Economic Insider

Details of the ongoing financial crisis

Image Source: CNN

When the US president goes out of his way to assure citizens that their money is safe, you know the government is concerned about a financial crisis.

Joe Biden’s assurances came following the failure of two US banks.

But this isn’t just about the United States. Several bank shares have dropped in value around the world.

So, how serious is this financial crisis, and what does it imply for you?

How are the banks affected by this financial crisis?

Since March 10, two banks in the United States have failed: Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, the largest financial crisis induced bank failures since 2008.

Both catered to corporations and had ties to the IT industry but struggled as cryptocurrencies plummeted and investor sentiment soured.

Customers panicked and raced to withdraw their deposits when the country’s 16th largest bank, SVB, announced it needed to raise funds. Over a fourth of the bank’s funds had vanished in less than 48 hours.

Following the spread of panic to Signature, regulators announced that they would guarantee all deposits at both banks, not just the $250,000 as required by law.

The failures came just days after a third bank, crypto-specialist Silvergate, was forced to close.

Will other banks collapse as well?

A bank run occurs when a huge number of clients hurry to take their money simultaneously, raising concerns that other institutions may be vulnerable.

Shares of medium-sized banks in the United States have plummeted as investors fear their small businesses and wealthy customers would transfer substantial quantities of money to other banks.

Larger banks are considered more stable because they serve a broader range of customers, including regular individuals who are less sensitive to market news and typically have deposits under the $250,000 limit.

Although concerns at a few banks, such as San Francisco-based First Republic, S&P Global Ratings say they have yet to see evidence in the US that massive “unmanageable” withdrawals have spread widely.

But, as a sign of the difficulties, the US central bank announced an increase in emergency lending to banks needing capital. In Europe, Credit Suisse, which has been in difficulties for years, received a £45 billion lifeline from the Swiss central bank.

Why are banks collapsing now?

The current financial crisis is taking place against the backdrop of a far larger global change: the recent dramatic spike in borrowing costs.

Central banks worldwide, including the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, have been hiking interest rates to slow the economy and relieve the pressure that has been pushing up prices.

The hikes exacerbated SVB’s problems by making it more difficult for its start-up customers to borrow money, forcing them to withdraw it faster.

Nevertheless, the rise in rates – a significant reversal after years of low-cost borrowing – had created a much broader issue, undermining the value of long-term bond investments purchased by banks when interest rates were lower.

Banks in the United States alone are sitting on over $620 billion in unrealized losses.

That is fine if they can keep the bonds. Yet, it makes it much more difficult if they need to generate funds quickly.

Morningstar analysts described Credit Suisse’s financial crisis as “idiosyncratic,” adding that European banks generally were “strong.”

As expected, the ECB raised interest rates by 0.5 points on Thursday, but economists anticipate that the US and UK central banks will be more cautious when meeting next week.

Is my money secure?

Regular folks have little reason to be concerned about their finances despite the ongoing financial crisis.

The American government has historically protected deposits up to $250,000; the ceiling in the UK is £85,000.

US Vice President Joe Biden has committed to do “whatever it takes” to safeguard the security of the financial system and reassure customers that their money is safe, while leaders in Europe, Japan, Australia, and other countries have also sought to assuage public worry.

But, as a sign of the difficulties, the US central bank reported an increase in emergency lending to banks needing capital. In Europe, Credit Suisse, which has been in difficulties for years, received a £45 billion lifeline from the Swiss central bank.

Read Also: Credit Suisse investors worry as shares hit

Japan, a major buyer of US government bonds, addressed the concern months ago. Analysts in Europe say it’s not a big deal.

The ECB raised interest rates by 0.5 percentage points on Thursday, as expected, but economists anticipate the US and UK central banks to be more cautious when they meet next week.

HSBC buys out UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank

Image Source: Hull Daily Mail

HSBC has acquired the UK branch of the bankrupt US Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). This is wonderful news for UK tech companies that have stated that they may go bankrupt if they do not receive assistance.

Consumers and businesses who previously had to wait for their money can now receive it as usual.

The talks were overseen by the UK government and the Bank of England, who worked all night to reach an agreement that did not involve taxpayer funds.

HSBC stated it paid £1 for the UK branch of Silicon Valley Bank.

Silicon Valley Bank was shut down by regulators in the US on Friday. This was the largest bank failure in the United States since 2008.

Because of the implications for businesses, its failure sent shockwaves through the tech world. Some businesses warned the BBC that they would go out of business if their deposits were in jeopardy.

Worried about how firms would access cash on Monday morning, Chancellor Hunt, Prime Minister Theresa May, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, HSBC executives, and civil employees worked rapidly to find a solution.

The Bank of England stated that the failure of Silicon Valley Bank had “materially impacted” none of the other UK banks and that the banking system remained “safe, sound, and well capitalized.”

Although the UK branch of Silicon Valley Bank only had a little more than 3,000 customers, its failure would have meant a risk to a sector that the government deems critical to the Kingdom’s future economic success.

According to Mr. Hunt, some businesses only had bank accounts with SVB UK. “As a result, we were in a scenario where some of our most essential and strategic enterprises could have been wiped out,” he explained.

However, he stated, “there was never a systemic risk to the UK’s financial stability.”

Toby Mather, CEO and co-founder of Lingumi, an education technology business, said that 85% of the company’s capital was locked up in the bank and that he had an “anxious weekend.”

Sebastian Weidt, CEO of Universal Quantum, a tech business with approximately 40 workers that kept all of its money with SVB, said the arrangement was a “great relief” after a few “unbelievably tense” days.

Although Silicon Valley Bank in the United States was experiencing financial difficulties, Silicon Valley Bank UK was in relatively excellent health when HSBC purchased it for £1.

It had enough money and was earning a good profit. But, according to Bank of England sources, the weekend intervention was more of a precautionary measure before the collapse of its US parent forced much staff to leave the UK business.

That means HSBC received a wonderful bargain due to its size and power. Authorities were confident that Europe’s largest bank could handle any risk SVB UK’s customers posed.

Silicon Valley Bank UK’s sole issue was its name. Even while this is hardly a Lehman Brothers moment, the fall of SVB US has demonstrated that many banks are riskier than they appear on paper. This is because they have all lost money on their investments in government bonds as interest rates have risen, making those bonds less valuable.

One reason bank stocks fell again on Monday is that investors are starting to think about what’s happening.

What occurred at Silicon Valley Bank?

The US agreed to a rescue package for the consumers of the US bank, and the UK has now agreed to a rescue agreement for the UK branch. The US agreement completely protects all depositors.

Silicon Valley Bank specialized in lending to new enterprises, and it worked with nearly half of the US venture-backed healthcare and technology companies that went public last year.

Rising interest rates made it difficult for its consumers to raise funds by selling shares or through private fundraising. This put the company under strain. Clients withdrew more deposits, continuing a pattern that began last week.

The bank failed in the United States on Friday because it couldn’t raise enough capital to offset losses from selling assets, primarily US government bonds, which were harmed by increased interest rates.

More than 200 tech industry leaders signed a letter requesting the government to intervene because of the repercussions on SVB’s UK operation and how they may affect other smaller UK IT enterprises.

Former investment banker Sir Philip Augar claimed the UK government and authorities had a “successful weekend avoiding a disaster.” However, he also noted that it was ironic that SVB went bankrupt when the government considered “loosening” restrictions in the financial services business.

Most people liked the HSBC agreement, but the Bank of London, the UK’s clearing bank, called it a “lost opportunity.”

Read Also: US Government says money in SVB is safe

The bank, one of the entities that put in a rescue proposal for Silicon Valley Bank UK, claimed it couldn’t be acceptable for the legacy banks, who have been awful to UK company owners for many years, to benefit from their existing strong position.

Credit score: How do I improve my rating

Image Source: BugisCredit

Most people believe a good credit score is important to creditors and lenders.

Nevertheless, many people are unaware that having a good credit score may help you in all parts of your life, from getting approved for a mortgage or vehicle loan to getting the best interest on new accounts and lines of credit.

You’ll learn how credit scores function and how to improve your right now.

What exactly is a good credit score?

According to Equifax, a good credit score ranges between 670 and 739 and is termed prime credit. A prime credit score indicates that you are a low-risk borrower, which lenders prefer.

Scores from 580 to 669 are fair credit but need to catch up to the all-important prime credit threshold.

Your credit score is influenced by five major factors: payment history, quantities due, duration of credit history, new credit, and credit mix.

The most important factor is payment history, which accounts for 35% of your score. This is followed by credit use (30%), credit history length (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%).

There are various credit scores for various credit ranges, but the most extensively utilized credit score models are FICO and VantageScore.

FICO Rating

FICO scores are three-digit numbers that measure your creditworthiness. The FICO score range is 300-850, with individuals with scores above 700 receiving the majority of the best rates and credit limits.

VantageScore

The VantageScorecredit score, like the FICO score, goes from 300 to 850, with anything above 700 considered an “excellent” score.

The VantageScore, developed in 2006 as an alternative to the FICO credit scoring methodology, is employed by many lenders and is less prejudiced towards consumers with short credit history than FICO ratings.

The advantages of a high credit score

A strong credit score is necessary for a variety of reasons. For example, it can assist you in obtaining a business loan, a reduced interest rate, a greater credit limit, more competitive credit accounts, and renting an apartment, among other things.

A high score indicates financial responsibility and the ability to manage your resources. It also demonstrates to lenders that you are likely to repay your loans. As a result, those with the greatest credit ratings receive the best prices.

Keeping a strong credit score is vital; if you have a low score, you should work to raise it as quickly as feasible. You can accomplish this by paying your payments on time, keeping your debt levels low, and applying for credit only when necessary.

Knowing the significance of improving your credit score may encourage you to adjust.

How to improve your credit rating

Raising your credit score can be difficult, but simple tactics can help you get there quickly (as long as you commit to them).

These are some tried-and-true strategies:

On-time payment:

This covers any loan, credit card, or energy bill (as long as the utility company reports your payments to the credit bureaus). One of the most straightforward strategies to maintain a decent credit score is to make on-time payments. It indicates your dependability regarding financial commitments and can also assist you in avoiding interest payments and late penalties.

All of these factors can add up to improve your credit score. But on the other hand, missed and late payments on things like credit card debt or student loans can severely damage your credit.

Maintain a modest credit utilization ratio:

Your credit use ratio calculates how much of your available credit you use. It is computed by dividing the entire balance of your credit cards by the total credit limit. A high credit use rate might damage your credit score, so keeping it low is critical.

Keep your ratio between 30 and 35% of your available credit (on all your credit cards). And, if you have more than one card, aim to keep the overall ratio below that same threshold. There are various methods for accomplishing this, but the simplest is to spread your spending among your credit cards.

Eraser unfavorable information from your credit record:

It’s critical to check your credit reports for accuracy frequently. If you discover any inaccuracies, notify the credit bureau immediately and have them corrected. This can be accomplished by filing a dispute online or by mail.

The bureau will investigate your claim and update your record if the information needs to be corrected.

Note that the bureau may take some time to resolve the disagreement, so be patient. If you are not satisfied with the result of the bureau’s inquiry, you can take your complaint to the your state attorney general or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Credit reporting errors can be costly; therefore, they must be corrected quickly.

Maintain a healthy mix of credit:

Borrowers who handle their credit accounts well (for example, mortgages, loans, and credit cards) are seen favorably by credit scoring algorithms and lenders. On the other hand, if you only have one account, you may be overly reliant on credit, a major red flag for lenders.

How can you better your credit rating?

A credit score is an important measure that influences your ability to get financial products and services. A good credit score can help you open doors, while a bad credit score can help you close them.

You can improve your financial situation by knowing how different credit scores are calculated and developing an action plan for improving your credit.

Read Also: Personal loan: Tips to get a reduction in repayment

If you have a low credit score or need assistance improving your credit, emphasize on-time payments, seek a reliable financial counselor, and investigate the multitude of online tools available to you.

Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

Photo Credit: New York Times

The creator of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, declared that he would donate every penny of the business’ profits to the campaign to tackle the climate crisis. According to the announcement, the Chouinard family will not benefit financially from the business. Instead, the money made by Patagonia would be donated to groups and causes that support environmental initiatives, land preservation, and biodiversity.

The Chouinard family created Patagonia fifty years ago, and ever since, the company has provided clothing to a variety of outlets. The corporation is worth $3 billion, based on a report by the New York Times.

The corporation has issued a statement stating that regular business activities and employee pay rates would continue as usual. Partner businesses and organizations would get the funds that were not reinvested as well as from operational costs for maintenance and other expenditures. As an illustration, Patagonia established the Holdfast Collective and Patagonia Purpose Trust, two nonprofit organizations and trusts focused on specific causes.

Holdfast Collective currently holds 98% of the non-voting stock, while Patagonia Purpose Trust controls all voting stock or 2% of the total shares.

Read Also: TikTok Vows to Address Issues Concerning National Security

Capitalism, reimagined

It is critical that society and businesses reinvent capitalism, according to a message published by Patagonia on its website.

“While we’re doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it’s not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact. One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn’t be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed.”

Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility.

Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.”

Patagonia anticipates making more than $100 million in revenue and charitable contributions yearly once everything is in place. Additionally, this number will change based on how well the business does and customer buying patterns.

Gear for outdoor pursuits, including camping, fishing, and rock climbing, is one of the many goods offered by Patagonia. Other outdoor clothing is also available for purchase from the brand, along with food and drinks made using ecological materials.

The brand will still be competitive

According to Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert, the company’s aim could only be accomplished if the business continued to behave in the same way as previously and continued to generate income, potentially even more aggressively.

“I think what people fail to understand about Patagonia, both the past and today and the future, is that we are unapologetically a for-profit business,” stated Gellert.

“We are extremely competitive. The Chouinards are extremely competitive about the business. We focus on making high-quality products, standing behind that product for the usable life of it. We compete with every other company in our space, aggressively. I don’t think we have lost that instinct.”

Read Also: Burger King Reveals Revival Plan with $400 Investment on Store Upgrades, Advertisement

The family didn’t decide to declare their intentions for several years, according to Gellert. He continued by stating that while the owners intended to devote the business to noble causes fully, there was also a focus on establishing a structure that would uphold and maybe even strengthen Patagonia’s fiscal performance.

According to Gellert, despite the recently-enacted deal, Patagonia continues to pay its taxes.

“We are a company that very much believes in that. We are a company that has avoided complex structures both in the U.S. and globally to sidestep taxes. We are actually one of the few companies that have lobbied consistently and publicly for higher taxes, particularly in support of climate legislation,” Gellert explained.

Patagonia is one of the few corporations taking the initial steps toward rethinking what capitalism means as the globe struggles to combat the impacts of the climate crisis. The business changed its website’s tagline to read, “Earth is now our only shareholder.”

Source: CNBC

Personal loan: Tips to get a reduction

Image Source: Fox Business

Personal loans are a terrific method to borrow money for your business, but getting money in and out of business can be challenging if the payments are too high.

Because interest rates are rising, repaying your loan will cost you more. Even if you only have one personal loan, if your monthly payments increase, keeping track of your money and remaining on top of your debt can be difficult.

Paying less on your personal loans is one approach to reducing your financial burden. Personal loans are a terrific method to borrow money for your company, but if the payments are too high, getting money in and out can be difficult.

Best ways to reduce your loan repayments

Here are some strategies for lowering your personal loan payments as a business owner.

  • Make an early repayment

This is the best-case scenario; even if you cannot repay the loan in full, you can reduce the interest and installments. You can pay off your loans completely at once if you have enough savings. Find out whether any of your loans have early repayment penalties. If you do, you will have to pay a large percentage fee, which may render the early payment ineffective.

If you don’t have any savings, look at your budget. If you still require one, make one. Check your bank records, credit card bills, and other papers to determine your necessary costs, such as rent or mortgage payments, food, electricity, and taxes.

  • Modify the loan’s terms

Another approach to reducing payments is to extend the loan’s term. This reduces your monthly payment, but it will cost you more in interest over the length of the loan. However, this technique may be a fantastic option if you require more time to establish your business and produce more money.

You will need to speak with your lender or set up a new loan contract for this technique. If you extend the loan term, you will pay less each month, but you will pay more in the long run. Yet, if you’re in a pinch and ready to repay your loan over a longer length of time, it could be a viable option. If you have money left over, you could utilize it to pay off your debt more quickly. You’ll pay more now if you return your loan faster, but you’ll pay less interest and pay off the loan sooner.

  • Obtain a pay increase

If you have extra cash, making extra payments on your loan will help you pay it off faster and save you money on interest. This can also help you build credit, which will make it easier to get money in the future.

You must consider how this method will work for you in your specific situation. For example, you can persuade your boss to give you a raise or find a better-paying position.

Yet, many business owners need help to handle both, so you may need to take on a second job. In addition, numerous side jobs are available, such as food delivery, ridesharing, freelancing, and numerous other opportunities to earn money from a hobby or talent you already possess. You might also sell unwanted items online or rent out space in your home.

  • Refinance

You can refinance your loan at a cheaper interest rate if you have a strong credit score and a consistent income. This can significantly reduce your monthly expenses, making them easier to manage for your company.

If you receive a debt consolidation loan, you can combine your unsecured loans into a single loan. This is a fantastic strategy, especially if you have high-interest credit card debt. You’ll pay less each month, and staying on top of your responsibilities will be easier because you’ll only have one bill to pay each month.

You can lock in a cheaper interest rate, making it easier to repay your debt.

  • Make contact with your lender

If you’ve always paid your payments on time and have a solid business plan, you can negotiate a reduced interest rate with your lender. You can accomplish this by providing them with your financial statements and a business strategy outlining how you intend to create more money. In addition, several lenders will cooperate with customers suffering financial difficulties.

To understand how paying off your debt will influence your credit, ask your lender what they will notify the credit bureaus while negotiating with them. You should be aware that this may hurt your credit score.

While many of us are suffering the impacts of the uncertain economy, it’s natural to be concerned about your personal loan obligations. There are various ways to reduce the amount owed on a personal loan. Yet, it would help if you considered how modifying your personal loan would influence your credit in the long run.

Read Also: FTX: Sing pleads guilty to fraud charges

If you’re experiencing temporary financial difficulties, it may be wiser to tighten your belt for a few months to get through a rough patch rather than do something that could harm your credit score. The sooner you recognize that making personal loan payments may be difficult, the more likely you will discover a viable solution.

Wheat Prices Surge Following Russia’s Cancellation of Grain Export Agreement

The global commodities market saw huge wheat and corn prices rise after Russia’s withdrawal from the grain export deal.

The agreement allowed grain exports from Ukraine to other countries to transport via the Black Sea. It continued to function despite the ongoing discord between Russia and Ukraine. However, Russia withdrew from the agreement unprecedentedly, distorting Ukraine’s essential grain and wheat exports.

According to the Chicago Board of Trade, wheat prices could soar by 5.5% to $8.74 per bushel. Meanwhile, corn per bushel could climb by 2.3% to $6.96. Meanwhile, Malaysia may feel the effects of the new arrangement, with palm oil prices possibly rising.

“Taking into account the act of terrorism committed by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts on October 29 this year against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civil vessels involved in the security of the ‘grain corridor,’ the Russian side suspends its participation in the implementation of the agreements on the export of agricultural products from the Ukrainian ports,” said the Russian defense ministry.

Read Also: Airline Demand and Airfares Soar as the Holidays Draw Near

The international community takes steps

Stephane Dujarric, the UN spokesman, said, “We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter.”

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme warned that the crisis would result in widespread hunger. According to the organization, if Russia persists in using food as a weapon in its invasion, many people will suffer. Senior Western officials quickly expressed their displeasure with Russia’s handling of the Ukraine conflict.

Read Also: Da Silva Triumphs Over Bolsonaro in Nail-Biting Polls

Affecting the network of global grain supply

According to agricultural data firm Gro Intelligence, Russia and Ukraine account for more than a third of global wheat exports. Meanwhile, the countries are top worldwide for maize, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and barley exports. Taking these two countries out of the formula means dispossessing the global market of these products, which will influence the supply chain.

Russia canceled the agreement following a purported drone attack by Ukraine on its Black Sea Fleet. However, Ukraine dismissed the accusations, claiming that Russia sabotaged its own forces to find a reason to terminate the agreement. And put more pressure on nearby Ukrainian forces.

The International Rescue Committee added that Russia’s drawdown from the grain deal would be horrendous for impoverished countries. The situation exacerbates the already acute hunger in these countries.

“We underline the urgency of doing so to contribute to food security across the world and to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Photo Credit: Elena Larina

Source: CNN

Credit Suisse: Investors worry as shares hit

Image Source: Bloomberg

Even though the government is trying to restore trust, fears of a banking disaster keep the stock markets shaking. On Friday, indexes in Europe and the United States fell as a sell-off in Credit Suisse, a big Swiss bank that is having trouble, grew.

Credit Suisse’s stock dropped 8%. The next day after getting money from the biggest US banks, First Republic shares fell by 33%. The FTSE 100 lost more than 1% by the end of the day.

The stock markets in France and Germany shut down, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average index fell 1.2%. Both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 fell.

Investors were worried when Credit Suisse said earlier this week that it had found “significant weaknesses” in its financial reporting. At the same time, the Saudi National Bank, Credit Suisse’s biggest shareholder, said it would not be able to give the Swiss company any more money.

The company has been in trouble for a long time and is still losing money. The Swiss National Bank gave the company a £45 billion lifeline, but there are still concerns about the bank’s stability.

What the experts have said about Credit Suisse

Morningstar says that about $466 million has left Credit Suisse’s European and US-managed funds in the last few days.

Analysts Johann Scholtz and Niklas Kammer from Morningstar said that Credit Suisse’s problems were “unique” and that “even in the worst-case scenario, we feel we can handle them for the time being.”

But they warn that “things are changing quickly, and ideas that are new today may be out of date tomorrow.”

The problems at Credit Suisse, which employs more than 50,000 people around the world, including about 5,000 in London, came at the same time as the failure of two US banks, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, which made people more worried about the health of the banking sector.

US officials stepped in over the weekend to make sure that customers of Signature Bank and SVB had full access to their funds. This was done to prevent more panic.

Still, there are worries that other banks, like San Francisco’s First Republic, could be hit by a flood of customers pulling out their money.

Its stock had dropped by more than 70% in the past week.

On Thursday, 11 US institutions said they were backing the First Republic because they “trust in the country’s banking system.”

According to US financial officials, the decision is “very welcome” and “shows how strong the banking system is.”

Over the past year, central banks worldwide have raised borrowing costs by a lot to slow down the inflation rate.

The moves hurt the prices of large portfolios of bonds that banks bought when interest rates were lower. This contributed to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and made people wonder if other companies were in the same situation.

Silicon Valley Bank’s parent company, SVB Financial Group, filed for bankruptcy on Friday so it could sell off its remaining assets.

Chief economist at Payden and Regal, Jeffrey Cleveland, says that other institutions could be hurt.

Before the turmoil in the banking industry, the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England were expected to raise interest rates even more at their meetings next week. But because of recent events, some people have said that these rate hikes might be slowed down or even stopped.

The European Central Bank raised rates from 2.5% to 3% on Thursday.

What’s wrong with banks right now?

All of this is happening due to a much bigger change in the world: the recent dramatic rise in borrowing costs.

Central banks worldwide, like the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, have been raising interest rates to slow down inflation and relieve the pressure driving up prices.

The hikes worsened SVB’s problems because they made it harder for its start-up customers to borrow money, so they had to get their money out of the bank faster.

Still, the rise in rates, which was a big change after years of low-cost borrowing, caused a much bigger problem by lowering the value of long-term bonds that banks bought when rates were lower.

Just in the United States, banks are sitting on over $620 billion in losses that haven’t been turned into cash.

If they can keep the bonds, that’s fine. But it makes it much harder for them to make money quickly if needed.

Japan, which buys a lot of US government bonds, spoke up about this worry months ago. However, analysts in Europe think it could be more important.

Most people don’t have much reason to worry about their money.

The US government has previously protected deposits up to $250,000. In the UK, the limit is £85,000.

Read Also: US banks move to save First Republic Bank

US Vice President Joe Biden has said he will do “whatever it takes” to keep the financial system safe and reassure people that their money is safe. On the other hand, leaders in Europe, Japan, Australia, and other places have tried to calm people down.

Net zero emissions may mean higher taxes

Image Source: Bloomberg

The UK is making good progress toward its goal of having net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but it may need to raise taxes to reach that goal.

Lord Nicholas Stern, a well-known economist, says that the government and private sector must as a a matter of urgency invest in new technologies.

A former boss of oil giant BP also says that the UK should follow the US in promoting green technology.

But the government said that the UK is “leading the way as far as climate change and net zero carbon emissions is concerned.”

Lord Stern told the BBC, “We need growth, and we need to cut down on emissions, and we’ll get there by investing in new technologies.”

He also said, “I’m not saying that investments in health and education should be put off. On the contrary, we must work on both of them at the same time.

His words come when the country is struggling with a high cost of living and taxes are higher than they have been since the Second World War.

Tax cuts are also something that some people want the government to do.

On the other hand, Lord Stern says that more public investment could be good for jobs and the environment.

Lord Stern wrote a groundbreaking report on climate change for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government in 2006. In 2021, he gave the updated version to Boris Johnson, who had been Prime Minister before.

He is hopeful that key green technologies, like making energy, car batteries, and fertilizer, will reach a tipping point within a few years. Artificial intelligence will be a big part of this.

Lord Stern thinks that private investment will be able to pay for most of it, but the government will also have to help.

Lord Browne, who used to run BP and now runs a private equity fund that invests in companies that cut greenhouse gas emissions, wants the government to help businesses more.

He wants the government to learn from what is going on on the other side of the ocean.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits and subsidies for making electric cars, renewable electricity, sustainable aviation fuel, and hydrogen. It also gives people who buy electric cars made in the US money back.

Lord Browne says, “I will give the US an A for the Inflation Reduction Act; that’s pretty dramatic.” “It’s far from enough, but it’s a good start and got people’s attention.”

But some UK Ministers, such as Grant Shapps, who used to be the Business Secretary and now runs the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, have criticized President Biden’s move.

They have been worried that it gives unfair advantages to US businesses.

Most of the time, tax money or borrowing is used to pay for these kinds of subsidies.

Lord Browne says, however, that there is already a source of tax money that could be used better.

He agrees with the current windfall tax on production of oil and gas in the North Sea. However, he says it is only fair that producers pay over some of the unexpected profits they make on assets that belong to the country in the end.

He wants those funds to be used to help experts in renewable energy find new ways to make energy.

But Lord Brown is worried that policymakers may have forgotten about environmental issues because they have many other things to consider, like ensuring the UK has enough energy.

He said that government ministers are worried about very simple things, like finding out about inflation and security again.

Last year, however, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at the COP 27 climate meeting that the energy crisis was a reason to speed up the energy transition.

In a statement, the government said that the UK “leads the world in fighting climate change with policies that have created 68,000 green jobs since 2020.”

The UK’s net zero strategy

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero was set up just last week.

This was one of 129 suggestions made in a review of the UK’s progression toward “net zero” that the previous Prime Minister, Liz Truss, asked to be done. The review urged the government to be braver.

But stepping up that role in fighting climate change might require some tough talks about acheiving net zero carbon emission.

Read Also: Heathrow records largest numbers since COVID

Ipsos pollsters found that people are still worried about climate change, but now they are more worried about inflation, the economy, and public services.

And when it tried out different policies, like charging environmental fees for frequent flights or other products and phasing out fossil fuels for heating, the support went down.

Voters want to do the right thing but might be less excited about funding change.

US banks move to save First Republic Bank

Image Source: NBC News

A group of big US banks put $30 billion (£24.8 billion) into First Republic bank, a smaller regional bank that was thought to be about to fail.

After several banks failed, US officials took this step to calm people’s fears about the health of the banking system.

People all over the world are worried about a crisis because of their worries about the sector.

The move was “most welcome” to US regulators, and the banks said it showed “confidence” on their part.

They said banks had a lot of cash on hand and made a lot of money.

They said that recent events didn’t change this, and the actions of America’s biggest banks show that they have faith in the country’s banking system.

When news came out that the 11 banks, led by JP Morgan and Citigroup, were planning to help, the financial markets went up. At one point, shares of First Republic bank went up by more than 20%, which stopped trading.

But selling started again after the market closed, showing that worries still exist.

Investors worried that the San Francisco-based company could be the next bank that has a rush of customers pulling out their money. As a result, the price of the first republic bank shares dropped by almost 70% in the last week.

A US financial official said that the support shown by a group of large banks is very welcome and shows how strong the banking system is.

A way out for First Republic Bank

In light of the attempt to rescue, First Republic Bank, the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th largest bank in the US, went bankrupt last week. This was the biggest failure of a US bank since 2008.

Then, two days later, New York’s Signature Bank went out of business.

In an effort to stop more people from withdrawing their money from banks, the government stepped in to guarantee deposits above and beyond what is usually done. However, the financial markets have stayed nervous.

As a sign of stress in the system, the US central bank said that emergency bank loans have increased. As of Wednesday, $318 billion in loans were still out there, up from $15 billion a week before.

That included about $12 billion from a fund set up after the SVB went bankrupt.

Paul Ashworth, the chief North American economist at Capital Economics, said, “The size of the rise in the Fed’s emergency loans shows that this is a very critical crisis in the banking system that will have big effects on the real economy.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told politicians in Washington that depositors should have faith in the system, but she also said that the situation was very bad.

Luis de Guindos, vice president of the European Central Bank (ECB), said that Europe’s banking industry was “resilient” and that European companies had “limited exposure to institutions in the US.”

He spoke as the ECB announced that interest rates would increase from 2.5% to 3%. The ECB stuck to its plan to raise rates, even though there were worries about how the move might affect the turmoil in the market.

Help for other banks

Over the past year, central banks worldwide have sharply raised borrowing costs to try to slow the inflation rate.

The changes had hurt the value of the large portfolios of bonds that banks bought when interest rates were lower. This change helped cause Silicon Valley Bank to fail and has raised questions about the situation at other banks like the First Republic Bank.

On Wednesday, the Swiss National Bank said it would give up to £44 billion in emergency funds to Credit Suisse. This large lending company was in trouble and was seen as vulnerable after many US banks failed.

After big drops the day before, its shares increased by more than 15%, and major European indexes also went up.

Sir John Gieve, a former Bank of England’s deputy governor, told the journalists that central banks were sending a “message” that these problems would stay in one place.

He also said that the Swiss National Bank’s action would be enough to stop the crisis from spreading to Credit Suisse.

He said he is still determining what will happen to Credit Suisse in the future, but so far, they are still standing, and it appears the Swiss central bank will make sure they stay standing long enough to make plans for the future.

Since it was founded in 1856, Credit Suisse has been involved in a number of scandals, such as accusations of money laundering and spying, and high-profile employees have left the company.

Read Also: SVB’s collapse: Digital banks are winning

It lost money in 2021 and 2022, and the company has said it thinks it will make money again next year. Customers took millions of dollars from the business in the past few months.

Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokesperson for the White House, said that officials were keeping an eye on what was happening at Credit Suisse but that its problems were “different” from what was happening in the US with First Republic Bank, SVB and others.

IEA Warns of Looming Recession Due to OPEC+’s Decision

The world economy is moving closer to a recession, according to a warning from the International Energy Agency following the dramatic reduction in oil output by OPEC+ members.

The oil-producing countries of OPEC+ shocked the world, notably the United States, by announcing a 2 million barrel per day reduction in output. The reduction is the organization’s sharpest output decline since the pandemic’s inception.

“With unrelenting inflationary pressures and interest rate hikes taking their toll, higher oil prices may prove the tipping point for a global economy already on the brink of recession,” said the IEA.

The IEA cut its forecast for the increase of global oil consumption by 20% starting next year as a result of the OPEC+ agreement. Additionally, the agency anticipates a decline in growth projections, especially for important institutions.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that in 2023, people will start to notice the evident impacts of the recession. As a result, they have lowered their projections for GDP growth from 3.2% to 2.7%.

Oil prices will remain high until there is a large revival of oil production as a result of Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting nations’ production curbs, which will significantly reduce the amount of oil available globally.

“The massive cut in OPEC+ oil supply increases energy security risks worldwide,” said the IEA.

Read Also: McDonald’s Collaborates with Streetwear Brand for an Adult Happy Meal

The US is affected

The cutbacks announced by Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC+ members have disturbed the whole world. Moreover, gas prices will diminish the sway of Democrats, who have been anchored on the promise of relieving inflationary pressures on the country’s inhabitants, as the US midterm elections approach.

Thus, none is more outraged than the US, which condemned the move as “shortsighted.”

“OPEC is trying to shock and awe with a big production cut number that is going to get people’s attention. And they’re trying to support prices to keep them from falling further,” said Yasser Elguidi from Energy Aspects.

“I am in the process; when the House and Senate come back, there’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia,” said president Biden in an interview.

Read Also: OPEC Production Cuts Prompt US President Biden to Rethink its Relationship with Saudi Arabia

The price increase

The IEA predicts that the reduction will result in an increase in oil prices. According to estimates, OPEC will cut the output by 2 million barrels per day. However, the IEA predicts that the reduction will only amount to 1 million barrels per day because Russia may not agree with the organization’s decision. Oil prices will eventually reach an average of $100 per barrel as a result of countries failing to fulfill their production targets and the current OPEC output cuts. And if things become worse, this rate may go up.

The IEA continues by stating that this development would encourage non-OPEC nations that produce oil to maximize their operations and produce more than their daily average. However, the issue is the nation’s rising inflation as well as its limited capacity for investment and financial assistance.

Photo Credit: IEA

Source: CNN

For the eighth time jobs vacancies fall in the UK

Image Source: CV Library

Jobs vacancies in the UK have dropped for the eighth time as companies blamed economic pressures for holding back on hiring new staff.

The official numbers come a day before Wednesday’s Budget, where the chancellor is expected to talk about plans to help people get jobs again.

Between December and February, 51,000 fewer jobs were available than in the previous three months.

Even with the drop, there are still 1.1 million open jobs.

Between January and March 2020, there were also 328,000 more job openings than before the pandemic.

Between November and January, the rate of people aged 16 to 64 who are not working and are not looking for work went down to 21.3%.

This was driven by people aged between 16 to 24 either getting jobs or looking for work.

But there are still nine million economically inactive Britons who are either students, retired, or sick for a long time.

On Wednesday, Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, is expected to talk about how the government plans to get people back to work. One thing that is likely to be announced is an increase in how much people can save for their pensions before paying taxes on them.

Head of financial analysis at AJ Bell, Danni Hewson, said this move was “an incredible start” but added: “It does little to address labor issues at the lower end of the scale.”

Danni Hewson called this move “an incredibly welcome start,” but she also said, “It doesn’t do much to solve labor problems at the low end of the scale.”

Robin Clevett is a self-employed carpenter and joiner who manages up to 10 sub-contractors on construction projects. He said he had to turn down work because there weren’t enough skilled workers.

On the eve of the chancellor’s “back to work” Budget, the official numbers show it is already beginning.

Employment is up again, but this time it’s because of people working part-time or independently. Even though the number of openings has decreased, it is still very high. Since last year, wages in cash have gone up, but they are still well below the inflation rate. Month to month, though, there are signs that pay growth is starting to slow down.

By international standards, unemployment is still very low, and the number of people working is high. This means the jobs market is still a bright spot in the numbers. This has made consumers more resistant than you might think to the huge shock of energy prices.

After a bank failed in the US, the global financial system became less stable. Because of this, the Bank of England might wait to raise rates again next week.

According to the Office for National Statistics data, pay growth appeared to have been stalling.

In January, the average weekly salary in the UK, excluding bonuses, stood at £589, up by £1 from the month before.

In 2022, the average wage went up by almost £3 a month.

That wasn’t enough to cover the rising costs of living. When rising prices, or inflation, are considered, the average salary fell by 2.4% from October to January compared to last year.

Even though the inflation rate is decreasing, it is still high at 10.1%.

The director of statistics at the ONS, Darren Morgan, said, “The inflation rate has gone down a little, but it’s still higher than earnings growth, so really pay keeps going down.”

The ONS also said that 220,000 days of work were lost in January because of strikes. But this was much less than the 822,000 reported in December when widespread strikes affected mail delivery and train service.

Facebook’s parent company will cut 10,000 jobs

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, says it will cut 10,000 jobs.

It will be the second time the tech giant fires many people at once. Last November, 11,000 people lost their jobs.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, said that the cuts, which are part of a “year of efficiency,” would be “tough.”

In addition to the 10,000 jobs that will be cut, he told staff that the company would also leave 5,000 jobs open.

In a memo to employees, Mr. Zuckerberg said that he thought the company had gotten “a humbling wake-up call” in 2022 when its revenue dropped sharply.

Read Also: US interest rates may rise higher than expected

Meta previously announced that in the third quarter to December 2022, earnings were down 4% year-on-year – though it still managed to make a profit of more than $23bn throughout 2022.

Mr. Zuckerberg said that Meta was slowing down because of things like higher interest rates in the US, instability in international politics, and more rules.

McDonald’s Collaborates with Streetwear Brand for an Adult Happy Meal

McDonald’s, the leading fast food restaurant, intends to appeal to older consumers with their new adult Happy Meal. A free toy is also included in the bundle.

McDonald’s said it would provide goods geared toward adults while retaining the whimsical aspect of the Happy Meal, which is generally sold in red cardboard boxes, as the company tries to add some twists to its typical offers. McDonald’s is not the only company taking the initiative, of course.

On October 3, all participating locations will be able to sell the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box bundle, which is a project between McDonald’s and a well-known streetwear brand.

“We’re taking one of the most nostalgic McDonald’s experiences and literally repackaging it in a new way that’s hyper-relevant for our adult fans,” said the Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s USA, Tariq Hassan.

“I can’t wait to give fans a unique piece of art and culture as we dive headfirst into the dynamic world of Cactus Plant Flea Market together next week. With menu favorites like the Big Mac and McNuggets at the center of this collab, this is another way we’re reigniting a new generation’s love for our food and the brand.”

Read Also: Patagonia Founder Will Use all of the Company’s Revenue to Fight Climate Change

In a press release, McDonald’s stated:

The Cactus Plant Flea Market Box, a first-of-its-kind collaboration made exclusively for McDonald’s fans by one of the most important brands in culture. 

It all starts with the box, which has been totally redesigned in Cactus Plant Flea Market’s signature style alongside McD’s iconic Golden Arches. 

The box will be available in-restaurant, in the drive-thru, by delivery or on the McDonald’s App starting October 3, while supplies last.

It differs from the Happy Meal

Smaller menus were included in the original Happy Meal for kids to eat. However, given that the adult Happy Meal is meant for older customers, McDonald’s chose to include more food in the box, such as a Big Mac or ten McNuggets. In addition, fries and drinks are served with the main dish.

The collectibles are, of course, the pièce de résistance of every Happy Meal. There is one of four figurines that collectors will want to amass within each Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. For this edition, McDonald’s has also included the mascots Hamburglar, Birdie, Grimace, and Cactus Body.

Read Also: TikTok Vows to Address Issues Concerning National Security

The present agreement is the company’s first foray into working with brands, despite McDonald’s reputation for bold and ambitious collaborations. For example, one may remember the company’s partnership with the famed K-Pop boy band BTS. McDonald’s raised billions of dollars thanks to the artists for its Famous Orders marketing campaign.

McDonald’s debuted a menu influenced by rapper Travis Scott two years prior. A lot of McDonald’s stores ran out of the box since it was so well-liked by music fans.

As part of the partnership, McDonald’s will also sell clothing and accessories from Cactus Plant Flea Market, its current partner.

Photo Credit: McDonald’s

Source: CNBC

SVB’s collapse: Digital banks are winning

Image Source: Bloomberg

Without a doubt, digital banks have slid in slowly to act as a stopgap since the collapse of SBV.

Mercury, situated in San Francisco, began receiving several requests for new accounts on Thursday morning. This came a day after Silicon Valley Bank said it had sold $21 billion in securities at a $1.8 billion loss and needed more funds. While federal bank officials scrambled to ensure SVB’s loss would not spark a larger bank run, Mercury’s employees rushed to assist. Its usual account-opening team of 30 was increased to 60, and risk and compliance professionals, volunteer software engineers, and salespeople (who were given a crash course in vetting and authorizing new customers) all pitched in.

Taking extra precautions has paid off in both circumstances, at least for the time being. Regional banks have gotten back on track. And venture capitalists believe Mercury has outperformed all other digital banks that use fintech.

Immad Akhund, Mercury’s 38-year-old CEO and cofounder claims that his 470-person company has added thousands of new customers and more than $2 billion in deposits to the 100,000 accounts it already has. He claims he founded Mercury six years ago because he believed a technology-based banking platform might better assist companies than SVB.

Mercury is one of many fintech firms that have benefited from SVB’s demise. For example, Brex, a San Francisco-based credit card company with a commercial bank account, received 3,000 new customers and billions of dollars in new deposits last week. Yet, the corporation would claim something other than how much money was involved. Brex also lent money to former SVB clients to assist them in paying their debts.

