‘Tunisian foreign fighters to be dealt with under anti-terrorism law’

Returning Tunisian militants will be immediately arrested and judged under anti-terrorism laws, the prime minister said, seeking to calm fears over the homecoming of some of the country’s several thousand jihadists. Tunisia is among the countries with the highest per capita number of militant Islamists, a problem linked to widespread radicalisation among disillusioned youth and a loosening of security controls after Tunisia’s 2011 uprising. More than 3,000 Tunisians are known to have travelled abroad to fight abroad, according to the interior ministry. Last week, the interior minister said 800 had already come back to Tunisia, without giving details on what had happened after their return. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said returnees would be dealt with according to a 2015 anti-terrorism […]

Obama Heads To The Hill To Strategize With Dems On Fighting Obamacare Repeal

Yesterday we noted that Republicans are considering a piecemeal repeal of Obamacare even though they have no viable alternative that has been fully vetted and stands ready to replace the failed legislation (see “Republicans Consider Obamacare Repeal Without A Replacement Strategy“).  And while King Obama is happy to leave a path of destruction on his way out of the White House for the new administration to clean up, he’s not so keen on Trump’s vow to repeal his single crowning piece of legislation.

And while there’s not much that Democrats can do at this point to stop a repeal by Republicans, Obama has decided to schedule a rare meeting at the Capitol next week to strategize with House and Senate Democrats and “share his perspective about the dangers posed by Congressional Republicans’ stated strategy.”  Per The Hill:

Obama will hold a joint meeting with House and Senate Democrats at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium. The notice for the meeting says the session is expected to last “at least one hour.”


The White House said Obama will use the meeting to “share his perspective about the dangers posed by Congressional Republicans’ stated strategy to repeal the [Affordable Care Act] before proposing any replacement, creating chaos in the health system in the short run — and holding hostage Americans’ health care — while Republicans develop their plan.”

Unfortunately for Dems, given that Republicans will control all three branches of government next month and only a simple majority vote will be required to repeal the law in the Senate through the reconciliation process, they’re pretty much powerless.  In light of their weak position, Chuck Schumer and Nanacy Pelosi have decided to do what Democrats always do when they lose…organize protests which will inevitably result in violence and the destruction of private property.

Powerless against a reconciliation bill, Democrats are trying to gin up political pressure to try and stop the Republican push.


Top Democrats Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are organizing rallies against repeal for Jan. 15, and pro-ObamaCare groups have launched ads in states with Republican senators that they think are most likely to be swayed. Those states include Arizona and Nevada, home to the two 2018 Senate races where Democrats are seen as having some chance of picking up a seat.


Democrats argue that Republicans should not repeal the law, even on a delay, and jeopardize healthcare for more than 20 million people until they have put forward a replacement plan.


Republicans do not need Democratic votes to repeal the core of the law through the special process known as reconciliation, which allows the measure to advance with a simple majority in the Senate.

And while Chuck and Nancy are hopeful they can flip Republican Senators from Arizona, we suspect that modest 145% Obamacare premium hike for 2017 might be a slight problem…



Oh well, just keep sailing forward Obama, we’re sure all will work out well.

Obama Legacy

The post Obama Heads To The Hill To Strategize With Dems On Fighting Obamacare Repeal appeared first on crude-oil.top.

Americas Roundup: U.s. Dollar Posts 2016 Gain on Trump Victory, fED Forecasts, Oil down But Ends Year With Biggest Gain Since

Market Roundup

•    U.S. Chicago PMI misses 54.6 vs Reuters consensus 57.0, previous 57.6.

•    U.S. dollar share of global currency reserves slips in 3rd quarter.    

•    ECB’s Coeure says policy normalisation must be discussed carefully.

•    Putin says will not expel anyone in response to U.S. sanctions.

•    Chile Sept-Nov jobless rate 6.2%; market expected 6.4%.

•    China policymakers pledge stability for “complex” year ahead.

•    Brazil Finance Minister Meirelles: downward inflation trend key for central bank to continue cutting rates.

•    Meirelles: gov’t cannot turn states fiscal woes into a federal problem.

•    Catalan referendum on independence ‘not possible’ says Spain PM.

