first_imgPercussionist and singer Pedrito Martínez, seen in this undated photo, has appeared on more than 100 recordings. Martin Cohen photo For so many North American eardrums, the story of Afro-Cuban music begins and ends with Buena Vista Social Club.The beloved 1997 album — and the 1999 documentary about the unlikely studio sessions that birthed it — transformed a crew of forgotten Cuban maestros into world-renowned players whose songs would cast an immense, singular shadow.Roberto Fonseca is quite literally stepping out of it. His new album, “Yo,” lunges in fantastic and unexpected directions while remaining rooted in Afro-Cuban musical traditions — traditions the 38-year-old Havana pianist became highly fluent in during the years he spent performing alongside Buena Vista alums, including the late vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer.“For me, playing with them was like going to the son montuno school,” Fonseca said, referring to the percolating style that forms much of Cuba’s sonic DNA. “I was trying to learn how to play and how to feel.”Across “Yo,” Fonseca’s touch ranges from lightning-lithe to thunderously heavy, often holding the music’s melodic and percussive center at once. He comes out swinging with “80s,” a thrilling album-starter that resembles Nigerian Afrobeat, with chattering rhythms and vintage jazz fusion in its oily electronic timbres. Dizzying and dazzling, it sounds like falling down the stairs and landing on your feet.“To me, music doesn’t have frontiers, doesn’t have borders,” Fonseca says over the phone from a tour stop in New Orleans, perhaps the only city in this hemisphere crammed with more musical magic per square foot than Havana. “When people listen to my music, they feel good, even if they’re not from Cuba.”Fonseca has helped push Afro-Cuban music further into the 21st century on other recordings, too — his work with British dubstep pioneer Mala produced an intriguing 2012 album called “Mala in Cuba.” But, Fonseca said, his desire to move Cuban music ahead feels more personal, almost internal.“It would have been easy to name myself ‘the Buena Vista Social Club new generation,’ ” Fonseca said. “But now it’s my career, and people are really accepting. We are starting from zero here, and I’m feeling really good. My music is my life, and my life is my music.”New York percussionist and singer Pedrito Martínez seems to be following similar impulses on the excellent, eponymous debut album from the Pedrito Martínez Group, out Tuesday.The album grinds the band leader’s original compositions up against tunes made famous by Led Zeppelin and the Jackson 5 — all played with a zeal that should burnish Martinez’s reputation as one of the most vital and charismatic Afro-Latin percussionists on the planet. The 40-year-old conga player first learned Cuba’s rhythmic dialects in the streets of Havana, but he said his curiosity is continuously stoked by the music of New York City.“Everything comes from tradition, and what you do is add,” Martínez said over the telephone. “It’s Afro-Cuban music interpreted by someone who’s been in the United States for 15 years.”Martínez first left his native Cuba for a tour of Canada in 1998, and in 2000, took first place at the Thelonious Monk International Afro-Latin Jazz Hand Drum Competition, held at the Kennedy Center. Since then, he’s appeared on more than 100 recordings, all while performing regularly at private Santeria ceremonies at apartments across various New York boroughs.His group — an ace quartet that includes keyboardist Ariacne Trujillo, bassist Álvaro Benavides and percussionist Jhair Sala — still maintains a weekly residency at Guantanamera, a Cuban restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen. Martínez said the gig has helped him learn to a play with a dynamism and intensity that can rip across rooms of any size.“We made this band in a little restaurant where people are eating and talking,” Martínez said. “You don’t know how they’re going to react when you start getting loud and excited. But I get up there and do what I know how to do. I do it from the bottom of my heart. And that’s what they feel.”© 2013, The Washington Post  Facebook Commentscenter_img Related posts:Analysis: Obama-Castro handshake offers hope for US-Cuba ties Freedom eludes Cubans U.S. woman, 64, makes history with Cuba-Florida swim Ties between North Korea, Cuba hinted at in route of seized freighterlast_img read more

first_img 0 Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “He was jumping around like a young fella out there today at practice,” head coach Bruce Arians said, smiling. “I think he was pretty excited.”And for good reason: it’s been six years since Palmer last played in the playoffs.Palmer, remember, missed out on the Cardinals’ playoff appearance last season because of a knee injury.“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “As the season starts, you dream of being in this position. You always want to make the playoffs, but to have that first-round bye and a chance to play all your games at home is pretty special. So, it’s a dream come true.”Palmer enjoyed the best season of his 13-year career, setting franchise records for passing yards, touchdowns and passer rating, among other marks.More importantly, he enters the NFL’s second season healthy.Palmer is more than a year removed from an ACL injury that ended his 2014 season in Week 10. Also, a finger injury that led soreness just below his shoulder is no longer an issue.“He’s over it,” Arians said. “We readjusted the tape job Saturday morning. He had a very sore lat (muscle) from changing his motion, which is very natural for pitchers when they come back and they throw, and they’ll get a sore lat. For a quarterback, it’s a weird feeling and it worried him some. But once we readjusted the tape job so that he could use his finger and come off the ball last, the soreness went away and he’s really good right now.” TEMPE, Ariz. – There was an extra bounce in the step of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer as he practiced on Wednesday, and it had everything to do with that day’s work.Maybe not so much because of the specific preparation — the Cardinals worked on Green Bay; they’ll focus on Minnesota and Washington the next two days to cover all three scenarios for their divisional round matchup — but because of what the preparation was for, the playoffs. Palmer dislocated his right index against Philadelphia. He missed one third-quarter snap, but otherwise showed no ill effects, outside of being forced to alter his throwing motion to keep his finger on the ball longer.The changed movement put a different strain on Palmer’s body.“Just from the dislocation, just having to throw it a little bit different is always different on your body. Certain muscles are so used to one specific pattern or one specific movement, and when you change that movement things get thrown out of whack,” he said. “We changed some things up with the way I treated it and the way I taped it, and it’s feeling much better. I haven’t had that issue much since.”When Palmer leads the Cardinals out onto the field next Saturday, Jan. 16 at University of Phoenix Stadium, it will be just his third-ever playoff game.There was the AFC Wild Card loss to the Jets in 2009 and a brief appearance in the Wild Card matchup against Pittsburgh in 2005, a game in which Palmer completed a 66-yard pass to Chris Henry on his first attempt but was injured on the play when he was hit low by Kimo von Oelhoffen, resulting in torn ACL and MCL ligaments in his left knee. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Palmer’s resume is missing a postseason victory.“I’m just excited about this (playoff appearance),” he said.  “I don’t think much about any other regular season game or playoff game. I’m just excited and thankful, kind of like I just said, for where we are right now; to have this bye and to have our first one at home and hopefully the second one, and then obviously, a chance to go to that third.  That’s what I think about.  I don’t think much about the past.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

first_imgCable industry body Cable Europe has criticised the European Commission’s latest Radio Spectrum Policy Programme text as falling short setting clear rules where new wireless services cause interference with existing services, including cable TV reception.“We are encouraged to see that coexistence of new and existing services is regarded as important in the latest text agreed on EU spectrum policy. Promoting competition, investment and the efficient use of spectrum are also key achievements in future-proofing this policy area. But we are disappointed to see that the new rules fall short of answering the simple question of what the European consumer is supposed to do if a new device interferes with their television, internet connection or any other consumer equipment operating on the same frequency,” said Cable Europe managing director Caroline Van Weede.Cable Europe said the latest developments gave room for hope that the EC wished to promote the efficient use of spectrum and competition, but also hailed the example set by the Netherlands, which has made commercial agreements on interference a pre-condition of spectrum acquisition.last_img read more

first_imgIn recent years, Orange, with more than 236 million customers in over 30 countries, has established itself as a key player in the multiscreen OTT TV environment, delivering cutting-edge TV services, in addition to their telephony and broadband services.This case study examines:How partnering with Viaccess-Orca enabled Orange to launch innovative TV services on every screen, across multiple countries such as Spain, France and PolandThe way in which VO’s Voyage, TV Everywhere solution, helped Orange build a solid foundation for success in multiscreen TVThe current blueprint of results in each Orange-VO project, for each countrylast_img read more

