All posts by Francisco Marques Pereira

(PUB) Funcionário da embaixada em Teerão atingido a tiro levou a suspensão de vistos

(PUB) Funcionário iraniano da embaixada portuguesa foi atingido a tiro em Março nos arredores da instalação diplomática. Incidente foi considerado como uma quebra de segurança.

O facto de um funcionário iraniano da embaixada portuguesa em Teerão ter sido atingido a tiro nos arredores da instalação diplomática em Março foi a razão que levou à suspensão de vistos a cidadãos do Irão e de todas as actividades da secção consular.

O ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros, Augusto Santos Silva, revelou na terça-feira, no Parlamento, que a atribuição de vistos a cidadãos iranianos tinha sido suspensa por questões de segurança, sem avançar mais pormenores. Mas a principal razão, apurou o PÚBLICO, prende-se com o incidente de Março, que foi considerado como uma quebra de segurança nas instalações diplomáticas.

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Portugal suspende vistos a cidadãos iranianos “por razões de segurança”

O incidente com o funcionário iraniano deu-se a 12 de Março e foi confirmado na altura por Santos Silva e pelo porta-voz do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros do Irão, Bahram Qasemi, que, em declarações à agência de notícias iraniana IRNA, afirmou que o ataque ocorreu ao norte de Teerão e que as investigações iniciais mostram que o incidente ocorreu devido a “questões pessoais”.

O ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros português esclareceu na altura que o funcionário iraniano que trabalha na embaixada de Portugal, ao sair da instalação diplomática, “foi vítima de uma emboscada”. “Isto é, foi atingido provavelmente a tiro por uma pessoa que circulava numa motorizada. Felizmente, o funcionário já se encontra em casa e, portanto, os ferimentos não foram graves”, sublinhou o ministro.

Ao final da tarde de terça-feira, em comunicado, Augusto Santos Silva assegurou que a suspensão de vistos a cidadãos iranianos se devia às “condições de funcionamento da secção consular” em Teerão e nada teria que ver com questões de segurança naquele país.

O chefe da diplomacia portuguesa justificou que avançou com o comunicado “para que não haja interpretações erróneas” do que tinha dito na Comissão parlamentar dos Negócios Estrangeiros.

Santos Silva disse ainda que “as razões de segurança prendem-se com as condições de funcionamento da secção consular” da Embaixada de Portugal em Teerão que “estão a ser identificadas e corrigidas” e, uma vez ultrapassadas, “possibilitarão a retoma do seu funcionamento, tão brevemente quanto possível”.

“A suspensão das actividades da secção consular compreende todas as actividades, não se dirigindo especificamente à emissão de vistos para cidadãos iranianos (ou dos outros países cobertos pelo posto) em viagem para Portugal”, refere ainda.

A nota salientava também que “a suspensão é uma decisão cautelar das autoridades portuguesas, para melhorar a segurança do seu posto consular e em nada resulta de uma avaliação sobre as condições gerais de segurança na República do Irão, ou de qualquer outro aspecto de natureza institucional ou política”.

“A suspensão é temporária, pelo mais breve prazo possível, e, enquanto durar, procurar-se-ão meios alternativos para a emissão dos documentos indispensáveis à circulação de pessoas”, acrescentou.

O PÚBLICO enviou por email um conjunto de perguntas ao Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros sobre este assunto. O MNE enviou a seguinte resposta: “Neste momento o que temos a dizer consta do comunicado de ontem.”

(ZH) Bank Run: Deutsche Bank Clients Are Pulling $1 Billion A Day

(ZH) There is a reason James Simons’ RenTec is the world’s best performing hedge fund – it spots trends (even if they are glaringly obvious) well ahead of almost everyone else, and certainly long before the consensus.

That’s what happened with Deutsche Bank, when as we reported two weeks ago, the quant fund pulled its cash from Deutsche Bank as a result of soaring counterparty risk, just days before the full – and to many, devastating – extent of the German lender’s historic restructuring was disclosed, and would result in a bank that is radically different from what Deutsche Bank was previously (see “The Deutsche Bank As You Know It Is No More“).

In any case, now that RenTec is long gone, and questions about the viability of Deutsche Bank are swirling – yes, it won’t be insolvent overnight, but like the world’s biggest melting ice cube, there is simply no equity value there any more – everyone else has decided to cut their counterparty risk with the bank with the €45 trillion in derivatives, and according to Bloomberg Deutsche Bank clients, mostly hedge funds, have started a “bank run” which has culminated with about $1 billion per day being pulled from the bank.

As a result of the modern version of this “bank run”, where it’s not depositors but counterparties that are pulling their liquid exposure from DB on fears another Lehman-style lock up could freeze their funds indefinitely, Deutsche Bank is considering how to transfer some €150 billion ($168 billion) of balances held in it prime-brokerage unit – along with technology and potentially hundreds of staff – to French banking giant BNP Paribas.

One problem, as Bloomberg notes, is that such a forced attempt to change prime-broker counterparties, would be like herding cats, as the clients had already decided they have no intention of sticking with Deutsche Bank, and would certainly prefer to pick their own PB counterparty than be assigned one by the Frankfurt-based bank. Alas, the problem for DB is that with the bank run accelerating, pressure on the bank to complete a deal soon is soaring.

Here are the dynamics in a nutshell, (via Bloomberg): Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing is pulling back from catering to risky hedge-fund clients, i.e. running a prime brokerage, as he attempts to radically overhaul the troubled German lender while BNP CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe wants to expand in the industry. A deal of this magnitude would be a stark example of the German firm’s retreat from global investment banking while potentially transforming its French rival from a small player in the so-called prime-brokerage industry to one of Europe’s biggest.

Of course, publicly telegraphing that DB is in dire liquidity straits and needs an in-kind transfer of its prime brokerage book would spark an outright panic, and so instead the story has been spun far more palatably, i.e., “BNP is providing “continuity of service” to Deutsche Bank’s prime-brokerage and electronic-equity clients as the two companies discuss transferring over technology and staff“, according to a July 7 statement. The ultimate goal of the talks is for BNP to take over the vast majority of client balances, which are slightly less than $200 billion currently.

There is just one problem: nothing is preventing those clients who would be forcibly moved from a German banking giant to a French banking giant from redeeming their funds. And that’s just what they are doing. Or rather, nothing is preventing them from moving their exposure for now, which is why they are suddenly scrambling to do it before they are suddenly gated.

Which is why the final shape of the deal remains, pardon the pun, fluid, and it is unclear how it will proceed, facing a multitude of complexities, including departing clients.

In an attempt to stop the bank run, BNP executives are meeting with U.S. hedge-fund clients this week to convince them to stay following similar sit-downs with European funds last week, Bloomberg sources said.

