Thursday 31 October 2019

Russia could create internet that is walled off from the rest of the world

On Nov. 1, Russia is set to activate a version of the internet that's walled off from the rest of the world. This is so that it can protect itself in the event of a cyber attack.

On Nov. 1, Russia could disconnect from the internet (theoretically).

A long-planned internet bill would go into effect and lay the foundation for a national network whereby internet service providers are controlled by Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecom agency.

Russia would benefit from the ability to disconnect from the global internet in the event of a cyberwar. Meanwhile, a walled-off version of the web can be used that is sanctioned by Russia.

Japan's historic Shuri Castle damaged in fire

Japan's historic Shuri Castle was on fire early Thursday. This became a ruined UNESCO World Heritage site.

The bright blaze did light up the night sky in Naha, the prefectural capital of the southern island of Okinawa. Firefighters battled the flames for almost 12 hours.

The fire started in the castle’s main wooden structure and quickly spread to the other buildings.

Three large halls and four other structures burned down and collapsed, a fire official said.

There were no injuries.

The castle is recognized as a cultural symbol of Okinawa’s heritage from the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom that spanned about 450 years from 1429 until 1879.

Black Anima (Album by Lacuna Coil)

Black Anima is the ninth studio album by Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil. It was released by Century Media Records on October 11, 2019. Recording took place BRX Studio in Milan, Italy. It is the first album to feature drummer Richard Meiz, also part of Italian heavy metal band, Genus Ordinis Dei.

It is interesting to hear great female singing in this metal album. There is evil, sadness and torment here. There is also something funny here, perhaps an evil clown character.

Deceiver (Album by DIIV)

Deceiver is the third studio album by American indie rock band DIIV. It was released on October 4, 2019 by Captured Tracks. It was produced primarily by the band themselves along with producer Sonny Diperri, the album was recorded in Los Angeles in March of 2019.

The vocals sound nice on this album. The singing talent is appreciated. The guitars show some sadness of thought. You could really get into the mood of this and start to like it.

Keystone pipeline closed after spilling over 1 million litres of oil in North Dakota

An estimated 1.4 million litres of oil have spilled from TC Energy Corp.'s Keystone crude pipeline in North Dakota, state authorities said on Thursday. This is a major leak at a time of increased regulatory scrutiny of oil pipeline expansions.

The cause of the rupture has not yet been disclosed.

The initial estimate makes it one of the biggest onshore crude spills in the past decade and the largest for Keystone, according to U.S. Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA) data.

Hong Kong recession: economy shrank 3.2% from the previous quarter

Hong Kong is located in southeastern China. It is an autonomous territory and former British colony. Its densely populated urban centre is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper skyline. Central (the business district) features architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower. Hong Kong is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.

On Thursday, the government said Hong Kong’s economy shrank 3.2% in July-September from the previous quarter, pushing the city into a technical recession. Business has decreased since anti-government protests began in early June in the Asian financial center.

Two straight quarters of contraction have happened since the economy contracted 0.5% in April-June on a quarterly basis.

Lineups of Chinese shoppers have decreased. Jewelry stores have less customers. Transportation businesses are decreasing.

Some neighborhoods have become protest battle zones. Demonstrators in black are in conflict with riot police unleashing tear gas and water cannons.

The protesters have been locked in a standoff with the authorities for more than four months, that began with demands they scrap a now-abandoned extradition bill.

At times the chaos has decreased major infrastructure, shutting down the city’s busy airport, where arrivals and flight bookings have decreased.

Oil falls after renewed pessimism about the USA-China trade talks

Crude oil is a naturally occurring, unrefined petroleum product composed of hydrocarbon deposits and other organic materials. A type of fossil fuel, crude oil can be refined to produce usable products such as gasoline, diesel and various forms of petrochemicals.

Oil traded lower on Thursday morning after weak Chinese industrial data and renewed pessimism about the U.S.-China trade talks added to a rise in U.S. oil inventories to weigh on prices.

