Macro Links Nov 14th – No Moore
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MACRO LINKS TABLE OF CONTENTS (Click or Scroll Down)
- ROY MOORE
- IRAN-IRAQ EARTHQUAKE
- RUSSIA PROBE
- BROKEN BREXIT
- TRADE ISSUES
- TRUMP IN ASIA
- GOP TAX PLAN
- PUERTO RICO
- NORTH KOREA
- ITALY FAILS TO MAKE WORLD CUP
- BITCOIN BOOM-CRASH-BOOM
- SEXUAL HARASSMENT
- RATES, LIQUIDITY, SYSTEMIC RISK, BALANCE SHEETS
- MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
- CENTRAL BANKS & MONETARY POLICY
- USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
- GLOBAL ECONOMY DATA
- POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
- COLOR, EARNINGS, SENTIMENT, VALUATIONS
- DEALS, MERGERS, IPOs, LBOs, RESTRUCTURINGS
- FOREX, CRYPTOCURRENCY, EXCHANGE IMPACTS
- REAL ESTATE, HOUSING, REITS, COMMERCIAL
- ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
- ENERGY NATURAL GAS, COAL
- ENERGY RENEWABLES, NUCLEAR
- COMMODITIES AGRICULTURE & SOFTS
- POLLUTION, CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
- DACA, TRAVEL BAN, IMMIGRATION, WALL
- GEOPOLITICS, CRIME, TERRORISM
- TRUMP WORLD
- HEALTHCARE, TAX REFORM, BUDGET
- TRADE, PROTECTIONISM, REGULATION, OVERSIGHT
- ELECTORAL POLITICS
- SCANDALS, LAWSUITS, FINES, REGULATORY
- SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
- CLOUD, IOT, SEMICONDUCTORS, ENTERPRISE / SAAS
- MEDIA, CABLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT
- AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, DRONES, FUTURE TECH
- SCIENCE, NATURE, PSYCHOLOGY
- HEALTH, PRODUCTIVITY AND WELLNESS
Beverly Young Nelson is the fifth woman to accuse the Alabama Republican candidate for Senate of sexual misconduct and the first woman to accuse him of attempted rape. During a press conference with attorney Gloria Allred, Nelson said Moore trapped her in his car 40 years ago, choked her, and tried to take off her clothes before she fought him off.
This new allegation is by far the most serious and moves this well beyond legal and moral gray areas into an alleged felony — and one about which Nelson says she is willing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also has a high school yearbook she says Moore signed for her. Moore’s signature and the one in the yearbook appear to match.
Local cops say Moore had been “run out” of the mall for trying to pick up high school dates.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins next month’s election in Alabama.
If [expulsion] came to pass, Moore would become just the 16th senator ever expelled from the chamber, according to the Senate’s historical records. Fourteen of the 16 were expelled for supporting the Confederate cause during the Civil War. Tennessee Republican Sen. William Blount was expelled in 1797 after he was outed as the ringleader of a plot to attack Spanish-controlled Florida and Louisiana. The last Senator to be formally expelled from the Senate was Indiana Democratic Sen. Jesse Bright in 1862.
Pressure mounted for GOP candidate Roy Moore to abandon his Senate bid in Alabama as Republican leaders moved to find ways to block him and a new woman went public with accusations of sexual misconduct.
“I believe the women,” Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell declared at a press conference in his home state of Kentucky on Monday, saying his party was considering telling voters to put in a write-in candidate.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Monday that he would support the Democratic candidate in the Alabama Senate special election over GOP candidate Roy Moore.
Some lawmakers say talk about booting the Alabama candidate from office if he wins could just propel his campaign.
Officials said that Mr. Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate accused of pursuing romantic relationships with teenagers, should be allowed to defend himself against the allegations.
Kayla Moore, wife of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, shared a letter on Facebook over the weekend indicating support from more than 50 Alabama pastors. Not all the pastors said they gave permission for their name to be be used on what appears to be a recycled letter from before the GOP primary, however.
“We should probably talk about how there is a segment of evangelicalism and home-school culture where the only thing Roy Moore did wrong was initiating sexual contact outside of marriage. 14 year old girls courting adult men isn’t entirely uncommon,” Kathryn Brightbill, who works for the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, tweeted Friday, prompting a flurry of responses from other people who also had watched teenagers date much older Christian men.
Iranians dug through rubble in a frantic search for survivors on Monday, after a powerful earthquake struck near the Iraqi border, killing more than 450 people and injuring thousands of others in the world’s deadliest earthquake so far this year.
The quake, recorded at 9:18 p.m. on Sunday, was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan. The epicenter was near Ezgeleh, Iran, about 135 miles northeast of Baghdad, and had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, according to the United States Geological Survey. Seismologists in the country said it was the biggest quake to hit the western part of Iran.
“The magnitude of the disaster is huge,” Esmail Najjar, the head of Iran’s National Disaster Management Organization, said on Iranian state television Monday. “It is unprecedented in this area.”
Rescuers dug with their bare hands Monday through the debris of buildings brought down by a powerful earthquake that killed more than 400 people in the once-contested mountainous border region between Iraq and Iran, with nearly all of the victims in an area rebuilt since the end of the ruinous 1980s war.
The messages show WikiLeaks, a radical transparency organization that the American intelligence community believes was chosen by the Russian government to disseminate the information it had hacked, actively soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation.
