Thursday, September 29, 2022

OPEC+ To Meet On October 5 To Discuss Production Cuts

Reuters: OPEC+ has begun talks on output cut at Oct. 5 meeting - OPEC source 

DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Leading OPEC+ members have begun discussions about an oil output cut at the group's next meeting on Oct. 5, three sources told Reuters. 

 One OPEC source told Reuters a cut was "likely", while two other OPEC+ sources said key members had spoken about the topic. 

A source familiar with Russian thinking told Reuters earlier this week that Moscow could suggest a cut of up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd). The latest comments suggest that key OPEC members have started communicating over the matter, although the volume of any potential cut is still unclear. 

Next week's meeting takes place against a backdrop of falling oil prices from multi-year highs hit in March, and severe market volatility.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: My gut tells me that there will be a push at this OPEC+ meeting to cut production that will deliberately and significantly raise oil and gas prices to impact the US midterm elections, while bleeding the US strategic oil reserves at the same time. 

OPEC+ To Meet On October 5 To Discuss Production Cuts  

OPEC+ Is Considering A Substantial Oil Production Cut --  

Russia seen suggesting OPEC+ cuts oil output by 1 million bpd - source -- Reuters  

Crude Rallies on Reports Russia Will Push for OPEC+ to Cut Output -- Barchart  

How OPEC+ Could Send Oil Prices Soaring Again --

Afghan Taliban Signs Deal For Russian Oil, Gas And Wheat

Taliban fighters (C) stand guard along a road near the Russian embassy after a suicide attack in Kabul, on 5 September 2022 (AFP)  

Reuters: EXCLUSIVE Afghan Taliban sign deal for Russian oil products, gas and wheat 

KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban have signed a provisional deal with Russia to supply gasoline, diesel, gas and wheat to Afghanistan, Acting Afghan Commerce and Industry Minister Haji Nooruddin Azizi told Reuters. 

Azizi said his ministry was working to diversify its trading partners and that Russia had offered the Taliban administration a discount to average global commodity prices. 

The move, the first known major international economic deal struck by the Taliban since they returned to power more than a year ago, could help to ease the Islamist movement's isolation that has effectively cut it off from the global banking system.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is not a business deal. This is Russian aid to prop up the Taliban. 

Afghan Taliban Signs Deal For Russian Oil, Gas And Wheat  

Islamic Emirate Signs Deal for Russian Oil, Gas and Wheat -- TOLO News  

Taliban Sign Deal With Russia to Buy Cheap Oil, Gas and Wheat -- Bloomberg  

The Taliban strike a deal with Russia for supplies of key commodities including oil and wheat -- Market Insider  

Taliban signs ‘preliminary’ deal with Russia for oil, gas, wheat -- Al Jazeera  

Afghanistan's Taliban sign import agreement with Russia: Report -- Middle East Eye

NATO Issues A Warning That Any Deliberate Attack Against Critical Infrastructure Will Be Met With A United And Determined Response


NBC: NATO issues warning about pipeline 'sabotage' after gas pipeline explosions  

"Any deliberate attack against allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response,” the military alliance said after the Nord Stream explosions. 

LONDON — NATO on Thursday left the door open to possible military action in response to what it said was deliberate sabotage after explosions on underwater natural gas pipelines between Russia and Europe. 

“All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage,” it said in a statement. 

Western governments have pointed the finger of blame for the leaks at Russia, which has flatly denied any suggestion it was responsible for explosions that caused them.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The NATO statement is brief and very clear (link here) .... 

.... The damage to the Nordstream 1 and Nordstream 2 pipelines in international waters in the Baltic Sea is of deep concern. All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage. These leaks are causing risks to shipping and substantial environmental damage. We support the investigations underway to determine the origin of the damage.  

“We, as allies, have committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors. Any deliberate attack against allies’ critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response. 

Even though Russia is the majority owner of the Nord Stream pipelines, it has European partners in what is (was) a critical part of Europe's energy infrastructure. 

Because some NATO and EU leaders are already pointing their finger at Russia being responsible for this attack, will this be used as a justification to respond .... Spain says Nord Stream gas leaks likely a deliberate act — and points the finger at Russia (CNBC). 