Looking Ahead – Economic Data (GMT)

•    1-Jan 1:00 China  NBS Non-Mfg PMI Dec  54.7 -previous

•    1-Jan 1:00 China  NBS Manufacturing PMI  Dec   51.5 forecast  51.7 – previous

•    3-Jan 1:45 China Caixin Mfg PMI Final Dec   50.7 forecast  50.9 – previous

•    3-Jan N/A  New Zealand  Dairy Prices w/e -0.50% – previous

•    3-Jan N/A  New Zealand  Milk Auctions  w/e  3656.0T – previous

Looking Ahead – Events, Other Releases (GMT)

•    No significant events

Currency Summaries

EUR/USD is likely to find support at 1.0480 levels and currently trading at 1.0533 levels. The pair has made session high at 1.0577 and hit lows at 1.0512 levels. The dollar initially declined against euro on Friday as single currency dominated foreign exchange markets, with a lack of liquidity and automated short-covering, but recovered its losing streak in the US session as the session progressed. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was on track to gain 3.5 percent for the year, even as the euro briefly climbed nearly two full cents in overnight trading to $1.0651, its highest since Dec. 14.The index has gained 4.3 percent since the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election on expectations that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to boost fiscal stimulus would benefit the currency. The Federal Reserve’s projections on Dec. 14 of three rate hikes for 2017 instead of the two foreseen in September have also contributed. The euro was up 0.67 percent against the dollar at $1.0561.

GBP/USD is supported in the range of 1.2283 levels and currently trading at 1.2333 levels. It reached session high at 1.2387 and dropped to session low at 1.2303 levels. Sterling fell against the dollar on Friday after hitting two-weeks high as dollar pared some losses against sterling as the session progressed in  thin holiday market. The pound had initially rallied as high as $1.2387 in early European trading in thin holiday market but declined to trade at 1.2305 as dollar regained its ground against sterling. The dollar has rallied hard since the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election on expectations that President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to boost fiscal stimulus would benefit the currency. A faster projected pace of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve next year also helped the rally. Still, doubts linger about how much dollar appreciation a Trump White House will tolerate. Sterling, which has lost more than 16 percent of its value against the dollar to mark its worst year since 2008 on worries over Britain’s June 24 “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, was last trading at $1.2368.

USD/CAD is supported at 1.3356 levels and is trading at 1.3433 levels. It has made session high at 1.3454 and lows at 1.3400 levels. The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as dollar slightly softened against a basket of major currencies in thin holiday market trading. Overseas, a short-lived surge in the euro dominated foreign exchange markets, with a lack of liquidity and automated short-covering in the euro exacerbating moves, driving the U.S. dollar to its lowest since Dec. 8. The price of oil, a key Canadian export, fell on Friday but was still on track for the biggest annual gain since 2009 due to planned output cuts by major crude producers. U.S. crude prices were down 0.15 percent to $53.69 a barrel, while Brent crude lost 0.25 percent to $56.71.The Canadian dollar, which was outperforming most of its key currency counterparts, traded in line with market expectations for the end of the year. The Canadian dollar was last trading at C$1.3445 to the greenback, or 74.38 U.S. cents, stronger than the Bank of Canada’s official close of C$1.3508, or 74.03 U.S. cents.

AUD/USD is supported around 0.7179 levels and currently trading at 0.7214 levels. It hit session high at 0.7244 and made session lows at 0.7208 levels. The Australian dollar strengthened against US dollar in thin holiday trading on Friday but looked set to end December lower, extending its losing streak to a third straight month. The biggest move came against the euro, which shot higher after computer-driven buying against the U.S. dollar tripped stop-loss orders. Against its U.S. counterpart, the Aussie was up 0.36 percent at $0.7204 and off a seven-month trough of $0.7160 hit last week. The Aussie is still down nearly 2 percent in December and 0.6 percent for the year, its fourth straight annual loss. Analysts expect more of the same in the New Year with the U.S. currency and Treasury yields on an uptrend following Donald Trump’s upset victory in the U.S. presidential election last month. Data showing the Australian economy shrank for the first time since 2011 in the third quarter, raising the spectre of a possible recession, has also weighed on the currency.

Equities Recap

European shares posted a small loss for 2016, though strong gains among mining stocks and the oil & gas sector as well as a turnaround in banks in the latter part of the year lent support, while Britain’s FTSE 100 index climbed to a record high.

The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 closed up by 0.3 percent, FTSEurofirst 300 ended the day up by 0.26 percent, Germany’s Dax ended up 0.3, and France’s CAC finished the day up by 0.3 percent.

U.S. stocks pulled back on the last trading day of the year on Friday, led down by Apple and other big tech stocks, but major indexes were still poised to post solid gains for 2016.

Dow Jones closed down by 0.24 percent, S&P 500 ended up 0.43 percent, Nasdaq finished the day down by 0.87 percent.

Treasuries Recap 

U.S. Treasury debt yields closed lower on Friday in a shortened session, falling for the third straight day to end a weak fourth quarter with a modest consolidation and round out a year of surprises.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose 8/32 in price to yield 2.446percent.

For the year, 10-year Treasury yields rose 17 basis points. Yields on the 10-year note fell to as low as 1.32 percent after Britain’s surprise vote to exit the European Union and rose to as high as 2.64 percent in the days following the U.S. election.

