PARIS - President Donald Trump acknowledged that France and the US had “occasional disagreements” but said that would not disrupt a friendship that dates back to the American Revolution. Macron acknowledged sharp differences with Trump over climate change. But he said he and the US president were able to discuss how best to combat “a global threat with enemies who are trying to destabilise us”, with a focus on counter-terrorism. President Trump said that his recent meeting with Putin had led to a ceasefire in a part of southern Syria, and said that he was working on “a second ceasefire in a very rough part of Syria”. He suggested that other parties would become involved in the deal, saying “and all of a sudden you will have no bullets fired in Syria”. As Trump began his 24-hour tour of Paris, the two leaders’ body language was under close scrutiny. Macron chose to move on from the aggressive handshake he offered the US leader at their initial meeting in May, instead styling himself as Trump’s new “straight-talking” best friend on the international stage. the invitation to the US president to attend this year’s Bastille Day celebrations was in the pipeline long before both Macron and Trump’s election because 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the entry by the US into the first world war.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The Italian Chamber of Deputies recently organized the conference called "Italy's public debt in the Eurozone", which saw experts in the restructuring of public debt, academics, journalists and investment fund managers. In a participant's opinion, Jens Nordvig, head of department at Nomura Securities and former banker at Goldman Sachs, "Italy is now the most important country in Europe". The reason is of course, not just the size of its economy, but also the very high level of its public debt, which nobody seems to be able to find a solution for. The latest official data, of April 2017, shows that public debt has reached 2.27 trillion Euros, a new record, after increasing 37.2 billion over last year's similar period. The aggregated budget deficit after the first six months of 2017 was 50.2 billion Euros, 22.5 billion Euros higher YOY, according to Reuters, as over half of the deficit of June 2017, of 8.2 billion Euros, was the "result" of the state's involvement in the liquidation of the two banks in the Veneto region. A new record, once again a negative one, was seen when it comes to Italy's position within Target2 (Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer), the real-time settlement system for payments in Euros. ECB data of May 2017, shows that Italy's deficit within the Target2 system has reached 421.6 billion Euros, way above the level recorded during the sovereign debt crisis, a phenomenon which reflects the acceleration of capital outflows. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the European authorities have "allowed" Italy to violate the banking resolution regulations that recently came into effect, even though that represents a new factor "to divide Europe", according to Reuters.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Emmanuel Macron is the fourth French president to have been in office during Angela Merkel’s 12-year tenure as German chancellor, and so it was with a faintly indulgent smile that she greeted the Europe Union’s new young pretender as he arrived in Berlin on Monday. The mismatch in experience was so apparently obvious that Mrs Merkel felt it necessary to say in advance that she would not behave like a “know-it-all” to the new occupant of the Elysee, but would listen carefully to his vision for France. Such protestations of modesty on Mrs Merkel's part are to be expected, but they cannot conceal the reality that if France wants to rekindle its post-war partnership with Germany, it needs to demonstrate it is committed to reforms.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Britain’s ambition to sign a quick Free Trade Agreement with the European Union after Brexit has received a significant boost after a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice handed expanded trade negotiation powers to Brussels.
The much-anticipated decision from the court in Luxembourg surprised experts by ruling that on key areas - including financial services and transport - the European Union does not need to seek ratification of a trade deal by the EU’s 38 national and local parliaments. Trade experts said the ECJ ruling could substantially reduce the risk of any future EU-UK free trade agreement getting bogged down in the EU national parliaments, opening the way for an FTA to be agreed by a qualified majority vote of EU member states.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The Romanian gambling sector has the best regulations in Europe, which has been admitted in the meetings which the National Gambling Office (ONJN) had at the level of the European Commission and the events it has attended, according to Odeta Nestor, the president of the Office. Besides, all the representatives of the sector, claim, in unison, that in its current form, the legislation in effect is known as being one of the most advanced internationally. Nevertheless, there are still small improvements that could be made to the new legislation, especially when it comes to online gambling. Concerning this aspect, Odeta Nestor told us: "I think that an amendment of the Fiscal Code, to implement retention tax for players, would be the best. Besides, the office has made this kind of proposals for the amendment of the legislation, because I have noticed, based on the functionality of the last few years, that everyone would benefit more through this kind of taxation system: players would be taxed correctly, and the state would earn more in taxes. Right now, aside from the fact that there are players who don't report the entirety of their own gambling revenues, this process is also bureaucratic and difficult".