Is this a Reichstag moment

Will this be used to escalate NATO's involvement in Ukraine? 

Or is this a warning to Russia to not retaliate after the destruction of their pipelines? 

Bottom line. We are sliding down a very slippery slope. 

NATO Vows Retaliation for Attacks on Infrastructure, Blames Sabotage for Pipe Blasts  

NATO believes Baltic Sea gas leaks were sabotage -- AP  

NATO Vows Retaliation for Attacks on Infrastructure, Blames Sabotage for Pipe Blasts -- VOA NATO Formally Blames Sabotage for Nord Stream Pipeline Damage -- WSJ 

NATO condemns ‘deliberate, reckless’ sabotage of Nord Stream pipelines after fourth leak discovered -- FOX News  

NATO Sees 'Deliberate, Reckless' Sabotage In Nord Stream Leaks -- Barrons  

NATO labels Nord Stream pipeline leaks result of "sabotage" -- Axios

Brazilians Go to The Polls On Sunday


CNN: Brazil’s presidential vote is just days away. Voters are comparing it to ‘war’ 

Brazil’s upcoming presidential election has been shrouded by an unprecedented climate of tension and violence. 

As the Oct. 2 vote approaches, episodes of harassment and attacks have intensified, with even neutral players like poll institutes turning into targets. 

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who aims to be reelected, is currently lagging in the main polls behind leftwing former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. 

And the battle between these two very different household names has divided the nation – with experts saying the level of political anger is different this year.  

Read more ....

Brazilians Go to The Polls On Sunday  

Brazil election: A clash of titans as Bolsonaro faces Lula -- AP  

Lula Outright Brazil Win in Sight, DataFolha Poll Shows -- Bloomberg 

Lula Leads Bolsonaro by 14 Points Ahead of Brazil Vote -Datafolha Poll -- Reuters  

Lula’s lead over Bolsonaro widens days before Brazil election -- Al Jazeera

Bulgarians Go to The Polls To Elect A New Government On Sunday

Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev called for a snap election after Kiril Petkov's government collapse | Nikolay Doychinov/AFP 

Reuters: Weary Bulgarians Fear More Political Turmoil After Latest Election 

DAVIDKOVO, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Bulgarians bracing for their fourth election in less than two years face a winter of want amid soaring inflation driven by the war in Ukraine, making many yearn for good government and stability after years of political turmoil. 

At stake is the next government's ability to tackle rocketing energy costs and secure gas supplies at affordable prices after Russia's cutoff in April over Bulgaria's refusal to pay in roubles following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

But fractious coalition-building is expected to drag out after the Oct. 2 vote amid deep rifts within the political elite over how to root out entrenched corruption, and the failure of a smattering of new parties to build a sustainable voter base.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: This is the fourth election in two years, and there are 28 political parties on the ballot. And while more than half are defending or actively promoting the Kremlin’s positions, the expectation is that there will be no clear winner when the results are finalized. 

Bulgarians Go to The Polls To Elect A New Government On Sunday  

Bulgaria to hold election overshadowed by war in Ukraine -- AP 

Bulgaria's election: What's in store ahead of a difficult winter? -- DW 

”Trend” Survey: 77% of Bulgarians want Affordable Gas, Electricity and Fuel Prices from the New Government -- Novinite  

East and West clash in Bulgaria’s snap general election -- BNE

Russia - Ukraine War: Military Summary And Analysis For 29.09.2022


WNU Editor: Another must watch analysis on the Russia - Ukraine war.

Russia - Ukraine War Maps -- September 29, 2022 (Click on Images to Enlarge)

Tweets On The Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

In DMZ Speech Gaffe U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris Hails Strong US "Alliance With Republic Of North Korea"


FOX News: Vice President Kamala Harris commends US alliance with 'Republic of North Korea' in DMZ speech gaffe 

VP Harris visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to show America's 'rock-solid commitment' to South Korea's security Vice President Kamala Harris made an unfortunate gaffe during her speech at the Korean Peninsula's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Thursday, saying that the U.S. has a "strong alliance" with "the Republic of North Korea." 

 "It is an alliance that is strong and enduring," she added, intending to refer to the Republic of Korea, which is South Korea's official name. 

