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  • 24.05.2019 | Lesson to learn from GoT: Stories are powerful, be careful which ones you believe




    Hidden under all the outrage and the drama about the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is a hard lesson about power and how it is shaped by perceptions and stories, but only for those who are willing to learn. HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ has come a long way since its premiere in 2011, in what now seems like a different era. In its recently-aired final installment, we not only find out what happens to the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms, but also circle back to one of the running themes of the show, and George R.R. Martin’s books it was based on: power and its sources. Daenerys Targaryen laying waste to cities with dragonfire came as a plot twist only to people who did not pay attention, blindsided by worship of their beloved “khaleesi.” Martin’s readers, and even seasoned HBO watchers, have always known that unlike most fantasy, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ was not about heroes and dragons and magic, but about human nature. This is spelled out quite early on, in both the books and the show, when spymaster Varys tells a riddle about power, asking who would prevail in a power struggle between a king, a priest and a wealthy man – and shooting down the obvious answers as wrong, because “power lies where we think it lies.” Years later, showing that he paid attention, Tyrion Lannister proposes a bold solution to the fate of the Seven Kingdoms, arguing that power comes from narratives: There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. There is something ironic in a television show, often attacked for its narrative choices, lampshading the power of storytelling like this – and again later, when Tyrion finds himself written out of the in-universe history of events in which he undeniably played a major part. Yet, as ‘Game of Thrones’ became a cultural phenomenon and people around the world read into it their own beliefs, preferences and prejudices, it is worth keeping in mind its meta-message about the power of narratives. If you doubt this power, consider George Orwell’s ‘1984’, in which the totalitarian state controls the present by constantly rewriting the past, and manipulates thought itself by engineering a severely-limited language. Orwell’s dystopia takes to its logical extreme the old adage that “history is written by the victors,” but it’s not too far off. Much of Western history about WWII, for example, came from the pen of Winston Churchill, who naturally made sure he was the hero by scrubbing out inconvenient facts like the 1943 Bengal famine or the betrayal of Yugoslavia, for instance. These narratives were then taken up and amplified by Hollywood, which has from its very beginning manufactured institutional memory for most Americans. As a result of blockbusters like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and ‘Band of Brothers’ (another HBO show), the US contribution to defeating Hitler has become grossly inflated in the public mind, not just at home, but abroad as well. Meanwhile, the massive Soviet role in the war has been minimized or erased entirely. This narrative violation of history made it possible for US President Donald Trump to argue that America single-handedly defeated Nazism and Communism, without a peep from his critics and legions of fact-checkers normally eager to seize every opportunity. To paraphrase Varys, power is all about perception management. Which brings to mind another saying: “History is made by the victors, but written by the loudest.” And while that may have always been the case to some extent, it is upon those who have lived the facts to stop the “loudest” from writing us out of our own story; to challenge those who tell us every day that a banana is an apple, or seek to somehow change the territory by redrawing the map. “They don’t get to choose,” the Dragon Queen argues in her moment of absolute power. Moments later, she finds out she was mistaken, because yes, they do. We do – every time we choose not to believe what we’re told, but read, watch and listen for ourselves; every time we question more.     ...

    Hidden under all the outrage and the drama about the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ is a hard lesson about power and how it is shaped by perceptions and stories, but only for those who are willing to learn.

    HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ has come a long way since its premiere in 2011, in what now seems like a different era. In its recently-aired final installment, we not only find out what happens to the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms, but also circle back to one of the running themes of the show, and George R.R. Martin’s books it was based on: power and its sources.

    Daenerys Targaryen laying waste to cities with dragonfire came as a plot twist only to people who did not pay attention, blindsided by worship of their beloved “khaleesi.” Martin’s readers, and even seasoned HBO watchers, have always known that unlike most fantasy, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ was not about heroes and dragons and magic, but about human nature.

    This is spelled out quite early on, in both the books and the show, when spymaster Varys tells a riddle about power, asking who would prevail in a power struggle between a king, a priest and a wealthy man – and shooting down the obvious answers as wrong, because “power lies where we think it lies.”

    Years later, showing that he paid attention, Tyrion Lannister proposes a bold solution to the fate of the Seven Kingdoms, arguing that power comes from narratives:

    There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.

    There is something ironic in a television show, often attacked for its narrative choices, lampshading the power of storytelling like this – and again later, when Tyrion finds himself written out of the in-universe history of events in which he undeniably played a major part.

    Yet, as ‘Game of Thrones’ became a cultural phenomenon and people around the world read into it their own beliefs, preferences and prejudices, it is worth keeping in mind its meta-message about the power of narratives.

    If you doubt this power, consider George Orwell’s ‘1984’, in which the totalitarian state controls the present by constantly rewriting the past, and manipulates thought itself by engineering a severely-limited language.

    Orwell’s dystopia takes to its logical extreme the old adage that “history is written by the victors,” but it’s not too far off. Much of Western history about WWII, for example, came from the pen of Winston Churchill, who naturally made sure he was the hero by scrubbing out inconvenient facts like the 1943 Bengal famine or the betrayal of Yugoslavia, for instance.

    These narratives were then taken up and amplified by Hollywood, which has from its very beginning manufactured institutional memory for most Americans. As a result of blockbusters like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and ‘Band of Brothers’ (another HBO show), the US contribution to defeating Hitler has become grossly inflated in the public mind, not just at home, but abroad as well. Meanwhile, the massive Soviet role in the war has been minimized or erased entirely.