At 11:57 a.m. EDT on Thursday, WTI Crude was down 1.69 percent at US$54.13 and Brent Crude traded down 1.18 percent at US$59.53.

WTI is actually sweeter than Brent Crude and has a sulfur content of around 0.24 percent. WTI is a better grade of crude oil for the production of gasoline while Brent oil favors the production of diesel fuels. Asian countries tend to use a mixture of Brent and WTI benchmark prices to value their crude oil.

China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped in October, compared to expectations of staying unchanged from September. This increased fears that the Chinese economic growth will further weaken, especially without a U.S.-China trade deal.

Pessimism existed on Thursday after Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials are signaling doubt about the possibility the U.S. and China could reach a long-term comprehensive trade deal.

Oil demand growth could become weaker because of uncertainties around the global economy and Brexit. This could mean that the oil market will have to cope with another oversupply next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said earlier this week.

Bombardier sells multiple facilities to Spirit for US$500M

Bombardier Inc. is a multinational manufacturer of regional airliners, business jets, equipment for public transport, and high speed rail train sets. Its aviation division, Bombardier Aviation, is headquartered in Montreal. The public transport division, Bombardier Transportation, is headquartered in Berlin.

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., based in Wichita, Kansas, is the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. The company builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737 and portions of the 787 fuselage. It also builds the cockpit section of the fuselage of nearly all of its airliners.

Bombardier Inc. has decided to sell a wing factory in Northern Ireland and two other facilities to Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. for US$500 million. This also includes the assumption of certain liabilities.

The wings are made for Airbus SE’s A220 jetliner. The deal also involves a plant in Morocco and a maintenance, overhaul and repair shop in Dallas, Bombardier and Spirit said Thursday.

For Spirit, buying the Belfast plant will expand its role as an Airbus supplier and lessen its dependence on Boeing Co. and the 737 Max.

Unfortunately, the 737 Max has been grounded for more than seven months after two deadly crashes. (President Donald Trump announced on March 13, that United States authorities would ground all 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft in the United States.)

The acquired operations have more than 4,000 employees and expected 2019 revenue of about US$1 billion, Spirit said.

As part of the agreement, Spirit said it would assume about US$300 million in net pension liabilities, and approximately $290 million of government grant repayment obligations, bringing the total value of the transaction to US$1.09 billion.

Spirit will also make a cash contribution of about US$130 million toward pension liabilities. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. It is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Venezuela Exodus will likely be more than 5 million people

The exodus or departure of Venezuelans will likely reach 5 million people. Pressure is growing on neighboring countries to provide them with long-term support.

About 4.5 million refugees and migrants have fled Venezuela since 2015. More could be using illegal crossing points because they lack identity papers. An estimated 5,000 people leave Venezuela daily.

This is a very serious and fastest-growing refugee migrant crisis in Latin American history.

Colombia is the top destination for Venezuelan migrants fleeing the long-running crisis, which has caused widespread shortages of food and medicine. Some 1.4 million Venezuelans live in Colombia.

The flow is overwhelming the financial capacities of host countries to provide services.
9 receiving countries have agreed to accept expired (Venezuelan) passports as valid documents. With an expired passport people can get a temporary permit sometimes for two years.

The socioeconomic and political crisis is marked by hyperinflation, escalating starvation, disease, crime and mortality rates, resulting in massive emigration from the country.

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Construction: Toronto: hwy 27 and hwy 7

In Toronto at highway 27 and highway 7, there is construction of concrete forming. Concrete stripping is done when the forms are removed and the concrete has hardened.





Alberta's IQAS

IQAS is the International Qualifications Assessment Service. This is an Alberta government service that issues certificates comparing credentials from other countries to Canadian education standards. IQAS is designated by the Government of Canada to provide Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for Express Entry.

On average, an assessment takes about 20 weeks to process once all required documents, transcripts and payments are received.

Interesting links:

Sunday 20 October 2019

Japan-US trade deal expected to boost Japan’s economy by 0.8%

The Japan-US trade deal expected to boost Japan’s economy by 0.8%.

