Spectre of 1929 crash looms over FTSE 100 as traders take on record debts

Margin debt at record high

 

The spectre of the 1929 stock market crash looms large for UK investors as traders borrow record amounts to invest in rising stock markets

Nothing has been learnt from the madness of the 1929 stock market crash as once again traders reach for record amounts of debt to pile into rising share prices.

The level of margin debt that traders are using to buy shares in the stock market reached the highest levels on record, according the latest data from the New York stock exchange. Continue reading

The Significance of Germany’s Break From America

US President Barack Obama meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, Nov 3, 2009.(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty)

 

A spying scandal has sparked a lot of hatred for America among the Germans. Bible prophecy states that this trend will intensify.

After World War II, Germany lay in ruins. The nation was wiped out economically and couldn’t afford to rebuild. The United States came to Germany’s aid with the Marshall Plan, giving billions of dollars to Germany and other European states to help them recover. This prevented Soviet communism from spreading into Western Europe, and it bound West Germany, and the future united German state, to the rest of Europe and the Western world. It also ensured a strong post-war alliance between America and West Germany. This alliance continued when Germany reunified in 1990.

Recent events, however, are destroying this alliance.

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Ukraine crisis: Nato plans east European bases to counter Russia

Nato is to deploy its forces at new bases in eastern Europe for the first time, in response to the Ukraine crisis and in an attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from causing trouble in the former Soviet Baltic republics, according to its secretary general.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the organisations’s summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia’s borders – a move certain to trigger a strong reaction from Moscow.

He also outlined moves to boost Ukraine’s security, “modernise” its armed forces and help the country counter the threat from Russia. Continue reading

Britain’s Trident nuclear program at stake in Scottish independence vote

It’s important to note that Scotland, although part of the UK, is more EU friendly than it is British friendly. The EU wants NATO out and to isolate Great Britain as well. It wouldn’t be surprising if Scotland and the EU were working hand-in-hand behind the scenes.

 

For decades, Britain’s contribution to the threat of global Armageddon has found a home on the tranquil shores of Gare Loch, where soaring green mountains plunge into murky gray waters plied by sporty kayakers, weekend yachtsmen — and nuclear-armed submarines.

The subs slip past this garrison town as quietly as sea monsters. Their dark hulls breach the water’s surface on their way from base out to the deepest oceans, where British naval crews spend months poised to unleash the doomsday payload.

But if Scotland votes “yes” in an independence referendum next month, the submarines could ­become nuclear-armed nomads, without a port to call home. Washington’s closest and most important ally could, in turn, be left without the ultimate deterrent, even as Europe’s borders are being rattled anew by a resurgent Russia. Continue reading

Dutch and Japanese warplanes take to the skies to accompany Russian bombers

THE HAGUE, August 21, /ITAR-TASS/. A Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighter jet took to the skies twice on Thursday to escort two Russian Tu-95 bombers, the Dutch Defense Ministry said.

According to the Ministry, two Russian warplanes were flying from the north accompanied by two Danish F-16 planes. A Dutch fighter jet accompanied the Tu-95s over the Dutch territory up to the British area of responsibility. Continue reading

The Navy Is Tracking Some Strange Sounds Coming from the Ocean

In a retired shore station for transpacific communications cables on the western coast of Vancouver Island sits a military computer in a padlocked cage.

It’s the sort of cage you might otherwise use to lock up automatic rifles or expensive electronics at a big box store, but this cage is protecting data—classified signals intelligence gathered from underwater microphones called hydrophones that sit on the ocean floor. These hydrophones are part of an undersea Internet-connected scientific research network of sensors and video cameras called NEPTUNE, operated by the nonprofit group Ocean Networks Canada. Much to the delight of researchers world-round, the hydrophones record the distinct sounds of whale songs, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. But to the chagrin of the United States and Canadian militaries, they detect the passing movements of military submarines through the Juan de Fuca Strait, too.

