Canada’s auto industry could lose 20,000 jobs because of ‘disastrous’ TPP trade deal, union says

flagCaBy Kristine OwramMore from Kristine Owram | @KristineOwram

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could have major ramifications for Canada’s already struggling auto industry, resulting in cheaper vehicles for consumers, but a more competitive landscape for Canadian manufacturers.

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After announcing 2,900 job cuts, Air France bosses fled a violent crowd of employees

Xavier Broseta, the airline’s human resources director, being helped over a fence by security and police officers.(AFP via Getty/Kenzo Tribouillard)

Air France executives were run out of their own meeting today (Oct. 5), by employees protesting at the airline’s headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport, just outside Paris. The meeting had been called to discuss nearly 3,000 job cuts—the airline’s first outright firings since the early 1990s.

To reach profitability goals, Air France plans to fire hundreds of flight attendants, cockpit crew, and ground staff; it will also reduce the number of aircraft it flies and shut down some routes. Such measures did not come today as a surprise—the news emerged several days ago, after negotiations to reduce costs by asking pilots to work longer hours for less pay failed. Air France ground staff had planned a two-hour strike at Charles de Gaulle today.

Who’s fired? We’ll set your pants on fire! — Escape complete.(AP/Jacques Brinon)

The strike became a siege on the room where airline managers were delivering a briefing on the cost-cutting measures. (Perhaps such action should have been expected, however, considering the recent history of angry employees “bossnapping” in France.) The resulting scene ended with Xavier Broseta, Air France’s human resources director, half-naked and jumping a fence to escape the mob. Video and photos below.

Read more » Quartz
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Pakistan’s Foreign exchange reserves all-time high at $20 billion


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have crossed an all time high mark of US $20 billion on Thursday, said a statement issued here.

According to details, the reserves includes $15.24 billion that are with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) while another $4.83 billion are held by the commercial banks.

Read more » DAWN
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China pledges $2B to help developing countries

Also promises to forgive debt owed by countries in greatest need

By Thomson Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Saturday that Beijing will establish an assistance fund with an initial pledge of $2 billion to help developing countries implement a global sustainable development agenda over the next 15 years.

“China will continue to increase investment in the least developed countries, aiming to increase its total to $12 billion by 2030,” Xi told a sustainable development summit of world leaders at the United Nations.

“China will exempt the debt of the outstanding intergovernmental interest-free loans due by the end of 2015 owed by the relevant least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries,” he added.

The fund would help pay for such things as health care, education and economic development.

News courtesy: CBC
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Nuclear technology – China’s next great export?


For China, the prize on offer in the UK is not the investment in Hinkley Pointor Sizewell B but a controlling stake at Bradwell in Essex. This could be the first Chinese-designed nuclear power plant in the West, a massive breakthrough for China in promoting global exports of its nuclear technology.

So far its customers have been confined to countries like Pakistan, Romania and Argentina with the developed world opting for American, Japanese and French technology.

But the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said that China will be part of building the next generation of UK nuclear power stations and that having Chinese design up and running in the UK would give other countries confidence on safety.

Read more » BBC
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A high-speed rail from L.A. to Las Vegas? China says it’s partnering with U.S. to build

For decades private developers and entrepreneurs have periodically announced bold plans to run high-speed trains between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

None have gotten anywhere because they lacked money or suffered other setbacks.

On Thursday, however, one long-discussed proposal appeared to gain some intriguing support.

Officials for XpressWest, which has been unable to secure adequate private investors in the United States or a $5.5-billion federal loan, announced that it had formed a partnership with China Railway International USA, a consortium led by China Railway, the national railroad of the People’s Republic of China.

Details about the joint venture, the proposed project and its financing were unavailable Thursday, except China Railway International stated that it would provide initial capital of $100 million. Project officials say they are confident construction could begin as early as September 2016.

XpressWest, a private company formerly called DesertXpress, has been talking about its high-speed rail project since at least 2007. Plans have called for a 185-mile route that would run adjacent to heavily-traveled Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to Victorville, 85 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Chinese officials now describe the project as a 230-mile route with an additional stop in Palmdale and eventual service throughout the Los Angeles area using some of the same track that would be used by the publicly backed California high-speed rail project.

Federal railroad records indicate that XpressWest has already secured approvals and permits from a number of federal agencies for the 185-mile route. Additional permits, approvals and environmental analysis would be needed for the 230-mile proposal.

