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Equities Achieve Low Earth Orbit Ahead of Space-X

Equities Achieve Low Earth Orbit Ahead of Space-X



The US returned to work overnight after a Memorial Day break that looked more spring break than social distancing. Wall Street quickly achieved escape velocity, powered by the peak virus trade, with equities and oil reaching for space yet again.

This morning, headlines have been dominated by Hong Kong concerns, with the legislature considering a controversial national anthem law today, following more protests over the weekend. We are yet to see the wording of the security law Beijing will be imposing on Hong Kong, but US politicians are already making muted threats of retaliation, no matter what is passed in the end.

No matter how China and Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam dress it up, the passage of the security legislation from Beijing will have consequences for the beleaguered SAR and will further darken relations between the US and China. Regarding the bill being debated today about disrespecting the national anthem, China does have a point. Hong Kong is part of China, something we all seem to forget these days.

Global recovery hopes though, are trumping trade and regional tensions for now, following Wall Street’s strong performance overnight, Asia stock markets are modestly higher today. For now, trade and geopolitical blips, appear to be dips to buy into the rally, rather than a sea change in sentiment. That can only come if second waves of COVID-19 outbreaks sweeps developed countries, or vaccine disappointments mount up.

Far more exciting today is the return to space by US astronauts on an American built rocket. Space-X’s Dragon capsule launches to the International Space Station later today carrying two US astronauts. Aside from wishing them all the best, in a dark world, it is nice to see the spirit of human innovation alive and well.

Back on Earth, the fiscal stimulus frenzy by governments around the world continues unabated, highlighting just how disconnected capital markets have become from the situation on the ground. Singapore announced SGD 30 bio+ of additional stimulus via its 4th budget this year, and Japan has been outlining their latest package this morning. By my reckoning Japans extra budgets now total some $2 trillion, and Singapore SGD 100 billion. Long after COVID-19 is a memory, the fiscal funding requirements of the bloated balance sheets of governments around the world will compete with private capital. That, though, will be a story for another day; let’s hope we get a few years inflation to deflate the whole thing away.

The data calendar is light around the world over the next 24 hours. This morning, China Industrial Profits fell by 27.40% in April, a slight improvement over the 36.70% fall in March, hinting that China’s recovery is still on track. That will leave markets headline-driven in the shorter term, most likely coming from Hong Kong.

Asian equities are mixed as Wall Street plays catch-up.

Wall Street returned to work yesterday and played catch-up with the rest of the world, equities powering higher in a positive overnight session. Vaccine hopes and the peak-virus economic recovery trade saw the S&P 500 rise 1.23%, the NASDAQ edged 0.17% higher, with the Dow Jones outperforming, leaping 2.17%. A measure of just how far equities have come is that the S&P 500 has now recovered around 70% of its losses. It is currently testing its 200-day moving average at 3005.00, with further gains to 3200.00 not out of the question. As counterintuitive as it may seem, given the state of the world, resistance is futile for now.

With the US in catch-up mode, Asia is struggling for direction this morning, with Hong Kong and trade nerves weighing on sentiment. Given the momentum of the peak virus trade globally though, any dips are likely to be shallow.

The Nikkei 225 is 0.20% higher, and the Kospi is flat. Mainland China and Hong Kong exchanges are weighed down by trade and political tensions ahead of a National Anthem Bill passing through Hong Kong’s legislature today and fears over the new Beijing security laws. The Hang Seng has fallen 0.75%, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.35% and the CSI 300 lower by 0.55%.

Australia and New Zealand markets are concentrating on the bigger recovery picture, following strong rallies by their currencies overnight. The ASX 200 and NZD 50 are both 0.40% higher this morning.

The rotation out of US Dollars gathers pace.

The global recovery trade and the return of Wall Street saw the rotation out of haven US Dollar positioning gather pace overnight. The EUR/USD rose 0.80% to 1.0980, closing above its 100-day moving average and eyeing the 200-day moving average at 1.1010 today. GBP/USD rose an impressive 1.20% to 1.2325 overnight, setting the stage for a test of 1.2400 and potentially, further gains to 1.2600.