The vice president then continued her remarks by professing the U.S.' support for South Korea's defense against the increasingly aggressive North Korean government. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Oopppssss! 

In DMZ Speech Gaffe U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris Hails Strong US "Alliance With Republic Of North Korea"  

Harris hails US ‘alliance with North Korea’ in latest Biden admin botch -- NYPost  

Kamala Harris mistakenly praises ‘Republic of North Korea’ during DMZ trip -- The Independent  

Kamala Harris In High Stakes Gaffe At DMZ Hails Strong US "Alliance With Republic Of North Korea" -- Zero Hedge 

Korea a US Ally During Visit to Korean DMZ - Video -- Sputnik

In A Kremlin Ceremony Tomorrow Russia Will Formally Annex Four Regions Of Ukraine


CNN: Putin to host ceremony annexing occupied Ukrainian territories on Friday, Kremlin says 

Russia will on Friday begin formally annexing up to 18% of Ukrainian territory, with President Vladimir Putin expected to host a ceremony in the Kremlin to declare four occupied Ukrainian territories part of Russia. 

The ceremony would take place on Friday at 15:00 local time (08:00 ET) in the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hall, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 

Putin will deliver a speech and meet with Russian-backed leaders of the four occupied regions on the sidelines of the ceremony, he added.

Next week, Russia’s two houses of parliament – the State Duma and Federation Council – will consider the annexation.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Russia’s two houses of parliament, the State Duma and Federation Council, will make this into law next week. After this passage I expect the rules of engagement and deployment of forces to the Ukraine war-zone will be radically changing. For example. This will no longer be classified as a "special operation". Instead it will be classified as an "anti-terrorism" operation. 

In A Kremlin Ceremony Tomorrow Russia Will Formally Annex Four Regions Of Ukraine  

Kremlin reveals next step for former Ukrainian regions -- RT 

Russia to annex more of Ukraine on Friday at the Kremlin -- AP  

Kremlin to annex more Ukraine territories at ceremony Friday -- AFP 

Putin to sign treaty annexing territories in Ukraine, Kremlin says -- The Guardian  

U.S., UN Denounce Russia's Planned Annexation Ceremony Just Days After 'Sham' Referendums -- RFE  

Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex 4 Ukrainian regions in Friday ceremony -- FOX News

Putin To Give "Major" Speech As Part Of Ukraine Annexation Ceremony -- Zero Hedge  

Russia to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine on Friday -- Axios

Editor's Note

Just a heads-up. 

Giving a presentation in Toronto tomorrow. It is a rush thing, and I am preparing for it right now. Flying out tonight, and returning Saturday evening. 

I gave a presentation last week to a business group on what to expect geopolitically in the spring of 2023 and beyond. Apparently I freaked-out a lot of people who were there on what I see is trending, especially on the war, and after the Nord Stream pipeline attacks this week they now want me to present it to a larger audience tomorrow.

Needless to say blogging will be light until then, but I have time posted a number of interesting stories for Friday and Saturday that I know will be of interest to the followers of this blog.

Are Russian Draft Dodgers Becoming A Crisis For Russia?


CNN: ‘The worst is yet to come’: Russians rush to the borders amid draft fears  

Dariali, Georgia CNN — With one bag in each hand and another on his back, Denis makes his way up a hill on foot, having just crossed the border from Russia into Georgia. “I’m just tired. That’s the only thing I feel,” the 27-year-old says as he tries to catch his breath. 

Denis has just spent six days on the road, most of them just waiting in line to cross the border. He is one of the hundreds of thousands of Russians enduring a grueling marathon journey to leave their country. 

Though women and children are among those crossing, most are fighting-age men who fear the possibility that they will be drafted to fight the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. 

According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, at least 10,000 have been coming through the Lars border crossing daily.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: 'My whole world collapsed': Russians on fleeing home after Putin's speech (Euronews)  

Update #2: Russia Will Not Give Out Passports to Mobilized People – Government (Moscow Times/AFP)  

WNU Editor: Some are wondering if this partial mobilization announcement is a step too far for Putin ..... Is Vladimir Putin's 'partial' Ukraine War mobilization a step too far for Russians? (Peter Weber, The Week). I do not think so. A certain percentage of Russians are against Putin and this war (I would estimate around 20%), and a certain portion of this 20% are the ones who are leaving and/or trying to leave. I expect this flood of Russians leaving the country to decrease in the coming weeks.