“As China’s first high-speed railway project in the United States, the project will be a landmark in overseas investment for the Chinese railway sector and serve as a model of international cooperation,” Yang Zhongmin, chairman of China Railway International, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese officials disclosed the joint venture during a news conference in Beijing. XpressWest representatives also issued a brief statement on their website, but declined to comment until additional regulatory approvals are obtained.

The announcements of cooperation come just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States.

Read more » Los Angeles Times
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Efficiency up, turnover down: Sweden experiments with six-hour working day

A trial of shorter days for nurses at a Gothenburg care home is inspiring others across Scandinavia to cut back, but the cost of improving staff wellbeing is high

By  in Gothenburg

A Swedish retirement home may seem an unlikely setting for an experiment about the future of work, but a small group of elderly-care nurses in Sweden have made radical changes to their daily lives in an effort to improve quality and efficiency.

In February the nurses switched from an eight-hour to a six-hour working day for the same wage – the first controlled trial of shorter hours since a rightward political shift in Sweden a decade ago snuffed out earlier efforts to explore alternatives to the traditional working week.

“I used to be exhausted all the time, I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa,” says Lise-Lotte Pettersson, 41, an assistant nurse at Svartedalens care home in Gothenburg. “But not now. I am much more alert: I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life.”

The Svartedalens experiment is inspiring others around Sweden: at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University hospital, orthopaedic surgery has moved to a six-hour day, as have doctors and nurses in two hospital departments in Umeå to the north. And the trend is not confined to the public sector: small businesses claim that a shorter day can increase productivity while reducing staff turnover.

At Svartedalens, the trial is viewed as a success, even if, with an extra 14 members of staff hired to cope with the shorter hours and new shift patterns, it is costing the council money. Ann-Charlotte Dahlbom Larsson, head of elderly care at the home, says staff wellbeing is better and the standard of care is even higher.

“Since the 1990s we have had more work and fewer people – we can’t do it any more,” she says. “There is a lot of illness and depression among staff in the care sector because of exhaustion – the lack of balance between work and life is not good for anyone.”

Pettersson, one of 82 nurses at Svartedalens, agrees. Caring for elderly people, some of whom have dementia, demands constant vigilance and creativity, and with a six-hour day she can sustain a higher standard of care. “You cannot allow elderly people to become stressed, otherwise it turns into a bad day for everyone,” she says.

After a century in which working hours were gradually reduced, holidays increased and retirement reached earlier, there has been an increase in hours worked for the first time in history, says Roland Paulsen, a researcher in business administration at the University of Lund. People are working harder and longer, he says – but this is not necessarily for the best.

“For a long time politicians have been competing to say we must create more jobs with longer hours – work has become an end in itself,” he says. “But productivity has doubled since the 1970s, so technically we even have the potential for a four-hour working day. It is a question of how these productivity gains are distributed. It did not used to be utopian to cut working hours – we have done this before.”

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HP’s layoffs will exceed 55,000 people, CFO says


HP’s CFO Cathie Lesjak says the company will cut up to an additional 5% more people from its workforce than the 55,000 people it had planned to eliminate.

This is a long-running layoff that began in 2012 with an initial target of 25,000 jobs, but grew until the target became 55,000 people.

Now it’s grown again. Lasjak didn’t give a new total number although she said the additional job cuts won’t force HP to spend more on restructuring than it had planned.

Read more » Business Insider
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In Pakistan, a prime minister and a country rebound — at least for now

By Tim Craig

— One year after he was nearly bounced from office, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has hung on amid signs the country could be on the cusp of a surprising turnaround.

After years of terrorist attacks, military coups and political upheaval, Pakistan for now has settled into a period of relative calm. Over the past nine months, government statistics show, major terrorist attacks have declined 70 percent, and Pakistanis are flocking back to shopping malls, resorts and restaurants.

The relaxed and optimistic mood here is benefiting Sharif politically, despite the humiliation he faced a year ago when he had to cede a chunk of his power to Pakistan’s military. Still, the arrangement is allowing Sharif to do something that Pakistani leaders have struggled to accomplish for much of the past decade: implement a road map for what a peaceful, stable Pakistan could look like. And in the process, Sharif is winning over skeptics despite his low-key leadership style.

