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Russia accuses US of ‘direct threat’ to diplomats’ immunity

September 1, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
AFP
Fri, 2017-09-01 22:35
ID: 
1504295447825840600

MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday accused the US authorities of threatening the “security” of Russian citizens and violating its diplomats’ immunity with a planned FBI search of the San Francisco consulate.
“The demands of the US authorities create a direct threat to the security of Russian citizens,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.
“American special services intend on September 2 to carry out a search of the consulate in San Francisco including of the apartments of employees who live in the building and have immunity.”
The United States on Thursday ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco as well as two annexes in Washington and New York, in a tit-for-tat response to Moscow’s forced reduction of US diplomatic staff in their country.
The State Department said the decision was made “in the spirit of parity,” adding that the closures needed to be completed by Saturday.
Zakharova said that the FBI had ordered diplomats to leave their accommodation for 10 to 12 hours with their families including young children and babies.
“We are talking about invasion into a consulate and the accommodation of diplomatic staff, what’s more they are being chucked out so that they don’t get in the way of the FBI agents,” Zakharova said.
“We express a resolute protest over Washington’s actions that ignore international law, and as is customary in diplomatic practice, we reserve the right to take retaliatory measures. That’s not our choice. They are forcing us into it,” Zakharova said.
Earlier Friday presidential aide Yury Ushakov was quoted by TASS news agency as describing the latest US measures as “a kind of illegal takeover.”
“We will think how to respond,” he added.
The latest US move came as a September 1 deadline was reached for Washington to comply with a Kremlin demand to slash staff numbers at its Russian diplomatic mission by 755 personnel.
The fresh diplomatic spat is the latest twist in tortured ties between the US and Russia, which have slumped to their lowest point since the Cold War following the Kremlin’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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Petition To Label George Soros A “Domestic Terrorist” Has 80,000 Signatures

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In less than two weeks, a WhiteHouse.gov petition demanding that billionaire investor George Soros be declared a “domestic terrorist,” and that authorities seize his multibillion-dollar fortune, has garnered nearly enough signatures to force the Trump administration to issue a formal response.

The petition, which has attracted 80,000 signatures so far – just 20,000 shy of the 100,000-signature threshold where a response would be required – accuses Soros of being guilty of sedition by financing groups that help support violent Antifa counter-protesters and other dangerous leftist groups.

Last week, we reported that a similar petition, this one asking that President Donald Trump declare Antifa to be a terrorist group, had reached the threshold. The petition is still awaiting a formal response, but in one promising development, Politico reported today that the Department of Homeland Security had described the group’s actions as “domestic terrorist violence” in private memos.

Over the past week, the mainstream media narrative has turned decidedly against Antifa, with the Washington Post, Bloomberg and the Atlantic publishing stories criticizing the group’s violent tactics.

Specifically, the Soros petition accuses the Hungarian-born billionaire of using the “Alinsky model” of terrorist tactics to destabilize the US social order. Saul Alinsky was a Chicago-based community organizer who wrote the infamous “Rules for Radicals,” a book meant to be a guide to aid leftists in the violent overthrow of the US government.

Here’s the petition’s full text:

“Whereas George Soros has willfully and on an ongoing basis attempted to destabilize and otherwise commit acts of sedition against the United States and its citizens, has created and funded dozens (and probably hundreds) of discrete organizations whose sole purpose is to apply Alinsky model terrorist tactics to facilitate the collapse of the systems and Constitutional government of the United State, and has developed unhealthy and undue influence over the entire Democrat Party and a large portion of the US Federal government, the DOJ should immediately declare George Soros and all of his organizations and staff members to be domestic terrorists, and have all of his personal an organizational wealth and assets seized under Civil Asset Forfeiture law.”

Soros, as Russia Today explains, has funded organizations and projects that have been criticized for their radical tactics. His Open Society Foundation, along with USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy, have been accused of fomenting revolutions to install US-friendly governments from Serbia, in 2000, to Ukraine, in 2014.

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Trump To Announce “Dreamer” Decision On Tuesday

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

After telling the press earlier on Friday that he would make his decission on whether to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or “Dreamer” program this weekend, or Monday at the latest, moments ago the White House announced that the decision would be revealed on Tuesday instead. 

“We are in the process of finalizing that decision and those details, and we are actually going to make that announcement on Tuesday of next week,” the White House press secretary said on Friday afternoon. “The president’s priorities on immigration are to create a system that encourages legal immigration and benefits our economy and American workers. The president has been very clear, he loves people and he wants to make sure this decision is done correctly.”

As discussed yesterday, the White House has been grappling with the future of the Obama-era program that extends temporary deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants who applied for work permits with the federal government.  Having promised during his presidential campaign to take a hard line on illegal immigration, so far the president has failed to move against the program, fearing a popular backlash.

A Fox News report on Thursday stated that Trump would announce the program’s end but would allow so-called “dreamers” currently in the program to stay in the U.S. until their work permits expire – which, for some, could be as long as two years. The White House promptly denied the Fox report.