WikiLeaks made a series of increasingly bold requests, including asking for Trump’s tax returns, urging the Trump campaign on
Election Day to reject the results of the election as rigged, and requesting that the president-elect tell Australia to appoint Julian Assange ambassador to the United States.
President Trump tweeted about the hacked emails of then-Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta approximately 15 minutes after WikiLeaks requested his son Donald Trump Jr. to, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal pointed out Monday, based on reporting from The Atlantic.
That same day, Trump Jr. sent out a link to a WikiLeaks search specifically referenced in an Oct. 12 direct message from the “transparency organization” to Trump’s eldest son.
Parliament is to be given a take-it-or leave-it vote on the final Brexit deal before the UK leaves the EU.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the announcement was significant because it represented a big concession to potential Tory rebels and Labour MPs at a highly important moment in the Brexit process.
As her landmark piece of Brexit legislation returns to Parliament, Theresa May’s Conservatives are in a state of such open warfare that a one-time colleague called the prime minister’s latest proposal “thoroughly stupid.”
Mrs May’s deteriorating position at home has begun to spook the financial markets and has prompted concerns in EU capitals she may not survive to deliver on promises made during Brexit negotiations, which are nearing a critical juncture ahead of a make-or-break December summit.
“What will Corbyn do to the pound?” is clients’ second most frequent question on sterling, says economist Jeremy Cook of payments provider World First, pipped only by queries on the prospects of a second Brexit referendum.
The markets are not alone in their unsparing verdict on Theresa May’s bickering cabinet and the almost complete collapse of the prime minister’s personal authority. Increasingly, this assessment of the UK’s political disarray influences how the European Commission and EU national governments approach the Brexit negotiations.
Lurking around the Nafta negotiations that resume Wednesday is a small yet unnerving possibility: The $1 trillion trade pact unravels completely, taking the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar down with it.
“There’s about a 10 percent chance that one side completely walks away,” said Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management in New York. “That would be a significant event.”
The peso would slide 11 percent against the dollar if Nafta collapses, according to Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, among the currency’s top three forecasters this year. JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the loonie could swoon as much as 8 percent from current levels.
As Donald Trump pushes to overhaul U.S. trade ties abroad, negotiations with his two biggest export markets are resuming in hopes of finding new common ground on easier subjects — leaving the most contentious U.S. demands for later.
The Trump administration has adopted a skeptical view of trade deals, promising to scrap or renegotiate global agreements that it believes put American companies and workers at a disadvantage. Among them is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the United States is trying to renegotiate. It will join its partners in the agreement, Canada and Mexico, for a fifth round of talks in Mexico City that officially begin on Friday.
Some trade experts, though, say America’s get-tough approach is dissuading foreign partners from jumping into talks. Other countries, like Canada, are forging ahead with their own trade deals as they balk at the tough terms the United States is demanding in its trade negotiations. Over the weekend, a group of 11 countries including Canada announced that they were committed to moving ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping multinational trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
TRUMP IN ASIA
Throughout his 12-day, five-nation trip in Asia, Trump focused primarily on tough talk about trade, terrorism and North Korea’s nuclear program, while saying little about chronic human rights abuses in a region that is home to some of the world’s most brutal authoritarian regimes. The theme is a familiar one for Trump, who declared during a May speech in front of leaders in the Middle East that “we are not here to lecture” but to “offer partnership.”
The US president spoke of the warm weather in Manila and a “fantastic” evening hosted by Mr Duterte at a regional summit on Sunday — but both men batted away questions about human rights.
President Trump said on Monday that he had a “great relationship” with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, making little mention of human rights at his first face-to-face meeting with an authoritarian leader accused of carrying out a campaign of extrajudicial killings in his nation’s war on drugs.
President Trump and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte found common ground during their first extended meeting but skirted difficult issues such as alleged human-rights abuses in Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs.
GOP TAX PLAN
As Republican lawmakers worked on Monday toward a delicate compromise on a $1.5 trillion tax cut, President Trump threw himself back into the discussion, suggesting that Republicans could reduce taxes even further by repealing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that most people have health insurance.
“Slow down” is the last thing that supporters of the Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul want to hear. “My donors are basically saying get it done or don’t ever call me again,” Chris Collins, a representative from New York, said last week.
But the rush to “get it done” — particularly on the business side, where the most sweeping changes are planned — is alarming tax specialists who warn that new and unforeseen complexity, loopholes and glitches could come back to haunt tax collectors and taxpayers.
“All of this is happening in an incredible rush, and frankly it’s absurd and incredibly poor governing to push a bill of this significance in the time frame they’re doing,” said Stephen E. Shay, a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School who worked in the Treasury Department during the Reagan and Obama administrations.
On Thursday, Puerto Rican officials announced that 472 more people died there in September 2017 than in September 2016. That figure, which epidemiologists call the excess death toll, is a more reliable measure of the disaster’s human impact than the initial figure of 16 that Mr. Trump cited, because it includes cases that medical examiners could not process in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
In theory, it’s possible that the excess death toll will go down when October’s mortality statistics come in; perhaps Hurricane Maria killed mostly people who would have lived only a few weeks or months anyway. But the record from similar disasters suggests that this is unlikely. It’s far more likely that Puerto Rico experienced another spike in deaths during October, when, thanks to Mr. Trump’s refusal to support a major federal relief effort, power, water and food remained in short supply.
