Advertisements


Why one community in Texas Hill Country is making an impression among businesses looking to relocate

The city’s location in Central Texas puts it at almost equal distances between the seventh-largest city in the U.S. (San Antonio) and the state capital (Austin)......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 26th, 2021

Power Supply Shock Looms: "Global Markets Will Feel The Pinch Very Soon" Of China"s Next Crisis

Power Supply Shock Looms: "Global Markets Will Feel The Pinch Very Soon" Of China's Next Crisis Distracted by the 'grandness' of the collapse of China's property development market, many have missed the fact that China faces a crisis that could directly hit Asia's economy just as hard as a financial collapse - a nationwide power supply shock. After ramping up its coal-based power production earlier in the year, it appears Beijing has suddenly grown a conscience over its emissions and the 'average joe' could be about to feel the pain of that decision. Climate change facts: Chinese CO2 emissions are more than double those of the US, and greater than US and EU combined. pic.twitter.com/ZpJCoPaUjB — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 6, 2020 As Bloomberg reports, the crackdown on power consumption is being driven by rising demand for electricity and surging coal and gas prices as well as strict targets from Beijing to cut emissions. It’s coming first to the country’s mammoth manufacturing industries: from aluminum smelters to textiles producers and soybean processing plants, factories are being ordered to curb activity or - in some instances - shut altogether. "With market attention now laser-focused on Evergrande and Beijing’s unprecedented curbs on the property sector, another major supply-side shock may have been underestimated or even missed,” Nomura Holding Inc. analysts including Ting Lu warned in a note, predicting China’s economy will shrink this quarter. As a reminder, China pollutes more than the US and all developed countries combined... More problematic for Greta and her pals, between the years 2000 and 2020, the amount of electricity generated by burning coal increased more than four-fold in China, hitting around 4,600 terrawatt hours in the past year. You will find more infographics at Statista As the scene below suggests, this is not the first time China has faced winter power demand surges (which prompted many to turn to diesel generators to plug the shortages of power from the electricity grid). However, this year is different. The danger is that, as Zeng Hao, chief expert at consultancy Shanxi Jinzheng Energy, warns: government policies will significantly limit the energy industry’s potential to increase production to meet the demand increase. 2021's worsening power crunch in China reflects three specific factors: 1) Extremely tight energy supply globally (that's already seen chaos engulf markets in Europe); 2) The economic rebound from COVID lockdowns that has boosted demand from households and businesses (as lower investment by miners and drillers constrains production); and 3) President Xi Jinping tries to ensure blue skies at the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February (showing the international community for the first time that he's serious about de-carbonizing the economy). Simply put, it is the third factor - which is all of its own making - that has raised the risk of a severe shortage of coal and gas - used to heat homes and power factories - this winter; and more ominously, expectations of the need to ration power to those deemed worthy. “The power curbs will ripple through and impact global markets,” Nomura’s Ting said. “Very soon the global markets will feel the pinch of a shortage of supply from textiles, toys to machine parts.” As we noted earlier in the year, China needs to shutter 600 coal plants to meet its emissions goals of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2060. If Xi's recent actions in the interests of "common prosperity" are really about forestalling social unrest, we suspect his commitment to meeting self-imposed carbon emissions targets may quickly evaporate as the Chinese people are unlikely to stand sustained black-outs for long without upheaval. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 20:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt5 hr. 15 min. ago

Asheville boasts one of the longest foliage seasons in the US - these 10 central hotels offer striking views

These are the best hotels in Asheville, NC including Grand Bohemian, the Biltmore, Cambria, the Renaissance, Kimpton, and Omni Grove Park Inn. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Omni Hotels Asheville is a big city with a small-town feel in North Carolina. Asheville is near national parks and is known for vibrant dining, breweries, art, and music. Asheville's best hotels are also varied, from boutique inns to B&Bs and brand name luxury. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWith unbelievable mountain views, a thriving food and drink scene, an emphasis on nature, and a penchant for the arts, Asheville is a must-visit destination. Sitting on "America's Prettiest Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway, it has mild seasons year-round and one of the longest, most vibrant fall foliage seaons in the US.I've been visiting Asheville for the past decade, and throughout the pandemic, it made it my go-to road trip for its accessible location, outdoor activities, and how safely it's handled COVID-19. Follow my lead and plan a trip to Asheville with a stay at one of the following standout hotels that range from cozy bed and breakfast in a historic neighborhood to trendy downtown high rise, and the lap of luxury at a five-star spa hotel. Browse the best Asheville hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels in AshevilleFAQ: Asheville, NC hotelsHow we selected the best hotels in AshevilleMore of the best hotels on the East CoastThese are the best hotels in Asheville, sorted by price from low to high. Cambria Downtown Ashville Floor-to-ceiling windows offer direct views of Pisgah Mountain. Booking.com Book Cambria Downtown AshevilleCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $128/$515Best for: Couples, friends, families, solo travelers, business travelers On-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, convenience store, meeting roomsPros: Every room is thoughtfully designed with wide foyers, Bluetooth mirrors in the bathroom, and desks and beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views.Cons: TVs only have a few channels and don't connect to streaming services, so don't count on a lot of in-room entertainment.Located next to historic Grove Arcade, the Cambria Downtown Asheville places you in an ideal location to explore Downtown's revered restaurants, bars, breweries, and galleries on foot.The rooms are loft-style, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering direct views of Pisgah Mountain and more space to spread out than most standard hotel rooms. As you walk in, a foyer gradually widens, opening up to a space marked by crisp white beds, a desk, plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports, wood floors, and exposed red brick walls with eye-catching splashes of blue. The bathroom is spacious with a large vanity, walk-in showers, bathtubs in some rooms, and the coolest part, Bluetooth mirrors that can play your music while you get ready.A sundry in the lobby is packed with healthy meals to prepare in your in-room microwave, or head to Hemingway's, a Cuban restaurant and bar on the fourth-floor with a terrace and fire pits. Locals pack this rooftop on weekend nights, so make a reservation to grab a seat. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Renaissance Asheville Hotel Rooms are comfortable, clean, and have mountain views. Marriott Book Renaissance Asheville HotelCategory: Mid-rangeNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $131/$512Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, fitness room, pool, meeting rooms, marketPros: This Renaissance has the largest Junior Olympic saltwater swimming pool in Asheville.Cons: The restaurant is only open for breakfast, and the only other food served at the hotel are the snacks and packaged meals available at the on-site market. When you need a nice, but moderate Downtown Asheville hotel with a full list of modern amenities from a trusted brand, choose the Renaissance.I stayed here on a whim as I was passing through Asheville in the height of COVID-19 in 2020, and wanted a hotel brand I knew I could trust to handle the pandemic safely. The Renaissance, a Marriott Bonvoy property, did this exceptionally well and impressed me with their levels of safety and cleanliness.The Renaissance is on the edge of Downtown Asheville and every room has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to wake up to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with plush beds, textured black headboards, a desk, and a sitting area.Asheville was nicknamed "Bee City USA" in 2012 for its honey bee population and commitment to educating the public about how important bees are for the environment. Staying true to this oath, this hotel houses "bee boxes" from the Bee Institute on its roof to promote sustainability.COVID-19 procedures are available here. 1900 Inn on Montford The lavish, spa-like Cloisters Suite is a top pick for romance and relaxation. Booking.com Book 1900 Inn On MontfordCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $145/$605Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, daily breakfast and social hour, live music, games, all-day snacksPros: Book the luxurious 1,300-square-foot Cloisters suite, which has a private garden and a large spa room with a two-person Whirlpool, shiatsu massage, air bath, and walk-in shower.Cons: This hotel is not great for families as children under the age of 12 are not permitted.Perched on a hill in a historic residential neighborhood, just eight blocks from the edge of Downtown Asheville, the Inn on Montford is charming, cozy, and well-placed.This Arts and Crafts style bed and breakfast has eight rooms, each with King beds, gas fireplaces, bathrooms with fiber-optic starry floors, Roman baths, and color-changing, LED-lit vanities.Don't miss the daily cookie selection; one of the innkeepers, Shawnie, makes them herself and prepares a mix of mouthwatering flavors like salted chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate-orange.If you're on vacation with your special someone, make it extra romantic and book the Cloisters suite, in the Carriage House, which has 1,300 square feet of space, a private garden, a huge living room, a kitchenette, a bar, a fireplace, and a luxurious 68-square-foot spa room with a two-person Whirlpool tub, shiatsu massage, air bath, and a huge walk-in shower. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection Art and design feature prominently, with statement decor in guest rooms. Marriott Book Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph CollectionCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $158 /$600Best for: Couples, families, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, art gallery, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Grand Bohemian Asheville is located directly across the street from the entrance to the famed Biltmore Estate, and the on-site art gallery has local and regional art and jewelry for sale.Cons: In some room categories, the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a thin curtain rather than an actual door, which isn't ideal for privacy or modesty. Request one with a door if you're traveling with mixed company.This art-driven hotel is the best hotel in Biltmore Village, directly across the street from the entrance to famous Biltmore Estate, known as "America's Largest Home," which was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and has a world-class winery, historic gardens, popular restaurants, a farm and over 20 miles of nature trails.Like all Kessler boutique properties, this hotel is innately luxurious, but with a vibe that's creative, relaxing, and comfortable enough to make you feel at home. Art also features prominently, with an on-site art gallery filled with paintings, sculptures, glass art, and jewelry by local artists that are also available for sale.As such, the atmosphere is rich and enticing, with an entrance flanked by a Tudor-style driveway, dramatic candelabras, and heavy burgundy drapes.Inside, stylish, but quirky rooms and common areas juxtapose oil and contemporary paintings and historic busts with surprising sculptures, like a wild hog wearing a tacky tourist hat, and bright purple low lighting that matches velvet chairs alongside fixtures that look like antlers. The rooms are big and enticing, with tufted teal headboards, lamps with tree branch bases, brown and teal-patterned carpeting, and sleek bathrooms with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the soaking tub.COVID-19 procedures are available here.Read our full hotel review of Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville Village Hotel Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. Booking.com Book Village HotelCategory: Mid-RangeNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $170 /$705Best for: Families, couples, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, pool, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Village Hotel is located in Antler Hill Village, on Biltmore Estate, right next to a slew of family-friendly restaurants, activities, a petting zoo, a winery, and over 20 miles of nature trails. Cons: Transportation around the estate is currently unavailable due to COVID-19, so guests will need to factor a rental car into the cost of their trip.Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, and it's the best pick for families. Located in Antler Hill Village, just steps from the winery, the famed Cedric's Tavern (named after the Vanderbilt family dog), a petting zoo, the outdoor adventure center, and over 20 miles of nature trails, the hotel offers tons to do.The entry-level Village Double Rooms are simple, without fancy bells and whistles, but are modern and spacious with a minimalist black, white and gray color scheme, comfortable double beds, a walk-in shower, and a charming window seat for a vantage point over the beautiful grounds.In addition to all of the aforementioned perks of staying at Biltmore Estate, guests can also dine at Village Social for kid-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or go to The Creamery for "Winky Bar sundaes," which is a waffle cone filled with black cherry ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Kimpton Hotel Arras Kimpton Hotel Arras has a prime downtown location and impressive perks, especially for pets. Booking.com Book Kimpton Hotel Arras Category: Boutique Neighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $171/$760Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, travelers with pets, IHG loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, fitness center, seasonal book program, free essential toiletriesPros: This hotel boasts a super central location in downtown Asheville, right on Pack Square. Animals may stay at no extra charge and receive special pet amenities.Cons: With its prime downtown location and resident and local foot traffic, this hotel can be loud and crowded.When in Downtown Asheville, look up and you'll spot the Kimpton Hotel Arras; it's the tallest building in all of Asheville.The 128 rooms, suites, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom luxury condos are bright, airy, and filled with natural woods, white and neutral fabrics, textured walls, art by local Asheville artist Catherine Murphy, a desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.In even the most basic Queen Room, the vanity and bathroom area feels luxurious with a huge walk-in glass shower, marble accents, warm lighting, a dark wood vanity, a large mirror, and a separate toilet.Indulge in drinks and a Mediterranean meal at District 42, and when the sun goes down on a pretty evening, grab a seat by the glass fire pits on the terrace and watch life in Downtown Asheville buzz by. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, too, so bring your dog, cat, bird, iguana or any other animal for no charge. All pet companions are also pampered with perks like stylish feeding bowls, pet beds, treat bags, a ball, and more for free.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Foundry Hotel Asheville Exposed brick and contemporary furnishings give off an industrial-chic vibe. Hilton Book The Foundry Hotel AshevilleCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $182/$684Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, families, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, meeting rooms, courtyard with fire pitsPros: It's just two blocks walking distance from the heart of downtown Asheville, and offers Tesla car service and a Southern soul food restaurant by a six-time James Beard Award nominee.Cons: The internet connection was unreliable when I visited, which is hard for business travelers or those who like to be overly connected.Once the foundry and warehouse that forged steel for Asheville's famous Biltmore Estate, The Foundry Hotel Asheville is now a luxury boutique Hilton property next to Pack Square Park.An ode to the city's Black history, it's located in a historical enclave called "The Block," that was once a hub of African American community and business in the late 19th and 20th centuries.After sipping a glass of Champagne at check-in, make your way up to your room, which feels industrially luxe with exposed brick walls, all-white beds with cream tufted leather headboards, floor-to-ceiling mountain views, and eclectic wall art featuring period paintings and newspaper clippings in mixed oval and rectangular frames.Paying homage to its Black heritage, the on-site Benne on Eagle is a Southern soul food restaurant led by six-time James Beard Award nominee John Fleer. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from Downtown Asheville, but if you'd rather drive, The Foundry's Tesla car service can drop you off. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Abbington Green This charming B&B feels plucked from the English countryside. Booking.com Book Abbington GreenCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $229/$469Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, spa, English gardens, daily breakfast and social hour, games, all-day snacksPros: Every room has a King bed (which is unique for most historic bed and breakfasts in Asheville) and TVs you can watch from the bathtub.Cons: Children under the age of 12 are not permitted, which isn't ideal for young families.The English-inspired Abbington Green is an award-winning bed and breakfast, sitting atop a hill with whimsical landscaping and prize-winning manicured gardens.The property has both a main and carriage house, seven rooms, one two-bedroom suite, a spa room, a dining room, and a living room with games, a piano, and a guitar.Every guest room has a King bed, which is unique for historic homes like these, as well as towel warmers, a fireplace, and luxury bathtubs with a view of the TV — perfect for a bubble bath with a glass of wine and your favorite movie.There's an on-site charging station for electric cars, daily breakfast, a social hour, and a beautiful veranda where you can watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. The warmth of innkeepers Dean and Cherie brings it all together, as they love to talk to their guests, swap travel stories, and make everyone feel right at home.For COVID-19 procedures, call (828) 251-2454. Sourwood Inn The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry, and their knowledge filters down to the overall experience of staying here. Booking.com Book Sourwood InnCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Greater AshevilleTypical starting/peak prices: $235/$390Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, nature lovers, foodies, oenophilesOn-site amenities: Dining room, library, loop trails, wine and flower packages, gamesPros: The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry and brought that culinary experience to the hotel, giving guests farm-to-table dining, curated wine lists, in-room wine programs, and pairing dinners.Cons: The inn is a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville on remote mountain roads, so you'll have to factor a rental car into your trip.This romantic bed and breakfast is a true hidden gem that sits largely under the radar in Asheville. Located right off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, it's just 20 minutes from downtown, positioned on 100 acres of hilly landscapes that make it feel as if you're staying in a national park.There are 12 guest rooms in the cedar and stone-trimmed main house, with a separate Sassafras Cabin, all of which underwent a recent head-to-toe renovation. Rooms are airy and bright, welcoming sunlight through tall windows, plus light-colored walls, wood-burning fireplaces, balconies overlooking Reems Creek Valley, and soaking tubs with scenic Bullhead Mountain views.The owners spent a combined 25+ years in the wine industry, and brought that culinary knowledge to the inn through well-executed farm-to-table cuisine, curated wine lists, food pairings, as well as wine of the month and wine and dine packages that add value for serious oenophiles. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Omni Grove Park Inn Sprawling grounds feel regal and are exceedingly beautiful. Tripadvisor Book The Omni Grove Park InnCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Grove ParkTypical starting/peak prices: $239/$1,049Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, business travelers, families On-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, fitness room, pools, spa, meeting rooms, sports complex, outdoor center, golf course, tennis courts, food foraging experiencesPros: Perfect for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this romantic hotel guarantees five-star service, a renowned subterranean spa, and an iconic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset from its restaurant, Sunset Terrace.Cons: As this is a luxury property, expect to pay premium prices for everything.Few resorts can say they've hosted 10 US presidents and every celebrity you can think of, from Gene Hackman and Helen Carter to Nick Carter and Barack Obama, but The Omni Grove Park Inn is one of them. Additionally, this historic resort, which opened in 1913 is famous for being a World War II internment camp for German diplomats, and served as the hotel and inspiration of choice for author F. Scott Fitzgerald over the course of two summers. Five-star service is unparalleled, with an exterior resembling a majestic stone palace that appears as if it's built right into the mountains. Overlooking 300 acres of hills, woodlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel also sits on a Donald Ross-designed championship golf course.From its famous terrace viewpoint, wander down the stone steps to the subterranean spa (it's so popular that you have to book six or eight weeks in advance to get an appointment) and discover hidden waterfalls along the way. Be sure to drink a glass of wine by one of two huge lobby fireplaces, and look up to see original light fixtures from the first day it opened.You'll likely pinch yourself watching the sunset over the mountains from dinner at Sunset Terrace. It's such an iconic view that, whether you stay at the Omni or not, everyone will ask if you saw it.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Asheville, NC hotels What is the best area to stay in Asheville?Asheville is a revered food and drink destination and staying in downtown Asheville puts you within walking distance from many award-winning restaurants and breweries.If you're only in town to visit Biltmore Estate, you could stay in Biltmore Village, which is right across the street from the estate entrance, or at the Biltmore itself. Biltmore Village and Downtown Asheville are the two main attraction areas in Asheville and, luckily for visitors, they are only a 10-minute drive apart.Don't worry about not having a car; Uber and Lyft are everywhere in Asheville's popular areas, and it's easy to catch one to get to and from each. When is the best time of year to visit Asheville?Ask the locals, and they'll tell you there's no such thing as a "low season" in Asheville anymore. As such, the best time of year to visit Asheville is anytime. The award-winning restaurant and brewery scene is always available and the famous Biltmore Estate is a top attraction.If you're planning a fall visit, Asheville's 100+ deciduous trees give it one of the nation's longest fall foliage seaons, making it truly spectacular to visit in September and October. At this time of year, the leaves start to change along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, apple-picking season is in full swing, and temperatures drop to the 40s and 50s.Prices get slightly cheaper in January and February when snow and ice make driving in the mountains less appealing, and in March when it's cold and rainy. What are COVID-19 protocols in Asheville?Asheville has been very proactive about COVID-19 risk since the beginning of the pandemic, and stores, restaurants, and businesses strictly enforce local mandates. Currently, there are no restrictions on capacity and social distancing in restaurants, bars, and meeting spaces. Masks are required in all indoor locations in Buncombe County based on advice from medical experts and scientists. What is the best hotel in Asheville?I believe that The Omni Grove Park Inn is by far the best hotel in Asheville. It feels like staying in a palace built into the mountain, right on a championship golf course, with five-star service, a subterranean spa, and unbelievable views of 300+ acres of rolling green hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Staying here is the ultimate getaway, whether you're on your honeymoon, planning a girls spa weekend, or looking for a memorable place to spend the holidays. But with rooms hitting peak prices at $1,049 a night, it might not be an option for everyone. However, Asheville is filled with a range of wonderful boutique properties and larger hotels. For the best boutique hotel in Asheville, stay at the Abbington Green, an England-inspired bed and breakfast in the Montford Historic District with large and modern King rooms, daily breakfast, social hours, and beautiful English gardens.For the best hotels in downtown Asheville, the Kimpton Hotel Arras is a dog-friendly hotel right on Pack Square with beautiful and spacious rooms. And across from Grove Arcade, the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville offers stylish loft-style rooms with panoramic mountain views, Bluetooth bathroom mirrors, and a terrific terrace restaurant serving authentic Cuban food. What is better in Asheville—a boutique inn or bed and breakfast, or a larger hotel or resort?Both options are wonderful, and the one you choose depends on what your group needs or prefers. Boutique inns or bed and breakfasts are usually in historic residential neighborhoods and offer a cozy and comfortable feel of staying in someone's house. They typically have between six and 16 rooms, so if you're traveling with a small or mid-sized group, you could even rent the entire property.A larger hotel comes with more amenities and usually a more central location within walking distance of great restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, and entertainment. There are also no age restrictions at larger hotels in Asheville, while most bed and breakfasts don't allow children under the age of 12 so as not to disturb other guests. What is the most romantic hotel in Asheville?With its beautiful stone building, iconic views, luxury service, and intimate feel, there is nowhere more romantic in Asheville than The Omni Grove Park Inn. Make your honeymoon extra special by booking a couples massage at the spa, ordering a tasty steak dinner and a bottle of wine at Sunset Terrace, book a Premium Club Floor Room on the adults-only Club Floor, and end each night with a drink by the lobby fireplace. What is the best hotel for families in Asheville?Village Hotel in Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill Village is great for families. Its basic Village Room starts at $170 and comes with two double beds. If you need more room, upgrade to the Village Double with Living Room, which starts at $320 per night and comes with a bedroom with two double beds, a separate living room with a couch, two twin sleeper sofas, and two full bathrooms.The location is also a huge benefit for families as it is steps away from family-friendly restaurants, the Farmyard petting zoo, 20+ miles of easy nature trails, falconry, and the Biltmore Gardens Railway, which has model trains that kids will love.How cheap or expensive is it to plan a trip to Asheville?Asheville is definitely a top tourist destination in the United States, so prices are constantly rising. That said, there is so much to do and see in Asheville, from hiking, biking, and kayaking to award-winning restaurants, breweries, and the Biltmore. These activities run from free or cheap to quite expensive. Hotels and resorts also run the gamut from $128 to $1,049 per night, and there are also tons of Airbnbs at a variety of price points. If you'd prefer one, we rounded up the best vacation rentals in Asheville as well. How we selected the best hotels in Asheville I chose the properties on this list based on my own deep knowledge of Asheville, supplemented by the research points listed below. I extensively researched and visited each hotel and selected properties with excellent recent reviews and ratings of 4 or higher on trusted traveler sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com.All properties offer a variety of accommodation types, from boutique bed and breakfasts to brand-name hotels and luxury resorts.They range in starting price from $128 to $1,049 per night to suit a range of budgets. Hotels are located in Asheville's top neighborhoods and historic districts, and are near popular restaurants, breweries, shops, and attractions.All hotels offer COVID-19 safety policies, which we've linked for each property, or provided contact information where you can find out more. More of the best hotels on the East Coast Tripadvisor The best hotels in BostonThe best hotels in New York CityThe best hotels in PhiladelphiaThe best hotels in Washington, DCThe best hotels in Ocean City, MarylandThe best hotels on Hilton Head IslandThe best hotels in Myrtle BeachThe best hotels in CharlestonThe best hotels in SavannahThe best hotels on Tybee IslandThe best hotels in Florida Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags

Brandon Smith: Organizing Patriots In The Face Of Government Informants And False Flags Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, There is a simple fact that must be understood when it comes to the fight for liberty: Such a fight cannot be won by lone individuals. Freedom requires organized resistance and it does not matter how many millions of people stand against an authoritarian regime, if they are completely isolated from each other they WILL lose. It’s a guarantee. This is why a considerable portion of establishment money, energy and propaganda is directed at defusing or sabotaging any semblance of conservative organization. This includes engineering false flag events and creating potential terror attacks from thin air so that they can be blamed on constitutionally minded groups. The strategy is called “4th Generation Warfare” and it is not conspiracy theory, this is conspiracy fact. For example, as we now know according to court documentation, the supposed scheme by a Michigan “militia” made up of anarchists to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and “try her as a tyrant” was heavily infiltrated by at least a dozen FBI agents and informants. The group was so infiltrated, in fact, that the entire plot for the kidnapping was essentially planned out by the FBI. This is the very definition of a false flag. The corruption and entrapment involved in the operation was so egregious that even the leftist media has reported on it. I recall a very similar situation occurred during the Malheur incident when Ammon Bundy (son of Cliven Bundy) and a group of patriots decided to annex the wildlife refuge and its obscure ranger buildings as a launching point for a revolution. Though I was a supporter of the efforts at Bundy Ranch, I was vehemently against Malheur because the whole situation seemed grossly suspect. The strategy made no sense, the rationale made no sense, the site of the standoff made no sense and the public optics were terrible. It was an anti-Bundy Ranch; a situation in which all of the dynamics were in favor of the feds and against the liberty movement. And, not surprisingly, Malhuer had also been influenced and in some cases was arranged by federal informants and agents. These people were whispering in the ear of Ammon Bundy the entire time while the FBI authorized them to commit criminal acts. There were so many paid employees of the FBI at Malheur that jurors decided to drop all charges against most of the defendants involved. And what about the latest “J6” rally in Washington DC, which was planned by a virtually unknown former Trump aid and was quickly exposed as a potential “honeypot” designed to lure in conservatives? The army of plain clothes undercover feds was so prevalent that riot cops accidentally arrested an armed FBI agent thinking he was a protester. Now, there are many people in the alternative media that are breathing a sigh of relief that almost no one showed up for the J6 protest or “fell into the trap”. In fact, there were far more reporters and feds there than actual activists. However, I think we need to look at the bigger picture of why the government is staging such events in the first place, and it’s not just to entrap a few conservatives . If you think about it, the entire strategy is high cost/minimum reward if we only look at it in terms of actual arrests. If the idea is to catch and prosecute patriots, then they could infiltrate groups and engineer criminal actions for decades and achieve little to nothing. Obviously, this is not the purpose of informants. Rather, the strategy is not to invade groups unnoticed; the strategy is to BE NOTICED, to make sure the whole of the liberty movement believe that if they ever try to organize in any way the feds will be there to set them up. In other words, the primary goal of the FBI is to instill paranoia and fear among patriots and ensure they never effectively organize to resist. When we cheer the “failure” of J6, we need to keep in mind that the establishment does not care. Getting people to show up was not their main intent; making people afraid to show up for any other events in the future is what they want. The issue presents a Catch-22. If conservatives organize there is the chance that some groups will be infiltrated or set up and used to make the entire movement look bad. If we don’t organize, then we have lost the fight. It will be over before it even truly begins (and no, the real fight has not started yet). So what is the solution? I think it’s odd but maybe not surprising that the standoff at Bundy Ranch has been memory-holed by the media and is rarely mentioned even among conservative activists these days. Yet, it was probably one of the most successful patriot actions in the past couple of decades. There are a number of reasons for this: 1) The action was spontaneous, not pre-planned and was in response to criminal activity by the FBI (including assaulting women that were protesting and the use of sniper positions to surround the Bundy property similar to Ruby Ridge). The movement took action to remedy a government trespass rather than creating a standoff out of nothing. 2) There was no single person in charge. Groups showed up from all over the country; some of them squared away and some of them screw-ups. This might sound like a bad thing, but in terms of rebellion it is often better to avoid streamlined top-down leadership. Frankly, I am usually suspicious of anyone that tries to anoint themselves the “leader” of the liberty movement or the sole leader of a protest action. Cult of personality is the most useless thing I can think of when it comes to battling tyranny, and top-down leadership can be easily manipulated or controlled. 3) Because of the decentralized nature of the response to Bundy Ranch, the feds had no way to influence or predict the outcome, and they really hate that. Without informants in key positions, the feds did not have the ability to adapt to the quickly changing circumstances. Contrast this with Malheur, where the feds were basically in control from the very beginning. The site itself was so isolated and ill conceived that the FBI was able to dictate every movement of patriots in and out of the area. It was pointless for any militia to occupy it, but it was a great spot for the feds. 4) Patriots arrived at Bundy Ranch peacefully, but with the will to fight if necessary. The Bundy Ranch response had a clear objective – To stop the FBI from harming the Bundy family and to retrieve the stolen cattle if possible. Both of these objectives were accomplished and with no shots fired. A complete success. The group was motivated and unified by the objective, NOT a singular leadership. Without a clear objective there is no purpose to any action. It is important to understand the difference between a Lexington Bridge moment and a Fort Sumter moment – During Lexington Bridge, the revolutionaries took action to stop a British detachment from arresting colonial leaders and confiscating rifles and powder stores. The British were in the midst of an undeniable attempt to disarm and snuff out the resistance. At Fort Sumter, the Confederate attack was in response to an attempted resupply of the fort itself; which made sense strategically but looked like an act of pure aggression to the wider public. The concept of states rights (more prominent in the minds of the confederates than the issue of slavery) fell by the wayside. Eventually tyranny has to put boots on the ground. A totalitarian system can function for a time on color of law and implied threats, but it will crumble unless it is able to establish a physical presence of force. Once those jackboots touch soil in a visible way and the agents of the state try to expand oppressive measures, rebels then have a free hand to disrupt them or bring them down. But this only works if there are objectives and enough decentralization to prevent misdirection of the movement. Some organization is essential. It cannot be avoided. All the “Gray Men” and secret squirrel preppers out there that think they are going to simply weather the storm in isolation and pop out of their bug-out locations to rebuild are suffering from serious delusions. I can’t help but think of that moment in ‘Lord Of The Rings’ when the Ents refuse to organize to fight against the invading orcs. Pippen suggests to Merry that the problem is too big for them and that they should go back to the Shire to wait out the war. Merry laments: “The fires of Isengard will spread. And the woods of Tuckborough and Buckland will burn. And all that was once green and good in this world will be gone. There won’t be a Shire, Pippin.” If this fight is not pursued now, there will be no world worth coming back to, even if one was able to successfully hide from it. There will be a “new world order” as the globalists like to call it. There will be nothing left of freedom. So, organization must be accomplished, and it should be built at the local level. This is far more important than any dreams of a national organization, at least for now. There is no one we can trust to lead such a nationwide revolt, and that includes political leaders like Donald Trump. Will federal intrusions happen? Of course, but at the local level it is much easier to vet people according to their behaviors and root out bad actors. Hold your local meetings to discuss current events and create a place for people to network and get to know each other. Talk to local businesses or your county sheriff to see where they stand on issues like the vaccine passports and Biden mandates. Put things in motion now or you will regret it later when your community is completely disjointed and paralyzed by fear during crisis or government subjugation. And, what about the first guy at your meetings that starts talking about building bombs, drafting “kill lists” or kidnapping governors? Kick his ass out promptly and make sure everyone knows why you did it. Most likely he is a fed or he is on an informant payroll. As our national composure breaks down and the manure hits the fan, fed informants and agents will suddenly disappear from these groups without a trace. They are not going to stick around for what happens next; the government doesn’t pay them enough for that. And knowing who the patriots are will not help the federal government if the patriots are organized to defend themselves. This is the reality which they do not want us to wake up to. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt1 hr. 15 min. ago