Meow is a new company in New York that allows businesses to earn interest on their capital by purchasing US government bonds. According to the corporation, “hundreds of millions” of dollars have been requested every day over the previous week. Since Thursday, 500 entrepreneurs have requested more than $150 million in payroll funding from Arc. This is due to Arc’s ability to allow software companies to sell future revenue streams in return for cash now.

Digital banks filled the gap

Digital banks have quickly grabbed new customers and money, but whether they can hold them is still being determined. Merritt Hummer is a Bain Capital Ventures partner and a fintech investor. That it’s far too early to declare victory. She believes that many businesses will deposit their money in the largest banks in the United States, such as JPMorgan, Bank of America, and Citi.

JPMorgan, the largest bank in the United States with more than $2 trillion in deposits, will most certainly be the greatest beneficiary from this disaster. Yet, large banks frequently take longer to open accounts.

Aside from being slower, banking behemoths may devote less attention to entrepreneurs and the venture capital ecosystem or offer less specialized goods than SVB (and the digital banks aspire to).

Because they need bank charters and FDIC protection, most digital banks are not really banks. Instead, they collaborate with regular banks, which keep their customers’ funds in guaranteed accounts. Akhund moved swiftly here as well. Mercury began offering up to $3 million in FDIC insurance coverage on Monday, up from $1 million last week.

In 2019, Mercury began offering its startup customers a corporate credit card and a company checking account. It raised $152 million from investors, including Coatue Management, Andreessen Horowitz, CRV, and others and was valued at $1.6 billion in July 2021.

Mercury’s primary partners are Evolve, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, which had $1.5 billion in deposits at the end of 2022, and Choice Bank, headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, which had $3.8 billion in deposits at the end of last year. The collaborations work as follows: When a company joins Mercury, it must first decide whether to invest in Evolve or Choice. If the corporation deposits more than $250,000, Evolve or Choice will “sweep” the excess funds into the banks in its network.

For example, Evolve’s sweep network includes over 40 institutions, ranging from the large credit card business Capital One to the little Quaint Oak Bank in Pennsylvania. If a Mercury customer chooses Evolve and wishes to deposit $3 million, Evolve will distribute the funds among the 12 banks with which it works. Choice’s savings are only insured up to $1 million, but the bank is working to increase that limit.

Some fintechs, such as Brex, provide more than $2 million in FDIC coverage by dividing deposits and distributing them to various banks.

This web of interconnected enterprises raises an important question: Why should clients trust Mercury’s small banks with their money? Technically, no location is safe from a bank run because too many clients leaving the bank for no apparent reason can bring it down. Furthermore, there is no certainty that the FDIC would protect all deposits at a small bank like SVB. As a result, the digital banks divide the deposits into $250,000 increments and distribute them. Mercury suggests that clients with more than $3 million invest it in Vanguard’s Treasury Money Market mutual fund, which allows them to do so.

Mercury works with small banks that disagree with the notion that they are riskier than their much larger counterparts. For example, choice CEO Brian Johnson claims that, unlike Silicon Valley Bank, his bank did not invest for the long term. Yet, according to Johnson, Choice received around $1.5 billion in fresh deposits last week, with approximately 90% of those deposits coming through Mercury.

Read Also: HSBC buys out UK arm of the Silicon Valley Bank

On Monday, Mercury’s second bank partner, Evolve, stated it was “strong and stable” and not in jeopardy, unlike SVB.

US government says money in SVB is safe

Image Source: Business Journals

After the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank failed, the US government quickly fixed the banking system on Sunday.

The government said that people and businesses with money in SVB would be able to get all of it starting on Monday.

The government also shut down the New York-based Signature Bank after pressure grew.

President Joe Biden will talk about the wild weekend in the financial world later on Monday.

He said in a statement, “Those who made this mess will be held fully responsible.”

SVB was a bank that gave loans to tech companies as its main business. On Friday, the government shut it down and took everything it had. It was the biggest failure of a bank in the US since the financial crisis of 2008.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), US Treasury and the Federal Reserve all said that depositors would be safe. It also said that the taxpayer would not have to pay anything for the move.

SVB worked hard to get the money it needed to make up for a loss it made when it sold assets whose value fell because interest rates went up.

“The US banking system is still strong and stable,” the government said in a joint statement. “This is mostly because reforms made after the financial crisis made the banking industry safer.”

“These changes, along with what we’re doing today, show that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep depositors’ money safe.”

These steps also apply to Signature Bank of New York, which is the next most vulnerable bank after SVB because it just got regulated on Sunday.

As part of what they are doing to rebuild trust, regulators have shown banks a new way to get access to emergency funds.

The Federal Reserve said it would help with its new Bank Term Funding Program, making it easier for banks to borrow money from it when they are in trouble.

When tech companies were starting, SVB was seen as an important lender. For example, its banking partners were almost half of the venture-backed US technology and healthcare companies that went public last year.

What went wrong with SVB?

SVB specialized in giving loans to new businesses, and last year it worked with almost half of the US venture-backed technology and healthcare companies that went public.

Higher interest rates made it difficult for its customers to raise funds through private fundraising or selling shares. This put pressure on the company. More clients pulled out their deposits in a trend that grew last week.

Friday, the bank failed in the US because it couldn’t get enough money to cover losses from the sale of assets, mostly US government bonds, that were hurt by higher interest rates.

One founder said  he kept refreshing his online banking page repeatedly in the hopes that it would work.

Another person said he was sure the government would help, but he also said he might have lost about 40% of the company’s cash overnight.

So, people with money in the bank were happy about this statement. But some people will look silly if they do this.

Most of the time, SVB worked with elite tech start-ups and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. And these Silicon Valley elites tend to be more than a little bit libertarian: the standard view is that the government is too slow and too big.

Some people think it’s funny that the government has stepped in to save the day. Some people will wonder if influential tech bros are getting special treatment: capitalism when things go well and socialism when things go wrong.

The statement is worded carefully because taxpayers won’t pay for this. Now, Mr. Biden will have to defend the decision and reassure people in his party that guaranteeing depositors was the only way.

In another case, Canadian authorities took control of SVB’s assets in that country for a short time. But the top bank regulator said that they would try to get control for good.

SVB started as a bank in California in 1983. In the last ten years, it has grown quickly.

But it was put under pressure when higher interest rates made it harder for new businesses to raise money through private fundraising or selling shares.

In Silicon Valley, people are still feeling the effects of the collapse as businesses try to figure out how it will affect their finances.

Paul Ashworth, the chief North American economist at Capital Economics, said the US government had “acted aggressively” to stop a disease from spreading.

“Rationally, this should be enough to forestall any contagion from spreading and bringing down more banks, which can happen in the twinkle of an eye in the digital age,” he said. “But contagion has always been linked to irrational fear, so we want to stress that there is no guarantee this will work.”

Read Also: The unexpected fall of the Silicon Valley Bank

Between then and now, HSBC has bought the UK branch of SVB.

The Treasury said that no taxpayer money was used in the deal, which was worked out with HSBC through the night so that it could be done before trading started on Monday.

Customers and businesses that could only get their money after can now do so as usual.

The unexpected fall of the Sillicon Valley Bank

Image Source: The Hindu Business Line

On Wednesday, Silicon Valley Bank was a business that had a lot of money but wanted to make more.

The bank’s 40-year run was over in 48 hours because the venture capital community, which SVB had served and helped grow, was in a panic.

Friday, the government shut down the Sillicon Valley Bank and took all of its money. This is the second-largest U.S. bank failure ever and the biggest since the big financial crisis of 2008. When the company told investors late on Wednesday that it needed $2.25 billion to fix its balance sheet, things started going downhill. After that, a well-known bank that had grown along with its tech clients went out of business very quickly.

Even though the second bank closing announced this week is starting to settle down, venture capitalists are still upset about other investors’ role in SVB’s failure.

An investor at Restive Ventures named Ryan Falvey told CNBC, “This was a bank run because VCs were afraid.” “This is one of the best examples of a business doing something that hurts itself in the long run.”

The event is the latest result of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to stop inflation by raising interest rates in the most aggressive way it has in the last 40 years. So, there are worries that startups might not be able to pay their employees in the next few days, that venture investors might need help getting money, and that a troubled sector could worsen.

When rates went up, the market changed, which caused the Sillicon Valley Bank to fail. SVB ran out of money because startup clients took out deposits to keep their businesses going during a hard time for initial public offerings (IPOs) and private fundraising. Because of this, the bank announced late Wednesday that it had to sell all of its available bonds at a loss of $1.8 billion.

When the Silvergate bank, which focused on cryptocurrencies, failed, more money was suddenly needed. On Thursday, this caused another wave of deposit withdrawals when venture capitalists told the companies they owned to move their money. People are worried that startups might be unable to use their deposits if there is a run on the Sillicon Valley Bank.

During a call that began Thursday afternoon, SVB customers said that CEO Greg Becker’s advice to “stay calm” didn’t make them feel better. The stock kept going down until it was down 60% at the end of regular trading. Someone on the call said that Becker couldn’t promise that this was the last time the bank would need to raise money.

Deathblow to the Sillicon Valley Bank

In California, customers withdrew a huge $42 billion deposit by Thursday, according to a regulatory filing.

The filing says that at the end of that day’s business, the Sillicon Valley Bank had a cash balance that was $958 million in the red. As a result, the bank needed help finding enough collateral from other places, the regulator said.

Falvey, a former Sillicon Valley Bank employee who started his fund in 2018, said that the fact that the tech investing community is so tight-knit was a big reason why the bank went out of business so quickly.

In the past few days, significant funds like Union Square Ventures and Coatue Management sent emails to all of their startups telling them to take their money out of the Sillicon Valley Bank because they were worried about a bank run. He said that social media made problems even worse.

Spencer Greene is a venture capitalist and a partner at TSVC. He said investors were bad if they were “wrong on the facts” about SVB’s position.

“Nothing different”

Thursday night, some Sillicon Valley Bank customers got emails telling them everything at the bank was “business as usual.”

David Faber of CNBC said that on Friday, as the Sillicon Valley Bank shares continued to fall, the bank stopped trying to sell them. He said that he was instead looking for someone to buy it. But the loss of deposits made it harder to sell, and Faber said that effort also failed.

Falvey began his career at Wells Fargo. During the financial crisis, he worked as a consultant for a bank that was taken over. He said the mid-quarter update from SVB on Wednesday gave him confidence. He said the bank had enough money to give everyone their money back. As rumors spread, he told the companies he worked with to keep their money at SVB.

Read Also: Silvergate faces with $8bn in withdrawals

People who kept their money at the Sillicon Valley Bank after the bank run that led to its seizure are still trying to figure out when they’ll get it back. Even though insured deposits could be available as early as Monday, most of them held by SVB were not insured, and it is still being determined when they will be released.

FWM Designers LLC Sets on a Mission to Build a Better Community

As the world continues to face the challenges of the pandemic and economic recession, it’s more important than ever for businesses and communities to come together and work towards a common goal of improving public welfare. That’s exactly the mission of FWM Designers LLC, as it centers itself on the principles of entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and philanthropy.

FWM Designers LLC encourages collaboration among community members to enhance the well-being of both businesses and communities through philanthropic efforts and mutually beneficial service collaborations on a large scale. In addition to that, the company also offers programs named Good Circles, which reduce operating expenses for nonprofit and for-profit entities and increase revenues while reducing costs to the consumer. The goal is to establish a precedence of businesses and communities taking ownership of their own communal welfare through their systems while promoting living wages as a minimal hiring practice.

Looking forward to the future, the company aims to become the most impactful organization on public welfare by size within 12 months and to be the global leader in philanthropic impact within the next 36 months. “The systems we have established to support our communities are designed specifically to be beneficial for all entities involved, and we are excited to help our communities as we recover from the pandemic and endure the current recession,” FWM Designers LLC founder Timothy Franklin said.

FWM Designers LLC

FWM Designers LLC aims to lower the cost of daily purchases for consumers by 10% as they expand while simultaneously reducing nonprofit operating expenses, excluding payroll, by up to 100% and boosting nonprofit operating capital by at least 400% annually. They also can decrease operating costs for for-profit organizations and significantly increase their net revenue.

The driving force behind the creation of this brand was to advance the values on which the company was established, as well as to assist others in their growth and success. Furthermore, the business structure was shaped organically through interactions with their clients, as they addressed the issues most crucial to them. 

FWM Designers LLC endeavors to decrease dependency on government systems for community welfare by promoting large-scale collaboration and establishing an ecosystem that prioritizes the benefit of others above self-interest.

“We place the community first as a business. While we are still a for-profit business, our goal is to create more benefits for nonprofit organizations than ourselves. This is not just a business; it is a movement to promote entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and philanthropy as a single system to make our communities better places,” Franklin said.

FWM Designers LLC firmly believes that through cooperation, businesses and communities can generate a more promising future for all. 

US interest rates may rise higher than expected

Image Source: Bloomberg

To help stabilize prices, the governor of the US Federal Reserve has warned that policymakers may hike interest rates more quickly and further than previously anticipated.

Following the statements, US markets plummeted weeks before the Fed’s next rate announcement, and the dollar surged.

Many analysts projected a 0.25 percentage point increase.

But, the comments suggest that the bank may become more aggressive.

In reaction to the sharpest price growth in decades, the Fed raised its benchmark rate to more than 4.5% in the previous year, the highest rate since 2007.

In January, inflation – the rate at which prices rise – in the United States was 6.4%.

While this is lower than it was, it is still much higher than the 2% rate considered healthy, and Mr. Powell warned that recent data indicated that progress might be stalling.

He projected that this would push the bank to hike interest rates over the 5% to 5.5% range predicted by officials in December.

Raising borrowing costs is one strategy for lowering the economy’s total price increases.

“The most recent economic figures have come in stronger than expected, meaning that the interest rates would likely be higher than previously anticipated,” Powell testified in Congress on the first two days of economic testimony.

“If the data demonstrate that more tightening is required, we would be willing to speed rate hikes,” he added.

Parliamentarians, particularly those on the left, were outraged by the statements.

They said the moves would do little to address the underlying causes of inflation, such as the Ukraine crisis and supply chain problems, while generating an economic slowdown that would put millions out of work.

Mr. Powell stated that the economy would suffer if the bank did not act.

Prices in the United States grew by 0.5% unexpectedly from December to January, but monthly data on retail sales and hiring were also better than expected.

By raising borrowing costs, Federal Reserve policymakers hope to reduce demand for loans for business expansions, housing, and other purchases, so cooling the economy and alleviating price pressures.

Significant slowdowns in rate-sensitive areas of the economy, notably the housing market, have already occurred due to the steps.

Mr. Powell added that officials would thoroughly review all incoming data before making a decision.

Following the hearing, Capital Economics’ deputy chief US economist Andrew Hunter noted in a note that “the conclusion is that not only are interest rates set to rise faster than we previously projected but there is a lot less room for rate reduction later this year than we had previously believed.”

In early afternoon trade in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.6%, the S&P 500 was down roughly 1.4%, and the Nasdaq was down about 1%.

US interest rates and inflation remains high

In the United States, inflation has dropped for the seventh month in a row, but prices continue to rise considerably faster than is considered healthy.

Inflation was 6.4% in the year to January, with rises in housing, food, and energy prices driving the figure.

This was a modest reduction from the previous month’s figure of 6.5%.

Officials have warned that price stabilization will take time, despite recent hints of improvement.

Beef prices dropped compared to a year ago. However, egg costs have risen by 70% since January 2021, while butter and margarine have risen by roughly a third.

Televisions, iPhones, and used cars and trucks are all cheaper than a year ago.

Yet, housing costs – one of the price index’s most significant components – have grown by more than 7% due to rising rents, while prices for services such as haircuts continue to rise dramatically.

The Federal Reserve, the US central bank, has promptly raised interest rates to slow the economy and reduce the pressures pushing up prices.

But, the labor market has held up better than expected, sparking heated debate among economists about how high borrowing costs will have to be to bring inflation to the 2% level considered healthy – and whether the economy can sustain the increase without entering a severe recession.

Analysts believe the latest inflation data will keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates.

Prices surged in the United States in 2021 as the economy recovered from epidemic lockdowns. As a result of the shortage and increased costs, businesses hiked their prices.

The Ukraine war, which disrupted food and energy supplies, aggravated the economy, causing inflation to reach 9.1% in June, the highest level since 1981.

Read Also: Housing prices see biggest fall in over a decade

Their armies have now retreated. Furthermore, recent data suggests that the surge in rental rates, shown in the government’s report at a lag as people renew their leases, is also diminishing, according to analysts.

Despite this, many businesses have continued raising their prices, citing rising costs.

Petrol, often known as gasoline in the US, climbed in January but remained lower than last year’s record highs.

GSD Capital, Inside a Young Hedge Fund’s Stand out Year

Timothy Goldberg, head of trading & investments at GSD Capital.

Many absolute return funds are currently experiencing a decrease in performance results, but there is one hedge fund that stands out from the crowd. This fund has managed to maintain outsized returns with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is cutting-edge technology that has been widely adopted by the financial industry in recent years. This new development is helping some active fund managers make better and more profitable investment decisions by analyzing a much wider spread of data and identifying patterns at a rate far better than human analysts or outdated software.

By leveraging the power of AI, GSD Capital has been able to consistently identify profitable trading and investment opportunities and thus stay profitable at a time where most absolute return funds are struggling. 

The UK-based investment firm had a very successful year in terms of investment returns. Their standard investment strategy yielded an impressive return of approximately 110 percent, after fees, over the twelve months that ended in May of last year. This year, up until the present date, the same strategy has generated a return of about 107.8 percent after fees, according to a client letter that Institutional Investor has obtained.

The fund outperformed the index by several hundred percentage points last year, demonstrating its excellent performance. During the period from January to September, the HFRX Equity Market Neutral Index saw a decline of 6.6 percent, while Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index increased by only 4.1 percent. GSD Capital, however, managed to beat both the S&P 500 and the market-neutral benchmark through its algorithmic strategy powered by artificial intelligence.

The firm trades in liquid currencies, commodities, and even crypto-currencies, indicating its diversity in investment options.

GSD Capital uses machine learning approaches and claims an AI technique called “Evo-synthetic algorithms,” which adapts and evolves to changing market conditions.

Head of Trading, Timothy Goldberg made headwinds in the technological asset management space, working at Quantedge and Barclays private wealth, before co-founding GSD Capital.

GSD Capital tested its AI-enabled strategy with private and proprietary capital between 2019 and 2021, applying it to volatility arbitrage, commodities, currencies, and crypto-currencies.

AI is currently one of the most popular areas in investing, however, many asset managers are hesitant to adopt AI techniques for making investment decisions. This could be due to various reasons such as a lack of information, knowledge, or understanding of the potential benefits of AI.

One of the reasons for this hesitance is that the financial market is constantly evolving and AI-powered systems might not be able to explain their decisions to investors. This lack of transparency can be a concern for asset managers who want to ensure that their investment strategies are based on sound reasoning that can be easily communicated to their clients.

Despite these challenges, certain funds with the necessary expertise in AI are leveraging it as a key competitive advantage. By using AI-powered systems to analyze vast amounts of data, these funds can make more informed investment decisions and gain a better understanding of market trends. This can help them stay ahead of the competition and generate higher returns for their clients.

Overall, while AI is a powerful tool that can help fund managers make better investment decisions, there are still challenges to be addressed, particularly around transparency and accountability. However, for those funds that are willing to invest in the right expertise and technology, AI can be a valuable edge in today’s competitive financial markets.

“GSD Capital not only outperformed but did so with a fraction of the volatility while the market was crashing around it,” according to the client letter. “In possibly the most volatile and turbulent year for global markets in recent years, our trading operations posted a 107.8% gain over this period while the SPX struggled to keep pace.”

In the letter, the firm’s principals gave a behind-the-scenes look at the strategy and how it survived when other quant funds were hit hard. 

They further explained that they expect their strategy to continue to outperform in the year to come. “We expect our strategy to continue to outperform through its second year. However, it will be very interesting to see what the ever-growing adoption in the use of artificial intelligence would mean for our absolute returns ” said Timothy Goldberg.

Adani Group signed a $1.87bn deal

Image Source: Time

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s troubled empire, Adani Group has received $1.87 billion (£1.6 billion) from a US asset management firm.

Adani told investors that GQG Partners, which is based in Florida, has bought shares in four of the group’s companies.

It is the first big investment the company has discussed in public since short-seller Hindenburg Research accused it of manipulating the stock market and committing financial fraud.

Adani Group said that the claims are not true.

Since Hindenburg Research’s report came out on January 24, the value of Adani Group’s seven publicly traded companies has dropped by about $135 billion.

The GQG investment will be divided between four groups of Adani companies, one of which is Adani Enterprises, the company’s main business.

Jugeshinder Singh, Chief Financial Officer of Adani Group, said that this deal shows that global investors still have faith in Adani’s companies’ governance, management practices, and growth.

Rajiv Jain, the chair and chief investment officer at GQG, said he thought “long-term growth prospects for these companies are substantial.”

He also said Mr. Adani was “widely thought to be one of the best businessmen of his generation.”

In a separate filing with the government, Adani Enterprises denied that a sovereign wealth fund had given the company a $3 billion loan.

In its reply, the company said it wanted to make it clear that the news item was just a market rumor and that it wouldn’t be right to say anything about it.

Earlier on Thursday, India’s Supreme Court chose an independent panel to look into what US short-seller Hindenburg Research said about companies in the Adani Group.

The company said that for decades, Adani companies had been “brazenly” manipulating their stock prices and committing accounting fraud.

It also said that the companies had “substantial debt,” which put the whole group on “shaky financial ground.”

When you sell short, you bet that the price of an asset will go down.

Adani Group has said that the claims are untrue and an “attack on India.” People had said before, without any proof, that the Hindenburg report was made public to help the US-based short seller make money.

Mr. Adani’s group is made up of seven publicly traded companies that work in many different areas, such as trading commodities, airports, utilities, ports, and renewable energy.

India Supreme Court sets up committee to probe fraud allegations against Adani group

India’s Supreme Court has set up a powerful independent panel to look into fraud claims made by a US research firm against the business empire of billionaire Gautam Adani.

In a report from January, Hindenburg Research said that Adani Group firms were manipulating their stock prices and committing financial fraud. This made its stock fall sharply.

The group said that the claims were not true.

But the event led to a political fight, and the leaders of the opposition demanded that the claims be looked into.

Thursday, the Supreme Court chose a group of five people to look into the claims.

The committee, which former judge Abhay M. Sapre will lead, will have to give its report in two months.

Minutes after the verdict, Mr. Adani tweeted that his group companies were happy with the decision of the court, which he said would “bring finality in a time-bound manner.”

Chief Justice Dr. DY Chadrachud led the three-judge bench. Lawyers and politicians asked for an investigation into the Adani Group after Hindenburg Research accused it of “brazen” stock manipulation and accounting fraud for decades.

During the last hearing, the court said it wouldn’t accept the names of experts suggested by the federal government for the committee because it wanted to “keep the case open and honest.”

“If we take names from the government, the committee will be made up of people chosen by the government. So we’ll put the committee together and pick its members ourselves.” That’s what Justice Chandrachud said.

The market value of the companies in the Adani Group has dropped by more than $100 billion (£82 billion) in the last few weeks. This is because the accusations caused the Indian stock markets to crash.

The group has said the accusations are false and made with bad intentions. They have said that these plans are an “attack on India.” But that hasn’t stopped Adani’s stock price from falling.

Read Also: Adani: Will India’s green energy dream be affected?

Mr. Adani, the company’s founder, is no longer one of the ten richest people in the world. Forbes’s real-time list of billionaires shows that Mr. Adani is now the 15th richest person in the world, with a worth of $74.7bn. He was third on the list last month.

People think that Mr. Adani is close to Narendra Modi, who is the Prime Minister of India. Opposition politicians have said for a long time that he took advantage of his political connections, which he denies.

Workers getting stretched as layoffs bite

Image Source: HR Daily Advisor

When people lose their jobs as a result of layoffs, teams get smaller, and the people left have too much to do and insufficient help.

As the head of marketing for a group of restaurants in the UK, James’ job was to develop a long-term plan, build a steady digital audience, and bring in more customers over time. But in reality, his job differed from what he was hired to do. Even for small, routine tasks, there was always a need for more people, let alone for the job he was hired for.

“Right from the start, there weren’t enough numbers,” says James, a Londoner whose last name isn’t used to protect his career.

Because of Brexit, pandemic lockdowns, and the hiring crisis in the service industry, his team was so small that James says even managers often had to wait tables. And these problems could be better for his job.

Soon, James couldn’t do his job anymore because he needed help daily. He also said that he could see why companies might want to run things with a small staff to reduce risk, especially since the hospitality industry was struggling. But it’s hard on everyone involved.

Too much work to handle

Even if the team is small and there is much work, it needs more people.

Some teams are made to be small, and employees are expected to do many different things so that they can work with few resources. But there is a massive difference between a small, quick team and a team that needs more resources.

When an employee isn’t there, if the workload gets too much and someone else has to do the tasks of another worker, this is probably a sign of not having enough workers.

As layoffs happen faster around the world, people who still have jobs end up on smaller teams. And because the economy is still uncertain, many businesses are attempting to do more with less by cutting jobs and stopping new hires. Because fewer people are working, the people still there often have to pick up the slack, do more work, and do things that aren’t in their job description.

All of this has a price. Because of the economy, more people may find themselves working in places where they are needed. Because the market is uncertain, they might have no choice but to work extremley hard as possible. Even if the work is done quickly, not enough people will cause stress, anxiety, burnout, and other less obvious problems in the long run.

Teams need more resources to help the output of a company. But it is also about people. Ultimately, the workers have to deal with the effects of layoffs and insufficient staff, which adds stress to their already heavy workloads. This affects how well they do at work and how they feel about themselves, which can be bad for them. Maston says, “Not having enough people on a team causes stress and anxiety, which hurts the quality of work and the health of the employees in the long run.”

James was shocked by this fact and said it put him in an impossible situation. “I had a choice: I could either work a lot of hours, which would be tiring or a shorter workday, which would be less stressful but would mean I wouldn’t get everything done that day.

Will the layoffs last?

Before the cross-sector layoffs were announced, many companies’ employees were already declining.

During the peak of the Great Resignation, for example, workers who stayed on the job were expected to fill in for those who left. Even though teams worked harder than usual to compensate for the lack of workers, many open positions stayed open because recruiters had trouble filling them. In October 2022, the British Chambers of Commerce polled more than 5,100 businesses and found that 76% needed help hiring staff, and 56% were not running at full capacity because they needed help finding enough people to hire.

Even though a bad job market can lead to teams with too few people, employers can also make this happen because it makes financial sense for businesses to run as lean as possible.

Management may have a different idea of what “understaffing” means than the workers do. Chang says bosses like employees who try to do their best and take the initiative. So when people see their coworkers’ jobs being cut, they may feel pressured to accept the lack of resources, keep going, and take on more work.

Workers often want to dig in for their safety and to help other workers who are having trouble. This keeps productivity high in the short term, which makes bosses happy and gives them a reason to keep teams small, but it also hides the deeper problem of not having enough workers. So, not having enough resources can cause problems immediately, but it can also hurt a career in the long run in slow, sneaky ways.

Experts say that not having enough people on staff can only last for so long. After that, something always breaks, whether it’s the work’s quality or the workers’ health.

Read Also: Government made 2.4bn GBP from mortgages

Still, because of the economy and job market, many workers can expect to be on short-staffed teams for now. But companies that let people go aren’t the only ones to blame for these problems. Even though some companies haven’t joined the wave of layoffs, they still can’t fill jobs that have been open for years. This keeps teams from moving if they need more resources.

Government earned £2.4bn from mortgages

Image Source: World Financial Review

Martin Lewis paid for a report that says the government made £2.4 billion by selling mortgages from failed lenders to investment companies.

Companies that couldn’t give out new loans bought about 200,000 mortgages. So, many homeowners have high rates because they need help from other places to get loans.

The person who started the website MoneySavingExpert wants people stuck on their mortgages to be freed by the government.

The Treasury said it would consider all suggestions.

Samantha has been stuck with her mortgage since 2008 when the economy crashed. She told the BBC that her payments would go from £546 a month last year to £952 a month next year.

Mr. Lewis said that the report makes it clear that the government sold these borrowers into poverty even though it knew it could hurt them and make billions of dollars.

Many people have been hurt by what happened. People are suffering financially, physically, and mentally, and the pandemic and cost of living are worsening things.

Trapped

In 1998, Samantha and her ex-husband took out a mortgage on their two-bedroom terraced house. Twenty years later, Samantha refinanced with Northern Rock.

When the bank went bankrupt, the government sold many loans to so-called “closed book” lenders, including hers.

These are companies that invest money but can’t give out new mortgages. So people with loans can’t get a lower rate through them, which is a shame.

Many people can only switch to a cheaper mortgage if they meet the strict lending requirements that were enacted after the crisis.

Samantha works as an office manager in Swindon, and she has a £150,000 mortgage on which she only pays the interest.

She said that the Bank of England has been raising interest rates, but her lender has also been doing it independently. She said the rate went up this month from 7.69% to 8.14%.

She said that the rising cost of living had put her under “massive” pressure to the point where she couldn’t even buy small gifts or go to the hairdresser.

People ask her why she doesn’t sell her house, but she says that would mean losing everything and not being able to get another mortgage.

“It’s so hard,” she said. “It’s the worst thing that could ever happen. It’s making me miserable.”

“The government sold it”

The London School of Economics asked Martin Lewis, who started the website, to write the report. It shows how to fix the problem and how much it would cost.

It said the government could help prisoners pay off their mortgages with their own money and give them free loans. In addition, it could back mortgage loans from other lenders as a last resort.

The report said it would cost between £50 million and £347 million over ten years to fix the problem.

The Treasury said that it had already worked with the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] to update mortgage rules, removing the barrier that kept some people from being able to switch.

It also said that it is open to more practical and fairways to help mortgage prisoners and will work with the FCA and the industry to consider all proposals carefully.

The FCA said it knows how hard it is for people who can’t switch mortgages but would be better off if they did.

It said it took away regulatory barriers to switching and clarified what firms should do to help borrowers who are having trouble paying back their loans and treat vulnerable customers fairly.

How hard is it to pay people’s mortgages?

During the 2008 financial crisis, there were more debts than ever. However, during the pandemic, they only increased slightly because lenders gave payment breaks.

Banks and building societies can take back their homes when people have trouble making payments, but lenders try to avoid this.

Five years after the 2008 crash, banks took back more than 200,000 homes.

No cars were taken back between March 2020 and April 2021 because of Covid. So, a year after they started up again, less than 4,000 people were there.

When the Bank of England raised interest rates by 0.75 percentage points to 3% on November 3, it was the biggest single rise in the cost of borrowing since 1989.

After the mini-budget, the financial markets said that the Bank of England’s interest rate would be higher than 6% in 2023.

However, traders think the peak will be less than 5%. You can use the above mortgage calculator to see how changing interest rates affect how much you have to pay each month.

During the early 2000s real estate boom, people were often given 100% mortgages and cash back.

But after the 2008 financial crisis, the rules changed about how to get a mortgage.

Lenders should give borrowers more time for prices to go down before they have to pay back more than they are worth.

Read Also: Housing prices see the biggest fall in over a decade

Most recent borrowers have also had their ability to pay checked against interest rates that were even higher than what we’re seeing now.

House prices sees biggest fall in a decade

Image Source: Bank Rate

In the year before February, both mortgage rates and living costs increased, making homes 1.1% less affordable.

Nationwide says this is the first time property values have gone down in a year since November 2012. Of course, there was a small drop at the start of the pandemic, but that was it.

From January to February, prices also went down by 0.5%.

The building society said it would be diffcult for the market to start again shortly.

The chief economist, Robert Gardner, said that the economy is likely to keep facing strong headwinds, and as the economy shrinks in the next few quarters, the job market will likely worsen.

He also said that mortgage rates were still “well above” what they were in 2021.

The average home price is now £257,406, 3.7% less than in August 2022, when it was at its highest. In January, it was £258,297.

Nationwide says that house prices have been going down every month for the past six months because buyers are having a harder time getting loans because interest rates are increasing.

The cost of living went up quickly, so the Bank of England raised interest rates last year. But this meant mortgage rates were already increasing, which was bad news.

But Liz Truss’s mini-Budget in September caused mortgage rates to go up, which shook the financial markets. Since then, they have gone down, but they are still a long way above what they will be in late 2021, which is more like 1%.

On Wednesday, the Bank of England announced that the number of mortgages approved by UK banks in January was the lowest since 2009. This doesn’t include a drop at the start of the pandemic in 2009.

This is less than the 40,540 mortgages for home purchases approved in December.

When Mr. Gardner looked into the future, he said that from their highest point in August 2022 to their lowest point in December 2022, property prices would drop by 5-6%. Given how hard it is on people’s finances, this is a good way to land.

He did say that the prediction was based on the job market not getting worse than people thought.

Pantheon Macroeconomics said that people weren’t buying new homes because they thought prices would go down even more. The forecaster thinks house prices will fall to about 8% below their peak in the next few months.

It said that mortgage rates seemed to have “hit a floor for now” and that households’ real disposable incomes would be “squeezed again” in April when the government stopped helping pay for energy bills.

It also said that it had “tentatively penciled in a 5% rise in house prices for 2024” because it thinks the Bank of England will start to lower interest rates next year.

Capital Economics said that the fact that house prices fell even more in February would keep people from getting too excited about the news that demand had picked up.

Even though there are more buyers, they can only spend a little on a new home because mortgage rates have increased.

Will house prices continue to fall?

Small changes can happen every month, but Lloyds, the largest lender in the UK, is planning for an 8% drop in 2023.

In November, the OBR told the government that house prices would drop by 9% over the next two years.

People are finding it harder to borrow money because interest rates have changed a lot.

This means that there will be less interest in homes and fewer offers.

People’s ability to pay their mortgages is also affected by how much they pay for energy, how much they make, and how secure their jobs are. So, the economy will determine how house prices change in the future.

When the price of a house goes down, what happens?

People who want to move will be the first to notice a difference.

Some homeowners who want to sell may choose to wait. If a person owns a home and wants to move, they may need more money.

In 2022, fewer homes were sold than in the year before prices went up last summer when stamp duty was temporarily lowered.

But if interest rates stay high, 100,000 people a month will leave their fixed-rate mortgages for new ones with higher rates.

Some homeowners will need more money to afford higher monthly payments, making them more likely to sell their homes.

First-time buyers can get on the housing ladder because homes are more affordable (if they can get a mortgage).

But a price drop can also keep people from moving, making them worry about their money.

At worst, they could end up with negative equity, which means that the amount they borrowed is more than what the property is worth now.

Read Also: FTX: Sing pleads guilty to fraud charges

Because the value of a home makes up about a third of a family’s wealth, falling house prices can make people feel less financially secure and cause them to save more than they spend.

If people spend less, the economy will slow down even more.

Gennaro Brooks-Church Brings His Green Vision to the Organic CBD and THC Drink Industry with Success Organic CBD Energy Drink

Gennaro Brooks-Church, a renowned green builder, photographer, and living wall artist, takes his vision on sustainability to launch Success Organic CBD Energy Drink, a high-end blend of organic ingredients designed to provide a healthier alternative to traditional energy drinks.

His vision focuses on promoting environmentally sustainable practices in the production and distribution of CBD products. By using organic and natural ingredients, it helps to reduce the impact on the environment and promote a more sustainable future for the industry. 

With a background in art and a passion for healthy living, Brooks-Church brings a unique perspective to the growing organic CBD and THC drink market. Success Organic CBD Energy Drink is made with a blend of organic coconut water, organic green coffee bean caffeine, and organic CBD, offering a natural boost of energy while promoting overall health and wellness.

“I wanted something healthy to keep me awake and calm my nerves during a long drive, but I couldn’t find anything on the market,” says Brooks-Church. “That’s when I decided to make Success Organic CBD Energy Drink. The CBD helps with anxiety and the organic green coffee caffeine keeps you alert.”

The use of organic CBD sets Success Organic CBD Energy Drink apart from its competitors and provides a range of health benefits, including reducing anxiety, pain, and inflammation. The organic coconut water in the drink provides a natural source of hydration and electrolytes, while the organic green coffee bean caffeine provides a natural source of energy, without the jitters or crash often associated with synthetic caffeine.

The drink’s organic ingredients also make it a more environmentally friendly choice, as organic farming practices help to reduce the impact on the planet. The use of organic cane sugar, as opposed to synthetic sweeteners, also ensures that the drink is not only healthier but also has a more natural, better-tasting flavor.

“Success Organic CBD Energy Drink is the best choice for anyone looking for a healthier and more sustainable alternative to traditional energy drinks,” says Brooks-Church. “Whether you’re an athlete, a busy professional, or just someone looking for a healthier alternative to unhealthy energy drinks, Success Organic CBD Energy Drink is the perfect choice for you.”

About Gennaro Brooks-Church

Gennaro Brooks-Church is a well-known green builder, photographer, and living wall artist, who has made a significant impact in the world of building design and construction. With a passion for nature, he has brought his unique perspective to the world of organic CBD and THC drink, creating a high-end blend of organic ingredients designed to provide a healthier alternative to traditional energy drinks.

For more information, please visit the Success Organic CBD Energy Drink website.

Transforming Lives Naturally: Meet The Virtual Chiropractor Dr. Heather

Dr. Heather is a virtual chiropractor who has been helping people become pain-free naturally for years. Her approach goes beyond the traditional spinal adjustment and focuses on corrective exercise and rehabilitation techniques specific to each individual’s condition. She has a 98% success rate with individuals who are serious about becoming pain-free and has helped thousands of people internationally in under a 3-week period.

Dr. Heather’s journey began in 8th grade when she dislocated her low back while playing varsity softball. She received help from her mother’s chiropractor, who used Kinesiology and spinal adjustments to help her recover quickly. This experience inspired Dr. Heather to become a chiropractor and help others heal naturally. She prides herself on her intake skills, listening to each patient and uncovering the root cause of their pain.

Dr. Heather’s patients are mainly runners, skiers, cyclists, triathletes, and weightlifters like CrossFitters. Brad, a 56-year-old male who loves to run, was one of her success stories. After being told to stop running due to a stress fracture, Brad signed up for Dr. Heather’s 3-week sports chiropractic program and was back to running 100% pain-free. Hope was given back to Brad.

Dr. Heather’s virtual sports chiropractic program is convenient for those with demanding jobs who put their health and wellness last. Her method has been proven time and time again, and she offers a 100% guarantee or a full refund plus an additional 8 weeks of time with her to get the desired results. Dr. Heather is available on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram for anyone looking to become pain-free naturally.

Dr. Heather is an expert in her field who genuinely cares about her patients’ well-being. Her approach has helped thousands of people become pain-free naturally, and she continues to inspire hope in those who thought they could never get back to the activity they love.

To learn more about Dr. Heather, visit her website or follow her socials on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

Qantas: Post-COVID profits soar

Image Source: Skytrax

Qantas said that it made more than A$1.4 billion in profits in the first half of the year. From last year, this is a big change.

During the pandemic, Australia put in place strict travel rules, which cost the company more than A$7 billion.

Last year, there were more problems, like canceled flights, lost luggage, and people being late.

The airline said its profits went up because more people wanted to fly, ticket prices went up, and costs were cut.

As travel restrictions were lifted because of the pandemic, CEO Alan Joyce said that sales had tripled in the six months leading up to the end of December, reaching almost A$10 billion.

The A$1.4bn (£793m; $954m) profit is a big change from the A$456m loss that happened during the same time last year.

Mr. Joyce said, “This is a big change from our big losses a year ago.”

As a result of the pandemic, many countries closed their borders, and Australia made some of the strictest travel rules in the world.

Most non-Australians could only stay in the country for up to 18 months, and strict limits on who could come in meant that thousands of Australians were stuck in other countries.

Qantas said in August 2020 that it would cut tens of thousands of jobs and outsource 2,000 ground staff jobs to reduce losses.

But that led to a court case that cost a lot of money and the need for more staff.

Last year, when the restrictions were lifted, the shortages caused a lot of trouble at Australian airports. Passengers had to wait in long lines to check-in, and senior executives were called in to help.

As anger grew, it was said that eggs and toilet paper had been thrown at Mr. Joyce’s A$19 million waterfront home in August.

After a series of technical problems with its planes, while they were in the air in January, the airline pushed back against claims that the problems were widespread.

Even with these problems, AirlineRatings.com said that Qantas was the safest airline in the world.

Mr. Joyce said on Thursday that the airline was “reinvesting” in its customers and that prices would start to go down as supply chain and resource problems were fixed.

But Qantas also said prices would be “significantly” higher than in 2019.

Qantas kickstarted long-distance flights

As Qantas prepares to start its ultra-long-haul “Project Sunrise” flights in 2025, the airline is giving a sneak peek of what front-seat passengers will see and do on the 19-hour record-breaking trips.

