Category Archives: World

(BBC) I M Pei, Louvre pyramid architect, dies aged 102

(BBC)

I M Pei on the 10th anniversary of The Pyramid of the Louvre, April 1999

I M Pei, the architect behind buildings including the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris, has died aged 102.

Tributes have been pouring in, remembering him for a lifetime of designing iconic structures worldwide.

Pei’s designs are renowned for their emphasis on precision geometry, plain surfaces and natural light.

He carried on working well into old age, creating one of his most famous masterpieces – the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar – in his 80s.

A pragmatic artist

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Guangzhou in 1917, and moved to the US at the age of 18 to study at Pennsylvania, MIT and Harvard.

He worked as a research scientist for the US government during World War Two, and went on to work as an architect, founding his own firm in 1955.

One of the 20th Century’s most prolific architects, he has designed municipal buildings, hotels, schools and other structures across North America, Asia and Europe.

Qatar's Islamic Museum of Art
Image captionQatar’s Islamic Museum of Art is one of Pei’s most famous designs
Suzhou Museum in China
Image captionThe architect also designed the Suzhou Museum in China, which was completed in 2006

His style was described as modernist with cubist themes, and was influenced by his love of Islamic architecture. His favoured building materials were glass and steel, with a combination of concrete.

Pei sparked controversy for his pyramid at the Louvre Museum. The glass structure, completed in 1989, is now one of Paris’ most famous landmarks.

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston
Image captionPei designed Boston’s John F Kennedy Library and Museum
Dallas City Hall, designed by architects I M Pei and Theodore J Musho
Image captionI M Pei designed Dallas City Hall with fellow architect Theodore J Musho
I M Pei's Bank of China tower (L) in Hong Kong
Image captionI M Pei’s Bank of China tower (L) in Hong Kong

His other work includes Dallas City Hall and Japan’s Miho Museum.

“I believe that architecture is a pragmatic art. To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity,” he once said.

He was won a variety awards and prizes for his buildings, including the AIA Gold Medal, the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture.

In 1983 Pei was given the prestigious Pritzker Prize. The jury said he had he “has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms”.

He used his $100,000 prize money to start a scholarship fund for Chinese students to study architecture in America.

I M Pei

(DN) A desglobalização – Adriano Moreira

(DN)

Talvez possa adotar-se a intervenção do presidente Wilson, na paz da Guerra de 1914-1918, como a afirmação determinante no sentido de que o modelo Estado-Nação seria a referência da organização política ocidental, pondo assim fim aos impérios anteriores à guerra. Não era a realidade e a importância das nações que se descobria, bastando recordar a longa anterioridade da nação portuguesa nesse Ocidente, mas era nova a adoção imperativa do modelo que se impunha como alicerce da nova ordem sonhada.

A viciação do conceito viria da definição ideológica que assumiu a convicção, como resume Barzun, de que “uma nação é uma raça, um grupo que partilha uma ascendência biológica comum. A equiparação da nação à raça desafiou os mais elementares conhecimentos da história. Desde tempos imemoriais, a Europa e a América têm sido cadinhos de miscigenação”. Um grupo que ganha essa identidade seria, no pensamento de Wilson, um complexo de terra-povo-soberania.

A evolução da “circunstância mundial” implicou uma crescente interdependência, a qual, nesta época que vivemos, atingiu o desafio do globalismo, que atingiu a definição de soberania. Podemos identificar passos do crescimento do fenómeno, lembrando cooperações assumidas, e até institucionalizadas, baseadas na necessidade de enfrentar ameaças ou projetos, por vezes com afinidades culturais e até étnicas, como foi a Liga Pan-Germânica que visou aglomerar os povos de língua alemã, a Liga Pan-Eslava com critério semelhante, a tentada Aliança das Nações Latinas, ou, mais próximas, as alianças de cada uma das guerras chamadas mundiais, de que subsiste a NATO, animada por um conceito estratégico Atlântico.

Digamos que, como resumiu o lembrado Barzun, o Ocidente teve, como impulso para a unidade, os conceitos de classe, de raça, de nação, de cultura. Todavia, a crescente importância da ciência e da técnica, que instalou a orientação apreendida por Ernest Renan (1948), de que “não é um exagero dizer que a ciência define o futuro da humanidade”, e de facto ultrapassaram sucessivamente os próprios modelos de governança mundial que foram a Sociedade das Nações e atualmente a ONU, com as organizações complementares.

A interdependência global, sem plano institucionalizado, desatualizou ou violou os pressupostos éticos e jurídicos em vários domínios, com predomínio por exemplo dos conceitos da economia, alteração da capacidade protetora da soberania, submissão a redes de poder desconhecidas, a ameaça das confrontações militares poderem destruir o globo, a evidência de o ambiente estar gravemente afetado em termos de perigar a vida em todas as formas, a desordem das migrações a recordar que a terra é “a casa comum dos homens”, a crescente quebra de autoridade das instituições organizadas para defender a igual dignidade dos Estados.

Tudo evidencia a falta de governança para o globalismo, o que impulsiona os movimentos de “desmundialização”, com pregadores como Georges Corm, Jacques Sapir, Walden Bello, Arnaud Monteboug, longamente estudados por Eddy Fougier (Rameses – 2018), evidenciando uma corrente populista que é presumível que afete as eleições da União Europeia, neste 2019 em que o populismo avoluma os apelos ao controlo dos capitais, defende enfrentar as crises económicas abandonando o euro, recuperar as soberanias em vários domínios, avaliar a dimensão válida do atlantismo, medir os efeitos do Brexit do Reino Unido, preservar a unidade em face dos programas dos emergentes, em resumo, olhar para o passado excedido pelo futuro em curso descontrolado. O que mais se desenvolve com uniformidade semântica mas com um pluralismo evidente nos métodos e nos objetivos é encaminhar a época para “a era dos populismos”.

A análise corre atrás dos factos, e estes acentuam as formações que visam a desglobalização, com lideranças como a de Marine Le Pen, triunfadores como Trump que chegam ao poder sem nunca ter exercido um cargo público, com o desastre do Brexit, com os coletes amarelos em França desencadeando a crise sem lideranças assumidas, com governos com leituras duvidosas da democracia.

A evidência é, com consciência ou sem ela de todos os populismos, de que a desglobalização esta à mercê de o imprevisto ter uma oportunidade. Com a agravante de entretanto não haver processo de impedir as leviandades consentidas a governantes em exercício, como abandonar o tratado de defesa do ambiente contra o protesto de crianças e o aviso de cientistas, enfraquecer a prevenção contra a proliferação do poder atómico, tratar com displicência a justiça penal internacional, transformando os ideais da ONU numa utopia.

(Newsweek) PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IS APPROACHING GENOCIDE LEVELS, REPORT FINDS: CHRISTIANITY ‘IS AT RISK OF DISAPPEARING’

(Newsweek)

A new report says that the persecution of Christians across the world is fast becoming genocide and that the faith will soon disappear in some areas of the world, even in locations where its presence dates back to antiquity.

The crisis was made apparent recently by the Sri Lanka attacks on Easter, when Islamic extremists targeted three churches and three hotels in Colombo in a series of bombings. The attacks killed 253 people and injured hundreds more.

The British government commissioned Bishop of Truro Philip Mounstephen to lead a review of persecution of Christians and to recommend how the U.K. Foreign Office should respond to it. That review has now published an interim report detailing its findings so far.

“Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity,” the report states. “In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

The review found that eradicating Christians and other minorities through violence was the explicit objective of extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, northeast Nigeria and the Philippines.

These groups are not only murdering Christians for their faith but also whitewashing all evidence of their existence by destroying churches and removing religious symbols such as crosses. Clergy are also being targeted for kidnapping and killing.

“Where these and other incidents meet the tests of genocide, governments will be required to bring perpetrators to justice, aid victims and take preventative measures for the future,” the report said.

“The main impact of such genocidal acts against Christians is exodus. Christianity now faces the possibility of being wiped out in parts of the Middle East where its roots go back furthest…. Christianity is at risk of disappearing, representing a massive setback for plurality in the region,” the report continued.

The Christian population is now below 1.5 percent in Palestine, according to the report. In war-torn Syria, which has been occupied by extremists such as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), the Christian population dropped from 1.7 million in 2011 to below 450,000.