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt17 hr. 2 min. ago

Meet the female truckers making six-figures driving 80,000 pound vehicles across the country. The industry wants to recruit more of them.

The trucking industry anticipates a shortage of 100,000 drivers by 2023, and many recruiters are hoping women will take the wheel. Ingrid Brown and her truck, named "Miss Faith." Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration When Ingrid Brown started driving trucks 41 years ago, she only knew 5 other female truckers. Now, companies are recruiting thousands of women drivers with bonuses and scholarships amid the labor shortage. Carla Holmes quit her management job to drive long-haul with her husband - married 'teams' can make over $200,000. See more stories on Insider's business page. The Ingrid R. Brown Petro truck stop sits off the side of Oklahoma City's interstate highway, across the street from a Greyhound bus station, a Waffle House, and a beige stucco motel. After 42 years of driving trucks through 48 states and counting, Ingrid Brown chose this remote shopping center to be named in her honor after winning a prestigious award from the trucking community. "I had to," Brown said. "I didn't know what else I could give back to these people for what they had given me, and how they affected my life." One year prior, Brown and 21 other truckers drove from Michigan to Oklahoma to deliver supplies and food to families impacted by deadly wildfires. There, Brown transported materials to an 85-year-old farmer whose wife was in the hospital for smoke inhalation. They had lost half their livestock as hundreds of acres burned, but Brown said they never complained once.Meeting people like the couple in Oklahoma is why Brown has continued driving all these years, even as a grandmother of six, she told Insider. "I have met some people in the most itty bitty tiny towns that I could pick the phone up, and I can tell you that they're my friends today," Brown said. Now, she wants other women to feel empowered to do the same. Brown isn't the only one with that goal in mind - the trucking industry anticipates a shortage of 100,000 drivers by 2023, and many recruiters are hoping women will fill the empty seats. "My steering wheel doesn't know the gender that holds it, and it really doesn't care," she said. "It's just always been labeled the man's world and always been labeled a man's job." When Brown first started driving, she knew five female truckers in the entire country. They became close-knit, planning meet-ups on the road and at truck stops whenever they could. While many female drivers experience sexism and harassment, Brown said she's never experienced discrimination on the job. Now, over 200,000 long-haul truck drivers are women, approximately 6.7% of the industry. Trucking companies and retailers, facing a dire shortage of drivers, are now actively looking to recruit more women to the field.While the cost of truck driving schools can range from $3,500 to $10,000, some companies and states like New York and Oregon are offering incentives or waived tuition for women drivers. According to Brown, the best way to attract more women drivers is to avoid sugarcoating the trucker lifestyle and tell women the truth. "You're going to miss birthdays, you're going to miss loved ones, you're going to miss things happening in life," she said. "They just need to know the truth about it. Recruiters seem to paint pretty pictures." Carla Michelle Holmes, a 42-year-old mother from Yuma, Arizona, started driving long-haul with her husband last November. He began transporting oversized equipment two years ago. After much debate, Holmes decided to join him in the truck during her two-week vacation from working at a local methadone clinic. "After the two weeks were over and it was time for me to go home, I didn't really want to go home," Homes told Insider. "I wanted to stay in the truck."Over the next three months, Holmes began training for her commercial driver's license with funding from an "Arizona at Work" scholarship while she continued working part-time. As she befriended the few other women in the program, Holmes said she quickly realized many of the men weren't taking them seriously - despite the fact that they were outperforming them on exams. "It was funny because the school I went to, you get three attempts to pass, and the majority of the time, the guys would fail their first attempt," she said. "And yet the females would pass on their first try." Holmes told Insider that while many of the men trainees made "frustrating" remarks, she learned to tune them out in order to focus on studying."I'm not here to listen to whatever you have to say … I'm planning on passing my test," she said.Holmes represents the ideal candidate for truck recruiters as companies across the country offer incentives for husband-wife driving teams. Pairs can drive twice as long as solo truckers - while one drives, the other rests. The BIA group is currently offering a $10,000 bonus for team drivers, specifically advertised toward married couples. The average US Express driver team makes a combined total of $200,000, on top of a $30,000 bonus, according to the company website. Meantime, a group of bipartisan senators this year re-introduced legislation to reduce barriers for prospective women truckers. The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act would establish a board to increase outreach, mentorship and training programs."Two years ago if someone told me I was going to be driving a truck, I would have told them you're crazy," Brown said. "Now, I tell women all the time ... 'you can totally do this.'"Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-lastRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

The Island of Death: Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Global Water Resources (GWRS) to Buy Las Quintas Serenas

Global Water Resources (GWRS) is set to further expand operations in Pima County, AZ through the acquisition of Las Quintas Serenas Water Company. Global Water Resources, Inc. GWRS announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Las Quintas Serenas Water Company, located near Tucson in Pima County, AZ. This acquisition will enhance the company’s service area by 2.5 square miles and add new 1,100 water service connections to the existing customer base.The Las Quintas Serenas Water acquisition is expected to close next month, subject to regulatory approval. The close proximity of the acquired assets to its existing operations in the region will allow the company to extend high-quality water services to new customers.Global Water Resources has plans to make the necessary investments in the acquired Las Quintas Serenas Water Company assets. The company is going to convert read meters to smart meters. Global Water Resources has been expanding its footprint in the Pima County through acquisitions. The acquisition of Las Quintas Serenas will be its sixth acquisition in Pima County.Fragmented Water IndustryPer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, more than 53,000 community water systems and 16,000 wastewater systems in the United States are providing water solutions to customers. This highly fragmented industry creates operational challenges, as a major portion of the existing water infrastructure in the United States is approaching the end of effective service life. At times, it becomes quite difficult for small service providers to make investments to upgrade the infrastructure.Consolidation Can Lead to Investment in Water SpaceConsolidation can provide a solution to this fragmented and aging water and wastewater infrastructure of the United States. Large water utilities with deep pockets can make the necessary investments, and provide high-quality water and wastewater services to customers. A substantial portion of potable water is wasted every day in the United States due to pipeline breaks. Timely repairs and investments can stop this wastage.American Water Works AWK is quite active in making acquisitions to expand operations and make the necessary investments to upgrade the acquired property. American Water Works has plans to invest $10.4 billion in the 2021-2025 time period and $22-$25 billion in the next decade. From the start of the year till Aug 1, the company expanded the customer base by 11,200 through organic means and acquisitions. On Sep 22, American Water Works’ California unit acquired the privately-held East Pasadena Water Company. California American Water, through this acquisition, will be providing water services to 3,000 homes and businesses in the region.Likewise, another water utility, Essential Utilities WTRG has not only expanded water and wastewater operations through acquisitions but also ventured into the natural gas distribution business through the acquisition of Peoples. It completed the acquisition of the wastewater system of the Village of Bourbonnais on Sep 14, 2021, which added 6,500 customers. The company plans to invest $3 billion through 2023 to fortify water and natural gas operations as well as efficiently serve the expanding customer base.California Water Service CWT has decided to invest in the range of $270-$300 million in 2021 and expand operations through strategic acquisitions. In August, the company received regulatory approval to acquire the water and wastewater systems serving the Preserve at Millerton.Price PerformanceShares of Global Water Resources have outperformed the industry in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankThe company currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report California Water Service Group (CWT): Free Stock Analysis Report Global Water Resources, Inc. (GWRS): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

