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          Tech Tuesday: What Rich Guys Think About In Their Spare Time      Cache   Translate Page      
Photo by Justin Dickey on Unsplash
So Bill and Jeff are sitting around the fireplace at Bill's place one evening, sipping wine and chatting about this and that. Jeff is impressed that Bill has a 50-car garage, and a house full of windows. Bill is impressed by the valuation of Jeff's company stock.

The conversation bounces from theme to theme until finally Bill asks, "What are you doing to save the world?"

Jeff reflects on his childhood and recalls a game he used to play with a balloon in which he would keep tapping it upward toward the ceiling so as to keep it from touching the ground. If it hit the ground the world would blow up. In other words, it was a game with high stakes.

Of course high stakes is what made the game exhilarating.  Bill listens quietly as Jeff relates this childhood experience.

"Everything will end at one time or another," Bill says. "I just don't want to be there when it happens."

"Me neither," Jeff said. "That's why I called you tonight. I've had a really hot idea.. It's going to take some capital, but you know how it is. Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

Jeff shared his idea, and Bill liked it.

"Nuclear fusion," Bill said, pondering the sound of the words as he repeated the phrase. "I like it."

Will nuclear fusion be the energy of the future?

EdNote: Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have thrown a few million tokens into the pot with a handful of others to invest in a startup called General Fusion. The goal is to provide energy for the one billion people in the world who do not yet have energy.

"Can you imagine? If we pull this off, your original dream for Microsoft can actually happen. Every home in the world will be able to have a personal computer."

"Yes," Bill added, "And Amazon will have one billion more potential customers."

"I'll drink to that," Jeff said, lifting his glass.

"Wait. I should fetch a bottle of Chateau Petrus 2015 red," Bill interrupted.

"Just a sec," Jeff said, setting his glass on an oak end table. "What about Heaven's Door? You wouldn't--"

"I do," said Bill. "Do you prefer the Tennessee Bourbon or the Double Barrel Whiskey?"

Jeff laughs. "I like the Straight Rye."

"Rye not," Bill says, chuckling at his wry humor.

There's no record of how the rest of the evening went.... for what it's worth, here's the rest of the story.

* * * *
Follow the link below to see what it's really all about.
Will Nuclear Fusion Be the Energy of the Future?
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/06/bezos-microsoft-bet-on-a-10-trillion-energy-fix-for-the-planet.html

EdNote: Other than the links, this blog post is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to what really happened is purely coincidence.
* * * *
Related Links
Bob Dylan's Foray into the Whiskey Business
Heaven's Door Whiskey

          NRMA Travel Insurance Policy Booklet - Nrma Quote and Reviews      Cache   Translate Page      

NRMA provides the high range of products to their customers. They have their customers spread all over the world such as the countries like Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the United Kingdom. The company has all around more than $7.8 billion of insurance premium each year and employees more than thirteen thousand people all over the world.


          UPDATE 1-Proxy advisor PIRC urges investors to oppose split of Danske Bank      Cache   Translate Page      
March 12- Leading proxy voting adviser Pensions& Investment Research Consultants recommended on Tuesday that investors in scandal-hit Danske Bank oppose a resolution to break up the lender at its annual general meeting this month. Danske is under investigation in the United States, Denmark, Estonia, France and Britain over 200 billion euros in payments from...
          PIRC advises investors to oppose split of Danske Bank      Cache   Translate Page      
March 12- Leading proxy voting adviser Pensions& Investment Research Consultants recommended on Tuesday that investors in scandal-hit Danske Bank oppose a resolution planning a break-up of the lender at its annual general meeting this month. Danske is under investigation in the United States, Denmark, Estonia, France and Britain over some 200 billion euros...
          U.S. defense budget favors Navy shipbuilding, fewer Boeing tanker jets      Cache   Translate Page      

U.S. defense budget favors Navy shipbuilding, fewer Boeing tanker jetsU.S. President Donald Trump's $750-billion defense budget includes more money to build ships, fulfilling a campaign promise to strengthen the Navy, but also cuts the number of Boeing Co KC-46 tanker jets, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. The defense spending request to Congress is the largest ever in dollar terms, but not after being adjusted for inflation, and is meant to counter the growing strength of the Chinese and Russian militaries. The Navy saw an increase of 5 percent, or $9.9 billion, in top-line funding to kick off a quicker pace of ship construction, including aircraft carriers made by Huntington Ingalls Industries, and Virginia and Columbia class nuclear submarines made by Huntington and General Dynamics.



          'Captain Marvel' on Track to Cross $1 Billion Mark at Global Box Office      Cache   Translate Page      
The Brie Larson-starring movie earns fifth biggest international launch after bringing in an estimated $455 million over the weekend.
          Introducing the Power of Ten podcast      Cache   Translate Page      

I’ve podcasted on and off for a while and always enjoyed it, first with Core77 in the mid-2000s, last year as a regular host of a Fjord Fika (new season coming soon), and more recently as a guest on Mark Pesce’s Next Billion Seconds and Gerry Scullion’s This Is HCD. I love conversations with interesting …

The post Introducing the Power of Ten podcast appeared first on Playpen.


          Frontier Communications Prices $1.650 Billion First Lien Secured Notes Offering      Cache   Translate Page      

Click to view a price quote on FTR.

          Taiwan shares close up 0.91%      Cache   Translate Page      
Taipei, March 12 (CNA) Taiwan shares closed up 93.05 points, or 0.91 percent, at 10,343.33 Tuesday on turnover of NT$109.87 billion (US$3.56 billion).
          Taiwan shares open higher      Cache   Translate Page      
Taipei, March 12 (CNA) The Taiwan Stock Exchange's main index opened up 44.09 points Tuesday at 10,294.37 on turnover of NT$1.82 billion (US$58.88 million).
          Taiwan shares close up 0.08%      Cache   Translate Page      
Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Taiwan shares closed up 8.53 points, or 0.08 percent, at 10,250.28 Monday on turnover of NT$90.71 billion (US$2.94 billion).
          The Left doesn't want anyone to succeed — not even a self-made billionaire Kardashian      Cache   Translate Page      

Today, I’ll be doing something I never imagined, and that is, defend a Kardashian.


          Barclays: Facebook Coin Could Bring $19 Billion Additional Revenue, and Here’s Why      Cache   Translate Page      

CoinSpeaker
Barclays: Facebook Coin Could Bring $19 Billion Additional Revenue, and Here’s Why

One Wall Street firm sees major upside for Facebook if its secretive cryptocurrency plan works out. Facebook’s reported stablecoin project could be a significant moneymaker for the social media giant.

Barclays: Facebook Coin Could Bring $19 Billion Additional Revenue, and Here’s Why


          Microsoft says 800 million devices are running Windows 10      Cache   Translate Page      
Microsoft has updated its Windows 10 figures, saying there are now more than 800 million devices running the operating system. This is about 100 million more than the company announced last August, when it said it hit its 700 million devices milestone. The company still has a way to go before ultimately reaching its 1 billion Windows 10 devices goal, … Continue reading
          US-Experte: Die Entwicklungen an den Märkten erinnern an die letzten großen Börsencrashs      Cache   Translate Page      

Stock market

Wenn ihr euch derzeit zurücklehnt und den Aufschwung der Börse nach der Beinahe-Katastrophe im vergangenen Dezember genießt, begeht ihr vielleicht einen fatalen Fehler, den Investoren und Anleger in der Vergangenheit immer wieder begangen haben. 

Das ist jedenfalls eine Erkenntnis aus neuesten Untersuchungen von John Hussman, einem ehemaligen renommierten Wirtschaftsprofessor und dem heutigen Präsidenten des Hussman Investment Trust.

Hussman argumentiert, dass es sich bei der anhaltenden Erholung nur um den jüngsten plötzlichen Marktumschwung in der jüngeren Geschichte handelt — eine Situation, die in der Vergangenheit mehrfach dafür gesorgt hat, dass Anleger kurz vor einem Abschwung weiter investiert haben. 

Und wenn Investoren immer wieder in diese Rallyes investieren — was Hussman erwartet — argumentiert er, dass der Markt zunehmend auf eine Katastrophe zusteuert. 

In den kommenden Jahren werde es wahrscheinlich zu mehreren „Wasserfall-ähnlichen Abschwüngen“ kommen, warnt Hussman in einem vor kurzem veröffentlichten Blogbeitrag.

Hussmann weiter: „Investoren, die sich mit der Geschichte der Märkte auseinandersetzen, wird die Entwicklung bekannt vorkommen. Investoren, die sich gegen die Erkenntnis sperren, dass auf extreme Bewertungen immer ein Zusammenbruch der üblichen Bewertungsnormen folgte, erwartet eine schwierige Geschichstslehrstunde.“

Ein solcher 60-prozentiger Einbruch würde den S&P 500 wieder auf die 1.100er-Marke zurückbringen — eine Entwicklung, die seit dem ersten Halbjahr 2010 nicht mehr zu beobachten war, als sich die Märkte ein Jahr nach der Finanzkrise in der Erholungsphase befanden.

Hussman erklärt zudem, dass ihn die jüngste Erholung der Aktienmärkte an die Zeiten vor den vergangenen zwei Börsencrashs erinnere. Es sei wichtig, so Hussmann, die „Ähnlichkeiten der jüngsten Entwicklungen“ mit den Rallyes von Anfang 2001 und Anfang 2008 zu beobachten. „Die jüngsten Entwicklungen stehen für eine Bärenmarktrally, wobei starke Verluste über den gesamten Zyklus unvermeidlich sind.“

Die Rolle der Fed

Wie sind wir überhaupt in diese Situation geraten? Hussman sieht einen Teil der Schuld bei der US-Notenbank Federal Reserve (Fed), deren traditionell lockere Währungsbedingungen dazu beitragen haben, die US-Wirtschaft aus ihrer schlimmsten Rezession herauszuholen. Während das Handeln der Fed die beabsichtigte Wirkung zeigte, habe es jedoch gleichzeitig eine Spekulantenblase erschaffen.

„Was die Fed durch ihre Politik der quantitativen Lockerung gemacht hat, war, die Rendite-Suche zu fördern“, kritisiert Hussman. 

Hussman ergänzt: „Sie kaufte fest-verzinste Staatsanleihen und bezahlte sie, indem sie zinslose Bankreserven im Volumen von vier Billionen US-Dollar schuf. Die Bemühungen jedes einzelnen Instituts, dieses zinslose Geld loszuwerden, führten zu einem Spiel der „heißen Kartoffel“. Dadurch wurden auch andere Wertpapiere angeboten, bis die Nachfrage so hoch war, dass die langfristigen Renditewerwartungen gegen Null liefen. An diesem Punkt sind wir jetzt angelangt.“

Lest auch: Absturz der Facebook-Aktie ist das Anzeichen für schlimmeren Crash als im Jahr 2000, sagt ein Experte

Ihr werdet vielleicht überrascht sein, aber Hussman bewertet den Markt trotz dieser Punkte kurzfristig neutral. Er hat in den Krisen gelernt, dass auch übertriebene Bewertungen die Anleger nicht von weiteren Investments abhalten werden, bis die ersten technischen Signale in den negativen Bereich wechseln. Noch während sie sich dorthin bewegen, bleiben sie vorerst weiter positiv.

Aber lasst euch nicht täuschen: Langfristig ist Hussman pessimistisch eingestellt.

„Trotz meiner ziemlich neutralen Einschätzung auf kurzfristige Sicht, bleibt meine Meinung langfristig deutlich“, sagt Hussman. „Das ist ein massiv überbewerteter Markt.“

Hussmans richtige Prognosen

Hussman hat in der Vergangenheit wiederholt für Schlagzeilen gesorgt, indem er einen Börsenrückgang von mehr als 60 Prozent prognostizierte und ein ganzes Jahrzehnt mit negativen Aktienrenditen vorhergesagt hatte. Auch als die Börse weiter nach oben kletterte, hat er unbeirrt an seinen Prognosen festgehalten.

Doch bevor ihr Hussman als Dauer-Pessimisten bezeichnet, achtet auch auf seine richtigen Vorhersagen, die er in seinem Blog veröffentlicht hat. Hier sind die Argumente, die für ihn sprechen:

• Im März 2000 prognostizierte er, dass Technologiewerte um 83 Prozent fallen würden. Im Anschluss verlor der tech-lastige Nasdaq-100-Index im Zeitraum von 2000 bis 2002 „unwahrscheinlich präzise“ 83 Prozent.

• Im Jahr 2000 prognostizierte er, dass der US-Leitindex S&P 500 in den darauffolgenden zehn Jahren voraussichtlich negative Gesamtrenditen erzielen würde — was auch eintrat.

• Im April 2007 prognostizierte er, dass der S&P 500 40 Prozent verlieren könnte. Im Anschluss verlor er 55 Prozent inmitten des Zusammenbruchs von 2007 bis 2009.

 

Je mehr Beweise Hussman über die unhaltbaren Bedingungen an der Börse veröffentlicht, desto mehr Gedanken sollten Investoren sich machen. Sicherlich gibt es in diesem Marktzyklus noch Gewinne zu realisieren, aber ab wann wird das steigende Crashrisiko zu gefährlich?

Das ist eine Frage, die Investoren sich selbst beantworten müssen. Und eine, der Hussman in der Zwischenzeit weiter nachgehen wird.

Das könnte Euch auch interessieren:

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 Warum Trump schon bald für einen Crash an den Börsen sorgen könnte

Join the conversation about this story »


          When Will Artists Earn More Than 12 Percent of $43 Billion the Music Industry Generates Per Year?      Cache   Translate Page      
'The spending patterns have changed. The industry hasn’t yet reacted. That’s the next chapter,' said a Citi researcher. Continue reading…
          3/12/2019: POLITICS: Jump in North Sea forecasts sparks independence row      Cache   Translate Page      

ANOTHER upward revision to North Sea oil forecasts has prompted a fresh row over independence, with the SNP saying Scotland can only maximise the gain by leaving the UK. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) estimated 11.9 billion barrels can be pumped by...
          Global Specialty Fibers Market Is Grow at a CAGR of 14.2% and Expected to Reach USD 46.90 Billion by 2026 from USD 14.19 Billion in 2017      Cache   Translate Page      

Lewes, DE -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/12/2019 -- Global Specialty Fibers market is expected to grow from $14.19 billion in 2017 to reach $46.90 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 14.2%. Factors such as growing demand of light weight and high strength composite materials, increasing need of optical fiber cables and expansion of electronic industry, high strength to weight ratio of specialty fibers and Excellent mechanical properties, durability and thermal stability are some of the factors driving the market growth.

Based on Type, Carbon Fiber segment is estimated to have a substantial growth during the forecast period due to its high strength to weight ratio and growing demand from automotive and aerospace industries is expected to drive the market.

Some of the key players in the Specialty Fibers market include Dupont, 3M Company, Nv Bekaert Sa, Sgl Group, Dsm N.V., Teijin, Evonik Fibres Gmbh, Huvis, KOLON Industries, Shenma Industrial, Yantai Tayho Advanced materials, Kamenskvolokno JSC and Umeco Plc.

Types Covered:
- Partially Oxidized Polyacrylonitrile Fibers
- Polybenzimidazole (Pbi) Fibers
- Carbon Fibers
- Aramid Fibers
- Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Fiber
- Other Types

Applications Covered:
- Reinforcement Materials
- Aerospace
- Commercial Marine
- Friction and Sealing Materials
- Security
- Body Armor & Helmet
- Sports Materials
- Tire
- Other Applications

Regions Covered:
- North America
US
Canada
Mexico

- Europe
Germany
UK
Italy
France
Spain
Rest of Europe

- Asia Pacific
Japan
China
India
Australia
New Zealand
South Korea
Rest of Asia Pacific

- South America
Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Rest of South America

- Middle East & Africa
Saudi Arabia
UAE
Qatar
South Africa
Rest of Middle East & Africa

What our report offers:
- Market share assessments for the regional and country level segments
- Market share analysis of the top industry players
- Strategic recommendations for the new entrants
- Market forecasts for a minimum of 9 years of all the mentioned segments, sub segments and the regional markets
- Market Trends (Drivers, Constraints, Opportunities, Threats, Challenges, Investment Opportunities, and recommendations)
- Strategic recommendations in key business segments based on the market estimations
- Competitive landscaping mapping the key common trends.
- Company profiling with detailed strategies, financials, and recent developments
- Supply chain trends mapping the latest technological advancements.

Spanning over 159 pages "Specialty Fibers - Global Market Outlook (2017-2026)" report covers Executive Summary, Preface, Market Trend Analysis, Porters Five Force Analysis, Global Specialty Fibers Market, By Type, Global Specialty Fibers Market, By Application, Global Specialty Fibers Market, By Geography, Key Developments, Company Profiling. This report Covered Companies - Dupont, 3M Company, Nv Bekaert Sa, Sgl Group, Dsm N.V., Teijin, Evonik Fibres Gmbh, Huvis, KOLON Industries, Shenma Industrial, Yantai Tayho Advanced materials, Kamenskvolokno JSC, Umeco Plc.

Please visit this link for more details: https://www.marketresearchreports.com/stratistics-mrc/specialty-fibers-global-market-outlook-2017-2026

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          More nations ban Boeing 737 MAX jets after Ethiopia crash      Cache   Translate Page      

More nations ban Boeing 737 MAX jets after Ethiopia crashThe EU closed its airspace to Boeing 737 MAX planes on Tuesday, joining similar action by nations across the globe following a second deadly accident in just five months. Fleets of the best-selling workhorse plane were also grounded by airlines as safety concerns swirled, sending Boeing shares tumbling another seven percent in Tuesday trading and wiping billions more off its market value.



          iPhone Billionaire Gou Erupts at ‘Wrongful’ Microsoft Lawsuit      Cache   Translate Page      

iPhone Billionaire Gou Erupts at ‘Wrongful’ Microsoft LawsuitThe chairman of Foxconn Technology Group -- whose listed arm Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. assembles the iPhone -- called an ad-hoc media conference Tuesday to rail at his U.S. adversary. Gou, a well-known personality in Taiwan, proceeded to rip Microsoft apart for a “wrongful” attempt to extract royalties on Android software by going after FIH Mobile Ltd., his company that makes phones for Huawei Technologies Co., Xiaomi Corp. and other vendors.



          Tom DeLonge will try to prove the existence of aliens on new History show      Cache   Translate Page      

The sheer number of stars in our galaxy—let alone the universe at large—is so huge that the idea that we are alone, that this is the only planet among billions of potential planets that experienced the proper conditions to create life over the unknowable vastness of space and time, is one of humanity’s more conceited…

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          Comment on Guest Post: Colorado must better regulate the oil and gas industry by Bearbry22      Cache   Translate Page      
Christen Logan, and fellow Coloradans, I work in this so called “horrible” industry, an Industry that is already heavily regulated. I have worked for the past 11 years,in close proximity to this so called “pollution”, I suffer from zero health problems. So do the thousands of people in this Industry. You talk about explosions, and insinuate lots of people died. Should we ban cars? They cause so many more deaths, and are heavily regulated also. Accidents happen and tragically People die. Do you know the actual facts of the house explosion in Frederick? Democrats used those tragic deaths as a political tool. Fracking is an old proven way to safely extract oil and gas from deep within the ground. What depth is our ground water? The average oil and gas wells go to a depth of over 6’,500 ft, and use multiple layers of protection. These layers of protection allow the oil and gas to be brought to the surface safely. The “chemicals” are no more harmful than ordinary household items like dishsoap. The Fact is a majority of Coloradans voted to defeat Prop 112, because it was an over regulating attempt by certain people to shut down the Industry. The same goal of the “radical Governor, Speaker of the House(from Boulder), want to shutdown the Industry. They do this in the “fake name” of safety, citing the tragic deaths in one house explosion in Frederick. Cristen you stated you opinion, not facts, where are you facts? The fact is this Industry is heavily regulated, safe, and no more harmful than you driving your car, or turning on your heat/ac. Btw, without oil and gas we all would live in the dark ages. The oil and gas, estimated 31 billion, is a great asset to this State and Economy. The jobs of people not employed by the Industry will be affected also. People where we buy our cars, groceries, fuel, homes, electricity, gas, water,sewer, and other services. I looked for your name as a registered voter, and didn’t see it. Clearly you don’t care enough to vote, just state your opinion.
          It Would Take $4.5 Billion To Get Every Philadelphia School Up To Code, School District Says      Cache   Translate Page      
The district is doing what it can by upgrading several schools a year.
          CEO Says Wells Fargo Has Transformed After Scandals; Lawmakers Are Skeptical      Cache   Translate Page      
Wells Fargo has undergone a radical transformation since it was mired in scandals that resulted in billions of dollars in penalties and fines, the bank's CEO, Tim Sloan, told lawmakers Tuesday. But House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., did not appear to believe him. She called Wells Fargo "a recidivist financial institution." "Wells Fargo's ongoing lawlessness and failure to right the ship suggests the bank — with approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and serving one in three U.S. households is simply too big to manage," Waters said. Sloan faced hours of aggressive questioning from both Republicans and Democrats. They cast doubt on his claim that the bank had reformed since being caught opening fraudulent accounts and overcharging for mortgage and auto loans . They also pressed Sloan to account for a recent report that unethical practices persist with the bank's debt collection and mortgage origination. In his opening remarks , Sloan said his company
          Is income inequality fair?      Cache   Translate Page      

Some Americans have much higher income and wealth than others. Former President Barack Obama explained, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” An adviser to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has a Twitter account called “Every Billionaire Is A Policy Failure” tweeted, “My goal for this year is to get a moderator […]

The post Is income inequality fair? appeared first on WND.


          Cell Therapy Technologies Market worth $19.9 billion by 2023      Cache   Translate Page      
(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 12, 2019 ) According to the new market research report “Cell Therapy Technologies Market by Product (Consumables, Equipment, Software), Cell Type (Human Stem & Differentiated, Animal), Process Stages (Cell Processing, Distribution, Handling, QC), End User, and Region - Global...
          Lion Air plans to cancel the billion-dollar Boeing order and switch to Airbus      Cache   Translate Page      
Jakarta - The distrust caused by the second Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash is spreading. More and more country to impose flight-ban for the aircraft due to safety concerns. After Australia today, British authority has also banned Boeing 737 MAX flights on its airspace.
          Utica Shale Fourth Quarter Production Totals Released      Cache   Translate Page      
During the fourth quarter of 2018, Ohio's horizontal shale wells produced 5,810,484 barrels of oil and 663,534,323 Mcf (663 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
          Meter Reader - ATCO Electric Yukon - Whitehorse, YT      Cache   Translate Page      
*Who We Are: * With approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $22 billion, ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and...
From Indeed - Wed, 27 Feb 2019 22:53:05 GMT - View all Whitehorse, YT jobs
          Can State Produce 100% of Energy Needs?      Cache   Translate Page      
New study finds economic, environmental benefits by repurposing $14 billion a year spent to import energy.
          Comment on Live entertainment industry worth $1.88billion by tropicana online casino      Cache   Translate Page      
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          WATCH LIVE: House Judiciary On Sprint T-Mobile Merger       Cache   Translate Page      
WATCH LIVE:  House Judiciary On Sprint T-Mobile Merger

Maybe we should break up the big telecom companies. Just saying.

And file this tweet under, YA THINK?

I wonder if there will be any questions about the room service at the Trump International Hotel.


          Trump's Budget: Huge Cuts To Medicare And Medicaid      Cache   Translate Page      
Trump's Budget: Huge Cuts To Medicare And Medicaid

Right about now is when Prznint Stupid is going to be releasing his budget proposal for the year; it’s been delayed because of the gubmint shutdown, but you know, no one is mentioning that.

We should note for the record that budget proposals from the White House are not based in reality, and they usually arrive moribund. The prznint’s budget proposal is more about showing where Hair Füror’s priorities are than anything else, and boy-howdy, what low priorities does he have:

The president’s plan seeks deep cuts from agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. At the same time it would spend $8.6 billion on a border wall with Mexico and boost defense spending to $750 billion, both items sure to raise intense opposition from Democrats.

Calling for a total of $2.7 trillion in reductions over 10 years, the Trump administration is also taking aim at safety net programs, including hundreds of billions in cuts to Medicare and a request to drum up savings by imposing new restrictions on food stamps, housing assistance and aid to families that don’t make enough money to provide for their children.

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          Salesfloor Supervisor - Hometown - Shopko - Powell, WY      Cache   Translate Page      
Responding to corporate e-mail and directives. Shopko is a $3 Billion company with over 18,000 teammates....
From Shopko - Fri, 08 Mar 2019 18:59:03 GMT - View all Powell, WY jobs
          Apparel Salesfloor Supervisor - Hometown - Shopko - Powell, WY      Cache   Translate Page      
Responding to corporate e-mail and directives. Shopko is a $3 Billion company with over 18,000 teammates....
From Shopko - Sun, 03 Feb 2019 00:59:16 GMT - View all Powell, WY jobs
          Proposed fiscal 2020 White House budget allocates $21.4 billion for transportation      Cache   Translate Page      
The budget, which was released yesterday, requested $21.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for 2020, which represents a $5.9 billion, or 22% decrease, compared to its 2019 discretionary estimate, and also provides $62.2 billion in mandatory funds and obligation limitations.
          January retail sales see annual gains to start 2019, report Commerce and NRF      Cache   Translate Page      
Commerce reported that January retails sales, at $504.4 billion, were up 0.2% compared to December and up 2.3% annually.
          Ibs Symptoms - Detox May Alleviate Your IBS      Cache   Translate Page      
best ibs medications: Nowadays, television is full of commercials advertising drugs to help people suffering from IBS, or Irritated Bowel Syndrome. Apparently the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies have finally taken notice of the 15% of people who deal with... Ibs Symptoms
          Empty Planet (Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson)      Cache   Translate Page      
The United Nations estimates that the world could have around 11 billion inhabitants by the year 2100, an increase of over three billion from our current tally. In Empty Planet, authors Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson argue a much lower peak in population and predict a decline in the world’s population occurring sooner rather than later.

In a globetrotting book that takes readers from Africa to America to Asia to Atlantic Canada, the authors argue that those who reside in greater numbers in cities often yield fewer children compared to those who live in rural areas. Add to our increasing urbanization a better educated and more affluent world (two other factors that often yield fewer children per family), and the authors theorize that our world will likely not reach the aggressive population predictions that the UN has pegged for the coming decades.

According to Bricker and Ibbitson, such a scenario offers several distinct positives and risks for various parts of the world. The book breezily brushes through some potential impacts without delivering any distinct predictions, simply listing a few scenarios that could come to pass over the next hundred or so years in areas ranging from the climate to military to food.

The theory the authors put forth is certainly interesting and has factual backing. However, adding “what may happen if” scenarios without any substantive discussion or simply breezing through a few scenarios hurt what is a relatively interesting demographic book.

MY RATING - 3

          Drug-price-comparison site GoodRx has quietly started listing startups that prescribe and ship pills alongside CVS and Walmart      Cache   Translate Page      

Pills

  • GoodRx, a website that helps consumers shop around for lower cash prices for their prescription drugs, quietly started offering online pharmacy options in its price comparisons.
  • GoodRx shows prices for your prescriptions at stores like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. Now, users might also see options to get their prescription through online healthcare startups like Hims or Roman, which can prescribe and ship medication to your door. 
  • The company is still experimenting with the model, but GoodRx CEO Doug Hirsh told Business Insider that the move has been popular so far. 

GoodRx, one of the oldest websites that lets people compare prices for prescription drugs, is adding in online upstarts to its list of prices. 

Alongside options to pick up prescriptions at pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, people shopping around for lower cash prices for their medications via GoodRx may have started to see an option to get their prescription delivered by mail.

GoodRx CEO Doug Hirsch told Business Insider that the reason it added online options is to help consumer get a better picture of all the ways they can get their medicine.

"We spend a lot of time trying to decrease the cost of healthcare," Hirsch said. "But if someone can make available more convenient and affordable ways to get prescriptions, that’s music to our ears."

GoodRx is best known for its work pulling together cash prices for medications at different pharmacies so those who don't have insurance or have to pay high prices out of pocket can have a cheaper alternative. Three years ago, it started reaching out to some of the startups that are prescribing medications online to see if they could work together. As more startups have entered the market, the number of partnerships has grown. 

GoodRx's move to include online, mail-order pharmacies happening at a time when consumers are getting more and more used to shopping online for everyday items like groceries and clothes. In 2018, Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack, cementing itself in the market. At the same time, seemingly overnight a crop of companies have sprung up that can prescribe and mail you medications like birth control and Viagra, creating a market for people looking to get a particular medication without going to an in-person doctor's visit.

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Displayed alongside retail pharmacy prices, GoodRx users might see "mail order" options. For instance, a search for the generic form of Viagra in New York turns up three options at different price points, denoting which services can connect users to a doctor for a prescription. The idea is to present options side by side in a marketplace so consumers can make their own choices.

Screen Shot 2019 03 11 at 1.43.55 PM

Hirsch said GoodRx has been working with companies like Lemonaid, Nurx, Hims, Roman, HealthWarehouse, mailmyprescriptions.com, and Truepill.

Read more: Meet the pharmacy quietly powering hot startups like Hims and Nurx that ship Viagra and birth control pills straight to your door

In some cases, the outside companies are able to prescribe medications by connecting patients to doctors, while in the cases of Truepill and mailmyprescriptions.com, a prescription from an outside doctor is required. Truepill is the pharmacy that also powers many of the on-demand healthcare startups like Hims and Nurx.

While the program is still in the experimental phase, Hirsch said it's been catching on. 

"It's been very popular," Hirsch said. "We're driving traffic to each of these players now."

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          Meet the pharmacy quietly powering hot startups like Hims and Nurx that ship Viagra and birth-control pills straight to your door      Cache   Translate Page      

Truepill cofounders Umar Afridi and Sid Viswanathan

  • Meet Truepill, the pharmacy startup that has been quietly powering companies that prescribe and ship Viagra and birth control to customers' doors.
  • The startup, which describes itself as a "pharmacy API and fulfillment service," works with companies like Hims, Nurx, and Lemonaid by filling prescriptions and sending them out around the US.
  • With $14 million in funding from investors led by Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital, Truepill is plotting its international expansion.

Seemingly overnight, a crop of companies have sprung up that can prescribe and mail you medications like birth control and Viagra.

Each company has its own brand, its own website, and contracted doctors. But for many — including Lemonaid, the dermatology company YoDerm, Kick Health, Hims, and Nurx — there's a common thread: Their online pharmacies are powered by a little-known company called Truepill.

Founded by the pharmacist Umar Afridi and Sid Viswanathan, Truepill has quietly been gathering up pharmacy licenses across the US and amassing clients who have racked up hundreds of millions of dollars in funding. Since getting its start in 2016, Truepill has filled 1 million prescriptions.

Last year, Truepill raised $14 million from investors led by Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital. On Tuesday the company is formally announcing the funding, saying it'll use the money to expand internationally with plans to add facilities in New York, the UK, Australia, and Canada in addition to its center in San Mateo, California.

Read more: Investors are betting $660 million that companies that ship Viagra and hair-loss pills to your door is the future of medicine — but some doctors are worried

Afridi, Truepill's CEO, spent a decade working in retail pharmacies. Along the way, he started keeping track of some of the inefficiencies he saw as he filled prescriptions. In some instances, he'd have to use a fax machine to get a prescription from a particular doctor, with it difficult to get that doctor on the phone to check and see whether patients could use a lower-cost alternative.

The experience got Afridi interested in figuring out whether he could build an on-demand pharmacy. Eventually, the idea led him to start working on Truepill with Viswanathan, who serves as the company's president. While still doing shifts at CVS, Afridi was studying to become licensed in states across the US and started filling his first prescriptions in October 2016, shipping to homes in California for startups like Nurx and YoDerm.

TruePill Facility

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Then in 2017, Afridi and Viswanathan joined the summer class of Y Combinator. Eventually, Afridi became licensed in more states and Truepill added more customers. The pharmacy is now licensed in 50 states.

A new kind of pharmacy

Viswanathan and Afridi don't consider Truepill an online pharmacy like PillPack, which Amazon acquired last year. Instead, they've coined the term "pharmacy API and fulfillment service." Truepill isn't trying to directly compete against retail pharmacies or other online pharmacies. Instead, it's the layer behind the scenes powering startups that are going the direct-to-consumer route by treating particular health conditions.

A company that uses Truepill can connect its website or app directly to Truepill's service. That way, when a patient is prescribed a medication like generic Viagra through the company's platform, the prescription gets sent over to Truepill. When a prescription comes in, Truepill fulfills it and ships it out that same day, Viswanathan said. The company can choose the speed of delivery based on how much it's willing to spend on shipping.

Read more: Trendy startup Hims wants to shake up men's health by prescribing generic Viagra online and is nearing a $1 billion valuation. But a move to relax guidelines has raised concerns among some of its doctor partners.

That company — which is charging the patient directly through its own site — pays Truepill for the cost of the prescription, the shipping, and then a service fee that's negotiated on top of that.

For startups looking to go directly to consumers by offering online doctor's visits and prescriptions that get sent to your door, Truepill isn't the only pharmacy option. Some startups have opted to build their own pharmacies, while others work with pharmacies similar to Truepill that have licenses to ship medication over the US.

The plan for Truepill's API and fulfillment service is to be as indispensable as Amazon Web Services is to companies. Because Truepill is focused on the pharmacy piece, the idea is that it might be able to get better rates for drugs based on volume and better shipping costs.

Eric Woersching, a general partner at Initialized, said that in addition to the size of the pharmacy industry (billions of prescriptions are written in the US every year), the firm was drawn to Truepill's API approach to pharmacy. 

"As engineers and hackers ourselves, we understand how powerful the APIs can be," Woersching said. He pointed to financial technology companies like Stripe and Plaid that have cemented themselves in the payments field, with successful companies built on top of their APIs. 

TruePill 16

The changing way Americans get prescriptions

The healthcare industry as a whole has been jockeying to stay competitive as companies realize that patients, used to the consumer experience they're getting from Amazon and Netflix, have higher expectations for their doctor's visit.

That's been a driving force behind megadeals like Amazon's acquisition of PillPack and CVS Health's merger with Aetna. On-demand, convenient healthcare options like urgent care and free-standing emergency rooms have gained in popularity too, as have same-day pharmacy delivery services like Capsule and Alto.

Read more: We got an exclusive look at the 2019 plans for Capsule, a pharmacy startup that could be Amazon's next takeover target and has plans to go national

Mailing out prescriptions isn't a particularly new phenomenon. Pharmacy benefit managers such as CVS Caremark and the Cigna-owned Express Scripts have been shipping medication to patients for years as an alternative to monthly visits to a pharmacy.

For now, Truepill is focused on pharmacy fulfillment for startups like Hims or Nurx that are going directly to consumers. Eventually, Afridi said, the plan is to enter other lines of business as well, potentially working with PBMs to serve as their online, mail-order service or by tapping into the $140 billion specialty pharmacy market.

Viswanathan said the conversations with PBMs had surprised both the incumbents and the Truepill team.

"It's shocking to think about this, but something as trivial as being able to provide a shipping-tracking URL is something breakthrough in the space," Viswanathan told Business Insider.

They're not the only piece of the pharma supply chain to be surprised by Truepill's model. Afridi said he provided a wholesaler an estimate of what volume of medication Truepill expected to dispense. But when Truepill hit that estimate, the wholesaler stopped supplying the pharmacy, convinced that Truepill couldn't possibly have filled that many prescriptions.

"We tend to very quickly outpace the volume of what our stage of pharmacy can do," Viswanathan said.

Truepill now works directly with drugmakers as well as the wholesaler to get its medications. Because Truepill is working with clients that are focused in specific disease areas, the pharmacy's volumes for drugs like generic Viagra or birth control can be much higher than a typical pharmacy would dispense.

As more and more prescriptions go online via a direct-to-consumer delivery model, Viswanathan said he's excited to be powering that with Truepill.

"There are so many things that can and will happen in telemedicine," Viswanathan said.

Join the conversation about this story »

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          Staring death in the face taught Aetna's former CEO how to be a more human leader      Cache   Translate Page      

mark bertolini

  • Mark Bertolini served as the CEO of Aetna from 2010 to 2018, stepping down after selling the healthcare company to CVS.
  • In a new memoir, he reflects on how both his and his son's near-death experiences made him a more empathetic leader focused on team-building.
  • At Aetna, Bertolini increased the minimum wage to $16 an hour, increased health benefits, paid off student loans, and instituted mindfulness training.
  • C-Suite Insider is a collection of exclusive interviews with leaders of the world's largest companies.

Mark Bertolini wears a large, black skull ring on his right hand. It's a memento mori for the former Aetna CEO, a symbol of his mortality. He bought it after waking up from a six-day coma in 2004, when a skiing accident broke his neck in five places and resulted in his left arm being permanently disabled. It happened just a year after his teenage son Eric managed to beat lymphoma. When he looks at the skull, he's reminded that "who you spend your time with and how you spend it every day are the two most important decisions you will make," he told Business Insider.

