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    Daily Digest 9/19 – U.S. Says Saudi Oil Site Attack Was ‘Act Of War,’ The Global Expansion of AI Surveillance

    by Daily Digest

    Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7:47 AM


FedEx CEO: ‘Whistling past the graveyard’ on the U.S. consumer belies a broader slowdown (Thomas R.)

Smith’s remarks came on the heels of weaker-than-expected results out the gate for FedEx’s first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year. The shipping giant – which derives about one-third of its annual revenue from international sources – missed on both the top and bottom lines, and lowered its full-year adjusted earnings per share guidance in part due to a “weakening global macro environment driven by increasing trade tensions and policy uncertainty.”

U.S. housing starts, building permits scale 12-year high (Sparky1)

Housing starts jumped 12.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.364 million units last month, the highest level since June 2007, the government said. Data for July was revised up to show homebuilding falling to a pace of 1.215 million units, instead of decreasing at a rate of 1.191 million units as previously reported.

The Global Expansion of AI Surveillance (edelinski)

China is a major driver of AI surveillance worldwide. Technology linked to Chinese companies—particularly Huawei, Hikvision, Dahua, and ZTE—supply AI surveillance technology in sixty-three countries, thirty-six of which have signed onto China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Huawei alone is responsible for providing AI surveillance technology to at least fifty countries worldwide. No other company comes close. The next largest non-Chinese supplier of AI surveillance tech is Japan’s NEC Corporation (fourteen countries).

Worried about a recession? Here’s 5 ways small businesses can weather a downturn (Thomas R.)

So yes, there are some very strong indicators that we are headed into a recession, possibly a severe one, and probably sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, given that we are already in a heated election cycle, the chance that something will be done in Washington to help mitigate the situation is unlikely.

‘This Is Crazy!’: Wall Street Scurries to Protect Itself in Repo Surge (Thomas R.)

Up and down Wall Street, phones lit up Tuesday morning as a crucial market for billions in overnight borrowing suddenly started to dry up. What had begun on Friday, with tremors inside U.S. short-term funding markets, was escalating rapidly.

200,000 people applied for jobs at Amazon in a single week (Thomas R.)

Thousands of job-seekers flocked to one of those employment fairs this week in Arlington County, Virginia, the planned site of one of up to two new U.S. headquarters Amazon is planning to build. And while the company earlier this year bailed from New York City as the site of one of those hubs amid fierce local opposition, attendees at the Virginia event seemed more receptive.

Here’s why regulators are so worried about Facebook’s digital currency (Thomas R.)

It appears to be a running theme from a number of regulators and lawmakers, who worry libra would compete with government currencies. That’s because Facebook is such an influential platform, with more than 2.4 billion monthly active users as of July 2019. And the companies it’s partnering with in a Switzerland-based consortium known as the Libra Association include giants like Uber, Visa and Vodafone.

Millennials have an average of $28,000 in debt—and the biggest source isn’t student loans (Thomas R.)

“One issue that a lot of millennials have is that they have not wanted to sacrifice their lifestyle, even though they have student loans or lower incomes,” Bonneau says. “That has left us in this spot where they’ve accumulated a significant amount of credit card debt.”

That’s especially concerning because it’s important to save for future financial goals, such as buying a home or building a retirement fund, when you’re young and have time to let compound interest grow your money.

Millions of Americans’ Medical Images and Data Are Available on the Internet. Anyone Can Take a Peek. (tmn)

The insecure servers we uncovered add to a growing list of medical records systems that have been compromised in recent years. Unlike some of the more infamous recent security breaches, in which hackers circumvented a company’s cyber defenses, these records were often stored on servers that lacked the security precautions that long ago became standard for businesses and government agencies.

Garments for lease: ‘rental’ apparel brings new wrinkles for retail stores (Thomas R.)

Even fast-fashion stalwart H&M (HMb.ST), with nearly 5,000 stores globally, said in August it would include a limited rental service featuring its premium-priced collection made from recycled fibers in a revamped central Stockholm store.

The services cater to a growing number of people like Batitto who want to purchase just a few items and rent the rest.

Amazon figured out a way for online shoppers to pay in cash (Thomas R.)

“Customers have told us they love the convenience of paying in cash,” Ben Volk, Director, Payments at Amazon, said in a statement Wednesday. “Together with Western Union, we’re able to offer customers more shopping choices, enabling them to pay for their online purchases in a way that is convenient for them.”

The Internet Cloud Has a Dirty Secret (Thomas R.)

“People don’t think about the backend consequences of Netflix streaming,” says Debra Tan, the director of Hong Kong-based nonprofit China Water Risk. “The information and communications technology (ICT) sector is probably one of the most power-hungry sectors going forward.”

Deep Future (James W.)

Imagine if, instead of a few drone attacks, a far bigger attack of Saudi oil facilities occurred and the bulk of Saudi oil supply went off-line for months on end, if not, forever? Could you imagine the economic and geopolitical chaos that would result! In such a scenario you would be wise to stockpile food and other core goods if you haven’t already got your secret supplies sorted.

This is a reminder of how fragile our industrial civilization is to major shocks.

