Former NY Fed President Bill Dudley does not think Fed will move to negative interest rates. If they do it will scare people.
Former NY Fed President Bill Dudley does not think Fed will move to negative interest rates. If they do it will scare people.
The government faces a Tory rebellion in the House of Commons over the return to a tiered system.
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The first time Marcus Samuelsson ate a bowl of gumbo, he was sitting at a table inside New Orleans’ famed Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. He was there to eat and see legendary chef Leah Chase, who helmed the restaurant from 1946, when she and her husband Edgar “Dooky” Chase II took it over, until her death in 2019.Samuelsson, the acclaimed Swedish-Ethiopian chef behind New York’s Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club, among others, emigrated to the U.S. in the early 1990s. Early on, Chase became one of his mentors. Her decades of experience both as a chef and a leader in her community, which earned her the unequivocal moniker as the Queen of Creole Cuisine and recognition as a civil rights icon, proved invaluable to Samuelsson.“She came to my restaurant often and guided me,” says the chef, whose latest cookbook, The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food, celebrates the contributions of Black chefs, including Chase, to American food culture. “She talked about how it was to be a Black lady opening Dooky Chase in  when Black and white people couldn’t eat together. She’s seen the Civil Rights movement, she’s seen Hurricane Katrina, she’s seen everything.”Buy on Amazon, $34Through it all, Chase was serving Creole comfort food, including gumbo—a dish that, Samuelsson asserts, is as iconic in American food culture as mac and cheese or fried chicken. One bite of her okra-and-shrimp stew is all it takes to transport him back to Chase’s dining room in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood.“Eating her gumbo, going to Dooky Chase many times, cooking at Dooky Chase—her voice is clear to me still to this day,” he says. “I don’t know if there’s a dish that represents a city better than gumbo. When you taste the sausage against the okra against the seafood, you taste New Orleans.”Though he didn’t grow up eating gumbo, Samuelsson says that the dish offers a special kind of comfort nonetheless, beyond being a fantastic antidote to cold weather. When he considers what comfort food has meant throughout his life, he looks to three different places: the Ethiopian food his wife makes, the Swedish meatballs and fish dishes he grew up with, and the “comfort food of Harlem that has that migration, Southern narrative.”“Being an American and being an immigrant, the fact that we can express ourselves through food—food is identity, right?” he says. “When you come as an immigrant or you’re a person of color, the past is very nonlinear because we had to make do with very simple ingredients. Sometimes we move to a place where comfort food changes. In The Rise I really explain that Black food in this country is not monolithic. There’s many different entry points to it.”While gumbo’s exact origins are unknown, its ingredients are representative of the city’s history and diversity. That includes the okra brought to North America by enslaved Africans, the traditional French andouille sausage, and the ground sassafras leaves found in Choctaw cuisine.“When you understand gumbo, you also understand America and New Orleans,” says Samuelsson. “There are French techniques, there are African techniques, there’s Haitian and Spanish influence in it. That’s why Creole cooking is so unique.”This winter try Samuelsson’s tribute to Dooky Chase’s iconic gumbo at home and enjoy a comforting taste of New Orleans’ rich and vibrant culture.* * *THE TRINITY* * *While some gumbo recipes are made from a roux base, Samuelsson’s forgoes the flour altogether, starting instead with the holy trinity of Creole cuisine: onion, celery and bell peppers. A recipe for shrimp and grits with gumbo sauce in honor of Red Rooster executive chef Ed Brumfield, whose father is a Louisiana native, is also featured in The Rise. It starts off with this same technique.“His Papa Ed’s Gumbo is a legend at Red Rooster,” says Samuelsson. “It’s that idea of using the trinity—onion, peppers, and celery—and then adding in sausage and seafood and okra, and building this layer stew that is so delicious.”From there, you’ll add in flavorful and fatty chorizo, which will render its fat to enrich and provide texture to the base of the stew. The liquid ingredients—fish and chicken stocks, apple cider vinegar and crushed tomatoes—will cook down and thicken with a little help from the dish’s two star ingredients...