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Ford Touts ‘Positive’ Impacts Of Hurricane Harvey As August Auto Sales Slump

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Earlier this week when we noted that Hurricane Harvey was likely to have destroyed more cars than Katrina (see post here), we concluded by predicting that auto OEMs would spin the utter devastation in Houston as a ‘positive’ for their inventory crisis.  Here’s what we said:

“Of course, when the auto OEMs report abysmal sales this Friday they will undoubtedly also tell you how Hurricane Harvey is great for long-term sales because of all the salvaged cars that have to be replaced.”

Now, fast forward just a couple of days and it’s almost as if Ford prepped their August sales call notes from our previous post.  Speaking to analysts this morning, Ford’s CEO gleefully touted all of the upside potential for the auto industry in the wake of Hurricane Harvey noting that replacement demand will be “a little more positive” than even he expected.

We think that the effect of the backfill of demand from Harvey, while we believe we can do that, but trend that a little more positive there as there’s going to be replacement demand in the secondary used market.

 

In terms of our overall impact in the month of August, from a new vehicle or fleet basis from Harvey and possible to say at this point we know it had some impact, which I think is further accretive. So we actually we had a pretty good August numbers, because there had to be some impact. We know as a percent of our internal targets of Houston used in the region which was far and away our weakest performance, if you would expect.

Of course, it’s somewhat difficult to understand exactly how an increase in salvage rates is supposed to solve your bloated inventory problem if you simply turn around and promise higher production…but maybe Ford is just better at math than we are.

Great question, we can’t accurately predict the production ramifications as we don’t really have an assessment yet of, both the existing vehicle car park and our dealer – and a real accurate assessment in our dealer inventory. There will be every indication at this point that we would have to add some production in the backfill process for getting inventory backfill and meeting customer replacement demand.

Finally, just to clarify exactly how positive Hurricane Harvey is for Ford, they estimate that roughly 200,000 – 1,000,000 cars were destroyed in Texas as a result of recent flooding.  Moreover, Ford’s market share is 33% higher in Houston than the rest of the country…which means they should disproportionately benefit from the surge in replacement demand that will inevitably come over the next couple of months, right?

Ironically, despite having perhaps the largest dealer presence of anyone in Houston, Ford notes that they only lost a couple thousand cars because they planned in advance and moved their dealer inventory to higher ground.  Presumably Ford is implying that GM and Toyota simply weren’t smart enough to do that?

First of all, the Houston, Houston is the fourth biggest market in the U.S. and it’s an incredibly important overall vehicle market and one that the Ford Motor Company and the Ford brand is very strong in. We have about 33% higher market share in Houston market than we do nationally. A lot of that is due to – as you say, because of a very rich truck mix, both light duty and super duty in that market. So, our recovery effort obviously is going to be very focused with the dealers on backfill and inventory making used vehicles accessible to them because the damage to both the existing car park and the inventory would affect used as well as new and, you know, we will be working along those lines.

 

We do believe that total losses in our dealer inventory are less than we initially feared, either because of pure luck or dealers making an effort to get the higher ground and advance to the store. And so, we think it’s in the low 1000s, but it’s impossible to accurately determine the number right now. But [indiscernible] we believe is lower than what we thought we have, on the existing car park I assume anywhere from 200,000 to a 1 million, I think it’s impossible to ascertain at this point.

In any event, auto sales for the month of August were predictably chaotic with Hurricane Harvey cutting out several selling days in one of the biggest markets in the country.  Ford and GM managed to ‘beat’ wall street estimates while everyone else missed.  That said, August sales numbers will likely be completely dismissed by investors.

 

And, even though it will be dismissed as noise, GM forecasts that the August monthly SAAR came in at 16.4 million, which nearly breached the lower bound of Ford’s plateau.

 

Meanwhile, GM boasted about ‘solving’ their inventory problem, with days of supply declining to 88 days from 104 days last month, while downplaying that fact that their incentive spending surged 21% MoM from 11.5% in July to 13.9% in August.

GM

 

Finally, as always, all news is good news!

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Pakistan lets deposed PM travel abroad despite corruption charges

September 1, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
SIB KAIFEE
Sat, 2017-09-02 03:00
ID: 
1504294182615674200

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in London on Wednesday to be beside his wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.
His political rivals at home view his travel as an attempt to avert the ongoing investigation against him over corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and other charges.
The Exit from Pakistan (Control) ordinance bars anyone federally accused on those grounds from leaving the country — a responsibility of the Interior Ministry.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan’s top autonomous watchdog for corruption and economic terrorism, has yet to file references against the Sharif family and incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar following the Supreme Court’s July 28 ruling in the Panama Papers case.
The NAB is expected to file four references after Eid Al-Adha as the six-week deadline set by the court nears expiration, said an official source.
Tax returns, bank accounts and other data dating as far back as 20 years have been collected by the NAB from the Federal Board of Revenue, the State Bank of Pakistan, and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to prepare the references.
The Sharifs and Dar have failed to appear before the NAB despite three call-up notices summoning them for questioning.
MP Maiza Hameed — campaigning with Sharif’s daughter Maryam Safdar to win the Lahore district NA-120 constituency, which was left vacant after Sharif’s ouster — told Arab News that the family “have their reservations about the verdict, and review appeals have been submitted to the court. That’s why they’re not appearing before the NAB until the court’s decision.”
Hameed said the Sharifs “haven’t been found guilty in any case, so why should their names be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL)?”
Political pundits say Safdar is being groomed as heir to her father’s party, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N), and her current campaigning is an opportunity to prove her leadership skills.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PML-N’s most vocal critic, says Sharif will not return to face anti-corruption charges.
But most PML-N members strongly believe that Sharif will fight the judicial battle to preserve his political legacy.
“Why would Sharif stay away from the country, where he is mostly loved by the people?” asked PML-N leader and former Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid.
“The circumstances aren’t similar to 2007, when military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf ruled. At that time Sharif wanted to return, but he wasn’t permitted.”

