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Russia Can Build 100 Tanks a Month, Retains Capacity to Replace Losses

Rumors swirl in Kyiv of Zelenskyy planning to oust his top general

Phalanx CIWS Downs Houthi Missile Dangerously Close To Destroyer

Israel Eliminates Hamas Terrorists Plotting October 7-Style Attack While Hiding Inside a West Bank Hospital

Japan government accepts it’s no longer the ’90s, stops requiring floppy disks

Northern California Poultry Industry Slammed Hard by Avian Flu Outbreak

The natural gas pipeline in the Oklahoma Panhandle ruptured after a fire on Tuesday, with Phillips 66 saying in a Wednesday statement that the fire had been extinguished and the cause of the incident was under investigation

Gut Inflammation Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Yet Again

Links For Today


Ukraine Situation Report: Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb’s Arrival Finally Imminent

The fate of Zaluzhnyi What we know about the Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief’s rumored dismissal

Iranian-Backed Militia Group Wants A Timeout As U.S. Retaliation Looms

Pirates Suspected of Using Motherships to Attack Ships in Indian Ocean

French farmers prepare for long showdown as they launch ‘siege of Paris’

Oil Firms Urge U.S. to Pressure Iraq to Restart Kurdistan’s Exports

Biden Administration Dials Way Back on Its Gas Stove Crackdown

Excess Global Deaths Continue and Total Around Triple Total COVID Deaths

Certain types of cancer are rising rapidly among people younger than 50, and appendix cancer is one of them.

Panic In China

One thing that has not been covered much lately is the panic currently griping China’s investor class. This quote from Bloomberg gives you a feel for the sentiment..

“We need the state to come in like a white knight or we may just lose our jobs,” said one fund manager.

It is not so much that the 6% drop last Monday was all that bad in and of itself as it is that people are starting to give up on the market ever recovering. As Reuters reports….

Stock markets in Hong Kong and in mainland China plunged on Monday, extending a long spell of weakness driven by an exit of foreign investors alarmed by China’s wobbly economy and a lack of stimulus measures. Share prices stabilized somewhat on Tuesday after authorities announced plans to support the market, but analysts were hesitant to cheer.

The small-cap CSI1000 index (.CSI1000I), opens new tab has traded below the 5,000 level this week, after a 6% plunge on Monday to its lowest level in nearly four years.
Market participants said the drop triggered “knock-in” levels on “snowball” products, also known as “auto-callables” in some markets, leading to forced selling of stock futures contracts which further pressured the market.

Although a lot of people are pointing at the “snowball” hedges as being a big part of the current meltdown, that is more of a symptom then a cause. The bigger underlying cause is the continued and still unresolved meltdown in the real estate sector. For example, you will read that China’s government is trying to throw roughly $300 billion at the stock market to support share prices. However, the largest failed real estate company (Evergrande) in China has over $300 billion dollars in debt all by itself. And it is very questionable how much of that money investors will ever get back.

One of the reasons I have not been covering this much is because China lies so much and has done so much to undermine what rule of law there was in China that it is hard to tell what is going on. For example, it is not even clear that the bankruptcy proceedings against Evergrande will be honored in mainland China. If they are not honored, then it will be a long time before we can say what the assets that Evergrande still has are worth. A cynic might be inclined to argue that China does not want that discovery to take place for fear of what it would reveal. But failing to follow through with any kind of price discovery means that the holders of the $300 billion dollars of debt that Evergrande owes are getting nothing. To be fair, the investors in Evergrande are likely to get nothing in any case so from China’s perspective there might not seem to be a lot gained by forcing everything to sell off. On the other hand, if they don’t force a sell off and nobody gives Evergrande more money, all the assets are just going to sit around and rot anyway.

But the real issue hear is not Evergrande itself, but the property market as a whole. 20% to 30% of China’s GDP is based off of investment in the property sector. If Evergrande is representative of the state of the property market in China as a whole (and all sources seem to agree that it is), that sector of the economy is hosed. Even if it was only Evergrande it would be a big deal. To put the 300 billion that Evergrane owes in context, the entire US budget for the US Navy and Marine Corps in 2023 was 231 billion dollars. So even by US standards, $300 billion is a lot of money and that is only one of the failed real estate companies in China (albeit the largest one as far as we know now).

I don’t have time to parse the wider figures in China to see which are trustworthy and which are not. But just by going by the one figure that I think is accurate, China seems to doing very poorly. So poorly that we might be looking at an economic problems on the scale of the Great Depression.

The one set of figures coming out of China that I trust is the figures for the value of goods that China imports. I think this figure is trustworthy because it can be correlated with figures of what other nations have exported to China (normally I would think that China’s export figures are good for the same reason but this year I think they are off due to goods that got held up in China in 2022 due to zero Covid). And if you look at import values, you will see that China’s imports in dollars terms dropped by 5.5 percent in 2023 compared to 2022.

Now on the surface that might not seem so bad but you need to understand that those are not inflation adjusted figures. So a 5.5 percent drop in 2023 compared to 2022 is probably closer to 10% drop in real terms. Moreover, 2022 was not a great year for China. And if you understand that China imports thing primarily to make things, you have to wonder where the 5% growth that they claim to have in 2023 came from if there imports were down in real terms by almost 10%. You have to go all the way to 2020 to find a year where China’s imports were as low as they were in 2023 in nominal dollar (i.e., not adjusting for inflation). And since inflation in US dollar terms from 2020 to 2023 is 17%, I am not at all sure that in real terms China had lower imports in 2020 then 2023.

