Category Archive : News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Discusses Social Media Privacy With Top Officials

A gathering between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and top state law enforcement officials took place on Tuesday to discuss the ways the government can protect the privacy of social media users. Read More

What’s A Bull Market And How Did We End Up In The Longest One Ever?

A bull market is when stock prices continue increasing by 20 percent from a previous drop of 20 percent, or when the securities market keeps rising. Bull markets can also refer to other markets like housing, investment, or commodities. Read More

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Betsy DeVos Loses Student Loan Forgiveness Lawsuit, Indebted Students Still Commiting Suicide

A new ruling from a federal judge means the U.S. Department of Education has delayed student loan forgiveness for some.

The Attorneys general of 19 states, as well as the Districct of Columbia, sued U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education for delaying a borrower protection rule scheduled to take effect on July 1. Read More

Puerto Rico Finds Hope In Crypto, Cannabis, And Nicolas Cage

Hurricane Maria had a disastrous effect on Puerto Rico, and even though the one-year anniversary of the natural disaster is on September 20th, the island has yet to fully recover.
Read More

Big Bank Experts Predict Global Economic Crisis Like 2008 Crash

Professionals at investment bank JPMorgan say the next global economic crisis will start in 2020.

Experts say the recession due to occur in two years will be less impactful than the 2008 crash, which sent the globe into recession and has been named the worst recession ever. Read More

Zen Magnets Forges on After CPSC Case

Zen Magnets’ existence as a Denver-based Magnet sphere company has not been easy. The company, which once released a Zen Magnets Bitcoin Set, was brought to court over their products and lived to tell about the story. Today, as the only U.S.-based magnet sphere company, the company has pressed on after having their business threatened by federal authorities. Read More

Cloudy Earnings Season Might Spell Troubled Water for Economy

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) Companies aren’t letting investors know what to expect ahead of earnings season. Less than 100 have published their expectations, the least amount since Bloomberg began keeping track in 1999. The latest drop in reports is the quickest on record, down 35% from a year ago. Investors are concerned about a pullback in car sales and a slowdown in merger and acquisition activity.

“There are some warning signs that are getting darker,” said BlackRock’s Larry Fink, in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.  



Gasoline, wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles and apparel all led the declines in the Consumer Price Index.

March figures for U.S. automakers were less than expected and provided evidence that the U.S.’ boom cycle in car sales could be declining. General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shares both declined nearly 4 percent. Ford Motor Co.

Reports indicated that lenders may have been behind the decline in auto sales last month. Verizon Communications Inc reported Thursday that results fell short due to a drop in subscribers paying a monthly bill despite its launch of unlimited data plans. Share declined 2.3% to $47.80 while net income attributable to Verizon dropped to $3.45 billion from $4.31 billion, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier. Total operating revenue fell to $29.81 billion from $32.17 billion a year prior.


After having reached an all-time high on March 1, the S&P 500 Index has been confined to a 55-point range. One week it gains. The next it loses. Deutsche Bank AG showed the Index demonstrated its lowest volatility to begin a new year since 1965.

The US government reported on Friday that price inflation in the US fell for the first time in 13 months (-0.3%). The year over year rate decreased to 2.4%, overshooting the Fed’s goal, but still below the historical average of 3.3%.

Gold suffered its largest one day drop in over six weeks leading into the French presidential election wherein both far-right and far-left candidates could be elected, though centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron apparently is in the lead. The euro increased to a three-week high against the U.S. dollar after Trump made comments that the dollar was too high.

Gold increase 0.16 an ounce to $1,281 an ounce, hitting a five-month high of $1,295.42, then declining. “Even though momentum has been positive there are other factors preventing a quick move higher from here – the sentiment is still that there will be stronger data from the U.S., and yields will probably rise. That will likely limit the upside (for gold),” said ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele.

Equities increased marginally in Europe and the United States decreased safehaven buying demand behind gold. Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, the world’s largest gold backed exchange-traded fund, increased 11.8 tonnes on Wednesday – their biggest one-day inflow since September.



“While the metal is well positioned for a test of $1,300 with geopolitical concerns underpinning its safe-haven status, the failed tests of $1,290 are beginning to weigh upon investor
confidence,” MKS said in a note.

“Supply will struggle to register any growth, and indeed is likely to show a small decline following unusually high production in Russia in 2016. Demand, on the other hand, will continue to expand,” said Johnson Matthey Precious Metals Management in a quarterly report. “Higher vehicle production, combined with an increase in average catalyst loadings at a global level, will drive autocatalyst demand for the metal to another record level.”

