Bitcoin price hits highest level since January 2018

first_img– Advertisement – But lingering uncertainty over the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election means that it’s unlikely another coronavirus stimulus package will be agreed upon in the near term.“With the U.S. election gradually drawing to a close, the details of a fiscal stimulus could become clearer. Any such package could see weakening of the U.S. dollar and further increases in the bitcoin price going forward,” Peters said.Meanwhile, analysts have cheered moves from the likes of PayPal and Facebook in the cryptocurrency space lately.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – PayPal said it would let its customers buy and sell digital assets like bitcoin and ether through its digital wallet and eventually use them for shopping, while Facebook is developing its libra digital currency with a Switzerland-based consortium called the Libra Association.Still, regulators continue to scrutinize the cryptocurrency industry. Bitcoin’s network doesn’t require a central authority to maintain it, and officials have expressed concern with its use in illicit transactions. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice said it had seized $1 billion worth of bitcoin believed to be linked to Silk Road, the now-defunct online black market.center_img Bitcoin has been on a tear in 2020, more than doubling in value year-to-date. Its meteoric rise comes on the back of unprecedented stimulus from global governments and central banks during the coronavirus pandemic, which some industry insiders believe has made the virtual currency more attractive than fiat currencies like the dollar.“Bitcoin’s creation was in part due to fears that increased fiscal stimulus is devaluing currencies globally,” said Simon Peters, a cryptoasset analyst at investment platform eToro. “As a result, when central banks announce extensive plans to pump money into economies, many investors in the crypto community take this as a major bitcoin buy signal.”Investors are awaiting the latest monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve, with the U.S. central bank expected to keep overnight rates close to zero and reiterate the need for more fiscal stimulus. Bitcoin‘s price climbed above $15,000 on Thursday, hitting a level not seen since January 2018 amid U.S. presidential election uncertainty.The world’s best-known cryptocurrency was last trading almost 9% higher at a price of $15,233, according to data from industry website CoinDesk.- Advertisement –last_img read more

US foes delight in criticizing US as protests flare

first_img‘Taking some sort of pleasure’ Trump’s national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, criticized Chinese officials for “taking some sort of pleasure and solace in what they’re seeing here.”Americans seeking redress are “not going to be thrown in jail for peaceful protesting. There’s a difference between us and you,” he told ABC News.Many demonstrations have been peaceful but activists have accused police of using excessive force in a number of incidents and a man was killed early Monday in Louisville, Kentucky.O’Brien also singled out Zimbabwe among “our foreign adversaries” that may be relishing the scenes in the United States.Zimbabwe — which has faced US criticism over violently dispersing protests as well as British-led pressure over its seizures of white-owned farms — summoned the US ambassador to protest O’Brien’s remarks. Topics : Diverting attention? Observers say that China and Iran are hardly sterling examples on rights.Activists say China is detaining at least one million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in a vast network of brainwashing camps.In the commercial hub of Guangzhou, African residents said that police forcibly evicted them this year from accommodation and that they were refused service at shops and restaurants as part of a coronavirus scare.In Iran, a lawmaker on Monday acknowledged that 230 people died in last year’s protests triggered by a fuel price hike, although outside groups say the number was far higher.”Like every country, America has never been perfect when it comes to human rights. Far from it,” said Rob Berschinski, senior vice president for policy at Human Rights First.”But the fact that a human rights advocate like me can say this openly is what differentiates the United States and other free countries from countries like China and Iran,” he said.”When the Chinese and Iranian governments criticize demonstrations in America, they’re doing so to distract from their own records, not because they care about racial injustice.”Berschinski, who served at the State Department under president Barack Obama, said nonetheless that Trump hurt the cause, including by calling on Twitter for the shooting of looters.”When American citizens are brutalized by our police and national leaders like President Trump promote violence, of course America’s ability to speak credibly on human rights abroad is harmed,” he said. “And to the American officials and police: stop violence against your people and let them breathe,” he said.Both Iran and China also took to social media to troll the United States, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeting a State Department condemnation of Iran in which he flipped the names of the two countries. With US cities in flames over outrage about police brutality, nations that are usually on the receiving end of Washington’s criticism on human rights are gleefully turning the tables.Condemnation of the US record on race came from China, which days earlier faced US counter-measures for tightening controls on Hong Kong, as well as Iran, where officials have been slapped with US sanctions for suppressing protests in November.The United States is experiencing some of its worst riots in 50 years with dozens of cities under curfews following the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who pleaded “I can’t breathe” as a white police officer pinned him under his knee for nearly nine minutes. “Racism against ethnic minorities in the US is a chronic disease of American society,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.”The current situation reflects once more the severity of the problems of racism and police violence in the US,” he told reporters in Beijing.Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi echoed the language frequently voiced by President Donald Trump’s administration in its support for opponents of the clerical state.”To the American people: the world has heard your outcry over the state of oppression. The world is standing with you,” Mousavi said, in English, in Tehran. Gentle criticism from friends Solidarity protests have taken place in US friends including Britain, Ireland and New Zealand. Allied governments have spoken in general terms about US police brutality, without criticizing Trump.A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the violence “very alarming” and voiced concern over the arrests of journalists, including at least one British national.A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that US police should show restraint “as in any other country in the world” and that police worldwide need human rights training.Trump, who advocates a go-it-alone “America First” approach, has long brushed aside foreign critiques.But in a leaked tape of a meeting Monday with governors, he complained that “the whole world was laughing” — because police did not respond forcefully enough.last_img read more

