Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The EC’s “Big Mistake.”

Baltic Dry Index. 1007 +06     Brent Crude 48.98

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie"             

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. European Commission President.

For more on the EC’s big mistake (Juncker) scroll down to the end of this section.

While US politics will likely be the big news story today, President Trump thumped and trumped the FBI yesterday, it’s a parochial news story at best. Below, Asia yawned, but continued to fret over North Korea. Does Trump’s firing of Comey, push him closer to restarting the Korean war? America would never try to impeach a war president, would they?

Asia Stocks Rise; Yen Gains Amid North Korea Worry: Markets Wrap

by Adam Haigh
Asian stocks resumed a rally as Hong Kong shares jumped. U.S. stock-index futures slipped as Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, while the yen rose on concern over North Korea’s nuclear program. 

Chinese companies listed across the border climbed for a third day, while South Korean shares dropped after Moon Jae-in’s presidential victory. The greenback slipped after reaching the highest in a month Tuesday in the wake of hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed in on the 20,000 level ahead of earnings by Japan’s biggest companies.

Optimism for global economic growth is helping drive down expectations for volatility in equity and fixed-income markets. With global stocks trading near record highs, earnings need to keep delivering to appease investors getting restless about higher equity valuations.

Resurgent producer prices in China, which climbed less than forecast in April, have helped fuel the world’s shift away from deflationary pressures. The producer price index rose 6.4 percent from a year earlier, versus a 6.7 percent Bloomberg survey estimate and 7.6 percent gain in March. The consumer price index climbed 1.2 percent, versus 0.9 percent gain in March, the statistics bureau said Wednesday.

Markets in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand are closed for holidays. India’s bond and foreign-exchange markets are also shut, while equity trading operates.

President Trump’s dismissal of Comey comes amid the agency’s investigation of Russian interference in last year’s election. He said the bureau needed new leadership to restore “public trust and confidence.” Read more here.

In Brexit news, welcome back Canada. Without Canada’s backing, GB could never have fought on alone in WW2 after the fall of France, and before Germany attacked Russia and America finally belatedly entered the war. Modern Europe would be a very different German run place. The EUSSR owes a big debt of gratitude to Canada. GB will do just fine after Brexit, though it’s still hostage to what happens next in the economies of America, China and the wealth and jobs destroying, dying EUSSR.

'You just never know. That unpredictability is the great thing about life. You change. The world changes. You live in a country where we are still blessed with enormous opportunity. Leave yourself open to the world of possibility. You have the ambition, you have the smarts and you have the toughness. So, turn the page on your biography - you have just started a new chapter in your lives.'

Lloyd Blankfein, “Mr. Goldman  Sacks,” CEO of Goldman Sachs unintentionally backs Brexit in a US speech to graduates, mid 2016.

Canadian Fund With $6 Billion War Chest Picks London for EU Hub

by Sarah Jones,Ruth McGavin, and Sarah Syed
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board picked London as its European hub and plans to spend as much as 4.6 billion pounds ($6 billion) in the region in the next five years.

The fund, which manages the savings of the Canadian armed forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the reserves, plans to hire executives for its private-equity and private-debt business, according to a statement on Wednesday. PSP said it’s seeking to raise the number of investment professionals working in London to 40 from 28 within the next 12 months.

London will remain the key financial center in the region despite bouts of uncertainty and volatility following the decision to leave the European Union, Andre Bourbonnais, president and chief executive officer at PSP, said in an interview. The fund manager’s decision to expand in the British capital comes as other parts of the industry shrink. More than a quarter of major U.K. financial-services firms say they’ll move staff or operations abroad or review their domicile because of Brexit, consultants EY said this week.

The U.K. capital “has the financial infrastructure and network that would be hard to replace elsewhere,” Bourbonnais said in London. “We think we can find talent here.”

In follow up news to yesterday’s article on laptop bans on flights. Soon it will be global. I think the fire hazard risk needs to be addressed ASAP.

Tue May 9, 2017 | 8:11pm EDT

U.N. aviation agency seeks global approach to laptop ban

In March, the U.S. announced laptop restrictions on flights originating from 10 airports in countries including the UAE, Qatar and Turkey. Britain quickly followed suit with restrictions on a slightly different set of routes.
An ICAO working paper seen by Reuters threw its weight behind concerns that laptops are a greater security risk in the passenger cabin than in the hold, because of the threat that hidden explosives could be detonated manually.

"The threat to aircraft from concealed improvised explosive devices has been the greatest security risk to commercial aircraft for some years," it warned.

But ICAO has also asked its experts to weigh this against the safety risk of storing a larger number of flammable batteries unattended in a commercial aircraft's baggage compartment.

European regulators have warned placing what could be hundreds of devices in the hold on long-haul flights could compromise safety by increasing the risk of fire from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries.

