Countries are starting to hoard food, threatening global trade

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By Isis Almeida and Agnieszka de Sousa

Kazakhstan, one of the world’s biggest shippers of wheat flour, banned exports of that product along with others, including carrots, sugar and potatoes. Serbia has stopped the flow of its sunflower oil and other goods. Russia is leaving the door open to shipment bans and said it’s assessing the situation weekly.
To be perfectly clear, there have been just a handful of moves and no sure signs that much more is on the horizon. Still, what’s been happening has raised a question: Is this the start of a wave of food nationalism that will further disrupt supply chains and trade flows?

“We’re starting to see this happening already — and all we can see is that the lockdown is going to get worse,” said Tim Benton, research director in emerging risks at think tank Chatham House in London.

Though food supplies are ample, logistical hurdles are making it harder to get products where they need to be as the coronavirus unleashes unprecedented measures, panic buying and the threat of labor crunches.

Consumers across the globe are still loading their pantries — and the economic fallout from the virus is just starting. The specter of more trade restrictions is stirring memories of how protectionism can often end up causing more harm than good. That adage rings especially true now as the moves would be driven by anxiety and not made in response to crop failures or other supply problems.

Related video: Food supply is not where it’s needed

As it is, many governments have employed extreme measures, setting curfews and limits on crowds or even on people venturing out for anything but to acquire essentials. That could spill over to food policy, said Ann Berg, an independent consultant and veteran agricultural trader who started her career at Louis Dreyfus Co. in 1974.

“You could see wartime rationing, price controls and domestic stockpiling,” she said.

Some nations are adding to their strategic reserves. China, the biggest rice grower and consumer, pledged to buy more than ever before from its domestic harvest, even though the government already holds massive stockpiles of rice and wheat, enough for one year of consumption.

Key wheat importers including Algeria and Turkey have also issued new tenders, and Morocco said a suspension on wheat-import duties would last through mid-June.

a close up of a map: Food Dependence© Bloomberg Food Dependence

As governments take nationalistic approaches, they risk disrupting an international system that has become increasingly interconnected in recent decades.

Kazakhstan had already stopped exports of other food staples, like buckwheat and onions, before the move this week to cut off wheat-flour shipments. That latest action was a much bigger step, with the potential to affect companies around the world that rely on the supplies to make bread.

For some commodities, a handful of countries, or even fewer, make up the bulk of exportable supplies. Disruptions to those shipments would have major global ramifications. Take, for example, Russia, which has emerged as the world’s top wheat exporter and a key supplier to North Africa.

“If governments are not working collectively and cooperatively to ensure there is a global supply, if they’re just putting their nations first, you can end up in a situation where things get worse,” said Benton of Chatham House.

He warned that frenzied shopping coupled with protectionist policies could eventually lead to higher food prices — a cycle that could end up perpetuating itself.

“If you’re panic buying on the market for next year’s harvest, then prices will go up, and as prices go up, policy makers will panic more,” he said.

And higher grocery bills can have major ramifications. Bread costs have a long history of kick-starting unrest and political instability. During the food price spikes of 2011 and 2008, there were food riots in more than 30 nations across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

“Without the food supply, societies just totally break,” Benton said.

Ample supplies have kept prices relatively low since the 2011 spike© Bloomberg Ample supplies have kept prices relatively low since the 2011 spike

Unlike previous periods of rampant food inflation, global inventories of staple crops like corn, wheat, soybeans and rice are plentiful, said Dan Kowalski, vice president of research at CoBank, a $145 billion lender to the agriculture industry, adding he doesn’t expect “dramatic” gains for prices now.

While the spikes of the last decade were initially caused by climate problems for crops, policies exacerbated the consequences. In 2010, Russia experienced a record heat wave that damaged the wheat crop. The government responded by banning exports to make sure domestic consumers had enough.

The United Nations’ measure of global food prices reached a record high by February 2011.

“Given the problem that we are facing now, it’s not the moment to put these types of policies into place,” said Maximo Torero, chief economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. “On the contrary, it’s the moment to cooperate and coordinate.”