Monday, March 13, 2017
BERLIN — Police ordered a shopping mall in the western German city of Essen not to open Saturday after receiving credible tips of an imminent attack. The shopping center and the adjacent parking lot stayed closed as about a hundred police officers positioned themselves around the compound to make sure nobody could enter the mall. Several officers scoured the inside of the building to bring out early morning cleaning staff. “As police, we are the security authority here and have decided to close the mall,” police spokesman Christoph Wickhorst said, adding that they had been tipped off late Friday by other security agencies. He did not want to provide further details because of the ongoing investigation.
The downtown mall at Limbecker Platz square will be closed for the entire day. The mall is one of the biggest in Germany with more than 200 stores, according to the shopping center’s website. In 2016, three people were injured in an attack on a Sikh temple in Essen by radicalized German-born Muslim teenagers.
Germany has been on the edge following a series of attacks in public places over the past year.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Early last month, Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, blamed“irrational behaviour” for the failure of the BoE’s recent forecasting models. The failure to spot this irrationality had led policymakers to forecast that the British economy would slow after last June’s Brexit referendum. Instead, British consumers have been on a heedless spending spree since the vote to leave the European Union; and, no less illogically, construction, manufacturing, and services have recovered. Haldane offers no explanation for this burst of irrational behaviour. Nor can he: to him, irrationality simply means behaviour that is inconsistent with the forecasts derived from the BoE’s model. It’s not just Haldane or the BoE. What mainstream economists mean by rational behaviour is not what you or I mean. In ordinary language, rational behaviour is that which is reasonable under the circumstances. But in the rarefied world of neoclassical forecasting models, it means that people, equipped with detailed knowledge of themselves, their surroundings, and the future they face, act optimally to achieve their goals. That is, to act rationally is to act in a manner consistent with economists’ models of rational behaviour. Faced with contrary behaviour, the economist reacts like the tailor who blames the customer for not fitting their newly tailored suit.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Bucharest Romania -- extremely optimistic estimates of the evolution of the economy in the next four years is not the only weak spot of the budget. Even if we overlook "transparency" easily, what about prudency? Hasn't the CNP learned anything, and more so our authorities, from the lesson of the crisis that began in 2008? Where does this optimism concerning the evolution of the economy over the next four years come from, when the global trade "landscape" is precisely in the process of undergoing a transformation following the victory of the Trump administration, and the problems of the EU are going through a new phase of worsening? The report also states that the "potential GDP will increase at an annual growth rate of 5.1%", whereas "the gap between the GDP and the potential GDP levels expressed as a percentage of the potential GDP will be closed in 2018". But don't we have the opinion of some NBR officials, that the output gap was closed as early as 2013 or Q2 2016? Aside from "faith", we must not forget that the methods for estimating the difference between the potential GDP and the real GDP are more or less mechanical, as they are heavily influenced by the growth of lending. Does the new government believe that we are back to the period of "growth" based on cheap loans and ultra-lax lending norms? It would seem so, because the report concerning the macroeconomic situation in the next years reflects an unrealistic approach of the evolution of borrowing costs. The governmental report also shows that "the yields of government bonds have followed a downward trend in the first three quarters of 2016, and then rise was mostly due to a number of foreign events".
Sunday, January 29, 2017
The AP and other media outlets reported earlier this week that emails sent internally to EPA staff mandated a temporary blackout on media releases and social media activity, as well as a freeze on contract approvals and grant awards. Ericksen said Tuesday that the agency was preparing to greenlight nearly all of the $3.9 billion in pending contracts that were under review. Ericksen said he could not immediately provide details about roughly $100 million in distributions that will remain frozen. The uncertainty about the contract and grant freeze coupled with the lack of information flowing from the agency since Trump took office have raised fears that states and other recipients could lose essential funding for drinking water protection, hazardous waste oversight and a host of other programs. The agency also took a potential first step Tuesday toward killing environmental rules completed as President Barack Obama's term wound down. At least 30 were targeted in the Federal Register for delayed implementation, including updated pollution rulings for several states, renewable fuel standards and limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can leach from wood products. Jared Blumenfeld, who served until last year as EPA's regional administrator for California and the Pacific Northwest, compared what is happening to a "hostile takeover" in the corporate world. "Ericksen and these other folks that have been brought in ... have basically put a hold on everything," said Blumenfeld, who regularly speaks with former colleagues still at the agency. "The level of mismanagement being exercised during this transition is startling and the impact on the public is alarming." For example, he said EPA employees aren't clear whether they can direct contractors who handle all of California's Superfund sites. Some EPA employees have taken to their own social media accounts to say what's happening inside the agency, despite fears of retaliation. "There's a strong sense of resistance," Blumenfeld said.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a "temporary hold" before it can be released. The communications director for President Donald Trump's transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency's website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth's climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. Ericksen clarified his earlier statements he made to The Associated Press, which reported that the Trump administration was mandating that any studies or data from EPA scientists undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public. He said he was speaking about existing scientific information on the EPA website that is under review by members of the Trump administration's transition team. He said new work by the agency's scientists is subject to the same "temporary hold" as other kinds of public releases, which he said would likely be lifted by Friday. He said there was no mandate to subject studies or data to political review. Former EPA staffers under both Republican and Democratic presidents said the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations. Ericksen said no decisions have yet been made about whether to strip mentions of climate change from epa.gov
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Business confidence in Europe's biggest economy, Germany, has fallen unexpectedly after the UK Brexit vote, according to a closely watched survey. The Ifo business confidence index, based on about 7,000 company responses, fell to 106.2 points for August from 108.3 in July. It was the steepest monthly fall in more than four years and took the index to its lowest since December 2014.
