viernes, 18 de marzo de 2016

2016/03/17 Political Anticipation - LEAP Press review

NATO, central banks, migrant crisis, TTIP, technologies … Western elites in panic mode for a future in the form of a question mark
Considering the barrage of change indicators, our GEAB team currently feels like they don’t know where to start in order to provide a coherent and complete picture of the crisis. Yet, this feeling is probably nothing compared to what our leaders and their advisers experience. A sense of loss of control of the flow of events probably characterizing the Western leadership in 2016 is what makes the rest of the year quite difficult to predict. The general feeling is that we are approaching the unwinding of a ten year paradigm shift, but the panic created by the approaching perspective of actual change among the leaders, the Western leaders in particular, is once again raising the question of the exact form this unwinding will take. In this introductory article of the GEAB 103 edition, we simply list a series of facts revealing this growing and worrying state of panic, as well as the trends which, we believe, will worsen it even more... (Read the GEAB 103 )
Turkey Wants Three Things to Stop Refugees. One Is a Problem
Turkey wants three things in return for stopping the transit of refugees from the Middle East to the European Union: money, a quicker path toward joining the EU, and the no-questions-asked right of Turks to travel to Europe. The first is no problem, the second a bit trickier. The hardest to deliver, for a 28-nation bloc beset by fears of terrorism and anti-foreigner demagoguery, is visa-free entry for 78 million Turks as of July... (Bloomberg)
Dollar dives, higher commodity prices lift shares
The U.S. dollar index dropped to a five-month low on Thursday while shares in major markets were on track to close at their highest level of the year as a dovish U.S. Federal Reserve emboldened investors to take in more risk. Traders continued to digest the previous day's statement and projections from the Fed, which scaled down to two its expectations of the number of U.S. rate hikes likely over the next nine months. It previously estimated four hikes through 2016... (Reuters)
Internet, artificial intelligence, robotics: 2040, from human enhancement to human … obsolescence?
The GEAB 103 is offering the readers some guidelines for reflection on the technological revolution we are all currently experiencing and which, far from being completed, is undergoing new accelerated phases. Internet, artificial intelligence, robotics... all lead to one fundamental trend almost absent from the political debate despite its potential social impact... (Take a one year subscription to the GEAB)

In Two Moves, AlphaGo and Lee Sedol Redefined the Future
In Game Two, the Google machine made a move that no human ever would. And it was beautiful. As the world looked on, the move so perfectly demonstrated the enormously powerful and rather mysterious talents of modern artificial intelligence. But in Game Four, the human made a move that no machine would ever expect. And it was beautiful too. Indeed, it was just as beautiful as the move from the Google machine—no less and no more... (Wired)
Israel, Greece and Cyprus to Explore Building Joint Gas Pipeline to Europe
Israel, Greece and Cyprus will explore the possibility of building a natural gas pipeline to Europe, tapping huge gas reserves discovered in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years, leaders of the three countries said yesterday. Groups of specialists will be appointed to assess the pipeline idea, and plans are proceeding to create an undersea  electricity cable to Europe, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters in Nicosia... (Haaretz)

Has the EU stopped lying to itself on refugees?
"Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing … after they have exhausted all other possibilities" is a famous quote, versions of which have been attributed to Winston Churchill. It might now be the turn of European Union member countries to do the right thing in the refugee and migrant crisis. Finally. Myriad mistakes from the past might, however, still lead to a sad outcome, where those who genuinely need help will not get it: real refugees... (EUObserver)
Germany shuts embassy, consulate and schools in Turkey on 'very concrete' tip-off
Germany's foreign ministry issued a statement advising caution in Ankara, Istanbul and other major Turkish cities. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier went into further detail on Thursday morning in Berlin. "Yesterday evening, some very concrete indications - to be taken very seriously - reached our security services, saying that terror attacks against German institutions within Turkey were being prepared," Steinmeier said... (Deutsche Welle)