Patrick Ky, the head of the European Aviation Safety Agency told Reuters that it wants airlines to be careful about how they store laptops by avoiding placing them in a single container, for example.

"Should we go further? I don't think so for the time being. But in case we have a fire risk that we think is high, then of course we would take the necessary actions," Ky added.

ICAO's aviation security panel is expected to make recommendations by mid-June, an ICAO spokesman said.

ICAO, which is headquartered in Montreal, does not impose binding rules, but wields clout through safety and security standards that are usually followed by its 191-member countries.

ICAO has been asked "to identify a possible global approach to mitigate the security risk associated with large portable electronic devices," according to the paper.
We end for today with the EC’s “big mistake.”  No not the leak of the private conversation held in London over dinner, between J-C Junker and Prime Minister May, and one advisor each. The European Commission’s “big mistake,” is J-C “Glenfarclas” Juncker himself. The EC has a loose cannon careening around.

Juncker Calls Leaks to Media of May Dinner Details ‘Big Mistake’

by Rainer Buergin
9 May 2017, 08:00 GMT+1 9 May 2017, 08:51 GMT+1

EU Commission head says he isn’t taking responsibility for it

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he regrets leaks to German media about his discussions with British Prime Minister Theresa May over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
“The fact that this conversation was reported is a serious mistake,” Juncker said in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt published on Tuesday. Asked if he had been involved in the leak, Juncker said he wasn’t taking responsibility for it.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last month reported details from an April 26 dinner in London between Juncker, his cabinet chief Martin Selmayr, May and one of the prime minister’s advisers. The paper, citing unidentified sources, said Juncker had left the meeting “‘10 times more skeptical” about reaching a mutually acceptable Brexit deal. May later accused EU officials of seeking to influence next month’s U.K. election.

“I get along fine with May,” Handelsblatt quoted Juncker as saying. “She’s a tough lady.”

---- The clash between the U.K. government and the European Commission came as May seeks re-election on June 8 in a campaign defined by Brexit.

It caused unease in EU capitals including Berlin, where Chancellor Angela Merkel was annoyed about the leaked details of the allegedly disastrous dinner, according to Der Spiegel. Irish government chief whip Regina Doherty said the leak was “not helpful.”

Finally, this comment from an informed reader.

   "Juncker attended the dinner along with his Chief of Staff Martin Selmayr. The most likely explanation is that after the dinner, while Juncker publicly insulted his host's hospitality and privately called Merkel to complain about May, it was Selmayr who, either on Juncker's instruction or with Juncker's blessing, briefed the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung with a false and vindictive account of the meeting.
As we know, shortly afterwards Merkel chimed in with a public swipe at May, though it appears she subsequently retreated and blamed Juncker after the EU's bullying tactics backfired so badly.
Juncker is just doing what Merkel has done - encouraging and taking part in a co-ordinated attempt to threaten Britain, and then washing his hands when it didn't work.
Selmayr is a known EU fanatic from a wealthy old German family. He hates Britain and is feared even by other EU officials. One of his grandfathers was a German General who was captured by the British after WW2 and convicted of Nazi war crimes against Yugoslav partisans.
While it is a mistake to view the EU as part of some Nazi plan, it is remarkable how so many actual Nazis and their relatives subsequently found a home in its upper echelons. The EU is certainly congenial to the kind of Germans who like to enrich themselves while dictating to other nations.
The first ever President of the European Commission was Walter Hallstein, a senior Nazi lawyer who had supported Hitler's race laws (something worth pointing out to those Remainers who like to claim the EU is a beacon of light against racism). It is also the case that the year before the War ended, a group of Nazi business leaders met to discuss plans for their own survival and prosperity after the war was lost. They did not bring the EEC into existence but they made sure they got their feet under the table when it happened, in the form of Siemens, Bayer, BASF and Volkswagen.
It looks as if in his spite Selmayr overreached himself (although so did Juncker, Merkel, Verhofstadt and Barnier during the same few days). Naturally Juncker takes no responsibiity but he has become a liability to the EU, and if he falls his junior Selmayr may too - at least for a while. Good times."
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

George Orwell.

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
Today, why we are doomed to a world of increasing rip-offs. Did Bank of America really trash the “Superman Building?”
“The world is a place that’s gone from being flat to round to crooked.”

Mad Magazine.

