Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-61987 Thu, 30 Mar 2017 16:18:54 GMT Money laundering, Capital Flight are shaping US cities http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-30_MoneylaunderingCapitalFlightareshapingUScities.html In a little-noticed statement, the Treasury bureau responsible for investigating financial crimes shared a remarkable money laundering statistic last month. Thirty percent of the cash purchases of high-end real estate by shell companies in six major cities involved a suspicious buyer, according to an investigation conducted by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to find out who was behind the deals.

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Another problem, separate from affordability, is that foreign investor ownership of properties in pricey neighborhoods tends to turn those neighborhoods into museums.

In some neighborhoods, the condos may be sold out -- but empty. In Manhattan, for example, the blocks between Lenox Hill and Central Park, between 63rd and 70th Streets, are nearly 40 percent unoccupied, according to the Census Bureau. On the Upper East Side's most exclusive tract, along Fifth Avenue, more than a quarter of properties are vacant.

The reality is similar in other exclusive neighborhoods throughout the country. More than half of the beachfront properties in the neighborhoods at the ends of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and the southern tip of South Beach are unoccupied. Because of unoccupied downtown condos, the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco is one-fifth unoccupied, in the middle of one of the tightest housing markets in U.S. history.

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iehi-feed-61986 Thu, 30 Mar 2017 15:44:47 GMT How Many Jobs Do Robots Destroy? Answers Emerge http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-30_HowManyJobsDoRobotsDestroyAnswersEmerge.html ... soothsayers have been steadfastly claiming that for each destroyed job, the Great American Economy will generate more and better jobs, because, well, that's how it worked during, you guessed it, the Industrial Revolution.

But two economists have changed their mind (more on that in a moment) and published a gloomy working paper.

Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo studied how the increase of industrial robots between 1990 through 2007 has impacted US jobs and wages. They found "large and robust negative effects of robots on employment and wages across commuting zones."

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iehi-feed-61985 Thu, 30 Mar 2017 15:39:13 GMT China's Underground Bank Crackdown Risks Headaches in Hong Kong http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-30_ChinasUndergroundBankCrackdownRisksHeadachesinHongKong.html "Now people feel that the Chinese government may tighten capital controls further and it wants more yuan depreciation, so many clients want to transfer money to Hong Kong more quickly," Chan said from his store, located in the basement of a drab mall in Causeway Bay, the world's second-priciest retail district. "We're worried the Chinese government will introduce some regulations to ban this business, so now although we're still doing it, we're trying to raise revenues from other currencies."

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"Orders came flooding in after Jan. 1 and we had a few sleepless nights filling them," said the co-owner, who didn't want himself or the firm to be named. "It seems the tighter controls become, the keener people are to get their money out. Thanks to more restrictions at banks, we are doing really well."

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iehi-feed-61984 Thu, 30 Mar 2017 15:09:23 GMT Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Has A Secret Panic Code For MFI-Miami http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-30_WellsFargoHomeMortgageHasASecretPanicCodeForMFIMiami.html iehi-feed-61983 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:44:37 GMT Following Britain, Australia now officially has a 'Google tax' on Multinationals http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_FollowingBritainAustralianowofficiallyhasaGoogletaxonMultination.html The DPT laws are aimed at multinationals with global revenue of more than $1 billion and Australian revenue of greater than $25 million. They will be hit with a 40 per cent tax on all profits - that is 10 per cent higher than the 30 per cent company tax rate.

It aims to ensure that the tax paid by global entities properly reflects the economic substance of their activities in Australia and prevents the diversion of profits offshore through contrived arrangements.

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Australia followed the lead of Britain, which has a similar laws aimed at multinationals which resulted in Google agreeing to a deal with that country's tax authorities to pay £130 million ($214 million) in back taxes.

... But as more countries hunt for a greater share of revenue from multinationals, concerns remain that disagreements between global agencies about which nation is entitled to tax profits could spark revenue wars.

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iehi-feed-61982 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:40:19 GMT Wells Fargo Settles Fake-Account Lawsuit for $110 Million http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_WellsFargoSettlesFakeAccountLawsuitfor110Million.html On Tuesday, San Francisco based bank Wells Fargo announced a $110 million settlement for a class-action lawsuit brought by customers. Still requiring court approval, the settlement covers anyone who claims to be touched by Wells Fargo's employees opening more than 2 million accounts without customer consent.

