bps on 10yr Bunds) on Thursday (and into Friday) after Lagarde's hawkish Davos commentary. Knot is also on the agenda again tomorrow. You'll see the full list of speakers in the day-by-day week ahead at the end. Back across the pond, the BoC are expected to hike 25bps on Wednesday. A few weeks ago many were expecting a pause but a recent stretch of firm data has moved the consensus back in favour of a hike. Over in Asia, key data releases for Japan will include the aforementioned PMIs and the Tokyo CPI (Thursday). Aside from the BoJ's Summary of Opinions for the January meeting, the minutes of the December meeting will also be released and our economists highlight the importance of analysing how the decision to double the yield curve control range was reached. Elsewhere in the region, the Lunar holidays will curtail a lot of the week's activity with many bourses shut until midweek with China shut all week. In corporate earnings, Microsoft will kick off the reporting season for Big Tech tomorrow, with the rest of the group reporting next week. All eyes will be on Tesla post-market on Wednesday ahead of earnings from traditional automakers next week as investors try to grasp trends for EV demand. Other earnings highlights are in the calendar at the end. This morning in Asia many major equity markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday with, as mentioned, mainland Chinese markets remaining shut until January 30. Amid a subdued trading, the Nikkei (+1.21%) is the standout performer, mirroring Friday’s strong finish on Wall Street after a broad rally in the US tech stocks. Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 (+0.12%) is also trading in positive territory in early trading. In overnight trading, US equity futures tied to the S&P 500 (-0.09%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.09%) are just below flat ahead of the start of a busy week of earnings. Meanwhile, yields on 10yr USTs (-1.28bps) edged lower to trade at 3.47% as we go to press. Yields on 10yr Japanese Government Bonds (0.38%) remained below the BoJ’s 0.5% ceiling after the central bank said it will provide 1trn yen of collateralised loans for banks as it attempts to keep rates from rising. In the FX market, the dollar index (-0.24%) declined for the fourth consecutive day to trade at 101.78 amid concerns over US economic growth. Recapping last week now. The strong start to the year for risk assets took a bit of a pause mid-week on heightened US recession risks, only to close out strongly again. The S&P 500 rose sharply on Friday (+1.89%) to leave the S&P 500 'only' down -0.66% on the week. Tech stocks led the rally on Friday with the NASDAQ up +2.66% (up +0.55% on the week), with positively received earnings releases from the likes of Netflix, and news of cost reduction at Google, helping. The Stoxx 600 rallied +0.37% on Friday but was fairly flat (-0.09%) on the week. Bonds also saw decent sized swings on the week with the 10yr Treasury yield +8.7bps to 3.48% on Friday, their largest move up since mid-December, but still down -2.5bps for the week but having traded as low as 3.32% on Wednesday. Over in Europe, there was a similar sell-off on Friday in fixed income as the market had to face a hawkish end to the week from the ECB speakers (especially Lagarde). 10yr bunds rose +11.2bps on Friday to 2.177%, the largest increase since the end of December, although for the week as a whole they were up just +0.9bps. Yields on 10yr OATs (+14.0bp) and BTPs (+21.8bps) also increased significantly on Friday but were down -0.9bps and -1.8bps for the week respectively. Commodities again had a decent week following continued optimism surrounding China’s reopening. WTI crude was up +1.82% over the week to $81.31/bbl (+1.22% on Friday), its highest closing level since mid-November. Brent crude also rallied over the week, up +2.476% (+1.71% on Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 01/23/2023 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 23rd, 2023

Here"s a full list of the US states that have introduced full or partial TikTok bans on government devices over mounting security concerns

An FBI director said TikTok could be used for espionage operations causing numerous US states to issue orders banning the app on state devices. A growing number of states in the US have banned TikTok on government devices.Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images North Carolina and Wisconsin are the latest US states to ban TikTok on government devices.  25 other states have banned the platform and other Chinese-owned apps on government devices.  There are growing concerns that Chinese-owned apps share user data with its government.  North Carolina and Wisconsin are the latest US states to ban TikTok on government-devices over mounting security concerns, joining at least 25 other states which have already issued some form of prohibition of the use of the app on state devices. The ban is influenced by worries that TikTok — owned by Chinese tech firm Bytedance — could be used to gather user data and information and share it with the Chinese Communist Party.Some states such as Ohio and Texas pointed to China's 2017 National Intelligence Law, which requires companies registered in the region to assist in intelligence gathering like sharing user data with the government. Many states have extended the ban to other Chinese-owned apps and platforms like Weibo, WeChat, Alibaba and Huawei Technologies. FBI director Chris Wray warned in December that TikTok could be used for espionage operations. China can "manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations," Wray said. "All of these things are in the hands of a government that doesn't share our values and that has a mission that's very much at odds with what's in the best interests of the United States," Wray added. "That should concern us."President Joe Biden then approved a bill in December preventing federal employees from using TikTok on government devices because of growing concerns that the app could be used to spy on American users. A number of states began banning the app as awareness about security issues increased. Here's a list of all 27 states that have prohibited the use of TikTok on state devices. FloridaIn August 2020, Florida's Department of Financial Services ordered a ban on TikTok on department-owned devices via an order from Florida's chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis."The threat TikTok presents far outweighs any benefit the application could provide to official business of the agency and that is why I have decided to immediately ban the application from DFS devices and use of the app within our facilities," said Patronis in a press release at the time.NebraskaNebraska was second in line to announce a ban on TikTok on state devices in August 2020"As an app owned by a company based in China, TikTok is legally obligated to provide data from its users to the country's communist regime upon request," former governor Pete Ricketts said."To maintain the security of data owned by the state of Nebraska, and to safeguard against the intrusive cyber activities of China's communist government, we've made the decision to ban TikTok on state devices." South DakotaSouth Dakota's governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order on November 29, 2022 banning state officials from using the app on government devices. "South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us," Noem said in a press release."The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform," she added. South CarolinaGovernor Henry McMaster wrote a memo in December to the state's Department of Administration requesting a ban on TikTok on all state government devices managed by the department. "Protecting our State's critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses," McMaster wrote in the memo."Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition in Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States." MarylandMaryland's Office of Security Management announced a cybersecurity directive signed by chief information security officer Chip Stewart to ban vendors and products that present an "unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state," like "cyber-espionage," or "surveillance of government entities." "This action represents a critical step in protecting Maryland state systems from the cybersecurity threats caused by foreign organizations," Stewart said in a press release.  IndianaIndiana's Attorney general Todd Rokita sued TikTok on December 8 saying that the platform deceived users about China's access to user data as well as exposing children to mature content, per Reuters. Indiana's Office of Technology blocked access to TikTok on state devices the same day.  TexasTexas's governor Greg Abbot banned the video sharing platform on state devices on December 7 through an order to state agency heads. "TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users' devices—including when, where, and how they conduct internet activity—and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government," Abbot's letter said.   OklahomaGovernor Ken Stitt of Oklahoma issued an executive order banning TikTok on December 8."Maintaining the cybersecurity of state government is necessary to continue to serve and protect Oklahoma citizens and we will not participate in helping the Chinese Communist Party gain access to government information," Stitt said in a press release.TennesseeTennessee's governor Bill Lee took action to block TikTok from state networks, according to local outlets.  UtahUtah's governor Spencer Cox announced an executive order on December 12 banning TikTok on state devices and also banned state officials from maintaining branded accounts on the platform. "China's access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity," Cox said in a press release. "As a result, we've deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state's security systems." AlabamaGovernor Kay Ivey of Alabama sent a memo on December 12 to state agency heads banning TikTok on state devices and networks. Ivey emphasized that installing Tiktok on state devices "creates an unacceptable vulnerability to Chinese infiltration operations." IowaGovernor Kim Reynolds issued a directive to Iowa's Department of Management office to ban TikTok on state devices and ban state officials from owning an account. "It is clear that TikTok represents a national security risk to our country and I refuse to subject the citizens of Iowa to that risk," Reynolds said in a press release.  North DakotaGovernor Doug Burgum banned TikTok from state-owned devices in North Dakota through an executive order on December 13. "Protecting citizens' data is our top priority, and our IT professionals have determined, in consultation with federal officials, that TikTok raises multiple flags in terms of the amount of data it collects and how that data may be shared with and used by the Chinese government," Burgum said in a press release.  IdahoGovernor Brad Little issued an executive order on December 14 banning state officials from using the app on state devices. "The communist Chinese government can use TikTok to collect critical information from our state and federal government, and we are taking this step to protect Idahoans and Americans from the sinister motives of a foreign government that does not share our values and seeks to weaken and manipulate our country," Little said in a press release. "This new ban to eliminate TikTok from state-issued devices and networks will help protect national security and Idahoans' data." New HampshireGovernor Chris Sununu banned a number of Chinese apps and vendors through an executive order on December 14 including TikTok, Huawei Technologies, Tencent, and Alibaba. "New Hampshire is joining the growing list of states that have banned TikTok and other Chinese companies from state government devices and networks," Sununu said in a press release. "This move will help preserve the safety, security, and privacy of the citizens of New Hampshire."GeorgiaGeorgia governor Brian Kemp wrote a memo to state agency heads banning several apps including Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat and Russian-owned Telegram. "The State of Georgia has a responsibility to prevent any attempt to access and infiltrate its secure data and sensitive information by foreign adversaries such as the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]," Kemp wrote. "The CCP poses an ever present national security threat to the United States." VirginiaGovernor Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order on December 16 banning TikTok and WeChat, and any other apps developed by Bytedance or Tencent, from state devices."Safeguarding data and ensuring cybersecurity are increasingly important aspects of state government, as evidenced by the sensitive information held on state government servers, such as health records or tax information," Youngkin said in the memo.  MontanaGovernor Greg Gianforte sent a memo to Montana's chief information officer Kevin Gilbertson asking to prohibit using TikTok on any state devices citing warnings from the FBI's director who said TikTok is controlled by "a government that doesn't share our values, and that has a mission that's very much at odds with what's in the best interests of the United States." West VirginiaWest Virginia's state senator Ryan Weld sent a letter to its governor Jim Justice requesting an order preventing the use of TikTok on state devices, on December 19. "I am not a fan of what the Chinese have brought to the table in so many different areas,"  Justice said in response to Weld during a briefing. "And so today I am announcing that I will submit a bill during the session to put in law so that this app and all other apps owned by the Chinese government are now banned or will be banned from our state government,"LouisianaLouisiana's state secretary Kyle Ardoin announced a ban on TikTok on devices owned by his agency on December 19, and urged the state's governor John Bel Edwards to ban the use of TikTok on all state devices.  PennsylvaniaPennsylvania's State Treasurer Stacy Garrity banned TikTok on all state-owned devices and networks in the Treasury on December 22. "TikTok presents a clear danger due to its collection of personal data and its close connection to the communist Chinese government," Garrity said in a press release.  KansasGovernor Laura Kelly announced a ban on TikTok on state devices through an executive order on December 30. OhioOhio's governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order on January 8 outlining that Chinese social media platforms are "intelligence gathering mechanisms," for its government. Tencent, WeChat, Weibo and DingTalk were all on Ohio's banned list of platforms. New JerseyPhil Murphy, New Jersey's governor, announced a cybersecurity order on January 9 to "prohibit the use of high-risk software and services," like TikTok on government owned devices.New Jersey outlined a list of vendors, products and services — particularly owned by Chinese companies — to ban including Huawei Technologies, WeChat, and Alibaba. "Bolstering cybersecurity is critical to protecting the overall safety and welfare of our state," New Jersey's Murphy said."The proactive and preventative measures that we are implementing today will ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and safety of information assets managed by New Jersey State government. "This decisive action will ensure the cybersecurity of the state is unified against actors who may seek to divide us."ArkansasIn one of her first acts as governor, Sarah Sanders issued an executive order banning TikTok on all state devices on January 10. "It is the position of this administration to undertake strong and prudent measures to protect the information and communications systems used by state entities, public primary and secondary schools, cities and counties, and public safety organizations from harm to prevent both unauthorized access and exploitation of the critical data stored within and traveling through those systems," Sanders wrote in the order.  WisconsinWisconsin's governor Tony Evers issued an executive order on January 12 banning TikTok and the use of other "foreign technologies" citing security, safety, and privacy concerns.The order said: "TikTok can purportedly harvest large amounts of data from devices it is installed on, including when, where, and how the user conducts internet activity." The ban extended to Huawei Technologies, WeChat, Alibaba products, Russia's Kaspersky Lab and other platforms. North CarolinaNorth Carolina's governor Roy Cooper issued a ban on Chinese platforms TikTok and WeChat on state devices on January 12 saying: "Federal and state officials have identified a significant cybersecurity threat presented by certain technologies and products developed, controlled, or owned by entities in countries that sponsor or support cyberattacks against the United States." He added: "It's important for us to protect state information technology from foreign countries that have actively participated in cyberattacks against the United States." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2023

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. expands bans of Chinese security cameras and network equipment

The FCC voted 4-0 to ban sales of new telecom and surveillance equipment made by several Chinese companies, arguing that their ownership and practices threaten U.S. national security......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchNov 25th, 2022