However, if this gambit fails, and hedge funds keep moving their business elsewhere, officials at the German bank may just relegate its assets tied to the prime finance division into the newly formed Capital Release Unit, i.e. the infamous “bad bank” which is winding down unwanted assets totaling 288 billion euros ($324 billion) of leverage exposure, and the prime brokerage is responsible for much of the 170 billion euros of leverage exposure that’s coming from the equities division into the division, also known as CRU a presentation shows.

It also means that countless hegde funds are suddenly at risk of being gated on whatever liquid exposure they have toward Deutsche Bank.

To be sure, Deutsche Bank’s hedge fund balances have been declining throughout the year as speculation swirled around Sewing’s intentions for the prime brokerage, but the rate of redemptions was far lower than $1 billion per day. Now that the bank jog has become a bank run, the next question is how much liquidity reserves does DB really have and what happen if hedge funds clients – suddenly spooked they will be the last bagholders standing – pull the remaining €150 billion all at once.

We are confident we will get the answer in a few days if not hours, until then please enjoy this chart which compares DB’s stock decline to that of another bank which was gripped by a historic liquidity run in its last days too…

(GUA) Hong Kong showed China is a threat to democracy. Now Europe must defend Taiwan

(GUA) Beijing is bullying another democratic neighbour. The EU must stop ignoring authoritarianism for the sake of stability and cash

China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning
 China’s aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. China ‘has stepped up its aerial missions violating Taiwanese airspace, sailing warships near or in Taiwanese waters’. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong’s administration has backed down over the controversial extradition bill, but the canary in the coalmine of China’s tacit acceptance of democracy is already dead.

Under China’s “one country, two systems” model, Hong Kong was given the guarantee that the freedoms of its citizens would be preserved and respected. Meanwhile, for a long time in the west, the consensus was that, as its economy grew, China would start to look more like Hong Kong. Regrettably, in recent years the opposite has happened and Hong Kong looks more like China by the year. Perhaps we were naive to believe that this erosion of Hong Kong’s democracy was not inevitable. Beijing makes no secret of its view that democracy and Chinese civilisation are incompatible. The protesters in the streets of Hong Kong would beg to differ, and I hope they succeed through peaceful means.

For democracy activists in Hong Kong and beyond, there is a shining city on the hill: Taiwan. It is the one clear example of a Chinese liberal democratic project that has thrived in recent years. It should come as no surprise that it has faced intense pressure from Beijing.

In the South China Sea, China is strengthening its military presence. Its violations of Taiwanese air and sea space have escalated to dangerous levels. Beijing’s hostility towards Taipei has intensified since 2016, when Taiwan elected a president who defends Taipei’s sovereignty. It has stepped up its aerial missions violating Taiwanese airspace, sailing warships near or in Taiwanese waters, with the most recent example in June when China’s aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan Strait. Taipei is also seriously concerned about Chinese interference in Taiwan’s presidential election next January.

To date, Europe has been erratic in its dealings with China. Several states have been eager to jump into bed with Beijing and auction off our democratic values for the promise of a boost in investment. They have turned a blind eye to Beijing’s human rights abuses at home and bellicosity in its neighbourhood. Meanwhile, other states see China’s continued authoritarian drift but shrink in the face of its global bullying.

The European Union regularly argues that its foreign policy is based on values, not just short-term interests. If this is the case, we should stand up for these values and defend the largest Chinese democracy from authoritarian pressure. The United States is leading by example, including the recent decision to sell military equipment worth more than $2bn to Taipei.

Taiwanese protesters hold slogans reading “No extradition to China” during a rally to oppose Hong Kong’s contentious extradition bill
 Taiwanese protesters show solidarity with the people of Hong Kong’s in rejecting the contentious extradition bill. Photograph: Chiang Ying-ying/AP

In Europe, however, China bullies capitals into accepting its warped viewpoint that Taiwan is just a rebel province. It forces us to deny Taiwan’s access to international forums and feigns outrage if any European politicians meet democratically elected representatives of the Taiwanese people – a country with a population almost equal to that of Australia.

The new EU leadership should change this approach, and make a stand for democratic self-determination. It should start by meeting Taiwan’s leaders, and moving forward with an investment partnership; and it should no longer be silent when China takes an aggressive posture. Until we do, the EU’s claims to be basing foreign policy on values is a statement that rings hollow.

Our defence of democracy abroad matters for our security at home. Europe’s current debates around China relate to potential security threats – from questions about Huawei and its role in building 5G, through to Chinese one-way investment in Europe’s strategic crown jewels. We want China to offer opportunity and be a partner, but its nationalistic shift gives us cause to worry about its real motives, underpinned by a totally different set of values.

This is why Europe’s stand for our values matters. It is not some abstract discussion about what happens halfway around the world, but the maintenance of a rules-based global order which has kept relative peace, spread prosperity and built free societies.

The people of Hong Kong want more democracy. They will have to win it for themselves. But Europe cannot continue turning the other cheek for the sake of stability and Chinese cash, while people seek the rights that we insist on for ourselves. Yes, China is rich and powerful, but it will only rewrite the world’s rulebook if we allow it to – starting by dismantling democracy on its own doorstep.

We should stand up for Taiwan’s self-determination and treat it as a fully-fledged member of the alliance of democracies. In a globally interdependent world, failure to defend our values in east Asia and beyond will eventually lead to the erosion of those same values at home.

(EUobserver) EU selling more goods to US despite Trump tariffs


The EU’s goods trade surplus with the US for the first five months of 2019 rose to €62.1bn from €55.4bn in the same period last year. The increase could stoke tensions after the US already imposed tariffs on some EU exports to get the numbers down. At the same time, Europe’s trade deficit with China grew to €76.7bn from €69.2bn, amid complaints China unfairly restricts market access for foreign firms.

(BI) Boris Johnson rejects EU compromise and pushes Britain towards the no-deal Brexit cliff edge


boris johnson no deal brexit

Boris JohnsonReuters

  • The United Kingdom is hurtling towards a no-deal Brexit in October, after both contenders to replace Theresa May rejected a possible compromise deal with the EU.
  • Boris Johnson, the likely next prime minister, said on Monday that he would not accept compromise on the Northern Irish backstop — a compromise that even hardline pro-Brexit MPs have said they would accept.
  • This creates an even bigger chasm between the UK and the EU and significantly increases the chances of a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
  • A cross-party group of Members of Parliament are mobilising to prevent a no-deal exit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.

Boris Johnson on Monday pushed the United Kingdom towards a no-deal Brexit in October, telling a Conservative leadership hustings that he would not accept a compromise Brexit deal from the EU.

Theresa May was forced to quit as Conservative party leader earlier this year after repeatedly losing votes on her Brexit deal, due in part to the inclusion of the so-called “backstop” element, which is designed to prevent a hard border between the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland if talks break down.

