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  • International Business Times
  • Spotify Announces On-Demand Playlists For Free Users

    Spotify Announces On-Demand Playlists For Free Users
    Spotify has announced that it has begun rolling out a redesigned app experience for its free customers. Spotify free listeners will now have on-demand access to 15 playlists, which will allow them to play any song they want within those playlists.
  • Russell Westbrook Suspended? NBA Reviewing Thunder-Jazz Altercation Before Game 5

    Russell Westbrook Suspended? NBA Reviewing Thunder-Jazz Altercation Before Game 5
    The Oklahoma City Thunder, once considered among the top threats to upset the defending champion Golden State Warriors, have their backs against the wall in the first round of the playoffs after three straight games to the Utah Jazz.  Staring down a 3-1 series deficit and the possibility of bowing out in the first round for a second straight year, the Thunder have another problem to worry about: they may be without their best player.
  • Daniel Lissing Explains Jack?s Death, Why He?s Leaving ?When Calls The Heart?

    Daniel Lissing Explains Jack?s Death, Why He?s Leaving ?When Calls The Heart?
    After the Season 5 finale of ?When Calls the Heart? on Hallmark Channel on Sunday, Hearties are left with millions of questions, but one of the greatest being, ?Why is Daniel Lissing leaving the show?? With his decision being the reason a beloved character on the series, Mountie Jack Thornton, was killed off, it makes perfect sense why fans are wondering what brought upon Lissing?s departure.
  • Pippa Middleton Visits Kate Middleton?s Royal Baby Boy Amid Pregnancy Rumors

    Pippa Middleton Visits Kate Middleton?s Royal Baby Boy Amid Pregnancy Rumors
    Kate Middleton and Prince William?s baby boy got a special visit from his aunt Pippa Middleton on Tuesday morning. The 34-year-old was spotted arriving at her sister?s residence at Kensington Palace in London, the day after she gave birth to her third child. Middleton, who is already an aunt to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, arrived in ?a very happy? mood around 11 a.m. local time and departed almost two hours later, according to E! News.
  • Disney Releases ?Aladdin,? ?The Lion King? And ?Dumbo? Live-Action Sneak Peeks

    Disney Releases ?Aladdin,? ?The Lion King? And ?Dumbo? Live-Action Sneak Peeks
    Las Vegas -- The Walt Disney Company was all about touting the live-action reboots of its classic animated films during its CinemaCon slate representation in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Audience members were treated to sneak previews of ?Aladdin,? ?The Lion King? and ?Dumbo? ahead of each film?s separate 2019 release.
 
 
  • The Economist: Finance and economics
  • Economists still lack a proper understanding of business cycles

    Economists still lack a proper understanding of business cycles

    THE aftermath of the 2007-08 financial crisis ought to have been a moment of triumph for economics. Lessons learned from the 1930s prevented the collapse of global finance and trade, and resulted in a downturn far shorter and less severe than the Depression. But even as the policy remedies were helpful, the crisis exposed the economic profession?s continued ignorance of the business cycle. That is bad news not just for the discipline, but for everyone.

    The aim of those studying the macroeconomy has always been to understand the economy?s wobbles, and to work out when governments should intervene. That is not easy. Downturns come often enough to be a serious irritant, but not often enough to give economists sufficient data for rigorous statistical analysis. It is hard to distinguish between short-run swings and structural economic changes resulting from demography or technology. Most classical economists were sceptical of the idea that the macroeconomy needed much oversight at all.

    ...
  • Indicators that signal financial-market trouble are flashing

    Indicators that signal financial-market trouble are flashing

    WATCHING financial markets can be like watching a horror film. A character walks into the darkness alone. A floorboard creaks. The latest spooky sign is the spread between the three-month dollar London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) and the overnight index swap (OIS) rate. It usually hovers at around 0.1%, but has recently climbed to 0.6% (see chart). As it widens, bankers are bracing for a jump scare.

    To see why, consider what each rate represents. LIBOR is the rate that banks charge other banks for unsecured loans. The OIS rate measures expectations for the federal funds rate, which is set by the central bank. As LIBOR rises above the OIS rate, that suggests banks fear it is getting riskier to lend to each other. (The gap was 3.65 percentage points in the depths of the crisis, after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.)

    Market-watchers were already twitchy. Last November they shuddered as the yield curve, which plots the yields of Treasury bonds of different maturities, abruptly...

  • Hong Kong defends its dollar peg in both directions

    Hong Kong defends its dollar peg in both directions

    THE Hong Kong dollar is one of the most and least manipulated monies in the world. For over 34 years the territory?s monetary authority, the HKMA, has kept it pegged to America?s currency at around HK$7.80 to the dollar, resisting all temptations to let it fall or rise. In 2005 it refined the peg with two promises: to buy dollars at the price of HK$7.75 and to sell them for HK$7.85.

    The strength of the Hong Kong dollar has obliged the HKMA to keep the first promise many times since. Its purchases of American dollars have even drawn the accusation that it manipulates its currency for competitive advantage.

    In fact, the HKMA has always been ready to manipulate its currency upwards, too. But since 2005 it has had no occasion to, until last week. On April 12th the Hong Kong dollar weakened to HK$7.85, forcing the authority to buy HK$51bn over the next few days in exchange for American dollars.

    The Hong Kong dollar?s weakness reflects the gap between rising American interest rates...

  • Coco bonds have not lived up to their promise

    Coco bonds have not lived up to their promise

    DURING the financial crisis, Western governments poured hundreds of billions of dollars into their banks to avert collapse. The search for ways to avoid future bail-outs started before the turmoil ended. One of the niftiest proposals was the ?contingent convertible? (coco) bond, which turns into equity when the ratio of a bank?s equity to risk-weighted assets falls below a predetermined danger point (since set at a minimum of 5.125% for cocos, although it can be up to around 7%). The ambition was grand. As the Squam Lake Group, composed of mostly American academics, put it in 2009, the automatic conversion of cocos would ?transform an undercapitalised or insolvent bank into a well-capitalised bank at no cost to taxpayers?.

    At first, regulators were keen. In 2010 Mervyn King, then the governor of the Bank of England, said he wanted contingent capital to be a ?major part of the liability structure of the banking system?. Swiss regulators, too, pushed for coco issuance. The hybrid nature of cocos seemed a way to satisfy both regulators, who wanted banks to have bigger safety buffers, and bankers, who were reluctant to issue new shares because of the high cost of capital. The hope was that investors, too, might see the appeal of an asset that offered a higher yield than bank bonds but lower risk than bank shares.

    Nine years after the first cocos were...

  • America?s Treasury refrains from naming any currency manipulators

    America?s Treasury refrains from naming any currency manipulators

    MOST governments are happy when foreigners want their bonds, especially when those foreigners are long-term holders, like central banks. But America is different. It worries that some foreign governments buy its debt to keep the dollar pricey and their own currencies cheap. This ?currency manipulation? gives other countries a competitive edge, raising their own trade surpluses and America?s deficit.

    Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, sees an ?arc of intervention? across Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea that has slowed the dollar?s decline over the past nine months. America has reportedly persuaded South Korea to forswear currency manipulation in a ?side-agreement? to their revised trade deal. And on April 16th President Donald Trump tweeted that ?Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game...Not acceptable!?

    Mr Trump?s tweet was at odds with his Treasury Department?s assessment. Every six months it must tell Congress if any...