China builds listening station in Hong Kong

 

The existence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) communications installation atop Hong Kong’s tallest mountain – the 957 m-high peak of Tai Mo Shan – recently came to light.

Construction began around 2010, with a geodesic dome first appearing in satellite imagery in 2011. The facility has been operational for approximately three years. Continue reading

A Chinese Gold Standard?

LONDON — While the 70th anniversary of D-Day last month received a lot of attention, another event, in July 1944 — the Bretton Woods conference, named for the mountain resort in New Hampshire where it was held — was perhaps even more significant in shaping the modern world. It not only led to the creation of what are now the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, but it also confirmed the central position of the United States dollar in the international monetary system.

Why does this matter for us now? Just as America displaced Britain as the world’s pre-eminent economic power in the interwar period, so, too, the large debts and fiscal pressures confronting the West, and the rise of China and other economic powers, challenge us to think about the future of finance.

For most of the 19th century the British pound had been the world’s “reserve currency,” the currency in which trade and finance were denominated. “As sound as a pound” became a widely used expression. The pound was pegged to gold at a fixed rate of just under £4 per ounce. Continue reading

BRICS nations could rival US in global influence

The rise of the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–may challenge the world order and lead to the end of US domination.

The five countries set up the New Development Bank during a recent summit in Brazil, which offers an alternative to the US-led International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The five countries participating in the economic cooperation forum are likely to deepen their cooperation in various fields, which may rival the dominance of the United States and G7 countries in the world.

The BRICS countries will also increase their sway if they can improve their governance, considering the fact that they account for 42% of the global population and their GDP and trade volume each make up for about 20% of the world’s total. Continue reading

Europe braced for any gas crisis as Russia sanctions escalate

The showdown with Russian president Vladimir Putin comes at moment of surging global supplies of LNG, which can be diverted to European markets and reduce the Kremlin’s political leverage. The price of LNG in Asia has crashed from $20 to $11 per British thermal unit since February.

The pan-EU group Gas Infrastructure Europe said the network of LNG terminals in Britain and the Continent is currently operating at just 20pc of its full capacity. It could in theory boost flows by 160bn cubic metres (BCM), if there is available gas.

This is more than Russia’s entire shipments, which reached 155 BCM last year. The European network of pipelines does not cover every region and would leave pockets in eastern Europe without supply.

“We have a lot of free capacity in LNG in Europe. It would be extremely difficult to replace Russian gas in a just a few months but it is possible to raise supply,” said one official. Continue reading

Billionaire Sprott – The Bank Of England Gold Vaults Are Empty

As the gold and silver smash continues for a second day, billionaire Eric Sprott warned King World News that the Bank of England gold vaults are empty and there will be a price to pay for what Western central planners have done.  The Canadian billionaire also warned about the banking system.  Below is what Sprott, Chairman of Sprott Asset Management, had to say in Part I of a remarkable series of interviews that will be released today.

Sprott:  “We have the Chinese coming in and buying an extra 1,500 tons (of gold).  We will have a GLD metric that could be as much as 1,000 tons just this year, year over year.  The Indians haven’t changed the laws yet but I think that will be forthcoming, and they can get back into normal buying mode…. Continue reading

Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier Has no Purpose Except As ‘a Failed Dream of EU Integration’

The 65,000-ton Royal Navy aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, launched by Her Majesty on July 4 and praised as “a national instrument of power,” is in fact “a ship with no real purpose other than to act as the monument to yet another failed dream of EU integration,” according to historian and journalist Christopher Booker.

Even before the launch, there were questions raised over the ship’s purpose. No aircraft will be able to fly off it until 2020. Despite a vast flight deck, it is not designed to handle fixed-wing aircraft, only the American-built vertical take-off F35, which is still in development with chronic design problems.

The F-35 seen on board the ship at the launch was in fact a fibre glass replica, a plastic kit plane defence giant Lockheed Martin assembles for air shows and exhibitions.

Other questions have been raised that HMS Queen Elizabeth should be nuclear powered like American aircraft carriers, not by diesel and gas. More, the Royal Navy no longer has enough surface craft to provide escort for an aircraft carrier. Continue reading

Global firms becoming keen on using yuan

The use of the renminbi in trade settlements increased sharply this year, according to HSBC’s annual renminbi survey.

The survey which began last year covered eleven countries, four of which were added this year. All seven markets surveyed in both years posted increases, the largest of which were in Germany, Hong Kong and the U.S.

Of the German companies profiled, 23 percent are using the renminbi to settle trades, up from 9 percent last year, while usage in Hong Kong rose to 58 percent from 50 percent and to 17 percent from 9 percent in the U.S.

Usage of the renminbi among French companies – a new addition to this year’s list – was high at 26 percent.

Prospects for next year are bright as nearly 60 percent of global companies plan to increase their cross border activity with China over the next 12 months. Currently, 22 percent of companies globally trade in renminbi. Continue reading

Banks could lose monopoly on gold fix

Other industry groups such as miners may join process of setting crucial benchmark following allegations that process is open to rigging

Banks could lose sole responsibility for setting the gold price benchmark under new rules proposed by the industry.

