Daily Digest 8/15 – UAE and Israel Establish Diplomatic Ties, Empty Manhattan Apartments Reach Record High,


Under Trump, SEC Enforcement Of Insider Trading Dropped To Lowest Point In Decades (edelinski)

The SEC charged 46 defendants as part of those cases. That was the lowest number of defendants in insider trading cases since Ronald Reagan was president, and about half of the annual average over the last three decades. The decline has alarmed experts and advocates, who worry that flagrant illegal trading may go unchecked.

Empty apartments in Manhattan reach record high, topping 13,000 (thc0655)

The surge in empty apartments in the nation’s largest rental market is likely to have ripple effects throughout the economy. Housing experts estimate that about half of Manhattan’s apartment rentals are owned by small business owners, rather than large publicly traded companies or the big, well-funded real estate families. As the small landlords lose income, they may be unable to pay property taxes, which is New York City’s largest source of revenue. A drop in property taxes could result in cuts to services, which could make New York less attractive to new residents.

“This could be a difficult couple of years for landlords,” Miller said.

UAE and Israel to establish full diplomatic ties (tmn)

“Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.

In a nationally televised news conference, Netanyahu echoed Trump’s remarks.

Fannie, Freddie Will Impose New Fee on Most Mortgage Refinances (Sparky1)

The Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group for lenders, said the fee would raise costs for the typical borrower by $1,400. MBA President Bob Broeksmit said in a statement that the announcement “flies in the face of the administration’s recent executive actions urging federal agencies to take all measures within their authorities to support struggling homeowners.”

Justice Department seizes millions in cryptocurrency from terror groups (Sparky1)

The seizure, which also included 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages, underscores how terrorist groups have modernized their fundraising tactics in recent years, and how law enforcement has adapted as they’ve continued to target criminals in their wallets.

Officials said that the terror groups issued both transparent public messages to solicit the digital funds as well as schemes designed to dupe unwitting donors, including a website allegedly set up by ISIS in February that purported to sell personal protective equipment to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

US unemployment claims dip below 1m for first time in 21 weeks (tmn)

The US jobs market has picked up in the last two months. In July, the US added 1.8m jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2% from 11.1%. The gains were largely in restaurants, bars and the leisure sector, which had furloughed millions of workers when the virus struck.

Britons rush home from France to beat new quarantine rules (Sparky1)

The government announced late on Thursday that it would impose a quarantine from 0300 GMT on Saturday on arrivals from France, giving an estimated 160,000 UK holidaymakers there just over 24 hours to get home or face self-isolation on return.

The sudden rule change dealt a fresh blow to tourists, airlines and tour operators. The pandemic has left many travel groups cash-strapped and fighting for survival.

10 things to know about Palantir and TeleTracking, which power the HHS COVID-19 data system (edelinski)

Palantir also has a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the U.S. military and national security agencies. In June, Palantir also partnered with a Japanese company, which invested $500 million in Palantir, to launch a real data platform for security, health and well-being.

Trump’s CFPB Deploys Predatory Lenders As First Responders To Pandemic (Sparky1)

Kathy Kraninger was being called to account for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s failure to protect consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. In separate House and Senate hearings, committee members levied their sharpest criticisms against the agency’s plan to deregulate small-dollar lending by repealing key consumer protections on predatory products like payday and auto title loans. The final rule decided on by the agency tore out the heart of the policy by rescinding provisions that required lenders to assess a borrower’s ability to repay their loan.

New flu vaccination requirement for UC students, faculty and staff (Tude)

The executive order requires the vaccination for all faculty and staff who are working at a UC location. The university already has a clear policy on immunizations for students, and this action adds influenza to existing vaccination requirements for them, and extends the requirement to faculty and staff beyond those which presently exist for all UC health care workers.

A process will be put in place for faculty and staff to request medical exemptions. Requests for disability or religious accommodations will be handled through the interactive process consistent with existing location policies and procedures.

FDA denied Henry Ford’s request to continue using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients after hospital released controversial study (KathyP)

The drug has long been touted by President Donald Trump, who accuses the mainstream media of suppressing knowledge of the drug as a potential coronavirus cure, though scientists warn that more studies need to be done to prove its efficacy. When Henry Ford released the results of its study, Trump seized upon the news as proof that he was correct all along.

“The highly respected Henry Ford Health System just reported, based on a large sampling, that HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE cut the death rate in certain sick patients very significantly,” he tweeted. “The Dems disparaged it for political reasons (me!). Disgraceful.”

China Says Frozen Chicken Wings from Brazil Test Positive for Virus (Ron J.)

Virus tests of people who have possibly come into contact with the product, and tests of related products, all came back negative, the statement said. Consumers should be cautious when buying imported frozen foods and aquatic products, the government added.

Students at Penn State forced to sign COVID-19 liability waiver to participate in fall semester (tmn)

Some students and faculty have started speaking out against Penn State’s plans, saying the university’s decision to bring students back to campus — and hold half of all classes with at least some in-person instruction — both disregards the well-being of the Penn State community and threatens the sparse health-care resources available to local residents.

And the compact isn’t helping to quell concerns.

U.S. Woefully Unprepared for a Blackout Like India’s: Analysis (thc0655)

The more advanced state of the U.S. grid is a mixed blessing. The ability to “wheel” power over long distances means that local problems can be ameliorated by power from elsewhere. But it also means that a failure in one area can, under the wrong circumstances, bring down service over wide areas. Modern smart-grid technologies currently being designed and deployed can make the power net nimbler and able to adapt more quickly to changes in loads. On the other hand, all that computerization makes the system more vulnerable to software bugs, viruses, cyber attacks, or even electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) damage from a solar storm or a nuclear attack.

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