    This narrative violation of history made it possible for US President Donald Trump to argue that America single-handedly defeated Nazism and Communism, without a peep from his critics and legions of fact-checkers normally eager to seize every opportunity.

    To paraphrase Varys, power is all about perception management.

    Which brings to mind another saying: “History is made by the victors, but written by the loudest.” And while that may have always been the case to some extent, it is upon those who have lived the facts to stop the “loudest” from writing us out of our own story; to challenge those who tell us every day that a banana is an apple, or seek to somehow change the territory by redrawing the map.

    They don’t get to choose,” the Dragon Queen argues in her moment of absolute power. Moments later, she finds out she was mistaken, because yes, they do. We do – every time we choose not to believe what we’re told, but read, watch and listen for ourselves; every time we question more.

     

     


    24.05.2019 | The truth IS out there! Pentagon admits it conducted 'UFO' investigations




    The Pentagon has finally admitted it had "researched and investigated" UFOs – or UAPs, as it calls them – and may have even dropped hints about ongoing extraterrestrial operations. Someone better call Fox Mulder, because after years of denial and cover-ups, the Department of Defense spokesperson Christopher Sherwood finally blew the lid on the secret agency tasked with "UFO" investigations. The existence of a secret government initiative, called the "Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program" (AATIP) had already been revealed in 2017, but the Pentagon's most recent statement marks the first time the government has admitted it was concerned with what could properly be considered "UFO phenomena."In an unprecedentedly candid admission, Sherwood told the New York Post the agency "did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena [UAP]." Although he steered clear of the term UFO ("Unidentified Flying Object"), likely due to its pop-cultural baggage, those in the know understood what he REALLY meant. While the AATIP got the axe in 2012, Sherwood acknowledged – however cryptically – that the government does still have a department to handle alleged sightings of alien aircraft. The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland. John Greenewald Jr, who runs the "Black Vault" website dedicated to publishing declassified government documents about UFOs, called the admission "new and shocking," saying authorities had always beat around the bush with its statements on the topic, until now. Twitter was slightly less impressed with Sherwood's ambiguity, with many users offering up their own evidence that alien ships are already among us.     ...

    The Pentagon has finally admitted it had "researched and investigated" UFOs – or UAPs, as it calls them – and may have even dropped hints about ongoing extraterrestrial operations.

    Someone better call Fox Mulder, because after years of denial and cover-ups, the Department of Defense spokesperson Christopher Sherwood finally blew the lid on the secret agency tasked with "UFO" investigations.

    The existence of a secret government initiative, called the "Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program" (AATIP) had already been revealed in 2017, but the Pentagon's most recent statement marks the first time the government has admitted it was concerned with what could properly be considered "UFO phenomena."
    In an unprecedentedly candid admission, Sherwood told the New York Post the agency "did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena [UAP]." Although he steered clear of the term UFO ("Unidentified Flying Object"), likely due to its pop-cultural baggage, those in the know understood what he REALLY meant.

    While the AATIP got the axe in 2012, Sherwood acknowledged – however cryptically – that the government does still have a department to handle alleged sightings of alien aircraft.

    The Department of Defense is always concerned about maintaining positive identification of all aircraft in our operating environment, as well as identifying any foreign capability that may be a threat to the homeland.

    John Greenewald Jr, who runs the "Black Vault" website dedicated to publishing declassified government documents about UFOs, called the admission "new and shocking," saying authorities had always beat around the bush with its statements on the topic, until now.

    Twitter was slightly less impressed with Sherwood's ambiguity, with many users offering up their own evidence that alien ships are already among us.

     

     


    24.05.2019 | US proposes penalties on countries it accuses of manipulating currencies




    The US Commerce Department has proposed a new rule to impose anti-subsidy duties on products from countries that Washington sees as undervaluing their currencies against the dollar to get an advantage in trade. The rule could put goods from Japan, South Korea, India, Germany, and Switzerland, at risk of higher tariffs. Those countries, along with China, were all listed on the Treasury Department’s currency report’s “monitoring list.” The list tracks currency market interventions, high global current account surpluses and high bilateral trade surpluses. The commerce department said its proposed rule would amend the normal countervailing duty process to include new criteria for currency undervaluation. “This change puts foreign exporters on notice that the Department of Commerce can countervail currency subsidies that harm US industries,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. He added that “Foreign nations would no longer be able to use currency policies to the disadvantage of American workers and businesses.” People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the move to include the new currency tool has been pushed by Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro since the early days of the Trump presidency. Ross explained it as a step toward implementing one of the campaign promises by President Trump to address unfair currency practices by US trade partners. The move is “opening the door to additional tariffs on any goods from any country found to have an undervalued currency,” said Scott Lincicome, an international trade lawyer and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. Currency policy was central in trade deals that Trump struck with Mexico, Canada and South Korea. It remains a stumbling point in US-China trade relations. Trump has repeatedly labeled China a currency manipulator, accusing the country of using the yuan as a way to give Chinese exports an advantage over US-made goods. Beijing has denied the claims.     ...

    The US Commerce Department has proposed a new rule to impose anti-subsidy duties on products from countries that Washington sees as undervaluing their currencies against the dollar to get an advantage in trade.

