Pubblicato in: Senza categoria, Vignette Umoristiche

Tempi moderni. Una barzelletta per sorridere.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-23.

Gufo_019__

Spengler. Il Tramonto dell’Occidente.

Spengler aveva visto lontano!

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Un uomo entra in una casa isolata dove trova una giovane coppia che dorme tranquillamente.

Lega l’uomo sulla sedia da un lato della stanza e lega la donna sul letto dal lato opposto.

Si avvicina alla giovane donna e le sussurra qualcosa all’orecchio …

poi va di corsa in bagno. Il marito, a fatica, si avvicina con la sedia alla moglie e mormora:

– Cara questo è appena scappato dalla prigione, ho visto che ti ha baciata sul collo … probabilmente non vede una donna da anni… qualunque cosa ti domandi obbedisci e fai finta che ti piaccia, è una questione di sopravvivenza, sii forte, ti amo.

La moglie mezza nuda, si sposta il bavaglio e dice:

– Caro, sono felice che tu la prenda così, ma non mi ha baciata sul collo … mi ha sussurrato che sei carino e mi ha chiesto se avevamo della vasellina in bagno … si forte, ti amo!

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Giustizia, Trump

Trump. Il Senato approva la nomina di Mr Busch. Il puzzle si sta completando.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-23.

Centro 001

La 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ha le seguenti competenze territoriali.

«The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (in case citations, 6th Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

    Eastern District of Kentucky

    Western District of Kentucky

    Eastern District of Michigan

    Western District of Michigan

    Northern District of Ohio

    Southern District of Ohio

    Eastern District of Tennessee

    Middle District of Tennessee

    Western District of Tennessee» [Fonte]

È composta di sedici giudici federali, cinque democratici ed undici repubblicani.

2017-07-20__Sesto_Circuito__001

Il Senato ha approvato 51 – 47 la nomina a vita del giudice John K. Bush, 53enne.

«He is a partner at the firm and is co-chair of the firm’s litigation department. He specializes in complex litigation, including antitrust, securities, financial institutions, insurance, intellectual property, and product liability disputes. He has extensive litigation experience in state and federal courts in many jurisdictions and in arbitration proceedings.»

*

I liberals democratici hanno scatenato un bailamme incredibile.

Le parole della Naral sono eloquenti.

«Bush has already given us a glimpse into his thinking thanks to his extensive (and shady) blogging, which makes it clear that he’s anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-progressive, just like the administration that nominated him. ….

Has a long record of pushing anti-choice policies …. »

*

Il motivo di tanta acrimonia è detto dalla stressa Naral: “just like the administration that nominated him”

Siamo chiari: sarebbe stato un po’ strano se Mr Trump avesse nominato a giudice a vita un democratico.

*

Sulla importanza delle corti federali e della suprema corte abbiamo già esposto.

Trump ed il nodo della Supreme Court.

Trump. Silurato ed affondato l’Office of Congressional Ethics.

Potentially nasty fight looms over Trump U.S. Supreme Court pick

Guerra civile americana. Si avvicina lo scontro finale.

Giudice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Decano della Corte Suprema degli Stati Uniti.

Trump. Marcia verso la conquista del vero potere. – Bbc.

Trump. White House non chiederà più parere consultivo alla Bar.

Trump. Deobamizza 46 procure federali.


The Washington Times. 2017-07-20. Senate confirms John Bush, Trump’s 6th Circuit Court pick

The Senate confirmed John K. Bush for a lifetime seat on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, over protests from Democrats who said he wasn’t fit to be a federal judge.

The Senate voted 51-47 to put him on the federal bench despite criticism from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee of Mr. Bush for having made controversial writings, where in one particular blog, he equated the Supreme Court’s legal rulings on slavery and abortion. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat, did not vote.

The Judiciary Committee moved Mr. Bush’s confirmation to the Senate floor on a party line vote last week, but the full Senate voted on Thursday to clear him, making Mr. Bush the fourth judicial nominee of President Trump’s to be confirmed.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, criticized Mr. Bush’s blog posts, quoting one where Mr. Bush wrote, “The two greatest tragedies in our country — slavery and abortion — relied on similar reasoning and activist judges on the Supreme Court.”

“Never mind that this statement is absurd on its face…what concerns me at this moment is how this is the best statement of his views on the constitutionality of women’s‘ reproductive rights we have heard,” Mr. Blumenthal said.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat, called Mr. Bush a “freak.”

Democrats have accused Mr. Bush of promoting the idea that former President Obama had been born in Kenya, by linking in a blog to a World Net Daily piece that involved a reporter traveling to Kenya to explore the issue. Mr. Obama has repeatedly released documentation showing that he was born in Hawaii.

Mr. Bush denied during his confirmation hearing that he was promoting the “birther” theory.

Nan Aron, president of the progressive Alliance for Justice, said Mr. Bush’s confirmation was “a new low for both the Senate and the federal judiciary.”

“We commend Democratic Senators who stood in opposition to this nominee; this whole deal reeks, and we feel for the litigants who will have to face Judge Bush in court someday,” said Ms. Aron.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, has praised the Louisville, Kentucky attorney as “a man of integrity and considerable ability.”

“I think we can agree that it is not common for current or former leaders of Planned Parenthood to praise the judicial nominees of Republican presidents,” Mr. McConnell said. “But more than one has praised the president’s nomination of John Bush.”

As a judge on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Bush will hear cases from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.

Mr. Bush is the fourth out of the president’s 29 judicial nominees to be confirmed. Mr. Trump’s second judicial nominee, Judge Amul Thapar, was confirmed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in May.

“It is good to see Bush confirmed, but dozens of judicial nominees continue to languish in the Senate, where Senate Democrats continue to obstruct and delay,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network.

Republicans say that many of Mr. Trump’s federal court picks are being held up because Democrats haven’t returned blue slips, signing off on the nominees. Traditionally, home state Senators return blue slips for nominees from their states if they approve of the pick.

But the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said her Democratic colleagues aren’t abusing the blue slip tradition, but are “doing their due diligence in reviewing these nominees.”

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Putin

Putin. Si dica ciò che si vuole ma è uno che ha la visione storica.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-22.

2017-07-18__Theotokos Monastery

Per far comprendere meglio questo laconico annuncio del Kremlino, riportiamo alcuni estratti dai discorsi di Mr Putin a Valdai.

*

Occidente che muta. 01. Putin, Valdai e la Santa Pasqua.