Commodities Recap

Gold prices eased on Friday as gains from a weak dollar was offset by profit-taking at the end of a year in which bullion gained about more than 8 percent, snapping three years of declines.

Spot gold reached its highest since Dec. 14 at $1,163.14 an ounce, before retreating 0.7 percent to $1,150.5 per ounce. Prices were up about 8.5 percent annually, its biggest increase since 2011.

U.S. gold futures ended the session 0.6 percent lower at $1,151.7 per ounce.

Oil prices settled slightly lower on Friday, the year’s last trading day, but attained their biggest annual gain since 2009, after OPEC and partners agreed to cut output to reduce a supply overhang that has depressed prices for two years.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $53.72 a barrel, while Brent fell 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $56.82.
Brent rose 52 percent this year and WTI climbed around 45 percent, the largest annual gains since 2009 ,when the benchmarks rose 78 percent and 71 percent respectively.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

The post Americas Roundup: U.s. Dollar Posts 2016 Gain on Trump Victory, fED Forecasts, Oil down But Ends Year With Biggest Gain Since appeared first on forexnewstoday.net.

US <b>Oil</b> Exports Increasing

The number of countries receiving exported US crude oil has risen since the removal of restrictions on exporting oil in December 2015, the US Energy …The post US <b>Oil</b> Exports Increasing appeared first on crude-oil.top.

Sudan to announce new national government

Sudan is set to announce a new national government early next month including a minister to take over the newly recreated post of prime minister, a senior official disclosed yesterday. The Sudanese Presidential Assistant Ibrahim Mahmoud said in a press conference in Khartoum that President Omar Al-Bashir will issue a decree slated for 10 January to declare the new government once the arrangements are finalised. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the political parties participating in national dialogue efforts have engaged in broad-based consultations to name the new prime minister and the entire cabinet, Mahmoud said. He called on the opposition to join the new government. “The doors are still open for the boycotters to join the national consensus […]

<b>Crude oil</b> supply & demand

Jackie DeAngelis reports that more crude oil could hit the markets as early as next week when sales of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve could begin.The post <b>Crude oil</b> supply & demand appeared first on crude-oil.top.

Ancient mountain inscriptions fascinate visitors to Al-Qassim region

Arab News
Sat, 2016-12-31

AL-RASS: Some ancient mountain inscriptions in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qassim region are proving a source of fascination for some.
The area is home to a 1,254-meter-high mountain known as Mount Sowaj, and various other names. It contains many inscriptions dating back to the ancient Thamud era.
The sketches that can be seen on the northwestern side of the mountain include drawings of a number of animals, such as camels and cows, and writings that can be translated by specialists.
In other areas, the mountain includes a set of lines and drawings, colored in blue, red and orange.
These unique inscriptions were discussed by academics and history experts at the King Saud University.
Researcher Abdullah Al-Aqeel said the inscriptions, drawings and important writings are often tampered with by individuals who do not know their value and significance, emphasizing the fact that there is need to do more to protect them.
On the southeastern side of the mountain lie the remains of water wells. Elsewhere there is an archaeological painting etched in the rocks, which is one of the largest historical archaeological paintings in Al-Qassim.
From observing these drawings, it is evident that the region was abundant in water and vegetation, and grazed by camels, cows, goats, ostriches, deer, mules and other animals.

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UN expert to visit KSA to study efforts to fight poverty

Sat, 2016-12-31

RIYADH: A senior UN official is to visit Saudi Arabia to study the government’s efforts to alleviate poverty and how they relate to human rights obligations.
Philip Alston, special rapporteur on poverty and human rights, is set to visit the Kingdom in the second week of January.
A UN official here said a key aspect of the visit by the expert will be to look at how poverty is defined and measured in the Kingdom.
Though Saudi Arabia is a rich country in many respects, challenges relating to poverty do exist, as is the case in many other states.
Alston will look into the ways in which the Kingdom’s social protection system works to protect poor or less privileged people, the UN official said.
The Vision 2030 reform plan, among other Saudi initiatives, partly focus on ways to improve the livelihoods of the Saudi people, recognizing each family’s aspiration to own a home and the important role ownership plays in strengthening family security.
The visiting expert will share his preliminary observations and recommendations at a press conference to be held at the end of his visit on Jan. 19 at the United Nations building auditorium in the Diplomatic Quarter.
Alston, who will visit the Kingdom from Jan. 8 to 19 at the invitation of the government, will meet officials at various levels, nongovernmental organizations, academics, representatives of international organizations and the diplomatic community, said a United Nations Human Rights Council statement.
Notably, Saudi Arabia was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council in October.
Reacting to this, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, has said: “Saudi Arabia’s re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reflects the international community’s trust in the pioneering and leading role played by the Kingdom in the UN body.”

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