Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Folly of Prudence, IMF Edition - The New York Times

The Folly of Prudence, IMF Edition - The New York Times:

"This, from Brad Setser, is infuriating. He notes that even now the IMF is advocating fiscal contraction almost everywhere — the euro area, Japan, China — and fiscal expansion almost nowhere."

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One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth - The New York Times

One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth - The New York Times:

 "Another Earth could be circling the star right next door to us."

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Turkish Military Begins Major Offensive Into Syria in Fight Against ISIS - The New York Times

Turkish Military Begins Major Offensive Into Syria in Fight Against ISIS - The New York Times:

"ISTANBUL — Turkey mounted on Wednesday its largest military effort yet in the Syrian conflict, sending tanks, warplanes and special operations forces over the border in a United States-backed drive to capture an Islamic State stronghold in Syria."

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Large Earthquake Strikes Central Italy - The New York Times

Large Earthquake Strikes Central Italy - The New York Times:

"An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 struck central Italy early Wednesday morning, the United States Geological Survey reported."

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Report Accuses Mexico’s President of Plagiarism in Law School Thesis - The New York Times

Report Accuses Mexico’s President of Plagiarism in Law School Thesis - The New York Times:

"Already reeling from corruption scandals and a declining security situation, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico was accused on Sunday of plagiarizing nearly a third of his law school thesis, according to a report by an investigative journalist."

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Trump’s Empire, Hazy Ties and $650 Million in Debt

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. An investigation into the real estate holdings of Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, found complex partnerships and debts of at least double the amount to be gleaned from public filings he has made amid his campaign. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one.
But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.
For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.
Real estate projects often involve complex ownership and mortgage structures. And given Mr. Trump’s long real estate career in the United States and abroad, as well as his claim that his personal wealth exceeds $10 billion, it is safe to say that no previous major party presidential nominee has had finances nearly as complicated.
As president, Mr. Trump would have substantial sway over monetary and tax policy, as well as the power to make appointments that would directly affect his own financial empire. He would also wield influence over legislative issues that could have a significant impact on his net worth, and would have official dealings with countries in which he has business interests.
Yet The Times’s examination underscored how much of Mr. Trump’s business remains shrouded in mystery. He has declined to disclose his tax returns or allow an independent valuation of his assets.
Earlier in the campaign, Mr. Trump submitted a 104-page federal financial disclosure form. It said his businesses owed at least $315 million to a relatively small group of lenders and listed ties to more than 500 limited liability companies. Though he answered the questions, the form appears to have been designed for candidates with simpler finances than his, and did not require disclosure of portions of his business activities.

Mr. Trump at the Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office building in Washington, which is nearing completion. The federal government, which owns the land, gave a 60-year lease to a limited liability company controlled by Mr. Trump and members of his family. In return, the government receives at least $3 million a year. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Beyond finding that companies owned by Mr. Trump had debts of at least $650 million, The Times discovered that a substantial portion of his wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders, including those that hold the loan on the Avenue of the Americas building. If those loans were to go into default, Mr. Trump might not be held personally liable, but the value of his investments would sink.
Mr. Trump has said that if he were elected president, his children would be likely to run his company. Many presidents, to avoid any appearance of a conflict, have placed their holdings in blind trusts, which typically involves selling the original asset, and replacing it with different assets unknown to the seller.
Mr. Trump’s children seem unlikely to pursue that option.
Richard W. Painter, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota and, from 2005 to 2007, the chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush, compared Mr. Trump to Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs whom Mr. Bush appointed as Treasury secretary.
Professor Painter advised Mr. Paulson on his decision to sell his Goldman Sachs shares, saying it was clear that Mr. Paulson could not simply have placed that stock in trust and pretended it did not exist.
If Mr. Trump were to use a blind trust, the professor said, it would be “like putting a gold watch in a box and pretending you don’t know it is in there.”

‘We Overdisclosed’

“I am the king of debt,” Mr. Trump once said on CNN. “I love debt.” But in his career, debt has sometimes gotten the better of him, leading to at least four business bankruptcies.
He is, however, quick to stress that these days his companies have very little debt.
Mr. Trump indicated in the financial disclosure form he filed in connection with this campaign that he was worth at least $1.5 billion, and has said publicly that the figure is actually greater than $10 billion. Recent estimates by Forbes and Fortune magazines and Bloomberg have put his worth at less than $5 billion.


