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How US sailors pulled off a daring high-seas mission to save a sinking Nazi submarine and capture its secrets

As Allied troops prepared to invade France in June 1944, the US Navy was trying to deliver another blow to the Nazis in the middle of the Atlantic. US Navy sailors work to save German submarine U-505 shortly after it was abandoned by its crew, June 4, 1944.US Navy In June 1944, Allied militaries were preparing to cross the English Channel and invade France. Hundreds of miles south, US Navy crews were preparing to land another kind of blow to the Nazis. Capturing U-505 was an intelligence coup, yielding vital insight into German submarine operations. In early June 1944, more than 100,000 Allied soldiers and thousands of ships and aircraft massed on the English coast, preparing for one of the most important battles in history: the invasion of Normandy.Several hundred miles to the south, the six ships of US Navy Task Group 22.3 were on a rather routine U-boat hunter-killer patrol — a mundane mission in comparison.After a few weeks at sea, the task force was heading to Casablanca to refuel. On the way, they pulled off one of the most impressive naval feats of the war: capturing the German U-boat U-505 completely intact — including its valuable Enigma machines and the codebooks needed to use them.U-505USS Chatelain closes in on the damaged U-505, June 4, 1944.US NavyRoughly 250 feet long and displacing about 1,200 tons submerged, U-505 was a Type IXC U-boat with a crew of 60. It had six torpedo tubes to fire its 22 torpedoes, one 4-inch deck gun (which had been removed by 1944), and two anti-aircraft guns.U-505 quickly earned a reputation for being unlucky. Its first deployment was repeatedly delayed by mechanical problems — a constant issue that cut many of its patrols short. Its first commanding officer had his tenure ended by appendicitis, and its second commanding officer had a mental breakdown during a depth-charge attack and killed himself.Over 12 wartime patrols, U-505 only sank eight ships, including the accidental sinking of a Colombian diplomat's schooner, which contributed to that country declaring war on Germany in November 1943.USS Guadalcanal tows U-505 on June 4, 1944.US NavyIn summer 1944, U-505 was commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Harald Lange and operating in its usual hunting grounds off the West African coast.Unfortunately for Lange, the German U-boat fleet's "happy times" were over. The Allies had cracked Germany's codes and were using intercepted messages to determine the general area and timing of U-boat operations.The Allies sent hunter-killer groups with escort carriers and sonar on the offensive, but they still didn't know precisely where German subs would be because the subs' coordinates were encrypted using a newer version of the Enigma that the Allies hadn't gotten their hands on.The captureMembers of the salvage party from USS Guadalcanal use a small handy-billy pump aboard the partially scuttled U-505, June 4, 1944.US NavyTask Group 22.3 sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, on May 15. It was commanded by Capt. Daniel Gallery, an anti-submarine-warfare pioneer, with the Casablanca-class escort carrier USS Guadalcanal in the lead and five destroyer escorts: USS Pillsbury, USS Pope, USS Flaherty, USS Chatelain, and USS Jenks.On a previous anti-submarine patrol, Gallery had sunk U-515 and U-68 within 12 hours of each other, but he knew that capturing a German sub could be more valuable. He ordered the crews of Task Group 22.3 to train to capture a U-boat rather than sink it when they next had the chance.Gallery was able to get the approximate location of U-505 from decrypted German transmissions, but after weeks of searching for the sub off of West Africa, the task group was running low on fuel and headed north for Casablanca.Coincidentally, U-505 was also running low on fuel and had set a course for France.US Navy salvage parties work on U-505 with a TBM Avenger overhead and USS Chatelain in the background, June 4, 1944.US NavyAt 11:09 a.m. on June 4, USS Chatelain reported possible sound contacts 150 miles off of what is now part of Western Sahara. Two F4F Wildcat fighter planes launched from Guadalcanal to investigate, while the destroyers Chatelain, Jenks, and Pope moved in.U-505 was only about 60 feet deep, and Chatelain and the Wildcats discovered it almost simultaneously. The destroyers fired Hedgehog anti-submarine mortars and dropped over 60 depth charges, while the Wildcats fired their machine guns into the sea to mark U-505's course.U-505 began taking on water, leading its crew to believe the hull was cracked and that they would soon sink. Lange ordered them to surface less than 800 yards from Chatelain and abandon ship.Gallery then put his plan into action. All five destroyer escorts took position around the sub as it surfaced and sprayed it with small-caliber machine-gun fire, which wounded Lange, killed his chief officer, and panicked the crew.A herculean effortA boarding party from USS Pillsbury secures a tow line to the bow of U-505, June 4, 1944.US NavyThe destroyers ceased fire after two minutes, and the Germans hurriedly jumped into the water. They had opened scuttling valves to flood the sub but, in their haste to abandon ship, didn't set the scuttling charges correctly.An eight-man boarding party from Pillsbury soon boarded U-505. As the F4F Wildcats fired into the water to keep the Germans from returning, the boarding party grabbed as many codebooks, documents, and maps as they could, along with the Enigma machine.The US sailors then mounted a herculean effort to save U-505. With its rudder damaged and engine running, the sub sailed in a continuous right turn. They had closed the scuttling valves, but when the engine was disabled the sub sank faster, so they turned it back on.Pillsbury tried to tow the sub but gave up because U-505 kept running into it, tearing a hole in the destroyer's hull. At one point over 90% of U-505 was underwater, with just its bow and conning tower above the surface.US Navy fleet ocean tug USS Abnaki tows U-505 in the Atlantic, June 4, 1944.US NavyFortunately for the Americans, a half-Polish member of the German crew named Ewald Felix agreed to help. Felix showed them how the bilge pumps worked, allowing them to pump water out of the sub.The engine was disconnected, halting the sub's continuous right turn, and Guadalcanal took it under tow. Though the engine was off, the towing made the propellers spin, which charged the sub's battery and allowed the pumps to keep working.With a large American flag flying over its German ensign, U-505 was now fully secured. It was the first time US Navy personnel boarded and captured an enemy warship since 1815, and one of only six German U-boats captured during the war.Not everyone was happy — Adm. Ernest J. King, the chief of US naval operations, was initially furious, fearing the Germans would figure out what happened and change their codes — but the value of the sub soon became clear.U-505 on display at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and IndustryTo keep news of U-505's capture from spreading, the sub was towed some 1,700 miles to Port Royal Bay in Bermuda, which, because it saw little military traffic, US officials believed likely had few if any German spies. The sub was also painted in US colors and renamed "USS Nemo."The German crew, all but one of whom survived, was sent to Camp Ruston in Louisiana and held in isolation — a violation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of POWs.U-505 yielded extremely valuable intelligence. Ten sacks full of codebooks, documents, and maps weighing over 900 pounds were recovered, as were two up-to-date Enigma machines and multiple acoustic torpedoes.The sub's capture was kept secret until the war in Europe was over. It was then used as a prop to encourage war bond sales. U-505 was to be used for gunnery and torpedo practice after the war, but it was instead donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in 1954, where it is still on display.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

A daring but costly British raid kept the Nazis from repairing their biggest warship

By spring 1942, the British had survived the Battle of Britain and opened a second front in North Africa but still faced a desperate situation. A German photo of HMS Campbeltown lodged in the gate of the dry dock at St. Nazaire, March 28, 1942.German Federal Archive By spring 1942, the British had blunted the Nazi advance but still faced a desperate situation. British leaders feared the German navy, especially the battleship Tirpitz, wreaking havoc on Allied convoys. To keep Tirpitz out of the Atlantic, the British mounted high-risk raid on the only facility that could repair it. Shortly after 1:00 a.m. on March 28, 1942, a destroyer flying the German flag and 18 smaller boats entered the Loire River estuary and headed for the German-occupied port of St. Nazaire on France's Atlantic coast.The ships were not aggressive and responded correctly to German signals, but the Germans were suspicious.Although the destroyer appeared to be of German design, the smaller boats looked different, and they all sailed in the middle of the estuary, the shallowest part, rather than in the deeper channel closer to the coast that vessels normally used.The ships were in fact British. They carried teams of elite commandos with a critical mission: destroy St. Nazaire's massive dry dock to prevent the Germans from using it to repair the battleship Tirpitz.As the British ships approached, their cover was blown, and German guns on both sides of the estuary opened fire. Shedding their disguise, the British sailed the destroyer at full speed toward the dry dock.The targetA British reconnaissance photo of St. Nazaire, with the dry dock top-center, taken before the raid in 1942.Royal Air ForceBy spring 1942, the British had survived the Battle of Britain and opened a second front in North Africa but still faced a desperate situation.The Battle of the Atlantic was raging, and German U-boats were wreaking havoc on Allied convoys. After Japan declared war on them in December 1941, Britain and the US had to divert warships to the Pacific.The Royal Navy had sunk the Kriegsmarine's crown jewel, the battleship Bismarck, in May 1941, but its sister ship, Tirpitz, was now active.Tirpitz's deployment to Norway in January 1942 had unnerved the British, who worried it might attempt to enter the Atlantic, as Bismarck tried to do.To prevent that, the British decided to destroy the only place where Tirpitz could have major repairs done: the dry dock at St. Nazaire. Built in the 1930s for the massive French ocean liner SS Normandie, it was nearly 1,000 feet long, 164 feet wide, and more than 50 feet deep.St. Nazaire had become an important base for the Kriegsmarine's U-boat fleet, and reaching the dry dock, which was about 6 miles from the mouth of the estuary, would not be easy.A motor launch of the type that took part in the raid on St. Nazaire.Royal Navy/Lt. F.A. DaviesIn addition to about 80 anti-aircraft guns and a 5,000-troop garrison, the dry dock was defended by anti-submarine and torpedo nets, coastal artillery, mines, and patrol vessels.An air raid or a bombardment by warships were simply too risky and weren't guaranteed to destroy the dry dock. The British instead devised a commando raid using the destroyer HMS Campbeltown and 18 motor launches.Campbeltown — a US Navy destroyer given to the British in the Destroyers for Bases Agreement of 1940 — had two of its funnels removed and the other two cut at an angle in order to look like a German Möwe-class torpedo boat. It was also loaded with 4 tons of explosives on a time-delay fuse.Campbeltown would ram the center of the dry dock's gate. The commandos aboard the destroyer and the motor launches would then disembark and destroy the dry dock's machinery and other harbor facilities before evacuating on the launches. The explosives on Campbeltown would then detonate, destroying the gate and flooding the dry dock.It was an extremely risky plan that many high-ranking British military officials thought was impossible.Vice Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten — chief of Combined Operations Headquarters, which had been set up to harass the Germans with raids — insisted it would work, arguing the presumed impossibility in fact made it possible."The Germans will never think we'll attempt it," Mountbatten said.The raidThe HMS Campbeltown on the lip of the Normandie dock after crashing into it, March 28, 1942.German Federal ArchiveIn all, 265 commandos and 346 Royal Navy personnel were assembled for the mission. Before they departed England, Mountbatten offered them a chance to opt out of the mission without any consequences. None did.After being escorted to France by other Royal Navy destroyers, the force made its way into the Loire estuary, where they used a captured German codebook to deceive the port's defenders.But 2,000 yards from the dry dock's gate, Germans on both sides of the estuary opened fire, killing scores of British commandos and sailors and sinking several motor launches.Despite the heavy fire, Campbeltown broke through the gate at 1:34 a.m., with about 32 feet of the 314-foot warship protruding into the dock.The surviving commandos swarmed the port and destroyed the dry dock's pumps and operating mechanisms. They then regrouped to evacuate, but the motor launches had either been destroyed or had already left.A Nazi propaganda photo of a heavily wounded British soldier captured at St. Nazaire in March 1942.Berliner Verlag/Archiv/picture alliance via Getty ImagesStranded, the remaining commandos attempted to fight their way out in small groups and escape to neutral Spain. Most were soon captured, though five eventually did make it to Spanish territory.Several hours later, as German soldiers were inspecting Campbeltown and the damage to the dry dock, the destroyer exploded. The detonation was hours late, but it destroyed the gate, killing scores of Germans and two captured commandos.The operation came with a steep price. Sixty-four commandos and 105 sailors were killed, while more than 200 other raiders were captured. About 400 Germans were killed.Despite the losses, the mission was successful. The dry dock was so damaged that it wouldn't be repaired until after the war, and Tirpitz stayed in Norway until British aircraft sunk it on November 12, 1944.Months after attacking St. Nazaire, Mountbatten led another raid on France. The August 1942 attempt to attack and briefly hold the port of Dieppe was repulsed with disastrous losses, but it yielded lessons applied directly to the Normandy landings two years later.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 27th, 2022

80 years after an unprecedented attack, Australia is having run-ins with another rival close to home

Eighty years after Japanese submarines attacked Sydney, another powerful adversary is making its presence known off Australia's coasts. A US Navy destroyer patrols by burning Allied warships after a Japanese air raid at Port Darwin, Australia, June 13, 1942.AP Photo In May and June 1942, Japanese submarines attacked the Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle. The attacks were an intense reminder of the war moving closer to Australian shores. Eighty years later, another powerful adversary is making its presence known off Australia's coasts. In the early hours of May 29, 1942, a reconnaissance plane launched from Japanese submarine I-21 was spotted over Sydney Harbor. Observers believed it was an Allied plane and didn't raise the alarm.The plane was in fact doing a final reconnaissance of the harbor for four other Japanese submarines, I-22, I-24, I-27, and I-29, which had arrived off Australia's coast carrying three Type A Kō-hyōteki-class mini-submarines on their decks.On the night of May 31, the mini-subs were launched toward the harbor, where they delivered a message to Australians about the war inching closer to their homes.Eight decades later, tensions in the Pacific are rising once again, and the surprise attack on Allied ships in Sydney is a reminder of the proximity of the threat Australia now faces.A tense timeThe USS Lexington explodes after being bombed by Japanese planes during the Battle of the Coral Sea.AP PhotoBy May 1942, the war and its intensity were visible to Australians.In December 1941, the Japanese dealt the British a devastating defeat by sinking the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse in the South China Sea.In January 1942, Rabaul, in what is now Papua New Guinea, was captured by the Japanese, who turned it into a major base. February saw the Japanese capture Singapore and bomb the port city of Darwin in northern Australia. In early March, the Japanese captured the Dutch East Indies, which is now Indonesia.Japan's advance was finally checked on May 8 at the Battle of the Coral Sea, which relieved some of the pressure on northern Australia, but Japanese air and submarine attacks were still a great threat.Southern Australia was believed to be safer because it was far from the fighting, and early in the war Allied capital ships — such as battleships, cruisers, and aircraft carriers — tended to dock there, especially in Sydney Harbor.USS Chicago in Sydney Harbour at the time of the attack by Japanese submarines, May 31, 1942.Australian War MemorialAt the time, Sydney was not optimally prepared for submarine attacks. There were no regular offshore sea or air patrols and the harbor's anti-submarine net was still under construction.There were passive detection systems around the harbor entrance, but the Royal Australian Navy didn't have submarines or much experience hunting them, so its personnel didn't quite know what to listen for.The Japanese Navy was keen to strike Sydney's target-filled harbor and decided to use mini-submarines rather than fleet submarines because their size increased their chances of getting in and out undetected. The cigar-shaped Type As were 78 feet long and 5 feet wide, had a crew of two, and were battery-powered. They were armed with two 770-pound torpedoes and carried scuttling charges.Five Type As were used unsuccessfully at Pearl Harbor, but the Japanese believed that subsequent upgrades, including cages on the bow and conning tower designed to cut through anti-submarine nets, increased their likelihood of success.Their targets were any Allied capital ships in Sydney Harbor, especially the heavy cruisers USS Chicago and HMAS Canberra, and the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide.The raidHMAS Kuttabul after the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbor in June 1942.Australian War MemorialThe three subs were launched at 20-minute intervals on the evening of May 31.The first sub, M-27, entered the mouth of the harbor around 8 p.m. but got stuck in the completed section of the anti-submarine net. It was then spotted and attacked by two Australian navy patrol boats. M-27's crew detonated the scuttling charges to avoid capture, sinking the sub and killing themselves.The second sub, M-24, had more success. It entered the harbor undetected around 9:48 p.m. but was eventually discovered and fired on by USS Chicago, which had been alerted by M-27's attempt.A Japanese two-man submarine is recovered from Sydney Harbour, June 1, 1942.Ronald Noel Keam/Australian War MemorialM-24 fired its torpedoes at Chicago, but both missed. One ran aground but the other hit a seawall and detonated under the ferry HMAS Kuttabul. The explosion sank the ferry, killed 19 Australian and two British sailors, and slightly damaged a nearby Dutch submarine.M-24 was hit by machine gun fire as it left the harbor and sank 3 miles off the coast north of Sydney. (It remained undiscovered until 2006.)The third sub, M-22, entered the harbor after midnight. It was detected and Australian patrol boats pounced before it could attack. The patrol boats crippled the sub in one of the harbor's bays, and both submariners shot themselves.Governor-General Lord Gowrie inspects damage in Bellevue Hill, Sydney, after Japanese submarines shelled the city, June 9, 1942.Fairfax Media via Getty ImagesThe five Japanese fleet submarines spent two nights waiting for the Type As to return. On June 3, they left to hunt merchant ships in the area, attacking seven, sinking three, and killing 50 sailors.On June 8, I-24 and I-21 returned and surfaced near Sydney. They bombarded the city and nearby Newcastle for 20 minutes with their deck guns, firing some 44 rounds before disengaging when coastal artillery returned fire.Almost none of the Japanese rounds detonated and there were no casualties, but the attack further frightened the cities' residents.A new, growing threatChinese navy intelligence collection vessel Haiwangxing off of northwest Australia.Australian Department of DefenseThe attacks on Sydney and Newcastle are reminders that distance alone won't protect Australia, especially against an enemy with significant air and naval resources. That has renewed relevance amid Australia's deteriorating relationship with China.Canberra's call for an independent review of the origins of COVID-19 in April 2020 prompted intense backlash from Beijing. Since then, China has frozen high-level contacts and imposed trade restrictions on Australian goods.There is also longstanding concern about China's influence in Australian society, and the tensions became a major issue in recent elections.The situation has been made worse by recent incidents with the Chinese military around Australia.A Chinese navy Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock in the Torres Strait north of Australia, February 18, 2022.Australian governmentOn February 17, one of two Chinese warships sailing in the Arafura Sea between Australia and western New Guinea shined a laser at a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon as it flew by on a patrol flight. Canberra condemned the Chinese crew's actions, calling it "a serious safety incident" with the "potential to endanger lives."A military laser itself is not a weapon, but it is usually part of a weapon's fire-control system and is used to illuminate a target before firing. As such, lasing a ship or aircraft can be considered aggressive — the US has criticized China for similar actions in the past.More recently, on May 13, Australia expressed concern about a Chinese intelligence-gathering vessel operating off its west coast, where it sailed by a secretive naval communications base. Peter Dutton, Australia's defense minister at the time, called it an "aggressive act" and said its intention was to "collect intelligence right along the coastline."In recent years, amid rising tensions with Beijing, Australia has increased efforts to modernize its military and to strengthen its alliances with the US and others in the region — steps meant to counter a threat that will likely only grow in the years ahead.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 14th, 2022