Many Conservative members of parliament oppose the agreement in large part because they believe the backstop element would keep Britain tied to EU trade and customs rules indefinitely after Brexit.

Some of those MPs have suggested that a compromise deal, in which there is a fixed time-limit on the backstop or a unilateral exit mechanism for the UK, could potentially win over a majority of MPs.

However, speaking at The Sun newspaper’s hustings on Monday evening, Johnson said that he would not accept these sort of compromises, and said that as prime minister he would demand that the backstop be removed altogether.

Asked whether he would accept a time-limit or unilateral exit mechanism, he said: “No, is the answer.”

The ex-foreign secretary added: “No to time limits, or universal escape hatches, or all these kind of elaborate devices, glosses, codicils and so on that you could apply to the backstop. I think the problem is very fundamental.”

Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s leadership rival, agreed that he wanted to bin the backstop in its entirety.

Johnson has given a series of mixed messages on Brexit in recent weeks. During his campaign for prime minister he has variously insisted that Britain will leave on October 31 “do or die,” while also insisting that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is a “million to one.”

The comments have led some Brexit-backing Johnson supporters to believe he is heading for a no-deal Brexit, while some Remain-voting Johnson supporters believe it is merely a negotiating tactic to force both the EU and British politicians into agreeing a deal on his terms.

Heading towards no-deal?

jeremy hunt boris johnson

Boris Johnson and Jeremy HuntReuters

Both Johnson and Hunt have said they will seek to renegotiate the Brexit deal once they get into power.

However, their comments on the backstop means there is set to be an even bigger chasm between the UK and the EU than there was when May led negotiations — and that’s if the EU even agrees to re-open negotiations.

EU negotiators have left Brussels for the summer and say they have no intention of revisiting the deal with the UK.

Sabine Weyand, a negotiator who played a key part in Brexit talks, has left this role to become the EU’s new Director-general for trade. The customs and transport experts who were on the EU’s Article 50 task force have also left, a figure familiar with negotiations told Business Insider. The official line is that negotiations are effectively over, as far as Brussels is concerned.

However, if talks were to re-open, the new hardening of the UK’s position makes a revised deal even less likely, and means the UK is hurtling it towards a no-deal exit on October 31, unless MPs who are opposed to it find a way of stopping it.

A former Conservative minister last week told Business Insider “we will find a way.”

If they do not, the UK is set for major disruption to business and the economy.

Business Insider revealed over the weekend that the government had been handed a list of contingency measures that were in place for a March no-deal but had not been rolled over for a no-deal exit in October.

These included an agreement allowing UK lorries basic connectivity rights to continue operating in the EU.

A report published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last weekwarned that the government’s no-deal Brexit preparation was “not happening quickly enough” and must be ramped up in order to be ready on time.

(Reuters) UK pay growth strongest since 2008, but jobs boom slows

(Reuters) LONDON (Reuters) – British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in nearly 11 years, official data showed on Tuesday, but there were potential signs of future weakness in jobs growth, the economy’s silver lining since the Brexit referendum.

Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6% in the three months to May, the biggest increase since mid-2008 and stronger than the median forecast of 3.5% in a Reuters poll of economists.

Including bonuses, pay growth beat all forecasts in the poll, rising to 3.4%, the Office for National Statistics said, with a change in the timing of public health workers’ pay rises accounting for a small part of the increase.

Many economists say the strength of Britain’s labor market is at least in part due to employers hiring workers who they can later lay off if needed, rather than making longer-term investment commitments ahead of Brexit.

Unemployment held at its joint lowest rate since the three months to January 1975, forcing many employers to offer higher pay to their workers whose spending has helped the economy.

“However, the booming jobs market has inevitably shown signs of losing momentum in recent months,” Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors.

“As more and more people have entered work, businesses have found it harder to fill vacancies, and skills shortages are now clearly evident across all sectors.”

The pick-up in pay has been noted by the Bank of England which says it might need to raise interest rates in response, assuming Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit.

The BoE said in May it expected wage growth of 3% at the end of this year.

Tuesday’s data showed the number of people out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million.

But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year and below the forecast of an increase of 45,000 in the Reuters poll.

While there was a chunky rise in the number of self-employed workers, the number of employees fell by the most since 2011, and job vacancies dropped to their lowest in more than a year.

Some recently published surveys of companies have also suggested employers are turning more cautious about hiring as Britain approaches its new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.

Both the contenders to be prime minister have said they would leave the EU without a transition deal if necessary, raising the prospect of a shock to the economy in just over three months’ time.

A survey published last week showed that companies were more worried about Brexit than at any time since the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union and they planned to reduce investment and hiring.

(EUobserver) EU draws up Venezuela torture sanctions


The EU “is ready to start work toward applying targeted measures for those members of the security forces involved in torture and other serious violations of human rights” in Venezuela, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday. Spain had pushed for sanctions over allegations that Rafael Acosta, a navy captain and opposition figurehead, had been tortured to death in custody. “She [Mogherini] threatens us with loathsome comments”, Venezuela said.

(EurActiv) German arms exports to Ankara continue despite escalating Greek-Turkish crisis


Only last year, deliveries to Turkey made up almost one-third of all German arms exports (€770.8 million) with €242.8 million. [Shutterstock]

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Tensions have escalated between Turkey and two EU member states – Greece and Cyprus. But that hasn’t stopped another EU country, Germany, to continue exporting arms to Ankara, according to official government data.

In response to a request of leftist MP Sevim Dagdelen (Die Linke), the German economy ministryrevealed that in the first four months of this year, Turkey has received armament supplies amounting €184.1 million from Germany.

Only last year, deliveries to Turkey made up almost one-third of all German arms exports (€770.8 million) with €242.8 million.

According to a government report, the weapons for Turkey are reported to be exclusively “maritime goods” meant for six class 214 submarines, which will be built in Turkey with significant involvement of the German arms concern ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).

The German government had approved the delivery of the components already in 2009 and secured the export with a so-called Hermes guarantee amounting to €2.49 billion.

Such guarantees for arms exports to Turkey have not been re-issued since the 2016 failed military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which marked its third anniversary on Monday (15 July). Nevertheless, arms exports already approved in the framework of NATO commitments are still carried out on regular terms.

EU foreign ministers decided on Monday (15 July) to postpone for a few hours the announcement of sanctions against Turkey over its drilling in the sea off Cyprus, following a request by Ankara not to interfere with the third anniversary of the coup, EU officials and diplomats told

The measures include cutting €146 million in EU funds from the pre-accession envelope, freezing the European Investment Bank’s activities in the country, halting the cooperation under the EU-Turkey aviation agreement, and cancelling high-level EU-Turkey dialogues.