Thursday, the airline showed prototypes of the first-class and business-class cabins for the 12 Airbus A350s that will be used for direct flights between Australia, New York, and London.

Because people spend so much time in the air, designers work hard to make them more comfortable.

The airline brought in a team of scientists from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney to work with designers and aviation experts. There were sleep researchers on this team.

Most planes have 300 or more seats, but the Project Sunrise A350s will only have 238 seats. This is done to give people more room.

The first-class seats, called First Suites, will have an extra-wide fixed bed, a 22-inch wide recliner lounge chair, a full-length wardrobe, a folding dining table big enough for two, and a 32-inch ultra-high definition TV.

Some of the world’s longest flights

During World War II, secret flights from Perth to Sri Lanka on the way to London were called “Project Sunrise.” They were dangerous and lasted so long that two sunrises came and went.

In 2019, Qantas made three test trips to prepare for the launch of Project Sunrise.

In the weeks before and after these flights, the pilots wore brainwave monitors and had their urine tested to check how much of a hormone called melatonin they had in their bodies. Melatonin controls how often you sleep.

Scientists could examine how lighting, food and drink, movement, sleep patterns, and in-flight entertainment affect people’s “health, well-being, and body clock” in the main cabin.

This information was given to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which needs proof that pilots, cabin crew, and passengers can handle being in the air for up to 22 hours straight without a break.

One of the test flights, QF7879, was the world’s longest commercial passenger flight in terms of distance (about 11,060 miles or 17,800 kilometers) and time in the air (19 hours and 19 minutes).

People got to see two sunrises in line with the project’s name.

The Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to New York City (Singapore-JFK) is the longest scheduled passenger flight in the world. It is 9,536.5 miles long.

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Due to the headwind, it takes 18 hours and 5 minutes to fly from Singapore to JFK, but 18 hours and 40 minutes to fly from JFK to Singapore.

Lloyds Banking Group defends its policies

Image Source: Bloomberg

Lloyds Banking Group, the UK’s largest lender, has defended itself against accusations of not doing enough for savers.

According to CEO Charlie Nunn, Lloyds Banking Group is focused on making ends meet for consumers with limited financial resources.

“It’s critical to acknowledge that 80% of clients have less than £5,000 in savings, with 65% having less than £1,000,” he stated.

Lloyds Banking Group and other banks have been chastised for failing to provide competitive interest rates to savers.

For a decade, the Bank of England’s benchmark interest rate was at historically low levels until December 2021, when it began to grow steadily.

It is currently at 4%, up from 0.1%, forcing several banks to raise consumer mortgage rates.

The amount of the base rate increase passed on to customers varies – According to Anna Bowes of the independent comparison website Savings Champion: “When it comes to letting down their customers, high street banks are among the worst offenders. This is a huge setback for desperate savers, especially since high-street banks keep so much of their money.”

The announcement came as the bank announced a pre-tax profit of £6.9 billion in 2022, mirroring the gains it made the previous year.

Despite a 14% increase in revenue because of higher interest rates, provisions for bad loans totaled about £1.5 billion throughout the year, resulting in flat earnings.

According to Lloyds Banking Group, it is witnessing “very moderate indicators of deterioration” in its credit book.

According to Matt Britzman, an equities analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne, the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumers and businesses is only having a minor influence on debt repayment for the time being. However, he said that he expects that to increase as the year goes on.

Lloyds Banking Group also reported a 12% rise in the staff bonus pool, now at £446 million.

It comes after the administration removed the bonus cap last year.

Executives of Lloyds Banking Group defends branch closure

Lloyds Banking Group executives have maintained that savers have access to many competitive savings plans in the face of criticism about low-interest rates.

The CEOs of four of the UK’s largest banks were dragged before Lawmakers who questioned the generosity of their savings rates.

As savers shopped about, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, HSBC, and Barclays UK chief executives stated deals had improved.

They also stated that branch closures were a result of shifting consumer patterns.

Saver’s preference

For a decade, the Bank of England’s benchmark interest rate was at historically low levels until December 2021, when it began to grow steadily. It has now climbed from 0.1% to 4%.

When the base rate rose, Members of the Treasury Committee stated their constituents complained because mortgage rates grew faster than the returns offered to savers.

The quartet of bank bosses believed that this debate was incorrectly centered on the interest rate offered on easy-access savings accounts, which usually have a return of less than 1%. They were described as the highest-paid panel that had sat before the committee a few times, earning more than £10m a year collectively.

They said that regular saver arrangements provided market-leading interest rates and that instant-access products were frequently used as a “gateway” to higher interest deals.

Barclays’ Matt Hammerstein, Lloyds Banking Group Charlie Nunn, HSBC’s Ian Stuart, and NatWest’s Dame Alison Rose all contended that they also urged clients to start saving.

Savings grew significantly during the epidemic, as consumers’ ability to spend was limited. However, the rising cost of living has eroded some of these savings.

The executives, whose banks control 60% of the market, stated that many individuals were actively looking for better bargains when loan rates rose. According to Mr. Nunn, price comparison websites have advanced significantly in this area.

While some were shopping around, millions needed more confidence in making sound financial decisions and expert advice.

Many homeowners may also have to pay extra mortgage payments in the coming year.

Mr. Stuart cited the launch of a new fixed-rate agreement by HSBC on the same day as the hearing, which was the first five-year deal with an interest rate of less than 4% since early October.

He contended that this demonstrated that mortgage rates were falling, despite the fact that the Bank rate was still rising and that they were significantly lower than the rates expected after the mini-budget.

Despite this, he stated that “headwinds are ahead of us, not behind us” while evaluating the number of people overdue on mortgage payments.

The bank CEOs were also challenged on branch closures, with all admitting that they have closed a number of locations in recent years.

Mr. Stuart explained that this was in reaction to the changing ways people managed their money.

He stated that 98% of transactions in December were digital, demonstrating how consumer needs from a branch have changed in recent decades.

Read Also: Why the UK economy is lagging behind

Cash pods, bank hubs, mobile banking vans, and smart ATMs were mentioned as options, with professionals frequently using different channels to interact with consumers in their homes.

Adani: Will India’s green energy be affected

Image Source: Bloomberg

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, said two years ago that he had big plans to make India a world leader in green energy.

He said that by 2070, he would cut his emissions to net zero or become carbon neutral, which means that he would not add to the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. India is the third country in the world with the most greenhouse gases. Even though its energy needs and pollution levels are lower than those of Western countries, this is still true. Mr. Modi also said that by 2030, half of India’s energy would come from renewable sources and that by the same year, a billion tonnes of carbon emissions would be cut.

Gautam Adani, one of the richest men in Asia, is important to Mr. Modi’s plans for green energy. He runs a huge port-to-energy conglomerate with seven publicly traded companies, one of which is the renewable energy company Adani Green Energy. Mr. Adani wants to put $70 billion (£58 billion) into green energy and become a world leader in renewable energy by 2030. This money is expected to go toward hybrid renewable power generation, solar panels and batteries, green hydrogen, and wind energy.

But Mr. Adani’s recent problems have made people wonder if this is a setback for India’s energy goals, which are getting bigger and bigger. The market value of his group’s publicly traded companies dropped by about $120 billion after an investment firm in the US, Hindenburg Research, said in a report that the group had “brazenly” manipulated stock prices and used accounting tricks for years. The group has said the accusations are false and made with bad intentions. They have said that these plans are an “attack on India.”

TotalEnergies, a French oil and gas company, put a $4 billion investment in a green hydrogen project with the Adani Group on hold until there was more “clarity” on the situation. This was the first sign that investors were getting worried. Total and the group have already invested more than $3 billion in energy projects. But the group has told investors that its companies don’t face any big risks regarding refinancing or short-term cash flow problems.

Too soon to tell

Experts think it is too early to say how recent events will affect India’s plans for the climate. Vibhuti Garg from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said that the Adani group is a big player in green energy. Some of the new investments may have to be put off. If they can’t get more money, some of the investments they had planned to make in green energy will have to be changed. But there will be more progress in renewable energy.

Over the next few decades, India will change its energy sources more than any other country. With 1.4 billion people living there, the country still needs to connect many people and the last few people who don’t have power to the grid. Every year, the number of Indians living in cities grows by the size of London. So there is more business going on. Having more bad weather, like heat waves, is very bad. If more people buy electric cars, the need for power will go up even more.

The government agency in charge of electricity thinks it’s expected that demand will double in the next five years. India makes and uses more coal than any other country in the world. Three-quarters of the electricity in India comes from coal, and the country is still building thermal plants. Still, according to the plan, most of the extra power will come from sources that don’t use fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency says that for India to reach net zero emissions by 2070, it must spend $160 billion annually until 2030. (IEA). That’s three times as much as is being put in right now.

Along with the Adani Group, the Ambanis are a major green energy player. Mukesh Ambani, who runs India’s biggest company, Reliance Group, wants to spend $80 billion on renewable energy projects in Gujarat, in the west of the country. Another big energy company that is getting better at clean energy is Tata Group. But experts say India needs a lot more people to help meet its never-ending energy needs.

More problems for Adani group

Tim Buckley of Australia’s Climate Energy Finance says that this is why the problems of the Adani Group could be a chance for other players in the field of renewable energy. He says he sees many opportunities for other national players to “step up” and use their skills and abilities at home. He also sees a growing interest in investing in India’s renewable energy and grid infrastructure and more access to global capital.

India can make 400 GW of energy, including clean and dirty energy. India wants to add 500 GW of clean power by 2030. It is an ambitious goal. But a country that gets most of its energy from coal and oil will need help to make such a big change.

Read Also: Adani Group is being probed by SEBI

Mr. Swain thinks India should stop adding more coal capacity and instead look for cleaner ways to meet some of its new energy needs. India, for instance, uses 20% of its electricity to water its huge farms. Instead, the farms could be powered during the day by solar energy, which would make everyone happy. Ms. Garg said that India’s progress in using renewable energy has been very impressive. Even though there may be some setbacks and delays, the growth of renewable energy should keep going.

Phil Smith: Transforming Businesses through Expert Digital Marketing Strategies

Philip F. Smith is a successful serial entrepreneur and an expert in digital marketing. He has devoted his professional life to assisting people laid off from their jobs in the tech industry in launching their six-figure businesses. His impressive track record includes creating multiple businesses, selling four companies, and appearing on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for four consecutive years in a row. Thanks to his extensive knowledge and years of experience in lead generation and digital marketing, Phil has established himself as a valuable resource in his field.

Phil’s climb to the top of the business world began in 1998 when he decided to strike out independently and become an entrepreneur. Phil had grown tired of working for other people and wanted to start his own business, even though he was raised in a generation that placed a high value on a conventional education and a job from 9 to 5. Because of his innovative strategy for monetizing data, he is now recognized as one of the world’s most successful online lead generators.

Phil partnered with Kevin Harrington, the original Shark from the show Shark Tank, to offer a comprehensive marketing platform and lead generation services through AllInOneMarketing.com. This was done with the intention of assisting others in realizing their goals of becoming successful business owners. Since 2006, Phil and his team have been providing high-quality leads to businesses in various industries through various advertising channels. Phil is well aware of the significance of high-quality leads to the success of a business. Their lead generation services have attracted a lot of attention thanks to the all-encompassing approach they take to the expansion of businesses, and they boast high customer conversion rates.

Phil has earned the respect of both his clients and his colleagues thanks to the success he has had in the highly competitive industry of lead generation. Because he is so committed to assisting individuals in accomplishing their objectives and expanding their businesses, he has developed a reputation as a reliable resource in this area.

The story of Phil is illustrative of the power that can be harnessed through tenacity, effort, and the willingness to take calculated risks. To anyone who aspires to launch their own company and carve out a niche for themselves in their field, he should serve as a powerful source of motivation. Suppose you are an experienced business owner or are just getting your feet wet in the world of entrepreneurship. In that case, Phil’s knowledge and direction can assist you in launching a profitable company in the modern digital environment.

Lisa Kastner’s Leadership Drives Running Wild LLC to Exceed Sales Numbers and Bring Unheard Voices to the Publishing Industry

Lisa Kastner, the founder and CEO of Running Wild, LLC, is a visionary leader who is changing the publishing industry by bringing to market stories that are typically ignored by other houses due to their acquisition models. Under her leadership, Running Wild, LLC has far exceeded sales numbers in 2022 compared to previous years and nearly doubled gross revenue in 2022 compared to previous years. Kastner’s mission is to change the world through story by bringing forward amazing stories and making them available to eager fans.

Kastner’s personal story of overcoming adversity is a testament to her leadership and determination. Despite losing her home at the age of 20, Kastner went on to obtain a Bachelors, MBA, and MFA while working and building an amazing corporate career in which she transformed organizations through technology and process. Her ability to turn challenges into opportunities is reflected in the success of Running Wild, LLC, which has been honored with two best of 2019 and two best of 2020 books according to Kirkus Reviews, as well as several starred reviews and additional acclaim.

Running Wild, LLC consists of Running Wild Press, where they publish great stories with great writing that don’t fit neatly in a box, and RIZE, where they publish great genre stories written by people of color and other underrepresented groups. Kastner’s vision is to better represent the cultures and ethnicities represented within North America by bringing forward stories that engage readers and push boundaries.

At Running Wild, LLC, the target market involves those who can license their titles, such as audiobook companies, producers and studios for television and film, and graphic novel publishers. Kastner understands that today’s consumer wants their favorite stories wherever they are, whether it’s online, on TV, or in a book. For Running Wild Press, they publish books for readers who love a great story that surprises them, engages them, and keeps them hanging on. They read across multiple genres and enjoy discovering new authors and new stories. For RIZE, the ideal customer loves genre stories, no matter if it’s a mystery, a thriller, women’s fiction, fantasy, or horror.

Kastner’s commitment to bringing forward typically unheard voices is reflected in Running Wild, LLC’s business-to-business model. Independent bookstores and libraries that are looking to engage their local readers and turn customers into readers can benefit from Running Wild Press and RIZE by providing genre stories written by people of color and other underrepresented groups. The book club can select the novels and memoirs that make the readers feel special, like they are special because this book was selected for their enjoyment.

Lisa Kastner is an entrepreneur to watch, as she continues to strive during challenging times such as the COVID pandemic. Her leadership, vision, and commitment to bringing forward amazing stories are changing the publishing industry for the better. Running Wild, LLC’s success in exceeding sales numbers and doubling gross revenue in 2022 compared to previous years is a testament to Kastner’s ability to inspire and drive a team to success. Running Wild, LLC is a company that is changing the world through story, and Lisa Kastner is at the helm, leading the way to a more inclusive and diverse publishing industry.

 

Why the UK economy is lagging behind

Image Source: Mirror

People can tell that the UK economy is having trouble because their wages aren’t going up as fast as prices.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) thinks the UK economy will shrink this year while all other major economies will grow.

The Bank of England also thinks there will be a recession in the UK in 2023, but it will be shorter and less bad than predicted.

Given the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the rising costs of energy and food, it may not be a surprise that the future looks bad.

But why does it look like rich countries like the US, Germany, and France are doing better than the UK?

Is the UK falling behind?

Predictions can never be 100% right. Because so many things, from geopolitics to the weather, affect economic growth, it’s hard to make accurate predictions. But they can show you how to do things right.

And the facts show that the huge problems of the past few years have hurt other countries less than they have the UK.

Figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which looks at how well rich countries are doing, show that the UK economy fell more than others in the first few months of the pandemic.

Once the economy started up again, the UK got back on its feet quickly, but not fast enough to make up for what it had lost.

But there might be a smaller difference between the UK and other countries than it seems.

Most countries judge the quality of their public services, like health care and education, by how much they cost, like a nurse’s salary. However, in the UK, they are counted differently based on the value of their services, such as hospital operations.

The UK’s numbers should show what happened when schools were closed, operations were canceled during Covid and when there were strikes.

The big picture is still the same, though. The Bank of England and the IMF think that the UK economy will shrink this year while the economies of other G7 countries will grow.

Some people, like pro-Brexit economist Julian Jessop, think the IMF was too negative about the UK’s future and that the differences being talked about are small, like a percentage point here or there.

He says that there is still “something to explain” why the UK’s economy isn’t doing well.

Does everything have to do with Brexit?

People have different ideas about how much leaving the EU will cost. But, according to a Bloomberg report, it costs the UK economy about £100bn a year and makes the economy 4% smaller than it would have been if the UK had stayed in the EU.

He says business investment has also stopped since the referendum vote in 2016, which is another “drag on growth.” A policymaker at the Bank of England said that investments in the UK lost £29 billion because of Brexit.

EU workers used to be able to come to the UK to work without any restrictions, but now they can’t. Because of this, it’s hard for industries like hospitality, farming, and caregiving to find enough people to work.

Julian Jessop works as a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a free market think tank. He says he is an “optimist about Brexit.” He thinks that leaving the EU could bring big benefits, but he agrees that there have been short-term economic costs.

What other factors affect the economy?

Energy prices

When Russia invaded Ukraine, energy prices went up all over the world, but the effects were different in each country.

Mr. Emmerson says that the US has its fossil fuel sources and that some European countries have more energy sources than aren’t fossil fuels. For example, France has a large network of nuclear power plants, and Norway has a lot of hydropower.

“Britain is pretty open,” he says.

Also, the price of electricity in the UK depends on the price of gas, which is the most expensive way to make electricity. Mr. Jessop says that this has caused prices to go up across the economy and worsened inflation.

Staffing problems

During the pandemic, the number of people working in most economies went down.

But again, the UK is different because its numbers haven’t gone back up since the crisis.

Economists still need to understand why. It doesn’t look like it’s because fewer workers from the EU exist.

Young people are choosing to go to school instead of work, and more people are getting long-term illness benefits.

There are signs that the number of people working is starting to grow again, which could help growth and tax revenue later this year.

Long-term problems

Diane Coyle, an economist at Cambridge University, says that the UK’s poor performance also has deeper causes.

Even though the economy has slowed since the financial crisis of 2008, she says the problems go back much further because investment has been going down since the 1990s.

Because of this, the economy needed to be stronger to handle the triple shock of Covid, Brexit, and the war in Ukraine.

Read Also: Heathrow records largest numbers since COVID

From the government’s point of view, the UK economy is strong.

When told that the UK barely avoided a recession in 2022, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that the numbers showed “underlying resilience” but that the country was “not out of the woods.”

Adani Group is being probed by SEBI

Image Source: The West Australian

India’s markets watchdog SEBI has confirmed that it is looking into the claims made by Hindenburg Research against companies owned by multibillionaire Gautam Adani.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also looks at how the report affects the market.

After Mr. Adani was accused of market manipulation and financial fraud, the value of his business empire dropped by more than $100bn (£82.3bn).

Adani Group says the accusations are not true.

In a document sent to the Supreme Court on Monday, SEBI said it looked into the claims and “activity before and after the report was published.”

But the group told Reuters that it had strong cash flows and enough money to fund its business plans fully.

The biggest company in the group, Adani Enterprises, made a net profit of nearly $100 million from October to December. This is a big difference from last year, when it lost $1.5 million.

Its total income rose by 42% to $3.3 billion because its airports, coal trading, and new energy businesses did well.

The company didn’t say anything different about its plans for growth or investments. It didn’t say anything about how TotalEnergies stopped working with Adani on a green hydrogen project after the Hindenburg report came out.

Shares of Adani Enterprises went up 5% on Mumbai’s stock exchange after dropping nearly 50% in the past month.

Mr. Adani’s group comprises seven publicly traded companies that work in different areas, such as trading commodities, airports, utilities, ports, and renewable energy.

Last month, a short-seller from the US named Hindenburg Research said that Adani Group companies had been manipulating their stock prices and lying about their finances for decades.

It also said that the group was “financially unstable” because its companies had “substantial debt.”

When you short-sell, you bet an asset’s price will fall.

Adani Group says that the claims are not true at all. People had said before, without proof, that the Hindenburg report was made to help the US-based short seller make money.

Fraud allegations against Adani Group sparked a political fight in India

A US research firm’s claims that billionaire Gautam Adani’s business empire is full of fraud have caused a political fight in India.

Friday was the second day in a row that leaders of the opposition stopped the parliament from doing its work. They did this because they wanted the claims to be looked into.

Last week, a research company said that Adani Group companies had rigged the prices of their stocks and committed financial fraud. This made its stock fall sharply.

The group said that the claims were not true.

Friday morning, both houses of India’s parliament had to stop because opposition leaders asked for an investigation.

They have asked for a Joint Parliamentary Committee or a panel overseen by the Supreme Court to be set up to look into the claims against the company and the risk that the drop in Adani company shares poses to Indian investors.

The market value of the companies in the Adani Group has dropped by $108bn in the last few days. This is because an investment firm in the US called Hindenburg Research put out a report that accused the Adani Group of “brazen” stock manipulation and accounting fraud for decades.

The group said that the accusations were false and made with bad intentions. They have said that these plans are an “attack on India.” But that hasn’t stopped Adani’s stock price from falling.

Gautam Adani, the company’s founder, is no longer one of the ten richest people in the world. Forbes’s real-time list of billionaires says that Mr. Adani is now the 15th richest person in the world, with a net worth of about $74.7bn. He was number three on the list last week.

A billionaire runs Adani Group, one of India’s biggest companies. The main company is Adani Enterprises. It works in many different areas, like trading commodities, airports, utilities, and clean energy.

Thursday, opposition lawmakers also got in the way of parliamentary business because the government wouldn’t let them stop working so they could talk about the Adani issue.

Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Congress party, which is the main opposition party, said, “There should also be daily reports on the investigation into this matter.”

The Congress has also said that by forcing the government-owned State Bank of India (SBI) and the state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to invest in the firm, the government is putting people’s savings at risk.

But India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said on Friday that LIC and SBI were not too close to the Adani group. She did this by mentioning things SBI and LIC had previously said.

She added that India’s financial market was “properly regulated” and that investors wouldn’t lose faith.

The Congress has also said that there will be protests all over the country on Monday outside the offices of companies in the Adani Group, banks that the government took over, and public institutions.

The leader of the party, KC Venugopal, said that the BJP-led government is “using the money of regular people to help their closest friends.”

Read Also: Can Adani Group recover from its losses?

People think Mr. Adani is close to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. Opposition politicians have said for a long time that he had used his political connections to make money, which he denies.

Pakistan major cities experience blackouts

Image Source: CBS News

Millions of people in Pakistan lost power early Monday because of a problem with the country’s national grid.

All the big cities, including Karachi, the largest, and Islamabad, the capital, were without power.

The power minister, Khurrum Dastagir, said the grid went down because of “frequency variation” in southern Pakistan.

He said this wasn’t a big problem, and the power would be back soon.

People say Pakistan’s frequent power outages are caused by bad management and insufficient infrastructure investment. For instance, it took hours to get the power back on after it went out in October.

In a statement, the energy ministry said that the grid “lost frequency” at about 7:30 local time (02:30 GMT), which caused a major breakdown. But they also said that the problem was being fixed with “quick work.”

Mr. Dastagir said that some of the country’s grids were already fixed. He told Reuters that the power would come back on at 22:00 local time.

He told Geo TV that some parts of the power were turned off overnight because less power was needed in the winter than in the summer when high temperatures and people use air conditioning and fans.

When they turned them on in the morning, they saw “frequency variation and voltage fluctuation” in southern Pakistan, “somewhere between Dadu and Jamshoro,” and “power generating units shut down one after the other,” he told the TV station.

It meant the fans stopped turning, and the lights went out throughout the country.

According to the BBC, the power outage stopped the Orange Line metro, a fast train in Lahore that doesn’t have a driver.

People in Pakistan are used to dealing with power outages and “load shedding,” when power is temporarily cut off in some areas to keep the whole system from failing.

When the power goes out, many businesses, factories, and homes have generators that kick on. In addition, a Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said that airports usually work on Monday because they have their back-up power systems.

Officials at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told the BBC that the power outage didn’t affect most departments because generators were used to power all of them, even the emergency wards and intensive care units.

But while hospitals and larger businesses might have bigger generators, smaller businesses or private homes might need more power to last for several days.

Businesses close early in Pakistan

As part of a new plan to save energy, the government told malls, markets, and restaurants to shut down at 20:30 and 22:00, respectively.

The cabinet said this would save the country around 62 billion Pakistani rupees, which is about $270 million or £220 million. In addition, the government has told federal agencies to use 30% less electricity.

Most of Pakistan’s power comes from fossil fuels that it imports.

As prices for energy worldwide have gone up in the last year, the country’s finances and foreign reserves, which it needs to pay for energy imports, have been put under more pressure.

Due to Pakistan’s economic crisis, malls and markets have to close early.

Pakistan is in the middle of an economic crisis, so the government has told shops and markets to close early daily.

Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s defense minister, says these changes will save the country about 62 billion Pakistani rupees, which is about $274,3 million or £228,9 million.

Most of Pakistan’s power comes from fossil fuels that it imports.

Last year, the price of energy went up all over the world, which hurt the country’s finances.

The country needs foreign currency, especially US dollars, to pay for these energy imports.

Pakistan’s government had $11.7 billion in foreign currency on hand at the end of last month. It did this because its foreign currency reserves had dropped by about 50% in the past year.

That’s not enough to pay for the country’s imports for more than a month, and most of those imports are energy.

Mr. Asif told reporters on Tuesday that stores and markets would have to close at 20:30 local time and that government agencies had been told to cut their electricity use by 30%.

At the same time, after July 1, electric fans that don’t work well will no longer be made.

The country of 220 million people has been working for years to get its economy back on track.

Pakistan was saved by the International Monetary Fund with $6 billion in 2019 and another $1.1 billion in August of last year.

The government is also talking with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about holding back $1.1 billion in bailout money.

Read Also: Cryptocurrency: UK to plan for digital pound

The terrible floods in Pakistan last year also hurt the country’s finances.

In October, the World Bank said the flooding had caused the country $40 billion worth of damage.

Lisa Kastner’s Leadership Drives Running Wild LLC to Exceed Sales Numbers and Bring Unheard Voices to the Publishing Industry

Lisa Kastner, the founder and CEO of Running Wild, LLC, is a visionary leader who is changing the publishing industry by bringing to market stories that are typically ignored by other houses due to their acquisition models. Under her leadership, Running Wild, LLC has far exceeded sales numbers in 2022 compared to previous years and nearly doubled gross revenue in 2022 compared to previous years. Kastner’s mission is to change the world through story by bringing forward amazing stories and making them available to eager fans.

Kastner’s personal story of overcoming adversity is a testament to her leadership and determination. Despite losing her home at the age of 20, Kastner went on to obtain a Bachelors, MBA, and MFA while working and building an amazing corporate career in which she transformed organizations through technology and process. Her ability to turn challenges into opportunities is reflected in the success of Running Wild, LLC, which has been honored with two best of 2019 and two best of 2020 books according to Kirkus Reviews, as well as several starred reviews and additional acclaim.

Running Wild, LLC consists of Running Wild Press, where they publish great stories with great writing that don’t fit neatly in a box, and RIZE, where they publish great genre stories written by people of color and other underrepresented groups. Kastner’s vision is to better represent the cultures and ethnicities represented within North America by bringing forward stories that engage readers and push boundaries.

At Running Wild, LLC, the target market involves those who can license their titles, such as audiobook companies, producers and studios for television and film, and graphic novel publishers. Kastner understands that today’s consumer wants their favorite stories wherever they are, whether it’s online, on TV, or in a book. For Running Wild Press, they publish books for readers who love a great story that surprises them, engages them, and keeps them hanging on. They read across multiple genres and enjoy discovering new authors and new stories. For RIZE, the ideal customer loves genre stories, no matter if it’s a mystery, a thriller, women’s fiction, fantasy, or horror.

Kastner’s commitment to bringing forward typically unheard voices is reflected in Running Wild, LLC’s business-to-business model. Independent bookstores and libraries that are looking to engage their local readers and turn customers into readers can benefit from Running Wild Press and RIZE by providing genre stories written by people of color and other underrepresented groups. The book club can select the novels and memoirs that make the readers feel special, like they are special because this book was selected for their enjoyment.

Lisa Kastner is an entrepreneur to watch, as she continues to strive during challenging times such as the COVID pandemic. Her leadership, vision, and commitment to bringing forward amazing stories are changing the publishing industry for the better. Running Wild, LLC’s success in exceeding sales numbers and doubling gross revenue in 2022 compared to previous years is a testament to Kastner’s ability to inspire and drive a team to success. Running Wild, LLC is a company that is changing the world through story, and Lisa Kastner is at the helm, leading the way to a more inclusive and diverse publishing industry.

 

Join the Ghosts of the 1920s at the Escape Hotel: A Unique Experience That Can’t Be Missed

A new immersive experience had hit Hollywood Boulevard. The Haunted Hotel is a new type of escape room with a unique twist on the traditional concept. This 1920s-themed escape room was the brainchild of Ivan Leon from Colombia and Lara Herczeg from Hungary, and it opened its doors in the summer of 2016.

But the Haunted Hotel is no ordinary escape room. It is the biggest escape room venue in the world, with a sprawling 11 games within its walls. The venue has been masterfully crafted to resemble a 1920s haunted hotel, where guests are welcomed by undead staff and encounter the sinister past that haunts the building. The spine-tingling atmosphere is intensified by the immersive special effects and the theatrical delivery of the experience by the staff, making it a one-of-a-kind adventure.

The Haunted Hotel is a true landmark on Hollywood Boulevard. In fact, it played host to some of the most renowned celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, and Megan Fox, to name a few. The venue also partnered with big production companies like Warner, Fox, Paramount, and Sony to create customer games and experiences related to the release of their top films and TV shows.

The Haunted Hotel spellbinding success is attributed to its unique approach to escape room adventures. It transcends beyond just the games and delves into a world of complete immersion. From the moment guests check in, they are transported to an alternate universe, where every detail, from the physicality of the hotel to the dining and entertainment options, contributes to the captivating experience. Diners can savor a delicious meal, raise a toast with drinks, and be entertained by the mesmerizing performances of dancers, singers, and magicians.

Ivan and Lara’s vision for the Haunted Hotel was to make a bigger impact in the escape room industry. They saw the potential for a more immersive and unique experience, and that’s exactly what they created. A glittering gem of the paranormal realm, The Haunted Hotel shines bright on Hollywood Boulevard and now, basked in its successful glow, the owners have their sights set on ghostly conquests in cities and countries beyond.

In conclusion, the Haunted Hotel is more than just an escape room venue. It’s an experience that transcends the games themselves, taking guests on a journey back in time to the 1920s. With its unique approach, top-notch staff, and top-notch effects, it’s no wonder the Haunted Hotel has become a must-visit destination for escape room enthusiasts and celebrities alike.

Heathrow: Largest numbers since COVID

Image Source: Mirror

More than 5.4 million people went through Heathrow Airport last month, making it the busiest January since the start of the pandemic.

Even though the most recent numbers are still less than the six million people who went through the airport in January 2020, John Holland-Kaye, the head of Heathrow Airport, said that it showed the airport was “back to its best.”

But it comes at a time when more than 3,000 workers are deciding whether or not to go on strike.

The Unite union has said that Easter could be hard if there are any walkouts.

A half-term trip

Cirium, a company that keeps track of flights, says that 17,458 flights will leave UK airports during half-term, but overall, departures are 19% lower than during the same time in 2019.

Cirium said that 43% more people were leaving than last year during February break. It also said that this shows that the airline industry, which shut down when the pandemic was at its worst, is “continuing to recover.”

Many tour operators, according to the Association of British Travel Agents, “expect a busy half-term as travel demand continues to return to levels seen before the pandemic.”

Mr. Holland-Kaye also said that things at Heathrow were “going very well” during school breaks.

Heathrow Airport said passenger satisfaction is now “at or above levels seen before the pandemic.” Last month, when UK travelers were usually less busy than at other times of the year, 98% of those who went through security did so in less than 10 minutes.

Border Force tested e-gates for children ages 10 and 11 in Terminal 5 over the half-term break, just like it did at Gatwick and Stansted.

Travelers over 12 years old with biometric passports can use e-gates to cross borders without going through manual inspections.

Last year, airports and airlines in the UK couldn’t hire enough people to handle the increase in demand for international travel after the Covid restrictions were lifted. This caused thousands of flights to be delayed or canceled.

At the height of the COVID pandemic, airports and airlines cut thousands of jobs, and many of those people never returned to work in the industry because they found other jobs.

Heathrow Airport is not exempted from strike

Unite said on Sunday that Heathrow security guards, engineers, and firefighters would start voting on whether to go on strike over pay on Friday. This comes after its members turned down a 10% pay raise.

The union said that if workers went on strike at Easter, it would “definitely cause a lot of trouble.”

In the past few months, thousands of workers in many fields have asked for pay raises to keep up with the rising cost of living. Prices are going up at a rate of 10.5% in the UK. This is called inflation.

A Heathrow Airport spokesperson said the airport was “extremely disappointed” by Unite’s decision and warned that the pay offer would be taken away if the strike started. It said the 10% raise happened when the business lost money.

Border Force workers went on strike for a few days in December, but Heathrow Airport said the problems were “successfully managed.” The Border Force got about 1,000 new members, including military members and people who work for the government. A lot of these people are in charge of checking passports, and there were said to be very few travel delays.

Since 2009, Mr. Holland-Kaye has been the CEO of Heathrow Airport. He said that he would leave his job later this year.

During his time in office, he worked on plans to add a third runway to Heathrow and dealt with changes brought on by Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

Airport strikes could go on for months

The head of the PCS union said that if the government doesn’t talk about pay, Border Force workers at UK airports could go on strike for months.

Mark Serwotka said that until May, the union “mandated” walkouts.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “sad” about the problems caused by strikes but that he had acted “fairly and reasonably” about public sector pay.

People coming to the UK were told to expect delays, but there have been a few problems.

The AA said that as the Christmas break got closer, some places had “severe congestion” on the roads.

It said that more cars were on the road because of the rail strikes, which were set to end on Saturday, and that accidents on the M1 and flooding on the M25 had caused big traffic jams.

Around 1,000 Border Force workers are going on strike from Friday to December 26 and from December 28 to December 31. Many of them check passports. This is the first strike in a string that will last until January 1.

People are leaving their jobs at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, and the Port of Newhaven. People are protecting strikers from the military and the government.

A Heathrow Airport representative said on Friday afternoon that everything was going “smoothly” and that the airport was running as usual.

“Border Force and the military contingent are doing a good job helping passengers in the Immigration halls,” the spokesperson said.

A BBC representative said the strike didn’t cause any issues at Glasgow Airport either. Even at the other airports, no reports of delays have come in.

Read Also: Train strikes could last longer than usual

Ben Wallace, in charge of defense, said that members of the UK Armed Forces who cover for striking public service workers over Christmas would get extra bonuses for every day they work.

The Ministry of Defense said that each stand-in worker would get a £20 bonus for every day they spent training or being deployed over the holidays.

The UK manages to avoid recession

Image Source: Chronicle Live

New numbers show that the UK economy barely stayed out of a recession in 2022. From October to December, the economy didn’t grow at all.

Even though the economy dropped sharply by 0.5% in December, partly because of strikes, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said this was still true.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that the numbers showed “underlying resilience” but that “we are not out of the woods.”

The Bank of England still thinks the UK will be in a recession this year.

But they think it will be shorter and better than they thought before.

The Bank of England is the main bank in the UK. Because managing the economy is so important, the BBC said what it thought.

One way it does this is by changing interest rates. So, it has recently been raising rates to keep up with the cost of living.

When the BBC asked Mr. Hunt about the government’s position, he said that high inflation still hurts families all over the country.

The rate at which prices are going up (called inflation) is going down, but at 10.5%, it is still close to a 40-year high.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which released the economic output numbers, said there was no growth in the third quarter of 2022.

This is the first guess for the time; numbers are often changed later.

Friday, the ONS made a change to the numbers for the July-September quarter. Instead of falling by 0.3%, the economy fell by 0.2%, less than what was expected.

Most of the time, an economy is in a recession when it shrinks for two three-month periods in a row. This usually means that it could be doing better, and companies may make less money or cut jobs. This means that less tax money will go to the government.

But December’s numbers were worse than expected, which won’t make anyone at the Treasury happy.

What analysts are saying

Darren Morgan said that health services, like surgeries and trips to the doctor, were going down. He also said fewer people went to school the week before Christmas break.

He said that when it comes to public services, the ONS looks at teachers’ salaries and how much money is spent on schools and health care. But, he said, “The services they provide are a really important part of the economy, so we count them in our measurements.”

He also said that sports had to change because of the World Cup, especially football.

He said people couldn’t enjoy top-flight football because the Premier League started on Christmas Day, and the World Cup was still going on.

Mr. Morgan also said that the rail and mail industries had “had a bad month.” Also, there were a lot of strikes and snow in December, so everyone knew what was happening.

Train strikes in December caused trouble on the roads and the rails. But, then, many postal workers also went on strike in the days before Christmas.

Adding up the growth from each quarter is different from comparing growth from one year to the next.

It compares the current year to the previous year, which had a lockdown at the beginning of the year. From this low starting point, the UK’s economy grew by 4% bigger in 2022 than it was the year before.

That was the most growth of any G7 country last year.

But the UK’s economy is still smaller now than it was before the pandemic.

Economic Recession

Because energy prices have decreased, most economists now think the recession in 2023 will be less bad than they thought. But some people think there won’t be a recession at all in the UK.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, which is a think tank, had a positive view. They thought that there wouldn’t be a recession in the UK.

But the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund were less optimistic. They thought that in 2023, the UK economy would shrink.

The UK economy is more affected by things like the price of gas and rising interest rates, and the number of people working hasn’t grown back to where it was before the pandemic.

The latest numbers and early signs from this year could still put pressure on the government to do more about the job market and the upcoming rise in home energy bills.

Mr. Hunt will talk about how he wants to spend money and get taxes in the Budget, which will be on March 15.

Read Also: Inflation slows as Fed announces smaller rate

Different data from the ONS showed that the annual trade deficit for goods and services went from £85 billion in 2021 to £108 billion in 2022. The main reason for this was that the cost of imports went up.

Silvergate faces with $8bn in withdrawals

Image Source: Bloomberg

Customers of the US bank Silvergate, which provides cryptocurrency services, have withdrawn more than $8 billion (£6.7 billion) from their crypto-linked savings.

Approximately two-thirds of the bank’s customers withdrew their deposits in the Q3 of 2022.

The bank sold assets worth $5.2 billion to cover the costs and remain liquid.

It happened after three US authorities warned banks that issuing cryptocurrency was “very likely to be inconsistent with safe banking standards.”

Silvergate is listed on the New York Stock Exchange; hence it is governed by the financial industry. It is one of only a handful of businesses in this industry that provides cryptocurrency-related services.

The withdrawals occurred after the FTX crypto exchange, which was once worth $32 billion and filed for bankruptcy in November, shut down.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to defrauding consumers and investors. According to prosecutors, up to one million debtors may have lost money.

The lawsuit has rattled the whole crypto industry, leading several companies to declare bankruptcy and cryptocurrency prices to plummet.

Silvergate’s CEO, Alan Lane, stated that the bank was selling assets to fund consumer withdrawals “because the digital asset business is evolving quickly.”

Silvergate is experiencing the “crypto winter”

Silvergate is the latest victim of the industry’s chilly “crypto winter,” which began last spring.

The so-called “crypto bank” occupied an unusual niche in the market. It was a bank for bitcoin startups that needed help to obtain banking services from regular sources.

One of its customers was the now-bankrupt Alameda Research, controlled by Sam Bankman-Fried, awaiting his fraud trial in the United States.

This is awful for Silvergate, but Bankman-downfall is far worse. Moreover, fried’s has inflicted the corporation with an even larger blow: a loss of market trust.

Since Bankman-empire Fried’s collapsed, investors of all sizes have begun withdrawing funds from crypto firms. In addition, billions of dollars have been transferred from cryptocurrency storage businesses.

So far, the top companies in the market, like Binance and Coinbase, have been able to withstand extraordinary withdrawals. Silvergate is likewise clinging on for the time being, albeit at a high cost to its balance sheet.

Before it went into cryptocurrency, Silvergate was a tiny US bank. It went public in November 2019.

At the top of the market in 2021, its shares had increased by more than 1,500%, owing partly to the massive expansion of crypto at the time.

During this time, it attempted to launch its stablecoin, a sort of cryptocurrency directly linked to an asset such as the US dollar, gold, or other cryptocurrencies.

In January 2022, Silvergate paid $182 million for the technology underpinning Meta’s projected Diem (previously Libra) stablecoin, which has yet to materialize.

In a filing with the SEC, the bank stated that it sold the debt to cover the withdrawals and wrote off the Diem purchase, which means it is no longer counted as an asset.

It has also reduced its workforce by 40%, or around 200 individuals. The withdrawals have cost the bank $718 million, more than it has made since 2013.

US regulators are warning banks about the risks of cryptocurrencies.

For the first time, US regulators have warned banks about the risks of the cryptocurrency market.

The regulators warned financial institutions to be on the lookout for potential fraud, legal uncertainty, and misleading information from digital asset providers.

Banks were also warned about the “danger of spreading” from the sector.