* * *THE OKRA & FILE* * *Gumbo is often divided into two camps: okra gumbo or filé gumbo, depending on the thickening agent used. Samuelsson, however, uses both. “We wanted to show exactly those two different points,” he says.The first known appearance of the dish is on a menu for a gubernatorial reception in New Orleans in 1803, according to the Southern Foodways Alliance. Various iterations of the dish are then featured in recipe books published later in the 19th century, some using okra and others not. There is reason to believe, though, that it was a key player from the beginning, as the word “gumbo” is likely derived from ki ngombo, a West African Bantu term for okra.Forget Oatmeal. Start Your Day With Indian Upma.A Bowl of Gail Simmons’ Matzo Ball Soup Will Cure What Ails You“When you do a book that highlights the African American journey when it comes to food, [okra] is a very important ingredient and subject,” says Samuelsson. Diced into his gumbo, okra lends a unique vegetal flavor and its mucilaginous qualities act similarly to cornstarch, thickening the liquids in the dish and adding another dimension of texture.Filé powder, which is made from the ground leaves of the sassafras tree and has roots in Native American cooking—particularly within the Choctaw tribe—also acts as a thickener and, Samuelsson says, is reminiscent of a flavorful bay leaf ground up and blended with Old Bay seasoning. He adds, “it’s very unique and is something you don’t find often outside gumbo.”* * *THE SPICES* * *In addition to the filé powder, Samuelsson’s gumbo calls on a couple of other spices to round out its vibrant, warming flavor. Alongside salt and pepper, of course, you’ll also add cayenne powder and smoked paprika. If you’re not accustomed to spicy foods, however, you don’t need to worry. “Gumbo is flavorful without being spicy,” he says. “Which means that, no matter how your [dining] party responds to heat, everyone can enjoy it.”* * *THE MEAT* * *Each element in Samuelsson’s gumbo recipe contributes some unique flavor or texture to the dish, and its proteins are no exception. Chorizo, the heavily seasoned pork sausage that originated in Portugal and Spain and is also a staple in Mexican cuisine, goes in first so its fat has a chance to render. He then incorporates French andouille, a coarser but also heavily seasoned sausage, and shrimp, a staple element in many a gumbo recipe.“You want a sausage with flavor because making a gumbo comes down to the best flavor combination,” says Samuelsson. “Using sausages like chorizo and andouille gives you that. It has garlic, it has chilies—all of those things—and it has natural fats.”The andouille and shrimp are added at the very end to avoid overcooking them. “You’re building up the stew,” he says. “The things that are the most delicate you’re adding last.”* * *THE STARCH* * *In The Rise Samuelsson suggests you serve the gumbo over rice, but he’s also a fan of it over a bed of grits—it’s served both ways at Red Rooster.“Sometimes the word gumbo can be more intimidating than what it is. It’s a great, flavorful seafood stew that you should do coming into the holiday season,” he says. “Gumbo will be appreciated.”* * *Leah Chase Gumbo* * * INGREDIENTS * 3 Tbsp Vegetable oil * .5 cup Celery, diced * .5 cup Red onion, diced * .5 cup Red peppers, diced * 4 Cloves garlic, minced * 1 tsp Kosher salt * .5 tsp Freshly ground black pepper * 4 oz Ground chorizo * 1 (14-oz) Can crushed tomatoes * 12 oz Fresh okra, diced small * 1 Tbsp Smoked paprika * 1 Tbsp Filé powder * 1 tsp Cayenne pepper * 2 cups Fish stock * 2 cups Chicken stock * 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar * 1 pound Large shrimp, peeled and deveined * 8 oz Smoked andouille sausage, in quarter-inch thick slices * 6 cups Cooked rice, for serving * Scallions, chopped * Fresh parsley, chopped DIRECTIONS 1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the celery, onion, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. 2. Add the chorizo and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 3. Add the tomatoes, okra, paprika, filé powder and cayenne and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 4. Add the stocks and vinegar and bring to a simmer. 5. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The filé powder, which is made by grinding sassafras leaves, will thicken the stew. 6. Add the shrimp and andouille and stir to combine. Continue to cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through. Serve the gumbo over rice, topped with scallions and parsley.Excerpted from THE RISE by Marcus Samuelsson with Osayi Endolyn. Recipes with Yewande Komolafe and Tamie Cook. Copyright © 2020 by Marcus Samuelsson. Photographs by Angie Mosier. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is expected to raise its official selling prices (OSPs) for Asian buyers in January, tracking stronger benchmark prices as some refiners increase output to meet higher winter demand, a Reuters survey showed. Saudi Aramco officials as a matter of policy do not comment on the kingdom's monthly OSPs.
