financializer news A weblog highlighting financial topics making news in the international media.

chemical poison: Wan Azirul said he took possession of the victim's blazer, backpack and watch and handed them to the chemistry department for analysis, but was later told by investigation authorities to hand them over to representatives of the North Korean embassy, according to The Japan Times. I do not know why, I was following orders, he added. Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, a Vietnamese, are charged with murdering Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX, a chemical poison banned by the United Nations, at Kuala Lumpur airport on Feb. 13. ; The money is now stored in a safe in the office of the police chief of the Sepang district, which has jurisdiction over the murder site, police official Wan Azirul Nizam Che Wan Aziz said. In court, the prosecution played more than 30 videos of closed-circuit television footage of the women's activities, after Judge Azmi Ariffin overruled defense objections to their admissibility, saying it could be challenged later in the case. Some of the footage, dated Feb. 11, appeared to show Huong approaching an unidentified man from behind and placing her hands around his neck and face, before backing away slowly with her head slightly lowered and her hands put together. The defense lawyers for both Huong and Siti Aisyah said the videos could be considered hearsay, as the investigating officer did not record them himself and was not present to witness the crime. ( As reported in the news.

cryptocurrency exchanges: But observers say they are now detecting a rethink by the Chinese authorities, causing bitcoin on Thursday to surge past the 5,000 level for the first time since its launch eight years ago, according to The Japan Times. Around 3 30 p.m. Even bitcoin enthusiasts had experienced some doubts over the summer when Chinese regulators cracked down on exchanges trading the virtual currency and a dispute among developers gave birth to a new version, splitting the market of the budding currency. ; In September, banking regulators in Beijing and Shanghai ordered local cryptocurrency exchanges to shut down. Greenwich Mean Time its value based on a basket of trading exchanges calculated by Bloomberg was 5,247.02, up from 4,829.29 late Wednesday. Should rumors reported in state media be confirmed, then what is by far the most well-known and traded of more than 1,000 so-called cryptocurrencies could climb to even greater heights, experts predict. This represents a rise of 400 percent this year alone. ( As reported in the news.

leaders need: It is not time to be complacent, she told reporters at a news conference Thursday, according to The Japan Times. Policymakers can use this moment to provide more certainty and provide for the future risks. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that global financial leaders need to beware of a number of threats from growing political tensions to increased skepticism about the benefits of globalization and rising levels of income inequality. ; Lagarde said it will be important for finance ministers from the IMF's 189-member countries to focus on addressing these threats at a time when the global economy appears to finally be in a sustained recovery following the deep recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Lagarde's warning comes as global financial leaders gathered in Washington for the annual meetings of the IMF and its sister lending organization, the World Bank. In addition, finance officials from the world's 20 biggest economies, the Group of 20, were meeting Thursday and Friday to discuss the current economic situation. Prior to Lagarde's warning, foreign finance leaders already had raised questions about how the Trump administration would pursue its America First policies and whether they would harm the global economy with rising protectionist trade pressures or market disruptions from increased tensions with North Korea and other nations. ( As reported in the news.

twitter account: Thaler won the prize for his research in behavioral economics, although he's far from the first behaviorist to win it Herbert Simon, Daniel Kahneman and Robert Shiller all got the big gold medal from Sweden, according to The Japan Times. But Thaler's work is arguably more wide-ranging and influential than any of those earlier pioneers. All question of whether this is a real Nobel can now be laid to rest, since the announcement was made via the Nobel Prize's official verified Twitter account. And it's the sheer breadth of Thaler's research that offers a peek into where the discipline of economics is headed. ; Loosely speaking, the economics of the past was a search for a grand unified theory. Later, that was replaced with explicit modeling of economic decision-making as the optimization of a rational economic agent. At first, supply and demand was the idea that tied econ together. ( As reported in the news.

bumper profits: Japan Inc. has been reporting bumper profits and the world's third-largest economy is on an upswing, but the market has also benefited from a global equities rally that saw Wall Street chalking up more record finishes on the past two weeks, according to The Japan Times. The Nikkei has rebounded from below the 15,000 mark in June last year after Britain's vote to exit the European Union pummeled world markets, while a strong yen hit domestic exporters. The Nikkei 225 average rose 0.28 percent, or 57.76 points, to end at 20,881.27, its best finish since December 1996. ; The index closed at levels last seen the year that Prince Charles and Diana divorced, Bill Clinton won his second term as U.S. president and Nintendo launched its Pokemon brand. The index has regained vigor since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected as dealers bet on his plans for big spending and tax cuts. The International Monetary Fund upgraded its view of the country's economy on Tuesday, saying it now expects 1.5 percent GDP growth in 2017 and 0.7 percent next year, up from a July projection of 1.3 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. Japan kicks off its latest earnings season this month while the nation's economy has logged its longest string of quarterly gains in a decade. ( As reported in the news.

