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Taiwan Is Part Of China, Russia Declares, As Two Powers Coordinate To Resist US Pressure

Taiwan Is Part Of China, Russia Declares, As Two Powers Coordinate To Resist US Pressure.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Mitch McConnell reverses on the debt ceiling as Congress poised to get another 2 months to avoid a government default

Senate Republicans were in disarray earlier as they struggled to come up with enough support to clear an initial procedural vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on July 21. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite The Senate on Thursday approved a debt-limit extension, sending it to the House. The move is a reversal for Sen. Mitch McConnell, who had urged the GOP to block Democrats' efforts. The deal punts the risk of a default to December, when Congress will again have to act. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Senate on Thursday approved a measure to extend the debt limit through early December, defusing a perilous showdown that brought the US to the edge of default. The bill now goes to the House for a vote sometime next week.The tally was 50-48, with every Senate Republican opposed to the measure during final passage. But 11 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats to cut off debate and break the filibuster's 60-vote threshold in an initial procedural vote."Republicans played a risky and partisan game, and I am glad their brinkmanship didn't work," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech.McConnell first reversed course Wednesday afternoon, offering Democrats a short extension to at least temporarily avoid a government default. The Kentucky Republican had been blocking Democrats' efforts to raise the ceiling since early last week. Thursday's vote marked a reversal from that stance and arrived just 11 days before the government's estimated deadline for a default.It raises the debt ceiling by $480 billion, letting the government continue borrowing freely until December, according to Treasury Department estimates.Many Republicans were unhappy with McConnell's olive branch, and the party struggled to scrounge up enough votes to cross the 60-vote threshold to end debate."We need to be able to get on this," Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Insider. "The only way we're going to be able to get on this is if we can get 60 votes. I'm going to be one of those 60."Most Senate Republicans were lined up in opposition to the debt-limit extension. "Debt is not the friend of the American public, and we should resist it," Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Insider.The debt ceiling is the statutory cap on how much the government can borrow to pay its bills, which include pandemic relief and other key aid programs from the past two years. If Congress fails to raise the limit, the government can default on its debt and plunge the US into a new economic crisis.Thursday's deal essentially kicks the can down the road. Democrats are still reluctant to use the time-consuming process known as reconciliation to raise the limit without any GOP support. But McConnell was adamant Wednesday that Republicans still wanted them to do so - especially now that they have more time."This will moot Democrats' excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt-limit legislation through reconciliation," he said in a statement.Senate Republicans have maintained that Democrats must unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, arguing that the GOP wants no part in financing Democrats' yet-to-be-passed $3.5 trillion social-spending plan. But Democrats argued that raising the ceiling was a bipartisan responsibility, since doing so would cover debt incurred from both the Trump and Biden administrations, including President Donald Trump's $900 billion stimulus package from December.Democrats ramped up the pressure on the GOP throughout the week. President Joe Biden on Monday lambasted Republicans for their obstruction, and he spoke with business leaders on Wednesday about the harm a government default would cause."Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job - they're using their power to prevent us from doing our job of saving the economy from a catastrophic event," Biden said during the Monday press conference. "I think, quite frankly, it's hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful."Brace for December deadlinesThe GOP started to blink Wednesday as Democrats explored several options for raising the ceiling on their own. One solution to emerge was a one-time change to the filibuster that would let Democrats raise the limit with a party-line vote. Biden floated blowing a hole in the filibuster on Tuesday, telling reporters it was "a real possibility."It may well have forced McConnell's hand. "It's not an insignificant part of the calculation, I'm quite sure," Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told Insider in an interview.The minority leader has long warned that eliminating or weakening the filibuster would plunge the Senate into chaos. The moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have been strongly opposed to any filibuster changes, but pressure on them to reverse course would most likely have intensified as the country hurtled toward default.And default would be calamitous. Government funding would quickly freeze for Social Security beneficiaries, members of the armed services, and public workers. Moody's Analytics estimated the country would slide into a recession and lose nearly 6 million jobs, with American household wealth plummeting by $15 trillion as fears of a government default could tank stocks.Hitting the ceiling would also be disastrous for the country's global strength. The US dollar serves as the world's reserve currency, and its power relies on trust in the government to pay its debt.Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned September 27 that nothing would be "more harmful" to the currency than a default. She said the dollar would quickly lose its relevance, interest rates would shoot higher, and Americans' payments on everything from credit-card bills to home loans would soar.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 8th, 2021

Mitch McConnell reverses on the debt ceiling as Congress poised to get another two months to avoid a government default

Senate Republicans were in disarray earlier as they struggled to come up with enough support to clear an initial procedural vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives to speak to reporters ahead of a test vote scheduled by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York on the bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden, in Washington, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite The Senate approved a short-term debt limit extension through early December, sending it to the House. The move marks a reversal for Sen. McConnell, who previously urged the GOP to block Democrats' efforts. The deal punts the risk of a government default to December, when Congress will have to raise the ceiling again. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Senate approved a measure to extend the debt limit through early December, defusing a perilous showdown that brought the US to the edge of default. The bill now goes to the House for a vote sometime next week.The tally was 50-48 with every Senate Republican opposed to the measure during final passage. But 11 GOP senators, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats to cut off debate and break the filibuster's 60-vote threshold in an initial procedural vote."Republicans played a risky and partisan game, and I am glad their brinkmanship didn't work," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a floor speech.McConnell caved Wednesday afternoon, offering Democrats a short extension to avoid a looming government default as . The senator from Kentucky had been blocking Democrats' efforts to raise the ceiling since early last week. Thursday's vote marks a reversal from that stance and arrived just 11 days before the government's estimated deadline.It raises the debt ceiling by $480 billion, letting the government continue borrowing freely until December, according to Treasury Department estimates.Many Republicans were unhappy with McConnell's olive branch and the party struggled to scrounge up enough votes to cross the 60-vote threshold to end debate."We need to be able to get on this," Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Insider. "The only way we're gonna be able to get on this is if we can get 60 votes. I'm gonna be one of those 60."Most Senate Republicans were lined up in opposition to the debt limit extension. "Debt is not the friend of the American public and we should resist it," Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Insider.The debt ceiling is the statutory cap on how much the government can borrow to repay its bills. Suspending the limit gives the US more time to pay its bills for pandemic stimulus and other key aid programs from the last two years. If Congress fails to raise the limit, the government can default on its debt and plunge the US into a new economic crisis.Thursday's deal essentially kicks the can down the road, leaving Congress where it started heading into the holiday season. Democrats are still reluctant to use the time-consuming reconciliation process to lift the limit on their own. And McConnell was adamant on Wednesday that Republicans won't offer any more support."This will moot Democrats' excuses about the time crunch they created and give the unified Democratic government more than enough time to pass standalone debt limit legislation through reconciliation," he said in a statement.Senate Republicans had maintained that Democrats must unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, arguing the GOP wants no part in financing the $3.5 trillion social spending plan. But Democrats argued that raising the ceiling is a bipartisan responsibility. Doing so would cover debt incurred from both the Trump and the Biden administrations, including President Donald Trump's $900 billion stimulus package from last December.Democrats ramped up the pressure on the GOP throughout the week. President Joe Biden lambasted Republicans for their obstruction on Monday, and spoke with business leaders on Wednesday about the harm of a potential government default."Not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, they're using their power to prevent us from doing our job of saving the economy from a catastrophic event," Biden said during the Monday press conference. "I think, quite frankly, it's hypocritical, dangerous, and disgraceful."Brace for December deadlinesThe GOP started to blinked on Wednesday as Democrats explored several options for raising the ceiling on their own. One solution to emerge was a one-time change to the filibuster that would let Democrats raise the limit with a party-line vote. Biden floated blowing a hole in the filibuster on Tuesday, telling reporters it was "a real possibility" to avoid a federal default.It may very well have forced McConnell's hand. "It's not an insignificant part of the calculation, I'm quite sure," Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told Insider in an interview.The minority leader has long warned that eliminating or weakening the filibuster would plunge the Senate into chaos. Moderate Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema were strongly opposed to any filibuster changes, but pressure on them to reverse course would likely intensify as the country hurtled toward the October 18 deadline.While the deal only delays an inevitable debt-ceiling battle until the winter, it also staves off a horrific economic threat. Failure to raise the ceiling would be calamitous. Government funding would quickly freeze for Social Security beneficiaries, members of the armed services, and public workers. The country would slide into a recession and lose nearly 6 million jobs, Moody's Analytics estimated. American household wealth would plummet by $15 trillion as fears of a government default could tank stocks.Hitting the ceiling would also be disastrous for the country's global strength. The US dollar serves as the world's reserve currency, and its power relies on trust in the government to pay its debt.Nothing would be "more harmful" to the currency than a default, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned September 27. The dollar would quickly lose its relevance, interest rates would shoot higher, and Americans' payments on everything from credit-card bills to home loans would soar, she added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

France & The Fraying Of NATO

France & The Fraying Of NATO Authored by Gary Leupp via Counterpunch.org, Biden has infuriated France by arranging the agreement to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. This replaces a contract to purchase a fleet of diesel-powered subs from France. Australia will have to pay penalties for breach of contract but the French capitalists will lose around 70 billion dollars. The perceived perfidy of both Canberra and Washington has caused Paris to compare Biden to Trump. The UK is third partner in the agreement so expect post-Brexit Franco-British relations to deteriorate further. This is all good, in my opinion! It’s also a good thing that Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was poorly orchestrated with the lingering “coalition partners” such as Britain, French and Germany, producing angry criticism. It’s great that the British prime minister proposed to France a “Coalition of the Willing” to continue the fight in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal—and better that it was dead in the water. (Maybe the French better than the Brits remember the Suez Crisis of 1956, the disastrous joint Anglo-French-Israeli effort to reimpose imperialist control over the canal. Not only did it lack U.S. participation; Eisenhower rationally shut it down after warnings from the Egyptians’ Soviet advisors.) It’s good that these three countries heeded the U.S. command to uphold their NATO promise to stand with the U.S. when attacked; that they lost over 600 troops in a fruitless effort; and that in the end the U.S. didn’t see fit to even involve them in the end plans. It’s good to wake up to the fact that the U.S. imperialists could care less about their input or their lives. but only demand their obedience and sacrifice. It’s wonderful that Germany, despite obnoxious U.S. opposition, has maintained its involvement in the Nordstream II natural gas pipeline project along with Russia. The last three U.S. administrations have opposed the pipeline, claiming it weakens the NATO alliance and helps Russia (and urging purchase of more expensive U.S. energy sources instead—to enhance mutual security, don’t you see). The Cold War arguments have fallen on deaf ears. The pipeline was completed last month. Good for global free trade and for national sovereignty, and a significant European blow to U.S. hegemony. It’s great that Trump in Aug. 2019 raised the ridiculous prospect of purchasing Greenland from Denmark, indifferent to the fact that Greenland is a self-governing entity, within the Kingdom of Denmark. (It is 90% Inuit, and led by political parties pressing for greater independence.) It’s marvelous that when the Danish prime minister gently, with good humor, refused his ignorant, insulting and racist proposal, he exploded in rage and cancelled his state visit including state dinner with the queen. He offended not only the Danish state but popular opinion throughout Europe with his boorishness and colonial arrogance. Excellent. Trump personally, needlessly insulted the prime minister of Canada and the chancellor of Germany with the same childish language he’d used against political opponents. He raised questions in Europeans’ and Canadians’ minds about the value of an alliance with such vileness. That was a major historical contribution. Good also that, in Libya in 2011, Hillary Clinton working with the French and British leaders secured UN approval for a NATO mission to protect civilians in Libya. And that, when the U.S.-led mission exceeded the UN resolution and waged full-out war to topple the Libyan leader, enraging China and Russia who called out the lie, some NATO nations declined to participate or turned back in disgust. Another U.S. imperialist war based on lies creating disorder and flooding Europe with refugees. It was good only in the fact that it exposed once again the utter moral bankruptcy of the U.S.A. so widely now associated with images of Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Guantanamo. All in the name of NATO. *  *  * Over the last two decades, with the Soviet Union and “communist threat” receding memories, the U.S. has systematically expanded this anti-Soviet, anti-communist postwar alliance called NATO to surround Russia. Any unprejudiced person looking at a map can understand Russia’s concern. Russia spends about a fifth of what the U.S. and NATO spend on military expenses. Russia is not a military threat to Europe or North America. So—the Russians have been asking since 1999, when Bill Clinton broke his predecessor’s promise to Gorbachev and resumed NATO expansion by adding Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia—why do you keep trying to expend to surround us? Meanwhile more and more Europeans are doubting the leadership of the United States. That means doubting the purpose and value of NATO. Formed to confront an imaginary Soviet invasion of “western” Europe, it was never deployed in war during the Cold War. Its first war indeed was the Clintons’ war on Serbia in 1999. This conflict, which severed the Serbian historical heartland from Serbia to create the new (dysfunctional) state of Kosovo, has since been repudiated by participants Spain and Greece who note that the UN resolution authorizing a “humanitarian” mission in Serbia explicitly stated that the Serbian state remain undivided. Meantime (after the bogus “Rambouillet agreement” was signed) the French foreign minister complained that the U.S. was acting like a hyper-pouissance (“hyperpower” as opposed to mere superpower). The future of NATO lies with the U.S., Germany, France and the UK. The last three were long members of the EU, which while a rival trading bloc generally coordinated policies with NATO. NATO has overlapped the EU such that virtually all of the countries admitted to the military alliance since 1989 have first joined NATO, then the EU. And within the EU—which is after all, a trading bloc that competes with North America—the UK long served as a kind of U.S. surrogate urging cooperation with Russian trade boycotts, etc. Now the U.K. has split from the EU, unavailable to, say, pressure Germany to avoid deals with the Russians Washington opposes. Good! Germany has a number of reasons to want to increase trade with Russia and has now shown the will to stand up to the U.S. Germany and France both challenged George W. Bush’s Iraq war based on lies. We should not forget how Bush (promoted lately as a statesman by the Democrats!) rivaled his successor Trump as a vulgar, lying buffoon. And if Obama seemed a hero in contrast, his magnetism ebbed as Europeans learned that they were all being monitored by the National Security Agency, and that the calls of Angela Merkel and the Pope were bugged. This was the land of freedom and democracy, always boasting about liberating Europe from the Nazis and expecting eternal payoff in the form of bases and political deference. It has been 76 years since the fall of Berlin (to the Soviets, as you know, not to the U.S.); 72 since the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); 32 since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the promise by George W. H. Bush to Gorbachev NOT to expand NATO further; 22 since the resumption of NATO expansion; 22 since the U.S.-NATO war on Serbia including the aerial bombing of Belgrade; 20 since NATO went to war at U.S. behest in Afghanistan, resulting in ruin and failure; 13 years since the U.S. recognized Kosovo as an independent country, and NATO announced the near-term admission of Ukraine and Georgia, resulting in the brief Russo-Georgia War and Russian recognition of the states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia; 10 years since the grotesque NATO mission to destroy and sew chaos in Libya, producing more terror throughout the Sahel and tribal and ethnic violence in the crumbling country, and producing more waves of refugees; 7 since the bold, bloody U.S.-backed putsch in Ukraine that placed a pro-NATO party in power, provoking the ongoing rebellion among ethnic Russians in the east and obliging Moscow to re-annex the Crimean Peninsula, inviting unprecedented ongoing U.S. sanctions and U.S. pressure on allies to comply; 5 since a malignant narcissist moron won the U.S. presidency and soon alienated allies by his pronouncements, insults, evident ignorance, a belligerent approach, raising questions in a billion minds about the mental stability and judgment of the voters of this country; 1 year since a career warmonger who has long vowed to expand and strengthen NATO, who became the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine after the 2014 coup, his mission being to clean up corruption to prepare Ukraine for NATO membership (and who is the father of Hunter Biden who famously sat on the board of Ukraine’s leading gas company 2014-2017 making millions for no apparent reason or work done) became president. 1 year since the world saw repeatedly on TV the 9 minute video of an open, public police lynching on the streets of Minneapolis, surely many among the views wondering what right this racist nation has to lecture China or anyone on human rights. 9 months since the U.S. capitol was stormed by U.S. brown shirts brandishing Confederate flags and fascist symbols and calling for the hanging of Trump’s vice president for treason. It is a long record of terrifying Europe with seemingly unstable leaders (Bush no less than Trump); harassing Europe with demands it minimizes trade with Russia and China and obey U.S. rules on Iran, and demanding participation in its imperialist wars far from the North Atlantic to Central Asia and Northern Africa. It is also a record of provoking Russia while expanding the anti-Russian juggernaut. It has meant actually using NATO militarily (as in Serbia, Afghanistan, and Libya) to cement the military alliance under U.S. direction, the stationing of 4000 U.S. troops in Poland, and threatening flights in the Baltic. Meanwhile, multiple U.S. agencies work overtime to plot “color revolutions” in the counties bordering Russia: Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine. NATO is dangerous and evil. It should be terminated. Opinion polls in Europe suggest a rise in NATO skepticism (good in itself) and opposition (better). It was already split seriously once: in 2002-2003 over the Iraq War. Indeed the manifest criminality of the Iraq War, the obvious willingness of the Americans to use disinformation, and the buffoonic personality of the U.S. president probably shocked Europe as much as the beastly Trump. The amusing thing is that Biden and Blinken, Sullivan and Austin, all seem to think none of this happened. They really seem to think that the world respects the United States as the (natural?) leader of something called the Free World —of nations committed to “democracy.” Blinken tells us and Europeans we’re confronting, “autocracy” in the form of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela all threatening us and our values. They seem think they can return to the 1950s, explain their moves as reflections of “American Exceptionalism,” posture as champions of “human rights,” cloak their interventions as “humanitarian missions,” and arm-twist their client-states into joint action. At present NATO is being pushed by Biden to identify (as it did in its last communique) the PRC as a “security threat” to Europe. But the reference to China was controversial. And NATO is divided on the matter of China. Some states do not see much of a threat and have every reason to expand ties with China, especially with the advent of the Belt and Road projects. They know that China’s GDP will soon exceed that of the U.S. and that the U.S. is not the economic superpower it was after the war when it established its hegemony over most of Europe. It has lost much of its basic strength but, like the Spanish Empire in the eighteenth century, none of its arrogance and brutality. Even after all the exposure. Even after all the shame. Biden flashing his trained smile announces “America is back!” expecting the world—especially “our allies”—to delight in the resumption of normalcy. But Biden should recall the stony silence that met Pence’s announcement at the Munich Security Conference in February 2019 when he conveyed Trump’s greetings. Do not these U.S. leaders not realize that in this century Europe’s GDP has come to match the U.S.’s? And that few people believe that the U.S. “saved” Europe from the Nazis, and then staved off the Soviet Communists, and revived Europe with the Marshall Plan, and continues to this day to protect Europe from the Russia that threatens to march west at any moment? Blinken wants to pick up and move on and lead the world forward. Back to normal! Sound, reliable U.S.leadership is back! Oh really? the French might ask. Stabbing a NATO ally in the back, sabotaging a signed $66 billion deal with far-off Australia? “Doing,” as the French foreign minister put it, “something Mr. Trump would do”? Not only France but the EU has denounced the U.S.-Australia deal. Some NATO members question how the Atlantic Alliance is served by a business dispute between members that pertains to what the Pentagon calls the “Indo-Pacific” region. And why—when the U.S. is attempting to secure NATO’s participation in a strategy of containing and provoking Beijing—it is not bothering to coordinate with France? Is Blinken unaware that France is an imperialist country with vast holdings in the Pacific? Does he know about the French naval facilities at Papeete, Tahiti, or the army, navy and air force bases in New Caledonia? The French conducted their nuclear blasts at Mururora, for god’s sake. As an imperialist country, does not France have the same right as the U.S. to gang up on China with Australia, in France’s corner of the Pacific? And if its close ally the U.S. decides to undermine the deal, should not etiquette have dictated that it at least inform its “oldest ally” about its intentions? The French condemnation of the submarines deal has been unprecedentedly sharp, in part, I imagine, due to the implicit disparagement of France as a great power. If the U.S. is urging its allies to join with it in confronting China, why does it not consult with France about an arms deal designed to do that, especially when it supplants one already openly negotiated by a NATO ally? Isn’t it clear that Biden’s appeals for “alliance unity” mean uniting, behind U.S. leadership around preparations for war on China? Gradually NATO is fraying. Again, this is a very good thing. I had worried that Biden would quickly work to integrate Ukraine into the alliance, but Merkel seems to have told him no. Europeans don’t want to be dragged into another U.S. war, especially against their great neighbor whom they know much better than Americans and have every reason to befriend. France and Germany, who (recall) opposed the U.S. war-based-on-lies on Iraq in 2003, are finally losing patience with the alliance and wondering what membership means other than joining with the U.S. in its quarrels with Russia and China. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 7th, 2021

