In which the UK is screwed, the US is fucked, Orban goes to CPAC, and Turkey desperately tries to find buyers for its drones.
Link back to the discussion thread.
UK inflation surges to 40-year high of 9% in April, as soaring energy and food prices deepen cost-of-living crisis BusinessInsider
Skipping meals and shrinking portions — Brits are being warned of ‘apocalyptic’ food price rises CNBC
Well, maybe Britons should just work harde–
UK unemployment hits 48-year low, pushing up pay Reuters
As inflation slows and the ruble rallies, Russia is hoping to avoid a financial crisis CNBC
Russia believes it has swerved a financial crisis as its currency rallies and economic data improves, but strategists say the numbers mask some ugly truths for Moscow.
Although inflation in the country is running hot, there are signs that price rises are slowing and will continue to do so, while the Russian ruble has gone from an all-time low in March to the world’s best performing currency this year.
Meanwhile, economic activity indicators are improving and Russia has thus far managed to avoid defaulting on its foreign currency debt, despite Western sanctions freezing large swathes of its reserves.
“Today’s [inflation] figures will further support the central bank’s assessment that the acute phase of Russia’s crisis has passed,” Emerging Markets Economist Liam Peach wrote in a note last week.
For many analysts, however, Moscow’s actions to defend its currency are tantamount to manipulation, in that demand has been created that would not otherwise exist and capital controls have effectively turned the ruble into a “managed” currency.
Charles-Henry Monchau, chief investment officer at Switzerland-based Syz Bank, suggested that while the Russian central bank has deployed a range of tools to make the ruble look valuable, very few people outside Russia “want to buy a single ruble unless they absolutely have to,” and traders “no longer see the ruble as a free trade currency.”
lmao what the fuck? “Hey, you made your currency tied to your commodities so that we have to buy it, that’s cheating!"
US and allies struggle to come up with plans to get vital grain supplies out of Ukraine CNN
EU could combine tariffs on Russian oil with embargo – Yellen. You certainly could. Inquirer
Putin: Europe’s Russia sanctions tantamount to ‘economic suicide’ Al Jazeera
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the oil sector was undergoing a “tectonic change”, but claimed Europe would be committing “economic suicide” with its sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine. By seeking to phase out Russian energy supplies, Europe will only hurt itself, Putin said, urging state officials to use “ill-thought-out” moves by the West to the country’s advantage.
- The Swiss Connection: How Russia Is Weathering Tough Sanctions OilPrice
Continued oil and gas exports as well as a propped-up ruble, have allowed Moscow to weather Western sanctions.
JPM has backtracked on its earlier forecasts of a 35% contraction in Russian GDP in the second quarter.
The lion’s share of Russian raw materials is traded via Switzerland and its nearly 1,000 commodity firms.
Imagine how funny it would be if the Russian GDP actually grew. Like, it almost certainly won’t, but the US would have to be like “Yeah, it’s actually bad when your GDP grows - ours shrank and that’s better actually. Also China and Russia are making it up anyway."
Asia and Oceania
- Japan’s GDP shrinks as surging costs raise spectre of deeper downturn Reuters
Japan’s economy shrank for the first time in two quarters in the January-March period as COVID-19 curbs hit the service sector and surging commodity prices created new pressures, raising concerns about a protracted downturn.
The world’s No. 3 economy fell at an annualised rate of 1.0% in January-March from the previous quarter, gross domestic product (GDP) figures showed, slower than a 1.8% contraction expected by economists.
- India isn’t the only one banning food exports. These countries are doing the same CNBC
Argentina, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, and Kuwait. Not necessarily all food exports, just certain ones. Check the article for more details if you desire.
- Bangladesh PM urges people to practise austerity AsiaNews
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the people to practise austerity and be careful about spending in the face of a global economic slowdown. The minister said austerity should be practised normally without being afraid of it.
- Italian energy company, Eni, opens accounts with Gazprombank to pay for gas supplies from Russia TASS
- Pakistan and IMF to meet over release of funds as economy falters IraqiNews
Pakistan has repeatedly sought international support for its economy, which has been hit by crippling national debt, galloping inflation and a plummeting rupee.
Iran opens drone factory in Tajikistan TehranTimes
Cuba’s COVID-19 Vaccine Production Plant Opens in Iran TeleSUR
How China Is Attempting To Control Middle East Oil Chokepoints OilPrice
The geographical location of Oman makes it one of the most strategically important countries in the world when it comes to energy and trade.