The EU foreign ministers even warned about “targeted measures”, against individuals and companies, if the Turkish aggression continues.

“The provocations of Turkey are unacceptable for all of us and we are here on the side of Cyprus,” said German Minister of European Affairs Michael Roth (SPD) in Brussels.

Asked whether the German arms exports to Turkey is still appropriate in view of the EU sanction, MEP Joachim Schuster (S&D), who sits on the Subcommittee for Security and Defence (SEDE), said that “at the moment, I believe that exports should be suspended” as this is a special situation and it should be assessed accordingly.

It would be a far-reaching step to be considered, but there is also need to be cautious as “we have the problem that Turkey is a NATO member, and within NATO, arms exports are common”, he said.

Contacted by EURACTIV, New Democracy MEP Manolis Kefalogiannis (EPP) said the EU foreign ministers’ decision to impose economic and political sanctions against Turkey should be respected by all member states and EU institutions.

According to Kefalogiannis, it was a “decision of solidarity” which makes it clear that the borders of Cyprus and Greece are also European, as well as their exclusive economic zones.

“Europe’s position on Turkey’s provocations and aggressiveness is clear and unequivocal. And it was expressed in the most absolute way,” the center-right MEP added.

European arms export policy

Germany recently announced that it considers banning exports of small side-arms to most countries outside the EU and NATO.

Earlier restrictions on exporting weapons systems to countries involved in the Yemen war have strained ties between Berlin and its allies in Paris and London since the presence of German components in many joint projects risked harming lucrative export deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

So far, the EU’s common position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports.

It technically bars sales to countries that don’t respect human rights and when “there is a clear risk that the intended recipient would use the proposed export aggressively against another country or assert by force a territorial claim”.

In reality, however, the scope to decide remains so far in the responsibility of member states and does not touch agreements with NATO partners.

With the increasing European cooperation on defence projects, the question of arms exports has become a pressing issue in the bloc, last surfacing during the recent inauguration of a new joint Franco-German-Spanish construction of Europe’s largest arms project.

The signed text accompanying the project referred to an agreement that Paris and Berlin are meant to finalise by the end of summer.

“I am firmly convinced that the future of exports needs to be European,” then German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said when asked about changes in export policy.

“We will have to develop a common European attitude since we will harmonise our armed forces together in the European Defence Union, we will collectively procure systems, and here, using the combat aircraft system as an example, it becomes clear,” she told reporters at the time.

(Inquirer) Effects of gentrification on longtime residents are not as negative as typically perceived, Philly Fed says


Effects of gentrification on longtime residents are not as negative as typically perceived, Philly Fed says

A smattering of Philadelphia neighborhoods within the last two decades have experienced dramatic changes, a phenomenon often known as gentrification — a controversial term that can be synonymous with displacement or urban renewaldepending on who is asked.

For residents who once lived in the Arvilla apartments in West Philadelphia, gentrification meant eviction last winter, as longtime renters were forced to leave when the building owner decided to sell. In Brewerytown in recent years, it has meant rising property values for longtime residents and steady work for local contractors. And in Fishtown, the term will forever be linked to the collapse in February of a family’s longtime home — 61 years of memories crumbling to the ground after a construction error next door.

Economists and sociologists have tried to study these effects, seeking to determine how gentrification affects longtime neighborhood residents when they are confronted with a steady flow of construction crews, new residents, and different — often higher-end — businesses.

A new study released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia finds that the consequences of gentrification for original neighborhood residents are often better than they are typically perceived.

In what the authors billed as the first “comprehensive, national, causal evidence” of how gentrification affects the well-being of a neighborhood’s longtime residents, the study found that change “creates some important benefits for original resident adults and children and few observable harms.” Specifically, the authors found that gentrification reduces “original” adult residents’ exposure to neighborhood poverty, raises home values, and increases rent only “more-educated renters” but not for “less-educated” ones. (In the study, “less-educated” residents are defined as adults with a high school degree or less; “more-educated” are residents who attended at least some college.)

Similarly, the study finds that children living in a neighborhood before it gentrified also are exposed less to neighborhood poverty and receive better opportunities for education and employment. Gentrification, the study says, increases the probability that children of less-educated homeowners attend and complete college.

“Taken together,” the study says, “the results for children and adults show that many original residents are able to remain in gentrifying neighborhoods and share in any neighborhood improvements.”

Where Philadelphia Has Gentrified

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia identified 39 census tracts in Philadelphia that had gentrified from 2000 to the five-year 2010-14 time period. Most of the tracts are adjacent to Center City, in parts of South and West Philadelphia, and in Manayunk or Roxborough.Click on the map for more information.

SOURCE: Federal Reserve Bank of PhiladelphiaJOHN DUCHNESKIE / Staff Artist

» Reading on mobile and not seeing the graphic above? Click hereto view the full version.

Despite these reported benefits, however, the authors of the study — Davin Reed of the Philadelphia Fed and Quentin Brummet of the University of Chicago’s NORC institution — also found that gentrification causes both less-educated renters and less-educated homeowners to leave a neighborhood at higher rates than they normally would during a typical 10- to 14-year period, the span of time that the researchers studied. Normally, the study found, less-educated renters tend to move at a rate of 68 percent over the course of 10 to 14 years. When a neighborhood gentrifies, that group tends to move closer to 73 percent of the time, according to the study.ADVERTISEMENT

Similarly, Reed and Brummet found that gentrification also increases the probability that less-educated homeowners will move. Ordinarily, less-educated homeowners will move at a rate of 34 percent. Gentrification increases that to roughly 37 percent.

Still, the authors said, they found no evidence that residents who leave gentrifying neighborhoods, including the most disadvantaged, move to “observably worse neighborhoods or experience negative changes to employment, income, or commuting distance.” (The employment, income, and commuting distance of longtime residents who stay in gentrifying neighborhoods are not positively affected either, the study found.) And because all renters, regardless of education, tend to move even when a neighborhood is not gentrifying, the study suggests this places “a limit on the potential for gentrification to cause displacement,” and makes it possible for neighborhoods to change quickly “even without strong displacement effects.”

» READ MORE: To brag or bemoan? How differing definitions of gentrification are their own problem

The study, which takes a national look at gentrification, offers a rather upbeat portrait of neighborhood change using U.S. Census microdata — something that the researchers acknowledge cannot quantify the emotional, nonmonetary costs associated with gentrification.

“Gentrification and displacement have severe ramifications, both for those forced to move out of neighborhoods and for those who are able to stay,” said Rachel Garland, managing attorney of Community Legal Services’ (CLS) Housing Unit in Philadelphia. “Those who move struggle with the sense that they were forced out of their neighborhoods that they helped to build to make way for newcomers who have no connection or investment in the neighborhood.”

