ECONOMY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


ECONOMY

Mar 07 16:42

JP Morgan Is Quietly Moving Bank Branches Out Of Lower Income Areas

Some of the biggest banks in the United States are quietly closing branches in low income areas, and nobody more so than the people's JP Morgan.

As one example, JP Morgan is shutting it outlet in Aberdeen, Washington, where it has just one branch. And now that the bank is going to be leaving the town, the closest Chase branch is going to be 40 miles away. This is part of a broader move that banks are making, as they shift their attention in the age of online banking to wealthier areas, according to a new Bloomberg article.

Mar 07 16:41

Household Net Worth Tumbles By $3.7 Trillion, First Drop In 4 Years

n the Fed's latest Flow of Funds report released at noon today, the Fed published the latest snapshot of the US "household" sector as of Dec 31, 2018. What it revealed is that with $120.4 trillion in assets and a modest $16.1 trillion in liabilities, the net worth of US households dipped to $104.3 trillion, its first drop after 12 consecutive quarters of increases, and down $3.7 trillion as a result of the near-bear market in the fourth quarter, which wiped out estimated $4 trillion in various financial assets like corporate equities, mutual and pension funds, and deposits after the market tumbled in Q4, offset by a $345 billion increase in tangible assets, of which $280 billion was in real estate values.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This...is officially awful.

Mar 07 16:39

Top US General Seeks More Troops In Europe To Confront Russia

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander-Europe, argued that the US needs to send even more troops and warships to Europe to “stay ahead of Russia.”

Even though Russia’s military spending is actually scheduled to decrease in the next few years, Gen. Scaparrotti argued that the “growing” Russian threat justified even more US spending on Europe. This has, of course, been a common argument for Pentagon officials, and is why the US such a massive number of troops in Eastern Europe in the first place.

“I’m not comfortable yet with the deterrent posture that we have in Europe in support of the National Defense Strategy,” Scaparrotti told SASC Chair Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., adding:

“Of concern is my intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capacity given that increasing and growing threat of Russia. I need more ISR.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Gen. Scaparrotti, a word, please, here.

What the US does NOT have is a reasonably sane Foreign Policy on Russia, and that has to get fixed, and hopefully soon, before some stupid mistake puts the US into a shooting war with Russia.

Punishing a country for something it did not do (as the US constantly does with accusing Russia of "annexing" Crimea, which never happened?!?), is not sanity.

Walking away from a weapons treaty which was working, is not sanity.

Not insuring that our military has the kind of "top shelf" weaponry that Russia currently does, is not sanity.

And sir, this is primarily due to how DC and the Military Industrial Complex are now intertwined at the hip, with weapons companies believing that their political contributions mean "never having to say they are sorry" , when they sell the military equipment which is outmoded upon delivery; never lives up to the hype; and contains huge cost over-runs.

I do not see Russia as the antagonist here; but I do see Russia being used as the very lousy pretext for some very odd US foreign policy views which do not augur well for peace between the US and Russia.

It appears that for some in Washington, Russia has replaced Emmanuel Goldstein as the country upon which which it focuses its "2 minutes of hate", daily.

But have you ever thought how we could ratchet down world tensions if we
"engaged Russia, rather than enraging its leadership" with, what to me appears to be a number of completely bone-headed foreign policy decisions?!?

Mar 07 16:15

"35 Pounds" Of Dirt Trapped In Tesla Model 3 Reveals Stunning Design Flaw

When one of the best known pro-Tesla blogs on the web says that the Model 3 has a substantial design flaw, it’s time to pay attention.

The "mass accessible" electric car, which became infamous for having its bumpers fall off, was found to have a design flaw in its underbody that causes the car to trap and retain dirt, water and sand from roadways, according to electrek, who this week published an article detailing the flaw.

The blog points out that Tesla has "often been accused of designing cars for the Californian climate" and that water, dirt and sand used to de-ice roads in colder climates are susceptible to getting trapped in the underbody of Model 3 cars.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Yikes! This is officially horrible.

How did Musk allow this to happen?!?

