The number of jobs postings on LinkedIn could be a terrible sign for the economy (Source businessinsider.com) The jobs data in the US has recently taken a nasty spill. Last week it was an ugly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We’re confronted with a sharp and ongoing deterioration of a leading indicator of the labor market: temporary jobs. They rise and fall months ahead of the overall number of jobs. The sector peaked in December 2015 at 2.94 million. It shed 21,000 jobs in May, and 63,800 since December. This is also what happened in 2007 and 2000, at the eve of recessions. This week, it was the Fed’s very own Labor Market Conditions Index which dropped to the worst level since the Financial Crisis, a level to which it typically drops shortly before the onset of a recession – and shortly before employment gives way altogether. So now comes LinkedIn, or rather MKM Partners, an equity and economics research firm, with a report in HYPERLINK “http://www.barrons.com/articles/linkedins-online-job-postings-may-be-worst-since-2009-1465298237” \t “_blank” Barron’s about LinkedIn – “While we like LinkedIn’s long-term prospects and believe that sentiment on the company’s opportunity is overly negative, we remain at Neutral on the stock,” it says. Rather than disputing the deterioration in the labor market or throwing some uplifting tidbits into the mix, the report highlights yet another 2009-type super-ugly data point. LinkedIn has some, let’s say, issues. Its stock has gotten hammered, including a dizzying plunge in February. It’s now down over 50% from its high in February 2015. The company lost money in 2014, 2015, and in the first quarter 2016 despite soaring revenues. And that revenue growth may now be at risk. But we aren’t concerned about the stock or the company. We’re concerned about that 2009-type super-ugly employment data point. The online jobs data is getting “incrementally worse,” the report explained: After 73 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, online jobs postings have been in decline since February. May was by far the worst month since January 2009, down 285k from April and down 552k from a year ago. Online job postings are not a direct revenue driver for LinkedIn. We do however believe it is a reflection of overall hiring activity and should be considered a check on demand vibrancy
NATO to send troops to deter Russia, Putin orders snap checks (Source Reuters) Britain, Germany and the United States advanced plans on Tuesday to spearhead a new NATO force on Russia’s border from next year, and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap checks on combat readiness across his armed forces. Weeks before a critical NATO summit in Warsaw, three of NATO’s biggest military powers said they would each command a battalion across the eastern flank to help deter any show of force such as that deployed by Moscow in Crimea in 2014. “Britain will lead one of the battalions,” British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said at a meeting of NATO defense ministers, adding London will send up to 700 troops to the Baltic and Poland. “That should send a very strong signal of our determination to defend the Baltic states and Poland in the face of continued Russian aggression,” he said. In a reminder of Russia’s efforts to bolster its military readiness, its armed forces started carrying out spot checks on its units, as well of weapon and equipment depots. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the goal of the June 14-22 drill was to ensure the ability of his military to “carry out planned activities, including mobilization.” NATO’s battalions are part of a wider deterrent to be approved at the Warsaw summit on July 8. It will involve troops on rotation, warehoused equipment and a highly mobile force backed by NATO’s 40,000-strong rapid reaction unit. NATO hopes the complex plan can discourage Russia from orchestrating the kind of campaign used to annex Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in February 2014 and which has left eastern allies nervous of their former Soviet overlord. While eastern allies welcome the deployments in NATO’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War, they want more support to defend against Russia’s powerful arsenal. With a warning last week from a senior U.S. commander that the alliance would have only 72 hours notice of a missile or ground attack, Baltic nations and Poland want a sophisticated anti-missile shield to deter Russia from gaining the upper hand. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO was also considering a Romanian offer to command a multinational brigade which could coordinate alliance training and possibly play a deterrent role. Russia sees NATO’s deterrence plans as hostile. Moscow’s envoy to the alliance has warned they threaten peace in central Europe. The Kremlin also says a U.S. ballistic missile shield, which Washington says is directed at protecting the alliance from Iran, is also escalating tensions.
Bilderberg 2016: World’s top brass meets in Dresden to talk migrants, Brexit and US elections (Source rt.com) The world’s most intriguing gathering, the Bilderberg Group, held in Dresden June 9 through 12, with the West’s rich and powerful among other things set to meditate on the migrant crisis, the next US president and UK’s referendum on leaving the EU. Some 126 high-powered figures from 20 countries have made it to the guest list, which the Group made public, along with the agenda of this year’s event. Combined, the two documents give a rather detailed scope on what exactly the attendees of the 64th Bilderberg conference will be mulling over during the four days. The agenda item “European unity” indicates that the upcoming UK vote on leaving the EU is to be among the hot topics of the conference, with such possibility threatening the future of the European Union, which as some believe was actually invented by the Bilderberg Group. During last year’s conference, Bilderberg was rather Bilderberg backs Hillary for 2016 presidency supportive of Hillary Clinton in her presidential claim, which leads to the conclusion that Donald Trump’s success in the GOP primaries will come under the Bilderberg spotlight. Moreover, anti-Trump Senator Lindsey Graham’s name on the guest list hints that the Group is to brood over how to prevent Trump from defeating Clinton. The Bilderberg Group’s first meeting was held in 1954. It’s become an annual event ever since, with some 120-150 politicians, bankers, media heads, business moguls and royalty invited to take part in discussing the most vital global problems. Every meeting is held under the Chatham House Rule that allows participants to use the information they received, but bans them from disclosing the identity and the affiliation of the person the information came from. Also as a break from official international summits and councils, no record is kept of who attendees meet or what exactly is discussed and they’re not required to propose any resolutions, vote or issue policy statements, which allows them time and opportunity to discuss and gather insights freely.
