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A year and a half ago we discussed why it would take seven years for Germany to repatriate its gold from New York. Here is an update:
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The Real Reason Why Germany Halted Its Gold Repatriation From The NY Fed

Following the stunning announcement in January 2013 that the Bundesbank would repatriate 674 tons of gold from the NY Fed and the French Central Bank, a year later the Bundesbank followed up with a just as stunning revelation that of the 84 tons the bank was supposed to bring back home, it had managed to obtain just a paltry 37 tons, with only 5 tons originating from the NY Fed.

The reason given for this disappointing amount was as follows:

The Bundesbank explained [the low amount of US gold] by saying that the transports from Paris are simpler and therefore were able to start quickly." Additionally, the Bundesbank had the "support" of the BIS "which has organized more gold shifts already for other central banks and has appropriate experience - only after months of preparation and safety could transports start with truck and plane." That would be the same BIS that in 2011 lent out a record 632 tons of gold...

Going back to the main explanation, we wonder: how exactly is a gold transport "simpler" because it originates in Paris and not in New York? Or does the NY Fed gold travel by car along the bottom of the Atlantic, and is French gold transported by a Vespa scooter out of the country?

Supposedly, there was another reason: "The bullion stored in Paris already has the elongated shape with beveled edges of the "London Good Delivery" standard. The bars in the basement of the Fed on the other hand have a previously common form. They will need to be remelted [to LGD standard]. And the capacity of smelters are just limited."

Or, simply said, generic pretexts for a failure to follow through with the Bundesbank's original intention of redomiciling physical gold, especially after Zero Hedge posted in November 2012 proof of collusion between the 1968 Bank of England and the Fed seeking to defraud Deutsche Bank: 'Bank Of England To The Fed: "No Indication Should, Of Course, Be Given To The Bundesbank..."

The charade ended with a thud in June of this year, when instead of continuing the farce, Germany simply gave up, providing an even more laughable reason why it can no longer even pretend to collect its physical gold located at New York's 9 Liberty Street.

Germany has decided its gold is safe in American hands. “The Americans are taking good care of our gold,” Norbert Barthle, the budget spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc in parliament, said in an interview. “Objectively, there’s absolutely no reason for mistrust.”

And that was it: not a single word more from Germany on the topic of its failed gold repatriation initiative. Until this week, when Deutsche Bank - the bank which is Germany's equivalent to America' Goldman Sachs in terms of policy decision-making - once again revealed just what the true reason behind the failure of Germany's attempt to bring its gold back. From Robin Winkler's special report:

... the gold community paid great attention to the decision of the German Bundesbank to “bring German gold home”. At the beginning of 2013, the Bundesbank announced it would repatriate 300 tonnes of gold stored in the US by 2020. It is well behind schedule, citing logistical difficulties. Yet diplomatic difficulties are more likely to be the chief cause of the delay, especially seeing as the Bundesbank has proven its capacity to organise large-scale gold transports. In the early 2000s, the Bundesbank incrementally repatriated 930 tonnes of German gold held by the Bank of England.

Because if anyone knows what really happened behind the scenes in Germany, and inside closed doors at the Bundesbank, it is Deutsche Bank.

And there you have it: it wasn't transportation, or "good delivery standards" concerns, or anything remotely related to Germany "decididng its gold is safe in American hands", but just the opposite: Germany was pressured to keep its gold in the US after a "diplomatic" line of communication was opened, most likely the result of the Fed making it all too clear clear to the Bundesbank not only who runs the show, but what the assured failure to repatriate Germany's gold would mean for "price stability."

Which has, for now at least, ended Germany's gold repatriation demands.

Now the question is, just how will the US pressure the Swiss "diplomatically" to make sure its own gold repatriation referendum does not succeed. Because if Germany failed miserably to obtain 674 tons of gold in 2013, it is assured that Switzerland will find absolutely nothing in its quest to obtain more than double, or 1,500 tons, of gold as a successful November 30 referendum outcome would require.