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator) L: So Doug, the world didn’t end in 2012, so it’s onward into another new year. It’s time to tune in to your guru-vision and tell us what trends you see shaping up and what actions they imply taking. Doug: Yes, it looks like the Mayans missed this one; perhaps they’ll get another kick at the cat a few millennia from now when it’s once more time to turn the page on their calendar. Better luck next time, Mayan astrologers! But although nothing seems to be happening on that front, it’s appropriate that I’m speaking to you from Punta del Este in Uruguay, which is one of the most happening places in the world at this time of year – North American and European winter, South American summer. I went to a New Year’s Eve party last night with some rather interesting temporary denizens of the place, and of course this was the subject of much conversation. None of them happened to be American, incidentally, and all but one – who is very involved in local politics – is extremely bearish on 2013. L: Do you mean bearish on the global economy? Bearish on geopolitics? Or bearish on civilization itself? Doug: All of the above. A “Mad Max” type outcome is definitely a possibility, as much as I hate to anticipate something really serious – as opposed to just a financial/economic meltdown. But the West has a huge amount of accumulated capital that it can still dissipate – a task the politicians are working on diligently. I expect the US will get a VAT, and/or an asset tax. Perhaps they’ll take a page from Cristina Kirchner’s book and nationalize everyone’s pension – for the good of the government, as well as the safety of the pensioners, of course. In the near term, we’re looking at increased tensions of every kind around the globe, and greater market volatility. By the way, we enjoyed a professional-grade fireworks display put on by our host in his back yard. It struck me that I was witnessing exactly the kind of freedom that makes me like living down here so much, and makes me dislike returning to the US. In the US, you’d have to be a city to put on that kind of fireworks show, or go through God-know-what sort of licensing to get the explosives involved. The smell of gunpowder at midnight is most invigorating, especially mixed with the smoke of Cuban cigars. I’m not saying Uruguay is totally free, especially not economically – the president is actually a communist. But he’s a surprisingly mellow communist, and not at all corrupt. Most unusual, actually. He lives on a small farm and drives an old car. Of course the things he’s doing – raising welfare benefits, eliminating financial privacy, initiating an income tax, and letting petty thieves run wild, among many other things – are making the place much less desirable to hang out. L: So, aside from economically stupid laws, they let people do pretty much as they will with their personal lives? Doug: That’s the good news. It’s a quiet, unambitious, backward, bureaucratic little country. But they still pretty much leave you alone. And strange things can happen. At the party I mentioned, a friend who mostly lives in Argentina told me about what was in Sunday’s El Pais, the national paper. It turns out that a top local politician – most of whom are socialists or ex-communists – just discovered Frederic Bastiat’s book, The Law. He was so taken with the free-market ideas in it, he had the entirety of the book published as an insert in the paper, at his own expense. I don’t know how many people will actually read it, and I doubt it will have much effect, but as a possible straw in the wind, it’s pretty interesting. Shocking, actually. L: A hundred years ago you might have seen a copy of The Communist Manifesto, so perhaps the pendulum will swing back in our direction in the next hundred years. A good reminder that it’s important to internationalize both one’s assets and one’s lifestyle. It’s hard to predict what will happen in any given country, although the trend is going from bad to worse just about everywhere. Doug: Yes; as the Greater Depression deepens, governments all around the world are going to get increasingly desperate, take increasingly stupid measures, and the people on the bottom rungs of the ladder – the very ones the governments will claim to be helping – are going to get pushed off in greater and greater numbers. That’s going to make for more social unrest, vandalism, and violence all around the world. It’s wise to find a crib away from likely epicenters of turmoil. You still have to look at the world objectively, and prepare to be, or move to wherever there’s the least trouble on the ground, among the places you actually enjoy being in. This is especially so for Europeans and their cousins in the US, where things are deteriorating fast. L: So, what are your own reasons for bearishness? Doug: I’m exceptionally bearish because we’ve been in the eye of this hurricane for going on three years. It seems to me that the bigger the eye of the storm, the bigger the storm must be. We are definitely heading for the trailing side of the hurricane soon. And it will be vastly bigger, and last much longer, and be much different than the leading edge. I can’t emphasize enough that all these trillions of currency units that governments all around the world are printing up by the truckload… L: Or helicopter load. Doug: [Chuckles] Yes, well, bank-wire load, as it were, these days. They no longer need to bother with the printing press; they can just create more out of nothing with the stroke of a key. All that cash in the US, the EU, Japan, and elsewhere is going to come out of the banks where it’s sitting at some point, and the inflation that’s been masked so far will kick into a much higher gear. Take Uruguay, for instance, which is actually a very expensive country – to go out to dinner here in Punta del Este costs considerably more than in the US. When I first came here, things were very cheap. I’ve seen the same thing in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Spain, and other markets in which I’ve made a lot of money in real estate, based on the same trend. This is happening all over the world. The US has been so successful at exporting its inflation – abusing the reserve currency status of the US dollar – that it’s become a relatively cheap place to live, at least among the more developed nations. The local symptom of this global sickness is that here in Punta, very expensive condominium buildings are popping up all along the coast, spreading faster than dandelions in springtime. Nobody lives in most of them, though some are occupied for a month or two in the summer, and yet, year-round you have to pay maintenance and security costs of at least $2,000, and sometimes $3,000 or $4,000 per month. The only reason people would pay that kind of money to maintain empty condos, as far as I can see, is to hide money. L: Why do they need to hide it? Doug: Each will have his own reasons. Sadly, Uruguay is no longer the Switzerland of South America it once was. There was once no income tax here and financial privacy – which no longer exists anywhere. A government run by ex-communists destroyed all that. That was shooting themselves in the foot, of course. But real property rights are still pretty strong here, so people are building all these condos as a place to stash money in the form of bricks and mortar. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will work out for them, because as the global Greater Depression deepens, people are going to have to start liquidating them, and the local market is going to crash. The monthly maintenance costs plus a need to retrieve the invested capital is going to result in a wave of selling. A lot of people are going to get burned. Not just here – almost everywhere. As my friend Richard Russell has said, in a depression everybody loses. The winner is the one who loses the least. L: Maybe you can let us know when that happens – sounds like it will be a great contrarian buying opportunity at that time. Doug: Sure. Most people will be too nervous to act, but I keep an eye on several real-estate markets for just that sort of contrarian opportunity. Meanwhile, I may just head for the exits now myself, not wanting to be unable to liquidate the real estate I’ve got in Uruguay later. At any rate, I view this developing situation as an example of what’s brewing in many markets all around the world. L: Can you give us more specifics? Doug: I think the most important thing to bear in mind is that we are approaching the absolute peak of the bond bubble, which has gotten vastly bigger than I ever imagined it could. Interest rates in the developed economies around the world are two percent, one percent, or even negative. This is fueling a bond bubble of truly catastrophic proportions. When it bursts, it will be an order of magnitude worse than the tech stock-market crash of 2001 or the real-estate bubble that burst in 2008. When this one goes, it won’t just wipe out the people who thought they were being prudent savers. Because it’s a financial market, it will also hit stocks and real estate again, at least in Europe and the US. Here in Uruguay and places like Argentina, real estate is largely a pure cash market. But in the so-called more developed economies, real estate still floats on a sea of debt. It amazes me that people in the US are elated because the real-estate market is supposed to be up 4.3%, as of the latest figures. Well, of course it is; you can borrow money for effectively zero, given where interest rates and inflation are. L: Is that a sign of the bulging piles of money banks have been sitting starting to leak out into the economy? Doug: Looks that way. And when interest rates start rising steeply, as they’ll have to do once inflation sets in, rising to double digits as they were in the 1980s, it will crush real estate further and deeper than we’ve seen so far. It will do so all around the world, but the US will be hardest hit, I think. There’s no question in my mind: the bond bubble is by far the largest distortion we’re facing in the economy today. Bonds are incredibly dangerous, insanely risky speculations today. They’re reward-free risk. Bond owners are facing huge default risk, huge interest rate risk, and huge inflation risk. But nobody seems to see it or talk about it. L: I understand. But honestly, Doug, you’ve been saying that for a while. What makes you think this will be the year the bond balloon finds the pin it’s been searching for? Doug: You’re right – that particular bubble should have found its pin two or three years ago. I admit I thought it’d pop last year. It’s like watching a clown over-inflate a balloon; the longer he inflates it, the more you wince, because you know it’s going to blow up in his face. And the longer it takes, the closer the inevitable comes to being imminent – and the bigger the explosion becomes. It would have been so much better if the idiots who run the US government had allowed the market to fully liquidate past mistakes and distortions back in 2008. If they’d let all the big banks, brokers, hedge funds, and corporate welfare junkies fail, it would have been very unpleasant, but the country could have survived it, and come out stronger and with a healthier balance sheet as a result. The real wealth – buildings, farms, technologies, the skills of workers – would still be there. And the financial elite would have been wiped out – which would have been a good thing. But instead, they’ve ensured that the rich have gotten even richer, guaranteed by the government. They tried to drown a fire with a flood of gasoline, and it’s going to burn the country down. You know the old saw about not predicting both an event and its timing, but I don’t see how this thing can go beyond 2013. L: Well, you were right about the politicians in Washington preferring to compromise than to allow the fiscal cliff to hit the fan, so maybe you’re right about this one too. So, we should beware of the bond bubble bursting. Beware of real estate getting crushed when interest rates go up. What about stocks? Wouldn’t a lot of money fleeing falling bonds go into the stock market? Doug: Yes, a lot would, but a lot of companies would be failing as well, so I’m ambivalent about equities in general. Earnings could collapse. Companies with many millions – or even billions – in cash on their balance sheets could still get hit fast and furious by high inflation. P/E ratios are not low these days; Wall Street is not a bargain. So I’m generally neutral to bearish and therefore out of the stock market. That’s the best policy when you can make an equally compelling case for something going up or down. L: That’s exactly how I see copper and the other base metals these days. But gold is another matter. Doug: Of course. And even though gold has hit new highs in nominal dollar prices, gold has still not matched its previous peak in inflation-adjusted dollars. Really, in practical terms, nobody knows or cares about gold yet. The average guy doesn’t even know it exists – and the average guy on Wall Street thinks it’s only good for paperweights, of which the world already has a surplus. L: Gold is cheap at $1,670? Doug: No. But it’s got to go higher. The fact is that precious metals are the only financial assets that are not simultaneously somebody else’s liability. The huge counterparty liability in today’s markets has yet to make itself evident, but it will – it’s in the hundreds of trillions. That’s what the derivatives that Buffett has been talking about for a decade are all about. That makes the best single speculation I can think of today gold and silver mining stocks. For the last two years, gold stocks have been getting cheaper, even though gold has continued rising, year-on-year. That makes these stocks a better deal than they’ve been for many years. And it’s such a tiny little market, the upside when the larger world catches on will be breathtaking. My sense, based on watching these markets for 40 years, is that we’re coming up on an explosion of resource stock prices of historic proportions. The kind of stocks you and Jeff cover are absolutely the place to be. [Ed. Note: Doug is talking about the BIG GOLD and Casey International Speculator portfolios.] L: The data support you on that. If you adjust for inflation by looking at the price of gold stocks in terms of gold, they are selling for less than they have for years – almost as low as during the crash of 2008, or even back in 2001, before this bull cycle for metals got going. Doug: They are now extremely high-potential and relatively low-risk speculations – despite mining being a crappy, 19th-century choo-choo-train industry. L: [Laughs] I used that phrase of yours in the International Speculator coming out Thursday and make the same point. Doug: You provide a shopping list? L: Of course. Jeff’s got one in BG too. Doug: Good. This may be the last chance for people late to this bull market to get in at prices similar to what they could have paid before it got going. And as a matter of fact, gold was cheaper in real terms back in 2001 than it was at $35 per ounce back in 1971. People seem to have forgotten that these are the most volatile stocks on the planet. There have been a half-dozen markets I’ve personally seen over the years where junior miners and explorers went up 1,000% as a group. Perversely, people are afraid to buy these stocks now – L: The very reason they should; you have to be a contrarian to buy low and sell high. Doug: – at precisely the time when they should. I promise you, when the Mania Phase of this gold market kicks in, everyone will be piling in, and it will drive share prices not just through the roof, but to the moon. Then they’ll collapse 95% later, of course, the way they always do. But now is the time to buy them. However, since there are several thousand of them, it’s critical to be highly selective. L: Well, if speculating when others dare not were easy, everyone would do it, and there would be no speculative opportunity, so of course I agree. But back to 2013 – if you don’t think the global economy will collapse this year, can you say when? Doug: As I said last time, 2013 is going to be ugly, but it will just be a warmup for 2014. Back at the New Year’s party I went to here in Punta del Este, I asked my best friend down here the same question. He’s very rich and very shrewd. He’s of the opinion that the world will see catastrophic events of historic proportions – not just one, but several – over the next ten years. I think he’s right, and that brings us back to another point we started with: I cannot stress strongly enough that anyone who hopes to survive financially, and perhaps even physically, needs to internationalize. L: There’s the Mr. Cheerful we all know and love. Doug: Hey, I’m looking at the bright side… L: Okay then. Thanks, and we’ll talk again next week – and soon in person, in Vancouver. If you’ve never heard Doug Casey speak in person, now’s your chance – he’ll join a star-studded cast of natural resource and financial experts who will be presenting at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference January 20-21 – it’s the world’s largest investor-focused, resource-exploration conference. Doug will also be signing copies of his new book, Totally Incorrect. Other Casey Research presenters are Chief Mining and Investment Strategist Louis James; Chief Energy Investment Strategist Marin Katusa; Senior Precious Metals Analyst Jeff Clark; and CEO Olivier Garret. On the evening of January 21, there will be a VIP event for Casey’s Club members and our NextTen and Explorer’s League honorees (details to come). This is one event you don’t want to miss – you’re guaranteed to walk away with actionable investment strategies that will put you in perfect position to profit from the coming boom in natural resources. Click here for registration information.last_img read more