More than half of Puerto Rico’s power grid remains offline, seven weeks after Hurricane Maria caused massive damage to the U.S. territory.
This is the largest blackout in U.S. history, and efforts to restore electricity provision to the Puerto Rican population were not helped by a major power line failure last Thursday, which reduced capacity to 18%. According to the latest official figures, capacity is now back up to almost 48%, after the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) fixed it.
The storm’s violent winds and screeching rains assaulted the island’s psyche for 72 hours, and public health officials say much of the population shows signs of post-traumatic stress.
A small energy company from Montana is charging Puerto Rico for repair work to power lines at a rate that industry experts say is far above the norm.
Puerto Rico’s governor won a decisive court victory that could boost his role in shaping the island’s financial recovery as he seeks $94 billion in federal aid to pay for the devastating damage dealt by the September hurricane.
Three U.S. aircraft carriers with around 200 jet fighters in total sailed in close formation with several other warships in the Sea of Japan on Sunday, the largest display of U.S. naval firepower in the region for a decade as nearby North Korea trades war threats with Washington.
The defector drove a vehicle toward the border line inside Panmunjom, and then left the vehicle, running south while he was fired upon by other North Korean soldiers, according to the American-led United Nations Command, which oversees the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War.
ITALY FAILS TO MAKE WORLD CUP
The four-time world champions failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time since 1958, joining Chile and the U.S. on sidelines.
While multiple reasons are being cited for the price volatility, one of the more viable is that some investors are switching to alternative coins. Bitcoin cash, an offshoot of bitcoin that includes many of the technical upgrades being debated by developers, has more than doubled in the same period.
The race to mine new Bitcoins, exacerbated by rules that make the process use more computer power as time goes on, threatens one day to consume as much power as the whole of Japan, according to Citi. Already, Bitcoin mines stacked high with customized machines whir away in Inner Mongolia, hinting at the crypto-currency’s “Mad Max” problem, as ING’s Teunis Brosens puts it.
But this is a problem only as long as people are desperate for new Bitcoin, and only as long as its rules remain fixed. The dramatic events over the past three days have shown us that neither is guaranteed. The tumble in value of the granddaddy of crypto-currencies, from about $7,300 to just more than $5,600, is testament to its biggest sustainability problem: An inability to evolve as a piece of code without tearing itself apart.
Bitcoin’s lesser-known cousin, the so-called cash version has disrupted the $200 billion market and over the weekend got close to overtaking ethereum as the second-biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
The main difference between bitcoin and bitcoin cash is the block size. A block is equivalent to a file storing data on approved transactions, which is uploaded and hooked to the previous file, and makes up the blockchain. Bitcoin’s blocks hold 1 megabyte of data, while bitcoin cash holds 8 megabytes.
Supporters of bitcoin cash say bigger blocks allow for faster and cheaper transactions, and view the size increase as the update bitcoin needed to become a better means of exchange to compete with payment services such as Visa or Master Card. Bitcoin handles about seven transactions a second, compared with around 2,000 for Visa.
Jurvetson is the highest-profile venture capitalist to be forced from his job amid an industrywide evaluation of how Silicon Valley treats women. Jurvetson sits on the board of two of tech’s flashiest companies, SpaceX and Tesla, and the news has already stripped him of those posts, at least temporarily.
Mr Jurvetson tweeted that he was leaving “to focus on personal matters, including taking legal action against those whose false statements have defamed me”. He repeated the statement in response to questions about his exit, without providing further details.
A lender is suing the Weinstein Co. seeking the immediate repayment of a $45 million loan it says came due after the movie studio fired co-chairman Harvey Weinstein in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.
RATES, LIQUIDITY, SYSTEMIC RISK, BALANCE SHEETS
The world’s riskiest countries are issuing debt at a record rate, buoyed by the global economic upturn and investors’ search for yield in a world of historically low returns.
Junk-rated emerging market sovereigns have raised $75bn in syndicated bonds so far this year, up 50 per cent year on year to the highest total on record, according to figures from Dealogic, a data provider.
A Bloomberg Barclays Index of hard-currency emerging-market bonds has fallen for six straight days, capping the biggest weekly yield jump since last year when Donald Trump’s victory spurred a selloff in risk assets. The gauge shows average borrowing costs for governments and companies in developing nations have risen to a four-month high of 4.68 percent.
After pouring money into emerging-market stock and bond funds in the second and third quarters, investors seem to have turned off the spigots for now. Emerging-markets bond funds’ latest week was their worst for flows since mid-August, the last time they suffered net outflows. “There is a lot of churn among emerging markets,” noted Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
China’s sovereign bonds tumbled, pushing 10-year yields to a three-year high, as a debt slump that started in the U.S. and the U.K. spread to the world’s second-largest economy.
Asset-backed securities still suffer an image hangover in the west from the days of the 2008 financial crisis. But China’s issuance of the financial products is soaring this year as Beijing places a big bet on securitisation as a salve for its huge credit risks. Though only a few years old, the Chinese debt securitisation market — in which pools of debt like mortgages, auto loans and credit-card loans are repackaged and sold to investors — is growing like topsy. Issuance of securitised assets rose 61 per cent in the first half of this year and could climb to $170bn for the full year, according to research by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
European equities fell for a fifth successive session, with the Stoxx 600 index touching its lowest level since late September, as trading updates from a variety of companies proved disappointing.