Futures Green After Bouncing From Session Lows As Overnight Swings Turn Violent

Futures Green After Bouncing From Session Lows As Overnight Swings Turn Violent US equity-index futures have swung wildly in the illiquid, overnight session, and after earlier dropping as much as 0.5% following the rapid move higher in US Treasurys and UK gilts, they have since erased all losses to trade near session highs, up 0.3% with Nasdaq futures also up 0.2%, as investors the surge in yields fizzled and as investors assessed disappointing earnings from Tesla against resilient reports from AT&T and IBM. Oil jumped, Chinese stocks spiked (but then fizzled) and both the offshore and onshore yuan rose after a Bloomberg report sparked market optimism that Chinese officials are mulling shortening the amount of time people coming into the country must spend in mandatory quarantine, an implicit tempering of the country's much maligned coved zero policies. The US dollar slumped as sterling spiked as UK Prime Minister Liz Truss began meetings with a key Conservative party official, stoking speculation that a change in leadership may be afoot. US 10-year yield holds steady at about 4.12%. In other notable overnight developments, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled to the lowest level since 2009 amid continued liquidations and outflows from China... ... while the yen finally weakened past the closely watched 150 per dollar level, marking a 32-year low and keeping investors on high alert for further intervention to support it. And sure enough, the BOJ promptly jumped in sparking a big move lower in the pair. The move followed a surge in US Treasury yields to multi-year highs that widened the gap with Japanese equivalents. In premarket trading, bank stocks were mostly higher following their worst day in more than a month. In corporate news, the world’s biggest banks have already had to use about $30 billion of their own cash this year to fund loans for acquisitions and buyouts that they weren’t able to offload to investors. US-listed Chinese stocks bounced in premarket trading, a day after Wednesday’s selloff sent the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index down to its lowest closing level since July 2013. The KraneShares CSI China Internet Fund ETF rises 2.1% as of 7:20 a.m. in New York. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Tesla (TSLA US) falls 5.5% in premarket trading after the world’s most valuable automaker missed third-quarter revenue estimates as it struggled to get its cars to customers. Fellow EV firms lower in premarket trading include: Nikola (NKLA US) -2%, Faraday Future (FFIE US) -2%, Rivian (RIVN US) -1.8%, Canoo (GOEV US) -0.7% Alcoa (AA US) drops 9.3% in premarket trading after the aluminum giant reported worse-than-expected results for the third quarter, putting pressure on its global peers. International Business Machines (IBM US) shares rise 3.1% in premarket trading after the IT services company reported third-quarter revenue that beat expectations. Ally Financial (ALLY US) shares drop 2.5% in premarket trading as Morgan Stanley downgraded the car-finance company to equal-weight from overweight following Wednesday’s third-quarter results. Sunrun (RUN US) shares slump 4.1% in premarket trading after Wolfe downgrades the stock in a note to peer perform, citing headwinds from a rising interest-rate environment. Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) shares rise 1% in US premarket trading after posting better- than-expected 3Q adjusted property Ebitda. That was driven by a solid performance in Singapore while uncertainty remains around Macau. US stocks slipped on Wednesday after a two-day rally saw the S&P 500 reclaim $1.2 trillion in market capitalization amid support from technical levels and optimism about earnings. Higher bond yields and Tesla’s sobering report provided reminders of the tough macroeconomic backdrop as costs for companies remain high and the Federal Reserve pushes forward with interest rate hikes. “We continue to see plenty of macroeconomic headwinds,” said Marija Veitmane, a senior strategist at State Street Global Markets. “As central banks tighten financial conditions, earnings will crack. So we are very much in the sell-the-rally camp.” Investors continue to closely monitor events in the UK where Liz Truss’s chaotic premiership looked close to imploding as backbench Conservative lawmakers openly said she should resign and even Cabinet ministers discussed her future. The pound weakened and 10-year UK bond yields climbed, but were off their highs. A generally strong start to the third-quarter earnings season has bolstered sentiment toward equities. But investors are having to balance signs of corporate resilience against fears about the impact of persistent inflation, hawkish moves by the Federal Reserve and other central banks and threats to the economy. “I think the market now is looking at 2023 and baking some kind of mild downturn into the price,” Hugh Gimber, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “The key is that inflation number coming down, because if it does, 5% for the Fed looks to me roughly as the right figure and then the market can have a clearer picture.” In Europe, the Stoxx 50 fell 0.5% with Spain's IBEX flat but outperforming peers; the DAX lags, retreating 0.8%. Telecoms, financial services and retailers are the worst-performing sectors. Oil and gas shares are the only rising sector in Stoxx Europe 600 index on Thursday as crude extended gains amid a report that China debates easing some Covid restrictions, while European gas advanced after a five-day losing run. The Stoxx Energy sub-index advanced 1.3% as of 10:45 a.m. in London, while the broader equity benchmark declined 0.5%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Oil and gas shares are the only rising sector in Stoxx Europe 600 index on Thursday as crude extended gains amid a report that China is debating easing some Covid restrictions, while European gas advanced after a five-day losing run. BP gained 1.5%, Shell +1.4% and TotalEnergies +1.5% Saipem soars as much as 13% in Milan, the most intraday since July 14, after winning a $4.5 billion engineering and construction contract from Qatargas. Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy after the “material” award Yara shares gain as much as 7.2% after fertilizer maker’s 3Q adjusted Ebitda beat analyst estimates and was seen as very strong in an uncertain quarter. Declining gas prices are also pointing toward restarting fertilizer capacity in Europe as demand is rising Brunello Cucinelli shares soar as much as 11.5%, the most since March, after it delivered a significant beat in its 3Q results as well as a major uptick in FY guidance Nokia shares fall as much as 6.8% after a mixed set of results, with sales beating consensus estimates while profit and margin lagged. The bottom-line was dragged down by the network equipment maker’s Technologies segment, which continued to be hobbled by a delay in patent contract renewals Ericsson shares slide as much as 16%, the most since Oct. 2016, after reporting third-quarter operating profit and margin that missed analyst estimates. While the Swedish telecom equipment maker pledges to change pricing and cut costs, analysts still see margin pressure persisting into the next year Volvo shares fall as much as 5.9% in Stockholm trading, the most intraday since May 2, as analysts highlight that focus for 3Q results is on the weaker Truck division margin, which is driving a miss at Ebit level GB Group shares plummet as much as 20%, hitting the lowest since September 2017, after identity verification company published a first-half trading update. Davy said the revenue was below consensus expectations Earlier in the session, Asian equities headed for a second day of declines, as the recent selloff in Hong Kong shares deepened amid investor concerns on China’s zero-Covid approach. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.6%, as tech shares faced fresh losses after bond yields spiked overnight. The gauge pared some of its earlier losses after a report that Chinese authorities were considering a shorter quarantine for inbound travelers. Hong Kong led declines in the region, with its benchmark falling to the lowest since 2009 as Chief Executive John Lee’s maiden policy speech left investors disappointed. Traders remained concerned about consumer demand in China amid lockdowns and rising Covid cases, as well as the spillover into earnings for the region.  “History suggests it is hard for stocks to rally in the face of EPS cuts,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management in a note. “While stock prices should trough before EPS estimates bottom, there is still a lot of wood to chop.” Benchmarks in Taiwan, South Korea and Australia also fell, with the latter extending declines after government data showed that Australian hiring almost stalled in September. Japan’s gauges slid even as the yen weakened past the closely-watched 150 per dollar. Indexes in Indonesia and Malaysia defied the broader gloom to gain more than 1%. The Hang Seng Tech index has now tumbled more than 70% from its Jan 2021 high. China’s possible cut in quarantine period for inbound travelers is a small step in the right direction but a lot more is needed to lift investor sentiment dented by the country’s Covid Zero policy.  US futures pared losses after the Bloomberg report on the news. The offshore yuan briefly gained as much as 0.5% to 7.2353 against the dollar. According to Amir Anvarzadeh, a strategist at Asymmetric Advisors: “A cut to quarantine rules for inbound travelers will not be enough for the Chinese market to rebound” Japanese stocks slid as investors refocused on the impact of higher US interest rates and a looming global recession after a two-day rally. The Topix fell 0.5% to close at 1,895.41, while the Nikkei declined 0.9% to 27,006.96. Hoya Corp. contributed the most to the Topix decline, decreasing 3.5%. Out of 2,166 stocks in the index, 596 rose and 1,454 fell, while 116 were unchanged. Australian stocks declined with global growth fears in focus; the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1% to 6,730.70, in step with most markets in Asia and on Wall Street amid worries of a global slowdown. Miners contributed the most to the gauge’s retreat as investors weighed quarterly production reports. They also assessed jobs data that suggest the RBA will continue to slow the pace of interest rate increases. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 10,832.03. Key Indian stock gauges gained for a fifth straight day, their longest run of advances in two months, before a key festival next week and as robust corporate earnings boost investor sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.2% to 59,202.90 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.3%. The indexes overcame decline of as much as 0.5% as weekly derivative contracts expired Thursday. The key benchmarks have risen more than 2% this week and were trading near their highest level since Sept. 21. Twelve of 19 sector sub-gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by oil & gas companies while consumer durables were the worst performers. For the week, information technology stocks are the best performers, helped by stronger-than-expected earnings. Out of 11 Nifty 50 companies, which have so far reported earnings, eight have either met or exceeded average estimates, while three have trailed. Asian Paints’ quarterly results trailed estimates, dragged by weaker revenue growth and rising costs, while Bajaj Finance’s numbers matched consensus In rates, 10-year TSY yields trade near session lows at around 4.12%, richer by 1bp on the day after earlier rising 5bps to 4.17% while German 10-year yield rises 5.5bps to 2.43%. Treasuries pared losses in the early US session, rising with gilts which stretch to fresh session highs and outperform on the day as Bank of England Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent says UK rates may not rise as much as markets foresee. Gilts outperformed by 4bp while bunds lag Treasuries by 2bp; belly outperformance tightens 2s5s30s fly by 4bp on the day. Dollar issuance slate empty so far and expected to be light; Wednesday saw three borrowers price $6.5b. Three-month dollar Libor +4.70bp at 4.32457% In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered as the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers, though most pairs consolidated recent moves. Treasury yields rose by as much as 2bps, led by the short end. The euro erased a modest loss to near $0.98. Bunds fell for a third session as traders continued to digest Wednesday’s unexpected German Finance Agency decision to increase its own securities holdings for repo purposes, with schatz swap spreads narrowing for a sixth day, the longest streak since December UK bonds pared an earlier loss and traders cut bets on BOE tightening after Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent said it’s not clear that UK interest rates need to rise as much as the market expects. The pound fell below $1.12 as Liz Truss’s premiership looks close to imploding after she fired one minister over a security breach and two others were heard resigning amid the fallout from a chaotic parliamentary vote before agreeing to stay in their posts The yen fluctuated in a tight range, and briefly rose above 150 per dollar. Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said excessive and sudden moves in the foreign exchange market triggered by speculation can’t be tolerated. Japan’s benchmark yield climbed above the central bank’s policy ceiling and monetary authorities announced unscheduled bond purchases to rein it back in. Demand for long gamma in dollar-yen gains traction as spot breaches the psychologically-key 150 level Australia’s dollar slid as much as 0.7% amid a weak jobs print, before reversing following a report that Chinese officials were debating whether to shorten quarantine for inbound travelers. Bonds fell. Australia’s employment rose by just 923 people in September, below the forecast of 25,000, government data showed In commodities, WTI and Brent December contracts are firmer intraday with the former around USD 86/bbl (84.49-86.27 range) whilst the latter resides around USD 93.50/bbl (91.95-93.92 range). The crude complex is buoyed by the pullback in the Dollar after receiving a boost from source reports that China is considering easing its COVID rules for travellers. Spot gold sees some support from the DXY remaining under 113.00, although remains well off recent highs, with the yellow metal still around the USD 1,630/oz mark (vs yesterday’s 1,654.50/oz high). LME metals are mixed but 3M copper receives a boost from the Buck alongside the aforementioned China source reports, but the red metal remains under USD 7,500/t. Overall, Bitcoin is contained and essentially unchanged on the session around USD 19.1k with specific updates relatively limited and participants focused on broader market action. To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the weekly initial jobless claims and existing home sales for September, whilst in Germany there’s the PPI reading for September. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Harker, Jefferson, Cook and Bowman, the ECB’s de Cos and BoE Deputy Governor Broadbent. Earnings releases include Danaher, Philip Morris International, Union Pacific, AT&T and Blackstone. Finally, EU leaders will gather for a summit in Brussels. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.5% to 3,690.25 MXAP down 0.8% to 136.26 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 440.36 Nikkei down 0.9% to 27,006.96 Topix down 0.5% to 1,895.41 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 16,280.22 Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,035.05 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,948.91 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.0% to 6,730.73 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,218.09 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 395.57 German 10Y yield up 3% to 2.45% Euro little changed at $0.9777 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $93.26/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,630.01 U.S. Dollar Index down -0.1% at 112.86 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Giorgia Meloni, the right-wing leader poised to form a new Italian government, said she’d give up on the fledgling coalition if her allies can’t commit to supporting Ukraine along with Italy’s European Union and NATO partners France’s Economy & Finance minister Bruno Le Maire targets inflation of 4% by the end of 2023, AFP reports, stressing these are “objectives, not forecasts” Turkey’s central bank is poised to take another step toward cutting interest rates into single digits this year, a gamble masterminded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to power economic growth ahead of elections next June German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that a proposal to introduce a European Union-wide cap on gas prices could backfire as the region seeks to offset a drastic supply cut from Russia. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newquawk Asia-Pacific stocks were pressured following the weak handover from Wall Street owing to the higher yield environment and as global inflationary headwinds offset the recent earnings momentum. ASX 200 was led lower by the underperformance in tech and following disappointing jobs data, although the energy sector bucked the trend after gains in oil prices and strong quarterly output updates from Woodside Energy and Santos. Nikkei 225 briefly fell beneath 27,000 with participants on intervention watch, while stronger-than-expected Exports and Imports failed to spur risk appetite as the data also contributed to a record trade deficit for the fiscal first half. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. declined from the open with the former on course for its lowest close since 2009 amid heavy losses in tech and with the mainland also downbeat after the lack of surprises from the PBoC which maintained its benchmark lending rates unchanged as widely expected, although news of China mulling shortening its quarantine eventually lifted the Shanghai Comp into the green. Top Asian News PBoC 1-Year Loan Prime Rate (Oct) 3.65% vs. Exp. 3.65% (Prev. 3.65%); 5-Year Loan Prime Rate (Oct) 4.30% vs. Exp. 4.30% (Prev. 4.30%) China reportedly held emergency talks with chip firms after US curbs, according to Bloomberg. China is reportedly mulling cutting inbound quarantine to 7 days from 10 days which will be presented to the top leaders, according to Bloomberg. Indonesian 7-Day Reverse Repo (Oct) 4.75% vs. Exp. 4.75% (Prev. 3.75%); will intervene in FX to prevent imported inflation. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki provides no comment on FX levels; cannot tolerate speculative moves; will take action against any speculative, excessive and sudden moves, via Reuters. Japanese currency diplomat Kanda says excessive and disorderly FX moves have a negative impact on the economy, will not comment on whether Japan is intervening now or has intervened today European cash bourses trade mixed with the breadth of the market narrow (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; Stoxx 600 -0.4%). Sectors in Europe are mostly negative with no overarching theme – Energy and Banks outperform amid price action in underlying crude and yields respectively. Meanwhile, Telecom names sit at the bottom of the pile as Ericsson (-14%) and Nokia (-5.3%) slide following red flags on margins. US equity futures are softer across the board but to varying degrees, with the NQ (-0.9%) lagging the ES (-0.5%) and RTY (-0.4%), with Tesla carrying a larger weight in the NDX (circa. 4.0%) than the SPX (circa. 1.8%). Tesla Inc (TSLA) - Q3 2022 (USD): Adj. EPS 1.05 (exp. 1.00), Revenue 21.45bln (exp. 21.96bln). Q3 FCF USD 3.30bln (exp. 2.89bln). Q3 Automotive gross margin +27.9% (exp. +28.4%). Tesla sees initial phase of semi deliveries begin in December 2022. Tesla still sees 50% avg. annual growth in vehicle deliveries. Raw material cost inflation impacted quarterly profitability along with ramp inefficiencies from Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, Gigafactory Texas, 4680 cell production. Battery supply constraints will be main limiting factor. CEO Musk said looking forward to a record-breaking Q4 and the Co. is gaining rapid traction in 4680 cell production. -5.0% in the pre-market Top European News BoE's Broadbent says the MPC is likely to respond relatively promptly to news about fiscal policy. Remains to be seen if rates need to rise as much as currently priced in by markets, via BoE. The justification for tighter policy is clear. If government support mitigates the effect of import costs, there is more at the margin for monetary policy to do. If Bank Rate really were to reach 5.25%, the cumulative impact on GDP of the entire hiking cycle would be just under 5% - of which only around one quarter has already come through UK Tory 1922 Committee officers are expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the leadership crisis in the Tory party, according to The Telegraph's Editor. However, recent reporting indicates the Committee will not be meeting today. UK PM Truss's office noted that the Tory party's chief whip and deputy chief whip remain in their posts. ITV's Peston, citing a member of UK Cabinet, that it is clear there is a will among ministers to attempt to keep PM Truss in office until October 31st (when the budget will be announced). A view that contrasts the recent update from ITV's Brand, citing a 1922 member, that the “odds are against” PM Truss surviving the day as PM FX Pound precarious as pressure continues to build against UK PM Truss and BoE's Broadbent infers that market expectations on rates may be too hawkish, Cable pivots 1.1200 Yen slips under 150.00 mark vs Dollar as yields continue to rally, but rebounds amidst further Japanese verbal, if not actual intervention Franc remains on the backfoot due to as a funding currency, but Euro gleans traction from data and EGB/UST spread convergence, USD/CHF straddles 1.0050 and EUR/USD bounces ahead of 0.9750 to reclaim 10 and 21 DMAs Aussie labours after payrolls miss consensus by some distance and before recovery in tandem with Yuan on reports that China may relax some Covid rules for inbound travellers, AUD/USD eyes 0.6300 from sub-0.6250 and USD/CNH off peaks near 7.2800 Riksbank's Ingves, to Swedish parliament, says easing mortgage repayment rules would be inappropriate. RBI is continuing spot USD sales and receiving December forwards, according to traders cited by Reuters. Fixed Income Debt remains depressed though notably off worst levels after dovish remarks from BoE's Broadbent lifted Gilts to the mid-98.00 region. In turn, both USTs and Bunds have climbed off lows of 109.19+ and 134.86 respectively, though still post downside of circa. 3 and 50 ticks respectively. The complex looks to US data and Fed speak while BTPs await updates out of Italy as potential PM Meloni is set to begin constructing her cabinet, with particular focus on the Berlusconi's Foreign Minister nominee. Commodities WTI and Brent December contracts are firmer intraday with the former around USD 86/bbl (84.49-86.27 range) whilst the latter resides around USD 93.50/bbl (91.95-93.92 range). The crude complex is buoyed by the pullback in the Dollar after receiving a boost from source reports that China is considering easing its COVID rules for travellers. Spot gold sees some support from the DXY remaining under 113.00, although remains well off recent highs, with the yellow metal still around the USD 1,630/oz mark (vs yesterday’s 1,654.50/oz high). LME metals are mixed but 3M copper receives a boost from the Buck alongside the aforementioned China source reports, but the red metal remains under USD 7,500/t. MMG's (1208 HK) Las Bambas copper mine in Peru reportedly halted copper transportation due to protests. German Energy Regulator says potential gas emergency is now end of February at the earliest, rather than end of November which was part of the scenario analysis in the August forecast, via Reuters. Geopolitical Russia's Deputy UN envoy said Russia would reassess cooperation with the UN Secretariat if the UN chief sends experts to Ukraine to inspect downed drones and is not optimistic about the renewal of the Ukraine grain Black Sea export deal, according to Reuters. US State Department said the US, UK and France raised the issue of Iran's transfer of drones to Russia at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, according to Reuters. US Treasury senior official travelled to Turkey this week and discussed sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia, according to Reuters. US and South Korea are conducting military drills at their fastest pace in years to show their readiness as tensions rise on the divided Korean Peninsula, according to Nikkei Asia Review. EU states have agreed on new sanctions against Iran regarding the supply of drones to Russia, according to the Czech EU presidency; to freeze assets of three individuals and one entity responsible for the drone sale. US Event Calendar 08:30: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 232,000, prior 228,000 08:30: Oct. Continuing Claims, est. 1.38m, prior 1.37m 08:30: Oct. Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, est. -5.0, prior -9.9 10:00: Sept. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -2.1%, prior -0.4% 10:00: Sept. Home Resales with Condos, est. 4.7m, prior 4.8m 10:00: Sept. Leading Index, est. -0.3%, prior -0.3% Central Bank Speakers 12:00: Fed’s Harker Discusses the Economic Outlook 13:30: Fed’s Jefferson Makes Opening Remarks at Careers Event 13:45: Fed’s Cook Speaks on Panel at Careers Event 14:05: Fed’s Bowman Has Opening Remarks at Community Development... DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It's half-term and unfortunately I can't completely escape my responsibilities. Tomorrow I'm off to Center Parcs for the first time for a few days. It's fair to say I'm the least excited of the five of us going. All tips on how to survive the experience welcome. I'll be broadcasting the EMR live from there on Monday morning whilst on holiday as my co-authors are both off with Tim getting married. So many congratulations to him. Since I started the EMR nearly 16 years ago I think 9 of my co-authors have got married while working on it, 10 including me. It's a publication that breeds stability and wholesome values. All are still going strong as far as I'm aware! The honeymoon rally of the last few days petered out yesterday, with Treasury yields hitting multi-year highs as investors turned their focus back to central banks and how fast they’ll hike rates. All the big central banks are deciding policy over the next couple of weeks, so it’s not surprising that’s happening, but sentiment wasn’t helped either by further inflation surprises from the UK and Canada for September, which echoed what we’d already seen from the US last week. and added to the sense that the hiking cycle will be extended. After the close, we then heard from Tesla who missed revenue estimates, sending their shares -7% lower in after hours trading. Supply chain issues continued to beleaguer the company, particularly around batteries. Nevertheless, they still forecast strong growth and Elon Musk said a meaningful share buyback was likely. For whatever it’s worth on the macro side, Musk also believes commodity prices will continue to fall. Meanwhile, in overnight trading, futures tied to the S&P 500 (-0.3%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.6%) are pointing to further losses. However these losses have halved as I type, possibly on breaking news on Bloomberg that China is considering cutting quarantine for arrivals from abroad from 10 to 7 days. I'd imagine there are hopes the zero covid policy is loosening a bit. Back to bonds and treasury yields rose to new highs for this cycle across the yield curve, with the 10yr yield up +12.7bps at 4.13%. This morning in Asia, they are another +1.25bps higher trading at a fresh 14-yr high of just under 4.15% as I type. This comes as investors move to expect an increasingly aggressive tightening cycle from the Fed over the months ahead, with the rate priced in for the December meeting up a further +3.2bps to 4.51%. It's gone just above the previous high for this cycle of 4.52% overnight. Furthermore, the peak rate for this hiking cycle priced in for May went up by +8.6bps to 4.97%. This morning in Asia it's gone above 5% for the first time in this cycle. We heard from a few Fed officials yesterday, including Presidents Bullard, Evans, and Kashkari. President Bullard noted the Fed could yet still bring forward tightening into 2022. If policy got tight enough, he noted that 2023’s inflation profile could look better. A point often cited by those expecting a rapid improvement in inflation is the composition of certain rent measures the Fed follows presents a lagged reading, and therefore inflation is not currently as bad as they expect. Bullard directly addressed that point in his remarks and that unsurprisingly, the Fed is aware of such methodological shortcomings and takes them into account when evaluating the stance of policy. President Kashkari spoke along similar lines, noting the Fed still needed tighter policy but could wind up pausing tightening come next year. Evans struck the same tone, expressing hope that the September dot plot would prove the optimal amount of tightening, so a much slower pace of tightening next year. Regardless of the above, we still have more than 75bps priced for November at 78.1bps. As we await their next decision in just under a couple of weeks from now, there was further evidence yesterday that the Fed’s hikes were filtering their way through to the real economy, with data from the mortgage Bankers Association showing the contract rate on a 30yr fixed mortgage hit 6.94% in the week ending October 14. That’s the highest it’s been since 2002, and came as their gauge of applications to purchase or refinance a home fell a further -4.5% to its lowest level since 1997, which echoes the decline in other housing indicators we’ve seen recently. US housing starts for September were also down more than expected, hitting an annualised rate of 1.439m (vs. 1.461m expected), with the previous month’s number also revised down by -9k. On the other hand, building permits rose to an annualised rate of 1.564m (vs. 1.530m expected). For equities it was also a rough session, with the S&P 500 coming down -0.67% after having gained +3.82% over the two days at the start of the week. Netflix (+13.09%) was the top performer in the index following its earnings release the previous day, but otherwise it was a broad-based decline that saw over 76% of the index move lower. The Nasdaq underperformed, falling -0.85%, and that was before Tesla’s earnings miss after the close. The major indices lost ground in Europe too, with the Stoxx 600 (-0.53%) bringing an end to its run of 4 consecutive gains. Back in Europe, sovereign bonds also lost ground across much of the continent as we approach the ECB’s decision next week. Yields on 10yr bunds were up +9.0bps to a post-2011 high of 2.37%, which followed comments by Slovenian central bank governor Vasle that the ECB should hike by 75bps at the next two meetings in October and December. Here in the UK, gilts outperformed other European sovereign bonds for a third day running, with markets remaining calm as they looked forward to the government’s fiscal announcement on October 31. That outperformance was particularly noticeable among long-dated gilts, with yields on 30yr gilts down -31.9bps after the BoE’s announcement the previous evening that their Q4 gilt sales as part of quantitative tightening would only involve short- and medium-maturity gilts, rather than long-dated ones. To be fair though, gilts rallied right across the curve, and that came in spite of the latest UK inflation data for September, which showed CPI rising to +10.1% (vs. +10.0% expected), so back up to its level in July. In addition, core inflation continued to accelerate, hitting a 30-year high of +6.5% in September (vs. +6.4% expected). Whilst UK markets were more subdued yesterday, there was fresh turmoil on the political front as Home Secretary Suella Braverman left the government after what was reported as a security breach. In Braverman’s resignation letter, the strong implication was that Truss herself should go, saying that “The business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes. Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics.” A chaotic parliamentary vote late in the session won't make life any easier for PM Truss in the short-term. Back on inflation, there wasn’t much respite elsewhere, as Canadian inflation similarly surprised on the upside with a +6.9% reading in September (vs. +6.7% expected). That prompted investors to ratchet up their expectations of future rate hikes from the Bank of Canada, with another 75bp move at their meeting next week now fully priced in. That said, there was some marginally better news from the Euro Area on inflation, as the final CPI release for September was revised down a tenth to +9.9%, having come in at +10.0% on the earlier flash reading. But although that revision takes it out of double-digit territory, it’s worth noting that’s still the fastest inflation since the single currency’s formation. Asian equity markets are tumbling this morning with the Hang Seng (-2.36%) leading losses, after briefly sliding -3.0% in early trade, its lowest intraday level since 2009 due to a selloff in Chinese listed tech shares. Elsewhere the KOSPI (-1.47%) and the Nikkei (-1.11%) are also deep in the red. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.39%) and the CSI (-0.80%) are also falling. Early morning data showed that exports in Japan advanced +28.9% y/y (v/s +26.6% expected), increasing for the 19th consecutive month in September and compared to the prior month’s +22.0% rise. This was on the back of strong demand for autos and mineral fuels. At the same time, imports surged +45.9% y/y (v/s +44.9% expected) and against a +49.9% gain in the previous month. Staying on Japan, yields on 10yr JGBs again briefly moved beyond the BoJ's upper limit of 0.25%, prompting the central bank to announce unscheduled bond buying for the first time this month to bring it back within its target range. Adding to the challenge for policy makers, the Japanese yen continues to press towards the 150 level, as it reached yet another fresh 32-yr low of 149.96 against the US dollar, thus increasing the possibility for further government intervention to support the battered currency. Separately, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) left its benchmark lending rates unchanged for a second month, keeping the 1-yr loan prime rate at 3.65% and the 5-yr rate at 4.3%. To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the weekly initial jobless claims and existing home sales for September, whilst in Germany there’s the PPI reading for September. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Harker, Jefferson, Cook and Bowman, the ECB’s de Cos and BoE Deputy Governor Broadbent. Earnings releases include Danaher, Philip Morris International, Union Pacific, AT&T and Blackstone. Finally, EU leaders will gather for a summit in Brussels. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/20/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 20th, 2022

