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9/18/19

IRAN: The Real Reason Trump Won’t Attack Iran – Emily Meierding

A war in the Persian Gulf would profoundly destabilize the global oil system. If the Trump administration strikes Iran, unilaterally or in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, and targets the state’s oil facilities, these attacks will take more resources offline. Although Iran’s oil output has declined significantly since the United States reimposed sanctions in 2018, the country still produces more than 2 million barrels of oil per day and exports about half a million barrels per day of petroleum products and liquefied petroleum gas to a variety of resource consumers.  Airstrikes would remove these supplies for the market, while other oil producers are struggling to compensate for the loss of Saudi resources.

Unsurprisingly, Chinese and European officials have adopted a cautious attitude toward the crisis. Although China’s foreign ministry condemned the attack, spokesperson Hua Chunying advised the parties “to avoid taking actions that bring about an escalation in regional tensions.” She also refrained from attributing responsibility for the strikes to a specific actor. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for an international response to the attacks. However, they also emphasized the “importance of avoiding the further escalation of tensions in the region.” Given this reticence, if the United States wants to strike Iran, it will have to go it alone.

Starting a war to protect oil markets will only backfire for the US.

Read more: The Real Reason Trump Won’t Attack Iran – Foreign Policy

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EU-Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says

British chaos over Brexit has dampened other member states' potential appetite for leaving Europe, Villeroy de Galhau, a French governor of the European Central Bank (ECB), said Tuesday. "It is a gratitude we have to the British today," he said at an event in the London School of Economics, Reuters reported, in comments which risked giving ammunition to British claims the EU was trying to punish the UK for leaving.

 

Read more: Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor say

 

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USA - National Security Trump selects Robert O'Brien to be his next national security adviser

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he plans to name hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien to be his new national security adviser.

Trump's announcement about O'Brien comes a week after the departure of John Bolton from the national security adviser's post, citing policy disagreements. Trump and Bolton offered differing views on whether the longtime Republican policy adviser resigned or was fired.


As the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, O'Brien worked closely with the families of American hostages and advised administration officials on hostage issues.

He previously helped lead the department's public-private partnership for justice reform in Afghanistan during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

From 2008 through 2011, O'Brien was a presidentially appointed member of a government committee that advises on issues related to the trafficking of antiquities and other cultural items. In 2005, Bush nominated O'Brien to be U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, where he worked with Bolton. O'Brien was confirmed by the Senate.

Read more at: Trump selects Robert O'Brien to be his next national security adviser | CBC News

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Israel Elections: Netanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Election - by Megan Specia


A day after Israel’s general election — the second in five months — there is still uncertainty about the final outcome, but it appears the long reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be coming to an end.

As expected, neither Mr. Netanyahu nor his main rival, the former army chief Benny Gantz, a centrist, won enough votes to claim an outright majority in the Israeli Parliament. Crucially, neither seems to have a straightforward path to forming a governing coalition with at least 61 of the 120 lawmakers in Parliament.

That means the contest for prime minister will be decided not by the vote tally but by coalition talks, and Mr. Gantz and his Blue and White party seem likely to be given the first chance to form a government. The support of a smaller third party, Yisrael Beiteinu, could prove essential, putting the power to decide the future Israeli government into the hands of that party’s leader, Avigdor Liberman.

Read more: Netanyahu Is in Trouble, and Other Takeaways From the Israeli Election - The New York Times

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The Netherlands: the Dutch Healthcare system is among the most costly in Europe - by RM

Dutch citizens did not get a good deal under the current Dutch health insurance law.

It has become an extremely expensive business to get health Insurance in the Netherlands.

Especially if you add up all nthe costs.

First of all there is the obligatory deductible of Euro 385, then the monthly premium, which  on average is around Euro 250 per month.

That makes a total "out of pocket expense" of Euro 3,385 per year, and even than you are not there yet.

There are also a variety of other provisions, whereby certain costs incurred for pharmaceuticals, and medical services, are not reimbursed.

Not only is Dutch healthcare  too costly for the average citizen, it also is a cash machine for Dutch Insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.

Healthcare Insurance services and costs should also be uniformly regulated throughout the EU, which is not the case right now.

It is high time that the "political establishment" and the voters start paying more attention to the fact that this issue needs to get fixed without delay.

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9/17/19

SPAIN: New elections scheduled for November

Spain sets new elections for November as attempts to form a government collapse.

Spain's caretaker prime minister says fresh elections will take place in November as no leader can win enough parliamentary support to be able to form a government.

