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In the News 22.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 22.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 22.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 22.08.16 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal

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Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself.

Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

Beyond Coal:
Imagining
Appalachia’s Future

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Here in the heart of central Appalachian coal country, an economic experiment is underway inside an airy renovated Coca-Cola bottling plant. Most days, Michael Harrison, a former mine electrician and “buggy man” who once drove trucks 700 feet underground, can be found hunched over a silver laptop, designing websites for clients like the Pikeville tourism board.

Mr. Harrison, 36, is one of 10 former mine workers employed at BitSource, an internet start-up founded by two Pikeville businessmen determined to prove a point: that with training and encouragement, Kentucky miners can learn to code.

“We told them, ‘Quit thinking of yourselves as unemployed coal workers; you’re technology workers,’” said Rusty Justice, a founder of BitSource. He called his pep talks “reimagination training.”

Nearly 13,000 coal jobs — and countless more in related industries — have disappeared in Kentucky since President Obama took office; coal employment is at its lowest level since 1898. In Washington, Democrats and Republicans remain locked in a feud over whether Mr. Obama’s aggressive environmental regulations amount to a “war on coal.” On the presidential campaign trail, Donald J. Trump is vowing to “put our miners back to work.”

But across central Appalachia, and especially here in eastern Kentucky, elected officials, business leaders, environmentalists and community advocates are looking beyond politics to wrestle with a question essential to the region’s survival: What comes after coal?

The founders of BitSource are not the only ones thinking creatively; there are nascent efforts in craft agriculture and energy efficiency as well. These initiatives will not cure central Appalachia’s economic woes; at BitSource, Mr. Harrison was among 1,000 laid-off miners who applied for 10 jobs.

Rather, said Lora Smith, who oversees grants in central Appalachia for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, they represent lurching steps into what one local writer called “a terrifying liberation” for a region rich in natural resources whose people have deep ties to the land.

It is “terrifying,” Ms. Smith said, “because people are out of work, but it’s also this liberation, to reimagine what this place can be.”

Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

SHOP

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The Uber Killer: The Real Story of One Night of Terror

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JASON DALTON began this particular Saturday—February 20, 2016—by doing nothing at all unusual. While his wife of 20 years went out with their 15-year-old son and their 10-year-old daughter, Dalton, 45, took their German shepherd, Mia, for a walk, then ran errands for a couple of hours with a friend, Brian. Afterward, he told Brian he might take a nap, then go to work. Dalton was an insurance loss adjuster in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but less than two weeks earlier he had also started doing some driving for Uber in his off time. The Daltons were doing fine, but he liked the idea of making some extra money. The plan was to take his family to Disney World.

It looked like another ordinary day in the life of an ordinary man in an ordinary part of America. Except that on this day, for reasons that Jason Dalton would later struggle to explain, Kalamazoo would be terrorized by a man driving around town and shooting people, apparently at random. And the person doing the shooting would turn out to be an Uber driver named Jason Dalton.

Read the rest of this article at GQ

Reconnecting Cuba

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I found out how much opportunity there might be for large companies in Cuba on a sweltering August afternoon on one of Havana’s busiest thoroughfares. I ducked into a minuscule shop that seemed to specialize in passport photos and photocopy services. But all the customers I met were purchasing an item that wasn’t advertised at all: a tiny USB stick filled with a terabyte of information and called el paquete semanal, or “the weekly packet.”

Yoan, the 26-year-old clerk, would give me only his first name. He said that every week, an unnamed distributor delivers a fresh packet filled with an eclectic assortment of content: pirated Hollywood films, telenovelas produced in Miami, stand-up comedy, the Spanish-language Wikipedia, and Revolico, Cuba’s semi-legal answer to Craigslist. The material found on the packets is hardly revolutionary; in fact, according to Yoan, episodes of America’s Funniest Home Videos were more frequently found than anything political. Butel paquete functions as a mass-distributed, curated version of a world that most Cubans lack the means or opportunity to access. “Everyone I know buysel paquete,” Yoan said. (See “India’s Triple Play” for a similar story halfway around the world.)

Read the rest of this article at Strategy + Business

How To Legally Own Another Person

Even the church had its hippies –Coase does not need math –Avoid lawyers during Oktoberfest –The expat life ends one day –People who have been employees are signaling domestication — You win elections by not caring about wining elections

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In its early phase, as the church was starting to get established in Europe, there was a group of itinerant people called the gyrovagues. They were gyrating and roaming monks without any affiliation to any institution. Theirs was a free-lance (and ambulatory) variety of monasticism, and their order was sustainable as the members lived off begging and from the good graces of townsmen who took interest in them. It is a weak form of sustainability, as one can hardly call sustainable a group of a people with vows of celibacy: they cannot grow organically and would need continuous enrolment. But their members managed to survive thanks to help from the population, which provided them with food and temporary shelter.

Sometimes around the fifth century, they started disappearing –there are now extinct. The gyrovagues were unpopular with the church, banned by the council of Chalcedon in the Fifth Century, then again by the second council of Nicaea about three hundred years later. In the West, Saint Benedict of Nurcia, their greatest detractor, favored a more institutional brand of monasticism and ended up prevailing with his rules that codified the activity, with a hierarchy and strong supervision by an abbot. For instance, Benedict’s rules[i], put together in a sort of instruction manual, stipulate that a monk’s possessions should be in the hands of the abbot (Rule 33) and Rule 70 bans angry monks from hitting other monks.

Why were they banned? They were, simply, totally free. They were financially free, and secure, not because of their means but because of their wants. Ironically by being beggars, they had the equivalent of f*** you money, the one we can more easily get by being at the lowest rung than by joining the income dependent class.

Complete freedom is the last thing you would want if you have an organized religion to run. Total freedom is also a very, very bad thing for you if you have a firm to run, so this chapter is about the question of employees and the nature of the firm and other institutions.[1]

Benedict’s instruction manual aims explicitly at removing any hint of freedom in the monks under the principles of: stabilitate sua et conversatione morum suorum et oboedientia — “stability, conversion of manners, and obedience”. And of course monks are put through a probation period of one year to see if they are effectively obedient.

Read the rest of this article at Medium

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: Belgrave Crescent, @lornaluxe, @studiomondine