The United States and Japan signed a limited trade deal that cuts tariffs on U.S. farm goods, Japanese machine tools and other products while further staving off the threat of higher U.S. car duties.

The deal is also estimated to contribute about 4 trillion yen ($36.84 billion) to Japan’s gross domestic product based on its fiscal 2018 GDP and the pact will create about 280,000 jobs in Japan, it said.

Japan and USA have been working together in many ways. For example, there is also the event that Japan will participate in NASA’s Lunar Gateway project for the Artemis program.

The program will seek to establish an orbital research and staging station around the Moon. The Lunar Gateway is a key component of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to land the first American woman and the next American man on the surface of the Moon by 2024.

Baidu to sell almost third of Ctrip stake for $1 billion

Baidu ( 百度 ) is a large Chinese multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence.

Ctrip ( 携程 ) is a Chinese provider of travel services including accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, packaged tours and corporate travel management.

Baidu will sell nearly a third of its stake in online travel firm, expecting to raise about $1 billion as it looks to invest in new revenue streams.

Baidu, Ctrip’s biggest shareholder with a 19% stake, is offering 31.3 million American Depositary Shares (ADS), each representing 0.125 ordinary share of Ctrip. Underwriters will have a Greenshoe option of 4.7 million ADS, Ctrip said in a statement.

What is a Greenshoe Option? A greenshoe option is an over-allotment option. In the context of an IPO, it is a provision in an underwriting agreement that grants the underwriter the right to sell investors more shares than initially planned by the issuer if the demand for a security issue proves higher than expected.

Most of Baidu success so far has been at video streaming service iQiyi which competes with Alibaba-backed Youku and Tencent Holdings’ Tencent Video.

Recently Baidu invested in science forum Guoke, and Zhihu, China’s answer to Quora.

China's economic growth is lowest level since 1992

China's growth dropped last quarter to its lowest level in nearly three decades. The world's second largest economy continues to be affected from the trade war with the United States.

China's GDP grew by 6% in the three months to September 30, the weakest quarterly growth rate since 1992. This is down from 6.2% in the April-June period.

Trade issues with the US are the key factors affecting business and investment activities.

Domestic stimulus policies are being used to help the situation. Economic stimulus consists of attempts by governments or government agencies to financially stimulate an economy. An economic stimulus is the use of monetary or fiscal policy changes to kickstart growth during a recession. Governments can accomplish this by using tactics such as lowering interest rates and increasing government spending.

This is the graph of GDP per Capita of China and India. The comparison shows how amazing China's growth has been:

China GDP per capita in 2017: $8,826.99 USD
China GDP per capita in 2016: $8,117.27 USD
China GDP per capita in 2015: $8,069.21 USD
China GDP per capita in 2014: $7,683.50 USD
China GDP per capita in 2013: $7,077.77 USD
China GDP per capita in 2012: $6,337.88 USD
China GDP per capita in 2011: $5,633.80 USD
China GDP per capita in 2010: $4,560.51 USD

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Gold prices are down from last month's highs

Gold prices today moved higher in domestic markets, similar to the global trend.

On MCX, December gold future contracts were up 0.13% to 38,084 per 10 gram while silver contracts edged up by 0.44% to 45,427 per kg.

In global markets, spot gold rates were up 0.2% amid a mixed backdrop.

Britain and the European Union are in last-days talks to get a Brexit Deal ahead of a summit of the bloc's leaders this week. People have hopes of a possible good deal to avoid a disorderly British exit from the European Union.

Gold prices probably will continue to trade in a range of $1480 - $1530, unless there is more information about the US-China trade relationships and Fed's monetary policy.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.22% on Tuesday from Monday.

The business of selling gold continues to be profitable as many jewellers come up with promotional offers to attract buyers and gold traders want to buy low and sell high.

China Is Leasing Pacific Island of Tulagi

Tulagi is an island with a little more than 1,000 people in the Solomon Islands. The island of Tulagi served as a South Pacific headquarters for Britain. Then, Japan during World War II made the harbor into its position.