The Korean War: Carnage, stalemate and ceasefire

first_imgAs well as pitting North against South, the Korean War embroiled each side’s communist and Western allies — with the Soviet Union and China backing Pyongyang, and a US-led coalition under a United Nations banner supporting Seoul.AFP traces the course of the conflict, which broke out on June 25, 1950 and ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war. Moscow appointed Kim Il Sung, who had led a Korean contingent in the Soviet army, as head of the North. His son and grandson have since retained an absolute grip on power in Pyongyang.Both the communist North and the capitalist South claimed to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula. Two Koreas created The Soviet Union declared war on Japan, Korea’s colonial ruler, between the US nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, and sent troops pouring into the peninsula.Washington and Moscow agreed to divide it into two occupied zones along the 38th parallel, a line of latitude that splits the territory roughly across the middle.Two rival states emerged in 1948. In Seoul, the capital of the South, the Harvard- and Princeton-educated Syngman Rhee led a US-oriented regime. The longest ceasefireThe ceasefire was supposed to be replaced with a final peace settlement, but that has never happened.Washington still stations 28,500 troops in the South, while the North — which has the world’s largest standing army — has spent decades developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, saying it needs them to deter a US invasion.It has been isolated internationally as a result, and subject to multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions.Both Pyongyang and Seoul continue to claim sovereignty over the whole Korean peninsula. Topics :center_img Invasion and counter-attack On June 25, 1950, the North invaded the South as Kim Il Sung attempted to reunify Korea by force.The UN Security Council authorized armed intervention in support of the South — Moscow did not veto the resolution as it was boycotting the body.But the South’s forces crumbled before the Northern advance, and Pyongyang’s army seized Seoul just three days after crossing the 38th parallel.Multinational UN forces, led by the US, arrived in the South to help. But they were pushed back to the Pusan Perimeter, a pocket on the peninsula’s southeastern tip around the city now known as Busan.The Incheon Landing — a bold counter-offensive launched in the city to the west of Seoul — recaptured the capital, split the North’s forces and turned the tide.UN units swept north, seized Pyongyang on October 19 and advanced almost to the Chinese border.But Pyongyang’s allies reversed the war’s course again as Beijing sent hundreds of thousands of troops to help.Seoul fell to them again in January 1951, only for the UN coalition to recapture it once more two months later — the fourth time the city had changed hands. Armistice By June the front line had stabilized roughly where the Demilitarized Zone runs today — not far from the pre-war division along the 38th parallel.Another two years of attrition — accompanied by large-scale US bombing of the North, despite Moscow providing air power — followed as the fighting wore its way to a stalemate.After more than two years of truce talks and 158 meetings, an armistice was finally signed in July 1953 by North Korea, China and the UN Command.But Rhee, who still wanted to defeat the North, refused to sign. Casualties Exact numbers are impossible to establish given the scale of the conflict and multiple contradictory accounts on all sides, but up to three million Koreans died, the vast majority of them civilians.According to Seoul’s defense ministry, 520,000 North Korean soldiers were killed, as were 137,000 Southern troops.A display at Pyongyang’s main war museum says more than 1.5 million of the “enemy” were killed or captured.Chinese casualty figures remain disputed, with Western estimates commonly citing a figure of 400,000, while Chinese sources put it at about 180,000.Nearly 37,000 American soldiers were killed, while other UN fatalities included more than 1,000 British soldiers.last_img read more