32 thoughtful corporate gifts your coworkers and employees will love

Surprise your employees in 2021 with elevated and thoughtful gifts, like flower bouquets from UrbanStems, mini cupcakes from Baked by Melissa, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Vinebox/Facebook Give back to the hardworking employees who keep your business running with these 34 corporate gifts. These gifts are both thoughtful and useful, and unlike many corporate gifts, they don't look cheap. Find more gift ideas for everyone in your life here. A company is nothing without its employees. Whether you manage a lean team of five or oversee thousands across offices nationwide, you know that your employees are invaluable to the success of your business - and perhaps you want to thank them beyond simply paying a salary. Skip the tired and cheap corporate gifts and surprise your employees this year with these elevated, thoughtful, and useful options instead. Some come from our favorite startups, while others are just a click away on Amazon. Go the extra mile by customizing them with company colors, a logo, or a personal touch that truly shows your appreciation. Whether or not your company is working from home, it's our hope that these gifts will allow you to stay connected to both your business and each other.Here are 32 corporate gifts sure to wow your employees: Engraved spirits from ReserveBar ReserveBar Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label with Sugarfina Sweet & Sparkling 3pc Candy Bento Box, $85, available at ReserveBarYour employees are sure to appreciate a bottle of their favorite spirit from ReserveBar's corporate gifting guide. Choose from a wide variety of champagnes, tequilas, and cocktail gift sets based on your employee's preferences. If you're looking to make this gift even more special you can opt for a custom bottle engraving. To make a large ReserveBar order of 12 bottles or more, simply fill out this form. A variety of candies from Sugarwish Sugarwish Sugarwish Candy or Snack Gift Box, from $22, available at SugarwishIf your employees prefer sour, sweet, or even chocolate candy, Sugarwish's wide offering of sweets plus snacks has them covered. Sugarwish's corporate gifting program allows businesses to customize candies with branding and logos.  Bath and body gifts from L'Occitane L'Occitane The Happiest Hand Cream Trio, $29, available at L'OccitaneFrom luxurious hand creams that are sold every three seconds around the world to nourishing soaps and shower oils, L'Occitane offers many options to pamper your employees. You can combine multiple products to create mini gift baskets or distribute them individually. Email corporategifts@us.loccitane.com to learn more about its corporate gift program. A set of spa-worthy bath products from Nécessaire Nécessaire The Body Essentials, $60, available at NécessaireIf you're looking to gift employees bath and body products they'll actually want to use, Nécessaire offers luxurious products free of toxic ingredients. With three set options, multiple scents, and even a fragrance-free option, you'll surely find something they'll love. To participate in the brand's corporate gifting program, simply fill out this contact form. A box of customer favorite coffee blends from La Colombe La Colombe Greatest Hits Gifts Box, $40, available at La Colombe If they don't live near one of La Colombe's 30 locations, send them a gift set filled with the brand's fan-favorite blends instead. La Colombe's Coffee for a Crowd program allows you to mix and match different products from its vast selection and receive 20% off any order of 20 or more boxes of coffee, making it a great gift for your coffee-loving employees. Customized snack boxes from NatureBox NatureBox Bestsellers Box, $33.99, available at NatureBoxMany folks are missing the company snack bar now that lots of offices are closed, and nothing says I appreciate you quite like a box filled with delicious snacks. Why not make your their day with a custom snack box from NatureBox. NatureBox's SnackPass box allows employees to choose their preferred snacks and get them sent directly to their houses. NatureBox offers a wide snack selection and its corporate gifting program allows you to send a customized snack box after simply providing some basic information. Plants from BloomsyBox BloomsyBox Cape Town Orchid, $34.99, available at BloomsyBoxBring some life into your employee's home office setup by gifting them a beautiful flower arrangement or plant from BloomsyBox. The retailer offers a wide variety of floral arrangements and plants and even offers subscriptions so that you can send your employees flowers on a consistent basis. Gift sets from Bath & Body Works Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint Gift Set, $14.50, available at Bath & Body WorksWith all of the hand washing and sanitizing we're all doing due to the pandemic, there's no better gift than this set from Bath & Body Works, which includes a hand sanitizer, hand lotion, and hand soap. While you can order quantities up to 25 directly from the site, Bath & Body Works' corporate gifting program allows you to order larger quantities of gift sets as well as gift cards. Use this contact form, to get more information about Bath & Body Works' corporate gifting program or to make large gift orders. Decadent chocolates from Vosges Vosges Vosges Mini Exotic Chocolate Bar Library, $25, available at Vosges Our pick for the best chocolates you can gift, Vosges offers gift sets that are sure to impress your employees. Not only is each set beautifully packaged, it also includes high-quality chocolates. The Chocolate Bar Library is a great gifting option as it includes nine unique chocolate flavors, including banana coconut, matcha, and raw honey, in a keepsake box. Aside from this very giftable set, the Hazelnut Praline Bonbons set and the Champagne Truffle set are great gifting options. Vosges also offers a corporate concierge which can help guide you through personalizing your chocolate selection with your company's branding and help coordinate shipping to multiple addresses.  Sweet treats from Baked by Melissa Baked by Melissa Latest & Greatest Cupcake Pack, 25 count, from $32, available at Baked by MelissaThere's a reason that these bite-sized but flavorful cupcakes are a go-to gift for many. Baked by Melissa's Latest & Greatest pack includes customer favorites such as red velvet and cookie dough as well as new seasonal flavor additions. Purchase these cupcakes in large quantities directly from the product page, or if you would like a more customized experience for your giftees, check out the brand's corporate gifting information here. Face masks from Vistaprint Vistaprint Custom face masks, from $10, available at VistaprintIn our current times, face masks are an incredibly useful gift. Vistaprint, which is typically known for their customizable business cards, clothing, and more, has added masks to its extensive product lineup. Customize masks for your staff with your company's logo or choose from one of many pre-existing designs. Submit a request for orders of more than 1,000 masks here. Gift cards from Starbucks Amazon Gift cards, from $5, available at StarbucksWhile many of us no longer have the option of working from coffee shops, Starbucks gift cards are a great gift to help your employees switch their morning routine up. Since there are Starbucks all over the country, its gift cards are great if you have employees spread across many locations. Starbucks' corporate sales program has options that range from physical gift cards, branded gift cards, or digital gift cards delivered directly to your recipient's email. You can also set the value of the gift cards to anywhere between $5 to $500. Learn more about Starbucks' corporate sales program here. Delicious baked goods from Goldbelly Goldbelly Baked goods, from $29, available at GoldbellyYou can never go wrong with gifting delicious baked goods. With an option to narrow your search by region, Goldbelly's corporate gifting program allows you to send local eats to your employees no matter where they're located. It offers everything from organic mixed fruit baskets, to Magnolia Bakery's World Famous Banana Pudding. Every order also helps support small or minority-owned businesses. For bulk orders of 15 recipients or more, you can email concierge@goldbelly.com. Custom jackets from L.L.Bean L.L.Bean Custom jacket, from $89, available at L.L.BeanWhen it comes to gifting clothing, one size does not fit all. Luckily, L.L.Bean's business gifting site offers a wide range of inclusive sizes, from XS to 3X. Its fitness fleece quarter zip jacket is available in five colors and can be customized with a logo. The retailer also has a selection of other customizable products such as beanies, blankets, and duffle bags. You can place a corporate order here. Tumblers from YETI YETI/Instagram Rambler 20 Oz. Tumbler, $34.99, available at YETIWhether you're sipping on a hot or cold drink, YETI's stainless steel, double-wall insulated tumblers never fail to keep your beverage at the optimal temperature. Employees can keep them on their desk or bring them along to the trails on their days off. You can fill out a corporate gift form at YETI here. Socks from Bombas Bombas Men's Merino Calf Sock 8-Pack, $136.80 on sale (originally $152), available at BombasWomen's Merino Calf Sock 8-Pack, $136.80 on sale (originally $152), available at BombasPart of Bombas' appeal, other than the obvious differences in fit and feel, is that it donates a pair of socks to a homeless shelter every time someone buys a pair. This philanthropy doesn't stop if you take part in its corporate gifting program. It can work with your company's current charity partner, or help you find the perfect donation recipient. You can fill out a corporate gifting form at Bombas here. Gourmet gummies from Sugarfina Sugarfina/Instagram Clementine Bears Candy Cube, from $8.95, available at SugarfinaGive your employees a sweet treat they'll remember with a Sugarfina Candy Cube. Packaged thoughtfully in clear acrylic boxes, these candies were made for gifting. You can also design a custom Bento Box, candy cube, or taster packet with your company logo. Submit a corporate gifting request here for Sugarfina.  Nylon tote bags from BAGGU Baggu BAGGU Nylon Tote Bag, from $12, available at AmazonThese waterproof nylon totes hold 50 pounds of stuff, fold down to a fraction of their size to fit in your back pocket, and can be customized to let your employees flaunt where they work. As eco-friendly practices become more than a passing trend, you'll only see more of BAGGU's stylish yet functional bags out on the streets. You can request a custom quote at BAGGU here. Custom pencils from Shutterfly Shutterfly Custom Pencils, $7.50, available at ShutterflySomething to write with can always come in handy, be it for to-do lists, doodling, or anything in between. These custom pencils come in a set of 12, are available in four colors, and the message can be anything from a company name to a fun joke that coworkers share. Chocolate covered strawberries from Shari's Berries Shari's Berries/Facebook Gourmet Drizzled Strawberries, $44.99 to $74.99, available at Sharri's BerriesPeak indulgence is a box of strawberries dipped in rich milk, white, or dark chocolate, and maybe even sprinkled with nuts or chocolate chips. Shari's Berries are our favorite chocolate covered strawberries and they might just become your employees' favorite too after they try them. You can request a business gift quote at Shari's Berries here. Succulents from Lula's Garden Lula's Garden Urban Garden, $95, available at Lula's GardenA dash of greenery on their desk or in their room will make them happy — make it low-maintenance and nearly impossible to kill, and they'll be even happier. You can learn more about custom gifting at Lula's Garden here. Custom sticky notes from Zazzle Zazzle Post-It Notes, from $6.95, available at ZazzleSticky notes are a productive gift that you know they'll make great use of, whether jotting down assignments for the day or using them for out of office tasks and grocery lists. Add a custom touch to this office staple with a team photo, company logo, or personal text. Zazzle allows for orders of up to 500 packs at a time, and bulk ordering can save up to 60%. Patterned socks from Happy Socks Happy Socks/Instagram Big Dot Gift Box, $48, available at Happy SocksRegardless of your office dress code, fun socks will always be appreciated. You'll have difficulty narrowing down the final choice from Happy Socks' large selection of colorful, quirky patterns and prints. Custom designs with the company colors or logo are also available for orders of 6,000 pairs or more.  Suitcases from Away Away/Instagram The Carry-On, $225, available at AwayBusiness travel, so long as it's done safely, has never looked so cool. With a bag from Away, they'll be organized and stylish as they fly from destination to destination. You don't have to gift a piece of luggage — you can also choose a backpack, luggage tag, or Away's very useful travel wellness kit. Submit a corporate gifting form here for orders more than 25 units. Leather accessories from Leatherology Leatherology/Instagram Bifold Wallet with Flap, $90, available at LeatherologySend employees a beautiful, full-grain leather accessory like a luggage tag, business card case, or keychain. For an extra special touch, add a debossed monogram or logo. Though leather goods sound like a premium gift that could be out of your budget, Leatherology sells its bags and accessories without the markup, so customers don't have to spend so much for a touch of luxury. You can fill out a corporate gift inquiry form at Leatherology here. Sunglasses from Sunglass Hut Sunglass Hut/Instagram Polo Ralph Lauren Sunglasses, from $77.50, available at Sunglass HutSunglasses are a common gift or employee freebie, but they're rarely worn because they're plain or cheap. Sunglass Hut offers top brands and stylish options that everyone will actually want to wear. A perk of ordering through Sunglass Hut is that anyone can go to a store to receive a free personalized adjustment if the glasses don't fit well. You can learn about corporate gifting at Sunglass Hut here. Flowers from UrbanStems UrbanStems/Instagram Flower bouquets, from $50, available at UrbanStemsValentine's Day and Mother's Day aren't the only occasions where a bouquet of flowers is appropriate. Welcome new employees and remind current ones they're appreciated with beautifully arranged flowers from our favorite flower delivery service. Business customers can get up to 25% off regular prices. You can learn more about corporate gifting at UrbanStems here. Phone grips from PopSockets Popsockets/Instagram Rose Gold Aluminum PopGrip, $15, available at PopSocketsPopSockets PopGrips are the small, simple, and affordable phone accessories that your employees will wish you had gifted them earlier. These round buttons stick to the back of their phone and expand whenever they need a grip or a stand. They can take photos, text, and hold their phone without worrying about dropping it, or prop it up to stream content and video chat. You can order custom PopSockets PopGrips here. Mashable magnet toys from Speks Speks Speks Original Magnetic Balls, $27.95, available at SpeksOur team loved these tiny magnet toys a lot more than we expected to. Less obnoxious than fidget spinners, they're immensely satisfying to play with and build with as you work through a problem or concentrate on a task. The set includes 512 rare earth magnetic balls, metal building base, plastic splitter card, 16-page starter guide, and carrying case.  Candles from Otherland Otherland Chandelier Candle, $36, available at OtherlandThere are plenty of candles out there, but few quite as giftable as Otherland's. These premium candles are available in many scents to suit the different personalities of your employees, and they look great on any tabletop (office, bedroom, or otherwise). You can email hello@otherland.com to inquire about corporate gifts and place a large order. Hatch Idea notebooks Etsy Hatch Ideas Notebook, $25, available at EtsyA well-executed idea doesn't happen overnight. Help your employees hatch the next big idea with this cloth-bound notebook that's organized into three sections: Conceive, Incubate, and Hatch. Although there's no automatic option for bulk purchasing, the Etsy shop owner typically responds to messages within 24 hours and should be able to accommodate larger orders. Wine from Vinebox Vinebox/Instagram Vinebox Wine Gift Boxes, from $65, available at VineboxInstead of gifting them a bottle of wine you're not sure they'll like, let them personalize the selection themselves. Vinebox takes the intimidation and pressure out by delivering wine flights in unique bottles and helping budding wine enthusiasts discover their favorites. You can learn more about corporate gifting at Vinebox here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

Iran Says "War With Israel Has Already Begun" Amid Fresh Covert Attacks

Iran Says "War With Israel Has Already Begun" Amid Fresh Covert Attacks Amid a recent spate of covert espionage attacks on Iranian infrastructure - some publicly known and more that are possibly unknown - Iran's foreign ministry has declared that "war with Israel has already begun". A foreign ministry spokesmen told the major Israeli national Hebrew-language daily newspaper Maariv that "Israel has carried out attacks that were intended to destroy our nuclear program for peaceful purposes." Saeed Khatibzadeh declared "the war with Israel has already begun" - in an ominous message intended as a warning to the Israeli public and leadership.  Prior Israeli attacks inside Syria targeting 'Iranian assets', via Reuters The spokesman added that Israel "has murdered nuclear scientists and harmed the Iranian people. Iran is blamed for terrorism, but there is no good or bad terrorist. The entire crisis in the region is the fault of Israel." Rare or unlikely as it is for a top Iranian official to speak to Israeli publication, it's the closest Tehran has come in years to direct communication with Israeli entities. It's a sign that the two countries are truly on the brink of direct conflict.  "Israel severely harmed our civilian and research system," he described. "They speak about the Iranian nuclear threat, but Israel has hundreds of bombs, and it never signed the non-proliferation treaty for nuclear weapons." He's no doubt referencing the prior Natanz nuclear facility sabotage attack - now widely believed an act of covert espionage by Israel (likely via cyberattack) - as well as the brazen assassination outside of Tehran of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizade by a "remote controlled gun". There's also the near weekly Israeli attacks on Syria, which Tel Aviv says is part of campaign to disrupt Iranian and Hezbollah operations there.  In the interview Khatibzadeh also alleged that the United States too is still waging a campaign of "soft terror" through far-reaching sanctions. He said that the Iranian people are even prevented from obtaining crucial life-saving medicines through Washington sanctions. By design the US-led sanctions also pressure and punish any nation wishing to transfer goods into Iran, including European Union countries which have long taken are more sympathetic stance to the Iranians' plight. Just in the past week there's been more possible attacks on Iranian military sites... Before & after: An explosion occurred (27 September 2021) at an #IRGC secret missile base of Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group pic.twitter.com/OYnsijeXiq — ImageSat Intl. (@ImageSatIntl) September 30, 2021 The official also charged that Israel is actively seeking to subvert high level nuclear talks in Vienna, which have been stalled since last June, though US and Israeli officials have blamed the Iranian side for the stall.  "The region is tired of wars," Khatibzadeh added, while arguing Iran is honestly seeking a diplomatic and peaceful breakthrough with Western powers in Vienna. "We must find a new approach to solve the problems according to United Nations decisions. All of the sides must display a political desire to reach agreements." Tyler Durden Sat, 10/02/2021 - 16:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021

