en Car Rams Into Pedestrians In Islington Area Of London; One Male Arrested <p>A car has slammed into pedestrians on Essex Road outside the Old Queens Head Hotel in Islington, London prompting an immediate response by the police. The area is on lockdown. Initial reports state four people are suffering injuries - their condition awaits. The occupants exited from the car and fled the scene on foot.</p> <p>The incident, which took place just before 11pm London time, is feared to be a similar terror attack to the one at Westminster Bridge last week.</p> <p>However, according to a just released police statement, the incident is not being treated as terrorism related. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#EssexRoad</a> <a href="">#islington</a> on lock down <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Steph (@Steph_R_86) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Breaking - A car has ploughed through pedestrians in <a href="">#islington</a> <a href="">#London</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— The Banter Beast (@TheBanterBeast) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Steer clear of Essex road. <a href="">@MPSIslington</a> I have a lot of praise for you. Seconds to be on the scene. <a href="">#EssexRoad</a> <a href="">#Islington</a> <a href="">#N1</a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Steph (@Steph_R_86) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">#Breaking</a> A car has hit several people in Islington,London <a href=""></a></p> <p>— News This Second (@NewsThisSecond) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>According to a just released statement by the Metropolitan Police, they were called at approximately 22:55hrs on Saturday, 25 March to reports of a car in collision with a number of people in Essex Road, N1. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Statement following collision in Essex Road <a href="">#Islington</a> <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Officers and London Ambulance Service attended the scene; initial reports state four people are suffering injuries - their condition awaits. The occupants decamped from the car and fled the scene on foot.</p> <p>One male has been arrested; enquiries continue. </p> <p>Officers from Islington investigate. Road closures remain in place.</p> <p>The police adds that while enquiries into the circumstances continue, this is not being treated as terrorist related. </p> <p><em>Developing story</em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1468" height="888" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Geography of England Geography of London Islington London London Borough of Islington Metropolitan Police Officers and London Ambulance Service The Old Queens Head Twitter Twitter Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:33:45 +0000 Tyler Durden 591752 at Caught On Tape: Hong Kong's Longest Escalator Suddenly Reverses At High-Speed; Injures 18 <p>Rescue workers rushed to Langham Place <em>(a bustling shopping mall in Mong Kok, Hong Kong)</em> after the one of <strong>longest indoor escalators in the city stopped and reversed at high speed</strong> on Saturday afternoon.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="309" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p>Video footage obtained by <a href=";utm_medium=edm&amp;utm_content=20170325&amp;utm_campaign=breaking_news">The South China Morning Post </a>showed <strong>the 45m long escalator quickly changed directions at high speed, causing people to fall and pile up at the base of the escalator</strong>.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>In another video, some <strong>people could be heard screaming as others tumbled down the escalator</strong>. Others managed to grab the handrail and steady themselves.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src=";show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>Eyewitnesses said the <strong>14 women and four men lost their balance and rolled down the escalator.</strong> A police spokeswoman said one man suffered a head injury and was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 561px; height: 336px;" /></a></p> <p>A Langham Place spokesperson told Apple Daily that <strong>the escalator in question received a regular inspection every two weeks</strong>. The most recent inspection was conducted on Thursday, and showed that all mechanical parts operated normally.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;I was going up the escalator, and it was like two times faster than normal,&rdquo; a woman who injured her leg said at the scene.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I heard people screaming...the escalator was going down but the speed accelerated,&rdquo;</strong> the woman, who identified herself as Tina, said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;People started to panic... and some fell down.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>She recalled that the same escalator had stopped for a few minutes earlier in the day, around noon.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Langham Place, located at the heart of the busy Mong Kok shopping district, opened in 2004. The mall contains two long escalators from the fourth to the eight floor, and from the eight to the 12th.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="840" height="463" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple China Escalator Hong Kong Hong Kong Land transport Langham Langham Place Mong Kok Queen Elizabeth Hospital South China Stairways Transport Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591741 at "They're Like The Praetorian Guard" - Whistleblower Confirms NSA Targeted Congress, The Supreme Court, & Trump <p><em><a href="">Authored by Chris Menahan via,</a></em></p> <p>NSA whistleblower William Binney told Tucker Carlson on Friday that the <strong><em>NSA is spying on &quot;all the members of the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, both House and Senate, as well as the White House.