Russian Central Bank to introduce 200 and 2,000 ruble notes in late 2017

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Russians invited to propose images for new banknotes on special website

New banknotes with denomination of 200 and 2,000 rubles will be in circulation in late 2017, Chief of Russia’s Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina told a press conference held at the TASS news agency on June 28.

“Usually, it takes from 1 to 1.5 years to design a banknote, and we expect that these new banknotes will be launched by the end of 2017. As for the volume of the issue, it will be determined later on the base of the dynamics of a possible demand,” she said.


Nabiullina said that the Central bank is now launching the All-Russian campaign to select the images the new banknotes will carry.

“By tradition these will be views of Russian cities and territories, their main symbols of them,” she said.

The head of the Central Bank said that images for the new banknotes will be chosen during a three stage contest.


The first stage starts on June 28 and will end in July. At this stage Russian citizens are invited to propose cities and their symbols at a special website.

At the second stage, in August, the Public Opinion Foundation will conduct an opinion poll to select 10 most popular cities and territories and corresponding 20 symbols.

At the third stage, in September, two cities winners and respectively four symbols of those cities (two for each city) will be chosen from the list of ten.

On October 7, the Rossiya 1 TV channel will broadcast a program where Russian citizens will be invited to make the final choice via an sms vote, Nabiullina said.

She added that the issue of new banknotes will not affect the volume of monetary emission and won’t require additional costs.

“This is not an additional emission,” she said.


Belarus notes FYI


She added that the introduction of new banknotes meets the Central Bank’s target for lowering inflation.

“This is related to a decrease in the rate of inflation. The experience of other countries shows that bills with a 200 face value are usually introduced in the countries with fairly low inflation, not more than 5 percent. We believe that we will achieve their goal (on inflation – TASS) and this was one of the reasons, why we release new banknotes,” she said.


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South Korea wants to take charge of wartime army command yanked from America

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for the long-delayed transfer of its wartime operational control (OPCON) from the Pentagon to be speeded up, and says the country must develop its own military capacity to “punish” North Korea’s “provocations.”

“North Korea will fear us more and the people will have more faith in our military when we have wartime operational control of our military. The transfer of the wartime operational control based on our strong defense capabilities will lead to a great development of our military’s structure and capabilities,”said Moon during a speech to mark the 69th Korean Armed Forces Day at a navy base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.

Between 1950, when General Douglas McArthur took charge of the South Korean army, and 1994, a US general served as its commander. Since then, Seoul has taken back peacetime control of its armed forces, but would delegate command to the US in case of a conflict, though Korean politicians do formally have a veto.

The handover of OPCON to Korean generals has been discussed, touted and negotiated for decades, but in 2014 Seoul asked Washington to postpone it indefinitely, to give the Asian country a chance to build its “core military capabilities.”

Moon, elected in May this year, now believes that South Korea has to be more proactive in strengthening its army, in the wake of a series of missile and nuclear tests by the North.

“Without strong defense, we can neither protect nor make peace,” Moon told the 3,700 military officers in attendance at an occasion celebrated with pomp. “Securing counter capabilities against North Korean nuclear and missile threats is the most urgent task. We must further strengthen our offense-based defense system Kill-Chain and Korean missile defense system.”

South Korea currently operates a so-called ‘three axis’ defense system against its northern neighbor. The Kill Chain system would carry out a pre-emptive first strike against hostile launch sites, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system would attempt to intercept any missiles that would cross the border, and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan intends to obliterate the entirety of North Korea if its missiles do hit targets down south.

“We will stand up against reckless provocations with strong punishment,” Moon promised in his speech.

Korea’s conservative opposition parties have said that the handover could weaken the bond between Seoul and Washington, lessen the resources the US spends on its Asian ally, and further embolden Pyongyang.

The US currently stations 28,500 troops on South Korean territory, where it has deployed its sophisticated THAAD missile defense system – despite objections from China and Russia – and conducts massive annual joint drills.

But Moon believes that the ties across the Pacific are secure, and that South Korea is strong enough for self-reliance.

“I believe our military has sufficient capabilities. Together with the people, I have confidence in our military,” said Moon.


Portugal’s former prime minister charged in huge corruption case

The general prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday that former Prime Minister Jose Socrates was indicted on 31 bribery charges and other crimes, including money laundering, tax fraud and falsification of documents.

