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mikenov on Twitter: The Puerto Rico Times: “puerto rico” – Google Noticias: Abrazo cultural entre Puerto Rico y República Dominicana – El Nuevo Dia.com dlvr.it/R2k9hL pic.twitter.com/bHiKpLgquc dlvr.it/R2kG3H



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mikenov
on Saturday, April 13th, 2019 5:09am

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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (82 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Khalifa Hafter: Libya’s Problem, Or Its Saviour? – OpEd

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Ever since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a hotbed of disparate Islamist groups battling against each other in a never-ending series of local conflicts. The UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has been totally ineffective in its attempts to get a grip on the situation. On the contrary, it has allowed the chaos to spiral out of control.

The one politico-military figure in today’s Libya possibly able to regain mastery of the situation and bring an end to the state of anarchy is Khalifa Hafter, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA). That does not mean that he is a particularly admirable or attractive character, merely that he appears to have the power and leadership qualities that Libya seems to require at the present time.

On April 4, 2019 Hafta announced in an on-line audio recording that he was launching a military campaign aimed at taking over the capital, Tripoli. In response, the UN-recognized GNA, which is based in Tripoli, mobilized various militias and launched air attacks against Haftar’s forces.

The next day the United Kingdom arranged for an emergency Security Council meeting, which called on Haftar to “halt all military advances” – a call he is likely to ignore. For Haftar is not an isolated figure. In the months – indeed years – of conflict that have led to what now seems a bid for supreme power, he has been receiving backing and military support from a variety of international sources. These include Russia and France, both of which urged the Security Council to exert minimal pressure on Haftar and his LNA. Other states underwriting Haftar include Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Jordan

In short, it is clear that a significant group of nations regard Haftar not as Libya’s problem, but as its solution.

As a young army officer in 1969. Khalifa Haftar helped Muammar Gaddafi seize power from King Idris, but in the 1980s he had a major falling out with the Libyan dictator, following the failed campaign to annex part of Chad. Haftar fled to the US, from where he spent twenty years planning Gaddafi’s overthrow. The BBC finds it significant that Haftar took up residence in the state of Virginia.

“His proximity to the CIA’s headquarters in Langley,” remarks the BBC on-line, “hinted at a close relationship with US intelligence services, who gave their backing to several attempts to assassinate Gaddafi.”

When the uprising against Gaddafi began in 2011, Haftar returned to a disintegrating Libya and re-established his control of the LNA. In the following years jihadists of various hues viewed Libya as a happy hunting ground. By February 2014 Islamist groups, notably the al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia, had taken over Libya’s second city, Benghazi, as well as other towns in the east, and the country was rocked by a succession of assassinations and bombings.

In May 2014 Haftar launched what he termed “Operation Dignity”, a military effort directed against Islamist militants in Benghazi and the east. It took nearly two years of intensive effort, but by February 2016 the LNA had pushed the jihadists out of much of Benghazi, and by mid-April they had been dislodged from their strongholds surrounding the city.

In three more years of military effort the LNA achieved significant progress against militant extremists who had embedded themselves in areas across the country. It was these successes, allied to the international backing he received, that may have encouraged Haftar to seek control of the whole country. Hence his recent assault on Tripoli.

Haftar’s march on the capital happened to coincided with the arrival in the country of Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, who was hoping to arrange a peace conference, the result of months of UN diplomacy. Major players in Libya, including Haftar, were meant to meet in the border town of Ghadames on April 14 to 16 to hammer out a deal paving the way to nationwide elections later this year. The conference has been postponed until further notice.

“We cannot ask people to take part in the conference during gunfire and air strikes,” said Ghassan Salame, the UN envoy to Libya.

Haftar is hoping to capitalize on the increasing discontent among the civilian population. The situation inside Tripoli, as in other Libyan cities, has been steadily deteriorating. The capital is divided between different militias, and the GNA is itself weak and corrupt.. Crime, insecurity and corruption have been on the rise, while living conditions have markedly worsened. Social and health services have nearly collapsed.

Inevitably nostalgia for the Gaddafi era has crept in, and Haftar has been capitalizing on that, projecting himself as a military strongman capable of uniting the country and restoring stability and order. A massive promotional campaign, largely backed by the UAE, has been portraying Haftar as Libya’s saviour.

