Macro Links Nov 1st – New York Terror Attack
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MACRO LINKS TABLE OF CONTENTS (Click or Scroll Down)
- NEW YORK TERROR ATTACK
- RUSSIA PROBE
- FIGHTING MUELLER
- PAUL MANAFORT
- NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA
- CIVIL WAR CONTROVERSY
- TECH EXECUTIVES TESTIFY, RUSSIAN MEDDLING
- GOP TAX PLAN
- SEXUAL HARASSMENT FALLOUT
- RATES, LIQUIDITY, SYSTEMIC RISK, BALANCE SHEETS
- MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
- CENTRAL BANKS & MONETARY POLICY
- USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
- 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 RENEWABLES, NUCLEAR
- COMMODITIES BASE METALS, MATERIALS
- CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
- PROPAGANDA, CORRUPTION, AUTHORITARIANISM
- TRUMP WORLD
- TRADE, PROTECTIONISM, REGULATION, OVERSIGHT
- SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
- MEDIA, CABLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT
- AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
- HEALTH, PRODUCTIVITY AND WELLNESS
NEW YORK TERROR ATTACK
A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight and seriously injuring 11 in what the mayor called “a particularly cowardly act of terror.”
A truck ramming bicyclists. The driver emerging with weapons drawn. For those who saw the attack, it was as confusing as it was gruesome. The screams seemed too vivid from the start, too visceral to belong to crowds celebrating a crisp and sunny Halloween in Lower Manhattan. The tragedy had unfolded in just minutes, and for hours and hours it remained too senseless to believe.
Not many cities would stage a parade only a few hours after — and not far away from — a deadly terrorist attack. But not many cities are New York.
Urged on by their elected leaders, thousands of costumed revellers assembled for the city’s annual Halloween night trek up Sixth Avenue, only blocks away from the stretch of Manhattan’s West Side Highway where earlier in the day a terrorist using a rental truck as his weapon ploughed into a bicycle lane, killing eight people.
The city that kept its cool after the terrorist attack of 9/11 — and after a Manhattan bombing last year that wounded 31 people — was determined to keep going on with life after the latest outrage, this one committed by a 29-year-old man identified as Sayfullo Saipov.
The attack in New York has accentuated the growing threat presented by jihadi-inspired terrorism from Central Asia, the onetime Soviet region where little economic opportunity and less political freedom have combined to drive young men toward radicalism.
Court documents and interviews with some of the advisers themselves revealed that many on the team embraced a common view: that the United States ought to seek a rapprochement with Russia after years of worsening relations during the Obama administration. Now, however, their suspected links to Russia have put them under legal scrutiny and cast a shadow over the Trump presidency.
Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos made a significant claim in an email: Top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Trump foreign policy adviser, who pleaded guilty this week to lying to federal agents investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, traveled the world touting his campaign ties.
Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’s plea deal shows his effort to get stolen emails from Russian contacts began well before the public was aware that Democratic Party systems had been hacked.
Special counsel Robert Mueller put himself in a protected position on Monday morning when he publicly revealed the first charges in his controversial and wide-ranging investigation into Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.
It’s time we face up to the true depths of insanity and depravity that we are seeing here.
Donald Trump’s lawyer said Tuesday that his legal strategy remains unchanged in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s moves to indict the president’s former campaign manager and secure a plea deal from another former campaign aide.
“He could have kept running campaigns for the Yanukovychs of the world, and nobody would have cared,” said Hector T. Hoyos, one of Mr. Manafort’s friends and partners.
The special counsel says the defendants in his Russia probe are risks because of the serious charges, their foreign ties and their millions in assets.
New filings show extent of concern about Manafort being a flight risk. Among the highlights:
— Manafort currently has three US passports, each under a different number. He has submitted 10 passport applications in roughly as many years, prosecutors said.
— This year, Manafort traveled to Mexico, China and Ecuador with a phone and email account registered under a fake name. (The name was not disclosed in the filings.)