“People are feeling more secure. There are development projects, and the perspective of people is changing to say, ‘Okay, now we can see things are going well,’ ” said Zafar Mueen Nasir, dean of business studies at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. “Of course, there will always be some criticism and always a second opinion, but as far as I am concerned, this government is at least showing some progress.”

Read more » The Washington Post
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Canada officially enters recession

By Michel Comte

Ottawa (AFP) – Reeling from low oil prices, Canada fell into a recession in the first half of the year, government data confirmed Tuesday, putting Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the defensive in the run-up to October elections.

According to Statistics Canada, the economy contracted 0.5 percent in the second quarter after retreating 0.8 percent in the previous three months.

It is Canada’s second recession in seven years and it is the only Group of Seven nation in economic retreat. The figures are the weakest since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Read more » Yahoo News
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Lowest Inflation in 12 Years Gives Pakistan Room For Rate Cut

Islamabad – Pakistan’s inflation increased at the lowest pace in 12 years in April, raising prospects for cut in key discount rate, as the country reaps benefit from the decline in the global oil prices over the past year.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in April as compared to 2.5 percent in March and 9.2 percent in April, 2014, according to the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on May 4. The average inflation in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year was gauged at 4.81 percent.

Read more » PABA
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Group layoffs soar in Alberta


With hundreds more announced job cuts looming, group layoffs in Alberta this year have surpassed 11,000 workers, according to employer data.

Companies are required to notify the province if they intend to terminate 50 or more employees within a four-week period. The government has received 72 such notices affecting 11,399 workers, said Pam Sharpe, a Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Ministry spokesperson.

For all of 2014, the province received 35 notices involving 7,508 employees.

Of the announced 2015 layoffs, almost 75 per cent were related to the energy sector, while about one quarter involved the retail, food and financial services. Just this week Cenovus said it was cutting 300 to 400 office jobs in Calgary.

Read more » Calgary Herald
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China’s Billion-Dollar Gateway To The Subcontinent: Pakistan May Be Opening A Door It Cannot Close

By Mahwish Chowdhary

Despite decades of mismanagement and a feeble socioeconomic infrastructure, one thing Pakistan benefits from is a strategic location—and China is taking notice.

More than 70% of China’s trade and energy imports travel through the Indian Ocean and the pirate-swarmed Strait of Malacca, both patrolled by the United States and Indian navies. But this possible chokepoint is a security issue for China, particularly in terms of oil (40% of its general consumption passes through the strait). Any sort of conflict could cut off the country’s energy supply, and ships would need to travel an extra 500 miles to avoid the strait, currently the fastest route from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. China, aware of this vulnerability, is looking to Pakistan to provide a shorter and safer alternative.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), first proposed in 2013, is a massive project of rail links, special economic zones, dry ports and other infrastructure projects across Pakistan allowing for direct access to the Indian Ocean. It would connect Gwadar to Kashgar, a major trading hub in China, and abbreviate the current route to the Persian Gulf by more than 10,000 kilometers. Instead of 45 days, it would take China a mere 10 days to get its imports—all while avoiding any potentially contested channels near Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and India, and eventually lowering shipping costs.

The CPEC would also provide China with an entry point to the Arabian Gulf, thus widening its geopolitical influence and possibly its military presence in the region. (Some Indian intellectuals suspect the Gwadar port will serve as a Chinese naval facility.) And it only comes at a cost of about $40 billion.

This isn’t the only investment China has planned in Pakistan. In fact, the money going to the country is double what Pakistan has received in foreign direct investment since 2008, and larger than any shape of assistance from the U.S. The list below (including CPEC) is just a snapshot of upcoming projects, likely funded by the Bank of China, the Export-Import Bank of China and the proposed Asian Infrastructure Development Bank:

  • $3.7 billion for a Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar rail line
  • $2.8 billion for developing four coal-fired stations with a capacity of 1,980 megawatts in Thar (Sindh)
  • $2.2 billion for two coal-mining blocks in Thar (Sindh)
  • $2 billion to build a natural gas pipeline between Gwadar and Nawabshah, then connecting to Iran
  • $2 billion to develop coal-fired generation plants at Port Qasim Karachi
  • $1.6 billion for a hydropower project in Karot
  • $1.2 billion for a solar power park in Bahawalpur
  • $930 million to link the Karakoram highway to Islamabad and Havelien
  • $260 million for a 100 megawatt wind farm in Jhimpir
  • $230 million to build the Gwadar International Airport

It is all part of China’s quest for influence throughout the continent via aid and investment. After decades of shying away from aggressive foreign policy moves, China now wants to play a much bigger regional role and is pushing plans for interconnected infrastructure networks to better link its economy with rest of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Think of it as the new Silk Road.