&quot;</em></strong></p> <p>Binney, who served the NSA for 30 years before blowing the whistle on domestic spying in 2001, told Tucker he firmly believes that Trump was spied on.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&quot;They&#39;re taking in fundamentally the entire fiber network inside the United States and collecting all that data and storing it, in a program they call Stellar Wind,&quot;</strong></em> Binney said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;That&#39;s the domestic collection of data on US citizens, US citizens to other US citizens,&quot; he said. <strong><em>&quot;Everything we&#39;re doing, phone calls, emails and then financial transactions, credit cards, things like that, all of it.&quot;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&quot;Inside NSA there are a set of people who are -- and we got this from another NSA whistleblower who witnessed some of this -- they&#39;re inside there, they are targeting and looking at all the members of the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, both House and Senate, as well as the White House,&quot; </strong></em>Binney said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;And all this data is inside the NSA in a small group where they&#39;re looking at it. <strong>The idea is to see what people in power over you are going to </strong>-- what they think, what they think you should be doing or planning to do to you, your budget, or whatever so you can try to counteract before it actually happens,&quot; he said.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>&quot;I mean, that&#39;s just East German,&quot;</strong></em> Tucker responded.</p> <p>Rather than help prevent terrorist attacks, Binney said collecting so much information actually makes stopping attacks more difficult.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&quot;This bulk acquisition is inhibiting their ability to detect terrorist threats in advance so they can&#39;t stop them so people get killed as a result,&quot; he said.</em></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>&quot;Which means, you know, they pick up the pieces and blood after the attack. That&#39;s what&#39;s been going on. I mean they&#39;ve consistently failed. </em></strong><em>When Alexander said they&#39;d stop 54 attacks and he was challenged to produce the evidence to prove that he failed on every count.&quot;</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Binney concludes ominously indicating the origin of the deep state...</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&quot;They are like the praetorian guard, they determine what the emperor does and who the emperor is...&quot;</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Who&#39;s going to stop them?</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="269" height="189" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Binney Congress Global surveillance Government Mass surveillance National security National Security Agency Politics Privacy Russ Tice Senate Stellar Wind Supreme Court Surveillance Terrorist Surveillance Program White House White House William Binney Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591751 at US Confirms Coalition Airstrike In Mosul May Have Killed As Many As 240 Civilians <p>The US military confirmed on Saturday that a coalition airstrike had hit an Islamic State-held area of Iraq's Mosul where as many as 240 civilians may have been killed as result of the air raid. </p> <p>What happened in the incident on March 17 in Mosul al-Jadida district is still unclear according to <a href="">Reuters</a>. Some residents say a coalition air strike hit an explosive-filled truck, detonating a blast that collapsed buildings packed with families. Mosul municipality chief, Abdul Sattar al-Habbo, who is supervising the rescue, said 240 bodies had been pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings. Previous estimates from local officials had said around 130 people had died. While US officials say they are investigating, initial reports from residents and Iraqi officials in the past week said dozens of people had been killed after air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces. </p> <p>The US said the strike was at the request of the Iraqi forces. The American confirmation followed a decision by Iraqi government forces to pause their drive to recapture west Mosul on Saturday because of the high rate of civilian casualties.</p> <p>“An initial review of strike data from March 16-23 indicates that, at the request of the Iraqi Security Forces, the Coalition struck ISIS fighters and equipment, March 17, in West Mosul at the location corresponding to allegations of civilian casualties,” US Central Command said in a statement issued on Saturday.</p> <p>Videos of the deadly aftermath of the airstrike released on Friday show scores of dead bodies being pulled out of a completely destroyed building in western Mosul. There have also been reports by eyewitnesses who say over a hundred civilians were either killed or buried under rubble in the bombing raid.</p> <p> <iframe src="" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>At least 40 bodies had been recovered from collapsed buildings on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing Iraqi Civil Defense chief Brigadier Mohammed Al-Jawari. Many others were buried in the rubble, he added. </p> <p>The United Nations on Saturday expressed concern over the high number of civilian casualties in Mosul. “We are stunned by this terrible loss of life,” Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement.</p> <p>Saying that all allegations of civilian casualties are taken “seriously,” the Combined Joint Task Force said “a formal Civilian Casualty Credibility Assessment has been opened to determine the facts surrounding this strike and the validity of the allegation of civilian casualties.”