— Over the past year, Manafort traveled to Dubai, Cancun, Panama City, Havana, Shanghai, Madrid, Tokyo and Grand Cayman Island.
— Both Manafort and Gates were frequent travelers to Cyprus. “Extensive travel of this nature further evidences a risk of flight,” the prosecutor’s filing said.
— Manafort wrote on loan applications and other financial documents that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012 and $136 million in May 2016.
— In some months, like while he served as Trump’s national campaign chairman in August 2016, Manafort’s assessment of his total worth fluctuated. In August 2016 he said his assets were worth $28 million, then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.
— Gates “frequently changed banks and opened and closed bank accounts,” prosecutors said. In all, Gates opened 55 accounts with 13 financial institutions, the prosecutors’ court filing said. Some of his bank accounts were in England and Cyprus, where he held more than $10 million from 2010 to 2013.
NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA
Trump administration officials, eager to choke off North Korea’s global networks, have in recent days urged Persian Gulf countries to clamp down harder on the nuclear-armed state’s ties to the region.
North Korean hackers are suspected to have broken into a South Korean shipyard and stolen military secrets, in a breach made public less than a month after news of a similar attack in which hackers stole joint U.S.-South Korea war plans.
During his forthcoming tour of Southeast Asia, Mr Trump will not visit the tense demilitarised zone that borders North Korea. At 12 days, it will be his longest visit abroad as president, but a senior administration official said “there’s not enough time in the schedule”.
China and South Korea committed to restore military, political and economic relations more than a year after Seoul’s decision to install an American missile-defense battery infuriated Beijing.
About 200 people may have died when tunnels collapsed at a North Korean nuclear test site in October, TV Asahi reported, citing unidentified people familiar with North Korean matters.
China warned North Korea on Sept. 20 that further nuclear tests could blow the top off a mountain and spark a potential catastrophic collapse at the site, the South China Morning Post reported Oct. 28. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics briefed a North Korean delegation in Beijing about the threat, the paper said, citing senior Chinese geologist Zhai Mingguo.
CIVIL WAR CONTROVERSY
The comments echoed President Trump’s own claim this year that he could have struck a “deal” to prevent the conflict. It elicited an immediate rebuke from many Democrats and some Republicans, who said it played down the moral culpability of the slaveholding South.
“It’s the Jim Crow version of the causes of the Civil War. I mean, it tracks all of the major talking points of this pro-Confederate view of the Civil War,” said Stephanie McCurry, professor of history at Columbia University.
TECH EXECUTIVES TESTIFY, RUSSIAN MEDDLING
Facebook, Twitter and Google all acknowledged ahead of hearings that Russia’s use of their platforms to sway the American electorate was bigger than previously acknowledged.
Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. told Congress they aren’t sure they’ve measured the full extent of Russia’s manipulation of social networks in last year’s U.S. presidential campaign and they don’t yet have the technology to prevent it from happening again.
Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google were asked to explain why they didn’t recognize Russia-linked accounts earlier, as the officials struck a contrite tone about the role their platforms played in stoking political tensions during the 2016 campaign.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company is trying to tell Congress—and the American public—that its ads are not especially effective.
“Their goal is to create confusion and dissent. The target is the U.S. and NATO, not any particular candidate. They just want chaos,” Lewis said. “It went from being a grudge match against Clinton to what they thought was a priceless opportunity to inflict harm.”
A former National Security Council employee who served in the White House under President Barack Obama has issued a harsh rebuke of Russia President Vladimir Putin, saying his actions during the 2016 election amount to “21st-century information warfare.”
GOP TAX PLAN
The details were originally due to be released by the powerful House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, but with many measures still unresolved on Tuesday night, chair Kevin Brady said the bill would instead be published a day later.
As part of a drive towards simplifying the tax code Republicans had pledged to collapse the current seven individual brackets down to three of 12, 25 and 35 per cent, but when they announced a skeleton plan in September they left open the option of imposing a higher fourth rate on the rich.
