F-35 Stealth Jet At Risk Of Falling Behind China And Russia Defenses, Panel Says

F-35 Stealth Jet At Risk Of Falling Behind China And Russia Defenses, Panel Says

The House Armed Services Committee warned that Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet, the world’s most expensive weapons system, may underperform against Chinese and Russian air defense systems, according to Bloomberg. The panel also pointed out the fighter’s exorbitant program costs. 

The defense committee called into question “overly aggressive development and production schedules” that for more than two decades have resulted “in longer schedules and much higher costs than planned to realize less than full warfighting capabilities required by the Department of Defense.”

It said adversaries pose “near-peer” challenges that could threaten the F-35s existence on the modern battlefield. It warned it’s “uncertain as to whether or not the F-35 aircraft can sufficiently evolve to meet the future expected threat in certain geographical areas of operations in which combat operations could occur.” 

No adversaries were named, but we’re assuming the committee is pointing to China and Russia as they quickly advance radar systems, fifth-generation fighter jets, and hypersonic weapons. 

The committee also expressed that the F-35 has yet to prove dominance against simulated Russian and Chinese air defense systems. The simulation has yet to be completed and was delayed last December, initially planned for 2017. 

We pointed out the stealth jet has 871 software and hardware flaws that could affect combat operations. Ten out of those issues are considered potentially serious issues. 

Even though the F-35 is wired with problems, the committee continues to support the nearly $400 billion acquisition program in its latest version of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill. Taxpayers can expect to pay upwards of $1.5 trillion over the plane’s total lifetime (through 2070). 

Norm Singleton via The Mises Institute called the F-35 program a terrible investment as it makes “America less safe by spending us into bankruptcy:” 

The F-35 program is expected to cost well over $1 trillion when it is fully operational and deployed. That massive investment will serve to enrich government contractors while giving interventionist politicians an offensive weapon of war. This program was created as a “too big to fail” scheme where once the government starts the process of making these fighter jets, they will have spent so much money that they can’t back away. The F-35 program is a bad deal for the taxpayer while promoting a policy that will make these same taxpayers less safe.

The main takeaway is that America’s global air dominance is whittling away due to bad investments.  

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 22:10

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/39fYcgy Tyler Durden

Enraged Evergrande Investors Go Full Pitchfork, Hold Management Hostage In Company Offices

Enraged Evergrande Investors Go Full Pitchfork, Hold Management Hostage In Company Offices

As the collapse of Evergrande reverberates throughout the Chinese economy, pissed off retail investors have gone from storming the company’s headquarters to taking management hostage, according to the Straits Times, citing posts ‘making the rounds’ on social media.

What we know so far: over 70,000 retail investors forked over vast sums of money, in some cases their entire life savings, after the country’s second largest, ‘too big to fail’ property developer wooed them with promises of 10%+ annual returns. And while the company most likely is TBTF (as you can read in gory detail here, although Beijing has yet to make an official proclamation), these anxious retail investors may be in more of an “Alive” situation than a Sully Sullenberger landing when it comes to resolving this mess.

“Alive” (1993)

After accumulating some 1.97 trillion yuan (US$410 billion) in liabilities, the company – which became the country’s largest high-yield dollar bond issuer (16% of all outstanding notes) – sparked protests across the country earlier this week after announcing they were forced to delay payments on up to 40 billion yuan in wealth management products.

As we noted earlier Thursday, in an effort to appease its angry (and very soon, poor) stakeholders, Evergrande plans to let consumers and staff bid on discounted apartments this month as compensation for billions in overdue investment products as the embattled developer seeks to preserve cash, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to Bloomberg, the company will organize an online property event by Sept. 30 for investors who opt for  real estate in lieu of cash. The world’s most-indebted property developer is pushing the discounted real estate as the preferred of three options for angry investors seeking repayments.

The plan, it would appear, did not go off quite as planned: in response, nearly 100 investors stormed Evergrande’s headquarters to demand their money back.

