Connect with us


Desperate Gazans Raid UN Food Warehouses As Norway, France Condemn ‘Disproportionate’ Israeli Attacks

Desperate Gazans Raid UN Food Warehouses As Norway, France Condemn ‘Disproportionate’ Israeli Attacks

After three week under Israeli siege…



Desperate Gazans Raid UN Food Warehouses As Norway, France Condemn 'Disproportionate' Israeli Attacks

After three week under Israeli siege and a bombing campaign which has been unprecedented in its intensity, Gazans are getting increasingly desperate. The Strip is almost completely enveloped in darkness, also with communications cut, which happened Friday, and the United Nations is now warning of a total breakdown in civic order.

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza has said that thousands of Palestinians have broken into several of its warehouses in the Strip, raiding wheat, flour, and hygiene stores - among other basic necessities stored there.

AFP/Getty Images: Palestinians take supplies from a UN-run aid centre in Deir al-Balah on Saturday

"This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege,” UNRWA director Thomas White told press agencies. 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also in fresh Sunday statements called the crisis a "nightmare" and again urged a ceasefire. "The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations."

Over the weekend the Gazan death toll surpassed 8,000 - with Gaza's Health Ministry saying that most of these are women and young people. The Biden administration, which has repeatedly affirmed that it "stands with Israel", has also said that it doesn't trust casualty figures being issued by Hamas or Palestinian sources.

There are reports that communications were restored to much of the Gaza Strip as of Sunday, possibly the result of growing international pressure on the Israelis. Ten more aid trucks have also reportedly crossed from Egypt on Sunday.

According to Al Jazeera, "The Israeli military said on Sunday it had struck more than 450 targets over the past 24 hours, including Hamas command centres, observation posts and antitank missile launching positions. It said more ground forces were sent into Gaza overnight." The Israeli ground offensive has continued expanding, with The Guardian observing, "Under the cover of strikes and artillery, Israeli ground troops have begun moving into the north of the strip in Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun in what the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, described as the “second stage” of the war triggered by Hamas."

IDF troops have been seen reaching a point some two miles into Gaza:

Israeli troops appear to have advanced over two miles into Gaza, according to a CNN analysis of video published by an Israeli media outlet. 

The troops in the video, taken on Saturday, are seen putting an Israeli flag on a Gaza resort hotel's roof. CNN geolocated the video to an area just over two miles from the Gaza-Israeli border.

"Soldiers of the 52 Battalion of the 401 Brigade are waving the Israeli flag in the heart of Gaza, by the beach," a soldier is heard saying in the video, taken several miles north of central Gaza City. "We will not forgive nor forget, and we’ll not stop until the victory."

Palestinian sources are also saying another major hospital, which is treating hundreds of patients and giving shelter to over 10,000, has come under attack:

Israeli airstrikes have “caused extensive damage to hospital departments and exposed residents and patients to suffocation” at the Al-Quds Hospital, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Sunday.

The aid organization accused Israel of “deliberately” launching the airstrikes “directly next to Al-Quds Hospital, with the aim of forcing the medical staff, displaced people, and patients to evacuate the hospital.”

Major bulldozing and tank operations have been observed on the beach in Gaza...

A statement cited in The Times of Israel described:

The IDF says troops killed a number of Hamas gunmen who opened fire at the ground forces in the Strip, and other terrorists identified on the beach in Gaza, near the southern Israel community of Zikim.

Hamas and the IDF have continued to exchange gunfire, but the status of forces on either said remains unknown and for the moment lost in the fog of war. At this point, if either suffers significant casualties, they are unlikely to make it publicly known.

IDF tanks on the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Image: Israeli Army

Meanwhile, the intensifying crisis for Palestinian civilians has not only led to massive street protests in various nations, particularly in Europe, but has resulted in rare criticism aimed at Israel from leading Western nations. The French government has issued scathing criticism of "unacceptable" Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank:

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since the outbreak of war in the Gaza Strip earlier this month, mostly during raids by Israeli forces or attacks by settlers, according to the Ramallah-based health ministry.