Despite the gloom, the euro was up slightly against the pound and dollar The latest drop follows a much smaller decline in confidence in July immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU. Economist Carsten Brzeski at ING-DiBa said the ongoing decline "suggests that German businesses have suddenly woken up to Brexit reality". "It is not the first time that the Ifo reacts with a delay of one or two months to global events,'' he said, adding that at present, the German economy remained in a "virtuous circle". Across the sectors it examines, the Ifo found confidence had fallen in all but construction and services. "The German economy has fallen into a summer slump," Ifo president Clemens Fuest said. Other official figures released earlier this month showed the German economy grew 0.4% in the second quarter compared with the previous three-month period. That was a slower pace than the 0.7% growth in the first quarter, but double what economists had expected.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Mehmet Simsek, the deputy prime minister, tried to dispel fears on Thursday that the country would return to the deep repression seen the last time it was under similar measures. "The state of emergency in Turkey won't include restrictions on movement, gatherings and free press, etc. It isn't martial law of 1990s," he said. "I'm confident Turkey will come out of this with much stronger democracy, better functioning market economy and enhanced investment climate." But as he made his statement, the crackdown spread to journalists and human rights lawyers. Orhan Kemal Cengiz, a leading newspaper columnist and lawyer, was arrested at the airport as he tried to leave the country. Police also raided the printing house of well-known satirical magazine Le Man...On Thursday, Austria became the first country to take diplomatic action over the crackdown, saying it would summon Turkey's ambassador to discuss Ankara's "increasingly authoritarian" behaviour and allegations it had been behind recent Turkish protests in Vienna. Meanwhile, the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee said it was to launch an inquiry into Britain’s relations with Turkey and the impact of the crackdown on democracy and human rights.
Friday, July 29, 2016
UK = A report from the Home Affairs Committee said: "Past experience has shown that previous attempts to tighten immigration rules have led to a spike in immigration prior to the rules coming into force. "Much will depend on the negotiations between the UK and the EU and the details of any deal to retain or constrain the free in the European Union." It suggested three “cut off” dates for when EU citizens can apply for permanent UK residence: the June 23 referendum, the date Article 50 is triggered to begin Brexit talks or the day Britain actually leaves the bloc. Mr Vaz said: "There is a clear lack of certainty in the Government's approach to the position of EU migrants resident in the UK and British citizens living in the EU...One in three lorries arriving in Britain do not have the security measures needed to keep out stowaways, border officials have also found as it emerged almost half of all people smuggling fines are never paid. Around 750,000 vehicles a year come to the UK without the necessary locks on doors and other measures needed to make sure illegal migrants cannot ride across the border undetected, according to the Border Force. Millions of pounds of penalties for people smuggling have also gone unpaid in recent years after thousands of foreign drivers were caught but failed to pay up.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Officials in the EU have urged Turkey to let in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees trapped on its border at Kilis after fleeing fighting. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said there was a moral, if not legal, duty to provide protection. Turkey says the refugees are receiving food and shelter inside Syria and there is no need to allow them to cross. About 35,000 Syrians have fled a Syrian government offensive on rebel-held positions near Aleppo. Ms Mogherini said the EU was providing funding to Turkey to make sure it had the "means, the instruments, the resources to protect and to host people that are seeking asylum". In November, the EU clinched a deal with Turkey, offering it €3bn (£2.3bn; $3.3bn) to care for Syrian refugees on Turkish soil. Ms Mogherini's call was echoed by EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, whose country currently holds the EU presidency. "I look at these images of people standing at the Turkish border and I just wanted to underline the message people who are in humanitarian need should be allowed in," said Mr Koenders. However Kilis governor Suleyman Tapsiz said the move was not necessary. "Our doors are not closed but at the moment there is no need to host