Mar 07 16:01

Netanyahu: Israeli Navy Could Target Iranian Oil Tankers in International Waters

Since dishonoring the P5+1 nuclear deal, the Trump Administration has made clear their goal is to bring Iranian oil exports to zero through sanctions. That’s wholly impractical, with many nations, including P5+1 deal signatories, saying they intend to keep buying from Iran despite US sanctions.

But Israel does have a navy and a burning desire to pick fights with Iran. In comments Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s Navy could soon be ordered to target Iranian oil tankers to prevent them selling oil abroad.

Netanyahu is trying to prevent Iran selling oil to nations like China without American permission as “smuggling,” and potential military attacks on oil tankers in international waters as enforcement of US sanctions. It’s not clear anyone else in the world, the US included, would generally consider that the case.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Such targeting would be an outright act of war.

Is Netanyahu hitting the panic button, due to corruption charges being placed against him?!? Folks, if true, this is really bad, because Netanyahu's strategy will be to antagonize Iran, then expect the cost of the war - in blood and money - to be paid by American troops.

Mar 07 15:52

Damascus Not Invited to Brussels Conference on Syria - EU Source

Representatives of the Syrian authorities are not invited to the third international donor conference on Syria in Brussels, a EU source told Sputnik on Monday.

The Brussels conference, devoted to mobilizing financial aid for the war-torn country, will be held on March 12-14. The second conference on Syria, which was held in Brussels last April with the participation of representatives from 57 countries, managed to mobilize $4.4 billion in financial aid for Syria for 2018 and $3.4 billion for 2019-2020.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Forgive me, but is it NOT a little "odd" to be creating a conference about aid to Syria, which at least includes some of their elected officials?!?

Mar 07 15:48

Hungary Cannot 'Yield' to EU, Stop Defending Christian Values, Endorse Migration

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is known to be one of the most vocal anti-immigration advocates in Europe and has categorically opposed the idea of accepting refugees from other European countries under migrant resettlement schemes proposed by the European Union.

The Hungarian government will not abandon its anti-migration stance after the European People's Party called on Budapest to stop its anti-EU rhetoric, spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.

"We listen to other opinions, including (EPP group leader Manfred) Weber's," Kovacs said. "But more important than party discipline are the defence of European Christian values and stopping migration. On this, we cannot yield."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Orban is courageous enough to say what others will not; he is not blind to the problem of unfettered immigration, seeing what has happened in neighboring countries which have had this happen, and believes truly that his agenda can save the day for Hungary.

Mar 07 15:36

TRACKING JOURNALISTS THROUGH A SECRET DATABASE

The President has little appreciation for liberty or the dangers of a growing police state. And those working under him understand this and act accordingly.

He is as bad as most other presidents. The only difference being that there is a group of about 30% of the population, MAGA people, who don't understand this and believe he is going to protect them from the expanding state.

Wow. Big scoop by @nbcsandiego: The Trump administration created a "secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports." https://t.co/n1l4uDt300

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Really?!? I would actually want to see the list, before I jump on board here.

Now, can @nbcsandiego provide the list they assert is actually real?!?

I have to have proof, not just an assertion.

Mar 07 14:55

"ARTIFICIAL" MAGNITUDE 2.1 EARTHQUAKE DETECTED IN NORTH KOREA

This doesn't look good...

Two days after reports about North Korea rebuilding a long-range missile test site surfaced in Western media, the Korea Times reported Thursday that a 2.1-magnitude earthquake has been detected in North Korea.

Most alarmingly, the Korean Meteorological Administration said the quake was the result of "artificial" seismic activity, presumably the result of an explosion inside a mine.

"The epicenter is measured to be near the land surface," one official reportedly said.

Mar 07 14:46

LAWMAKERS IN HAWAII PROPOSE REPEALING SECOND AMENDMENT

Legislators in Hawaii, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States, moved this week to bring their concerns about the Second Amendment to the national level.

In Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) No. 42, introduced Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers assert that

in light of the numerous tragic mass shootings at schools, work places, and public events, this body believes that it is necessary to repeal or amend the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In the resolution, lawmakers urge Congress to

a"dopt a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution pursuant to article V of the United States Constitution to clarify the constitutional right to bear arms."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Our Hawaiian Congressional Representatives would certainly win a prize for being some of the most fact-challenged people on this planet.

Senator Mazie Hirono is not confused: she is willfully ignorant

They are NOT going to get this ratified by Congress, nor should it be.

The Second Amendment was placed there by people who understood what capricious leaders could potentially do against the citizens of their country; and it is this right to bear arms which keeps a capricious government at bay.

Of course, Congressional Representatives would NEVER in a million years, define themselves as "capricious".

Andlet'
And let's also take a look at Hawaii's state representatives, who signed of a Light Rail to Nowhere, which is now is way over budget, and massively off its schedule.

Some people made a lot of money on this deal; but it sure as heck wasn't most of the people living and commuting on Oahu.

December 018: The cost of the 20-mile elevated rail plan has surpassed $8 billion.

Mar 07 13:56

Chart of the day: US credit card rates

Forecasting US consumer behavior always has been a graveyard for economists’ reputations. The December plunge in spending took the market by surprise. But some facts are clear:

1) US retail sales are increasingly dependent on rising credit card balances;

2) Banks are more reluctant to extend more revolving credit lines, raising credit card interest rates to the highest level in history;

3) Household spending is extremely sensitive to changes in the price of necessities.

Mar 07 13:20

What’s the Big Deal About Economic Inequality?

By Stefan Klovning

Perhaps the most common theme in the mainstream discussion about economic matters today is that of inequality of wealth and income. The United Nations, for instance, has taken on the challenge to reduce inequality “within and among countries” as their 10th Sustainable Development Goal. “Economic growth,” they proclaim, “is not suf?cient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.” By “inclusive”, they seem in this context to mean “economically equal”, in that the different income and wealth quintiles don’t have too much of a difference in terms of growth or total rates.

Mar 07 12:48

Enbridge's Line 3 Pipeline Expansion Delayed In Latest "Major Blow" To Canadian Energy Industry

Enbridge Inc. is delaying the date when it expects its replacement Line 3 crude oil pipeline to be in expanded service, in what is being called a "major blow" to the oil industry in Canada. According to Bloomberg, the project had previously been set to begin shipping crude in Q4 2019. But now the company is pushing back construction due to slow permitting in Minnesota.

Enbridge expects the pipeline to begin service in the second half of 2020 now, as its Minnesota permits won't be complete until November of this year. Federal permits won't be received until as long as 60 days after that.

Mar 07 12:47

Beige Book Shocker: "Semiconductor Orders From China Plunged The Most Since The Collapse Of Lehman"

While the latest Beige Book released earlier today carried the usual boring mix of self-serving observations by Fed officials ("slight to moderate" growth in a quarter in which the Atlanta Fed sees GDP plunging to 0.5%) and a handful of enlightening anecdotes, all of which confirmed that the US economy was rapidly slowing as expected with the word "strong" appearing 37 times, compared to 58x in the January and 83x in October while the word "weak-" rose to 34x, up from 13x seven weeks ago and 19x in October, there was one stunner contained in today's release which may spell serious pain for stocks.

Mar 07 12:46

As The Economy Teeters On The Brink Of Recession, US Debt Levels Are Absolutely Exploding

We now have official confirmation that the U.S. economy has dramatically slowed down.

In recent days I have shared a whole bunch of numbers with my readers that clearly demonstrate that a new economic downturn has begun. And even though stock prices have been rising, the numbers for the “real economy” have been depressingly bad lately. But what we didn’t have was official confirmation from the Federal Reserve that the economy is really slowing down, but now we do. According to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model, the economy is growing “at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter”…

The U.S. economy is growing at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, based on data on domestic construction spending in December released on Monday, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed.

Mar 07 12:45

Trade War Deepens: China Bans Canadian Canola Shipments Amid Soaring Diplomatic Tensions

Canada's largest grain processor said Tuesday that Beijing has canceled its registration to ship canola seed to China, fueled by the arrest of a top executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move suggests that rising diplomatic tensions between China and Canada are damaging commerce between the two countries. Tensions have already crushed hopes that senior officials in Ottawa and Beijing would develop further trade ties.