We spoke with Bertolini in late February, at the CECP's CEO Investor Forum, and ahead of the release of his new memoir, "Mission-Driven Leadership."

The exec, who grew up in Detroit, says he was the first member of his blue-collar family to attend college. He worked his way through the healthcare industry before making it to the top job at Aetna in 2010.

Bertolini's last act as CEO was closing the $69 billion sale of Aetna to CVS Health in a deal that made CVS CEO Larry Merlo the chief executive of both companies and left Aetna president Karen Lynch as Bertolini's successor.

His time at the health-insurance provider was marked by an average of 20% annual growth of earnings per share, and a revamping of employee benefits that included a minimum wage increase to $16 an hour and the widespread implementation of yoga and meditation classes. He developed a passion for the latter after kicking a painkiller habit that arose in the wake of his accident. These healthier habits also led to the adoption of Buddhism and the abandonment of a ruthless executive persona employees once characterized as "Darth Vader."

"I often say to people that I've been uniquely prepared to do the work I do given the personal experiences I've had and the things I've had to live with," he said. "And while I wouldn't change a bit of it if I had the chance, I would not recommend it as a developmental pathway!"

We talked about some of these experiences, and how writing his book gave him a chance to reflect on them.

The following interview was edited for clarity and length.

Letting go of Darth Vader

Mark Bertolini: It was 2001 when Eric got sick. I'd sold my first company in '94, and my second company in 1998. I got paid a lot of money, and I was living in this mansion on the mountain in Avon, Connecticut. I was just back from Italy, and all of a sudden my son got sick and my money didn't matter, my position didn't matter. What I realized over a period of three or four months is that I had to personally engage. What I realized in that personal engagement is how little time I had spent with him. So I literally lived in his hospital room with him — I even moved a bed in there.

He was in the hospital about a year, and then in and out for a few months after that. But I just left work.

I had PubMed on the laptop, "Harrison's [Principles of] Internal Medicine" text with a bunch of little sticky notes, and I grilled the medical team every morning: "What are we doing today? Why does it matter? Where do I read about it?" And it was through that process that we got two drugs approved for him and ultimately, it saved his life and then it was five years later, I gave him my left kidney because his kidneys were damaged by the cure. But all of that was so humbling.

And then my injury happened. I was the guy that, at 184 pounds, 8% body fat, ran four miles every morning, worked out at the gym. I was in tip-top shape. I was 47 years old and all of a sudden, I hit a tree and none of that worked anymore, and I was like, "Oh my God, what a disaster." After my son's illness and then that, it was like, "OK, this isn't about me."

Richard Feloni: Are you referring to life in general?

Bertolini: Yes, life in general. In the middle of all that, I left the Catholic church over the whole Boston abuse revelations. And so I was all of a sudden non-religious. I was in incredible pain. I was on seven different narcotics, and to come out of that, you have to reinvent who you are. I first tried to get it all back and realized that wasn't going to work if I had my motorcycles, if I had my bicycle.

I had to reinvent everything, and in that reinvention come face-to-face with the narcissism, the lack of humility, all those other sorts of things.

Feloni: Weren't you known as "Darth Vader" before this?

Bertolini: Yes, yes I was, [because] I was not afraid to make decisions. If you're willing to make [a decision] and you're willing to monitor the progress of the decision you made, you'll make it better as you go along. But most people won't make a decision because they're afraid of being wrong, which most decisions are until you get into it.

Feloni: Did thinking about things that were bigger than yourself help you become a more empathetic leader?

Bertolini: It did. I went through an evolution of having all the answers to realizing I had very few answers, and I started engaging the group and learning from them. I had some brain injury from the accident, so I had to go through all of that realizing who I was and what my role was going to be. Not working was not an option for me — although I could've done that.

Investing in employees before it was cool

Feloni: How long from this point did it take you to get to this idea of being (as you've put it) a "radical capitalist"?

Bertolini: I did things before anybody else was talking about doing them: Raising minimum wage, waiving out-of-pocket costs, paying back student loans, paying people to sleep, investing in the employees. I had come up with the notion that talent was more scarce than capital, and I was asking, "What is it we need to believe in order to take this set of risks and be successful?"

It was actually the yoga and mindfulness that opened the whole door for the rest of it. I was doing that to deal with my pain. I wasn't taking opioids — I still don't — and I came to work and said to the senior team, "I think we should have everybody learn yoga mindfulness." And they all nodded politely because I was the president at the time, and then about an hour later, the chief medical officer came in and said, "Mark, this is voodoo medicine. You're crazy. We all think you're crazy. Just because you do it doesn't mean everybody else has to do it." And I said, "OK, well what do you need to do to believe it?" And he said, "We need to do a double-blind study."

So we did, and two months after the double-blind study with Duke was done, he came and said, "You're not going to believe this: It actually works."

It took a long time, way longer than I wanted to, but it was about a year where I finally said to the team, OK, I'm tired of talking about spreadsheets. We're gonna raise minimum wage from $12 to $16 an hour, and we're going to wipe out healthcare costs for everybody under 300% of the poverty level.

And when we did that and watched the results, it was amazing. Our employee engagement went up 1,200% not only in those employees, but in the whole company. What happened next was the most profound piece: Everybody started coming back to me with ways we could take care of each other.

I talk about the four levels of leadership. The first level is your employees hate you. The second level is your employees fear you. The third level is your employees praise you. The fourth level, you're invisible because your organization takes care of itself and that's what happened the last three, four years.

That's the legacy I want to leave: An organization of people that get it, they make it better, they keep it going. I don't need to tell people what to do.

How to know when it's time to move on

Feloni: With the book, you took time to look back on your career. What's next for you, and what do you want to accomplish?

Bertolini: I don't live the lifestyle of the traditional CEO — I come from a pretty humble background. When the deal closed, I had almost three million shares of stock, and I never used it because I didn't need it. So the vast majority of that has gone into taxes, my family foundation (called Anahata), and then trusts for grandchildren and children. My wife and I kept a little bit of it, but the majority of it is in the foundation.

The idea there is to use that foundation to create community, and to focus on three things. First, in education. My wife works in the Harlem schools with kids on literacy. Second is the environment, and we've invested heavily in preserving carbon sinks, so buying forest land that will never be built on or chopped down. And then sustainability, how do we create sustainable communities. That will be the work, and I'll be engaged in that because it's interesting to me and exciting for me. I'm on a number of boards of directors.

So that's sort of occupying my time. I probably won't jump into a full-time job unless I'm dragged back into it. I want a portfolio of interesting things to do. I've been working since I was 13, so it would be kind of nice at 62 not to have to work anymore and make decisions tougher than what kind of coffee do I grind this morning.

Feloni: What's your best leadership advice?

Bertolini: Setting goals only establishes disappointment. The deeper understanding one should have is what is it that you do really well, that you love to do, and look for work that supports that. And if you do that, you'll have an incredible career.

My proclivities are to fix broken things and build new things. I hate just making sure the trains run on time. I always hire people that can do that part really well, and I've been surrounded by people like that for the last 20 years. I've been able to look at what's next, what can we fix, what can we make better. Because if things are running really well, I'll tinker with them just to see if they can be better than they are.

I've never looked for a job other than my first job. The phone's always rang to offer me something. People will call me and say [they've] got this issue or that issue. If it's something I like, I'll offer to help. That's how I've gotten every job I've had — and because it's work I love to do and I do it well, I have a lot of fun doing it.

Probably the hardest part [of retiring] is you should be prepared when you're done to have things you need to do that are just as interesting, otherwise you'll regret the fact that you don't have a job anymore. I think that's where a lot of CEOs in particular fail.

Feloni: Did you leave Karen Lynch with strategic insights before departing your role?

Bertolini: Oh yeah, Karen worked with me for a long time. It was a very purposeful development process for her, and I think she's going to be in a great place. She has every opportunity to run that company [CVS] one day and I think she can do it, and I'm going to support her in trying to achieve that.

When I handed her the president's job, I said to her, "At some point you will realize you've been doing the president's job too long because you'll see an issue and you'll go, ‘I know how to do that. I did that [back then],' and that's when you make mistakes."

The leading cause of failure is success. When it became too rote for me, I knew I needed to have somebody else do it. She's taken it to a whole different level. Again, the legacy is that she took things I had figured out and she made them better, and she has built her own things that she'll pass on to somebody else. And that's what [former Aetna CEO] Ron Williams did with me. That's what real legacies are, the work they leave behind. She's got a big job to do. I think she'll do fine.

SEE ALSO: Meet the 10 richest billionaires in healthcare, whose ranks include a doctor and heirs to pharmaceutical empires

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from Humans Are Free: The United Nations has officially designated October 31st, 2011 as “7 Billion Day”. On that day, the United Nations estimates that the population of the Earth hit 7 billion for the very first time. But instead of celebrating what a milestone 7 billion people represents, the UNPF focused instead on using […]

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Estados Unidos fracasaría en caso de un conflicto militar contra Rusia y China sin el uso de armas nucleares, destacó el medio Breaking Defense al analizar simulaciones de escenarios de guerra.

La Corporación RAND, un centro estadounidense de investigación estratégica, realiza anualmente una simulación militar entre 'los azules' (EEUU) y 'los rojos' (sus oponentes potenciales). El ejercicio simula las posibles amenazas y analiza las estrategias de uso de los medios de combate, entre otras cosas.

De acuerdo con los resultados de la última simulación, los expertos llegaron a la conclusión de que Rusia y China destruirían a las fuerzas de Estados Unidos en el caso de un conflicto armado no nuclear, detalló el medio.

Según David Ochmanek, analista de RAND, EEUU tiene, pese a su enorme arsenal, muchos "talones de Aquiles". Además, la exitosa modernización de las armas ofensivas de los "oponentes" complicaría aún más la situación para el país norteamericano.

Asimismo, Ochmanek considera que las bases militares de EEUU son vulnerables a posibles ataques de los misiles de largo alcance rusos y chinos.

"El F-35 domina el cielo cuando está en el cielo, pero muere en el suelo en grandes cantidades", subrayó Robert Work, un exsubsecretario de Defensa con décadas de experiencia en simulaciones militares.

Además, según RAND, 'los rojos' pueden derrotar a los aliados de Washington en los países bálticos y en Taiwán.

Para los investigadores, EEUU necesitaría asignar unos 24.000 millones de dólares para resolver a los problemas mencionados y mejorar su preparación para el combate.

https://mundo.sputniknews.com/america_del_norte/201903121086014127-eeuu-perderia-una-guerra-no-nuclear-contra-rusia-y-china/

          OPINION: Misplaced Priorities      Cache   Translate Page      
Mayor Levar Stoney’s new tax increase isn’t about fixing schools and roads, it’s about soundbites for the next election.

When it comes to their tax dollars, Richmonders are used to paying more for less.

With his new budget, Mayor Levar Stoney is asking Richmonders to pay even more through a 9-cent property tax rate increase, a utility rate increase averaging $5.82 a month per household and a 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax. This comes after an effective tax increase at the beginning of 2019 when city property assessments rose 8.3 percent on average. These three new tax increases would put him at a total of six in just three years in office [when you include utility fee increase for bulk trash pick up, meals tax increase and tax assessment increase without adjusting the rate down to make it revenue neutral].

He says he has found all the possible efficiencies and savings possible in City Hall, and if we want better schools and roads then this is the only option. What he doesn’t mention is that he isn’t simply handing over this new tax revenue to the Richmond Public Schools and Public Works to do their thing. He instead gives only $6 million to schools and $2 million to Public Works. The rest is spread out among almost every city department except for an unlucky few like Minority Business Development, Economic Development and Housing and Community Development.

And the largest portion is assigned to the item called general fund transfer to debt service. That money would be used as leverage to take out a $48 million loan. This proposed loan wouldn’t even be used to get an even larger sum for schools and roads, but again would be spread across various projects to give everyone a little something.

This tax increase is not about schools and roads. If it were, then every available dollar would be funneled directly into those priorities.

Instead this budget tries to be everything to everyone all at once. It is a deliberate action to avoid having to make difficult decisions or do the hard work of fixing City Hall. Why roll up your sleeves when you can just raise taxes and do a bunch of different projects that can be used as sound bites in the 2020 election or the 2021 election for governor?

This municipal attention deficit disorder is par for the course in Richmond, but Stoney is taking it to new heights. This tax-increase proposal comes at the same time he is seeking to divert tax revenue to fund a billion dollar coliseum development. Coincidentally, the $21.1 million his property tax increase will generate matches the $21.1 million average annual bond payment required to make the new Coliseum a reality.

It is common knowledge in Richmond, to everyone except the mayor apparently, that City Hall lacks focus and competency. In just the last few months there have been news stories of the city’s having to pay twice to make road repairs because they weren’t done properly the first time, of an accounting error costing the city $3 million and of one employee racking up 1,900 hours of overtime. In 2017, Richmond spent $92 million on general government administration, which is more than double the per capita average for cities in Virginia. Norfolk, which has almost the same exact number of people as Richmond, spent $63 million less. Virginia Beach, with 200,000 more people than Richmond, spent $25 million less than Richmond. Basically, name a locality other than Fairfax County and Richmond spent more.

In this budget there would be $46 million in new revenue: $21.8 million in new property tax revenue from assessment value increases, $21.1 million from the property tax rate increase, and $3 million from the cigarette tax increase. Taking into account a decrease of $8 million from various sources such as the admissions tax, which is less because the mayor already has unilaterally shut down the Coliseum, there would be a total of $38 million more than last year’s budget to spend. All Stoney would have to do is take that $38 million and find $2 million in cuts and he would have the $40 million he wants to give to schools and roads in this budget without a single dime of debt.

If he managed to cut general government administration spending to the level of Virginia Beach and combine it with just the revenue from the assessment increases, we would have $46.8 million without raising taxes by 1 cent.

Instead the mayor apparently went to the Richmond city government school of financial management, where you max out the credit cards locking up all future revenue in interest payments without actually solving the most pressing issues. The mayor’s proposed path will continue the patented Richmond pattern of subpar services for our residents, while the politicians throw up their hands and complain about lack of revenue.

Stoney either doesn’t have the understanding or desire to solve the tough problems. His lack of interest is obvious from his constant trips out of town to set up his future political career and by how we have gone more than a year without seeing the details of his billion dollar coliseum idea. It is time for Richmond to stop being the capital of misplaced priorities. If Stoney thinks he has done all he can do with what we have given him, then maybe it is time we start taking applications for someone new.

Justin Griffin is a small business attorney who lives and has his law practice in Richmond. He earned his law degree from the University of Richmond and has an accounting degree with an economics minor from the University of Tennessee. He operates the website NoColiseum.com.

Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.

          Ask The Salty Waitress: I’m concerned about my regular’s well-being      Cache   Translate Page      

Hi Salty, I sling drinks in a fancy-pants place with a lot of rich customers in a ski resort out West. While I’m mostly making Whistle Pig Old Fashioneds and pouring Don Julio 1942, we also have a few regulars that aren’t billionaires, and that lock up the same seat at the bar several nights a week.

Read more...


          Best Egg Loans Review      Cache   Translate Page      

Best Egg is a highly-rated direct lender who offers personal loans through a simple, fast process that can be completed entirely online or over the phone. The company is famous for sending out targeted snail mail outlining their loan offerings, but they also offer a robust online platform that makes researching and comparing loan options a breeze. As of early 2019, Best Egg has funded over $6 billion in personal loans throughout the United States. They have also served over […]

The post Best Egg Loans Review appeared first on The Simple Dollar.


          NKF's Foshay: Foreign capital may target REITs trading below NAVs      Cache   Translate Page      
Foreign investment in US commercial real estate reached $94.9 billion last year, a 73% year-over-year increase, according to  -More

          Brookfield markets Manhattan apartment portfolio for $1.5B      Cache   Translate Page      
Brookfield Property Partners is marketing a Manhattan apartment portfolio, asking $1.5 billion.  -More

          Competition Is Bad for Education: Admission Bribery Scandal Edition      Cache   Translate Page      

It is hard to know where to begin with the big story of cheating and bribery in order to gain admission to elite universities.

There are the rubbernecking aspects, actresses and business leaders ensnared by the indictment, including Lori Loughlin who with her designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain admission for their daughter to the University of Southern California, a daughter who was less than indifferent about the educational aspects of college to begin with.  

There are the stories of parents faking learning disabilities for their children to gain access to accommodations that would allow for the cheating to happen. The saddest story may be the parents who went to great lengths to hide the fact of the cheating from their own child, arranging for him to take a fake test.

Or another one, about non-athlete children having their faces photoshopped onto the bodies of actual athletes as proof they belonged in a pool of applicants deserving special consideration. 

We could talk about the greed, venality, corruption, and cluelessness that abounds in the details shared in the charging document. The bribes were even couched as charitable donations which allowed the parents to deduct them on their taxes. It’s simply gross. 

My jaw dropped a little deeper with each page, but it is important to distinguish between shock and surprise. I was shocked that we are finding out about these schemes, while being entirely unsurprised that something like this was going on. 

This is merely the illegal version of the rather common practices wealthy, almost universally white parents use to stack the elite admissions deck for their offspring. William Singer, the chief perpetrator of the fraud pitched the scheme as a “side door” to admission, an alternative to the “back door” of institutional advancement (meaning above board donations) that can’t offer a “guarantee” and are usually more costly.[1]

SAT tutors, admissions consultants, private schooling from the cradle, legacy admissions, crew, field hockey, grandpa’s name on a building. This is how the so-called meritocracy is supposed to perpetuate itself, not bribery and side doors.

U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Andrew Lelling, said, “The real victims in this case are the hardworking students,” who were presumably denied admission to these elite universities because of the fraud.

True enough, but not the whole truth. The full list of victims would include the following: Everybody.

As is my tendency, I immediately try to see these things through a systemic lens. Yes, the perpetrators are wrong and gross. Yes, they deserve whatever punishments are coming their way, but to truly understand the roots of this harm and fully appreciate the scope of those who are harmed, we have to go deeper.

Competition is bad for education, bad for learning, bad for students, bad, ultimately, for educational institutions as well. 

Competition is wasteful and inefficient, and leads institutions to engage in deliberately obstructive practices to hide the trust cost of attendance to students

Competition has squeezed poorer students not just out of admission at elite private universities, but public flagships as well, as demonstrated by a report from New America Education. 

Students competing for scarce slots in magnet schools or college feeders experience increased stress and anxiety. Even the “winners” are losing

I’m thinking about an even larger class of those who are harmed. How about black and brown children who are subjected to emotionally abusive practices at so-called “no excuses” charter schools so they may fare better in an admissions competition that will always be stacked against them?

Recall the story of T.M. Landry College Prep of Louisiana, which was faking transcripts in order to get their minority students into elite schools. This is a consequence of the same dysfunctional system that begat Aunt Becky bribing a dude to get her YouTube star daughter into USC. The difference is that those minority students were subjected to “a culture of fear with physical and emotional abuse, students and teachers saidStudents were forced to kneel on rice, rocks and hot pavement, and were choked, yelled at and berated,” while the daughter of the star of Garage Sale Mysteries had to experience the challenge of working around not being able to remove any of the standard issue USC dorm furniture, while still creating an Instagramable space.[2]

How about the harm done to public institutions which are required to compete for prestige in order to be deemed worthy of support, all while doing more with less, year after year.

I am grateful for the news of this scandal because it is a window into how messed up the system truly is, but it would be a shame if we fail to use this to look at these problems at a systemic level. 

Some initial thoughts on the implications of this news:[3]

1. Let’s just end using the SAT and ACT as admissions criteria. They’re biased, students who can afford coaching get an unfair advantage, they have little correlation to college success, and now they’ve proved central to a fraud. How much more do we need to act?

2. All schools should immediately cease to cooperate with the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Coincidentally, this year’s data was released the same day as the scandal broke. Everyone in education knows the data is largely meaningless as a reflection of the on-the-ground quality of education, so let’s just stop with the nonsense. Sure, this is more symptom than disease, but every little bit helps.

3. Let’s have a good, hard talk about whether or not public money in any form should be going to these elite private institutions. As of 2015, Stanford, whose sailing coach was implicated in the indictment, receives a taxpayer subsidy equivalent to $63,000 per student. Compare this to UC-Berkeley, which receives only $10,500 of taxpayer subsidy per student.

These subsidies are often hidden in tax breaks and other schemes.

4. Let’s invest in public education.[4]I will use a specific example that applies more broadly. You can get a great education at College of Charleston, my most recent employer. It is a fine school with great students and wonderful faculty. It is not without faults – no place is – but it is an example of a public institution trying its best to provide educational opportunities to their students.

The amount of money spent on the admissions cheating and bribery scheme ($25 million) is 50% more than the annual contribution of the state of South Carolina to CofC’s bottom line. 

Seventy-five percent of applicants to CofC are admitted. The opportunity is not particularly scarce, but the resources to support the students in our non-elite public institutions sure are.

There are thousands of institutions like this across the country, including our community colleges which are providing educational access for many students who are the least resourced. We should be working to make the path much smoother for those folks, and if it means taking elite privates down a peg or two in the process, consider it past due payment for services already rendered. 

They’ve been sponging off the rest of us for long enough.

 

[1]Page 78 of the indictment. If you haven’t read it, you really should see it for yourself. I cannot do it justice.

[2]Solution: “I covered a lot of stuff with blankets, like my chair. I used the marble tapestry to cover the large bulletin board on my wall that we were not allowed to remove.”

[3]If people have other things we should be considering, please add them in the comments.

[4]And tax the rich to do it, rather than having billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg who claim to care about education launder their money through quasi-philanthropic giving.

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          Customer Service Representative - Strathallen Property Management Inc. - Saskatoon, SK      Cache   Translate Page      
Strathallen is a fully integrated Canadian real estate management company, with over $1.4 billion and 9 million square feet in assets under management....
From Indeed - Sun, 03 Mar 2019 22:24:29 GMT - View all Saskatoon, SK jobs
          Let's celebrate 30 years of possible      Cache   Translate Page      

On this day, 30 years ago, the World Wide Web was born. A seemingly complex invention that would go on to open the Internet up to billions of people,
More RSS Feed: newsroom.cisco.com/rss-feeds ...
          The Global Additive Manufacturing Market Is Expected To Grow To US$ 36.61 Billion By 2027 From US$ 8.44 Billion In 2018      Cache   Translate Page      


          A $1 Billion EM Manager Pushes Pause on ‘Expensive’ India Stocks - BloombergQuint      Cache   Translate Page      
A $1 Billion EM Manager Pushes Pause on ‘Expensive’ India Stocks  BloombergQuint

An economy seen expanding to become the world's third largest within the next seven years and with greater political stability than many emerging market rivals ...


          Coca-Cola wants to set up an R&D centre in India: CEO James Quincey - Livemint      Cache   Translate Page      
Coca-Cola wants to set up an R&D centre in India: CEO James Quincey  Livemint

Mumbai: James Quincey, who runs the $38 billion beverage giant The Coca-Cola Co., wants to set up a research and development (R&D) centre in India as part ...


          Google Doodle marks web’s 30th anniversary      Cache   Translate Page      

Google has dedicated its home page Doodle to the World Wide Web to mark the technology’s 30th anniversary. The animated illustration shows a 1980s-style computer – similar to the NeXT Cube Tim Berners-Lee used to create the online application which has since grown to encompass nearly two billion websites. Google Doodles are animations or images that replace the company’s traditional logo on the search engine’s home page, normally to mark milestone anniversaries or birthdays of high-profile people, places and inventions. On March 12 1989, Berners-Lee submitted his proposal for a “large hypertext database with typed links” as a means for his colleagues at nuclear physics lab Cern to better share information among multiple computers. A Google post accompanying the Doodle said: “By 1991, the external Web servers were up and running. “The Web would soon revolutionise life as we know it, ushering in the information age. Today, there are nearly 2 billion websites online. Whether you use it for email, homework, gaming, or checking out videos of cute puppies, chances are you can’t imagine life without the Web.” However, in an open letter to mark the 30th anniversary, Berners-Lee urged the public, government and other organisations to come together to ensure everyone has access to the technology, and called for changes to be made to protect users from rising incidents of hacking and data breaches. “The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time,” Sir Tim said. “Today, half of the world is online. It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity.”  

The post Google Doodle marks web’s 30th anniversary appeared first on London Glossy Post.


          The Oil Majors Aiming To Save Alaska’s LNG Dreams      Cache   Translate Page      
Less than two weeks after Alaska Gov. Michael Dunleavy  cast doubt over the $43 billion Alaska LNG project, two oil majors have resuscitated hope that the massive capex project could go forward after all. The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC)  said on late Friday that it had signed a collaboration agreement with oil majors BP and ExxonMobil to look for ways to help advance the state-owned company’s proposed project. “Our respective organizations share an interest in the successful commercialization of Alaska’s…
          Tribune Company Shareholders Approve Acquisition By Nexstar      Cache   Translate Page      
Tribune Media shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company’s plan to be acquired by Nexstar Media Group during a special meeting today. The $4.1 billion proposal won the OK of more than 95% percent of the votes cast by the Company's Class A common stockholders and Class B common stockholders, who voted as a single class. That turnout represents about 73% percent of the shares of the Company's Class A common stock and Class B common stock outstanding as of the special…
          ‘Esports and the New Gaming Economy’: UTD to Present Emerging Technologies Summit at Dallas Startup Week      Cache   Translate Page      

The gaming industry contributes over $260 billion to the U.S. economy, according to statistics provided by the University of Texas at Dallas. Globally, the esports audience will reach 380 million this year. And, by 2021, esports is projected to have

The post ‘Esports and the New Gaming Economy’: UTD to Present Emerging Technologies Summit at Dallas Startup Week appeared first on Dallas Innovates.


          Q+A: Woman-Owned Rosy Takes on Sexual Health      Cache   Translate Page      

A local OB-GYN-turned-startup founder, Dr. Lyndsey Harper, is tackling a problem experienced by more than 30 percent of all women—decreased libido.

According to Harper, the men’s erectile dysfunction industry is a $4 billion dollar business, but the medical industry offers …

The post Q+A: Woman-Owned Rosy Takes on Sexual Health appeared first on Dallas Innovates.


           Comment on Facebook’s big jump was in Menlo Park home prices by 2019 IPOs Affecting Real Estate In Silicon Valley | real estate news       Cache   Translate Page      
[…] When tech Unicorn startups, like Uber, finally go public, they will likely be worth over $100 billion, putting at least $10 million in stock for every early employee, advisor, and investor. In addition to the startup ecosystem, the real estate landscape will also be affected. Back in 2004, Google’s IPO played a role in the 11% increase in prices in the San Francisco and Bay Area. The economic success of the region, especially it’s recovery after the great financial crisis, has generally tended to push prices up. Another example is Facebook. It’s IPO helped its employees make significant down payments on mortgages and early employees invested in more than one single-family homes. While Facebook chose a historically poor area for its HQ, the prices of the neighboring Palo Alto and Menlo Park went soaring after the company went public. […]
          Mögöttem és előttem      Cache   Translate Page      

2018-ban lekerekedett mindaz, ami 2017-ben elkezdődött, és immár sokkal tudatosabban foghatok bele 2019-be.



itt és most


Itt és most élvezem, hogy december 20-ával végére értem terjedelmesre hízott (830 A/4-es oldal, 2.666.000 körüli leütésszám szóközökkel) iglices történetemnek. Igen elfáradtam a végére, a záró fejezetre két hétig gyűjtöttem az erőt. Most legalább egy éves pihenő jön a számára, hogy aztán friss szemmel, szerkesztői szándékkal felvértezetten essek neki és szedjem dramaturgiailag is indokolt három részre.
Irdatlan meló lesz, és örömmel vállalom. A köztes idő sem mondható tétlen időszaknak, mert egyrészt novellaötletek várnak formába öntésre, és egy egykötetes történet, ami ugyanabban a világban játszódik, mint amit az iglicesben létrehoztam. Ajánlom mindenkinek, mielőtt egyből sokkötetes valamivel rohanná le kiszemelt kiadóját, hogy előtte egy egykötetesben mutassa be, hová szánja a későbbi, nagyobb lélegzetvételű eseményeket. Esélyt növelhet, illetve megtanít nem bő lére ereszteni és szerteágazni az ötleteket. Nem kell mindent egy sztoriba belezsúfolni ;)

cikkek és bejegyzések

Idén öt bejegyzést is kipréselt magából a Sorok mögött spontán szerveződött és spontán író csapata. Írtunk könyvbemutatók szabotálásáról, halogatásról, sztorikban szerepeltetett állatokról, különféle zsánerekben történő kalandozásokról, a tehetségről. Mellesleg mások is fogtak hasonló kezdeményezésbe, érdemes beleolvasni az Írók Egymás Között sorozatába, a NASI írós interjúfolyamába és a Szimplán Mesés interjúsorozatba.
Karikatúraszerű felvetéseknek szántam, ám a szenvedélyes hangnem gyakorta félrevitte, azaz valóságosabbá, hihetővé tette, mintha személyesen is érintett lennék, vagy ott lennék a tűz közelében és látnám, hallanám, mik zajlanak a háttérben. Javaslatul kaptam, ha ezt a jövőben szeretném elkerülni, akkor járjak alaposabban utána az éppen kiszemelt témának, és akkor nem pusztán körültekintőbben írhatom meg, amit szeretnék, de pláne ráérzek, mit és hogyan csavarhatok rajta a hatás kedvéért.
2017-ben ünnepeltem blogom hétéves fennállását, és erre az évre is jutott kiadással, írással kapcsolatos cikksorozat: könyvkiadás a közösség erejével 1, 2, 3, 4, közösségi könyvírás, szép.irodalom 1, 2, 3szereplők és munka.

élmény és forrás

Több olyan hétvégém is akadt, amikor maradhattam volna otthon, hogy görnyedjek a gépemnél, de én a friss kinti levegőt és a kirándulást választottam. Vonzódom a természethez, gyalog vagy kerékpárral vetem magam a sűrűjébe. Helyszín tekintetében Budapest hegyei között és Gödöllő vonzáskörzetében lehet velem találkozni, ahogy fokossal felszerelkezve járom a turistautakat.
A természeti környezet mellett a másik nagy élményforrásom az emberekkel való találkozások. Javamra váltak az eltelt évek, megtanultam pozitívan értékelni az emberi interakciókat. Ezek lehetnek régi és új jó barátok, könyvfesztiválos ismerősök, online csoportok kedves közössége, mint például a FIÓK, vagy a NASI sörökkel bearanyozott találkozója.

Olvasni főleg a történetek és a szöveg élvezetéért szokásom, ám óhatatlanul lenyűgözi írói oldalamat is, ha megfogalmazásában, szerkesztésben egy-egy laktató könyv kerül elém. Ezek közül kiemelném Lionel Shiver Beszélnünk kell Kevinről írását, ami nálam nagyon jó helyre került. Szintén kedvelt szerzőim közé válogattam Megan Abbottot, akit a Majd megismersz révén fedeztem fel és a Riválisokkal folytattam. Magyar szerzők közül Rakovszky Zsuzsa és Kosáryné Réz Lola könyvei lopták be magukat a szívembe, illetve Finy Petra különös karakterű Madárasszonya. Fantasztikumból az Ezüstfonás dobogós. Szívesen olvastam a Lányok Csöndjét, ám A hatalom Aldermantól egyértelmű csalódást okozott .

Filmek tekintetében számos jó műhöz volt szerencsém. Ilyen a misztikus hangvételű Evolution és a Thelma, a vicces ezo-sf How to talk to girls at parties, és a Bright, ami eszembe juttatta a Shadowrun RPG világát. A Brimstoneban ábrázolt kőkemény bántalmazástól a hátamon futkosott a hideg, a Three Billboards outside Ebbing és a Leave no trace hosszú időre elgondolkoztatott az emberi kapcsolatokról, kitartásról, az élet fontos elemeiről, elvekről.

Sorozatok terén elég  széles az érdeklődésem. Ha jog és hatalom akkor Goliath, ha lóvé és hatalom akkor Billions, ha alvilág és hatalom akkor Ozark. Politika és hatalom kombinációban a lecsörömpölt évadzárású House of Cardsot tudom említeni. Szórakoztatott az aspergeres főszereplőjű Atypical, és az IT startupot kifigiurázó Silicon Valley. Moskát Anita ajánlására bukkantam rá a számítástechnika és az internet ős és hőskorában játszódó Halt and catch fire, és egy váratlanul szembeérkező kritikával a katonák rehabilitációját rendhagyó kezeléssel megoldani próbáló Homecoming.
SFF sorozatok terén vegyes élményeket szerezte: a Westworld lezárása ellaposodott, az Altered Carbon tét nélküliségének nem sikerült megnyernie, az Electric dreams erős zs kategóriás feldolgozást kapott. A Handmaid's Tale meghaladja a könyv tartalmát és ezt sajnos kiéreztem a második évadból. Remek volt viszont a Man in the High Castle folytatása, a betegül groteszk Happy!, és az AdBuddy meg Friend Proxy ötleteket is felvonultató Maniac. 

örömök és sikerek

Jó, ha az embernek vannak szoros, őszinte írós kapcsolatai. Vannak élethelyzetek, amit érintettségük miatt csak ők érthetnek meg a maga teljességében. Fontos szakmai és értékes lelki támogatást kaptam tőlük, valahányszor elakadtam vagy elbizonytalanodtam.
Elkészült a Próza Nostra második antológiája, melyben szerepelt az Arany 200 Balladaremix novellapályázatra beküldött és második helyezést elért novellám.
Dicséretben részesültem a 2018. évi Preyer Hugo emlékére kiírt pályázaton és leközölték az SF.Galaxis első számában a "Robotok munkában" novellapályázatára küldött művemet. 
Csatlakoztam a Libellus Magazin csapatához. A libellus latinul annyit tesz, könyvecske. Olyan ingyenes online megjelenési felületet akarunk adni a magyar fantasztikumban alkotó kezdő és amatőr szerzőknek, ahol bemutatkozhatnak és pár soros visszajelzések révén fejlődhetnek.

tervek és elképzelések

Fentebb ugye írtam, hogy 2019 a következő regényem írásáról fog szólni. Kilencvenes évek Magyarországán játszódó felnőtt urban fantasy, megviselt iglicekkel, dörzsölt kókókkal és gyarló emberek. Alig várom, hogy a gyűjtőmunka lezárását követően hozzákezdhessek.
Igyekszem összeszedettebben írni. Muszáj beszabályoznom a netezést, ne zökkentsen ki az alkotói folyamatból. Ez régebben nem volt probléma, de az utóbbi egy évben sajnos igen. Emiatt úszott el több novellám átdolgozása is. 
A konkrét alkotáson túl igyekszem elengedni azt, más milyen ütemben alkot, és hogy összehasonlítsam velük magamat. Néha félek, hogy amit kitaláltam, azt megírja más, vagy mire odajutok, addigra az a téma lejárt lemezzé válik.
Remélem, az írás még sokáig örömforrás marad számomra, és sikerül szövegbe öntenem mindazt, ami még a fejemben, jegyzetekben, elmentett könyvjelzők formájában kavarog. 


Korábbi évek, ahol lemérhető a változás: 20172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

           Comment on It’s not just Medicare: Trump budget eyes Social Security cuts, too by mary in TX       Cache   Translate Page      
take back the 38 billion going to israel
           Comment on Big Islands Meetings Scheduled to Discuss Road Usage Charge by galen       Cache   Translate Page      
This, while Hawaii tourism brings in $billions to the state every single year. #1, is that graphic handy? You know the one. .
          District Heating and Cooling Market to Exceed $400B by 2024      Cache   Translate Page      
As per estimates, the global DHC market was valued at approximately over $200 billion in 2017.
          "Vehicle purchases and student loans — whether for themselves or their children — are two of the..."      Cache   Translate Page      

Vehicle purchases and student loans — whether for themselves or their children — are two of the biggest contributors to increasing debt for older Americans. People 60 and up had total debt of $615 billion in 2017, according to TransUnion, which is less than millennials owe on student loans alone.

Americans 60 and older held 21 percent of total automotive balances in 2017, vs. 12 percent in 2010, TransUnion said. Auto loans now account for $246 billion, or 40 percent, of their total debt.

For all Americans, fast-rising student loan debt is sapping income they could have used for other purposes, including a vehicle. More than a quarter of millennials with student loan debt have delayed buying a car because of it, according to a survey by Bankrate.com released in February, with the Midwest as the region most likely to cite loans holding back a vehicle purchase.

Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst, told Automotive News that many Americans are struggling with their finances even in a strong economy.

“It’s not unusual for many small towns in this country to have essentially not participated in the economic expansion in the past 10 years,” Hamrick said. “It doesn’t surprise me that the Midwest would be having some warning lights going off there.”

Student loan debt, which totaled $1.46 trillion in the fourth quarter for all ages, also is preventing younger Americans from purchasing homes, getting married and saving for retirement and emergencies, the Bankrate study found.