such people inside our borders," he said. Turkey already hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees - 2.5 million. In the past few days, the Syrian army - backed by Russian air strikes - has made a series of gains around Aleppo, Syria's largest city. On Thursday, 60 donor countries meeting in London pledged billions of dollars to ease the plight of Syrian refugees. About 4.6 million people have fled Syria since the civil war began in 2011. Another 13.5 million are said to be in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Independent researchers reported detecting elevated methane levels as far as 8 miles from the massive, ongoing leak of natural gas from a storage site in northwestern Los Angeles. A ruptured well at Southern California Gas Co.'s Aliso Canyon underground facility has spewed more than 80,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere since the leak was discovered Oct. 23. The release of the powerful greenhouse gas led to the evacuation of thousands of people from the affluent Porter Ranch neighborhood a mile from the leak after reports by residents of nosebleeds, rashes, headaches and nausea.Finding elevated methane levels well beyond the Porter Ranch area raises potential health concerns for people living outside the immediate vicinity of the leak, the researchers said. Inhaling low concentrations of methane, the primary component of natural gas, is generally not considered a health concern, but natural gas often contains trace amounts of other, more harmful gases. "Whatever else may be in the gas-benzene, toluene, xylene -- that is what people may be breathing," said Nathan Phillips, an earth and environment professor at Boston University. "Even though we're not measuring things other than methane, there is a legitimate concern that there is that other nasty stuff in there." The findings challenge assurances from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the regional air pollution control agency, and the state's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment that the leak hasn't increased residents' exposure to toxic gases. The cumulative methane emissions from the Aliso Canyon facility to date have the greenhouse gas equivalent on the Earth's atmosphere of burning nearly 800 million gallons of gasoline, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander called on SoCal Gas to extend its residential relocation program to residents of neighborhoods adjacent to Porter Ranch, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. People in these communities were also reporting similar symptoms related to the leaking gas, according to the paper. SoCal Gas spokeswoman Kristine Lloyd said the gas company is providing temporary accommodation and air filtration for residents within a five-mile radius of the leak, extending beyond Porter Ranch. Democratic US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California sent a letter to the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice Wednesday calling on the federal agencies to offer further assistance to the State of California in responding to the gas leak. In a mapping effort funded by the Home Energy Efficiency Team, a Cambridge, Mass., nonprofit, Phillips and Robert Ackley of Gas Safety Inc. measured methane emissions for the past several days near the Aliso Canyon leak. Gas Safety Inc. provides natural gas leak detection services to industry, businesses and homeowners. They used a laser-based system mounted to a car. It recorded methane concentrations and plotted the readings on Google Earth. On Tuesday and Wednesday the researchers drove further from the leak and recorded methane concentrations as much as two times higher than background levels, as far as 8 miles away from the site.
Monday, January 18, 2016
The E.U. Commission has already written to the Polish government asking how its new media law will work with EU rules on media freedom. Schulz described the government’s actions as a “dangerous Putinisation of European politics”, while Oettinger suggested Poland should be put under rule of law supervision, legislation designed to deal with “systemic threats” to EU values. Responding to the criticism, Poland’s government summoned Germany’s ambassador for talks and warned Brussels not to interfere in its affairs on the basis of “biased and politically engaged” reports. The defence minister Antoni Macierewicz went further, saying Poland would not be lectured by Germany “on democracy and freedom”, while his colleague, justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, wrote an open letter to Oettinger alluding to the Nazi occupation of Poland. “Such words, said by a German politician, cause the worst of connotations among Poles,” Ziobro wrote. “Also in me. I’m a grandson of a Polish officer, who during World War II fought in the underground National Army with ‘German supervision’.”