Trade-centric commodity currencies though, were the stars of the night. USD/CAD fell 1.50% to 1.3780, breaking two-month support at 1.3855, setting up further gains for the Canadian Dollar. AUDUSD rose by 1.70% to 0.6655, just below its 200-day moving average at 0.6660. A daily close above 0.6660 sets up further technical gains to the 0.6800 regions initially. NZD/USD rose 1.60% to 0.6200, just below its 100-day moving average. Like the AUD/USD, the Kiwi now appears set for higher levels.

Much the same trend was seen across the emerging markets space in general, with investors rotating into more risk-seeking positioning. The US Dollar weakness was also reflected in today’s PBOC CNY fix. The USD/CNY being set at 7.1092 versus 7.1293 yesterday.

Overall, currency markets appear to be begrudgingly awakening from their long slumber, unable to ignore the rallies in other asset markets any longer. As such, the US Dollar is likely to remain heavy for the rest of the week at least.

Oil consolidates its recent gains.

Oil had a quiet overnight session, content to finish modestly higher as both Brent crude and WTI consolidated their recent gains. Brent crude rose 1.35% to $36.10 a barrel. WTI rose 0.90% to $34.15 a barrel. Both contracts are unchanged in moribund Asian trading today.

Brent crude continues to eye the enormous gap on its charts between $40.00 and $45.00 a barrel, with the $40.00 regions initial resistance. A close above $40.00 a barrel sets up a technical rally to close that gap. WTI meanwhile has its 100-day moving average at $36.55 as an initial target.

With a 100% beta to global recovery sentiment and the peak-virus trade, oil has few reasons in the near term to see the rally falter. Perhaps the only blot on oil’s copybook is that speculative long positioning appears to be rising just as quickly as the sentiment. As we approach significant daily resistance on both contracts, the chances of short, but aggressive, corrective falls increases.

Gold also suffers as investors look elsewhere.

Sentiment appears to be turning rather quickly for gold, as investors rotate out of safe-haven positioning as national lockdowns end, and COVID-19 vaccine hopes rise. Gold’s technical outlook is further clouded by the large amounts of speculative long positioning added as it tested monthly resistance at $1750.00.

Gold fell by 1.05% overnight to $1611.00 an ounce, with the $1675.00 an ounce region the next layer of support. With currency markets finally climbing on board the peak-virus rally seen in equities and energy, the wolves would appear to be circling gold also.

Gold’s fundamentals still suggest that longer-term, it will yet again make new highs against a backdrop of enormous monetary easing by the world’s central banks, and the possible return of inflation in the Western world after a 20-year hiatus. That though. is a story for another day in the future. In the near-term, gold long positions look likely to suffer more pain.

Asia has seen gold rally initially but quickly retreat to unchanged levels from the New York close. That implies that there are plenty of nervous longs waiting to sell into any rally.

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Removing antimicrobial resistance from the WHO’s ‘pandemic treaty’ will leave humanity extremely vulnerable to future pandemics

Drug-resistant microbes are a serious threat for future pandemics, but the new draft of the WHO’s international pandemic agreement may not include provisions…




Antimicrobial resistance is now a leading cause of death worldwide due to drug-resistant infections, including drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, pneumonia and Staph infections like the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus shown here. (NIAID, cropped from original), CC BY

In late May, the latest version of the draft Pandemic Instrument, also referred to as the “pandemic treaty,” was shared with Member States at the World Health Assembly. The text was made available online via Health Policy Watch and it quickly became apparent that all mentions of addressing antimicrobial resistance in the Pandemic Instrument were at risk of removal.

Work on the Pandemic Instrument began in December 2021 after the World Health Assembly agreed to a global process to draft and negotiate an international instrument — under the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) — to protect nations and communities from future pandemic emergencies.

Read more: Drug-resistant superbugs: A global threat intensified by the fight against coronavirus

Since the beginning of negotiations on the Pandemic Instrument, there have been calls from civil society and leading experts, including the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, to include the so-called “silent” pandemic of antimicrobial resistance in the instrument.

Just three years after the onset of a global pandemic, it is understandable why Member States negotiating the Pandemic Instrument have focused on preventing pandemics that resemble COVID-19. But not all pandemics in the past have been caused by viruses and not all pandemics in the future will be caused by viruses. Devastating past pandemics of bacterial diseases have included plague and cholera. The next pandemic could be caused by bacteria or other microbes.

