Hotels in new Orleans near Bourbon street

Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans

Hotels in new Orleans near Bourbon street: A large portion of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction in New Orleans collapsed Saturday morning, killing at least two people and injuring 20 others, authorities said. The building bordering the city’s historic French Quarter is considered unstable and officials said further collapse is possible.

Three people were initially reported missing, though one has since been found, according to the New Orleans Fire Department. Authorities said no one on the ground was injured in the collapse.

According to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, 112 people were in the building at the time of collapse. Though the search for those missing was suspended for the evening, Cantrell confirmed that rescuers found two bodies but were unable to retrieve them.

Streets surrounding the site were closed and some buildings were evacuated, including the nearby 145-year-old New Orleans Athletic Club.

CBS affiliate WWL shared video of the collapse which showed construction workers running for their lives as the parts of the hotel came crashing down.

Governor John Bel Edwards was at the scene urging residents to stay away from the area. “I’m just asking for everybody to pray for those who are at the hospital,” Edwards told reporters.

Mayor Cantrell issued a statement saying “our hearts break for the loss of life.”

Construction plans for the 350-room hotel include a 12,000 square foot event space, two ballrooms and a residential space, according to a news release. Full Story

Kurds fighting Turks after U.S. withdrawal

The U.S. plans to withdraw 1,000 troops from northern Syria. Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that it’s “very smart not to be involved in the intense fighting.” Turkish soldiers are attacking Kurdish fighters, who helped the U.S. combat ISIS. It’s estimated 130,000 people have been displaced due to violence. Roxana Saberi reports. Full Story

 

Nobel Prize in economics 2019 goes to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer

Stockholm — The 2019 Nobel Prize in economics was awarded Monday to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for pioneering new ways to alleviate global poverty. Banerjee and Duflo are at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while Kremer, an American is at Harvard University. The three have often worked together. Full Story

 

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Technology Driven Deflation Will Kill The Inflation Monster

Technology Driven Deflation Will Kill The Inflation Monster

Technology-Driven Deflation

Venture funding for AI is surging as evidenced by the chart below and the trend is showing no signs of letting up; in fact, the trend is so powerful that one can almost start with certainty that technology-driven deflation is going to be a very powerful force to reckon with. Imagine, small companies having the power to do what Amazon does but on a different scale.  For example, flippy the burger bot replaces several workers saving a business up to 100K a year

“We are excited about the impact Miso’s AI-based solutions will have for the restaurant industry. Humans will always play a very critical role in the hospitality side of the business… We just don’t know what the new roles will be yet in the industry.”

The Bot will never get tired, never need uniforms and it’s not going to get sick or complain. Bottom line it is the perfect worker for small business burger joints that are looking to contain their costs and improve their services.  As for the big players are concerned, it has the potential to reduce their overhead by billions.  Last but not least, companies won’t have to worry about paying a minimum wage of up to $15 an hour and providing benefits

USA AI Funding

Little Caeser’s want to create their own Bot

Pizza chain Little Caesars has been awarded a patent for an AI-based robotic system that will help assemble Pizzas at a significantly faster pace. The patent includes two robots, one stationary arm and another fully-fledged robot chef to handle the dough and take care of oven duties.

According to the company’s explanation in the patent, the robot would free Little Caesars from the tedium of repetitive tasks and allow them to “perform other value-added tasks.” Presumably, that’s the same thinking that gave us Flippy, the burger-flipping robot.

It doesn’t appear to actually cook the pizzas or slice them, and the only listed topping is pepperoni — though it probably wouldn’t be hard to adapt it to other toppings. I’m sure there are only so many ways one can “properly distribute” pineapple or olives. Still, there are other robots already doing the things this particular one can’t — Zume Pizza in Silicon Valley, for example, can shape the dough and bake the pizzas at a rate of 372 an hour.

If Little Caesars were to ever combine their robot with Pizza Hut’s self-driving pizza delivery truck, the only human force we’ll ever need will be a single human to load the pizzas into the car. Full Story

Could the pizza bot move like Flippy? Time will tell

“Now he moves like a ninja and is more reliable,” says David Zito, the CEO of Miso Robotics, which created Flippy.

“We’ve been trained since childhood that robotics were coming in the future,” notes Louise Perrin, an accountant who works nearby. “To be a part of it, to see it and watch it happen live in front of you … is absolutely incredible.”

“I had to come in and see Flippy,” she says. “I’d heard the buzz. The concept of a robot flipping your burger is awesome.”

