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Your morning coffee

Bless up, GL
Of note for electric vehicle makers (TSLA, NIO, NKLA), Nissan (NSANY) unveiled the first of its new electric vehicles as part of a turnaround strategy for the loss-making company and is hoping its new all-electric SUV Ariya will sell well in China, but it faces tough competition from Tesla (TSLA) in the region.
COVID-sensitive sectors (AAL, UAL, LUV, CCL, RCL, MAR, H) are seeing gains pre-market on positive vaccine updates from Moderna (MRNA) and reports that there could be a positive update tomorrow from AstraZeneca (AZN). Meanwhile, the stay-at-home beneficiaries (AMZN, NFLX, ZM) are weaker in the pre-market.

DOW JONES

Apple Inc. (AAPL) – Europe’s second-highest court ruled against European Commission on whether AAPL has to pay EUR 13bln in Irish back taxes. Four years ago the European Commission said AAPL benefited from illegal state aid via two Irish tax rulings that artificially reduced its tax burden for over two decades. Analysts say defeat for EC could also weaken or delay pending cases against Nike’s (NKE) deals with the Netherlands.
Goldman Sachs Group (GS) Q2 2020 (USD): EPS 6.26 (exp. 3.78/4.16 reported); Revenue 13.3bln (exp. 9.75bln). Loan loss provisions: 1.59bln (exp. 1.01bln). Net interest income: 944mln (exp. 1.23bln). Trading income: 4.24bln (exp. 3.8bln). Global markets revenue: 7.18bln (exp. 4.22bln). Fixed Income revenue: 4.24bln (exp. 2.53bln). Equities revenue: (exp. 2.04bln). Investment banking revenue: 2.66bln (exp. 1.8bln). Tier 1 capital ratio: 13.6% (exp. 12.46%). Dividend: 1.25/shr (exp. Q3 1.25, Q4 1.25, FY20 5.02). During the second quarter of 2020, the firm recorded net provisions for litigation and regulatory proceedings of USD 945 million, which increased net provisions to USD 1.13 billion for the first half of 2020. These amounts reduced diluted EPS by $2.60 and annualised ROE by 4.5 percentage points in the second quarter of 2020 and reduced diluted EPS by USD 3.15 and annualised ROE by 2.8 percentage points in the first half of 2020.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) June net credit losses 2.06% (prev. 2.34%).
Merck & Co. (MRK) CEO announced COVID-19 vaccines under development are not guaranteed to work and people who say to expect a vaccine by year-end are doing “grave disservice to the public”.
United Health Group Inc. (UNH) Q2 2020 (USD): Adj. EPS 7.12 (exp. 5.28/5.09 reported); Revenue 62.1bln (exp. 63.5bln). EPS guidance: FY20 16.25-16.55 (guidance maintained) (exp. 16.29 reported). Premiums revenue: 49.39bln (exp. 50.04bln). Product revenue: 8.25bln (exp. 8.17bln). Services revenue: 4.16bln (exp. 4.97bln). As the pandemic advanced, access to and demand for care were most constrained from mid-March through April, began to recover in May and approached more typical levels by the end of the second quarter.

NASDAQ 100

Alphabet Inc (GOOG/GOOGL) announced it signed an agreement to invest USD 4.5bln (INR 33,737 crore) in Jio Platforms Ltd, taking a 7.73% stake in the company, pending regulatory review in India. Elsewhere, it has been accused of tracking user activity through hundreds of thousands of apps, even when users followed Google’s recommended setting for stopping the monitoring, a lawsuit alleges.
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) AWS announced it has been selected by HSBC (HSBC) as a key, long-term strategic cloud provider to drive their digital transformation and provide new personalised banking services.
ASML Holding (ASML) reported a near 58% jump in Q2 profit but fell short of market estimates and forecast overall growth for 2020, despite the coronavirus outbreak. Net profit jumped to EUR 751mln from EUR 476mln in the same period a year earlier. Net sales rose to EUR 3.33bln from EUR 2.57bln (analysts had expected net profit of EUR 860mln and revenue at EUR 3.42bln); ASML said that sales would have been in line if revenue from two systems that shipped had been recognised. CEO said the company is in a “privileged position” with an order backlog of worth more than EUR 10bln, and that while the COVID was hurting the global economy, demand in some sectors is stronger than ever, predicting that 2020 will be a growth year for the company.
Facebook, Inc. (FB) and Sony (SNE) are reportedly preparing to increase output of upcoming gaming devices by as much as 50%, according to Nikkei.
Sirius XM (SIRI) announced an additional USD 2bln share repurchase programme (taking the authorisation to a total USD 16bln) and declared a quarterly cash dividend of USD 0.01331 per share.
Tesla (TSLA) – A county in Texas, home of Austin, approved a plan to provide millions of tax subsidies to TSLA if it builds a USD 1.1bln vehicle factory in the area.

S & P 500

Bank of New York Mellon (BK) Q2 2020 (USD): EPS 1.01 (exp. 0.91/0.92 reported); Revenue 4.01bln (exp. 3.99bln). Loan loss provisions: 143mln (exp. 127mln). Tier 1 capital ratio: 12.6% (exp. 12.41%). Net interest revenue: 780mln (exp. 776mln). Net income: 965mln (exp. 811mln). NIM: 0.88% (exp. 0.91%).
Becton Dickinson (BDX) is supporting the US government COVID-19 testing efforts by expanding point-of-care tests; expects to produce up to 10mln test from July through September, running at 2mln per week by September-end.
Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) announced it would record USD 3bln charges of USD 3bln on employee voluntary retirement and separation plans in this quarter.
Diamondback Energy (FANG) cut its 2020 production forecast due to higher-than-expected curtailed volumes in Q2 and volatile oil prices; the shale producer said it had suspended almost all completion activity and cut about 5% of production in Q2, adding that nearly all of the curtailed production was now back online
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) European counterpart TomTom swung to a net loss for Q2, though it said operational revenue was on track to recovery from the lows it experienced in April due to COVID; it posted a net loss of EUR 62mln when stripping out the telematics unit vs a net profit of EUR 742mln for the same period a year earlier.
Medtronic (MDT) Health Care/Health Care Equipment) announced it is to acquire Medicrea in an all-cash tender offer for EUR 7/shr.
PNC Financial Services (PNC) Q2 20 (USD): EPS 0.40 (exp. 0.51), Revenue 4.1bln (exp. 4.11bln). NII 2.5bln (exp. 2.51bln). NIM 2.52% (exp. 2.61%). CET1 ratio 11.3% (exp. 10.44%). Net Charge-Offs 0.35% (exp. 0.48%). Loan Loss Provisions 1.56bln (exp. 1.19bln).
PVH Corp. (PVH) announced plans to streamline its North American operations which have been hit by COVID. Actions include exiting its 162 outlet store Heritage Brands Retail business and reducing its office workforce by approximately 450 positions or 12%
Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) board increased quarterly dividend to 70 cents a share from 69 cents a share.
U.S. Bancorp (USB) Q2 2002 (USD): EPS 0.41 (exp. 0.22), Revenue 5.838bln (exp 5.54bln). Loan loss provisions 1.73bln (exp. 1.64bln). NII 3.22bln (exp. 3.23bln). CET 1: 9.0% (exp. 9.11%). Expects to maintain quarterly dividend at 0.42/shr.
Wells Fargo (WFC) CFO said he does not expect the bank’s dividend to fall to zero; his remarks came after WFC reported disappointing earnings where it also cut its dividend.

OTHER

AstraZeneca (AZN) – ITV’s Peston reported he is hearing positive news is coming on the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, that is being produced by AstraZeneca (AZN LN). The vaccine is reportedly generating the kind of antibody and T-cell (killer cell) response researchers hoped for.
Beyond Meat (BYND) is partnering with meal kit service Home Chef, a subsidiary of Kroger (KR), to offer the Impossible Burger as an alternative to other traditional animal-based proteins, according to Fox.
CoreLogic (CLGX) again rejected an unsolicited USD 7bln buyout offer as inadequate after meeting with the two investment firms that made the bid, Senator Investment Group and Cannae Holdings (CNNE)
Eldorado Resorts (ERI) / Caesar’s Entertainment (CZR) – New Jersey regulators will meet today to decide n the planned merger between the two. NJ is the last state approval that it will need to complete the deal.
Energy Transfer LP (ET) - The Dakota Access oil pipeline can continue to operate amid an ongoing court battle, a US Appeals Court said, setting aside, for now, a lower court’s order earlier this month to shut and empty the line. Dakota Access, controlled by the co., was granted an administrative stay while Court considers whether the line should be shut due to permitting issues dating to 2017, meaning that oil can keep flowing through the 570k BPD pipeline.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) FDA has voted to approve Belantamab Mafodotin for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.
Infosys (INFY) Q1 (USD): EPS 0.13 (exp. 0.12), revenue 3.12bln (exp. 2.94bln).
Moderna (MRNA) announced its COVID-19 vaccine trial produced ‘robust’ immune response and produced neutralising antibodies in all patients that were tested. However, only 45 patients were tested, and some experienced severe side effects. However, NIH Dr. Fauci noted the side effects were not alarming and were typical of those experienced with other vaccines. Although Tony Moody, a doctor and researcher at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, said it was unusual for a vaccine to have this rate of side effect, but the antibody levels produced were really encouraging. The results were published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine; note, this is the trial that MRNA released preliminary results for in May.
Moleculin Biotech (MBRX) has entered into an agreement to produce WP1122 for expanded development of the potential COVID-19 and oncology drug candidate; believes the mechanism of the drug is very different from other drugs being developed against COVID-19.
MorphoSys (MOR)and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced the FDA approved its psoriatic arthritis treatment for adult patients, Tremfya.
Uber (UBER) / Lyft (LYFT) is now also being sued by Massachusetts, following California, over allegedly misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees entitled to extensive benefits. The complaint claims Uber and Lyft violate state minimum wage, hour and sick time laws.

