January 27, 2020

Worried Reporters Make a Plea: Please Buy Our Paper

Last year, the parent company of the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, GateHouse Media, bought the second largest chain, Gannett, in a merger valued at $1.2 billion. That deal was also driven by the banking industry. The new company, named Gannett, is controlled by a private equity firm, Fortress Investment Group, which itself is owned by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank. The merger also received nearly $2 billion in financing from another private equity firm, Apollo Global Management.

On the day the deal went through, the company’s leader, Michael E. Reed, spoke of “inefficiencies” at the new Gannett and described the NewsGuild, the union that represents journalists at many of its papers, as “a big problem.”

Like Mr. Marx and Mr. Jackson in Chicago, journalists in other cities have made moves to protect their jobs — by working to form unions, seeking out new ownership or generally raising a ruckus.

Journalists at The Baltimore Sun, a Tribune Publishing newspaper, have sought buyers among local entrepreneurs and foundations, said Scott Dance, a weather and environment reporter and unit chair of the union there. The prospects include the Abell Foundation — endowed by the namesake family that owned The Sun until its 1986 sale to Times Mirror, a newspaper company that merged with Tribune Publishing’s predecessor in 2000.

In Oakland last month, journalists at the Alden-owned Bay Area News Group, a ring of daily and community papers that has lost nearly 100 jobs since 2016, leafleted a Christmas tree lighting, warning about “Alden Global Capital and the Destruction of Local News.”

“They clearly do not value the newspaper mission,” said George Kelly, a Bay Area News Group reporter. “We’ve been asking for Alden to invest or get out.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/26/business/media/newspaper-reporters-hedge-funds.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

Site That Ran Anti-Semitic Remarks Got Passes for Trump Trip

TruNews, which Mr. Wiles founded as an online radio program in 1999 called America’s Hope, has a history of spreading conspiracy theories and proclaiming an imminent apocalypse. It drew more scrutiny in November after Mr. Wiles, in an online video, accused Jews of orchestrating Mr. Trump’s impeachment.

“That’s the way Jews work,” Mr. Wiles said. “They are deceivers. They plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda. This ‘Impeach Trump’ movement is a Jew coup, and the American people better wake up to it really fast.”

Mr. Wiles also warned his listeners that “when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.”

Afterward, Representatives Ted Deutch of Florida and Elaine Luria of Virginia, wrote to the White House asking why TruNews had been allowed to attend presidential events. They did not receive a response.

The White House declined to comment for this article. In the past, the administration has faced lawsuits after revoking press credentials from reporters from CNN and Playboy.

On the phone from Switzerland, Mr. Wiles explained how his Davos trip had come about.

“We’re on a list of media organizations at the White House and from time to time they send out notices that there are events taking place,” Mr. Wiles said, adding that his team had also covered Mr. Trump’s visits to NATO summits and Group of 20 gatherings. He said that he received an email from the White House about the Davos trip and that his request to attend was approved.

The team from TruNews — three correspondents and a two-person production crew — stayed at a hotel where the White House had reserved a block of rooms for the use of American journalists. (As with a wedding block, those who used the rooms paid the hotel directly.) Reporters spotted Mr. Wiles at the breakfast buffet at the hotel, the Privà Alpine Lodge.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/26/business/media/trunews-white-house-press-credentials.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

Brazil breaks oil production record

The daily average stood at 3.106 million bpd, up 7.78 percent on 2018, ANP also said.

More than half of the total oil production Brazil recorded in 2019 came from the prolific presalt zone off its coast. The contribution of the presalt zone stood at 633.98 million barrels, which was an annual improvement of 21.56 percent.

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Brazil’s crude oil production topped 3 million barrels per day for the first time ever in November 2019, the ANP reported last month, adding that total oil and gas production rose to 3.95 million barrels of oil equivalent daily – also a record-breaking figure.

The strong output result came on the back of ongoing ramp-up of production at eight new floating production, storage, and offloading facilities. The ramp-up added more than 100,000 bpd to the country’s total production between October and November.

The presalt zone has become the center of attention of the Brazilian oil industry now that the government settled its dispute with Petrobras regarding the handling of an area that falls within the zone. The area could hold up to 15 billion barrels of untapped crude, which would double Brazil’s total reserves to 30 billion barrels and make it the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.