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Amazon Has Twice As Many Fulfillment Centers As The Rest Of The Entire US Retail Industry

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Ask a number of analysts what is the secret to Amazon’s retail (if not overall) success, and 9 out of 10 times the answer will be its meticulous, seamless, and incredibly efficient distribution and logistics system. Or, as Credit Suisse puts it, Amazon…

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McCain Returns To D.C. With A Bang; Blasts “Inexperienced, Poorly Informed, Impulsive” Trump

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Coming off an extended break in his home state of Arizona where he’s been undergoing cancer treatments, John McCain returned to Washington D.C. with a bang after penning an op-ed in the Washington Post taking direct aim at President Trump. 

Among other things, McCain called Trump an “inexperienced, poorly informed and implusive” person who must be kept in check by Congress.

That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.

 

We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.

McCain

 

Ironically, after bashing the leader of his own party with a name-calling tirade that would make any 3rd-grader proud, McCain goes on to call for an immediate end to the gridlock in Washington D.C. and a return to an era of bipartisan cooperation on drafting new legislation.

Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important.

 

That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise. It seldom works smoothly or speedily. It was never expected to.

 

It requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans. It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other.

 

I argued during the health-care debate for a return to regular order, letting committees of jurisdiction do the principal work of crafting legislation and letting the full Senate debate and amend their efforts.

 

We won’t settle all our differences that way, but such an approach is more likely to make progress on the central problems confronting our constituents. We might not like the compromises regular order requires, but we can and must live with them if we are to find real and lasting solutions. And all of us in Congress have the duty, in this sharply polarized atmosphere, to defend the necessity of compromise before the American public.

Presumably the irony of these two conflicting themes was lost on McCain…

* * *

Below is the full op-ed from John McCain as originally published by the Washington Post:

Americans recoiled from the repugnant spectacle of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville to promote their un-American “blood and soil” ideology. There is nothing in their hate-driven racism that can match the strength of a nation conceived in liberty and comprising 323 million souls of different origins and opinions who are equal under the law.

 

Most of us share Heather Heyer’s values, not the depravity of the man who took her life. We are the country that led the free world to victory over fascism and dispatched communism to the ash heap of history. We are the superpower that organized not an empire, but an international order of free, independent nations that has liberated more people from poverty and tyranny than anyone thought possible in the age of colonies and autocracies.

 

Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again.

 

Congress will return from recess next week facing continued gridlock as we lurch from one self-created crisis to another. We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties. Our national political campaigns never stop. We seem convinced that majorities exist to impose their will with few concessions and that minorities exist to prevent the party in power from doing anything important.

 

That’s not how we were meant to govern. Our entire system of government — with its checks and balances, its bicameral Congress, its protections of the rights of the minority — was designed for compromise. It seldom works smoothly or speedily. It was never expected to.

 

It requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans. It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other.

 

That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct.

 

We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don’t answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.

 

I argued during the health-care debate for a return to regular order, letting committees of jurisdiction do the principal work of crafting legislation and letting the full Senate debate and amend their efforts.

 

We won’t settle all our differences that way, but such an approach is more likely to make progress on the central problems confronting our constituents. We might not like the compromises regular order requires, but we can and must live with them if we are to find real and lasting solutions. And all of us in Congress have the duty, in this sharply polarized atmosphere, to defend the necessity of compromise before the American public.

 

Let’s try that approach on a budget that realistically meets the nation’s critical needs. We all know spending levels for defense and other urgent priorities have been woefully inadequate for years. But we haven’t found the will to work together to adjust them. The appropriators can’t complete their spending bills, and we’re stuck with threats of a government shutdown and continuing resolutions that underfund national security. A compromise that raises spending caps for both sides’ priorities is better than the abject failure that has been our achievement to date.

 

Let’s also try that approach on immigration. The president has promised greater border security. We can agree to that. A literal wall might not be the most effective means to that end, but we can provide the resources necessary to secure the border with smart and affordable measures. Let’s make it part of a comprehensive bill that members of both parties can get behind — one that values our security as well as the humanity of immigrants and their contributions to our economy and culture.

 

Let’s try it on tax reform and infrastructure improvement and all the other urgent priorities confronting us. These are all opportunities to show that ordinary, decent, free people can govern competently, respectfully and humbly, and to prove the value of the United States Congress to the great nation we serve.

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