</p> <p>With fighting intensifying to recapture Mosul, around half a million civilians remain in Islamic State-held areas in the west of the city, complicating use of air strikes and heavy artillery to drive the hardline militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq. Iraqi forces are pushing into Mosul's Old City, where fleeing residents say militants are hiding among the civilian population, sheltering in family homes and using the narrow alleyways and streets to their advantage.</p> <p>According to Reuters, an Iraqi Federal Police spokesman said on Saturday that operations to drive Islamic State out of western Mosul were halted because of the “high death toll among civilians inside the Old City.” Later, the Iraqi command denied this in a statement cited by Iraqi Alsumaria TV.</p> <p>A local <a href="">resident told RT</a>, whose crew is on the ground in Mosul, that “ISIS made us keep our door open, so they could get onto the roofs at any time. They even broke down the walls between houses so they could move around." Another witness added that "I don’t know why they were climbing onto our rooftops, whether it was to fight or to provoke airstrikes."</p> <p>Up to 600,000 civilians are still believed to remain in Islamic State-controlled areas of Mosul, according to Reuters. Some 700 civilians had been killed by government and coalition airstrikes in western Mosul since the launch of the offensive in late February, the agency added, citing unconfirmed reports from the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="720" height="478" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Battle of Mosul Combined Joint Task Force Disaster Iraq Iraqi Civil War 2014–present) Iraqi Federal Police Iraqi government Iraqi insurgency Iraqi Security Forces ISIS Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Levant Military Military history by country Mosul Mosul offensive Reuters Reuters U.S. Central Command United Nations US military Violence against Shia Muslims War Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:50:20 +0000 Tyler Durden 591750 at Priebus, Price Blamed For Healthcare Failure: NYT <p>On Friday morning, when it was still unclear if the GOP would round up enough votes to pass the Republican healthcare proposal, <a href="">we noted that Bloomberg reported </a>that as a "Plan B" contingency plan, Trump was preparing to sacrifice Paul Ryan, to wit "several Trump associates have already laid groundwork to blame the speaker" as well as potentially Reince Priebus. </p> <p>Trump's long-time friend, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy was quoted as saying “I think Paul Ryan did a major disservice to President Trump, I think the president was extremely courageous in taking on health care and trusted others to come through with a program he could sign off on. The President had confidence Paul Ryan would come up with a good plan and to me, it is disappointing.” Additionally, Bloomberg quoted a Trump associate who said that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus may also be imperiled.</p> <p>One day later, while the fate of Paul Ryan is still to be determined even as he will likely be responsible for setting the framework of Republican tax reform, <a href="">the NYT confirms </a>that the internal scapegoating has begun and that as hinted yesterday, the blame for the failure to get GOP support for ObamaCare repeal and replace legislation has <strong>increasingly fallen on White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other top administration officials.&nbsp; </strong>Specifically, the Times also reports that the blame for the legislative <strong>failure has fallen on Priebus, </strong>who was in charge of coordinating an initial plan on ObamaCare repeal with Speaker Paul Ryan, who for now appears to hve avoided Trump's direct wrath. To wit:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>On Friday evening, a somewhat shellshocked president retreated to the White House residence to grieve and assign blame. He asked his advisers repeatedly: <strong>Whose fault was this? ... Increasingly, that blame has fallen on Reince Priebus, </strong>the White House chief of staff, who coordinated the initial legislative strategy on the health care repeal with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, his close friend and a fellow Wisconsin native, according to three people briefed on the president's recent discussions.</p> </blockquote> <p>Politico's Tara Palmeri confirms as much:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Source close to <a href="">@POTUS</a> says he's being advised to replace <a href="">@Reince45</a> &amp; is open to possibility -- healthcare was last straw</p> <p>— Tara Palmeri (@tarapalmeri) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p> <strong>Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was also blamed for the failure, </strong>while the president was reportedly annoyed with Jared Kushner, his adviser and son-in-law, who returned to Washington on Friday from a family skiing trip in Colorado. </p> <p>Two other republican sources told the Times that Trump expressed annoyance that Kushner was absent during the vital discussions. A White House spokesman, however, denied that Trump was displeased with Kushner, according to CNN, which reported that Trump was "upset" by Kushner's absence during the pivotal week. Kushner had said for weeks he thought supporting the GOP healthcare plan was a mistake, the Times added citing two sources,</p> <p>The report presents a different picture from Trump's piblic posture, when both in his address to the media and on Twitter on Saturday morning, the president was quick to blame Democrats on Friday after Ryan pulled the GOP plan, repeating on various occasions that "ObamaCare will explode." Several dozen Republicans had publicly opposed the plan, and Trump asserted that Democrats now "own ObamaCare." The White House was also publicly supportive of Ryan's efforts to rally support for the legislation, but West Wing aides told the Times they were "stunned" by the Speaker's inability to master the politics of the GOP conference.