“For those who stay, there is a loss of cultural history and memory,” Garland continued. “Those who stay watch their neighborhoods change drastically around them and have to contend with new neighbors and businesses who do not share the same cultural history, nor participate in the same social and cultural fabric.”

On Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia, new development can look very different from older homes. These homes feature bay windows, which Councilman Kenyatta Johnson attempted to ban from his district earlier this year.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHEROn Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia, new development can look very different from older homes. These homes feature bay windows, which Councilman Kenyatta Johnson attempted to ban from his district earlier this year.

As an attorney for CLS, which provides free legal representation to low-income Philadelphians, Garland said she has seen a “drastic increase” in landlords evicting longtime tenants “so that they can sell their houses to developers to renovate and flip to higher-income purchasers.”

Monty Wilson and Rachel Labush, two CLS attorneys who work in the organization’s homeownership unit, also noted that rising property taxes have the potential to cost people their homes. In addition, they said by email, African American homeowners in Philadelphia are often less able to access the benefits of gentrification, such as buying into improving neighborhoods, in part because the demographic tends to be denied access to loans more frequently.ADVERTISEMENT

Garland added that the changing racial and socioeconomic makeup of Philadelphia neighborhoods are also an important part of the gentrification conversation — both of which are emphasized less in the newly released study.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s study tracked individuals who responded to both the 2000 Census and the 2010-14 American Community Survey, and analyzed the changes that they self-reported in categories including address, income, and home value. They focused on roughly 175,000 original residents of low-income central city neighborhoods of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

Gentrification was defined as an increase in college-educated individuals’ demand for housing in initially low-income, central city neighborhoods.

Like dozens of other cities across the U.S., Philadelphia in recent years has experienced growing pains related to gentrification — spurring both anxieties and feelings of hope among residents. Longtime Philadelphians often say they feel encouraged by the benefits that neighborhood change can bring, things such as cleaner streets, reduced crime, and growing home values. At the same time, they often fear seeing friends and families displaced from the places they grew up.

Brummet and Reed’s study finds that, compared with many U.S. cities, Philadelphia experienced gentrification to a less dramatic extent. Only 11.4 percent of the city’s census tracts gentrified between 2000 and 2010-14. Comparatively, Washington gentrified the most at a rate of 43.7 percent, followed closely by Portland, Ore., and Seattle. Boston gentrified at a rate of 22.6 percent.ADVERTISEMENT

“One of the things that, personally, I think is important in these debates around gentrification is keeping sight of the actual scale of the problem,” Reed, the Philadelphia-based author, said in an interview. “Yes, gentrification does create these challenges, some of which we document here. But it also creates opportunities as well.”

According to Emily Dowdall, the policy director for the Philadelphia-based Reinvestment Fund, the research presents an opportunity to discuss local policies that could be enacted to ensure that neighborhoods can remain a place for mixed incomes. In the study, the authors encouraged cities to take a “forward-looking approach” to accommodate increasing demand in some neighborhoods.

“Rather than thinking about, ‘Did this neighborhood truly gentrify in this time period?’ we should be thinking, ‘What can we do about this?'” Dowdall said in an interview. “And can the city of Philadelphia allow longtime residents, both renters and owners, to stay in neighborhoods as they change?”

Dowdall pointed to other cities, such as Minneapolis, which offers landlords a tax break in exchange for keeping some units affordable in their buildings. She also encouraged Philadelphia to find a local program for renters that could work similarly to the Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) that offers tax relief to homeowners whose assessments sharply increase.

“Mixed-income neighborhoods are a worthy policy goal,” Dowdall said. “If you could design a program [similar to LOOP] that targets longtime renters, that would really help increase equitable development for renters who are the most vulnerable to displacement.”

(JN) Goldman recomenda aposta na dívida portuguesa para aproveitar compras do BCE


Os juros da dívida portuguesa negoceiam perto de mínimos históricos, mas o Goldman Sachs acredita que há espaço para mais descidas, uma vez que o BCE vai comprar mais dívida do que o mercado está à espera.

O Banco Central Europeu vai arrancar em setembro com um novo programa de compra de dívida (“quantitative easing”), aplicando um total que oscilará entre 200 e 250 mil milhões de euros.

A estimativa é do Goldman Sachs e duplica as expectativas atuais do mercado, que está incorporar um programa entre 100 e 150 mil milhões de euros, pelo que o banco considera que as obrigações soberanas europeias ainda têm espaço para valorizar.

Desta forma, o banco de investimento está a recomendar aos clientes a aposta em títulos de dívida de Portugal e Espanha antes da reunião de 12 de setembro, altura em que a instituição liderada por Mario Draghi deverá oficializar o lançamento de um novo programa de compra de dívida.

O Goldman Sachs entende que reforçar as posições longas nas obrigações de Portugal e Espanha é a melhor estratégia para tirar partido da política monetária do BCE, uma vez que nos títulos de dívida de países como França, Bélgica e Áustria o “quantitative easing” da autoridade monetária já está mais descontado. Segundo o Goldman, a dívida da Irlanda também deve ser beneficiada.

“Pensamos que há mais margem” para que a dívida europeia “continue a ser suportada” pelo anúncio do programa de compra de ativos na reunião de setembro do BCE, referem os analistas do Goldman, numa nota que está a ser citada pela Bloomberg. “Tal sugere que há mais margem para um ‘rally’”, acrescentam.

O banco de investimento considera ser “exequível” que Mario Draghi, na última reunião enquanto presidente do BCE (12 de setembro), anuncie um programa de compra de dívida de 25 mil milhões de euros por mês durante nove meses.     

As taxas de juro da dívida de diversos países europeias caíram para mínimos históricos depois de Draghi ter sinalizado em Sintra que o BCE iria adotar mais medidas para travar o abrandamento da economia europeia e impulsionar a inflação da região, que persiste bem longe da meta dos 2%.

O mercado incorporou que o banco central iria reativar o programa de compra de ativos e baixar a taxa dos depósitos, que já está em terreno negativo (-0,4%).

A “yield” das obrigações portuguesas a 10 anos baixou dos 0,30% na sessão de 3 de julho, sendo que desde então registou uma trajetória de agravamento, até aos 0,6% registados ontem de manhã. Esta terça-feira está de novo em queda acentuada, com uma descida de 5,4 pontos base para 0,52%.

Nos restantes países periféricos, que estão a ser beneficiados por esta nota do Goldman, a tendência é a mesma. A taxa das obrigações espanholas a 10 anos desce 5 pontos base para 0,45% e nas obrigações italianas com a mesma maturidade a descida é de 5,1 pontos base para 1,59%.