«We also understand that identity and a national idea cannot be imposed from above, cannot be established on an ideological monopoly. Such a construction is very unstable and vulnerable; we know this from personal experience. It has no future in the modern world. We need historical creativity, a synthesis of the best national practices and ideas, an understanding of our cultural, spiritual and political traditions from different points of view, and to understand that [national identity] is not a rigid thing that will last forever, but rather a living organism»

*

«We must be proud of our history, and we have things to be proud of. Our entire, uncensored history must be a part of Russian identity. Without recognising this it is impossible to establish mutual trust and allow society to move forward»

*

«We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.»

*

«The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations.»

*

«Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world.»

*

«Today almost all developed nations are no longer able to reproduce themselves, even with the help of migration. Without the values embedded in Christianity and other world religions, without the standards of morality that have taken shape over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity. We consider it natural and right to defend these values. One must respect every minority’s right to be different, but the rights of the majority must not be put into question.»

* * * * * * *

Valdai. Mr Putin delinea la futura politica estera russa.

«The expanding class of the supranational oligarchy and bureaucracy, which is in fact often not elected and not controlled by society»

*

«Essentially, the entire globalisation project is in crisis today and in Europe, as we know well, we hear voices now saying that multiculturalism has failed»

*

«In their euphoria, they essentially abandoned substantive and equal dialogue with other actors in international life, chose not to improve or create universal institutions, and attempted instead to bring the entire world under the spread of their own organisations, norms and rules»

*

«But far from everyone was ready to agree with this»

*

«If the powers that be today find some standard or norm to their advantage, they force everyone else to comply.»

* * * * * * *

Mr Putin è il più grande restauratore in Russia di chiese e religione dai tempi di Ivan IV.

Non sta certo a noi esprimere giudizi se sia o meno religioso: di fatto però ha come minimo compreso quanto il fattore religioso compenetri la tradizione umana e quella russa in modo particolare. Sempre in via riduttiva, la religione ha cementato il popolo russo nelle più severe avversità.

Come a suo tempo Napoleone restaurò la Chiesa dopo l’ondata giacobina, così sta facendo Mr Putin dopo il settantennio comunista.

Si noti la sobria finezza sul tentativo di ricucire com gli Stati Uniti.


Kremlin. The President of Russia. 2017-07-13. Visit to Konevsky Monastery

During his visit to Konevets Island on Lake Ladoga, Vladimir Putin was briefed on the large-scale project to restore the Konevsky Nativity of the Theotokos Monastery and met with representatives of the Vyborg Diocese.

In particular, Father Sergius told the President about the activity of the drug rehabilitation centre he established several years ago, which accepts not only Russians but also citizens of other countries.

Previously, the centre worked in close contact with the Federal Drug Control Service (the service was abolished in accordance with the Presidential Executive Order of April 5, 2016, which transferred its functions to the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Drug Control). Members of the clergy asked the President to help establish cooperation with the agency following its reorganisation.

Vladimir Putin discussed the matter over the phone with Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and issued the necessary instructions, emphasising the great importance of rehabilitating addicts and fighting drug addiction, as well as the importance of cooperation between NGOs and the ministry in this context.

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Africa, Geopolitica Europea, Unione Europea

Macron. Lo avete appoggiato ed aiutato? Bene: tenetevelo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-22.

Aquila_001__Mangia_Topo__

Poche ore or sono La Stampa ha pubblicato la seguente notizia:

Libia, la spallata di Macron all’Italia. A Parigi l’incontro fra Haftar e Sarraj

*

« Macron tenta di scalzare l’Italia nella partita libica facendo entrare a gran voce la sua Francia nel complicato dossier del Paese maghrebino. E lo fa con la pretesa di far incontrare il presidente del Governo di accordo nazionale (Gna), Fayez al-Sarraj, e il generale Khalifa Haftar, l’uomo forte della Cirenaica, in un vertice fissato a Parigi per martedì 25 luglio, per puntare tutto sulla creazione di un esercito nazionale unitario. 

Il neopresidente francese si candida a mediatore privilegiato nel processo di riconciliazione del Paese cercando di ridimensionare il ruolo svolto dall’Italia che per prima paga le ricadute, specie in termini di afflusso di migranti, del caos che ha caratterizzato gli ultimi sei anni di storia libica. 

Oltre un lustro di guerre e conflitti seguiti alla caduta di Muhammar Gheddafi con l’intervento della Nato fortemente sostenuto dalla Francia dell’allora presidente Nicolas Sarkozy. E di cui Macron vuole rilanciarne l’attivismo per assicurarsi una «golden share» nella Libia del futuro, nei suoi asset sotto embargo e soprattutto nel suo petrolio. Forte anche del ruolo dicotomico, o meglio ambiguo, svolto dalla Francia. Nella doppia veste di membro dell’Unione europea e quindi sostenitore del Consiglio presidenziale del Gna guidato da Sarraj e al contempo di interlocutore privilegiato in Occidente di Haftar.  

Fonti diplomatiche arabe parlano di «una sorta di riconoscimento della posizione del generale sul terreno e della legittimità della guerra che ha condotto contro i gruppi radicali». Non a caso l’iniziativa francese ha raccolto il plauso di Emirati Arabi Uniti ed Egitto, i due principali sponsor del generale, specie nei suoi sforzi bellici a Derna, Bengasi e nel Sud della Libia. Si tratta dei Paesi che fra l’altro già avevano organizzato bilaterali tra Sarraj e Haftar, al Cairo lo scorso febbraio concluso con un nulla di fatto, e il secondo a Doha con il primo faccia a faccia tra il generale e il presidente di aprile.  

Parigi si candida quindi ad ospitare un altro giro di colloqui, mettendo sul piatto una posta molto alta: creare una forza armata unita che operi al servizio di tutto il Paese, dalla Tripolitania alla Cirenaica passando per il Sud dove è in corso un confronto militare per procura tra Ovest ed Est. 

Il progetto è ambizioso ma ricco di incognite. In primis per il ruolo che dovrebbe rivestire Haftar, il quale si è detto sempre contrario ad avere incarichi politici. Il secondo per il rischio che una svolta col generale da parte di Sarraj possa avere contraccolpi interni, specie dalle fazioni più legate a Misurata, come accaduto dopo l’incontro di Doha. Se il generale sembra infatti aver già dato risposta positiva a Macron – spiegano fonti libiche – il suo potenziale interlocutore nicchia per non compromettere i recenti progressi politici e militari compiuti dentro e fuori Tripoli.  