In Iraq, where ISIS and smaller extremist groups also have a strong foothold, including control of some areas, the number of Christians has fallen from 1.5 million before 2003—the year the second Gulf war started—to below 120,000 today.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016 Christians were harassed in 144 countries, up from 128 the year before. This makes them the most persecuted religious group in the world.RELATED STORIES

The group Open Doors USA, which advocates for persecuted Christians, said in a recent report that approximately 245 million Christians are at risk of “high,” “very high” or “extreme” levels of persecution in 2019, up from 215 million the year before.

Mounstephen’s report said: “Given the scale of persecution of Christians today, indications that it is getting worse and that its impact involves the decimation of some of the faith group’s oldest and most enduring communities, the need for governments to give increasing priority and specific targeted support to this faith community is not only necessary but increasingly urgent.”  

persecution christians sri lanka church attacks

Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, after multiple explosions targeting churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019.

(NYT) Iran Will Stop Complying With Some Parts of Nuclear Deal

(NYT) President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has been under pressure to retaliate against the United States.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has been under pressure to retaliate against the United States.CreditCreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

Iran’s president declared on Wednesday that the country would stop complying with two of its commitments under the Iranian nuclear deal, pushing the growing confrontation between Washington and Tehran into new and potentially dangerous territory.

The announcement by President Hassan Rouhani came exactly a year after President Trump withdrew entirely from the 2015 agreement, which limited Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear fuel for 15 years.

But Mr. Rouhani did not follow Mr. Trump’s path and renounce the entire agreement. Instead, he notified European nations that he was taking some carefully calibrated steps, and that he would give Europe 60 days to choose between following Mr. Trump or saving the deal by engaging in oil trade with Iran in violation of American unilateral sanctions.

“The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy,” he said in a nationally broadcast speech. “But diplomacy with a new language and a new logic.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Starting on Wednesday, he said, Iran would begin to build up its stockpiles of low enriched uranium and of heavy water, which is used in nuclear reactors — including a reactor that could give Iran a source of bomb-grade plutonium. If the Europeans fail to compensate for the unilateral American sanctions, he said, Iran will resume construction of the Arak nuclear reactor, a facility that was shut down, and its key components dismantled, under the deal.

Mr. Rouhani then threatened a potentially more severe step. If the Europeans do not find a way to help Iran “reap our benefits,” especially in petroleum exports and banking transactions, in 60 days Iran will end the limits on the enrichment of uranium, he said. Currently, it is enriching small amounts, and only to a level of 3.67 percent, which is suitable for nuclear power plants — but not for nuclear weapons.You have 2 free articles remaining.Subscribe to The Times

Without economic progress, he said, “we will not consider any limit” on enrichment, suggesting that it could rise to levels closer to something that could be used in weapons. Iran has never been known to produce weapons-grade material.

China, a signatory to the accord, urged restraint on all sides but put the blame for the confrontation squarely on Washington, which it said had escalated tensions. At a press briefing, Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, praised Iran for adhering to the nuclear agreement that Mr. Trump has abandoned, and reiterated his country’s endorsement of the agreement and opposition to United States sanctions against Iran.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, at a meeting in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, complained about the “unacceptable situation” created by the “irresponsible behavior of the United States,” but did not respond directly to Mr. Rouhani’s comments.

Editors’ Picks

NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ Changes Its Tune After 40 Years

Laura Dern Embraces the Messiness of Human Life

Over 60: Why Own When You Can Rent?

ADVERTISEMENT

If Iran begins carrying out Mr. Rohani’s threats in early July, it could put the country on the pathway to a bomb, essentially resuming activity that the 2015 nuclear accord pushed off to 2030. That would almost certainly revive debate in the United States over possible military action, or a resumption of covert action, like the cyber attack on Iran’s centrifuges a decade ago that the United States and Israel secretly conducted together.

None of the actions that Mr. Rouhani warned of would get Iran to a nuclear weapon anytime soon. But they would resume a slow, steady march that the 2015 agreement temporarily stopped.

Mr. Rouhani’s announcement marked another sharp blow to an agreement that President Barack Obama hoped would end 40 years of hostility between the two countries, and which he bet could open a new era of cooperation. While Iran scrupulously followed the deal, that cooperation never happened: Iran continued to test missiles — which were not covered in the arrangement — and to fund terror groups and the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Mr. Trump threatened to kill what he called the “worst deal in history,” and over the objections of several of his advisers he withdrew from it exactly a year ago. He complained that it was too narrow, and that the 15-year limit on Iran producing nuclear fuel simply kicked the problems down the road. Advocates of the arrangement said those provisions bought vital time, delaying a program that otherwise might have resulted in an Iranian bomb in just a year.

It is not clear how Washington will respond to Mr. Rouhani’s speech. While the United States abandoned its side of the nuclear deal, it has long demanded that Iran fulfill its commitments to international inspections and moratoriums on nuclear work. The national security adviser, John Bolton, a fierce opponent of the deal, has often said that Iran never intended to give up its nuclear ambitions — and he may cite Mr. Rouhani’s speech as further evidence.

Mr. Rouhani invited all participants in the deal to rejoin negotiations. But he said the 2015 agreement must be the basis for such talks, a position the Trump administration has rejected.

While Iran’s decision Wednesday did not terminate the landmark nuclear accord, it left it on life support.

Sign Up for On Politics With Lisa Lerer

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.SIGN UP

ADVERTISEMENT

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, said in an interview during a recent visit to New York that the country’s leadership was under growing pressure to respond to Mr. Trump’s effort to strangle Iran’s revenue. He called the continuing effort to starve Iran of the ability to engage in trade — which was enshrined in United Nations resolutions endorsing the 2015 agreement — a “war crime” against the Iranian people.

In an effort to contrast their behavior with Mr. Trump’s, Iran’s leaders have for now rejected calls that they, too, terminate the agreement. Instead, for the past year Tehran has remained fully in compliance, according to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But domestically, the failure to gain sanctions relief has put huge pressure on Mr. Rouhani to strike back at the United States.

The decision came just days after the Trump administration said it was moving bombers and a carrier group into the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran, after intercepting intelligence that attacks on the United States forces or their allies might be in the offing. Mr. Pompeo took an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday and told reporters he had discussed with Iraqi officials the “threat stream we had seen” from Tehran.

“We don’t want anyone interfering in their country, certainly not by attacking another nation inside of Iraq, and there was complete agreement,” he said.

But European officials say they remain mystified why Mr. Trump did not take on the Iranians for their support of terrorist groups while remaining within the deal. The result, they say, could well be a resumed nuclear crisis, as the Iranians seek to raise the pressure.

(ZH) When Deutsche Bank’s Crisis Becomes Our Crisis

(ZH)

Americans generally think of Europe first as a wonderful place to visit. They rarely ponder the economic and financial ties between the United States and European Union, but in fact these ties are extensive and significant to the stability of both economies. One area of particular connection involves the large banks and companies that provide services on both sides of the Atlantic. It is this area of commercial finance that risks are actually growing to the United States—in large part due to political gridlock in Europe stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.

Credit market professionals have been aware of problems among the European banks for many years. Their lack of profitability, combined with high credit losses and a lack of transparency have created a minefield for global investors going back decades. Whereas the United States has a bankruptcy court system to protect investors, in Europe the process of resolving insolvency is an opaque muddle that leans heavily in favor of corporate debtors and their political sponsors.

When we talk about true mediocrity among European banks, one of the leading example are, surprisingly, German institutions. Germany, after all, has a reputation for being the economic leader of Europe and a global industrial power, thus the continued failures in the financial sector are truly remarkable.

The biggest example, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, has had problems with capital and profitability going back decades.

But Deutsche Banks’s problems are not unique.

What is troubling and indeed significant for American policy makers, however, is the nearly complete failure of our friends in Europe to address their banking sector, either in terms of cleaning up bad assets or raising capital to enable the cleanup.

One of the political understandings that came out of the Basel III process (a regulatory regime first introduced in 2013 to promote stability in the international financial system) was that the United States would take a harder view on mortgage related exposures and particularly intangible assets like mortgage servicing rights. The Europeans, it is said by participants, agreed to take a tougher line on bad assets loitering inside banks and to particularly require banks to take a reserve against bad credits immediately.

