April 21, 2018

Turkey repatriates gold from US in bid to ditch dollar

Turkey’s gold reserves are estimated at 564 tons and are worth about $20 billion, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported. This makes Ankara the 11th largest gold holder, behind the Netherlands and ahead of India. The reports come at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken a tough stance against the US currency.

Death knell tolls for the euro as more European nations repatriate gold – expert to RT

This week he criticized dollar loans and said that international loans should be given in gold instead. “Why do we make all loans in dollars? Let’s use another currency. I suggest that the loans should be made based on gold,” Erdoğan said during a speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul on April 16, according to Hurriyet.

“With the dollar the world is always under exchange rate pressure. We should save states and nations from this exchange rate pressure. Gold has never been a tool of oppression throughout history,” he added.

On April 11, the Turkish lira hit a record low against the dollar.

Turkey is among several countries which have been moving gold from the US. The wave began in 2012, when Venezuela announced it was repatriating 160 tons of gold, valued at around $9 billion. Germany’s Bundesbank then demanded 300 tons be returned, with the Fed saying it would take seven years to do so. The Netherlands has also repatriated 122.5 tons of gold.

“The central banks started the repatriation already a few years ago, meaning before we had Brexit, Catalonia, Trump, AFD or the rising tensions between the Politburo in Brussels and the nations of Eastern Europe,” Claudio Grass of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland told RT.

According to him, the world is becoming less centralized. “If we follow this trend, it should be obvious that the next step should be an even bigger break up into smaller units than the nation state. With such geopolitical fragmentation comes also the decentralization of power.”

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424670-gold-turkey-repatriation-dollar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Last of the Newsies?

“So many hurricanes I can remember,” he said with a rueful chuckle. “Three hundred and 65 days, without fail.”

He has an uneasy relationship with this White House, which has alternately welcomed and shunned him; the current administration has restricted entry to a foyer where Mr. Singh would shelter on the coldest and wettest nights. The past months’ relentless chill has been especially punishing.

But there are two good reasons Mr. Singh has prevailed so long at this Upper West Side corner: his iron devotion to the job, and his customers’ devotion to him.

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Mr. Singh in more bustling times (note the number of papers available for sale).

One by one over the years, they have each made the silent decision to continue buying from him, paying full newsstand prices and often walking blocks out of their way, past other vendors, rather than reading the news online or getting home delivery.

They fetch his takeout meals and draw him into conversation. They buy him warm coats and scarves and sneakers. Some trade emails about his health, which has been remarkably robust despite an occasional scare. (“He didn’t get to the corner until 5:30 instead of his usual 3,” a neighbor messaged to another on a morning in 2014. “He said he has to down cough syrup twice in the night now, and this time it knocked him out.”)

A physician in the White House arranged for a free chest X-ray. The superintendent at another building lets Mr. Singh into the basement for bathroom breaks. Customers stand guard over his papers until he returns.

A man of quiet ways, Mr. Singh can be gloomy and taciturn one day, lively and opinionated the next; his mood varies with the weather and the headlines. Yet his regulars, most of them middle-aged or older, speak of him with warmth, and something more.

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“I’ve stayed with Singh out of loyalty,” said Ken Coughlin, who runs a legal-information website and has been buying The New York Times from him every day for at least 20 years, at a cost now of about $1,250 a year. “He’s a fixture in the neighborhood, a fixture in my life. I want to support him.”

Lee Herman, a curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, has been a patron since Mr. Singh first showed up. “You see this guy, with wind chill of 11 below, out there selling papers,” Mr. Herman said. “He’s got a life that’s extraordinary — what he has to go through to live.”

These neighbors know little about that life, or one another’s, but Mr. Singh knows all their preferences and quirks. He notices when they miss a day, and offers to save their papers. He serves noncustomers, too — clearing trash from the sidewalk, warning subway riders when trains aren’t running, feeding the birds and dogs (“my other customers,” he calls them), holding the door when White House residents need a hand.

His own home is a rent-controlled apartment in an S.R.O. hotel 20 blocks north, where he lives alone. He has no family in the United States. For Mr. Singh, it’s all about the corner.

“If I am not there for my neighbors, then I feel bad,” he said. “I like my customers. I do my duty.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/dining/last-of-the-newsies.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Sketch Guy: Fake Experts Abound. Here’s How to Find (and Be) a Real One.