After mixed messages from White House, Trump says ‘real test’ ahead in his COVID fight

first_imgThe remarks came hours after differing assessments of his health from administration officials left it unclear how ill the president had become since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night, a matter of enormous public concern.A White House team of doctors said on Saturday morning that Trump’s condition was improving and that he was already talking about returning to the White House. One doctor said Trump told them, ‘I feel like I could walk out of here today.’Within minutes, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows gave reporters a less rosy assessment, telling them, “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”Meadows, whose initial comments were delivered on condition that he not be identified, altered his tone hours later, telling Reuters that Trump was doing “very well” and that “doctors are very pleased with his vital signs.” Meadows did not clarify the discrepancy in his comments. A Trump adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president was not happy to learn of Meadows’ initial remarks.Administration officials have described the move to Walter Reed as precautionary and said Trump would stay at the hospital for several days.Another source who was briefed on Trump’s condition said the president was given supplemental oxygen before he went to the hospital. The decision to hospitalize Trump came after he had experienced difficulty breathing and his oxygen level dropped, according to a source familiar with the situation.White House doctor Sean P. Conley told reporters outside the hospital on Saturday that Trump had not had trouble breathing, and was not given oxygen at Walter Reed.”The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made,” Conley said.He declined to give a timetable for Trump’s possible release from the hospital, and later had to issue a statement saying he misspoke after appearing to suggest Trump had been diagnosed as early as Wednesday.In a statement on Saturday evening, Conley said the president was “not yet out of the woods” but his team remained cautiously optimistic.”Today’s spectacle – doctors saying one thing, White House sources saying another thing, and both later amending their statements – only reinforces the credibility problems of this administration,” said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.The diagnosis was the latest setback for the Republican president, who is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.With Trump in the hospital, his campaign announced “Operation MAGA,” based on his slogan “Make America Great Again,” which will see high-profile allies including Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s elder sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, take over in-person campaigning starting next week.Topics : President Donald Trump said from his hospital room on Saturday that he felt “much better” but the next few days will be “the real test” of his treatment for COVID-19, capping a day of contradictory messages from the White House about his condition.In a four-minute video posted on Twitter, Trump, looking tired and wearing a jacket and open-necked shirt, said he “wasn’t feeling so well” when he first arrived at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday.”Over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test, so we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days,” Trump said, seated at a round table in front of an American flag.last_img read more

Arsenal should take £40m ‘gamble’ on Lewis Dunk instead of Pablo Mari, says Ray Palour

first_img Arteta ‘pleased’ after Arsenal progress past Bournemouth in FA CupTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 4:22FullscreenArteta ‘pleased’ after Arsenal progress past Bournemouth in FA Cuphttps://metro.co.uk/video/arteta-pleased-arsenal-progress-past-bournemouth-fa-cup-2097240/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Martin Keown says Arsenal have no option but to bring in a defender if they are to have any hope of achieving their ‘massive goals’ this season.‘Arsenal now need to go and sign a central defender if they didn’t need one already,’ the ex-Arsenal centre-back said on BT Sport.‘That will determine it. You need to have bodies now. There’s massive goals ahead for the rest of the season.‘You’ve got the Europa League where if you win that you get back in the Champions League, you can fight for the top-four – maybe that’s gone – but you’ve got to get back into Europe and the FA Cup itself.‘There is still so much to fight for.’MORE: Joe Willock reveals what Mikel Arteta told him before Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 28 Jan 2020 5:13 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link2.6kShares Advertisement Arsenal should take £40m ‘gamble’ on Lewis Dunk instead of Pablo Mari, says Ray Palour Commentcenter_img Advertisement Ray Parlour says Arsenal should sign a ‘proper centre-back’ like Lewis Dunk (Picture: Getty)Ray Parlour has urged Arsenal to take a ‘gamble’ and try to sign Lewis Dunk over Pablo Mari this January.The Gunners are in the market for a central defender after Calum Chamers was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a serious knee injury and Mari has been identified as the club’s priority target.Arsenal technical director Edu agreed a deal with Flamengo for Mari last week and the Spanish centre-back travelled to London on Saturday before undergoing a medical.However, the move is now in serious doubt after a Flamengo director accused the Premier League giants of changing the terms of their agreement.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTFlamengo head coach Jorge Jesus has also played down Arsenal’s chances of landing Mari before Friday’s transfer deadline. Flamengo ace Mari is Arsenal’s number one target this January (Picture: Getty)Arsenal legend Parlour believes his former club should look closer to home for a defender this winter and has named Brighton’s Dunk as a potential solution.‘If I really had to go and buy one, whether you’ve got the money to do it or not, I’d take a gamble on a player like Lewis Dunk,’ Parlour told talkSPORT.‘£30million, £40million, would Brighton take that? I don’t know.‘I like the way he plays, he’s a proper centre-back. That’s what you need sometimes.‘Sol Campbell was a proper centre-back when I played, he’d stop you scoring, and that’s what you want from your centre-half.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘He doesn’t have to be great on the ball at times. We’re talking about different players [in quality].‘Sol was one of the best centre halves around at that time.‘But someone like Lewis Dunk, who’s probably a little bit unlucky not to be in more England squads, I’m sure Brighton fans don’t want to be losing a player like that.’last_img read more