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="644" height="338" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> American people of German descent B+ Business Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign First 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency Jared Kushner Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act replacement proposals Paul Ryan Politics Reince Priebus Republican Party Twitter Twitter United States White House White House Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:46:44 +0000 Tyler Durden 591742 at Vegas Strip Partially Shut After One Person Shot Dead; Gunman Surrenders After Barricade Stand Off With police <p><em><strong>Update: </strong></em>Police reported that the suspect had surrendered shortly before 3:30pm local time. They asked anyone with information to contact the police department. Hadfield revealed to the media that the shooter was armed with a handgun and was the only person on the bus before he surrendered. "This is a single incident and is not deemed to be terrorism-related," he said.</p> <p>* * * </p> <p>One person has died in a shooting during an ongoing standoff that has forced the partial closure of the Las Vegas strip after a gunman barricaded himself inside a bus. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">We're currently investigating a shooting that occurred on S. Las Vegas Blvd. near Harmon. There is no active shooter. <a href="">#LVMPDnews</a></p> <p>— LVMPD (@LVMPD) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">LOUD explosion heard &amp; smoke seen rising from area of barricaded bus. Clark County Fire Dept ambulance pulled up to scene, then turned away. <a href=""></a></p> <p>— Kyndell Nunley (@KyndellNews3LV) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>The standoff began after a shooting was reported Saturday on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip near the Cosmopolitan hotel.&nbsp; <a href=";utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_medium=AP">According to AP</a>, Las Vegas Boulevard is closed between Flamingo Road and Harmon Avenue. Police say they do not believe there are any other suspects. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">S. Las Vegas Blvd. between Flamingo &amp; Harmon remains closed due to a barricade subject on bus. Please avoid the area. <a href="">#LVMPDnews</a></p> <p>— LVMPD (@LVMPD) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Cops pleading "come out of the bus. No one else needs to get hurt" <a href="">#cosmopolitan</a></p> <p>— Scot Pollard (@ScotPollard31) <a href="">March 25, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>University Medical Center spokeswoman Danita Cohen said two people were taken to the hospital after the Saturday shooting. She said one person has died and the other is in fair condition. </p> <p>Police negotiators and tactical teams are on the scene. Police say they do not believe there are any other suspects and they believe the shooter is on the bus. Police say they do not believe there are any other suspects. </p> <p>"We had one single shooting incident with two victims. Both were transported to the trauma center and one is deceased," Officer Larry Hadfield told USA Today. </p> <p>"This incident is being treated as a barricade at this time. There is no credible information that there is a second suspect," Officer Hadfield told CNN.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="878" height="570" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Cohen Flamingo Road Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Las Vegas Strip Las Vegas Valley Misconduct in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Nevada Twitter Twitter University Medical Center Western United States Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:22:03 +0000 Tyler Durden 591749 at "If All Goes According To Plan": What Global Central Bank Normalization Would Look Like, In One Chart <p>AS a result of countless failures by central banks to normalize monetary policy over the past 7 years, the market - especially bonds and rates - has become openly cynical and outright skeptical regarding the possibility of a successful renormalization of policy by global central banks. After all, Japan has been trying to do that for over 30 years and has yet to succeed; the ECB hiked in 2011 resulting in near collapse of the Eurozone. Ironically, the recent Trumpflation trade - which few expected as a result of the "shocking" Trump election victory - has emerged as the most credible catalyst to prompt inflation not only in the US but around the globe, resulting in two Fed rate hikes in rapid succession. </p> <p>Still, now that Obamacare repeal has failed, and questions are rising whether Trump will be able to implement his proposed Tax reform, the market has aggressively faded not only the broader Trumpflation trade, but also all of the recent dollar strength since the US election: in short, bets on a "bening" global reflation are rapidly fading, suggesting that the latest push to normalize monetary policy will once again result in failure. </p> <p>And yet, <strong>"what if it goes according to plan" </strong>this time? That's the question posed by Barclays' Christian Keller who notes that, at least for the time being, "The synchronized upswing in the global economy continues, supporting sentiment, which thus far has ignored elevated policy uncertainties. Headline inflation is increasing due to stable oil prices, while core inflation rates are mixed." And, assuming nothing ahcnes, this sets the backdrop for monetary policy normalization, albeit at different speeds and modes. </p> <p>Taking this thought experiment one step further, what would happen if indeed this time central banks are successful to renormalize monetary policy without leading to a market crash. In that case, Barclays expects three Fed hikes in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The ECB is likely to taper further in 2018 and to start increasing depo rates in parallel (in 2018).