I didn’t realize that there was a way to fix this problem. In fact, I didn’t even know exactly what the problem was until I read David Baker’s new book, “The Business of Expertise.”

What’s so compelling about Mr. Baker is that he’s an expert on being an expert. And because he is so knowledgeable about what true expertise entails, he is able to help both real and fake experts alike. If you’re a fake expert, this book will teach you how to become a real expert (assuming you actually care about that). And if you’re a real expert, this book is a road map to converting your insight into greater impact and financial security.

One of Mr. Baker’s key insights is the decoupling of time and results. Experts can often see a problem and quickly provide a solution, and that makes them valuable, even though it appears easy and quick in each instance.

In fact, it’s not easy at all. You become an expert through repeated exposure to similar patterns. After doing hundreds of financial planning meetings with new or potential clients, I started noticing those patterns. Eventually, I got to the point where in the first 10 minutes of asking about people’s goals, I often knew exactly where they were headed, what sort of risk they might be comfortable with and where the challenges might be.

Don’t worry that you won’t be rewarded for your speed, once you do get faster. Recall the tale of the old lady with the squeaky floorboard. It had been squeaky for 20 years. She finally called the wise old carpenter. He came in, stepped on the floorboard once and then twice, then took out a hammer and nail. Finally, he pounded the nail into the floorboard.

He handed the lady a $100 invoice, and she wanted to know why 10 minutes of his time required such a big payment. “Oh,” said the carpenter. “I forgot to itemize that.”

Nail: $1.00

Knowing where to pound nail: $99.00

She paid. And Mr. Baker taught me much more about the value of knowing exactly where to pound.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/your-money/experts-david-baker.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Disaster looms over Libyan oil

Some media reports say he is dead, others insist he is alive. If we are to trust a quote by Libyan Express of the French foreign minister, Haftar is alive and recovering after medical treatment in Paris. Yet, the possibility of him losing his position of power has already fueled fears about the future of Libya and its oil wealth. These fears are very likely to stoke oil prices further.

China can succeed with petro-yuan where Gaddafi failed – killing the US dollar in oil trade

Haftar’s LNA, affiliated with the eastern Libyan government based in Tobruk and not recognized by the UN, was responsible for the revival of Libya’s oil industry after two years ago it retook the four export terminals in the Oil Crescent from the Petroleum Facilities Guard. The LNA made it possible for the National Oil Corporation to lift the country’s daily production rate to one million barrels and above. That’s up from about 300,000 bpd before the takeover of the terminals.

The task has not been easy, however, and this fact highlights the dangers inherent in what could turn out to be an inflection point for Libyan politics and oil. As one commenter, Tarek Megerisi, said, even if he is alive, Haftar is an elderly man and no certain successor for him at the helm of the LNA has been picked.

Libya’s recovering oil production has been a swing factor for oil prices since 2016. When it was on the rise, prices fell. Yet there were so many outages as various groups vied for attention and money by blockading pipelines and oilfields that prices rose on news from Libya pretty much as often as they fell on reports from the North African nation that sports the largest oil reserves on the continent.

In this context, it’s safe to assume the first thing that happens in case Haftar is incapacitated would be a resurgence of rival factions, including extremists that he squashed, seeking to regain lost ground and influence. Those intimately familiar with the situation in Libya such as Megerisi note that the LNA itself is far from a solid, coherent organization. There are internal rivalries as the army is made up of regular military personnel, tribal forces, and various militias. So, the short version of what will happen in case of Haftar’s demise is chaos.

Analysts interviewed by CNBC have suggested that if the LNA gets beheaded, its rivals—and probably parts of it—will rush to the Oil Crescent to secure control over whatever part of the oil producing and exporting infrastructure they can. Production will naturally be disrupted and so will exports, until the dust settles, if ever.

One conservative estimate of the effect of this chaos on oil production from Eurasia Group is for a 200,000-bpd decline. This is an amount substantial enough to push prices higher, especially now that global supply is tightening thanks to OPEC’s efforts, but mostly on the back of Venezuela’s strife. Exactly how high prices will jump is difficult to say, but with a sufficient degree of chaos in Libya, Brent could inch a lot closer to the $80US level that Saudi Arabia now eyes as its preferred price.

