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  • The Independent suggests that potentially flammable cladding was mounted on London's Grenfell Tower so as to make it look nicer for richer neighbours. If the lives of the poor were put at risk of burning to make richer neighbours happy ... Wow.

  • Adam Rogers at Wired describes the many complexities regarding fighting high-rise fires and evacuating their inhabitants.

  • CBC suggests that local building codes in Canada are sufficiently stringent to prevent a repetition of the Grenfell Tower tragedy here. One hopes.

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  • James Bow calls for an end to the US-Canada Safe Third Country agreement prohibiting people coming from American soil from claiming refugee status in Canada.

  • D-Brief reports on the vast array of man-made minerals appearing in what is now being called the Anthropocene Era of Earth.

  • Dangerous Minds notes the efforts of the Disco Preservation Society to preserve DJ mixes from 1980s San Francisco.

  • Language Log takes issue with Neil DeGrasse Tyson's argument that cryptographers, not linguists, would be needed in Arrival.

  • The LRB Blog notes impunity for murderers of civil society activists in Honduras.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen talks about Joyce Gladwell's autobiography Brown Face, Big Master.

  • The NYRB Daily celebrates the work of Hercules Segers.

  • The Planetary Society Blog is skeptical of the Space X plan to send tourists past the Moon by 2018.

  • Supernova Condensate lists 8 things we know about Proxima Centauri b.

  • Towleroad reports on new walking tours being offered of gay London.

  • Arnold Zwicky engages with a California exhibition comparing paintings with movies.

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  • blogTO notes concerns in Church and Wellesley about a spike of reported anti-gay violence.

  • Crooked Timber looks at the shambolic mess that is the Republican healthcare plan.

  • Language Hat links to an article concerned with the question of how to try cracking the Indus Valley script.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the malevolence and incompetence of the Trump Administration are record-breaking.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that the proposed border tax on Mexican imports is likely workable for all the major actors.

  • Strange Maps examines with maps how families of landowners centuries old still own huge swathes of downtown London.

  • Une heure de peine's Denis Colombi examines, in French and in the French political context, the idea of a guaranteed minimum income.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy shares Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" welcoming refugees to American shores.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the concerns of one Tatar historian that Russian federalism is being undermined and looks at the consequences of Putin's chat with Trump.

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New Europe's Andy King reports on how iconic British insurance firm Lloyd's of London, in an effort to ensure that it can offer continuity of services to its European Union clients post-Brexit, has begun to shift jobs out of London to EU destinations. Ireland and Malta are apparently fronrunners.

After three centuries, the Lloyds of London will no longer be “of London.” The company is moving its headquarters, its CEO Inga Beale confirmed on Friday.

Talking to Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Beale confirmed that following Prime Minister May’s announcement last Tuesday, Lloyds was going ahead with its contingency plan.

Many insurance companies will be moving a big part of their operations, since passporting rights and licensing are key to the sectors’ business in Europe. Lloyds stands to lose as much as 11% of its premiums that come from Europe or little under 1bn Euros.

Lloyd’s was founded three centuries ago in London and is moving ahead because a licensing process could take more than a year. What Lloyd’s want to avoid is what the industry calls “cliff’s edge trap,” in which the service provider cannot move soon enough to ensure continuity of service.
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  • Beyond the Beyond links to a US military science fiction contest.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly notes that journalism is meant to offer criticisms of the president.

  • Crooked Timber has an open forum about the inauguration.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos from seminal 1980-era London club Billy's.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper reporting on a superflare on brown dwarf EPIC 220186653.

  • A Fistful of Euros' features Doug Merrill's meditations on 2009 and 2017.

  • Language Log looks at the etymology of the Vietnamese name "Nguyen."

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at Donald Trump's desire for a military parade.

  • The LRB Blog looks at Donald Trump as a winner.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a book on the economics of skyscrapers and notes a skyscraper boom in China.

  • Steve Munro looks at buses and their distribution on TTC networks.

  • Transit Toronto looks at how Exhibition Place work will complicate multiple bus routes.

  • Window on Eurasia notes low levels of Russian productivity, shares a Russian argument as to why Russia and the United States can never be allies in the long term, looks at counterproductive Russian interference in Circassian diaspora institutions, and shares argument suggesting Trump's style of language explains why he wants to forego complicated multilateral negotiations for bilateral ones where he can dominate.