Now, China is going forward with plans to effectively take control. A Beijing-based company has secured exclusive development rights for the entire island of Tulagi and its surroundings. The lease agreement has shocked Tulagi residents.

The renewable 75-year lease was granted to the China Sam Enterprise Group.

Swine fever is hitting Chinese consumers

African Swine Fever has hit China's pig population. Some Chinese consumers are switching to other meats as pork becomes less affordable. Pork in China now costs nearly 70% more than it did a year ago.

China is home to half of all pigs on the planet. The pig herd has shrunk by about 130 million since the outbreak began about 13 months ago. Many farmers don't want to restock pigs after they are slaughtered, fearing they'll catch the disease.

Pork makes up around 70% of China's total meat consumption. Pork is also the main filling used in dumplings.

The price hikes are likely not over yet. The cost of pork will probably rise even more as the country prepares for Chinese New Year (starts off at the end of January).

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix Alpha is almost totally made of screen

This modern cell phone is pretty amazing with a screen that wraps around the entire phone. It looks more futuristic than other phones.

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix phones have always improved phone screens and forms. Curved edges are a nice design. Xiaomi takes phone designs to a new level with the Mi Mix Alpha.

This fantastic surround screen wraps completely around the device to the point where it meets the camera module on the other side. It looks visibly cool like a phone made completely out of screen.

Status icons like network signal, battery charge level and volume buttons are displayed on the side on the phone.

The Mix Alpha uses Samsung new 108 megapixel camera sensor, which was co-developed with Xiaomi.

Huawei unveils new 5G antennae

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. is a Chinese multinational technology company that provides telecommunications equipment and sells consumer electronic, including smartphones and is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Huawei had over 188,000 employees as of September 2018.

Huawei Technologies on Wednesday launched a new generation of 5G mobile antennae. 5G is the fifth generation cellular network technology. The industry association 3GPP defines any system using "5G NR" software as "5G."

Huawei has pioneered the development of so-called Massive MIMO - or multiple input and multiple output - antennae that feature arrays of transmitters and receivers to run fifth-generation mobile services. These can achieve faster data speeds by directly tracking nearby smartphone users.

The antennae, unveiled at en event in Zurich, double bandwidth to 400 Megahertz and boost power output to 320 Watts. This makes it possible to expand coverage in the mid-band frequencies that many countries have earmarked for 5G services. They will weigh less and use less power than their predecessors.

Germany will work with Huawei to help build its national 5G networks.

Samsung ends mobile phone production in China

Samsung is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. Since 1990, Samsung has increasingly globalised its activities and electronics; in particular, its mobile phones and semiconductors have become its most important source of income. Samsung's revenue was equal to 17% of South Korea's $1,082 billion GDP.

In 2017, Samsung manufactured 394 million handsets around the world.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has ended mobile telephone production in China, it said on Wednesday. The competition is intensifying from domestic rivals in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

Samsung’s last China phone factory has shutdown. Production has been cut at the plant in the southern city of Huizhou in June in June and another factory was suspended last year. Competition is tough in the country.

Some other manufacturers also ended production in China due to rising labor costs and the economic slowdown.

Sony said it was closing its Beijing smartphone plant and would only make smartphones in Thailand.

Apple still makes major products in China.

Fast-growing homegrown brands in the Chinese market are Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi Corp. In China, people can buy low-priced smartphones from domestic brands and high-end phones from Apple or Huawei. However, Samsung would continue sales in China.

Examples of Samsung Phones:

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus 128GB White with Edge 40 tab

Samsung Galaxy S10 - 128GB Memory, Prism White

Galaxy Note10+ - 12GB+256GB, Aura Black

Samsung Galaxy Note9 128GB Black

Samsung Galaxy S10e 128GB Black with Edge 40 tab

Samsung Galaxy S9 64 GB - Titanium Grey

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 44mm - Aluminum Aqua Black