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China finally wins Thailand railway project

By Kong Defang (People’s Daily Online)

After many ups and downs, China has finally won the railway cooperation project with Thailand. Zhu Xijun, general manager of the Southeast Asia Company of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), said on Aug. 26 that after six rounds of negotiation,both sides plans to sign the inter-governmental framework agreement on the China-Thailand Railway project in early September, and the commencement ceremony of the project is expected to be held in the end of October, Xinhua reported.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic ties and the first yearof implementation of the “One Belt and One Road”initiative proposed by China. The China-Thailand Railway, which has a historical significance, has attracted tremendous attention.

According to Zhu Xijun, the project, which will be completed in 3 years, will bring actual benefits to the socioeconomic development of Thailand. After the railway puts into use,people will enjoy a much more convenient and cheaper transportation between China and Thailand. The price of a railway passenger ticket between Kunming and Bangkok will be about 3600 Thai Baht or 700 yuan, which is about a half or a third of an airline ticket, and the railway freight cost is only one ninth of the air freight.

The railway is estimated to add 2 million more Chinese tourists to Thailand every year andwill provide further convenience to its agricultural product export. With this railway,Thailand will be a new transportation hub of ASEAN countries.

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India Rising: Do people feel the economy picking up? – BBC report

India and the economy: Your questions answered

Is India really rising? How is the China devaluation affecting it? Is the country wasting money on space programmes when such a high percentage of its population lives in poverty?

These are among the many questions on India and the economy we answered on our Facebook page on Wednesday morning.

Questions came in from across the world on a range of economic areas, all of which can be found on the BBC News page.

Here are a few examples:

Ram Chandra: Miss Vaswami, What is it about India that the country is not attracting big enterprises like China did. Is globalisation dead?

A lot of the complaints I hear from foreign investors who want to invest here are the same ones that used to crop up five years ago when I was last reporting for the BBC here.

Issues such as ease of doing business, red tape, shoddy infrastructure and archaic labour laws are all concerns for big companies who want to invest in India – but it IS getting better.

Manufacturing companies are looking more closely at India as an alternative base to China – as wage growth there has made it more expensive for companies to do business.

What India needs to show the foreign investment community and its critics is that it serious about taking on painful but crucial economic reforms – many in the business community have told me they’re disappointed with the lack of progress on passing important bills during the last parliamentary session

Sendoi Likwasi: Does the devaluing of China’s currency positively or negatively affect India’s economy in terms of trade?

Predicting what might happen in the currency markets is very difficult.

The Indian currency has depreciated against the US dollar since the devaluation of the Chinese yuan earlier this month, but not by as much as other currencies in the region.

One argument is that emerging market currencies like the rupee must adjust to a lower yuan in order to make their exports more competitive and compete with Chinese goods.

For India, a weaker currency means its goods are cheaper overseas – but it also means the cost of raw materials – like oil – goes up. Currently India is enjoying the benefits of a low oil environment and it looks like it will stay that way for some time to come, but the bigger concern is over what the impact of a weakened Chinese currency might do in the longer term, and whether its devaluation may trigger the start of a global currency war.

Read more » BBC
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Global shares nosedive on China woes

FTSE 100 and European markets rattled by losses in China

Stock markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt have fallen sharply as fears of a Chinese economic slowdown continue to haunt investors.

London’s FTSE 100 index was down by 4% in early afternoon trade, with major markets in France and Germany down by 4.6% and 4.4% respectively.

Shares in Asia were hit overnight, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing down 8.5%, its worst close since 2007.

Global investors worry about growth in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s central bank devalued the country’s currency, the yuan, two weeks ago, raising fresh concerns that a slowdown in the country’s economy was worse than originally feared.

Currencies and commodities are also falling sharply, because those markets rely heavily on strong demand from China.