And while we believe Evergrande’s chaotic, freefall default poses such a catastrophic risk to the Chinese economy (a nightmare scenario echoed in graphic detail by Bloomberg) that a rescue will materialize, enraged retail investors now squatting at the company’s headquarters claim to be holding management hostage in their offices, according to the Straits Times.

I have with me Nanchang’s top Evergrande representative surnamed Chen,” said WeChat user Yang Qiwen, referring to the city in Jiangxi province in south-eastern China, in a post accompanied by a photo of a man lying on the floor.

He can’t leave the office. There are more than 300 of us (investors) stopping him,” Yang added on one of at least three WeChat groups discussing the company’s dire straits.

Photos posted by a WeChat user who claims to have held hostage Nanchang’s top Evergrande representative.PHOTOS: WECHAT GROUPS

Evergrande has more than 700 projects across 223 cities – most of which lie in the country’s less developed regions – and has committed to complete some 1.4 million properties by the end of June, according to the Times. Last week, over 100 people who had bought homes with Evergrande staged a protest in Guangzhou after construction stalled on the projects.

On Wednesday, state media Global Times sought to restore investor confidence, calling the company’s liquidity problems an “isolated incident,” and insisting that Evergrande’s debt crisis will “not affect China’s efforts to strengthen regulation of the housing market to prevent major financial risks and ensure sustainable development.”

As the Times further notes, however, Beijing has yet to make an official statement on what actions will be taken.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 21:50

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3hFQ39P Tyler Durden

Aussie Uranium Stocks Soar After Australia Decides It Wants Nuclear Industry To Go With New Nuclear Subs

Aussie Uranium Stocks Soar After Australia Decides It Wants Nuclear Industry To Go With New Nuclear Subs

Following last night “historic” AUKUS deal, which officially pitted US and UK with Australia against China, in the process supplying the aussies with nuclear-powered subs (while enraging the French whose $50 billion contract to build diesel-electric submarines was scrapped as a result), Australia has a revelation: the deal would see Australia become the only country in the world with nuclear-powered submarines to not have its own domestic nuclear industry. This in turn immediately led to further calls to reverse a longstanding ban on developing local uranium resources.

“Getting nuclear subs makes sense for our national defense,” said Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, who has been leading a push in parliament to develop Australia’s nuclear industry. “But no country in the world has nuclear subs without having nuclear power,” he said.

“I thought before the subs deal we should have nuclear power — it makes even more sense now.”

As Australia’s Daily Telegraph poignantly observes, France, which was previously to supply Australia with diesel subs assembled in Adelaide, has its own fleet of 10 nuclear attack and nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and derives more than 70% of its domestic energy needs from nuclear power. Of course, Russia and the US both have large nuclear-powered naval fleets, and derive about 20% of their respective domestic electricity from nuclear.

China, meanwhile, is continuing to develop its own nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed navy but only relies on atomic energy for 5% cent of its power, thanks to its lax environmental standards and reliance on coal-fired power.

As a result, local mining industry figures, said that this was the perfect time to reignite the discussion about nuclear.

“This is a perfect opportunity to update our approach to nuclear energy by removing the cold-war era ban on uranium mining in NSW. It’s a real chance to develop a new industry here in NSW that could provide local uranium to meet our domestic energy and national security needs,” NSW Mining CEO Stephen Galilee said.

Galilee’s thoughts were echoed by the Minerals Council of Australia’s Tania Constable, who said of the deal, “This is an incredible opportunity for Australia’s economy — not only will we develop the skills and infrastructure to support this naval technology, but it connects us to the growing global nuclear power industry and its supply chains.

But, she added, “Outdated regulations at the federal and state levels that prohibit nuclear power — and in some cases exploration and mining of uranium — contribute to Australia being unable to properly even consider, let alone develop, this important industry.”

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, however, kiboshed any thought of leveraging a domestic nuclear industry off the deal, saying that a condition for the ALP’s support was that “there be no requirement of a domestic civil nuclear industry”.