I do agree with the growing sentiment among those who are fleeing Russia that the worst is yet to come. 

The Ukraine war is seen by the Kremlin, and by the vast majority of Russians, as an existential fight that must be won at all cost. The US President is also on the public record that Russia cannot be permitted to win in Ukraine, and all the resources of the US government will be used to make sure that happens. In such an environment where there are no brakes to stop any escalation. It can only get worse.

New York Times Posts Audio Of Intercepted Russian Soldier Calls

Ukrainian army soldier Dasha, 22, checks her phone after a military sweep on the outskirts of Kyiv last Friday (April 6, 2022). Smartphones have been essential for combatants and civilians in the war and have provided a means to share footage directly from the scene of fighting. (Rodrigo Abd/The Associated Press)  

Mediaite: Stunning Audio of Intercepted Russian Soldier Calls Reveals Panic in the Ranks, Orders to Kill Civilians and an Utter Disdain for Putin 

Stunning audio intercepted by Ukrainian law enforcement of Russian soldiers calling home reveals potential evidence of war crimes and the rank and file’s pure contempt for Vladimir Putin. 

In the shocking audio obtained by The New York Times, the soldiers paint a truly dire picture of their circumstance and rage against the man responsible for putting them there. 

“Putin is a fool,” a soldier identified as Aleksandr said on one call. 

“He wants to take Kyiv, but there’s no way we can do it.”

“When I come home, I’m quitting,” said soldier Vlad. “Fuck the army.” 

“I’ve never seen so many corpses in my fucking life,” added a soldier named Sergey. 

“It’s just completely fucked.” In one call to his girlfriend, Sergey said that he’d been given an order to kill civilians.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I read the New York Times article (behind a paywall), and I am skeptical. Russian soldiers are strictly prohibited (under heavy penalties) to have a cell phone as explained by Moon of Alabama below:

Russian media is also posting similar stories on what Ukrainian soldiers are saying on their cell phones. I am also skeptical about that. Ukrainian soldiers are now facing the same prohibitions of having a mobile phone in a war-zone. 

I do acknowledge that some soldiers will go out of their way to try and have a mobile phone in a war-zone. But the risks are great, and you are only painting a target sign on your back.

Who Is Responsible For Attacking Nord Stream 1 And Nord Stream 2?

WNU Editor: There are two narratives that are underway right now when it comes to who is responsible for this attack. 

On one side fingers are pointing at the U.S. .... Whodunnit? - Facts Related to The Sabotage Attack On The Nord Stream Pipelines (Moon of Alabama). 

On the other side fingers are pointing at Russia .... Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged, and the best suspect is the nation that sabotaged them before (Daily Kos). 

I personally say it is best to wait before making any judgements. We only know that these pipelines have been attacked/sabotaged. There is still a lot that we do not know.  

Update: Most of my friends and contacts in Europe believe the U.S. was responsible for this attack. 

Opinion in Ukraine is interesting. While the government narrative is that this was a Russian attack, my Ukrainian friends, family members, and contacts are convinced that this was an attack green-lighted by the US and then handled by them or through a third party.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

German Engineers Fear Nord Stream 1 Pipeline Is Beyond Repair. Nord Stream 2 Will Take Months

A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020. (AFP)  

Reuters: German security agencies fear Nord Stream 1 may be unusable forever: Report 

German security agencies fear that Nord Stream 1 will become unusable forever after major leaks from both Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 into the Baltic Sea, German daily Tagesspiegel reported, citing government sources. 

If leaks in the two lines of Nord Stream 1 are not repaired quickly, large volumes of salt water will flow into the pipelines and cause corrosion, the paper cited the sources as saying.  

Read more ....  

