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12-SEP-2016 :: Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice
If volatility spikes, positions are going to be reduced en masse. Or
to put it another way and to borrow the lyrics from the Eagles Hotel
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” Last
thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax,” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “
What is clear is that we are at the fag-end of this party.
@georgesoros : EU is in 'Existential Danger', US Policies Risk Global Financial Crisis @SputnikInt
Law & Politics
"This development [US withdrawal from the JCPOA] will put additional
pressure of unpredictable force on an already beleaguered Europe.
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” he said.
Soros proceeded to say that worsening US-EU relations are “bound to
have a negative effect on the European economy and cause other
dislocations. We may be heading for another major financial crisis.
It's no longer a figure of speech to say Europe is in existential
danger; it is the harsh reality.
Soros responded to these claims, saying "Viktor Orban based his entire
re-election campaign on falsely accusing me of planning to flood
Europe, Hungary included, with Muslim refugees. He is now posing as
the defender of his version of a Christian Europe, that is challenging
the values on which the European Union was founded."
"Brexit is an immensely damaging process, harmful to both sides. This
divorce will be a long process, probably five years, which is an
eternity in politics," Soros said on Tuesday.
"In Africa, he wrote, the reasons for political violence included widespread fiscal crisis, the authoritarian nature of its states, and their rulers' penchant for preying on the public."
Don’t study the insurgents, study failed governments: “In Africa, he
wrote, the reasons for political violence included widespread fiscal
crisis, the authoritarian nature of its states, and their rulers’
penchant for preying on the public.”
Today Bates would like to see more of his colleagues approach
contemporary political violence with a greater emphasis on the factors
that lead states to breakdown. “Everybody in the academic world is
looking at these insurgent groups—ISIS or al Qaeda and other groups—as
if they were spontaneously assembling themselves. But they were the
product of failing states. It was the way Syria was run or the way
Iraq was run that made it rational for people to pick up guns and
protect themselves and their families and their businesses,” he said.
“When I look at what my colleagues are doing they're still studying
these groups sui generis—as in, you know, let's get inside them and
see how they work. I hope somebody will do that but I also think if
you want to understand where they are coming from, you have to step
back in time and look at what drove people to that,” he said.
Japan's plans to build a "Free and Open" Indian Ocean via @LowyInstitute
While many eyes are on China’s port investments in the Indian Ocean,
Japan has also been busy. The scale of its infrastructure investments
in the region rivals, and sometimes exceeds, that of China.
But Japan argues that its growing presence in the Indian Ocean is
qualitatively different, focused on transparency, economic
sustainability, and a rules-based order that should become part of
regional norms. Australia must consider the role in can play in these
Compared with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Japan’s
investment activities in the Indian Ocean are barely promoted, and as
a result its projects often fly under the radar. This obscures the
fact that Japan has been very active in building infrastructure and
“connectivity” across the region.
Indeed, spending on these projects is not too different from China’s
spending on the BRI, which is sometimes inflated, double-counted, or
based on vague future promises.
Japan’s “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” initiative, first
announced in 2015, involves infrastructure spending, over five years,
of around US$110 billion in Asia. In 2016, the initiative was expanded
to $200 billion globally (including in Africa and the South Pacific).
A list of recent Japanese-sponsored port projects (with approximate
Japanese funding in US dollars) indicates just how active Tokyo has
been in the Indian Ocean within the past decade:
Nacala, Mozambique – port ($320 million)
Mombasa, Kenya – port and related infrastructure ($300 million)
Toamasina, Madagascar – port ($400 million)
Mumbai, India – trans-harbour link ($2.2 billion)
Matarbari, Bangladesh – port and power station ($3.7 billion)
Yangon, Myanmar – container terminal ($200 million)
Dawei, Myanmar – port and special economic zone ($800 million)
Japanese projects involving the development of connectivity between
the Pacific and Africa have now been rolled into its Free and Open
Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP). Japan’s regional strategy is essentially
about providing alternative responses to China’s growing economic role
in the Indian Ocean region.
American analyst Michael Green argues there is an important difference
between Japanese and US strategies: unlike Washington, which often
sees China’s role in zero-sum terms, Tokyo recognises that all the
nations encompassed in the arc from Africa to the Western Pacific
desire investment and sustainable economic development. This means it
is essential they are provided with concrete alternatives.
Anxiety about China’s BRI regularly centres on concerns that
Chinese-controlled port infrastructure might one day be used for
military purposes. But there are other reasons to worry.
China’s approach to building infrastructure is frequently criticised
as being non-transparent, non-sustainable, and exclusive. Chinese
companies often construct infrastructure on a sole-source basis and
then gain exclusive access to what should be common-use
infrastructure. Other projects may be economically unsustainable, and
host countries may be left with a major debt bill for non-economic
Japan claims that its approach to building connectivity has some
important differences with the BRI. Its strategy emphasises the
Ise-Shima Principles endorsed by the G7, including safety, reliability
and resilience, social and environmental considerations, local job
creation and transfer of know-how, alignment with host country
development strategies, and economic viability. The strategy also
emphasises norms such as transparency and non-exclusivity.
The Japanese initiative also positions India as a key partner and
Indian Ocean economic hub. This might seem obvious, but it is a gaping
hole in China’s BRI strategy, which bypasses India. Indeed, it is
difficult to conceive of a regional economic system that does not
include India as a central player.
In 2017, Japan and India announced the Asia–Africa Growth Corridor as
a joint initiative to build connectivity between the Pacific and
Africa. While its financial resources may be limited, India can still
play an important role. For example, Delhi used its diplomatic
influence in Bangladesh’s decision to award the Matarbari port project
to Japan. India and Japan may also partner in other future projects,
including at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, and potentially (subject to US
sanctions) Chabahar port in Iran.
While Japan’s strategy clearly competes with China’s BRI, it does not
exclude China. In fact, if strategic rivalries can be overcome, there
is considerable potential for cooperation. Tokyo hopes that the
principles espoused as part of its initiative will become norms for
future projects in the region. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has claimed
that he expected the BRI will incorporate “a common frame of thinking,
and come into harmony with the free and fair Trans-Pacific economic
Uganda Says Russian Company Wants Role in Crude-Export Pipeline
Uganda said a Russian company wants to participate in developing its
planned crude-export pipeline by partnering with the local unit of GCC
Services of the United Arab Emirates.
The announcement follows an intergovernmental meeting by officials of
the two countries in Russia last week, Uganda’s foreign affairs
ministry said Monday in an emailed statement. Another Russian company
also wants to supply equipment for power stations generating between
2.5 megawatts and 60 megawatts, while RusHydro PJSC is also keen to
invest in Uganda, according to the statement. The East African nation
said it would consider the proposals.
France’s Total SA is the lead sponsor of the planned 216,000
barrels-per-day conduit expected to cost at least $3 billion. It’s
developing Uganda’s crude finds of 6.5 billion barrels of oil resource
jointly with Cnooc Ltd. of China and London-based Tullow Oil Plc.
Ethiopia Already Is the 'China of Africa'
Will Ethiopia become “the China of Africa”? The question often comes
up in an economic context: Ethiopia’s growth rate is expected to be
8.5 percent this year, topping China’s projected 6.5 percent. Over the
past decade, Ethiopia has averaged about 10 percent growth. Behind
those flashy numbers, however, is an undervalued common feature: Both
countries feel secure about their pasts and have a definite vision for
their futures. Both countries believe that they are destined to be