Then again, considering it was Obama's action that destroyed the Swiss banking sector after the US crushed the centuries-long tradition of "Swiss banking anonymity", this could be just the right action with which "neutral" Switzerland could finally take its revenge on the regime that cost it what was for centuries the primary source of capital inflow into the small and so very prosperous (until then) central-European nation.
China too has hundreds of tons of gold in New York. But a Chinese investor bought the JP Morgan building for $1.5b whose cellors are said to be connected by a tunnel to the cellars of the FED so that its gold can be stored in a cellor of which China owns the keys. That at any rate was the speculation in an article I read some weeks ago.


Junior Member
Tea Party Politics in Japan

Japan’s Rising Nationalism

Tea Party Politics in Japan
Japan’s Rising Nationalism

TOKYO — On Sept. 3, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet for the first time since he came to office in late 2012. Determined to show that he is progressive on women’s issues, he appointed five new female ministers, tying the record set by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The foreign media seem to have been impressed by the gesture. But Japanese outlets were more interested in the gains of another group: Fifteen of the 19 members in the new cabinet belong to Nippon Kaigi, the “Japan Conference,” a nationalistic right-wing group that was all but unknown until recently.

A U.S. Congressional report on Japan-U.S. relations from early this year mentioned Nippon Kaigi as one of several organizations to which Mr. Abe has ties that believe that “Japan should be applauded for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers, that the 1946-1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate, and that the killings by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 ‘Nanjing massacre’ were exaggerated or fabricated.” This is standard fare in the noxious world of Japanese ultra-nationalism. So, too, are the goals of Nippon Kaigi.

On its webpage the group calls for preserving Japan’s “beautiful traditional national character,” which centers on the imperial household; adopting “a new constitution suited to a new age,” which would presumably allow Japan to maintain a full-fledged military; and instilling patriotism and morality in Japanese schoolchildren by revising our “masochistic” history curriculum and “the rampant spread of gender-free education.” The group also staunchly opposes the notion that a woman could be emperor — even though there have been female emperors in the past — or allowing women to use their maiden names after they get married.

Nippon Kaigi started drawing attention to itself late this summer. The daily Tokyo Shimbun reported that two local politicians who had come under fire for sexist or otherwise insensitive comments belonged to the group, and noted its size and reach. And the daily Asahi Shimbun reported that local politicians throughout the country who are affiliated with Nippon Kaigi were trying to stir up a grassroots movement to eliminate the so-called “peace clause” from the Constitution. With the recent reshuffling of Mr. Abe’s cabinet, Japanese people are only just realizing that a group they had not even heard of a month-and-a-half ago is helping shape national policy.

Nippon Kaigi has about 35,000 dues-paying members. (In accordance with its values, men pay 10,000 yen in annual fees and women half that much.) The group has more than 250 offices around the country. According to Asahi Shimbun, the Nippon Kaigi Discussion Group of the Diet has 289 members, mostly conservatives from the Liberal Democratic Party (L.D.P.) — about 40 percent of the entire Parliament. Revising the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority (plus a simple majority in a subsequent referendum), but it probably already exists if you add to the Nippon Kaigi discussion group the other pro-revision politicians in the L.D.P. and other parties. And, of course, Nippon Kaigi has a powerful friend in Mr. Abe.

Recent reports on Nippon Kaigi tend to describe it simply as the largest right-wing organization in Japan. In reality it is akin to Japan’s version of the Tea Party: Like the Tea Party in the United States, it is a product of deep conservative anxieties about the future. Nippon Kaigi first emerged in 1997, a few years after the L.D.P. lost the ability to govern on its own and began forming coalition governments, and it expanded after the centrist Democratic Party of Japan’s brief rise to power in 2009. Both Nippon Kaigi and the Tea Party cast themselves as “grassroots” movements that represent the “traditional” values of “the people.” One of the Tea Party’s slogans is “Take Back America,” and in the last election one of the L.D.P.’s was “Take Back Japan.”