The LNA has taken up positions some 11km south of the centre of Tripoli, but the capital is protected by an array of militias and other groups loyal to the government, and they have recently been augmented by battle-hardened forces from the city of Misrata. The fighting looks like being long and bitter. Hafter’s bid for power is far from assured.

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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Central Banks Are Propping Up Stock Prices – Analysis

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By Thorsten Polleit*

Financial markets seem to have a great deal of confidence in the effectiveness of central bank monetary policy — in the sense that by keeping interest rates low, or bring interest rates down, the economies will keep expanding and asset prices, in particular, will keep rising.

There is, however, good reason for savers and investors alike to think very carefully about the truth value of such a proposition.

The key question is this: What is the actual relation between the
interest rate and asset prices, stock prices in particular? To answer
this question, it may be helpful to take a brief look at the well-known
“Gordon Growth Model”. It shows the functional relation between a firm’s
stock price and its profit level, the interest rate, and the firm’s
profit growth rate. The formula is:

stock price = D / (ig),

whereas D = dividend, i = interest rate, and g = profit growth.

If, say, D = 10 US$, i = 5% and g = 0%, the stock price is 200 US$ [10 / (0.05 – 0) = 200]. If g then goes up to 2%, the stock price rises to 333.3 US$.

If the central bank lowered the interest rate to 4%, the stock price goes up further to 500.0 US$. Should g then drop to 1%, the stock price would decline back to 333.3, and if g falls even lower to 0,005%, the stock price falls to 285.7.

This little example shows that a central bank can drive up stock
prices by lowering the interest rate. However, what about the effect the
interest rate has on firms’ profit growth? From a Keynesian viewpoint
one may argue: well, lower interest rates trigger new spending, and this
should increase firms’ profits. While that may well be so in the short
run, one might expect additional effects emerging in the longer term:
namely that a policy of extremely low interest rates could sap the
strength out of an economy.

For instance, artificially low interest rates keep unprofitable
businesses alive, making it harder for better producers to gain market
shares. This, in turn, slows down competitive pressure in factor and
products markets, resulting in lower growth and employment, and
ultimately deteriorating firms’ profit situation. Also, low credit costs
invite governments to ramp up deficit spending, diverting scarce
resources into unproductive projects. The material well-being of the
people remains below potential.

The above points towards an uncomfortable scenario: Central banks,
via their policy of extremely low interest rates, drive up stock prices
to ever higher levels. Then, at some point, investors factor in the low
rate policy’s counterproductive effect and revise their expectations
regarding firms’ future profit growth downwards. Once a stock price
decline starts, it would be fairly difficult to bring it to a stop – if
and when interest rates have already reached rock bottom.

Needless to say that a decline in stock prices would also most likely be a drag on other goods’ prices – such as, say, raw materials, intermediate goods’ and housing estate prices. A general downward shift of prices would be a heavy burden on today’s unbacked paper money system – first and foremost because declining prices could trigger a massive round of credit default: As their nominal incomes decline, or fall below expectations, borrows will find it increasingly difficult to service their debt.

In the extreme case, the unbacked paper money system could even come
crashing down. For if the credit market, due to default concerns, drives
up borrowing costs and makes credit less accessible for borrowers, a
bust is very likely. This would actually explode the economy’s
production and employment structure that has been set up in the period
of artificially lowered interest rates.

Of course, governments and their central banks would want to prevent,
by all means, such a price deflation and the ensuing crash. In this
effort they can count on the support of the wider public: People simply
don’t like recession and unemployment. One option monetary policy-makers
might have in mind is pushing interest rates (even further) into
negative territory, at least in real terms. However, this might not be
as easy as it seems.

For there is something called the “zero bound of nominal interest
rates”. It means that nominal interest rates cannot be pushed below
zero. So if and when prices fall, interest rates remain positive, or
even rise, in real terms. And this would certainly not stop a credit
pyramid from coming crashing down. And so central banks will see just
one way out: outright money printing – via asset purchases and/or
issuing ‘helicopter money’.