(Cargo) Eurostat: Porto de Sines ocupa 20º lugar do ‘ranking’ dos maiores portos da União Europeia

(Cargo) De acordo com o Eurostat, o Porto de Sines ocupa a vigésima posição no ranking dos maiores portos da União Europeia (UE) em termos de peso bruto de mercadorias movimentadas – os dados compilados pelo Eurostat dão conta que o porto alentejano movimentou 46,473 milhões de toneladas em 2017, entrando no top-20 de um ranking liderado pelos portos Roterdão (Holanda), de Antuérpia (Bélgica) e Hamburgo (Alemanha).

Os números do Eurostat revelam que os vinte maiores portos de carga da UE representaram cerca de 39% das toneladas totais de mercadorias movimentadas nos principais portos dos países inquiridos em 2017 (últimos dados disponíveis), denotando-se neste capítulo um ténue decréscimo face ao período homólogo. Sines, que 2017 contribuiu com 46,5 milhões de toneladas, teve a sua quota-parte fixada nos 48 milhões em 2016.

O líder, o Porto de Roterdão, sentou-se no trono com 433 milhões de toneladas, bem distante do segundo lugar, o porto belga de Antuérpia, que atingiu os 201 milhões de toneladas. O top-4, registe-se, conta apenas com países do Norte da Europa, havendo, no entanto, grande predominância para os portos mediterrânicos (com os portos de Marselha, em França, e Algeciras, em Espanha à cabeça).

O Porto de Sines tem apostado intensamente na sua internacionalização, que tem visto o seu incremento ser exponencial na relação comercial com a China: de acordo com dados apurados pela Revista Cargo, entre 2015 e 2018, a movimentação de mercadorias contentorizadas entre o Porto de Sines e os diversos portos chineses cresceu 19,7%.

(Xinhua) Portugal’s business investment expected to increase by 3.7 pct in 2019: stats

(Xinhua) LISBON, July 9 (Xinhua) — Business investment in Portugal is expected to increase by 3.7 percent in nominal terms in 2019, after a nominal growth of 4.7 percent last year, the National Statistical Institute of Portugal (INE) announced here on Tuesday.

Based on an investment survey conducted between April 1 and June 25, the INE report said that the increase in corporate investment in 2019 was revised downwards from the 4.4 percent increase estimated in the survey of last October.

The report also said that among the investment objectives, between 2018 and 2019, the relative weights of streamline production investment and extension of production capacity investment are expected to increase, adding that the replacement investment will continue to stand as the most mentioned investment objective.

The main limitative factors for business investment identified by the companies surveyed are the deterioration of sales perspectives, followed by the uncertainty about investment profitability, said the report.

Self-funding continues to be the main source of funding for the surveyed firms, weighting 65.7 percent and 65 percent of the total in 2018 and 2019, respectively, the report said. Enditem

(EUobserver) EU satellite system temporarily offline


Services of the EU’s satellite navigation system Galileo, offline since Thursday, have been interrupted by “a technical incident related to its ground infrastructure”, the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency said Sunday. Its search and rescue service remained operational, the agency added. Galileo is still in its pilot phase, and is due to be fully operational next year. The €10bn project is an alternative to US-owned GPS.

(ZH) Zucked Again! Facebook’s Founder Admits To Interfering In Political Speech


Censorship is alive and well! Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the social media giant actively interfered with political speech leading up to the Irish abortion referendum.  Facebook systematically deleted posts it didn’t like while promoting those it did.

During a recent talk, Zuckerberg admitted that the social media network banned a number of pro-life advertisements ahead of the Irish abortion referendum. According toPJ Media, during a recent interview at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Zuckerberg began to explain how the social media firm is attempting to work with the governments of other countries to determine what political speech should be allowed on the site. Zuckerberg gave an example of Facebook’s interaction with the Irish government ahead of a 2018 referendum on the legalization of abortion in the country.

Big Tech has officially taken sides, and they’ve sided with tyranny. According to Breitbart News, Zuckerberg explained that American pro-life groups wanted to run Facebook ads targeted towards Irish citizens. Not wanting to allow free speech and buckling like a slave to the government, Facebook reached out to the Irish “authorities” to determine whether or not the ads should be allowed at the time. Zuckerberg stated: “Their response at the time was, ‘we don’t currently have a law, so you need to make whatever decision you want to make.’”

So Facebook’s CEO “Zucked” pro-lifers. “We ended up not allowing the ads,” Zuckerberg stated. Pro-life activist Lila Rose commented on how Silicon Valley tech executives have reacted towards the issue of abortion in a tweet which can be seen below:

Lila Rose@LilaGraceRose

FB CEO @MarkZuckerburg blocked pro-life ads ahead of Ireland’s abortion vote

FB COO @sherylsandberg donated $2M to Planned Parenthood

Twitter CEO @Jack banned my & @LiveAction’s pro-life ads, allows @PPFA ads, & says legal protections for preborn babies are “bad for business”5,10012:36 AM – Jul 9, 20193,969 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Arthur Packard@apackcltReplying to @LilaGraceRose and 5 others

Scum. They really don’t care about free speech – only their speech. Liberal speech. Culture of death speech. And of course anything to elect democratic speech.3212:39 AM – Jul 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Arthur Packard’s other Tweets

The narrative has been chosen and the government and their accomplices in Big Tech and Big Pharma will decide what you hear, read, and see. Almost everything is now manipulated.  But it isn’t just Facebook that’s teamed up to control the narrative. Twitter, Google, and YouTube are also complicit.

Violent Antifa Accounts Don’t Violate Twitter’s Rules: Conservatives Banned And Censored

Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results To Program Users’ Behavior

People are being fed their own slavery and attaching their own chains at this point. Regardless of what side of the abortion debate you come down on, squashing speech you don’t like from the other side certainly isn’t helping make you look like you’re “right.” It makes you look like you’re hiding information you don’t want anyone to think about because you’ve already made the decision for them. Just like the “Russian meddling” situation: who cares what others say? Are people really so afraid of information that disagrees with their already cemented bias that they can’t handle free speech?

Whether Russia created ads to influence an election or not, and whether pro-life groups created ads to influence an election or not, it’s not Zuckerberg’s job to dictate what information people see. Free speech is the enemy to misinformation and that’s likely why authoritarians are actively trying to kill it.

(JN) Facebook suspende estreia da Libra até ter aprovação regulatória

(JN) O responsável pela empresa que vai gerir a Libra, a moeda virtual criada pelo Facebook em conjunto com dezenas de entidades, declarou que o lançamento da divisa só irá ocorrer após todas as questões regulatórias estarem asseguradas.

O Facebook deverá suspender o lançamento da criptomoeda Libra, um projeto que tem em parceria com dezenas de empresas, pois pretende, primeiro, solucionar as questões regulatórias que se impõem e obter o aval das entidades competentes.

