Defiant Putin proclaims Ukrainian annexation as military setback looms:
Law enforcement officers stand guard as people walk towards Red Square to attend events marking the annexation of the Russian-controlled territories of four Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, September 30, 2022. REUTERS/REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER
Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russia's annexation of a swathe of Ukraine in a Kremlin ceremony, promising Moscow would triumph in its "special military operation" even as he faced a potentially serious new military reversal. This annexation is based on the results of Russian referendums, which were denounced by Kyiv and Western governments as illegal and coercive. Russia officially claims 15% of Ukraine’s total territory, the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy responded by saying his country had submitted a fast track application to join the NATO military alliance and that he would not hold peace talks with Russia while Putin was still president. This comes as Russian forces in the eastern Donetsk region are nearly surrounded by Ukrainian troops. Ukraine said it had all the supply routes to the Russian stronghold in the crosshairs of its artillery in the east, and told Moscow it would have to appeal to Kyiv if it wanted its forces to be allowed out. The encirclement could leave Ukrainian forces an open path to seize more territory in Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, captured earlier in some of the war's bitterest fighting.
How the Bank of England threw markets a lifeline:
A view of the Bank of England in London, Britain September 30, 2022. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska
Over the past week, Britain’s borrowing costs surged the most in decades and the pound plunged to a record low. Behind the financial market screens there was a hidden impact. At risk of blowing up were obscure financial instruments meant to match long-term pension liabilities with assets, which had never been tested by bond yields moving so far or so fast. The Liability Driven Investment (LDI) market has boomed in the past decade and assets total nearly $1.79 trillion, two-thirds of the British economy. Pension schemes were forced to sell government bonds known as gilts after they found it hard to meet emergency demands from the LDI funds for collateral as the value is less than on a fund’s books. The funds were themselves facing margin calls from their relationship-banks and other key financial players. “We laid our cards on the table. You don’t expect them (the Bank of England) to give you much back because they’re not going to show you their hand, right?” said James Brundrett of pension consultant and fiduciary manager Mercer, which held a meeting with the BoE on Sept. 26.“Thank God they listened because this morning (Sept. 28), the gilt market wasn’t operating,” he added. Facing a market meltdown, the BoE stepped in with a 65 billion pound ($72.3 billion) package to buy long-dated gilts. It is far from clear how much time the BoE has bought as shockwaves reverberate through global markets from recently-appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss’ plan, which drew a rare IMF rebuke. Chris Philp, chief secretary to the UK Treasury, said on Thursday he disagreed with the IMF‘s concerns about the government’s tax-cutting budget, saying it would lead to long-term economic growth.
North Korea conducts 4th round of missile tests in 1 week:
A TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile launch with file imagery, is seen at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
On Saturday, North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles, the fourth round this week of weapons launches. According to South Korean and Japanese estimates, the missiles flew about 220-250 miles at a maximum altitude of 20-30 miles before they landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Toshiro Ino, Japan’s vice defense minister, said the missiles showed “irregular” trajectory. In an unusually strong rebuke of North Korea’s weapons programs, Some observers suggest they were likely nuclear-capable, highly maneuverable missiles modeled after Russia’s Iskander missile. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said North Korea’s “obsession” with nuclear weapons is deepening the suffering of its own people, and warned of an “overwhelming response” from US and South Korean militaries should such weapons be used.