The Five Most Popular ASIC Miners for Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin mining is becoming one of the most lucrative and innovative sectors of the global economy. According to data, at the height of the current bull run in April 2021, cryptocurrency mining has generated $3 billion in revenue, which means that crypto miners earned $100,000,000 in profit every day on the average. Q2 2021 hedge […] Bitcoin mining is becoming one of the most lucrative and innovative sectors of the global economy. According to data, at the height of the current bull run in April 2021, cryptocurrency mining has generated $3 billion in revenue, which means that crypto miners earned $100,000,000 in profit every day on the average. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Just 5 years ago, the average daily revenue of the crypto mining industry circulated at around $1 million. In a very short time, this number has increased by almost 10,000%, making cryptocurrency mining one of the most rapidly booming markets in the world. But as it became extremely profitable, it has also become very competitive, and choosing cutting-edge Bitcoin mining hardware is now more important than ever. All Bitcoin mining is now done using ASICs - specialised Bitcoin mining hardware housed in thermally-controlled data centres with access to cheap power. ASICs are the next step in the development of crypto mining after CPUs, GPUs, and FPGAs: they are able to accomplish the same thing in a much more efficient and profitable way. The days when anybody could successfully mine cryptocurrency at home on their PCs are long gone. Whether you're mining Bitcoin, Litecoin, DASH, or a variety of other digital currencies, an ASIC miner is the most effective method to mine crypto. Because of the rapidly increasing profitability of cryptocurrency mining enterprises, the worldwide crypto mining hardware industry is anticipated to expand to more than USD 2.80 billion between 2020 and 2024. There are many reasons why the crypto mining sector is expanding so quickly: the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency by retailers, massive investments made by large semiconductor companies in mining-specific hardware, and the increasing demand for equipment manufactured in China. These trends will further add to the growth of the cryptocurrency mining hardware market size in the near future, which will also increase the competitiveness of crypto mining. Fortunately, choosing the best crypto mining hardware will allow you to become a lucrative Bitcoin miner. By reading this article you'll be able to discover the advantages and disadvantages of the five most popular ASIC mining machines on the market. Because so many individuals and businesses are entering the crypto mining ecosystem, ASICs are now in high demand and they have become quite expensive. When purchasing an ASIC, the most important thing to consider is its efficiency - the number of BTC that can be generated per day minus costs such as electricity bills and mining pool fees. Picking an efficient ASIC will help you receive a return on your initial investment as soon as possible. For best efficiency, a top-quality PSU (power supply) is usually required in addition to the AIC unit. We've listed the current pricing, hash rate, and power usage of each device to help you make your decision. We evaluate the best bitcoin mining ASIC devices based on reputation, functionality, the convenience of usage, and other factors. While we have extensively discussed different ASICs in this article, the question you may face, where to buy these from. Among the available options, we have seen CoinMiningDirect, a distributor of affordable and efficient crypto mining hardware based in Sweden (with a warehouse in the US), offering a variety of powerful Bitcoin mining machines. If you decide to purchase any of the ASICs listed below, CoinMiningDirect may be the preferable option as it claims to ensure maximally reliability as they work on the mission to make mining devices accessible to average people. We also found their promised fast delivery to be worth going for. Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro (110TH/s) Specifications Cost: $9,799.95 – $12,999. Power usage: 3,250W Hash power: 110TH/sec While its availability is limited and the initial costs can be quite prohibitive, the Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro is definitely one of the most sophisticated ASICs available on the market, and will be an excellent choice of Bitcoin mining hardware, assuming that you have good access to a source of cheap electricity. The S19 achieves a decent mix between power and cost, and if you can afford it the S19 Pro model will be able to turn out an even more impressive 115 TH/s. If your goal is to mine any cryptocurrency you prefer at optimum efficiency regardless of the cost of initial investment, Bitmain Antminer will be the right choice for you. The Antminer S19 Pro with the hash power of 115TH/sec is by far the most advanced model, but Antminer S19, Antminer S17, Antminer T1, Antminer S9 and Antminer S17 Pro are also worth considering if you're looking for something slightly more affordable. The S19 Pro is set up in the same way as the S19, which means that it's very easy to configure and maintain. Antminer's MinerLink GUI is exceptionally simple, and all you'll need to do to configure the ASIC is to type in your mining pool credentials. However, it's important to note that the only available connection method for Antminer S19 Pro is Ethernet. The device starts working automatically after it is powered up, which might be helpful if you expect power outages to happen. Given the current situation on the crypto market, Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro can generate a profit of approximately 2,000$ a year. Check out the Bitmain Antminer S19 Pro here Canaan AvalonMiner 1246 Specifications Power uage: 3.43KW Hash Power: 90Th/sec Cost: $4,000-$5,300 Canaan was one of the first companies to produce ASIC miners for commercial use, and over the years it has established a solid market presence and great reputation proving their expertise in the field of crypto mining. Canaan's flagship model is the AvalonMiner 1246. With the throughput of 90 TH/s, AvalonMiner 1246 can be compared to the Bitmain Antminer S19 and the Whatsminer M30S. One of the downsides of the AvalonMiner 1246 is its price. It costs around $5,500, which is significantly more than Bitmain and MicroBT's offerings. Fortunately, if you have access to an affordable source of electricity, you will easily make profit with the Canaan AvalonMiner 1246. With the median price of energy in the USA, at $0.12/kWh, AvalonMiner 1246 would enable you to repay your initial investment in just two years. If you're looking for a profitable ASIC which doesn't consume tons of energy, AvalonMiner 1246 will be perfect for you as it only uses 3420W. It's also much quieter in operation compared to the WhatsMiner M30S and the Antminer S19. Pay attention to the fact that the AvalonMiner 1246 functions best between -5°C and 35°C (23°F to 95°F). The temperature range is wider and more similar to the WhatsMiner M30S than the AntMiner S19 series. Checkout Canaaan AvalonMiner 1246 here Whatsminer M3OS++ Specifications Power usage: 3.472KW Hash power: 112Th/sec Cost: $9,900 – $14,000 WhatsMiner M30S++ is considered a direct competitor to the Antminer's S19 Pro because it can generate a very similar 112 TH/s throughput. However, WhatsMiner M30S++ is substantially cheaper than the Antminer S19 Pro - on MicroBT's online store, you can purchase one for only $3,250. With the median power prices in the US, the M30S++ will allow you to make $3,611 while spending around $3,600 a year on electricity. Just like the older WhatsMiner M30, the WhatsMiner M30S++ consumes 3472W and operates at a 38 J/TH efficiency. The best efficiency is achieved between -5°C and 35°C (23°F to 95°F). The M30S machines are smaller and less energy consuming than the Antminers, but they have slightly less hash power than their Antminer counterparts. They also use more electricity and convert it to terahashes less efficiently. Despite this, in the long term MicroBT's WhatsMiner can provide higher hashing power per dollar invested. Another advantage of WhatsMiner ASICs is the fact that they are much easier to obtain than Antminers. Overall, the WhatsMiner M30S series is an outstanding Bitcoin miner - it can provide hashing power that rivals Antminers with a much smaller initial investment required. Check out the Whatsminer M3OS++ here AvalanMiner 1166 Pro Specifications Power usage: 3.4KW Hash power: 81 TH/sec Cost: $2,200-$2,850 The AvalonMiner A1166 Pro is massively popular because it provides high hash rate and small power consumption at a very low price. The AvalonMiner 1166 Pro has a maximum hash rate of 81TH/s, and consumes 3276W of electricity. Not only is the device itself relatively cheap, but it also has one of the most efficient rate of converting electricity to hashpower, overall making it one of the most economical ASIC choices on the market. Profitability of the AvalonMiner A1166 Pro is estimated to be $2.77 per day, $83.10 per month, and $1,011.05 per year with current energy and crypto prices, which clearly makes the A1166 Pro one of the most lucrative ASICs. Since it's also relatively cheap, it will be a great choice for new miners who want to join the crypto mining community and are looking for their first cryptocurrency mining hardware. Sadly, Canaan seems to have cut some corners to keep it inexpensive, because just 180 days of guarantee are provided. Furthermore, if you want to purchase the Avalon Miner A1166 Pro straight from the manufacturer, you must order at least five machines. The set of five A1166 Pros would produce 405 TH/s and generate around 115 dollars a day. Please note that the noise produced by the Antminer A1166 Pro is very high compared to other ASICs, which make many crypto mining experts consider it more suited for industrial crypto mining than small scale cryptocurrency mining operations. Check out the AvalaanMiner 1166 pro here Ebang EBIT E11++ Specifications Power usage: 2KW Hash power: 44 TH/sec Cost: $2,024 Ebang Ebit E11++ generates a maximum hashrate of 44TH/s while consuming 1.98KW of power and includes a power supply unit. It's a great ASIC for people who want a less energy consuming device, even at a cost of lower hashrate than that provided by the competition. If you live in an area with high energy prices, the Ebang Ebit E11++ might be the best option for you. The included power supply is very efficient, and it also utilises a separate heat sink with state-of-the-art bonds, which can provide an excellent rate of heat dissipation. Unfortunately, like many cheaper ASICs, the Ebang Ebit E11++ model is also very loud. The device's noise level is 75db, which means that it's not really suitable in a home context for miners wanting to install their mining appliances where they live. The E11++ model is constructed on a 10nm chipset with a one-year guarantee (half a year for the entire machine, one for the controller). The relatively short guarantee period is also something typical to less expensive ASICs. The Ebang Ebit E11++ was launched in 2018 and is still profitable today - the current profit ratio is estimated to be 78%, and the annual return is 77% of the initial investment. The performance and results are satisfactory to crypto miners who want an affordable ASIC with relatively low energy consumption - but when it comes to pure hashrate efficiency, the E11++ is much less attractive than more expensive ASICs such as the AvalonMiner A1166 Pro Check out Ebang EBIT E11++ here Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 10:09 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: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

More companies are pledging "net-zero" emissions to fight climate change - here"s what that really means

It doesn't equal zero emissions. The "net" caveat allows them to keep producing carbon and offset their emissions elsewhere. Companies are increasingly under pressure from governments, activists, and investors to cut down on emissions. Pixabay Companies and countries are pledging "net-zero emissions," but that doesn't mean they went carbon-free. They can switch partially to clean energy and offset the rest by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or eliminating emissions elsewhere. Critics argue that "carbon credits" - like planting trees or funding sustainability initiatives abroad - allow companies to continue emitting carbon without penalty. See more stories on Insider's business page. You'll probably hear the term "net-zero emissions" a lot over the coming weeks as government leaders and CEOs, under pressure, talk about how they'll reduce their countries' or businesses' impact on climate change. Amazon, for example, just announced that more than 200 companies have now joined its Climate Pledge, committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2040.But what does net-zero emissions actually mean?"Zero emissions" - without the "net" caveat - means emitting no greenhouse gases."Net-zero emissions" has more wiggle room. It's like balancing a checkbook. The country or company cuts most of its emissions through efficiency and clean energy, then offsets the rest by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or eliminating emissions elsewhere.For example, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air, so they're often considered "negative emissions." The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan can claim net-zero emissions because almost all of its electricity comes from hydropower, and its forests sequester about three times more carbon than its vehicles, factories and other human activities emit.Companies have another way to claim net-zero emissions - they can take advantage of carbon reductions elsewhere by buying carbon credits. For example, a US company might pay to protect forests in South America and then subtract those trees' negative emissions from its own emissions to say that its operations are "net-zero." Other carbon credits support sustainable development projects, such as installing wind or solar power in poorer countries.But counting on carbon credits also draws criticism, because it allows those companies to keep generating greenhouse gases. Other concerns are that some projects would happen anyway, the emissions reductions might not be permanent or even verifiable, or they might get double-counted by more than one entity. Some projects, like tree planting, can take years to pay off in emissions reductions while the companies buying forest offsets continue emitting greenhouse gases.Why does net-zero emissions matter?Greenhouse gases trap heat near Earth's surface. When their concentrations get too high, they fuel global warming.In 2015, countries around the world agreed to limit global warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) compared with preindustrial times, with a goal of 1.5 C (2.7 F). To keep warming under 1.5 C with the least disruption, the United Nations says the world needs to be on a path to reach net-zero emissions by about 2050. To put those temperatures into perspective, global warming today is just over 1 C (1.8 F) above preindustrial levels, and rising seas and extreme weather are already a problem.Several countries, including the United States, have pledged to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. But when the UN analyzed each country's commitments under the Paris Agreement in mid-September, it found they still fall short by so much that even if every pledge is met, temperatures will rise about 2.7 C (4.86 F) this century.How a company gets to net-zero emissionsTo see how a company might get to net-zero emissions, let's imagine a hypothetical company, ChipCo, that makes, packages and distributes potato chips. ChipCo purchases electricity from a local utility to run machinery at its factory. It also has boilers to generate steam to heat the building and for some production processes. And it uses delivery trucks to transport its products to customers. Each step generates greenhouse gas emissions.To achieve net-zero emissions, ChipCo's first step is to ramp up energy efficiency. Improvements in insulation and equipment can reduce the amount of energy needed or wasted. A simple example is switching out incandescent light bulbs that use 60 watts of energy with LED bulbs that give off the same brightness, yet consume only 8 watts.The second step is to switch from fossil fuels - the leading source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions - to renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, that doesn't produce greenhouse gas emissions. Once the company's electricity is renewable, using electric delivery vehicles further cuts emissions.Homes and office buildings can also be built to net-zero, or carbon-neutral, standards. In that case, the focus is on making them extremely energy-efficient and relying on heating and electricity from clean energy sources.ChipCo's third step is finding negative emissions. It might be too expensive or not yet technologically possible for it to replace its steam boiler with a carbon-neutral product. Instead, ChipCo might purchase carbon credits that would remove the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere that would be generated by the boiler.Companies are increasingly under pressure from governments, activists and their customers, as well as some powerful investors, to cut their emissions.To tell if a company is taking its responsibilities seriously, look for its action plan and performance so far. A company that announces a net-zero target of 2030 can't wait until 2029 to take action. There needs to be a consistent trajectory of improvements in energy efficiency and clean energy, not just promises and carbon offsets.Amrou Awaysheh, assistant professor of operations management and executive director, Business Sustainability Lab, Indiana University Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Plant-based menu items are infiltrating fast food - and meat-eaters are all over them

From Impossible Whoppers to McPlants, plant-based fast food items are a thing - and far more meat-eaters than vegans or vegetarians are ordering them. Drew Angerer/Getty Images As plant-based items infiltrate fast food, chains offer everything from Impossible Whoppers to McPlants. But while only 15% of self-identified vegans or vegetarians have tried plant-based fast food, 40% of meat-eaters have. If plant-based foods can rival the taste and cost of meat, a Beyond Meat spokesperson told Insider, "we think very few consumers wouldn't opt for that." See more stories on Insider's business page. Fast-food giants might be the last you'd expect to cater to plant-based eaters. Their businesses are centered around the very antithesis of vegan food: animal-based meat and dairy, made fast and made cheap. But over the last few years, fast-food joints have been making a concerted effort to add meat-free, plant-based, and vegan options to their menus. But the people actually opting for those menu items may surprise you.Carl's Jr. has the Beyond Famous Star burger made with Beyond Meat. Burger King offers its Impossible Whopper, made with the infamous "bleeding" Impossible Foods' beef-like patty. Del Taco has the Beyond Avocado Taco, and now a host of other vegan and vegetarian options. Even cheap-beef juggernaut McDonald's is in the plant-burger game with its recently released Beyond Meat-based, all-vegan McPlant burger, kicking off in the United Kingdom. And these are just to name a few. Meat-eaters are, by a large lead, dabbling in plant-based fast food options. Nearly 40% of meat-eaters have tried a meat substitute at a fast-food chain, while only 15% of self-identified vegans or vegetarians have, according to new research from analyst firm Piplsay. "Over the past few years, the fake-meat phenomenon has gone from being a highly speculative curiosity to an in-demand food item, available not just in grocery stores but also dished out over the counters of popular fast-food chains across the country," says the research summary from Piplsay. "From burgers and sandwiches to tacos and pizzas, a wide range of meatless alternatives is available to customers today, many of whom are opting for them for health, environmental, or ethical reasons." Irene Jiang / Business Insider Meat-eating Americans are increasingly motivated to swap animal products for plant-based doppelgangers for a number of reasons, the top being perceived health benefits, followed by the environment. Meeting the increasing demand for meat and dairy alternatives, and driving it, requires meeting meat-eaters where they are - like at the counters and drive-throughs of familiar fast-food restaurants. These chains know meat; they don't know meat substitutes, which is why they often turn to the pure-play brands - basically, ones that focus on one specific niche, like plant-based items - that are eager to have fast-food companies as part of their channel. They've already done the legwork to establish a brand presence and become known as legitimate replacements that actually taste good, something critically important to the discerning meat-eater or flexitarian. "If we can make plant-based meat taste just as delicious, be better for you and ultimately get the price to be below that of animal protein, we think very few consumers wouldn't opt for that," a Beyond Meat spokesperson told Insider. "Our mission is to make our products as accessible as possible and our QSR partners are a critical part of that strategy." Beyond Meat has been delivering on its promise of accessibility. The company, according to its market research partner SPINS, is the top-selling plant-based meat brand across the US in total food service and sells in more than 80 countries. Beyond Meat's competitor, Impossible Foods, also has a major food-service presence, with its most notable fast-food partnership with Burger King. Patties of Beyond Meat Inc.'s plant-based burger Beyond Burger are cooked on a skillet on November 19, 2020 in Katwijk, Netherlands. Photo by Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images Eat Just, a top egg-replacement maker with its Just Egg product, is also continuing to partner with fast-food restaurants to meet what it says is a growing demand - especially by millennials and Gen Z, based on research from Mintel. "Consumers are looking for plant-based options at fast-food operators, and [they're] enjoying their experience once they try it," Alexandra Dallago, a spokesperson for Eat Just, told Insider. Dallago noted that 70% of consumers say they liked their experience, according to more data from the aforementioned Piplsay survey. "We are seeing that meat-eaters [and] flexitarians are interested in trying these options and [their] appeal goes far beyond meatless consumers," Dallago said. "We'll continue to see more innovation in plant-based offerings as demand grows and plant-based becomes more mainstream." Eat Just said, for example, for example, its "Everything Plant-Based Sandwich" is the top-selling hot menu item at popular nationwide chain Peet's Coffee. It's also the third across all product categories, including beverage. "The sandwich is selling at three times what was initially forecasted, earning it a permanent menu placement," Dallago said. "It also drives new incremental customers, typically younger, into Peet's locations. High appeal with younger customers because it's an exciting, fully plant-based offering." McDonald's and Beyond Meat offered a plant-based burger in Canada. McDonald's Ricky Borja, a casino executive based in California, falls into the 15% of vegans or vegetarians who have tried plant-based options at mainstream fast food chains. He's tried vegan items from Burger King, Carl's Jr., and Del Taco, and sees why the plant-based offerings are appealing in large to meat-eaters. "People that eat meat know that it's not really good for you, so they see the option and think, 'Oh, it's not meat or an animal product, it must be healthier or better for you,'" Borja said. "Or they think about the environment, and are motivated to give a plant-based option a try."Borja also said he's not surprised that vegans and vegetarians are in smaller numbers eating plant-based fast food from mainstream chains. "Most vegans and vegetarians have already found their own means of eating, and found alternatives already, so they are not gravitating towards these places," Borja said, adding that some vegans really don't want to support corporations that still profit from animal exploitation and thus don't align with their own values. KFC Beyond Chicken John Amis / ASSOCIATED PRESS There's also the issue of cross-contamination, as many staunch vegans or vegetarians don't like the idea of their plant-based burger being potentially cooked on the same grill as meat - although many fast-food operators have said accommodation can be made to ensure no cross-contamination. Despite the vegan population being up 300% since 2004, the group still only makes up 3% of the overall US population, with vegetarians making up 5%. However, there is more cohesive research needed to accurately measure changing food preferences and capture those who are "plant-based," a term typically used to define someone who eats mostly plant-based food, but may periodically eat meat or dairy. It can also be used to identify someone who may not eat any animal products, but isn't necessarily motivated by animal ethics (which may also drive other lifestyle choices) - a defining principle of veganism. By far, the largest opportunity for plant-based food adoption currently lies in the hands, and mouths, of meat-eaters. It reasons that fast-food chains, and the brands that are keystone to their plant-based offerings, continue to forge a symbiotic relationship, even though what they each represent may seem at odds.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Make the Most of Soaring Natural Gas Prices with These 5 Plays