first_img(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator) L: We are speaking today with Casey Research Chief Economist Bud Conrad. Bud, in my mind, the thing that makes your insights so valuable is that you’re not actually a career economist with a Ph.D. in the subject. You are an engineer, and you bring an engineer’s systems analysis perspective to bear on economic questions. So, how does the system of the world’s economy look to you today? Is it really on the mend, as so many economists are saying? Bud: That’s a very broad question. Thanks for mentioning my background. We so often see economists arguing with economists about their points of view. I think it helps to step back and have a fresh look at things, focusing on what the data tell us, rather than focusing on their ideas based on theories… which I don’t think are correct. L: That reminds me of the old joke about a physicist, engineer, and an economist stranded on a deserted island. The only food they have is a can of beans, but they have no can opener. The physicist has an idea to use fire to open the can, but that would ruin the beans. The engineer has an idea to use rocks to open the can, but that would ruin the beans as well. The economist says: “Let’s assume a can opener.” Bud: [Chuckles] I have to say, I really do think that the intellectual bedrock of modern economics is very weak. The reality today is that governments around the world – not just the United States, but also in Europe with the ECB and Japan with Abe’s mandate to the Bank of Japan requiring it to maintain an inflation rate of 2%, and other governments as well – they are all moving in the direction of printing more money. The United States is not the worst offender, but only because we have a rich country that can afford substantial deficits. We have a system in which the government finds it easy to print money in an effort to meet everyone’s needs. Those needs include the baby-boomer generation going into retirement, with $75 trillion in future obligations, and a large and ever-growing military – much larger in proportion to GDP than what any other country in the world is maintaining. Coupled with this, we have a lack of interest in raising taxes among politicians, who see that as unpopular with voters. The politicians have no will to fix our deficits. The deficit has been papered over by the Fed printing money. However, the problem is not a matter of just this last year. Nor is it just this last recessionary period that started in 2008. The bubbles really started forming back in the 1990s when Greenspan turned on the spigots after the 1987 stock market crash. That brought on the first modern big bubble, the one in tech stocks. The dot-com bubble was very large, and its bursting should have been a lesson and a warning about what was to come. In response to the crash that followed the popping of the dot-com bubble, Greenspan lowered interest rates to around 1%. At the time, that was a new record in easy-money policy on the part of the Fed. This led to the housing bubble. The bursting of this bubble was not well predicted, not by most people, but it was by me. L: When and where, Bud? Bud: I predicted the end of the housing bubble back in 2006, when you and I were both working on the International Speculator, before we pulled out the big-picture economics and started publishing that material in The Casey Report. There was an issue in 2006 called The Coming Currency Crisis in which we said the housing bubble was bursting. But in 2007, Bernanke was still saying that the problems in the housing sector were contained. Of course, it is the nature of his job to avoid frightening people with dire comments, but in looking at the minutes of the Fed meetings it’s clear that they really didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. L: Ah, I remember that one. We got a lot of things right – made me laugh to see Bernanke on TV after the crisis hit in 2008, saying that no one could have seen it coming. Bud: Indeed. I knew we were in a bubble, just looking at the subprime lending phenomenon. Many in the mortgage industry knew we were in a bubble. The Fed’s response to the bursting of the housing bubble and everything else that’s gone wrong since 2008 has inflated a third bubble – the bond bubble, which I think is now peaking. It’s harder to predict when a bubble will burst than to identify the fact that we’re in one, which is what I’m saying now. We have the lowest interest rates in 250 years – lower than at any time since the founding of the country – created by the Federal Reserve forcing interest rates to zero in the short term. In addition, we have the Fed encouraging banks to help lower rates through buying Treasuries. On top of this, we also have some $350 trillion of swaps derivatives of interest rates – more than half of all the derivatives out there are interest-rate derivatives. Banks use these swaps to transmit lower rates to other debt instruments based on what can they can get from the Fed. This drives all rates down. L: Sounds pretty questionable… Good thing the government saved us from evil bankers in 2008, cleaned house, and set us all on the path to righteousness. Bud: I don’t think our financial situation is any more solid than before the crisis. We’ve still got many undisclosed, not yet written down, toxic financial items out there. It may be better than the middle of the worst part of the crisis, but that’s not saying much. L: So what happens next? Bud: We’ve seen 30 years of declining interest rates. I think we’ll begin to see them move in the other direction this year. I think rates on everything from high-yield corporate bonds to government bonds – which are considered the safest – are way lower than they should be. Consider the high probability of inflation ahead, the currency exchange rate risk, and the eventual default risk. All three risks are totally undiscounted by the market, because of the distortion created by the Fed. That will hit its limit at some point. Some people say the Fed can keep up its juggling act forever. I don’t agree. L: Doug has been describing the bond market as “a triple threat to your capital” for some time now. I understand that it is difficult to predict exactly when a market bubble will pop, but can you give us some indicators to watch for? What would be conclusive evidence that the popping is actually under way? Bud: That’s a tough question. I’ve done extensive work on when countries explode. The premier take away from Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff’s best-selling book, This Time Is Different, is that when debt gets to 90% of GDP, that’s when things get risky. Well, we have $15 trillion in GDP and $16.4 trillion of debt. That’s well-publicized now, because of the political wrangling over the debt ceiling, which we’ve actually already exceeded. L: So we’re already in the red zone? Bud: We do have some advantages over other countries. We have a big military, which does cost us, but also tends to make other powers more cooperative. Most of our debt is denominated in our own currency, which gives us a big advantage over a smaller country that has debt denominated in US dollars – if their currencies fall against the dollar, their troubles are compounded. So we can probably push things further than the 90% threshold. That’s not a hard number by the way, just an average within a fairly wide footprint. However, with our level of debt to GDP, most countries would already be looking at something on the order of 10% interest rates, whereas we’ve got something in the neighborhood of 2% for the 10-year Treasury. This is an extreme distortion from what the market would dictate under such circumstances. So, will interest rates start rising now that we’re over 100% debt to GDP? I know rates can’t go much lower, so I expect they will be heading up from here. Look at the trillion dollars a year in new debt we’re accumulating, and consider that in four years we will have more than $20 trillion in government debt. At 5% interest, that would require a trillion dollars a year in interest payments. We only collect $2.5 trillion in federal taxes. I don’t see how we could reach such a number without something breaking. That’s four years away, but since we know it’s coming, we should already be preparing for the problems that can be anticipated. All that’s needed for things to break down is some event that causes a panic. Such an event might be some foreign government with a huge trade surplus with the US that it has invested in US Treasuries deciding that the 2% they’re getting paid to hold them is not worth it in the face of 5% inflation in the things they need to buy, like raw materials. If something like that were to happen, it could spark a race to head for the exits on US bonds. This highlights a real Achilles heel we have, compared to other countries that don’t have as huge a trade deficit as we do. L: So a good sign that the balloon is going up would be that the interest rates start rising despite the government’s efforts to keep them down? Bud: Yes. There will come a time when the Fed announces a new easing program and the market ignores the announcement so that rates rise rather than fall, and stocks fall rather than rise. At that point the game is surely over. Watching interest rates is certainly important in terms of keeping track of the turning tide. If they move from 2% toward 4% – which is not a very large change in historical terms – they could then accelerate and push the whole mess off a cliff very quickly. L: The Keynesians will just answer that all this deficit spending will stimulate the economy, which will then grow at a more rapid rate and enable us to afford the debt. But is that even possible? Wouldn’t we need a double-digit GDP growth rate, such as China used to enjoy, to pull that off? Bud: Well, in the simplest terms, if your debt is growing faster than your GDP, you won’t ever be able to pay it off. It’s simple math. Now if you look at the kind of debt problems governments get into, there comes a critical point at which people recognize that the problem is too big to be solved. The most recent high-profile example of this is what happened to Greece. In such a case, there are only a few things you can do. The first is to find someone bigger to bail you out. Greece found that the ECB was able to bail it out – at least for a time, but they’re still in trouble. The United States is too big for that. The second thing you can do is to hope you can grow out of it, as you just suggested some might argue. The US’s debt growth has been bigger than GDP growth for decades. It’s just not credible to argue that we can grow our way out of our debt. The next alternative is to simply declare default, as Argentina and Russia have done, among others. This is what many countries along the southern fringe of Europe are likely to do, in my opinion. The public in these countries is rebelling against the austerity plans the ECB is requiring. Default of some kind is their only alternative. Default is very destructive in the short term, greatly reducing the ability of governments to borrow and spend in the future. It’s also politically very unpalatable, especially in places like the US, where most people can’t even conceive of their government defaulting on its obligations. This leaves only one alternative: printing money to try to kick the can down the road. This is the path we are on. It too is highly destructive, but that destruction is hidden and delayed. It is not, however, sustainable, and I think we will see a breakdown in the not-too-distant future. L: How “not-too-distant?” Bud: My current intuition is that we will begin to see this happening in the near term, meaning this year. As that gets going, it will build momentum and accelerate. That’s my current prediction: the third bubble created by the many years of easy money policy by the Fed, the bond bubble, will pop soon. L: In discussing this last week, Doug and I likened this to a house of cards. Everyone knows it’s shaky, and nobody wants to get caught when it comes down. That means that when it starts, the collapse should come very quickly. Do you think we could see a 2008 level of crisis arising from the bursting of this bubble as early as this year? Bud: I don’t want to predict exactly what will happen when, but I am willing to say that we have seen the lows in interest rates and they will start rising this year. L: That’s still a bold statement. Do you have a theory as to why European countries – most of which are far more overtly socialist than the United States – are struggling to embrace austerity measures, while in the US, aside from some small budget cuts generating big headlines, there’s no real consideration being given to actually trying to live within our means? Bud: I would simply say that the Europeans have better PR. I really don’t think they are that much different. The ECB has said it will do whatever it takes to defend the euro – that means printing more euros. The public statements about austerity have been effective enough that they haven’t had to do much printing in the last six months, but Europe looks no better off to me now than it did six months ago. France is weakening greatly, and that’s one of the pillars of strength being relied upon to help carry the others. The ECB is kind of a paper tiger. It’s supposed to be able to print up money and rely on the strong countries to back them up. But can anyone take the idea of France bailing out Italy and Spain seriously? It’s just another house of cards. Most people don’t realize that not only is there the ECB, but each country has its own central bank. While in theory the central bank of each country is not allowed to print euros, a loophole that is not understood is that the TARGET2 money transfer system causes them to enlarge their balance sheets. This is the same thing as printing money. This is particularly true of the German Bundesbank, which is owed money by the ECB, which is owed money by Spain and other importing countries. The system is unsustainable, and I think the process of collapse is starting, though it may take a while to gather momentum. I admit that I’m surprised by the current relative strength of the euro. I think that it will weaken from here. I see enough problems in the world’s financial system and our own to say that while the dollar may not look particularly weak in foreign exchange, all of these paper currencies are tragically flawed. At some point people will wake up to their lack of intrinsic value and not care whether it’s pesos or dollars you’re offering them – they won’t take anything backed by nothing. L: Gee, Bud, you’re as gloomy as Doug! Bud: [Laughs] It’s not a contest! It’s just what the data are telling me: Europe is in recession. Next up is Japan, which is trying to bail itself out for the 43rd time in the last 20 years by printing money. I think the US will be the third domino to fall – I think we’re heading for stagflation by the end of this year. L: We should also probably warn people against speculating in real estate, because even though those assets are real, real estate is going to get slaughtered if interest rates rise. Bud: Good point. But the fact remains that the size of this bubble is bigger than the other two that have popped already. The debt market is on the order of $53 trillion across all sorts of debt. The stock market is only $15 trillion. The home real-estate market is $20 trillion. So when the debt market crashes, it’ll be two or three times worse than the previous bubbles bursting. The resulting wealth transfer will be much larger than most economists can even understand – most don’t really focus on debt. It’s critical that the measuring stick they’re using, the dollar, is made of rubber. They are going to be caught off guard, and many people are going to be wiped out. L: Okay, so how do we position ourselves to invest? Bud: I don’t know if I would pick an inverse interest rate ETF or futures market short position yet. The fundamental thing is not to keep your cash in a bank account that is essentially paying you a zero interest rate. I look to invest in safe-haven assets like the precious metals, essential needs like energy, and real estate – particular things like productive agricultural real estate. I might even add stocks in general to the list… L: Doug disagrees on that last one. Bud: Mainstream economists are saying that the worst is over and that the blue chips will head higher. I’m saying the worst is not over, and with inflation on the way, higher nominal stock prices will not translate to big returns in real terms. They might do better than your .01% CD, but the gains will not be attractive in terms of increased purchasing power. I didn’t recommend stocks because I think they’re going to be big winners, but simply as a way to avoid losing money on bank deposits. I’d rather own gold, personally. But the important thing to understand is that as paper money is being made worthless, we need to protect ourselves. L: Okay, I get it. I think I need a beer… or better yet, a hug from my children – that always makes me feel better. But I do appreciate your candid assessment. It helps to explain some of the things Doug’s guru-vision has been telling us. Thanks. I think. Bud: You’re welcome. Thanks for giving me a chance to give my warning. I just hope people will listen. Bud Conrad is the author of Profiting from the World’s Economic Crisis. He also shares his economic and investment insights in The Casey Report, a monthly advisory that focuses on profit opportunities in emerging trends. For more information on the topics discussed, listen to Bud’s recent interview with Jim Puplava of Financial Sense.last_img read more