    The rule could put goods from Japan, South Korea, India, Germany, and Switzerland, at risk of higher tariffs.

    Those countries, along with China, were all listed on the Treasury Department’s currency report’s “monitoring list.” The list tracks currency market interventions, high global current account surpluses and high bilateral trade surpluses.

    The commerce department said its proposed rule would amend the normal countervailing duty process to include new criteria for currency undervaluation.

    “This change puts foreign exporters on notice that the Department of Commerce can countervail currency subsidies that harm US industries,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

    He added that “Foreign nations would no longer be able to use currency policies to the disadvantage of American workers and businesses.”

    People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the move to include the new currency tool has been pushed by Ross and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro since the early days of the Trump presidency.

    Ross explained it as a step toward implementing one of the campaign promises by President Trump to address unfair currency practices by US trade partners.

    The move is “opening the door to additional tariffs on any goods from any country found to have an undervalued currency,” said Scott Lincicome, an international trade lawyer and adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

    Currency policy was central in trade deals that Trump struck with Mexico, Canada and South Korea. It remains a stumbling point in US-China trade relations. Trump has repeatedly labeled China a currency manipulator, accusing the country of using the yuan as a way to give Chinese exports an advantage over US-made goods. Beijing has denied the claims.

     

     


    24.05.2019 | Deal or no deal: Boris Johnson says UK must be prepared to quit EU with failed talks




    Britain should be prepared to walk away from the negotiating table with the EU with no deal says British prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson. “We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal,” Johnson told an economic conference in Switzerland. “The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal.” When asked if he would run for leadership of the Tory Party, Johnson nonchalantly replied, “of course” he would, adding that a new leader would be afforded the “opportunity to do things differently.” Johnson had long been tapped as a potential successor to the now-outgoing Theresa May, throughout his predecessor's arduous Brexit back-and-forth with negotiators in Brussels since she took office on July 13, 2016. He was a key figure in the Brexit campaign and has already thrown his hat in the ring vying for leadership of the Tory party, alongside British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He offered his condolences to May but wasted no time in launching his leadership bid.     ...

    Britain should be prepared to walk away from the negotiating table with the EU with no deal says British prime ministerial hopeful Boris Johnson.

    “We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal,” Johnson told an economic conference in Switzerland. “The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal.”

    When asked if he would run for leadership of the Tory Party, Johnson nonchalantly replied, “of course” he would, adding that a new leader would be afforded the “opportunity to do things differently.”

    Johnson had long been tapped as a potential successor to the now-outgoing Theresa May, throughout his predecessor's arduous Brexit back-and-forth with negotiators in Brussels since she took office on July 13, 2016.

    He was a key figure in the Brexit campaign and has already thrown his hat in the ring vying for leadership of the Tory party, alongside British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He offered his condolences to May but wasted no time in launching his leadership bid.

     

     


    23.05.2019 | It hurts to be alive: BBC unveils unbearably cringey Tonight With Vladimir Putin chat show




    British taxpayers, shield your eyes now. The BBC has just unveiled its new “semi-scripted comedy chat show format,” ‘Tonight With Vladimir Putin,’ presented by a horrific CGI adaptation of the Russian president. Early details indicate that not only will the British public be subjected to some truly awful writing and voice acting courtesy of Natt Tapley, of ‘Have I Got News For You’ fame, but the BBC has also managed to dredge up some top-tier guests such as the Labour Party’s former communications chief Alastair Campbell, former MTV host June Sarpong, ‘I’m a celebrity: Extra Camp’ presenter Joe Swash and presenter of the Guilty Feminist podcast Deborah Frances-White. The less said about that line up, the better. The oversized, motion-captured ‘Putin,’ dubbed “everybody’s favourite bear-wrestling global strongman,” can interact with guests on the show, which mercifully will only last 12 minutes an episode, likely because the British authorities are already in hot water for torture. The show appears to be a regurgitated dystopian nightmare copied from the popular Channel 4/Netflix series Black Mirror but bastardized almost beyond recognition. Surprisingly many people were able to overcome bouts of nausea and cringe-induced spasms long enough to air their disgust at what their compulsory license fee is funding these days. “Let’s all die before this airs,” one commenter wrote. Another asked why the cartoon host is “voiced as a flamboyant greek man.” BBC’s “comedy” programs often oscillate between potential crimes against humanity in the form of Mrs Brown’s Boys, to downright racism courtesy of Jeremy Clarkson and co. Some of the broadcaster’s other fine moments include transmitting jokes about a nuclear bomb survivor and racist comments describing Mexicans as “lazy” and “feckless” with “refried sick” for food. Oh, and they kept Jimmy Saville in a job for decades.     ...

    British taxpayers, shield your eyes now. The BBC has just unveiled its new “semi-scripted comedy chat show format,” ‘Tonight With Vladimir Putin,’ presented by a horrific CGI adaptation of the Russian president.

    Early details indicate that not only will the British public be subjected to some truly awful writing and voice acting courtesy of Natt Tapley, of ‘Have I Got News For You’ fame, but the BBC has also managed to dredge up some top-tier guests such as the Labour Party’s former communications chief Alastair Campbell, former MTV host June Sarpong, ‘I’m a celebrity: Extra Camp’ presenter Joe Swash and presenter of the Guilty Feminist podcast Deborah Frances-White. The less said about that line up, the better.