But from whom exactly do Mr. Abe, the L.D.P. and Nippon Kaigi want to take Japan back? Unlike the Tea Party, which could not be more explicit in its rejection of President Obama and the American left, these Japanese conservatives have been unwilling to come out and say exactly what they oppose.

Their vagueness reminds me of the title of a book that the conservative politician (and Nippon Kaigi officer) Shintaro Ishihara published in English in 1991: “The Japan That Can Say No.” At the time, Mr. Ishihara was arguing that Japan had to stand up to the United States. Later he redirected his frustration about Japan’s seeming inability to do this into infamous anti-Chinese polemics.

Nippon Kaigi and the L.D.P., which the group is rapidly claiming as its own party, are also adopting provocative stances toward some of Japan’s neighbors: They vigorously defend Japan’s claim over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, which China also claims, and they deny that during World War II the Japanese military forced so-called comfort women into sexual slavery.

Ultimately, however, these positions are only proxies. The real issue is this: the profound sense, shared by Japanese of many other political persuasions, that postwar Japan has never stood on an equal footing with the United States.

For now, the Tea Party of Japan looks like any other nationalist right-wing group. But its strength is growing. And there is no telling when its members might start saying what really is on their mind: “Take Back Japan From America.”

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From NYT:
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U.N. Panel Cites Concerns With U.S. Security Practices


GENEVA — The United States needs to make numerous changes to bring its security policies and domestic law enforcement practices fully into line with an international treaty banning torture and cruel treatment, a United Nations panel said Friday.

Delivering its findings after two days of hearings in Geneva attended by government representatives this month, the panel monitoring compliance with the treaty cited serious concerns. Among those concerns included the rules of interrogation, a failure to fully investigate allegations of torture during the administration of President George W. Bush, police shootings of unarmed African-Americans and the use of solitary confinement in prisons.

“There are numerous areas where there are things that should be changed to be fully compliant” with the United Nations Convention Against Torture, a panel member, Alessio Bruni, told reporters in Geneva as the panel released a 16-page document of findings and recommendations.

The panel, the United Nations Committee Against Torture, welcomed President Obama’s moves to ban torture and apply the treaty abroad, but despite assurances given to the panel it found that interrogation techniques authorized by an Army field manual allowed sleep deprivation, a form of ill treatment.

Panel members also voiced dissatisfaction with the information American officials provided on secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency under Mr. Bush, echoing calls by other United Nations human rights investigators this week for the quick release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the use of torture by the C.I.A.

The panel expressed concern at the continuing failure to properly investigate torture in those facilities or punish those responsible, including “persons in positions of command and those who provided legal cover to torture.”

Committee members were particularly disturbed by reports of the “draconian system of secrecy” surrounding high-value detainees at the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The prison reportedly hid detainees’ claims of torture from investigators, and the panel warned that indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without charge or trial would be considered a breach of the anti-torture treaty.

Only 33 of the 148 detainees still held at Guantánamo Bay have been designated for prosecution either by courts or military commissions, the panel said. It noted that the commissions failed to meet international fair trial standards, and that most of the 79 Guantánamo detainees who are supposed to be transferred were cleared for release five years ago.

On the subject of domestic law enforcement, the panel declined to detail its reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson, Mo. But it expressed its “deep concern at the frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals” and the Chicago police force’s violent tactics and harassment of African-American and Latino youths.

The panel’s comments, along with the outpouring of protest this week, amounted to a “wake-up call for police who think they can act with impunity,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement.

Conditions in maximum security jails and the facilities’ “particularly severe” solitary confinement policies were another area of concern for the panel. It cited deaths from extreme heat in poorly ventilated prison facilities in six states. It also pointed to solitary confinement regimes that kept prisoners in their cells 22 or 23 hours a day, in some cases for 30 years or more.