The bill was delayed for another day as Republicans struggled with cutting tax rates without alienating key constituencies by eliminating popular tax breaks.
Aides insisted the twin challenges at home and abroad would not be undermined by the indictments, but the frustration of the president was evident Tuesday.
The House Republican tax plan will preserve a top individual tax rate of 39.6%, according to people familiar with the matter.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT FALLOUT
Whether it was Bill O’Reilly at Fox, which reportedly gave Mr. O’Reilly a $100 million contract extension just weeks after he signed a $32 million settlement with an accuser, or Harvey Weinstein, who paid out at least eight settlements to women who had accused him of harassment and unwanted contact, employers and board members appear to have gone to great lengths to avoid jeopardizing the careers of luminaries accused of misbehavior.
The pattern is so well established that an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission task force, in a report on sexual harassment last year, gave those who benefit from it a name: “superstar” harassers.
“When the superstar misbehaves, employers may perceive themselves in a quandary,” the report said. “They may be tempted to ignore the misconduct because, the thinking goes, losing the superstar would be too costly.”
The streaming service made the announcement two days after the show’s star, Kevin Spacey, was accused of making an unwanted sexual advance on a boy in the 1980s.
RATES, LIQUIDITY, SYSTEMIC RISK, BALANCE SHEETS
Lobbyists for the big US banks are battling a EU proposal to curb the damage of bank runs, arguing that such a move could have the perverse effect of magnifying panics.
The banks are lining up against a proposal from the EU last November, which would allow authorities in member states to put a temporary freeze on withdrawals from accounts at troubled banks.
Emerging market debt is starting to fall as a proportion of economic output for the first time since 2011, potentially helping assuage some of the concerns over ballooning borrowing.
However, doubts remain as to whether the improvement will continue, while the Institute of International Finance, an industry body, has raised a red flag over the rising tide of “stressed” emerging market companies that may struggle to repay their debts.
MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
China has indeed learnt from the west in economics. But it rejects modern western politics. Under Mr Xi, China is increasingly autocratic and illiberal. In the Communist party, China has an ostensibly modern template for its ancient system of imperial sovereignty and meritocratic bureaucracy. But the party is now emperor. So, whoever controls the party controls all. One should add that shifts in an autocratic direction have occurred elsewhere, not least in Russia. Those who thought the fall of the USSR heralded the durable triumph of liberal democracy were wrong.
Will this combination of Leninist politics with market economics go on working as China develops? The answer must be: we do not know. A positive response could be that this system not only fits with Chinese traditions, but the bureaucrats are also exceptionally capable. The system has worked spectacularly so far. Yet there are also negative responses. One is that the party is always above the law. That makes power ultimately lawless. Another is that the corruption Mr Xi has been attacking is inherent in a systems lacking checks from below. Another is that, in the long run, this reality will sap economic dynamism. Yet another is that as the economy and the level of education advances, the desire for a say in politics will become overwhelming. In the long run, the rule of one man over the party and that of one party over China will not stand.
One-man rule has been a recipe for instability since Stalin’s day. Yet in a measure of the self-doubt that grips Western democracies today, a congress most notable for wrenching the country backward has been interpreted in some corners as a triumphal coming-of-age for the party, even a warning of the West’s impending eclipse.
“China is marching toward its perception of its global destiny,” writes Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister. “It has a strategy. The West has none.”
China’s confidence has been building in tandem with deepening political disarray in the U.S. and Europe. Faster than he could have expected, leadership in areas from climate change to trade have landed in Mr. Xi’s lap as the U.S. pulls back from its global commitments.
Yet the true test is to come. Apart from a handful of oil-rich emirates, not a single country has broken out of the so-called middle-income trap and achieved rich-nation status without adopting some form of political pluralism. South Korea and Taiwan are two examples of economies that took off at a similar trajectory to China’s under strongman rule, but made the final ascent to prosperity as democracies.