Russia can make powerful Syria military comeback in hours: Putin
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia could scale up its military presence in Syria again within hours and would still bomb terrorist groups there despite a partial draw-down of forces ordered after military successes. Speaking in one of the Kremlin's grandest halls three days after he ordered Russian forces to partially withdraw from Syria, the Russian leader said the smaller strike force he had left behind was big enough to help forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad keep advancing... (Reuters)
Specter of `Brexit' Prompts Warning From Hong Kong's Richest Man
As the U.K.’s future in the European Union hangs on the outcome of a referendum looming in June, one of the country’s biggest foreign investors is calling out for voters to say no. Hong Kong Billionaire Li Ka-shing, the tycoon who’s seeking to buy O2 and create the biggest mobile-phone carrier in the U.K., said on Thursday that he’d "surely" scale back investments in the country in the event that Britain exits from the EU. Li,... (Bloomberg)
Is This The End? Draghi Fires His Bazooka And Markets Turn Away In Disgust
ECB chair Mario Draghi delivered big-time this morning by announcing lower interest rates and a new round of debt monetization. Historically, this kind of thing has sent the financial markets into Pavlovian ecstasy, with stocks soaring and the local currency falling. Sound money people have for years been warning that such New Age monetary policies are poison and that the markets would eventually wise up and react accordingly. Today, finally, that’s what they did. European stocks popped on the news — then dropped... (Dollarcollapse)
What is the Euroland Agora?
Euroland Agora recognizes Eurozone as a fertile ground to initiate the political and democratic integration of Europe. Based on this idea, Euroland Agora aims at contributing to the emergence of a democratic Euroland at the heart of the EU, in an innovating way that builds on modern technologies and addresses the challenge of combining democracy and transnationality... (LEAP)

Are We Entering Into a Long Term Stagnation?
Larry Summers, Clinton’s minister of treasury, has made few friends in life. At that time, he was instrumental in eliminating the Glass Stegall Banking Law, which since 1933 separated the bank’s customer deposits from the financial activities of the Stock Exchange, releasing a flood of money which created the present monster financial system... (IPS News)
Russia-China: The West’s Dual Challenge
The Russian-Chinese relationship has come under greater scrutiny since the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s “deniable intervention” in Ukraine. Commentators have taken on the question of whether Russia and China present a unified, all-encompassing challenge to the West’s domination in international politics and have fiercely debated the prospect and possibility of a fully-fledged Sino-Russian alliance in the not-so-distant future... (The Diplomat)
China Overtakes Germany as Top Russian Oil Consumer
China, which is the world's second oil consumer after the United States, with demand rising to 10.68 million barrels per day in 2015, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The country is the world's top oil importer, its imports reached an all-time high in 2015, standing at 334 million tonnes by the end of the year (6.7 million barrels per day), CNPC figures showed... (Sputnik News)
Time to move ‘beyond trade’ in EU-India ties
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Brussels for the EU-India summit on March 30 is good news. The EU and India have much to discuss. There are hopes that Modi will use the long-delayed meeting — India and the EU have not met for summit level talks for four years — to open a new, more dynamic and more adventurous chapter in EU-India relations... (The Statesman)