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Lawyers for Socrates called the accusation “baseless,” saying in a statement that they intended to use “all legal means” to defend the former socialist premier.

The 4,000-page indictment, which also targets 18 other individuals and nine companies, accuses Socrates and his accomplices of accumulating an estimated fortune of more than 24 million euros ($28 million) in Switzerland, in exchange for favors granted.


unrepentant psychopath?

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Worker warned hotel before Las Vegas shooter opened fire on crowd

LAS VEGAS — A maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino hotel before the shooter began firing from his high-rise suite into a crowd at a nearby musical performance.

The revised timeline has renewed questions about whether better communication might have allowed police to respond more quickly and take out the gunman before he committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Worker Stephen Schuck says he was checking out a report of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay when he heard gunshots and a hotel security guard, who had been shot in the leg, peeked out from an alcove and told him to take cover.

Related: Vegas shooting: Motive remains a mystery


“As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started coming down the hallway,” Schuck said. “I could feel them pass right behind my head.

“It was kind of relentless so I called over the radio what was going on,” he said. “As soon as the shooting stopped we made our way down the hallway and took cover again and then the shooting started again.”

Police said Monday they believe gunman Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard through the door of his suite six minutes before he unleashed a barrage of bullets into the crowd of concert-goers, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.

The injured guard used his radio and possibly a hallway phone to also call hotel dispatchers for help.

Agents from the FBI use binoculars from the broken window where a gunman opened fire at the Mandalay Bay hotel, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas.Agents from the FBI use binoculars from the broken window where a gunman opened fire at the Mandalay Bay hotel, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, in Las Vegas.

That account differs dramatically from the one police gave last week when they said Paddock fired through the door of his room and injured the unarmed guard after shooting into the crowd.

The company that owns Mandalay Bay has questioned the new timeline.

“We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline,” said Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International. “We believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate. This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts.”

Las Vegas police did not respond Tuesday night to questions about the hotel’s statement.

“Our officers got there as fast as they possibly could and they did what they were trained to do,” Las Vegas assistant sheriff Todd Fasulo said earlier Tuesday.

Photos from the Las Vegas shooting Slide 1 of 31: A candlelight vigil is pictured on the Las Vegas strip.

Gunshots can be heard in the background as Schuck reported the shooting on his radio, telling a dispatcher: “Call the police, someone’s firing a gun up here. Someone’s firing a rifle on the 32nd floor down the hallway.”

It was unclear if the hotel relayed the information to Las Vegas police, who did not respond to questions from The Associated Press about whether hotel security or anyone else in the hotel called 911 to report the gunfire.

Joseph Giacalone, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired New York City police sergeant, said the new timeline “changes everything.”

“There absolutely was an opportunity in that timeframe that some of this could’ve been mitigated,” he said.

Nicole Rapp, whose mother was knocked to the ground and trampled at the country music concert said she’s “having a hard time wrapping my head around” why police changed the timeline of the shooting.

Worker warned hotel before Vegas shooter opened fire Worker warned hotel before Vegas shooter opened fire

“It’s very confusing to me that they are just discovering this a week later,” she said. “How did we not know this before? It’s traumatic for the victims and their families not to be sure of what happened.”

The six minutes that passed between the hallway shooting and the start of the shooting into the crowd wouldn’t have been enough time for officers to stop the attack, said Ron Hosko, a former FBI assistant director who has worked on SWAT teams. Rather than rush in without a game plan, police would have been formulating the best response to the barricaded gunman, he said.

“Maybe that’s enough time to get the first patrolman onto the floor but the first patrolman is not going to go knock on that customer’s door and say ‘What’s going on with 200 holes in the door?'” Hosko said.

Undersheriff Kevin McMahill defended the hotel and said the encounter that night between Paddock and the security guard and maintenance man disrupted the gunman’s plans. Paddock fired more than 1,000 bullets and had more than 1,000 rounds left in his room, the undersheriff said.

“I can tell you I’m confident that he was not able to fully execute his heinous plan and it certainly had everything to do with being disrupted,” McMahill said. He added, “I don’t think the hotel dropped the ball.”