“France strongly condemns the settler attacks that have led to the deaths of several Palestinian civilians over the past few days in Qusra and Sawiya, as well as the forced departure of several communities,” said a foreign ministry statement.

And Norway too has condemned what it says is a massive and "disproportionate" response and death toll among Palestinians in the wake of the Oct.7 Hamas terror attack which killed 1,400 people. "International law stipulates that [the reaction] must be proportionate. Civilians must be taken into account, and humanitarian law is very clear on this. I think this limit has been largely exceeded," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store aid in a public broadcast radio interview.

"Almost half of the thousands of people killed are children," he stressed. "Israel has the right to defend itself, and I recognize that it is very difficult to defend against attacks from an area as densely populated as Gaza,” Store said. "Rockets are still being fired from Gaza into Israel, and we condemn this."

Even the White House has begun to urge caution, with national security advisor Jake Sullivan telling the Sunday shows that even though Hamas used civilians as "human shields" - it's still ultimately Israel's responsibility to avoid hitting them.

"They’re putting rockets and other terrorist infrastructure in civilian areas. That creates an added burden for the Israeli Defense Forces," he said. "But it does not lessen their responsibility to distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians and to protect the lives of innocent civilians as they conduct this military operation."

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/29/2023 - 15:05

Read More

Continue Reading


The MG EV that blew up downstream

While investors in electric vehicle (EV) themed companies debate long-term forecasts for the price of lithium and the pace of EV adoption, the downstream…



While investors in electric vehicle (EV) themed companies debate long-term forecasts for the price of lithium and the pace of EV adoption, the downstream impacts of that adoption may produce more interesting investment conclusions. It’s a side to the EV story that remains largely ignored by the mainstream investment narrative.

In the UK, under current government plans, an electric car will be the only car residents will be allowed to buy after 2035. And even before that in 2030, hybrids will be the only fuel-driven option available. The big ‘Mo’ (Momentum) is already behind the EV revolution and will be impossible to oppose. As more jurisdictions jump on the EV bandwagon, manufacturers will be forced to ramp up EV production, ensuring other jurisdictions will have no choice but to conform. By way of example, the ACT is investigating a ban on new fossil-fuel-powered cars by 2035.

The motivation is well understood. Current levels of Co2 emissions need to be halved by 2030 to stop further global warming. 

A Polestar 2 electric car produces 24 tonnes of CO2 in its manufacturing process. The Volvo XC40 internal combustion engine (ICE) produces 14 tonnes. Production emissions for battery EVs are approximately 40 per cent higher on average than hybrid and combustion engine vehicles. The difference requires an EV to travel 80,000 km, or twice around the equator, to match the carbon footprint of an ICE vehicle over its life. Many studies indicate that EVs, especially those charged on grids reliant on fossil fuels, might take years to offset their carbon footprint compared to traditional vehicles.

While contradictory studies confirm EVs produce significantly less carbon over their lives than ICE-powered vehicles, they tend not to disclose the definition of a vehicle’s “life”, nor the assumptions made about kilometers travelled, or years operated. Given the materially higher CO2 produced in the production phase of an EV, if a buyer only uses that EV to drive to church on Sundays, the production of that vehicle is a net detriment to the environment.

A complete life cycle analysis of a complex value chain like that of a car is a notoriously difficult proposition, and many popular comparisons are unrealistic.

In a 2014 study[1] (Figure 1.) that looked at the health impact of 10 fuel sources and modelled the impact out to 2020 (assuming 10 per cent of ICE cars would be replaced), EVs fueled by coal and ethanol-based vehicles were, unsurprisingly, much worse than conventional vehicles. EVs powered by natural gas, wind or solar were some of the best performers.

Figure 1. Air quality health impacts in the United States for each scenario: attributable increases in annual mortality (upper scale) and the resulting monetized health impacts (lower scale).