Antimicrobial resistance

Yellow particles on purple spikes
Microscopic view of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that cause bubonic plague, on a flea. Plague is an example of previous devastating pandemics of bacterial disease. (NIAID), CC BY

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the process by which infections caused by microbes become resistant to the medicines developed to treat them. Microbes include bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Bacterial infections alone cause one in eight deaths globally.

AMR is fueling the rise of drug-resistant infections, including drug-resistant tuberculosis, drug-resistant pneumonia and drug-resistant Staph infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These infections are killing and debilitating millions of people annually, and AMR is now a leading cause of death worldwide.

Without knowing what the next pandemic will be, the “pandemic treaty” must plan, prepare and develop effective tools to respond to a wider range of pandemic threats, not solely viruses.

Even if the world faces another viral pandemic, secondary bacterial infections will be a serious issue. During the COVID-19 pandemic for instance, large percentages of those hospitalized with COVID-19 required treatment for secondary bacterial infections.

New research from Northwestern University suggests that many of the deaths among hospitalized COVID-19 patients were associated with pneumonia — a secondary bacterial infection that must be treated with antibiotics.

An illustrative diagram that shows the difference between a drug resistant bacteria and a non-resistant bacteria.
Antimicrobial resistance means infections that were once treatable are much more difficult to treat. (NIAID), CC BY

Treating these bacterial infections requires effective antibiotics, and with AMR increasing, effective antibiotics are becoming a scarce resource. Essentially, safeguarding the remaining effective antibiotics we have is critical to responding to any pandemic.

That’s why the potential removal of measures that would help mitigate AMR and better safeguard antimicrobial effectiveness is so concerning. Sections of the text which may be removed include measures to prevent infections (caused by bacteria, viruses and other microbes), such as:

  • better access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene;
  • higher standards of infection prevention and control;
  • integrated surveillance of infectious disease threats from human, animals and the environment; and
  • strengthening antimicrobial stewardship efforts to optimize how antimicrobial drugs are used and prevent the development of AMR.

The exclusion of these measures would hinder efforts to protect people from future pandemics, and appears to be part of a broader shift to water-down the language in the Pandemic Instrument, making it easier for countries to opt-out of taking recommended actions to prevent future pandemics.

Making the ‘pandemic treaty’ more robust

Measures to address AMR could be easily included and addressed in the “pandemic treaty.”

In September 2022, I was part of a group of civil society and research organizations that specialize in mitigating AMR who were invited the WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to provide an analysis on how AMR should be addressed, within the then-draft text.

They outlined that including bacterial pathogens in the definition of “pandemics” was critical. They also identified specific provisions that should be tweaked to track and address both viral and bacterial threats. These included AMR and recommended harmonizing national AMR stewardship rules.

In March 2023, I joined other leading academic researchers and experts from various fields in publishing a special edition of the Journal of Medicine, Law and Ethics, outlining why the Pandemic Instrument must address AMR.

The researchers of this special issue argued that the Pandemic Instrument was overly focused on viral threats and ignored AMR and bacterial threats, including the need to manage antibiotics as a common-pool resource and revitalize research and development of novel antimicrobial drugs.

Next steps

While earlier drafts of the Pandemic Instrument drew on guidance from AMR policy researchers and civil society organizations, after the first round of closed-door negotiations by Member States, all of these insertions, are now at risk for removal.

The Pandemic Instrument is the best option to mitigate AMR and safeguard lifesaving antimicrobials to treat secondary infections in pandemics. AMR exceeds the capacity of any single country or sector to solve. Global political action is needed to ensure the international community works together to collectively mitigate AMR and support the conservation, development and equitable distribution of safe and effective antimicrobials.

By missing this opportunity to address AMR and safeguard antimicrobials in the Pandemic Instrument, we severely undermine the broader goals of the instrument: to protect nations and communities from future pandemic emergencies.

It is important going forward that Member States recognize the core infrastructural role that antimicrobials play in pandemic response and strengthen, rather than weaken, measures meant to safeguard antimicrobials.

Antimicrobials are an essential resource for responding to pandemic emergencies that must be protected. If governments are serious about pandemic preparedness, they must support bold measures to conserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials within the Pandemic Instrument.