Neurotic Markets Swing Ahead Of Fed Decision, Eyeing Ukraine War Escalation

Neurotic Markets Swing Ahead Of Fed Decision, Eyeing Ukraine War Escalation With traders nervously doing nothing ahead of today's FOMC meeting, where Powell will announce a 75bps rate hike but all attention will be on whether the 2023 median dot (which as we previewed will unleash havoc if it comes above 4.5% which is where market expectations top out for this hiking cycle), today market got an extra jolt of volatility just before the European open when shortly after 2am ET Vladimir Putin delivered his postponed message to announce a "partial mobilization" over the Ukraine war. The news slammed stocks, yields, and the euro while sending oil and commodities sharply higher. And while the initial spike lower has reversed and futures are modestly in the green now, there is zero liquidity right now and the smallest sell program could topples risk assets. As of 7:15am ET, US futures pointed to a recovery from Tuesday’s tumble on anxiety policy makers are hoping to spark a recession in their zeal to subdue price pressures. S&P futures were up 0.2% after trading down 0.6% earlier, with Nasdaq futures 0.1% in the green. 10Y yields dipped 3bps to 3.54% even though the USD was higher and bitcoin fluctuated between losses and gains.  In premarket trading, the MIC won again with US defense stocks rising amid after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a “partial mobilization” with the Kremlin also moving to annex occupied regions of Ukraine. Northrop Grumman +1.9%, Lockheed Martin +2.8% and Raytheon +2.5%. Oil and gas shares also rose in US premarket trading, benefiting from a surge in crude prices after Putin ordered a partial mobilization to hold on to disputed territories in Ukraine. Exxon  +1.2%, Devon Energy  +2%, Marathon Oil +1.8%, Occidental Petroleum +1.9%, Schlumberger +1.5%. Other notable premarket movers: Stitch Fix (SFIX US) shares are down 10% in premarket trading after the personal styling company issued a weaker-than-expected 4Q update and disappointed analysts with its FY23 outlook. At least two analysts cut their PT on the stock Keep an eye on Oxford Industries (OXM US) as Citi upgrades it to neutral in note, citing the apparel company’s continued momentum and “attractive” acquisition of the Johnny Was brand Watch Coty (COTY US) as the company raised its outlook for the current quarter because of stronger-than-expected sales of more expensive fragrances and personal-care products, showing demand for higher-end items remains robust despite rising living costs The escalation of the Russian war is likely to reverberate across markets, deepening the energy and food crisis, according to Ales Koutny, portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors. Putin’s land grab and military escalation comes after a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the last few weeks dealt his troops their worst defeats since the early months of the conflict, retaking more than 10% of the territory that Russia held. “This will continue to put risk assets under pressure, with sentiment playing a significant part for both equities and credit,” Koutny said. “We believe the USD will continue to benefit as the US is isolated from a geographic perspective and more resilient due to the make-up of its economy.” Turning to today's main event, Powell is widely expected to boost rates by 75 basis points for the third time in a row, according to the vast majority of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Only two project a 100 basis points move. “There’s been so much speculation about the Fed’s next step that finally having a decision should provide some much needed relief for investors,” said Danni Hewson, an analyst at AJ Bell Plc. “If it sticks to script and delivers another 75 basis point hike markets are likely to rally somewhat, partly because the specter of a full percentage point rise didn’t come to pass.” European equities also swung higher after posting early losses in the run-up to the Fed meeting; the Stoxx 50 was little changed. FTSE MIB outperforms peers, adding 0.8%, DAX lags, dropping 0.1%. UK stocks climbed and the pound slid after the British government unveiled a £40 billion bailout to help companies with their energy bills this winter amid soaring prices that threaten to put many out of business. Travel, autos and tech are the worst-performing sectors. European defense stocks and energy stocks gain after President Vladimir Putin declared a “partial mobilization” and vowed to use all means necessary to defend Russian territory as the Kremlin moved to annex parts of Ukraine that it’s occupied, threatening to escalate the conflict further. Rheinmetall rises as much as +11%, Thales +6.1%. Energy stocks outperform as oil rallies, with Shell up as much as +3.3% TotalEnergies +3.0%. Here are some other notable premarket movers: UK homebuilders gain, bucking a broader market decline, following a Times of London report saying Prime Minister Liz Truss will outline a plan to cut stamp duty during Friday’s mini budget Persimmon gains 6.2%, Bellway +4.3%, Barratt Developments +4.9% Fortum shares rise as much as 20%, the biggest jump ever, after Germany said it will buy all of the Finnish company’s stock in Uniper at a better-than-expected price of EU1.70 a share. Meanwhile, Uniper slides as much as 39% on the news, its biggest drop ever. Vodafone shares gain as much as 2.4% after French billionaire Xavier Niel’s 2.5% stake in the telecom company adds to the pressure for the telecom giant to accelerate its M&A push, according to New Street Research Renault shares drop as much as 4.0% after Bernstein says it remains cautious about the carmaker’s earnings prospects for 2023 following the stock’s recovery from the Russia crisis earlier this year Autoliv drops as much as 4.7% in Stockholm, to the lowest since mid July, following SEB downgrade in Sept. 20 note citing a “more uncertain” outlook for 2023 Games Workshop shares fall as much as 16%, the most since Jan. 11, after the maker of the Warhammer series of games said pretax profit in the three-month period to Aug. 28 slid to ~£39m from £45m a year earlier Earlier in the session, Asian stocks declined ahead of an expected interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve and as Russia’s escalation of war sapped investors’ appetite for risk.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.5%, driven by losses in technology shares. The benchmark held the loss as Russia said it was mobilizing more troops for its war against Ukraine.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led declines among regional measures, with notable drops also in Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. The main gauge of Hong Kong-listed Chinese firms sank into a technical bear market. With a third 75-basis-point rate hike by the Federal Open Market Committee widely expected, some investors have moved to price in an even larger increase. Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments on efforts to fight inflation will be closely parsed for clues on the future rate path.  “Asian markets are still uncertain about size of rate hikes in upcoming FOMC meetings including today’s meeting,” said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment Corp. “Also, recent depreciation of Asian currencies, especially RMB, enlarges the weakness of equity markets.” The dollar’s strength has pushed a gauge of Asian currencies to a 19-year low, prompting global investors to withdraw funds from the region’s emerging stock markets. Central bank decisions are also due this week from Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Asian Development Bank cut its economic growth forecast for China and also lowered its outlook for developing Asia amid rising interest rates, a prolonged war in Ukraine and Beijing’s Covid-Zero policy. Japanese equities fell as investors await decisions from central banks including the Federal Reserve and the BOJ. The Topix Index fell 1.4% to 1,920.80 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei declined 1.4% to 27,313.13. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 2.4%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 345 rose and 1,734 fell, while 90 were unchanged. “The focus is on the FRB terminal rate and how far the monetary tightening will go,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited. “They have a strong stance of controlling inflation no matter what happens to the economy and it’s questionable whether they can really do that.” In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.6% to close at 6,700.20, with miners and banks weighing the most on the benchmark, as investors positioned for a hefty interest rate hike from a hawkish Federal Reserve. All sectors except communication services declined. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 11,498.95 In FX, the dollar headed for a fresh record, rising for a second day as the greenback traded steady to higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers. CHF and JPY are the strongest performers in G-10 FX in haven play, SEK and EUR underperform. Sweden’s krona suffered the steepest loss among G-10 peers to trade at around 11 per dollar, and is set for its longest slump since June, one day after the . The euro plunged as much as 0.9% to $0.9885, a two-week low, after Vladimir Putin threatened to step up his war in Ukraine. Bunds and Italian bonds advanced, outperforming Treasuries on haven buying and snapping two-day declining streaks. The pound dropped to a fresh 37-year low against a broadly stronger US dollar. Data showing a rise in UK government borrowing also weighed on sterling. The offshore yuan fell to the lowest against the greenback since mid 2020, even after the People’s Bank of China set the daily reference rate for the currency stronger-than-expected for a 20th day. In rates, Treasuries advanced, with yields falling up to 4bps, led by the belly of the curve trailing bigger gains for most European bond markets after Russia’s Putin mobilized more troops for Ukraine invasion and referenced nuclear capabilities. US 10-year yields around 3.55%, richer by ~2bp on the day and trailing comparable bunds by ~1bp in the sector; gilts lag by ~3bp; 2s10s curve is flatter by ~2bp, 5s30s by ~1bp. Euro-area bonds advanced, with the German 10-year yield dropping three basis points to 1.89%. Gilts 10-year yield down 2bps to 3.27%. In commodities, WTI drifts 2.7% higher to trade near $86.17. Spot gold rises roughly $9 to trade near $1,674/oz.  Crypto markets saw a leg lower following the Putin-induced risk aversion, with Bitcoin still under the $19,000 mark. In terms of the day ahead, the highlight will be the Fed’s policy decision and Chair Powell’s press conference. We’ll also hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos, and on the data side we’ll get US existing home sales for August. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,874.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 404.48 MXAP down 1.4% to 148.38 MXAPJ down 1.4% to 485.75 Nikkei down 1.4% to 27,313.13 Topix down 1.4% to 1,920.80 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 18,444.62 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,117.18 Sensex down 0.2% to 59,574.87 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% to 6,700.22 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,347.21 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.85% Euro down 0.7% to $0.9901 Brent Futures up 2.6% to $93.00/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,670.80 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.51% to 110.77 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The US dollar’s rally is at risk of a reversal if the Federal Reserve sets its interest-rate outlook at a lower level than traders are betting on after market-implied expectations for the so-called dot plot jumped this month Currency traders are girding for the biggest price swings in months in the build up to this week’s crucial Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan policy decisions Some investors have a message for anyone looking to bet big before one of the most pivotal Federal Reserve policy meetings of this year: don’t, or risk getting burned The ECB faces a delicate balancing act as it seeks to address record euro-zone inflation while the economy weakens, according to European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos The British government unveiled a multibillion-pound bailout to help companies with their energy bills this winter amid soaring prices that threaten to put many out of business Prime Minister Liz Truss will cut the rates of stamp duty for UK home purchases as the government attempts to stimulate growth, The Times of London reported. Shares of UK homebuilders climbed China’s current interest rates are “reasonable” and provide room for future policy action, the People’s Bank of China said, adding to expectations it may resume lowering rates in coming months A right-wing coalition is widely expected to win Italy’s election on Sunday. Such an outcome may raise doubts over the path of reforms that are a condition for the country to receive EU funds to hasten its post-pandemic recovery A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks traded lower as the region followed suit to the global risk aversion heading into today’s FOMC policy announcement and amid heightened geopolitical concerns surrounding Ukraine as several separatist regions plan to hold a referendum to join Russia, while Russian President Putin is to address the nation in which many expect him to call for a mobilisation. ASX 200 declined with the commodity-related sectors and tech leading the downturn seen across all industries. Nikkei 225 was subdued ahead of central bank announcements including the BoJ which began its 2-day meeting. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were also negative with underperformance in Hong Kong amid tech weakness and with sentiment not helped by the US FCC adding more companies to its national security threat list. Top Asian News Asian Development Bank cut its Developing Asia growth forecast for 2022 to 4.3% from 5.2% and for 2023 to 4.9% from 5.3%, while it cut its China growth forecast for 2022 to 3.35 from 5.0% and for 2023 to 4.5% from 4.8%. FCC added China Unicom (762 HK) to its national security threats list. North Korean leader Kim sent a message to Chinese President Xi and said that ties with China are to reach a new high stage, according to state media. RBA Deputy Governor Bullock said policy is not restrictive as yet and is looking at opportunities to slow hikes at some point, while she noted concerns about the health of China's economy, zero-COVID policy and property market. RBA announced its review of the pandemic bond-buying program (BPP) in which it found that it should only be used in extreme circumstances and said it recorded large mark to market losses on BPP bonds in 2021/22, while it plans to hold BPP bonds to maturity and receive face value to offset accounting losses, according to Reuters. Stocks in Europe have clambered off worst levels with the region now trading mixed on the eve of the FOMC following initial Russian-induced downside. Overall sectors are now more mixed, and the earlier defensive bias has somewhat dissipated. Stateside, after the dust settled and earlier moves have been trimmed, with US equity futures now trading on either side of the unchanged mark. Top European News UK PM Truss is to tell the UN General Assembly that she will lead a new Britain for a new era and will call on democracies to harness the power of cooperation seen since Russia's invasion of Ukraine "to constrain authoritarianism", according to Downing Street. Furthermore, PM Truss is to tell the UN that Britain will no longer be dependent on those who seek to weaponise the global economy and will argue that the free world must prioritise economic growth and security, according to Reuters and Sky News. Furthermore, PM Truss is to launch a new defence review and call on Russian reparations, according to FT. UK PM Truss is to announce plans to cut stamp duty in the mini-budget this week in an effort to drive economic growth, according to The Times. ECB SSM member McCaul said the ECB is particularly concerned about banks that are heavily exposed to highly vulnerable corporates with a weak debt servicing capacity. ECB's de Guindos said FX rate is one of the most important variables that need to be looked at carefully. FX USD bid on risk-aversion pre-FOMC, though the DXY has since eased from the fresh YTD high at 110.87. Amidst this, the EUR slipped below 0.99 and away from hefty OpEx with G10 peers broadly softer amid the above USD move. However, petro-fx bucks the trend given the pronounced crude rally and has seen the CAD and NOK derive modest upside. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 6.9536 vs exp. 6.9539 (prev. 6.9468). BoC's Beaudry said the bank will continue to do whatever is necessary to restore price stability and maintain confidence it can meet the 2% target, while Beaudry thinks August inflation data is still too high but added that the data shows we are headed in the right direction. Beaudry also stated that to avoid de-anchoring and to bring inflation sustainably back to target, some suggested a substantial slowdown or even a recession be engineered. Fixed Income A concerted initial bid for core benchmarks driven by broad risk-aversion, lifting Bund to a unsuccessful test of 142.00 briefly. Though, as action settles post-Putin and pre-Fed EGBs have backed away from best levels though retain a positive foothold. Note, it is worth caveating that today's upside is well within existing parameters for the week - given the pronounced hawkish action on Tuesday. 10 year T-note is hovering on the 114-00 handle within a 114-07+/113-27+ band and awaiting the Fed & Chair Powell. Commodities The crude complex has been propped up by the escalation in rhetoric from Russia. US Private Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +1.0mln (exp. +2.2mln), Cushing +0.5mln, Gasoline +3.2mln (exp. -0.4mln), Distillates +1.5mln (exp. +0.4mln). Spot gold caught a bid despite the firmer Dollar on the back of post-Putin haven demand. LME copper has given up its earlier gains as the Dollar gained and sentiment soured. US Event Calendar 07:00: Sept. MBA Mortgage Applications +3.8%, prior -1.2% 10:00: Aug. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -2.3%, prior -5.9% 10:00: Aug. Home Resales with Condos, est. 4.7m, prior 4.81m 14:00: Sept. FOMC Rate Decision (Lower Boun, est. 3.00%, prior 2.25% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Markets are often in a holding pattern when we arrive at Fed decision days, with investors waiting for the policy announcement before the big moves take place. But the last 24 hours have been a very different story, with the selloff accelerating thanks to concerns that the Fed and other central banks still have plenty of hawkish medicine left to deliver. See my CoTD here yesterday for the 500bps of hikes from major central banks expected between yesterday and lunchtime tomorrow. As I also showed the ratio of global hikes to cuts now stand at 25:1, this hasn't got above 5:1 in the 25 years I have comprehensive global data. Email jim-reid.thematicresearch@db.com if you want to be on the daily CoTD list. Those rate hike jitters were present from early in the session yesterday after Sweden’s Riksbank unexpectedly announced a bumper 100bps hike, which came shortly after a stronger-than-expected print on German producer prices for August. In the meantime, the latest on the Ukraine situation didn’t help sentiment either, as it was announced that referendums would be held later this week in the Russian-occupied regions on whether they should be part of Russia. By the close of trade, this had led to a very challenging day across the major asset classes, with little respite for investors anywhere. In particular, there were some big moves on the rates side as Treasury yields hit their highest levels in years, with the 10yr Treasury yield up +7.3bps to a post-2011 high of 3.56% after trading as much as +10bps higher, intraday. The 2yr followed a similar pattern, increasing as much as +5.2bps intraday before ending the day +3.1bps higher at 3.97%, not quite breaching the 4% mark in trading, which would have been for the first time since 2007. This morning in Asia, yields on 10yr USTs (-0.59 bps) are fairly stable. To counter higher bond yields, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) in an unscheduled government bond buying operation this morning, announced that it would purchase 150 billion yen ($1.04 billion) of debt with a remaining life of five to 10 years, and 100 billion yen of securities maturing in 10 to 25 years. The fresh buying would be in addition to the central bank’s already existing daily offer of buying unlimited quantities of 10yr JGBs at 0.25%. However, the response was muted as the Japanese yen was trading flat at about 143.8 against the US dollar, still in the vicinity of a 24-year historical low as we go to print. Debate around the BoJ's defence off its YCC policy will only intensify as global yields are under pressure. One to watch again. Yesterday's bond losses come against the backdrop of the Fed’s decision today at 19:00 London time, where futures are fully pricing in a third consecutive 75bps hike. That’s quite the turnaround since the last meeting in July, when markets initially latched on to a dovish interpretation after Chair Powell said “it likely will become appropriate to slow the pace of increases”, which led to an easing of financial conditions following the meeting and well into August. However, no such slowdown is in sight following last week’s CPI print, which shut down any lingering questions about a slower pace of hikes for the time being. In fact, any doubts over today’s decision are all about whether the Fed might go even faster and hike by 100bps, with futures currently pricing in a 18% chance of such a move. So clearly not dismissing the possibility, although the absence of "well informed" journalist articles preparing the ground for 100bps speaks volumes Our US economists’ expectations (link here) are in line with market pricing today, and they expect a 75bps move that’ll be followed up with another 75bps hike in November. One thing to keep an eye out for will be the latest Summary of Economic Projections, which they expect will signal more pain in the labour market in order to tame inflationary pressures, with an upgrade to their unemployment forecasts. We’ll also get a first look at the 2025 dot plot, which they think will show the Fed funds rate at 3.4%, so still above their long-run estimate for the nominal fed funds rate, and they think the tone in Chair Powell’s press conference will sound more like the hawkish messaging out of Jackson Hole rather than the dovish signals from July. Those hawkish expectations meant that risk assets continued to struggle alongside sovereign bonds, with the S&P 500 (-1.13%) very nearly ending up back in bear market territory. It was much the same story in Europe, where the STOXX 600 (-1.09%) lost ground for a 6th consecutive session for the first time since the June slump, and is within 1% of the YTD lows. Germany’s DAX (-1.03%) is now down by more than -20% on a YTD basis again. Interestingly, European equities had initially opened higher on the day, with the STOXX 600 up +0.96% at its peak. However, sentiment turned around the time we heard of the Riksbank’s policy decision, as they unexpectedly hiked by 100bps, rather than the 75bps expected by the consensus, whilst also signalling further rate hikes ahead. In turn, that fuelled speculation that the Fed might also pull off a surprise move, even if that’s still far from the market’s base case. Staying on Europe, it’s worth noting that the rise in sovereign bond yields there were more dramatic than those seen in the United States. For instance, yields on 10yr bunds (+12.1bps) rose to a post-2014 high of 1.92%, whilst those on BTPs (+10.1bps) hit a post-2013 high of 4.18%. Following the end of European bond trading, ECB President Lagarde noted that inflation was much higher and persistent than anticipated, which has driven the front-loading of ECB rate hikes we’ve seen to date. She reiterated the ECB plans to raise rates over the next few meetings, and will size those hikes on a meeting-by-meeting basis. Like some Fed speakers, she noted the ECB cannot take anchored inflation expectations for granted, but drew contrast to the situation in the United States by spending a lot of her speech outlining why European inflation was not as demand-driven, but a result of supply shocks. I personally would say that’s up for debate with unemployment at the lowest since the Euro came into being and wage growth high. Gilts were the biggest underperformer ahead of tomorrow’s Bank of England decision, with 10yr yields up +15.4bps to a post-2011 high of 3.29%. In terms of market pricing for that decision tomorrow, overnight index swaps are pricing in 65.2bps worth of hikes, so nearly equidistant between 50bps and 75bps. Whilst central banks are in focus this week, there was significant news from Ukraine as four Russian-controlled regions will be holding referendums this week on whether they should be a part of Russia. They’re set to happen from September 23-27, and will take place in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Further, as reported in Bloomberg, the concern is that Russia is moving toward a more full mobilisation, which would only lead to a further entrenchment of the war. All this news doesn't suggest that the peaceful end of the war is imminent and that the counter offensive successes by Ukraine 10 days ago might have escalated tensions as was feared at the time. We expect to hear public remarks from President Putin later this morning, so more to come on what already promises to be a big macro day for markets. Asian equity markets are continuing with their downward trend this morning. Among the major indices, the Hang Seng (-1.66%) is the biggest laggard in early trade, reversing the previous session’s recovery. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (-1.37%), Shanghai Composite (-0.58%), the CSI (-0.98%) and the Kospi (-0.95%) are all trading in the red. US stock futures are fluctuating with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.09%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.07%) just above flat but with DAX futures (-0.29%) lower. In terms of yesterday’s data releases, US housing starts rose by more than expected in August, reaching an annualised rate of 1.575m (vs. 1.45m expected), while the prior month was revised down to 1.404m from 1.446m. Meanwhile, building permits continued to fall, down to an annualised 1.517m (vs. 1.604m expected), which is their lowest level since June 2020. The net impact of the housing data had the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model revise down third quarter growth to 0.3% from 0.5% after downgrading residential investment growth to -24.5% from -20.8%. So, we’re a surprise or two away from a third straight quarter of negative headline GDP growth, and yet more equivocation about why the US currently is or is not in a recession. Otherwise, German producer prices were up by +45.8% in August on a year-on-year basis (vs. +36.8% expected). That said, there was some weaker-than-expected inflation from Canada, where CPI fell to +7.0% year-on-year (vs. +7.3% expected). In terms of the day ahead, the highlight will be the Fed’s policy decision and Chair Powell’s press conference. We’ll also hear from ECB Vice President de Guindos, and on the data side we’ll get US existing home sales for August. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/21/2022 - 07:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 21st, 2022