Large blocks are proving to be a drawcard for Brisbane investors

first_img34 Olivia St, NorthgateShe said the market for good-size property in the northern suburbs was running hot.“The large-block market on the north side is going crazy. I’ve sold a couple of large blocks lately … and there’s people all over them. ‘‘Obviously developers to do splits but also families looking for a bit more space than what a 405sq m offers.”The buyers are locals looking to upgrade to a large site with a classic home. More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 201934 Olivia St, Northgate.The home’s appeal extends through to its period elements.High ceilings, VJ timber walls, polished timber floors and rambling verandas all feature.“The whole feel from the veranda is probably my favourite part, because when you’re on the veranda, the breezes are really beautiful and you’re overlooking the parkland which is really nice,” Ms Gregory-Hunt said.Another attraction is the property’s position with Nundah Village cafes and the train station just 300m from the front door. 34 Olivia St, Northgate.The home at 34 Olivia St, Northgate, is a classic, but it was the 810sq m block which proved to be the clincher in achieving a $777,000 auction sale on May 13.Shontelle Gregory-Hunt, marketing agent from Ray White Wilston, said the block had redevelopment potential, but the home’s age and position presented difficulties for developers.In the end, a young couple were the winning bidders.“They love it,” Ms Gregory-Hunt said. ‘‘They’re making minor changes but basically keeping it as it is.’’last_img read more

Funded pensions must prop up first pillar as wages stagnate: Rürup

first_imgPay-as-you-go (PAYG) pension systems have to be topped up by funded pensions due to a lack of wage inflation in OECD countries, according to German pensions expert Bert Rürup.In a keynote speech to journalists in Vienna this week, Rürup said: “As wage levels are effectively dropping we need alternative sources to finance pensions.”With lower wages, contributions to most PAYG first-pillar pension systems were also dropping, leading to less capital for current payouts and raising the prospect of future pension cuts.Additionally, especially for countries like Austria, people were paying into the state pension system for shorter periods as their education was taking longer, Rürup said. “In light of all this it makes sense to expand funded pension systems,” he said.However, he warned not to play off PAYG and funded systems against each other: “Having the systems compete against each other does not work. That has been tried with the Riester-Rente in Germany until about five years ago. Cooperation is the key.”According to Rürup, one of the initial problems with the state-subsidised supplementary Riester-Rente was that it had been set up to replace people’s pension payouts from the first pillar without making it mandatory to join a Riester plan.He emphasised that funded systems made sense in the current low interest rate environment for two reasons: “With a funded system you can also source the economic output of other countries not only your own.”Rürup added: “Further, I predict the low-interest rate to [end] in 2019 but it should not happen too quickly.”“The low interest rate scenario is not very sexy for funded pension systems – especially if they are insurance-based,” he continued. Rürup called on insurers to “emancipate” themselves within the regulatory framework by shifting asset allocations away from government bonds.He said: “Solvency II is a platinum credit card for countries and this is a problem. But financially sound insurers are emancipating themselves from this by investing in equities or infrastructure.”last_img read more

ITF Condemns ACP’s Sanctions against Tug Captains

first_imgThe International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has strongly criticized the Panama Canal Authority’s recently launched process of issuing sanctions against tugboat captains.The ACP launched the process last week to sanction certain tug captains that refused to transit ships through the expanded canal, saying that the captains’ refusal affected the traffic through the Neopanamax locks and “caused a negative economic impact on the country.”In a statement, ITF informed that the captains are “refusing to perform operations in the canal because they have serious concerns regarding health and safety after the ACP’s unilateral decision to reduce the number of crew on the tugboats.”This is compounded by concerns they have previously raised regarding the excessive overtime being required of tugboat captains, which has led to fatigue and is having a grave impact on their health and wellbeing, ITF continued.“The ITF is astonished and disappointed that the ACP has taken such an adversarial position against the workers and the Union de Capitanes y Oficials de Cubierta (UCOC) when all they want is to ensure safe operations in the canal.”ITF has urged the ACP to withdraw the sanctions and enter into a constructive dialogue with the unions.UCOC earlier said that the Panama Canal Authority is deploying a reduced number of crew members to the tugboats as a way of cutting costs.last_img read more