Read More on Oilprice.com: The one man who could send oil to $100

And there’s something else. Even if Haftar is alive and indeed well, chaos may resurface. Yesterday media reported that the LNA’s chief of staff survived an assassination attack with a car bomb. Though it is unclear who was behind the attempt, Libya experts believe the LNA is a blink away from internal fragmentation, which will doubtless spread outside the organization and embolden rival groups to make a power grab for the country’s oil.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424653-disaster-looms-libyan-oil/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Lee Holley, Cartoonist of Teenage Life in ‘Ponytail,’ Dies at 85

Newspapers liked “Ponytail” because the strip attracted younger readers, Greg Beda, who is writing a biography of Mr. Holley, said in a phone interview.

“I think ‘Ponytail’ was the best panel to get teenagers to read the newspaper versus other comics,” he said.

Gordon Leroy Holley was born on April 20, 1932, in Phoenix and grew up, with a brother and sister, in Watsonville, Calif. His father, Gordon Virgil Holley, was a machinist; his mother, the former Vida Marie Canada, was a nurse’s aide.

Lee Holley showed artistic talent from a young age. In high school he began taking on commissioned work and painted a wall mural for a local ice cream shop depicting archetypal teenagers playing basketball and sharing milkshakes with two straws.

After graduating, he joined the Navy in 1951 and was stationed on an aircraft carrier during the Korean War as a weapons inspector. He spent his free time drawing cartoons and comic strips for the Navy publications “Our Navy Magazine” and “All Hands.”

Mr. Holley attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1955 and was later hired by Warner Bros. Studios to work for the animator Friz Freleng’s award-winning “Looney Tunes” unit.

Lee Holley draws Dennis the Menace Ponytail in Color – 9/2/2013 – Aptos, CA Video by TheEphemeralNow

By 1958, he was assisting Mr. Ketcham as a ghost illustrator of the popular “Dennis the Menace” strip, handling the comic’s art for the Sunday papers, cereal box advertisements and “Dennis the Menace” books. In a 2005 autobiography, Mr. Ketcham described Mr. Holley as a “young fitness nut and a clever cartoonist with a special affinity for the younger generation.”

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Branching out on his own with “Ponytail” in 1960, Mr. Holley signed on with King Features Syndicate, which began distributing the comic to about 300 newspapers internationally.

Although “Emmy Lou” and “Penny” predated “Ponytail” in focusing on American teenagers, the dialogue in Mr. Holley’s comics was often considered the most authentic.

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In 1963, he revealed on the television quiz show “To Tell the Truth” that he conducted field research by chatting up teenagers at pizza parlors and attending dances. He subscribed to publications like “Teen Beat” and “Seventeen” and even went back to his own high school to sit in on classes, he told Hogan’s Alley, a magazine of the comic arts, in 1999.

He also wove his own family members into the story lines.

“Ponytail’s boyfriend, Donald, was our brother Donald; Ponytail’s father was like our dad,” his sister, Donna Roberts, said in an interview. “He drew on those memories.”

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Mr. Holley also drew characters for the “Looney Tunes” and “Porky Pig” books by Gold Key Comics during the 1970s, and succeeded Greg Walker in drawing the “Bugs Bunny” newspaper comic from 1980 to 1988.

By 1988, the number of newspapers still publishing “Ponytail” had dwindled, and Mr. Holley retired the following year.

In addition to his daughter and sister, he is survived by his wife, Patricia; his brother, Donald; another daughter from a previous marriage, Susan Carothers; two grandchildren and a great-grandson. His first marriage, to Dorothy Crosetti, ended in divorce in the 1950s.

What Mr. Holley enjoyed most about his career was the freedom it gave him, he told Hogan’s Alley.

“There was no one telling me what to do,” he said. “I had deadlines, but other than that I was on my own. It really wasn’t work to me.”

Cartoonist Lee Holley draws Bugs Bunny – 7/12/2013 – Aptos, CA Video by TheEphemeralNow

Doris Burke contributed research.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/obituaries/lee-holley-cartoonist-of-teenage-life-in-ponytail-dies-at-85.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Russia won’t halt titanium supplies to US – trade minister

The minister compared the pointlessness of such a ban with restrictions imposed by the Ukrainian authorities on exports of gas turbines used by Russian shipbuilders as part of sanctions against Moscow.

Russia to stop exporting titanium to Boeing in counter-sanctions against US – draft law

“We assume that we will not follow because that would first of all affect shipments of (titanium components producer) VSMPO-Avisma and of its Russian-American joint-venture,” Manturov said in an interview with a local TV channel. “Why take decisions that have an adverse impact on our enterprises, on our producers?”

