Tag: US


The Kremlin expressed concern about the increased readiness of US troops


Peskov announced the Kremlin's concern about the US readiness to deploy troops to Europe ” alt=”The Kremlin expressed concern about the increased readiness of US troops” />

The Kremlin is concerned about the US actions to escalate tension, in particular the Pentagon's statement about the transfer of the US military to a state of high alert in Europe , said the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov, RBC correspondent reports.

“What is happening both informationally and de facto from the United States, escalating tensions, we talked a lot about this yesterday ,— nothing changes here. We are watching these actions of the United States with great concern, — said Peskov.

This is how he commented on the Pentagon's statement about its readiness to transfer 8,500 troops to Europe.

The press secretary added that this information would not affect the course of negotiations between Russia and the United States on security guarantees. “At the present stage they are completed”, — explained the spokesman.

On the eve of the US Department of Defense announced an increase in the readiness of 8.5 thousand military personnel in connection with the situation around Ukraine. The department indicated that they were ready to quickly transfer troops to Europe at the request of NATO or “in other situations”, but the decision to send them has not yet been made. In addition, the head of the Ministry of Defense decided to reduce the time for the transfer of military personnel from ten to five days in some cases.

According to The New York Times, US President Joe Biden is considering deploying troops to the Baltic countries and Eastern Europe. One of the options presented to Biden at the Pentagon involves sending from 1,000 to 5,000 troops to Eastern European countries with the possibility of a “tenfold increase” their numbers if the situation deteriorates.

On January 24, NATO announced the transfer of troops, ships and aircraft to Bulgaria, Romania and Lithuania. The head of the North Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, emphasized that NATO does not threaten Russia or another country, and “the deployment of forces has been agreed by the national committees and is necessary to strengthen security in Europe.” invasion» Russia to Ukraine. The fact that Moscow is preparing for an attack was announced by the United States and a number of other Western countries. They drew attention to the accumulation of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.

The Russian authorities are accused of preparing an “invasion”; repeatedly rejected. The Kremlin called the movement of troops across the country an internal matter. According to Peskov, the buildup of forces near the borders of Ukraine— a forced precaution against the backdrop of increasing NATO activity near Russian borders.

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Bloomberg reveals content of US response on security guarantees


Photo: pixabay.com

The United States intends to respond to Russia's proposals on security guarantees to indicate areas where it can respond to concerns RF. Bloomberg reports this with reference to an EU official who asked not to be named.

According to the agency, the States will coordinate their response with the EU and NATO. The answer is unlikely to be a detailed discussion of Russia's demands, but will outline areas where allies can address Russia's concerns. It will also list the actions of Russia that cause concern among the allies.

Recall that on December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry published draft agreements on security guarantees that are expected from the US and NATO. In particular, it is proposed that the alliance refuse to expand to the east and not accept Ukraine.

Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow was waiting for written answers to the proposals after negotiations between the Russian Federation and the United States with their allies. After that, there will be a “final analysis”. Prior to this, Peskov said that the negotiations on security guarantees with the United States, and then with NATO, were unsuccessful. He stressed that “differences have been recorded on the fundamental issues of consultations between the Russian Federation, the United States and NATO in Geneva and Brussels.”

Источник www.mk.ru


Are the US anthem and “Khasbulat the daring” the same tune?


Weekly “Arguments and Facts” No. 03. Either a bus, or a vision. When will the modernization of public transport reach cities and villages? 19/01/2022

They write that the melody of the US national anthem is completely torn off from the Russian song “Khasbulat Udaloy”. Indeed, one on one! How to understand this?

Expert answer 0 + –

Responding Candidate of Historical Sciences Alexander Bayramov:

– Indeed, these melodies are very similar. Moreover, the composition “The Star-Spangled Banner”, i.e. “The Banner Spangled with Stars”, officially became the anthem of the United States in 1931. And the poem of the poet, officer and veteran of the Caucasian War Alexander Ammosov, which formed the basis of the song about Khasbulat, appeared in print in 1858

The music was adapted to it in 1890. So, according to all formal signs, it turns out that ours managed to do it earlier, and significantly. And the Americans just stole the melody.

But there is one catch. Composition “The Star-Spangled Banner” by that time it was already an anthem. True, not the state, but the fleet. The US Navy adopted it as an anthem a long time ago. The words were taken from the poem “The Defense of Fort McHenry”, written in 1814. At the same time, the song was first performed in Baltimore. Another thing is that the Americans whistled the melody of their anthem. Its author was the English composer John Stafford Smith, who in 1780 wrote for the London club “Anacreontic Society”; hymn “To Anacreon in Heaven”. In this hymn, a promise was made to the ancient Greek poet Anacreon, who above all put good wine, a friendly feast and the love of beautiful women, to follow his precepts.

Apparently, both Americans and Russians musical inspiration was drawn from one source.

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Lavrov spoke about the US reaction to security guarantees


Lavrov: Russia received a preliminary reaction from the United States on security guarantees The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia had heard only a preliminary reaction on security guarantees. According to him, the United States will submit a written response next week “Lavrov reported on the US reaction on security guarantees” />

Segrgey Lavrov

During the meeting in Geneva, the Russian side heard a preliminary oral reaction to the projects proposed by the US and NATO on security guarantees. This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, broadcast by RBC.

“The reaction was preliminary, we were warned about this. It was accompanied by some clarifying questions addressed to us, the answers to which will help the American side <…> to prepare a written reaction to our written drafts under an agreement with the United States and under an agreement with NATO,— Lavrov said.

He also stressed that the experience of communicating with Western partners “is replete with examples when something was promised but not fulfilled,” but the parties expressed satisfaction with the negotiations. “Anthony Blinken told me that he was satisfied with the exchange of views that took place, which will help them [USA] next week <…> provide us with a written response [about security guarantees]»,— noted the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

When asked by an RBC correspondent about the right to make public the US responses when they are at the disposal of the Russian side, Lavrov said that he would turn to Blinken with a corresponding request.

Lavrov and Blinken's talks on Russian proposals for security guarantees took place in Geneva and lasted 1.5 hours. Earlier, Lavrov noted that he does not expect a breakthrough in relations with the United States from the negotiations, but he hopes to receive answers on security guarantees. Blinken also said that the State Department did not expect breakthroughs following the Geneva meeting, but would like to find out what the Kremlin came up with as a result of the consultations.

In December 2021, Russia sent the United States and NATO draft agreements on security guarantees, in which they proposed the alliance to consolidate the non-expansion of the alliance to the east, in particular at the expense of the countries of the former USSR, and also to refuse to deploy weapons in countries adjacent to Russia. After that, on January 9 and 10, negotiations between Russia and the United States were held in Geneva, on January 12, the documents were discussed within the framework of the Council of Russia— NATO in Brussels. A day later, the third round of negotiations took place along the line of Russia— OSCE on the same topic.

Following the results of the talks, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that they were unsuccessful. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who represented the country at the talks, also announced proposals unacceptable to the Americans, in particular, Ukraine's non-entry into NATO and the return of the alliance's borders by 1997.

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Ryabkov promised “serious decisions” in case of disappointment with the US response


Ryabkov: Russia will take serious measures if the US response to its proposals disappoints Moscow But if this answer disappoints Moscow, it will make “serious political decisions” ” alt=”Ryabkov promised 'serious decisions' in case of disappointment with the US response” />

Sergei Ryabkov

Russia will be forced to make serious political decisions if it is not satisfied with the US response to proposals for security guarantees, said on the TV channel «Russia 24» Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

“I do not want to anticipate what may happen in the near future, due to the fact that so far there is no formal written response from the United States and NATO to our proposals. If this answer is disappointing, then serious political decisions will have to be made, about which our president warned, including publicly, opponents from the other side, — said the diplomat.

He stressed that Russia does not want conflict, does not attack or threaten anyone, but only seeks to protect its own interests.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed the projects proposed by Moscow in Geneva. Lavrov, following the talks, noted that the reaction of the American side was preliminary and was accompanied by clarifying questions, and Washington would provide a written answer next week. Blinken later confirmed this date.

The negotiations lasted an hour and a half. Blinken at the beginning of the discussion said that the United States was counting on a peaceful solution to problems with Moscow. “We do not expect to be able to resolve our differences today. But I hope and expect that today we will understand whether dialogue and a diplomatic path for a peaceful solution are still possible, — he said.

At a press conference after the meeting, Blinken said that the parties agreed to continue diplomatic contacts after the United States conveyed its “concerns and ideas” to Russia.

Since 10 By January 13, Russia discussed with the United States, NATO, and the OSCE draft treaties proposed by it on security guarantees. One of the key demands of Russia was the refusal of the North Atlantic Alliance to expand to the east and to include the countries of the former USSR in its composition. Moscow also suggested that NATO exclude the deployment of weapons and military bases in countries adjacent to Russia.

According to the results of these negotiations, it was not possible to come to specific agreements. Ryabkov noted that the West offers to discuss certain points, but refuses to fulfill the main requirements. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that Russia has no right to veto Ukraine's entry into the alliance.

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Ryabkov offered the US another “option” on Ukraine and Georgia in NATO


Ryabkov: Russia is ready to consider a US guarantee not to vote for Ukraine's entry into NATO =”https://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/media/img/7/16/756425980505167.jpg” alt=”Ryabkov offered the US another “option” on Ukraine and Georgia in NATO” />

Sergey Ryabkov

Russia is ready to consider an alternative to NATO's refusal to accept Ukraine into the bloc— a unilateral commitment by the United States not to vote for the country's entry into the alliance. About this at the site of the discussion club «Valdai» said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

“This well-known formula of the Bucharest summit in 2008, that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO, this should be excluded, this should be replaced by the understanding that this will never happen. Or alternatively, if the United States makes a unilateral commitment in a legally binding manner that it will never vote for Ukraine and other countries to join NATO, we are ready to consider this option. he said.

Ryabkov added that this would be an easier path for the United States if the state had “enough political will.”

According to him, the priority for Moscow is clear and legally binding US guarantees that Ukraine and other countries Russia opposes membership will not join NATO.

In order for a state to become a full member of the alliance, the consent of all its members is required at the stage of ratification of the accession protocol. For example, Macedonia for a long time could not join NATO, as this was prevented by Greece because of the dispute over the name of the country. Athens claimed that the toponym “Macedonia” extends to part of Greek territory, which gives the Macedonians the right to lay claim to it. As a result, the state officially changed its name to North Macedonia (the dispute with Greece was settled in 2018) and joined NATO in 2020.