The 28 best fantasy book series to read right now, from classics to new releases

Some of the best fantasy book series include "The Lord of the Rings," "A Game of Thrones," and "The Dark Tower." Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Some of the best fantasy book series include "The Lord of the Rings," "A Game of Thrones," and "The Dark Tower."Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider The best fantasy series leave readers reaching for the next novel as soon as they finish the last. Our recommendations include paranormal characters, magical romances, and fantasy classics. These series have won awards, topped bestseller lists, and are highly recommended by readers. Some characters, plots, and magical realities are too wonderful and exciting to be captured in a single novel. Thankfully, fantasy series exist so we can revisit our favorite magical worlds with brand new adventures in each book. From classic stories like "The Chronicles of Narnia" to newer fan-favorites like "A Court of Thorns and Roses," the best fantasy series invite readers to follow their favorite characters through epic journeys, dire situations, and magical love stories book after book. All of the fantasy series on this list must have at least three books published so far — though many still have upcoming additions in the works — and are widely loved and shared by readers. Our recommendations have won fantasy awards, been adapted to television shows, topped bestseller lists, and received rave reviews on Goodreads. If you're ready to get lost in a new magical world, explore the 28 best fantasy book series to read in 2022: A fantasy series well-known for its TV adaptationAmazon"Game of Thrones" series by George R.R. Martin, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $28.62"A Song of Ice and Fire," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $15.29Now wildly famous after the hit HBO series of the same name, George R.R. Martin's high fantasy series of dragons, seven kingdoms, and deadly winters began with the first novel — "A Song of Ice and Fire" — published in 1996. In this series, families are in a centuries-long power struggle for control of the Iron Throne while protecting the kingdoms from the supernatural creatures that lay beyond the Wall.This fantasy series that ties in epic science fiction elementsAmazon"The Broken Earth" series by N.K. Jemisin, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $25.49"The Fifth Season," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $14.39"The Broken Earth" series debuted with the Hugo Award-winning novel "The Fifth Season," titled after the apocalyptic-level climate change endured every few centuries. In the first novel — known for its intense plot twists — Essun is on a mission to track down her husband who killed her son and kidnapped her daughter as the world deteriorates into devastation.A seven-book childrens' fantasy seriesAmazon"The Chronicles of Narnia" series by C.S. Lewis, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $27.50"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $8.94"The Chronicles of Narnia" is a seven-book fantasy series first published in 1956 that begins with a young girl named Lucy discovering a magical, wintry world in the back of a wardrobe in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Trapped under a spell from the evil White Witch, Lucy and her siblings team up with a magical lion to free Narnia from the curse in this series that's been loved by children and adults for nearly 70 years. A historical, military fantasy seriesAmazon"The Poppy War" series by R.F. Kuang, available on Amazon, $43.29"The Poppy War," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.94"The Poppy War" is the first novel in this historical military fantasy series inspired by the second Sino-Japanese War in 20th-century China. When Rin aces the test to attend the Empire's prestigious military school, she thinks defying everyone's expectations is the last of her problems. While trying to survive at the academy, Rin finds she holds the magical and spiritual gift of shamanism — the ability to interact with spirits — and discovers a Third Poppy War may be closer than they imagined.An adrenaline-inducing fantasy seriesAmazon"Blood and Ash" series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available on Kindle, $30.96"From Blood and Ash," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $19.30The "Blood and Ash" series has captured readers' hearts since the first book, which has over 150,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads. In "From Blood and Ash," readers meet Poppy whose upcoming Ascension means the future of her kingdom rests on her shoulders — until a stunning guard named Hawke makes her question what she thought was her destiny. Readers love this series for its action-packed plot, strong heroine, and cliffhanger endings that force them to immediately grab the next book.  An engrossing fantasy series from Stephen KingAmazon"The Dark Tower" series by Stephen King, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $90.83"The Gunslinger," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $11.62In this primarily dark fantasy series, Stephen King blends magical storytelling with elements of westerns, science fiction, and horror in this eight-book story which follows Roland of Gilead, the final gunslinger, on his mission to reach the Dark Tower and save the universe. Though King is mostly known for suspenseful horror, this fantasy series has proven a gripping must-read from "The Gunslinger" through the final installment, "The Dark Tower."An emotional fantasy novella seriesAmazon"Binti" series by Nnedi Okorafor, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69"Binti," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $8.79Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, "Binti" is the first in a series of fantasy novellas featuring earthling Binti, who's been offered a place at the finest university in the galaxy. She must travel through space to reach the school, surviving a furious alien race during her emotional journey.A fantasy series that began as a "Beauty and the Beast" retellingAmazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" series by Sarah J. Maas, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $42.49"A Court of Thorns and Roses," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $8.57Sarah J. Maas is adored for her many sexy and action-packed fantasy series, including "A Court of Thorns and Roses," a bestselling young adult fantasy series that began as a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling. Feyre is a hunter dragged into a magical kingdom, accused of murdering a faerie. Closely guarded, she begins to discover the secrets of this dangerous land, her mysterious captor, and an ancient curse. An epic and beloved fantasy seriesAmazon"The Lord of the Rings" series by J.R.R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.74"The Fellowship of the Ring," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $10.09Although "The Lord of the Rings" series begins chronologically with "The Hobbit," "The Fellowship of the Ring" kicks off this epic, high-fantasy adventure with young hobbit Frodo Baggins and his journey across Middle-Earth. Entrusted with the task to destroy a powerful ring, Frodo, along with his hobbit, elf, and wizard companions, sets out to reach the Cracks of Doom and thwart the rise of the Dark Lord.A dystopian urban fantasy seriesAmazon"The Bone Season" series by Samantha Shannon, available on Kindle, $38.54"The Bone Season," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Chosen as the first-ever TODAY Book Club pick, "The Bone Season" transports readers to 2059 where dreamwalker Paige Mahoney is scouting the criminal underworld for information by effectively intruding on people's minds. When she's kidnapped and taken to Oxford, a secret city ruled by a race of beings from another world, she must fight to regain her freedom in this original dystopian fantasy brought to life with elements of science fiction.A captivating high-fantasy seriesAmazon"An Ember in the Ashes" series by Sabaa Tahir, available on Kindle, $39.96"An Ember in the Ashes," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.38"An Ember in the Ashes" is a four-book dystopian fantasy series where Laia is a slave in a brutal and tyrannically ruled world under the Martial Empire, living in constant fear. When Laia's brother is arrested, she hatches a plan to rescue him by attending the Empire's military academy and teaming up with Elias, a soldier desperate to be free.A fantasy series of magical parallel LondonsAmazon"Shades of Magic" series by V.E. Schwab, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $28.95"A Darker Shade of Magic," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $10.76V.E. Schwab is a renowned fantasy writer, most well-known for her "Shades of Magic" series, where readers cross parallel universes with varying degrees of magic alongside a talented smuggler and a cunning thief. The series begins with "A Darker Shade of Magic," where readers inevitably fall in love with the story of Kell and Lila, two brilliant heroes who must save the worlds from a dangerous rise of magical power.A classic young adult fantasy seriesAmazon"Earthsea Cycle" series by Ursula K. Le Guin available on Amazon, $66.86"A Wizard of Earthsea," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.29"Earthsea Cycle" is a high-fantasy series of six books and nine short stories beginning with "A Wizard of Earthsea," where readers meet Ged, now the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea but once known as Sparrowhawk in his youth. In the first novel, readers follow Sparrowhawk's story of accidentally releasing a shadow over the world and his journey to right his mistake. A historical, magical, and whimsical fantasy seriesAmazon"The Daevabad Trilogy" by S.A. Chakraborty, available on Kindle, $30.97"The City of Brass," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.79Set in 18th century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman who gets by on what seems like magic, though she's never believed any of it to be real. When she accidentally summons a mysterious warrior during a con, Nahri becomes bound to a legendary city laced with enchantments — and her schemes could leave her facing deadly consequences.A dramatic fantasy series set in an Asia-inspired metropolisAmazon"Green Bone Saga" series by Fonda Lee, available on Kindle, $34.97"Jade City," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99Winner of the 2018 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Fonda Lee's "Jade City" is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy about the Green Bone warriors who use jade to enhance their magic and defend the island of Kekon. Four siblings of the Kaul family battle rival clans as a powerful new drug emerges, allowing anyone to wield the coveted jade and resulting in a violent (and lethal) clan war.A magical and romantic fantasy seriesAmazon"Earthsinger Chronicles" series by L. Penelope, available on Kindle, $50.96"Song of Blood & Stone," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.94Selected as one of "TIME Magazine's Best Fantasy Books of All Time," "Song of Blood & Stone" is a romantic fantasy novel where a crack in a magical vial threatens to tear two kingdoms apart. Jasminda and her Earthsong gift seem to be the only hope to heal the nation and prevent a rising war.A mythological fantasy seriesAmazon"Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series by Rick Riordan, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $18.80"The Lightning Thief," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $16.99In "The Lightning Thief," fantasy lovers meet Percy Jackson, a young boy who learns he's a demigod and the son of Poseidon. He sets out with the daughter of Athena across the United States to catch the thief who stole Zeus' lightning bolt and prevent a war between the gods. The Percy Jackson mythological fantasy series has thoroughly engrossed readers of all ages across its five books.A dystopian young adult fantasy seriesAmazon"Legend" series by Marie Lu, available on Amazon, $25.99"Legend," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.68Set in futuristic and post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, June is a prodigy being trained by the Republic's military. Seemingly a world away, Day is the nation's most wanted criminal. Both only 15 years old, their paths are unlikely to cross until June's brother is murdered and Day is the prime suspect. Their stories intertwine in this first dystopian book in a thrilling and epic young adult series.A series of witches, wizards, and romanceAmazon"The Kingston Cycle" series by C. L. Polk, available on Kindle, $34.97"Witchmark," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.69"The Kingston Cycle" is an award-winning queer fantasy romance series starring Miles Singer, who tried to escape his troubled past and darkly destined future by joining the war efforts, faking his death, and reinventing himself as a doctor. When a tragedy forces Miles to expose his magical healing powers, he risks his freedom to investigate the murder in this series of magical battles, betrayals, and heartwarming romance.An intense fantasy faerie seriesAmazon"The Folk of the Air" series by Holly Black, available on Amazon $25.49"The Cruel Prince," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $9.46"The Folk of the Air" series begins with "The Cruel Prince," where human Jude and her sisters live amongst the fey in the High Court of Faerie, taken against their will to live there after their parents' murders. Desperate to be one of the fey regardless of her mortality and their hatred of humans, Jude attempts to live among them, navigating their violence — and her complicated feelings for their prince.A gripping fantasy series about demon huntersAmazon"The Mortal Instruments" series by Cassandra Clare, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $31.41"City of Bones," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $11.24Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments" series kicked off with the bestselling "City of Bones" in 2007, a paranormal fantasy novel where 15-year-old Clary Fray meets the Shadowhunters, a group of warriors who purge demons from the Earth. There are six books and three companions to the series through which readers experience dramatic betrayals, unsuspected evil, and exhilarating love.A fantasy series set in a Dungeons & Dragons realmAmazon"The Legend of Drizzt" series by R.A. Salvatore, available on Kindle, $239.70"Homeland," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.79Drizzt Do'Urden is a dark elf who is destined to defend the world after emerging from an Underdark where his family wants him dead in this epic fantasy series with over 50 novels, companions, and short story compilations. This series takes place in the Forgotten Realm, a dimension in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, making this series a perfect collection for any high fantasy fan.A fantasy series of good vs evilBookshop"Sword of Truth" series by Terry Goodkind, available on Amazon, $25.97"Wizard's First Rule," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.29In this 21-book epic adventure fantasy series, each novel can act as a stand-alone book, but reading them in order takes readers on an epic high fantasy adventure that begins after Richard Cypher sets out to investigate his father's murder. As he navigates the woods, he meets Kahlan Amnell, who is being hunted by assassins. Together, they embark on a dangerous and magical journey of destiny, nightmarish creatures, and bending morality.A destined faerie fantasy seriesAmazon"The Iron Fey" series by Julie Kagawa, available on Kindle, $19.99"The Iron King," the first book in the series,  available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.69In "The Iron Fey" series, Meghan is living a seemingly normal life until a dark stranger unveils a twisted secret: That she is the daughter of a faery king and a pawn in their deadly war. Action-packed and gripping from the start, this faerie series is full of romance, mystery, humor, and features characters from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."A paranormal fantasy series with angels and vampiresAmazon"Guild Hunter" series by Nalini Singh, available on Kindle, $112.86"Angel's Blood," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99With 12 books, four novellas, and 13 short stories published since the series launched in 2009, the "Guild Hunter" books are set in a world where angels rule over humans and vampires. When vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the powerful archangel Raphael, she's tasked to find an archangel gone rogue. Though the mission is dangerous and potentially impossible, Elena knows failure is not an option in this inaugural book of a gripping urban/paranormal fantasy series. With 12 books, four novellas, and 13 short stories published since the series launched in 2009, the "Guild Hunter" books are set in a world where angels rule over humans and vampires. When vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the powerful archangel Raphael, she's tasked to find an archangel gone rogue. Though the mission is dangerous and potentially impossible, Elena knows failure is not an option in this inaugural book of a gripping urban/paranormal fantasy series.A post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy seriesAmazon"Penryn & the End of Days" series by Susan Ee, available on Kindle, $5.47"Angelfall," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.43In 2020, "Angelfall" — the first book in the "Penryn & the End of Days" series- ranked as one of "TIME Magazine's" Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time. In this paranormal and post-apocalyptic fantasy series, Penryn is 17 when the angels of the apocalypse descend upon the earth and capture her little sister. She teams up with a wounded enemy angel — her only hope for survival and finding her sister.A romantic historical fantasy seriesAmazon"The Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon, available on Amazon, $63.93"Outlander," the first book in the series, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.29The "Outlander" series was originally a practice novel for Diana Gabaldon in the 1980s, yet quickly became a bestselling historical fantasy series, with the ninth book due to be published later this year. It's about a woman named Clare who, while on a romantic trip with her husband after World War II, accidentally time travels to Scotland in 1743 where she embarks on an unprecedented journey and falls in love with a Highland warrior. A fantasy series with an elaborate and dangerous heistAmazon"Mistborn" series by Brandon Sanderson, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $28.11"Mistborn: The Final Empire," the first book in the series, available on Amazon, $12.19The "Mistborn" saga is a high fantasy series made up of the original trilogy, a four-book additional series set 300 years later, and a third trilogy comprising books 8-10 which is currently in the works. The series' first book is "Mistborn: The Final Empire," where readers are introduced to the land of Scadrial, ruled by an immortal and unyielding Lord Ruler. Kelsier is a famous thief who leads an elaborate heist with a team of rebels to overthrow the emperor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 10th, 2022

The 46 best fantasy books to escape into this summer, from the classics to new highly anticipated sequels

Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Whether you like fantasy books with a dash of drama, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, these novels are sure to become favorites.Amazon; Alyssa Powell/Insider Fantasy books are delightfully filled with magic, creatures, and new worlds. This list ranges from classic fantasy novels to exciting new releases. We looked at bestsellers, award-winners, and reader recommendations to find the best fantasy books. Fantasy books are a blissful escape from reality into worlds of magical creatures, mythological heroes, and folklore come to life. They are where we can discover new worlds where heroes and heroines face brutal beasts, travel across distant lands, and unearth forgotten kingdoms. From epic high fantasy to magical realism, the fantasy genre is expansive. Fantasy can include countless different types of magic, characters, and adventurous pursuits and many of these novels intertwine with other genres, especially science fiction and romance. To compile this list of best fantasy books, we looked at all-time fantasy bestsellers, award-winners, and new releases about which readers are raving. So whether you're looking to find a magical first fantasy read or delve deeper into a sub-genre you already love, here are some of the best fantasy novels to read this summer. The 46 best classic and new fantasy books to read in 2022:A historical fantasy retelling of an ancient Indian epicAmazon"Kaikeyi" by Vaishnavi Patel, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.54For fans of "Circe," "Kaikeyi" is the historical fantasy tale of a young woman who discovers her magic while looking for deeper answers in the texts she once read with her mother. When Kaikeyi transforms into a warrior and a favored, feminist queen, darkness from her past resurfaces and the world she has built clashes with the destiny the gods once chose for her family, forcing Kaikeyi to face the consequences of resistance and the legacy she may leave behind. A new exciting fantasy sequelAmazon"Fevered Star" by Rebecca Roanhorse, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.49"Fevered Star" is the highly anticipated sequel to "Black Sun," and continues as sea captain Xiala finds new allies with the war in the heavens affecting the Earth. Meanwhile, avatars Serapio and Naranpa must continue to fight for free will despite the wave of destiny and prophecy they face in this fantasy novel loved for its unique cast of characters and incredible world-building. The first epic fantasy novel in an upcoming trilogyAmazon"The Woven Kingdom" by Tahereh Mafi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99"This Woven Kingdom" intertwines fantastical Persian mythology and rich romance in the first novel of an upcoming fantasy trilogy about Alizeh, the long-lost heir to the kingdom for which she works as a servant. Kamran, the crown prince, has heard the prophecies his kingdom is destined to face but couldn't imagine the strange servant girl would be the one to uproot everything he's ever known. The most classic fantasy you can getAmazon"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.37An introduction to the mystical world of "The Lord of the Rings," "The Hobbit" is one of the most charming adventure fantasies in history. It's the timeless story of Bilbo Baggins meeting Gandalf as they set out to raid the treasure guarded by a dragon — indisputably a classic fantasy novel, and a must-read for any fantasy lover. A fantastical retelling of Chinese mythologyAmazon"Daughter of the Moon Goddess" by Sue Lynn Tan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19Inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, "Daughter of the Moon Goodess" follows Xingyin as her existence is discovered by the feared Celestial emperor and she must flee her home and leave her mother behind. In this mythological retelling, Xingyin must learn archery and magic in the very empire that once exiled her mother and challenge the Celestial Emperor with her life, loves, and the fate of the entire realm at stake. A steamy fantasy retelling of "Beauty and the Beast"Amazon"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49In this wildly popular series, Feyre is brought to a magical kingdom on the crime of killing a faerie where both she and the secrets of her captor are closely guarded. This series is known for its careful pacing, beautiful romance, and nightmarish fantasy creatures. The final book was just released, so now you can binge-read straight to the end. A historical fantasy that you won’t soon forgetAmazon"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19In 1714, Addie LaRue accidentally prays to the gods that answer after dark and curses herself to a life in which she cannot be remembered. This book spans 300 years as Addie lives without a trace until one day, she meets a boy who remembers her name. Contrary to the premise, Addie's story is one that stays with you long after you finish this book. This was my favorite book of 2020 and remains in my top five of all time. A fantasy book that begins with "It was a dark and stormy night"Amazon"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.35This is one of the few books from my childhood that has stood the test of time and remained on my bookshelf to this day. Meg Murry — along with her mother and brother — rushes downstairs in the middle of the night to find a strange visitor in the kitchen, launching an adventure through space and time to save Meg's father and the world. I was whisked away by the magic in this story, along with so many other readers. A fantasy story that will take you to a new worldAmazon"The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.64Though chronologically second, this was the first "Chronicles of Narnia" book to be published and therefore should be read first. It tells the story of three siblings who step through the door of a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical land of Narnia, enchanted by the evil White Witch. They team up with a lion and join the battle to save Narnia. C.S. Lewis wrote: "Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again," and that resonates with so many readers who pick this book up and hold it close to their hearts forever.A fantasy series that's quickly become a modern classicAmazon"A Game of Thrones" series by George R. R. Martin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $26.93The "Game of Thrones" series is hailed as an undeniable classic even though it was just published in 2005. The entire series is iconic. It's about families caught in a never-ending war over who rules over the seven kingdoms. In these books, the good guys don't always win and the heroes don't always live. There are highly complicated characters, tons of subplots, and every kind of conflict imaginable. A powerful and diverse fantasy with contemporary issuesAmaozon"Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $16.29"Legendborn" has quickly become a favorite amongst fantasy readers since it was published in September 2020. It weaves issues of grief, racism, and oppression with Arthurian-inspired magic. Bree enrolls in a college program for gifted high schoolers after an accident that left her mother dead. When an attempt to wipe Bree's memory after she witnesses a magical attack fails, her own magic and memories begin to return to her and leave her wondering if her mother's death was truly an accident. An enchanting, magical fantasy adventureBookshop"The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea" by Axie Oh, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Mina's homeland has been devastated by storms for generations so every year, a maiden is sacrificed to the sea in the hopes the Sea God will take a true bride and end the villages' suffering. When Shim Cheong, her brother's beloved, is chosen for the next sacrifice, Mina throws herself into the sea in her place and is swept into the Spirit Realm where she seeks to wake the Sea God, confront him — and save her homeland before her time in the realm runs out. A feminist fairy tale classicAmazon"Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $7.35Whether or not you've seen the hilarious Anne Hathaway movie, this is one to pick up. It's the story of Ella, enchanted as an infant with the "gift" of obedience. It quickly turns into a curse as Ella can't help but do what she's told no matter who orders her or how silly (or dangerous) the order may be. When Ella finds she might be in danger, she sets out to undo the curse and ends up on an adventure with ogres, elves, even the classic pumpkin carriage. I thought this book was just as amusing as the movie and I probably read it a dozen times as a teen. A deadly fantasy tale of three royal sistersAmazon"Three Dark Crowns" series by Kendare Blake, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99In every royal generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born. They are each equal heirs to the throne and possess one of three magics: control of the elements, affinity to nature and animals, or immunity to poison. When the girls turn sixteen, the fight for the crown begins and will only end once only one queen remains. In this dark series about strong women, the tension and twists build with each novel until the action-packed and intensely satisfying ending. The magic in these books is easy to understand and really entertaining to read. I loved seeing this sisterhood grow and change over the four books.A bloody fantasy epic of warrior womenAmazon"The Gilded Ones" by Namina Forna, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.39Deka is already different from the rest of her village, but when she bleeds gold — the mark of a demon girl — during a ceremony, she faces consequences worse than death. She is soon offered a choice: to stay and face her fate or leave and fight in an army of girls like her. This story moves swiftly with a mix of dystopian fantasy, horror, and a touch of romance. It can be quite violent at times, as demon girls suffer death after gruesome death. If you've ever been hesitant about picking up YA fantasy, this is one that won't disappoint. A dark fantasy that's perfect for a rainy dayAmazon"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.29While you are probably more familiar with "Coraline," "Neverwhere" is a Neil Gaiman book that just can't be passed over. On the streets of London, Richard Mayhew stops to help a bleeding girl and ends up in Neverwhere — a dark version of London where monsters lurk in the shadows. After finishing this, you'll ask yourself why you haven't read more of his novels. Gaiman also has a series on MasterClass that deconstructs his storytelling yet somehow adds more magic to every book. A classic fantasy novel full of magicAmazon"A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.79When Ged was young, he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. Now he's grown into the most powerful sorcerer in Earthsea, but he must face the consequences of the power-hungry actions of his younger self. This book (and the entire six-book series) continues to enchant fantasy readers 50 years after its first publication. Through graceful writing and impeccable character development, Le Guin challenges us to know and embrace our true selves.A high seas pirate adventure storyAmazon"Fable" by Adrienne Young, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69Fable is a trader, a fighter, and a survivor. Four years ago, she watched her mother drown in a ruthless storm and her father abandon her on an island of thieves. Relying on the skills her mother taught her, Fable enlists West to help her confront her father and demand a place on his crew. When she finally makes it off the island, Fable learns how much more dangerous her father's work has become and finds that the island may have been the safest place for her after all. This is a gritty story with a strong feminist lead and (thankfully) a sequel that was just released.A fantasy series where light and dark magic exist in parallel worldsAmazon"A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99Kell is a smuggler and one of the last magicians able to travel between parallel Londons: red, white, grey, and (long ago) black. After being robbed and then saved by Delilah Bard, the two set out on an adventure to save themselves and the worlds through which they travel. Schwab is a masterful world-builder and you will absolutely travel right along with this pair. Because of this series, I have become a sucker for a parallel universe trope. The fantasy story of a forced marriage between a witch and a witch hunterAmazon"Serpent & Dove" by Shelby Mahurin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.59In Belterra, witches are feared and burned at the stake by ruthless witch hunters. For two years, Louise hid her magic to stay alive until one mistake set in motion a story of impossible choices, an enemies-to-lover romance, and a tangled battle between right and wrong. With how compelling the writing is, you'd never guess it is a debut novel. I bought this one just for the gorgeous cover and had no idea how extraordinary it would be.A criminal account of a steampunk band of anti-heroesAmazon"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99Kaz is a professional criminal, offered an alluring heist that he can't pass up, but he can't pull off alone. This story is completely brilliant, gritty, and a little messy. With six main characters, "Six of Crows" is a fast-paced heist, a story that leaves you constantly surprised as you'll never fully know any one character's intentions due to its third-person point of view.The fantastical tale of a magical unicornAmazon"The Last Unicorn" by Peter S. Beagle, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99This is a beautiful fairy tale with poems and songs set throughout the pages. In this book, a unicorn who lives alone in a forest protected from death decides to find what happened to the others. Helped by a magician and a spinster, the unicorn sets out on a journey of love and destiny, faced with an evil king who aims to rid the world of the final unicorn. The life lessons woven throughout this book are bittersweet, but also real and honest. A cherished chronicle of magical children and guarded secretsAmazon"The House in the Cerulean Sea" by T.J Klune, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.29This is one of the few books I refer to as "beautiful." Linus Baker is a quiet caseworker for the Department of Magical Youth — and has just been charged with investigating a highly secretive case that requires him to travel to an island where six dangerous magical orphans (including the actual son of Satan) live under the care of Arthur Parnassus. This book is all about family, filled with comforting magic as you come to care for fictional characters. Plus, reading about a child who is trying to be a good kid while also being the literal Anti-Christ is absolutely hysterical and was the highlight of this book for me.A dark, horror-fantasy book about occult magicAmazon"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.55Alex Stern is recovering in the hospital after surviving an unsolved homicide when she's mysteriously offered a full ride at Yale University. The only catch: she has to monitor the activities of the school's secret societies that practice dark magic. Alex, a high school dropout from LA, has no idea why she's been chosen but by the time she finds out, she'll be in too deep. This book won the Goodreads Choice Awards "Best Fantasy" category in 2019 and it absolutely lives up to the hype. It's intense, bloody, and powerful as dangerous magic weaves itself into an everyday school setting. A truly fun Greek mythology storyAmazon"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98Deeply loved, the Percy Jackson books are just as regarded as "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent." Percy has no idea that he is a demigod, son of Poseidon, but he's having trouble in school, unable to focus or control his temper. Percy is sure that his teacher tried to kill him and when his mom finds out, she knows she needs to tell him the truth about where he came from. He goes to a summer camp for demigods and teams up with two friends to reach the Underworld in order to prevent a war between the gods. Percy makes a great hero and it's so easy to root for him as he pushes through his journey, the pages filled with Grade-A characters, action scenes, and monsters. A West-African inspired fantasy world of danger and magicAmazon"Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99After a ruthless king left the world without magic and her mother dead, Zélie finds she has only one chance to save her people. On a dangerous journey to restore magic to the land before it is lost forever, Zélie's greatest danger may be herself. Readers agree that the best parts of this book are the characters, who all go on a transformative journey as they fight for peace. This is in TIME's Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time, which is a huge deal. A captivating vampire fantasy novelAmazon"Crave" by Tracy Wolff, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.51It's easy to draw a comparison between "Crave" and "Twilight," especially since the moment "brooding vampires" is mentioned, everyone's first thought is Edward Cullen. Plus, the cover looks like it's part of Stephanie Meyer's famous saga. But the "Crave" series is more sophisticated and literary while embracing the inherent cringe that now seems to accompany any vampire story. This is an engaging read because it blends nostalgia with something fresh and new. Open this book when you're ready to have fun with reading — the cheesy moody vampire moments are absolutely present amongst turf wars, a gothic academy, and dragons. A dark urban fantasy where people hunt the godsAmazon"Lore" by Alexandra Bracken, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99Greek mythology meets "The Hunger Games" in this world where every seven years, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by those eager to steal divine power and immortality for themselves. Lore wants to leave this brutality behind when her help is sought out by two opposing participants: a childhood friend she thought long dead and a gravely wounded Athena. The world created in this standalone is thorough and complex. But if you love crazy twists and that "just one more chapter" feeling, you should give this a shot.An iconic fantasy book that checks every boxAmazon"The Princess Bride" by William Goldman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.11"The Princess Bride" is a modern classic that has something for everyone: action, beasts, true love, and a whole lot of fighting. A beautiful girl, Buttercup, and her farm boy, Westley, have fallen madly in love. Westley sets off to claim his fortune so he can marry her before he's ambushed by pirates. Thinking he's dead, Buttercup marries an evil prince as Westley plans to return to her. It's riddled with narration from the author that really adds to the passion and humor of this book.A 200-years-later fantasy sequel to "Cinderella"Amazon"Cinderella is Dead" by Kalynn Bayron, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.63200 years after Cinderella found her prince, girls are required to appear at the annual ball where men select their wives. If a girl is not selected, she is never heard from again. Sophia would much rather marry her love, Erin, so she flees the ball where she runs into Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella. Together, they decide to bring down the king once and for all. This book gathered attention for its Black and queer lead characters that have no intention of waiting for a night in shining armor to save them. It's a story of bravery, anger, and fighting for love.A fantasy that's all about booksAmazon"Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Meggie's father is reading to her from a book called "Inkheart" one night when an evil stranger from her father's past knocks on their door. When Meggie's dad is kidnapped, she has to learn to control the magic to change the story that's taken over her life, creating a world that she's only read about in books. It's a story about magic, for sure, but also about the unwavering bond between Meggie and her father — a truly heartwarming love that you'll feel as a reader.  A darker collection of fairy talesAmazon"The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.95The German brothers who wrote this book aimed to collect stories exactly how they were told. This led to a collection of fairy tales that we all know and love, minus the obligatory "happily ever afters." It has all the classics like "Cinderella" and "Rapunzel" that haven't been softened or brightly colored for younger audiences. This is great for anyone who loves the feeling of discovering all the secrets behind the stories or movies we loved when we were young.A fantasy re-telling of "Romeo and Juliet," set in 1920s ShanghaiAmazon"These Violent Delights" by Chloe Gong, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In 1926, a blood feud has left the city starkly divided, Juliette the heir to the Scarlet Gang and Roma the heir to the White Flowers. They were each other's first love, separated by their families and long ago (but not forgotten) betrayal. Now, as a mysterious illness is causing the people to claw their own throats out, Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to save their city. This one features a river monster, a serious amount of blood and gore, and nods to the original "Romeo and Juliet" throughout. A fantastical tapestry of legends and rivalriesAmazon"The Priory of the Orange Tree" by Samantha Shannon, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.24Told from four points of view, Queen Sabran IX must conceive a daughter, for the legends say that as long as a queen rules, the monster beneath the sea will sleep. But as the assassins close in, the eastern and western kingdoms of Virtudom refuse to unite, even against an ancient and monumental threat that could kill them all. This is 800 pages of high fantasy, charged by dragons, queer representation, and a large cast of characters — but don't worry, you can find a glossary and character list in the back to help you keep it all straight. It's been hailed as "A feminist successor to 'The Lord of the Rings'" and decidedly embraces that praise.A fantasy novel hailed for its romanceAmazon"From Blood and Ash" by Jennifer L. Armentrout, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.67While this absolutely falls into the fantasy genre, it actually won the Goodreads Choice Awards for "Best Romance" in 2020. Poppy is the Maiden, chosen to fulfill a destiny that has never been fully explained to her, living the life of a recluse and awaiting to ascend to prove she is worthy to the gods and can protect her land from the curse. When she can't stand it anymore, she sneaks away from the kingdom and meets Hawke, spurring a desperate secret romance. The beginning of the first book is slow, but the momentum builds quickly. It ends on a huge cliffhanger but the second one has already been released and the third is out on April 20, 2021. A classic Arthurian taleAmazon"The Sword in the Stone" by T. H. White, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.50Before the famous King Arthur, there was a boy named Wart, a wizard named Merlin, and a sword stuck in a stone. In this story, Merlin helps Wart learn valuable coming-of-age lessons as he grows up. It feels both medieval and modern, with an emotional ending as Wart finally faces the sword. If you loved the Disney movie, you should still read this, since they're very different. The witchy prequel to “Practical Magic”Amazon"The Rules of Magic" by Alice Hoffman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.30Franny, Bridget, and Vincent are growing up in the 1950s, aware that they are different but held under strict parental rules to keep them safe and away from magic. When they visit their Aunt Isabelle in Massachusetts where their family name holds great history, the Owens siblings learn to embrace their magical sides. You don't need to have read "Practical Magic" to love this story of sibling love and finding your identity. The book is simply delightful and the whole thing feels like a cool autumn in Salem. A fantasy series that you'll hold close long after the final bookAmazon"Throne of Glass" series by Sarah J. Maas, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $6.59This entire eight-book series has insanely high reviews, with a ton of fantasy readers picking up anything Sarah J. Maas writes. It follows Celaena Sardothien, an assassin who is offered a chance to serve as the King's Champion and earn her freedom after serving in a camp for her crimes. Celaena is drawn into a series of battles and a deeply woven conspiracy, discovering secrets about the kingdom and herself. This is an epic, powerful, and brilliant journey that might just become your new favorite series.The first in a new "Shadowhunter" seriesAmazon"Chain of Gold" by Cassandra Clare, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49Cordelia is a Shadowhunter, a warrior who has trained all her life to battle demons. On a mission to prove her father's innocence, she travels to London where she meets James, a childhood friend. She's whisked into his secret and dazzling life when a series of demon attacks hit London. These new monsters seem impossible to kill as they hide in plain sight and close off the city. The characters are what drives this book and if you've read other "Shadowhunter" novels by Cassandra Clare, you'll love getting to know family members you've heard about before. A portal fantasy that all begins with a girl finding magic in a bookAmazon"The Ten Thousand Doors of January" by Alix E Harrow, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99While serving as the ward to a wealthy man, January finds a strange book that tells a story of secret doors, adventure, and danger. As she reads, January is taken on an imaginative journey of discovery as a book she thought was fiction elaborately bends her reality. It's a portal story of love and enchanting adventure, a book about a book that will mercilessly break your heart but gracefully put it back together. A wintery fairytale story, loosely based on “Rumpelstiltskin”Amazon"Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Miryem quickly earns a reputation for being able to spin silver to gold after setting out to save her family from poverty, capturing the attention of the Ice King. This is a woven story of three women, three mothers, and three marriages. Naomi Novik does an incredible job of helping you follow each story, creating some amazingly strong female protagonists. This is not your typical fairytale, but it's still full of whimsical writing, familial bonds, and tons of charm.  A deep-sea fantasy journey with seven kinds of magicAmazon"All The Stars and Teeth" by Adalyn Grace, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89In a kingdom where you can choose your magic, Amora knows that to be queen, she must master the dangerous but fickle soul magic. When her demonstration fails, Amora flees and strikes a deal with a pirate: she will help him reclaim his magic if he can help her prove that she's fit to rule. "All the Stars and Teeth" is an epic adventure-driven fantasy featuring mermaids, sea monsters, and a kingdom in danger. A fantasy book that will pull you in from the first lineAmazon"A Curse So Dark and Lonely" by Brigid Kemmerer, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89Set in the parallel land of Emberfall, a cursed Prince Rhen has become a destructive, murderous monster. Harper, a regular girl with cerebral palsy, was mistakenly kidnapped and is now the prince's only hope. Yes, this is the second "Beauty and the Beast" retelling in this roundup but they are both so different and so loved. Readers come for the complexity of Rhen and Harper and stay for the snarky, hysterical bickering between the two.A fantasy story of a darkly magical school where you graduate or dieAmazon"A Deadly Education" by Naomi Novik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.41At Scholomance, magically gifted students must survive to graduate — and failure means death. There are no teachers, no breaks, and only two rules: don't walk the halls alone, and beware of the monsters that lurk everywhere. El has no allies, just incredibly strong dark magic that could save her — but might kill all the other students. El's evolution and hilarity during this story plus Novik's thoughtful world-building and extremely diverse cast of characters are what make this a favorite. A fae-centered high fantasyAmazon"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.9910 years ago, Jude and her sisters were kidnapped after their parents' murder and taken to the land of Faerie, where they are mortal humans amongst fantastical but cruel creatures. In order to belong, Jude must win a place in the high court which will require her to defy the youngest prince. Holly Black (crowned the supreme Faerie-world writer) creates a world so real, you'll forget its magic. A new fantasy duology of a world of enchanted injusticeAmazon"Spellbreaker" by Charlie N. Holmberg, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $8.49There are two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those born with the ability to break them. Elise was born a spellbreaker but her gift is a crime. While on a mission to break the enchantments of aristocrats, Elise is discovered and must strike a bargain with an elite wizard to protect herself. It's a fun fantasy mystery with plenty of twists and danger that are sure to keep you intrigued.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 23rd, 2022

