Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-63882 Thu, 19 Apr 2018 00:09:45 GMT World debt hits record $164 trillion as crisis hangover lingers http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-18_Worlddebthitsrecord164trillionascrisishangoverlingers.html The world's debt load has ballooned to a record $164 trillion, a trend that could make it harder for countries to respond to the next recession and pay off debts if financing conditions tighten, the International Monetary Fund said.

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The global debt burden clouded the IMF's otherwise upbeat outlook of the world economy, which is in its strongest upswing since 2011. The fund on Tuesday forecast expansion of 3.9 per cent in 2018 and 2019, while saying in subsequent years the global economy could be impacted by tighter monetary policy and the fading effects of U.S. fiscal stimulus.

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The IMF figures bare the scale of the debt hangover from which the world is still recovering from a decade after the financial crisis pushed the global banking system to the brink, and tipped the world economy into recession. Governments increased spending to boost growth, while central banks resorted to unconventional methods to ease financing conditions, such as buying bonds.

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iehi-feed-63881 Wed, 18 Apr 2018 23:44:43 GMT UK government loses key Brexit Vote: Stuck with the Customs Union http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-18_UKgovernmentloseskeyBrexitVoteStuckwiththeCustomsUnion.html iehi-feed-63880 Wed, 18 Apr 2018 19:30:17 GMT U.S. Debt Load Seen Worse Than Italy's by 2023, IMF Predicts http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-18_USDebtLoadSeenWorseThanItalysby2023IMFPredicts.html iehi-feed-63875 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 21:39:38 GMT Hannity-Cohen-Trump: Conflict of Interest in Pro-Trump Media, Much? http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-16_HannityCohenTrumpConflictofInterestinProTrumpMediaMuch.html While his off-air relationships might be just a logical extension of Hannity's on-air cheerleading for Trump, it still came as a surprise, immediately raising questions about both Hannity and Fox.

By any standards of any normal newsroom, the Cohen-Hannity relationship is a glaring conflict of interest.

Fox is not a normal newsroom. And Hannity's viewers are not typical news viewers -- people who watch almost any other show would likely feel lied to when they learned something like this had not been disclosed to them, but Hannity's want him to have this kind of relationship with Trumpworld.

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"I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer; I never received an invoice from Michael; I never paid legal fees to Michael, but I have, occasionally, had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective," Hannity said on the radio.

But even according to Hannity's account, he was taking free legal advice from someone on the president's payroll.

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iehi-feed-63873 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 15:45:52 GMT Commerce Blocks China's ZTE From Exporting Sensitive Tech From U.S. http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-16_CommerceBlocksChinasZTEFromExportingSensitiveTechFromUS.html The U.S. blocked Chinese telecommunications-gear maker ZTE Corp. from exporting sensitive technology from America, alleging the company made false statements to U.S. officials.

The Commerce Department has determined ZTE made false statements to the Bureau of Industry and Security in 2016 and 2017 related to "senior employee disciplinary actions the company said it was taking or had already taken," the department said in a statement Monday.

ZTE did not disclose the fact it paid full bonuses to employees who engaged in illegal conduct, and failed to issue letters of reprimand, the department said.

"ZTE misled the Department of Commerce. Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management, ZTE rewarded them. This egregious behavior cannot be ignored," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in the statement.

The denial order against ZTE comes amid brewing tensions between the U.S. and China that have raised concerns of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. President Donald Trump has threatened tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports in retaliation for alleged violations of intellectual property rights, while Beijing has vowed to retaliate on everything from American soybeans to planes.

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iehi-feed-63870 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 15:00:51 GMT Legal fees made up more than 20% of Trump's campaign spending so far this year http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-16_Legalfeesmadeupmorethan20ofTrumpscampaignspendingsofarthisyear.html More than one-fifth of the $3.9 million that President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign has spent this year has gone to legal fees, the campaign's latest quarterly Federal Election Commission filing shows.