Moscow needs a “direct and understandable” a written response to its December proposals for security guarantees, as well as an “article-by-article” analysis, Ryabkov said at a meeting of Valdai. He acknowledged that such a formulation of the issue is unprecedented, but drew attention to the fact that this is dictated by the situation itself. That, in turn, was formed due to the “destructive” exchange rate between the United States and NATO, the deputy minister stressed.

Moscow's proposals on security guarantees were made public in December. In the draft treaty, Russia proposed to consolidate NATO's obligation not to expand eastward, to agree with the United States not to harm each other's security, and to oblige Washington not to establish military bases on the territory of the countries that were part of the USSR. In addition, Russia offered to mutually renounce the deployment of weapons where it would be perceived as a threat, as well as the deployment of nuclear weapons.

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Leonkov praised the idea of ​​deploying missiles near the US borders


“We have enough other effective means”

The Russian Federation may deploy its nuclear missiles off the coast of the United States. This is reported by the American newspaper The New York Times. The corresponding “hints”, according to the author of the article, were allegedly made by Russian diplomats during security talks in Geneva on January 10. Military expert debunks US fears.

Photo: Alexander Astafiev

According to the American edition, Russian nuclear weapons can be thrown closer to the US coast. This flight time of missiles is up to five minutes, the text says. The author focuses on the fact that although there were no direct threats and official statements from the Russian representatives, in their “hints” reads exactly the same subtext. As journalists write, if such an event really happens, the world will face a repeat of the Caribbean crisis of 1962.  

Editor of the magazine “Arsenal of the Fatherland” Alexey Leonkov explained why it makes no sense for Russia to place missile launchers on the doorstep of a Western power.

— These are fantasies. Americans think in terms of past wars. Yes, in the early 60s this was possible, but now  from a military point of view we absolutely do not need it. During the Caribbean crisis, it was quite difficult to hit the positional area of ​​​​ballistic missiles. But now technology has gone far ahead, and the placement of missiles near & nbsp; The American coast is nothing but a waste of time and money for us. Need a complex infrastructure for  missile maintenance, security. All this requires large financial investments. There's no point. We all understand that in this case, the missiles will be in the first strike zone and will be destroyed in the first place. In this case, their effectiveness will not be very high, because, of course, reliable missile defense will be built against them.

— If you place radar and electronic intelligence points on the territory of Cuba, which will become components of the Russian missile attack warning system, — EWS, it will be a different matter. It is still possible to resume the call of our ships in Santiago de Cuba. There is just a deep-water port, which can enter the ships of the far sea zone, and if desired, even nuclear submarines. But first, Cuba needs to be raised in military-technical development, to supply them with modern air defense (air defense) systems so that it can defend itself against any aggression. Just like we did with Venezuela, supplying the complexes so that they could build a layered air defense system. That would make sense, in my opinion. The construction of radar stations can hardly be called some kind of aggression, it is not a weapon. And the entry of ships with a friendly visit — not a direct threat. But if we nevertheless supply missile systems, this is already a direct threat, and the Americans will gladly respond to it. The presence of such installations on the territory of Cuba, of course, immediately puts it at risk. Therefore, first it is necessary to create means of defense, to look at the reaction of partners. And only then put something. If you start immediately with the deployment of missile systems, this is fraught.

— If we are talking about missile systems, then, in my opinion, these can be coastal defense systems, because Cuba is washed by the water element on all sides, and the main threat to it should be expected from the sea. Consequently, they need to strengthen their air and coastal defenses. Such coastal missile systems as “Bal” and "Bastion" would be enough. 

"Ball" — Coastal missile system with Kh-35 anti-ship missile. GSI completed in 2004. Adopted by the Russian Navy in 2008.

«Bastion» — coastal missile system with anti-ship missile P-800 “Onyx”/”Yakhont”.

— “Zircons” we are not going to ship anywhere yet. Although those launchers of the Bastion complexes are also capable of launching Zircons. Let's just say – in perspective. We don't need missile launchers that could reach the United States, we have enough other effective means. And at the same time, we do not expose our partners and allies to a blow. On the contrary, it is necessary to make sure that this aggression is impossible. But at the same time, ensure  their national interests. 

Источник www.mk.ru


The expert called the US biolaboratory in Alma-Ata a threat


“Americans could smuggle out dirt or strains on the sly”

Kazakhstan did not allow the CSTO peacekeepers to guard the Aikimbaev biological laboratory in Alma-Ata. This secret facility was created in Kazakhstan with US assistance and reports directly to the Pentagon. What is fraught with a dangerous object and why Kazakhstan is hiding it from the eyes of Russian scientists, Igor Nikulin, a microbiologist, a former member of the UN Commission on Biological and Chemical Weapons, told MK.

Photo: pixabay.com

Earlier, the media reported, citing local residents, that an attack had been made on the biological laboratory in Almaty. Participants in the riots & nbsp; allegedly & nbsp; & quot; opened the windows & quot; on the first floor. Specialists in chemical protection suits were seen near the dangerous facility. Locals fear the leakage of dangerous pathogens.

The Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan hastened to assure that there is no reason for panic, the laboratory is under protection. Who exactly performs the security function was not specified.

This laboratory & mdash; one of the objects of the Pentagon scientific network in Central Asia. The United States Threat Prevention Agency (DTRA), which is responsible for research in the field of weapons of mass destruction, has opened five more such laboratories at research centers in Kazakhstan and two in Uzbekistan. There are similar centers in Ukraine, Georgia and other countries in the post-Soviet space.

– This is a laboratory of the third level of biological safety, that is, one of the most modern. They are not monitored internationally. As far as we know, they worked there with the most dangerous types of bacteria and viruses. For example, the latest bacteria and viruses were tested on a specific gene pool: on humans, animals, plants.

– With the virus of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, with rare species of plague, with the “ Alpha '' -coronavirus, which is considered to be the predecessor of SARS-CoV-2. For this reason, many Kazakhstani human rights activists are inclined to believe that outbreaks of coronavirus in the region are precisely related to the work of this very laboratory. There have previously been leaks of meningitis, brucellosis, and a number of other dangerous diseases from there. Therefore, since 2020, Russia has been demanding to admit our inspection to this laboratory in order to check what they are really doing there. There are strong suspicions that the Americans are violating the Biological Weapons Convention there.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (BTWC) was the first international disarmament treaty prohibiting the production of an entire class of weapons. Its signing was the result of many years of efforts by the international community to create a legal framework complementary to the Geneva Protocol (1925). The BTWC was opened for signature on April 10, 1972 and entered into force on March 26, 1975.

– Let's not exclude that the Americans themselves could have organized it. A kind of crossbow. To pretend that & nbsp; allegedly & nbsp; they were attacked, and themselves, on the sly, took out some compromising documents & nbsp; or the same strains. Maybe, of course, they are just marauders, but then it is even more dangerous, because they could take out some pathogens from there. Maybe they were terrorists too. Anything can be. The main thing for us now is to bring this dangerous facility under the control of the CSTO forces.

– Even if the Kazakhs plan to do it on their own, we need to use the right moment to find out what they are really doing there. The border of Russia with Kazakhstan is more than seven thousand kilometers, and dangerous objects located along this border pose a threat to our security. This is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed in the coming days, at most in the & nbsp; coming weeks.

– As far as I know, this is a purely American project. Maybe the Germans indirectly somehow participated in it, but the United States spent more than $ 400 million on these laboratories in Kazakhstan, and it would be stupid to think that they threw them away.

– Firstly because they signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Americans, one of the points of which was precisely that they had no right to provide any information. But the former Deputy Defense Minister in 2020 handed over to Russia documents indicating what exactly these laboratories are doing.

– We do not know one hundred percent what is there. That is why a full-scale inspection must be carried out. Send Russian peacekeepers there, and let the military virologists find out what exactly the Americans were doing there. The difficulty is that this object uses the principle of extraterritoriality, that is, it does not seem to belong to Kazakhstan. But now there is just a favorable moment when this situation can be resolved and, finally, the Americans can be caught doing what they always accuse Russia of – specific violations of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.

Источник www.mk.ru


The project of US sanctions against Putin and his entourage was called a “game”


Democrats should have “outshined” the Republican draft

The United States Senate has published a bill on sanctions, which is proposed to be introduced against Russia “in the event of its invasion of Ukraine” or further escalation of the conflict around of this country. The proposed measures affect President Vladimir Putin personally and all of Russia's top leadership. The expert told how great the chance for their adoption is, and also assessed the previous consultations on security guarantees between representatives of the Russian Federation and NATO.

Photo: pixabay.com

The document on penalties against the Russian Federation was submitted for consideration by 26 senators. The initiator was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrat Robert Menendez. According to The Washington Post, the proposed package of sanctions allegedly supports the White House.

According to Reuters, among the sanctions proposed by the senators & mdash; a ban on entry into the United States and freezing of American assets of the president, prime minister, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense of Russia (this immediately raises the rhetorical question – are there any such assets?), as well as commanders of various types of troops and other persons, whom the White House considers to be involved in the 'aggression against Ukraine'. Washington also intends to increase military aid to Kiev.

In addition, within 30 days after the possible invasion of Moscow, the American leader will be required to impose penalties against at least three of the largest Russian banks. It is also proposed to introduce sanctions against the Russian external debt and against the Nord Stream 2 project.

The document, in particular, recommends to “ consider all available and adequate measures '' to prevent the operation of the gas pipeline, which the senators called the “ instrument of harmful influence of the Russian Federation. ''

“ This bill clearly demonstrates that the US Senate will not sit idly by when the Kremlin threatens to invade Ukraine again, '' said Robert Menendez.

At the same time, within six months, the US Treasury Department, the State Department and intelligence will need to prepare a detailed report on the property of the Russian president, his relatives and close businessmen. They can also be subject to sanctions.

But the question arises & ndash; how likely is it to actually introduce such restrictions?

“ A new document on anti-Russian sanctions in the US Senate is an alternative to another bill on Nord Stream 2, which is actively promoted by the Republican Party, '' comments on MK Alexey Makarkin, vice president of the Center for Political Technologies, professor at the Higher School of Economics. & ndash; Accordingly, the Democrats also need to respond by offering something in return.