Occorre infine considerare che la notizia del vertice arriva dopo il bilaterale tra Macron e Donald Trump tenuto in occasione delle celebrazioni del 14 luglio a Parigi. Non è chiaro se i due presidenti ne abbiano parlato, ma è certo che l’attivismo del titolare dell’Eliseo coincide con l’incontro di Amman del 9 luglio tra l’ambasciatore Usa in Libia, Peter William Bodde, e lo stesso Haftar. «L’obiettivo è creare pressioni sul generale per un accordo con Tripoli», spiegano fonti vicine al Gna. Col rischio che l’operato dell’amministrazione Trump, per cui il dossier libico ha un posto più ridimensionato rispetto a quella Obama, pur puntando a una soluzione unitaria per il Paese, con la logica delle deleghe ai partner europei, apra spazi di intermediazione insidiosi ad attori diversi dall’Italia.»

* * * * * * *

E così Mr Macron scavalca non solo l’Italia ma anche la Unione Europea nel proporsi come unico interlocutore plenipotenziario nelle trattative con la Libia.

«Il neopresidente francese si candida a mediatore privilegiato nel processo di riconciliazione del Paese cercando di ridimensionare il ruolo svolto dall’Italia che per prima paga le ricadute, specie in termini di afflusso di migranti, del caos che ha caratterizzato gli ultimi sei anni di storia libica»

*

«Non a caso l’iniziativa francese ha raccolto il plauso di Emirati Arabi Uniti ed Egitto»

*

Questa iniziativa denota come Mr Macron abbia ben altra tempra del suo predecessore Mr Hollande.

Nel contempo non può fare altro che metterlo in rotta di collisione con Frau Merkel, che al G20 aveva proposto il suo Piano Africa.

E l’Italia? A tutti quelli che qui esultavano per lui non ha concesso nemmeno una caramella.

Pubblicato in: Commercio, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Logistica

Amazon, FaceBook e Google potrebbero essere frammentati.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-22.

Soffitti__002

Da un punto di vista giuridico resta al momento davvero difficile argomentare di antitrust.

Tutte le ditte di una certa quale dimensione si articolano su numerosi stati differenti, ciascuno dei quali con il proprio corpo giuridico e le proprie regole di mercato. Esistono trattati più o meno vincolanti, ma sono sottoscritti da un numero molto limitato di nazioni e, quasi di norma, sono disattesi.

Sicuramente esiste un pressante problema fiscale. Le multinazionali possono infatti ripartire gli utili tra gli stati a loro più favorevoli, versando nella residenza fiscale ufficiale solo qualche piccolo residuo. Non esiste infatti una legislazione globale in merito e, lo si dica pure apertamente, nessuno la vorrebbe.

Gli stati di origine hanno tutti gli interessi, anche se non esplicitati, a che le loro ditte crescano al massimo possibile, costi quello che costi, mentre gli stati piccoli accordano vantaggiosi regimi fiscale purché si impianti sul loro territorio una qualche attività che generi posti di lavoro.

Il problema diventa ben più acuto, e da solo economico transita apertamente nel politico, quando queste società internazionali acquisiscono una posizione mondiale di monopolio.

E tale sembrerebbe essere l’attuale posizione di Amazon, FaceBook e Google.

Negli Stati Uniti, sede legale di queste società, è in vigore lo Sherman Antitrust Act, approvato nel 1890 e messo in atto per la prima volta nel 1911 nei confronti dell’impero Rockefeller e della Tabacco Company.

«Alphabet Inc.’s Google gets about 77 percent of U.S. search advertising revenue»

*

«Google and Facebook Inc. together control about 56 percent of the mobile ad market»

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«Amazon takes about 70 percent of all e-book sales and 30 percent of all U.S. e-commerce»

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«higher returns on capital haven’t resulted in increases in business investment»

*

«Instead of applying conventional antitrust theory, such as the effect of a merger on consumer prices, enforcers may need to consider alternative tools. One is to equate antitrust with privacy, not a traditional concern of the competition police. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, for example, is examining charges that Facebook bullies users into agreeing to terms and conditions that allow the company to gather data on their web-surfing activities in ways they might not understand»

* * * * * * * *

Non reinvestire gli utili conseguiti è caratteristica tipica delle situazioni di monopolio: non essendovi concorrenza non sembrerebbe essere necessario migliorare il prodotto.

Questo parametro è a nostro parere quello più facilmente verificabile: spesso il meglio è nemico del bene, sempre nei limiti del buon senso.

Di non facile soluzione è anche il quesito di quanta quota di mercato debba avere una società per essere considerata monopolista.

Infine, a nostro modo di vedere, vi sono aspetti politici e militari di non poco peso.

Google e FaceBook governano di fatto il flusso informativo mondiale ed Amazon si sta avviando a gestire gran parte delle vendite al dettaglio, anche se sta iniziando a fornire taluni grossisti.

Dovrebbe essere inutile evidenziare quanto le intelligence siano interessate a questi settori.

Sarà davvero interessante vedere come si risolveranno queste problematiche.


Bloomberg. 2017-07-20. Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up?

Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook may be contributing to the U.S. economy’s most persistent ailments.

*

As a former tour manager for Bob Dylan and The Band, Jonathan Taplin isn’t your typical academic. Lately, though, he’s been busy writing somber tomes about market shares, monopolies, and online platforms. His conclusion: Amazon.com, Facebook, and Google have become too big and too powerful and, if not stopped, may need to be broken up.

Crazy? Maybe not. Taplin, 70, author of Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, knows digital media, having run the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. Ten years before YouTube, he founded one of the first video-on-demand streaming services. He also knows media M&A as a former Merrill Lynch investment banker in the 1980s. He says Google is as close to a monopoly as the Bell telephone system was in 1956.

He has a point, judging by market-research figures. Alphabet Inc.’s Google gets about 77 percent of U.S. search advertising revenue. Google and Facebook Inc. together control about 56 percent of the mobile ad market. Amazon takes about 70 percent of all e-book sales and 30 percent of all U.S. e-commerce. Taplin pegs Facebook’s share of mobile social media traffic, including the company’s WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram units, at 75 percent.

Economists have noticed these monopoly-size numbers and drawn even bigger conclusions: They see market concentration as the culprit behind some of the U.S. economy’s most persistent ailments—the decline of workers’ share of national income, the rise of inequality, the decrease in business startups, the dearth of job creation, and the fall in research and development spending.

Can Big Tech really be behind all that? Economists are starting to provide the evidence. David Autor, the MIT economics professor who famously showed the pernicious effects of free-trade deals on Midwestern communities, is one. A recent paper he co-wrote argues that prestigious technology brands, using the internet’s global reach, are able to push out rivals and become winner-take-all “superstar” companies. They’re highly profitable, and their lucky employees generally earn higher salaries to boot.