Also on rt.com All eyes on OPEC as another oil glut looms

Meanwhile, it emerged that Brazil may join OPEC soon, with talks likely to begin in July this year. Brazil’s president is on board with the idea—Jair Bolsonaro said last October that Saudi Arabia had invited Brazil to join the cartel—but the industry is not so enthusiastic.

If the country becomes an OPEC member it would have to comply with production control agreements at a time of rising oil production, and Petrobras plans to further the rise. This could be precisely why OPEC wants Brazil to become a member: according to the group’s production forecasts, Brazil will be the second-largest contributor of non-OPEC production growth this year, after the United States.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/479099-brazil-oil-production-record/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

India Restores Some Internet Access in Kashmir After Long Shutdown

The lifting of restrictions on Saturday applied only to 301 “whitelisted” websites. Among them were entertainment platforms like Netflix and Amazon and some international news outlets, including The New York Times. Many Indian publications remained blocked, along with all social media. Mobile data access was also restored, though it was limited to 2G connections.

“It is very slow — and a good joke,” said Sajeel Majid, 35, a restaurant owner in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir. “India wants to deceive the world by saying we have restored internet, but we can’t even access email with 2G speed.”

Though some Kashmiris said the partial restoration of internet services could bring some semblance of normalcy to the region, they pointed out that shops remained largely shut and troops were still posted everywhere. Over the last week, around half a dozen Kashmiri militants were killed in gun battles with Indian forces, who have been accused of torturing civilians and using excessive force against protesters.

In a statement, the government of Jammu and Kashmir said continued internet restrictions were necessary to prevent the “propagation of terror activities” and the “circulation of inflammatory material.” Officials said they would approve more websites in the coming days.

India has increasingly come under scrutiny, both domestically and abroad, for cutting off the internet, a tactic more commonly associated with dictatorships than democracies. The country tops the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with 134 last year, according to SFLC.in, a legal advocacy group in New Delhi that tracks such restrictions.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/26/world/asia/kashmir-internet-shutdown-india.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

‘Cash is trash’, says billionaire investor Ray Dalio

“Everybody is missing out, so everybody wants to get in,” Dalio told CNBC, referring to people who have been reluctant to put money in stocks.

“You have to have balance… and I think you have to have a certain amount of gold in your portfolio,” said the founder of Bridgewater Associates.

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Dalio has been bullish about the yellow metal, advocating for nearly three years that between five and 10 percent of investors’ portfolios should be in gold.

He has warned that investors should get out of cash, as central banks continue to print money. “Cash is trash. Get out of cash. There’s still a lot of money in cash,” he said.

The billionaire also warned against more speculative investments like bitcoin. “There are two purposes of money, a medium of exchange and a store hold of wealth, and bitcoin is not effective in either of those cases now,” he said.

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Dalio’s firm, Bridgewater, manages about $160 billion. He has been repeatedly calling for investors to avoid staying on the sidelines of the stock market and in 2018 declared that those holding cash were “going to feel pretty stupid” for missing the market’s run-up.

Although the American investor said that he sees a low chance of a recession in 2020, he warned investors to look out further ahead. The risks arise from current monetary policy, which will be less effective when a downturn does come.

“At a point in the future, we still are going to think about what’s a storeholder of wealth. Because when you get negative-yielding bonds or something, we are approaching a limit that will be a paradigm shift,” he said.

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

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/478904-cash-is-trash-ray-dalio/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

EU carbon tax more about political wrangling than tackling climate change, analysts tell RT

Since taking office in December, Ursula von der Leyen has been pushing for the Green Deal, aiming to make Europe the “world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.” The approach includes tax on imports from non-EU countries with less-strict ecological rules. By doing this, Brussels claims it wants to prevent so-called carbon leakage, so importers from countries with “lower ambition for emission reduction” do not benefit from European producers abiding by strict green rules. 

However, the move could be more about raising tax revenue for the EU and gaining political leverage than climate change, according to Richard Werner, university professor in banking and finance at Linacre College, Oxford. While the tax may not be implemented for many years, von der Leyen may currently use her warnings as part of the trade war between China and the US, he noted. 

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“It’s more about political things like protection[ism] or just a bargaining chip in the trade negotiations with China,” Werner said in an interview with RT.