What Donald J. Trump Owns and Owes

The Republican presidential nominee has an interest in more than 30 U.S. properties, roughly half of which have debt on them.
OPEN Graphic

To gain a better understanding of Mr. Trump’s holdings and debt, The Times engaged RedVision Systems, a national property information firm, to search publicly available data on more than 30 properties in the United States. The Times identified these assets through Federal Election Commission filings, information provided by the Trump Organization and records, such as filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The search covered thousands of pages of public information, including loan documents, land leases and property deeds. It concentrated on Mr. Trump’s commercial holdings, including office towers, golf courses, a vineyard in Virginia and even an industrial building in South Carolina that he ended up with after a troubled business venture involving Donald Trump Jr. The inquiry also examined some of Mr. Trump’s residential properties, including his penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue and a house he owns in Beverly Hills, Calif. The examination did not include Mr. Trump’s dealings outside the United States.
That Mr. Trump seems to have so much less debt on his disclosure form than what The Times found is not his fault, but rather a function of what the form asks candidates to list and how.
The form, released by the Federal Election Commission, asks that candidates list assets and debts not in precise numbers, but in ranges that top out at $50 million — appropriate for most candidates, but not for Mr. Trump. Through its examination, The Times was able to discern the amount of debt taken out on each property, and its ownership structure.
At 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, a limited liability company, or L.L.C., controlled by Mr. Trump holds the ground lease — the lease for the land on which the building stands. In 2015, Mr. Trump borrowed $160 million from Ladder Capital, a small New York firm, using that long-term lease as collateral. On his financial disclosure form that debt is listed as valued at more than $50 million.
Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, said that Mr. Trump could have left the liability section on the form blank, because federal law requires that presidential candidates disclose personal liabilities, not corporate debt. Mr. Trump, he said, has no personal debt.
“We overdisclosed,” Mr. Weisselberg said, explaining that it was decided that when a Trump company owned 100 percent of a property, all of the associated debt would be disclosed, something that he said went beyond what the law required.

Donald J. Trump-branded goods in Trump Tower in Manhattan. Mr. Trump has said that if he were elected president, his children would be likely to run his company. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Filing Taken at ‘Face Value’

For properties where a Trump company owned less than 100 percent of a building, Mr. Weisselberg said, those debts were not disclosed.
Mr. Trump, for example, has a 50 percent stake in the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. In 2010, the company that owns the hotel refinanced a $190 million loan, according to Real Capital Analytics, a commercial real estate data and analytics firm.
Mr. Weisselberg said that a Trump entity was responsible for half the debt, and that all but $6.4 million of the loan had been paid off.
The Times found three other instances in which Mr. Trump had an ownership interest in a building but did not disclose the debt associated with it. In all three cases, Mr. Trump had passive investments in limited liability companies that had borrowed significant amounts of money.
One of these investments involves an office tower at 1290 Avenue of Americas, near Rockefeller Center. In a typically complex deal, loan documents show that four lenders — German American Capital, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank; UBS Real Estate Securities; Goldman Sachs Mortgage Company; and Bank of China — agreed in November 2012 to lend $950 million to the three companies that own the building. Those companies, obscurely named HWA 1290 III LLC, HWA 1290 IV LLC and HWA 1290 V LLC, are owned by three other companies in which Mr. Trump has stakes.
Ultimately, through his investments, Mr. Trump is a 30 percent owner of the building, records show. Vornado Realty Trust owns the other 70 percent and is the controlling partner.
A similar ownership structure is in place at 555 California Street in San Francisco, formerly the Bank of America Center. There, Pacific Life Insurance Company and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company lent $600 million in 2011 to a limited liability company of which Vornado owns 70 percent and Mr. Trump owns 30 percent.

The clock tower of the Old Post Office building, which is just a few blocks from the White House and being developed into Trump International Hotel. Credit Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Green Street Advisors, a real estate research firm, estimates the combined value of the two buildings to be about $3.7 billion.
On a smaller scale, Mr. Trump also has a 4 percent partnership interest in a company that has an interest in a large Brooklyn housing complex, and owes roughly $410 million to Wells Fargo, according to Bloomberg data.
The full terms of Mr. Trump’s limited partnerships are not known. The current value of the loans connected to them is roughly $1.95 billion, according to various public documents.
Mr. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, said that neither Mr. Trump nor the company were responsible for the debt associated with the limited partnerships.
Still, as with all of the properties in which Mr. Trump holds an interest, the value of the buildings as well as the terms and magnitude of their debt could have a major impact on his personal fortune.
Mr. Trump, Mr. Weisselberg added, was liable for a “small percentage of the corporate debt” listed on the federal filing but would not elaborate.
Other instances in which Mr. Trump could be personally responsible can be found in public filings. He guaranteed as much as $26 million for the loan taken out against his land lease at 40 Wall Street, money the lender could take if certain things went wrong.