Central Bankers action could Fuel Technology-Driven Deflation

The shrinkage of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has played a significant role in exerting upward pressure on borrowing costs as parts of the U.S. economy have shown signs of decelerating, a study from the Kansas City Federal Reserve released on Wednesday showed.

The model developed for the study showed the level of reserves plays “an important role in determining the federal funds-IOR spread over the medium- and longer-term and that repo rate dynamics play a relatively less important role,” A. Lee Smith, a Kansas City Fed senior economist and the author of the study, wrote. Full Story

 

The China Factor

It is premature to say China is coursing toward a Japan-like falling-prices drama. Yet recent data warrant a moderately sized blip on investor radar screens. In November, consumer prices slid 0.3% from a month earlier, while producer prices fell 0.2%. On a year-on-year-basis, producer prices advanced just 2.7% in November, the weakest reading in two years (consumer prices are up 2.2% from a year ago).

Bond traders are taking no chances. Earlier this week, 10-year yields dropped to 3.27%, the lowest in more than 18 months. And, really, they have every reason for gloom considering the headwinds blowing China’s way — and how they may intensify next year. Full Story

Courtesy of Tactical Investor

Originally posted 2019-04-09 13:38:57.

Politics and Technology

politics and technology

China speeds ahead of U.S. as quantum race escalates, worrying scientists

U.S. and other Western scientists voice awe, and even alarm, at China’s quickening advances and spending on quantum communications and computing, revolutionary technologies that could give a huge military and commercial advantage to the nation that conquers them. The concerns echo — although to a lesser degree — the shock in the West six decades ago when the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite, sparking a space race. In quick succession, China in recent months has utilized a quantum satellite to transmit ultra-secure data, inaugurated a 1,243-mile quantum link between Shanghai and Beijing, and announced a $10 billion quantum computing center. “To me, what is alarming is the level of coordination of what they’ve done,” said Christopher Monroe, a physicist and pioneer in quantum communication at the University of Maryland. Full Story

Another confirmation that China is destined to be new the powerhouse and will probably hold this title for over 100 years after it moves to the top spot. China has focussed on developing trade; their second focus has been their military as they are primarily merchants at heart. They are going to win this battle for one reason; at the end of the day, they are going to have the biggest purse. As the saying goes “money talks and BS walks.

 

Xi Tells Zuckerberg and Cook China’s Set for ‘Unprecedented’ Reform

Chinese President Xi Jinping used a meeting with Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook to announce that his nation is embarking on reform with “unprecedented determination and vigor.”

Less than a week into his second five-year term at the helm of the world’s second-largest economy, Xi’s remarks may underscore a shift toward loosening of restrictions on doing business in China. The nation is “willing to work with the U.S.,” Xi said, according to an official Xinhua report, adding that he’s looking forward to President Donald Trump’s visit next week.

Though use of Facebook’s social networking platform is blocked in China, the leadership from Xi down have increased pledges to open up to foreign companies across the economy. Xi was speaking at an event with overseas members of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management advisory board on Monday.

“China is willing to work with the US, to take a long-term perspective, care for each other’s mutual interests, and appropriately handle disagreements and contradictions,” Xi said. “We have an optimistic attitude toward the prospects for China-U.S. relations.” Full Story

This is the trend we have been speaking off for a while and which we just addressed in the last interim update. Asia led by China will move and more towards the direction of free markets and freedom, while the US will and the West will seek to restrain the populace.

 

The New Silk Road will go through Syria

Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a sort of mini-gathering of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), billed as “The First Project Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction”.

And there will be serious follow-ups: a Syria Reconstruction Expo; the 59th Damascus International Fair next month, where around 30 Arab and foreign nations will be represented; and the China-Arab States Expo in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui province, in September.

Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune.

Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a sort of mini-gathering of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), billed as “The First Project Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction”.

And there will be serious follow-ups: a Syria Reconstruction Expo; the 59th Damascus International Fair next month, where around 30 Arab and foreign nations will be represented; and the China-Arab States Expo in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui province, in September.

Qin Yong, deputy chairman of the China-Arab Exchange Association, announced that Beijing plans to invest $2 billion in an industrial park in Syria for 150 Chinese companies.

Nothing would make more sense. Before the tragic Syrian proxy war, Syrian merchants were already incredibly active in the small-goods Silk Road between Yiwu and the Levant. The Chinese don’t forget that Syria controlled overland access to both Europe and Africa in ancient Silk Road times when, after the desert crossing via Palmyra, goods reached the Mediterranean on their way to Rome. After the demise of Palmyra, a secondary road followed the Euphrates upstream and then through Aleppo and Antioch.

