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Democrats Propose Abraham Lincoln Statue Removal

Democrats Propose Abraham Lincoln Statue Removal Authored by Jackson Elliott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Democrat and Confederate President Jefferson may have been unable to expel President Abraham Lincoln from the capitol, but Democrat delegate Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.) might. The Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln, June 25, 2020. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo) Norton, Washington D.C.’s non-voting Congressional representative, reintroduced legislation to remove a statue of Lincoln with a kneeling freed slave. The statue has stood in Lincoln Park near the Capitol since 1876. It depicts a slave, shirtless and shackles broken, about to stand up. Lincoln stretches out his hand over the man. Freed slaves paid for its creation. But according to Norton’s press release, that’s not enough. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 21, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images) “The paternalistic statue depicting a Black man on his knees in front of President Lincoln fails to recognize African Americans’ agency in pressing for their own emancipation,” the delegate’s press release reads. Norton’s bill would have the statue removed from Lincoln Park and placed in a museum “with an explanation of its origin and meaning.” She also noted that the freed slaves who paid for the statue didn’t get input in its design. “Although formerly enslaved Americans paid for this statue, the design and sculpting process was done without their input or participation, and it shows,” Norton said. “At the time, they had only recently been liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom.” Norton noted that renowned abolitionist and freed slave Frederick Douglass spoke to dedicate the stature but “pointedly did not praise the statue.” Past and Present Douglass’s speech expresses a complex set of feelings. He refers to Lincoln as the “white man’s President” but also praises him as a “great man” and “liberator” who “hated slavery.” “We have done a good work for our race today,” Douglass said at the statue’s unveiling. “In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal.” Read more here... Tyler Durden Fri, 02/03/2023 - 22:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytFeb 4th, 2023

Mapping Out All The Key Revelations From The "Twitter Files" So Far...

Mapping Out All The Key Revelations From The 'Twitter Files' So Far... Authored by Petr Svab via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Documents revealed by Twitter’s new owner, tech billionaire Elon Musk, show the social media company intertwined with a government-private censorship apparatus. Twitter suppressed or removed content on various subjects, including irregularities in the 2020 elections, mail-in voting issues, and various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company was under government pressure to purge such content and its purveyors from the platform, though most of the time it was cooperating with the censorship requests willingly, the documents indicate. INFOGRAPHIC (Click on image to enlarge or Click Here to download) Click on infographic to enlarge. Musk took over Twitter in October, taking the company private. He then fired around half of the staff and much of the upper management, vowing to take Twitter in a new direction. The “#TwitterFiles” releases have been part of his promised focus on transparency for the company. He allowed several independent journalists to submit search queries that were then used by Twitter staff to search through the company’s internal documents, sometimes under the condition that the resulting stories would be first published on the platform itself. The two journalists primarily responsible for the releases have been journalists Matt Taibbi, a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine, and Bari Weiss, a former editor at both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Both are liberals who have expressed disillusionment with the more extreme currents of progressivism and neoliberalism. Others involved in the releases have been independent journalists Lee Fang and David Zweig, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, as well as author and environmentalist Michael Shellenberger. The journalists have only released a fraction of the documents they reviewed. They’ve also redacted the names of employees involved, other than some high-level executives. The documents show that the FBI and other state, local, and federal agencies have been scrutinizing the political speech of Americans on a significant scale, and trying to get lawful speech suppressed or removed online. Many conservative and traditionally liberal commentators have deemed that a violation of the First Amendment. Twitter, a major hub of political speech, has been among the main targets of censorship. Many news stories have broken on Twitter in recent years and a significant portion of the nation’s political debate takes place on the platform, as it allows an efficient way for direct and public interaction between all on the platform, from the most prominent to the least. Twitter resisted some censorship requests, but there was little sign the company did so as a matter of principle. Rather, executives sometimes couldn’t find a policy they could use as a justification. Prior Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was under pressure from his lieutenants to expand the policies to allow more thorough censorship, the documents show. “The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that (by just reducing prevalence overall),” said Yoel Roth, then Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, which governs content policy, in a 2021 internal message published by Weiss. “We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we’re going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations—especially for other policy domains.” Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder, and Chairman of Twitter and co-founder & CEO of Square in Miami, Fla., on June 04, 2021. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) In many cases, Twitter leaders de facto allowed the government to silence its critics on the platform. Many censorship requests came in with an imperious attitude, particularly those from the Biden White House, but also some from the office of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who at the time headed the powerful House Intelligence Committee. Around November 2020, Schiff’s office sent a list of dema to Twitter, including for the removal of “any and all content” about the committee’s staff and suspend “many” accounts including that of Paul Sperry, a journalist with RealClearInvestigations. Schiff’s office accused Sperry of harassment and promoting “false QAnon conspiracies.” Sperry rejected the allegation, asking Schiff to show evidence for his claims and announced he was considering legal action. Schiff’s demands were apparently a response to Sperry’s articles that speculated on the identity of the White House whistleblower that alleged a “quid pro quo” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Sperry reported, using anonymous sources, that the whistleblower was likely then-CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, who was overheard talking in the White House with Sean Misko, a holdover staffer from the Obama administration. Misko later joined Schiff’s committee. Twitter rejected Schiff’s demands, save for reviewing “again” Sperry’s account activity. Sperry’s account was suspended months later. Taibbi said he wasn’t able to find out why. Under Pressure The many censorship requests Twitter received via the FBI were phrased as merely bringing information to its attention, leaving it up to the company to decide what to do with them. But Twitter executives clearly felt compelled to accommodate these requests, even in cases where they internally struggled to justify doing so, the documents show. The government pressure took several forms. The FBI would follow up on its requests and if they weren’t fulfilled, Twitter had to explain itself to the bureau. If Twitter’s position on an issue differed from the one expected by the government, company executives would be questioned and made aware that the bureau, and even the broader intelligence community, wasn’t happy. That would send the executives into triage mode, rushing to salvage the relationship, which it apparently considered essential. Corporate media served as another pressure point. If Twitter wouldn’t do what it was told fast enough, the media would be provided with information portraying Twitter as ignoring some problem of paramount importance, such as possible foreign influence operations on its platform. One censorship request, for instance, targeted an account allegedly run by Russian intelligence, though Twitter wasn’t given any evidence of it. “Due to a lack of technical evidence on our end, I’ve generally left it be, waiting for more evidence,” said one Twitter executive that previously worked for the CIA, according to Taibbi. “Our window on that is closing, given that government partners are becoming more aggressive on attribution and reporting on it.” The internal email suggests that Twitter, despite having no concrete evidence to back it, wouldn’t dare to disobey the request because of the media fallout of the government publicly labeling the account as run by Russian intelligence. Congress was perhaps the heaviest sword of Damocles hanging over Twitter’s head. Lawmakers could not only spur negative media coverage, but also tie up the company in hearings and investigations, or even introduce legislation that could hurt Twitter’s bottom line. For instance, just as Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was pushing Twitter to produce more evidence of Russian influence operations on its platform in 2017, he also teamed up with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to propose a bill that would have required extensive disclosures of online political advertising. In the meantime, Twitter managers were convinced that lawmakers were leaking information Twitter provided them and seeding negative news stories, even as the company was trying to placate them with increasingly stringent actions toward actual and alleged Russia-linked accounts. Even though the FBI was officially only alerting Twitter to activities of malign foreign actors, many of the censorship requests were simply lists of accounts with little to no evidence of malign foreign links. At times, Twitter tried to ask for more information, noting that it couldn’t find any evidence on its end, but often it simply complied. It was impossible for Twitter to do its due diligence on each request—there were simply too many, according to Taibbi. One request revealed by Taibbi claimed that “the attached email accounts” were created “possibly for use in influence operations, social media collection, or social engineering.” “Without further explanation, Twitter would be forwarded an excel doc,” Taibbi said. Censorship requests were lopsided against the political right. Some researchers said that the right was much more involved in spreading misinformation, but the documents indicate that the censorship wasn’t so much a matter of a right-left dichotomy, but rather a pro- and anti-establishment one. Even some left-leaning accounts were targeted if they strayed too far from the official government narrative. Moreover, the right didn’t appear too keen on demanding censorship to begin with. Taibbi couldn’t find a single censorship request from the Trump campaign, Trump White House, or even any Republican, though he was told there were some. On the other hand, there seemed to be no appetite across the board for targeting misinformation coming from the establishment itself An exterior view of “The Mac Shop”, where Hunter Biden allegedly brought his laptop for repair but never picked it up, in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 21, 2020. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images) Hunter Biden’s Laptop Twitter’s suppression of the 2020 New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden, son of then-candidate Joe Biden, was dissected in the Twitter release in particular detail. Apparently, some Twitter executives, particularly Roth, head of Trust and Safety, were regularly invited to meetings with the FBI and other intelligence agencies to receive briefings on the online activities of foreign regimes. In the several months prior to the 2020 election, Roth had been conditioned to expect a “hack-and-leak” Russian operation, possibly in October and involving Hunter Biden. The FBI alleged there was some evidence of Russian influence operation related to Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. But the bureau was also aware that Hunter Biden left his laptop with a trove of explosive information in a New York repair shop and that a copy of it was handed to Trump’s then-lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The FBI picked up the laptop from the repair shop in December 2019 and had Giuliani under surveillance in August 2020, when the repairman gave him the copy. As the FBI knew, the laptop information was neither hacked, nor a figment of a Russian plot. When the Post broke the story, Twitter executives were left with no doubt it was exactly what the FBI had been warning about. “This feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation,” Roth commented in an internal email, despite acknowledging he had no evidence for such a claim, save for “questionable origins” of the laptop, which was apparently abandoned by Hunter Biden at a computer repair shop. Roth noted that the story didn’t actually violate any Twitter rules. Nevertheless, it was marked “unsafe” and blocked on Twitter under its policy against hacked materials, despite there being no evidence the materials were hacked. Twitter’s then-Deputy General Counsel James Baker backed the censorship move, saying it was “reasonable” to “assume” the Hunter Biden information was hacked. Baker was FBI General Counsel until May 2018. He joined Twitter in June 2020. At the FBI, Baker was closely involved in the Russia investigation scandal where the FBI embroiled the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration in exhaustive investigations based on paper-thin and fabricated allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election. The allegations were produced by operatives funded by the campaign of Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The FBI was in fact aware of no intelligence suggesting a “hack-and-leak” operation ahead of the 2020 election, as testified in November 2022 by Elvis Chan, head of the cyber branch at the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, which was responsible for communications with Twitter and other tech companies with headquarters in its jurisdiction. Twitter itself found very little Russian activity ahead of the 2020 election, Shellenberger reported, citing internal communications. Shadowbanning Twitter has long denied the practice of shadowbanning—suppressing the reach of an account without informing the user. The denial, however, specifically defined shadowbanning as making the person’s content invisible to others. What people have been complaining about is that Twitter would suppress how many people see their content without making it invisible altogether—Twitter has been doing that a lot, the internal materials show. One Twitter engineer told Weiss: “We control visibility quite a bit. And we control the amplification of your content quite a bit. And normal people do not know how much we do.” Among those whose accounts were surreptitiously throttled was Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University professor of medicine and one of the early critics of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Others included Dan Bongino, conservative podcaster and former Secret Service agent, and Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, the country’s largest conservative youth group. COVID-19 Twitter has extensively suppressed information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Anything about the origin of the virus, its treatment, the vaccines developed for it, and public policies to mitigate its spread had to align with the official position of the federal government, as promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Zweig said he “found countless instances of tweets labeled as ‘misleading’ or taken down entirely, sometimes triggering account suspensions, simply because they veered from CDC guidance or differed from establishment views.” Twitter user @KelleyKga, a self-described fact-checker, criticized a tweet that falsely claimed that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death by disease in children. @KelleyKga pointed out that such a claim would require cherry-picking data, backing his argument with data from the CDC. His criticism, however, was labeled as “misleading” and suppressed. On the other hand, the tweet that contained the false claim was not suppressed. All physician Euzebiusz Jamrozik did was write on Twitter an accurate summarization of study results on COVID-19 vaccine side effects. The tweet was labeled “misleading” and suppressed. Sometimes, it appears, Twitter suppressed the information on its own, but many of the COVID-19-related requests came from the government and even directly from the Biden White House, internal files show. In one email, White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty accused Twitter of “bending over backwards” to resist one of his censorship requests, calling it “total Calvinball”—a game where rules are made up along the way. The email wasn’t part of the Twitter files. It came out during an ongoing lawsuit against the Biden administration filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana. Another White House staffer wanted Twitter to censor a tweet by Robert Kennedy, Jr., a long-time critic of vaccination. The staffer mused whether Twitter could “get moving on the process for having it removed ASAP.” “And then if we can keep an eye out for tweets that fall in this same genre that would be great,” he said in the Jan. 23, 2021, email. The administration wasn’t always trying to get such content removed. People who merely expressed “hesitancy” about the vaccines were supposed to only have their content suppressed from reaching any significant audience, the documents indicate. The Biden administration had a lot at stake as the vaccine rollout was one of its first and most high-profile tasks. There were other stakeholders as well. Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Covid-19 response and the vaccination program at the White House in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2021. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images) Several censorship requests came from Scott Gottlieb, board member and head of the regulatory and compliance committee at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that made the most popular COVID-19 vaccine and raked in tens of billions of dollars on sales of it over the past two years. Gottlieb sent Twitter at least three requests. One targeted a doctor who argued on the platform that naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 is superior to vaccination. Twitter suppressed the tweet, even though the doctor was correct. Another request targeted author Justin Hart, who argued on Twitter against school closures, pointing out that COVID-19 fatalities among children are extremely rare. Gottlieb sent the request shortly before Pfizer received approval for the use of its vaccine on children. Twitter didn’t comply with the request. Yet another request targeted former NY Times reporter Berenson. Gottlieb claimed that Berenson’s criticism of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of COVID-19 response in the Biden administration, was causing threats of physical violence toward Fauci. Twitter suspended Berenson’s account shortly after. Gottlieb sent his requests to the same Twitter official who served as a contact person for censorship requests coming from the White House. Trump Deplatforming Trump was particularly effective on Twitter. His soundbites, honed over decades of dealing with the New York press, played well on the brevity-oriented Twitter, earning the president some 90 million followers and lending him the power to bypass media filters and instantly grab national attention. Trump’s Twitter presidency, however, brewed scorn in the beltway, especially among the foreign policy crowd that was used to diplomatic subtlety. Twitter’s removal of Trump a few days after the Jan. 6, 2021, protest and riot at the U.S. Capitol appears to be one of those instances where Twitter executives acted on their own, breaking the platform’s content policies in suppressing the voice of a sitting American president, internal documents indicate. Twitter suspended Trump’s account on Jan. 8, 2021, after the president made two posts. “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” said one of Trump’s tweets. “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” read the other. Twitter moderators and supervisors agreed that the Tweets didn’t violate any rules. “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer. “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?) from Wednesday.” Higher executives, under pressure from their many anti-Trump employees, wouldn’t accept that conclusion and continued to push for construing Trump’s comments as malicious. “The biggest question is whether a tweet line the one this morning from Trump, which isn’t a rule violation on its face, is being used as coded incitement to further violence,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust, argued in an internal message. Another Twitter moderation team quickly furnished Gadde’s argument with a narrative. Trump was a “leader of a violent extremist group who is glorifying the group and its recent actions,” the team concluded, according to internal messages. Undermining the Nunes Memo In January 2018, then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) submitted his memo detailing FBI surveillance abuses in pursuit of the Trump-Russia investigation. The memo was correct on virtually all points of substance, as later confirmed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The memo was dismissed by the corporate media as a “joke,” but gained significant traction on social media nonetheless. Legacy media and several lawmakers then came out claiming the memo was boosted online by accounts linked to Russian influence operations. However, Twitter found no evidence of Russian influence behind the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag. The claims were all sourced to the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), a group set up in 2017 under the German Marshall Fund, a think tank funded by the American, German, and Swedish governments. The ASD is closely linked to the U.S. foreign policy and national security establishment. It was headed at the time by Laura Rosenberger, a former Clinton campaign adviser who held various roles at the State Department and the National Security Council. Its Advisory Council includes former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, former CIA head Michael Morell, and former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Mike Chertoff. Twitter officials were at a loss as to how the ASD came to its conclusions. “We investigated, found that engagement was overwhelmingly organic and driven by strong VIT [Very Important Tweeters] engagement (including Wikileaks, [Donald Trump, Jr., Rep. Steve King, and others),” Trust and Safety head Roth wrote in an internal message. In fact, the “dashboard” ASD used to make its claims had already been reverse-engineered by Twitter—a fact Roth didn’t want to disclose to the media. Twitter tried debunking the story behind the scenes without giving out such details, but to no avail. Initially, reporters ran with the story without even reaching out to Twitter, Roth wrote. The initial letter on the matter from Schiff and Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee at the time, also came out before giving Twitter a chance to respond, internal messages say. Twitter tried to stop Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) from piling on with his own letter, but again failed. “Blumenthal isn’t always looking for real and nuanced solutions. He wants to get credit for pushing us further. And he may move on only when the press moves on,” commented Carlos Monje, Twitter’s then-Public Policy director, in an internal message. Formerly a Department of Transportation official, Monje returned to the department under the Biden administration. In the end, Twitter never publicly challenged the Russia narrative. Aiding Pentagon Psyops In 2017, a Pentagon official asked Twitter to “whitelist” several accounts the Defense Department was using to spread its message in the Middle East. Twitter obliged, giving the accounts similar privileges it was reserving for verified accounts. Later, however, the Pentagon removed any apparent connections between the accounts and the U.S. government, making them de facto surreptitious. Even though the accounts should have been removed under Twitter’s inauthentic activity policy, the company left them up for several years, independent journalist Fang reported. Federal ‘Belly button’ of Investigation The FBI served as a conduit for other government agencies to pass information to Twitter and ask for favors, according to Taibbi. In one exchange, FBI cyber head Chan explained that the bureau would funnel to Twitter communications from the U.S. intelligence community (USIC), but other election-related communications would come from the DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “We can give you everything we’re seeing from the FBI and USIC agencies,” Chan said. “CISA will know what’s going on in each state.” He then asked if Twitter would like to communicate with CISA separately or if it would prefer to “rely on the FBI to be the belly button of the [U.S. government].” Twitter executives were surprised to learn that the FBI had agents specifically dedicated to searching Twitter and flagging content policy violations. Since 2017, Twitter has employed at least 15 former FBI agents, further entangling the agency with the platform. The practice is so common, there was an internal discussion group at Twitter for former agents. The FBI responded to the Twitter files disclosures in a statement that labeled the reporting “misinformation” spread by “conspiracy theorists and others … with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.” Department of Homeland Censorship The DHS has managed to shoehorn speech policing into its mandate to protect critical infrastructure. In January 2017, shortly before leaving the White House, President Barack Obama designated elections as critical infrastructure. The DHS’s CISA then made it its job not only to protect elections from hackers, but also from misinformation and disinformation. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 01/17/2023 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 18th, 2023

Futures Jump, Squeezed By Reversal In UK Fiscal Plans And Apocalyptic Trader Sentiment