Another Tempestuous Balkan Pot Is Boiling

Another Tempestuous Balkan Pot Is Boiling Authored by Stephen Karganovic via The Strategic Culture Foundation, As relations between major geopolitical players steadily deteriorate the Balkans are acquiring increasing importance for NATO powers for exactly the same reasons that they were essential to Nazi Germany in the early forties... As elections approach, the political atmosphere in the Republika Srpska, Russia’s tiny Balkan ally, is heating up. For at least the last ten years, color revolution turbulence has been the normal accompaniment of every electoral cycle there. It began initially in 2014 as the Serb autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it was constituted under the Dayton peace agreement in the wake of the 1992 – 1995 civil war, approached its parliamentary and presidential elections. The consensus within the Euro-Atlantic alliance (the coalition of states roughly co-extensive with NATO and the EU) unmistakably was that the assertive local authorities headed by President Dodik and his political party were unacceptable and that a “regime change” operation should be engineered to replace them with a compliant cast of characters. Local agents quickly set to work to reproduce the satisfactory results previously obtained with relative ease in other “color revolution” episodes. The usual set of grievances was improvised. They were dramatised through a combination of fake “NGOs” and a relentless propaganda barrage conducted through the media, which was partly owned by Western interests and partly susceptible to their emoluments. A major television station in the city of Bijeljina, with country-wide coverage, was suborned to relentlessly spew the color revolution party line, in the confident expectation of a certain electoral triumph. But there was an unexpected hitch. The Republika Srpska government and ruling coalition supporting it nearly lost their heads when faced with mounting street agitation, but a group of local citizens supported by allies with international experience in these matters marshalled their limited resources to counter the onslaught. In spite of overwhelming odds they succeeded, the Balkan Maidan never materialised, and the coup de grâce planned for Republica Srpska was temporarily delayed. The next opportunity to fine tune the scenario came just before the 2018 elections in Republika Srpska. The galvanising spark was the mysterious death of a young man by the name of David Dragicevic, the responsibility for which without any firm evidence was attributed to the authorities, or the “regime” in the parlance of the color revolution phalanx. All the usual mechanisms were again activated to generate a cause célèbre designed to discredit the government and dishearten its supporters. The coup almost succeeded. President Dodik squeaked through with barely an 8,000 vote margin, but the ruling coalition failed to win in Parliament a clear majority necessary to form a government. The matter was resolved in the tried and tested Balkan way – a couple of opposition legislators were generously rewarded to switch sides and the status quo ante was successfully restored. With predictable regularity, the identical pattern is beginning to repeat itself as the country approaches the 2022 electoral season. New factors have emerged to complicate the political and social landscape. One is the Covid crisis, which has hit the Serbian portion of Bosnia relatively hard. The other is the grave constitutional crisis provoked two months ago by the outgoing EU High representative Valentin Incko. He arbitrarily ordered that a “genocide denial law” – clearly targeting all who question the Srebrenica “genocide” narrative, which is by now sacrosanct almost everywhere but in the Republika Srpska – be inserted in the Criminal Code, prescribing harsh punishment for unbelievers of up to five years. Since practically the entire population of Republika Srpska consists of religious sceptics and outright heretics in this regard, the country might as well be encircled with barbed wire and machine-gun turrets for at least the next five years. While primarily designed to bring external pressure and internal demoralisation, “Incko’s law,” as it is popularly known, also acted as a cohesive factor by temporarily uniting the government and its opposition against it. But the pact which Western-supported elements of the opposition concluded largely for PR reasons is already seriously fraying and the Serbian political scene is returning to its old fragmented “normal.” Emerging at the heart of the Incko controversy is the issue of whether the High representative, set up by the Dayton agreement to play a balancing role between the former warring parties (his official job is to “interpret” the peace agreement when the local parties fail to arrive at a common understanding of its provisions), has the authority to expand his powers to the point of imposing laws and altering constitutional arrangements. Banja Luka constitutional law professor Milan Blagojevic has argued forcefully and cogently that he does not. In a series of incisive analyses in his newspaper columns and television appearances he has expounded the view that the micro-managing authority claimed by a succession of High representatives is in reality an insolent bluff, unsupported by any of the provision of the peace agreement that established his office. In protest against what he has harshly denounced as “criminal abuse,” Prof. Blagojevic did something utterly unique in that part of the world. He resigned his parallel job as a District Court judge stating that his conscience forbade him to perform judicial duties in the milieu of lawlessness created by the illegal encroachment of the country’s foreign overlord. Hopefully he will impress other public servants by modelling a sacrificial example of professional integrity for their edification, but realistically no one should hold their breath. Propelled by unanimous public rejection of what is justifiably perceived as the High representative’s tyrannous act, and perhaps also inspired by the upcoming elections, the government has ratcheted up its rhetoric to the point of openly raising a heretofore taboo topic – possible secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Simultaneously, in an evident bow to Prof. Blagojevic’s insistent arguments, it has mentioned the possibility of asking Parliament to annul all previous similarly illicit decrees issued by the High representative, going back at least twenty years. To top off the listed examples of disobedience, former President Dodik, who is now the Serb member of Bosnia’s rotating Presidency, refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the appointment of Incko’s successor, German politician Christian Schmidt, or even meet with him, because he was selected by a committee of NATO governments and not by the UN Security Council, as international legal norms prescribe. In that he has the firm support of the governments of the Russian Federation and China. So now we come round to the emerging scenario for this season’s color revolution in the Republika Srpska. Clearly, something needs to be done and order must be imposed. The initial plan that was thought up by the Tavistock brain trust is the currently raging oxygen affair. Gene Sharp must be smiling in his grave. Briefly, upon the public spirited complaint filed by Transparency International, a solicitous outfit financed by USAID, alleging that a hospital in the town of Trebinje was using industrial instead of human grade oxygen for the treatment of Covid patients, health inspectors swarmed from Sarajevo (where Republika Srpska can scarcely expect to get any breaks) to determine that indeed there was something fishy about the oxygen formula being used. Gaining traction now are vague and non-evidence based assertions (recall the David Dragicevic affair) that the uncaring “regime” had a corrupt deal with the oxygen provider. The public, who predominantly do not consist of chemists, are being bombarded with highly technical and also politically condimented “information” about grave health risks (on top of the already existing pandemic) posed by the deliberately substituted inferior oxygen. Oddly, no proof of Covid fatalities or testimony of injuries accompanies these accounts of appalling official corruption. Readers with longer memories will remember the staged poisoning affair in Kosovo in 1990, when Albanian school children were instructed to complain of dizziness and stomach cramps provoked by nefarious substances injected in their lunch food by Serb authorities. They all miraculously recovered as soon as foreign correspondents had left. In Trebinje so far no spectacular performances to showcase the government’s public health malfeasance have been organised for the benefit of the international press, but surprises may be in store as the spin continues. As relations between major geopolitical players steadily deteriorate the Balkans are acquiring increasing importance for NATO powers for exactly the same reasons that they were essential to Nazi Germany in the early forties, to the extent that it was willing to postpone the attack on the Soviet Union and divert its resources in order to first bring the entire area in its orbit. The Serb half of Bosnia is a major piece of the contemporary version of a very similar geopolitical jigsaw puzzle. Russian policy meanderings over the years in that part of the world merit at most a mixed assessment, and that is putting it charitably. Russia cannot afford to further degrade its regional position and security interests by losing Republika Srpska, not to speak of Serbia itself. All the more so because it is not really necessary to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to keep them both firmly and beneficially in its fold Tyler Durden Sat, 10/02/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 2nd, 2021

COVID-19 Detention Camps: Are Government Round-Ups Of Resistors In Our Future?

COVID-19 Detention Camps: Are Government Round-Ups Of Resistors In Our Future? Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “No doubt concentration camps were a means, a menace used to keep order.”  - Albert Speer, Nuremberg Trials It’s no longer a question of whether the government will lock up Americans for defying its mandates but when. This is what we know: the government has the means, the muscle and the motivation to detain individuals who resist its orders and do not comply with its mandates in a vast array of prisons, detention centers, and FEMA concentration camps paid for with taxpayer dollars. It’s just a matter of time. It no longer matters what the hot-button issue might be (vaccine mandates, immigration, gun rights, abortion, same-sex marriage, healthcare, criticizing the government, protesting election results, etc.) or which party is wielding its power like a hammer. The groundwork has already been laid. Under the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the President and the military can detain and imprison American citizens with no access to friends, family or the courts if the government believes them to be a terrorist. So it should come as no surprise that merely criticizing the government or objecting to a COVID-19 vaccine could get you labeled as a terrorist. After all, it doesn’t take much to be considered a terrorist anymore, especially given that the government likes to use the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably. For instance, the Department of Homeland Security broadly defines extremists as individuals, military veterans and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.” Military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may also be characterized as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats by the government because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.” Indeed, if you believe in and exercise your rights under the Constitution (namely, your right to speak freely, worship freely, associate with like-minded individuals who share your political views, criticize the government, own a weapon, demand a warrant before being questioned or searched, or any other activity viewed as potentially anti-government, racist, bigoted, anarchic or sovereign), you could be at the top of the government’s terrorism watch list. Moreover, as a New York Times editorial warns, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the police if you are afraid that the government is plotting to confiscate your firearms, if you believe the economy is about to collapse and the government will soon declare martial law, or if you display an unusual number of political and/or ideological bumper stickers on your car. According to the FBI, you might also be classified as a domestic terrorism threat if you espouse conspiracy theories or dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s. The government also has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state. This is what happens when you not only put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police but also give those agencies liberal authority to lock individuals up for perceived wrongs. It’s a system just begging to be abused by power-hungry bureaucrats desperate to retain their power at all costs. It’s happened before. As history shows, the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. One need only go back to the 1940s, when the federal government proclaimed that Japanese-Americans, labeled potential dissidents, could be put in concentration (a.k.a. internment) camps based only upon their ethnic origin, to see the lengths the federal government will go to in order to maintain “order” in the homeland. The U.S. Supreme Court validated the detention program in Korematsu v. US (1944), concluding that the government’s need to ensure the safety of the country trumped personal liberties. Although that Korematsu decision was never formally overturned, Chief Justice Roberts opined in Trump v. Hawaii (2018) that “the forcible relocation of U. S. citizens to concentration camps, solely and explicitly on the basis of race, is objectively unlawful and outside the scope of Presidential authority.” Roberts’ statements provide little assurance of safety in light of the government’s tendency to sidestep the rule of law when it suits its purposes. Pointing out that such blatantly illegal detentions could happen again—with the blessing of the courts—Justice Scalia once warned, “In times of war, the laws fall silent.” In fact, the creation of detention camps domestically has long been part of the government’s budget and operations, falling under the jurisdiction of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA’s murky history dates back to the 1970s, when President Carter created it by way of an executive order merging many of the government’s disaster relief agencies into one large agency. During the 1980s, however, reports began to surface of secret military-type training exercises carried out by FEMA and the Department of Defense. Code named Rex-84, 34 federal agencies, including the CIA and the Secret Service, were trained on how to deal with domestic civil unrest. FEMA’s role in creating top-secret American internment camps is well-documented. But be careful who you share this information with: it turns out that voicing concerns about the existence of FEMA detention camps is among the growing list of opinions and activities which may make a federal agent or government official think you’re an extremist (a.k.a. terrorist), or sympathetic to terrorist activities, and thus qualify you for indefinite detention under the NDAA. Also included in that list of “dangerous” viewpoints are advocating states’ rights, believing the state to be unnecessary or undesirable, “conspiracy theorizing,” concern about alleged FEMA camps, opposition to war, organizing for “economic justice,” frustration with “mainstream ideologies,” opposition to abortion, opposition to globalization, and ammunition stockpiling. Now if you’re going to have internment camps on American soil, someone has to build them. Thus, in 2006, it was announced that Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, had been awarded a $385 million contract to build American detention facilities. Although the government and Halliburton were not forthcoming about where or when these domestic detention centers would be built, they rationalized the need for them in case of “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of other emergencies such as “natural disasters.” Of course, these detention camps will have to be used for anyone viewed as a threat to the government, and that includes political dissidents. So it’s no coincidence that the U.S. government has, since the 1980s, acquired and maintained, without warrant or court order, a database of names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation. As Salon reports, this database, reportedly dubbed “Main Core,” is to be used by the Army and FEMA in times of national emergency or under martial law to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security. There are at least 8 million Americans in the Main Core database. Fast forward to 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released two reports, one on “Rightwing Extremism,” which broadly defines rightwing extremists as individuals and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” and one on “Leftwing Extremism,” which labeled environmental and animal rights activist groups as extremists. Incredibly, both reports use the words terrorist and extremist interchangeably. That same year, the DHS launched Operation Vigilant Eagle, which calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other far-flung places, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.” These reports indicate that for the government, so-called extremism is not a partisan matter. Anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—is a target, which brings us back, full circle, to the question of whether the government will exercise the power it claims to possess to detain anyone perceived as a threat, i.e., anyone critical of the government. The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is more complicated. Despite what some may think, the Constitution is no magical incantation against government wrongdoing. Indeed, it’s only as effective as those who abide by it. However, without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard it and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, it provides little to no protection against SWAT team raids, domestic surveillance, police shootings of unarmed citizens, indefinite detentions, and the like. Frankly, the courts and the police have meshed in their thinking to such an extent that anything goes when it’s done in the name of national security, crime fighting and terrorism. Consequently, America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution. We seem to be coming full circle on many fronts. Consider that two decades ago we were debating whether non-citizens—for example, so-called enemy combatants being held at Guantanamo Bay and Muslim-Americans rounded up in the wake of 9/11—were entitled to protections under the Constitution, specifically as they relate to indefinite detention. Americans weren’t overly concerned about the rights of non-citizens then, and now we’re the ones in the unenviable position of being targeted for indefinite detention by our own government. Similarly, most Americans weren’t unduly concerned when the U.S. Supreme Court gave Arizona police officers the green light to stop, search and question anyone—ostensibly those fitting a particular racial profile—they suspect might be an illegal immigrant. A decade later, the cops largely have carte blanche authority to stop any individual, citizen and non-citizen alike, they suspect might be doing something illegal (mind you, in this age of overcriminalization, that could be anything from feeding the birds to growing exotic orchids). Likewise, you still have a sizeable portion of the population today unconcerned about the government’s practice of spying on Americans, having been brainwashed into believing that if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. It will only be a matter of time before they learn the hard way that in a police state, it doesn’t matter who you are or how righteous you claim to be, because eventually, you will be lumped in with everyone else and everything you do will be “wrong” and suspect. Indeed, it’s happening already, with police relying on surveillance software such as ShadowDragon to watch people’s social media and other website activity, whether or not they suspected of a crime, and potentially use it against them when the need arises. It turns out that we are Soylent Green, being cannibalized by a government greedily looking to squeeze every last drop out of us. The 1973 film Soylent Green, starring Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson, is set in 2022 in an overpopulated, polluted, starving New York City whose inhabitants depend on synthetic foods manufactured by the Soylent Corporation for survival. Heston plays a policeman investigating a murder who discovers the grisly truth about the primary ingredient in the wafer, Soylent Green, which is the principal source of nourishment for a starved population. “It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people,” declares Heston’s character. “They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food.” Oh, how right he was. Soylent Green is indeed people or, in our case, Soylent Green is our own personal data, repossessed, repackaged and used by corporations and the government to entrap us in prisons of our own making. Without constitutional protections in place to guard against encroachments on our rights when power, technology and militaristic governance converge, it won’t be long before we find ourselves, much like Edward G. Robinson’s character in Soylent Green, looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted, and go where we wanted without those thoughts, words and movements being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies. We’re not quite there yet, but as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, that moment of reckoning is getting closer by the minute. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/01/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 2nd, 2021

Macron Urges Europe To "Stop Being Naive" After Inking "Face-Saving" Defense Deal With Greece

Macron Urges Europe To "Stop Being Naive" After Inking 'Face-Saving' Defense Deal With Greece In an apparent indirect swipe at the US, Australia and the UK in the wake of the 'AUKUS' agreement which cut France out of a major multi-billion dollar deal with Australia, French President Emmanuel Macron in new statements has urged Europe to "stop being naive" - suggesting Paris is critically reviewing its traditional alliances and is ready to build-up European defenses independent of others.  "The Europeans must stop being naive. When we are under pressure from powers, which at times harden (their stance), we need to react and show that we have the power and capacity to defend ourselves. Not escalating things, but protecting ourselves," Macron said. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with French President Emmanuel Macro at the deal's signing ceremony, via Reuters. He made the provocative remarks at a Tuesday news conference and signing ceremony alongside Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after Greece and France finalized a major deal to upgrade Greek military purchases. Last year Greece ordered two dozen Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets as part of a 2.5 billion euro package - but at the joint press conference the two leaders hailed an extension of the deal for another six Rafele jets as well as three Belharra French frigates for Greece's navy. Greece will be the first European country to acquire France's jet fighter, while the deal for the frigates is expected to be a around another three billion euros. This week's announcements are perhaps intended to also be a 'face saving' exercise after the AUKUS pact humiliation earlier this month. "It contributes to European security, to the strengthening of Europe’s strategic autonomy and sovereignty, and thus to international peace and security," Macron said. And PM Mitsotakis agreed, "This will tie us for decades." The new deal includes an option for Athens to acquire a fourth frigate. Over the past two years amid territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece and Cyprus - Paris has been a staunch supporter of Greece and Cyprus, even conducting joint aerial and naval drills as a show of force against Turkish encroachment.  Dassault Rafale fighter jet, Wiki Commons Macron in the Tuesday press conference brushed aside accusations that the Greece deal is in reaction to the US-Australia AUKUS with the following:  Macron insisted the pact is not "an alternative to the United States alliance." But, he added pointedly, it is a way "to take responsibility of the European pillar within NATO and draw the conclusions that we are asked to take of our own protection." In the recent past there's been serious talk of a "European Army" which has never ultimately got off the ground, however, France's firm stance on building up autonomous European defense while not relying on leading NATO partners could put the initiative back in the spotlight.  Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 04:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Just How Big Is China"s Property Sector, And Two Key Questions On Policy And Tail Risks