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The New Scientist's Clare Wilson reports on a massive drop in new HIV infections in London that is more easily explained by growing use of PrEP, the prophylactic use of new HIV drugs to prevent infections.

Gay men who defied medical advice seem to have changed the course of the HIV epidemic in the UK – for the better.

Four London sexual health clinics saw dramatic falls in new HIV infections among gay men of around 40 per cent last year, compared with 2015, new figures show.

This decline may be mostly due to thousands of people buying medicines called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which cut the chance of catching the virus, online.

“We need to be very cautious at this stage, but I can’t see what else it can be,” says Will Nutland at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has set up a website that gives people information on how to give themselves PrEP. “Something extraordinary has happened in the last 12 months because of a bunch of DIY activists working off our kitchen tables.”

The medicine has been approved in the UK as a drug for preventing HIV infection in both men and women, but it isn’t yet available on the National Health Service.

“People say, ‘Why don’t gay men just use condoms?’,” says Mags Portman of the Mortimer Market Centre in London, one of the clinics that has seen large declines in diagnoses. “They do, but not all the time. Straight people don’t use condoms all the time either.”
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  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith has a two part review of some of the fiction that he has recently read.

  • blogTO looks at Casa Loma lit up for the holidays.

  • Dangerous Minds notes The London Nobody Knows, a documentary of the grim areas of late Victorian London.

  • Language Hat looks at how 16th century Spanish linguists represented Nahuatl spelling.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the iatrogenic transmission of syphilis via unsterile instruments during the Civil War.

  • The LRB Blog notes the many conflicting contracts signed by the KGB with different television groups at the end of the Cold War.

  • Marginal Revolution notes Rio de Janeiro's attempts to deal with tourism-targeted crime by compensating victims with a tourist-directed tax.

  • Maximos62 looks at the geological reasons for Indonesia's volcanism.

  • Progressive Download looks at the all-woman Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.

  • Peter Rukavina looks at the backstory behind the creation of the village of Crapaud.

  • Spacing Toronto looks at how signs asking people to go slow in children-inhabited zones.

  • Torontoist looks at where Suicide Squad was filmed in Toronto.

  • The Understanding Society Blog looks at the specific experiences which molded the French tradition of sociology.

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  • blogTO notes that the TTC plans on raising fares for next year.

  • Centauri Dreams notes the evidence for an ocean on Pluto.

  • City of Brass' Aziz Poonawalla argues against Muslims voluntarily registering in an American listing of Muslims.

  • Dangerous Minds notes the sadness of Abbie Hoffman at Janis Joplin's use of IV drugs.

  • Joe. My. God. notes that Manhattan's Trump Place complex has opted to drop the name.

  • Language Hat looks at a seminal Arabic novel published in mid-19th century France.

  • Language Log looks at an intriguing Chinese-language sign in London.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests that the US-Iran nuclear deal is likely to stay.

  • The LRB Blog looks at a critic's old building, an old warehouse, in New York City.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the art of the spot illustration.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the state of interethnic relations in Kazakhstan.

  • Arnold Zwicky looks at some flowers of Mediterranean climate zones.

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Lianna Brinded's Business Insider article makes a point that is all the more sadly ironic on account of London's mostly anti-Brexit vote in the recent referendum.

PwC, in collaboration with BAV Consulting, surveyed a group of 5,200 people from 16 countries about where they believe the best cities in the world to be.

The demographic was made up of "an equal number of business decision makers, informed elites, and other general population adults over 18 years of age."

London hit the number one spot in the ranking of 30 best cities in the world after the respondents scored the capital highly across 40 metrics, which included infrastructure, influence in terms of economics, politics, as well as culture, entertainment, and great food.

Matthew Lieberman, a director at PwC, told BI that Brexit could damage the perception of London as an open city and this could have a negative impact on the country overall.

"London scores number one in the metric 'connected to the rest of the world,' number two in political influence and number two in being a leader; these attributes are contributing to London’s position as the number one city overall – but they could foreseeably be impacted by Brexit," said Lieberman.

"We’ll have to see if it manages to keep the same ranking next year, or if, due to Brexit, we see a slip. We do not currently have empirical data on this, but based on judgment and anecdotal evidence, we would presume that there’s still a lot of uncertainty and perceptions are in flux."
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Bloomberg's Gavin Finch notes that New York City, not necessarily any single European centre, could benefit the most from the decline of London post-Brexit as a financial centre.

New York, even more than Frankfurt or Paris, is emerging as a top candidate to lure banking talent if London’s finance industry is damaged by Britain’s divorce from the European Union, according to politicians and industry executives.

Follow @Brexit for the latest news, and sign up to our Brexit Bulletin for a daily roundup.

That’s because the largest U.S. city, rather than European finance hubs, is the place that rivals the depth of markets, breadth of expertise or regulatory appeal boasted by London. Continental Europe will win some bank operations to satisfy regional rules ensure time-zone-friendly access to its market, but more may eventually shift across the Atlantic to the only other one-stop shop for business.

“There is no way in the EU there is a center with the infrastructure or regulatory infrastructure to take the role London has," particularly in capital markets, John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd’s of London, said in an interview. "There is only one city in the world that can, and that is New York."

For many global investment banks, London is their largest or second-biggest headquarters. If the benefits of scale are diminished by having to move roles to Europe, banks may look to shrink their London operations even further by moving any workers able to do their job just as well from a different time zone, including global-facing roles in merger advisory, trading and back-office technology and finance.

Additional jobs may move as specific trading activities seek a new epicenter. London Stock Exchange Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Xavier Rolet was blunt, saying that if Brexit strips London of the ability to clear euro derivatives trades, the entire business would move to the only other city able to clear all 17 major currencies: New York.
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Bloomberg reports on how many immigrants in London are put off by the British government's new plans.

If Prime Minister Theresa May gets her way on immigration, Victor Villar says he might just leave London.

The 31-year-old Mexican portfolio analytics consultant is among the many foreigners in the City who are reeling from the government’s proposal to force companies to reveal how many non-British workers they hire as a way to push them to put natives first.

"If things get worse because they approve some anti-immigrant policies in parliament, I would definitely consider a job in the U.S. or somewhere else,” Villar, who has lived in the capital for 2 1/2 years, said in an interview. May’s plan is “like shooting yourself in your own foot because many people who come to work here are skilled workers with graduate degrees."

Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week proposed to punish banks and landlords who fail to make checks on foreigners doing business with them. It’s part of the government’s strategy to address public concerns about immigration that were laid bare by the U.K.’s vote to quit the European Union.

A YouGov poll on Wednesday of 5,875 adults found that 59 percent of people support those policies, showing that Rudd and May are in tune with voters. That is of little comfort to the swathes of foreign-born Londoners, many of whom have become naturalized British citizens. For some, there are parallels with pre-World War II Germany.
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Bloomberg's Thomas Penny reports on an interesting-sounding strategy for the United Kingdom's Labour Party. Could it work?

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will call on his Labour Party to use elections to run cities across Britain next year as a springboard to defeating Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government.

Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool, northwest England, Khan will say that effective local government can prove to voters that Labour is ready for power nationally. Current national polling shows the main opposition party, which has been split by a leadership battle, as much as 15 percentage points behind the Conservatives, suggesting Labour would be heavily defeated in a general election.

Mayors “can demonstrate that we can make a real difference to people’s lives,” Khan will say Tuesday, according to extracts of the speech released by his office. “With Labour in power, we can prove we are ready for government.”

Khan, who was elected in May and has the biggest personal mandate of any British politician, will say the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday has “decided” the question of the party’s leadership and activists must concentrate on winning power instead of infighting. The mayor, who supported the leader’s challenger, Owen Smith, will say the party owes it to the most vulnerable in society.
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Bloomberg reports on global housing bubbles.

Vancouver, London and Stockholm rank as the cities most at risk of a housing bubble after a surge in prices in the past five years, according to a UBS Group AG analysis of 18 financial centers.
Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong are also facing stretched valuations, UBS said in its 2016 Global Real Estate Bubble Index report, released Tuesday. San Francisco ranked as the most overvalued housing market in the U.S., while not yet at bubble risk.

House prices in the near-bubble cities have increased on average by almost 50 percent since 2011, compared with less than 15 percent in other financial centers, UBS said. Low interest rates, global capital inflows and optimism among investors about returns have helped to inflate values, the bank said.

“A change in macroeconomic momentum, a shift in investor sentiment or a major supply increase could trigger a rapid decline in house prices," UBS said. “Investors in overvalued markets should not expect real price appreciation in the medium to long run.”

