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Fri 23 June, 2017

07:04 Cloud database technology can no longer be ignored in financial services» Finextra Research Headlines
Recent developments in cloud based data technology points to the beginning of a wider step change in...
07:02 AI could increase corporate profitability by 38% - Accenture» Finextra Research Headlines
Businesses that successfully apply artificial intelligence (AI) could increase profitability by an a...
06:57 Japan and Australia ink fintech co-operation agreement» Finextra Research Headlines
The Japan Financial Services Agency ('JFSA') and Australian Securities and Investments Commission ('...
06:22 In-app payment messaging startup PayKey raises $6 million» Finextra Research Headlines
Fresh from a stint at the Fintech Pavillion at this year's EBAday in Dublin, social payments startup...
06:11 CA rolls out suite of products for PSD2» Finextra Research Headlines
CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA) today announced Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) Solution by CA to he...
06:06 Isbank moves deeper into the startup ecosystem with 'Workup' programme» Finextra Research Headlines
İşbank, the largest private bank in Turkey has made a bigger move into the startup ecosystem.
06:05 Alipay and PayPal Are Disrupting The Finance Sector, But The Big Banks Are Here To Stay. Here's Why» Forbes Real Time
From Alipay to PayPal, and from Seedrs to EdAid, technological innovation is reshaping the financial system at an unprecedented pace. Both customers and newcomers stand to gain, but it doesn't mean the end of the financial sector as we know it. Here is why.
06:00 JC Penney and Dillard's are about to be kicked out of this big index» Top News & Analysis
Friday is set to be the heaviest volume day of the year as the Russell indexes get rebalanced.
06:00 Use Wisdom And Caution When Deciding Whether To Address Social Issues In Ads» Forbes Real Time
There's a big difference between thoughtfully joining in on a social or political conversation and being opportunistic – and consumers can tell.
06:00 AI Will Disrupt Brand Building As We Know It Says Gartner's Andrew Frank» Forbes Real Time
Andrew Frank has been studying AI since the 1980s and now as VP Distinguished Analyst with Gartner for Marketing Leaders, he assesses the impact of AI on marketing. He is both optimistic about the impact AI will have and realistic about the disruption the capabilities will have on brand building.
06:00 11 Design Trends You May Be Overlooking» Forbes Real Time
Swap out your light fixtures, choose dovetail drawers for heavy dishes and know where to stop your kitchen backsplash.
05:58 One quarter of CFO Council members say A.I. is ‘critical’ to their companies» Top News & Analysis
One quarter of CFO Council members say A.I. is “critical,” according to the latest CNBC Global CFO Council Survey.
05:58 We asked CFOs to describe Trump’s management style, and it’s not pretty: Survey» Top News & Analysis
Business leaders are turning bearish on Trump's agenda, according to the latest CNBC Global CFO Council survey.
05:57 Deadly London tower blaze began in a Hotpoint fridge freezer, police say» Top News & Analysis
A fire that engulfed a London tower block killing at least 79 people started in a Hotpoint fridge freezer, London police said on Friday.
05:56 Remnants of tropical storm drench the US Gulf Coast, spawning twisters and flooding» Top News & Analysis
The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy brought tornadoes and flooding to the Gulf Coast and its heavy rains will drench much of the eastern U.S. in coming days.
05:52 Senate Bill Poses Risks to Health-Care Companies» WSJ.com: US Business
Senate Republicans’ health overhaul carries big risks for many health-care companies because of its cutbacks to federal Medicaid funding and the uncertain impact of its broad changes to individual health-insurance markets.
05:46 European Central Bank seeks power over key financial sector» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The European Central Bank is asking for legal powers to oversee how transactions involving financial derivatives are settled - a hot topic in negotiations over Britain's departure from the European Union....
05:40 Santander launches in-branch mortgage video service» Finextra Research Headlines
Santander is to beam specialist mortgage advisors over the ether to talk to customers via video scre...
05:31 After Brexit, U.K. needs to rethink over 600 treaties» Business and financial news - CNNMoney.com
05:31 What It Takes To Make It To Demo Day At One Of Hong Kong's Top Accelerator Programs» Forbes Real Time
Hong Kong accelerator Betatron boasts its very first Silicon Valley-esq demo day
05:21 Parents are spending $20,000 for camps where their kids ‘rough it’» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Some summer camps cost as much as a semester at a private four-year college.
05:18 Financial News: European Central Bank eyes U.K.’s euro clearing as it asks for more powers» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
The European Central Bank wants changes made to its mandate that would give it greater oversight of clearing houses in the region — a hot-button issue for regulators and policy makers in the wake of the U.K.’s Brexit vote.
05:17 ANZ appoints e-commerce exec to run digital transformation project» Finextra Research Headlines
ANZ has appointed a non-banker with sizeable e-commerce experience at eBay, Virgin Media and Expedia...
05:16 Toshiba gets earnings report extension, faces delisting risk» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
TOKYO (AP) -- Money-losing Japanese electronics and nuclear company Toshiba Corp. has until Aug. 10 to get auditors to sign off on its earnings statements, or else it faces the risk of getting delisted....
05:11 Stocks exhale — but the next leg of the bull run is on the way» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
There’s solid breadth on the NYSE, which is bullish, says Kevin Marder.
05:10 Outside the Box: Value investing isn’t dead — but it has gotten harder» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Investors need to focus on economic earnings rather than accounting earnings, and then valuations don’t look so stretched, say David Trainer and Sam McBride.
05:09 Finastra to support Banco de Mexico with FusionRisk» Finextra Research Headlines
Mexico’s central bank, Banco de Mexico, has selected Finastra to transform its legacy risk managemen...
05:07 World shares mixed as investors assess oil, China clampdown» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
HONG KONG (AP) -- World stock markets were mixed on Friday as oil prices stabilized and investors assessed Beijing's moves to tighten up on some Chinese companies as well as the latest survey on eurozone economic growth....
05:06 Gold and silver IRAs: approach with caution» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Are precious metal IRAs a smart choice? Reasons to be wary include high costs, volatility and a mixed investment record.
05:03 The Wall Street Journal: Tell your teen to get a job» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Teens who work a part-time job get higher grades and have lower dropout rates than those who don’t work at all.
05:02 Mark Hulbert: Chill: Summer isn’t the season for a bear market » MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Mark Hulbert studies the calendar and says don’t sell a dull market short.
05:00 Is Bitcoin Money?»

