The Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, February Update

The Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, February Update:

And private equity is all over it.

The brick-and-mortar retail meltdown – despite protestations to the contrary – continues with a mechanistic air of inevitability. This started in 2015, took off in 2016, and picked up pace and magnitude in 2017, a progression I documented along the way. Now in 2018, there has been a brutal January and here’s the even more brutal February.

Bon-Ton Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 4. The filing by the regional department store chain based in Pennsylvania was the largest bankruptcy filing by a retailer in 2018. It had been discussing with its creditors a restructuring of its debts, but that had turned out to be fruitless.

Read moreThe Brick & Mortar Retail Meltdown, February Update

FM Lavrov: US training EU armies to nuke Russia

US training EU armies to nuke Russia: Lavrov:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of hurdling international nuclear disarmament efforts by training European armies to use tactical nuclear weapons against Russia.

Addressing the United Nations Conference on Disarmament on Wednesday, Lavrov said the US military had deployed strategic and non-strategic weapons across Europe and was using them in joint military exercises with other European countries, including the NATO military alliance’s non-nuclear members.

“As we all know, these nuclear missions violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and non-nuclear states plan and take part in the US exercises and learn how to use the nuclear weapons,” he said.

“It should be clear to one and all that the US military thereby prepares the European countries for using tactical nuclear weapons against Russia,” Lavrov added.

Besides prohibiting proliferation of nuclear arms, the NPT bans states from transferring nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, or their control, to other countries.

Read moreFM Lavrov: US training EU armies to nuke Russia

Puerto Rico: Hurricane destroyed wind, solar. Plus five months on, 15% still blacked out.

Puerto Rico: Hurricane destroyed wind, solar. Plus five months on, 15% still blacked out:

In South Australia, when the lights went out, Olympic Dam took two entire weeks to get operational again. Spare a thought for those in Puerto Rico. Right now, five months later, and one in 6 still don’t have electricity. That’s five full months of blackout –  surviving off candles, car batteries, small diesels and whatever anyone can get. Some people will be waiting til May. Though that’s “95%” connected, so still no joy or lights, for one in 20 people. How do you put a roof back on your house when you can’t even power up your drill? (See The Atlantics photo montage from January 27th to get some idea of what life is like, months after the storm).

Puerto Rico has 3.6 million people, was poor and corrupt, with failing infrastructure and huge debts before Hurricane Maria hit on Sept 20th. The government has a budget of $10b per year, but owes more than $70b. The hurricane wiped out 80% of the infrastructure, completely trashing some of the solar and wind “farms”, and bringing down transmission lines.

H/t reader kevin a.

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German primary school with 99% migrants now needs security guards against explosion of violence

More enrichment….

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Lebanon army says ready to confront Israeli military aggression

Lebanon army says ready to confront Israeli military aggression:

H/t reader Squodgy:

“With the full backing of the U.S. puppet military and presumably its President, I can’t think how Lebanon’s preparations have any chance unless Vlad’s been supplying s-400’s etc.”

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Theresa May rejects EU’s plan for Northern Ireland border, says will never agree to it

Theresa May rejects EU’s plan for Northern Ireland border, says will never agree to it:

British Prime Minister Theresa May says a European Union draft proposal for Northern Ireland’s border threatens the “constitutional integrity” of the UK, and that she will “never” agree to it

“The draft legal text the Commission have published would, if implemented, undermine the UK common market and threaten the constitutional integrity of the UK by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea, and no UK prime minster could ever agree to it,” May said Wednesday at the weekly Prime Minister Question session in the British House of Commons.

May declared she will be making it clear to EU officials that her government will never sign up to the document: “I will be making it crystal clear to President Juncker and others that we will never do so.”

The EU’s draft withdrawal agreement includes a proposal to effectively keep Northern Ireland inside the bloc’s single market and customs union in order to ensure there will be no hard border with Ireland, an EU member state.

Read moreTheresa May rejects EU’s plan for Northern Ireland border, says will never agree to it