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The steep legal bills come amid a probe into whether the Trump campaign was involved in Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election as well as a legal battle with adult film star Stormy Daniels.

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Trump's campaign has also spent about $150,000 at Trump businesses, including the legal fees, per the FEC report. That includes about $68,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, to cover costs including event rental space, hotel stays and parking.

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iehi-feed-63868 Sun, 15 Apr 2018 17:34:06 GMT Lee Adler - This Uncanny Tool Has Been Right Since 1970;Here's What It's Telling You to Sell Now http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-15_LeeAdlerThisUncannyToolHasBeenRightSince1970HeresWhatItsTellingY.html iehi-feed-63862 Sat, 14 Apr 2018 22:40:07 GMT A Sidelined Wall Street Legend Bets on Bitcoin (NOVOGRATZ) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-14_ASidelinedWallStreetLegendBetsonBitcoinNOVOGRATZ.html Novogratz has certainly been making the most of the speculative bubble to rebuild his fortune, but he claims to be invested in the utopian aspects of blockchain as well. He doesn't think that cryptocurrencies will replace the dollar or the yen, but he believes that they will be a boon to countries in the developing world, where people don't have trust in their fiat currencies, and that blockchain can revolutionize the way information is logged and shared and, in our age of data breaches, protected. "I'm good at selling the dream," he said. "I can get onstage and get people to start saying ‘Hallelujah! Hallelujah!' "

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By the fall [of 2017], Novogratz was a billionaire once more. The price of a single bitcoin had been close to three thousand dollars during the summer; now it was clawing at five thousand. I visited him one Wednesday in October, at his office, walking in past a large statue of Evel Knievel in the lobby--the base reads "Bones heal, pain is temporary and chicks dig scars." Plush sofas were occupied by representatives of the Brown University endowment, a member of the board of Tesla, and the heads of a major publicity firm, among others.

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Two weeks earlier, Novogratz had announced his decision to rejoin the hedge-fund world and launch a cryptocurrency fund with a hundred and fifty million dollars of the money he had personally made on crypto and three hundred and fifty million from outside investors.

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After bitcoin and other currencies soared over the summer and fall, Novogratz presented this stage of crypto as a "speculative mania phase" that would crash like the dot-com bust but then reëmerge with more mature players. Out with AltaVista, in with Google. In Novogratz's estimation, individual cryptocurrencies would fail--although he is bullish on bitcoin and ether retaining their value in the long term. "I don't know if the speculative phase ends in March, ends in a year from now, eighteen months from now," Novogratz told me, "but it will end." He suggested that it will end when "too many people have bought in." (At a dinner during the fall of 2017, one of my favorite Oberlin professors, a Marxist, told me that he had just bought some ether.)

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Novogratz's cryptocurrency hedge fund never launched. In December, after the price of a single bitcoin rocketed to more than nineteen thousand dollars, Novogratz told me that "it would be a different proposition raising a crypto hedge fund today than it was three months ago." He said he was not comfortable running other people's money when the currency was at its peak, and predicted that bitcoin would consolidate at between eight and sixteen thousand dollars. "I'd rather look stupid than be stupid," he added. Right after he told me of his plans to shelve his hedge fund, bitcoin experienced one of its habitual micro-crashes, falling to under fourteen thousand dollars a coin.

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Novogratz had described another idea to me, one several magnitudes more audacious--certainly more institutional, and potentially more durable--than a mere half-a-billion-dollar hedge fund. He wanted to launch a publicly traded merchant bank solely for cryptocurrencies, which, with characteristic immodesty, he described as "the Goldman Sachs of crypto," and was calling Galaxy Digital. "I'm either going to look like a genius or an idiot," he said.

Novogratz announced the bank's launch in early January, the same week that Dimon, of JPMorgan Chase, who is one of the most vocal critics of cryptocurrency, publicly regretted calling bitcoin a fraud ("The blockchain is real," he told Fox Business). Shortly afterward, I sat down with Novogratz in his Tribeca apartment's far-flung kitchen to discuss Galaxy Digital.