His objection, however, fell on deaf ears and overnight Australia’s uranium stocks soared on hopes that Australia was indeed set to finally enter the nuclear era. As a result Deep Yellow jumped as much as 10%, Paladin Energy soared as much as 9.3%, Defense contractor Austal shares climbs as much as 7.4%; the most since March and Peninsula Energy jumped at much as 17%.

Meanwhile, back in the US uranium stocks have continued their ascent as more investors focus on Sprott’s attempt to go “Hunt Brothers” on uranium with his Sprott Physical Uranium Trust  which has been on a buying spree, bolstering its stockpile by 45% in four weeks after snapping up 8.1 million pounds of the commodity while prices soared. Uranium has surged 40% this month, putting pressure on utility owners and other users when supplies are dwindling and demand is set to take off thanks to more reactors being built around the world.

Discussing its strategy with Bloomberg, the Canadian firm behind the world’s only physical uranium fund said it wasn’t solely responsible for the move, but that hedge funds and family offices are driving up demand for the radioactive metal used to fuel nuclear reactors.

“I don’t think we’re crowding them out,” said John Ciampaglia, chief executive officer of Sprott Asset Management, which oversees the trust. “You’ve got end users that are trying to buy materials, you’ve got speculators and financial intermediaries in the market as well.”

Investment demand from non-utility buyers such as hedge funds and family offices has been strong this year, even before Sprott’s asset-management unit launched its trust on July 19, according to Ciampaglia. A few uranium development companies bought the physical commodity after raising equity in the capital markets rather than parking the proceeds into cash, he said.

Still, according to the latest data, Sprott’s trust holds about 26 million pounds of uranium, equal to about 14% of the annual consumption from the world’s nuclear reactors. The closed-end fund was formed out of an April takeover of Uranium Participation Corp., which held 18 million pounds of uranium, and its trust units trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The fund invests and holds substantially all of its assets in uranium, which is stored in highly secured facilities in Canada, France and the U.S.

Units of Sprott Physical Uranium Trust have soared 42% in September since our post “A Bitcoin-Like Opportunity In Uranium?”

Historically low prices and pandemic-driven mine disruptions have prompted uranium producers including Cameco to buy from the spot market to fulfill their long-term contracts with consumers. That means stockpiling by the Sprott fund may have the potential for tightening the market and boosting prices, in the process as prices rise, the value of the fund will rise as well, attracting more inflows, leading to even more uranium purchases, even higher prices and so on until we have another Hunt Brothers situation on our hands, only with uranium this time instead of silver.

The robust investment demand is built on a growing realization that nuclear power is becoming more accepted by policymakers worldwide as a way to limit greenhouse-gas emissions, Ciampaglia said Wednesday in an interview. Australia’s reaction was merely confirmation of this.

“That’s something that’s just recent, and you’re seeing this from the Biden administration acknowledging and providing support for nuclear,” he said. “And the European Union clearly identifies nuclear as part of the taxonomy.”

As Bloomberg adds, Uranium is also getting a boost from generalist investors who are seeking investments that meet environmental, social and governance criteria or support the energy shift away from fossil fuels, he said.

Then there’s the recent buzz from retail investors, with uranium becoming a recent target of the meme-stock frenzy that share tips on Reddit message boards. Cameco, the world’s second-largest uranium miner, was the most searched stock symbol on Monday, according to WallStreetBets Ticker Sentiment.

Reddit day-traders “seem to be into it,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas said in an interview. “When you have something that’s starting to surge that’s been beaten for 10 years and there’s some more room to run potentially, I think that’s what they’re trying to do.”

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 21:30

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Taiwan FM Says The Island Is A “Sea Fortress” Blocking Chinese Expansion

Taiwan FM Says The Island Is A “Sea Fortress” Blocking Chinese Expansion

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com, 

On Wednesday, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told an online forum on US-Taiwan relations that Taiwan is a “sea fortress” blocking Chinese expansion in the region.

The forum was organized by the Global Taiwan Institute, and according to Reuters, several former US officials were in attendance. Wu said that Taiwan played a “significant role” in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, two areas where the US military has stepped up its activity.