FAST-SPREADING GENETIC MUTATIONS POSE ECOLOGICAL RISK (Source nature.com)
Gene drives could be used to combat mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria. A technique that allows particular genes to spread rapidly through populations is not ready to be set loose in the wild, warns a committee convened by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In a report released on 8 June, the committee argued that such ‘gene drives’ pose complex ecological risks that are not yet fully understood. “It is not ready — and we are not ready — for any kind of release,” says Elizabeth Heitman, co-chair of the committee and a research integrity educator at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done.” A gene drive could have unintended effects on the environment if it is unleashed in wild populations: removing one species of insect, for example, could endanger the animals that feed on it. Given this risk, the report also stressed the importance of layering multiple HYPERLINK “http://www.nature.com/news/safety-upgrade-found-for-gene-editing-technique-1.18799” methods of containment to prevent accidental release of engineered species, and of consulting with the public even before gene drive experiments are undertaken in the laboratory. It’s a message that evolutionary engineer Kevin Esvelt worries may not come through strongly enough to individual researchers.
Restoration work starts on Jesus’s tomb (Source BBC News) A team of experts has begun restoring the ancient tomb in Jerusalem where Christians believe Jesus was buried, in the first such works for 200 years. The renovation in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre aims to reinforce and conserve the structure. Rivalry between the three denominations that run the church has delayed work. But clerics from the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian churches have put aside their differences, recognising the need to begin repairs. The work will focus on the Edicule, the ancient chamber housing Jesus’s tomb which Christians say stands above the spot where Jesus’s body was anointed, wrapped in cloth and buried. The last restoration work to take place there was in 1810 after a fire. The Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian authorities are responsible for running different parts of the church but share responsibility for the shrine. The scientific co-ordinator for the repairs, Antonia Moropoulou, said the tomb was stable but warped and needed attention after many years of exposure to water, humidity and candle smoke.
Catholic church swore in a new guardian of its sites in the Holy Land for the first time in over a decade. Italian Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, 52, replaces Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa in the post known as Custos of the Holy Land. The Custos is responsible for caring and maintaining Christian presence in much of the Middle East, as well as coordinating and organising the thousands of Catholic pilgrims to Jerusalem every year. He was sworn in on Monday afternoon in a ceremony in Jerusalem’s Old City. Patton walked with over 100 robed priests, monks and nuns, as well as a few hundred Christian well-wishers, from the Jaffa Gate entrance of the Old City to Saint Saviour Church. Angelo Isan, who works with the Vatican’s embassy in Tel Aviv, said it was a “very important day for each one of us.” Alexandra, an elderly Christian Palestinian who joined in the procession, said she was happy to share such a happy day in the context of troubles for Christians across the region. She said members of her family in the Syrian city of Aleppo had been forced into exile during the country’s war and she was concerned about the Islamic State group threatening Christians across the region. “I am celebrating this happy day and God willing peace will come. If God wills it, Daesh won’t come to Jerusalem,” she said, using an Arabic acronym for IS. Patton was born in Italy and speaks English, Spanish and his native Italian. He has held a number of senior church administrative positions, the Custody’s website said. The Custody is made up of 285 members of the Franciscan order from 39 countries. Its territory covers Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, the Greek island of Rhodes and the monastery of Mosky, in Cairo. Pizzaballa, who served for 12 years, was the longest-serving Custos in modern times.
Will Blockchain Technology Replace Cash? (Source thetrumpet.com) The European Central Bank (ECB) decided on May 4 HYPERLINK “http://www.dpa-international.com/news/top_stories/ecb-announces-withdrawal-of-500-euro-banknotes-a-49194000.html” \t “_blank” to withdraw the €500 banknote from circulation by the end of 2018. The stated reason is that the bill is often used for illicit cash transactions. Although most supporters of this policy say they don’t want to totally abolish cash, some economic analysts believe a cashless monetary system will be the next step, leading to the loss of many freedoms. The German government also plans to limit all cash transactions to less than €5,000, saying that terrorism is often sponsored by high-cash transactions. The March terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, gave these advocates a significant push forward. Even after banning the €500 note, millions of euros could still be carried in a small handbag. Nobert Haring, a German economist and business journalist, explained in HYPERLINK “http://www.n-tv.de/wirtschaft/Der-Weg-in-die-totale-Kontrolle-article17180146.html” \t “_blank” an interview with N-tv that terrorists would not be bothered by the planned limit on cash transactions. He said a total ban of cash would be required to have an effect on terrorists. But economists fear that a cashless society will give authorities unprecedented control over their citizens. Spiegel columnist Sascha Lobo HYPERLINK “http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/sascha-lobo-bargeld-kann-man-nicht-ueberwachen-a-1075430.html” \t “_blank” wrote on February 3, “The HYPERLINK “http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/sascha-lobo-bargeld-kann-man-nicht-ueberwachen-a-1075430.html” \t “_blank” ban on cash payments over €5,000 could be just the first step. Finally, the abolition of physical cash offers fantastic new surveillance capabilities” . In a cashless society, the government could electronically track and control ongoing transactions.
