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Journal Archives

Qatar to Leave OPEC as Politics Finally Rupture Oil Cartel

• Country will leave group effective Jan. 1: Energy Minister
• Decision comes amid standoff with Saudis, pressure from Trump

By Walid Ahmed , Dan Murtaugh , and Javier Blas
December 3, 2018, 2:25 AM EST Updated on December 3, 2018, 8:48 AM EST

Qatar said it will leave OPEC next month, a rare example of the toxic politics of the Middle East rupturing a group that had held together for decades through war and sanctions.

Qatar, a member since 1961, is leaving to focus on its liquefied natural gas production, Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi told a news conference in Doha on Monday. He didn’t mention the political backdrop to the decision: dire relations with Saudi Arabia, which has led a blockade against his country since 2017; and a rhetorical onslaught from U.S. President Donald Trump against the cartel.

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi on Dec. 3.Photographer: Anne Levasseur/AFP via Getty Images
“The symbolism is profound,” said Helima Croft, commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets LLC and a former analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. “Given that the concentrating on LNG should not be incompatible with OPEC membership, the move will invariably lead many to conclude that the geopolitical divisions had become too intractable.”

A spokesman for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to comment.

Qatar is OPEC’s 11th-biggest oil producer, accounting for less than 2 percent of total output, so its departure may not have a significant impact on discussions this week to cut production in conjunction with allies including Russia. Yet it sets a troubling precedent for a group that prides itself on putting shared economic interests above external politics.


Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost

By Gillian Tan and Katia Porzecanski
December 3, 2018, 5:00 AM EST Updated on December 3, 2018, 9:59 AM EST

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.

In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?

Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.

Interviews with more than 30 senior executives suggest many are spooked by #MeToo and struggling to cope. “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells,” said David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who’s now an independent adviser overseeing more than $1.5 billion.


China Buys Time For Little Cost As Trump Claims 'Incredible' Victory

By Stephen Bartholomeusz
3 December 2018 — 3:45pm

The two big volatility-inducing negative influences on financial markets over the past two months have been trade and the Federal Reserve. Both took a breather late last week.

The major talking point over the weekend was the "incredible’’ deal Donald Trump did over dinner (grilled sirloin washed down with Malbec, apparently) with China’s Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

US, China agree trade war ceasefire
China and the United States have agreed to a ceasefire in their bitter trade war after high-stakes talks in Argentina between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The detail of the deal didn’t quite match the Trump description.


Netanyahu's Legal Woes Grow As Police Seek New Bribery Charges


Maayan Lubell
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police on Sunday said they had found enough evidence for bribery and fraud charges to be brought against Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife in a third corruption case against the Israeli prime minister.

Authorities allege Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to Israel’s leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel (BEZQ.TA), in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on a news website, Walla, owned by the company.

Netanyahu has long denied wrongdoing. In a speech to his Likud party in Tel Aviv to celebrate the start of the Jewish festival of Hanukka, he accused the police of instigating what he described as a “tainted process” against him and his wife.

Now in his fourth term, Netanyahu dominates Israeli politics. Yet he is politically unusually vulnerable as his right-wing coalition’s majority has shrunk to a precarious single seat.


You Shall Not Pass: Russia Changes Rules For Foreign Warships Navigating Through Its Arctic

Published time: 30 Nov, 2018 14:21

Russia is updating its navigation rules for a contingency involving another nation’s warships attempting to sail along the Northern Sea Route. Such a passage would require prior notification from the Defense Ministry.

The route, situated in the Arctic along Russia’s northern coast, is becoming more accessible to sea traffic as the climate warms. With longer navigation seasons and fewer ice hazards, Russia hopes the path will be increasingly in demand for international commercial transit. Such navigation however more often than not requires Russia’s cooperation, since an icebreaker usually is needed to pass through.

There is however a potential source of problems with Russia’s northern side becoming more accessible. Foreign military ships may travel it too, even those lacking ice protection, as was proven by the Loire-class offshore support and assistance ship of the French Navy Rhône in October. It took the ship 17 days to traverse the route and she didn’t ask for Russian icebreaker assistance for it.