Additional US Equity Stories:

Zoom (ZM) is launching Zoom for Home, a new category of software experiences and hardware devices to support remote work use cases.
Forescout (FSCT) and Advent International reach amended merger agreement, where FSCT will receive USD 29/shr, with the board unanimously recommending its shareholders tender their shares in support of the transaction.
ViacomCBS (VIAC) announced a multi-year deal with Cox Media Group that renews CBS Television Network affiliation agreements for five stations, including two top 50 market affiliates, KIRO-TV in Seattle, WA and WJAX-TV in
Tesla (TSLA) is reportedly planning a Fremont factory shutdown for upgrades, opening a new assembly line
Amazon (AMZN) announces a new fulfilment centre in Texas, anticipated to launch 2021 and will create 1,000 jobs; workers will work along side robots.
submitted by WSBConsensus to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

A thorough DD on $PGEN (Precigen)

What is Precigen what do they do? * Precigen is a dedicated discovery and clinical stage biopharmaceutical company advancing the next generation of gene and cell therapies using precision technology to target the most urgent and intractable diseases in immuno-oncology, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. * Their goal is to develop life-saving and cost-conscious therapies and platform technologies for patients with unmet medical needs * The Therapeutic areas they plan to target are: immuno-oncology, autoimmune disorders & infectious diseases
What are their pipeline products? * At the moment, they have five pipeline products in the works that are at the very minimum past Phase 1 clinical trials: * AG019: treats Type 1 diabetes * PRGN-3005: treats ovarian cancer * PRGN-3006: Treats AML, MDS * PRGN-2009: Treats HPV+ Solid Tumors * INXN-4001: Treats Heart Failure * Other than these five pipeline products in clinical trials, they have an additional eleven products currently in preclinical trials * Link describing the company's portfolio of Pipeline products
What are their Therapeutic platforms? * UltraCAR-T: * There is an advantage to UltraCAR-T such as: Non-viral multi-gene delivery, Overnight manufacturing process, Higher antigen-specific expansion and in vivo persistence, Non-exhausted, stem-like T cell phenotype and the Ability to deplete with integrated kill switch * The UltraCAR-T platform is fundamentally differentiated from the competition and has the potential to disrupt the CAR-T treatment landscape by increasing patient access through rapid manufacturing, lower manufacturing-related costs, and improved outcomes using advanced technologies for precise tumor targeting and control of the immune system * Link * AdenoVerse Therapies: * Adavantages to using this platform: Large payload capacity, ability for repeat administration, durable antigen-specific response, highly productive manufacturing process * The AdenoVerse Immunotherapy platform utilizes a library of proprietary adenovectors for the efficient gene delivery of vaccine antigens and cytokines to modulate the immune system * AdenoVerse therapies are manufactured using proprietary manufacturing cell lines and easily scalable production methodology. * Link * ActoBiotics: * Advantages to ActoBiotics: uses food grade bacteria with long history of safe use, Local expression of genes at disease site, Cost-effective and scalable manufacturing & convenient oral or topical delivery * ActoBiotics is a unique therapeutic platform precisely tailored for specific disease modification with the potential for superior efficacy and safety via oral or topical delivery of disease-modifying therapeutics directly to the relevant local mucosal sites * ActoBiotics work via genetically modified bacteria that deliver proteins and peptides to mucosal sites, enabling non-viral delivery of therapeutic agents.
What is AG019? * The platform AG019 is categorized under ActoBiotics * It is meant to treat Type 1 diabetes * AG019 ActoBiotics is an innovative disease-modifying approach to induce antigen-specific immune tolerance to prevent, delay or reverse type-1 diabetes * AG019 is a capsule formulation composed of ActoBiotics delivering the autoantigen human Proinsulin and human Interleukin-10 * Clinical Stage Status: Phase 1b/2a study to assess the safety and tolerability of different doses of AG019 administered alone (Phase 1b) or in combination with teplizumab * Link to the clinical trial gov website on AG019
What is PRGN-3005? * The platform for PRGN-3005 Is categorized under UltraCAR-T * It is meant to treat Ovarian Cancer * It is a multigenic autologous CAR-T cell treatment utilizing Precigen’s advanced non-viral gene delivery system to simultaneously express a chimeric antigen receptor optimized to preferentially target Mucin 16 (MUC16) on tumor cells, membrane-bound interleukin‐15 (mbIL15), and a kill switch * based on Precigen’s transformative UltraCAR-T therapeutic platform, is manufactured using a decentralized, overnight manufacturing process and administered to the patients the next day * Clinical Trial Status: is currently being evaluated in a nonrandomized, investigator-initiated Phase 1 trial to evaluate safety and maximum tolerated dose in patients with advanced, recurrent platinum resistant ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer. * PRGN-3005 will be delivered by either intraperitoneal (IP) or intravenous (IV) infusion. IP arm of the Phase 1 trial is currently ongoing. * Link to the clinical trial Gov website on PRGN-3005
What is PRGN-3006? * The platform for PRGN-3006 Is categorized under UltraCAR-T * it is meant to treat AML & MDS * It is a multigenic autologous CAR-T cell treatment utilizing Precigen’s advanced non-viral gene delivery system to simultaneously express a chimeric antigen receptor targeting CD33, membrane-bound interleukin‐15 (mbIL15), and a kill switch * Clinical Trial Status: It is currently being evaluated in a nonrandomized, investigator-initiated Phase 1/1b trial in patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or higher risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) * In the Phase 1 trial patients are being treated with escalating doses of PRGN-3006 with or without prior lymphodepleting chemotherapy * Link to the clinical trial Regarding PRGN-3006
What is PRGN-2009? * The platform it is categorized under is OTS AdenoVerse Immunotherapy * It is meant to treat HPV+ Solid Tumors * PRGN-2009 leverages Precigen’s UltraVector and AdenoVerse platforms to optimize HPV antigen design and delivery using gorilla adenovector with a large payload capacity and the ability for repeat administration * is being developed through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute * Clinical Trial Status: IND application to initiate Phase I/II clinical trial was approved by the FDA * Phase I portion of the study will follow 3+3 dose escalation to evaluate the safety of PRGN-2009 administered as a monotherapy and to determine the recommended Phase II dose (R2PD) followed by an evaluation of the safety of the combination of PRGN-2009 at the R2PD and an investigational bifunctional fusion protein in patients with recurrent or metastatic HPV-associated cancers * Phase II portion of the study will evaluate PRGN-2009 as a monotherapy or in combination with the bifunctional fusion protein in patients with newly-diagnosed stage II/III HPV16-positive oropharyngeal cancer * Link
What is INXN-4001? * The platform is it categorized under is Non-viral UltraVector * It is meant to treat Heart Failure * INXN-4001 uses non-viral delivery via Retrograde Coronary Sinus Infusion (RCSI) of a constitutively controlled multigenic plasmid designed to express human S100A1, SDF-1α, and VEGF165 gene products * RCSI is a procedure used to deliver biological molecules to the heart. In RCSI, a balloon catheter is inserted into the coronary sinus and left inflated for a time to occlude the coronary sinus and facilitate the circulation of the therapeutic in the heart * Clinical Trial Status: Phase 1 is ongoing * Link to clinical Trial regarding INXN-4001
Recent Q1 Financials & highlights * Dosing in the second dose level of the intraperitoneal (IP) arm of the Phase 1 trial of PRGN-3005 UltraCAR-T was completed * Enrollment of patients in the non-lymphodepletion and lymphodepletion arms of the Phase 1 trial of PRGN-3006 UltraCAR-T, has been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic to date. The IND has been amended, and the FDA has allowed for concurrent dosing of patients in both arms * FDA cleared the Investigational New Drug (IND) application to initiate a Phase 1/2 trial for PRGN-2009 * Total revenues of $29.8 million * Net loss from continuing operations attributable to Precigen of $29.9 million, or $(0.19) per basic share, of which $8.7 million was for non-cash charges * Cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaled $149.2 million at March 31, 2020. * Collaboration and licensing revenues increased $4.8 million, or 80%, over the quarter ended March 31, 2019 * Service revenues increased $2.6 million, or 23%, over the quarter ended March 31, 2019 * Research and development expenses decreased $8.0 million, or 30%. Salaries, benefits and other personnel costs decreased $2.1 million, and contract research organization costs and lab supplies decreased $5.1 million as Precigen narrowed its focus on its primary healthcare programs * Link 1 Link 2
Risks/negatives of the business * As found in their recent SEC Filings: * "The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant volatility, uncertainty, and economic disruption that could have an adverse effect on the Company's access to capital on favorable terms." * "We will need substantial additional capital in the future in order to fund our business" * "Our business is dependent on our ability to advance our current and future product candidates through clinical trials, obtain marketing approval, and ultimately commercialize them" * "The regulatory approval processes of the FDA and comparable foreign authorities are lengthy, time-consuming, and inherently unpredictable, and if we are ultimately unable to obtain regulatory approval for our product candidates, our business will be materially harmed" * "We may be unable to obtain FDA approval of our product candidates under applicable regulatory requirements. The denial or delay of any such approval would prevent or delay commercialization of our product candidates and adversely impact our potential to generate revenue, our business, and our results of operations" * "Clinical development involves a lengthy and expensive process with uncertain outcomes. We may incur additional costs and experience delays in developing and commercializing or be unable to develop or commercialize our current and future product candidates" * "We may be required to suspend, repeat, or terminate our clinical trials if they are not conducted in accordance with regulatory" * "Cell and gene therapies are novel, complex, and difficult to manufacture" * "Interim and preliminary results from our clinical trials that we announce or publish from time to time may change as more patient data become available and are subject to audit, validation, and verification procedures that could result in material changes in the final data." * "We have chosen to prioritize development of certain of our product candidates, including PRGN-3005 and PRGN-3006. We may expend our limited resources on product candidates or indications that do not yield a successful product and fail to capitalize on other opportunities for which there may be a greater likelihood of success or may be more profitable" **Links to the SEC Filings: 10-K 10-Q
Events to positively impact Q2-Q4 * On Jan 2nd 2020, $PGEN Announced that it will refocus the company on healthcare, change its name to Precigen, Inc. and, effective immediately, has appointed Helen Sabzevari, PhD, as President and CEO. * Additionally, Intrexon has executed binding agreements to sell its smaller non-healthcare businesses for $65.2M plus certain contingent payment rights and entered into an agreement to sell $35M of its common stock. The proceeds from these transactions, combined with the company's cash and short-term investments on hand at December 31, 2019, approximates $175 million thus attaining Intrexon's year-end objective. * On Jan. 6th 2020, $PGEN Announced that the FDA has granted orphan drug designation to PRGN-3006, a first-in-class investigational therapy using Precigen's non-viral UltraCAR-T therapeutic platform for patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML). * On Feb 3rd 2020, $PGEN Announced the sale of a number of its bioengineering assets and the related sale of $35 million of its common stock to an affiliate of Third Security LLC. * Additionally, effective February 1, 2020, the Company has changed its name to Precigen, Inc. from Intrexon Corporation and its Nasdaq stock symbol to PGEN from XON * On April 20th 2020, $PGEN Announced the clearance of IND to Initiate Phase I/II Study for First-in-Class PRGN-2009 AdenoVerse™ Immunotherapy to Treat HPV-positive (HPV+) Solid Tumors
Very important upcoming dates * Precigen will Precigen Participate in Upcoming JMP Securities Hematology and Oncology Forum on JUNE 18th 2020 * Precigen will hold its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders on JUNE 19th 2020 * Precigen will present preclinical data for PRGN-3005 UltraCAR-T at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting II between JUNE 22-24th 2020
Important upcoming clinical trial dates *PRGN-3005: initial data 2H2020 * PRGN-3006: Initial data 2H2020 * INXN-4001: Topline data 2H2020 * PRGN-2009: Initiation of phase 1 Q2 of 2020 * AG019: Interim data Q3 of 2020 * Clinical data dates
Target Price/forecasts * CNN Money&text=The%202%20analysts%20offering%2012,the%20last%20price%20of%203.49.) sets the median price target at $9 with a high of $13 * NASDAQ sets it as a buy with a price target of $9 with a high of $13 * Wall Street Journal sets the median price target at $9 with a high of $13
Important documents/presentations I suggest you look over as well * 10-K 10-Q * Corporate Presentation
Final thoughts/comments * Like usual when it comes to my DDs, they tend to be long holds, that is the case for this one as well. Especially with all these upcoming catalysts & meetings to be held between now & the end of the year * Please take your time to read everything I've written down & extend my DD by reading all the attached links & by researching in your own as well. * I will be picking up shares of PGEN & will be holding through to Q4 as I feel very confident of this company & how they are running things, especially with their vast portfolio of Pipeline products that are currently in clinical trials
I hope this DD has been able to help out in any way possible, even if it's just to provide a good read :) Hope you all have a good morning today, take care everyone! :)
submitted by PradoMV96 to EducatedInvesting [link] [comments]