Read More on Food Issues in Virus Era:

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Of course, the few bans in place may not last, and signs of a return to normal could prevent countries from taking drastic measures. Once consumers start to see more products on shelves, they may stop hoarding, in turn allowing governments to back off. X5 Retail, Russia’s biggest grocer, said demand for staple foods is starting to stabilize. In the U.S., major stores like Walmart Inc. have cut store hours to allow workers to restock.

In the meantime, some food prices have already started going up because of the spike in buying.

Wheat futures in Chicago, the global benchmark, have climbed more than 6% in March as consumers buy up flour. U.S. wholesale beef has shot up to the highest since 2015, and egg prices are higher.

At the same time, the U.S. dollar is surging against a host of emerging-market currencies. That reduces purchasing power for countries that ship in commodities, which are usually priced in greenbacks.

n the end, whenever there’s a disruption for whatever reason, Berg said, “it’s the least-developed countries with weak currencies that get hurt the most.”

German public pool closed after HUNDREDS of ‘North-Africans’ harass family

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A public pool is surely a nice way to cool yourself off, yet one in Dusseldorf, Germany was not enough to stop several hundred of hot-heads from causing trouble. Over the weekend the pool was closed twice thanks to rowdy visitors.

The Rheinbad public pool was plagued by ugly incidents this weekend, amid a record heat wave in Europe. There was even a large-scale police operation to calm-down rowdy swimmers on Saturday. The explosive situation involved “several hundred” people, primarily young men, the police said.

Local media put the number of the rowdy pool-goers at 400, reporting that the crowd primarily consisted of people of North-African origin.

The young men were harassing over visitors, shouting and splashing into the pool. Two of them ultimately got into fight with one another, running over towels of other pool-goers. The two were confronted by a man, who attended the pool alongside his wife and children. The father – reportedly of Turkish origins – scolded the rowdy bathers, while referring to them as “Nafris.”

The controversial term is a police abbreviation, meaning “North African Intensive Offenders,” and became public knowledge after the 2016 New Year Eve mass sexual assaults in Cologne. It has been condemned by critics as a racial slur.

The rowdy pool goers were among those who took offense, and they confronted the family in large numbers, triggering the police arrival. Several officers were deployed to the scene, yet failed to defuse the situation. The law enforcement was met with angry remarks from the crowd, pelted with empty bottles and other objects. Reinforcements were dispatched to the scene and the police was ultimately able to get the situation under control, escorting the family out of the pool.

Following the incident, the pool’s management decided to shut down the establishment prematurely. Most of the pool-goers vacated the facility peacefully, yet a handful of them were “convinced” by the police to leave and a single, particularly rowdy swimmer was briefly detained.

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While the pool reopened on Sunday, it was closed early yet again over more misbehaving pool-goers. Few details on the second incident have emerged, aside from local media reporting it was “similar” in nature to the one on Saturday and involved the same group of rowdy swimmers.

Hungary: The EU has provided 2 million migrants with unlawful cash cards worth 1.55 billion euros in an effort to legalise illegal migration

Over two million migrants have received anonymous debit cards at a cost of €1.55 billion, according to the Hungarian government.

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“Over two million migrants have received anonymous debit cards. The equivalent of 500 billion forints (1.55 bn euros) has been spent in this manner”, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister György Bakondi said on Hungarian M1 television.
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Mr. Bakondi said that the cards are unlawful, because European citizens cannot own anonymous banking cards, they cannot be monitored, and no public procurement procedure was launched for their issuing.
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“This solution, which has not been thought through and is unlawful, and other efforts on the part of the European Union to legalise illegal migration such as the migrant visa and the establishment of legal channels for immigration, represent a security risk with healthcare, economic and cultural consequences for Hungarian and European citizens”, he stated.
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In the Chief Security Advisor’s opinion, the EU doesn’t want to stop migration, but legalise it.
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“Hungary, however, does not agree with this. Hungary’s opinion is that the problem must not be brought into Europe, but that instead, assistance must be provided to enable problems to be solved on site”, he added.
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Mr. Bakondi also mentioned that the good weather has led to an increase in the number of migrants on the Balkan migration route.