Futures Jump, Squeezed By Reversal In UK Fiscal Plans And Apocalyptic Trader Sentiment As we discussed and previewed over the weekend in "Behind Friday's Market Massacre: A Huge Burst Of Hedge Funds Shorting, Setting Up Another Squeeze", futures are indeed sharply higher to start the week as Treasury yields slumped and the dollar eased as the British peso (also called Britcoin) rallied and UK bonds surged as the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scrapped plans to cut taxes and signaled consumers would shoulder more of the increase in energy prices from next April as he set out a package of measures to get a grip on the public finances, effectively reversing pretty much all UK tax cut measures announced just a few weeks ago. Sentiment was also boosted by company results after Bank of America reported beats on the top and bottom line, rising in premarket trading while utilities and auto stocks led gains in Europe. That was indeed enough to spark a modest (for now) squeeze and as of 730am, S&P 500 futures trade higher by 1.3% and Nasdasq 100 futs rose 1.5% bouncing back from a selloff on Friday that left the technology-heavy gauge at its lowest since July 2020; Europe's Estoxx50 rose 0.7% in early London session, which sees cable higher by 1%. The BBG Dollar index was down 0.2% and the 10Y traded at 3.95%. And if all those record retail puts purchased in recent days get monetized, expect another epic meltup today. I don't think people really appreciate what's happening in the options market right now. Last week, retail traders bought $19.9 billion worth of puts to open. They bought only $6.5 billion in calls to open. This is the first time in history that puts were 3x calls. pic.twitter.com/GR2apNfFtb — Jason Goepfert (@jasongoepfert) October 16, 2022 Among notable premarket movers, Splunk rose after a Wall Street Journal report about activist investor Starboard Value building a stake of just under 5% in the application software company. Opendoor Technologies Inc. slipped after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to sell. US-listed Chinese stocks gained as President Xi Jinping reiterated that economic development is the party’s top priority in his speech at the Communist Party Congress, although he signaled little change in the Covid Zero strategy and housing market policies. Alibaba (BABA US) +1.9%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +2.8%, JD.com (JD US) +3.3%, Nio (NIO US) +2.7%, Li Auto (LI US) +2%. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Opendoor Technologies (OPEN US) slides 1.8% in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs downgrades stock to sell, saying it sees the ongoing weakness in housing through next year to “depress” the online real estate platform’s earnings power and in turn limit upside in shares. Keep an eye on Fox Corp. (FOXA US) and News Corp. (NWSA US) shares after the companies said on Friday they were exploring options to recombine, while analysts suggested a deal is unlikely to solve the valuation problem for the pair. Watch PPG Industries (PPG US) shares as KeyBanc Capital Markets initiated coverage of the stock with an overweight recommendation, saying there’s probably going to be a sharp decline in costs in 1H23 that will help offset cyclical volume pressure. Keep an eye on household products stocks as Morgan Stanley is starting to warm to the sector with margins seen rebounding in 2023, while toning down its preference for beverage stocks. The broker upgrades Church & Dwight (CHD US) and Clorox (CLX US) to equal-weight from underweight, while cutting Edgewell Personal Care (EPC US) to underweight from equal-weight. Investors are focused on results due this week -- including from Bank of America which just reported stronger than expected revenues and EPS, Goldman Sachs and Tesla -- for clues about how company earnings are holding up. They’re also monitoring the possibility of more aggressive rate hikes in the US after Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard on Friday left open the possibility that the central bank would raise interest rates by 75 basis points at each of its next two meetings. “I think the likelihood of them doing 75bps and more is definitely higher after the University of Michigan survey last week, reason being is that they’re late to the party of inflation control and the world economy is paying the price,” said Sunaina Sinha Haldea, global head of private capital advisory at Raymond James. “The risk is that they break growth, but what is much more concerning is that they’re risking financial stability in parts of the market, which is a risk that needs to be priced in,” she said on Bloomberg TV. In major corporate reorganization  news, the WSJ reported that Goldman Sachs plans to recombine the bank’s asset management and private wealth businesses into one unit in yet another overhaul. Morgan Stanley's in-house permabear, Michael Wilson, echoed precisely what we said on Saturday, namely that technicals may now take the upper hand over fundamentals, with the 200-week moving average acting as a strong support to equities, while inflation expectations peak. They see a tactical rally looking likely until earnings estimates are cut or a full-blown recession arrives. Meanwhile, the outlook for consumer prices in the US continues to fuel bets that the Federal Reserve may make jumbo rate hikes at its next two meetings, weighing broadly on the outlook for global economic growth and markets. Fed officials in their latest comments suggested they were ready to hike rates higher than previously planned. Kansas City Fed President Esther George said the terminal rate may need to be higher to cool prices. San Francisco Fed’s Mary Daly said she’s “very supportive” of raising to restrictive levels and to between 4.5% and 5% “is the most likely outcome.” In European stocks, utilities, autos and insurance are the strongest performing sectors. Euro Stoxx 50 rises 0.3%. IBEX outperforms peers, adding 1.1%. Here are the most notable European movers: ITV shares jump as much as 9.7%, the most since March, after the Financial Times reported that the company is exploring options for its production arm ITV Studios, including a stake sale. Nel shares rise as much as 10%, the most since late July, after the company won a NOK600m contract to provide alkaline electrolyser equipment to Woodside Energy. Made.com shares soared as much as 35% after the online furniture seller said it has received several “non-binding indicative proposals,” including possible offers for the company. Sulzer shares climb as much as 4.4% after the Swiss company announced Suzanne Thoma will replace CEO Frédéric Lalanne, who is stepping down at the end of the month. Thoma’s experience and continuation of the company’s strategic review is viewed as a positive, according to analysts. Hargreaves Lansdown shares fall as much as 7.9% after its 1Q trading update, with its CEO announcing his intention to retire amid a lawsuit relating to a failed equity fund run by Neil Woodford. Asos shares drop as much as 13% after the online fast fashion retailer said it was in talks with banks to boost its financial flexibility, following a Sky News report that the firm’s lenders were hiring restructuring advisers, including AlixPartners. Draegerwerk shares tumble as much as 7.5% after company withdrew FY22 guidance following market close on Friday, based on its preliminary 9-month figures. Shares in bike helmet maker Mips plunge as much as 27%, the most in three years, as Handelsbanken said lower-than-expected 3Q sales from the company show the bike boom of the past years turning “into a bust” while 2023 risks becoming a “lost year.” European luxury stocks drop after Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled no change in China’s strict Covid rules at the country’s Communist Party congress in Beijing on Sunday. LVMH shares decline as much as 1.8%. As noted above, the yield on 10-year gilts fell 36 basis points to 3.97% and the pound traded 1.1% higher at $1.1293 after new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scrapped plans to cut taxes and signaled consumers would shoulder more of the increase in energy prices as he set out a package of measures to get a grip on public finances in a televised statement on Monday. It’s the start of what may be a particularly torrid week for British assets, with the beleaguered Truss battling to rescue her premiership after the Bank of England ended its emergency bond-buying program on Friday and as mutinous backbenchers plot to oust her. “I think we’re in for a period where UK credibility is continually questioned and UK assets remain incredibly volatile for a significant period of time,” Benjamin Jones, Invesco Director of Macro Research, said on Bloomberg Television. “Watching the gilt market will be absolutely key in understanding if the market does believe Hunt to be more stable and if he will be able to push these policies through.” Hunt will also speak to the House of Commons at 3:30 p.m. London time and Truss is due to host a reception for the Cabinet at 10 Downing Street on Monday evening. U-turns on the government’s “mini budget” now total £32 billion, however that may not be enough as the official estimate of the black hole in the public finances is believed around £70 billion. Earlier in the session, Asian equities resumed their decline, led by tech stocks, as investors analyzed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at Party Congress, in which he ruled out changes to strict Covid rules.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated as much as 1.4% before paring the drop, with TSMC and Keyence among the biggest drags after a broader US tech selloff last week. All sectors but real estate were in the red.  Taiwan’s benchmark was a notable regional loser, ending 1.2% lower as the local currency weakened following comments by Xi’s about the island. Stock gauges in Japan fell about 1% after the Bank of Japan vowed to continue with monetary easing as the yen approached a key level.  Benchmarks in Hong Kong erased losses, while gains in defense and tech stocks helped gauges in mainland China close moderately higher after Xi’s Sunday speech emphasized national security and self-reliance in core technologies. Planned steps by Chinese regulators to stem a slump in equities also buoyed sentiment. Asian stocks have underperformed US and European peers this year as the region struggles with challenges in China in addition to aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, prompting an exodus of foreign funds from emerging countries.  "The work report made no reference to future policy changes on Covid containment,” Nomura economists including Ting Lu wrote in a note, adding that they expect Chinese markets to suffer regardless due to disappointment about either no real opening or a surge in Covid infection numbers.  Concerns of aggressive tightening by the Fed were reinforced after a survey Friday showed US year-ahead inflation expectations rose in early October for the first time in seven months. “More bad news is baked into Asia, which might suggest that the risk reward is a little bit better if we can see overall the Fed starts to stabilize at some point, perhaps early next year,” Timothy Moe, chief Asia equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV, citing Asia’s “excessive discounting particularly in valuations.” Japanese stocks dropped, with electronics makers the biggest drag, following US peers lower after a report showed American year-ahead inflation expectations rose for the first time in seven months.  The Topix fell 1% to close at 1,879.56, while the Nikkei declined 1.2% to 26,775.79. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 2.9%. Out of 2,167 stocks in the index, 476 rose and 1,603 fell, while 88 were unchanged Australia stocks slid, the S&P/ASX 200 index falling 1.4% to close at 6,664.40, tracking a decline in US shares last week after inflation expectations rose. All sub-gauges slid, with energy and materials companies the worst performers.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 10,785.92. In FX, the dollar weakened against all of its G-10 peers apart from the yen, as the Bloomberg dollar spot index fell 0.2%. SEK and JPY are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, GBP and AUD outperform; the pound topped the leaderboard and UK government bonds surged on the fiscal policy u-turn. Yields on 10-year gilts fell 26 basis points to 4.05%, while sterling advanced up to 1.2% higher on the day to touch $1.1305 after the BOE confirmed it terminated its emergency bond-buying program. Hedging the pound overnight remains a costly exercise after UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced measures to “support fiscal sustainability”.  Commodity currencies also outperformed. The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose as traders covered shorts after Chinese President Xi warning of “dangerous storms” ahead failed to spur broader selling. The euro traded in a narrow $0.9711-57 range. Bunds and Italian bonds rose alongside Treasuries as central bank tightening bets were pared. Japan's Yen traded in a narrow range, close to 32-year lows, as traders await fresh impetus to drive it lower and assess potential action from Japanese authorities. Japan’s 30-year bond yield rose to a seven-year high. In rates, Treasuries rallied, led by the belly and richer by 5bp to 8bp across the curve with gains led by front-end and belly, richening the 2s5s30s fly by almost 5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 3.945%, richer by 7.5bp on the day and lagging gilts by additional 27bp in the sector, following a surge across gilts as BOE rate-hike premium is pared after Chancellor Hunt scraps vast portions of the expansive fiscal stimulus plan that had plunged the market into turmoil. UK yields off lows of the day, although remain richer by 35bp to 40bp across the curve into early US session. UK bonds rally across the curve, led by the long-end, as the new Chancellor is expected to make a statement on the government’s fiscal plans, with the yield on 10-year gilts falling 36 basis points to 3.97% and the pound traded 1.1% higher at $1.1293. In commodities, WTI drifts 0.2% lower to trade near $85.41 as it fluctuated after a weekly slump as fears over an economic slowdown continue to weigh on the outlook for demand. French PM Borne said about 30% of the country’s petrol stations face supply issues due to a slight worsening of strikes at refineries, while Borne also stated that TotalEnergies ( TTE FP) CEO agreed to extend the fuel discount, according to Reuters. Spot gold is propped up by a softer Dollar, with the yellow metal back above USD 1,650/oz and eyeing its 21 DMA at USD 1,670.10/oz. LME metals are mixed with 3M copper losing some ground and just about holding onto USD 7,500/t+ status, whilst LME aluminium underperforms following an enormous LME stockpile increase of over 65k tonnes. Bitcoin was rangebound and holding just above the USD 19k mark at present. Looking at the day today, it's a quiet day with just the Empire Manufacturing index on deck (exp. -4.3). Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.9% to 3,630.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 392.36 MXAP down 0.8% to 136.71 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 442.50 Nikkei down 1.2% to 26,775.79 Topix down 1.0% to 1,879.56 Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 16,612.90 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,084.94 Sensex up 0.6% to 58,280.17 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.4% to 6,664.44 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,219.71 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.27% Euro little changed at $0.9728 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $91.45/bbl Gold spot up 0.63% to $1,654,87 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 113.12 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt will accelerate plans on Monday to try to bring order to the UK’s public finances and reassure markets, after Liz Truss’s economic program triggered weeks of turmoil Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled no change in direction for two main risk factors dragging down China’s economy -- strict Covid rules and housing market policies -- providing little lift to a worsening growth outlook Double-digit inflation is set to return in the UK and linger through the end of this year despite the government’s effort to cap energy bills, a survey of economists shows Speculation intensified among Tokyo’s yen watchers that Japan may be using subtle ways to slow the currency’s decline, zeroing in on the volatility seen after Thursday’s surprise US inflation data. By one estimate, authorities may have spent around 1 trillion yen ($6.7 billion) to support the currency Further rate hikes are costs without benefits, Polish Monetary Policy member Ireneusz Dabrowski says in interview with Parkiet newspaper ECB Governing Council member Martins Kazaks said interest rates should be raised beyond year- end -- a time when economists increasingly expect the euro zone to be in the midst of a recession ECB Governing Council member Olli Rehn said financial stability risks on the international markets are “clearly increasing” EU natural gas prices fell to the lowest level in more than three months as the European Commission plans to propose a temporary mechanism to prevent extreme price spikes in derivatives trading through a dynamic limit for transactions on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg News. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were negative as the region took its cue from last Friday's declines on Wall St where risk assets were pressured by inflationary concerns, while the region also digested hawkish global central bank rhetoric and China sticking to its strict zero-COVID policy. ASX 200 was led lower by the commodity-related sectors and with Australian Treasurer Chalmers flagging an increase in the cost of living due to floods in the primary food growing areas. Nikkei 225 weakened with Japan said to consider a rise in corporation tax as an option to fund the nation’s defence budget which could double in the next few years. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were lower following Chinese President Xi’s speech to kick-start the Communist Party Congress in which he defended the zero-Covid policy and reaffirmed intentions for the reunification of Taiwan, while attention was also on the PBoC which rolled over CNY 500bln of MLF loans and kept the rate at 2.75% which suggests a likely pause in its benchmark rates later this week. Top Asian News Chinese will delay the release of Q3 economic indicators including GDP, according to the Stats Bureau; no new date mentioned. PBoC injected CNY 500bln via 1-year MLF with the rate kept at 2.75%, as expected. China locked down nearly 1mln people near an Apple (AAPL) iPhone factory in which Zhengzhou city ordered residents in one district to stay home, according to Bloomberg. BoJ Governor Kuroda said the BoJ is continuing with monetary easing since Japan’s headline inflation is likely to fall below 2% next fiscal year, while he added it is appropriate to continue monetary easing to ensure a shift in the deflationary norm and achieve the inflation target in a sustainable and stable manner, according to Reuters. BoJ Deputy Governor Wakatabe said it is up to the Finance Ministry to decide on whether or not to intervene in the FX market and that current FX fluctuations are clearly too rapid and too one-sided. Japanese top currency diplomat Kanda said they are ready to take decisive action if excess FX moves continue and are backed by speculative trading, while Kanda reiterated that recent JPY moves were somewhat rapid, according to Reuters. BoK Governor Rhee said he does not see interest among US officials in pursuing a plaza accord to stem the dollar strength, while Rhee also stated that the BoK needs a little bit more experience and technical capacity for forward guidance, according to Reuters. South Korean Finance Minister Choo said the government will scrap taxes on foreigners’ income from Korean treasury bonds and monetary stabilisation bonds from Monday, according to Reuters. China Delays Release of GBP Data Due Tuesday, No Reason Given Xi Says China’s Power Has Increased, Warns of ‘Dangerous Storms’ EU Agrees to New Iran Sanctions Over Human-Rights Issues Mizuho CEO Eyes Expanding Investment Banking in US: Nikkei European bourses see a choppy session but have tilted towards the green after experiencing a mixed cash open. Sectors are mostly firmer with no overaching theme - Insurance, Autos, and Utilties lead the gains whilst Chemicals, Retail and Consumer Products lag. US equity futures see gains across the board following the steep losses on Friday - with the NQ and RTY narrowly outperforming Top European News BoE Governor Bailey said they will not hesitate to raise interest rates to meet the inflation target and that the Bank had to intervene to deal with the threat to the stability of the financial system, while they think inflation should peak at around 11% and his best guess is that inflationary pressures will require a stronger response than perhaps thought in August, according to Reuters. BoE Governor Bailey said he does not comment on fiscal policy but has to emphasise sustainability, while he spoke with UK Chancellor Hunt and said that there is a meeting of minds on sustainability. Furthermore, Bailey said they are going to have to stay very focused on the risks of second-round effects on inflation, according to Reuters. UK Chancellor Hunt said taking difficult decisions now is the best way to stop interest rates from rising and that the PM hasn’t changed the destination, she has changed the way we are going to get there. Hunt also commented that the PM is in charge and the last thing they need is another Conservative leadership campaign, according to Reuters. UK Chancellor Hunt said ‘yes’ when asked if he can change the mini-Budget plans and noted that the priority will be to help struggling businesses and families, while he is leaving all possibilities open when asked about government spending and stated that tax will not be cut as quickly and some taxes will go up, according to Reuters. UK Chancellor Hunt is to make a statement later today, bringing forward measures from the Medium-Term Fiscal Plan that will support fiscal sustainability, via Treasury. Hunt will deliver the full medium-term fiscal plan, to be published with OBR forecasts, on 31st October. Chancellor Hunt met with BoE Governor Bailey and the DMO head on Sunday night, to brief them on these plans. UK Chancellor Hunt is to delay plans to reduce the basic rate of income tax by a year and it was also reported that the draft forecast by the OBR fiscal watchdog sees the UK will have a black hole in public finances of up to GBP 72bln by 2027/28, according to The Sunday Times. Senior Tories will hold talks this week on a “rescue mission” that could see the swift removal of Liz Truss as leader, after the new Chancellor Hunt tore up her economic package and signalled a new era of austerity, according to The Observer. Furthermore, The Times reported that Tories held secret talks on installing a new leader and Daily Mail also reported that UK lawmakers will attempt to oust UK PM Truss this week despite warnings from Downing Street that it could trigger a general election. Reportedly almost all of Kwarteng's GBP 45bln of unfunded tax reductions is set to be scrapped by Chancellor Hunt, via FT's Parker; "including income tax cut and stuff on dividends, stamp duty, foreign shoppers and IR35." US President Biden said he wasn’t the only one who thought that UK PM Truss’s original economic plan was a mistake, according to Reuters. It was also separately reported that Goldman Sachs downgraded its UK growth outlook after the government tax U-turn. Head of UK's Unison union warned the largest nationwide strike of NHS workers since the early 1980s could occur this winter if ministers ignore calls to match pay with inflation, according to FT. BoE is publishing a market notice which sets out how energy firms and commercial lenders can apply to participate in the energy markets financing scheme; open to applications today; alongside this the UK Gov't has published a release, outlining the financing scheme and specifying that the gov't will only be liable if a firm defaults on their repayment; scheme is designed to help firms facing temporary shot-term financing problems. Europe Gas Drops to 3-Month Low as EU Plans More Crisis Measures Germany Faces $85 Billion Hit as Labor Shortages Intensify Dominant Hunt Refuses to Rule Out New U-Turn on Truss Taxes ITV Jumps as Report Says It’s Exploring Options for Studios Unit FX Pound perkier on premise that new UK Chancellor will be more frugal with public finances, Cable comfortable on 1.1200 handle and EUR/GBP probing 50 DMA just shy of 0.8650. Aussie and Kiwi recover amidst less risk-off environment ahead of RBA minutes and NZ Q3 CPI; AUD/USD hovering around 0.6250 and NZD/USD just under 0.5600. Loonie, Franc and Euro all firmer vs Greenback as DXY slips from Friday's peak to pivot 113.000, USD/CAD eyeing 1.3800, USD/CHF close to parity and EUR/USD above 0.9750. Yen propped ahead of 149.00 vs Dollar as Japanese officials turn up volume of verbal intervention. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1095 vs exp. 7.1331 (prev. 7.1088) Major Chinese state-owned banks were seen swapping yuan for dollars in the forwards market and selling dollars in the spot market to stabilise the local currency, according to sources cited by Reuters. Fixed Income Gilts gap-up and lead the way ahead of a potential "mini-Budget" U-turn from new Chancellor Hunt, peers buoyed in turn. Specifically, Gilt Dec'22 posts upside of over 300 ticks around the 97.00 mark with the associated 10yr yield down to near 4.0%. Amidst this, SONIA is taking a dovish-turn despite the weekend's remarks from Bailey, with pricing dipping to 'just' a ~75% chance of a 100bp increase in November. Stateside, USTs are firmer by around 15ticks with the US-specific docket comparably sparse after last week's key inputs. BoE Gilt statement: As previously announced, the Bank terminated these operations and ceased all bond purchases on Friday 14 October. As intended, these operations have enabled a significant increase in the resilience of the sector. Commodities WTI and Brent futures trimmed earlier gains in downside that was exacerbated after reports China is to delay is Q3 GDP release. French PM Borne said about 30% of the country’s petrol stations face supply issues due to a slight worsening of strikes at refineries, while Borne also stated that TotalEnergies ( TTE FP) CEO agreed to extend the fuel discount, according to Reuters. Spot gold is propped up by a softer Dollar, with the yellow metal back above USD 1,650/oz and eyeing its 21 DMA at USD 1,670.10/oz. LME metals are mixed with 3M copper losing some ground and just about holding onto USD 7,500/t+ status, whilst LME aluminium underperforms following an enormous LME stockpile increase of over 65k tonnes. CCP National Congress Chinese President Xi declared the new core mission of the party is to lead China united in the challenge to be a powerful, modern socialist nation by 2049. Chinese President Xi said they will promote a high level of opening to the outside world and will maintain pluralistic and stable economic relations with other countries. Furthermore, Xi said they will strengthen the ability to prevent and control the epidemic, while he also commented that the next five years will be crucial for building a modern socialist power and will aim for high-quality growth, as well as support the private economy unwaveringly, according to Reuters. China Communist Party spokesman Sun said China is capable of greater miracles going forward but noted China has entered a new normal of slower growth and is more focused on fixing long-term issues than growth. Sun also stated that they all hope the pandemic will end soon but what they see now is that the pandemic is still on and that their Covid prevention policy is the best and most economically efficient, according to Reuters. Chinese government officials are backpedalling on efforts to organise a meeting between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit next month, according to Politico. Chinese President Xi said they will firmly promote reunification efforts with Taiwan and it is up to the Chinese people to resolve the Taiwan issue, while he added they will never renounce the right to use force and said reunification of the motherland must and will certainly be achieved. Chinese Communist Party spokesman Sun said achieving reunification with Taiwan by peaceful means best meets the interest of all and the use of force is the last resort under compelling circumstances, while he added that Taiwan will plunge into a disaster if pro-independence Taiwan and external forces are left unchecked, according to Reuters. OPEC Headlines OPEC Secretary-General al-Ghais said slow economic growth reflects on oil demand and that OPEC+ took the pre-emptive decision, while he added OPEC doesn’t target a specific price but targets a balance between supply and demand. Al Ghais also stated that they do not control oil prices and that their decisions are purely technical, as well as noted that there is always space for flexibility in OPEC when asked about reviewing this month’s oil output cut. Furthermore, he commented that oil markets are going through a stage of great fluctuations, according to Reuters. Iraq said OPEC+ decisions are based on economic indicators and there is consensus in OPEC+ to be pre-emptive to deal with the current uncertainty in oil markets, while it added that the OPEC+ latest decision is based on market inputs and it is essential to achieve market stability, according to a SOMO statement cited by Reuters. UAE Energy Minister said the OPEC decision was purely technical and unanimous not political as some described, according to Reuters. Kuwait said it welcomes the recent decision by OPEC+ to cut output and said it is keen to maintain balance in the oil markets for the benefit of consumers and producers, while it added that expected slow global economic growth led to more disturbance in the balance of supply and demand in oil markets, according to Reuters. Furthermore, Kuwait appointed Badr Al Mulla as its new Oil Minister and appointed Wahab Al Rasheed as Finance Minister, according to a tweet. Oman’s Energy Ministry said OPEC+ decisions are based on purely economic considerations, as well as realities of supply and demand in the market, while the decision was important and necessary to reassure the market and support its stability, according to a Tweet. Bahrain’s Oil Minister said the OPEC+ decision was reached by consensus among all member states and that OPEC+ will study any economic developments in the future to ensure the stability of markets and global supply, according to the state news agency cited by Reuters. ECB Headlines ECB’s Knot said he is increasingly convinced that rates need to rise above neutral and once rates hit a neutral level, it makes sense to consider running off APP stock, according to Reuters. ECB's Rehn said the threat of stagflation has intensified. The stability risks of international financial markets are clearly increasing. Although the global financial crisis has been avoided for now, it is not time to breathe a sigh of relief. ECB's Lane expected to propose a 75bps hike at the upcoming ECB meeting, according to an ECB insider cited by Econostream. ECB's de Guindos expects FX rate to stabilise in the coming months, via Reuters. Some ECB officials are seeing legal basis to toughen bank TLTRO terms, according to Bloomberg sources. Geopolitics Ukrainian President Zelensky said Bakhmut and Soledar in eastern Donbas are hotspots at the front with heavy fighting, while it was separately reported that that Kyiv's Mayor Klitschko said blasts hit Kyiv's city centre, according to Reuters. Russian Defence Ministry said Russia destroyed three US-made M777 Howitzers in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region and that Russian troops repelled Ukrainian attempts to advance in the regions of Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv, according to Reuters. Russian Defence Ministry said 11 people were killed and 15 were wounded after two Tajikistan citizens committed an act of terrorism at a training ground in Russia’s Belgorod. US Event Calendar Oct. 14-Oct. 21: Sept. Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$50b, prior -$64.9b 08:30: Oct. Empire Manufacturing, est. -4.2, prior -1.5 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After numerous weeks of immense volatility, will the fact that US payrolls and CPI are out the way and the fact that the UK has sacked its Chancellor, and is gradually backtracking, bit by bit, on its recent fiscal giveaway, lead to calmer markets? We shouldn't underestimate how much the relatively small UK market has buffeted global markets in recent weeks. The politics are slowly moving in a more market friendly direction but a very sharp sell-off in Gilts on Friday afternoon left a nasty taste as we ended the week. 30yr Gilts closed +24bps on Friday to 4.79% but were around +55bps higher from the lunchtime lows. The Bank of England won't be buying today for the first time in this mini-crisis so we'll soon have a decent idea if there are still pension fund liquidity problems. Part of the reason Gilts sold off late on Friday was a global related sell-off but part of it was a buy the fact sell the rumour trade after news leaked in the morning that the Chancellor was to be sacked. PM Truss's subsequent afternoon press conference seemed to leave the market wanting more climb downs. In fact new Chancellor Hunt did extensive media rounds over the weekend saying that nothing is off the table in terms of reviewing the mini budget and that some taxes may have to rise. Several media reports suggest that the planned 1p income tax cut next April will be delayed by a year. So it’ll be fascinating to see how UK yields open up. Over the weekend, the Bank of England (BOE) Governor Andrew Bailey stated that the central bank will not hesitate to increase interest rates to meet its inflation target as it believes that the current inflationary pressures demand a stronger policy action than announced in August. In early Asia trading, the pound (+0.52%) is rallying rising to $1.1230 on the weekend's tighter fiscal commentary. Literally as we go to print, a headline has come through saying that the UK Chancellor will make a statement today on the medium-term fiscal plan. So things are accelerating rapidly. For this week China's Party Congress that started yesterday could generate plenty of headlines, with key leadership roles and priorities for the next five years in focus (see latest below). The country's Q3 GDP and key economic activity indicators will be released tomorrow. Elsewhere, housing market indicators from the US, inflation data in the UK and economic sentiment indicators from Europe will be released. Netflix, IBM, Tesla, Bank of America, and Johnson & Johnson will be among the corporates reporting as earnings season starts to gather momentum. This could be key to sentiment in the coming weeks. Let’s go through the key economic data in a little more detail now. Starting with the US, this week will feature industrial activity indicators such as industrial production (Tues) and the Empire manufacturing index (today). For the former, our US economists expect a -0.4% print (-0.2% in August). The housing market will be in focus too, with fears over a big softening on one hand but balanced in the short-term by last week's CPI print that showed strong momentum in rents. The releases will include housing starts, building permits (both Weds) and existing home sales (Thurs). Over in Europe, the UK will continue to be in the spotlight with CPI, RPI and PPI to be released on Wednesday with the first expected at 10.1% (August CPI printed at 9.9% YoY and below July's 10.1%). Staying in the UK, October GfK consumer confidence figures will be released as well as September retail sales on Friday. Elsewhere in the region, sentiment indicators will include the ZEW survey for Germany and the Eurozone tomorrow and business and manufacturing confidence for France on Thursday. We will get the PPI for Germany on the same day. In politics, the European Council's two-day meeting will start on Thursday with topics of Ukraine, energy and the economy on the agenda. In Asia, China's Q3 GDP, industrial production and retail sales, along with other indicators, will be released tomorrow. The median estimate on Bloomberg points to a +3.4% YoY reading, up from +0.4% in Q2. On Friday we will also get the nationwide CPI from Japan and our Chief Japan economist expects core inflation excluding fresh food to show a +2.9% YoY increase (+2.8% in August) and core-core inflation excluding fresh food and energy to rise by +1.8% (+1.6% in August). Durable goods and food prices are seen as the core inflation drivers. Finally, this week will be packed with corporate Q3 results from key American and European firms as this earnings season ramps up. The tech names we will hear from include Netflix, ASML, IBM and Lam Research, with hardware makers particularly in focus amid slowing demand concerns. Other notable reporters will include Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Tesla, Bank of America (today), Procter & Gamble, and Goldman Sachs. The day by day week ahead guide at the end has which days each report. Asian equity markets are trading in negative territory at the start of the week, following a weak close to the week in the DM world, although US futures are up as we start the week. Across the region, the Nikkei (-1.43%) is leading losses with the Hang Seng (-1.16%), the CSI (-0.45%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%) also trading lower. The KOSPI is flat. Contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.43%) and the NASDAQ 100 (+0.39%) are both edging up. Over the weekend, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his speech at the opening ceremony of the ruling Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress, gave a defiant message to the world as he warned against “interference by outside forces” in Taiwan. At the same time, he reiterated the validity of the Zero-Covid policy while signaling that there would be no immediate loosening in restrictions despite the social and economic pain caused by the policy. Staying on China, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced that it will maintain its 1-yr Medium-Term Lending Facility (MLF) interest rate at 2.75% for the second consecutive month while injecting liquidity worth 500 billion yuan into the banking system through MLF operations. So far in 2022, the MLF rate has been cut by 20bps with 10bps moves in January and August. In FX, the Japanese Yen dropped to 148.77 against the US dollar, a fresh 32-year low, before easing to settle at 148.70. Meanwhile, yields on 10yr USTs are trading just below 4% level (-2.5bps) as we go to press. Looking back on last week now, yet another upside CPI surprise ruined any chance of a near-term Fed policy pivot, driving yields higher and the curve flatter. All told 2yr Treasury yields were +19.0bps higher on the week (+3.5bps Friday) while the 10yr climbed +13.5bps (+7.3bps Friday). That left the 2s10s curve at -48bps, near its most inverted levels of the cycle, as additional tightening and a harder landing was priced in. By the end of trading, markets were pricing +142bps of tightening through the next two FOMC meetings. That’s close to our updated US Economic call of +75bp hikes in November and December, but markets are pricing some risk of +100bps in November following the blockbuster CPI, with +78.6bps priced at the end of last week. The S&P 500 staged a befuddling rally the day of the print (with a 5.5% turnaround) but ultimately retreated -1.55% (-2.37% Friday) on the week. In line with tighter expected policy, the NASDAQ underperformed, falling -3.11% (-3.08% Friday). The moves came with huge intraday swings, which had the Vix index of volatility close above 30 every day, closing the week at 32.02, just beneath the year’s high of 36.45 reached when Russia invaded Ukraine. US banks kicked earnings off in earnest on Friday. As you might expect, FICC revenues have held up given the heightened volatility, and net interest income improved with the blistering pace of Fed rate hikes, while deal making revenue has slowed given the gloomy economic outlook. All told, the S&P 500 banks advanced +2.43% on the week (+0.03% Friday), outperforming the broader index. In Europe, yields also took another leg higher, with 10yr bunds +15.2bps higher over the week (+5.9bps Friday). However, the curve steepened, with 2yr bunds gaining +9.0bps (+3.5bps Friday). The biggest story was of course in the UK, with the Chancellor gone and the partial u-turn on the budget. That led gilts to outperform bunds, where 10yr gilts gained +9.7bps (+13.7bps Friday) and 2yr gilts fell -25.4bps (+11.6bps) as some near-term crisis management hikes were priced out of the market. However as mentioned at the top 30yr Gilts were still an issue, climbing +39bps in a volatile week (+24hrs Friday). European equities fared much better than the US. The STOXX 600 pulled back just -0.09% (+0.56% Friday), with the DAX (+1.34%, +0.67% Friday) and CAC (+1.11%, +0.90% Friday) both out-performing. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/17/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 17th, 2022

What happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis — the 13-day standoff that almost ended the world