first_img Recommended Links Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists We remember discussing the radicals’ strategy back in 1969. This is where the nostalgia comes in… Last night, we stayed at a tiny hotel in Paris, near where we first got to know the city 43 years ago. We had gone for a semester abroad, after discovering that the tuition at the University of Paris was only $80. That meant that even with airfare, it was cheaper to go to the Sorbonne than to the University of Maryland. The semester turned into a lifelong relationship, marked by equal periods of affection and disgust. We didn’t speak French at the time, but we had had four years of it in high school. That seemed like plenty. (Although it later proved comically insufficient.) But we were adventurous back then. And penniless. So, we got ourselves to Paris… and hung out at the bars around St.-Germain-des-Prés. It was a very different city in the 1960s. It was a world leader in fashion, technology, movies, food, and philosophy. But Paris had a problem back then, too. Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, anarchists, syndicalists, and students – in 1968, they rebelled, ripped up the streets to build barricades out of the paving stones (the streets were covered with asphalt soon after), and engaged with the police in pitched battles. By the time we arrived a year later, skirmishes between gendarmes and radical groups were still going on. The organized rebels would race around a corner, throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police who formed up into protected phalanxes with their clear plastic shields. Then the cops would suddenly charge the insurgents, swinging their billy clubs at anyone they could reach. Trained and practiced, the terrorists would retreat quickly. This left the police with nobody to rough up except innocent onlookers. That is how your editor nearly got hospitalized. Walking down the street, he was mistaken for a radical… knocked to the ground and worked over by three policemen, who eagerly went about their work with happy cudgels. Revolutionary Strategy Sitting in a café with a bandaged face, we discussed the revolutionaries’ strategy with a young French intellectual of Trotskyite tendencies. Even almost a half-century later, we recalled the conversation when we passed the café (still in business) where it took place. “Oh… sorry to see you got beaten up,” he said. “But it’s just collateral damage. We’re making headway. “The police don’t like it when we attack them. It’s a point of pride, more than anything else. So, they overreact. But the more they show on TV people like you getting beaten up by the cops, the more the working class comes over to our side. We’re going to win.” The revolutionaries did not win. They did not topple the Fifth Republic. But they eventually got much of what they wanted – free schooling… free drugs and medical attention… a high-cost, zombified, crony economy… a bureaucratized, tightly regulated society… even a 35-hour workweek. And now look at it. “Yes, it’s a mess…” repeated the voice behind us. Regards, Bill Bonner’s Analyst Issues Urgent Buy for This Wednesday This stock is in the same position as two other well-known stocks right before they jumped 121%… and 205%. Bill Bonner is investing $250,000 in it through his family trust later this week… but if you click here, you could get in on it before him. – Major Shift in World’s Largest Financial Market (40x Larger Than the Stock Market) Could it send gold to $11,000/oz.? Four of the world’s smartest billionaires might think so. They’re all “backing up the trucks” on gold. Learn more here.center_img Bill Editor’s note: The rising tide of global terror is only strengthening the “Deep State’s” grip on you and your life. And in his latest warning, Bill explains exactly how this shadowy group of unelected elites is corrupting our financial system… and pushing the U.S. economy closer and closer to an imminent breakdown. But he also offers some individual financial solutions you can put in place on your own to help you and your children live in a safe, prosperous, and free country. Watch here now. — Editor’s note: Agora founder Bill Bonner was just in Paris…While he was there, he was reminded of the time he spent there in the 1960s… Back when he was knocked to the ground and nearly hospitalized by three policemen… VIENNA – Real money must reflect the realities of the real economy. If it becomes detached from economic reality, like a clock that no longer tells the right time, it becomes a hazard to everyone. Appointments are missed. Trains crash. You show up at the airport and find the plane left two hours ago! Air France is on strike. Our flight – with Austrian Airlines – left an hour late as a result. “This is a mess,” we said to nobody in particular, as we waited for a plane this morning. “Welcome to France,” said a voice behind us. Murdered by Barbarians Puzzling out the secrets of money and interest rates was interrupted by the news… and nostalgia. The gruesome details: An 86-year-old French priest was forced to kneel in his church. Then his throat was cut. “Murdered by Barbarians,” screamed a headline in the French newspaper Le Figaro. “We must be pitiless,” said former president Nicolas Sarkozy. “It’s war.” He may have picked up a few lines from Saint Bernard, rehearsed nearly 1,000 years ago. In the Burgundian town of Vézelay, on March 31, 1146, St. Bernard of Clairvaux delivered his famous oration on responding to the Muslim threat: Will you allow the infidels to contemplate in peace the ravages they have committed on Christian people? […] Fly then to arms; let a holy rage animate you in the fight, and let the Christian world resound with these words of the prophet: “Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood!” In France – as in the U.S. – saintly politicians compete to see who can most convincingly promise to “get tough.” Of course, getting tough is just what the so-called Islamic State (known in France by its Arabic acronym, Daesh) wants. The strategy is ancient. More than 2,000 years ago, radical Jewish groups conducted a war of terror against their Roman masters, hoping to provoke a crackdown by the authorities… leading to the radicalization of the masses. Did it work? Depends on how you look at it. The Jews got their crackdown. Vespasian and Titus put down their insurrection, leveled Jerusalem, destroyed The Temple and, according to Josephus, killed 1.1 million Jews.last_img read more