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The new entity's launch was not so much an I.P.O. as a complex R.T.O., or reverse takeover, involving a Canadian shell company called Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. Galaxy Digital would still be based in New York, but because Canada offered easier and faster access to the public market Novogratz had decided to launch on the Canadian TSX venture exchange, with plans to eventually transfer to Canada's main exchange. He would contribute around three hundred and fifty million dollars, while raising another two hundred and fifty million dollars.

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iehi-feed-63857 Thu, 12 Apr 2018 21:06:46 GMT Federal judges indicate they could remove Mulvaney as acting CFPB chief http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-12_FederaljudgesindicatetheycouldremoveMulvaneyasactingCFPBchief.html ... two of the three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit indicated they had a problem with the person Trump selected to take the position, Mick Mulvaney, because he also heads the White House Office of Management and Budget. The 2010 law that created the bureau as an independent federal agency specifically said OMB should not have oversight or jurisdiction over it.

That raised the possibility that the legal battle over the future of the watchdog agency could end with Mulvaney's removal as acting director -- a move that would be cheered by Democrats and consumer advocates who have complained about his public opposition to the bureau's existence.

But Mulvaney would not be supplanted as they want by Deputy Director Leandra English, who brought the suit to remove him after his appointment by Trump last fall. Under such a ruling, English might be elevated to acting director for at best a day or so until Trump simply named another person to serve as acting director, pending appointment of a permanent director needing Senate confirmation. Or the administration might appeal such a ruling to the full appeals court.''

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iehi-feed-63854 Wed, 11 Apr 2018 22:52:57 GMT Corker on new $1.9 tln deficit estimate: Tax cuts could be 'one of the worst votes I've made' http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-11_Corkeronnew19tlndeficitestimateTaxcutscouldbeoneoftheworstvotesI.html Retiring Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R) said his vote on the GOP tax law could be one of the worst of his career if estimates that it will add $1.9 trillion to deficits over a decade prove correct.

"If it ends up costing what has been laid out here, it could well be one of the worst votes I've made," he said at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate that produced the figure.

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The new CBO estimate that the bill would cost $1.9 trillion through 2028 is higher than previous available estimates, largely because it includes the interest costs of servicing the debt, as well as more recent economic data. The Joint Committee on Taxation had estimated the bill would cost roughly $1.1 trillion over a decade at the time Corker cast his vote. Both estimates take into account the effects of economic growth on revenues.

This happened only slightly faster than we expected...

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iehi-feed-63852 Wed, 11 Apr 2018 21:54:48 GMT Venezuela in apparent "Stealth Default"; stopped bond payments in September http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-11_VenezuelainapparentStealthDefaultstoppedbondpaymentsinSeptember.html Venezuela stopped paying bondholders in September, according to central bank data, contradicting statements by President Nicolás Maduro that the country would continue to honour its debts while negotiating a resettlement with its creditors.The data show that regular foreign debt payments of hundreds of millions of dollars a month, in line with the country's sovereign obligations, fell to a few tens of millions from last October for fees and the legacy of a 1980s-era restructuring."This proves that Venezuela is deliberately hoodwinking bondholders and engaging in a stealth default," said Russ Dallen of boutique bank Caracas Capital, who follows Venezuelan debt closely.The data were posted in an Excel file as part of a recent revamp of the central bank's website and include monthly expenditures in US dollars on public foreign debt payments going back to 1996. Previously, data on foreign debt payments were published in the form of a ratio that revealed little information, Mr Dallen said. "This must have been posted by an intern," he added.

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The central bank data, which cover payments of sovereign debt only and exclude obligations by PDVSA and other state entities, show that just $83m was paid in October, compared with sovereign obligations amounting to $465m, according to data from Caracas Capital.Payments in November fell to $28m, compared with obligations of $183m, and in December declined to $23m, compared with obligations of $242m.