China, notably through its relationship with Iran, has been pursuing control of all major oil shipping chokepoints from the Middle East to the West.
The upcoming visit of the Iranian President to Oman could mark the final push in China’s plan to dominate, with the help of allies, the region’s oil shipping channels.
U.S. Economy Is Headed for a Downturn, Wells Fargo CEO Says WSJ
Elon Musk says the US is probably in a recession that could last 18 months, adding that ‘recessions are not necessarily a bad thing’ Yahoo
A recession could tank the value of the U.S. dollar, Goldman Sachs says Fortune
California’s $6 gas could spread nationwide, JPMorgan warns CNN
A kind of mortgage that helped cause the housing crash is surging in popularity. Here’s why it’s different this time. Oh god. BusinessInsider
Runaway diesel prices threaten to do a lot more than make inflation worse—American infrastructure is at stake Fortune
Everything from trucks and trains to farming and construction equipment tend to rely on diesel rather than regular gasoline. Around 75% of all commercial vehicles registered in the U.S. are powered by diesel, as are the vast majority of both large and medium-sized long-haul trucks.
These are the same trucks that carry food and most other products around the U.S., and as diesel prices surge everywhere, signs are emerging that this infrastructure is beginning to break down.
High Gasoline And Diesel Prices Are Here To Stay OilPrice
The Energy/Food Crisis Is Far Worse Than Most Americans Realize PopularResistance
Everyone who owns a gasoline-burning car has noticed that fuel prices have shot up in recent weeks. And most of us have read headlines about high energy prices driving inflation. But very few Americans have any inkling just how profound the current energy crisis already is, and is about to become.
This lack of awareness is partly due to economists, and those who depend on economists’ readings of the tea leaves of daily data (a group that, sadly, includes nearly all politicians and news purveyors). Recently I heard an NPR staff commentator confidently state: “The only way to get gasoline prices under control is to get inflation under control.” Anyone who understands recent events and how economies work will immediately realize that the statement is ass backwards. Energy prices are rising for specific physical reasons, most of which are widely reported. Those higher prices show up in economic statistics as inflation, a phenomenon that economists equate to a malevolent miasma that occasionally drifts into the economy from a mysterious alternate dimension. “Ah,” say the economists, “but we have a magic spell to drive the miasma away—higher interest rates!” The Fed’s assumption that raising interest rates will somehow reduce current high energy costs is comparable to medieval physicians’ belief that leech bloodletting would cure diseases like tuberculosis.
Of course, the goal of raising interest rates is to cool demand, which theoretically should help lower prices. But if prices for a particular commodity are rising due to physical shortage caused by novel circumstances or events rather than increasing demand, then higher interest rates may offer little relief while bringing serious unintended consequences of their own (see 1970s, “stagflation”). The comparison with leeches still stands.
- BRICS foreign ministers to meet online on Thursday TASS
Diplomatically and Politically
Involving Ukraine or Russia
United States Bioweapons Developments in Ukraine May Prove a Fatal Mistake NEO
Germany has lost final traces of independence, says Lavrov RT
Lavrov assessed that, under the current government, “Germany relinquished the last traces of independence” from the US. He also said the same was true for most of the European nations, with the exception of France, where President Emmanuel Macron “is still talking about the strategic independence of the EU. I am certain they will not be allowed to have it,” he added.
The EU is turning into an organization indistinguishable from NATO in terms of its US-determined goal, policies, and even membership, the Russian minister said, referring to the proposed inclusion of Sweden and Finland into the military bloc.
- Cyprus’s Committee Seeks Exemptions From EU Sanctions TeleSUR
On Tuesday, Cyprus’s commerce parliamentary committee called on the government to ask the European Union (EU) for exemptions from some of its sanctions against Russia, citing their negative impact on the country’s economy.
Committee Chair Michalis Hadjiyiannis said that the government should first and foremost ask for the lifting of the ban on flights to and from Russia. He said the economy was bound to suffer extensively due to its heavy dependence on tourism.
Hadjiyiannis said that government officials who testified during the committee meeting said that Cyprus' tourism sector stands to lose up to one million tourists from Russia and Ukraine as a result of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the EU’s sanctions against Moscow.
Looks like the Putinists have taken control of Cyprus too. Russia’s allies truly spring up in unlikely places.