They don’t engage in the predatory behavior of yore, such as selling goods below the cost of production to steal market share and cripple competitors. After all, the services that Facebook and Google offer are free (if you don’t consider giving up your personal data and privacy rights to be a cost). However, academics have documented how these companies employ far fewer people than the largest companies of decades past while taking a disproportionate share of national profits. As they grow and occupy a bigger part of the economy, median wages stagnate and labor’s share of gross domestic product declines. Labor’s shrinking share of output is widely implicated in the broader economic growth slowdown.

Still others have shown that, as markets become more concentrated and established companies more powerful, the ability of startups to succeed declines. Since half of all new jobs spring from successful startups, this dampens job creation.

It’s no wonder the superstar companies are getting supernormal returns on capital, further adding to income inequality, writes Peter Orszag in Bloomberg View. He and Jason Furman, chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, point out that higher returns on capital haven’t resulted in increases in business investment—yet another manifestation of monopoly power.

Some members of the Chicago School, the wellspring of modern antitrust theory, agree. In the 1970s and ’80s, a group of University of Chicago scholars upended antitrust law by arguing that the benefits of economic efficiency created by mergers outweighed any concerns over company size. The test was one of consumer welfare: Does a merger give the combined company the power to raise consumer prices, and are barriers to entry so high that new players can’t easily jump in? U.S. antitrust enforcers were swayed. From 1970 to 1999, the U.S. brought an average of 15.7 monopoly cases a year. That number has since fallen—to fewer than three a year from 2000 to 2014.

Luigi Zingales, director of the university’s Stigler Center, likes to remind people that the reason Google and Facebook were able to succeed is that the U.S. in 1998, under Bill Clinton, sued Microsoft Corp. for tying its web browser to its Windows operating system to undermine rival Netscape. A trial court decision that Microsoft should be broken up was overturned on appeal (though not the court’s finding of monopoly), and ultimately the case was settled by the George W. Bush administration. But it slowed Microsoft’s ability to dominate the internet. Zingales says today’s monopolies are yesterday’s startups, and a healthy system needs to make room for newcomers.

Market concentration has many parents. One of them is surely the so-called network effect, a key antitrust argument in the Microsoft case. That doctrine says the more people use a platform—say, the iPhone or Facebook—the more useful and dominant it becomes. The iPhone, for example, is popular in large part because of the voluminous offerings in Apple Inc.’s App Store, and the app store is popular because developers want to write programs for popular smartphones. Network effects can create what Warren Buffett calls “competitive moats.”

Problem is, the Chicago School’s focus on the impact on consumers—at least as it’s applied in the U.S.—won’t help antitrust enforcers to drain those moats. For example, because what Facebook offers is free, regulators weren’t concerned that its $22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 might result in higher consumer prices. In fact, because WhatsApp is in a different industry, it didn’t even increase Facebook’s market share in social media.

The tech superstars insist they compete fiercely with each other and have lowered prices in many cases. They argue that their dominance is transitory because barriers to entry for would-be rivals are low. Google often says competition is “one click away.” And since consumers prefer their platforms over others’, why punish success? But when a cool innovation pops up, the superstars either acquire it or clone it. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft made 436 acquisitions worth $131 billion over the last decade. Antitrust cops made nary a peep.

Snap Inc.’s experience with Facebook is instructive. Since Snap rebuffed Facebook’s $3 billion offer in 2013, Facebook has knocked off one Snapchat innovation after another. That includes Snapchat Stories, which lets users upload images and video for viewing by friends for 24 hours before self-destructing. Facebook added the feature—even calling it Stories—to its Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger services, and most recently to the regular Facebook product. Snap’s shares now trade at around $15, below the $17 initial offering price in March. By offering advertisers the same features but with 100 times the audience, “Facebook basically killed Snapchat,” Taplin says.

Antitrust regulators have taken notice of all this, though much more so in Europe and Asia than in the U.S. The European Union’s $2.7 billion fine in late June against Google for favoring its shopping-comparison service over rivals’ is cheering Taplin and others who monitor the superstars. They ruefully note that the U.S. chose not to bring charges against Google in 2013 for the same conduct punished by the EU.

Instead of applying conventional antitrust theory, such as the effect of a merger on consumer prices, enforcers may need to consider alternative tools. One is to equate antitrust with privacy, not a traditional concern of the competition police. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, for example, is examining charges that Facebook bullies users into agreeing to terms and conditions that allow the company to gather data on their web-surfing activities in ways they might not understand. Users who don’t agree are locked out of Facebook’s 2 billion-strong social media network.

Another avenue is to examine control over big data. Google collects web-surfing and online-purchasing data from more than a billion people. It uses that to send personalized ads, video recommendations, and search results. The monopoly control of consumer data by Facebook and Google on such a scale has raised antitrust questions in South Korea and Japan.

Taplin suggests that authorities look to 1956, when the U.S. forced Bell Labs to license its patents to all comers. The result was a deluge of innovation (semiconductors, solar cells, lasers, cell phones, computer languages, and satellites) commercialized by new companies (Fairchild Semiconductor International, Motorola, Intel, and Texas Instruments) and the formation of Silicon Valley. Why not require the tech superstars to do the same? Who knows what forces that might unleash.

Pubblicato in: Trump

America. Il Giudice Jeanine Pirro.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-22.

2017-07-22__ Pirro__002

«Jeanine Ferris Pirro (born June 2, 1951) is a former judge and District Attorney from the state of New York. Pirro hosts Fox News Channel’s television program Justice with Judge Jeanine and contributes on other Fox News programs and NBC’s Today.

A Republican from Chemung County, New York, Pirro was the first female judge on the Westchester County Court bench before being elected the first female district attorney of Westchester County, serving for 12 years.

As DA Pirro gained considerable visibility in cases regarding domestic abuse and crimes against the elderly.

Pirro was the Republican nominee for New York Attorney General in 2006 ….

In 1975, Pirro was appointed an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in New York’s Westchester County. During her career as an ADA, she established a reputation as a fighter and skilled prosecutor,[citation needed] including murder, rape and violent felonies. She created one of the first Domestic Violence Units in the nation, to address the needs of women and children crime victims.

In November 1990, Pirro was elected a Westchester County Court Judge, the first woman to be so elected. In November 1993, she was elected Westchester County District Attorney, again the first woman to hold that position in the county. She was re-elected in 1997 and 2001. On May 23, 2005, Pirro announced that she would not seek re-election as Westchester County District Attorney.

