Escalation In The Middle East Appears Imminent
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/03/02-16:30]

Escalation In The Middle East Appears Imminent

Submitted by SouthFront.org,

Escalation in the Middle East appears imminent, due to various incidents that took place throughout the region.

On February 25th, the Israeli-owned vehicle carrying vessel – MV Helios Ray was rocked by a heavy explosion, but didn’t sink. According to the owner of the vessel, it wasn’t known what had struck the Helios Ray, but likely it was “missiles or a mine placed on the bow.” It took two days of investigation to reach an obvious conclusion – Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Iran had carried out the attack.

Israeli TV reported that the assessment claimed that the Iranian navy had fired two missiles at the Israeli-flagged ship. Israeli Experts were allegedly on the way to the UAE, where the ship was anchored. There is no confirmation nor denial from Iran, as of yet, but Israel is already using this presumed attack for a potential escalation.

In recent weeks, Tel Aviv has been pushing to form a military security pact with Gulf States against Tehran. While having its interests targeted in the Gulf of Oman, Israel is still carrying out its usual activity towards Syria, and immediately responded to the alleged Iranian aggression.

On February 28th, Syrian air defense forces over Damascus were activated to repel an Israeli attack, launched from above the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Israeli Air Force likely targeted alleged Iranian targets, but Israel provided no comment on the matter.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel was taking action “almost weekly” to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria. However, this is not just any action, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again claimed that Israel “was winning the war” against Iran.

Another informal Israeli ally – Saudi Arabia is currently suffering at the hands of the Axis of Resistance.

Yemen’s Ansar Allah – the Houthis – announced that their Air Force had carried out a large-scale operation in the Kingdom on February 28th. The operation, dubbed “Deterrent Balance 5,” targeted military positions in Riyadh. In total, a spokesman for the Houthis, said that a Zulfiqar ballistic missile, nine Samad-3 loitering munitions, and six Qasef-2K drones struck a network of Saudi military positions. This was likely in response to Saudi Arabia’s increased airstrike activity.

A February 28th warplane raid left 5 civilians, including a woman and a child dead. In Yemen, on the ground the fight is continuing in the Marib district.

Marib City and the Dam are currently beyond reach, and Saudi Arabia carries out increasingly more airstrikes and violations of the al-Hudaydah ceasefire. There are heavy clashes between the Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces in the Talaat al-Hamra, Hamajira and Balaq mountains, with the Houthis purportedly taking the upper hand.

The situation is reaching a critical point, with the Axis of Resistance attempting to push on the US, Israel and their other allies on all fronts.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/02/2021 - 03:30
Infineon to replace Nokia in Euro Stoxx 50
  [Source: MarketWatch.com - MarketPulse 2021/03/02-16:17]

Microchip maker Infineon Technologies is going to replace telecom equipment maker Nokia in the Euro Stoxx 50 , Stoxx said late Monday. The move is effective March 22. Stoxx didn't provide an explanation, but microchip makers have been buoyed by strong demand and a shortage of supplies. In early trade, Nokia slipped 1.3% while Infineon slipped 0.4%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

World Beer Index 2021: What’s The Price Of A Beer In Your Country?
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/03/02-15:45]

World Beer Index 2021: What’s The Price Of A Beer In Your Country?

Although fewer people have been able to grab a beer at the pub during this pandemic, Visual Capitalist's Iman Ghosh note that the global desire for beer prevails. For example, sales of the Corona beer actually shot up in the past year, despite—or perhaps because of—associations with the coronavirus.

This World Beer Index from Expensivity compares the average price of a bottle of beer in 58 countries in a detailed map. Additionally, we show which countries spend the most on beer per capita, and just how much beer people really drink.

Pricey Pints: The Average Price of a Beer

Researchers calculated the average price of a typical bottle of beer (330ml, just shy of a pint) from well known brands via online stores and statistics database Numbeo. In addition, local beer prices were pulled from hotel and bar menus, and average values converted to USD.

In Qatar, you’d have to shell out $11.26 for a single beer, which would surely make for a really expensive night out on the town. In part, this is because in 2019, the Muslim-majority country introduced a 100% excise tax on top the previous sales price of all alcohol imports.

These steep prices are aimed at tourists—and with Qatar hosting the 2022 men’s soccer World Cup, there’ll be thousands of visitors in the country looking for a cold one at any price.

At just $1.68 per bottle, South Africa has the lowest average price of a beer thanks at least partially to cultural norms of buying in bulk.

Cashing In: The Per Capita Spend on Beer

The price of a single beer is one thing, but which countries spend the most on beer itself? Germany unsurprisingly tops the list here with nearly $2,000 of expenditures per capita, bolstered by its strong beer culture and annual Oktoberfest celebration.

Germany also prides itself on the purity of its beer—the vast majority of brewers follow the Reinheitsgebot, centuries-old purity laws that broadly state that beer may contain only three ingredients: water, barley, and hops.