Soaring energy prices and cheap valuations make this group attractive. Natural gas prices have been rising this year. The reason, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a warmer-than-usual summer that boosted electricity consumption for air conditioning, increased liquid natural gas (LNG) exports and flat production, which in combination led to a lower inventory build for the winter. The fact that hurricane Ida disrupted production in August also didn’t help.The other contributing factor was that natural gas prices typically rise in times of economic expansion, because of its use in the commercial sector, as well as processing in several industrial segments like chemicals, fertilizers, paper and glass. And we know how rapidly the economy has turned around.It’s now expected that prices will remain elevated through the winter because of the low inventories and increased demand from consumer, commercial and industrial users. And that is despite electric power consumption dropping an estimated 8.3% this year as the sector shifts some consumption to coal (the usual fallback when prices continue to rise). The electric power sector is the largest end-use case for natural gas, and it’s highly sensitive to prices. Less elastic demand comes from things like lease and plant fuel, pipeline and distribution use, and vehicle use and these segments are likely to see steady growth through 2022.The EIA estimates that despite increased production, natural gas inventories will be 5% below the 5-year average at the end of the 2021 injection season (October-end). Next year, demand from electricity suppliers will fall further, as additional clean energy sources come online.Important NumbersHenry Hub spot prices in August were $1.77 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) higher than in August 2020.U.S. consumption of natural gas will average 82.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2021, down 0.9% from 2020, remaining more or less steady at 82.6 Bcf/d in 2022.Residential and commercial natural gas consumption combined will rise by 1.2 Bcf/d, industrial consumption will rise by 0.6 Bcf/d and the electric power sector’s consumption will drop by 2.7 Bcf/d, or 8.3% in 2021.Dry natural gas production will average 92.7 Bcf/d in the U.S. during 2H21—up from 91.7 Bcf/d in 1H21—and then rise to 95.4 Bcf/d in 2022.U.S. natural gas inventories ended August 2021 at about 2.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf); inventories will end the 2021 injection season (end of October) at almost 3.6 Tcf, which would be 5% below the five-year average.LNG ExportsSince the U.S. is more or less replete in natural gas resource, the domestic market is well-developed with consumption balancing production more often than not, leading to low and steady prices. But the last few years have seen increased recognition across the world of LNG as a clean fuel and countries like China have made it part of their clean energy strategy. The high demand in Europe and Asia has sent global prices soaring, which in turn has encouraged U.S. manufacturers to export. The expansion of the domestic LNG market is changing the operating dynamics with the potential for prices to rise and stay higher in the future (because of increased international demand).Most players are involved in both natural gas and crude operations, although there’s an increased focus on natural gas of late.Let’s consider a few cases-Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNGHouston, TX-based Cheniere Energy is primarily engaged in businesses related to liquefied natural gas (or LNG) through its two business segments: LNG terminal and LNG and natural gas marketing. The company, through its controlling interest in Cheniere Energy Partners L.P., owns and operates the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana – North America’s first large-scale liquefied gas export facility. Furthermore, Cheniere Energy owns and operates the 94-mile Creole Trail Pipeline – an interconnect between the Sabine Pass receiving terminal and the downstream markets – through its subsidiary.Cheniere Energy intends to construct up to six trains at Sabine Pass with each train expected to have a capacity of about 4.5 million tons per annum. While Trains 1, 2, 3 and 4 are functional; Train 5 is undergoing commissioning. Train 6 is being commercialized and has secured the necessary regulatory approvals.Cheniere Energy Partners is also developing a liquefaction and export terminal in Corpus Christi, TX. Train 1 commissioning is complete, Train 2 is under construction and Train 3 is commercialised with necessary approvals in place. The facility came online in 2019. Cheniere Energy intends to develop seven midscale liquefaction trains adjacent to the Corpus Christi Liquefaction facility (CCL). The company has initiated the regulatory approval process. The total production capacities for these trains are expected to be approximately 9.5 Mtpa.Additionally, Cheniere Energy is involved in LNG and natural gas marketing activities through its subsidiary, Cheniere Marketing LLC.Global LNG demand is likely to continue growing for the next few years. Cheniere Energy, the U.S.’s only listed LNG export pure play, foresees the fundamentals of LNG to be favorable in the long run, considering the secular shift to the cleaner burning fuel for power generation worldwide and in the Asia-Pacific region in particular. While the increasing demand for gas in the European power sector will be a key factor driving near-term LNG supply, longer-term consumption is set to come from Asian importers like China, India, South Korea and Pakistan.Being in the expansion phase of a capital-intensive business isn’t easy and the company has acquired a significant amount of debt. At the same time, its long-term contracts ensure steady cash flow and provide excellent visibility into the future.It’s therefore particularly encouraging that Cheniere’s expected earnings growth of 976.5% this year and 119.7% next year are significantly higher than its expected revenue growth of 46.4% and 13.6%. After a correction 30 days ago, its estimates are again on the rise.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and at 16.1X P/E, they’re trading below their median level over the past year. Definitely worth considering.Range Resources Corp. RRCBased in Fort Worth, TX, Range Resources is an independent oil and gas company engaged in the exploration, development and acquisition of oil and gas properties, primarily in the Appalachian Basin and North Louisiana. It is among the top 10 natural gas producers in the U.S. and is among the top NGL producers in the domestic market.The Appalachian Basin incorporates prolific acreages in Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian shale formations. In the Marcellus formation of the basin, it has a multi-decade inventory of premium drilling locations. Of the 3,100 undrilled wells in the region, 2,600 wells are liquids-rich and the rest have a natural gas predominance. Following the merger with Memorial Resource Development Corporation a few years back, Range Resources created a core acreage position in North Louisiana comprising 140,000 net acers with multiple formations of productive oil and natural gas.The company primarily sells its produced natural gas to midstream firms, utilities, marketing companies and industrial users. It also sells natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil.As of Dec 31, 2020, total proved reserves were 17.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe), almost flat year over year. Around 95% of the company’s total proved reserves are located in the Marcellus region. Of the total proved reserves, roughly 57% was developed.Despite its considerable liquid resources, the company has been focusing on natural gas production because of growing global demand for clean energy. In 2020, its total production averaged 2.23 million cubic feet equivalent per day, of which 69.4% was natural gas. A similar trend is seen this year.Range Resources’ revenue is expected to grow 38.9% in 2021 and 3.6% in 2022. Earnings are expected to increase 2000% and 45.5%, respectively in the two years. Estimates for both years have been rising steadily: the 2021 estimate increased 47.4% in the last 90 days while the 2022 estimate increased 93.0%.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). At 8.7X P/E, they’re trading below their median level over the past year, making them really cheap at these levels.Continental Resources, Inc. CLROklahoma City, OK-based Continental Resources is an explorer and producer of oil and natural gas. The company operates premium resources in the North Dakota Bakken and Montana Bakken (among the country’s largest onshore oilfields) in northern U.S., the SCOOP and STACK plays of Oklahoma in southern U.S. and undeveloped leasehold acreage in eastern U.S. It also has strategic water assets in Bakken and Oklahoma.Given its presence in prolific regions, the company expects oil equivalent production growth of 8-10% CAGR from 2019 to 2023 which is expected to translate to average annual free cash flow of $3.5-$4 billion over the five-year period.At the end of 2020, the company’s estimated proved reserves were 1,103.8 MMBoe. During 2020, the company produced 300,090 barrels of oil equivalent per day (Boe/d), lower than 340,395 Boe/d in the year-ago quarter. Of the total production, oil accounted for nearly 58.2%.The company’s 2021 revenue and earnings are currently expected to grow 101.9% and 436.8%, respectively. While analysts still expect 2022 growth to be negative, estimates for both years continue to increase substantially (from $2.35 to $3.94 in 2021 and from $1.97 to $3.68 in 2022). The stronger pricing this year is clearly driving the numbers.The shares of this Zacks Rank #1 company are currently trading at a P/S of 2.99X, which is between their median and high values over the past year, although much lower than the S&P 500. While not cheap, they can’t be considered expensive either.Goodrich Petroleum Corp. GDPHouston, Texas-based Goodrich Petroleum is an exploration and production company. It primarily holds interests in the Haynesville Shale Trend in northwest Louisiana and East Texas; Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Trend located in southwest Mississippi and southeast Louisiana; and the Eagle Ford Shale Trend in South Texas. The company owns interests in 189 producing oil and natural gas wells located in 37 fields in six states of the United States.As of December 31, 2020, it had estimated proved reserves of approximately 543 billion cubic feet equivalent, which included 540 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.5 million barrels of crude oil or other liquid hydrocarbons of oil and condensate.The company’s revenues are expected to grow 60.5% this year and another 22.4% in the next. Its earnings are expected to grow 1676.2% this year followed by 25.3% growth in the next. Estimates for both years are galloping ahead. In the past 90 days, they’ve gone from $2.17 to 3.73 for 2021 and from 2.74 to 4.67 for 2022.Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 stock currently trade at 4.9X P/E, which is below their median level over the past year, and of course much lower than the S&P. They’re a steal at these levels.Magnolia Oil & Gas Corp. MGYMagnolia Oil & Gas is an independent upstream operator engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. Headquartered in Houston, TX, the firm is focused on the high-quality Eagle Ford Shale and Austin Chalk formations in South Texas.In South Texas, Magnolia’s position consists of more than 460,000 net acres, of which around 23,500 net acres are located in the highly productive Karnes County and nearly 440,000 net acres in the re-emerging Giddings Field.At Dec 31, 2020, Magnolia's total estimated proved reserves were 49.3 million barrels ((MMBbls) of oil, 28.5 MMBbls of natural gas liquids (“NGL”) and 207.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, totaling 112.3 million barrels of oil-equivalent (MMboe) — 69% liquids, 76% developed.The company focuses on growth through a combination of acquisitions and active drilling. Since its inception in 2018, Magnolia has spent around 60% of operating cash flow on capital expenditures, 26% on acquisitions, 8% on stock buybacks, while preserving the remaining 6% as cash. In particular, Magnolia is focused on returning significant cash to its shareholders: it aims to repurchase 1% of its total scrips outstanding each quarter and introduce a semi-annual cash dividend in 2021.Given the COVID-related disruption in 2020, it’s understandable that revenue and earnings are expected to jump 88.7% and 10050% this year. But the 6.7% revenue growth and flattish earnings slated for the following year are particularly encouraging.The Zacks Rank #1 shares are trading cheap at 8.23X earnings (below median level of 12.09X over the past year). One-Month Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment Research More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Range Resources Corporation (RRC): Free Stock Analysis Report Cheniere Energy, Inc. (LNG): Free Stock Analysis Report Continental Resources, Inc. (CLR): Free Stock Analysis Report Goodrich Petroleum Corporation (GDP): Free Stock Analysis Report Magnolia Oil & Gas Corp (MGY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

How Houlihan Lawrence President and CEO Created a Brokerage Guided by Values

Elizabeth D. Nunan President and CEO, Houlihan Lawrence, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Rye Brook, New York www.houlihanlawrence.com Region served: Markets North of New York City, as well as Fairfield County, Connecticut Years in real estate: 30 Number of offices: 30 Number of agents: 1,335 Lesley Grand: Why is the […] The post How Houlihan Lawrence President and CEO Created a Brokerage Guided by Values appeared first on RISMedia. Elizabeth D. Nunan President and CEO, Houlihan Lawrence, a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Rye Brook, New York www.houlihanlawrence.com Region served: Markets North of New York City, as well as Fairfield County, Connecticut Years in real estate: 30 Number of offices: 30 Number of agents: 1,335 Lesley Grand: Why is the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) network a good fit for Houlihan Lawrence?  Elizabeth D. Nunan: We’ve been members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® a network of 550 firms that span over 70 countries—since the beginning. While the network is invitation only, members must follow a stringent set of criteria. For sellers, our membership in LeadingRE means that they get a steady stream of homebuyers interested in being with the brokerage. We’re also members of Luxury Portfolio International, the luxury marketing division of LeadingRE. While we handle all price points and homes that range from a one-bedroom co-op or condo to an entire estate located in the back country of Greenwich, Connecticut, it’s important to note that each exclusive property deserves the highest level of service. No matter who is buying or selling, our LeadingRE membership means that we’re able to give the ultimate in all aspects of service. LG: Please describe your management style.  EN: My role is to serve the agents and employees of our company, not the other way around. That being said, everything I do is guided by our core values: integrity, building, excellence, passion and community. I took on the role as president and CEO just as COVID hit, but my management style has been consistent throughout my career. I’d also like to add that authenticity is a guiding principle of mine. I do not ask anything of anyone that I wouldn’t do myself, and I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and do the work. I also like to focus on the positive and practice daily gratitude. This isn’t something I’ve always done, but it makes life easier for both me and those I work with. LG: How do you attract the best agents?  EN: While our company and office culture provide unrivaled support to all of our agents, we also have very experienced office leaders who are the best in the business. In addition, our reputation and integrity are second to none. For us, being a market leader means never standing still, so we’re constantly working to make sure we give the best tools to our agents so that they can give the best service to their buyers and sellers. Chief among them is an excellent tech suite. When I first became CEO, we went from being reliant on one vendor for all of our tech services to creating a best-in-class suite of tools. LG: What are your best strategies for agent retention?  EN: I work very hard at listening and being accessible. In fact, my agents know they can call, text or otherwise get a hold of me at all times. I want to hear from our agents and know how we can help them, so we invite them to weigh in during our monthly brain trust. Our agents inspire me every day, so the least I can do is be there for them. LG: What is the one thing you hope agents say about you?  EN: That I care. I want to make sure we are providing our agents the best tools to grow their business. When the shutdown occurred, I worried about our agents making a living because they are commission-based. As it turns out, many of our agents had their best year ever in 2020. For more information, please visit www.leadingre.com. Lesley Grand is a contributing editor to RISMedia. The post How Houlihan Lawrence President and CEO Created a Brokerage Guided by Values appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 23rd, 2021