A view from inside Trump Tower. Tracing the ownership of many of Donald J. Trump’s buildings can be a complicated task. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
The United States Office of Government Ethics, which reviewed Mr. Trump’s financial filing before the F.E.C. released it, said it does not comment on submissions by individual candidates.
The agency’s procedures for staff members reviewing presidential submissions, a copy of which was obtained by The Times through a Freedom of Information Act request, say the Office of Government Ethics does not audit reports for accuracy.
“Disclosures are to be taken at ‘face value’ as correct, unless there is a patent omission or ambiguity or the official has independent knowledge of matters outside the report,” the procedures say.

A Web of Investments

Tracing the ownership of many of Mr. Trump’s buildings can be a complicated task. Sometimes he owns a building and the land underneath it; sometimes, he holds a partial interest or just the commercial portion of a property.
And in some cases, the identities of his business partners are obscured behind limited liability companies — raising the prospect of a president with unknown business ties.
At 40 Wall Street, Mr. Trump does not own even a sliver of the actual land; his long-term ground lease gives him the right to improve and manage the building. The land is owned by two limited liability companies; Mr. Trump pays the two entities a total of $1.6 million a year for the ground lease, according to documents filed with the S.E.C.
The majority owner, 40 Wall Street Holdings Corporation, owns 80 percent of the land; New Scandic Wall Limited Partnership owns the rest, according to public documents. New Scandic Wall Limited Partnership’s chief executive is Joachim Ferdinand von Grumme-Douglas, a businessman based in Europe, according to these documents.


¿Hacia la privatización de la educación?