Last week, Russian Senator Sergey Ryabukhin said that the Federation Council considered adopting the ban on titanium exports to the US as part of a counter-sanction plan. The proposed measure was reportedly in retaliation to the penalties Washington imposed on Russia earlier this month.

VSMPO-Avisma, which holds the country’s monopoly on titanium, met the claim with deep concerns, saying that Russia may lose its hard-won share on the global titanium market if the Kremlin halts exports to the US plane and spacecraft manufacturer Boeing. Avisma exports 70 percent of its titanium to Boeing and operates a joint-venture with the American plane-maker in the Urals.

According to Boeing’s Russian affiliate, the aircraft maker is projected to purchase $18 billion in Russian titanium over the next 10 years.

In early April, the US government introduced new penalties against Russia by including 24 individuals and 14 major entities in different sectors of the economy into the sanctions list. Washington accuses Moscow of “a range of malign activity around the globe.”

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/424643-russia-ban-titanium-exports-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

In a Trade War, China Might Boycott U.S. Goods. That Could Backfire.

William Zarit, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said a boycott “is one of the many tools that the Chinese have in their toolbox.”

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“Because of the structure of the government and the political power of the party, they can call for a boycott and get a pretty good response,” Mr. Zarit said. “So that concerns me.”

Taicang, a 90-minute drive from Shanghai, underscores how interdependent the two economies are.

Some of the biggest names in corporate America, like Honeywell and Exxon Mobil, have converged on this city of close to a million people. Its economy is growing faster than the country’s as a whole. It is richer than Shanghai on a per-capita basis. Last year, Taicang topped a list of China’s 10 happiest “county-level cities” for the second year in a row.

In a sprawling factory, Procter Gamble makes its Head Shoulders, Pantene and Vidal Sassoon shampoos and then distributes them along with other cosmetics and skin care products. When the factory opened, the company said it would provide 1,500 jobs for Chinese workers. Across town is a 200,000-square-meter Nike logistics center, which that company has also said would employ 1,500 people.

In total, 42 American factories are in the Taicang economic development zone, with a total annual output value of about $4.7 billion, the government of the much larger city of Suzhou, which administers Taicang, said in February.

The influx of money can be seen in the relative affluence of the Procter Gamble employees, most of whom drive Japanese-made cars to work. One female employee, surnamed Li, said workers were confident that what they made in the factory would appeal to Chinese consumers, who she said were rational about what they bought.

Analysts say Beijing is aware of the importance of American companies to China’s economy. Ernan Cui, a consumer analyst at the research firm Gavekal Dragonomics, said a boycott could have many victims.

“Due to the integration of the economies, whatever China does to the U.S. will end up hurting itself,” Ms. Cui said.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/business/china-trade-us-boycott.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Toxicologists Clash on Drug in Cosby Sex Assault Trial

Dr. Rohrig said diphenhydramine has been used in numerous cases of “drug-facilitated sexual assault.” He said the effects of Benadryl would take 15-30 minutes to begin, and would reach their peak in one to two hours. The drug has been produced in round, blue pills, like the ones Ms. Constand said she took, but has also been available in oblong or oval shapes, Dr. Rohrig said.

When Mr. Ryan asked Dr. Rohrig to describe the effects of quaaludes, which Mr. Cosby has said he has given to women he wanted to have sex with, Dr. Rohrig said the sedative would make the user sleepy. He said quaaludes were used as a party drug in the 1970s and were believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Dr. Harry A. Milman, a pharmacologist and toxicologist from Rockville, Md., who has worked for the American Cancer Institute, a prosecution witness, denied that Ms. Constand would have experienced the symptoms she described by taking the amount of Benadryl that came up in the case, as stated by Mr. Cosby.

“The symptoms that she described after taking a therapeutic dose would not have occurred within 10 to 15 minutes,” Dr. Milman said, under direct examination from Becky James, an attorney for Mr. Cosby.

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He said the symptoms Ms. Constand described were “severe” and would have led regulators to prevent the drugs’ being sold over the counter.

Ms. James asked Dr. Milman whether he agreed with Dr. Rohrig that Ms. Constand’s symptoms could have been caused by Benadryl.

“I saw no evidence that Ms. Constand took any drug, Benadryl or otherwise,” he said during more than four hours on the witness stand. He argued that there was “absolutely no objective evidence” such as blood, hair or urine samples to back up Ms. Constand’s claims.

Because Ms. Constand did not report the incident to police immediately, no traces of any drug she might have taken would be present.

