Hyperinflation has driven thousands to seek out unorthodox currency.
From The Atlantic.com – Rene Chun In Venezuela, home to some of the worst hyperinflation since the Weimar Republic, a Big Mac costs about half a month’s wages. Or rather, it did, until a bread shortage forced the burger off the menu. The annual inflation rate is expected to hit 1,600 percent. Life resembles an old newsreel: long lines, empty shelves, cashiers weighing stacks of bills.
To survive, thousands of Venezuelans have taken to minería bitcoin—mining bitcoin, the cryptocurrency. Lend computer processing power to the blockchain (the bitcoin network’s immense, decentralized ledger) and you will be rewarded with bitcoin. To contribute more data-crunching power, and earn more bitcoin, people operate racks of specialized computers known as “miners.” Whether a mining operation is profitable hinges on two main factors: bitcoin’s market value—which has hit record highs this year—and the price of electricity, needed to run the powerful hardware.
After months of preparing financial markets for this news, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce that it will finally begin shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.
I know, that probably sound reeeeally boring. A bunch of central bankers talking about their balance sheet. But it’s phenomenally important. And I’ll explain why-
When the Global Financial Crisis started in 2008, the Federal Reserve (along with just about every central bank in the world) took the unprecedented step of conjuring trillions of dollars out of thin air. In the Fed’s case, it was roughly $3.5 trillion, about 25% of the size of the entire US economy at the time. That’s a lot of money.
And after nearly a decade of this free money policy, there is more money in the financial system than ever before.
In a move many people thought would never happen, the Catalan parliament approved a referendum that would allow a vote on the region’s independence from Spain. The central government seeks intervention from the Constitutional Court. But short of invasion who is going to stop the vote?
The Spanish government has accused the Catalan Parliament of committing a “constitutional and democratic atrocity” by approving legislation to allow next month’s bitterly disputed independence referendum to go ahead.
Four years ago, JPMorgan Chase reached a then-record settlement with the Department of Justice after, among other things, the bank received a copy of a U.S. attorney’s draft complaint documenting its alleged role in underwriting fraudulent securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. Following the bank’s $13 billion financial agreement, the draft complaint was never filed. Then the bank paid another settlement to prevent a separate legal case from potentially unearthing it. The contents of the draft complaint have long been a financial-crisis mystery, a Great White Whale of a document. At least until now.
Wired.com – Andy Greenberg In an era of hacker attacks on critical infrastructure, even a run-of-the-mill malware infection on an electric utility’s network is enough to raise alarm bells. But the latest collection of power grid penetrations went far deeper: Security firm Symantec is warning that a series of recent hacker attacks not only compromised energy companies in the US and Europe but also resulted in the intruders gaining hands-on access to power grid operations—enough control that they could have induced blackouts on American soil at will.
Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey—none of which Symantec will name—their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.
The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.
Snopes.com is reported to be in big trouble financially. The founder, David Mikkelson even launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to keep the site afloat. According to the Daily Mail he’s not giving the whole story as to why the company now finds itself in hot water.
Fact-checking website Snopes is on the verge of financial collapse after its owner was accused of embezzling company funds to pay for his contentious divorce battle and lavish overseas trips with his new wife, a former Las Vegas escort and porn actress.
BEIJING: Anyone who mocks China’s national anthem faces up to 15 days in police detention after parliament criminalised such acts in a new law on Friday (Sep 1) that covers Hong Kong and Macau.
Since taking over as president, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has ushered in new legislation aimed at securing the country from threats both within and outside its borders, besides presiding over a sweeping crackdown on dissent and free speech.
Protecting “the dignity of the national anthem” will help “promote patriotism and nurture socialist core values”, says the new law passed by the National People’s Congress (NPC).
Nurse arrested after refusing to allow detective to take blood from unconscious patient
By all accounts, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit was professional and restrained when she told a Salt Lake City police detective he wasn’t allowed to draw blood from a badly injured patient.
The detective didn’t have a warrant, first off. And the patient wasn’t conscious, so he couldn’t give consent. Without that, the detective was barred from collecting blood samples — not just by hospital policy, but by basic constitutional law.
Still, Detective Jeff Payne insisted that he be let in to take the blood, saying the nurse would be arrested and charged if she refused.