Wells Fargo paid their first private settlement late last year. In September, the bank was penalized $185 million by federal and California authorities to cover their poor sales practices.

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Unfortunately for investors, Wells Fargo's complications might still be far ahead of them. The bank is subject to criminal investigations, further reviews which may reveal more impacted customers, and lawsuits from previous employees.

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iehi-feed-61979 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:31:40 GMT U.S. pending home sales surge to ten-month high ahead of spring http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_USpendinghomesalessurgetotenmonthhighaheadofspring.html iehi-feed-61978 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:30:03 GMT Domino's Pizza Robot Delivery Expands to Europe http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_DominosPizzaRobotDeliveryExpandstoEurope.html Domino's Pizza Inc. is expanding its robot delivery service to Europe. The recognized world leader in pizza delivery is teaming up with the London-based startup, Starship Technologies, to deliver pizza in Germany and the Netherlands with robots.

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Starship, founded by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, created six-wheeled, self-driving delivery robots that will be able to deliver pizza within a one-mile radius of certain Domino's pizza shops in selected German cities and locations throughout the Netherlands.

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iehi-feed-61977 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:23:53 GMT Cash Price Or Credit Surcharge? Supreme Court Says That Might Be First Amendment Question http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_CashPriceOrCreditSurchargeSupremeCourtSaysThatMightBeFirstAmendm.html A New York law prohibiting merchants from charging extra for credit card transactions might violate the constitutional protection for free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today, in a unanimous decision that raised questions about the First Amendment implications of economic regulations.

The decision in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman further strengthens the once-controversial Supreme Court doctrine extending First Amendment protection to corporate, as opposed to individual speech. It wasn't a total victory for retailers, who still must convince the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the New York law is unconstitutional. But the Supreme Court rejected the Second Circuit's reasoning that the anti-surcharge law doesn't even implicate the Constitution because it regulates conduct, not speech.

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"They ... want to make clear that they are not the bad guys--that the credit card companies, not the merchants, are responsible for the higher prices," Roberts wrote. "The merchants believe that surcharges for credit are more effective than discounts for cash in accomplishing these goals."

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iehi-feed-61976 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:39:31 GMT 'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered; Merkel Rejects Post-Breakup Relationship Talks http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_NoturningbackonBrexitasArticle50triggeredMerkelRejectsPostBreaku.html Angela Merkel rejects one of Theresa May's key Brexit demands.]]> iehi-feed-61975 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 17:13:06 GMT "Men Without Work" http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_MenWithoutWork.html iehi-feed-61974 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 15:28:59 GMT Three Reasons Why Bitcoin Could Reach $10,000 (Or More) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_ThreeReasonsWhyBitcoinCouldReach10000OrMore.html iehi-feed-61973 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:30:33 GMT Tax Reform Failure Could Trigger Market Downturn - The Wall Street Examiner http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_TaxReformFailureCouldTriggerMarketDownturnTheWallStreetExaminer.html iehi-feed-61972 Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:27:45 GMT What the Berkshires Learned by Launching its Own Currency http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-29_WhattheBerkshiresLearnedbyLaunchingitsOwnCurrency.html iehi-feed-61971 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 22:35:21 GMT In Another Blow, Wells Fargo Faulted for `Extensive' Discrimination in Review http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-28_InAnotherBlowWellsFargoFaultedforExtensiveDiscriminationinReview.html Wells Fargo & Co. engaged in an "extensive and pervasive pattern" of discriminatory and illegal lending practices for years, a U.S. regulator said in slashing a key rating of how the bank serves communities, triggering restrictions that may hamper its growth.

While examiners credited Wells Fargo for "excellent responsiveness" in meeting customers' credit needs, 10 government inquiries over the past decade prompted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to lower its overall score of the company's compliance with community banking laws to "needs to improve." Enforcement cases cited by the OCC faulted the bank's treatment of minority neighborhoods, military personnel and women who had recently given birth.

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The findings risk further damage to Wells Fargo's reputation as executives try to rebuild customer and investor trust in the wake of an account scandal that rocked the company and its stock price last year. Yet, many of the cases cited by the OCC already were announced years ago in settlements, including some misconduct that predated the 2008 financial crisis.