Mar 07 12:45

Tesla Disclosure Bombshell: Company Answered Model 3 Margin Question In Private After Hiding It From The Public

By now it is well known that Tesla held a secretive conference call after announcing the reveal of it’s $35,000 Model 3 (see also: The Secret Tesla Conference Call to Which You Were Not Invited here). The call, which Musk only invited a handful of reporters to attend, eventually leaked into the public domain and had to be transcribed by Carl Marks Advisors VP, Paul Huettner.

The idea of the company having a secret conference call, during which it appeared to release a material amount of nonpublic information, while at the same time being under the watchful eye of the SEC, was shocking even to some Tesla supporters. Longtime Tesla bulls, like HyperChange TV's Galileo Russell, took exception to not being included in the latest slate of Tesla disclosures.

Mar 07 12:44

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE: Australia Falls Into Recession, Nigeria Goes The Way Of Venezuela

Australia has fallen into what is known as a “per capita recession.” That means the country is relying solely on population growth to propel its economy. All this is happening as Nigeria follows the same path to becoming Venezuela.

The dollar dropped sharply to a two-month low of $0.70 by midday as economists slashed their predictions for official interest rates to reach a record low of 1 percent by September, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The per capita recession is raising questions about the government’s management of the economy ahead of the federal elections.

Mar 07 12:43

Retail Apocalypse Worsens: Some Major Stores Are On “DEATHWATCH”

Just two months into 2019, many more retail stores have announced their closures amid a slowing in consumer spending. The retail apocalypse is worsening and there are some major stores on “deathwatch;” which would mean going out of business forever.

According to Money.com, in a single 24-hour period last week, Gap, J.C. Penney, and Victoria’s Secret announced they would be closing more than 300 stores combined. These announced store closures come soon after retail companies made the difficult decisions to shut down all Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree stores throughout the U.S., and in the middle of Sears’ dramatic struggle to survive. (Sears closed out 2018 by filing for bankruptcy and closing roughly 140 Sears and Kmart stores. The company owns both retailers).

Mar 07 12:42

‘This Is a Stunning Failure’: US Trade Deficit Surges Despite Trump’s Policies

The widening US trade and budget deficits, despite US President Donald Trump’s promises to cut US dependence on imports, are the result of capitalist systems and growing inequality around the world, economics professor Richard Wolff told Sputnik.

The US trade deficit reached a 10-year high of $621 billion in 2018, and the goods trade deficit with China in particular surged 11.6 percent to a record high of $419.2 billion last year, according to a Wednesday press release by the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Mar 07 12:12

Trump’s Trade War Tweets, Buybacks And A Short-Squeeze

Someone last week suggested that Trump sees the stock market as the barometer measuring the success of his Presidency. I think his behavior, tweets, press comments, etc with respect to the stock market validates that assertion.

The Dow trended lower all week last after Monday’s close. Whenever the stock market faded from an early run-up or began a rapid sell-off, a Trump tweet or press statement would pop up proclaiming that the trade war negotiations were “progressing.” It seems, though, this manipulation tonic is starting to lose strength. The index of stocks with large buyback programs actually finished the week lower. But the “most shorted” stock index closed higher on the week again. This is why the SPX, Naz and Russell outperformed the Dow this past week.

Market tops are a process – While I’m getting impatient for this market to rollover, market tops are a process. This chart certainly provides something to contemplate:

Mar 07 11:53

'Gut-wrenching' day as production ends at Ohio GM assembly plant

A sprawling General Motors assembly plant near Youngstown was idled on Wednesday after more than 50 years producing cars and other vehicles, a move that will eliminate nearly 1,700 hourly positions by month's end.

GM announced late last year that Lordstown along with three plants in the U.S. and one in Canada would close by early next year.