Asia and Oceania
Thailand’s industrial confidence at five-month low BangkokPost
Flight data suggests China Eastern plane deliberately crashed: Wall Street Journal report CNN
Sri Lanka: Over 660 People Arrested for Taking Part in Riots TeleSUR
Iran, Cuba finalize roadmap on barter trade TehranTimes
Don’t see US as enemy, but have reservations about its intentions: Taliban deputy chief AsiaNews
“The period of the last 20 years was a situation of defensive fighting and war,” he said, recalling that when an agreement was reached between the Afghan Taliban and the Trump administration in Doha in February 2020, “we decided that we would not be talking about this”. He did not elaborate further as to what was not to be talked about.
The Taliban deputy chief then added that in the future, “we would like to have good relations with the United States and the international community, based on rules and principles that exist in the rest of the world”. “And based on their arrangement, we have made [a] commitment with them,” he continued, adding that currently, “we do not look at them as enemies”. But, he said, “based on their conduct, the Afghans have reservations about their intentions”.
Why is the US Trying to Provoke a Conflict on the Afghanistan—Tajikistan Border? You can probably guess. NEO
Opposition activists block metro traffic in Yerevan, police begin detentions TASS
- Learn lessons of Rwandan genocide and act now to stop Ethiopian war, UN urged Guardian
African civil society groups have accused the United Nations of inaction over atrocities in Ethiopia, warning in a letter that it had not learned the lessons of the 1994 Rwanda genocide and that the “situation risks repeating itself in Ethiopia today”.
Tens of thousands of people are thought to have been killed and millions more displaced since war broke out between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of the country’s northern region, in November 2020.
- Guinea Bissau president dissolves parliament in new political row Al Jazeera
- Orbán and US right to bond at Cpac in Hungary over ‘great replacement’ ideology Guardian
Hungary’s nationalist leader, Viktor Orbán, will be the star speaker at an extraordinary session of America’s Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) to be held in Hungary this week, in an effort to cement bonds between the radical right on both sides of the Atlantic under the banner of the “great replacement” ideology.
- Colombia Plans Against Venezuelan Security: President Maduro TeleSUR
- G7 finance ministers plan 15 billion euros aid for Ukraine Reuters
The package would cover three months, with a short-term financing arrangement mainly in the form of grants, which unlike loans do not have to be repaid, the official said, adding that the aid was needed because Ukraine’s revenues have collapsed.
We don’t have enough microchips to make advanced weaponry, but fear not: our finest blacksmiths are working on a sword that can cut through a tank in a single swipe!
- Kadyrov on the situation in the special operation zone: the situation is calm, we are 100% going according to plan, we will liberate Ukraine.
Not the most encouraging statement ever but to be fair, Kadyrov’s statements are usually correct, but often underestimate the timescale (e.g. predicting Mariupol or Popasna would fall in a day or two and then it takes a week longer). And he is actually near the front lines, or at least he was in Mariupol. So it’s propaganda, to be sure - he wouldn’t ever say that things are going badly - but it’s realistic that things are still going fairly well for Russia, which is supported by their recent breakthroughs.
- Russia destroys a battery of American howitzers and 2 Ukrainian planes.
A total of nearly 1000 soldiers have surrendered from Azovstal over the last few days. They are going to be tried and won’t be exchanged for Russian POWs.
DPR says that Azovstal will probably be demolished, contradicting statements a couple weeks earlier, but the Illyich plant further north will be restored. Russian telegram says that they were considering putting a big park in its place but haven’t decided anything yet.
Dipshittery and Cope
- Pentagon finds no wrongdoing in 2019 Syria strike that killed civilians IraqiNews
The Times report said that 70 people, many of them women and children, had been killed in the strike. The Times report said a US legal officer “flagged the strike as a possible war crime” and that “at nearly every step, the military made moves that concealed the catastrophic strike.”
But the final report of the investigation rejected that conclusion Tuesday. It said that the US ground force commander for the anti-Islamic State coalition received a request for air strike support from Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the extremists. The commander “received confirmation that no civilians were in the strike area” and authorized the strike. However, they later found out there were civilians at the location.
If Russia used this excuse, they would be laughed out of the room. And don’t worry about making the joke, RT already did it:
Pentagon investigates itself, finds it did nothing wrong RT
EU to step up Indo-Pacific defence presence over China fears and Ukraine example Guardian
Does the article ever ask why the fucking EUROPEAN Union needs a defense presence in the PACIFIC OCEAN? You know the answer.