In 1962, a feverish 13-day standoff took place between the United States and the Soviet Union. A New York Times article from the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.JFK Library The ongoing war in Ukraine and increasingly escalatory rhetoric from Russia has raised fears of nuclear war. These developments have led to comparisons with the Cuban Missile Crisis, a 13-day standoff between the US and the Soviet Union that could have led to war. This month marks the 60th anniversary of the crisis. The ongoing war in Ukraine and heightened tensions between Russia and NATO have caused growing concerns about the possible use of a nuclear weapon, and such concerns have led to some comparisons to the 1962 Cuban missile crisisThe crisis was a period of extreme tension between the US and Soviet Union that could have ended in a nuclear catastrophe but fortunately did not.In October 1962, a dangerous 13-day standoff took place, with disaster being only narrowly avoided by careful diplomacy when it mattered most. This month marks the 60th anniversary of the missile crisis.Here's what went down:Tensions between the US and Cuba escalated in the 1950s after Fidel Castro ousted US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista and culminated with the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 — a year before the missile crisis erupted.An April 17, 1961 map showing the locations of invading forces.Associated PressUS-backed Cuban exiles had attempted to invade the Bay of Pigs with the goal of overthrowing Castro and the Communist Party, but they were defeated by Castro's military within days.Cubana de Aviacion airliner burning after being hit by a rocket fired by raiders at Santiago, Cuba in April 1961.Associated PressCastro made a covert agreement in July 1962 with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to host Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba.Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro, left, is embraced by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 20, 1960.Associated Press/Marty LederhandlerThe move was partly an effort to deter the US from attempting another invasion and partly a way to maximize the Soviet Union's nuclear strike capability. Missile site construction began that summer.US intelligence soon detected evidence of a Soviet arms build-up in Cuba, including anti-aircraft defense missiles.President John F. Kennedy opens at a Washington news conference on Sept. 13, 1962, with a lengthy statement on the Cuban situation.Associated PressPresident John F. Kennedy released a statement on Sept. 4 condemning the Soviet effort to boost Cuba's military power and said "the gravest issues would arise" should Cuba obtain offensive capability."It continues to be the policy of the United States that the Castro regime will not be allowed to export its aggressive purposes by force or the threat of force. It will be prevented by whatever means may be necessary from taking action against any part of the Western Hemisphere," Kennedy said."The United States, in conjunction with other Hemisphere countries, will make sure that while increased armaments will be a heavy burden to the unhappy people of Cuba themselves, they will be nothing more," he added.An American spy plane on Oct. 14 took photos that clearly showed construction sites for nuclear-armed medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.JFK LibraryThe standoff officially began on Oct. 16, when President John F. Kennedy was briefed on the photos.Map of the western hemisphere showing the full range of the nuclear missiles under construction in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban crisis.JFK LibraryKennedy, anxious to maintain the appearance that the situation in the White House was business-as-usual, kept up his official schedule but met frequently with advisors to strategize.The Joint Chiefs of Staff urged Kennedy to launch an air strike followed by a full-on invasion of Cuba, but others called for a naval quarantine instead.On Oct. 17, more surveillance photos captured evidence additional sites and 16-32 missiles in Cuba. US military units began moving to military bases in the southeastern United States.A map of Cuba, with a partial listing of Soviet military equipment, used during the President's meetings with political and military advisors.JFK LibraryKennedy, meanwhile, kept up a normal schedule, attending a church service, eating lunch with the Crown Prince of Libya, and traveling to Connecticut to campaign for congressional candidates.Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Kennedy in the White House on Oct. 18, claiming that the Soviet aid to Cuba did not pose a threat to the US and was merely defensive.President John F. Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, center, in the White House, Oct. 18, 1962. At left is Soviet Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Dobrynin.Associated Press/Harvey GeorgesWithout revealing that he knew the extent of the nuclear arms build-up in Cuba, Kennedy repeated the warning he issued on Sept. 4, when he said the "gravest issues would arise" should offensive nuclear weapons be found on Cuba.By Oct. 20, Kennedy and his advisers had decided on a course of action: enforce a naval "quarantine" on Cuba to prevent Soviet military equipment and arms from being delivered.In this handout from the Department of Defense, Soviet ships are shown inbound to Cuba, purportedly carrying crates containing Ilyushin 28 (Beagle) fuselages as a deckload, Oct. 23, 1962.Department of Defense via Associated PressThe Kennedy administration used the term "quarantine" rather than "blockade," as the latter would have legally implied a state of war. A quarantine, however, allowed the US to continue receiving the support of the Organization of American States, the 35-member continental organization.On Oct. 22, Kennedy briefed his cabinet, Congress, and the public on the evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba and announced the naval quarantine.President John F. Kennedy as he appeared on a television set in New York City Oct. 22, 1962 informing the American people of his decision to set up a naval blockade against Cuba.Associated PressKennedy forcefully addressed the public that evening on television, saying the quarantine would remain in place until the missile sites were dismantled and weapons deliveries to Cuba were halted.He added that any missile attack from Cuba would be interpreted as an attack from the Soviets, and would merit a "full retaliatory response" against the Soviets.Kennedy said that "this secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles — in an area well-known to have a special and historical relationship to the United States and the nations of the Western Hemisphere, in violation of Soviet assurances, and in defiance of American and hemispheric policy — this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons for the first time outside of Soviet soil — is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country, if our courage and our commitments are ever to be trusted again by either friend or foe."Kennedy also sent a letter to Khrushchev urging his government not to take action that would "widen or deepen this already grave crisis."Page 2 of President Kennedy's letter to Premiere Khrushchev, October 22, 1962.JFK Library"In our discussions and exchanges on Berlin and other international questions, the one thing that has most concerned me has been the possibility that your Government would not correctly understand the will and determination of the United States in any given situation, since I have not assumed that you or any other sane man would, in this nuclear age, deliberately plunge the world into war which it is crystal clear no country could win and which could only result in catastrophic consequences to the whole world, including the aggressor," he wrote in the letter.Kennedy officially signed Proclamation 3504 on Oct. 23 authorizing the naval quarantine, and the Organization of American States endorsed the action.October 23, 1962: President Kennedy signs Proclamation 3504, authorizing the naval quarantine of Cuba.JFK LibraryKennedy then requested that Khrushchev halt any Soviet ships en route to Cuba out of fear the US would be forced to exchange fire and launch a war between the two nations.On Oct. 24, Khrushchev issued an angry rebuttal to Kennedy’s letterDept. of State translation of Chairman Khrushchev's letter to President Kennedy of October 24.JFK Library"You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather are setting forth an ultimatum and threatening that if we do not give in to your demands you will use force," he wrote. "Consider what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What would it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean guiding oneself in one's relations with other countries not by reason, but by submitting to arbitrariness. You are no longer appealing to reason, but wish to intimidate us."On Oct. 25, Kennedy again urged Khrushchev to back down: 'It was not I who issued the first challenge in this case.'Adlai Stevenson, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, demands from Soviet delegate Valerian Zorin, not seen, an outright reply to whether the Soviet Union has stationed missiles in Cuba.Associated PressAll but one of the Soviet vessels heading towards Cuba turned back. One freighter containing only petroleum products was allowed through the quarantine.At the United Nations Security Council, US Ambassador Adlai Stevenson lambasted the Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin over the evidence of the missiles.The following is how the New York Journal-American newspaper characterized the confrontation:"His face red with anger and his well-controlled voice shaking with emotion, Mr. Stevenson tossed diplomatic niceties aside and vowed he would wait 'until hell freezes over' for Zorin to give a 'yes or no' to his question whether there were Soviet missiles in Cuba. The Russian, in turn, called Mr. Stevenson a liar."New photographs emerged on Oct. 26 showing further missile site construction, and Castro sent Khrushchev a private letter urging him to annihilate the US with nuclear weapons."However harsh and terrible the solution, there would be no other," Castro wrote to Khrushchev.TASS via Associated PressCastro, in his letter, explained to Khrushchev that should the US attempt to invade and occupy Cuba, the country would pose such a threat that the Soviet Union could not risk the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike by the US."I tell you this because I believe that the imperialists' aggressiveness makes them extremely dangerous, and that if they manage to carry out an invasion of Cuba — a brutal act in violation of universal and moral law — then that would be the moment to eliminate this danger forever, in an act of the most legitimate self-defense. However harsh and terrible the solution, there would be no other," Castro wrote.Meanwhile, Khrushchev wrote to Kennedy declaring he was willing to remove the missiles from the island if the United States would pledge never to invade Cuba."I propose: We, for our part, will declare that our ships, bound for Cuba, will not carry any kind of armaments," he wrote. "You would declare that the United States will not invade Cuba with its forces and will not support any sort of forces which might intend to carry out an invasion of Cuba. Then the necessity for the presence of our military specialists in Cuba would disappear."Tensions between the US and the USSR reached their peak on Oct. 27 — also known as 'Black Saturday.'Wikimedia CommonsKhrushchev sent Kennedy another letter demanding stronger terms, such as the removal of the US's Jupiter missiles from Turkey.An American U-2 plane was also shot down over Cuba by a Soviet-supplied missile. Its pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson, was killed.Kennedy ultimately ignored the latest letter from Khrushchev, responding only to the warmer letter he had sent the previous day. "I have read your letter of October 26th with great care and welcomed the statement of your desire to seek a prompt solution to the problem," he wrote.That evening, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin reached an agreement that the USSR would withdraw its missiles from Cuba under the supervision of the United Nations. In turn, the US would vow not to invade Cuba and remove its missiles from Turkey.The Soviets announced they would remove their missiles from Cuba on Oct. 28, ending the standoff.In this Oct. 28, 1962, President John F. Kennedy leaves St. Stephen's Roman Catholic Church after attending services in Washington D.C. shortly after the announcement from Moscow that Premier Khrushchev ordered Soviet rocket bases in Cuba dismantled and rockets returned to Russia.Associated Press/John RousA letter to Kennedy from Khrushchev detailed the agreement that the missiles would be removed from Cuba in exchange for a US promise not to invade.Kennedy issued a statement applauding Khrushchev's decision to remove the missiles."This is an important and constructive contribution to peace," he said. "It is my earnest hope that the governments of the world can, with a solution of the Cuban crisis, turn their urgent attention to the compelling necessity for ending the arms race and reducing world tensions." Update: This article, which was originally published in 2017 amid heightened tensions between the US and North Korea over its missile development and nuclear weapons programs has been updated amid new tensions between the US and Russia and republished on the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 16th, 2022

Eurasian Alliance Plans A Moscow World Standard To Destroy LBMA"s Monopoly In Precious Metals Pricing

Eurasian Alliance Plans A Moscow World Standard To Destroy LBMA's Monopoly In Precious Metals Pricing Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com Towards the end of July, news emerged in the Russian media that Moscow and a number of its Eurasian allies are now reviewing a proposal to create an entirely new trading and pricing infrastructure for the international precious metals in order to both destroy London and New York’s monopoly over global precious metals pricing, and to stabilize the Russian gold market. This infrastructure would take the form of: a Moscow World Standard (MWS) for precious metals trading, akin to the London Good Delivery List of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) a new international precious metals exchange (trading venue) headquartered in Moscow based on the MWS, and known as the Moscow International Precious Metals Exchange a Price Fixing Committee, with price discovery and new precious metals price fixings based on the MWS, and reference prices derived in the national currencies of participant countries or in new international settlement units This article will review these developments, explain who has proposed them, explore the potentially wide range of countries that could participate in such a system, and look at the originators’ thinking on what gold and other precious metals pricing should be based on. The reported sources discussing this new precious metals ‘proposal’ information primarily come from 3 Russian news sites, namely Prime (part of media group RIA Novosti), RBC business daily (part of RBC media group), and URA news (a Yekaterinburg based news site). All of the sources have been translated from Russian into English. Russian Finance Ministry to Market Participants Early on 28 July, in an article titled “The Ministry of Finance of Russia proposes to create the Moscow Standard for Precious Metals”, business news site Prime (RIA Novosti) stated that based on a letter sent from the Russian finance ministry to financial industry participants and seen by RIA Novosti:   “The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation proposes to create a new international standard for the precious metals market – Moscow World Standard (MWS) – to normalize the functioning of the precious metals industry.” Later that same day, in an article titled “The Ministry of Finance explained the idea to create a new standard for the precious metals market”, RBC news site said that: “The Ministry of Finance did not come up with a proposal to create a new international standard for the precious metals market, the ministry’s press service said.” “’As a regulator of the industry, the Ministry of Finance redirected the proposal received by it to market participants to evaluate it and provide a position on the advisability of its implementation,’ the press service said." So according to RBC, the Russian finance ministry did not propose the World Moscow Standard and the precious metals exchange idea, but merely forwarded it to industry participants in the Russian financial markets. Then the question arises, who did create the proposal? For the answer, we turn to news site URA. Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) On 29 July in an article titled “The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation launched a discussion on the reform of the world gold market”, news site URA said that: “The discussion on the new gold standard was initiated by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the regulatory body of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the EEC press service told URA.RU on July 29.” Note, the Member-States of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) website in English can be seen here.  The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) website in English can be seen here. URA continues: “According to a EEC spokesman – ‘On July 11, Sergey Glazyev, Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission, held a meeting to discuss a proposal to create an international standard for the precious metals market as an alternative to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and infrastructure for the circulation of tokenized gold and precious metals. The meeting with Glazyev was attended by experts from the ministries of finance and central banks, national exchanges, producers of precious metals, as well as other interested organizations of the EAEU states. This is a pretty incredible and high level list of entities who attended the meeting with Sergey Glazyev and would be expected to send shockwaves through the Western central banks and their bullion bank counterparts. URA continues:  The participants exchanged views, and following the meeting, the EEC sent letters to the governments of the parties with a request to form a position on this issue.’” So now it becomes clearer. Following the 11 July meeting, the Russian Ministry of Finance (in theory anyway) received the new precious metals infrastructure proposal in a letter from the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), and then subsequently sent out its own letter to relevant participants in the Russian financial sector. According to URA, the Russian Ministry of Finance “as regulator of the industry” “redirected the proposal received by it to market participants to evaluate it and provide a position on the feasibility of its implementation”, and sent out its letter 2 weeks after 11 July: “Two weeks later, the Ministry of Finance organized a discussion between the Russian authorities and market participants on the creation of a new international industry standard by sending out letters.” This is why the first Russian media reports only picked up the new in the week beginning 25 July. Russian news site Pravda adds some color. In an article dated 6 August, Pravda states that: “In fact, the idea was proposed not by the Ministry of Finance in the person of Anton Siluanov, but by the Eurasian Economic Commission and its minister Sergei Glazyev. On July 11, Glazyev held a meeting where this proposal was first discussed in a wide circle, after which it was drawn up in letters and sent to the national governments of various countries, including the Ministry of Finance, which in Russia acts as a regulator of the precious metals trade industry.” Before looking at who is Sergey Glazyev (Сергей Глазьев in Russian), lets look at what the actual letter from the Russian Finance Ministry to Russia’s financial industry participants actually contained. The Min Fin letter – MWS and An Exchange The actual letter from the Russian Ministry of Finance (Min Fin) to Russian financial market participants is not (as far as I can see) available anywhere on the web. I asked Russia’s National Financial Association (SRO NFA), the representative body of the Russian financial sector and precious metals sector, if they could send me a copy, but they didn’t respond. I also asked the press office of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) for documents and information on the Moscow World Standard proposal, but they didn’t respond. Therefore, the content of the letter from the Russian Min Fin to Russia’s financial sector participants has to be pieced together using Russian media news sources.  A Moscow World Standard (MWS) Prime (RIA Novosti) and RBC say that the Russian Ministry of Finance letter proposes the creation of “a new international standard for the precious metals market – Moscow World Standard (MMC) – Moscow World Standard (MWS). MMC is the Russian version = Московский мировой стандарт Given that as part of Western sanctions against Russia, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) ejected all of Russia’s Good Delivery gold and silver refineries from the LBMA Good Delivery List on 7 March 2022 (the 6 refineries namely Krastsvetmet, Novosibirsk, Uralelectromed, Prioksky, Shyolkovsky, and Moscow Special Alloys Processing Plant), then this new proposed Moscow World Standard (MWS) looks like a replacement for and new competition to the LBMA Good Delivery List. Note that the CME (COMEX) also removed all of the same 6 Russian refiners from the COMEX gold and silver approved brands lists on 7 March 2022. See BullionStar article “US tees up ‘Stop Russian Gold Act’, triggering LBMA and COMEX to eject Russian refiners” for full details of the LBMA / COMEX removal of the Russian refiners. Note that the LBMA also removed 3 Russian banks from the LBMA membership list in late February 2022, namely, VTB, Otkritie and Sovcombank. See here for details. Also note that in early April 2022, the LBMA’s sister organisation, the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM) removed two Russian refiners from its LPPM Good Delivery List, namely Krastsvetmet and Prioksky. A Moscow International Precious Metals Exchange Given the proposed Moscow World Standard (MWS), RBC says that “the basis of the new structure may be a specialized international precious metals exchange headquartered in Moscow (MBDM).” Note, in Russian, MBDM = МБДМ = международную биржу драгоценных металлов  Москве (МБДМ) = Moscow International Precious Metals Exchange Prime (RIA Novosti) and URA both say that the Russian Ministry of Finance letter states that: “In order to normalize the functioning of the precious metals industry, it is critical to create an independent international infrastructure that is alternative in its functions to the LBMA. It is proposed to base the proposed structure on a specialized international precious metals exchange headquartered in Moscow (MBDM), using the new international standard MWS” URA refers to the existing global status quo on gold price discovery which the new Russian exchange and new Moscow World Standard aim to be an alternative to: “The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation launched a discussion on the reform of the international gold market, which is now controlled by the US and the UK. To this end, the Russian authorities are discussing the creation of an international precious metals exchange headquartered in Moscow and a new market standard – the Moscow World Standard (MWS) as an alternative to the generally recognized London Standard (LBMA). If the initiative is implemented, the Russian Federation will be able to bypass Western sanctions on the sale of its gold abroad.” Moscow Gold Standard – Gold’s Re-Awakening?   Price Discovery / Pricing Mechanism – Independent of LBMA / COMEX According to Prime (RIA Novosti) and RBC, the Russian Min Fin letter says that: “As part of the work of the exchange, it is proposed to create a Price Fixing Committee, which will include the Central Banks of the EAEU member countries and their largest banks operating in the precious metals market, subject to the application of the MWS standard.” Price Fixing here refers to daily reference or benchmark prices. The five central banks of the EAEU countries are the Bank of Russia, National Bank of Kazakhstan, National Bank of Belarus, National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Central Bank of Armenia. The “largest banks operating in the precious metals market” for each country would refer to commercial banks in each respective market that are involved in the precious metals market, e.g. for Russia it would be banks such as VTB, Bank Otkritie, Sovcombank, Sberbank, and Gazprombank. Regarding fixing or reference prices, Prime (RIA Novosti) and URA also say that the Russian Min Fin letter says that: “the bet should be placed on fixing prices in the national currencies of the key participating countries, or on new units of international settlements, such as the new unit of settlements proposed by the President of Russia within the member countries of the BRICS organization.” URA links the above text on a new BRICS settlement unit to a URA article from 22 June 2022 titled “Putin is preparing a replacement for the dollar”  which states that: “The Russian financial messaging system is open to connecting banks from the five [BRICS] countries. The geography of use of the Russian payment system “Mir" is being expanded. The issue of creating an international reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of our countries is being worked out,” Vladimir Putin said. Note that while the BRICS group currently consists of the five countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, two other countries, namely both Argentina and Iran, recently expressed an interest in joining BRICS.  All of this is huge news. The EAEU countries aim to develop precious metals pricing mechanisms independent of the LBMA and COMEX, as well as independent of the LBMA and LPPM fixings such as the daily LBMA Gold Price auctions, and daily LBMA Silver Price auction, and the daily LPPM Platinum Price and Palladium Price auctions. Everyone Invited – Coalition of the Willing Beyond the EAEU countries of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, the Prime (RIA Novosti) news agency states that the Russian Min Fin letter is envisioning an even wider participation within the proposed new system: “It is necessary to make membership in this organization attractive to all, without exception, foreign participants in the precious metals market, especially China, India, Venezuela, Peru, and other countries of South America and Africa, according to the Ministry of Finance.” Throughout the Russian media coverage of the Min Fin letter to Russian financial sector participants, they stress the objective of the new system is in ending the LBMA / COMEX dominance of precious metals price discovery. Russia's Objective – To Destroy the LBMA monopoly URA says that “the reform of the world gold market” is “proposed to deprive London and New York of the monopoly” RBC says that “The Ministry of Finance believes that the creation of a new structure: can destroy the LBMA monopoly, create a powerful international association of participants in the precious metals industry, and ensure the stable development of the industry both in Russia and around the world. In fact, all three news sources use the word ‘destroy’ in relation to the LBMA monopoly on precious metals pricing: RBC – “The Ministry of Finance believes that the creation of a new structure can destroy the LBMA monopoly” Prime – “The creation of such a structure will be able to destroy the LBMA monopoly in the shortest possible time” URA – “The creation of a new gold standard in the future is capable of destroying London’s monopoly on pricing in the precious metals market.” While the LBMA, LPPM and COMEX ejecting Russian refiners from the ‘good delivery’ and ‘approved refiners’ lists can conveniently be used as a catalyst for explaining this new ‘proposal’ from the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) to create a Moscow World Standard and a Moscow based precious metals exchange, if you look at the thinking of Sergei Glazyez, this proposal has probably been planned and researched well in advance and has been sitting on a shelf waiting to be implemented at the correct time.   Sergei Glazyev – Commissioner for Integration and Macroeconomics, Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC)   Eurasian Economic Commissioner So who is this Sergei Glazyev, who through the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), is leading the proposal to create an entirely new, Russian led, trading and pricing structure for the global precious metals markets? Currently, Glazyev, who was born in the Ukraine to a Russian father and Ukrainian mother, is a Russian politician and one of Russia’s leading economists, and is on the Board of the EEC as Commissioner for Integration and Macroeconomics. His EEC bio/profile can be seen here.   During his career, Glazyev has been, among other things, a deputy in the State Duma, the minister of Foreign Economic Relations of the Russian Federation, advisor to the President of the Russian Federation (2012 – 2019), a candidate for the Russian Presidency, and is also a university professor of economics, and a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In April 2022, Glazyez gave an interesting interview to Pepe Escobar about his views on a new global financial system, and why in his opinion, the US dollar dominated system is destined to fail. As regards the EEC / EAEU ‘proposal’, a number of points stand out.  Glazyez refers to preparatory work he and colleagues have done on “a new synthetic trading currency based on an index of currencies of participating countries" to which “around twenty exchange-traded commodities can be added“. Upon this, a monetary unit can be based. Glazyez says that “after Russia’s reserves in dollars, euro, pound, and yen were ‘frozen,’ it is unlikely that any sovereign country will continue accumulating reserves in these currencies. Their immediate replacement is national currencies and gold."  The phase of price formation “driven by prices at various exchanges, denominated in dollars" is nearly over, says Glazyez. Price formation will now move to national currencies. Following that, the “final stage on the new economic order transition will involve a creation of a new digital payment currency founded through an international agreement based on principles of transparency, fairness, goodwill, and efficiency." Glazyez expects “that the model of such a monetary unit that we developed will play its role at this stage.“ “A currency like this can be issued by a pool of currency reserves of BRICS countries“, and “the basket could contain an index of prices of main exchange-traded commodities: gold and other precious metals, key industrial metals, hydrocarbons, grains, sugar, as well as water and other natural resources“. “an independent system of international settlements in the EAEU, SCO and BRICS, which could eliminate critical dependence of the U.S.-controlled SWIFT system.“ Another Sergei This currency device representing a basket of currencies and commodities is something which another Sergei, namely Sergei Silvestrov of the Russian Security Council’s scientific council, talked about in a 4 July 2022 article by URA. Silvestrov says that the Russians have worked on an algorithm which values a range of commodities in terms of gold, and adds commodities to a basket of gold and currencies to produce an intrinsic value for a means of payment. This algorithm is called ‘settlement gold’.  Silvestrov says that: “As a result, the Russian ruble and monetization will not be determined by the balance of supply and demand against Reserve currencies. And not by just gold either, but by a wide range of commodity and currency values ​​produced by domestic producers. It is worth noting that 40% of these valuables are produced in the Russian Federation, 60% in the EAEU countries and 80% in the BRICS countries. Just in those very countries, some of which are now under sanctions pressure, the ultimate goal of which is to establish control over resources.”  The URA reporter asks “How actively is this topic being discussed in the government?“, to which Siilvestrov replies: “Serious preparatory work is underway, and many departments have practical interest in it. Interest in this topic is shown by the expert community of the Eurasian Union and  BRICS . The results of this work can form the basis for the introduction of an international unit of account within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union.” Glazyev Comments Again In an even more recent interview on 24 August with Russian-language business daily newspaper Vedomosti, Sergey Glazyev refers to the proposed Moscow Gold Standard  Eurasian Standard, and the need for Russia to continue to buy gold: “now it is necessary to replenish [for ex reserves] primarily through the purchase of gold. The Central Bank needs to increase activity in this direction and bring the share of gold in the composition of gold reserves to 80%. “In response to Vedomosti’s remark that the liquidity of Russian gold under the conditions of the West’s embargo on its purchases is in question, Glazyev announced the need to quote Russian gold on world markets. ‘This means that you need to introduce your own gold standard, which would be recognized at the international level, with a gold quotation on the Moscow Exchange and completely get rid of the London Exchange“ On a ‘Eurasian standard", Glazyev says that: “this Eurasian standard must first be agreed with our partners, for example, in the SCO." Russian gold will be quite liquid on the Asian and global markets in general, regardless of the position of Western countries. At the same time, we could introduce a new international payment and settlement instrument – a stablecoin pegged to gold – and offer it to all Asian countries. In the future, other commodities produced in the SCO countries can be added to gold as collateral for the new world settlement currency. Together with a pool of their foreign exchange reserves, this would become the basis for creating a very stable and reliable payment instrument, an alternative to the current ones.” The reference by Glazyez here to ‘stablecoin’ resonates with the reference by the EEC spokesman to Glazyez’s 11 July meeting where they also discussed “infrastructure for the circulation of tokenized gold and precious metals." As a reminder, SCO refers to the “Shanghai Cooperation Organisation" whose members are China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. There are also 4 Observer States interested in attaining full membership (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia) and 6 Dialogue Partners (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey). Iran is in the process of moving to become a full SCO member, while Egypt, Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia are becoming dialogue partners. One of the SCO’s priorities is regional development. Conclusion As you dig deeper, what looked like a hastily put together Russian attempt to react against being kicked out of the LBMA, suddenly looks like a long term plan involving the EAEU, BRICs and the SCO. Following the European gas and electricity price spikes, is the Russian precious metals ban another case of Western countries shooting themselves in the foot? Long before the 11 July meeting between EAEU central banks, national exchanges and precious metals participants, Sergei Glazyez was already calling for common exchange markets for goods including gold, as he said: “In terms of pricing processes and currency infrastructure, we are over a barrel on Western systems. Today we should not only think about forming the exchange space, but also create our own pricing system in national currencies.“ As regards EAEU, BRICS and SCO, Russia was even calling for increased cooperation on 25 April: “Russia is urging Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries to increase settlements in national currencies to increase independence in mutual trade." One could say that given that the Russian Federation is the largest and most influential member of the EAEU, and given that Sergey Glazyev is a Russian economist, then from Russia’s point of view, the “Moscow World Standard” and the ‘Moscow precious metals exchange” are Russian ideas which Russia has literally ‘proposed’ to itself. While this may be true, at the same time they have been proposed to the other EAEU members also, and if implemented will apply to the whole EAEU, and any other country in BRICS or the SCO that wants to join too. But it’s probably the case that while the Russian Ministry of Finance was acting as a conduit in communicating the message of the EAEU to financial market participants in Russia, the Ministry of Finance was most likely involved in the formulation of the Glazyez plans all along. The Russian Min Fin letter ends with a sense of urgency saying that the Western ban on Russian precious metals refiners “actually paralyzes their activities and is a critical negative factor that calls into question the very existence of the industry in Russia. According to URA, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) press service, in reference to feedback from the parties to the 11 July meeting said that “after the Commission receives the positions of the parties, a decision will be made on the advisability of continuing this work”.  While launching a Moscow World Standard and gold exchange will not reverse the ban on Russian gold sales entering London, Zurich and New York, it could, if it reaches critical mass, allow buyers of Russian gold to emerge across the rest of the world from countries which take part in the new system. And importantly, if a new Standard and Exchange becomes operational, Russian gold would not need to be sold at a discount.  But the real impact of the proposed new precious metals trading and pricing infrastructure, if it’s embraced by countries from the Eurasian Economic Union, from BRICS, and from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, is that it could lead to real precious metals price discovery and be “capable of destroying London’s monopoly” on pricing.     That could spell the end for the fractional reserve system of the LBMA and COMEX where unlimited synthetic cash-settled paper contracts determine international precious metals prices, while underpinning Sergey Glazyev’s international settlement unit of gold, currencies and commodities, if it ever takes shape. The LBMA annual conference takes place this year in the middle of October in Lisbon. While the new Eurasian Economic Commission proposal for a Moscow World Standard is not on the official agenda, it will probably be one of the subjects most talked about by conference delegates during coffee breaks. That is of course unless the LBMA bans freedom of speech, like it banned the Russian refiners and banks. This article was originally published on the BullionStar.com website under the same title "Eurasian alliance plans a Moscow World Standard to destroy LBMA’s monopoly in precious metals pricing". Tyler Durden Sun, 09/04/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 4th, 2022