Authored by Valentin Schmid via The Epoch Times,

Up 158 percent against the U.S. dollar this year, bitcoin is now the best-performing currency. Many are confused as to how this mathematical protocol can be worth more than $2,600, and why it keeps going up. The short answer: Bitcoin is money, just a little better and cheaper than the alternatives.

If you don’t understand money, you cannot understand bitcoin. For most of us, money is the U.S. dollar, the fiat currency of the United States issued by the Federal Reserve and maintained by the commercial banking system.

But even this system is confusing. Most people don’t hold Federal Reserve notes anymore; they hold money in checking accounts or use their credit cards to buy things. This is electronic fiat money, stored on the servers of banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

This type of money is a great medium of exchange. Because the state mandates the acceptance of fiat money by all commercial actors, you can pay everywhere with dollars and, as a bonus, the prices of consumer goods seldom change more than a few percent per year.

Other attributes that make the dollar useful as a medium of exchange are its divisibility, recognizability, and indestructability—at least in electronic form—and the ease with which it can be exchanged.

consumer_price_index

However, there is a problem with the dollar as a medium of exchange over time. Since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, the dollar has lost about 95 percent of its purchasing power. This devaluation is hardly visible over the course of days, months, and even years, but it is painfully felt over the span of decades.

So it’s hard, if not impossible, to exchange the same value over time with the U.S. dollar, and investors need to expose themselves to other assets to protect purchasing power. This is a general problem of fiat currencies and bank money, which are both prone to mismanagement by the state and banks, mostly because they can be reproduced at will. More dollars chasing the same amount of goods leads to rising prices.

Value Over Time

This is the reason why people have traditionally resorted to gold to protect themselves from monetary inflation. Gold is also easily recognizable, divisible, durable, and concentrates a lot of value in little space. One troy ounce now costs about $1,250.

However, its uses as legal tender have been limited since the demise of the true gold standard at the beginning of the 20th century, and it is not easily transferred in physical form like the electronic dollar. Furthermore, its price is relatively volatile when measured in dollars in the short term, and the IRS collects tax on gains in dollars, making gold even less exchangeable.

But gold cannot be replicated at will and therefore is a better way of exchanging value over time. One dollar bought almost 20 bottles of Coca-Cola in the 1930s. It now buys less than one. One ounce of gold bought 700 bottles of Coke in the 1930s; it now buys almost 800.

Decentralized Electronic Money

Once one understands that money needs to be able to exchange value in time and space, it is easier to see why bitcoin is so attractive.

Although it cannot handle as many transactions as the banking system, it is relatively easy and cheap to transfer. Hundreds of thousands of businesses and individuals voluntarily accept bitcoin as payment. Its mathematical properties are recognizable, infinitely divisible, and indestructible.

As a medium of exchange, mainly because of legal tender laws, bitcoin is not as widely accepted as the dollar or other fiat currencies, but it is easier to transfer than gold and it is also subject to taxation.

bitcoin2

In the long term, bitcoin has similar properties to gold because it cannot be replicated at will and the number of coins is limited to 21 million. This means that bitcoin is better than the dollar for transferring purchasing power through time.  It is similar to gold, although gold has a far longer track record.