first_imgA former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., was arrested and charged with reckless homicide and abuse in February for making a medical mistake that resulted in an elderly patient’s death. Criminal charges for a medical error are unusual, patient safety experts say. Some are voicing concern that the move sets a precedent that may actually make hospitals less safe by making people hesitant to report errors. The nurse, RaDonda Vaught, pleaded not guilty. Her next hearing is scheduled for April 11. She told NPR in an emailed statement from her lawyer that Vanderbilt terminated her employment after the incident.The district attorney’s decision to charge Vaught comes after both the Tennessee Department of Health and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigated the incident. The state health department investigation, which concluded in October 2018, did not revoke Vaught’s nursing license.The CMS report emphasizes the hospital’s responsibility in the mistake. “The hospital failed to ensure all patients received care in a safe setting,” the report says. Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials would not comment on the case. The report details how Vaught mistakenly took the wrong medicine out of a dispensing cabinet. She was trying to give the patient, Charlene Murphey, a dose of an anti-anxiety medication, midazolam (brand name Versed), before an imaging scan during a December 2017 hospital stay, the report states. Vaught instead gave Murphey vecuronium, a paralytic drug used during anesthesia that had the same first two letters, according to the report. Murphey died in an intensive care unit the following day.The Nashville District Attorney’s office told the Tennessean it made the decision to bring criminal charges against Vaught specifically because she administered the fatal medication after overriding the safety mechanism in the dispensing machine.Medical errors are common. Some researchers estimate they’re the third leading cause of death in the United States. And many in the patient safety community say they don’t understand what prompted the DA’s office to prosecute this case in particular. DA spokesman Stephen Hayslip told NPR in an email that “the actions of this office will become more evident as the evidence is presented to the court.” He declined to comment further.Nurses around the country have come to Vaught’s defense, speaking out on social media and on opinion pages. The American Nurses Association issued a statement criticizing the charges, saying that “the criminalization of medical errors could have a chilling effect” on health care workers’ willingness to report errors. The phenomenon of criminally charging health care providers after a patient is harmed is rare, “but it grows less unusual every year,” says Stephen Hurley, a Wisconsin lawyer who has defended nurses in similar cases and advised hospitals on the topic.Most high-profile cases tend to involve death, a significant injury or a patient well-known in the community, he says. And prosecutors tend to focus on nurses, he says, rather than physicians or hospital administrators, though he’s not sure why.Suen Ross, the ANA’s director of nursing practice and workplace environment, thinks that it’s unusual for health care providers to be charged with a crime after a medical mistake that didn’t involve malicious intent or intoxication. She calls Vaught’s case “unprecedented” because neither of these factors are cited in the CMS report.Ross says it’s important for health care workers to feel free to report errors without fear of retribution. All health care mistakes — even small ones — should be analyzed to understand the underlying issues that caused them, Ross says. A non-punitive approach encourages transparency, she says, and “that prevents future mistakes or errors from happening.” This approach to preventing errors is well-accepted in the medical and nursing communities, which makes a criminal case like Vaught’s all the more surprising, says Kirstin Manges, a nurse and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who studies patient safety.”That could have happened to me, or it could have happened to my friend,” Manges says. “Nurses aren’t superheroes. We’re people.”Manges says that most medical errors occur because of systemic problems. Human error is inevitable, she says, and hospitals should account for that by instituting safety checks and protocols.Problems tend to happen in busy, unpredictable circumstances, Manges says. When nurses are fatigued or have many tasks occupying their attention, that’s when safety checks are most important, she adds.”We work in environments that are fast-paced,” she says. “We may not always work in ideal situations.”The safety checks Manges describes can take many forms and are designed under the assumption that doctors and nurses will have occasional slip-ups. For example, many hospitals require a nurse to scan a bar code from the pharmacy and on the patient’s identifying bracelet before giving a medication, or to use preprogrammed intravenous pumps that prevent medications from being administered too quickly. Even the medication override function that Vaught used, Manges says, can have an important function: Nurses need to be able to quickly access medications in an emergency situation when they can’t wait for verification from a pharmacist.And when health care workers do make mistakes, Ross argues hospitals usually shouldn’t punish staff. Disciplinary action is warranted, she says, only when there’s evidence that staff acted irresponsibly.When the Institute of Medicine — now known as the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine — put out a major 1999 report titled To Err Is Human, Manges says, it became the norm to focus less on punishment and more on learning from mistakes.But Vaught’s case has the potential to change that, she fears.”It shifts that conversation from ‘to err is human’ to ‘to err is criminal,’ ” Manges says. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