American Water"s (AWK) California Unit Acquires Water Assets

American Water's (AWK) California American Water unit completes acquisition of East Pasadena Water Company, further expanding its operation in the region. American Water Works Company AWK recently announced that its subsidiary, California American Water, has acquired the privately held East Pasadena Water Company. California American Water, through this acquisition, will be providing water services to 3,000 homes and businesses in the region.The acquired assets are located near California American Water’s Los Angeles County operations center in Rosemead, CA, which will aid the company to extend its high-quality water services to new customers. The former East Pasadena Water customers will be eligible for new services such as conservation programs, MyWater, and other beneficial schemes offered by the company.California American Water also makes essential investments to upgrade and maintain its water and wastewater facilities in the region to efficiently serve its expanding customer base. Despite the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the company invested $68 million in system upgrades and various improvement projects. The company is expected to continue system upgrades projects in 2021 and over the long term.California American Water provides water and wastewater services to nearly 880,000 people. The company continues to expand operations through systematic acquisitions and has six acquisitions pending in its jurisdiction. The company makes strategic acquisitions to expand its operation and last year, in June, it acquired Hillview Water Company, which added nearly 1,500 new customers to its portfolio.Acquisition is Essential in Fragmented Water IndustryPer the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, more than 53,000 community water systems and 16,000 wastewater systems in the United States are providing water solutions to customers. This highly fragmented industry creates operational challenges as a major portion of existing water infrastructure in the United States is approaching toward the end of its effective service life. At times it becomes quite difficult for the small service providers to make costly investment to upgrade the infrastructure.There lies the need of consolidation in the water space, as large water utilities with deep pockets can make the necessary investment and provide high-quality water and wastewater services to the customers. A substantial portion of potable water is wasted every day in the United States due to pipeline breaks. Timely repairs and investments can stop this wastage.American Water is quite active in making acquisitions to expand operations and make the necessary investments to upgrade the acquired property. From the start of the year till Aug 1, the company expanded the customer base by 11,200 through organic means and acquisitions. Its pending acquisitions (as of Aug 1), when completed, will add another 86,900 customers. The company remains committed to expanding the business through inorganic and organic ways.Likewise, another water utility, Essential Utilities WTRG has not only expanded water and wastewater operations through acquisitions but also ventured into the natural gas distribution business through the acquisition of Peoples. Essential Utilities completed the acquisition of wastewater system of the Village of Bourbonnais on Sep 14, 2021, which added 6,500 customers. The company plans to invest $3 billion through 2023 to fortify water and natural gas operations as well as efficiently serve the expanding customer base.Another water utility, Global Water Resources, Inc. GWRS is taking the inorganic route to expand operations in the United States and making investments to upgrade its infrastructure.  It announced on Sep 22, 2021, that it has signed an agreement to acquire Las Quintas Serenas Water Company, which will add 1,100 water customers.California Water Service CWT has decided to invest in the range of $270-$300 million in 2021 and expand operations through strategic acquisitions. In August, the company received regulatory approval to acquire the water and wastewater systems serving the Preserve at Millerton.Price PerformanceShares of American Water have outperformed the industry in the past 12 months. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankThe company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.  More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report American Water Works Company, Inc. (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report California Water Service Group (CWT): Free Stock Analysis Report Global Water Resources, Inc. (GWRS): Free Stock Analysis Report Essential Utilities Inc. (WTRG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Futures Rise On Taper, Evergrande Optimism