The Cruze, once a popular and well-reviewed compact car made in Lordstown since 2011, has become the victim of consumer tastes as car buyers in an era of inexpensive gasoline have shown strong preferences for trucks, SUVs and crossover-type vehicles, all of which produce far bigger profits than sedans for GM.

Mar 07 11:46

Family Dollar will close nearly 400 stores

Family Dollar will close 390 stores this year — one of many big changes the discount retailer hopes will help reverse its fortunes.

The chain courts low-income shoppers with an array of items sold for under $10 at its more than 8,000 stores. It is owned by the Dollar Tree, which operates an eponymous chain of 7,000 other stores in suburban areas. Dollar Tree stores cater to customers who make more than Family Dollar customers do, but all of their products sell for only $1.

Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar in 2015 for $8.5 billion. The combined company hoped that by joining forces, it could grow its customer base, reduce costs and fend off bigger retailers like Dollar General (DG) and Walmart (WMT).

Mar 07 11:44

Charlotte Russe will liquidate and close all of its stores

Charlotte Russe will close all of its stores over the next two months. The women's clothing company joins a growing group of retailers that couldn't survive bankruptcy.

The company didn't want to shut down. It filed for bankruptcy protection a month ago and announced plans to close only 94 of its 512 stores nationwide. The goal was to use the bankruptcy process to shed debts and sell to a buyer who would keep it in business.

But those hopes fell apart this week when liquidator SB360 Capital Partners won the auction in bankruptcy court for Charlotte Russe's $160 million worth of inventory, and other assets. The plan to shut down was approved Wednesday by the bankruptcy court in Delaware.

Mar 07 10:47

PDVSA DECLARES EMERGENCY ON TANKER FLEET

Venezuela’s struggling oil company PDVSA declared a maritime emergency after a German company operating a portion of its tanker fleet said it planned to return ten vessels because of unpaid fees, Reuters reports, citing a PDVSA document and anonymous sources.

The news is the latest in a string of bad tidings for PDVSA, which has found itself juggling falling crude oil production due to mismanagement and U.S. sanctions, and an outflow of qualified personnel, including in the tanker department.

According to Reuters, the company needs as many as 160 people, including tanker captains, machinists, and operators, to bring back the ships that Germany Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM) is returning because of unpaid fees. However, PDVSA does not have these crews.

The pile of unpaid PDVSA bills is getting higher: last month, the German company said it would abandon two of the Venezuelan company’s vessels in Portugal because of unpaid bills to a number of third-party companies.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is precisely the kind of outcome the Trump Administration wanted to see here.

Mar 07 10:06

STATEWIDE RENT-CONTROL LAWS CANNOT ESCAPE THE LAW OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Last week, Oregon became the first state in the nation to adopt a mandatory statewide rent control policy. Yet, rent control never delivers on the promise that it will multiply the affordable housing in high-value markets to serve middle- and lower-class families. It also always has negative consequences, and this time will be no different.

The new statewide law applies to landlords who have at least four units, one of which is at least 15 years old. It prohibits them from increasing rent more than 7 percent over inflation annually. The bill also prohibits no-cause evictions after the first year of residency, in addition to the protections against eviction already on the books.

The change comes after the median rent in the state increased by 14 percent over three years during the population boom. The largest hike took place in Portland, Oregon, where, according to the New York Times, rents have grown by 30 percent since 2011.

Mar 07 08:41

What Makes Americans Take Out Personal Loans?

Mar 07 08:07

When Bubbles Burst – Tesla, The Everything Cycle and the End of Global Warming

As the center of the U.S. freezes this weekend, Elon Musk is trying to figure out how to save Tesla from going the way of Enron.

Religions die hard. It takes an orgy of evidence to change a person’s mind on a subject that is integral to their moral and ethical structure.

In the case of Tesla, the mania surrounding it over the past decade has been inextricably bound up with the hysteria of global warming.

For years investors ignored the obvious warning signs that Tesla would never be able to graduate from a boutique, hand-built car manufacturer and technology skunk works to a mass producer.

I’ve been very hard on Musk in the past, with good reason. But, as a guy with vision I applaud him getting Tesla off the ground and legitimizing the idea of the upscale electric car.