WEF"s "Global Intelligence Collecting AI" To Erase Ideas From The Internet

WEF's "Global Intelligence Collecting AI" To Erase Ideas From The Internet Via '2nd Smartest Guy in the World' Substack, The World Economic Forum is becoming a little concerned. Unapproved opinions are becoming more popular, and online censors cannot keep up with millions of people becoming more aware and more vocal. The censorship engines employed by Internet platforms, turned out to be quite stupid and incapable. People are even daring to complain about the World Economic Forum, which is obviously completely unacceptable. So, WEF author Inbal Goldberger came up with a solution: she proposes to collect off-platform intelligence from “millions of sources” to spy on people and new ideas, and then merge this information together for “content removal decisions” sent down to “Internet platforms”. To overcome the barriers of traditional detection methodologies, we propose a new framework: rather than relying on AI to detect at scale and humans to review edge cases, an intelligence-based approach is crucial. By bringing human-curated, multi-language, off-platform intelligence into learning sets, AI will then be able to detect nuanced, novel abuses at scale, before they reach mainstream platforms. Supplementing this smarter automated detection with human expertise to review edge cases and identify false positives and negatives and then feeding those findings back into training sets will allow us to create AI with human intelligence baked in. This more intelligent AI gets more sophisticated with each moderation decision, eventually allowing near-perfect detection, at scale. What is this about? What’s new? The way censorship is done these days is that each Internet platform, such as Twitter, has its own moderation team and a decision making engine. Twitter would only look at tweets by any specific twitter user, when deciding on whether to delete any tweets or suspend their authors. Twitter moderators do NOT look at Gettr or other external websites. So, for example, user @JohnSmith12345 may have a Twitter account and narrowly abide by Twitter rules, but at the same time have a Gettr account where he would publish anti-vaccine messages. Twitter would not be able to suspend @JohnSmith12345’s account. That is no longer acceptable to the WEF because they want to silence people and ideas, not individual messages or accounts. This explains why the WEF needs to move beyond the major Internet platforms, in order to collect intelligence about people and ideas everywhere else. Such an approach would allow them to know better what person or idea to censor — on all major platforms at once. They want to collect intelligence from “millions of sources”, and train their “AI systems” to detect thoughts that they do not like, to make content removal decisions handed down to the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and so on. This is a major change from the status quo of each platform deciding what to do based on messages posted to that specific platform only. For example, in addition to looking at my Twitter profile, WEF’s proposed AI would also look at my Gettr profile, and then it would make an “intelligent decision” to remove me from the Internet at once. It is somewhat of a simplification because they also want to look for ideas and not only individuals but, nevertheless, the search for wrongthink becomes globalized. This sounds like an insane conspiracy theory from hell: WEF collecting information on everyone everywhere, and then telling all platforms what posts to remove, based on a global decision-making AI engine that sees everything and can identify individual people and ideas beyond any given platform. If someone ever said that it would be contemplated, I would probably think that this person is insane. It sounds like a sick technological fantasy. Unfortunately, this crazy stuff is real, is in a WEF agenda proposal that is officially posted on their website’s “WEF Agenda” section. And WEF is not messing around. You will have no voice and you will be happy! Of course, this AI content moderation slots straight into the AI social credit score system. And if your social credit score dips below whichever technocommunist AI thresholds as set by the elites, then all kinds of punishments will be meted out, from slashed UBI credits to bug-food rationing to an early granting of the “freedom” to be euthanized. Do NOT comply. *  *  * Become a paid subscriber: support the “Do NOT comply.” It’s 8 cents a day. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/15/2022 - 23:55.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 16th, 2022

The Inflation Reduction Act Includes a Bonanza for the Carbon Capture Industry

Some environmentalists are skeptical that the industry can deliver real emissions cuts Thanks to Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.), there isn’t much in the way of consequences for big CO2 emitters in Democrats’ new climate bill. But there are huge new rewards for high-emitting companies to pump their greenhouse gasses underground, and for facilities that propose to remove emissions directly from the atmosphere. Those provisions have the startups, investors, and legacy oil companies proposing to provide that service over the moon. “We’re definitely going from a curiosity to a priority,” says Steve Lowenthal, chief commercial officer of Frontier Carbon Solutions, a carbon capture startup. “This changes the game.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The Inflation Reduction Act, which passed the Senate on Monday and is poised to pass the House on Friday, includes a dramatic change in a crucial tax credit for the carbon capture industry—increasing the government subsidy for capturing CO2 from polluting sources from $50 to $85 per metric ton. Developers say that raising that incentive could tip many projects that once weren’t worth the investment over the financial finish line. The new bill also simplifies the process for receiving those tax credits, and opens the subsidy to smaller carbon capture projects, which together essentially fulfill a full industry wishlist for new carbon capture legislation. “The fact that [the legislation] actually happened isn’t a big surprise,” says Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture, a direct air capture startup. “The fact that it actually came out in such a good form and actually came out [so soon] is much better than we expected.” Read more: The Inflation Reduction Act Is About to Jumpstart U.S. Climate Policy and Change the World Formerly, the tax incentive, known as 45Q, only paid enough to convince investors to fund the easiest carbon capture projects, like pipelines to capture CO2 from ethanol processing facilities, which emit almost pure CO2 from tanks where corn is fermented into vehicle fuel. Emissions from power plants and other industrial facilities contribute hugely to climate change, but the actual gas escaping from their smoke stacks contains a much lower percentage of CO2 (coal plant emissions, for example are about 13% CO2), and the fact that that CO2 has to be first separated out from the other gasses makes it much more expensive to capture it and store it underground. But raising the incentive to $85 per ton means projects that capture carbon dioxide from industrial facilities with lower CO2 concentrations, like natural gas processing facilities and cement plants, could become financially viable. “It really can’t be [overstated] how meaningful 85 [dollars per ton] is to the industry at large,” says Lowenthal. The package also gives a good deal of government support to a fledgling industry proposing to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air, increasing tax credits for removing CO2 from the atmosphere to $180 per ton. “It’s going to make it easy for us to raise the capital to build the project earlier and to build it faster,” says Corless Massive Industry Boost The new bill comes on top of last year’s infrastructure law, which doled out a huge helping of government support for the sector, including $100 million for the Department of Energy to design pipelines to transport compressed CO2 emissions to underground storage sites, $2.1 billion in loans and grants for the private sector to build the pipelines, and $3.5 billion to construct four “hub” facilities to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (although together those facilities will be able to sequester less than 0.1% of the CO2 the U.S. emits each year). Taken together, the measures could help the fledgling industry grow 13-fold by 2035, according to the Carbon Capture Coalition, an industry group representing startups and oil majors like Shell. “Together with the historic investments made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this package would provide the most transformative and far-reaching policy support in the world for the economywide deployment of carbon management technologies,” wrote the coalition’s external affairs manager Madelyn Morrison in a July 28 press release. Oil company Shell, which has eyed carbon capture as a potential growth avenue, lauded the changes as well. “We see the Inflation Reduction Act’s carbon capture-related provisions as key to developing projects that will help reduce emissions in critical industrial sectors,” the company’s media representatives said in a statement to TIME. Read more: The Inflation Reduction Act’s Name Says A Lot About The Climate Fight International players have also taken note. “It will establish the United States as the place to be to deploy such technologies,” says Christoph Gebald, co-founder of Swiss direct air carbon capture company Climeworks, which opened the first commercial CO2 removal plant in Iceland last year. “And I am very convinced that this will also kick off a spiral of action from investors.” Environmentalists Remain Skeptical Not everyone sees the industry’s likely expansion as a good thing. Until now, carbon capture technology has never really ramped up in a big way, despite years of talk by emitters. Many projects have ended in expensive failures, while others never were able to achieve the emissions cuts they promised when the energy costs of running the carbon capture equipment were factored in. Carbon capture funding is one of the few climate provisions that tends to get bipartisan support, but many environmentalists have long portrayed it as a costly distraction from urgently needed emissions cuts, as well as a handout to oil companies that tout the technology as a new revenue stream. That’s especially true of a controversial provision in the tax code that gives incentives to companies that pump the captured carbon underground in order to extract more oil, rather than just to permanently store it. (The new climate bill raises the government’s reward for this so-called “enhanced oil recovery” to $60 per ton.) Many in the environmental world, however, agree that we will need some carbon capture to decarbonize hard-to-abate industries like cement production, and that we will need to scale up atmospheric carbon removal technology in the decades ahead in order to have any hope of reaching net-zero targets. But those efforts also won’t do much if they’re not also accompanied by dramatic emissions cuts across society. Jim Walsh, policy director at Food and Water Watch, says the new legislation relies too heavily on carbon capture. A popular emissions analysis of the legislation from Princeton University’s REPEAT Project counts on companies to quickly scale up carbon capture projects that promise to deliver a fifth of total U.S. emissions cuts by 2030, even though the technology hasn’t been able to achieve significant climate benefits in the past. “The Inflation Reduction Act does not deliver mandates to cut pollution. It creates incentives that may drive up private investment, and it delivers billions to fossil fuel corporations based on the notion that their climate pollution can be somehow captured,” he wrote in an Aug. 11 statement. “This is a dangerous bet.” Fueling Local Battles The incentives and proposed expansion to the industry are likely to also set off local controversies. In Iowa, plans to build massive new pipelines to transport carbon dioxide have become a political flashpoint over the past year. Activists and landowners are facing off against investors and a pro-carbon capture governorship over plans to build massive pipelines to transport carbon dioxide released from ethanol plants to underground storage sites in North Dakota and Illinois. Proponents of the pipelines say they will make a serious dent in Iowa’s greenhouse gas emissions and help benefit farmers who grow corn that serves as a feedstock in the state’s ethanol industry. But opponents, including local environmentalist groups, say the pipelines put Iowans at risk of dangerous CO2 leaks, and prop up an obsolete, high polluting ethanol industry while trampling on local farmers who will have to allow developers to build through their land. Last week, this battle reached a new pitch, when one of the developers, Summit Carbon Solutions, notified state regulators that it would begin filing for eminent domain in order to take control of private land it needs to build the pipeline. “Summit showed their true colors today,” wrote Food & Water Watch organizer Emma Schmit in an Aug. 5 press release. “Summit may seek eminent domain but [it] is our public institutions, accountable to the people, that will be responsible for the final decision.” The genesis of Summit’s project goes back to a 2018 change in the 45Q tax credit, which raised the payment from about $24 per ton to $50, giving the developers an economic incentive to start building the pipeline. Speaking with TIME in February, Summit executives said another increase in 45Q, like the one the Senate just passed, might push them to look at building even more pipelines to capture emissions from farther-flung ethanol plants. That would seem likely to throw even more fuel on the fire in Iowa—potentially the first of many such clashes as federal funding helps the industry scale up in the years ahead......»»

Category: topSource: timeAug 12th, 2022

Larry Kudlow: Manchin wants to revive the Trump NEPA permitting reforms to speed up decisions

FOX Business host Larry Kudlow provides insight on federal permitting regulations and weighs in on the Democrats' reconciliation bill on Tuesday's 'Kudlow.' Save America. Kill the bill. I continue my strong opposition to what "George Orwell Schumer" calls "The Inflation Reduction Act" of 2022. The combination of higher taxes and even more spending runs the risk of deepening the recession and making the inflation more virulent.  Now, accompanying the debate over this reconciliation bill is an intense conversation about federal permitting rules and regulations. At the center of this debate is whether fossil fuel projects will be permitted to be permitted. We're talking about drilling, pipelining and refining.  Biden's war against fossils has essentially shut down permitting and, in the process, contributed mightily to skyrocketing oil, gasoline and natural gas prices. It's a massive inflation tax falling most heavily on the middle class and the lower incomes.  May I also add, though, that the radical, extremist Biden regulators are also stopping normal infrastructure projects for roads, highways, tunnels, utility grids and the like. Woke bureaucrats are overturning last year's infrastructure bill as well as damaging the overall economy.  MANCHIN'S INFLATION BILL INCLUDES BBB'S 'MOST ECONOMICALLY DAMAGING PROVISION,' ANALYSIS SHOWS  Now, while I totally disagree with my friend Sen. Joe Manchin about the overall reconciliation deal — that would raise taxes on almost everybody, create new tax obstacles to business investment, productivity and real wages, as well as unleash the IRS with 86,000 new agents to sic them on small businesses, and drug price controls that will stop life-saving pharmaceutical advances, and will make any new breakthrough drugs cost more, rather than less — with all those objections, Sen. Manchin does propose a new set of energy-permitting provisions that make some sense.  Trouble is, the permitting provisions must take place outside of reconciliation because they have no direct budget impact. Essentially, Manchin wants to revive the Trump NEPA permitting reforms to speed up decisions in a year or two and he has a list of 25 so-called "high priority" energy projects for critical minerals, nuclear, hydrogen, fossil fuels, electric transmission, renewables and carbon capture, sequestration, storage and removal. As far as it goes, it's a good list, but all Mr. Manchin has is a "promise" from Schumer, Biden and Pelosi that there will be some kind of vote on a resolution in favor of the Manchin list, but a promise could be a triumph of hope over experience.  Would have been better to call for a resolution vote on these energy permits before the reconciliation vote—just saying — after the vote, sometime in September, well, it's kind of mañana. Know what I mean?  Now, Sen. Dan Sullivan, who will be here in a moment, has a much better and tougher plan that would force a vote immediately on a resolution to overturn the White House Council on Environmental Quality efforts to overturn President Trump's NEPA rules.  Mr. Sullivan is using the full weight and power of the Congressional Review Act to compel Congress to repudiate Biden's radical, woke, climate obsession. What's more, Sen. Sullivan wants this vote in a couple days — not waiting until September, or mañana.   CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP  Again, even if permitting rules are turned back to the Trump approach, with no crazy cumulative or indirect environmental extreme metrics, even if all that would came true, even if the fossil fuel spigots are re-opened (which would be a wonderful thing), I would still oppose the reconciliation bill — just saying.  Save America. Kill the bill.  This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the August 2, 2022, edition of "Kudlow.".....»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsAug 2nd, 2022

CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC PROVIDES SECOND QUARTER 2022 BUSINESS UPDATE

MIAMI, June 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Carnival Corporation & plc ((NYSE/LSE: CCL, NYSE:CUK) provides second quarter 2022 business update. U.S. GAAP net loss of $1.8 billion and adjusted net loss of $1.9 billion for the second quarter of 2022. Cash from operations turned positive in the second quarter of 2022. Second quarter 2022 ended with $7.5 billion of liquidity, including cash, short-term investments and borrowings available under the company's revolving credit facility. Revenue increased by nearly 50% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to first quarter 2022, reflecting continued sequential improvement. For the cruise segments, revenue per passenger cruise day ("PCD") for the second quarter of 2022 decreased slightly compared to a strong 2019. Occupancy in the second quarter of 2022 was 69%, an increase from 54% in the prior quarter. Customer deposits increased $1.4 billion to $5.1 billion as of May 31, 2022 from $3.7 billion as of February 28, 2022. As of June 24, 2022, 91% of the company's capacity is in guest cruise operation. Booking volumes for all future sailings during the second quarter of 2022 were nearly double the booking volumes during the first quarter of 2022; the company notes these were its best quarterly booking volumes since the beginning of the pandemic. As previously announced, effective August 1st, Arnold Donald, President and CEO, is being appointed Vice Chair of the Boards of Directors. Josh Weinstein, currently Chief Operations Officer for the company, will assume the role of President and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. At that time, Weinstein will also assume the role of Chief Climate Officer and become a Director on the Boards of Directors. A 20-year veteran of Carnival Corporation & plc, Weinstein has a long history of success in critical senior-level roles in the company. In his most recent assignment for the past two years as Carnival Corporation & plc's Chief Operations Officer, Weinstein oversaw several major operational functions including global maritime, global ports and destinations, global sourcing, global IT and global internal audit. During this time, he also oversaw Carnival UK, the operating company for P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard, which he previously managed directly for three years as president. Prior to his role with Carnival UK, Weinstein was treasurer for the company for 10 years and an attorney in the corporate legal department for five years. Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald noted, "With cash from operations turning positive and the company heading in the right direction, now is the time to transition leadership to the next generation. Josh Weinstein has the skill set ideally suited to take this company forward, including strong operating experience and in-depth industry knowledge cultivated over the past two decades. I am confident our positive momentum will continue under Josh's leadership and I remain confident in the long-term future of our company." Carnival Corporation & plc's next President and CEO Josh Weinstein noted, "I am honored to lead this company as we push forward with a relentless long-term focus on driving revenue and returns to improve our balance sheet, while ensuring each brand provides an authentic cruise experience that resonates with their unique guest base, delivering value for our shareholders and our other many stakeholders." Weinstein added, "It is truly humbling to support our exceptionally talented team—150,000 strong ship and shore—in this effort. They've accomplished so much during our restart, with incredible determination, perseverance and integrity. This gives me tremendous confidence and optimism about our future." Second Quarter 2022 Results and Statistical Information Revenue increased by nearly 50% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to first quarter 2022, reflecting continued sequential improvement. For the cruise segments, revenue per PCD for the second quarter of 2022 decreased slightly compared to a strong 2019. Onboard and other revenue per PCD for the second quarter of 2022 increased significantly compared to a strong 2019. Occupancy in the second quarter of 2022 was 69%, an increase from 54% in the prior quarter. Available lower berth days ("ALBD") for the second quarter of 2022 were 16.7 million, which represents 74% of total fleet capacity, increasing from 60% in the first quarter of 2022. Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of 2022 was $(0.9) billion, an improvement over the first quarter of 2022. Total customer deposits increased $1.4 billion to $5.1 billion as of May 31, 2022 from $3.7 billion as of February 28, 2022. Cash from operations turned positive in April and was positive for the second quarter of 2022. During the second quarter of 2022, the company issued $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2030, intended to refinance various 2023 debt maturities and invested $0.5 billion in capital expenditures. In addition, the company repaid $0.2 billion of debt principal and incurred $0.4 billion of interest expense, net during the quarter. The company ended the second quarter of 2022 with $7.5 billion of liquidity, including cash, short-term investments and borrowings available under the revolving credit facility. Resumption of Guest Cruise Operations Donald noted, "We are aggressively, yet thoughtfully, ramping up to full operations with over 90 percent of the fleet now in service. We are driving occupancy higher, while at the same time significantly increasing available capacity, resulting in a nearly 50 percent sequential improvement in revenue in the second quarter, despite facing constantly changing and far more restrictive protocols than broader society and travel at large." Donald added, "Carnival Cruise Line, our largest brand, achieved consistently positive adjusted EBITDA beginning in March. Carnival Cruise Line also became our first brand to sail its entire fleet in May and is expecting occupancy to approach 110 percent during our third quarter." As of June 24, 2022, 91% of the company's capacity is in guest cruise operation as part of its ongoing return to service. Five of the company's nine brands now have their entire fleet back in guest cruise operations, including Carnival Cruise Line, which became the first major cruise line in the U.S. to celebrate its entire fleet entering service. The company's enhanced COVID-19 protocols have helped it become among the safest forms of socializing and travel, with far lower incidence rates than on land. While the company's adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD (see Non-GAAP Financial Measures) have benefited from the sale of smaller-less efficient ships and the delivery of larger-more efficient ships, this benefit is offset by a portion of its fleet being in pause status for part of the year, restart related expenses, an increase in the number of dry-dock days, the cost of maintaining enhanced health and safety protocols, inflation and supply chain disruptions. The company anticipates that some of these costs and expenses will end in 2022. Additionally, the company continues to expect to see a significant improvement in adjusted cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD from the first half of 2022 to the second half of 2022 with a mid-teens increase for the full year 2022 compared to 2019. The COVID-19 global pandemic and its ongoing effects, inflation and higher fuel prices are collectively having a material impact on the company's business, including its results of operations, liquidity and financial position. In addition, as is the case with the travel and leisure sector generally, the company is making meaningful progress in resolving the challenges it is experiencing with onboard staffing which have resulted in occupancy constraints on certain voyages. The company expects a net loss for the third quarter of 2022. For the full year 2022, the company continues to expect a net loss. The company continues to believe that adjusted EBITDA will improve with the ongoing resumption of guest cruise operations and continues to expect improvement in occupancy throughout 2022 until it returns to historical levels in 2023. The company expects positive adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2022. Fleet Optimization Carnival Cruise Line – proudly known as America's cruise line – is teaming up with Costa Cruises – Italy's favorite cruise line – creating a new concept for Carnival's North American guests when COSTA® by CARNIVAL® debuts in the spring of 2023 and Costa Venezia joins the Carnival fleet. Costa Venezia will be followed by Costa Firenze arriving in the spring of 2024. Carnival will operate the ships, which will marry the great service, food and entertainment that Carnival's guests enjoy with Costa's Italian design features. In addition, Carnival Cruise Line announced earlier this month that Costa Luminosa will join their fleet later this year and will start guest operations as Carnival Luminosa in November 2022. This will allow Carnival to finally start highly anticipated itineraries from Brisbane and have two ships operating in Australia for the high season Down-Under. Furthermore, last week the company announced the removal of another smaller-less efficient ship from our fleet. This brings the planned removal to 23 smaller-less efficient ships since the beginning of the pause in guest cruise operations further reducing the company's rate of capacity growth. Donald noted, "We continue to build on our fleet optimization efforts by reallocating capacity in a highly differentiated way to strengthen return on invested capital across our portfolio. In addition, we continue to further refine our fleet and have announced the removal of an additional smaller-less efficient ship. Upon returning to full operations, nearly a quarter of our capacity will consist of newly delivered ships, expediting our return to profitability." Update on Bookings Donald noted, "It is reinforcing to see continued strength in demand with our guests overcoming far more restrictive protocols than broader society and travel at large, leading to a near doubling of booking volumes since last quarter with near-term bookings even outpacing 2019. We were encouraged by close-in demand and remain focused on optimizing occupancy while preserving long term pricing." Donald added, "As friction from protocols is removed and society becomes increasingly more comfortable managing the virus, we expect to see demand continue to build, as we have already seen with the strength in Carnival Cruise Line's closer-to-home cruises." Booking volumes for all future sailings during the second quarter of 2022 were nearly double the booking volumes during the first quarter of 2022; the company notes these were its best quarterly booking volumes since the beginning of the pandemic, albeit still below 2019 levels. Booking volumes for the second half of 2022 sailings, since the beginning of April, have been higher than 2019 levels. The company believes this is a reflection of the previously expected extended wave season. (Due to the ongoing resumption of guest cruise operations, the company's current booking trends will be compared to booking trends for 2019 sailings.) While cumulative advance bookings for the second half of 2022 are below the historical range, the company's booked position is consistent with its expected improving occupancy levels for the second half of 2022. Cumulative advance bookings for the second half of 2022 are at lower prices, with or without future cruise credits ("FCCs"), normalized for bundled packages, as compared to 2019 sailings. Cumulative advanced bookings for the full year 2023 continue to be both at the higher end of the historical range and at higher prices, with or without FCCs, normalized for bundled packages, as compared to 2019 sailings. Sustainability Update  Continued focus on decarbonization and transparency of disclosures The company has made significant progress over the past 15 years reducing its carbon emission intensity and achieving its 2020 goal three years early (in 2017). The company has also made significant progress towards its 2030 carbon intensity reduction goals of 40% from a 2008 baseline, measured in both grams of CO2e per ALB-km and kilograms of CO2e per ALBD. The company has decided to update the baseline year for both goals to 2019 from 2008. This new baseline year will help the company better communicate recent progress against its climate goals to its investors and stakeholders as well as modernize its disclosures in alignment with developing best practice and reporting standards. Both 2030 goals now require a 20% improvement from 2019. With the updated baseline year, the company strengthened its goal measured in kilograms of CO2e per ALBD since the initial 2030 goal would only have required a further 15% reduction from 2019 levels. Its goal measured in grams of CO2e per ALB-km remains the same. Achieving these 2030 goals will require: The delivery of larger-more efficient ships, as part of its ongoing newbuild program, some of which will replace existing ships in its fleet Investing in energy efficiency projects for its existing fleet Designing more energy efficient itineraries Investing in port and destination projects The company continues to evaluate and implement changes to its various annual planning processes to further support its focus on decarbonization, such as the recently adopted Corporate Itinerary Decarbonization Reviews. These changes, together with the updates to its 2030 carbon intensity reduction goals, will improve both performance in sustainability and transparency to its investors and stakeholders on its progress. Advancing progress on circular economy through food waste management In May the company announced the installation of nearly 600 shipboard food waste bio-digesters across its fleet, as a continuation of its efforts to manage food waste and contribute to a circular economy. First piloted in 2019, this food waste processing technology naturally breaks down food waste, which supports the company's ongoing waste management and drives progress against its goal to achieve a 30% reduction in unit food waste by 2022 and a 50% reduction in unit food waste by 2030. These goals build on the company's latest achievement of reducing food waste per person by over 20% in December 2021 relative to a 2019 baseline. 2024 Mandatory Auditor Rotation Carnival plc is subject to UK law regarding mandatory auditor rotation. Under UK law, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ("PwC") must be changed as Carnival plc's auditor for the 2024 audit at the latest. Yesterday, the Boards of Directors appointed Deloitte & Touche LLP ("Deloitte") as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for 2024 to be effective upon the execution of an engagement letter and related completion of Deloitte's standard client acceptance procedures to ensure their independence. The Boards of Directors will propose the appointment of Deloitte as external auditors for 2024 at the company's annual shareholder meetings as required. Other Recent Highlights Carnival Cruise Line broke ground on its new cruise port destination on Grand Bahama Island, expected to open in late 2024. Carnival Cruise Line saw its busiest booking week in the company's history, for the one-week period of March 28 -April 3. Cunard saw its busiest booking day in a decade for the first day of bookings for new ship Queen Anne. Holland America Line's Volendam is being used to provide temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees through September 2022. Carnival Corporation was recognized on Forbes' annual listing of Best Employers for Diversity for the fourth consecutive year and by Latino Leaders Magazine as one of the Best Companies for Latino to Work in 2022 for the second consecutive year. Carnival Corporation and BetMGM announced their partnership to provide on-ship mobile sports betting and iGaming experiences. Selected Forecast Information Available Lower Berth Days ("ALBDs") The company's ALBD forecast consists of contracted new ships, announced sales and planned restart schedule. Actuals Forecast Full Year 2022 (in millions) 1Q 2022 2Q 2022 3Q 2022 4Q 2022 ALBDs 13.3 16.7 20.9 21.7 72.6 Fuel The company's fuel consumption forecast for the remainder of the year is 1.4 million metric tons. The blended spot price for fuel is currently $978 per metric ton. Depreciation and Amortization The company's depreciation and amortization forecast for the remainder of the year is $1.1 billion. The 2022 full year forecast, which includes year-to-date actuals, is $2.3 billion. Interest Expense, Net of Capitalized Interest The company's interest expense, net of capitalized interest forecast for the remainder of the year is $0.8 billion. The 2022 full year forecast, which includes year-to-date actuals, is $1.6 billion. Outstanding Debt Maturities As of May 31, 2022, the company's outstanding debt maturities are as follows: (in billions) 2022 2023 2024 2025 Principal payments on outstanding debt (a) $                  1.3 $             2.8 $             2.0 $             4.4 (a)  Excludes the revolving credit facility. As of May 31, 2022, borrowings under the revolving credit facility were $2.7 billion, which mature in 2024. Capital Expenditures The company's annual capital expenditure forecast, which includes year-to-date actuals for 2022, is as follows: (in billions) 2022 2023 2024 2025 Contracted newbuild $                4.2 (a) $                2.4 $                1.6 $                0.9 Non-newbuild 1.4 1.9 2.0 2.0 Total (b) $                5.6 $                4.3 $                3.6 $                2.9 (a)  Includes three newbuild deliveries during the first quarter of 2022. (b)  Forecasted capital expenditures will fluctuate with foreign currency movements relative to the U.S. Dollar. Conference Call  The company has scheduled a conference call with analysts at 10:00 a.m. EDT (3:00 p.m. BST) today to discuss its business update. This call can be listened to live, and additional information can be obtained, via Carnival Corporation & plc's website at www.carnivalcorp.com and www.carnivalplc.com.  Carnival Corporation & plc is one of the world's largest leisure travel companies with a portfolio of nine of the world's leading cruise lines. With operations in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia, its portfolio features – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (Australia), Seabourn, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard. Additional information can be found on www.carnivalcorp.com, www.carnivalsustainability.com, www.carnival.com, www.princess.com, www.hollandamerica.com, www.pocruises.com.au, www.seabourn.com, www.costacruise.com, www.aida.de, www.pocruises.com and www.cunard.com. Cautionary Note Concerning Factors That May Affect Future Results Some of the statements, estimates or projections contained in this document are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions with respect to us, including some statements concerning future results, operations, outlooks, plans, goals, reputation, cash flows, liquidity and other events which have not yet occurred. These statements are intended to qualify for the safe harbors from liability provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical facts are statements that could be deemed forward-looking. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our business and the industry in which we operate and the beliefs and assumptions of our management. We have tried, whenever possible, to identify these statements by using words like "will," "may," "could," "should," "would," "believe," "depends," "expect," "goal," "aspiration," "anticipate," "forecast," "project," "future," "intend," "plan," "estimate," "target," "indicate," "outlook," and similar expressions of future intent or the negative of such terms. Forward-looking statements include those statements that relate to our outlook and financial position including, but not limited to, statements regarding: • Pricing • Goodwill, ship and trademark fair values • Booking levels • Liquidity and credit ratings • Occupancy • Adjusted earnings per share • Interest, tax and fuel expenses • Return to guest cruise operations.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJun 24th, 2022