58 years, 2 navies, one war: A short history of one of the world"s longest-serving aircraft carriers

For 58 years, HMS Hermes and later INS Viraat sailed all over the world in the service of two navies A Sea Harrier takes off of Indian aircraft carrier INS Viraat during an exercise off of Goa, September 29, 2005.SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images Aircraft carriers have been a dominant naval asset for nearly a century. Their high cost and sturdy construction means those flattops often serve for decades. One of the longest-serving was HMS Hermes, which spent a total of 58 years in two navies. Since World War II, aircraft carriers have been one of the most important weapons in a military's arsenal.A nation with flattops can influence affairs far from its shores, and the more of them it can deploy, the farther it can project force around the world.The financial and technological requirements to build and deploy carriers means only a few countries can develop and maintain them. That barrier to entry means only few countries can field even one carrier.The US can deploy 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, reflecting its superpower status. China is building or testing three flattops, and the UK has two new carriers. Several other countries, including France, Russia, and India, have at least one.But carriers, once built, can serve for a long time. One of the longest-serving was HMS Hermes, which spent a total of 58 years in the British and Indian navies.HMS HermesBritish aircraft carrier HMS Hermes sails to London in 1950.Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesHMS Hermes was a conventionally powered Centaur-class flattop that was laid down in 1944. Construction was paused for several years and the carrier wasn't launched until 1953. It entered service with the Royal Navy in 1959.The flattop began its career as a CATOBAR aircraft carrier and could carry up to five fixed- and rotary-wing squadrons.Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery, or CATOBAR, carriers use catapults to launch aircraft and arresting wires to recover them, allowing planes to take off and land on a deck that's only a few hundred feet long instead of a mile or longer.But in the early 1970s, the Royal Navy decided to convert Hermes to support operations by Royal Marine Commandos — like the amphibious assault ships of the US Navy. Berthing space for 800 troops was added, and helicopters became Hermes' primary aircraft.Hermes was refit again in the early 1980s, when the threat from Soviet submarines prompted the Royal Navy to repurpose the ship for anti-submarine warfare. This modification also converted Hermes into a Short Take-Off, Barrier Arrested Recovery, or STOBAR, carrier.A ski jump was added to Hermes' bow and it once more hosted fighter jets, namely the Sea Harrier, which was designed for short and vertical takeoffs and landings.Royal Navy crewmen relax aboard HMS Hermes as they sail toward the Falkland Islands, 1982.Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty ImagesDuring the Falklands War in 1982, the HMS Hermes was the flagship of the British armada, leading more than 100 ships to the South Atlantic to reclaim the islands from the Argentines.Hermes' sister ship and fellow STOBAR carrier, HMS Invincible, were crucial to the UK's success. Sea Harrier fighter jets operating from the two flattops gave the British air dominance and ensured that ground troops could land on and retake the Falklands.The Argentines recognized the importance of the British aircraft carriers and tried to sink them multiple times with daring air attacks. They sunk several escort ships and claimed to have hit Invincible, but the flattops emerged from the conflict unscathed. (The British armada included two improvised carriers, one of which was sunk.)Hermes' post-Falklands life was brief. After a refit and an exercise, the carrier was decommissioned in 1984, but that wasn't the end of its career.The British had previously tried to offload Hermes — including a mid-1960s offer to Australia that fell through because of the high cost to man and operate the carrier — and in 1983, they again offered to sell it to Australia, which once more turned them down.Indian sailors man the rails of INS Viraat during a fleet review in Mumbai, December 20, 2011.Mahendra Parikh/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesThe carrier was sold to India in 1986. After undergoing a refit, the carrier was commissioned into the Indian navy as INS Viraat in a ceremony held in the UK in May 1987.It became the flagship of the Indian Navy and participated in a number of operations, including in the Indian peacekeeping mission in Sri Lanka in 1989 and in the Indian blockade of Pakistani ports during the Kargil War in 1999. Viraat als took part in exercise Malabar, an annual exercise involving the US, India, and other navies.After almost six decades in service, the Hermes was finally decommissioned by the Indian Navy in 2017. In 2019, the Indian government decided to scrap the carrier.After years of attempts by state governments and private actors to preserve the carrier as a museum, including a last-minute legal effort to prevent it from being totally dismantled, the carrier was broken up in 2021.Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 17th, 2022

The 20 best books of 2021, according to Book of the Month readers

Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider Book of the Month sends great books from emerging authors directly to subscribers. At the end of each year, readers vote for their favorite books they read through the service. Here are the 20 most loved BOTM selections of 2021. The winner will be announced on November 11. Book of the Month sends new and noteworthy books - often before they become popular - to subscribers each month. In the past, the company has picked hits such as "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah, "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee, and "The Girl With the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré to bring to its readers.Membership (small)At the end of the year, the club's thousands of subscribers vote on the best books they read through the service, making it a more curated version of Goodreads' best books of the year. For example, the 2020 winner was "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, which also won the 2020 Goodreads award for Best Historical Fiction.Below, you'll find a reading list of the top 20 books of 2021 according to Book of the Month readers. Book of the Month will announce the best book of 2021 on November 11, awarding the winning author a $10,000 prize. The 20 best books picked by Book of the Month in 2021, according to its readers:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for length and clarity. "Things We Lost To The Water" by Eric Nguyen Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she sends letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity — as individuals and as a family — threatens to tear them apart, un­til disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them. "Imposter Syndrome" by Kathy Wang Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.59Julia Lerner, a recent university graduate in computer science, is living in Moscow when she's recruited by Russia's largest intelligence agency in 2006. By 2018, she's in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America's most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self-promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia's getting nervous.Alice Lu is a first-generation Chinese-American whose parents are delighted she's working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she's slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial "founder's girlfriend." One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she's burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine's privacy settings aren't as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn't she entitled to protect the lifestyle she's earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, "Impostor Syndrome" is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream. "The Lost Apothecary" by Susan Penner Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary's fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.Meanwhile, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone in present-day London, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary's in a stunning twist of fate — and not everyone will survive. "This Close To Okay" by Leese Cross-Smith Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.62On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn't realize is that Emmett isn't the only one who needs healing — and they both are harboring secrets.Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with since her marriage ended — "This Close to Okay" is an uplifting, cathartic story about chance encounters, hope found in unlikely moments, and the subtle magic of human connection. "We Are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.49When 29-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all — and her high school sweetheart — five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets — secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes — and ultimately find a way forward together. "The Maidens" by Alex Michaelides Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.78Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this, Mariana is confident. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike ― particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana's niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?When another body is found, Mariana's obsession with proving Fosca's guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything ― including her own life. "Razorblade Tears" by S.A. Cosby Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.10Ike Randolph has been out of jail for 15 years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.Derek's father, Buddy Lee, was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their prejudices about their sons and each other as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. "Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.80Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over — especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud — because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about has promised she'll be there.And Kit has a couple of secrets of her own — including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.By midnight the party will be entirely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come rising to the surface. "Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.49Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the land's bounty is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: Marriage to a man she barely knows.By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work, and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa ― like so many of her neighbors ― must make an agonizing choice: Fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family. "The People We Keep" by Alison Larkin Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $22.99Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo's diner, she's left fending for herself in a town where she's never quite felt at home. When she "borrows" her neighbor's car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good — setting off on a journey to find her own life.Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn't make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can't shake the feeling that she'll hurt them the way she's been hurt.As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn't dictate who she has to be. "The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands — the more unacceptable the men, the better.That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex — he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family, she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love — but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. "Instructions for Dancing" by Nicola Yoon Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began… and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: Adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything — including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? "Once There Were Wolves" by Charlotte McConaghy Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.99Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing 14 gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but Aggie, too — unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she's witnessed ― inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet, as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept that her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect? "People We Meet On Vacation" by Emily Henry Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $9.98Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She's a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year, they live far apart — she's in New York City, and he's in their small hometown — but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.Poppy has everything she should want, but she's stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together — lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong? "The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina" by Zoraida Cordove Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.49The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers — even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.Seven years later, her gifts have manifested differently for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly's daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea's line. Determined to save what's left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador — to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. "Damnation Spring" by Ash Davidson Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.81Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It's 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn't what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now, that way of life is threatened. Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It's a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall — a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son — and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient Redwoods. Colleen, desperate to have a second baby, challenges the logging company's use of herbicides that she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community — including her own. The pair find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict that threatens the very thing they are trying to protect: Their family. "The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany" by Lori Nelson Spielman Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $10.95Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than 200 years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily single baker at her grandfather's Brooklyn deli, claim it's an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it's an actual hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she'll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday — and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed — secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. "The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $12.92Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers — Owen's 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah's increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen's boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen's true identity — and why he disappeared.Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realize they're also building a new future — one neither of them could have anticipated.You can read our interview with author Laura Dave here. "The Office of Historical Corrections" by Danielle Evans Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $17.49Danielle Evans is known for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With "The Office of Historical Corrections," Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters' lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love and getting walloped by grief — all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history — about who gets to tell them and the cost of setting the record straight. "Infinite Country" by Patricia Engel Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.80I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally reunite with her family.How this family came to occupy two different countries — two different worlds — comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering — the costs they've all been living with ever since. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