The European Union has resolved to step up its defence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region in light of fears about China’s growing presence and concerns for the international order sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Our motto is always to cooperate whenever possible, but to defend whenever necessary as well,” said Gabriele Visentin, the EU’s special envoy to the Indo-Pacific. “It’s not directed against a country or another – it’s a way of enhancing our capacity and our credibility in terms of defending our interests.”
Visentin said there was no evidence to suggest a war was imminent in the region – which covers a vast sweep of the globe from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island countries – but the EU was concerned the “multilateral rules-based order will not be fully respected”.
“The pricetag that has been put on the breach of the multilateral rules-based order is quite high. It’s surely a signal to others who might wish to break the multilateral order in such a violent way, well, then they know what they can encounter.”
If somebody says “rules-based order one more time I’m going to [REDACTED FEDPOST].
- Analysis: Putin takes Mariupol, but wider Donbas victory slipping from reach Reuters
Even as the Kremlin prepares to take full control of the ruins of Mariupol city, it faces the growing prospect of defeat in its bid to conquer all of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas because its badly mauled forces lack the manpower for significant advances.
Again, the word “significant”. The most load-bearing word in this article, and in many, many others that write on this topic.
Russia’s forces are unlikely to be vanquished quickly even if no major new troop deployment materialises, setting the stage for the four-week-old Battle for the Donbas to grind on.
A four-week battle?! Might as well be a fucking eternity.
- EU top diplomat says if verified, Russia has suffered “impressive losses” Reuters
“I wouldn’t dare to make an hypothesis about how long Russia can resist… If it is true that Russia has lost 15% of their troops since the beginning of the war, this is a world record of the losses of an army invading a country,”
- Ukrainian Soldiers Lay Down Arms at Mariupol’s Azovstal Steel Plant WSJ
You know what, WSJ? Not bad. You didn’t use the word “surrender”, but it’s better than the other shit I’ve seen.
- How Ukrainians transformed their military to take on Russia, according to a US official who watched them do it BusinessInsider
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, many observers looked at Russia’s overwhelming combat power and thought Russia would achieve a quick victory.
Because Russia has a US$62 billion defense budget and holds numerical advantages in weapon systems such as tanks, artillery, attack helicopters and planes, many analysts asked not whether Russia would win but rather how quickly it would do so.
One must ask why the US loses so many wars with its military budget being over 10x higher, surely.
What these observers and less experienced analysts are not taking into account is that wartime performance is influenced by more than how weapon systems function.
Success in battle is also a function of strategy, operational employment, doctrine, training, leadership, culture and the will to fight. Russia held and continues to hold an overwhelming numerical advantage in manpower and weapon systems, but Ukraine holds the advantage in every other factor.
Now you’re just saying words recreationally. “If you think about it, to win, you don’t just need to not lose. You need to form a tactical and operational plan of both offensive and defensive capabilities which will synergize to create record earnings for the next quarter. Wait, shit, I got my bullshit mixed up."
- Terror-stricken Russians anticipate the delivery of foreign arms to the Armed Forces of Ukraine - conversation intercepted by the Security Service of Ukraine. Whoever had the idea to invent these phone calls was pretty smart, ngl. Yahoo
“I wish we had the fcking drones, like their Bayraktars. The situation would be fcking awesome. They [Bayraktars] don’t work in the daytime, they work at night. The birds take off, get our coordinates and we’re f*cked.”
This phone call is sponsored by Turkey.
- A clip showing Putin twitching his foot set off new speculation after claims he is seriously ill Yahoo
Half of the US government are corpses being Weekend at Bernie’d by their assistants, and Biden is incapable of forming three consecutive sentences, and Putin shakes his foot and he’s about to die?
- It’s now cheaper to switch from coal to renewables instead of coal to gas, report shows CNBC
Thank god the market operates logically and will switch to renewables and won’t be stopped by the immense economic power that fossil fuel companies have over many if not most governments.
China could see more extreme weather events this rainy season, forecasters say SCMP
Earth’s Atmospheric CO2 Hasn’t Been This High In Millions of Years CommonDreams
I Thought I’d Mention
- Homeless People in the US Are Being Murdered at a Horrific Rate Jacobin
Since 2010, in fifteen large US cities, there have been more than a thousand killings of people classified as homeless, data compiled by Fowle and Gray show. Homicide deaths are only a fraction of overall homeless deaths, which total nearly 25,000 in those fifteen cities since 2010. But these killings are growing.