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"They have been doing it [defaulting] strategically to sow confusion. They have said they have begun the process of paying things they clearly did not pay, and blamed it all on sanctions."The US has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Venezuelan individuals and institutions. Adding to pressures last August, it also banned any involvement in new bonds or shares issued by the government or PDVSA. Last month it prohibited involvement in the country's proposed digital currency, the petro, as well

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iehi-feed-63849 Tue, 10 Apr 2018 21:38:09 GMT Trump attorney Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations - The Washington Post http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-10_TrumpattorneyCohenisbeinginvestigatedforpossiblebankfraudcampaig.html Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case.

FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen's Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about Cohen's clients and personal finances. Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to a fourth person familiar with the investigation.

Investigators took Cohen's computer, phone and personal financial records, including tax returns, as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center, that person said.

In a dramatic and broad seizure, federal prosecutors collected communications between Cohen and his clients -- including those between the lawyer and Trump, according to both people.

The raids -- part of an investigation referred by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to federal prosecutors in New York -- point to escalating legal jeopardy for a longtime Trump confidant who is deeply intertwined in the president's business and personal matters.

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Two of the potential crimes being investigated -- bank fraud and wire fraud -- suggest prosecutors have some reason to think Cohen may have misled bankers about why he was using particular funds or may have improperly used banks in the transfer of funds.

Cohen has acknowledged facilitating a $130,000 payment in October 2016 to Daniels, who claims she had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006.

Trump made his first comments about the payment last week, saying he did not know about the transaction.

Cohen has said he used a home-equity line of credit to finance the payment to Daniels and said that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign reimbursed him for the payment.

Banks don't usually require much explanation from customers about how they use such credit lines. However, Cohen may have been asked to provide explanation for the large-dollar transfers he made when he moved the money to a shell company and then to a lawyer for Daniels.

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To serve a search warrant on a practicing attorney, federal prosecutors are required to obtain approval from top Justice Department officials. That means the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman [A Trump supporter], who was appointed to his role by Sessions in January, as well as Justice Department officials in Washington, probably signed off.

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To pursue criminal charges against Cohen for breaking federal election law, prosecutors would have to prove that he made the payment to Daniels to influence the election, rather than for personal reasons -- to protect Trump's reputation, for example, or his marriage.

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At some point, Cohen's New York bank, First Republic, flagged the transaction to the Treasury Department as a suspicious payment, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen used his Trump Organization email in negotiating the agreement with Davidson and in communicating with his bank about the funds.

In February, after a watchdog group filed a complaint about the payment with the Federal Election Commission, Cohen released a statement saying he "used my own personal funds to facilitate" the payment. He rejected the idea that the payment should have counted as a campaign contribution.

This article has very comprehensive background with all you need to understand the possible basis for RICO-type charges against Trump, Cohen, and associates.

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iehi-feed-63844 Sun, 08 Apr 2018 16:26:03 GMT Kushner Partner in 666 Fifth Ave. Says It Has Deal to Sell http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-08_KushnerPartnerin666FifthAveSaysItHasDealtoSell.html The Kushner family appeared on Friday to have struck a deal to buy out its partner in the troubled Fifth Avenue skyscraper at the center of its real estate empire, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Kushners' partner, the publicly traded Vornado Realty Trust, has indicated for months that it was interested in selling its stake in the building, and on Friday, Steven Roth, Vornado's chairman, said in the filing that it had reached a handshake deal "to sell our interest to our partner."

The Kushners have attracted enormous public attention because of their connection to President Trump. Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law, was chief executive of the company until he joined the White House last year as one of Mr. Trump's key advisers.

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It is unclear if the announcement from Vornado means the Kushners have found a new partner, or who might be providing the financing for such a deal.

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In 2011, the Kushners sought to restructure their debt. Vornado bought a 49.5 percent interest in the building's office space and agreed to invest up to $80 million and take responsibility for a portion of the mortgage. The mortgage was divided into a $1.1 billion note and a $115 million secondary loan.

