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Monday, March 9, 2020

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Oil Prices Have Crashed. Asian Markets Are Plunging. European & US Futures Have Collapsed

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 11:25 PM PDT

An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China. Photo: Reuters

CNN: Global stocks tumble as oil crashes, compounding coronavirus fears

Global stocks are falling and bond yields are sinking after the implosion of a critical oil alliance caused crude prices to crash to historic lows.

S&P 500 (SPX) futures plunged as much as 5% Sunday evening, triggering a limit that prevents futures from trading below that mark. Dow (INDU) futures fell more than 1,200 points, or about 4.9%. Nasdaq Composite (COMP) futures were down 4.8%.

The sell-off carried over into Asia Pacific, where Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 6.3% on Monday, putting the index on pace for its biggest plunge since October 2008. Japan's Nikkei 225 (N225) sank 5.6%, heading for its lowest close in more than a year.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng (HSI) lost 3.5% by noon, setting the index up for its biggest decline in more than a year. South Korea's Kospi (KOSPI) also fell 4%. China's Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) was the best performer among major indexes in Asia — and even then was still down 2.5%.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is a perfect storm. OPEC breaking apart. Italy locking down the north of the country. The coronavirus outbreak continues to spread globally. Investors search for stability, and there is certainly none in the world today.

More News On Today's Oil And Market Collapse

Dow futures tumble 1,200 points, Treasury yields plunge amid oil price war -- CNBC
Asia plunges, European & US futures collapse as panicked investors seek safe haven from perfect storm ravaging markets -- RT
US crude prices drop below $30 a barrel after OPEC deal failure sparks price war -- CNBC
Oil plunges about 30% after Saudi Arabia slashes prices, opens taps -- Reuters
Panic Purgatory: Oil Crashes To $27; S&P Futures Locked Limit Down, Treasuries Soar Limit Up Amid Historic Liquidation -- Zero Hedge
Over $26 billion wiped off cryptocurrency market in 24 hours after massive oil price plunge -- CNBC

Tweets For Today

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:30 PM PDT

Video Of The Day

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:10 PM PDT

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 09:55 PM PDT

Migrants walk along fields near the border line to reach Greece near Karpuzlu village, near the Turkish border city of Edirne, March 2, 2020. Thousands of migrants have made for Greece since Ankara said on Feb. 28 that it would let migrants cross its borders into Europe, reneging on a commitment to hold them on its territory under a 2016 deal with the European Union. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Photos of the week (Reuters).

Turkey's Interior Minister Boasts That The Migrant Influx Just The Beginning. Predicts The Fall Of European Governments And The Destabilization Of Their Economies

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 09:45 PM PDT

Ahval: Migrant influx just the beginning, says Turkish interior minister

The current influx of thousands of migrants attempting to cross into Greece from Turkey will soon see a significant spike, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Saturday.

More migrants will be able to move towards the border thanks to favourable weather conditions and increased Turkish security measures at the border to stem pushbacks, Yeniçağ newspaper quoted Soylu as saying at a press conference in the eastern province of Elazığ on Saturday.

"This is just the beginning. You should watch what will happen next. What has happened so far is nothing," Soylu said.

Thousands gathered at Turkey's border with Greece, after Turkish authorities said last week they would no longer stop migrants trying to get to Europe.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Turkish military is now openly violating Greek territory .... Turkish Armored Vehicle Attempted To Pull Down Greek Border Fence (Zero Hedge/South Front)

US Navy Building New Super High-Tech Flight III Destroyers

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 09:34 PM PDT

A tug boat pulls along side the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) on Jan. 27, 2020. (U.S. Navy Photo by Hendrick L. Dickson/Released)

FOX News/Warrior Maven: Navy builds 2nd new super high-tech Flight III destroyer

Armed with advanced lasers, cruise missiles and ship-defense interceptor weapons, the Navy's emerging DDG 51 Flight III destroyers are designed to conduct and win major ocean wars against advanced, high-powered enemies.

As part of an accelerated effort to prepare these new ships, the Navy has now begun construction of its first new Flight III DDG 51 surface warfare destroyer at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Maine. Similar to its under-construction predecessor, the USS Jack Lucas (DDG 125), the BIW-constructed future USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126) will be armed with improved weapons, advanced sensors and new radar significantly more sensitive than most current systems, changing attack and defensive options for the surface fleet.

Read more ....

Update: Construction Begins on BIW's First Flight III Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer (Naval Sea Systems Command)

WNU Editor: The US Navy is optimistic that this warship will help it dominate the seas .... Why The Navy's New Flight III DDG 51 Destroyers Will Rule The Seas (National Interest).