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Sterling plunged to a five-and-a-half year low against the US dollar on Tuesday, as the UK's manufacturing sector shrank unexpectedly. Manufacturing production dropped by 0.4pc in November according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, compared to a 0.7pc fall in the wider industrial sector. The fall in industrial output was worse than any of the 30 analysts polled by Reuters had anticipated. There figures were described by Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, as "unambiguously rubbish". No surprise at all....What do you expect with an overvalued currency, a global recession, rigged competition from the slave labor Chinese manufacturing system and a UK government hell bent on jobs at any price in the bloated service sector? There is no industrial strategy, vocational training is a mess and unlike Corporatist Germany, government leaves manufacturing industry to sink or swim on its own. We are headed for a full blown Sterling crisis and all those two million new jobs of phone sanitizers, Cab drivers, hairdressers and delivering online shopping will disappear overnight...Figures and statistics are always fiddled...in reality British people have been mislead by the politicians just as people are mislead in nearly all countries on the planet. When lying and morally corrupt politicians are the captains one never knows where the journey will take us. Britain's feel good factors are essentially due to nearly a decades printing of money and of course the false sense of security generated by a.......massively overheated property market...Britain is in effect a nation which doesn't produce very much any more, its a nation of supermarkets and banking and insurance. Dear Mr. Cameron please lets have a breakdown of how Britain earns its money .Britain has possibly lived above its means since before the second world war.......with a few rare intervals.in between. Billions have been frittered away and yet we do not have a few pounds more for the junior doctors who keep our decrepit NHS afloat. Something seriously wrong here. The markets always know the truth though and the pound is likely to get whacked even more. Wait till the euro recovers !!
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Honda confirmed Thursday that an inflator ruptured in a crash that killed a teenager in July, the ninth fatality linked to air bags made by Japan's Takata. When an inflator ruptures, it can hurl metal and plastic shrapnel at a car's driver or passengers, causing sometimes fatal injuries. "American Honda has confirmed that the Takata driver's front air bag inflator ruptured in the crash of a 2001
Honda Accord Coupe on July 22, 2015 near Pittsburgh," the automaker said in a statement. "Injuries related to this air bag inflator rupture likely resulted in the tragic death of the underage driver." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which inspected the wreck along with Honda officials, has attributed eight deaths in the U.S. to the air bags. All were in Hondas. In addition, another death occurred outside the U.S. The Takata recalls now involve at least 23 million ammonium-nitrate inflators in 19 million vehicles involving 11 automakers. "This young person's death is tragic, and it underscores why we are continuing to work so hard to get these defective inflators off the road," said NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge when the death was announced earlier this month.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
For the second time this past week, Chinese stock markets shut early after its "circuit breaking" mechanism, that was introduced on January 1, was breached within the first 30 minutes of trading. This triggered a sharp fall in the Shanghai Composite index - 7pc.
The slump in the stock market came as Chinese authorities guided the yuan lower - allowing it to decline by 0.5pc, its most since August, which resulted in a mass sell-off, otherwise known as Black Monday. Stocks should be valued based on the dividend yield not future earnings which never are realised. If debt had been priced correctly this manic stock market could have been easily controlled. Any market in investments is inherently unstable due to the positive feedback at the heart of the trading. The problem is that unstable systems are very difficult to stabilise and often any atemps to do so can lead to further instability. The heart of the problem is that a price variation is reinforced by herd mentality. If the price goes up, then more people buy rather than fewer as would occur for most non investment items. The reverse is also true. This is worse when there is wider share ownership, as more investors act irrationally rather than based on reasoned consideration of company fundamentals. Possible other devices to consider are shorting, higher stamp duty, minimum length of share ownership, discouraging wider share ownership and price reinforcement. What is really needed is the investment equivalent of a car shock absorber combined with something that cuts or attenuated the positive feed back. My favourite is minimum length of share ownership. If a stock is subject to a speculative price hike then investors are less likely to put more in if they know that they cannot get it out in the short term. In short, short term investments are a contributory factor to price instability. Having consulted the oracle, I get that ominous hexagram known as the Preponderance of the Great. Too much weight in the middle; all unbalanced, and clearly away from the Tao.
Saturday, January 9, 2016
" Police in Germany are investigating an alarming series of sexual assaults on women trying to celebrate the New Year by large groups of single men “of Arab or North African appearance”.
Authorities in the city of Cologne are to hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday after police described a group of some 1,000 men who took over the area around the main station on New Year’s Eve.
Women were robbed, groped, and had their underwear torn from their bodies, while couples had fireworks thrown at them. Police have received 90 criminal complaints, around a quarter of them for sexual assault, including one case of rape. Police in Hamburg say there was a series of similar incidents in the city’s Reeperbahn red-light area. Witnesses described groups of five to 15 men of who “hunted” women in the streets." Merkel, the leader of the EU, has brought this upon her country, and Europe. She had enough warnings...but works to another agenda. Let her continue to sink into the quagmire. Bring on our opportunity, to get out of the EU madhouse, as soon as possible.