Enrique Calderón Alzati
i bien en los planteamientos gubernamentales no se menciona de manera alguna que el objetivo real de la llamada reforma educativasea la privatización de la educación pública, los indicios de que, en esencia, esto es lo que persigue el gobierno de Peña Nieto para consumar el mayor de sus engaños al pueblo de México, son más claros cada día; de manera particular, con los anuncios recientes que resaltan la gratuidad de la enseñanza y de los libros de texto.
A un segmento importante de la población mexicana la idea de que el gobierno pretenda privatizar la educación le parece lejana y absurda, sabiendo que varios millones de familias viven en condiciones de pobreza que les impedirían pagar colegiatura alguna, además de representar una política contraria a la de los anteriores gobiernos.
¿Cuáles son las razones para privatizar la educación y cuáles los intereses que están en juego? ¿Hasta dónde podría llegar el proyecto privatizador y cuál sería la suerte de los niños de las familias más pobres? ¿Cuál sería el futuro del país que se construiría a partir de la instrumentación de este proyecto? Para contestar estas preguntas he preparado el artículo que ahora comparto con los lectores de La Jornada.
Comienzo dando una idea de las dimensiones del negocio que representa la educación básica, constituida actualmente por algo más de 25 millones de estudiantes, cuyo costo anual promedio para el gobierno fuese de 12 mil pesos por estudiante a costos actuales. Ello significa 300 mil millones de pesos por año. Esto implica que las dimensiones del mercado educativo permitirían en unos cuantos años generar fortunas de grandes dimensiones para unos cuantos empresarios amigos de los funcionarios en turno, y desde luego también para éstos, dados los niveles de corrupción.
Existen, sin duda, escuelas privadas de alta calidad; sin embargo, la mayoría presentan resultados similares o más pobres que los de las públicas (según resultados de Enlace 2008 a 2014), bien sea por carencias de recursos o por el afán de lucro de sus dueños. Pero el modelo en que están pensando los empresarios, deseosos de invertir en educación es diferente: la creación de franquicias educativas, cadenas formadas por centenas o millares de escuelas que funcionen compartiendo una marca y un emblema en el que la calidad educativa, tan en boca entre las autoridades actuales, pueda ser fabricada y atornillada en el cerebro de los padres de familia con mensajes televisivos adecuados, lo que desde luego explica el interés en laeducación de calidad de Televisa y de Mexicanos Primero.
La generación de franquicias alternas, con costos diferenciados para las familias de diferentes niveles económicos, constituye hoy una experiencia real, lograda por el Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) con sus diversos campus y su proyecto alternativo denominado Tec Milenio, así como la experiencia de la empresa asiática, dueña de la Universidad del Valle de México, con sus programas diferenciados para distintos niveles socioeconómicos. Todo sería así, cuestión de creatividad, mercadotecnia e inversión.
Por otra parte, los apoyos de la OCDE, el banco Mundial y el FMI al Presidente, por sus reformas estructurales, nos indican que esos organismos ligados a los grandes capitales financieros, también están interesados en el mercado educativo mexicano. ¿Cuál es la razón de estos intereses internacionales? Para encontrar la respuesta debemos ubicarnos en el fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, a partir del cual el capital estadunidense y de grupos financieros europeos obtuvieron enormes ganancias mediante financiar la reconstrucción de Europa y Japón (la metáfora de Rico McPato, nadando en una piscina de dinero, era falsa; el capital requiere ser invertido para crecer). El financiamiento de los grandes proyectos gubernamentales ayudó sin duda al desarrollo de nuestro país, constituyendo también sólidas utilidades para los diversos grupos financieros durante décadas.
Sin embargo, los avances tecnológicos de la informática y las comunicaciones digitales han permitido un crecimiento acelerado de las operaciones bancarias, haciendo posible el manejo de enormes volúmenes de créditos, que al ser colocados en los mercados de servicios y consumo de particulares, han incrementado las utilidades del sistema bancario en su conjunto. De esta manera, el sistema financiero puede triplicar o cuadruplicar sus ingresos, otorgando créditos personales para la educación, en comparación con esos mismos volúmenes de crédito otorgados al gobierno.
Por esta razón, los capitales financieros han destinado una parte importante de sus recursos a financiar la compra de automóviles, reduciendo a corto plazo las necesidades de los grandes proyectos de transporte púbico. ¿Cuál era el porcentaje de familias que podían tener un automóvil en 1960? Pareciera que hemos avanzado mucho, pero lo que ha sucedido es que hemos construido ciudades donde transportarse es más un dolor de cabeza que una solución inteligente, generando grandes utilidades para los bancos, las aseguradoras y sus dueños, acompañados de graves problemas de tráfico, contaminación y enfermedades para la población.
Un elemento decisivo para el éxito de estos negocios es la debilidad humana: además de buscar una solución al problema del transporte, vemos en los automóviles un medio para obtener estatus social. Me atrevo a afirmar que lo que se pretenderá vender mediante el negocio de la educación privada será igual, más estatus que conocimientos y competencias para los hijos, deformando la educación y la permeabilidad social.
Finalmente, para quienes dirigen el gobierno la privatización masiva de la educación les representaría una gran ventaja: la población a atender sería significativamente menor y además podría ser objeto de adiestramientos básicos y conocimientos mínimos, asegurándoles el control de esa población mediante un esquema clientelar de carácter nacional, ni más ni menos que la piedra angular con la que han soñado varios grupos de poder, la utopía del Mundo Feliz imaginada por Aldous Huxley, hace más de 80 años.
Esta es una de las razones y la dimensión de la lucha actual del magisterio disidente que se niega a aceptar la reforma y el modelo educativo que el gobierno y sus asociados pretenden imponernos de manera autoritaria, con el apoyo de los más oscuros intereses. Por ello el soporte de la sociedad toda a los maestros es fundamental. Debemos impedir la instrumentación de esta política.
Sólo hay algo a lo que los hombres con cargos públicos temen más que la educación de sus súbditos... Arturo Pérez Reverte,Hombres buenos.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Obamacare Hits a Bump by Paul Krugman

More than two and a half years have gone by since the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, went fully into effect. Most of the news about health reform since then has been good, defying the dire predictions of right-wing doomsayers. But this week has brought some genuine bad news: The giant insurer Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of many of the “exchanges,” the special insurance markets the law established.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

U.S. to Phase Out Use of Private Prisons for Federal Inmates


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said on Thursday that it would begin to phase out the use of private for-profit prisons to house federal inmates. The Bureau of Prisons had resorted to such prisons to ease overcrowding as the incarceration rate soared, but the number of federal inmates has been dropping since 2013.

