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FIRST NYC, THEN DC..MORE POWER OUTAGES ARE LOOMING: COULD YOUR AREA BE NEXT?(Source Zero Hedge) Last week, New York City suffered a blackout in the heat of summer. Con Edison said the blackout that plunged parts of Manhattan into darkness was due to a substation’s relay protection system that “did not operate as designed.”

The utility company said the faulty system was at its West 65th Street substation.

“That system detects electrical faults and directs circuit breakers to isolate and de-energize those faults. The relay protection system is designed with redundancies to provide high levels of reliability,” Con Edison said in a statement on Monday. “In this case, primary and backup relay systems did not isolate a faulted 13,000-volt distribution cable at West 64th Street and West End Avenue.” THOUSANDS WERE WITHOUT POWER IN WASHINGTON DC A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO.

PEPCO, DC’s electric company, is trying to determine the cause of a power outage in Northeastern DC that left thousands in the dark on Monday.

According to a company spokesperson, this outage, too, was an equipment failure. Chicago is also anticipating hot weather and potential electrical failure. Officials from ComEd in Chicago are also preparing for extreme temperatures – Friday is forecast to be the hottest, with a high of 96 degrees, according to the Weather Channel.

When you have extreme weather of any kind, it can put stress on any system and can cause outages,” said Terence Donnelly, the company’s president and chief operating officer. “We’re watching the pending hot weather moving into our system very closely, we have scheduled our emergency response center to open up and we have scheduled extra crews scheduled to work extra hours.” 

Trump Ignorant of China’s Resolve

Trump Ignorant of China’s Resolve(Source Nearly three weeks after Trump and Chineses President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the late June G20 Osaka, Japan summit, agreeing to resume trade talks, all that took place were telephone communications between both sides. No date for a face-to-face meeting was scheduled in either country. Things are no closer to resolving major differences than earlier.

Both nations are world’s apart on major structural issues. The US side appears unwilling to soften its unacceptable demands, China not about to accept them. The last time bilateral talks were held in May, they broke down. Both sides remain firm. China insists that further talks take place “on a basis of equality and mutual respect” — what the US affords no other countries, notably not sovereign independent ones. For progress to be made in talks, China demands what the Trump regime won’t agree to — lifting unacceptable tariffs, removing Chinese enterprises from its blacklist, notably tech giant Huawei and its affiliates, along with calling off its dogs against the company’s chief financial officer, ordering Canada to release her from house arrest.

The US must also end its unacceptable one-sided demands, be willing to compromise on key issues, and respect China’s sovereign developmental rights.

There’s no sign whatever of the Trump regime’s willingness to negotiate on this basis, differences between both sides remaining at impasse.

Venezuela may switch from SWIFT to Russian payment system to skirt U.S. sanctions

Venezuela may switch from SWIFT to Russian payment system to skirt U.S. sanctions (Source RT)

Venezuela is considering using the Russian alternative to the traditional SWIFT international payment system, as the country braces for new US sanctions that could further weaken its financial sector, according to Bloomberg. Venezuela’s central bank has sent a request on the matter to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) as the regulator’s approval is necessary if Caracas wants to use the payment platform, the report said. Russia developed its own money transfer mechanism –called the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS)– in 2014, amid concerns that SWIFT’s political neutrality could be shattered under US pressure.

The Russian alternative payment system already includes nearly 400 users, including the country’s major banks. Last month, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) said that foreign banks had shown interest in joining the platform and are already testing it.

Ebola outbreak in Congo declared a global health emergency

Ebola outbreak in Congo declared a global health emergency (Source Associated Press) The deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo is now an international health emergency, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday after a case was confirmed in a city of 2 million people. A WHO expert committee declined on three previous occasions to advise the United Nations health agency to make the declaration for this outbreak, even though other experts say it has long met the conditions.

More than 1,600 people have died since August in the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. The declaration comes days after a single case was confirmed in Goma, a major regional crossroads in northeastern Congo on the Rwandan border, with an international airport. Also, a sick Congolese fish trader traveled to Uganda and back while symptomatic — and later died of Ebola. While the risk of regional spread remains high, the risk outside the region remains low, WHO chief said after the announcement in Geneva.

Iran state TV: Iranian forces seize foreign oil tanker, crew

Iran state TV: Iranian forces seize foreign oil tanker, crew(Source Associated Press)

Iran said Thursday its Revolutionary Guard seized a foreign oil tanker and its crew of 12 for smuggling fuel out of the country, and hours later released video showing the vessel to be a United Arab Emirates-based ship that had vanished in Iranian waters over the weekend.

The announcement solved one mystery — the fate of the missing ship — but raised a host of other questions and heightened worries about the free flow of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most critical petroleum shipping routes. One-fifth of global crude exports passes through the strait.

The incident happened with tensions running high between Iran and the United States over President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Iranian state television did not at first identify the seized vessel but said it was intercepted on Sunday and was involved in smuggling some 1 million liters (264,000 gallons) of Iranian fuel. Iran did not identify the nationalities of the crew.

Crude prices, which had been falling since last week, ticked higher almost immediately after the announcement.

Iran said the tanker was seized south of its Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz. Neighboring Qeshm Island has a Revolutionary Guard base on it.

