Tony Blair confirms he is working to reverse Brexit – Trending Stuff

Former PM argues claims made by leave campaign now clearly untrue and so British voters deserve second referendum

Tony Blair has confirmed that he is trying to reverse Brexit, arguing that voters deserve a second referendum because the 350m per week for the NHS promise has now been exposed as untrue.

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4s The World This Weekend on Sunday, the former prime minister said that what was happening to the crumbling NHS was a national tragedy and that it was now very clear that the Vote Leave promise about Brexit leading to higher NHS spending would not be honoured.

When the facts change, I think people are entitled to change their mind, said Blair, who has always been a strong opponent of Brexit but who has rarely been so explicit about being on a personal mission to stop it happening.

Asked if his purpose in relation to Brexit was to reverse it, Blair replied: Yes, exactly so.

He added: My belief is that, in the end, when the country sees the choice of this new relationship, it will realise that its either going to be something that does profound damage to the country, or alternatively, having left the European Union, left the single market, we will try and by some means recreate the benefit of that in some new relationship, in which case I think many people will think, Whats the point?

Blair rejected the argument that he was defying the will of the people. The will of the people is not something immutable. People can change their mind if the circumstances change, he said.

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Bitcoin Surges Past $11,000 as Bubble Warnings Can’t Cool Market – Trending Stuff

Bitcoin surpassed $11,000 in a matter of hours after hitting the $10,000 milestone, taking this year’s price surge to almost 12-fold as buyers shrugged off increased warnings that the largest digital currency is an asset bubble.

The euphoria is bringing to the mainstream what was once considered the provenance of computer developers, futurists and libertarians seeking to create an alternative to central bank-controlled monetary systems. While the actual volume of transactions conducted in cryptocurrencies is relatively small, the optimism surrounding the technology continues to drive it to new highs.

Some on Wall Street are embracing the run, with more than 100 hedge funds now dedicated to digital currencies. Others are issuing dire warnings, with Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz saying it ought to be outlawed as it “doesn’t serve any socially useful function.”

Bitcoin has risen by about 75 percent since October alone, after developers agreed to cancel a technology update that threatened to split the digital currency. Even as analysts disagree on whether the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is truly an asset, its $178 billion value already exceeds that of about 95 percent of the S&P 500 Index members and is driving the debate about where financial technology is headed.

“It feels frothy, of course,” said Bob Diamond, chief executive officer of Atlas Merchant Capital, said in a Bloomberg television interview with Francine Lacqua. “I think the issue here is the disruptive nature of technology” for banks. “Whether it’s the application of blockchain, or their core processing, or delivery to customers or clients, financial services today is being disrupted by technology.”

Fed Nominee Comments

The rising profile of digital currencies even saw bitcoin feature in the Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday for Federal Reserve chairman nominee Jerome Powell, who’s a current board member. Answering a senator’s question, he said that “cryptocurrencies are something we monitor very carefully,” and that at some point their volumes “could matter” for monetary policy, though not today.

“It really is a validation of the fact there’s real enthusiasm, real value and maybe a use case for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” said Arthur Hayes, co-founder and chief executive officer with BitMEX, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency derivatives venue. “It’s the start of broader attention and adoption by the investing public.”

There’s no agreed authority for the price of bitcoin, and quotes can vary significantly across exchanges. In Zimbabwe, where there’s a lack of confidence in the local financial system, the cryptocurrency has traded at a persistent premium over $10,000. Volumes are also difficult to assess. Bloomberg publishes a price that draws on several large bitcoin trading venues. It was at $11,254.75, up 13 percent, as of 9:16 a.m. New York time.

From Wall Street executives to venture capitalists, observers have been weighing in, with some more skeptical than others as bitcoin’s rise has grown steeper, sweeping along individual investors. The number of accounts at Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading bitcoin and rival ethereum, has almost tripled to 13 million in the past year, according to Bespoke Investment Group LLC.

Read more: Bitcoin’s Most-Famous Lovers and Haters Speak Out on the Rally

In a move toward mainstream investing, CME Group Inc. has said it plans to start offering futures contracts for bitcoin, which could begin trading in December. JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank, was weighing last week whether to help clients bet on bitcoin via the proposed futures contracts, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

“This is going to be the biggest bubble of our lifetimes,” hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz said at a cryptocurrency conference Tuesday in New York.

Novogratz, who’s says he began investing in bitcoin when it was at $90, is starting a $500 million fund because of the potential for the technology to eventually transform financial markets.

The Forks and Fights Behind Bitcoin’s Turbulence: QuickTake Q&A

The total market cap of digital currencies now sits north of $330 billion, according to data on’s website.

For Peter Rosenstreich, head of market strategy at online trading firm Swissquote Bank SA, bitcoin’s surge harks back to the surprises of the U.K. referendum on European Union membership and President Donald Trump’s election.