German economist Max Otte, professor at the University of Applied Sciences in Worms as well as the head of the Cologne-based IFVE institute for asset management, believes that the initiative could be both about ecological concerns and additional benefits for Brussels. The distinctive “positive side effect” of it, however, is that Europe is trying to stand up for its rights in opposition to the US, which has been turning away from global climate initiatives.

“Europe is becoming an actor of its own rights because right now as you know it is dominated by the US,” Otte told RT, adding that it could become a step towards a more common European stance on trade.

1 Greta Thunberg’s dream world would cause ‘a human tragedy of disastrous proportions’ – economist to RT

But the idea needs the approval of all 28 members of the economic bloc and that’s where it could face roadblocks, other analysts believe. The EU is already split on many issues, with the views of the “core countries” that currently have surpluses like Germany and the Netherlands far from those facing deficits, like Italy and Spain. On the other hand, non-eurozone states, which kept their own currencies, tend to stand for their policies, including the economy. They have already “resisted quite a few directives” from Brussels and the proposed tax will not be an exception, according to Werner.

“The reality is protectionism has come back somewhat similar to what we saw in the 1930s. And so it’s just fueling the flames of this antagonism between trading partners,” he said.

Who is gonna pay for EU’s green policies?

The implementation of the carbon border tax would eventually lead to another tariff war, as other countries won’t sit idle and will impose tit-for-tat levies, analysts note.

Thus the US, which does not have strict nationwide climate policies, could be one of the first to be hit with tariffs. But as a large and vital market for many European importers, Washington could exploit its position and eventually win this conflict, said Dr Marco Springmann, senior researcher on environmental sustainability and public health at the Oxford Martin School.

“In this political climate, it can easily get out of hand, where we have retaliatory tariffs from the US side,” Springmann said. “Modern analysis shows that because the US is such a big country, they can actually benefit from putting on more taxes.”

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If importers are finally forced to pay this tax, it could hurt some leading European economies, and Germany in particular. Despite the initiative falling in line with German environmental concerns, it could still backfire severely on its key auto industry as steel imports would inevitably be affected.

“European countries are complete commodity importers, they need almost all commodities in the whole world then certainly… it can hurt German economy very much,” Professor Werner said.

Despite the obvious consequences for its carmakers, Berlin is likely to support the idea, according to German economist Max Otte. He noted that the measure could actually boost demand for domestic products, eventually driving wages higher. But consumers will feel the impact of carbon tax as prices in all energy consuming industries – like travel, construction and auto manufacturing – are set to surge.

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

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/479055-eu-carbon-tax-about-money/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Russell Simmons Documentary Premieres Amid Controversy

Ziering and Dick, who have spent the past decade revealing sexual assault in the military (“The Invisible War”) and on college campuses (“The Hunting Ground”), begin tracking Dixon in the wake of the #MeToo movement, after an explosive column by the screenwriter Jenny Lumet alleging abuse against Simmons. Dixon’s claims are similar, and the film focuses on her as she grapples with her fears about how the black community will respond.

She also admits to idolizing Simmons when he first hired her: “Russell Simmons was who I wanted to be,” she says in the film. “I couldn’t have scripted it better.”

Recalling Anita Hill’s claims against Clarence Thomas when he was nominated for the Supreme Court, and Desiree Washington’s accusations against Mike Tyson, Dixon agonizes over whether she wants to go public, fearing that she is up against a force much larger than herself. “I’m never going to be that person,” she says in the film. “The black community is going to hate my guts.”

The documentary also discusses the culture at the time: misogyny in the music business, both in specifics when it came to hip-hop, and in general terms, pointing out that the rap genre didn’t invent the use of degrading images of women in its music videos. #MeToo founder Tarana Burke is also a frequent voice, adding commentary about black women’s place in the movement, and their feelings of alienation. “Black women feel like they have to support black men,” she said.

The movie returns to the Simmons case and other women’s stories: Abrams, a former model who had a relationship with him, tells her abuse story and the aftermath, when she tried to kill herself. “I’m a failure, a chew toy for men of power,” she says in the documentary. Hines, from the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies, also tells her story, agonizing over its consequences.

The film concludes with a tearful meeting between Abrams, Dixon and Lumet. The three join together for a survivor’s reunion, part commiseration over their shared experiences, part celebration of their recovery.