first_imgTwo people got very sick, and one died, during a trial of an experimental procedure known as fecal transplant, according to a statement issued Thursday from the Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the agency is suspending several clinical trials investigating the procedure until safety standards can be assured. Researchers are studying fecal microbiota for transplantation, or FMT, as a treatment for several intestinal conditions, including recurrent, antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile infection, which led to 29,000 deaths in 2015. FMT, which involves transplanting stool from a healthy person into the colon of a sick person, is still not approved by the FDA. This week’s case involved two immuno-compromised adults who received investigational fecal transplants that contained a strain of antibiotic-resistant E. coli, according to the FDA. Both individuals received stool from the same donor, who was not screened for disease-causing bacteria before the procedure. While the FDA does not currently approve FMT for any use, the agency provides some guidelines for clinical trials of FMT, and seeks “to strike a balance between assuring patient safety and facilitating access to unapproved treatments for unmet medical needs,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in the FDA statement.In response to these adverse outcomes, the FDA announced new standards requiring researchers in clinical trials to demonstrate proper screening procedures for donor stool. “This case is really unfortunate,” says Dr. Dale Gerding, a researcher at the Veterans Administration who consults on a number of FMT trials currently under review by the FDA. “I think it reinforces the need for FDA oversight over FMT. It’s exceedingly useful some patients, but we need to be sure that it’s safe.” Fecal transplants have been successful in treating C. difficile infections in several trials. According to Gerding, recurrent bouts of C. difficile infection likely stem from an abnormal intestinal microbiome that allows C. difficile to multiply unabated by “good” bacteria. Recurrent bouts of the infection are also increasingly resistant to antibiotics, leaving patients with few options.Fecal transplants from a healthy individual can normalize the patients’ microbiota, quelling the infection and relieving symptoms. Studies show that it works better than other treatments for recurrent infection. “Anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of patients no longer have recurrent cases after a single FMT,” says Gerding.But despite its success, Gerding cautions that there are still many unknowns. “FMT is very promising, especially for C. difficile infection, but we don’t know as much about how effective it’s going to be for other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease,” he says. Despite these unknowns, interest in FMT is surging, with some patients taking a do-it-yourself approach.Gerding hopes this recent case will underline the need for enforcement of safe procedures. “This death is the most extreme side effect I’m aware of in the history of FMT,” says Gerding. “Moving forward we have to clearly be sure that we’re enforcing safety measures that ensure that donors are tested for potential pathogens.” Jonathan Lambert is a freelance science journalist based in Washington, D.C. You can follow him on Twitter: @evolambert Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