And so, on occasion, someone in a nearby Canadian military base, sometimes by U.S. request, will push what I like to imagine is a big red button, and the hydrophones deep off the coast of Vancouver Island effectively go dark—hydrophone data is re-routed from NEPTUNE’s scientists and researchers to the computer in the locked cage. Continue reading

US banks bracing for Brexit

According to sources quoted by the Financial Times, three American banks — Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — are “drawing up plans to move some London-based activities to Ireland to address concerns” the UK would leave the European Union after a referendum on EU membership to be held possibly in 2017.

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Tensions soar as Ukraine says destroys Russian armour

Kiev (AFP) – Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that crossed onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.

NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that government artillery had destroyed a “considerable part” of a small military convoy that entered the country, the presidency said in a statement. Continue reading

Radical action needed as euro zone remains on amber alert

To get economy moving again, policymakers should go ahead with quantitative easing to boost liquidity and allow the euro to weaken

The euro zone’s “softly, softly” approach to the financial crisis is not working. The economy is sinking into deflation, dragged down by a zombie banking system and spiralling government debt. It is slipping back towards recession. A future break-up of the euro zone remains a potent threat.

Policymakers can ill afford to keep kicking the can down the road. The bailout earlier this month of Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo was a sharp reminder to investors the euro zone was not out of the woods by a long stretch. Continue reading

Agent Albert: MP listed as secret KGB informant in Russian archives

A federal Labor MP was among a list of secret KGB informants, according to newly released Russian intelligence archives.

The former Labor member for the NSW electorate of Hunter, Albert James, is listed as an informant of the Soviet intelligence service in the papers of former KGB archivist and defector Vasili Mitrokhin, which were released by the Churchill College Archive in the United Kingdom last month.

The late Mr James, a former NSW policeman and  Labor MP who served in Federal Parliament from 1960 to 1980, is one of a number of Australians recorded in Mitrokhin’s list of KGB agents and informants active in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mitrokhin’s notes do not reveal what information James may have  passed to the Soviet Union, but they do confirm his status as a KGB informant, albeit with the insecure codename of ‘‘Albert’’.

James  was highly critical of the United States, strongly opposed Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War and praised Fidel Castro’s communist regime. Continue reading

De-Dollarization Accelerates – China/Russia Complete Currency Swap Agreement

The last 3 months have seen Russia’s “de-dollarization” plans accelerate. First Gazprom clients shift to Euros and Renminbi, then the UK signs currency swap agreements with China, then NATO ally Turkey cuts ties and mulls de-dollarization, Switzerland jumps in the currency swap agreements, and BRICS create their own non-US-based funding vehicle, and then finally this week, Russia’s oligarchs have shifted cash holdings to Hong Kong. But this week, as RT reports, Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments. ““The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China,” the Russian regulator said. Continue reading

Germany’s Spy Agency Is Ready To Shake Off Its Second Tier Reputation

The leader of Europe is once again about to stand on its own two feet, regain control.

 

“In the CIA people view liaison relationships as a pain in the ass but necessary,” says Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover agent whose identity was infamously disclosed by aides to President George W Bush soon after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Liaison relationships are the CIA’s term for cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, and, given that not even the world’s mightiest spy outfit can go anywhere it likes, the CIA maintains plenty of such liaisons.

That includes the decades-long collaboration with Germany’s BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), which was recently dented in a spectacular fashion when the CIA apparently decided that waiting for the BND to deliver information was too laborious and so put one of the BND’s own agents on its payroll. In fact, after having established a remarkable degree of closeness due to the shared threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destructions, espionage relations between allies are taking a sharper turn.

Nigel Inkster, a former MI6 agent who also served as the agency’s Assistant Chief and Director for Operations and Intelligence, adds “There’s been an erosion of cooperation between Nato allies with regards to Russia. Germany and Italy in particular have become much more economically dependent on Russia.”

A recently retired top BND official, who also asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter says, “We’ve always said [to the Americans], ‘up to here but no farther’. Now they’ve crossed that line.” In response, Germany has expelled the CIA’s station chief. Some German politicians, having found that the NSA monitored their phones, are now using encrypted ones. Continue reading

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