In Deep Ship: What"s Really Driving The Supply-Chain Crisis

In Deep Ship: What's Really Driving The Supply-Chain Crisis By Michael Every and Matteo Iagatti of Rabobank Summary It is impossible to ignore the current shipping crisis and its impact on global supply chains  A common view is that this is all the result of Covid-19. Yet while Covid has played a key role, it is only part of a far larger interconnected set of problems This report examines current shipping market dynamics; overlooked “Too Big to Sail” structural issues; a brewing political tsunami as a backlash; possible Cold War icebergs ahead; and the ‘ship of things to come’ if maritime past is a guide to maritime future  The central argument is that while central banks and governments both insist inflation is transitory and will fall once supply-chain bottlenecks are resolved, shipping dynamics suggest they are closer to becoming systemically entrenched Moreover, both historical and current trends towards addressing such problems suggest potential global market disruptions at least equal to the shocks we have already experienced. Many ports will get caught in this storm, if so Ready to ship off? It is impossible to ignore the current shipping crisis and its impact on global supply chains and economies. Businesses face huge headaches as supply dries up. Consumers see bare shelves and rising prices. Governments have no concrete solutions – save the army? Economists have to discuss the physical economy rather than a model. Central banks still assume this will all resolve itself. And shippers make massive profits. The giant Ever Given, which blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March 2021, is emblematic of these problems, but they run far deeper. This report will explore the shipping issue coast-to-coast, and past-to-present in six ‘containers’: “Are you shipping me?”, a deep-dive into market dynamics and supply-demand causes of soaring shipping prices; “To Big to Sail”, a key structural issue driving things; “Tsunami of politics” of the looming backlash to what is happening; “Cold War icebergs” of fat geopolitical tail risks; “Ship of things to come?”, asking if the maritime past is a potential guide to maritime future; and “Wait and sea?”, a strategic overview and conclusion. Are You Shipping Me? Since 2020, global shipping has been frenetic, with equally frenetic shipping rates (figure 2); difficulties for both businesses and consumers; and container-carrier profits. Is Covid-19 driving these developments, or are there other structural and cyclical factors at play? Let’s take stock. One root of the problem… In 2020, COVID-19 become a global pandemic, and lockdowns ensued: factories, restaurants, and shops all closed, bringing global supply chain almost to a halt. In this context, container carriers had no visibility on future demand and did the only reasonable thing: cut capacity. There is no economic sense in moving half-empty ships across the globe; it is costly, especially for a sector operated on tiny margins for a very long time. The consequence was widespread vessel cancellations, which soared in the first months of 2020 (figure 3). Progressively, more trade lines and ports were involved as containment measures were enacted globally. By H2-2020, virus containment measures were over in China, and many other nations eased them too. Shipping cancellations did not stop, however, just continuing at a slower pace. Indeed, capacity cuts have plagued supply-chains in 2021. Excluding the January-February peaks, from March to September 2021, an average of 9.2 vessels per week were cancelled, four vessels per week more than the previous off-peak period of July to December 2020 (figure 3). Cumulative cancellations (figure 4) underline the problems. Transpacific (e.g., China-US) and Asia-Northern Europe lines saw the largest capacity cuts, but Transatlantic and Mediterranean-North America vessels also reached historic levels of cancellations. Transpacific and Asia-Europe lines are the backbone of global trade, each representing 40% of the total container trade. More than 3 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, a standard cargo measure) are moved on Transpacific and Asia-Europe lines in total per month. Due to cancellations, more than 10% of that capacity was lost in early 2020. In such a context, it was only normal to expect a rise in container rates. Over January-December 2020 the Global Baltic index (the world reference for box prices) increased by 115% from $1,460 to $3,140/TEU. However, as figure 2 shows, things then changed dramatically in 2021 for a variety of reasons. As can be seen (figure 5), cancellations alone cannot explain the price surge seen in the Baltic Dry Index -- the leading international Freight Rate Index, providing market rates for 12 global trade lines-- and on key global shipping routes (figure 6). So what did? We have instead identified five key themes that have pushed up shipping costs, which we will explore in turn: Suez – and what happened there; Sickness – or Covid-19 (again); Structure – of the shipping market; Stimulus – most so in the US; and “Stuck” – as in logistical congestion. Suez On March 23rd 2021, a 20,000TEU giant vessel, the Ever Given, owned by the Taiwanese carrier Evergreen, was forced by strong winds to park sideways in the Suez Canal, ultimately obstructing it. For the following six days, one of the fundamental arteries of trade between Europe, the Gulf, East Africa, the Indian Ocean, and South East Asia was closed for business. While the world realized how fragile globalized supply chains are, carriers and shippers were counting the costs. 370 ships could not pass the Canal, with cargoes worth around $9.5bn. Every conceivable good was on those ships. The result was more unforeseen delays, more congestions and, of course, more upward pressure on container rates. Sickness New COVID-19 Delta variant outbreaks in 20201 forced the closure of major Chinese ports such as Ningbo and Yantian causing delays and congestion that reverberated both in the region and globally. Vietnamese ports also suffered similar incidents. These closures, while not decisive blows, contributed to taking shipping capacity off the global grid, hindering the recovery trend. They were also signals of how thin the ice is that global supply chain are walking on. Indeed, Chinese and South-east Asian ports are still suffering the consequences of those earlier closures, with record queues of ships waiting to unload. Structure When external shocks cause price spikes it is always wise to look at structure of the sector in which disruption caused the price spike. This exercise provides precious hints on what the “descent” from the spike might look like. Crucially, in the shipping sector, consolidation and concentration has achieved levels that few other sectors of the economy reach. In the last five years, carriers controlling 80% of global capacity became more concentrated, with fewer operators of even larger size (figure 7). However, this is just the most obvious piece of the puzzle. In our opinion, the real change started in 2017, when the three main container alliances (2M, THE, and Ocean) were born. This changed horizontal cooperation between market leaders in shipping. The three do not fix prices, but via their networks capacity is shared and planned jointly, fully exploiting economies of scale that are decisive to making a capital-intensive business profitable and efficient. Unit margins can stay low as long as you move huge volume with high precision, and at the lowest cost possible. To be able to move the huge volumes required by a globalized and increasingly e-commerce economy at the levels of efficiency and speed demanded by operators up and down supply chains, there was little other options than to cooperate and keep goods flowing for the lowest cost possible at the highest speed possible. A tight discipline of cost was imposed on carriers, who also had to get bigger. This strategy more than paid off in the Covid crisis, when shippers demonstrated clear minds, efficiency in implementing capacity control, and a key understanding of the elements they could use to their advantage: in other words – how capitalism actually works. Carriers did not decide on the lockdowns or port closures; but they exploited their position in the global market when the pandemic erupted. In a recent report, Peter Sands from BIMCO (the Baltic and International Maritime Council) put it as follows: “Years of low freight rates resulting in rigorous cost-cutting by carriers have left them in a great position to maximise profits now that the market has turned.” Crucially, this market structure is here to stay - for now. It is a component of the global system. Carriers will continue to exert pressure and find ways to make profit but, most importantly, they will make more than sure that, this time, it is not only them that end up paying the costs of rebalancing within the global system. In short, the current market allows carriers to make historic levels of profits. However, in our view this is not the end of the story – as shall be shown later. Stimulus 2020 and 2021 saw unprecedented economic shocks from Covid-19, as well as unprecedented economic stimulus from some governments. In particular, the US government sent out direct stimulus cheques to taxpayers. With few services to spend the money on, it was instead centred on goods. Hence, consumer demand for some items is red-hot (figures 8-10). The consequences of this surge in buying on top of a workforce still partly in rolling lockdowns, and against a backlog of infrastructure decades in the making, was obvious: logistical gridlock. Moreover, with the US importing high volumes, and not exporting to match, and its own internal logistics log-jammed, there has been a build-up of shipping containers inside the US, and a shortage elsewhere. Shippers are, in some cases, even dropping their cargo and returning to Asia empty: the same has been reported in Australia. Against this backdrop, the US is perhaps close to introducing further major fiscal stimulus, with little of this able to address near-term infrastructure/logistical shortfalls. Needless to say, the impact on shipping, if such stimulus is passed, could be enormous. As such, while central banks and governments still insist that inflation is transitory, supply-chain dynamics suggest it is in fact closer to becoming systemically entrenched. Stuck In normal times, a surge in consumer spending would be a bonanza for everyone: raw material producers, manufacturers, carriers, shippers, and retailers alike. In Covid times, this is all a death-blow to global supply chains. Due to misplaced global capacity, high export volumes cannot be moved fast enough, intermediate goods cannot reach processors in time, and everybody is fighting to get a container spot on the ships available. Ports cannot handle the throughput given the backlog of containers that are still waiting to be shipped inland or loaded on a delayed boat. It is not by chance that congestion hit record peaks at the same time in Los Angeles – Long beach (LALB), and in the main ports in China, the two main poles of transpacific trade. Clearly, LALB cannot handle the surge in imports, the arrival queue keeps on growing by the day (figure 11). There are now plans to shift to working 24/7. However, critics note that all this would do is to shift containers from ships to clog other already backlogged areas of the port, potentially reducing efficiency even further. Meanwhile, in Shanghai and Ningbo there were also 154 ships waiting to unload at time of writing. The power-cuts seeing Chinese factories only operating 3-4 day weeks in many locations suggest a slow-down in the pace of goods accumulating at ports, but also imply disruption, shortages, and delays in loading, still making problems worse overall. Imagine large-scale US stimulus on top of a drop in supply! Overall, “endemic congestion” is the perfect definition for the state of the global shipping market. It is the results of many factors: vessels cancellations and capacity control; Covid; bursts of demand in some trade lines; imbalances in container distribution; regular disruption in key arteries and ports; a backlog and increasing volumes cannot be dealt with at the same time, all creating an exponentially amplifying effect. The epicenter is in the Pacific, but the problem is global. At present 10% of global container capacity is waiting to be unloaded on ship at the anchor outside some port. Solutions need to be found quickly – but can they be? The Transpacific situation is particularly delicate, stemming from a high number of cancellations, ongoing disruption, and the highest demand surge in the global economy. However, this perfect recipe for a disaster is also affecting Asia–Europe lines where shipping rates hikes also do not show any signs of slowing down. …and unstuck? The shipping business would logically seem best-placed to get out of this situation by increasing vessel capacity. Indeed, orders of new ships spiked in 2021, and in coming years 2.5m TEUs will come on stream (figure 12). However, this will not arrive for some time, and may not sharply reduce shipping prices when it does. Indeed, the industry --which historically operates on thin margins, and has seen many boom and bust cycles—knows all too well the old Greek phrase: “98 ships, 101 cargoes, profit; 101 ships, 98 cargoes, disaster”. They will want to preserve as much of the current profitability as possible, which a concentrated ‘Big 3’ makes easier. Tellingly, a recent article stressed: “Ship-owners and financiers should avoid sinking money into new container vessels despite a global crunch because record orders have driven up prices, according to industry insiders.” True, CMA CGM just froze shipping spot rates until February 2022, joining Hapag-Lloyd. Yet in both cases the new implied benchmark is of price freezes at what were once unthinkable levels – not price falls. To conclude, shipping prices are arguably very high for structural reasons, and are likely to stay high ahead – if those structures do not change. On which, we even need to look at the structure of ships themselves. Too Big to Sail Shipping, like much else, has become much larger over the years. Small feeder ships of up to 1,000TEU are dwarfed by the largest Ultra-Large Container Vessels (ULCVs), which start from 14,501 TEUS up, and are larger than the US Navy’s aircraft carriers. Of course, there is a reason for this gigantism: economy of scale. It is a sound argument. However, the same was said in other industries where painful experience, after the fact, has shown such commercial logic is not the best template for systemic stability. In banking we are aware of the phenomenon, and danger, of “Too Big to Fail”. In shipping, ULCVs and their associated industry patterns could perhaps be seen as representing “Too Big to Sail”. After all, there are downsides to so much topside beyond the obvious incident with the Ever Given earlier in the year: ULVCs cannot fit through the Panama Canal; Not all ports can handle ULCVs; They are slow at sea; They are slow to load and unload; They require more complex cargo placement / handling; They force carriers to maximize efficiency to cover costs; They force all in-land logistics to adapt to their scale; They force a hub-and-spokes global trade model; and They are vulnerable to accident or disruption, i.e., they were designed for an entirely peaceful shipping environment at a time of rising geopolitical tensions (which we will return to later). In short, current ULCV hub-and-spokes trade models are the antithesis of a nimble, distributed, flexible, resilient system, and actually help create and exacerbate the cascading supply-chain failures we are currently experiencing. However, we do not have a global shipping regulator to order shippers to change their commercial practices! Specifically, building ULVCs takes time, and shipyard capacity is more limited. As shown, the issue is not so much a lack of ULCVs, but limited capacity from ports onwards. That means we need to expand ports, which is a far slower and more difficult process than adding new containers or ships, given the constraints of geography, and the layers of local and international planning and politics involved in such developments. There is also then a need for matching warehousing, roads, trucks, truckers, rail, and retailer warehousing, etc. As we already see today, just finding truckers is already a huge issue in many  economies. Meanwhile, any incident that impacts on a ULCV port --a Covid lockdown, a weather event, power-cuts, or a physical action-- exacerbates feedback loops of supply-chain disruption more than any one, or several, smaller ports servicing smaller feeder ships would do. So why are we not adapting? Economic thinking, partly dictated by the need to survive in a tough industry; massive sunk costs; and equally massive vested interests – which we can collectively call “Too Big to Sail”. Naturally, some parties do not wish to move to a nimbler, less concentrated, more widely-distributed, locally-produced, more resilient supply-chain system --with lower economies of scale-- while some do: and this is ultimately a political stand-off. Crucially, nobody is going to make much-needed new investments in maritime logistics until they know what the future map of global production looks like. Post-Covid, do we still make most things in China, or will it be back in the US, EU, and Japan – or India, etc.? Are we Building Back Better? Where? Resolving that will help resolve our shipping problems: but it will of course create lots of new ones while doing so. Tidal Wave of Politics Against this backdrop, is it any surprise that a tsunami of politics could soon sweep over global shipping? In July, US President Biden introduced Executive Order 14036, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy”. This puts forward initiatives for federal agencies to establish policies to address corporate consolidation and decreased competition - which will include shipping. Ironically, the US encouraged “Too Big to Sail” for decades, but real and political tides both turn. Indeed, in August a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress --“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021”-- which proposes radical changes to: Establish reciprocal trade to promote US exports as part of the Federal Maritime Commission’s (FMC) mission; Require ocean carriers to adhere to minimum service standards that meet the public interest, reflecting best practices in the global shipping industry; Require ocean carriers or marine terminal operators to certify that any late fees --known in maritime parlance as “detention and demurrage” charges-- comply with federal regulations or face penalties; Potentially eliminate “demurrage” charges for importers; Prohibit ocean carriers from declining opportunities for US exports unreasonably, as determined by the FMC in new required rulemaking; Require ocean common carriers to report to the FMC each calendar quarter on total import/export tonnage and TEUs (loaded/empty) per vessel that makes port in the US; and Authorizes the FMC to self-initiate investigations of ocean common carrier’s business practices and apply enforcement measures, as appropriate. Promoting reciprocal US trade would either slow global trade flows dramatically and/or force more US goods production. While that would help address the global container imbalance, it would also unbalance our economic and financial architecture. Fining carriers who refuse to pick up US exports would also rock many boats. Moreover, forcing carriers to carry the cost of demurrage would change shipping market dynamics hugely. At the moment, the profits of the shipping snarl sit with carriers and ports, and the rising costs with importers: the US wants to reverse that status quo. While global carriers and US ports obviously say this bill is “doomed to fail”, and will promote a “protectionist race to the bottom”, it is bipartisan, and has been endorsed by a large number of US organisations, agricultural producers and retailers. Even smaller global players are responding similarly. For example, Thailand is considering re-launching a national shipping carrier to help support its economic growth: will others follow suite ahead? Meanwhile, shipping will also be impacted by another political decision - the planned green energy transition. The EU will tax carbon in shipping from 2023, and new vessels will need to be built. For what presumed global trade map, as we just asked? The green transition will also see a huge increase in the demand for resources such as cobalt, lithium, and rare earths. Economies that lack these, e.g., Japan and the EU, will need to import them from locations such as Africa and Australia. That will require new infrastructure, new ports, and new shipping routes – which is also geopolitical. Indeed, the US, China, the EU, UK, and Japan have all made clear that they wish to hold commanding positions in new green value chains - yet not all will be able to do so if resources are limited. Therefore, green shipping threatens to be a zero-sum game akin to the 19th century scramble for resources. As Foreign Affairs noted back in July: “Electricity is the new oil” – meant in terms of ugly power politics, not more beautiful power production. Before the green transition, energy prices are soaring (see our “Gasflation” report). On one hand, this may lift bulk shipping rates; on another, we again see the need for resilient supply chains, in which shipping plays a key role. In short, current zero-sum supply-chains snarls, already seeing a growing backlash, are soon likely to be matched by a zero-sum shift to new green industrial technologies and related raw materials. In both dimensions, shipping will become as (geo)political as it is logistical. Notably, while tides may be turning, we can’t ‘just’ reshape the global shipping system, or get from “just in time” to “just in case”, or to a more localized “just for me” just like that: it will just get messy in the process. Cold War Icebergs The US is now pushing “extreme competition” between “liberal democracy and autocracy”; China counters that US hegemony is over. For both, part of this will run through global shipping. Both giants are happy to decouple supply chains from the other where it benefits them. However, the larger geostrategic implications are even more significant. Piracy and national/imperial exclusion zones used to be maritime problems, but post-WW2, the US Navy has kept the seas safe and open to trade for all carriers equally. This duty is extremely expensive, and will get more so as new ships have to be built to replace an ageing fleet. Meanwhile, China is building its own navy at breath-taking speed, and a maritime Belt and Road (BRI). As a result, a clear shift has occurred in US maritime strategy: 2007’s “A Co-operative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power”, stressed: “We believe that preventing wars is as important as winning wars.” 2015’s update argued: “Our responsibility to the American people dictates an efficient use of our fiscal resources.” 2020’s title was changed to “Advantage at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power”, and stressed: “...the rules-based international order is once again under assault. We must prepare as a unified Naval Service to ensure that we are equal to the challenge.” The US is also pressing ahead with the AUKUS defence alliance and the ‘Quad’ of Japan, India, and Australia to maintain naval superiority in the Indo-Pacific. This is generating geopolitical frictions, and fears of further escalation of maritime clashes in the region. The Quad has also agreed to key tech and supply-chain cooperation, with Australia a key part of a new green minerals strategy – a race in which China is still well ahead, and the EU lags. Should any kind of major incident occur, shipping costs would escalate enormously, as can easily be seen in the case of US-UK shipping from 1887-1939: this leaped 1,600% during WW1, and these shipping data stopped entirely in September 1939 due to WW2. Crucially, US naval strategy is rooted in the post-WW2 power structure in which it benefitted from such control commercially. That architecture is crumbling - and there is a matching US consensus to shift towards “America First”, or “Made in America”. The thought progression from here is surely: “Why are we paying to protect shipping from China, or economies that do not support us against China?” In short, the strategic and financial logic is: surrender control of the seas, or ensure commercial gains from it. There are enormous implications for shipping if such a shift in thinking were to occur - and such discussions are already taking place. July 2020’s “Hidden Harbours: China’s State-backed Shipping Industry” from the Center for Strategic and International Studies argued: “The time is long overdue for the US to reinvigorate its maritime industries and challenge the Chinese in the same game by using the very same techniques the Chinese have used to gain dominance in the global maritime industry. The private-sector maritime industry cannot do this alone—the US maritime industry simply cannot compete against the power of the Chinese state. The US and allied governments must bring to bear substantial and sustained political action, policies, and financial support. To do anything less is to cede control of the world’s maritime industry and global supply chains to China, and perhaps to force the US and its allies to enter their own ‘century of shame.’” Meanwhile, stories link ports and shipping to national security (see here and here), underlining logistics are no longer seen as purely commercial areas, but rather fall within the “grey zone” between war and peace – as was the case pre-WW2. This again has major implications for the shipping business. Expect that trend to continue ahead if the maritime past as guide, as we shall now explore. The Ship of Things to Come? US maritime history in particular holds some clear lessons for today’s shipping world if looked at carefully. First, the importance of the sea to what we now think of as a land-based US: the US merchant marine helped it win independence from the powerful naval forces of the British, and the first piece of legislation Congress passed in 1789 was a 10% tariff on British imports, both to build US industry and merchant shipping. Indeed, the underlying message of US maritime history is that the US is a major commercial force at sea – but only when it sees this as a national-security goal. Following independence, US commercial shipping and industry surged in tandem, with an understandable dip only due to war with the British in 1812. The gradual normalisation of maritime trade with the UK after that saw a gradual decline in the share of trade US shipping carried, which accelerated with the end of steamship subsidies --which the British maintained-- and the US Civil War. By the start of the 20th century, W. L. Marvin was arguing: “A nation which is reaching out for the commercial mastery of the world cannot long suffer nine-tenths of its ocean-carrying to be monopolized by its foreign rivals.” Yet 1915 saw the welfare-focused US Seaman’s Act passed and US flags move to Panama, where costs were lower. However, WW1 saw US shipping surge, and the Jones Act in 1920 reaffirmed ‘cabotage’ – only US flagged and crewed vessels can trade cargo between US ports. The 1930s saw global trade and the US maritime marine dwindle again – until 1936, when the Federal Maritime Commission was set up "to promote the commerce of the US, and to aid in the national defense." WW2 then saw US mass production of Liberty Ships account for over a third of global merchant shipping – and then post-1945, this lead slipped away again, and the US merchant marine now stands at around just 0.4% of the world fleet. Indeed, in 2020, US sealift capability was reported short on personnel, hulls, and strategy such that the commercial fleet would be unlikely to meet the Pentagon’s needs for a large-scale troop build-up overseas. As we see, the US has been here several times before. If the past is any guide for the future response, this suggests the following US actions could be seen ahead: Use its market size to force shippers to change pricing – which may already be happening; Raise tariffs again (on green grounds?); Refuse to take goods from some foreign ships or ports; Force vessels to re-flag in the US, at higher cost; Build a rival to China’s marine BRI with allies; Massive ship-building, for the 3rd time in the last century; Charter US private firms to bring in green materials; or The US Navy stops protecting some sea lanes/carriers, or forces the costs of their patrols onto others. It goes without saying that any of these steps would have enormous implications for global shipping and the global economy – and yet most of them are compatible with both the strategic military/commercial logic previously underlined, as well as the lessons of history. Wait and Sea? We summarize what we have shown in the key points below: Markets For markets, there are obvious implications for inflation. How can it stay low if imported prices stay high? How will central banks respond? Rate hikes won’t help. Neither will loose monetary policy – and less it is directed to a directly-related government response on supply chains and logistics. This suggests greater impetus for a shift to more localised production on cost grounds, at least at the lower end of the value chain, if not the more-desirable higher end. Yet once this wave starts to build, it may be hard to stop. Look at EU plans for strategic autonomy in semiconductors, for example, which are echoed in the US, China, and Japan. For FX, the countries that ride that wave best will float; the ones that don’t will sink. Helicopter view of ships Clearly, shipping will continue to boom. There are huge opportunities in capex on ships, ports, logistics, and infrastructure ahead – as well as in new production and supply chains. Yet one first needs to be sure what, or whose, map of production will be used for them! As the industry sits and waits for the wind and tide to change, logically one wants to position oneself best for what may be coming next. That implies global consolidation and/or vertical integration: Large shippers looking at smaller shippers to snuff out alternative routes and capacity; shippers looking at ports; ports looking at shippers; giant retailers/producers looking at shippers; importers banding together for negotiating power in ultra-tight markets. Of course, nationally, governments are looking at shippers, or at starting new carriers. If this is to be a realpolitik power struggle for who rules the waves --“Too Big to Sail”, or a new more national/resilient map of production-- then having greater scale now increases your fire-power. Of course, it also makes you a larger target for others. Let’s presume current trends continue. Could we even end up with a return to older patterns of production, e.g., where oil used to be produced by company X, refined in its facilities, shipped on its vessels, to its de facto ports, and on to its retail distribution network. Might we even see the same for consumer goods? That is the logic of globalisation and geopolitics, as well as the accumulation of capital. However, if history is a guide, and (geo)politics is a tsunami, things will look very different on both the surface and at the deepest depths of the shipping industry and the global economy. Much we take as normal today could become flotsam and jetsam. To conclude, who benefits from the huge profits of the current shipping snarl, and who will pay the costs, is ultimately a (geo)political issue, not a market one. Many ports are likely going to be caught up in that storm. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/03/2021 - 12:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 3rd, 2021

How to Pick Great Value Stocks Like Warren Buffett

The "Oracle of Omaha" is diving into the market right now, signaling that this is a great time to be a value investor. Tracey Ryniec highlights three secrets that can help you pick great value stocks just like Buffett. Warren Buffett is one of the legends of stock investing.We all know his story.He started investing in stocks when he was just 11.  By the time he was 29 years old, he was already a millionaire stock investor. In his 60s, he became a billionaire stock investor.Often, the biggest question people ask about Buffett is: how does he do it?And: could I do it too?Buffett has become rich by buying cheap, or out of favor stocks, and holding them for years.Sounds easy, right?If it was, everyone would be able to do what Buffett has done.However, Buffett does have some secrets that us mere mortal investors can deploy to help us pick great value stocks.3 Secrets to Picking Great Value Stocks Like Buffett 1) Buy What You Know Even investing legends have favorite products. Over the years, Berkshire Hathaway has collected a big roster of well-known companies including Dairy Queen, See’s Candy, and Burlington Northern railroad.How many of these acquisitions were influenced by Buffett’s own preferences for the products?In Berkshire’s stock portfolio, one of its longest owned stock positions is in Coca-Cola, which Buffett first began buying in 1988.Is it a coincidence that Coke is one of Warren Buffett’s favorite drinks? Over the last decade, Buffett has disclosed in interviews to both Fortune and the Financial Times that he drinks 5 cans of Coke a day, usually Diet Coke or Cherry Coke.Clearly, he’s a fan.But you have to do more than just liking a product, to buy the stock.Buffett has always been an avid researcher and used to order the Annual Reports from companies, when they would send them to you in the mail, to check the financials. He used to have stacks of the reports piled in his garage.What’s your favorite product or brand?We often have our fingers on the pulse of everyday products and activities, or even of something that is used in our jobs, that might get overlooked by others.It’s a great way to find value stocks.2) Buy Stocks on Sale This sounds so simple, right?For years, Buffett has been on the sidelines, waiting for a chance to buy stocks when they went on sale. But in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the S&P 500 plunged over 20% within just 3 weeks, Buffett did not buy.Over the last 2 years, he was heavily criticized for not buying that dip.But now, 2 years later, with stocks having their worst start to a year in decades, and the S&P 500 again in a bear market, Buffett has been buying again.Keep Reading . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Get Private Picks from Zacks’ Long-Term PortfoliosThrough good markets and bad, one unique stock-picking method has more than doubled the market’s average gain with an incredible +24.8% per year.To help you take advantage of rare opportunities in today’s market, we’re opening the vault to reveal all our long-term recommendations. You’ll see stocks priced under $10… high-paying dividend stocks… Buffett-style value stocks and more. All for just $1. Special opportunity ends at midnight Sunday, June 26. See Zacks' latest value recommendations >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Buffett believes in buying cheap, well-known companies with stellar earnings growth and solid free cash flows.In 2022, Buffett has stepped in with his biggest stock purchases in a decade, adding over $50 billion worth of Chevron and Occidental Petroleum to the Berkshire portfolio.The energy companies fit the bill perfectly as they have single digit P/E ratios, as earnings are on the rise, and record free cash flows.And he keeps diving in for more, with news that he was dollar-cost averaging on Occidental Petroleum this summer as the shares have pulled back off recent highs. He now owns nearly 17% of Occidental.Buying stocks on sale is the easiest way to invest like Buffett. Any investor can search for value stocks by the classic fundamentals like P/E, PEG or Price-to-Sales ratios.If you had done so to start 2022, you would have seen buying opportunities in Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, like Buffett did.It doesn’t get any easier than that.3) Learn to Pivot and Change Course  Remember when Berkshire Hathaway owned IBM?Neither do I, but for 7 years, until 2018, Berkshire had a large position in the technology giant.Originally bought in 2011, Berkshire spent $10.7 billion, buying at the average price of $170 per share, to take a significant stake in the company.This was going to be Buffett’s big play into technology, an area he had famously avoided for decades.But it never really worked out. In 2016, shares fell as low as $125.Buffett decided to sell, and exit the position, notwithstanding one of his most famous pieces of advice, “our favorite holding period is forever.”Buffett shrugged off the defeat in interviews saying the company never lived up to expectations so he was changing course.What did he buy instead?Apple. In 2016, Apple was cheap with a forward P/E of around 10 and the Street was mostly ignoring it.That investment has more than made up for the mistake of buying IBM and is now one of the key pillars of Berkshire Hathaway’s business.You will make investing mistakes, but the secret is to know when to pivot.Buffet does it, and you can do it too.Buffett’s Final Key Ingredient: Discipline  Buffett has one skill as an investor that’s hard to come by: discipline.He will wait, sometimes years, in order to buy a stock, or a company, at a low price.His discipline paid off in the 2008-2009 financial crisis when he was able to step in and offer financial assistance to struggling banks, offering a $5 billion bailout to Goldman Sachs, for instance, when others were on sinking ships.He had what his mentor Benjamin Graham, famously called, a “margin of safety."This can be achieved by being prepared for pullbacks, corrections or even bear markets.Many investors, including Buffett, missed out on a buying opportunity in the 2020 coronavirus sell-off.But even if you missed that buying opportunity, another one is always coming.And here we are in 2022 with another bear market.  And now Buffett is diving in.2022 has been a great year for value investors.Are you ready for all the stock deals?Profiting from Buffett’s Strategy in Today’s Market The Oracle of Omaha has raked in hundreds of billions of dollars – and he has revealed his secret in plain English. As he puts it, "whether we're talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”There’s no shortage of “marked down” stocks with rock-solid fundamentals these days. Investors who get into great stocks at today’s prices are positioning themselves for spectacular gains over the longer-term. Warren Buffett clearly believes this is the case.But which are the best stocks to buy right now?Today, I'm offering you a chance to see which stocks we believe have the most promising upside for the months and years ahead. In Zacks Investor Collection, you get unrestricted access to all the real-time buys and sells from our long-term portfolios for just $1, including:• Value Investor, focused on Buffett-style selections and strategy• Income Investor, with solid stocks paying healthy dividends• Stocks Under $10, which is scooping up low-priced stocks poised to surge higher• Plus, ETF Investor, Home Run Investor, Zacks Confidential, and Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022.Last year alone, these private long-term investing services closed 68 double and triple-digit wins. There have already been 21 more in 2022. Gains have reached as high as +188.3%, +348.7% and even +995.2%.¹You’ll also get access to Zacks Premium with powerful research, tools and analysis, including the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research Reports, Zacks Earnings ESP Filter, Premium Screener and more.When you look into Zacks Investor Collection, you’re invited to download the latest edition of our 5 Stocks Set to Double special report. Five Zacks experts each pick their single favorite stock to gain +100% or more in the next 12 months.This unique arrangement enables you to find quality stocks at prices we believe Warren Buffett would approve of – and extra resources to help find your own winners.Don’t miss out. This opportunity will end on Sunday, June 26.Start Zacks Investor Collection and see our 5 Stocks Set to Double now >>Good investing,Tracy RyniecTracey Ryniec, Zacks' insider and value strategist, is editor in charge of the Value Investor portfolio. ¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position. Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 24th, 2022

77 years ago, the US"s largest invasion in the Pacific may have prevented an even bigger fight with the Japanese

