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Good Morning!

International Developments

? Are weapons supposedly sent to Saudi Arabia being shipped instead to Syrian rebels?

? “Turkish President Abdullah Gul said . . . the ‘worst-case scenarios’ were now playing out in Syria and Turkey would . . . do everything necessary to protect itself . . ..” President Gul called on other states to help end the conflict. UN Chief Ban Ki-moon called the situation “extremely dangerous”.

? “Afghanistan ‘sliding towards collapse‘: Afghan forces are far from ready to secure a country riddled with violence and corruption, Red Cross and thinktank warn”. Some see a “full-blown civil war” as armed groups in the countryside have “proliferated” bringing “insecurity and misery” to many.

? Two Afghani women are on a six-day visit to the US capital, with the urgent message for the future of women and girls in the country, encouraging “US administration officials to work to ensure all international treaties are protected and in particular UN resolutions guaranteeing women’s rights under the constitution.”

? They’ve now figured out how to re-fuel drones in the air without humans aboard.

? Last week, Anglo American Platinum fired 12,000 mineworkers in South Africa. This week, those workers intend “to open a case against the SAPS (South African Police Service)” because a worker reportedly died after the police fired rubber bullets and teargas into a crowd of workers.

? “Jews in France fear wave of attacks“. Seems the attacks began with “a deadly assault on a Jewish school in the southwestern town of Toulouse this spring.” Since then there’ve been “gunshots outside a synagogue”, a “grenade that shattered the windows of a kosher grocery store”, etc. Muslim extremists are the suspects.

? 7 people have been arrested in Moldova for trafficking in uranium-235 and weapons, and this is not the first time, either. Why don’t they ever tell us where the stuff was headed?

International Finances

? The European Stability Mechanism (ESM), or permanent bailout fund, is now underway with a AAA rating from Fitch. The 17 eurozone countries have to provide some capital for the fund, originally to be made in 5 equal annual payments. That’s now been changed to “a 40%, 40%, 20% schedule” with the two first installments due “within 15 days of ESM inauguration” or by October 23rd. Much more.

? Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is “playing a tense game of chicken with the financial markets, betting that Spain can balance its books with homegrown austerity while putting off–maybe forever–a humiliating bailout from the European Union.”

? Iran is trying to calm their currency markets since the rial fell 40% last week. Strict procedures are being handed-down, enforced by police patrols, luxury imports are being banned, etc. Meanwhile, President Ahmadinejad may be called before Parliament for questioning.

Money Matters USA

? The mortgage meltdown has resulted in dramatic increases in bank lobbying activities. Just 5 years ago, Wells Fargo had “a limited state lobbying presence”. Then the “torrent of mortgage-related bills [began] flooding legislatures.” Wells Fargo now has “150 lobbyists in 31 state capitals” and spent $3.8 million in federal lobbying during the first half of 2012.

? “BP has agreed [to] a deal to sell a number of US assets, including its Texas City refinery, to Marathon Petroleum for $2.5bn”. Apparently, BP is trying to raise some cash to pay for its 2010 “spill” in the Gulf. [cont’d.]

David Dayen

David Dayen