Investors pulled $2.2 billion from global exchange-traded funds that track high-yield bonds last week as doubts mount about the sustainability of a rally that has compressed yields to multi-year lows.
Dollar-denominated funds suffered the heaviest withdrawals. The SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF, ticker JNK, was hit Friday with its biggest daily redemption in five years, of $1.2 billion. The iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, ticker HYG, lost $726 million for the week.
A decade of monetary stimulus from major central banks, including the ECB, has swelled borrowing to levels few would have imagined before the global financial crisis. In 2007, corporate issuance in euros was less than half its current level.
“The QE buying programmes have led to tremendous tightening of credit spreads and opened the door to many corporates for cheap funding,” said Armin Peter, global head of syndicate at UBS. “The other side is financial institutions have been focused on building capital, and have benefited from cheap central bank funding providing them funding at conditions you cannot even reach in the public market.”
Since election day, the daily change in the S&P 500, the most widely followed index of US stocks, has been only 0.31 per cent as the blue-chip index has set new record highs. This is the lowest daily change in more than 50 years.
A Financial Times analysis of historic returns for the S&P 500, dating back to its inception in 1927, shows only one previous period with lower average volatility. The quietest 12 months on record also followed a political shock, starting a week after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. The period saw an average daily movement of only 0.25 per cent.
No matter which theory of flattening you subscribe to, the world’s biggest bond market is sending a signal that traders can’t ignore. The longer the trend continues, the more likely its effects could spread to bank earnings and the real economy, while at the same time it would limit the Fed’s ability to respond when these risks emerge.
MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
As Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and expert on nuclear command and control, has put it, “The protocol for ordering the use of nuclear weapons endows every president with civilization-ending power.” Trump, he wrote in a Washington Post column last summer, “has unchecked authority to order a preventive nuclear strike against any nation he wants with a single verbal direction to the Pentagon war room.”
As an official from one of America’s key partners in the region put it to me earlier this year: “Is this how superpowers commit suicide?” It appears the answer is yes.
While America continues to maintain a significant military edge over its closest rivals, it’s gradually losing the main battle that is defining this century: trade and investment. Meanwhile, China is busy shaping the world in its own image with verve and vigor. In a surreal twist of events, a communist regime has now emerged as the unlikely guardian of globalization and multilateral diplomacy
The oil price has risen by almost 20 per cent over the last four weeks. Does anything in the market justify such an increase, or is the change driven simply by speculation about the dangers of a direct conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran?
By any rational measure an open conflict with Iran would be a risky and potentially self-destructive move for the Saudi leadership. But nothing can be ruled out, particularly if the Saudis feel they have American support and even encouragement for taking action. It is this concern that is driving the oil market.
The inconvenient truth about the crown prince is that he isn’t only impulsive, he’s incompetent; he isn’t only ambitious, he’s reckless. He is also a nationalist and a hawk who is bent on turning the long-standing Saudi/Iran cold war into a very hot war — and is even willing to ally with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel in order to do so. If MBS is the new “leader of the Arab world”… then Allah help the Arab world.
As if we Arabs need another crisis in our shattered world — but that’s exactly what’s coming after the mysterious resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh last Saturday and declarations from the Saudi royal court that Iran has officially crossed a red line.
Now Saudi Arabia has created a problem for itself with some of its staunchest allies: the Sunnis of Lebanon. Even the Sunnis are aligning with different sects, some who are not friendly to Riyadh, to demand the return of Hariri, also a Sunni. It will be impossible to elect a new prime minister in Lebanon unless Hariri is returned. That is a new predicament that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, has created — and now needs to solve.
Not a single economist said that the withdrawal Mr. Trump has threatened would help the economy. Some 82% said the economy would grow more slowly for the next two years than it would otherwise, and 7% predicted a recession. That underestimates the risks of recession in our view, given the political shock from such a reckless act by a U.S. President and the damage that would ensue to North American and even global supply chains.
Only one in four of the economists anticipates a U.S. withdrawal, but that also may be optimistic. Mr. Trump almost pulled out once, and he seems to believe that Mexico and Canada have no choice but to bend to U.S. wishes. But those two countries are already moving to diversify their trading options, and they have their own domestic political pressures not to cave to the U.S.
A negative supply shock means you are reducing the productive capacity of your economy, or the ability of your economy to purchase things for the same amount of money as you used to. Now, we can debate about how big is the harm, which industries get hit, what happens in the end after the UK adjusts, but there is no serious disputing that a shock of this sort will be the result of withdrawal. Why? Because withdrawal from the EU will put up trade barriers.
There is no disputing that this is a negative supply shock, and—furthermore—it is a negative shock that will ruin Britain’s competitiveness, very specifically, with its largest trading partner. The heightened barriers could apply on up to half of British global commerce. The market access that will be lost cannot and will not be replaced, even in a generation, due to the “gravity” of trade flows. It is one of the few things in economics we can talk about with the same sort of confidence as natural scientists—as a fact of life. In physics, the more massive and nearer a body is, the greater the gravitational pull it exerts. In commerce, gravity means that you trade far more with countries you are contiguous with or which are nearby, than you do with countries that are far away. This pattern of trade is not only logical—a consequence of the costs and delays inherent in long-distance trade, and of the networks and habits that develop through history—but is also borne out by all studies of trade patterns.