    The oversized, motion-captured ‘Putin,’ dubbed “everybody’s favourite bear-wrestling global strongman,” can interact with guests on the show, which mercifully will only last 12 minutes an episode, likely because the British authorities are already in hot water for torture.

    The show appears to be a regurgitated dystopian nightmare copied from the popular Channel 4/Netflix series Black Mirror but bastardized almost beyond recognition. Surprisingly many people were able to overcome bouts of nausea and cringe-induced spasms long enough to air their disgust at what their compulsory license fee is funding these days.

    “Let’s all die before this airs,” one commenter wrote. Another asked why the cartoon host is “voiced as a flamboyant greek man.”

    BBC’s “comedy” programs often oscillate between potential crimes against humanity in the form of Mrs Brown’s Boys, to downright racism courtesy of Jeremy Clarkson and co. Some of the broadcaster’s other fine moments include transmitting jokes about a nuclear bomb survivor and racist comments describing Mexicans as “lazy” and “feckless” with “refried sick” for food. Oh, and they kept Jimmy Saville in a job for decades.

     

     


    23.05.2019 | EU elections: Heres what you need to know




    The 28 EU member states, comprising some 512 million people will take to the polls to elect a total of 751 MEPs between now and Sunday, but what’s at stake and what can we expect? Elections for the ninth European parliament come at a critical juncture for European politics, with rising geopolitical tensions worldwide thanks to bombastic rhetoric courtesy of the Trump administration aimed at both Iran and China and a tide of Euroskepticism. Key issues In 2019, the main campaign issues are focused on a general economic slowdown across the region, the ongoing but somewhat slowed migrant crisis and a rising tide of Euroskepticism exemplified by the respective gains made by Germany's AfD, France's Front National, Golden Dawn in Greece, Italy's Five Star movement and, of course, the UK’s newly-minted Brexit party to name but a few. Timeline Voting began Thursday in the Netherlands and the UK, despite the latter's 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Ireland and the Czech Republic will follow suit on Friday May 24. The remaining EU member states will vote on the 25th and 26th. Germany commands the most seats (96) given its population of 82.79 million citizens, whereas smaller nations like Malta and Luxembourg receive a paltry six seats. What’s at stake? The elected MEPs will serve five-year terms, and will be tasked with passing  EU laws, setting EU budgets and providing oversight for EU institutions. The European Commission proposes laws, but the European Parliament and the Council of Europe vote for said legislation in addition to any amendments. Many right-wing and anti-establishment parties are expected to make significant gains in the elections Europe-wide. The Parliament is further divided along political affiliation, not nationality, leading to the formation of subgroups including the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) as well as opposition groups who are predominantly Euroskeptic in nature, such as the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), and the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF). The European Council on Foreign Relations predicts this Euroskeptic subset could take up to one third of the parliamentary seats in the 2019 elections. UK - Chief among them is Farage’s new Brexit Party, as many expect him to replicate UKIP’s stunning victory in 2014, topping the EU elections with 27.5 percent of the British vote. The beleaguered British Conservative Party is expected to cede significant ground while opposition parties like Labour may also incur the wrath of a despondent UK populace who are weary of repeated failures to draw the Brexit saga to a close. France - Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Rally party will fight a close battle with Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! party. The Netherlands - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party is expected to hold its own but the upstart, Euroskeptic Forum for Democracy (FvD) is set to be the big winner. Germany - Voters are increasingly worried about the rise of China and the lack of a coordinated defensive posture for Europe dominated campaigning in Germany. The center-right Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union are expected to be the clear winners, but the surging AfD party may also replicate gains in previous elections amid growing national anxiety over immigration and asylum policy. Italy - The incumbent Italian government, the anti-immigration League and the right-wing Five Star movement, are essentially fighting a proxy election campaign via the European elections, with each vying for control of their own national government after a fractured relationship. The first official results are expected to be published at approximately 23:00CET on Sunday.     ...

    The 28 EU member states, comprising some 512 million people will take to the polls to elect a total of 751 MEPs between now and Sunday, but what’s at stake and what can we expect?

    Elections for the ninth European parliament come at a critical juncture for European politics, with rising geopolitical tensions worldwide thanks to bombastic rhetoric courtesy of the Trump administration aimed at both Iran and China and a tide of Euroskepticism.

    Key issues

    In 2019, the main campaign issues are focused on a general economic slowdown across the region, the ongoing but somewhat slowed migrant crisis and a rising tide of Euroskepticism exemplified by the respective gains made by Germany's AfD, France's Front National, Golden Dawn in Greece, Italy's Five Star movement and, of course, the UK’s newly-minted Brexit party to name but a few.

    Timeline

    Voting began Thursday in the Netherlands and the UK, despite the latter's 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Ireland and the Czech Republic will follow suit on Friday May 24. The remaining EU member states will vote on the 25th and 26th.

    Germany commands the most seats (96) given its population of 82.79 million citizens, whereas smaller nations like Malta and Luxembourg receive a paltry six seats.

    What’s at stake?

    The elected MEPs will serve five-year terms, and will be tasked with passing  EU laws, setting EU budgets and providing oversight for EU institutions. The European Commission proposes laws, but the European Parliament and the Council of Europe vote for said legislation in addition to any amendments.