Read more » BBC
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Why the UN Sustainable Development Goals Should Focus on Education

By and

September the United Nations will finalize a new package of development goals that will guide the efforts of its member states to improve living conditions around the world. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are long on ambition—they intend to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030—but short on substance. Most importantly, the SDGs’ approach to education is insufficient.

Expanding quality education is the only feasible way to generate long-term economic growth, which is why a strong and coherent emphasis on education is central to the success of the global development agenda. Unfortunately, the current SDG goal to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” is too vague and provides no guidance for measuring increases in cognitive skill levels. The global development community can do better.


A growing body of research has emphasized the importance of cognitive skills, or knowledge capital, in driving economic growth. Over time, the knowledge capital of the nation improves as better-educated youth enter the labor force. A more skilled workforce leads to increased economic growth.

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Asian shares continue global downward trend

Asian stocks saw sharp falls on Friday as mounting concerns over China’s slowing economy continued to affect global markets.

It follows big falls in US and European markets on Thursday, with the Dow Jones dropping more than 2%.

China’s Shanghai Composite index closed down 4.27% at 3,507.74 points.

Data released on Friday morning showed Chinese factory activity falling to its lowest level in more than six years.

The private Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 47.1 from 47.8 in July. A figure below 50 shows contraction in the sector and one above means growth.

As domestic and export demand dwindle, Friday’s data is likely to add to global worries that the Chinese economy is set for a continued slowdown.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index followed the mainland’s trend and was 1.53% lower at 22,409.62 points.

Global market woes

Asia’s largest stock market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, dropped sharply, finishing 2.98% down at 19,435.83 points.

Read more » BBC
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Syriza split as elections loom


Alexis Tsipras has become another austerity politician. Once the expression of the hopes of workers across Europe- Syriza have now joined the austerity consensus. Therefore the announcement that the left of Syriza are splitting to form a new party, Popular Unity, is to be welcomed.

Syriza were elected on a platform of reforms- promising to end the humanitarian crisis in Greece. But the leading members of Syriza believed that it was possible to both end austerity and save Greek capitalism- and this miracle was to be performed while remaining in the Eurozone.

The bullying of the EU exposed this political weakness and laid the basis for a complete capitulation by Tsipras. Syriza labour minister, George Katrougalos, said the government needed to “reconfirm its mandate” to implement austerity in the form of the third Greek bailout and that the party is “crippled by a number of dissident MPs”.

25 left MPs have quit to form the new party. The anti-capitalist coalition, Antarsya, of which the Greek SWP is part, has called for a united movement to oppose the bailout deal and the cuts. It’s vital that the new party links up with the anti-capitalists and helps to focus the battles ahead.

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Japan economy shrinks in second quarter in setback for ‘Abenomics’


Tokyo: Japan’s economy shrank at an annualized pace of 1.6 percent in April-June as exports slumped and consumers cut back spending, adding pressure on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to step up his policy drive to lift the economy out of decades of deflation.

China’s economic slowdown and its impact on its Asian neighbors has also heightened the chance that any rebound in growth in July-September will be modest, analysts say.

The gloomy data adds to signs that Japan’s economy is at a standstill and heightens pressure on policymakers to offer additional monetary or fiscal stimulus later this year.

The contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) compared with a median market forecast of a 1.9 percent fall and followed a revised expansion of 4.5 percent in the first quarter, Cabinet Office data showed on Monday.

Read more » Reuters
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Bernie Sanders laid the smack-down on Alan Greenspan in 2003, five years before the Great Recession of 2008.

Watch Bernie Sanders tell Alan Greenspan, in 2003, that Americans are not living the way that Mr. Greenspan imagines they are. Then just 5 years later Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, admits that there is a flaw in his ideology model..

Courtesy: Bernie Sanders Via Social media (Facebook)

China devalues the yuan, cutting rates by 1.9%

China Rattles Markets With Yuan Devaluation

China devalued the yuan in a move that rippled through global markets, as policy makers stepped up efforts to support exporters and boost the role of market pricing in Asia’s largest economy.

The central bank cut its daily reference rate by 1.9 percent, triggering the yuan’s biggest one-day drop since China ended a dual-currency system in January 1994. The People’s Bank of China called the change a one-time adjustment and said its fixing will become more aligned with supply and demand.

Read more » Bloomberg
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Next wave of smarter, faster robots coming for many of our jobs

By Robert Riguaux

Will a robot replace you at work? The odds, increasingly, say yes.

