Finland denies making fighter jets deal with Boeing after Trump announcement

Tue, 2017-08-29 22:30

HELSINKI: President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday denied that Finland was buying new fighter jets from American planemaker Boeing, following remarks by US President Donald Trump.
Finland is looking to replace its aging fleet of 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets with multirole fighter aircraft in a procurement estimated at 7-10 billion euros by 2025.
“One of the things that is happening is you’re purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing and it’s one of the great planes, the great fighter jets,” Trump said on Monday at a news conference with his Finnish counterpart in the White House.
Niinisto, who was standing next to Trump, looked surprised but did not follow up on the comment. He later denied the deal with Boeing on his Twitter account and on Tuesday in Washington.
“It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed … The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here,” Niinisto told Finnish reporters.
Helsinki is expected to request that European and US planemakers provide quotations for new jets in 2018, with a final decision made in the early 2020s.
A government working group has listed possible candidates as Saab’s Jas Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Boeing’s Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain. (Reporting by Tuomas Forsell)

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Colombia Pipeline Bombing Takes 210,000 Bpd Off The Market

A bombing of the Cano Limon oil pipeline in Colombia has led to the suspension of crude flow, sources from Ecopetrol and Colombia’s army told Reuters. Leftist militant group ELN was behind the attack, the sources said, who declined to be identified ahead of an official announcement. Some crude oil spilled as a result of the bombing in a nearby river, the sources added. Cano Limon is Colombia’s second-biggest oil pipeline, with a daily capacity of 210,000 bpd, which carries crude oil from the Cano Limon field near the border with Venezuela…

Settlers threaten to sexually assault Palestinian woman

Israeli rights group B’Tselem released a video today showing a group of settlers from Israel’s illegal Kiryat Arba settlement in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron hurling abuse through a loudspeaker at Palestinians in the area. In the presence of Israeli soldiers and police, settlers used a loudspeaker to hurl insults at Palestinians in the Al-Hariqah neighbourhood on Thursday, insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), whom they called a dog. According to B’Tselem’s statement, once the settlers noticed a Palestinian woman – a local volunteer for the group – filming them, their scathing language was directed at her and they began to threaten her with sexual violence. B’Tselem noted that the incident continued for […]

Venezuela’s Grim Reaper – A Weekly Report

Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.

The Grim Reaper has taken his scythe to the Venezuelan bolivar. The death of the bolivar is depicted in the following chart. A bolivar is worthless, and with its collapse, Venezuela is witnessing the world’s worst inflation. 

As the bolivar collapsed and inflation accelerated, the Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV) became an unreliable source of inflation data. Indeed, from December 2014 until January 2016, the BCV did not report inflation statistics. Then, the BCV pulled a rabbit out of its hat in January 2016 and reported a phony annual inflation rate for the third quarter of 2015. So, the last official inflation data by the BCV is almost two years old. To remedy this problem, the Johns Hopkins – Cato Institute Troubled Currencies Project, which I direct, began to measure inflation in 2013. 

The most important price in an economy is the exchange rate between the local currency and the world’s reserve currency — the U.S. dollar. As long as there is an active black market (read: free market) for currency and the black market data are available, changes in the black market exchange rate can be reliably transformed into accurate estimates of countrywide inflation rates. The economic principle of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) allows for this transformation.

I compute the implied annual inflation rate on a daily basis by using PPP to translate changes in the VEF/USD exchange rate into an annual inflation rate. The chart below shows the course of that annual rate, which peaked at 1823% (yr/yr) in early August 2017. At present, Venezuela’s annual inflation rate is 1581%, the highest in the world (see the chart below).

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Florida Professor Suggests Texans Deserve Hurricane Harvey For Supporting Trump

A University of Tampa professor recently suggested that Texans deserve the fallout from Hurricane Harvey because of their support for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

As Campus Reform reports, Professor Ken Storey wrote…

“I don’t believe in instant Karma but this kinda feels like it for Texas, Hopefully this will help them realize the GOP doesn’t care about them.”