Via Reuters

“A democratic Taiwan serves as a sea fortress to block China’s expansionism into the wider Pacific,” Wu said. Boosting ties with “democracies” is something the Biden administration has touted as a way to counter China, something Wu said Taiwan plays a role in.

“Taiwan has learned valuable lessons and developed various means to tackle the threat to democracy, and we are more than willing to share this knowledge with fellow democracies,” he said.

Wu’s comments come as Taiwan is holding military exercises simulating a Chinese invasion. The drills are simulating an attack that took out Taiwan’s airfields, so fighter jets are practicing landing on stretches of highway.

The Biden administration has continued the tradition of selling weapons to Taiwan and has been sailing warships through the sensitive Taiwan Strait just about every month. The latest US transit through the sensitive waterway was carried out by a US Navy warship and a US Coast Guard cutter.

The US and Taiwan have been holding talks on coast guard cooperation that could result in future joint exercises.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 21:10

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Facebook Aided In Recruitment Of Modern Day Slaves, Cartel Hitmen Internal Documents Show

Facebook Aided In Recruitment Of Modern Day Slaves, Cartel Hitmen Internal Documents Show

It seems like the WSJ’s entire San Francisco bureau has been preoccupied lately with churning out a series of stories sourced from “leaked” internal Facebook documents exposing embarrassing internal reports on everything from Instagram’s deleterious impact on the mental health of its twentysomething and teenage users to political divisiveness to – today’s entry – how Facebook’s products are abused to facilitated human trafficking and terror recruitment in parts of the emerging world.

The gist of the piece is this: Facebook has a small staff dedicated to combating human trafficking around the world, particularly in countries where the rule of law isn’t as robust as it is in the US and Europe. In the Middle East, Facebook is used to lure women into sex slavery (or some other form of exploitative labor).

In Ethiopia, armed groups use the site to recruit and to incite violence against other ethnic minorities.

Facebook’s monitors have also sent reports to their bosses on everything from human organ trafficking, pornography and child pornography, and government’s cracking down on political dissent.

The documents leaked to WSJ show that while Facebook removes some pages, many continue to operate openly.

While some might sympathize with Facebook’s inability to whack every mole (after all, they’re fighting a never-ending torrent of misconduct). But the sad truth is that Facebook could do more to stop its platform from being abused by traffickers, criminals and abusers – particularly in the emerging world (we all remember what happened in Myanmar).

The reason it doesn’t is because that would be bad for business”, according to a former chief executive who resigned from the company last year. Facebook treats harm in developing countries as “simply the cost of doing business” in those places, said Brian Boland, a former Facebook vice president who oversaw partnerships with internet providers in Africa and Asia before resigning at the end of last year.

Facebook has focused its safety efforts on wealthier markets (like the US) where powerful government and media institutions can help keep it accountable. But in smaller countries, Facebook answers many problems with a shrug.

“There is very rarely a significant, concerted effort to invest in fixing those areas,” Boland said.

The problem for Facebook is that the developing world is now it’s biggest market for growth. With user numbers in the US, Canada and Europe mostly stagnant now, 90% of the company’s user growth is coming from the developing world.

A Facebook spokesman responded to WSJ’s inquiry by describing Facebook’s efforts to police content in the emerging world. “In countries at risk for conflict and violence, we have a comprehensive strategy, including relying on global teams with native speakers covering over 50 languages, educational resources, and partnerships with local experts and third-party fact checkers to keep people safe,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said this week.

Others say while this might be true, it’s not enough – and Facebook’s leadership knows it. One team, led by a former cop, uncovered how the New Jalisco Cartel in Mexico was using Facebook to recruit and train aspiring cartel hitmen.

On Jan. 13, nine days after employees circulated an internal report calling on Facebook to take down all pages publicly associated with the cartel, the first post appeared on a new CJNG Instagram account: it was a video of a person with a gold pistol shooting a young man in the head while blood spurts from his neck. The next post was a photo of a beaten man tied to a chair. The next one was a trash bag full of severed hands.