23M Becoming Lost in Finances

Hello FI Australia,
love this group, pretty much in it everyday since 19. Turning 23 this year and im slowly starting to get lost in my own finances (not sure what to do).
Brief of my investment strategy to obtain fire
40% dividends ETF/Shares (VAS,ANZ,BHP etc) 10% peer2peer lending 20% Cash (emergency + personal)
30% includes super and other miscellaneous
Im having trouble grasping the concept of compounding my investments for it to grow. I understand that its all % based and everything but I think im just getting lost in the figures and what not.
I usually spend between 600 - 900 a month, and I live with my parents still but I help pay bills (600 - 900 includes bills on avg).
I may sound greedy, but i feel like the money I make is too slow for my liking. may be a mentality thing im not sure..
im looking to start a blog targeting the niche : badminton, and look go sell ad space and affiliate programs.
any advice to revamp my mentality?
ps. don't get me wrong i love hustling but the figures are not impressive to me.
thanks in advance
submitted by sudikushaka to fiaustralia [link] [comments]

MCO Visa + Curve = My new dream team

Before diving into my review here, I'd like to point out, that I'm not affiliated with any of the companies behind the products mentioned. As always, nothing is ever considered financial advice either.
Curve allows you to connect all your Visa and Mastercard cards using their mobile app. Then, instead of using your individual cards for spending, you simply use Curve. You can choose between free and paid plans, so getting started is really simple. Once all your cards are hooked up to Curve, you can switch cards inside the app and at the time you spend, that amount is being charged to the activated card. It's very straight forward and there is no catch.
I've been using Curve for about a year now and my experience has been amazing. Their support is top notch and I usually receive an answer within 24 hours. Last year I did lots of traveling to the United States, Canada and Mexico and never had my Curve card declined. Obviously, you wouldn't only travel with your Curve card, but also carry a backup card, just in case. There have been a few occasions, where their service had a short unexperienced down time, but that never really affected me. I only knew about it, because Curve informed me via push notification.
Now, that I finally received my MCO Visa card, I also connected that one to Curve and setup only took me about two minutes. I've already used it to make a few purchases and as expected, everything went fine. I highly recommend to look into combining both Curve and MCO Visa.
The following list contains some of the features, that I've enjoyed the most:

Edit: Curve is currently available in the following countries: https://support.imaginecurve.com/hc/en-gb/articles/213342769-Who-can-get-Curve-?mobile_site=true
submitted by silverstarcrypto to Crypto_com [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Monday 27th April

Good afternoon from the UK. It’s Monday 27th April.

It was an up and down weekend in the Fwoggie2 household. I went and did a major grocery shop at a Tesco Extra supermarket near me (Tesco = major supermarket chain in the UK) on Friday night. The store has a one way system to navigate round the store and you’re supposed to keep 2m away from anyone else. This is almost impossible I found as I constantly had to back the hell up as people barged in to grab what they wanted and to hell with any one way system. The older they were it seemed (I’m in my 40’s), the less they cared about social distancing. It took me 2.5 hours to finally complete the shop (I had to go back for a few more things on the Saturday morning).
As for Sunday, my wife was well enough to join me and the dog on a hour long walk (we never got within 10 metres of anyone else because we have lots of open countryside outside our front door so social distancing on walks is very easy to do) and the allotment got a major update; it now has 20 more white onions, over 50 red onion seeds, about 60 parsnips (which are notoriously hard to germinate especially in heavy soil like ours but it's worth a try), 7 rosemary plants and about 50 radishes. By the end of this week I hope to plant 75 carrots, 60 spring onions, 45 beetroot. The more we can grow the better; squash, courgettes/zucchini are on the agenda soon too with sweetcorn and brassicas a week or two further down the line.
Life though can twist and turn in an instant; #RIPMark has been trending on UK Twitter todayas Covid-19 takes another victim here in the UK with the death count now well over 21k (if you believe the government stats) or over 41k (if you want to believe the Financial Times instead). To see an example of the British Covid-19 story in three brief tweets, click here. Failing that, please continue to stay at home if at all possible.