Law enforcement tells CBS News they’re getting “a very good response” to billboards asking the public for help with information about Paddock and the shooting massacre

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In the Lee Harvey Oswald report~

In the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 wounded after a gunman opened fire on revelers at the Route 91 Festival held near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Oct. 1. Police confirmed that the suspect, who had at least 20 rifles in his room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, killed himself. They identified him as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old local resident. Latest investigations reveal that a total of 47 firearms have been recovered from three locations, including the gunman’s hotel room and two properties associated with him.



China could shatter petrodollar

Beijing is likely to “compel” Saudi Arabia to sell crude oil in yuan, and others will follow, according to the chief economist and managing director at High Frequency Economics Carl Weinberg. This will hit the US dollar, he says.

China could shatter petrodollar by compelling Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan


petro yuan

In an interview with CNBC Weinberg said China has become a key player in the oil market since overtaking the US to become the world’s largest importer.

Saudi Arabia has “to pay attention to this because even as much as one or two years from now, Chinese demand will dwarf US demand,”Weinberg told the media.

“I believe that yuan pricing of oil is coming and as soon as the Saudis move to accept it — as the Chinese will compel them to do — then the rest of the oil market will move along with them,” he added.

A 1974 agreement between US President Richard Nixon and Saudi King Faisal meant Riyadh has been accepting dollars for all its oil exports.

However, recently, countries like China and Russia have been looking to exclude the greenback from bilateral oil trade. Russia and Saudi Arabia are the most significant exporters of oil to China, alternating in top spot.

China has already said it wants to start a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold.

Veteran investor Jim Rogers told RT last month that countries are getting more concerned about trading in dollars, because “if the US gets angry at you, they just set enormous pressure on you that can even get you out of business.”

“China, Russia, and other countries understand this, and they are trying to move world trade and world finance away from that,” said Rogers.

In July, Russia and China signed a 68 billion yuan ($10 billion) investment fund to ease ruble-yuan settlements.

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China still dumping U.S. debt — and so is Japan. But Russia was still buying

China’s love affair with Uncle Sam’s debt seems to be over. But that may not necessarily be a bad sign for the U.S. economy as Donald Trump is about to be inaugurated as the next president.

According to figures released by the Treasury Department on Wednesday evening, China’s holdings of U.S. government bonds fell $66 billion in November to $1.05 trillion. It is the sixth straight month that China has reduced its exposure to U.S. Treasuries.

Since May, the value of China’s Treasury holdings has dropped by nearly $195 billion. Japan passe

China has scrambled two fighter jets, a helicopter and a guided-missile frigate to deter a US frigate which was nearing disputed islands in the South China Sea.

“The US destroyer’s behavior violated Chinese law and relevant international law, severely harmed China’s sovereignty and security interests, and threatened the lives of both sides’ frontline personnel,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

The remarks were made after the guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee sailed within 16 nautical miles of the disputed Paracel Islands.

She added that Beijing had lodged “stern representations” with Washington, while calling on the US to respect China’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced that the US’ actions would affect trust between both countries’ militaries and could trigger “unwanted incidents.”

A file photo of the USS Chafee

“In the face of repeated provocation by the US forces, the Chinese military will further strengthen preparation for combat at sea and in the air and improve the defenses to resolutely defend national sovereignty and security interests,” said a statement released by the ministry.

It added that the Huangshan guided-missile frigate, two J-11B fighter jets and one Z-8 helicopter had been sent to deter the US ship from the region.

Earlier in the day, three US officials said the USS Chafee destroyer had sailed near the disputed Islands in the South China Sea in a so-called “freedom of navigation” operation.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the guided-missile destroyer had carried out normal maneuvering operations “very close” to the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of the islands.

They further said the mission was undertaken to challenge “excessive maritime claims” near the Paracel Islands, over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

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The situation in the South China Sea has been precarious since Japan and South Korea, two major allies of the US in the region, protested what they described as China’s undercutting of naval sovereignty of neighboring nations in the region.

The US, which routinely carries out military drills in the sea along with Japan and South Korea, has called on China to retract its military presence from waters, which are not part of its territory.

Washington claims that China has blocked free movement of vessels in areas, which should be used for international navigation without any restriction under the international protocol.

China, however, has objected to US intervention in the area, accusing Washington of seeking to destabilize the region and undermine the unity among the Southeast Asian nations.

The US does not make any claims in the sea, but has long been taking the side of China’s rival claimants in the regional disputes, which involve Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.

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d China in October to become the largest foreign owner of U.S. debt.