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Saddled with debt, young adults lean on parents to buy cars


          Zuckerberg’s new privacy essay shows why Facebook needs to be broken upZuckerberg describes Facebook...      Cache   Translate Page      

Zuckerberg’s new privacy essay shows why Facebook needs to be broken up

Zuckerberg describes Facebook as a town square. It isn’t. Facebook is a company that brought in more than $55 billion in advertising revenue last year, with a 45% profit margin. This makes it one of the most profitable business ventures in human history. It must be understood as such.

Facebook has minted money because it has figured out how to commoditize privacy on a scale never before seen. A diminishment of privacy is its core product. Zuckerberg has made his money by performing a sort of arbitrage between how much privacy Facebook’s 2 billion users think they are giving up and how much he has been able to sell to advertisers. He says nothing of substance in his long essay about how he intends to keep his firm profitable in this supposed new era. That’s one reason to treat his Damascene moment with healthy skepticism.

“Frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services,” Zuckerberg writes. But Facebook’s reputation is not the salient question: its business model is. If Facebook were to implement strong privacy protections across the board, it would have little left to sell to advertisers aside from the sheer size of its audience. Facebook might still make a lot of money, but they’d make a lot less of it.

Zuckerberg’s proposal is a bait-and-switch. What he’s proposing is essentially a beefed-up version of WhatsApp. Some of the improvements might be worthwhile. Stronger encryption can indeed be useful, and a commitment to not building data centers in repressive countries is laudable, as far as it goes. Other principles that Zuckerberg puts forth would concentrate his monopoly power in worrisome ways. The new “platforms for private sharing” are not instead of Facebook’s current offering: they’re in addition to it. “Public social networks will continue to be very important in people’s lives,” he writes, an assertion he never squares with the vague claim that “interacting with your friends and family across the Facebook network will become a fundamentally more private experience.”

By narrowly construing privacy to be almost exclusively about end-to-end encryption that would prevent a would-be eavesdropper from intercepting communications, he manages to avoid having to think about Facebook’s weaknesses and missteps. Privacy is not just about keeping secrets. It’s also about how flows of information shape us as individuals and as a society. What we say to whom and why is a function of context. Social networks change that context, and in so doing they change the nature of privacy, in ways that are both good and bad.


          U.S. Navy Requests $205.6B in 2020      Cache   Translate Page      
According to a blog by Rear Admiral Randy Crites posted on the Navy Live, the official blog site of the U.S. Navy, the Department of the Navy Fiscal Year 20 Budget request submitted to Congress is $205.6 billion, a 4.8% increase from the FY19 enacted budget.
          Department of the Navy Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Budget      Cache   Translate Page      
The Department of the Navy (DON) submitted its fiscal year 2020 budget request to Congress March 12. The $205.6 billion Base, and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) request is part of the $718 billion (Base and OCO) defense budget, which President Donald Trump submitted to Congress March 11.
          Some analysts think Apple’s Netflix rival will top 100M subscribers within a few years      Cache   Translate Page      
At this point, there are still tons of unknowns surrounding the streaming video service Apple is reportedly going to unveil at an event March 25, during which we will hopefully get to see, among other things, the first actual clips from shows that will be part of Apple's forthcoming Netflix rival. The event, which is set for 10 a.m. local time at the Steve Jobs Theater, is momentous for a few reasons. There's the announcement itself, which will take the iPhone maker into territory dominated by rivals like Netflix and HBO -- streaming giants that have been at this for a long time and know better than anyone how difficult it is to pick creators and shows that generate buzz, viewership and the prestige that creatives team in any field covet. The forthcoming event will also be the first time Apple has used the venue for something other than an iPhone announcement. "It's show time," Apple's official media announcement for the event declares, and two analysts for the investment firm Wedbush certainly think that's the case for multiple reasons. For starters, based on a new commentary about Apple's plans that the analysts distributed to clients today, 100 million subscribers for Apple's forthcoming Netflix rival appears to be a "realistic medium-term goal," the note reads. "If Apple executes with minimal speed bumps and aggressively acquires content given the company’s massive installed base and unmatched brand loyalty," the analysts write, then reaching 100 million subs for this new service in the 3-to-5-year timeframe seems a realistic target. One that could add as much as $10 billion in additional revenue to Apple's coffers -- and serve as one more Apple product that keeps customers tied in to the company's ecosystem. The note is one more indication that a much-anticipated reveal of what Apple has been working toward in terms of original shows is what attendees March 25 will most be looking forward to. We may also get a sense of Apple's rumored Apple News-related subscription offering around things like newspapers and magazines, assuming the company has been able to smooth over disagreements with publishers that have apparently threatened to delay that announcement. The streaming TV service, though, is the big gamble -- an attempt to try something much more difficult than it looks and which is also generating competition at an exponential rate these days. Disney, AT&T, NBC and so many other deep-pocketed brands are likewise jumping into the crowded streaming waters. There's a legitimate question about how much quality content can actually exist out there, and how much subscribers will want to sign up to pay for, which makes offerings like Apple's all the more risky -- and potentially lucrative if the company is able to successfully pull this off. Interestingly, the Wedbush note paints Apple's March 25 announcement as merely "the drumroll" to something much bigger -- a major "transformative" content acquisition sometime this year that immediately vaults Apple into the top tier of contenders in the streaming arm's race. "We (and many others) are finally getting what we hoped for and predicted as the company is set to announce its inaugural streaming video content service that will be a linchpin in further expanding its services wings into areas such as video content and potentially gaming over the next decade," the note reads. The new streaming service will likely launch this fall, the note continues, "and will include a host of content partners (e.g. HBO remains the biggest X variable) as well as original content from Apple with the company currently in production deals with Oprah, Reese Witherspoon/Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, and a handful of other projects as the company is spending roughly $1 billion on original content this year." Of course, companies like Amazon and Netflix are spending much more than that on content through the end of the year, which is why the Wedbush analysts think "the clock has struck midnight for Cupertino" to executive a major content acquisition of some sort. And to do it this year, with possible M&A deals including team-ups with studios like a24, Lionsgate, Sony and even Netflix.
          wluds: Сказка о тройке. Что показало расследование OCCRP бизнеса «Тройки Диалог»      Cache   Translate Page      
 
Московский Центр Карнеги 
 
Андрей 
Мовчан
 
Если читать расследование OCCRP беспристрастно, то единственный вывод, который можно из него сделать, новым никак не назовешь: финансовые институты, в которых 10 лет назад комплаенс был поставлен далеко не так жестко, как сегодня этого требуют европейские законодатели, могли использоваться для отмывания денег. Этот вывод не оригинальнее вывода, что ножом можно зарезать человека. Однако никому еще не приходило в голову сваливать вину за преступления на создателей его орудия

Расследование ОССRP, громко озаглавленное «Прачечная "Тройки"», о группе «Тройка Диалог» Рубена Варданяна, известно уже, наверное, всем. Но остается немало вопросов, как интерпретировать описанные в нем факты и что из них следует.

Суть подозрений

Вкратце содержание расследования сводится к следующему. 

Во главе группы «Тройка Диалог» до ее продажи Сбербанку стоял «банкир с армянскими корнями» Рубен Варданян, широко известный в России и за рубежом, в частности, своими филантропическими проектами. «Он имел репутацию дружественного к Западу российского капиталиста» (дословный перевод).

Группа «Тройка Диалог» начиная с 2004 года создала десятки компаний, зарегистрированных в офшорных зонах (далее для удобства «сеть»). О том, что именно «Тройка Диалог» является их создателем, говорят как имеющиеся у журналистов документы, подтверждающие заказ их создания и оплату их содержания, так и то, что корреспонденция по ним велась с адреса электронной почты @troika.ru.

Часть компаний сети была зарегистрирована на номинальных владельцев – в расследовании приводится пример одной компании, зарегистрированной на сезонного рабочего («у которого общие с Рубеном Варданяном армянские корни» – тоже дословный перевод фразы из расследования). Этот сезонный рабочий отрицает, что знал о регистрации компании на его имя.

С 2006 по 2013 год компании сети получили в совокупности $4,6 млрд, перечислили $4,8 млрд и провели внутренних транзакций на $8,8 млрд.

Финансовые данные по компаниям сети получены при утечке знаменитых панамских бумаг, а также из других источников. Проводившие расследование журналисты располагают этими данными и готовы их предоставить.

Компании сети участвовали во множестве договоров на поставку различных товаров – от продуктов питания до автозапчастей. Журналисты утверждают, что это были фиктивные договоры, то есть деньги по ним переводились, а поставка товаров не производилась. Источник информации о том, что поставка не производилась, в расследовании не указан.

Среди контрагентов компаний сети в период 2006–2013 годов (переводивших деньги компаниям сети и получавших деньги от них) числятся компании, которые подозреваются в причастности к трем известным широкой публике операциям: похищению через бывшие компании фонда Hermitage из бюджета РФ $230 млн; выводу за рубеж средств, заработанных на незаконном сговоре по повышению стоимости авиатоплива (так называемое «шереметьевское дело»); отмыванию средств, принадлежавших российским страховым компаниям, через фиктивные договоры перестрахования (афера Тихомирова).

Также компании сети проводили сделки с компаниями, принадлежащими известному виолончелисту Сергею Ролдугину, известному другу президента России Владимира Путина. По крайней мере одна из сделок сети с компанией Ролдугина не состоялась, и по ней компанией сети в пользу компании Ролдугина был уплачен очень крупный штраф.

Компании сети участвовали в инвестиционных операциях – в частности, инвестировали в грузинскую систему водоснабжения и в региональные энергетические компании в России.

Компании сети перечисляли средства многим известным адресатам, в том числе делали переводы в фонд британского принца Чарльза, платили за приезд в Россию другого Принца (певца), оплачивали обучение детей ряда российских бизнесменов в школах за рубежом.

Также одна из компаний сети выдала длинный кредит родственнице высокопоставленного сотрудника «Ростехнологий» на приобретение недвижимости в Испании. 

Расследование представлено по-журналистски ярко и дает богатейшую почву для спекуляций. Его пересказали многие уважаемые СМИ, добавляя акценты, соответствующие общей политике того или иного издания и вкусам авторов статей. Большинство таких материалов сделано авторами добросовестными, но мало понимающими в деталях финансовых транзакций, истории рынков и устройстве российской финансовой экосистемы того времени. Поэтому они были посвящены не исследованию реальности, а отражению страхов перед коррупцией и выражению неприятия незаконных действий на финансовых рынках. 

Дисклеймер

Дисклеймер к расследованию написан Дрю Салливаном – соредактором расследования (Дрю – бывший аэрокосмический инженер, работавший на проекте «Шаттл», лауреат множества журналистских наград). Он пишет, что, хотя через сеть компаний, связанных с группой «Тройка Диалог», с 2004 года прошли существенные суммы денег, имеющие сомнительное происхождение, (1) нельзя утверждать, что какие-либо из этих транзакций были незаконными, поскольку законы стран домицилирования этих транзакций сильно различаются и различались в те годы; (2) нельзя утверждать, что соответствующие структуры «Тройки» знали о преступности источников данных средств; (3) для России того времени операции через систему офшорных компаний, перемещавших между собой средства на основе технических договоров, были рыночной нормой, а целью подобных операций была защита конфиденциальности владельцев и собственности от рейдерских атак.

Тем не менее структура второго по величине в России инвестиционного банка в расследовании названа «Прачечной», а материалы как будто нацелены на дискредитацию конкретного человека – Рубена Варданяна. Вплоть до того, что в расследовании обыгрывается и «национальный вопрос» – армянские корни российского инвестиционного банкира упоминаются так, как будто имеют отношение к делу.

Атаки на Рубена Варданяна случались и раньше – например, в 2009 году оппозиционер Алексей Навальный обвинял Варданяна в использовании якобы невозвратного и нерыночного кредита Сбербанка для частичного финансирования строительства бизнес-школы «Сколково». Обвинения оказались безосновательными (кредит был выдан аж под 13% в долларах, проценты полностью выплачены, кредит погашен – вряд ли Сбербанк найдет в своем портфеле более удачную операцию). Но Навальный, игнорируя факты, продолжает повторятьсвои обвинения и по сей день. Так что Варданяну не привыкать. 

Однако в отличие от того случая расследование OCCRP делали профессиональные журналисты – врать они не привыкли, поэтому описанные факты можно принять на веру. Важно другое – как эти факты интерпретировать и что из них следует. Читая расследование, мы погружаемся в реальный мир инвестиционного бизнеса – мир, где рациональность превалирует над этикой и эстетикой, где исполнение законов является необходимым злом и потому производится иногда на грани фола – но все же не за гранью.

Мультисемейный офис

В своем ответе OCCRP Рубен Варданян заявляет, что компании сети представляли собой основу созданного в 2004 году в группе «Тройка Диалог» сервиса – так называемого мультисемейного офиса. Это система комплексного обслуживания финансовых и инвестиционных операций HNWIs – состоятельных частных лиц.

То, что «Тройка» оказывала подобные услуги, было широко известно. Частью такого сервиса было создание и обслуживание офшорных компаний клиентов. Клиент обращается за помощью в структурировании своих активов, ему советуют запарковать их на компании в зоне льготного налогообложения, он, как правило, просит такую компанию создать, а потом и администрировать – оформлять бумаги, отправлять приказы, оплачивать сборы и так далее.

Стоит такая услуга пару тысяч долларов за компанию в год, хороший мультисемейный офис администрирует сотни, если не тысячи компаний: его юристы заказывают их создание, они же оплачивают счета, они же ведут переписку по поводу компаний и сделок клиентов – создается впечатление, что это «их» компании.

У «Тройки Диалог» наверняка было еще много своих офшоров. Группа проводила операции с ценными бумагами на десятках рынков и обслуживала тысячи клиентов. Основная задача оператора рынка ценных бумаг – это снижение налогов на операции (рынки глобальны, и торговать ценными бумагами можно из зон с наилучшим налогообложением) и разделение рисков – клиентов и своих собственных (рынки волатильны, убытки часты, убыток одного клиента не должен задеть других).

Брокеры, управляющие и банкиры создают по офшорной компании (а то и по нескольку) под каждую лицензию, каждую биржу или рынок, каждый проект IB, каждый фонд, каждый тип сделок, часто – под каждого крупного контрагента. Семьдесят компаний – это не число. Я много лет консультирую клиентов – промышленные холдинги, банки, частных инвесторов – по вопросу структурирования активов, и почти всегда мне на стол попадают запутанные структуры из десятков офшоров; «так исторически сложилось», говорят клиенты.

Офшоры – неотъемлемая часть финансового мира. Использование офшорных компаний не просто легитимно во всем развитом мире, это стандарт оперирования инвестиционных структур. Офшоры служат не только и не столько для сокращения налоговой нагрузки, но и для более качественного структурирования собственности (офшорные зоны используют британское право, в котором права акционеров можно прописать максимально гибко, систему управления компанией подстроить под свои нужды, а бюрократия при этом будет минимальной).

Для России офшоры всегда выполняли еще одну важную роль – перевешивая денежные средства и имущество на офшор, клиенты защищали (насколько возможно) свое имущество от атаки бандитов или силовиков. Именно ради такой защиты многие клиенты семейных офисов просили (и просят) организовать их компаниям номинальных владельцев и директоров – не только чтобы не светиться в реестрах и не попасться на карандаш местному рейдеру или коррумпированному следователю, но и чтобы физически не иметь возможности отдать активы, если попросят: «Они тебе паяльник, а ты им – мол, ничего не могу сделать, не я подписываю, надо обращаться в банк».

Мировая финансовая система отреагировала на такой спрос давно и очень активно. White label и Back-to-Back – это термины, обозначающие прикрытие своих активов с помощью крупной финансовой структуры. Эти услуги охотно оказывают крупнейшие швейцарские банки. В офшорных юрисдикциях тысячи людей (от юристов до крестьян) работают профессиональными номинальными директорами и владельцами компаний. Россия официально признает эту практику – в законах об амнистии и о безналоговой ликвидации компаний субъектом называется бенефициарный владелец, вне зависимости от личности номинала.

Но любой номинал может представлять серьезную опасность для активов, если он вдруг решит сыграть в бенефициара. Поэтому в банковской практике принято в документах по счету компании с номинальным владельцем (в так называемой форме «А») указывать также владельца настоящего и получать у него подтверждение всех транзакций. Номинала, разумеется, предупреждают, что он не имеет права совершать никаких операций без ведома бенефициара.

Армянский рабочий

Тут стоит вспомнить об «армянских сезонных рабочих» из расследования OCCRP. С высокой вероятностью, клиент «Тройки» назначил такого номинала в офшорную компанию вовсе не для отмывания денег. Для отмывания денег (как и для обычных операций самой «Тройки») нет никакого смысла использовать номинального директора, которого можно легко найти на территории России, изобличить как номинала и который моментально все расскажет следствию. Гораздо проще использовать кипрского или кайманского крестьянина, юриста или секретаря – предложение таких услуг всегда было избыточным. 

Причин привлечь «армянского сезонного рабочего» могло быть несколько. Клиент не говорит по-английски, но хочет иметь доступ к номиналу. Клиент имеет какое-то отношение к номиналу (в расследовании упоминается, что один из номиналов имел родственника – партнера «Тройки Диалог»). Клиенту нужно, чтобы документы подписывались быстро. К слову, идея, что «армянский рабочий» подпишет документы с меньшим количеством вопросов, чем кипрский юрист и тем более кипрский секретарь или крестьянин, несостоятельна. Мой опыт показывает, что и там и там в большинстве случаев количество вопросов – ноль, особенно если бенефициар заранее подписал indemnity letter – письмо об освобождении номинала от ответственности.

Наконец, совершенно несостоятельна версия, что армянский рабочий был не в курсе своей роли. Представьте себе, что некий рейдер находит компанию, на которой держатся активы и которая принадлежит такому рабочему. Найти рабочего несложно (как выяснили журналисты). Рейдер находит его и быстро выясняет, что тот ничего не знает. Далее за 1000 рублей рейдер подписывает у него документы на передачу ему компании (или подделывает подпись – рабочий ведь все равно ничего не знает) – все, актив ушел. Даже самые глупые клиенты так делать не могли. Номиналы всё отлично знали, получали за свою роль деньги (наличными на 99%) и были предупреждены о правилах поведения. Ну и, конечно, их предупреждали, чтобы не болтали лишнего. Поэтому «армянский рабочий» и не сказал журналистам, что был в курсе ситуации, и никогда не скажет, просто по принципу «а вдруг чего».

Отдельный вопрос – могли ли текущие подписи такого номинала (равно как любого другого номинала) подделываться в самом семейном офисе или клиентом? Грустный ответ – могли и, скорее всего, время от времени подделывались. Только это не имеет никакого отношения к отмыванию денег – это говорит только о лени и халатности младших юристов, которые иногда вместо того, чтобы тратить время на получение подписи, подмахивают сами или вставляют скан в pdf-файле: «А чего такого, он бы все равно подписал».

Сеть обскура

На словах (предлагая прокомментировать расследование) журналисты OCCRP сказали мне о «множестве запутанных внутренних транзакций сети», назвав их obscure – мутными. Я ответил тогда, что большое количество транзакций – это «плохой знак». Но на деле в расследовании упоминаются не слишком большие цифры и, главное, не слишком большой внутренний оборот сети.

Имея более $4 млрд на входе и столько же на выходе, внутренние транзакции сети составили менее $9 млрд. Даже если предположить, что внутри семейного офиса «Тройки» шло только управление ликвидностью и свободные средства «продавались» своему же брокеру или сторонним банкам (а я точно знаю, что так и было, это делала не только «Тройка», но и все банки, это совершенно законные операции), внутренний оборот уже будет больше.

Но, разумеется, внутренних транзакций было намного больше – клиенты торговали бумагами, брали и давали займы, инвестировали средства и возвращали их, делали back-to-backs в большом количестве (давали заем самой «Тройке» и тут же получали его в другом месте) и прочее. Так что идею отмывания денег через множественные транзакции внутри сети можно забыть – если там и было отмывание, то обороты о нем не свидетельствуют.

Более того, если мои приблизительные подсчеты (на основе данных, которые мы, работая в «Ренессанс Управление инвестициями», собирали по рынку) верны, то «Тройка Диалог» проводила в день операции по клиентским счетам на сотни миллионов долларов. За семь изучаемых лет ее оборот должен был превысить $0,5 трлн (а скорее всего, и $1 трлн). То есть выделенные OCCRP операции составили около 1% оборотов бизнеса.

С одной стороны, непонятно, какие еще страшные тайны скрываются в оставшихся 99%. С другой – выделять очевидно клиентские транзакции на 1% всего объема бизнеса и объявлять их отмыванием по причине их наличия все же несколько необоснованно.

Следы преступлений

Внутри этого 1% объема транзакций «Тройки» расследователи нашли следы денег, поступавших от компаний, которые были замечены в «деле Магнитского», «шереметьевском деле» и «деле  Тихомирова». Во всех трех случаях компании, участвовавшие в отмывании денег, переводили деньги в сеть «Тройки», а затем, предполагают расследователи, эти деньги уходили дальше, бенефициарам преступлений.

Следует признать, что это вполне возможная ситуация. В тот момент, когда совершались эти переводы, все три громких дела еще не были ни громкими, ни делами. По «делу Магнитского» оперировали те же компании, что и до того оперировали активами фонда Hermitage – им даже не надо было открывать счета в «Тройке», они были там уже много лет. Движение средств по этим счетам было business as usual.

В 2008 году комплаенс и в банках был не на высоте: счета открывали по интервью, проведенному сейлзом, еще существовали компании с акциями на предъявителя. В российских брокерах оформление документов клиентов было достаточно формальным: пакет, конечно, собирался, но в основном – уставных документов, источники доходов описывались со слов и не подтверждались, не всегда делалась даже проверка на компрометирующие сведения в интернете. Инвестиционный банк был идеальным средством для вывода и отмывания денег – настолько идеальным, что банк совершенно не должен был быть в курсе происходящего.

Выходившие через «Тройку» средства по делам страховщиков и заправщиков были невелики в масштабе деятельности группы. Расследователи утверждают, что из $230 млн украденного налога на прибыль компаний Hermitage преступники $130 млн вывели через «Тройку». Это значительная сумма, но, полагаю, здесь данные ошибочны. Вывод средств по делу Hermitage уже многократно изучен и описан. Преступники перед выводом средств за рубеж совершили в России около 10 тысяч транзакций, чтобы скрыть следы. И следы, разумеется, были скрыты, в том числе от банкиров.

Большие объемы средств были выведены через молдавские банки и Trasta Commerzbanka (кстати, невольно участвовали в выводе CitiBank и Credit Suisse – и ничего не заметили). На операции через «Юкио банк» просто не могло остаться больше половины суммы, с учетом того, что до OCCRP никто «Юкио» не упоминал в связи с этим делом. Скорее всего, в эти $130 млн входят как минимум частично старые торговые обороты компаний фонда Hermitage, не имеющие отношения к отмыванию.

Нельзя исключать, что кто-то в «Тройке» мог знать о характере проводимых через ее систему денег (а как это исключить?), но все же это представляется маловероятным: никакого специального содействия этим транзакциям от «Тройки» не требовалось, зачем бы преступники стали посвящать в свои дела сотрудников брокера? Напомню, точно так же преступники использовали целый ряд европейских банков высшей лиги, чьи контрольные процедуры по закону были намного жестче. 

Автозапчасти

Самое неприятное в расследовании все же не то, что компании сети связывают с известными преступлениями, а то, что по компаниям сети проходили (по утверждению журналистов – фиктивные) договоры купли-продажи физических товаров на большие суммы. Журналисты предполагают, что таким образом из компании в компанию передавались денежные средства. На первый взгляд это кажется махинацией. Но при более внимательном изучении трактовка журналистов вызывает большие вопросы.

В финансовом мире, если необходимо передать деньги из офшорной компании в компанию другого владельца, традиционно используется схема кредита с прощением. В офшорном мире она не облагается налогами и не запрещена, не требует никаких искусственных построений, не вызывает вопросов.

Правда, возможна ситуация (редко, но возможна), когда надо не просто передать средства, а сделать вид, что получатель их честно заработал. Это может делаться, чтобы обелить преступные доходы, а может – чтобы просто избежать лишних вопросов, например в банке (типа «а чего это вам долг простили?»). Но для такой цели универсальный способ – это сделка с ценными бумагами или валютой, еще удобнее – с деривативами: выписать их можно задним числом, курсы – подобрать, размеры не ограничены, если под рукой брокер (как в случае с «Тройкой Диалог»), то система работает вообще идеально. Зачем кто-то будет использовать громоздкую схему с товаром (при которой банк может попросить накладные, а к договору надо прилагать акты приема-передачи, и много другой бумажной канители)? 

Картинка не складывается. Возможно, клиентами «Тройки» были бизнесмены, которые в реальности торговали физическим товаром; они могли пускать через компании, которые «Тройка» им администрировала, часть расчетов (например, осаждать прибыль). Возможно, такие контракты – творчество самих клиентов (что умели, то и делали). В этом случае клерки семейного офиса просто проводили оплату, не влезая в тонкости поставок товара (это и по сегодняшним меркам нормальная практика, а уж 10 лет назад никому бы и в голову не пришло спрашивать про товар – чай, не банк, а семейный офис). Возможно, я ошибаюсь, и юристы «Тройки» советовали клиентам перебрасывать деньги по таким договорам, но это вряд ли, уж очень неграмотными должны быть такие юристы. 

Надо заметить, что как раз про фиктивные сделки с ценными бумагами в расследовании нет почти ничего, за исключением одного случая отмены сделки со штрафом (в связи с компанией Ролдугина). Так что, скорее всего, результаты расследования свидетельствуют об отсутствии (или малом использовании) практики фиктивных договоров в семейном офисе «Тройки». 

Два принца и виолончели

Перечисление денег принцу Чарльзу и певцу Принцу за концерт, платежи за школы и прочие расходы вообще не стоит упоминания в контексте работы семейного офиса. Это, видимо, включено в расследование для создания художественного эффекта – имена и суммы формируют завершенный образ бандита из советского фильма: днем он грабит, а ночью ведет шикарную жизнь. Многие клиенты семейного офиса действительно ведут шикарную жизнь, но чтобы это увидеть, не надо расследовать финансовые данные и искать скрытые офшоры, достаточно походить по центру Москвы или почитать реестры владельцев яхт, самолетов, вилл на лучших курортах Европы или домов в центре Лондона.

То же самое относится к инвестиционной деятельности – не важно, грузинское водоснабжение или РАО ЕЭС были объектом инвестиций. Инвестировать – это прямая задача инвестиционного банка, удивительно было бы не встретить таких операций в «Тройке Диалог».

Особняком, конечно, стоит движение денег из сети в сторону компании, принадлежащей известному виолончелисту Сергею Ролдугину. Бдительные расследователи задают вопрос: с учетом дружеских отношений между Ролдугиным и президентом России не может ли быть указанный платеж взяткой? Но на этот вопрос ответ дать невозможно: взятка отличается от спонсорского взноса или пожертвования мецената только одним – ответным действием получателя.

Кто стоял за Ролдугиным в этот конкретный раз и что он сделал в ответ, скорее всего, никому и никогда уже не узнать. Можно лишь с большой долей вероятности утверждать, что платеж (будь то пожертвование или взятка) сделан не от имени самой «Тройки». «Тройке» нечего было просить и нечего было получать на самом верху.

В момент, когда проводилась транзакция, «Тройка Диалог» вела самое активное сотрудничество с РГК «Ростех», была доверенным партнером в таких сложных проектах, как ВАЗ и КамАЗ, сотрудники «Тройки» активно консультировали руководство «Ростеха». По российской табели о рангах в случае нужды Варданян обращался бы туда, а не через голову своего лучшего стратегического клиента. Так что почти наверняка движение денег в сторону компании Ролдугина происходило по распоряжению клиента. Возможно, когда-нибудь мы узнаем какого, возможно – нет.

Финквизиция

Если читать расследование беспристрастно, то единственный вывод, который можно из него сделать, новым никак не назовешь: финансовые институты, в которых 10 лет назад комплаенс был поставлен далеко не так жестко, как сегодня этого требуют европейские законодатели, могли использоваться для отмывания денег.

Этот вывод не оригинальнее вывода, что ножом можно зарезать человека. Однако никому еще не приходило в голову обвинять фирму Solingen в убийствах, а ножи продолжают свободно продаваться: в этом случае законодателям еще не пришло в голову сваливать вину за преступления на создателей его орудия.

В финансах же ситуация, к сожалению, становится все напряженнее. Правоохранительные органы ведущих стран не в состоянии самостоятельно бороться с преступниками, отмывающими деньги и уклоняющимися от налогов, в том числе потому, что в целом ряде государств система отмывания денег и ухода от налогов восходит на верхние этажи власти. В этой борьбе уже пожертвовали банковской тайной, в ней все чаще пытаются использовать возможности финансовых институтов. Но требовать от последних чего-либо большего, чем следование букве закона, по меньшей мере необоснованно – банки и брокеры созданы не для ловли бандитов, а для ведения финансовых операций.

В этом смысле сознательный акцент расследования OCCRP на финансовом институте похож на путь наименьшего сопротивления. Искать не там, где спрятано, а под фонарем. В результате под репутационным ударом оказывается один из очень немногих инвестиционных банков, внесших беспрецедентно большой вклад в развитие российского рынка, промышленности, финансового сектора, создавший в России стандарты ведения инвестиционного бизнеса, которые во времена его существования были не хуже, чем в развитых странах.

В расследовании смешиваются вопросы «кто нарушил закон» и «с помощью чего он нарушен», возмож

          Trump breaks campaign promise, proposes federal budget that would cut Medicare by $845 billion and Medicaid by $241 billion      Cache   Translate Page      
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised that, if elected president, he would cut neither Medicare nor Medicaid. [See video below.] Today, however, his administration proposed a federal budget that would cut Medicare by $845 billion, and Medicaid by $241 billion, while giving the Pentagon more than requested, and allocating $8.6 billion for the […]
          Campus Anti-Semitism Comes to Congress      Cache   Translate Page      

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar both graduated from college in 2011.  In less than a decade, campus anti-Semitism had made the great leap from campus to Congress.

2011 was a banner year for campus anti-Semitism in alliance with its progressive leftist allies.

Last year, the Trump administration reopened an investigation into campus anti-Semitism at Rutgers University in 2011 that had been shut down by Obama officials back in 2014. The shutdown of the investigation, like the similar shutdowns of terrorism investigations, were part of a pattern.  

The investigation was reopened by Kenneth Marcus, the new Assistant Education Secretary for Civil Rights, a Jewish civil rights leader whose appointment Senate Democrats had stalled for 8 months, and whose confirmation every single Senate Democrat voted against.  

“We don't care about anti-Semitism in this office." The Marcus confirmation battle had become infamous for a senior aide to Senator Patty Murray declaring. "We care about transgenders, we care about blacks, we care about Hispanics, we care about gays, we care about lesbians.”

The intersectional values of campus politics were being used to block the fight against anti-Semitism.

Murray and Senator Elizabeth Warren took the lead in attacking Marcus. Warren would make her own headlines, defending Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism by accusing Jews of faking anti-Semitism.

"Branding criticism of Israel as automatically anti-Semitic has a chilling effect on our public discourse," Warren ranted.

Even as the Democrats tried to change the topic, Marcus’ nomination was a referendum on campus anti-Semitism. Reopening the Rutgers investigation was exactly what Senate Dems had tried to block.

The years in which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar were on campus saw the mass normalization of campus anti-Semitism led by hate groups like the Muslim Students Association.

Omar served as MSA president at North Dakota State University.

Boston University, Cortez’s alma mater, had become notorious for its anti-Israel campus activism.

Omar’s congressional anti-Semitism mirrors traditional MSA and other campus hate group tactics of provoking Jewish students with anti-Semitic harassment and then riding the backlash by claiming to be “people of color” who have fallen victim to a pro-Israel lobby trying to silence criticism of Israel.

Omar’s anti-Semitism brought campus politics to congress.

The House debate mirrored previous campus debates about anti-Semitism with a coalition of leftist and identity politics groups, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus, defending anti-Semitism, and leaving Speaker Pelosi cast in the role of the hapless college administrator. Like so many college administrators, Pelosi inevitably dismissed Jewish complaints and bowed to the radicals.

The precedent for these tactics had been set on college campuses. Cortez and Omar just exported campus pressure tactics to congress. And, from her very first protest against Pelosi, a sit-in at the Speaker’s office, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez made it abundantly clear that her playbook came from the college campus, not the adult world of politics. And Pelosi had the same vulnerability as college administrators, a fear that radical protests would cut her off from her billionaire leftist backers.

Speaker Pelosi, like college administrators, has chosen to pick her battles with the socialist selfie club. That means defending her priorities, her office and the agendas of her special interests, not Jews. The average college administrator won’t pick a fight that might force him out of his cushy job over anti-Semitism. Neither will Speaker Pelosi who wants to move on to the big issues. Not anti-Semitism.

Faced with a coordinated assault by the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and anti-Israel leftists across the media, she did what so many administrators have done, offer a generic condemnation of bigotry without focusing on the specific anti-Semitism or naming names.

The 2020 candidates, at best split the difference, and at worst, like Warren, attacked the Jews.

In less than a decade, campus anti-Semitism had made the great leap from congress to campus. In a year, it might make the leap from campus BDS groups all the way to the White House.

Why did Senator Elizabeth Warren turn to anti-Semitism? 2020 Democrat primary demographics break down into three groups: minorities, elderly lefties, young lefties. Warren performs decently with elderly lefties, abysmally with minorities and poorly with young lefties. Her main competition is Bernie Sanders who had formerly been the most anti-Israel voice in the 2020 race. And he had quickly defended Omar.

Warren doesn’t seriously expect to make any headway with minorities. Black people don’t like either Bernie or Warren. There are already African-American candidates in the race. And the only white candidate who might make inroads with the minority vote is Joe Biden. Warren’s only play was going after the campus radicals who love Bernie. And she did it by allying with anti-Semites.

Campus politics are not only transforming the House, but they’re paving the way to the White House.

No Democrat candidate for the White House has been willing to express clear support for Israel. They, like Pelosi, have become subservient to an anti-Semitic campus lobby whose backing they want.

Conservatives and pro-Israel activists have been concerned about campus anti-Semitism, but they have spent too long thinking of it as a campus problem. The campus is the incubator for tomorrow’s leaders. And, for anyone who dismissed campus crybullies and their narcissistic safe space tantrums, Cortez and Omar are warning signs that campus politics is well on its way to defining our national politics.

 If we lose the battle for the college campus, we will be fighting the same battles in Washington D.C.

The college campus is where most of tomorrow’s elected officials get their first taste of politics. It’s where they learn what works and what doesn’t. Previous generations had leaders who were forged in the molten crucible of war. The closest thing that most of today’s Democrats have to a conflict is student politics. It sets the pattern of their views and their tactics as they climb the ranks of our political system.

Jewish Democrats who failed to confront campus anti-Semitism in the previous decade now find that they are losing to it in the Senate, the House of Representatives, and, eventually, the White House.

The same organizations that spoke out against the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s aggressive campaigns against campus anti-Semitism now wring their hands helplessly over Rep. Omar. Their statements indicate that they have absolutely failed to understand the lessons of the last decade.

The alliance of the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine, the coalition of Islamists and leftists that defined so much of campus life for Jewish students, is defining national politics. Jewish organizations that failed to stand up to either one are now losing out to both.

The SJP-MSA coalition had claimed that its anti-Semitic tactics, everything from disrupting Holocaust memorials to harassing Jewish students and spreading anti-Semitic materials, was just criticism of Israel. And that any effort to oppose it was really a conspiracy to muzzle any criticism of Israel.

Rep. Omar and her political allies have deployed that same argument nationally. And the Jewish Democrats did in the House exactly what they had done on campus, they offered some token protests. And then they folded, accepted a meaningless gesture from the boss, and learned their lesson.

Rep. Omar was able to get away with the anti-Semitic bullying of other House members in the same way that Jewish representatives and candidates were bullied out of student government. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s next target will be Rep. Elliot Engel and assorted other Jewish elected officials.

When Rep. Ilhan Omar ran for office, her donors included Hatem Bazian, the co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine. Bazian, who has a long history of anti-Semitism, had started out allegedly harassing Jewish students at San Francisco State University: including blocking a Jewish student from a spot on the Student Judicial Council. Bazian’s hateful politics have now gone national via Omar’s anti-Semitism.

The launch of Jexodus has occasioned sneers and smears from establishment organizations. But Jewish Democrats may want to consider what their future in a party defined by BDS supporters and anti-Semites who play the identity politics card while trafficking in anti-Semitism, looks like.

We are all on campus now.