The Leavers’ own lack of seaworthy leaders is a greater menace to their cause than anything anyone else can do. If they had just one, he or she would have replaced Mrs May months ago. Leavers would then be able to craft the exit of their choice and be held accountable for it, which was always the right arrangement after a free and fair referendum that they won. Instead, they are somehow both livid and passive, wondering what this hollowed-out Remain-voting prime minister is still doing in office as though it were someone else’s job to put forward a viable successor from their own wing of the party.
Britain is drifting towards disaster on Brexit — without a viable diplomatic, economic or political strategy to make a success of the venture. The unpleasant reality for Britain is that both the structure of the negotiations, and the relative strengths of both sides, ensure it is in the EU’s interests to indulge in brinkmanship. There are EU countries, particularly Ireland, that would suffer badly from a “no deal” Brexit. But in general, the EU seems to have decided that it can absorb the direct costs of Britain leaving without a deal.
After the revelations about Weinstein and others—revelations that have included harrowing stories of rape and assault, which Weinstein and others deny—issues like unequal pay and lack of promotion might seem minor by comparison. They aren’t, of course, Weinstein-level problems—but they are the problems that create men like Weinstein. It’s the imbalance of pay and power that puts men in a position to harass, that gives them unchecked control over the economic lives of women and, as a result, influence over their physical lives. These subtler forms of discrimination, familiar to almost any woman who has held a job, can in fact be especially insidious, since they are easier for companies, and even victims, to dismiss.
This problem is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the technology industry. In 2015, a group of female tech investors and executives conducted a survey of two hundred senior-level women in Silicon Valley. Titled “The Elephant in the Valley,” the study demonstrated how intertwined, and how pervasive, these kinds of discrimination are. Eighty-four per cent of the participants reported that they had been told they were “too aggressive” in the office, sixty-six per cent said that they had been excluded from important events because of their gender, and sixty per cent reported unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. A large majority of those advances came from a superior, and a third of the women said that they’d been worried about their personal safety. Almost forty per cent said that they didn’t report the incidents because they feared retaliation. “Men who demean, degrade or disrespect women have been able to operate with such impunity—not just in Hollywood, but in tech, venture capital, and other spaces where their influence and investment can make or break a career,” Melinda Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told me. “The asymmetry of power is ripe for abuse.”
“If we were seeing linear progress, I would say good, but we’re not going to make it in time,” says Figueres, now the convener of the Mission 2020 initiative, which warns that the world has only three years to get carbon emissions on a downward curve and on the way to beating global warming. “But the fact is we are seeing progress that is growing exponentially, and that is what gives me the most reason for hope.”
Critics of the international response argue that world leaders made bad choices. Defenders say those leaders had few, if any, good choices to make. Research on atrocity prevention suggests an even grimmer truth. Global action or inaction isn’t determined by the severity of the violence or the idealism of world leaders, it finds, but by a set of conditions that have as much to do with protecting the international system as protecting civilians.
Myanmar reveals that the world’s promise of “never again” applies only sometimes. But the Rohingya are only the latest in a string of victims to learn this lesson the hard way.
Student loans have soared over the last decade, becoming the largest source of household debt outside of mortgages. The tide of rising defaults has also turned into a lucrative business, with companies collecting tens of millions of dollars through settlements, wage garnishments and other compelled payments.
Transworld Systems has been one of most prolific debt collectors, filing more than 38,000 lawsuits in the last three years on behalf of a single client, the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts. But many of the cases were flawed, as the debt collector churned out mass-produced documentation based on scant verification, according to legal filings by a federal regulator and a New York Times analysis of court records from hundreds of cases.
CENTRAL BANKS & MONETARY POLICY
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank can help avoid negative price shocks and achieve its 2 percent inflation target by working on inflation expectations through forward guidance.
USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
By 2026, the home health aide industry will add 425,600 positions, an increase of 46.7 percent, the government estimates show. The occupation’s median annual wage today is $22,600.
Prices of used cars were expected to plummet in 2017 as millions of vehicle leases expired and people who bought following the financial crisis exchanged their old rides for new ones. But the predicted price collapse hasn’t happened.
GLOBAL ECONOMY DATA
Economic growth in the European Union’s eastern members probably picked up in the third quarter as rising wages propelled consumer spending.
Europe is no longer the sick man of the world economy. The 19-nation euro-zone bloc is already enjoying the strongest growth in a decade and now economists at Credit Suisse Group AG and Oxford Economics are declaring that it’s heading toward a golden period of low-inflationary expansion.
POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension fund, is considering more than doubling its bond allocation to reduce risk and volatility as the stock bull market approaches nine years.
The precious metal has fluctuated in a range of just 3.3 percent for more than a month. That’s the least over any comparable period since February 2013. It’s hugging its 100-day average, trading either side of the measure in 14 of the past 16 sessions, while volatility over the past 28 days is near the lowest in seven years.
As a world recovery gathers pace, the Federal Reserve is shrinking its balance sheet and raising interest rates, while the European Central Bank is about to begin tapering bond purchases. This scenario makes it very hard for a non-interest bearing asset like gold to do well, according to Troy Gayeski from SkyBridge Capital, which managed more than $11 billion at the end of August.