cab service: Though Meru lost an earlier antitrust suit versus Ola, lawyers and industry sources said that moves by Soft Bank already a major investor in Ola to pour some 10 billion into Uber along with other investors could strengthen the local cab service's case, according to The Japan Times. Sangoi told Reuters that Uber and Ola have been altering driver incentives and passenger fares in tandem. The head of India's Meru Cabs said the company has filed four new complaints with the country's antitrust watchdog, claiming that Uber and Ola are abusing their dominance in four different cities by burning vast sums of investor funds to distort the market. ; Even before there is any merger or alliance between the two through global investors, there is already a unified monopoly, Meru CEO Nilesh Sangoi said. Our existing cases get strengthened with the Soft Bank investment, he said, but added the Japanese firm's plans weren't cited in the latest complaints. The new Meru complaints have not previously been reported. Ola, Uber and Soft Bank declined comment for this article. ( As reported in the news.

puerto: Weighed down by nearly 72 billion in debt, Puerto Rico struggled with liquidity even before the most powerful hurricane in almost 90 years wiped out the island's power grid, homes and other infrastructure nearly three weeks ago, according to The Japan Times. It will take months and billions of dollars to rebuild the grid, and the impacts of the storm have cratered the economy of Puerto Rico, home to 3.4 million American citizens, which declared bankruptcy in May. The request came as the oversight board charged with resolving Puerto Rico's debt crisis warned the U.S. territory was at risk of being unable to pay for essential services such as salaries for teachers, first responders and health care providers. ; The best estimate of the Financial Oversight and Management Board FOMB and government is that the commonwealth will run out of money at the end of this month, the board told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a letter on Tuesday evening. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello had warned two weeks ago that his government was in a bind and would need lines of credit. The proposed community disaster loan would include a 150-million advance, the Trump administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Trump's loan proposal was an important first step for the transformation of Puerto Rico, Rossello said on social network Twitter on Tuesday. ( As reported in the news.

puigdemont: Rajoy called an emergency meeting after Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont announced on Tuesday that he had accepted the mandate for Catalonia to become an independent state following a banned referendum earlier this month, according to The Japan Times. But in a parliamentary speech that left many confused, Puigdemont immediately called for Catalonia's independence to be suspended to allow for negotiations with the central government. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed to do everything in his power to prevent the region's independence in a dispute that has hurled Spain into its deepest political crisis in decades. ; He has refused to rule out imposing direct rule over the semi-autonomous region a move that many fear could lead to unrest. On Wednesday, a government source who refused to be named said all options were on the table as the crisis talks were underway. It has 17 semi-autonomous regions with varying degrees of control over issues such as education and health care. Thanks to its constitution, adopted in 1978 following decades of civil strife and dictatorial rule, Spain is one of the Western world's most decentralized nations. ( As reported in the news.

boj exhibition: This BOJ exhibition brings that 2014 show to Tokyo, according to The Japan Times. Bank of Japan Currency Museum; 1-3-1 Nihonbashi Hongoku-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Themes included depictions of currency, battles over product prices, domestic commerce and Japanese customs and entertainment. Mitsukoshimae Stn. 9 30 a.m.- 4 30 p.m. Closed Mon. 03-3277-3037; Fri., Sat. till 5 30 p.m. . Free. ( As reported in the news.

news conference: In awarding the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences praised Thaler for bringing behavioral economics into the mainstream exploring the impact of psychological and social factors on individual or group decisions in the economy and financial markets. ; Thaler told a news conference at the University of Chicago, where he teaches, that he was very much asleep when he received the 4 a.m. phone call informing him he had won, according to The Japan Times. I had a pretty good idea what that might be, he admitted, joking Unlike Bob Dylan, I do plan to go to Stockholm. So it seems fitting that U.S. economist Richard Thaler, 72, says he wants to spend his 1 million winnings as irrationally as possible. Dylan kept silent for weeks after he was awarded last year's Nobel Prize in literature, although he eventually did accept the prize in the Swedish capital. He is well known for co-founding nudge theory which demonstrates how people can be persuaded to make decisions that leave them healthier and happier. A professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, Thaler was described by the Nobel jury as a pioneer in his field. ( As reported in the news.