“I wish I could have come forward earlier,” Lumet says regretfully. “He could have left everyone else alone.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/25/movies/russell-simmons-documentary-controversy.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

Pompeo Denounces News Media, Undermining U.S. Message on Press Freedom

Some journalists pointed out that Mr. Pompeo appears to erupt more often at female reporters. In an interview with Deirdre Shesgreen of USA Today last year, Mr. Pompeo at one point repeated her name nine times: “No, not O.K., but. Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre, Deirdre. Not O.K., but.”

For some, Mr. Pompeo’s treatment of Ms. Kelly underlined a persistent hostility toward women. Cathryn Clüver, executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, said, “This secretary of state is a bully and a misogynist.”

Mr. Pompeo’s statement included a puzzling reference to Bangladesh: “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.”

The line implied, though did not specifically assert, that when Mr. Pompeo challenged Ms. Kelly to identify Ukraine, which is in Eastern Europe, on an unlabeled map, she had mistakenly pointed to Bangladesh, in South Asia. Ms. Kelly, who has a master’s in European studies from Cambridge University and has worked abroad, said Friday that she correctly identified Ukraine.

Mr. Pompeo has been widely criticized both within the State Department and outside for failing to defend veteran diplomats who testified last fall in the impeachment inquiry and who have been attacked publicly by Mr. Trump.

Last April, Mr. Pompeo played a pivotal role in Mr. Trump’s political plans involving Ukraine — at the heart of the impeachment charges — by ousting Marie L. Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine and an anticorruption advocate. After Ms. Kelly had asked whether he owed Ms. Yovanovitch an apology and whether he had tried to block Mr. Trump’s shadow Ukraine policy, Mr. Pompeo cut off the interview, which had gone on for only nine minutes.

“I’ve defended every single person on this team,” Mr. Pompeo said.

When Mr. Pompeo objected to the Ukraine questions, Ms. Kelly said she had told an aide a day earlier that it would be a topic of discussion.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/25/us/politics/pompeo-mary-louise-kelly.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

Stock market a ‘Ponzi scheme’ that eventually must collapse – Guggenheim

“We will reach a tipping point when investors will awake to the rising tide of defaults and downgrades,” Minerd wrote in a letter from the World Economic Forum meeting. “The timing is hard to predict, but this reminds me a lot of the lead-up to the 2001 and 2002 recession.”

He cited rising defaults despite a rally in riskier assets, and reiterated a warning that BBB-rated bonds risk further downgrades. The chief executive said that the type of debt is at a greater risk of deterioration than it was in 2007.

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Guggenheim Partners, which operates in the global investment and advisory space, manages more than $275 billion in assets as of September last year.

The company’s fixed-income chief Anne Walsh told Yahoo Finance that 15 percent of the US economy is already in recession.

According to her, the Federal Reserve’s efforts to pump liquidity into markets has created “zombie companies” that may see an outflow of capital as the utility of that money continues to diminish. The longer that this market runs, the harder the fall will be when it ends, she said.

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

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/478902-market-ponzi-scheme-must-collapse/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

India and Brazil sign over a DOZEN trade treaties as Bolsonaro makes first visit to New Delhi

President Bolsonaro, who became the first Brazilian head of state to visit India, had a seemingly productive one-on-one with Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day. The two leaders exchanged pleasantries and warm words before proceeding with talks – the most closely watched part of the meeting.

“Your visit to India has opened a new chapter in bilateral ties between India and Brazil,” Modi said in his media statement while greeting Bolsonaro.

At the end of the day, Brazil and India – both members of the informal BRICS bloc – inked 11 agreements, among them a Strategic Partnership Action Plan and a Bilateral Investment Treaty. Other documents related to bio-energy, cyber security, investment, health, and medicine.

Aside from key ministers, Bolsonaro’s delegation also included representatives of 50 major Brazilian companies ranging from civil aviation and agriculture to defense. As a so-called “chief guest,” he will attend Republic Day – India’s biggest holiday – later on Sunday.

While India and Brazil are the world’s largest emerging economies after China, they perform beyond their potential with bilateral trade amounting to some $8.2 billion a year. India’s red carpet rollout for Bolsonaro signals that New Delhi and Brasilia want their economic ties to thrive.

Also on rt.com As superpowers bicker, Brazil India chart their own course

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/479157-brazil-india-investment-trade/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS