Posts belonging to Category Cities



Chinese tourists ditch shopping for culture

Shopping no longer the priority for Chinese tourists

This year’s National Day holiday in China saw record numbers of people taking trips at home and abroad, but many Chinese tourists now seem to be shunning the colossal shopping trips they were once renowned for in favor of a bit more rest and relaxation. More than 30,000 people a day visited the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in southwestern Sichuan Province during the weeklong holiday. A police officer commented on his blog that he “could not tell if it was a center for breeding pandas or for people,” after directing traffic at the site.

Congestion at the newly opened Shanghai Disneyland reached epic proportions during the holiday. One local resident said he had to wait over two hours for a 5-minute ride. “It is more like hell than a magic kingdom,” he said. According to the National Tourism Administration, the number of people traveling domestically and abroad during this year’s holiday reached a record 593 million, up 13% from last year. Spending increased 14% to 482.2 billion yuan ($71.1 billion), also a record.

http://asia.nikkei.com…   Thu.,  10  August 2017

U.S. home sales stumble

Prices hit record high

U.S. home resales fell more than expected in June as a dearth of properties amid strong demand pushed prices to a record high, keeping first-time buyers on the sidelines. The housing market has experienced an acute shortage of homes for sale for about two years. As the labor market churns out more jobs and builders struggle to secure land, building materials and skilled labor, the situation could worsen.

“The fact that demand is so high is actually a good sign of economic health,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “But that’s probably small comfort to buyers, especially first-time buyers that are having an especially difficult time finding entry-level homes for sale.”The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales dropped 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million units last month.

Economists had forecast sales falling 1.0 percent to a 5.58 million-unit rate. Sales were up 0.7 percent from June 2016. The shortage of properties has led to bidding wars, culminating in house price increases outpacing wage gains.

http://www.reuters.com…   Tue.,  25  July 2017

America’s pledge on climate change

California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg Launch “America’s Pledge”

 Today, California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg launched America’s Pledge on climate change, a new initiative to compile and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses in the United States to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Since the White House announcement of its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an unprecedented number of U.S. states, cities, businesses, and colleges and universities have reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement through collaborations including the “We Are Still In” declaration, the Climate Mayors coalition of cities, the U.S. Climate Alliance group of states, and others.

Building on this positive momentum, the America’s Pledge initiative will for the first time aggregate the commitments of these and other “non-Party actors” in a report on the full range of climate-related activities across the whole of U.S. society. The process of developing America’s Pledge will also provide a roadmap for increased climate ambition from U.S. states, cities, businesses and others, and will transparently demonstrate to the international community how and in which ways these entities can help the U.S. deliver on its pledge under the Paris Agreement.

http://www.bloomberg.com…   Thu.,  13  July 2017

Paris, Franckfurt, Dublin, Amsterdam fight to poach post Brexit businesses

France outlines plans to attract business post-Brexit

  • producing a set of measures to attract financial business due to Brexit
  • Paris has great potential
  • will cancel planned extension of tax on share trading to intra-day trading
  • will review on a case-by-case basis those French laws that go beyond the EU financial regulations they implement
  • EU financial rules will in the future be implemented in France without additional constraints, to ensure fair level playing field across single market
  • plans to scrap highest bracket of payroll tax for firms like banks that do not pay VAT
  • bankers bonuses will no longer be taken into account when labour courts calculate unfiar dismissal compensation

France out the blocks post-election in the bid to secure any spoils of Brexit fallout. Given the latest French-German alliance/initiatives then we must guess that these plans have been run past Merkel & Co. A joint share of the spoils perhaps?

http://www.forexlive.com…   Fri.,  07  July 2017

How much to get Leo Messi ?

New release clause to be set at €300 million

Lionel Messi is on the brink of signing a new contract at Barcelona, according multiple media reports in Spain. With the 30-year-old’s current deal set to expire in June 2018, Cadena Cope says that an announcement will be made by the club on Wednesday, with Messi officially putting pen to paper on July 15 once he arrives back in Barcelona for preseason training.

The new contract will see Messi stay at the Nou Camp until 2021, with an extra one-year extension clause available to both club and player. The  five-time Ballon d’Or winner, however, will be able to leave Barca earlier if any rival club triggers his new release clause — thought to be set at €300 million.

http://www.espnfc.com…   Wed.,  05  July 2017

Making the Planet great again

Global climate change problems can have local solutions

When President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement, the landmark climate accord signed by 196 nations that came into force in November 2016, the decision caused a significant negative backlash among other signatory countries.

Given that the US is one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, its June 1 reneging on the deal delivered a blow to the global agreement. But, as many commentators were quick to point out, as long as other leaders didn’t follow Trump’s lead, it was largely a symbolic one.

So far, the international response has confirmed this: a chain reaction of support for climate change mitigation, from grassroots up to the highest ranks of government.

http://www.theconversation.com…   Fri.,  30  June 2017

Massive cyber attack

Petya cyber attack: Ransomware spreads across Europe with firms in Ukraine, Britain and Spain shut down

Major firms, airports and government departments in Ukraine have been struck by a massive cyber attack which began to spread across Europe on Tuesday afternoon. In Ukraine, government departments, the central bank, a state-run aircraft manufacturer,  the airport in Kiev and  the metro network have all been paralysed by the hack.

In the UK, the advertising firm WPP said its systems had also been struck down, while in the Netherlands a major shipping firm confirmed its computer terminals were malfunctioning. The virus is believed to be ransomware – a piece of malicious software that shuts down a computer system and then demands an extortionate sum of money to fix the problem.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk…   Wed.,  28  June 2017

Malls are doomed: 25% will be gone in 5 years

Mom and Pops shops come back

Store closings and even dead malls are nothing new, but things might be about to get a whole lot worse. Between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, according to a new report out this week from Credit Suisse. That kind of plunge would be unprecedented in the nation’s history.  In 1970 there were only 300 enclosed malls in the U.S., and now there are 1,211 of them. In fact, despite the recent turbulence in the retail industry, the number of malls open has actually edged higher every year. But now, as the brick-and-mortar chains die a slow and painful death, small businesses could make a comeback by filling the void, according to two Goldman Sachs executives.

“I think there will become a degentrification, for lack of a better word,”explains Kim Posnett, head of internet investment banking at Goldman Sachs.. “We will see the rents come down, and mom and pops shops will come back in a much more curated, personal way that goes along these lines of creating great service and a sense of community, and a desire to support your community.”

http://www.cnn.com…   Wed.,  21  June 2017

A thousand US CEOs and mayors: ‘we will continue to fight climate change’

The Paris Agreement is a blueprint for job creation, stability and global prosperity

Over a thousand mayors, businesses, investors, and academic institutions have signed a pact to continue fighting climate change in the US despite Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Last week, Mr Trump pulled out of the Paris accord, stressing that it puts American workers at an “economic disadvantage” and that it is “unfair” for the US economy.

The “We Are Still In” initiative represents $6.2 trillion of the US economy – composed of bipartisan “drivers of the real economy,” Lou Leonard, World Wildlife Fund’s Senior Vice President of Climate Change and Energy, told The Independent.

http://www.independent.co.uk…  Tue.,  06  June 2017

Climate change: 30 US mayors negociate directly with UN against Trump

Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord

Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.

The unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations.

http://www.nytimes.com…  Fri.,  02  June 2017