jueves, 10 de marzo de 2016

2016/03/08 Political Anticipation - LEAP Press review

2016 Anticipations: 12 Up and 22 Down – don't miss the 34 key trends
LEAP/E2020 is offering you, like each year, a summary overview of the key trends in 2016. Besides the intellectual significance of LEAP/E2020’s contribution, which of course reflects many of the analyses of our researchers during the past months, it aims at enabling a better perception of news priorities, while at the same time providing recommendations. This list can actually help the GEAB readers prepare for the coming year. With ten years of a success rate between 69% and 85%, this annual anticipation is a particularly concrete decision-making tool for the coming twelve months. (read more in the GEAB 101)
EU membership strengthens economic 'dynamism': Bank of England
Britain's membership of the European Union reinforces the country's economic "dynamism" but leaves it more exposed to financial shocks, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said Tuesday. Carney expressed the view in a letter to the head of the Treasury Select Committee before facing questions from the cross-party panel of lawmakers on Britain's relationship with the EU ahead of June's referendum on whether the country should remain part of the bloc... (EUBusiness)
Euro-BRICS Young Leaders’ Platform: 1st Euro-BRICS Strategic Planning Meeting, April 2016
It is with great pleasure and pride that we at LEAP present you our next event, designed to take the Euro-BRICS Youth endeavour to the next level! The Euro-BRICS YOUTH Platform was initiated by LEAP after it realised — through its unique method of Political Anticipation — the future-bearing potential of the rapprochement of Europe and the BRICS as a spearhead of global governance reform in a multipolar world. However, given the current global political setup the Euro-BRICS connection does not live up to its full potential... (LEAP - EuroBRICS)
'Game changer': How the EU may shut Turkish door on migrants
A European Union draft deal with Turkey to stop migrants reaching Greece introduces a harder edge of coercion to what critics have derided as a hitherto feeble EU response to a crisis tearing it apart. Just last week, some saw European Council President Donald Tusk running short on ideas when he urged would-be migrants: "Do not come to Europe." UKIP, a party campaigning to take Britain out of the EU at a June referendum, said his "weak plea" was "too little too late to stop the vast migrant flow into Europe". (Reuters)
Valdis Dombrovskis: Caught in the European (Dis)union?
The European Union is confronted with an unprecedented refugee crisis which is threatening its very existence. Is it time for a structural overhaul? Not if you ask Vice President of the EU Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis. 20 years after a border-free Europe was introduced, the European Union's (EU) very existence is threatened. After having to deal with an economic crisis that is still not over, Europe is now facing an unprecedented refugee crisis... (Deutsche Welle)
Europe Is Horrified by Trump, but He’d Fit Right In
His mix of nativism and protectionism has proved a winning formula for far-right parties across the continent. rom the volume of the outrage, you’d think Europeans had never dealt with the likes of Donald Trump before. The French newspaper Libération called him “the American Nightmare.” The German newsweekly Der Spiegel slapped his face on its cover in front of flames crawling up an American flag... (Bloomberg)
Turkey cracks down on Zaman, an opposition newspaper
Late on March 4th, amid a volley of rubber bullets, clouds of tear gas and water cannons, Turkish police stormed the headquarters of Zaman, a daily newspaper, clearing the way for its takeover by a panel of court-appointed trustees. “The constitution has been suspended”, the paper’s front page mournfully proclaimed on Saturday morning. The next day, its first under new management, the cover featured a photo of a smiling Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president; a story about an upcoming Women’s Day reception at his $615m presidential palace; and news of the construction of a new bridge over the Bosporus strait. Overnight, a staunchly critical newspaper with the highest circulation in Turkey appeared to have become a government mouthpiece... (The Economist)
Europe’s new cold war turns digital as Vladimir Putin expands media offensive
Jānis Sārts’s grandfather was sent to Siberia by the Russians. His wife’s aunt was unlucky enough to be deported from Latvia, not only in 1946 but again in 1949 after a short reprieve. Sārts, now the director of Nato’s strategic communications centre of excellence in Riga, responsible for recording and responding to enemy propaganda methods, remembers the long queues for sausage and bread under the Soviet Union. “Sausage you would have once a month,” he recalls... (The Guardian)
Cruz or Trump: A choice between two dangers
Among some people, the new parlor game is choosing who would make the worst president: Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. This is not a lady-or-the-tiger dilemma, but a tiger-or-tiger one. The choice is between a fiercely friendless reactionary and a bombastic, thoroughly dishonest egomaniac. You pick. My choice is Trump. He wins in this close and ugly race even though I consulted a conservative lawyer who knows Cruz and he, to my surprise, chose the senator from Texas. He cited Cruz’s cramped interpretation of the Constitution — and a personality approximating that of a wolverine... (The Washington Post)
US DOLLAR Technical Analysis: Dollar Facing 2016 Lows As Data Picks Up
Do not look now, but the US Dollar is close to printing 2016 lows. We have a scenario on our hands that is uniquely different to 2015 at the same time of year. Last year, the US Dollar was a run-away train into the Ides of March, and then the Fed came out to tell markets that the Fed would not harm the world with a Strong Dollar on their own accord. From there, on March 18 the US Dollar started a steady multi-month decline until August 24 or Black Monday of 2015... (Daily FX)
EU may struggle for balance in ties with China
The European Union will likely struggle to find a balance in relations with China this year, after initiatives such as participating in the Beijing-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank contributed to a warming of ties last year with the world's second-largest economy. On Feb. 15, the head office of the EU in Brussels was surrounded by about 5,000 demonstrators wearing hard hats and carrying banners and signs, who accused China of dumping steel and demanded the protection of jobs in Europe... (Asia Nikkei)
Cancer tumour genetics reveal possible treatment revolution
A landmark discovery into the genetic makeup of tumours has the potential to open a new front in the war on cancer, delivering potent therapies that are tailored to individual patients, scientists have said. The breakthrough comes from research into the genetic complexity of lung and skin cancers which found that even as tumours grow and spread around the body, they carry with them a number of biological “flags” that the immune system can be primed to attack... (The Guardian)
Western Sahara: Young rebels feel betrayed by EU
When UN head Ban Ki-moon visits refugee camps in Algeria on Friday (5 March), he’ll meet a growing number of young people who feel betrayed by Europe and who believe that only violence can regain their homeland. The Sahrawi Arabs, who’ve lived in the desert camps in southern Algeria for 40 years, are a legacy of Africa’s last decolonisation project... (EUObserver)
What China’s Scaling Up Of Global Finance Really Means
Erik Berglof via Caixin | On December 14, the board of governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) approved China’s application for membership. China is, of course, already a shareholder in several global and regional development institutions, but the EBRD is different in its focus on private sector development and explicit promotion of democracy and a market economy. Membership is part of much more ambitions engagement of China in global finance... (The Corner)