Its decentralized management is another factor making it attractive for people who distrust fiat currency and the banks.

Cheap Alternative

Given that bitcoin is better than gold in the short term and much better than the dollar in the long term across the dimensions we have described, it’s not surprising that people chose to diversify their money holdings into this independent currency due to frustration with the mismanagement of fiat money and manipulation of gold prices.

There is another reason why bitcoin is attractive as a currency. Despite its record high in dollar terms, it is still cheap in aggregate. All Bitcoins are only worth $43 billion. All gold ever mined is worth around $7.5 to $10 trillion, although estimates vary. As for the U.S. dollar, just the M2 measure of bank money, including checking accounts, puts its worth at $13.5 trillion.

If bitcoin were to establish itself as an alternative currency and store of value alongside gold and the dollar, a total valuation of $1 trillion would not be inconceivable. That’s $47,600 per coin.

04:59 The Wall Street Journal: Smart tax moves to make right now. Yes, now» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Here are a few steps that tax experts say are likely to look smart even if Congress does nothing.
04:59 Euro up at $1.1172 after June eurozone services, manufacturing data » MarketWatch.com - Real-time Headlines
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
04:58 Stocks: 7 things to know before the bell» Business and financial news - CNNMoney.com
Here's what you need to know about the markets before you start your business day.
04:42 Brexit one year later: 5 ways the U.K. could now leave the EU» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Almost a full year after the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, the divorce talks between Brussels and Britain finally kicked off this week, but the outcome of the final agreement remains extremely uncertain.
04:42 Beijing Investigates Loans to China's Top Overseas Deal Makers» WSJ.com: US Business
China’s banking regulator is conducting a sweeping check in one of the most forceful attempts yet to get a grip on runaway debt.
04:37 Key Words: SocGen strategist identifies ‘the sacrificial lambs’ of the next financial crisis» MarketWatch.com - Top Stories
Albert Edwards, Société Générale’s bearish strategist, hasn’t exactly hidden his disdain for central bankers during this go-go era of quantitative easing. His latest take is no different.
04:26 Arab States Issue 13 Demands To Qatar - Include Unfriending Iran, Shutting Down Al-Jazeera And Nixing Turkish Base»

Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

Two days after the US State Department formally inquired about WTF is going on between Arab States and Qatar, the countries of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Baahrain, and the UAE sent a list of 13 demands to the tiny Gulf nation to be met within 10 days in order to lift their total blockade of the country. Among them - reducing diplomatic ties with Iran, shutting down broadcaster Al Jazeera (and affiliates), and immediately cease working to open a Turkish military base announced in May of 2016. Also interesting is the demand that Qatar give up their intel on terrorist groups they have supported and "provide all databases related to oppositionists..." (Scroll down for full list of demands)

This formal list comes on the heels of a June 6th rumor that Arab States issued a list of 10 demands to be fulfilled within 24 hours, however Qatar said they never received them according to Al Jazeera journalists who are now dusting off their resumes.

Embargo

On June 5th, news broke that Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt had cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations of 'spreading chaos' by 'funding terrorism and supporting Iran' - shutting down all land, sea, and air crossings with the tiny energy-rich nation that has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatari visitors and residents were given two weeks to leave - while diplomats had just 48 hours.

 While Qatar has been friendly with Iran for years, the prelude to the embargo began after a broadcast which showed Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speaking with no audio - and scrolling text at the bottom of the screen which stated his support for Iran and terrorist groups. Qatar claims the broadcast was 'hacked.'

After the broadcast, Saudi Arabia and the UAE blocked Qatari news organization Al-Jazeera.

Amid Qatar’s denials, Saudi-owned satellite television networks immediately began airing repeated stories about the disputed comments. By early Wednesday morning, those living in the UAE and subscribers to local cable providers couldn’t access the channels of Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab satellite broadcaster based in the Qatari capital, Doha.

 

Attempts to reach its websites brought up a warning from the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority saying the site “contains content that is prohibited.”

 

In Saudi Arabia, internet users also found Al-Jazeera websites blocked with a warning from the kingdom’s Culture and Information Ministry.

-WaPo

Full List of demands (translated by @hxhassan)

1. Qatar must reduce diplomatic representation with Iran

2. Qatar must immoderately shut down the Turkish military base that is being established

3. Qatar must announce severance of ties with terrorist, ideological & sectarian orgs: MB, ISIS, AQ, HTS, Hizbollah

4. Qatar must cease any funding activities to extremist and terrorist individuals

5. Qatar must hand over all designated terrorists

6. Qatar must shut down Al Jazeera and all affiliated channels

7. Qatar must stop interference in these countries' domestic andforeign affairs; stop naturalisation of their citizens; extradite such citizens

8. Qatar must provide reparations to these countries for any opportunity costs incurred over the past few years because of Qatari policies. (How do they even begin to comply with this in 10 days?)