George Eustice brushes off fears of an effective embargo on exports – and soaring food prices in British shops
April 16 was a big day for Moderna, a Massachusetts biotech company on the verge of becoming a front-runner in the U.S. government’s race for a coronavirus vaccine. It had received roughly half a billion dollars in federal funding to develop a COVID shot that might be used on millions of Americans.Thirteen days after the massive infusion of federal cash—which triggered a jump in the company’s stock price—Moncef Slaoui, a Moderna board member and longtime drug industry executive, was awarded options to buy 18,270 shares in the company, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The award added to 137,168 options he’d accumulated since 2018, the filings show.It wouldn’t be long before President Donald Trump announced Slaoui as the top scientific adviser for the government’s $12 billion Operation Warp Speed program to rush COVID vaccines to market. In his Rose Garden speech on May 15, Trump lauded Slaoui as “one of the most respected men in the world” on vaccines.The Sketchy Past of Trump’s Coronavirus Vaccine CzarThe Trump administration relied on an unusual maneuver that allowed executives to keep investments in drug companies that would benefit from the government’s pandemic efforts: They were brought on as contractors, doing an end run around federal conflict-of-interest regulations in place for employees. That has led to huge potential payouts—some already realized, according to a KHN analysis of SEC filings and other government documents.• Slaoui owned 137,168 Moderna stock options worth roughly $7 million on May 14, one day before Trump announced his senior role to help shepherd COVID vaccines. The day of his appointment, May 15, he resigned from Moderna’s board. Three days later, on May 18, following the company’s announcement of positive results from early-stage clinical trials, the options’ value shot up to $9.1 million, the analysis found. The Department of Health and Human Services said Slaoui sold his holdings May 20, when they would have been worth about $8 million, and will donate certain profits to cancer research. Separately, Slaoui held nearly 500,000 shares in GlaxoSmithKline, where he worked for three decades, upon retiring in 2017, according to corporate filings.• Carlo de Notaristefani, an Operation Warp Speed adviser and former senior executive at Teva Pharmaceuticals, owned 665,799 shares of the drug company’s stock as of March 10. While Teva is not a recipient of Warp Speed funding, Trump promoted its antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a COVID treatment, even with scant evidence that it worked. The company donated millions of tablets to U.S. hospitals and the drug received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in March. In the following weeks, its share price nearly doubled.• Two other Operation Warp Speed advisers working on therapeutics, Drs. William Erhardt and Rachel Harrigan, own financial stakes of unknown value in Pfizer, which in July announced a $1.95 billion contract with HHS for 100 million doses of its vaccine. Erhardt and Harrigan were previously Pfizer employees.“With those kinds of conflicts of interest, we don’t know if these vaccines are being developed based on merit,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, a liberal consumer advocacy group.An HHS spokesperson said the advisers are in compliance with the relevant federal ethical standards for contractors.These investments in the pharmaceutical industry are emblematic of a broader trend in which a small group with the specialized expertise needed to inform an effective government response to the pandemic have financial stakes in companies that stand to benefit from the government response.Slaoui maintained he was not in discussions with the federal government about a role when his latest batch of Moderna stock options was awarded, telling KHN he met with HHS Secretary Alex Azar and was offered the position for the first time May 6. The stock options awarded in late April were canceled as a result of his departure from the Moderna board in May, he said. According to the KHN analysis of his holdings, the options would have been worth more than $330,000 on May 14.HHS declined to confirm that timeline.The fate of Operation Warp Speed after President-elect Joe Biden takes office is an open question. While Democrats in Congress have pursued investigations into Warp Speed advisers and the contracting process under which they were hired, Biden hasn’t publicly spoken about the program or its senior leaders. Spokespeople for the transition didn’t respond to a request for comment.The four HHS advisers were brought on through a National Institutes of Health contract with consulting firm Advanced Decision Vectors, so far worth $1.4 million, to provide expertise on the development and production of vaccines, therapies and other COVID products, according to the federal government’s contracts database.Slaoui’s appointment in particular has rankled Democrats and organizations like Public Citizen. They say he has too much authority to be classified as a consultant. “It is inevitable that the position he is put in as co-chair of Operation Warp Speed makes him a government employee,” Holman said.Trump’s Vaccine Czar to Divest Millions in Stock Options at Company That Got Federal Funding for COVID-19 WorkThe incoming administration may have a window to change the terms under which Slaoui was hired before his contract ends in March. Yet making big changes to Operation Warp Speed could disrupt one of the largest vaccination efforts in history while the American public anxiously awaits deliverance from the pandemic, which is breaking daily records for new infections. Warp Speed has set out to buy and distribute 300 million doses of a COVID vaccine, the first ones by year’s end.“By the end of December we expect to have about 40 million doses of these two vaccines available for distribution,” Azar said Wednesday, referring to front-runner vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.Azar maintained that Warp Speed would continue seamlessly even with a “change in leadership.” “In the event of a transition, there’s really just total continuity that would occur,” the secretary said.Pfizer, which didn’t receive federal funds for research but secured the multibillion-dollar contract under Warp Speed, on Friday sought emergency authorization from the FDA; Moderna is expected to do so in the coming days. In total, Moderna received nearly $1 billion in federal funds for development and a $1.5 billion contract with HHS for 100 million doses.While it’s impossible to peg the precise value of Slaoui’s Moderna holdings without records of the sale transactions, KHN estimated their worth by evaluating the company’s share prices on the dates he received the options and the stock’s price on several key dates—including May 14, the day before his Warp Speed position was announced, and May 20.However, the timing of Slaoui’s divestment of his Moderna shares—five days after he resigned from the company’s board—meant he did not have to file disclosures with the SEC confirming the sale, even though he was privy to insider information when he received the stock options, experts in securities law said. That weakness in securities law, according to good-governance experts, deprives the public of an independent source of information about the sale of Slaoui’s stake in the company.“You would think there would be kind of a one-year continuing obligation [to disclose the sale] or something like that,” said Douglas Chia, president of Soundboard Governance and an expert on corporate governance issues. “But there’s not.”HHS declined to provide documentation confirming that Slaoui sold his Moderna holdings. His investments in London-based GlaxoSmithKline—which is developing a vaccine with French drugmaker Sanofi and received $2.1 billion from the U.S. government—will be used for his retirement, Slaoui has said.“I have always held myself to the highest ethical standards, and that has not changed upon my assumption of this role,” Slaoui said in a statement released by HHS. “HHS career ethics officers have determined my contractor status, [divestitures] and resignations have put me in compliance with the department's robust ethical standards.”Moderna, in an earlier statement to CNBC, said Slaoui divested “all of his equity interest in Moderna so that there is no conflict of interest” in his new role. However, the conflict-of-interest standards for Slaoui and other Warp Speed advisers are less stringent than those for federal employees, who are required to give up investments that would pose a conflict of interest. For instance, if Slaoui had been brought on as an employee, his stake from a long career at GlaxoSmithKline would be targeted for divestment.Instead, Slaoui has committed to donating certain GlaxoSmithKline financial gains to the National Institutes of Health.Offering Warp Speed advisers contracts might have been the most expedient course in a crisis.“As the universe of potential qualified candidates to advise the federal government’s efforts to produce a COVID-19 vaccine is very small, it is virtually impossible to find experienced and qualified individuals who have no financial interests in corporations that produce vaccines, therapeutics, and other lifesaving goods and services,” Sarah Arbes, HHS’ assistant secretary for legislation and a Trump appointee, wrote in September to Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who leads a House oversight panel on the coronavirus response.That includes multiple drug industry veterans working as HHS advisers, an academic who’s overseeing the safety of multiple COVID vaccines in clinical trials and sits on the board of Gilead Sciences, and even former government officials who divested stocks while they were federal employees but have since joined drug company boards.Dr. Scott Gottlieb and Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioners, have been visible figures informally advising the federal response. Each sits on the board of a COVID vaccine developer.After leaving the FDA in 2019, Gottlieb joined Pfizer’s board and has bought 4,000 of its shares, at the time worth more than $141,000, according to SEC filings. As of April, he had additional stock units worth nearly $352,000 that will be cashed out should he leave the board, according to corporate filings. As a board member, Gottlieb is required to own a certain number of Pfizer shares.McClellan has been on Johnson & Johnson’s board since 2013 and earned $1.2 million in shares under a deferred-compensation arrangement, corporate filings show.The two also receive thousands of dollars in cash fees annually as board members. Gottlieb and McClellan frequently disclose their corporate affiliations, but not always. Their Sept. 13 Wall Street Journal op-ed on how the FDA could grant emergency authorization of a vaccine identified their FDA roles and said they were on the boards of companies developing COVID vaccines but failed to name Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Both companies would benefit financially from such a move by the FDA.