Semiconductors Emerge As Battleground In US-China Race

Semiconductors Emerge As Battleground In US-China Race Authored by Jessica Mao via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), 300-millimeter wafers are pictured in a machine for coating with gold in a clean room during the mass production of semiconductor chips at the Bosch's semiconductor plant in Dresden, eastern Germany, on July 12, 2022. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/AFP via Getty Images) As every aspect of modern life becomes more and more digitized, not just the economies of nations but their sovereign influence will rely more and more on the command of technology. Although the United States and China are not engaged in traditional warfare, they are engaged in a war of ideas, trade, and technology, especially in semiconductor hegemony, where both sides are battling for supply and advancement. In recent years, the United States has made a series of moves to hinder and outpace Chinese development in semiconductors, including persuading Asian semiconductor powerhouses to join its alliance, passing a massive spending bill to aid domestic chip production, and banning exports of high-end chipmaking equipment to China. In late July, the United States expanded its bans on exports to China of equipment that can make semiconductors up to 14 nanometers in size, according to major U.S. chipmaking equipment suppliers, such as Lam Research Corp. and KLA, who were notified by the government about the expanded restrictions. Previously, the United States had banned the sale of equipment that can produce chips of 10 nm or smaller to Chinese chip manufacturers. Generally in semiconductor fabrication, the smaller the process technology, the more advanced the chip. The smaller the technology node, the higher the transistor density and the lower the chip power consumption, resulting in higher performance. However, the smaller manufacturing process requires more advanced material and equipment, and will incur a greater cost in R&D and production. Semiconductors are seen on a circuit board that powers a Samsung video camera at the Samsung MOBILE-ization media and analyst event in San Jose, Calif., on March 23, 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) The development follows a historic $52 billion bill passed by U.S. congress on July 27 to aid domestic chip makers in research, development, and production volume. One of the conditions is that the companies receiving the funds will not increase advanced chip production in mainland China. The U.S. Department of Commerce said the tightening policies impair “PRC efforts to manufacture advanced semiconductors to address significant national security risks to the United States.” Meanwhile, the United States is also reportedly planning to ban the exports of U.S. chipmaking equipment that produces advanced NAND chips to major Chinese chipmakers, such as Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YMTC). YMTC is a state-owned company and China’s only storage NAND flash memory manufacturer competing with major U.S. manufacturers. Its global market share is about 5 percent. In a report released by the White House in June 2021, YMTC was identified as the “national champion” enterprise of the Chinese regime, having received $24 billion in subsidies from the Chinese government. NAND chips are used to store data in a wide range of electronic devices such as smartphones and personal computers, as well as in the data centers of companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google. If the NAND chip initiatives are officially issued, they will be the first time that the United States uses trade restrictions to contain China’s ability to produce non-military use memory chips, broadening the scope of protecting the U.S.’s national security and dealing a massive blow to Chins’s memory chip industry. On Aug. 1, U.S. senators, including Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), requested that the Department of Commerce add YMTC to the U.S. trade blacklist. The move could further hamper the growth of China’s semiconductor industry and protect American companies; the only two U.S. memory chip makers, Western Digital and Micron Technology. The two account for about a quarter of the NAND chip market share. According to a Bloomberg report, the United States is also pushing the Netherlands and Japan to stop the chipmaking equipment suppliers, ASML and Nikon, from selling lithography machines to China. The move could potentially deal a severe blow to major Chinese chipmakers such as Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) and Hua Hong Semiconductor Ltd. US CHIPS Act On July 26, the U.S. Senate voted to advance its Chips and Science Bill aimed at boosting domestic semiconductor production and improving technological competitiveness with China. The bill was later passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 28 and signed into law by President Joe Biden on Aug. 2. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks alongside a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, including (L-R) Roger Wicker (R-Miss.); Mark Warner (D-Va.); Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), following the passage of the CHIPS Act, providing domestic semiconductor manufacturers with $52 billion in subsidies to cut reliance on foreign sourcing, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 2022. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) The legislation will provide $280 billion in funding to prop up and kickstart domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research; the price tag is far above previous legislation that aimed to provide just $52 billion to manufacturers. Officially dubbed the CHIPS [Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America] Act of 2022, the measure would provide tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks to technology corporations in an effort to spur new market growth, as well as funding for government-backed tech research. Proponents of the legislation have long said that it’s necessary in order to maintain a competitive edge with China, which is pouring money into its own domestic chip production. The legislation also clarifies that entities receiving U.S. government funding are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving substantial expansion of semiconductor manufacturing in China or any other foreign country of concern for at least ten years after the Act takes effect. These restrictions are designed to prevent chipmakers from significantly expanding the production of chips more advanced than 28nm in China within the next decade. Even though the 28-nanometer chips are a few generations behind today’s advanced semiconductors, they are still widely used in cars, lower-end smartphones, appliances, and more. Chip 4 Alliance The United States has also been working to persuade Asian semiconductor powerhouses to participate in its “Chip 4 alliance.” The U.S.-led alliance aims to strengthen cooperation in the semiconductors industry among the United States and the East Asian powerhouses of Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan to build a secure supply chain that excludes China. Taiwan and Japan have already agreed to participate in the Chip 4 alliance proposed by the United States this March, pending South Korea’s decision to join. The United States has reportedly given South Korea a deadline to decide whether it will join the “Chip 4 alliance” by Aug. 31, according to local South Korean reports citing unnamed sources in Washington. Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 08/08/2022 - 16:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 8th, 2022