That page, along with other Instagram and Facebook pages advertising the cartel, remained active for at least five months before being taken down. Since then, new pages have appeared under the CJNG name featuring guns and beheadings.

In other instances, Facebook found that it simply didn’t have enough language specialists to monitor threats in certain emerging countries. One example was Ethiopia. Like years before in Myanmar, some Ethiopian users used Facebook to incite violence against the people of Tigray, attacks that have risen to the level of war crimes.

In what was perhaps one of the most shocking shortcomings, Facebook’s lack of Arabic-language experts allowed a scheme where “employment agencies” lured women from Kenya and other African nations to work as de facto slaves in the homes of wealthy Saudis. Most of these agencies advertised on Facebook to lure workers to an airport, where they would be confronted with a bait and switch, and told that, if they backed out now, they would be on the hook to repay the employment agency.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 20:50

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3zjLFD4 Tyler Durden

States See Looming Monoclonal Antibody Crunch As Biden Admin Rations Doses

States See Looming Monoclonal Antibody Crunch As Biden Admin Rations Doses

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

Some states are set to receive fewer doses of monoclonal antibody treatments after the Biden administration switched the distribution system this week.

Demand for monoclonal antibodies, used to treat non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, has shot up in recent weeks, leading to what some officials have described as a shortage.

The Biden administration tipped off states in early September that it was limiting distribution of the treatments before abruptly switching on Monday from letting sites directly order the doses to putting the federal government in charge of allocation to states, which can then choose where to send them.

Some state officials say they weren’t notified of the change until late Monday, and that pending orders with AmerisourceBergen, the primary distributor in the old model, were being closed out.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) alerted Texas health officials “that the national supply has considerably decreased and states should expect lower amounts of therapeutics available for shipment in the coming weeks,” Douglas Loveday, press officer for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told The Epoch Times in an email.

“The amount available to distribute is expected to be disproportionately small compared to the amounts needed,” he added.

Other states have also been told they won’t get as many doses as they were getting before. Among them are southern states grappling with the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation.

Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s top medical officer, said HHS recently called to “let us know that Alabama and some other states are going to be on an allocation.”

“We don’t think providers are going to be able to order as much as they would like,” he said during a briefing late last week. Up until the change, “there was really sort of no limit to what could be ordered,” he added.

HHS and the federal COVID-19 response team did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

HHS said in an update on Monday that the higher number of COVID-19 cases in the United States in recent weeks has “caused a substantial surge in the utilization of monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs,” especially in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.

Federal officials informed state health officials that there’s been a 20-fold increase in demand for monoclonal antibodies in just the last few weeks, James Blumenstock, the chief of health security at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told The Epoch Times.

“Clearly that’s outstripping the current supply even with the supply increase this month; that increase is not sufficient to meet the current demand,” he said.

The timeline for when supplies will increase enough to meet the jump in demand isn’t clear. The new process will help ensure consistent availability for the drugs in all parts of the nation, according to HHS, which is basing its weekly shipments based on reports of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and inventory data.

Monoclonal antibody treatments from two companies, Regeneron and Eli Lilly, are purchased by the federal government and distributed across the nation. Patients get them for free. The treatments received emergency use authorization from drug regulators earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical trials showed they reduced hospitalization or death by as much as 70 percent.

Dr. Aldo Calvo, medical director of family medicine at Broward Health, shows a Regeneron monoclonal antibody infusion bag during a news conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla, on Aug. 19, 2021. (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

It takes several weeks or months to produce a batch of Regeneron’s drug, REGEN-COV, a spokesman for the New York-based company told The Epoch Times in an email. Regeneron says demand has grown since earlier this year but that it is ready to deliver new doses quickly because it “remained proactive” and has the drug in various stages of the manufacturing process.

An Eli Lilly spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email that the Indiana-based company “continues to work with governments globally to help address the therapeutic needs of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Another monoclonal antibody treatment, from GlaxoSmithKline, is not being distributed through the federal government. A spokesperson for the company, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, told The Epoch Times in an email that there are no supply or access issues for its medicine.