“Given the outlook for the Fed and down the road, the ECB, it seems highly unlikely that gold can thrive in that environment,” said Gayeski, a senior portfolio manager. “We’re a long way away from a very powerful gold bull market. That being said, gold could’ve already bottomed several years ago and trade sideways for many years until we enter the next great loosening cycle, which will come when the risk of recession goes up materially in the U.S.”
COLOR, EARNINGS, SENTIMENT, VALUATIONS
In case investors needed another reminder: America’s biggest technology stocks have been the crucial ingredient in powering Wall Street’s gains this year. The industry as a whole has accounted for 90 per cent of the S&P 500 earnings beat rate. Perhaps more impressive, though, is that the four largest tech groups — Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook — have driven half of the S&P 500 beat.
Flannery’s plan to shrink GE’s multi-industry array of businesses was a reversal of the deal-driven empire building of his predecessors, Jeff Immelt and Jack Welch, and potentially a milestone in the decline of the conglomerate as a business strategy.
General Electric is cutting its dividend for only the second time since 1938 and will divest two of its longest-held divisions, including the remainder of the lighting business created by Thomas Edison, as a part an effort by its new chief executive to revive the storied conglomerate.
DEALS, MERGERS, IPOs, LBOs, RESTRUCTURINGS
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is still waiting for a decision on how many of its shares will be offered to the public, or where the listing will be made outside of the kingdom, according to Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser.
More than 1,450 companies globally have gone public so far in 2017, putting this year on track to become the busiest for new listings since 2007, according to Dealogic data through Friday. Roughly two-thirds of the IPOs were in the Asia-Pacific region, which has roared past the U.S. to become the dominant region for new stock listings. Overall, the deals raised more than $170 billion globally, compared with the roughly 950 deals in the same period last year that raised around $120 billion. While deal listings have picked up sharply, deal volume is only the third highest over the past decade and far below the boom years in 2006 and 2007 before the financial crisis.
Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm Inc on Monday rejected rival Broadcom Ltd’s $103-billion takeover bid, saying the offer undervalued the company and would face regulatory hurdles.
Buffalo Wild Wings has received a takeover bid valued at more than $2.3 billion from private-equity firm Roark Capital Group, according to people familiar with the matter.
Even by the turbo-charged standards of Silicon Valley, the three-day surge in the fortune of Anthony Wood has been meteoric. The chief executive officer and founder of Roku Inc., a maker of home streaming devices, added $652 million to his net worth since the company reported third-quarter results on Wednesday, giving the technology industry’s latest billionaire a $1.07 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The Russian gun maker Kalashnikov Kontsern is undergoing a corporate shake-up. The company will be sold, according to official statements and Russian media reports, effectively privatizing it and reportedly leaving a single investor, Aleksei Krivoruchko, with a controlling stake.
FOREX, CRYPTOCURRENCY, EXCHANGE IMPACTS
With West Texas Intermediate rallying to the highest since 2015, there are signs that the link between crude prices and the Canadian dollar is reviving. That connection, which had faded as crude held to a $45-to-$55 a barrel range for the brunt of the last year, could re-emerge as oil prices climb toward $60, said Mark McCormick, a strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.
REAL ESTATE, HOUSING, REITS, COMMERCIAL
Berlin’s growing appeal is increasingly capturing the attention of the world’s super-rich. “The growing availability of top-end homes, combined with Berlin’s improving economic fortunes, means the city has now been added to the shopping list of many of the world’s most affluent buyers,” says Sebastian Fischer of Primus Immobilien.
Iceland’s housing market has soared 56 percent since its 2009 crash. But one of the island’s biggest investors says there’s more to come, and isn’t worried the price development might end in a bubble.
“There is a growing demand, and the market is going to be supported by a lack of supply for the next few years,” said Gisli Hauksson co-founder and chief executive officer of GAMMA Capital Management Limited, an investment firm which manages more than $1 billion in assets. He says lower interest rates will also help.
ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
Opec’s in-house analysts have sharply raised their demand forecast for the cartel’s oil in 2018, predicting a growing market deficit that will be in focus when the group’s ministers meet later this month to discuss extending supply cuts.
Growth in US oil output until 2025 will be the strongest seen by any country in the history of crude markets, making it the “undisputed” leader among global producers, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.
Technological advances that have enabled production from US shale oilfields to thrive will lead to growth of 8m barrels a day between 2010 and 2025, surpassing expansion rates enjoyed by any other nation.
ENERGY NATURAL GAS, COAL
A year after Donald Trump was elected president on a promise to revive the ailing U.S. coal industry, the sector’s long-term prospects for growth and hiring remain as bleak as ever.
If current coal investments are not halted, China could by 2030 be saddled with $90.4bn worth of “stranded coal assets” — plants that will never make a return on investment — according to a report published on Monday by the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.
“The losses suffered by the Chinese coal power sector are much worse than in a scenario in which you take practical measures to eliminate a significant share of old capacity,” said Thomas Spencer, one of the report’s authors, adding that the wasteful investment was most acute in coal-rich provinces such as Inner Mongolia and Shanxi province.