Just How Big Is China's Property Sector, And Two Key Questions On Policy And Tail Risks While the broader US stock market was giddily melting up in the past week, things in China were going from bad to worse with Evergrande set to officially be in default on Oct 23 when the grace period on its first nonpayment ends, and with contagion rocking the local property market - which as we explained last week just saw the most "catastrophic" property sales numbers since the global financial crisis - sending dollar-denominated Chinese junk bonds to all time high yields. So even though it is now conventional wisdom that China's property crisis is contained (just as its concurrent energy crisis is also somehow contained), we beg to differ, and suggest that the crisis hitting the world's largest asset class is only just starting and is about to drag China into a "hard landing", with the world set to follow. And yes, with a total asset value of $62 trillion representing 62% of household wealth, the Chinese real estate sector is not only 30 times bigger than the market cap of all cryptos and also bigger than both the US bond and stock market, but is the key "asset" that backstops China's entire financial system whose deposits at last check were more than double those of the US. In other words, if China's property sector wobbles, the world is facing a guaranteed depression. So given the escalating weakness in China’s property sector, which has been in focus given intense regulatory pressure on developers’ leverage and banks’ mortgage exposure, and consequent contraction in sales and construction activity, it is natural to ask how significant a hit this could pose to both China's and the global economy. To help people get a sense of scale, below we excerpts some of the key findings from a recent note from Goldman showing just how big China's property sector is. A wide range of estimates for the scale of China’s property sector — up to about 30% of GDP — have been reported in the media and by other analysts. Different definitions of the scope of the sector largely account for the disparity. The most important distinctions are what types of building are included (residential, nonresidential, or all construction including infrastructure), what economic activity is included (only the construction itself, or all the value-added embedded in the finished residence e.g. domestically produced materials), and whether related real estate services are also included. A narrow definition of “residential construction activity as a share of GDP” could be as low as 3.6% of GDP. Expanding this to include all related domestic activities - e.g. materials like metals, wood, and stone produced domestically and used in housing construction, as well as services like financial activities and business services used directly or indirectly by the housing sector - would account for 12.4% of GDP. Adding nonresidential building construction and its associated activity would take it to 17.7%. Finally, including real estate services—which show a high correlation with broader property trends—would take the number to 23.3%. (All these numbers are based on detailed 2018 data, and exclude infrastructure spending not directly related to residential and nonresidential buildings.) The property sector’s share of the Chinese economy has grown fairly steadily over the past decade, after surging in the stimulus-fueled recovery just after the 2008 financial crisis. Digging into the definition of the “property sector”, there are three main questions that need to be kept in mind: 1. What types of construction? One important difference is in what types of construction activities are included. Construction broadly consists of three categories: residential housing, nonresidential buildings, and infrastructure-related construction. In China, residential construction appears to be about half of total construction—the rest is either non-residential building construction or civil engineering works, plus a small amount of installation/decoration activity. Specifically, residential and nonresidential buildings represent around 70% of total construction, and residential floor space under construction is typically about 70% of total floor space under construction. Note that this ~50% share for residential share of total construction is not unusual in international perspective. For example, the residential share is similar in the United States—though it reached into the 60-70% range during the peak years of the housing bubble—and has been about 40-50% in South Korea for some time. 2. What types of economic activity (only construction, or everything necessary to complete the finished building)? An even more important distinction is what types of activities one counts. Strictly speaking, the construction industry itself represents about 7% of China’s GDP. This represents wages, profits, and taxes from the construction sector (regardless of what type of construction or what end users). This is the value added of the construction sector itself, or the narrowly defined activity of building things. However, the construction industry uses a lot of output from other sectors – both materials (cement, wood, steel, etc.) and services (transportation of materials, financial services) to create finished buildings. Put another way, there are a lot of “backward linkages” from the construction sector: a home purchase requires not just the value added from construction industry, but also the value added from the “upstream” industries that provided the materials and were otherwise involved in the completion of the finished product. To gain some intuition for this, in the chart below, Goldman shows how much of each industry’s domestic value added ultimately goes into “final demand” of the construction industry (purchases of property by consumers or investment in property by businesses). For example, about one-third of value added in “wood products” goes into construction, about one-half of basic metals value added goes into construction, and essentially all of construction’s value added goes into construction final demand. (Note that this includes direct and indirect requirements—for example, basic metal output that is sold to firms in the metal fabrication industry that then sell to the construction sector would be counted as part of final demand for construction.) The next chart shows what fraction of the final demand for construction is provided by each sector. Roughly speaking, if we think about this as “the total domestic value added embedded in an apartment”, almost 30% of this is provided by construction activity, 8% from nonmetallic mineral products, etc. From the perspective of total domestic value added from all industries embedded in the final demand of the construction industry, the overall construction industry’s final demand accounts for roughly one-quarter of China’s GDP. This estimate is based on China’s most recent (2018) “input-output” table—which indicates the final output of each industry, as well as how much input is used from every other. 3. Should real estate services be included. Some analysts focus on property construction only, while others add the “real estate services” sector e.g. the leasing and maintenance of buildings when estimating the impact of the housing sector of the economy. These activities contribute roughly 6-7% of GDP in China. In many countries, real estate services are somewhat less volatile than housing construction. The likely reason is that real estate services relate in part to the stock of existing buildings than the flow of new building construction. Even if there were a housing crash and building construction stopped, most real estate services could theoretically continue.  As evidence of this, in the US housing crash, construction sector GDP fell by ~30% peak to trough but real estate services never declined. That said, in China the “real estate services” sector has been significantly more volatile, almost as volatile as the construction sector itself. Contributions by type of demand and activity Taking these three factors into consideration, Goldman next shows estimated shares of China’s activity in the next chart, and breaks down construction into its main components while showing the share attributable to real estate services. The “sector activity” column shows the share of GDP accounted for directly by activities of that sector. In other words, companies and workers engaged in all types of construction activity accounted for 7.1% of China’s GDP in 2018. The “final demand” column shows the share of GDP accounted for by all the domestic economic activities embodied in final demand for that sector. In other words, the demand for buildings and other construction also generates demand for materials and other types of services — and adding the value added in construction and all of these “upstream” sectors together gives the numbers in the right column Putting the above together, the size of China’s property sector therefore depends on the question we want to answer: What share of Chinese economic activity do workers/companies involved in residential construction represent? Here, one should look at domestic value-added (the left column). This is 7.1% for overall construction and just 3.6% for residential construction only. How much economic activity is driven by demand for residential property construction? Residential property demand drives 12.4% of GDP (right column, second row in table), because in addition to the construction activity it creates demand for all the materials and other services involved in building construction. What about the impact of total demand for property construction? Including non-residental buildings as well as residential, and the total upstream requirements of both, we want to look at the “domestic value added in final demand” of construction of residential + nonresidential buildings. This is 17.7% of GDP (12.4%+5.3%). How much of the economy is at risk from a property downturn? Here, we could potentially add end demand for real estate services to the above calculation. This would be another 5.6% of GDP, suggesting 23.3% of the economy—nearly a quarter—would be affected. Finally, if one adds all construction and all real estate and all their associated activities, we get just over 30% of the economy (24.5%+5.6%), although it is worth caveating that this may be an overly broad definition for the property sector, as it includes infrastructure-related activity, which if anything is likely to be ramped up by policymakers in the event of severe property sector weakness. * * * Yet even a nice big, round 30% estimate for how much China's property sector contributes to GDP, does not encompass all the potential spillovers from a construction sector downturn. There are at least three others: Second-round effects. A shock to construction (or any other sector) implies a drop in wages and company profits in that sector. This in turn implies lower income for the household and business sectors — and incrementally lower consumption and investment respectively. Such “second-round” or “multiplier” effects aren’t included in the estimates above. Fiscal spillovers. Land sales represent an important part of local government revenues in China (roughly 1/3 in gross revenue terms). Governments acquire land usage rights from rural occupants and sell them at a premium via auctions to developers. If land sales revenues fall because of a housing downturn (through some combination of fewer successful auctions and/or lower land prices), budgets will be squeezed, which could limit local governments’ spending and investment. Spillovers abroad via imports. As the world’s largest trading nation, China does not get all of its construction materials and other intermediate inputs domestically. In addition to the estimates above, which focus on domestic value-added, about 11% of the total value added embedded in China’s construction final demand is from foreign sources. (This is about 3% of China’s GDP, although it makes more sense to look at each trading partner’s exposure relative to the size of its own economy.) So, if we wanted to look at the total size of China’s construction sector in terms of driving economic activity, regardless of where that economic activity occurs (perhaps to compare China’s construction sector to other countries with different levels of import intensity) the figure in the top right cell in Exhibit 3 would be 3% larger. Putting it all together, and China's property sector emerges as the mother of all ticking financial time bombs. * * * Which brings us to what is Beijing's latest policy action (if any) to prevent this potential financial nuke from going off, and what are any additional tail risks to be considered. Well, as noted above, China's property sector began the week with sharp price falls across the board, with China's junk bonds cratering to near all time lows and with signs that the concerns are spilling over to the broader China credit market with spreads widening across the board. Some key updates: Recent news suggest China property stresses are building up. A number of China property HY developers have made announcements over recent weeks regarding their upcoming bond maturities. On 11 Oct, Modern Land launched a consent solicitation to extend the maturity on its USD 250mn bond due on 25 Oct by 3 months Xinyuan Real Estate announced on 14 Oct that the majority of holders of its USD 229mn bond due on 15 Oct have agreed to an exchange offer. Note that Fitch considers both transactions to be distressed exchanges. Furthermore, Sinic announced on 11 Oct that they are not expecting to make the principal and interest payments on its USD 250mn bond due on 18 Oct. These indicate that stresses amongst developers are building. Meanwhile, the grace period on Evergrande's missed coupon payments is ending soon. Evergrande missed coupon payments of USD 148MM on 11 Oct. This came after missing an earlier coupon payment on 23 Sep. The earlier missed coupon has a 30-day grace period, which ends on 23 Oct, and should that not be remedied in the coming week, the company will be in default on this bond. With Evergrande USD bonds priced at around 20, a potential default is unlikely to have large market impact, though if the company is able to remedy the earlier default, this could provide a positive surprise for the market. Despite these mounting risks, the market staged a sharp rebound at the end of the week, with news emerging that policymakers are seeking to speed up mortgage approvals (if not followed by much more aggressive easing, this step will do nothing but delay the inevitable by a few days). And while Goldman's China credit strateigst Kenneth Ho writes overnight that valuation is cheap across the lower rated segments within China property HY, market direction hinges on whether they will be able to refinance and avoid defaults. In particular, he notes that with $6.2bn of China property HY bonds maturing in Jan 2022, policy direction in the coming two months will be key. And since Goldman remains in the dark as to what Beijing will do next, as it remains "difficult to foresee how policy developments will play out in the coming weeks", Goldman prefers to wait for clearer signs of policy turn before shifting lower down the credit spectrum. * * * This brings us to what Goldman calls two key questions on China property - policy and tail risks, which will dictate the direction of the China property HY market. As discussed in depth in recent days, Beijing's tight regulatory stance is increasingly affecting a broader set of developers, as slowing activity levels are adding to worries across China property HY. For the period from early August to the first week of October, the volume of land transactions cratered by 42.5% compared with the same period last year, and for property transaction volume, this fell by 27.0%. Difficult credit conditions and weak presales add pressure to developers’ cash flows, and these factors are what led to the pick up in defaults and stresses in China property HY. Therefore, unless there are clear signs of an easing in policy direction, Goldman warns that tail risks concerns are unlikely to subside, and these will dictate the direction of China property HY market. As noted by Goldman's China economics team, credit supply holds the key to China’s housing outlook in the near term, emphasizing the need for policy adjustments in order to stabilize the housing market. Incidentally, the latest monthly Chinese credit creation numbers showed a modest miss to expectations, as total TSF flows came in at 2.928TN, just below the 3.050TN consensus, and up 10.1% Y/Y, lower than the 10.3% in August (the silver lining is that M2 rose 8.3%, up from 8.2% in August and above the 8.2% consensus). That said, given the sharp slowdown in residential property activity levels over the past two months, policy stance appears to have relaxed over the past two weeks if somewhat more slowly than most had expected. The table below summarizes a number of policy announcements and news reports that suggest some easing of policies are taking place. That said, the announcements and policymakers’ statements do not signal a large shift in overall policy direction yet. For example, the more concrete measures such as home buyer subsidies and the reduction in home loan interest rates are conducted at a city, and not national, level. And whilst Bloomberg reported that the financial regulators have informed a number of major banks to accelerate mortgage approvals, the precise details are lacking. The recent actions are therefore mostly in line with the overall policy stance. On one hand, policymakers remain focused on the medium term goal of deleveraging, and will want to avoid over-stimulating and reflating the property sector; on the other hand, policymakers have stated that they want a stable property market and to avoid systemic risks from emerging, suggesting that they would seek to avoid over-tightening. The problem is that they can't have both, and one will eventually have to crack. Goldman is somewhat more optimistic and writes that finding a balance will take time, adding that "given the need to balance the competing policy objectives, further measures could continue to emerge piecemeal, and visibility on the timing and the type of policy actions are limited." Furthermore, there may need to be further downside risk towards the property sector before we see a more decisive change in direction in the policy stance. This means that tail risks concerns are unlikely to subside, despite signs that policy direction is gradually shifting. * * * Assuming help does not come on time, the next key question is how fat is the tail as large amounts of bonds trading at stressed levels. Currently, the China property market is pricing in elevated levels of stress. Their price distribution is shown below indicating that 38% of bonds (by notional outstanding and excluding defaulted bonds) are trading at a price below 70, and 49% of bonds are below a price of 80. Are market prices overly bearish on tail risk, or are they accurately reflecting the stresses amongst property developers? With policymakers likely to maintain their medium term goal to delever the property sector, it is unlikely that tail risk concerns for higher levered developers will not subside. However, how “fat” the tail is will depend on the policy stance over the next two months. A big challenge going forward is that there are sizeable bond maturities in the next year, which will heavily influence tail risk. As noted above, a number of developers have conducted or are seeking to complete distressed buybacks, and defaults rates amongst China property HY companies are soaring. As such, the policy stance in the next two months will be critical. As shown in Exhibit 2, China property HY bond maturities are relatively light for the remainder of 2021, but pick up substantially in 2022, with USD 6.3bn of bonds maturing in January alone! A full list of bond maturities from now to February 2022, is shown below. It goes without saying, that should policy easing over the next two months be insufficient to ease the financial conditions amongst developers, there could potentially be a meaningful pick up in credit stresses at the start of 2022 just as the Fed launches its taper and just as a cold winter sends energy costs to unprecedented levels. Finally, for any investors seeking some exposure to China's HY market assuming that the worst is now over, Goldman agrees that while valuation is cheap across the lower rated segments within China property HY, the key determinant on market direction won't be valuation, but rather hinges on whether developers will be able to refinance and avoid defaults - i.e., can the Ponzi scheme continue. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 18:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge12 hr. 2 min. ago

After Rapid-Fire "Blame Putin" Headlines, European Commission Quietly Affirms Russia Is Not Manipulating Gas Market

After Rapid-Fire "Blame Putin" Headlines, European Commission Quietly Affirms Russia Is Not Manipulating Gas Market Putin earlier this week batted down as "utter nonsense" widespread accusations among Western media pundits that Europe's energy crisis is due to the Kremlin using gas as a 'geopolitical weapon'.  It now appears the European Commission is quietly agreeing with him. This as Nord Stream 2, which Washington has long battled to stop, is awaiting final approval from German regulators begore going online. As the Economist summarized of the ongoing accusations: "Russia is responding to a view gaining currency in European capitals that Gazprom, the state-controlled energy goliath that is the continent’s biggest supplier, has been stoking the continent’s energy crisis by withholding exports of natural gas. European parliamentarians are demanding that Gazprom be investigated for not shipping more gas, allegedly as a ploy to secure final regulatory approval for the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline designed to ship Russian gas to Germany." Image via New York Times A somewhat exasperated Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov last week noted Gazprom has fulfilled its current obligations to the maximum extent possible under existing contracts: "Nothing can be delivered beyond the contracts. How? For free? It is a matter of negotiating with Gazprom," he said. Of course, the somewhat sensational headline-grabbing accusations are what dominated press reports for much of the week, with new Friday comments from the European Commission getting buried. Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans indicated there's no reason to believe Russia is manipulating the market.  Timmermans bluntly said the following in an interview with Bulgarian broadcaster bTV: "Russia is fulfilling its gas supply contracts." He added that "we have no reason to believe it is putting pressure on the market or manipulating it." The top level Europe Commission official pointed to global nature of the problem of rising gas and energy prices, saying "the demand for gas at the global level is huge, including there." Frans Timmermans. Source: Council of the European Union The illuminating remarks from EU authorities themselves, once again demonstrating the ease of the "blame Russia first" narrative (and worry about hunting down evidence later), come two days after Putin spoke before Russia's annual Energy Week. "Higher gas prices in Europe are a consequence of a deficit of energy and not vice versa and that’s why we should not deal in blame shifting, this is what our partners are trying to do," Putin said during the panel conversation. The statement, from Frans Timmermans, the Commission’s deputy head, contradicts weeks of hysterical US/UK media coverage which alleged Russia was withholding gas in order to "weaponise" energy supplies. For example... pic.twitter.com/nMPQE228v9 — Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) October 15, 2021 He invoked Europe's green agenda as playing a big part in its energy costs soaring just ahead of winter: "You see the problem does not consist in us, it consists in the European side, because, first, we know that the wind farms did not work during summer because of the weather, everyone knows that." Putin said something similar to the latest assessment from Frans Timmermans. The Russian president added: "Moreover, the Europeans did not pump enough gas into their underground gas facilities... and the supplies to Europe have decreased from other regions of the world." Tyler Durden Sat, 10/16/2021 - 11:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge19 hr. 18 min. ago

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

COP-Out? World"s Largest Polluter Won"t Attend Climate Summit, Kerry Pessimistic On Progress

COP-Out? World's Largest Polluter Won't Attend Climate Summit, Kerry Pessimistic On Progress Update: As if to confirm the shitshow we expected below, just two weeks before a crucial summit in Rome, Bloomberg reports that the world’s major economies are gridlocked in their efforts to agree concrete steps to tackle climate change. Preparatory talks between G-20 officials this week failed to end in an agreement to reduce coal subsidies and curb methane emissions. There wasn’t even a consensus on striving toward net-zero emissions and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels, according to three people familiar with the matter. China and India, two of the world’s biggest emitters and largest coal users, have failed to submit updated climate pledges. One person described the negotiating round as a disaster. Are they all suddenly realizing at once - amid the glorious FUBAR situation occurring in global energy markets - that their goals are a) infeasible, b) a giant waste of time and money without China's firm commitmentm and c) will create social unrest and lead to them losing their political power. *  *  * The imminent COP26 Climate Summit - heralded with the mighty goal of 2050 net-zero emissions - looks like being a giant nothing-burger (vegan of course). According to the study co-authored by a former Obama admin climate policy official, energy modelers and emissions experts (just go with it), China is now responsible for 27% of total global emissions - more than the combined total produced by the United States (11%), India (6.6%) and the 27 EU member nations together (6.4%). In fact, as we have noted previously, China's emissions exceed those of the United States and the rest of the developed world combined... In 2019, China’s emissions not only eclipsed that of the US—the world’s second-largest emitter at 11% of the global total—but also, for the first time, surpassed the emissions of all developed countries combined (Figure 2). When added together, GHG emissions from all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as all 27 EU member states, reached 14,057 MMt CO2e in 2019, about 36 MMt CO2e short of China’s total. -Rhodium Group So it makes you wonder just what can be achieved given that Chinese officials have informed G-20 envoys that Xi does not currently plan to attend a summit in Italy later this month in person, and diplomats have said that means he’s unlikely to go to COP26 either. Which is quite a change from his previous "commitment": "We must be committed to multilateralism," Xi has said in the recent past. "China looks forward to working with the international community, including the United States, to jointly advance global environmental governance." With China in the middle of a serious energy crisis that sees it ramping up its coal production to meet energy demand (sending Thermal Coal prices to the moon), we suspect Xi is missing the Glasgow trip to focus on putting "China first"... Finally, we note that even Bloomberg is admitting that in an interview with AP, US Climate Envoy John Kerry has already downplayed hopes of success, saying nations could fall short of a new agreement on more aggressive action on global warming. Specifically, he warned that two weeks of talks could end with countries still short of the emissions targets set by those pushing for more action on climate change. “We will hopefully be moving very close to that,” he was quoted as saying. “Though there will be a gap and … we’ve got to be honest about the gap, and we have to use the gap as further motivation to continue to accelerate as fast as we can.” Greta is going to be so mad at you!! Lauri Myllyvirta (lead analyst at @CREACleanAir) explains why in the following Twitter thread... If your theory of how we're going to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees was that Xi is going to fly to Glasgow, strike a deal with OECD countries where everyone commits to 1.5-degree compatible emissions pathways, and flies home, I have bad news for you. Continued growth in China's CO2 emissions until late in the decade is absolutely not acceptable, and that needs to be made clear to Chinese negotiators. But China was never going to "cave" and commit to an earlier peaking date in Glasgow than pledged by Xi. It will take a lot more pressure and coaxing and leverage than offering a photo-op in Glasgow to change the mind of Chinese decision-makers. And however much leverage you bring to bear, that's going to be one factor at most alongside domestic considerations. Also anyone decrying China not going substantially further needs to ask "were we prepared to go much further as a part of a deal" and/or "does our own current commitment rank much higher on the scale of fair and equitable effort than China's". I want the whole climate problem to be sorted at least as much as the next guy, but it's going to be a long slog. In the past year and a bit, we've had China, South Korea, Japan, EU, UK, US commit to carbon neutrality. That's not enough but it's progress. Consolidate that, get holdout countries to pledge something comparable, make clear that's not yet enough, call it a year. We look forward to hearing from Larry Fink and the rest of the China apologists to explain just how committed to ESG etc China is after this. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 16:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Futures Jump On Profit Optimism As Oil Tops $85; Bitcoin Nears $60,000