The good news is that one recent analysis of the job with a 99 percent chance to be replaced by a machine is … telemarketer. There is admittedly some personal delight in learning that.

I also now understand why parents always cherish the idea that their kid wanted to be a doctor. Not for the prestige or money but for job security. The same analysis gives only a 0.4 percent chance a robot will replace that occupation.

If you keep up on the chatter about the future of work, it’s tough to avoid the buzz about a new wave of automated machines and robots empowered with advanced artificial intelligence. (We’re way past the Roomba automated vacuum cleaner from iRobot, folks.) Next-generation robots will begin to take over not just blue-collar, repetitive-motion jobs, but also white-collar occupations like bankers and, yes, even fashion models.

You may have heard this line of conversation, as I have, in recent weeks. It goes like this:

If we eventually shift to driverless (automated) cars (goodbye, taxi drivers), then in theory we’ll have far fewer collisions (see ya, auto repair shops), ambulance calls (farewell, emergency med techs), less need for auto coverage (so long, insurance agents), attorneys (adios, personal injury lawyers) and certainly their overwhelming barrage of radio and TV ads (adieu, advertising agencies). These jobs won’t disappear entirely, but the growth of work opportunities in these occupations will undoubtedly shrivel.

Versions of this ripple effect from a robotic revolution are going on all around us. We just don’t always recognize it for what it is.

At direct mail marketer Valpak’s building along I-275 in St. Petersburg, one of the most automated materials handling systems in the world stuffs blue envelopes with coupons.

In downtown Tampa at USF Health’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (better known as CAMLS), visiting surgeons can learn robotic surgical techniques.

And some financial advisory firms are easing into the burgeoning automated investment management business — better known as robo-advising. It’s about providing clients with automated investing services that let algorithms do the work of financial advisers, assuring quality control in investment advice without the need to hire more expensive people.

Last year, Aloft Hotels announced an unusual hire at its California location: a robotic butler, or a Botlr, that can deliver room service to its guests.

This is just the beginning.

Two Oxford researchers recently analyzed the skills required for more than 700 different occupations to determine how many would be susceptible to automation in the near future. The news, says an article inthe Atlantic magazine last month, “was not good.” The two concluded that machines are likely to take over 47 percent of today’s jobs within a few decades.

That’s the same analysis that says telemarketers, umpires, lending officers, fashion models, restaurant cooks and manicurists are among many professions that have a 94 percent or higher risk of being replaced by a machine.

Conversely, teachers of younger kids, doctors, occupational therapists and clinical counselors all run a very low risk — less than 1 percent — of a robot taking their jobs, according to this analysis. How did they determine who was more or less at risk? Some aspects of a job are easier to automate than others. It all depends on the tasks.

If your job requires you to be creative, to squeeze into small spaces, to personally help someone or to demonstrate negotiation skills, it’s unlikely a machine will replace you.

The trick, of course, is that robots, automated systems and the rise of algorithms — step-by-step procedures for solving a problem or accomplishing some task by a computer — are getting more capable at a faster clip than human beings are improving their skills. Just look at smartphones and the number of apps we are all so happy to rely on.

Job hunters today, especially younger adults trying to find work at busy companies, must already get by algorithms used to initially screen the thousands of resumes sent online. Certain words or phrases indicating specific job skills, for example, may open the digital door enough to eventually reach a human and possibly an interview. Use the wrong word or phrase and you may be out of luck.

Part of the recent buzz over the coming robot invasion into the workplaces is because of a new book written by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford. Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future tells how the use of robots is about to dramatically increase, in part because technology has at last created a standard operating platform — like Android for smartphones or Windows for computers — that can now be built upon efficiently.

“We are at the leading edge of a wave of innovation that will ultimately produce robots geared toward nearly every conceivable commercial, industrial and consumer task,” Ford writes. Robots may even help reduce jobs being outsourced overseas because adding more robots to factories will reduce costs and make U.S.-based facilities more competitive. Ford calls this potential trend “factory re-shoring.”

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After Greece & China, the next domino to fall: Latin America

The next domino to fall: Latin America

Greece needs a bailout and China’s stock market is in meltdown mode. But the global economy has another rising red flag: Latin America.


