9 Dead As ‘Polar Vortex’ Leaves 11 States Colder Than North Pole ; Hell (Literally) Freezes Over

Midwesterners continue to struggle with the lingering effects of the dreaded ‘Polar Vortex’.

The coldest location in the U.S. on Thursday was Cotton, Minn., where the temperature reached minus 56 °F. The coldest location in the U.S. on Wednesday was Norris Camp, Minn., where it was minus 48 °F, with a wind chill of minus 65 °F.

The sub-zero Arctic-style temperatures across much of the region, including cities like Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit, has turned deadly, as  USNews reports that authorities are  attributing at least nine deaths to the record-cold. read more

Trump Warns “Either Very Big Deal With China Or We’ll Postpone”; Says No “Shutdown Deal” Without Wall

With the second day of trade talks between China and the US drawing to a close, President Trump said he would either strike a very big trade deal with China or “postpone” it, but it was not clear precisely what he was referring to.

“This isn’t going to be a small deal with China. This is either going to be a very big deal, or it’s going to be a deal that we’ll just postpone for a little while,” Trump told reporters at the White House, without elaborating.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump tweeted that trade “meetings are going well with good intent and spirit on both sides. China does not want an increase in Tariffs and feels they will do much better if they make a deal”, although he later qualified by saying that there would be no deal unless China opened it economy to “manufacturing, farmers and other US businesses and industries.” read more

Beijing Mocks “Insecure” United States Over Russia, China Fears

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang responded on Wednesday to Dan Coats’s Tuesday testimony at the Capitol in which the White House National Intelligence Director argued that Beijing and Moscow are actively plotting to undermine Washington’s global dominance and undermine democracy worldwide, reports Newsweek. Coates said that Russia and China pose unique, separate challenges along with North Korea and Iran – which he termed “the big four.” 

Russia, China and Mongolian flags at the Vostok 2018 military exercise

Geng said that Russia and China’s relationship was “at the best level in history,” and claimed that the two nations have jointly “safeguarded the peace, security and stability of the region and the world.” read more

Europe Launches SWIFT Alternative To Send Money To Iran

In a move sure to unleash fury from the Trump administration, the European Union has announced it has set up a transactions channel with Iran to bypass US sanctions. The launch of INSTEX — or “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges” — by France, Germany, and the UK will allow non-dollar trade with Iran and is being described as facilitating humanitarian goods-related transactions only, including food, medicine and medical equipment.  

Long anticipated, Thursday’s EU announcement marks the most concrete action Europe has taken to thwart Washington sanctions after the US pullout of the 2015 nuclear deal last May, and after SWIFT caved to US pressure. Europe is hoping the mechanism will act as a legal means to preventing Tehran from quitting the JCPOA, which promised sanctions relief should the country halt nuclear weapons research and development. INSTEX is expected to receive the formal endorsement of all 28 EU members, which aims to encourage skittish pharmaceutical and agricultural companies to the table with Tehran after many stopped doing business in Iran for fear of US economic retribution.  read more

Why Are So Many US College Students Homeless (Or “Get Long Pitchforks”)

Via Global Macro Monitor,

Two-speed economies everywhere you look.

Young And Left

Do you wonder why the young are moving lefty?

The one percenters better start stepping up making social investments to generate a more stable future society in order to protect their wealth.   Investments in human capital, such as means-tested free education and better healthcare.   It’s coming either way.

Good for Jamie Dimon, one of the smartest guys out there and always way out in front,  in recognizing this in his statement today. read more