</p> <p>Conveniently, Barclays has created the following chart which lays out what "coordinated global renormalization" would look like. It can serve as a benchmark to those keeping tabs on where various central banks are in the current attempt to restore monetary normalcy.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="366" /></a></p> <p><em>For those curious, here are some further thoughts from Barclays:</em></p> <p><strong>Policy normallization at different speeds</strong></p> <p>With growth improving across regions and deflationary threats fading, the monetary policy cycle has started to turn. Market interest rates have been suggesting this for several months. Recently, central bank communication has also become decidedly more confident about the outlook. While the activity upswing is synchronized, the pace of expansion remains diverse and economies are at very different positions in the cycle. Thus, despite the signals are clearly for policy normalisation, we think such changes are likely to occur at quite different speeds.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Fed: A more confident FOMC leads the way</strong></span></p> <p>In contrast to 2015 and 2016, when economic developments at home and abroad thwarted the Fed’s plans for a four-hike pace in the coming year, 2017 has started out differently: the Fed now faces decent US growth, supported by buoyant sentiment, easier financial market conditions and no complications from ‘international developments’. This has given the FOMC more confidence to finally implement its game plan of a gradual hiking cycle; we now expect it to hike two more times in 2017 (Sep and Dec) and three times in 2018 at a pace of 25bp each time. <em><strong>A hike this June – not our baseline – would suggest a faster pace of four hikes per year, in our view.</strong></em></p> <p>Along with this firmer tightening cycle, we also expect the Fed to begin earnest discussions over when and in what manner to reduce the size of its balance sheet. Even so, we continue to believe that the Fed is far from taking any concrete action and we expect its balance sheet to remain substantively unchanged through at least the end of 2018. </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ECB: complicated normalization ahead</strong></span></p> <p>Better growth and the rebound in inflation has significantly improved the balance of risks for the ECB by reducing the threat of a deflationary ‘Japan’ scenario for the euro area. However, the euro area is still far away from comfortable self-sustaining inflationary dynamics, and it still faces the looming risks associated with fragile public debt dynamics. The latter is particularly sensitive with regard to the euro area’s third largest economy and world’s third largest debt market, Italy, where there still appears a lack of political resolve for reform and uncertainty about the political outlook remains high. While this calls for caution, abovetarget headline inflation in Germany and the adverse effects of negative deposit rates on financial institutions are creating pressure on the ECB to start normalizing monetary policy.</p> <p>In an attempt to balance these factors, we expect the ECB to implement a mixed strategy:</p> <ul> <li><strong>We first expect in June (after the French presidential election) a change towards less dovish forward guidance that would open the door for deposit rate hikes in 2018, even before QE ends.</strong></li> <li><strong>We then expect a reduction in QE to EUR35-40bn per month in H1 18 and EUR15-20bn H2 18 as well as two 10bp hikes in the deposit rate in Q2 18 and Q4 18. We assign low probability to rate hikes in 2017 and PSPP purchases to stop in early 2018. In other words, we expect both QE and negative deposit rates to remain in place until at least H2 2018, even if at less-accommodative levels than in 2017.</strong></li> </ul> <p>This would clearly be a significant shift from earlier communication that suggested rate hikes would only follow once the asset purchase program had been terminated – which was the sequence the Fed and BoE used. Of course, neither the Fed nor BoE ventured into negative policy rates or had to implement QE across a diverse sovereign debt market. Such a multipronged exit strategy by the ECB would present a delicate communications act, as markets would have to decipher the net effects of a simultaneous tightening via deposit rate hikes and continuing expansion via asset purchases, even if at a reduced pace. Given the risk of adverse shocks (on inflation or debt dynamics) and memories of past episodes of premature tightening, we expect the ECB to move cautiously.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>BoJ: ready to follow</strong></span></p> <p>The BoJ stood pat in March, as widely expected, and did not provide any hints of a future move or change in related communications. However, as the global environment remains supportive, we expect the BoJ to: </p> <ul> <li>raise its YCC target for long-term yields (+0%) by 10-20bp in Q3 17, assuming y/y core CPI inflation is accelerating at that stage, and</li> <li>hike a further 20bp each in Q1 18 (prior to the end of BoJ Governor Kuroda’s term in April 2018) and in Q3 18, due in part to a tailwind from expected continuing rate hikes by the Fed and, indeed, the start of an exit strategy by the ECB (hike in the deposit facility rate/reduction in asset purchases).</li> </ul> <p>This will leave the BoJ in a reactive position as its yield-targeting policy since September has allowed it to ‘import’ passively the tightening in the US and other core markets. Overall, our inflation forecasts suggest that while the BoJ may have overcome deflation, the 2% target – which it promises to overshoot – is still not on the horizon.