Figure 1. Air quality health impacts in the United States for each scenario: attributable increases in annual mortality (upper scale) and the resulting monetized health impacts (lower scale).


I note that, in the UK in 2022, more than 40 per cent of electricity is still produced with fossil fuels and in the U.S. that number is 60 per cent.

But it’s not only the environmental debate that investors in EV-related companies should be mindful of. Notwithstanding the ridiculously high lithium prices that would result from the entire world’s passenger vehicle fleet switching to electric, that debate currently favours the continued manufacture and adoption of EVs.

Investors may be more interested in the downstream impacts of EV adoption.

The impact on insurance, for example, of the high cost of EV batteries is raising important questions about the true value of EVs themselves, the economic and financial implications of rapid adoption, and the long-term returns from the inevitably socialised but required infrastructure investment.

In a recent incident, an electric scooter burst into flames at a Sydney hostel, drawing attention again to the potential hazards of lithium-ion batteries, which are now ubiquitous homes across the country. In a separate NSW incident, a home was burned down by a lithium battery that had been completely discharged and unused for more than a year. As the environmental protection agency (EPA) notes, “There’s enough chemical energy when the batteries are flat, to generate enough heat to cause a fire explosion.”

Indeed, a detached battery from an EV caused a fire that destroyed five cars at Sydney’s Mascot Airport last month. Curiously, news reports were only willing to say a “luxury EV” had caught fire. Their failure to mention it was a Chinese-built MG-branded EV is but a testament to the fact car manufacturers are major advertisers, and media outlets don’t want to upset their major benefactors.

Figure 2. The burnt-out EV at Mascot Airport alongside a promo shot for an MG EV SUV

Figure 2. The burnt-out EV at Mascot Airport alongside a promo shot for an MG EV SUV

In the ACT’s Fishwick, a Beam E-scooter caught fire at a recharging station. The fire was extinguished, but emergency services stayed on site for another two days in case the fire reignited. One battery did, on 1 June, and then again six weeks later on 14 July.

According to, six lithium battery fires have occurred amongst the 120,000 battery electric (BEV) and plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) registered in Australia. Globally, since 2010, there have been 393 verified EV traction battery fires and another 95 waiting to be verified.

While EV fires are statistically rare, their unique challenges, such as the immense amount of water required to douse them, are noteworthy. A firetruck typically doesn’t carry the 60,000 litres of water required to extinguish an EV battery fire, so you’d want to live near a fire hydrant if your EV catches alight in the garage. In comparison, the average conventional car fire uses less than 1400 litres to be extinguished. This happens to be about the amount of water a Fire & Rescue ‘pumper’ truck carries.

Despite the arrival of Lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are less prone to combustion and thermal runaway, thus making them safer for home use, their fragility is already impacting insurance markets. In the UK, reports suggest EV insurance premiums could jump by up to 1000 per cent because batteries, which constitute nearly half the cost of a new EV, are susceptible to damage even in minor accidents. The high cost and complexity of battery repairs often lead insurers to deem slightly damaged vehicles as total losses.

According to Reuters, some car-makers, including Ford, are manufacturing battery packs that are easier to repair, while others, such as Tesla, “have opted to use structural battery packs, which have ‘zero repairability’.”

Insurers and industry experts quoted by Reuters said that unless original equipment manufacturers (OEM), including Tesla, produce more easily repairable battery packs and provide third-party access to battery cell data “already-high insurance premiums will keep rising as EV sales grow and more low-mileage cars are scrapped after minor collisions.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S., consumer sentiment might be shifting, with battery ‘handle with care’ message possibly explaining a decline in EV sales and an increase in unsold inventory.

Finally, the environmental implications of discarded batteries are concerning. Countries without battery recycling facilities will witness an accumulation of discarded but ‘live’ batteries in scrap yards. The cost and challenges associated with battery repairs and disposal are also expected to influence insurance premiums globally.