    Many right-wing and anti-establishment parties are expected to make significant gains in the elections Europe-wide. The Parliament is further divided along political affiliation, not nationality, leading to the formation of subgroups including the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) as well as opposition groups who are predominantly Euroskeptic in nature, such as the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), and the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).

    The European Council on Foreign Relations predicts this Euroskeptic subset could take up to one third of the parliamentary seats in the 2019 elections.

    UK - Chief among them is Farage’s new Brexit Party, as many expect him to replicate UKIP’s stunning victory in 2014, topping the EU elections with 27.5 percent of the British vote. The beleaguered British Conservative Party is expected to cede significant ground while opposition parties like Labour may also incur the wrath of a despondent UK populace who are weary of repeated failures to draw the Brexit saga to a close.

    France - Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Rally party will fight a close battle with Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! party.

    The Netherlands - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party is expected to hold its own but the upstart, Euroskeptic Forum for Democracy (FvD) is set to be the big winner.

    Germany - Voters are increasingly worried about the rise of China and the lack of a coordinated defensive posture for Europe dominated campaigning in Germany. The center-right Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union are expected to be the clear winners, but the surging AfD party may also replicate gains in previous elections amid growing national anxiety over immigration and asylum policy.

    Italy - The incumbent Italian government, the anti-immigration League and the right-wing Five Star movement, are essentially fighting a proxy election campaign via the European elections, with each vying for control of their own national government after a fractured relationship.

    The first official results are expected to be published at approximately 23:00CET on Sunday.

     

     


    23.05.2019 | The art of trade war: Chinese firm bans workers from buying American goods & stateside travel




    As the US-China trade dispute gets uglier by the day some Chinese corporations seem intent to respond to Washington pressure by fair means or foul. The Jinggang Motor Vehicle Inspection Station, located in the Chinese province of Jiangsu, has issued a strict warning to its employees, reports The Epoch Times. The New York-based, Chinese focused media site says the instruction, sent by corporate email, requires workers to boycott products produced in the US and stop traveling to the country under threat of dismissal. The unusual notice comes amid nation-wide calls to ignore American goods which are actively supported by Chinese local media. The harsh criticism followed the latest developments in the ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington, when the parties failed to find a resolution on mutual trade deal. As a result, the White House raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent, threatening to impose further levies on another $300 billion of goods imported from China. Beijing retaliated by increasing import duties on $60 billion worth of US products, starting June 1. Moreover, the US administration added Huawei and 70 of its affiliates to a trade blacklist, citing non-specific concerns about “national security threats.” Shortly after that, Google confirmed it would sever its relationship with Huawei to comply with the requirements. “To help our country win this war, company’s authorities have decided that all employees must immediately stop purchasing and using American products,” the note reads, as quoted by the media. The ban reportedly targets using iPhones, driving American vehicles, eating at the US food chains, as well as buying home US-branded care products. “Employees are prohibited from purchasing or using iPhones; instead, they are recommended to use Chinese domestic brands of cell phones, such as Huawei,” the company wrote. The firm stressed that its workers are not allowed to buy cars made by China-US joint venture manufacturers, but recommended “to purchase 100 percent Chinese-made vehicles.” Eating in McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken is also forbidden.“Employees are not allowed to purchase P&G Amway, or any other American brands. and mustn’t not go to the United States as a tourist.” The instruction has reportedly spread across Chinese social media, evoking a mixed response among users with some ironically urging people to stop using Windows operating system or planes made by US aircraft manufacturer Boeing. Earlier this week, Chinese consumers took to online platforms, calling for a boycott of Apple products in favor of Huawei after the US ramped up pressure against the Chinese telecom giant. The step is expected to hurt Apple sales in China in the short-term. Apple's business in China accounted for more than 17 percent of its global sales in the second quarter, totaling $10.22 billion. The iPhone maker may lose 29 percent of earnings, if the Chinese government strikes back by banning its products, Goldman Sachs warned.     ...

    As the US-China trade dispute gets uglier by the day some Chinese corporations seem intent to respond to Washington pressure by fair means or foul.

    The Jinggang Motor Vehicle Inspection Station, located in the Chinese province of Jiangsu, has issued a strict warning to its employees, reports The Epoch Times. The New York-based, Chinese focused media site says the instruction, sent by corporate email, requires workers to boycott products produced in the US and stop traveling to the country under threat of dismissal.

    The unusual notice comes amid nation-wide calls to ignore American goods which are actively supported by Chinese local media. The harsh criticism followed the latest developments in the ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington, when the parties failed to find a resolution on mutual trade deal.

    As a result, the White House raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent, threatening to impose further levies on another $300 billion of goods imported from China. Beijing retaliated by increasing import duties on $60 billion worth of US products, starting June 1.

    Moreover, the US administration added Huawei and 70 of its affiliates to a trade blacklist, citing non-specific concerns about “national security threats.” Shortly after that, Google confirmed it would sever its relationship with Huawei to comply with the requirements.

    “To help our country win this war, company’s authorities have decided that all employees must immediately stop purchasing and using American products,” the note reads, as quoted by the media.

    The ban reportedly targets using iPhones, driving American vehicles, eating at the US food chains, as well as buying home US-branded care products.

    “Employees are prohibited from purchasing or using iPhones; instead, they are recommended to use Chinese domestic brands of cell phones, such as Huawei,” the company wrote.