“We have underestimated the populist movements,” he said. “There is growing unease on how central banks and governments are managing fiat currencies. Ordinary people globally understand why a decentralized asset is the ultimate safe haven.”

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Grisly pics show mass whale slaughter in Faroe Islands hunts – Trending Stuff

GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Gruesome pictures given to Fox News show the mass slaughter of whales and dolphins in a series of hunts in the waters around the Faroe Islands this summer.

The pictures were taken by volunteers from ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd Global posing as tourists on the Faroe Islands. The group told Fox News that its volunteers participated in “covert land-based patrols” to document the hunts over a 10-week period from July to early September this year.

The project’s goal was to expose “the continued barbaric killing of dolphins and pilot whales by the Faroese,” according to Sea Shepherd UK Director Rob Read, in a statement emailed to Fox News. Some 18 volunteers from the U.K. and France took part, he added.


The hunts, or “drives” date back to the late 16th century.  Authorities on the islands allow islanders to drive herds of pilot whales into shallow waters, where they are killed using a ‘spinal lance’ that is inserted through the animal’s neck to break its spinal cord.

A grisly scene during a summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands (Sea Shepherd Global)

Sea Shepherd Global said that its volunteers documented 9 separate hunts, which are known as grindadrap in the local Faroese language. The 9 hunts accounted for the deaths of 198 Atlantic white-sided dolphins and 436 pilot whales, according to the conservation group.

The Faroe Islands government slammed Sea Shepherd’s activities in a statement emailed to Fox News. “Sea Shepherd representatives will go to any lengths to paint a negative picture of the Faroese whale hunt as ‘barbaric’, ‘unnecessary’, ‘evil’ and ‘lunacy’ describing Faroese as ‘sadistic psychopaths’, with the aim of inciting anger and outrage against the people of the Faroe Islands,” it said. “They have chosen an easy target, as whale drives in the Faroe Islands take place in the open for anyone to watch and document.”


The government noted that whale meat and blubber of pilot whales have long been a valued part of the Faroes’ national diet. “Catches are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a whale drive and residents of the local district where they are landed,” it said. “Each whale provides the communities with several hundred kilos of meat and blubber – meat that otherwise had to be imported from abroad.”

Shallow water around the Faroe Islands is turned red during a summer 2017 whale hunt (Sea Shepherd Global)

One Sea Shepherd Global volunteer, whose identity has been withheld by the organization, described the Aug. 29 hunt at the Faroese village of Hvannasund.

“Witnessing a grind first hand was truly an eye-opening experience,” explained the volunteer, in a statement provided to Fox News. “As the pilot whales were driven to the shoreline by the small boats the intensity of the thrashing bodies grew. Hooks were sunk into the blowholes and the whales were dragged onto the shore in a sadistic game of ‘Tug of War.’ We witnessed whales seemingly bashing their heads against the stones in a frenzy.”


Sea Shepherd Global says that 46 long-finned pilot whales were killed in the Aug. 29 Hvannasund hunt.

A summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands photographed by a Sea Shepherd volunteer (Sea Shepherd Global)

An unnamed eyewitness also described a hunt at the village of Bour on Aug. 31, where 29 long-finned pilot whales were reportedly killed. “We recorded children attempting to remove the teeth of several whales with nothing more than a pocket knife as well as removing slices of what appeared to be a tumour on one whale,” said the Sea Shepherd volunteer, in a statement.

Around 1,700 pilot whales and white-sided dolphins (including the aforementioned hunts) have been caught in the Faroe Islands so far this year, according to the Faroe Islands government. “The annual long-term average catch of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands is around 800 whales, with large fluctuations in total catches and the number of individual whale drives from year to year,” it added. 


Official statistics show that 295 pilot whales were killed last year and 501 were killed in 2015.

Slaughtered whales in a summer 2017 hunt in the Faroe Islands (Sea Shepherd Global)

Faroese authorities say that whaling on the islands is sustainable. “The long-term annual average catch of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands represents less that 1% of the total estimated stock,” said the islands government, in its statement emailed to Fox News. “It has long since been internationally recognised that pilot whale catches in the Faroe Islands are fully sustainable.”

The hunts can happen at any time of the year and the long-finned pilot whales are not an endangered species.


The ‘spinal lance’ used to kill the whales was designed by a Faroese veterinarian and ensures that the mammals lose consciousness and die within a few seconds, a spokesman for the Faroe Islands government told Fox News earlier this year. An entire pod of whales is typically killed in less than fifteen minutes, he said.

Carcasses on a dock after a summer 2017 whale hunt in the Faroe Islands (Sea Shepherd Global)

The islands’ government says that the pilot whale population in the eastern North Atlantic is approximately 778,000, of which around 100,000 are around the Faroes.