Leap Press Review

domingo, 6 de marzo de 2016

2016/03/01 Political Anticipation - LEAP Press review

Brexit is not on the agenda
There are too many interests in the UK, Europe and worldwide related to the Brexit issue. On one side (in Europe), people discuss the necessary compromises to "save face", to the point of agreeing on more of this Europe "à la carte", already enjoyed by the United Kingdom; on the other side, Cameron will have to agree with a minimum to weigh the balance on the remaining side in the EU. Our LEAP team maintains its anticipation of the "REMAIN" victory within the referendum. The government, David Cameron in fact, has no plan B, no Brexit plan. They seem even not to wish for it (in case such a thing happens, it will definitely be Europe's fault ), demonstrating once more the whole vanity and emptiness of the British blackmail... (GEAB by LEAP Subscribe)
Jeremy Corbyn 'not on same side' as David Cameron in EU debate
Jeremy Corbyn has drawn a deeper dividing line with David Cameron over Europe, highlighting the leave campaign’s claims that the UK’s deal with Brussels may not be legally binding. The Labour leader, who supports staying in the EU, categorically ruled out sharing a platform with the prime minister as he seeks to make a completely separate argument against Brexit. He stressed he is “not on the same side of the argument” as Cameron despite both fighting for the remain campaign to win... (The Guardian)

Merkel Warns of `Chaos' in Greece as Refugees Mass at Border
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece needs Europe’s help to keep the refugee crisis from plunging the country into “chaos” as police across the border in Macedonia fired tear gas to keep out thousands of migrants. The violence at Greece’s northern frontier on Monday underscores the risk of a refugee bottleneck in a country that set off Europe’s debt crisis in 2010 and made austerity pledges to win its third international bailout last year. In a television interview, Merkel said shielding Greece is on the agenda of a European Union summit with Turkish officials on March 7... (Bloomberg)

Crowdfunding: "the Rise of the 99%"
While looking to invest wisely, to support the local economy, or to find projects matching your choices, depending on your activity domain, on the ability to create jobs, on innovation, or on ecological, social footprints... crowdfunding and crowdinvesting (start-ups and SMEs own financing) or crowdlending (crowdfunding connected to private loans) provide all investment opportunities to diversify portfolios with the capital of innovative, dynamic and high growth companies. Those are simple and effective tools (via web platforms turning billions of funds) offering significant tax benefits, which are experiencing rapid development, while traditional markets collapse. The collection potential is 1,000 billion dollars for the next ten years, out of which 96 billion could be allocated to emerging countries... (Investment recommendations - GEAB 102)
Irish election creates political puzzle
Irish voters have turned away from the two parties responsible for unpopular austerity measures, but the result from Friday's (26 February) election is unlikely to leave any party with an obvious path to government. With counting still going on in some districts on Monday (29 February), no clear winner has yet emerged from Friday's election. However, prime minister Enda Kenny's coalition has certainly lost its majority. With the results in for 148 of 158 parliament seats, Kenny's centre-right Fine Gael party received around 25 percent of the votes, down from 36 percent in 2011... (EUObserver)