Beijing always plans years ahead. And the government in Damascus is implicated at the highest levels. So, it’s not an accident that Syrian Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha had to come up with the clincher: China, Russia and Iran will have priority over anyone else for all infrastructure investment and reconstruction projects when the war is over. Full Story

Read this story in Detail for it provides some of the reasons of why America has lost its place in the Middle East and why Syria was Russia’s red line in the sand.  Most importantly, it reveals how strong the relationship between China and Russia is and why these two nations are set to dominate the world stage for decades to come.

Originally posted 2018-06-13 12:13:43.

Technology: UBS cut workforce – RBI repo rate unchanged – UPS improved productivity

Technology: UBS cut workforce - RBI repo rate unchanged - UPS improved productivity

Technology could help UBS cut workforce by 30 percent: CEO in magazine

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bank UBS <UBSG.S> could shed almost 30,000 workers in the years ahead due to technological advances in the banking industry, Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said in a magazine interview.

Ermotti told Bloomberg Markets that “process-oriented” companies see scope to cut workforces in half through new technology but he believed the true number for banks was around half that. “If you look at UBS, we employ a meaningful amount of people— almost 95,000, including contractors,” Ermotti said. “You can have 30 percent less, but the jobs are going to be much more interesting jobs, where the human content is crucial to the delivery of the service.”

Ermotti said the coming decade would be heavily influenced by technology, as the previous one was marked by regulation.

“It’s not the Big Bang; it’s going to be very gradual,” he said. “But you’re going to be faster — much more efficient, proficient. Instead of serving 50 clients, you’ll be able to serve 100 and in a more sophisticated way.”

Consultancy Accenture <ACN.N> said in May that three-quarters of bankers surveyed believed artificial intelligence (AI) will become the primary way banks interact with their customers within the next three years. Full Story

Another one bites the dust; it’s quite interesting that as soon as we stated that the trend had changed concerning AI and human Jobs; story after story has emerged indicating how fast this trend is gaining traction. At least 40% of today’s companies could end up being irrelevant in as little as ten years

 

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged but frees up more liquidity

The Reserve Bank of India held its policy rate steady near seven-year lows on Wednesday after inflation surged, but still looked to prop up the cooling economy by spurring banks into lending more.

The decision to keep the repo rate at 6.00 percent had been widely expected, with all but three of 60 analysts polled by Reuters predicting the RBI would stand pat after cutting the rate by 25 basis points (bps) in August. But in a concession to the weakening economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in over three years, policymakers surprised markets by taking steps to release more liquidity into the financial system.

The RBI said it would lower the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) — the amount of bonds that banks must set aside with the central bank — by 50 bps to 19.50 percent from mid-October. It had lowered the ratio by the same amount in June. Full Story

If you look around, central bankers are talking tough, but they are all talk and no action. The Majority of central banks from Japan to South Africa are an opting to leave rates unchanged. We wonder why? Well not really, as we have been stating all along, that anyone with a pea for a brain realises that this economic recovery is as bogus as they come. Remove the easy money and the glorious recovery vanishes.

The Philippines just joined the club of central bankers that see no reason to raise rates.

Philippine central bank Governor Nestor Espenilla said contained inflation means there isn’t a need to increase interest rates in the near term. “Right now there is no need to move policy rates looking at the inflation outlook,” Espenilla said in Washington where he was attending the annual International Monetary Fund meetings. “It might be too much of an anticipation to say we will raise interest rates at the next review.” Full Story

 

 

UPS CEO: Thanks to automation, we’re shipping more packages with the same number of people

The upcoming holiday period is shaping up to be another record-breaking shipping season. In fact, United Parcel Service (UPS) forecasts 750 million packages will be delivered between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve, a 5% increase from last year.

Despite the expected increase in volume, UPS expects to hire the same number of temporary seasonal workers as last year (95,000).

“Last year we hired about the same number of people and we’re doing it this year with an extra 5% of packages and it is because of automation,” UPS CEO David Abney told Yahoo Finance. Full story

Another confirmation that many jobs will cease to exist in the very near future; a day is going to dawn where individuals with an IQ that’s lower than 100 are going to find it almost impossible to land a decent job in developed nations.

Originally posted 2018-06-13 11:47:21.