workers party: On Friday, the key market gauge rose 62.15 points. ; The Topic ended up 7.98 points, or 0.47 percent, at 1,695.14, according to The Japan Times. It climbed 4.67 points the previous trading day. The Nikkei 225 gained 132.80 points, or 0.64 percent, to finish at 20,823.51, its highest close since July 21, 2015. The Tokyo market was closed Monday for a national holiday. But the Tokyo market soon took an upturn and accelerated its upswing toward the close as investors were relieved that North Korea took no provocative action on the 72nd anniversary Tuesday of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea, brokers said. Stocks got off to a weaker start following a fall in New York equities Monday. ( As reported in the news.

banking supervisor: Of the other banks, 34 received a mark of 3 and 17 scored a 4, according to The Japan Times. This was in line with our expectations, said Korbinian Ibel, one of four heads of micro-prudential supervision at the ECB, which assumed the role of banking supervisor for the euro area in 2014. On a scale running from a top mark of 1 to the lowest of 4, 60 out of 111 banks scored 1 or 2 in the test, the ECB said. ; For the first time, the stress test examined how sudden changes in interest rates will affect banks' income and the value of their assets. On average, banks' net interest income will decrease 7.5 percent by 2019 if interest rates remain at their present historic lows. Nevertheless, higher rates could have the negative impact of eroding the value of the banks' assets, making them less attractive. But if interest rates rise by 2.0 percentage points, that will boost banks' net interest income by 10.5 percent over the same period. ( As reported in the news.

gun: Plenty of artists avoid the issue because there's a real risk of backlash as gun lobbyists have bolstered a connection between the patriotic themes found in country music to gun ownership in recent years, according to The Japan Times. I just feel like you're so censored as a country artist, said Linsey, an independent musician who took a knee after singing the national anthem at an NFL football game. The proposal, which she refused, was a commonplace example of how intertwined gun ownership is with country music. ; The mass shooting on the final day of Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas has emboldened some country musicians to call for gun control, even as many others declined to weigh in. I feel like the labels like to keep you that way. They don't want you to say things that would upset country music listeners. They don't want you to speak out. ( As reported in the news.

self-control fear: Awarding the 9 million Swedish crown 1.1 million prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Richard Thaler's contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making, according to The Japan Times. His empirical findings and theoretical insights have been instrumental in creating the new and rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics, which has had a profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy. Influential in the field of behavioral economics, his research showed how traits such as lack of self-control and fear of losing what you already have prompt decisions that may not have the best outcome in the longer term. ; I think the most important impact of my research is the recognition that economic agents are human and economic models have to incorporate that, Thaler, a professor at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in call broadcast at the Nobel news conference. Thaler brought to prominence the idea of nudge economics, where individuals are subtly guided toward beneficial behaviors without heavy-handed compulsion, the theme of a 2008 book he co-wrote which caught the eye of policymakers around the world. The issue has relevance for economics as individuals' tendency to fall prey to temptations often negatively affects plans to, for instance, save for retirement. In researching how self-control or the lack of it Thaler touched on an age-old problem why New Year's resolutions to change aspects of your life are notoriously hard to keep. ( As reported in the news.

catalonia: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has made it clear Brussels will only respect a vote for independence if it is held in line with the Spanish Constitution, according to The Japan Times. EU members will not recognize Catalonia as a state if it is created in violation of the law and particularly the Spanish Constitution, European law expert Jean-Claude Piris said. Brussels has stuck to its line that an independent Catalonia would automatically be out and have to reapply to join, but some experts say pragmatism may yet trump dogma. ; Would the EU recognize Catalonia Last weekend's referendum produced a 90 percent vote for secession, but because it was held in defiance of Spain's Constitutional Court rulings that it was unlawful, from the EU's point of view it amounts to a deeply flawed mandate. Prodi doctrine' The EU's treaties do not specifically state what happens if part of a member state secedes, but since 2004 the commission has stuck to the Prodi doctrine, named after former President Romano Prodi. Membership talks for Catalonia will likely be different from those currently underway for candidate countries such as the Balkan states and Turkey, which have to harmonize their legislation and foreign policy as well as bring human rights standards up to EU standards. This says that a region breaking away from a member state will automatically cease to be part of the EU on the day of its independence, and will have to follow the usual membership process to rejoin. ( As reported in the news.