Black Monday: All Hell Breaks Loose As Stocks Plunge Into Bear Market, Curve Inverts, Cryptos Crater

Black Monday: All Hell Breaks Loose As Stocks Plunge Into Bear Market, Curve Inverts, Cryptos Crater For all those claiming that stocks had priced in 3 (or more) 50bps (or more) rate hikes, we have some bad news. All hell is breaking loose on Monday, with futures tumbling (again) into bear market territory, sliding below the 20% technical cutoff from January's all time high of 3,856 and tumbling as low as 3,798.25 - taking out the May 10 intraday low of 3,810 - before reversing some modest gains. S&P 500 futures sank 2.5% and Nasdaq 100 contracts slid 3.1%, in a session that has seen virtually everything crash. Dow futures were down 567 points at of 730am ET. The global selloff - which has dragged Asian and European markets to multi-month lows and which was sparked by a hotter than expected US CPI print which heaped pressure on the Federal Reserve to step up monetary tightening - accelerated on Monday as panicking traders now bet the Fed will raise rates by 175 bps by its September decision, implying two 50-bp moves and one hike of 75 bps, with Barclays and now Jefferies predicting such a move may even come this week. If that comes to pass it would be the first time since 1994 the Fed resorted to such a draconian measure. The selling in stocks was matched only by the puke in Treasuries, as yields on 10-year US Treasuries reached 3.24%, the highest since October 2018, yet where 2Y yields sold off more, sending the 2s10s curve to invert again... ... for the second time ahead of the coming recession, an unprecedented event. The US yield curve appears destined to invert again in coming weeks after Wednesday’s CPI data: BBG We'll get two concurrent recessions — zerohedge (@zerohedge) May 12, 2022 Meanwhile, the selloff in European government bonds also gathered pace, with the yield on German’s two-year government debt rising above 1% for the first time in more than a decade and Italian yields exploding and nearing 4%, ensuring that another European sovereign debt crisis is just a matter of time (recall that all Italian net bond issuance in the past decade has been monetized by the ECB... well that is ending as the ECB pivots away from QE and NIRP). The exodus from stocks and bonds is gaining momentum on fears that central banks’ battle against inflation will end up killing economic growth. Inversions along the Treasury yield curve point to fears that the Fed won’t be able to stave off a hard landing. “The Fed will not be able to pause tightening let alone start easing,” said James Athey, investment director at abrdn. “If all global central banks deliver what’s priced there are going to be some significant negative shocks to economies.” Going back to the US market, big tech stocks slumped in US premarket trading as bets that the Federal Reserve hikes rates more aggressively sent bond yields higher, and Nasdaq futures dropped. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks cratered as Bitcoin continued its recent decline to hit an 18- month low, precipitated by news that crypto lender Celsius had halted withdrawals... ... which sent Ethereum to the most oversold level in 4 years. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Apple shares (AAPL US) -3.1%, Amazon (AMZN US) -3.4%, Microsoft (MSFT US) -2.8%, Alphabet (GOOGL US) -3.7%, Netflix -3.8% (NFLX US), Nvidia (NVDA US) -4.5% Tesla (TSLA US) shares dropped as much as 3.1% in US premarket trading amid losses across big tech stocks, while the electric-vehicle maker also filed to split shares 3-for-1 late Friday. MicroStrategy (MSTR US) -18.4%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -15%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) -14%, Coinbase (COIN US) -12.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT US) -10%, Silvergate Capital (SI US) -11%, Ebang (EBON US) -4% Bluebird Bio (BLUE US) shares surge as much as 86% in US premarket trading and are set to trim year-to- date losses after the biotech firm’s two gene therapies won backing from an FDA advisory panel. Chinese education stocks New Oriental Education (EDU US) and Gaotu Techedu (GOTU US) jump 8.3% and 3.4% respectively in US premarket trading after peer Koolearn’s endeavors into livestreaming e-commerce went viral and sent its shares up 95% in two sessions. Astra Space (ASTR US) shares slump as much as 25% in US premarket trading, after the spacetech firm’s TROPICS-1 mission saw a disappointing launch at the weekend. Invesco (IVZ US) and T. Rowe (TROW US) shares may be in focus today as BMO downgrades its rating on the two companies in a note saying it favors alternative asset managers over traditional players as a way to hedge beta risk against the current macro backdrop. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 also extended declines to a three-month low, plunging mover than 2%, with over 90% of members declining, as meeting-dated OIS rates price in 125bps of tightening, one 25bps move and two 50bps hikes by October.  Tech leads the declines as bond yields rise, with cyclical sectors such as autos and consumer products also lagging as recession risks rise.  The Stoxx 600 Tech Index falls as much as 4.3% to its lowest since November 2020. Chip stocks bear the brunt of the selloff: ASML -3%, Infineon -4.2%, STMicro -3.6%, ASM International -2.9%, BE Semi -2.8%, AMS -5.3% as of 9:36am CET. As if inflation fears weren't enough, French banks tumbled after a first round of legislative elections showed that President Emmanuel Macron could lose his outright majority in parliament. Here is a look at the biggest movers: Atos shares decline as much as 12%; Oddo says the company’s reported decision to retain and restructure its legacy IT services business in a separate legal entity is bad news for the company. Getinge falls as much as 7.6% after Kepler Cheuvreux cut its recommendation to hold from buy, cautioning that headwinds and supply chain challenges may intensify as Covid-related tailwinds abate. Elior plunges as much as 15% amid renewed worries over inflation and rising interest rates impacting a caterer that’s still looking for a new CEO following the unexpected departure of the previous one. Valneva falls as much as 27% in Paris after saying its effort to salvage an agreement to sell Covid-19 shots to the European Union looks likely to fail. Subsea 7 drops as much as 13% after the offshore technology company lowered its 2022 guidance, with analysts noting execution challenges on some of its offshore wind projects. French banks decline after a first round of legislative elections showed that President Emmanuel Macron could lose his outright majority in parliament. Societe Generale shares fall as much as 4.5%, BNP Paribas -4.2% Euromoney rises as much as 4.4% after UBS raises the stock to buy from neutral, saying the financial publishing and events firm’s “ambitious” growth targets for 2025 are broadly achievable. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also declined across the board following the hot US CPI data and amid fresh COVID concerns in China. Nikkei 225 fell below the 27k level with sentiment not helped by a deterioration in BSI All Industry data. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the downbeat mood with heavy losses among tech stocks owing to the higher yield environment and with mainland bourses constrained after the latest COVID outbreak and containment measures. The Emerging-market stocks index dropped about 3%, falling for a third day in the steepest intraday drop since March, as a fresh high in US inflation sparked concerns that the Fed may need to be more aggressive with rate hikes. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar rose a fourth day as the dollar outperformed all its Group of 10 peers apart from the yen, which earlier weakened to a 24-year low with NOK and AUD the worst G-10 performers. In EMs, currencies were led lower by the South Korean won and the South African rand as the index fell for a fifth day, the longest streak since April.  The onshore yuan dropped to a two-week low as a jump in US inflation boosted the dollar and China moved to re-impose Covid restrictions in key cities. India’s rupee dropped to a new record low amid a selloff in equities spurred by continuous exodus of foreign investors. The euro fell for a third day, touching an almost one-month low of 1.0456. Sterling fell after weaker-than-expected UK GDP highlighted the risks to the economy, with a global risk-off mood adding pressure on the currency, UK GDP fell 0.3% from March. The yen erased earlier losses after earlier falling to a 24-year low while Japanese bonds tumbled, prompting a warning from the Bank of Japan as its easy monetary policy increasingly feels the strain of rising interest rates globally. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said a recent abrupt weakening of the yen is bad for the economy and pledged to closely work with the government hours after the yen hit the lowest level since 1998. Bitcoin is hampered amid broad-based losses in the crypto space with the likes of Celsius pausing withdrawals/transfers due to the "extreme market conditions". Currently, Bitcoin is at the bottom-end of a USD 23.7-27.9 range for the session. In rates, the US two-year yield exceeded the 10-year for the first time since early April, an unprecedented re-inversion. The 2-year Treasury yield touched the highest level since 2007 and the 10-year yield the highest since 2018. Treasuries continued to sell off in Asia and early European sessions, leaving 2-year yields cheaper by 15bp on the day into the US day as investors continue to digest Friday’s inflation data. Into the weakness a flurry of block trades in futures added to soaring yields. Three-month dollar Libor jumps 8.4bps. US yields remain close to cheapest levels of the day into early US session, higher by 13bp to 6bp across the curve: 2s10s, 5s30s spreads flatter by 5bp and 5.5bp on the day -- 5s30s dropped as low as -16.6bp (flattest since 2000) while 2s10s bottomed at -2bp. US 10-year yields around 3.235%, remain cheaper by 8bp on the day and lagging bunds, gilts by 2.5bp and 5bp in the sector. Fed-dated OIS now pricing in one 75bp move over the next three policy meetings with 175bp combined hikes priced by September, while 55bp -- or 20% chance of a 75bp move is priced into Wednesday’s meeting. A selloff of European government bonds gathered pace as traders priced in a more aggressive pace of tightening from the ECB, with traders now wagering on two half-point hikes by October. The Bank of Japan announced it would conduct an additional bond-buying operation, offering to purchase 500b yen in 5- to 10-year government bonds Tuesday after 10-year yields rose above the upper limit of its policy band. In commodities, oil and iron ore paced declines among growth-sensitive commodities; crude futures traded off worst levels. WTI remains ~1% lower near 119.30. Spot gold gives back half of Friday’s gains to trade near $1,855/oz. Base metals are in the red with LME tin lagging While it's a busy week ahead, with the FOMC meeting on deck where the Fed is set to hike 50bps, or maybe 75bps and even 100bps, there is nothing on Monday's calendar. Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard will discuss the Community Reinvestment Act in a pre-recorded video and an audience Q&A; she is not expected to discuss monetary policy given the FOMC blackout period. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 2.4% to 3,803.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 2.0% to 414.12 MXAP down 2.7% to 161.61 MXAPJ down 2.8% to 534.45 Nikkei down 3.0% to 26,987.44 Topix down 2.2% to 1,901.06 Hang Seng Index down 3.4% to 21,067.58 Shanghai Composite down 0.9% to 3,255.55 Sensex down 3.2% to 52,585.17 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.3% to 6,931.98 Kospi down 3.5% to 2,504.51 Brent Futures down 1.9% to $119.71/bbl Gold spot down 0.8% to $1,857.56 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.39% to 104.55 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.54% Euro down 0.3% to $1.0484 Brent Futures down 1.9% to $119.69/bbl Top Overnight News “Sell everything but the dollar” is resounding across trading desks as investors reprice the risk that the Federal Reserve hikes rates more aggressively than previously thought Investors rushed to price in more aggressive Federal Reserve rate hikes Monday as the US inflation shock continued to reverberate, sending two-year Treasury yields to a 15-year high and strengthening the dollar UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson risks reopening divisions that tore his Conservative Party apart in 2019, with his government set to propose a law that would let UK ministers override parts of the Brexit deal he signed with the European Union Crypto lender Celsius Network Ltd. paused withdrawals, swaps and transfers on its platform, fueling a broad cryptocurrency selloff and prompting a competitor to announce a potential bid for its assets French President Emmanuel Macron has a week to convince voters to give him an outright majority in parliament to ease the way for the controversial social and economic reforms he promised. Shares in France fell on the results A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks declined across the board following the hot US CPI data which rose to a 40-year high and amid fresh COVID concerns in China. Nikkei 225 fell below the 27k level with sentiment not helped by a deterioration in BSI All Industry data. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the downbeat mood with heavy losses among tech stocks owing to the higher yield environment and with mainland bourses constrained after the latest COVID outbreak and containment measures. Top Asian News Beijing government said the scale of Beijing’s latest outbreak linked to bars is ferocious and explosive in nature after the city reported 166 cases in a bar cluster and with 6,158 people determined as close contacts linked to the bar cluster, while Beijing announced to halt offline sports events from today and the district of Chaoyang is to launch mass COVID testing on June 13th-15th, according to Reuters. Shanghai re-imposed a ban on dine-in restaurant services in most districts and punished officials for a management lapse at a quarantine hotel, according to Business Times. At least three Chinese cities of Beijing, Nanjing and Wuhan are trialling a shorter quarantine period of 7+7 days for international arrivals at entry points, according to Global Times. Beijing government spokesperson says that the Beijing COVID-19 bar outbreak still presents risks to the community; Beijing City reports 45 new local cases of 3pm, according to a health official, via Reuters, adding that the COVID-19 bar outbreak is still developing and epidemic control is at a critical juncture. Chinese Defence Minister Wei said China firmly rejects accusations and threats by the US against China, while he added the US Indo-Pacific strategy will create confrontation and that Taiwan is first and foremost China’s Taiwan. Wei also said those that pursue Taiwan's independence will come to no good end and that China will fight to the end if anyone attempts to secede Taiwan from China, according to Reuters. Furthermore, Wei reiterated that Beijing views the annexation of Taiwan as a historic mission that must be achieved which its military would be willing to fight for but added that peaceful unification remained the biggest hope of the Chinese people and they are willing to make the biggest effort to achieve it, according to FT. China urges local governments to raise revenue and sell assets to resolve debt risks, via Reuters. Urges local govt's to lower the debt burden; adding, they will crackdown on illegal debt raising. Japanese Defence Minister Kishi met with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore and said Japan and China agreed to promote defence dialogue and exchanges, while Japan warned China against attempting to alter the status quo in the South and East China sea, according to Reuters. Australian and Chinese defence ministers met in Singapore on Sunday for the first time in three years at the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue summit with the talks described as an important first step following a period of strained ties, according to AFP News Agency. European bourses are hampered across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 -2.5%, in a continuation of the fallout from Friday's US CPI and amid fresh COVID concerns in China. US futures are in-fitting with this price action, ES -2.4% (sub-3800 at worst), ahead of the FOMC where the likes of Barclays now look for a 75bp hike after the May inflation release. Sectors in Europe are all in the red and feature Travel & Leisure as the underperformer given further cancellations going into the summer period. Top European News UK Northern Ireland Secretary Lewis said the government will publish legislation on the Northern Ireland Protocol on Monday and that the bill will rectify the issues in the protocol, according to Reuters. Reports suggest that the new law could see European judges blocked from having the final say on Northern Ireland-related disputes, according to the Telegraph. UK Tory MPs accused PM Johnson of ‘damaging the UK and everything the Conservatives stand for’ as he plans to release legislation on Monday to tear up the Northern Ireland protocol, according to FT. UK government ministers are drawing up plans to cut the link between gas and electricity to help reduce household bills for millions of families, according to The Times. UK Foreign Minister Truss says she has spoken to EU VP Sefcovic about the Nothern Ireland protocol and the preference is for a negotiated solution; adding, the EU needs to be willing to change the protocol. French President Macron’s majority in parliament is at risk as an IFOP initial estimate showed that Macron’s centrist camp is seen qualified for winning 275-310 out of 577 seats after the first round of the French lower house elections, while the IPSOS initial estimate shows the centrist camp is qualified for winning 255-295 seats, according to Reuters. Note, 289 seats are required for a majority FX Greenback extends US inflation data gains as near term Fed hike expectations crank up; DXY hits 104.750 to eclipse May 16 high and expose 105.010 YTD peak. Pound undermined by negative UK GDP and output prints plus NI protocol jitters, Cable perilously close to 1.2200 and EUR/GBP tops 0.8575. Aussie hit by heightened Chinese Covid concerns and demand implication for commodities, Kiwi feeling contagion and Loonie lurching as oil prices retreat; AUD/USD sub-0.7000, NZD/USD near 0.6300 and USD/CAD just shy of 1.2850. Euro and Franc make way for outperforming Buck, but Yen claws back losses on risk dynamics allied to technical retracement; EUR/USD under 1.0500, USD/CHF above 0.9900 and USD/JPY below 134.50 vs 135.20 apex overnight. Yuan falls as Beijing suffers ferocious and explosive virus outbreak and Shanghai reimposes restrictions in most districts, USD/CNH pivots 6.7500 and USD/CNY straddles 6.7350. Commodities WTI & Brent are hampered amid the broader market pressure; though, did experience a fleeting move off lows during a break in the newsflow. Currently, the benchmarks are lower by circa. USD 2.00/bbl given Friday's CPI, China COVID, geopolitics around US-China-Taiwan and Iran-IAEA developments (or lack of) following last week's camera removal. Iraq set July Basrah medium crude OSP to Asia at a premium of USD 3.30/bbl vs Oman/Dubai average and set OSP to Europe at a discount of USD 7.60/bbl vs dated Brent, while it set OSP to North and South America at a discount of USD 1.70/bbl vs ASCI, according to Reuters citing Iraq’s SOMO. Libya’s Minister of Oil and Gas Aoun said Libya is currently losing more than 1.1mln bpd of oil production and that most oil fields are closed except for the Hamada field and the Mellitah complex, while the Al-Wafa field continues operations from time to time, according to The Libya Observer. QatarEnegy signed an agreement with TotalEnergies (TTE FP) for the North Field East expansion project, while it will announce subsequent signings with partners in the gas field expansion in the near future and possibly at the end of next week, according to Reuters. Norwegian Oil and Gas Association reached an agreement in principle with three unions of offshore workers to avert a strike although two of the unions will ask members before signing a deal, according to Reuters. Spot gold is pressured by circa. USD 15/oz amid a stronger USD and pronounced yield action; however, the yellow metal is yet to drop below USD 1850/oz and the 10-, 21- & 200-DMAs at USD 1852, 1847 & 1842 respectively. Fixed Income Bond bears still in control and pushing futures down to fresh troughs, at 145.85 for Bunds, 112.33 for Gilts and 115-30+ for 10 year T-note. Cash yields test or breach psychological levels, like 1.50%, 2.5% and 3.25%, while 2-10 year US spread inverts briefly on rising recession risk. Monday agenda very light, but big week ahead including top tier data and multiple Central Bank policy meetings. Central Banks BoJ announces new offer for bond buying programme in which it is to purchase JPY 500bln in 5yr-10yr JGBs tomorrow and will increase amount of offers for its bond buying as needed. BoJ fixed-rate bond purchases exceed JPY 1tln, at their highest since 2018, via Bloomberg; Further reported that the BoJ accepts JPY 1.5tln of bids for the daily offers to purchase 10yr bonds. BoJ Governor Kuroda says they must support the economy with monetary easing to achieve higher wages; adding, the domestic economy is still in the midst of a COVID recovery. Increasing raw material costs are increasing downward pressure, recent sharp JPY dalls are undesirable. Additionally, Japan's Finance Minister says a weak JPY has both merits and demerits. BoJ buys JPY 70.1bln in ETF, according to a disclosure. DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This week is squarely and firmly all about the FOMC meeting on Wednesday. We go into it with the 2yr US note up +25bps on Friday and another c.+10bps this morning in Asia. The 2s10s curve has flattened around 20bps since Friday morning to c.2bps as we type. So some dramatic moves. The problem as we enter the next couple of Fed and ECB meetings is that the central banks haven't quite been able to let go of forward guidance and are a little trapped. To recap, forward guidance has prevented the Fed and the ECB from hiking as early as they needed to, largely because both saw the need to gradually wind down asset purchases over several months first as promised. However this hasn't deterred them, and they have continued to try to flag their intentions to the market in advance with the Fed having previously all but signalled a 50bps this Wednesday, as well as in July, with the ECB now signalling 25bps in July and a strong possibility of 50bps in September. Providing clarity is admirable but in the wake of another shocking US CPI print on Friday, should a 75bps hike not be a serious consideration? It seems strange that most think policy needs to be restrictive but that it's going to take several meetings to get there from a still highly accommodative position. Without the recent Fed guidance, 75bps would be firmly on the table for Wednesday. This is highly unlikely this week, but our economists think they could break cover from their own guidance and leave the door open for 75bps in July. DB Research has long been at the hawkish end on inflation and the Fed, and on Friday our US economists further raised their hiking expectations. In addition to 50bps at the next two meetings they have now added 50bps in September and November, before a return to 25bps in December (to 3.125%). They now see the peak at 4.125% in mid-2023. This is closer to the 5% view in the "Why the upcoming recession will be worse than expected" (link here) that David Folkerts-Landau, Peter Hooper and myself published back in April. If we do have a terminal Fed rate approaching a 5-handle it does raise the question as to where 10yr yields top out. My guess would be a slightly inverted curve but it would likely mean the 4.5-5% range discussed in the note from April, mentioned above, is within reason. We'll recap details of the big US CPI print in last week's recap in the second half of this piece, but it wasn't just this that was the problem on Friday, as the University of Michigan long-term inflation expectations series hit 3.3% (3.0% last month) which was the highest since 2008. This series first hit 3% last May so has actually been range trading for a year, which has been a hope for the doves. However it now risks breaking out to the upside. It's not just the Fed this week as the BoE (Thursday) and the BoJ (Friday) will also meet. For the UK, a preview from our UK economists can be found here. The team expects a +25bps hike this week and have updated their terminal rate forecast from 1.75% to 2.5%. Staying in the UK, labour market data releases will be out tomorrow with retail sales on Friday. The week will conclude with a decision from the BoJ and how they address pressures from the yen hovering around a 20-year low, as well as the growing monetary policy divergence between Japan and other G7 economies. Our chief Japan economist previews the meeting here. He expects a shortening or even the abandonment of yield curve control in H2 2023. In data terms we go back to the US for the main highlights, with PPI (tomorrow) and retail sales (Friday) the main events. China's key May indicators on Wednesday will also have global implications as we await industrial production, retail sales and property investment numbers. Elsewhere in the US, we have June's Philadelphia Fed business outlook (Wednesday), and May industrial production and capacity utilisation (Friday) numbers. April business inventories will be out on Wednesday and provide markets with a check on corporate stockpiling after Target's renewed warning last week. Finally, a slew of housing market data is due. This includes the June NAHB housing market index (Wednesday) and May building permits and housing starts (Thursday). The impact of rising mortgage rates will be in focus. In Europe, Germany's ZEW survey for June (tomorrow) is among the key data highlights. We will also see April industrial production and trade balance data for the Eurozone on Wednesday and Eurozone construction output and April trade balance data for Italy on Friday. ECB speakers will also be on the radar for investors as they tend to start to break the party line on the Monday after the ECB meeting. A lengthy line up includes ECB President Lagarde on Wednesday and six other speakers. Asian stock markets have started the week on a weaker footing with all the major indices trading deep in the red after a rough week on Wall Street. The Hang Seng (-2.81%) is leading losses across the region in early trade amid a tech sell-off whilst the Shanghai Composite (-1.20%) and CSI (-1.07%) are both sliding as a resurgence of Covid cases in China is threating global growth. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (-2.64%) is also sharply down this morning, with the Kospi declining as much as -2.50%, hitting its lowest level since November 2020. As discussed at the top, 10yr USTs (+2.81 bps) have moved higher to 3.18% while the 2yr yield (+9.8 bps) has exploded higher to 3.16%. Will we see a fresh inversion in the hours and days ahead? Oil prices are lower with Brent futures -1.36% to $120.35/bbl and WTI futures -1.48%, falling below the $120/bbl mark. On the FX side, there is no respite for the Japanese yen from rising Treasury yields as the currency hit a fresh 24yr low, declining -0.50% to 135.08 versus the dollar. DMs equity futures point to further losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-1.33%), NASDAQ 100 (-1.87%) and DAX (-1.37%) all trading in negative territory. Moving on to the French legislative elections. In the first round, exit polls indicate that President Emmanuel Macron is at risk of losing his outright majority after a strong showing by the left-wing alliance in the first round of the country’s parliamentary election. According to the official results, Jean-Luc Mélenchon's left-wing NUPES alliance (+25.61%) finished neck and neck with Mr Macron's Ensemble (+25.71%), in terms of votes cast in Sunday's first round. An average of 5 pollsters expect Macron to win 262-301 seats, with 289 needed to keep his majority. So a nervy wait ahead of the second round. Turning back to review last week now. The business end of the week had two huge macro events that sent markets into some degree of upheaval. On Thursday, the ECB met, confirming the end of net APP purchases this month, paving the way for liftoff in July. Beyond July they opened the door for 50 basis point hikes if inflation persists or deteriorates. Judging by their upgraded forecasts, they are now in the ‘persists’ camp. President Lagarde in the press conference took great pains to commit to fighting inflation in a hawkish tone shift. The bigger market reaction was on the apparent lack of progress on any implementation tool designed to avoid fragmentation. President Lagarde tried to downplay the lack of new tool, leaning on PEPP reinvestment flexibility, but the market wasn’t comfortable that this would be enough. All told, 2yr bunds increased +30.9bps (+13.6bps Friday) on the tighter expected policy path, with the end-2022 policy rate implied by OIS markets ending the week at 0.99%, a new high and in line with our Euro economists updated call (their full review and new call here). The lack of an immediate anti-fragmentation tool saw peripheral spreads underperform, moving to new post-Covid wides, as 10yr BTPs increased +35.9bps (+16.0bps Friday) with 10yr Spanish bonds increasing +34.0bps (+15.6bps Friday), versus a 10yr bund increase of +24.3bps (+8.6bps Friday). The Friday moves above were given a further boost by yet another above consensus US CPI report, with YoY inflation gaining +8.6% in May versus expectations it would stay consistent with the prior month’s +8.3% reading. FOMC officials have consistently cited deceleration in MoM readings as necessary to find clear and convincing evidence that inflation was stabilising and returning to target, evidence which they surely didn’t get on Friday, as MoM inflation increased +1.0% from +0.3% in April, beating lofty expectations of +0.7%. The dramatic beats drove the expected path of Fed tightening sharply higher, with 2yr Treasury yields increasing +40.9bps on the week after a +25.0bp gain Friday, it’s largest one-day move since June 2009. The expected fed funds rate by the end of the year reached a new high of 3.22%. The curve aggressively bear flattened, as the reality that the Fed will have to induce slower growth to tame inflation set in; 10yr yields gained +22.0bps on the week and +11.2bps on Friday, with almost all of the increase coming in real yields. That brings 2s10s to 8.8bps, its flattest since its early-April rebound after its brief inversion. The sharp global policy repricing weighed on equity indices. All major transatlantic indices fell, including the STOXX 600 (-3.95% week, -2.69% Friday), DAX (-4.83%, -3.08%), CAC (-4.60%, -2.69%), S&P 500 (-5.05%, -2.91%), NASDAQ (-5.60%, -3.52%), FANG+ (-2.87%, -3.37%), and Russell 200 (-4.26%, -2.60%). That brings the STOXX 600 -14.49% below its YTD highs reached in the first days of the year, with the S&P 500 -18.40% below the same corresponding metric. Both indices ended the week hovering just above YTD lows. US CDX HY and Euro Crossover were +58bps and +47bps on the week and around +30bps and +25bps wider on Friday. Both are now at their post covid wides. Tyler Durden Mon, 06/13/2022 - 07:57.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 13th, 2022