Virus news







Supply chain news in depth


While passenger flights stay on ground freight rates are flying high - Stat Times reports that while passengers are going nowhere, there’s considerable demand for airfreight. Airfreight is the most expensive mode of transporting goods, but also the fastest, reliable and secure style of moving it. Roughly, airlines handle just one percent of all the global trade volumes but at the same time enjoy 35 percent of its value. In that sense, the pre-Covid-19 world was pretty sure about what sort of goods must move in the ocean and what in the air. But in the world hit by Covid-19 pandemic, air cargo has moved from the premium mode to the super-premium with freight rates climbing new heights each day it says. Demand for airfreight capacity from the West to China is limited, but large quantities of PPE are coming out of China resulting in rapidly growing rates.
(Cont’d) According to TAC Index, on April 13, 2020, the airlines reportedly charged a new record price of $9.64 per kg to move cargo from Shanghai to Frankfurt compared to $2.46 on March 9, a jump of 291 percent in just one month. Meanwhile, on the Frankfurt-Shanghai route, it fell around normal rates of $1.17per kg as of April 13 compared to $2.78 on February 17, when the rates were at its peak. The average air freight rate to transport goods from Shanghai to Europe is around $8.65 per kg, while from Frankfurt to China is $1.41. The same for Hong Kong to Europe is $4.66 compared to $5.11 on April 6 and $2.58 on March 9. The falling rates from Hong Kong are reportedly due to the new regulations introduced by the Chinese government in April to clamp down the low-quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) exported from the country. The government made it mandatory for PPEs to have customs clearance which pushed the companies to ship them from mainland airports instead of trans-shipping through Hong Kong.
(Cont’d) Airfreight rates on Shanghai-Dallas/Fort Worth route rose to $8.72 per kg on April 13 compared to $4.91 on March 9, while Hong Kong-Dallas is at $4.88 compared to $5.79 on April 6 and $3.53 on March 9. On average, air cargo from Shanghai to the US is now available at $6.92 compared to $3.36 on March 9, an increase of 105 percent in one month. Meanwhile the same from Hong Kong is available at $5.55 per kg compared to $3.35 on March 9. Rates from London to the US stood at $4.04 per kg compared to $1.12 on March 9, an increase of 260 percent, while Frankfurt to the US reported $4.12 compared to $5.31 on March 30, when it witnessed a steady increase of 223 percent, from $1.64 on March 9. While on the other side, from Chicago to European destinations, rates reported an increase of 173 percent. From $0.96 on March 9, it went up to $2.63 per kg on April 13.
(Con’td) It’s not all good news however, with some people priced out of airfreight moving to rail - and liking it. In the meantime, a large section of cargo that used to travel in the air is moving to more predictable rail route between Europe and China. Stakeholders of air cargo fear that a significant amount of cargo will move to rail, permanently. On April 3, 2020, the freight forwarding company, Davies Turner announced that its weekly rail import service from China to the UK has broken previous records in transit times amid demand spike. Philip Stephenson, chairman, Davies Turner said “The impact of Covid-19 will push many shippers to rethink their supply chains, and that could see a lot more Asia-Europe air and ocean freight traffic moving permanently to the rail.”

Coronavirus chokes the drug trade from Wuhan, through Mexico and onto U.S. streets - The LA Times explains Wuhan is known for its production of chemicals, including the ingredients needed to cook fentanyl and other powerful synthetic opioids. Vendors there shipped huge quantities around the world. The biggest customers were Mexican drug cartels, which have embraced fentanyl in recent years because it is cheaper and easier to produce than heroin. But the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan late last year before spreading across the planet has disrupted the fentanyl supply chain, causing a ripple effect that has cut into the profits of Mexican traffickers and driven up street drug prices across the United States. The narcotics trade, which relies on the constant movement of goods and people, has been stymied by lockdowns, travel bans and other efforts to contain the virus, according to government officials, academic researchers and drug traffickers.
(Cont’d) Logan Pauley, a researcher at C4ADS, a Washington-based think tank focused on transnational security, noticed a decrease in advertisements for fentanyl precursors. He said vendors switched to selling other products, including face masks and anti-malarial drugs that some doctors and politicians initially hoped would help treat the coronavirus. The drop in exports has left some Mexican drug producers with less access to needed chemicals. Simultaneously, cartels have encountered another colossal challenge: new restrictions on entry to the United States — the world’s biggest market for illegal drugs. Kameron Korte, a spokeswoman for the San Diego field division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, said fentanyl pills in her region now sell for $7 each, up from $5 a few months ago. The average cost of methamphetamine has risen from $1,000 per pound to $1,400 per pound, she said. Similar price hikes have been seen in other parts of the country. Drug users have grumbled about rising prices on online forums. On a message board on the website Reddit, one person complained that prices of fentanyl pills in Phoenix had nearly doubled. “Border shut = less trafficking,” it said.

Supply chain news in brief













Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but as you may have read above, food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

List of Major SPACs & Latest Updates

Here's a summary tracker I use to keep track of latest developments of major SPACs I'm interested in. Feel free to comment below with other SPACs to add and I'll update the list to keep it fresh and current.
(edit: updated to reflect additions and comments)
ACTT
Act II Global Acquisition Corp.
June 10, 2020 - Act II Global Acquisition to Purchase Two Companies Creating Whole Earth Brands. The two companies own a range of consumer sweetener brands including Equal along with a thriving flavorings business. The close of the deal is imminent, with the deadline for Act II investors to redeem shares for cash on Thursday, June 11 and the vote to approve the merger on Monday, June 15.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/whole-earth-brands-ride-wellness-173206365.html
Units: ACTTU
Warrants: ACTTW
Shares: ACTT

FMCI
Forum Merger II Corporation
Ittella International, a plant-based food company with a broad portfolio of innovative products available both in private label and the Company’s “Tattooed Chef” brand, and FMCI announced a definitive agreement to combine as Tattooed Chef, Inc. (“Tattooed Chef”). This transaction will introduce Tattooed Chef as a Nasdaq-listed public company, with an anticipated initial enterprise value of approximately $482 million, 2.2x Tattooed Chef’s estimated 2021 revenue of $222 million, or 15.6x Tattooed Chef’s estimated 2021 Adjusted EBITDA of $30.8 million.
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/06/12/2047388/0/en/Ittella-International-to-Combine-with-Forum-Merger-II-to-form-Tattooed-Chef-Inc.html
Units: FMCIU
Warrants: FMCIW
Shares: FMCI

PAAC
Proficient Alpha Acquisition Corp.
June 4, 2020, Proficient Alpha Acquisition Corp. announced that it held a Merger Meeting and the stockholders approved a business combination agreement, with Lion Financial Group Limited, a Chinese investor-focused trading platform that offers a wide spectrum of products and services.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/proficient-alpha-acquisition-corp-announces-174010976.html
Units: PAACU
Warrants: PAACW
Shares: PAAC

OPES
Opes Acquisition Corp
Fast-growing burger chain BurgerFi signed a non-binding letter-of-intent to merge on June 8, 2020.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/opes-acquisition-corp-announces-non-130010453.html
Units: OPESU
Warrants: OPESW
Shares: OPES



NEBU
Nebula Acquisition Corporation
June 10, 2020, Nebula Acquisition Corporation Completes Business Combination with Open Lending, a leading provider of lending enablement and risk analytics solutions to financial institutions. Upon completion of the business combination, Nebula changed its name to Open Lending, and its common stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol “LPRO”, commencing June 11, 2020.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nebula-acquisition-corporation-completes-business-160010596.html
Units: NEBUU
Warrants: NEBUW
Shares: NEBU

MFAC
Megalith Financial Acquisition Corp.
May 20, 2020, Megalith Financial Acquisition Corp announced it has signed a non-binding letter of intent and expects to sign a definitive agreement to acquire a digital banking platform that is among the fastest growing in the country with several million accounts. The target company features an advanced, purpose-built platform via proprietary technology that provides a full suite of low-cost banking products including checking, savings, and credit cards to millennials and middle-income consumers.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/megalith-financial-acquisition-corp-announces-123010310.html
Units: MFAC-UN
Warrants: MFAC-WT
Shares: MFAC

CCH
Collier Creek Holdings
June 5, 2020, Utz Quality Foods, LLC, a leading U.S. manufacturer of branded salty snacks, and Collier Creek Holdings announced that they have entered into a definitive to combine and form Utz Brands, Inc. Utz Brands will be a leading pure-play snack food platform in the U.S. Upon the closing of the transaction, it is expected that Utz Brands will trade under the ticker symbol "UTZ" on the New York Stock Exchange.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/utz-quality-foods-combine-collier-100000063.html
Units: CCH-UN
Warrants: CCH-WT
Shares: CCH

CCXX
Churchill Capital Corp III
February 14, 2020, Churchill Capital Corp III announced the pricing of its $1 billion initial public offering of 100,000,000 units at $10.00 per unit. Churchill Capital Corp III was founded by Michael Klein, who is also the founder and managing partner of M. Klein and Company.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/churchill-capital-corp-iii-announces-pricing-of-1-billion-initial-public-offering-301005256.html
Units: CCXX-UN
Warrants: CCXX-WT
Shares: CCXX