The Talented Mr. Pottinger: The US Intelligence Agent Who Pushed Lockdowns

The Talented Mr. Pottinger: The US Intelligence Agent Who Pushed Lockdowns Authored by Michael Senger via 'The New Normal' Substack, In 1948, the US House of Representatives received a tip from a man named Whittaker Chambers that several federal officials had been working for the communists. One of these officials was more than happy to appear before Congress to clear his name—a leading State Department and United Nations representative named Alger Hiss. The rakish Hiss was the exemplary American statesman: Polite, pedigreed, well-spoken, and a Harvard man to boot. During the 1945 United Nations conference, the Chinese delegation had proposed the creation of a new international health organization. After the Chinese failed to get a resolution passed, Hiss recommended establishing the organization by declaration, and the World Health Organization was born. In Congress, Hiss coolly denied the allegations and denounced his deadbeat accuser for the libelous claims. The House came away newly reassured that the State Department was in excellent hands. (Spoiler alert: He was then and always had been a communist.) The next year, intelligence leaks from the federal service led to the Soviet Union’s first successful nuclear test, ending the security afforded by America’s nuclear monopoly 15 years earlier than experts expected. Shortly thereafter, Kim Il-Sung and Chairman Mao used the cover of Soviet nuclear weapons to invade South Korea. The ensuing war claimed over 3 million lives and resulted in the permanent recognition of the nation of North Korea. Around this time, a little-known Congressman from California’s 12th district named Richard M. Nixon pressed Chambers for more information. Chambers reluctantly led Tricky Dick to a package of State Department materials he had hidden in a pumpkin patch—including notes in Hiss’s own writing. Alger Hiss became the most high-level American official ever convicted in connection with working for the communists. 2022 To be honest, I barely knew who Matt Pottinger was until I read that he’d appointed Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator in her bizarrely self-incriminating memoir Silent Invasion, which reads like it was written by the Chinese Communist Party itself. There’s little information about Pottinger’s role in Covid online. Yet Pottinger is portrayed as a leading protagonist in three different pro-lockdown books on America’s response to Covid-19: The Plague Year by the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright, Nightmare Scenario by the Washington Post’s Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Chaos Under Heaven by the Washington Post’s Josh Rogin. Pottinger’s singularly outsized role in pushing for alarm, shutdowns, mandates, and science from China in the early months of Covid is extremely well-documented. Pottinger’s enormous influence during Covid is especially surprising not only because of his absence from online discussion about these events, but because of who he is. The son of leading Department of Justice official Stanley Pottinger, Matt Pottinger graduated with a degree in Chinese studies in 1998 before going to work as a journalist in China for seven years, where he reported on topics including the original SARS. In 2005, Pottinger unexpectedly left journalism and obtained an age waiver to join the US Marine Corps. Over several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pottinger became a decorated intelligence officer and met General Michael Flynn, who later appointed him to the National Security Council (NSC). Pottinger was originally in line to be China Director, but Flynn gave him the more senior job of Asia Director. Despite being new to civilian government, Pottinger outlasted many others in Trump’s White House. In September 2019, Pottinger was named Deputy National Security Advisor, second only to National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. Pottinger is best known as a China hawk, but a smart and sophisticated one. He’s been ahead of the curve in calling out China’s increasingly aggressive geopolitical stance, articulating this challenge with near-perfect eloquence. As Politico writes, “While hawks like Bannon love his tough views toward China, even Democrats call his views basically mainstream. Still, some foreign policy experts…wonder what a nice guy like him is doing in a place like this.” “He’s a very effective bureaucratic player, which is saying something because he’s never had a policy job before,” the New York Times agreed. “Matt has an extraordinary sense of caution that, ‘Let’s not push something unless the president clearly has approved it.’ This is different from other members of White House staff,” the Washington Post admired. While many Trump administration officials have floundered since Trump left the White House, “things are going well for Pottinger,” Vox gushed. “[T]hat subject matter expertise—plus the patina afforded by resigning on January 6—has helped Pottinger, a former journalist, expertly navigate the post-Trump landscape. He even emerged as the White House hero of the initial Covid-19 chaos in New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright’s chronicle of The Plague Year… One reason that Matt Pottinger was welcomed back into the establishment is that, unlike some of Trump’s unconventional appointees, he had already been a part of the elite.” From the center-right to the center-left and the far right to the far left, it’s tough to find anyone on the Beltway short on praise for Matt Pottinger. Everything about Pottinger is silky smooth. Between the lines of glowing coverage are not-so-subtle winks and nudges that he’d make an excellent candidate for higher office. 2020 1. Ratcheting Up Alarm via “Asymptomatic Spread” In January 2020, Pottinger unilaterally called meetings and ratcheted up alarm about the new coronavirus in the White House based on information from his own sources in China, despite having no official intelligence to back up his alarmism, breaching protocol on several occasions. In Washington, Matt Pottinger was first made aware of the new coronavirus after China’s CDC Director called US CDC Director Robert Redfield to report it on January 3, 2020. According to Pottinger, he grew increasingly alarmed due to the rumors he saw on Chinese social media. As Wright reports: He was struck by the disparity between official accounts of the novel coronavirus in China, which scarcely mentioned the disease, and Chinese social media, which was aflame with rumors and anecdotes. Pottinger therefore authorized the first interagency meeting on the coronavirus based on these social media reports. There was no official intelligence to prompt the meeting. On January 14, Pottinger authorized a briefing for the NSC staff by the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, along with CDC director Redfield. That first interagency meeting to discuss the situation in Wuhan wasn’t prompted by official intelligence; in fact, there was practically none of that. On January 27, 2020, Trump’s staff attended the first full meeting on the coronavirus in the White House Situation Room. Unbeknownst to those in attendance, Pottinger had unilaterally called the meeting. Others urged calm, but Pottinger immediately began pushing for travel bans. As Abutaleb writes: Few people in the room knew it, but Pottinger had actually called the meeting. The Chinese weren’t providing the US government much information about the virus, and Pottinger didn’t trust what they were disclosing anyway. He had spent two weeks scouring Chinese social media feeds and had uncovered dramatic reports of the new infectious disease suggesting that it was much worse than the Chinese government had revealed. He had also seen reports that the virus might have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. There were too many unanswered questions. He told everyone in the Sit Room that they needed to consider enacting a travel ban immediately: ban all travel from China; shut it down… [Pottinger] spent several days calling some of his old contacts in China, doctors who would tell him the truth. And they had told him that things were bad—and only going to get worse. Pottinger’s discourse was measured but he conveyed the gravity of the threat. He said that the virus was spreading fast. He said that dramatic actions would need to be taken, which was why the government should consider banning travel from China to the United States until it had a better understanding of what was going on. As he continued, people sat up in their chairs. This was not the “we’ve got everything handled” message that Azar had conveyed just minutes earlier. As Wright documents, the health officials thought travel restrictions would be futile. Predictably, the public health representatives were resistant, too: viruses found ways to travel no matter what. Moreover, at least 14,000 passengers from China were arriving in the U.S. every day; there was no feasible way to quarantine them all. These arguments would join a parade of other public health verities that would be jettisoned during the pandemic. Among those present, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney appears to have been the only one to express skepticism of Pottinger’s information. As Abutaleb writes: Mulvaney intervened to wrap things up. He could tell that Pottinger and a few others were calling for a dramatic change, one that was an anathema to his libertarian instincts. He was pretty skeptical of Pottinger’s “sources” in China, too. They weren’t going to be setting US policy based on what someone had heard from their “friend” thousands of miles away. Mulvaney reiterated that they would reconvene the next day to discuss matters again before anything was settled. He warned attendees not to leak any details of the meeting to the media. The next morning, January 28, 2020, Pottinger says he spoke to a doctor in China who told him the new coronavirus would be as bad as the 1918 Spanish flu, and that half the cases were asymptomatic. As Rogin writes: The next morning, Pottinger had a conversation with a very high-level doctor in China, one who had spoken with health officials in several provinces, including Wuhan. This was a trusted source who was in a position to know the ground truth. “Is this going to be as bad as SARS in 2003?” he asked the doctor, whose name must remain secret for his own protection. “Forget SARS in 2003,” the doctor replied, “this is 1918.” The doctor told Pottinger half the cases were asymptomatic and the government must have known all about it. Later that same day, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien brought Pottinger into the Oval Office, where he seized the first opportunity to repeat to the President what the doctor in China had told him that morning. “This is the single greatest national security crisis of your presidency and it’s now unfolding,” O’Brien told the president. “It’s going to be 1918,” Pottinger told Trump. “Holy fuck,” the president replied. Wright goes into more detail on this meeting, in which Pottinger interjected to alarm the President: Later that day, the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, brought Pottinger into the Oval Office, where the president was getting his daily intelligence briefing. Far down the list of threats was the mysterious new virus in China. The briefer didn’t seem to take it seriously. O’Brien did. “This will be the biggest national security threat you will face in your presidency,” he warned. “Is this going to be as bad or worse than SARS in 2003?” Trump asked. The briefer responded that it wasn’t clear yet. Pottinger, who was sitting on a couch, jumped to his feet. He had seen enough high-level arguments in the Oval Office to know that Trump relished clashes between agencies. “Mr. President, I actually covered that,” he said, recounting his experience with SARS and what he was learning now from his sources—most shockingly, that more than half of the spread of the disease was by asymptomatic carriers. China had already curbed travel within the country, but every day thousands of people were traveling from China to the U.S.—half a million in January alone. “Should we shut down travel?” the president asked. “Yes,” Pottinger said unequivocally. That same day, Pottinger and the White House staff reconvened in the Situation Room. Pottinger recalls that he’d been especially inspired into action by Xi Jinping’s lockdown of Wuhan and by the hospital that the CCP claims to have built in 10 days, but did not actually build. As Abutaleb reports: A few hours later, Pottinger and other government officials filed back into the Situation Room. Pottinger knew he was going to be outnumbered. Mulvaney and his allies didn’t want to allow the NSC to do anything that might be too disruptive. Blocking travel from China would be an unprecedented intervention. And over what? Five cases of the sniffles in the United States?… On January 23, China announced that it was locking down Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. The shutdown was extended to several more cities in the coming days, with travel prohibited inside much of the country. Tens of millions of people were effectively locked in their homes. The Chinese were rapidly building an entire hospital in Wuhan that was completed within days. Everyone in the country was wearing a mask. People in hazmat suits took passengers’ temperatures before anyone was allowed into the subway. China had gone from reluctantly admitting that there had been a few cases of person-to-person spread to shutting down the world’s second largest economy. If the virus had brought the world’s most populous country to a standstill, some top US officials, especially Pottinger, knew they should be doing more. As Deputy National Security Advisor, Pottinger was supposed to “avoid arguing forcefully for any particular outcome,” so he brought Peter Navarro to make his arguments for him. Abutaleb continues: But as deputy national security advisor, Pottinger was in an awkward position. He was supposed to be chairing the meeting, which meant that his job was to solicit input from others in the room and avoid arguing forcefully for any particular outcome. That fact tied his hands. He needed someone else to make the more pointed parts of his argument for him. Someone who would stand up to everyone else in the room unflinchingly. He knew just the person: a reviled troublemaker named Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council… Pottinger’s plan to use Navarro as his mouthpiece seemed to work initially, but then Navarro kept going. And going… They needed to ban travel, and they needed to do it now. Pottinger had been waiting for an opening. He told his colleagues that he had come across some alarming information: Chinese officials were no longer able to contact trace the virus. In other words, it was so widespread that they couldn’t determine where people had contracted it. And he relayed the Chinese suspicions about asymptomatic spread: people who seemed perfectly healthy were transmitting the virus, not just in China but potentially everywhere, including in the United States. Once again, Mulvaney was skeptical of Pottinger. Three months prior, Navarro had been caught citing himself as an expert source using the pseudonym “Ron Vara”: Mulvaney couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. Pottinger and Navarro had nearly pulled off a policy ambush. “Look,” Mulvaney told someone at the meeting, “I’ve got Pottinger with a friend of his in Hong Kong as a source. I’ve got Navarro, who makes up his sources, and then on the other side of the equation I’ve got Kadlec and Fauci and Redfield, three experts, who say not to shut down flights just yet.” A health expert pointed out that the statistic Pottinger had reported from the doctor in China about asymptomatic spread couldn’t be true. One of the government health experts pulled Pottinger aside. The stat Pottinger had cited, the one about half of all people with the virus being asymptomatic, there’s just no way that can be true, the person said. No one has ever heard of a coronavirus similar to SARS or MERS whose spread can be driven in part by asymptomatic carriers. That would be a game changer. On February 1, Mulvaney tried to rein Pottinger in. As Rogin reports: Concerned about the political implications, Mulvaney tried to rein in Pottinger. He took O’Brien aside and told him, “You’ve got to get Pottinger under control.” Pottinger was too young, Mulvaney said, and too immature to be deputy national security adviser. Mulvaney was among the most skeptical of all the White House officials that the virus threat was real. In late February, as the markets tanked, Mulvaney said the media was exaggerating the threat in an effort to bring down President Trump, calling it the “hoax of the day.” As he prepared the White House’s first budget to respond to the emerging crisis, Mulvaney pegged the total cost at $800 million. (Mulvaney was pushed out in early March.) 2. Pottinger’s Crusade for Universal Masking In February 2020, Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, began a months-long campaign to popularize universal masking and travel quarantines in response to the coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China. Beginning in February 2020, Pottinger began a crusade for Americans to adopt universal masking in response to the new coronavirus based on recommendations from his own sources in China. As Abutaleb writes: Back in February, Matt Pottinger had relayed what he had hoped would be received as good news by the Coronavirus Task Force. His contacts in China had found a way to significantly slow the virus’s spread: face coverings. Pottinger began wearing a mask to work in early March to convince his White House colleagues to take up the practice. A mask, however, could significantly stem transmission, Pottinger argued. If people’s noses and mouths were covered, they would emit far fewer respiratory droplets, lowering the risk of infecting others. Pottinger began wearing a mask to work in early March. But he didn’t wear a simple cloth face covering; he wore what other White House aides thought was a gas mask. He looked like a lunatic, some snickered, and it reinforced his reputation as an alarmist. One staffer described him as “being at a hundred” as early as January (on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of concern). Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, pushed for mask mandates in the White House and for staff to be quarantined if they traveled outside Washington. Having lived in China during the SARS outbreak, he saw the importance of the speed with which Asian countries had mobilized. In early February, he recommended that NSC staffers who traveled outside Washington—even to other parts of the United States—quarantine before returning to work. He also wanted NSC staff to telework when possible, limit in-person meetings, restrict the number of people who could be in a room at one time, and be required to wear masks. That struck many White House aides as absurd. There were just a handful of known cases at the time; the virus was barely a blip on most people’s radars. No one else was changing their workplace standards… Pottinger urged the adoption of universal masking as had been ordered by “governments in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.” Pottinger pointed to a handful of Asian countries where the use of face coverings was universal. The governments in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong had ordered their citizens to wear masks with seemingly indisputable results. Pottinger saw no “downside” in universal masking, though there was no data and research to show it was effective. Pottinger’s heart sank as he saw the tweet and the ensuing messages. What was the downside in having people cover their faces while they waited for more data and research about how effective masks might be? Pottinger proposed delivering a mask to every mailbox in America. As Wright reports: Pottinger and Robert Kadlec, an assistant secretary at Health and Human Services, came up with an idea to put masks in every mailbox in America. Hanes, the underwear company, offered to make antimicrobial masks that were machine washable. “We couldn’t get it through the task force,” Pottinger told his brother. “We got machine-gunned down before we could even move on it.” Masks were still seen as useless or even harmful by the administration and even public health officials. Matt Pottinger’s crusade for the adoption of universal masking based on information from his own sources in China is especially peculiar because, as of the time of this writing, though there are hundreds of pictures of Pottinger online, there does not appear to be a single one in which he is wearing a mask anywhere on the Internet. 3. Popularizing Shutdowns In January 2020, Pottinger popularized shutdowns within the White House using a dubious study on the 1918 flu pandemic comparing outcomes between Philadelphia and St. Louis, a month before this study received any significant media attention. If you live in the United States, you probably remember the ludicrous study that made the rounds among major media outlets in March 2020 comparing outcomes in Philadelphia and St. Louis during the 1918 Spanish flu. According to the study, St. Louis canceled its annual parade, closed schools, and discouraged gatherings in 1918, while Philadelphia did not, so Philadelphia was punished when thousands of residents died of flu over the coming weeks. Therefore, these media outlets argued, it somehow logically followed that we should shut down the entire United States economy in 2020. One man who was several weeks ahead of media outlets in citing this claptrap was Matt Pottinger. As Wright reports, Pottinger began popularizing the idea of shutdowns within the White House by circulating this study among his White House colleagues on January 31, 2020. Matt Pottinger handed out a study of the 1918 flu pandemic to his colleagues in the White House, indicating the differing outcomes between the experiences of Philadelphia and St. Louis—a clear example of the importance of leadership, transparency, and following the best scientific counsel. 4. Appointing Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Beginning in January 2020, Pottinger began petitioning for Deborah Birx to be appointed as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. Birx then embarked on a months-long scorched earth campaign for lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. On January 28, 2020, Pottinger began to reach out to Deborah Birx to have her come to the White House to lead the response to the Coronavirus. As Birx recalls in her book: On January 28, after meeting with Erin Walsh to solidify the planning and schedule for the upcoming African Diplomatic Corps State Department meeting, I received a text from Yen Pottinger. Aside from being the wife of my friend Matt, the deputy national security advisor, Yen was also a former colleague at the CDC and a trusted friend and neighbor… Matt had apologized for the short notice and said he hoped we could meet face-to-face. Yen arranged so that I could meet him in the West Wing, and once we were both there, Matt got to the point quickly. He offered me the position of White House spokesperson on the virus. Abutaleb goes into more detail on Birx’s relationship with Pottinger. Pottinger was married to one of Birx’s subordinates who’d developed a widely-used HIV test at the CDC. [Birx] made a number of powerful connections along the way. When she became head of the CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS, one of her subordinates was a bright virologist named Yen Duong, who developed a widely used HIV test while working at the agency. Duong would eventually marry a Wall Street Journal reporter turned marine named Matt Pottinger, a connection that would eventually bring Birx into Trump’s orbit. According to Pottinger and Birx, he pleaded with her over several weeks to head the Coronavirus Task Force, and she reluctantly agreed. The hero we didn’t need. As Birx recalls in her book: It is March 2, 2020. I’ve just flown in overnight from South Africa to take on the role of response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, a job I didn’t seek but felt compelled to accept. I’m physically tired but mentally alert. After weeks of urging from Matthew Pottinger— President Trump’s deputy national security advisor, a task force member himself, and the husband of a former colleague and friend of mine—I finally gave in to Matt’s request that I come on board to help with the response to the coronavirus outbreak… Matt Pottinger, was one of the good ones in the Trump White House. A former journalist turned highly-decorated U.S. Marine who served as an intelligence officer for part of his time, Matt had deep experience in China (including during the 2002–2003 SARS outbreak there) and was fluent in Mandarin. Matt took a position in the National Security Council in the earliest stage of the Trump administration, while still serving in the Marine Reserves. As documented in her bizarre tell-all book, which received uniquely excellent reviews from Chinese state media, Birx then embarked on a months-long, largely clandestine, scorched-earth crusade to orchestrate lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. These lockdowns ultimately killed tens of thousands of young Americans while failing to meaningfully slow the spread of the coronavirus everywhere they were tried. By her own admission, she lied, hid data, and manipulated the president’s administration to drive consent for lockdowns that were stricter than the administration realized until finally stepping down soon after breaking her own travel guidance to visit her family for Thanksgiving in November 2020. No sooner had we convinced the Trump administration to implement our version of a two-week shutdown than I was trying to figure out how to extend it. Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread was a start, but I knew it would be just that. I didn’t have the numbers in front of me yet to make the case for extending it longer, but I had two weeks to get them. However hard it had been to get the fifteen-day shutdown approved, getting another one would be more difficult by many orders of magnitude. In October 2020, while visiting Utah, Pottinger admired his handiwork in appointing Birx. Wright reports: Utah had just hit a record high number of new cases. On the ride, an alarm sounded on Pottinger’s cell phone in the saddlebag. It was an alert: “Almost every single county is a high transmission area. Hospitals are nearly overwhelmed. By public health order masks are required in high transmission areas.” Pottinger thought, “Debi must have met with the governor.” 5. Promoting Mass Testing Sometime in February 2020, Pottinger, who has no background in science or public health, appears to have promoted within the White House the idea of mass testing for the coronavirus. Wright recounts: At a Coronavirus Task Force meeting, Redfield announced that the CDC would send a limited number of test kits to five “sentinel cities.” Pottinger was stunned: five cities? Why not send them everywhere? He learned that the CDC makes tests, but not at scale. For that, you have to go to a company like Roche or Abbott—molecular testing powerhouses which have the experience and capacity to manufacture millions of tests a month. Using the standard PCR cycle thresholds of 37 to 40 later provided in the testing guidance published by the WHO, approximately 85% to 90% of these cases were false positives, as later confirmed by The New York Times. 6. Endorsing Remdesivir In March 2020, Pottinger appears to have endorsed use of the drug remdesivir as a possible Covid therapy based on information from a doctor in China. Wright reports: In the early morning of March 4, as Matt Pottinger was driving to the White House, he was on the phone with a source in China, a doctor. Taking notes on the back of an envelope while holding the phone to his ear and navigating the city traffic, Pottinger was excited by all the valuable new information about how the virus was being contained in China. The doctor specifically mentioned the antiviral drug remdesivir. The health outcomes of remdesivir remain unknown, but no benefit to the mortality of its recipients has been proven. 7. Pushing Intelligence to Believe Covid Came From a Lab Pottinger has continually promoted the idea that the coronavirus came from a lab, and specifically prodded the US intelligence community to do the same, regardless of evidence, while urging the global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. In January 2020, Pottinger began directly prodding the CIA to look for evidence that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, China. As the New York Times disclosed: With his skeptical—some might even say conspiratorial—view of China’s ruling Communist Party, Mr. Pottinger initially suspected that President Xi Jinping’s government was keeping a dark secret: that the virus may have originated in one of the laboratories in Wuhan studying deadly pathogens. In his view, it might have even been a deadly accident unleashed on an unsuspecting Chinese population. During meetings and telephone calls, Mr. Pottinger asked intelligence agencies—including officers at the C.I.A. working on Asia and on weapons of mass destruction—to search for evidence that might bolster his theory. They didn’t have any evidence. Intelligence agencies did not detect any alarm inside the Chinese government that analysts presumed would accompany the accidental leak of a deadly virus from a government laboratory. But Mr. Pottinger continued to believe the coronavirus problem was far worse than the Chinese were acknowledging. Though the CIA did not return any evidence to support his theory, Pottinger has continued to promote the conclusion that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan lab, despite quietly admitting that the virus was not man-made or genetically modified. As CBS reported in its interview on February 21, 2021: MARGARET BRENNAN: U.S. intelligence has said COVID, according to wide scientific consensus, was not man-made or genetically modified. You are not in any way alleging that it was, are you?  MATT POTTINGER: No. Much of the initial alarm that Covid might be a supervirus from the Wuhan lab arose because of the frightening videos of Wuhan residents spontaneously dying in January 2020, and because Xi Jinping decided to shut down Wuhan, where the lab was. However, all of those videos were soon proven fake, and US intelligence has confirmed that the virus was spreading in Wuhan by November 2019 at the latest. A growing body of research suggests that the virus did not start either in the Wuhan lab or the Wuhan wet market, and a number of studies from various continents have shown that the virus was also spreading undetected all over the world by November 2019 at the latest, many months before lockdowns began. Covid’s origins remain a mystery, and leading scientists and policymakers were nowhere near transparent enough about their panic that the virus might have come from a lab in early 2020. However, given that the national security community has quietly admitted Covid is not genetically modified, it began spreading undetected globally many months before lockdowns, and it did not cause Wuhan residents to spontaneously die, the question of whether Covid came from the lab would appear to be a moot point from a national security perspective. Furthermore, in my book and elsewhere, there is a growing body of evidence that the CCP used a variety of clandestine means to promote the idea that Covid came from a lab, both to stoke fear and to mislead the western intelligence community from the CCP’s well-documented campaign for global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. Likewise, Pottinger has continually promoted the idea that Covid came from a lab, and prodded the intelligence community to do the same, while urging the adoption of China’s virus containment measures. Pottinger’s credulousness in sharing and promoting scientific concepts and policies from China including asymptomatic spread, universal masking, quarantines, shutdowns, and remdesivir further belies the notion that the fixation on the Wuhan lab serves any legitimate national security interest. In summary, as Deputy National Security Advisor, Matt Pottinger played a singularly outsized role in shaping America’s disastrous response to Covid by taking the following actions: Throughout January 2020, Pottinger unilaterally called White House meetings unbeknownst to those in attendance and breached protocol to ratchet up alarm about the new coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China, despite having no official intelligence to back up his alarmism. Despite having no background in science or public health, beginning in February 2020, Pottinger embarked on a months-long campaign to urge the adoption of universal masking and travel quarantines in response to the coronavirus based on information from his own sources in China. However, there does not appear to be a single picture of Pottinger wearing a mask anywhere on the Internet. Pottinger popularized the idea of shutdowns within the White House using a questionable study on the 1918 flu pandemic comparing outcomes between Philadelphia and St. Louis, a month before this study received any significant attention from media outlets in 2020. Pottinger specifically courted Deborah Birx to serve as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, who then embarked on a months-long campaign for lockdowns that were as long and strict as possible across the United States. Despite having no background in science or public health, Pottinger appears to have promoted the idea of mass testing for the coronavirus. Pottinger appears to have endorsed use of the drug remdesivir as a possible Covid therapy based on information from a doctor in China. Pottinger has continually promoted the conclusion that the coronavirus came from a lab, and specifically prodded the US intelligence community to do the same, regardless of evidence to support that conclusion, while simultaneously urging the global adoption of China’s virus containment measures. In Pottinger’s speeches, he often discusses the need for more grassroots populism in China. Pottinger may have simply been overly-trusting of his sources, thinking they were the little people in China trying to help their American friends. But why did Pottinger push so hard for sweeping Chinese policies like mask mandates that were far outside his field of expertise? Why did he so often breach protocol? Why seek out and appoint Deborah Birx? Pottinger’s zealousness in endorsing these sweeping policies is even more bewildering because it’s widely known in the intelligence community that the CCP’s primary focus is on information warfare—“superseding their cultural and political values” to those of the west and undermining the western values that Xi Jinping sees as threatening, outlined in his leaked Document No. 9: “independent judiciaries,” “human rights,” “western freedom,” “civil society,” “freedom of the press,” and the “free flow of information on the internet.” Though political conditions in China have deteriorated rapidly, Pottinger is supposed to know that—that’s why he had the Top Secret security clearance and the big job in the National Security Council. In fact, we know how rapidly conditions in China have deteriorated in part because Matt Pottinger is the one who told us. The only reason anyone accepted all this information and guidance from these Chinese sources is that it came through Pottinger. I certainly can’t pass judgment. But from where I’m sitting, it looks like we’ve been struck by a smooth criminal. *  *  * Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. Want to support my work? Get the book. Already got the book? Leave a quick review. The New Normal is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Tyler Durden Sat, 07/23/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 24th, 2022