The Battle of Okinawa, which ended in June 1945, made clear to US commanders what kind of fighting awaited them if they invaded Japan. US Marines during fighting at Wana Ridge on Okinawa, May 1945.US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Walter F. Kleine In spring 1945, the US island-hopping campaign was drawing closer to the Japanese mainland. US commanders were thinking about an invasion of Japanese itself, and invading Okinawa was seen as a prelude. The fanatical resistance and appalling casualties on Okinawa made clear what awaited them. By mid-March 1945, the Allies were closing in on the Japanese home islands. Allied forces were well into the process of liberating the Philippines. Japan's navy had suffered a string of disastrous defeats that left its fleet almost useless, and the brutal fight for Iwo Jima was drawing to a close.But the Japanese had shown they were determined to fight to the last man, and due to the US's insistence that Japan surrender unconditionally, it seemed to US commanders that an invasion of the Japanese mainland was the only way to end the war.Strategists began making invasion plans. Okinawa, just 350 miles south of the Japanese mainland, was a prime candidate for a staging ground. Aircraft could launch from its airfields, the US Navy could use it as a base to cut off Japanese ships from the rest of Japan's empire, and Allied troops could gather there for the invasion of Japan itself.US Navy battleship USS Idaho shells Okinawa, April 1, 1945.US NavyIt was obvious that the fight for Okinawa was going to be at least as bloody as the battle on Iwo Jima, where total US casualties outnumbered Japanese casualties for the first time in the war. Okinawa was much bigger, its Japanese garrison was almost five times larger, and, as on Iwo, they had prepared to defend it.The Japanese commander, Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushiijima, chose to mount a layered defense.Instead of trying to fight on the beaches, he focused most of his forces on defensive lines on Okinawa's southern tip, leaving only smaller groups to defend the central and northern parts. Some 60 miles of underground tunnels and dozens of bunkers, artillery positions, and machine gun nests were built using the island's numerous reverse slopes.The American invasion force was the largest US amphibious invasion force in the Pacific campaign. Led by Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., it was made up of over 180,000 soldiers and Marines from four US Army and two Marine Corps divisions.They were supported by more than 1,300 ships from the US 5th Fleet and British Pacific Fleet and by thousands of aircraft from the US Navy and Army Air Forces.US landing craft unload supplies on Yellow Beach on Okinawa, April 13, 1945.US National ArchivesThe first landings at Okinawa were on the outlying Kerama Islands on March 26, 1945 — the last day of the Battle of Iwo Jima. On April 1, after a full week of naval bombardments, US soldiers and Marines landed on central Okinawa.At first, it appeared to be going surprisingly well. The Americans encountered almost no enemy resistance. By the end of the first day, the Kadena and Yontan airfields were easily taken. Marines began to clear the northern part of the island while soldiers moved south.On April 6, the Japanese navy, in a desperate attempt to defend the island, sent the largest and most powerful battleship ever built, the Yamato, on a suicide mission against the US Navy.Yamato and five of her escorts were sunk just one day into their voyage after being hit by at least 15 bombs and eight torpedoes in an attack by 300 US Navy aircraft, killing more than 4,000 Japanese sailors.Japanese battleship Yamato explodes and sinks after bomb and torpedo hits from US Navy carrier planes north of Okinawa, April 7, 1945.US NavyBut the Allies' initial successes suddenly came to a halt.As the Americans advanced south, they walked straight into well-prepared enemy kill zones and ambushes. Constant artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire from fortified and hidden positions, along with Japanese nighttime assaults and counterattacks, slowed most progress.The fighting was especially hard along the Shuri and Machinato defensive lines, where the reverse slopes provided clear fields of fire on exposed American troops. To make things worse, late April brought the rainy season, turning battlefields into mud pits. Tanks and armored vehicles were left almost useless, and the offensive ground to a halt.At sea, the battle was just as intense. With their navy unable to mount any resistance to the superior American fleet, the Japanese turned to mass kamikaze attacks from the air.US Navy aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikaze attacks in 30 seconds off Kyushu, May 11, 1945.US NavyAlthough kamikaze attacks were used in previous battles, Okinawa was the first time they were launched simultaneously and in overwhelming numbers.Over six weeks, thousands of planes from bases in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's main islands, conducted about 1,900 such attacks.Among the planes was a new type of weapon: the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka, a 2,600-pound rocket-powered manned kamikaze aircraft.These attacks wreaked havoc; 13 aircraft carriers, 10 battleships, and hundreds of destroyers, transports, and other vessels were hit, killing about 4,900 sailors. The destroyer USS Laffey alone survived six kamikaze hits.Marines supported by bazookas assault a ridge during fighting on Okinawa, April 5, 1945.US Marine Corps/PFC L. L. GriffinDespite the fierce resistance, American troops continued to advance. On April 20, the northern part of the island was fully cleared. By the end of May, Naha, Okinawa's capital city, was captured after being virtually destroyed.Aided by airpower, naval bombardments, additional landings, and flamethrower tanks, the Americans were able to finally capture the last part of the island on June 22 — nearly three months after the battle started.The total casualties were staggering: over 12,00 Americans were killed and 36,000 wounded. Among the dead were Buckner, the overall commander, and Brig. Gen. Claudius Miller Easley, commander of the Army's 96th Infantry Division. Both were killed in the final days of the battle.Of the over 100,000 Japanese defenders, almost all were killed in action or died by suicide; only about 7,000 surrendered. Three of the four senior Japanese officers killed themselves, including Lt. Gen. Ushijima. The remaining officer, Col. Hiromichi Yahara, requested permission to commit seppuku but was directly ordered not to.A US tank, left foreground, uses a flamethrower against a Japanese strong point as US troops advance past pillboxes and underground forts on Okinawa, June 20, 1945.US ArmyMaterial losses were also high; the Americans lost 36 ships with over 360 more damaged. More than 760 aircraft and 200 tanks were destroyed as well. The Japanese lost 16 ships, more than 1,000 aircraft, and about 20 tanks.Civilians on the island suffered the most horrific toll.Unlike Iwo Jima, the Japanese did not completely evacuate the civilian population of Okinawa. It is estimated that well over 100,000 civilians — one-third of the population — died during the battle. Many were caught in the fighting and were killed in the crossfire. Some were even used as human shields by Japanese soldiers.The Japanese also mounted a program of mass indoctrination of the local population, telling them that Americans were barbarians that would slaughter or rape them if they surrendered. Large numbers of civilians willingly killed themselves or were forced to do so by Japanese soldiers to prevent their capture.Japanese prisoners of war at Okuku on Okinawa, June 27, 1945.US Marine CorpsThe fanatical resistance and appalling casualties, both military and civilian, led American leaders to reconsider an invasion of the Japanese mainland.The fighting would have undoubtedly been harder and costlier. Estimates of American casualties in such a battle ranged from 225,000 to 1 million troops, while the Japanese estimated they would suffer as many as 20 million casualties.At a White House meeting on June 18, President Harry Truman made it clear he wanted to prevent "an Okinawa, from one end of Japan to the other."In the end, the invasion of Japan never happened. Germany's surrender on May 7, coupled with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, made the Japanese realize that fighting to a negotiated surrender was impossible. On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally.This story was first published in June 2020.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 22nd, 2022

A high-seas chase in the South Atlantic 40 years ago almost ended with the first aircraft carrier sunk in combat since World War II

In spring 1982, Royal Navy ships steamed south to recapture the Falkland Islands from Argentina, and the Argentine navy sailed out to meet them. Argentina Navy cruiser ARA General Belgrano sinking on May 2, 1982.Rafael WOLLMANN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images In April 1982, Argentina seized the Falkland Islands from the UK, kicking off a war in the South Atlantic. Royal Navy ships steamed south to recapture the islands, and the Argentine navy sailed out to meet them. The naval clash involved aircraft carriers from both countries, and almost ended with one of them being sunk. Just before 3 a.m. on May 2, 1982, the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano was hit by two torpedoes fired by British nuclear-powered attack submarine HMS Conqueror.The cruiser's electrical system was damaged and it was unable to send a distress signal. Within 45 minutes it sank to the bottom of the South Atlantic, taking 323 of its crew with it.At the time, Britain was at war with Argentina. That April, Argentina had seized the Falklands Islands, prompting the British to send a naval task force to retake the islands it had controlled since 1833.Sea Harrier jump jets aboard HMS Hermes in the South Atlantic, May 1, 1982.AP Photo/Martin CleaverThe sinking of the Belgrano was only the second time since World War II that a submarine sank an enemy warship, and it is one of the war's most well-remembered moments.While Conqueror was firing on Belgrano, another major naval encounter was unfolding a few hundred miles to the north. Argentina's only aircraft carrier, ARA Veinticinco de Mayo, was trying to find the British aircraft carriers accompanying the incoming task force.The Argentines were unaware that they were being hunted themselves by two more British nuclear-powered attack subs.An old carrierArgentine navy aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo.Government of ArgentinaNamed after the date of Argentina's 1810 revolution, Veinticinco de Mayo was a Colossus-class fleet carrier built by the British and commissioned into service in 1945 as HMS Venerable.It served with the British Pacific Fleet until 1947 and was sold to the Netherlands in 1948. In the 1950s, it was refitted with an angled deck and a steam catapult. After a mostly uneventful tenure with the Dutch navy, the carrier was knocked out of service by a boiler-room fire in 1968.It was then sold to Argentina, which repaired and upgraded the carrier, commissioning it as the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in 1969. At 630 feet long and 80 feet wide, it could carry up to 24 aircraft and had a crew of 1,300.Veinticinco de Mayo supported the Argentine invasion of the Falklands on April 2, 1982, with an air wing of eight A-4Q Skyhawk combat aircraft, four S-2E Tracker anti-submarine aircraft, and two SH-3 Sea King helicopters.The Falkland Islands, called Islas Malvinas in Spanish, are 300 miles east of South America and 750 miles north of Antarctica.Google MapsShortly after Britain announced its intention to retake the Falklands, Argentina's navy made plans to intercept the Royal Navy as it arrived in the South Atlantic.Argentine ships were deployed in a pincer movement, swinging 200 miles to the north and south of the Falklands.Veinticinco de Mayo, along with the two Type 42 destroyers ARA Hércules and ARA Santísima Trinidad (also built in Britain), and the Gearing-class destroyer ARA Comodoro Py formed the northern part of the pincer. ARA General Belgrano and its two escorts formed the southern one.A third Argentine task force of three Drummond-class corvettes, armed with Exocet anti-ship missiles, was also operating in the north, though farther away from Veinticinco de Mayo and its escorts.On the night of May 1, aircraft from Veinticinco de Mayo detected the British fleet and prepared for an attack.Royal Navy crewmen relax aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes as they sail toward the Falkland Islands, 1982.Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty ImagesThe most important targets were the two British carriers leading the flotilla, HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes, which carried a total of about 20 Sea Harrier jump jets that were critical to the British operation.But Veinticinco de Mayo's Skyhawks were unable to attack. When fully loaded with fuel and weapons, they needed wind to launch from the carrier, and there would not be any wind for at least 12 hours — a rarity in that part of the Atlantic.The Argentines couldn't afford to wait around and called off their attack. At midnight, a British Sea Harrier found Veinticinco de Mayo and its escorts. A few hours later, Belgrano was sunk.With the sinking of the Belgrano, Argentine commanders realized just how vulnerable their ships were — especially their carrier. They ordered their ships back to port. Unbeknownst to them, the British were already in pursuit.9 days of high-seas cat and mouseRoyal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror is launched at Cammell Laird's shipyard in Birkenhead, England, August 28, 1969.PA Images via Getty ImagesThe British made it a top priority to knock Argentina's navy, especially Veinticinco de Mayo, out of the fight. Three nuclear-powered attack submarines of Task Force 324 were tracking the Argentines as the rest of the British fleet sailed south.The task force consisted of HMS Conqueror, a Churchill-class attack sub, which was assigned to patrol south of the Falklands, and the Swiftsure-class attack subs HMS Splendid and HMS Spartan, which were assigned the northwest and northeast sectors, respectively.The British, now aware of Veinticinco de Mayo's location, sent HMS Splendid after it, starting a nine-day chase.Because of its lingering boiler problems, Veinticinco de Mayo was slower than the sub's top speed, but the carrier's zig-zag course through shallower waters forced the Splendid to slow down.The Argentine ships also kicked their anti-submarine operations into high gear.An S-2 Tracker lands on ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in 1982.Luis Rosendo/Heritage Images via Getty ImagesThe carrier's escorts took up position 5 miles off its port, bow, and starboard. The four S-2E Trackers flew six-hour missions, flying as far as 100 miles from the carrier to drop sonobuoys and use their surface-search radars. They also used electromagnetic sensors to listen for radio signals going to or from the Splendid.The two Sea King helicopters patrolled closer to the carrier, using dipping sonars that could detect submarines within 3 miles.When the Argentines detected what they thought was a sub, they attacked with Mark 44 torpedoes or Mk 54 depth charges dropped from the Trackers.Despite the Argentine defenses, Splendid closed in. On May 3, it was close enough to make visual contact with Veinticinco de Mayo's escorts. A day later, despite having to dive deep to avoid the Trackers, its sonar had acquired the carrier and its escorts.By the time Splendid was within torpedo range, however, the carrier and its escorts had entered Argentine waters and continued sailing north.An A-4 Skyhawk launches from ARA Veinticinco de Mayo in 1982.Luis Rosendo/Heritage Images via Getty ImagesThe British wanted to portray their actions as purely defensive and decided not to attack Argentine forces in their own waters. Splendid broke off its pursuit and headed south, leaving the job of tracking the carrier to HMS Spartan.On May 5, one of Veinticinco de Mayo's Trackers detected signs of a submarine. A number of Mark 44s were fired but made no hits. Neither Splendid nor Spartan were in the area at the time, suggesting that the Argentines had misidentified their contact or that they had possibly detected a US, Soviet, or Chilean sub.The hunt for Veinticinco de Mayo finally ended on May 9, when the carrier entered the port of Viedma. It never sortied again during the war, but its Skyhawks, flying from land, helped sink the British frigate HMS Ardent.The naval clashes of the Falklands War were a glimpse at modern high-seas warfare and its toll.Two days after Belgrano was sunk, British destroyer HMS Sheffield was sunk by an Exocet missile, becoming the first Royal Navy ship sunk in combat since World War II. While the main carriers escaped unscathed, a freighter the British converted to carry aircraft was sunk, also by Argentine anti-ship missiles.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 6th, 2022

The Russian navy"s surprising losses against Ukraine are reminders of another humiliating defeat 117 years ago

Russia's embarrassing naval losses against Ukraine come a little over a century after another Russian naval debacle on the other side of the world. Russian cruiser Moskva in the Mediterranean Sea near Syria, December 17, 2015.ussian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP Russia's navy has taken high-profile losses against a outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainian adversary. The losses themselves are not catastrophic for Russia's navy but they are blows to Russian prestige. They also come a little over a century after another Russian naval debacle on the other side of the world. Since Russia launched its attack on Ukraine in late February, the Russian navy has suffered high-profile losses against a heavily outnumbered and outgunned adversary.The Russians have lost at least five Raptor-class patrol boats, one Tapir-class landing ship, one Serna-class landing craft, and most notably the Moskva, a Slava-class guided-missile cruiser that was also the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.The losses themselves are not catastrophic for the Russian navy and are unlikely to alter the course of the war or the balance of power in the Black Sea, but they are blows to Russian prestige and come a little over a century after another historic debacle for Russia: the Battle of Tsushima, the last time a Russian navy flagship was sunk in combat.Fought in the waters between Korea and southern Japan by ships of the Japanese and Russian empires on May 27 and 28 in 1905, the battle cemented Japan's rise as an equal to Western powers and had a lasting impact on both Japan and Russia.Competing empiresA print of Japanese warships steaming to bombard Port Arthur during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War.Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty ImagesTensions between the Japanese and Russian empires had been building since Japan's overwhelming victory in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895.Japan, equipped with an organized, modern army, was pursuing ambitions in Korea and China that brought it dangerously close to Russian interests, especially in Manchuria and Korea.Of particular importance to the Russians was Port Arthur, now Dalian, a Chinese port that was leased to Russia and was its only warm-water Pacific port. Port Arthur became the headquarters of Russia's Pacific Fleet and there were plans to connect it to Russia via the Trans-Siberian Railway.Negotiations between Japan and Russia over the future of the region went nowhere, and so, on February 8, 1904, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the main part of the Russian Pacific Fleet at Port Arthur, formally declaring war hours later.Men on shore in front of the Russian ships Pallada, left, and Pobida, after they were sunk at Port Arthur in 1904.Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesJapan gained a naval advantage relatively quickly. It fought off an attempt by the main part of the Russian Pacific Fleet to break the blockade of Port Arthur and largely defeated Russia's Vladivostok-based squadrons at Chemulpo Bay and Ulsan — victories that allowed Japan to effectively dominate the Pacific.Unwilling to concede defeat, and with Japanese ground forces beginning a siege of Port Arthur itself, Russia's Tsar Nicholas II ordered the creation of the 2nd Pacific Squadron, which was to be made up of ships from the Baltic Fleet.Commanded by Vice Adm. Zinovy Rozhestvensky, the 2nd Pacific Squadron was composed of some 40 ships, including 11 pre-dreadnought battleships, nine cruisers, and nine destroyers.Sailing from the Baltic in October 1904, they were supposed to relieve the Pacific Fleet at Port Arthur, destroy any Japanese ships they encountered, and cut the supply lines between Japan and mainland Asia.Russia's doomed fleetImperial Russian battleship Knyaz' Suvorov, the Russian flagship at the Battle of Tsushima, in Kronshtadt near St. Petersburg in August 1904.Official photographRussia's navy had been modernized in during the latter half of the 1800s, but while the 2nd Pacific Squadron appeared strong on paper, it was not a first-rate naval force. Some of the warships were new and untested, but many were old and bordered on obsolete. Others were little more than auxiliary ships with guns mounted on them.Russian Navy leadership was also of low quality. Many of its officers came from wealthy and connected families who simply bought their commissions. The rank-and-file sailors were not much more professional, as many of them were inexperienced conscripts.These issues were on full display during the seven-month, 18,000-mile journey to the Pacific.While in the North Sea near England, the fleet opened fire on British fishing trawlers, somehow thinking they were Japanese torpedo boats. Two fishermen were killed, one was injured, and one trawler was sunk with four more damaged. In the chaos, some of the Russian ships even fired on each other, causing casualties and damage.Imperial Russian battleship Borodino at Kronshtadt near St. Petersburg in August 1904.Official photographDiplomatic maneuvering managed to prevent the British from joining the war on the side of Japan, but the Russian fleet's troubles were only beginning.Most of the fleet sailed around Africa rather than through the Suez Canal. The longer journey took a toll on the crews, who had never experienced such a different climate or such a long time at sea. The ships themselves were also under considerable strain. During gunnery practice with a mock target towed by a cruiser, the only thing the fleet hit was the cruiser.With no allies, the Russians couldn't dock in friendly ports, and so they had to take on more coal while at sea. Conditions on the ships deteriorated, and a number of sailors died of disease and respiratory issues.By the time the fleet was in Madagascar in January, Port Arthur had fallen. Their mission was then changed: They were to meet the remnants of Russia's Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok before engaging the Japanese in a decisive battle.Slaughter at TsushimaThe Japanese fleet sailing to meet the Russians at Tsushima early on May 27, 1905, as seen from the battleship Asahi.Shigetada Seki via Wikimedia CommonsWhen the Russian ships finally reached the Tsushima Strait on the night of May 26, 1905, Rozhestvensky attempted to slip through unnoticed. Unfortunately for him, one of his ships had been spotted by a patrolling Japanese vessel.Even more unfortunate, the Russian ship mistakenly believed the Japanese vessel was a lost Russian ship and signaled that more Russian ships were nearby.With the location of his enemy confirmed, Japanese Adm. Tōgō Heihachirō's Combined Fleet, which included four modern battleships, over 20 cruisers, 21 destroyers, and 43 torpedo boats, set out to meet them.On the morning of May 27, the fleets made contact. Before the firing began, Tōgō hoisted a signal flag that conveyed a predetermined message to his fleet: "the Empire's fate depends on the result of this battle, let every man do his utmost duty."Russian protected cruiser Oleg, showing damage from the Battle of Tsushima, in Manila Bay on June 27, 1905.Collection of P.H. Proctor via Wikimedia CommonsThe ensuing battle was a slaughter. In addition to better training, discipline, and experience, the Japanese were equipped with modern armor-piercing rounds that tore the Russian ships apart.By the end of the day, four Russian battleships were sunk. Imperator Aleksandr III sank with its entire crew of over 700, while Borodino sank with all but one of its more than 800 crew members.The flagship, Knyaz Suvorov, sank with all but 20 officers, while about half of Oslyabya's crew went down with the ship. A number of cruisers and destroyers were sunk as well.As night fell, the survivors attempted to make it to Vladivostok under cover of darkness. Tōgō's destroyers hunted them down, picking off two more battleships and several other warships. By the following afternoon, most of the survivors surrendered.Lost prestigeJapanese Adm. Heihashima Togo is welcomed upon return to Tokyo on October 22, 1905.ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty ImagesRussian losses were immense, 21 ships sunk or scuttled and seven captured. Only three ships reached Vladivostok, though six others made it to neutral ports in China, the Philippines, and Madagascar.Over 4,000 Russian sailors were killed and almost 6,000 were captured. The Japanese lost only three torpedo boats with just 117 killed and about 500 wounded — including a young Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor, who lost two fingers in the battle.The Russian navy's prestige never recovered from Tsushima. Unable to be rebuilt to the same grand scale, it saw little major action in World War I. The Soviet Navy also only saw limited action in World War II and never truly proved itself during the Cold War, though Soviet submarines were a constant concern for NATO navies.Today, the Russian navy boasts a smaller, more modern fleet that is focused on green-water operations rather than high-seas campaigns, but its surprising losses against Ukraine show it has yet to regain the dominance lost a century ago.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 2nd, 2022