Prior to 2018, when the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, directed EU banks to start recognizing bad credits, international accounting rules essentially allowed EU banks to ignore bad credits. Indeed, EU banks could pretend that loan payments were still being received. Loans that defaulted prior to 2018 were not included in the directive. Thus Europe has a decade of detritus sitting in the loan portfolios of many banks that is neither disclosed nor properly valued. Whereas in the United States banks must charge-off bad assets down to some expected recovery value, in Europe we extend and pretend.

Many observers were surprised several years ago when Chinese airline conglomerate HNA arrived on the scene as the new shareholder of Deutsche Bank, a significant global investment bank that provides a range of services in the United States. The German lender had been marketing an offering of new equity shares for years without luck, thus the arrival of the high-flying and highly-leveraged HNA was greeted with quiet gratitude in European capitals. No European politician wants to be caught dead talking about large banks in anything but the most responsible tones, thus nobody asked any questions about HNA or its owners.

Sadly the HNA equity investment in Deutsche Bank was financed with a lot of debt. When the Chinese firm started to literally implode two years ago due to massive debt payments on its $40 billion in obligations, it began to sell its shares in Deutsche Bank, creating the latest crisis for the chronically underperforming bank. Today HNA is being liquidated under the supervision of the Chinese government. And to this day, nobody among United States or European bank regulators really knows who owns the company that was briefly the largest shareholder of Deutsche Bank

The setback with HNA led to discussions of merging Deutsche Bank with Germany’s Commerbank, another poor performer among the country’s banking sector. Again, German politicians led by Chancellor Angela Merkel refuse to even hint at public assistance for Deutsche Bank, but the mounting troubles with banks across Europe may force Merkel’s hand as it has in Italy.

Bank earnings in Europe are weak, notes veteran bank consultant Mayra Rodriguez Valladares. As she exlains in a recent Forbes column:

Unfortunately, many of European banks’ woes are of their own making. A host of regulatory and legal fines and ongoing money laundering investigations of several banks do not bode well for European earnings. According to a Moody’s Investors Services report: ‘European banks were fined over $16 billion from 2012 to 2018 related to money laundering and trade sanction breaches.’

Rodriguez Valladares notes that U.S. and EU banks are enormously intertwined, particularly in terms of funding and derivatives—two areas of keen interest to U.S. regulators. But the fact of the matter is that the EU banking system and the EU economy are still too weak to shoulder the burden of a general cleanup of bad credits in EU banks.

The economic reality and ugly politics are both too daunting for EU leaders to engage publicly on these issues. Indeed, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholtz, who is touted as a possible successor to Merkel, was attacked by opposition politicians because of the prospective job losses in a Deutsche-Commerzbank merger.

But sadly the union of two zombie banks was not to be. “Banking giant Deutsche Bank and its crosstown rival Commerzbank ended merger talks, leaving in tatters the German government’s hope to shore up both banks and create a banking powerhouse,” The Wall Street Journal reported on April 25.

So now the German government must try to identify another politically expedient way to hide the Deutsche Bank problem without resorting to an explicit state bailout. Not only is financial help for EU banks problematic politically, but the EU simply lacks the economic resources to clean up the broader asset quality problems affecting European banks.

The tendency of EU politicians to stick their heads in the sand when it comes to these issues represents a smoldering threat to global financial stability. Troubles affecting Deutsche Bank and other EU lenders could easily explode into financial contagion if markets decide to turn away from these banks à la Lehman Brothers. For American business leaders and political leaders, the festering problems in European banks are a source of potential risk that could cause significant economic problems for all of us. Stay tuned.



(GUA) Markets tumble after Trump threatens to dramatically increase China tariffs

(GUA) Wall Street set for a fall after president says trade talks are going ‘too slowly’ and threatens to more than double tariffs

An investor watches stock prices in Beijing on Monday. The main Shanghai index was down more than 6% at one point.
 An investor watches stock prices in Beijing on Monday. The main Shanghai index was down more than 6% at one point. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA

Global financial markets have been sent into a tailspin after Donald Trump risked jeopardising delicate trade talks with China by unexpectedly saying he would raise tariffs further on Chinese goods this week.

Stocks in China closed down 5.5% on Monday as investors in Asia Pacific were caught off guard by the US president’s tweets and reports indicating the government in Beijing might pull out of this week’s scheduled talks.

China’s ministry of foreign affairs said on Monday that Beijing was still preparing to send a delegation to Washington but did not say whether the country’s chief negotiator, Liu He, would be attending the meetings in Washington.

“As a matter of urgency, we still hope that the US and China will work together to move toward each other… to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the ministry, said at a regular news briefing Monday afternoon.

Although markets are closed in Japan and London on Monday, the Dax in Germany was down 1.6%. Futures trading indicated that Wall Street would fall 2% when trading opens later on Monday. Oil prices – a benchmark for global trade – also plunged and the Chinese yuan tumbled.

Traders feared that Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods to 25% on Friday from 10% and then target a further $325bn of Chinese goods could destabilise global financial markets that had been boosted by what appeared to be encouraging progress in the negotiations.

Donald J. Trump(@realDonaldTrump)

….of additional goods sent to us by China remain untaxed, but will be shortly, at a rate of 25%. The Tariffs paid to the USA have had little impact on product cost, mostly borne by China. The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!May 5, 2019

“I think this has got the potential to be a real game-changer,” said Nick Twidale, Sydney-based analyst at Rakuten Securities Australia.

“There is still a question of whether this is one of the famous Trump negotiation tactic, or are we really going to see some drastic increase in tariffs. If it’s the latter we’ll see massive downside pressure across all markets,” he said.

Trump’s remarks contradicted weeks of optimism about the talks, frequently expressed by the president himself.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that China was considering cancelling trade talks scheduled for this week following Trump’s threats. The South China Morning Post reported that it was possible Liu would still travel but that his trip could be delayed by three days, citing an unnamed source.

In China, state media remained conspicuously silent on Trump’s announcement, with no major media reporting on the tariff threat. Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-run paper Global Times, said he believed Liu was now unlikely to go to Washington for the scheduled talks.

“I think [Liu] will very unlikely go to the US this week. Let Trump raise tariffs. Let’s see when trade talks can resume,” Hu posted on Twitter.

Chris Weston of Pepperstone in Melbourne said Trump’s intervention was completely unexpected and shad shocked the markets.

He said the focus of investors was now on whether Liu went ahead with his US visit.

“If the visit if formally cancelled, then Trump simply has to hike tariffs on the $200bn of goods to 25%,” he said, a move that would exacerbate tightening of global financial conditions. He believed the move would unwind “much of the goodwill seen in markets of late and [traders will] ask what now for the global economy?”.

The huge drop in Chinese shares follows a three-day national holiday and came despite a move on Monday by China’s central bank to cut reserve requirements for smaller banks to help boost lending to small and private firms.

In Sydney the benchmark ASX200 was off 0.8% while the Australian dollar – a proxy trade for the Chinese economy and commodities – fell 0.5%, dropping below the the key US70c mark to US69.88c. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index closed down 2.9%.

Japanese financial markets remain closed until Tuesday for a national holiday, but Nikkei 225 futures dropped 2.4% to 21,955. In London, which is also closed for a bank holiday on Monday, futures were down 1%.

Eleanor Creagh(@Eleanor_Creagh)

🇨🇳#Yuan stability/depreciation has been a proxy for #trade deal. With the tariff man back in action and optimism on trade deal fading watch yuan as a proxy for #China‘s intentions #USDCNH #USDCNYpic.twitter.com/WMTNIjfa2IMay 6, 2019

The yuan also took a hiding, shedding more than 1.3% at one point against the US dollar, its heaviest fall in more than three years. The currency had been sitting around 10-month highs on the back of optimism the two sides would sign off on a trade pact.

“Investors will remain bearish on the yuan, as they reprice in trade war risks because the new developments are a reversal of previous positive progress,” Ken Cheung, senior foreign-exchange strategist at Mizuho Bank. “The news was unexpected.”

Oil was down sharply. US crude tumbled 2.9% at $60.17 a barrel and Brent crude fell 2.6% to $69.01 per barrel. 