Read more at: 

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The Netherlands economy: big budget boost for housing, youth - care and migration, as opposition voices criticism


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NSA SURVEILLANCE: Germany a primary example of NSA SURVEILLANCE cooperation says Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden: Germany a 'primary example' of NSA surveillance cooperation


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CLIMATE CHANGE: EU plans energy tax to combat climate change

EU plans energy tax to combat climate change

read more at: 
https://p.dw.com/p/3Pa9Q

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9/16/19

Middle East - Iran: President Trump Tweets About Possible Iran Strike After Saudi Arabia Oil Bombing

In this edition of America First, the President of the United States tweeted that we're "locked and loaded" to go to war with Iran and we're just waiting for Saudi Arabia to tell us what to do. This really is not an exaggeration. "Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked," Donald Trump said on the Tweet Machine. "There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!"

Yes, we are waiting for word from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman—the guy who allegedly orders journalists critical of him chopped up and thrown in an oven in the backyard of one of his ambassadors, who leads the regime that is helping to perpetuate a human-rights catastrophe in Yemen using American-made weapons, the same regime that just happens to be spending a fortune at Trump's hotels. If the crown prince gives us the go-ahead, we're bombing Iran! America First.

You would think that, having just marked the 18th anniversary of September 11—a reminder we're now poised to send kids to Afghanistan who were not born when the attacks happened—we'd be a little more worried about getting pulled into another quagmire of death and suffering. You would think that, at this point, we would be re-evaluating our strategy in the region, including our unbreakable bond with Saudi Arabia. And yet you could flip on Fox News this morning and find a Democratic senator from a solid-blue state mongering the war.

How many times are we going to do this? What is the best-case scenario if we enter armed conflict with Iran, which has missiles that can reach deep into Europe and a standing army of well over half a million people? Will we just bomb them and run? Will we try to topple the regime? Who will rise to power in the vaccuum? What would victory even look like? Can anyone tell us what it will look like in the multiple armed conflicts we're already engaged in nearby?

Have we learned fucking anything? How many American kids have to die in the sand and rock before we learn the United States cannot win when it starts blowing things up in the Middle East?

Read more: President Trump Tweets About Possible Iran Strike After Saudi Arabia Oil Bombing

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Middle East - Saudi Arabia: Putin proposes Russian missile defence for Saudi after oil attack

Tensions in the Middle East have escalated following drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The pre-dawn strikes on Saturday knocked out more than half of crude output from the world's top exporter - five percent of the global oil supply - and cut output by 5.7 million barrels per day.

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been locked in a war with a Saudi-UAE-led coalition since 2015, claimed responsibility for the attacks, warning Saudi Arabia that their targets "will keep expanding".

But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swiftly accused Iran of being behind the assault, without providing any evidence. The claim was rejected by Tehran which said the allegations were meant to justify actions against it.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has promised to "confront and deal with this terrorist aggression", while US President Donald Trump hinted at possible military action after Riyadh concluded its investigation into the attacks.

Note EU-Digest: The recent Saudi and US so-called "investigations", based on how the Jamal Khashoggi murder by Saudi Arabia was handled, does not give much reasons for "optimism", that the present investigations, by Saudi-Arabia and the US,  re: the bombing of the Saudi oilfields and refineries, will be handled in an impartial manner.   

Read more: Putin proposes Russian missile defence for Saudi after oil attack | Saudi Arabia News | Al Jazeera

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Britain - EU meeting today butnNo new backstop proposal at Juncker-Johnson lunch

UK prime minister Boris Johnson had a lunch in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. After the meeting, Juncker said it was "the UK's responsibility to come forward with legally-operational solutions", adding the commission was open to proposals to replace the backstop. However, Juncker continued, "such proposals have not yet been made" and that the "EU-27 remain united".

Read more: No new backstop proposal at Juncker-Johnson lunch

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Oil Exploration - The Guyana-Suriname Basin: An Emerging Petroleum Province

Once in a while, a new petroleum province appears in a previously under-explored frontier or blind spot, broadening the horizon of the explorers and security analysts alike, lending fresh hopes to both oilmen and the local economy, and offering new opportunities to the E&P industry as well as investors. Onshore, the shale play in the Permian Basin is one of such revolutionary new discoveries - perhaps a case of rejuvenation, to be exact. Offshore, such new frontiers were West Africa in the 2000s, East Africa in early 2010s, and Guyana in late 2010s.

In this report an in-depth look at the emerging Guyana-Suriname Basin, including its geology and resource potential, exploration history, discoveries made so far, to lay a foundation for future discussions on how we as security investors can profit from the rise of this frontier.

Read more at: The Guyana-Suriname Basin: An Emerging Petroleum Province | Seeking Alpha
 
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