Following closely behind is Poland, which spends $1,738 per capita. Meanwhile, the U.S. ranks eighth in the world for the highest spending on beer per capita at $1,554—beer is also the country’s most popular alcoholic beverage.

Getting Boozy: How Much Beer Do People Drink?

Using data from the World Health Organization, the visualization below also digs into how much beer is consumed around the world per capita.

The Czech Republic emerges on top in this regard, with 468 beers on average in a year—that works out to 1.3 beers per day. Spain and Germany are next with 417 and 411 beers, respectively.

On the flip side, people in Haiti only drink about four beers yearly. This may be because they prefer something a little stronger—97% of alcohol consumption in the nation comes from spirits such as rum.

Beer has been around for over 7,000 years. No matter the price of a beer in your country, it’s worth raising a glass to the timelessness of this humble beverage.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/02/2021 - 02:45
The US & The UN Nuclear Inspectors Must Stop Appeasing Iran
  [Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml 2021/03/02-15:00]

The US & The UN Nuclear Inspectors Must Stop Appeasing Iran

Authored by Con Coughlin via The Gatestone Institute,

As Iran continues to maintain its defiance over its controversial nuclear programme, the failure of the UN-body responsible for monitoring Iran's activities is only lending further encouragement to the ayatollahs to indulge in further acts of dangerous brinkmanship.

In the latest example of Iran's increasingly reckless approach to the nuclear issue, the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has threatened to increase uranium enrichment to 60 percent, just below the 90 percent threshold required to produce weapons grade material.

The ayatollah's threat, moreover, which was made on state-run television, came just hours after Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN-sponsored body responsible for monitoring Iran's nuclear programme, made an emergency visit to Tehran after the regime announced it would no longer allow IAEA inspection teams to visit key sites.

Iran has been threatening to withdraw cooperation with the IAEA after the Iranian Majlis, or parliament, which is dominated by hardline supporters of Mr Khamenei, voted in favour of a ban following last year's assassination of Iran's leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Banning IAEA inspectors from visiting Iran's nuclear facilities represents a clear violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement negotiated by then US President Barack Obama to curb Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons.

Iran has never fully cooperated with the IAEA's requests to visit key nuclear sites, and has consistently denied inspectors access to sensitive military installations that Western intelligence officials believe have links to Iran's long-standing effort to acquire a nuclear arsenal.

But implementing a complete ban on IAEA inspections threatened to completely undermine the JCPOA at a time when the Biden administration, together with the European signatories to the deal -- Britain, France and Germany -- are desperately seeking to revive the agreement after then US President Donald Trump withdrew from American involvement in 2018.

Mr Grossi's visit to Tehran in February was therefore seen as a desperate bid to find a compromise that would keep the nuclear deal alive as European and US diplomats intensified their efforts to hold fresh talks with Tehran.

The Argentine diplomat emerged from the talks claiming to have reached a compromise with Iran that would allow inspection teams to continue monitoring Iran's nuclear activities -- but from a distance. Under the terms of the deal, the IAEA would in future implement what Mr Grossi described as a black box-type system in which data is collected, but without the IAEA being able to access it immediately.

Thus, while Mr Grossi claimed the talks had been a success, the IAEA now finds itself in the invidious position whereby it will not be able to ascertain whether Iran is actively working to produce nuclear weapons until after the event.

Even Mr Grossi has been forced to concede that, as a result of Iran's decision to withdraw access to inspection teams, the IAEA's ability to monitor Iran's activities will be reduced by 70 percent.

Moreover, the latest report published by the IAEA on Iran's nuclear activity, reveals that Iran has acquired 17.6 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium, with its overall stockpile of enriched uranium now standing at 2,967 kg, which is 14 times higher than the limit set under the terms of the JCPOA.

In addition the report noted that Iran has succeeded in installing advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Fordow enrichment facility, which is also in violation of the JCPOA.

It also says Tehran has failed to provide technically credible explanations about traces of enriched uranium that UN inspectors found at Iran's nuclear storage facility at Turquzabad, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has labelled as Iran's "secret atomic warehouse".

Mr Grossi's compromise deal with Iran is typical of the appeasement policy that the IAEA has pursued ever since the Iranian regime's clandestine attempts to develop nuclear weapons were first exposed in 2002. The policy of kow-towing to Tehran, despite its blatant and persistent breaches of its international undertakings, has been adopted by successive heads of the IAEA, dating back to the tenure of Egyptian-born Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, on whose watch the IAEA deliberately sought to obfuscate the true nature of Iran's activities.

In the latest blow to the IAEA's credibility, within hours of Mr Grossi concluding his compromise deal, Mr Khamenei exposed the futility of this approach with his threat that Iran was prepared to increase uranium enrichment to 60 percent, a move that would make any attempt to revive the JCPOA utterly doomed.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/02/2021 - 02:00