Pirro was the first female president of the New York State District Attorneys Association. Also while District Attorney, she was appointed by then Governor George Pataki to chair the New York State Commission on Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. Its report and recommendations resulted in legislation passing that enhanced protections of, and safeguards for, the victims of domestic abuse.

While the District Attorney, Pirro appeared on television programs such as Larry King Live and Nightline. In 1997, People magazine named her as one of its 50 Most Beautiful People.» [Fonte]

* * * * * * *

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La pagina FaceBook del Giudice Pirro ha un epsilon in più di lettori del The New York Time, copie lette, non tiratura da cui le rese: una sola persona addetta, costo nullo. Ci si pensi bene alla portata di questo fenomeno.

Questa è la sua pagina FaceBook (suggeriremmo di visitarla):

Judge Jeanine Pirro has Fans

da cui estraiamo alcune fotografie.

Sono debitore del link al sig. Santo Nudo, che ringrazio di cuore.

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Pubblicato in: Cina, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Sistemi Economici

Cina. I problemi di una economia matura.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-21.

2017-07-11__Cina__Pil__

La tabella dovrebbe essere eloquente. (Il dato per il 2016 è provvisorio).

Negli ultimi venti anni il pil cinese è decuplicato, sia se valutato in valore assoluto, sia se valutato come pil pro capite.

Se questo risultato appare semplicemente essere strabiliante, ancor più sbalorditivo è il fatto che il pil pro capite è passato dai 781 Usd del 1997 agli 8,113 Usd del 2016. In parole povere, la Cina è emersa da una condizione di miseria ad una di relativo benessere.

Non solo: queste cifre, già lusinghiere di per sé stesse, lo sarebbero ancora di più se esaminate alla luce del potere di acquisto: il pil pro capite ppa valeva nel 2016 14,107 Usd.

Sicuramente la strada verso un benessere generalizzato è ancora lunga, altrettanto sicuramente il miglioramento potrebbe essere più faticosa rispetto alla prima fase di crescita, ma il lavoro fatto è davvero immenso, senza nessun altro riscontro storico.

*

È del tutto naturale che adesso inizino ad evidenziarsi molti dei problemi con i quali l’Occidente ha dovuto cimentarsi in passato. Sta vivendo una pausa di assestamento, che potrebbe anche essere alquanto dolorosa.

Questo titolo è davvero eloquente.

In China, rural rich get richer and poor get poorer

La Cina è entrata nel periodo economico in cui la ricchezza genera ulteriore ricchezza per chi ne dispone, mentre i meno abbienti sembrerebbero retrocedere, invece di proseguire a crescere, sia pure in ragione modesta.

*

Parlare della Cina si scontra con un problema insormontabile: è un continente di quasi un miliardo e mezzo di persone. È evidente quanto gli indici medi a livello nazionale siano utili per una valutazione globale, ma inidonei a rappresentare simultaneamente tutte le realtà geoeconomiche. In linea generale, mentre le fasce costiere della Cina hanno quasi raggiunto i livelli di vita occidentali, tutte le zone interne a prevalente vocazione agricola sono tuttora sostanzialmente arretrate.

In questa fase però il macrofenomeno di interesse è l’urgente necessità di riequilibrare gli assetti finanziari, specialmente per far fronte alle nuove richieste di investimento. Se in passato erano sufficienti impegni modesti in relazione ad una realtà continentale, al momento gli investimenti devono essere cospicui per diventare poi a loro volta produttivi.

Tradotto in un linguaggio che descriva l’economia familiare, occorre avere pazienza, tanta pazienza. Fenomeni di questo tipo necessitano di tempi lunghi per essere risolti. E richiederebbero soprattutto di saper resistere alla tentazione di redistribuire artificiosamente il reddito.

La povertà non la si cura impoverendo i ricchi: così facendo si ritorna tutti poveri.

Nota. Avere pause di ripensamento non significa per nulla che la situazione si sia deteriorata. Significa solamente un riassestamento degli equilibri.

Cina. Q1 pil +6.9%.

Cina. Pil secondo trimestre +6.9%. Un esempio da seguire.

Germania. Le banche non son quasi più tedesche.

ICB of China è la più grande banca del mondo con attivi per 3.297 mld €.


South China Morning Post. 2017-07-09. As China grows, equal opportunity and social mobility are fast becoming a cruel lie

Joe Zhang considers how his family’s fortunes reflect the changing times in a newly wealthy China. Social mobility, which once enabled the talented and hardworking to make good, is now an unattainable dream for many.

*

Twice a year, I go from Hong Kong to Jingmen (荊門), in central China’s Hubei ( 湖北 ) province, to visit my parents and other relatives. But my trip last week was depressing as I found most of my cousins and their children beating a reluctant retreat back to our village from coastal cities like Shenzhen because of dimming prospects and the soaring costs of living.

On my way to Jingmen, I visited my 55-year-old cousin, Jinghuai, in Yantian port in Shenzhen, where he has been a lorry driver for two decades. Jinghuai counts himself lucky as he bought a small two-bedroom flat six years ago for around 1 million yuan (HK$1.15 million) after pooling his adult children’s savings. When I visited him, eight people from four generations lived in it. But, now, he has to look for a new job; a driver’s life is getting harder with slowing port throughput. His 30-year-old son makes only 3,000 yuan a month as a warehouse guard at the port. Jinghuai’s options are very limited as he and his family cannot afford to relocate to another part of this expensive city.

Jinghuai’s brother, Jinggui, and sister, Jinghua, are in a tougher spot. Jinggui and his son recently lost their jobs as lorry drivers at Mawan, another port in Shenzhen, and are moving back to our village; so are Jinghua and her family. Jinghua had just quit her job in a garment factory and her daughter Juhua quit hers in a diamond shop, for the same reason: their salaries were barely enough to feed themselves.

Juhua, 19, spent two years in a polytechnic learning accounting. But her investment was totally wasted as she could not afford to study further, towards a diploma, and get the necessary accreditations for an accounting job. But even with the accreditations, she would have had trouble finding a job in a fiercely competitive labour market. After all, her blue-collar parents would not be able to give her tips for job interviews or open the right doors.

Back in Jingmen, my brother, Hualiang, and his wife have been out of work for two years, having left a hopeless labour market in Hainan ( 海南 ).