9. Qatar must become in sync with its Gulf and Arab neighbourhood on all levels, and to activate Riyadh Agreement 2013/2014

10. Qatar must provide all databases related to oppositionists that it provided support to & clarify what help was provided.

11. Qatar must all media outlets backed by it directly or indirectly, like Arabi21, Rasd, New Arab, Middle East Eye, Mkamlin, Sharq etc

12. These demands must be agreed within 10 days, otherwise they would be invalidated.

13. Agreement will involve clear goals and mechanism, monthly reports in the first year, every three months the next & annually for 10 years

If these demands are not met - it may only be a matter of time before Qatar catches a case of regime change...

  

Follow on Twitter @ZeroPointNow § Subscribe to our YouTube channel

04:18 Eurozone economy enjoyed 'best quarter in over 6 years'» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
LONDON (AP) -- The economy of the 19-country eurozone has just enjoyed its best quarter for more than six years, according to a closely watched survey....
04:15 Visualizing What Happens To Trading During A Market Crash?»

It’s hard to predict when a stock market crash will occur, so the best defense is to be prepared.

Today’s infographic comes to us from StocksToTrade.com, and it explains what happens when a large enough drop in the market triggers a “circuit breaker”, or a temporary halt in trading.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

As Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, these temporary halts in trading, or “circuit breakers”, are measures approved by the SEC to calm down markets in the event of extreme volatility. The rules apply to NYSE, Nasdaq, and OTC markets, and were put in place following the events of Black Monday in 1987.

CIRCUIT BREAKER RULES

Previously, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was the bellwether for such market interventions.

However, the most recent rules apply to the whole market when a precipitous drop in the S&P 500 occurs:

Upon reaching each of the two first thresholds, a 15-minute halt in trading is prompted. This is the case unless the drop happens in the last 35 minutes of trading.

Upon reaching the third threshold (-20% drop in S&P 500), the day’s trading is stopped altogether.

CAN CIRCUIT BREAKERS STOP A MARKET CRASH?

In theory, the use of circuit breakers can help curb panic-selling, as well as limit opportunities for massive gains (or losses) within a short time frame. Further, by creating a window where trading is paused, circuit breakers help make time for market makers and institutional traders to make rational decisions.

Regulators and exchanges hope that all of this together will give investors a chance to calm down, preventing the next market crash.

But do circuit breakers actually work? While they make logical sense, recent evidence from China paints a murkier picture.

THE ILLUSION OF SAFETY

In Paul Kedrosky’s piece from The New Yorker, titled The Dubious Logic of Stock Market Circuit Breakers, he makes some interesting points on the series of market crashes in China from late-2015 to early-2016.

To understand why circuit breakers can make markets less ‘safe,’ imagine that you’re a Chinese trader on a day when markets are approaching a five-per-cent decline. What do you do?

 

– Paul Kedrosky, The New Yorker

Kedrosky continues by explaining that a market participant in that situation would try to get as many sell orders in as possible, before the circuit breaker is triggered.

Further, when the markets re-open, the same trader would again sell immediately to avoid the second breaker (which triggers an end in trading for the day). Each time the breakers get triggered, it creates a market memory of the events, and traders try to avoid future shutdowns by selling faster.

PREPARATION IS KEY

Whether they work or not, it is essential for investors to understand the rules behind circuit breakers, as well as how markets think and react after these pauses in action.

In the event of a market crash, this preparation could help to make a difference.

04:11 The pain and gain of Brexit vote: British economy a year on» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
LONDON (AP) -- Few events outside of war can have quite as much potential impact on the economy of a country as Britain's decision a year ago to leave the European Union....
04:10 Trump says he has not obstructed FBI's probe Russia probe» Top News & Analysis
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he had not obstructed the FBI's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion by his campaign.
04:07 Brexit 12 months on: Here’s what has happened since the UK voted to leave the EU» Top News & Analysis
Friday marks the one year anniversary of the UK's vote on its EU membership, CNBC looks back at what's happened since.
03:57 Total solar eclipse casts spotlight on rural Oregon town» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
MADRAS, Ore. (AP) -- Just before sunrise, there's typically nothing atop Round Butte but the whistle of the wind and a panoramic view of Oregon's second-highest peak glowing pink in the faint light....
03:56 James Comey Visits The New York Times»

Just hours after President Trump admitted he did not record any of his conversations with James Comey, the former FBI Director was spotted entering The New York Times office, in Times Square, NYC.