This is emphatically not China’s political destiny: Mr. Xi’s big bet is that he can personally lead the breakthrough without strong institutions, checks and balances and, crucially, without orderly and predictable arrangements to hand over power.
In the 16 months since the referendum that set Brexit in motion, the British economy has weakened in the face of a confounding array of uncertainties. Thrift is the order of the day, along with worries about multinational companies’ paring their investments in Britain.
Some economists fear [a coming interest rate rise] is premature given Britain’s fragile state. Many focused on plunging retail and car sales as a harbinger of trouble.
The drop in the pound has lifted prices on goods ranging from Italian olive oil to Chinese-made electronics. The rate of inflation reached 3 percent in September, the fastest pace in five years. Consumer spending has dipped over the past year while consumer credit is rising — a combination that often ends badly.
The Brexit referendum prompted negotiations through which Britain and a jilted Europe are supposed to hash out their future dealings. But the talks have proved acrimonious and largely futile. This has heightened concerns that a two-year deadline on negotiations could pass without a deal, subjecting companies that trade across the English Channel with unsettling ambiguities about future rules. The Bank of England has been warning banks to prepare for that very eventuality as one possible outcome.
With the boundaries of commerce unclear, some companies are reassessing the appeal of centering operations in Britain, the former seat of a global empire that increasingly looks like an island nation.
If Mr. Mueller is the stern-eyed public face of the investigation, Mr. Weissmann, 59, is its pounding heart, a bookish, legal pit bull with two Ivy League degrees, a weakness for gin martinis and classical music and a list of past enemies that includes professional killers and white-collar criminals.
Empowered by Mr. Mueller, for whom he previously worked as general counsel at the F.B.I., Mr. Weissmann has taken the lead in the government’s case against Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, whose indictment jolted the capital on Monday in a clear signal of the team’s seriousness.
Friends describe Mr. Weissmann as relentless and boundary-grazing but fundamentally fair, a creative legal strategist whose hyperdiligence should not be confused with recklessness. He is the prosecutor they would want if their relatives were charged with crimes they did not commit, they say, and the one they would dread if their family members were guilty.
Even as economic confidence in the euro area reaches historic highs, a series of political risks simmering across the European Union still threaten to undermine the bloc’s fragile recovery.
While the ECB’s accommodative monetary policy has calmed markets and given a boost to the economy, it has also made member states complacent in pursuing necessary reforms, which could exacerbate future crises, according to Carsten Nickel, managing director at Teneo Intelligence. Once ECB policy tightens, “all the political risk will come to the forefront,” he said.
Some fear that rather than a moment of triumph, Google’s quantum supremacy announcement may backfire. They fret that the search giant’s PR machine and the journalistic catnip of the phrase will lead to inflated expectations about what the technology can do—and result in inevitable disillusionment when those expectations are dashed. (To be fair, Google didn’t coin the term quantum supremacy; John Preskill, a CalTech researcher did. But there’s no denying Google’s marketing muscle is helping to popularize it.)
“If you had never heard that phrase before, you would think that we had entered a time when a quantum computer will do everything better than an ordinary computer, and that is far from the case,” says Simon Benjamin, a professor of quantum technologies at the University of Oxford. “We cannot put a quantum computer on a table and have it do something useful that other computers can’t do.” In fact, not only can today’s quantum computers not exceed the performance of conventional supercomputers, for many tasks they actually perform worse than a standard laptop.
As the country grapples with a still more serious affront to American democracy, the agreement on the basic facts in the mainstream news media does not extend to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and other important parts of the conservative media.
This is the case even as the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III bears down in his investigation of the alleged Russian efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election. As Mr. Mueller and his team home in on people connected to President Trump, including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, the president and his allies in the conservative media sphere are pointing at the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
Adding to the problem is the recent behavior of the tech companies, which have not shown the same desire for accountability exhibited by Mr. Ailes and his fellow network chiefs all those years ago. On Tuesday, when Congress called Facebook, Twitter and Google to testify, the platforms sent their lawyers, not their top bosses.