Donald Trump’s Crucial Pillar of Support, White Men, Shows Weakness - The New York Times

Donald Trump’s Crucial Pillar of Support, White Men, Shows Weakness - The New York Times:

"Donald J. Trump’s support among white men, the linchpin of his presidential campaign, is showing surprising signs of weakness that could foreclose his only remaining path to victory in November."

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7 Chicago Officers Face Firing Over Laquan McDonald Cover-Up - The New York Times

7 Chicago Officers Face Firing Over Laquan McDonald Cover-Up - The New York Times:

"CHICAGO — Chicago’s police superintendent called for the firing of seven officers for their response to a colleague’s fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014, a case that incited widespread protests here and led to accusations of a cover-up."

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From Fins Into Hands: Scientists Discover a Deep Evolutionary Link - The New York Times

From Fins Into Hands: Scientists Discover a Deep Evolutionary Link - The New York Times:

"To help his readers fathom evolution, Charles Darwin asked them to consider their own hands.


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Fed by Neil Irwin

The quandary facing the Federal Reserve this summer is the same as it was back in the spring, and winter, and last fall: By traditional guideposts like the unemployment rate, it looks as if it is time for the Fed to be raising interest rates. Yet the global economy seems to be locked in a low-growth, low-inflation world in which raising interest rates is at best unnecessary and at worst dangerous.
That tension was on display Wednesday in the minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting, which raised the possibility of rate increases as early as September.
As is the Fed’s standard practice, the description of the meeting was stripped of names and summarized in bloodless language. But reading between the lines, it is clear there was a rich debate over what factors the Fed should be weighing, and how, in making its next move.
Some policy makers saw evidence that the labor market was getting tighter, the result of which should be higher wages and prices. Others “saw little evidence that inflation was responding much” to the low jobless rate. With inflation low, “many judged it was appropriate to wait for additional information” before considering raising rates.
“Several” suggested there would be plenty of time to react if inflation did rise and so wanted to defer raising rates until it was clear inflation was holding near its desired target of 2 percent. “Some other participants” viewed the economy as already being near full employment, meaning that another rate increase “was or would soon be” warranted.
The result of all that debate at the July 26-27 meeting was affirming the status quo — agreement that “it was prudent to accumulate more data in order to gauge the underlying momentum in the labor market and economic activity” and that “members judged it appropriate to continue to leave their policy options open and maintain the flexibility to adjust the stance of policy based on incoming information.”


Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, continues to face a tricky situation in deciding what to do about interest rates. Credit Charles Krupa/Associated Press

That continues a volatile year for market perceptions of when, and how much, the Fed might make the shift toward tighter money. At the start of 2016, it seemed nearly certain the Fed would follow up its interest rate increase in December with more of them this year.
Weak growth in the United States and abroad, combined with a volatile first half of the year in financial markets, drove the odds of a rate increase down to 12 percent by July 1, based on prices in futures markets. That had gone back up to 53 percent by Tuesday. (It edged down very slightly, to 51 percent, after the release of the minutes Wednesday.)
In public comments this week, Fed officials have suggested that markets are underrating the possibility of a September rate increase.
“We’re edging closer toward the point in time where it will be appropriate, I think, to raise interest rates further,” the New York Fed president, William C. Dudley, told Fox Business on Tuesday. The Atlanta Fed president, Dennis Lockhart, told reporters that one or two rate increases are possible this year and that economic data would suggest strong consideration of raising rates next month.
The Fed faces a profound question: Is the basic framework it has used over the last generation to set monetary policy the correct one in this moment, or has something fundamental shifted in the global economy that calls for a new one?
If this is just a standard economic expansion that has been slowed by some bad luck, then the central bank’s usual rules apply. That rule book involves examining how close the economy is to functioning at its full potential, and trying to move up and down to keep on that steady path so as not to let inflation get out of control.
By that standard, it is past time to be raising interest rates. The unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, around the level the Fed believes is sustainable in the longer term, and job growth is strong. Inflation was 1.4 percent over the last year, according to the index the Fed watches most closely, not too far below the 2 percent the Fed aims for. And mainstream economic models project it should rise in the years ahead given the relatively tight job market.