At my parents’ place, I met Jianxin and Fengling, my other cousins. I have not seen them for about 15 years. Both divorced, they have also returned from Taizhou (台州), in coastal Zhejiang ( 浙江 ) province, together with their grown-up children. They operated factory canteens there principally for migrant workers, but it became harder to continue their business due to the dwindling number of migrant workers there.

In 1979, I was extremely lucky to enter university and, four years later, I was offered a graduate position and then an economist job at the central bank in Beijing. In 1989, after barely three years on the job, the central bank sent me to Australia to pursue further studies. In those years, my humble background never affected my progress. In 1985, my sister, Junmei, became a manager at a power plant run by the Huadian Corporation.

Today, the rules of the game seem different. To get a job, who you know is far more important than before. Given the commercialisation of education, housing and everything else, equal opportunity and social mobility have become a cruel lie.

Twenty-three years ago, I came to work in Hong Kong’s investment banking industry. Initially I had many colleagues from working-class and even rural backgrounds. But, over time, more and more new hires come from rich and powerful families. I had become increasingly uncomfortable. As the head of research or of investment banking teams at several investment banks for close to two decades, I always found excuses to wiggle out of campus recruiting trips to the US, Europe and China. I was often sent résumés of privileged candidates, and I could not help but notice the changing socio-economic mix of the candidate pool, which reflected growing inequality and the worsening corruption in China as a whole. Many senior bankers had hired princelings to facilitate their business, a practice that in recent years has attracted the attention of anti-corruption investigators in both the US and Hong Kong.

Back in my village, my brother and cousins face a common challenge: their land has mostly given way to construction sites, and jobs are rare to come by. They have some savings but how long will that last?

Most of my cousins left their farmland about two decades ago for the construction boom in Shenzhen and Zhejiang, and their adult children joined them in recent years. Now their journey back to the village is going to be a painful one.

My cousin Jinghuai is staying put in Shenzhen for now. In 1979, he was almost beaten to death by public security officials for fighting with our village head, and I helped secure his release because I had the unique social status of being the first and only university student from the commune at the time. Jinghuai dreads moving back to the village, but he will have to if he cannot find another job in Shenzhen soon.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Unione Europea

L’enigma della bega Macron – Pierre de Villiers.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-21.

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Mr Macron ha iniziato da poco ad esercitare la funzione di Presidente della Francia.

In realtà di lui e del suo reale programma sappiamo ben poco, al di là di pochi elementi certi:

Grand Orient de France. 2017-04-13. Sept Obédiences maçonniques lancent un Appel Républicain pour les élections présidentielles – 13 avril 2017.

I massoni francesi esortano al voto. Domenica conteremo quanto valgono.

La massoneria francese indica in Mr Macron il proprio uomo, uomo che ha brillantemente lavorato in ruoli direttivi nella Banca Rothschild.

Non è un giudizio, ovviamente, bensì una constatazione: tutti gli esseri umani hanno fatto la gavetta da qualche parte. Ognuno ha le sue amicizie.

*

Gli esordi sono stati alquanto tumultuosi.

Macron il Minimo. Il Ministro Ferrand sotto inchiesta per frode.

French prosecutor probes Macron ally Ferrand over deal

Macron, come Riccardo III ed il fedele Buckingham.

Putin incontra Macron. Il gatto ed il topolino.

*

Il problema attuale è molto complesso, ma cercheremo di ridurlo a pochi statement.

– La Francia nel 2009 aveva un budget militare di 67.136 miliardi di Euro, scesi nel 2017 a 55.7 miliardi. Cifra che tiene conto sia dell’armamento nucleare, sia dei quattro sottomarini atomici della classe Le Triomphant, sia del resto delle forze armate. Uno stanziamento modesto, anche tenendo presente che la Cina ha un budget di 215 miliardi.

– La Francia ha una congerie di attività militari in atto, sia tra le forze di pace sia in teatri operativi exta-continentali: si richiedono quindi personale e mezzi.

– Il generale Pierre de Villiers ha un curriculum invidiabile. Ha combattuto la guerra in Kosovo, quella in Afganistan, quella nel Mali, oltre che nelle guerre civili nel Centro Africa, Iraq e Siria. Ha un’esperienza invidiabile.

– In udienza parlamentare, il gen de Villiers ha aspramente criticato la scelta di ridurre ulteriormente il budget militare francese.

– Mr Macron ha ribattuto: “I do not consider it honorable to put certain debates on public display”.

– «If something puts the chief of the armed forces at odds with the president of the republic, the chief of the armed forces changes»

* * * * * * *

Al di là della bega personale, possibile, verosimilmente Mr Macron sente l’urgenza di riaffermare la propria personalità in un clima politicamente instabile, resta ancora tutto da scoprire quale sia l’orientamento del Presidente Macron sulle forze armate.

La destituzione di un capo di stato maggiore è sempre un evento traumatico.

Se è vero che riafferma il potere politico su quello militare, è anche vero che se ne aliena lealtà e simpatie.

È caratteristica delle democrazie sottovalutare il problemi militari in tempo di pace, e lasciare troppo spazio ai militari in tempo di guerra.

*

Una azione di tale portata potrebbe ricevere spiegazioni da diverse ottiche.

Il neoformato Governo francese ha già perso numerosi ministri appena nominati ed ha rimosso quelli che non erano strettamente incardinati nel partito di Mr Macron. Mosse politiche comprensibili, ma che indeboliscono. Il buon politico coagula consensi non genera ulteriori divisioni. Una cosa è dirigere una branca, sia pure importante, di una grande banca ed una molto differente è guidare politicamente una nazione.

Le destituzioni fatte affrettatamente possono sortire effetti contrari a quelli desiderati.

Sembrerebbe essere verosimile che la situazione finanziaria ed economica lasciata da Mr Hollande sia molto meno performante di quanto detto. Di qui la necessità di tagliare anche situazioni indispensabili.

La situazione interna della Francia è infatti molto instabile: la nazione si è impoverita. Non ha tanto mollato il pil medio pro capite, quando piuttosto un numero sempre maggiori di francesi è arretrato nel fascia della indigenza.

Le rivolte ed i tumulti per la situazione agricola e per il maldestro tentativo di riforma del mercato del lavoro sono ancora vivi nella memoria.

L’impressione è che terminate le tornate elettorali in Europa, Germania in settembre ed Austria in ottobre, la situazione continentale si infiammi.

In ogni caso, gli onori che i militari hanno riservato al gen. Pierre de Villiers sembrerebbero raccontarla lunga sul clima che si sta respirando nelle forze armate: non sarà facile restaurare una collaborazione fattiva.