Starting next year, Russia will require military ships traveling through Russian Arctic to give prior notification to the Defense Ministry, according to Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the National Defense Management Center. He said amendments to the rules of navigation will be adopted before next year’s Arctic navigation season starts, RIA Novosti reported.


BLINK: 90-day halt to new tariffs...US will hold off on raising China tariffs to 25% as Trump and Xi

US will hold off on raising China tariffs to 25% as Trump and Xi agree to a 90-day trade truce

•Xi Jinping and Donald Trump discussed a range of issues — among them the trade dispute that has left over $200 billion worth of goods hanging in the balance.

•"President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time," the White House said.

Kevin Breuninger | Javier E. David
Published 6 Hours Ago Updated 3 Hours Ago

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump put their bilateral trade war on pause momentarily, striking an agreement to hold off on slapping additional tariffs on each other's goods after January 1, as talks continue between both countries.

In a White House readout of a dinner at the G-20 summit in Argentina, Xi and Trump discussed a range of nettlesome issues — among them the trade dispute that has left over $200 billion worth of goods hanging in the balance.

"President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time," the statement read. Over the next 90 days, American and Chinese officials will continue to negotiate lingering disagreements on technology transfer, intellectual property and agriculture.

"Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent," the statement added.


US Defense Secretary Claims Russia Tried to Muck Around in November Midterms

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US Secretary of Defense James Mattis claimed on Saturday that Russia was seeking to tamper with the November midterm elections, albeit without providing evidence.

"There's no doubt the relationship has worsened. He tried again to muck around in our elections just last month, and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines," Mattis said, giving a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

The same day, the heads of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement that there was no indication that election infrastructure had been compromised ahead of the vote.


U.S. Navy Admiral Scott Stearney Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, who oversaw the US Middle East operations, was found dead in an "apparent suicide".

In a video posted on Saturday afternoon, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson confirmed that Stearney, who was the commander of the military branch’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, was found dead in his residence in the Persian Gulf island nation, adding that “no foul play is suspected” in his death and that the department will launch an investigation.

"The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating on the investigation, but at this time no foul play is suspected," Richardson said.


I don't think Trump is going to have a good week considering the Bush funeral and all. Open podium,

after open podiums to lament what BHWB would say if he were here this day to tell...

It's not going to be a Bush memorial, It's going to be a Trump "bash", indeed.

Michael Cohen's Plea Deal Poses a Significant Danger to Donald Trump Jr.

Sonam Sheth 19m
Donald Trump ,Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump
Donald Trump Jr. Alex Wong/Getty Images

•Michael Cohen is quickly emerging as one of the most dangerous cooperators not only against President Donald Trump, but also his son, Donald Trump Jr.

•Cohen's plea deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller raises fresh questions about whether Trump Jr. misled congressional investigators about a now-defunct proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

•Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee said Cohen's plea deal indicates that "other witnesses were also untruthful before our committee."

•A knowledgeable congressional source told INSIDER Trump Jr. was one of the witnesses to whom Schiff was referring.

By Sonam Sheth


Trump Jr. misled the House Intelligence Committee, per source

When he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last September, Trump Jr. told the panel he "wasn't involved" in the Trump Tower Moscow project and was only "peripherally aware" of it in 2016.

He also said he was not aware Cohen had reached out to the Russian government about the deal and indicated that Cohen's work with the Russian-born businessman Felix Sater on the project ended in 2015.

But prosecutors wrote that Cohen "discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project" with Trump "on more than the three occasions Cohen claimed" to the Senate Intelligence Committee and that "he briefed family members" of Trump within the Trump Organization about it.

They also said Cohen admitted to pursuing the deal with Sater as late as June 2016, after Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

After Cohen's plea deal was announced, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that Cohen's plea "highlights concern over another issue - that we believe other witnesses were also untruthful before our committee."
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