Return Thomas Jefferson Statues To Their Rightful Place

Return Thomas Jefferson Statues To Their Rightful Place Authored by Mary Grabar via RealClear Public Affairs, On Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, we should take our cue from the Tulsa Star, a now-defunct black newspaper. Its masthead from 1920 included statements of religious and political faith, including a paraphrase from the Declaration of Independence: “‘All men are born equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’” It went on to state: “We believe in the principles of true Democracy as promulgated by the patriot, Thomas Jefferson, and without fear or favor we will be found at all times fighting for an honest, impartial application of these principles to all men regardless of race or color.” It's notable that such a statement of allegiance to Jeffersonian principles appeared at a point in our nation’s history when segregation and discrimination remained entrenched – and enforced, in some places, by roving gangs wearing white sheets. But it was also the time of the “New Negro,” a time of assertiveness after black men had proven (once again) their fighting abilities on the field of battle, this time in World War I. A new class of businessmen and writers was making its mark on Harlem. And the NAACP was working with the nation’s best legal minds in an attempt to put the words of Jefferson’s Declaration into action and move the country toward observing the post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution. The Tulsa Star’s statement expressed the ideals of the era’s black leaders. They knew that Jefferson had been a slaveowner. Yet Jefferson was for them the “Apostle of Liberty.” Nonetheless, they understood that apostles are not perfect. In the secular sense, per Merriam-Webster, an apostle is “a person who initiates a great moral reform or who first advocates an important belief or system.” Jefferson’s words in the Declaration inspired a worldwide movement for freedom and equality, including 19th-century abolitionist movements. When blacks filed suits for freedom in the post-Revolutionary War period, they drew upon the Declaration’s stirring words. It wasn’t until decades after Jefferson’s words were written on the Tulsa Star’s masthead that federal laws ensuring racial equality were enacted. As Shelby Steele has related from his own boyhood, in some regions blacks had to rely on personal networks just to find a restaurant, hotel, or bathroom. I did not understand the reality of such disparate treatment until the late 1980s, when, on a trip to the Atlanta Zoo with my son’s preschool class, I was told by one of the caregivers, a middle-aged black woman, that at one time she was not allowed to enter that zoo. Though I had known long before then that segregation was the law in the 1950s and early 1960s, her remark brought this history home to me. The ideals associated with 1776 came under fierce attack in 2019. A special issue of the New York Times, announcing the 1619 Project, set the nation astir, getting not just academics but ordinary citizens questioning the American Founding. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the project’s creator, presented a twisted biography of Jefferson in an attempt to undermine the nation’s aspirational principles. Unlike the editors of the Tulsa Star, Hannah-Jones viewed Jefferson as the hypocritical head of “forced-labor camps” who fathered the children of his slave, Sally Hemings. She maintained that the United States was a “slavocracy” built on the backs of slaves. Attacks against Jefferson are nothing new. In the late 1990s, historian Annette Gordon-Reed continued a project begun by Fawn Brodie of smearing Jefferson in works that abandoned standards of historical scholarship, including altering evidence. Gordon-Reed deleted critically important words from one of Jefferson’s letters, ignored other evidence, and berated readers as racists if they questioned her claims. Even after DNA testing showed only a slight possibility that Jefferson had fathered one of Hemings’s children, and several prominent historians determined that the circumstances made that likelihood minuscule, Gordon-Reed, who will be honored with the opening of Annette Gordon-Reed Elementary in her hometown in east Texas, continues to perpetuate the allegation. Even the nonprofit that maintains Jefferson’s estate, Monticello, follows along. As I discovered during a recent visit, the Monticello website’s claim that “Jefferson fathered at least six of Sally Hemings’s children” is repeated in displays and by tour guides. Though the tour’s themes, displays, and educational materials already heavily emphasize slavery, our tour guide added verbal harangues. She lectured us about the hypocrisy of Jefferson’s words about all men being “created equal” at a time when women, black men, Native Americans, and the poor could not vote. The drumbeat of such vilification is bound to have an effect. In 2020, after the death of George Floyd, Jefferson became a prominent target in what some have called the “1619 Riots.” Outside a Portland, Oregon high school, a statue of Jefferson was pulled down with bungee cords, its empty base spray-painted with the words “slave owner.” Hofstra University moved its Jefferson statue to an out-of-the-way place on campus. In Decatur, Georgia, after a protestor held up a sign calling Jefferson a rapist, a statue of Jefferson holding a pen above a writing table near the courthouse had to be removed. Proposals to rename schools bearing Jefferson’s name proliferated around the country. In November, Jefferson’s statue was removed from City Hall in New York and exiled to the New York Historical Society. The attacks on Jefferson monuments are more than attacks on Jefferson the man. They are attacks on our American principles. It is no coincidence that those calling for the removal of Jefferson’s likeness are often the same people who reject longstanding American principles and embrace critical race theory, which teaches that rights emanate from the government and are determined by group membership. The principle of equal rights – which animates laws that make it illegal to deny public accommodation based on race – are now under threat. In the past two years, the outlook that underpins critical race theory has spread broadly in American life. Some medical professionals and political leaders have put nonwhite groups at the head of the line to receive Covid-19 vaccines. Such irrational and harmful practices – determining access to medical treatment by group characteristics – arise from the Marxist ideology propelling critical race theory. Those who favor such policies believe that they will always be the beneficiaries of them – but they should think again. When rights are endowed by the state, and not – as in Jefferson’s Declaration – by the creator, they can be removed on a whim. We have seen this happen in history. Those who have lived in Communist regimes have experienced it personally. The images of toppled Thomas Jefferson statues may prefigure a nation succumbing to what my parents and relatives fled from and what American civil rights leaders fought to eradicate. We should heed the words of the Tulsa Star – not those of the 1619 Project. And we should return the statues of Jefferson to their pedestals, so that his image can remind us of his words and the principles for which they stand. *  *  * Mary Grabar holds a Ph.D. in English and taught in a number of colleges in Georgia, most recently Emory University. In 2014, she became a resident fellow at The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization and wrote two books, Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America (2019) and Debunking The 1619 Project: Exposing the Plan to Divide America (2021). More information and articles can be found at marygrabar.com and dissidentprof.com. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/16/2022 - 12:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytApr 16th, 2022

How China turned a Tiananmen Square memorial into one of the most sought-after sculptures in the world

The "Pillar of Shame" was meant to spread all around the world. It didn't — until now, thanks to its removal in Hong Kong. Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt (right) with a Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for Insider Last December, Hong Kong removed the Pillar of Shame, a memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The removal only increased the monument's fame – and brought a flood of requests for replicas.  Creator Jens Galschiøt gave up his copyright to the sculpture, enabling 3D printers to make copies. HONG KONG – In the 1990s, a Danish sculptor launched an audacious project to pepper the earth with copies of a grotesque sculpture that depicted human bodies wreathed together in pain. The monument, known as the "Pillar of Shame," is constructed out of bronze, copper or concrete and stands atop a square plinth. It rises about 8 meters, or 26 feet, in all. Its creator, Jens Galschiøt, envisioned it as a "Nobel Prize of Injustice" and vowed to place replicas of the pillar all over the world to mark acts of genocide and murder. For a time, Galschiøt's effort was something of a success. He installed a copy of the pillar in Hong Kong in 1997 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops killed hundreds if not thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters. He landed a second copy in Mexico in 1999 to commemorate the slaughter of Indigenous people and a third in Brazil in 2000 to honor landless peasants killed by military police. But then the project stalled. For over two decades, it seemed no one was interested in getting a Pillar of Shame — that is, until now.These days, the 67-year-old sculptor is so inundated with requests for copies of his signature artwork that he needs a full-time apprentice just to manage the endless stream of emails and phone calls. He's being sought out for art exhibitions, speeches, interviews, and new Pillar of Shame installations around the world. At Galschiøt's foundry, about two hours outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, his team is working overtime to cast replicas of various sizes. He has also invited artists everywhere to help meet the demand for replicas by using 3D-printing technologies and a free blueprint of the sculpture."The Pillar of Shame in miniature.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe spark that led to an explosion of interest in Galschiøt's project came in October, when Hong Kong University  ordered that the Pillar of Shame be removed from its longtime home on the school's campus — part of a larger effort to erase any public commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.The sculpture's removal, carried out in the dead of night two days before Christmas, accomplished its goal of eliminating the controversial monument from public view. But it also unleashed something unexpected: China and Hong Kong authorities gave Galschiøt's struggling art project the sort of publicity that no amount of money and PR firms could buy. Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame was suddenly being discussed in The Washington Post and The New York Times and in outlets in Thailand, Iceland, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Indonesia, to name just a few."They have made a big mistake," Galschiøt said in an interview. "Now, instead of one, they're getting hundreds of Pillars of Shame."A group of former US government officials is working to erect a full-size replica in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. In Norway, there's a request to display a replica near the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. In Taiwan, a pro-democracy group plans to unveil a 3D-printed model by June 4 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. An artists collective is planning to organize a worldwide tour with Galschiøt's pillar to raise awareness of Hong Kong's struggle for democracy.Makerwiz 3D-printing studio in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Source: Makerwiz.Galschiøt is also making smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper that he aims to hoist on top of plinths with plates dedicated to Tiananmen victims and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, installing them at universities. For everyone else — volunteers at his workshop and ordinary people who are inspired by Galschiøt's vision, or perhaps his tenacity — he has finished a batch of 60 bronze copies that are about a foot tall. He's working on another 40. "There's a lot of people who ask for a copy of that sculpture now," Galschiøt said.The nascent efforts are a cautionary tale of what happens when regimes try to censor art. "The rulers, tyrants know the power of art. That's why artists, poets, and musicians are the first ones they persecute and even kill," said Rose Tang, a Tiananmen survivor and artist. But, as one 3D printer who recently replicated Galschiøt's sculpture put it, "ideas can never be suppressed." Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame is finally an idea whose time has come. Except, rather than commemorating atrocities in spots across the globe, the monument now seems poised to become synonymous with one event above all others: the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's efforts to erase it from memory. A witness For more than two decades, anyone who visited the western edge of Hong Kong University's winding Pok Fu Lam campus would inevitably bump into Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame. It was situated off a major campus walkway, boxed inside a narrow atrium next to a popular student canteen. (Disclosure: The author teaches at Hong Kong University's journalism program.) As you looked up from your meal, your eyes would fall upon the Eiffel Tower-like heap of some 50 twisted bodies screaming in pain. Many of the faces looked like cadavers that had already breathed their last while others appeared to be in the act of dying; a man clutching a baby looked as if he was running away from some danger. Layers of thick orange paint flowed from the top down, turning yellow and peeling in places, giving the whole mass the hellish appearance of a pile of burning human flesh. The inscription "THE TIANANMEN MASSACRE" was etched in thick, blood-red letters on one side of the square base, above the date June 4, 1989. Directly to the left was another inscription that read, "the old cannot kill the young forever."Students gather around Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderFor students who came to study here from mainland China, the pillar might be their first introduction to the Tiananmen massacre. On one side of the pillar's base, a plaque provided "A Brief History of the 1989 Beijing Pro-Democracy Movement." It recounted how the death of pro-reform Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989 sparked mass demonstrations in favor of democratic reforms. Beijing's Tiananmen Square became a central gathering spot for students who waged a hunger strike to try to prompt a dialogue with Communist Party leaders. The government refused, declared martial law, and ultimately sent in military convoys to clear the square. On June 3 and 4, 1989, "several thousand soldiers forced their way via various routes into Beijing City, using guns and bullets to shoot unarmed citizens and students. Tanks were deployed to recover the Square," the plaque read. An official death toll was never confirmed. A 1990 report on the massacre by Amnesty International noted that Chinese authorities tallied some 200 civilian casualties, while Amnesty itself concluded that at least 1,000 people had been killed. Another more recent estimate based on a diplomatic cable declassified in 2017 pinned the number of civilian casualties at more than 10,000.Whatever the ultimate toll, there was no doubt in Rose Tang's mind that it had been a bloody day. Rose Tang in Tiananmen Square on May 21, 1989. At the time, she was a 20-year-old freshman in college.Rose Tang/HandoutTang was a freshman studying English at what was then known as the Beijing Second Foreign Languages Institute. She ditched classes in the spring of 1989 to join her classmates in Tiananmen Square to chant pro-democracy slogans, even though, she now says, she had very little idea of what democracy even meant. Her memoir of the events of June 4 describes bullets whizzing overhead, a stampede trampling over dead bodies, and the deafening noise of tanks moving in and crushing tents set up in the square. But there's one detail of the aftermath that helps explain why Galschiøt's sculpture found a loyal following in Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997. When Tang revisited Tiananmen Square some seven months after the massacre, she found no trace of what had happened there that day. There were no signs of blood stains or bullet holes from June 4, 1989, let alone any memorial. She walked around, trying to find proof to back up her memories. There were only a few armed soldiers patrolling the square as water trucks sprinkled water on the ground. "All I could see was the clean wet concrete ground glittering in street lights," she recalled in her memoir.Tang turned to a life of art and activism to help her cope with the events of that day. She has written poetry and music inspired by June 4, 1989, and toured with a band that performed songs that student protesters sang at Tiananmen Square. "Making music and using music to heal and mobilize people is my way of carrying on the true legacy of Tiananmen. Art is power. Performance is protest," she said.Tang eschewed making sculptures, though. "I just personally found it really hard to convey the experience of Tiananmen through visual art," she said. She admires Galschiøt for trying. Rose Tang at a Tiananmen Square massacre memorial in New York City on June 4, 2020.Thirdblade PhotographyBut something about Galschiøt's sculpture always puzzled Tang. On close inspection, the figures assembled on Galschiøt's pillar appeared to span the races. One could be excused for wondering whether this was all a mistake: A white man from Denmark created a sculpture to commemorate the killings of Chinese civilians, and he filled it with people from all over the world?'My Inner Beast'The international nature of the sculpture was precisely what Galschiøt had in mind when he began to sketch out the vision for his Pillar of Shame in the early 1990s. Galschiøt had turned to making sculptures in the 1980s after a career as a blacksmith at a Danish shipyard and a rebellious youth filled with drugs, travel, and a desire to distance himself from his father's communist sympathies. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he grew hopeful for a more egalitarian future but was soon dismayed by Serbian militias' mass rape of Muslim women in Bosnia and other atrocities. He became convinced that civilization is only a thin veneer that can crumble at any time and unleash an inner barbarism laid bare in such episodes. In 1993 he installed concrete sculptures of a pig dressed in a gentleman's overcoat in 20 cities across Europe. Titled "My Inner Beast," the project aimed to call attention to Europeans' mistreatment of ethnic minorities. The sculptures proved an unwelcome sight to governments that never asked for them. Most were torn down, and only a few remain standing today. Galschiøt's middle son, Kasper Galschiøt Markus, recalled eating "significantly more porridge" in the months that followed since Galschiøt nearly went broke paying for the project out of pocket. But profit wasn't the goal. The reaction to the sculpture became part of the story the art sought to tell, summarized by the motto, "It is not the foreigners but our reaction to the foreigners that threatens our civilization." Galschiøt preparing a Pillar of Shame replica.Mikkel Møller for InsiderGalschiøt began to make small models of the Pillar of Shame that same year. As the idea took shape, he assembled 7 tons of clay to create the casting mold for the sculpture.He included faces of people that represented a wide variety of races and ethnicities, hoping to create a universal symbol. Once he finished his prototype in 1996, he went looking for contacts who could help him install it in various places around the world. The Tiananmen Square massacre quickly came to mind, but he knew it would be impossible to install a pillar in Beijing. 'They made a good fight for freedom'Hong Kong offered the tantalizing possibility of a work-around. After years of negotiations, the UK was due to hand control of Hong Kong back to China on July 1, 1997.  If Galschiøt could get the pillar to Hong Kong while the city was still in British hands, China would take the sculpture with it. "At that time, we had good reason to believe that this statue would not be allowed to enter after the transition," Albert Ho, who helped Galschiøt get the pillar to Hong Kong, recalled in a later interview.Ho was a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, a group founded in 1989 just before the massacre. One of the alliance's signature projects was an annual candlelight vigil commemorating Tiananmen victims. Galschiøt reached out to see whether the group would help him install a replica of the sculpture and soon he had a partner: On May 2, 1997, he packed up a copy of the pillar in a shipping container and sent it off to Hong Kong. The sculpture arrived at a Hong Kong container terminal nine days before the alliance's annual candlelight vigil in the city's sprawling Victoria Park. The alliance displayed it prominently at the June 4 vigil, which happened to coincide with Galschiøt's birthday. Afterward, the pillar was loaded onto a truck headed for Hong Kong University, where student leaders hoped to install it near their student union. Tang joined part of the march to campus, walking alongside Galschiøt. Galschiøt grew concerned as scuffles broke out between students and security guards who wouldn't let the truck through to campus. Security guards eventually relented, and the sculpture was dropped off as onlookers applauded, according to Associated Press archival footage from the night. "They made a good fight for freedom," Galschiøt told an AP reporter at the time.The pillar made the rounds to several schools around the city before the Hong Kong University student union voted in 1998 to permanently host it on its campus. Galschiøt, meanwhile, wrote a manifesto for his artwork. "My name is Jens Galschiøt. I'm a Danish artist born 1954. My new art happening the Pillar of Shame has just been launched, as the sculpture was displayed 4th June '97 in Hong Kong," began the lengthy December 1997 missive, which predicted that "over the next ten years the happening will spread over the Planet." Galschiøt listed Auschwitz, the site of the infamous Nazi death camp, and Rwanda, where a 1994 genocide had just killed an estimated 800,000 people, as two possible candidates for Pillars of Shame.Galschiøt outside his studio in Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderSoon he managed to install a "Columna de la infamia" in Mexico to commemorate the 1997 killings of 45 Indigenous people in Chiapas state and a "Coluna da infâmia" in Brazil to mark the 1996 murder of 19 landless Brazilian peasants. Both sculptures made brief appearances near parliament buildings in their respective countries, elevating their visibility in Mexico and Brazil. In 1999 he outlined a grand vision to install a pillar in Berlin atop a platform covered with bronze plates notched with 10 million lines representing the victims of Nazi-era persecution (the project was too costly, and he gave up on it in late 2002). In 2012, he traveled to Iraq to explore the possibility of placing a pillar there to commemorate the victims of Saddam Hussein's mass murders of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s (installing a sculpture in a war zone was too dangerous, though Galschiøt hopes to try again someday).Galschiøt openly mused that Hong Kong's Pillar of Shame might someday move to Beijing if political circumstances allowed it. But he acknowledged that it might just as well be removed or destroyed: "The Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong," he wrote in a post on his website.'The old cannot kill the young forever'Galschiøt was right about the possibility of his sculpture being removed from Hong Kong.The early signs of trouble came in April 2008, when Galschiøt flew to the city only to be denied entry. He was there to paint the pillar orange as part of a campaign to raise awareness of China's alleged human-rights abuses ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. In Galschiøt's absence, members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China carried out the paint job. News reports at the time described the ordeal as a test of the freedoms China had granted to Hong Kong when it took over.Hong Kongers would experience many more such tests in the years that followed. In 2014, protests erupted when China insisted on vetting any candidates for the territory's chief executive before allowing the post to be elected directly by the people. The tense 79-day standoff with pro-democracy protesters became known as the Umbrella Movement after demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray police used to try to disperse them. The sense of togetherness and community among the protesters felt like a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement to Tang, who flew from the US to Hong Kong to camp out with the protesters and speak up for their cause. Even larger protests shook the city in 2019 after Hong Kong leaders proposed amending the territory's extradition laws to allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. The protests grew into a broader movement against Beijing's encroachments on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the terms of its handover from the UK. Meanwhile, Beijing readied a national-security law that would give China broad authority to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong. Even before the law took effect, in June 2020, authorities had already taken aim at Hong Kong's long tradition of commemorating the Tiananmen victims. They refused to let the alliance organize its annual June 4 vigil in 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions. Thousands showed up anyway. In 2021, Hong Kong blocked the June 4 vigil again and put up a massive police presence to deter Hong Kongers from defying the ban. The same month, the alliance's museum commemorating the massacre was forced to shut down. Police raided the museum in September and confiscated its exhibits just a day after arresting the alliance's leaders under the guise of the national-security law. The alliance disbanded on September 25, and days later reports surfaced that the digital version of its Tiananmen Square massacre museum had been blocked in Hong Kong.  By early October, the pillar's time had come. Galschiøt wasn't formally notified that the Pillar of Shame would be removed. Mayer Brown, an American law firm representing Hong Kong University, sent a letter demanding its removal to the liquidators of the alliance (the alliance didn't actually own the sculpture; Galschiøt had always retained ownership). The October 7 letter gave the now-defunct pro-democracy group six days to remove the sculpture from the university, a publicly funded institution, or consider the pillar abandoned property that would be dealt with "at such time and in such manner" as the university saw fit. Galschiøt tried to intervene but said he couldn't get a reply to his lawyer's pleas to let him come to Hong Kong to retrieve the artwork.The sudden deadline was sandwiched between two typhoons that pummeled Hong Kong with heavy rains and winds. As the storms moved through the city, the October 13 removal deadline held firm. Hong Kongers flocked to the sculpture to bid their farewells to what many saw as one of the last vestiges of freedom of expression in the Chinese territory. "Say goodbye to freedom," one man said as he snapped a photo of the sculpture one day before the deadline. Steps away, a father took a selfie in front of the pillar with his 9-year-old daughter. Afterward, the little girl grabbed her father's phone and snapped some photos of it herself. On their way out, he pointed to the inscription "the old cannot kill the young forever" as she looked on attentively. Shortly after, it started to rain again. But the crowds kept coming.A father introduces his daughter to Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe university hit a snag when Mayer Brown bowed out of the legal matter amid public outrage that an American law firm would be helping Chinese authorities stifle freedom of expression in Hong Kong. (Mayer Brown's decision prompted a former Hong Kong chief executive to call for a China-wide boycott of the law firm. Spokespeople for Mayer Brown did not respond to comment requests.) Several weeks followed when the sculpture's fate stood in a strange state of limbo; it wasn't clear when exactly it would disappear, but there was no doubt the end was near. An artists' collective known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong made use of the delay to take detailed photos of the pillar and create a three-dimensional model that could be used as a basis for 3D printing. Galschiøt, meanwhile, dusted off old molds that he had used to create smaller replicas of the Pillar of Shame in the 1990s so that he would be ready if his sculpture were removed. The limbo ended on December 22. Galschiøt had just told the workers in his workshop in Odense, Denmark, to go home early and enjoy the holiday when he got a call from a reporter seeking comment on the sculpture's removal.  The energy drained from his body; he looked like a parent who had just learned about the loss of his child, recalled his apprentice, Lauge Jakobsen. Social media lit up with footage of workers fencing off the area around the pillar so no one would witness its removal. Reporters still managed to document parts of the ordeal, which ended with a human-like fragment of the sculpture being loaded into a shipping container by a group of workers in hard hats resembling pallbearers at a funeral.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University as seen the day after the monument was removed.Cezary Podkul for Insider As Galschiøt watched from a distance, all he could do was decry the university's actions. He issued a statement calling the sculpture's removal an unreasonable act of "self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong." Hong Kong University said in a statement that "no party has ever obtained any approval from the university to display the statue on campus," and the statue would be placed in storage pending legal advice on what to do with it. Galschiøt said the university has now responded to his lawyer, and he is sorting out the details of how to return the sculpture from Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for the university did not provide further details. 'Jens' biggest supporter has been the Chinese government'The sculpture's dramatic removal gave Galschiøt the kind of worldwide attention he had long hoped to bring to his international art project. "Suddenly, all the world's eyes were turned on this Pillar of Shame," recalled Jakobsen, his apprentice. "From 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at night the phone was calling all the time, and our email was looking like a celebrity's fan email because every 10 seconds there were coming new emails."Jakobsen switched from working in Galschiøt's workshop to assisting him in the office as he juggled media requests and inquiries about how to acquire a Pillar of Shame. "Jens' biggest supporter last year has been the Chinese government," Jakobsen said during a phone interview. Galschiøt could be heard laughing beside him.Jessica Chiu was one of those requesters. The native Hong Konger, who's 32 and lives in Norway, first learned about Tiananmen Square from her high school math teacher, who would abandon his usual lesson every June and instead teach about the massacre. Later, as a student at Hong Kong University, Chiu would occasionally pass by Galschiøt's sculpture. Chiu leads a Norwegian nonprofit focused on supporting human rights in Hong Kong. The group had been interested in exhibiting Galschiøt's pillar in Norway since 2020; its removal in Hong Kong reinforced those plans. "It makes us more motivated to do it, and it just makes the impact bigger," Chiu said. Her nonprofit has already applied for permits to display the sculpture at two locations in Oslo, including a plaza near the Nobel Peace Center.Galschiøt at his gallery in Odense, Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderA similar effort is taking shape to bring a copy of the pillar in the US. The most provocative spot under consideration includes a park directly across from the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. A group of former US government officials, outraged by Mayer Brown's involvement, is spearheading the initiative, which is still in its initial planning stages, according to a person familiar with the effort. Getting a 2-ton sculpture cast and transported abroad — let alone securing a spot for it — is no easy feat, so it's unclear how many of such installations will ultimately succeed. Galschiøt estimated that making the sculpture in a full-size bronze cast costs about $800,000. To make it more affordable and easier to handle, he has started making the smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper using an old mold he created in the 1990s. He hopes to distribute the smaller pillars to universities around the world (and requests that schools interested in a copy contact him). He scored his first win in Budapest, Hungary, on March 2, when one of the copper replicas was installed on the site of a future Budapest campus of Fudan University. Hungary lawmakers had voted in 2021 to donate four plots of land toward the planned campus of the Shanghai-based university, which ranks as one of China's most elite schools. The move sparked criticism of Chinese influence-buying and prompted Budapest's mayor to rename streets near the proposed site after various alleged human-rights abuses committed by China. Galschiøt traveled to Budapest to personally dedicate his "a szégyen oszlopa" (Hungarian for "Pillar of Shame") near the corner of Free Hong Kong Road and Uyghur Martyrs Road.Galschiøt applies paint to a pillar, which will soon be shipped aboard.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe use of the artwork to make political statements about China's alleged human-rights abuses could get easier thanks to the rise of 3D printing. Lady Liberty Hong Kong's three-dimensional model of the sculpture has enabled anyone with access to a 3D printer to create a copy of the sculpture without bothering with the cost and logistics of transporting it from Denmark. To make the process even more hassle-free, Galschiøt surrendered his copyright to the sculpture, writing in an open letter on Christmas Day that anyone is free to 3D print or mass-produce replicas of the pillar as long as profits go to benefit pro-democracy causes in China and Hong Kong.  A 2-foot-tall replica created using Lady Liberty's model recently showed up at a Hong Kong pro-democracy rally in Manchester, England. An even bigger version — 10 feet or taller — is set to be 3D-printed in Taiwan in time for the June 4 anniversary of the massacre. The New School for Democracy Association Taiwan, a pro-democracy group, is spearheading that effort, which is in the planning and fundraising stages, according to the project's manager.Lady Liberty itself is hoping to organize an international art tour with Galschiøt that would feature the pillar as well as the group's own signature artwork,  a symbol of the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong. The 3.5-meter-tall, crowdfunded sculpture of a woman wearing a helmet, goggles, and a respirator made the rounds to various sites across Hong Kong in 2019, including a famous summit known as Lion Rock, before being vandalized and thrown off the cliff (most likely by pro-government activists). Lady Liberty is preparing to sell small replicas of the Pillar of Shame to help fund the art tour, which would also invite other artists to participate, a spokesperson said.Galschiøt's team with a copy of the Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for InsiderTang is raising her hand for the effort. She said she'd like to reunite her Tiananmen band and perform under Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame if a replica makes its way for a tour in the US. In Canada, a scrappy group of expatriate Hong Kongers created a supply chain that allows them to 3D print and ship copies of the pillar anywhere in the world. Their website, CanHKer.ca, sells a variety of Hong Kong-themed merchandise — including 3D prints of Lady Liberty Hong Kong — to fund pro-democracy causes. Proceeds from the 3D-printed pillar replicas are earmarked for organizations that help young Hong Kong refugees resettle in Canada and seek asylum, said Eric Li, who cofounded one of the groups and helped launch the merchandise website. Many of the refugees are youths who faced persecution for their pro-democracy activities, Li said. Some are depressed and feel guilty, even suicidal, for having left Hong Kong behind, he said. Others are traumatized after their violent clashes with police. "They feel they betrayed their friends because they ran away from the action," said Li, who helps arrange counseling for the youths as part of his work for one of the groups that will receive proceeds from the pillars'  sales. Art 'without interruption'There isn't much action left when it comes to protests in Hong Kong. The Beijing-imposed national-security law has succeeded in ending the mass demonstrations that gripped the city in 2019. You might find an occasional pro-democracy slogan or poster here or there, but any public artwork the government could deem subversive to Beijing is likely to quickly vanish from public view. A day after Galschiøt's pillar disappeared in December, two other Tiananmen-themed monuments were removed by universities in Hong Kong. The "Goddess of Democracy," an imitation of a sculpture created by Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, was hauled away from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on December 24. A relief depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre was removed from the campus of Lingnan University the same day. Both artworks were created by Chen Weiming, an exiled Chinese sculptor who lives in California. Chen is now trying to repatriate the monuments from the universities and is planning to house them at a Tiananmen Square museum that he hopes to build at his sculpture park in Yermo, California. "In America, I can do anything I want to do. In China, I can't do it," Chen said.In late January, Hong Kong University covered up the last public tribute to Tiananmen victims on its campus — a hand-painted slogan on a bridge outside a dormitory. It read, "The souls of the martyrs shall forever linger despite the cold-blooded massacre. The spark of democracy shall forever glow for the demise of evil." Every year, students would touch up the paint on the 32-year-old inscription and wash the Pillar of Shame.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University has been replaced with an outdoor seating area.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe former site of the pillar is now a seating area with movable plastic furniture atop wooden planks. The area stood empty on a recent Monday evening as the clean, wet planks glittered in overhead lights. With the usual churn of a university, it won't take more than a few years for future generations of students to sit in the area without any idea of what stood here previously, or why. But nearby, another sculpture remains intact. It's a commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, widely regarded as the father of modern China, who sits calmly in a chair surrounded by a placid fishpond topped with water lilies. Sun is a rare figure in recent Chinese history, revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for helping to end feudal imperial monarchy in China and briefly serving as the first president of the Republic of China in 1912. Even as Hong Kong stamps out dissent, posters honoring him as a "great outlaw" invite visitors to a museum of Sun's life and legacy. The university installed Sun's statue in 2003 so students could follow his historic footprint, according to a dedication issued at the time. A sculpture of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, adorns a lily pond on the Hong Kong University campus.Cezary Podkul for InsiderIt is impossible to know what Sun might say about the removal of the Pillar of Shame and other artworks in Hong Kong if he were alive today. But a speech that he gave nearly 100 years ago on Hong Kong University's campus gives a clue. In his remarks, Sun called Hong Kong and the university his "intellectual birthplace" and explained why he got his revolutionary ideas there: "Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption."Cezary Podkul is an award-winning investigative reporter who has written for ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He teaches at Hong Kong University's Journalism and Media Studies Centre.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