The high price of lithium required to balance out demand for EVs is a well known brake on estimates for the pace of EV adoption. When demand rises, lithium miners can’t keep up, the price of lithium batteries rises rendering EVs too expensive and consumer adoption wanes. But less well understood is the impact on EV adoption from rising insurance premiums. Investors may have just found another reason to be circumspect about the lithium EV investment thematic.

[1] Lifecycle air quality impacts of conventional and alternative light-duty transportation in the United States

Read More

Continue Reading


Visualizing The Key Investment Theme Of Each Decade (1950-Today)

Visualizing The Key Investment Theme Of Each Decade (1950-Today)

Over modern history, a key investment theme has broadly characterized each…



Visualizing The Key Investment Theme Of Each Decade (1950-Today)

Over modern history, a key investment theme has broadly characterized each decade.

In each case, a particular asset class, sector, or region captivated investors for an extended period, driving returns and outperforming the rest of the market.

In the graphic below, Visual Capitalist's Dorothy Neufeld shows 70 years of key investment themes, based on analysis from Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley Investment Management via NS Capital.

Investment Themes by Decade

These decade-defining themes are often the product of a confluence of factors, including the macroeconomic environment, geopolitics, monetary policy, or other structural shifts like technological disruption.

Here are the central investment themes since the 1950s, each with at least 400% cumulative returns over each period:

*Price change for gold and oil, represented as an average. **Equity market performance of Brazil, Russia, India, China and oil prices, represented as an average.

The 1950s saw a boom in European stocks during the post-war recovery. This was fueled by significant investment from corporations and governments as Europe became more integrated.

Then in the 1960s, investors poured into blue chip stocks in the “Nifty Fifty” including Johnson & Johnson, Disney, and Coca-Cola. The main premise was that these strong franchises would deliver high returns over the long run. During the 1973-1974 bear market, shares cratered.

As oil skyrocketed from $3.35 to $32.50 through the 1970s amid production and output cuts, commodities dominated, along with emerging economy exporters of oil and gold.

Later, through the 1980s, Japanese stocks dramatically increased. In 1989, the Tokyo Stock Exchange made up 41% of all global equities. It had eclipsed the value of the U.S. equity market just two years earlier.

In part owing to strong U.S. economic growth, American tech stocks flourished through the 1990s. While many high-flying tech stocks were wiped out during the crash in 2000, some still remain today. Qualcomm, which jumped 2,620% in 1999, is a multi-billion dollar semiconductor company. Amazon and Cisco were other survivors of this era.

Pivoting from growth assets, investors returned to commodities and emerging markets over the 2000s, this time with BRIC economies—Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The 2010s saw the rise of FAANG stocks as tech proliferated across countless industries.

The Next Decade Ahead

Given how each decade seems to be defined by a key investment theme, Sharma suggests that it won’t be another driven defined by American stocks.

The disconnect between the size of U.S. equity markets, at 43% of the global share, and its economic output, which is 26% of the world’s total, is one reason driving a new shift.

Another factor is stark differences in valuations. Today, the U.S. stock market compared to the rest of the world is at its highest relative level in 100 years, suggesting it is overvalued and primed for a shift.

Whether global stocks gain a greater global equity market share—to become a key investment cycle of this decade—remains an open question.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/29/2023 - 13:25

Read More

Continue Reading


DOJ Corroborated Information From FBI Source Who Provided Biden Bribery Allegations: Official

DOJ Corroborated Information From FBI Source Who Provided Biden Bribery Allegations: Official

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times…



DOJ Corroborated Information From FBI Source Who Provided Biden Bribery Allegations: Official

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

U.S. Department of Justice officials corroborated some of the information an FBI source provided to the bureau on allegations that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, were bribed, a former official who worked on the case said in newly reviewed testimony.

"We did corroborate certain things" from the source, Scott Brady, the former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, told a U.S. House of Representatives panel on Oct. 23.

President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on April 10, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Members of Congress obtained and released over the summer a copy of the summary from FBI agents who spoke with the source, with the source conveying comments from Burisma executives concerning the Bidens.

Among them was the claim that it cost $5 million to pay one Biden and $5 million to pay another Biden.