Yes, the lawyers provided some details about how Russian operatives had reached scores of millions of Americans with divisive and misleading messages. But that was only after Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, insisted in November that it was a “pretty crazy idea” that Russian operatives had used Facebook to influence the election. (Facebook’s latest tally of Americans who were exposed to Russia’s divisive content: 126 million.)
The opacity of the tech companies was matched by the efforts of some conservative media outlets to confuse and distract.
Some employees at Fox News were left embarrassed and humiliated by their network’s coverage of the latest revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, according to conversations CNN had with several individuals placed throughout the network.
“I’m watching now and screaming,” one Fox News personality said in a text message to CNN as the person watched their network’s coverage. “I want to quit.”
“It is another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way,” one senior Fox News employee told CNN of their outlet’s coverage, adding that there were “many eye rolls” in the newsroom over how the news was covered.
The person said, “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”
Janet Yellen will on Wednesday chair what may be one of her final meetings at the helm of the US Federal Reserve as the spotlight falls on whether monetary policy will shift after her expected departure.
President Donald Trump is expected to nominate a replacement for Ms Yellen this week but the central bank’s slow but determined course towards tighter monetary policy seems set to endure, as Jay Powell, her most likely successor, inherits an established strategy and strengthening recovery.
The next Fed chair will nevertheless be forced to face some significant decisions soon after taking the helm, including deciding how to combat the next economic downturn at a time of intense hostility among congressional Republicans to many of its stimulus tools.
CENTRAL BANKS & MONETARY POLICY
The Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates unchanged on Wednesday as speculation swirls on who will be its next leader, but the U.S. central bank will likely point to a firming economy as it edges closer to a possible rate rise next month.
USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
U.S. consumer confidence rose more than expected in October to the highest in almost 17 years as Americans grew more confident about the economy and job market, according to figures Tuesday from the New York-based Conference Board.
The U.S. economy is outpacing expectations for the first time since April. What that means for the stock rally is a matter of debate.
POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
COLOR, EARNINGS, SENTIMENT, VALUATIONS
The latest sign of trouble for the retail icon comes from manufacturers demanding early payment and withholding products. Sears, which was once so big it comprised 1% of GDP, says it has taken steps to remain a viable competitor.
Sony Corp. is prospering again. Shares climbed 11 percent to their highest since 2008, after the company increased its annual operating profit outlook to a record 630 billion yen ($5.6 billion). That exceeded the 591 billion yen average that analysts were projecting.
DEALS, MERGERS, IPOs, LBOs, RESTRUCTURINGS
FOREX, CRYPTOCURRENCY, EXCHANGE IMPACTS
Some of Europe’s biggest fund managers are set for a face-off on how best to trade the U.K.’s first potential interest-rate increase in a decade. The U.K. central bank will raise its key rate by 25 basis points from a record low to 0.50 percent Thursday in the first increase since 2007, according to 51 of 59 analysts in a Bloomberg survey, while the remaining eight see no change. The BOE will release its latest outlook for the nation’s growth and the quarterly inflation report on the same day.
The new contract will be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures will be listed on and subject to the rules of CME.
Bitcoin is spiking to a record after CME Group Inc. said it’s planning to launch bitcoin futures as the move could open the floodgates of investors who have been standing on the sidelines as bitcoin soared over 500 percent this year.
REAL ESTATE, HOUSING, REITS, COMMERCIAL
A luxury home in Hong Kong’s exclusive Peak neighborhood sold for HK$1.16 billion ($149 million), Wheelock Properties Ltd. said. The four-bedroom, 9,178 square foot (853 square meter) house boasts a swimming pool, elevator, garden and unobstructed views of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbour. The price per square foot was HK$126,813, the most paid for a unit in the development, Wheelock said. It didn’t identify the buyer.
Until recently, Chinese investment in overseas property seemed headed to the sky. But Beijing’s capital controls are putting a chill on some global commercial real-estate markets.