With World Gripped By Fertilizer Crisis, Biden Admin Clings To "Climate-Inspired Utopian Food-Production Fantasies"

With World Gripped By Fertilizer Crisis, Biden Admin Clings To "Climate-Inspired Utopian Food-Production Fantasies" Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times, Samantha Power: ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’ Do the World Economic Forum and China agree? “Fertilizer shortages are real now.” Uttered by USAID’s Samantha Power in a May 1 ABC interview with former Democratic advisor George Stephanopoulos, the words briefly drowned out the din of the news cycle. They were not unexpected to some. Power, who served as U.N. ambassador under Obama, mentioned fertilizer shortages after weeks of hints from the Biden administration. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly alluded to challenges obtaining fertilizer in recent press briefings. So did President Joe Biden himself in a joint statement with EU President Ursula von der Leyen. “We are deeply concerned by how Putin’s war in Ukraine has caused major disruptions to international food and agriculture supply chains, and the threat it poses to global food security. We recognize that many countries around the world have relied on imported food staples and fertilizer inputs from Ukraine and Russia, with Putin’s aggression disrupting that trade,” the leaders stated. In an April report titled, “The Ukraine Conflict and Other Factors Contributing to High Commodity Prices and Food Insecurity,” the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service acknowledged that “for agricultural producers around the world, high fertilizer and fuel prices are a major concern.” While political rhetoric has often focused on Russia, the rise in fertilizer prices did not begin with its invasion of Ukraine. An analysis from the Peterson Institute of International Economics shows that fertilizer prices have rapidly climbed since mid-2021, spiking first in late 2021 and again around the time of the invasion. Industry observers have pointed out that commodity prices are not solely affected by Vladimir Putin. Max Gagliardi, an Oklahoma City oil and gas industry commentator who cofounded the energy marketing firm Ancova Energy, told The Epoch Times that the war and sanctions have helped drive the upward climb of natural gas prices in Europe. A worker walks at the Yara ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, Norway, on Aug. 9, 2017. (Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/Reuters) Natural gas is used in the Haber-Bosch process, which generates the ammonia in nitrogen fertilizers. Those fertilizers feed half the planet. Gagliardi thinks the picture is more complicated at home, where environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) has become a controversial tool of stakeholder capitalism, often used to force divestment from fossil fuels or other industries disfavored by the left. “It’s a combination of record demand domestically and from LNG [liquid natural gas] exports combined with less than expected supply, in part due to the starving of capital for the O&G industry due to the ESG/green movement pressures on capital providers, plus pressure from Wall Street to spend less capital and return value to shareholders,” he said. Language from Power Echoes Green Activists, EU, WEF In the case of increasing costs for oil, natural gas, and coal, some politicians and green activists have argued that those fast-rising prices mark an opportunity to accelerate a move from hydrocarbons to wind, solar, and electrification. “Big Oil is price gouging American drivers. These liars do nothing to make the United States energy independent or stabilize gas prices. It’s time we break up with Big Oil and ignite a clean energy revolution,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said on Twitter in March. “I say we take this opportunity to double down on our renewable energy investments and wean ourselves off of planet-destroying fossil fuels[.] Never let a crisis go to waste,” said former Joe Biden delegate and political commentator Lindy Li in a Twitter post about ExxonMobil’s exit from Russia’s Far East. Meanwhile, Mandy Gunasekara, an environmental lawyer who served as the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff under President Trump, said in an interview with The Epoch Times, “It’s always been part of their plan to make the price of traditional energy sources go up, so then wind and solar could actually compete with them.” Describing how fertilizer shortages could actually help advance a particular agenda, Power sounded much like Li. She even used an identical phrase: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Intentionally or not, this echoed a line from another high-profile Obama alum, Rahm Emanuel: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” Emanuel was talking about the 2008-2009 financial meltdown. “Less fertilizer is coming out of Russia. As a result, we’re working with countries to think about natural solutions, like manure and compost. And this may hasten transitions that would have been in the interest of farmers to make anyway. So, never let a crisis go to waste,” Power told Stephanopoulos. Power’s language of setting crisis as opportunity parallels similar statements from environmental groups. Writing to EU President von der Leyen and other EU bureaucrats, a group of European and international environmental organizations urged the union to stay the course on environmental policy. “The crisis in Ukraine is yet another reminder of how essential it is to implement the Green Deal and its Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies,” the letter states. The Farm to Fork Strategy confidently asserts that its actions to curb the overuse of chemical fertilizers “will reduce the use of [fertilizers] by at least 20 percent by 2030.” “Ploughing more farmland, as is currently being put forward, to grow crops for biofuels and intensive animal farming by using even more synthetic pesticides and [fertilizers] would be absurd and dangerously increase ecosystem collapses, the most severe threat to social-ecological stability and food security,” the activists’ letter argues. “The European Union must tackle the current challenges by accelerating the implementation of its strategies to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and [fertilizers], to preserve its natural environment and the health of its citizens.” Numerous publications from the World Economic Forum (WEF), known for its role in orchestrating the global response to COVID-19, have made similar arguments. A 2020 white paper from WEF and the consulting firm McKinsey and Company warns of greenhouse gas emissions and potential runoff from fertilizers, advocating for an end to fertilizer subsidies in developing countries and praising China for its efforts to reduce fertilizer use. A 2018 WEF white paper, co-authored with the consulting firm Accenture, claims that “a 21st century approach to organic farming” should strive to close the gap in yields between organic and conventional farming. WEF’s vision of 21st century agriculture comes into greater focus in another 2018 report titled, “Bio-Innovation in the Food System.” It advocates for the bioengineering of new microbes to fix nitrogen more efficiently in plants. “This offers the prospect of lowering and more optimally applying nitrogen fertilizer,” WEF’s report states. WEF has also pushed the use of “biosolids”—in other words sewage sludge—as fertilizer. Urine, it notes, “makes an excellent agricultural fertilizer.” Gunasekara, formerly of the EPA, said that fertilizer overuse and runoff presents serious risks, giving rise to toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. However, “generally speaking, the farmers are very, very efficient with their fertilizer use. They have a built-in incentive not to waste something that is a high input cost,” she told The Epoch Times, adding that in her experience, industry and communities could work out positive solutions with regulators. Heavy-handed restrictions, she argued, are not the solution. The UK Absolute Zero report, produced by academics at top British universities, goes even further than some other reports in its opposition to nitrogen-based fertilizers and conventional agriculture more generally. This photo shows sheep feeding on lush grass on the property of Australian farmer Kevin Tongue near the rural city of Tamworth in New South Wales, Australia, on May 4, 2020. (Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images) It anticipates a phaseout of beef and lamb production, with “fertilizer use greatly reduced,” in order to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050. “There are substantial opportunities to reduce energy use by reducing demand for [fertilizers],” the report states. It also envisions cuts to energy in the food sector of 60 percent before 2050. That imagined energy austerity, with its many unforeseeable consequences for human life, apparently will not last forever. The report claims that after 2050, energy for fertilizer and other aspects of food production will “[increase] with zero-emissions electricity.” “A food crisis/famine advances the long-term goal of more centralized control of energy, food, transportation, etc., as advanced by the Davos crowd of the WEF. Governments must expand their powers to ‘handle’ crises, and that is what progressives love more than anything,” Marc Morano, proprietor of the website Climate Depot, told The Epoch Times. Sri Lanka’s Organic Experiment a Stark Warning Though Power’s remarks were consistent with talking points from Democrats, WEF, the EU, and similar factions, they came at a particularly inconvenient moment for advocates of organic fertilizer—Sri Lanka’s recent experiment with abandoning chemical fertilizer has plunged the island nation into chaos that shows no signs of letting up. According to a 2021 report from the USDA Foreign Agriculture service,  Sri Lankan agricultural economists warned that a rapid shift from chemical to organic fertilizers “will result in significant drops in crop yields.” The country has since had to compensate one million of its farmers to the tune of $200 million, as reported by Al Jazeera. With food shortages now a reality, anti-government protests prompted Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to declare a state of emergency on May 6—the second in two months. “[Sri Lanka is] now literally on the verge of famine, because they’ve had massive crop failures,” Gunasekara said. A farmer prepares a paddy field for sowing in Biyagama on the outskirts of Colombo on October 21, 2020. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via Getty Images) “This administration wants to use this as an opportunity to push their Green New Deal-style farming tactics, which we’ve seen implemented elsewhere, that cause significant problems beyond what we’re currently facing from our farmers’ perspective and what consumers are going to be facing,” she added. “Manure cannot compete with modern chemical agriculture for high yield farming that the world depends on,” Morano of Climate Depot said. Rufus Chaney, a retired USDA scientist known for his research on sewage sludge-based fertilizers, echoed Morano’s skepticism about making up for missing chemical fertilizers with organic alternatives. “There are not enough useful (and not already being used) organic fertilizers to change the balance of any chemical fertilizer shortages,” Rufus told The Epoch Times via email. “Nearly all organic fertilizers are built on livestock manure and can only be shipped short distances before it becomes cost-prohibitive,” he added. These realities underscore another apparent contradiction in green policy—even as climate activists push for cuts to chemical fertilizer use and greater reliance on organic alternatives, they are working assiduously to cull the livestock populations that provide manure for those fertilizers. In Northern Ireland, for example, a newly passed climate Act will require the region to lose a million sheep and cattle. The EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy even states that work on fertilizers will be focused “in hotspot areas of intensive livestock farming and of recycling of organic waste into renewable fertilizers.” “For years we were warned that ‘climate change’ would cause food shortages, but now it appears that climate policy will be one of the biggest factors in causing food shortages,” Morano told The Epoch Times. Bails of hay sit in a paddock containing a failed wheat crop on farmer Trevor Knapman’s property in Gunnedah, NSW, Australia, on Oct. 4, 2019. (David Gray/Getty Images) He cited research suggesting that a move to organic farming in the United Kingdom could actually raise carbon dioxide emissions, as the decrease in domestic yields can be expected to boost carbon-intensive imports. “What the Biden admin is doing is seizing on ‘crises’ to advance their agenda. Greta [Thunberg] famously said, ‘I want you to panic.’ Because when you panic, you don’t think rationally and calmly, and you make poor choices. The only way they can sell these climate-inspired utopian energy and food production fantasies is during times of COVID crisis or wartime crisis,” he added. China’s Role Scrutinized Still, others see the focus on Russia as a distraction from China’s maneuvering on the world stage. In 2021, China limited exports of both phosphate and urea fertilizers. The country has also stepped up its fertilizer imports. China’s export restrictions came after it rapidly emerged as “the most important and most influential country in the fertilizer business,” according to an outlook document from the Gulf Chemicals & Petrochemicals Association. The Peterson Institute’s analysis shows that as global fertilizer prices shot upward in 2021 and 2022, China’s fertilizer prices mostly leveled off. Although the USDA’s April report did note the impact of China’s fertilizer export restrictions and heavy fertilizer imports, its executive summary drew greater attention to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. That summary did not mention China by name among the “countries imposing export bans and restrictions.” Stanford University’s Gordon Chang, a China expert, warned on Twitter on May 6 that China has been “buying chemical companies whose products are needed for fertilizer and, more generally, food production,” citing comments from onshoring advocate Jonathan Bass. The Epoch Times has reached out to Chang and Bass for additional details. We must, as a national priority, protect our farmland, ranches, processing facilities, distribution channels, and all the other elements that support agriculture and the food chain. #China’s regime is seeking control. Its intentions are undoubtedly malign. #CCP — Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) May 7, 2022 China has also been buying up American farmland as well as ports around the world, including ports in the now-food insecure Sri Lanka. Physicist Michael Sekora, a former project director in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), told The Epoch Times that worldwide fertilizer shortages could reflect China’s long-range technology strategy. A key element of that strategy, he argued, is undercutting the United States whenever and wherever possible. “Our ability to produce food is very much under attack right now. Some people say, ‘Oh, it’s just a coincidence.’ It’s China,” Sekora said. “China has been very strategic in making sure they shore up what they have and restricting access throughout the rest of the world,” Gunasekara said. “When you have people come in that are very anti-development and anti-growth, China can put its finger on the global market, making it that much harder, and then try to use that as an example to exert more authority and have access to greater power.” Pain Felt Around the World “It’s been hectic,” said South African tobacco farmer Herman J. Roos. Roos told The Epoch Times that fertilizer prices near him have jumped since the invasion of Ukraine, on the heels of steep increases over the previous year. He was able to buy all the fertilizer he needs for this year before the latest price shock. Yet, he expects shortages of urea, monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and other fertilizers to strain a population of farmers already under significant stress. Copper theft, lack of government support, and the ever-present threat of physical violence are all pushing Roos and producers like him to the brink. Yet, for all the challenges in South Africa, Roos anticipates the fallout will be worse elsewhere in the continent. “The economy will be hit harder in countries like Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—countries where your agricultural system is more focused on subsistence farming,” Roos added. They and other sub-Saharan African countries are heavily dependent on South Africa for their food supply. Roos prays food riots won’t come to South Africa. The country is still recovering from a wave of riots in summer 2021, prompted by the arrest of former South African President Jacob Zuma. He does predict that some farmers in the country will go bankrupt. Let the master gardeners foot the bill and do all the work, then show up to get in on the harvest. (StockMediaSeller/Shutterstock) Back in the United States, Connecticut landscaper Adam Geriak does not yet face such stark choices. He told The Epoch Times that fertilizer prices near him are up, in line with estimates a Connecticut garden store provided to The Epoch Times. “I do primary garden work and use organic fertilizers, which primarily come from poultry manure,” Geriak said, adding that the price of poultry manure fertilizer may have risen too. He does not think fertilizer price increases will have much of an effect on him. Yet, other facets of the current economic picture are worrisome to him as tries to manage his small business most effectively. “I’m having a hard time planning for the future because of the uncertainty, and I think other owners are feeling this too. In the previous two years, clients seemed to have open coffers. They wanted more projects done and there seemed to be a lot of money going around. Clients seem to be a bit tighter now, asking how they can save money on certain projects and such,” Geriak said. “Being on the verge of a recession, and retirement accounts down may be leading to these issues,” he added. The USDA report on Sri Lanka’s organic experiment states that the country’s government made impossible promises to different parties. It informed farmers it would handle the cost of moving away from chemical fertilizers while telling consumers that rice on their shelves would not become pricier, all while attempting to realize environmental and public health benefits through a breakneck transition to organic fertilizers. “If you put too much emphasis on environmental issues, and you ignore the very real impact that can have to people’s daily lives, it can have dire consequences,” Gunasekara told The Epoch Times. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing it in the most dire of circumstances, which is a suppressed food supply. I think that situation is only going to get worse because of the rise in prices for fertilizers and diesel and everything else that’s going to make it harder for farmers in the U.S. to produce, then also globally.” Josh, a farmer in Texas who raises small livestock, also believes things will get worse before they get better. He did not want to share his last name. “I personally think that we haven’t even begun to feel the effects of inflation in our grocery store bills, because last year, the costs to produce were 1/3 to 1/2 the cost farmers and ranchers are having to pay this year. That cost has to be absorbed by the buyer to make it feasible for them to even continue,” he said in a message to The Epoch Times. “My family is preparing now and stocking up our freezers and pantry because we are really concerned how bad it can get this next year.” He estimates that fertilizer prices near him have increased 200 or even 300 percent, “dependent on what program you are running.” The rise in diesel prices has hurt him the most. “Farm equipment runs on diesel,” he pointed out. According to AAA’s gas price website, diesel in Texas is running at an average of $5.231, up from $2.820 a year ago. “I can’t imagine how anyone would profit or sustain raising crops or cattle with all these price increases that effect your overhead,” Josh said, saying he has heard about other ranchers and farmers culling their herds to avoid losses. “Food shortages are a great way to collapse the current system and install a Great Reset,” Morano, of Climate Depot, told The Epoch Times. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/09/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 9th, 2022

A Chinese telecom giant has suspended Russian operations and furloughed employees as sanctions bite: reports

Huawei's plans to cut Russian operations may only be temporary as it hopes to remain in the market, sources told two Russian-language news outlets. mTwo Russian-language news outlets have reported that Huawei, a major Chinese telecoms equipment maker, has scaled back business operations in Russia to avoid getting hit by US sanctions.VCG/VCG via Getty Images Chinese telecom giant Huawei scaled back operations in Russia to avoid US sanctions, Russian media reports. Huawei is responsible for building much of Russia's 4G and 5G networks. Russia remains a crucial market for Huawei and Beijing has yet to denounce the Russian invasion. A major Chinese telecommunications equipment maker is scaling back its operations in Russia to avoid getting hit by US sanctions related to the ongoing war in Ukraine, two Russian-language news outlets reported.Huawei builds mobile network infrastructure and manufactures consumer devices such as smartphones, laptops, and fitness trackers. Its corporate website for Russia shows that it has one office in Moscow.  Since the end of March, Huawei has stopped taking on new contracts to supply network equipment to Russian operators, according to an April 1 article from Russian news outlet Izvestia, quoting anonymous sources from Huawei's business partners.Huawei then asked Russian employees to go on mandatory leave for the month of April, while Chinese employees could continue working from its offices in Russia, Forbes Russia reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources from companies that work with Huawei. In addition, the Chinese maker also let go of some marketing employees, said the article. "There are no orders, so why should people go to the office?" a source told Forbes.But these plans to scale back operations may only be temporary, as Huawei wants to see how it can remain in the Russian market while avoiding US sanctions, the two outlets noted.Huawei declined to comment when contacted by Insider.  The US and European Union have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia since the start of its invasion of Ukraine, leading many international companies with a presence in Russia to pull out. Among Huawei's competitors in Russia, Swedish maker Ericsson said on Monday that it would suspend its Russian business indefinitely, while Finnish competitor Nokia said on Tuesday that it would be exiting the market.Meanwhile, Beijing has avoided outwardly denouncing Russia's actions. Instead, it criticized western countries for fuelling the conflict and condemned the sanctions. As a result, Chinese companies are staying put in Russia, with some even sensing new opportunities as Western firms quit en masse.In response, a US Commerce Department spokesperson threatened Chinese companies with a "complete ban" on both trade and financing if they're found to have bypassed the sanctions on Russia, according to a March 29 transcript released by the US State Department.Huawei has been the target of several US sanctions since 2019 when the Trump administration deemed the Chinese firm a risk to national security. The restrictions blocked Huawei from accessing US tech components and services, and Huawei's global smartphone shipments fell by more than 40% during the year-end holiday season in 2020. As a result, Russia has become an essential market for Huawei. It won contracts to build 4G and 5G networks in Russia. Currently, Huawei and another Chinese company ZTE account for about 40% to 60% of Russia's market for wireless network equipment, according to the Financial Times.Experts quoted by Forbes Russia and Izvestia said the US Treasury Department's decision last week to lift restrictions on the supply of US telecommunications equipment to Russian entities could offer Huawei a lifeline.In the meantime, Huawei could be exploring other ways to continue operating in Russia while cutting down its exposure to American sanctions. "It's likely that Huawei is revising its product line to supply Russia with those products that do not use American technology," a Russia-based IT systems expert told Forbes.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 13th, 2022