Mar 07 08:03

Why Huawei is suing the US, and what it hopes to achieve

Glen Nager, lead counsel for Huawei, says the U.S. law that bans government agencies from buying the Chinese technology giant's equipment is "unconstitutional." He says the law is "hurting" Huawei's customers, and the company wants to "cooperate" with America to bring its products back into the country.

Mar 07 07:44

Why The Boom Bust Cycle Keeps Repeating

Mar 07 07:34

"Ghastly" Vancouver Home Sales Crash By 33%, Lowest Since 1985

On Monday, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported February results that could be classified as ghastly, with residential home sales plummeting 32.8% year-over-year to 1,484 units. That’s the lowest February sales total since 1985 and 42.5% below the 10-year average.

Mar 07 07:30

“US And Its Vassals Should Stop Serving Us Fairy Tales.” — Lafontaine"It is not Putin forbade the Germans to trade with other nations, but Trump."

Oskar Lafontaine, leader of the Left in the Saarland Parliament and former SPD chairman, has vehemently defended the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 and the purchase of Russian natural gas by Germany in a Facebook post.

Lafontaine cites US security adviser and Stratfor founder George Friedman as saying: It is a trivial realization that the United States would have a problem if German technology and Russian commodities came together. (…) The main goal of [the US is] for over a century is to prevent a German-Russian alliance. Of course, the US wants to drive a wedge between Germany and Russia.Therefore, US President Donald Trump now wants to prevent the purchase of environmentally friendly gas and instead sell Germany his “polluting fracking gas.”

Therefore, there is a “lying campaign” of Das Bild and other “quality media” and relevant well-known “Atlanticists” among the CDU and the Greens.

Mar 07 07:28

WARNING: USA Collapse will be FAR WORSE Than You Think | 2019

Mar 07 07:18

Catherine Austin Fitts – World Choking On Debt - Buy Gold

Mar 07 07:05

China Gold Reserves Rise To 60.26 Million Ounces Worth Just $79.5 Billion

China increased its gold reserves for a third straight month in February, data from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) showed this morning.

The value of China’s gold reserves rose slightly to $79.498 billion in February from $79.319 billion at the end of January, as the central bank increased the total amount of gold reserves to 60.260 million fine troy ounces from 59.940 million troy ounces.

Mar 06 19:07

Why Do Some People Live Paycheck To Paycheck?

Mar 06 12:11

Financial Crisis: The Trade War Cost AMERICANS $1.4 Billion PER MONTH Last Year

Tariffs are taxes, and like any regulation or tax, the increased cost will get passed onto the consumer. Although this is common sense, many still don’t believe that the trade war had an impact on their financial situation. However, just last year, Americans (not the Chinese) spent $1.4 billion per month on trade war taxes.

The Trump Administration’s trade policies and increased tariffs cost American consumers $1.4 billion a month last year. Not many media outlets were there to tell anyone the honest truth that it’s the American public that will pay the tariffs, not the Chinese government.

Mar 06 12:00

The Slippage Continues - India Resists Trump On Everything

With the U.S.’s attempt at regime change in Venezuela going nowhere fast it’s becoming increasingly obvious that major vassals allies aren’t scared of the consequences of defying us.

India, in particular, has been quite clear in its opposition to Trump’s edicts on who they can and cannot trade with. And with Prime Minister Narendra Modi reeling from a corruption scandal it’s clear he isn’t going to give Trump an inch on important trade issues, especially with Modi in full re-election mode.

Not only has India defied the U.S. over buying Iranian oil and Russian S-400 missile defense systems but now they continue to flaunt U.S. sanctions on Venezuela upping its purchases from 400,000 barrels per day to more than 600,000.

The quantity of exports to India has jumped 66 per cent to 620,000 barrels a day and the boost is being driven by refiners like Reliance Industries Ltd and Nayara Energy Ltd, backed by Rosneft, Russia.