Since late 2016, policy makers in Beijing have been tightening restrictions on overseas investments and scrutinizing some of the country’s most ambitious deal makers, voicing concerns that deals in certain sectors were disguises for capital flight into havens.
Outbound capital from China into foreign properties and development sites reached a record $36.8 billion in 2016, according to data firm Real Capital Analytics. Volume for the first three quarters of this year was $19.7 billion. In the U.S. real-estate market, capital from China slowed to $5.1 billion in the same nine-month period, down from a total of $14.8 billion in 2016, said Real Capital. These are deals that are $10 million and greater.
ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
ENERGY RENEWABLES, NUCLEAR
“India, along with China, is now setting the pace for solar development, and Europe is having to follow,” says Tim Buckley, director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “That has profound implications for energy markets around the world.”
But despite ambitious targets and blue-chip backing, some in the industry itself are now starting to ask whether projects can really be built at such low costs.
They warn that euphoria has begun to overtake Indian solar developers, making them blind to some of the potential risks. The growing confidence in the solar sector around the world would take a heavy blow if Indian projects were to become financially distressed or even collapse.
COMMODITIES BASE METALS, MATERIALS
In a stellar year for base metals, aluminum has led the pack. Now, producers say surging raw material costs could drive prices even higher.
Alumina, the raw material used to make aluminum, has jumped 56 percent since August after China shut down some production, triggering a wave of buying by traders and aluminum smelters. The rally is putting a strain on metal producers in China, where alumina accounts for 40 percent of the cost of making aluminum.
Cost pressures could worsen in the months to come as Chinese environmental reforms weigh most heavily on bauxite and alumina producers. That may give extra fuel for aluminum’s 28 percent rally this year, the biggest since 2009.
CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND
“Foreign speculators will no longer be able to buy houses in New Zealand from early next year,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at press conference in Wellington Tuesday. “We are determined to make it easier for Kiwis to buy their first home, so we are stopping foreign speculators buying houses and driving up prices. Kiwis should not be outbid like this.”
The housing boom that has seen Australian home prices more than double since the turn of the century is “officially over,” after data showed prices now flatlining, UBS Group AG said.
“There is now a persistent and sharp slowdown unfolding,” UBS economists led by George Tharenou said in a report. “This suggests a tightening of financial conditions is unfolding, which we expect to weigh on consumption growth via a fading household-wealth effect.”
A divided opposition gave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a huge election victory last week but defeat has only deepened the fragmentation, as former Democrats descend into a fratricidal battle over the contents of their party’s bank account.
The Democratic party — which was in government as recently as 2012 — has split four ways in the aftermath of defeat, raising the possibility that Japan will return to the days when Mr Abe’s Liberal Democrats in effect held a monopoly on power.
PROPAGANDA, CORRUPTION, AUTHORITARIANISM
Nigel Farage has been accused of spreading antisemitic tropes, after suggesting that the “Jewish lobby” has a disproportionate influence over American politics.
Speaking about the ongoing investigations over Russian involvement in US politics, the former UKIP leader said that there are other “foreign lobbies” that were “very powerful” in the US. “There are about six million Jewish people living in America, so as a percentage it’s quite small, but in terms of influence its quite big,” Farage said on his LBC show.
More than one in four people across the world think people engaging in same-sex relationships should be charged as criminals, according to a new survey of 77 countries and territories.
However, there were major divisions in attitudes towards the criminalisation of those engaging in same-sex relationships when broken down across regions, the 2017 Ilga-Riwi global attitudes survey to sexual and gender minorities found.
Almost half of respondents (45%) in the 15 African countries surveyed said those who have same-sex relationships should be charged as criminals, a sentiment shared by 36% of respondents in the Middle East.
At the other end of the spectrum, 15% of respondents from Australia and New Zealand said they agreed with this sentiment, along with 19% of participants in North America (the US and Canada combined), South America and western Europe.