Moreover, the gas pipeline project initiated by the Republicans, from the point of view of the American administration, is quite dangerous. Firstly, it can spoil Washington's relations with Berlin, and secondly, disrupt the already difficult dialogue with Russia. & nbsp;

The proposed sanctions measures against the Russian Federation look very radical, dramatic and even more ambitious than one specific bill on Nord Stream 2. But they have one peculiarity: if the sanctions on the pipeline are to be implemented regardless of the policy of Russia, then here we are talking more about conditional penalties. The White House will decide when to introduce them and whether to introduce them at all. ''

According to the expert, this is a continuation of the same policy pursued by the American administration. She periodically makes it clear that many different sanctions may follow in the event of the deployment of hostilities between Moscow and Kiev. Thus, this resolution fits into the context of the 'hypothetical penalties'. And most likely, it can be accepted.

“ The new bill against the Russian Federation is also part of the intra-American games, '' the political scientist continues. & ndash; And in this sense, it is interesting because Moscow had hopes for the Republican Party, connected specifically with the former US President Donald Trump. Now she is extremely critical of Russia. There is practically a consensus in the American political class about the negative attitude towards the Russian Federation. The only question is what specific decisions need to be made. & Nbsp;

As for the talks with NATO on Wednesday, they certainly became a continuation of those consultations on security guarantees that Moscow had with Washington. In Russia, the meeting with representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance was perceived as additional. The Russian Federation wants to conduct a dialogue only with America, and it, in turn, seeks to share responsibility in this matter with its Western allies and partners.

This is actually a secondary site, from which little was expected. Its main result is that Russia did not leave the meeting, demonstratively slamming the door. After all, the meeting was attended not only by Americans, but also by Poles, representatives of the Baltic states and Czechs, who relatively recently declared the Russian Federation “ unfriendly ''. state.

Despite all the difficulties, the parties still managed to talk. And even a little longer than expected. True, they parted without any agreements, but also without conflict, which is also not bad. So the dialogue continues. ''

Let us remind you that consultations on security guarantees between Russia and the West are currently taking place in Europe. On January 10, in Geneva, a meeting of delegations from Moscow and Washington took place, on January 12 in Brussels, a meeting of the Russia & mdash; NATO. On January 13, negotiations between representatives of the Russian Federation and the OSCE started in Vienna.

According to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov, the representatives of the United States and the NATO Secretary General promised to provide written answers to Moscow's proposals on security guarantees.

“ The Americans promised us to try, but we told them that they need to try very hard, make their counter offers next week, & ndash; said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. & ndash; Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, on behalf of the North Atlantic Alliance, also volunteered to put his reaction on paper. I think that it will come in about a week too, after which we will report together with the Minister of Defense to the President. ''

The Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that the talks in Geneva and Brussels were businesslike.

Источник www.mk.ru


Rate relief boosts US shares as Fed chair Powell speaks to Senate


US shares are rallying, including the heavily sold-down tech sector, despite indications from the US Federal Reserve chair that the withdrawal of extraordinary stimulus may be relatively rapid.

Key points:

  • US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell appeared before the Senate overnight
  • Markets were boosted by his comments indicating that the Fed would probably not start reducing its bond holdings until later this year
  • However, Mr Powell indicated US interest rates are likely to rise soon to counter high inflation

The market is generally pricing in the US central bank's first rate rise in March, as it winds up its latest bond-buying stimulus program.

Fed chair Jerome Powell's confirmation hearing testimony to the Senate did little to alter those expectations, although he did note it might take longer for the central bank to wind down its holdings of bonds.

"Wall Street now has a better understanding on how the Fed will normalise policy and with the balance run-off likely taking up to four meetings," OANDA's senior market analyst, Edward Moya, said.

"After Powell's testimony, some investors feel they got the all-clear signal to buy the dip."

When the Fed does start allowing its holdings of bonds to shrink, that will effectively put further upward pressure on market interest rates, along with the halt to new bond purchases and cash-rate increases.

US bond yields eased very slightly on expectations that this process of allowing the Fed's balance sheet, largely these bond holdings, to shrink would not start happening until the middle of this year.

However, Mr Powell was clear that the Fed was focused on inflation, with figures out this week expected to show that year-on-year price rises in the US hit 7 per cent, the highest level in around four decades.

"If we have to raise interest rates more over time, we will," Mr Powell told the Senate committee.

"We will use our tools to get inflation back."

Mr Powell added that, with unemployment back below 4 per cent and Omicron disruptions expected to be temporary, he believed the US economy was well placed to continue growing in the face of rising interest rates.

Battered tech stocks rebound

After initial falls, US shares gained as investors cherrypicked the positives out of Mr Powell's testimony. 

"Today I thought that he was more moderate than the general tone of the [Federal Reserve meeting] minutes [released last week] — and I think that's why you're seeing the dollar a little weaker and the stocks up near their highs," said Lou Brien, market strategist at DRW Trading.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which has been brutally sold off at the start of 2022, was a particular beneficiary.

It was up 1.4 per cent to 15,153 points at the close.

The broader S&P 500 was 0.9 per cent higher at 4,713 and the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.5 per cent higher at 36,252.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors rose, with growth-heavy sectors like technology and consumer discretionary contributing the most to the S&P's gains.

The biggest percentage gainer was energy, which rose along with crude oil futures.

Megacap growth companies, including Apple (+1.7pc) and Amazon (+2.4pc), were the biggest single-stock boosts to the S&P 500.

"The market is extremely in tune to the Treasury yield move right now," Matt Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management, told Reuters.

"As yields have started to slow down their ascent, that's providing support for technology related stocks.

"There weren't any real surprises to Powell's comments which perhaps is adding some stability."

While Mr Miskin saw some signs of a risk-on market on Tuesday, he said investors were also "tiptoeing around" as they waited for key inflation data, which is due out on Wednesday.

Australian shares were also set to open strongly higher on a sudden increase in risk appetite. The ASX SPI 200 futures index was up 0.9 per cent to 7,356.

The Australian dollar also benefited from the positive vibes, rising to 72.1 US cents by 8:20am AEDT.

ABC/Reuters

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


NBC learns about US readiness to discuss troop reductions in Eastern Europe


During negotiations with the Russian authorities, US representatives consider it possible to discuss a reduction in the number of American troops in the Baltic countries and Poland, NBC reports, citing one of the current employees of the presidential administration Joe Biden and two former intelligence officers who are familiar with the plan to prepare for the negotiations.

According to NBC sources, the US presidential administration is compiling a list of possible options that can be discussed, but any revision by the US of its military presence in Europe, Russia will have to make ; equivalent retaliatory steps '', and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders with Ukraine will not be enough.

In addition, during the negotiations, issues of reducing the scale of the military exercises, as well as timely notification of troop movements and the deployment of Iskander complexes on the territory of the Kaliningrad region; with missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The material is being updated

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US extends sanctions against Bosnian Serb leader Dodik


The USA imposed sanctions against the TV company “Alternative TV”. The American Ministry of Finance believes that Dodik personally controls it, promoting his own agenda. The politician himself called the new restrictions meaningless

Milorad Dodik

The US Treasury has imposed sanctions against the television company Alternative TV, associated with the former president of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the current member of the Serb Presidium Milorad Dodik, the ministry's press service said.

According to the American authorities, Alternative TV belongs to a company 'closely related to the Dodik family'. The TV company, in turn, is under “ personal control '' a politician who uses it to advance “ his own agenda, which includes denigrating other politicians, improving his own image, and promoting personal and political goals. ''

The US added the broadcaster to the SDN sanctions list. It provides for a freeze on assets and property in the United States, as well as a ban on US citizens from doing business with members of the list.

Dodik himself has been under US sanctions since 2017. The United States believes that he poses a serious threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina '' by obstructing the implementation of the Dayton Accords, which ended the civil war.

Now the sanctions against Dodik have been expanded as he “ continues to destabilize activities. abuses his powers, is associated with large-scale corruption that undermines the state institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, '' the US Treasury explained.

Dodik himself called the US decision to impose new sanctions senseless. “ At first they said that I had violated the Dayton Accords. Now I am accused of corruption, although neither in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor in the world, such a criminal case has not been initiated against me, '', & mdash; he told RTRS. Dodik added that he does not question the constitutional order in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Источник rbc.ru


US stocks lose ground on news of Fed’s plans to cut stimulus


The Dow Jones index has fallen back from another record high after the US central bank said it might need to raise interest rates sooner than expected and cut its bond holdings to curb inflation.

Key points:

  • At 7:10am AEDT, the Dow Jones index had fallen 0.6pc, to 36,590, the S&P 500 fell 1.2pc, to 4,734, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.5pc, to 15,243
  • In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.2pc,  to 7,517, the DAX in Germany rose 0.7pc, to 16,272, and the CAC 40 index rose 0.8pc, to 7,376
  • The ASX SPI 200 index fell 0.5pc, to 7,579, while the Australian dollar fell 0.25pc, to 72.20 US cents at 7:20am AEDT

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting outlined plans to start reducing the more than $US8 trillion ($11.1 trillion) in bonds it is holding. 

Officials said a reduction in the balance sheet would likely start after the central bank starts raising interest rates, which is expected during this year, possibly in March. 

"Almost all participants agreed that it would likely be appropriate to initiate balance sheet runoff at some point after the first increase in the target range for the federal funds rate," the minutes said. 

Last month, the Fed said it would end its pandemic-era bond-buying program in 2022 and it indicated there would be at least three interest rate rises for the year. 

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq extended their losses while the Dow Jones index turned lower after the minutes were released. 

At 7:10am AEDT, the Dow Jones index had fallen 0.6 per cent, to 36,590, the S&P 500 fell 1.2 per cent, to 4,734, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.5 per cent, to 15,243. 

Technology giants once again took a hit with Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft weighing on the market.

Technology firms have depended on low interest rates and cheap money to expand. 

Real estate stocks also fell because of the prospect of higher interest rates. 

David Carter from Lenox Wealth Advisors said the Fed was more aggressive than predicted in wanting to wind back stimulus.

"This is more hawkish than expected," Mr Carter said.

"This shift towards hawkishness could be problematic for both stock and bond markets."

In futures trade, the ASX SPI 200 index fell 0.5 per cent, to 7,579 at 7:20am AEDT, indicating a likely drop on the local share market when it opens later today. 