first_imgShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduJeff Falk713-348-6775jfalk@rice.eduBaker Institute expert: More financial regulation ‘not always better’ HOUSTON – (May 23, 2018) – While some degree of regulation can help improve financial stability, complex and overlapping regulations can actually cause banks to increase their risk-taking activities, according to an expert in the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.Credit: 123RF.com/Rice UniversityThomas Hogan, a fellow in public finance at the Baker Institute, outlined his insights in a new issue brief, “Strong, Simple Regulations Promote Financial Stability.”“One of the most important and counterintuitive ideas in financial regulation is that more regulation is not always better,” Hogan wrote.U.S. bank regulators have recently proposed two reforms related to complexity. First, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) has introduced a proposal that would simplify bank capital regulations. Second, the Fed and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) have proposed reducing large banks’ capital requirement, known as the enhanced supplementary leverage ratio (eSLR), which would push the financial regulatory system toward greater complexity, Hogan said.His brief summarizes the debate over regulatory complexity, outlines the current proposals from the Fed and the OCC and recommends reforms to help improve financial stability.“Banks in the United States are subject to a wide variety of regulations, the scope and scale of which have drastically increased since the 2008 financial crisis,” Hogan wrote. “While some regulations may be effective at reducing bank risk, complex regulations can actually increase risk in several ways. For instance, overlapping rules can push banks to take risks that were not expected by the regulators. Complexity also creates loopholes that allow banks to take even greater risks. Finally, if regulators do not properly understand the riskiness of different assets, they can unintentionally encourage risky investments.”The main criticism of the eSLR modification proposal is that it will increase bank risk by reducing required levels of capital, Hogan said. “The Fed and the OCC estimate a modest reduction of $400 million in global systemically important banks’ total capital requirements that, they argue, could spur bank lending. The FDIC, on the other hand, estimates a capital decrease of $121 billion, which could have substantial effects on bank risk,” he wrote. “Contrary to the Fed and the OCC’s claims, most academic research on optimal capital ratios finds that higher capital requirements would help stabilize the financial system with few adverse effects on lending. Some studies find that higher capital requirements since the financial crisis are associated with lower bank lending, but it is difficult to know if such effects were caused specifically by capital requirements or by other regulations, such as restrictions on mortgage lending. Studies that compare the costs of lower lending to the benefits of increased stability often find that capital should optimally be much higher than the current levels, possibly in the range of 15 to 20 percent of total assets, rather than the current average of about 11 percent.”A second — but equally important — criticism of the proposal to lower the eSLR is that the risk-based capital ratio rather than a leverage ratio would become the main determinant of bank behavior, Hogan said.“For example, Randal Quarles, vice chairman for supervision at the Fed, recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs that simple leverage requirements can encourage banks to take excessive risks,” Hogan wrote. “As a banker constrained by a leverage ratio, he argued, ‘you will bear the same capital cost if you take on a very risky asset versus if you take on a less risky asset.’ While Quarles is correct that simple leverage ratios assign equal weights to assets of different risk levels, he overlooks the fact that an incorrectly specified risk-based capital rule can actually put less weight on risky assets, as was the case with mortgage-backed securities prior to the financial crisis.”Hogan said actions by the Fed and the OCC could help improve U.S. financial regulations and reduce the probability of another financial crisis.“The Fed should adopt its proposal to simplify bank capital regulations by integrating its stress-testing program with its regulatory capital rules,” he wrote. “It should consider further ways to reduce regulatory complexity in order to minimize risk in the banking system. The Fed and the OCC should abandon their proposed modifications to the eSLR and instead make greater use of simple leverage ratios as binding constraints on bank capital. Future proposals should consider raising — not lowering — bank capital requirements, since higher levels of capital are likely to improve financial stability with only minor effects on bank lending.”-30-For more information or to schedule an interview with Hogan, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.Related materials:Issue brief: www.bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/126141b4/bi-brief-052118-cpf-financialstability-1.pdf.Hogan biography: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/thomas-hogan.Follow the Baker Institute Center for Public Finance via Twitter @Baker_CPF.Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog. FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

first_img Add to Queue 40shares Short-haul economy fares are expected to drop 3 percent, while long-haul business class fares may see a 1.5 percent decline in the U.S. Airfare This story originally appeared on Reuters Image credit: shutterstock 2 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Why U.S. Airfares May Go Down in 2017 U.S. airfares are expected to fall in 2017 amid overcapacity and stiff competition between budget carriers and legacy airlines, according to an American Express Global Business Travel report on the travel industry.Short-haul economy fares are expected to drop 3 percent, while long-haul business class fares may see a 1.5 percent decline in the United States, the American Express Global Business Travel report said.However, higher ancillary fees will help offset lower fares in North America as airlines continue to look for new revenue sources, the report added.  For months, lower fuel costs have allowed airlines to add flights that would have been unprofitable when oil prices were high. With seats for sale growing faster than the pool of passengers to buy them, fares for U.S. flights have fallen.In particular, budget carriers such as Spirit Airlines Co. have added cheap service at the hubs of larger rivals and are now adding routes from medium-sized airports.Top carriers American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. plan to fight back by marketing cheap but higher-restriction fares, which partially explains why 2017 may see more price drops.Airfares in Europe and much of Asia Pacific are expected to stay flat, with slight increases depending on route and fare class in the APAC region. In Europe, fares would continue to be impacted by weak economy and security concerns.U.S. hotel rates are estimated to increase 3.6 percent next year.Hotel rates in Europe are expected to rise marginally, while they could vary in the APAC region as strong demand in China and India could be hurt by a rise in inventory, according to the report.(Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru and Jefferey Dastin in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva) Reuters November 16, 2016 Register Now »last_img read more

first_img Source:https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/study-examines-racial-disparities-in-patient-characteristics-survival-after-heart-attack/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 2 2018This study analyzed data for about 6,400 patients who had heart attacks to compare black and white patients across a range of characteristics (demographic, socioeconomic status, social factors, lifestyle factors, medical history, clinical presentation, health status and depression).Researchers looked at how these patient characteristics differed by race, how they were associated with survival after heart attack, and whether the association differed for black and white patients who had similar characteristics. Analyses suggest a difference in mortality rate based on characteristics that were more common in black patients but no differences in survival rates at one and five years between black and white patients with similar characteristics. These findings call for more understanding about how and why certain patient characteristics that are more common in black patients, such as lower socioeconomic status, are associated with survival so that new strategies can be developed to reduce observed racial disparities.last_img read more

first_imgThe internet giant may be on the hook for billions of euros in fines The EU’s powerful anti-trust authority is set to decide in the coming weeks that Google unfairly punishes rivals of its Android mobile phone operating system and faces billions of euros in fines, sources said on Thursday. © 2018 AFP The long-expected decision comes as transatlantic tensions are at a pinnacle in the wake of shock tariffs by the US on European steel and aluminium imports and an EU privacy crackdown on US tech giants, including Facebook.Several sources with knowledge of the matter told AFP that the decision could land in the next few weeks, most likely in July.Brussels has already spent eight years targeting Google, fuelled by a deep apprehension of the company’s dominance of Internet search across Europe, where it commands about 90 percent of the market.EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager “likes taking people by surprise,” said one source, referring to the steely former Danish minister who has led the campaign against Google.The case against Android is the most significant of three complaints by the EU against the search titan, which has already been hit with a record-breaking 2.4-billion-euro fine in a Google shopping case.In the Android file, the European Commission has accused Google of obstructing innovation by giving unfair prominence to its own apps, especially its search engine, in deals with mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei.Google is on the hook to be fined 10 percent of Google’s parent company Alphabet’s annual revenue, which hit $110.9 billion in 2017.Both Google and the European Commission refused to comment on this information when questioned by AFP. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img Citation: Google faces EU anti-trust fines over Android: sources (2018, June 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-google-eu-anti-trust-fines-android.html Explore further Google faces new EU anti-trust charges: sourceslast_img read more