“Sheep farming, whaling and fowling have enabled the Faroe Islands as an island nation to maintain a relatively high degree of self-sufficiency in food production,” said the government, in its statement to Fox News. “In the Faroe Islands it is considered both economic and environmental good sense to make the most of locally available natural resources, and to maintain the knowledge required to use what nature can provide in a harsh oceanic environment.”


The Faroes are a self-governing group of islands that is part of Denmark, but are not part of the European Union, where whaling is banned.

Activists have been urging the European Union to take action against Denmark over the Faroe Islands’ whale hunts.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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How a Tokyo-Born Outsider Became the Face of Czech Nationalism – Trending Stuff

Tomio Okamura’s background is about as multicultural as you can get. The son of a Czech mother and a Japanese-Korean father, he suffered racist bullying in Japan and the Czech Republic that was so severe he developed a stutter and wet his bed until the age of 14.

Which may or may not help explain why his Czech political party is adamantly opposed to immigration, wants the country to leave the European Union and compares Islam to “Hitler-style Nazism.” The message is resonating: Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy may become the fourth-strongest party in parliament after next week’s elections.

“We are living under a total EU dictatorship,” the 45-year-old politician said in a pub in Prague’s historical center. “Not even the Soviet Union dared to dictate to us who should live here and who shouldn’t.”

Tomio Okamura

Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg

The burgeoning appeal of the party, known as SPD, mirrors the recent electoral surge of the nationalist AfD in neighboring Germany and the likelihood that Austria’s Freedom Party will become a part of the ruling coalition after Sunday’s elections. In Eastern Europe, far-right agendas are already represented by Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and the opposition Jobbik as well as Slovakia’s People’s Party, whose leader has openly praised the country’s World War II fascist regime.

In the Czech Republic, which accepted only 12 out of the 1,600 refugees it was required to take in under the EU migrant redistribution system, the anti-immigrant rhetoric has spilled over to most political parties. Among them: the ruling Social Democrats and their coalition partner ANO, which leads in polls. In June, the EU launched infringement procedures against members Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for their opposition to shelter refugees via the shared national quotas.

Okamura has accused Muslims of propagating terrorism and advocates “zero tolerance” toward accepting asylum-seekers. He has urged locals to stop buying kebab and to harass Muslims by walking dogs and pigs near the two mosques in the country of 10.6 million. Hatem Berrezouga, a Tunisian tourism guide who has lived in Prague since 1998, blogged that such a stance was “extremely disturbing in a democratic, law-abiding country.”

Okamura’s response: “I’m totally allergic to racism and xenophobia because I experienced it first-hand,” he said in his signature rapid-fire delivery, with no traces of the former stutter. “But Islam is not a race. It’s not even a religion. It’s an evil ideology.”

This rhetoric has turned him into a political pariah, rebuffed as a coalition partner by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and ANO chairman and billionaire Andrej Babis. Still, if the SPD and the country’s Communists fare as expected in Oct. 20-21 elections, coalition talks may get complicated. Okamura is scheduled to face off against Babis, who is favored to win the election, and a third party leader in a national TV debate on Sunday.

“If the SPD really gets 9 percent of the vote, it will no longer be possible to ignore it,” said Kamil Svec, a political-science professor at Charles University in Prague. “Add the Communists, and a full fifth of the Parliament will represent severely disenfranchised voters.”

When Okamura was five, his family moved from Japan to a small town in what was then Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia. Due to family problems, he spent a part of his childhood in an orphanage, where he developed a stutter because of the racist taunts. He also said the bed-wetting kept him from participating in ski trips and other school outings.

To escape the pervasive discrimination, he dropped out of college and at 21 moved to Japan, where the prejudice intensified. Treated as a “half-breed,” he ended up working as a garbage collector and later sold popcorn at a movie theater. Eventually, he returned and became a successful tourism entrepreneur, catering to Asian tourists visiting Czech castles and spas.

Already a public figure thanks to his role as the spokesman of travel agents’ association, Okamura ran for the presidency, unsuccessfully, before founding his first party, the Dawn of Direct Democracy, in 2013. Two years later, after internal squabbles within Dawn, he quit the formation to set up the SPD.

Despite Okamura’s zero chance of gaining power, his party’s popularity has risen in recent months to a range of 7 percent to 9.2 percent and he’s currently the second-most popular party leader in the country, according to polls.

“I will vote for Okamura because I care about the safety of this country and my children,” said Jaroslav Samek, 52, who was sipping a latte in a Starbucks in a suburban shopping mall and runs a business importing cheese from Italy and France. “The EU isn’t fulfilling its basic function, which is to protect its citizens.”

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Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist – Trending Stuff

Forensic experts walk in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35pm on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3pm. Officers said her body had not yet been identified. According to sources, one of her sons heard the blast from their home and rushed out to the scene.

Caruana Galizia, who claimed to have no political affiliations, set her sights on a wide range of targets, from banks facilitating money laundering to links between Malta’s online gaming industry and the Mafia.