FEAC
Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp.
March 10, 2020, Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp., Led by Harry Sloan and Founding Investor Jeff Sagansky, Announces Completion of $690 Million IPO.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200422005249/en/Flying-Eagle-Acquisition-Corp.-Led-Harry-Sloan
Units: FEAC-UN
Warrants: FEAC-WT
Shares: FEAC

TZAC
Tenzing Acquisition Corp.
May 21, 2020, Tenzing Acquisition Corp. announced the vote by shareholders to extend the deadline to consummate an initial business combination from May 26, 2020 to July 27, 2020 (or September 28, 2020 if the Company has executed a definitive agreement for a business combination by July 27, 2020).
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tenzing-acquisition-corp-announces-extension-165500571.html
Units: TZACU
Warrants: TZACW
Shares: TZAC

OAC
Oaktree Acquisition Corp.
July 18, 2019, Oaktree Acquisition Corp., Announces Completion of $175 Million IPO. The Company’s sponsor is an affiliate of Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $119 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2019.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/oaktree-acquisition-corp-announces-pricing-230800214.html
Units: OAC-UN
Warrants: OAC-WT
Shares: OAC

GRAF
Graf Industrial Corp.
April 8, 2020 Graf Industrial Corp. announced that it is in negotiations relating to a potential business combination with polypropylene recycling company PureCycle Technologies, LLC (the "Target"), pursuant to which the Target would become a publicly traded company (the "Transaction").
https://sec.report/Document/0001104659-20-050400/
Units: GRAFU
Warrants: GRAF-WT
Shares: GRAF

CCX
Churchill Capital Corp II
June 26, 2019 - Churchill Capital Corp II announced the pricing of its $600 billion initial public offering of 60,000,000 units at $10.00 per unit. Churchill Capital Corp II was founded by Michael Klein, who is also the founder and managing partner of M. Klein and Company.
Note: The first SPAC from this group successfully combined last year and trades as CCC. This is likely to acquire a company before the larger CCXX as it was launched first.
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/churchill-capital-corp-ii-announces-pricing-of-600-million-initial-public-offering-300875814.html
Units: CCX-UN
Warrants: CCX-WT
Shares: CCX

JWS
Jaws Acquisition Corp
May 13, 2020 - Jaws Acquisition Corp. announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 60,000,000 units at a price of $10.00 per unit. Led by Chairman Barry S. Sternlicht and Chief Executive Officer Joseph L. Dowling.
Note: Barry Sternlicht is an incredibly successful investor who formed and sold the Starwood Hotels to Marriott for $13.6B in 2016, and he currently manages a $60B fund, Starwood Capital. Joseph Dowling is the CEO of the Brown University endowment fund, which has over $3B under management and has been one of the top performing college endowments in recent years.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jaws-acquisition-corp-announces-pricing-023400717.html
Units: JWS-UN (Units haven't separated shares and warrants yet)
Warrants: JWS-WT
Shares: JWS





submitted by SPACvet to SPACs [link] [comments]

Car owners who also use motorcycles for daily commute to the office, what else to consider? Try to convince me some more?

Been pondering the past few weeks getting a motorcycle/scooter to for daily commutes to the office. I'm also an owner of a sedan and it's what i use everyday. Given the traffic and rising costs of gas, i really am eyeing one such as the honda beat or genio.
9/10 of the time i don't have people riding with me to the office and back home because of my work schedule which isn't the regular 8am to 5pm so it's much harder to get a carpool (especially when you want to consider people you may know or have an affiliation with).
Gas/Parking with a car costs in a month range from 7.5k to 10k depending. Gas/parking with a motorcycle is about 2.5k to 3.5k a month plus 2k maybe for amortization in case i opt to not fully pay in cash.
I will probably still use my car 1-3 times a week.
What else should i be considering aside from costs? In case that my monthly costs are equal but the advantage of having alternative transportation. Such as convenience? Safety? Riding in rainy seasons? Change of office clothing in case of sweating or getting wet? Any tips as well in case i do get one?
Also thought of getting a 2nd hand scootet but i guess given the pending new doble plaka law and inconveniences that a 2nd hand one may bring this may not be a good idea for a new owner? (Or change my mind?)
I'm also a cyclist by the way.
Appreciate all the inputs in advance!
submitted by lechonlaing4ever to Philippines [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Wednesday 22nd April

Good morning from the UK. It’s Wednesday 22nd April and today also marks the 50th Earth Day.

Virus news in depth


Air pollution falls by unprecedented levels in major global cities during coronavirus lockdowns - CNN reports that lockdowns restricting travel and industry imposed to halt the spread of coronavirus have resulted in unprecedented reductions in deadly air pollution around the world, new analysis shows. Major cities that suffer from the world's worst air pollution have seen reductions of deadly particulate matter by up to 60% from the previous year, during a three-week lockdowns period. The Indian capital New Delhi -- which frequently tops the world's most polluted city lists -- saw a 60% reduction in PM2.5 levels from March 23 to April 13 from the same period in 2019. Both New Delhi and the country's commercial center Mumbai experienced their best March air quality on record in 2020. During the initial three-week lockdown period, the number of hours rated as "unhealthy" in New Delhi dropped from 68% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. Over the course of Wuhan's 10-week lockdown, the city experienced its cleanest air quality on record for the months of February and March. The average concentration of PM2.5 plunged from 63.2 and 43.9 micrograms per cubic meter in February and March 2019 respectively, to 36.8 and 32.9 in the same months this year. The World Health Organization considers anything above 25 to be unsafe.

Ramadan in a time of plague: 'The best thing is to stay home, stay quiet' - The Guardian points out that the holy month of Ramadan is scheduled to start this week; the ongoing spread of Covid-19 poses unique questions for Muslims around the world, including whether they can access their mosque to pray, whether fasting is still required during a time of plague and whether they can travel home to visit friends and family (such visits are few and far between for many). Many mosques will be closed, the article says including the Ka’bah, the gold-embroidered shrine in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, as well as the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque. Abdullah Abu Galous, a 38-year-old hardware shop owner from the Palestinian city of Ramallah, said it felt as if Ramadan had been cancelled. “I would never have thought that a tiny virus could stop us from celebrating the month of Ramadan. It has held more than one billion Muslims throughout the world hostage,” he said. Meanwhile, several Arab newspapers have carried expert assurances that fasting has not been shown to reduce resistance to the virus. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top Sunni mosque, said last week that coronavirus could not be used as an excuse not to participate unless it was scientifically established that drinking water helps to ward off the disease.

Virus news in brief


Today’s live blogs are The Guardian, CNN unless otherwise specified















Supply chain news in depth


No takers: Hyundai cars sit in U.S. ports as virus keeps buyers away - While Hyundai is one of few global automakers whose production has recovered at home, its exports optimism has been dampened by the severity of the U.S. outbreak, weak consumer sentiment and as rivals have quickly moved to guard their turf. Consignments of cars shipped from South Korea are now sitting in U.S. ports, with dealers slow to take deliveries because of slumping sales and rising inventory, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The company idled a Tucson production line at home last week for five days, while sister firm Kia Motors (000270.KS) is looking to suspend three Korean plants for a week. And analysts now expect a sharp drop in first-quarter operating profit when it reports results on Thursday and some even forecast a second-quarter loss. “I hope that the situation will recover by the middle of next month. If not, we might have to lay off some people,” said Brad Cannon, general manager of an exclusive Hyundai dealership in California, whose sales are down more than 50% from when the pandemic started. Hyundai runs a factory in Alabama - which is closed until May 1 - but imports are key to meet U.S. demand. Only about half of its vehicles sold in the United States are made in North America compared to between 68% and 85% for Japanese rivals Toyota Motor (7203.T), Nissan Motor (7201.T) and Honda Motor (7267.T), who have also suspended production there till May. The South Korean company makes about 61% of its cars overseas, up from 48% a decade ago. That leaves it vulnerable to overseas factory shutdowns and shrinking demand outside of its home market.

Coronavirus pandemic 'will cause famine of biblical proportions' - The Guardian quotes the chief of the UN’s food relief agency who has said that the world is facing widespread famine “of biblical proportions” because of the coronavirus pandemic and that there is only a short time to act before hundreds of millions starve. More than 30 countries in the developing world could experience widespread famine, and in 10 of those countries there are already more than 1 million people on the brink of starvation, said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme. “We are not talking about people going to bed hungry,” he told the Guardian in an interview. “We are talking about extreme conditions, emergency status – people literally marching to the brink of starvation. If we don’t get food to people, people will die.” Covid-19 is likely to be sweeping through the developing world but its spread is hard to gauge. What appears to be certain is that the fragile healthcare systems of scores of developing countries will be unable to cope, and the economic disaster following in the wake of the pandemic will lead to huge strain on resources. “This is truly more than just a pandemic – it is creating a hunger pandemic,” said Beasley. “This is a humanitarian and food catastrophe.” Beasley took his message to the UN security council on Tuesday, warning world leaders that they must act quickly in a fast-deteriorating situation. He urged them to bring forward about $2bn (£1.6bn) of aid that has been pledged, so it can get to the frontline as quickly as possible. Another $350m (£285m) is also needed to set up the logistics network to get food and medical supplies – including personal protective equipment – to where it is needed, including air bridges where ground transport is impossible.