          CoStar files two federal suits alleging illegal access and copyright infringement      Cache   Translate Page      
CoStar Group filed two copyright infringement lawsuits against firms it claims repurposed its data and illegally shared subscriptions. The $17 billion real estate data giant, which has enjoyed a surge in market cap and share price in recent weeks following strong 2018 financial results, is known to go down the legal route to protect its data, and has filed dozens of lawsuits against firms it has accused of copyright infringement. In one federal complaint filed […]
          WeWork lands biggest Manhattan real estate loan in February      Cache   Translate Page      
The top 10 Manhattan loans recorded in February totaled just over $1.2 billion, less than half recorded in January and the lowest total since March 2018. The top loan in February went towards WeWork’s $850 million purchase of its new headquarters at 424 Fifth Avenue. 1) WeBorrow – $389 million-plus After months of delays, WeWork Property Advisors closed on its $850 million acquisition of the Lord & Taylor flagship at 424 Fifth Avenue at the […]
          'SOUTHERN POVERTY' Surpasses Half Billion in Assets...      Cache   Translate Page      

'SOUTHERN POVERTY' Surpasses Half Billion in Assets...


(Third column, 5th story, link)



          Baghdad sends more than 700 billion dinars to the Kurdistan region      Cache   Translate Page      
[size=17]Baghdad sends more than 700 billion dinars to the Kurdistan region[/size] The federal government in [size=13]Baghdad sent an amount of 724 billion, and 819 million Iraqi dinars to the Central Bank account branch of Arbil, capital of the Kurdistan region.  According to the book, which carries the Director General of the Department of Accounting Agency Ahmed Jawad al-Dahlaki, this amount to pay the salaries of employees of the region in March, and the differences of January ...
           Islamic Trust Bank to open new branch east of Baghdad      Cache   Translate Page      
Islamic Trust Bank to open new branch east of Baghdad A source in the banking sector said on Tuesday that the Islamic Trust Bank will open a new branch in Baghdad tomorrow.  The Islamic Trust Bank was established in 2017 with a capital of 250 billion dinars.   The source, who preferred not to disclose his name to "Economy News", "The Islamic Trust Bank will open on Wednesday, a new branch in Palestine Street east of the capital Baghdad."  He added that "the Islamic ...
          Al-Masoudi: Iraq pays $ 9 billion a year for foreign debts      Cache   Translate Page      
[size=28]Al-Masoudi: Iraq pays $ 9 billion a year for foreign debts 17:10 - 12/03/20190 [/size] [size=15]Information / Special ...  Rep. Of the Reform Alliance, Riyad al-Masoudi, on Tuesday, that the Iraqi government pays annually nine billion dollars as the benefits of its external debt, while attributed the rise of debt to corruption in the country.  "The administrative and financial corruption caused the rise in the size of the country's external debt to large levels that ...
          Trump's $4.7 trillion budget would slash Medicare — and, yes, build (some of) the wall      Cache   Translate Page      
Trump proposed budget has deep cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and EPA, but he wants $8.6 billion for the wall
          91 years ago today: St. Francis dam disaster      Cache   Translate Page      
On this date in 1928, the catastrophic St. Francis Dam disaster in California, was one of the worst civil engineering failures in American history. The ensuing flood killed hundreds and swept away thousands of acres of fertile land. The St. Francis Dam was completed in 1926 in San Francisquito Canyon, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, under the supervision of William Mulholland, manager and chief engineer of the Los Angeles Bureau of Water Works and Supply. The dam's purpose was to provide a reservoir for the Los Angeles-Owens River aqueduct. Several cracks and leaks were observed in the dam and its abutments, but Mulholland dismissed these as normal. After the reservoir was filled to capacity for the first time on March 7, 1928, he inspected the dam and proclaimed it safe. Just before midnight on March 12, however, the dam's massive concrete wall collapsed, sending billions of gallons of water rushing down the canyon toward the Pacific Ocean. The towns of Castaic Junction, Fillmore, Bardsdale, and Piru were flooded, and more than 1,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. The official death toll was estimated to be 450, but the number killed was likely higher; many victims' bodies were never recovered, and the numerous transient farm workers and illegal immigrants who perished in the flood were never accounted for in official statistics. An investigation into the disaster concluded that it had been caused primarily by the unsuitability of the San Francisquito rock for supporting a dam and a reservoir. Mulholland was cleared of all charges regarding the dam failure; nevertheless, the disaster ruined his reputation and ended his career.
           Comment on President Obama’s Dishonest Demagoguery by Cross-Border Investment Threatened by Extraterritorial Tax and Regulatory Policy | International Liberty       Cache   Translate Page      
[…] rules is a comparatively small amount of additional tax revenue for politicians (Obama originally promised $100 billion annually from FATCA and the actual law is projected to collect than $1 billion per […]
          Texas Republican opposes Trump plan to fund border wall with U.S. defense funds      Cache   Translate Page      
The top Republican on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee said on Tuesday he opposed President Donald Trump's plan to use $7 billion from the military budget to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

          U.S. defense budget favors Navy shipbuilding, fewer Boeing tanker jets      Cache   Translate Page      
U.S. President Donald Trump's $750-billion defense budget includes more money to build ships, fulfilling a campaign promise to strengthen the Navy, but also cuts the number of Boeing Co KC-46 tanker jets, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

          3/12/2019: FP SASKATOON: CGI MAKES $614.7M ACANDO OFFER      Cache   Translate Page      

Canadian IT consultancy CGI Inc. said on Monday it had made a 4.32 billion Swedish crown ($614.7 million) cash offer for Swedish peer Acando. Montreal-based CGI said Acando’s board unanimously recommended the 41.45 crown per share offer, which...
          The gang's all back in new image from the upcoming Jumanji sequel      Cache   Translate Page      
I&#39;m not ashamed to admit that I was incredibly surprised at how audiences reacted towards JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. Not only did the sequel/reboot receive generally positive reviews, but it also pulled in almost $1 billion worldwide. That&#39;s impressive. Naturally, Sony Pictures got the ball rolling on a sequel which is already in production and finds Dwayne Johnson, Karen… Read More...
          Foliar Spray Market Worth 7.61 Billion USD by 2023      Cache   Translate Page      
(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 13, 2019 ) According to a new market research report "Foliar Spray Market by Type (Nitrogenous, Phosphatic, Potassic, Micronutrients), Application (Horticultural Crops, Field Crops, Turfs & Ornamentals), and Region (Europe, North America, APAC, South America, RoW) - Global Forecast...
          What Is The Best Online Meeting Software program      Cache   Translate Page      

Easy, beautiful, and highly effective, ZipBooks offers you the tools and intelligence to take your business to the subsequent stage. So if you happen to spend $10.00 on a shirt (via ebates) and that store is providing three% money back, you’ll earn $.30 into your account. Utilizing online database software allows all employees access very important data regardless of their location. The marketplace for on-line larger education may reach $32 billion within the United States this year, up from $25 billion in 2012, based on estimates from Eduventures, a research agency in Boston. The web site appears to be utterly family-owned and the software permits you to input your contact and create a reminiscence matching sport.

Even absent this advantage, it’s attainable to keep up each a private, desktop copy of your information and share those components that are applicable online to assist the idea of collaboration and still maintain some semblance of privacy. I attempted to do an internet free course, just to enhance one thing of myself and I am just too lazy hehe But it’s additionally partly as a result of poor web connection at my place. Log in on-line anytime, anyplace on your Mac, LAPTOP, pill or telephone and see up-to-date financials.

It is rather more complicated and also dearer however these translators with a few years of expertise could not think about life with out this software anymore. Chromebooks are light-weight laptops designed for individuals who spend most of their time online. We examine IRS and state tax legal guidelines so our software is up-to-date, and you’ll be confident your taxes are completed proper. There is a easy solution for enterprises looking to automate, streamline and improve the reserving process: on-line appointment booking software program.

Equally, do a keyword search Online on Transperfect and another bottom-feeding businesses you list, and you will see that tons of complaints by unpaid or poorly paid translators. It allows for easy integration into current sites using a reasonable good collection of plug-ins for fashionable shoppin cart software such as Magenta, PrestaShop, OpenCart, WooCommerce and more. Integration with different cloud-based mostly apps for the management of assets, adjustments and configuration helps develop the online assist desk into a whole ITIL service desk.

Vibrant future requirements can change, nevertheless, so seek the advice of the website to ensure you take the appropriate courses. Those of you that pirate industrial software program are mostly stealing from those of us who’ve the decency to pay for ours. The software program model on CD and the download model is unlimited so long as you do the returns on a single pc the place you installed your copy of TurboTax. Students who have enrolled in online examination software program are enhancing their effectivity and boosting their confidence in order that they can appear within the examination with optimistic frame of mind.…


          Third Point holds Celgene stock, in bet Bristol-Myers deal will close:      Cache   Translate Page      
(Reuters) – Daniel Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point LLC owns a small stake in Celgene Corp, betting that the proposed $74 billion sale of the biotechnology company to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co will be completed, a person familiar with the matter […]
          Hildene Capital Dumps Family Behind Oxycontin Fortune      Cache   Translate Page      
(CNN) Last year, Hildene Capital Management, which manages some $10 billion in client assets, notified Sackler family investment entities that it would no longer handle their money. This overture of socially responsible hedge funding was inspired by an opioid-related tragedy […]
          Trump proposes $4.7 tn budget for 2020, to balance by 2034      Cache   Translate Page      

Washington: US President Donald Trump presented to the Congress a budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 that contained stiff spending cuts across non-defence federal agencies, and a hike in defence money.

According to the USD 4.7 trillion budget proposal, the Trump administration plans to cut domestic spending by 5 percent over the next year, or a nearly USD 30-billion-dollar, involving programs on education, health care and environment protection, among others, Xinhua news agency reported.

The budget blueprint proposes a USD 2.7 trillion spending cuts over the next decade, including USD 1.9 trillion in cuts to mandatory programmes, a senior administration official told a briefing on Monday. The official said the budget "will have more reductions in spending than any president in history has even proposed."

The budget plan foresees a USD 1.1 trillion deficit in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and a 1-trillion-dollar deficit in 2022. The administration predicts that the United States will return to budget balance in 2034.

The budget roadmap, designed for fiscal year 2020 that starts on Oct. 1, would increase defence spending by nearly 5 percent to USD 750 billion from USD 716 billion in fiscal year 2019.

It also seeks USD 8.6 billion for constructing additional sections of a wall along the US border with Mexico -- USD 5 billion in funding for the Department of Homeland Security and USD 3.6 billion for the Department of Defense's military construction fund.


          Photo Story – The human impact of WHO’s Refugee Health Programme in Turkey      Cache   Translate Page      
Millions of refugees have fled Syria over the past 8 years of conflict. Today, many are seeking to build new lives elsewhere, including in neighbouring countries such as Turkey – host to the largest number of Syrian refugees in the world. WHO’s Refugee Health Programme in Turkey, established in 2016, aims to support Turkey’s Ministry of Health in ensuring that Syrian refugees have access to culturally sensitive health services with the same standard as those offered to other residents and citizens. These efforts align directly with WHO’s target, outlined in the 13th General Programme of Work, to ensure that 1 billion more people are protected from health emergencies, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. This photo series highlights some of the ways in which the programme has directly impacted the lives of Syrian men, women and children now living in Turkey.

          12 Billionaires’ Most Expensive Private Jets in the World      Cache   Translate Page      
Flying in an airplane can be a very uncomfortable experience. Sometimes you have to wait for a long time at the airport, sometimes food might leave much to be desired, sometimes you don’t like a passenger next to you… But billionaires know everything about a luxurious lifestyle. And apart from buying the biggest houses and […]

Source


          Comment on Letter: Robert Ohneiser, Lucketts by Bob Ohneiser Esq.      Cache   Translate Page      
Norges53 - Thank you for acknowledging I received more votes when I ran countywide for Commonwealth Attorney than Ms. Randal received to win Chair. By definition that means I drew votes from both parties as well as independents. I expect that with the $4.4 billion LCPS capital plan and the $370 or so million due to Metro some independents just might make voting this time more of a priority. Now for specifics. (do you think Phyllis could even answer your questions as none of this was even raised over the last four years)? Why hasn't she objected to the under assessment of the GREENWAY? Market value is the determinant of assessed value. (What does the county believe you would receive if you sold your property?) The Greenway is said to cost $billions if the state were to buy it yet our current taxable assessment is well below $250 million. Not only is that wrong (leaving money on the tax table) but it is insulting as our Chair of the BOS never even put on the agenda a request to analyze why Loudoun residents don't get a discount for traveling on the Greenway. If you buy 2 acres of land and then put 20 trailers on it that pay you $1000 per month for rent did the land not go up in value? If you sold it would you not receive more than you paid for it? Check out the assessed value of trailer parks in Loudoun and you will find no such analysis. No - I am not looking just to raise property taxes but to make the system FAIR! I like Bob Wertz and would provide him with financially competent resources to fix this problem so homeowners are not stuck with paying the difference. When all the cheaters stop cheating the funding goes up and the rate of taxes can go down. Would it go down is the question as there are more board members than the Chair. If we give LCPS efficiency metrics to meet that $1.3 million budget and $4.4Billion capital plan will shrink. Why? I chaired the finance committee for most of my 8 years on the school board and know what they do to avoid scrutiny. Did Phyllis even try to investigate the veracity of the school budget demands before "politically announcing" we should fully fund it? Did she even notice that even after $4.4 billion CIP was presented Evergreen Mills elementary School is overcrowded in two years and the problem isn't fixed for another 9 years? Do bus utilization levels affect the budget? Do class minimums affect the budget? Does having an I.T. staff in EVERY Department at LCPS affect efficiency? Can librarians who are fully certified teachers (who don't teach classes now)affect the budget if they taught one class? Does the fact that schools in high student density areas start at the same time affect the ability to have less bus drivers and less $200k buses as more pickups can occur when schools don't all start simultaneously? Should the Superintendent be forced to commit to "SOME" advertising revenues from advertising revenues at some 80 plus schools? Should it be explained to teachers over 65 that they would actually make more income for less hours if they retired and worked part time as the state would pay their pension. I doubt this paper would give me the added space for all the opportunities to improve school quality, improve community support while reducing property taxes closer to the state average of 79 cents but at least I tried to answer you. Try asking John W. or Phyllis the same questions! Bob O__ Esq.
          You Can't Blame The Science --Image ISU      Cache   Translate Page      



It's a sad but inescapable fact; some of science’s greatest advances have come from humanity's darkest moments. But this is not science's fault. Science and technology are not good or bad: it depends on how humanity chooses to use it.


"Baby Bomb Victim." Democracy Web. Democracy Web, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 
     2014. <http://democracyweb.com/?attachment_id=11617> 
For example  nuclear technology; which has it's roots in the Manhattan project. The Manhattan project was a research and development project that made the first atomic bombs during world war two. These bombs were dropped in Japan and had catastrophic impacts. This is an image of a young child that was killed by one of these bombs. (The black on the kid is skin that was completely burnt by the bomb.) This bomb in total murdered 60 000 to 80 000 people. It is considered the world’s worst and most powerful weapon. It took 2 billion dollars (roughly 25.8 billion of today's dollars) and the world’s greatest minds to research and develop the technology behind them. But we used this technology to murder people, even innocent children. The child represents all of the innocent lives that were lost because of the bombs. The science itself did not choose to kill people, humans did.

cancer picture.jpg

A woman undergoing a nuclear medical examination to scan for cancer and metastases.

"Breast Cancer – Diagnostics – Localization of Metastases." Health Care.
    Siemens, 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. <http://www.healthcare.siemens.com/
    clinical-specialities/oncology/cancer-types/breast-cancer/patient-information/
    diagnostics/localization-scanning-for-metastases/>.
In contrast, we have nuclear technology to thank for the entire field of nuclear medicine, which is used in medical imaging, diagnosis and treatments of conditions like cancer. The left side of the image shows the scan from the patient showing they have cancer. This side of the image is black and red, the red indicating the growths.  The scan gives off the feeling of death and sickness because of its overall darkness. The right side of the image portrays a patient undergoing nuclear medical imaging to check for metastases or cancer. The image is mostly white, with very little dark colours. The image gives off a feeling liveliness  and health because of how bright it is. The image goes from the right dark image to the light left image, so death to life: sickness to health; meaning this technology is being used to save lives. Again the technology did not chose to do this, humans did. Humans decided to use the same technology that was used to kill, to cure people. So, this proves that the science and technology behind some of the world’s worst weapons is not bad by itself, its how humanity has chosen to use these discoveries.   


Until early 1945, Dresden was the only major German city largely spared by Allied air attacks. At the time of the attack, it was no longer of any great military or strategic importance; rather, it served chiefly as a reception point for Silesian refugees.  

"Dresden in the Aftermath of Allied Bombing (February 13-14, 1945)." German
    History Documents. German History docs, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2015.
    <http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_image.cfm?image_id=2109>.
Secondly, we have the technology behind Fritz Haber's ammonia synthesizers which is used for fertilizers and in making explosives such as TNT and Amatol. Amatol explosives were extensively used during the world wars in aerial bombs, depth charges, shells, and naval mines(Wikipedia). In this picture here we see the aftermath of the allied bombing of Dresden, Germany. Dresden was no longer of any a great military or strategic importance at the time of its bombing, and the majority of people who were in the city were innocent refugees.  The image portrays a city in ruins, with death and rubble shown everywhere in the picture by the tattered buildings, bodies, and a dark, dusty sky. This disaster was able to happen because of Haber’s ammonia synthesizing technology, which was used to create the ammonium nitrate in the bomb. This dark imagery supports the notion that all this destruction and death happened because of this technology, but this is not the case. The science behind this did not choose to be used to kill and destroy cities, humans did.


"Green Fields Wisconsin, Lush Rich Rural Farm Crop, Spring Agriculture."

    IStockphoto. iStockphoto LP, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015.
    <http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/
    green-fields-wisconsin-lush-rich-rural-farm-crop-spring-agriculture-9971620>.

On the other hand, Haber’s ammonia synthesizing technology helped revolutionize agriculture by enabling the creation of ammonia fertilizers. Today, nitrogen fertilizers are responsible for feeding 48% of the worlds population(International Nitrogen Initiative). In this picture we see a lush farm with steadily growing plants. This picture is opposite to the last, it portrays life with vegetation growing everywhere in the picture. There are upright buildings and the sky is rich with colour with no clouds. This imagery supports the belief that this technology is good because it is used to help grow food. The science and technology did not choose to be used for this purpose, humans did. The bombs and agriculture show two uses for the same technology, it was humans who decided how to use this technology. We used it to kill and feed people. This proves that science and technology are not good or bad, it depends on how humanity chooses to use it.




Ultimately, humans can use science and technology for good and bad purposes, but the science itself is not good or bad: its neutral.


Works Cited
"Amatol." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. 
     <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amatol>.  

"Baby Bomb Victim." Democracy Web. Democracy Web, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 
     2014. <http://democracyweb.com/?attachment_id=11617>. 

"Breast Cancer – Diagnostics – Localization of Metastases." Health Care
     Siemens, 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. <http://www.healthcare.siemens.com/ 
     clinical-specialities/oncology/cancer-types/breast-cancer/patient-information/ 
     diagnostics/localization-scanning-for-metastases/>. 

"Dresden in the Aftermath of Allied Bombing (February 13-14, 1945)." German 
     History Documents. German History docs, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. 
     <http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_image.cfm?image_id=2109>. 

"Green Fields Wisconsin, Lush Rich Rural Farm Crop, Spring Agriculture." 
     IStockphoto. iStockphoto LP, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2015. 
     <http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/ 
     green-fields-wisconsin-lush-rich-rural-farm-crop-spring-agriculture-9971620>. 

Theobald, Mark, trans. "Ammonia, The Substance That Changed The World." 
     International Nitrogen Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2015. 
     <http://www.ini-europe.org/node/16>. 







          THE YUGE REPUBLICAN LIE ABOUT THE DEFICITWhen asked...      Cache   Translate Page      


THE YUGE REPUBLICAN LIE ABOUT THE DEFICIT

When asked about America’s soaring debt and deficits, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lamented  “It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” and he blames Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Rubbish. It’s not social spending that’s causing the federal deficit to soar. It’s Republican tax cuts, especially on corporations and the wealthy. 

Look at the evidence. Of all 35 advanced economies, America’s spending on social programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid is among the lowest, as you can see.

Also, Americans pay into Social Security and Medicare throughout their entire working lives. 

The biggest reason America has the highest deficit relative to our total economy among all 35 advanced economies is because of a shortage of tax revenue. Of all these countries, we’re bringing in the fifth-lowest total revenue as a share of GDP.

And why is that? Mainly because of Republican tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy. The big Trump Republican tax cut is already breaking the bank. It will cost us 1.9 trillion dollars over the next decade. Let me repeat that: 1.9 trillion dollars. 

Remember, Trump and Republicans in Congress claimed that their tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations would pay for themselves by boosting economic growth. It’s the same trickle-down fairy tale they’ve been telling for decades. But according to the Congressional Budget Office, they haven’t paid for themselves, and the deficit continues to balloon. 

If there’s one area where America spends too much, it’s the military. Since taking office, Trump has increased military spending by more than $200 billion a year, straining the federal budget even further. The United States already spends more on the military than the next 10 nations combined. 

Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and other Republicans in Washington want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That’s been the Republican goal for decades. And they want to use the deficit to justify these cuts.

They also argue that we can’t afford a comprehensive healthcare system that the rest of the advanced world has figured out how to afford. 

Baloney. If the rich and corporations pay their fair share and we rein in defense spending, America can afford what we need. 

Know the truth. Spread the truth about the deficit.


          China to invest $134-223 billion in 5G networks during 2020-2025: Report      Cache   Translate Page      

  China’s three mobile carriers are currently carrying out 5G field trials in urban areas across the Asian country China is expected to invest CNY900 billion-CNY1.5 trillion billion ($134 billion – $223 billion) in the deployment of  5G networks during the 2020-2025 period,  Digitimes reported, citing information from the China Academy of Information and Communications [...]

The post China to invest $134-223 billion in 5G networks during 2020-2025: Report appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


          DOJ seeks $72M to hire more than 100 immigration judges, attorneys to help clear massive asylum backlog      Cache   Translate Page      
In its budget request for the upcoming fiscal year, the Justice Department said it needs over $72 million to fund the “stronger enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws,” according to materials released Monday, in an aggressive move intended to reduce the nation's backlog of asylum cases dramatically.
As part of his fiscal year 2020 budget plan totaling $4.7 trillion, which was unveiled Monday and faced immediate pushback in Congress, President Trump is also seeking billions more in funding for a border wall and controversial work requirements for Americans collecting a variety of welfare benefits.
The DOJ, for its part, said it's aimed to hire more than 100 new immigration judges and support staff, including hundreds of, “attorneys, judicial law clerks, legal assistants and administrative support staff, including interpreters.”
The goal would be to have 659 immigration judges in place by sometime in 2020, officials said in the budget request. There are currently 412 immigration judges...MORE
          Trump releases budget calling for 5 percent cuts in domestic spending, $8.6 billion for wall      Cache   Translate Page      
President Trump on Monday unveiled his 2020 budget proposal, calling for domestic spending cuts of 5 percent across the federal government. The White House, in Trump's latest budget, would turbo-charge defense spending while providing $8.6 billion to fund his proposed southern border wall. The proposal would raise overall defense spending to $750 billion, up from $716 billion in 2019, while slashing nondefense programs to $567 billion, down from the $597 billion allocated in 2019. The proposed nondefense spending level is aligned with the cap set in the Budget Control Act, a 2011 law that was meant to force Democrats and Republicans to compromise by setting draconian limits on both defense and nondefense spending. Democrats argue that the nondefense cut amounts to 9 percent, given that the legal cap will drop to $543 billion, with most of the difference accounted for by emergency disaster relief and wildfire suppression efforts that do not count toward budgetary ceilings approved under the Budget Control Act...MORE
          Caravans of illegal aliens are at pace for nearly one million crossing border this year      Cache   Translate Page      
This is the first of a series on illegal immigration at the southern border, highlighting speeches delivered at a meeting Saturday in Deming, N.M. 



 Excerpts from Ed Ashurst's presentation as reported by Huey Freeman


Ashurst, 67, an Arizona native from a pioneer family who has lived on ranches near the border for more than 20 years, said one of the main problems behind the massive influx of illegal immigration is that Border Patrol agents are mostly stationed miles north of the border. “There are large sections of the international border, 60 to 70 miles in length, with no federal presence,” Ashurst said. This is an element of an “in-depth strategy” implemented by the Border Patrol, largely attributed to Richard Aguilar, who served as the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of Border Patrol, during the Obama administration. Aguilar was credited with publicly pronouncing that the border was not a specific line, but a “third country” between the United States and Mexico. “Have you ever been notified where the capital of this third country is, so I can send my taxes to it?” Ashurst said, sparking much laughter from a crowd which included many people living in the Borderland. In 2010, Lt. Col. (retired) Oliver North visited the ranch where Ashurst lives. He was working on documentaries called “War Stories.” He was accompanied by Chuck Holton, a freelance war correspondent and former U.S. Army Ranger who has worked with North on his films and books. When the caravans of illegal immigrants began forming last year in southern Mexico, Holton was sent there to report on them. Ashurst shared some of the information he received from Holton. The migrants are not being paid to join the caravans, but they are being supported and encouraged to join by opposition political elements within Honduras, who are supported by the Venezuelan government, Holton said in his report. Many of the people joining the caravans said they saw the advertising for it on social media and heard about it on local news in Honduras. The Mexican government, which is complicit in facilitating the passage of thousands of illegal immigrants, was passing out pamphlets in southern Mexico, telling the caravan riders of seven sanctuary cities which were the best places for them to go to receive free services. They are being organized by a consortium of left-wing pro-immigration groups including the U.N. International Organization for Migration, and the International Migration Institute, a (billionaire George) Soros-funded organization, said a report written by Holton. Although the Honduran government officially discourages the caravans, the nation will benefit by letting citizens migrate to the United States, because illegal immigrants here will send money back to that impoverished nation, Ashurst said. Money sent to Honduras from Hondurans in America accounts for 20 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Probably hundreds or more of the illegal immigrants in these caravans have been deported at least once, which would make them felons, the Holton report said. Two of the illegal immigrants told the correspondent they had each been deported four times.

The vast majority of those who are joining the caravans from Honduras would not qualify for asylum in America if they applied through normal channels. Every migrant to whom Holton spoke said he was going to America for economic reasons. 

 Illegal immigrants who join the caravans are coached to check the box that they are seeking asylum for “reasonable fear of persecution or torture,” in order to receive a notice to appear at a hearing in the United States. Then almost all of them fail to appear in court for their hearings. Holton reported that caravans that were assembling in Tapachula, Mexico, included Somalis, Bangladeshis, Indians, Nepalese, Eritreans, Pakistanis and citizens from other nations. One group of citizens of India told Holton they flew into Mexico to take advantage of the caravans. There are “international observers” traveling with the caravans, who claim that they are impartial observers. But Holton wrote that he saw them intervene with Mexican officials on behalf of the caravans. One of the “observers” was a Mexican from a group called voces mesoamericanas, two were Spaniards from the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation.

READ MORE to find out what Ashurst learns from University Professor Mark Hager.
           Comment on Nicaraguans Try Talking: Venezuela, Not So Much by Paul Haeder       Cache   Translate Page      
James Petras: https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/03/us-negotiations-masters-of-defeats/ Conclusion Washington has succeeded in securing non-reciprocal agreements with weak countries. This was the case in post-war Europe, post-Gorbachev Russia and among Latin America’s current colonized regimes. In contrast, Washington’s rejection of reciprocal agreements with Russia, China, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela has been a failure. US trade wars with China have led to the loss of markets and allowed China to pursue global agreements through its massive billion-dollar ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure projects. US one-sided hostile policies toward Russia have increased ties between the Kremlin and Beijing. Washington has lost opportunities to work with neo-liberal oligarchs in Russia in order to undermine President Putin. Washington has failed to negotiate reciprocal ties with North Korea which would ‘de-nuclearize’ the peninsula in exchange for lifting economic sanctions and opening the door for a capitalist restoration. Demanding unilateral concession and submission has led to uniform failures; whereas negotiated compromises could have led to greater market opportunities and long-term political advances. President Trump and his top policy makers and negotiators have failed to secure any agreements. The Democratic Congress has been as ineffective and even more bellicose – demanding greater military pressures on Russia, expanded trade wars with China and fewer negotiations with North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. In a word, failed negotiations and non-reciprocal diplomacy has become the hallmark of US foreign policy.
          Mexico backs Disney-Fox deal, orders sale of Fox Sports channels      Cache   Translate Page      
Mexico's telecoms regulator said on Tuesday it had approved the Walt Disney Co's $71 billion purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's film and television assets, subject to conditions, including the sale of Fox Sports channels.

          CEO Says Wells Fargo Has Transformed After Scandals; Lawmakers Are Skeptical      Cache   Translate Page      
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers question whether Wells Fargo has changed its culture away from fraud and mismanagement that have led to billions in fines and penalties against the bank.
          2020 Trump budget would pull plug on electric vehicle tax credit      Cache   Translate Page      
Mother-daughter team installs battery packs in Chevrolet Volt electric carsIn his budget aimed at cutting $126 billion or 5 percent from non-defense federal spending, President Trump proposes to eliminate the plug-in vehicle tax credit that gives electric-car buyers up to $7,500 back on their federal taxes. Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow says he expects ending the tax credit to save the government $2.5 billion over...
          Street Fighter      Cache   Translate Page      
Video: Street Fighter
Watch This Video!
Studio: Empire Media Enterprises
A wealthy businessman dies leaving his daughter a fortune worth billions of dollars and everyone wants to get their hands on the money. The Yakuza and the Mafia decide to work together to secure the money by hiring a topnotch mercenary to kidnap the heiress so they can ransom her for the money.

Stars: Waichi Yamada, Sonny Chiba

          Hendren sponsors a $3 million school voucher bill      Cache   Translate Page      
Private school voucher advocates will try again this year to expand use of public tax money to support private education. The bill was introduced today, with sponsors including the governor's nephew and Senate president pro tem, Jim Hendren. A fight can be expected.

The legislation is euphemistically called a "scholarship" program. It is a voucher bill. It's modeled after legislation in other states, with Florida a notable example.

This is how the gimmick works: Taxpayers (including corporations and LLCs, not just individual taxpayers) can get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to a nonprofit that doles out "scholarships" or school vouchers for private school tuition. and other enumerated education costs. The law specifies that the state will have no regulatory control over schools that benefit from the money.

The proposal sets some limits on eligibility, including a family income no more than 1.5 times the cap for participating in the subsidized school lunch program. That means roughly more than $45,000 a year for a two-person household.

The scheme effectively allows taxpayers to designate private school education as a beneficiary of their tax money rather than the entire span of state government. (Could we get the same plan for supporters of Planned Parenthood?)

This legislation will cap the vouchers at $3 million, enough for more than 4,000 students to take the $6,700 each that would go to public school districts and take it for private schools or even in support of homeschoolers in certain circumstances. It would start this tax year, meaning the credits would be available on 2019 taxes.

The state already has a voucher program for students with individual education plans, or special education needs. Joint Budget recently increased the aid for this Succeed voucher program to $3 million. An IEP isn't required under this new voucher bill, though it is a qualifier. It is for first-time voucher recipients entering grades K-9.

In addition to receiving criticism for generally reducing general state revenues, the voucher proposal can be expected to be opposed by public school districts who'd lose students and who'd still be expected to provide some fill-in education for students receiving the vouchers.

The great fear is mission creep, just as charter schools have proliferated in Arkansas without any particular demonstration of their success as laboratories of innovation. From a small beginning in Florida, the so-called "scholarship" (voucher) program now takes more than $1 billion in public money to private schools. Florida newspapers are full of stories about a failure of accountability, financial problems and more. A lack of regulation can do that.
          Meet The Social Entrepreneur Who Discovered A Problem Hiding In Plain Sight      Cache   Translate Page      
Jordan Kassalow founded VisionSpring to address a social and market failure: 2.5 billion visually impaired people without access to eyeglasses. Now he's sharing his insights on what it takes to advance large-scale change and how anyone can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
          Ontario to Allow Cellphones at Gas Stations After Ignition Risk Deemed ‘1 in 10 Billion’      Cache   Translate Page      
You will soon be able to use your cellphone at the pump in Ontario.
          Why Kylie Jenner won't be the youngest self-made billionaire for long      Cache   Translate Page      
The way that fortunes are being made tells you a lot about how the global economy is developing.
          Watch: The Inventor documentary trailer about the rise and fall of Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes      Cache   Translate Page      

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, HBO's documentary about fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, who started her multi-billion-dollar healthcare company Theranos when she was 19-years-old, airs on March 16. That gives me six days to finish the highly-engaging Theranos bio, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by Wall Street Journal reporter, John Carreyrou, if I don't want any book spoilers. Here's the trailer to whet your appetite. Read the rest


          Offshore illegal GOP campaign megadonors receive record FEC fines after The Intercept reveals their crimes      Cache   Translate Page      

Back in 2016, The Intercept ran a blockbuster series revealing how foreign businesspeople were illegally laundering massive campaign contributions to Jeb Bush and other GOP presidential hopefuls.

Yesterday, The Intercept's hard work paid off, with the FEC levying record fines against the people named in The Intercept's investigation: $550K to APIC (US affiliate of SingHaiyi Group, a Chinese-owned, Singapore-based real estate firm) and $390K to Right to Rise USA, overseen by the GOP superlawyer Charlie Spies.

What tripped up APIC and Right to Rise USA was a failure to follow the remaining weak restrictions on foreign participation in U.S. elections. According to the FEC, only American citizens may participate in the decision-making process regarding donations from a foreign-owned corporation such as APIC — leaving out foreign individuals such as Gordon Tang and Huaidan Chen.

However, The Intercept’s investigation revealed that the donations to Right to Rise USA were made under the direction of Gordon Tang. In an interview with The Intercept two years ago, Tang told us that his brother-in-law, Wilson Chen, had asked him to “donate, so I did, I don’t really mind.” Wilson, for his part, told us that the donation had been approved by APIC’s board, which included Tang and Chen.

In the course of its investigation, the FEC confirmed that Tang had engaged in “communications regarding the potential APIC contributions to Right to Rise.” The agency also obtained emails from early 2015 that show that Neil had contacted his fellow board members at APIC about providing financial support for his brother’s presidential campaign.

Read the rest


          Facebook Reverses Zero Hedge Ban, Says It Made A "Mistake"      Cache   Translate Page      

It has been a strange 24 hours.

On Monday, we first learned that for the previous two days, Facebook had banned all Zero Hedge content across its various mediums, as it went against Facebook's "Community Standards" (which to the best of our knowledge, neither we not anyone else has any idea what they are), a decision which - as we noted yesterday - surprised us for two reasons: not only do we not have an official Facebook account, but Facebook did not approach us even once with a warning or even notification.

While we were in the dark about what had triggered Facebook, or what was the company's motive, we were humbled and delighted not only with the media coverage this event received, but far more so with the outpouring of support we received from readers and across social media, where Zero Hedge had not been yet banned, like Twitter, where figures from various industries and across the political spectrum voiced support and came to our defense, with many condemning what we felt was an arbitrary decision.

Among those who spoke up were President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., Nigel Farage, Peter Thiel's liberal foil at Thiel Capital, Eric Weinstein, Infowars' Paul Joseph Watson and many others.

To them, and to everyone else who reached out - either to us or to Facebook, or "said something" in private or on the Interweb - our sincerest gratitude.

And then on Tuesday morning, everything had suddenly returned to normal, and whether due to the unexpectedly widespread support we received, or because Facebook had made a sincere error, the ban was reversed.

While Facebook has yet to contact us directly, they did comment with a Facebook spokesman saying that "This was a mistake with our automation to detect spam and we worked to fix it yesterday." He added that "we use a combination of human review and automation to enforce our policies around spam and in this case, our automation incorrectly blocked this link. As soon as we identified the issue, we worked quickly to fix it."

We still have no insight into which article(s) Facebook decided was sufficiently "spammy" to block everyone's access to our content, or on what basis Facebook's "automation and human review" had made the decision to quarantine our small website from the rest of Facebook's 2.3 billion monthly users.

But we are heartened by this development, not so much because it means a rebound in our traffic - as we observed yesterday, we are lucky in that Facebook represents a tiny source of our inbound referral traffic - but because it means nothing changes: we can and will continue as before, with zero adjustments to our writing style, and we will certainly continue with our highly critical coverage of all things Facebook. And best of all: it will be read on Facebook, allowing users of the world's biggest media company to escape an informational echo chamber, and be presented with contrasting opinions, which even if wrong, will allow countless readers to make more informed opinions than if served with preapproved, uniform, and ideologically palatable content.

And since some may read this as a quasi-official press release, we leave the "about us" part to the money-losing media venture of billionaire Mike Bloomberg's business empire (funded since day one by the procyclical $25,000/year Bloomberg terminal business), which yesterday described our little adventure as follows: "Since being founded in the depths of the financial crisis, Zero Hedge has built a dedicated following by serving up a mix of hardcore financial analysis and populist political commentary. Both the ‘Tyler Durden’ name and the site’s tagline -- "On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero” -- are borrowed from the anarchic cult classic ’Fight Club.’