“It isn’t a lower standard for FDA approval,” they wrote in the piece. “It’s a more tailored, flexible standard that helps protect those who need it most while developing the evidence needed to make the public confident about getting a Covid-19 vaccine.”About the inconsistency, Gottlieb wrote in an email to KHN: “My affiliation to Pfizer is widely, prominently, and specifically disclosed in dozens of articles and television appearances, on my Twitter profile, and in many other places. I mention it routinely when I discuss Covid vaccines and I am proud of my affiliation to the company.”A spokesperson for the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, which McClellan founded, noted that other Wall Street Journal op-eds cited his Johnson & Johnson role and that his affiliations are mentioned elsewhere. “Mark has consistently informed the WSJ about his board service with Johnson & Johnson, as well as other organizations,” Patricia Shea Green said.Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is in phase 3 clinical trials and could be available in early 2021.Still, while they worked for the FDA, Gottlieb and McClellan were subject to federal restrictions on investments and protections against conflicts of interest that aren’t in place for Warp Speed advisers.According to the financial disclosure statements they signed with HHS, the advisers are required to donate certain stock profits to the NIH — but can do so after the stockholder dies. They can keep investments in drug companies, and the restrictions don’t apply to stock options, which give executives the right to buy company shares in the future.“This is a poorly drafted agreement,” said Jacob Frenkel, an attorney at Dickinson Wright and former SEC lawyer, referring to the conflict-of-interest statement included in the NIH contract with Advanced Decision Vectors, the Warp Speed advisers’ employing consulting firm. He said documents could have been “tighter and clearer in many respects,” including prohibiting the advisers from exercising their options to buy shares while they are contractors.De Notaristefani stepped down as Teva’s executive vice president of global operations in October 2019, but according to corporate filings he would remain with the company until the end of June 2020 in order to “ensure an orderly transition.” He’s been working with Warp Speed since at least May overseeing manufacturing, according to an HHS spokesperson.When Erhardt left Pfizer in May, U.S. COVID infections were climbing and the company was beginning vaccine clinical trials. Erhardt and Harrigan, whose LinkedIn profile says she left Pfizer in 2010, have worked as drug industry consultants.“Ultimately, conflicts of interest in ethics turn on the mindset behavior of the responsible persons,” said Frenkel, the former SEC attorney. “The public wants to know that it can rely on the effectiveness of the therapeutic or diagnostic product without wondering if a recommendation or decision was motivated for even the slightest reason other than product effectiveness and public interest.”KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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(Bloomberg) -- S&P Global Inc. is in advanced talks to buy IHS Markit Ltd. for about $44 billion, a deal that would accelerate the wave of consolidation among Wall Street’s biggest data providers.An announcement could come as early as Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. IHS Markit was valued at $36.9 billion at the close of New York trading on Friday, after climbing to a record earlier in the week.The proposed tie-up follows London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s $27 billion agreement last year to acquire Refinitiv, part of a race for scale as the industry’s largest players try to capitalize on surging demand for data and analytics in increasingly computerized financial markets. Shares of S&P Global, IHS Markit and rivals including MSCI Inc. have soared in recent years, providing ample currency for deal-making.“This is a huge consolidation of financial databases and services,” said Gary Dugan, chief executive officer of the Global CIO Office, an investment firm in Singapore. “S&P probably gathered that expansion incrementally wouldn’t work and instead has gone for a major acquisition, which will deepen their product range and relevance.”The deal would be the world’s second-largest acquisition of 2020, second only to the $56 billion set of transactions among China’s biggest oil and gas companies to sell their pipeline networks to a new national carrier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Representatives for S&P Global, which has a market capitalization of $82 billion after climbing 25% in New York this year, and IHS Markit didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.The takeover would be an all-stock deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the talks. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes with IHS Markit and S&P Global in providing financial analytics and information.Markit was famously founded in a U.K. barn by Lance Uggla, a Canadian who spotted an opportunity to provide pricing for the opaque world of credit default swaps just as trading of the derivatives was taking off in the early 2000s. Uggla built up the company through a breakneck series of acquisitions, culminating in the 2016 merger with IHS. A 2014 IPO of Markit valued it at about $4.5 billion.Regulatory scrutiny could pose one risk for the tie-up, given the overlap between the firms’ data offerings, according to Craig A. Huber, founder of Huber Research Partners LLC. The LSE is still negotiating with European Union regulators over its deal for Refinitiv, with competition authorities expressing concerns over how some companies’ control of data can make them gatekeepers for an industry.