As The Daily Mail notes, Comey confessed to being the source of a leak to the Times about private, unorthodox meeting he had with the president before he was fired in June.

Comey, disguised behind dark sunglasses stared straight ahead as entered the Times Square office building, accompanied by his wife Patrice Failor.

 

Unmistakably towering above everybody with his 6ft 8in frame; in a crisp navy suit and tie on one of the warmest days of the year, The Daily Mail reports Comey drew second-glances from some stunned by-passers.

 

It appears President Trump's warning maybe about to come true...

 

Just when the torents of daily leaks, anonymously sourced lies was slowing to a drip... is Comey about to serialise his brief few weeks with President Trump... or maybe, just maybe, The New York Times wants to investigate a little deeper just what went on with Loretta Lynch...?

03:34 FLASHBACK FRIDAY: The Reg NMS Debate Goes On and On» Traders Magazine - Latest News
The time year was 2005 and the SEC had just passed the new Regulation National Market System (Reg NMS) proviso, setting the stage for a brave new world in the equities trading markets. But, like today, the controversial set of rules and procedures, was up for debate as to whether it would either help or hurt traders and investors.
03:30 Everything You're Not Being Told About The US War Against ISIS In Syria»

Authored by Darius Shatahmasebi via TheAntiMedia.org,

It’s time to have a sane discussion regarding what is going on in Syria. Things have escalated exponentially over the past month or so, and they continue to escalate. The U.S. just shot down yet another Iranian-made drone within Syrian territory on Tuesday, even as authorities insist they “do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than ISIS.”

Col. Ryan Dillon, chief U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, seemed to indicate that the coalition would avoid escalating the conflict following Russia’s warning that it will now treat American aircraft as potential targets. He stated:

“As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to reposition aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrews given known threats in the battlespace.”

So what is really going on in Syria? Is the U.S. actually seeking an all-out confrontation with Syria, Iran, and Russia?

The first thing to note is that a policy switch under the Trump administration has seen the U.S. rely heavily on Kurdish fighters on the ground as opposed to the radical Gulf-state backed Islamist rebels, which the U.S. and its allies had been using in their proxy war for over half a decade. Even the Obama administration designated the Kurds the most effective fighting force against ISIS and partnered with them from time to time, but Turkey’s decision to directly strike these fighters complicates the matter to this day.

Further muddling the situation is the fact that the U.S. wants the Kurds to claim key Syrian cities after ISIS is defeated, including Raqqa. However, the reason this complicates matters is that, as Joshua Landis, head of the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma explains, the Kurds have “no money” nor do they have an air force.

“[T]hey’ll be entirely dependent on the US Air Force from now to eternity, and the United States will be stuck in a quagmire, defending a new Kurdish state that America had partnered with to defeat [ISIL],” Landis said, as reported by Quartz.

So what has the U.S. proposed as a solution to this perpetual dilemma? To put it simply, the U.S. is not only training the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to retain the vitally strategic border crossing area of al-Tanf, which, if owned and operated by the Syrian government, could link Iran to Syria, Iraq, and right through to Hezbollah in Lebanon (incidentally, al-Tanf is the latest instance of the U.S. shooting down an Iranian-made drone took place). The U.S. is now also backing these Kurdish fighters to retake an area known as Deir ez-Zor.

The Syrian government retains an isolated outpost at Deir ez-Zor, and the region is almost completely encircled by ISIS fighters. Just last week, a video emerged of convoys of ISIS fighters fleeing the war in Raqqa unscathed. Anti-Media speculated that these fighters were most likely headed towards Deir ez-Zor as they have done in the past, and this area is now widely regarded to be the scene of ISIS’ last stand in Syria.

The U.S. needs a strong ISIS presence in Deir ez-Zor to justify an offensive to retake the city, especially considering the fact that Syrian government troops are already present there. This is why the U.S. delivered airstrikes to stop government forces from repelling ISIS fighters in an air raid in September of last year that reportedly lasted well over an hour and killed over 60 government troops.

Deir ez-Zor is immensely important because it is home to Syria’s largest oil fields. As Quartz explains, according to Landis, America’s strategy is “for the Kurdish forces to take Deir al-Zour, the major regional city and the hub for its oil fields. That way, the Kurds would be able to afford to buy airplanes from the US, rather than require Washington to give them for free.

As Iranian-backed militiamen — supported by Iranian-made drones — amass upon a U.S. training base in al-Tanf, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Syrian government and its allies will not want to cede strategic territory to the U.S. without a fight. At the very least, Iran intends to encircle al-Tanf and cut the U.S. off from the rest of Syria, rendering the base useless for America’s goals in the country.

However, Deir ez-Zor is where things could potentially get more heated than they already are between the U.S. and the pro-Assad alliance in al-Tanf and Raqqa.