Da ultimo ma non certo per ultimo: senza forze armate è semplicemente impossibile svolgere un ruolo, sia pur minimo, in politica estera. Forse potrebbe essere possibile che Mr Macron tenda ad affidarsi sempre più alla Germania ed all’Unione Europea, nel tentativo di trasformarla in un’Europa unita politicamente, ovviamente sotto la supervisione francese.

 


Ansa. 2017-07-20. Francia: si dimette capo esercito

PARIGI – Il capo di Stato maggiore dell’esercito, il generale Pierre de Villiers, ha presentato le sue dimissioni al presidente Macron. Lo scorso 12 luglio de Villiers aveva duramente criticato le proposte sul bilancio della Difesa annunciate dal governo.


The New York Times. 2017-07-20. France’s Top General Resigns in Dispute Over Military Spending

PARIS — A public fight between President Emmanuel Macron and France’s chief military officer over proposed cuts in military spending led Wednesday to the first high-profile resignation of a public servant since Mr. Macron was elected in May.

In an unusual move, the military chief, Gen. Pierre de Villiers, offered his resignation after Mr. Macron said publicly that he would be the one to determine military policy and implicitly criticized General de Villiers for questioning the government’s proposed budget cuts.

The president’s seemingly unshakable confidence in his judgment, and his reluctance to brook any dissent, could signal potential difficulties ahead as Mr. Macron tries to shrink government spending.

The dispute with General de Villiers was raised in Mr. Macron’s annual speech to the armed forces on July 13, the day before France’s imposing Bastille Day military parade.

In that speech, the president referred to concerns the general had raised in a closed parliamentary hearing about the cuts. The general’s remarks were later leaked to the news media.

 “I do not consider it honorable to put certain debates on public display,” Mr. Macron had said.

“I am your chief. The commitments that I have made to our citizens, to the army, I stick to them,” he said, adding that he did not need any “pressure” or “commentary.”

Mr. Macron has committed his government to meeting the European Union requirement that member governments keep their budget deficits to less than 3 percent of gross domestic product.

The blunt language used in his speech last week suggested the president was angry at having his policy questioned, and he hammered that point home in an interview three days later in the weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, saying that if there was a disagreement, the army chief would have to go.

“If something puts the chief of the armed forces at odds with the president of the republic, the chief of the armed forces changes,” Mr. Macron said in the interview.

In his resignation letter submitted to Mr. Macron on Wednesday, General de Villiers, a career military man, noted his loyalty to the French nation and its political authority, but added, “I viewed it as my responsibility to let them know my reservations, on several occasions, behind closed doors in all transparency and truth.”

Now, however, with the spending cuts being proposed, he said he could not guarantee “the protection of France and of the French today and tomorrow.”

The military is being asked to shoulder about 20 percent of the total anticipated cuts to the French budget this year, which would mean a reduction of 850 million euros, about $979 million, in military spending.

While that is a relatively small part of the military’s budget of €32 billion, it comes after several years of increasing demands on the armed forces, especially in the fight against terrorism.

It also appeared at odds with Mr. Macron’s commitment to increase military spending to 2 percent of G.D.P. — the amount that NATO countries are required to spend on defense — by 2025.

Mr. Macron has said that this year’s proposed cuts are temporary and that he plans to increase spending in 2018. Currently, France spends about 1.78 percent of its G.D.P. on the military.

After General de Villiers’s resignation, Mr. Macron endeavored to reassure ministers during a cabinet meeting that the proposed level of spending would be sufficient “to protect the country,” according to a spokesman.

Vincent Desportes, a retired general and former director of France’s École de Guerre Économique, or School of Economic Warfare, writing in the newspaper Le Monde, said that the head of state of the civilian government had not taken stock of how much the role of the military had changed.

“During the Cold War, the central role played by nuclear deterrence and the limited number of external operations had made defense into an essentially political exercise and reduced the role of the military in the nation,” Mr. Desportes wrote.

Now, however, the “professionalization, the multiplication of external operations, the real war and its procession of dead and wounded” have changed the situation, and he added that the government “has not wanted to recognize” it.

Mr. Macron replaced General de Villiers with another career officer, Gen. François Lecointre, who has served in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.

Pubblicato in: Criminalità Organizzata, Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Unione Europea

Deutsche Bank. Asset azionario e terrorismo. I proprietari.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-07-20.

A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt

«L’Occidente negli anni sessanta rendeva conto di più del 90% del pil mondiale, ma oggi arriva a stento a superare il 40%. Ed è anche fortemente diviso. Le forze che erano predominanti un tempo in Occidente, seguono il suo destino e quindi valgono sempre meno anche esse. Non che i Rothschild oppure i Rockefeller non contino più nulla: sono però severamente ridimensionati, relegati in secondo piano, rispetto al passato.»

*

HBJ, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

«He was the Prime Minister of Qatar from 3 April 2007 to 26 June 2013, and foreign minister from 11 January 1992 to 26 June 2013. … Jabr was a younger brother of Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, the founding father of the modern Qatar» [Fonte]

*

Negli ultimi anni Deutsche Bank è entrata nel novero delle banche chiacchierate e chiacchierabili.

Deutsche Bank. Il Qatar mira al 25%. HBJ

Deutsche Bank. Mai mettere i tedeschi spalle al muro.

Guerra civile americana. Liberals democratici e Deutsche Bank.

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«Qatari and allied investors are considering bolstering Deutsche Bank with fresh capital by taking a stake of 25 percent in Germany’s biggest lender»

«In June 2014, HBJ acquired 80% of Heritage Oil, which was listed as a London exploration and production company»

*

«It was reported that HBJ bought Banque Internationale à Luxembourg and KBL European Private Bankers via Precision Capital, making one of the largest banking groups in Luxembourg»

*

«Now, investors from Qatar, who already own some 10 percent of Deutsche Bank, are considering taking control»

*

«A partner who explicitly supported Jain’s strategy of establishing the company as the last globally important European investment bank»

*

«HBJ cousins are considering propping up the bank with a fresh capital infusion and purchasing a blocking stake of 25 percent together with other investors».