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>BoE: still sitting on the fence</strong></span></p> <p>Surprisingly resilient data have made the BoE more confident about the economic outlook. March meeting minutes reported some members moving closer to supporting a hike, with MPC Forbes (outgoing in June) even voting for an immediate hike. However, we expect the rest of the MPC, in particular Governor Carney, to move more cautiously, waiting for data to crystallize before considering adjusting its&nbsp; monetary policy stance. Given our expectation for a slowing economy and only a temporary FX-driven boost in inflation, the MPC will most likely remain on hold over the forecast horizon, while markets have started to price some probability of a hike in 2018.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>PBoC: Focused on stability</strong></span></p> <p>The PBoC continues to balance multiple objectives: supporting the growth target, while containing the build-up of financial vulnerabilities and the outflow of capital. Its recent increases of short- (OMOs) and medium-term (MLF) policy rates seem targeted to the latter goals and we expect the PBoC to follow up with more 10bp hikes in OMO and MLF rates in the coming months, especially if the domestic housing market continues to perform strongly and the Fed hikes rates further. At the same time, we expect it to leave the benchmark interest rates unchanged through 2017, to support growth, given that the bulk of China’s total financing is still dominated by bank lending (guided by the 1y benchmark lending rate). However, if CPI inflation developments look to exceed the 3% target and/or growth stayed above 6.5% q/q saar, the PBoC could consider benchmark rate hikes as well. </p> <p>By using the shorter-term policy rates (10bp each time), rather than the traditional&nbsp; benchmark deposit and lending rates (usually 25bp each), the PBoC’s is attempting to achieve multiple objectives at the same time: guiding banks’ borrowing costs higher to promote financial deleveraging, while keeping benchmark rates unchanged to support growth: the bulk of China’s total financing is still dominated by bank lending (guided by the 1y benchmark lending rate at 4.35%), and the transmission from changes in the costs of the central banks’ liquidity instruments to banks’ lending rates will only be gradual. This strategy likely also serves the PBoC as an experiment, as it explores the transmission process of its various monetary tools with the objective to move its policy framework away from direct quantity-based measures to indirect price-based measures.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1658" height="1214" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bank of Japan Barclays BOE BoE Borrowing Costs Business Central Banks Central banks Core CPI CPI Deflation Economy European Central Bank Eurozone Federal funds rate Germany Global Economy Housing Market Inflation Interest rate Italy Japan Macroeconomic policy Macroeconomics Market Conditions Market Crash Monetary Policy Monetary policy Money Obamacare People's Bank of China Public finance Quantitative easing Sovereign Debt US Federal Reserve Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:07:50 +0000 Tyler Durden 591748 at Is This The Top? Champagne Shipments To US Reach 2007 Record Highs <p>Forget the deplorables; ignore the hollowing out of America's middle-class; dismiss the non-recovery in the nation's labor force; <strong><em>because 'everything must be awesome' in the United States - they're drinking the most champagne since the market top in 2007</em></strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="277" /></a></p> <p>As Bloomberg reports, last year 21.8 million bottles of Champagne arrived on U.S. shores, an increase of 6.3% from the prior year, and a <strong>fourth straight gain,</strong> according to data released this week from the Champagne Bureau, USA. This is the most bottles since 2007 (and we suspect it was not Hillary's friends who were drinking it).</p> <p> The U.S. is the highest value market for the French product with sales at about 540 million euros ($582 million), and second in volume to Britain, which guzzled more than 31 million bottles last year.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="716" height="331" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Champagne Champagne Bureau French cuisine French wine Social Issues Sparkling wines Wine Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591726 at Turkish Hackers Threaten To Wipe Millions Of iPhones; Demand Ransom From Apple <p>Apple can't seem to catch a break lately.&nbsp; Yesterday we noted the latest WikiLeaks release which exposed yet another CIA spying scandal, this time revolving around efforts to bug "factory fresh" iPhones before they even reach the hands of consumers (see "<a href="">Wikileaks Releases "NightSkies 1.2": Proof CIA Bugs "Factory Fresh" iPhones</a>").</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Also included in this release is the manual for the CIA's<strong> "NightSkies 1.2"</strong> a "beacon/loader/implant tool" for the Apple iPhone.<strong> Noteworthy is that NightSkies had reached 1.2 by 2008, and is expressly designed to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones. i.e the CIA has been infecting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While CIA assets are sometimes used to physically infect systems in the custody of a target it is likely that many CIA physical access attacks have infected the targeted organization's supply chain including by interdicting mail orders and other shipments (opening, infecting, and resending) leaving the United States or otherwise.</p> </blockquote> <p>Today, courtesy of <a href="">CIO</a>, we learn that a group of hackers referring to themselves as the <strong>"Turkish Crime Family"</strong>, has been in direct contact with Apple and is <strong>demanding a $150,000 ransom by April 7th or they will proceed to wipe as many as 600 million apple devices for which they allegedly have passwords.