“Sabemos que precisamos de levar algum tempo para que (o lançamento) se concretize com sucesso. E quero ser claro: o Facebook não irá oferecer a divisa digital Libra até ter solucionado por completo as dúvidas regulatórias e ter recebido as aprovações adequadas”, declarará o presidente da Calibra, David Marcus, num discurso ao Senado que é antecipado pela Bloomberg. A Calibra é a empresa responsável pela gestão da criptomoeda.

O objetivo da empresa liderada por Mark Zuckerberg é estrear a Libra em 2020, não sendo claro se a intenção de clarificar os aspetos regulatórios deverá afetar, ou não, os prazos.

Desde que os planos de Zuckerberg foram anunciados, já a Reserva Federal norte-americana se declarou preocupada com os efeitos que esta moeda poderá ter no mercado. No mesmo discurso, Marcus afirma que a nova moeda não pretende competir com as divisas nacionais ou com a política monetária das instituições centrais.

Também Trump mostrou resistência quanto aos planos de criação desta moeda virtual. O presidente dos Estados Unidos considera que as empresas que criam e gerem moedas como a Bitcoin ou a Libra deveriam estar sujeitas a regulaçãobancária, “tal como os outros bancos”. Criticas feitas através da respetiva conta Twitter. “Não sou fã da Bitcoin e de outras criptomoedas, que não são dinheiro e cujo valor é altamente volátil e baseado em [critérios arbitrários]”, começou por escrever Trump. E continuou: “As criptomoedas sem regulação podem facilitar comportamentos ilegais, incluindo tráfico de droga e outras atividades ilegais”.

Até ao momento, os detalhes conhecidos apontam para que a Libra seja lançada apoiada na tecnologia Blockchain e seja regulada pelas autoridades financeiras na Suíça.

(Reuters) Wall Street finds blockchain hard to tame after early euphoria


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two years ago Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) and Citigroup Inc (C.N) announced a new blockchain system they said would make payments of private securities transactions more efficient. Nasdaq Chief Executive Adena Friedman called it “a milestone in the global financial sector.”A Wall St. street sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

But the companies did not move forward with the project, a person familiar with it said, because while it worked in testing, the cost to fully adopt it outweighed the benefits.

Blockchain, the person added, “is a shiny mirage” and its wide-scale adoption may still “take a while.”

In a joint statement, the companies said the pilot was successful and they were “happy to partner” on other initiatives. Both companies are also working on other projects.

Companies, including banks, large retailers and technology vendors, are investing billions of dollars to find uses for blockchain, a digital ledger used by cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Just last month, Facebook Inc (FB.O) revealed plans for a virtual currency and a blockchain-based payment system.

But a review of 33 projects involving large companies announced over the past four years and interviews with more than a dozen executives involved with them show the technology has yet to deliver on its promise.

At least a dozen of these projects, which involve major banks, exchanges and technology firms, have not gone beyond the testing phase, the review shows. Those that have made it past that stage are yet to see extensive usage.


Regulatory hurdles have often slowed down implementation, some executives said. Scrutiny is likely to only increase after Facebook’s plans drew global backlash from regulators and politicians. (For a sample of these projects, click on)

The euphoria that surrounded the early days of Wall Street’s interest in blockchain is giving way to pragmatism, as companies realize that it will likely take years before it takes off in a substantial way.

“This is a transformation of the market. It isn’t a big bang,” said Hyder Jaffrey, head of strategic investments for UBS AG’s (UBSG.S) investment bank.

It could take three-to-seven years before major projects have significant impact, he said.

One UBS-backed project, a digital cash system for financial transactions called Utility Settlement Coin, is expected to be commercialized next year after more than five years of work, said Rhomaios Ram, head of a separate entity created for the project.

But Ram said that for the system to be transformational, it will require other market processes to move to blockchain-based systems as well.

“There is a recognition now that it is a journey, rather than something with a short time frame,” Ram said.


Blockchain was created about a decade ago as a way to keep track of bitcoin transactions. As cryptocurrencies became more mainstream following a 2013 rally and crash in bitcoin’s price, consultants, analysts and other proponents said their underlying technology could be transformational, especially for the financial industry.

It could help trades settle instantly, accelerate international payments and remove the need for costly intermediaries, potentially saving the industry tens of billions of dollars, they said.

Investment followed. Last year the capital markets and banking sectors allocated $1.7 billion on blockchain initiatives, up 70% from 2016, according to estimates by research and advisory firm Greenwich Associates.

By 2022, blockchain investment across industries is expected to reach $12.4 billion, according to research firm IDC. 

Some big companies have rushed in. International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) has around 1,500 people working on the new technology for use in several different sectors. In an ad released during the Academy Awards this year it called for the use of blockchain “to help reduce poverty”.

A system IBM was developing along with the London Stock Exchange Group Plc (LSE.L) to issue private shares did not move beyond testing, the companies said. But a trade finance platform developed by numerous banks along with IBM has been commercialized.

“I certainly think there has been a share of hype associated with blockchain,” said Marie Wieck, a general manager at IBM.


But Wieck and other industry executives said they remain bullish about the prospect of the technology and their companies continue to invest in it. “To me the business benefits of blockchain are clear,” Wieck said.

John Whelan, Banco Santander SA’s (SAN.MC) head of digital investment banking, said blockchain projects need to work on three areas at the same time: technology, demand and compliance.

“Those of us who were involved in blockchain early on maybe did not appreciate the extent to which the three parts have to move together,” Whelan said. Santander is involved in numerous blockchain projects, including the Utility Settlement Coin.

Around the time the project with Citi was announced in 2017, Nasdaq also started testing a proxy voting system in Estonia that automates a manual and lengthy process.

Lars Ottersgard, Nasdaq’s head of market technology, said demand has been limited for the product.

“To be honest, the value differentiation using blockchain from using traditional technology has not been obvious,” he said.

A Nasdaq spokesman said the exchange operator has since developed the system further with South Africa’s central securities depository, which plans to launch it later this year.

(GUA) Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

(GUA) Exclusive: Study shows associated damage to critical pumping muscles, even in children

People wear face masks to combat air pollution in Mexico City
 People wear face masks to combat air pollution in Mexico City, where the subjects of the study had lived. Photograph: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed.

Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease.

The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world’s population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global “public health emergency”.

The scientists acknowledged some uncertainties in their research, but Prof Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University, said: “This is a preliminary study in a way, but the findings and implications were too important not to get the information out there.”

Maher and colleagues found in 2016 that the same nanoparticles were present in human brains and were associated with Alzheimers-like damage, another disease linked to air pollution.

While all ages were affected, Maher said she was particularly concerned about children.

“For really young people, the evidence is now of very early-stage damage both in the heart and the brain,” she said. “We have a likely candidate [particle] able to access both organs, with the pathological evidence to show damage is happening.”