Spot palladium increased 3.2 percent to $799.58 an ounce, on track for its biggest one-day jump since early February. Silver, down 0.4 percent at $18.01, while platinum was up 1.1 percent at $973.24.

The experts are optimistic, expecting 9.7 growth in S&P 500 earnings for the March quarter, 12 percent for the full year. Growth estimates were zero as reporting season drew near.over the past two years.

Fink anticipates a 5-10 percent correction. “If we don’t have earnings validated in these higher P/Es we could adjust downward 5 or 10 percent from here,” Fink said. “If the administration does succeed on some of these items then the market will then reassert itself going higher.”

The data in toto could point towards a bearish economic outlook – an excuse for the FOMC to leave interest rates.

A good sign for safehaven assets like cash, bitcoin, gold and silver.

 

Trump Wants Ride in Queen of England’s Golden Carriage for UK Visit



Donald Trump wants a golden carriage procession down the London Mall during his planned UK visit in October in what police believe will likely be the most extensive public order operation in years.

“If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased,” said a source.

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Hundreds of heavily-armed security agents travel with Trump,along with plain-clothed police officers, positioned snipers and firearms officers in the crowds.

The source added: “There may well be protections in that coach such as bulletproof glass, but they are limited. In particular it is very flimsy.”


Image: Shutterstock, The Sun

Inmates Hack Prison’s Computer Network with DIY Computers



Five prisoners in the United States managed to build two personal computers from parts hidden behind a plywood board in the ceiling of a closet of their detention center. The prisoners connected the PC’s to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s (ODRC) network and abused their new found powers.

The actions by the prisoners caused the State of Ohio’s Office of the Inspector General to publish a 50-page report [PDF] about their investigations into the incident this week.

Related: Australian Man Withdrew $2.1 Million Thanks to Bank Error

Ohio Inspector General forensic analysis determined the prisoners issued passes for inmates to gain access to multiple areas within the institution, and used the Departmental Offender Tracking System to steal the personal information of an inmate and apply for five credit cards.

Forensics also found “a large hacker’s toolkit with numerous malicious tools for possible attacks. These malicious tools included password-cracking tools, virtual private network (VPN) tools, network enumeration tools, hand-crafted software, numerous proxy tools, and other software used for various types of malicious activity.”

The prisoners had “self-signed certificates, Pidgin chat accounts, Tor sites, Tor geo exit nodes, ether soft, virtual phone, pornography, videos, VideoLan, and other various software.”

A ODRC technical team reports: “Inmates appeared to have been conducting attacks against the ODRC network using proxy machines that were connected to the inmate and department networks. It appears the Departmental Offender Tracking System portal was attacked and inmate passes were created. Findings of bitcoin wallets, stripe accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts point toward possible identity fraud, along with other possible cybercrimes.”

The Ohio Inspector General was tipped off to the actions of the prisoners after the ODRC IT team moved the Marion Correctional Institution from Microsoft proxy servers to Websense.

On July 3, 2015, Websense sent an email alert reporting that a computer on the ODRC network had exceeded daily internet usage threshold. More alerts were forthcoming, warning of “hacking” and 59 regarding “proxy avoidance.”

So, ODRC investigated. The login credentials by the computer were found to be illicit and a search for the computer itself ensued. The computer was found when ODRC employees identified the network switch the PC’s were connected into.

“I was following up on information received from OSC IT department,” an incident report stated. “I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers. They narrowed the search area down to the switch in P3 and the PC was connected to port 16. I was able to follow the cable from the switch to a closet in the small training room. When I removed the ceiling tiles I found 2 PCs hidden in the ceiling on 2 pieces of plywood.”

The prisoners had gathered the computer parts from Marion’s Correction Institution’s RET3 program, which helps to rehabilitate prisoners by putting them to work breaking PCs into component parts so they can be recycled.

Five inmates were involved, and have since been separated in other correctional facilities, as detailed by the Inspector General report.

ODRC appreciates “the time the Inspector General’s office has taken to conduct these investigations and we have already taken steps to address some areas of concern. We will thoroughly review the reports and take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again.”

It added: “It is of critical importance that we provide necessary safeguards in regards to the use of technology while still providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming.”


Images: Shutterstock

Royal Canadian Mint Releases Coins Celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary

 

2017 $10 Fine Silver Coin - Celebrating Canada's 150th - Wild Swift Fox and Pups_ReverseThe Royal Canadian Mint is a favorite coin producer for precious metals investors. Many prefer the Mint’s 24k gold offerings or maybe the .9999 silver bullion. To investor delight, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled its fourth numismatic line for 2017.