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time</strong>, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud </strong>accounts that don't have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.</p> </blockquote> <p>Of course, if credible, <strong>with an ask of just $150k, this is the most modest group of hackers we've ever come across.</strong></p> <p><img src="" alt="Powers" width="600" height="303" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>News website Motherboard <a href="">reported</a> seeing alleged emails between the hackers and Apple in which a member of the company's security team said that the company does not plan to reward cybercriminals for breaking the law and that the communications have been archived and sent to the authorities.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the hackers apparently told CIO the ransom demand was intended to "spread awareness" for their 'boys' who got caught up in the Yahoo hacking scandal and likely face severe sentences.&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>"We are doing this because we can and mainly to spread awareness for Karim Baratov and Kerem Albayrak, which both are being detained for the Yahoo hack and one of them is most probably facing heavy sentencing in America,"</strong> a representative for the group said via email. <strong>"Kerem Albayrak on the other hand is being accused of listing the database for sale online."</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The representative said that the group's members are originally from Istanbul, Turkey, but that they now "<strong>rep" Green Lanes, an area in North London</strong>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Karim Baratov, a Canadian national, was indicted last week for allegedly hacking into email accounts at various email providers at the request of two officers from the Russian Federal Security Service, the FSB. The same indictment accuses the two FSB officers and a Russian hacker for breaking into Yahoo's infrastructure and gaining access to over 500 million Yahoo accounts.</p> </blockquote> <p>As a concluding note, and not to suggest in any way that we're experts on the subject matter, we would<strong> tend to question the underlying 'value' of a password database that could be rendered instantly useless by a forced password update from Apple</strong>...just a thought on negotiating tactics for future reference.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="693" height="448" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Apple Apple Apple Inc. Central Intelligence Agency Cloud storage Computing Data synchronization Email hacking ICloud Internet privacy IOS IPhone Russian Federal Security Service Technology Turkey WikiLeaks Yahoo! data breaches Sat, 25 Mar 2017 20:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591706 at Goldman Asks "Have We Reached Peak Cash?" <p>In several major economies <strong>it&#39;s crunch time for the future of cash</strong>. Goldman Sachs notes that this is <strong>largely policy-driven</strong>: tangible steps are being taken to wean economies off cash (e.g. India, Europe); but adds that, at the same time consumer expectations around convenience are rising and enabling technologies have proliferated in the shape of contactless cards, mobile wallets, cryptocurrencies and more.</p> <p><u><strong>So, they ask, does the decline in cash payments imply the demise of cash?</strong></u></p> <p>Not necessarily.</p> <p><strong>Technology has been an important catalyst for shrinking cash usage,</strong> but it is by no means a new phenomenon. As we wrote in 2012 (see Issue 42, Fortnightly Thoughts: Money, money, money in a mobile world, October 2012), the first technological step-change in the payments arena was the shift from cash to plastic money, i.e. credit and debit cards, which happened in the 1960s. There are many parallels to be drawn between that period and the ongoing shift to digital money: an initial period of an increasing number of providers was followed by a consolidation stage that established a few players (Visa and MasterCard primarily) as the industry standards, eventually accelerating the adoption of plastic money. However, <strong>the availability of technology alone has not ensured the demise of cash. </strong>As the following chart shows, there are several advanced economies in which it is still the dominant mode of payment in volume terms (surprisingly quite a few European countries are in the bottom left quadrant).</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 518px;" /></a></p> <p><strong>Japan is a striking example of this</strong>; lots of tech and lots of cash.</p> <p><strong>The US also stands out</strong>, and this could at least partly be attributed to the fact that regulators in the US have explicitly stated that the market should manage the shift to digital payments by itself.</p> <p>On the other hand, <strong>Scandinavian countries are on the cusp of becoming some of the first cashless societies, </strong>as a result of industry-co-ordinated steps and government initiatives. Swish, a payment app developed jointly by the major Swedish banks, has been adopted by nearly half the Swedish population, and is now used to make over nine million payments a month. About 900 of Sweden&rsquo;s 1,600 bank branches no longer keep cash on hand or take cash deposits and many, especially in rural areas, no longer have ATMs. In conjunction with that, cash transactions were just c.2% of the value and 20% of the volume of all payments made last year (down from 40% five years ago).</p> <p><strong>Denmark&rsquo;s move to a cashless society is a deliberate result of policy,</strong> with the government removing the obligation for some retailers to accept payment in cash.</p> <p><strong>Without this legislative push, we believe cash is very difficult to disrupt and substitute.</strong> After all, it is a free and convenient mode of transacting. So far, the selling point of the most broadly used alternatives to cash (cheques and cards) is greater convenience. But that hasn&rsquo;t been sufficient to meaningfully reduce the market share of cash in countries outside Scandinavia and Canada.