It comes just two months after the bankruptcy of the trading platform FTX sent shockwaves across the crypto market.

The US Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued a joint statement saying they were keeping an eye on what banks were doing with cryptocurrencies.

The regulators also stated that owning or issuing crypto tokens kept on decentralized networks was “very likely not in line with safe and sound banking standards.”

Banks were also instructed to take precautions to ensure that issues in the digital asset market would not extend to the rest of the financial system.

The statement on Tuesday comes after months of hesitation by US financial sector watchdogs to issue universal guidelines regarding cryptocurrency, despite banks’ requests for clearer guidance.

The fall of FTX

The fall of FTX in November sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency market.

It was the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, and millions of individuals utilized it to get started in the market for digital assets.

On Tuesday, Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, categorically disputed that he had defrauded consumers and investors.

He pled not guilty to claims that he used FTX customer deposits to fund his other business, Alameda Research, buy a house, and contribute to political campaigns.

Two of Mr. Bankman-closest Fried’s coworkers, have already pled guilty and are cooperating with the inquiry. The inquiry has shaken the whole bitcoin sector.

Read Also: FTX founder denies allegations of fraud

Mr. Bankman-Fried was one of the most influential people in the field. He was well-known for his political ties, celebrity endorsements, and bailouts of other troubled businesses.

They claim he established “a house of cards on a foundation of lies while assuring investors that it was one of the safest in crypto.”

Can Adani Group recover from $100bn loss?

Image Source: The Wire

The value of India’s Adani Group fell on the stock market after a US investment firm said it was a fraud. Can it reach its big goals for growth?

What caused the stock market to crash?

The seven publicly traded companies that make up the ports-to-energy conglomerate were worth $220bn until two weeks ago.

But its value has dropped by almost half since January 24, when a short seller named Hindenburg Research accused the group of accounting fraud and “brazen” stock manipulation. As a result, Gautam Adani, who started the group, has lost billions of dollars and is no longer one of the 20 wealthiest people in the world.

The Adani Group has said that the claims are false and malicious and that its plans have not changed. Investors still worry, though.

In a statement released Monday, the group said it would pay back loans worth $1.1 billion that was taken out using shares as collateral before they were due next year. It said this was because of “continued market volatility” and to give reassurances to investors that the group’s backers would “prepay all shares-backed financing.”

The news made the main company’s stock go up. At the end of business on Tuesday, shares of Adani Enterprises were 15% higher than when the day began.

Last week, the group also suspended its secondary sale of share. The $2.5 billion (£2 billion) it raised was supposed to pay off debt and fund projects like airport renovations, building expressways, and an ambitious green hydrogen ecosystem.

Why does it matter if the price of a share goes down?

They show that investors have lost confidence in a company.

Analysts are now keeping an eye on how the drop in stock price affects the company’s operations, cash flow, and plans for growth.

Tim Buckley, who runs a think tank called Climate Energy Finance that works on financial issues related to the switch from fossil fuels to green energy, says, “Most of their ambitious projects will have to be scaled back heavily in scope and timeline because they won’t be able to raise funds right now.”

It could take out loans to pay for projects or buy other businesses. This is a common way for companies that build infrastructure to grow, and it helped the Adani Group grow fast.

But the group’s debt has grown faster than its income and profits, and some people are worried that this could make it more likely that the group will default. This has been pointed out by both the Hindenburg report and some analysts.

Can more loans be given to the Adani Group?

The group already owes nearly two trillion rupees ($24 billion or £20 billion), which is a lot of money. But in the last three years, Mr. Adani’s goals have grown to include 5G and green hydrogen, so this debt has almost doubled.

Jefferies, a global brokerage, said in a report that almost two-thirds of Adani’s debt comes from overseas sources like bonds or foreign banks.

Until now, when the group needed money, it mostly used its infrastructure assets or shares as collateral. But because the price of stocks has dropped, so has the value of this collateral. Bloomberg also says that Citigroup and Credit Suisse’s private wealth units have stopped taking Adani bonds as collateral.

Indian banks have also loaned the group’s companies billions of dollars, and the Life Insurance Corporation of India, which the government runs, has put money into the group.

Market watchers say lenders will be more careful because of how the Hindenburg report was received. This could raise the cost of loans.

What could projects of Adani be in danger?

More attention is now being paid to the group. Investors and agencies that rate credit are closely watching how well they can get money and pay back loans.

Because of this, the two Adani companies’ outlook has gone from good to bad.

“New investigations and bad market sentiment could make it harder for rated entities to get money and raise the cost of capital,” the report said.

After the group’s plan to sell shares was scrapped, Mr. Adani said in a video statement that the group’s assets and balance sheet were strong. He also said the group has a “perfect record” of paying back what it owes.

But the credit rating agency ICRA said that the group still needs to figure out how to pay for its large capital spending program, which is paid for by borrowing money.

Most of the group’s new businesses that need a lot of money, such as green energy, airports, and roads, are under the Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) flagship company and get their money from it. AEL has enough cash, but if it has to pay interest for its subsidiaries, things could get tight.

The current instability will help some companies because they own and run strong physical assets like ports, airports, and factories.

Some of the group’s newer businesses, though, are different.

Adani Group energy companies like Adani Gas and Adani Green have a lot of debt and are still building up their cash flows. This could make them less able to handle changes in the market and make it harder for them to pay back loans.

Read Also: Gautam Adani lost $100m in a matter of days

The banker says that the costs of bonds made available by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd have gone down a little bit, but those issued by Adani Green have lost over one quarter of their value in just three days.

Leaving a Legacy: The Entrepreneur Who Built a Successful Wooden Watch Business While Holding a Day Job

In the realm of fashion, watches are a crucial accessory. They not only let one tell the time in a practical way, but they also make an outfit and personal style look better. People can choose a watch that suits their particular preferences and sense of style because of the wide variety of watch types, materials, and designs available.

There is a watch for every taste and situation, ranging from traditional leather strap watches to cutting-edge smartwatches. Watches are a flexible accessory that can be worn with any ensemble because of their ability to be dressed up or down. Watches serve to complete an outfit and add a touch of sophistication by adding a final touch.

In addition, watches are classic heirlooms that can be passed down from one generation to the next and never goes out of style. In conclusion, watches are an important accessory in the realm of fashion since they combine functionality and style in one item.

The Wood Forest Watch designer Mitch Jones came up with the concept of stylish, wooden watches that speak luxury but are accessible and would survive for a very long time in the fashion industry. His handcrafted watch business, which he started while holding down a 9 to 5 blue-collar job, evolved from a routine side gig into an extraordinary success tale.

The Wood Forest is a father-and-son partnership, and he successfully juggles the demanding 9 to 5 job with producing these classic sculptures. Mitch exemplifies for other business owners how it is possible to achieve success and maintain a strong enterprise while juggling other responsibilities.

One of the largest problems this company has encountered was a single, severe cyberattack. A crew of credit card fraudsters launched the assault, which cost the company over $100,000.

At the time, Mitch was in charge of every part of the company, but he overcame this setback to not only survive but also prosper and achieve revenue targets that he had at first considered improbable. With unwavering focus and a skilled team to assist, he brought the company back from the brink of death. This is a testament to his determination, leadership, and the power of his community.

In addition to becoming one of the businesspeople to watch out for, Mitch Jones has inspired other entrepreneurs. When things go tough, he advises other business owners to speak up so they won’t have to suffer in silence. Additionally, he exhorts people to seek assistance because it might become tiresome to serve as everyone else’s rock all the time.

When you talk, you never really know how much assistance you can receive; the outcomes will astound you, says Mitch.

For the great men who are the foundation of the nation, The Wood Forest Watch is a classic and unique brand. Mitch wants to establish himself as a big brand in the US before going internationally. He hopes that his company will produce the first wooden watch that can stand proudly next to today’s finest luxury timepieces.

Follow The Wood Forest on social media:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100075368507610 

IG: https://www.instagram.com/thewoodforestinc/ 

TkTk: https://www.tiktok.com/@thewoodforest 

PN: https://www.pinterest.com/TheWoodForestinc/

Inflation slows as Fed announces smaller rate

Image Source: CGTV News

Inflation is beginning to slow as the US central bank raised rates again as part of its work to keep prices stable in the biggest economy in the world.

The key interest rate set by the Fed went up by 0.25 percentage points.

After a series of significant rate hikes last year, this is the smallest one since March.

But officials said that they didn’t think they were done raising rates, even though there are signs that price growth in the US is slowing.

After the financial crisis and years of low-interest rates, the whole world is watching the bank’s moves closely because the US is leading a change.

Thursday, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank (ECB) will likely raise their interest rates.

The Fed’s decision to raise interest rates on Wednesday wasn’t surprising. It raises the bank’s benchmark rate to between 4.5 and 4.75 percent, the highest rate since 2007.

By making it more costly to borrow money, the Fed hopes to slow the economy and make it easier for prices to go up.

But the government risks starting a painful recession when the economy slows so much that many people lose their jobs.

As housing and the US economy suffer from higher borrowing costs, pressure is growing on the bank to slow or stop raising interest rates.

Recent data show that inflation in the US dropped to 6.5% last month. Obviously, this has made these voices louder.

Many investors are betting that the bank won’t raise interest rates again after this meeting.

But the head of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said that bank officials are still worried about data showing that the costs of many services, like health care, are going up much faster than the healthy rate of 2%.

He said the bank would rather raise rates too much than say that the problem is solved too soon.

He said, “The job isn’t done yet.” “Even though recent events are good, we will need much more evidence before we can be sure that inflation will stay low.”

Fed officials said in a statement about their decision that they still thought “ongoing” increases were the right thing to do.

In December, they said the bank’s benchmark rate might be higher than 5% by the end of 2023.

Mr. Powell would only say if officials had changed their minds. He said that the future was “uncertain.”

Stocks went up during and after the news conference, and by the end of the day, the S&P 500 had gone up by more than 1%.

Jay Bryson, an economist at Wells Fargo, said that the market’s gains could mean that investors are more sure that the central bank will be able to keep prices stable without causing a recession.

But Ronald Temple, the head market strategist at Lazard, said that if investors are too sure that rate hikes are over, it could make the Fed’s job harder.

He said that the more the markets fight against the Fed, the harder it would be to stop inflation.

Does a drop in US inflation influence the rest of the world?

Prices around the world went up because of what the US did. Should the rest of the world follow suit now that price inflation in the country is slowing down?

Inflation started in the US, which was the first big economy. This happened when the government gave out a lot of money to help people during a pandemic. This made a lot of people spend more and do more things.

Prices soon went up everywhere in the world. The price of oil and other necessities went up because Americans bought more of them. Global shipping companies raised their fees, and companies with shortages also raised their prices.

Then, when the US central bank raised interest rates to deal with the problem, it caused a rush of money to come into the country. This caused the dollar to reach its highest level in 20 years, which increased prices in other countries.

They weren’t the only ones to blame for the sudden rise in living costs. The war in Ukraine also played a big role, especially in Europe, where it cut off food supplies and messed up the energy markets.

Analysts still say that if America’s inflation problem is improving, that’s good news for the rest of the world, especially if the central bank can stop fighting so hard and let exchange rates settle.

Getting prices for goods and energy down

The most recent report from the US says that annual inflation, which measures how fast prices are going up, was 6.5% in December. It was the smallest increase in more than a year, and it was the sixth month in a row that the rate went down.

This is because the prices of used cars, appliances, and other items in high demand during the pandemic have decreased, especially in the US.

It has also shown that prices have decreased worldwide as the oil market recovers from the shock of the Ukraine war. However, investors bet that energy demand will go down as economies slow down to fight inflation.

Read Also: UK economy beats growth expectation

Analysts think prices will go down on even more things in the next few months as the US economy slows down and demand drops because borrowing costs are rising.

Dashdot Pioneers A Life of Freedom And Prosperity Through Their Unique Property Investment Techniques

A recent survey found that the majority of Australians believe $830,000 is necessary to attain financial freedom, which would provide them with the means to pay off debt, establish personal savings, and improve their ability to support their families.

However, the current economic environment, characterized by rising prices, increasing debt levels, stagnant wage growth, and broader economic challenges, presents a significant obstacle to achieving financial stability and security.

Dashdot, a property investment startup, recognizes the significant impact of current trends on the financial well-being of Australians and acknowledges the importance of saving and investing for the future to achieve financial freedom.

Despite the challenges posed by various factors, Dashdot is determined to offer a solution that will allow individuals to escape this situation and experience the freedom they deserve through their innovative prosperity investment techniques.

Dashdot is committed to helping people achieve financial freedom. As a property portfolio growth partner, they make it easier for people to reach a life of abundance by finding the right property, in the right place, at the right time to pursue their life goals faster and with less risk.

The Current Problem

According to Dashdot, the way people invest in properties needs to change. Most people want to invest in property to gain freedom, choice, and abundance. Unfortunately, this is rarely achieved, with only less than 1% of property investors achieving those goals.

The failed investments are caused mainly by wrong choices in location, timing, and type of property, which unfortunately lead to a continuous cycle of hard work and financial strain. Dashdot is dedicated to helping people break this cycle and achieve the life they want to live.

Achieving Financial Freedom By Finding The Right Fit

In their mission to break this cycle, Dashdot’s mission is to transform how the world invests by informing people where the right opportunity is.

Dashdot’s proprietary and top-of-the-notch technology finds the right fit. Their in-house team of data scientists can crack the code on property investing in real-time with accuracy. Taking into consideration their macro and micro influences specific to suburb-level insights, they ensure they search the whole area, not leaving any possible opportunity behind.

With their world-first data science, their clients can identify the top 1% of properties in the top 1% of locations, ensuring that they can secure the right property, in the right place, at the right time.

“What’s right for someone might not be for another. But we can always find an opportunity that is right for our clients,” says CEO Goose McGrath.

For Dashdot, finding the right fit also means being on the lookout for industry trends that arise. They understand that new events can change the whole industry.

Dashdot says, “We don’t just make observations, and we don’t just analyze numbers. Combined insights give us the scientific secret sauce to securing your perfect property.”

Dashdot gets the work done

Dashdot streamlines all the processes to ensure their clients get full assistance every step of the way. They are all about saving clients the hassle of coordinating all the moving
pieces of securing investment properties and assessing their performance.

“The Dashdot difference is that you can be on a beach in Bali or hiking in Hawaii – so long as you have wifi access, our digital services are available – the team and tech take care of everything so you can be virtually anywhere,” says Jess Norton, Head of Marketing.

Through their personal Dashdot channel, clients can be at peace knowing that everyone is looking after them. Dashdot offers a life-long lifeline directly to their committed team.

“We connect the dots on everything from sourcing a solicitor, finding a property manager, and sorting out any logistics you can think of,” General Manager Tim Keating assures.

The Life Of Freedom and Prosperity According to Dashdot

Dashdot believes that a life of freedom is not about people working hard but making investments work hard for them. It is living a life on their terms – whether they want to travel, spend time with their family, or pursue what they love to do.

Dashdot empowers their clients to invest in the right properties and create a property investment portfolio that works. With the right choices and a sound strategy, clients can have the financial freedom to dream and make those dreams a reality. They are dedicated to helping their clients achieve the freedom and prosperity they deserve.

“The goal of life is to live, and the world would be better if people were able to do exactly that. So we at Dashdot are constantly uncovering new ground and breaking through unchartered territory, empowering people to march forward, discover, and break away from a constrained way of thinking and living,” Dashdot CEO Goose McGrath elaborates.

With Dashdot’s unique approach to the typical property investment service powered by a plethora of data and tech tools, they stand on their belief that prosperity is achievable and possible through effective and wise property investment.

Gautam Adani lost $100m in a matter days

Image Source: Bloomberg

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani tried to make investors feel better after his company surprised everyone by canceling the sale of shares.

Wednesday, Adani Enterprises said it would give investors the $2.5 billion (£2 billion) it got from the sale.

Mr. Adani has said that the decision will not change “our current operations or plans for the future.”

The move comes at the end of a busy week that started with a US investment firm accusing Adani Group firms of fraud.

But in the last few days, the market value of the group’s companies has dropped by $108bn.

According to Forbes, Mr. Adani has lost $48bn of his own money and is now the 16th richest person in the world.

What went wrong for Adani Group?

About two weeks ago, Mr. Adani was the third richest person in the world.

Shares of Adani Enterprises, the biggest company in his ports-to-energy conglomerate, were set to go on sale on January 25 in India’s biggest secondary share offering.

But the day before that, an investment firm in the US called Hindenburg Research released a report in which it accused the conglomerate of “brazen” stock manipulation and accounting fraud over a long period.

Hindenburg is an expert at “short-selling,” which means betting against a company’s stock price in hopes that it will go down.

The Adani Group called the report “a malicious mix of selectively false information and old, unfounded, and disproven claims,” but that wasn’t enough to calm investor fears.

Mr. Adani’s group comprises seven companies traded on the stock market. These companies work in various fields, such as airports, commodities trading, ports, utilities, and renewable energy. Several Indian banks and state-owned insurance companies have given or invested billions of dollars in companies that are part of the group.

So, was that it?

No. As the market crash continued, the Adani Group sent out a detailed response that was more than 400 pages long. It called the Hindenburg report a “calculated attack on India” and said it was a “reckless act of sabotage.”

It said it had followed all local laws and given all the required information to the government. It also said that the report was made to help Hindenburg “make a huge amount of money through illegal means at the expense of many investors.”

On the other hand, Hindenburg stood by the report and claimed that the conglomerate had failed to answer 62 of their 88 questions specifically.

The market’s response

When the Adani Enterprises stock sale started on January 25, it didn’t get much attention. By the end of the second day, only 3% of its shares had been bought by small investors.

But foreign institutional investors and corporate funds helped the group. On January 30, Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company, which is backed by a member of the UAE royal family, invested at least $400 million in the share sale.

Bloomberg said that Indian business tycoons Sajjan Jindal and Sunil Mittal also bought shares in the sale as individuals in a last-minute push.

Analyst Ambareesh Baliga told Reuters after the sale of shares that the group had not reached its goal to “broad base the shareholding.”

Shares of the different companies in the group also kept going down.

So, what now?

Bloomberg and Reuters and say that India’s central bank has asked the country’s lenders for information about how much risk they have with the group.

In his response to India’s exchanges, Mr. Adani said that the group’s balance sheet is very healthy, with strong cashflows, safe assets, and a perfect track record of paying off debt.

But Edward Moya, an analyst at the brokerage OANDA, told Reuters that the suspension of the share sale was “troubling” because it was supposed to show that the company is still trusted by its high net-worth investors.

The wealth arm of the American investment bank Citigroup has stopped taking Adani group securities as collateral for margin loans, and Credit Suisse has stopped taking the group’s bonds. Moody’s unit ICRA said it was keeping an eye on how recent events would affect Adani Group stocks.

But Vinayak Chatterjee, the founder and managing trustee of the Infravision Foundation, was optimistic and called the current situation “a short-term blip.”

Hemindra Hazari, an independent research analyst, said he was surprised that they hadn’t heard anything from SEBI or the government yet.

“They should have said something to put investors’ minds at ease,” he told the BBC.

It has also caused a political fight.

Read Also: Adani Enterprises cancels share sale

People think that Mr. Adani is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Opposition politicians have been saying for a long time that he has used his political connections to his advantage, which he denies.

On Thursday, groups against the government asked for a discussion in parliament about how the fall in the  company shares could hurt Indian investors. They have also asked for Hindenburg’s claims to be looked into.

Serial Entrepreneur SharkTino Takes on the Automotive Industry with “Call Boost Now”

Phoenix, Arizona resident Tino Hernandez, also known as Sharktino, has founded a new company that aims to provide dealerships with the resources they need to grow their businesses. Call Boost Now offers a premier marketing solution that prioritizes customer satisfaction, positive company culture, and performance. With a proven track record of success and a team of experts, Call Boost Now is set to revolutionize the automotive industry.

Born and raised in Southern California, Sharktino served in the United States Army for seven years, including multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning from his service, Sharktino began his career in sales at a local Kia dealership. Despite struggling in his first month, Sharktino persisted and was trained by his managers and leaders, eventually pushing him to succeed in the industry.

Call Boost Now offers a range of services, including appointment setting, customer follow-up, and 24/7 tracking of progress. This allows dealerships to benefit from increased opportunities for sales, a more efficient BDC for lower costs, and an experienced team capable of handling high volumes of sales, leads, and appointments. With simple pricing plans and no long-term agreements, Call Boost Now makes it easy for dealerships to maximize their potential and achieve their business goals.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable, effective, and affordable marketing solution for your dealership, look no further than Call Boost Now. With Sharktino at the helm and a team of experts dedicated to helping your business succeed, you can rest assured that your dealership’s marketing is in good hands.

Bobsolar Planning Expansion to East Africa

Bobsolar is the solar energy branch of the Hong Kong listed company Bob Eco Limited. Bobsolar is active on the European continent, where it is moving quickly to start operations in across the continent.

Bob Eco is a green energy company producing products that all aim to improve the environment by offering solar products and electric vehicles. The electric vehicle operations are active across the African continent. 

Bob Eco’s internal study has shown that the demand for solar energy exceeds that of the need in European countries by more than 40%. In combination with its electric vehicle operations, Bob Eco plans to start launching the Bobsolar brand across the continent. Uganda is one of the first countries where the company will launch its operations, in the third quarter of 2023.

Bob Eco states that in order to assure success in the East African market it Must strengthen its resilience to local market shocks in the electricity market functioning and start by applying solar energy generation on its own activities in the market by providing stable energy generation. The move will accelerate the green energy adoption in the region, eventually replacing fossil fuels in the Ugandan electricity markets!

Many remote villages have no access to the power grid, which offers opportunities to expand Bob Eco’s electric vehicle operations further into remote areas.

https://bob.solar

https://bob.eco

 

Adani Enterprises pulls plug on share sale

Image Source: Bloomberg

India’s Adani Enterprises has stopped selling shares after the price of its shares fell on Wednesday.

The leading company of the Adani Group said that the $2.5 billion (£2 billion) raised from the sale would be given back to investors after the shares dropped 26%.

Since a US investment firm said there was a scam, the companies in the group have lost more than $90bn in value. Adani says the accusations are not valid.

Gautam Adani, the founder, is no longer among the top 10 wealthiest people in the world.

Forbes’ real-time list of billionaires says that Mr. Adani is now the 15th richest person in the world, with a $74.7bn. He was third on the list last week.

A billionaire runs Adani Group, one of India’s biggest companies. Adani Enterprises, also the name of the company, trades goods, runs airports, provides utilities, and makes clean energy.

Hindenburg Research, a company specializing in betting against a company’s share price in hopes that it will fall, released a report last week saying that Mr. Adani was “pulling the biggest con in corporate history.”

It also said that the Adani Group had been “brazen” about stock manipulation and accounting fraud for decades and that its companies had “substantial debt,” which put the whole group on “precarious financial footing.”

The group said that the accusations were false and made with bad intentions. They have said that these plans are an “attack on India.”

The report came out a few days before Adani planned to sell shares to the public. Even so, despite the controversy, the $2.5 billion sale of shares in the group’s main company went through on Tuesday.

Bloomberg says that shares fell by 26.7% on Wednesday, bringing the total market value loss for the group to over $90bn.

Adani Group said after the market closed that the money from the sale of shares would be returned because “this has never happened before” and “the market is very volatile right now.”

Mr. Adani said the company’s balance sheet was “very healthy, with secure assets and strong cashflows.”

Adani Group said it was looking into “punitive action” against Hindenburg Research in India and the US in response to the accusations against it.

It said that “all laws” had always been obeyed.

In an interview with the newspaper Mint, the CFO of Hindenburg Research compared the company to General Dyer, a British officer in the Bengal Army who killed many Indians in Amritsar in 1919.

Hindenburg said the group was spreading a nationalist story to hide fraud claims.

Despite fraud claims, Adani Enterprises can sell its shares

Adani Enterprises, the parent company of Adani Group. At noon on Tuesday, only half of the shares for sale had been bought. But in the last few hours of trading, institutional investors, corporations, and people with a lot of money poured money into the largest public offering in the country.

After a big sell-off, the price of the shares on the market was lower than the price the company offered to the public. This meant that individual and small-scale investors didn’t buy into the company’s offering.

Just over 10% of Adani enterprises shares set aside for individual investors were bought.

But the shares set aside for investors, like hedge funds, were bought up on the first day. Then, on Monday, a group of companies based in Abu Dhabi bought 16% of the offer through a subsidiary company. This saved the sale.

The sale is very important for the port-to-energy company, which has lost a third of its market value since a US-based short-seller, the Hindenburg Group, accused its companies of “brazen” manipulation of the stock market and accounting fraud over many years.

The Adani Group said the accusations were false and made with bad intentions.

But throughout four trading sessions, the market value of the firm’s publicly traded companies has dropped by about $65 billion. Because of this, Mr. Adani has gone from being the fourth richest person in the world to the eleventh. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index says that he is worth about $84bn after the sale.

Even though the company sent a 413-page response and the Adani Group’s finance officer went on TV many times, investors were still nervous. On Monday, shares in the company’s companies hit a lower circuit, which stopped trading in Mumbai.

Some of the group’s publicly traded companies have seen their prices increase, while others, like Adani Total Gas, have been under constant pressure to sell. As a result, it lost half of its value in just five days, and on Tuesday, it lost another 10%.

The Adani Group said that the accusations against it were an attack on the country of India. In an interview with the Mint newspaper, the group’s CFO compared Hindenburg Research to General Dyer, a British officer of the Bengal Army who killed hundreds of Indians in Amritsar in 1919.

Hindenburg said that the group was spreading a nationalist story to cover up fraud.

Hugh Young, Asia Chairman of UK-based asset manager abrdn Plc, told Bloomberg that the fight has made more people worried about Indian markets and could hurt short-term sentiment.

Read Also: Gautam Adani drops down the rich list

According to the newswire, the drop in the country’s stock market since January 24 is caused by the drop in Adani stocks.

Plane tickets prices went up by 44%

Image Source: British Council

New information shows that prices of plane tickets rose rapidly in December, and bus fares increased.

According to official numbers, plane tickets prices went up 44.1% in the year leading up to December. This is the largest jump since the late 1980s.

People could go to many long-distance places without Covid restrictions in December for the first time since 2019.

Analysts said that plane tickets prices went up mainly because jet fuel costs went up.

Because rail strikes made bus tickets more expensive, there may have been more demand. Compared to December of the year before, the price of a bus ticket went up by 17.5%.

People had trouble getting where they needed to go in December because of rail strikes, so many drove over the holidays.

The overall rate of inflation in December was 10.5%. Both plane tickets and bus tickets cost more. Last month, inflation was lower than in November and October, but prices are still going up at the fastest rate in 40 years.

Why plane tickets cost more than before?

In the past few months, the fuel price has gone up a lot, which has hurt airlines, homes, and a lot of other businesses.

Fuel costs make up about a third of an airline’s costs, and prices of plane tickets have gone up. John Strickland, an expert and consultant in the field of aviation, says this has been passed on through tickets.

A travel and aviation expert, Sally Gethin, said that airlines couldn’t “absorb the cost increase” of fuel. She also said that plane tickets prices had gone up because it took longer for long-distance flights to get around the airspace of Russia and Ukraine and because spare parts and engines were hard to find around the world.

Mr. Strickland also said that companies trying to fill jobs in a competitive job market were putting “upward pressure on staff costs.”

During the worst of the pandemic, when international travel was stopped, many airlines cut jobs.

Even though prices are rising, people seem willing to spend more on holidays.

Even though money is tight for most people, the Advantage Travel Partnership told the BBC that the average cost of a vacation at the start of January was £3,104. This was 5% more than this time last year.

The group, the UK’s largest network of independent travel agents, says that Spain, Greece, the US, and Turkey are the most-booked places.

Andri Benson runs a business that helps people plan weddings. In June, her parents, sister, and niece will visit the Greek island of Rhodes.

But if there are more airport and rail strikes in 2023, people’s trips could be delayed or messed up.

Border Force workers at airports, many of whom check passports, could stay on strike until the end of the year, according to the head of the PCS union. But their attacks in December didn’t cause much trouble because the military covered them.

The train drivers in the Aslef union will also go on strike on February 1 and 3. This could make more people want to travel by bus or coach in the first half of this year.

The ONS also said that public transportation by road prices went up an average of 11.3% every December.

Holidaymakers are spending more as bookings rise

Even though people have less money because of the cost of living, they spend more on vacations, say travel agents.

Several companies that sell vacations and tours said that early January was a busy time for bookings and that demand was high.

Some people book early so they have something to look forward to and work toward, while others can only go on vacation if their bills are too high.

This week, the average vacation cost was £3,104, which is about 5% more than last year.

But there are worries that a lack of staff could cause the same problems and delays at airports as last summer. This is because the aviation industry had difficulty finding new workers to replace the thousands who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Rory Boland, the editor of Which? Travel said that “some airlines and airports have a history of having trouble keeping up with demand during peak travel times,” so it’s hard to be sure that there won’t be more problems in the next few months.

Also, aviation expert John Strickland said that this summer is “still a bit of a mystery” but that airlines, airports, and companies that handle bags are “trying” to hire more people. He said, “I think we’ll be in a better place because of it.”

People thought that vacation bookings would go up when the Covid restrictions were lifted, but they are still below what they were before the pandemic.

According to the UK’s largest network of independent travel agents, the Advantage Travel Partnership, the most popular places to book are Spain, Greece, the United States, and Turkey.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, the head of business for the group, told the BBC that people were still booking trips even though average prices were going up.

Read Also: Gautam Adani drops down the rich list

She said that since the beginning of the year, sales across its network of 700 travel agents were 75% higher than at the same time in 2022.

Gautam Adani drops down the rich list

Image Source: CNN

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani lost more than $20 billion (£16 billion) on Friday when investors left his companies for a second day because a US investment firm said they were scams.

The Adani Group said the report was not true, but that hasn’t stopped everyone from getting angry.

India’s main opposition party has asked for an investigation.

About $50bn has been taken off the market value of the company’s publicly traded companies.

Friday, Adani Enterprises’ shares, the group’s largest company, fell by nearly 20%. Some of the group’s other publicly traded companies saw their shares drop even more and no longer traded in Mumbai.

Forbes says that Mr. Adani has dropped from the third richest person in the world to the seventh, even though his estimated net worth is still more than $96 billion.

The fallout comes just days after Hindenburg Research, a company specializing in “short-selling,” or betting against a company’s share price in the hopes that it will fall, released a report accusing the Adani Group of “brazen” stock manipulation and accounting fraud for decades.

Its report came out before Adani Enterprises planned to sell shares, which aren’t selling well now.

Mr. Adani is a wealthy businessman who made his money by investing in ports, airports, renewable energy, and other businesses. The value of his company’s shares has gone through the roof in the past three years.

His business said that it was considering suing Hindenburg.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi knows Mr. Adani. Opposition politicians have long said he used his political connections to get something, which he denies.

Many Indian banks and state-owned insurance companies have given or put billions of dollars into companies that are part of the Adani Group.

In interviews with Reuters, some of India’s biggest public sector banks said that their ties to the company didn’t make them worried about risks.

But the whole stock market has been hurt, and India’s Nifty 50 stock index dropped more than 1% on Friday.

Adani Group says the claim of a fraud is a “planned attack on India”

Hindenburg Research said that Gautam Adani’s company, which he owns, had done wrong things. The owner of the company, Gautam Adani, gave a detailed response to these claims.

In a document with more than 400 pages, Adani Group calls the report a “planned attack on India.”

Later on Sunday, Hindenburg said that 62 of the 88 questions in Adani’s report still needed to be answered clearly.

Last week, the stock market cut the value of the Indian conglomerate Adani Group by more than $50 billion (£40.4 billion).

It also said it had obeyed all local laws and given regulators all the necessary information.

Then, it said that the Hindenburg report was made so that the US-based short seller could make money without giving any proof.

This week, Adani Enterprises, the biggest company in the Adani Group, is selling shares worth $2.5 billion.

Hindenburg released a report last week that questioned the Adani Group’s ownership of companies in tax havens like Mauritius and the Caribbean.

It also said that Adani group of companies had “significant debt,” putting the whole group of companies on “shaky financial ground.”

However, on Thursday, Adani Group said it was considering “corrective and punitive actions” against Hindenburg Research in the US and India.

Adani said that the company had always “followed all laws.”

Also, on Thursday, Hindenburg replied Adani’s comments by saying that the company hadn’t answered: “a single substantive issue we had raised.”

Gautam Adani is a self-made billionaire

Mr. Adani comes from a middle-class family of textile merchants. Still, after he started his firm to trade in commodities in 1998, he never looked back. In the 24 years that followed, his businesses grew to include ports, mines, railroads, infrastructure, power, and real estate. This was possible because money was borrowed. One observer said that this made him “possibly the most aggressive of India’s new generation of tycoons.”

Mr. Adani is India’s infrastructure tycoon, without a doubt. He is in charge of India’s second-largest cement company, seven airports and 13 ports, as well as the country’s largest port in the western coastal town of Mundra. Also, he is building India’s longest expressway, which will connect Mumbai, India’s business capital, to Delhi.

Read Also: Gautam Adani hits back at detractors

Mr. Adani owns the largest private power company in India. He owns six coal-powered power plants. At the same time, he has promised to put $50 billion into green hydrogen and runs a natural gas pipeline that is 8,000 kilometers long. He also owns coal mines in the countries of Indonesia and Australia. He wants to be the world’s most important renewable energy company by 2030.

The author of a new biography of Mr. Adani, RN Bhaskar, says that his businesses grew because he was “able to build and keep relationships.” He is friends with many “political and social leaders.” Mr. Adani’s port project in Kerala was approved when the main opposition party, Congress, was in charge, and it has the support of the Communists, who are now in charge of the state.

Gautam Adani hits back at ‘detractors’

Image Source: Bloomberg

A company owned by Asia’s richest man, Gautam Adani responded to a report that said the company was “brazen” about stock manipulation and accounting fraud.

The Adani Group, which Gautam Adani started, called the report from the US investment firm “malicious” and “selective misinformation.”

The group’s market value dropped by almost $11 billion (£8.7 billion) after the research was made public on Wednesday.

It is now thinking about taking Hindenburg Research to court in New York.

Adani Group is one of the largest businesses in India. It can be used in many places, like trading commodities, airports, utilities, and clean energy. Forbes magazine says that Mr. Adani, the fourth richest person in the world, is in charge of it.

Hindenburg, on the other hand, is an expert at “short-selling,” which means betting against a company’s stock price in the hopes that it will go down.

In its report, Hindenburg said that Mr. Adani had “pulled the biggest con in the history of business.” This happened just a few days before the public was supposed to be able to buy shares in the Adani Group.

The report asked why the Adani Group-owned companies in tax havens like Mauritius and the Caribbean instead of in Australia. It also said that Adani companies had “significant debts” that put the whole group on “shaky financial ground.”

But on Thursday, Adani Group said it was looking into “corrective and punitive actions” against Hindenburg Research in the US and India.

Adani said it had always “complied with all laws.”

Thursday, Hindenburg responded to Adani’s comments by saying that the company hadn’t answered “a single substantive issue” that Hindenburg had raised.

It also said that it stood by its report and would “welcome” legal action because any claim against it would be “meritless.”

The biggest company in the group, Adani Enterprises, will begin selling shares to the public on Friday.

Political response

Politicians from the opposition, who have said for a long time that Mr. Adani got ahead because he is close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, responded quickly to the report.

A well-known South Indian politician named KT Ramarao asked India’s investigation agencies and market regulator to look into how the Adani Group does business.

But experts say that regulators are unlikely to act on their own.

The BBC has tried to talk to the market regulator but has not heard back.

Even though it looks like Adani Group will be able to sell $2.4 billion worth of shares to the public on Friday, a financial markets analyst named Ambareesh Baliga said that some investors might want to know more about the claims in the report.

But more than just the Adani Group could be affected by the report.

Andy Mukherjee, a columnist for the news service Bloomberg, said that there were “many questions about the integrity of the larger Indian market,” which is “caught between the pressures of financial globalization and political nationalism.”

He also asked, “Is the Security and Exchange Board of India waiting for a public uproar to clean up the market?”

Who is Gautam Adani?

Gautam Adani comes from a family of cloth merchants who are in the middle class. Still, he never looked back after he started his firm to trade in commodities in 1998. Over the next 24 years, his companies grew into ports, mines, railroads, infrastructure, power, and real estate. This was made possible by taking on more debt. One commentator said that this made him “perhaps the most aggressive of India’s new generation of tycoons.”

Today, Gautam Adani is, without a doubt, India’s infrastructure tycoon. He is in charge of India’s second-largest cement company, as well as seven airports and 13 ports, including the country’s largest port in the town of Mundra on the western coast. He is also building India’s longest expressway, which will connect the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, to Delhi.

Mr. Gautam Adani owns the biggest private power company in India. He has six power plants that run on coal. At the same time, he promised to invest $50 billion in green hydrogen and is in charge of an 8,000-kilometer-long natural gas pipeline. He is also the owner of coal mines in Indonesia and Australia. He wants to be the world’s biggest player in renewable energy by 2030.

James Crabtree, a policy analyst, says in his book The Billionaire Raj: Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age that Mr. Adani grew as quickly and as big as industrial giants from the past.

Gautam Adani has been a big problem all along. Critics say that because he was close to Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat and is still close to him now that he is India’s prime minister, his business empire is an example of crony capitalism.

In Queensland’s Galilee Basin, people for and against coal went to a coal mine owned by Adani to fight. Environmental approvals took years, so the final building didn’t start until 2019. A non-profit group in Australia called AdaniWatch runs a website that says it will “shine a light on the bad things the Adani Group has done all over the world.” The Adani Group has said that it did not break any Australian laws.

Read Also: Davos is torn over a green trade war

In 2012, India’s government auditor said that Mr. Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat at the time, gave cheap fuel from a state-run gas company to Gautam Adani and other business people. In 2017, a journalist wrote a series of articles saying that Mr. Modi did a good job taking care of Mr. Adani’s businesses. These claims have been denied repeatedly by both Mr. Adani’s companies and Mr. Modi’s government.

RN Bhaskar, who wrote a new biography of Mr. Adani, says that he was able to build and keep relationships, which helped his businesses grow. He has a lot of “political and social leaders” as friends. The main opposition party, Congress, was in charge when Mr. Adani’s port project in Kerala was approved, and the Communists, who are now in charge of the state, favored it.

Amazon workers claim robots are treated better

Image Source: People’s Dispatch

Amazon workers in the UK will walk off the job for the first time on Wednesday to protest their pay.

Members of the GMB union are leaving Amazon’s warehouse in Coventry because of a “derisory” 50p an hour pay raise.

The workers told the BBC that their jobs are “very hard.” They said they are always being watched and told off if they are “idle” for even a few minutes.

Amazon said it has a way of recognizing good work.

A spokesman said it also encourages coaching to help employees improve if they need to meet their performance goals.

But two Amazon workers who are members of the GMB said that the robots in the warehouse “are treated better than us.”

Managers could ask about anything, even a trip to the bathroom, Darren Westwood and Garfield Hilton told the BBC.

Mr. Hilton, who has diabetes, said that it’s not always easy to find a bathroom nearby, and that it can sometimes take up to 15 minutes to find one and go back.

They said that managers keep track of how well employees do their jobs and that any time employees don’t spend scanning things is added up.

Before sending the stock to Amazon fulfillment centers so it can be sent to customers, workers at the Coventry warehouse check the stock.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “Only when an employee is at their station and logged in to do their job is their performance measured.

But Mr. Westwood and Mr. Hilton said that their coworkers have to work long hours to keep up with the cost of living. Some work 60 hours a week.

Mr. Hilton said he saw people fall asleep on the bus ride to Amazon’s warehouse. “Many of them are in the building that it feels like ghosts are walking around.”

He said that Amazon wants to “make the most of every minute in that building.”

Amazon workers ask for better conditions

A representative for Amazon said, “We appreciate the great work our teams do all year long, and we’re happy to offer competitive pay that starts at a minimum of between £10.50 and £11.45 per hour, depending on location.”

He said that the minimum hourly wage Amazon pays its employees has gone up by 29% since 2018.

On the other hand, people who are in unions want to be paid £15 an hour. Mr. Westwood called the offer of 50p a “smack in the mouth.”

People were forced to shop online because of Covid restrictions, and Amazon’s sales and profits went through the roof. Between 2019 and 2020, profits almost doubled to $21.3 billion (£17.2 billion); the next year, they went up again to $33.3 billion.

Since the economy reopened, growth has been uneven, and Amazon is now letting go of 18,000 workers after hiring thousands since 2019.

Mr. Westwood said that people might think we are being greedy if we ask for £15 an hour. But he pointed to Jeff Bezos, who started Amazon, is its executive chairman, and has gone into space. According to Forbes, Bezos is worth $120 billion.

On Wednesday, about 300 of Amazon’s 1,500 workers in Coventry are likely to go on strike.

Mr. Westwood, on the other hand, called the numbers “brilliant.” For example, Amazon doesn’t like unions, but the GMB says it has different numbers of members all over the UK.