The Australian dollar had slipped 0.25 per cent, to around 72.20 US cents, at 7:20am AEDT.

European stocks rose to new highs, with the STOXX 600 index closing at its third record high in a row.

In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent, to 7,517, the DAX in Germany rose 0.7 per cent, to 16,272, and the CAC 40 index rose 0.8 per cent, to 7,376. 

In economic news, the ADP National Employment report showed that US private payrolls had increased by 807,000 jobs last month, more than double what had been forecast. 

The report comes ahead of the US Labor Department's official unemployment figures for December that are due out on Friday.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil rose 0.5 per cent, to $US80.42 a barrel, while spot gold fell 0.2 per cent, to $US1810.47 an ounce.

ABC/Reuters

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


US stocks rise, boosted by Apple and Tesla


United States stocks have made gains on the first trading day of 2022, boosted by electric car marker Tesla and IT giant Apple. 

Key points:

  • The Dow Jones index rose 0.5pc to 36,520, the S&P 500 rose 0.5pc to 4,790 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1pc to 15,809 at 7:15am AEDT
  • The FTSE 100 was closed, the DAX rose 0.9pc to 16,021 and the CAC 40 rose 0.9pc to 5,491
  • The Australian dollar fell 1pc to around 71.87 US cents at 7:30am AEDT

That bodes well for the Australian share market today. 

The Australian dollar was down 1 per cent, to around 71.87 US cents, at 7:30am AEDT. 

At 7:15am AEDT, the Dow Jones index was up 0.5 per cent, to 36,520, the S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent, to 4,790 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1 per cent, to 15,809. 

Tesla rose 12.7 per cent after the company's quarterly deliveries exceeded Wall Street estimates, riding out global chip shortages as it ramped up production in China.

The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, followed by Apple and Nvidia.

Apple's shares reached a high of $US182.88, making it the first US company to post a market capitalisation of $US3 trillion ($4.2 trillion).

The milestone is mostly symbolic but it represents investor recognition of Apple's success over the past few years as the company has reported several record-breaking quarters of big growth in all of its product lines.

Apple's cashflow also makes the stock a safe haven during times of market uncertainty.

Banks gained as US Treasury yields increased on expectations of interest rate rises in the US this year. 

Another economically sensitive sector, energy, firmed as crude prices rose on tight supply and hopes of a further demand recovery in 2022. 

 "Looks like the reopening trade is in full force this morning and it basically says the market is looking through Omicron … it's something we can live with, like the seasonal flu," Great Hill Capital New York's Thomas Hayes said.

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration authorised a third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 15 years.

However, shares in Pfizer and BioNTech fell. 

All of Wall Street's main indexes ended 2021 with monthly, quarterly and annual gains, recording their biggest three-year advance since 1999.

The benchmark S&P 500 added 27 per cent in 2021 and reported 70 record-high closes, the second-most ever, in a tumultuous year hit by new COVID-19 variants and supply chain shortages.

While the Dow added 18.7 per cent for the year, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 21.4 per cent.

In Europe, markets ended at record highs for the European STOXX 600 index. 

The FTSE 100 was closed, the DAX in Germany rose 0.9 per cent, to 16,021 and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.9 per cent, to 5,491.

Oil prices gained, with Brent crude up 1.5 per cent, to $US78.99 a barrel.

Spot gold fell 1.5 per cent, to $US1801.63 an ounce. 

ABC/Reuters

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


US astronauts will remain on the ISS until 2030


The United States government will extend the presence of American astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) until 2030. This is reported by TASS with reference to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

During this period, Washington intends to continue working on the ISS with its international partners in the face of Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe … This decision is due to the fact that the United States plans to continue to conduct breakthrough research on board the station.

According to NASA, during the existence of the ISS, more than three thousand studies were organized on it. At the same time, about 110 countries and territories were involved in carrying out certain works. Therefore, the extension of the American presence at the station will create conditions for another productive decade, the management stressed. In addition, this solution “ will allow for a smooth transfer of the capabilities of finding in low-earth orbit to one or several commercial directions. ''

Earlier, Roskosmos reported that the Zvezda module Potential last air leakage location found on ISS.

Источник aif.ru


Foreign Ministry reported lack of consensus on aspects of negotiations with the US and NATO


Ryabkov said that there is no final agreement on aspects of negotiations with the US and NATO

Final agreements on all aspects of possible negotiations with the US and NATO on security guarantees have not yet been reached. About this RIA Novosti said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

According to him, only January 10 and 12 next year are considered as dates for meetings, but there are no final agreements.

“ We do not have final, full agreement on all aspects, but alternative dates are also not considered ', & mdash; Ryabkov said.

Earlier AFP, referring to the White House, reported that Russia and the US will hold talks on arms control and the situation in Ukraine 10 January, and the meeting of the Council of Russia & mdash; NATO will take place on January 12.

Ryabkov pointed out that Russia has officially submitted to the United States proposals on the agenda for the talks, but the American side is talking about “ some abstractions. '' “ Now we see links to unnamed representatives of the US administration that they imply a discussion of both Ukraine and arms control. What is arms control? This is some kind of abstraction & raquo;, & mdash; explained the deputy minister. He stressed that it is necessary to discuss at the consultations, first of all, the draft agreements with the United States and NATO provided by Moscow, “ our colleagues in Washington should proceed from this. ''

The material is being supplemented.

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Источник rbc.ru


Pauline and Christy’s cancelled US trip left them with a $4,500 flight credit they couldn’t use


Pauline Harbaugh and her US-born wife Christy have been separated from their family overseas for more than two years. 

Key points:

  • Travel credits issued in 2020 may be expiring soon
  • Consumers want to see flight credit schemes improved
  • Experts call for stronger regulations and law reform

The couple would normally visit them every year, but the COVID-19 pandemic saw their international flights cancelled, leaving them with more than $4,500 in flight credit.

"[Christy's] grandma passed away during COVID, we didn't get a chance to see her, that was really tough," the Melbourne resident told the ABC.

"Lots changes really quickly, everybody's getting older, we're missing some really important times with family."

Their return flights from Melbourne to the US, which were booked in January 2020 with Virgin Australia, were later cancelled in August due to COVID restrictions.

Ms Harbaugh said her initial request for a refund was refused and she was later offered a travel credit after months of chasing up with the airline, the travel insurer and her credit card provider.

She also complained to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and the US Department of Transport, but they were unsuccessful in helping her to obtain a refund.

Why you're not entitled to a COVID refund

As consumers, it can leave us angry when a travel company doesn't give us a refund or credit during COVID. But consumer law is far more complex than this, writes business reporter Emilia Terzon.

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Virgin Australia said it does not refund cancelled flights for bookings made before April 20, 2020, when the company entered voluntary administration, as bookings made prior to that date were impacted by the insolvency laws. 

"It's been really tough. It feels like it's been unnecessarily difficult," Ms Harbaugh said, adding that she and her wife have been long-term travellers with the airline.

"We've invested a lot of money flying with Virgin [Australia], and we really didn't shop around as customers, it left a really bad taste in our mouth."

She said she was unlikely to use the flight credit in time, which is mid-2022, but her request for an extension was also rejected.

"A lot of the time that we've had those flight credits living in Melbourne, we've been in lockdown, so we haven't had a chance to actually even fly domestically," she said.

"They certainly aren't providing or offering US flights at the moment, so we can't use them even if we wanted to.

"We are disappointed that we have had to carry this debt."

A surge in travel-related complaints

Like Ms Harbaugh, hundreds of thousands of Australians are sitting on flight credits after their plans were disrupted by the pandemic and subsequent outbreaks and travel restrictions. 

$8b in travel credits ready to be spent

As international borders slowly reopen, Australians are being urged to use a travel agent to rebook their cancelled holidays to ensure they don't lose out.

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Many are facing confusion and frustration in dealing with refunds and flight credits for ill-fated holidays. Many travel credits issued in 2020 may be expiring soon.

However, there is little regulation or consumer protection in how airlines deal with their customers in these circumstances.

It has caused a surge in complaints and many customers are finding it hard to claim their credits, with the risk that millions of dollars are lost to travellers through unclaimed credits.

Consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has received a record number of travel-related complaints since the start of the pandemic.

The ACCC recorded 26,412 complaints in 2020, a 450 per cent increase compared to 2019. This year's number (9,149) remains about 50 per cent higher than pre-COVID levels.

Erin Turner says the travel industry needs fair rules for consumers and stronger regulation.(ABC News: John Gunn)

A 2021 survey by consumer advocacy group CHOICE found 43 per cent of travellers have received some form of travel credit or voucher when they had their trips cancelled or delayed.

"We've seen issues with short expiry dates, with people being unable to transfer credit to a family member or a friend, or facing booking fees or restrictions on how they can use it," Erin Turner, director of campaigns from CHOICE, told the ABC.

"There's potentially a lot of unfair terms and conditions out there and people may struggle using these vouchers over the summer period."

Ms Turner said Australian airlines' customer service went backwards during the pandemic, and people faced unfair hurdles when using their flight credits.

"The airlines aren't taking customer service seriously. In fact, as part of the pandemic response, the airlines removed ways for you to contact them," she said.

"I am worried that airlines are banking on you not using a travel voucher or credit.

"It's your money, but it's sitting with them and their bottom line improves if you don't use it."

26 calls and 60 hours to navigate 'absurd' credit scheme

Newcastle resident Geoff Nattrass has made 26 phone calls to Qantas in the past few months trying to use travel vouchers to book a trip to Hamilton Island with his partner.

Geoff Nattrass says he is disappointed at the national carrier.(ABC News: Ross McLoughlin)

Over the past two years, Mr Nattrass had several interstate trips disrupted due to travel restrictions and he ended up with more vouchers each time.

Mr Nattrass said he managed to use the bulk of the initial $1,800 credit received after his and his partner's trip from Newcastle to Adelaide was cancelled last year, but he described the flight credit scheme as "complex" and "absurd".

"With Qantas, if you've got multiple flight credits, you can't book online, you have to contact the call centre and try and book the flights over there," the 71-year-old retiree told the ABC.

"I've got a stream of emails. You've got to keep almost a spreadsheet to keep track of what's going on.

"It's way too complex and you'd have to be pretty determined to do it.

"I'm retired, I've got the time to spend 60 hours of my life on the phone to book one flight, but I can't imagine what it's like for someone who's working full-time or has kids."

