Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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Ukraine

Why Russia is Losing: Gen. David Petraeus on the War in Ukraine by Jonathan Tepperman (The Octavian Report)

Former US CENTCOM and coalitions forces chief in Afghanistan (as well as CIA director during the Obama Administration) David Petraeus discusses the most important of myriad Russian military failings in its invasion of Ukraine. [Link]

Russia says new ‘phase’ of Ukraine offensive to focus on Donbas by Polina Ivanova, Henry Foy, and Roman Olearchyk (FT)

With Kyiv defended, Odessa out of reach, Kherson under assault from Ukrainian forces, Mariupol still unconquered, and little movement in Russian lines elsewhere, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced Friday that it was pivoting to focus on “liberating” the entirety of Donbas Obkast, a near-explicit admission of defeat. [Link; soft paywall]

Energy

Russia‘s Energy Shock by Nick Birman-Trickett (OGs and OFZs)

A long read on the history of Russia’s economy and energy sector and its role in the broader economy of the country. Chock full of interesting tidbits and details on just how painful the transition away from integration in the global economy is. [Link]

U.S. to Boost Gas Deliveries to Europe Amid Scramble for New Supplies by Matthew Dalton and Giovanni Legorano (WSJ)

US liquid natural gas shipments will help fill some of the gap of disrupted supply from Russia, with the Biden Administration planning to ship at least 50bn cubic meters (more than double last year’s numbers) across the Atlantic through at least 2030. [Link; paywall]

ExxonMobil Running Pilot Project to Supply Flared Gas for Bitcoin Mining: Report by Aoyon Ashraf (CoinDesk)

Natural gas flaring off ExxonMobil oil wells in North Dakota is going to be used to power bitcoin mining rigs, turning waste gas in to an income-producing asset. [Link]

Short Sellers

A Top Prosecutor, a Short Seller’s Confession, and a Columbia Professor Offer Clues to the DOJ Probe of Short Sellers by Michelle Celarier (II)

Evolving securities laws are making for some confusing designations in cases of market manipulation, which raise even more existential questions than usual when it comes to the thorny territory of what kind of speech is legal when it comes to markets. [Link]

An Alleged Fraud Uncovered by a Short Seller Ends in Gunfire by Ben Foldy (WSJ)

When the FBI showed up to investigate a potential Ponzi scheme in Las Vegas, the suspect shot at agents and was wounded multiple times; eventually a SWAT team was able to take him in to custody. [Link]

Demographics

Signet Jewelers Says Weddings Will Hit a 40-Year High This Year by Jeannette Neumann (Bloomberg Quint)

Jeweler giant Signet (which owns Kay and Zales) is forecasting the largest number of weddings in four decades as a backlog of nuptials from the pandemic is cleared out. [Link]

Deaths outpace births in most counties as U.S. growth slowed in 2020 by Fredrick Kunkle (WaPo)

While births continued to outpace deaths nationally, falling fertility rates and surging deaths thanks to the pandemic led to three-quarters of the country’s counties reporting more deaths than births in the past year. [Link; soft paywall]

Mystery driver of red truck driving through Texas tornado is a teenager by Amanda Ruiz (Fox 7 Austin)

A red Chevy that was spun dramatically by a tornado in Elgin, TX was driven by a 16 year old Whataburger job applicant on his way home. [Link]

Aerospace

Chinese Boeing jet crashes in mountains with 132 on board, no sign of survivors by Martin Quin Pollard (Reuters)

Earlier this week a Boeing 737-800 NG operated by China Eastern Airlines fell from an altitude of more than 30,000 feet to a brutal crash in southern China. [Link; soft paywall]

Everything to know about Switchblades, the attack drones the US is giving Ukraine by Kelsey D. Atherton (Popular Science)

Everything you didn’t realize you needed to know about the infantry-portable “Switchblade” drones that are part of the lethal aide package that the United States has sent to Ukraine. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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