“Antitrust could be an issue since both are market data providers,” said Jin Rui Oh, director at United First Partners, an investment and advisory group that specializes in special situations. “That could be a little tricky.”(Adds quotes and context throughout)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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MUTARE, Zimbabwe—Three years after a military coup that toppled Zimbabwe’s long-time dictator Robert Mugabe, many people in the country have come to a conclusion they can scarcely believe: they regret replacing the old despot.Though many people in Zimbabwe are glad Mugabe was ousted before he died last year, they have deep regrets about Emmerson Mnangagwa. His ascent to power was greeted in 2017 with jubilant street parties in Harare and promises from the new leader that: “We are witnessing the beginning of a new unfolding democracy.”As the economy and human rights in the country continue to nosedive, Mnangagwa has proven to be ruthless and corrupt.“Mnangagwa is worse than Mugabe,” said Lovemore Muradzikwa, a Zimbabwean pro-democracy and human rights activist.In recent months, scores of people have been arrested, some brutalised or killed as Mnangagwa’s regime mounts an unprecedented clampdown on pro-democracy campaigners, opposition political party members, journalists, and ordinary citizens daring to voice disquiet over rising corruption, the failing economy and a human rights crisis.Meet Zimbabwe’s New Boss, Same as the Old BossIn 2018, six people were brutally killed when soldiers opened fire on opposition supporters who were protesting against attempts by the ruling ZANU-PF party to steal a tightly contested general election. And last year, 17 more people were killed when soldiers openly fired shots at citizens protesting over massive fuel price hikes.Western countries that had warmed to Mnangangwa’s leadership after the November 2017 coup are backing down and expressing frustration over his deteriorating human rights record.“I can say the only mistake we made was to accept a coup. We never thought Mugabe will be replaced by Mnangagwa,” Muradzikwa told The Daily Beast. “We wanted [the ruling party] ZANU-PF to go as a whole system, not Mugabe alone,”Muradzikwa said many people in the country thought a transitional arrangement was going to be formed after Mugabe’s unceremonious exit.“But ZANU-PF and the army disregarded the will of the people. We are in this mess because of the military,” he said.The removal of Mugabe from power by the army showed how deeply the security forces are embedded in the country’s domestic politics, and the military has only solidified its dominance within the ruling party under Mnangagwa. There are already fears within ZANU-PF that the army could remove Mnangagwa amid reports that the military is no longer satisfied with his performance.Nicholas Mukundidza, a resident of Mutare district, eastern Zimbabwe, said after more than three decades of Mugabe’s iron fist many people thought the coup was a reprieve from oppression but the new regime has proved to be a nightmare.“We have thrown ourselves deep into a crisis by supporting a clueless person as an alternative; the country has completely collapsed. The only success [Mnangagwa] has achieved is promoting corruption, increase in human rights violations, massive self and family enrichment which we never experienced under Mugabe,” Mukundidza told The Daily Beast.Mnangagwa’s administration is struggling under a collapsing economy: national debt is ballooning; the agricultural sector, which was once thriving, is on its knees; teachers, nurses and doctors are constantly on strike over salaries. Corruption is also rampant in all sectors of the economy, particularly gold and diamond mining, the oil industry, and government tenders. The country is reportedly losing billions of dollars a year through the pilfering of gold and diamonds by companies or individuals linked to senior politicians and government officials. At the same time, business people with strong connections to senior politicians and government officials have control of the country’s lucrative oil sector.Mukundidza said Mugabe got all the blame as the leader of ZANU-PF and head of the government but he was sitting on a destructive system over which he did not have much direct control by the end of his decades in power. Many senior members in his party had become involved in corrupt schemes.“Out of suffering and desperation for another leader other than Mugabe, we blindly supported his removal. It’s like someone who has been confined to darkness over a long period of time; when you get exposed to a ray of light you celebrate for finally seeing the light, which turns out to be a small light from a melting candle and does not last long before darkness comes back again,” he said.While Mnangagwa has maintained that he will contest the next presidential election in 2023, some experts believe he might be pushed out of power before then as public resentment continues to grow. There have been reports of plots to remove Mnangagwa through a vote of no confidence within his party or another military assisted intervention.David Panganai, a spokesman for the MDC Alliance opposition party, told The Daily Beast that Mugabe had not been a better leader, but life under Mnangagwa had become worse.