ENERGY RENEWABLES, NUCLEAR
Solar manufacturers are being battered by higher costs and smaller margins, after an unexpected shortage of a critical raw material. Prices of polysilicon, the main component of photovoltaic cells, spiked as much as 35 percent in the past four months after environmental regulators in China shut down several factories.
COMMODITIES AGRICULTURE & SOFTS
POLLUTION, CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
This year’s rise is especially disappointing as it follows three years of almost no growth in emissions despite a world economy expanding at a steady clip. In 2016, emissions were flat even though the world economy grew 3.2 per cent. One explanation for the uptick is that China’s economic slowdown in the middle part of this decade was more pronounced than official figures suggested.
In 1992, scientists warned humanity about a host of impending ecological disasters. A quarter-century later, most of them have gotten worse. This letter, spearheaded by Oregon State University ecologist William Ripple, serves as a “second notice,” the authors say: “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”
Poland’s ruling party faced growing criticism over its response to a weekend rally organized by nationalist groups, as opposition lawmakers and others accused it of largely turning a blind eye to a rising tide of racism and xenophobia.
Almost 2,400 Catalonia-based companies have shifted their legal base since the region’s illegal independence referendum on Oct. 1. The biggest exodus — 268 — was on Oct. 19, when ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont missed a deadline to drop his quest for independence, setting the stage for a showdown with the central government in Madrid. While relocations were administrative and didn’t necessarily mean moving workers, companies did it to remove themselves from uncertainty and ensure they didn’t end up outside Spain and the EU.
Underestimating the strength of feeling that the push for independence would provoke among pro-Spanish Catalans and elsewhere in Spain was just one of a series of misjudgments by Catalonia’s separatist leaders, five of whom including the former president, Carles Puigdemont, are now in exile in Belgium. Eight others are being held in prison on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds.
DACA, TRAVEL BAN, IMMIGRATION, WALL
GEOPOLITICS, CRIME, TERRORISM
A long-dormant plan for increased defense spending and cooperation has found new life after Brexit, terrorist attacks and Russian aggression.
It took 70 years, but the European Union finally signed a pact today (Nov. 13) agreeing to integrate military funding, weapons development, and deployment of European defenses. In a way, creating a unified mega army.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday signaled that a Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces in the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin could be imminent, as he traveled to Russia to discuss the Syrian conflict with Vladimir Putin.
The story surrounding the slaying of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar keeps unraveling, starting with the SEALs-turned-suspects’ assertion that the soldier was drunk the night he died.
The revelations that the SEAL commandos have been under suspicion of stealing money from a fund used to pay informants shed light on a potential motive in the mysterious Mali death.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri tells an interviewer that he will return home, and that his resignation may not be final. But many Lebanese remain skeptical.
Three officials involved in the informal talks say they are discussing temporary arrangements to the most pressing issue for both sides: Control of Iraq’s Fish Khabbour border crossings with Turkey and Syria, where about one-fifth of Iraq’s oil exports pass through. The officials were granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic matter.
This stab at conflict resolution illustrates the diffuse nature of Iraqi politics, where key power brokers sometimes have no formal or elected authority. It also highlights a dangerously fractured political spectrum in which elected officials can be eclipsed, sometimes by rival factions from within their party or even family.
The ‘Apprentice’ star has a top salary and a high-ranking job. But when we spent time with her, it was her wedding she was planning. Now a senior White House staffer banking the highest recorded salary allowable ($179,700 per year), Omarosa remains a mystery to many members of Washington’s political class and even her White House colleagues.
HEALTHCARE, TAX REFORM, BUDGET
President Trump nominated a pharmaceutical executive to be the next secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. In contrast to Mr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon and former Republican congressman, Mr. Azar is a lawyer and health care expert who allies predicted would use his deep knowledge of the federal bureaucracy to advance Mr. Trump’s agenda of undermining President Barack Obama’s health care law. Mr. Azar recently called the Affordable Care Act a “fundamentally broken system.”
TRADE, PROTECTIONISM, REGULATION, OVERSIGHT
A group of senators have agreed to relieve regional banks from some expensive regulations put in place after the financial crisis, the most significant deal to curb the 2010 Dodd-Frank law in the Senate.
The number of banks deemed systemically important and subjected to extra regulation in the US would drop by two-thirds under plans to roll back Obama-era reforms that have attracted bipartisan support.
For campaign managers like Kathryn Sorenson, much of their job was simply channeling the enormous wave of energy that came their way.
The judge told the panel to keep trying to reach a verdict in the New Jersey Democrat’s bribery trial.
SCANDALS, LAWSUITS, FINES, REGULATORY
Missouri’s attorney general has launched a broad investigation into whether Google is violating the state’s consumer-protection and antitrust laws, a new front in the internet giant’s regulatory battles.
SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
The ride-hailing company, a major rival to Uber in the United States, made the announcement after receiving an injection of new financing.
Uber Technologies Inc. approved SoftBank Group Corp.’s offer to buy a multibillion-dollar stake in the ride-hailing company, setting the stage for one of the largest private startup share purchases ever.
CLOUD, IOT, SEMICONDUCTORS, ENTERPRISE / SAAS
Dell Technologies Inc. is doubling down on the Internet of Things. The company is creating a division that will focus on developing products, research and partnerships for a field that connects everything from driverless cars to light bulbs to the internet. Dell said it’s investing $1 billion over the next three years for the effort, which will employing artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.
