Sunday, September 27, 2015

Today's Links

1--U.S. support for Syria rebels illegal: Putin

"In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter," he said in an excerpt of an interview with U.S. television networks CBS and PBS released by the Kremlin.

2--China capital flight hits record high as yuan plunges

3--“We would welcome a common platform for collective action against the terrorists,” Putin said.

Today, terrorism threatens a great number of states, a great number of people – hundreds of thousands, millions of people suffer from its criminal activity. And we all face the task of joining our efforts in the fight against this common evil,” Putin told Rose.

When asked about Russia’s presence in the Arab country, Putin replied that as things stand now, Russia’s activities have been limited to supplying weapons to the Syrian government, training personnel and providing humanitarian aid for the Syrian people.
“We act based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law, according to which this or that type of aid, including military assistance, can and must be provided exclusively to the legitimate government of one country or another, upon its consent or request, or upon the decision of the United Nations Security Council,” said Putin.

3--Iran in talks to develop largest oilfield

4--Japan's Abe airs Abenomics 2.0 plan for $5 trillion economy

Abe recently announced plans to accelerate reductions in corporate taxes. The central bank also is widely expected to add to its already unprecedented monetary easing by pumping more cash into the economy later this year.
Japan's economy, estimated at $4.6 trillion in 2014, contracted at a 1.2 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, and China's slowdown and recent market turmoil are hindering a rebound.

At Japan's recent pace of growth, achieving Abe's goal — for which he set no timetable — would be a stretch. The Japan Center for Economic Research, an independent think tank, is forecasting growth at 0.9 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2016. A sales tax increase planned for April 2017, to 10 percent from 8 percent now, is expected to dent growth for that year.

Japanese officials acknowledge in private that the country needs a "great leap" in productivity, which is hard to attain at a time when the labor force is shrinking due to the aging population.
Given that reality, Japanese employers have been reluctant to invest or to raise wages, even when many are short-handed.
With wages still barely rising, families have tended to save, and increases in demand from monetary stimulus have been weaker than expected.

5---Putin Said to Plan Islamic State Strike With or Without U.S.

6--Putin's motives in Syria are clear: protecting Assad

7---Kerry's remarks on Syria trouble Turkey

8-- Upper House: No request from Putin to dispatch troops in Syria  9--Rasmus: Buybacks

US$8 Trillion Stock Buybacks, Dividend, & Interest Payouts
The US$7.3 trillion in corporate cash represents what is left over after trillions more has already been to their investors since 2008.

In the United States alone since 2009, more than US$4.5 trillion has been distributed in stock buybacks and dividend payouts by just the largest 500 U.S. corporations, according to Standard & Poor’s research. Another US$500 billion has been distributed in dividends to all businesses, corporate and non-corporate alike, according to U.S. government data sources. That’s US$5 trillion. But even that astounding number does not include distributions by U.S. private equity firms to partners, estimated at US$1.3 trillion in just the last three years, or additional amounts by global hedge funds, or by other ‘shadow banks’, to their member partners in what’s called interest payments.

10---Russia Not Establishing Military Base in Syria So Far, Situation May Change
11---US Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the United States and Russia could find ways to cooperate on the deadly crisis in Syria.

The Pentagon chief on Thursday called on Moscow to pursue a political solution to help put an end to the four-and-a-half-year conflict in the Arab nation.
Carter said if Russia were to fight Daesh (ISIL) terrorists, and not just attack opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Washington and Moscow might work together.
"On a course like that, it is possible that we could find areas of cooperation," Carter told reporters

"But if it's a matter of pouring gasoline on the fire on the civil war in Syria, that is certainly not productive," he added.
US officials claim that Russia is engaged in a military build-up in the Arab nation.
They say Moscow has recently sent hundreds of troops, as well as fighter jets, artillery and other military hardware to an airport in Syria’s western province of Latakia.

11--Turkey’s Erdoğan says Assad may be part of Syria transition process

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had pressed for the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad for any solution of the intractable Syrian conflict, has said a solution that would include Assad is possible during a transition process.
“It is possible that this [transition] process may be without Assad or the transition process may continue with Assad. However, nobody sees a future with Assad in Syria. It is impossible for them [Syrian] to accept a dictator who led to the death of up to 350,000 people,” Erdoğan said on Thursday following Eid prayers in İstanbul.

12--Erdogan makes the case for invading syria

 Nobody can foresee Syria’s future with al-Assad. It’s not possible to accept a person responsible for killing 300,000 to 350,000 people, a dictator,” Erdoğan said, after performing his Eid al-Adha prayer early on Sept. 24 in Istanbul.

On Sept. 25, the Turkish president also stressed Syrian opposition groups did not “approve an approach with al-Assad, hence the ongoing fight.”

