Showing posts from September 15, 2016

2016 likely worst year in decades for Canadian insurance industry: expert

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[The climate harbinger that oil-lousy Canada refuses to acknowledge, but insurance companies are fully aware of, and fear. "It's the cumulative effect of these events that can take a toll, year after year after year." *RON*]
By Ian Bickis, Canadian Press / Global News, 13 September 2016

CALGARY – Canada’s insurance companies are grappling with an increase in environmental disasters and say property owners most at risk are likely going to have to pay more.

Craig Stewart, vice-president of federal affairs at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says the industry sees severe weather as a top priority nationally.

“There are clear trends towards a warming atmosphere that have resulted in more significant losses from flooding… and as we’ve seen recently, wildfire,” he said.

The industry is still tallying up the cost of Alberta’s Fort McMurray wildfire, but with claims estimated at $3.6 billion, the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history …

Food aid reaches 140,000 hit by floods in North Korea - WFP

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[Kim Jong-un launches nuclear missile tests, screaming "Die, running dogs of capitalism, die!"... Oh, yes, and feed us, please. *RON*]
by Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 13 September 2016
More than 70 percent of North Korea's population experiences food shortages, with many lacking essential proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals

ROME, Sept 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Food aid has reached more than 140,000 people hit by recent floods in North Korea, but more is needed to help them through the country's upcoming severe winter, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday.

The floods in the country's north were caused by heavy rainfall in late August and early September.

More than 140,000 were affected, but this number is likely to rise as more of the affected areas are accessed, WFP said. Flood-hit families urgently need shelter, clean water and health care, as well as food, the U.N. agency said.

Putin goes full Orwell

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[Revisionist history, USSR-style. "Back in the day, some analysts prophesied a 'convergence' between the Soviet Union and the United States, two industrial societies becoming more alike. In our day, there is indeed a growing similarity: In both places, post-factual politics are normal." *RON*]
By George F. Will, Washington Post, 14 September 2016

"In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices.... Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building.... For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes." — George Orwell, 1984 Documents inconvenient to the regime went into the Ministry of Truth’s slits and down to “enormous furnaces.” Modern tyrannies depend on state control of national memories — retroactive truths established by government fiat. Which is why Russia’s Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of a blogger for violating Article 354.1 of Russia’s criminal code.

Review flags concerns about money laundering in real estate sector

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[It's believed this contributes to rising housing prices in Vancouver. As I mentioned last week, the US is very active in investigating and pressing charges in this area. The Wall Street Journal says the IMF believes the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or Fintrac, is legally hampered by the kind of analyses it is permitted to conduct: Canada Can Do More to Fight Money Laundering, Terror Financing. *RON*]
Canadian Press, CP24, 15 September 2016
OTTAWA - An in-depth review of Canada's anti-money laundering efforts has uncovered serious concerns that organized crime is using the country's hot real estate sector to illegally funnel cash.

The report from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force makes special note of real estate as an area of the economy with a high risk of illicit activity, one of a few weak spots in what the report calls a comprehensive federal regime to combat money laundering and terrori…

Canada’s Household Debt Burden Is Now Bigger Than Its GDP

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[But the Bank of Canada thinks interest rates shouldn't rise because lazy corporate freeloaders wouldn't like it. *RON*]

Greg Quinn, Bloomberg, 15 September 2016
Borrowing continues even as government tightens mortgage rulesDebt-service, debt-to-net-worth ratios remain little changed Canadian household debt exceeded the country’s gross domestic product for the first time as liabilities climbed to a fresh record relative to disposable income.

Household debt rose to 100.5 percent of gross domestic product in the second quarter from 98.7 percent previously, Statistics Canada said Thursday from Ottawa. Credit-market debt such as mortgages increased to 167.6 percent of after-tax income, from 165.2 percent in the first quarter.

The Bank of Canada and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have said the economy is at risk from record consumer debt burdens and a housing boom in Vancouver and Toronto. British Columbia’s government imposed a new 15 percent tax…

Banks Gone Bad: How Our Evolved Morality Has Failed Us

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[We seem to be unable to punish bankers for their scandalous behavior because our moral instincts can’t cope. The complexity of modern society makes it harder to pin-point responsibility for who's harmed who, and how. Representative democracy preempts the more direct democracy of our forebears who lived in smaller, more egalitarian, communities. Collusion between banksters and politicians can override the moral indignation and disgust of the general population. *RON*]
By Christopher Boehm, Evonomics, 13 September 2016

Rob a bank and you risk a long stretch in jail. Run a bank whose dubious behaviour leads to global economic collapse and you risk nothing of the sort, more likely a handsome pay-off.

Illegal and dangerous mistakes associated with the financial industry have caused serious harm to US and world economies. That is beyond doubt. And the scandals keep coming – rate rigging, money laundering, mis-selling and sanctions busting. The wi…