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5m documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The data was obtained by the German newspaper Sddeutsche Zeitung and shared with media partners around the world, including the Guardian, by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington.

Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, is a journalist and programmer who works for the ICIJ.

Her family have filed a court application demanding a change of inquiring magistrate. Investigations into the case are being led by Consuelo Scerri Herrera, the magistrate who was on duty at the time. But Herrera had come under criticism by Galizia in her blog. The family’s petition states that they “have zero trust” in Scerri Herrera and “don’t believe that she can run a magisterial inquiry throughout the seriousness and impartiality that is necessary in the search for truth”.

Earlier this year, during Malta’s presidency of the European Union, her revelations caused major concern in Brussels.

MEPs openly called for Muscat’s departure amid a growing scandal involving his wife, a Panamanian shell company and alleged payments from the president of Azerbaijan’s daughter.

Muscat, who has been premier since 2013, went to the polls a year early after his wife was implicated in the scandal. He has always denied any wrongdoing and promised to quit if any evidence emerges of his family having secret offshore bank accounts used to stash kickbacks — as Caruana Galizia had alleged.

Responding to news of the attack, the German MEP Sven Giegold, a leading figure in the parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry, said he was “shocked and saddened”.

“It is too early to know the cause of the explosion but we expect to see a thorough investigation,” said Giegold. “Such events bring to mind Putin’s Russia, not the European Union. There may be zero tolerance for violence against the press and violations of their freedom of expression in the European Union.”

Opposition politicians claim rule of law has been under threat since Muscat returned Malta’s Labour party in 2013 following a long period in opposition. Four police commissioners have resigned under his direction. The fifth, Lawrence Cutajar, took up his post in August 2016.

There have been many car bomb killings in Malta during the past couple of years. While the perpetrators have never been identified, the violence is thought to have been associated with disputes between criminal gangs. None are considered to have been politically motivated.

Caruana Galizia was 53 and leaves three sons and a husband.

Leaked document reveals UK Brexit plan to deter EU immigrants – Trending Stuff

Home Office paper sets out proposals including measures to drive down Variety of migrants from Europe

Britain will finish the free movement of labour immediately after Brexit and present restrictions to discourage all but highly-skilled EU employees under detailed proposals set out in a Home Office document leaked to the Guardian.

The paper, marked as sensitive and dated August 2017, sets out for the first time Britain intends to approach the issue of immigration, radically refocusing policy to place British employees first.

“Put plainly, this means that, to be considered valuable to the country as a whole, immigration should benefit not just the migrants themselves but also make existing residents better off,” the newspaper says.

It proposes measures to drive down the amount of lower-skilled EU migrants — offering them for a maximum of just two decades, in a record likely to cheer hardliners from the Tory party. Those in “high-skilled occupations” will be granted permits to operate for a longer duration of three to five decades.

The document also describes a phased introduction to a new immigration system that ends the right to settle in Britain for most European migrants — and puts new restrictions on their rights. Potentially, this could result in thousands of families.

Showing a passport will be mandatory for all EU nationals wanting to enter Britain — and the paper proposes introducing a method of temporary biometric residence permits for all EU nationals coming into the UK following Brexit for more than a month or two.

The determination to finish free movement from day one and drive down lower-skilled EU migration, end the use of the European court of justice in family migration and extend parts of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” measures to long-term EU migrants without residence permits is very likely to please hard Brexiters.

The Home Office paper, entitled the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System After the UK Leaves the European Union, makes clear the proposals within it’s yet to be endorsed by ministers, and are “subject to negotiations with EU”. But with the assistance of illustrations and flowcharts, the document sets out the direction of Home Office thinking in one of the most subjects of the Brexit debate.

It is understood the record, which has been dispersed around ministers and officials, has provoked rows between cabinet ministers, who are trying to balance the demands of British businesses wanting to retain free motion, and the views of hardline Brexiters.

Additionally it is very likely to enrage many in Europe who will feel the UK is aspiring to deal with EU nationals and might invite retaliatory actions by the bloc.


The Home Office EU immigration proposals also include:

Plans to limit EU immigration by giving “preference in the job market to resident workers”. The authorities could restrict EU nationals decrease the opportunities for employees to settle in the UK long-term, and limit the amount of EU citizens able to come to the UK to do low-skilled work.

Proposals for a “stepping stone” temporary implementation period for “at least two years” following Brexit day. That would be followed by the debut of the immigration policy for EU nationals.

Plans to scrap EU rules on the rights of extended family members to reside in the UK. The record says “there is virtually no limit on the distance of the relationship between the EU citizen and the family member” in the current system. “We propose to define family members as direct family members only, plus durable partners,” it adds.

If an EU national living in the UK wants to bring their partner from outside the EU here, he or she’ll have to make a minimum of #18,600 a year, bringing EU nationals in accord with the limitation already imposed on Britons.