Russia, a staunch ally of Iran and Syria, is already bombing the areas around Deir ez-Zor in full preparation for this battle. According to the Independent, Russia just claimed it killed around 180 ISIS militants and two prominent commanders, Abu Omar al-Belijiki and Abu Yassin al-Masri, very close to ISIS’ stronghold in Deir ez-Zor.

Iran launched a mid-range ballistic missile attack on a position in Deir ez-Zor over the weekend, as well. According to Military Times, Iranian officials said the purpose of the strike was to send a message to the United States and Saudi Arabia and have warned of more strikes to come, with former Guard chief Gen. Mohsen Rezai — an Iranian politician — stating “[t]he bigger slap is yet to come.

Landis believes these recent escalations only mark a “gnashing of teeth and growling” between the Russians and the Americans and that both powers are merely working out where the new boundaries will fall between American-backed forces and Syrian government forces.

But there is a crucial difference between the Russian-led campaigns and the American-led campaigns within Syria: Russia was invited by the Syrian government and is not clearly not attempting to invade Syria in the traditional sense of the word, as they are relying on local troops to retake the territory that still belongs to the Syrian government. In contrast, the United States has invaded Syrian territory without authorization from Congress or the international community and has partnered with incredibly controversial militias on the ground to claim Syrian territory, further partitioning the country and over-complicating an already convoluted battle arena.

And what will happen if Syria decides that the oil-hub area of Deir ez-Zor is too important to allow the U.S.-backed forces to take it away from them? The fact that Russia and Iran are already bombing this area speaks volumes as to its strategic value, and it seems increasingly unlikely that the pro-Assad alliance will give up the location freely.

Further, having complete control of Deir ez-Zor without opening up the al-Tanf border to Syrian government control would make the liberation of Deir ez-Zor almost meaningless to Syria and its allies, as Deir ez-Zor would be cut off from the rest of Syria. The two offensives go hand in hand, and this is exactly why we see the war escalating rapidly on these two fronts.

Not to mention, Syrian Member of Parliament Ammar al-Asad reportedly just told Russian state-owned Sputnik that the Syrian army will respond to America’s provocative actions by conducting “massive strikes” on positions held by American-backed militants.

*  *  *

An optimist would view the recent developments in the humanitarian disaster that is the so-called Syrian revolution with the hope that the U.S., Iran, and Russia are merely muscle-flexing inside Syria in an attempt to control as much of the country as realistically possible following the downfall of ISIS – and will eventually settle amicably on a drawing of Syria’s new boundaries.

A pessimist might not be so hopeful, as Iran and China held naval drills in the Strait of Hormuz just days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted the U.S. is officially targeting Iran for a regime change operation.

03:27 The Absurd Idea That Amazon Should Be Broken Up As A Monopoly» Forbes Real Time
At which point, why on Earth would we want to break up a company like Amazon, one that is driving that process so successfully?
03:26 'King of Good Times' Gives Diageo a Hangover» WSJ.com: US Business
The world’s largest liquor company struck a deal with Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya to buy United Spirits. Now the British firm finds itself in a legal quagmire.
03:22 Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to» AP Top Business News at 5:48 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie "The Shining," where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck....
03:18 Chinese parents alarmed by miniature crossbow craze» Top News & Analysis
Powerful mini-crossbows that shoot toothpicks and needles are the new must-have toy for schoolkids across China — and a nightmare for concerned parents and school officials
03:02 Germany's DAX opens 0.3% lower at 12,761.48 » MarketWatch.com - Real-time Headlines
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
03:01 France's CAC 40 opens 0.2% lower at 5,269.76 » MarketWatch.com - Real-time Headlines
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
03:01 U.K.'s FTSE 100 opens 0.3% lower at 7,417.75» MarketWatch.com - Real-time Headlines
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
03:01 Stoxx Europe 600 opens fractionally lower at 388.40 » MarketWatch.com - Real-time Headlines
This is a Real-time headline. These are breaking news, delivered the minute it happens, delivered ticker-tape style. Visit www.marketwatch.com or the quote page for more information about this breaking news.
02:58 If China Turns Its Back On Liberal Reforms, What Does The Future Hold?» Forbes Real Time
If China's economic future really is one of increasing prosperity and international influence, then they will either have to prove that largely state directed non-market economies can succeed over the long term–a dubious proposition with no historical precedent–or engage in rapid course correction.
02:45 These Are America's Most Dangerous Cities»

Given that 2016 was the worst year for homicides in nearly two decades in Chicago, it comes as little surprise that the city has a reputation as one of the most violent places in the United States.

Last year, there were 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims with an average of 12 people shot every single day.