Lebanon To Default On Its Debt Payments

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 09:10 PM PDT

BBC: Lebanon to default on debt payments for first time as crisis deepens

Lebanon is to default on a foreign debt payment for the first time in its history as the country struggles with a major financial crisis.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Lebanon would not be making a bond payment of $1.2bn (£900m) due on Monday.

"The debt has become bigger than Lebanon can bear, and bigger than the ability of the Lebanese to meet interest payments," Mr Diab said.

Lebanon has been struggling since the value of its currency plummeted.

The Lebanese pound has been losing value against the dollar for months, in part because the country's banks have been reluctant to convert local pounds to dollars - leading to an increase in demand for the latter.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Lebanon owes $90 billion, and does not have the means to pay back its creditors .... Lebanon freezes $1.2 billion bond payment, seeks restructuring of $90b debt (Gulf News/Bloomberg).

More News On Lebanon Preparing To Default On Its Debt Payments

Lebanon 'cannot pay' debt of $1.2 billion -- Arab News
Declaring it cannot pay debts, Lebanon sets stage for default -- Reuters
Lebanon can't 'bear brunt' of debt, says PM, setting stage for first-ever default -- France 24
Lebanon to default on debt amid financial unrest -- DW
Lebanon to default for first time in its history -- Asia Times
Factbox: Lebanon was living a 'delusion' - excerpts from PM's speech -- Reuters

U.S. Intelligence Community Unsettled By President Trump's Appointment Of Rep. John Ratcliffe To The Office Of The Director Of National Intelligence

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 08:48 PM PDT

Politico: Trump's intel power play spooks the spooks

The CIA never welcomed its overlords in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. But now, the agency confronts its worst nightmare.

President Donald Trump's nomination of Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe to serve as the nation's intel chief has led to some apprehension within the intelligence community, which has only grudgingly come to accept the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as a force for good.

The office, established in 2004 to better coordinate the flow of information between agencies after the intelligence failures that led up to 9/11, has been most effective as a day-to-day manager focusing on bureaucratic and budgeting issues, intel veterans said — giving the agencies political top cover and more freedom to focus on their core missions.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Intelligence officials running to the Politico to whine that the White House is putting them under the microscope have no one else but themselves to blame. The article's praise of former DNI Director James Clapper is particularly glaring in view of how Clapper used his office to undermine President Trump before he was inaugurated by coordinating with former FBI Director Comey and former CIA Director Brennan on getting the Steele dossier story into the media.

North Korea Fires At Least Three Unidentified Projectiles

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 08:50 PM PDT

CNN: North Korea has launched at least three unidentified projectiles

North Korea fired at least three unidentified projectiles Monday, according to US and South Korean officials.

"Our military detected 3 unidentified projectiles fired this morning from the Sondok area in Hamgyong Province, North Korea, toward northeast, toward the East Sea," the South Korea Defense Ministry said in a text to reporters.

"Currently, our military is monitoring related movement in case of additional launch and is maintaining preparedness."
The East Sea is also known as the Sea of Japan.

A US official told CNN that North Korea fired four unidentified projectiles.

Read more ....

More News On North Korea Firing At Least Three Unidentified Projectiles

N. Korea fires weapons after threatening 'momentous' action -- AP
North Korea fires three projectiles into sea, South Korea says -- Reuters
North Korea fires 3 projectiles: South's military -- AFP
South Korean military: North Korea fired unidentified projectiles -- The Hill
North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile, South Korean military says -- CNBC
Pyongyang launches THREE 'unidentified projectiles' – South Korean military -- RT

U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine USS Toledo Smashes Its Way Through Thick Ice

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 08:01 PM PDT

Daily Mail: Awesome moment U.S. Navy nuclear submarine USS Toledo smashes its way through thick ice while on exercises in the Arctic Ocean

The awesome moment a U.S. Navy fast-attack submarine smashes through thick ice in the Arctic Ocean has been captured on video
Footage shows the moment the Los Angeles class submarine USS Toledo surfaced in the Arctic Ocean earlier this week
The Naval submarine is taking part in a biennial three-week Ice Exercise to test military readiness in the Arctic region

This is the awe-inspiring moment that a U.S. submarine broke through several feet of ice to surface in the Arctic Ocean during a training drill.

The USS Toledo is taking part in the biennial Ice Exercise - a three-week drill to assess operation readiness in the Arctic region.

The ice where the fast-attack nuclear submarine broke through the surface was around 16 inches thick.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: These videos never get old.