(ZH) Why Warren Buffett Thinks Most Newspapers Are “Toast”

(ZH)

Forgive the Oracle of Omaha for sounding more like Captain Obvious here, but readers won’t be surprised to learn that the octogenarian billionaire investor doesn’t have the rosiest outlook for the long-suffering newspaper industry.

Buffett, who through his Berkshire Hathaway BH Media subsidiary owns a veritable print-media empire, said during an interview with Yahoo Finance (which will carry the live stream of Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting on May 4) released on Tuesday that the newspaper industry is “toast”, and that most print papers (including, presumably, the 30 daily newspapers and 47 weeklies owned by BH) will soon cease to exist as they lose more vital advertising revenue to Internet powerhouses like Google and Facebook.

Buffett

Fortunately for Berkshire, the decline of the industry won’t have much of an impact on its bottom line because BH bought its newspapers at a “reasonable” price, Buffett said.

As Buffett sees it, the problem with trying to shift to a subscription-based model is two-fold: Consumers once sought out print newspapers not just for the news content, but for the ads. The classifieds included vital information about job opportunities and housing, while supermarkets ran fliers about what products were on special that week. That functionality has largely been subsumed by Craigslist.

“It upsets the people in the newsroom to talk that way, but the ads were the most important editorial content from the standpoint of the reader,” Buffett said.

Between 2006 and 2016, the newspaper industry’s advertising revenue had fallen to nearly a third of what it once was, with newspapers bringing in $18 billion in ad revenue, compared with $49 billion ten years prior.

Today, consumers don’t have much use for local papers because they get their national political news and their national sports news online. What’s left, the local news, just isn’t compelling enough to warrant a subscription for many.

Of course, there are some exceptions. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal will survive thanks to their national prominence and a successful shift to digital.

But for most mid-sized regional papers, their fate has already been sealed.

Watch the full interview below:

(ECO) Da Heinz ao McDonald’s. Estes portugueses comandam as maiores empresas do mundo

(ECO) São portugueses e dão cartas lá fora. Horta Osório, Carlos Tavares e António Simões são os nomes que tomam conta das maiores empresas do mundo.

Seja nas cervejas ou na maionese, na área financeira ou na indústria automóvel, os portugueses estão, cada vez mais, a dar cartas lá fora. Ocupam cargos de topo em algumas das maiores empresas mundiais, como a Guinness ou a Kraft Heinz, o banco Lloyds ou o grupo PSA.Fortuna dos mais ricos aumentou em 2,5 mil milhões por dia Ler Mais

António Horta Osório, Carlos Tavares e António Simões são alguns dos portugueses que, graças à sua liderança, são conhecidos a milhares de quilómetros de Portugal.

Tanto cerveja, como hambúrgueres ou molhos

A indústria alimentar internacional já conta com vários nomes de portugueses no topo. Esta segunda-feira foi noticiado que mais um português vai “tomar conta” de uma grande empresa mundial. Desta vez, é Miguel Patrício que vai ocupar o cargo de CEO do grupo Kraft Heinz, uma das maiores empresas mundiais no setor da alimentação.

O gestor nasceu em Portugal, mas estava há vários anos no Brasil, onde adquiriu a sua formação académica e profissional. Há cerca de duas décadas na InBev, uma gigante das cervejas, Miguel Patrício era, desde 2012, o responsável máximo pelo marketing de todo o grupo, que junta marcas como a Budweiser, a Corona Extra ou a Beck’s. Agora, o executivo vai saltar para o grupo bem conhecido pelas suas embalagens de molhos.

Miguel Patrício deverá ocupar o cargo de CEO da Kraft Heinz a partir do dia 1 de julho, substituindo Bernardo Hees.Kraft Heinz

Também na McDonald’s há um português a ocupar um lugar de topo. Jorge Ferraz assume a direção das operações da gigante cadeia de hambúrgueres, sendo responsável pelas operações de mais de 700 restaurantes dos estados de Nova Iorque, Nova Jersey e Pensilvânia.

Passando para o setor cervejeiro, outro português acumula mais de 14 anos de experiência, tendo mesmo sido considerado um dos 50 chief marketing officer mais influentes dos Estados Unidos. Nuno Teles começou na Scottish & Newcastle, seguiu para a Heineken — onde foi chief marketing officer — e é, atualmente, presidente da Diageo Beer Company, subsidiária norte-americana do grupo internacional de bebidas que detém marcas como a Guinness, Bacardi, J&B, Johnnie Walker ou Smirnoff.

Do Lloyds ao HSBC. Os portugueses espalhados pela banca

Do setor alimentar para o financeiro, é impossível não falar de António Horta Osório, que junta no seu currículo cargos em grandes empresas como Citibank, Goldman Sachs ou Grupo Santander. Por agora, o português ocupa o cargo de presidente executivo do Lloyds.

Ainda este mês, a revista Fortune (acesso livre, conteúdo em inglês) decidiu incluir na sua lista dos 50 grandes líderes mundiais, que “estão a transformar o mundo e a inspirar outros a fazerem o mesmo”, António Horta Osório. Uma das características que a revista norte-americana destacou para justificar a escolha do empresário português foi o facto de este ter assumido publicamente as dificuldades por que passou na luta contra um esgotamento.

António Horta Osório é licenciado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas pela Universidade Católica. Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Segundo a publicação, esta atitude “ajudou a pôr fim a um estigma numa área [a financeira] que é conhecida por levar as pessoas a atingirem o limite”. E, graças a ela, o Lloyds passou a possibilitar aos seus colaboradores seniores um conjunto de ferramentas de mindfulnesse análise psicológica. Tudo para que consigam equilibrar melhor os níveis de ansiedade.

Ainda no setor da banca, é preciso destacar, também, António Simões, que assumiu no início deste ano a liderança do negócio de banca privada global do britânico HSBC, substituindo Peter Boyles. Mas Simões já conhecia bem a casa nova. Anteriormente foi presidente executivo do banco HSBC, assumindo a liderança do grupo na Europa.

“Temos em António um indivíduo que consistentemente demonstra pensamento estratégico e a capacidade para fortalecer as relações com os clientes”, disse, na altura, o presidente executivo do grupo, John Flint, citado no comunicado do HSBC.

Temos em António [Simões] um indivíduo que consistentemente demonstra pensamento estratégico e a capacidade para fortalecer as relações com os clientes.John Flint, presidente executivo do grupo HSBC

Já Manuel Durão Barroso dá cartas como presidente não executivo do conselho de administração do Goldman Sachs International. Recorde-se que o ex-primeiro-ministro português ocupou o cargo de presidente da Comissão Europeia entre 2004 e 2014. Quanto ao seu percurso académico, Durão Barroso é licenciado em Direito pela Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa e obteve o grau de mestre em Ciências Económicas e Sociais, pelo Instituto Europeu da Universidade de Genebra.

Para os mercados do Médio Oriente, África e Portugal, Miguel Melo Azevedo é o responsável pela unidade de banca de investimento do Citigroup, banco para o qual entrou em 2010. Licenciado em Economia pela NOVA SBE, e com um MBA em Finanças, Miguel Azevedo já passou pelo Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA) e, também, pelo Goldman Sachs.

Nos automóveis, no combustível e nas telecomunicações

O grupo PSA tem um rosto e é de um português: Carlos Tavares, CEO do grupo automóvel francês. O seu nome é frequentemente apontado como sinónimo de sucesso, uma vez que, desde que chegou à PSA, o gestor português tornou a deficitária empresa gaulesa num construtor automóvel de sucesso, com as vendas a disparar.Miguel Patrício vai assumir a liderança da Kraft Heinz Ler Mais

Já na Repsol, é António Calçada de Sá quem dá cartas. O português ocupa o cargo de diretor executivo no grupo Repsol e administrador delegado da Repsol Comercial desde o início de 2014, conduzindo um negócio global de 25 mil milhões de euros, uma organização de 8.000 pessoas e 4.000 estações de serviço presentes em quatro países (Espanha, Portugal, Itália e Perú).

Seguindo para o mundo das telecomunicações, também o CEO da Vodafone Espanha é português. Chama-se António Coimbra e assumiu o cargo no dia 1 de janeiro deste ano, passando a acumular a função de presidente com a de administrador-delegado, cargo que já ocupava. O português entrou em cena como protagonista após a saída do ex-presidente da divisão espanhola do gigante de telecomunicações, Francisco Román.