But Vornado imposed stiff terms. It was getting 11 percent interest on money it actually invested in the building, and a 3 percent return on the remaining money, if any, according to a financial report from Trepp, a company that tracks real estate debt.

The mortgage has swelled to $1.4 billion with accrued interest. The partners have been forced to cover shortfalls on the mortgage payments. And Vornado subsequently bought much of the retail space along Fifth Avenue from Crown and Carlyle for $707 million, except for a portion owned by Zara, the Spanish clothing chain. Vornado is expected to hang onto the retail space.

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iehi-feed-63840 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 19:16:32 GMT German court says Carles Puigdemont can be released on bail; extradition for "rebellion" barred http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-06_GermancourtsaysCarlesPuigdemontcanbereleasedonbailextraditionfor.html iehi-feed-63839 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 18:14:07 GMT Stocks Tank on Jobs Data and Trade Worries http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-06_StocksTankonJobsDataandTradeWorries.html Wall Street is under pressure Friday, April 6, after the U.S. added less jobs than expected in March. The U.S. added 103,000 jobs in March. Analysts polled by FactSet expect the U.S. economy added 185,000 nonfarm jobs to the payroll in March, which would be a slowdown from the 313,000 jobs added in February. February's nonfarm payroll additions was the fastest in a month since July 2016.

The unemployment rate came in at 4.1%, steady from February's rate, a 17-year low. FactSet economists expect the U.S. unemployment rate for March to come in at 4%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1%, or 242 points, to 24,263 while the S&P 500 fell 0.8% and the Nasdaq dropped 0.78%.

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Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Bloomberg that some advertisers have, in fact, reduced their spending. "We've seen a few advertisers pause with us and they're asking the same questions that other people are asking," Sandberg was reported as saying. "They want to make sure they can use the data and use it safely." Sandberg added that Action Alerts Plus holding Facebook is engaging in "reassuring conversations with advertisers, just as [it is] with people."

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iehi-feed-63836 Wed, 04 Apr 2018 21:17:29 GMT Google employees revolt, say company should shut down military drone project http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-04_Googleemployeesrevoltsaycompanyshouldshutdownmilitarydroneprojec.html iehi-feed-63834 Wed, 04 Apr 2018 18:04:18 GMT Wall St. plunges, but mostly recovers from sharp losses sparked by China tariffs http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-04_WallStplungesbutmostlyrecoversfromsharplossessparkedbyChinatarif.html iehi-feed-63831 Tue, 03 Apr 2018 18:52:40 GMT Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-03_RetailersRaceAgainstAmazontoAutomateStores.html Retailers had adopted technologies in their stores long before Amazon Go arrived on the scene. Self-checkout kiosks have been common in supermarkets and other stores for years. Kroger, the grocery chain, uses sensors and predictive analytics tools to better anticipate when more cashiers will be needed.

But the opening of Amazon Go in January was alarming for many retailers, who saw a sudden willingness by Amazon to wield its technology power in new ways. Hundreds of cameras near the ceiling and sensors in the shelves help automatically tally the cookies, chips and soda that shoppers remove and put into their bags. Shoppers' accounts are charged as they walk out the doors.

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"Unanimously, there was an element of embarrassment because here is an online retailer showing us how to do brick and mortar, and frankly doing it amazingly well," said Martin Hitch, the chief business officer of Bossa Nova Robotics, a company that makes inventory management robots that Walmart and others are testing.

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Nowhere are retailers experimenting more avidly with automating store shopping than in China, a country obsessed by new tech fads.

One effort is a chain of more than 100 unmanned convenience shops from a start-up called Bingo Box, one of which sits in a business park in Shanghai. Shoppers scan a code on their phones to enter and, once inside, scan the items they want to buy. The store unlocks the exit door after they've paid through their phones.

