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Market Freakishly Unalarmed by Weekend Developments

By Charles Stampul
It’s not the actions on the ground and in the air, but the financial war measures enacted by the US and EU that should have market participants worried.  In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western governments are going after Russia’s currency and banking system with seemingly no awareness of the risks of either retaliation by Russia or contagion.

Continue reading Market Freakishly Unalarmed by Weekend Developments

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LUXEMBOURG (AP) — The Obama administration would entertain an extradition request for the U.S.-based cleric that Turkey’s president is blaming for a failed coup attempt, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.

In a televised speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the United States should extradite Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan said Turkey had never turned back any extradition request for “terrorists” by the United States and stressed Turkey’s joint role with the U.S. in fighting terrorism. “I say if we are strategic partners then you should bring about our request,” he said.

Visiting Luxembourg, Kerry said Turkey would have to prove the wrongdoing of Gulen, who left Turkey in 1999.

Gulen has harshly condemned the attempted coup attempt by military officers that resulted in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead. But Erdogan’s government is blaming the chaos on the cleric, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

Erdogan has long accused Gulen, a former ally, of trying to overthrow the government. Washington has never found any evidence particularly compelling previously.

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Hoverboards are blowing up across country and in Europe, US and UK officials warn




Sunday, December 6, 2015, 5:23 PM

There’s a reason why hoverboards are the hottest holiday present of the year— they explode, US and UK officials warned.

Both the National Association of State Fire Marshals and the UK’s National Trading Standards are raising a red flag on hoverboards, claiming that they are blowing up across the world.

The national Fire Marshals organization issued an advisory on Friday, warning that these explosions are “not a unique occurrence,” H. Butch Browning Jr., the president of the group’s Board of Directors said in a statement.

“The sheer number of incidents occurring around the country, and abroad, is what prompted our organization to address this serious issue on a national level,” he said.

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China Just Overtook The US As The World’s Largest Economy

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China Just Overtook The US As The World’s Largest Economy

Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen.

Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here.

The simple logic is that prices aren’t the same in each country: A shirt will cost you less in Shanghai than in San Francisco, so it’s not entirely reasonable to compare countries without taking this into account. Though a typical person in China earns a lot less than the typical person in the US, simply converting a Chinese salary into dollars underestimates how much purchasing power that individual, and therefore that country, might have. The Economist’s Big Mac Index is a great example of these disparities.

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world’s biggest economy.

We’ve just gone past that crossover on the chart below, according to the IMF. By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion):

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Steve Wynn: I’m ‘more scared’ about US than China


Steve Wynn: I’m ‘more scared’ about US than China
Jane Wells | @janewells

To rephrase a purported Chinese proverb: Steve Wynn lives in interesting times.

The casino magnate behind Wynn Resorts makes most of his money in Macau, China, and he’s worked closely with the Chinese government for a dozen years. However, gambling revenue across Macau has softened as the government has cracked down on what it calls illegal lending practices there, and as potential new anti-smoking rules threaten to turn off gamblers. Now, new tensions are rising on the heels of massive protestsin Hong Kong by residents who oppose Beijing’s efforts to dictate the candidates they’re allowed to vote for.

‘Everyone in China is pragmatic’

Is Steve Wynn bothered?

“I’m more scared about the United States than I am about China,” Wynn told CNBC this week at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. The protests in Hong Kong have “become sort of a party out there.”

Wynn said he believes the situation will be resolved: “Everyone in China is pragmatic and practical.”

Wynn said Chinese officials may be willing to bend in favor of protesters who want everyone to be able to vote on Hong Kong’s chief executive, though he seemed to think it’s less likely that Beijing will stop deciding who can run and who doesn’t.

“I think the central government is willing to let everybody vote for the CEO, but they want to have some positive input on the nominations, so that whoever it is, the group of candidates, have some kind of mature, rational attitude towards the fact that it belongs to China,” Wynn said. “I don’t think (Chinese President) Xi Jinping and the central government are going to give up some level of control of their own country. It’s not part of that culture there.”

Wynn continues to praise the business climate in China compared to the United States: “The regulatory burden in China is infinitesimal compared to the crap we get in America.”

Wynn’s comments come as Western companies have come up against growing scrutiny from the Chinese government, including surprise raids, long investigations and growing fines in the name of “anti-trust” enforcement.

Wynn refused to comment on a slander lawsuit his company has filed against Jim Chanos—the suit alleges that the famous short seller intimated that Wynn has violated anti-bribing laws in order to succeed in Macau. Instead, he praised what he called “the most laissez-faire place on the planet at the moment” in China, and said Americans don’t realize how positive and aspirational the Chinese are about their own lives and their own government.

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Scramble for safety as Spain fears grow

running with the bulls

Scramble for safety as Spain fears grow
By Vivianne Rodrigues in New York

Wednesday 18.20 BST. Risk appetite is deteriorating sharply as hopes for Chinese stimulus measures are dashed and concerns grow over Spain’s banking problems.

In the US, eurozone fears were compounded after a report showed pending home sales dropped by the most in a year, sending the S&P 500 index down more than 1 per cent. The broad measure of US stocks is on track to close the month of May 6 per cent lower.