Qantas said about 80 per cent of its customers redeem their flight credits online but, in some circumstances such as complicated travel arrangements or a flight credit that is partially used, the online method may not be applicable.

Flight refund delays

Steven Marvell has been waiting seven months for a refund after flights were cancelled due to COVID-19. Here's what you can do if you have not received your money back.

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Mr Nattrass has made complaints to Qantas and the Airline Consumer Advocate regarding his case.

He said that although he and his partner were likely to travel again before their vouchers expire, he was tired of trying to use his credits.

"Unless Qantas radically changes the system, I can't see me bothered to spend 60 hours, so we're probably going to kiss $400-500 goodbye because it's just not worth the time and effort," he said.

"I think they need to look at the complaints, they need to look at their system."

Total value of travel credits still unknown

The ABC also has spoken to a dozen consumers with flight credits who variously described their airlines' flight credit schemes as "inefficient", "inflexible" and "hard to claim".

Planning an overseas holiday? You could be in for a 'rude shock'

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A spokesperson from Qantas said that the majority of its customers who have flight credits have until the end of 2023, or more than two years, to take their flights.

"Hundreds of thousands of flight credits have already been redeemed by our customers, so any suggestion that airlines don't want customers to use their flight credits has no basis," the spokesperson told the ABC.

"We understand the disruptions caused by COVID travel restrictions have been extremely challenging for customers, which is why we have allowed fee-free moves for all flights, extended the validity of all COVID-related credits and made it easier to redeem them online."

Last week, Virgin Australia resumed its international services but so far, only to Fiji.

"We're committed to helping our customers whose flights or plans have been impacted by COVID-19," a spokesperson told the ABC.

"Our Flexible Flying Policy allows customers to change or cancel their booking without paying a change fee for domestic travel up to 30 April 2022 and for international travel up to 31 December 2022."

Virgin customers who have been given credits for cancelled flights booked before April 20, 2020, have until the end of July next year to book their flights, and those who have been given credits since then have 12 months to use them.

Jetstar said all credit vouchers for flights impacted due to COVID have been extended until December 2022 and they can be used to book multiple flights and for multiple people, while Rex is the only Australian airline that offers a COVID refund guarantee.

But none of the airlines have provided the total value of flight credits they are currently holding. Some industry insiders have estimated it could be worth billions of dollars.

'Confusing' and 'changing' consumer rights

In general, the Australian Consumer Law has our back. But as a result of COVID-related cancellations, it will ultimately come down to the terms and conditions agreed to when a traveller booked their tickets.

Consumer law expert Professor Jeannie Paterson from the University of Melbourne told the ABC that the pandemic has made it harder for people to understand their legal rights.

Jeannie Paterson says Europe and the US have stronger laws that are specifically directed at flights.(ABC News: Crystalyn Brown)

"Unfortunately, it's quite confusing. The rights have changed over the course of pandemics," she said.

"Initially, consumers whose flights were cancelled due to COVID-19 were probably pretty clearly entitled to a refund … I think the situation has changed because it seems to me that airlines have changed their terms and conditions.

"So now, they're asking consumers to take out insurance against COVID cancellations."

Read the fine print

Australians travelling overseas for the first time since international borders reopened are paying hundreds of dollars for travel insurance — but the fine print reveals some very big COVID-related exclusions.

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Professor Paterson said although airlines were facing unprecedented challenges, the anguish from consumers has exposed the flaws in the travel industry and the consumer law.

"We need a strong regulatory reaction," she said.

"It's really important that we get clear guidelines on what consumers' rights are, some practical tips on how to not lose money through the loss of their flight vouchers, and also some guidance to industry and what the government's expectation is to a fair approach to flight credit.

"We don't want airlines to collapse … it should not be an insurmountable hurdle to use a credit or a travel voucher."

How do I make a complaint?

  • 1.Contact the airline, either through email, the online complaint form or by speaking to a senior person at the call centre
  • 2.Approach your local consumer affairs agency or Fair Trading agencies
  • 3.If those methods don't work, you can also complain to the ACCC
  • Professor Paterson said if there is not better regulatory enforcement, then legislation will need to be passed to protect people's entitlements.

    "It's really important that we act now because 2022 I think is going to be surprisingly disrupted and we want people to get a resolution before they're about to expire."

    Calls for strong regulation and law reform

    Ms Turner agrees and is calling on the federal government to establish an independent ombudsman for the travel industry.

    "We've yet to see the ACCC or the federal government look at the underlying structural issues with the consumer law," she said.

    "It's likely that we'll continue to see instances where either you need to cancel travel for health reasons or you're unable to travel. This is our reality now, we need our laws to catch up."

    The ACCC told the ABC that "[the] Commonwealth, and consumer regulators, continue to consider whether any policy reforms or industry actions may help address the issues that have arisen in the pandemic, taking into account a wide range of views from relevant stakeholders".

    "Any reform is ultimately a question for government," an ACCC spokesperson said.

    The federal government and states and territories will conduct a review of the effectiveness of the Australian Consumer Law in the coming months, in response to the consumer issues caused by the pandemic.

    “The ACCC, along with state and territory consumer affairs regulators, has issued guidance for consumers and businesses on a range of areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including bookings for travel and events," Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar told the ABC.

    "If a consumer is having difficulty understanding their rights or dealing with a business, they should speak with their state or territory consumer affairs regulator or the ACCC."

    What if I lost flight credit details?

    • Booking numbers or credit card statements are solid proof
    • A flight credit or voucher is effectively a debt owned by the airline
    • Travellers have rights to contact airlines to retrieve their details

    So far, the New South Wales government has committed to introducing an information standard for travel bookings that is aimed to make it easier to understand what people's rights are when they book a flight.

    In July 2020, the ACCC issued a practice guidance to the travel industry and advised travel providers to prepare to extend the expiry period of any credits and to allow consumers a reasonable period to use their credits after travel restrictions were lifted.

    For the Harbaughs, they are still hopeful that they can reunite with their family in the US next year.

    "We haven't been confident to actually book any additional flights at this stage," Ms Harbaugh said.

    "A lot of travel arrangements will now be last-minute, because we're just too worried about whether or not we're going to lose further money on these sorts of transactions.

    "We're still hopeful that we'll be able to achieve that in 2022, we're just not sure when."

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Who was found guilty of kidnapping US businessman Boris Minakha?


    Batyr Bekmuradov (henchman of Shakro Molodoy ) was found guilty of kidnapping a businessman from the United States Boris Minakha. The jury concluded that the ex-major of the Airborne Forces organized the kidnapping of the businessman in 2016, having found him guilty and not deserving of leniency. Shakro Molodoy's henchman in court did not deny that he was developing such a plan, but then, according to him, abandoned it (the plan). This was reported on December 24 by Kommersant.

    According to Kommersant, in addition to Bekmuradov, businessman David Mirzoev appears in the case (according to some sources, close & nbsp; to the founder of Wimm-Bill-Dann; David & nbsp; Yakobashvili ). Criminal cases were opened against them under Art. 126 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation 'Kidnapping' and according to Art. 330 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation 'Self-government'. The jury considered Shakro Molodoy's henchman to be the organizer of the crime, and Mirzoev & mdash; the instigator.

    What is the background of the case?

    In 2019, the FSB opened a case against Bekmuradov and Mirzoev, a source said.

    According to the investigation, on the night of June 9, 2016, unidentified persons stopped Boris Minakha's car near his house in Gorki-2 near Moscow. on Rublevskoe highway. Then they tied the businessman and his driver, put bags on their heads and took them away towards the village, locked them in the garage.

    The attackers forced the businessman to “ admit a debt of $ 21 million to the aforementioned David Yakobashvili after their sale elevator in the port of Yeisk on the Azov Sea. However, the men who attacked Minakhi were never identified. But the investigators came to the conclusion that Bekmuradov controlled the abduction remotely, while Mirzoev initiated the abduction.

    & nbsp; Does it recognize itself Is Bekmuradov guilty?

    Partially yes. According to the lawyer Yaroslav Pakulin , Batyr Bekmuradov pleaded guilty only to arbitrariness. He confessed that he was preparing a “ forceful effect in order to persuade the victim to return the money. '' But the abduction order was allegedly not received from him. He noted that the idea was “ abandoned by the instigator '' (Mirzoev).

    The human rights activist also added that he asked the jury to study the audio recording of Bekmuradov's conversation with the security guard of his private security company, which sets out plans for the future without mentioning the victim's name. Pakulin emphasized that the conversation was not about the abduction of Minakha itself, but a scheme with “ delivery to Mirzoev's office with the help of a traffic police inspector. '' What was provided to the jury, the lawyer believes, are not complete recordings of the negotiations, but only phrases taken out of context.

    The former paratrooper was in jail for the entire time of the trial and investigation, Mirzoev was under recognizance not to leave. After the verdict he was arrested. The punishment for the defendants will be known as early as next year.

    What else is known about Bekmuradov and Mirzoev?

    Bekmuradov is originally from Turkmenistan, but studied in Russia. Graduated from the Ryazan Airborne School. Then he worked as a career soldier, carried out combat missions & nbsp; Transnistria, Abkhazia and Yugoslavia. In 2008, he became an advisor to Anatoly Pochukayev, the head of the Ozersky district of the Moscow region. After some time, having obtained connections, Bekmuradov began to provide collection and security services. He met the head of a large mafia clan, Zakhary Kalashov (Shakro Molodoy). And in 2018, thanks to such connections, he came under criminal prosecution. In March 2018, according to Kommersant's information, he was sentenced to almost 9 years for participation in an organized crime group by kingpin Shakro Molodoy. Bekmuradov tried several times to appeal against the verdict, but to no avail.

    It is known about David Mirzoev that he is the nephew of billionaire David Yakoboshvili. The oligarch allowed Mirzoev to conduct many of his affairs. When Yakoboshvili fell ill, his nephew completely replaced his uncle for a while. During this period, according to the media, Mirzoev, being well acquainted with Bekmuradov, sent him to his senior comrade Zakhary Kalashov as the head of his security service. From that moment, Bekmuradov got into the criminal world and became Shakro Molodoy's henchman.

    Source: https://www.kommersant.ru

    Источник aif.ru


    Suga from BTS tests positive for COVID-19 after return from US


    Suga, songwriter and rapper for K-pop sensation BTS, has tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from in-person concerts in the United States, the group's management says.