Of note, the Mint celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary in this line, including an ultra-high relief 10 oz fine silver coin featuring the 1867 Confederation Medal and an obverse of Their Majesties Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. The new line of coins celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary even features fireworks that light up!



Another 2017 $10 Fine Silver Coin – Celebrating Canada’s 150th: Wild Swift Fox and Pups, features the photography of Saskatchewan’s John E. Marriott.

The 2017 $5 Fine Silver Coin was designed by Tony Bianco and features a traditional Canada Day fireworks display surrounding a colored Canadian flag.

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The fireworks will light up thanks to the inclusion of glow-in-the-dark technology.

Police Take Tank Collector’s £2million in Gold Bullion Found in Vehicle’s Fuel Compartment



When a tank collector bought a new tank for £30,000 trade-in, he found more than £2million of gold bullion hidden in the tank’s fuel tank. And then, the police took the precious metals.

Nick Mead found five gold bars while restoring the Russian T54/69 he recently added to his collection of 150 military vehicles.

The 55-year old and his mechanic friend Todd Chamberlain filmed the finding of the gold in case they found munitions and needed to show it to bomb disposal crews. They found instead gold bars weighing up to 12 pounds or 5 kilograms each. The bars are altogether worth more than £2million, reports The Sun. But, the tank collector is no longer in possession of that ancient money.

He said: “We didn’t know what to do. You can’t exactly take five gold bullion bars down to Cash Converters without questions being asked, so we called the police.”

Mr. Mead owns Tanks-a-Lot, where customers can drive any of his tanks on his farm located in Helmdon, Northants in the United Kingdom. He gave up an Army lorry and an Abbot self-propelled gun to procure the T54/69 in the £30,000 after seeing the tank advertised on eBay.

They had found machine gun ammunition before finding the gold. They think the gold was looted by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait during the Gulf War where-after the tank was captured and shipped to Britain.

Nick said: “They must have cut a hole in the fuel tank and rammed it full of gold bars.”

Two officers took away the bars and gave them a receipt.

Nick said: “Even if I don’t get any of the gold back I will still have my beautiful tank.”

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman did not comment to press.



Americans Don’t Necessarily Believe Government Statistics (Especially Republicans)

Partisanship determines how people see CBO and government output on government statistics, including the jobless rate and even the Census according a new survey by YouGov. U.S. citizens pick and choose what they believe. Republicans are generally more skeptical of the government. Democrats and Republicans, to be sure, have similar reactions on other government stats.

Related: Donald Trump Said He’d Consider a Gold Standard


A majority of Democrats believe most government statistics are reliable, but less than half of Republicans think so; 42% of Republicans, on the other hand, believe few or no statistics provided by government.

For instance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million would lose health insurance under the Republican plan. Neither Democrats nor Republicans believed the government numbers, as 46% of Democrats believed more people will lose health insurance and 46% of Republicans believed fewer people will lose health insurance.

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Both parties believe the Census Bureau undercounted how many U.S. in 2010, and many doubt numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, suggesting the agency under-reports the true numbers.
Many Republicans believe the crime rate has increased over the last twenty years. The government says they have decreased.

Republicans and Democrats are both likely to believe government statistics when it comes to warming global temperatures — pluralities in both parties say the NASA and NOAA reports are correct.

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However, while three in four Democrats say human activity is the cause, only 29% of Republicans believe this so.

Not much has changed since YouGov did the same survey in January 2015, when 45 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of Republicans saw all or most public statistics as reliable and accurate.

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The data is similar to a trend detected by a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll released last fall in which more than 4 and 10 Americans were found to somewhat or completely distrust the federal government economic data.

Nearly half of Americans, and a supermajority of Trump voters, don’t believe unemployment rates, inflation numbers, household spending figures, health insurance coverage rates, gross domestic product growth and other stats.

Image: Shutterstock

Pound Might Collapse by the End of the Year, says Deutsche Bank

Deutsche bank heads believe Britain could soon pay for leaving the European Union (EU). The bank has issued a startlingly pessimistic outlook for 2017, reporting they believe the pound could fall to $1.06 against the dollar by the end of the year. 