No new border checks for EU nationals entering the country, though they will have to travel on a passport not a national identity card. Instead all new EU arrivals will have “deemed leave” to enter Britain for an as yet unspecified period likely to between three and six months. After that, to stay longer, they might have to apply.

In contrast to the “free movement directive”, residence permits won’t be granted to jobseekers. A specific “income threshold” will be introduced for “self-sufficient” migrants.

Plans to present “right to work” checks. These would have to be carried out by companies, with sanctions if working is found.

The record has a strong “Britain first” theme throughout. It states: “We are clear that, wherever possible, UK employers should look to meet their labour needs from resident labour. It is now more important than ever that we have the right skills domestically to build a strong and competitive economy.”

The paper claims that although long-term net migration in the EU has dropped over the previous year to 133,000, it cannot be controlled because free motion gives EU citizens “a right to reside in the UK regardless of the economic needs of the country”.

Poles in UK graph

The proposed package is intended to help cut the current yearly stream of 250,000 EU nationals coming to reside in Britain into the government’s target of “sustainable levels”: net migration from the tens of thousands.

“It is not a question of stopping EU migration … But there will be a fundamental shift in our policy in that the government will take a view on the economic and social needs of the country as regards migration, rather than leaving this decision entirely to EU citizens and their employers,” says the Home Office document.

Its proposals to end European court of justice protection for the rights of EU nationals to bring non-EU family members to Britain, to end the use of EU national identity cards rather than passports at the UK border, along with the expansion of Home Office registration powers are all possible important trouble spots in the Brexit discussions.

Recent Home Office errors, including mistaken deportation letters delivered to 100 EU taxpayers, have undermined confidence in its competence.

The Home Office states that the EU immigration system won’t necessarily include the very same rules as presently applied to migration. Specifically it says it’s considering whether the present system of a # 1,000-a-head immigration skills charge and sponsorship will be applied to EU migration.

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A government spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked draft documents. We will be setting out our initial proposals for a new immigration system which takes back control of the UK’s borders later in the autumn.”

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Trump Says Amazon Does Great Damage to Retailers – Trending Stuff

U.S. President Donald Trump once again unloaded on Inc.. , tweeting that the company is hurting other retailers and implying that it’s killing industry jobs across the U.S.

Amazon is causing “great damage to tax paying retailers,” Trump said in a Twitter post Wednesday, causing stocks in the online retailer to fall.

“Towns, cities and countries throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost! ” Trump said in the tweet.

Trump’s reference to &#x201C damage” echoes chatter in Washington and circles that Amazon and other technology companies may have become too large and powerful. Apple Inc.. Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Amazon will be the largest companies in the world by market cap and dominate many facets of everyday life. Some critics have even suggested that they should be broken up.

Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump claimed Amazon was a monopoly that he would go after for antitrust offenses if he were elected. Amazon takes about 70 percent of all e-book sales and 30 percent of all U.S. e-commerce. “Believe me, if I become president, do they have problems. They’re likely to have such problems,” Trump said in February 2016. In the U.S. it isn’t illegal to have a big market share.

In June, Amazon agreed to buy Whole Foods Market Inc.. Experts and analysts have largely dismissed antitrust threats for the planet’s biggest online retailer, though a U.S. lawmaker has called for hearings on the proposed deal to think about its ramifications for shoppers and employees.

For more on the debate over if tech companies are the new monopolies, click here

While it’s unclear what prompted Trump’s tweet, The Washington Post ran a scathing editorial about Trump in the newspaper Wednesday, and there were also pro-tax reform commercials that ran on early morning talk shows. Amazon’s shares fell less than 1 percent to $975.19 at 10:18 a.m. in New York.

Trump’s tweet about jobs landss history. Brick-and-mortar chains apparel sellers, are suffering from sluggish mall visitors and an exodus of shoppers to e-commerce.

A rash of chains have filed for bankruptcy this year, such as Payless Inc., Gymboree and HHGregg Inc. and RadioShack. And the biggest department-store companies, such as Macy’s Inc., Sears Holdings Corp. and J.C. Penney Co., are shuttering countless places. The complete number of store closings is expected to hit a record in the U.S. this season, with Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Christian Buss estimating that the number could exceed 8,000.

On the other hand, Amazon is hiring . The online behemoth has vowed to hire over 100,000 employees by 2018 and has been holding job fairs all around the U.S.. In some cases, fired department store employees are ending up at Amazon fulfillment centers.

In his tweet, Trump also hammered Amazon again on tax-related allegations. It’s unclear since the company collects sales tax exactly what he means. There is one loophole Shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax when they buy from one of Amazon’s many vendors. Such sales constitute about half of the company’s volume.

Trump’s relationship with Corporate America has frayed since his inauguration and several company executives resigned this week from a business council to protest the president’s answer to the demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia.