MEDIA, CABLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT
After six movies that grossed almost $6 billion in theaters, Amazon.com Inc. thinks there’s still money to be mined in Middle Earth. The online commerce pioneer said Monday it acquired global TV rights to “The Lord of the Rings” and is working with Warner Bros., publisher HarperCollins and the J.R.R. Tolkien estate on a multi-season series.
AT&T Inc. will try to dig into whether the White House influenced the Justice Department’s review of the company’s planned takeover of Time Warner Inc. if the government sues to block the deal, according to people familiar with the matter.
The network’s prime time hosts, who gave Roy Moore the benefit of the doubt over sexual misconduct allegations, have been drawing viewers after a slump.
AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
A fierce debate has gripped Europe’s automobile industry that will shape the future of all cars sold across the region: how to get internet-connected vehicles to “talk” to each other while travelling on the road.
It centres on two competing technologies that has broadly split the continent’s carmakers and telecoms providers into rival camps — and has even pitted two branches of the European Commission against each other. “This could descend into trench warfare,” says one person familiar with the situation, which has become increasingly heated in recent months.
The lawsuit filed in California state court in Oakland is at least the third filed this year by black workers who say they were addressed using racial slurs and that the company ignored their complaints. But Monday’s lawsuit, filed by former Tesla employee Marcus Vaughn, is the first to bring those claims on behalf of a large class of black workers at the automaker’s Fremont, California factory.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, DRONES, FUTURE TECH
Through expensive, time intensive, and complicated land reclamation projects, Hong Kong is continually extending out and into the water, where there wasn’t land before. The process is nothing new: the first land reclamation project here started in 1887, and some 45 square miles of the Chinese metropolis has been formed through reclamation since.
Today, the scale of land reclamation in the former British colony is revving up to unprecedented heights. The government is building a new, third airport runway from reclaimed land, an eight-year-long, $18 billion project that has decimated nearly an entire population of endangered dolphins, along with a $592 million extension of roadways from the city’s iconic Victoria Harbor.
At times, the story of the seasteading movement seems to lapse into self-parody, but there are now companies, academics, architects and even a government working together on a prototype by 2020.
“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country,” said Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute. “We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”
SCIENCE, NATURE, PSYCHOLOGY
Scientists say 8,000-year-old pottery fragments have revealed the earliest evidence of grape wine-making. The earthenware jars containing residual wine compounds were found in two sites south of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, researchers said.
Some of the jars bore images of grape clusters and a man dancing. Previously, the earliest evidence of wine-making was from pottery dating from about 7,000 years ago found in north-western Iran.
Movements of bridges and people feed off one another, Igor Belykh, an applied mathematician at Georgia State University, who led the study, explained. You step on a bridge, it moves a little bit; you adjust to steady yourself. And on and on. “However when the bridge starts wobbling significantly, I, as a pedestrian, have to adjust my gait,” he said. And when a critical number of people try to find balance at the same time and their movements sync up, they can align with the sway of the bridge. And that’s when things get scary.
Researchers had attributed the wobbly Millennium Bridge to this phenomenon, which they call phase-locking. The new study confirmed that and challenged a popular belief that the sway gradually grew with crowd size. They found that the wobble starts suddenly, after the crowd exceeds a critical threshold. For the Millennium Bridge, that was about 165 people.
Dr. Belykh and his colleagues described these dynamic relationships using complex mathematical models — which they jokingly call “crash test dummies” — that they hope will become part of industry standards. Using these models, engineers and designers may be able to plug in all the details about a bridge and its potential pedestrians and figure out how big a crowd must get before a bridge starts to wobble.
HEALTH, PRODUCTIVITY AND WELLNESS
Sweeping new guidelines released Monday lower the threshold for who is considered at risk of complications from high blood pressure.
“It’s a terrible disease that devastates both those who have it and their loved ones,” the philanthropist wrote Monday on his blog. “This is something I know a lot about, because men in my family have suffered from Alzheimer’s. I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it. It feels a lot like you’re experiencing a gradual death of the person that you knew. My family history isn’t the sole reason behind my interest in Alzheimer’s. But my personal experience has exposed me to how hopeless it feels when you or a loved one gets the disease.”
Instead of being threatened by her teammates’ growing accomplishments, Flanagan embraced them, and brought in more women, elevating them to her level until they become the most formidable group of distance athletes in the nation. National championships, world championships, Olympics: They became some of the best runners in the world.
One of them, Emily Infeld, joined the club in Portland after college, but developed one stress fracture after another. She contemplated quitting in 2014. That December, Flanagan took her aside for a glass of wine and a talk.
“I was really struggling — I cried and told her ‘I can’t do it, my body isn’t built for this,’ ” recalled Infeld. “And she totally changed my mind-set. She told me that of course this was bad, but she believed I could do better. I got better, we trained together and she held me accountable. It’s completely changed my career.”
From hardscrabble nights writing snippets for a Hearst newspaper in the 1950s to golden afternoons at Le Cirque with Sinatra or Hepburn and tête-à-tête dinners with Madonna to gather material for columns that ran six days a week, Ms. Smith captivated millions with her tattletale chitchat and, over time, ascended to fame and wealth that rivaled those of the celebrities she covered.
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