“Under Mugabe, people were disappeared and tortured; human rights were never respected, and nothing has changed, if anything, it’s worse. The populace is now living in extreme fear from those who are supposed to defend and protect them; the economy has taken a serious knock since the coup,” Panganai said.He said many Zimbabweans had given Mnangagwa the benefit of doubt when he spoke of his intention to fight corruption, which has been one of the major sources of the country’s economic decay, but instead corruption is getting worse.The leader of the MDC Alliance has vowed to block the 2023 general elections if Mnangagwa has not implemented necessary political and electoral reforms for a free and fair election. At the same time, Mnangagwa is reportedly courting minor political parties to try to form a coalition government and forego the 2023 election. It is alleged that the coalition and the ongoing “Political Actors Dialogue” is meant to hoodwink the international community into believing that there are political reforms underway in Zimbabwe.“While Mugabe had overstayed his welcome, the truth is there was, and there still is, no one from his party, Mnangagwa included, who has any clue on how to resolve the crises which are affecting the country,” Panganai said.“Zimbabweans are their own liberators; we need reforms and to freely choose our own visionary leaders without blood on their hands.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Adding to New York's toxicity: Gase appeared to get caught in a weirdly deceptive explanation about his hand in play calling.
OPEC+ members will consider whether to extend existing oil cuts for three to four months or to gradually increase output from January during their two days of talks that start on Monday, OPEC+ sources told Reuters. Officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and others, a group known as OPEC+, held an initial round of talks on Sunday before formal discussions began but have yet to agree output policy for 2021. OPEC+ had been due to ease its existing production cuts by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 2021, but a second coronavirus wave has reduced demand for fuel around the world, prompting a rethink among members of the group.
A South Korean court on Monday found former president Chun Doo-hwan guilty of defaming a former democracy activist who was involved in protests against his government in the 1980s and handed him an eight-month suspended jail sentence. The trial was held in the southwestern city of Gwangju, where hundreds, possibly thousands, were believed to have been killed when local citizens rose up against Chun's authoritarian government on May 18, 1980 and were crushed by police, paratroopers and tanks. Chun committed the defamation against Catholic priest and activist Cho Chul-hyun, also known as Cho Bi-oh in his 2017 memoirs, when Chun called Cho a "despicable liar" for testifying that government helicopters had fired on civilians, the ruling said.
European states ordered to respond to youth activists' climate lawsuitEuropean court of human rights case could results in countries being bound to take greater action
The collapse of the group, which includes Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, would put 13,000 jobs at risk.
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So here come the fights between left and center about Joe Biden’s cabinet picks. Some of these fights will be worth having. Rahm Emanuel for transportation secretary? Seriously? After all the controversies that took place during his mayoralty, and all his denunciations of “libtards” when he worked for Obama? I suppose he can’t do much harm at the Department of Transportation, but: why? There must be a dozen people who are better suited to the job and wouldn’t needlessly provoke progressives’ ire.Also: Deval Patrick at the Justice Department? Again, why? Patrick showily floated himself as a moderate, anti-Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts presidential contender last year before deciding not to run. Sally Yates and Doug Jones are both obviously superior, baggage-free choices (baggage-free from a Democratic point of view, that is; how Republicans may feel about them is a different matter). It’s one thing to choose people the base isn’t crazy about, because that’s life; you win some, you lose some. But it’s entirely another to go out of your way to antagonize the base, which choosing Emanuel and Patrick would do. If Patrick’s plus column includes his race, he’s hardly the only qualified Black contender.But for my money, if you’re a liberal who cares first and foremost about economic policy, there are three big positions to watch: head of the National Economic Council (NEC); chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA); and head of the antitrust division in the Justice Department. Who Biden chooses for these three posts—and his reported pick for CEA is promising—will tell us a lot about how aggressive he’s going to be on matters like reducing inequality, promoting public investment, and breaking up monopoly power that define an administration’s core economic philosophy.The Biden Era Is Really Here, and It Feels Like a MiracleWhat’s the difference between the NEC and the CEA? It’s explained well here. The CEA is the older entity, started under Harry Truman. It’s essentially what its title says—a group of economists who give the president economic advice. The