The United States has purchased or committed to purchasing nearly three million doses of REGEN-COV, including 1.4 million doses on Sept. 14. Most of the doses cost taxpayers $2,100 each, according to the Regeneron spokesman. Eli Lilly’s treatment requires two drugs, etesevimab and bamlanivimab. The company just reached an agreement to provide 388,000 additional doses of etesevimab to the U.S. government for nearly $1,000 each, building on earlier contracts to supply nearly 1 million vials of one drug or the other.

Over 2.1 million monoclonal antibody doses were shipped to over 8,000 sites across the nation as of early September, John Redd, chief medical officer for HHS emergency preparedness and response office, told state officials in a recent call.

Redd told officials that HHS had not returned to the allocation model that was used between November 2020 and February. A few days later, the model was switched.

Biden’s administration also said last week in a fresh COVID-19 response plan that it would increase shipments of monoclonal antibodies to states by 50 percent in September—something critics are pointing to in questioning the change.

“It is regrettable that the Biden administration would play politics with people’s lives during a pandemic, by withholding a life-saving treatment and providing mixed messages to Americans,” Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, told The Epoch Times via email.

“Today, I pressed President Biden’s team to explain the sudden rationing of these life-saving treatments—without any warning—after the administration urged us to promote them. It is yet another example of confusing and conflicting guidance coming from the federal government,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on social media.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) office told The Epoch Times in an email that it’s looking into the matter to see how it can be of assistance.

Florida has not yet seen its supply drop and some other states said they don’t expect the distribution model change to affect them.

“We do not have any concerns about monoclonal supply at this point of time in Arkansas based on current usage patterns,” Danyelle McNeill, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Health, told The Epoch Times in an email.

Some governors, including DeSantis, have heavily promoted monoclonal antibodies, which have a high efficacy rate against cases of COVID-19 that don’t require hospital care and are sometimes used following an exposure to a COVID-19 patient.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

For now, officials are encouraging people to continue seeking out the antibody treatments. Some experts say the drop in supply should prompt people who haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine to get one.

“The public health message is, while everyone is doing their absolute best to treat and care for individuals who get sick from COVID, the best effort is to avoid that scenario in the first place, and therefore get vaccinated,” Blumenstock said.

And of course Psaki denies any rationing… then admits it…

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 20:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3kgZxd9 Tyler Durden

US Pork Exports To Dominican Republic Spike Amid Pig Ebola Outbreak

US Pork Exports To Dominican Republic Spike Amid Pig Ebola Outbreak

The first outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Western Hemisphere in four decades began on July 28 in the Dominican Republic and was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The presence of ASF has led to massive hog culling on the Caribbean island that borders Haiti. Bloomberg notes the island may have to slaughter more than half a million pigs to prevent the deadly swine fever virus from spreading. 

Pork supplies are dwindling, and Dominican importers are panic buying from U.S. slaughterhouses. The latest USDA data shows U.S. exporters shipped a whopping 3,500 metric tons of pork to the Caribbean nation earlier this month – the highest on record. 

Steve Meyer, an economist at Partners For Production Agriculture based in Ames, Iowa, said during a previous ASF outbreak in the 1970s, the Dominican Republic ramped up pork supplies from the U.S. 

“Exporting pork to there would be easier now as more companies are set up” to do it, Meyer said. 

The U.S. has taken pre-emptive measures to suppress the outbreak by creating a “protection zone” around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“USDA is committed to assisting the Dominican Republic in dealing with ASF, is offering continued testing support, and will consult with them on additional steps or actions to support response and mitigation measures,” USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said. “We will also offer similar help to Haiti, which borders the Dominican Republic and is at high risk for ASF detections.”

ASF outbreaks have ravaged hog populations in parts of Asia and Europe over the last several years. There is no vaccine against the virus, and outbreaks are usually contained by culling herds. This will only push up pork prices and drive food inflation higher – thus irritating consumers

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 20:10

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3EpiBxV Tyler Durden

This Is The Most Terrifying Map In The World… Here’s What It Means For You

This Is The Most Terrifying Map In The World… Here’s What It Means For You

Authored by Chris Macintosh via InternationalMan.com,

If there ever was a time when you could see a trend solidly in motion, now is it.