But Japan has leaped ahead of China only by default. Japan too cut back on its Treasury holdings in November, reducing them by $23.3 billion to about $1.11 trillion.

This is the fourth straight month that Japan has pulled back on U.S. debt. It has cut its holdings by $46 billion since July.

The selling began before Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.

So it’s not accurate to say that China and Japan are unloading bonds just because of Trump. After all, Trump was still the underdog when China and Japan first started their sales.

But the acceleration of the Treasury sales in November could be yet another indication that investors feel Trump’s proposed stimulus policies will boost growth, which makes owning bonds less attractive.

Related: China is no longer the biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt

Keep in mind that Treasury yields go up when investors are selling bonds. And bondholders often unload U.S. debt when they believe the economy is improving.

In times of stronger growth, bonds are less rewarding investments than stocks, which benefit more when consumers and businesses are boosting their spending. So rates should go higher if Trump’s stimulus plans succeed.

Yields on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury note hit 2.62% in mid-December, their highest level since September 2014. But they have pulled back a bit since then and are now hovering around 2.45%.

That suggests that there has been more bond buying in the past few weeks. And that makes sense, especially since the explosive stock market rally that took place late last year has started to cool off.

But not all foreign governments are dumping Treasury debt. Ireland, Brazil, the U.K. and Saudi Arabia all increased their Treasury holdings slightly.

And Russia boosted its Treasury position by $12 billion, a move that may raise eyebrows given favorable comments that Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin have made about each other.

Still, the value of these nations’ debt holdings pale in comparison to Japan and China.

Related: Global central banks were dumping debt at a record pace last summer

It’s also worth noting that China and Japan may be selling bonds because they need the cash to support their own economies. It’s not all about Trump.

China in particular is trying to boost the value of its currency, the yuan, to make it more attractive in the global market. So it has occasionally sold some of its Treasury holdings to buy the yuan.

The Federal Reserve’s rate hike in December — and suggestion that several more rate hikes are coming this year and over the next few years — should also help push bond yields up.

But by how much?

Bill Gross, a bond fund manager at Janus, wrote in his most recent monthly outlook that yields should “inevitably move higher” in Trump’s first year of office.

However, he thinks there is no guarantee that they actually will because central banks in Japan and Europe are doing all they can to keep their own interest rates low.

Related: Is the bond bubble finally about to burst?

That will put pressure on U.S. interest rates too — no matter what type of stimulus Trump gets through Congress.

Gross said that 2.6% will be the key number to watch for the bond market in the first few months of Trump’s presidency.

He argues that if rates go above that level, a bond bear market will begin — meaning that rates could shoot even higher as more investors dump U.S. debt.

“Watch the 2.6% level. Much more important than Dow 20,000. Much more important than $60-a-barrel oil. Much more important that the dollar/euro parity at 1.00. It is the key to interest rate levels and perhaps stock price levels in 2017,” Gross wrote.

article from January 2017

China leads global U.S. debt dump

China dumped billions of America’s debt in December.

The largest owner of U.S. debt, China sold $18 billion of U.S. Treasury debt in December.

And it’s not alone. Japan sold even more: $22 billion. In the past year, Mexico, Turkey and Belgium have also lowered their holdings of U.S. debt, all of which have led to a record annual dump by central banks.

Many countries are suffering from the global economic slowdown, forcing central banks to pull out all the stopsto help buttress their economies.

Central banks in Japan and Sweden have resorted to negative interest rates to spur banks to lend more; the European Central Bank is buying bonds issued by its member countries; the People’s Bank of China is injecting cash into its financial system.

For many central banks, selling U.S. Treasuries gives them the cash to prop up their collapsing currencies.

“These interventions are trying to add some air to the parachute,” says Win Thin, head of emerging market currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

In total, central banks sold off a net $225 billion in U.S. Treasury debt last year, the most since at least 1978, the last year of available data. In 2014, there was a net increase of $45 billion, according to CNNMoney’s analysis of Treasury data published Tuesday.

Foreign governments sold more U.S. Treasuries than they bought in 11 out of 12 months last year, according to Treasury data.

The U.S. debt dump is a sign of two things:

1. How aggressive central banks are acting to keep their economy afloat amid global weakness.

2. After years of building up savings — the so-called “global savings glut” — countries are starting to sell off their reserves.

us debt dumped 2015

Related: Global currency collapse: winners and losers

Currency collapse: central banks to the rescue?