Update: Nord Stream Repair No Easy Matter (Energu Intelligence)  

WNU Editor: There are firms coming forward offering to repair the pipelines .... Nord Stream 1 pipeline may use repair equipment pool (Reuters). The problem is that many are saying that these repairs must commence immediately to save the pipelines from salt corrosion, a prospect that I doubt will happen in view of the current environment of sanctions and hostilities. I know in Russia the media narrative this morning is that Nord Stream 2 is going to be a staggering $10 billion write-off for Gazprom.

U.S. Intelligence Steps-Up Monitoring Operations Against Russia

Flight-tracking websites have spotted US spy planes flying around the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Senior Airman Greg Davis/U.S. Air Force/Reuters  

Business Insider: US spy planes appear to be monitoring a Russian enclave in Europe, possibly looking for signs of nuclear weapons activity 

* In recent weeks, flight-tracking sites have spotted US surveillance flights near Kaliningrad. 

* Kaliningrad is a Russian territory on the Baltic sea, separated from mainland Russia by Lithuania. 

* In 2018, Russia conducted a "major renovation" of a nuclear weapons site there, an expert said. 

The US military appears to be stepping up aerial surveillance of a Russian territory in Europe, potentially signalling concern that the Kremlin could decide to deploy or even use nuclear weapons in Ukraine as Russian leaders have warned. 

On Wednesday, a US electronic surveillance plane, the Boeing RC-135, departed from a base in the United Kingdom and circled around Kaliningrad, a Russian territory along the Baltic Sea — sharing no land border with the mainland — that was annexed after World War II, according to a flight tracking website. It was at least the third such flight in the past week.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: I am sure Russia is also monitoring the U.S. very closely.

South Korean Intelligence Says North Korea May Be Weeks Away From Conducting A Nuclear Test


Reuters: South Korea Sees Oct.16-Nov.7 Window for N.Korea Nuclear Test 

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea has completed preparations for a nuclear test and a possible window for carrying it out could be between Oct. 16 and Nov. 7, South Korean lawmakers briefed by its spy agency said on Wednesday. 

Preparations for a possible nuclear test by North Korea, which would be the first since 2017, had been completed at the Punggye-ri test tunnel, where the reclusive state conducted six underground tests from 2006 onward, two legislators told reporters after a briefing by the National Intelligence Service (NIS). 

The timing of the test could be determined by events like the party congress in China, North Korea's main ally, and the midterm elections in the United States, its chief rival, they said. 

Also it would depend on whether Pyongyang can bring an outbreak of COVID-19 under control, they said.  

Read more ....

South Korean Intelligence Says North Korea May Be Weeks Away From Conducting A Nuclear Test  

North Korea may conduct nuclear test between Oct.16 to Nov.7: NIS -- Korea Herald

N. Korea may conduct 7th nuclear test between Oct. 16 and Nov. 7: spy agency -- Yonhap News Agency  

North Korea launches 2 ballistic missiles as Seoul says nuclear test is imminent -- ABC News 

North Korea likely to conduct nuclear test after October 16, says South Korean spy agency -- Republic World  

South Korean Spy Agency Says Nuclear Test By North Is Weeks Away -- Zero Hedge

Russia - Ukraine War: Military Summary And Analysis For 28.09.2022


WNU Editor: Another must watch analysis on the fighting in Ukraine.

Russia - Ukraine War Maps -- September 28, 2022 (Click on Images to Enlarge)

Tweets On The Russia - Ukraine War

Tweets Of The Day

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Named Saudi Arabia’s New Prime Minister


BBC: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman named prime minister 

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been appointed prime minister - a post that is traditionally held by the king. The 37-year-old son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 86, is already seen the de facto ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state. A royal decree announcing his promotion from deputy PM and defence minister cited an exception to the Basic Law. An official told Reuters news agency the move was in line with the king's previous delegation of duties to him.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Another sign that he is the de facto ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Named Saudi Arabia’s New Prime Minister  

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman named prime minister of Saudi Arabia -- CBS 

Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared Saudi Arabia Prime Minister as U.S. civil lawsuit looms -- UPI  

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman named PM -- Al Jazeera

Bowing To US Pressure, Turkey's Banks Abandon Russia'a MIR Payment System


Moscow Times: All Turkish Banks Halt Russia’s Mir Payment System – Reports 

Three Turkish state banks plan to exit Russia’s Mir payments system over U.S. warnings of sanctions, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed senior Turkish official. 