Oil Prices Have Plunged 30% In Early Trading

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 05:46 PM PDT

An employee rides a bicycle next to oil tanks at Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019. Maxim Shemetov, Reuters

CNBC: Oil plummets 30% as OPEC deal failure sparks price war

Oil prices plunged 30% in early trading after OPEC's failure to strike a deal with its allies regarding production cuts caused Saudi Arabia to slash its prices as it reportedly gets set to ramp up production, leading to fears of an all-out price war.

International benchmark Brent crude futures plummeted 30% to $31.02 per barrel, its lowest level since Feb. 2016. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 27% to $30 per barrel, also its lowest level since Feb. 2016.

"This has turned into a scorched Earth approach by Saudi Arabia, in particular, to deal with the problem of chronic overproduction," Again Capital's John Kilduff said. "The Saudis are the lowest cost producer by far. There is a reckoning ahead for all other producers, especially those companies operating in the U.S shale patch."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like it is going to a messy day on the markets tomorrow .... Dow futures tumble more than 1,000 points as all-out oil price war adds to coronavirus stress; 10-year Treasury yield drops below 0.5% (CNBC).

Is Somalia Becoming America's New ‘Endless War’?

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 05:39 PM PDT

SCMP/AFP: Is Somalia the Pentagon's new 'endless war'?

* There have been at least 20 US strikes against militants in Somalia this year
* Despite air strikes, al-Shabab appears to be a growing threat

The Pentagon has been issuing near daily announcements of new strikes against the Islamic militants of al-Shabab in Somalia, seemingly without affecting the al-Qaeda affiliate's ability to destabilise the country, in what is looking like a new "endless war" for the United States.

The Trump administration's plans to reduce its military presence in Africa while re-centering its efforts toward two key strategic competitors – China and Russia – are coming at the expense of French-led operations against jihadists in the Sahel region.

So far, however, the war of attrition against al-Shabab has continued unabated.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For as long as I can remember the U.S. has had a certain presence in Somalia. But the military aspect of this presence has certainly intensified this year, and according to the Pentagon, the mission now is to degrade Al-Shabaab as an effective fighting force by the end of the year. I agree with this analysis that the U.S. will not succeed .... US unlikely to meet schedule for 'degrading' Al Shabaab (Daily Nation).

Senior Al-Shabaab Commander With $5 Million On His Head Killed In Somalia By US Air Strike

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 05:03 PM PDT

Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's government

BBC: Al-Shabab's Bashir Mohamed Qorgab 'killed in air strike in Somalia'

An air strike in Somalia has killed a senior commander of militant Islamist group al-Shabab, state radio reports.

The US issued a reward of $5m (£3,8m) in 2008 for information on the whereabouts of Bashir Mohamed Qorgab.

The US carries out frequent air strikes in Somalia to target militants. It has not yet commented on the report. Qorgab's family confirmed his death.

He was in charge of attacks on military bases, and was also involved in operations in Kenya, the report said.

Read more ....

More News On Al-Shabab's Bashir Mohamed Qorgab 'Killed In Air Strike In Somalia'

Senior figure in Somalia's al Shabaab killed in air strike: state media -- Reuters
US wanted Al-Shabaab commander with $5m on his head killed in Somalia -- Garowe
Airstrike takes out a top terrorist suspected of involvement in attack on US personnel in Kenya -- Military Times
Senior Al-Shabaab commander dies in US air strike―Africom -- Vanguard/AFP
Senior Al-Shabaab commander killed in US airstrike in Somalia -- The Telegraph

Italy Quarantines 16 Million People For Oen Month In Coronavirus Lockdown

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 04:44 PM PDT

Daily Mail: Italy's death toll nears 400 as number of infected rises to 7,375 (the most outside China) and PM puts 16 MILLION citizens on lock down and threatens them with a fine or JAIL if they leave quarantine zones

* Italy has the highest number of cases outside China, the epicentre of the killer bug, overtaking South Korea
* Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree that will continue until April 3 limiting movement in the North
* Affects about 16 million people in regions including : Lombardy, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia
* There are no roadblocks in place and trains, buses and airports are still running meaning people can get about
* Anyone who flouts the quarantine rules could face three months in prison or a fine of up to £178
* Bars and restaurants will remain open but must ensure that everyone is seated at least three feet apart
* Foreign Office said British tourists 'are free to return home or complete their holiday' under Italian guidelines

The coronavirus death toll in Italy has risen by 133 to 366 as the country imposed a lockdown affecting 16 million people in a desperate bid to combat the spread of the killer bug.

The number of confirmed cases in the country increased by 1,492 to 7,375, with the new figures representing by far the largest daily rise in fatalities since the outbreak came to light last month.

