Politics, Real life, Social development, War and peace

A day at the beach in the brave “new normal”

Last week some of the beaches in the South of France finally reopened. But there were some new rules to observe and I couldn’t resist sharing a few photos of this experience:

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The new rules define how to use the beach. They are clearly stated at the entrance to the restricted area: beachgoers can enjoy a cca. 20-m stretch of sand between 8 AM to 5 PM for the maximum duration of 1 hour. A map shows how to descend to the beach and how to return. People must leave their belongings in a specially designated area and may not stay lying on the sand after swimming.

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Charming fencing and police tape demarcate the authorized areas…

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To make sure everyone complies with the rules, the police forces were present, all armed with pistols and wearing bullet-proof vests:

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In all, the 20-m authorized bathing area was watched at various times by 8 police officers plus two life guards who are also part of the police force.

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One of the officers carried an automatic rifle. For as long as I observed him, he kept his index finger just by the rifle’s trigger.

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Some people clearly did not understad the simple new rules and the police quickly made an example of them. Fortunately, it was not necessary for them to use their weapons – a few 135 Euro fines would suffice this time.

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These non-compliant individuals set down their bags and towels outside the authorized area. But for most of us, the periodic whistles and shouts from the police were a sufficient reminder not to stray too far from the authorized enclosure.  This was made easier still, thanks to the warnings repeated every 30 minutes or so over a loudspeaker system.

Of course, most of us found it easy to comply. In all, it was a beautiful day and within the restricted area you could almost forget to feel thankful to the authorities for granting us 60 minutes to enjoy ourselves at the beach. The only part of the experience that slightly impaired this enjoyment was the fact that the sea is still a bit cold.

 

 

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Eurasia, Policy, Politics, War and peace

CIA’s Mike Morell: the covert war in the Middle East is ongoing. It might escalate…

During the night on Sunday, 26 January, five Katyusha rockets were launched on the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Three of them allegedly made a direct hit with at least one striking the embassy dining hall. This event followed the massive demonstrations in Baghdad demanding the U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Indeed, the tensions in the Middle East are unlikely to dissipate any time soon… Hopefully however, they won’t lead to the “horrendous” and “devastating” world war that a bi-partisan panel commissioned by the U.S. Congress predicted might break out within four years. Continue reading

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Commodity price, Energy crisis, Hedging, Market trends, Oil market, Politics, Trading, Trend following, War and peace

The coming oil price shock 3: saber rattling in the persian gulf

Side note 1: as oil geopolitics tensions escalate I’ve decided to sequentially number my “coming oil price shock” articles. This is the 3rd one (the first one is here, and second one here.)
Side note 2: if oil price hedging is a headache, please view my presentation here (YouTube, 12 minutes).
  • Trump Administration put their credibility on the line by taking a hard line on Iranian oil exports, pledging to collapse them to zero.
  • Iranian officials matched the rhetoric by promising to close the Straits of Hormuz entirely to oil traffic. A third of world’s traded oil production transit through that choke-point.
  • Assurances of ramped-up oil production from Saudi Arabia and Opec appear as firm as a wet noodle.

 

U.S. taking a hard line on Iran oil exports

Over the Easter weekend we’ve seen an escalation of Trump Administration’s rhetoric toward Iran. On Monday, 22 April, State Secretary Pompeo issued an official statement pledging that after their expiry on May 2, the U.S. would not renew any of the waivers enabling Iran to export crude oil. Iran’s oil exports have already dwindled from 2.5 million barrels per day last April to around 1 million barrels, and the official U.S. policy is to bring Iranian oil exports to zero.

In taking the hard line against Iran, the Trump administration has put its credibility on  the line. Secretary Pompeo followed up the official announcement on twitter, stating that, “maximum pressure” means maximum pressure. Trump backed him up promising “full sanctions…”

Continue reading

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Commodity price, Commodity risk, Economics, Energy crisis, Hedging, Inflation, Market research, Market trends, Oil market, Politics, Risk management, Trading

The coming oil price shock: could the crisis in Venezuela trigger an energy crisis?

Measured by historical standards, the price of oil has been extremely volatile in recent years. From over $114 per barrel in the summer of 2014 it collapsed more than 75% in only 18 months’ time. Then it tripled to $86/bbl in October 2018, only to drop by 40% to $52/bbl two months later. The question is, why is the oil price so very volatile? Is the market foreshadowing greater disruptions in the future? A closer look into oil supply and demand fundamentals suggests that a great crisis could be in the making – possibly with alarming repercussions.

The looming oil shortage

In 2012 a report produced by the UK Ministry of Defence predicted that oil prices would rise significantly out to 2040, and by “significantly,” they meant to $500 per barrel. From today’s perspective, this may seem farfetched. However, we should not dismiss UKMOD’s warning lightly. This could turn out to be the most important development facing humanity for decades to come. Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics, War and peace

Is Vladimir Putin evil? (3/3): the corruption thing

One of the main themes used to demonize Putin in the west are the incessant insinuations that he is corrupt and that his corruption enabled him to build up massive personal wealth. But while these allegations are invariably presented with zero evidence, we do have some evidence that Putin is in fact not corrupt (at least not in the way it is being implied in western media – but this will be a topic for another discussion). I found the testimony from Sharon Tennison very interesting in this regard as well. Tennison is the founder and president of Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) and had worked in Russia (and the USSR) for 30 years. In the course of her activities, she has had at least one personal encounter with Putin and had over the years came to know many other American officials and businessmen who had worked with him. According to Tennison, none of those officials “would describe [Putin] as ‘brual,’ or ‘thuggish,’ or other slanderous adjectives and nouns that are repeatedly used in western media.Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics, Truth, War and peace

Is Vladimir Putin evil? (2/3)

Almost from the very start of his presidency, Vladimir Putin has been relentlessly vilified in the western media. If their portrayal of Mr. Putin reflected the objective truth, we should believe that the man has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. As I noted in the first in this series of excerpts from “Grand Deception,” systematic demonization of a nation’s leader predisposes many people to consent to war or regime change as means to help a stricken nation rid itself of a rotten, tyrannical leader. If we detest Vladimir Putin, we might approve of our intelligence communities orchestrating a coup to throw him out of power, even if the blood of some Russians is spilled in the process. It should be an honorable deed done for a greater good. Indeed, those who are desperate to have a regime change in Russia should be very keen for us to detest Mr. Putin. Hence the nonstop, un-nuanced negative coverage. Here I offer a different perspective: what if Putin isn’t an arch-villain? What if he does in fact have redeeming qualities? Should we not try to get to know the man a bit better before we shrug off another regime change or war to rid the world of tyrants? Continue reading

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Eurasia, History, Politics, Truth

Is Vladimir Putin evil? (1/3)

Western corporate media has cast Vladimir Putin as the main villain of today’s geopolitics. If their coverage of Russia’s president were truthful and objective, we’d have to conclude that Putin has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that he is the greediest, most ruthless tyrant since Genghis Khan and that he had turned his government into a lawless mafia state. Indeed, unflattering, negative coverage of Vladimir Putin is pervasive, but where concrete evidence should be presented, ceaseless repetition of allegations is taken as sufficient proof.

Joseph Goebbels’ technique of the big lie entails deceiving people with big, brazen lies and repeating them unrelentingly. If truth is to set us free, we must spread it with boldness and determination. We must push back and expose the lies. They who desire wars are few, and we who desire peace are many. Even if they can silence some of us, they can not silence us all. Do your part, reject fear and the lies, and together we can put an end to today’s dystopian state of permanent war. Continue reading

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