From the Minutes

But there is plenty of evidence — and a vocal contingent of officials inside the central bank — that the usual way of thinking isn’t quite working.
For one thing, the rest of the world is growing so slowly that it is creating a steady downdraft on inflation and growth that may mean the usual worries about inflation don’t apply. Rising wages for American workers over the last year or so have been counteracted by other forces preventing inflation from taking off, including falling energy prices and slack demand for goods and services from overseas.
Moreover, any step the Fed takes toward tightening the United States money supply seems to be offset by an opposite reaction elsewhere. With other countries easing monetary policy with ultralow interest rates and quantitative easing, small moves to tighten American policies have created outsize rallies in the dollar, which disadvantages American exporters and creates ripple effects through the global credit system.
That has led Fed officials to steadily mark down both their expectations for how quickly to raise short-term interest rate and where those rates will settle in the longer run — meaning they think that low rates may be more a new normal than a short-term aberration.
The San Francisco Fed president, John Williams, raised the possibility this week of more significant change in how the Fed thinks about its goals, even raising the possibility of increasing the Fed’s 2 percent target for inflation, or of the Fed’s replacing its inflation target with a goal for nominal gross domestic product.
The Fed chairwoman, Janet L. Yellen, will have a prime opportunity to elaborate on her own views in this debate next week, in a scheduled speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
But for now, Fed officials are openly discussing the need to approach policy choices differently, and holding off from interest rate increases as a result, but not quite concluding that the old rules no longer apply and embracing an alternate approach.
It’s an awkward place for a central bank to be, but until Ms. Yellen and her colleagues can find consensus around what the new framework for monetary policy ought to be — or conclude that the old models still have some usefulness — the uncertainty evident in the July minutes won’t change.

China Launches Quantum Satellite in Bid to Pioneer Secure Communications - The New York Times

China Launches Quantum Satellite in Bid to Pioneer Secure Communications - The New York Times:

"BEIJING — China launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite from the Gobi Desert early Tuesday, a major step in the country’s bid to be at the forefront of quantum research, which could lead to new, completely secure methods of transmitting information."

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nicholas Dirks Resigns as Chancellor of University of California, Berkeley - The New York Times

Nicholas Dirks Resigns as Chancellor of University of California, Berkeley - The New York Times:

"The chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, announced his resignation on Tuesday amid criticism over how he had handled sexual harassment cases involving high-profile faculty members and the university’s budget."

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Son of El Chapo Is Kidnapped at Gunpoint From a Party in Mexico - The New York Times

Son of El Chapo Is Kidnapped at Gunpoint From a Party in Mexico - The New York Times:

 "MEXICO CITY — The abduction was notable for how and where it took place — during a birthday party at a restaurant in the Mexican Pacific Coast resort of Puerto Vallarta — and because the kidnappers and the victims are criminals."

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Univision Wins Auction for Bankrupt Gawker - The New York Times

Univision Wins Auction for Bankrupt Gawker - The New York Times:

"Gawker Media, whose fierce independence afforded it an unsparing approach to web journalism that influenced news organizations across the internet and the wider media world, was sold to Univision at auction on Tuesday, giving the freewheeling company an outside owner for the first time since its founding 14 years ago."

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Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change - The New York Times

Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change - The New York Times:

 "Climate change is never going to announce itself by name. But this is what we should expect it to look like."

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The Demise of a Guatemalan Prison Lord - The New York Times

The Demise of a Guatemalan Prison Lord - The New York Times:

"On July 18, Guatemala’s most infamous — and powerful — prisoner, Byron Lima Oliva, was shot to death in the Pavón prison outside Guatemala City. While it was a fellow prisoner who, the authorities said, put two bullets in Mr. Lima’s head, in all likelihood the intellectual authors of the killing hail from the highest echelons of the state and the moneyed elite. In Guatemala, it is often impossible to tell where the state ends and the underworld begins."

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Early Voting Limits Donald Trump’s Time to Turn Campaign Around - The New York Times

Early Voting Limits Donald Trump’s Time to Turn Campaign Around - The New York Times:

 "Advisers to Donald J. Trump keep reassuring Republicans that there is still plenty of time to rescue his candidacy — nearly three months to counter Hillary Clinton’s vast operation in swing states and get Mr. Trump on message."

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Evictions by Armed Men Rattle a Mexican Tourist Paradise - The New York Times

Evictions by Armed Men Rattle a Mexican Tourist Paradise - The New York Times:

 "TULUM, Mexico — By the time Renaud Jacquet arrived at his compound of rental beach villas, invaders were crawling all over the place."

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