In fact, the Windy City experienced more murders than New York and Los Angeles combined last year with the number of homicides there since 2001 eclipsing U.S. war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan by late November.

However, as Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, even though it had more murders than any other U.S. city last year, is Chicago's violent reputation entirely justified?

Infographic: America's Most Dangerous Cities  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

According to nonprofit news outlet The Trace, Chicago is actually far behind other major U.S. cities in homicides per 100,000 residents.

It found that between 2010 and 2015, New Orleans had a homicide rate of 46.9 per 100,000 inhabitants compared to just 16.4 in Chicago.

As bad a problem as Chicago has on its hands, this metric does show that many other cities actually have higher levels of violence.

02:35 North Korea tests rocket engine, possibly for intercontinental ballistic missile, say US officials» Top News & Analysis
North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a US official told Reuters on Thursday.
02:31 Magic Johnson's Imprint Fully On Lakers Following 2017 NBA Draft» Forbes Real Time
A look at Magic Johnson's first draft as the Los Angeles Lakers' president and exactly what he has done to put his imprint on the team. Yes, this does include the selection of former UCLA standout Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall.
02:24 Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating President Trump» Top News & Analysis
Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president.
02:20 The New Senate Republican Bill Will Transform American Health Care» Forbes Real Time
The hotly-anticipated Senate Republican health care bill came out on Thursday morning. The airwaves quickly filled up with predictable talking points from both sides. But once the dust settles, it will emerge that the Senate bill will have far-reaching effects on American health care.
02:15 This Energy Stock Yields 4% And Will Grow Dividends By 30% Annually» Most popular articles
02:00 "Tone Policing" And The Left's Anger Privelege»

Authored by Daniel Greenfield via CanadaFreePress.com,

If you want to know who has privilege in a society and who doesn’t, follow the anger...

There are people in this country who can safely express their anger. And those who can’t. If you’re angry that Trump won, your anger is socially acceptable. If you were angry that Obama won, it wasn’t.

James Hodgkinson’s rage was socially acceptable. It continued to be socially acceptable until he crossed the line into murder. And he’s not alone. There’s Micah Xavier Johnson, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Dallas, and Gavin Long, the Black Lives Matter cop-killer in Baton Rouge. If you’re black and angry about the police, your anger is celebrated. If you’re white and angry about the Terror travel ban, the Paris Climate treaty, ObamaCare repeal or any leftist cause, you’re on the side of the angry angels. But if you’re white and angry that your job is going to China or that you just missed being killed in a Muslim suicide bombing, your anger is unacceptable.

If you’re an angry leftist, your party leader, Tom Perez will scream and curse into a microphone, and your aspiring presidential candidate, Kirsten Gillibrand, will curse along, to channel the anger of the base. But if you’re an angry conservative, then Trump channeling your anger is “dangerous” because you aren’t allowed to be angry.

Not all anger is created equal. Some anger is privileged rage.

Good anger gets you a gig as a CNN commentator. Bad anger gets you hounded out of your job. Good anger isn’t described as anger at all. Instead it’s linguistically whitewashed as “passionate” or “courageous”. Bad anger however is “worrying” or “dangerous”. Angry left-wing protesters “call out”, angry right-wing protesters “threaten”. Good anger is left-wing. Bad anger is right-wing.

Socially acceptable displays of anger, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter riots to the anti-Trump marches to the furious campus protests, are invariably left-wing.

Left-wing anger over the elections of Bush and Trump was sanctified. Right-wing outrage over Obama’s victory was demonized. Now that left-wing anger led a Bernie Sanders volunteer to open fire at a Republican charity baseball practice outing. And the media reluctantly concedes that maybe both sides should moderate their rhetoric. Before listing examples that lean to the right like “Lock her up”.

Not all anger is created equal. Anger, like everything else, is ideologically coded

Why were chants of “Lock her up” immoderate, but not Bush era cries of “Jail to the chief”?

 

Why were Tea Party rallies “ominous” but the latest We Hate Trump march is “courageous”?

 

Why is killing Trump on stage the hottest thing to hit Shakespeare while a rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask was hounded by everyone from the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri to the NAACP?

Not all anger is created equal. Anger, like everything else, is ideologically coded. Left-wing anger is good because its ideological foundations are good. Right-wing anger is bad because its ideology is bad.

It’s not the level of anger, its intensity or its threatening nature that makes it good or bad.

And that is why the left so easily slips into violence. All its ideological ends are good. Therefore its means, from mass starvation to gulags to riots and tyranny, must be good. If I slash your tires because of your Obama bumper sticker, I’m a monster. But if you key my car because of my Trump bumper sticker, you’re fighting racism and fascism. Your tactics might be in error, but your viewpoint isn’t.