A large coalition of science organizations, science advocates, environmentalists, and politicians lined up in fierce opposition to the policy changes, arguing the rules not only disqualify top environmental and health researchers from advising but also favor scientists paid for by EPA-regulated companies. They also have pointed out that EPA has strict rules in place for disclosing any conflicts of interest.
A right-wing conspiracy theory was born at Columbia University last night, based on a lie that spread with remarkable speed from a student-led college protest to the immediate family of the president of the United States. As a result, Donald Trump Jr., along with countless others, now believe that Twitter is running interference for pro-pedophile antifascist student protesters.
Springer Nature, the German group that bills itself the world’s largest academic book publisher, has blocked access in China to at least 1,000 articles, making it the latest international company to succumb to intensifying Chinese censorship demands.
All of the articles in question contained keywords deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese authorities, including “Taiwan”, “Tibet” and “Cultural Revolution”. Western companies are increasingly being targeted by Chinese officials keen to enforce and expand President Xi Jinping’s relentless crackdown on dissent and criticism.
Jared Kushner’s $7.5 billion plan to transform a Manhattan skyscraper into a mix of high-end residences and retail has been deemed “not feasible” by the project’s partner, putting the future of the property — saddled with $1.2 billion in debt — in doubt.
President Donald Trump’s longtime aide and current communications director, Hope Hicks, is scheduled to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in mid-November, following the president’s trip to Asia, multiple people familiar with the schedule told POLITICO.
TRADE, PROTECTIONISM, REGULATION, OVERSIGHT
SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
The flood of cash into startups has allowed companies to stay private for far longer than in the past. On the positive side, companies have more time to develop and grow. But the lack of a public market valuation also raises the question of whether many companies are worth the $1 billion-plus values private investors have attached to them.
A lot of richly valued startups are so old that saying they need time to develop and grow is a bit of a joke. Ride-hailing service Uber, which is valued at $68 billion, has been around for over eight years. Big-data analysis firm Palantir, valued at $20 billion, is 13 years old. SpaceX, the Elon Musk -led rocket maker valued at $21 billion, is 15 years old.
MEDIA, CABLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT
AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
As Tesla cranks up production on the Model 3 sedan, it is having to wrestle with mounting signs of labor unrest—rooted in the Model X’s introduction—that could disturb the Silicon Valley company’s effort to build its first electric car for the masses.
The labor discord raises questions whether the factory will struggle with the demands of a leader whose vision of Tesla is as much a software company as it is an auto maker, one that bucks tradition and draws its strength and creativity from Silicon Valley.
Mr. Musk has proven doubters wrong by creating a coveted luxury brand with electric cars. But at $35,000, the Model 3 will test whether Tesla’s manufacturing prowess can produce vehicles at a projected rate of a half-million a year.
With driverless cars moving ever closer to reality, the companies building them are turning their thoughts to a new problem: how to overcome the fear and anxiety that humans feel when riding in them.
Attention has turned to the human aspects of driverless cars as several companies in the industry predict they will have vehicles without drivers on the road in three to four years. Waymo has set a target of 2020, at least for operating on limited, well-mapped routes and in favourable weather conditions.
But recent comments from executives suggest it is confident it can beat that deadline. “We’re getting to the point now where it’s fair to say we’re pretty close,” said John Krafcik, head of the business.
HEALTH, PRODUCTIVITY AND WELLNESS
Truck drivers employed by the world’s biggest mining company are wearing baseball caps and hard helmets with sensors mounted inside to track their brain waves so they can get early warnings of fatigue and cut accidents.
He’s 36 and playing 26. It’s full-on bananas, a rewrite of the history books.
At the same time, age and the need for recovery have made Federer careful. Showing up and winging it is not on the menu. He opted to skip the clay court season, a decision that deprived Roland Garros, but looked wise when he played with fresh legs at Wimbledon. He’s decided to skip an upcoming tournament in Paris, a choice that will surely disappoint his French fans—and effectively hand the year-end World No. 1 ranking to his rival Rafael Nadal.
It wasn’t an easy call, Federer said. But this is what he needs to do now.
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