          Father Of The World Wide Web Warns "Perverse Incentives" Have Made The Internet "Dysfunctional"      Cache   Translate Page      

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee - known as the inventor of the World Wide Web, says that the internet has become a cesspool of "clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation," which needs to be "changed for the better," reports CNBC

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Image via Wikimedia Commons

In a Monday letter marking 30 years since he created a blueprint for the WWW in March 1989, the 63-year-old Oxford/MIT professor outlined three "sources of dysfunction" affecting the internet today; malicious behavior such as state-sponsored hacking and online harassment, "perverse" incentives driving misinformation, and unintended negative consequences such as polarizing, unhealthy conversations. 

"Governments must translate laws and regulations for the digital age," said Berners-Lee. "They must ensure markets remain competitive, innovative and open."

Berners-Lee singled out Google and Facebook for rewarding clickbait and misinformation. He has previously knocked the tech giants for exploiting people's personal data. 

"Companies must do more to ensure their pursuit of short-term profit is not at the expense of human rights, democracy, scientific fact or public safety," reads the Monday letter. 

Last October, Berners-Lee's World Wide Web foundation released a new blueprint in order to help put the web back on its original course. Known as the "Contract for the Web," the plan calls for governments to ensure that everyone can connect to the internet - which is kept "available, all of the time," and respects people's "fundamental right to privacy." It also calls on businesses to make the internet affordable to everyone as well as respect data privacy rights. 

One pillar of the contract is treating the web as a basic right for everyone, an idea that is far from reality today. The World Bank estimates roughly half of the world's population still does not have access to the internet. In a report published Monday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found more than four in 10 rural households in OECD countries don't have access to the fast fixed broadband needed to support the Internet of Things, whereas nearly nine in 10 households in urban areas have fast connections. -CNBC

Berners-Lee told Vanity Fair last year that he was "devastated" over what the web had become, and had launched a new online platform and company, Inrupt - described as a "personal online data store," or pod, where everything from messages, music, contacts or other personal data will be stored in one place overseen by the user instead of an array of platforms and apps run by corporations seeking to profit off personal information. The project seeks “personal empowerment through data” and aims to "take back" the web, according to company statements. 

At MIT Berners-Lee has for years led a team on designing and building a decentralized web platform called 'Solid' — which will underlie the Inrupt platform. The Inrupt venture will serve as users' first access to the new Solid decentralized web:

If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.

“I have been imagining this for a very long time,” says Berners-Lee.

As described on the Solid and Inrupt websites the new platform will allow users to have complete control over their information 'pods' (an acronym for "personal online data store") — it is only they who will decide whether outside apps and sites will be granted access to it, and to what extent. 

In short, unlike Facebook or Twitter where all user information ultimately resides in centralized data centers and servers under control of the companies, applications on Inrupt will compete for users based on the services they can offer, and only the users can grant these apps "views" into their data, making personal data instantly portable between similar applications.

"The main enhancement is that the web becomes a collaborative read-write space, passing control from owners of a server, to the users of that system. The Solid specification provides this functionality," reads the website. 

Asked whether his plans could impact billion-dollar business models that profit off of controlling user data, Berners-Lee shot back: 

"We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission." 


          Pence Brokering Deal With GOP To Defeat Democrats On Border Wall      Cache   Translate Page      

Vice President Mike Pence is in discussions with a group of GOP senators on a deal that could lead to the defeat of a Democratic resolution to overturn President Trump's emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern US border, according to The Hill.  

The deal? If the GOP defeats the Democratic legislation, Trump will formally agree to rein in his power to declare future national emergencies. 

Killing the resolution on the Republican-controlled Senate floor would spare the president a major embarrassment and avoid him having to issue the first veto of his presidency. 

But there is some skepticism among GOP senators whether Trump will actually go through with it. And the plan is hurt by the fact that a bill to curb the president’s power to declare national emergencies won’t come to the Senate floor until after the March recess. -The Hill

On Thursday, Pence and a group of Republicans met to discuss the legislation to curb Trump's power. In attendance were Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) - who is sponsoring the proposed legislation, Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN). 

According to Lee's measure, national emergency declarations would require a Congressional vote to extend beyond 30 days. In order for it to work, Senate Republicans say Trump would have to make a scout's honor promise to sign Lee's bill - something the president has yet to agree to do. 

Meanwhile, at least two Republicans say they will continue to support the Democratic resolution to reject the National Emergency; constitutionalist Senator Rand Paul and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. 

"No, I think Congress should allocate the money and that’s a very strong belief. It’s also in the Constitution," said Paul. 

Among the half-dozen or so other Republicans who are thought to support the Democratic resolution are Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) - both of whom say they've made up their minds but have yet to announce their decisions. 

"Other potential defectors include Portman, Toomey, Alexander and Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.)," according to The Hill

Tillis, on the other hand, told colleagues during a Tuesday lunch that while he thought Trump was within his power to declare a national emergency for $3.6 billion in additional wall funding, and he disagrees with the use of that power, he might be willing to change his mind and support the Pence proposal if Trump offers assurances that he would support future reform of the National Emergencies Act of 1976. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) plans to vote against the Democratic disapproval resolution - and has predicted that it will get between 50 and 60 votes, which is enough to pass with a simple majority. 

"It will probably get over 50 but less than 60, I think," said Graham. 

Republicans control 53 seats so the disapproval resolution will pass if four or more Republicans vote for it. All Democrats are expected to support it.  

Paul, who has announced his support for the resolution, said the White House and GOP leaders are stepping up their pressure effort to keep Republicans in line. 

“They’re being beaten upright, so if you see anybody that’s got blood dripping out of their ear, they may be changing,” Paul joked. 

He said there is still “a significant number” of Republicans willing to vote for the disapproval resolution but added “there are a lot of people being bruised and beleaguered. We’ll see.” -The Hill

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Democratic disapproval resolution is the only matter expected to go to vote on Thursday. 

"Right now, that’s the only thing that’s going to be voted on," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) after a lunchtime meeting with colleagues. 

Because Lee wouldn't be able to get his bill to the floor before the March recess - scheduled to begin Friday, any plan to trade votes on Thursday's resolution will need to wait a few weeks. 


          Working class: Achievements and the unfinished war for emancipation      Cache   Translate Page      
The Great October Revolution

Michael D. Yates has probed the questions in chapter 4 of his recently released book Can the Working Class Change the World?(Monthly Review Press, New York, October 2018). The chapter – “What hath the working class wrought?” – proclaims: 

“A signal achievement of the working class and peasantry in the global South, both in those countries that made socialist revolutions and those that did not, is the assault they made upon colonialism and imperialism. Before substantive changes could occur in the lives of the masses of people, the control wielded by colonial powers had to be broken and imperialism had to at least be weakened. Workers and peasants did this throughout the impoverished nations of the world.”

No other class has made this achievement, has delivered this duty to millions of millions. It’s unprecedented. It’s historic. It’s a service to humanity, to the peoples of the world. Because imperialism and colonialism are scourges on the face of the earth, threats to the survival of life on this planet. The two – imperialism and colonialism – assault peace, and distort the lives and aspirations of peoples to make life dignified and prosperous. The two unceasingly carry on war against dreams and initiatives to make life humane.

What has the assault on imperialism and colonialism achieved? Peoples, billions in number, in countries once colonised know the answer. First, they can plan their next journey – towards a society free from exploitation, towards a life with dignity. Now, they have a stand on the world stage, a voice once unheard and ignored. It’s broadly the same assertions, declarations, charters, and proclamations, including the United States Declaration of Independence and the English and United States Bills of Rights made: All women and men are equal, all men and women are endowed with certain unalienable rights that include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s an achievement that lays a foundation for building up humanity’s eternal yearning: freedom, freedom from all exploitation, all distortions, all trampling, all muzzling down, all chains, and this freedom is a prerequisite for building up a life happy, peaceful, and prosperous.

The proletariat in Soviet Russia made a far more advanced declaration almost immediately after the Great October Revolution as it declared: Abolish all exploitation, completely eliminate the division of society into classes, mercilessly crush the resistance of the exploiters, establish a socialist organisation of society. [[i]

The declaration, forgotten most of the time by the mainstream media, and even by a part of the pro-people political forces, is one of the most significant political achievements the exploited have so far made as it laid the legal foundation for rights of all the exploited, against all sorts of exploitation, and invalidated all claims of the exploiting classes. The revolutionary political document declared sovereign power of the working people. The historic document declared the abolishing of private ownership of all land, and parasitic sections of society; supremacy of the power of the working people over the exploiters; the complete conversion of all banks, factories, mines, railways, and other means of production and transport into the property of the workers’ and peasants’ state; complete break with the barbarous policy of bourgeois civilisation, which has built the prosperity of the exploiters; freedom of humanity from the clutches of finance capital and imperialism; and democratic peace between nations on the basis of free self-determination of nations. The Declaration is fundamentally different from all declarations of rights the bourgeois and feudal political systems, compromises between them issued until today. 

It directly and unequivocally stood for the rights of the exploited. The declaration made assault on exploitative property relations, and declared measures for empowering the working people to resist the exploiting classes. [[ii]]

“Struggles against [the] class enemy” [of the exploited], writes Professor Michael Yates, “have resulted in tremendous and posi­tive changes in the lives of the oppressed and expropriated.” He refers to the lives of nearly all workers during capitalism’s early days in Europe, to the condition of the peasantry in pre-1949 revolution in China. Improvements in these areas are monumental. 

However, the economist does not miss the fact of life: 

“And yet, work­ers and peasants are nowhere close to their full liberation”. This is the unfinished war of the working class.

It’s – the struggle of the exploited for emancipation – a long struggle. None can ignore this fact. A complete and permanent victory will follow long, innumerable struggles against capital and all its accomplices in lands across the globe, developments within struggles of the exploited and within the decaying force – the imperialist world order.   

The chapter focuses on accomplishments “the work­ing class has achieved in its struggle against exploitation, the first aspect of capitalist oppression.”

On “the second element of this subjugation, expropriation,” the chapter claims: 

“[L]abour unions and political orga­nisations have done some good. Most unions and political parties are committed to racial, ethnic, and gender equality. It is common for collective bargaining agreements to contain broad no-discrim­ination clauses. […] [T]he race, ethnic, and gender composition of union leadership mirrors the share of these groups in the larger population. [….] A few unions, notably those with majority women membership, have female presidents, and both women and minorities now have greater access to better-paying jobs than was once the case. The gap between the wages of women and men is lower in the rich European countries than in the United States, and this can be largely attributed to the demands coming from the labour movement and worker-centred political parties.”

However, as self-criticism, the chapter says boldly: “[T]he labour movement in the global North has done very little to oppose the theft of peasant lands in the global South.”

Absence of resistance to theft of the peasant lands in the global South is not the only area of failure of the labour in the global North. Along with the buying/leasing in of vast tracts of lands in Africa and the establishment of export processing/special economic zones by powerful capital in countries of the global South, powerful parts of world capital are exporting environmentally harmful technology, industrial waste and commodities, and medical products harmful to the health of the global South. The labour in the global North has also failed to organise effective resistance to this assault by capital. It’s part of labour’s unfinished war against the world capital.

These failures originate in (1) capital’s power to corrupt a section of labour leadership, and (2) labour’s lack of success in formulating a revolutionary theory on the related area. It’s an exhibit of the level of political awareness and struggle the labour is waging in the global North. 

However, Michael Yates writes, “[i]n their own countries, the Northern labour has championed policies and programmes, as well as collective bar­gaining provisions, that make workplaces healthier spaces and countries less polluted.”

He mentions the Great October Revolution in Russia:

“The Revolution was successful, in that the Bolsheviks man­aged to consolidate state power. However, this was only after years of civil war, aided and abetted in the most brutal manner by the imperial powers, mainly Great Britain and the United States.”

Although the revolution, the economist writes, was not successful in consolidating the Soviet power and building a working class society, great gains were “made for the work­ers and peasants of Russia, and after the Second World War for the countries in the Soviet bloc. Guaranteed employment, excellent education and healthcare, run by the state and free of charge, subsidised rent and food, exceptional art, literature, music, and science, and a considerable erosion of patriarchy are some of the Revolution’s major achievements, not to mention its primary responsibility for the defeat of the Nazis in the Second World War.”

Regarding the question of the absence of success in some areas by the revolution in Russia, Lenin’s observation should be mentioned: 

“[W]e have sustained the greatest number of reverses and have made most mistakes. How could anyone expect that a task so new to the world could be begun without reverses and without mistakes! [[iii]

Michael Yates cites socialist revolutions in China, Vietnam, and Cuba as achievements of the working class. In China and Vietnam, Professor Michael Yates writes, “great improvements were made in schooling, health, and overall social welfare for the masses of people. Cuba’s Revolution has made tre­mendous advances in the lives of the people. Education, healthcare, organic farming, urban agriculture, and medical research in Cuba are world class. Progress against racism, patriarchy, and homophobia in the country is also remarkable.”

Cuba is spectacular in terms of time. Cuba is unprecedented in terms of political atmosphere. Cuba is exemplary in terms of the existing world order. Why? Anyone can ask. Russia and China are vast landmasses, are rich with huge natural resources. China had Soviet Russia on its back. Cuba had nothing of those. Cuba is still braving an imperialist economic blockade. Cuba is encountering a hostile world market. Moreover, Cuba is at a stone’s throw distance from the most powerful imperialist power. In addition to these, Cuba was standing alone during the time – the time of Gorbachev. It was a time of betrayal. It was a time of setbacks. It was a time of fallen “heroes.” It was a time when survival was a success. Cuba stood bravely. Cuba stood with the Red Flag. Cuba not only strode the current, but also made achievements with its political process – a form of democracy with people’s participation. 

It’s striking performance by ordinary people with the Red Banner, the colour of the exploited. In the history of the world, no other class has survived and performed at this level within such a hostile world environment. And, Cuba is referenced not to belittle revolutions in Russia and China, but to highlight the sense of dignity, courage, tenacity and achievements of the working class.

The chapter of the book begins with a reference to a 2016-general strike by the workers in India: the largest such a strike in the world. About 180 million workers in every Indian state, in all sectors and in nearly every occupation, walked out. Tens of millions of women struck.

The chapter reminds with a modest tone: “Nothing remotely similar could take place in today’s United States, or in any rich capitalist country.” 

This is a fact of working class life, which in many terms depends on capital, making the struggle, and gains and setbacks uneven, almost unpredictable. “And yet, from capitalism’s birth centuries ago, those harmed most by its imperatives have resisted. Their defeats have been many, their victories too few”, says Michael Yates in the chapter that takes an account of gains and losses. Hence, the labour educator says: 

“[The working class through] their struggles have changed the world. Peasants have resisted with their own organised violence the expropriation of their farms and common lands. Wage workers, including those unemployed, have marched, picketed, boycotted, struck, sat-in, sabotaged, stole and destroyed their employers’ materials, and petitioned governments. They have contested capital’s power in every institution of their societies, from schools to media to religion. There have been times when both peasants and workers have engaged in armed battle with both capitalists and governments. In a few cases, alliances of workers and peasants made revolutions – in Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam. Women were critical in all these alliances.”

No other class has struggled so much, has paid so much. And, all these struggles, all these payments – supreme sacrifices in innumerable numbers – were for the entire humanity, for freeing humanity from the clutches of capital, the most barbaric and brutal force human history has encountered. This is a major gain in this world, which demands a radical change.

Michael Yates writes: “Unions are a universal response of the working class to capital’s oppression. [….] Not only do they win higher wages [and] benefits […], unions also weaken the control employers have over hiring, promotion, layoffs, discipline, the introduction of machin­ery, the pace of work, and plant closings.” This is no less important gain for the working class. 

Citing data, he discusses unionisation/union density and its positive impact in countries across the Americas, Europe, and in many countries in the global South. He says: “Three critical functions of labour unions are that they give work­ers a voice on the job, guarantee due process, and educate their members about a wide variety of important subjects.”

The labour economist, one of his many duties, recollects, “I have had personal experience as a labour arbitrator, and on more than one occasion I reinstated a fired employee, with full back pay, after determining that the company had wrongfully dis­charged him.” Hence, one of the gains by the working class: “Every year, unions win thousands of arbitrations”. On the global scale, in struggles against the world capital, the total number of arbitrations won is huge, which is not a negligible achievement by a class in chains.

One of the achievements of the working class is told in mainstream literature as it refers to an argument: “[A]t a crucial moment in history– the period between WWI and WWII and then in the early post-war years – in some countries, […] the labour movement and its political allies were able […] to force capital into a historical compromise, whereby labour accepted the capitalist organisation of the economy, but in exchange obtained not only a recognition of its prerogatives as labour market intermediary […], but also protection against all sorts of social risks, and a growing expansion of social rights.”[[iv]] This tells of an achievement and of an unfinished war.

For union organisers, the chapter presents, in brief, a good lesson, as it says:

“The formation of a union is a collective effort, and engaging in it, confronting the boss, is bound to make workers think about what they have done and what they hope to achieve. That is, labour unions are bound to raise the consciousness of those who form them. At the same time, labour organisers always try to educate prospective members, and the union itself provides educational materials and may even have developed more formal educational programmes for the rank and file. The best unions insist that new members learn the history of the union, the provisions of the relevant labour laws, the political platform of the union, and the details of bargaining and filing grievances. They might have special meetings, short courses, and longer schooling opportunities for the rank and file. Good unions also work hard to involve members in every facet of union work. Active participation in grievances, strikes, picket­ing, boycotting, and political agitation helps to further strengthen working-class consciousness, making workers stronger in their convictions and willing to live the precept that an injury to one is an injury to all. A working-class way of looking at the world begins to take shape, and this prepares workers for whatever struggles ensue during their lives.”

This is absent in many unions, especially in many countries dominated by lumpenocracy in the global South. In these economies, dominating capital engages hoodlums to organise/control unions. At the same time, a group of non-governmental organisations, on behalf of capital, organises “unions” – a trick with workers, and a bitter reality made possible by a vacuum of revolutionary working class politics and unionisation. In some cases, organisations with medieval ideology organise “unions” in countries. In other cases, a group of big unions from the global North organises “unions” in the countries of the global South with the purpose of taming the working class. In all these mal-efforts, huge money is spent, employees with a fat salary are engaged, and ludicrous foreign trips for these employees, the so-called “union organisers”, are organised. All these efforts forget the slogan of class struggle, shy away from imparting lesson of class politics. It’s an area, where the working class faces one of its unfinished wars.

Burning examples of working class initiatives are, among many, in the landless peasantry’s fights in Brazil, and in Shankar Guha Niyogi’s heroic struggles in India. 

Niyogi, the martyr from the rank of the working class, initiated a struggle while adventurism was taking a high toll. Shankar Guha Niyogi was the founder of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha, a labour union in Chhattisgarh. After the formation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI (M-L)) on 22 April 1969, he was associated with the CPI (M-L) for some time. However, CPI (M-L)’s failure to adapt Niyogi’s mass line-based activities to the party line of boycott of mass line and mass organisations led to his expulsion from the party. He went underground and began taking his ideas and method of work to the ordinary workers through a Hindi weekly, which he named Sphulinga (Spark), inspired by Lenin’s Iskra. He continued the work of organising the people through movements, e.g. movement for the construction of the Daihan dam, movement of the peasants of Balod for irrigation water, movement of the adivasis (indigenous people) against the construction of the Mongra dam. 

Unions organised by Niyogi include Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh, whose red-green flag carried the message: red for workers’ self-sacrifice and green for the peasantry. The first struggle of miners under Niyogi’s leadership was a struggle for dignity: do not obey the agreement signed by the leaders, lackeys of factory management. Many struggles by the workers, police atrocities, martyrs, and victories by the workers are marks of struggles led by Niyogi. Unique forms of struggles, organising cultural activities, and establishing athletic clubs, schools and hospital – Shaheed (Martyr) Hospital – for the workers are signatures of his struggle and organisation. On 28 September 1991, assassins hired by class enemies – capitalists – murdered Niyogi, a comrade to follow.       

One important section of the chapter is on labour politics. In this section, Michael Yates writes: 

“[U]nions […] sooner or later they must confront government. The state, at every level, is intertwined with capital, labour’s primary adversary. [….] The largest and most powerful states have virtually unlimited taxing and spending power. Governments make and enforce laws; they have the only legitimate (in the sense of being formally legal) police power. The courts ultimately determine the meaning of the laws. Important components of government regulate a wide array of activities and groups of workers that might concern business […] The state has the power to regulate and influence financial markets […] States wage wars. No matter what the government does, capital exerts its economic power to limit tax liabilities and receive as much public spending as pos­sible, to influence the selection of judges, or to counter anything that challenges its social power. Given all of this, unions have little choice but to be politically engaged.”

The chapter cites an example: “Unions have embraced a range of political programmes and phi­losophies.” It presents a brief history of the labour politics in the US. At the same time, it says: “Around the world, some working-class entities opposed active involvement in what we might call bourgeois politics.” 

Instead of being engaged with bourgeois politics, the working class is to get engaged with politics of its class that crosses all divisive lines of colour, caste, and creed, if the class has to complete its unfinished war, a commitment to the humanity.

Struggles, achievements, and the unfinished war of the working class declare its position, as Lenin said:

“We have made the start. When, at what date and time, and the proletarians of which nation will complete this process is not important. The important thing is that the ice has been broken; the road is open, the way has been shown. [….]

“[W]e have begun it. We shall continue it. […]

“We shall go through the whole ‘course’, although the present state of world economics and world politics has made that course much longer and much more difficult than we would have liked. No matter at what cost, no matter how severe the hardships of the transition period may be – despite disaster, famine, and ruin – we shall not flinch; we shall triumphantly carry our cause to its goal. (op. cit.)

 

* Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

* Note: This is part five of a seven-part series review of Can the Working Class Change the World?.

Endnotes

[i]“Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People”, V I Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 26, Progress Publishers, Moscow, erstwhile USSR, 1972

[ii]Farooque Chowdhury, “The Great October Revolution: Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People”, Countercurrents.org

[iii]“Fourth anniversary of the October Revolution”, Collected Works, vol. 33, Progress Publishers, 1976

[iv]Lucio Baccaro, “Labor, Globalization and Inequality: Are Trade Unions Still Redistributive?”, International Institute for Labor Studies, ILO, discussion paper, DP/192/2008, Geneva, 2008

Issue Number: 

          Health inequality threatening more adolescents worldwide than ever before      Cache   Translate Page      
(Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health) A global study of the health and well being of the world's 1.8 billion adolescents reveals a growing inequality -- and greater health challenges than those faced 25 years ago. Of adolescents aged 10-24, 250 million more worldwide are living in countries where they face a triple burden of infectious disease, non-communicable diseases and injuries compared with 1990. The study provides the first comprehensive snapshot of young people who are one-third of the world's population.
          BRIAN KOLFAGE REFUTES ALLEGATIONS REGARDING GOFUNDME CAMPAIGN      Cache   Translate Page      
Brian Kolfage has posted the following update to the We The People Will Build The Wall GoFundMe page, refuting publicized claims that all money raised thus far is being refunded to donors because the campaign has not met its stated $1 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B) goal: “UPDATE: JANUARY 11, 2019 WE ARE...
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          CYBER MONDAY SETS $7.9 BILLION ONLINE RETAIL RECORD      Cache   Translate Page      
Cyber Monday set a new record as the largest online shopping day of all time in the U.S., with shoppers spending a whopping $7.9 billion on merchandise. That’s a near 20 percent increase compared to last year’s $6.6 billion in sales, according to a new report released on Tuesday by Adobe Analytics, which tracks 80...
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          UPDATE 4-Boeing shares take another hit as more countries ground 737 MAX 8 planes      Cache   Translate Page      
March 12- Boeing Co's stock took another beating on Tuesday as a raft of countries grounded its 737 MAX 8 aircraft, responding to a deadly crash in Ethiopia which has so far knocked $25 billion off the market value of the world's largest planemaker. Britain and the European Union joined China, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and other countries in banning the 737...
          Ford Health-Care Costs Said to Top $1 Billion      Cache   Translate Page      
The UAW must balance its protection of benefits with the need to keep workers on the job.
          Offer - How to contact Binance Support Number? - USA      Cache   Translate Page      
Hello, I am Shirley Delong. I am do Work on Binance. My Website is an asktollfree.us. Binance bolster telephone number. Binance is a China-enlisted organization and has central station in Malta. After China boycott digital currency exchanging China Binance has moved to Japan for better business openings and does they accomplish their objective by making Business of $1.3billion inside a year time Binance client bolster number. Binance is a decent digital currency in world.Binance Support Phone Number
          Comment on More Pritzker graduated tax react by Blue Dog Dem      Cache   Translate Page      
Forgotten in all this fair tax stuff is the recently passed min wage increase. By my call, this, and the economic stimulus generated by it, should generate $2 to $3 billion in additional taxes each year.
          Why LS election is among world's most expensive      Cache   Translate Page      
This time the polling exercise, due to start on April 11 and be completed by May 19, will cost an unprecedented 500 billion rupees ($7 billion), according to the New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies. About $6.5 billion was spent during the US presidential and congressional races in 2016. Most of the jump in spending will come in use of social media, travel and advertising.
          PayPal to invest $750m in Argentinian e-commerce giant MercadoLibre      Cache   Translate Page      
PayPal has agreed to invest $750 million in MercadoLibre as part of a $1.85 billion equity offering...
          CoStar files two federal suits alleging illegal access and copyright infringement      Cache   Translate Page      
CoStar Group filed two copyright infringement lawsuits against firms it claims repurposed its data and illegally shared subscriptions. The $17 billion real estate data giant, which has enjoyed a surge in market cap and share price in recent weeks following strong 2018 financial results, is known to go down the legal route to protect its data, and has filed dozens of lawsuits against firms it has accused of copyright infringement. In one federal complaint filed ... [more]
          American Eagle reaches $4 billion in annual revenue      Cache   Translate Page      
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          Travis Kalanick, da Uber a food rider?      Cache   Translate Page      

Chi è Travis Kalanick? Basta dire Uber, e allora torna subito in mente il nome del suo fondatore. Un'attività che lo ha reso noto, e soprattutto ricco, ricchissimo. Basta leggere Forbes per rendersi conto che, nonostante gli alti e i bassi, ricco lo è sempre. Nel giugno del 2017 è stato costretto a lasciare Uber per una serie di accuse di molestie sessuali ad almeno 20 dipendenti.

Facciamo un passo indietro. Kalanick nasce a Los Angeles nel 1976, vive a Northridge, in California dove si diploma, per poi iscriversi alla Facoltà di ingegneria dell'UCLA. Ma lo studio non è proprio il suo forte, mentre la progettazione e gli affari lo sono eccome.

Abbandona quindi gli studi per fondare Scour Inc., un motore di ricerca multimediale, e Scour Exchange, un servizio di file sharing peer to peer. Nel 2000, la Motion Picture Association of America, la Recording Industry Association of America e la National Music Publisher of America intentano una causa contro Scour, accusando la società di violazione del copyright.

Nel settembre dello stesso anno, la Scour presenta un'istanza di fallimento per proteggersi da questa causa. Travis non si perde d'animo e nel 2001 apre una nuova società di file sharing che chiama Red Swoosh. Stavolta gli va meglio. Infatti la società verrà acquisita da Akamai Technologies, nel 2007, per 23 milioni di dollari. E quindi Travis si prende dueanni sabbatici per fare un lungo giro del mondo. Nel 2009 dà vita a Uber, e nel 2010 ne diventa amministratore delegato.

Tutti quelli che hanno conosciuto Kalanick lo hanno definito "una persona arrogante e irresponsabile", ma hanno anche aggiunto che forse è proprio questo il segreto del suo successo. Proprio per questo motivo, era impensabile che, dopo l'uscita da Uber, Kalanick rimanesse con le mani in mano. E che la curiosità su cosa stia per fare, e soprattutto l'interesse sulla sua nuova creatura, è tale da indurre il Financial Times a pubblicare, in prima pagina, la notizia della sua nuova impresa.

Di cosa si tratta? Del meraviglioso mondo della consegna del cibo! Poco più di un anno fa, Kalanick annunciò di avere acquisito, tramite il proprio fondo d'investimento "10100", una startup immobiliare chiamata City Storage Systems. City Storage risanava lotti immobiliari in difficoltà, come parcheggi sottoutilizzati o punti vendita quasi falliti, e li trasformava in luoghi fisici che, a quanto pare, sono indispensabili anche per le imprese online.

City Storage ha due divisioni: CloudKitchens, che realizza cucine per chef che vogliono avviare un'impresa di consegna del cibo, e CloudRetail, che realizza strutture per rivenditori online. Sempre il Financial Times riferisce che CloudKitchens sembra stia andando molto bene: propone spazi con cucina per ristoratori che vogliono avviare il proprio servizio di distribuzione di cibo.

Anche Deliveroo, il servizio europeo di consegna di cibo, propone un servizio di cucina condivisa che si chiama Dark Kitchens. Ma Kalanick intende puntare sul business della consegna a domicilio, settore in enorme crescita, basti pensare che soltanto in Italia ha visto nel 2018 un'impennata del 69%, con un giro d'affari che vale 350 milioni di euro.

Il modello di business di CloudKitchens si basa su spazi cucina in affitto e senza tavoli per i clienti, così da abbattere sensibilmente i costi. Queste cucine lavorano quindi soltanto attraverso ordini online e con la consegna dei piatti pronti. CloudKitchens ha già inaugurato cucine a Los Angeles, e vuole espandersi anche in Cina. Infatti, secondo quanto riportato dalSouth China Morning Post, Kalanick starebbe ora discutendo una partnership insieme a Zhang Yanqi, ex direttore operativo del servizio di bike sharing Ofo.

Anche l'Europa è un suo obiettivo di crescita. Girano voci che i "reclutatori" di Kalanick stiano battendo le strade di Londra per identificare e reclutare appunto coloro che hanno già esperienza nel settore. Non dobbiamo dimenticare che Kalanick ha fondato Uber Eats nel 2014, e ne conosce quindi tutti i segreti, visto che la crescita della società è stata esplosiva (come dice sempre il Financial Times) proprio quando lui ne era amministratore. Oggi Uber Eats fattura 10 miliardi, con una crescita di 3 miliardi rispetto allo scorso anno e con prospettive ancora più rosee, come ha scritto Forbes lo scorso 6 febbraio.

Immaginiamo che questo interesse al business della consegna del cibo da parte di Kalanick sia dovuto al suo fiuto per gli affari lucrosi. Ma possiamo proprio escludere, visto che CloudKitchens sarà un diretto concorrente di Uber Eats, che in fondo in fondo non ci sia un malcelato desiderio di vendetta?

Speriamo però che non si infili, da vero e proprio recidivo, in un altro settore con enormi problemi regolatori, come ha denunciato tempo addietro LINKIESTA. La strategia di lobbying che aveva scelto per Uber, cioè quella dello scontro con le istituzioni, non sembra aver funzionato tanto bene, né in Italia, né nel resto del mondo. Magari il nuovo Travis scenderà a più miti consigli.


          Russia Set to Gain Ground in Ukrainian Elections      Cache   Translate Page      
By Andrea Snyder

Russia will likely gain political ground in Ukraine regardless of the outcome of the upcoming 2019 Ukrainian Presidential and Parliamentary Elections scheduled respectively for March 31 and October 27. The majority of the leading presidential candidates are amenable in some degree to the Kremlin. Current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is the candidate most aligned with the West but his popular support has slipped due to his inability to deliver on key anti-corruption reforms as well as a sustained disinformation campaign by Russia. If Poroshenko wins the election, it will likely only be by a slim margin and his political bloc still stands to lose seats in the subsequent parliamentary elections. His opponents, by contrast, are populists willing to offer concessions to the Kremlin or politicians openly favorable towards Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia thus stands to advance its core strategic objectives in Ukraine - namely, reasserting political control over the Government of Ukraine and preventing its integration with the West. Russia must also extort or otherwise gain access to a supply of freshwater for the occupied Crimean Peninsula. Many of the presidential and parliamentary candidates are likely willing to support these types of concessions in exchange for limited economic or military deals with the Kremlin. Russia has deliberately cultivated these relationships with a wide range of politicians, shifting away from its prior tactics of investing in one major candidate or political party in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Western-oriented political reformists are active and still have a chance to make progress in the 2019 Ukrainian Parliamentary Election. The U.S. should engage with and support these reformists, who are facing pressures in advance of both elections, in order to counter Russia. Preserving reformers within the Government of Ukraine - particularly the Ukrainian Parliament - will be critical to Ukraine’s ability to withstand subversion by Russia and defend its pursuit of closer ties with the EU and NATO.



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[11] [“Biography of Volodymyr Olekcandrovich Zelensky,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, January 30, 2019. http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP005?PT021F01=233&PT001F01=719; Photo Credit: Kvartal95 Official, [“Volodymyr Zelensky 2018,”] Digital Image, July 24, 2016, Accessed on Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%D0%92%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%80_%D0%97%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%B9_2018_(1).jpg.
[12] [“Zelensky Announced His Decision to Go to the Presidency (Video),”] UNIAN, January 1, 2019, https://www.unian(.)ua/elections/10396374-zelenskiy-zayaviv-pro-rishennya-yti-u-prezidenti-video.html.
[13] Mykola Vorobiov, “Oligarchs and Their Media Outlets Influence Ukrainian Presidential Elections,” Eurasia Daily Monitor Vol. 16, No. 19 (February 2019), https://jamestown.org/program/oligarchs-and-their-media-outlets-influence-ukrainian-presidential-elections/; “Rule by Oligarchs: Kiev Appoints Billionaires to Govern East,” Russia Today, March 4, 2014, https://www.rt(.)com/news/ukraine-oligarch-rule-governors-512/.
Bermet Talant, “Kolomoisky Rails Against Ukraine and Poroshenko,” Kyiv Post, November 23, 2018, https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/kolomoisky-rails-against-ukraine-and-poroshenko.html.
[14] [“Election Program of Volodymyr Olekcandrovich Zelensky,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, February 27, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP009?PT021F01=233&PT001F01=719.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Konstantin Skorkin, “How a Comedian Will Change Ukraine’s Election,” Carnegie Moscow Center, January 1, 2019, https://carnegie(.)ru/commentary/78218.
[18] [“Biography of Yuriy Anatolievich Boyko,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, January 22, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP005?PT021F01=216&PT001F01=719; Photo Credit: Vadim Chuprina, “Boiko Yurii Wiki,” Digital Image January 29, 2019, Accessed on Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boiko_Yurii_Wiki_Vadim_Chuprina.jpg.
[20] Shaun Walker, “Ukrainian Businessman Dmytro Firtash Arrested After Extradition Ruling,” The Guardian, February 21, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/21/austria-grants-us-request-to-extradite-ukrainian-mogul-dmytro-firtash; Vorobiov, “Oligarchs and Their Media Outlets,” https://jamestown.org/program/oligarchs-and-their-media-outlets-influence-ukrainian-presidential-elections/.
[22] [“Election Program of Yuriy Anatolievich Boyko,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, February 27, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP009?PT021F01=216&PT001F01=719.
[23] Roman Kravets [“Odd-Man-Out: Why Lyovochkin and Medvedchuk Are Preparing for the Election Without Akhmetov,”] Pravda, November 20, 2018, https://www.pravda.com(.)ua/articles/2018/11/20/7198714/; [“Leader of the Ukrainian Party ‘Nashi’ Withdrew His Candidacy from the Elections,”] Radio Svoboda, March 7, 2019, https://www.svoboda(.)org/a/29809132.html.
[24] [“Biography of Oleksandr Yuriyovych Vilkul,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, January 25, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP005?PT021F01=224&PT001F01=719; Photo Credit: Catrifle, [“Oleksandr Yuriyovych Vilkul 2017,”] Digital Image, January 31, 2018, Accessed on Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B4%D1%80_%D0%AE%D1%80%D1%8C%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87_%D0%92%D0%B8%D0%BB%D0%BA%D1%83%D0%BB_2017%D0%B3.jpg.
[26] [“Leader of the Ukrainian Party ‘Nashi’ Withdrew His Candidacy from the Elections,”] https://www.svoboda(.)org/a/29809132.html.
[27] [“Biography of Oleh Valerievich Lyashko,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, January 25, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP005?PT021F01=220&PT001F01=719; Photo Credit: Vadim Chuprina, [“Lyashko, Oleg Valerievich,”] Digital Image, November 9, 2015, Accessed on Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%D0%9B%D1%8F%D1%88%D0%BA%D0%BE,_%D0%9E%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%B3_%D0%92%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5%D1%80%D1%8C%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87_0076_%D0%A7%D1%83%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D0%92%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B8%D0%BC_%D0%90_(cropped).jpg.
[28] [“Biography of Oleh Valerievich Lyashko,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, January 25, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP005?PT021F01=220&PT001F01=719.
[29] Oleksiy Bratuschak, [“Lyashko Becomes a Mascot of Akhmetov,”] Pravda, May 9, 2018, https://blogs.pravda.com(.)ua/authors/bratushchak/5af3507e21111/.
[30] Andrew Wilson, “Ukrainian Elections: Poroshenko and Proliferating Populists,” European Council on Foreign Relations, May 23, 2018, https://www.ecfr(.)eu/article/commentary_ukrainian_elections_poroshenko_and_proliferating_populists.
[31] “Europe Is Divided by a Line of Blood,” EU Today, October 13, 2017, https://eutoday(.)net/news/politics/2017/europe-is-divided-by-a-line-of-blood.
[32] “‘There Will Be No EU in 5 Years, Only Ukraine’ – Radical Party MP,” Russia Today, March 4, 2016, https://www.rt(.)com/news/334573-lyashko-eu-schengen-dissolution/; Volodymyr Yermolenko, “Ukraine’s New Populists: Who They Are and Why They’re Dangerous,” Atlantic Council, May 17, 2018, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/ukraine-s-new-populists-who-they-are-and-why-they-re-dangerous.
[33] [“Biography of Anatoliy Stepanovich Hrytsenko,”] Ukrainian Central Election Commission, January 15, 2019, http://www.cvk.gov(.)ua/pls/vp2019/WP005?PT021F01=208&PT001F01=719; Photo Credit: Antje Wildgrube, “42nd Munich Security Conference 2006: Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Minister of Defense, Ukraine,” Digital Image, February 4, 2006, Accessed on Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Msc_2006-Saturday,_16.00_-_18.00-Grytsenko.jpg.

          Vice President, Procurement and Supply Chain - Maxim Integrated - San Jose, CA      Cache   Translate Page      
Experience with JDA supply chain engine. Maxim Integrated is a highly successful, $2.31 billion company....
From Maxim Integrated - Fri, 08 Mar 2019 12:34:00 GMT - View all San Jose, CA jobs
          Supply Chain, Operations Analyst - Maxim Integrated - San Jose, CA      Cache   Translate Page      
Maxim Integrated is a highly successful, $2.3 billion company. With offices and manufacturing sites around the world, we design award-winning semiconductors...
From Maxim Integrated - Wed, 16 Jan 2019 00:33:54 GMT - View all San Jose, CA jobs
          Tissue Diagnostics Market worth 5.14 Billion USD by 2022      Cache   Translate Page      
(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 13, 2019 ) According to the new market research report "Tissue Diagnostics Market by Product (Consumables, Instruments), Technology (Immunohistochemistry, in Situ Hybridization, Digital Pathology & Workflow), Disease (Breast Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Lymphoma), End User (Hospital,...
          Healthcare Asset Management Market worth 35.19 billion USD by 2023      Cache   Translate Page      
(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 13, 2019 ) According to the new market research report "Healthcare Asset Management Market by Product (RFID (Active, Passive), RTLS, Ultrasound, Infrared), Application (Hospital (Equipment, Patient Monitoring, Staff Management, Hand Hygiene), Pharma (Drug Counterfeiting, Supply...
          Peripheral Vascular Devices Market worth $14.4 billion by 2024      Cache   Translate Page      
(EMAILWIRE.COM, March 13, 2019 ) According to the new market research report "Peripheral Vascular Devices Market by Type (Angioplasty Balloon, Stent, Catheters (Angiography, IVUS), Plaque Modification (Atherectomy, Thrombectomy), Hemodynamic Flow Alteration (Embolic Protection), IVC Filters, Guidewires)...
          Divisional Accountant - finance graduate opportunity - Flintshire - Page Personnel - UK - Flintshire      Cache   Translate Page      
A global leader in a niche manufacturing sector with a multi billion pound turnover, this exciting business has an opportunity for a finance graduate to join... £21,000 - £23,000 a year
From Page Personnel - UK - Fri, 15 Feb 2019 16:35:10 GMT - View all Flintshire jobs
          Ontario to permit phones at gas stations due to ‘one in 10 billion’ chance of ignition      Cache   Translate Page      
iOS distracted driving

If you’ve topped up your car with gas recently, you likely saw a sign saying you can’t use your cellphone by the pump. A commonly-held belief is that cellphone use at a gas station may actually cause the fuel to ignite. However, a new report commissioned by the Canadian Fuels Association suggests that the possibility...

The post Ontario to permit phones at gas stations due to ‘one in 10 billion’ chance of ignition appeared first on MobileSyrup.


          3/12/2019: FINANCIAL POST: CGI TO BUY SWEDISH TECH FIRM ACANDO FOR $614.7M      Cache   Translate Page      

Canadian IT consultancy CGI Inc. said on Monday it had made a 4.32 billion Swedish crown ($614.7 million) cash offer for Swedish peer Acando. Montreal-based CGI said Acando’s board unanimously recommended the 41.45 crown per share offer, which...
          3/12/2019: FP INVESTING: Levi Strauss to return to markets      Cache   Translate Page      

Levi Strauss & Co. hopes to sell US$587 million worth of shares in an upcoming return to the stock market after three decades. The offering would value the inventor of blue jeans at US$6.17 billion and give it a potful of cash to invest in broadening...
          'Billions' and 'The Good Fight' tackle Trump era in contrasting ways      Cache   Translate Page      
Situated in worlds of politics and privilege, power and corruption, "Billions" and "The Good Fight" each play to top-of-mind liberal concerns in the Trump era. Yet the Showtime series feels more compelling by tangentially making its case, whereas the CBS All Access drama loses something by leaning directly into an anti-Trump stance, to the point of bashing the viewer over the head with it.

          Disney says its Fox takeover will take effect on March 20      Cache   Translate Page      
Disney's $71 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox will take effect on Wednesday, March 20, the companies said Tuesday morning.

          Facebook Hits Elizabeth Warren With A Banhammer For Being Mean To Facebook      Cache   Translate Page      


Facebook doesn't seem too happy Elizabeth Warren. After the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate announced she would, if elected, try and break up big tech monopolies, her Facebook ads started disappearing across its platform. It's entirely possible that this is all part of some bizarre coincidence, but there's a chance that Mark Zuckerberg, drunk on power and Mountain Dew, hit Warren with a ban hammer for having the balls to call him on his bullshit. Maybe Warren was right?

Facebook has since restored Warren's ad "in the interest of allowing robust debate." A spox says that the ad violated their policies against using their corporate logo -- in this instance a lower-case "f" -- instead of the word "Facebook." None of Warren's other ads were taken down, but none of the other ads were videos arguing that Facebook buys up competitors to create a monopoly.


Shortly after Facebook restored the ads, Warren sent out a mean tweet criticizing Facebook for having the power to shut up anyone who calls Facebook a bunch of spiteful trolls who think they're infallible gods. She was joined by a chorus of legislators who've called to rein in big tech, like freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said, "Facebook may have its own problems but it's increasingly starting to look like our society (namely, our democracy) has a Facebook problem."


Warren's call to break up and regulate big tech companies has scared the hell out of people throughout the Bay Area. The San Francisco Chronicle quoted a number of Silicon Valley's super rich crying at the thought of Uncle Sam coming to bust them up. As the tech-bros see it, this won't do anything to stop the state-owned monopolies China has on its highly monitored magic kingdom of censored shitposts, and "you can kiss American tech leadership goodbye" if you suddenly start making big tech follow century-old antitrust regulations like every other business. In an interview with The Verge, Warren shrugs off her critics and compared her proposal to break up big tech to the consolidation of railroads in the late 1800s.

There was a period of time when the railroads figured out that they could make money not only by selling tickets on the railroad, but also by buying the steel company and then cutting the price of transporting steel for their own company and raising the price of transporting steel for any competitors. And that's how the giant grows ... So my principle is exactly the same: What was applied to railroad companies more than a hundred years ago, we need to now look at those tech platforms the same way.

With big tech companies reeling from another round of bad press, it was perhaps another remarkable coincidence that a story appeared in Politico this morning talking about Warren accepting campaign contributions from people working at the very companies she wants to bust up. According to Politico, Warren took in $90,000 from employees who work at Amazon, Google, or Facebook between 2011 and 2018. For comparison, Bernie Sanders took in well over a quarter million from the very same people in 2016. Is this a #SCANDAL, or evidence people working for big tech companies find San Francisco so unaffordable that they're forced to live in their cars and poop on the street? On Sunday, when asked about contributions from tech executives, Warren stated, "nobody has been beating down the door," and added, "I'm not in Washington to work for billionaires. I'm in Washington to help level the playing field so that everybody gets a chance to get out there and compete."

[The Verge / Politico / WaPo]

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          Bye Bye Love. Wonkagenda For Tues., March 12, 2019      Cache   Translate Page      


Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


There's so much fuckery in Trump's $4.75 trillion budget, we don't have nearly enough time to go through everything. Politico has a list of some of the winners and losers, the former being his golf buddies and Betsy DeVos, and the latter being poor people, the sick, and the elderly (thanks to massive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid previously sold as TrumpCare). WaPo notes that the administration is living in a complete fantasy believing that the economy is doing fine, counter to the analysis from every math geek who's ever used an abacus. Yesterday, OMB Director Russ Vought told reporters that it wasn't actually the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich) that ballooned the national debt, it was Obama. Earlier in the day, Vought appeared on CNBC to bitch and moan about the Mexican-Muslim taco truck invasion of the southern border, arguing that WALL was more important than sick, old, and/or poor people, and stated, "We're tired of being right." US TOO, BUDDY. Meanwhile, the GOP revolt over Trump's border wall has flipped Congress on its head as members consider measures ranging from overriding Trump's national emergency declaration, to limiting the presidential power to declare national emergencies.

In a bigass profile in WaPo, Nancy Pelosi finally said what's been hinted at for two years -- that she doesn't want to impeach Trump "unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan ... because it divides the country. And he's just not worth it." Some Democrats pushed back strongly on Pelosi's remarks, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noting Trump met "the Lindsey Graham standard" for impeachment "multiple times." In speaking with Politico, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings called impeachment a "political process," and added, "You've got to have bipartisanship. Right now you've got 40 something percent of the country pleased, I guess, with what the president's doing. I think Pelosi realizes this."

Dick Cheney ripped Mike Pence a new asshole at a private meeting in Georgia over the weekend at a forum for a conservative think tank, according to a leaked transcript of the event. The war hawk criticized the Trump administration's foreign policy as being more limpwristed than Obama, complaining that Trump's idea to demand protection money from allies "sounded like a new York state real estate deal." Pence responded by reportedly asking, "Who wrote these softball questions?"

In a rare showing of bipartisan rebuke of the Trump administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have invited the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Washington to address a joint session of Congress later this spring. The invite comes as Trump moves to charge US allies protection money to the tune of "cost plus 50."

Massachusetts Democratic Senator and 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren suddenly found her ads calling for Facebook to be broken up taken down by Facebook. Facebook issued a statement saying the ads violated their policy of using its logos in advertising. Though the ads were later restored, they kind of proved Warren's point that Facebook is too goddamn big. Politico is stirring the pot this morning with a story about Warren taking money from Silicon Valley employees and selling her books on Amazon ... over the last decade.

Senators Ed Markey and Josh Hawley say they plan introduce a bill to amend the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The bill would reportedly extend protections of children up to 15-years-old, and bar platforms from targeting ads at kids under 13. Roll Call notes it's unlikely to become a law even though multiple states and the EU have already moved forward with strict data privacy regulations aimed at keeping companies from fiddling with kids' heads. Here's an example of COPPA laws in action.

Democrats have chosen Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for their 2020 nominating convention. In a tweet, the party stated Milwaukee was "more than equipped."

Wayne's World (8/10) Movie CLIP - Alice's History Lesson (1992) HD www.youtube.com

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says her office was "thorough and professional" when it "thoroughly and appropriately" investigated sexual harassment allegations from a female staffer against Gillibrand's longtime driver and military adviser. In a brief scrum with reporters, Gillibrand said she has full confidence about the "professional and thorough" investigation that was now "thorough and complete." He must be a good man, and thorough.

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke is headed to Iowa to help state Senate candidate Eric Giddens in a special election while simultaneously reaching out to former Obama people and courting activists. Beto hasn't announced #HesRunning (yet), but political wizards think it's just a matter of time.

Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams clarified remarks she made at SXSW stating she hadn't decided if #ShesRunning in 2020, and said the possibility was "on the table." Abrams's initial remarks were that she kept a spreadsheet with gigs she wanted, and 2028 would have been the earliest she would run for president.

According to court records, a Roy Moore supporter pleaded the Fifth 65 TIMES when asked if he had tried to bribe the lawyer representing one of Moore's accusers to drop the client and issue a damning statement to Breitbart. What initially started as a defamation suit has grown to engulf Steve Bannon's rightwing shit rag. SCANDAL!

Those rascally radicals in antifa have dug up racist and anti-Semitic chat logs from from Bennet Bressman, the statewide field director for Nebraska's uber rich Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts. The 22-year-old Bressman says the logs, which date back to last year, were from a long time ago and no longer reflect who he is as a person, though screenshots of Bressman's social media accounts show him teaching people about "chad nationalism," joking about running down Black Lives Matter activists with his white car, dropping n-bombs and racial stereotypes, as well as old fashioned gay-hatin'. [Logs]

Current Florida man and former Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage started cold calling radio shows (again) to say those damn dirty Democrats get all their money from the JEEWWZZ, and that Rep. Ilhan Omar "completely vindicated" his long history of hate mongering. [Audio]

As British Prime Minister Theresa May faces the rapidly approaching zero for a "no-deal" Brexit scenario, the EU and UK agreed to a changes over the Irish backstop and permanent customs union. HOWEVER, the EU signaled the changes are by no means an end to negotiations just as a number of British MPs sounded off about their reluctance to support May's deal. If you're confused, don't worry, so is everyone else.

A new UN report says North Korea is cleverly avoiding oil, coal, and weapons sanctions, and hacking foreign banks to make some quick cash -- and that's on top of all the shady weapons testing programs they've quietly started back up. The report even includes photos of North Korean ships disguised as trading vessels illegally transferring energy and materials on the high seas, as well as the regime's smuggling of weapons to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, possible gold-mining in the Republic of Congo, and supplying Uganda with military training and weapons.

Lawyers for Roger Stone say they "clumsily" tried to tell the court about Roger Stone's book, and that they'd like to "move ahead without further ado," HOWEVER emails from Stone to his publisher show Stone bitching about a gag order interfering with his book sales, arguing for more money, and demanding fewer copies of the book be printed.

The Senate Intel Committee met with Simona Mangiante, the wife of George Papadopoulos, to ask about her old boss, ALLEGED Russian spy Joseph Mifsud. Mangiante told WaPo that she was "happy to provide information," emphatically adding, "Definitely not because I am a Russian spy." [No, she said that!]

Tucker Carlson refused to apologize for sexist and misogynist comments made to a shock jock's radio show unearthed by Media Matters. Tucker likened the campaign to have him and Jeanine Pirro "You're Fired" to a "mob" in a defiant monologue, and stated he planned to "fight it" while crying on the shoulder of Sean Hannity. Media Matters later released MORE damning audio of Tucker where he claims "white men" were responsible for "creating civilization," waxes philosophical about THE BLACKNESS of the Obamas, and whines that Iraqi people aren't "human beings" because they "don't use toilet paper or forks," and that they're actually, "semiliterate primitive monkeys," Shortly after Tucker's monologue, Fox News host Brit Hume tweeted, "Doing well is the best revenge," and linked to Tucker's TV ratings. Meanwhile, Variety's Brian Steinberg noted Tucker didn't have many ads during his show, and that's not a good sign (for him).

Two of the most prominent NRA board members tell the New York Times that NRATV's hard-right turn into fear mongering of apocalyptic race riots, ALLEGED grift, and shady Russian fuckery has forced them to reconsider what the hell they're all doing. Apparently Dana Loesch putting Thomas the Tank in a KKK hood was a little too much, even for gun fetishists chumming red meat.

After the Westboro Baptist Church decided to take a field trip to the Virginia state capitol and protest the state's first and only openly transgender lawmaker, Del. Danica Roem, the lead singer of heavy metal band Lamb of God organized a counter-protest with free kazoos. Several hundred people turned out in support of Roem, who herself fronts a local heavy metal band, and chased out the hate group out within 30 minutes.

And here's your morning Nice Time! A KIWI CHICK!

Second Kiwi Chick of 2019 Hatches at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute www.youtube.com

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          Mass Layoffs Expected as Disney Sets Closing Date for Fox Acquisition      Cache   Translate Page      
Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of the 21st Century Fox entertainment assets will take effect on Wednesday, March 20, the companies said Tuesday morning, CNN reports. “It will be an epochal event in the entertainment business — the merging of two...
          The nanny state blob      Cache   Translate Page      
Taxpayer funding of ‘nanny state’ groups has not declined in recent years but it has evolved. In the debate about food, tobacco and alcohol, there are relatively few dedicated activist groups directly funded by central government. Alcohol Concern has lost its state funding and has now merged with Alcohol Research UK to become Alcohol Change UK. Its counter-part in tobacco control, the English branch of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has been funded by the Department of Health since its inception in 1971 and received a DH grant of £159,999 in 2016/17. ASH insists that this money is not used for advocacy or lobbying but is used to ‘support the Tobacco Control Plan for England’. It is not clear what this means in practice and its grant applications in the past have explicitly listed ‘media advocacy and lobbying’ as a deliverable. Like Alcohol Concern, ASH has never provided health, cessation or rehabilitation services.

The records appear to reveal no other pressure group focused solely on food, tobacco or alcohol that receives funding from Whitehall, although there are several state-funded organisations with a broader ‘public health’ remit which lobby for lifestyle regulation. The UK Health Forum received £216,306 from the Department of Health in 2016/17 in addition to £680,000 from Public Health England and an unrestricted grant of £371,660 from the European Commission. Of a total budget of £1,597,619, state funding amounted to £1,470,626 (92 per cent). It lobbied for a familiar assortment of paternalistic anti-market interventions in lifestyle choices - tax rises, bans, advertising restrictions, minimum pricing, mandatory food reformulation, etc. - before closing down after government funding was withdrawn last year.


Public Health England
   
Public Health England (PHE) is the new critical dynamic in the politics of the nanny state. Created in 2013, PHE has changed the face of state-funded activism in the field of lifestyle regulation in two ways. Firstly, it has a colossal budget of £4.5 billion, most of which is distributed to local authorities where dozens of Directors of Public Health lobby councillors for policies which restrict personal freedom and disrupt the market, such as outdoor smoking bans and tighter licensing restrictions for bars and off licences. As a semi-autonomous quango with a large pot of money, Public Health England can also grant funds to third parties without ministerial sign-off. For example, when the CEOs of several ‘public health’ organisations decided that they needed to create another umbrella group for their profession, Public Health England handed them £57,200 to create the UK Public Health Network. It has recently started funding ASH, with grants totalling £108,000 in the last quarter of 2018.

Secondly, PHE is itself effectively a pressure group. Through its publications and public pronouncements it has lobbied for such policies as minimum pricing for alcohol, outdoor smoking bans, plain packaging and bans on ‘junk food’ advertising. Every other ‘sock puppet’ group is a minnow by comparison. Public Health England has not made the smaller groups obsolete - the ‘swarm effect’ requires different voices to demand the same policies - but it is now the mothership around which the activist groups orbit. It is also the citadel to which several activists have departed. Martin Dockrell, formerly of ASH, is now the Tobacco Control Programme Lead at PHE, and various prominent anti-alcohol campaigners, including Ian Gilmore of the Alcohol Health Alliance, have been appointed to PHE’s Alcohol Leadership Board.

Public Health England is a more overtly political entity than the public health organisations, such as the Health Education Council, which preceded it. A similar drift towards activism can be seen in other state-funded ‘public health’ groups, up to and including the World Health Organisation. Even organisations that were not set up to preach lifestyle change have got involved, including the Local Government Association, the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. Some of the activities of the latter, which received £15.8 million from the Scottish Government in 2017/18, are indistinguishable from those of Obesity Action Scotland as it campaigns for smaller food portions and congratulates the government on its obesity strategy. In 2018, one of its advisors even suggested that the government should put graphic warnings on red meat.


Activist-academics

Other sources of taxpayers’ money are available to activist-academics in the nanny state blob via the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Although higher educational institutes are exempt from the anti-sockpuppet rules, the gap between research and advocacy can be narrow to the point of invisibility.  The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), which has academics from fourteen British universities, says that it is not a ‘lobbying group, but we do have close links with advocacy organisations and will assist them where appropriate.’

Between 2013 and 2017 it attracted £45 million in grant income from public and private sources, including the Scottish Government, Public Health England, the Medical Research Council, NICE, the NHS, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the European Commission, NIHR, ESRC, the Department of Health and the EU’s Smoke Free Partnership.

As a result of UKCTAS’s ‘meaningful and sustained collaborative relationships with advocacy organisations’, it is able to list the following political victories:

‘We performed new analyses for the Scottish Government on the comparative effectiveness of Minimum Unit Pricing and alcohol taxation, and this work formed a key part of their successful defence of Minimum Unit Pricing in the Scottish courts'
'Academics from UKCTAS worked with Scottish groups including Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems to advocate for a reduction in the ‘drink-drive limit’ in Scotland'

'Legislation prohibiting smoking in cars carrying children in England and Wales came into force in October 2015. UKCTAS played a leading role in bringing this legislation into place'

'Legislation to introduce standardised packaging for tobacco was passed in the UK parliament in the spring of 2015 and will be fully implemented from May 2017. This covers all parts of the UK. UKCTAS research played a key role in this decision.’ 

Similar advocacy-oriented academic organisations have emerged in recent years, including the Tobacco Control Research Group, whose funders include NIHR, ESCR, the NHS, the European Council and the Department of Health. In 2017, the ESCR - which is funded to the tune of £212 million by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy - announced the creation of the UK Prevention Research Partnership, a £50 million project aimed at developing ‘robust new knowledge which contributes to demonstrable changes in policy and practice’ by ‘working closely with policy makers’. The same year saw the Department of Health announce that it would be setting up a new Obesity Policy Research Unit with £5 million of taxpayers’ money.

The Obesity Policy Research Unit will be run by Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who has been a regular fixture in the newspapers for years making emotive calls for sugar taxes, advertising bans and restrictions on fast food outlets. He accuses fast food chains of ‘enticing young people and their pocket money' and claims that only by banning advertisements for food that is high in fat, salt or sugar ‘can children reclaim their childhood’. It seems unlikely that the £5 million unit will produce any research that challenges these prior beliefs.

Clearly there is no shortage of money available to activist-academics who wish to tax and ban in the name of ‘public health’, but what is most striking is the extent of their activism and the narrowness of the clique to which they belong. Anna Gilmore, for example, was a board member of Action on Smoking and Health before joining UKCTAS and becoming the director of the Tobacco Control Research Group. She also sat on the Steering Committee and Programme Board of Smokefree Southwest until it closed in 2016. During this period, Smokefree Southwest granted £135,000 to Gilmore’s Tobacco Control Research Group and NHS Southwest gave the Tobacco Control Research Group £165,284 for ‘research and evaluation support’ for Smokefree Southwest.

Linda Bauld is the Deputy Director of UKCTAS and is on Public Health England’s tobacco control implementation board. She has also ‘been closely involved in the development of the UKPRP and is a member of the steering group for this new initiative’. Meanwhile, ASH Scotland’s CEO Sheila Duffy is on the Scottish Government's Ministerial Working Group on Tobacco Control and, more surprisingly for an anti-smoking campaigner, also on the steering committee of Obesity Action Scotland.


The EU and local government

Direct sock puppet funding continues to flourish in local authorities and devolved governments, and is endemic at the EU level. EU-funded organisations lobbying for lifestyle regulation include the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (€314,039: 52 per cent of income), the Smoke Free Partnership (€400,749: 60 per cent of income), the TackSHS Project (€620,050: 100 per cent of income), EuroHealthNet (€901,000: 80 per cent of income), the World Obesity Federation (€444,672: 33 per cent of income), the European Public Health Alliance (€623,368: 80 per cent of income), Active – Sobriety, Friendship and Peace (€145,188: 63 per cent) and the European Public Health Association (€53,571: 19 per cent). Several likeminded pressure groups, such as the International Order of Good Templars and the Norwegian Policy Network on Alcohol and Drugs, are not EU-funded but are active in EU policy debates thanks to large grants from national governments.

In the regions, a variety of anti-smoking groups funded by local authorities come and go. In the northeast, Fresh continues to be funded through local public health grants, but similar organisations in the northwest and southwest have been wound down since the campaign for plain packaging was won. Smokefree Southwest broadened its remit in 2015 by changing its name to Public Health Action but lost its funding in June 2016 and is now little more than a Twitter account. Smokefree Northwest attempted a similar transformation by becoming Healthier Futures in 2016 but ceased trading in March 2017. Various local ‘Tobacco Control Alliances’ exist in such places as Rotherham, Camden and Durham but are now mainly focused on helping smokers to quit with cessation services and e-cigarettes rather than campaigning for legislative change. A new project called History Makers in Greater Manchester, funded by northwest local authorities, has expressed interest in such policies as banning smoking outdoors, licensing tobacco retailers and banning smoking on TV, but has not yet begun active campaigning.

The lack of overt political activity by these groups since plain packaging was introduced in 2016 probably reflects a dearth of new policies to lobby for and the government’s stated intention not to pass further anti-smoking legislation in this Parliament. The same cannot be said for Balance Northeast, an anti-alcohol group which shares an office with Fresh and, like Fresh, is 100 per cent funded by twelve local authorities. It has been campaigning for minimum unit pricing, warning labels on alcoholic drinks and advertising restrictions for nearly a decade. Its campaign for higher taxes is always more intense before the Budget.

Local authorities also fund pressure groups involved in food and soft drink regulation. Sustain for Life received £45,000 from the Greater London Authority and Royal Borough of Greenwich in 2016/17 in addition to lottery funding of £85,068 and £146,647 from the European Commission. This organisation funds the Children’s Food Campaign and runs SugarSmart, both of which were heavily involved in the campaign for the sugar tax and now lobby for a ban on ‘junk food marketing’. Sustain also set up and funded the Children’s Health Fund (with the help of Jamie Oliver) in 2015 to lobby for the sugar tax but this group was wound down once the tax was introduced in April 2018, with the group announcing that it was ‘passing the baton on to Government’.

The Birmingham Food Council, created in 2014 and funded by grants from Birmingham City Council, claims that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are ‘psychoactive substances’ and that even sparkling water causes ‘dental decay and contributes to other health problems’. These dubious scientific claims accompanied a briefing paper urging Birmingham City Council to reject partnerships with Coca-Cola and to ‘avoid future commercial relationships with food and drinks companies whose products carry standard rate VAT’. This came in the wake of Coca-Cola giving £20 million to three local authorities to fund free activities in public parks, such as karate, Zumba and yoga. The Birmingham Food Council describes Coca-Cola as a ‘“food drug” corporation’ and calls for the sugar tax to be extended to all fizzy drinks even if they do not contain sugar. Its pronouncements on social media include ‘Shame we can’t ban sugar in public places’.


Scotland and Wales  

The Scottish Government continues to be the primary funder of Alcohol Focus Scotland, with an unrestricted grant of £472,000 in 2017/18. Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems which, like Alcohol Focus Scotland, campaigns to limit the marketing, availability and affordability of alcohol, depended on government funding for 100 per cent of its €200,000 budget in 2015/16, according to the EU Transparency Register. Both organisations lobbied heavily for one of the Scottish National Party’s flagship policies - minimum unit pricing for alcohol - which was introduced in May 2018. When Alcohol Focus Scotland co-hosted the Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Edinburgh in 2015 - an event sponsored by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland - SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon gave the opening speech and the organisers paid tribute to her ‘political courage’.

A similar arrangement developed in the Republic of Ireland where Alcohol Action Ireland, which relied on the state for 97.5 per cent of its income in 2015, not only lobbied for minimum pricing but set up another group, the Alcohol Health Alliance, specifically ‘to support the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill’ of which minimum pricing was the cornerstone. In addition to writing submissions to government as ‘an independent voice for advocacy and policy change’ and promoting the legislation in the media, Alcohol Action Ireland set up a webpage which enabled its supporters to lobby their parliamentary representative with a standardised e-mail (‘I urge you to please support the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, in full’ etc.). In 2016, Ireland’s Department of Health gave Alcohol Action Ireland an additional €75,000 ‘to engage with the EU to build support for the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill’ (Tighe 2016). The law was passed in October 2018.

State-funded lobbying does not get much more blatant than this, although the similarly named Obesity Action Scotland comes close. Founded in 2015 and wholly funded by a grant from the Scottish Government, it campaigns for a 9pm watershed on advertising for food that is high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS), bans on price promotions such as buy-one-get-one-free and ‘regulations to control portion size’. It says that all this - plus food reformulation and the sugar tax - ‘will only be the start’ of restrictions on the free market in the name of obesity prevention. All of these policies were included in a consultation document put forward by the Scottish Government in October 2017. Obesity Action Scotland publicly welcomed the proposals and drafted an encouraging consultation response (its only complaint was that some of the measures did not go far enough). In July 2018, Scotland’s Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan was published with all of Obesity Action Scotland’s demands met.

This kind of activity is relatively new in the area of food, but has long been practised in the field of tobacco. Today, both the Scottish and Welsh governments fund their branches of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) more heavily than Whitehall funds the English branch. ASH Scotland received £604,798 directly from the Scottish Government in 2016/17 (77 per cent of its total income) while receiving just £3,126 in voluntary donations. ASH Wales received £207,872 from the Welsh Government in 2016/17 in addition to £136,247 from the EU’s Erasmus+ project. In total, ASH Wales depended on government grants for 69 per cent of its income, with just £3,570 coming from individual donations and legacies.

Taken from Still Hand in Glove? A re-examination of state-funded activism.
          Why Kylie Jenner won't be the youngest self-made billionaire for long      Cache   Translate Page      
The way that fortunes are being made tells you a lot about how the global economy is developing.
          AMLO Celebrates First 100 Days as President of Mexico      Cache   Translate Page      

He said that his country has maintained a “cordial” relationship with the United States, leading to billion-dollar investments into the region.

The post AMLO Celebrates First 100 Days as President of Mexico appeared first on Latino USA.


          Apple will finally reveal its $1 billion-budget TV service      Cache   Translate Page      
From The 3:59 show: Apple is expected to finally unveil the Netflix-like streaming service that will premiere the all the shows its been creating for more than a year.

          China transfers US$4.7 billion of PICC shares to state pension fund, part of a programme to shift assets to make up for shortfall      Cache   Translate Page      
China’s Ministry of Finance has transferred a 6.8 per cent stake in the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC) to the state pension fund, part of a pilot programme to transfer state assets to make up for the country’s pension shortfall amid an ageing population and debt pressure.The Ministry of Finance, the largest shareholder of PICC, transferred 2.989 billion class A shares of the insurer, valued at US$4.74 billion, to the National Council for Social Security Fund (NSSF), according to a…
          10 Reasons Why AI Can Boost Your Ecommerce Business | Infographic      Cache   Translate Page      

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a concept limited just to sci-fi movies. With recent leaps in Technology, AI has evolved immensely, permeating into every aspect of modern business and society. Now, AI has a bearing on every conceivable thing, from smart-homes and self-driving cars, to the vast domains of e-learning and e-commerce, AI is in everything and everywhere.

According to experts, the AI industry will soon reach $58.8 billion milestone by 2025 and support almost every business sector through innovative solutions. Moreover, with the rising popularity AI voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa ad Cortana, voice notes and images will take up 50% of online searches. VPA-enabled speakers such as Alexa will also experience sales worth $2.1 billion by 2020 and keep on increasing exponentially. To reduce business costs associated with human labor, AI powered chatbots will also mainstream by 2022 and help online businesses save $8 billion worth of management costs.

To see more on AI, scroll down the infographic below and learn how AI is influencing various sectors online business and how you can leverage from it.

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          Safety Coordinator      Cache   Translate Page      
ND-Watford City, Wood is a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets. We operate in more than 60 countries, employing around 60,000 people, with revenues of over $10 billion. We provide performance-driven solutions throughout the asset life cycle, from concept to decommissioning across a broad range of industrial markets, including the upstream, m
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ND-Watford City, Wood is a global leader in the delivery of project, engineering and technical services to energy and industrial markets. We operate in more than 60 countries, employing around 60,000 people, with revenues of over $10 billion. We provide performance-driven solutions throughout the asset life cycle, from concept to decommissioning across a broad range of industrial markets, including the upstream, m
          Industrial Refrigeration System Market Analysis 2018-2025: Key Findings, Regional Analysis, Key Players Profiles and Future Prospects      Cache   Translate Page      
The global industrial refrigeration system market is expected to grow to US$ 33.66 billion by 2025 from US$ 20.02 billion in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 6.8%.   The industrial refrigeration system market report aims to provide a 360-degree view of the market in terms of cutting-edge technology, key developments, drivers, restraints and future trends with … Continue reading Industrial Refrigeration System Market Analysis 2018-2025: Key Findings, Regional Analysis, Key Players Profiles and Future Prospects
          Nvidia’s New Chips      Cache   Translate Page      
Nvidia announced its largest-ever acquisition today, offering $6.9 billion for data center chip technology maker, Mellanox. Bloomberg is reporting that Mellanox beat out rivals that included Intel in a bidding process for the American-Israeli company, one which its founder, Jensen Huang, built in under three years by “persuading owners of data centers that his graphics […]
          Frontier Communications Announces $1.650 Billion First Lien Secured Notes Offering      Cache   Translate Page      
...March 2021, and its credit agreement with CoBank ACB, which matures in October 2021, and to pay related fees and expenses. In addition, upon the closing of the First Lien Secured Notes offering, Frontier expects to amend its credit agreement with ...

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NSW Labor has continued its big cash splash on education announcing it would spend $7.4 billion on building new schools and upgrading others if it wins the...
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NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has returned remote housing leases in 44 communities to the Commonwealth as negotiations over $1.1 billion in funding...
          Fox News Hasn’t Asked Dershowitz About His Pedophile Client Jeffrey Epstein      Cache   Translate Page      
Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

Famed attorney Alan Dershowitz is a frequent Fox News guest, but for some reason the network never seems to ask him about his involvement in a high-profile case that continues to make news.

On Nov. 28, 2018, when the Miami Herald revealed that, in 2008, convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers, a group that included Dershowitz, had pressured Trump’s labor secretary Alexander Acosta into negotiating a sweetheart plea deal for the billionaire financier, who was accused of molesting more than 100 underage girls.

Since that news broke, Dershowitz has appeared on Fox News a total of 27 times. Not once has anyone on the network asked him about his client or his connection to the secret plea deal a judge has since declared illegal.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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          Senate rejection of Trump border emergency no longer certain      Cache   Translate Page      
WASHINGTON – The White House and Republican senators sought compromise Tuesday on limiting future presidents' powers to unilaterally declare national emergencies, as chances improved that President Donald Trump might avoid a long-expected rejection by Congress of his effort to divert billions more for building barriers along the Mexican border. As a Thursday showdown vote in the Senate neared, GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and others were talking with the White House about related legislation that would curb the ability of future presidents to declare national emergencies. If Trump would commit to signing a bill...
          Kathmandu is warning that customers' personal and payment information details may have been compromised      Cache   Translate Page      

Retailer Kathmandu Holdings is warning customers their personal and payment details may have been compromised after a breach of security on the company's website.

The company didn't specify how many customers it thought might be affected.

It told the stock exchange in a statement on Wednesday it was "urgently investigating" a security incident with its online trading websites.

"Kathmandu has recently become aware that between 8 January 2019 NZDT and 12 February 2019 NZDT, an unidentified third party gained unauthorised access to the Kathmandu website platform," it said.

"During this period, the third party may have captured customer personal information and payment details entered at check-out."

Kathmandu is a substantial business, generating revenues in the order of half a billion dollars a year. It says online sales account for nearly 10% of the total.

The company said as soon as it became aware of the security breach it took immediate steps and confirmed that the Kathmandu online store is and remains secure.

"The wider IT environment including all Kathmandu physical stores were not impacted by this incident. Since this time, Kathmandu has been working closely with leading external IT and Cyber Security consultants to fully investigate the circumstances of the incident and confirm which customers may have been impacted."

The company said it was notifying potentially affected customers directly. Kathmandu advises any customer who believes they may have been impacted to contact their banks or credit card providers and follow their recommended advice.

The company is in the process of notifying the relevant privacy and law enforcement agencies.

Kathmandu chief executive Xavier Simonet said that while the independent forensic investigation is ongoing, the company was notifying customers and relevant authorities as soon as practicable.

"As a company, Kathmandu takes the privacy of customer data extremely seriously and we unreservedly apologise to any customers who may have been impacted.”


          RBNZ bank capital proposals appear quite sensible given the unique New Zealand banking market structure, Deutsche Bank analysts say       Cache   Translate Page      

By Gareth Vaughan

The Reserve Bank (RBNZ) proposals to significantly increase bank capital requirements are sensible given New Zealand's unique market structure, say banking analysts from Deutsche Bank.

In a report on the RBNZ proposals Deutsche's Australian-based analysts Matthew Wilson and Anthony Hoo note the NZ banking system is highly concentrated with four foreign (Australian) owned banks controlling 88% of system assets.