Futures Jump On Profit Optimism As Oil Tops $85; Bitcoin Nears $60,000 One day after the S&P posted its biggest one-day surge since March, index futures extended this week’s gains, helped by a stellar bank earnings, while the latest labor market data and inflation eased stagflation fears for the time being. . The 10-year Treasury yield rose and the dollar was steady. Goldman Sachs reports on Friday. At 715 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 147 points, or 0.42%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.5 points, or 0.37%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 42.75 points, or 0.28%. Oil futures topped $85/bbl, jumping to their highest in three years amid an energy crunch that’s stoking inflationary pressures and prices for raw materials. A gauge of six industrial metals hit a record high on the London Metal Exchange.  Energy firms including Chevron and Exxon gained about half a percent each, tracking Brent crude prices that scaled the 3 year high. Solid earnings in the reporting season are tempering fears that rising costs and supply-chain snarls will hit corporate balance sheets and growth. At the same time, the wider debate about whether a stagflation-like backdrop looms remains unresolved. “We don’t sign up to the stagflation narrative that is doing the rounds,” said Hugh Gimber, global strategist at the perpetually optimistic J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “The economy is being supported by robust consumer balance sheets, rebounding business investment and a healthy labor market.” “After a choppy start to the week, equity markets appear to be leaning towards a narrative that companies can continue to grow profits, despite the combined pressures of higher energy prices and supply chain disruptions,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. Bitcoin and the crypto sector jumped after Bloomberg reported late on Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to allow the first U.S. Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund to begin trading in a watershed moment for the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin traded off session highs having tested $60k during Asian hours, but will likely rise to new all time highs shortly. Also overnight, Joe Biden signed a bill providing a short-term increase in the debt limit, averting the imminent threat of a financial calamity. But it only allows the Treasury Department to meets its financial obligations until roughly Dec. 3, so the can has been kicked for less than two months - brace for more bitter partisan battles in the coming weeks. This week’s move into rate-sensitive FAAMG growth names looked set to continue, with their shares inching up. Moderna rose 3.0% after a U.S. FDA panel voted to recommend booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and high-risk people. Western Digital slipped 2.5% as Goldman Sachs downgraded the storage hardware maker’s stock to “neutral” from “buy”. Here are some of the key premarket movers on Friday morning: Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares slump as much as 23% in U.S. premarket trading as the firm is pushing the start of commercial flights further into next year after rescheduling a test flight, disappointing investors with the unexpected delay to its space tourism business plans Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks rise in U.S. premarket trading after a report that the Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to allow the first U.S. Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund to begin trading.  Bit Digital (BTBT US) +6.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +4.6%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) +3.6% Alcoa (AA US) shares jump 5.6% in thin volumes after co. reported profits that beat the average analyst estimate and said it will be paying a dividend to its shareholders Moderna (MRNA US) extends Thursday’s gains; Piper Sandler recommendation on Moderna Inc. to overweight from neutral, a day after co.’s Covid-19 booster got FDA nod for use in older, high-risk people Duck Creek Technologies (DCT US) shares fell 12% in Thursday postmarket trading after the software company projected 2022 revenue that fell short of the average analyst estimate 23andMe Holdings (ME US) soared 14% in Thursday postmarket trading after EMJ Capital founder Eric Jackson called the genetics testing company “the next Roku” on CNBC Corsair Gaming (CRSR US) shares fell 3.7% in post-market trading after it cut its net revenue forecast for the full year Early on Friday, China's PBOC broke its silence on Evergrande, saying risks to the financial system are controllable and unlikely to spread. Authorities and local governments are resolving the situation, central bank official Zou Lan said. The bank has asked lenders to keep credit to the real estate sector stable and orderly. In Europe, gains for banks, travel companies and carmakers outweighed losses for utilities and telecommunications industries, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.3%. Telefonica fell 3.3%, the most in more than four months, after Barclays cut the Spanish company to underweight. Temenos and Pearson both slumped more than 10% after their business updates disappointed investors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Devoteam shares rise as much as 25% after its controlling shareholder, Castillon, increased its stake in the IT consulting group to 85% and launched an offer for the remaining capital. QinetiQ rises as much as 5.4% following a plunge in the defense tech company’s stock on Thursday. Investec upgraded its recommendation to buy and Berenberg said the shares now look oversold. Hugo Boss climbs as much as 4.4% to the highest level since September 2019 after the German apparel maker reported 3Q results that exceeded expectations. Jefferies (hold) noted the FY guidance hike also was bigger than expected. Mediclinic rises as much as 7.7% to highest since May 26 after 1H results, which Morgan Stanley says showed strong underlying operating performance with “solid metrics.” Temenos sinks as much as 14% after the company delivered a “mixed bag” with its 3Q results, according to Baader (sell). Weakness in Europe raises questions about the firm’s outlook for a recovery in the region, the broker said. Pearson declines as much as 12%, with analysts flagging weaker trading in its U.S. higher education courseware business in its in-line results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks headed for their best week in more than a month amid a list of positive factors including robust U.S. earnings, strong results at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and easing home-loan restrictions in China.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 1.3%, pushing its advance this week to more than 1.5%, the most since the period ended Sept. 3. Technology shares provided much of the boost after chip giant TSMC announced fourth-quarter guidance that beat analysts’ expectations and said it will build a fabrication facility for specialty chips in Japan. Shares in China rose as people familiar with the matter said the nation loosened restrictions on home loans at some of its largest banks.  Conditions are good for tech and growth shares now long-term U.S. yields have fallen following inflation data this week, Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo. “If data going forward are able to provide an impression that demand is strong too -- on top of a sense of relief from easing supply chain worries -- it’ll be a reason for share prices to take another leap higher.”  Asia’s benchmark equity gauge is still 10% below its record-high set in February, as analysts stay on the lookout for higher bond yields and the impact of supply-chain issues on profit margins.  Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix halting a three-week losing streak, after Wall Street rallied on robust corporate earnings. The Topix rose 1.9% to close at 2,023.93, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.8% to 29,068.63. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 3.7%. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,986 rose and 155 fell, while 39 were unchanged. For the week, the Topix climbed 3.2% and the Nikkei added 3.6%. Semiconductor equipment and material makers rose after TSMC said it will build a fabrication facility for specialty chips in Japan and plans to begin production there in late 2024.  U.S. index futures held gains during Asia trading hours. The contracts climbed overnight after a report showed applications for state unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest since March 2020.  “U.S. initial jobless claims fell sharply, and have returned to levels seen before the spread of the coronavirus,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo. “The fact that more people are returning to their jobs will help ease supply chain problems caused by the lack of workers.” Australian stocks also advanced, posting a second week of gains. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to close at 7,362.00, with most sectors ending higher.  The benchmark added 0.6% since Monday, climbing for a second week. Miners capped their best week since July 16 with a 3% advance. Hub24 jumped on Friday after Evans & Partners upgraded the stock to positive from neutral. Pendal Group tumbled after it reported net outflows for the fourth quarter of A$2.3 billion. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 13,012.19 In rates, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield rose over 3bps to 1.54%. Treasuries traded heavy across long-end of the curve into early U.S. session amid earning-driven gains for U.S. stock futures. Yields are higher by more than 3bp across long-end of the curve, 10- year by 2.8bp at about 1.54%, paring its first weekly decline since August; weekly move has been led by gilts and euro-zone bonds, also under pressure Friday, with U.K. 10-year yields higher by 3.3bp. Today's bear-steepening move pares the weekly bull-flattening trend. U.S. session features a packed economic data slate and speeches by Fed’s Bullard and Williams.   In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed even as the greenback weakened against most of its Group-of-10 peers; the euro hovered around $1.16 while European and U.S. yields rose, led by the long end. Norway’s krone led G-10 gains as oil jumped to $85 a barrel for the first time since late 2018 amid the global energy crunch; the currency rallied by as much as 0.6% to 8.4015 per dollar, the strongest level since June. New Zealand’s dollar advanced to a three-week high as bets on RBNZ’s tightening momentum build ahead of Monday’s inflation data; the currency is outperforming all G-10 peers this week. The yen dropped to a three-year low as rising equities in Asia damped demand for low-yielding haven assets. China’s offshore yuan advanced to its highest in four months while short-term borrowing costs eased after the central bank added enough medium-term funds into the financial system to maintain liquidity at existing levels. In commodities, crude futures trade off best levels. WTI slips back below $82, Brent fades after testing $85. Spot gold slips back through Thursday’s lows near $1,786/oz. Base metals extend the week’s rally with LME nickel and zinc gaining over 2%. Today's retail sales report, due at 08:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show retail sales fell in September amid continued shortages of motor vehicles and other goods. The data will come against the backdrop of climbing oil prices, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, factors that have rattled investors and have led to recent choppiness in the market. Looking at the day ahead now, and US data releases include September retail sales, the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for October, and the Empire State manufacturing survey for October. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Bullard and Williams, and earnings releases include Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,443.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 467.66 German 10Y yield up 2.4 bps to -0.166% Euro little changed at $1.1608 MXAP up 1.3% to 198.33 MXAPJ up 1.2% to 650.02 Nikkei up 1.8% to 29,068.63 Topix up 1.9% to 2,023.93 Hang Seng Index up 1.5% to 25,330.96 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,572.37 Sensex up 0.9% to 61,305.95 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,361.98 Kospi up 0.9% to 3,015.06 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.83/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,787.54 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China’s central bank broke its silence on the crisis at China Evergrande Group, saying risks to the financial system stemming from the developer’s struggles are “controllable” and unlikely to spread The ECB has a good track record when it comes to flexibly deploying its monetary instruments and will continue that approach even after the pandemic crisis, according to policy maker Pierre Wunsch Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance says fourth issuance of BTP Futura to start on Nov. 8 until Nov. 12, according to a statement The world’s largest digital currency rose about 3% to more than $59,000 on Friday -- taking this month’s rally to over 35% -- after Bloomberg News reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission looks poised to allow the country’s first futures-based cryptocurrency ETF Copper inventories available on the London Metal Exchange hit the lowest level since 1974, in a dramatic escalation of a squeeze on global supplies that’s sent spreads spiking and helped drive prices back above $10,000 a ton A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded higher amid tailwinds from the upbeat mood across global peers including the best day for the S&P 500 since March after strong US bank earnings, encouraging data and a decline in yields spurred risk appetite. The ASX 200 (+0.7%) was positive as the tech and mining sectors continued to spearhead the advances in the index in which the former took impetus from Wall St where the softer yield environment was conducive to the outperformance in tech, although mining giant Rio Tinto was among the laggards following weaker quarterly production results. The Nikkei 225 (+1.8%) was buoyed as exporters benefitted from the JPY-risk dynamic but with Fast Retailing failing to join in on the spoils despite an 88% jump in full-year net as its profit guidance underwhelmed with just 3% growth seen for the year ahead, while Taiwan's TAIEX (+2.2%) surged with the spotlight on TSMC earnings which reached a record high amid the chip crunch and with the Co. to also build a factory in Japan that could receive JPY 500bln of support from the Japanese government. The Hang Seng (+1.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were initially indecisive amid the overhang from lingering developer default concerns although found some mild support from reports that China is to relax banks' mortgage limits through the rest of 2021. Focus was also on the PBoC which announced a CNY 500bln MLF operation, although this just matched the amount maturing this month and there are mixed views regarding prospects of a looming RRR cut with ANZ Bank's senior China strategist recently suggesting the potential for a 50bps cut in RRR or targeted MLF as early as today, although a recent poll showed analysts had pushed back their calls for a RRR cut from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022. Finally, 10yr JGBs marginally pulled back from this week’s advances after hitting resistance at the 151.50 level, with demand hampered amid the firm gains in Japanese stocks and the lack of BoJ purchases in the market today. Top Asian News Hong Kong Probes Going Concern Reporting of Evergrande U.S. Futures Hold Gains as Oil Hits 3-Year High: Markets Wrap Toyota Cuts November Outlook by 15% on Parts Shortage, Covid Yango Group Wires Repayment Fund for Onshore Bond Due Oct. 22 Bourses in Europe have held onto the modest gains seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%), but the region is off its best levels with the upside momentum somewhat faded heading into the US open, and amidst a lack of fresh newsflow. US equity futures have remained in positive territory, although the latest leg lower in bonds has further capped the tech-laden NQ (+0.2%), which underperforms vs the ES (+0.3%), YM (+0.3%) and RTY (+0.7%), with traders on the lookout for another set of earnings, headlined by Goldman Sachs at 12:25BST/07:25EDT. Back to Europe, bourses see broad-based gains, whilst sectors are mostly in the green with clear underperformance experienced in defensives, with Telecoms, Utilities, Healthcare and Staples at the foot of the bunch. On the flipside, Banks reap rewards from the uptick in yields, closely followed by Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Retail. Renault (+4%) drives the gains in Autos after unveiling a prototype version of the Renault Master van that will go on sale next year. Travel & Leisure is bolstered by the ongoing reopening trade with potential tailwinds heading into the Christmas period. Retail meanwhile is boosted by Hugo Boss (+1.8%) topping forecasts and upgrading its guidance. Top European News Autumn Heat May Curb European Gas Demand, Prices Next Week Bollore Looking for Buyers for Africa Logistics Ops: Le Monde U.K. Offers Foreign Butchers Visas After 6,000 Pigs Culled Europe’s Car-Sales Crash Points to Worse Year Than Poor 2020 In FX, the Greenback was already losing momentum after a relatively tame bounce on the back of Thursday’s upbeat US initial claims data, and the index failed to sustain its recovery to retest intraday highs or remain above 94.000 on a closing basis. However, the Buck did reclaim some significant and psychological levels against G10, EM currencies and Gold that was relishing the benign yield environment and the last DXY price was marginally better than the 21 DMA from an encouraging technical standpoint. Nevertheless, the Dollar remains weaker vs most majors and in need of further impetus that may come via retail sales, NY Fed manufacturing and/or preliminary Michigan Sentiment before the spotlight switches to today’s Fed speakers featuring arch hawk Bullard and the more neutral Williams. GBP/NZD/NOK - Sterling has refuelled and recharged regardless of the ongoing UK-EU rift over NI Protocol, though perhaps in part due to the fact that concessions from Brussels are believed to have been greeted with welcome surprise by some UK Ministers. Cable has reclaimed 1.3700+ status, breached the 50 DMA (at 1.3716 today) and yesterday’s best to set a marginal new w-t-d peak around 1.3739, while Eur/Gbp is edging closer to 0.8450 having clearly overcome resistance at 1.1800 in the reciprocal cross. Similarly, the Kiwi continues to derive impetus from the softer Greenback and Aud/Nzd flows as Nzd/Usd extends beyond 0.7050 and the Antipodean cross inches nearer 1.0500 from 1.0600+ highs. Elsewhere, the Norwegian Crown is aiming to add 9.7500 to its list of achievements relative to the Euro with a boost from Brent topping Usd 85/brl at one stage and a wider trade surplus. CAD - The Loonie is also profiting from oil as WTI crude rebounds through Usd 82 and pulling further away from 1.5 bn option expiry interest between 1.2415-00 in the process, with Usd/Cad towards the base of 1.2337-82 parameters. EUR/AUD/CHF/SEK - All narrowly mixed and rangy vs the Greenback, or Euro in the case of the latter, as Eur/Usd continues to straddle 1.1600, Aud/Usd churn on the 0.7400 handle, the Franc meander from 0.9219 to 0.9246 and Eur/Sek skirt 10.0000 having dipped below the round number briefly on Thursday. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures remain on a firmer footing, aided up the overall constructive risk appetite coupled with some bullish technical developments, as WTI Nov surpassed USD 82/bbl (vs 81.39/bbl low) and Brent Dec briefly topped USD 85/bbl (vs 84.16/bbl low). There has been little in terms of fresh fundamental catalysts to drive the price action, although Russia's Gazprom Neft CEO hit the wires earlier and suggested that reserve production capacity could meet the increase in oil demand, whilst a seasonal decline in oil consumption is possible and the oil market will stabilise in the nearest future. On the Iranian JCPOA front, Iran said it is finalising steps to completing its negotiating team but they are absolutely decided to go back to Vienna discussions and conclude the negotiations, WSJ's Norman. The crude complex seems to have (for now) overlooked reports that the White House is engaged in diplomacy" with OPEC+ members regarding output. UK nat gas prices were higher as European players entered the fray, but prices have since waned off best levels after Russian Deputy PM Novak suggested that gas production in Russia is running at maximum capacity. Elsewhere, spot gold has been trundling amid yield-play despite lower despite the Buck being on the softer side of today’s range. Spot gold failed to hold onto USD 1,800/oz status yesterday and has subsequently retreated below its 200 DMA (1,794/oz) and makes its way towards the 50 DMA (1,776/oz). LME copper prices are on a firmer footing with prices back above USD 10,000/t – supported by technicals and the overall risk tone, although participants are cognizant of potential Chinese state reserves releases. Conversely, Dalian iron ore futures fell for a third straight session, with Rio Tinto also cutting its 2021 iron ore shipment forecasts due to dampened Chinese demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. -0.2%, prior 0.7% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 1.8% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.5%, prior 2.5% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. 0.3%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: Oct. Empire Manufacturing, est. 25.0, prior 34.3 8:30am: Sept. Import Price Index MoM, est. 0.6%, prior -0.3%; YoY, est. 9.4%, prior 9.0% 8:30am: Sept. Export Price Index MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.4%; YoY, prior 16.8% 10am: Aug. Business Inventories, est. 0.6%, prior 0.5% 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.7%, prior 4.6%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 73.1, prior 72.8 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 81.2, prior 80.1 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Expectations, est. 69.1, prior 68.1 DB's Jim Ried concludes the overnight wrap A few people asked me what I thought of James Bond. I can’t say without spoilers so if anyone wants my two sentence review I will cut and paste it to all who care and reply! At my age I was just impressed I sat for over three hours (including trailers) without needing a comfort break. By the time you email I will have also listened to the new Adele single which dropped at midnight so happy to include that review as well for free. While we’re on the subject of music, risk assets feel a bit like the most famous Chumbawamba song at the moment. They get knocked down and they get up again. Come to think about it that’s like James Bond too. Yesterday was a strong day with the S&P 500 (+1.71%) moving back to within 2.2% of its all-time closing high from last month. If they can survive all that has been thrown at them of late then one wonders where they’d have been without any of it. The strong session came about thanks to decent corporate earnings releases, a mini-collapse in real yields, positive data on US jobless claims, as well as a further fall in global Covid-19 cases that leaves them on track for an 8th consecutive weekly decline. However, inflation remained very much on investors’ radars, with a range of key commodities taking another leg higher, even as US data on producer prices was weaker than expected. Starting with the good news, the equity strength was across the board with the S&P 500 experiencing its best daily performance since March, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (+1.20%) also put in solid gains. It was an incredibly broad-based move higher, with every sector group in both indices rising on the day, with a remarkable 479 gainers in the S&P 500, which is the second-highest number we’ve seen over the last 18 months. Every one of the 24 S&P 500 industry groups rose, led by cyclicals such as semiconductors (+3.12%), transportation (+2.51%) and materials (+2.43%). A positive start to the Q3 earnings season buoyed sentiment, as a number of US banks (+1.45%) reported yesterday, all of whom beat analyst estimates. In fact, of the nine S&P 500 firms to report yesterday, eight outperformed analyst expectations. Weighing in on recent macro themes, Bank of America Chief, Brian Moynihan, noted that the current bout of inflation is “clearly not temporary”, but also that he expects consumer demand to remain robust and that supply chains will have to adjust. I’m sure we’ll hear more from executives as earnings season continues today. Alongside those earnings releases, yesterday saw much better than expected data on the US labour market, which makes a change from last week’s underwhelming jobs report that showed the slowest growth in nonfarm payrolls so far this year. In terms of the details, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through October 9, which is one of the most timely indicators we get, fell to a post-pandemic low of 293k (vs. 320k expected). That also saw the 4-week moving average hit a post-pandemic low of 334.25k, just as the continuing claims number for the week through October 2 hit a post-pandemic low of 2.593m (vs. 2.670m expected). We should get some more data on the state of the US recovery today, including September retail sales, alongside the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for October. That optimism has fed through into Asian markets overnight, with the Nikkei (+1.43%), the Hang Seng (+0.86%), the Shanghai Comp (+0.29%) and the KOSPI (+0.93%) all moving higher. That came as Bloomberg reported that China would loosen restrictions on home loans amidst the concerns about Evergrande. And we also got formal confirmation that President Biden had signed the debt-limit increase that the House had passed on Tuesday, which extends the ceiling until around December 3. Equity futures are pointing to further advances in the US and Europe later on, with those on the S&P 500 (+0.30%) and the STOXX 50 (+0.35%) both moving higher. Even with the brighter news, inflation concerns are still very much with us however, and yesterday in fact saw Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (+1.16%) advance to yet another record high, exceeding the previous peak from early last week. That was partly down to the continued rise in oil prices, with WTI (+1.08%) closing at $81.31/bbl, its highest level since 2014, just as Brent Crude (+0.99%) hit a post-2018 high of $84.00/bbl. Both have posted further gains this morning of +0.58% and +0.61% respectively. Those moves went alongside further rises in natural gas prices, which rose for a 3rd consecutive session, albeit they’re still beneath their peak from earlier in the month, as futures in Europe (+9.14%), the US (+1.74%) and the UK (+9.26%) all moved higher. And that rise in Chinese coal futures we’ve been mentioning also continued, with their rise today currently standing at +13.86%, which brings their gains over the week as a whole to +39.02% so far. As well as energy, industrial metals were another segment where the recent rally showed no sign of abating yesterday. On the London metal exchange, a number of multi-year milestones were achieved, with aluminum prices (+1.60%) up to their highest levels since 2008, just as zinc prices (+3.73%) closed at their highest level since 2018. Separately, copper prices (+2.56%) hit a 4-month high, and other winners yesterday included iron ore futures in Singapore (+1.16%), as well as nickel (+1.99%) and lead (+2.43%) prices in London. With all this momentum behind commodities, inflation expectations posted further advances yesterday. Indeed, the 10yr US Breakeven closed +1.0bps higher at 2.536%, which is just 3bps shy of its closing peak back in May that marked its highest level since 2013. And those moves came in spite of US producer price data that came in weaker than expected, with the monthly increase in September at +0.5% (vs. +0.6% expected). That was the smallest rise so far this year, though that still sent the year-on-year number up to +8.6% (vs. +8.7% expected). That rise in inflation expectations was echoed in Europe too, with the 10yr UK breakeven (+5.6bps) closing at its highest level since 2008, whilst its German counterpart also posted a modest +0.7bps rise. In spite of the rise in inflation expectations, sovereign bonds posted gains across the board as the moves were outweighed by the impact of lower real rates. By the end of yesterday’s session, yields on 10yr Treasuries were down -2.6bps to 1.527%, which came as the 10yr real yield moved back beneath -1% for the first time in almost a month. Likewise in Europe, yields pushed lower throughout the session, with those on 10yr bunds (-6.3bps), OATs (-6.2bps) and BTPs (-7.1bps) all moving aggressively lower. To the day ahead now, and US data releases include September retail sales, the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for October, and the Empire State manufacturing survey for October. Central bank speakers include the Fed’s Bullard and Williams, and earnings releases include Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