Retiring At The Zero Bound (newsbuoy)

It was in the midst of this strange new environment of increasing economic and political threats within a time of decreasing monetary and fiscal policy efficacy that I happened to choose to take my retirement two years ago. As time has passed over the last two years, it has become clear to me that we will soon be driven (by events) back to the zero bound for interest rates, just as we were 10 years ago.

Full Interview: Edward Snowden On Trump, Privacy, And Threats To Democracy (Sparky1)

On the eve of his memoir ‘Permanent Record’ being published, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden talked at length from Moscow with MSNBC’s Brian Williams in an exclusive interview. This is their discussion in its entirety, edited down slightly for clarity.

Successful Retirees ‘No Longer Welcomed’: ‘We Didn’t Leave Connecticut … Connecticut Left Us’ (Adam)

Democrat lawmakers, for example, passed a paid family medical leave bill — to be “paid” for by people who work in the private sector. They will be forced to contribute 0.5 percent of their paycheck to a state-run “trust fund” to pay for workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave time per year. The leave may be taken not just to care for a new baby but also to care for grandparents and friends who are of no relation to workers.

The Bolsheviks even want to tax your toaster oven… (thc0655)

It’s no longer some lofty sound byte. There are detailed plans and real support behind it… which means you might want to strongly consider your own options for a Plan B.

For some people, that might even mean picking up and moving. It’s not such a radical concept… people do it all the time, especially state-to-state.

SF Restaurant Leaders Sound Alarm on Industry Crisis at City Hall Meeting (thc0655)

San Francisco’s 5,200 restaurants generate $4.7 billion in taxable sales to the city and provide for 65,000 jobs in SF, restaurant industry veteran and Golden Gate Restaurant Association representative Laurie Thomas told Supervisors in her remarks yesterday. But based on her numbers, garnered through Yelp, restaurant closures have begun to outpace openings by nine percent. “We’re seeing a troubling trend,” said Thomas, who owns Rose’s Cafe in Cow Hollow, but whose North Beach restaurant, Rose Pistola, closed in 2017 after 21 years in business.

The Journey, Not The Destination (GE Christenson)

The upward path was not sustainable. Amazon stock crashed after the “Dot.com” bubble and fell over 90% during the following two years. It then rose to over $2,000 by 2018. What happens next to this high-flying stock?

Trump says California cities ‘destroy themselves’ with homelessness (Thomas R.)

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and several California mayors and county and state officials asked the Trump administration for 50,000 additional vouchers for those most affected by the housing crisis, the Los Angeles Times reported. In the letter signed Monday, they also requested the federal government provide incentives for landlords to accept the housing vouchers.

US says attack on Saudi oil site was an Iranian ‘act of war’ (Sparky1)

Eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles were launched in the assault, Al-Malki said, with three missiles failing to make their targets. He said the cruise missiles had a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), meaning they could not have been fired from inside Yemen.

Saudi Arabia to restore oil output fully by end of September: energy minister (Thomas R.)

He was referring to attacks on Saturday on state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco’s plants in Abqaiq and Khurais, including the world’s largest oil processing facility, which shut down 5.7 million barrels per day, which is more than half of Saudi Arabia’s production, or 5% of global output.

Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser said the company, which is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), was still in the process of estimating repair work but that it was “not that significant,” given the company’s size.

Trump revokes waiver for California to set higher auto emissions standards (Thomas R.)

The Trump administration has long been at odds with California, especially on environmental issues. Talks between California environmental regulators and the administration broke down earlier this year. Yet this summer, the state negotiated an agreement with several automakers to design cars to meet standards higher than those set by the federal government.

Toyota banks on Olympic halo for the humble bus to keep hydrogen dream alive (Thomas R.)

Toyota has sold fewer than 10,000 of the Mirai, a fuel cell sedan it touted as a game changer at its launch five years ago. Costing consumers about 5 million yen ($46,200) in Japan after subsidies, it is one of three fuel cell cars available to consumers. Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) sells the Nexo, while Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) leases out the Clarity.

Fukushima trial ends in not guilty verdict, but nuclear disaster will haunt Japan for decades to come (Sparky1)

This month, officials said that water pumped into the stricken plant to cool its nuclear cores might have to be dumped into the ocean, due to a lack of storage space for the thousands of tons of contaminated liquid. Around 300 to 400 tons of highly radioactive water is generated every day; it’s currently stored in hundreds of tanks at the site, from which there have been multiple leaks in the years since decommissioning started.

Shocking Video Simulation Shows the Devastation Nuclear War Would Cause (Sparky1)

Researchers at Princeton University created a simulation to see just how bad a nuclear war between the US and Russia would be for humanity, and the picture they paint is terrifying. The team used the Pentagon’s own plans (which were recently leaked) to “highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans,” a press release states.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 9/18/19

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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One Comment

  • Thu, Sep 19, 2019 - 10:45am



    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 20 2008

    Posts: 75


    The storage tanks should have open tops so the contaminated water can evaporate, leaving the contaminants behind.  The tanks can then be rotated.  The contamination will accumulate over time, but it's better than spreading it all over creation.

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