NEC, started by Bill Clinton, takes that advice and formulates policy. So the NEC is more powerful, generally speaking. The famous story from the Obama era is that during the transition, Christine Romer, whom Obama picked to chair the CEA, wrote a paper for internal consumption arguing that the stimulus package should be as big as $1.8 trillion. Larry Summers, who’d been tagged to head the NEC, nixed it (and a lower $1.2 trillion figure) as having no chance of passing Congress. Even before they took office, in other words, the NEC director had the power to take information from the CEA chair and decide what the president would or would not see.So the NEC director is the more important position, but both are really crucial to establishing any administration’s economic thrust and identity. And of course the most important of all is treasury secretary, where Biden’s choice of Janet Yellen is terrific.The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Biden intends to name Cecilia Rouse to head the CEA. Rouse is from Princeton and would be the first Black woman to head the CEA. Larry Mishel, a labor economist with the Economic Policy Institute, described her to me Sunday evening as a solid choice—like him, she’s a labor economist, which means by definition that her academic interests centered around wages and poverty and education.In addition, the Journal reported that Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey will sit on the council, and they’re both solid progressives. Finally, Neera Tanden will be the first woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget. These are all people who believe in government intervention in the economy and aren’t going to be howling at the president about deficit reduction. So this is all good news. The priorities of this group will tend much more toward full employment than austerity. “There’s going to be more emphasis on workers under Biden than any president in my lifetime,” Mishel says.Adds Jesse Rothstein, an economist at Cal-Berkeley: “All three CEA nominees have worked extensively on issues that will be of direct relevance—Rouse on community colleges and on student loans (in a paper I coauthored with her); Boushey on paid leave and automatic stabilizers; Bernstein on deficits and full employment. That’s not what you’d see in a ‘normal’ CEA, where people are plucked out of academia for short stints in Washington.”Then, late Sunday, after this column was written, news broke that Biden was leaning toward Brian Deese to head the NEC. I don’t know a lot about him. He works at BlackRock, which isn’t great on paper, although his position there involves sustainable investing. He played a central role on the Paris climate accord, and he was a key player in the auto bailout. And he worked for Gene Sperling, who was among the more liberal of Obama’s economic advisers. We’ll see what happens, but the good news is that if all these conjectures are correct, Biden has named an economic team that includes some progressives and has no domineering centrist banker to push the liberals around.Now—antitrust. The monopoly power of the big tech companies is only the most visible manifestation of a disease that has taken over so many sectors of the economy, from hospitals to telecommunications to food systems to—my favorite micro-example, as noted by Sarah Miller in Democracy journal, which I edit—cheerleading equipment and uniforms, which are controlled by Varsity Brands, which in turn is owned by Bain Capital, the private equity company whose founders included Mitt Romney and whose employees included Deval Patrick.Monopolies don’t just increase prices, although they certainly do that. They make inequality worse because they drive down wages, since there’s less competition among employers for workers. Miller cited a study that found that “an individual worker’s average wages would be $10,000 higher today if the government had ensured markets were as competitive as they’d been in 1980.”Finally, monopolies are bad for democracy. You don’t have to look any farther than the pernicious role Facebook plays in our elections to see that.So in some ways I’m more interested in who heads the DoJ’s antitrust division than who heads the department itself. If the Republicans keep the Senate, we’re going to be putting more and more hope in things that can be done administratively. Aggressive antitrust policy is one of those things in a major way.There are other important positions. U.S. Trade Representative and the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau come to mind. It’s unrealistic to think liberals are going to fill every position. But Biden should definitely be bolder than Obama was.Liberals today are critical of Obama and Clinton for being too “neoliberal” in their economic philosophies. It’s a confusing word in this context, because it really means free-market conservative for various historical reasons that are too complicated to go into. But that was then. The economics profession is changing, and inequality is much more central to economic discussions than it used to be.And one of the many lessons these election results taught us is that a lot of voters don’t get the Democrats’ economic message and don’t trust them to be good economic stewards, even though history says otherwise. Biden says, and I think he means it, that he’s on the side of the middle and working classes. He needs to hire an economic team that will prove it, and so far, he’s on his way.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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