CarExpert.com.au Shares Exciting New Cars Coming to Australia in 2022

Paul Maric is one of the the three founders of CarExpert.com.au, an independent online automotive publisher; their unique selling point is their ability to produce reviews that are truly unbiased with absolute uncompromised impartiality. Since being founded in 2020, the Australian startup has raised over $6 million in funding and added several billionaires and business […] Paul Maric is one of the the three founders of CarExpert.com.au, an independent online automotive publisher; their unique selling point is their ability to produce reviews that are truly unbiased with absolute uncompromised impartiality. Since being founded in 2020, the Australian startup has raised over $6 million in funding and added several billionaires and business leaders to its share register.   With the upcoming release of several exciting new cars in Australia, CarExpert.com.au and its founders hoped to bring awareness to the one source which car enthusiasts can rely on for trustworthy and legitimate reviews, as well as its world first brand agnostic car experience centre with no salespeople within sight. A Successful Year Despite only just having surpassed its first birthday, CarExpert.com.au has already become Australia’s fastest growing automotive publication and is speculated to have a valuation of around $25 million. On top of this, it also owns the country’s most watched automotive car review channel on YouTube. CarExpert.com.au’s mission was to create an authentic and unbiased experience; their competitors were bloated with advertising and marketing, a characteristic they were not keen to emulate. CarExpert.com.au’s founders, Alborz Fallah, Paul Maric and Anthony Crawford, believed the presence of this content in their reviews devalued the story and fostered this sense of sponsored material. On top of this, a site with no display advertising has many benefits over those that do run them. Primarily, their website loads faster since it does not need to render ads that must be loaded on a third party website. CarExpert.com.au completely avoids the paid-for content of their competitors as they consider it entirely valueless – all of their value is derived from the ability to provide impartial reviews, jeopardising this risks the company’s profits directly. 2021 saw the launch of the ‘CarExpert Experience Centre’, which took place as a three-month trial on the Northern Beaches of Sydney at Westfield Warringah Mall. In a similar vein to its unbiased reviews, this service also aimed to provide an untarnished, pure experience with cars for new car buyers. It was a trial to test if people were interested in a ‘brand-agnostic’ retail space in which to explore their potential future car purchase without a salesperson pressuring them. During this trial period, the store experienced great success: over 30,000 customers visited the store and explored the 20 cars it had on display. The combination of access to the expert advice of automotive professionals combined with the ability to test drive each car at no cost without a salesperson looming over proved to be a hit. As part of the service, this centre also offered a tailor-made AI product. Footage acquired from cameras situated around the showroom’s ceilings captured images of the visitors and sent it to CarExpert.com.au’s cloud AI to determine their sex, age, the cars they interacted with and for how long. This data was also sold to car companies so they could better understand the success of their products in comparison with their competitors. New Rides Coming to Australia Cupra Formentor In June of 2022, Volkswagen Group’s Cupra brand will be released in Australia – spearheaded by its Formentor small SUV that is attempting to compete with the ‘hot hatches’ that every brand, from Hyundai to Honda, now seemingly have. There will be three Cupra options, all with turbocharged engines and a pair of plug-in hybrids. The newly appointed brand boss Ben Wilks is confident that the Formentor, Ateca SUVs and Leon hatchback that will be joining them are exactly the types of cars that Australians are interested in buying.  Ford Ranger This ute has found unprecedented success in Australia, being the country’s second best-selling nameplate – in no small part because of the role it played in local development. The newest iteration in the Ranger lineup is expected to build on the current release’s successes with a flagship V6 powertrain plus the introduction of hybridisation for future-proofing. It is currently unclear exactly when the new Ranger will be available in showrooms, but Ford intends to uncover the model by the end of 2021 for a prompt 2022 release. Honda HR-V Honda has purposefully reduced its presence in the Australian market, instead opting for an agency model of sales operations – aware that they will sell less cars. By removing its Jazz, City and Civic Sedan lines, more pressure is being placed on the HR-V to perform well than perhaps Honda realises, and it needs a home run. Be that as it may, all the raw ingredients for success are present in this car: a cutting-edge design, practical dimensions and hybridity. Kia EV6 In recent years, this company has only gone from success to success in Australia. The EV6 is likely to be the model that shifts this company from its ‘budget’ brand to a more ‘bougie’ one. As an electric mid-size SUV with a driving range of over 500km off a single charge, it is perfect for Australia. Pricing is speculated to bode well too; the 2022 EV6 could wind up being one of the most affordable mid-size electric SUVs on the market next year. Lexus LX If a stylish SUV is more your wavelength, the new-generation  Lexus LX is the car for you. It is expected to share many elements with the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, including its turbo-diesel V6 engine. It also contains the brand’s signature ‘spindle’ front grille and is packed full of the latest in multimedia technologies. Updated on Oct 15, 2021, 7:27 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 15th, 2021

Taliban Is In Turkey For Talks After Warning US & EU That Sanctions Will Cause New Refugee Wave To Hit West

Taliban Is In Turkey For Talks After Warning US & EU That Sanctions Will Cause New Refugee Wave To Hit West The Taliban has warned US and European envoys during ongoing talks in Doha that continued sanctions and US-led political pressure could unleash new refugee waves on Europe.  "Afghanistan's new Taliban government has warned US and European envoys that continued attempts to pressure them through sanctions will undermine security and could trigger a wave of economic refugees," the AFP wrote of the statement. Later in the week, the Taliban carried the same message to Turkey, which would find itself on the front lines of any migrant surge out of central Asia. A Taliban delegation is in Ankara for talks on Thursday, via TRT World Taliban official and acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told his Western counterparts that "weakening the Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone because its negative effects will directly affect the world in (the) security sector and economic migration from the country." Perhaps both a warning and a threat, and reminiscent of the 2015 migrant crisis driven in large part by the destabilizing war in Syria, Muttaqi added the following demand: "We urge world countries to end existing sanctions and let banks operate normally so that charity groups, organizations and the government can pay salaries to their staff with their own reserves and international financial assistance." As for any recent "concessions" by Washington, the Biden administration days ago announced the US would resume humanitarian aid "to the Afghan people" - but on the condition of Taliban cooperation, including allowing foreign nationals free movement to exit the country. The US has still resisted any level of formal political recognition of Taliban rule over the country, however. Aid, investment, and security were top of the list of concerns as the Taliban met with top Turkish officials in Ankara Thursday. Given Turkey has long been the number one regional "bridge" between Asia and Europe for migrant and refugee traffic, the question of Afghan refugees is of prime importance for Turkey's government.  Taliban delegation meets in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. pic.twitter.com/fsKK9vjItH — Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) October 14, 2021 Turkey is expected to feel the shock first of any coming refugee wave out of Afghanistan, given it's already long been for years a "jumping-off point" for Afghans making the arduous trip to Europe. The past decade alone has seen some 600,000 Afghans settle in Turkey - all the while a mass wave of Syrian refugees exited there as well, many which are still along Turkey's southern border (over 3 million). Turkey is reportedly now constructing a nearly 300km wall along the Iranian border to physically block the exodus coming from central Asia, according to prior reporting in the AFP. During a press conference after the Turkish FM-Taliban meeting, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that while the Turkish side reiterated a desire for Taliban reforms in human rights and areas like girls' education and women's employment, Turkey's foremost concern remains stability. We do not put forward preconditions like many European countries do, we always say everything should be inclusive, every relevant party from [Afghanistan] should be included to ensure peace and stability is established – Turkey’s FM Cavusoglu pic.twitter.com/X82TBSIZHl — TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) October 14, 2021 The question of security, which Turkey has offered assistance on when it comes to protecting Kabul's international airport, is no doubt directly linked to Turkey as well as European fears of a new migrant crisis at their gates. In statements to the press, Cavusoglu appeared to take an indirect swipe at US policy toward the Taliban, saying it won't press for "preconditions" of "inclusivity" like the US and UE, but desires a secure Afghan environment above all. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 02:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Global Ship Backlog Just Got Even Worse As New Supply Chain Nemesis Emerges

Global Ship Backlog Just Got Even Worse As New Supply Chain Nemesis Emerges As if relentless, fiscally-stimulated global demand for (made in China) products, coupled with soaring input prices, Covid-crippled indutries, production-throttling energy crises and containership parking lots off major ports wasn't enough to cripple global supply chains, we can throw in one more factor that will make "just in time" deliveries a thing of the pre-Biden past and will ensure that nobody gets their presents this Christmas. The weather. A tropical storm that’s lashing southern China is causing a ship backlog from Shenzhen to Singapore, Bloomberg reports as it warn of even emptier store shelves come Christmas. Shipping data compiled by Bloomberg show there are currently 67 container ships anchored off Hong Kong and Shenzhen, 22% more congested than median daily counts from April through Oct. 14. Another 61 remain anchored off China's massive Ningbo port in Shanghai. Container ship positions as of Oct. 14 heatmapped in yellow. For once there is no "unintended consequence" behind this pile up - it's the result of Typhoon Kompasu freezing transit lanes, closing schools in Hong Kong and canceling stock market trading in the financial hub on Wednesday. It also sparked the latest containership domino-effect at the worst possible time, with 37 ships now waiting off Singapore, 18% more congested than normal. And with Singapore one of the most efficient ports in the world and a key hub for containers to be moved from one vessel to another while in transit, any disruption in the city-state is bound to have far-reaching ramifications. The incremental delays will make an already fragile supply chain, that much more unstable: according to the Busan Port Authority in South Korea, vessels are having to wait about three days to berth and that’s causing so-called transshipment cargo to pile up. Meanwhile, almost 40 ships are anchored off Los Angeles, 4.5% more congested than usual, while 11 are cooling their heels off the coast of Malaysia at Tanjung Pelepas, creating a congestion rate about 25% above the median. For Vietnam’s dual hub of Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau, things are even worse, with current congestion 38% higher than the median. Operators are scrambling to find a solution to this chaos which seems to get worse with every passing day: “shipping companies and other stakeholders are trying to resolve the backlog because there are real concerns that many year-end holiday goods will never reach consumers in time,” said Um Kyung-a, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities in Seoul. “This month will be the most challenging period but hopefully things will start to ease from the fourth quarter.” This is a "hopeful" line we have heard every month since May. It has yet to come true. Located at the gateway - both literal and metaphorical - of global Transpacific supply chains, accessible port terminals are an indispensable anchor to any hopes of normalizing supply chains. Alas, congestion at container terminals around the world has added pressure to already stretched supply chains. Covid-19 cases at ports, along with shortages of shipping containers and labor have aggravated the problem as exporters try to send goods to the U.S. and Europe before the end of the year. According to Singapore Logistics Association chairman Dave Ng, vessels are waiting one to three days to berth at most major ports in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, The wait is more than three days at major ports in Northeast Asia and could extend to over a week in other parts of the world. And any incremental delays only cascade exponentially, adding more days to an already broken system. “Global port congestion has introduced more uncertainty into planning and booking of sea shipments,” Ng told Bloomberg. “Ocean freight costs have increased five to six times from the levels pre-Covid and this has translated into higher operating costs for logistics companies.” Logistics companies have been working to improve business productivity by sharing resources and leveraging technology, Ng said. But they still face difficulties in filling jobs, particularly driving and warehousing, which could impact operations in the near term, he said. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported this week that shipping giant Maersk said earlier this week that it’s diverting some ships from the U.K.’s largest container port because of congestion tied to a trucker shortage. Many logistics companies are finding it difficult to find drivers to pick up and deliver containers, causing a backlog at the Port of Felixstowe. Port congestion and lack of containers has driven shipping rates to record levels this year. Spot levies to haul a 40-foot container to Los Angeles from Shanghai peaked at $12,424 last month before easing to $11,173 as of Oct. 7, the Drewry World Container Index show. Rates to Rotterdam from Shanghai hit an all-time high of $14,807 last week. Shipping rates dipped modestly in the latest week, but as we explained previously, this was for the worst possible reason namely a sharp drop in China output. Expect a sharp spike in the next few weeks as throttled Chinese production returns. Exporters and shipping companies have been trying to find alternative routes to avoid the backlog. Some cargo from China is now being shipped to Busan and then reloaded on ships bound for Russia’s east coast before being put on trains and sent through to Europe. In an act of sheer desperation, the Biden admin announced on Wednesday that the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week as part of efforts to break the logjam. However, as Rabobank explained earlier this morning, simply getting containers out of the terminal at LA achieves very little if you don’t the solve chassis crisis; if the containers sit there waiting for trucks; or for truckers; or for rail. All you do is move the logjam from sea to shore - and that can potentially make matters worse. The Transportation Secretary running this task force is a vocal opponent of the ‘so build a bigger road’ mentality that ends up with bigger roads and the same traffic logjam. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 14th, 2021

The best cookbooks to gift or buy for yourself in 2021

A cookbook can be a thoughtful gift for the home cook in your life. We rounded up the 32 best cookbooks, old and new, to buy this year. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Amazon; Gilbert Espinoza/Insider A great cookbook makes a thoughtful and sentimental gift that evokes past travels, memories, and shared meals. Here are some of our favorite cookbooks this year, including "The Korean Vegan," "New World Sourdough," and "Xi'an Famous Foods." Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. To me, there's no better gift to give or receive than a great cookbook. A cookbook with beautiful photos, thoughtful narratives, and foolproof recipes can feed the imagination, transport your giftee to another city or country, and inspire them to get creative in the kitchen. There are cookbooks out there to suit every type of cook, whether novice or expert, and feed all interests - from TV show cookbooks to comprehensive tomes on the science of cooking. Every year, hundreds of new cookbooks make their way onto bookstore shelves. Here are our favorite cookbooks, new and old, to gift this year.Here are 32 of the best cookbooks gifts for every type of cook: For the locavore Amazon "New Native Kitchen" by Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli, available for pre-order at Amazon, $40  Before other cultures and their cuisines came to North America, indigenous people were cooking meals with accessible ingredients. In the "New Native Kitchen," to be released in November of 2021, Freddie Bitsoie and James O. Fraioli explore American Indian recipes from coast to coast, like Chocolate Bison Chili and Prickly Pear Sweet Pork Chops. Bitsoie was the executive chef of Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and is a member of the Navajo nation, and Chef James O. Fraioli is a James Beard Award winner. For the the vegan Amazon "The Korean Vegan Cookbook" by Joanne Lee Molinaro, available on Amazon, $24.77Becoming vegan was a big change for Joanne Lee Molinaro, having grown up with meat-based Korean food. However, it didn't stop her from collecting recipes and recreating the dishes that were so connected to her family history. For Molinaro, the stories of her family's immigration from North Korea to the United States are just as important as the recipes. Molinaro recreates childhood memories, like Jjajangmyeon, Korean-Chinese black bean noodles, and writes new recipes, like the Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake, in honor of the foods that saved her mother's life.   For the no-fuss foodie Amazon "Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave)" by David Chang and Priya Krishna, available for pre-order at Amazon, $25You won't find frozen vegetables in Momfuko, but that doesn't mean David Chang has anything against them. In this new book, available on October 26, Chang and co-author, Priya Krishna, explain how they use fine dining principles to make fast, easy, and unpretentious meals at home. For the home cook, it seems like the professional chef can take any ingredients and produce a full, delicious meal. In "Cooking at Home," Chang and Krishna teach you how to do just that.    For the traveler interested in culture and cuisine Amazon "Cook Real Hawai'i" by Sheldon Simeon, available at Amazon, $24.95A finalist in two different seasons of "Top Chef," Sheldon Simeon co-authored a cookbook with Garrett Snyder, transporting readers to the tropical islands of Hawaii. The book dives into stories of Simeon's family, as well as the state's history and cultural traditions. With 100 recipes throughout the book, this personalized guide to Hawaiian cooking has something for beginners and advanced cooks. For the friend who cooks with the seasons Amazon "My Shanghai" by Betty Liu, available on Amazon, $31.79This debut cookbook from Betty Liu (who somehow found the time to author it amid her general surgery residency) is an homage to seasonal cooking and her family's roots in the Chinese regions of Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. I picked up this cookbook up in my local bookstore and couldn't put it down (and ended up bringing it home with me). The chapters are organized by season and explain the influence the weather, holidays, and traditions have on the recipes prepared throughout the year. I love the stories Liu relates about the inspirations behind her recipes, like climbing a mountain to eat Double-Mushroom Noodle Soup at a temple, foraging spring bamboo shoots for Oil-Braised Spring Bamboo, and the bowls of breakfast noodles her father would make her before test days. I've already made the Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes four or five times, and I can't wait to dive into more of the recipes as the seasons progress.  For the cook who wants to master their grill Amazon "Rodney Scott's World of Barbecue" by Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie, available on Amazon, $17.77My best friend (and fellow cookbook collector) recently texted me raving about this cookbook and the genius of Rodney Scott's Loaded Pork Skin "Nachos," Pit-Smoked Turkey, and whole-hog approach to Carolina barbecue. Scott's positivity and passion shine throughout the book, and you'll learn lots about southern foodways and the history of Carolina barbecue along the way.   For the parent planning their next trip Amazon "Dishoom" by Shamil Thakrar, available on Amazon, $17.29Whether it's London or Bombay that is your giftee's next destination, "Dishoom" is required reading before they jet off. The popular Dishoom restaurants in London are inspired by the Irani cafes of Bombay and serve "tipples," snacks, and mains like Mango Kulfi, Pav Bhaji, and Roomali Roti. In "Dishoom," you'll learn to cook the restaurant's entire menu, and be taken on a tour of Bombay's cafes (complete with a map) along the way.  For the coworker who has *opinions* on babka Amazon "Jew-ish" by Jake Cohen, available at Amazon, $15.79At Insider Reviews we have lots of opinions, especially about food, and a recent debate centered around the merits of cinnamon versus chocolate fillings for babka. I like Jake Cohen's philosophy in "Jew-ish," which is that babka is delicious no matter what you fill it with. "Jew-ish" is a thoughtful collection of recipes centered around Cohen's Ashkenazi heritage, his own self-discovery in the kitchen, and the Persian-Iraqi traditions of his husband. Cohen celebrates the origins of Jewish dishes, while also putting his own twist on the classics. You'll see this in action in his recipes for Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, Black and White Chocolate Chip Cookies, and yes, You Can Go Your Own Way: Babka Edition. For the family member intimidated by their new Instant Pot Amazon "The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook" by Jeffrey Eisner, available at Amazon, $10.78Insider Reviews reporter, James Brains, is currently testing Instant Pots and other multicookers for an update to our guide to the best electric pressure cookers. He's been using recipes from this cookbook and reports that they're easy to follow, have plenty of photos, and are delicious to boot. The book features more than 750 photos detailing step-by-step how to make the 100+ recipes, and makes a great gift for anyone who is curious about Instant Pots but hasn't taken the plunge yet. For the history buff Amazon "Jubilee" by Toni Tipton-Martin, available on Amazon, $20.07Toni Tipton-Martin's personal collection of African-American cookbooks spans more than 400 titles and her knowledge of American food history is on full display in "Jubilee." Through recipes and stories, she relates the history of Black folks who shaped American cuisine into what it is today, from those who cooked under the confines of brutal enslavement to the chefs who ran White House kitchens. "Jubilee" is a masterful work of American history, as told through food. For the person who loves pie but fears making it Amazon "Pie Academy" by Ken Haedrich, available on Amazon, $17.99A compendium of 255 pie recipes, "Pie Academy" is likely the last pie cookbook you'll ever need. It has nearly a dozen recipes for different types of pie crust, a troubleshooting section for when things don't go as expected, and chapters organized by seasonality and filling type. It's guaranteed to be a hit with the pie lover in your life, especially one who is interested in making pies but has always found them a bit daunting.  For the home cook that also loves to read Amazon "Black, White, and The Grey" by Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano, available on Amazon, $15.69While not a cookbook, "Black, White, and The Grey," tells the story of one of the most celebrated restaurants in America: The Grey in Savannah, Georgia. Mashama Bailey, who is Black, and John O. Morisano, who is white, relate the story of how they turned a dilapidated formerly segregated Greyhound bus station into an award-winning restaurant. The dual memoir touches on race, community, and friendship, with some delicious food anecdotes along the way. For the friend who wants to master the essentials Amazon "My Korea" by Hooni Kim, available on Amazon, $21.99Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim's debut cookbook is a crash course in the essentials of Korean cuisine. The book's tagline is "traditional flavors, modern recipes," and that is an accurate summation of what you can expect to find in this cookbook — from Dolsot Bibimbap to Budae Jjigae to Hanjan's Spicy Rice Cakes. When I first laid my hands on this cookbook, I wanted to make (and eat) every single recipe. If you're looking for some solid foundation recipes, "My Korea" delivers. For the friend who knows all the words to "Lady Marmalade" Simon and Schuster "LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About" by Patti LaBelle, available at Amazon, $20.99Patti LaBelle is not only the Godmother of Soul and a musical icon, but she is also a New York Times bestselling author for her cookbooks. Her newest cookbook, "Labelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About," has recipes centered around LaBelle's family's Southern roots. With comfort-food favorites like potato salad and peach cobbler, she showcases a variety of her recipes that are full of personal touches.  For the person with quarantine cooking fatigue Amazon "Indian-ish" by Priya Krishna, available on Amazon, $18.29In her debut cookbook, Priya Krishna (contributor to Bon Appetit, New York Times, and others) offers up beloved favorite recipes from her Indian-American family, including Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Malaysian Ramen, and what her dad calls Indian Gatorade (Shikanji). The recipes are largely vegetarian, creative, fun, comforting, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who feels stuck in a rut with their cooking in 2021.  For the cook always on the go Amazon 'The Full Plate" by Ayesha Curry, available on Amazon, $15Ayesha Curry and her husband, basketball star Stephen Curry, have three children and busy schedules. She created her newest cookbook with her energetic household in mind, and it features 100 recipes that take under an hour to make. "The Full Plate" is perfect for anyone who wants to spend less time cooking while still ending up with delicious meals.   For the person who can't get enough of Disney Amazon "The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook" by Ashley Craft, available on Amazon, $11.99Technically unofficial, this cookbook will transport you directly into Disneyland. You can replicate a variety of food found in Disney theme parks. It features 100 recipes of iconic Disneyland treats and snacks, including the famous Dole whip, beignets, and more.  For the person who spent 2020 mastering sourdough Amazon "New World Sourdough" by Bryan Ford, available on Amazon, $14.77This was the year of the sourdough starter, and few people are as well-versed in fermented breads as Bryan Ford, blogger and baker. We're not just talking about your classic sourdough boule; Ford is well-known for demonstrating the breadth of what you can do with a sourdough starter: from Sourdough Pan de Coco to Sourdough Discard Battered Fried Chicken. For the cousin who's just learning to cook Amazon "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" by Samin Nosrat, available on Amazon, $16.67In this beautifully illustrated cookbook, chef and New York Times columnist Samin Nosrat outlines the foundations of cooking, from when to salt your chicken to how to make the perfect focaccia. All the information is presented in a fun, engaging way alongside original illustrations you'll want to frame and hang in your kitchen. For your family member who loves "Emily in Paris" Amazon "La Buvette" by Camille Fourmont and Kate Leahy, available on Amazon, $14.25"La Buvette" is part cookbook, part guide to French living. Interspersed with recipes from the cookbook's namesake cafe are beautiful pictures of Paris, tips about shopping in France's vintage markets, and instructions on how to dry flowers. The cookbook is a lovely escape into Parisian living, perfect for any Francophile dreaming of a visit to the City of Lights.  For your friend who knows all the best restaurants Amazon "Xi'an Famous Foods" by Jason Wang, available on Amazon, $22.51Xi'an Famous Foods started as a small family-owned market stall in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. Its hand-pulled cumin lamb noodles have become so loved that there are now 14 locations all around New York City. In this cookbook, the son of the family and CEO of the business Jason Wang divulges some of the recipes that made his family business famous, as well as other classic dishes from Xi'an in western China. For the fan of the 'Great British Baking Show' Amazon "Baking with Kim-Joy" by Kim-Joy, available on Amazon, $14.89Contestants of the Great British Baking Show have come out with several cookbooks, including series nine runner-up Kim-Joy. She is best known for her adorable and creative bakes, like her giant chocolate planet filled with "space turtles," or her "Silke the vegetarian mermaid" pie. Kim-Joy brings the same color and fun to her bakes in her debut cookbook, which includes Pigfiteroles in Mud, Tazhong Cat Buns, and a version of her Space Turtle Cake.  For the person experimenting with a plant-based lifestyle this year Amazon "Vegetable Kingdom" by Bryant Terry, available on Amazon, $17.39James Beard Award-winning chef and food activist Bryant Terry offers 150 vegan recipes in his most recent cookbook. Instead of trying to imitate meaty dishes, Terry's book celebrates the vegetable and all its parts: skin, husk, flowers, roots, and all. You'll find recipes for Pea Shoot and Peanut Salad, Grilled Spring Onions with Lemon-Thyme Oil, Cornmeal-Fried Oyster Mushroom Po'Boys, and more. A special hallmark of Terry's books is that they often contain a playlist to listen to while you're cooking, and "Vegetable Kingdom" is no different, featuring recommended tracks by Duke Ellington, Santana, Björk, and more. For the friend who likes to Instagram all their food Amazon "Ottolenghi Flavor" by Yotam Ottolenghi, available on Amazon, $23.39Yotam Ottolenghi is owner and chef of some of London's most beloved cafes and restaurants. His recipes are some of the most colorful and beautiful out there, and his latest cookbook is no exception. "Flavor" is filled with mostly vegetarian recipes that not only pack a punch visually but flavor-wise, too. Ottolenghi and his co-authors expound the building blocks of flavor in three sections: process, pairing, and produce. The result is more than 100 'gram-worthy recipes from Spicy Mushroom Lasagna to Iceberg Wedges with Smoky Eggplant Cream. For the hummus lover Amazon "Falastin" by Sami Tamimi, available on Amazon, $31.50Longtime Ottolenghi collaborator (and co-author of "Jerusalem," another of our cookbook picks), Sam Tamimi, crafted his latest cookbook as an homage to Palestinian food. The book is rich in recipes, from multiple variations of shakshuka and hummus, to verdant salads, and colorful dips. Along the way, Tamimi tells the culinary history of Palestinian food — from the home cooks feeding their neighbors in refugee camps to the restaurateurs cooking for tourists in Bethlehem. For the person who recently moved Amazon "Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm" by Molly Yeh, available on Amazon, $24.25Molly Yeh is the star of Food Network's "Girl Meets Farm" and winner of the Judges' Choice IACP Cookbook Award. "Molly on the Range" explores home, family, her Jewish and Chinese heritage, and Yeh's Midwestern farm life. You'll find recipes for Sufganiyot, Chicken Potstickers, Challah Waffles, and more. For the pint-sized cook in your life Amazon "The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs" by America's Test Kitchen, available on Amazon, $11.49I worked for America's Test Kitchen (ATK) for seven years and was privy to the care its team puts into each and every one of its cookbooks. ATK's series of cookbooks for kids is the epitome of that detail and care; every one of the recipes in this volume was tested by pro chefs and kid cooks. The recipes are specifically designed with kids in mind, outlining when to get an adult for help with handling hot ingredients or sharp tools. This is the book I wish was available to me when I was a child, and I've gifted it and the kid's baking book to every kid I know. I love getting reports from their parents about a new recipe they cooked or discovered. For the person always posting pictures of their cheese board Amazon "Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion" by Shelley Westerhausen, available on Amazon, $15.38In her best-selling cookbook, author and food blogger Shelley Westerhausen shares 40 casual yet chic spreads (complete with meat and drink pairings) that anyone can make and enjoy. It's also a visual cornucopia that's just as satisfying to flip through as to use when hosting get-togethers when it's safe to do so. And if you're looking for a board of your own, we recommend any of these five options.  For the self-described dessert person Amazon "Dessert Person" by Claire Saffitz, available on Amazon, $22.24Claire Saffitz may be known for her wildly popular Gourmet Makes series on YouTube, but she's a pastry chef at heart and her affinity for baked goods is out in full force with her new cookbook "Dessert Person." In this cookbook, you can find creative recipes for Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, and Malted Forever Brownies. It's sure to please the dessert lover in your life. For the person who had to cancel their vacation last year Amazon "Pasta Grannies" by Vicky Bennison, available on Amazon, $18.99Each episode of the "Pasta Grannies" YouTube series is an escape to a different region of Italy, where local grannies (or nonne) teach the audience to prepare and cook a regional dish — from classics like Spaghetti alla Carbonara to a pasta shape from Sardinia only three women know how to make. This cookbook takes some of the most popular videos from the series and turns them into tangible recipes you can cook at home. Between watching the video and cooking from the book, you can transport yourself to a little corner of Italy without leaving your home. For the person homesick for their grandma's cooking Amazon "In Bibi's Kitchen" by Hawa Hassan, available on Amazon, $18.69This cookbook centers around grandmothers (or bibis) from eight south and east African countries. Throughout the book, we get to know the women whose recipes are featured and learn about their personal history and the history of their country. Along the way, you'll find recipes for Eritrean Doro Wat, Tanzanian Date Bread, Kenyan Kachumbari, and more. It's the kind of cookbook that makes think about your grandmother. For the person who lives by a cookie-a-day philosophy Amazon "100 Cookies" by Sarah Keiffer, available on Amazon, $20.76A good ol' chocolate chip cookie never goes out of style, but if you have a cookie lover in your life, consider gifting them this homage to baked goods. You'll find recipes for the classics (including four different variations of chocolate chip cookies) as well cookies you've probably never had before, like Banana-Espresso-Cacao Nib cookies. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