However, Trump has often taken particular aim at Amazon and the Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for its coverage. In June, the president posted a tweet attacking “AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying net taxes. ”

In December 2015, Trump also described the Washington Post as a tax shelter that Bezos uses to keep Amazon&#x2019. Without these agreements, Trump argued, Amazon’s inventory would “crumble like a paper bag. ” Bezos actually owns the Washington Post via a holding company separate from Amazon. Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment.

For more on Amazon, check out our tech podcast :

Amazon has been combating a number of politicians from both the U.S. and Europe about its stance on taxation. In the U.S., Amazon formerly fought to just collect sales taxes for purchases in states in which it doesn’t have a physical existence. It collects sales tax and has a legion of distribution centers.

The U.S. retailer is currently fighting the European Union over its own tax bill, while in March it won a $1.5 billion tax dispute with the IRS.

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What wrapping Helmut Kohl’s coffin in flags can’t do – Trending Stuff

One can expect a public spectacle that will exemplify a post-Brexit and Trump-era Europe trying to overcompensate for its dire, lonely position in the world by displaying an outburst of symbolic assertions of its brilliant present and future.

Politicians from around the world will speak — most likely about Kohl’s vision for a truly united European Union, his role in establishing the euro, his rather heroic fight for German unification.

Officially, it was Kohl’s European spirit that made European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker push for the funeral to be accompanied by this ceremony he called a “European act of state,” the first of this kind ever to take place.

But the scene, which will be live-streamed on the Internet, seems too powerful of a move to be only about Kohl’s impressive legacy. Instilling the importance of a “European state” could be the other objective.

At a time when Europe is in fact further away than ever from inspiring a belief of anything like statehood, it seems like a desperate attempt to save a vision that is trembling.

The resilience against a more integrated European Union that we saw displayed in 2005 in the French and Dutch referenda on a shared constitution has today turned into resentment.

It’s true that the EU might “only” be crippled by the departure of the UK, but will survive, and France and the Netherlands did not elect hard-core right-wing nationalist state leaders.

However, a Europe where there is even the slightest possibility for figures like Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders to become leaders of European states — and create more of the governments that we see in Hungary and Poland — must urgently ask itself how it can inspire trust in a European path.

Wrapping the coffin of an influential creator of Europe in European flags won’t do. Perhaps demonstrating its ability to tackle issues of importance like the economy, migration and security, would be better. But in this, Europe is failing.

Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus are only slowly recovering from the debt crisis that began 2009 when these countries successively began to announce their inability to repay or refinance their government debt or to bail out over-indebted banks under their national supervision.

Greece is still on the brink of leaving the single currency and lived through its worst-ever recession over the past several years.

In a sense the EU has been very unlucky in terms of how hard it has had to prove itself and how embarrassing its failures have been.

On top of its bleeding economy, which was already shattered by the global economic crisis of 2006 before the credit crisis, unprecedented external pressures kicked in.

When the influx of refugees hit European borders in 2015 — reportedly the biggest influx since World War II — the border agency Frontex was understaffed and resourceless. Coastal nations like Italy and Greece were left to fend for themselves.
While some efforts at easing their lot succeeded, some countries still simply refuse to take the refugees allocated to them by European institutions, while others, such as Germany, take on a disproportionate share of the responsibility.

If the EU managed to act collectively in taking in refugees, then the refugee crisis would be less of a crisis.

The same would hold true if the renewed confrontation between Russia and Europe were ever to escalate. While there is a lot of talk about military integration from the EU, the reality looks different.

Again it is Germany that is left to put forth the greater effort. This time it is to form a European army under the label “Framework Nations Concept.”

So far, this has meant only announcing the integration of its armed forces with the Czech Republic and Romania — not exactly the most powerful armies in the EU. And since the well-equipped UK military is also leaving Europe, the military heavyweights like France might be stepping up to help Germany form a more unified defense. But that hasn’t happened yet

After President Donald Trump’s meeting with G7 and NATO leaders, this integration has seemingly become more crucial. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe could no longer completely rely on its allies, and must take its fate into its own hands.
It’s a sentiment that is shared by other allies of the US. Polls show that the confidence in Trump as an ally has diminished.

So while there is a populist outburst against the EU, people also understand that America might not be there to help.

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That lonely place might in fact be a moment to call for greater collective commitment to European institutions that will be necessary for it to act effectively.

But emotional funerals and processions won’t be enough to win people over. New suggestions for an economic and defense strategy are required.

Britains Financial Power Is Already Seeping Away – Trending Stuff

Britain &#x 2019; s monetary power started dropping away simply days into the Brexit settlements as the European Central Bank looked for authority over an essential market and banks from&#xA 0; Morgan Stanley &#xA 0; to &#xA 0; Nomura Holdings Inc. &#xA 0; expanded strategies to move operations from London to Frankfurt.