Amazon has been trying to stop workers in the US from joining unions.

More than half of the 8,000 people who work at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, voted to join the Amazon Labor Union, which is now official. But the company says that it will fight the certification.

Mr. Westwood said there were more than just a few union members in Coventry. “There were 30 people in July. Now, it’s over 300, “he said.

He said that Coventry employs people from many different countries. “They don’t realize that we can form a union, protest, and stop working in the UK.

New Amazon center will create 1,400 new jobs

A new Amazon warehouse in the West Midlands could create up to 1,400 jobs when it opens, and that number could grow over time.

The company said the Peddimore, Sutton Coldfield robotic fulfillment center would open in the next three years.

It will focus on storing millions of small items that will stay there until they are bought.

The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said that the news was a “vote of confidence” for the area.

Amazon has said it will build two new places for robots to work. Both will be in County Durham. One will be in Peddimore, and the other will be in Stockton-on-Tees.

Read Also: Amazon finalizes plans to cut 18,000 jobs

The company said that a fulfillment center was the second step in its sales process, where it took goods from vendors who had first come to one of its two large centers in Coventry and Doncaster.

The goods are then kept in the fulfillment centers until they are bought and moved to sorting and delivery centers.

Robotic shelves will be used at the Peddimore center to help store things and then get to them. Amazon said that this kind of center usually has more workers than ones without robots.

It said that it would hire robotics engineers, technicians, and other experts in addition to sorting staff.

Dermis.ai is Revolutionizing Marketing by using Artificial Intelligence to Skyrocket Sales for Medical Spas, Clinics and Aestheticians

Have you ever had a customer or client abruptly cancel a beauty appointment? What did you think of it? I bet it hurt your company, especially if it was a persistent issue.

According to research, 27% of all spa reservations are cancelled on the day of the appointment, costing those facilities a significant amount of money.

No matter the sector your company works in, running a business is anything from simple. Every day, business owners search for innovative methods and technological advancements to streamline their operations, market their goods and services to the proper customers, and increase sales. It is far from an easy task.

The problem persists throughout the beauty sector. Getting customers who make reservations for medical spa services to keep those reservations is one of the many commercial issues that medical spas encounter. Since these are cosmetic operations, medical spas that provide services like body sculpting, laser hair removal, botox, or permanent cosmetics have a lot of appeal. However, not all clients keep their appointments.

In marketing, this is typically the process of turning cold leads into paying leads, but for these companies, this isn’t always the case. Ads won’t prompt people to make an appointment, but they may help your company reach the correct demographic. Dermis.ai was created to address this issue since, without successful bookings that result in revenue, a firm cannot operate.

Dermis.ai is a company that assists medical spas, clinics, and aestheticians in increasing the number of appointments they receive by using regionally relevant social media advertisements and automated bot SMS chats to nurture their leads into clinic appointments. 

Thomas Gonnet, a 20-year-old expert in social media and affiliate marketing, founded the company with two other individuals.

His main objective was to innovate and establish new approaches in the field of marketing agencies. In order to help a very specific type of client—medical spas that primarily offer body sculpting, laser hair removal, botox, or permanent makeup—these new strategies combine technology and industry know-how. They aim to increase the number of clients who actually show up for their scheduled appointments.

Thomas Gonnet

Through more visits and lower costs, the business assists medical spas, clinics, and aestheticians in earning six figures and more.

This firm, which is powered by artificial intelligence, uses cutting-edge techniques to help these kinds of businesses draw customers in. In order to follow up with clients and assist set up appointments, they combine automated SMS messaging with a human touch. By ensuring that appointments are backed up with on-the-spot credit card payments, this technique puts an end to disappointing leads who don’t show up for appointments.

According to research, the sixth call is when 95% of all converted leads are reached. This means that constant engagement through conversations with prospects would seal the deal in the long run. Dermis.ai makes sure you do not have to bother with this side of business nor employ a receptionist or even employ the services of a marketing agency. This in turn saves the business owner time and money and increases appointment bookings.

The company also runs an affiliate marketing program which they intend to use in onboarding influencers to get more medspa businesses on the platform. What happens is that once influencers use their uniquely generated affiliate link and get medical spas on the platform, they get to earn a steady, passive income.

The founder, Thomas Gonner shares his experience of lead generation, marketing, social ads and building this agency on his YouTube channel. He has become an authority in lead generation and gives helpful tips to individuals and businesses through his platform.

Dermis.ai offers some really great benefits. By signing up for the platform, you are assured of monthly clients as well as a 100% turnout rate that addresses the issue of unmet bookings. Because now your clients are aware of what you are doing, you also receive high-quality repeat clients. They offer automated Google reviews that raise your company’s ranking in search engine results, as well as 100% exclusivity, which means they can only work with one company per location, giving you the upper hand.

Labor Shortage would be ended by better pay

Image Source: Politico

There is no shortage of work. But there needs to be more work that pays well enough to make people want to apply.

So many times over the years, it’s been shown that when a public problem is misrepresented, the proposed solutions are useless or cruel.

For example, there is a so-called “labor shortage in the United States.”

Jerome Powell, in charge of the Federal Reserve, says that the U.S. has a “structural labor shortage” that probably won’t be fixed soon. Employers in the U.S. can only fill up to 10 million job openings because they can’t find workers, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In fact, there is enough work to go around.

People need more jobs that pay well enough to make them want to apply.

(There’s also the fact that many baby boomers are getting old enough to retire.) But after the pandemic, many retired people went back to work because they didn’t have enough money saved or were worried about the stock market. So, more boomers might come back if jobs paid more.)

When you consider inflation, most Americans’ real wages keep going down. According to today’s inflation report, wages have gone up about 5% in the past year, while prices have gone up about 6.5%. This means that at least 1.5 percentage points have been lost by most workers.

Costs of child care, care for the elderly, and transportation (cars, used cars, and gas) are all going up, and all of these are big expenses for many working people.

In the meantime, the minimum wage set by the government keeps going down. It has yet to go up in 13 years, which is the longest time in its history that it hasn’t. Considering inflation, its real value is at its lowest level in 66 years.

Even if you don’t know much about money, you can see why some workers would say, “to hell with it.”

Is there really a labor shortage?

After the 2008-2009 financial crisis, economists warned about a “labor shortage.” But there was no longer a “labor shortage” when the economy got better, and wages went up.

So, what should be done about the fact that it’s hard for businesses to find workers? Simple. Businesses should pay their workers more if they want more people to work for them.

Jerome Powell of the Fed and his coworker don’t want to hear this. Instead, they want to fix the “labor shortage” by slowing down the economy so employers can find all the workers they need without raising wages.

Even though the news about inflation is good today, central bankers still think they need to slow down the job market and stop wage increases. Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said at his last news conference in December, “Labor is by far the largest cost in the service sector.” ” And there are a lot of jobs available, and wages are very high.”

But if we slow down the economy, millions of people won’t get pay raises, and millions more will lose their jobs. This is especially true for women, people of color, and those working for low wages.

Some business economists and Republicans say that the “labor shortage” is caused by too many people getting unemployment benefits. People say that the best way to get more people to work is to make their lives harder when they aren’t.

Recent “research” by Casey Mulligan and E.J. Antoni says that “it pays not to work in Biden’s America” because unemployment and Affordable Care Act benefits are so good that “many businesses can’t get workers back on the job almost three years after COVID-19 hit these shores.”

Baloney. Most people out of work are in a tough spot, except rich people who don’t work and their children.

The benefits of the pandemic are over, and America’s social safety nets are in the same bad shape as before the pandemic. Before the pandemic, unemployment benefits were available to less than 30% of unemployed Americans. These benefits only last six months, less than in any other rich country.

Poor handling

Since then, we have done nothing to fix this broken system.

People with low incomes can get health insurance with the help of subsidies from the Affordable Care Act. Without these subsidies, many people wouldn’t be able to afford the medical care they need, making them more likely to get sick and be unable to work.

If you follow the argument until it makes sense, it might be true. Throw away all the safety nets. At some point, people who don’t have jobs will have to take any job, no matter how much it pays or what it requires.

But if we do this, it will make the economy even worse than it is now.

People don’t work because jobs don’t pay enough, wages are going down, and the costs of caring for children, caring for the elderly, and getting around are going up.

Read Also: Alphabet to cut 12,000 from its workforce

Both the Fed’s solution (slowing the economy so employers can find the workers they need without raising wages) and the Republican corporate solution (cutting safety nets, so people become desperate they have to take any job) are cruel. They would make life hard for many of the weakest people in our society.

We need to pay people more if we want to live in a good society and get more people to work.

Alphabet to cut 12,000 from its workforce

Image Source: Bloomberg

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will terminate 12,000 jobs. In the tech industry, this is the most recent round of layoffs.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said in an internal email that he was “fully responsible” for the layoffs.

The cuts will affect 6% of Alphabet’s employees worldwide, including engineering and hiring teams.

This comes after Microsoft and Amazon said that 10,000 and 18,000 jobs would be lost, respectively.

Mr. Pichai thanked his employees for “working so hard” and said they had made “invaluable contributions.”

According to filings with Companies House, Google has more than 5,500 employees in the U.K. But it needs to be clear how many of these jobs will be lost because of the cuts.

Mr. Pichai called the situation “unsustainable” as he told U.S. employees they would get severance packages with at least 16 weeks of pay, their bonus for 2022, paid vacations, and health insurance for six months.

Even on the worst days, he was “optimistic about our ability to finish our mission,” he said.

Wall Street liked the cuts. Alphabet shares went up by 3.5% in electronic trading before the stock market opened.

Analysts say big tech companies have spent too much in the past because they didn’t see a slowdown.

Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities said that the layoffs show wasteful spending in a “hyper-growth” sector.

The tech site Layoffs.fyi says that since the start of 2022, nearly 194,000 tech workers in the U.S. have lost their jobs. The job cuts that Alphabet announced on Friday are not included in this number.

This month, Hewlett-Packard and Salesforce, a big cloud computing company, announced big cuts. This is because growth has slowed because of high inflation and rising interest rates.

The U.S. tech giants are also closely watched by the European Union. So it has started enforcing rules to stop them from avoiding taxes, stifling competition, making money off news content without paying for it, and being platforms for false information and hate.

Google shut down Stadia, just like Alphabet did.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is laying off many people, so on Thursday, Google will shut down its Stadia cloud-gaming service in the U.K. and give gamers their money back.

When it came out in 2019, Stadia was called “Netflix for games” because players could stream games online without a P.C. or console.

After 08:00 on January 19, the service will no longer be available in the U.K. People who play games have told BBC News that they are “heartbroken” that it is ending.

According to Google, people who buy things from Stadia will get their money back.

People who bought controllers, games, or downloadable content are included in this group. Google had said before that these refunds would be finished by the middle of January.

Worm Game was the last Stadia game that Google put out. The developers used it to test the service before making it available to everyone.

It also said that Bluetooth could be used with its Stadia controllers. This means they can be used wirelessly on P.C.s to play any game, even after Stadia shuts down.

Google said in September that it was shutting down Stadia because it “hadn’t gained the traction with users” that the company had hoped for.

But fans are sad about it, and many have pointed out that some games made just for Stadia could be lost forever once the service shuts down.

The London-based company Splash Damage, maker of multiplayer game Outcasters, said last year that it had yet to make plans to bring the game to other places.

Dylan Cuthbert, the CEO and founder of Q-Games, told BBC News that his team spent two years making PixelJunk Raiders, which is only available on Stadia, and he didn’t want it to be “gone forever.”

Symbol of danger?

Some of the biggest and wealthiest companies in the U.S. have regularly announced job cuts over the past few months.

Amazon said a few weeks ago that it would be letting go of 18,000 employees, which is about 6% of its office staff. At the same time, business software company Salesforce said it would lay off about 8,000 people, or 10% of its staff. Since then, Microsoft has let go of 10,000 employees, and Alphabet is the latest tech company to do the same.

Many tech executives who made the announcements blamed hiring too many people during the pandemic when more things moved online and business grew quickly.

Joe Brusuelas, RSM’s chief economist, said that the wave of tech layoffs was a “necessary and expected” change after a decade of fast growth, which was partly caused by low-interest rates and ended with the panic over the pandemic.

He said that tech companies would no longer be immune to the ups and downs of the economy as a whole, such as the expected slowdowns in Europe and the U.K. this year.

But he said that the job losses should be taken as they are because, at least in the U.S., many people who lost their jobs seem to find new ones quickly.

The latest report from the Labor Department says that only 5,000 jobs were lost in the information sector, which is a big part of the tech industry, from November to December. So, even though thousands of job cuts have been announced in the past few months, more people are working now than there were a year ago.

Read Also: Microsoft set to cut 10,000 jobs

Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, worries that many layoff announcements are made because executives feel they have to cut jobs just like other companies, even if they are still making good money.

If this feeling spreads, as he thinks it will, it could lead to the economic problems that have been predicted.

Dylan Taylor on the Rise of Commercial Space Travel

Nearly 1,000 people and organizations have won Nobel Prizes since 1901. And according to Forbes, the world counted 2,668 billionaires in 2022. Yet in late 2021, Dylan Taylor became just the 606th person to go to space.

This means that humans are more likely to become billionaires or win Nobel Prizes than they are to visit space. For now.

“That is going to change,” Taylor said. “I think if you pick any room of 100 people in any city over the next 5-6 years, someone in that room will know an astronaut.”

The Harvard Business Review announced in 2021 that “the commercial space age is here,” an era for which Tayor has been an advocate and guide. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space, predicts that the growing commercial space market will produce more astronauts by 2025 than during any other decade. The space entrepreneur and Blue Origin citizen astronaut expects more than 100 new astronauts to follow him across the Kármán Line over the next three years and into a new cosmic economy.

Taylor, who flew aboard Blue Origin’s third human spaceflight in December 2021, always believed in the transformational power of space. Though he spent just 11 minutes — about three of them weightless — aboard NS-19, Taylor returned to Earth even more convinced.

“It’s not only transformational but penetrative,” Taylor told author, Frank White. “Even if you have some kind of detox and say, ‘space is bad,’ for some reason, I don’t think you could remove it from your core. It’s such a part of your psyche that I don’t think you could reverse the process.”

Beyond his acknowledged romanticism, Dylan Taylor regards space as an economic frontier with thrilling potential. Companies such as Blue Origin, Space X, and Virgin Galactic have unlocked commercial space travel by achieving the once-daunting through incremental steps: private investment, reusable rockets, and a roar of start-up research. They even joined an 18- and 82-year-old on a suborbital flight.

Commercial space flight is drawing more entrepreneurial adventurers to this frontier economy. Space Adventures, for instance, has facilitated private-citizen visits to the International Space Station — for an estimated $50 million

Space Perspective is booking travelers aboard a high-altitude balloon hoisting a “Space Lounge” with drinks, a restroom, and wifi. Orbite offers ground training for those preparing to visit (or perhaps live and work) in space. 

These adventures are pricey (Virgin Galactic began selling tickets for $450,000) but will expand their customer base as companies lower costs through rocket reusability and new fuels. Until then, Taylor said, people should recalculate the suggestion that space appeals only to the rich.

“Why care about a bunch of rich early entrants going to space? It’s a valid question,” Taylor said. “Because it stimulates interest. Space funding is based on public sentiment and national security assessments. Public sentiment matters. To the extent we can promote space and space’s power to transform us all, it helps us all.”

Voyager Space is among several companies building private-enterprise space stations devoted to science, commerce, and tourism. The company intends to have Starlab operational before the ISS is decommissioned. Axiom Space is constructing a station with plans to launch its first section into low.

Anticipating the continued growth of space travel and commerce, NASA announced its commercial LEO development plan in 2019. As the U.S. agency returns to the Moon via the Artemis program, it has developed a series of short- and long-term initiatives that eventually will transfer LEO operations to the private sector.

“A robust and competitive low-Earth economy is vital to continued progress in space,” NASA reported.

This means more opportunities for everyone to benefit from commercial space travel. Imagine flying around the Moon. The dearMoon mission aboard SpaceX’s Starship has plans to take civilians in 2023. And imagine boarding a rocket, instead of a plane, for the 32-minute trip from Los Angeles to Paris. SpaceX says it will happen

Ultimately, Taylor said, commercial space travel will leverage growing demand, lower costs, and private investment to scale into what Morgan Stanley projects as a $1 trillion industry. That will inspire a new generation of space enthusiasts and STEM experts, leading humankind into a stellar future.

Imagine a time when space becomes our industrial and manufacturing sector and Earth transforms into a global park.

“The idea is, how do we engender in our young people a sense of hope that they can be part of this space revolution that we’re going through?” says Dylan Taylor. “And that anybody can go to space. I believe in the life-changing powers of space.”

FTX: New CEO to bring back collapsed firm

Image Source: Crypto Slate

Cryptocurrency exchange that didn’t work The new CEO of FTX, John Ray, is looking into how the platform can be brought back to life.

He told the WSJ that he has formed a group to look into restarting FTX.com so that people who lost money can “recover more value.”

A year ago, FTX was worth $32 billion (£26 billion), but it filed for bankruptcy in November.

Money worth about $8 billion went missing, according to estimates.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the exchange’s founder and former CEO, is accused of scamming customers and investors to pay off debts from his cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund, Alameda Research.

He has said that he has not done anything wrong.

But it still needs to be clarified what will happen to customer funds in the future.

‘Total failure’

The WSJ article says that Mr. Ray is considering bringing the platform back to life instead of just selling its assets or shutting it down.

The company waited to answer when the BBC asked FTX for a comment.

Mr. Ray had previously said that he had never seen “such a complete failure of corporate controls,” which was how the failed crypto exchange was run.

He said that what he had found since taking over FTX was “unprecedented” in his 40-year career, which included being in charge of the bankruptcy of US energy giant Enron.

“Crypto winter”

The collapse of the exchange was one of the most important things that happened to businesses during what has been called a “crypto winter.”

The first big surprise came in May of last year when Terra Luna and TerraUSD, two tokens that Terraform Labs owned, lost value.

Because of the drop, many other cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, lost $400 billion (£318 billion) in value.

In September, Interpol sent a red notice to all law enforcement agencies asking them to arrest Do Kwon, who started Terra.

One of the biggest exchanges, FTX, which was used by millions of people to get into the cryptocurrency market, closed down in November. This made the cryptocurrency market even riskier.

It was thought to be one of the most reliable platforms, but it went bankrupt in just a few days when it became clear that its finances were unstable.

Mr. Bankman-Fried, who started FTX, told the BBC in his last interview before he was arrested, “I don’t think I tried to do anything wrong.”

The 30-year-old was sent back to the United States in December from the Bahamas, where FTX was based. He was accused of stealing money from customers and investors, but he said he wasn’t guilty in court. So, he was set free on a $250 million bail, and he denied the charges.

FTX ‘robbed’ of $415 million

The cryptocurrency exchange did not work FTX says that hackers have stolen cryptocurrency worth about $415 million (£338 million).

Since the company went bankrupt, hackers stole about $323 million from its international exchange and $90 million from its US platform, says the CEO of FTX.

Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of taking billions of dollars from FTX users to pay off debts at his other company, Alameda Research. He helped start FTX.

Mr. Bankman-Fried has said that he’s not guilty of fraud.

The company also said that both its international and US exchanges had big problems.

But it didn’t say how much the total liabilities would be.

In a press conference last month, federal prosecutors said that the crash of the platform where people could buy and sell digital tokens was caused by “intentional fraud.”

Prosecutors said that Mr. Bankman-Fried stole money from FTX customers without their permission and used it to pay off debts at his other business, Alameda, and make other investments.

They told the public about eight criminal charges, such as wire fraud, money laundering, and breaking campaign finance laws. People in charge of the world of finance also sued Mr. Bankman-Fried. He has said he’s innocent.

Later on Tuesday, Mr. Bankman-Fried said again, “FTX US has always been solvent.”

FTX gets back assets worth more than $5bn

A lawyer for the company says that the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX has found assets worth more than $5bn (£4.1bn).

Wednesday, a US bankruptcy court was told that it is still unclear how much money customers have lost.

Prosecutors say that Sam Bankman-Fried, who used to be the CEO of FTX, ran an “epic” scam that could have cost billions of dollars to investors, customers, and lenders.

Investors say that Mr. Bankman-Fried lied to them, but he has said he is not guilty.

Mr. Dietderich said that the assets that the Securities Commission of the Bahamas seized, where FTX was based and where Mr. Bankman-Fried was living when he was arrested, are not part of the recovered funds.

Most people who stand to lose money because of FTX have yet to be named in the hearings.

But court documents talked about Tom Brady, his ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, and the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft.

In December, the 30-year-old man was caught in the Bahamas and sent to the US. He is said to have pulled off “one of the biggest financial cons in US history.”

Last year, FTX was worth $32bn. Then, on November 11, the company filed for bankruptcy. It’s thought that $8 billion of the customers’ money went missing.

US federal prosecutors say Mr. Bankman-Fried stole money from FTX customers and used it to pay off debts at his cryptocurrency trading company Alameda Research and make other investments.

In December, prosecutors announced eight criminal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, and breaking campaign finance laws. People who keep an eye on the financial world have sued Mr. Bankman-Fried.

Read Also: FTX founder denies allegations of fraud

Gary Wang, who helped start FTX, and Caroline Ellison, who used to run Alameda, have also been accused of playing a part in the company’s failure. Both of them, the police said, were helping with the investigation.

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Thom Browne: Details of his victory emerge

Image Source: Forbes

Thom Browne got the better of Adidas in court, how did he do it?

A fashion company can hold a fashion show anywhere: a church, an old warship, an empty subway station, a stock exchange, the Great Wall of China, or the Giza pyramids. Extremity gets you noticed, and nothing is out of bounds.

But there was something different about the way a few people in a federal courtroom in Manhattan whispered, “It’s like a fashion show,” this week.

This wasn’t like the other times when runways showed up in large courthouses. This really happened. A real jury was going to look at high-end clothes under real overhead lighting and use what they saw to make a decision that could change the future of a designer. Had Thom Browne, a 57-year-old American tailor known for his sassy, preppy style, copied Adidas’s three stripes?

Mr. Browne went to the witness stand in the morning of January 9. He showed off some of his designs and talked about how much they cost, as if “Shark Tank” had come to Savile Row. He always wore the same gray outfit, which consisted of a blazer, a cardigan, a white shirt, and a tie. Even when it was 35 degrees, he wore shorts that went past his knees and socks that went over his calves.

Two workers dressed the same rolled a rack of clothes in front of the jury. The 14 hangers on the rack showed things like a zip-up hoodie, a pleated skirt, and a ribbed scarf.

Mr. Browne looked at a pair of gray waffle-knit sweatpants. It had four white stripes going horizontally around the left thigh.

A few days later, in court, the jury would be shown two pairs of women’s drawstring sweatpants: a $50 pair by Adidas in large size and a $790 pair by Thom Browne in size 2. They were Mr. Browne’s lawyers saying that these brands are not competitors and that one does not take business away from the other.

But Thom Browne’s lawyers said on Thursday that they thought another argument would be more convincing to the jury: During his closing argument, Robert T. Maldonado, a lawyer, said over and over that Adidas does not own stripes.

The Adidas lawsuit, which was filed in 2021, was about two Thom Browne signatures: a stack of four bars, which is usually found on one sleeve or one pant leg, and a red-white-and-blue tab, which is a locker loop inspired by the striped ribbons that are attached to sports medals. Adidas said that Mr. Browne’s more casual and athletic designs with these stripes were too similar to its three-stripe trademark, which it has used since the 1950s.

A timeline of Adidas’ relationship with Thom Browne

In 2006, the two companies had already done business together. At the time, Mr. Browne had been building his brand for five years, but instead of four horizontal bars, he was only using three. So when Adidas told him to stop, he added a fourth stripe to the set.

Adidas didn’t talk to Thom Browne again until 2018. This was when the Browne label started making suits for FC Barcelona and the Cleveland Cavaliers to wear before games. Around the same time, Thom Browne, like many other high-end brands, started to add more sweatpants, hoodies, and other sportswear to its activewear line.

The jury decided that Mr. Browne’s company wasn’t responsible for trademark infringement or dilution, so they found in its favor.

People who worked for Thom Browne in the gallery wiped tears away. They saw themselves in some ways as David fighting Goliath. (The company, which is part of the public Ermenegildo Zegna Group, made about $285 million in sales in 2021, which is about the same as Adidas’s annual advertising budget, as was shown in court. In 2021, Adidas made about $23 billion.)

Adidas said in a statement that it was “disappointed with the verdict” and would continue to protect its intellectual property by filing any necessary appeals.

Even though these kinds of claims come up often in the fashion industry—Adidas, in particular, has pursued hundreds of cases related to its three-stripe trademark—they are usually settled or thrown out before they get to a jury trial.

But in this case, the decision to keep fighting was both financial and emotional. According to information that came out during the trial, the activewear products at issue made up about 10% of Thom Browne’s sales in the U.S. Many people think that athletic wear has been one of the fastest-growing fashion categories over the past ten years. McKinsey thinks the global sportswear market will grow to almost $428 billion by 2025.

Thom Browne is not a brand that makes clothes for sports, but the designer gets ideas from sports. Varsity jackets inspired his armbars from the 1950s, and his past fashion shows had themes like swimming, ice skating, and tennis. During the trial, the company said that it doesn’t spend money on traditional advertising and that these elaborate fever-dream fashion shows, like the one last April with at least 500 teddy bears dressed in mini Thom Browne outfits and a rollicking Kelly Clarkson lip-syncing number, are the brand’s advertising.

Read Also: Adidas loses stripes trademark row in court 

Thom Browne told people in court that they shouldn’t run while wearing a pair of his $630 running shoes. But the fact that Adidas only sued over these pieces made me think about how people will dress in 2023. When does activewear stop being activewear if people wear it to go to work, dinner, or serve on a jury (almost half of the jurors wore hoodies on the last day of the trial)?

Adidas loses stripes trademark row in court

Image Source: Bloomberg

Adidas has lost a legal battle in which it attempted to ban a fashion designer from using a four-stripe design.

The sportswear firm argued that the four stripes of the luxury brand Thom Browne Inc were too similar to its three stripes.

Browne maintained that purchasers were unlikely to confuse the two brands since, among other things, his had fewer stripes.

Adidas was anticipated to seek more than $7.8 million (£6.4 million) in damages, but a New York jury sided with Browne.

Browne’s designs typically feature four horizontal, parallel stripes encircling the sleeve of a garment or, as seen on the artist himself, a sock.

Adidas’ designs usually use three stripes.

Browne’s legal team portrayed him as the underdog up against a huge corporation, saying that the two brands served to different audiences.

Thom Browne Inc’s inventions are not dominated by sportswear, and its target market is wealthy customers; for example, a pair of women’s compression leggings cost £680, while a polo shirt costs £270.

Browne’s attorneys also claimed that stripes are a prevalent design element.

While Adidas filed a lawsuit in 2021, the two firms have been at odds for more than 15 years.

Adidas objected in 2007 when Thom Browne used a three-stripe motif on jackets. Browne agreed to discontinue its use and added a fourth stripe.

Thom Browne Inc has grown fast since then and is currently available in over 300 stores worldwide, producing more athletic gear in recent years.

The brand’s fan base is diverse. It designed rapper Cardi B’s Met Gala dress in 2019, and former professional footballer and Bournemouth manager Scott Parker wore one of its cardigans and a jacket to matches.

A spokeswoman for Adidas said the business was disappointed but will “continue to enforce our intellectual property vigilantly, including submitting any appropriate appeals.”

Thom Browne Inc. was satisfied with the outcome, according to a spokeswoman. However, the designer told the Associated Press that he hoped the case would inspire others whose work is being questioned by larger corporations.

“It was critical for me to fight and speak my tale,” he said.

Adidas is not new to trademark lawsuits

According to court documents, Adidas has started more than 90 court cases and entered more than 200 settlement agreements involving its trademark since 2008.

The Adidas case, filed in 2021, centered on two Thom Browne trademarks a stack of four bars, typically found on one sleeve or one pant leg, a locker loop inspired by the striped ribbons tied to sports awards. According to Adidas, Mr. Browne’s use of these stripes on his more casual and athletic designs was too similar to its three-stripe trademark, which it has used since the 1950s. (Consider the three diagonal stripes on the sides of an Adidas Samba or Superstar sneaker or the three vertical stripes on its sweatpants and jerseys.)

The two companies had already crossed paths in 2006. Mr. Browne was five years into creating his brand at the time and used three horizontal bars instead of four. He agreed to stop when Adidas requested, adding a fourth stripe to the set.

Adidas contacted Thom Browne again in 2018 when the Browne label began dressing FC Barcelona and the Cleveland Cavaliers in suits for pregame appearances. Around the same time, Thom Browne, like many other premium labels, began extending its active-wear area with additional sweatpants, hoodies, and other recreational clothing.

Mr. Browne’s company was found not to be liable for trademark infringement or dilution by the jury.

Employees at Thom Browne wiped away tears in the exhibit. They saw themselves as David vs. Goliath in various aspects. (As disclosed at trial, the company, which is part of the publicly traded Ermenegildo Zegna Group, made approximately $285 million in revenue in 2021 — effectively Adidas’ yearly advertising spend. Adidas’ revenue in 2021 is expected to be around $23 billion.)

Adidas said in a statement that it was “disappointed with the verdict” and “will continue to vigorously pursue our intellectual property, including pursuing any relevant appeals.”

While such cases are common in the fashion industry — Adidas, in particular, has pursued hundreds of matters involving its three-stripe trademark – they are frequently settled or dismissed before reaching a jury trial.

However, the choice to continue fighting was as much financial as it was emotional; the active-wear products in question accounted for around 10% of Thom Browne’s sales in the United States, according to facts revealed during the trial. Moreover, athletic clothing has been regarded as one of the fastest-growing fashion sectors in recent decades. According to McKinsey, the global sportswear business will be worth roughly $428 billion by 2025.

Read Also: Winklevoss crypto firm charged in the US

On the witness stand, Mr. Browne advised people not to actually wear a pair of his $630 running shoes while running. But Adidas singling out these pieces to sue over raised an interesting question about getting dressed in 2023. If people are wearing active wear in their everyday lives, to go to work or to dinner or to serve on a jury (nearly half of the jurors wore hoodies on the trial’s final day), when does it stop being active wear?

Winklevoss crypto firm charged in the US

Image Source: The Daily Beast

US regulators have accused Gemini and Genesis of breaking the law by selling crypto assets to hundreds of thousands of investors.

People say the companies broke the law when they offered and sold the products through their joint program, Gemini Earn, which started in 2021.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is in charge of the case (SEC).

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, who is famous for suing Facebook, started Gemini.

Tyler Winklevoss called the complaint “disappointing” and said his company was ready to defend itself.

Genesis is owned by Digital Currency Group, which hasn’t said anything yet about the charges.

SEC brought charges against the Winklevoss brothers

Gary Gensler, in charge of the SEC, said, “Today’s charges build on previous actions to make it clear to the market and investors that crypto lending platforms need to follow our time-tested securities laws.”

Since last Sunday, the Winklevoss brothers and Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, the company that owns Genesis, have been fighting in public.

It was about Gemini Earn, advertised as a way for investors to make up to 7.4% interest on their cryptocurrency holdings.

When FTX filed for bankruptcy last November, Genesis stopped customer withdrawals, saying it didn’t have enough cash because the market was so unstable.

This made it hard for 340,000 Gemini Earn customers to get their cryptocurrency assets.

Cameron Winklevoss says that as a result, Digital Currency Group owes $900 million (£737 million) to clients of his company, Gemini and that Mr. Silbert’s group “cheated” his clients.

A representative for the Digital Currency Group said that the accusations were “malicious, false, and defamatory attacks” and a “desperate and unhelpful publicity stunt.”

Wild West

The SEC is in charge of regulating the US financial markets and can sue companies it thinks have broken the law, such as the ones owned by the Winklevoss.

Through a complaint filed in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, it wants both companies to pay “ill-gotten gains” and civil penalties.

This week, Mr. Gensler said crypto is like the “Wild West.”

After FTX and Alameda Research went bankrupt and caused a big stir, the US government is cracking down on the sector. This is why the new charges are being brought.

Their founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is being accused of fraud because he took money millions of customers put on his FTX platform and gave it to a hedge fund without their permission.

Mr. Bankman-Fried denies the charges.

After a hard year in 2022, is crypto dead?

Bitcoin would be a tough boxer who doesn’t give up.

But in the last few weeks, the collapse of industry giant FTX and the arrest of its founder Sam Bankman-Fried in the Caribbean have both hit it hard.

Bitcoin is used to getting hit, but after its worst year ever, this fighter against the establishment was already on the ropes.

If Bitcoin were a boxer, it would be on its back on the mat looking at the stars.

Does it still work even though it’s down?

Bitcoin’s rise from being poor to being rich

Bitcoin is a great story about an underdog, just like Rocky.

When it began in 2009 on the rough, lawless streets of internet forums, it was just a featherweight.

Yes, there was a glimmer of hope, but it was only believed in by a small group of loud fans, and it was worth almost nothing at first, just a few pennies.

But as time went on, more and more people started to back Bitcoin, which helped it grow and fight against the establishment.

Bitcoin’s value went up to thousands of dollars, and some places started to accept and use it. It began to be used on niche websites or in hip cafes.

Bitcoin slowly gained popularity despite all odds, like a prize fighter.

Before Bitcoin became famous and made much money in 2021, thousands of copycats like Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Litecoin popped up.

Read Also: Cryptocurrency: UK to plan for digital pound 

People were throwing money at it, and one coin cost almost $70,000 (£57,200) more than all the other cryptocurrencies combined.

Even powerful people were falling over themselves to invest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency projects.

“A point of change”

But in November of that year, Bitcoin started to lose value, and since then, it has been going down. Because of all the hits and scandals it has had, its value, trust, and excitement are at their lowest point in years.

Last month’s collapse of FTX was the most shocking thing to happen to crypto in years. It was the world’s second-largest exchange. Still, it helped millions of people get into cryptocurrency.

It was thought to be one of the safest platforms, but its finances became unstable, and it went out of business in a few days. Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, is in custody after the US accused him of building “a house of cards on a foundation of lies” while telling investors it was one of the safest buildings in crypto.

McDonald’s told staff to brace for layoffs

Image Source: Fox Business

McDonald’s CEO has warned employees that job cuts are on the way as part of a massive revamp that would also speed plans for additional outlets.

According to its CEO, Chris Kempczinski, the fast food industry was hampered by an “outdated and self-limiting” structure.

In a statement to staff worldwide, the corporation will examine corporate workforce levels by April.

McDonald’s employs about 200,000 people in corporate and owned restaurants, with 75% headquartered outside of the United States.

Its CEO also announced the cancellation of some initiatives.

The firm did not explain the scope of the proposed job reduction or which projects would be affected.

Mr. Kempczinski, though, claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he did not have a specific number of cuts in mind.

McDonald’s pandemic expansion

Mr. Kempczinski stated that as part of the new strategy, the company intends to add more stores “to properly exploit the increased demand we’ve driven over the past few years.”

Despite the fact that eating out deteriorated in general during the epidemic, McDonald’s benefited from the company’s efforts in online ordering and home delivery.

McDonald’s sales grew 6% in the first nine months of the year, thanks to price increases on items like cheeseburgers.

However, the currency’s rise and withdrawal from Ukraine have hampered its worldwide profitability.

The company stated in its most recent investor report in October that rising expenses were also causing problems, noting that there was “growing uncertainty and unease about the economic climate” at many of its franchised locations.

The Chicago-based firm operates in over 160 countries.

It said earlier this week that it was leaving Kazakhstan, which borders Russia, citing supply chain problems created by the Ukrainian war.

McDonald’s said in May that it would leave Russia after 32 years of operation, marking the latest development in the restaurant industry.

The US economy experienced strong job growth in December

Despite the impact of rapidly rising prices on the economy, employment growth in the United States remained strong last month.

In December, employers added 223,000 jobs, lowering the unemployment rate to 3.5% from 3.6% in November.

The labor market’s resilience has increased confidence that the world’s largest economy would avoid a catastrophic economic crisis this year.

The Federal Reserve of the United States is raising borrowing costs to calm the economy and reduce pricing pressures.

Recent rumors of big job cuts at banks and tech giants such as Amazon have sparked the public’s interest as corporations battle with the impact of rising interest rates and the possibility of lower consumer spending.

However, the monthly figures from the US Labor Department showed that nearly every sector of the economy was gaining jobs, with bars and restaurants, healthcare companies, and construction firms leading the way.

Despite rising job losses, notably in the technology sector, they remained near historic lows last year, according to Andrew Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, who has followed such announcements since the 1990s.

Since the epidemic reopened in 2021, the US economy has slowed dramatically.

Higher borrowing costs are harming the housing and banking industries, while rising prices are putting a strain on household budgets, raising concerns about consumer spending, which is the primary driver of the US economy.

According to the most recent survey, prices in the United States rose 7.1% yearly, well beyond the 2% rate considered healthy.

According to analysts, the job market’s resilience creates uncertainty because the Federal Reserve may need to continue hiking interest rates to keep inflation under control.

The Labor Department reports that average hourly salaries climbed by 4.6% in December compared to the previous year. This was a slower rate than in November, which analysts saw as a positive sign for the fight against inflation.

However, the news was mixed for workers, who have yet to see salary increases that keep up with inflation.

Does this signify trouble?

Most individuals believe the economy will slow down in the coming months as consumers spend less as prices rise. However, once the Federal Reserve of the United States quickly hiked interest rates last year, businesses faced higher borrowing costs.

So, should people be concerned about employment losses in the tech industry?

Many of the tech CEOs who made the announcements claimed that it was due to the fact that they hired too many people during the epidemic, when more things moved online and business surged.

Higher loan rates, as well as a severe decline in the US stock market have made it difficult for smaller enterprises to obtain financing. Furthermore, the significant losses suffered by certain enterprises as a result of the cryptocurrency market’s collapse have not helped.

According to Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at the consulting firm RSM, the wave of IT job layoffs was a “necessary and expected” change following a decade of high expansion, which was fueled in part by low lending rates and ended with the global crisis.

He stated that IT firms will no longer be immune to economic upheavals, such as the projected slowdowns in Europe and the United Kingdom this year.

However, he stated that job cuts should not be “over-interpreted” because many impacted workers, at least in the United States, appear to find new jobs swiftly.

Read Also: Job cuts: Should the wider economy be worried?

Only 5,000 jobs were lost in the information sector, which includes much of the computer industry, from November to December. The recent Labor Department jobs report reflected this. So, despite thousands of job layoffs reported in recent months, employment is higher from a year earlier.

Retailers Brace for Budget-Conscious Buyers in 2023

January is a crucial month for many retailers in the market since it signals the end of their fiscal year. But, according to industry analysts, businesses should be extra careful this month due to a pragmatic shift in how shoppers spend their money.

Normally, shoppers bring gift cards to retailers in January. This is also when retailers pay out all of their inventory in preparation for new things entering the shop for the next fiscal year. January would also be a tipping moment for the economy since many analysts believe a recession would occur sooner rather than later.

Retailers and industry analysts, on the other hand, have expressed delight at the better-than-expected Christmas performance. Market participants predicted months ago that Christmas shopping would be slower and weaker.

Market sales increased 7.6% from November 1 to December 24, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. Meanwhile, restaurant sales increased 7.1% year on year in November, indicating an improved sentiment among company owners and other industry experts.

Despite the upbeat attitude, many believe it will not continue long. Individuals’ credit cards, for example, may have been maxed out, indicating a halt in purchasing for several months. Furthermore, people’s finances have been emptied due to the expenditures made over the holidays.

Several retailers, including Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom, claimed that foot traffic in their stores fell by 3.22% year over year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The present rate is 5% lower than the pre-pandemic period. Retailers are concerned about this tendency.

“It seems like a lot of the brands are anticipating a bigger thud in January,” noted SW Retail Advisors president Stacey Widlitz.

Widlitz noted that many retailers have chosen to provide more gift cards to their consumers to increase Christmas sales. For example, store Urban Outfitter offered $50 off purchases of $200 or more.

She claims that many firms utilize this method to get clients to pay since they have been in a downturn for several months. On the other, other merchants, such as Walmart, anticipate an increase in sales as shoppers become more price-conscious.

“Sometimes these quarters work out where the very end of December and January end up being stronger when people are particularly price sensitive. So that’s kind of what I’m expecting,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

Read Also: Logistics Managers say Supply Chain will not Return to Normal until 2024

Retailers brace for another year

Economists are keeping an eye on consumer data as 2023 approaches. Data and other observations might assist retailers in making administrative decisions that could enhance sales or avert catastrophic losses.

Furthermore, interest rates are projected to climb because the Fed will maintain its anti-inflationary stance. If the Fed can keep inflation at bay, that might bode well for the prices of goods and services. For example, in early December, official statistics indicated that the price rise was smaller than projected.