Telefonica (TEF) Replaces Huawei 5G Equipment With Ericsson

Telefonica (TEF) is the latest carrier that has decided to forego Huawei equipment utilized for 5G deployments throughout Spain. Telefonica, S.A. TEF recently secured 5G telecommunications equipment from Ericsson ERIC to replace the existing gear of China-based Huawei used for 5G rollout across Spain. The strategic move is likely to have been influenced by alleged data intrusion efforts by Huawei that have led to various restrictions by U.S.-led allied governments.The United States has long suspected Huawei to be an extension of China’s government due to the close ties of its founder with the military. Moreover, the fact that Huawei products are remarkably cheap owing to the huge subsidies by the government to undercut other 5G equipment manufacturers has perennially evoked a feeling of mistrust. Consequently, Huawei was placed in the U.S. ‘Entity List’ —  a list of entities that are ineligible to receive raw materials or technology without government approval.The superfast 5G networks are widely expected to facilitate the transfer of a larger pool of data, making them more vulnerable and prone to cyber theft. Critics contend that countries could go to any extent to gain a greater pie in this trillion-dollar market and have a political, economic and technological advantage. As such, most countries are devising ways to better encrypt communications to thwart snooping attempts and secure the telecommunications network to eliminate risks.The United States has extensively used its diplomatic channels in the past to urge its allies to shun Huawei from their 5G wireless networks, citing security threats and espionage by China’s government. Telefonica is the latest carrier that has decided to forego Huawei equipment utilized for 5G deployments throughout Spain. Although it has refused to divulge the details, media reports have revealed that a large volume of Ericsson equipment was purchased to replace the gear.Owing to the wide proliferation of the smartphone market and subsequent usage of mobile broadband, user demand for coverage speed and quality has increased. Further, to maintain a superior performance with traffic increases, there is a continuous need for network tuning and optimization. Ericsson, being one of the premier telecom service providers, is much in demand among operators to expand network coverage and upgrade networks for higher speed and capacity. This Sweden-based telecommunications equipment provider is arguably the world’s largest supplier of LTE technology with a significant market share and has established a large number of LTE networks worldwide.Telefonica has adopted a multi-vendor strategy by collaborating with Nokia Corporation NOK and Ericsson to establish its 5G infrastructure in Spain. The company’s 5G network provides almost 80% of the population with advanced mobile Internet services, streamlining the entire communications infrastructure of the country. In recent years, Telefonica has invested heavily in the deployment and transformation of its network to provide excellent connectivity in all of its dimensions, capacity, speed, coverage, and security. Nokia has been Telefonica’s preferred vendor since 2018 and has supported its 5G strategy with trials in the historical city of Segovia in central Spain. The telecommunications equipment provider undertook several initiatives to ascertain the capabilities of the carrier and enable local citizens and businesses to realize the potential benefits of high-speed 5G data services.Telefonica has restructured its Latin American business while remaining focused on other key European markets and the United States. With a major upheaval in eight Latin American markets, the company aims to “reinvent” itself amid a challenging macroeconomic environment.Shares of the company have gained 7.7% in the past year compared with the industry’s rise of 6.2%. We remain impressed with the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchA better-ranked stock in the broader industry is Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Clearfield delivered an earnings surprise of 50.8%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 68.2% since January 2021. Over the past year, Clearfield has gained a solid 244%. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Nokia Corporation (NOK): Free Stock Analysis Report Telefonica SA (TEF): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 28th, 2021

Telecom Stock Roundup: QCOM Sets Growth Goals, ERIC to Boost FIFA Experience & More

While Qualcomm (QCOM) sets ambitious growth targets for fiscal 2024, Ericsson (ERIC) is likely to boost FIFA World Cup experience in Qatar in 2022 through its 5G solutions. U.S. telecom stocks traded relatively flat on average over the past week as the industry treaded with caution, navigating some concerns regarding its interference with aviation safety standards that prevented the industry from going gung-ho about the signing of the infrastructure bill into law. The infrastructure bill includes a $65 billion provision to significantly expand broadband access to Americans, as the administration aims to fortify its technological prowess to thwart the dominance of countries like China. The plan envisions reaching the underserved areas of the country and prioritizing support for broadband networks affiliated with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and cooperatives to encourage strong competition with privately-owned companies.The euphoria surrounding the infrastructure bill was marred by concerns raised by the Federal Aviation Administration about aviation safety being likely compromised by the planned use of spectrum for 5G wireless communications. This, in turn, has forced several leading carriers to defer the commercial launch of the C-band wireless service till January next year as both the industry regulators seek to resolve the issue. Moreover, certain industry experts remain circumspect regarding the implementation of the infrastructure bill and effectively fulfill the President’s vision of “build back better”. Meanwhile, the FCC completed the 3.45 GHz auction for $21.8 billion that makes available 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for commercial use across the country for fixed or mobile uses. The winning bidders reportedly won 4,041 of the 4,060 available generic blocks on offer.Notable company-specific news that grabbed the spotlight over the past week includes Qualcomm Incorporated’s QCOM financial growth targets and Ericsson’s ERIC collaboration to boost the FIFA World Cup experience. Also, Viasat, Inc. VSAT entered into a deal with Embraer, Arista Networks, Inc.’s ANET tied up with Microsoft, and Viavi Solutions Inc.’s VIAV launched Observer 3D v18.6.President Biden continued his hard stance against Beijing and signed the Secure Equipment Act that empowers the FCC to prevent the use of any telecommunications equipment manufactured by China-backed entities in the domestic markets. The bill extended the purview of FCC control to private companies and would not only deter it from approving new requests but also revoke the prior equipment approval on perceived risks to national security interests. This follows an earlier directive to bar China Telecom from operating in the United States over national security concerns and a consequent petition in an U.S. appeals court by the Beijing firm to block the decision in order to prevent irreparable loss to businesses and customer relationships. Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories1.     Qualcomm took the investor community by surprise when it revealed some ambitious growth targets through fiscal 2024. The company expects to witness a stellar rise in its addressable market opportunities from $100 billion at present to more than $700 billion in the next decade, as it continues to diversify its revenue stream to cater to various customer segments across several industries.Management expects fiscal 2024 revenues to reach $46 billion with contribution from IoT devices to be around $9 billion. Revenues from QCT segment of Qualcomm are expected to record a CAGR of mid-teens by fiscal 2024 with an operating margin of more than 30%. Automotive revenues are expected to grow to $3.5 billion in five years and $8 billion in 10 years.      2.     Ericsson and Ooredoo Qatar are collaborating to bring a unique 5G experience for football fans across the Middle Eastern country in the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament. The partnership between the Sweden-based telecommunications equipment manufacturer and the Qatar-based carrier is likely to add a new dimension to this global football extravaganza set to be held from November to December 2022.Per the deal, the two firms will work in unison to offer seamless 5G connectivity in eight stadiums across six cities, as well as in dedicated fan zones, airports, and places of attraction. This will entail Ericsson to provide network optimization by applying industry-leading AI-powered technologies and leverage live and predictive network data to achieve the maximum potential. The firms will also aim to ensure optimum performance by effectively managing Ericsson Radio System products.3.    Viasat has inked a Buyer-Furnished Equipment deal with Embraer to offer its In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) system as a line-fit option on Embraer’s family of E2 aircraft. Viasat is the first Ka-band IFC supplier to have a line-fit IFC solution on the Embraer E2 family.By choosing Viasat’s IFC system as a factory option on the Embraer E2 aircraft prior to delivery, airlines will be able to offer an advanced IFC experience to passengers and flight crew members. They can also avoid costly downtime associated with taking the aircraft out of service for post-production IFC retrofits.4.    Arista has joined the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association — an ecosystem comprising software vendors and security service providers that have combined their solutions to offer better protection against modern cyber threats. Arista was selected based on the integration between its NDR (Network Detection and Response) platform and Microsoft Azure Sentinel. This enables faster remediation of threats by combining network context and threat detection with log-based and endpoint insights within Azure Sentinel. Arista’s Awake Security is an NDR platform provider that combines artificial intelligence with human expertise to autonomously hunt and respond to insider and external threats.  5.    Viavi has unveiled Observer 3D v18.6, which will deliver complete network observability across a hybrid IT environment to proactively identify network issues and their root causes. It has been specifically designed to allow three-dimensional network observability across data sources, locations, and scales of deployment.With increasing data demand, ubiquitous remote users are required to provide critical IT services, irrespective of their location. However, it becomes difficult for the IT teams to manage end-user experience across an ecosystem this broad. In order to tackle this issue, Viavi’s Observer 3D v18.6 fills the visibility gaps and enhances the overall performance that helps the business.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major telecom stocks over the past week and six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past five trading days, Qualcomm has been the best performer with its stock gaining 12.9% while Bandwidth has declined the most with its stock falling 9.3%.Over the past six months, Arista has been the best performer with its stock appreciating 38.8% while Bandwidth has declined the most with its stock falling 54.8%.Over the past six months, the Zacks Telecommunications Services industry has declined 9.3% while the S&P 500 has rallied 14.7%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Telecom Space?In addition to 5G deployments and product launches, all eyes will remain glued to how the administration implements key policy changes to safeguard the interests of the industry and address the bottlenecks to spur growth. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Viasat Inc. (VSAT): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis Report Viavi Solutions Inc. (VIAV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 18th, 2021

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. bans China Telecom over national security concerns

The Federal Communications Commission has revoked the license that allows China’s largest telecom operator to do business in the U.S., citing national security concerns, dealing the latest in a series of blows against major Chinese businesses in the country......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchOct 27th, 2021

Factbox: Global tech companies shun Huawei after U.S. ban

Global tech firms, including chip suppliers, are cutting ties with China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd after the U.S. government put the world's largest telecom equipment maker on a trade blacklist citing national security concerns......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 23rd, 2019

New Zealand rejects Huawei"s first 5G bid citing national security risk

New Zealand's intelligence agency has rejected the telecom industry's first request in the country to use 5G equipment provided by China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, citing concerns about national security......»»

Category: topSource: reutersNov 28th, 2018

The Nord Stream pipeline attack shows what Russia can do, Western officials say, even if they can"t prove Russia did it

Russia is a capable opponent in the "gray zone" and in "high intensity" warfare, "so we'll have to address them in both," a Swedish official said. Gas leaking from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea on September 27.Swedish Coast Guard via Getty Images After months of investigation, Western officials can't prove Russia blew up the Nord Stream pipelines. While they can't name Russia as the culprit, officials say the attacks illustrate what Russia can do. The vulnerability of undersea infrastructure, like pipelines and data cables, is a growing concern. After explosions ruptured the Nord Stream pipelines and set the Baltic Sea boiling with leaking methane gas, US and European officials were quick to blame Russia.Four months on, investigators are unable to prove Moscow was behind the attack, but officials say the explosions illustrate the threat malign actors — especially Russia — pose to vital undersea infrastructure.After the explosions in late September, skeptics argued that Russia had little to gain in severing pipelines that gave it leverage over European energy supplies, but numerous officials said Russia was the likely culprit, citing Moscow's reliance on unconventional warfare and rising tensions with its European neighbors.As of late December, however, there was "no evidence at this point that Russia was behind the sabotage," a European official told The Washington Post, echoing the views of nearly two dozen diplomatic and intelligence officials from nine countries.The Nord Stream pipeline connects Russia and northern Germany.Yasin Demirci/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesInvestigators have confirmed the blasts were deliberate, but the admiral in charge of the Office of Naval Intelligence acknowledged this month that there are "still some unknowns," including the perpetrator."Obviously, we have a number of investigations underway with different countries taking a look at it," Rear Adm. Michael Studeman said at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event on January 11."The sabotage is confirmed based on what we know so far, but we haven't ruled out any guilty party at this stage of the game," Studeman added. "So we're going to have to wait and see what the evidence and where this investigation or series of investigations go, so stand by right now, but we don't know enough to make any conclusions."Despite the uncertainty, the attack has only added to concern about threats to undersea infrastructure, particularly cables and pipelines, that connects continents and powers economies."There is a vulnerability around anything that sits upon the seabed, whether that's gas pipelines, whether that's data cables," Adm. Sir Ben Key, first sea lord and chief of the British naval staff, said aboard British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth just days after the blast.Russian special-purpose submarine Belgorod at its launch in April 2019.Oleg KuleshovbackslashTASS via Getty ImagesThat vulnerability is a longstanding British concern. In 2015, the chief of the UK defense staff described threats to cables and pipelines as "a new risk to our way of life." In a 2017 report, Rishi Sunak, then a member of British parliament, described undersea internet cables as "indispensable yet insecure" — a theme Sunak revisited in November in his first major foreign-policy speech as prime minister.Russia is seen as uniquely capable of interfering with that infrastructure. It has a number of submarines with special-mission capabilities, including the ability to deploy smaller submersibles to tap cables or meddle with pipelines.US military officials say they have seen worrying increases in Russian activity around that infrastructure, and Washington has imposed sanctions to counter Russian investment in such activity.The September explosions have also left an impression on Norway and Sweden, which have extensive undersea and offshore infrastructure that could be targeted."Just look at the incident with the pipeline, and when we think of that, you have, I think, around 6,000 miles of pipeline in that area. How do we come up with a [way to] take care of that?" Capt. Egil Vasstrand, naval attaché at Norway's Embassy in Washington DC, said during an event at the Surface Navy Association's national conference this month.A Norwegian Coast Guard ship patrols around an offshore gas platform in October.OLE BERG-RUSTEN/NTB/AFP via Getty Images"I think we don't only need the navy capabilities. We need also to play together with the companies here, the offshore companies," Vasstrand said in response to a question from Insider. "They also have equipment that can monitor and surveil that part. We don't have enough ships to cover that big area and to secure it."Norway has experience with damaged undersea cables. In September 2021, more than 2.5 miles of cable off of northern Norway disappeared, and in January 2022 a fiber-optic cable between Norway and Svalbard was cut.Both incidents were attributed to human activity, but a perpetrator has not been named. (Norway, which borders major Russian military bases, has accused Moscow of other kinds of interference.)Following the pipeline blasts, Norway and its neighbors called on NATO to coordinate protection of undersea infrastructure, but with plans for more cables in the region and as tensions with Russia remain high, countries need to prepare for both "gray-zone activity" between peace and war and "high-intensity warfighting" like that in Ukraine, Col. Henrik Rosén, naval attaché at Sweden's Embassy, said during the same event.The Russians are "really proficient in operating in the gray zone, but they will always also be able to go to war," Rosén said, "so we'll have to address them in both those logics, and we cannot so say it's either-or. It has to be both."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 23rd, 2023

The "carrier killer" missile Russia fired into a Ukrainian apartment building, killing dozens, is "notoriously inaccurate" and unpredictable, intelligence and experts say

The missile can't distinguish targets easily over land, making it a bad idea to fire it into a civilian area, unless you just don't care, experts say. Rescuers use special equipment in searching people trapped under the rubble of a high-rise residential building hit by a missile on January 15, 2023 in Dnipro, Ukraine.Elena Tita/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images Russia fired an anti-ship missile into an urban area in Dnipro, killing dozens of Ukrainians. Britain's defense ministry said the Kh-22 missile used in the attack is "notoriously inaccurate." One security expert told Insider that the big Soviet-era weapon can cause a lot of collateral damage.  Russian forces recklessly fired a large anti-ship missile first introduced in the 1960s into a residential area in central Ukraine over the weekend, killing dozens of civilians in one of the single deadliest attacks on non-combatants in the war to date.Western intelligence agencies and military experts say the weapon that Moscow used in the strike is unpredictable and "inaccurate" when used against targets on land.On Saturday, Russian forces sent a Kh-22 missile — which NATO identifies as a AS-4 Kitchen missile — plummeting into a residential area in the major city of Dnipro, which had a pre-war population of nearly 1 million people. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 45 people were killed and 79 were injured in the strike that damaged or destroyed over 300 apartment units. "We will definitely find everyone who caused this terror," he said on Tuesday. "Everyone involved in this and other missile attacks against Ukraine will be found and held to account." Ukraine's military said the Kh-22 that hit the apartments in Dnipro was one of five launched from Cold War-era long-range Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers. The Kh-22 used in the attack is a Soviet-era supersonic anti-ship missile equipped with a 2,000-pound warhead. Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesperson for Ukraine's air force, referred to it as an "aircraft carrier killer" and said it's designed to "destroy aircraft carrier groups at sea." —Andriy P. Zagorodnyuk (@Andriypzag) January 14, 2023Big missile, lots of collateral damageIan Williams, deputy director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Insider that the Kh-22 is guided by an unsophisticated radar intended to detect a ship against the relatively simple backdrop of water. Over land, it has trouble discriminating between targets, which makes it unpredictable when fired into an urban environment with residential areas. And even if hits the intended target, the destructive capacity of this missile is likely to cause a lot of extra destruction."It's a huge missile — it's really large," Williams said. "So any use of it in an urban environment like that, even if you happen to hit what you're hitting, there's going to be a lot of collateral damage."Britain's defense ministry said in a recent intelligence update that the Kh-22 is "notoriously inaccurate" when fired at ground targets in urban areas, citing the radar issues. It's unclear if Russia was deliberately aiming at the apartment complex, a less practical target, or if this strike was intended for Ukraine's electrical grid as past missile barrages have been and simply missed.With its ability to travel hundreds of miles, the Kh-22 can easily deviate from an intended target by hundreds of yards, Ukraine's military said.And these missiles are difficult to intercept, Williams said. The rocket-powered weapon travels at a high altitude and at supersonic speed, making it a challenge for air defense systems — especially those that are shorter range, like the ones Ukraine has been using to fend off other missile and drone strikes.      "They're tough to intercept with traditional air defenses," he said, adding that "you almost need a ballistic missile defense interceptor."Emergency workers clear the rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building leaving many people under debris in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023.AP Photo/Evgeniy MaloletkaUkraine's military said its forces do not have the capability to down the Kh-22 — hundreds of which have been fired by Russian forces since they started the war last February. These weapons have also been used in other strikes with high civilian death tolls, such as an attack on a shopping mall in Kremenchuk in late June.The UK defense ministry said at the time that Russia's Kh-22, when used in this way, "are highly inaccurate and therefore can cause severe collateral damage and casualties."The use of the Kh-22 appears to be part of an effort to overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses, which have been bolstered in recent months by military aid provided by NATO countries. One Russian strategy has been to fire a bunch of different missiles together, like cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, or air defense interceptors on a ballistic trajectory, Williams said. This method poses a challenge to air defense systems because radars focus on certain sectors of the sky, he explained. So if attention is on the horizon, defenses might be neglecting threats at a higher altitude, and if the attention is focused up high, threats could approach from a lower level. "Diversity of missile types and flight profiles can help you overcome a stiff air defense," he said. 'Cruelty is the point right now'Russia's use of the Kh-22 also calls into question Russia's stockpiles of precision munitions, which Western officials and experts have previously characterized as dwindling and in low supply. Though that may be the case, the Kremlin may also still have hundreds of these missile left in its arsenal, according to a report by Ukraine's state-run news agency Ukrinform.  Missiles like the Kh-22 "are unsuitable for precision strike," Britain's defense ministry said this week, adding that "evidence from the Ukraine war suggests that dysfunction of Russia's long-range strike capability is more profound. It highly likely struggles to dynamically identify targets, and to access rapid and accurate battle damage assessment.""This type of missile leads to the greatest human casualties, because the missile is extremely inaccurate," Ukraine's prosecutor general's office said, according to The New York Times. "Therefore, the use of such weapons for targets in densely populated areas is clearly a war crime."Firing the Kh-22 into Ukraine is "certainly indicative of their lack of caring about the potential effects of the munitions that they use," Williams said of Moscow, which has not shied away from carrying out attacks on densely population centers in urban areas, and has constantly put Ukrainian civilians in harm's way.  "I think cruelty is the point right now for the Russians," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 18th, 2023

Mapping Out All The Key Revelations From The "Twitter Files" So Far...