Futures Rise For The First Time This Week As Oil Slumps

Futures Rise For The First Time This Week As Oil Slumps US futures advanced for the first time this week, as investors tentatively bought the dip and were cheered by a drop in oil prices. S&P 500 futures were 0.6% higher by 7:30 am in New York, while Nasdaq 100 futs gained 0.7%. Already light trading volumes are even lower, with UK markets shut for a long weekend holiday to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. Stocks slumped Wednesday after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s warning to investors to prepare for an economic “hurricane”, reversing his cheerful comments from just one week earlier, and disagreeing with JPMorgan’s permabullish strategist, Marko Kolanovic, who expects stocks to rebound by the end of the year and the US to avoid recession. Treasuries held losses, with 10-year yields above 2.90%. The dollar slipped while the yen held near 130 per dollar after its recent decline on the prospect of widening interest rate differentials with the US. Oil dropped on a rehashed report - this time from the FT which echoed an almost verbatim report from the WSJ one day earlier - that Saudi Arabia could pump more crude should Russian output drop substantially due to increasing sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. It could, of course, but it won't for various reasons we will discuss in a post shortly. In any case, OPEC+ meeting members are set to meet Thursday for their monthly gathering where no break up of OPEC+ is going to happen. It seems that #OPEC+ will continue its current policy of monthly increases until September, after which, depending on the market conditions, production limits will be lifted. In any case, we expect to see another lackluster meeting, as in previous months./3 #OOTT — Reza Zandi (@R_Zandi) June 2, 2022 Oil’s decline helped to steady sentiment after US manufacturing activity and job openings data Wednesday fueled concern the Federal Reserve will need to get more restrictive to slow runaway price gains. “There’s been a large correction in some stocks; those corrections led to valuations that are way more attractive that can benefit medium-to long-term investors, especially in Europe and the emerging-markets space,” Vanguard Asset Services Ltd. Investment Strategist Giulio Renzi Ricci said on Bloomberg TV, summarizing prevailing sentiment among the BTFD crowd. In premarket trading, bank stocks are higher as the US 10-year Treasury yield rises for a third straight day to about 2.91%. Elsewhere, Repare Therapeutics will be in focus as shares soared 20% in postmarket after it announced a worldwide license and collaboration agreement with Roche for Camonsertib, while GameStop reported mixed results in the first quarter as it shifts to cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens. In corporate news, tech-bloated hedge fund Tiger Global Management’s losses for the year reached 51.8% amid turbulent markets. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE US) drops as much as 8.1% in US premarket trading on Thursday after the computer hardware and storage company lowered its adjusted earnings per share forecast for the full year. Chewy (CHWY US) shares are up 16% in pre- market trading after the online pet products retailer reported quarterly adjusted Ebitda and net sales that topped analysts’ expectations. Jefferies called the results “impressive.” NetApp Inc. (NTAP US) shares gained in extended trading Wednesday. Analysts remain cautious about the outlook for the cloud business after the storage hardware and software company reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings that were higher than analysts’ expectations. C3.ai Inc. (AI US) tumbled 22% postmarket after the AI software company forecast revenue for fiscal 2023 that fell short of estimates. Piper Sandler’s analyst Arvind Ramnani cut his recommendation to neutral from overweight. Veeva (VEEV US)shares advanced 4.2% in postmarket trading Wednesday as it lifted its revenue forecast for the full year. Investors have been on edge over when (not whether) the US central bank’s tighter policies will induce a recession. A chorus of Fed officials has fallen behind calls to keep hiking to counter price pressures. Mary Daly of the San Francisco Fed and her more hawkish colleague James Bullard of St. Louis both backed a plan to raise rates by 50 basis points this month, while Richmond’s Thomas Barkin said it made “perfect sense” to tighten policy. “We do see the rise in probability of a recession in the second half of this year, potentially persisting into 2023 as the Fed continues to battle inflation,” Tracie McMillion, Wells Fargo Investment Institute head of global asset allocation strategy, said on Bloomberg Television. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index advanced amid low session volumes with the London market closed in commemoration of the Queen’s Jubilee festivities. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Remy Cointreau shares advance as much as 5.6% after the spirits company reported FY earnings that Morgan Stanley called “reassuring.” Peer Pernod Ricard also climb, as much as 3.1%. Calliditas Therapeutics rise as much as 16% after Pareto Securities initiated with a buy recommendation, calling the Swedish biotechnology firm “highly undervalued” and a potential acquisition target. European energy stocks underperformed as oil slipped following a report that Saudi Arabia is ready to pump more should Russian output decline substantially. Earlier in the session, Asian markets were dragged lower by the technology sector, as strong US economic data bolstered the case for aggressive interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.2% as most sectors fell, with tech shares including TSMC and Alibaba among the biggest drags. South Korea led declines in the region as traders returned from a holiday, while China stocks eked out gains after authorities urged banks to set up a 800 billion yuan ($120 billion) line of credit for infrastructure projects.  An unexpected advance in US manufacturing activity and still-high job openings added to investor concerns about monetary tightening in the country and its impact on global growth. James Bullard of the St. Louis Fed urged policy makers to raise interest rates to 3.5% this year to try and curb inflation. The US policy outlook adds to pressure on Asian firms, whose earnings prospects have dimmed on higher costs and China’s economic slowdown. The MSCI regional benchmark is down 13% this year, largely tracking the S&P 500’s 14% loss. “We do think near term it’s likely to be bumpy,” Sunil Koul, Apac equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, told Bloomberg Television. “This combination of quantitative tightening, raising rates, combined with some growth risks we are seeing and a stronger dollar is what is causing pain in the markets.” Japanese stocks fell as the persistent risk of global inflation and the prospects of tighter monetary policy in the US damped sentiment.  The Topix closed 0.6% lower at 1,926.39 at the 3pm close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.2% to 27,413.88. Sony Group contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 3.2%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 675 rose and 1,402 fell, while 94 were unchanged. “There are still worries over inflation in the US and rate hikes, so it will be quite hard for stocks to enter an upward trend,” said Hitoshi Asaoka, a senior strategist at Asset Management One.  Stocks in India overcame concerns over hawkish central bank moves to snap two days of declines as a drop in oil prices and attractive valuations buoyed investors. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.8% to 55,818.11 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.6%. Reliance Industries provided the biggest boost to the key gauges, surging 3.5%, followed by software majors Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services.  Of the 30 member stocks on the Sensex, 20 rose, while 10 declined. All but four of the 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd., rose, led by a measure of energy companies. Stocks in Asia were mostly lower after strong US economic data bolstered the case for aggressive interest-rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. However, the trend soon changed as investors assessed attractive valuations, while crude oil slid to $113 a barrel before the monthly OPEC+ meeting later today. “Nifty valuations are now at a sweet spot where they offer good potential returns,” DSP Mutual Fund said in note. About half of the NSE Nifty 500 Index’s members have corrected more than 30%, which creates selective opportunities, the asset manager said. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.8% to close at 7,175.90, following US shares lower after Fed officials reinforced a hawkish stance and JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon cautioned on the economy. Megaport led a drop in technology shares. Woodside was the top performer after a block trade. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.2% to 11,349.54. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar spot Index fell as the greenback traded weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro snapped two days of losses and approached $1.07. One-week options in euro-dollar now capture the next ECB meeting, and implied volatility in the euro heads for its strongest close since mid-May. The pound retraced about half of Wednesday’s loss, with UK markets shut for a holiday. Australia’s bonds dropped amid speculation that the Reserve Bank of Australia will follow its Canadian counterpart and keep raising rates aggressively. The yen fell to a three-week low before reversing losses. US Treasuries were flat in early US trading as equity futures rose for the first time this week. The 10Y Yield is trading unch at 2.91%, outperforming most euro-zone counterparts, with 2- to 5-year yields cheaper by 1bp-2bp with 10- to 30-year yields little changed, flattening 5s30s by ~2bp. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; nine borrowers priced $14.6b Wednesday, largest daily total since May 17. European bonds posted modest losses after a steady start. As noted above, crude oil slid on a report that Saudi Arabia is ready to pump more oil if Russian output declines. OPEC+ is scheduled to meet to discuss supply policy, where it is not expected to surprise anyone. At last check, Brent was trading just above $113, and although the benchmark lifted around $1/bbl off of its overnight troughs, this has marginally pulled back. Looking at the day ahead, the economic data slate includes May Challenger job cuts (7:30am), ADP employment change (8:15am), 1Q final nonfarm productivity and initial jobless claims (8:30am) and April factory orders (10am). Fed speakers slated include Logan (12pm) and Mester (1pm). Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% MXAP down 0.7% to 167.84 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 552.13 Nikkei down 0.2% to 27,413.88 Topix down 0.6% to 1,926.39 Hang Seng Index down 1.0% to 21,082.13 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,195.46 Sensex up 0.8% to 55,825.08 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.8% to 7,175.94 Kospi down 1.0% to 2,658.99 German 10Y yield up 2bps to 1.21% Euro up 0.4% to $1.0689 Brent futures down 2.3% to $113.65/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,851.88 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.3% to 102.23 Top Overnight News President Joe Biden is likely to visit Saudi Arabia later this month as part of an international trip for NATO and Group of Seven meetings, according to people familiar with the matter, with record high US gas prices weighing on his party’s political prospects The ECB must pare back stimulus as inflation is too strong and too broad, Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said EU efforts to approve a partial ban on Russian oil imports hit an obstacle after Hungary raised new or already rejected demands, further slowing a push to clinch a deal, according to people familiar with the negotiations The pound is coming off the first positive month of 2022, but the mood in the market is as bleak as ever. Scorching inflation, an economy teetering on the edge of recession and a scandal-prone government are feeding into a view that the UK currency is vulnerable After years of pushing exports to China and building up energy links to Russia, Germany’s economy faces a poisonous cocktail of risks. Its heavy reliance on manufacturing makes it more vulnerable than European peers to war-related disruptions in Russian energy supplies and bottlenecks in trade. The upshot is risk of contraction and even higher prices squeezing unsettled consumers Beijing is turning to state-owned policy banks once again to help rescue an economy under strain, ordering them to provide 800 billion yuan ($120 billion) in funding for infrastructure projects Chinese officials have vowed to carry out a slew of government policies to stimulate growth following Premier Li Keqiang’s recent call to avoid a Covid- fueled economic contraction this quarter A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks followed suit to the subdued performance seen in global peers after the recent upside in yields and hawkish central bank rhetoric. ASX 200 was dragged lower by underperformance in tech and weakness in financials, with sentiment also not helped by frictions with China. Nikkei 225 lacked firm direction with automakers indecisive following sharp declines in their US sales last month. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp traded mixed ahead of the Dragon Boast Festival tomorrow and with Hong Kong suffering from notable losses in property names and tech, while losses in the mainland were pared amid COVID-related optimism and after the latest support efforts in which Beijing announced CNY 800bln of increased credit quotas for state-owned policy banks to fund the construction of infrastructure projects. Top Asian News China's Ambassador to Australia said that Beijing is prepared to talk with Australia without preconditions but added that trade sanctions on Australia will not be removed until there is an improvement in the political relationship, according to AFR. China's Global Times tweeted that Chinese Coast Guard vessels patrolled the territorial waters off the Diaoyu Islands (Senkaku Islands) on Thursday, which is a disputed territory with Japan. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno confirmed that the government wants to increase the average minimum wage to JPY 1000, according to Reuters. China's Commerce Ministry, on the US considering adding additional firms to the blacklist, says they will adopt measures to protect Chinese firms. A group of nations are to make a request for an international labour organisation mission to China to probe alleged violation in Xinjiang at a meeting today, according to Reuters sources. Chinese Officials Vow to Carry Out Plans for Economic Stimulus Toshiba Reveals Buyout Bids as Privatization Chances Rise Hong Kong Quarantine Backtrack Stokes Fears of Covid Zero Return European bourses are posting modest gains, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.6%, though volumes are lighter given UK Spring Bank Holiday. Stateside, futures are firmer across the board, ES +0.5%, with action similarly contained ahead of a busy PM docket featuring ADP and Fed's Mester. Top European News Deutsche Bank CEO’s Fixer Hoops Takes Another Leap as DWS Chief Ukraine Latest: Russia Ready to Settle Eurobond Payment Claims Euro Options Into ECB Meeting Are Now Most Overpriced in a Month Swiss Exchange Investigates Swissquote for Disclosure Delay FX Pound pounces on Dollar downturn to reclaim 1.2500 handle as UK prepares for Platinum Jubilee celebrations. DXY sub-102.500 amidst broad bounce in index components led by Franc initially; USD/CHF reverses around 0.9600 axis in wake of Swiss inflation data showing bigger overshoot vs SNB targets. Euro eyes 1.0700, but capped by hefty option expiry interest from round number up to 1.0740. Kiwi and Aussie boosted by recovery in risk sentiment, but Loonie lags as WTI sags on reports of Saudi Arabia standing ready to cover any shortfall in Russian oil output; NZD/USD probes 0.6500, AUD/USD approaches 0.7200 and Usd/Cad 1.2650+ Yen retrieves some losses as Greenback retreats and US Treasury yields slip from peaks ahead of busy pm agenda, USD/JPY circa 129.70 compared to 130.24 overnight peak. Fixed Income Bunds and Eurozone peers extend recent losing streak to set deeper cycle lows in futures/high yields, without Liffe support and despite steady US Treasuries. 10 year German benchmark down to 150.29 and 1.21%+ in cash terms. Multi-tranche Spanish and French issuance draw mixed covers irrespective of concession. T-note holds around par within 118-30+/18+ range awaiting slew of US data and more Fed speakers. Commodities WTI and Brent remain pressured after overnight FT reports re. Saudi being prepared to pump more oil if Russian output declines. Though, the benchmarks have lifted around USD 1/bbl off of their respective overnight troughs at best; however, this has marginally pulled back. Reminder, the JMMC commences from 13:00BST/08:00ET with the OPEC+ event following ~30-minutes later. US Private Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -1.2mln (exp. -1.4mln), Gasoline -0.3mln (exp. +0.5mln), Distillate +0.9mln (exp. +1.0mln), Cushing +0.2mln. Norway's Hammerfest liquefied natural gas plant has restarted LNG production following a fire 20 months ago, according to Equinor (EQNR NO). Spot gold is bid but has failed to gain much additional traction after breaching USD 1850/oz and the 10-DMA at USD 1851.3/oz; base metals are bid ahead of the long Chinese weekend for Dragon Boat Festival. US Event Calendar 8:15am: U.S. ADP Employment Change, May, est. 300k, prior 247k 8:30am: U.S. Initial Jobless Claims, May 28, est. 210k, prior 210k; Continuing Claims, May 21, est. 1340k, prior 1346k 8:30am: U.S. Nonfarm Productivity, 1Q F, est. -7.5%, prior -7.5% 10am: U.S. Durable Goods Orders, April F, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% 10am: U.S. Factory Orders, April, est. 0.6%, prior 2.2%, revised prior 1.8%; -Less Transportation, April F, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 10am: U.S. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, April F, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3% 10am: U.S. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, April F, no est., prior 0.8% DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap Filling in while the UK is on holiday, I hope my use of “Z’s” and neglect of “U’s” does not prove jarring to regular readers. The start of the month was jarring to many asset holders, as bond and equities both sold off with more evidence that labor markets are historically tight while inflation remains well above target. Meanwhile, the Fed’s beige book provided anecdotes of slowing growth in some districts, while a majority of districts had respondents expecting growth to slow in the near future. St. Louis Fed President and Hawk Emeritus James Bullard joined San Francisco Fed President to echo previous Fed communications that policy would expeditiously get to neutral, while the CEO of J.P. Morgan gave the gloomy growth narrative his imprimatur. The mix drove policy pricing higher and all but one sector in the S&P lower. North of the border, the Bank of Canada hiked rates another +50bps, layering hawkish guidance into the statement such as “the risk of elevated inflation becoming entrenched has risen.” While in Europe, ECB Governing Council member Holzmann sang the virtues of a +50bp hike (in line with our Europe team’s updated ECB call, found here). Stepping through the developments. The rate selloff began in earnest following the mid-morning data dump in the US, which included May ISM manufacturing and April JOLTS data. The ISM print surprised to the upside at 56.1 versus expectations of 54.5, while prices paid printed at 82.2 versus expectations of 81.0. Meanwhile, the JOLTS data across quits, hiring, and opening painted an historically tight labor market picture, with the vacancy yield (hires-per-job opening) hitting a record low. The March revisions also leaned tighter. The data re-emphasized that policy would need to get much tighter to do the work of actually bringing inflation down despite bubbling fears that the growth outlook was on shaky footing. The Treasury curve sold off and flattened, with 2yr yields gaining +8.5bps and the 10yr yield increasing +6.2bps, with real yields gaining +6.1bps in line with the tighter expected policy path. Two of the more germane policy path questions – how to size the September hike and what is terminal – moved tighter, in turn. The odds of a +50bp September move reached a month-high 65%, while terminal pricing moved back north of 3.1%. Presidents Bullard and Daly, typically taking opposing corners in the ideological ring, both re-emphasized the need to tighten policy expeditiously to neutral in light of runaway inflation. While policymakers debate where neutral is and what to do once there, support to get there fast is robust; it is best to heed their harmonious message the next time growth fears or falling risk assets drive policy pricing lower. Balance sheet policy will augment tightening as June marks the start of the Fed’s balance sheet normalization process, or QT. For more details on what that entails, I published a playbook on QT in conjunction with US rates and economics colleagues, found here. Steeper policy paths gripped north of the border and across the Atlantic as well. On the latter, Austrian central bank governor Holzmann said that “a 50 basis-point rise would send the necessary clear signal that the ECB is serious about fighting inflation”, leading OIS rates to price in +38bps by the July meeting. Longer-dated sovereign yields sold off in concert, with 10yr bunds (+6.4bps), OATs (+6.6bps) and BTPs (+8.5bps) hitting fresh multi-year highs. The spread of 10yr Italian yields over bunds also moved back above 200bps. The Bank of Canada hiked rates +50bps as expected, though weaved in restrictive guidance that gave the meeting a hawkish hue. Namely, the central bank warned they could be “more forceful” if needed, updating their statement to note that the economy was “clearly operating in excess demand”, which risked elevated inflation becoming yet more entrenched, as mentioned. The daily stew got a dose of anecdotal growth fears with the release of the beige book and comments from the CEO of J.P. Morgan warning that an economic “hurricane” was on the horizon. The beige book had a majority of Fed districts with contacts reporting growth or recession fears. The impact was to bring 10yr yields around 5bps below their intraday highs. Those yields are less than a basis point higher from those levels as we go to press this morning. The mixture drove equities lower on both sides of the Atlantic. The S&P 500 retreated -0.75% to start the month, with all but one sector in the red. The NASDAQ was in line, falling -0.72%, though mega cap growth FANG+ felt the impact of higher discount rates, falling -0.92%. In Europe, stocks underperformed as the continent countenances yet tighter monetary policy, with the STOXX 600 falling -1.04%. Energy was the sole gainer in the S&P, though that outperformance may be short lived as the FT reported overnight that Saudi Arabia was primed to pump more oil onto the market should Russian exports be crimped by sanctions. Brent crude futures are -1.67% lower ahead of the OPEC+ meeting today. Asian equity markets are trading lower following yesterday’s selloff. Across the region, the Hang Seng (-1.72%) is the largest underperformer after the local government decided to revive its toughest Covid-Zero measures as Covid variants flare. US stock futures are swinging between gains and losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.04%), NASDAQ 100 (+0.07%) virtually unchanged. Elsewhere, early morning data showed that Australia’s April trade surplus swelled to A$10.5 bn (v/s A$9.0 bn) from the A$9.7 bn. In terms of yesterday’s other data, German retail sales fell by a larger-than-expected -5.4% (vs. -0.5% expected). Otherwise, the final manufacturing PMIs for May only diverged slightly from the flash readings. The Euro Area manufacturing PMI was revised up to 54.6 (vs. flash 54.4), but the US manufacturing PMI was revised down to 57.0 (vs. flash 57.5). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the Euro Area’s PPI for April, as well as the US weekly initial jobless claims, April’s factory orders, and the ADP’s report of private payrolls for May. Central bank speakers include the ECB’s Villeroy and Hernandez de Cos, along with the Fed’s Mester. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/02/2022 - 08:03.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 2nd, 2022

...Turns Out Keynes Was A Commie

...Turns Out Keynes Was A Commie Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Why The Cantillon Effect Creates Communism Awareness of the centuries old concept of The Cantillion Effect has been experiencing a revival of late, particularly since the extraordinary acceleration of monetary injections that occurred under COVID. Named for the French-Irish economist who died in 1734 (he was murdered), the Cantillon Effect is when you create a bunch of new money and inject it into an economy. What happens is the people at the front of the line who receive the new money first become wealthier, while the people at the end of the line who receive it last are further impoverished. The Cantillon Effect This is not peculiar to the post-Covid era. For more than a decade I’ve been describing how rampant money creation and credit expansion skews formerly free markets into a kind of economic vampirism, without actually knowing there was a term like this to describe it. From my vantage-point as a tech CEO running a company that has never taken on VC funding, it unfolded as having to compete with multiple deep-pocketed 800lb gorillas and billion dollar unicorns who were losing money on every transaction and driving a race to the bottom across the entire industry. Companies like ours have to be profitable or perish. Serially funded unicorns just have to keep their burn rate below their fund-raising tempo. Marc Andreesen, the noteworthy VC icon touched on it with his famous “Software is eating the world” euphemism, but it failed to capture the financialization aspect of it. It’s more like “serial up-rounds are eating the world”. The dynamic intensified dramatically under COVID. Not only were the monetary injections accelerating, but governments globally shut down small and independent businesses for nearly two years, and then central banks went out and bought the bonds of the quasi-monopolies who were left. Via Statista – the Fed purchased bonds of companies controlled by every person on this list. But even if the people at the front of the line have a privileged position, why does this necessarily translate into them either using that position to launch, fund and flip money-losing unicorns, or hollowing out via financial engineering what would have otherwise been long term viable businesses? It’s the currency debasement, stupid When the cost of capital is cheap, like near-zero cheap, companies never have to be profitable. In fact if the capital pool is growing faster than the operating earnings are, you’re actually incentivized to eschew profits in favour of taking on funding – provided you have a short-term time horizon. Here’s the thing about printing money: because it devalues the currency, it compresses time horizons. If you think of currency as “shares” in the economy they denominate, then it should be easy to grasp that by increasing the number of currency units, you aren’t magically growing the economy. You’re just increasing the numerator (the currency units) while keeping the denominator (the actual goods and services available) the same. If the numerator grows, that means it takes more currency to buy the same goods and services, so it is experienced as variations of “number go up”: For people who are already wealthy: assets increase in “value” because they are being measured in more units For everybody else: food, shelter and essentials get more expensive, same reason. In fact government metrics that define some arbitrary “poverty line” as being based on some level of income almost completely misses the point. The line between poverty and wealth should more accurately be measured in terms of net assets. The wealthy have assets – that compound. The poor have bills – that get more expensive. Whenever the monetary authorities increase the currency supply or expand credit, it is always proffered as a necessity of saving the system. The fact that the reason the system needed saving in the the first place was a direct consequence of previous expansions is ignored or shouted down. There are only three real moves in the central banker toolbox: print money, expand credit, suppress interest rates. The intellectual basis of this approach is often rationalized as a prescription dictated by  “Keynesianism” or “Keynesian economics”, after John Maynard Keynes, the intellectual father of mainstream “economics” as it is known today. Keynes was a bit of a mixed bag. Though often cited for his “gold as a barbarous  relic” quote, he ended up heavily allocated in South African gold miners years after he wrote that. Mid-way through his career he swore off macro investing, coming to the opinion that no amount of macro knowledge would give you an edge at the company level: he had become a sort of proto-value investor. He was also a pederast, having kept detailed records of  numerous young, mostly male partners, their names and ages, which are preserved still in the archives at King’s College, Cambridge …he was a Malthusian believing it was “the salvation of the British economy” and eugenicist – having served on the board of the British Eugenics Society. …and, as it turns out, Keynes was a raving pinko. Full blown Commie. The Socialist scaffolding of Keynesian Economics Vladimir Lenin is often attributed as saying “the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.” However the quote is possibly apocryphal, because the earliest reference to it is a citation by Keynes in his Economic Consequences of Peace.  Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. … As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless;… Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose. Keynes is describing The Cantillon Effect, and yet, as we’ll see, Keynes may not have been viewing this as a bad thing. While Keynes clearly understood that government spending and money creation drove wealth inequality, it seems as though he viewed this as a beneficial dynamic, because it would inexorably lead toward the ultimate wealth inequality: Communism. Contrary to the popular platitudes that socialism and communism are about achieving equality for all, going so far to prescribe absurdities like “equality of outcome”. The reality, documented by the likes of Dr. Kristian Niemietz in his “Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies”, is that the only equality brought about by collectivism is where everybody beneath the thin scab of elites and their apparatchiks are equally mired in poverty and servitude. In Edward W Fuller’s “Was Keynes a socialist” paper, published 2019 in The Cambridge Journal of Economics, Fuller looked at whether John Maynard Keynes, the chief architect behind the entire edifice of conventional economics (and arguably it’s intellectual descendants like Modern Monetary Theory) was a socialist. He compared the defenses of Keynes as “a liberal who wanted to save Capitalism” against various writings, correspondence and accounts of Keynes himself and from those who knew him, including his own father. John Neville Keynes,  journaled on Sept 6, 1911 ‘Maynard avows himself a Socialist and is in favour of the confiscation of wealth’. Turns out this was not a passing fad, it was a lifelong devotion. Young Keynes first came out as a socialist in February 1911, declaring that: “the progressive reorganization of Society along the lines of Collectivist Socialism is both inevitable and desirable” Over the course of his career Keynes authored numerous odes to socialism, fraternized with notorious socialists like George Bernard Shaw (head of the Fabian Society) and Owen Mosley, who founded the socialist New Party in 1931, which later morphed into The British Union of Fascists. Keynes supported the Bolshevik Revolution, even though it had seized power in a coup d’etat against what was then the only democratically elected government in Russia’s history (“the only course open to me is to be a buoyantly bolshevik”.) Keynes became a regular attendee at the 1917 Club, a Soho meeting place in vogue amongst socialists of the day, named to honour the year of the revolution. It was at the 1917 Club where members of The Fabian Society met. The Fabians wanted to usher in global communism, but instead of doing that through, sudden, violent revolutions (a la Marx) they would take their time. They thought in generational increments and proposed the slow, steady infiltration of higher education, government bureaucracies, cultural chokepoints (theatre, pop-culture, the media and the press), and posited that over time they could pull society toward collectivism without anyone realizing it. Their emblem was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. As per Keynes: “Socialism can be introduced gradually... the economic transition of a society [into Socialism] is a thing to be accomplished slowly”. Fuller’s paper concludes that Keynes was a non-Marxist socialist, meaning he eschewed the obsession with the idea of class struggle and focused his thinking around increased State control over the economy. If Keynes was a commie, why does it matter? In a previous incarnation of this blog, I wrote about Keynes’s predictions of a theoretical future where humanity would be freed from all care of day-to-day concerns through expert management of the economic cycle by credentialed technocrats. He called this future state “Bliss” and described it in his essay The Economic Possibilities of Our Grandchildren (coincidentally cited via marxists.org) The pace at which we can reach our destination of economic bliss will be governed by four things – our power to control population, our determination to avoid wars and civil dissensions, our willingness to entrust to science the direction of those matters which are properly the concern of science, and the rate of accumulation as fixed by the margin between our production and our consumption; of which the last will easily look after itself, given the first three. Economic bliss sounds a lot like fully automated luxury communism. But you can’t get there if the rabble is still making economic decisions for itself. Free markets must be destroyed, and only credentialed elites can be permitted economic autonomy. (That’s why nobody’s life, liberty or property is safe whenever the World Economic Forum is in session). Keynes laid out a path to get there. Through endless money printing, the Cantillon Effect would lead to the destruction of the middle class. By wrapping it within a cloak of crypto-socialism, he gave it a veneer of intellectual acceptability: “The work of monetary cranks like John Maynard Keynes taught in the modern universities the notion that government spending only has benefits, never costs. The government, after all, can always print money and so faces no real constraints on its spending, which it can use to achieve whatever goal the electorate sets for it” - Saifedean Ammous, The Bitcoin Standard. In Saifedean’s follow up, The Fiat Standard, Keynes and Marxism are mentioned as having large areas of overlap, goals and practically identical results: “The number and influence of third-world leaders who were educated in British and American universities from the 1930s onward is staggering…anyone familiar with the economic history of developing countries, or with the rhetoric of any development agency or ministry in a developing country, will see this influence in the distinct stench of Marxist and Keynesian notions of central planning.The entire framing of the notion of economic development is driven ultimately by a highly socialist view of how an economy works.” “By the 1970s, the development failures piled high, and a lot of soul-searching within the misery industry would lead to more government control and more centralized economic planning. As the “dependency school” approach became more popular, government central planning became far more pervasive. The combination of global easy money, following the U.S. government’s decision to suspend gold redeemability, and governments and international bureaucracies staffed with Keynesians and Marxists proved disastrous.” Fuller’s paper goes a long way in providing an explanation on why collectivism and Keynesianism seem to resemble each other: it’s the same thing. It is all statist, centralized technocracy under the guise of a) high-minded collectivism for the useful idiots of the working class, and b) high-powered intellectual macro-economic policy for the useful idiots in the universities and think tanks. This could be why we’re demonizing capitalism, energy, self-reliance, family, spirituality and anything else that falls to the right of Stalin. This is why Big Tech unicorns are by their own admission “commie as f*ck”, and why many of the celebrity class these days are self-proclaimed “woke” socialists. Especially the super-rich ones. The good news There was a time, especially under lockdowns, when I looked at the direction things were going, and I thought the Fabians had achieved complete victory. World socialism was practically here, having arrived under banners with names like The Great Reset, The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Stakeholder Capitalism. Even worse, large swaths of the public seemed to be clamouring for it. COVID stimulus showed how the lubricant for a globalized socialism was the monetary printing press. In his day, Friedrich Hayek (the anti-Keynes) realized this as well and was similarly pessimistic. “I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take it violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.” - Hayek, quoted in The Bitcoin Standard, p72 Enter, Satoshi. The epiphany I had, and I’m not alone, is that we are not entering an age of centralized, technocratic authoritarianism, we are in the process of departing from it. We’re in the end game now. The crescendo of an age which has been unfolding for over a century – the era of the welfare state. With the arrival of the Internet, and then Bitcoin, we’re undergoing a phase shift into the decentralized era of network states and micro-sovereigns. The near universal mismanagement of COVID, from the possibility of a lab leak in the first place to being absolutely wrong about everything after that, pulled forward about 20 years of this tension and crammed it into 18 months. Too much, too soon. We were on track to gradually transition to a decentralized society via an interim phase of technocratic authoritarianism that could have lasted for decades, before giving away to the inevitable decentralized society. But now, we’re looking instead at a disorderly phase shift into deglobalization and decentralization. It’s already happening. We’re at a point where reality is intervening with ideology and it was the pandemic that brought us here a few decades before I would have otherwise expected it. The conventional COVID narrative has all but broken down completely. Trust in institutions and experts is plummeting, the corporate media is a joke. We may have already blundered our way into World War 3, while incumbent politicians around the world are being swept out of office on a wave of public backlash. Then there’s the economic and physical consequences of batshit policies that threaten to overwhelm our supply chains and energy availability everywhere. Woke capitalism is being exposed as a sham. The public increasingly sees The Party at Davos as saturated with hypocrisy and arrogance. Make no mistake, we’re talking about the end of an epoch and the demise of the legacy power structure. Not only in terms of who the incumbents are, but the very architecture and fabric of how geopolitical and economic power is configured. The old guard will not go down without a fight, and for the moment, they have the institutions and the media, but that is already changing. “We’re all Keynesians now” was the intellectual rallying cry of the fiat era. Laser eyes will be the defining meme of the next one. If I had to offer advice to anybody who was looking for ways to pivot their existing affairs and navigate the coming changes I would bullet point them as follows: Do not be reliant on government entitlements: these will soon be delivered via CBDCs and be full-throated social credit systems Turn off your TV, cancel all mainstream media subscriptions: read more books, get your news through alternative / indie media channels (start with The Sovereign Individual, both Saifedean Ammous books, and George Gilder’s Life After Google) If you’re a business owner: start taking crypto payments and HODL them If you’re not a business owner: Start one. Even a kitchen table business that you can grow over time. And stack sats. Always be stacking sats. Buying Bitcoin is calling bullshit on everything — Interstellar (@InterstellarBit) May 27, 2022 We’re going through a Fourth Turning-style phase shift. It will be turbulent, violent and at times terrifying.  But it will also bring boundless opportunity. Never before have we lived in age where nearly anybody can go from a standing start to spectacular success in the shortest amount of time with the lowest barriers to entry. This dynamic will only intensify over the coming years and in the long run, this is what will propel a quantum leap in the human endeavour. *  *  * The world is undergoing a monetary regime change. Get the Crypto Capitalist Manifesto free, when you join the Bombthrower mailing list. Follow me as @bombthrower on Gettr or if you haven’t been kicked off Twitter (yet), @StuntPope Tyler Durden Sun, 05/29/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 29th, 2022