Supply chain news in brief












Good news section


Taxi driver takes stranded student from Spain to Italy free of charge - CNN reports that an Italian student stranded in Spain due to the coronavirus crisis has been driven more than 1,500 kilometers home, free of charge by a taxi driver. Driver Kepa Amantegi, 22, drove Giada Collalto, also 22, from Bilbao, Spain, to Montebello, near Venice, Italy, after a series of unfortunate events left her stuck. Collalto's struggle to find a way back home included hours on the internet and phone calls with the Italian embassy. She managed to purchase a plane ticket from Madrid to Paris, then to Rome and finally to Venice. But on April 8, she found herself navigating more restrictions at the airport of the Spanish capital Madrid, where a flight attendant informed her she wasn't permitted to board. "I was desperate and angry, my parents were worried but couldn't do anything to help me. I called the embassy and they told to me to send an email. All hotels in Madrid were closed, no public transport to go back to Bilbao," she added. A friend of hers knew a taxi driver in Bilbao -- Amantegi -- and contacted him. "He immediately said he was available to come to pick me up and he drove nine hours from Bilbao to Madrid and back," Collalto said. But once she was back in Bilbao, she learned her apartment was no longer available. Amantegi offered to host Collalto in his family home for the night. "I insisted on paying him but he said, 'I don't want to get advantage of you, I see you are in a difficult situation, don't worry about the cost'," Collalto said, adding Amantegi only asked for a reimbursement of expenses for picking her up in Madrid. (Link)

Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but as you may have read above, food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Wednesday 16th April

Good morning from the UK. It’s Thursday April 16th.

Virus news in depth


U.S. International Aid Groups Sending Help Home - PBS in the USA is reporting that international aid groups (so often the grateful recipients of donations from American sources) are now setting up emergency responses in the US due to the severity of the situation in the country. Doctors without borders has set up just a few streets away from its office in New York by supporting soup kitchens, setting up hand-washing stations, and training local officials how to prevent the spread of infection. Samaritan’s Purse International has erected a 14-tent field hospital with an ICU in Central Park. “That international aid groups are supporting the U.S. healthcare system shows how dire the need is domestically, and how inadequate the federal response has been.” says PBS. “Clearly, we have been caught flat-footed,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University’s Global Health Institute. “The fact that resources from these organizations are coming to the U.S. is, on one hand, helpful to Americans, but pathetic in terms of what it says about American responsiveness.” CARE, a 75-year-old humanitarian group, is sending relief packages to medical workers, caregivers and individuals in need. “CARE has never delivered in the US before now, but this pandemic has meant a scale up in our response internationally and here at home as well,” said CEO Michelle Nunn. Dr. Jean Fritz Jacques, a general surgeon in Haiti who runs Healing Arts Mission Clinic, is bracing for the worst. His country is utterly unprepared for the pandemic, and he’s watching the group’s U.S.-based donors supply American institutions. In Haiti, private hospitals are closing for lack of supplies and equipment, and public hospitals aren’t ready, he said. “We are just praying that the chaos will not happen,” Jacques said.

Virus news in brief














Supply chain news in depth


US factory shutdowns near Second World War demobilization levels - Supply professional reports that American industry collapsed in March as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the US economy. Manufacturing and overall industrial production posted the biggest declines since the United States demobilized after World War II. The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that manufacturing output dropped 6.3 per cent last month, led by plunging production at auto factories that have entirely shut down. Overall, industrial production, which includes factories, utilities and mines, plummeted 5.4 per cent. The declines were the biggest since 1946 and far worse than what economists had expected. Production of autos and auto parts went into freefall, dropping 28 per cent. The lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 have brought economic activity to a near-standstill. Output dropped 3.9 per cent at utilities and 2 per cent at mines as oil and gas drilling plunged, the Fed said. Factories were running at 70.2 per cent of capacity last month, down from 75.1 per cent in February and lowest since 2010 when the US economy was still recovering from the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

‘Unprecedented disruption’ to supply chain slams US port volumes - Freightwaves reports that the ports of Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Houston, Jacksonville and Charleston have all reported volume drops in March 2020. Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) Chief Executive Officer John Wolfe said during a press conference Wednesday he expects second-quarter volumes will be soft as the “unprecedented disruption” to the global supply chain continues and container shipping lines cancel more sailings. “Total container volumes in March were down approximately 21% as compared to March of 2019,” Wolfe said. “That brings our year-to-date first-quarter decline to 15.4%.” The NWSA, which operates the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, said it handled 264,133 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in March. Full imports in March declined 28.2%, while full exports decreased 8.6% year-over-year.

Coronavirus in the Caribbean: Container volumes plunge - Freightwaves reports that container volumes for Carribean destinations are down 30-50% - a main cause of which is the collapse in tourism. The tourism shutdown doesn’t just erase cargoes that would have gone to hotels and restaurants; it slashes islanders’ spending power. “All the people who worked in hotels and restaurants won’t be able to go to the supermarkets because they’ll have no money to spend,” Tom Paleinck Executive vice president of Caribbean Feeder Services (CFS), a neutral carrier that provides intraregional connections for mainline carriers said. “They’ll fall back on buying from local farmers. Imported corn flakes from the U.S. have suddenly become a luxury item.” Tourism is not the only headwind. Oil-producing nations in the Caribbean Basin such as Trinidad and Colombia — and those that hoped to be big players, such as Suriname and Guyana — are being hit hard by plunging crude prices. “Each island and each country have a different story,” Paelinck said. The ones with oil exposure “got a double whammy.” On a positive note, he sees one trade that’s not being affected: Caribbean Basin fruit and vegetable exports. “Fruits are still growing, people in the U.S. on lockdown are still eating fresh fruit, and I haven’t seen any coronavirus effect on this yet,” he said.

Supply chain news in brief












Good news


I flagged a story yesterday of 99 year old Capt Tom Moore’s sponsored walk round his garden - he wanted to do 100 laps of the 25m walk before he hits 100 at the end of April. Good news, he finished with a guard of honour this morning live on BBC 1. His fundraising appeal continues to attract considerable attention and donations though; it’s currently at £12.3m.

Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update 26th March

Good morning from the UK. For those of you also in quarantine who have lost track and didn't read the post headline, today is a Thursday.

Picture of the day

Virus statistics


Total cases

Region 24th Mar 23rd Mar 17th Mar % 24 hr change % 1 week change
China 81661 81591 81102 0.1% 0.7%
Italy 74386 69176 35713 7.5% 108.3%
US 65778 53740 7783 22.4% 745.1%
Spain 49515 39885 13910 24.1% 256.0%
Germany 37323 32986 12327 13.1% 202.8%
Iran 27017 24811 17361 8.9% 55.6%
France 25600 22622 9124 13.2% 180.6%
Switzerland 10897 9877 3028 10.3% 259.9%
United Kingdom 9640 8164 2642 18.1% 264.9%
Korea, South 9137 9037 8413 1.1% 8.6%
Netherlands 6438 5580 2058 15.4% 212.8%
Austria 5588 5283 1646 5.8% 239.5%
Belgium 4937 4269 1486 15.6% 232.2%
Canada 3251 2790 657 16.5% 394.8%
Norway 3084 2863 1550 7.7% 99.0%
Portugal 2995 2362 448 26.8% 568.5%
Brazil 2554 2247 372 13.7% 586.6%
Sweden 2526 2286 1279 10.5% 97.5%

Deaths

Region 24th Mar 23rd Mar 17th Mar % 24 hr change % 1 week change
Italy 7503 6820 2978 10.0% 151.9%
Spain 3647 2808 623 29.9% 485.4%
China 3285 3281 3241 0.1% 1.4%
Iran 2077 1934 1135 7.4% 83.0%
France 1333 1102 149 21.0% 794.6%
US 942 706 118 33.4% 698.3%
United Kingdom 466 423 72 10.2% 6547.2%
Netherlands 357 277 58 28.9% 515.5%
Germany 206 157 28 31.2% 635.7%
Belgium 178 122 14 45.9% 1171.4%
Switzerland 153 122 28 25.4% 446.4%
Korea, South 126 120 84 5.0% 50.0%
Sweden 62 36 10 72.2% 520.0%
Turkey 59 44 1 34.1% 5800.0%
Brazil 59 46 3 28.3% 1866.7%
Indonesia 58 55 19 5.5% 205.3%

In depth Virus news


Billionaires Want People Back to Work. Employees Aren’t So Sure - Bloomberg reports that there are increasing calls from some business leaders to get people back to work. They want to revive an economy that could face its worst quarterly drop ever -- even if it means pulling back on social distancing measures that public health officials say can help stop coronavirus. These investors aren’t prizing profits over lives, they say, they’re just willing to risk some horrors to avoid others. “You’re picking the better of two evils,” said Golisano (founder and chairman of the payroll processor Paychex Inc), who wants people to go back to their offices in states that have been relatively spared by the coronavirus but remain at home in hot spots. “You have to weigh the pros and cons.” Dick Kovacevich (ex Wells Fargo & Co. CEO until 200), wants to see healthy workers below about 55 or so to return to work late next month if the outbreak is under control. “We’ll gradually bring those people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don’t know,” said Kovacevich, who was also the bank’s chairman until 2009. “Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you’ll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose.”