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Under cross-examination from Mr. Ryan, Dr. Milman told the court that he was being paid $675 an hour as an expert witness in the case.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas told the jury of seven men and five women that testimony is likely to end early next week, sooner than he had previously anticipated, after several more defense witnesses are called on Friday and Monday.

Mr. Cosby faces three charges of aggravated indecent assault in connection with the episode Ms. Constand reported. Mr. Cosby denies the charges and says the sexual contact was consensual. Five other women testified last week that they believed Mr. Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them.

Mr. Cosby’s first trial in the case ended in a hung jury last June.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/arts/television/bill-cosby-sexual-assault-trial.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

AT&T Chief Attacks Lawsuit to Block Time Warner Merger

The trial is expected to wrap up in coming days after rebuttal arguments by the Justice Department and closing statements by both sides. Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who is presiding over the case, is expected to make a decision on the suit as early as the end of May.

In cross-examination of Mr. Stephenson, the Justice Department’s lead litigator, Craig Conrath, picked apart the portrayal of ATT as under siege by Silicon Valley. Mr. Conrath said the key difference between ATT and tech companies is that ATT is in a powerful position as the company that provides broadband access to the internet — a service that Netflix and Amazon don’t offer.

Mr. Conrath also presented a friendly email from June 2017 between Mr. Stephenson and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in which Mr. Zuckerberg offered to help build ATT’s ad platform. Mr. Conrath questioned the offer of “cooperation,” suggesting there was less of a rivalry between the companies than Mr. Stephenson had said.

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Mr. Stephenson dismissed the significance of the email with Mr. Zuckerberg. Mr. Zuckerberg was following up on a casual meeting the executives had during an annual media industry gathering of executives in Sun Valley, Idaho, he said.

Mr. Stephenson’s testimony followed that of Jeffrey Bewkes, the chief executive of Time Warner, on Wednesday. On the stand, Mr. Bewkes voiced similar arguments about the threats that their legacy companies face from tech companies. The executives said their deal was struck in August 2016 over a long lunch in New York where they became convinced they needed to merge.

The key disadvantage that ATT and Time Warner face is their slow start in behavioral advertising and marketing, Mr. Stephenson said. Both companies do not collect or analyze the habits of television and web users in the same way that Comcast does with cable subscribers and that Google and Facebook do on their platforms.

Mr. Stephenson said Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook are all investing in premium video content to collect increasing amounts of data on users who would spend longer times on their sites and visit more often.

The ATT chief spent much of his time talking about the history of the company. He spoke directly to Judge Leon to explain the company’s evolution from a phone company to one that seeks to make money from advertising and subscriptions for consumers who will watch much of their videos on mobile devices.

Mr. Stephenson attacked the Justice Department’s underlying theory that the company would threaten to withhold Time Warner content to raise prices on other cable and satellite distributors. He said that argument “defies logic.”

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“The value of a content company is how many people watch the content. Period,” Mr. Stephenson said.

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/technology/att-ceo-time-warner-merger.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Up Next: BuzzFeed’s Eugene Lee Yang Mixes Humor With Social Commentary

Age 32

Hometown: Pflugerville, Tex.

Now Lives: In a 1950s two-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood, Calif.

Claim to Fame: Mr. Yang is an online personality and film director who is best known for his role on BuzzFeed’s “The Try Guys.” The show blends whimsical humor with earnest social commentary through outlandish scenarios, like simulating labor pains and checking for prostate cancer in a doctor’s office. As the series has taken off over multiple seasons, he has become a prolific comedic performer and a role model for other Asian-American social media stars.

Big Break: After graduating from film school at the University of Southern California, Mr. Yang found his way to the video branch of BuzzFeed in 2014, where he was given free rein to experiment with writing and directing novel story formats. His early work explored pervasive stereotypes about Asian-Americans and body issues, including the popular, “Women’s Ideal Body Types Throughout History,” which, with more than 44 million views on YouTube, remains one of BuzzFeed’s most watched. The positive reaction to the candor and reliability of some of these early works encouraged sketches examining even more provocative topics, leading to the conception of the Try Guys.

Latest Project: Mr. Yang plans to leave BuzzFeed this year and start his own production company with the rest of the Try Guys cast. There he hopes to create innovative unscripted comedy that digs into the psyche of millennials and sensationalized internet culture.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/style/buzzfeed-eugene-lee-yang.html?partner=rss&emc=rss