“Cooling inflation will boost the markets and take pressure off the Fed for raising rates, but most importantly, this spells real relief starting for Americans whose finances have been punished by higher prices. This is especially true for lower-income Americans who are disproportionately hurt by inflation,” explained Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist Robert Frick.

“The Fed could dismiss the better-than-expected October as just one month’s data, but the further slowdown in November makes this new disinflationary trend harder to dismiss,” added economist Paul Ashworth.

However, because the fight against inflation is still ongoing, businesses and consumers continue to be concerned about price fluctuations in the market. Food costs remain greater than they were years ago, and petrol prices have skyrocketed as a result of global scarcity.

Furthermore, Widlitz advises consumers to be mindful of their buying habits because extensive credits should be credited to their cards shortly.

“Everyone gets through the holidays in denial, and February 1, when you get your [credit card] statement, or January 15, whenever it comes, it’s like, ‘Oh!'”

Read Also: The Feds has a Critical Role in Market Prices

America’s holiday spending

Retailers were astounded by the number of people buying throughout the holidays, from Black Friday to New Year’s. Of course, merchants had lower expectations. They were proven wrong, however, as a swarm marched into businesses to buy what they needed for the holidays. The GenZs had the highest turnout.

“One standout this Black Friday was the high turnout of Gen Z in stores. Younger consumers flooded the mall, treating Black Friday as a social event. They came early, they came with friends, and they came to shop,” said economist Kristen Classi-Zummo.

“Over Black Friday weekend, we saw shoppers of all ages but certainly saw a strong showing from a youthful crowd, and some of our strongest anecdotal sales reports came from top Gen Z brands and fashion department stores,” said Joe Coradino, CEO of PREIT, a mall operator.

“Promotions aren’t the draw for these shoppers. Instead, one in three shoppers aged 18 to 24 looks at social media first to do their shopping research,” added Classi Zummo.

“At the same time, this generation is also open to finding inspiration in other channels, including browsing in stores. And we saw that over Black Friday. So they will get the must-haves on their wish list, regardless of price, and maybe put back the nice-to-have items.”

“Mostly beauty items and electronics. Their top retailers were Best Buy, Sephora, Ulta and TJ Maxx. Gen Z and their spending, by and large, are all discretionary. They aren’t burdened as much by bills, so they’re not thinking as much about inflation and prices,” said Brian Mandelbaum, CEO of a consumer data company.

Photo Credit: Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Source: CNBC

 

Faith-Based Success: Jacques and Toshia Posey’s Tips on Achieving Home Ownership and Building Generational Wealth

As we head into the new year, many of us are looking for ways to improve our lives and businesses. For Jacques and Toshia Posey, a power couple who owns 1st Class Real Estate and Spirit Led Ministries, this means continuing to build and grow together as a couple, both in their business and personal lives. The couple, who strongly believe in the idea of changing lives and selling a few homes along the way, has made it their mission to help others do the same.

Sharing what they have learned over the years, Jacques and Toshia talk about how couples can work and build together, move forward in life, and break the generational cycle, as well as the importance of maintaining an excellent work-life balance and taking care of mental health to lead a fulfilling life.

At the heart of their business is their foundation in God, which is reflected in their culture and approach to the industry. The couple offers one-on-one coaching and mentoring to help jumpstart agents’ businesses, with the goal of assisting families to achieve home ownership and building authentic celestial shops. They go beyond just teaching clients how to purchase a home, but also how to build wealth through investment.

For Jacques and Toshia, building a business together as a couple has been an incredible experience. They understand the importance of knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses to determine the roles that each person will play in the business. By doing so, they know how each person will operate, which helps their success and growth. “The couple must identify what is most important to them in which of the problem they wish to solve with their business. For example, we started our real estate brokerage because we wanted to provide quality training, mentorship, and leadership for emerging agents, which was lacking from the time when Toshia started her real estate career in 2006,” the couple shared.

Jacques Posey

Jacques Posey

When asked about how to move forward in life, the couple emphasizes the importance of identifying the vision and goals, both individually and as a couple. “You will need to understand what God has laid on your heart for you and your family. From there, you will build out a realistic roadmap, understanding that it is a process. During this time, it is imperative that you are honest with yourself and your mate to truly be able to achieve successful outcomes,” they said.

For the Poseys, breaking generational curses and building generational wealth is a key aspect of their business and personal lives. They understand that to build generational wealth, growing in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding is the first step. To them, wealth is not just material possessions but an accumulation over time of what can be left to future generations in terms of financials and resources.

Toshia Posey

Toshia Posey

In order to maintain a good mental health balance as a couple, the Poseys recommend setting hard stops at work, planning for self-care activities such as praying, time with God, reading, exercise, meditation, and hobbies, continuing to date each other, and keeping work and home life separate by having an office outside of the home.

Throughout their years in business dedicated to guiding others on the path to success, Jacques and Toshia Posey have shown others the possibilities of thriving and building true wealth in their lives, business, and relationship by following God’s principles.

Logistics Managers say Supply Chain will not Return to Normal until 2024

Most large company logistics managers and trade associations predict that the supply chain will stabilize in 2024 or later.

According to a media site’s poll, the supply chain only occasionally operates for half of the managers or 61%. In contrast, 32% disagree.

When asked when they anticipated the situation would return to normal, the managers gave varying answers: around 22% were doubtful, 19% indicated next year, and 30% felt it would be normal in 2024. The last 29% stated that everything should return to normal in 2025, with some stating that this is impossible.

Trade managers have a bleak view due to the supply chain disruption that began about three years ago with the start of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. Since that time, the globe has experienced extreme strain and difficulty restoring the various nations’ economies.

However, strict Covid regulations across countries have hampered international trade in products and services. Members of the National Retail Foundation, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the Pacific Coast Council, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, and the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade participated in the poll.

“The administration needs to remain focused and continue to convene the right supply chain stakeholders to discuss ways to improve supply chain operations and expand data sharing to create a truly 21st century supply chain,” said Jon Gold, the NRF supply chain and customs policy vice president.

Read Also: The Feds has a Critical Role in Market Prices

The government and managers

59% of managers believe that the Biden administration must be aware of the difficulties in the supply chain. Management asserted that data sharing between the government and logistics managers would benefit the supply chain. This would hasten the movement of freight.

“The carriers have arbitrarily imposed such charges on customs brokers, even though we may not have had any role in booking or managing the transportation,” added Eduardo Acosta, Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association president.

“The survey provides data supporting the imperative for the Federal Maritime Commission to advance its proposed rule to end this unreasonable carrier practice,” Acosta added.

“Hard data is the backbone of effective supply chain management, especially amidst the uncertainty shown in this survey. Intelligence about real-time cargo flows is essential. The survey highlights the need for the industry to rally around better data-sharing solutions,” said Karen Kenney, CONECT chair.

“Now is the time to double down on bringing all stakeholders together to create and implement real solutions to structural problems so that we don’t end up skipping from crisis to crisis,” said AAFA senior vice president Nate Herman.

Hurdles faced by managers

Most logistics managers claim that their raw material shortage has worsened things. Additionally, their situation needs to be helped by port congestion, a labor shortage, and a reduction in storage capacity. The cancellation of sailings, exorbitant costs, and stringent terminal regulations are additional challenges management confronts.

“US agriculture and forest products industries are being rendered less competitive in the global marketplace, driving inflation in domestic food costs,” explained AgTC executive director Peter Friedmann.

“The survey’s inventory of impacts of ocean carrier practices accurately reflects the experiences of AgTC membership – the agriculture sector nationwide. Detention and Demurrage Billing Practices determine the cost of exporting and importing a vast amount of goods crossing our seaport docks, and thus a significant driver of inflation,” he added.

The weakening of American consumer spending has caused stockpiles to occupy warehouse areas for years. The cost of renting a facility rises when warehouse capacity is depleted. The management claim that warehouse prices have increased by 400%. Due to this, many merchants give customers discounts to empty their warehouses, giving them room for new items to arrive.

“Customers are shopping discounts, and we are seeing that in the items we are moving. It’s the higher value products like tennis shoes over a lower cost t-shirt,” said DHL Supply Chain CEO Scott Sureddin.

“I have never seen inventory levels like this, and after the first of the year, retailers can’t continue to sit on this inventory, so the discounts they’ve been pushing will have to continue,” he added.

Read Also: Zelenskyy will Visit the White House

The US inflation

Inflation in the US has driven up logistics prices even further. Companies now have to spend more on these services due to rising labor and energy prices. Managers require assistance overseeing supply chain organizations’ financial operations due to the increased expenses of warehouses and other limitations.

In addition, major international markets and commodities, including wheat and grain, were affected by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Given the labor scarcity, which may lead to burnout and stress, managers are becoming increasingly worried about the mental health of their employees.

And now that the Christmas season has begun, the winter storm is making it difficult for various freights to enter and exit states. Due to the inches of snow covering the streets, many airline companies and couriers have warned of delays. In addition, many individuals have passed away due to government services becoming stuck on inaccessible roads.

“International logistics is still a business driven by people. “The survey highlights all sorts of challenges in the supply chain, but none of those will get solved without the right talent and expertise,” explained Kenney.

Photo Credit: Deskera

Source: CNBC

 

The Feds has a Critical Role in Market Prices

Throughout its century-long existence, the Feds has played a vital role in determining the mood of the stock market and market pricing.

The Central Bank has quickly warned that the economy would tighten as the nation fights against inflation this year. Sadly, a tight economy indicates the Fed will attempt to take action to ameliorate the situation. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has had a negative economic impact on the world, resulting in tight labor markets, higher commodity prices, fewer open positions, lower pay, and other adverse economic dynamics. For instance, to calm the market, the Fed had to raise interest rates, which caused changes in mortgage rates.

“I think they know they gambled and lost and have to do something serious to get inflation back under control. I fear that they took a gamble that inflation wasn’t too real at the beginning of 2021,” said Notre Dame University economics professor Jeffrey Campbell.

The Feds’ policies have become tighter, frequently characterized by an aggressive approach to economic variables. But, according to Feds Chairman Jerome Powell, the Feds will maintain strict measures as long as they combat inflation in the United States.

“Their message is that we should expect them to remain in restrictive policy mode even after we start to see inflation data head in the right direction. So he went to pretty extensive lengths to dispel assumptions of any pivot coming forward soon,” said Keith Buchanan, Globalt Investments portfolio manager.

“It would be sufficient for them to acknowledge that the near-term rate is trending in the right direction, but, definitely, they should not allow that to [influence] their trajectory. The real dilemma is, how much good data do they need in hand before they pause?” said Brad Conger, a deputy chief investment officer from Hirtle Callaghan.

“Given current rates of inflation, I believe that the Fed has more work to do in order to get inflation under control. This will entail further rate increases to tighten financial conditions,” added Cleveland Feds Bank President Loretta Mester.

“Our responsibility to deliver price stability is unconditional. While higher interest rates, slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses,” Powell said.

“The longer the current bout of high inflation continues, the greater the chance that expectations of higher inflation will become entrenched,” the Chairman added.

Read Also: Zelenskyy will Visit the White House

Feds impacting mortgage rates

Mortgage rates, fortunately, have been falling in recent months. As a result, demand for mortgage applications has inevitably grown. However, because prices are still considerably higher year over year, many buyers believe they must wait for the economy to improve—buyer hesitancy puts pressure on many house sellers and home builders. As a result, in November, home construction in the United States slowed.

“The ongoing moderation in home-price growth, along with further declines in mortgage rates, may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the coming months,” said MBA economist Joel Kan.

“A friendly enough Fed could easily break the range, but we have doubts about how much fuel the Fed will want to add to the fire. If anything, the Fed is more likely to try to temper the exuberance. Because the exuberance is counterproductive to the Fed’s goals,” added Matthew Graham, Mortgage Daily News chief operating officer.

“There are some very, very modest green shoots over the last few weeks, as rates have come down, but I am not ready to get sucked back into the conversation we had in August when we felt better,” said the CEO of Toll Brothers, Doug Yearley.

“There have been a handful of pieces of relatively good news for the housing market lately, but we’re far from out of the woods. Key indicators of homebuying demand will likely be teetering on a knife’s edge with every data release that comes out related to the Fed’s path to eventually bringing rates down,” added economist Taylor Marr from Redfin.

Read Also: Elon Musk Must Relinquish his Post says Users

Fewer home-building projects

The Fed’s shifting interest rates have dampened house builders’ spirits. The pace of new home construction fell in November. While the market’s house inventory is larger than last year, prices remain high. This implies that many purchasers will put off their purchases.

“In essence, the residential real estate market was frozen in November, resembling the sales activity seen during the Covid-19 economic lockdowns in 2020,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

“The principal factor was the rapid increase in mortgage rates, which hurt housing affordability and reduced incentives for homeowners to list their homes. Plus, available housing inventory remains near historic lows,” he added.

“We have seen home prices come down from their summer peaks over the past five months. But, at the same time, we have also seen rent growth retreat for ten consecutive months,” added George Ratiu from Realtor.com.

“However, the cost of real estate remains challenging for many households looking for a place to call home, especially as high inflation and still-elevated interest rates have been eroding purchasing power,” he added.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Source: CNBC

 

Amazon finalizes plans to cut 18,000 jobs

Image Source: Bloomberg

Amazon is cutting more than 18,000 jobs, which is the most jobs the company has ever lost.

The online giant, which has 1.5 million employees worldwide, didn’t say which countries would be affected by the job cuts, but it did say that Europe would be one of them.

The most jobs will be lost in the consumer retail business and human resources.

Andy Jassy, the boss, said that the cuts were due to the “uncertain economy” and that the company had “hired quickly over several years.”

In a memo to staff, he said, “We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we don’t underestimate how much they could change the lives of those affected.”

He said someone outside the company discovered the cuts because one of its employees told them.

‘Amazon is dieting’

Amazon’s sales went up when people at home spent a lot of money online after the pandemic. But then they started to fall.

Tech companies are losing a lot of money because businesses are trying to save money, and people are spending less because the cost of living is rising.

Neil Saunders, the director of GlobalData Retail, said on Twitter that Amazon’s job cuts were “a big number” but that the company had hired about 743,000 more people since 2019. He said that some of these new hires were made during the flu outbreak because of “irrational exuberance.”

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and Salesforce, which makes business software that runs in the cloud, have also recently said they would cut many jobs.

Amazon has already said that it is cutting back on projects like the Echo (also known as Alexa) and delivery robots, which were cool but needed to make money.

I’ve heard that companies in Silicon Valley tend to hire talented people and pay them well, even if they are only needed after a period of time. The main reason for this is to keep them from working for a competitor. Big Tech needs to figure out how to keep up with this culture.

By January 18, the employees who will lose their jobs will know.

“More pain”

The tech giant announced that it would cut jobs last year but didn’t say how many.

The company had already stopped hiring new people and expanding some of its warehouses because it said it had hired too many people during the pandemic.

Workers who lost their jobs and posted on LinkedIn say that Amazon started firing people as early as November.

People who worked for Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, Luna cloud gaming platform, and Lab126, which makes the Kindle e-reader, posted on the BBC’s website.

It has also taken steps to shut down some parts of its business, such as canceling plans for a personal delivery robot.

Dan Ives of the investment firm Wedbush Securities said that he thinks customers will tighten their budgets and cause Amazon “more pain” in the future.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the technology industry worldwide because sales are slowing, and people are getting more worried about an economic downturn.

Meta said in November that it would let go of 13% of its employees.

The social media company will lay off 11,000 of its 87,000 employees worldwide. This is the first time that the company has laid off a large number of people at once.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, said that the cuts were “the hardest changes we’ve ever made in the history of Meta.”

A lot of people were fired from Twitter before the news came out. When Elon Musk, a billionaire, took over the company in October, about half of the employees were fired.

Amazon kickstarted lay off since November

Amazon has started firing people, according to posts on LinkedIn by people who have lost their jobs.

This week, it was reported that the company plans to cut 10,000 jobs, which is about 3% of its office staff.

Amazon didn’t answer right away when the BBC asked for a comment.

It comes at a time when the tech industry is laying off thousands of people because sales are slowing and people are getting more worried about a recession.

People who worked for Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, the Luna cloud gaming platform, and Lab126, which made the Kindle e-reader, posted on the BBC website.

Because the company thought it had hired too many people during the pandemic, it had already put a hold on hiring and stopped some warehouse expansions.

It has also taken steps to stop doing business in some areas. For instance, it stopped working on a project to make a robot to bring packages to people’s homes.

Because online sales have slowed down, Amazon’s share price has dropped by more than 40% this year.

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Other big tech companies have already said they will lay off many people to save money.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, said late last year that it would let go of 13% of its employees.

For the first time in its history, there will be a lot of layoffs, and 11,000 people will lose their jobs.

Soon after Elon Musk took over Twitter, it became clear that he would cut the number of employees by about half.

Microsoft, Stripe, and Salesforce, which makes cloud-based business software, all said they would let people go in 2021.

 

UK economy beats growth expectation

Image Source: Economic Times

Official numbers show that the UK economy grew in November, which was a surprise. But, of course, the World Cup helped with this.

Gross domestic product (GDP), a key economic indicator that measures the output of services, construction, and manufacturing, went up by 0.1% in the UK.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said that people going out to pubs and restaurants to watch football helped the economy grow.

But since October, growth has slowed down a lot. One thing that stands out is why this is the case.

In November, people who worked on trains and for Royal Mail went on strike. On the BBC show Today, Darren Morgan, who is in charge of economic statistics at the ONS, said, “We saw the effects of strike action in Today’s numbers.

In December, workers from the NHS and the Border Force went on strike again at six UK airports.

Even though things got better in November, it’s still not clear if the UK will stay out of a recession this year. In October, the economy grew by 0.5% because businesses opened again after being closed for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September.

When the economy shrinks for two successive three-month periods, or “quarters,” this is called a recession.

The UK lost 0.3% of what it made from July to September.

Prices are still going up in the UK at the fastest rate in 40 years. This is called inflation. This is mostly because energy costs are going up. The Bank of England has said since December 2021 that it will raise interest rates more than once to slow down consumer demand and keep prices from increasing too much.

“We have a clear plan to cut inflation in half this year,” said Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor. Inflation is a sneaky hidden tax that has caused interest rates and mortgage costs to go up and has slowed growth worldwide.

The ONS says GDP fell by 0.3% from September to November. This was mostly because there was an extra bank holiday for the state funeral in September.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said, “Families who are already struggling with the rising cost of living will be very worried by the news of more economic pain.”

After the numbers for November were slightly better than expected, Pantheon Macroeconomics said, “It is still too early to say if the UK economy is already in recession.”

Mr. Morgan from the ONS said the economy would have to shrink by 0.6% in December for the UK to slow down.

He said that one in six businesses had told the ONS that “industrial action” had hurt them, so “we would have to wait a few weeks to see how the effects of industrial action affect our December figure.”

Pantheon said that the GDP could drop significantly in December because “all the major business surveys point to falling production” and “heavy snowfall and, to a lesser extent, rail strikes likely slowed down activity for a while.”

In November, the manufacturing sector shrunk, and the construction sector stayed the same, but the services sector grew. There are many industries in the services sector, from hospitality to accounting.

“Job agencies did pretty well,” said Mr. Morgan. But, according to our labour market data, this could be because businesses are looking for help to fill job openings, which has been a problem in some sectors.

The ONS also said there was “anecdotal evidence” that the Fifa World Cup had helped some businesses, like pubs, restaurants, wine sales, and pizza delivery orders.

Even though the economy grew in November, a surprise, the long-term trend is still down. So overall, the UK economy still looks weak, but we will know if it’s in a recession once the next numbers come out in a month.

Because of the World Cup, pubs, pizza delivery, and advertising all did better, which helped the economy more than usual. But some of the monthly numbers from last year were changed to be lower, so the more stable three-month measure is going down. Strikes partly caused the 4.7% and 3.1% drops in transportation and postal services.

Because of a mix of new and one-time factors and changes to statistics, the Bank of England will probably still raise rates again next month when it does its most thorough look at the state of the economy.

Read Also: Cryptocurrency: UK to plan for digital pound

The UK economy worsened in Q4 of 2022

According to revised numbers, the UK economy shrank more than expected in the three months leading up to September.

The ONS said that business investment did worse than first thought, which is why the economy shrank by 0.3% instead of 0.2%.

The growth rates for the first half of 2022 have also been changed.

In the third quarter of 2022, the UK is expected to go into recession because rising prices will hurt growth.

A country’s economy is said to be in recession when it shrinks for two consecutive three-month periods, or “quarters.” This is because companies usually make less money, pay goes down, and the number of people who need jobs increases. This means that the government needs more tax money to pay for services for the public.

Shield Smart Homes: Making the Switch to Solar Power Easy

With the worsening climate change, people are now looking for ways to go green. Solar power is one of the most popular renewable energy options for homeowners, as it can help lower energy bills and shrink carbon footprint. However, the process of switching to solar power can be complicated. That’s where Shield Smart Homes comes in. As one of the best residential solar companies in the market, the company aims to help homeowners easily transition to solar power.

Shield Smart Homes is a local business out of Mount Holly, NC, specializing in solar energy. The team of energy experts at Shield understands that each customer’s needs are unique, which is why they offer customizable options in every solar plan they create to consider various factors, including energy needs, roof pitch, shade, and utility company metering programs. This allows them to design a plan specifically tailored to every homeowner’s needs.

One of Shield Smart Homes’ focuses is the needs of the homeowner’s location. They take into account the local conditions and adjust their technology and process accordingly, ensuring that the homeowner gets the best possible solar solution for their needs. In addition, Shield Smart Homes has their very own team of solar experts ready to help homeowners with any questions or concerns. On top of that, the company also has partnerships with the best local solar installers in the country.

Shield Smart Homes only utilize premium materials. The solar panels and inverters it installs are of the highest quality on the market. The firm also offers a variety of financing options to its customers with the understanding that going solar can be a big investment. Furthermore, it has an extensive array of solar panel systems to accommodate its clients’ unique energy and financial needs.

What sets Shield Smart Homes apart is their commitment to customer service and education. They believe that going solar should be a stress-free experience, and they work hard to make sure that their customers are informed and comfortable every step of the way.

Additionally, Shield Smart Homes offers a unique mySolar Concierge service, which provides each customer with a dedicated solar consultant who helps them customize their solar plan. This is a great option for those who want a more hands-on approach.

The company’s commitment to teaching and empowering homeowners about solar means they are constantly finding ways to improve the process of achieving sustainability. This has led to Shield Smart Homes winning recognitions for their service, including “The Best Company to Work For” and One of the Fastest Growing Companies.” In addition, the company’s history of 5 Star Service and fulfillment with integrity set them apart from competing Solar Vendors.

With Shield Smart Homes’ passion for the industry, solar energy is more accessible than ever, with little to no upfront expenditure required. Paying a hefty fee for solar panels or installation is no longer necessary. Most homeowners may start saving the moment they turn on their solar panels after partnering with the best solar installers that use cutting-edge technology. Furthermore, energy costs will remain stable or decrease as utility companies gradually raise their rates over time. Including all the savings from going solar with Shield Smart Homes, everyone can see the ROI like no other.

Making the switch to solar power is a major decision, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. With Shield Smart Homes, each individual and family can be confident that they are getting the best possible service and the most comprehensive solar plan for their home. 

Manufacturing Sector in China Slumps for the 3rd Consecutive Month

Chinese manufacturing has slowed down for the third month leading up to December, marking the country’s biggest drop in manufacturing activity since the pandemic began in 2020.

According to experts, the drop in manufacturing activities in China is highly influenced by the resurgence of Covid-19 in recent months affecting millions. In November, the monthly purchasing managers’ index fell from 48 to 47.

The National Bureau of Statistics said that when the index falls below the 50-point threshold, it means that manufacturing activity is contracting. The current level is the lowest since February 2020, when the Chinese government enforced strict lockdowns.

Last December, Chinese health experts warned that Covid-19 would come back, possibly affecting 800 million people. Statistics also indicate that millions more will also die from the resurgence. As the prediction gradually came true, industries were affected as well.

It caused a drop in the operations of manufacturing companies and other business establishments. The increased number of affected individuals is simultaneous with the Chinese government’s decision to relax Covid regulations in the face of nationwide protests and backlash against the corporate industry.

“Recently, the deputy director of China CDC, Xiaofeng Liang, who’ s a good friend of mine, was announcing through the public media that the first COVID wave may, in fact, infect around 60% of the population,” said Yale University global health researcher Xi Chen.

“In China, there’s such a large geographic disparity in terms of healthcare infrastructure, ICU beds and medical professionals. Most of the hospitals with advanced treatment technologies are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and all the big metropolitan areas,” Chen explained.

“This surge is going to come very fast, unfortunately. That’s the worst thing. If it were slower, China would have time to prepare. But this is so fast. In Beijing, there’s already a load of cases and [in] other major cities because it’s spreading so fast,” adds Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist.

“Now in China, the doubling time is like hours. So even if you manage to slow it down a bit, it’s still going to be doubling very, very quickly. And so the hospitals are going to come under pressure possibly by the end of this month,” adds Cowling.

Read Also: Senior Citizens Gravely Affected by Surge of Covid Cases

Affecting the manufacturing industry

In November, sub-indexes also dropped, including production and demand within the manufacturing industry. While other sectors showed a slight expansion last December, manufacturing remained low and even dropped within the months.

Among the sectors which saw an increase were telecommunications, air transport, and financial services. However, the index of other industries outside the manufacturing sector also fell to 41.6 last December.

“Some surveyed companies reported that due to the impact of the epidemic, the logistics and transportation manpower was insufficient, and delivery time had been extended,” said economist Zhao Qinghe.

Because of the slump in the manufacturing industry, specialists expect Chines to miss its goal for 2022, with its economic growth a tad below the 5.5% goal it set for last year. This would mark the second weakest economic growth China would have experienced since the 1980s. The manufacturing industry is vital in a country like China, which hosts hundreds of international companies.

Read Also: Russia Attacks Ukraine with Bombs on a New Year’s Eve

Continuing the fight against Covid

Due to the resurgence of Covid in China, the government and health department launched another widespread campaign to update the vaccines of the citizens, particularly immunocompromised and older individuals. Workers are highly encouraged to receive their booster shots as soon as possible.

With the manufacturing industry experiencing a slump, getting a vaccine is needed so workers can protect themselves. However, while the campaign continues, many people develop misconceptions about the vaccines they receive,

“The American media has shared a lot of misinformation about the Chinese vaccines. I read both Chinese and English media stories, and I see some news stories, like from Fox News and others, translated into Chinese.” Chen said.

For instance, many people believe that Chinese vaccines do not work well as opposed to vaccines developed by other Western counterparts. But, that is false. University of Hong Kong’s Ben Cowling notes that there are no studies that prove Chinese vaccines are not effective against Covid or its subsequent variants.

“No, that’s not true. Our research in Hong Kong has shown that’s not true. So I don’t have a concern about the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccine.”

Cowling adds that people are mistaking the vaccine’s effectiveness against different variants. For example, an early version of a vaccine made to counter an older version of a particular Covid variant would essentially be less effective than an updated booster shot. That is why Cowling suggests manufacturing workers, senior citizens, and other individuals get updated vaccines for maximum protection.

“I’ve never seen any reports of severe side effects with these vaccines,” said epidemiologist Jennifer Bouey, referring to the CoronaVac and Sinopharm vaccines.

“Physicians in China aren’t sure if the vaccines are safe for the elders. So there’s altogether some distrust and confusion about these vaccines – which the government has pushed so heavily. I read quite a lot of misinformation about the vaccine’s side effects on Chinese social media,” she added.

“The government should probably do more to convince people that these vaccines are safe for elders and more vulnerable groups. Because these people not only need the most protection, she says, they need the most shots. The elders and the more vulnerable need more frequent boosters.”

Photo Credit: Florence Lo for Reuters

Source: NPR

 

Elon Musk Must Relinquish his Post says Users

Users may vote in a poll that Elon Musk established to determine if he should leave his position as CEO of the social media giant. More than half of those who responded to the study believe Elon ought to resign from his position.

Musk stated he would monitor the poll results before the results were announced. 57.5% of respondents said yes, and 42.5% said no when the poll was over. Elon still needs to respond to this, though. Many months after Elon’s acquisition of Twitter, Elon conducted a 17-million-user referendum. Elon received a lot of criticism from professionals and well-known people for his policies and actions, which included significant layoffs, feature modifications, and suspensions.

After Elon introduced the blue check verification on Twitter, it drew harsh criticism from many users. Musk decided to halt the Blue Check membership for one month. Users of other social networking platforms are no longer allowed to publish links, according to Elon. Less than 24 hours after its introduction, he changed his mind in response to significant disapproval from numerous people. Elon continued by saying that going ahead, and users should be involved in Twitter’s policy adjustments.

“No one wants the job who can keep Twitter alive. There is no successor. The question is not finding a CEO. The question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive,” Tweeted Musk.

“This has been a black eye moment for Musk and been a major overhang on Tesla’s stock which continues to suffer in a brutal way since the Twitter soap opera began with brand deterioration related to Musk a real issue,” said Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities analyst.

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The check mark plan

To provide another means of collecting income for Twitter, Elon developed the blue check mark. A blue checkmark will be available for users’ profiles for just $8 per month. However, since other users might impersonate other well-known individuals, several people responded adversely to this. To illustrate this, a user altered her profile picture and user name to Musk.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” said the CEO.

“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up for Twitter Bl3ue. Any name change will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” Elon added.

“The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues, but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue, coming soon!” added the Twitter product team manager.

“Eight dollars is not cost-prohibitive for scammers. So it is essential that Twitter figures out this whole official or not issue,” said Rache Tobac from Social Proof Security.

“Right now, we have people making jokes, impersonating the president, impersonating Nintendo, and Elon Musk is laughing at those jokes because he thinks they’re funny right now. What’s not going to be funny is someone impersonating an election official. And meddling and causing interference with the election results,” she added.

Going bankrupt?

Many analysts said that Twitter might declare bankruptcy in light of its current issues to avoid future financial difficulties. Elon made significant staff layoffs and substantial budget cuts at the business. According to the CEO of Twitter, the company is having financial problems and is having trouble paying off its debt.

“It’s hypothetically possible that he could use more of his Tesla stock to bail out Twitter or turn to his cadre of co-investors, who would probably have no trouble finding the money. So the saying, ‘if you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem’ might apply here,” Wu explained.

“Bankruptcy would also allow Musk to refinance the debt, which would make the company more financially stable. But, in addition to potential financial returns, my sense is that Musk and his co-investors are ideologically driven. And that they’re really driven by values,” he added.

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Modifying the blue check feature

With the name Twitter Blue, Twitter re-released the updated Blue check functionality. Whether users are individuals, businesses, or other types of entities, Twitter Blue will continue to be available as a monthly subscription plan with various color options. Elon will charge Apple users extra, starting at $11, which is an unexpected change in the redesign. A monthly charge of $8 is required from other customers.

“On Monday, we are bringing back the ability to subscribe to TwitterBlue — it’ll be $8/mo on the web and $11/mo on iOS. In addition, we’ve added a review step before applying a blue checkmark to an account as one of our new steps to combat impersonation (which is against the Twitter Rules),” said Twitter Product Management Director Esther Crawford.

“You’ll start seeing gold checkmarks appear in your timeline — those are indicators for businesses. Soon afterward, you’ll see gray checkmarks which are for government and multilateral accounts.”

“Big thanks to the Blue team for all your hard work — this continues to be a collaborative effort involving folks from eng, product, design, health, legal, marketing, sales, and more!”

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo for GQ Magazine

Source: CNN

 

Chinese Companies Laud Government for Opening Economy

Companies lauded the Chinese government’s decision to ease Covid restrictions and open the country to travelers from abroad. According to company executives, this will serve as the first step to revitalizing the economy reeling from the effects of stringent Covid measures.

China has been known to be one of the countries in the world that remains relentless in its fight against Covid. When small outbreaks occur in several regions, the Chinese government is quick to impose lockdowns in major cities and economic hubs. The erratic and immediate lockdown measures have inevitably affected financial hubs like Beijing, Guangzhou, and many more. However, as the country faces an economic slump, the Chinese government had no choice but to ease the restrictions to save the economy from crumbling.

Billions have been affected by the lockdowns imposed by the Chinese government. And this has caused many Chinese citizens to protest, calling for the government to end the strict Covid regulations. Several months ago, people took to the streets and bravely called out Xi Jinping for his Covid policies, often confining millions of citizens inside their homes and impeding companies from generating income. Some even called for Xi to resign.

“We need to be braver! Am I breaking the law by holding flowers? We Chinese need to be braver! So many of us were arrested yesterday. Are they without a job or a family? We should not be afraid,” a man said.

“Every conscientious Chinese should be here. Of course, they don’t have to voice their opinions, but I hope they can stand with us,” said another demonstrator.

“We don’t want lockdowns, and we want freedom! Freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of arts, freedom of movement, and personal freedoms. Give me back my freedom,” crowds shouted in Guangzhou, a city in southern China.

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The Chinese government must ease restrictions

Similarly, economists and other experts said the Chinese government must let go of its policies to stimulate the economy. It has been more than two years since the pandemic began. As a result, Chinese companies have lost billions of revenue, and citizens have been suffering from a lack of income. Now that vaccination has become widespread, and people call on the government to resume regular face-to-face activities.

“Cutting the RRR now is just like pushing on a string, as we believe the real hurdle for the economy is the pandemic rather than insufficient loanable funds,” said the analysts from Nomura.

“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” they added.

“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” SPI Asset Management’s Innes said.

Read Also: Eco-friendly Homes have Gained Traction in the US

Turning to the right path

Colm Rafferty, the American Chamber of Commerce chairman based in China, said China had turned a corner. He hopes that this turn of events will be for the better for China. Rafferty explained that quarantines happening across the country was the “single largest obstacle” the Chinese community had to face in the face of the pandemic. And its stoppage should aid the economy in slowly regaining its vitality. The decision comes after executives abroad warned the Chinese government it would refrain from investing in China because the government constantly blocked them from the country.

“The Chinese government has always followed the principle of science-based and targeted measures. [We must call for a] science-based response and coordinated approach to keep travel safe and promote a steady and sound recovery of the world economy,” said Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry official who defended China for its handling of Covid.

The Chinese ruling party started joining other countries to relax its Covid restrictions. China is trying to live with the virus instead of preventing it by enforcing blanket quarantines. More changes followed weeks after, and the Chinese government said it aimed to revive the economy. The Chinese government implemented significant changes on November 25 after mass demonstrations across several cities.

However, other people said Beijing changed its policies too swiftly, happening after other waves of Covid cases began. The Chinese government only refrains from counting nationwide cases and resorted to region-based counts. Health officials indicated that the virus had affected citizens since early October, a month before the Chinese government implemented its policies.

“Although the death rate of this disease is not as serious as at the beginning, the first shock has still been quite severe,” explained Lu Haoming.

In response to the recent surge of Covid cases, the Chinese National Health Commission suggested that the government should enhance the vaccination rate among older citizens. This strategy would prevent millions of death. The National Health Commission also downgraded Covid-19 from Class A to Class B infectious disease. Moreover, they are now focusing their Covid testing efforts on high-risk areas. Other experts project around 1 to 2 million casualties through 2023.

Photo Credit: Aly Song for Reuters

Source: NPR

Global Tech Leader Karolina Gujska Makes Her Fearless Forecast of the Industry for 2023

The Global Fortune 500 IT leaders are looking forward to the 2023 tech industry, and most, if not all of them, are looking for new potential innovations that will expand their growth and customer footprint. Finding out what industry experts have to say about the near future is of the utmost importance as they look to plan their budgets and possible projects. And when it comes to making a fearless forecast for 2023, New York’s tech leader Karolina Gujska is well equipped with experience to forecast this future. 

For 2023, Karolina believes that the battle for digital supremacy will be greater than the years that preceded it. For one, the topic across many outlets is if the metaverse will continue. According to Karolina, the metaverse will become a widely accessed innovation option that will have heavy investments but does not plan for it to boom. It will still be years before this becomes mainstream. “The metaverse will not become mainstream in 2023, but it will still be at the forefront of tech innovation and investment. We continue to define the metaverse as immersive online platforms that use augmented and virtual reality technologies to enable users to socialize, work, play or shop virtually,” she added. The tech industry will focus on standards to ensure that there are rules in place to allow for the interoperability and interconnectedness of different metaverse platforms. It will also focus on creating products for industry and enterprise clients, such as advertisements for virtual forefronts, digital twins, and new types of education and learning services. The metaverse will also prove to be a battleground for web3.

Artificial intelligence (AI), according to Karolina, will also continue to develop, seeing that there have been several notable breakthroughs this year. She predicts, however, that it will experience new challenges from new regulations in specific areas. 

“The EU is likely to push its own AI Act, which will seek to ban high-risk use cases before they enter the market, as opposed to taking a wait-and-see approach. This is in contrast to the US model, which focuses on innovation rather than regulation, although even the US Federal Trade Commission is pushing for companies to be held accountable for discriminatory algorithms. China will also continue to focus on algorithms, with greater scrutiny on how companies design and use them,” explained Karolina. 

Apart from what she foresees would be an exciting year for AI, Karolina also believes that other key improvements include evolutions from smartphones to augmented glasses to headsets. It is also highly likely that new devices will be introduced in the market, and they will revolve around augmented glasses or virtual reality headsets. 

Security is always top of mind in our day and age, so Zero Trust prescribes strict access permissions and constant activity monitoring for all users and endpoints to mitigate inherent threats. Standalone instances of Zero Trust have always been in place, but the trend towards true end-to-end ensures that there is Zero Trust capability from each vendor across every piece of the cyber security stack. This philosophy is a departure from legacy security architectures susceptible to bad actors or legitimate credentials falling into the wrong hands. It has already reshaped cybersecurity in theory and practice, and vendors have scrambled to integrate it into their offerings. Zero Trust is not a product from any single company and is not patented. Instead, it is an architecture that any company can adopt and implement. This unfettered reproduction allowed it to proliferate rapidly within the cybersecurity community after its efficacy in mitigating breaches became clear. The most important Zero Trust principle is “never trust, always verify.”

Machine learning models can be trained with large datasets to identify behavioral patterns indicative of a security breach. They can then immediately respond and mitigate the risk via quarantining or policy and permission adjustments. All of this can be completed within a fraction of the time it would take a human, and monitoring can be done 24/7 in real-time, expanding the role of ML in cybersecurity in the future.

Karolina Gujska is a well-respected tech leader specializing in problem-solving, business analysis, team leadership, digital transformation, and IT-enabled business transformation, among others. Her experience and connections with companies belonging to the Fortune 500 make her a rare authority in the tech industry to follow.

 

Company Creation Machine Nobody Studios Proves to Be a Formidable Gamechanger in the Business Industry

The acceleration of innovation and development in our traditional practices and concepts remained constant through the years. What used to take years can now take minutes. The same can be said for business. There is no more room for Plans A, B and C. Only those that are fully adaptive and ever-evolving can succeed. Nobody Studios is a company creation business hinged upon this belief of constant disruption and adaptation.

Nobody Studios’ one-of-a-kind business model allows involvement in three ways – contributing either talent, influence or capital. First, anyone can suggest or propose any creative business ideas they might have or be part of one of the new companies being launched by Nobody Studios. Anyone can also help by raising awareness and increasing the visibility of Nobody Studios and its established companies. Finally, anyone can also choose to invest in Nobody Studios to claim a stake across all launched companies. The crowd-infused nature of the business keeps it sustainable and constantly evolving.

This unique paradigm can only work because of the values that Nobody Studios upholds and aspires to. With the abundance of venture ideas, scrupulous standards and guidelines should be applied to companies at the seed stage to ensure that every cent is spent efficiently. The organization focuses on quick, educated decision-making to produce fast and reliable results. 

Nobody Studios has seen success because of the importance also being placed upon the people, primarily since the framework heavily relies on them too. They recognize that people are the core of the organization. Nobody Studios also emphasizes accessibility and inclusivity. Anyone can bring forth their ideas and skills and contribute whatever they can. Feedback is always encouraged. Everyone’s involvement and contribution are honored with absolute transparency. Transparency, together with the other meticulous measures in place, fosters trust between everyone involved, both internally and externally.

The new perspective that Nobody Studios presented has proved attractive, as evidenced by the number of talented people choosing to join the organization. As a result, nobody Studios has already launched more than five companies at incredible speed, with three more ready to be launched. As of September 2022, Nobody Studios already has fourteen companies in development and is actively discussing exciting new company ideas for 2023. Overall, their portfolio’s growth is exponential; as a result, the network of investors is also multiplying.

True to its fast-paced culture, Nobody Studios already has a few exciting things lined up for 2023. Nobody’s office crowdfunding campaign is scheduled to launch soon, further expanding the reach and network of Nobody Studios. Their mission is to build 100 compelling and profitable companies over the next five years. Founder and Chief Nobody, Mark McNally, writes, “We’ve been bestowed an opportunity to build a global company creation machine that can impact the lives of millions. We wake up every day with the dedication to honor this awesome opportunity.” This revolutionary undertaking that promises to change the field one company at a time offers a glimpse into a crowd-led and people-centered future in business. Watch this video to see Nobody Studios in action at their company launch last week.