Andy Slavitt's daily twitter opinion piece has come out and it's a mixed bag - Andy Slavitt (Former Medicare, Medicaid, ACA head for Obama and well worth following on Twitter) has given his daily thread update here. The takeaways: Infections are climbing faster than in the other severely hit countries. More could die from lack of access to a bed or a nurse or a ventilator than necessary. The shelter in place restrictions make absolute sense. The scientists are gloomy, they generally don’t like any solution or recommendation other than complete lock down, testing we don’t have, and strict controls. He calls Trump's suggestion to "pack the churches" on Easter the "Easter Sunday massacre". "America First is becoming America Last as other governments are centralizing decisions. Ordering tests. Centralizing supply orders. Distributing according to need. One amazing scientist told me our curve will go “from vertical to erect” if we don’t change these simple things."

13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital - The NY Times (paywall, link) says that hospitals in the city are facing the kind of harrowing increases in cases that overwhelmed health care systems in China and Italy. A doctor gives his view; “The frustrating thing about all of this is it really just feels like it’s too little, too late. Like we knew — we knew it was coming. Today is kind of getting worse and worse. We had to get a refrigerated truck to store the bodies of patients who are dying. We are, right now, scrambling to try to get a few additional ventilators or even CPAP machines. If we could get CPAP machines, we could free up ventilators for patients who need them. You know, we now have these five vents. We probably — unless people die, I suspect we’ll be back to needing to beg for ventilators again in another day or two. There’s a mythical 100 vents out there which we haven’t seen. Leaders in various offices, from the president to the head of Health and Hospitals, saying things like, ‘We’re going to be fine. Everything’s fine.’ And from our perspective, everything is not fine.... I want people to know that this is bad. People are dying. We don’t have the tools that that we need in the emergency department and in the hospital to take care of them, and — and it’s really hard." There's also a video of the scenes inside the hospital here.

How the Pandemic Will End: The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out. - The Atlantic has written a lengthy opinion piece (here) discussing what it thinks is likely to happen in the coming weeks and months in the US. A study released by a team at Imperial College London concluded that if the pandemic is left unchecked, those beds will all be full by late April. By the end of June, for every available critical-care bed, there will be roughly 15 COVID-19 patients in need of one. By the end of the summer, the pandemic will have directly killed 2.2 million Americans, notwithstanding those who will indirectly die as hospitals are unable to care for the usual slew of heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents. It goes on to explain what it thinks needs to change to avoid this worst case scenario.

Mississippi governor Orders Limited Gatherings, Declares Most Businesses 'Essential,' Supersedes Local Safety Efforts - The Jackson Free press reports (link). The order seems to declare that most types of businesses in Mississippi are "essential" and thus exempt from social-distancing requirements suggested in the order. "The uninterrupted delivery of essential services and functions is vital to infrastructure viability, critical to maintain continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security, and is crucial to community resilience, continuity of essential functions and to promote the security and safety of Mississippi residents even as the nation limits human interaction and engages in social distancing," the order stated. Notably, Reeves' executive order supersedes any orders by local mayors or other governing body in Mississippi that conflict with the businesses and organizations he deems exempt as "essential" businesses. Examples of business declared as "essential" by the governor include department stores, offices, factories whilst cafes and restaurants can remain open provided no more than 10 people are dining in at any time. These rules are much more liberal than most other states.

Other virus news in brief (Source: Today's Guardian live blog unless otherwise sourced)


- Sky news reports that Briton Chloe Middleton who was 21 with no apparent pre-existing health conditions has died in the UK after contracting COVID-19 (link)
- Port of Virginia imports first containers of rare Covid-19 test kits, medical gear: DC Velocity says (link) that testing kits are starting to arrive and will be fast tracked through the port for onward delivery as quickly as possible.
- Victorville in California (a well known storage area for out of service airplanes) is starting to fill up as major American carriers start to park up planes due to a collapse in demand (LA Times)
- Progress is being made in preparing a bill in the US for bailing out the airline industry. Airlines would get the $60 billion bailout they asked for in the new Senate coronavirus stimulus bill, which would prohibit layoffs and ban stock buybacks and dividends. Business Insider has more if you're interested.
- ‘This Is Not A Game’: Perdue Farms Workers Walk Out Over Coronavirus Concerns - Approximately 50 workers at the Perdue Farms plant in Kathleen, Georgia, walked off the job Monday morning, saying they don’t feel safe working there during the coronavirus pandemic according to a Local news report. Kendaliyn Granville told CBS affiliate WMAZ some workers on the production line were in contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19 and the company should do more to protect workers. “We’re not getting nothing — no type of compensation, no nothing, not even no cleanliness, no extra pay — no nothing. We’re up here risking our life for chicken,” she said. Perdue says it is doing “everything we can to take good care of our Associates while continuing to produce safe and reliable food.”
- An outbreak of the virus onboard the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt has infected another 5 sailors bringing the total so far to 8 (The Hill)
- The NBA Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns has seen his mother end up in a coma due to the virus. He published a video on YouTube discussing it and urges everyone to take the virus seriously. "The severity is real", he said. His father (who also caught the virus and had less of a reaction to it) is quarantining at home.
- Americans, find out how social distancing (or not social distancing) will affect the outbreak in your state here.
- Video: Overcrowding on the NYC transit system remains a problem despite the major outbreak there (ABC News Twitter link). Similar problems have been reported already in London (which also has an outbreak).
- Article from 25th February: We have contained this. I won’t say [it’s] airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight,” said Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council. How times rapidly change.
- Miss going to the pub? Go to a virtual one instead here: https://www.thestayinginn.co.uk/ it's got all the ambience right down to the posh man talking too loudly.
- Bad news: the National Hurricane Centre is calling for an above average hurricane season with 2-4 major ones says Fox News. The Hurricane season runs from June to the end of October.
- Come again...? US craft/hobby retail chain Michaels has told employees they are 'essential' and must continue working 'for the makers' during the coronavirus outbreak. "I am so worried for my coworkers," a Michaels manager speaking on the condition of anonymity told Business Insider. "If I get sick I will likely recover without incident. My coworkers and other vulnerable people could die. We are expendable. Just a means to make money." There's more on this here.

Supply chain specific news


The problems with invoking the defense production act - Californian Democrat Congresswoman Katie Porter has attacked President Trump on Twitter (link) over his announcement that he's invoking the defense production act (an act dating back to 1950 which allows the US government to mandate manufacturing to produce articles badly in need by the country). She says that the Trump administration has not finalized the rules for ordering emergency medical supplies. The result is that whilst the Administration says it's placing orders under the Defense Production Act, it seems that the department for Health and Human Services (HHS) doesn't have policies in place to actually execute those orders or coordinate them with agencies like FEMA. Don't expect PPE and ventilator shortages in the US to ease any time soon.

Indian seaports declare force majeure - Splash247 says that several major Indian ports, including those operated by Adani Ports, the country’s largest private port operator, have declared force majeure as the country started a three-week lockdown in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. India’s shipping ministry has issued a letter allowing ports to consider the coronavirus pandemic as valid grounds for invoking force majeure on port activities and operations. The decision follows the government of India announcing a nationwide lockdown on March 24 and will affect all 1.3bn of its citizens. A consultant from CTI said "Where ports are either closed or congested, liners will then need to over-carry imports and discharge them elsewhere for transhipment and later shipment back to their destination ports. Additional costs, and containers detained for longer will be the outcome. The inability to lift exports can have negative impacts on load factors and utilisation,”. (Personal note: Expects delays and costs in the Indian supply chain to get worse in the coming weeks as a result of this).

Three American carriers seek emergency tie-up - Splash247 reports (Link) that three American container lines have sought to form an emergency alliance to cope with the virus fall out. “The proposed agreement would authorize Crowley, King Ocean and Seaboard to discuss and agree upon the removal of one or more vessels from their trades, the coordination of timetables, sailing dates, frequency of sailings, and the carrying capacity offered by each of them,” Alphaliner noted in its most recent weekly report.

LA, Long Beach terminals adjust hours to disinfect between shifts - Freightwaves says Los Angeles and Long Beach container terminals have adjusted their second-shift operating hours to provide time to disinfect all handling equipment between shifts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended the daily cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces and objects to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Second-shift gate operations now begin at 7 p.m. and end at 4 a.m. at APM Terminals’ Pier 400 at the Port of LA as well as Everport Terminal Services, Fenix Marine Services, TraPac, West Basin Container Terminal and Yusen Terminals.