On Wednesday, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported there were no banks left in Turkey that accept Mir, which translates as "World" from Russian. Turkiye Halk Bankası, TC Ziraat Bankası and Turkiye Vakıflar Bankasi, Bloomberg reports, plan to stop processing payments using Mir following similar decisions by two of Turkey’s major private banks last week.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Turkish banks were given the warning that if they continue to do business with Russia, they would be cut-off from the US financial system. 

Bowing To US Pressure, Turkey's Banks Abandon Russia'a MIR Payment System  

Turkiye banks abandon Russian MIR payment system, bowing to US pressure -- Middle East Monitor  

Turkish state banks halt use of Russian payment system -- Financial Times  

Turkish Banks Cut Russia Banking Ties Under US Pressure -- VOA

US Navy To Screen SEAL Candidates For Drugs After Death Of A Trainee During ‘Hell Week’

Navy SEAL candidates participate in "surf immersion" during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training at the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Center in Coronado, Calif., on May 4, 2020. MC1 Anthony Walker/US Navy/AP 

CNN: Navy proposes stringent blood testing for elite SEALs training program to address drug use  

Washington CNN — Senior Navy officials are concerned about the use of performance enhancing drugs by Navy SEAL trainees and have asked the Pentagon to approve blood testing to detect potentially illegal or banned substances used by the elite forces. 

The request for more stringent blood testing comes after performance enhancing drug (PED) paraphernalia were found in the car of a SEAL trainee who died hours after completing the infamous “Hell Week” training program in February. 

In an interview with CNN, Regina Mullen, the mother of the dead trainee said that according to a toxicology report her son, 24-year-old Seaman Kyle Mullen, did not have PEDs in his system, but that he had told her that other trainees were using them. 

“There was more doing it than not let’s just say,” Regina Mullen told CNN.  

Read more ....  

Update: Navy wants to screen SEAL candidates for drugs after trainee’s ‘Hell Week’ death: report (NYPost)  

WNU Editor: This is the reason why these blood tests are being ordered .... Investigation is launched into brutal Navy SEALs training program after death of recruit who took steroids: Staff 'punched and kicked' recruits after new commander made course even tougher (Daily Mail).

Stock Market Declines Have Resulted In Trillions Lost For American Investors

CNBC: Stock market losses wipe out $9 trillion from Americans’ wealth  

* Americans’ holdings of corporate equities and mutual fund shares fell to $33 trillion at the end of the second quarter, down from $42 trillion at the start of the year. 

* With major market indexes falling further since July, experts say losses from financial markets could total $9.5 trillion to $10 trillion.

* Economists say the drops could add pressure to Americans’ balance sheets and possibly hurting spending. 

Falling stock markets have wiped out more than $9 trillion in wealth from U.S. households, putting more pressure on family balance sheets and spending. 

Americans’ holdings of corporate equities and mutual fund shares fell to $33 trillion at the end of the second quarter, down from $42 trillion at the start of the year, according to data from the Federal Reserve. 

With major market indexes falling even further since early July, and the bond market adding further losses, market experts say the current wealth losses from financial markets could total $9.5 trillion to $10 trillion.  

Read more ....  

Update: ‘True carnage’: Stock-market selloff wipes $13 trillion in market cap off broad U.S. benchmark (Market Watch)  

WNU Editor: The "experts" see no hope for the rest of 2022 .... Investors believe aggressive Fed will keep stock market down for the rest of 2022, CNBC survey shows (CNBC).

Top Economic Research Firm Warns There’s A 98% Chance Of A Global Recession

Traders watch the price of X Financial, a Chinese technology personal finance company, following the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 19, 2018. Brendan McDermid/Reuters © Brendan McDermid/Reuters  

CNN: There’s a 98% chance of a global recession, research firm warns 

New York CNN Business — Warning lights are flashing in the global economy as high inflation, drastic rate hikes and the war in Ukraine take their toll. 

There is currently a 98.1% chance of a global recession, according to a probability model run by Ned Davis Research. 

The only other times that recession model was this high has been during severe economic downturns, most recently in 2020 and during the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. 