    The firm stressed that its workers are not allowed to buy cars made by China-US joint venture manufacturers, but recommended “to purchase 100 percent Chinese-made vehicles.”

    Eating in McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken is also forbidden.“Employees are not allowed to purchase P&G Amway, or any other American brands. and mustn’t not go to the United States as a tourist.”

    The instruction has reportedly spread across Chinese social media, evoking a mixed response among users with some ironically urging people to stop using Windows operating system or planes made by US aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

    Earlier this week, Chinese consumers took to online platforms, calling for a boycott of Apple products in favor of Huawei after the US ramped up pressure against the Chinese telecom giant. The step is expected to hurt Apple sales in China in the short-term.

    Apple's business in China accounted for more than 17 percent of its global sales in the second quarter, totaling $10.22 billion. The iPhone maker may lose 29 percent of earnings, if the Chinese government strikes back by banning its products, Goldman Sachs warned.

     

     


    22.05.2019 | Vodafone drops Huawei handset from 5G launch pre-orders




    LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone (LON:VOD) UK said on Wednesday it had dropped a Huawei 5G smartphone from pre-orders for its new service starting in July, because of uncertainty about long-term support and services for the device. "We are pausing pre-orders for the Huawei Mate 20X (5G) in the UK," a spokesman said. "This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices. We will keep this situation under review."   ...

    LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone (LON:VOD) UK said on Wednesday it had dropped a Huawei 5G smartphone from pre-orders for its new service starting in July, because of uncertainty about long-term support and services for the device.

    "We are pausing pre-orders for the Huawei Mate 20X (5G) in the UK," a spokesman said. "This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices. We will keep this situation under review."

     


    22.05.2019 | Investors slap discount on UK utilities amid election worries




    By Josephine Mason and Helen Reid LONDON (Reuters) - British utility stocks are trading at a growing discount to euro zone peers as investors fear the country's deepening political crisis could trigger a general election that ushers in renationalisation of the industry, worth $76 billion (£59.9 billion). The opposition Labour Party has said it wants to nationalise energy and water infrastructure if it can oust Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives from power, reversing decades of pro-privatisation policies. A national election is not due until 2022, but a rift in the Conservative party over Britain's exit from the European Union has raised the chances the country will go to the polls early. That has investors fretting about a potential victory for Labour, led by left-winger Jeremy Corbyn. Simon Webber, lead portfolio manager on the global and international equities team at Schroders (LON:SDR) said those fears were "another overhang" for utilities, already subject to a discount like other UK assets because of Brexit uncertainty. "When you have a very different policy environment, the market struggles with that," he said. Historically, the UK sector has been priced at a hefty premium to similar companies in the euro zone, due in part to its fat dividend payments. That disappeared two years ago as UK assets in general were shunned by investors worried about damage from Brexit to the world's fifth-biggest economy and discouraged by persistent uncertainty about the terms of Britain's departure from the EU. The gap between the two sectors has widened significantly since the middle of March as it became clear a Brexit deal by the original March 29 deadline was unlikely. Price-to-earnings valuations have been sliding this year and UK utilities now trade on an 8.6% discount to euro zone utilities, nearing the discount of 13.7% -- a 10-year high -- hit in March last year. That low came just after the UK government introduced a new law capping energy bills as a cold snap dubbed "the Beast from the East" pummelled the country, triggering a big jump in demand and supply shortages. (Graphic - UK utilities discount to Euro Zone May 22, https://tmsnrt.rs/2EkbmKj) Adjusting for the drop in the value of sterling against the euro, the UK index has fallen almost 10% since mid-March, compared with a 1.7% rise in euro-zone utilities. That lagging performance, even as investors have flocked to sectors like gas, water and electricity companies for their defensive qualities, underlines their worries. The selling has wiped 8 billion pounds off the market capitalisation of the sector, taking it to 59.1 billion pounds. "The UK financial market has begun to price in the possibility of a change of government," said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments. "However it's much more difficult to go into details about what it would involve."     ...

    By Josephine Mason and Helen Reid

    LONDON (Reuters) - British utility stocks are trading at a growing discount to euro zone peers as investors fear the country's deepening political crisis could trigger a general election that ushers in renationalisation of the industry, worth $76 billion (£59.9 billion).

    The opposition Labour Party has said it wants to nationalise energy and water infrastructure if it can oust Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives from power, reversing decades of pro-privatisation policies.

    A national election is not due until 2022, but a rift in the Conservative party over Britain's exit from the European Union has raised the chances the country will go to the polls early.

    That has investors fretting about a potential victory for Labour, led by left-winger Jeremy Corbyn.

    Simon Webber, lead portfolio manager on the global and international equities team at Schroders (LON:SDR) said those fears were "another overhang" for utilities, already subject to a discount like other UK assets because of Brexit uncertainty.

    "When you have a very different policy environment, the market struggles with that," he said.

    Historically, the UK sector has been priced at a hefty premium to similar companies in the euro zone, due in part to its fat dividend payments.

    That disappeared two years ago as UK assets in general were shunned by investors worried about damage from Brexit to the world's fifth-biggest economy and discouraged by persistent uncertainty about the terms of Britain's departure from the EU.

    The gap between the two sectors has widened significantly since the middle of March as it became clear a Brexit deal by the original March 29 deadline was unlikely.