That the Western, previously civilized world is in decline has been known to anyone with an ounce of curiosity and little analysis of data points.

Before Xi’s ascension to power one could have argued that this trend was worrying, but not terrifying.

What makes it terrifying is that Xi managed to abolish the two-term limit for his presidency with an overwhelming majority (2,959 to 2 and 3 abstaining votes – no prizes for guessing where those 5 guys are now).

He then proceeded to have his name enshrined in the constitution. Seriously.

You may recall Xi’s “anti-corruption” purge from a few years back.

Well, this was Xi’s own internal secret police, designed to kill (literally) any opposition from within the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

Today’s China, or should I say CCP, is not the same CCP of Deng Xiaoping. Today’s CCP is an ideological global weapon of control, and it is spreading like a cancer.

Which brings me to…

To Tech, or Not to Tech?

Sometimes knowing where not to be is just as important as knowing where to be since all investments are a matter of opportunity costs and probabilities.

The implosion of Chinese tech continues.

One can argue as to what the particular catalyst for this selloff was. Certainly, the CCP going after Didi (China’s clone of Uber) hasn’t helped things, though this is peculiar to me. Because, when Jack Ma fell afoul of the CCP and disappeared (still yet to be seen) with Ant financial now a wholly owned subsidiary of the CCP, it was clear that Xi was implementing his three Cs: control, consolidate, continue.

It really is just nationalisation of resources with a carefully constructed veneer to pretend it really isn’t that at all. But that’s all it is — a veneer.

Truth is, much of the world works like this, including Putin’s Russia. China is moving towards controlling the key industry sectors (not that they didn’t have significant control before because they did) with less pretentiousness than before. Why?

The same reason they took Hong Kong. Because they could. And they could because the rest of the world is distracted, ironically by the Covid pantomime created by Fauci, Gates, Klaus, and their fellow technocrats.

All of this allows the CCP to do things they had not previously been able to do without repercussions, both politically and economically.

So now we have this gap between QQQ (US tech) and CQQQ (China tech), and the ratio between the two tech ETFs closed at another all-time low.

The Chinese tech regulatory issue has been going on for months, but the big question here is what is priced in.

What about the longer-term view? Is US tech any better?

US tech manipulates and owns the government whereas in China the government manipulates and owns China tech.

US investors have been buying up China tech as if it’s the same as US tech. Clearly it isn’t.

But the other question that is worth thinking about is what the US tech investors don’t know about the US tech? Do they still or should they still trust them to the extent that they do?

Well, you probably guessed my answer to that, but really what I think doesn’t matter because what the market thinks is what matters, at least for now.

Right now, the debate by the dolly birds on CNBC is around whether or not to buy these now cheaper Chinese tech stocks.

I would say a better question is if you can’t trust Chinese tech (and you clearly can’t), then pray tell, why would one trust US tech?

Do you chase US tech (like everybody else), puke Chinese tech (like everybody else), or start looking at the contrarian spread?

We are still a long way off buying China tech here as I don’t like putting out fires with my face… and that is what I think you’d be doing here. But buying US tech feels decidedly dicey as well.

So what do we do with all this?

We watch and see where these capital flows may go, and for now, we buy deep value.

*  *  *

The 2020s will likely to be an increasingly volatile decade. More governments are putting their money printing on overdrive. Negative interests are becoming the rule instead of the exception to it. One thing is for sure, there will be a great deal of change taking place in the years ahead. That’s precisely why legendary speculator Doug Casey and his team released an urgent new report titled Doug Casey’s Top 7 Predictions.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 19:50

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Beijing Creates New Securities “Regulator” To Fight Fraud, Reassure Investors

Beijing Creates New Securities “Regulator” To Fight Fraud, Reassure Investors

With China’s bankrupt real-estate behemoth Evergrande finally on the verge of its “Lehman” moment, President Xi and the Politburo’s campaign to realign the Chinese economy with their “common prosperity” values has finally arrived at a reform of Chinese financial markets – which the CCP hopes will soon be booming with more domestic IPOs as foreign offerings have now been effectively banned during the crackdown.