Mr. Biden worked for Burisma, a Ukrainian firm, for years while President Biden was vice president, including in 2016. That's the year the discussion involving bribery took place, the source told the FBI in 2020.

Mr. Brady, appointed under President Donald Trump in 2017, told members this week he was tasked by superiors to accept and vet Ukraine-related information sent to or gathered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which includes the FBI.

"We were to assess the credibility of information and anything that we felt was credible or had indicia of credibility, we were then to provide to the offices that had predicated grand jury investigations that were ongoing," Mr. Brady, who was asked to resign by President Biden after he took office, told the House panel.

Lack of Communication

After working to corroborate some of the information from the interview summary, Mr. Brady said his team passed the summary and the work they'd done to multiple offices, including the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Delaware.

That office is headed by U.S. Attorney David Weiss, another Trump appointee. Mr. Weiss has for years been investigating Mr. Biden for intentional tax avoidance and other crimes.

Mr. Brady's team briefed Mr. Weiss' team in October 2020 on the summary, known as an FD-1023.

"What we were doing was, as a part of the briefing, giving them the investigative steps that we had taken within our limited ability to corroborate the information that the [source] had provided us, and we informed them that we felt that the 1023 had indicia of credibility sufficient to merit further investigation," Mr. Brady said. "And so that's what we communicated to them."

Neither Mr. Weiss' office nor any of the other U.S. attorney's offices who received the 1023 from Mr. Brady's team reached back out about the document, according to Mr. Brady.

He said there was "both a skepticism of the information that we were developing, that we had received, and skepticism and then weariness of that information" from Mr. Weiss and Mr. Weiss' team.

"I don't want to speculate as to why, but I know that there was no information sharing back to us about what they were—or very limited. And, at one point, the communication between our offices was so constricted that we had to provide written questions to the investigative team in Delaware, almost in the form of interrogatories, and receive written answers back," Mr. Brady said.

That was not normal, he added.

Mr. Weiss' office declined to comment.

Ukraine Funding

The FBI source was reinterviewed in 2020 by the FBI at the request of Mr. Brady, who wanted more details about the allegations regarding the Bidens. The summary that resulted was ultimately obtained and released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.).

The document showed the source traveled to Ukraine and spoke with top Burisma executives, including owner Mykola Zlochevsky. The source said executives said Burisma hired Mr. Biden “to protect [the company], through his dad, from all kinds of problems" and that Mr. Biden would take care of problems "through his dad."

Ukraine's president ultimately ousted Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, at the behest of President Biden.

“I said, ‘We’re leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor’s not fired, you’re not getting the money,'" President Biden said at a public event in 2018, relaying the interaction about a $1 billion loan guarantee he threatened to withhold. “Well, son of a [expletive]. He got fired.”

The FBI has largely declined to comment on the substance of the document but said previously the summary was part of a "sensitive investigation" and should not have been released to the public.

The transcripts of the recent congressional interviews with Mr. Brady and U.S. Attorney E. Martin Estrada, appointed by President Biden, were obtained and reviewed by The Epoch Times.

In his interview, Mr. Estrada confirmed IRS whistleblower accounts and said he rejected Mr. Weiss' request to partner to prosecute Mr. Biden in California.

Mr. Estrada also said that he believed several attorneys with Mr. Weiss' office were able to bring charges in his district, the Central District of California, and that he offered office space and administrative support if they did.

Mr. Biden was ultimately charged with tax and firearm crimes in Delaware. He has not been charged in California or Washington, another district where the Biden-appointed U.S. attorney turned down a request from Mr. Weiss to partner.

Mr. Weiss earlier this year was made special counsel as he continues investigating Mr. Biden. Both Mr. Weiss and Attorney General Merrick Garland, appointed under President Biden, have been unable to explain why he needed to be made special counsel if he already had what they described as the "ultimate authority" to bring charges against the target.

Mark Tapscott contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/29/2023 - 12:50

Read More

Continue Reading