Mapping Out All The Key Revelations From The 'Twitter Files' So Far... Authored by Petr Svab via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Documents revealed by Twitter’s new owner, tech billionaire Elon Musk, show the social media company intertwined with a government-private censorship apparatus. Twitter suppressed or removed content on various subjects, including irregularities in the 2020 elections, mail-in voting issues, and various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company was under government pressure to purge such content and its purveyors from the platform, though most of the time it was cooperating with the censorship requests willingly, the documents indicate. INFOGRAPHIC (Click on image to enlarge or Click Here to download) Click on infographic to enlarge. Musk took over Twitter in October, taking the company private. He then fired around half of the staff and much of the upper management, vowing to take Twitter in a new direction. The “#TwitterFiles” releases have been part of his promised focus on transparency for the company. He allowed several independent journalists to submit search queries that were then used by Twitter staff to search through the company’s internal documents, sometimes under the condition that the resulting stories would be first published on the platform itself. The two journalists primarily responsible for the releases have been journalists Matt Taibbi, a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, and Bari Weiss, a former editor at both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Both are liberals who have expressed disillusionment with the more extreme currents of progressivism and neoliberalism. Others involved in the releases have been independent journalists Lee Fang and David Zweig, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, as well as author and environmentalist Michael Shellenberger. The journalists have only released a fraction of the documents they reviewed. They’ve also redacted the names of employees involved, other than some high-level executives. The documents show that the FBI and other state, local, and federal agencies have been scrutinizing the political speech of Americans on a significant scale, and trying to get lawful speech suppressed or removed online. Many conservative and traditionally liberal commentators have deemed that a violation of the First Amendment. Twitter, a major hub of political speech, has been among the main targets of censorship. Many news stories have broken on Twitter in recent years and a significant portion of the nation’s political debate takes place on the platform, as it allows an efficient way for direct and public interaction between all on the platform, from the most prominent to the least. Twitter resisted some censorship requests, but there was little sign the company did so as a matter of principle. Rather, executives sometimes couldn’t find a policy they could use as a justification. Prior Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was under pressure from his lieutenants to expand the policies to allow more thorough censorship, the documents show. “The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that (by just reducing prevalence overall),” said Yoel Roth, then Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, which governs content policy, in a 2021 internal message published by Weiss. “We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we’re going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations—especially for other policy domains.” Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder, and Chairman of Twitter and co-founder & CEO of Square in Miami, Fla., on June 04, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) In many cases, Twitter leaders de facto allowed the government to silence its critics on the platform. Many censorship requests came in with an imperious attitude, particularly those from the Biden White House, but also some from the office of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who at the time headed the powerful House Intelligence Committee. Around November 2020, Schiff’s office sent a list of dema to Twitter, including for the removal of “any and all content” about the committee’s staff and suspend “many” accounts including that of Paul Sperry, a journalist with RealClearInvestigations. Schiff’s office accused Sperry of harassment and promoting “false QAnon conspiracies.” Sperry rejected the allegation, asking Schiff to show evidence for his claims and announced he was considering legal action. Schiff’s demands were apparently a response to Sperry’s articles that speculated on the identity of the White House whistleblower that alleged a “quid pro quo” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Sperry reported, using anonymous sources, that the whistleblower was likely then-CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, who was overheard talking in the White House with Sean Misko, a holdover staffer from the Obama administration. Misko later joined Schiff’s committee. Twitter rejected Schiff’s demands, save for reviewing “again” Sperry’s account activity. Sperry’s account was suspended months later. Taibbi said he wasn’t able to find out why. Under Pressure The many censorship requests Twitter received via the FBI were phrased as merely bringing information to its attention, leaving it up to the company to decide what to do with them. But Twitter executives clearly felt compelled to accommodate these requests, even in cases where they internally struggled to justify doing so, the documents show. The government pressure took several forms. The FBI would follow up on its requests and if they weren’t fulfilled, Twitter had to explain itself to the bureau. If Twitter’s position on an issue differed from the one expected by the government, company executives would be questioned and made aware that the bureau, and even the broader intelligence community, wasn’t happy. That would send the executives into triage mode, rushing to salvage the relationship, which it apparently considered essential. Corporate media served as another pressure point. If Twitter wouldn’t do what it was told fast enough, the media would be provided with information portraying Twitter as ignoring some problem of paramount importance, such as possible foreign influence operations on its platform. One censorship request, for instance, targeted an account allegedly run by Russian intelligence, though Twitter wasn’t given any evidence of it. “Due to a lack of technical evidence on our end, I’ve generally left it be, waiting for more evidence,” said one Twitter executive that previously worked for the CIA, according to Taibbi. “Our window on that is closing, given that government partners are becoming more aggressive on attribution and reporting on it.” The internal email suggests that Twitter, despite having no concrete evidence to back it, wouldn’t dare to disobey the request because of the media fallout of the government publicly labeling the account as run by Russian intelligence. Congress was perhaps the heaviest sword of Damocles hanging over Twitter’s head. Lawmakers could not only spur negative media coverage, but also tie up the company in hearings and investigations, or even introduce legislation that could hurt Twitter’s bottom line. For instance, just as Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was pushing Twitter to produce more evidence of Russian influence operations on its platform in 2017, he also teamed up with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to propose a bill that would have required extensive disclosures of online political advertising. In the meantime, Twitter managers were convinced that lawmakers were leaking information Twitter provided them and seeding negative news stories, even as the company was trying to placate them with increasingly stringent actions toward actual and alleged Russia-linked accounts. Even though the FBI was officially only alerting Twitter to activities of malign foreign actors, many of the censorship requests were simply lists of accounts with little to no evidence of malign foreign links. At times, Twitter tried to ask for more information, noting that it couldn’t find any evidence on its end, but often it simply complied. It was impossible for Twitter to do its due diligence on each request—there were simply too many, according to Taibbi. One request revealed by Taibbi claimed that “the attached email accounts” were created “possibly for use in influence operations, social media collection, or social engineering.” “Without further explanation, Twitter would be forwarded an excel doc,” Taibbi said. Censorship requests were lopsided against the political right. Some researchers said that the right was much more involved in spreading misinformation, but the documents indicate that the censorship wasn’t so much a matter of a right-left dichotomy, but rather a pro- and anti-establishment one. Even some left-leaning accounts were targeted if they strayed too far from the official government narrative. Moreover, the right didn’t appear too keen on demanding censorship to begin with. Taibbi couldn’t find a single censorship request from the Trump campaign, Trump White House, or even any Republican, though he was told there were some. On the other hand, there seemed to be no appetite across the board for targeting misinformation coming from the establishment itself An exterior view of “The Mac Shop”, where Hunter Biden allegedly brought his laptop for repair but never picked it up, in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 21, 2020. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) Hunter Biden’s Laptop Twitter’s suppression of the 2020 New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden, son of then-candidate Joe Biden, was dissected in the Twitter release in particular detail. Apparently, some Twitter executives, particularly Roth, head of Trust and Safety, were regularly invited to meetings with the FBI and other intelligence agencies to receive briefings on the online activities of foreign regimes. In the several months prior to the 2020 election, Roth had been conditioned to expect a “hack-and-leak” Russian operation, possibly in October and involving Hunter Biden. The FBI alleged there was some evidence of Russian influence operation related to Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. But the bureau was also aware that Hunter Biden left his laptop with a trove of explosive information in a New York repair shop and that a copy of it was handed to Trump’s then-lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The FBI picked up the laptop from the repair shop in December 2019 and had Giuliani under surveillance in August 2020, when the repairman gave him the copy. As the FBI knew, the laptop information was neither hacked, nor a figment of a Russian plot. When the Post broke the story, Twitter executives were left with no doubt it was exactly what the FBI had been warning about. “This feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation,” Roth commented in an internal email, despite acknowledging he had no evidence for such a claim, save for “questionable origins” of the laptop, which was apparently abandoned by Hunter Biden at a computer repair shop. Roth noted that the story didn’t actually violate any Twitter rules. Nevertheless, it was marked “unsafe” and blocked on Twitter under its policy against hacked materials, despite there being no evidence the materials were hacked. Twitter’s then-Deputy General Counsel James Baker backed the censorship move, saying it was “reasonable” to “assume” the Hunter Biden information was hacked. Baker was FBI General Counsel until May 2018. He joined Twitter in June 2020. At the FBI, Baker was closely involved in the Russia investigation scandal where the FBI embroiled the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration in exhaustive investigations based on paper-thin and fabricated allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election. The allegations were produced by operatives funded by the campaign of Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The FBI was in fact aware of no intelligence suggesting a “hack-and-leak” operation ahead of the 2020 election, as testified in November 2022 by Elvis Chan, head of the cyber branch at the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, which was responsible for communications with Twitter and other tech companies with headquarters in its jurisdiction. Twitter itself found very little Russian activity ahead of the 2020 election, Shellenberger reported, citing internal communications. Shadowbanning Twitter has long denied the practice of shadowbanning—suppressing the reach of an account without informing the user. The denial, however, specifically defined shadowbanning as making the person’s content invisible to others. What people have been complaining about is that Twitter would suppress how many people see their content without making it invisible altogether—Twitter has been doing that a lot, the internal materials show. One Twitter engineer told Weiss: “We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do.” Among those whose accounts were surreptitiously throttled was Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University professor of medicine and one of the early critics of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Others included Dan Bongino, conservative podcaster and former Secret Service agent, and Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, the country’s largest conservative youth group. COVID-19 Twitter has extensively suppressed information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Anything about the origin of the virus, its treatment, the vaccines developed for it, and public policies to mitigate its spread had to align with the official position of the federal government, as promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Zweig said he “found countless instances of tweets labeled as ‘misleading’ or taken down entirely, sometimes triggering account suspensions, simply because they veered from CDC guidance or differed from establishment views.” Twitter user @KelleyKga, a self-described fact-checker, criticized a tweet that falsely claimed that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death by disease in children. @KelleyKga pointed out that such a claim would require cherry-picking data, backing his argument with data from the CDC. His criticism, however, was labeled as “misleading” and suppressed. On the other hand, the tweet that contained the false claim was not suppressed. All physician Euzebiusz Jamrozik did was write on Twitter an accurate summarization of study results on COVID-19 vaccine side effects. The tweet was labeled “misleading” and suppressed. Sometimes, it appears, Twitter suppressed the information on its own, but many of the COVID-19-related requests came from the government and even directly from the Biden White House, internal files show. In one email, White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty accused Twitter of “bending over backwards” to resist one of his censorship requests, calling it “total Calvinball”—a game where rules are made up along the way. The email wasn’t part of the Twitter files. It came out during an ongoing lawsuit against the Biden administration filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana. Another White House staffer wanted Twitter to censor a tweet by Robert Kennedy, Jr., a long-time critic of vaccination. The staffer mused whether Twitter could “get moving on the process for having it removed ASAP.” “And then if we can keep an eye out for tweets that fall in this same genre that would be great,” he said in the Jan. 23, 2021, email. The administration wasn’t always trying to get such content removed. People who merely expressed “hesitancy” about the vaccines were supposed to only have their content suppressed from reaching any significant audience, the documents indicate. The Biden administration had a lot at stake as the vaccine rollout was one of its first and most high-profile tasks. There were other stakeholders as well. Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Covid-19 response and the vaccination program at the White House in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2021. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) Several censorship requests came from Scott Gottlieb, board member and head of the regulatory and compliance committee at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that made the most popular COVID-19 vaccine and raked in tens of billions of dollars on sales of it over the past two years. Gottlieb sent Twitter at least three requests. One targeted a doctor who argued on the platform that naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 is superior to vaccination. Twitter suppressed the tweet, even though the doctor was correct. Another request targeted author Justin Hart, who argued on Twitter against school closures, pointing out that COVID-19 fatalities among children are extremely rare. Gottlieb sent the request shortly before Pfizer received approval for the use of its vaccine on children. Twitter didn’t comply with the request. Yet another request targeted former NY Times reporter Berenson. Gottlieb claimed that Berenson’s criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of COVID-19 response in the Biden administration, was causing threats of physical violence toward Fauci. Twitter suspended Berenson’s account shortly after. Gottlieb sent his requests to the same Twitter official who served as a contact person for censorship requests coming from the White House. Trump Deplatforming Trump was particularly effective on Twitter. His soundbites, honed over decades of dealing with the New York press, played well on the brevity-oriented Twitter, earning the president some 90 million followers and lending him the power to bypass media filters and instantly grab national attention. Trump’s Twitter presidency, however, brewed scorn in the beltway, especially among the foreign policy crowd that was used to diplomatic subtlety. Twitter’s removal of Trump a few days after the Jan. 6, 2021, protest and riot at the U.S. Capitol appears to be one of those instances where Twitter executives acted on their own, breaking the platform’s content policies in suppressing the voice of a sitting American president, internal documents indicate. Twitter suspended Trump’s account on Jan. 8, 2021, after the president made two posts. “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” said one of Trump’s tweets. “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” read the other. Twitter moderators and supervisors agreed that the Tweets didn’t violate any rules. “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer. “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?) from Wednesday.” Higher executives, under pressure from their many anti-Trump employees, wouldn’t accept that conclusion and continued to push for construing Trump’s comments as malicious. “The biggest question is whether a tweet line the one this morning from Trump, which isn’t a rule violation on its face, is being used as coded incitement to further violence,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust, argued in an internal message. Another Twitter moderation team quickly furnished Gadde’s argument with a narrative. Trump was a “leader of a violent extremist group who is glorifying the group and its recent actions,” the team concluded, according to internal messages. Undermining the Nunes Memo In January 2018, then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) submitted his memo detailing FBI surveillance abuses in pursuit of the Trump-Russia investigation. The memo was correct on virtually all points of substance, as later confirmed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The memo was dismissed by the corporate media as a “joke,” but gained significant traction on social media nonetheless. Legacy media and several lawmakers then came out claiming the memo was boosted online by accounts linked to Russian influence operations. However, Twitter found no evidence of Russian influence behind the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag. The claims were all sourced to the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), a group set up in 2017 under the German Marshall Fund, a think tank funded by the American, German, and Swedish governments. The ASD is closely linked to the U.S. foreign policy and national security establishment. It was headed at the time by Laura Rosenberger, a former Clinton campaign adviser who held various roles at the State Department and the National Security Council. Its Advisory Council includes former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, former CIA head Michael Morell, and former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Mike Chertoff. Twitter officials were at a loss as to how the ASD came to its conclusions. “We investigated, found that engagement was overwhelmingly organic and driven by strong VIT [Very Important Tweeters] engagement (including Wikileaks, [Donald Trump, Jr., Rep. Steve King, and others),” Trust and Safety head Roth wrote in an internal message. In fact, the “dashboard” ASD used to make its claims had already been reverse-engineered by Twitter—a fact Roth didn’t want to disclose to the media. Twitter tried debunking the story behind the scenes without giving out such details, but to no avail. Initially, reporters ran with the story without even reaching out to Twitter, Roth wrote. The initial letter on the matter from Schiff and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee at the time, also came out before giving Twitter a chance to respond, internal messages say. Twitter tried to stop Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) from piling on with his own letter, but again failed. “Blumenthal isn’t always looking for real and nuanced solutions. He wants to get credit for pushing us further. And he may move on only when the press moves on,” commented Carlos Monje, Twitter’s then-Public Policy director, in an internal message. Formerly a Department of Transportation official, Monje returned to the department under the Biden administration. In the end, Twitter never publicly challenged the Russia narrative. Aiding Pentagon Psyops In 2017, a Pentagon official asked Twitter to “whitelist” several accounts the Defense Department was using to spread its message in the Middle East. Twitter obliged, giving the accounts similar privileges it was reserving for verified accounts. Later, however, the Pentagon removed any apparent connections between the accounts and the U.S. government, making them de facto surreptitious. Even though the accounts should have been removed under Twitter’s inauthentic activity policy, the company left them up for several years, independent journalist Fang reported. Federal ‘Belly button’ of Investigation The FBI served as a conduit for other government agencies to pass information to Twitter and ask for favors, according to Taibbi. In one exchange, FBI cyber head Chan explained that the bureau would funnel to Twitter communications from the U.S. intelligence community (USIC), but other election-related communications would come from the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “We can give you everything we’re seeing from the FBI and USIC agencies,” Chan said. “CISA will know what’s going on in each state.” He then asked if Twitter would like to communicate with CISA separately or if it would prefer to “rely on the FBI to be the belly button of the [U.S. government].” Twitter executives were surprised to learn that the FBI had agents specifically dedicated to searching Twitter and flagging content policy violations. Since 2017, Twitter has employed at least 15 former FBI agents, further entangling the agency with the platform. The practice is so common, there was an internal discussion group at Twitter for former agents. The FBI responded to the Twitter files disclosures in a statement that labeled the reporting “misinformation” spread by “conspiracy theorists and others … with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.” Department of Homeland Censorship The DHS has managed to shoehorn speech policing into its mandate to protect critical infrastructure. In January 2017, shortly before leaving the White House, President Barack Obama designated elections as critical infrastructure. The DHS’s CISA then made it its job not only to protect elections from hackers, but also from misinformation and disinformation. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 01/17/2023 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 18th, 2023

Media Blackout Over Terror Incident At Vegas Power Plant

Media Blackout Over Terror Incident At Vegas Power Plant The US power grid is under attack as extremists shoot, sabotage, and vandalize electrical equipment at power stations. One of the highest-profile attacks was when two men used guns to paralyze a substation in Washington state on Christmas Day, leaving thousands without electricity. The incident made national news, but strangely enough, another attack last week on the Las Vegas power grid went unnoticed by the national press. Mohammad Mesmarian, 34, rammed his car through the gate of a solar power generation plant outside Las Vegas on Wednesday and set his car on fire, intending to damage a massive transformer, 8 News Now reported. "Employees at the plant said they found a car smoldering in a generator pit," 8 News Now said, adding the Mega Solar Array facility provides power to 13 properties on the Las Vegas Strip, all belonging to MGM Resorts.  Investigators believe Mesmarian "siphoned gasoline from his car to put on wires at the transformer," 8 News Now said, citing documents from investigators.  "Mesmarian clarified he burned the Toyota Camry," police said. "Mesmarian said he burned the vehicle at a Tesla solar plant and did it 'for the future.'" Here's security camera footage of Mesmarian lighting his car on fire next to a giant transformer.  8 News Now said Mesmarian caused "major damage," estimating it could take two years to receive parts and fix the transformer. Luckily, the damaged unit wasn't online at the time of the incident..  "Following an incident at the Mega Solar Array facility, on-site personnel immediately notified authorities and shut down the plant's operations as a precaution in accordance with industry-standard safety protocols," an Invenergy spokesperson said. Mesmarian was arrested at a campground Thursday. He's being charged with committing an act of terrorism, first-degree arson, third-degree arson, destroying or injuring real or personal property of another, and escape by a felony prisoner. Why is the national press absent in reporting this terror incident on the power grid?  Perhaps the person involved doesn't fit the extremist profile routinely touted by progressive and state media.  Tyler Durden Sat, 01/07/2023 - 20:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 7th, 2023