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«Qatari and allied investors are considering bolstering Deutsche Bank with fresh capital by taking a stake of 25 percent in Germany’s biggest lender»

* * * * * * *

«Nel mirino della Bce c’è la Deutsche Bank: tre dei suoi azionisti, uno cinese e due del Qatar, avrebbero ormai grande influenza sul colosso del credito tedesco e allarmano i supervisori di Francoforte. A rivelarlo è il quotidiano tedesco Sueddeutsche Zeitung, in un articolo dal titolo «Da dove vengono i soldi», pubblicato nell’edizione di lunedì. Il giornale riferisce che la cinese Hna, un agglomerato industriale della provincia del sud di Hainan, la cui proprietà «non è trasparente», ha aumentato in primavera la sua quota di partecipazione nella banca tedesca al 9,9% e che quote altrettanto alte sono detenute da due sceicchi della famiglia regnante del Qatar. Un Paese sospettato, come noto, di sostenere determinati gruppi terroristici, ricorda il giornale.» [Fonte]

*

Usualmente l’Ecb avvia accertamenti quando una persona fisica o giuridica passa il 10% dell’azionariato. Ma molti fanno osservare che il 9.9% non differisce poi molto dal 10%. Inoltre, diversi azionisti intimamente collegati possono alla fine condizionare ed anche pesantemente l’attività bancaria.

Alcune considerazioni.

– Deutsche Bank è una banca con sede in Germania, ma di fatto a governo straniero. Con tutte le conseguenze.

– Il Qatar è un paese molto chiacchierato: sono in molti a ritenerlo il collettore dei fondi destinati a fomentare la guerriglia nel Medio oriente. Che poi detti fondi siano stati raccolti tra una congerie di stati, alcuni dei quali insospettabili, è tutto un altro paio di maniche.

– Circa gli altri investitori, l’azionariato che li sottende e ben poco chiaro: bene fa quindi l’Ecb ad indagare.

– Ci si domanda soltanto per quale motivo Ecb si sia attivata soltanto adesso.


Reuters. 2017-07-16. ECB considers special assessment of Deutsche Bank shareholders: paper

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Europe’s top banking regulator, the European Central Bank (ECB), is considering carrying out a special assessment of Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) two largest shareholders, a German paper reported on Sunday, citing regulatory sources.

The ECB may launch so-called ownership control procedures to scrutinize both the Qatari royal family and China’s HNA (0521.HK), which each own just under 10 percent of the shares of Germany’s flagship lender, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported in a prereleased version of its Monday edition.

The ECB and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

The aim of a such an assessment is to establish whether an investor is trustworthy and financially sound, where the money used for the investment came from, and whether the investor engages in any criminal dealings such as money laundering or terrorist financing.

Normally it is only carried out if a shareholder holds more than 10 percent.

The ECB is, however, for the first time considering using a possible exemption to the rule, which it can activate if it establishes that both Qatar and HNA exert significant influence on the bank despite owning a stake of less than 10 percent, the paper said.

Qatar, which has been a Deutsche Bank shareholder since 2014, and HNA, which acquired its stake this year, have each been granted a Deutsche Bank board seat.

Due to the generally low number of shareholders showing up at annual general meetings the two investors can factually block important decisions.

“It looks like both will be treated as if they held more than 10 percent,” a source told the paper, which also reported that HNA’s investment in Deutsche Bank shares prompted the ECB’s move.

Last week, Germany became the first European Union country to tighten its rules on foreign corporate takeovers, following a series of Chinese deals giving access to Western technology and expertise.


Reuters. 2017-07-16.: ECB eyes review of Deutsche Bank shareholders source

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Europe’s top banking regulator, the European Central Bank (ECB), is considering carrying out a review of Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) two largest shareholders, a regulatory source said on Monday.

The ECB may launch so-called ownership-control procedures to scrutinize Qatar’s royal family and China’s HNA (0521.HK), which each owns just under 10 percent of Germany’s flagship lender.

“That the ECB is investigating or considering to investigate the shareholdings is indeed accurate,” said the person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorised to speak publicly about a review that is ongoing.

News of the possible review was first reported by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Sunday.

The ECB, Deutsche Bank and HNA declined to comment. A spokesman for the office of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani in Qatar was not immediately available to comment.

The German finance ministry said it had taken notice of reports of the possible review but declined further comment.

The motivation for a review remains unclear. Generally such an assessment aims to establish whether an investor is trustworthy and financially sound, determine the source of investment funds and find out whether an investor engages in any criminal dealings such as money-laundering or terrorism financing.

“The approval process aims to ensure that only suitable shareholders enter the banking system in order to prevent any disruptions to the smooth functioning of the banking system,” the ECB’s website says.

Normally, the review takes place once a holding reaches 10 percent of shares or voting rights. But it may also take place if there is “significant influence over the management of the bank”, the ECB’s website says.

Both Qatar and HNA have been granted a seat on the Deutsche Bank board.

HNA, which has been on a global shopping spree in past years, began acquiring its Deutsche stake this year in multiple steps, saying the bank’s shares were “substantially undervalued and are an attractive investment”, according to an SEC filing.

The purchase was financed by UBS and the holding is in a special fund managed by the Austrian asset manager C-Quadrat. Quadrat chief Alexander Schuetz sits on the Deutsche Bank board.

A spokesman for C-Quadrat said the asset manager was unaware of any possible review by the ECB.

Qatar’s royal family built up its stake first in 2014 during a capital increase. Lawyer Stefan Simon represents Qatar on the board.

Qatar is under political and economic pressure, with neighbors including Saudi Arabia accusing it of terror financing and cosying up to Iran, a nation other Gulf Arab states have long viewed with suspicion.

Deutsche Bank sees the HNA and Qatari stakes as a vote of confidence that should encourage other investors, big and small.

In May, German regulator BaFin welcomed the HNA investment. “We believe it is fundamentally positive that capital is being invested in German banks. This of course includes foreign capital and of course Chinese capital,” BaFin President Felix Hufeld said at the time.

A negative outcome of a review could result in the ECB prohibiting the shareholder from exercising its voting rights.

The process underway does not indicate any wrongdoing, though it does come at an awkward time for Germany’s largest lender.

Deutsche Bank is grappling with a strategic turnaround, an uncertain global economy and the impact of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

In addition, the bank is recovering from multiple legal battles and has paid billions in fines and settlements for cases ranging from its role in marketing of U.S. mortgage-backed securities to a so-called “mirror trading” scheme that could be used for money laundering.

Now that light is at the end of the tunnel on the legal front, scrutiny of Deutsche Bank’s customers and investors is casting an additional shadow in the bank’s reputation.

Recently, some Democratic members of the U.S. Congress have renewed efforts to find possible links between banks such as Deutsche Bank, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia, as they look for evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

Deutsche Bank is one of Trump’s largest lenders, according to regulatory filings, but the bank has declined Democrats’ demands to provide records of its client, citing privacy concerns. Trump and the Kremlin have denied any collusion in the election.