Hours after that initial report, Iranian TV released footage of the ship surrounded by Guard vessels and showed the registration number painted on its bridge, matching that of the UAE-based MT Riah.

Putin and Macron call for efforts to save Iran deal

Putin and Macron call for efforts to save Iran deal(Source AFP) Russian President Vladimir Putin and French leader Emmanuel Macron agreed Thursday on the need to “consolidate efforts” to save the Iran nuclear deal following months of soaring tensions, the Kremlin said. In a phone call, Putin and Macron agreed the Iran deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was an “important factor in ensuring security in the Middle East and maintaining a non-proliferation regime,” the Kremlin said in a statement. US President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the accord and imposed sweeping sanctions prohibiting Iranian oil exports in a bid to reduce the clerical regime’s regional clout. In Germany, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “it would be a mistake to blame” Iran for the situation. He said it was very important to reach “a common position of all the remaining parties of the JCPOA   and we will not achieve a result if it is claimed that the safeguarding of this agreement depends solely on Iran”. His German counterpart Heiko Maas said that “we have always made it clear that we do not understand the exit of the United States from the JCPOA”.

Bank of England warns no-deal Brexit could trigger economic shock

Bank of England warns no-deal Brexit could trigger economic shock (Source

The Bank of England has warned that a no-deal Brexit could trigger a material shock to the UK economy while causing widespread disruption for EU companies by cutting them off from London-based banks. Stating that the risk of Britain crashing out without a deal had risen, the Bank said the City of London was ready to withstand such a scenario and avoid banks failing, as they did in the financial crisis. However, there would still be major disruption for companies. Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, said: “The perceived likelihood of no-deal Brexit has increased since last year. Although the degree of preparedness for such a scenario has improved, material risks still remain.” He said the absence of further action by Brussels to get ready for Brexit could leave the door open to disruption for banks and their customers in the EU, while warning that the UK would face “material economic disruption” from a no-deal departure.

“Although such disruption would primarily affect EU households and businesses, it could amplify volatility and spill back to the UK in ways that cannot be fully anticipated or mitigated,” he said.

Court rules against Florida officials on medical marijuana

Court rules against Florida officials on medical marijuana (Source Associated Press) A Florida appellate court ruled that the state’s approach to regulating marijuana is unconstitutional, possibly allowing more providers to jump into a market positioned to become one of the country’s most lucrative. If the ruling stands, it could force state officials to lift existing caps on how many medical marijuana treatment centers can operate in Florida. Tuesday’s ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee was another setback for Florida officials trying to regulate the burgeoning marijuana industry more tightly. It mostly affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the caps and operational requirements violated the voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana in 2016. Florida now has more than 240,000 people registered with the state to legally use medicinal marijuana, according to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use. They are served by 142 dispensaries across the state, the majority operated by about a half-dozen medical marijuana treatment centers that grow their own crop, process it and sell it — a business model known as vertical integration.

That business model and the limited number of treatment centers were points of contention for Tampa-based Florigrown, which sued the state after being denied a license.

Hurricane warning issued in Louisiana

Hurricane warning issued in Louisiana as Tropical Storm Barry gains strength in Gulf of Mexico( Source USA today) A hurricane warning was issued late Thursday as Louisianans grabbed sandbags or fled to higher ground, their state threatened by Tropical Storm Barry. Barry, the second named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, formed Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico. It could hit the Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said. More than 2 million people were under some level of advisory or warning as the storm approached. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, warning that the “entire coast of Louisiana is at play in this storm.”  “There are three ways that Louisiana can flood: storm surge, high rivers and rain,” Edwards said. “We’re going to have all three.”

He said National Guard troops and high-water vehicles would be positioned all over the state.

Evacuations for about 10,000 people were ordered Thursday for portions of the east bank of Plaquemines Parish, which encompasses the last 70 miles of the Mississippi River before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Evacuation was also ordered for parts of Lafourche Jefferson Parish, including the town of Grand Isle, on a narrow barrier island in the gulf.

Deutsche BNK Begins Culling 18,000 Employees

“It’s Going To Be Carnage” – Deutsche Begins Culling 18,000 Employees(Source Zero hedge)

Some readers might have dismissed warnings of “Lehman-style” scenes outside Deutsche Bank’s global offices as hysteria related to the bank’s restructuring. But the mass firings that will eventually cull some 18,000 employees, roughly 20% of the bank’s global workforce, have already begun. After announcing the bank’s most radical restructuring plan in two decades, CEO Christian Sewing on Sunday revealed that the bank would immediately move ahead with the steep job cuts.

 On Monday, whole teams of equity traders in Tokyo and the bank’s other Asian offices were let go, the first step toward winding down the bank’s equities sales and trading operation. 

The bank is also planning cutbacks to its fixed income, and rates, trading business. Shares bounced in pre-market trading on Sunday, but have since turned lower; in recent trade, DB shares were off nearly 2%.

Though DB didn’t disclose the regional breakdown of the job cuts, it’s widely believed that roughly 50% of the employees in its bloated investment bank will be let go. That would mean the bank’s offices in New York and London will be the hardest hit.