Alibaba, one of China's largest internet companies, has opened 35 of its Hema automated grocery stores, which blend online ordering with automated checkout. Customers scan their groceries at checkout kiosks, using facial recognition to pay electronically, while bags of groceries ordered by customers online float overhead on aerial conveyors, headed to a loading dock for delivery to shoppers.

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At 120 of Walmart's 4,700 American stores, shoppers can also scan items, including fruits and vegetables, using the camera on their smartphones and pay for them using the devices. When customers walk out, an employee checks their receipts and does a "spot check" of the items they bought.

Kroger, one of the country's largest grocery chains, has also been testing a mobile scanning service in its supermarkets, recently announcing that it would expand it to 400 of its more 2,700 stores.

New start-ups are seeking to give retailers the technology to compete with Amazon's system. One of them, AiFi, is working on cashierless checkout technology that it says will be flexible and affordable enough that mom-and-pop retailers and bigger outlets can use it. In the United States, venture capitalists put $100 million into retail automation start-ups in each of the past two years, up from about $64 million in 2015, according Pitchbook, a financial data firm.

"There's a gold rush feeling about this," said Alan O'Herlihy, chief executive of Everseen, an Irish company working with retailers on automated checkout technology that uses artificial intelligence.

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If they succeed, these new technologies could add further uncertainty to the retail work force, which is already in flux because of the growth of online shopping. An analysis last year by the World Economic Forum said 30 to 50 percent of the world's retail jobs could be at risk once technologies like automated checkout were fully embraced.

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iehi-feed-63829 Tue, 03 Apr 2018 16:48:10 GMT Stunned Investors See 95% Gains on Defaulted Puerto Rico Bonds http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-03_StunnedInvestorsSee95GainsonDefaultedPuertoRicoBonds.html Of all the wild, head-scratching moves in financial markets this year, there are few that have surprised investors quite as much as the rally in defaulted Puerto Rico bonds. "It just blows my mind," says Matt Dalton, chief executive officer of Belle Haven Investments.

Since sinking to a mere 20.8 cents on the dollar in December, prices on the island's most frequently traded securities have climbed steadily and reached a high of 45 cents last week before paring gains during the past few days. Not only are Puerto Rico's bonds the top performer in the $3.9 trillion municipal market, they've gained more than any other dollar-denominated debt in the world, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The rally started inconspicuously enough back in late December, with a penny gain here and there that analysts chalked up to bottom fishing after prices collapsed in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

But then the increases started coming in bigger chunks as word spread that the island may emerge from the devastation with more money on hand than anticipated, a development that creditors bet would translate into better debt-restructuring terms.

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"I'm surprised by the amount that the bonds have rallied because there's still a lot of questions to be asked," said Mark Paris, senior portfolio manager atInvesco Advisers Inc. which oversees $27.2 billion in municipal assets. "They need to do a lot for the people on the island before they start really worrying about bondholders. So I don't know how you calculate the recovery."

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Even with federal funds for rebuilding after the storm, Puerto Rico faces challenges. More than 45 percent of residents live in poverty, workforce participation is about 40 percent and the fiscal plan projects the population will still shrink.

"The numbers are still pretty ugly," said Joe Rosenblum, director of municipal credit at AllianceBernstein LP, which oversees $41 billion of municipal debt. "For now, I think the optimism has played out."

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iehi-feed-63828 Tue, 03 Apr 2018 15:12:13 GMT U.S. Carmakers May Regret What They Wished For on Pollution Rules http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2018-04-03_USCarmakersMayRegretWhatTheyWishedForonPollutionRules.html In announcing the decision, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt included a tacit threat that the federal government might no longer go along with California's smog-fighting policies. That could lead to pollution rules that vary state-by-state, greatly complicating life for the people making the cars.

"Automakers will get the flexibility they wished for, but at what cost?" said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at the car shopping website Edmunds. "The unfortunate reality is that this decision comes with a logistical nightmare in the short term."

In other news, EPA boss Scott Pruitt is getting kickbacks from lobbyists.

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