    Key points:

    • Suga confirmed he had contracted the virus on Friday and was not showing symptoms
    • He had received his second COVID-19 vaccination in August

    • He has not come in contact with any other members recently and is recovering at home

    Suga, 28, whose real name is Min Yoon-gi, was confirmed to have contracted the virus on Friday while quarantining after returning home on Thursday, according to Bit Hit Music.

    He had received his second COVID-19 vaccination in August, had not come in contact with any other members recently and was not showing any symptoms, the company said.

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    "He is currently administering self-care at home," it said in a statement.

    "We see the artists' health as our top priority, and will do everything we can to aid SUGA in his speedy recovery."

    The band has had "a number of personal engagements in the United States" after holding their first in-person concerts in Los Angeles since the start of the pandemic.

    Big Hit has said BTS would take a break over year-end holidays and prepare for a new concert and album.

    Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from December 24 with a look back at our blog

    Since their 2013 debut, BTS has spearheaded a global K-Pop craze with catchy, upbeat music and dances as well as lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering young people.

    The group won the top prize of artist of the year at the American Music Awards for the first time in November, and best pop song for their summer hit Butter, among other awards.

    As the pandemic swept the world, BTS postponed and then called off what would have been their biggest global tour involving nearly 40 concerts last year, resorting to online shows.

    What you need to know about coronavirus:

    Loading form…

    Reuters

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    ASX to lift as Wall Street gains on upbeat US economic data


    Australian shares are expected to start the day higher as Wall Street has gained on upbeat economic data and encouraging Omicron update.

    Key points:

    • The ASX looks set to follow Wall Street's rally upwards at the open
    • US consumer confidence improved further in December
    • European shares ended on Wednesday at near one-week highs

    ASX futures were up 0.4 per cent to 7,300, by 7:22am AEDT.

    The Australian dollar was trading at $72.10 US cents, slightly higher than yesterday (up 0.8 per cent).

    Wall Street's main indexes pushed higher on Wednesday in a broad rally after upbeat consumer confidence and other economic data and hopeful developments about the severity of the Omicron coronavirus variant that is sweeping the world.

    Stocks gained for a second straight session as volatility has ratcheted up in the last month of 2021 following the arrival of Omicron and an otherwise strong year for equities.

    A South African study suggested reduced risks of hospitalisation and severe disease in people infected with the Omicron variant versus the Delta one, but World Health Organization officials cautioned that it was too soon to draw firm conclusions.

    “We are still struggling for direction in the face of the Omicron outbreak, but in the past few days … more and more evidence is building that the strain is potentially less severe than prior strains, specifically Delta, which bodes well for economic momentum in 2022,” said Mike Stritch, chief investment officer at BMO Wealth Management.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 195 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 35,687, by 7:21am AEDT.

    US consumer confidence improved further in December, suggesting the economy would continue to expand in 2022.

    The survey from the Conference Board showed more consumers planned to buy a house and big-ticket items such as motor vehicles and major household appliances as well as go on vacation over the next six months.

    Other reports showed US home sales increased for a third straight month in November, and that gross domestic product increased at a 2.3 per cent annualised rate in the July-September quarter, revised up from the 2.1 per cent rate estimated last month.

    All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by consumer discretionary.

    The benchmark S&P 500 was up about 24.5 per cent so far in 2021.

    European shares at near one-week highs

    European shares ended on Wednesday at near one-week highs, led by gains in technology and industrial stocks, even as investors worried about the outlook for global recovery amid a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.

    The pan-European STOXX 600 climbed 0.8 per cent, adding to a 1.4 per cent jump in the previous session, which was also its best day in two weeks.

    Technology shares led gains, followed by industrials, travel and construction-related stocks.

    Global markets have been on edge this month as the rapidly spreading Omicron strain of the coronavirus has pushed some countries to reimpose restrictions on daily life, disrupting travel and hampering economic activity.

    "There's a lot of treading water going on and waiting for the Omicron storm to hit, as a lot of traders are hanging onto every bit of scientific data around the severity of the new strain," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

    "It's going to be a very cautious mood for equities, rather than any kind of euphoria, heading into Christmas."

    Thin liquidity and risk associated with Omicron's spread have led to volatility in the benchmark index in recent days.

    Meanwhile, the European Central Bank could raise rates as soon as the end of next year, and heralding an end to ECB bond purchases would be a strong signal that the move is coming in the next two quarters, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said.

    The ECB at its last meeting promised to provide monetary support by temporarily doubling its asset purchases before it ends its emergency bond buys by next March.

    ABC/Reuters

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    US to introduce further sanctions on China over Uyghur human rights abuses


    The Biden administration says it will impose new sanctions on several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies for actions in Xinjiang province, the latest move against Beijing over human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims in the country's western region.

    Key points:

    • The sanctions target 11 research institutes using biotechnology to support the Chinese military

    • US companies will be barred from selling components without a license

    • More sanctions are expected

    The Commerce Department is targeting China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes that focus on using biotechnology to support the Chinese military.

    The move will bar American companies from selling components to the entities without a license.

    "The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives," commerce secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

    "Unfortunately, the PRC (People's Republic of China) is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups.

    "We cannot allow US commodities, technologies, and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to US national security."

    US intelligence said Beijing had set up a high-tech surveillance system across Xinjiang.(ABC News: Tracey Shelton)

    The Treasury Department is also set to issue penalties against several Chinese entities, according to a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the soon-to-be-announced moves.

    The official, explaining the Commerce Department's actions, said US intelligence had established that Beijing had set up a high-tech surveillance system across Xinjiang that uses biometric facial recognition and had collected DNA samples from residents as part of a systematic effort to suppress Uyghurs.

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    The department, in a rule detailing its decision, said a review by multiple federal agencies had determined that the Chinese academy and research institutes "use biotechnology processes to support Chinese military end uses and end users, to include purported brain-control weaponry".

    The Treasury Department last week also announced a ban on US investment in the Chinese facial recognition company SenseTime over concerns the technology was being used to oppress Uyghurs.

    The White House announced last week it would stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China's "egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang".

    US athletes will continue to compete but Mr Biden will not send the usual contingent of dignitaries.

    The administration also said this week that it supported bipartisan legislation that bans imports into the US from Xinjiang unless companies can demonstrate the goods were not produced by forced labour.

    China has denied any abuses and said the steps it took were necessary to combat terrorism and a separatist movement.

    AP

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Inflation and COVID spook US investors, with ASX set to follow


    The Australian share market is set to open lower on Wednesday, as US investors get spooked by fresh inflation figures and the global spread of Omicron.

    Key points:

    • Wall Street has taken a hit with tech-stocks including Google and Apple leading the losses
    • Central banks in the US and Europe are both set to meet on monetary policy
    • ASX set to follow Wall Street down

    At 7:45am AEDT, ASX 200 futures were down 0.3 per cent.

    As well as Wall Street, European stocks were also down as cases of the latest strain of COVID surge there, with Omicron already becoming the dominant strain in London.

    The region's central banks are also meeting this week to determine economic policy.

    "Equity markets will stay skittish as there is tension between Omicron," European analyst Nick Nelson saiad.

    "While we stand between two earnings seasons.

    "But we're no longer talking about the same restrictions we had in Q1 2021 or 2020, so in the near term, restrictions across Europe will only be a modest drag on growth."

    In the US, the Federal Reserve is tomorrow set to make a decision on next year's monetary policy. 

    Data just out showed the prices producers paid for inputs increased more than expected in November, adding to ongoing woes about supply chain bottlenecks and rising inflation in the US.

    The producer price index (PPI) for final demand jumped 9.6 per cent from a year earlier, a record in figures going back to 2010.

    A longer running measure of PPI for finished goods surged 13.3 per cent, the most since 1980.

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    "Higher producer prices can flow through to higher consumer prices, supporting our view that US inflation will not ease back to the FOMC’s 2 per cent per year target any time soon," NAB noted this morning.

    The Fed is expected to pull back sooner than expected on asset purchases and potentially even raise rates earlier than forecast.

    Ten-year treasury yields were 2 points higher today, showing that investor believe rates will be raised sooner than previously thought.

    "A steelier tone, a higher dot plot and a doubling of the pace of tapering from $US15 billion to $US30 billion are widely expected," ANZ forecast this morning about the Federal Reserve's meeting this week.

    "If inflation forecasts are raised it would show greater uncertainty about the FOMC’s confidence in meeting its inflation target."

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.3 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.8 per cent, while the Nasdaq lost more than 1.1 per.

    Mega tech stocks including Tesla, Google and Amazon fell between 1 and 4 per cent.

    Apple was down 1.2 per cent after the iPhone maker said it would require customers and employees to wear masks at its US retail stores as COVID-19 cases surge.

    ABC/wires

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Poland announced softening of the US position on “Nord Stream-2”


    Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Jablonski: US position on Nord Stream 2 softened The country's Deputy Foreign Minister called the gas pipeline a “strategic mistake” of Europe. He accused the United States of unwillingness to take concrete measures against Nord Stream 2

    The White House has repeatedly warned Berlin about the consequences of the commissioning of Nord Stream 2, but recently its position has softened, said Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Jablonski in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.

    “ In words. The US is opposed, but when it comes to concrete action, it is much less assertive. They just retreat in the hope that we will win ourselves a few months of peace, '' & mdash; said the politician. In his opinion, such an approach is naive and will not help to ensure security in Europe & mdash; this requires sanctions.

    According to Yablonsky, the commissioning of the gas pipeline will allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence the Ukrainian government, because now Ukraine is “ 100% dependent on Russian gas. '' “ Without a war, without a military invasion, he will be able to change the political mood in the country, shifting them to the pro-Russian side, '' & mdash; the deputy minister emphasized.

    He called it Nord Stream 2 'strategic mistake' Europe and said that security is more important than business interests, “ especially when it comes to the interests of only a few German companies. ''

    Washington actively opposed Nord Stream 2, stating that Moscow would use the pipeline to influence other countries. In July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United States President Joe Biden signed an agreement: Germany promised to support sanctions against Russia if it uses gas transit to pressure other countries, including Ukraine. The agreement allowed Russia to complete the construction of the gas pipeline.

    Kiev and Warsaw condemned the United States and Germany for refusing to try to stop the gas pipeline. They said the deal “ posed additional political, military and energy threats to Ukraine and Central Europe as a whole. ''

    Nord Stream 2 completed in September, it is ready to launch. For this, the pipeline must be approved by the German and European regulators. Germany must make a decision by January 8, 2022, then the European Commission will consider it for another two months, which has the right to extend the deadline until May 8, 2022.