In Asia Pacific, a tense game of political brinksmanship (Source Associated Press) American ships and fighter jets maneuvering across the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan represent the “new normal” in U.S.-Pacific relations despite rising tensions with China and Moscow. U.S. moves in recent months have led to angry protests from China and Russia, which contend the Obama administration is fueling unrest in the Asia Pacific and conducting illegal and unsafe transit in the region. U.S. military leaders defend the operations and say they will continue to exercise freedom of navigation, and may do so more frequently as time goes on. The escalating rhetoric reflects efforts by China and Russia to show military superiority in an increasingly crowded and competitive part of the world. And it sets up a tense game of political brinksmanship as leaders from the two countries and the U.S. thrust and parry across the military and diplomatic fields of play. The military maneuvers have shadowed President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” a decision early in his tenure to try to focus the relationship with Pacific partners on economics and trade. “We’re at a moment when China, Iran and Russia are all testing us, engaging in reckless behavior and forcing policy makers with the question of how far we push and when,” said Derek Chollet, a former assistant defense secretary for international affairs. Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said that for the first time in 25 years, the U.S. is facing competition for maritime superiority as China and Russia build up their navies.
The End of M.A.D. — The Beginning of Madness (Source globalresearch.ca) The US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies are going to war with Russia, accelerating the inevitability that Russia will strike in self-defence. This is what the first and second statements by President Vladimir Putin warn. There will be no statement of warning. News media in the West treat any such report — that Russia might be placed into a situation in which a blitz nuclear attack against the West would (and maybe even will) be Russia’s rational response to Western operations to surround Russia with hostile forces on its borders — as if there’s something kooky about any such opinion: they treat it as if the West weren’t ruled by people who are that evil, as if recognizing such evil in a ruler in the West is to be prohibited. Mutually Assured Destruction, or M.A.D., isn’t only a reality in a nuclearly armed multipolar world, but it is also, and equally importantly, also a mass-psychology, of belief that there cannot be any winner of a nuclear war — that (especially regarding a nuclear conflict between the two nuclear superpowers) any nuclear war will destroy the planet we all share. This sense of a shared fate on both sides, is central to M.A.D. But another accurate term for it is: madness. However, it is a madness that has been sold, by Western aristocracies, to the publics in the West, which is the reason why the belief in M.A.D. is now gone from the West. The popular belief there now is: eat or else be eaten. And, what is to be eaten isn’t the aristocrats who are selling this poison; it’s ‘the enemy’. (Meanwhile, America and NATO can call thugs like HYPERLINK “http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/05/31/us-eu-support-savage-dictator.html” \t “_blank” this ‘friends’ and even “members of NATO” and still call themselves supporters of ‘democracy’, a term that’s now devoid of meaning in the West.) This is why Western publics don’t care about the fear that the Russian people feel concerning the installation of America’s anti-ballistic missile systems. In the most fundamental sense, the concept that we are all in this together is gone, in the West. If it doesn’t exist in both the West and the ‘East’ (namely, in Russia, where it does exist), then a nuclear war is extremely likely, and the real question is: When will it be likeliest to happen?
European Investment Bank seeks cooperation with BRICS bank (Source rt.com) EIB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) agreed to broaden cooperation to support investment in“strategically important projects.” “We hope to reach such an agreement with NDB [New Development Bank] soon… We are always open for that,” said Hoyer. Speaking at a news conference at the EU Embassy in China, he also expressed hopes for productive cooperation between AIIB and the BRICS bank, along the same lines as “the European Investment Bank had with the World Bank on some concrete projects.” The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its 28 member states. It provides low-interest loans for projects aimed at improving infrastructure, energy supply, and environmental protection in Europe and developing countries. The New Development Bank created by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa started in July 2015 with initial authorized capital of $100 billion. The goal of the bank, headquartered in Shanghai, is to fund infrastructure projects in emerging economies for sustainable development. Last month, the BRICS bank approved its first package of loans. The $811 million investment will be directed at renewable energy projects in Brazil, China, South Africa and India. The bank estimates the renewable energy field projects with a combined capacity of 2.37MW can help reduce harmful emissions by four million tons annually.