Mas também na área académica há portugueses que dão nas vistas lá fora. É o caso do investigador Ricardo Reis, que é professor no departamento de economia da London School Economics. No seu currículo constam experiências como professor auxiliar na Universidade de Princeton, em Nova Jérsia, e professor catedrático na Universidade de Columbia, em Nova Iorque, sendo um dos mais novos a alcançar este grau na história da universidade, “saltando” mais de dez anos no que é o percurso normal de um professor universitário nos Estados Unidos.

(Economist) The global slump in press freedom

(Economist)

Illiberal regimes are clamping down on independent media across the world

Jul 23rd 2018

ACROSS the world, freedom of the press is atrophying. According to scores compiled by Freedom House, a think-tank, the muzzling of journalists and independent news media is at its worst point in 13 years. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of journalists jailed for their work is at the highest level since the 1990s. The deterioration has come from all quarters: Vladimir Putin has so thoroughly throttled the Russian media that Freedom House’s scorers rated Venezuela freer. Newer strongmen, such as Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s blood-soaked president, and Viktor Orban, Hungary’s illiberal prime minister, have also flexed censorious muscles. Even though Donald Trump has frequently demonised the news media as the “enemy of the people”, America’s strong First Amendment and independent courts have prevented him from acting on these illiberal outbursts. Nonetheless, his rhetoric has given succour to autocrats in other countries, who have passed laws outlawing “fake news” and quickly set about persecuting political opponents.

The Freedom House figures suggest that a free press is increasingly becoming a luxury limited to the West. Nordic countries continue to lead the world, and western Europe remains quite free despite a few wobbles. There are only a few bright spots to be found elsewhere. Where dictatorial regimes were unwound or forcibly ejected, such as those of Afghanistan and Myanmar, the media have gained independence, though they still fall well short of rich-country standards. Tunisia saw its press-freedom rating improve by 30 points in a 100-point scale after the Arab Spring toppled Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, its former president-for-life. But nearby Egypt has worsened dramatically since the army overthrew a government led by Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013 and named General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi president after the coup. South America has shown worrying retrenchment as well: Freedom House no longer considers Ecuador and Venezuela to have a free press. Things are worsening in major countries like Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, which find themselves on the cusp of a “not free” rating.Get our daily newsletter

Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks.

The case for a free press rests not only on classical liberal principles but also on hard data. Cross-country studies show strong and consistent associations between unfettered media, vibrant democracies and limited corruption. China, which has a tightly controlled media and perhaps the world’s most sophisticated censorship scheme, thinks it has proven that prosperity can be achieved without a free press. In less extreme fashion, Singapore shares similar authoritarian attitudes. Politicians everywhere do not much like to be criticised. To a worrying number of them, this Singapore model—or Beijing model, depending on preference—can prove more attractive than the Western approach of putting up with a pesky press. In normal times, America would denounce the jailing of journalists and muzzling of newspapers. But given Mr Trump’s predilections, the position of global free-press champion is vacant.

“Mr President, welcome to the land of free press.” Billboards welcoming Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to Helsinki earlier in July reminded the two presidents of the kind of country they had landed in. Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, lined the route from the airport with their recent headlines of the two president’s attacks on the press. It was a demonstration of how, in a few rich European countries, journalism is relatively unrestricted.

But it was also a timely reminder of how endangered press freedom is worldwide. According to Freedom House, only 13% of the world’s population enjoys a free press. Even the press-freedom scores of northern European countries like Finland have dropped. Turkey, Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, such as Hungary and Poland, saw the largest declines in press freedom: as politicians exert control over public broadcasters, undermine independent news organisations and fund politically-friendly news outlets.  

In a region with 4.5bn people, only two countries, Taiwan and Japan, are considered to have a free press. Afghanistan, Nigeria and Ukraine all score higher than any South-East Asian country, and journalists face regular beatings, arrests and censorship across the continent. 

Turkmenistan and North Korea are so extreme in their hostility towards journalists that they are black holes for news, with state broadcasters controlling what people see. Some recent developments seem to offer a glimmer of hope that this may change. The North Korean authorities have recently allowed more foreign journalists to cover official events. Meanwhile Turkmenistan has adopted its ever first broadcasting law allowing privately-owned TV channels. But this sense of progress is illusory. North Korea’s government still exercises draconian control over the information flows in and out of the country. Turkmenistan only allows TV stations that promote a positive image of the country.  For such authoritarian governments, a free press is still the public enemy.

There is perhaps no region more hostile to a transparent press than the Middle East. Of the 20 countries tracked by Freedom House in the Middle East and North Africa region, 16 are classified as not free. Only Israel has something close to resembling a free press. Two countries, Iran and Syria, score among the world’s ten most restrictive countries on press freedoms. In monarchical Gulf states, like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, writers critical of the governments are frequently jailed or barred from writing.

The Arab spring brought political freedom to only a handful of countries. Tunisia is perhaps the only bright spot. After a popular uprising overthrew the long-entrenched president, its press environment has improved considerably, though it is still not at the level of Western countries. Libya and Egypt both enjoyed brief moments of liberalisation after revolutions toppled their dictators, Muammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak. Both have since suffered considerable drops in press freedom. In Egypt this is because of the rapidly-clenching fist of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the former general turned president; in Libya the fault lies in violence between competing factions. 

Press freedom in Latin America is a tale of two countries. Costa Rica stands out as a bastion of respect for human rights in a region marred by violence and corruption. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Cuba, where the media landscape is dominated by the Castro family. Smear campaigns and imprisonment are common threats to journalists, but better access to the internet has given independent pundits more opportunities to be heard. 

Another outlier is Jamaica, which beats countries such as Germany, Britain and America in terms of press freedom. But Jamaican media organisations fear that media suppression might creep in through a new data protection act. The proposed bill would grant authorities wide powers to protect the private data of citizens, such as seeking information on political, philosophical and religious beliefs. 

(ZH) Mapping The Global Migration Of Millionaires

(ZH)

High net worth individuals (HNWIs) – persons with wealth over US$1 million – may decide to pick up and move for a number of reasons. In some cases they are attracted by jurisdictions with more favorable tax laws, or less pollution and crime. Sometimes, they’re simply looking for a change of scenery.

Today’s graphic, using data from the annual Global Wealth Migration Review, maps the migration of the world’s millionaires, and clearly shows which countries are magnets for the world’s rich, and which countries are seeing a wealth exodus.

The Flight of the Millionaires

It’s no secret that China has been a wealth creation machine over the past two decades. Although the country is still making a number of its citizens very wealthy, over 15,000 Chinese HNWIs still chose to migrate to other countries in 2018 – the most significant migration of any country.

Here’s a look at the top countries by HNWI outflows:

Unlike the middle class, wealthy citizens have the means to pick up and leave when things start to sideways in their home country. An uptick in HNWI migration from a country can often be a signal of negative economic or societal factors influencing a country.

This is the case in Turkey, which has been rocked by instability, mass protests, and an inflation rate estimated to be in the triple-digits by some sources.

For the third straight year, Turkey lost more than 4,000 millionaires. An estimated 10% of Turkey’s HNWIs fled in 2018, which is concerning because unlike China and India, the country is not producing new millionaires in any significant number.

Millionaire Magnets

Time-honored locations – such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – continue to attract the world’s wealthy, but no country is experiencing HNWI inflows quite like Australia.

The Land Down Under has a number of attributes that make it an attractive destination for migrating millionaires. The country has a robust economy, and is perceived as being a safe place to raise a family. Even better, Australia has no inheritance tax and a lower cost of health care, which can make it an attractive alternative to the U.S.

In 2018, Australia jumped ahead of both Canada and France to become the seventh largest wealth market in the world.

Here’s a look at HNWI inflows around the world:


Greece, which was one of the worst performing wealth markets of the last decade, is finally seeing a modest inflow of millionaires again.

(HeraldSun) Julian Assange wins EU journalism award

(HeraldSun)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been given an award established in honour of an assassinated journalist.

Assange, jailed last week after being forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, was awarded the 2019 GUE/NGL Award for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.