Every major Latin American economy is slowing down or shrinking. The World Bank predicts this will be Latin America’s worst year of growth since the financial crisis. As if that’s not dire enough, the world’s two worst performing stock markets are in the region as well.

And things could get even uglier later this year for Latin America, a region which is double the economic size of India.

“The weakness in Latin America is reflecting the weaker global outlook,” says Win Thin, senior economist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The ‘most vulnerable’: After years of checkered progress, Latin America is the “most vulnerable” region to China’s sputtering economy and market meltdown, experts say. It’s become a trade battleground area between the United States and China.

China is the biggest trade partner to many Latin countries, but the U.S. has tried to reassert its presence in recent months. Still, China’s sluggish growth is pulling Latin America down with it.

“We’re expecting very, very weak growth,” says Eugenio Aleman, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. “Brazil is in bad shape. Argentina isn’t much better. Chile has slowed down to a trickle…Peru is slowing down considerably.”

That’s just the beginning. Venezuela is arguably the world’s worst economy with sky-high inflation. Next door, Colombia has the world’s worst stock market this year. Its index is down 13% so far this year. The second worst is Peru, down 12.5%. By comparison, America’s S&P 500 is flat this year. (Argentina has the world’s best stock market, but that’s more a reflection of politics than economics).

While many are focused on Greece right now, “a deeper downturn in China remains the key external risk for Latin America,” says Neil Shearing, chief emerging market economist at Capital Economics.

The big problem: The three “C’s” are weighing down Latin America: China, commodities, and currency.

Read more » CNN
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China shares fall more than 8% on growth concerns

Shares in mainland China have recorded their biggest one-day fall for more than eight years following a sell-off towards the end of the trading day.

The Shanghai Composite closed down 8.5% at 3,725.56 after more weak economic data raised concerns about the health of the world’s second largest economy.

Profit at China’s industrial firms dropped 0.3% in June from a year ago.

That followed data on Friday indicating that factory activity in July saw its worse performance for 15 months.

Bernard Aw, market strategist at trading firm IG, said the surprisingly weak manufacturing data “added to worries that there could be further weakness in the Chinese economy, after the patch of recent economic data showed signs of stability”.

The Shanghai market’s fall was the biggest one-day loss since February 2007.

Read more » BBC
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Canadian dollar drops to lowest level since 2004

‘The downside could be enormous from here. There is no reason why it can’t fall much farther’

By Pete Evans

The Canadian dollar dropped to levels not seen since 2004 on Wednesday.

The loonie closed at 76.70 cents against the U.S. dollar, according to the Bank of Canada, down 0.53 cents. That’s lower than the 76.85 cents the loonie closed at on March 9, 2009, more than six years ago. The loonie hasn’t been this low since September 2004, almost 11 years ago, when it touched the 75 cent level.

Read more » CBC
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The end of capitalism has begun

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian


The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

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Iran offers 3,000MW of electricity to Pakistan at low rate

QUETTA: Iranian top official at the Quetta consulate has announced that his government would supply 3,000 megawatts of electricity at a low price to end power crisis in Balochistan.

“We can increase the power supply anytime if requested by the Pakistan government,” Consul General Islamic Republic of Iran at Quetta Consulate Seyed Hassan Yahyavi told reporters on Thursday.

He said Iran is willing to help Pakistan to end persisting power crisis in the country by supplying sufficient electricity at a cheaper price.

“Iran has already increased the power supply to Gwadar from 70MW to 200MW and this process is nearly completed which will put an end to the power problem in the port city,” pointed out the Iranian diplomat.

Iranian and Pakistan electricity companies, he said, are working together. “The country is providing electricity to districts which share the border with Iran.”

Yahyavi said he met Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and discussed issues of mutual interest, adding that the border trade and economic activities would be improved in the coming months.

He said the issue of border security was also thoroughly discussed with the chief minister. “We agreed to jointly fight to end the menace of terrorism from the bordering areas.”

Courtesy: The Express Tribune
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Greece Financial Crisis Hits Poorest and Hungriest the Hardest


ATHENS — Behind the lace curtains of a soup kitchen run by a parish in the humble Athens neighborhood of Kerameikos, the needy and hungry sit down to a plate of sliced cucumbers, three hunks of bread, a shallow china bowl of chickpea soup and often a piece of meat. Sometimes there is even ice cream, a special treat.