Italy, which is the hardest hit European nation, has the highest number of cases outside China, the epicentre of the deadly disease, overtaking South Korea.

The head of the Civil Protection Agency said today that, of those originally infected, 622 had fully recovered, compared to 589 the day before. Some 650 people were in intensive care against a previous 567.

Read more ....

More News On Italy Quarantining 16 Million People For One Month In Coronavirus Lockdown

Italy quarantines north in drastic bid to slow virus spread -- AP
Italy locks down millions as its coronavirus deaths jump -- Reuters
Italy quarantines more than 15 million people in coronavirus lockdown -- France 24
Quarter of Italians on lockdown as virus sweeps globe -- AFP
Coronavirus: Italy death toll soars amid travel ban -- BBC
Italy fumbles coronavirus lockdown orders -- DW
Italy prohibits travel and cancels all public events in its northern region to contain coronavirus -- CNN
Coronavirus quarantine in Italy bans people moving in and out of northern area including city of Milan -- ABC News Online
Italy quarantines 16 million people over coronavirus fears -- Al Jazeera
Coronavirus death toll in Italy rises to 366 from 233 in one day, most cases in Lombardy -- RT

Report: US Hospitals Preparing For 96 Million Coronavirus Infections And Nearly 500,000 Deaths

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 11:00 AM PDT

Daily Mail: US hospitals are preparing for 96 MILLION coronavirus infections and nearly HALF A MILLION deaths, leaked documents reveal

* Almost half a million (480,000) Americans are expected to die from coronavirus
* 4.8 million will be hospitalized and 96 million infected
* Figures come from leaked slides from a presentation by Dr. James Lawler, a University of Nebraska Medical Center professor and hosted by AHA
* They show the spread of the deadly disease could be far worse than officials claim, with the crisis 10 times greater than a severe flu season
* The shock figures fly in the face of claims made by President Trump who has maintained on many occasions that the risk to Americans is 'low'
* Lawler estimated people with heart conditions have a one in 10 chance of dying from the disease, compared to less than one in a 100 among healthy individuals
* Trump signed a spending bill to allocate $8.3 billion to tackle the crisis Friday
* US has more than 430 cases and 19 confirmed deaths, after Florida confirmed its first two deaths Friday

US hospitals are preparing for 96 million coronavirus infections and nearly half a million deaths from the outbreak, leaked documents have revealed.

The spread of the deadly disease could be far worse than officials claim, with 480,000 Americans expected to die from the virus and 4.8 million hospitalized, according to a presentation hosted by The American Hospital Association (AHA) in February.

This puts the crisis on a level more than 10 times greater than that seen in a severe flu season.

The shock figures fly in the face of claims made by President Trump who has maintained on many occasions that the risk to Americans is 'low'.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This appears to be a worst-case scenario. But as I mentioned in the previous post, summer is coming and illnesses like this one taper off.

Chinese Report Predicts Global Coronavirus Infections Could Increase Tenfold Every 19 Days

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:00 AM PDT

The coronavirus epidemic is spreading rapidly around the world but Chinese scientists say the situation could get much worse. Photo: AFP

SCMP: Global coronavirus infections could increase tenfold every 19 days, Chinese study says

* Nation's leading geneticist Jin Li calls on the world to 'take strong actions on public health, using experiences learned from China and Singapore'
* Chilling forecast based on simple linear model, though research has yet to be peer-reviewed

The number of coronavirus
cases outside China will increase tenfold every 19 days if no drastic measures are taken to contain its spread, according to a study by a team of Chinese scientists.

The research, headed by leading geneticist Jin Li at Fudan University in Shanghai, also traced the spread of the virus outside China back to just 34 "unobserved carriers".

Jin, who is known as China's "DNA hunter", said some of those carriers might be asymptomatic and have been present before or about the same time as the coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Summer is only a few months away where illnesses like the flu and other respiratory diseases taper off. The hope is that this epidemic will come to an end in May/June. This is probably the reason why the UN is also refusing to call this a pandemic .... As virus outbreaks multiply, UN declines to declare pandemic (AP), and why the White House is confident that this outbreak will be controlled. I can only hope that they are right. But here is a little bit of history. The Spanish flu of 1918 stated in the spring of 1918. It tapered off during the summer. But in the winter of 1918 to 1919 it came back in a second wave that infected a third of the world's population and killed 50 million people.