It is sponsored by European parliamentarians after being established in 2018 in honour of assassinated Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia.

The award is given to individuals “uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public” and to honour “individuals or groups who have been intimidated and/or persecuted for uncovering the truth and exposing it to the public”.

Nobel Peace prize winner Mairead Maguire collected the award on the Australian’s behalf at an event in the European parliament in Strasbourg.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor, said: “Through WikiLeaks Julian Assange’s vision of transparency has revolutionalised journalism.

“His imprisonment and threatened extradition to the United States has drawn a sharp line in the sand. You are either encouraging the crackdown on media freedom or you are standing with Julian Assange.”

Last year the Galizia prize was jointly awarded to murdered Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and LuxLeaks whistleblower Raphael Halet.

Assange had lived inside the embassy for almost seven years before his diplomatic asylum was revoked.

(ZH) It Begins: Former UN Under-Secretary-General Calls For One World Currency

(ZH)

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

Authored by José Antonio Ocampo, formerly United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, via Project Syndicate,

This year, the world commemorates the anniversaries of two key events in the development of the global monetary system. The first is the creation of the International Monetary Fund at the Bretton Woods conference 75 years ago. The second is the advent, 50 years ago, of the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the IMF’s global reserve asset.

When it introduced the SDR, the Fund hoped to make it “the principal reserve asset in the international monetary system.” This remains an unfulfilled ambition; indeed, the SDR is one of the most underused instruments of international cooperation. Nonetheless, better late than never: turning the SDR into a true global currency would yield several benefits for the world’s economy and monetary system.

The idea of a global currency is not new. Prior to the Bretton Woods negotiations, John Maynard Keynes suggested the “bancor” as the unit of account of his proposed International Clearing Union. In the 1960s, under the leadership of the Belgian-American economist Robert Triffin, other proposals emerged to address the growing problems created by the dual dollar-gold system that had been established at Bretton Woods. The system finally collapsed in 1971. As a result of those discussions, the IMF approved the SDR in 1967, and included it in its Articles of Agreement two years later. 

Although the IMF’s issuance of SDRs resembles the creation of national money by central banks, the SDR fulfills only some of the functions of money. True, SDRs are a reserve asset, and thus a store of value. They are also the IMF’s unit of account. But only central banks – mainly in developing countries, though also in developed economies – and a few international institutions use SDRs as a means of exchange to pay each other.

The SDR has a number of basic advantages, not least that the IMF can use it as an instrument of international monetary policy in a global economic crisis. In 2009, for example, the IMF issued $250 billion in SDRs to help combat the downturn, following a proposal by the G20.

Most importantly, SDRs could also become the basic instrument to finance IMF programs. Until now, the Fund has relied mainly on quota (capital) increases and borrowing from member countries. But quotas have tended to lag behind global economic growth; the last increase was approved in 2010, but the US Congress agreed to it only in 2015. And loans from member countries, the IMF’s main source of new funds (particularly during crises), are not true multilateral instruments.

The best alternative would be to turn the IMF into an institution fully financed and managed in its own global currency – a proposal made several decades ago by Jacques Polak, then the Fund’s leading economist. One simple option would be to consider the SDRs that countries hold but have not used as “deposits” at the IMF, which the Fund can use to finance its lending to countries. This would require a change in the Articles of Agreement, because SDRs currently are not held in regular IMF accounts.

The Fund could then issue SDRs regularly or, better still, during crises, as in 2009. In the long term, the amount issued must be related to the demand for foreign-exchange reserves. Various economists and the IMF itself have estimated that the Fund could issue $200-300 billion in SDRs per year. Moreover, this would spread the financial benefits (seigniorage) of issuing the global currency across all countries. At present, these benefits accrue only to issuers of national or regional currencies that are used internationally – particularly the US dollar and the euro.

More active use of SDRs would also make the international monetary system more independent of US monetary policy. One of the major problems of the global monetary system is that the policy objectives of the US, as the issuer of the world’s main reserve currency, are not always consistent with overall stability in the system.

In any case, different national and regional currencies could continue to circulate alongside growing SDR reserves. And a new IMF “substitution account” would allow central banks to exchange their reserves for SDRs, as the US first proposed back in the 1970s.

SDRs could also potentially be used in private transactions and to denominate national bonds. But, as the IMF pointed out in its report to the Board in 2018, these “market SDRs,” which would turn the unit into fully-fledged money, are not essential for the reforms proposed here. Nor would SDRs need to be used as a unit of account outside the Fund.

The anniversaries of the IMF and the SDR in 2019 are causes for celebration. But they also represent an ideal opportunity to transform the SDR into a true global currency that would strengthen the international monetary system. Policymakers should seize it.

*  *  *

And just like that, the world is once again being primed and propagandized to desire this inevitability.  Coming just a day after the Saudis threatened to end the Petrodollar, Ocampo’s op-ed is well-timed to say the least.

As we noted previously, nothing lasts forever.

Reserves

Business Finance

(EM) España decide compartir con Portugal la celebración del quinto centenario de la primera vuelta al mundo

(EM)

Carmen Calvo habla de “gesta ibérica”, en vez de española, durante la presentación de los actos conjuntos hispano-lusos para conmemorar la primera circunnavegación al globo.

Retrieving from kaltura
Carmen Calvo, entre el ministro de Negocios Extranjeros de Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva (izda.), el historiador español José Álvarez Junco (dcha.) y sendos retratos de Magallanes y Elcano. EL MUNDO (Vídeo) // EFE (Foto)

La vicepresidenta del gobierno, Carmen Calvo, ha presentado este lunes la conmemoración del quinto centenario de la primera vuelta al mundo, que ha definido como una “gesta ibérica” en un deseo de unir a España y Portugal en la celebración.

De este modo, la circunnavegación, comenzada por Fernando de Magallanes y terminada por Juan Sebastián Elcano, servirá para alentar diversas acciones conjuntas que se prolongarán hasta 2022, según ha destacado la vicepresidenta. De este modo, ha pretendido atajar la polémica suscitada entre diversos círculos de historiadores, que han acusado al gobierno español de dejación y de ceder todo el protagonismo de la conmemoración a Portugal, cuando la presencia lusa en la hazaña fue minoritaria. Algunos, como María Elvira Roca Barea, incluso defienden que “Magallanes no era portugués”, ya que se hizo español.

En la presentación, en la que ha estado acompañada por el ministro de Negocios Extranjeros de Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva, y por el historiador José Álvarez Junco, Calvo ha asegurado: “No podemos interpretar con los ojos del presente los acontecimientos del pasado y este Gobierno no lo pretende“. Tras el acto madrileño, Calvo ha viajado a Lisboa para participar en otro similar con el gobierno portugués.

Calvo ha destacado que están previstos un total de 193 actos de carácter cultural, científico o deportivo, que se cumplirán en un calendario de tres años.

Hasta ahora, entre las acciones conjuntas que se han aprobado destaca la candidatura de la Ruta de Circunnavegación al Patrimonio Mundial de la Humanidad, promovida por Portugal y España junto a los demás países de la Ruta, así como viajes de circunnavegación a Patrimonio Mundial de la Humanidad, que se emprenderán en 2020-2021 por los Buques Escuela Sagres y Juan Sebastián Elcano.

En materia cultural, destaca una exposición itinerante sobre la circunnavegación, organizada por los Ministerios de Cultura de Portugal y España; la coproducción de una serie televisiva sobre el viaje; o el estudio sobre la ‘Proyección mundial del español y del portugués’, promovida por los Institutos Camoes y Cervantes.

Además, también se incluye en el programa de actos la presentación de una Declaración de los Ministros de Cultura de la Unión Europea sobre el significado de la circunnavegación; así como la participación de Portugal como país invitado en la Feria del Libro de Sevilla de 2019, bajo el lema ‘Leyendo voy, viajando vengo’. “

Álvarez Junco ha señalado que en la conmemoración hay lugar “para muchas cosas, menos para glorias nacionalistas actuales” porque, en su opinión, no dicen nada “a favor de España o de Portugal”, al tiempo que ha destacado que “los sujetos políticos actuales no son los de entonces”.