Mar 06 11:45

Whole Foods cuts workers' hours after Amazon introduces minimum wage

In response to public pressure and increasing scrutiny over the pay of its warehouse workers, Amazon enacted a $15 minimum wage for all its employees on 1 November, including workers at grocery chain Whole Foods which it purchased in 2017.

All Whole Foods employees paid less than $15 an hour saw their wages increase to at least that, while all other team members received a $1-an-hour wage increase and team leaders received a $2-an-hour increase.

But since the wage increase, Whole Food employees have told the Guardian that they have experienced widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees.

Mar 06 10:47

NAB executive charged over $40m fraud granted bail

A former National Australia Bank (NAB) executive has been charged with 56 offences relating to an alleged $40 million fraud, after she handed herself in to police on Tuesday.

Rosemary Rogers was chief of staff to former NAB boss Andrew Thorburn and his predecessor Cameron Clyne.

Police will allege Ms Rogers received $5.4 million worth of bribes in the form of paid personal expenses from a contractor to maintain the contract with the business and approve overstated invoices.

Police allege the bribes included lavish trips to Sydney and a luxury resort at Wolgan Valley in New South Wales.

There was also a month-long stay in the United States, as well as private helicopter transfers and a boat.

Mar 06 10:39

Middle of March could be interesting

Mar 06 09:29

Italy joining China’s new Silk Road raises eyebrows in Washington

Italy is planning to formally back China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It would become the first G7 nation to join the ambitious project which promises to significantly boost global trade.

Rome is preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding to officially support the project, championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, by the end of March, according to Michele Geraci, undersecretary in Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development as quoted by FT.

Mar 06 08:20

Russian oil imports surge in US as Venezuela’s slow to a trickle

Only two ships carrying 766,000 barrels of crude oil from Venezuela arrived in the United States last week in the wake of debilitating oil sanctions lodged against the state-run oil company, PDVSA, according to investment bank Caracas Capital Markets, which tracks Venezuelan oil shipments.

Russian companies, meanwhile, sent nine ships carrying more 3 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products, according to a review of the U.S. Bill of Ladings database by Caracas Capital.

That import data is clear evidence that Russia is profiting off the geopolitical battle, selling into the U.S. market while helping to prop up the Caracas leadership that Washington is aiming to replace, said Russ Dallen, a managing partner at the investment bank who advises U.S. officials on Venezuelan matters.

Mar 06 08:19

Huawei’s Plan to File Lawsuit Against US Government ‘Very Valid’

This week, Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, filed a lawsuit in Canada, claiming her constitutional rights were violated during her arrest, while the company itself intends to file a lawsuit against the US administration over its law banning US federal agencies from purchasing Huawei products.

Jude Woodward, the author of the new book "The US vs China: Asia's new Cold War?" told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear Wednesday that Huawei's reported plans to sue the US government over its ban on Huawei products is valid, given the lack of evidence provided by the US government over its claims that the Chinese company spies on US technology.

Mar 06 07:51

Trump Touts Legal Immigration System for ‘Our Corporations’ at Expense of American Workers

During the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend, President Trump broke from his past opposition to the country’s mass legal immigration system, instead touting a legal immigration system that benefits “our corporations.”

While Trump mentioned he wanted to end the process known as “chain migration,” where newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country, and the Diversity Visa Lottery, which admits 55,000 random foreign nationals from around the globe to the U.S. every year, the president said he supported admitting more foreign workers to take coveted American jobs to help the big business lobby and corporate interests.

Mar 06 07:45

What Comes After a Trillion in Student Debt?

Mar 06 07:11

Gold Could Reach $1,480 by 2020

Mar 05 23:27

Naval Ravikant: Capitalism Is Intrinsic to the Human Species

Capitalism is intrinsic to the human species. We’re the only animals who cooperate across genetic boundaries.

One way we cooperate is by keeping track of credits and debits in voluntary exchanges.

Free markets like this are beautiful games that keep food on our shelves—and can make us all wealthier and wealthier.

But too many takers and not enough makers will plunge a society into ruin.

Takers attack wealth creation with status games that drag everyone down to their level.

Comments at: https://twitter.com/naval/status/1103093352029859840

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