Why Do Gas Station Prices Constantly Change? Blame the Algorithm

Retailers are using artificial-intelligence software to set optimal prices, testing textbook theories of competition; antitrust officials worry such systems raise prices for consumers

Updated May 8, 2017 6:41 p.m. ET
ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands—One recent afternoon at a Shell-branded station on the outskirts of this Dutch city, the price of a gallon of unleaded gas started ticking higher, rising more than 3½ cents by closing time. A little later, a competing station 3 miles down the road raised its price about the same amount.
The two stations are among thousands of companies that use artificial-intelligence software to set prices. In doing so, they are testing a fundamental precept of the market economy.
In economics textbooks, open competition between companies selling a similar product, like gasoline, tends to push prices lower. These kinds of algorithms determine the optimal price sometimes dozens of times a day. As they get better at predicting what competitors are charging and what consumers are willing to pay, there are signs they sometimes end up boosting prices together.
These new systems crunch mountains of historical and real-time data to predict how customers and competitors will react to any price change under different scenarios, giving them an almost superhuman insight into market dynamics. Programmed to meet a certain goal—such as boosting sales—the algorithms constantly update tactics after learning from experience.
Ulrik Blichfeldt, chief executive of Denmark-based a2i Systems A/S, whose technology powers the Rotterdam gas stations, said his software is focused primarily on modeling consumer behavior and leads to benefits for consumers as well as gas stations. The software learns when raising prices drives away customers and when it doesn’t, leading to lower prices at times when price-sensitive customers are likely to drive by, he said.
“This is not a matter of stealing more money from your customer. It’s about making margin on people who don’t care, and giving away margin to people who do care,” he said.
Driving the popularity of A.I. pricing is the pain rippling through most retail industries, long a low-margin business that’s now suffering from increased competition from online competitors.
“The problem we’re solving is that retailers are going through a bloodbath,” said Guru Hariharan, chief executive of Mountain View, Calif.-based Boomerang Commerce Inc., whose A.I.-enabled software is used by StaplesInc. and other companies.

$54 Million Fight Over Vacant Superman Building Is Settled

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 9 May 2017, 00:09 GMT+1
Providence, R.I. (AP) -- A $54 million lawsuit over the state's tallest building, called the Superman Building, has been settled just before a trial was scheduled to begin in federal court.
The owner of the Providence skyscraper had sued its former tenant, Bank of America, saying the bank allowed it to fall into disrepair. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had countersued, arguing it spent millions of dollars on maintenance before it moved out four years ago.
The owner, High Rock Westminster Street, based in Newton, Massachusetts, and the bank said they were pleased to have settled the lawsuit.
"High Rock looks forward to exploring options to make the most of its ownership of the building," a joint statement said. "Bank of America looks forward to continuing its long-standing partnership with the city and people of Providence."
The terms of the settlement weren't disclosed. A trial had been set to begin Monday.
The 26-story building has been vacant for years and has become a symbol of Rhode Island's economic decline.
It was the tallest skyscraper in New England when it opened in 1928 as the Industrial National Bank Building and became the most recognizable feature on the Providence skyline. The Art Deco-style skyscraper, at the heart of downtown, got its superhero nickname because of its similarity to the Daily Planet headquarters in the old TV show.
High Rock has said in court that Bank of America took such bad care of the building over a period of years that the limestone facade is crumbling, among other problems.
Bank of America had said that it spent tens of millions of dollars on maintenance and repairs on the building during its lease and contended that High Rock decided to sue so it could get the money it needs to convert the building into apartments.
Technology Update.
With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Europe's largest offshore wind farm boots up in the Netherlands

Michael Irving May 8, 2017
One of the biggest offshore wind farms in the world has just started turning in the North Sea, off the coast of the Netherlands. Hidden over the horizon, the Gemini wind farm isn't visible from the mainland or the neighboring islands, and is set to produce about 2.6 TWh of electricity every year.

Situated 85 km (53 miles) north of the coast of Groningen, the Gemini wind farm is made up of 150 turbines spread out across 68 sq km (26 sq mi). The spot was chosen because not only is it out of sight and out of mind for Netherlands residents, but the wind speeds in the area are consistently high, averaging about 36 km/h (22 mph). With a capacity of 600 MW, Gemini is the second largest offshore wind farm in the world, behind only the London Array.

The electricity generated by Gemini's turbines is collected into two nearby substations before being piped 110 km (68 miles) to the Eemshaven seaport. There, a land station will manage and maintain the entire facility, and the power is then fed into the country's grid. Over the course of a few decades, the Gemini wind farm will apparently supply up to 1.5 million residents with power, and reduce the amount of CO2 emissions by about 1.25 million tonnes (1.38 million tons) every year.
The project took more than two years to complete, with Van Oord and Siemens contracted to do the majority of construction.
"We have built the wind farm within the scheduled time, within budget and in a safe manner," says Matthias Haag, CEO of Gemini. "Gemini thus makes an important contribution to the sustainability of the Netherlands."
The Gemini wind farm can be seen in action in the 360-degree video below.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished April

DJIA: 20,941 +149 Up. NASDAQ:  6,048 +190 Up. SP500: 2,384 +152 Up.

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