A recent comprehensive review concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body, as tiny particles are inhaled, move into the blood stream and are transported around the body. Much of the evidence of harm, from diabetes to reduced intelligence to increased miscarriages, is epidemiological, as harmful experiments on people are unethical. But one study in 2018 found air pollution particles in the placentas of women who had given birth.Q&A

How does air pollution affect the human body?

The new research is the first direct evidence that iron-rich nanoparticles may cause heart disease. Tiny particles were already known from laboratory tests to be seriously damaging to human cells and to be a significant component of roadside air pollution.

Maher said: “Putting an abundance of iron-rich nanoparticles right into the sub-cellular components of the heart’s muscle tissue, that’s not where you want them to be sitting. They are inside the mitochondria, which are damaged and appear abnormal. Mitochondria are your energy source, making sure your heart pumps effectively.”

Mark Miller, an expert on the cardiovascular effects of air pollution, from the University of Edinburgh but not part of the research, said: “While there are some uncertainties from the study, it highlights how important it is to better understand the way particles in air pollution may cause harm to different areas of the body.

“More effort is needed to reduce particle emissions from vehicles, especially to remove the number of vehicles on the road by encouraging people to walk and cycle for short journeys.”

The research, peer reviewed and published in the journal Environmental Research, analysed heart tissue taken from 63 young people who had died in road traffic accidents but had not suffered chest trauma. They lived in Mexico City, which has high air pollution, and had an average age of 25.

The research was conducted in two main parts: calculating the number of iron-rich nanoparticles present; and looking at their location within the tissue and the associated damage. The number of particles found was between 2bn and 22bn per gram of dried tissue; and their presence was two to 10 times higher in the Mexico City residents than in nine control subjects who had lived in less polluted places.

The medical scientists in the team reported that “exposure to [nanoparticles] appears to be directly associated with early and significant cardiac damage”.

Maher said the results were relevant for all countries: “There is absolutely no reason to expect this would be different in any other city.” Based on previous work, she said, the particles were also likely to carry additional contaminants. “We can imagine these nanoparticles come loaded with a toxic mix.”

Iron-rich nanoparticles begin as molten droplets produced by the combustion of fuel and then cool rapidly into spheres with fused surfaces. The particles in the heart tissue had these characteristics, rather than small iron-rich magnetite crystals that are known to occur naturally in at least one organ, the brain.

The technique used to locate the nanoparticles in the heart tissue could not be used to measure their composition. Instead, the scientists separated the particles from the tissues to determine their composition and magnetic content, and then used the average size and magnetism of the particles to estimate the total number.

They said they would like to confirm the particles’ composition in situ within the cells, but that would require the use of expensive equipment and Maher said they had received no funding for the work. “We are having to do this on a shoestring. It is madness.”

(Reuters) UK police identify suspect behind leaked envoy memos: Sunday Times

(Reuters) LONDON (Reuters) – The suspect behind the leak of confidential memos from Britain’s Washington ambassador, which sparked a major diplomatic rift with the United States, has been identified, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Last week, Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper published memos from Kim Darroch in which he described Donald Trump’s administration as “inept” and “dysfunctional”, prompting an angry response from the U.S. president and causing the envoy to announce his resignation.

British officials have launched an inquiry to find the person responsible for the leak and counter-terrorism police said on Friday they had launched a criminal investigation.

According to the Sunday Times, which cited unnamed government sources, a suspect had been identified and suggestions that it could be the result of a computer hack by a foreign state had been ruled out.

“They think they know who did the leaking,” an unnamed government source told the paper. “It’s now a case of building a case that will stand up in court. It was someone with access to historical files. They went in and grabbed a range of material. It was quite crude.”

Both the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday reported that intelligence officials from the GCHQ eavesdropping spy agency were about to join the investigation to find the suspect by scouring email and phone records.

The Mail also published further memos from Darroch, defying a police warning that media which did so could be committing a criminal act.

The paper said Darroch had written to the British government in May 2018 that Trump had decided to unilaterally withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers for “personality reasons” because it had been agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Darroch had said in the cable that the Trump administration was “set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism”, the paper said.

Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer had warned the media not to print any more leaked documents, saying it could breach the Official Secrets Act.

However, he was widely criticized by editors and politicians including the foreign minister Jeremy Hunt and ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, the two men battling to replace Theresa May as prime minister when she steps down in just over a week’s time.

“It cannot be conceivably right that newspapers or any other media organization publishing such material should face prosecution,” Johnson, the frontrunner, said.

(BBC) Facebook ‘to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal’


Media captionHow the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal unfolded

US regulators have approved a record $5bn (£4bn) fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The settlement was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote, sources told US media.

Facebook and the FTC told the BBC they had no comment on the reports.

How was the settlement reached?

The consumer protection agency the FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data.

The $5bn fine was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote which broke along party lines, with Republican commissioners in favour and Democrats opposed.

The New York Times reported that the Democrats wanted stricter limits on the firm, while other Democrats have criticised the fine as inadequate.

“With the FTC either unable or unwilling to put in place reasonable guardrails to ensure that user privacy and data are protected, it’s time for Congress to act,” US Senator Mark Warner said.

The fine still needs to be finalised by the Justice Department’s civil division, and it is unclear how long this may take, the sources said.

If confirmed, it would be the largest fine ever levied by the FTC on a tech company.

However, the amount falls in line with estimates by Facebook, which earlier this year said it was expecting a fine of up to $5bn.

Investors responded positively to the news, pushing Facebook shares up 1.8%.

Presentational grey line

Facebook has been expecting this

Analysis by Dave Lee, BBC North America technology reporter in San Francisco

Facebook had been expecting this. It told investors back in April that it had put aside most of the money, which means the firm won’t feel much added financial strain from this penalty.

What we don’t yet know is what additional measures may be placed on the company, such as increased privacy oversight, or if there will be any personal repercussions for the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

The settlement, which amounts to around one quarter of the company’s yearly profit, will reignite criticism from those who say this amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist.

Presentational grey line

What was the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

Cambridge Analytica was a British political consulting firm that had access to the data of millions of users, some of which was allegedly used to psychologically profile US voters and target them with material to help Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The data was acquired via a quiz, which invited users to find out their personality type.

As was common with apps and games at that time, it was designed to harvest not only the user data of the person taking part in the quiz, but also the data of their friends.

Facebook has said it believes the data of up to 87 million users was improperly shared with the now defunct consultancy.

How was Facebook users' data misused?

The scandal sparked several investigations around the world.

In October, Facebook was fined £500,000 by the UK’s data protection watchdog, which said the company had let a “serious breach” of the law take place.

Canada’s data watchdog earlier this year said Facebook had committed “serious contraventions” of its privacy laws.