The shifts highlight the risk presented to the U.K. &#x 2019; s monetary market by the choice to stop the European Union, made in a referendum a year earlier. They will heighten pressure on Prime Minister&#xA 0; Theresa May &#xA 0; to protect the City of London in any trade offer she strikes with her EU equivalents, who might withstand if they see a financial benefit on their own.

Among the matters at stake in those talks, which started in Brussels on Monday, is whether London can preserve its status as a worldwide center for financing after Brexit or be required to enjoy as company streams to the continent or New York. Such an exodus would endanger a market accountable for almost a tenth of the economy and some 1.1 million tasks.

&#x 201C; There will be a great deal of political pressure to obtain as much of the financing market relocated to the EU as possible, &#x 201D;&#xA 0; stated &#xA 0; Tom Kirchmaier, a fellow in the financial-markets group at the London School of Economics. &#x 201C; The huge concern will be exactly what the last function of the City will remain in Europe. &#x 201D;

The most current shot throughout Britain &#x 2019; s bow&#xA 0; came early Friday when President&#xA 0; Mario Draghi &#x 2019; s ECB stated it will attempt to modify the statute governing its powers to #x &get 201C; clear legal skills &#x 201D; over the cleaning of euro-denominated monetary instruments.

The Frankfurt-based organization stated the modification would #x &protect 201C; a substantially boosted function &#x 201D; for the ECB and euro-area reserve banks in monitoring clearinghouses, especially systemically essential ones situated beyond the EU.&#xA 0; The relocation would likewise assist to clarify how oversight would be shared in between the ECB and other bodies, such as the Paris-based European Securities and Markets Authority. The proposed modification was sent out to the European Parliament and to EU federal governments for approval.

Clearinghouses stand in between the 2 sides of an acquired wager and hold security, called margin, from both in case a member defaults. The dryness of their job belies their monetary power. London &#x 2019; s clearinghouses alone hold about $174 billion of money and bonds as security, compared to Frankfurt &#x 2019; s $62 billion and Paris &#x 2019; s $25 billion.

About 75 percent of trading in euro-denominated interest-rate swaps now occurs in the U.K., inning accordance with Bank for International Settlements information from April 2016. Who need to control them referred disagreement even prior to Brexit. The ECB lost&#xA 0; a lawsuit in 2015, after aiming to bring cleaning inside the euro location.

With Brexit looming, European policy makers are sounding progressively assertive on the concern. Bank of France Governor&#xA 0; Francois Villeroy de Galhau, an ECB Governing Council member, on Thursday&#xA 0; pushed &#xA 0; the case for requiring significant euro clearinghouses to base their operations in the EU, while coworker&#xA 0; Benoit Coeure &#xA 0; on Tuesday hailed an EU Commission proposition on the matter.

Xavier Rolet.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The squabble over place has actually stimulated cautions from the market of increasing expenses. Chief amongst the doom-mongers is&#xA 0; Xavier Rolet, the president of London Stock Exchange Group Plc, the bulk owner of the world &#x 2019; s biggest clearinghouse, LCH.

He has actually cautioned removing London of euro cleaning will cost 232,000 British tasks and force financiers and banks to pay an additional $100 billion over 5 years to trade off-exchange interest-rate derivatives. An LSE spokesperson stated she couldn &#x 2019; t right away discuss the ECB &#x 2019; s declaration.&#xA 0;

Just today, Bank of England Governor&#xA 0; Mark Carney &#xA 0; and Chancellor of the Exchequer&#xA 0; Philip Hammond &#xA 0; joined to caution versus permitting Brexit to harm the U.K. &#x 2019; s monetary market, arguing that doing so might harm Europe too. Hammond stated the &#x 201C; fragmentation &#x 201D; of services would increase rates of monetary items, while Carney required a brand-new system of cooperation in between Britain and the EU over derivatives clearinghouses.

Such overtures were most likely directed at May, who after a devastating election is being pushed to soften her technique to Brexit by focusing more on securing tasks and trade instead of punishing migration, as she formerly prepared. Might was informed Friday by authorities in Europe that her strategy to secure the residency rights of EU people in the U.K. didn &#x 2019; t go far enough.

The European Central Bank head office in Frankfurt

Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg

Banks #x &aren 2019; t waiting to find the result of the Brexit talks, stressing that the supreme pact will cost them their capability to quickly service clients in the EU from bases in London. The U.K. capital might lose 10,000 banking tasks as an outcome of Brexit, believe tank Bruegel approximated previously this year.

Frankfurt is up until now vanquishing other cities in drawing company from London. Morgan Stanley is near to choosing Germany &#x 2019; s monetary capital as the EU center for its broker-dealer organisation, while Nomura will likewise relocation personnel there following Brexit, individuals acquainted with the business &#x 2019; preparation informed Bloomberg News today. &#xA 0; Daiwa Securities Group Inc. &#xA 0; likewise stated on Thursday it will develop a subsidiary there.

Frankfurt uses distance to regulators at the ECB along with simple access to the bloc &#x 2019; s most populated nation and its most significant economy.