ISIS, AL-QAEDA TERRORIST CAMPS IN LATIN AMERICA, MOSCOW WARNS

ISIS, Al-Qaeda Terrorist Camps in Latin America, Moscow Warns

Meanwhile, Central Americans pouring into US en masse

RT – APRIL 26, 2019

The activity of jihadists affiliated to Islamic State and Al-Qaeda has been spotted in Latin America as they recruit fighters and promote extremist ideology among local Muslims, Russian GRU chief Igor Kostyukov said.

“Among the new risk factors is the emergence of jihadist training camps and hideouts in the region,” Igor Kostyukov, the head of Russia’s main intelligence directorate (the GRU), said during the annual Moscow Conference on International Security.

The jihadists currently operating in Latin America are linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, he added.

Owen Shroyer reports on the arrest of a woman in Wisconsin who was caught preparing an ISIS-style bombing and/or poison attack

“They recruit fighters to bolster their ranks in the Middle East and North Africa, collect funds and promote extremist ideology among the region’s six-million Muslim population,” Kostyukov warned.

He didn’t name specific countries where the jihadist camps have been discovered.

Last year, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales Cabrera said that around 100 people linked to IS and other groups were arrested in his country and deported to where they came from.

New study: Number of Germans brutally attacked and murdered by migrants doubled in one year

By EMMAR R.

According to statistics published by the Federal Criminal Police Office, Germans are significantly more likely to become victims of a crime committed by an immigrant than vice versa.

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Its 2018 report “Crime in the Context of Immigration” analysed statistics of murders, homicides, assaults, robberies and offences against sexual self-determination and personal freedom.
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The research set out to determine how many crimes involved “asylum seekers and refugees”, as well as people who are awaiting deportation or already have a residence permit.
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230 Germans were killed, which is twice as many as in 2017.
The number of Germans sexually assaulted by asylum seekers and refugees also spiked to 3,260.
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In total, almost half of victims of serious crimes by foreign perpetrators (46,336 out of 101,956) were Germans. This is 19 percent more than in 2017.
Data relating to crimes against asylum seekers or refugees allegedly assaulted by a German suspect showed that 8,455 foreigners were victims (24 per cent more than in 2017).
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Notably, in 2018, only 18% of foreign victims were hurt or killed by a German suspect. Which means that people seeking asylum are mainly attacked by those with a similar background.
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The refugee policy and “open borders” approach, in particular, have prompted criticism against Angela Merkel’s government.
European countries have been experiencing a severe migration crisis since 2015 due to an influx of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing the Middle East and North Africa.
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Germany has accepted hundreds of thousands of migrants. However, over the years, the number of newcomers has dropped. According to the police, there were 300,000 asylum seekers and 697,000 refugees in Germany in December 2018.

The priority of the state and the media has been to protect Islam from criticism – Anne Marie Waters

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-By Anne Marie Waters

When 22 people were murdered by an Islamic terrorist in Manchester in 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May responded, in Parliament, by telling us (very matter-of-factly) that the murderers were following a “perversion of Islam”. She offered no evidence for this, because she didn’t need to, the comforting lie was enough.

The Mayor of Manchester was equally matter-of-fact when he declared that the killers weren’t Muslim at all. Labour’s Andy Burnham said on LBC: “The worst thing that can happen is that people use this to blame an entire community, the Muslim community.”The worst thing? Blaming Islam is the worst thing that could happen? Yes, that’s what he means. Criticism of Islam is deliberately skewed into an attack on Muslims, therefore it should never be done, no matter how justified.

Two other major attacks took place in 2017, both in London, and both, according to our leaders, nothing at all to do with the teachings of Islam. This is despite the fact that Islamic scripture literally promotes terrorism. Mohammed is quite clear: “I have been made victorious with terror”. (Sahih Bukhari Volume 004, Book 052, Hadith Number 220).