"This unique market structure, we are yet to find another one, generates oligopoly-like returns. The four banks print an average return on equity of 15% and remit 65%, or NZ$3.25 billion, of earnings bank to the parents as dividends," Wilson and Hoo say.

They go on to say each time the big Australasian banks - ANZ, ASB's parent Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BNZ's parent National Australia Bank and Westpac - confront an external threat to the industry structure they use alarm as a point of negotiation.

"E.g. may cause funding problems, may lead to credit rationing and may de-stabilise the economy. We heard this in the lead-up to the Murray Inquiry, in response to its key final 'unquestionably strong' [capital] recommendation and in the lead-up to, and during, the more recent Hayne Royal Commission. The same tactic is being used in response to the RBNZ call," say Wilson and Hoo.

They estimate the RBNZ proposals would cut the big banks' return on equity by about 300 basis points. To hold return on equity steady Wilson and Hoo suggest the banks would need to increase their margins by 50 basis points, but note "you can only charge what a market is willing to bear."

Thus in response the Deutsche analysts suggest the big four banking groups will transfer what excess common equity tier one capital they have in Australia to NZ. Additionally they will "more sharply manage" the shape and size of their NZ balance sheets, consider a partial NZ share market listing of the NZ subsidiaries, and cut their "unsustainably high" dividend payout ratios.

"Whilst a partial listing would likely be welcomed by NZ investors and the broader NZ economy, it creates some capital/tax inefficiencies for the parent and thus may not be the most preferred outcome," Wilson and Hoo say.

The Deutsche analysts also note changes by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to its related parties framework, prudential standard APS222. This restricts exposures between the big Aussie banks and their related entities. Currently the standard sets the restriction at an aggregate exposure limit into each subsidiary, whether debt or equity, of 50% of the Australian parent's level 1 tier 1 capital. However, in July last year APRA released a discussion paper proposing to lower the requirement to 25% of the Aussie parent's level 1 tier 1 capital.

Wilson and Hoo point out this increases the sensitivity of related-party investments.

"We expect the major banks to actively consult with APRA on this proposal...at level 1, the New Zealand major banks are deconsolidated and the capital investments into these subsidiaries risk weighted at 400%. This is particularly relevant when dividends are upstreamed and then reinjected as equity capital in the subsidiary."

By Wilson and Hoo's estimate the increased capital requirements would reduce the big four NZ banks' valuations by just 1% (see table below). Given the entire value of share market listed NZ equities is NZ$130 billion, the Deutsche analysts suggest only a partial listing of the big four banks would be digestible. A partial NZ listing of certain banks might be  a "sensible and well received outcome," they say, adding weight and certainty to the NZ equity market plus creating a vested interest in a bank's customer base.

NZ banks must currently meet a minimum total capital ratio of 10.5% of their risk weighted assets. The RBNZ is proposing to increase this to 18% for banks identified as ‘systemically important’, ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac, and 17% for all other banks. Within this proposed increase from 10.5% to 18%, it's proposing to increase the minimum capital requirement for tier 1 capital from 8.5% to 16% for systemically important banks and 15% for all other banks. The RBNZ additionally has a minimum capital requirement of 2% for tier 2 capital. However, the RBNZ is questioning whether this lower quality Tier 2 capital is needed.

Also see interest.co.nz's three part series on bank capital herehere, and here, plus our video interview with RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr on bank capital hereThe deadline for submissions on the RBNZ proposals is Friday, May 3. The RBNZ then expects to publish final decisions in the third quarter of 2019. 

*This article was first published in our email for paying subscribers early on Tuesday morning. See here for more details and how to subscribe.


          NZD received a boost Friday after broad based declines in the USD; NZD continues to improve on the AUD; GBP recovered off last week low of 0.5230 against the NZD      Cache   Translate Page      

By Neven Fisher*:

Major Announcements last week:

  • RBA leave rates unchanged at 1.50% - statement was dovish
  • Australian quarterly GDP prints down at 0.2% from 0.5% expected
  • Canadian Trade Balance comes in much lower than markets expect at -4.6B from -2.4B
  • Bank of Canada leave the overnight cash rate unchanged at 1.75%
  • Australian m/m Retail Sales print 0.1% from 0.3% expected
  • ECB leave the overnight rate unchanged and introduce new bank loans to improve liquidity and growth
  • US Non-Farm Payroll prints at 20,000 from 180,000 expected
  • US Unemployment drops to 3.8% from 3.9%

NZD/USD

The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) received a boost Friday after broad based declines in the US Dollar (USD) took the kiwi off the low of 0.6744 to close at 0.6800. This week the theme has continued with a mix of “risk on” sentiment based on Brexit positiveness before tomorrow’s vote and big dollar sellers. Fed chairman Powell said the Fed was in no hurry to change interest rates again and will watch how the slowing economy progresses. Brexit headlines will hold market focus over the remaining week, we suspect sentiment will change tomorrow and take the kiwi back below 0.6800.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD/USD 0.6831 0.6745 0.6900 0.6745- 0.6839

NZD/AUD (AUD/NZD)

The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) continues to improve on the Australian Dollar (AUD) picking up 54 points last week to 0.9660 (1.0350) where it currently trades Tuesday lunch. Last week’s poor Aussie data continues to weigh on the currency in a week with no economic data printing. Financial markets are locked in a “risk on” mood as hopes of a Brexit deal improve heading into tonight’s parliamentary vote. The kiwi benefiting as investors start thinking about parity parties all over again. We can’t see the cross going below 0.9600 (1.0420) this week.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / AUD 0.9672 0.9615 0.9680 0.9582- 0.9679
AUD / NZD 1.0335 1.0330 1.0400 1.0332- 1.0436

NZD/GBP (GBP/NZD)

The British Pound (GBP) recovered off last week low of 0.5230 (1.9115) to push back to 0.5155 (1.9400) against the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). A last minute pre 12 March parliament vote is on the cards as Theresa May tries one more time. May is on route to meet European Commission President Juncker in Strasbourg. Analysts are suggesting negotiations have reached a point where there might be an agreement. Certainly with the Pound spiking overnight the sentiment barometer is high. UK m/m GDP prints tonight along with Manufacturing Production. News just in: PM May has supposedly secured legally binding changes to her Brexit deal that will strengthen and possibly improve her withdrawal agreement.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / GBP 0.5164 0.5120 0.5200 0.5135- 0.5257
GBP / NZD 1.9365 1.9220 1.9540 1.9023- 1.9474

 NZD/CAD

The New Zealand Dollar (NZD) continued last week rally against the Canadian Dollar (CAD) extending to 0.9155 as risk improved. Equity markets are up on the day as well as Crude Oil to 56.86 but the NZD was preferred. The Bank of Canada downgraded earlier predictions that cash rates would track higher suggesting further uncertainty. Recent Canadian economic data releases have been poor. We expect price to track higher towards 0.9250 the 12 month high.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / CAD 0.9151 0.9110 0.9250 0.9030- 0.9163

NZD/EURO (EURO/NZD)

Optimism towards a Brexit deal being done has lifted risk sentiment in the markets with the Euro (EUR), New Zealand Dollar (NZD) cross continuing last week’s push from the open to 0.6080 (1.6450). Risk currencies have benefited, US equities have closed over 1% higher and the US Dollar was sold off further from Friday’s NFP figure. Also assisting the kiwi is the ECB’s downgraded inflation and growth forecast which could really bite. Long term we are heading towards resistance around 0.6130 (1.6320) of December 2018, any upside moves through this area and we are well into multi year highs. This pair has no scheduled data this week to release, direction will be guided by risk sentiment.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD/EUR 0.6065 0.5980 0.6100 0.5980- 0.6084
EUR/NZD 1.6488 1.6400 1.6720 1.6436- 1.6723

NZD/YEN

Monday saw the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) recover off last week low of 75.00 to regain losses against the Japanese Yen (JPY) back to 76.00 Tuesday. This week’s focus is the Bank of Japan (BoJ) interest rate statement. Comments around ramping up stimulus will be key in relation to achieving their 2.0% inflation target, Kuroda could signal more easing due to lower inflation and growth forecasts. The kiwi is still trading in th 2019 bullish channel and looks to retest 76.50 this week if risk continues.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
NZD / YEN 76.05 75.00 76.50 75.01- 76.30

AUD/USD

The Australian Dollar (AUD) closed the week on a high at 0.7040 against the US Dollar (USD), reversing off the weekly low of 0.7002 after risk sentiment improved. Risk markets continued into Monday with US equities posting gains of over 1.0% as the cross got through to 0.7080 Tuesday. The hangover from last week’s abysmal Non-Farm Payroll figure also continues to pressure the greenback along with Powell making comment that the Fed would try to influence the US Dollar lower through trade policy. The 50% retracement of the low of 0.7002 and high of 0.7200 could influence price towards 0.7100 before turning lower.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD / USD 0.7062 0.7000 0.7130 0.7003- 0.7092

AUD/GBP (GBP/AUD) 

The Australian Dollar (AUD) has given back most of last week’s gains versus the British Pound returning to 0.5370 (1.8620) as hopes improve a Brexit deal can be negotiated. Last minute EU concessions have pushed buyers into the Pound as Theresa May travels to Strasbourg to meet with EU President Juncker. The aim of the trip is to finalise an agreement prior to the parliamentary vote tonight. Anything positive from the EU would be bullish for the Pound and push the currency higher. UK m/m GDP and Manufacturing data prints tonight.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD / GBP 0.5338 0.5290 0.5430 0.5325- 0.5438
GBP / AUD 1.8733 1.8420 1.8900 1.8393- 1.8779

AUD/EURO (EURO/AUD)

Risk sentiment improved overnight Tuesday after hopes a last minute concession on Brexit from the EU would allow the UK parliament to vote into law a EU-UK deal. The Australian Dollar (AUD) improved to 0.6285 (1.5910) against the Euro (EUR) from the open of 0.6265 (1.5950) extending last week’s gains and looks to 0.6320 (1.5820) early February resistance levels. All eyes this week will be firmly focused on a Brexit outcome which is lucky because the calendar is dry this week. Last week’s dovish ECB outlook should give the Aussie further fuel to appreciate further.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD/EUR 0.6269 0.6240 0.6290 0.6203- 0.6291
EUR/AUD 1.5951 1.5900 1.6020 1.5896- 1.6121

AUD/YEN

The Australian Dollar (AUD) has recovered off last weeks low of 77.72 against the Japanese Yen (JPY) as risk improved in markets with price pushing back to 78.70. Later this week in focus is the Bank of Japan (BoJ) interest rate statement. Comments around ramping up stimulus will be key in relation to achieving their 2.0% inflation target. The BoJ have said recently they would weigh the benefits and costs with further policy easing. If Kuroda signals more easing due to lower growth and inflation expectations, we could see a devalued JPY.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD/YEN 78.64 78.00 79.50 77.73- 79.33

AUD/CAD

The Australian Dollar (AUD) surged back towards the five week high of 0.9483 Tuesday against the Canadian Dollar. Risk markets preferring the slightly more stable AUD after comments from last week out of the Bank of Canada (BoC) meeting highlighted they would not be looking to raise rates based on uncertainty and a deteriorating economic outlook. It’s a quiet week of data for the pair with just RBA assistant governor Debelle speaking today and Canadian Manufacturing figures Friday.

DIRECT FX Current level Support Resistance Last wk range
AUD / CAD 0.9462 0.9400 0.9520 0.9389- 0.9482

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Australia

The RBA left rates unchanged at 1.50% with governor Lowe suggesting rates are consistent with GDP growth and inflation forecasts. Inflation remains low but stable and should pick up over the coming years. With all aspects of the economy showing weakening data the RBA seem to be upbeat that wage growth and low unemployment should improve in the coming months. Quarterly GDP released lower than expectations adding fuel to the depreciating AUD with Retail Sales also printing down at 0.1%. Trade Balance has surprised markets when figures showed an increase of nearly 2B to 4.55B after 2.85B was forecast. The only reason the Aussie has bounced off 0.7000 against the greenback is the buoyant Trade figure. Analysts are predicting a pick up in the Aussie towards the end of April based on seasonal import/export figures and solid iron ore values, I’m not so sure? It’s a quiet week on the calendar this week with only RBA assistant governor Debelle speaking today.

New Zealand

The New Zealand Dollar followed the Australian Dollar lower in the early stages of last week bottoming out against the US Dollar at 0.6744 before things changed. US (NFP) Non-Farm Payroll jobs data showed only a further 20,000 people were added to the workforce - the figure significantly down on the expected 180,000 number. Unemployment came in better than expected at 3.8% from 3.9% but the US Dollar traded softer allowing the kiwi to regain early week losses. Global Auction Milk prices have again posted another positive result of 3.3%, this is the seventh increase in prices since November 20th with farmgate prices set to improve over time. Another quiets week for data for the local currency suggesting outside influences will impact for the second week running.

United States

Larry Kudlow has made the suggestion that the ongoing Trump/China trade talks are making "headway" as mixed reports suggested the two parties were miles away from agreeing on a deal. China has suggested a compromise to the US Govt that would allow them to impose an enforcement provision if conditions were not met. Currently the US, based on the current deal conditions, have all the rights to charge China reimposed tariffs if they failed to meet with structural changes to its economy. China have highlighted this as unfair and wish to even the playing field with their own set of what if's penalties as they seek an equal rights trade deal. Erin Ennis senior vice president of the US/China business council has said "we could definitely see ourselves in yet another period of uncertainty" the longer differences continue. Trump is to set to demand another 8.6 Billion in wall funding to build additional sections of the wall along the Mexico/US border in a new set of new battles with congress. The US Dollar retreated late Friday after Non-Farm Payroll (NFP) printed down on expectations of 180,000 at 20,000 as markets sold the Dollar. US unemployment is still low coming in down at 3.8% from 3.9% as well as Average hourly earnings also printing positive at 0.4% from 0.3%. Equity markets closed lower but the kiwi and Aussie pushed up slightly off recent lows as news broke.

Europe

The ECB left the overnight rate unchanged and will look at stimulating the economy’s growth through 2019-2020 with a product called (TLTROs) Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations as a potential method to inject liquidity to boost growth. The ECB cut its inflation and growth forecast and delayed any shift to rate hikes by at least three months with the current rate on hold until at least the end of this year. They have also introduced a bunch of cheapish long term loans (TLTRO) in the hope of loosening liquidity conditions later in 2019. Draghi said that the likelihood of a recession was low and the Eurozone growth outlook was still swayed to the downside. It’s a quiet week for tier one data with only less significant economic releases to print.

United Kingdom

The British Pound depreciated further heading into the weekly close and opened Monday on the defensive. Against the US Dollar it traded from around 1.3070 down to 1.2965 based on the EU rejecting May's latest offer. The EU made a fresh offer of letting Britain exit the backstop but keeping Northern Ireland in it which was not acceptable to May. The parliament vote which takes place on Tuesday 12th March (Wednesday morning in NZT) is expected to be dreadful for May. Several members of cabinet have discussed whether May's time is coming to an end if the vote is a "no" Tuesday. The EU are in the driver's seat as they can either deny the UK an extension and ask them to leave or demand an increase of the "divorce payment" as a trade off for offering an extension of time for article 50. One possible scenario which could play out if support grows for the UK to not leave the EU if the current deal is scrapped, the EU could offer an extension and the UK have another referendum which would turn out "no leave". This week the Pound will be by far the most volatile currency, expect wild swings as news hits the wires. In breaking news, the Pound outperformed Tuesday morning travelling to 1.3280 on hopes a last gasp deal on Brexit can be agreed. Theresa May is on her way to Strasbourg where she will meet European Commission President Juncker.

Japan

The Japanese Yen closed the week outperforming its rivals on the main currency board after risk aversion drove market sentiment and rallied the JPY. Turning a corner after five weeks of losses against the US Dollar the Yen remained in control. Bouncing from 112.13 the pair closed the week around 110.90 as the ECB's decision to launch another round of TLTRO's sent markets in search of safety. Chinese trade figures were also a risk factor with Chinese exports falling more than 20% in February. The trade surplus m/m came to 4.12B much weaker than the 26.3B markets were expecting. Japan's GDP grew by more than 1.90% for the last quarter of 2018 coming in ahead of predictions of 1.80%. The economic watchers survey also supported the Yen releasing at 47.5 for the month of February after 45.6 was expected. This weeks (BoJ) Bank of Japan policy rate is announced on Friday and will remain unchanged.

Canada

Overnight Canada entered DST (daylight saving time) with clocks moved forward 1 hour. The Bank of Canada maintained its 1.75% rate last week saying the global slowdown has been worse than predicted and widespread than the bank had forecast especially in the fourth quarter of 2018. Inflation is forecast to be a little less than 2.0% for most of 2019 but given the pressures on lower Oil prices CPI has eased to 1.4% in January. The BoC are uncertain about future timing of rate increases and will watch developments in Oil markets, household spending and US trade policy. The Canadian Dollar sank across the board and travelled to a yearly low against the greenback. The US Non-Farm Payroll figure Friday was not as rosy as predicted putting the US Dollar under pressure and taking the CAD off its lows. A quiet week for Canadian data on the docket with only Manufacturing Sales to print.

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          Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi sticks to position that cap on total interest and fees will be most effective way to combat 'unscrupulous' lenders      Cache   Translate Page      
Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says the Government’s still plans to cap the total amount of interest and fees that can be charged on loans at 100%.

That’s despite recent criticism from FinCap and Community Law Canterbury calling for a maximum interest rate that can be charged per annum by lenders. FinCap is an umbrella organisation for a number of financial capability and budget advisory groups from around the country. Community Law Canterbury is a non-profit organisation which provides free legal advice to people facing barriers in accessing justice. 

Faafoi announced in October changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) which he said were designed to crack down on predatory lending practices. It followed a review of the consumer credit laws by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).  

The proposed changes include the introduction of limits on the amount of interest and fees that can be charged on high-cost loans to prevent people from accumulating large debts, as well as tougher penalties for those who break the law, including irresponsible lending.

And Faafoi remains committed to the proposed legislative changes he’s planning to introduce to Parliament next month.

“The Government has announced a cap on total interest and fees of 100% of the amount borrowed. This means that, for example, if someone borrows $500 they won’t have to pay back more than $1,000 over the lifetime of the loan. I believe this is the most effective way to stop those who would prey on vulnerable borrowers.”

This will only apply to "high-cost lenders" with the aim being to prevent unmanageable debt and financial hardship from accumulating large debts from a small loan.

Faafoi says he looked at the feasibility of having a maximum interest rate and fees that could be charged per annum by lenders in interest and fees as suggested by FinCap and Community Law Canterbury.

But he says international experience suggests it would be counter-productive and instead having a maximum total amount that can be charged in interest and fees on a single loan is more practical.

“My position has remained consistent that we will not sit by as people get dragged into debt spirals, where a small loan grows into large debt, due to accumulating interest and fees,” Faafoi says.

“I believe the cap on total interest and fees will be most effective in combating the unscrupulous lenders. I think when you’re making any change it’s important to consider the whole effect. International experience shows that moving towards an interest rate cap would make things worse for people – I cannot in all conscience advocate for measures that could do that.

“We know from the experience in the UK and Australia that interest rate caps can move people towards high-cost lenders charging this maximum interest rate and to bigger loans. This can have a higher cost of credit as well as trapping people into bigger loans for longer periods.”

It follows the release late last month of survey results looking at credit and high-cost debt by FinCap and Community Law Canterbury. The survey was carried out between December 10 and December 26 last year.

In the survey report they call for the introduction of a per annum maximum interest rate and tougher measures to fight the spread of non-bank and high cost lending.

“There needs to be limits on total interest that can be charged on borrowing. There should also be a maximum interest rate [that can be charged] per annum."

They say the Government isn’t going far enough with its proposed amendments, even though the actual legislation hasn’t even been introduced to Parliament.

“The CCCFA is still not reaching far enough into NZ's lending culture to protect the most vulnerable members of society. Need a lower interest option and limit access to clients of how many loans they can have at a time. There should be much stricter controls on loan sharks offering high-interest loans and a cap on interest rates. Finance companies should be audited rigorously and frequently. They should be made to conform to the ethical requirements laid down by the ministry which should have greater powers to hold companies to account. Consumer credit should be based on your ability to comfortably repay the loan. If the loan is going to affect your core necessities in life, impact on the care and nurturing of your children, than the loan should not be offered.”

Faafoi says despite the criticism he welcomes the debate.

“We may disagree on the best measures to take but I will work with anyone who has the aim of helping families avoid crippling debt. On the weight of evidence and in particular learning from where interest rate caps have been tried overseas, I firmly believe the better solution is to cap total interest and fees paid. The measures we have proposed are the best option to stop the unscrupulous lenders," he says.

“We must be careful our good intent, in practice doesn’t force vulnerable families into larger debt and cause more harm. That is why our focus is on ensuring the spiral of debt is addressed via a cap on interest rates and fees.”

The release of the Salvation Army’s annual State of the Nation report last month highlighted the growing effects of fringe and non-bank lending.

The paper’s author, Salvation Army social policy analyst Alan Johnson, says the data it collected shows the industry is continuing to grow.

“Over the most recent year of available data (to 30 September 2018) consumer lending by non-bank lending institutions grew by almost 10% in inflation-adjusted terms to $4.54 billion. Over the past five years, this type of lending has expanded almost 39% in inflation-adjusted terms and by almost $1.5 billion in nominal terms.”

Johnson says the Salvation Army decided to broaden the focus of this year's report to include debt and fringe lending under the social hazards section, which also includes alcohol consumption, drug taking and gambling.


          The Opening Bell: Where currencies start on Tuesday, March 12, 2019      Cache   Translate Page      

By the XE Corporate team

The NZDUSD opens higher at 0.6821 this morning.

The NZDUSD was pushed back above the 0.6800 level overnight after mixed US retail sales data hurt the USD.

US retail sale for January rose 0.2%, comfortably beating expectations of 0.0%, however, December’s figures were revised 0.4% lower to -1.6%, damaging any positive USD sentiment.

The GBP rose for the first time in eight sessions amid optimism Brexit could be delayed and that Prime Minister Theresa May was preparing to offer an amended version of her Brexit deal ahead of a trio of crucial votes in Parliament.

US President Trump released his fiscal 2020 budget blueprint overnight. He is seeking the largest-ever cuts to domestic discretionary spending (including the Environment Protection Agency, departments of State, Energy, Transportation and Agriculture), boosts to defence spending, plus USD$8.6 billion for his beloved wall. The blueprint also forecasts annual deficits beyond the next 10 years and rising national debt, which already exceed USD$16 trillion.

There is no data scheduled on the NZ calendar today.

Business confidence figures from Australia hit the wires this afternoon, followed by US inflation data overnight.

Global equity markets were higher on the day - Dow +0.6%, S&P 500 +1.3%, FTSE +0.4%, DAX +0.8%, CAC +0.7%, Nikkei +0.5%, Shanghai +1.9%.

Gold prices fell 0.5% to USD$1,292 an ounce, while WTI Crude Oil prices jumped 1.1% to US$56.74 per barrel.

Current indicative rates:

NZDUSD 0.6821 0.4%
NZDEUR  0.6068 0.4%
NZDGBP 0.5195 -0.7%
NZDJPY 75.88 0.5%
NZDAUD 0.9666 0.1%
NZDCAD 0.9151 0.4%
GBPNZD 1.9249 0.7%

Upcoming Data releases (NZST):

  • No local data today
  • 1:30pm - AUD - NAB Business Confidence
  • 1:30pm - AUD - Home Loan data

 

 

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Email:  

Marcus Phillips is the Affiliate manager at xe money transfer in Auckland. You can contact him here »

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          TKC MUST READ!!! KANSAS CITY CONGRESSMAN CLEAVER CONDEMNS PREZ TRUMP BUDGET AS 'LACKING IN VALUES' AND EXPLAINS LOCAL IMPACT!!!       Cache   Translate Page      


Tonight we remind our beloved and faithful reader community that money and allocations are the true source of so much political divisiveness despite culture war distractions. And so we offer this glimpse of Kansas City's top ranking elected official sharing this SCATHING INDICTMENT of the new budget proposed by Prez Trump.

Checkit:


Congressman Cleaver Releases Statement on President Trump’s Budget Request for FY2020

President Trump’s budget request is short-sided and lacking in values

March 12, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement regarding President Trump’s Budget Request for FY 2020.

“President Trump’s slashing of crucial healthcare funds and assistance for farmers and working families is a true reflection of his values. The budget demonstrates a severe lack of empathy or understanding of how these cuts will hurt the people of this country…and to add insult to injury, his budget requests, take away healthcare funding, housing initiatives and environmental safety, all while adding a trillion dollars to the nation’s deficit annually.

President Trump is proposing one of the largest ever cuts to domestic spending at nine percent. His proposals call for cutting Medicare by $845 billion over 10 years and slashing Medicaid by $241 billion over 10 years. In addition, he and the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, threatens Americans in need of health insurance and those seeking coverage with pre-existing conditions.

The President’s proposed budget would also slash funding to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Cutting funding to HUD by 16 percent would eliminate vital programs to repair public housing for low-income families and programs such as the Housing Trust Fund, which serves households with the lowest incomes, and the HOME Investment Partnership Program that helps local governments and states address housing challenges.

This budget request will hurt farmers and rural residents who are already struggling with a crisis because of the President’s trade tariffs and depressed commodity prices. The United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA) would face cuts of almost 15 percent, impacting programs across the board. Crop insurance, which many farmers depend on as a safety net, would be cut by $26 billion over 10 years. Families in rural areas depending upon food assistance programs such as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to keep food on the table, will struggle to feed their loved ones.

Lastly, this budget fails to protect Americans’ public health and clean air and water by slashing funding by 31 percent to the Environmental Protection Agency. The President is putting Americans at risk.

The President would rather reduce funding for low-income families so that he can dramatically increase the defense budget to $750 billion next year. Thankfully, these are not my values or those of the Democratic House of Representatives, and I am confident that Congress will enact a budget that is true to our principles and to our constituents.”

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II

(D-MO)
#################

Further reading that we tried to compile from both sides of the aisle:

Fox News: President Trump seeks $8.6 billion for his border wall, setting up budget battle with Democrats

CNBC: Education Dept. faces 10% funding cut under Trump's 2020 budget proposal

Daily Caller: Trump’s Budget Aims To Finish Border Wall, Cut Spending

Vox: Trump’s budget request slashes retirement benefits for 2 million federal workers

CNBC: Trump’s budget could open up this tax-free savings account to people on Medicare

LA Times: Trump’s budget would eviscerate the social safety net but provide welfare for the rich

Wired: Trump's Budget Guts Science Agencies—But Favors the Moon

You decide . . .
          Kansas City Touts Big 12 Hype      Cache   Translate Page      
This cowtown has spent BILLIONS on attracting d-bags from Iowa who will likely have a couple of beers, eat a hot dog and then zone out watching b-ball. Meanwhile the local economic impact is often overstated. An exemplar:

Downtown restaurants bank on Big 12 tourney for strong sales

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - For the tenth year in a row, Kansas City will welcome Big 12 Conference fans to the Sprint Center. The games tip-off on Wednesday and preparations have been underway downtown and at area businesses. "March is definitely our month," Josie Hunter, general manager of Homeslice Pizza and Pints, said.


          Creative Director, Explainer Studio      Cache   Translate Page      
Vox Media employees thrive on innovation and change while ambitiously seeking to master their subject areas, hone their craft, and improve their communities. We help smart, talented, creative professionals make a meaningful impact in media, technology and the world around them. The Vox Media house of brands includes industry-leading media forces like SB Nation, Eater, The Verge, Vox, Curbed, Recode, Racked and Polygon, and reaches an audience of hundreds of millions, generating over a billion content views each month. We're looking for a seasoned creative director with extensive video background to join the Vox Creative team. The creative director is responsible for guiding the inspiration and practices that transform a campaign's creative strategy into bold, engaging content, from development to execution. They must masterfully balance the needs of the audience and brand, hitting the sweet spot between wonkiness and pop culture.
           Comment on Miserable Military Housing but Billions for Illegals by PA Pundits - International       Cache   Translate Page      
It's a shame; a tragic unnecessary deal for our brave military!
          Nike commits to grow women’s football      Cache   Translate Page      
#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

Sportswear giant Nike has reinforced its commitment to women’s football by signing a three-year deal that will see it become official partner of UEFA Women’s Football and the match ball supplier for UEFA Women’s competitions, including the Women’s Champions League and the Women’s Euro 2021.

To celebrate the partnership Nike brought together more than 28 of the world’s top female footballers to unveil 14 national team collections for this summer’s tournament in France, which Nike states showcases “future-forward women’s innovation”.

Nike said that the national team kits began with gathering detailed input on fit from professional footballers, followed by 4D scanning and motion capture in the Nike Sports Research Lab, and this has led to the kits focusing on “women’s-specific precision engineering” with its high-performance bra collection at the heart of Nike’s spring/summer 2019 collection.

As well as being innovative, the 2019 football kits are also constructed from at least 12 recycled plastic bottles, as part of Nike’s continued strategy to become the most sustainable sports brand. Since 2010, Nike has diverted more than 6 billion plastic bottles from landfills through sustainable product design.

“We believe this summer can be another turning point for the growth of women’s football,” said Nike, Inc. chairman, president and chief executive, Mark Parker in a statement. “And our bigger ambition is for that energy and participation to extend into all sports. Nike’s commitment is to continue our leading support of competitive athletes, invest in the next generation at the grassroots level and deliver more innovative and compelling product design for women.”

Image: courtesy of Nike


          Time to clamp down on bullying tech giants: Experts call for web watchdog      Cache   Translate Page      
Bosses, including Facebook's billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg, pictured, have been accused of ignoring concerns over the behaviour of their businesses.
          MARKET REPORT: Debenhams sinks as traders question Mike Ashley's plot      Cache   Translate Page      
Billionaire tycoon Ashley last week said he wants to sack almost all of Debenhams' board and become its chief executive - standing down at Sports Direct.
          The 1% takes care of itself      Cache   Translate Page      
Did you see this:

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among more than four dozen people charged in a nationwide college admissions cheating scandal that involved wealthy individuals paying up to $6.5 million to place their children into elite universities, according to court records revealed Tuesday.
The alleged scam -- which placed students into top colleges such as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, University of Southern California, UCLA and the University of Texas -- was run by William Rick Singer, from California, who helped parents get their children admission through bribes, court documents unsealed in Boston showed. Officials have been investigating the case for more than a year.

From CNN:


"This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud," Lelling said. "There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I'll add that there will not be a separate criminal justice system either."
He added, "For every student admitted through fraud, an honest, genuinely talented student was rejected."
Athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others, are implicated in the case. The extensive case involved arrests in six states across the country, and accused the defendants of committing crimes between 2011 and 2019.
"The charges brought forth today are troubling and should be a concern for all of higher education," the NCAA said in a statement. "We are looking into these allegations to determine the extent to which NCAA rules may have been violated."

That really is disgusting.  As a parent, you can understand the temptation.  But we all know wrong from right and Loughlin and Huffman should be ashamed.  Think of the people who earned those spots but didn't get in.  It's so unfair. 

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Tuesday, March 12, 2019.  The Iraq War continues -- and Tulsi Gabbard brings some reality to late night TV.


NEW: Speaker Pelosi on impeachment: "They wanted me to impeach President Bush for the Iraq War. I didn’t believe in it then, I don’t believe in it now. It divides the country. Unless there is some conclusive evidence that takes us to that place."
24.4K views
0:11 / 0:17
  1. 0:06
    24.4K views


Nancy Pelosi didn't end the Iraq War.  She didn't impeach Bully Boy Bush,  She didn't do much of anything.  She spoke a lot in front of the media.  Most of the time, the media covered for her.  Even in 2007, she had huge cognitive problems (we covered the time Rahm Emanuel had to rescue her publicly).  Adam Schiff and others are wasting time with investigations and wasting tax payer monies.  Impeachment will not happen under Nancy.

She didn't want accountability for the Iraq War and if something that monumental goes unanswered for, nothing else will be.

Part of Nancy's reasoning, as we've explained before, is the timeline issue.  Impeachment attempts will take you right into an election cycle at this point.  And an impeachment attempt, she fears, will energize the Republicans (not just the base) where as it will alienate swing voters and some Democrats.


War is never questioned, apparently, just used to turn out votes for both of the two major political parties.  Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) reports:

 As had been previously reported late last week, President Trump has unveiled a budget plan which, in addition to cutting social spending across the board, would seek a huge increase in military spending, centered almost entirely on war funding.

US military spending is always by far the largest on the planet, several times the amount of the next highest spending, China. But while other nations like China and Russia are scaling back their budgets, the Pentagon’s budget, as ever, continues to rise.

Trump’s proposal would bring the overall defense budget for 2020 to $750 billion. This includes a $544 billion base-line defense budget, which is not in and of itself a huge increase. But on top of that will be a nearly $100 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Fund, and a $9 billion “emergency” funding request meant to make up for the money already taken from the military to build the border wall.




And it goes beyond just the US.

What Wikileaks reveals about the Blair and Brown governments – next 3 tweets.
 
 
1/ Wikileaks file show how the UK govt made promises to the US to “protect your interests” in the Chilcot enquiry into the Iraq war.
 
 
2/ Wikileaks file shows how US and UK rigged the International Criminal Court to stop it being able to hold Blair and Bush accountable for the crime of aggression over Iraq
          EPA unveils plan to allow sales of higher-ethanol gasoline      Cache   Translate Page      

(Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposed rule ending the summertime ban of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline, a move requested by President Donald Trump to help corn growers that supply the raw material for the biofuel.

The agency went ahead with the proposal over the objections of the oil industry, another political ally of the Trump administration which opposes increased biofuels use because it competes with petroleum and raises costs for refiners.

“Consistent with President Trump’s direction, EPA is working to propose and finalize these changes by the summer driving season,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release. “We will be holding a public hearing at the end of this month to gather important feedback.”

The oil industry has repeatedly said the expansion of higher ethanol blends of gasoline is illegal and it will challenge any such rule in court.

E15 gasoline contains 15 percent ethanol, versus the 10 percent found in most U.S. gasoline. A summertime ban on E15 had been imposed over concerns it contributes to smog in hot weather, though recent studies have shown its impact on air quality may not be significantly different than E10.

The rule also includes measures to limit speculation in the multibillion-dollar biofuel credit market, a concession to merchant refiners such as Valero Energy Corp and PBF Energy Inc, which oppose higher ethanol use and have repeatedly complained about the costs of complying with U.S. biofuels policy.

The agency plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule on March 29.

The credit reforms plan faces stiff opposition from oil majors such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp. These companies generate more credits than they need to comply with the law, allowing to profit by selling the credits when their prices rise.

Under the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard, oil refiners are required to blend increasing volumes of biofuels like ethanol into their diesel and gasoline each year, or purchase the credits, called RINs, from those that do.

On Tuesday, EPA said its proposal aimed to prohibit certain parties from buying separated RINs or to require public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds. It would also limit the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs, and increase the compliance frequency of the program from annually to quarterly.

Non-obligated parties are largely seen as banks and financial institutions that are not part of the fuel supply chain. Such market participants in the past have acquired large volumes of the biofuel credits in speculative plays. This forces smaller players that require credits to scramble to buy them, often at higher prices, so they can comply with the biofuels law.

The oil majors are expected to align themselves with truck stop operators and other fuel retailers who are routine sellers of the credits, setting the stage for the next clash over the nation’s biofuels laws.


          Repair Supervisor - Dormakaba - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
The dormakaba Group headquartered in Rümlang, Switzerland, is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange and generates annual revenues of over 3 billion Canadian...
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          Supervisor – Spare Products Order Desk - Dormakaba - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
The dormakaba Group headquartered in Rümlang, Switzerland, is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange and generates annual revenues of over 3 billion Canadian...
From jobWings.com - Tue, 12 Mar 2019 10:42:01 GMT - View all Montréal, QC jobs
          Procurement Development and Training Specialist - Dormakaba - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
The dormakaba Group headquartered in Rümlang, Switzerland, is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange and generates annual revenues of over 3 billion Canadian...
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          Customer Service Representative – Spare Products Order Desk - Dormakaba - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
The dormakaba Group headquartered in Rümlang, Switzerland, is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange and generates annual revenues of over 3 billion Canadian...
From jobWings.com - Tue, 12 Mar 2019 10:42:01 GMT - View all Montréal, QC jobs
          Technical Support/Customer Service Agent - Dormakaba Group - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
The dormakaba Group headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange and generates annual revenues of over 3 billion Canadian dollars...
From dormakaba Group - Mon, 21 Jan 2019 11:00:48 GMT - View all Montréal, QC jobs
          Sr. Product Manager, EAD - Dormakaba Group - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
The dormakaba Group headquartered in Rümlang, Switzerland, is quoted on the Swiss stock exchange and generates annual revenues of over 3 billion Canadian...
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          Lean Manager - Dormakaba Group - Montréal, QC      Cache   Translate Page      
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          Trump cuts leave Israel military aid untouched      Cache   Translate Page      
The 2020 budget proposal that the White House sent to Congress includes the full $3.3 billion aid in the MOU signed by President Obama.
          TPG closes latest real estate fund at $3.7 billion      Cache   Translate Page      
TPG closed its latest real estate fund, TPG Real Estate Partners III, at $3.7 billion.
          Funded status rises for plans in PPF 7800 index      Cache   Translate Page      
Funded levels for U.K. corporate plans covered by the Pension Protection Fund's 7800 index rose to a $11 billion deficit in February.
           Comment on Venues identified by FIFA for possible use in 48-team 2022 World Cup by granadafan       Cache   Translate Page      
I guess 800 million wasn't enough for FIFA. They want an even number up to 1 billion in bribe money for this tainted World Cup. This will be the least attended World Cup in modern history. Who wants to go to the desert in some of the most oppressive countries. You won't even be able to enjoy a few pints before and after the matches.
          2019 Sir Robert Menzies Lecture      Cache   Translate Page      

PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you very much for that very kind introduction. I want to come back to Josh in a sec, but first let me begin by also acknowledging our traditional owners the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation here in Melbourne. Can I also particularly acknowledge the servicemen and women who are here with us today and any veterans today. I simply say to you, thank you for your service. There are few things that I have greater pride in than saying to an ex serviceman or woman or veteran around the country, to simply offer them appreciation for their services wherever they happen to be and I know those in this room certainly share that view, as many do and I’d say all Australians do around the country. Can I start particularly by welcoming Michael McCormack the Deputy Prime Minister here today.