development: The opinions expressed in this commentary are his, according to CNN. Jeffrey previously served as special assistant in the city of New Orleans' post-Katrina Office of Recovery & Development. ( As reported in the news.

currency counterfeiters: Currency counterfeiters were dispatched by haritsuke public execution by perforation with spears . The penalty for use of fraudulent scales or measures of volume was decapitation, with the head displayed on a gibbet for three days, according to The Japan Times. Forgery of an official seal on a document earned the offender confiscation of his property and banishment. The Osadamegaki Hyakkajo the criminal code enforced by the Tokugawa rulers prescribed an extensive list of severe punishments for those found guilty of fraud and trickery. Merchants caught dealing in fake goods were tattooed to mark them as criminals and banished. In the view of historian Haruo Okubo, the number of violations and punishments included in the laws, covered in the code's Article 67, suggests that criminal fraud must have been rampant in pre-modern times. And habitual con men lost their heads irrespective of the amount they swindled. ; These, however, were apparently not enough to discourage aspiring crooks. ( As reported in the news.

budget resolution: On Thursday, the key market gauge climbed 1.90 points. ; The Topix, including all first-section issues, ended up 4.67 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,687.16, after falling 2.07 points the previous day, according to The Japan Times. Stocks got off to a firm start, helped by the brisk performance of U.S. equities on Thursday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a 2018 budget resolution, making a step forward for an overhaul of the country's tax code, brokers said. The Nikkei 225 average gained 62.15 points, or 0.30 percent, to close at 20,690.71, hitting the highest closing level since Aug. 11, 2015, for the third straight day. The U.S. stock market's three major indexes the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index all hit closing highs. Friday's firmness, after Thursday's stalemate, was led by the higher rates of gains in the U.S. stock indexes on Thursday than in preceding days and the weaker yen, although the overall Tokyo market condition has not changed, said Hideyuki Suzuki, head of the investment market research department at SBI Securities Co. Although lacking strength to gain further ground, Tokyo stocks stayed in positive territory throughout Friday, supported by the dollar's strengthening above 113 in the afternoon, brokers said. ( As reported in the news.

currency crisis: Given the ongoing nuclear crisis with North Korea, a new bout of economic tumult is the last thing the country needs, according to The Japan Times. In July 1997, a currency crisis that struck Thailand quickly spread to neighboring economies. But now the country is confronting a new set of internal and external risks, which may foreshadow another major economic crisis or worse. South Korea was not hit right away and many believed that it would be spared. Companies and financial institutions went bankrupt, and millions of jobs were lost. By that November, however, the country faced a sudden withdrawal of foreign capital, which, together with financial institutions' inability to borrow from abroad, quickly depleted the country's international reserves. ; The following month, South Korea turned to the International Monetary Fund for assistance and launched painful structural reforms. ( As reported in the news.

job availability: However, Suga's remark is at odds with a comment Abe made recently just before dissolving the Lower House for the Oct. 22 general election, according to The Japan Times. Abe said in a television program the government will increase the consumption tax unless something happens on the scale of the Lehman shock, referring to the global financial crisis following the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said job availability stood at 0.83 and the U.S. dollar had been as low as 75 before Abe's Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory and Abe launched his economic policy, dubbed Abenomics, in December 2012. ; If we raise the consumption tax rate in such a severe economic condition, the Japanese economy will worsen further, Suga told a news conference. Suga made the remark after a new opposition party led by Tokyo Gov. The sales tax hike is expected to be one of the major issues during the election campaign as Abe's LDP is proposing to spend a large proportion of the extra revenue from a planned tax increase on social welfare initiatives for children and the childbearing-age population. Yuriko Koike pledged to freeze the scheduled 2 percentage-point sales tax hike as part of its campaign platform for the House of Representatives' election. ( As reported in the news.

independence: But we are prepared, and in no case will it be stopped, she said, according to The Japan Times. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said earlier he would ask the region's parliament to declare independence following the poll, which Spain's government and constitutional court say was illegal and in which only a minority of Catalans voted. Mireia Boya, a Catalan lawmaker from the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy CUP party, said on Twitter that a declaration of independence would follow a parliamentary session on Monday to evaluate the results of the Oct. 1 vote to break away. ; We know that there may be disbarments, arrests. This will probably finish once we get all the votes in from abroad at the end of the week and therefore we shall probably act over the weekend or early next week, he told the BBC in remarks published on Wednesday. He said the Madrid government's refusal to negotiate had left Catalonia no other way than to declare independence and he accused it of authoritarianism. In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Puigdemont said he already felt like a president of a free country where millions of people have made an important decision. ( As reported in the news.