According to Reuters, “China has set up a cross-agency team, led by the country’s securties watchdog, to coordinate crackdown efforts against illegal acticities in capital markets.”

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said on Thursday it recently led its first meeting with representatives from the other agencies as well as people from Beijing’s propaganda department, supreme court, supreme procuratorate, police, ministry of justice and ministry of finance.

The notion of Beijing tightening “oversight” of its financial markets is redolent of the spring and summer of 2015, when the government threatened to arrest short sellers and leaned on major securities firms to help out the official TTP with arresting a selloff in Chinese markets.

But according to Reuters, the focus of the new multi-party regulatory commission will be to ferret out “misbehavior” like securities fraud, book cooking, market-manipulation and insider trading with a “zero tolerance” ‘approach.

However, shortsellers might want to start thinking about the point at which selling Chinese stocks short becomes “manipulation” in the eyes of the authorities, especially as shares of major Chinese developers are getting hammered in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Additionally, the team will “promote better coodination between the central and local governments,” as well as between varous Chinese regions, to better regulate its domestic capital markets.

Given Beijing’s hopes of building up its domestic capital markets (a policy President Xi has decided to impose by force), it’s not surprising that they’re beefing up “enforcement”, especially given Chinese companies’ reputation for fraud (think Luckin Coffee). Beijing has said it’s trying to channel more household savings into equities and bonds to “fund innovation and economic expansion” (even as the Evergrande debacle is creating mobs of angry home buyers and employees who lent money to Evergrande have been treated to a rude awakening).

In fact, it’s this very reputation for misbehavior by Chinese companies listed in the US that has led Congress and the SEC to deliver an ultimatum: either submit to tighter auditing standards, or be forcibly de-listed.

And looming over all of this is Evergrande, and the dismal prospect of contagion spreading across the Chinese economy and markets.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 19:30

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3hG266S Tyler Durden

Pentagon Paid Defense Contractors At Least $4.4 Trillion Since 9/11

Pentagon Paid Defense Contractors At Least $4.4 Trillion Since 9/11

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com, 

Brown University’s Costs of War Project released a new report Monday detailing post-9/11 spending by the Pentagon. The study found that of the over $14 trillion spent by the Pentagon since the start of the war in Afghanistan, one-third to one-half went to private military contractors.

The report, authored by William Hartung of the Center for International Policy, said $4.4 trillion of the total spending went towards weapons procurement and research and development, a category that directly benefits corporate military contractors. Private contractors are also paid through other funds, like operations and maintenance, but those numbers are harder to determine.

Out of the $4.4 trillion, the top five US weapons makers — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman — received $2.2 trillion, almost half.

To put these huge numbers into perspective, the report pointed out that in the 2020 fiscal year, Lockheed Martin received $75 billion in Pentagon contracts, compared to the combined $44 billion budget for the State Department and USAID that same year.

Besides getting paid for weapons and research, US corporations profit from private contractors that are deployed to warzones. The most notorious private security contractor previously employed by the Pentagon is Blackwater, the mercenary group whose employees massacred 17 people in Iraq’s Nisour Square back in 2007.

Besides armed mercenaries, the Pentagon employed private contractors for just about every task in US warzones. Demonstrating the Pentagon’s reliance on contractors, at the end of the Trump administration, only 2,500 US troops were left in Afghanistan, but over 18,000 Pentagon contractors were still in the country.

Ranking of the top 20 US Department of Defense contractors in fiscal year 2019, by contract value (in billion of US dollars)…

You will find more infographics at Statista

The report explained how China is the new justification for military spending. “The most likely impact of the shift towards China will be to further tighten the grip of major weapons makers like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon Technologies on the Pentagon budget,” the report reads.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 09/16/2021 – 19:10

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3kiCleM Tyler Durden