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iehi-feed-61969 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 21:43:30 GMT Merkel's party wins German state vote by large margin (PRESAGING CONTINUED DOMINANCE?) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-28_MerkelspartywinsGermanstatevotebylargemarginPRESAGINGCONTINUEDDO.html The vote in the tiny state on the French border, which has a population of only one million, was seen as a bellwether ahead of the September 24th general election in which Merkel, the veteran leader often dubbed "the Queen of Europe", will seek a fourth term.

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The CDU's popular state premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was cheered by jubilant supporters, admitted she was "floored" by the strong result, about five points up from the last election amid strong turnout of around 70 percent.

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iehi-feed-61967 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:54:31 GMT How middle-class and even "wealthy" American families are sliding inexorably into the red http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-28_HowmiddleclassandevenwealthyAmericanfamiliesareslidinginexorably.html iehi-feed-61966 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:50:18 GMT Manhattan Landlords Are Offering Massive Giveaways to Lure Retail Clients (IN LIEU OF MUCH-NEEDED PRICE CUTS) http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-28_ManhattanLandlordsAreOfferingMassiveGiveawaystoLureRetailClients.html Tenant-improvement allowances haven't been typical in the Manhattan retail market. But now the concessions, which can pay for anything from lighting and displays to a complete overhaul, are becoming a key component in some new leases, particularly for large, flagship stores in high-profile areas, such as Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, according to Steve Soutendijk, an executive director at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. 

"We're seeing tenant-improvement and concession packages that retail landlords never, ever contemplated before," he said.

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The details of leases in Manhattan are often closely guarded secrets, making it difficult to quantify the incentives retailers are receiving. Landlords have a lot of ways to cut a deal without lowering asking rents, such as paying the construction contractor, offering an extended period of free rent or simply writing a check for the tenant to use at their discretion.

... Tepid demand for luxury goods and a stronger U.S. dollar that's crimped spending by tourists have particularly hurt Fifth Avenue, where the space-availability rate was at a record 15.9 percent in fourth quarter, up from 10.1 percent a year earlier, Cushman data show. The average rent on the stretch from 49th to 60th streets reached a record $3,213 a square foot in the third quarter before dropping in the last three months of the year to $2,985.

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iehi-feed-61965 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:52:14 GMT Tensions flare Between Turkey And EU, Greece on Even of Erdogan Power-Expansion Vote http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-28_TensionsflareBetweenTurkeyAndEUGreeceonEvenofErdoganPowerExpansi.html ``Western allies have argued that a vote endorsing the proposed constitutional change would invest the Turkish leader with unparalleled authority and limit checks and balances at a time when they fear he is exhibiting worrying signs of authoritarianism. Erdoğan has been enraged by recent bans on visiting Turkish officials rallying "yes" supporters in Germany and the Netherlands.

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"We have a referendum on 16 April. After that we may hold a Brexit-like referendum on the [EU] negotiations," Erdoğan told a Turkish-UK forum attended by the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson. "No matter what our nation decides we will obey it. It should be known that our patience, tested in the face of attitudes displayed by some European countries, has limits."

The animus -- reinforced last week when the leader said he would continue labelling European politicians "Nazis" if they continued calling him a dictator -- has also animated tensions between Greece and Turkey, and Erdoğan's comments came hours after the Greek defence minister said armed forces were ready to respond in the event of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity being threatened.

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Turkey's EU negotiations have long been hindered by Cyprus, and talks aimed at reuniting its estranged Greek and Turkish communities are at a critical juncture but have stalled and are unlikely to move until after the referendum.

But it is in the Aegean where tensions, matched by an increasingly ugly war of words, have been at their worst. After a tense standoff over eight military officers who escaped to Greece after the abortive coup against Erdoğan last July -- an impasse exacerbated when the Greek supreme court rejected a request for their extradition -- hostility has been measured in almost daily dogfights between armed jets and naval incursions of Greek waters by Turkish research vessels.

Related, see Erdogan Races Against the Dollar in Campaign for Unrivaled Power.

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iehi-feed-61963 Tue, 28 Mar 2017 16:21:59 GMT These Charts Show Alarm Bells Ringing on the Trump Trade http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2017-03-28_TheseChartsShowAlarmBellsRingingontheTrumpTrade.html