market gauge: On Wednesday, the key market gauge rose 12.59 points. ; But the Topix ended down 2.07 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,682.49, after gaining 0.10 point the previous day, according to The Japan Times. Buying outpaced selling from the outset of Thursday's session, after an overnight rise of U.S. equities, which were backed by strong readings of key economic indicators for the United States. The Nikkei 225 climbed 1.90 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 20,628.56, the highest closing level since Aug. 11, 2015. But Tokyo stocks later fluctuated between positive and negative territory, caught in a tug of war between buying encouraged by the brisk economic condition in the United States and profit-taking, brokers said. The market's stalemate seems to have come after futures-led trading ran its course, said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc. The Nikkei average managed to finish higher in thin trading, with its downside also supported by the yen's weakness against the dollar, market sources said. ( As reported in the news.

web retailer: While Amazon has opened physical bookstores, bought Whole Foods and is testing a food market without cash registers at its Seattle headquarters, this is the first time the e-commerce giant will operate an actual bar, according to The Japan Times. It's part of a bigger push by Amazon to boost its physical presence to promote the array of merchandise sold on its website, and branch into new markets. ; Amazon Bar will offer a wide variety of drinks procured from across the globe, and offer exclusive products as well as samples of products not yet on store shelves, the company said in a statement Thursday. For 10 days, the web retailer is going to sell beer, wine, sake and cocktails in Tokyo's glitzy Ginza district to promote alcoholic products sold on its website in Japan. Instead of a menu, Amazon's 78-seat bar will feature an ordering system that will suggest drinks, and also hire sommeliers to dispense wine advice. The pop-up bar will be open for evenings beginning Oct. 20. Nikka whisky, Yebisu beer and other drinks will cost 500 to 1,500 4.43 to 13.30 and some food will be offered. ( As reported in the news.

board: Soft Bank's interest is an incredible vote of confidence in Uber's business and long-term potential, and we look forward to finalizing the investment in the coming weeks, according to The Japan Times. If the investment goes ahead as proposed, Soft Bank would directly pump between 1 billion about 112 billion and 1.25 billion into Uber at the San Francisco-based startup's current valuation of 69 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter. The proposal adopted by Uber's board also promised to put an end to infighting between Kalanick supporters and investors who suspected the co-founder was plotting a wily return to the company's leadership. ; Today, after welcoming its new directors Ursula Burns and John Thain, the board voted unanimously to move forward with the proposed investment by Soft Bank and with governance changes that would strengthen its independence and ensure equality among all shareholders, Uber said in an emailed statement. As a secondary investment move, the Japanese company would put out an open offer to buy 14 percent to 17 percent of outstanding shares from large investors at a discounted price, the source said. Governance changes approved by the board hinge on the Soft Bank investment taking place. Major investors who are unhappy with the leading smartphone-summoned ride share startup, or who want to cash-in on early investments that have multiplied in value, could take Soft Bank up on the offer. ( As reported in the news.

existence development: The U.N. Security Council has imposed the toughest sanctions ever on North Korea, according to The Japan Times. Ja Song Nam said Tuesday the U.S. push for countries to implement what he called illegal and unjustifiable U.N. sanctions on North Korea are part of America's frantic attempt to completely block our peaceful economy. ; The ambassador told the General Assembly committee dealing with economic and financial issues that the U.S. is clinging to unprecedented nuclear threats and blackmail, economic sanctions and blockade to deny our rights to existence and development, but they only result in our sharper vigilance and greater courage. ( As reported in the news.

market gauge: On Tuesday, the key market gauge surged 213.29 points. ; The Topix ended up 0.10 points, or 0.01 percent, at 1,684.56, after gaining 10.84 points the previous day, according to The Japan Times. Stocks got off to a firm start after the brisk performance of U.S. equities on Tuesday, which was backed by strong new auto sales data for September, brokers said. The Nikkei 225 rose 12.59 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 20,626.66, the highest closing level since Aug. 11, 2015. All three major U.S. stock indices the Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq hit closing highs. The temporary drop reflected the yen's strengthening against the dollar, which prompted profit-taking after the Nikkei's recent advance, brokers said. But Tokyo stocks briefly slipped into negative territory in the afternoon session, before regaining steam toward the close. ( As reported in the news.

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financializer news

A weblog highlighting financial topics making news in the international media.