Rabobank: It"s A Market Where The Majority Have Hotdogs For Brains

Rabobank: It's A Market Where The Majority Have Hotdogs For Brains By Michael Every of Rabobank Ambiguity? Yes. Strategic? Mmm... The market focus yesterday - in what Bloomberg is this morning in Asia calling a ‘Ray of Light’, risk-on day - was deliberately, myopically on all the wrong interpretations of all the wrong things. In fact, Monday’s ‘Risk-on Regardless’ was so egregious that it had me thinking back to ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ and wondering if the majority of those involved are not perhaps from an alternate universe where mankind evolved hotdogs for brains. The trigger for ‘optimism’ was that US President Biden, speaking in Japan, flagged that when he returns home, he will discuss current US tariffs on Chinese goods with Treasury Secretary Yellen, adding to whispers going round that he may remove some of them. “Well,” said the hotdog-brains, “This means a reduction in US-China tensions and cheaper stuff and lower inflation and ketchup and mustard and fried onions!” In this reality, Biden was answering questions at the launch of his Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) aimed at building a geostrategic economic block deliberately excluding China. Yes, this White House is capable of hotdog-brain double-think. However, did the US president really fly all that way to undermine his own policy in front of his Japanese hosts? Also note US Trade Representative Tai is in favor of existing tariffs, though she admits they will not change Chinese behavior, and is opposed to removing them without a quid pro quo from China, which is short of more than a few quid in that regard. There is bipartisan support in Congress for the tariffs. Removing them is not a November vote winner. And despite a Peterson Institute study on the topic, existing US tariffs on China have NOT driven inflation and would have a negligible downwards effect on CPI now given the issue is physical supply, not price. The details of the IPEF for those easily distracted by the smell of fried onions, are that it involves the US, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, representing 40% of world GDP. (And the EU, Canada, UK, and Mexico will easily slot in on top, which makes it the lion’s share of world GDP.)  Yes, the IPEF will lower tariffs. Frankly, who cares? These are already very low. Instead, it offers four pillars: Connected Economy: ‘High-standard rules of the road’ in the digital economy; helping SMEs; addressing online privacy and “discriminatory and unethical use of Artificial Intelligence”; and strong labour and environment standards, and corporate accountability provisions. All of which presumably China will fail, and the others pass. Resilient Economy: First-of-their-kind supply chain commitments that better anticipate and prevent disruptions in supply chains to create a more resilient economy and guard against price spikes, by establishing an early warning system, mapping critical mineral supply chains, improving traceability in key sectors, and coordinating on diversification efforts. Which will surely mean a map to help decouple from China, or at least to build up alternatives. Clean Economy: First-of-their-kind commitments on clean energy, decarbonization, and infrastructure that promote good-paying jobs. Which won’t work for China if it keeps embracing coal, though how any of this will be funded is entirely unclear. Fair Economy: To enact and enforce effective tax, anti-money laundering, and anti-bribery regimes, including provisions on the exchange of tax information, criminalization of bribery in accordance with UN standards, and beneficial ownership recommendations. In other words, trying to introduce Western standards – which will exclude China (and rankle others if applied strictly). In short, the IPEF is highly ambiguous in terms of what can actually be achieved, but clearly very strategic in what is *trying* to achieve: a US pushback against China in the Indo-Pacific without lowering its own tariffs, but rather by raising common non-tariff barriers. How do you like them onions? Meanwhile, tariff talk eclipsed the real issue yesterday: President Biden, when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan if it were attacked by China, answered unambiguously – “Yes”. This is not the first time he has done this, but the third, and was again walked back by an underling. Moreover, he is not the first US president to say it (George W Bush was). Nonetheless, we either have a US leader who does not understand international treaties, because the US is not legally beholden to defend Taiwan, or one willing to drop all pretense of “strategic ambiguity” over the issue. “Mmm, fried onions!”, say some. But in the real world, really serious people are now worried. First, Biden’s words were not a surprise to China, and won’t see a halt to the massive, rapid military build-up underway there that will make a move on Taiwan physically possible ahead. However, the likes of Henry Kissinger --who is *still* going at it at Davos this year-- fear the US statement may prompt China to move even faster, and especially if it sees an IPEF shield being raised against it, I might add. Second, this places the onus on the US --and AUKUS-- to prepare to defend Taiwan. And they are far from prepared; more so if there is also a war going on in Ukraine. Some military observers believe the US could not stop a Russian-style Chinese seizure of Taiwan, nor orchestrate the same kind of pushback it currently is in Ukraine, and that the trend is getting worse, not better. In short, the worst possible combination for the US, the region, and the world is to rattle a sabre with a blunted blade: yet today the US risks just that with over-stretched logistics, an under-funded navy, no spare capacity to ramp up production, partially offshored defense industries, and an about-to-be-closed Redhill fuel depot in Hawaii. All of that can change, and may well do ahead: but lowering US tariffs on China is arguably more rust on its blade, not less. Of course, some also argue that if China moves on Taiwan, the US will simply blockade the world’s seas, ensuring nothing gets in or out of Chinese ports to the wider world – including food and energy. That would instantly militarize global merchant shipping, which is something China (with 5,500 vessels) is preparing for and the US (with 79) isn’t. If you think we have supply-chain shocks now, try that scenario on for size. Relatedly, the World Food Programme head, at Davos, just tweeted: ‘With a devastating global hunger crisis at our doorstep, it is all hands on deck to pull millions back from the brink of famine. We need EVERYONE's help to save lives today: from world leaders to the private sector and billionaires!!’ Which is basically what I pleaded on Friday. One idea being floated is naval intervention. The UK is seriously considering backing a Lithuanian proposal to send a naval coalition ‘of the willing’ --but *not* NATO-- to de-mine the Black Sea, and then escort merchant shipping there, so it can take out Ukraine’s grain. As the Lithuanian foreign minister put it yesterday, “Time is very, very short. We are closing in on a new harvest and there is no other practical way of exporting the grain except through the Black Sea port of Odessa. There is no way of storing this grain and no other adequate alternative route. It is imperative that we show vulnerable countries we are prepared to take the steps that are needed to feed the world.” If Russia allows this to happen, it would help alleviate the risk of mass global starvation and, with a flow-through, mean a partial easing of inflation pressures globally. If Russia does not, then it is sticking to a policy of weaponizing food and driving global starvation and high inflation. The only other logical recourse on the naval front would then be for a broader coalition, presumably including NATO, going in anyway and daring Russia not to attack them as they get Ukrainian grain out; and if Russia were to sink them, it could then mean World War 3 according to Article 5. Is Russia agreeing to remove its geostrategic chokehold over key commodities likely? If not, project what the world will soon look like. It isn’t pretty at all. Is NATO risking World War 3 likely? Probably not – in which case see above. Yet if it isn’t, ask yourself if the US is really going to defend Taiwan or not. And if it isn’t, ask yourself what the Indo-Pacific, and the world, will look like ahead. The massive ambiguity of the current global situation should be clear. The strategic thinking is sadly not. And hotdog-brains should arguably be in charge of ‘Nothing, Anywhere, Continuously’. But they are already bored with US tariffs anyway, and are off to focus on gloom regarding US tech/social media. “Mmm, fried onions!” Tyler Durden Tue, 05/24/2022 - 09:42.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 24th, 2022

Supply Chains Are Never Returning To "Normal"

Supply Chains Are Never Returning To "Normal" By Craig Fuller, CEO at FreightWaves The conventional wisdom at this time is that most of the world has moved on from the pandemic (except for China); therefore, supply chains will return to “normal.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. The world has permanently changed and supply chains are going to face continuing challenges for decades to come. Among those challenges are: Supply chains will remain under constant threat of disruption for the next decade  Supply chains operate best when the world is peaceful and stable  A smoothly running supply chain requires “buffer stock,” which is challenging with declining population demographics  There is a conflict between environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and supply chains optimized for cost and speed. If we prioritize ESG, we will need to contend with supply chain risks  Supply chain technology will become the big venture capital category winner as companies continue to make investments in technologies that can help them mitigate their supply chain challenges  In a world faced with the prospect of tightening supplies, higher energy costs, heightened geopolitical risk, and strained transportation networks, advanced supply chain technologies will become mission-critical for many more companies. Supply chains benefit from times of peace Anyone that has been a part of the supply chain industry can attest to the fact that supply chains have always been subject to disruptions. Natural disasters, terrorism, economic cycles, and capacity shortages have created challenges since the beginning of trade. Since the end of the Cold War, global supply chains have benefited from peaceful trade between developed and developing countries. Many poorer and less developed countries that were previously ruled by Communist or autocratic regimes took advantage of new markets in the developed world and used global trade to move beyond subsistence economies to prosperous ones. Some of these countries developed into capitalistic and democratic countries, while other governments exploited the free market system to solely benefit those already in power, and became wealthy and powerful enough to threaten the very system that enabled their ascension.  The Eastern European countries that were formerly part of the Soviet bloc are examples of the countries that embraced capitalism and shifted toward democracy, while China did the opposite. Dockworkers at the Port of Los Angeles. Labor is key in supply chains The arbitrage between the developed and developing countries has been massive. The cost of producing goods in countries with cheap labor, lax environmental and labor regulations, and little regard for sustainable natural resources has enabled the world to enjoy unprecedented prosperity and peace. Because the goods produced in these parts of the world were so cheap, it made sense that they would be produced in excess. This buffer stock kept inflation in check and provided supply chains with ample supplies that could fend off short-term fluctuations and disruptions. Think about how the cost of televisions and computing hardware has fallen over the past few decades, and how auto prices haven’t risen as significantly as the many improvements in product features and quality were made. This all happened at a time when the United States was the only superpower and the only expectation that the U.S. had of other nations is that trade should be unobstructed.  Cheap labor is becoming scarcer, particularly in Asia. This is largely due to aging populations – the average age continues to increase and there are fewer people to work in these manufacturing jobs. Pollution in one part of the world can impact other areas. ESG requirements hamper the stability of supply chains Companies have instituted ESG requirements that require disclosures and monitoring of how and where products have been sourced. This pressure means that goods that are produced in factories that don’t match Western standards for environmental controls and human rights may not be available to Western consumers. The factories that do produce goods that match Western standards will often be more expensive and therefore there will be less buffer stock in the system.   The same ESG standards also create challenges for commodity producers, as the cost of adhering to environmental and social disclosures makes it more expensive and less productive. It also discourages investment in the production of environmentally sensitive commodities – most obviously in energy.  Environmental concerns and regulations that have prevented exploration and production and killed pipeline projects are largely the reason that the world currently lacks sufficient energy resources to buffer against the consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war.  n the previous three decades, supply chains have operated relatively smoothly because companies could source from around the world and not have to worry about global military conflict or autocratic regimes shutting down manufacturing. While international trade regulations were complicated to navigate, the world overall was trending toward larger, more open trading blocs – not just in North America, but in Europe and Asia as well. As the United States has become more insular and has pulled back from being the world’s policeman, and China has started to flex its muscles and create a global competitor to the United States, the world has become far more unstable and less peaceful. This global friction is unlikely to go away. China desires to take Taiwan as its own, risking sending the world into a geopolitical crisis that is more dangerous than at any point since World War II.  Buffer stocks of products are far less likely in the future, as the cost of producing those items continues to rise. Cheap labor, offered by large populations of young people, is largely a thing of the past. This will make it more expensive for companies to produce buffer stock and far less likely that supply chains will enjoy the ability to absorb short-term shocks that are inherent to complex global networks. Warehouse automation continues to accelerate as consumer appetite for e-commerce grows, and that is placing robotics companies in the spotlight. Supply chain technology will be the big winner  Companies will look closer to home for product sourcing. They will prioritize production in countries that are far more stable and friendly to the United States. The Freedom Trade movement will drive supply chain professionals to prioritize production and sourcing in the Americas.  Latin America will become a big winner, as it benefits greatly from having direct land transportation networks with North America and seas that are well protected by the U.S. Navy.  The American South and Midwest will also see an acceleration in manufacturing and production, as they can offer predictable and resilient sourcing, without the geopolitical risks of foreign suppliers or the labor unions of the Rust Belt. Automation, including robotics, will become more important. Nearshoring manufacturers will try to offset higher production costs with robotics and other automated production systems. Supply chain market intelligence systems, a data category that monitors developments around supply and demand, will be critical for supply chain professionals who are trying to navigate increasingly complex and opaque markets. Materials and product supplies are no longer guaranteed, so the need for constantly refreshed data models that track the balance of supply and demand will be critical to the success of companies.  FreightWaves SONAR provides near real-time market intelligence information, which has seen explosive growth in recent months as shippers have realized that supply chains are not returning to normal and the need for high-frequency data is increasingly critical for success. Historical models no longer work – as the world becomes far less predictable, peaceful, and safe – and supply chains are far more exposed to supply and demand shocks.  Tyler Durden Fri, 05/20/2022 - 07:32.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 20th, 2022

The 19 best science fiction books of 2022 so far, according to Goodreads

From authors like Janelle Monáe and Emily St. John Mandel, these are the best and most popular sci-fi books in 2022. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.From authors like Janelle Monáe and Emily St. John Mandel, these are the best and most popular sci-fi books in 2022.AmazonWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Science fiction is a wide genre that includes dystopias, space epics, and apocalyptic fiction. We turned to Goodreads to rank the best new science fiction books of 2022. For more great novels, check out the best books of 2022 so far. Science fiction stories have been entertaining readers for decades, from iconic reads like "Jurassic Park" to epic space adventures that take us across galaxies, through time, and in between dimensions. Science fiction classics will always have a place in readers' hearts, but new science fiction releases offer more and more mind-bending dystopias, speculations, and unique beings beyond our wildest imaginations. Goodreads is the world's largest platform for readers to rate, review, and recommend their favorite books, so we turned to Goodreads reviewers to rank the best new science fiction releases of 2022. These titles are ranked by how often they've been added to readers' "Want to Read" shelves and had to have been published this year to make the list.The 19 best science fiction books of 2022 so far, according to Goodreads: "The School for Good Mothers" by Jessamine ChanAmazon"The School for Good Mothers" by Jessamine Chan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.19 With over 21,000 ratings on Goodreads, "The School for Good Mothers" is the most popular science fiction novel amongst Goodreads reviewers so far in 2022. Though Frida Liu is already struggling in nearly every aspect of her life, everything gets monumentally worse when a lapse in judgment leaves her in the hands of a Big Brother-like institution that will determine whether or not Frida is a "good" mother and thus, whether or not she is worthy of keeping her daughter."Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John MandelAmazon"Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.25 Readers are loving Emily St. John Mandel's latest release, an expansive story of three people in vastly different situations across time and space, from the Canadian wilderness in 1912 to an Earthly book tour in the 22nd century to a detective sent to investigate an anomaly but discovers much more. From the bestselling author of "Station Eleven," "Sea of Tranquility" is a playfully dynamic novel that begins with quickly shifting timelines but transforms into a masterful and gripping narrative."How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia NagamatsuAmazon"How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia Nagamatsu, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.99 In 2030, researchers discover the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who seems to have died of an ancient virus, accidentally unleashing a plague that will devastate and reshape humanity for generations. Told in a series of intricate and interwoven stories, readers love the compassionate and ambitious nature of this 2022 release."The Candy House" by Jennifer EganAmazon"The Candy House" by Jennifer Egan, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $19.69Own Your Unconscious is a revolutionary technology that allows people to access, download, and share every memory they've ever had. Though some have embraced the technology wholeheartedly, others see its greatest consequences. Told through a collection of linked narratives across different lives, families, and decades, "The Candy House" offers an intriguing science fiction novel about humanity's need for connection."The Kaiju Preservation Society" by John ScalziAmazon"The Kaiju Preservation Society" by John Scalzi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.99From the author of the bestselling "Interdependency" series comes a new standalone novel set in New York City at the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. When Jamie makes a food delivery to an old acquaintance, he's pulled into what he's told is an "animal rights organization," though the animals are not from our Earth. Now part of the Kaiju Preservation Society, Jamie discovers the dinosaur-like creatures that roam an alternate, human-free dimension of Earth in this new novel that's an exciting mix of science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and comedy."Tell Me an Ending" by Jo HarkinAmazon"Tell Me an Ending" by Jo Harkin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.35"Tell Me an Ending" follows four characters who are part of thousands across the world that have just learned they once chose to have a memory removed, but now have the opportunity to get it back. As psychologist Noor works to reinstate people's lost memory, she digs deeper into the technology in this speculative, dystopian sci-fi novel about the consequences of forgetting. "Dead Silence" by S.A. BarnesAmazon"Dead Silence" by S.A. Barnes, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.59When Claire Kovalik and her crew pick up a strange distress signal in space, they find the Aurora, a luxury space-liner that famously disappeared on its maiden voyage over 20 years ago. As they begin to investigate, this fast-paced sci-fi horror novel unfolds with paranormal elements and terrifying turns in a story that's been described as "The Titanic" meets "The Shining.""The Paradox Hotel" by Rob HartAmazon"The Paradox Hotel" by Rob Hart, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.49In The Paradox Hotel, the super-rich gather before and after their time-traveling trips at the nearby timeport. As head of security for the hotel and former security for the US government's time travel organization, January Cole is puzzled why she can see what others can't, though her mental state and grip on reality are rapidly declining from traveling so drastically through time. When dark secrets and a possible killer emerge, January must uncover what is happening and why as her past, present, and future collide. "The Starless Crown" by James RollinsAmazon"The Starless Crown" by James Rollins, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.10In this first book of a new science fiction/adventure series, a gifted young student foretells an apocalyptic future, for which she is sentenced to death. On the run with a banded team of outcasts including a soldier, a prince, and a thief, she must work with the others to uncover the dark secrets of the past to save the future of their world."Goliath" by Tochi OnyebuchiAmazon"Goliath" by Tochi Onyebuchi, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.59Set in 2050, "Goliath" explores a slowly emptying futuristic Earth where the wealthy have abandoned the planet in favor of space colonies, leaving the less fortunate to fend for themselves in a rapidly deteriorating landscape. This speculative, literary science fiction novel features several narratives in a story about race, class, and gentrification."Hunt the Stars" by Jessie MihalikAmazon"Hunt the Stars" by Jessie Mihalik, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.29Desperately in need of enough credits to keep her crew together, bounty hunter Octavia Zarola agrees to take a job from her sworn enemy, Torran Fletcher, even though he insists on taking his crew along as well. As the crews set out on the hunt, Octavia begins to suspect a deeper, more sinister plot in which she may be a pawn, leaving her to decide where her loyalties lie."End of the World House" by Adrienne CeltAmazon"End of the World House" by Adrienne Celt, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $25.49In Paris on a last-hurrah friends' trip before an upcoming move, Bertie and Kate are offered a private tour of the Louvre by a strange man and soon find themselves alone in the museum. When the two get separated, Bertie finds herself in the middle of a strange mystery that forces her to confront the control she has over her own life in this genre- and mind-bending story set in a world on the edge of an apocalypse."The Memory Librarian" by Janelle MonáeAmazon"The Memory Librarian" by Janelle Monáe, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $19.65"The Memory Librarian" is a collection of science fiction short stories that bring one of Janelle Monáe's albums to life with stories of liberation in a futuristic, totalitarian landscape. In collaboration with other talented writers, the themes of this read are expressed in stories of technology, memory, queerness, race, and love."City of Orange" by David YoonPenguinrandomhouse"City of Orange" by David Yoon, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $27Loved for its character-driven narrative, "City of Orange" is the story of a man who wakes up in an apocalyptic, desolate landscape with only injuries and vague memories to guide him forward. As he tries to survive, the man encounters a young boy who seems to be the key to understanding where he is, how he got there, and what really happened. "The Blood Trials" by N.E. DavenportAmazon"The Blood Trials" by N.E. Davenport, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $25.49When Ikenna's grandfather, the former Legatus, is murdered, she is certain that someone on the Tribunal ordered his death and is determined to uncover who. To get closer to the truth, Ikenna pledges herself to the Praetorian Trials, a brutal and violent initiation with a staggering mortality rate, and faces unprecedented dangers and prejudices, all for the chance of justice."Light Years From Home" by Mike ChenGoodreads"Light Years From Home" by Mike Chen, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.1015 years ago, Evie and Kass's dad and brother disappeared on a camping trip and though their father returned days later, convinced he'd been abducted by aliens, their brother remained missing. Evie never stopped searching for Jakob, so when her UFO network discovers a new event, she investigates and discovers her brother has finally returned — and has the FBI close on his tail."The Impossible Us" by Sarah LotzAmazon"The Impossible Us" by Sarah Lotz, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In this science-fiction love story, Nick and Bee's paths cross over a misdirected email and sparks fly as they continue to send messages back and forth. When they decide to meet in person, nothing goes according to plan and it seems Nick and Bee are impossibly farther apart than they could have imagined. "Mickey7" by Edward AshtonAmazon"Mickey7" by Edward Ashton, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.07Mickey7 is an Expendable, an entirely disposable and replaceable person sent on a dangerous expedition to colonize Niflheim, ready to be replaced once again the moment this iteration of himself dies. When Mickey7 goes missing on a mission, his colony has already replaced him with a new clone, Mickey8. Knowing he'll be thrown in the recycler if his clone is discovered, Mickey7 must keep their existence a secret as the threat of native species and unsuitable human conditions on Niflheim threaten everyone's survival."Primitives" by Erich KraussAmazon"Primitives" by Erich Krauss, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.66Set 30 years after The Great Fatigue ended most of humanity and left the human race in a primitive state, two people make shocking and gruesome discoveries a world apart. As Seth and Sarah find themselves in a deadly race to save humanity against fear, reality, and other survivors, their fates will intertwine in this new post-apocalyptic tale.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 18th, 2022

Russia badly botched its capture of Mariupol, which should have been over much quicker, analyst says