Supply chain companies to launch healthcare industry exchange - DCVelocity says that supply chain technology and risk management firm Resilinc is responding to increased demand for critical healthcare supplies by launching the Resilinc Exchange, an online clearinghouse designed to match available inventory with hospitals that need items to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies. In a webinar held Thursday, the company outlined plans for the exchange, which officials say they hope to launch by mid April.

Is It Time to Rethink Globalized Supply Chains? - MIT Sloan (one of the globally leading supply chain business schools) has an interesting 7 minute read (currently not behind its paywall) on how supply chains need to adapt once the pandemic is over. Students will probably like this one as it's littered with case study examples to borrow from. It calls for more localization, reassessing your product mix and thoroughly reviewing your risk exposure.

Other supply chain stuff in brief


- COVID-19 threatens driver training, supply - The Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) in the US says that each month the industry is shut down prevents 25,000 to 45,000 new drivers from entering the profession and warns of potential shortages in a few months. (Freightwaves link)
- Wallenius Wilhelmsen has laid off half of its workers in the U.S and Mexico due to plummeting vehicle sales according to the Seatrade Maritime website
- BMW is furloughing its Spartenburg SC plant in the US for at least two weeks. The 11,000 workers will continue to be paid. No decision is yet to be made when it'll reopen says Bloomberg
- London City airport is suspending all flights until further notice says airlive.net. The airport attracts primarily business travellers owing to its proximity to the two financial centres of Canary Wharf and the city of London (which is not to be confused with Greater London) and the majority of finance workers are heeding the call to stay at home.
- Canadian supply chains holding up but it's volatile says Supplypro.ca. E-commerce is on the rise as non-essential businesses remain closed in Ontario and Quebec and the prime minister encourages Canadians to stay home. Amazon Inc., the country’s largest online retailer, said Tuesday it is hiring more than 1,000 workers in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta to handle the spike in direct-to-consumer sales. Business-to-business (B2B) deliveries are down, however, despite exceptions such as grocery store suppliers, said Marc Wulfraat, president of Montreal-based logistics consulting firm MWPVL International Inc.

Humour section


Coronavirus: Only half a store opens on Dutch/Belgian border - The Brussels Times reports that a clothing store which straddles the Dutch/Belgian country border is only half open (literally). Why - Belgium has closed all non essential stores but the Netherlands hasn't. The store has put up caution tape in the middle of the store to indicate the border. “I needed underwear, but that’s in the Belgian part of the store, so I could not get it,” a Dutch customer told VRT. (Bonus; click on the link and there's a video to back up the story).

Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

WSJ: Syria’s Assad Defeated His Foes. Now He Targets His Friends.

Syria’s Assad Defeated His Foes. Now He Targets His Friends.
President Bashar al-Assad is attempting to halt Syria’s economic slide and solidify his own position by turning the screws on his allies
Original: https://www.wsj.com/articles/syrias-assad-defeated-his-foes-now-he-targets-his-enemies-11589473618
For nine years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has waged a brutal civil war against his enemies and allowed his friends to profit from it. Now, he’s squeezing those same allies to solidify power and ensure the economy stays afloat as the costs of rebuilding from the conflict pile up.
Mr. Assad has been targeting more than a dozen pro-regime money men, in a shakedown that has touched industries from real estate, to telecommunications and energy and imparted the message that he alone dictates Syria’s future. Among those caught in the crosshairs is Rami Makhlouf, Mr. Assad’s cousin and close ally who helped keep the money flowing to the regime during Syria’s civil war. In two recent Facebook videos, Mr. Makhlouf pleaded with the president not to seize his assets. Appearing disheveled and cornered, the camera-shy tycoon said accusations that he owed $250 million in taxes were fabricated by Syria’s intelligence services. “Mr. President, please, this is the truth,” Mr. Makhlouf said in his first video on April 30. “We are ready to open our books to everyone, and go over them number by number. If you get this figure, then I will gladly give it to you.” It wasn’t clear from Mr. Makhlouf’s video, whether he was still in Syria, and he has remained out of the public eye since. His main company, the Damascus-based telecommunications firm Syriatel, declined to make him or any other representative available for comment.
Mr. Makhlouf had belonged to an inner circle of four people at the top of the political order in Syria as the war dragged on. He sought to build a personal power base, too, with his wealth and support for militia fighters and favored charities.
But this inner circle has now narrowed to three: the president, his wife Asma, and his brother Maher, who commands the feared Republican Guard, said Joseph Daher, a Syrian-Swiss political economist and affiliate professor at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.
“Assad is trying to consolidate power in his hands alone,” said Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. “His treatment of Makhlouf sends a message to regime cronies that while they were a useful tool throughout the war, they are disposable once their role is over.”
Bouthaina Shaaban, the media adviser to the Syrian president, couldn’t be reached for comment despite several calls to her office.
Mr. Makhlouf isn’t the only friend Mr. Assad has turned against in recent months. Last September, the government summoned a crop of Syria’s wealthiest businessmen to the Sheraton Hotel in Damascus and asked to deposit money in Syria’s central bank to prop up the wobbly currency, according to Syrian media, which published photos from the event, and Ayman Abdel Nour, a former economic adviser to Mr. Assad’s Baath Party. The move in part echoed Saudi Arabia’s clampdown of its business elite, hundreds of whom were summoned to Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton in late-2017 in what the government called an anticorruption campaign.
Among those summoned was Samer Foz, Syria’s second-most powerful businessman, who dealt with the many different sides in Syria’s conflict, distributing wheat to Islamic State-held territory and to Kurdish-controlled land. He had lately positioned his conglomerate for a sizable role in Syria’s postwar reconstruction. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned him and more than a dozen individuals and companies for their alleged financial support for Mr. Assad.
At the meeting, Mr. Foz donated $10 million to support the Syrian currency, according to Emmar Syria, a Damascus-based business news organization and Mr. Abdel Nour. Neither Samer Foz nor his assistant responded to text messages or emails with requests for comment on the $10 million donation.
In December, four pro-regime businessmen had their assets frozen, including Tarif al-Akhras, another regime financier who is related to the first lady Asma al-Assad, according to the Syria Report. The independent business news site cited a decision by the Ministry of Finance and claims by the Syrian Customs Department that Mr. Akhras owes several billion Syrian pounds in unpaid customs duties.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the board of directors and two board members from MTN, Syria’s second-largest telecoms provider, resigned, according to a notice posted by the country’s Securities and Financial Markets Authority. The company’s assets were frozen on charges of owing money to the treasury, according to the Syria Report, which cited a decision by the finance ministry.
MTN confirmed the resignations, saying they were due to “personal reasons” but didn’t comment further. The financial regulator didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.
The years of war have taken a toll on Syria’s economy. It had shrunk from $67 billion in 2011 to $17 billion in 2017, the most recent figure available from Syria’s Central Bureau of Statistics. The black market value of the current has plunged to about 1,400 to the dollar from 800 in 2018.
That has made Mr. Assad’s financial backers valuable assets, particularly Mr. Makhlouf.
As the conflict drove many Syrian businessmen into exile, Mr. Makhlouf bankrolled a pro-regime militia, according to the U.S. Treasury, which in 2017 sanctioned his charity, al-Bustan, which funded the militia.
Mr. Makhlouf, a childhood playmate of Mr. Assad, also landed on the U.S. sanctions list in 2008 for allegedly using his close ties to the Assad regime to advance his business interests. The U.S. said his dealings entrenched an oppressive regime and his connections intimidated other companies, to the detriment of ordinary Syrians, making him the first foreign executive to be blacklisted in this way.
He later became the regime’s primary financier when the conflict in Syria began in 2011. Mr. Makhlouf, regarded as Syria’s richest man by then, was one of the first regime figures the European Union designated for sanctions that year for his support for Mr. Assad.
Mr. Makhlouf’s loyalty to Mr. Assad paved the way for him to invest in banking, media, duty-free shops and real estate, even as the war destroyed Syria’s economy, forcing more than six million people to leave the country and pushing 80% of the population under the poverty line, according to the United Nations.
He expanded Syriatel, the largest of Syria’s two mobile operators, which in 2017 reported $380 million profit. He bought a majority stake in Cham Holding, which had established Syria’s first private airline, Cham Wings.
His two sons have posed on social media in swanky nightclubs in Dubai, where their father based some of his businesses before the war. They drove Ferraris, brandished bottles of top-shelf Champagne and posed bare-chested in Dubai gyms.
That is all under threat now, as Mr. Assad targets Mr. Makhlouf’s main cash cow, Syriatel, freezing its Syrian assets and, last week, arresting senior managers.
Mr. Makhlouf has resorted to warning his former benefactor that punishing him could backfire. Mr. Assad’s own supporters who had benefited from his charity work would be angered, he said.
“Please, please, Mr. President,” Mr. Makhlouf said in one of his videos. “There will be inevitable, divine punishment because we are now at a dangerous juncture.”
submitted by RMCF_1 to syriancivilwar [link] [comments]

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