That is all the insight I can muster on this topic for now. But if I was betting man, I would bet that China’s economic performance will be a much more prominent news topic in 2024.

On a side note, if you want to understand what a mess Evergrande’s liquidation order is going to create, watch/listen to the below.

Links For Today


Ukraine Situation Report: Greek S-300 SAMs May Be Headed To Ukraine

E.U. countries agree on plan to transfer profits from frozen Russian assets to Ukraine

Russia Throws Caution to the Wind to Boost Oil Exports
The Geopolitics of World War III

Houthi Hit on Russian Fuel Has Traders Recalculating Risks

Another U.S. Outpost Attacked, Biden Admin Mulls Strike Options

Iranian advisers killed in Israeli strike on IRGC HQ in Syria

Troops Raid Offices of Hamas Officials, Including Chief Yahya Sinwar

Employees of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees kidnapped Israelis, transported ammunition and the body of a dead soldier, and took part in a murderous assault on a kibbutz on October 7, according to a report published late Sunday.

Sri Lankan Trawler Rescued from Somali Pirates

Shale Boom Fuels Third Year of Record U.S. Gas Output

What the mainstream news should be like

This is the guy I listen to when working out or folding laundry or whatever. He is what I would consider him a centrist but by media standards he is right wing. Nothing earth shattering in his reports but he takes great pains to be old school things like reliable and as impartial as he can. Not many people on any part of the political spectrum who are trying to be that and also not egghead covering obscure topics. The one downside is that he only covers security topics albeit at the level of the everyday man. Think of him as what CNN foreign news would be like in a better world.

Links For Today


Drone Attack In Jordan Kills Three American Troops

International Court of Justice Rules Forcefully Against Israel in Landmark Genocide Ruling, Including Restricting Military Action

Uganda disowns its dissenting judge in court ruling on Israel genocide claim

Last week, two US-flagged ships manned by US Merchant Mariners were targeted by Houthis and forced to turn around. This is a cause for concern due to the US Navy’s obligation to protect US Merchant Marine ships. However, what is possibly even more concerning is the secrecy surrounding the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea.

Alligators freeze themselves in solid ice to survive US cold snap

“Dangerous Game”: Chevron Warns California That Anti-Petrol Policies Could Result In Gas Price Spikes, Shortages

Biden Freaks Out in South Carolina and Starts Screaming About Trump

U.S. Navy, Faced with Recruiting Nightmare, Begins Accepting High School Dropouts

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The British-owned tanker was struck by a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile on Friday while transiting the Gulf of Aden towards Singapore with a cargo of Russian naphtha.

Gas-Addicted Europe Trades One Energy Risk For Another

Measles is “growing global threat,” CDC tells doctors in alert message

There are bigger problems but it is a usefully reminder of what is being ignored in all the other news stories. It couldn’t be clearer. In 10 years, with no action from Congress, everyone will begin receiving 80% of what they are currently receiving, or promised, under the existing Social Security system.

Why are Thousands of Pharmacies Closing?

Border Patrol Says Agents Will Not Remove Texas Razor Wire Barriers

Biden’s EPA Planning to Ban Methylene Chloride, an Industry-Essential Chemical

Links For Today


Ukraine claims strike on another oil refinery in Russia

USS Carney Defends Itself From Missile Attack, Tanker Reportedly Hit

China presses Iran to rein in Houthi attacks in Red Sea, sources say

Biden Demands Texas Allow Border Patrol Into Shelby Park to Cut Wire

Biden Is on the Warpath Against New LNG Facilities

The U.S. just sold its helium stockpile. Here’s why the medical world is worried.

Links For Today


Ukraine Situation Report: Artillery Ammo Crisis Giving Russia Major Advantage

Russia imported more than $1 billion worth of advanced chips made by U.S. and European companies in 2023

Fire Damages Rosneft Refinery in Suspected Ukrainian Drone Attack


This round of the Assembly of Experts is expected to select the next Supreme Leader, given that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is nearly 85 and has been sick repeatedly.

Potential deal up for discussion would see all hostages released in phases over several months, with war paused and thousands of Palestinian prisoners freed, though huge gaps remain

Qatar Notifies Spanish Utility of LNG Shipping Delay

Tankers Face Million-Dollar Detour Around Cape of Good Hope

As the abortion debate heats up in Germany, the government is tightening its grip on “pro-life” protests.

Pixel phones are broken again with critical storage permission bug

Links For Today


Claims Swirl Around Russian Il-76 Jet Crash Near Ukraine Border

Global shipping rates skyrocket as Red Sea crisis deepens

Two US-Flag Maersk Ships Safe After Houthi Missile Attack

In the worst one-day attack since the beginning of the Gaza war, 21 IDF soldiers were killed on Monday and several others were injured when Hamas forces fired rocket-propelled grenades on buildings the soldiers were inside.

There is two things that an organization should always ask about any course of action. Can you do it? and Should you do it? This article is heavy on arguing why the US should stay but it never even considers the question of whether it can sustain the position long term with the forces available. America Is Planning to Withdraw From Syria—and Create a Disaster

Germany Weighs Enlisting Foreigners in Military Amid Recruitment Woes
Alaska Airlines says it found many loose bolts on its Boeing 737 Max 9s

Boeing, not Spirit Aerosystems, may be responsible for blown-off panel on Alaska Airlines flight

“Pokémon with guns”: Palworld’s runaway Steam success should be a lesson for Game Freak

‘Strong And Consistent Evidence’ Links Multivitamins to Memory And Cognitive Benefits