    Price-to-earnings valuations have been sliding this year and UK utilities now trade on an 8.6% discount to euro zone utilities, nearing the discount of 13.7% -- a 10-year high -- hit in March last year.

    That low came just after the UK government introduced a new law capping energy bills as a cold snap dubbed "the Beast from the East" pummelled the country, triggering a big jump in demand and supply shortages.

    (Graphic - UK utilities discount to Euro Zone May 22, https://tmsnrt.rs/2EkbmKj)

    Adjusting for the drop in the value of sterling against the euro, the UK index has fallen almost 10% since mid-March, compared with a 1.7% rise in euro-zone utilities.

    That lagging performance, even as investors have flocked to sectors like gas, water and electricity companies for their defensive qualities, underlines their worries.

    The selling has wiped 8 billion pounds off the market capitalisation of the sector, taking it to 59.1 billion pounds.

    "The UK financial market has begun to price in the possibility of a change of government," said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

    "However it's much more difficult to go into details about what it would involve."

     

     


    22.05.2019 | Cobinhood Isnt Pulling an Exit Scam Following DXN Price Collapse




    There appear to be numerous conflicting pieces of information regarding the Cobinhood cryptocurrency exchange. While it is evident for everyone to see the company is struggling, tales of its exit scam are vastly overstated. Moreover, there is plenty of DXN token drama, which also affects this trading platform at an unfortunate time. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but it seems the company will continue to operate for the foreseeable future. The Cobinhood Story Escalates Anyone who has kept a close eye on what is happening to Cobinhood may have noticed the company is struggling. Ever since one of the founders left the company – some claim he was fired from the position – there have been a lot of questions as to how things would progress for the trading platform as a whole. It is not uncommon for companies to see their founder depart or get fired after a while, and most firms will not suffer any real problems because of it. In the case of Cobinhood, however, this may have been the start of a wave of problems. More specifically, it seems the co-founder was forced to leave the company due to “emotional instability and liable personal behavior”. Those are some serious allegations, although Chen never officially stated the claims are incorrect. Since that time, there have also been claims as to how the exchange will be dealing with financial problems sooner or later. A bit odd, considering how the company raised millions of dollars through its own Initial Coin Offering. That was later on confirmed by the company. Users were taken aback by the message of how the company would potentially run out of funds in the next two years. Customer holdings were never affected in the process, but it is evident this message does not bode well for this cryptocurrency trading platform. Even so, at the time, the company stated business would resume as normal, at least for the time being. Last week, however, a new announcement was made. Cobinhood would officially begin to downsize and reduce its active staffers to just 30. That in itself would not hinder the company’s day-to-day operations, nor would it reflect upon users in any way. Another clear warning sign something was amiss, although the service continued to operate as normal without too many problems. Users are still able to withdraw and deposit funds without hindrance, and that situation should not necessarily change in the coming weeks and months. The DEXON Token Listing Cobinhood is not just a regular trading platform. They also provide ICO services to companies and projects. While Initial Coin Offerings are seemingly no longer as popular as they once were, the DEXON team partnered with Cobinhood to raise the necessary funds. That round of investment was completed successfully recently, as roughly $3m worth of funds were collected in rather quick succession. Over the past two to three days, DXN also got listed on Cobinhood for trading. More specifically, the team behind DEXON could sell their own tokens, whereas the rest of the investors were unable to effectively do so. This has created a massive DXN price decline in rather quick succession, which only fuels the speculation as to whether or not Cobinhood is doing something nefarious. So far, that has clearly not been the case, albeit the massive DXN sell-off is reflecting badly upon the platform which facilitated the token sale. DXN and COB Prices Collapse To put this in perspective, the DXN trading chart seemingly confirms a lot of tokens are being dumped by the team themselves. With the price falling from $0.15 to $0.02022 in very quick succession, a lot of buy orders were wiped on the exchange without too many problems. This is not uncommon behavior when a new ICO token makes its way to an exchange. In fact, back in 2017, this was an almost daily occurrence, yet it seemed things have calmed down a bit ever since. Ever since that massive dip, the DXN price has begun to rebound quite sharply on Cobinhood. So much even that there is plenty of buy support to keep the price near the $0.12 mark at this time. As normal users cannot sell their tokens as of yet, it seems the rebound may offer a glimpse of hope. It is unclear if the DEXON team has any additional tokens to sell at this time. If that were to be the case, things could get rather hairy in the future. All of these circumstances have also caused the Cobinhood token – known as COB –  to go through a massive price decline. More specifically, the value per COB is down by over 60% across the board, in the past 36 hours. This in itself allowed even more people to believe Cobinhood had effectively pulled an exit scam and how they are now selling off their own tokens. However, the price of COB – both in ETH and BTC value – is rebounding as well after a rough day. There is still plenty of volatility, but the price has begun climbing higher again. Very odd developments, to say the very least. The Bankruptcy Claims are Real On the internet, there will always be some clams which are not factually correct. Some people state how Cobinhood has filed for bankruptcy, which is not the case. It is true its parent company  Cobbingham Digital Finance Co, Ltd has indeed filed for bankruptcy this week, although this will not cause Cobinhood to stop functioning. It is possible this bankruptcy rumor is the main reason why the price of COB collapsed, as can be seen above. Other factors may be at play as well since there is still a lot of uncertainty at this time. The bankruptcy claim of Cobbingham Digital Finance is not nefast for Cobinhood for a very specific reason. Cobbingham is a subsidiary of Blocktopia Inc, which will ensure Cobinhood can continue to operate for the foreseeable future. Until the official paperwork is submitted, there will be plenty of speculation as to how things will progress from here on out. For exchange users, it would appear there is nothing to be concerned about just yet, but those who can withdraw funds from the platform might be better off doing so as quickly as possible. Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency.  