    US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland said on December 7 that the country expects to stop Germany to implement the Nord Stream 2 project in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some Western media began writing about the alleged offensive at the end of October, Moscow has repeatedly denied such accusations.

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    Источник rbc.ru


    Kentucky tornado sends photo more than 200km across US


    When Katie Posten walked outside to her car parked in her driveway, she saw something that looked like a note or receipt stuck to the windshield.

    She grabbed it and saw it was a black and white photo of a woman in a striped sundress and headscarf holding a little boy in her lap.

    On the back, written in cursive, it said, "Gertie Swatzell & J.D. Swatzell 1942".

    A few hours later, Ms Posten would discover that the photo had made quite a journey — more than 200 kilometres on the back of monstrous winds.

    Ms Posten had been tracking the tornadoes that hit the middle of the US Friday night (local time), killing dozens of people.

    The small Kentucky town of Dawson Springs was devastated by a tornado.(Reuters: Minh Connors/USA Today)

    They came close to where she lives in New Albany, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. So she figured it must be debris from someone's damaged home.

    "Seeing the date, I realised that was likely from a home hit by a tornado. How else is it going to be there?" Ms Posten said in a phone interview.

    "It's not a receipt. It's well-kept photo."

    So, doing what any 21st century person would do, she posted an image of the photo on Facebook and Twitter and asked for help in finding its owners.

    Loading

    She said she was hoping someone on social media would have a connection to the photo or share it with someone who had a connection.

    Sure enough, that's what happened.

    "A lot of people shared it on Facebook. Someone came across it who is friends with a man with the same last name, and they tagged him," said Ms Posten, 30, who works for a tech company.

    That man was Cole Swatzell, who commented that the photo belonged to family members in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, almost 210 km away from New Albany, as the crow flies, and 270km away by car.

    In Dawson Springs — a town of about 2,700 people — homes were levelled, trees were splintered and search and rescue teams continued to scour the community for any survivors.

    Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 57 seconds57s A deadly tornado has struck the US, destroying homes and leaving dozens dead.

    Dozens of people across five US states were killed.

    Ms Posten plans to return the photo to the Swatzell family sometime this week.

    "It's really remarkable, definitely one of those things, given all that has happened, that makes you consider how valuable things are — memories, family heirlooms, and those kinds of things," Ms Posten said.

    "It shows you the power of social media for good. It was encouraging that immediately there were tons of replies from people, looking up ancestry records, and saying 'I know someone who knows someone and I'd like to help'."

    AP

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Inside this tiny store in Buffalo, a monumental union vote could make US history


    More than a year after Christopher Smalls was fired from his job at Amazon, he remains an active presence at the Staten Island warehouse where he used to work.

    Most days — and many nights — the former supervisor can be found at a nearby bus stop, approaching workers as they clock on and off shifts, and encouraging them to unionise.

    In March 2020, just days before New York City's daily COVID-19 case numbers peaked above 12,000, Mr Smalls organised a walkout over what he saw as his employer's failure to take adequate precautions during a deadly pandemic.

    "Workers were treated like numbers and robots," he said.

    "I tried to draw some attention to what was going on behind the scenes."

    Mr Smalls approaches workers as they clock on and off shifts at the Amazon warehouse, encouraging them to unionise.(ABC News: Bradley McLennan)

    Mr Smalls wanted Amazon to grant staff paid leave and temporarily close the supersized warehouse, known as JFK8.

    He asked the company to properly sterilise it after several of his colleagues fell ill.

    Instead, the company fired him on the grounds he had put "the health and safety of others at risk" by returning to work too soon after being exposed to coronavirus.

    "Despite [the] instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite," an Amazon spokesperson said in the statement.

    Mr Smalls continues to argue it was retaliation — he had returned to protest — and has launched an unfair dismissal claim with the help of New York Attorney-General Leticia James.

    Christopher Smalls lost his job after protesting over workplace safety concerns during the pandemic.(Reuters: Lucas Jackson)

    He is also taking on the retail giant in another way, working with a group of his former colleagues to form an independent union to represent nearly 10,000 workers across JFK8 and three other Staten Island warehouses.

    The world's richest man faces a 'robot' uprising

    The fledgling union — dubbed the Amazon Labor Union — would be the first of its kind in the country, following a failed bid to unionise a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama in April.

    To make it a reality, nearly a third of those workers need to sign a petition to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a vote. At least half then need to vote "yes".

    "I don't want what happened to me to happen anybody else, especially during the pandemic," Mr Smalls said.

    "I think it's long overdue."

    The coronavirus crisis has brought new momentum in the push for employees to speak out about workplace conditions.(ABC News: Bradley McLennan)

    Unlike the Bessemer campaign, which was organised by a professional union, the ALU is worker-led and entirely crowdfunded, receiving more than $US50,000 ($70,000) in donations to date.

    It recently submitted then withdrew a petition but plans to file again before the end of the year.

    "There [are] not a lot of Amazon workers that last," said Derrick Palmer, who co-founded the ALU with Mr Smalls.

    "The job is physically demanding, mentally taxing and there is a lack of transparency about decision-making."

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    Mr Palmer is also among several JFK8 workers who sued Amazon in June 2020 for "failures to comply with New York law and state and federal public health guidance" during the pandemic.

    "Amazon is not a small business doing its best," the lawsuit stated.

    "Amazon is one of the wealthiest companies in the world, and it uses cutting-edge technology to monitor its workers at JFK8, choreographing their locations within the facility by algorithm and using handheld scanners and smartphone applications to record their movements and track, on a minute-by-minute basis, whether they are working or are 'off task'."

    Amazon workers faced increased demand during COVID and some are advocating for more safety measures.(ABC News: Bradley McLennan)

    The lawsuit explained that workers were forced to maintain "dizzying speeds, even if doing so prevents them from socially distancing, washing their hands and sanitising their work spaces".

    "It was very devastating," Mr Palmer said.

    "The fact they were undermining the safety and not taking our opinions seriously … felt like a slap in the face."

    Many of the issues Mr Palmer wants fixed — from the long shifts to short breaks, and near constant surveillance — predate the pandemic, but he described COVID-19 as "a tipping point".

    Amazon is valued at around $US1.8 trillion, with profits skyrocketing during the pandemic.

    In July, the company's founder, Jeff Bezos, flew in a rocket to space and has increased his personal wealth from $US113 billion to more than $US192 billion since the pandemic began.

    The ALU, by comparison, is calling for more competitive wages, alongside more generous leave policies, longer breaks, improved promotion pathways and stronger COVID-19 protections.

    The average hourly rate for a new Amazon worker is currently around $US18.

    "Jeff Bezos can afford it," Mr Smalls said.

    "We all know that he's one of the richest men in the world. And I think that it's time that he paid his fair share to his workers."

    A historic win for 'essential' workers

    At the opposite end of New York State, in Buffalo, another David versus Goliath-style stand-off has been brewing for months.

    The city, which has a distinctly small-town feel, has been in the national spotlight while a group of Starbucks workers fight to unionise three local stores.

    More than 100 days after filing a petition with the NLRB, one of the stores recently clocked a victory, when workers voted 19 to eight in favour of the unionising.

    Loading

    Around 111 workers were eligible to vote and 78 ballots were counted on Thursday. A second store voted against the union, while a third result remains unclear.

    "It feels amazing to be a part of it," said Michelle Eisen, a barista at the Elmwood store, which is now the first — and only — unionised Starbucks in the US.

    Starbucks workers at a Buffalo store voted to unionise last week — a first for the 50-year-old coffee retailer in the US.(AP: Joshua Bessex)

    Ms Eisen, who has worked for the company for more than a decade, has been outspoken in recent months about the need for workers' voices to be heard.

    "We were given this title of being an 'essential' worker but none of these companies have ever made us feel like we were essential," she said.

    "They gave us this title and then didn't do much to increase our wages, didn't do much to make sure that we were safe."

    Loading

    While 27 unionised workers in a company with more than 8,000 locations across the US may not seem like many, they represent a huge symbolic victory for the labour movement.

    The scale of Starbucks' efforts to stamp out the Buffalo campaign speaks to the domino effect many large corporations fear could result if any union push gains traction.

    To counter the Buffalo campaign, the company parachuted managers, executives and even its founder — Howard Shultz —  into the city to try to convince the workers to vote "no", crowding stores and hosting a series of "listening sessions".

    The first Starbucks union has clocked a historic win in the US.(ABC News: Bradley McLennan)

    "[We] have partners who don't feel the partnership we pride ourselves on having, which is heartbreaking to me," said Rossann Williams, a top Starbucks executive, in an open letter to staff.

    "And truth be told, the operational challenges … can only be solved by us, from within Starbucks."

    Starbucks and Amazon have publicly stated they are union agnostic but both have deployed tactics clearly intended to crack down on union activity.

    In a statement Amazon clarified its position: "Our focus remains on listening directly to our employees and continuously improving on their behalf.

    "We respect the right of our employees to join, or not join, a union.

    "As a company we prefer direct engagement with our employees and find it is the most effective way to make continuous improvements quickly and nimbly."

    'We are this company.'

    The workers that spearheaded the recent Buffalo campaign have repeatedly urged Starbucks to live up to its purported values. 

    Many say it was the company's community-focused mission, range of benefits and overall flexibility that attracted them to apply in the first place.

    Michelle Eisen is hoping workers will be able to take on Starbucks more in future.(ABC News: Bradley McLennan)

    "It was an unbelievably long road to get to this point," Ms Eisen said in a press conference following the ballot, which was live-streamed on Zoom.

    "And we are standing here, having succeeded, in spite of everything that was done to try and prevent this.

    "Now we want to say to Starbucks: This is not who you are. This is not who we are. Union-busting is not this company. We are this company."

    A reset moment for the labour movement

    The erosion of unions in the US has happened over decades, accompanied by an unravelling of labour laws designed to protect workers.

    The pandemic threw the decay into sharp relief.

    In particular, low-wage workers, who are disproportionately women and people of colour, bore the worst impacts of the extreme economic inequality accelerated by the crisis.