“If al-Assad has a modicum of love for Syria, he should leave this job and go. We don’t have a problem with Syria’s domestic policies. But neither al-Assad nor the world should forget that we have a 911-kilometer-long border with Syria,” Erdoğan added.

“At every turn we are under the threat of terrorist groups there. Our patience has a limit. We are the ones who feed 2 million people [refugees],” the president noted, stressing only Qatar and Saudi Arabia had taken Ankara’s side as international efforts were going on regarding the crisis in Syria.

13--Russia, US engage for major move in Syria

Russia has in recent weeks sent hundreds of troops, as well as fighter jets, artillery and other military hardware to the Latakia region in northwestern Syria, leaving Washington wondering if - or when - Russia will intervene in the four-and-a-half-year civil war on behalf of its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Sept. 24 if Russia were to fight Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadists while also pursuing a political solution to the crisis, and not just “indiscriminately” attack foes of al-Assad, Washington and Moscow might find ways to work together.

“On a course like that, it is possible that we could find areas of cooperation,” Carter told reporters. “But if it’s a matter of pouring gasoline on the fire on the civil war in Syria, that is certainly not productive.”

Syrian government forces used newly arrived
Russian warplanes to bombard ISIL militants in Aleppo province in northern Syria, a group monitoring the civil war said on Sept. 24, in an attempt to break a siege on a nearby air base.

On Sept. 23, the Syrian military deployed Russian-supplied drones for the first time, a security source in Damascus said. The army received new weaponry from
Russia for its fight against jihadists, including at least five fighter jets, a senior Syrian military official told AFP.

“At every turn we are under the threat of terrorist groups there. Our patience has a limit. We are the ones who feed 2 million people [refugees],” the president noted, stressing only Qatar and Saudi Arabia had taken Ankara’s side as international efforts were going on regarding the crisis in Syria.

According to press reports, Russia’s stepped-up intervention in Syria has been seen in Berlin, in contrast to Washington, as positive. “Many in the government coalition are agreed that there is no solution to be found without Moscow,” wrote Der Spiegel in its latest edition. “Even Russia’s support for dictator Assad is seen by many as an opportunity rather than a problem.”
The German Institute for International and Security Affairs, a thinktank close to the government, proposed in a paper titled “A German Strategy for Syria,” arguing that Berlin participate in the bombing of the Islamic State (IS) and, following up its military aid to the Peshmerga of the Iraqi Kurds, provide the Syrian Kurds of the PYD with weapons.
The US-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as the destabilization of Syria and the arming of Syrian jihadists through the NATO powers and their allies in the region, have created the present catastrophe and turned millions into refugees. Now, in the name of the “struggle against the causes of flight,” the next round of military interventions and wars are being prepared.
In the meantime, virtually all of the imperialist great powers and regional powers in the Middle East are pursuing their own interests with military means. The entire region resembles a seething cauldron which, like the Balkans prior to the First World War, could ignite a new worldwide conflagration.

15--Fed chief points to rate rise this year

The evidence is abundant,” Booth wrote, “that the ability of monetary policy to spur economic growth is exhausted. More concerning are increasing distortions in the economy and financial system that threaten to collapse into crisis. The financial markets may not be fully on board with rising interest rates, but any further kowtowing to investors promises to strip the Fed of its last vestige of credibility.”
The Fed’s actions had facilitated bad behaviour on the part of corporate chieftains. “Why bother investing in the long term when it is so much more fun, to say nothing of more lucrative, to buy back shares, reduce share count and puff up profits?”

in the week since the Fed cited global considerations as the reasons for not moving, those headwinds have become stronger. Data from the Chinese economy released this week showed that manufacturing had contracted by the largest amount since the depths of the global financial crisis in March 2009.
The prices of major industrial commodities—an indicator of global growth—have continued to fall, with predictions that they will go even lower. Interest rates on Brazilian government bonds have soared to 16 percent, an indication of the worsening situation in the country’s China-dependent economy. The value of currencies in so-called “emerging markets,” once touted as a new source of global growth, continue to fall and are at their lowest levels in 13 years.

Continuation of the zero rate could “encourage excessive leverage and other forms of risk taking that might undermine financial stability.” However this is not a future prospect. It has already taken place, with speculative and parasitic financial activities, such as mergers and acquisitions and share buybacks, returning to levels reached before the 2008 financial meltdown.

The glaring contradictions in Yellen’s speech and her obvious bewilderment underscore a point made long ago by Karl Marx.
Bourgeois economists, he noted, are unable to comprehend the real course of the economy because they seek to expunge the contradictions of the capitalist system and therefore view crises as an “aberration” and an external factor—a deviation from the normal—rather than arising from the very nature of the profit system itself.

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