But who shall get the newly issued money? Should it go into the hands
of consumers, or entrepreneurs, or banks, or the government? Or to all
of them? And how much money should be issued? Should it be issued early
or later in the month? Should everybody get the same amount or, say, a
10 percent increase of his bank deposits? What is the proper principle
for distributing new quantities of money? Welcome to socialism!

The monetary policy of extremely low interest rates is far from
harmless — even though it seems to support the business cycle and props
up asset markets in the short-run, suggesting that all is well. There
is, in fact, sound economic reason to assume that central banks’
artificially low interest rate policy is self-defeating — and the risk
that something will go terribly wrong increases, the longer interest
rates remain at suppressed levels.

*About the author: Dr. Thorsten Polleit, Chief Economist of Degussa and macro-economic advisor to the P&R REAL VALUE fund. He is Honorary Professor at the University of Bayreuth.

Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Moving Money For A Nuclear-Free And Eco Friendly World

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By Jamshed Baruah

While Fridays for Future protests underline a global dissatisfaction with the continuing failure of governments and industry to protect the climate, the setting of the Doomsday Clock hands to 2 minutes to midnight in January 2019 signifies a continuing high risk of a nuclear clash with disastrous consequences for human beings and the planet Earth.

But
devastating climate change and the risk of a nuclear war will not be
prevented unless the international community tackles the economic and
political influence of the fossil fuel and nuclear weapons industries:
this is the crux of the message expected to emerge from an international
conference organized by the Basel Peace Office and taking place in Basel, Switzerland on April 12-13, 2019.

“Companies
manufacturing nuclear weapons and producing fossil fuels are making
billions – if not trillions – of dollars fostering a nuclear arms race
and destroying the climate,” explains Australia’s Dr. Keith Suter the
logic behind the conference titled Move the Nuclear Weapons Money. He is Economics Futurist and member of the Club of Rome.

Dr.
Suter adds: “They have vested financial interests in producing more and
more nuclear weapons and in preventing a shift from fossil fuels to
renewable energy, and they exert intense political power on decision
makers to protect these interests. We must shift the economic incentives
from destroying the planet to instead support peace and the
environment.”

The conference is part of the move the nuclear weapons money campaign
which is gaining traction around the world, says a press release.
“Already a number of sovereign wealth (national government) funds,
pension funds, city and state funds, banks, universities and religious
organisations have decided to end their investments in the nuclear
weapons and/or fossil fuel industries,” says Thies Kätow, researcher for
the World Future Council, one of the co-sponsors of the conference.

“As
a portion of the trillions of dollars of global investment money, the
amount divested to date is only moderate,” adds Kätow. “However, as
the nuclear weapons and fossil fuel divestment campaigns grow, their
political impact could be as powerful as the divestment campaign against
South Africa in the late 20th Century, which was a critical factor in
moving the South African government to end apartheid in 1994.”

Legislators
including mayors, city councillors and parliamentarians, financial
managers, civil society representatives and experts in disarmament and
climate change are attending the conference, which is focusing on
socially responsible investment (SRI) as a powerful tool to shift this
economic and political power.

SRI
includes divestment, that is, ending investments in nuclear weapons and
fossil fuels, and re-investing in sustainability also described as
impact investment.

“Most
of us are currently supporting fossil fuels and nuclear weapons through
investments made in these industries on our behalf by our governments,
cities, universities, religious organisations, banks or pension funds,”
says Professor (em) Andreas Nidecker MD, President of the Basel Peace
Office. “We can each make a difference by calling on them to end these
investments.”

“Through divestment, we can put pressure on the industries to change,” says Dr. Ute Finckh-Krämer, Council Member of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and former Deputy Chair of the German Parliament Subcommittee on Disarmament and Arms Control.

“Such
action highlights the immorality (and stupidity) of making vast profits
on the destruction of the planet. It also gives support to legislators
who are trying to adopt and implement policies for nuclear disarmament
and climate protection,” adds Dr. Finckh-Krämer in a press release.