    Unions could disrupt the level of control that Starbucks and Amazon has over its employees.(ABC News: Bradley McLennan)

    Meanwhile, the wealth of US billionaires ballooned by roughly $US2.1 trillion and the overall number of billionaires increased from 614 to 745, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

    "The pandemic didn't introduce grievances. It sharpened them," said Bryant Simon, a labour historian who has written extensively on the role of Starbucks in American life. 

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    Unions are shown to improve conditions and wages for union and non-union members alike, providing a mechanism to tackle income inequality and help counteract disparities caused by structural racism and sexism

    In August, 4.3 million of some 160 million American workers quit their jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, leaving 11 million unfilled roles.

    In October, tens of thousands of workers went on strike.

    As Mr Simon put it: “Working people understand the inner workings of the economy better than they're usually given credit for. What’s changed is the labour supply, not the grievances."

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Biden postponed the US shutdown


    Photo: Still from video

    A release has been released on the White House website stating that US President Joe Biden signed an extension law government funding until February 18.

    Thus, he postponed the shutdown – the suspension of government work due to lack of funding. Earlier, the US Senate approved the allocation of funds until February 18.

    It is clarified that among the goals of government agencies is to support evacuated citizens from Afghanistan.

    Источник www.mk.ru


    Board Tel Aviv – Moscow changed course due to US reconnaissance aircraft


    A passenger plane flying from Tel Aviv to Moscow was forced to change course in order to avoid a rapprochement with an American reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea, Interfax reports.

    According to the words the agency's source in air traffic control services, the incident occurred the day before, one of the two US reconnaissance aircraft randomly crossed the established civil aviation routes and approached the airliner.

    It is noted that the vertical distance between Airbus and American aircraft was less than 20 meters … In this regard, the controllers instructed the passenger aircraft to descend 500 meters and take a safer flight level.

    At the same time, the intruder did not respond to requests from the ground.

    Earlier it was reported that Russian Su-27 and Su-30 fighters escorted United States reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea. There was no violation of the Russian border.

    Источник aif.ru


    US stocks rebound as Boeing surges and investors buy the dip


    Wall Street has rebounded after a week of wild swings, with investors buying up battered shares.

    Key points:

    • The Dow Jones index rose 1.9pc to 34,678, the S&P 500 rose 1.6pc to 4,585, while the Nasdaq  Composite rose 0.8pc to 15,381
    • The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.6pc to 7,129, the DAX in Germany fell 1.4pc to 15,263, and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 1.3pc to 6,796.
    • The ASX SPI 200 rose 0.9pc to 7,283, while the Australian dollar fell 0.2pc to around 70.91 US cents

    The Australian market is set to follow suit, with the futures index, the ASX SPI 200, up 0.9 per cent to 7,283. 

    Meantime, the Australian dollar was down 0.2 per cent to about 70.91 US cents at 7:10am AEDT.

    It fell to 70.64 US cents this week.

    US shares rallied, with aircraft maker Boeing surging after saying it had made progress in getting Chinese approval of its 737 MAX plane. 

    China's aviation authority has issued an airworthiness directive on the aircraft that will help pave the way for the 737 MAX's return to service in China after two and a half years. 

    China's aviation regulator was the first to ground the aircraft in 2019 after two deadly crashes.

    The market recovered ground lost yesterday, which saw a steep sell-off in the last hour of trade on worries about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the upcoming withdrawal of stimulus by the US central bank. 

    Value stocks, economically sensitive smaller stocks and transport firms did the best, with travel and hospitality stocks also bouncing back. 

     "Obviously, there's concern about Omicron but there's a feeling that infections aren't as severe as initially thought," Oliver Pursche, from Wealthspire Advisors in New York, said.

    "Second, economic data, particularly labour data, is coming out on the strong side."

    At 7:10am AEDT, the Dow Jones index was up 1.9 per cent or 651 points to 34,678, the S&P 500 rose 1.6 per cent to 4,585, while the Nasdaq  Composite rose 0.8 per cent to 15,381. 

    Jobless claims fall 

    New claims for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week and lay-offs fell to the lowest level in more than 28 years. 

    Claims rose by 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the ending November 27. 

    They dropped in the week before to 194,000, the lowest since 1969.

    That probably indicates people have found work in a tight labour market or exhausted their benefits.

    A US Chamber of Commerce survey showed many Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic had not returned to work.

    There were 10.4 million job openings at the end of September.

    The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits was 2.31 million in mid-November.

    Investors will now turn to the latest official US unemployment figures, which are out tonight. 

    Economists expect non-farm payrolls to have increased by 550,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate is expected to have fallen from 4.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent. 

    European stocks 

    European shares lost ground as countries ramped up restrictions to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. 

    The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.6 per cent to 7,129, the DAX in Germany fell 1.4 per cent to 15,263, and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 1.3 per cent to 6,796.

    Oil prices are higher, with Brent Crude up 1.9 per cent to $US70.17 a barrel, while spot gold has fallen 0.8 per cent to $US1,767.79 an ounce.

    OPEC and other major oil producers maintained their regular oil production increase of 400,000 barrels a day at a meeting overnight. 

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Stocks fall as US central bank says stimulus will be reduced


    Wall Street's main indexes have tumbled in the wake of the US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell saying the risk of higher inflation has increased and the US central bank is considering winding down bond purchases earlier than forecast. 

    Key points:

    • At 7am AEDT, the Dow Jones index was down 1.7pc to 34,539, the S&P 500 was down 1.6pc to 4,579, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.6pc to 15,536
    • The FTSE 100 was down 0.7 per cent to 7,059, the DAX was down 1.2 per cent to 15,100 and the CAC 40 was down 0.8 per cent to 6,721
    • The Australian dollar was down 0.2pc to 71.20 US cents at 7am AEDT, while the ASX SPI 200 index had fallen 0.7pc to 7,184

    In his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Mr Powell said the US central bank was widely expected to revisit its plan to scale back bond purchases at its meeting in two weeks because of a strong economy and surging inflation. 

    Mr Powell told the committee the US economy continued to strengthen, job growth remained robust and high inflation was expected to last longer than the US central bank expected. 

    "At this point, the economy is very strong and inflationary pressures are high and it is therefore appropriate, in my view, to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases, which we actually announced at our November meeting, a few months sooner," he said. 

    Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York, said the Federal Reserve was being hawkish despite the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. 

    "Right now, there were some expectations that we'd hear a more dovish Federal Reserve, but we're not," he said.

    "We're hearing a more hawkish Fed, but not that hawkish to the extent that people are betting that they'll raise rates sooner next year."

    Markets slump

    Mr Powell's comments weighed on markets that were already concerned about the Omicron variant.

    Moderna's chief executive had issued a warning about the effectiveness of COVID-19 shots against the strain.

    The vaccine maker's shares dropped 3.7 per cent at 7am AEDT, while Regeneron Pharmaceuticals fell after it said its COVID-19 antibody treatment and other similar drugs could be less effective against Omicron.

    At 7am AEDT, the Dow Jones index was down 1.7 per cent to 34,539, the S&P 500 was down 1.6 per cent to 4,579, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6 per cent to 15,536. 

    The declines were broad based, with all the 11 major S&P sectors down.

    Communication services dropped, followed by energy, financials, travel and leisure firms. 

    The uncertainty has triggered fresh alarm at a time when supply chain logjams are weighing on economic recovery and central banks globally are contemplating a return to pre-pandemic monetary policy to tackle a surge in inflation.

    US consumer confidence slipped in November amid concerns about the rising cost of living and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    European markets

    In Europe, inflation in the eurozone hit a record 4.9 per cent over the year to November. 

    The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.7 per cent to 7,059, the DAX in Germany dropped 1.2 per cent to 15,100 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.8 per cent to 6,721. 

    Spot gold dropped 0.7 per cent to $US1,773.60 an ounce and Brent crude oil slumped 3.9 per cent to $US70.57 a barrel.

    The Australian dollar was trading at about 71.20 US cents at 7am AEDT, down 0.24 per cent, while the ASX SPI 200 index was down 0.7 per cent to 7,184, indicating a fall on the share market today. 

    ABC/Reuters

    Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


    Hill learns of the reluctance of the US authorities to tighten sanctions against Nord Stream


    Secretary of State Anthony Blinken calls on Democratic senators to block the corresponding amendment to the defense budget. The Biden administration wants to avoid tougher sanctions, as it fears discontent from Germany

    The administration of US President Joe Biden opposes the imposition of tougher sanctions on the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as it “ fears discontent from Germany, an important European ally in the fight against climate change and limiting China's growing influence in the world, '' writes The Hill.

    According to the publication, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is calling on Democratic senators to block amendments to the draft defense budget, which involve the imposition of sanctions against companies involved in inspections and certification of the gas pipeline, which are necessary before it is put into operation. Among the authors of the amendments & mdash; Republican Senators James Risch (Idaho) and Ted Cruz (Texas).

    According to a source, administration officials are “ creating procedural difficulties to avoid a politically difficult vote. '' The interlocutor said that the Democrats are “ very nervous '' because of the issue of voting on the pipeline, since under the previous administration they themselves opposed the project, but under Joe Biden the situation changed.

    Rish and Cruz will insist on a vote, reports The Hill. The publication reports that last week the Idaho Senator opposed the continuation of work on the draft defense budget without this amendment.

    The US State Department declined to comment.

    Foreign Policy also wrote about the desire of the US President and his supporters to persuade Congressmen to remove amendments to the pipeline sanctions from the defense budget. Interlocutors reported that the administration is trying to prevent the imposition of restrictions on German companies, since it is important for the United States not to “ push away '' Germany, which will prove to be an important ally if Russia invades Ukraine. In addition, the report said, Democrats believe that the inclusion of amendments to the budget could limit the ability of the executive branch to impose and extend sanctions.

    A group of Republicans led by Riche proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2022 in early November. If it is adopted, Biden will have to impose sanctions within 15 days against “ any organization responsible for planning the project, construction and operation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, as well as against the main shareholder of such a company.

    Cruz & mdash; a proponent of tough measures against Nord Stream 2, he said that Biden was not doing enough to block the construction of the Russian pipeline. The Republican criticized the decision of Washington, which in the spring did not impose restrictions on the company & mdash; operator of the Nord Stream 2 AG project. He called the deal between Germany and the United States on a gas pipeline allowing Russia to complete the project a disaster.

    Nord Stream 2; completed in September this year. The pipeline is ready for launch as soon as it receives the approval of the German and European regulators.

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