Vancouver’s ranking soared to first from fourth place in 2015. Housing prices in the Canadian city have doubled in the past decade, prompting an outcry from local families struggling to afford homes that now chew up 90 percent of average before-tax income.
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Wired's Aarian Marshall asks why more cities don't have all-night transit like London, and provides answers in a nice itemized list.

In London this week, a curious thing happened: A city gave its residents more public transit, not less. Welcome the Night Tube, London’s experiment in living a little. Two lines on the famed Underground are now running 24 hours a day, on Fridays and Saturdays. Two more lines will join the fun in the fall. The city’s transportation authority expects 100,000 extra riders each evening, and estimates the move will boost the local economy by $450 million.

Mobility! Rides home for sleepy workers after the bar closes, rides to work for the midnight shift! Cheesy songs! It’s enough to make any city jealous—not least Boston, which cut its weekend night service this spring, or Washington, DC, which is considering doing the same.

So why can Londoners get nighttime public transit service, and you can’t? Seven reasons.

1. $$$

No matter how sleepless your city is, ridership goes down at night. Fewer paying riders means spending more public money to subsidize each person’s trip. Boston officials said its now-cancelled night service cost $13.38 in subsidies per trip. Regular service? $1.43. Still, lots of important services cost the government serious money (keeping the roads smooth for cars, collecting garbage, healthcare…).

2. Maintenance

Paint chips, metal rusts, and many of America’s major transit systems are aging at a rapid clip. Cities say they need the time off for the maintenance that keeps everything running. (This is especially true on systems like the California Bay Area’s BART, which only has one set of tracks on each route.) Theoretically, the peace and quiet gives workers uninterrupted time to get their trains in order. In practice, though, a four-hour nightly shutdown can get eaten up by logistics, leaving workers with much less time for actual work. New York, which runs subways 24 hours , periodically shuts down sections of track for intensive repairs. It’s like ripping off a band aid.
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Bloomberg View's Mark Gilbert writes about the advantages, and disadvantages, of London's different Eurozone competitors for its financial industry. Paris seems to come out broadly in the lead.

Have you heard? The platforms of London's St. Pancras train station and the departure lounges of its airports are packed with anxious investment bankers, ordered by their employers to relocate following Brexit.

Of course, that isn't happening at all; the U.K. decision to leave the European Union hasn't prompted an overnight exodus. But the banks that warned they'd consider moving thousands of staff out of a non-EU Britain are surely assessing "the next two weeks, two months and two years," as consultancy firm KPMG put it when appointing one of its senior partners to be head of its new Brexit division. "The French government, the German government, a number of governments, are making, if I may call it this way, a case for people to move to their jurisdiction," UBS Chief Executive Officer Andrea Orcel said on Tuesday. So which competing financial center looks most attractive?

On cost-cutting grounds alone, there are a number of options. London regularly vies with Hong Kong as the most expensive world city for renting office space. It ranks second according to figures compiled by real-estate firm CBRE for the first quarter of this year, with Paris 14th, Dublin at 30th and Frankfurt down at 47th. For a bank seeking a cheap European office, Frankfurt and Luxembourg look the best bets:

For a human resources department seeking the best overall environment for its employees, Frankfurt also looks attractive. In its annual scorecard of cities based on overall quality of life, including considerations such as political stability, economic backdrop, personal freedom and school systems, the consulting firm Mercer ranks the German financial capital as the seventh best place to live. Its 2016 ranking of 230 cities puts Luxembourg 19th and Dublin 33rd[.]

Bankers ordered to relocate can anticipate lower housing costs wherever they end up. For city-center apartments, London is the second most expensive city in Europe after Monaco, with Paris third at almost half the cost, and Luxembourg 10th. Frankfurt and Dublin, though, are even cheaper[.]
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  • Bloomberg notes Ireland's huge unexpected recent reported growth, looks at the deindustrialization of Israel, observes Deutsche Bank's need to search for wealth abroad, looks at the demographic imperatives that may keep healthy Japanese working until they are 80, notes the slipping ANC grip on Pretoria and looks at the rise of anti-Muslim Pauline Hanson in Australia, and predicts Brexit could kill the London property boom.

  • Bloomberg View calls for calm in the South China Sea.

  • CBC notes some idiot YouTube adventurers who filmed themselves doing stupid, even criminal, things in different American national parks.

  • The Globe and Mail reports on the plans for a test tidal turbine in the Bat of Fundy by 2017.