Other parties such as miners and refiners may enter the London gold fix, which has been controlled by banks for almost a century but has come under scrutiny following allegations that the system is open to manipulation.

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KGB papers, kept in secret since 1992, released by British archive

Original documents from one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history — a who’s who of Soviet spying — were released Monday after being held in secret for two decades.

Intelligence historian Christopher Andrew said the vast dossier, released by the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University, was considered “the most important single intelligence source ever” by British and American authorities.

Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB’s foreign intelligence headquarters — and a secret dissident. For more than a decade, he secretly took files home, copied them in longhand and then typed them and collated them into volumes. He hid the papers at his country cottage, or dacha, some stuffed into a milk churn and buried.

The world did not learn of Mitrokhin until Andrew published a book based on his files in 1999. It caused a sensation by exposing the identities of KGB agents including 87-year-old Melita Norwood, the “great-granny spy,” who had passed British atomic secrets to the Soviets for years. Continue reading

Britain planned to train and equip 100,000 Syrian rebels

Secret initiative planned to train rebels to fight the Assad government a year later by marching on Damascus, a BBC Newsnight investigation discloses

Britain planned to train and equip 100,000 Syrian rebels for a shock and awe campaign to defeat President Bashar al-Assad.

General David Richards, who was then the UK’s most senior military officer, drew up the plans two years ago, according to the BBC’s Newsnight. Continue reading

China to Set Yuan Clearing Banks in Luxembourg, Paris

In its continued push to make the yuan a global currency, China’s central bank said Sunday it plans to designate clearing banks for its currency in Paris and Luxembourg, as the two financial centers battle with London to become the leading European offshore yuan-trading city.

The People’s Bank of China announced the move in two separate statements Sunday. It didn’t say when it would designate the clearing banks. Continue reading

UK edges closer to EU exit as David Cameron is crushed in bid to block Jean-Claude Juncker’s leadership

Britain took another step towards the EU exit door as David Cameron warned that Jean-Claude Juncker’s appointment to the top job in Brussels would make it harder to persuade the public to remain in the 28-nation bloc.

Mr Cameron’s stark warning came after he suffered a humiliating defeat in his lonely battle to stop the veteran federalist becoming president of the European Commission. At a Brussels summit, EU leaders voted 26-2 to nominate Mr Juncker after Mr Cameron demanded an unprecedented formal vote on a post traditionally settled by consensus. Hungary’s Viktor Orban was the only leader to back the Prime Minister.

Asked if the crushing setback had taken the UK closer to an EU exit, Mr Cameron told a press conference: “The job has got harder of keeping Britain in a reformed Europe. The stakes are higher. Do I think it is an impossible job? No.” Continue reading

Brussels job rotation

The probable nomination of the President of the European Commission at the European Council in late June is only the first stage in a process that will renew the leadership of European institutions — a political and diplomatic game of musical chairs marked by rituals and secrets that is played out between the capitals of the continent. Excerpts.

How do you come out on top in the grand reshuffle in Brussels? There is no single strategy. This is one conclusion that we can draw from a series of interviews with European civil servants, ambassadors and former ambassadors to Brussels. The second conclusion is that strategy alone is insufficient: “Chance and the luck of the draw also play their role,” explains the former ambassador of one small member state. Continue reading

Royal Navy investigates mystery Russian warship in Baltic

HMS Montrose tracked the Russian corvette Soobrazitelny and then was circled by a Russian patrol plane

A British frigate on exercise in the Baltic Sea was dispatched to investigate an unknown Russian warship last week, the Ministry of Defence said.

Continue reading

Italy to push for ‘United States of Europe’ when it holds the EU presidency

In addition to a push for a ‘United States of Europe’ lead by Germany via the EU and its control over the ‘Troika’, calls for a ‘European Army’ have already been made in the past by member nations such as Poland and Italy. What may seem like science fiction or a joke nobody will take serious today is tomorrow’s reality, and as the addage goes: the truth is stranger than fiction. Although a lot of EU nations don’t like each other at the moment, the further integration of iron and clay (Daniel 2:43) continues to be their only solution. With Italy’s high involvement, and even with the Vatican, it’s reminiscent of the WWII era connection between the church and the German leadership. Or better yet, the Holy Roman Empire of the past.

Look for calls of a European Army to grow, especially as resurgent Russia is on the doorstep and the United States is suicidally fading away from the world stage. As with all nation building, the political structure comes first, then the economy. After the economy comes the military. The Fourth Reich is coming.

 

Italy will use its presidency of the European Union to push for a “United States of Europe,” the prime minister has said

Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has said that Italy will push for a “United States of Europe” during its six-month EU presidency, in a move likely to raise hackles in Britain.

Launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show “that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time“, Mr Renzi said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.

He further called for “courageous leaders” to work towards achieving that goal – something that Britain has always objected to. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, dismissed the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe and David Cameron is actively trying to prevent the election of a committed federalist, Jean-Claude Juncker, to the head of the European Commission.

Continue reading