</p> <h2><u>But why do governments want less cash?</u></h2> <p>The three key stakeholders in this argument, governments, businesses and consumers, <strong><em>all have varied benefits from shifting away from cash</em></strong>.</p> <p><strong>For businesses, it should result in lower cash handling costs, streamlined operational costs (e.g. accounting, taxes) and increasingly, a better understanding of their customers and their operations,</strong> via data analytics. Our US financial services analysts argue that customer data, when combined with loyalty programmes, could deliver a sales lift of 2%-5% for merchants. Leveraging detailed data on individuals, to precisely target advertising and offers and thereby driving incremental sales and repeat purchases, is increasingly key to defend against competition. Starbucks and Ulta Salon are good examples of two companies that have leveraged loyalty programs to support top-line growth recently.</p> <p><strong>The flipside for consumers is loss of anonymity and privacy</strong>. But as Aakash Moondhra of PayU argues, these concerns are often compensated for by greater convenience and, in EMs, greater access to formal financial services channels. For example, in many African economies, it is the lack of widespread banking infrastructure and high remittance costs that have driven the rapid adoption of mobile transactions. The often cited example, M-Pesa, accounts for more than 95% of the mobile-money market, with the value of transactions flowing through its system equivalent to c.40% of Kenya&rsquo;s GDP. Put simply, in several of its markets in Africa, consumption growth is being driven not just by growing disposable income, but more importantly, also by freeing up frustrated demand via mobile money. <strong>One of the underrated advantages of cash is that it ensures anonymity;</strong> but it is difficult to say how much loss of privacy has hindered the growth in digital payments. The emergence of cryptocurrencies may be evidence that there is demand for a digital medium that ensures privacy, but their adoption remains very limited.</p> <p><strong>The advantages of moving away from cash are perhaps the most pronounced for governments.</strong> Electronic transactions allow for greater transparency, which in turn leads to greater formalisation of the economy and higher tax revenues. This lies at the centre of India&rsquo;s demonetisation efforts, when the government pulled approximately 85% of currency in circulation in order to reduce unaccounted and counterfeit money in circulation. Demonetisation in India was also carried out parallel to broader measures being taken to encourage households and businesses to electronic and digital transactions, in order to reduce friction costs and improve ease of doing business.</p> <p>The following chart shows the <em><strong>share of cash transactions vs. the Corruption Perception Index</strong></em>, which makes a similar case for moving away from cash.</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 600px; height: 494px;" /></a></p> <p>...</p> <p><strong>For policy makers, another advantage of limiting the use or circulation of cash is becoming increasingly relevant; less cash in the economy increases the effectiveness of monetary policy</strong>. Currency and monetary policy are intrinsically linked, as without the ability to set negative rates on currency, rates are limited by the zero lower bound (Ball 2014). Cash provides the opportunity to lock in a 0% nominal rate of return, and as such interest rates cannot become more negative than the cost of storing cash, as there is the incentive to switch to paper currency to earn a greater return.</p> <p>However, the costs of storing cash are potentially very large, requiring rates to turn significantly negative before the zero lower bound takes hold. As the following chart shows, despite the rate of deposits held at the ECB turning negative in mid June 2014, usage of the deposit facility has actually increased.</p> <p>...</p> <p>Stack up the advantages for the different stakeholders and it is evident that <u><strong>governments benefit most from lowering cash usage.</strong></u> This is why we believe that they will be the biggest catalyst to the shift away from cash. Regulatory intervention will be needed more if the current low nominal interest environment persists. This is because cash in circulation as a percentage of GDP is negatively correlated with inflation. High inflation erodes the value of currency and increases the opportunity cost of holding cash.</p> <p>...</p> <p><strong>To conclude, we would argue that as a &lsquo;medium of exchange&rsquo;, cash has peaked.</strong> Why is this? We see three key reasons: (1) increasing ubiquity of technology; (2) the willingness of consumers to use less cash and most importantly (3) policy action. We believe recent government action (for example in India and Europe) demonstrates the rising importance of supportive policy in accelerating the shift away from cash. The benefits for policy makers are clear &ndash; electronic transactions allow for greater transparency and better control over monetary policy transmission mechanisms. <strong><em>But the paradox of banknotes means that the decline in cash payments does not imply the death of cash.</em></strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="806" height="696" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Business Cash Cashless society Corruption Corruption Perception Debit card E-commerce Economy Electronic money Embedded systems European Central Bank Finance Financial technology goldman sachs Goldman Sachs India Japan Market Share Mobile payment Monetary Policy Money Payment systems Scandinavia Transparency Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:30:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 591690 at