Though Ukraine ultimately lost control of Mariupol and its steel plant, the cost to Russia was out of all proportion, a Chatham House expert said. Pro-Russian forces seen outside the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 16, 2022.REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko Ukraine said Monday it was evacuating all troops from its last holdout in the city of Mariupol. Thought Ukraine effectively gave up the territory, it extracted a huge price from Russia for it. Thousands of well-armed Russian troops took much longer than expected to prevail, one analyst said. Russia's capture of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, following weeks of strident Ukrainian resistance, came at too great a cost, according to Ukrainian officials and experts.As Russian troops began to take over the city last month, a group of Ukrainian fighters, namely the Azov Battalion, retreated to fight from basement tunnels below the steel works.At one point, Russian troops were preparing to storm the steel plant, but President Vladimir Putin called off the raid on April 21, calling instead for a blockade "so not even a fly can get through."Ultimately, it worked. After weeks weathering attacks from Russian troops, Ukraine's military announced Monday it was evacuating the troops, whom it had "performed their combat task."Although the Ukrainian military did not use the word, the move effectively surrendered the plant to Russia and handed them total control of Mariupol.One analyst told Insider that the Ukrainians vastly outperformed expectations, "holding out for many weeks longer than was considered feasible."  Though a blow for Ukraine in principle, analysts said that Ukraine forced Russia to pay a disproportionately high price for the city, mostly reduced to rubble in the attacks.In its statement, Ukraine's military said Russia had to commit 20,000 troops to the steel works, who were then unable to attack other targets in Ukraine.Smoke rises above Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine April 21, 2022.Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters"Forging the enemy's core forces around Mariupol has given us the opportunity to prepare and create the defensive frontiers on which our troops are still present today and give a decent counterpoint to the aggressor," it said."We got the critically needed time to build reserves, regroup forces, and get help from partners."Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow on the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House, agreed."It was plainly important to Russia to continue hammering the defenders in the Azovstal complex long after they were surrounded and cut off from any possible relief, as opposed to waiting and starving them out," he told Insider."This is one of the many spectacular achievements of the defenders, not only holding out for many weeks longer than was considered feasible, but also in the process tying down numbers of Russian troops that were out of all proportion to the complex's value as a military objective, and therefore making the task of Ukrainian defenders across the rest of the country easier.""The length of the siege and resource that Russia has committed to it just underline the extent to which the political drivers for the Russian offensive run counter to military common sense," he added.UK intelligence suggested on April 18 that Russian commanders would be furious at the slow progress their forces were making in Mariupol. It ultimately took a month more to take the city.Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted Tuesday: "83 days of Mariupol defense will go down in history as the Thermopylae of the XXI century," a reference to the legendary battle where 300 Spartans held back a vast Persian army before being killed.Podolyak continued: "'Azovstal' defenders ruined [Russia's] plan to capture the east of [Ukraine], took a hit on themselves and proved the real 'combat capability' of [Russia] … This completely changed the course of the war."Ukraine's defense ministry said 53 of the troops evacuated from Monday were "seriously wounded" and that another 200 had been evacuated to the Russia-controlled town of Olenivka. Russia's defense ministry said Monday that it had agreed to the rescue mission.Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Tuesday that Ukraine wants to swap Russian prisoners with those troops rescued from Azovstal. In a message posted to Telegram Tuesday, Zelenskyy said: "We hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys. Among them are the seriously wounded, they are being provided with medical aid. I want to emphasize: Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive."Mariupol became a critical target for Russia following Putin's decision to refocus Russian attacks away from Kyiv and onto the pro-Kremlin Donbas region.Control of it enables them unbroken access by land between mainland Russia and the peninsula of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.However, Russia has struggled to achieve its aims in the Donbas, and is still facing stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces. One critical target which Ukraine managed to secure in recent days is the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city located in the north of the country.Ukraine's defense ministry said Saturday that Russian troops were now withdrawing from the city a major concession from Moscow.Speaking to Insider, Giles, the analysts, said: "The manpower crisis that Russia is experiencing, and its difficulty in making progress on the front line, owes an intangible amount to their failure to seize Mariupol weeks before they did. "Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022

The US Navy"s newest fleet is keeping an eye on the North Atlantic with a first-of-its-kind deployment

"Live interaction" with another navy's ships "is something you can't replicate," Vice Adm. Daniel Dwyer said. US Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, left, receives fuel from USNS Supply, center, as USS Mitscher pulls alongside, in the Mediterranean Sea, February 17, 2022.Norwegian Armed Forces/PO Marius Vaagenes Villanger The US Navy's 2nd Fleet surged ships to the North Atlantic this spring to support forces in Europe. The deployment comes amid heightened tensions with Russia, which has grown more active in the Atlantic. The deployment was meant to reassure allies and give US crews new experience, the fleet commander said. The US Navy's 2nd Fleet surged forces to the North Atlantic between January and April, responding to a request from the top US commander in the region amid heightened tensions with Russia.The short-notice deployment was the first time 2nd Fleet has had command-and-control of forces in Europe outside of an exercise and it demonstrated the fleet's flexibility and responsiveness, fleet commander Vice Adm. Daniel Dwyer told reporters on April 29.Second Fleet was reestablished in 2018 in response to increasing Russian naval activity in the North Atlantic, but Dwyer avoided linking the deployment to Russia's attack on Ukraine.Asked whether the surge was connected to Russian military activity, Dwyer would only say that it demonstrated the US's ability to "surge certified, ready naval forces" — as in, deploying ships whose crews are fully trained ahead of an anticipated departure date — and its commitment to the defense of European allies and partners.A US Navy sailor assigned to USS The Sullivans stands watch as the ship enters Copenhagen, March 21, 2022.US Navy/MCS3 Class Mark KlimenkoDuring the deployment, 2nd Fleet, which is based in Virginia, had command and control of the destroyers USS Forest Sherman, USS The Sullivans, USS Donald Cook, and USS Mitscher.A fifth destroyer, USS Gonzalez, deployed from the US in January as part of the surge but was later redirected to the Mediterranean and then to the Middle East.Dwyer also embarked Destroyer Squadron 22 as a forward command element aboard a destroyer and later on USS Mount Whitney, the flagship of the Navy's Italy-based 6th Fleet, which 2nd Fleet had tactical command of and used to direct ships in the North Atlantic.Second Fleet is officially responsible for the western Atlantic from the Caribbean to the North Pole, but it can also act as "a maneuver arm" for a four-star headquarters — in this case US Naval Forces Europe and Africa."At time of need I can surge forward and support a four-star naval headquarters with my maritime operations center commanding-and-controlling ships that are outside of my normal area of responsibilities," Dwyer said. "This operation was the first time that we actually put it in practice, and we showed and proved that unique, agile, mobile capability."USS Forrest Sherman and USS Donald Cook train with German frigate FGS Sachsen, center, in the Baltic Sea, March 9, 2022.US Navy/Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Reuben RichardsonThe US Navy has been trying to reacclimate crews to the high north and the Arctic, which are increasingly accessible but remain tough environments for sailors and ships.Upon arriving in the region in February, "those crews did encounter weather they're not accustomed to," and the fleet took precautions so they could be safe and effective, Dwyer said. "But again, that builds that experience of those ships being able to operate in areas that they're unfamiliar with."Over the following weeks, the US ships trained with the Italian, British, Danish, Polish, German, and Swedish navies in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, conducting what Dwyer called "a full range of maritime missions, from maneuvering, from communicating, from establishing networks and links."US Navy ships do extensive training on the East Coast, Dwyer said, "but to actually sail alongside a naval vessel from one of our NATO allies or one of our partners, you just can't do that in training.""That live interaction — actually coming up on bridge-to-bridge and having that communication and then discussing how they're going to execute the assigned mission together — is something you can't replicate," Dwyer added.Avenues of approachSailors man the rails aboard USS Forrest Sherman in Kiel, Germany, March 21, 2022.US Navy/MCS Seaman Eric MoserAs head of both US 2nd Fleet and NATO's Joint Forces Command Norfolk, Dwyer is responsible for keeping open the ocean between North America and Europe.While Dwyer did not link 2nd Fleet's recent activity directly to Russia, NATO leaders have warned repeatedly about Russian naval activity and the risk it poses on both sides of the Atlantic. Dwyer's predecessor led several exercises to simulate a contested transatlantic crossing.Since reaching full operational capability in July, "JFC Norfolk has been actively monitoring the North Atlantic through to the Arctic to ensure NATO's strategic transatlantic lines of communication remain open in order to support the sustainment of Europe," Dwyer told NATO commanders this month.NATO leaders have warned specifically about Russia's submarines, which are more active and have new, longer-range weapons. US officials have said those subs' presence in the Atlantic means the US mainland is "no longer a sanctuary.""In the past few years Russian submarine activity in the high north has already increased noticeably. This is a worrying development," Iceland's foreign minister, Thórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, said in April.Norwegian frigate HNoMOS Thor Heyerdahl, French frigate FS Latouche-Tréville, and FGS Sachsen in the North Atlantic during Northern Viking 2022.French NavyIceland sits in the middle of the Greenland-Iceland-UK Gap linking the Atlantic and the Arctic, where the ships and subs of Russia's powerful Northern Fleet are based. NATO militaries have put renewed emphasis on that strategically important waterway."Iceland will do its utmost to facilitate the ongoing monitoring of such activities and any response that may be required," Gylfadóttir said of Russian submarine activity.That emphasis was reflected in Northern Viking 22, an exercise held in Iceland in April. Its focus on anti-submarine warfare was of "specific relevance," according to German Navy Cmdr. Arne Pfingst, who said the GIUK Gap is of "great interest" to Germany's Navy.Second Fleet did not command forces involved in Northern Viking, but Dwyer, speaking to reporters in April, said the North Atlantic is "without a doubt" becoming "a more dynamic environment."Second Fleet's mission is "to deter and defeat potential adversaries in our area of responsibility, wherever that happens to be," Dwyer added. "At its core, it's to defend the avenues of approach between Europe and North America."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 9th, 2022

The 12 best new books coming out in May, according to Amazon"s editors — from Selma"s Blair"s memoir to a "We Were Liars" prequel

From Selma Blair's memoir to a highly anticipated prequel, these are the best new books coming out in May 2022, according to Amazon's editors. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.From Selma Blair's memoir to a highly anticipated prequel, these are the best new books coming out in May 2022, according to Amazon's editors.Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Amazon's book editors rounded up the best new books being released this month. May's books include high-profile memoirs and can't-put-down fiction. For other book recommendations, check out some of the most anticipated book releases of 2022 here. There are long, sunny days in our not-so-distant future, and we recommend a new books haul in preparation for peak lounging.Just like every month, Amazon's book editors have curated the best new titles coming out in May. The top releases range in genre and tone, from evocative memoirs by Selma Blair and Paul Holes (the detective who found the Golden State Killer) to fast-paced fiction perfect for future beach trips.You'll find the full list of great May reads, plus why they're worth the read, according to Amazon's book editors, below. The 12 best books of May 2022, according to Amazon editors:*Captions are provided by Amazon's Book Editors and lightly edited for length and clarity. "This Time Tomorrow" by Emma StraubPenguin Random House"This Time Tomorrow," available at Amazon, $21.99If you could go back in time and make different decisions, would you? That question is at the center of Emma Straub's big-hearted new novel, "This Time Tomorrow." The protagonist, Alice, drunkenly falls asleep on her 40th birthday and wakes up in her childhood bedroom on her 16th birthday. She's wistful about carefree days with her best friend and the teen boy who got away, but blown away by her youthful, healthy father, and an opportunity to change his life nearly 25 years later. This novel is a sweet take on the passing of time, the power of relationships, the misguided rush to adulthood, and the pressure to achieve arbitrary milestones in life. The time travel never feels gimmicky, and '80s kids will appreciate the references to "Back to the Future." It's breezy, yet smart — check it out for your next book club pick! — Lindsay Powers, Amazon Editor"Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up" by Selma BlairAmazon"Mean Baby," available at Amazon, $22.99Selma Blair's memoir is more than a gushy celebrity story of bright lights and glitzy parties. It's a story about complicated mother-daughter relationships, how childhood interpretations of experiences can shape you, how the need for attention can drive you, how Hollywood kismet happens, and how the public platform it provides can be a force for good. "Mean Baby" will make you laugh out loud at moments that are at once deeply funny and deeply disquieting. Blair's life is not all roses — booze entered her life at the age of seven and eating disorders and the darkness of depression is a constant — but she recounts the bittersweet events and details of her life with such specific clarity, honesty, and humor that it's impossible to not fall under her spell in this page-turning memoir. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor"River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile" by Candice MillardAmazon"River of the Gods," available at Amazon, $26.99River of the Gods is thrilling narrative nonfiction full of adventure, ambushes, false starts, and the pursuit of conquest. Richard Burton was a consummate explorer, with a penchant for languages (he spoke more than 25), sex, and glory (one of his greatest expeditions was a trip to discover the head-waters of the Nile in 1857). Candice Millard, the best-selling author of "The River of Doubt" and "Destiny of the Republic," recounts Burton's life and epic journey that not only involved harrowing physical feats but stiff competition and epic clashes with his fellow explorer John Hanning Speke, and also with the man who has been left out of the history books, African guide Sidi Mubarak Bombay. Using diary entries and letters, Millard's story drops you in the middle of the jungle and exposes a world of conquering and colonial exploits. A fascinating portrait of the characters and the era in which they roamed that is an adventure to read. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor"Remarkably Bright Creatures" by Shelby Van PeltAmazon"Remarkably Bright Creatures," available at Amazon, $19.59What does a misanthropic octopus have in common with Tova, a widowed aquarium employee? Not much, until a friendship develops following a daring tank rescue, and Marcellus McSquiddles happily uses all eight of his tentacles, his three hearts, plus his sharp brain, to solve the soul-scarring mystery of Tova's son Erik's disappearance thirty years ago. Utterly original, funny, wise, and heartwarming (be warned: there'll be tears as well as giggles), "Remarkably Bright Creatures" will have readers falling hard for an acerbic invertebrate whose intervention in his new friend's life sets her up for healing lessons in love, loss, and family. —Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editor"Sleepwalk" by Dan ChaonAmazon"Sleepwalk," available at Amazon, $27.99It might take you a few chapters to figure out who Chaon's protagonist Will Bear is and what makes him tick, but the chapters are short and soon you'll have your bearings. Sleepwalk takes place in a near-future dystopia where most of the big problems we have in the world have continued to worsen. Will Bear lives in that worsening world, and he has an unsavory job that keeps him driving around and off the grid, and that sometimes requires him to shoot people — but his humanity and warmth in the face of all that, along with his sense of humor, will win you over. Sleepwalk is a road novel that will make you think and make you laugh. It's fast-paced, literary, and entertaining. There's a lot going for it, but in my view, the book's greatest asset is Will Bear himself. I almost wished I could ride shotgun with him. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor"Unmasked: My Life Solving America's Cold Cases" by Paul HolesAmazon"Unmasked," available at Amazon, $19.02True crime fans take note: here is a first-person account of a life spent solving cold cases, told by the detective who found the Golden State Killer. But "Unmasked" is much more than that. First, the Golden State Killer is only one of the high-profile cases Paul Holes tackled. And second, this is a book about more than solving high-profile cold cases. Unmasked describes what it's like to be a forensic detective, to dedicate oneself to uncovering the secrets behind some of life's most brutal acts, day in and day out, and the toll that it takes on the rest of one's life. There is obsession here, but there is also confession. As we read about Hole's life solving cold cases — some famous, some only remembered by a handful of people — an imperfect man with a laser focus and a deep well of compassion comes to life amid all that brutality. This is a special book. — Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor"The Other Mother" by Rachel M. HarperAmazon"The Other Mother," available at Amazon, $28"The Other Mother" is a complex story set over 30 years, weaving two families together — whether they like it or not. It opens on Jenry's first day at college, which happens to be the alma mater of his mother, who raised him alone, and his famous ballet dancer father, whom Jenry never knew. The narrative is told via rotating character perspectives, alternating two timelines: present day, and the early years of his parents' lives and relationship. I love the way the author starts with a narrow viewpoint and then widens the lens, immersing you deeper into the story — uncovering facts and questions through each twist and turn. I had big feelings about this book, physically hugging it while feeling all the emotions tingling throughout my body after reading the last words. The journey through the ups and downs of life; love, secrets, growth, and forgiveness, captured me and will leave me thinking about this one for quite a while. — Kami Tei, Amazon Editorial Contributor"Hidden Pictures" by Jason RekulakAmazon"Hidden Pictures," available at Amazon, $25.19Rekulak runs his fingers down your spine with a pulse-pounding thriller, steeped in the supernatural and fueled by alarming twists. In "Hidden Pictures," Mallory Quinn is an ex-drug addict with a chance at redemption working as a nanny for the Maxwell's, a seemingly perfect family living in an idyllic neighborhood. But when her sweet five-year-old charge begins drawing dark, disturbing pictures well beyond his age, Mallory starts looking for answers in a decades-old story of a local artist's murder. Is Mallory's past coming back to haunt her or is there something malignant at play? This horror-tinged tale of suspense will keep you up at night racing to the final shocking outcome. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor"Such Big Dreams" by Reema PatelAmazon"Such Big Dreams," available on Amazon, $27With a whip-smart, funny, and strong-willed woman at its core, "Such Big Dreams" is an absolute pleasure to read. Growing up homeless on the streets of Mumbai, 23-year-old Rakhia is hardwired with a certain grit and skepticism about the world — especially because her best friend on the streets disappeared ten years ago. Now an adult, she's landed on her feet, working as a personal assistant at a nonprofit human rights law organization, and with the encouragement of her boss and a white intern, she begins to dream of a life beyond the slum where she lives and the menial tasks she performs. But dreams are never that easy. There's a lot that Patel tackles in this book — the disparity of wealth in India and abroad, the education gap; the nonprofit world commandeered by celebrity; loss and love — and yet, it's done with such a deft hand that it's impossible to put this book down. Rakhia is a narrator you will root for and want as your best friend — she's got guts, gusto, and dares to dream, and there's nothing better than that. — Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor"Family of Liars: The Prequel to We Were Liars" by E. LockhartAmazon"Family of Liars," available on Amazon, $13.38If you loved "We Were Liars" then the backstory of the Sinclair family's deeply-rooted rifts and allegiances is the book you've been waiting for. "Family of Liars" returns to idyllic Beechwood Island, circa 1987, a magical epoch of lemon hunts and privilege, of first love, and of shocking events that upend the teenage Sinclair sisters' lives. Lockhart pulled me into the story so thoroughly that I could smell the ocean, hear the clink of ice in a glass, and feel the raw emotions of our (admittedly) unreliable narrator. Old family secrets come to light, and new ones are buried in this spell-binding novel of family and tragedy, love and betrayal, that will sweep you off your feet. — Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor"Siren Queen" by Nghi VoAmazon"Siren Queen," available at Amazon, $24.29The glitz of the golden age of Hollywood was never bright enough to hide the darkness behind the scenes, but here Nghi Vo creates a world where the once metaphorical monsters of the studio system drop their disguises. They rip and rend with teeth and claws just as easily as they do with words. Lured in as a child by dreams of stardom, Luli Wei must find what she truly believes in before she's devoured like so many hopeful young actresses before her. Haunting, thrilling, and beautifully told, "Siren Queen" captures a portrait of magic, fear, and love as vivid as any I've seen on the silver screen. — Marcus Mann, Amazon Editor"The Change" by Kirsten MillerAmazon"The Change," available at Amazon, $19.59For every woman who's ever been ignored, underestimated, or talked over, you need to read "The Change." Described as "'Big Little Lies' meets 'The Witches of Eastwick,'" with, we think, a tiny pinch of "The First Wives Club" thrown in for good measure, this epic, boo-yah revenge fantasy centers on three woman "of a certain age" who find that while their estrogen may be declining, the other "gifts" that arrived with menopause are surging, giving them the kind of superpowers that can take on whoever is killing young women in their affluent neighborhood. Have your highlighter finger ready, because Miller has packed this novel with the kind of pithy, quotable, laugh-out-loud zingers that belong on fridge magnets everywhere. To misquote Dylan, "'The Change' is gonna come, and evil better be ready." — Vannessa Cronin, Amazon EditorRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

The Agency acquires Triplemint and jointly raises $35m in growth capital

Global real estate brokerage, The Agency today announced that they have acquired Triplemint, a revolutionary technology-powered, NYC-based firm, in an all-equity transaction. The Agency will adopt Triplemint’s proprietary, disruptive technology, and Triplemint will adopt the Agency’s innovative, industry-leading brand. Going forward, the companies will jointly operate as The Agency. Together, the two are forming an agent-first,... The post The Agency acquires Triplemint and jointly raises $35m in growth capital appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Global real estate brokerage, The Agency today announced that they have acquired Triplemint, a revolutionary technology-powered, NYC-based firm, in an all-equity transaction. The Agency will adopt Triplemint’s proprietary, disruptive technology, and Triplemint will adopt the Agency’s innovative, industry-leading brand. Going forward, the companies will jointly operate as The Agency. Together, the two are forming an agent-first, tech-driven boutique luxury global brokerage firm. In tandem with the acquisition, The Agency has jointly raised $35 million in growth capital from strategic investors, further positioning The Agency for strategic and sustainable global growth. “The Agency is focused on continued global expansion, choosing quality over quantity every time,” said Mauricio Umansky, CEO of The Agency. “Learning from others that came before us, we intend to offer the 2.0 version of luxury real estate as we seek to provide a seamless, integrated experience for our agents, helping them to become better advisors and elevating their ability to provide a high-touch and high-tech experience for clients in a way that has yet to be seen in our industry. The $35M raise coupled with the acquisition of Triplemint positions us perfectly for this new chapter.” The Agency’s Executive leaders, Mauricio Umansky, CEO and Founder, Billy Rose, Founder and Vice Chairman, and Rainy Hake Austin, President, are joined by co-founders of Triplemint, David Walker and Philip Lang, who will now serve as the Chief Strategic Officer and Chief Business Officer at the Agency, respectively. Triplemint’s staff of over 75 software engineers, data scientists, marketers and strategists, as well as their nearly 250 agents will join The Agency’s existing in-house creative, public relations and tech specialists and over 1,000 agents across the globe.   “From the beginning, I have been motivated by the core belief that real estate can and should be better for agents, sellers and buyers alike. By bringing Triplemint and The Agency together, we can achieve that mission tenfold,” said David Walker, Chief Strategic Officer and Founder. “The Agency is the most powerful brand in luxury real estate. Combined with the cutting-edge technology platform we’ve been developing over the past seven years, together we will completely raise the bar for our industry, offering agents and clients more value than ever before.” “We believe that agents do not need to be marketing or technology experts, so we are focused on creating technology that makes staff more productive on behalf of our agents. This way, our agents can spend more time focused on their clients, not learning how to use the next shiny tool. Our approach positions The Agency as the first-ever brokerage to use technology to truly foster the human connection,” shared Rainy Hake Austin, President of The Agency. “We are expanding our global reach while maintaining our boutique, collaborative culture by obsessing over experience at every touchpoint and quality in everything we do. Our integrated technology experience will save agents time and provide valuable solutions so they can remain focused on what they do best—advising clients and selling real estate.” With technology and innovation at the core of the partnership, The Agency will offer a full suite of cutting-edge tools, powered by Triplemint’s predictive analytics and machine learning, including a fully-integrated search platform. These tools are aimed to improve the agent experience and will enhance real-time communication between agents and clients while increasing productivity; automatically track the market and produce customized, real-time alerts; foster lead generation to automatically capture, vet, and convert leads; utilize proprietary algorithms and data science to predict valuable information such as who is most likely to sell their home, and more. “It is entirely rare that two companies can come together and provide everything the other needs to grow and thrive,” said Philip Lang, Chief Business Officer & Founder. “The Agency and Triplemint share the same vision that a brokerage should be more than a place for an agent to hang their hat. Through this partnership, we’re providing real, tangible value and resources so that agents can better advise their clients.” This announcement comes at a time of rapid expansion for the firm. In 2021, The Agency launched 11 offices and another six in the first quarter of 2022. To date, The Agency has closed more than $41 billion in real estate transactions since its inception and has more than 50 offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe, with more offices slated to open around the globe in the coming months. “The Agency and Triplemint were both founded with the same fundamental ideologies,” shared Billy Rose, Founder and newly appointed Chief Culture Officer of The Agency. “Over the past decade, we’ve been very thoughtful with whom we partner and where. Partnering with Triplement exponentially advances the mission, which we pledged at our founding over 10 years ago, to raise the bar in the residential real estate brokerage industry, such that professional representation with integrity is the rule, not the exception.” The Agency will be opening an East Coast corporate headquarters in New York City later this year. With the development of cutting-edge technology and continued commitment to first-class service for agents and staff, The Agency is the fastest-growing boutique, luxury real estate franchise brand in the world.  The post The Agency acquires Triplemint and jointly raises $35m in growth capital appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyMay 4th, 2022