The 6 best weighted blanket we tested in 2021

A weighted blanket may help if you have trouble falling asleep. We tested 12 of them to round up the best weighted blankets for a good night's rest. Brooklinen Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Research is limited, but recent findings say weighted blankets can aid in sleep and reduce anxiety. We tested 12 of them. Our favorites are the Brooklinen Weighted Comforter and the Bearaby Napper. Click here for more advice on what to consider when buying a weighted blanket. If you toss and turn at night or find your mind racing when trying to fall asleep, you might benefit from adding a weighted blanket to your bedding. Usually weighing somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds, weighted blankets provide gentle, constant pressure as you sleep, and recent studies have shown promising results in their ability to ease anxiety and reduce insomnia, though research remains limited. I spoke with Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She said the reason why weighted blankets tend to work is quite primal. "It really hearkens back to the way we entered the world," said Robbins. "You were in a womb, compressed on all sides by water and fluid, and so there was a sense of pressure. We try to emulate that with infants by swaddling them. We might look at weighted blankets as the adult version of swaddling or emulating those circumstances where we feel at ease."I tested 12 of the most popular weighted blankets on the market to determine the best ones you can buy. I evaluated them for how well I slept while using them, the quality of materials and construction, how easy they were to wash and care for, and how comfy they were. The best weighted blankets in 2021Best weighted comforter: Brooklinen Weighted ComforterBest extra-heavy weighted blanket: Gravity 35-Pound BlanketBest cooling weighted blanket: BlanQuil ChillBest weighted throw blanket: Bearaby NapperBest budget weighted blanket: Luna Weighted BlanketBest king-size weighted blanket: HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket Best weighted comforter Jen Gushue/Insider Brooklinen's Weighted Comforter has a premium plush design that blends seamlessly with the rest of your bedding.Available sizes: Twin/twin XL (64" x 90"), full/queen (90" x 90"), king/Cali king (106" x 90")Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs., 30 lbs.Available colors: WhiteMaterials: 400 thread-count cotton sateen shell, polyfill interior, glass micro-beadsCare instructions: Dry clean only, spot clean with soap and warm water, and dry with hairdryerPros: Looks just like a normal comforter, lots of plush fill, made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, has duvet cover loops, accepts returns in any condition within one year of purchaseCons: Dry clean only, duvet cover sold separately, difficult to adjust while using itIf you don't want to sleep under a stack of blankets or compromise your bedroom's look, you'll want a weighted comforter, and Brooklinen makes the best one I tried. It looks and feels like a traditional plush comforter but with an extra 20 pounds of weight integrated with small glass beads. The blanket itself is made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, so it's soft enough to throw on your bed without a duvet cover.That being said, we recommend adding one — corner loops make it easy to tie on — because the blanket is dry-clean only, which could run you anywhere from $20 to $50.I found that the 20-pound comforter I tested weighed closer to 24 pounds, but the extra weight didn't make too much of a difference once I laid it out on the bed. Sleeping under it was pretty dreamy (excuse the pun). I felt enveloped by the cushy fill but not too overwhelmed or overheated. It was somewhat difficult to adjust while lying under it due to the weight and size, but I found this typical for just about every comforter-sized weighted blanket I tested.Though pricey, this comfortable weighted blanket is worth the investment, especially because it will entirely replace your comforter. If you find it's not right for you, Brooklinen has an incredibly lenient return policy, accepting returns for any reason in any condition within 365 days of your purchase. Best extra-heavy weighted blanket Jen Gushue/Insider Gravity's 35-pound weighted blanket evenly distributes weight across your king-size bed and is perfect for those who are looking for some extra heft.Available sizes: Queen/king (90" x 90")Available weights: 35 lbs.Available colors: White, navy, grayMaterials: Micro-fleece removable cover, glass beadsCare instructions: Removable cover is machine wash cold and tumble dry low, inner blanket is hand wash and air dry onlyPros: Great for those who need a heavier blanket, weight is evenly distributed, no beanbag feel, the cover is machine washable, low profile blanketCons: Queen/king size only comes in 35 pounds, the cover should be washed before use, too heavy to adjust in the middle of the night, the inner blanket is hand-wash only, customers are responsible for return feesWhen I first received the Gravity 35-pound blanket, I thought it would feel way too heavy, but I found it pretty manageable. It did tend to slide down the bed as I was sleeping, and I'd often wake up about a foot lower than usual because I was chasing the blanket around through the night. It was simply too heavy to pull up or adjust while laying under it, though someone stronger than me will likely not have this issue.One issue with this blanket was that the included micro-plush duvet cover felt oddly greasy out of the package. It left a film on my hands as I tried to smooth it out over the bed. But the zip-on cover is removable and washable, and a run through the wash resolved the issue. I can't imagine hauling such a heavy blanket into and out of a washing machine, so the removable cover is a huge plus. The Gravity blanket is low-profile without any excess fill, so it won't add a lot of bulk to your bed. That said, it's not as plush or cozy as the Brooklinen comforter, which does also come in a 35-pound version, though it's much more expensive.The brand also makes "single" size weighted blankets that measure 48-inches by 72-inches. I tested a 15-pound one with a cooling cover and found it performed well, but nothing made it stand out from the pack. Best cooling weighted blanket Jen Gushue/Insider The BlanQuil Chill's unique cover disperses heat and stays cool to the touch as you fall asleep, but its slick fabric can cause it to slide off the bed.Available sizes: 48" x 74"Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs.Available colors: White with blue threadingFill materials: Glass micro-beadsCare instructions: Removable cover is machine wash cold and tumble dry low, inner blanket is spot clean onlyPros: Stays cool to the touch, no beanbag feel, glass beads don't shift, 60-night sleep trialCons: Slides off the bed easily; internal blanket is spot-clean only; only one size, one color, and two weights availableI sleep hot, and the BlanQuil Chill is the weighted blanket I have the longest relationship with. It's been on my bed for about a year and a half, and I've had two iterations of the design.I lined up all the cooling blankets I tested for this guide and ran my hand across each one, and the BlanQuil felt noticeably cooler than all the others. Plus, it did the best job of dissipating heat and getting back to its cool baseline.Since it's slightly bigger than a twin bed, it's not a blanket that's intended to be shared. Glass beads add weight, but there's no beanbag feeling, and I've never felt them shift in a way that causes the blanket to feel lumpy or uneven.The zipper on the removable, washable cover of the first version of the design was weak, couldn't handle the weight of the blanket, and broke just a couple of months into its use. But BlanQuil has since reinforced the zipper, and I've yet to have a problem with it. I even stress tested it by holding the weight of the blanket against the zipper, and it held strong.Though it's one of the best I've used, the cooling cover's material has a bit of a sheen to it, which makes it slick so it slides off the bed easily — especially if you toss and turn at night. As soon as it gets off-center, the blanket's weight will cause it to slide. Best weighted throw blanket Jen Gushue/Insider The cocoon-like, knit-woven Bearaby Cotton Napper keeps you cozy yet cool as you lounge on the couch, it's entirely machine washable, and it's one of the heftiest blankets we tested.Available sizes: 40" x 72", 45" x 72", 48" x 72"Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs., 25 lbs.Available colors: Eight colors currently availableMaterials: Organic long-staple cottonCare instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, tumble dry lowPros: Aesthetic design, has significant heft, made from organic cotton, washable and dryable, 30-day return policy if blanket remains unwashed, most versatile weighted blanket I testedCons: Doesn't fit in compact washing machines, takes multiple cycles to dry, open weave may catch toes and fingers, heavier than advertised (though this may be a pro, depending on your preference)The weight of the Bearaby Napper comes entirely from the dense organic cotton strands hand-knit into one of the most aesthetically minded weighted blankets I've ever seen.This is a really heavy blanket — the blanket I tested, which was advertised as the 15-pound version, actually tipped the scales at 24 pounds. I contacted the company to verify that they sent me the right item, and they assured me they did. It's not necessarily bad that they're heavier than advertised, but it's something to keep in mind when you order.A blanket this heavy — and bulky — can be tough to shift around, and if it's going to live on your couch, it will take up quite a bit of space. I've shifted it to my bed. It drapes nicely over my partner and me, but the open weave makes it prone to stretching if you need to pull it up in the night. It hasn't become misshapen in any significant way, thankfully.It's not quite a cooling blanket — Bearaby does offer one called the Tree Napper that I haven't tested — but it doesn't trap heat thanks to the open weave. The holes are quite large, though, so if you are bothered by some toes or fingers poking through, you might want to look elsewhere.The Napper is fully machine washable and can go in the dryer on a delicate setting. I wanted to see how the blanket washed and dried as part of my test, but it didn't fit in my space-saving apartment-sized washing machine. Best budget weighted blanket Jen Gushue/Insider Weighted blankets are typically expensive, but the Luna Weighted Blanket is gentle on your wallet despite being constructed from Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and filled with natural glass beads.Available sizes: 36" x 48", 41" x 60", 48" x 72", 60" x 80", 80" x 87"Available weights: 5 lbs., 7 lbs., 10 lbs., 12 lbs., 15 lbs., 17 lbs., 20 lbs., 22 lbs., 25 lbs., 30 lbs.Available colors: 11 solid colors and 14 patterns currently availableMaterials: Cotton shell, glass beadsCare instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, hang dry or tumble dry lowPros: Excellent quality at a low price; comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and weights; fully machine washable; Oeko-Tex Certified construction; true to weightCons: Thinner blanket than some others on our listWeighted blankets tend to be very expensive, but Luna offers an excellent weighted blanket at an affordable price.I tested the 15-pound queen-size blanket, and the glass beads inside were barely noticeable, producing no beanbag effect. Where many other cheap weighted blankets are loaded with chemicals, the Luna Weighted Blanket is Oeko-Tex Certified, meaning it contains no harmful materials.The blanket is much thinner than some of the others I tested, but it stayed breathable and was light enough to easily adjust in the middle of the night. It wasn't quite as cozy as some others, but it's a great option to layer with your usual comforter or use during the warmer months.As I've continued to test these blankets, the Luna has become a bit of a travel-sized weighted blanket for me. I wouldn't recommend taking it on an airplane — it's a bit bulky for that — but the Luna is thin enough to fold into a car trunk-friendly size. The blanket was a true 15 pounds according to my scale, but that weight was dispersed over a queen-size surface area, making it feel lighter. It's also one of the easiest blankets to clean that I tested. The entire thing fits into my compact washer-dryer and was fully dry within one cycle — and it got softer after just one wash. Best king-size weighted blanket James Brains/Insider The HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket is large enough for couples, breathes well to keep you from overheating, and can go in the washer and dryer.Available sizes: 60" x 80", 80" x 86", 88" x 104"Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs., 25 lbs., 30 lbs., 35 lbs., 40 lbs., 50 lbs.Available colors: White, dark grey, cool mint, burgundy, greyMaterials: Cotton shell, glass beadsCare instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, hang dry or tumble dry lowPros: Breathable organic cotton shell, glass beads sewn into 5-by-5-inch pockets for even weight distribution, machine washable and dryable, the king size is large enough for couples, weight options up to 50 lbs.Cons: The blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use, hard to track down customer supportAs a big guy, one of the problems I run into with weighted blankets is that they aren't large enough to cover my whole body. Even queen-size blankets tend to be too small to reach my giant feet. This was not a problem with the HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket.At 88 inches by 104 inches and with weight options up to 50 pounds, it's the ideal blanket for couples who want to enjoy the comfort of a weighted blanket without sacrificing intimacy.The HomeSmart blanket features micro glass beads sewn into the 400-thread count organic cotton shell with 5-by-5-inch pockets to keep the weight evenly distributed. The blanket is machine washable and dryable, which is a must for me since I don't use duvet covers. I've washed the blanket several times over the last two-and-a-half years and have found it's an effortless endeavor. If you want to add a duvet cover, the blanket has 10 loops for tying one on.I tested the 15-pound and 25-pound comforters and enjoyed both, though the 25-pounder was almost too restrictive for me. I prefer the 15-pounder, and it's what I sleep under when I'm not testing other models. Thanks to its breathability, it's a great year-round blanket. Even in the summer, overheating has never been an issue.The HomeSmart Weighted Blanket isn't without its flaws. The 25-pound blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use. This was likely due to one of our pets working a hole into it. I tried to reach customer service but couldn't get a hold of anyone.-James Brains, reporter What else we tested The Gravity Cooling, Helix, and Brooklyn Bedding weighted blankets were among the others we tested. Jen Gushue/Alyssa Powell/Insider What we recommend and why Baloo Cool Cotton Weighted Blanket: The Baloo weighted blanket struck a great balance between comfort and cost. Its construction and quality felt similar enough to the Luna that we'd rather recommend the one that's even more affordable.Gravity Cooling Blanket: The blanket itself is well-built and high-quality, but the cooling cover did little to actually cool me off as I slept. It just felt like any other weighted blanket and didn't do much to distinguish itself from the other blankets I tried.Brooklyn Bedding Dual Therapy Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided — with a silky cooling side and a minky textured side. The silky side stayed cool to the touch, and the bumps on the minky side provided a nice sensory option. It didn't feel beanbaggy, and the weight was evenly distributed. But it was only available in one size, two weights, and one dark gray color that severely limited how many home decor scenarios it would work within.What we don't recommend and whyYaasa Weighted Blanket: This is a knit-style blanket similar to the Bearaby Napper, but Yaasa's weave was much tighter and allowed for less airflow. The material also felt spongier and less cozy than the Napper's. The Yaasa blanket was also dry clean only.Helix Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided with a white sherpa fleece side and a gray minky fleece side. I found the sherpa side especially cozy, and so did my cat. But it had one of the worst beanbag effects of any of the blankets I tried, and there is only one size and color option available, though it did come in three weights. If this blanket suits your style, it's a decent buy for an affordable price.YnM Weighted Blanket: This is an Amazon bestseller in weighted blankets, so we wanted to put it to the test. It's a perfectly serviceable budget blanket, but the glass beads created a sort of beanbag effect that the Luna did not. Plus, the Luna is even cheaper and made of Oeko-Tex certified cotton, which isn't found with the YnM. Our testing methodology There are several factors I took into consideration while assessing weighted blankets. Aside from the general coziness and comfort provided by each blanket, I also assessed things like quality of material, value, weight options, and aesthetics. For example, a blanket that came in more color and weight options beat out a blanket of equal quality that came in fewer options. I also considered return policies, sleep trials, and how easy these blankets were to clean.The following are three tests I ran each blanket through to assess general user experience:Sleep test: I slept with each weighted blanket on my bed for at least three consecutive nights. I noted how well I slept overall and how the blanket regulated my sleep temperature. I also paid attention to how well the blanket stayed in place as I slept and how easy it was to adjust while lying under it. Part of this test also included making the bed every day (hauling a weighted blanket is harder than it looks).Wash test: I washed every weighted blanket or cover that was machine washable at least once to ensure they held up well in the wash and didn't shrink, shed, or otherwise show signs of wear. I noted if the added weight made them more difficult to haul into and out of the washing machine. I also discovered that one of the machine-washable blankets was so bulky it didn't fit into my washing machine. For those blankets that weren't machine-washable, I noted the care instructions and factored that into the cons of the blanket as I assessed them.Weight test: I wanted to ensure each blanket was actually the advertised weight. To get an accurate reading, I weighed myself and then weighed myself again while holding each blanket, noting any discrepancies in the advertised weight versus the actual weight. What we're testing next Bearaby Sleeper: This is the only weighted blanket I've discovered designed specifically for couples. While there's little data available to determine the best weight for a couple to share, Bearaby has eliminated some of that guesswork by weighting the two halves of the blanket differently, allowing you to choose the right weight for each person. This is especially useful if you and your partner are drastically different sizes and would benefit from different blanket weights. The two halves can unzip from each other and become two distinct blankets. Right now, they are sold out, but Bearaby has assured us that they'll be restocking soon, and we hope to test it once they do.Luxome Luxury Weighted Blanket: The Luxome weighted blanket comes with a reversible cover with a plush minky fabric on one side and a cooling bamboo fabric on the other. This allows you to customize your blanket with the seasons. I'm curious to see if this versatility makes a difference in how the blanket affects my body temperature. It's also a nice mid-range option in terms of price, and I'm hoping to add more affordable options to this guide.Slumber Cloud Weighted Blanket: In my ongoing quest to find a cooling weighted blanket that stays put throughout the night, I'm looking forward to testing the Slumber Cloud. It's made using thermoregulation technology developed by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their spacesuits. The Outlast technology uses small beads that absorb body heat when you get too hot and release it back to you when you get too cold. I'm fascinated by this concept, and I'm excited to see if it works. Weighted blanket FAQs What weight should a weighted blanket be?It's recommended that you select a blanket that's roughly 10% of your body weight. But Robbins adds that there are no clinically established guideposts for choosing a blanket weight. "It's hard for the one size fits all approach because we're all just so unique and have different physiologies," she says.This is especially true when blankets come in different sizes. A 15-pound throw blanket is going to feel much heavier than a 15-pound comforter since a larger blanket distributes its weight over a larger surface area. Robbins suggests trying out weighted blankets before purchasing them. If you can't test weighted blankets in a store, look for brands that offer sleep trials or have buyer-friendly return policies like many of our top picks.What if I'm sharing the weighted blanket with a partner?If you're sharing a weighted blanket with a partner, you'll likely want something a bit heavier, mostly because larger blankets feel lighter than smaller ones. A blog from Layla Sleep advises purchasing a blanket that's roughly 7.5% of the couple's combined weight.I reached out to the brand to determine how they established this number, and a representative responded, "Most suggestions in terms of weight are based on anecdotal evidence. We also factor in the customer satisfaction data that we have when making suggestions, but ultimately the weight that's right for any one person will depend heavily on personal preference."It's important to note that this parameter hasn't been established in any clinical trial or scientific study, so take it with a grain of salt. As long as you're comfortable and can move freely under the blanket, you should choose the weight that works best for you.What size weighted blanket should I get?If you're sharing a blanket with a partner with a similar body weight, you'll want a weighted blanket that covers your entire bed. Many brands, including almost all of our top picks, offer blankets in multiple sizes to fit standard twin, full, queen, and king beds.Some weighted blankets in these sizes are a bit smaller than typical comforters so the weighted blanket doesn't hang off the side of your bed too much. Excess fabric hanging off the side can pull the weighted blanket off-center as you shift around in the night.If you and your partner are very different weights, consider opting for two smaller separate blankets in a throw or twin size. This way, you can each get the weight that's most comfortable for you. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of not having to worry about blanket theft in the middle of the night.How do I choose a weighted blanket?In addition to weight and size considerations (see above), you'll also want to consider how easy the blanket is to clean and what type of fill it uses. A duvet cover will be easier to wash than a weighted blanket, but with a cover, you have to deal with the hassle of removing it and putting it back on. Even with ties to keep it in place, the blanket may still bunch up inside the cover.Weighted blankets rely on glass beads, plastic pellets, or, less commonly, steel shot beads. What you prefer is a matter of personal preference. Comforters with plastic pellets tend to be cheaper, but it's a less eco-friendly material.How often should I wash my weighted blanket?Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President at The American Cleaning Institute, recommends you treat your weighted blanket like any comforter, washing it once or twice a year, provided it's covered by a duvet cover that you're washing monthly. If it doesn't have a removable cover, the entire blanket should be washed roughly once a month.Are weighted blankets good for anxiety?In theory, the answer is yes. However, there are no randomized clinical trials that can speak to the efficacy of weighted blankets in the treatment of anxiety. This is because it would be obvious once participants curl up under one of the blankets that they're either in the control group or the weighted blanket group. The theory is that weighted blankets help reduce some anxiety symptoms, like quickened breathing or heart rate, by putting your autonomic nervous system at ease. Anecdotally, my wife and I have both been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. We've found lounging with a weighted blanket helps us unwind.The bottom line is weighted blankets may help with anxiety, but there isn't any hard science to back it up.  Check out our other sleep and bedding guides Lauren Savoie/Insider 7 weighted blankets for kids that may help with sleep, anxiety, and sensory issuesThe best pillowsThe best mattressesThe best sheetsThe best duvet coversThe best comforters Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