“This indicates that the risk of a severe global recession is rising for some time in 2023,” economists at Ned Davis Research wrote in a report last Friday.  

Read more ....  

Update: There's now a 98% chance of a global recession - which signals a severe downturn and more downside risk for stocks, research group says (Markets Insider)  

WNU Editor: The Ned Davis Research firm is not the only one predicting a global recession .... World Bank Warns For Global Recession In 2023 Amid Economic Slowdown, Here's What We Know So Far

As to what is my take/prediction/worry. Most countries are now in a recession. My biggest fear is that if credit markets crash, as was the case in the UK today (link here), and interest rates continue to rise coupled with an ongoing energy crisis in Europe, most countries will be in a technical depression by the spring of 2023.

Is President Biden's Pacific Summit Falling Apart?


 Politico: Defiance by Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands cast shadow over Biden’s Pacific Summit  

The administration pledges sweeteners to boost U.S-Pacific Island country ties. 

Dissension among participants of the first-ever U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit opening Wednesday in Washington, D.C., is complicating the Biden administration’s efforts to forge stronger ties with the region. 

Two of the summit’s participants — the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands — are publicly resisting Biden administration efforts to deepen U.S. influence in the region. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The reason why the Marshall Islands is refusing to sign the White House declaration note is the following .... 

 .... The Marshall Islands on Sept. 23 suspended talks with the U.S. on renewing its strategic partnership, or Compact of Free Association Agreement, to protest the perceived U.S. failure to address the economic, environmental and health legacy of U.S. nuclear weapons testing around the atolls from 1946 to 1958. 

And as for the Solomon Islands ....

.... And the Solomon Islands, which signed a controversial security pact with China earlier this year, is refusing to sign an 11-point summit declaration “designed to provide a framework for intensified U.S. engagement in the Pacific,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday. “The Solomons have been actively engaged in all the efforts that we’ve been involved with,” a senior administration official said Tuesday, without addressing the Australian report. 

This is an embarrassing situation for the White House. These issues should have been resolved before the summit. 

 More News On The U.S. Led Pacific Summit  

Biden looks to win over Pacific Island leaders at summit -- AP  

U.S. vows 'big dollar' help to Pacific islands in China contest -- Reuters  

Solomon Islands tells Pacific islands it won't sign White House summit declaration -note -- Reuters  

Solomon Islands refusing to sign 11-point declaration at historic Pacific-US meeting -- ABC News Australia  

US Pacific summit faces rocky start as island leaders reject Washington’s offers -- The Guardian

North Korea Fires Missiles Ahead Of US vice President Kamala Harris Visit To South Korea


Daily Mail: North Korea 'fires ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan': Kim Jong Un 'tests projectile' ahead of US drills and Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to the region amid tensions 

* North Korea believed to have fired a ballistic missile towards Sea of Japan 

* It comes days before a planned visit by the US Vice President Kamala Harris 

* Projectile is believed to have already fallen, according to Japan's coast guards 

* North Korea has tested a record number of ballistic weapons since 2022 began 

North Korea has fired a suspected ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan just days before US military drills and a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to the region amid regional tensions, South Korea and Japan's leadership have said. 

South Korea's military have claimed North Korea fired a single, short-range ballistic missile fired from near the Taechon area of North Pyongyan Province just before 7am. 

Since the beginning of 2022, North Korea has dialed up its testing activities to a record pace - testing more than 30 ballistic weapons, including its first intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017 - as it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a prolonged stalemate in nuclear diplomacy. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The Vice President's visit to the DMZ is shedding light on the one border that she should visit instead .... Wrong border, Kamala: GOP slams Harris for going to DMZ instead of Texas (NYPost). 

North Korea Fires Missiles Ahead Of US vice President Kamala Harris Visit To South Korea

NKorea test launches missiles on eve of Harris trip to Seoul -- AP  

N.Korea fires two ballistic missiles ahead of Harris visit to South -- Reuters  

North Korea fires third ballistic missile ahead of VP Harris arrival in Seoul -- FOX News  

North Korea Fires Missiles Ahead of Kamala Harris DMZ Visit -- Bloomberg  

North Korea launches missile as VP Harris prepares to visit Seoul -- Axios