A weak currency often reflects a slowing or shrinking economy. For instance, Russia and Brazilare both in recession and their currencies have collapsed in value.

Both these countries along with many developing countries depend on commodities like oil, metals and food, to power their growth. Commodity prices — especially oil prices — tanked last year and have continued to do so in 2016.

When commodities plunge, currencies tend to follow suit. And when currencies rapidly decline, cash tends to flow out of a country and into safer havens. So central banks have tried to prevent massive capital outflows by easing their currency collapse.

China spent $500 billion last year just to prop up its currency, the yuan. Despite all its spending, China’s total holdings — by public institutions and private investors — of U.S. Treasury debt is up a bit from a year ago.

That’s also true for the majority of countries: total foreign holdings increased in December compared to a year ago. So even though central banks are dumping U.S. debt, there’s plenty of demand for it from private investors.

Related: Central banks are running ‘out of ammo’

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America irked as China Dumps Half a Trillion Dollars and says “Something Is Very, Very Wrong”

We’ve recently reported that China is preparing for something very big in currency markets this October. We then learned that economic models from two very well known financial forecasters are predicting that governments around the world will run into serious problems starting around October 2nd of this year. Those forecasts come on the heels of a warning issued by economic analyst Michael Snyder who says that a financial collapse is imminent within the next six months.

A wide body of evidence suggests that something is in the works as economic numbers around the world are revealed to be nothing short of pure conjecture. Yet, despite the clearly disastrous direction in which the world is trending, politicians and media pundits maintain that whatever contagion existed has now been contained.

But a shocking report from Zero Hedge suggests otherwise. According to one of the world’s leading financial web sites, major banking institutions like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have been left speechless after the release of new data coming out of China. The news isn’t necessarily that China just reported a massive increase in its gold holdings of some 600 tons, but rather, that they have actively dumped hundreds of billions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasuries over the last 15 months, with some $224 billion having been offloaded in just the last 90 days.

This has led many to speculate that the end for the world’s reserve currency is nigh

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US-led coalition destroys everything in Syria except for ISIS says Syria Foreign Minister

A picture taken on September 5, 2017 shows smoke billowing out following a US-led coalition airstrike in the western al-Daraiya neighborhood of the embattled northern Syrian city of Raqqah

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group is trying to destroy the Arab country and prolong the armed conflict there.

Muallem stated that Damascus would demand the dissolution of the military contingent, stressing that thousands of Syrian women and children had been killed by coalition airstrikes in the troubled northern province of Raqqah and the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

The top Syrian diplomat further noted that the Pentagon was using the coalition to cover up its destruction campaign in Syria.

He added that the US-backed militiamen from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are fighting Syrian army forces to gain control over the oil-rich areas of the country.

Damascus would not allow any external force to violate its sovereignty, Muallem pointed out.

The SDF forces “are now intoxicated with US aid and support, but it must be understood that this assistance will not last forever,” he said.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

Fifteen people were killed on October 4, when US-led warplanes targeted a residential building in the al-Kahroba neighborhood of Raqqah, located about 455 kilometers (283 miles) northeast of the capital Damascus.

The development came only a day after 21 civilians lost their lives and 14 others sustained injuries in US-led aerial attacks against al-Tausiyah neighborhood of the same Syrian city.

The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013, and was proclaimed the center for most of the Takfiris’ administrative and control tasks the following year.

Although tens of thousands of civilians have fled Raqqah in recent months, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that about 160,000 people remain in the city.

This file picture shows a view of the entrance to the Syrian Foreign Ministry in the capital Damascus.

On October 4, the Syrian Foreign Ministry, in two separate letters sent to UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN Security Council rotating President François Delattre, criticized the international community’s silence towards US atrocities in the Arab country.

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UK sees early 2018 as ‘crunch time’ for banks’ Brexit decisions

Many international banks and financial services firms based in Britain will decide in the first quarter of next year whether to move operations  away ahead of Brexit, according to a senior official at Britain’s Finance Ministry. Katharine Braddick, the ministry’s director general for financial services, said Wednesday that banks using Britain to serve clients in the EU were showing the most urgency in considering relocation plans, Reuters reports. “Those plans, if you like, harden, become more firm, at the point at which they start to alter contractual paperwork. For most of the firms that we talk to that will fall at some point in the first quarter of next year,” Braddick told lawmakers.

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