The Fed Has Completed Its Unemployment Mandate

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on the unemployment mandate, Louis Navellier wrote: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Bullish Investors We survey our investors, who are predominantly retail, to assess sentiment. Results from our survey on Tuesday show retail investors are bullish. While there are many crosscurrents in […] In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on the unemployment mandate, Louis Navellier wrote: .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Bullish Investors We survey our investors, who are predominantly retail, to assess sentiment. Results from our survey on Tuesday show retail investors are bullish. While there are many crosscurrents in the markets which could provoke pessimism, the survey suggests that investors are buoyed by the prospect of a robust earnings season.  Another sentiment that emerged was that wage increases, though additive to inflation, are a net positive to consumer spending. Bearish investors on the other hand cited inflation fears as the primary driver of their cautiousness.  That more investors were uncertain about the direction of the market, 15%, than were bearish, 10%, is notable and indicates the see-saw action we are seeing in the market at large may continue. Unemployment Mandate Complete The Labor Department on Thursday announced that weekly unemployment claims fell to 293,000 in the latest week. Economists were expecting weekly and continuing unemployment claims to come in at 320,000. I think it is safe to conclude that the Fed has completed its unemployment mandate and can now turn its attention to another mandate, namely fighting inflation. Taiwan Is Safe I get a lot of questions about what is going to happen when China takes over Taiwan after tormenting the island nation an untold number of times with the Chinese air force invading Taiwanese airspace.  My standard answer is that “China will not harm Taiwan’s infrastructure, since they need the semiconductor chips too!”  This was reconfirmed by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he recently called for a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan.  Not surprisingly, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan would not bow to Chinese pressure. China currently has its own economic problems and based on the official Purchasing Managers Indexes (PMI), both its service and manufacturing sectors are now in a recession.  Furthermore, the Trump Administration’s sanctions on 5G pioneer Huawei have been severely hurt by these sanctions, so its 5G market share is shrinking. Since the Biden Administration did not lift modify the Trump Administration’s tariffs on China, if China invaded Taiwan, they not only risk a military reprisal but also potentially more tariffs from the Biden Administration.  So conclusion, Taiwanese semiconductor companies, especially United Microelectronics (UMC), remain great near-term buys since I do not expect China to invade Taiwan. As inflation continues to heat up and push China and other nations deeper into recession, the U.S. remains an oasis to the world. The port bottlenecks and supply chain glitches persist, but at least the U.S. is not expected to be crippled by high coal and natural gas prices that are now hindering China and Europe. Heard & Notable Facebook removed or flagged 31.5 million content pieces containing hate speech in the second quarter, a 25% increase compared to the first quarter number of 25.2 million. Five out of every 10,000 content pieces containing hate speech slipped past Facebook's flagging and deletion processes. Source: Statista Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 1:01 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

You can get 70% off of all CreativeLive classes through the end of October, including popular photography bootcamps for under $60

CreativeLive is currently offering discounts on individual online classes, in topics like Photoshop and design, as well as its Creator Pass. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. CreativeLive offers over 2,000 online courses in photography, video, art, design, business, and more. MixMedia/Getty Images CreativeLive has over 2,000 online courses taught by experts in photography, art, video, and more. Classes are 70% off and you can get 20% off any Creator Pass subscription through October 31. Below are some of the most popular classes, including a Stanford course on designing your life. Online learners have many educational options like Udemy, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and edX, but creatives may find the most appealing classes at CreativeLive.The site houses over 2,000 classes taught by industry experts, and reportedly reaches over 10 million students. Each class falls under one of five categories: photo and video; art and design; music and audio; craft and maker; or money and life.As a CreativeLive student, you can watch on-air broadcasts for free for 24-hours a day, or buy an individual class and own it for life with the option to watch, rewind, and access bonus materials whenever. As part of a sitewide sale, all classes are currently 70% off through October 31 and if you spend $40 or more, you may get $20 off your order. You can also buy a Creator Pass (currently 20% off through October 31) to get access to as many classes as you want for an annual or monthly fee.If you're looking for a way to develop a creative habit, add industry know-how, or expand a creative business, then CreativeLive may be a tool worth considering. Below are 20 of the most popular courses among CreativeLive students:Descriptions provided by CreativeLive and edited for length. Fundamentals of Photography CreativeLive Fundamentals of photography, $18 (originally $199)As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the types of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Photography class will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) — how to bring your creative vision to fruition.Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, who specializes in outdoor and travel photography, the Fundamentals of Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you'll learn:How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.How to choose the right gear and develop efficient workflow.How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life Marko Geber/Getty Images Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, $29 (originally $199)Do you feel stuck and anxious about the future? Do you feel like you should know what you want to do with your life but you aren't sure which direction to head? Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans are joining us at CreativeLive to teach a class based on their #1 New York Times bestseller, "Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life." How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence CreativeLive How to break the habit of self-doubt and build real confidence, $29 (originally $149)Mel Robbins is the most booked female speaker in the world, a serial entrepreneur, and a bestselling author. She is one of the most sought-after motivational instructors trusted by global brands to design and deliver life-changing, interactive experiences that inspire change, challenge thinking, and accelerate personal and professional growth.If you are plagued by imposter syndrome, suffer from anxiety or low self-esteem, or fall into the trap of self-pity that keeps you from seeing positive outcomes, you're definitely not alone.Mel will give you concrete, actionable advice and steps to overcome these problems and build the confidence to realize your dreams. After this class, you'll better understand your patterns, what to do to break unhealthy habits, act with courage, self-compassion, and overcome self-doubt so you can get what you want out of life. Posing 101 Jaysen Scott/Pexels Posing 101, $44 (originally $149)Posing is one of the fundamentals of great photography. It's also the thing that photographers have the least control over. We can choose our lenses, set up, lighting, and retouch with Adobe Photoshop. But when it comes to photography poses, we need to pay attention and work closely with our subjects to find the perfect pose and best way to capture the most flattering image.Fashion and portrait photographer Lindsay Adler will break down the fundamentals of perfect posing, giving you the basic rules you should follow to make your subjects and your photos look their best. Through live photo shoots and slides, Lindsay demonstrates the do's and don'ts for every category of subject, including men, women, older people, couples, brides and grooms, groups, and more. Adobe Photoshop 2020: The Complete Guide Bootcamp Getty Images Adobe Photoshop 2020: The Complete Guide Bootcamp, $59 (originally $199)Adobe Photoshop 2020 is a feature-rich creative force, perfect for turning raw ideas into audience-wowing images. With Ben Willmore as your guide, you can master it faster than you think and take on a new decade of projects.Ben takes you step-by-step through Adobe Photoshop 2020 as only he can. With an easy pace and zero technobabble, he demystifies this powerful program and makes you feel confident enough to create anything. This class is part of a fully-updated bundle – complete with 2020 features and more efficient ways to maximize the tools everyone uses most. Adobe Lightroom 2020: The Ultimate Guide Bootcamp David Bartus/Pexels Adobe Lightroom 2020: The Ultimate Guide Bootcamp, $18 (originally $199)Adobe Lightroom is the industry standard for post-production workflow and in Adobe Lightroom: The Ultimate Guide, you'll learn Jared Platt's gold standard for retouching and managing files quickly and efficiently.Jared will show the ins and outs of Lightroom Classic, Lightroom Mobile, and Lightroom Desktop. He'll demystify the difference between each and demonstrate when to use each one for maximum output.Jared will share tips on improving every phase of your workflow – from shooting to archiving. You'll learn how to take advantage of the latest Lightroom tools and features and become faster and more skilled at adjusting your images. 28 Days of Portrait Photography Marián Šicko/Pexels 28 Days of Portrait Photography, $29 (originally $199)Sue Bryce's 28 Days is the all-in-one portrait photography class that teaches you posing, shooting, marketing, selling, and everything else you need to know to run a successful contemporary portrait photography business. This series begins with two sessions of intense instruction on business, pricing, and overcoming your fears. Following the kickoff, Sue delivers short sessions exploring 28 different topics essential to any successful portrait photography studio. Sue covers flow posing, connecting with clients, posing and shooting groups, marketing to your key demographic, sales, and more. Speedlights 101 CreativeLive Speedlights 101, $14 (originally $49)This workshop will give you the confidence to incorporate small portable flash in your photography toolkit. From shooting receptions at weddings or adding drama in senior portraits, this workshop will include lots of live shooting examples that will help everything make sense. Once you start working with a portable flash, you'll never understand how you lived without it. Portraits Under Pressure CreativeLive Portraits under pressure, $18 (originally $99)Victoria Will's background as a photojournalist and celebrity photographer helped her develop techniques on editorial assignments to quickly connect with a subject. She'll show you how to use your environment to capture a unique image that reflects the person in the portrait. She'll also highlight how to quickly evaluate a less than perfect situation and make it work for you and your subject. You'll learn:Techniques for choosing the light, process, and locations for a successful portrait.How to build a rapport and utilize clear communication with your subjects.How to set up a developed concept, as well as how to light on the fly.Successful strategies for marketing yourself as a photographer and how to get your work in front of editors. Pricing and Sales for Photographers CreativeLive Pricing and sales for photographers, $14 (originally $49)In order to make money as a photographer, you have to know how to price, package, and sell your work. In this 3-day course, small business owner and award-winning portrait photographer Julia Kelleher will teach you how to create a strategic sales system — without relying on over-the-top, hard-selling sales techniques.By the end of this course, you will know how to predict your sales averages, forecast growth, and go from thinking about the next single sale to thinking about the next year of sales. Posing for Curvy Women CreativeLive Posing for curvy women, $14 (originally $49)Photographers are hired to capture portraits that accentuate the best features of their subjects. Fashion photographer Lindsay Adler will share techniques on how to photograph your full-figured and curvier clients by accentuating their lines and creating beautiful silhouettes.This class will cover: Styling suggestions for full-figured women including a bridal session.Camera angles and posing techniques for the most flattering images.Photoshop techniques to help highlight your curvy subject. Lighting & Posing Large Groups CreativeLive Lighting & posing large groups, $8 (originally $29)If you've photographed groups before, you know it can be a challenge. This class will answer your questions and cover the most important considerations to keep in mind for your next group session. You'll learn depth of field, lens choice, posing, focus considerations, light modifiers, light position, and more. Retouching for Interior Architectural Photography CreativeLive Retouching for interior architectural photography, $8 (originally $29)Images of architectural interiors present particular challenges for retouchers. In this class, architecture photographer Mike Kelley will show you how to use exposure blending, manual masking, advanced blemish removal, curve adjustments and other techniques to achieve stunning interior shots.You'll see how Mike overcomes extreme dynamic range, color casts from various sources, and difficult perspective issues to create a professional interior architectural photograph. Workflow, Time Management, and Productivity for Creatives CreativeLive Workflow, time management, and productivity for creatives, $14 (originally $49)Fine artist, illustrator, and author Lisa Congdon has worked with over 75 clients around the world including MoMA, REI Co-op, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others.In this class, she will teach you how to establish effective workflows and time management strategies that will streamline your processes and maximize creative work time.Among other things, you will learn:How to organize and implement a workflow system.How to manage to-do lists effectively.How to utilize time-blocking.How to identify and manage the distractions that keep you from being productive. The Headshot CreativeLive The headshot, $8 (originally $29)In this class, Peter Hurley, author of "The Headshot," reveals his methodology for capturing amazing headshot portraits.Hurley spent the last two years formulating these unique concepts into his highly anticipated book and will demonstrate how his simple techniques can help bring the best out of every person you photograph. His "squinching" phenomenon has gone viral and continues to have people using his signature lower lid move every time they step foot in front of a camera. Adobe Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore CreativeLive Adobe Photoshop mastery: retouch and restore, $14 (originally $49)Photographs are among our most treasured possessions, but not every photo was shot under optimal conditions or preserved in an ideal way, which makes photo restoration a big business opportunity for skilled photographers and retouchers. If you want to answer every,"Can you fix it?" with a resounding "Yes," Adobe Photoshop Mastery with Ben Willmore is the class for you.You'll learn how to tackle:Advanced color correction and enhancement techniques.Retouching and scratch removal strategies.Detail enhancements.Folds, scratch, mildew, ink, and water stain repairs.Reconstruction of missing pieces such as torn corners and rips.How to fix faded images and make skin tones more lifelike.You'll also learn what actions to take, the optimal order to perform them, and which tools are right for the job. Ben will share time-saving tips and offer insights on the corrections that create the biggest impact. The Magic of Watercolor CreativeLive The magic of watercolor, $14 (originally $49)Join Molly Murrah for a fun, 5-week watercolor class for beginners. Learn about color, papers, brushes, drawing, and composition, as well as many great painting techniques that will get you working and playing with watercolors. The class will cover lessons such as paint properties, understanding color, the color wheel, mixing colors, light and shadow, and more. Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, & Application CreativeLive Color for designers: exploration, theory, & application, $14 (originally $49)Our response to color comes from the place in our brain where trust, loyalty, behavior, and decision occur. Every successful project relies on a designer making smart choices about color.In this class, Richard Mehl will give you a foundational understanding of color theory principles and demonstrate how to apply them. Richard has studied alongside design legends like Paul Rand, Bradbury Thompson, and Herbert Matter, and will share insights gleaned from 12 years of teaching and writing about color in design.Richard takes an accessible approach to the serious study of color theory for designers. You'll be exposed to a relevant series of ideas and skills by exploring a range of analog and digital projects.Richard will discuss:Color terminology and meaning.How to view color in context.Contrast grids and color illusion. Tips for creating harmonious color palettes. Exploring Low-Key Portraiture CreativeLive Exploring low-key portraiture, $8 (originally $29)Learn how to shoot and retouch with shadows and dark tones in this class led by photographer Chris Knight. Students study how to maximize details in dark imagery through lighting and post-production. Chris will take you from concept through execution covering simple (yet effective) lighting techniques as well as tethering tips with Adobe Lightroom.He'll also discuss how to develop the raw image, as well as retouching tactics to make your image appear powerful and purposeful. Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story CreativeLive Wedding photography: capturing the story, $14 (originally $49)The emotional and physical energy of weddings makes for good photography, but a wedding photographer does more than simple, passive documentation of the revelry. Great wedding photography immortalizes the story of the event by combining a mastery of technical skills in a highly dynamic environment, and the social skills to put people at ease and capture genuine moments.Join Rocco Ancora and Ryan Schembri for this in-depth class on wedding photography and powerful storytelling. You'll learn:The fundamentals of shooting a wedding — lighting, exposure, and composition.How to maximize the use of natural and artificial light to create the mood.What to do once the wedding is over — image culling, album development, and sales.This class places heavy emphasis on developing strong posing and direction techniques and deploying them in a natural, non-confrontational manner. Rocco and Ryan believe that the job of the wedding photographer is to understand the story of the evening and to document it as a journalist would, with technical confidence and the mind on storytelling. All levels of wedding photographers will benefit from this class.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021