“This is not acceptable,” Mr. Bruni said.

A version of this article appears in print on November 29, 2014, on page A5 of the New York edition with the headline: Panel Criticizes U.S. Over Its Human Rights Record.


China's homegrown GPS ready to be used for smartphones

(China Daily) BEIJING - A Chinese company has rolled out a chip that can help smartphones get easy access to the country's homegrown GPS-like Beidou System.

The 40-nanometer chip, developed by Shanghai Beiga Satellite Technology Co., was revealed at an exhibition event in Shanghai that promotes civilian use of military technologies.

Wang Yongping, general manager of Beiga, said they are currently doing test work with some smartphone, who are expected to begin mass production of devices with the chip next year, according to a report by China News Service.
The chip is a sign that China's independently developed Beidou System will be applied to consumer electronics field. Previously, chips using the Beidou system were too large and had high energy consumption in daily use.

According to the company, the chip can also be used on tablet computers and wearable devices.

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I will now get back to bottling my Malbec


Next time a lady in your country (Western Europe, North America or South America) complains about how bad they have it in your nation you can quote these facts:

The 10 Worst Countries for Women

10. Morocco
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.28 (tied 8th worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 79% / 27%
Literacy rate (m/f): 76% / 58%
Pct. women in parliament: 17%

9. Jordan
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.18 (tied- 3rd worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 69% / 16%
Literacy rate (m/f): 98% / 97%
Pct. women in parliament: 12%

8. Lebanon
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.27 (7th worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 76% / 26%
Literacy rate (m/f): 93% / 86%
Pct. women in parliament: 3%

7. Cote d’Ivoire
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.49 (38th worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 82% / 53%
Literacy rate (m/f): 52% / 30%
Pct. women in parliament: 9%

6. Iran
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.17 (the worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 76% / 17%
Literacy rate (m/f): 89% / 79%
Pct. women in parliament: 3%

5. Mali
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.41 (23rd worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 82% / 52%
Literacy rate (m/f): 43% / 25%
Pct. women in parliament: 10%

4. Syria
Female-to-male income ratio: N/A
Labor force participation (m/f): 76% / 14%
Literacy rate (m/f): 91% / 79%
Pct. women in parliament: 12%

3. Chad
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.62 (52nd best)
Labor force participation (m/f): 79% / 65%
Literacy rate (m/f): 47% / 28%
Pct. women in parliament: 15%

2. Pakistan
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.18 (tied-3rd worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 86% / 25%
Literacy rate (m/f): 67% / 42%
Pct. women in parliament: 21%

1. Yemen
Female-to-male income ratio: 0.28 (tied-8th worst)
Labor force participation (m/f): 74% / 26%
Literacy rate (m/f): 83% / 50%
Pct. women in parliament: 0%

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I will now get back to bottling my Malbec


China 'will not go to war for North Korea'

Retired People's Liberation Army general says China will not step in to save neighbouring North Korea if Pyongyang regime collapses

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This should go in the “What the Heck” thread, but since this thread is so serious I thought it would be nice to put something comical in. It is as if they are just making stuff up in the North Korean press room.

North Korea accuses US of developing Ebola virus

Editorial in the Pyongyang Times fuels conspiracy theory that Washington is using deadly disease to maintain power over developing world

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China 'will not go to war for North Korea'

Retired People's Liberation Army general says China will not step in to save neighbouring North Korea if Pyongyang regime collapses

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I will now get back to bottling my Malbec

I think the more precise meaning is that they will not help save the Kim regime if it can't handle things itself. As to whether China have their own contigency plans if NK regime collapses, I think they definitely have.


Tyrant King
This should go in the “What the Heck” thread, but since this thread is so serious I thought it would be nice to put something comical in. It is as if they are just making stuff up in the North Korean press room.

I will now get back to bottling my Malbec
Sounds like just a normal day in the North Korean news paper office.