    There appear to be numerous conflicting pieces of information regarding the Cobinhood cryptocurrency exchange. While it is evident for everyone to see the company is struggling, tales of its exit scam are vastly overstated. Moreover, there is plenty of DXN token drama, which also affects this trading platform at an unfortunate time. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but it seems the company will continue to operate for the foreseeable future.

    The Cobinhood Story Escalates

    Anyone who has kept a close eye on what is happening to Cobinhood may have noticed the company is struggling. Ever since one of the founders left the company – some claim he was fired from the position – there have been a lot of questions as to how things would progress for the trading platform as a whole. It is not uncommon for companies to see their founder depart or get fired after a while, and most firms will not suffer any real problems because of it.

    In the case of Cobinhood, however, this may have been the start of a wave of problems. More specifically, it seems the co-founder was forced to leave the company due to “emotional instability and liable personal behavior”. Those are some serious allegations, although Chen never officially stated the claims are incorrect. Since that time, there have also been claims as to how the exchange will be dealing with financial problems sooner or later. A bit odd, considering how the company raised millions of dollars through its own Initial Coin Offering.

    That was later on confirmed by the company. Users were taken aback by the message of how the company would potentially run out of funds in the next two years. Customer holdings were never affected in the process, but it is evident this message does not bode well for this cryptocurrency trading platform. Even so, at the time, the company stated business would resume as normal, at least for the time being.

    Last week, however, a new announcement was made. Cobinhood would officially begin to downsize and reduce its active staffers to just 30. That in itself would not hinder the company’s day-to-day operations, nor would it reflect upon users in any way. Another clear warning sign something was amiss, although the service continued to operate as normal without too many problems. Users are still able to withdraw and deposit funds without hindrance, and that situation should not necessarily change in the coming weeks and months.

    The DEXON Token Listing

    Cobinhood is not just a regular trading platform. They also provide ICO services to companies and projects. While Initial Coin Offerings are seemingly no longer as popular as they once were, the DEXON team partnered with Cobinhood to raise the necessary funds. That round of investment was completed successfully recently, as roughly $3m worth of funds were collected in rather quick succession.

    Over the past two to three days, DXN also got listed on Cobinhood for trading. More specifically, the team behind DEXON could sell their own tokens, whereas the rest of the investors were unable to effectively do so. This has created a massive DXN price decline in rather quick succession, which only fuels the speculation as to whether or not Cobinhood is doing something nefarious. So far, that has clearly not been the case, albeit the massive DXN sell-off is reflecting badly upon the platform which facilitated the token sale.

    DXN and COB Prices Collapse

    To put this in perspective, the DXN trading chart seemingly confirms a lot of tokens are being dumped by the team themselves. With the price falling from $0.15 to $0.02022 in very quick succession, a lot of buy orders were wiped on the exchange without too many problems. This is not uncommon behavior when a new ICO token makes its way to an exchange. In fact, back in 2017, this was an almost daily occurrence, yet it seemed things have calmed down a bit ever since.

    Ever since that massive dip, the DXN price has begun to rebound quite sharply on Cobinhood. So much even that there is plenty of buy support to keep the price near the $0.12 mark at this time. As normal users cannot sell their tokens as of yet, it seems the rebound may offer a glimpse of hope. It is unclear if the DEXON team has any additional tokens to sell at this time. If that were to be the case, things could get rather hairy in the future.

    All of these circumstances have also caused the Cobinhood token – known as COB –  to go through a massive price decline. More specifically, the value per COB is down by over 60% across the board, in the past 36 hours. This in itself allowed even more people to believe Cobinhood had effectively pulled an exit scam and how they are now selling off their own tokens. However, the price of COB – both in ETH and BTC value – is rebounding as well after a rough day. There is still plenty of volatility, but the price has begun climbing higher again. Very odd developments, to say the very least.

    The Bankruptcy Claims are Real

    On the internet, there will always be some clams which are not factually correct. Some people state how Cobinhood has filed for bankruptcy, which is not the case. It is true its parent company  Cobbingham Digital Finance Co, Ltd has indeed filed for bankruptcy this week, although this will not cause Cobinhood to stop functioning. It is possible this bankruptcy rumor is the main reason why the price of COB collapsed, as can be seen above. Other factors may be at play as well since there is still a lot of uncertainty at this time.

    The bankruptcy claim of Cobbingham Digital Finance is not nefast for Cobinhood for a very specific reason. Cobbingham is a subsidiary of Blocktopia Inc, which will ensure Cobinhood can continue to operate for the foreseeable future. Until the official paperwork is submitted, there will be plenty of speculation as to how things will progress from here on out. For exchange users, it would appear there is nothing to be concerned about just yet, but those who can withdraw funds from the platform might be better off doing so as quickly as possible.


    Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency.

     

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