“Impact
investment is the other side of the Socially Responsible Investment
coin,” says Professor Laurent Goetschel, Executive Director of swisspeace.
“By focusing investments on economic enterprises which support
sustainable development, investors can benefit from stable returns as
well as the satisfaction that their investment funds are being used for
the improvement of human lives and the environment. It’s a win-win for
all and should be a guiding principle, at least for all public
investment funds.”

The significance of the conference is highlighted by UN Secretary-General António

 Guterres’ warning
in the letter on June 30, 2018 to member states and the UN staff that
the world body is $140 million short of its budget and could run out of
cash, due to late and non-payment of UN dues by member states.

The Union of Concerned Scientists  pointed
out then that the cost to extend the lifetime of each U.S. Trident
nuclear missile is $140 million, the same amount as the UN shortfall.

“If
the US retires just one Trident nuclear missile from their arsenal, the
money saved could be used to wipe out the current UN deficit,” said
Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) and Co-founder of Move the Nuclear Weapons Money.

“Better
yet, if all the nuclear armed States abandoned their plans to upgrade
current nuclear weapons and build new weapons and delivery systems,
nearly $100 billion could be saved. This could then re-directed into the
economy for job creation, climate protection, education, health, peace,
diplomacy and sustainable security,” added Ware then.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites): Eurasia Review: Electric Vehicle Adoption Improves Air Quality And Climate Outlook

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If you have ever wondered how much electric vehicle (EV) adoption
actually matters for the environment, a new study provides evidence that
making this switch would improve overall air quality and lower carbon
emissions.

The Northwestern University study quantified the differences in air
pollution generated from battery-powered electric vehicles versus
internal combustion engines. The researchers found that even when their
electricity is generated from combustion sources, electric vehicles have
a net positive impact on air quality and climate change.

“In contrast to many of the scary climate change impact stories we
read in the news, this work is about solutions,” said Northwestern’s
Daniel Horton, senior author of the study. “We know that climate change
is happening, so what can we do about it? One technologically available
solution is to electrify our transportation system. We find that EV
adoptions reduces net carbon emissions and has the added benefit of
reducing air pollutants, thereby improving public health.”

The research published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. Horton is an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Jordan Schnell, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Ubben Program for Climate and Carbon Science in the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, was the paper’s first author.

To quantify the differences between the two types of vehicles, the
researchers used an emissions remapping algorithm and air quality model
simulations. They used these methods to closely examine two pollutants
related to automobiles and power emissions: ozone and particulate
matter. Both are main components of smog and can trigger a variety of
health problems, such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

To fully account for the complexity of changes to air pollution
chemistry, the researchers took multiple variables into consideration:

  • Potential electric vehicles adoption rates
  • Generation of electric vehicle power supply, including our
    current combustion-dominant mix, combustion-only sources and enhanced
    emission-free renewables
  • Geographical locations
  • Seasons and times of day

Ozone levels decreased across the board in simulations of warmer
weather months. In the wintertime, however, ozone levels increase
slightly but are already much lower compared to summer due to a chemical
reaction that occurs differently during times of lesser winter
sunlight.

“Across scenarios, we found the more cars that transitioned to
electric power, the better for summertime ozone levels,” Schnell said.
“No matter how the power is generated, the more combustion cars you take
off the road, the better the ozone quality.”

Particulate matter, which is also called “haze,” decreased in the
wintertime but showed greater variation based on location and how the
power was generated. Locations with more coal-fired power in their
energy mix, for example, experienced an increase in haze during the
summer. Locations with clean energy sources, however, saw drastic
reductions in human-caused haze.

“We found that in the Midwest, the increased power demands of EV
charging in our current energy mix could cause slight increases in
summer particulate matter due to the reliance on coal-fired power
generation,” Schnell said. “However, if we transition more of the
Midwest’s power generation to renewables, particulate matter pollution
is substantially reduced. In the Pacific Northwester or Northeast, where
there is already more clean power available, EV adoption — even with
the current energy mix — will decrease particulate matter pollution.”

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (87 sites)


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The Puerto Rico Times: “puerto rico” – Google Noticias: Abrazo cultural entre Puerto Rico y República Dominicana – El Nuevo Dia.com dlvr.it/R2k9hL pic.twitter.com/bHiKpLgquc



Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, April 13th, 2019 4:12am

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