By Luis Alberto Facal / Voice of America / edited by Diálogo Staff December 11, 2019 The crisis in Venezuela is urgent and must be given a sense of urgency, said Carol Thompson O’Connell, principal deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, on October 31.“When almost 5 million people have been forcibly displaced and have had to flee their country to find the basic necessities of life, shelters, food, water, security, there is nothing that can describe it, but urgency to face the political situation in Venezuela,” Thompson O’Connell said.The official spoke at a telephonic press briefing about the results of the International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis, held in Brussels October 28-29.“Countries in the region have been dealing with this crisis for months, and at times for years. They have done a phenomenal job in helping Venezuelan refugees and migrants. But the rest of the world must understand the magnitude of this crisis and must understand that this is not just a regional crisis. It’s a crisis that affects the countries of the rest of the world and should be treated as such,” said Thompson O’Connell.The State Department official said the United States is proud to lead worldwide efforts to provide humanitarian assistance. During fiscal year 2019, the U.S. government contributed nearly $9.3 billion to support humanitarian crises, she said.“When I was in Brussels, I announced an additional $10 billion in economic and development assistance that will provide treatment for HIV, critical vaccinations, and support for activities to counter human trafficking,” Thompson O’Connell added.The aid comes in addition to the nearly $119 million in humanitarian assistance for Venezuela U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in late September.The U.S. government’s total response to the crisis involves more than $650 million, of which almost $473 million goes to humanitarian assistance to save the lives of people affected and to promote stability in Venezuela and the region, the U.S. official said.The United States has been the largest financial contributor to the Venezuelan crisis.“Almost 4.5 million Venezuelans have escaped from Venezuela due to the actions of the Maduro regime,” she said.The United States has said it is working with international and nongovernmental partners to complement the efforts of governments that receive Venezuelan refugees.“Our system also increases the original capacity of the asylum authority and provides legal support to Venezuelans seeking asylum. The program also helps Venezuelans to integrate into the communities that host them by finding them employment and access to education and health care,” said Thompson O’Connell.She stressed that during her recent visit to Colombia, she was able to see her assistants in action, caring for Venezuelan refugees who had arrived in the country. “I met with children in Colombia who have been able to go to school and receive an education, because access to education provides hope, and it helps children find stability and normalcy in very difficult situations.”She also thanked European partners for their response to the crisis, and urged them to increase their support for the Venezuelan people, in response to the “tyranny of the Maduro regime.”“This is a global crisis that requires a global solution,” she added.The Brussels conference, she said, “demonstrates that Europeans are focused on this problem and are willing to consider new ways to try to solve the crisis Maduro caused.”
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr It seems like every time a sudden and severe shock hits the financial markets, all the fancy hedge fund investment strategies that use monikers like, “Enhanced Return,” or “Alpha Plus” go from being perfectly fine to gone within a month. This has happened in the major market blow-ups in 1998, 2001, 2008, and 2020, with a few notable semi disasters (2002, 2013, 2016) thrown in between. Then, when the dust clears, investors are pulverized, and fund managers close up shop so as not to have to work the next 5 years for free to make up remaining investors’ losses.Naturally, with 2020 being easily the worst economic disaster to hit in nearly a century, the “Alpha” and “Enhanced” hedge fund story has been no different. Recently, one fund run by a very prominent money manager dropped a cool 75% in March. You almost have to try to lose 75% in a month, kind of like Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in “The Producers.” Many other hedge funds have followed suit, only losing 25% or so. What we find is the same, old story. We find out that the managers with their rocket scientist degrees were, when it comes down to brass tacks, selling puts and calls on an index like the S&P 500 and collecting premiums every month –which was great until the market blew up. Sure, they may have been trading fancy things like “Skew Vol” vs. “VIX” or some other attributes with Greek letters, and no doubt, there were some cool algorithms, but in the end, it was simply selling volatility that blew them up. We call this, “The Picking up Nickels in Front of the Steamroller” strategy.So much of the selling volatility strategies are part of “The Fed has my back” approach to market investing. Let’s face it; the Fed has been supportive of risk for far too long. The increase in their support has been parabolic. This is what leads to long periods of declining volatility and price inflation for risk assets like equities and corporate credit. Pressure builds, as the degree of Fed support increases, and each blow-up tends to be more spectacular than the last. That is why, before the Fed and Treasury came in the markets in March with the message of, “Put the sell button down, we’re going to be buying everything!” the most liquid markets in the world, US Treasury and Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities markets were simply broken. Anyone who relied on leverage through borrowing was being margin called out of existence.
“If we’re successful in flattening the curve, there will be an inflection point,” said Wander. “You’ll start to see a little bit slower growth of the number of cases and that’s what we’re looking for… to keep the number of cases in line with our medical system’s capacity.” Kathy Wander is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Binghamton University. She says when this crisis quickly grew into a pandemic, it was scary. She says the most alarming part was the ratio of how many people were infected by one person who had the coronavirus. “The average for influenza was estimated at one-point-three and already, that’s a huge public health problem in the U.S., but two is brutal, so whatever we can do to bring that number down, is going to save lives,” said Wander. (WBNG) — Epidemiologist and biological anthropologist at Binghamton University, Kathy Wander, says there’s no reason to lose hope during this crisis, as long as we work together. Overall, Wander says none of our efforts will work unless we all do it together. She added it doesn’t matter if you have symptoms or not, or if you know anyone with the virus or not, you must follow the simple rules of social distancing and washing your hands. While some countries such as China have appeared to reach a peak and are seeing a somewhat downward trend, Wander says it’s difficult to predict if that will be the same fate for the United States. She says every country is different in healthcare systems and how they are responding to this pandemic. However, she did say we are more guaranteed to see the same trend if we can each make the biggest impact, which involves social distancing. “Our decisions matter. We can control this,” said Wander. “We just need to make the right decisions together.”
All Kazakh and Belarusian weightlifters could now be banned for a year from all international weightlifting competitions.Under International Weightlifting Federation rules, automatic bans come into effect if at least three of a country’s athletes fail Olympic retests.The International Olympic Committee has reported a total of 98 positive cases from recent retests of samples from the Beijing and London Games.At least six of those cases came in one weightlifting event, the men’s -94kg category in 2012.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Three weightlifters from Kazakhstan have been stripped of Olympic gold medals won at London 2012 after new tests found them guilty of doping.Zulfiya Chinshanlo, Maiya Maneza and Svetlana Podobedova were all caught when samples from 2012 and the 2008 Games in Beijing were retested.Chinshanlo won at -53kg, Maneza at -63kg and Podobedova at -75kg and all tested positive for steroid stanozolol.It has not been confirmed if their gold medals will now be re-assigned.Eight athletes were sanctioned yesterday, with Marina Shkermankova of Belarus losing her London 2012 bronze medal in the -69kg class.