Russia Has Started A War Against America's Shale Oil Industry

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 10:00 AM PDT

Bloomberg: Putin Dumps MBS to Start a War on America's Shale Oil Industry

At 10:16 a.m. on a wet and dreary Friday morning, Russia's energy minister walked into OPEC's headquarters in central Vienna knowing his boss was ready to turn the global oil market upside down.Alexander Novak told his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman that Russia was unwilling to cut oil production further. The Kremlin had decided that propping up prices as the coronavirus ravaged energy demand would be a gift to the U.S. shale industry. The frackers had added millions of barrels of oil to the global market while Russian companies kept wells idle. Now it was time to squeeze the Americans.After five hours of polite but fruitless negotiation, in which Russia clearly laid out its strategy, the talks broke down. Oil prices fell more than 10%. It wasn't just traders who were caught out: Ministers were so shocked, they didn't know what to say, according to a person in the room. The gathering suddenly had the atmosphere of a wake, said another.

Read more ....

Update #1: Putin Launches "War On US Shale" After Dumping MbS & Breaking Up OPEC+ (Zero Hedge)
Update #2: Oil Apocalypse . . . . Putin said, "Nyet" to Mohammed bin Salman (

WNU Editor: Millions of U.S. jobs are tied in with the energy industry. This chaos in the energy industry is going to cost a lot of jobs, and all of this will be happening right before the U.S. Presidential election. The question that remains unanswered is .... what will resonate more with the American public? Cheap gas prices, or an increase in unemployment. Historically speaking, cheap gas prices have always favoured the President in power. But these job loses are going to be happening in states like Pennsylvania that are critical to President Trump's re-election campaign. Either way we are going to be finding out in the coming months.

Saudi Arabia Starts All-Out Oil War

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 09:00 AM PDT

Zero Hedge: Saudi Arabia Starts All-Out Oil War: MbS Destroys OPEC By Flooding Market, Slashing Oil Prices

With the commodity world still smarting from the Nov 2014 Saudi decision to (temporarily) break apart OPEC, and flood the market with oil in (failed) hopes of crushing US shale producers (who survived thanks to generous banks extending loan terms and even more generous buyers of junk bonds), which nonetheless resulted in a painful manufacturing recession as the price of Brent cratered as low as the mid-$20's in late 2015/early 2016, on Saturday, Saudi Arabia launched its second scorched earth, or rather scorched oil campaign in 6 years. And this time there will be blood.

Rad more ....

Update #1: Saudi Arabia to hike oil output above 10 mln bpd in April after OPEC+ deal collapse -- CNBC/Reuters
Update #2: Saudi Arabia Expected to Raise Oil Production, Further Pressuring Prices -- The New York Times
Update #3: Oil Price Armageddon As OPEC+ Disintegrates --

WNU Editor: With oil demand collapsing because of the coronavirus. The U.S. becoming the world's number one energy producer because of shale production. Coupled with other countries becoming oil producers like Guyana. What this means to you and I is the following .... OPEC deal collapse sparks price war: '$20 oil in 2020 is coming' (CNBC).

Saudi Arabia's Purge Expands To Include Other Royals And Military Officers

Posted: 08 Mar 2020 07:54 AM PDT

Daily Mail: Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman arrests 'treasonous' rivals: Saudi Arabia king's brother, an ex-crown prince and a cousin are held by masked black-clad guards for 'coup plot' as MBS tightens his grip on power

* Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef arrested
* Over plot to oust king and son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reports suggest
* Mohammed bin Nayef had been crown prince before his title was taken away
* King Salman put his son - Prince Mohammed bin Salman - first in line for throne

The brother and nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Salman have been arrested over a plot to oust the king and his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, a brother of King Salman, and the monarch's nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef were accused of treason.

They were taken from their homes early on Friday by black-clad royal guards, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Saudi royal court has accused the two men, once potential contenders for the throne, of 'plotting a coup to unseat the king and crown prince' and could face lifetime imprisonment or execution, the newspaper said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman clearly feels that his position is under threat. Even the King's brother was arrested.

More News On the Purge In Saudi Arabia

Saudi crackdown widens amid reports of further arrests of royals -- Al Jazeera
Saudi crown prince signals new purge with 'treason' arrests -- The Guardian
Saudi Arabia detains senior royals for alleged coup plot, including king's brother: sources -- Reuters
Saudi Arabia detains three royal princes for alleged 'coup plot' -- France 24
Saudi Prince detains 3 senior royals -- UPI
Saudis' arrest of 2 princes called a warning to royal family -- AP
MbS Widens Purge: Dozens Of Royals And Army Officers Swept Up After Powerful Princes Arrested -- Zero Hedge
Saudi Arabia releases images of King Salman after purge of royals -- The Guardian
Top Saudi royals 'arrested for plotting with Americans against King,' Western media say. What's happening in oil-rich kingdom? -- RT

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