There are no universal standards of behavior. Civility, like everything else, is ideologically limited.

Tone policing is how the anger of privileged leftists is protected while the frustration of their victims is suppressed

Intersectionality frowns on expecting civil behavior from “oppressed” protesters. Asking that shrieking campus crybully not to scream threats in your face is “tone policing”. An African-American millionaire’s child at Yale is fighting for her “existence”, unlike the Pennsylvania coal miner, the Baltimore police officer and the Christian florist whose existences really are threatened.

Tone policing is how the anger of privileged leftists is protected while the frustration of their victims is suppressed. The existence of tone policing as a specific term to protect displays of left-wing anger shows the collapse of civility into anger privilege. Civility has been replaced by a political entitlement to anger.

The left prides itself on an unearned moral superiority (“When they go low, we go high”) reinforced by its own echo chamber even as it has become incapable of controlling its angry outbursts. The national tantrum after Trump’s victory has all but shut down the government, turned every media outlet into a non-stop feed of conspiracy theories and set off protests that quickly escalated into street violence.

But Trump Derangement Syndrome is a symptom of a problem with the left that existed before he was born. The left is an angry movement. It is animated by an outraged self-righteousness whose moral superiority doubles as dehumanization. And its machinery of culture glamorizes its anger. The media dresses up the seething rage so that the left never has to look at its inner Hodgkinson in the mirror.

The angry left has gained a great deal of power

The left is as angry as ever. Campus riots and assassinations of Republican politicians are nothing new. What is changing is that its opponents are beginning to match its anger. The left still clings to the same anger it had when it was a theoretical movement with plans, but little impact on the country. The outrage at the left is no longer ideological. There are millions of people whose health care was destroyed by ObamaCare, whose First Amendment rights were taken away, whose land was seized, whose children were turned against them and whose livelihoods were destroyed.

The angry left has gained a great deal of power. It has used that power to wreck lives. It is feverishly plotting to deprive nearly 63 million Americans of their vote by using its entrenched power in the government, the media and the non-profit sector. And it is too blinded by its own anger over the results of the election to realize the anger over its wholesale abuses of power and privileged tantrums.

But monopolies on anger only work in totalitarian states. In a free society, both sides are expected to control their anger and find terms on which to debate and settle issues. The left rejects civility and refuses to control its anger. The only settlement it will accept is absolute power. If an election doesn’t go its way, it will overturn the results. If someone offends it, he must be punished. Or there will be anger.

The angry left demands that everyone recognize the absolute righteousness of its anger as the basis for its power. This anger privilege, like tone policing, is often cast in terms of oppressed groups. But its anger isn’t in defiance of oppression, but in pursuit of oppression.

Anger privilege is used to silence opposition, to enforce illegal policies and to seize power. But the left’s monopolies on anger are cultural, not political. The entertainment industry and the media can enforce anger privilege norms through public shaming, but their smears can’t stop the consequences of the collapse of civility in public life. There are no monopolies on emotion.

James Hodgkinson absorbed all this. The left fed his anger. And eventually he snapped

When anger becomes the basis for political power, then it won’t stop with Howard Dean or Bernie Sanders. That’s what the left found out in the last election. Its phony pearl clutching was a reaction to the consequences of its destruction of civility. Its reaction to that show of anger by conservatives and independents was to escalate the conflict. Instead of being the opposition, the left became the “resistance”. Trump was simultaneously Hitler and a traitor. Republicans were evil beasts.

James Hodgkinson absorbed all this. The left fed his anger. And eventually he snapped.

Anger has to go somewhere.

The left likes to think that its anger is good anger because it’s angry over the plight of illegal aliens, Muslim terrorists, transgender bathrooms, the lack of abortion in South Carolina, the minimum wage at Taco Bell, budget cuts, tax cuts, police arrests, drone strikes and all the other ways in which reality differs from its utopia. But all that anger isn’t the road to a better world, but to hate and violence.

Millions of leftists, just like Hodgkinson, are told every day that Republicans are responsible for everything wrong with their lives, the country and the planet. Despite everything they do, all the petitions they sign, the marches they attend, the donations, the angry letters, the social media rants, Republicans continue to exist and even be elected to public office. Where does that anger go?

Leftist anger is a privileged bubble of entitlement that bursts every other election

Either we have a political system based on existing laws and norms of civility. Or we have one based on coups and populist leftist anger. And there are already a whole bunch of those south of the border.

Leftist anger is a privileged bubble of entitlement that bursts every other election. Its choice is to try to understand the rest of the country or to intimidate, censor, oppress and eventually kill them.

James Hodgkinson took the latter course. His personal leftist revolution ended, as all leftist revolutions do, in blood and violence. The left can check its anger privilege and examine its entitlement.

Or his violence will be our future.