Of course, after posting this disgusting comment, Storey faced a torrent of abuse on social media, and as FOX News reports, has apologized for his tweet (we suspect in an effort to keep his job)…

I deeply regret a statement I posted yesterday. I never meant to wish ill will upon any group. I hope all affected by Harvey recover quickly

— Ken Storey (@klstorey) August 28, 2017

Responding to a commenter who pushed back on the tweet, Storey reportedly wrote:

“Well, the good people there need to do more to stop the evil their state pushes. I’m only blaming those who support the GOP there.”

The commenter asked Storey if Trump supporters in Florida deserved a similar fate.

“Yep, those who voted for him here deserve it as well.”

Storey teaches Sociology…

*  *  *

Because this story was so offensive, we felt like it needed a silver lining and RealInvestmentAdvice’s Lance Roberts just provided one… I don’t often make political commentary in my missives unless it specifically relates to the financial markets. However, today I want to make an exception and tell you what I’ve witnessed.

As you are probably aware, I live in Houston where we are currently being hit by the worst hurricane/storm since 1986. Currently, I am one of the lucky ones. As of this writing, the rising waters have not yet reached the house, the power is still on and the family is safe. For all of this, I am thankful.

For thousands in the Houston area, they were not so lucky. I have dear friends, clients and colleagues reaching out to me with tales of complete loss. It’s a heartbreaking tragedy.

I do want to say one thing.

Since the election, the daily headlines have been filled with nothing but the ongoing political divide in this country between the extreme right and left. “Hate” has filled our airways, headlines, and social commentary. It is unfortunate that for many, it seems as if this is representative of the nation as a whole.

Let me assure you it isn’t.

If you want proof, all you have to do is turn on the television and watch the multitude of individuals that have leapt into action to help their neighbors and complete strangers. They have opened their homes, shared their food and helped in any way they can. They are raising money, making donations, and providing services where ever, and to whomever, they can.

There have been no debates over race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, religion, political affiliation or wealth. It doesn’t matter. It has been nothing more than one human being reaching out to help others in need.

THIS is who we REALLY are.

In times of need, we have always come together to help others. To reach out and lift them up. It is the very essence of our “human spirit,” the same spirit which has defined the very core our nation.

As President Harry S. Truman once said:

America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

That is what we see in Houston today.

But it actually happens every day, every where, all over this country.

You just have to step out of your personal “echo chamber” of social media and look. American heroes are everywhere, not just on our front lines. They are our neighbors, our friends and complete strangers that are there when you need a hand.

It is only a shame that it takes a tragedy for the media to show it.

We are Americans. Not some “thin-skinned” snowflake protesting for a cause they generally don’t understand, a history they have never lived, or simply want someone else to blame for their own personal mistakes.

We are better than that. There isn’t a fight we can’t win, a cause we can’t conquer or a pain we can’t endure. Those are the things which have always brought us together, made us stronger, and emboldened our resolve to move forward.

To quote Bill Clinton,

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” 

Being with what is “right” is the only side I am really concerned with.


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Egypt: Verdict in Irish man’s trial delayed

The trial of Irish-Egyptian Ibrahim Halawa was postponed once again yesterday, however Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has promised to return him to Ireland as soon as the court case concludes. The verdict in the trial was due to be delivered yesterday however it was announced that it would not be given until 18 September. The family of the 21-year-old Irish man, who has been detained for four years, were not allowed in the courtroom and found out about the delay via state television. During a lengthy telephone call to air his disappointment at the delay in the trial, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was assured Halawa will be allowed to return to Ireland once his case has reached a conclusion […]

The call of the sky: Transcending the borders of the occupation

In a psychotic state, a 16 year old young woman patient from the West Bank went beyond the confines of her own boundaries: “I saw the sky turned red in colour and I perceived a calling… I looked into people’s eyes to see that they too were excited and understood the call of the sky.” She grasped that Jerusalem had been liberated and that she was being called to walk in its direction. Her wish for freedom, her deep desire to merge with a liberated Jerusalem surfaced to falsify the political reality. This beautiful psychotic vision resulted in border police attacking and capturing her. Although dozens of other Palestinian youngsters have been killed at checkpoints, she survived to tell her […]