[Applause]

Is there anyone who knew better than Sir Robert Menzies the importance of a Coalition partnership to deliver good government to Australia? No one knew that better than Sir Robert Menzies and in fact when he went to Albury and to other places when he would speak, he’d say that was the key to good government in Australia and the partnership that we have with our colleagues in what was then the Country Party, today is the National Party. And can I tell you, the relationship I enjoy with Michael is a strong one, but importantly it’s one based on our shared values and our shared passion for our country and our absolute commitment to ensure that Bill Shorten never sets foot in the Prime Minister’s shoes in this country.

In the same way that Ming and Black Jack worked so well together over all of those years, I can tell you that ScoMo and Big Mac over here –

[Laughter]

We’re doing exactly the same thing today. It’s a strong bond and it’s a partnership that is important for our nation and for the things that we hold dear as Liberals. To Josh, yes, you will get to deliver that surplus Josh and you deserve to, the way you’ve applied yourself as Treasurer, the way you’ve gone about the task. I know what that task involves and I know that you’ll deliver in just under a month’s time, what will be the first time this country has seen a surplus Budget in a decade and more.

To all my other colleagues who are here, there are too many to mention so I won’t do that today. But I do want to acknowledge all the tremendous work that you are doing as we prepare for what will be the battle of battles, that is the next election. It will be just that, it will be just that. I know it, I’ve known it from the day I stepped into this job just over six months ago. I knew what was riding on it, I know what is at stake and I never take on a task that I don’t believe I can accomplish. I’ve had experience in politics where there have been people telling me that; “This can’t be achieved and that can’t be achieved.” I go quietly about the business and on the other side, I remind them of what they’ve said before.

To Ron Wilson and Members of the Sir Robert Menzies Lecture Trust thank you very much for what is a very humbling invitation to come and to join you all here today as Prime Minister, to deliver what is an important address in the history of our movement and in the life of our movement. Feel free to book me in for next year so I can match John’s two in a row.

[Applause]

I’m sorry John can’t be here because I suppose between Josh and I we bring together the finest of the Menzies and Howard traditions as a partnership as we look to our heroes in the Party. It’s great to have Menzies family members represented here today and one of the finest and loveliest moments I’ve had as a Prime Minister is one day when I was with my daughter Abbey at the Federal Secretariat in Canberra, Heather was there and they got to meet each other. They told wonderful stories to each other about her time when she was the Prime Minister’s daughter the first time around, because they were about the same age at that time. They talked about the room they stayed in and things like that, it was a beautiful moment for a father and daughters bring tremendous joy to fathers. My daughter’s name is Abigail which mean’s ‘father’s joy’ and that’s certainly the case, as is Lily.

To Gerard, thank you very much for hosting us here at EY today. You’re a great partner in these events and we thank you for it. To Nick Cater of course and the Menzies Research Centre, I congratulate you on your announcement today about the establishment of the Robert Menzies Institute located at Melbourne University. That’s a tremendous step forward and well done. So thank you again for the invitation to give this lecture during what is the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Liberal Party and the 70th Anniversary of Sir Robert Menzies’ historic win in 1949. I intend to repeat that in the true Liberal tradition.

In the history of nations there are always giants. They are the handful of men and women who through their courage, their perseverance, their intellect, passion and will, they change the course of their nation. In the life of Australia, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies certainly fits that bill. He is one of our greatest, if not our greatest giant when it comes to the history of modern Australia.

For those interested in records; thirty years on the front bench. Almost twenty five years as a party leader. Eighteen and a half years as Prime Minister of Australia. These are records that will never be broken.

But for others and I suspect all of us here, myself included, the significance of Sir Robert is not the records he broke – because that’s not what it was about, I believe for him – it’s the Party he built, the movement he founded and the values he championed that we have inherited and now have the privilege to steward and I do, as the party leader today and as Prime Minister.

Menzies did not name the Party after himself, that’s for populists, that’s for those who don’t look out into the future. Instead, he reached out and built a Party based on enduring truths; the truths of liberalism and liberal democracy that outlive any one individual or the fashion of any one time, truths that unite a rich breadth of thought across our community. He understood, as Margaret Thatcher said in her Menzies Lecture almost forty years ago that; “Pragmatism is not enough”. Unlike Labor, we are not the party of shallow deals, transacted by vested interests to favour some, in order to punish others. That’s not how we roll, that’s not what we are about. Our Party is based on the individual beliefs that guide the decisions that we make in our own lives, that we make in our own families and our communities. Our values and our beliefs come from the ground up, they are proven in our own individual experience, they’re not appropriated from above. They come from in here and then they come together with others.

Our foundation is the personal responsibility and unique worth of the individual, drawing meaning, purpose and strength for life, for our families and for our participation in the community.

Our families and the homes we live in are the scaffolding of our character and the values that will sustain our lives. It’s why Menzies spoke of; “Homes material, homes human and homes spiritual”.

From this sure foundation, comes civic mindedness, mutual respect, personal responsibility and a people that understand that the most satisfying thing is to contribute in life, rather than take.

As my parents taught me, they said; “Scott, life is not about what you accumulate, it’s about what you contribute.”

This is the wonderful, civilising tension that Sir Robert understood - that people need incentive, reward and opportunity to carve out their own path. But equally, that nations are not just the sum of individual efforts, they are also the result of the ties that collect us all up together. It is these ties that responsible political parties always seek to strengthen.

It’s why, Liberal and National Coalition Governments govern - in the words of John Howard - not for some of us, but for all of us. Our nation is named after that very pact, known as the ‘common wealth’ of Australia. A Commonwealth is a shared future, it’s a commitment to each other.

When individuals grow and prosper, we all benefit.

When one excels, we all cheer, because it lifts all of us.

We know that effort, work, drive, enthusiasm and risk-taking is the foundation for all human progress and when individuals face lifes’ trials, we support each other. Because lending a hand is the foundation of what it means to be genuinely human.

We understand that a strong economy is the foundation by which we can provide Australians with the essential services they rely on and they need. That the prosperity we are creating lifts all and we keep faith with each other and with future generations by focusing on this.

Under our Government, over 1.2 million new jobs have been created in the last five and a half years. These demonstrate the values that Sir Robert gifted to us. The women’s workforce participation rate is at an all time high. Women are in 712,500 jobs that they weren’t in when we came to Government, that’s how many jobs for women have been created under our Government. That’s over 55 per cent of all the jobs created under the term of our Government.

Participation by Australians over the age of 65 is also at a record high. Australians are living longer and healthier and this is also a positive sign reflecting a better view of ageing in our workplaces. As we remember Menzies today, it’s worth recalling that when he retired at 71, he handed the reins to a man he called “young Harold” who was 57. Seeing more older workers remain in the workforce, because they choose to, is a trend that will continue. As well, young people - a lot younger than “young Harold” and me - are benefiting absolutely from this jobs growth. Nothing brings me greater joy, previously as a Treasurer and now as Prime Minister, than seeing a young person get a job, because it transforms a life and indeed can transform a generation.

Last financial year, young people aged 15 to 24 filled more than 100,000 jobs in this country, which is the strongest level of youth jobs growth in Australia’s economic history. Of all the things our Government has achieved, I can’t nominate one of greater importance than that.

Because we have the right settings on taxes, trade, skills, small business and infrastructure, we can confidently set a target based on our track record of performance, of delivering 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years, by sticking to the economic plan that has delivered so handsomely for Australia over the last five and a half years.

“The strivers, the planners and the ambitious ones”; this is what Menzies described when he referred to the mums and dads, the small business people and workers that our country relies on. That’s why we are against Labor’s taxes – higher taxes on your electricity, taxes on your property, taxes on your retirement and more taxes on your income. Because it’s an attack on the true strength of Australia; ordinary Australians having a go, who should be able to keep more of what they earn.

A fair go for those who have a go, I’ve described it as. We do understand these “strivers, planners and ambitious ones,” as Sir Robert described them, that they are standing beside millions of small businesses that are propelling Australia forward and providing these jobs and they’ll continue to under the policies of our Government. But it’s at great risk under the polices of the alternative in Labor.

We are a great nation of entrepreneurs and may it always be. Under this Government, 230,000 additional small businesses have been created. In coming years, our country’s 3.3 million small and medium businesses, employing around seven million people – that’s more than half the workforce in Australia - will benefit from tax cuts that we’ve introduced and have brought forward recently by five years.

Tens of thousands of Australian businesses export overseas and they are being strengthened by export agreements with countries such as China, Japan, Korea and the 10 other nations of the Trans Pacific Partnership. As of last week, you can add Indonesia to that, with an export agreement signed by the Minsters for Trade both in Australia and Indonesia just last week. A deal that Labor are threatening even as we speak, on their hit list for their abuse of power should they ever be elected to government. Under this Government, the coverage of our trade agreements has increased from 26 per cent of our two-way trade, to nearly 70 per cent. That is transformational. That has taken place in only five and a half years.

With more jobs, more businesses and more trade, we are bringing the Budget back into balance. We have maintained our AAA credit rating under extreme international pressure and we are providing much needed tax relief to Australian households - legislated - and Australian small businesses. In addition to tax cuts for Australia’s small businesses, our Personal Tax Plan will see 94 per cent of taxpayers pay no more tax than 32.5 cents in the dollar, by 2024/25. We are abolishing an entire schedule in the tax system. There are Australians who will enter a decade under this plan, who will never face bracket creep throughout their entire working life, because of our reform to the tax system.

Now, this is not a goal that Labor shares. They have actually rejected it. They have taken a $144 billion plan and they say they will reverse, that they will abolish, they will rescind this plan if they are elected to Government. They’ll strip out $70 billion in tax relief to hard-working Australians. They don’t share our views and that’s what they will do. 

Unlike the false promises of higher taxes, the prosperity of a stronger economy is what guarantees the essential services that Australians rely on. That’s what enabling us to keep our Commonwealth compact to look after each other. Labor thinks higher taxes deliver hospitals. No, it just slows your economy down so you can’t afford hospitals. Under our plan for a stronger economy, we have the highest level of hospital funding in Australia’s history.

Under our Government, our pharmaceutical benefits scheme has listed 2,000 new life-changing medicines worth over $10 billion, helping countless Australians who are facing illnesses and sicknesses of almost every kind. And it was under Labor that they didn’t list medicines, because their Budget couldn’t support it. That is the cost of the alternative set of values which drives our opponents.

Bulk billing rates are at record levels and we’ve committed to a new hospitals agreement, providing around $30 billion in additional funding over five years. Medicare has never been stronger than under this Government, quite contrary to the lies Labor told at the last election.            

We’ve fully funded the National Disability Insurance Scheme, without an increase in the Medicare levy. We’ve backed in the system because we know the NDIS is all about enabling people living with disabilities, for them to realise their potential.

We are keeping our compact with future generations of Australians with $37.6 billion in additional funding for schools.

And we are supporting Australians suffering from drought and flood all around the country - I’ve met with them, I’ve walked with them and I’ve held them - with record funding and urgent action, most recently up in far north Queensland where the livestock industry has been almost literally washed away.

We are providing over $5.7 billion – and I acknowledge Michael McCormack – from day 1, as a team, $5.7 billion to help combat the unrelenting pressures of drought. That includes the $5 billion drought future fund, which we passed through the House of Representatives - and the Labor Party, amazingly, voted against - for the formation of a future drought fund.

We have kept faith with what it means to be a Commonwealth, by reforming the GST distribution system that was corroding our federation, to ensure a fair go for all States and Territories. We did what other governments hadn’t dared to do. We got in there and we fixed it.

I have said many times in recent months that this Government will keep our economy strong, keep Australians safe and keep Australians together.

The strength of Australia is in our economy, it’s in our security and it’s in our cohesion as a society well. Sir Robert understood this; the social fabric of a country matters. It’s a foundation as much as our economy and our security. It is real and we understand the role that schools, sporting clubs, environmental groups, service clubs and suburban churches play in strengthening the bonds between us all. Keeping Australians together is about the values and beliefs we hold, together as a community.

Ensuring older Australians are treated with dignity and respect and can maintain their independence and choices in retirement, including accessing the care they need – which is why I initiated the Royal Commission into Aged Care soon after becoming Prime Minister.

Raiding their savings, the savings of retirees and pensioners, through Labor’s retirees tax, defiles these principles.

Keeping Australians together is also about listening to and encouraging young Australians. Now, having a Budget under control and that won’t rack up debt in into the future, that means future generations are not saddled with maintaining our way of life, maintaining our services and dealing with our cost of living. Keeping our intergenerational compact with a cleaner environment, meeting our responsible commitments – not the reckless targets of others - but the responsible commitments to reduce our carbon emissions by 2030, without denying future generations the economic opportunities we have enjoyed. That’s really what Labor’s 45 per cent emissions target does; it steals the opportunities of future generations that we ourselves have enjoyed. How is that fair? That we have been able to enjoy our prosperity and opportunity in life, but they want to deny to future generations? This is why we have responsible targets and we’re not drawn to extremes.

Our liberalism is about strengthening the bonds between all of us and in lifting all Australians, no matter their age, their gender, their religion, class or sexuality. Our approach is not to pitch one Australian against another, to punish one in order to reward another. We do not believe one Australian has to fail for another Australian to succeed.

This is a fundamental difference between the movement that Sir Robert Menzies started in the Liberal Party and our opponents in the Labor Party - that is the politics of envy, to see one Australian fail, so another can succeed.

Our Party, the Party that Sir Robert started, is the Party of aspiration, not the Party of envy.

Our Party understands that mums and dads who are investing in property are not rorting the system, but providing for their future out of their own hard work and effort.

Labor will deny them this opportunity at the next election if given the chance. It’s another one of their envy taxes. They aren’t wealthy these Australians who are doing this, they’ve paid their own way and their investments support the supply of much-needed rental accommodation without which rents – as the Treasurer, as Josh will tell you – will only rise.

As Liberals we see a champion in every Australian, regardless of their abilities and regardless of their life’s circumstances.

By contrast, Labor sees only victims and oppressors, ensnaring Australians in a prison of want and envy, unable to see their true potential and worth.

That’s why I say under our movement, which I know is shared in the National Party, we see a champion in very single Australian regardless of what age they are, whatever level of ability they are, whatever challenges they face. There is a champion in every single Australian and it’s our job as custodians of the movement which Sir Robert started, to ensure those champions are realised.

Labor thrives on conflict, with policies designed to turn Australian against Australian. Menzies called this the class war, a false war. It’s why he warned us against those who focus on sectional interests, rather than national interests. So we aren’t about turning retirees against pensioners; or setting parents of students at state schools against those at independent schools; or Catholic schools against other schools; or small businesses against large businesses, or people from one suburb against someone from another. Unless it’s about AFL, same as the NRL I assume.

[Laughter]

Or the city against the bush, which our great partnership with the Nationals demonstrates, that this is a common project.

The class war has no place in Australia Bill Shorten, no place whatsoever and we stand here to defy that thinking, as Menzies did. It was not right in Menzies time and it is not right today. To extend, as Labor seek to do – Margaret Thatcher had that great saying about socialists; eventually, their problem is they run out of other people’s money. I’ll extend that; under this politics of envy, you run out of other people to blame. That’s  what it means; Labor will run down this hole, they’ll want to blame anyone for people’s life circumstances. Our tradition is different. Our tradition begins with the personal responsibility of every single Australian. That’s where you start and when you set Australian against Australian, as Labor propose, all you do is make our country weaker.

I’d like to finish today and I appreciate your patience, by sharing my experience during my most recent annual summer break which is a wonderful time I get to spend with Jenny and the girls. We’ve been going down the south coast of New South Wales for many, many years to different places. There we were, locals, holiday-makers staying at local caravan parks, small business people from western Sydney – we were staying at a house just outside of town - members of the local surf and fishing clubs were there, as well as the rural fire service. There were professionals, kids, mums, retirees, pensioners. You find yourself at these little village communities on the coast of New South Wales, as I know you do across Victoria. There we all were, enjoying the flathead and chips at the Heads Hotel overlooking the wonderful Shoalhaven River, raising money for a whole bunch of charities and organisations. All of those people, Sir Robert called the forgotten people, I call them quiet Australians.

You won’t find them among the angry, shouty voices on the fringes, pretending to speak for all Australians. You won’t find them there, those shouty voices telling us all what we’re supposed to be angry and outraged about every single day. They haven’t got time for that. They’re too busy paying taxes, raising kids, helping with homework, running their businesses, going to work, paying power bills, caring for their parents, looking after their grandkids, putting out the soccer nets on a Saturday morning, doing their patrols for the local surf club or working at the roster at the RSF, or working at the school canteen, the list goes on. That’s what they’re busy doing. They haven’t got time for armbands and all the rest of it, trolling people on Twitter and all of that nonsense. They’re too busy creating a very strong Australia.

And you know, while confronting their own challenges in life, those I met, that wonderful group of people, they all had their challenges, but they maintain a refreshing and positive outlook on life, thankful that whatever they’re facing, they know they are ahead because they’re facing it as an Australian in Australia, which is what gives them the advantage. As I have travelled this country, not just in my role as Prime Minister but as I have in other roles, I have listened to and I’ve heard the stories of quiet Australians all around this country. 

Here’s what they’ve been telling me.     

They say; “We want secure jobs and to be treated fairly and with respect at work.

We want our economy to be strong.

We want our incomes to keep up with the cost of living and even better, allow us to get ahead. But we know that money doesn’t just fall from the sky and governments can’t just produce money from nowhere for people’s wages.”

They understand that the company they work for has to actually do well in order for them to do well. That’s why they work so hard, they know someone has to pay for it.”

“We get,” they say to me, “that we have to pay taxes, but you know, politicians should be keeping their spending under control and not waste money, so those taxes can be as low as possible.”

They say; “We want the services we rely on like Medicare and affordable medicines through the PBS taken care of, no excuses, full stop. That’s your job.” 

They’re more than happy to pay for a welfare system. Australians are generous, but they’re not mugs. They know they need a system that looks after those who are less fortunate and they’re always quick to recognise those who are doing it tough. But welfare should never be a free ride, there’s a mutual obligation. There should rules and obligations at the end of the day, because they know the best form of welfare is a job.

They say; “We reckon small and family businesses and farmers deserve a fair go,” because they know how hard they work, the risk they take and the sacrifices they make.

“We want to take care of our environment” they say, “especially locally.” That’s where they play and live with their families. “So we’re sympathetic to the big global environmental challenges, because we owe that to our kids. But we also know the need to get the balance right.” So let’s just have a sensible plan and get on with it. “But please, can we do it without being asked to pay higher and higher and higher taxes, or shell out unaffordable taxpayer funded subsidies for the privilege?”

“Of course we want our schools and hospitals to be well-funded. That’s what the Government is supposed to do”, they say, and fair enough. But they also say; “Surely we can do this without having to raise taxes all the time to do it, that just makes it harder on all of us. Get the spending under control and make sure the economy is running well and we can have the schools we need.”

“And we’ve been around long enough,” they say, “to know that it’s not only about the money in education. Give me a good teacher for my kids over a new school hall any day of the week. We want our kids to be safe and not get bullied at school and to spend time with them as a family as often as possible. We just want to see a smile on their face.” Gold.

That said, I’m a parent, Josh is a parent, we talk about this a fair bit – we really worry about the world our kids are going to live in. It’s all much more complicated now. Of course we worry about their education, the skills they need and jobs that will be there for them, but we have all know kids and families who haven’t been able to cope - eating disorders, depression and the tragic and devastating impact this has on families - it scares the hell out of us.

“And we have nothing at all,” they say, “against migrants. We understand that migrants helped build this country. Seriously, just because we are frustrated with traffic jams or crowded trains, does not mean we want to shut the place down or insult our neighbours. Just get the migration settings right,” they say, “make sure we build the houses and roads we need and get migrants into jobs and not onto welfare.”

Sounds like a plan. That done, how good is it in Australia, that we all get along as well as we do? With so many people from so many different backgrounds, starting with our Indigenous Australians who were here first and we deeply respect.

“And we want to be kept safe. Whether it’s our kids at school or predators online, women and older Australians from the cowards who abuse them, or when we’re out and about at the beach, the local park or mall with our families, to be kept safe from terrorists.”

This is the Government’s most important job.

“We expect all those we ask to do the job of protecting us, our police and our defence forces, to get the resources they need and the respect they deserve.” That includes our veterans. Thank you for your service.

“We know,” they say, “that Australia is not perfect. But we’d rather be here than anywhere else in  the world. Sure, there are things we could have done better,” we are an honest people, “but we’d rather be here than anywhere else in the world. There are things we must do better in the future, but there is no place like Australia and we want to keep it that way.”

That’s what they’ve told me. That’s what I believe, that’s what my team believes. I said it in my maiden speech to Parliament eleven years ago:

“My vision for Australia is for a nation that is strong, prosperous and generous. Strong in our values and our freedoms, strong in our family and community life, strong in our sense of nationhood and in the institutions that protect and preserve our democracy. Prosperous in our enterprise and the careful stewardship of our opportunities, our natural environment and our resources. And above all, generous in spirit, to share our good fortune with others, both at home and overseas, out of a compassionate heart and a desire for justice.” I think Sir Robert would have approved of those words.

There will be a clear choice at this election, between aspiration and envy.

Between a stronger economy with lower taxes under our Government, or a weaker one with higher taxes under Bill Shorten and Labor.

A safer Australia under the Coalition, or a nation with weak borders under Bill Shorten and Labor.

A Party that understands that the strength of our country is best found in a united people, or a Labor Party under Bill Shorten that thrives on conflict and division, setting Australians against each other.

It’s a choice between a stronger Australia and a weaker Australia.

Our Government has the record and the plans to keep our economy growing, to keep Australians secure, to keep Australians together.

To keep Australia strong, staying true to our Menzian tradition.

Thank you so much.

[Applause]


          Airport Rail Link closer to takeoff as joint agreement signed      Cache   Translate Page      

Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL) is set to become a reality, with the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments formally signing off on the project.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the signing of the Heads of Agreement today, which sets out the strategic objectives, governance arrangements and information sharing processes for the $10 billion joint commitment.

Mr Morrison said the people of Melbourne and Victoria had been waiting far too long for the rail link to become a reality.

“For decades Victorians have talked about a train line to the airport. We are delivering it. In last year’s Budget we made a $5 billion investment in the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, it was the biggest infrastructure commitment in the Budget.

“Melbourne is truly a global city that deserves world class infrastructure. The Rail Link is part of our plan to bust congestion across the city, and get people home faster and safer.

“I’d like to thank the Premier and Minister Tudge who have worked constructively with me to land this agreement and bring the project closer to fruition.”

A project team will be established to drive the development of a full Business Case for the project, which will not only connect Melbourne Airport to the rail network for the first time, but also integrate it with the Metro Tunnel and the future Suburban Rail Loop, and pave the way for fast rail to the regions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Victorian Government is not wasting a minute leading the planning work for an Airport Rail Link that delivers for all Victorians.

“The Melbourne Airport Rail Link has been talked about for far too long – we’re doing the detailed planning and development work to make it a reality,” Mr Andrews said.

“By choosing the Sunshine route, we are ensuring all Victorians can benefit from the rail link, including people living in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. As we complete the business case, we’re also doing the work needed to deliver fast rail to the regions.”

Melbourne Airport is a key part of Victoria and Australia’s economic growth. In 2016/17, it handled more than 35 million passenger movements and by 2038, it is expected to almost double to more than 67 million, as Victoria’s population continues to grow and demand increases.

Melbourne Airport Rail Link will alleviate congestion on the main road connection to the airport, the Tullamarine Freeway, and unlock capacity for the growing population in Melbourne’s north-west.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said following the successful widening of the Tullamarine Freeway, the airport link would bust congestion for generations to come.

“This is a critical project for Melbourne. It will make it easier for residents and make our city more attractive to visitors,” Mr Tudge said.

“When complete, someone in Pakenham, Frankston or Ringwood will be able to get onto the train and be at the airport in the time it would have taken to drive, but without having to worry about parking.”

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said this is part of the Victorian Government’s unprecedented pipeline of major transport projects.

“We’re building the Metro Tunnel, removing dangerous level crossings and getting on with the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.”

“This is not just about getting from the airport to the city – it’s about better connecting our suburbs and regions, so people have better services wherever they live.”

Planning and development of the MARL Business Case is already well underway. Rail Projects Victoria has engaged expert technical and commercial advisers for the project and ecological, traffic and geotechnical investigations have begun.

Early market engagement on the MARL attracted submissions from more than 100 local and global organisations. Further market sounding will be undertaken to assess equity partners, private sector involvement, financing arrangements and other matters.

A reference group including community, industry and local government representatives will be established to provide guidance and feedback to the project team as the Business Case is developed.

The State and Federal Governments have committed up to $5 billion each to deliver MARL. The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the range of $8-13 billion, with construction to take up to nine years and due to commence in 2022.

The Business Case will be delivered by 2020 and will assess station and procurement options, value capture and creation opportunities, and economic analysis of the recommended solution.


          Finnish travel industry breaks records on all fronts      Cache   Translate Page      

The Finnish travel industry has been growing rapidly in recent years with record visitor numbers and travel exports up by one billion euros in a single year.

The post Finnish travel industry breaks records on all fronts appeared first on Good News from Finland.


          British PM faces possible defeat in crunch Brexit vote      Cache   Translate Page      

British PM faces possible defeat in crunch Brexit vote

By Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu

British Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to face another Brexit vote defeat in the parliament on Tuesday amid her failure to find a breakthrough in talks with the European Union (EU).

   Downing Street on Monday admitted that talks with the EU are in "deadlock," thus reducing the prime minister's options on Brexit. 

   The prime minister is fighting to save her Brexit deal while she was not able to report any progress in the Brexit talks with the EU. There are speculations here that the Tuesday vote could be postponed or downgraded, but Downing Street said that the vote will go ahead as planned.  The British government is expected to publish its own motions later Monday.

   Almost all sides are piling pressure on the prime minister at a time when the EU said that there would be no more high-level backstop talks and senior MPs began preparing to strip the prime minister of key Brexit decisions.

   Brexiteers in the parliament hardened their position that the withdrawal agreement will suffer an "inevitable" heavy defeat without binding changes that would allow Britain to end the backstop in future.  

   It is known to all that only major compromise from the EU can help the prime minister in her painstaking efforts to ensure her victory in the crunch parliamentary vote.

   The Brussels-based European Commission said it was offering nothing more to help the prime minister.

   Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but MPs rejected May's withdrawal deal in January and demanded major changes. So far, May has failed to secure significant concessions from Brussels.

   Some senior Conservative MPs urged the prime minister to postpone the Tuesday vote with no major compromises from the EU.

   In late February, May pledged to hold another meaningful vote by Tuesday, and if that fails, MPs will be given a chance to decide both on pursuing a no-deal Brexit and an extension of Article 50.

   The prime minister has reportedly no plan for her last-minute travel on Monday to Brussels, less than 24 hours before the vote in the House of Commons on the deal. 

   However, Down Street said that May was ready to fly to Brussels to agree a revised deal with President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.  

   In other words, she will kick off the Brussels trip with a condition: if sufficient concessions can be negotiated, according to British media.  But the current development suggests that such a condition is not available at this stage against the unyielding EU.     

   Under the circumstances, the prime minister faced mounting pressure to quit as Tory Eurosceptic rebels asked May to announce her plans to resign to win the support of Conservative Brexiteers.     

   British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Eurosceptics that failing to back May's deal meant there was "a risk and a possibility that we end up losing Brexit in the next couple of weeks."

   One more pressure is from Brussels, which is preparing to charge Britain billions of pounds and impose a number of other punitive conditions as its price for agreeing a Brexit delay.

   With no signs of a breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations, the House of Commons is expected to reject the Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday.

   In January, May has sustained the heaviest parliamentary defeat of any British prime minister in the modern era after MPs rejected her Brexit deal by a resounding majority of 230.

   If May's deal is voted down on Tuesday in the parliament, she then faces a possible defeat on a second vote on Wednesday to prevent a no-deal Brexit on March 29, and a third vote on Thursday to extend the Article 50 divorce process, likely until the end of June.  

   However, there was also uncertainty about the status of the next two binding parliamentary votes promised by the prime minister if her deal was rejected on Tuesday. It was unclear if the votes would go ahead this week or even if the prime minister would try to whip Tories one way or the other.

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          Meter Reader - ATCO Electric Yukon - Whitehorse, YT      Cache   Translate Page      
With approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $22 billion, ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business...
From Indeed - Wed, 27 Feb 2019 22:53:05 GMT - View all Whitehorse, YT jobs
          Field Service Representative - ATCO Electric - Whitehorse, YT      Cache   Translate Page      
With approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $22 billion, ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business...
From Indeed - Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:58:59 GMT - View all Whitehorse, YT jobs
          Proposed Pentagon budget includes new funding for border wall and accounting trick      Cache   Translate Page      
(WASHINGTON) -- While many federal agencies took big hits in the proposed federal budget from the White House, the Pentagon's portion for the coming year is almost 5 percent more than the $685 billion enacted...
          2 tobacco firms’ payouts in $15B lawsuit on hold after court rulings      Cache   Translate Page      

Two of the cigarette makers that lost an appeal of a landmark $15-billion class-action lawsuit have obtained a temporary reprieve from compensating 100,000 Quebec smokers after securing creditor protection in an Ontario court. A judge granted JTI-Macdonald Corp. creditor protection last Friday afternoon, and Imperial Tobacco Canada was granted creditor protection Tuesday. It’s the latest development […]

The post 2 tobacco firms’ payouts in $15B lawsuit on hold after court rulings appeared first on France Times of News.


          How congestion pricing in Manhattan will boost Brooklyn      Cache   Translate Page      

See this story at BrooklynPaper.com.

It’s working in London and Stockholm, but can congestion pricing in Manhattan have an impact on people living and working in Brooklyn?

Kate Davies, who owns YO BK yoga studios, thinks so.

“We often enroll people in membership who live a subway ride away, and they’ll be excited about the studio and love our classes,” she said. “And then within a few months they’ll have to cancel their membership because they can’t get here as reliably as they’d like to.”

By charging a fee to drivers entering Manhattan below 60th Street at peak times, congestion pricing — which state legislators are debating until April 1, when the budget will be finalized — expects to generate as much as $1 billion a year, and that will help business owners and residents in several ways.

According to the Riders Alliance, congestion pricing can shorten Brooklyn express bus commutes by as much as 2 hours.

Money will be earmarked for new and ongoing projects, like improving station efficiency and replacing escalators at Jay Street station, make the 86th and 95th Street R stations ADA accessible, as well as Bedford Avenue and Greenpoint Stations, with more room for passengers and better pedestrian flow at Marcy Ave Station, and improved signage, lighting and more space for riders at the Bay Ridge Avenue station.

If congestion pricing is not passed? The MTA estimates that transit fares will need to rise by 27% to pay for essential projects.

In London, congestion pricing has reduced traffic by 15%, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. In Stockholm, the number of children going to the hospital because of asthma has dropped by 50%.

“Congestion pricing,” says Andy Darrell, regional New York director for Environmental Defense Fund, “is a realistic step we can take to reduce traffic, cut air pollution, and increase funding for public transportation.”

Get involved at fixourtransit.org

Comment on this story.


          UPDATE 1-Mexico backs Disney-Fox deal, orders sale of Fox Sports channels - [Sepe.gr]      Cache   Translate Page      
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Mexico's telecoms regulator said on Tuesday it had approved the Walt Disney Co's $71 billion purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's film and television assets, subject to conditions, including the sale of Fox Sports channels. Δείτε περισσότερα: Reuters.com


          Meter Reader - ATCO Electric Yukon - Whitehorse, YT      Cache   Translate Page      
With approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $22 billion, ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business...
From Indeed - Wed, 27 Feb 2019 22:53:05 GMT - View all Whitehorse, YT jobs
          Field Service Representative - ATCO Electric - Whitehorse, YT      Cache   Translate Page      
With approximately 7,000 employees and assets of $22 billion, ATCO is a diversified global corporation delivering service excellence and innovative business...
From Indeed - Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:58:59 GMT - View all Whitehorse, YT jobs
          Biden Speaks To Chants Of 'Run, Joe, Run' As 2020 Decision Nears      Cache   Translate Page      
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washington on Tuesday, amid growing expectations he'll soon announce he's running for president in 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washington on Tuesday, amid growing expectations he'll soon announce he's running for president in 2020.; Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

Scott Detrow | NPR

Looking out over a crowd of firefighters chanting, "Run, Joe, run," former Vice President Joe Biden urged patience.

"Save it a little longer; I may need it in a few weeks," he said, adding, "Be careful what you wish for."

Biden isn't officially running for president — at least not yet — but Tuesday's speech to the International Association of Fire Fighter's annual conference blocks from Capitol Hill served as the latest warmup act to a potential 2020 campaign.

While Biden spent most of his speech talking to the firefighters about core union issues such as the importance of collective bargaining and the funding of health care and pensions, the former vice president did sprinkle his speech with several messages that could serve as the core of a presidential stump speech.

"Today we seem to be at each other's throats. Extremism is on the rise in this country," Biden said. "Mean pettiness has overtaken our politics."

The globe-trotting politician — who held a post on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years before heading to the White House — spoke about the importance of America's role as a world leader, warning that other countries would fill that role instead if the country continues to shrink away from global alliances.

Biden also blasted the Trump administration's recent budget proposal. "It cuts $845 billion — almost a trillion-dollar cut in Medicare," Biden said. "Why? Because of a tax cut for the super wealthy ... and now they've got to go make somebody pay for it."

"They gave millionaires and billionaires excessive tax breaks. And who are they asking to pay for it? Middle-class families like you."

In a clear contrast to President Trump's divisive approach to politics, Biden framed his argument as one meant to reach out to every American.

"We can't be defined — we're not able to be defined — by race, by religion, by tribe. We're defined by those enduring principles that are in the Constitution," Biden said. "That in America, everybody gets a shot. That's what the next president of the United States needs to understand, and that's what I don't think this current president understands at all."

But as Biden workshops a message of inclusivity, the fact remains that if he enters the race, the former vice president will be a 76-year-old white man running in the most diverse field of candidates in presidential history.

Democratic hopefuls such as California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and others have made a point to highlight racial injustices in policing and economic policies, and have made sure they regularly speak to and about minority communities. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders veered from his usual stump speech during his first wave of campaign rallies, in order to speak about racism and the civil rights protests he attended in the 1960s. Biden's speech on Tuesday was delivered to an overwhelmingly male and white audience, and he did not specifically address racial inequality.

If he does run, Biden will need to navigate the Democratic Party's increased emphasis on identity politics, as well as the politics of an increasingly energized progressive base that isn't particularly interested in the kinds of bipartisan legislative compromises he spent his career crafting.

Biden briefly took on his party's leftward drift Tuesday, bemoaning the fact that "if you've noticed, I get criticized for saying anything nice about a Republican. Folks, that's not who we are."

At the moment, Biden remains on top of early Democratic polls.

The key question: whether Biden's showing in these early polls is a sign of strength, or just the byproduct of name recognition. Jumping into the presidential campaign is the only way for Biden to answer that question.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at SCPR.org.


          Geothermal Is Rising From the Ground Up      Cache   Translate Page      

While geothermal still represents just a fraction of the overall energy market, a renewed interest in energy efficiency and clean, electric technologies is creating a favorable environment for growth. Per a December 2018 study by Global Market Insights Inc., the global geothermal market is forecasted to reach $4 billion in 2024.


          Digital Dialects: What is the Best Language for App Development?      Cache   Translate Page