first_img Engineers at the University of British Columbia have captured the full complexity of bat flight in a three-dimensional computer model for the first time, potentially inspiring the future design of better drones and other aerial vehicles.Researchers built a simple bat wing out of aluminum and exposed it to the currents in a wind tunnel to mimic the flapping, bending and twisting motion of a bat in flight. By tracking and measuring the impact of these movements on turbulent air flows and aeromechanical forces around the wing, they were able to build a complete model of bat flight.The computer model, described in Computers & Fluids, is the first to comprehensively explain the flapping flight of bats in terms of the wing’s geometry in motion, says Rajeev Jaiman, the study’s senior author and a professor of mechanical engineering at UBC.”Previous numerical models of bat flapping flight were too simplified or incomplete to be of real practical benefit,” he added.Bat wings are highly unique because they contain multiple joints and stretchable membranes that allow them to change shape and return to their original form countless times when they fly, explained Jaiman.”While this wing morphing makes bat flight much more complicated compared to bird flight, it also makes bats the efficient flying machines that they are,” he said.The research team, which includes engineers from the National University of Singapore, plans to develop a physical bat model next, in collaboration with researchers at Brown University.”We’ll be working to further optimize the flapping motion,” said Jaiman. “Once this is in place, we’ll have a foundation for designing efficient, agile, automated bats – think smart drones that can fly as a flock and serve as tools for business or for emergency response.” Bats are among nature’s best flyers—able to fly for long periods of time, maneouvre in mid-air with pinpoint precision and get into some very tight spaces. However, scientists have not fully understood exactly how bats manage to fly so well, until now. More information: G. Li et al. A novel 3D variational aeroelastic framework for flexible multibody dynamics: Application to bat-like flapping dynamics, Computers & Fluids (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.compfluid.2018.11.013 Provided by University of British Columbia Unique study shows how bats manoeuvre This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Bat flight model can inspire smarter, nimbler drones (2019, February 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-flight-smarter-nimbler-drones.html Explore further When a bat wing flaps, it forms swirling masses of air known as vortex rings. Credit: University of British Columbialast_img read more

first_img COMMENT SHARE events Published on COMMENTS November 08, 2018 T-Works will commence full-fledged operations in April next  T-Works is holding a three-day a Maker Faire, a globally known event where artists, design makers and product makers congregate, from November 9 to 11 at the Hitex expo facility.The event is expected to attract over 200 ‘makerpreneurs’, artists and other stakeholders showcasing their products and services. Dale Dougherty, the man behind building the global event Maker Faire will take part in the event. The faire is expected to attract 20,000 visitors.Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of NITI Aayog, Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary (IT and Industries), Telangana, Ramanan Ramanathan, Mission Director of the Atal Innovation Mission, and Chintakindi Mallesham, a Padma Shri awardee and self-taught inventor of the Asu Machine, an automated weaving machine, will address the inaugural session on Friday.“Maker Faire works towards becoming one of the key contributors to Hyderabad’s Design and Product industry,” Sujai Karampuri, Chief Executive Officer of T-Works, an upcoming space for hardware startu-ps, has said.“Though couple of smaller versions held in the country before, this is the first time the large version of Maker Faire is happening in India at Hyderabad,” he said.T-Works will commence full-fledged operations in April next. The first phase will have 78,000 sq ft of built-up area, which offers mentorship and access to sophisticated equipment required to design and make hardware products. SHARE SHARE EMAILlast_img read more

first_img Related News Sillard (right) showing Teo some of the novelty pieces available at the newly opened TAG Heuer boutique. “One major factor which drove our decision to open a boutique in 1 Utama is the footfall the complex attracts. Related News “Nestled in the heart of the city, this complex is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Klang Valley,” she said.At the opening ceremony, Sillard was joined by Bandar Utama City Centre Sdn Bhd director Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok and TAG Heuer Malaysia retail manager Geetha Rengarajoo for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.The boutique carries an extensive range of novelties, including the new TAG Heuer Carrera Lady and special editions which were on display during the event alongside heritage pieces.The iconic Monaco timepiece, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was also in the spotlight at the launch.Five limited editions will be successively revealed throughout the year in honour of the anniversary.Paying tribute to contemporary style, these new models are inspired by the different decades from 1969 to 2019. The new TAG Heuer boutique at 1 Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya. Central Region , On the watch Tags / Keywords: {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} CELEBRATING its sixth and latest boutique in Malaysia is renowned Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer.The new boutique located on the ground floor of 1 Utama shopping centre, Petaling Jaya is its third in Malaysia to feature the new global design concept. South-East Asia and Australia TAG Heuer managing director Amelia Sillard said the company was always looking out for new locations to open boutiques.“As our brand continues to grow in Malaysia, we hope to share this unique experience with our customers across the country. Football 09 Jul 2019 Leicester sign midfielder Tielemans from Monaco Metro News 19 Apr 2019 Celebrating an iconic timepiece Business News 11 Jul 2019 i-Stone IPO oversubscribed 11.56 timeslast_img read more

according to the MASSOB leader, "The school is much better known nationally and in the state now than in the past. playing tennis in Freedom Park or hiking in the surrounding Piedmont region. Boroh (rtd. the rules about when a company issues a recall are not dictated by law. The big questions.

the legislators grilled the petroleum ministry over a building project that apparently was absent from the budget, and N3."After all the lies you’ve told and fraud you’ve committed,This article was written by Rachel Weiner," But politics by way of street maps is nothing new. but the indications are that even greater efforts will be needed to avert mass starvation. It’s much better to deal with criticism early, They found that the people of Chogha Golan apparently began cultivating wild barley, "Its impossible to put a figure on it." Thats a very natural sentiment in a country finally freed of such an unnatural policy.

New Delhi: Polling to elect Delhi’s? (Wind shear is the difference between speed and direction of wind over a short distance. obviously, parrots feast on seeds scattered on walking tracks, While feelings of aggression,” The controversy follows remarks by Wang considered to be China’s richest man with a net worth estimated at $28. learned that his very first paper as lead author had passed peer review and would be published in Science. But if future studies can identify and weigh the best predictors of replicability," That rudimentary refining has given parts of the ISIS homeland the look of an alien planet. flotillas of warships.

S. It seems that only the Chile event produced icequakes at HOWD," "The actions taken today under the authority of the Presidents new Executive Order will further isolate key North Korean entities and disrupt the activities of close to a dozen critical North Korean operatives, he should follow Harry Trumans famous adage that "if you want a friend in Washington, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. The White House in a statement on Saturday continued its support for Kavanaugh, Small wonder investors are along for the ride.The spokesman of Pan Niger Delta Forum” an unnamed staffer told TIME. but I know from personal experience and I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man. The massive sunglasses and face mask might seem like overkill.

the scientists conclude in a statement appearing in Environmental Health Perspectives. and Paez envisioned that the new five-person facility, FPGAs by contrast involve physical chips you can instruct to behave like other chips. The students were then given an article to read about a woman named Jill who tested wearing the cap for a month, 2015 in King’s Lynn, Stewards at the ground quickly intervened to break up the trouble,” the latter of which got an assist from A$AP Rocky. Blige: The Queen of Hip Hop Soul held court as only she could with a glorious and confident performance that confirmed that she’s not wringing her hands over her recent divorce. MORE: Read The Transcript of Amy Schumer’s Emotional Speech On Gun Control “There is this notion that in general, Today.

of the shooting at Charleston, The 26-year-old had heard from other Greek Jews at the camp that his mother,” says Sherman. its critical for insurers and policymakers who decide which weight-loss programs are worth paying for and which ones to deny. read more