The Three Types of US-Led Regime Change

The Three Types of US-Led Regime Change Authored by Joe Lauria via Consortium News, Throughout the long, documented history of the United States illegally overthrowing governments of foreign lands to build a global empire there has emerged three ways Washington broadly carries out "regime change." From Above. If the targeted leader has been democratically elected and enjoys popular support, the CIA has worked with elite groups, such as the military, to overthrow him (sometimes through assassination).  Among several examples is the first CIA-backed coup d’état, on March 30, 1949,  just 18 months after the agency’s founding, when Syrian Army Colonel Husni al-Za’im overthrew the elected president, Shukri al-Quwatli.  The CIA in 1954 toppled the elected President Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala, who was replaced with a military dictator. In 1961, just three days before the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, who favored his release, Congolese President Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with CIA assistance, bringing military strongman Mobutu Sese Seko to power.  In 1973, the US backed Chilean General Augusto Pinochet to overthrow and kill the democratically-elected, socialist President Salvador Allende, setting up a military dictatorship, one of many U.S.-installed military dictatorships of that era in Latin America under Operation Condor.  Chilean presidential palace during U.S.-backed coup, Sept. 11, 1973. (Library of the Chilean National Congress/Wikipedia) From Below. If the targeted government faces genuine popular unrest, the U.S. will foment and organize it to topple the leader, elected or otherwise. 1958-59 anti-communist protests in Kerala, India, locally supported by the Congress Party and the Catholic Church, were funded by the CIA, leading to the removal of the elected communist government. The 1953 coup in Iran that overthrew the democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was a combination of bottom-up CIA (and MI-6)-backed street protests, and top-down conservative clergy and military to destroy democracy and return a monarch to the throne. The US-backed Ukrainian coup of 2014 is the latest example of the US working with genuine popular dissent to help organize and steer the overthrow, in this case, of an OSCE-certified elected president.  Through Military Intervention.  If a coup is not feasible, the US turns to indirect or direct military intervention. One of earliest examples was the US expeditionary force that invaded Russia in 1918 during the civil war in an attempt to help overthrow the new Bolshevik government.  More recently, in 1983 the U.S. military invaded Grenada to overthrow a Marxist president; in 1989 the U.S. invaded Panama to overthrow former CIA asset Manuela Noriega. Another hybrid operation was the US bombing of Serbia in 1999 and the State Department funding of the opposition group Otpor!, which led to the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic. The most prominent recent examples of direct military invasion to overthrow governments are the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Indirect military intervention through proxies to overthrow governments happened in the 1980s Contra war against Nicaragua; and the 2011 to present jihadist war to overthrow the Syrian government.  Tanks in the streets of Teheran, 1953. (Public domain/Wikipedia.) Not From Thin Air Economic sanctions are commonly imposed by the US in advance to "soften up" the target. In non-military interventions, the US does not create regime change out of whole cloth:  it works with pre-existing dissent, whether in the population or in the military or another elite group. It will harness it, fund it, train it and organize it, but not create it.   In other words, in regime change that doesn’t involve invasion and occupation, it is not a question of either US involvement or genuine dissent. It is almost always both. And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar: there are legitimate revolts that are not taken over by the US because the uprisings are against US clients’ and Washington’s interests: for instance, the 2010 uprising in Bahrain. In such cases the US will support crushing dissent (as it is ready to do at home as well).  Kazakhstan Last week, Consortium News ran two pieces on the uprisings in Kazakhstan. The first, by Craig Murray, made the argument that the CIA was not involved and that the uprising was genuine, given the country’s economic inequality and increases in fuel prices that were quickly reversed. Murray is a former British ambassador to neighboring Uzbekistan and knows Central Asia. There is no doubt that inequality, the fuel price hikes and decades of authoritarian rule fueled the protests. But by its very covert nature, it is close to impossible to know what the CIA is up to anywhere in the world until declassification of documents usually decades later, or if a whistleblower or leak emerges earlier.  Anyway, the CIA did not need to be directly involved. It’s been known since at least a 1991 Washington Post article that the CIA is ostensibly no longer required for regime change. After the 1975 Church Committee revelations of its crimes and corruption, the CIA, facing a public backlash, resorted to new methods. The establishment of the U.S. National Endowment of Democracy in 1983 does openly what the CIA once did secretly, the Post argued. "The old era of [CIA] covert action is dead," Post columnist David Ignatius declared.  "The world doesn’t run in secret anymore. We are now living in the Age of Overt Action. … the triumph of overt action [is] a network of overt operatives who during the last 10 years have quietly been changing the rules of international politics. They have been doing in public what the CIA used to do in private — providing money and moral support for pro-democracy groups, training resistance fighters, working to subvert communist rule. And, in contrast to many of the CIA’s superannuated Cold Warriors, who tended to get tangled in their webs of secrecy, these overt operatives have been immensely successful." But as CN founder Robert Parry explained in an 2015 article republished today on Consortium News, the CIA had a direct hand in the establishment of the NED, even in the writing of the Congressional legislation that authorized the U.S. Agency for International Development to fund it with U.S. government money. The continued hand of the CIA was to be hidden in the "Age of Overt Action."  The NED in Kazakhstan Since Kazakhstan’s independence in 1990 after the breakup of the Soviet Union the country has been run by one man, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Though he formally stepped down in 2019 in favor of his hand-picked successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Nazarbayev is still the power behind the throne. Nursultan, the new capital city, was named after him in 2019. Protestors setting up a yurt in Aktobe on Jan. 4. (Esetok/Wikipedia) Kazakhstan’s political system has few democratic features. Not that that matters much to the United States. In its long history of overthrowing governments abroad, the US has toppled dictators just as readily as elected democrats. It is immaterial. What matters is whether leaders are furthering or standing in the way of US interests. The lack of democracy was of no interest either to former President Bill Clinton and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who both cozied up to Nazarbayev for lucrative paydays. London and other Western centers have little problem taking investments from undemocratic Kazakh elites. The lack of democracy in Kazakhstan could be useful to Washington. The population’s rage at being suppressed politically and economically is the kind of raw material needed to drive a coup from the bottom up.  In 2020, the NED spent $1,082,991 on 20 programs in Kazakhstan.  One was $50,000 to "promote freedom of peaceful assembly" through "strategic litigation to support activists facing repression." Another, for $65,000 was to "promote civic engagement among youth in Kazakhstan." Genuine Kazakh Revolt This money was poured into a country with pre-existing tensions that exploded from Jan. 2 to Jan. 11, leaving 227 people dead, 9,900 arrested and vast sections of city centers looted and destroyed. At the start the government tried to quell the protests by again capping fuel prices, the government resigned and Nazarbayev stepped down as chairman of the national security council. It didn’t work. Shoot to kill orders were issued against the rioters.  Ultimately, Russian troops as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization mission restored order. In a news analysis on Jan. 6, The New York Times Eastern Europe bureau chief made an unattributed, editorial comment: "And once Russian troops arrive, they seldom, if ever, go home."  Normally the corporate media are fed such lines by unnamed US officials. In this case the US government line seemed to work in reverse. The next day U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, "One lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave." Moscow reacted furiously, pointing out that the US should examine its history of the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq. "If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped," the foreign ministry said. The Russian and other CSTO troops left Kazakhstan on Wednesday.  US Interests in Kazakhstan  Installing a government hostile to Russia and China, which both border Kazakhstan, would be advantageous to the US It could disrupt China’s Silk Roads initiative through the country and the U.S. could put a military base in Kazakhstan. Since April the US has been trying to find a Central Asian country for a base to further the encircling pressure on Russia. There are also oil and gas deposits beckoning. Despite these interests, the second article that Consortium News ran last week advised the U.S. stay out of Kazakhstan.  Saying there was no evidence of U.S. involvement with the protests, Anatol Lieven wrote:  "If the Kazakh government collapses or is gravely weakened, it would be very surprising if hard line elements in Washington did not see this as an opportunity to use Kazakhstan as a base to undermine Chinese rule in Sinkiang — even if (as in Syria) this led them into de facto alliance with Islamist extremist forces. For America to use Kazakhstan in this way would be both a crime and a blunder, that would recall the worst aspects of U.S. policy in Africa, Asia, and Central America during the Cold War. It would in fact cast America in the role in which American commentators like to cast Russia — that of a cynical troublemaker, absolutely indifferent to the consequences of its actions for unfortunate populations on the ground." Circumstantial Evidence of the Causes  Was in fact the US not involved in the uprising, as Lieven maintains? According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, "The events in Kazakhstan are not the first and far from the last attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of our states from the outside." He told other CSTO leaders on Jan. 10: "The measures taken by the CSTO made it clear that we would not let anyone destabilize the situation at our home and implement so-called 'color revolution' scenarios." Putin speaking with other CSTO leaders, Jan. 10. (Kremlin pool) Putin also said, "Elements of force and information support of protests were actively used, and well-organized and well-controlled groups of militants were also used … including those who had obviously been trained in terrorist camps abroad." The possible presence of jihadists followed reports that a Kazakh policemen had been beheaded. The Kazakh government had a slightly different take, according to long-time Moscow correspondent Fred Weir, writing in the Christian Science Monitor:  "Kazakh leaders have offered a different explanation, pointing to high-ranking internal traitors who utilized the pretext of price increases to trigger protests, then unleashed specially trained armed units in an attempt to stage a coup d’état. At least one top former official, the recently dismissed head of the security services, Karim Masimov, has been arrested and charged with plotting against the state. Other experts note that no movement has claimed responsibility for the uprising, and no set of unified demands or discernible leaders have emerged from the turmoil. That highly unusual circumstance is hard to square with an organized rebellion, Galym Ageleulov, head of the independent human rights group Liberty, told the Monitor from Almaty on Monday. ‘I think what happened was that a peaceful civil meeting of people who are tired of authoritarian government got used by elites in their internal struggles,’ he says. ‘It was a spontaneous upsurge without leaders because there is no permitted legal opposition, and civil activism is not able to grow.’ … ‘All the elements are there: socioeconomic tensions, elements of outside interference, and a half-completed transfer of power’ from the aging autocrat Mr. Nazarbayev to his chosen successor, Mr. Tokayev, [Fyodor Lukyanov, a leading Russian foreign policy analyst] says. “’It is well known that some groups behind Nazarbayev were not happy with his choice. There is a feeling among many observers that it was not a purely spontaneous outburst.’" Normally in regime change operations, the US has a leader in exile ready to be installed. Mukhtar Ablyazov, leader of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, is in exile in Paris. He says he has not accepted Western money, asked for Western sanctions, which have not come, and egged on what he called the revolution unfolding in his country. He claimed Russia was "occupying" Kazakhstan, only to see the uprising end and Russian troops leave.  The beheadings, the organized nature of the uprising, the seizing of the airport, the NED funding, and the leader in exile are all circumstantial evidence of possible U.S. involvement. Many commenters on social media and on this site took the view that if it walks like a duck, it must be a U.S.-backed coup.  But journalism needs to be held to a higher standard of proof. CN rightly criticizes corporate media for repeating unnamed U.S. intelligence officials without skepticism. Skepticism must also be applied when the US is accused of being involved in a coup. Circumstantial evidence is not enough.  Even in an "Age of Overt Action" a smoking gun is needed, usually arriving with the declassification of documents that has proved the history of U.S. regime change.      In 2014 in Ukraine, there was also the circumstantial evidence of NED involvement. Then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the U.S.-Ukrainian Foundation on Dec. 13, 2013, that Washington had spent $5 billion over a decade to support Ukraine’s "European aspirations," in other words to pull it away from Russia. But there was also a smoking gun. It came in the form of the leaked telephone call between Nuland and the then US ambassador to Ukraine in which they discussed who the new Ukrainian leader would be, weeks before the coup occurred. In Kazakhstan, despite the circumstantial evidence, there is no smoking gun so far. Therefore the question of whether there was direct and decisive U.S. involvement in the Kazakh uprising must remain inconclusive. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/22/2022 - 15:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 22nd, 2022

"Racist" Statue Of Thomas Jefferson Removed From City Hall During De Blasio"s Last Days As Mayor

"Racist" Statue Of Thomas Jefferson Removed From City Hall During De Blasio's Last Days As Mayor Realizing one of Mayor Bill de Blasio's last major moves as NYC mayor, a nearly 200-year-old statue of founding father and third president Thomas Jefferson has finally been removed from the "Room Where It Happens" in NYC's City Hall. After spending 187 years in city hall, the 884-pound statue of the Declaration of Independence author was quietly packed into a crate Monday by art handlers from a private firm and ushered out the back door. Video of the statue's departure was taken by the NY Post despite City Hall's intense opposition. The 1833 statue will be on a long-term loan to the New York Historical Society, which plans to have Jefferson's model survive in its lobby and reading room, for an indefinite period. Previously, the statue had stood for nearly 200 years in the city council's chambers, commonly referred to as "the Room Where it Happens". Keri Butler, executive director of the Public Design Commission, which voted to banish the statue last month, initially tried to block the press from witnessing its removal. But Butler relented after members of the mayor’s office and City Council intervened. Last month, Butler and nearly a dozen de Blasio-appointed bureaucrats from the PDC voted to remove the "racist" statue from city hall, and "loan" it to the city's historical society. But not before several lawmakers testified that the statue was "offensive," with Democratic Assemblyman Charles Barron of Brooklyn even denouncing Jefferson as a "slaveholding pedophile." The decision to remove the statue seemed to fulfill President Trump's warning that removing statues of Confederate Generals like Robert E Lee would be followed by the removal of "slave holders" like Jefferson and even George Washington himself. Of course, simply removing a statue from City Hall doesn't mean New Yorkers will suddenly "forget" what Thomas Jefferson is and what he stood for, as one academic explained. The academic, Erin Thompson - a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and author of a book called "Smashing Statues" - claims that removing a monument without a public conversation about why it’s happening is "useless." She added that New Yorkers all need to talk about "who we want to honor and why,” Thompson added. "Moving this statue doesn’t mean New Yorkers will forget who Thomas Jefferson was - but some of them might learn from the controversy that the man who wrote 'all men are created equal' owned over 600 of his fellow humans," Thompson said. Minority leader Joe Borelli, a Republican from Staten Island, called the move an attempt to "sideline history" while Black, Latino and Asian Caucus co-chair I Daneek Miller (a Democrat from Queens) said he wanted the statue gone because it "doesn't represent contemporary values". Meanwhile, a replica of the statue by sculptor Pierre-Jean David is still on display in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC. For more on the decision, check out this video from a local NBC affiliate: Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

Judge Orders Philadelphia To Remove Plywood Box Covering Columbus Statue

Judge Orders Philadelphia To Remove Plywood Box Covering Columbus Statue Authored by Jonathan Turley, Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick issued an order on Friday that Mayor Jim Kenney and the city of Philadelphia must remove the plywood box covering a statue of Christopher Columbus. The 144-year-old statue was covered up due to protests that the explorer represents racial injustice and abuse. Other Columbus statues have been destroyed, including one in Baltimore. When asked about that destruction, Speaker Nancy Pelosi shrugged and said “people will do what they do.”  For his part, Kenney has announced that his administration will appeal the ruling in an effort to keep Columbus covered from public view. Kenney’s spokesperson declared that keeping the statue from being seen is “in the best interest and public safety of all Philadelphians.” Patrick previously ruled that the statue could remain in the plaza and called the effort to remove it “baffling.” She also found that the city had failed to provide evidence that the statue’s removal was necessary to protect the public, calling the confrontations “isolated civil unrest.” What is worrisome is whether protesters will now view the court’s opinion as an enticement to show that the protests were not “isolated” and renew efforts to destroy the art work. Previously, an Antifa leader located at George Washington University declared “we are winning” after efforts to topple historical monuments in Washington.  He might be right. Indeed, academics have joined the calls for removing a wide array of statues to historical figures and some have even joined in efforts to destroy or deface them. Many agree with the criticism of Columbus as a historical figure, criticisms raised particularly by the Native American community that he is a genocidal figure. Columbus and other statues have been removed in cities like Chicago. I have long opposed the sweeping efforts to dismantle or destroy historical monuments and statues. (Here and here and here and here and here and here and here) While I recognize that there are some statues that should be removed, my primary objection is to the lack of a public debate over how we should address these calls. Instead, mobs have been destroying or defacing statues. In Washington, police made the “tactical decision” to stand by and watch a mob destroy a statue. As I have previously written, there are statues that should be removed but it is important that such decisions are made collectively and with circumspection: Two decades ago, I wrote a column calling for the Georgia legislature to take down its statue of Tom Watson, a white supremacist publisher and politician who fueled racist and antisemitic movements. Watson was best known for his hateful writings, including his opposition to save Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager accused of raping and murdering a girl. Frank was taken from a jail and lynched by a mob enraged by such writings, including the declaration of Watson that “Frank belongs to the Jewish aristocracy, and it was determined by the rich Jews that no aristocrat of their race should die for the death of a working class Gentile.” Yet today there is no room or time for such reasoned discourse, just destruction that often transcends any rationalization of history. The court’s rulings puts it at odds with city licensing board that upheld a July 2020 decision by the city historical commission to remove the statue. Such decisions are usually given great deference and the appellate court may consider this within the authority of the commission even if it disagrees with the basis for the action. However, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, a nonprofit that manages the park, and America 500 Anniversary Corporation, have an agreement with the city that they insist was violated by Kenney’s actions. So the fight will now move to the appellate courts. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 09:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 11th, 2021

Tower Grove Park, residents look into potential removal of Columbus statue

A public meeting is being held over the weekend to discuss the potential removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Tower Grove Park. The meeting was formally set up as an event on Facebook, titled "Plotting in the Park for Columbus removal." Th.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsAug 30th, 2018

San Francisco is forcing couple to remove sidewalk "obstruction" — or pay $1,400. It"s a little free library.

The little free library was caught in a crackdown on unpermitted objects that interfere with public ways, according to the Wall Street Jounal. The library has been up for years, tweets show, and has been praised by many passersby, but could be removed by the city over a violation complaint.Twitter A popular little free library in San Francisco was ordered to be removed, the Wall Street Journal reported.  The order was prompted by a call to a city hotline used for complaints about regulatory violations. The library volunteered by residents is just one of many items caught up in a crackdown.  A couple in San Francisco was told to remove an obstruction from the sidewalk in front of their house, or pay a $1,402 fine. The city's target: a little free library.The library is part of a crackdown in San Francisco on unpermitted objects that interfere with public ways, the Wall Street Journal reported. The city has a hotline for anonymous tips about the obstructions, which include decades-old awnings on businesses in the city's Chinatown district, and benches constructed by residents for the convenience of passersby.The library, a sturdy wooden box that sits on a statue and resembles a dollhouse, is owned by Susan and Joe Meyers.—Molly McClintic (@birdymolly) March 9, 2023 According to the Journal, local officials have little choice but to act when a complaint is filed through the hotline. "The fact that we live in a city where they would rather fight someone that is doing something positive is what I find so disheartening," Geoff Claus, a neighbor living near the little library, told the Journal.  The library is popular in the Meyers' neighborhood, the Journal reported. Many on social media even staged a campaign to save it, resulting in letters to the city from residents; one from a young girl begged, "Plees do not dustroy Joe & Susan's Libary," per the Journal. A city official responded, per the Journal: "Our office could not agree more. This is a favorite spot of many of your neighbors and we will do everything we can to make sure it stays in place for you and others to enjoy for years to come."Others targeted recently in the unpermitted objects crackdown include a 79-year-old laundromat owner, whose awning apparently drew a call to the city's hotline that prompted an official call to Lee. "They asked if I had a permit for the sign," Bill Lee told the Journal. "I said, 'How do I know, it's been over 40 years?"The Meyers could get a permit to keep their library for $1,402, but ultimately decided instead to work to change the system. As a result, city officials are considering cheaper permits — around $5, according to the Journal — for similar free libraries, and benches. The Meyers' library is still standing, the Journal reported, as the city sorts out new rules for the small box and many like it. In the end, Susan Meyers told the Journal the original hotline complaint may have been a catalyst for the city to rethink its regulations. "Maybe we should thank that person," she told the Journal. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt19 hr. 3 min. ago