Según ha indicado, los protagonistas de esta “hazaña humana”, al igual que ocurrió con Cristóbal Colón, buscaban “gloria” y “poder”, pero no les interesaba la “identidad” y su “lealtad” no se debía a una “comunidad política. Esto, junto al carácter de “multinacionalidad” de quienes se embarcaron en aquella aventura, lleva a unas conmemoraciones de “una empresa europea que cambió el mundo”.

(OBS) Portugal atribuiu cidadania nacional ao príncipe Aga Khan

(OBS)

A decisão foi tomada há duas semanas, mas o anúncio só foi feito este domingo pelo Presidente da República. Aga Khan e o governo acordaram em 2015 instalar a sede mundial do Imamat Isamili em Lisboa.Partilhe

Aga Khan, o 49.º Íman hereditário e líder espiritual dos muçulmanos xiitas ismaelitas, é o mais recente cidadão português. O anúncio foi feito pelo Presidente da República durante a cerimónia de encerramento dos Prémios Aga Khan para a Música, que decorreu em Lisboa este domingo. A atribuição da cidadania portuguesa foi aprovada pelo governo há duas semanas, mas só agora anunciada por Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, e como reconhecimento pelas ações desenvolvidas pelo Príncipe em prol da República Portuguesa. “Estou muito orgulhoso em tê-lo como ciddão português, sendo ao mesmo tempo um cidadão do mundo”, disse Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa ao lado de Aga Khan na cerimónia de encerramento dos Prémios Aga Khan para a Música este domingo, em Lisboa

O relacionamento entre Portugal e Aga Khan desenvolveu-se de forma mais intensa a partir de 2015, depois de ter sido assinado o acordo bilateral que consagra que a sede mundial do Imamat Isamili, instituição liderada pelo Príncipe Aga Khan, ficará em Lisboa. Para instalar a sede, Aga Khan comprou à Universidade Nova de Lisboa o Palácio Henrique Mendonça — um edifício do início do século XX, classificado como imóvel de interesse público desde 1982. Depois das obras de reabilitação, vai acolher o gabinete do líder da comunidade, mas também a estrutura responsável pela Rede Aga Khan para o Desenvolvimento, em particular a Fundação Aga Khan.

A Rede Aga Khan para o Desenvolvimento começou a atividade em Portugal em 1983, através da Fundação Aga Khan Portugal, e é desde esse ano que o Imã tem um representante diplomático no país. A presença reforçou-se a partir de 2015 e tem sido visível na componente solidária da Instituição, desde a ajuda às vítimas dos incêndios de Pedrogão, à doação de obras de arte.

Recentemente, Lisboa foi o palco escolhido para a cerimónia de encerramento das celebrações do jubileu de diamante de Aga Khan.

A cerimónia de encerramento dos Prémios Aga Khan para a Música , no valor de 500 mil dólares, teve lugar na Fundação Gulbenkian. A cerimónia encerrou com um espetáculo final que reuniu nove vencedores, de seis categorias e oriundos de 13 países da Ásia, África, Médio Oriente, Europa e América do Norte. O egípcio Mustafa Said foi o grande vencedor na categoria de desempenho desta primeira edição dos prémios criados pelo Principe Aga Khan com o objetivo de promover a criação artística e musical de raízes islâmicas.

Espetáculo de encerramento dos Prémios Aga Khan para a Música, que decorreu este domingo em Lisboa

(BBG) Capitalism Needs Reform, Not Revolution

(BBG)

Dealing with the trouble spots will work better than starting over.By Noah Smith29 de março de 2019, 13:00 WET

When even leading economists are questioning the very idea of capitalism, you know the system is in trouble. In a recent article, Nobel economics winner Angus Deaton reviewed two books by other distinguished economists — Raghuram Rajan and Paul Collier — that argue that capitalism is fundamentally flawed. Rajan laments the demise of local communities in the face of big government and mass markets, while Collier discusses the tendency of meritocracy to concentrate talent and money. Meanwhile, income and wealth inequality is at the center of the well-known critique of capitalism by economist Thomas Piketty. Some critics of capitalism argue that the problem is monopoly power, while others say that capitalism is the culprit behind climate change.

These critiques of the modern economy have some validity. But in the rush to bash capitalism — or to capitalize on the sudden unpopularity of the term — the critics haven’t done a good job of defining what capitalism means. Does it mean private property? Private ownership of industry? Market economies? Public asset markets and joint-stock ownership? Often, the term capitalism seems like simply a stand-in for whatever market-like features of modern economies someone doesn’t like.

The really important question, therefore, is not whether capitalism is broken, but what should be done to fix the U.S. economic system. For much of the 20th century, the big idea was to construct an alternative system — socialism, communism or anarchism — from the ground up. But that approach largely failed, for any number of reasons. Economic systems are complex constructs that evolve over time — even a very smart group of people is going to make huge mistakes if they try to engineer something totally different. And the implementation of radical social change is never easy — revolutions tend to be violent and chaotic, and the people who wind up in power are often those who are most concerned with preserving their dominance rather than providing for the material welfare of the people they rule over.

Instead, it seems overwhelmingly likely that the most successful approach will be to modify the current system — to reform rather than revolt. Whatever the result, it will be a mixed economy, where government and the private sector’s roles are both altered somewhat to address the most pressing issues.

As for what those modifications should be, I tend to think that there are basically two changes that the U.S. needs to focus on. The first is sustainability: no system, capitalist or otherwise, will last long if climate change make the planet uninhabitable. Switching to a low-carbon economy will require major inputs from both the public and private sectors.

The second major challenge is to make Americans feel less materially insecure. Instead of looking at aggregate economic numbers — gross domestic product, or the share of wealth held by the 1 percent — we should look at the basic determinants of material comfort and security.

Here, we can see that a few big-ticket items weigh heavily on Americans’ household budgets. Even as consumer prices overall have risen more slowly than income, the prices of health care, tuition, and child care have risen much faster:

Health care is obviously the biggest sore spot. A big medical bill is the quickest way to fall out of the middle class and analyses show that health-care expenses are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy filings. Large deductibles have shifted ever more of the cost of care from insurance companies to patients themselves. Millions of Americans are still uninsured, and Republican efforts to kill the Obamacare system might worsen the problem. Meanwhile, health-care costs continue to rise, absorbing an ever-greater share of the U.S. economy:

The obvious way to address this problem is for the U.S. to do what every other advanced nation has done, and have the government offer universal health insurance. This will reduce gnawing uncertainty for countless Americans, and will also enable strict and effective cost controls.

The second thing Americans need is cheaper education and child care. With dual incomes having become the norm, most two-parent families are exposed to the soaring cost of child care. And with a college degree having become ever more crucial for upward mobility, rising tuition has become a formidable barrier to higher education. Subsidized child-care servicescoupled with increased child-tax credits can help parents stay in the workplace, while there are many steps that can be taken to make higher education more affordable for lower- and middle-income Americans.

Finally, although it hasn’t risen as fast as health care or child care prices, housing costs have outpaced income since the Great Recession. In some cities, the problem is already at crisis levels. A plan for nationwide affordable housing, such as the one recently offered by Senator Elizabeth Warren, would help prevent the crisis from going national.

Would greater environmental sustainability and cheaper health care, child care, tuition and housing be enough to make Americans feel like capitalism — or more accurately, the mixed economy — is once again working in their favor? It might. And unlike the daunting task of building an entirely new political and economic system from the ground up, these fixes are feasible and fairly well-understood. Before deciding that capitalism — whatever that even means — needs to be dismantled, try addressing the sore spots.

(BBG) The Era of Cheap Money Shows No One Knows How Monetary Policy Works

(BBG)

  •  Low rates haven’t lured indebted households and businesses
  •  Central banks face questions as divide from politics blurs

Monetary policy is supposed to work like this: cut interest rates, and you’ll encourage businesses and households to borrow, invest and spend. It’s not really playing out that way.

In the cheap-money era, now into its second decade in most of the developed world (and third in Japan), there’s been plenty of borrowing. But it’s been governments doing it.

The numbers help explain a growing sense that central banks, which took emergency action to pull economies out of the 2008 slump, may not be able to repeat the trick in another downturn.

They’re even facing broader questions about their independence from politics, a cornerstone of economic management in rich countries. In the past decade, still-indebted private actors were mostly unwilling to dive back into the red, even at ultra-low rates engineered by the central banks — while governments could and did. The dividing line is starting to look fuzzy.