People prize the refectory, run by a priest, for its homeyness, and they travel long distances to fill their empty stomachs at least once a day.

But on Thursday, the priest, Father Ignatios Moschos was worried that he would no longer have enough food to go around if the country’s economic paralysis continues, as it seems likely to do even if Greece and its creditors manage to work out a last-minute deal this weekend to avert a Greek exit from the euro.

“It will be hard, dark, painful,” the priest said, nibbling from a bowl of pistachios as a long line of people waited for their turn to eat at the communal tables. “We will have trouble receiving food.”

Poverty in Greece has been deepening since the financial crisis began more than five years ago. Now, aid groups and local governments say they are beginning to feel the effects of nearly two weeks of bank closings, as Greecestruggles to keep its financial system from failing and to break out of years of economic hardship.

And any deal with creditors this weekend will bring further cuts in government spending. It will also bring higher taxes and, as a consequence, more short-term pressure on the economy.

As Athens takes on the aura of Soviet Russia, with lines of people outside banks waiting to receive their daily cash allowance, some aid groups are seeing their supply channels narrow. By some accounts, lines for food, clothing and medicine have grown fivefold in parts of the capital in the last two weeks alone.

The European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, has said he shares Greeks’ concerns. President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission said this past week that the European Union was making plans for humanitarian aid to Greece to cushion the blow if a third bailout was not worked out by Sunday and Greece was forced out of the euro system.

Read more » The New York Times
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Canada sheds 6,400 jobs in June

Jobless rate holds steady at 6.8% as results beat economists’ expectations

By Pete Evans, CBC News

The Canadian economy lost 6,400 jobs in June as gains in full-time work were offset by losses of part-time jobs, Statistics Canada says.

The jobless rate stayed steady at 6.8 per cent, the same level it has been at since February. the data agency reported Friday.

It was a better showing than what a consensus of economists were expecting, which was a loss of about 10,000 positions.

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Putin: Let’s trade in BRICS currencies

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is interested in using national currencies with other BRICS members after agreeing on such an arrangement with China.

He made the announcement after meeting leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Ufa in the Urals for a summit of BRICS nations.

“I think that such development with India, Brazil and South Africa would be interesting and could no doubt lift the level of trade turnover,” Putin said.

The BRICS accounts for almost half the world’s population and about one-fifth of global economic output. Member states have established the New Development Bank with an initial capital of $100 billion and an additional pool of $100 billion currency reserves.

“A pool of nominal currency reserves, with capital of $100 billion, will give us an opportunity to react to financial market fluctuations in a timely and appropriate manner,” Putin said.

The Russian leader said the new development bank will begin financing energy projects next year.

“The New Development Bank will be financing large-scale transport and energy projects and industrial development,” he said.

Economists see the new bank as a challenge to the domination of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which are under the US influence.

Putin said BRICS nations will work out a roadmap for investment cooperation by the end of the year when the first projects will be launched.

Read more » Press Tv
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Chinese chaos worse than Greece

WHILE the world worries about Greece, there’s an even bigger problem closer to home: China.
A stock market crash there has seen $3.2 trillion wiped from the value of Chinese shares in just three weeks, triggering an emergency response from the government and warnings of “monstrous” public disorder.

And the effects for Australia could be serious, affecting our key commodity exports and sparking the beginning of a period of recession-like conditions.

“State-owned newspapers have used their strongest language yet, telling people ‘not to lose their minds’ and ‘not to bury themselves in horror and anxiety’. [Our] positive measures will take time to produce results,” writes IG Markets.

“If China does not find support today, the disorder could be monstrous.”

In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market. The Wall Street Journal reports this “liquidity assistance” will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp, which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to investors.

The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks, signalling serious concern from authorities about the crisis.

At the same time, Chinese authorities are putting a halt to any new stock listings. The market regulator announced on Friday it would limit initial public offerings — which disrupt the rest of the market — in an attempt to curb plunging share prices.

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Greece debt crisis: Greek voters reject bailout offer

With almost all the ballots counted, results from the Greek referendum show voters decisively rejecting the terms of an international bailout.

Figures published by the interior ministry showed 61% of those whose ballots had been counted voting “No”, against 39% voting “Yes”.

Greece’s governing Syriza party had campaigned for a “No”, saying the bailout terms were humiliating.

Their opponents warned that this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.

Read more » BBC
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