1. Tensions rise in Syria
After Sec. Tillerson made accusations this week that Russia had failed in stopping chemical weapons attacks in Syria and said those responsible would face a “day of reckoning,” both Russia and Turkey have responded.
As we reported yesterday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Moscow does not agree with Washington’s accusations nor their methods of investigation.
“We categorically disagree with the approach of the Americans, who are following the path of derailing real international investigations of previous cases, and prefer to stick labels groundlessly.”
Now Erdogan is upping the ante, saying that Turkey will increase its operations in Afrin, including areas where the US current has special forces on the ground.
“With the Olive Branch operation, we have once again thwarted the game of those sneaky forces whose interests in the region are different,” Erdogan said in a speech to provincial leaders in Ankara.
“Starting in Manbij, we will continue to thwart their game.”
And now al Arabiya English reports that Ankara saying if Washington wants to avoid clashes in Afrin, it should stop supporting terrorists.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) January 25, 2018
The US has materially and financially supported what they call “moderate rebels” in Syria as they fight against Syrian military forces over the past several years. The US calls the main group YPG, while Turkey calls them PKK and claims they are Kurdish separatists and terrorists.
The separatist claim is valid since the US and Israel have been pushing for what they call a “Free Kurdistan” which would break off parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey to create the most oil-rich nation in the area, ruled by US ally Masoud Barzani. Not surprisingly, the nations involved so not support this move.
2. TD Ameritrade says client cash levels are at a record low
On this weeks earnings call CEO Tim Hockey says,
“While cash levels are up slightly sequentially to approximately $150 billion, cash as a percentage of total client assets remained at historic lows at 12.7%, down slightly from last quarter due to the growth in the value of investments and as a result of strong net buying from our retail clients…”
Also institutional business….
“…in both of our[retail and institutional] businesses, we’re seeing historically low levels of cash to assets under management.”
He goes on to say that a large part of why cash reserves are so low is the racing stock market. Investors want their piece of the pie and have thrown more an more money into the market.
However, many economists now warn the market is highly over-saturated and in need of a massive corrections. When this happens, if accounts are lacking cash, the collapse will cause ripples well beyond the institutional investors.
3. US college ran herpes tests off-the-grid
In a move reminiscent of the Tuskegee Experiments and the Gates Foundation-sponsored Gardasil vaccine tests in India, Africa, and South America, it has now been reported that late Southern Illinois University researcher, William Halford, was conducting controversial herpes testing without proper oversight.
In 2013 in an Illinois hotel, and again in 2016 in St. Kitss and Nevis, Dr. Halford injected subjects with his new vaccines without any FDA routine safety checks or any approval by an institutional review board.
Founded by Halford and Hollywood filmmaker Agustín Fernández III, Rational Vaccines garnered interest from angel investors like Peter Thiel, also known for funding research into using blood from the young to slow aging.
This is the second investigation of Halford’s work. The first probe unveiled a telling statement.
In emails uncovered last year, Halford invites patients for dinner and drinks and states that it would be “suicide for me to admit on camera what we are doing here.”
4. DOJ has begun recovering lost FBI text messages
According to Sean Hannity, Fox News has confirmed that investigators from the Department of Justice have begun forensic reconstruction of the “lost” text messages between erstwhile Mueller team member Peter Strzok and girlfriend Lisa Page.
It was reported earlier this week that the FBI was unable to account for about 5 months worth of texts between the two. This is considered important by some as it is alleged that some of the texts were “anti-Trump” in nature.
What the real upshot of those texts are, no one yet knows.
5. Dollar falls as Mnuchin says a weak dollar is good for America
The US dollar hit a three-year low on Wednesday after its steepest slide since March. This happened as US Treasury Secretay Steven Mnuchin said “a weaker dollar is good” for U.S. trade during his talk a little while ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
While it’s very true that a weak dollar invites more foreign investment, the US markets currently sit at all-time-highs with no cash backing to continue the ascent. Despite the lack of new capital, prices continue to rise.
We are nearing a time of crisis for the markets, we suggest to re-evaluate your positions and adjust accordingly.