‘Fat Tail’

Some analysts say it’s time to redraw it.

The arms-length relationship between politicians and central bankers “was built when the fat tail was excessively high inflation,” said Paul McCulley, the former Pimco chief economist. “Now the fat tail is excessively low inflation, call it deflation. We need to update our thinking on a more cooperative stance between the fiscal and monetary authorities.”

Most economists see that as a slippery slope that could lead to prices spiraling out of control. That’s one reason they’re dismissive of Modern Monetary Theory, a school of thought which supports bigger deficits, and is relaxed about central banks financing them. MMT economists say public debt is generally safer than the private kind, which snowballed in the age of monetary policy dominance before disaster struck.

The question is a live one, and not just in academia. It gets bumped up the agenda every time President Donald Trump snipes at the Federal Reserve. There are similar political pressures in other countries.

‘Somewhat Sluggish’

Also growing are calls for governments to boost economies if central banks can’t.

The European Central Bank has just been forced to postpone any effort to shift monetary policy back toward normal. The region’s growth prospects “are somewhat sluggish,” Isabelle Mateos y Lago, chief multi-asset strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute, told Bloomberg TV this week. “We could use some fiscal stimulus.”

Read more: ECB near end of road seeks government backup

What Our Economists Say

Should governments a) run larger deficits because low rates allow them to or b) because central banks can buy their debt and keep rates low? In a sense it doesn’t matter. In both cases, the answer is that governments should run larger deficits.

Tom Orlik, chief economist, Bloomberg Economics

In Japan, there’s been more cooperation between the people in charge of budgets and those who manage interest rates than pretty much anywhere else.

When the government and central bank work in tandem, “synergy effects from both sides can produce stronger economic stimulus,” former BoJ deputy governor Kikuo Iwata, a key architect of the plan, said at the Bank for International Settlements last year. He’s argued that monetary policy has done what it can, and that Japan — which already has the world’s biggest public-debt burden — needs even more fiscal stimulus to complete its escape from deflation.

Tag Team

In the heat of crisis, collaboration between governments and central banks has been fairly explicit almost everywhere. In 2008 in the U.S., for example, the Fed’s Ben Bernanke and Treasury’s Henry Paulson rapidly formed a tag-team. In Europe a few years later, Mario Draghi’s pledge to do “whatever it takes” to preserve the single currency gave Italian government debt a backstop, and brought yields down from the brink.

Public borrowing at low rates proved to be an effective way of putting a floor under the Great Recession. The U.S. and Japan did more of it than Europe, where there’s no central authority able to tap credit markets and spend on the continent’s behalf — and they’ve had better recoveries.

The problem for policy makers is that what once looked like a short-term crisis stopgap has in fact stretched out for years — making it increasingly likely that the next downturn will arrive with interest rates still low.

In the U.S., a plurality of economists expect a recession in 2020, a presidential election year. The Fed will have some room to cut, though less than the 500 basis points reckoned to be its typical response to a shrinking economy. Its peers have much less, if any.

Read more: ECB, BoJ have ‘very little’ ammunition left

And even if they had, recent history says it would likely be governments that took advantage of the lower rates.

The worst recessions to hit developed countries lately (and some emerging markets too) have followed rapid buildups in private credit — one reason why central banks have found it hard to inject stimulus. And today, households and businesses are still highly indebted by past standards.

Unlike governments, they haven’t been eager to borrow more money, however cheap it is.

(ECO) Entre os mais ricos do mundo há uma portuguesa. Fernanda Amorim subiu na lista

(ECO)

A viúva de Américo Amorim continua a ser a única entrada de Portugal na lista dos mais ricos da Forbes. A sua riqueza chega aos 4,8 mil milhões de dólares.

A lista dos mais ricos do mundo está a encolher, tanto em riqueza como em número. Tal como no ano passado, só há um português no ranking global. É Maria Fernanda Amorim, viúva de Américo Amorim, que até conquistou algumas posições, apesar de ter registado uma quebra na fortuna.

Maria Fernanda Amorim está na posição 379 da lista dos multimilionários da Forbes(acesso livre/conteúdo em inglês), quando no ano passado figurava no 382.º lugar do ranking.

Apesar da subida, a portuguesa, em conjunto com a sua família, apresenta umafortuna de 4,8 mil milhões de dólares, um valor que compara negativamente com os 5,1 mil milhões do ranking do ano anterior.

O maior ativo da viúva do empresário português que liderava a Corticeira Amorim é uma participação de 18% na Galp Energia. A petrolífera, que tem atualmente como chairman a filha, Paula Amorim, contribuiu também para a fortuna de Isabel dos Santos que figura na posição 1.008 do ranking, com uma fortuna de 2,3 mil milhões. Perdeu 300 milhões num ano, caindo da posição 924.

É o segundo ano consecutivo em que Portugal conta apenas com um representante no ranking dos mais ricos. Nos anos anteriores, tinha três, juntando-se Alexandre Soares dos Santos e Belmiro de Azevedo a Américo Amorim. Tanto Belmiro como Américo Amorim faleceram em 2017.

Fernanda Amorim é uma entre os multimilionários da Forbes. O número de pessoas a figurar nesta lista caiu para 2.153 em 2019, menos 55 do que no ano anterior. Quase metade daqueles que conseguiram um lugar no ranking, cerca de 46%, viram a sua fortuna diminuir.

Jeff Bezos continua a liderar a lista, depois de ter ultrapassado o fundador da Microsoft Bill Gates, com uma riqueza de 131 mil milhões de dólares.

(JN) JPMorgan: Novas subidas nas bolsas terão que ser suportadas por crescimento

(JN) A gestora de ativos do JPMorgan acredita que as bolsas mundiais vão registar um ano positivo, mas a evolução da economia será determinante para perceber se há margem para as ações prolongarem as subidas.

A gestora de ativos do JPMorgan tem vindo a adotar uma postura de investimento mais defensiva. A entidade continua, porém, a identificar espaço para retornos positivos nas ações mundiais. No entanto, após a escalada registada neste início de ano, apenas se houver uma confirmação de notícias positivas no crescimento económico é que as bolsas poderão prolongar as subidas.

Uma política monetária mais acomodatícia, um alívio das tensões comerciais e expectativas de um crescimento mais moderado, mas positivo. São estes os temas que têm estado a determinar a recuperação dos mercados financeiros, mas que, segundo o JPMorgan Asset Management, também estão amplamente descontados nos mercados. Numa apresentação a jornalistas realizada em Lisboa esta terça-feira, Manuel Arroyo argumentou que, grande parte da subida registada em 2019, se deve a um ajuste técnico, depois das descidas expressivas acumuladas nos últimos meses de 2018.

Após uma valorização superior a 10% nas praças norte-americanas e de mais de 8% na Europa, em mês e meio, o diretor de vendas da JPMorgan AM Portugal refere que é necessário “mais crescimento económico” para sustentar a extensão dos ganhos nas bolsas. O especialista acredita que caso a Europa e a China apresentem uma evolução positiva da sua economia, isto pode alimentar maiores retornos nas ações.

Com uma visão moderadamente otimista para a economia mundial, Manuel Arroyo destaca que é esperada muita volatilidade nos próximos meses, fruto de já estarmos numa fase tardia do ciclo económico.

“Os EUA vão continuar a crescer à volta de 2%”, antecipa o mesmo especialista, que lembra, contudo, que este ano não haverá nenhum programa de estímulos orçamental. Vai haver sim estímulos monetários.

A Reserva Federal indicou, em janeiro, uma inversão na sua política de subida de taxas de juro, levando os bancos de investimento e as gestoras de ativos a rever as suas expectativas para a normalização das taxas. Enquanto no final do ano a gestora do JPMorgan previa quatro subidas de juros em 2019, as previsões apontam agora para uma ou duas mexidas nos juros, nos terceiro e quarto trimestre do ano.

Já em relação aos resultados empresariais, Manuel Arroyo realça que está a antecipar um crescimento entre 5% e 7% dos resultados nos EUA. O responsável lembra que, ao longo do último ano, baixaram-se muito as expectativas, mas “ao baixar as expectativas aumenta a margem para surpreender pela positiva”.