However, if you dare to suggest that the words of Mohammed may inspire the actions of a devout Muslim, you will find that you’re a hate-filled Islamophobic fascist.

On Westminster Bridge, Khalid Masood murdered 5, and at London Bridge, 8 died at the hands of Muslims using a van and several knives. Witnesses at the scene of the latter attack heard the cry of “this is for Allah”, but still, no serious discussion of Islamic scripture was to take place.

The reason there would be no public discussion about Islam’s teachings is simple: such discussion would reveal the truth about Islam’s teachings, and that would never do. In the aftermath of these attacks, the priority of the state, the media, and the police has been to protect Islam from criticism – much like an Islamic state under the rule of sharia law. A common method is to label the terrorists with an indistinct “mental illness” that the apparently fully trained psychiatrists of various police forces can diagnose almost instantly. It’s remarkable.

The “mental illness” deflection was used following several of the Muslim attacks on innocent people across Europe in recent years, and in Manchester on New Year’s Eve, it was used again.

A 25-year-old suspect was detained under the Mental Health Act after attacking people with a large knife at Manchester’s Victoria Station as New Year celebrations were underway. Luckily, nobody was killed on this occasion, but some were seriously injured. Despite the fact that police are treating this as a terrorist act, the perpetrator was detained for psychiatric attention – why? Because we’re to believe this man wasn’t motivated by Islam. The state is now doing all it can to protect that religion’s reputation.

This is familiar. The same approach is taken upon any discussion of the notorious rape gangs that roam the country; mostly Muslim but labelled “Asian” (in an actual racial smear) by politicians and press desperate to prevent analysis of Islam’s attitude to women, and to rape.

For every cruelty or atrocity associated with Islam, whether it be the grooming gangs, child marriage, FGM, or jihadi violence, the priority of the establishment is always to protect the religion. We have to wonder why. There is more than one reason, but the primary and most significant one can be summed up in one word: globalism. The borders are to come down, and masses from the Middle East and Africa are to be moved to Europe – that means masses of Muslims are to be moved to Europe.

 

UK Deploys Ships to English Channel Over Migrant Crisis

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According to the UK’s home secretary, while saving the lives of migrants is important, protecting the nation’s borders is important, too.

The UK Border Force had to re-deploy two of its largest ships, known as “cutters,” from overseas missions to the English Channel, after some 100 migrants attempted to cross the strait on dinghies.

I have made a decision today to redeploy two of the Border Force’s largest vessels, known as cutters, from abroad back to the UK, to south-east England, and they will be joining a cutter that is already there and two other coastal patrol vessels,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.

In the most recent incident, 12 migrants, including a 10-year-old child, were detained on the UK’s Kent beach Monday.

See the source image

According to a Home Office spokesperson, the migrants presented themselves as Iranian nationals.

“They all received a medical assessment and have now been transferred to immigration officials for interview,” the spokesperson said.

“It’s both about protecting human life but also about protecting our borders,” Javid said regarding his decision. “This will help both with the human side of this situation but also to better protect our borders.”

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In a poorly concealed attempt to paint the justification for the ships’ relocation as a humanitarian one, Javid pointed out that “we must remember that this is one of the most treacherous stretches of water that there is, 21 miles with people taking grave risk, really putting their lives into their own hands by taking this journey.”

However, under a humanitarian façade, a more pragmatic approach is clearly visible.

Javid disclosed that, besides the ships’ deployment, the UK Home Office will also step up its efforts to return detained migrants to France.

“We will do everything we can to make sure [illegal border crossing] is not a success, in the sense that I don’t want people to think that if they leave a safe country like France, they can get to Britain and then just get to stay,” he said.

British cooperation with French authorities is improving, with around 40 percent of attempted crossings disrupted, and the two countries working together “both directly but also in more covert ways,” according to Javid.

According to the home secretary, some 230 migrants attempted to cross the Channel in December, with “just under half” being disrupted by French authorities before taking to the seas.

You can read this story as it originally appeared at Sputnik here.

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