  • MacLean's looks at the heckling of a gay musician in Halifax and reports on the civil war in South Sudan.

  • The New York Times looks at the new xenophobia in the east English town of Boston.

  • Open Democracy notes that talk of a working class revolt behind Brexit excludes non-whites, and reports on alienation on the streets of Wales.

  • Wired looks at how some cash-strapped American towns are tearing up roads they cannot afford to maintain.

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The Toronto Star's carries Natalie Obiko Pearson's Bloomberg article noting the negative effective of Brexit on the Toronto real estate boom. Thanks a lot.

Realtors in Toronto and Vancouver are pitching Canadian cities as relatively safe property havens now that London, for years one of the world's leading targets of foreign capital, suddenly looks a lot riskier.

Blame it on Brexit.

“Brexit's good for us, not for them,” said Anita Springate-Renaud, owner of Engel & Volkers' brokerage in Toronto, who expects to field calls from clients seeking to redirect their investments. “We are a safe bet.”

If Springate-Renaud is right, there may be heightened demand from moneyed clients for homes and condos, as well as office towers in two of Canada's hottest real estate markets, which already have seen prices soar from an influx of foreign money. There's a record $443 billion (U.S.) in global capital allocated to commercial property that wealthy investors haven't deployed, according to figures from Cushman & Wakefield.

Within hours of the stunning Brexit outcome, Brian Kriter, an executive managing director of valuation and advisory at Cushman & Wakefield, was on a 6:30 a.m. call from his home in Toronto to discuss the potential ramifications of the referendum with colleagues in London and New York.
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  • Bloomberg looks at the European cities hoping to poach talent from London post-Brexit, notes central Europe's support for the European Union, looks at how Venezuelans are dealing with broken cars with the car industry gone, and looks at the United Kingdom's already substantial hit.

  • Bloomberg View considers peace in Columbia, notes American infant mortality, looks at China's fears over Brexit and examines China's anti-corruption crackdown.

  • CBC notes the substantial refugee population of Ukraine.

  • The Inter Press Service wonders about the consequences of Brexit for the United Nations.

  • MacLean's notes the beginning of the North American leaders' summit.

  • National Geographic observes the impending end of the ivory trade of Hong Kong.

  • The National Post looks at the Leave voters' regrets.

  • Open Democracy looks at Scotland and also at the post-Brexit environment more generally.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit could give Scotland a chance to take some of London's finance industry, looks at the Canadian-born governor of the Bank of England, looks at a quiet crisis in the Russian economy re: investment, and notes the awkwardness of the British diaspora in the European Union.

  • Bloomberg View notes the United Kingdom's upcoming challenges with India.

  • The CBC notes that Iceland has gotten a Canadian-born first lady and looks at the new Panama Canal expansion.

  • Daily Xtra quotes the Canadian prime minister as arguing Canada must make amends for past wrongs to LGBT people.

  • MacLean's looks at the indecisive results of the latest Spanish election.

  • The National Post notes that Scotland is already preparing for a second vote.

  • Open Democracy looks at the strange new dynamics in Northern Ireland, where Unionists are applying for Irish passports.

  • Universe Today examines experiments in agriculture using simulated Martian soil, and looks at a star set to rotate around the Milky Way Galaxy's central black hole at 2.5% of the speed of light.

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The Wall Street Journal's Simon Clark and Anuj Gangahar report on the potential for catastrophe in the post-Brexit London financial industry.

London risks losing thousands of finance jobs to other European cities following the U.K.’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

Keeping those jobs here depends on the U.K.’s ability to strike a political deal that allows it—now as an outsider—to access the trading bloc’s single market, according to a senior official at the City of London Corp.

The City of London Corp. has governed the square mile around the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral for centuries. Its leaders campaigned to remain in the EU in the run-up to Thursday’s referendum. Their stance was backed by many executives at the big global banks and other financial companies. Together they wanted to retain access to the EU’s single market of more than 500 million citizens.

Hundreds of thousands of people work in the City of London district, and thousands more work in finance jobs elsewhere in the U.K. capital.

“The City will remain a major international financial center whatever, but clearly the nature and its size will depend on what we can negotiate,” Mark Boleat, the City of London’s policy chairman, said in an interview on Friday morning after the result of the referendum became clear. “There was never going to be a mass exit of banks in terms of numbers. The question for us is whether they are here with 15,000 staff or 5,000.”

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