Futures Rise On Taper, Evergrande Optimism US index futures jumped overnight even as the Fed confirmed that a November tapering was now guaranteed and would be completed by mid-2022 with one rate hike now on deck, while maintaining the possibility to extend stimulus if necessitated by the economy. Sentiment got an additional boost from a strong showing of Evergrande stock - which closed up 17% - during the Chinese session, which peaked just after Bloomberg reported that China told Evergrande to avoid a near-term dollar bond default and which suggested that the "government wants to avoid an imminent collapse of the developer" however that quickly reversed when the WSJ reported, just one hour later, that China was making preparations for Evergrande's demise, and although that hammered stocks, the report explicitly noted that a worst-case scenario for Evergrande would mean a partial or full nationalization as "local-level government agencies and state-owned enterprises have been instructed to step in only at the last minute should Evergrande fail to manage its affairs in an orderly fashion." In other words, both reports are bullish: either foreign creditors are made whole (no default) as per BBG or the situation deteriorates and Evergrande is nationalized ("SOEs step in") as per WSJ. According to Bloomberg, confidence is building that markets can ride out a pullback in Fed stimulus, unlike 2013 when the taper tantrum triggered large losses in bonds and equities. "Investors are betting that the economic and profit recovery will be strong enough to outweigh a reduction in asset purchases, while ultra-low rates will continue to support riskier assets even as concerns linger about contagion from China’s real-estate woes." That's one view: the other is that the Fed has so broken the market's discounting ability we won't know just how bad tapering will get until it actually begins. “The Fed has got to be pleased that their communication on the longer way to tapering has avoided the dreaded fear of the tantrum,” Jeffrey Rosenberg, senior portfolio manager for systematic fixed income at BlackRock Inc., said on Bloomberg Television. “This is a very good outcome for the Fed in terms of signaling their intent to give the market information well ahead of the tapering decision.” Then there is the question of Evergrande: “With regards to Evergrande, all those people who are waiting for a Lehman moment in China will probably have to wait another turn,” said Ken Peng, an investment strategist at Citi Private Bank Asia Pacific. “So I wouldn’t treat this as completely bad, but there are definitely a lot of risks on the horizon.” In any case, today's action is a continuation of the best day in two months for both the Dow and the S&P which staged a strong recovery from two-month lows hit earlier in the week, and as of 745am ET, S&P 500 E-minis were up 25.25 points, or 0.6%, Dow E-minis were up 202 points, or 0.59%, while Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 92.0 points, or 0.60%. In the premarket, electric vehicle startup Lucid Group rose 3.1% in U.S. premarket trading. PAVmed (PVM US) jumps 11% after its Lucid Diagnostics unit announced plans to list on the Global Market of the Nasdaq Stock Market.  Here are some of the biggest movers today: U.S.-listed Chinese stocks rise in premarket trading as fears of contagion from China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis ease. Blackberry (BB US) shares rise 8.7% in premarket after co.’s 2Q adjusted revenue beat the average of analysts’ estimates Eargo (EAR US) falls 57% in Thursday premarket after the hearing aid company revealed it was the target of a Justice Department criminal probe and withdrew its forecasts for the year Amplitude Healthcare Acquisition (AMHC US) doubled in U.S. premarket trading after the SPAC’s shareholders approved the previously announced business combination with Jasper Therapeutics Steelcase (SCS US) fell 4.8% Wednesday postmarket after the office products company reported revenue for the second quarter that missed the average analyst estimate Vertex Energy Inc. (VTNR US) gained 2.1% premarket after saying the planned acquisition of a refinery in Mobile, Alabama from Royal DutVTNR US Equitych Shell Plc is on schedule Synlogic (SYBX US) shares declined 9.7% premarket after it launched a stock offering launched without disclosing a size HB Fuller (FUL US) climbed 2.7% in postmarket trading after third quarter sales beat even the highest analyst estimate Europe's Stoxx 600 index rose 0.9%, lifted by carmakers, tech stocks and utilities, which helped it recover losses sparked earlier in the week by concerns about Evergrande and China’s crackdown on its property sector. The gauge held its gain after surveys of purchasing managers showed business activity in the euro area lost momentum and slowed broadly in September after demand peaked over the summer and supply-chain bottlenecks hurt services and manufacturers. Euro Area Composite PMI (September, Flash): 56.1, consensus 58.5, last 59.0. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (September, Flash): 58.7, consensus 60.3, last 61.4. Euro Area Services PMI (September, Flash): 56.3, consensus 58.5, last 59.0. Germany Composite PMI (September, Flash): 55.3, consensus 59.2, last 60.0. France Composite PMI (September, Flash): 55.1, consensus 55.7, last 55.9. UK Composite PMI (September, Flash): 54.1, consensus 54.6, last 54.8. Commenting on Europe's PMIs, Goldman said that the Euro area composite PMI declined by 2.9pt to 56.1 in September, well below consensus expectations. The softening was broad-based across countries but primarily led by Germany. The peripheral composite flash PMI also weakened significantly in September but remain very high by historical standards (-2.4pt to 57.5). Across sectors, the September composite decline was also broad-based, with manufacturing output softening (-3.3pt to 55.6) to a similar extent as services (-2.7pt to 56.3). Supply-side issues and upward cost and price pressures continued to be widely reported. Expectations of future output growth declined by less than spot output on the back of delta variant worries and supply issues, remaining far above historically average levels. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for the first time in four sessions, as Hong Kong helped lead a rally on hopes that troubled property firm China Evergrande Group will make progress on debt repayment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.5%, with Tencent and Meituan providing the biggest boosts. The Hang Seng jumped as much as 2.5%, led by real estate stocks as Evergrande surged more than 30%. Hong Kong shares later pared their gains. Asian markets were also cheered by gains in U.S. stocks overnight even as the Federal Reserve said it may begin scaling back stimulus this year. A $17 billion net liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China also provided a lift, while the Fed and Bank of Japan downplayed Evergrande risks in comments accompanying policy decisions Wednesday. Evergrande’s stock closed 18% higher in Hong Kong, in a delayed reaction to news a unit of the developer had negotiated interest payments on yuan notes. A coupon payment on its 2022 dollar bond is due on Thursday “Investors are perhaps reassessing the tail risk of a disorderly fallout from Evergrande’s credit issues,” said Chetan Seth, a strategist at Nomura. “However, I am not sure if the fundamental issue around its sustainable deleveraging has been addressed. I suspect markets will likely remain quite volatile until we have some definite direction from authorities on the eventual resolution of Evergrande’s debt problems.” Stocks rose in most markets, with Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and India also among the day’s big winners. South Korea’s benchmark was the lone decliner, while Japan was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were off session lows, with the 10Y trading a 1.34%, but remained under pressure in early U.S. session led by intermediate sectors, where 5Y yield touched highest since July 2. Wednesday’s dramatic yield-curve flattening move unleashed by Fed communications continued, compressing 5s30s spread to 93.8bp, lowest since May 2020. UK 10-year yield climbed 3.4bp to session high 0.833% following BOE rate decision (7-2 vote to keep bond-buying target unchanged); bunds outperformed slightly. Peripheral spreads tighten with long-end Italy outperforming. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an earlier gain and dropped 0.3% as the dollar weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen amid a more positive sentiment. CAD, NOK and SEK are the strongest performers in G-10, JPY the laggard.  The euro and the pound briefly pared gains after weaker-than-forecast German and British PMIs. The pound rebounded from an eight-month low amid a return of global risk appetite as investors assessed whether the Bank of England will follow the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone later Thursday. The yield differential between 10-year German and Italian debt narrowed to its tightest since April. Norway’s krone advanced after Norges Bank raised its policy rate in line with expectations and signaled a faster pace of tightening over the coming years. The franc whipsawed as the Swiss National Bank kept its policy rate and deposit rate at record lows, as expected, and reiterated its pledge to wage currency market interventions. The yen fell as a unit of China Evergrande said it had reached an agreement with bond holders over an interest payment, reducing demand for haven assets. Turkey’s lira slumped toa record low against the dollar after the central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates. In commodities, crude futures drifted lower after a rangebound Asia session. WTI was 0.25% lower, trading near $72; Brent dips into the red, so far holding above $76. Spot gold adds $3.5, gentle reversing Asia’s losses to trade near $1,771/oz. Base metals are well bid with LME aluminum leading gains. Bitcoin steadied just below $44,000. Looking at the day ahead, we get the weekly initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for August, and the Kansas City fed’s manufacturing activity index for September. From central banks, there’ll be a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England, while the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin and the ECB’s Elderson will also speak. From emerging markets, there’ll also be monetary policy decisions from the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank. Finally in Germany, there’s an election debate with the lead candidates from the Bundestag parties. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,413.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 468.32 MXAP up 0.5% to 200.57 MXAPJ up 0.9% to 645.76 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 1.2% to 24,510.98 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,642.22 Sensex up 1.4% to 59,728.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.0% to 7,370.22 Kospi down 0.4% to 3,127.58 German 10Y yield fell 5.6 bps to -0.306% Euro up 0.4% to $1.1728 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $76.39/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,768.25 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.33% to 93.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Financial regulators in Beijing issued a broad set of instructions to China Evergrande Group, telling the embattled developer to focus on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors while avoiding a near-term default on dollar bonds China’s central bank net-injected the most short- term liquidity in eight months into the financial system, with markets roiled by concerns over China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis Europe’s worst energy crisis in decades could drag deep into the cold months as Russia is unlikely to boost shipments until at least November Business activity in the euro area “markedly” lost momentum in September after demand peaked over the summer and supply chain bottlenecks hurt both services and manufacturers. Surveys of purchasing managers by IHS Markit showed growth in both sectors slowing more than expected, bringing overall activity to a five-month low. Input costs, meanwhile, surged to the highest in 21 years, according to the report The U.K. private sector had its weakest month since the height of the winter lockdown and inflation pressures escalated in September, adding to evidence that the recovery is running into significant headwinds, IHS Markit said The U.K.’s record- breaking debut green bond sale has given debt chief Robert Stheeman conviction on the benefits of an environmental borrowing program. The 10 billion-pound ($13.7 billion) deal this week was the biggest-ever ethical bond sale and the country is already planning another offering next month A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquaw Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as the region took its cue from the gains in US with the improved global sentiment spurred by some easing of Evergrande concerns and with stocks also unfazed by the marginally more hawkish than anticipated FOMC announcement (detailed above). ASX 200 (+1.0%) was underpinned by outperformance in the commodity-related sectors and strength in defensives, which have more than atoned for the losses in tech and financials, as well as helped markets overlook the record daily COVID-19 infections in Victoria state. Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) were also positive after another respectable liquidity operation by the PBoC and with some relief in Evergrande shares which saw early gains of more than 30% after recent reports suggested a potential restructuring by China’s government and with the Co. Chairman noting that the top priority is to help wealth investors redeem their products, although the majority of the Evergrande gains were then pared and unit China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle fully retraced the initial double-digit advances. KOSPI (-0.5%) was the laggard as it played catch up to the recent losses on its first trading day of the week and amid concerns that COVID cases could surge following the holiday period, while Japanese markets were closed in observance of the Autumnal Equinox Day. China Pumps $17 Billion Into System Amid Evergrande Concerns China Stocks From Property to Tech Jump on Evergrande Respite Philippines Holds Key Rate to Spur Growth Amid Higher Prices Taiwan’s Trade Deal Application Sets Up Showdown With China Top Asian News European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.9%) trade on the front-foot and have extended gains since the cash open with the Stoxx 600 now higher on the week after Monday’s heavy losses. From a macro perspective, price action in Europe has been undeterred by a slowdown in Eurozone PMIs which saw the composite metric slip to 56.1 from 59.0 (exp. 58.5) with IHS Markit noting “an unwelcome combination of sharply slower economic growth and steeply rising prices.” Instead, stocks in the region have taken the cue from a firmer US and Asia-Pac handover with performance in Chinese markets aided by further liquidity injections by the PBoC. Some positivity has also been observed on the Evergrande front amid mounting expectations of a potential restructuring at the company. That said, at the time of writing, it remains unclear what the company’s intentions are for repaying its USD 83.5mln onshore coupon payment. Note, ING highlights that “missing that payment today would still leave a 30-day grace period before this is registered as a default”. The most recent reports via WSJ indicate that Chinese authorities are asking local governments to begin preparations for the potential downfall of Evergrande; however, the article highlights that this is a last resort and Beijing is reluctant to step in. Nonetheless, this article has taken the shine off the mornings risk appetite, though we do remain firmer on the session. Stateside, as the dust settles on yesterday’s FOMC announcement, futures are firmer with outperformance in the RTY (+0.8% vs. ES +0.7%). Sectors in Europe are higher across the board with outperformance in Tech and Autos with the latter aided by gains in Faurecia (+4.6%) who sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 after making an unsurprising cut to its guidance, which will at least provide some clarity on the Co.’s near-term future; in sympathy, Valeo (+6.6) is also a notable gainer in the region. To the downside, Entain (+2.6%) sit at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after recent strong gains with the latest newsflow surrounding the Co. noting that MGM Resorts is considering different methods to acquire control of the BetMGM online gambling business JV, following the DraftKings offer for Entain, according to sources. The agreement between Entain and MGM gives MGM the ability to block any deal with competing businesses; MGM officials believe this grants the leverage to take full control of BetMGM without spending much. Top European News BOE Confronts Rising Prices, Slower Growth: Decision Guide La Banque Postale Eyes Retail, Asset Management M&A in Europe Activist Bluebell Raises Pressure on Glaxo CEO Walmsley Norway Delivers Rate Lift-Off With Next Hike Set for December In FX, not much bang for the Buck even though the FOMC matched the most hawkish market expectations and Fed chair Powell arguably went further by concluding in the post-meeting press conference that substantial progress on the lagging labour front is all but done. Hence, assuming the economy remains on course, tapering could start as soon as November and be completed my the middle of 2022, though he continued to play down tightening prospects irrespective of the more hawkish trajectory implied by the latest SEP dot plots that are now skewed towards at least one hike next year and a cumulative seven over the forecast horizon. However, the Greenback only managed to grind out marginally higher highs overnight, with the index reaching 93.526 vs 93.517 at best yesterday before retreating quite sharply and quickly to 93.138 in advance of jobless claims and Markit’s flash PMIs. CAD/NZD/AUD - The Loonie is leading the comeback charge in major circles and only partially assisted by WTI keeping a firm bid mostly beyond Usd 72/brl, and Usd/Cad may remain contained within 1.2796-50 ahead of Canadian retail sales given decent option expiry interest nearby and protecting the downside (1 bn between 1.2650-65 and 2.7 bn from 1.2620-00). Meanwhile, the Kiwi has secured a firmer grip on the 0.7000 handle to test 0.7050 pre-NZ trade and the Aussie is looking much more comfortable beyond 0.7250 amidst signs of improvement in the flash PMIs, albeit with the services and composite headline indices still some way short of the 50.0 mark. NOK/GBP/EUR/CHF - All firmer, and the Norwegian Crown outperforming following confirmation of the start of rate normalisation by the Norges Bank that also underscored another 25 bp hike in December and further tightening via a loftier rate path. Eur/Nok encountered some support around 10.1000 for a while, but is now below, while the Pound has rebounded against the Dollar and Euro in the run up to the BoE at midday. Cable is back up around 1.3770 and Eur/Gbp circa 0.8580 as Eur/Usd hovers in the low 1.1700 area eyeing multiple and a couple of huge option expiries (at the 1.1700 strike in 4.1 bn, 1.1730 in 1 bn, 1.1745-55 totalling 2.7 bn and 1.8 bn from 1.1790-1.1800). Note, Eurozone and UK flash PMIs did not live up to their name, but hardly impacted. Elsewhere, the Franc is lagging either side of 0.9250 vs the Buck and 1.0835 against the Euro on the back of a dovish SNB Quarterly Review that retained a high Chf valuation and necessity to maintain NIRP, with only minor change in the ordering of the language surrounding intervention. JPY - The Yen is struggling to keep its head afloat of 110.00 vs the Greenback as Treasury yields rebound and risk sentiment remains bullish pre-Japanese CPI and in thinner trading conditions due to the Autumn Equinox holiday. In commodities, WTI and Brent have been choppy throughout the morning in-spite of the broadly constructive risk appetite. Benchmarks spent much of the morning in proximity to the unchanged mark but the most recent Evergrande developments, via WSJ, have dampened sentiment and sent WTI and Brent back into negative territory for the session and printing incremental fresh lows at the time of publication. Back to crude, newsflow has once again centred around energy ministry commentary with Iraq making clear that oil exports will continue to increase. Elsewhere, gas remains at the forefront of focus particularly in the UK/Europe but developments today have been somewhat incremental. On the subject, Citi writes that Asia and Europe Nat. Gas prices could reach USD 100/MMBtu of USD 580/BOE in the winter, under their tail-risk scenario. For metals, its very much a case of more of the same with base-metals supportive, albeit off-best given Evergrande, after a robust APAC session post-FOMC. Given the gas issues, desks highlight that some companies are being forced to suspend/reduce production of items such as steel in Asian/European markets, a narrative that could become pertinent for broader prices if the situation continues. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are both modestly firmer but remain well within the range of yesterday’s session and are yet to recovery from the pressure seen in wake of the FOMC. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 332,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.6m, prior 2.67m 8:30am: Aug. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.53 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 55.4 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Services PMI, est. 54.9, prior 55.1 9:45am: Sept. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 61.0, prior 61.1 11am: Sept. Kansas City Fed Manf. Activity, est. 25, prior 29 12pm: 2Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap My wife was at a parents event at school last night so I had to read three lots of bedtime stories just as the Fed were announcing their policy decision. Peppa Pig, Biff and Kipper, and somebody called Wonder Kid were interspersed with Powell’s press conference live on my phone. It’s fair to say the kids weren’t that impressed by the dot plot and just wanted to join them up. The twins (just turned 4) got their first reading book homework this week and it was a bit sad that one of them was deemed ready to have one with words whereas the other one only pictures. The latter was very upset and cried that his brother had words and he didn’t. That should create even more competitive tension! Back to the dots and yesterday’s Fed meeting was on the hawkish side in terms of the dots and also in terms of Powell’s confidence that the taper could be complete by mid-2022. Powell said that the Fed could begin tapering bond purchases as soon as the November FOMC meeting, in line with our US economists’ forecasts. He left some room for uncertainty, saying they would taper only “If the economy continues to progress broadly in line with expectations, and also the overall situation is appropriate for this.” However he made clear that “the timing and pace of the coming reduction in asset purchases will not be intended to carry a direct signal regarding the timing of interest rate liftoff.” The quarterly “dot plot” showed that the 18 FOMC officials were split on whether to start raising rates next year or not. In June, the median dot indicated no rate increases until 2023, but now 6 members see a 25bps raise next year and 3 members see two such hikes. Their inflation forecasts were also revised up and DB’s Matt Luzzetti writes in his FOMC review (link here) that “If inflation is at or below the Fed's current forecast next year of 2.3% core PCE, liftoff is likely to come in 2023, consistent with our view. However, if inflation proves to be higher with inflation expectations continuing to rise, the first rate increase could well migrate into 2022.” Markets took the overall meeting very much in its stride with the biggest impact probably being a yield curve flattening even if US 10yr Treasury yields traded in just over a 4bp range yesterday and finishing -2.2bps lower at 1.301%. The 5y30y curve flattened -6.7bps to 95.6bps, its flattest level since August 2020, while the 2y10y curve was -4.2bps flatter. So the market seems to believe the more hawkish the Fed gets the more likely they’ll control inflation and/or choke the recovery. The puzzle is that even if the dots are correct, real Fed funds should still be negative and very accommodative historically for all of the forecasting period. As such the market has a very dim view of the ability of the economy to withstand rate hikes or alternatively that the QE technicals are overpowering everything at the moment. In equities, the S&P 500 was up nearly +1.0% 15 minutes prior to the Fed, and then rallied a further 0.5% in the immediate aftermath before a late dip look it back to +0.95%. The late dip meant that the S&P still has not seen a 1% up day since July 23. The index’s rise was driven by cyclicals in particular with energy (+3.17%), semiconductors (-2.20%), and banks (+2.13%) leading the way. Asian markets are mostly trading higher this morning with the Hang Seng (+0.69%), Shanghai Comp (+0.58%), ASX (+1.03%) and India’s Nifty (+0.81%) all up. The Kospi (-0.36%) is trading lower though and is still catching up from the early week holidays. Japan’s markets are closed for a holiday today. Futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.25% while those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.49%. There is no new news on the Evergrande debt crisis however markets participants are likely to pay attention to whether the group is able to make interest rate payment on its 5 year dollar note today after the group had said yesterday that it resolved a domestic bond coupon by negotiations which was also due today. As we highlighted in our CoTD flash poll conducted earlier this week, market participants are not too worried about a wider fallout from the Evergrande crisis and even the Hang Seng Properties index is up +3.93% this morning and is largely back at the levels before the big Monday sell-off of -6.69%. Overnight we have received flash PMIs for Australia which improved as parts of the country have eased the coronavirus restrictions. The services reading came in at 44.9 (vs. 42.9 last month) and the manufacturing print was even stronger at 57.3 (vs. 52.0 last month). Japan’s flash PMIs will be out tomorrow due to today’s holiday. Ahead of the Fed, markets had continued to rebound from their declines earlier in the week, with Europe’s STOXX 600 gaining +0.99% to narrowly put the index in positive territory for the week. This continues the theme of a relative outperformance among European equities compared to the US, with the STOXX 600 having outpaced the S&P 500 for 5 consecutive sessions now, though obviously by a slim margin yesterday. Sovereign bonds in Europe also posted gains, with yields on 10yr bunds (-0.7bps), OATs (-1.0bps) and BTPs (-3.2bps) all moving lower. Furthermore, there was another tightening in peripheral spreads, with the gap in Italian 10yr yields over bunds falling to 98.8bps yesterday, less than half a basis point away from its tightest level since early April. Moving to fiscal and with Democrats seemingly unable to pass the $3.5 trillion Biden budget plan by Monday, when the House is set to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Republican leadership is calling on their members to vote against the bipartisan bill in hopes of delaying the process further. While the there is still a high likelihood the measure will eventually get passed, time is becoming a factor. Congress now has just over a week to get a government funding bill through both chambers of congress as well as raise the debt ceiling by next month. Republicans have told Democrats to do the latter in a partisan manner and include it in the reconciliation process which could mean that a significant portion of the Biden economic agenda – mostly encapsulated in the $3.5 trillion over 10 year budget – may have to be cut down to get the entire Democratic caucus on board. Looking ahead, an event to watch out for today will be the Bank of England’s policy decision at 12:00 London time, where our economists write (link here) that they expect no change in the policy settings. However, they do expect a reaffirmation of the BoE’s updated forward guidance that some tightening will be needed over the next few years to keep inflation in check, even if it’s too early to expect a further hawkish pivot at this stage. Staying on the UK, two further energy suppliers (Avro Energy and Green Supplier) ceased trading yesterday amidst the surge in gas prices, with the two supplying 2.9% of domestic customers between them. We have actually seen a modest fall in European natural gas prices over the last couple of days, with the benchmark future down -4.81% since its close on Monday, although it’s worth noting that still leaves them up +75.90% since the start of August alone. There wasn’t much data to speak of yesterday, though US existing home sales fell to an annualised rate of 5.88 in August (vs. 5.89m expected). Separately, the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area unexpectedly rose to -4.0 in September (vs. -5.9 expected). To the day ahead now, the data highlights include the September flash PMIs from around the world, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for August, and the Kansas City fed’s manufacturing activity index for September. From central banks, there’ll be a monetary policy decision from the Bank of England, while the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin and the ECB’s Elderson will also speak. From emerging markets, there’ll also be monetary policy decisions from the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank. Finally in Germany, there’s an election debate with the lead candidates from the Bundestag parties. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Investments That Could Help The World