&#x 201C; The relocation of the banks to Europe is a natural effect of the propensity to move the guideline to the ECB, &#x 201D; stated Kirchmaier.

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Creditors agree terms to disburse Greece’s 8.5bn bailout funds – Trending Stuff

EU and IMF surge out offer following months of arguments, with funds to be launched in July as soon as European parliaments validate the offer

For the finest part of a years, Greece has actually wished to end up being a regular nation, and late on Thursday it appeared to start that procedure, after financial institutions consented to pay out 8.5 bn (7.4 bn) of bailout funds focused on putting the debt-stricken country back on the roadway to healing.

The cash, signed off after months of difference in between the European Union and International Monetary Fund over ways to lower Athens incredible financial obligation stack, will be launched in July, when European parliaments validate the offer.

Around 7.4 bn will be at first paid out so that Greece can honour financial obligation payments that grow mainly to the European Central Bank. As soon as lenders are pleased that the country has actually complied with reforms, the rest will be handed over.

I am delighted to reveal that we have actually accomplished an arrangement on all aspects, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem revealed after a conference of eurozone financing ministers in Luxembourg. The 19-nation bloc, he stated, had actually likewise concurred that Greece might get even more assist with making its financial obligation sustainable, consisting of the possibility of extending payments by 15 years and connecting them to development rates.

The offer however far except the financial obligation forgiveness prime minister Alexis Tsiprass leftist-led federal government had actually wished for was welcomed with festivity. There is now light at the end of the tunnel, the financing minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, informed press reporters, firmly insisting that it offered the clearness Athens had actually long looked for. We didnt desire the best to be the opponent of the great.

The federal government stated Greece had actually lastly got exactly what it desired. Through a clear dedication that Athens would finish its existing bailout program next summertime and eventually retap capital markets. Lenders had actually likewise consented to lower the main budget plan surplus from 3.5% to 2% since 2023.

The ECB, whose stimulus program the recession-hit nation has actually been yearning to sign up with, likewise praised the offer. We keep in mind of the Eurogroup conversation, which we view as a primary step to security financial obligation sustainability, stated a representative.

But it disappointed stating when, or if, Greece might sign up with the quantitative reducing program that the Frankfurt-based ECB has actually absolutely connected to the nations large 324bn financial obligation mountain (the equivalent of 180% of GDP) being rendered workable.

Without that, Athens is not likely to accomplish market gain access to at any time quickly an unfavorable indication for financiers who would see the nations go back to capital markets as proof that after 8 years of recession and gruelling austerity the worst lags it. Outdoors financial investment is viewed as important to Greece recovering a few of the 27% loss in GDP it has actually suffered considering that its experience through personal bankruptcy started.

The IMF handling director Christine Lagarde explained the offer as being the 2nd finest option. While it had actually prevented a credit default and restored crisis provided the scale of financial obligation payments looming next month it had actually not accomplished the IMFs total objective of making Greeces financial obligation load sustainable.

As such the Washington-based IMF would consent to back the bailout program in concept by means of a stand-by plan, however would just contribute around $2bn (1.5 bn) to it when the eurozone might devote to financial obligation relief. The arrangement, she stated, had actually enabled more time for those conversations to continue.

Germany, the primary factor to the 300bn in funds the thrice-bailed-out country has actually gotten given that its very first rescue program in May 2010, had actually made IMF involvement a condition of extra dispensations.

While the development now puts any talk of Greeces ejection from the single currency to rest – and will be met relief in EU capitals it had actually hardly been revealed prior to experienced Greece watchers were knocking it as a fudge, when again focused on kicking the can down the roadway.

The Tsipras federal government had actually enacted laws a multitude of additional austerity procedures worth 4.6 bn in cost savings in the hope of persuading lenders to lastly offer the Greek economy genuine breathing room through financial obligation relief. Thursdays offer is not likely to please lots of in his leftist Syriza celebration who had actually accepted to support the out of favor budget-cutting policies to be enacted when the existing three-year bailout program ends in August 2018 just on the condition that financial obligation relief would be accomplished.

Although the economy is growing once again, more than a 3rd of Greeks are approximated to be at threat of hardship.

Despite detente in between the financial institutions, the IMF and the eurozone are most likely to stay at chances over the long-lasting potential customers for the Greek economy. IMF authorities do not think EU presumptions that Greece can run a spending plan surplus (minus financial obligation maintenance) of 3.5% for several years to come.

The IMF is not requiring Greek financial obligations to be cancelled however wishes to relieve terms, by extending payment vacations and due dates. Financial institutions settled on short-term financial obligation relief in 2015, however the IMF had actually been pushing for specifics on the long-lasting. It has actually formerly alerted that Greeces financial obligations might spiral to 250% of GDP by 2050 without aid.

Additional reporting Jennifer Rankin in Brussels

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