Orban says Hungary faces 'serious challenge' in euro decision
The euro zone's troubles are forcing its member states to forge closer integration and Hungary will have to decide in coming years whether to give up some sovereignty in economic policy and join the group, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday. Orban, in power since 2010, has clashed with Brussels on a range of issues from the economy to immigration. A feisty nationalist, he has often accused the European Union of meddling in areas he says should be the preserve of national governments... (Reuters)
Russia's Economy Is Tanking, So Why Is Putin Smiling?
With Russia mired in the longest recession in two decades, there hasn’t been a lot of good economic news lately. But there’s one indicator that’s looking up, and it’s the one that matters most to Vladimir Putin: His hard-currency reserves. The central bank held $379 billion in foreign exchange and gold as of Feb. 19, up $29 billion from lows touched last April, making Russia the only major emerging market with a gain. While China and Saudi Arabia have spent tens of billions of dollars to shore up their currencies, the central bank in Moscow has gone cold turkey on intervention... (Bloomberg)
Beware of buying in to the ‘merger’ euphemism
It turns out I know more about mergers than I thought. Having studied the details of Deutsche Börse’s proposed deal with the London Stock Exchange this week, I’ve realised that I advised on a near identical Anglo-German transaction a few years back: when the Vincent family “merged” with a second-hand 1.4 litre Volkswagen Polo... (Financial Times)
Guns fall silent in Syria
Guns mostly fell silent in Syria and Russian air raids stopped on Saturday, the first day of a cessation of hostilities that the United Nations has described as the best hope for peace in five years of civil war. Under the U.S.-Russian accord accepted by President Bashar al-Assad's government and many of his foes, fighting should cease so aid can reach civilians and talks can open to end a war that has killed more than 250,000 people and made 11 million homeless... (Reuters)

Aegean zones complicate Nato migrant rescues
Nato on Thursday (25 February) agreed the terms of its Aegean monitoring operation. But small print on migrant rescues is being read in various ways. Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Nato vessels are already in the region doing “surveillance” of “illegal trafficking and illegal migration.” He said Nato’s task “is not to turn back the boats” but to spot boats and alert the Greek and Turkish coastguards and EU border control agency Frontex. With dozens of dinghies crossing each day, he noted that Nato vessels are, under international law, obliged to rescue people at risk of drowning... (EUObserver)
ECB Window for Stimulus Message Closing as Prices Slide
For the next three days, European Central Bank officials will walk a communications tightrope. With the latest inflation figures showing the return of price declines, the window of opportunity is closing for the ECB to signal any stimulus intentions for its March 10 decision before a self-imposed quiet period starts on Thursday. Executive Board member Benoit Coeure, the architect of euro-area quantitative easing, will speak in both Frankfurt and Brussels on Wednesday, with hints also possible from his colleague Sabine Lautenschlaeger and national central bank heads... (Bloomberg)
New bank another BRICS in Beijing’s diplomatic wall
A new $100 billion bank for major emerging nations will sign agreements to establish its headquarters in China on Saturday, the latest step in Beijing’s efforts to re-engineer the world’s financial institutions. The New Development Bank (NDB), set up by the so-called BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has been viewed as a challenge to Washington-based institutions... (Daily Times)
Can a Free Trade Commonwealth replace the EU?
New Zealand MP, Winston Peters has thrown his voice into the great EU referendum debate, by suggesting Britain leaves the EU, and “heal a rift” with the nations of the Commonwealth that emerged when Britain joined the EEC. He has even gone as far as suggesting a Commonwealth free trade area, which has been enthusiastically picked up by the UKIP Commonwealth spokesman. The concept of a Commonwealth free trade area pops up every now and then as an alternative to the EU, but with the referendum on the horizon, it is likely this suggestion will begin to gain more traction... (The London Economic)

India’s Annual Budget: Focus On Agriculture, Rural Economy, Infrastructure
With key state elections coming up later in the year, an image of being friendly to big business at the expense of welfare spending, and with severe droughts affecting large swathes of the country’s rural population, the Indian government announced the national budget Monday, allocating huge sums of money for the rural economy. In his speech to the Parliament, India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the allocation of almost 360 billion rupees (more than $5.25 billion) toward agriculture and farmers’ welfare... (IBTimes)

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