Philanthropic investing may or may not appeal due to the idea of it being entirely selfless, but it can, in fact, bring in a return other than a fuzzy feeling. There are many examples of cause investing, including: mission-related investing, programme-related investing, environmental, social and governance investing, impact investing, sustainable investing, and socially responsible investing. […] Philanthropic investing may or may not appeal due to the idea of it being entirely selfless, but it can, in fact, bring in a return other than a fuzzy feeling. There are many examples of cause investing, including: mission-related investing, programme-related investing, environmental, social and governance investing, impact investing, sustainable investing, and socially responsible investing. Their investing strategies and purposes can overlap, and you can see a return on practices, products, or services that a charity can offer. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger 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); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Your money will also contribute to society in a way that offers a positive impact, in turn offering good favour from consumers to turn to your business. It gives you a chance to make a real change with your money. Consider these options when looking for somewhere to put your money. Environmental Investment Environmental investment can be really simple if you want it to be. It is a form of investing that focuses on companies that support or provide environmentally friendly products or services. Or you can invest in whatever you want but look at a company’s environmental impact before you commit. There are many options, from clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and cleaning the oceans. Medical Investment With technology making enormous strides in the past few years, medicine is also making massive strides alongside it. Investing in medical technology or drugs will gain a substantial return when patients need the treatment you’ve been backing. When items like mind-controlled prosthetic limbs and the DynaVox EyeMax System come to be implemented in every home of a patient who needs it, you will want to be behind it. Driverless cars have the advantage of empowering disabled users but also being appealing to the wider population. Medical charities like the British Medical Association are always looking for aid, with foundations popping up all over the country to aid in every ailment. Investor Tej Kohli has created foundations in prosthetics and corneal blindness, whereas OrbiMed is the most active medical investor in the world. Social Investment Social investments can help charities and social enterprises overcome economic hurdles to continue aiding in their mission. Charities across the country are looking for cashflow, funds for expansion, or to develop a new business model, etc. Your money could help them keep chugging on, while aiding a movement you believe in. And there’s lots to choose from. Are you interested in aiding small businesses and startups? Paying for free school meals or food banks? Pro bono legal advice? Aiding homelessness? Invest in what lights a fire under your belly and you will never feel like your money is wasted. The distinction between social investment and donations is that you are getting something back for your money. The recyclable nature of a successful loan investment will be beneficial in a number of ways. Your company will enjoy the marketing rewards of aiding a cause, while possibly gaining a return on your money, like supporting small businesses can. You will also walk around with a warm glow knowing that your money made a difference. Updated on Sep 23, 2021, 10:11 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: valuewalkSep 23rd, 2021

Escobar: Eurasia Takes Shape, Part 1 - How The SCO Just Flipped The World Order

Escobar: Eurasia Takes Shape, Part 1 - How The SCO Just Flipped The World Order Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle, As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused on two key deliverables: shaping up Afghanistan and kicking off a full-spectrum Eurasian integration. The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership. Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.” Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).” In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century. That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.” Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South. Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar. With Iran's arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they're focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia. Watch that quadrilateral Dushanbe was not just a bed of roses. Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon, a staunch, secular Muslim and former member of the Communist Party of the USSR – in power for no less than 29 years, reelected for the 5th time in 2020 with 90 percent of the vote – right off the bat denounced the “medieval sharia” of Taliban 2.0 and said they had already “abandoned their previous promise to form an inclusive  government.” Rahmon, who has never been caught smiling on camera, was already in power when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. He was bound to publicly support his Tajik cousins against the “expansion of extremist ideology” in Afghanistan – which in fact worries all SCO member-states when it comes to smashing dodgy jihadi outfits of the ISIS-K mold . The meat of the matter in Dushanbe was in the bilaterals – and one quadrilateral. Take the bilateral between Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese FM Wang Yi. Jaishankar said that China should not view “its relations with India through the lens of a third country,” and took pains to stress that India “does not subscribe to any clash of civilizations theory.” That was quite a tough sell considering that the first in-person Quad summit takes place this week in Washington, DC, hosted by that “third country” which is now knee deep in clash-of-civilizations mode against China. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a bilateral roll, meeting the presidents of Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The official Pakistani diplomatic position is that Afghanistan should not be abandoned, but engaged. That position added nuance to what Russian Special Presidential Envoy for SCO Affairs Bakhtiyer Khakimov had explained about Kabul’s absence at the SCO table: “At this stage, all member states have an understanding that there are no reasons for an invitation until there is a legitimate, generally recognized government in Afghanistan.” And that, arguably, leads us to the key SCO meeting: a quadrilateral with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi affirmed: “We are monitoring whether all the groups are included in the government or not.” The heart of the matter is that, from now on, Islamabad coordinates the SCO strategy on Afghanistan, and will broker Taliban negotiations with senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara leaders. This will eventually lead the way towards an inclusive government regionally recognized by SCO member-nations. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was warmly received by all – especially after his forceful keynote speech, an Axis of Resistance classic. His bilateral with Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko revolved around a discussion on “sanctions confrontation.” According to Lukashenko: “If the sanctions did any harm to Belarus, Iran, other countries, it was only because we ourselves are to blame for this. We were not always negotiable, we did not always find the path we had to take under the pressure of sanctions.” Considering Tehran is fully briefed on Islamabad’s SCO role in terms of Afghanistan, there will be no need to deploy the Fatemiyoun brigade – informally known as the Afghan Hezbollah – to defend the Hazaras. Fatemiyoun was formed in 2012 and was instrumental in Syria in the fight against Daesh, especially in Palmyra. But if ISIS-K does not go away, that’s a completely different story. Particular important for SCO members Iran and India will be the future of Chabahar port. That remains India’s crypto-Silk Road gambit to connect it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The geoeconomic success of Chabahar more than ever depends on a stable Afghanistan – and this is where Tehran’s interests fully converge with Russia-China’s SCO drive. What the 2021 SCO Dushanbe Declaration spelled out about Afghanistan is quite revealing: 1. Afghanistan should be an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free of terrorism, war and drugs. 2. It is critical to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society. 3. SCO member states, emphasizing the significance of the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighboring countries to Afghan refugees, consider it important for the international community to make active efforts to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland. As much as it may sound like an impossible dream, this is the unified message of Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian “stans.” One hopes that Pakistani PM Imran Khan is up to the task and ready for his SCO close-up. That troubled Western peninsula The New Silk Roads were officially launched eight years ago by Xi Jinping, first in Astana – now Nur-Sultan – and then in Jakarta. This is how I reported it at the time. The announcement came close to a SCO summit – then in Bishkek. The SCO, widely dismissed in Washington and Brussels as a mere talk shop, was already surpassing its original mandate of fighting the “three evil forces” – terrorism, separatism and extremism – and encompassing politics and geoeconomics. In 2013, there was a Xi-Putin-Rouhani trilateral. Beijing expressed full support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program (remember, this was two years before the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the JCPOA). Despite many experts dismissing it at the time, there was indeed a common China-Russia-Iran front on Syria (Axis of Resistance in action). Xinjiang was being promoted as the key hub for the Eurasian Land Bridge. Pipelineistan was at the heart of the Chinese strategy – from Kazakhstan oil to Turkmenistan gas. Some people may even remember when Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was waxing lyrical about an American-propelled New Silk Road. Now compare it to Xi’s Multilateralism Manifesto in Dushanbe eight years later, reminiscing on how the SCO “has proved to be an excellent example of multilateralism in the 21stcentury,” and “has played an important role in enhancing the voice of developing countries.” The strategic importance of this SCO summit taking place right after the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok cannot be overstated enough. The EEF focuses of course on the Russian Far East – and essentially advances interconnectivity between Russia and Asia. It is an absolutely key hub of Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership. A cornucopia of deals is on the horizon – expanding from the Far East to the Arctic and the development of the Northern Sea Route, and involving everything from precious metals and green energy to digital sovereignty flowing through logistics corridors between Asia and Europe via Russia. As Putin hinted in his keynote speech, this is what the Greater Eurasia Partnership is all about: the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI, India’s initiative, ASEAN, and now the SCO, developing in a harmonized network, crucially operated by “sovereign decision-making centers.” So if the BRI proposes a very Taoist “community of shared future for human kind,” the Russian project, conceptually, proposes a dialogue of civilizations (already evoked by the Khatami years in Iran) and sovereign economic-political projects. They are, indeed, complementary. Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing this process in depth. His latest book remarkably tells the whole story in its title:  Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World. It’s not clear whether Eurocrats in Brussels – slaves of Atlanticism and incapable of grasping the potential of Greater Eurasia – will end up exercising real strategic autonomy. Diesen evokes in detail the parallels between the Russian and the Chinese strategies. He notes how China “is pursuing a three-pillared geoeconomic initiative by developing technological leadership via its China 2025 plan, new transportation corridors via its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, and establishing new financial instruments such as banks, payment systems and the internationalization of the yuan. Russia is similarly pursuing technological sovereignty, both in the digital sphere and beyond, as well as new transportation corridors such as the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic, and, primarily, new financial instruments.” The whole Global South, stunned by the accelerated collapse of the western Empire and its unilateral “rules-based order," now seems to be ready to embrace the new groove, fully displayed in Dushanbe: a multipolar Greater Eurasia of sovereign equals. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

The federal funds rate is the benchmark interest rate that affects borrowing costs across the US economy

The federal funds rate is the interest banks charge each other for overnight loans. Set by the Federal Reserve, it's a basis for other interest rates. While it technically applies only to banks, the federal funds rate impacts interest rates on a variety of loans and investments. Richard Drew/Associated Press Set by the Federal Reserve, the federal funds rate is the interest banks charge each other to borrow money overnight. Changes in the federal funds rate impact the interest rates on consumer loans, credit cards, and bank accounts. The federal funds rate is the key tool the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate or slow down the economy. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. The major mandate of the Federal Reserve - the central bank of the US - is to keep the nation's financial system solvent and manage its money supply (the amount of cash and readily available funds in circulation). It does this through a balancing act involving interest rates - specifically one called the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate ("fed funds rate," for short) is only used between banks; it's not an interest rate an individual can apply for or a financial account will earn. But it's a key benchmark. After the Fed sets it, the federal funds rate becomes the basis for interest charged on loans and credit card purchases, and the return offered by fixed-income investments, like bonds and annuities. The level of interest rates - how cheap or expensive it is to borrow money - affects business and consumer spending. So, through the federal funds rate, the Fed tries to keep the entire economy on course. Here's how it works, and the ways it can affect you.What is the federal funds rate?The federal funds rate, also known as the overnight rate, is the interest commercial banks charge when they lend money to one another for extremely short-term periods - literally, overnight. The Fed mandates this activity between banks to ensure they meet their reserve requirements. That is, it requires that each bank must maintain enough cash on hand, plus a reserve balance with the central bank, to cover a certain percentage of its deposits and other liabilities on every business day. These regulations are to make sure that a bank's account-holders always have ready access to their money. If banks are short on funds to maintain their reserve requirement, they borrow from another - at (or very close to) the fed funds rate.There are two types of federal funds rates:The federal funds effective rate is the weighted average of all the interest rates banks pay when they borrow from other banks in the country.The federal funds target rate is the rate set by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy-making body of the Federal Reserve, to serve as the guidepost by which banks charge each other. Made up of the Fed's Board of Governors and five regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, the FOMC meets at least eight times a year to decide the federal funds rate based on prevailing economic conditions.When people refer to the Fed "slashing the interest rate" or "raising interest rates," they usual mean the federal funds target rate.What is the current federal funds rate?On September 22, 2021, the Federal Reserve maintained the federal funds rate at a range of 0% to 0.25%. This remains unchanged from the first time the Fed lowered the benchmark rate to almost 0% on March 15, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fed funds rate averaged 5.59% from 1971 until 2020.How does the federal funds rate affect the economy?During its eight meetings a year, the FOMC can raise, lower, or keep the fed funds rate the same. But what motivates the committee to periodically change it? How does the Fed use it as an economy-adjusting tool?When it needs to stimulate economic growth - production, spending, expansion - the Fed lowers the fed funds rate. This move makes it cheaper for banks to borrow money and maintain their reserves. So these banks can then lend out their extra funds at lower financing costs, encouraging companies and individuals to take out loans to expand, invest, and buy things. It increases the money supply in the system, in technical terms.In contrast, when the Fed needs to slow down the economy - say, because prices are climbing too fast, causing rampant inflation - it raises the fed funds rate. To prevent their required reserve balance from going into the red, member banks have to pay more interest. They then raise their interest rates to clients, which tends to slow down any form of borrowing activity. When banks don't finance as much, the money supply contracts, and economic growth goes back to more sustainable levels. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!==a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var e in a.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-"+e)||document.querySelector("iframe[src*='"+e+"']");t&&(t.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][e]+"px")}}))}();How does the federal funds rate affect you?The federal funds rate is an interbank interest rate. But it has a ripple effect throughout people's financial lives, the interest they pay, and the money they earn. Among its effects:Prime rate: How the fed funds rate moves influences the movement of a number of interest rates, one of the most significant being the prime rate. The prime rate is the rate a bank can offer its best corporate or high-net-worth individual clients. Consumer loans and accounts: A shift in the prime rate influences consumer interest rates as well. When the prime rate rises or drops, you can expect a corresponding adjustment on the monthly charges of your personal loans, credit cards, and adjustable-rate mortgages. If they pay fluctuating interest, your bank accounts and CDs also earn more or less.US Treasuries and other bonds: Changes in the fed funds rate can be paralleled in the interest rates paid by newly issued Treasury notes and bonds. These in turn serve as a benchmark for corporate bond rates. Stocks: A decrease in the feds fund rate can send markets soaring, while an increase can push the markets to decline. Employment: When interest rates go down, it encourages consumers to buy more goods and services. In turn, this propels businesses to meet the demand by expanding production, hiring more workers, and raising wages.The financial takeawayThe federal funds rate is an important tool - the tool, some would say - the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate or slow down the economy. Not to mention, maintain the solvency and reliability of the nation's banks.Financial institutions, corporations, and individuals are all affected by the federal funds rate one way or another. There's not much you can do to alter the Fed's moves or even anticipate them, but it's good to understand how it can influence your daily life and finances. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the US - here's why it's so powerful and how it affects your financial lifeWhy the Federal Reserve uses contractionary monetary policy to curb the inflation that accompanies an overheating economyWhat is a bond? How to earn a steady stream of income by loaning money to a business or governmentWhat is inflation? Why the cost of goods rise over time and what it means for the value of your moneyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021