But that’s not all, as reported by Express. According to Deutsche Bank, the pound could reach parity with the euro, representing a 15 percent decline against the dollar and euro. “We do not see sterling (currently) fully pricing a hard Brexit outcome,” said Deutsche bank in a 45-page report about Brexit. “Combined with limited adjustment in the UK’s current account deficit and slowing growth, we see further downside, and forecast $1.06 in by year-end.”



George Saravelos, Deutsche Bank’s global co-head of foreign exchange, said the pound could fall 16 percent – that would be to $1.05 – due to the “incredibly complicated” exit of Britain from the European Union. This week, the sterling traded at approximately $1.25 against the dollar.

Despite Deutsche Bank’s stormy prediction in Britain, the massive bank just announced it would open a new branch in London. Even as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley said they would begin moving jobs.

The IMF Says Donald Trump is Good for the American Economy



As Trump is planned stimulus to pump money to upgrade bridges, roads and other parts of the nation’s infrastructure, and cutting corporate and personal taxes, the IMF is saying the President Trump could  be good for U.S. economy.

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund said Sunday that President Donald Trump will probably be good for the American economy in the short term. She did say rising interest rates and a strengthening dollar will be tough for global trade.

Also Read: Donald Trump Said He’d Consider a Gold Standard

Ms. Lagarde cited Trump’s plans for investment in U.S. infrastructure and his likely tax reforms could do well for America’s economic fortunes. Donald Trump’s policies might be felt in the rest of the world.

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“That’s a tightening that is going to be difficult on the global economy and for which economies have to prepare,” Lagarde said during an event at the World Government Summit in Dubai as reported by USA Today.

Lagarde discussed a creeping and “insidious” anti-globalization movement which has led to a rise in protectionist views. “We have been saying globalization is great, international trade is great — and it is,” she said. “But we have not looked at those who were badly, negatively impacted.” Instead of citing derivatives and bad loans, she cited robots and shrinking incomes of the global middle class.

Regarding Trump in the White House, Lagarde tread lightly, saying “this is really a work in progress — there’s been of announcements, a lot of tweets, a lot of things being said.” She pointed towards the importance of data and facts in decision making.

“I know it’s not fashionable at the moment, but I think that facts, figures (and) actual assessment of the reality matter and that we have to be honest about it,” she said.

Her comments mirror IMF statements in January, when the said that a stimulus in spending under Trump should bode well for the U.S. economy.

The IMF’s recent optimism towards the U.S economy comes as the world awaits how the Trump administration will approach global governance.

The IMF’s most recent growth forecast for 2017 is 2.3%, an incremental increase from its 2.2% made in October. Next

Trump has claimed his economic policies would mean a 4% pace.

The IMF called its forecast for the U.S. the most probable of a “wide range of possible scenarios,” citing uncertainty over Trump and a Republican controlled congress will spell.

If Donald Trump pursues stimulus measures above the IMF forecast, U.S growth could prove even stronger. Donald Trump protectionism could stifle the growth.

The IMF’s tune was different during the Presidential election, when they sugested that Trump’s protectionism wold be bad for world economy.

“For two decades before the 2000s, global trade regularly grew by 7%, or twice the rate of the world economy. Today, however, trade growth is below that of the global economy – at about 2%,” Lagarde said.

“There is a growing risk of politicians seeking office by promising to ‘get tough’ with foreign trade partners through punitive tariffs or other restrictions on trade. I am deeply concerned about this – not only because I was a minister of trade, but because trade has been at the heart of the IMF’s mandate for more than 70 years.”



The European Union Wants to Create a Public Bank for Continent’s Toxic Debt



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£910BILLION worth of bad debt could collapse the European Union banking system. The “urgent and actionable” reality in Europe, which has left to increasingly radical parties claiming seats in the continent’s parliaments, has led to regulators on the continent plan for a “bad bank” contingency. Such a “bad bank” would effectively collectivize among the taxpayers the bad bets made by banks on the continent. 

According to Andrea Enria, chairman of the European Banking Authority, EU’s banking problems have become “urgent and actionable.”  Mr Enria recommended an EU “bad bank” be created in order to buy up toxic loans and fix the forlorn economy. The bad bank would use taxpayer funds to buy bad loans from struggling lenders.

Related: The Truth About Gold Buying in Europe

The EU is reportedly researching the ways in which regulators can reduce failing bank loans. A report, co-written by national finance ministries, is due in March, Express UK reports.

EU banking system is burdened by  €1.06trillion in toxic debt. That’s 5.4 percent of the entire EU’s total loans.  Approximately 10 EU states have an average bad loan ratio of 10 percent.