IMI names GustoMSC jack-up “IMI-2030”

first_imgIMI, a JV company between Lamprell, Saudi Aramco, Bahri, and Hyundai Heavy Industries, has announced the name for the GustoMSC-design jack-up rig which is expected to be built in 2021. The offshore oil and gas drilling rig will be named “IMI-2030.”IMI is responsible for the management of the multi-billion dollar maritime and offshore yard being built in Saudi Arabia’s Ras Al-Khair. Once built, the yard will be able to construct four offshore rigs per year.In the words of both IMI and National Oilwell Varco-owned rig designer GustoMSC, the rig’s name was inspired by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 – the Kingdom’s plan for sustained economic diversification and reduction of reliance on oil.Fathi K Al Saleem, CEO of IMI, said: “The naming of this jack-up drilling rig is a major step for IMI. The utilization of “2030” in the name was important to the management team as it was inspired by the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision. IMI and the King Salman Complex is one of the major projects forming part of this wider strategy.”The naming of the rig which has yet to be built comes less than a month after GustoMSC and IMI signed a design licensing agreement that will enable IMI to construct and deliver drilling rigs to its clients.IMI in October said it would be fully prepared for its first production operations anticipated in 2021, as a result of the GustoMSC deal. GustoMSC is responsible for delivering the basic design and will tailor one of its CJ-series jack-up drilling rigs.“The design retains its key and field-proven features such as the sturdy X-bracing leg design, the Rack & Pinion Jacking Systems, and X-Y cantilever system. The IMI rig design is targeted to be a ‘Fit For Purpose’ solution that enables safe, efficient and reliable drilling for Saudi Arabia,” GustoMSC said in October.During the naming ceremony, Nils van Nood, Managing Director of GustoMSC, adds: “Contributing to the Saudi Vision 2030  is a great opportunity for us to serve key clients in Saudi Arabia and the region. Given how important the Saudi Vision 2030 is to IMI and to GustoMSC, the name was highly appropriate. We are proud of this partnership and look forward working together during the basic & detailed design phases and beyond.”About one year ago ARO Drilling, formed in October 2017 as a joint venture between Rowan and Saudi Aramco, announced plans to order at least 20 drilling jack-ups for construction at IMI. It is expected that the initial rig ordering will get finalized in the second half of 2020.Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email.Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product, or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form, where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

Archer Knight intros new subsea intelligence platform

first_imgArcher Knight has rolled out a new software-as-a-service platform to make it easier for subsea companies to win more business. “What they’re getting is high-quality data, in a user-friendly format, which can be widely shared across their business. There are no restrictive licensing arrangements above the initial subscription. We believe Flowline really breaks the mould.” “But with so much news and activity surrounding the subsea industry, it’s harder than ever to find a way to cut through the noise. Technology has a powerful role to play and we believe Flowline brings something completely different to the market. The SaaS platform applies Archer Knight’s in-depth analysis of the market, aided by engagement with a 50,000 strong global network of contacts, to give users a detailed real-time view of the subsea market.” Sheret added: “For subscribers, Flowline will be a company’s own digital ‘employee’, giving them impartial intelligence and backed by the data and analysis from our team of subsea professionals.” It also gives users regular alerts on subsea appointments, project updates, new contracts, and other industry intelligence. Particularly, Flowline offers companies a way to save time, as well as drive down the costs and the carbon footprint. The platform gives companies from the subsea supply chain greater insight into where they can find the most profitable opportunities.center_img David Sheret explained: Particularly in the current climate, with the low oil price and COVID-19 putting restrictions on conducting everyday business “Market intelligence is absolutely essential to the subsea industry, especially in the current climate. Companies need access to trustworthy data that enables them to make better decisions. They need greater insight into the key performing indicators within the subsea sector in order to focus their efforts where it counts.” The software allows users to track vessel & asset activity, individual companies, or specific countries. The Aberdeen-based subsea market intelligence and consultancy firm, formed by Mike Watson & David Sheret, has launched Flowline.last_img read more