Ramin Popal on Bouncing Back from Failure to Achieving Success as an Entrepreneur

Failure is not something anybody wants to experience, but, in the world today, filled with many successful people, it comes as part of the package. Ramin Popal had his share of failure at an early age, but he has used it as a stepping stone to becoming successful and inspiring.

The 22-year-old entrepreneur failed early but failed forward as he turned around his story from being a broke college drop-out who had no idea what he wanted to do with himself to making his first million at the age of 21 and running a 7-figure company at the age of 22. Despite failing the way he did, the founder of Ecomm Sharks returned to the drawing board, visualized the life he wanted for himself and went at it with determination, doggedness and grit.

Ramin Popal lives the life of a hugely successful person as he now lives in penthouses, drives exotic cars, flies first class and knows the right words to inspire and motivate people. He uses his social media for a lot of good, connecting with people, dropping inspiring and motivational words and helping people improve their lives in different ways.

On his journey of overcoming failure and becoming successful, he faced numerous obstacles. In addition to those obstacles were his close friends and relatives doubting his abilities. He recalls: “That was the darkest point in my life, and that made things worse. It was bad enough that entrepreneurship was kicking me while I was down, but even worse were the people I loved not giving as little as a tiny dose of belief in my dreams. The only thing I did for myself was not let any of all that deter me as I focused on my journey and turning my situation around.”

Things changed significantly for Ramin Popal with his full commitment to the digital world and exploring the various ways he could make use of the endless opportunities it presented. E-commerce was becoming a thing, but he found himself deep in a hole when he applied the wrong strategy in his first attempt at e-commerce. He made the mistake of buying stock and ended up not selling all the products he bought. This was a learning curve for him as he took another path of drop shipping, which entailed getting customers for a product before purchasing it and shipping it to them. His growth from that point was astronomical, and he ended up evolving to become the e-commerce guru that he is today.

Ramin Popal has grown as a digital entrepreneur and mastered the art of developing businesses to keep up with customer behavior and trends. He’s a chief proponent of building a branded business and creating a business personality for anyone looking to thrive in the business world. He has dedicated himself to teaching people how to be the best in the business world and conquer the niche they find themselves. Ramin Popal has caught the attention of many successful entrepreneurs and has been featured on notable media platforms like Virgin Radio Dubai, which has hosted Gary Vee and many others. While he revels in and enjoys his success, Ramin Popal also takes his time to educate other people. His company, Ecomm Sharks, has been doing a great job in educating people and teaching them some of the most important strategies they need to succeed in the business world. As a mentoring platform, Ecomm Sharks guides its members on how to start and build successful e-commerce businesses. In Ramin’s world, there is no room for failure, and he strives to make that clear each time he talks to people about his journey.

“I want everyone to realize one thing – you can achieve anything that you put your mind to, and there is no limitation to how far you can go. Failure is necessary to succeed, so the more times you fail, the closer you get to success. Most importantly, work smart and never give up,” Ramin said. 

In the next few years, Ramin Popal is working on becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs who share knowledge and tips to make others successful. “The least I can do is help other people get to the top, and I am trying to do that right now through my social media platforms and my company, Ecomm Sharks. I want to see young people win, and I hope they see my story and become inspired,” Ramin said. Growing from a young kid that no one believed in into becoming a guru in the business world is a turnaround no one expected. However, defying the odds is what Ramin Popal knows best, and every day he’s executing something new to show the world that he’s one of a kind.

House Sales Dip in November

Home sales decreased by 7.7% in November, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Analysts anticipated that sellers would sell 4.17 million house units. However, just 4.09 million units were sold by vendors in November.

Sales decreased for a tenth consecutive month in November. Additionally, it maintains a 35.4% decrease in housing sales from the previous year. The slowest sales growth rate over the years occurred in November 2010. Following the epidemic, home sales again fell sharply in May 2020. However, the association said the few home sales comprised the closings completed in September and October. Rising mortgage rates marked these months. House sales in November, therefore, may have been higher.

“In essence, the residential real estate market was frozen in November, resembling the sales activity seen during the Covid-19 economic lockdowns in 2020,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

“The principal factor was the rapid increase in mortgage rates, which hurt housing affordability and reduced incentives for homeowners to list their homes. Plus, available housing inventory remains near historic lows,” he added.

At 1.14 million houses for sale, the market’s house supply was up 2.7% over the previous year. However, the present rate of house sales must pick up to the optimal rate economists anticipate. Additionally, the rising property prices on the market are impacting consumer behavior. Homebuyers struggle to find a home that fits their budget when mortgage rates rise and fall and commodities on the market are affected by inflation.

“We have seen home prices come down from their summer peaks over the past five months. But, at the same time, we have also seen rent growth retreat for ten consecutive months,” added George Ratiu from Realtor.com.

“However, the cost of real estate remains challenging for many households looking for a place to call home, especially as high inflation and still-elevated interest rates have been eroding purchasing power,” he added.

Read Also: Chinese Tech Companies’ Journey to Recovery in 2023

Fluctuating mortgage rates

Fortunately, mortgage rates have been dropping lately, encouraging buyers and investors to consider investing in real estate. The costs are still substantially higher than they were a few years ago. Recently, mortgage rates decreased, which caused a small increase in the number of mortgage applications from purchasers.

“The ongoing moderation in home-price growth, along with further declines in mortgage rates, may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the coming months,” said MBA economist Joel Kan.

“A friendly enough Fed could easily break the range, but we have doubts about how much fuel the Fed will want to add to the fire. If anything, the Fed is more likely to try to temper the exuberance. Because the exuberance is counterproductive to the Fed’s goals,” added Matthew Graham, Mortgage Daily News chief operating officer.

“The second consecutive month of reassuring CPI data continues to build a case that inflation has turned a corner, but rates will be careful about reading too much into that potential shift given the volatility of the data in recent months,” said Graham.

“The bond market will also want to see what the Fed does with this info in tomorrow’s updated Fed rate forecasts in the dot plot,” he added.

“There are some very, very modest green shoots over the last few weeks, as rates have come down, but I am not ready to get sucked back into the conversation we had in August when we felt better,” said the CEO of Toll Brothers, Doug Yearley.

“There have been a handful of relatively good news for the housing market lately, but we’re far from out of the woods. Key indicators of homebuying demand will likely be teetering on a knife’s edge with every data release that comes out related to the Fed’s path to eventually bringing rates down,” added economist Taylor Marr from Redfin.

Read Also: Home Building Dwindled in November as Rates See-Saw

A far cry from ideal house market

Although the attitude is improving, analysts argue that the circumstances still need to be more favorable than what buyers and sellers hope for.

“It’s still extremely unaffordable even with rates coming down and prices coming down in each of the last four months. We’re still less affordable than we were at the peak of the market in 2006, and you see that play out in the rate lock numbers,” explained Andrew Walden from Black Knight.

“As we move throughout 2023, you’re going to see prices continue to soften. You’re going to see incomes hopefully continue to grow and eat up some of that gap. And I think we are going to see rates come down from where they are today, but it’s going to take an extended period to get there,” he added.

According to the NAR, many first-time buyers are still waiting impatiently for a significant decline in home prices. Prices are still high, which has an impact on consumers’ spending power. Many purchasers will only purchase a home if there is a significant drop in housing costs. The ongoing decline in mortgage rates could provide the solution.

“The market may be thawing since mortgage rates have fallen for five straight weeks. “The average monthly mortgage payment is now almost $200 less than it was several weeks ago when interest rates reached their peak for this year,” adds Yun.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Source: CNBC

 

 

Fifteen Vulnerable Individuals Won Legal Dispute Against Local Council Worth Over £84,000 Without Spending A Single Penny Through Adam Hussain And The Help Of Proctor & Hobbs Solicitors

With great knowledge and a passion for helping, young lawyer Adam Hussain won his first legal dispute case for his fifteen clients, including business owners and market traders against the local council. After being provided with inaccurate information regarding the Coronavirus grant’s, fifteen vulnerable individuals coming from non english speaking, ethnic minority backgrounds immediately received assistance and help from Adam Hussain, through Proctor and Hobbs Solicitors who acted as their legal representatives throughout the entire process of getting a just and lawful decision.

In 2021, during the height of the global pandemic, the UK Government implemented the Local Restrictions Support Grant – a statutory support scheme to assist local businesses with a lump sum payment throughout the national lockdown period amid COVID-19. Following the application, the local council refused the applications made by Adam’s clients contrary to government policies. The reason for the refusal was inadequately explained, and since his clients were from an ethnic minority background and English was not their native language, they were not able to defend themselves against the incorrect decision. 

“It was a challenge I couldn’t turn down. The opportunity to bring together my passion for helping the vulnerable with my knowledge of the law, the expertise at Proctor and Hobbs Solicitors, and all at a time when the finances have never been more important… is why I had such high ambitions to win this case” explained Adam.  

Upon taking the case, Adam Hussain found out that market managers had not even spoken to his clients as a courtesy to inform them of the financial aid available to them at the time. These individuals trade in street markets across the West Yorkshire district. The local council could not testify that they took reasonable measures to ensure information regarding the financial support was communicated to the traders at the markets, which was undoubtedly necessary at the time since it was a government order. Adam decided to conduct further research, and he was able to find over fourty other similar businesses to his clients in the same locality who were able to receive grant funding in excess of £10,000 each to support them throughout lockdown. 

In the legal dispute case, Adam recapitulates the local council is lawfully required to use state aid wisely and justifiably to assist the recovery of all local businesses in the post-COVID world without bailing out any favored business at the expense of fair competition and consumers. He also reiterated that as a public body, the local council remains under a statutory duty to not act in a way that is incompatible with his client’s rights, under the European Convention of Human Rights. This includes a positive obligation to protect them from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms granted by the law.

Adam Hussain values equal rights and justice, and he felt that his clients were highly distressed, vulnerable, and emotionally attacked by a public body. They were refused the same rights and privileges that should have been given to them in the first place. After an extensive pre-litigation battle, the council raised the payment for each of Adam’s fifteen clients, with the payment accumulating debts over £84,000.

In addition, while Adam Hussain wrote about the successful case in the Adam Prudens Law blog, Proctor and Hobbs Solicitors’ generosity meant the partners did not charge these clients a single penny in legal fees throughout the entire legal process. According to Adam, the Proctor and Hobbs Solicitors team doesn’t necessarily like to charge money from the outset; rather, they see a case with potential and win it for their clients, delivering only the best results and nothing less.

He adds: “If you fail or make a mistake in law, as can often happen at the junior end of the scene, that’s fine. Learn from it. I always say to my others ‘if we fail, we fail fast‘ – but maintain drive, focus and determination to achieve. Then, we will hit the target we’re aiming for. This is the mindset the Proctor and Hobs Solicitors team have instilled into me”.

If you want to know more about Adam Hussain, his legal support organization Adam Prudens Law, more similar success stories & exceptional journeys with Proctor and Hobbs Solicitors, you should visit https://adamprudenslaw.co.uk/

Chinese Tech Companies’ Journey to Recovery in 2023

2022 has been a challenging year for many companies. In China, where Xi Jinping has been strictly enforcing Covid policies, Chinese tech companies’ losses are tremendous.

Several tech giants, including Tencent and Alibaba, have declared losses of billions of dollars. Since the pandemic, the companies have experienced their slowest growth rates recorded in several years, with the recent bouts of Covid cases in the country instigating executives’ uncertainties. Investor lookout has been, at most, low in the face of Chinese regulations relating to Covid. But with the Chinese government hinting at opening the economy again, next year should be a year for recovery for tech companies.

“We are positive on the 2023 internet sector outlook in light of reopening story and improving consumer sentiment,” said an analyst.

Fortunately, there has been a change in tone with how the Chinese government sees the resurgence of Covid in the country, more particularly on the Omicron. According to the Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, the recent Omicron variants are less dangerous than their predecessors. Moreover, the Chinese government has relaxed Covid regulations following mass protests that increased tension between citizens and authorities.

“We believe Sun’s speech, in addition to the notable easing of Covid control measures in Guangzhou yesterday, sends yet another strong signal that the zero-Covid policy will end within the next few months,” said Ting Lu, a chief economist from Nomura.

“However, restrictions and lockdowns may not be truly moderate before March 2023 due to a likely surge in Covid case numbers and disruption. As the current narrative that Omicron is still very deadly has yet to be changed for a majority of Chinese people, especially those in less developed regions,” she added in a report.

Read Also: Home Building Dwindled in November as Rates See-Saw

Covid policies slowed down companies

The Chinese government has been relentless in its fight against Covid. Xi implemented the zero-Covid policy, characterized by stringent measures and lockdowns across economic hubs in the country. This has inevitably hurt businesses and individuals. As people were forced inside their homes, the productivity of companies plunged, with Alibaba and other technology companies reporting significant losses in revenue.

“Retail sales decreased year-over-year in April and May due to the resurgence of Covid-19 in Shanghai and other major cities, and has slowly recovered in June,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang.

“What I find interesting is how the narrative on the big tech companies has changed. Early on in the pandemic, COVID was expected to benefit the big online platforms at the expense of ‘offline’ businesses. As much of the economy would be stuck at home with little other choice than to shop and entertain themselves online,” GFM Management wealth manager Tariq Dennison explained.

“The recent revenue and earnings dip hitting these big tech names reflects zero COVID concerns short-term. But also has many long-term investors, including myself, revising our estimates of the long-term growth prospects of these names,” he added.

“If this quarter is a sign of a permanent slowdown to single-digit growth rates, rather than just a temporary dip, that, of course, would have a significant impact on long-term valuations of these shares.”

Covid will still be the challenge

Although expressing a better outlook, experts think that Covid will still be the biggest challenge confronting Chinese companies next year. Nevertheless, as 2022 hurls to an end, the outlook should be brighter considering China’s changes in dealing with the Covid outbreak. However, that remains to be seen. But Xin Sun, a senior lecturer from King’s College London, argues that if China loses its zero-Covid policy, companies will fare better the following year.

“I will argue the prospect of a tech rebound next year depends primarily on the extent to which macroeconomy and especially consumption could recover,” Sun said.

“Given the current extremely suppressed level of consumption, largely due to COVID restrictions and also the lack of confidence among consumers, a tech rebound is indeed likely if China could smoothly exit from zero-COVID and reopen the economy.”

The good news is analysts expect an acceleration of sales among tech companies next year. While the growth levels cannot outmatch the rates the years before the pandemic began, it will still be a great start if Chinese companies look to improve their conditions. Experts say that companies should now embrace online shopping as it is becoming a trend among a broad populace in fear of leaving their homes.

“Beijing’s top priority this year is economic growth. The crackdown-style governance is over because Beijing has recognized that it’s a bad idea to spook markets and undermine business confidence,” said Trivium China Linghao Bao.

“We’ve already seen some recent attempts to relax Covid measures and rescue the property markets. That said, regulations will be here to stay. That means the focus has shifted toward a more measured, predictable approach to regulating big tech,” he added.

Read Also: Free Covid Test Kits from the Government

A change in business approach

With an apparent change in market preference and modes, companies need to update their business models to increase profitability next year.

“The crackdowns have fundamentally changed the business logic these firms need to follow. In the past, Chinese tech giants strived to build the so-called ‘ecosystem,’ which, by aggressively acquiring and integrating different lines of business, increased customer stickiness and engagement,” explained Sun.

“Now they have to scale back to focus on their main business lines and seek revenue growth from optimized operation and innovation.”

Photo Credit: Reuters

Source: CNBC

 

Home Building Dwindled in November as Rates See-Saw

After mortgage rates rose 7% in November, making house construction unaffordable for many American families, the number of homes being built decreased.

Despite being lower than in recent months, the rates are still twice what they were a year ago. Many Americans find it challenging to build their homes due to high mortgage rates and rising material costs. Recent figures from the US Census Bureau show that new home development in America decreased in November from October by 0.5% and from a year earlier by 16.4%. Due to rising mortgage rates, the decline began this spring and has persisted since.

However, home construction surged after a sharp decline in mortgage rates in August. However, it was the last time the rates dropped; they continued to rise until recent weeks, peaking in October at their highest level in two decades. As a result, many homeowners and construction firms are under pressure, which has halted home development. As a result, the percentage of building permits decreased, falling to 11.2% in October.

“The home building market weakened further in November, and it’s tough to forecast the bottom given relatively high mortgage rates,” explained Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist Robert Frick.

“Potential homebuyers should see some relief next year in the form of lower mortgage rates and possibly lower home prices,” he added.

Read Also: Free Covid Test Kits from the Government

The confidence of home builders

According to a poll, many house builders are less confident in December. And the housing market’s decline, which has been worse for more than a year, impacts this. Additional factors contributing to the pessimistic outlook of investors and builders in the market include rising mortgage rates, rising property prices, and supply chain interruptions.

“NAHB is expecting weaker housing conditions to persist in 2023 and forecasts a recovery coming in 2024. Given the existing nationwide housing deficit of 1.5 million units and future lower mortgage rates anticipated with the Fed easing monetary policy in 2024,” said the chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Rober Dietz.

“A slowdown in new construction is concerning because the housing market remains underbuilt relative to the long-term demand,” added Odeta Kushi, First American deputy chief economist.

“With many existing homeowners locked in to historically low, sub-3% mortgage rates, few have a financial incentive to sell their home only to purchase a new one with a much higher mortgage rate. A lack of existing-home inventory means that new home construction will be more essential in bridging the supply gap,” she added.

The Feds’ role

Kelly Mangold of Real Estate Consulting claims that owing to the increasing prices of properties on the market. As a result, first-time buyers have put off purchasing new homes. She said that the sellers have also been impacted in terms of their ability to buy because of the pricing. However, she highlighted that the Feds are crucial to altering the dynamics of the housing market.

“Motivated buyers or those who are not financing a large portion of their home, such as a downsizing empty-nester, maybe in a position to find a good deal as builders are beginning to adjust their pricing to move inventory,” said Mangold

“With construction costs up more than 30% since inflation began to take off at the beginning of the year, there is little room for builders to cut prices,” added NAHB chairman Jerry Konter.

“A friendly enough Fed could easily break the range, but we have doubts about how much fuel the Fed will want to add to the fire. If anything, the Fed is more likely to try to temper the exuberance. Because the exuberance is counterproductive to the Fed’s goals,” added Matthew Graham, Mortgage Daily News chief operating officer.

“It’s still extremely unaffordable even with rates coming down, even with prices coming down in each of the last four months. We’re still less affordable than we were at the peak of the market in 2006, and you see that play out in the rate lock numbers,” explained Andrew Walden from Black Knight.

“As we move throughout 2023, you’re going to see prices continue to soften. You’re going to see incomes hopefully continue to grow and eat up some of that gap. And I think we are going to see rates come down from where they are today, but it’s going to take an extended period to get there,” he added.

Read Also: Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss Passes Away at 40

Checking the budget

The property market has experienced fluctuations as new developments emerge. First-time homebuyers will have to put in a lot of effort to purchase as mortgage rates fluctuate according to actions by the Fed and outside variables. However, according to experts, before purchasing, consumers should consider their budget and attempt to wait for housing prices to decrease.

“There are some very, very modest green shoots over the last few weeks, as rates have come down, but I am not ready to get sucked back into the conversation we had in August when we felt better,” said the CEO of Toll Brothers, Doug Yearley.

“There have been a handful of pieces of relatively good news for the housing market lately, but we’re far from out of the woods. Key indicators of homebuying demand will likely be teetering on a knife’s edge with every data release that comes out related to the Fed’s path to eventually bringing rates down,” added economist Taylor Marr from Redfin.

“Inventory levels are still tight, which is why some homes for sale still receive multiple offers. In October, 24% of homes received over the asking price. Conversely, homes sitting on the market for more than 120 days saw prices reduced by an average of 15.8%,” explained Lawrence Yun, an economist from NAR.

Photo Credit: Octavio Jones for Reuters

Source: CNN

 

 

Bringing a Unique Brand of Excellence to the Education Sector, Excel Mind Equips Students with The Right Tools for Success

Getting into a prestigious university takes a lot of work. Most struggling learners find entrance exams to be extremely daunting. As a result, college admission results have dwindled to an unimpressive state in recent years. This is further exacerbated by the lack of support from the current educational system, forcing students to look for other means to finally get into their dream college. In most cases, it all boils down to preparation. Fortunately, Excel Mind has all the right tools to foster success for learners of all levels. 

Excel Mind is a renowned international company founded by the passionate educator Ms. Mosunmola Michael. The company provides tutoring and test preparation services for students all across the globe. In addition, Excel Mind offers a web platform that simulates examinations in real time. Thus, allowing students to experience what it’s like to take the exams beforehand, building their confidence and preparing them for the real deal.

Built with a team of experienced educators and tutors, Excel Mind provides tailor-made study plans and instructions that suit each student’s individual needs and demands. With Ms. Mosunmola Michael at the helm, Excel Mind has successfully assisted over 100,000 students in gaining admission to their dream colleges locally and internationally.

Excel Mind helps learners prepare for over 80 local, international and professional examinations through extensive practice and preparation. No matter the challenge, Ms. Mosunmola Michael and her team of educators have never backed down. Fully acknowledging that different kinds of students have different learning struggles, Excel Mind adapts its services to fit the capacities of each learner. 

Excel Mind has risen into global prominence by making a positive impact on the success of test takers all over the world. With a host of tutoring and test preparation services, the company has delivered tremendous results without fail, allowing it to build trust among a wide variety of satisfied clients.

Much of the company’s success can be attributed to Ms. Mosunmola Michael’s knowledge and experience in the field of education. Throughout the years, she has built a pristine reputation for helping students of all levels achieve their academic goals. Taking things a step further, Excel Mind harnesses Ms. Mosunmola’s tried and tested strategies and brings them up to speed in the modern technological age. 

Using the power of data and analytics, Excel Mind can seamlessly track each of its students’ progress, allowing its educators to cater to an individual’s learning capacities and fill the gaps in their knowledge. As a result, Excel Mind has been dubbed a dream maker in the educational industry, offering high-quality, affordable tutoring and test preparation services, with students singing high praises for the company’s much-needed services. 

For students who dread college admission exams, getting into their dream university is no longer as hard as it seems. Thanks to Excel Mind, learners have begun to unlock their full potential and finally feel confident in their capabilities. Ms. Mosunmola Michael has definitely cracked the code, allowing her to spread her advocacy for better education while helping students achieve the success they truly deserve. Excellence is all within arm’s reach, and Excel Mind has proven time and time again that it has what it takes to help everyone get there. 

 

Maryland Bans TikTok from Executive Government Offices

To mitigate any security threats the platform may provide, the state of Maryland forbids TikTok use in executive government offices.

The personal and sensitive information of government employees might be at risk, according to Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan. In light of the problems with platforms and sites obtaining crucial US-based information, Hogan restricted platforms with Russian servers. After other states also outlawed TikTok, Maryland made this decision. The states are South Dakota, South Carolina, and Nebraska.

“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives. Therefore, to further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us,” Hogan said.

“We are always happy to meet with state policymakers to discuss our privacy and security practices. However, we are disappointed that the many state agencies, offices, and universities that have been using TikTok to build communities and connect with constituents will no longer have access to our platform,” said TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown.

Read Also: Joe Biden will Cut Carbon Emissions by 2035

Prohibiting TikTok in Maryland and other states

Wisconsin and other states urged other states to adopt the same policy. TikTok threatens national security, according to the politicians. Senior government figures, including former president Donald Trump and president Joe Biden, have since emphasized TikTok’s risks and encouraged Congress to look into TikTok. Additionally, once a video of TikTok personnel discussing having access to US-based data surfaced, the Federal Bureau of Investigation raised the alarm.

“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm. This could be used to influence operations if they so choose. Or to control software on millions of devices. This allows it to compromise personal devices potentially technically,” FBI director Cristopher Wray said.

“We will continue to defer to the judgment and advice of law enforcement, cybersecurity, and counterintelligence experts regarding this and other evolving cybersecurity issues,” added Britt Cudaback.

“Wisconsinites expect their governor to be aware of the dangerous national security threats TikTok poses. And to protect them from this avenue for CCP intelligence operations,” explained several lawmakers in a letter.

Read Also: China Eases Lockdown After Series of Demonstrations

Exaggerating the risks

Other specialists contend that politicians overestimate the risks, contrary to what lawmakers believe. For instance, cybersecurity specialist James A. Lewis said the risk is far lower than politicians claimed. In the meantime, TikTok maintained its stance on the subject. It said it could not obtain any data from customers in the US.

“Intelligence agencies routinely scrape social media to collect biographical information. And do not need ownership of TikTok (or any other social media platform) to do this,” said Lewis.

“The question is, how much more does China obtain by having access to TikTok data that is not publicly available? There is probably some benefit, but it is likely small,” he added.

“As Director Wray specified in his remarks, the FBI’s input is being considered as part of our ongoing negotiations with the US Government. We can’t comment on the specifics of those confidential discussions. And we are confident that we are on a path to satisfy all reasonable US national security concerns fully,” a TikTok spokesperson said.

Photo Credit: Chris Delmas

Source: NPR

Manhattan Jury Finds Trump Liable for Tax Fraud

A Manhattan jury convicted Donald Trump’s business guilty of a long-running criminal tax fraud that predated his presidency.

Before assuming office, the former president held various enterprises. His business prowess helped him win the presidency a few years ago. And, even though several courts and parties attempted to condemn several of Trump’s businesses, he could avoid judgment or punishment. Until now, that is.

The jury in Manhattan has decided to charge two Trump-owned corporations with 17 counts of felony tax fraud. They will also bring a complaint against the company for misrepresenting its documents. The penalty would amount to $1.6 million in total.

“This was a case about lying and cheating, false documents to the aid of evading taxes for the benefit of individuals and the corporation,” sad Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.

“The notion that a company could be held responsible for an employee’s actions, to benefit themselves, on their own personal tax returns is simply preposterous,” answered Trump’s party.

Read Also: Nike Terminates Contract with Kyrie Irving Over Antisemitic Post

More liabilities for Trump with Manhattan jury

The Manhattan conviction came when Trump was dealing with several other legal issues. One of them is his legal defense in New York. For example, Trump faces a legal battle with New York Attorney General Letitia James. If the prosecution finds Trump guilty of the civil counts, he will face a $250 million fine.

“We can have no tolerance for individuals or organizations that violate our laws to line their pockets,” said James.

“I was proud to assist in this important case. This verdict sends a clear message that no one, and no organization, is above our laws,” she added.

Read Also: ‘Tripledemic’ Impacts Children, Stores Run Low of Flu Medecines

A lawsuit in New York

Several months ago, Democratic Attorney James launched a legal case against Trump. The case brief implicated Trump and three of his children in an alleged scam. The inquiry into the case lasted three years before the court resolved it. The complaint includes Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump as accused persons.

“The complaint demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to enrich himself, to cheat the system unjustly,” James said.

“Letitia James is the most corrupt Attorney General in United States History. She campaigned on the promise to sue my father,” reacted Eric Trump.

The case will bar Trump from doing business in New York if convicted. Furthermore, the lawsuit attempts to prevent Trump from having any commercial presence in the state. They might take the case to a criminal court, according to James. However, for the time being, James has filed the $250 million claim in civil court.

“The inflated asset valuations in the statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration. Rather, they result from the defendants utilizing objectively false assumptions and blatantly improper methodologies,” said the lawsuit.

“[She fights] for very powerful and well-represented banks and insurance companies, who were fully paid, made a lot of money, and never had a complaint about me,” answered Trump to James’ allegations.

Photo Credit: Brandon Bell

Source: NPR

Nike Terminates Contract with Kyrie Irving Over Antisemitic Post

As a result of an association with an anti-Semitic statement, leading sportswear company, Nike formally ended their contract with Kyrie Irving.

An anti-Semitic article was posted by the basketball player on one of his social media pages. The management was under pressure to explain Irving’s actions after they garnered harsh condemnation from the public. On a particular occasion, Irving resisted expressing his disapproval of antisemitism, which led to more public rumors. Agent for the celebrity Shetellia Riley Irving stated that they would abide by business choices.

“We have mutually decided to part ways and wish Nike the best in their future endeavors,” said the agent.

Irving steadfastly declined to offer any commentary. He recently referred to Nike terminating his contract in a Tweet, though. Months after postponing the sale of the star’s newest Kyrie sneakers, Nike decided to halt production.

As a result of their antisemitic posts in recent months, other well-known people are now suffering. As an illustration, Adidas recently fired Ye, also known as Kanye West, due to his antisemitic comments and videos.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech. And we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said.

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous. And they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” said Adidas in a statement months ago.

“After a thorough review, the company has decided to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. As a result, Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” it added.

Read Also: ‘Tripledemic’ Impacts Children, Stores Run Low of Flu Medecines

Irving crossed the line

Irving crossed the line, according to Nike co-founder Phil Knight. By doing this, antisemitism in society as a whole is progressively legitimized. Due to the event, the Brooklyn Nets administration suspended Irving’s ability to play on the floor. In addition, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, prompted the player to apologize in front of the public.

“I feel we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us. And I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions,” Irving said.

“Because there was a way I should have handled all this. And as I look back and reflect on when I had the opportunity to offer my deep regrets to anyone that felt threatened or felt hurt by what I posted. That wasn’t my intent at all,” he added.

Read Also: A Poultry Disaster: Virus Afflicting Millions of Birds

Antisemitism’s rise

Due to recent accusations of antisemitism against well-known people, experts worry that prejudice against Jews may become widespread. Antisemitic tweets by well-known people can be justified, according to Debora Lipstadt, an envoy charged with suppressing it in the US.

“It’s both physical dangers — we just commemorated the anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue [shooting], where people were murdered just for going to synagogue,” she said.

“It’s also little kids learning that instead of [being Jewish] being a source of joy, it’s something that can bring you bodily harm.”

“There have always been threats, and there’s always been antisemitism. But it feels like an epidemic right now. And the spread of hate and lies is just happening at lightning speed. And Kanye opened the floodgates a couple of weeks ago with his comments,” added Beth Kean, Holocaust Museum LA CEO.

Photo Credit: Dustin Satloff

Source: CNBC

‘Tripledemic’ Impacts Children, Stores Run Low of Flu Medecines

As consumers fight the flu outbreak among children, supplies of cold and flu medication run short. The scientific community calls the phenomenon a “tripledemic.”

According to medication producers, the demand for drugs like Tylenol, Motrin, and Advil increased. During the holidays, something happened. Due to the high volume of travel over the holidays, scientists expected this would occur. Due to the large number of people congregating in public areas and homes, experts predicted that three different flu strains would undoubtedly spread.

“Consumer demand for pediatric pain relievers in the U.S. is high, but there are no supply chain issues, and we do not have an overall shortage in the U.S.,” said Melissa Witt, Johnson & Johnson spokesperson.

“(The company experiences) high consumer demand and are doing everything we can to ensure people have access to the products they need,” she added.

“We’re facing an onslaught of three viruses — COVID, RSV and influenza. All simultaneously. We’re calling this a tripledemic,” said Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner before the holidays.

“Intensive care units are at or above capacity in every children’s hospital in the United States. So it’s very, very scary for parents,” reported Amy Knight, the Children’s Hospital Association president.

“Influenza has hit the southeastern United States. Then, it moved into the Southwest. Then, it’s going up the East Coast and into the Midwest with some ferocity,” Schaffner added.

Read Also: A Poultry Disaster: Virus Afflicting Millions of Birds

The flu affected children

According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, pediatric analgesics had a significant increase in sales in October. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are examples of such medications. In addition, the group noted that Westchester County in New York State had the highest demand for flu medications. Unfortunately, there are still certain regions where it is challenging to get flu medications, despite the makers’ claims that there is an adequate supply across the country.

“The supply chain is strong,” said Anita Brikman, CHPA spokesperson.

“These medicines are not curative. They don’t alter the duration of the illness or anything like that. They are essentially purely for comfort. Fevers from common respiratory viruses in and of themselves are not harmful,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrics professor from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“If [a child’s] temp is 103, but he’s running around the room having a good time playing, you don’t need to do anything with that. That’s not going to hurt him. Fever represents our body’s immune response to an infection. But, on the other hand, if he doesn’t have a fever, but his throat is hurting, something is bothering him, he’s pretty fussy — that’s where things like ibuprofen or Tylenol, acetaminophen can be helpful,” Dr. O’Leary explained.

Read Also: Media Companies Ache Amid Budget Cuts

Picking the appropriate medication

O’Leary continued by stressing the need for prudence on the part of parents when selecting the appropriate medication for a sick kid and the possibility that adult medications might not be the most effective course of action for young patients with the flu. To ensure proper care, O’Leary stressed that parents must visit a doctor.

“For acetaminophen and ibuprofen, there are potential toxicities from taking too much — some of which can be quite severe, particularly for acetaminophen. So you have to be careful when you do that,” he said.

“It’s best to talk to the doctor or pharmacist. (If a parent or caregiver) can weigh [the child] at home, tell us what they weigh on their scale at home, we can figure out what an appropriate dose would be for them to take,” added Wendy Mobley-Bukstein, pharmacy practice professor from Drake University.

Photo Credit: Laurel Wamsley

Source: NPR

A Poultry Disaster: Virus Afflicting Millions of Birds

The United States faces an unexpected, highly contagious and deadly bird flu virus, harming poultry farms and businesses across the country.

The disaster wiped out more than 52.7 million animals across the country. Avian influenza, or HPAI, causes widespread poultry casualty. Since February, the virus has afflicted chicken yards and farms across 46 states.

According to experts, the disaster overwhelms previous records, including the high number of recorded deaths in 2014-2015, totaling 50 million. The spike in cases started over the winter. However, it died down for several months and re-emerged during the summer.

However, the World Health Organization found that wild birds drive the proliferation of the virus.

“I’m hopeful that this is not the new normal for us. We don’t know what it is about it. But it does seem to be able to grow and transmit better in wild birds. Wild birds are the perfect mechanism to spread a virus. Because they fly everywhere,” said Dr. Richard Webby, the WHOS’s Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals director.

Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture revealed that in 11 states they monitored, more than 1 million birds died within each state. The states include those from Utah to the Midwest and Delaware.

Read Also: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Snaps Back at Reporter Following a Sexist Question

A new poultry problem

Webby added that the virus is a new kind affecting poultry animals in the country. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the virus rarely affects humans. However, they reported a case back in April in Colorado. But the patient recovered after a few days.

While this might worry some, the CDC ensured the public that the crisis would not significantly impact the country’s food supply. This remains true as long as the authorities handled it well.

“The bird populations haven’t seen viruses like this before. So in terms of their immune response, they’re all immunologically naïve. Right now, it’s like a kid in a candy store racing around,” added Webby.

“When the virus came into the Americas, it started to interact with the viruses we have in our wild birds here. So from the outside looking in, they look very similar. But when you go on the inside and look, the viruses we have here are quite different now from what was in Europe.”

Read Also: The Fight Against Antisemitism

Selective infections

Amy Hagerman, an assistant professor from Oklahoma State University, said she remains baffled as to why the influenza virus only affects several birds.

But she warned poultry owners to start vaccinations as soon as possible to prevent the virus from further affecting food products.

“For whatever reason, turkeys and layer birds tend to be more susceptible. The chicken that most people think of, their chicken tenders, their chicken sandwiches. All of those things haven’t tended to have the same impact,” she said.

“Generally speaking, these complexes are over a million birds, easily. So it takes fewer egg-laying operations being affected by HPAI to drive up the price of eggs and egg products,” she added.

“One of the big complications is timing on a vaccine. Generally you need two doses of a vaccine and then a length of time to achieve full effectiveness. If you have a bird that has a very short feeding window before it’s ready for harvest, that can be a lot more challenging. Because you also need to allow the withdrawal period after the vaccine before the bird is harvested.”

Photo Credit: Nathan Howard

Source: NPR

Media Companies Ache Amid Budget Cuts

Amid budget cuts and economic uncertainty, some media businesses decided to dismiss several employees and halt new recruiting.

For instance, the management of CNN informed its many workers that staff dismissals would start. The corporation recently underwent its worst round of layoffs. Chris Licht, the company’s chief executive, claims they were forced to make this decision because the business could not keep up with the rising spending.

Earlier, Licht tweeted about potential alterations and layoffs at the business. However, he acknowledged that the decision would result in a significant loss for the business.

“It will be a difficult time for everyone. If your job has been impacted, you will learn more through an in-person meeting or via Zoom, depending on your location. In those meetings, you will receive information specific to you about the notice period or any severance that would apply and your anticipated last day. I want to be clear that everyone who is bonus eligible will still receive their 2022 bonuses, which are determined by company performance,” Licht said in a memo.

Meanwhile, NPR, a media organization, declared a hiring moratorium. The management assured them that they would not lay off workers, nevertheless.

The corporation said it needed to reduce its budget by at least $10 million. According to NPR Chief Executive John Lansing, the company decided due to a considerable decline in income.

“As we did during the pandemic, we are prioritizing our staff and not anticipating layoffs at this time. But, unfortunately, it means we won’t have the skills and support of those who would have been in the roles that must remain vacant,” Lansing said.

Read Also: Walmart Employee Lodges a $50 Million Lawsuit Against Company After Virginia Shooting

Media corporation CNN

The executive for CNN Licht informed staff that they would receive a message about their dismissal.

The firm decided to make staff reductions due to the difficulties it confronts. Additionally, the United States’ dire economic situation worsens the situation, impacting the company’s future.

“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization. It is tough to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. I recently described this process as a gut punch because I know that is how it feels for all of us,” he wrote to the employees.

“Today, we will notify a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors, as part of a recalibrated reporting strategy. Tomorrow, we will notify impacted employees, and tomorrow afternoon I will follow up with more details on these changes.”

Read Also: Australian Environment Minister Disagrees with UNESCO

NPR’s hiring freeze

Lansing, the CEO of NPR, met with 700 other employees. The executive presented the company’s plans and issues during the all-staff meeting.

The NPR members discussed how the budget cuts are affecting their daily operations. However, they also spoke about damage control so the business could continue working on a smaller budget.

Photo: Saul Loeb

“It’s a slowdown in the advertising market, just like every other media company. The pacing [of revenue] just indicates a range of potential pain. And that’s what drives those numbers,” Lansing said.

“NPR is going to be in New York for a long time. The effects of the pandemic are just barely understood at this point. But updating the New York office was a critical need for NPR, absolutely,” he added.

Photo Credit: Ron Harris

Source: CNN

 

Walmart Employee Lodges a $50 Million Lawsuit Against Company After Virginia Shooting

A Walmart employee lodged a $50 million lawsuit against the business for its potential responsibility in the Virginia store shooting last week.

According to the employee, Walmart maintained the perpetrator despite his “propensities for violence, threats, and strange behavior.” The perpetrator, 31-year-old Andre Bing, opened fire inside the shop and shot six people. He then committed suicide. As a result, the tragedy instilled terror among Walmart customers and workers. The case, filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court, marked the first action taken against the firm after the event.

Donya Prioleau, who lodged the case, said that the incident caused her to incur from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physical and mental suffering. The lawsuit further said that Prioleau observed the incident and was nearly wounded by the gunshot. More distressingly, she watched several colleagues collapse and eventually die after being struck by gunshots fired by Bing at 10 p.m. inside the Walmart shop.

“Ms. Prioleau looked at one of her coworkers in the eyes right after she had been shot in the neck. Ms. Prioleau saw the bullet wound in her coworker’s neck, the blood rushing out of it, and the shocked look on her coworker’s helpless face,” the lawsuit said.

“Bullets whizzed by Plaintiff Donya Prioleau’s face and left side, barely missing her. She witnessed several of her coworkers being brutally murdered on either side of her,” it added.

Read Also: Australian Environment Minister Disagrees with UNESCO

The Walmart shooter’s suicide note

Authorities discovered a cell phone after a comprehensive examination. The phone belonged to the assailant, and it contained a suicide note. The officers read the message and came up with various ideas about what caused his outburst. The complaint principally faulted Walmart for overlooking Bing’s poor mental health. Meanwhile, Bing attributed his confusion to pestering. His coworkers, he alleges, tormented him to the point of shattering his will.

“Sorry, everyone, but I did not plan this I promise things just fell in place like I was led by Satan. My only wish would have been to start over from scratch and that my parents would have paid closer attention to my social deficits,” Bing wrote.

“Idiots harassed me with low intelligence and a lack of wisdom. The associates gave me evil twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my downfall the last day,” he added.

Read Also: Adidas Starts an Inquiry to Alleged Harassment by Ye

A mismanagement from the company

According to the lawsuit, Bing already had a list of people to pursue. His ‘kill list’ must include the persons he called ‘idiots’ in his suicide letter. In addition, many staff had previously observed Bing’s odd conduct before the incident. However, the complaint claims that Walmart ignored Bing’s health.

“Despite Mr. Bing’s long-standing pattern of disturbing and threatening behavior, Walmart knew or should have known about Mr. Bing’s disturbing and threatening behavior, but failed to terminate Mr. Bing, restrict his access to common areas, conduct a thorough background investigation, or subject him to a mental health examination,” the lawsuit said.