Stockman: Raiding The Taxpayer Piggy-Bank

Stockman: Raiding The Taxpayer Piggy-Bank Authored by David Stockman via LewRockwell.com, Janet Yellen is one continuous anti-prosperity horror show and the reason is obvious enough. She got her indoctrination at Yale from the granddaddy of Professor Keynes’ US disciples, James Tobin, in the late 1960s and has spent most of her years since then pontificating in academia or dictating from the Fed. So now with the arrival of screaming evidence that the banking system desperately needs the disciplining effect of depositor flight, she comes out four-square for euthanizing the $9 trillion of still uninsured deposits in the US banking system. But let’s cut to the chase. Banks not disciplined by their depositors and not at risk for deposit flight are dangerous institutions. They leave bank executives free to swing for the fences on the asset-side of their balance sheets without fear that attentive depositors will move their money to safer pastures. For crying out loud. It was bad enough during the last several years when deposits were dirt cheap and knuckleheads like those who ran SVB decided to load up their balance sheets with 10-30 year duration assets against overnight demand deposits, most of which were uninsured. For the moment that allowed them to book outsized profits and reap the consequent benefit of soaring stock options, but these “profits” were phony as a two-dollar bill. That’s because they were being generated off long-term fixed income assets, the prices of which had nowhere to go except down. For want of doubt, here is the inflation-adjusted yield on the 10-year UST through the beginning of the Fed’s belated anti-inflation campaign in March 2022. No one in their right mind should have believed these deeply underwater yields were sustainable; and no banker capable of running even a credit union in Podunk Iowa would have matched up overnight deposits with these long-duration securities—investments which were absolutely heading for a nose-dive in value. Indeed, at the March 2022 bottom, the real 10-year UST yield stood at -6.4%, the lowest level in the 60-years shown in the chart, and undoubtedly the lowest rate ever—since prior to that time the nation’s central bank actually believed in sound money, zero inflation and market-based interest rates. In a word, anybody who bought long-term treasuries or agency securities at the bottom of the purple line in the chart below should have had their head examined. And most certainly they shouldn’t have been running a multi-billion bank. Inflation-Adjusted Yield On 10-Year UST, 1962 to March 2022 Nonetheless, Janet Yellen and her fellow Washington clowns got themselves warmed-up last week by bailing-out $155 billion of uninsured deposits at SVB—deposits that had been wantonly put in harm’s way by reckless management on a stock-pumping joy ride. To wit, between 2020 and 2021 SVB’s assets nearly doubled from $115 billion to $211 billion, while the HTM (securities held to maturity) portion of that balance sheet literally exploded from $17 billion to $98 billion. And more than 95% of this massive HTM book had maturities of 10-years or more! Here’s the thing. These fools massively mismatched their book even without the safeguard of deposit insurance. What in the world is going to happen when deposits are 100% insured? More importantly, there is no substitute for career-destroying penalties when they result from the towering incompetence embodied in the blow-up of banks like SVB. Yet in that very regard it turns out that one of the senior financial officers at SVB had apparently gotten his financial training at, well, Lehman and Enron! So if nothing else, we need deposit flight and bank failures to purge the bad actors, incompetents and reckless cowboys from the banking industry. Yet the de facto policy is now that no depositor can loose money, no bank can fail and no one’s resume should be besmirched. Whatever that is, it’s not market-based capitalism. And its going to lead to massive waste and malinvestment, not bank-fueled prosperity. In any event, the chart below shows that the banking system is already extremely dangerous, and that compounding the risk via 100% deposit insurance would amount to lighting the match. In a word, over the last decade especially the Fed has flooded the financial markets with so much liquidity that the banking system has been literally drowned in excess deposits and reserves. As shown below, banking system deposits have historically been about 40% of GDP, but since the turn of the century that ratio has gone vertical, rising to more than 70% of GDP during the most intense periods of money-printing during 2020-2021. The flooding of the zone with deposits has been especially acute since the pre-crisis peak in November 2007. During the 15 years since then, total bank deposits have soared from $6.6 trillion to $17.6 trillion or by 6.2% per annum. And in the period since March 2020, that growth rate has accelerated to nearly 10% per annum. By contrast, since Q4 2007 nominal GDP has expanded by just 3.8% per annum. Yet all thing equal, savings and the resulting bank deposits would have grown at the same rate as GDP. They actually grew at almost double the GDP rate, of course, because the Fed was running the printing presses so red hot that much of the new money never left the financial system, backing up into the banking system, instead. Bank Deposits As A Percent Of GDP, 1962 to 2022 Needless to say, all of these deposits had to be put to work, and aggressive managements quickly figured out the new banking ball-game. To wit, under the post Dodd-Frank regulatory regime the banking system was switched from one which was constrained by cash reserves (to meet a surge in depositor withdrawals) to one which was purportedly capital-driven based on the standards fashioned by the Bank for International Settlements. Had the regulators been content to go with plain vanilla capital ratios, the new regime might not have been a total disaster. But naturally the bank lobbies got their hands on the rule-writing process and determined that a spade was not a spade. That is, not all assets were treated as equal when it came to computing capital ratios. In fact, government debt was determined to be risk-free, requiring no capital backing whatsoever. So banks did what regulators implied they should do—they loaded up with government and agency debt because it required dramatically less capital backing. In turn, this “capital-light” regime was great for stock prices and executive stock options. Instead of plowing a goodly portion of earnings into capital for growth they allocated it to dividends and stock buybacks, instead. The gamblers in the stock markets were thrilled. For instance, from JPMorgan’s $258 billion of net income posted over 2015-2022 about $189 billion or 73% was paid out to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks ($102 billion) and dividends ($87 billion). During the same period, however, JPM’s total assets grew from $2.352 trillion in 2015 to $3.666 trillion in 2022. Since the Fed was fueling asset inflation and repressing money market interest rates during that same period, this 56% growth of total assets was the equivalent of a printing press. The bank’s net interest margin soared, causing its net income to flourish and its market cap to surge from $225 billion in 2015 to a peak of $500 billion in late 2021. But all that shareholder magic was not just because Jamie Dimon is some-kind of latter day financial Einstein. JPM’s half trillion dollar market cap was partially thanks to the capital-light regulatory regime. Thus, in 2015 JPM’s ratio of book equity to total assets had stood at 10.50%, which would be minimally safe in a world without “too -big-to-fail”. But as it happened, by 2022 its equity ratio had actually fallen to just 7.97% as the bank loaded up on capital-free government securities. The implication of that is straight forward. To maintain its 2015 equity ratio JPM would have needed $385 billion of book equity by 2022, not the $292 billion it actually reported. So to actually accomplish the robust asset growth that fueled its fulsome earnings gains it would have needed to retain $93 billion more of its net income over the period. That is to say, its payouts to Wall Street in the form of stock-buybacks and dividend would have been cut in half! The gamblers would not have been so pleased. Needless to say, based on this illustration it is easy to see why banks went whole hog buying long-duration governments. It drastically conserved capital, permitting fulsome payouts of dividends and stock buybacks. On the other hand, the Fed’s ostensible reason for flooding the financial system with cheap credit was to goose bank lending levels, and thereby allegedly fuel stronger economic growth. But again in the case of JPM it is evident that didn’t happen. In 2015 its loan book stood at $824 billion, which accounted for 64.4% of its $1.28 trillion of deposits. By 2022, however, its loan book at grown only modestly to $1.11 trillion, but that amounted to just 47.7% of deposits, which had soared to $2.34 trillion. In short, even if it was a good idea to artificially stimulate more loans, which it is not, that didn’t happen despite all of the Fed’s reckless money-printing. Instead, the new money flooded into banks, which bought government bonds and thereby aided the Congressional borrow-and-spend contingent, while at the same time enabling reckless bank managements to take on massive amounts of long-term Treasury and Agency securities at the rock-bottom of an interest rate cycle that will not be seen again for decades to come, if ever. Yet notwithstanding these realities Yellen last Sunday afternoon launched a campaign to drastically further weaken the banking system by essentially abolishing the last vestiges of depositor scrutiny and discipline. We are referring to the abominable bailout of all depositors at SVB and Signature Bank, but especially the so-called Bank Term Facility Program (BTFP). The latter was bad enough, since it allowed banks to borrow 100 cents on the dollar against 30-year bonds which lost 40% of the market value last year. But now Yellen’s gone full retard, suggesting outright guarantees of all deposits, regardless of size: “The steps we took were not focused on aiding specific banks or classes of banks. Our intervention was necessary to protect the broader U.S. banking system,” Yellen said.  “And similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.” As the Wall Street Journal noted this AM “the sound and fury of demands for universal deposit insurance are growing”. For instance, the chronic Wall Street whiner and entitled brat, Bill Ackman, is demanding his bacon be saved via 100% deposit insurance. But so is the usually sensible (on public policy, that is) Elon Musk. As the financial press breathlessly reported this AM, the Treasury Department staff is reviewing whether federal regulators have enough emergency authority to temporarily insure deposits greater than the current $250,000 cap on most accounts without formal consent from a deeply divided Congress, according to people with knowledge of the talks. The bolded phrase tells you all you need to know. How in the world after at least 40-years of Congress’ refusal to insure bank deposits at 100% regardless of size, can you have a legitimate decision to take on a $9 trillion liability in behalf of the taxpayers by executive decree? Indeed, if that isn’t a decision for the representatives of the people to make, we don’t know what is—if you want to even pretend we have a democracy. After all, 100% deposit insurance would mean that the $125 billion FDIC fund would be guaranteeing $18 trillion of deposits. They can say that the necessary funds—which might rise into the hundreds of billions or even trillions under certain loss scenarios—would come out of FDIC insurance premiums, but c’mon. That would be a giant tax by any other name because all 108 million US households with bank accounts would ultimately pay the premium in the form of lower rates on their deposits. Not surprisingly, of course, the Washington lobbies have already gotten involved big time in attempting to force thru this profoundly anti-democratic action. To wit, the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America, which includes banks with assets of as much as $100 billion, urged regulators to lift the current cap on deposit insurance, according to a March 17 letter reviewed by Bloomberg. The organization expressed concern that, if another regional lender fails, more depositors will move their money to the nation’s largest banks, regardless of the underlying health of their smaller competitors. So what! Perhaps these virtuous small bankers should have been thinking about the risk of deposit flight when they loaded up their balance sheets with higher yielding assets bearing both interest rate and/or credit risks. Absent these factors, in fact, there is no reason why a conservative bank would be at risk of deposit flight or be unable to weather a temporary flight by borrowing at the Fed’s discount window. That’s exactly what happened in the last week. The weekly change in discount window borrowings soared to $138 billion, nearly on par with the $180 billion gain during the traumatic first week of October 2008. Weekly Change In Fed Discount Window Borrowings, 1980 to 2023 Of course, the crybabies in the small and mid -sized bankers brigade don’t like the discount window because there is allegedly a stigma attached to it, and because the current discount rate is 4.75%—well above their average deposit costs. In short, they want some cheap money from Uncle Sam so they can run a asset/liability mismatch, book fulsome earnings and laugh all the way to the bank account for their stock options. At the end of the day, we are truly getting to the end of the road with this form of crony capitalism and socialization of losses for the big guys wearing the long-pants. While the usual bipartisan suspects are now busy fixing to pass legislation raising the deposit insurance limit to way above $250,000, at least the House Freedom Caucus has figured out what is at stake and has come out solidly against a 100% guarantee. Since they won an option to call for Speaker McCarthy’s removal at the time of his election to the job, let’s hope they are ready, willing and able to use it when any semblance of the 100% deposit insurance legislation is brought to the House floor. That’s how much is really at stake. “Any universal guarantee on all bank deposits, whether implicit or explicit, enshrines a dangerous precedent that simply encourages future irresponsible behavior to be paid for by those not involved who followed the rules,” the House Freedom Caucus said in a statement. *  *  * Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner. Tyler Durden Sat, 03/25/2023 - 14:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 25th, 2023

"Surgical Removal" Of Crypto Will Only Weaken USD Dominance

'Surgical Removal' Of Crypto Will Only Weaken USD Dominance Authored by Jesse Coghlan via CoinTelegraph.com, A day after Coinbase received a Wells notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission, industry commentators weighed in on what recent regulatory actions mean for America’s crypto future... The United States’ crackdown on cryptocurrencies and crypto firms will only serve to stifle crypto-related innovation and “weaken” the country, industry pundits say in the wake of Coinbase’s recent Wells notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission. On March 22, the crypto exchange became the latest crypto firm to receive a “legal threat” — a Wells notice — just a month after stablecoin-issuer Paxos received its own in February. Some suggest there could be more to come. Mati Greenspan, the chief of crypto research firm Quantum Economics, said he believes U.S. regulators have been unfriendly to crypto “since the beginning.” The recent collapses of crypto and startup-friendly banks, including Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, have been viewed by some as being part of a scheme by regulators to un-bank the crypto sector, dubbed “Operation Choke Point 2.0.” Meanwhile, a March 20 economic report from the White House turned into a scathing review of the merits of crypto assets, with the paper spending almost an entire chapter debunking crypto’s “touted” benefits. Greenspan told Cointelegraph that the rumored action could be underway as crypto is seen as a “threat” to the U.S. dollar’s dominance in global trade — a significant and long-standing benefit to the U.S. Russia, China, and now crypto. Slowly but surely the United States is isolating itself from the global economy. The USD cannot remain the world's reserve currency for much longer under these conditions.— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) March 14, 2023 However, as more are beginning to use crypto for cross-border remittances globally, he warned a crackdown on crypto in the U.S. could actually have the opposite effect on the dollar: “The surgical removal of cryptocurrencies from the U.S. banking system will only isolate the United States further and weaken the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency.” Adrian Przelozny, CEO of Australian crypto exchange Independent Reserve, told Cointelegraph that the recent banking sector woes were not due to “any failure in crypto” but caused by banks managing their risks in an “irresponsible way.” “The White House would be better served to review the practices in the banking industry,” he added. Speaking about the most recent action against Coinbase, Przelozny said the “adversarial environment for the crypto industry” in the U.S. would push the related “jobs, investment and future innovation” offshore. “Singapore, Hong Kong and potentially Australia” — who are eyeing the benefits of the crypto industry — may prove a better home for it, and those countries “will reap the economic benefits,” Przelozny said. The exact reasons the regulator is targeting Coinbase are still unclear. The SEC has declined to comment on the matter. Investments in crypto asset securities can be exceptionally volatile & speculative, & the platforms where investors buy, sell, borrow/lend these securities may lack important protections for investors.@SEC_Investor_Ed to investors: exercise caution w/ crypto asset securities.— U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (@SECGov) March 23, 2023 Michael Bacina, a lawyer and partner at Piper Alderman, agreed that a “regulation by enforcement model” would “drive crypto-asset innovation offshore,” adding: “This is a strange position to adopt given the losses many faced in the last 12 months arose from collapses involving unregulated offshore structures.” Bacina said for years, the industry has asked for clarity on how to comply. He pointed to the recent “telling” comments made by the judge in Voyager Digital’s bankruptcy case that “observed that there is no clear guidance from regulators.” He added that offshore jurisdictions would continue harboring crypto firms until governments lay out the path to regulatory compliance, “which will cost jobs and raise the risk for consumers and investors.” Tyler Durden Sat, 03/25/2023 - 16:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 25th, 2023

CATL To Become Ford’s Primary Battery Supplier

In his podcast addressing the markets today, Louis Navellier offered the following commentary. There were big declines in Treasury yields yesterday. The Fed has to follow market rates longer term, so these big declines in Treasury yields will basically ensure the Fed will not increase rates going forward. The Fed funds rate is currently at […] In his podcast addressing the markets today, Louis Navellier offered the following commentary. There were big declines in Treasury yields yesterday. The Fed has to follow market rates longer term, so these big declines in Treasury yields will basically ensure the Fed will not increase rates going forward. The Fed funds rate is currently at 4.75% which means they are restrictive and over a hundred basis points above short-term treasuries. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Unscripted Yellen The thing that's making the market volatile is our treasury secretary. Treasury Secretary  on Thursday tried to correct her previous comments and testified in front of Congress that “Certainly, we would be prepared to take additional actions if warranted.” Unfortunately, Yellen’s comments apparently re-ignited recent banking fears and caused the stock market to sell off, so she is now 2 for 2 in spooking the stock market this week. As a result, I propose that Treasury Secretary Yellen sticks to her prepared testimony since her unscripted comments during Congressional hearings keep getting her in trouble. Powerful Dimon As I've said before, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan is more powerful than Janet Yellen or Jerome Powell, and he will make sure that no banks default. I think the banking crisis is grossly overblown, but because it has a foreign component to it now, it creates a little bit more uncertainty. Weak Transportation The Commerce Department announced on Friday that durable goods orders declined 1% in February due to a 2.8% decline in transportation orders for autos and commercial airplanes. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders were unchanged. Shipments of durable goods declined 0.6% in February, while unfilled order backlog declined 0.1%. Overall, durable goods have been dragged down by a weak transportation sector, which has declined in three of the past four months. There is no doubt that higher interest rates are now impeding vehicle sales, so hopefully, lower interest rates will help stimulate vehicle sales in the upcoming months. Ford Expects Losses From Its EV Business Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F) on Thursday disclosed that it expects to lose about $3 billion on its electric vehicle (EV) business in 2023. Finance chief John Lawler described Ford’s EV business as essentially a startup inside the 119-year-old company. Then Lawler said, “Startups lose money as they invest in capability, develop knowledge, build volume, and gain share.” Interestingly, Lawler said the Model e-business will gradually erase its losses and achieve an operating profit margin of 8% by the end of 2026. Ford is #2 in U.S. EV sales, so if Ford is struggling to reach profitability, this bodes very poorly for other EV startups like Rivian and Lucid. I stand by my previous statement that Rivian will run out of money later this year and likely go bankrupt. CATL To Become Ford's Primary Battery Supplier In my opinion, China’s CATL will gradually take over Ford as its primary battery supplier. CATL is not the only foreign company taking over major U.S. companies so they can receive money from the Inflation Protection Act to build U.S. factories. South Korean battery giant LG Energy is the primary battery supplier for GM and is building a new U.S. plant.   Virginia-based AES is waiting to be deemed a “U.S. manufacturer” before it can fulfill a $1 billion solar panel order with its Chinese partners since otherwise, it will not qualify for money from the Inflation Protection Act. So essentially, the Inflation Protection Act is “onshoring” U.S. manufacturing, but it is also allowing Chinese and South Korean companies to effectively take over major U.S. companies behind the scenes. Another example of why CATL wants to onshore in the U.S. is that the cheapest Tesla Model 3 has a lithium iron phosphate battery from CATL made in China. As a result, Tesla reportedly informed its employees that its most affordable EV (standard range and rear wheel drive) may lose eligibility for recently revamped U.S. federal tax credits that became effective in 2023 because it utilizes a battery pack made in China. All the other Tesla models utilize lithium-ion batteries made predominately by Panasonic in the U.S. Coffee Beans Two inmates in a Virginia jail used tools made from a toothbrush and a metal object to create a hole in the wall of their cell and escape, only to be found hours later at an IHOP restaurant nearby when other patrons called the police. The sheriff’s office said it is investigating to help prevent further escapes. Source: AP News. See the full story here......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMar 24th, 2023

34 photos of the weirdest and most unique McDonald"s restaurants in the world

McDonald's restaurants can be found in the homes of past world leaders, the interiors of planes, and even in historic mansions. This McDonald's restaurant in Taupo, New Zealand, is located inside a decommissioned plane.EQRoy/Shutterstock Some McDonald's restaurants are found in downright strange locations. One McDonald's restaurant in Taupo, New Zealand, is located inside a decommissioned plane. A glass-walled McDonald's restaurant has received an award for its impressive architecture. The McDonald's location in Downey, California, is the oldest McDonald's restaurant that still looks as it did when it first opened.McDonald's in Downey, California.tishomir/ShutterstockIt is the oldest surviving McDonald's location in the world. It doesn't even have a drive-thru — instead, customers walk up to the restaurant's windows to order.The location also features a vintage McDonald's sign with the fast-food brand's old mascot.The vintage 60-foot-tall neon sign at the world's oldest-operating McDonald's restaurant in Downey, California.David McNew/Getty ImagesSpeedee, a chef with a hamburger for a head, appeared on the original McDonald's signs alongside the brand's logo of two interlocking golden arches.Some signs also advertised the low price of McDonald's hamburgers — just 15 cents at the time.This McDonald's restaurant in Hangzhou, China, is located inside a 90-year-old villa that once housed a former Taiwanese leader.McDonald's in Hangzhou, China.Zhang Peng/LightRocket/Getty ImagesBefore being converted into a McDonald's and McCafe restaurant, the building was known as a cultural relic that was the residence of politician Chiang Ching-kuo for one month during the 1940s. The restaurant has been called "the most controversial McDonald's outlet in the world."McDonald's in Hangzhou, China.STR/AFP/Getty ImagesMany locals objected to the restaurant opening inside the historic building, calling it a prime example of Western commercialism invading Chinese culture.However, the restaurant has become somewhat of a tourist attraction since it opened in 2015, welcoming visitors from all over the world.This McDonald's restaurant in Taupo, New Zealand, is located inside a decommissioned plane.McDonald's in Taupo, New Zealand.EQRoy/ShutterstockNamed one of the "world's coolest McDonald's" according to a sign outside the restaurant, customers can enjoy everything from a classic Big Mac to Chicken McNuggets and McCafe beverages inside the plane.There's even airplane-style seating where customers can sit and enjoy their food.McDonald's in Taupo, New Zealand.Fotos593/ShutterstockVisitors to this unique McDonald's restaurant can also view the D3 plane's cockpit.This McDonald's restaurant in Clifton Hill, Melbourne, Australia, is designed in the art-deco style of the 1920s and '30s.Art deco McDonald's in Clifton Hill, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Tim McRae/Getty ImagesThe building was originally the United Kingdom Hotel and was designed by architect James Hastie Wardrop.Constructed between 1937 and 1938, this restaurant has been called one of the most beautiful McDonald's buildings in the world.Built in 1983, the Rock-N-Roll McDonald's in Chicago, Illinois, was known nationwide for its themed decor.Rock-N-Roll McDonald's in Chicago.PRNewsfoto/Getty ImagesFilled with music and pop-culture memorabilia, the restaurant spanned two floors and was a replica of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's.The decor was quintessentially '80s, but in 2017, the fast-food giant decided the location would be fully renovated and modernized.An old jukebox is displayed in the Rock-N-Roll McDonald's in 2004.Tim Boyle/Getty ImagesAfter the restaurant was partially demolished and modernized, the memorabilia once housed in the restaurant went into the franchise owner's personal collection, according to the Chicago Tribune.Another iconic McDonald's restaurant that has closed for good is, surprisingly, the chain's Times Square location.McDonald's in Times Square.Joseph M. Arseneau/ShutterstockKnown for its giant marquee featuring thousands of light bulbs, the restaurant — perhaps surprisingly — closed in 2020 not as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but rather as part of McDonald's regular review of its restaurant portfolio, according to a spokesperson.This McDonald's in Sedona, Arizona, is the only one in the world with turquoise arches.McDonald's in Sedona, Arizona.Sheila Fitzgerald/ShutterstockThe restaurant, which was built in May 1993, is located in one of Arizona's most beautiful cities; it's known for its awe-inspiring red-rock mountains, canyon walls, and pine forests. The building has to adhere to Sedona's strict guidelines on building design and signage.McDonald's in Sedona, Arizona.FiledIMAGE/ShutterstockWhile the bright-yellow color of a majority of McDonald's signs might work in other parts of the country, the turquoise color chosen by the Sedona, Arizona, location blends much better with the surrounding landscape.Sedona also has strict restrictions on how tall buildings and signage can be, which is why the famous arches are placed lower than at most other McDonald's restaurants.A now-closed McDonald's in Houston, Texas, was space-themed to pay homage to the nearby NASA space center.McDonald's in Houston, Texas.K I Photography/ShutterstockOn top of the large McDonald's restaurant, which also had a play place, was a statue of a NASA astronaut holding a container of fries.The theme continued inside the restaurant.McDonald's in Houston, Texas.Amanda H./YelpRonald McDonald and the rest of the "McDonaldland" characters lined the walls wearing space suits and posing against a starry background.The world's first floating McDonald's restaurant opened in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1980.The floating McDonald's restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, which is no longer there.(Gerald) LEE SNIDER/Getty ImagesMoored slightly south of the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River, this McDonald's was the very first McDonald's to be opened on a riverboat.It was open for 20 years before closing in 2000.The McDonald's restaurant in Freeport, Maine, looks much more like a house than a standard fast-food franchise.McDonald's in Freeport, Maine.Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald/Getty ImagesSome McDonald's locations attempt to blend in with the local buildings and are designed more sympathetically. This McDonald's location, however, was actually built inside a preexisting, 150-year-old colonial mansion. Located in Freeport, a small seaside town in Maine, the building was converted into the town's only McDonald's in 1984.This Paris McDonald's is located in a historic building built in 1892.McDonald's in Paris, France, on Rue Saint-Lazare.Oleg Anisimov/ShutterstockThe restaurant can be found on Rue Saint-Lazare in Paris, France. Though the building is now a McDonald's, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Referred to as the "flying saucer McDonald's," this unique fast-food restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico, is truly out of this world.McDonald's in Roswell, New Mexico.Nagel Photography/ShutterstockInspired by the extraterrestrial history of Roswell, the interior of the spaceship holds a play place, which is also space-themed.This McDonald's restaurant in Kristiansand, Norway, was converted from an old bank building.McDonald's in Kristiansand, Norway.Janus Orlov/ShutterstockThough you might think patrons can stroll up the steps to enter one of the most unique McDonald's buildings in the world, customers actually enter from a side entrance.A McDonald's in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is similarly grandiose — though it at one point had cartoonish fry sculptures on the front of the building.McDonald's in Sao Paulo, Brazil.casadaphoto/ShutterstockThe building almost resembles the White House.However, past its columns and grand facade, customers can still enjoy McDonald's favorites like the Big Mac or Brazilian menu items like the McCrispy Chicken Legend and the Cheddar McMelt.A McDonald's location in Porto, Portugal, was previously occupied by Cafe Imperial, a famous coffee shop open in the city since the 1930s.McDonald's in Porto, Portugal.SMAJC/ShutterstockThe giant bronze eagle was designed by Portuguese sculptor Henrique Moreira and is usually the first thing customers notice when they approach the restaurant. Inside the restaurant, guests find glamorous details like crystal chandeliers and a massive stained glass window behind the counter.McDonald's in Porto, Portugal.saiko3p/ShutterstockAccording to a previous article by Business Insider, the colorful window is original to the coffee shop that previously occupied the space, and it features beautiful coffee-related scenes.The restaurant has been called the world's most beautiful McDonald's.Independence, Ohio, is home to a McDonald's that's known as one of the fanciest fast-food restaurants in the country.McDonald's in Independence, Ohio.Michael P./YelpIt was designed in accordance with building requirements from the city where the median household annual income is more than $100,000, according to census data.Inside, guests are greeted by gold chandeliers and a majestic banister.McDonald's in Independence, Ohio.Michael P./Yelp"The building is unique to any I have ever seen and it is a joy to take a break and walk to the second floor and enjoy the view while I enjoy breakfast or lunch," wrote one TripAdvisor user.This McDonald's is found in Barstow Station, a fake train station in Barstow, California.McDonald's at Barstow Station.Bill C./YelpThe "train station" opened in 1975, and is also occupied by a Starbucks and a Popeyes.The restaurant is surrounded by passenger train cars, which are used as dining areas.McDonald's in Barstow, California.Andrew G./YelpDespite having a unique theme, the restaurant still serves up McDonald's favorites.A McDonald's restaurant is also found inside the historic Denton House on Long Island, New York.McDonald's in New Hyde Park, New York.Mike C./YelpThe building was originally an 18th-century farmhouse that was converted into a Georgian-style mansion in the 1860s.McDonald's originally intended to knock the building down after it was purchased in 1985.McDonald's in New Hyde Park, New York.Paul D./YelpHowever, according to Atlas Obscura, the fast-food giant faced pressure from preservationists to restore the home to its former grandeur.The town then allowed the chain to build onto the existing building to create space for a drive-thru. There's also a McDonald's inside Budapest's beautiful Western Railway Station.McDonald's Nyugati in Budapest.AP PHOTO/NOEMI BRUZAKAccording to Mic, the station was built in 1877 by the Eiffel Company, which also built the Eiffel Tower. As well as being home to a McDonald's, the train station is still fully operational.This unique McDonald's location can be found in Batumi, Georgia.McDonald's in Batumi, Georgia.Karolis Kavolelis/ShutterstockLocated in downtown Batumi, this McDonald's stands out for its reflective glass exterior. Patrons eating inside the restaurant can also gaze out onto the pool of water and manicured grass surrounding the building.Inside, the restaurant's furnishings are similarly modern in design.McDonald's in Batumi, Georgia.Karolis Kavolelis/ShutterstockBuilt in 2013, this location also won the award for The Best Commercial Building of 2014 by the architecture website ArchDaily.In spring, flowers bloom on the lawns.Seating inside the McDonald's in Batumi, Georgia.Marynka Mandarinka/ShutterstockThis makes for a great photo-op or simply a beautiful sight while patrons eat their meals.This McDonald's restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, was renovated to fit with the local guidelines from the nearby Biltmore Estate.McDonald's in Asheville, North Carolina.Nelson M./YelpResembling a ski lodge, the restaurant fits in perfectly in the mountain town. However, inside is grander than perhaps any outside viewer could expect.The restaurant features red-oak tables, a self-playing baby grand piano, wrought-iron railings, and a fireplace.McDonald's in Asheville, North Carolina.Jackie S./YelpThe interior is also decorated with wallpaper, pieces of art, and hanging chandeliers. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 24th, 2023