Susan Rogers Van Katwyk is a member of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Governance of Antimicrobial Resistance at York University. She receives funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

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

Repeated COVID-19…



Repeated COVID-19 Vaccination Weakens Immune System: Study

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

Repeated COVID-19 vaccination weakens the immune system, potentially making people susceptible to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, according to a new study.

A man is given a COVID-19 vaccine in Chelsea, Mass., on Feb. 16, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Multiple doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines lead to higher levels of antibodies called IgG4, which can provide a protective effect. But a growing body of evidence indicates that the “abnormally high levels” of the immunoglobulin subclass actually make the immune system more susceptible to the COVID-19 spike protein in the vaccines, researchers said in the paper.

They pointed to experiments performed on mice that found multiple boosters on top of the initial COVID-19 vaccination “significantly decreased” protection against both the Delta and Omicron virus variants and testing that found a spike in IgG4 levels after repeat Pfizer vaccination, suggesting immune exhaustion.

Studies have detected higher levels of IgG4 in people who died with COVID-19 when compared to those who recovered and linked the levels with another known determinant of COVID-19-related mortality, the researchers also noted.

A review of the literature also showed that vaccines against HIV, malaria, and pertussis also induce the production of IgG4.

“In sum, COVID-19 epidemiological studies cited in our work plus the failure of HIV, Malaria, and Pertussis vaccines constitute irrefutable evidence demonstrating that an increase in IgG4 levels impairs immune responses,” Alberto Rubio Casillas, a researcher with the biology laboratory at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and one of the authors of the new paper, told The Epoch Times via email.

The paper was published by the journal Vaccines in May.

Pfizer and Moderna officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Both companies utilize messenger RNA (mRNA) technology in their vaccines.

Dr. Robert Malone, who helped invent the technology, said the paper illustrates why he’s been warning about the negative effects of repeated vaccination.

“I warned that more jabs can result in what’s called high zone tolerance, of which the switch to IgG4 is one of the mechanisms. And now we have data that clearly demonstrate that’s occurring in the case of this as well as some other vaccines,” Malone, who wasn’t involved with the study, told The Epoch Times.

So it’s basically validating that this rush to administer and re-administer without having solid data to back those decisions was highly counterproductive and appears to have resulted in a cohort of people that are actually more susceptible to the disease.”

Possible Problems

The weakened immune systems brought about by repeated vaccination could lead to serious problems, including cancer, the researchers said.

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Tyler Durden Sat, 06/03/2023 - 22:30

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Banned By Major Social Media Site, Campaign Pages Blocked

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Banned By Major Social Media Site, Campaign Pages Blocked

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Banned By Major Social Media Site, Campaign Pages Blocked

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Twitter owner Elon Musk invited Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for a discussion on his Twitter Spaces after Kennedy said his campaign was suspended by Meta-owned Instagram.

Interesting… when we use our TeamKennedy email address to set up @instagram accounts we get an automatic 180-day ban. Can anyone guess why that’s happening?” he wrote on Twitter.

An accompanying image shows that Instagram said it “suspended” his “Team Kennedy” account and that there “are 180 days remaining to disagree” with the company’s decision.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. attends Keep it Clean to benefit Waterkeeper Alliance in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 1, 2018. (John Sciulli/Getty Images for Waterkeeper Alliance)

In response to his post, Musk wrote: “Would you like to do a Spaces discussion with me next week?” Kennedy agreed, saying he would do it Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

Hours later, Kennedy wrote that Instagram “still hasn’t reinstated my account, which was banned years ago with more than 900k followers.” He argued that “to silence a major political candidate is profoundly undemocratic.”

“Social media is the modern equivalent of the town square,” the candidate, who is the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, wrote. “How can democracy function if only some candidates have access to it?”

The Epoch Times approached Instagram for comment.

It’s not the first time that either Facebook or Instagram has taken action against Kennedy. In 2021, Instagram banned him from posting claims about vaccine safety and COVID-19.

After he was banned by the platform, Kennedy said that his Instagram posts raised legitimate concerns about vaccines and were backed by research. His account was banned just days after Facebook and Instagram announced they would block the spread of what they described as misinformation about vaccines, including research saying the shots cause autism, are dangerous, or are ineffective.

“This kind of censorship is counterproductive if our objective is a safe and effective vaccine supply,” he said at the time.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 06/03/2023 - 20:30

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