Meanwhile, the authorities and the firm admired those who acted bravely during the crisis.

“We are grateful to the first responders who mobilized to assist victims. I have directed federal officials to provide any support and assistance needed to the people of Chesapeake,” said president Biden.

“The devastating news of last night’s shooting at our Chesapeake, VA store at the hands of one of our associates has hit our Walmart family hard. My heart hurts for our associates and the Chesapeake community who have lost or injured loved ones. We are here for them today, and in the challenging days ahead, they will have our support,” announced Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a LinkedIn post.

Photo Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Source: NPR

Adidas Starts an Inquiry to Alleged Harassment by Ye

Adidas confirmed it is opening an inquiry in response to allegations of abuse he made to Yeezy staff members while working with the company.

Ye reportedly exposed his workers to pornographic and sexually explicit content. It continued for a while. Ye would show the material during staff meetings with Yeezy and target the female employees. Adidas promised to look into the issue.

The business, though, still needs to confirm its assertions. The anonymous group made the accusations against Ye in a published Rolling Stones piece. Adidas also committed to resolving the issue.

“It is currently unclear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true. However, we take these allegations very seriously and have decided to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations,” said the company.

The story also mentioned a group that wrote to Adidas with complaints about how senior executives disregarded their accusations. The Adidas employees accused the authorities of delaying in taking action and refusing to provide an apology to the harassed individuals.

Adidas is still waiting on a response from Ye’s side on the accusations made against the singer. The probe comes after Ye’s employment with the firm was terminated due to his anti-Semitic comments.

Read Also: Wefox CEO Slams Tech Firms for Firing Staff

Adidas terminating the contract with Ye

Many people urged to “cancel” Ye after he made antisemitic comments. Numerous businesses, including Adidas, dissolved their alliance with Ye due to the calls.

Companies like Gap and Foot Locker also opted to let Ye go, resulting in him suffering billions of losses. Adidas resigned in October, calling his behavior “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous.”

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous. And they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” said Adidas.

“After a thorough review, the company has decided to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” it added.

“This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022. Given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter. In addition, Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products and previous and new colorways under the partnership. More information will be given as part of the company’s upcoming Q3 earnings announcement on November 9, 2022,” the statement explained.

Read Also: House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Not tolerating violent behavior

Adidas further stated that the brand does not support violent conduct. However, the company intends to investigate the matter as Ye performed the activities while still partnering with the business.

“He (Ye) has, in years past, exploded at women in the room with offensive remarks. And would resort to sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback. So this type of response from a brand partner is one that Adidas employees should never be subjected to. Nor should Adidas leadership ever tolerate,” said the letter addressed to the company.

“No wonder he didn’t want senior business managers in the room. He wanted to continue to use his power to violate you quietly. And threaten your role and existence within the team,” it added.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Source: CNBC

Wefox CEO Slams Tech Firms for Firing Staff

Wefox CEO, a multibillion-dollar digital insurance firm located in Europe, attacks other tech companies for cutting off thousands of workers.

According to Julian Teicke, widespread layoffs of employees would not benefit those struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising prices. Due to financial difficulties, several businesses, including Meta, Twitter, and Amazon, announced the termination of a sizeable portion of their personnel. Layoffs, in the opinion of the businesses, will enable each to deal with the dreadful state of the world economy.

Wefox CEO Teicke expressed his disappointment with how his colleagues handled the issue. Many venture capitalists believe the best action is reducing expenses and laying off employees. Recruiting must be frozen, and companies must drastically reduce the workforce to balance the growing costs of resources.

“I’m a little disgusted by statements like, ‘never miss a good crisis’ [or] ‘we have to cut the fat,'” said Teicke in an interview.

According to Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital, investors need to create plans to cope with the economy’s issues in the most effective ways. Leone contends that in the upcoming years, people with the necessary crisis management skills will fare better than others.

“You have a great opportunity in front of you if you play your cards right. You have an opportunity to pass ten cars. So do not waste a good recession,” he said.

Read Also: House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Wefox CEO unimpressed with others

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the CEO of Klarna, claimed that he considers himself “lucky” even though his business cut thousands of employees earlier this year. Siemiatkowski said that 90% of those fired had, in fact, already secured new employment. So he views himself as fortunate for that reason. But because of their poor management, the Wefox CEO still needs to be more fond of others.

“If we would have done that today, that probably, unfortunately, would not have been the case,” said Siemiatkowski.

“These are people that have maybe quit other jobs to join your business. These are people that have maybe moved to other places because of you. And these are people that have maybe ended romantic relationships,” Teicke said.

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A significant responsibility

Wefox CEO acknowledged that managers and CEOs have a powerful impact on their workers’ life, perhaps to raise his concerns. However, he added that CEOs have a responsibility to safeguard their workers. And today, with everyone experiencing economic troubles, it has become much more noticeable.

“I believe CEOs have to do everything in their power to protect their employees. I haven’t seen that in the tech industry, and I’m disgusted by that. These are humans. I don’t believe in mass layoffs. We’re going to focus on performance but not on mass layoffs,” he said.

Wefox won’t dismiss staff, claims Teicke. Furthermore, he adds that his business has become “crisis-resistant” by preparing for the most catastrophic case. Finally, Teicke added that Wefox must research the macroeconomic situation to maintain its viability despite challenges in the European economy.

Photo Credit:  Wefox

Source: CNBC

House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Global content-sharing platform TikTok faces another round of criticism, this time under the lens of House Republicans.

According to them, TikTok deliberately misled congress about how the company handled the data of its US-based users. The complainants wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and amplified the issues raised earlier by US lawmakers.

In addition, the letter highlighted the national security concerns that TikTok poses to the US. Experts contend that Republican members of the House will echo the calls to put TikTok under fire, having gained the majority of the House of Representatives.

“Both claims appear to be misleading at best, and at worst, false,” said Comer and McMorris Rodgers.

“Americans deserve answers about how TikTok knowingly allows China to access their data, and E&C Republicans will continue to demand those answers,” said Sean Kelly, the spokesperson for Rodgers.

“One immediate next step is to pass the American Data Privacy and Protection Act this Congress. This would require companies like TikTok to alert users if their personal information is being stored or accessed in countries like China. And give people the option to stop that information from being shared,” Kelly added.

US officials grow concerned about how TikTok could use the US-based user data for their benefit. For example, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said that TikTok poses an “enormous threat” because it can obtain data. It also allegedly influences the content that US users see.

“That is a distribution model that would make RT, Sputnik. Or some of the Russian propaganda models pale in comparison,” Warner said.

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TikTok repeatedly denies the allegations

TikTok management repeatedly dismissed the allegations thrown at them. It said that the company would “satisfy all national security concerns.” They further said that ByteDance, its Chinese-owned parent company, have no US data access since it remains stored in the US.

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas appeared in front of the Senate. She then answered the questions thrown to them by authorities.

“Will TikTok commit to cutting off all data and data flows to China, China-based TikTok employees, ByteDance employees? Or any other party in China that might have the capability to access information on US users?” asked Senator Rob Portman.

“Again, we take this incredibly seriously in terms of upholding trust with US citizens and ensuring the safety of US user data,” Pappas said.

“As it relates to access and controls, we are going to be going above and beyond in leading initiative efforts with our partner, Oracle, and also to the satisfaction of the US government through our work with [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States], which we do hope to share more information on,” she added.

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Cutting data from China

Amid criticisms, Pappas promised TikTok would cut off “all data and metadata flows to China.” However, she ensured the Senate panel that Chinese authorities do not influence US users’ content algorithms.

Although Chinese employees have access to the data, Pappas said that she will not “give that data to China.” Moreover, she denied the existence of a ‘Master Admin’ who has access to all data of US users.

“Those allegations were not found. There was talk [in the article] of a master account, which does not exist at our company,” she said.

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon

Source: CNN

Bob Iger Plans to Meet with Disney Employees

Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, promised to address the staff at a town hall meeting on Monday at nine o’clock.

He advised the staff via memo that the meeting would cover many business-related topics. Iger will start by outlining the direction of the business. Additionally, he will answer any inquiries the staff members want to make about the business in light of Disney’s financial difficulties. Iger returned to his office after Disney summoned him. In a startling shift of leadership, he succeeded his successor Bob Chapek.

“On Monday, I will return to the Walt Disney Studio Lot, a place I have always loved. I’m eager to rejoin dear colleagues and meet new team members who’ve become part of our company this past year,” he said.

Iger changed the corporation in several ways within a few days of taking command of it. After ultimately parting in 2020, he oversaw Disney for 15 years. Chapek made it a point to carry out his goals as his successor.

However, the outcome could have been more favorable for the business, leading many to wish for a management change and the appointment of Iger again. Iger stated that he would restructure Disney’s media division rather than keeping Kareem Daniel as the unit’s leader and Chapek’s right hand.

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Iger to make a new plan

Experts say Iger needs to develop a fresh approach to restore Disney’s profitability. It would take time, the new CEO acknowledged. But he has already begun deploying the reforms, and many people are confident that this will help Disney reach the next level.

Rich Greenfield, an analyst with LightShed Partners, stated that Iger’s difficulty would be determining whether an asset should be kept or sold. When he was the CEO of Disney, Iger bought several businesses, including Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and segments of 21st Century Fox.

“Bob Iger should sit down this weekend and make a list of the assets he wants Disney to keep and the ones he wants to get rid of. What does Disney look like over the next five years? What are the assets we need to have? That needs to come first, and every decision follows the answer,” said Greenfield.

“The old plan can’t be the new plan. That plan wasn’t working. So Iger is going to have to make some hard decisions,” he added.

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Remaining optimistic

Many people still trust Iger within the corporation. However, Disney announced in a statement that they wished to reintegrate Iger due to current financial problems. Sadly, this also meant that Chapek’s management style was unproductive, even if he followed Iger’s playbook while running the business.

“Mr. Iger has the deep respect of Disney’s senior leadership team. Most of whom he worked closely with until his departure as executive chairman 11 months ago. And he is greatly admired by Disney employees worldwide. All of which will allow for a seamless transition of leadership,” said the Disney’s Chairman of the Board, Susan Arnold.

“During his 15 years as CEO, from 2005 to 2020, Mr. Iger helped build Disney into one of the world’s most successful and admired media and entertainment companies. With a strategic vision focused on creative excellence, technological innovation and international growth,” added the statement.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla

Source: CNBC

Bill Gates Shares his 2022 Holiday Reading List

During Christmas, Bill Gates, a billionaire and business tycoon, suggests five publications that people should peruse at home.

Gates is well known for being a voracious reader who reads 50 books a year on average. He reviews the books before giving people recommendations. Gate considers them as great works, and he wants to share them with others in the belief that doing so would help them advance personally and professionally. Gates published a list of new books and some of Gates’ all-time favorites this year. He talked about his meaning for the books and how they may help others.

The 2022 holiday reading list by Gates

Robert Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’

The 1961 science fiction book portrays the story of a person nurtured on Mars. As he traveled onto an extraterrestrial world, the protagonist traveled to Earth and attempted to comprehend how people think about religion and conflict.

“I met Paul [Allen] around [that] time, and we got to know each other by talking about sci-fi. I love sci-fi that pushes your thinking about what’s possible in the future. He also does the classic sci-fi thing of using a fictional setting to ask profound questions about human nature,” Gates said.

Bono’s ‘Surrender’

Bono and Gates go way back together. Bono, a multibillionaire music star and author, participates in several advocacy initiatives with Gates. They have been friends for many years, and Gates likes reading his longtime friend’s autobiography since he shares his views on global health issues and climate change.

“They share the same values. All four are passionate about fighting poverty and inequity in the world, and they’re also aligned on maintaining their integrity as artists,” he said.

Read Also: Amazon will Continue Firing Employees until 2023

Doran Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’

Gates claimed that the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian’s writings completely astonished him. Abraham Lincoln’s progress through the US political arena is chronicled in the nonfiction book from 2005. It talks about the occasions leading up to his 1860 election as president. The businessman claimed that the book captured Lincoln’s ability to lead, which allowed him to bridge the divides among his cabinet members to perfection.

“Lately, I’ve been thinking about Goodwin’s book because it feels very relevant in 2022. There are significant parallels between the current and the 1860s, when the nation was dealing with violent insurrection, difficult questions about race, and ideological divides between states and regions,” he said.

Robert Gallwey’s ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’

As a coach, Gallwey authored the book to assist students to improve their forehand command and as a “guide to the mental side of peak performance”. Gates read the literature over forty years ago. Nonetheless, he recommends the book to his friends. He feels that people may apply the teachings in the book in real life.

“For most of us, it’s too easy to slip into self-criticism, which then inhibits our performance even more. Instead, we need to learn from our mistakes without obsessing over them,” Gates said.

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Paul Strathern’s ‘Mendeleyev’s Dream’

The book deeply covers the history of chemistry. His interest in the 2000 book was sparked by his long-standing admiration for the periodic table and Dmitri Mendeleyev, who created it.

“Aside from being a neat piece of art, the periodic table reminds me of how one discovery can lead to countless others. So all the complexity of the universe comes from the properties on that chart. Because we understand atoms, we can make chips, and therefore we can make software, and therefore we can make AI. Everything goes back to the periodic table,” he concluded.

Photo Credit: Ali Cherkis

Source: CNBC

Amazon will Continue Firing Employees until 2023

The company’s employees received a memo from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on Thursday informing them that layoffs will continue until the following year.

“I’ve been in this role now for about a year and a half, and without a doubt, this is the most difficult decision we’ve made during that time (and we’ve had to make some very tough calls over the past couple of years, particularly during the heart of the pandemic),” Jassy said.

“It’s not lost on me or any of the leaders who make these decisions that these aren’t just roles we’re eliminating, but rather, people with emotions, ambitions, and responsibilities whose lives will be impacted,” he added.

According to the business, the management will contact some employees about their possible terminations. Among the affected departments include devices and services. The corporation also provided a voluntary buyout option to its employees. The buyout offers the corporation a chance to ramp up employee layoffs. Additionally, it offers compensation packages to the fired employees for a specific time.

According to sources, Amazon will cut approximately 10,000 employees from its workforce. The number could rise depending on how the business struggles with different conditions. In light of the deteriorating economic situation in the United States, Amazon will reduce its staff, according to the statement. Inflation in the US slows daily operations and discourages consumers from making purchases.

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Amazon, with other companies

Several businesses, including Amazon, have cut their workforces in recent months. For example, Facebook’s parent firm, Meta, let go of 13% of its staff. Meanwhile, Twitter, Salesforce, Shopify, and Strip also announced they would fire several employees. However, with the holidays rapidly approaching, Amazon felt pressure to add warehouse staff.

“Those decisions will be shared with impacted employees and organizations early in 2023. We haven’t concluded yet exactly how many other roles will be impacted (we know that there will be reductions in our Stores and PXT organizations). Still, each leader will communicate to their respective teams when we have the details nailed down,” Jassy added.

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A hard choice

The business made a challenging choice, according to Jassy. But they the market conditions forced them to adjust, leaving them with no other options. He compared how the economy deteriorated over time and how quickly Amazon hired new employees. As a result, the business suffered a considerable revenue loss.

“Amazon has weathered uncertainty and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so. We have big opportunities ahead, both in our more established businesses like Stores, Advertising, and AWS, but also in our newer initiatives that we’ve been working on for several years and have conviction in pursuing (e.g., Prime Video, Alexa, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare),” added the statement.

“I want to thank each of you for your continuing contributions during this challenging time and as we gear up to deliver for customers during the busy shopping season,” it concluded.

Photo Credit: Mike Blake

Source: CNBC

Russia Will Continue Black Sea Wheat Export

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russia chose to lengthen the Black Sea Grain Agreement.

Russian Foreign Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov earlier hinted that Russia would not extend the UN-brokered pact. Hence, several stakeholders became anxious about its likely termination. However, Ukraine and other partners must maintain the agreement’s provisions. Otherwise, Russia will stop collaborating with Ukraine on the grain agreement.

The combined wheat exports of Russia and Ukraine account for one-third of global supplies. If the nations vote to terminate the agreement, prices will skyrocket. Moreover, dependent countries will face supply shortages. Other countries fear the possibility because of high rates of inflation in their respective countries.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative. To facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine. The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions,” said Guterres.

Without the renewal, the transaction will expire on Saturday. However, under the revised terms, Ukraine and Russia will continue to fund export operations for an additional 120 days. Russia withdrew from the agreement a few weeks earlier in response to reported attacks on its Black Sea Fleet.

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Russia abandoned the agreement before

The Russian ministry issued a statement months ago. He said the act purportedly done by Ukraine is an act of terrorism. The minister further explained that Russia withdrew from the agreement because he learned that Ukraine participated on the attack of its Black Sea Fleet.

Russia insisted that Ukraine assaulted its Black Sea fleet. On the other hand, Ukraine dismissed the allegations thrown by Russia. Meanwhile, the UN reacted and responded quickly to the emergency. Other analysts forecast a significant surge in world wheat prices if Russia withdraws altogether from the agreement. As a result, the United Nations appealed to Russia.

“We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter,” said the UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

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Keeping the provisions

Lavrov expressed doubts about the deal’s continuation. In an interview, he claims Ukraine is using the export agreement to transfer guns and for military purposes. Furthermore, he does not want the UN to interfere with Russia’s exports. If the UN honors its pledge, Russia will be happy to work with the countries to complete the deal.

The minister said that Guterres assured him that the UN will cooperate. He added the UN must not sanction any grain or fertilizer supply coming out of the country. Also included in the terms is the entry of Russian ships to ports in Europe and vice versa.

Photo Credit: Mehmet Emin Calsikan

Source: CNN

Robertson Human Asset: A Point of Contact for Organizations Looking for the Right Top Talent

Becoming an agent of change has everything to do with establishing the right mindset, and this is indeed what Robertson Human Asset is all about. Linda Robertson has first-hand experience with the struggles of corporations that did not have programs, processes, tools and partners to recruit top talent or support, train and retain their key contributors. Thus, launching Robertson Human Asset was her way of taking a step in the right direction toward connecting organizations with the right talents.

Since 2000, Robertson Human Asset has placed high-performing sales and management professionals into growing companies while providing business-to-business consulting solutions and services to assist them with revenue generation. In addition to these, Linda is also at the forefront of delivering coaching services to individuals and management teams to help them identify existing opportunities for growth and expansion. Her unique approach, which has contributed to her outstanding success, helps clients develop the right systems and processes and hire the right staff.

Robertson Human Asset recruitment services cover job roles like medical and dental Sales Representatives, VP of Sales, Regional Directors, Directors of Marketing, CEO, and various medical device sales leadership roles all over Canada and the United States. The company caters to clients with employee sizes between 30 and 300. “Our goal is to let our clients know that they need to think about hiring strategies to thrive and grow within the markets they serve. And this growth can only happen by working with the right company,” Linda said.

Linda’s passion for coaching candidates and helping them find roles that make them happy every day spurred her to build Robertson Human Asset. She makes sure to teach her candidates how to invest in their careers to achieve growth and success. “Investment goes beyond spending your money. The best investments often come in the form of time and effort. I always tell people to make learning a part of their daily routine. When people talk about professional development, they usually think of courses paid for by the company. But learning is more powerful if you’re doing it on your terms and enjoying it. I often recommend picking topics related to their career. They can listen to podcasts, attend seminars, take courses, etc.,” Linda said.

As the founder of a reputable company in the recruitment space and an expert career coach, she shares that the most important tip everyone should take seriously is to focus more on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. “Delegate your weaknesses if you can, or use tools and systems to help you in these areas and enhance and develop your areas of strength and mastery. They are your areas of genius and where you will be a success,” she said. The other important tips she shared include networking with mentors, inner circle, outer circle, loose acquaintances, and staying consistent and true to one’s career and personal goals.

Over the next few years, Linda sees Robertson Human Asset keeping up its high standards of recruitment services and career development assistance. The numerous positive results it has achieved for individuals and organizations are too significant to ignore, and plans are in place to keep those results up.

 

Athlete’s Thread Helps College Athletes Make Profit With Licensed Merch

When the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted a new policy allowing college athletes to make their own brands and profit from it, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi knew they had to step up and help athletes take advantage of the opportunity, hence the birth of Athlete’s Thread

Banking on their experience as founders of Greek House, a platform providing custom apparel to over 500 colleges built in 2013, McGurrin and Shanadi want to leave a massive impact in the collegiate licensing space. Their first venture was followed by the establishment of College Thread and, eventually, Threadly. Today, they aim to expand their services to student-athletes who want to launch their own businesses and help each one of them, not only the star athletes, make money from their name, image, and likeness, making it fast and easy for them to conceptualize their merch, produce enough supply, and reach online stores in no time. 

“While Athletes Thread is a new opportunity, this is ten years of experience leading us up to this point, and we’re ready to scale like crazy after refining and perfecting our technology,” said McGurrin. “The best part about this is helping tell the unique story of every student-athlete. We believe that if you’re a student-athlete, even if ESPN isn’t telling your story, you’re already a hometown hero and have a huge community behind you that would love to support you. What we really want to do is help all of these students realize how much they have accomplished and be the driving force to not only get their story out but help them be successful,” he added. 

Athlete’s Thread is taking an active role in uplifting the lives of student-athletes with customized apparel. The company’s solution provides its clients with the opportunity to showcase their personalities and tell their stories through their merch. The platform currently hosts over 2,000 athletes from 12 colleges, while 58 colleges are currently waiting to go live. Some of the athletes from the Athlete’s Thread family include Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and break-out athletes Jahmyr Gibbs, Jalen Milroe, and Trashon Holden from the University of Alabama. 

“We’ve found out how to take products, and athletes live in less than three days of getting signed on. Our platform has really simplified making officially licensed merchandise for both athletes and colleges,” said Shanadi. “Our mindset working with all these athletes, the colleges, and the athletic directors is to help them tell their story, but also make sure we are helping them be successful both on and off the field,” he added.

Over the few years, Athlete’s Thread aims to welcome over 8,000 athletes into its community and expand beyond merchandise and apparel.  

“It’s already complex enough being a student and athlete at the same time, so when you start hearing about licensing compliance and taxes, it can become overwhelming. So, there’s also a little bit of fear of the unknown and how do I do this safely,” said McGurrin. “So what we’re also trying to do is demystify the name, image, and licensing process and make it extremely easy for the athletes to where we’re essentially removing their risk,” he added.

Aiming to scale their company to become a leader in the sports merchandise industry, McGurrin and Shanadi are taking groundbreaking steps in assisting athletes with their branding ventures, becoming a solid force in providing athletes with a well-rounded boost using their name, image, and likeness. 

My Plan Keeper Protects Retirees Against Market Volatility

In this era of economic volatility, finding a safe place to store one’s assets and finances can be confusing. Just recently, the S&P 500 was down 21.43% and the bond market, largely considered by many to be a “safer” option, was down YTD 15.79%. Equities market and bond markets have been down in quarters and months together but it’s more rare for them both to be down in annual returns. For many seniors in retirement or those already gearing up for it, this news is enough to send someone into a panic. My Plan Keeper is a company that helps people, especially seniors, protect their finances, as well as their life plans, from an economy that’s become too complex to understand.

My Plan Keeper was founded and is owned by Carla Garcia. As a financial advisor and relationship manager, Carla has spent the last 20 years serving a wide range of clients, including business owners, professional athletes, healthcare workers, government employees, and hardworking individuals. She spent a major part of her career working for Merrill Lynch and Citi Personal Wealth Management in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale markets, which allowed her to gain extensive experience with domestic and international clients.

“I built this company so that my clients no longer be confined to a small group of solutions and also to help clients build confidence and bring awareness to the importance of building a solid foundation to protect their existing plans by adding safe money strategies that a bank typically won’t offer them,” she said. “Being independent is truly a game-changer for me because I can now represent my clients 100%. I hope many advisors realize what a disservice they are doing to their clients by strictly offering what their institution has in inventory. Now I have hired experts in the field who give me access to not only a huge warehouse of solutions but to truly unbiased research, making sure I am offering our clients only the best that fit their needs.”

After mulling it over for some time, Carla decided to take a leap of faith and leave her six-figure job because she was fully dedicated to her new mission of giving clients the genuine security they needed. Today, My Plan Keeper Company offers honest advice and strategies backed by solid research so that clients can safeguard their financial and life plans and live the best possible life. Carla’s passion for helping her retirees drove her to learn the ropes and become certified to offer Medicare plans. She knew she needed to do so for clients to understand better and for them to avoid sales agents who focus more on getting money.

What makes My Plan Keeper stand out is its genuine mission to positively impact the retirement community. Unlike other organizations, they are not money managers. Instead, a Financial Keeper acts as an objective outsider so that clients can have the power to implement solutions and build a solid foundation for their plans. “I do not want to sit here and position myself as a financial advisor. I am a Financial Keeper, a retirement expert and a safe money strategist who has witnessed so many clients succeed and many fail. I am taking that wisdom and sprinkling it. My Plan Keeper will provide a positive impact socially for generations to come,” Carla shared. 

“The retirement planning community is very large, and there is a lot of competition and misinformation. Unfortunately, we are all built to believe in what we believe, so we get a lot of mixed opinions,” she said. Adding to her point, Carla emphasizes that sentiment and emotions drive market results, so financial planners and advisors often offer clients market-risk products to generate pay and revenue. “One thing we can not predict is when markets will stabilize, but when it comes to retirement, income is the pillar, and retirement income should not depend on portfolio returns,” Carla added.

Other organizations that aim to help retirees often neglect to protect their plans against market volatility, inflation, long-term care cost, sequence of return risk, taxes, and even Medicare.

Carla Garcia holds many licenses, including FINRA Series 7 and 66, as well as a CRPC® designation. Moving forward, she aims to develop her brand further and help thousands of new retirees with tools that will revolutionize how people plan and protect.

 

Transportation Department says Fines Await Airline Companies that Do Not Give Refund to Customers for Cancelled Flights

The United States Department of Transportation warns airlines that refuse to refund passengers for canceled flights.

The Department of Transportation’s Pete Buttigieg announced on Monday that the agency investigated six airlines for prospective fines of up to $7.5 million for failing to reimburse passengers for canceled flights. To prepare for potential consumer refunds, airline companies should set aside more than $600 million, according to the DOT. The firms will use this in light of cancelled flights.

“When a flight gets canceled, passengers seeking refunds should be paid back promptly. Whenever that doesn’t happen, we will act to hold airlines accountable on behalf of American travelers and get passengers their money back. Flight cancellation is frustrating enough, and you shouldn’t also have to haggle or wait months to get your refund,” the Transportation secretary said.

In lieu of a refund, the transportation agency learned that businesses frequently issue credits for future trips. However, under the policy, companies must give refund to customers. Nevertheless, according to the DOT, many airlines only offer refunds if they intend to retain their profits.

Because of this, a lot of clients contact the authorities with complaints. For example, airline complaints increased 57 times in only one year between 2019 and 2020, according to Bill McGee, an aviation advocate with the American Economic Liberties Project. In 2019, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported 1,500 refund complaints. However, the next year, it rose to 89,000.

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Transportation department helping customers

Although the aircraft sector now partially recovered from the pandemic, companies nevertheless canceled several lights. And for many people, this is a source of concern. Airlines often resort to issuing vouchers and credit for future travel when a flight cancellation occurs due to constraints or plans altering. The problem is that they run out even before the buyer has another free moment to travel.

“But still, flights do get canceled. And when that happens, DOT will be here to make sure that a refund is available and that it’s processed as promptly as possible, that we’re going to have people’s backs when they experience a disruption,” Buttigieg added.

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A late initiative

In McGee’s opinion, the proposal is a positive move in the right direction. The issue may have been the subject of complaints from thousands of customers for a while. But nobody bothers to hear them. McGee further added that despite being guilty of the crime, many airline firms still need to receive punishment from the law. For instance, the three biggest airline corporations in the world, United, Delta, and American, have received numerous customer complaints.

“Why is it that none of these other airlines have been fined? And why is it taking so long? Why is it taking (almost) three years to investigate this, particularly since all the data is public? Airlines that brazenly skirt the rules deserves fines. But this latest round of enforcement from the USDOT comes almost three years too late and leaves out the most egregious US offenders,” McGee said.

Airlines affected by Monday’s move include:

  • Air India – $121.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.4 million penalty
  • TAP Air Portugal – $126.5 million in required refunds paid and a $1.1 million penalty
  • Aeromexico – $13.6 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty
  • El Al – $61.9 million in required refunds paid and a $900,000 penalty
  • Avianca – $76.8 million in required refunds paid and a $750,000 penalty

For travelers, you can file your complaints on the DOT website.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Source: NPR

Jezz Bezos will Donate Most of His Wealth to Global Causes

Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest people, plans to donate his fortune to charity during his lifetime. Lauren Sanchez, his partner, agrees and supports the choice.

According to the Amazon founder, Bezos plans to invest most of his $124 billion yearly net worth in worthwhile projects. He stated that he would use his fortune to combat climate change and assist those who serve the community politically and socially. The news comes after Bezos faced public outcry for declining to join Giving Pledge. The organization serves as a channel for the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate a portion of their money to philanthropic causes.

Bezos said in an interview that when he and his partner began dating three years ago, they already had efforts to construct the Bezos Courage and Civility Award. Dolly Parton got the honor this year, receiving $100 million. Parton is the third award recipient, following chef Jose Andres and CNN climate activist Van Jones.

“When you think of Dolly. Look, everyone smiles, right? She is just beaming with light. And all she wants to do is bring light into other people’s worlds. And so we couldn’t have thought of someone better than to give this award to Dolly, and we know she’s going to do amazing things with it,” Sanchez said.

Read Also: Twitter Bankruptcy Might be a Better Choice

Bezos acknowledging Parton

Bezos stated that the Courage and Civility Award serves as a reminder of those who go above and beyond to serve the community. Over a decade, Parton gave her money to several causes and charities. Parton, for example, donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to assist with vaccination research.

“I felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help heal this world. I’m a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that’s going to help us through this crazy pandemic,” she said at the time.

Furthermore, in 1998, she established the Dollywood Foundation to assist children worldwide. She later introduced The Imagination Library to help youngsters have access to literature. She also handed $15,000 in scholarships to college students through the Dolly Parton Scholarship. Parton used the initiative to reach out to people who couldn’t afford a college education. Bezos and Sanchez saw Parton’s desire to serve others. As a result, they decided to honor the artist with the Courage and Civility Award.

“Jeff [Bezos] and I are so proud to share that we have a new Bezos Courage and Civility Award winner — a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work,” wrote Sanchez in an Instagram post.

“I try to put my money where my heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you @JeffBezos #LaurenSanchez,” answered Parton in a Tweet.

Read Also: Twitter Executives Abandons Posts Following Mass Terminations

Dividing the donation money

Bezos and Sanchez must still agree on how much money they will donate to charities.

“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way. It’s not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work and a bunch of very smart teammates, hard-working teammates, and I’m finding — and I think Lauren is finding the same thing — that charity and philanthropy are very similar. There are a bunch of ways that I think you could do ineffective things, too. So you have to think about it carefully, and you have to have brilliant people on the team,” he said.

Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole

Source: CNN

Elon Musk Temporarily Rescinds from Launching Blue Check Plan

After the midterm elections, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk promised to reinstate the paid Twitter Blue subscription plan.

Twitter announced the delay a day after the company unveiled its iOS app, which enables users to get the blue checkmark on their profiles by subscribing to a monthly plan. According to Twitter’s new owner Elon, the system stops the spread of spam accounts on the website. Before Musk purchased the company, users had warned about the risks of spam and bot accounts.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” said the CEO.

“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. Any name change will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” Elon added.

Elon deferred it after the feature was supposed to go live because of this week’s midterm elections. Aside from the polls, a significant backlash from the general public forced the company to reschedule the rollout of the new feature.

The product team manager at Twitter wrote, “The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues, but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue, coming soon!”

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Trolling Elon

Many criticized the idea of charging for a blue checkmark on Twitter and stated their opposition. Ironically, as Elon did, well-known people with large followings demonstrated this by altering their Twitter handle and profile picture. For instance, Sarah Silverman, a comedian, used Elon’s profile picture as her own on her verified Twitter account.

She tweeted, “I am a freedom of speech absolutist, and I eat doody for breakfast every day.”

Following the stunt, Twitter suspended Silverman’s account was briefly; as a result, she went back to using her original name and photo. In addition, actress Valerie Bertinelli morphed her account to look like Musk in a similar effort.

“The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. So scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there! [Y]ou can buy a blue check mark for $7.99 a month without verifying who you are,” she tweeted.

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Cutting Twitter’s workforce

Another conundrum Twitter faces cutting off nearly half of its workforce. As a result, Twitter plans to reduce costs, according to Elon, who claims that the company loses over $4 million every day needlessly. In addition, many believe Elon will be able to make more money for the business due to the monthly blue check subscription. However, the CEO claimed to have another reason for the verification feature.

“Far too many legacies ‘verified’ checkmarks were handed out, often arbitrarily, so in reality, they are not verified. With a Google search, you can buy as many as you want. Piggybacking off payment system plus Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification,” he said.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke

Source: CNN

Twitter Executives Abandons Posts Following Mass Terminations

Only a few days after Elon Musk dismissed hundreds of employees from Twitter, the company’s senior executives announced their resignations.

The organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Lea Kissner, declared she would step down on Thursday. The role, which has since been filled, was one of the most critical parts of the business, especially now that Twitter is dealing with many security and privacy issues.

Elon Musk, Twitter’s newest CEO and owner, is also under public scrutiny for some hasty managerial choices. She remained silent about her decision to resign from her position as CISO.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter. I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing people, and I’m proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and our work. I’m looking forward to figuring out what’s next,” Kissner wrote.

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More Twitter resignation

Meanwhile, reports claim that Yoel Roth, the director of integrity and safety, also decided to leave his position. Regarding the adjustments Twitter had to make once Elon became the new owner, Roth has regularly communicated with investors and other stakeholders. He spoke about how Twitter manages damaging data posted to the site during an appearance alongside Musk at a Twitter Spaces conference on Wednesday.

“Verification! Impersonation! Twitter Blue! There’s a lot going on around identity on Twitter — let’s break down what our policies are, and some of the big questions we still need to answer,” he wrote.

“First, impersonation has always been banned on Twitter. Misleading profiles make Twitter worse for everyone. Last year, we banned more than half a million accounts for impersonating people and brands.”

“When Verified accounts use impersonation as a tactic — whether for parody or not — it creates an especially confusing experience. It’s been our long-standing practice to suspend Verified users when they do this.”

“The planned changes to Twitter Blue to make Verification more widely available raise the stakes for this impersonation. Here’s what we’re going to do about it:”

“In the short term, we’ll ramp up a proactive review of Blue Verified accounts that show signs of impersonating another user. When we find them, we’ll suspend them. See something that looks off? You can report it directly in the app.”

“Long-term, we need to invest more in identity verification to complement proof-of-humanness. Paid Verification is a strong (not perfect) signal of humanness, which helps fight bots and spam. But that’s not the same thing as identity verification.”

Read Also: Elon Musk Temporarily Rescinds from Launching Blue Check Plan

FTC making its move

The head of Musk’s legal team, Alex Spiro, stated that the FTC and his team are often in communication. He stressed that Twitter would try its utmost to adhere to legal standards. But a source overheard Spiro mentioning how Musk is unfazed by the FTC. On the other hand, an FTC spokesperson claimed that the agency follows any activity from Twitter “with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them,” the spokesperson added.

Photo Credit: Jakub Porzycki

Source: CNN

Meta Announces Dismissal of Over 11,000 Staff

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, diminishes its workforce by more than 13%. More than 11,000 employees will be laid off as a result of this.

It was the toughest choice Meta had to make in its history, according to a memo from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his personnel on Wednesday. The letter also outlined several actions intended to increase the effectiveness of the company. For example, through the first quarter of 2023, Meta will scale back on discretionary spending and hire no new employees. Meta’s share rose 7.7% on the same day.

The company chose to lay off its workers due to Meta’s poor third-quarter performance. Investors’ apprehension about the company’s future caused it to lose over 20% of its shares. Furthermore, the costs and expenses of the business increased significantly, by about 19% annually, according to Meta investors. The company’s costs also surpassed $22.1 billion in the third quarter. In addition to the cost increase, sales are down 4%.

“I want to take accountability for these decisions and how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry for those impacted,” said Zuckerberg.

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Meta cutting on its workforce

The CEO continued by saying that Meta will make fewer recruits in 2023. The company will pay out compensation to the workers who were impacted by the widespread layoffs as a result. According to Zuckerberg, Meta should reimburse the 11,000 employees for 16 weeks of work. Additionally, the worker receives two additional weeks of pay for every year working for Meta. Furthermore, Zuckerberg swore to pay for the affected workers’ health insurance for six months.

“This is a sad moment, and there’s no way around that. So to those leaving, I want to thank you again for everything you’ve put into this place,” the CEO added.

“That means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most others will stay flat or shrink over the next year. So, in aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today,” he added.

Meta currently lays its eyes on developing the metaverse. Through the use of augmented reality headsets and virtual reality tools, this new “universe” contains a different world. According to Zuckerberg, it has already cost them $9.4 billion to develop the site. Further, the completion of the metaverse depend on the volume of additional funding.

Read Also: Elon Musk Temporarily Rescinds from Launching Blue Check Plan

Zuckerberg’s message to his employees

Several quotes from Zuckerberg’s letter to Meta staff are presented below:

Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history. I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.

Everyone will get an email soon letting you know what this layoff means for you. After that, every affected employee will have the opportunity to speak with someone to get their questions answered and join information sessions.

Some of the details in the US include:

  • With no cap, we will pay 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for every year of service.
  • We’ll pay for all remaining PTO time.
  • RSU vesting. Everyone impacted will receive their November 15, 2022, vesting.
  • Health insurance. We’ll cover the cost of healthcare for people and their families for six months.
  • Career Services. We’ll provide three months of career support with an external vendor, including early access to unpublished job leads.
  • Immigration support. I know this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa. However, there’s a notice period before termination and some visa grace periods, so everyone will have time to make plans and work through their immigration status. In addition, we have dedicated immigration specialists to help guide you based on what you and your family need.

Photo Credit: Meta

Source: CNBC

Twitter Bankruptcy Might be a Better Choice

Elon Musk stated that Twitter might go bankrupt due to many changes within the firm, including the firing and departure of key people.

Before Musk’s takeover, social media competitors such as Facebook and TikTok overwhelmed Twitter’s advertising income. As a result, the company’s earnings are sluggish and irregular compared to other firms. However, the possibility of Twitter going bankrupt is only sometimes acknowledged by many, including business leaders. However, now that Musk owns Twitter, he expresses concern about the company’s decline.

Musk paid $44 billion for the firm. However, after obtaining Twitter, the new CEO faced various obstacles, including repaying a $13 million debt. Musk faces a substantial liability because the debt exceeds seven times the company’s income in 2022.

Read Also: Twitter Executives Abandons Posts Following Mass Terminations

Twitter ceasing its operations

According to Andy Wu of Harvard Business School, Musk may be compelled to declare bankruptcy for various reasons. Musk must first address Twitter’s debt and yearly payments. If Musk and other investors believe Twitter will not generate any money, declaring bankruptcy may be a more plausible option for them.

“It’s hypothetically possible that he could use more of his Tesla stock to bail out Twitter or turn to his cadre of co-investors, who would probably have no trouble finding the money. So the saying, ‘if you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem’ might apply here,” Wu explained.

“Bankruptcy would also allow Musk to refinance the debt, making the company more financially stable. But, in addition to potential financial returns, I sense that Musk and his co-investors are ideologically driven, that values really drive them,” he added.

Wedbush Securities, an investment group, believes Musk overpaid for Twitter. The company’s social networking platform is only worth $25 billion. As a result, Wedbush Securities described Musk’s acquisition of Twitter as “one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in history.” Wedbush Securities also stated that filing for bankruptcy would allow Musk to restructure the company’s debt more advantageously.

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Losing more revenue

Many questioned Twitter’s long-term sustainability as a business. Musk claims that the corporation loses roughly $3 million every day. As a result, he chose to lay off around 11,000 staff. Furthermore, the bearish attitude of investors about investing in internet advertising led other businesses to slash costs. For example, Meta laid off 11,000 employees, while Snap cut off 20% of its workforce.

Musk recognized another method to create revenue: Twitter Blue. This function allows users to get a Blue Checkmark for $8 per month. However, celebrities and ordinary individuals received it with condemnation. Some even went so far as to duplicate Musk’s profile to convey their concern about anyone obtaining the blue mark for a fee.

“Eight dollars is not cost-prohibitive for scammers. So it is essential that Twitter figures out this whole official or not issue,” said Rache Tobac from Social Proof Security.

“Right now, we have people making jokes, impersonating the president, impersonating Nintendo, and Elon Musk is laughing at those jokes because he thinks they’re funny right now. What’s not going to be funny is someone impersonating an election official. And meddling and causing interference with the election results,” she added.

Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu

Source: NPR