More Banks Are Beginning to Acquire Fintech Startups


Since 2013, only 18 fintech startups were acquired by just 10 of the top 50 US banks.

Eight of the acquisition took place in 2017, the most seen in any year across the time period.

Source: More Banks Are Beginning to Acquire Fintech Startups

Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will Lead to More Harm: We Need Broad-Based Public Investment


I think the structure of the plan is what we expected to see. It is only $200 billion in federal funding, as opposed to the headline claims of either $1.5 trillion or $1 trillion that the administration had been claiming.

Of that, $100 billion goes to this sort of grant program that kicks the funding decisions to states and localities. They are required to come up with 80 percent of the funding and the federal government only provides 20 percent.

There is $50 billion for rural projects. All of it comes back to what appears to be their belief that state and local governments need to spend even more on funding our infrastructure.

Then, there are quite a lot of boilerplate claims about leveraging the private sector.

Source: Trump’s Infrastructure Plan Will Lead to More Harm: We Need Broad-Based Public Investment

For the Love of Liberation: Let’s Stop Belittling Others and Start Organizing


The road to better insights, which many of us are still actively traveling on, is often marked by people who take the time to help us learn and grow, and who don’t belittle others simply because they’re not as informed.

During difficult times like these we’re living in, there will always be people who are prone to behave in desperate ways. Some are ready, willing and able to quickly betray themselves and/or others for anything that even just slightly appears to resemble relief or security.

They may be capable of committing themselves to the same political missteps that helped lead us all to this despicable moment we’re in.

Actual progress and change can die and do die at the hands of an overzealous optimism that relies on the same to give us anything new.

Source: For the Love of Liberation: Let’s Stop Belittling Others and Start Organizing

The perils of going digital with an imperfect design

[India]


.. digitization is actively being looked upon as a solution to numerous challenges. However, it is often forgotten that digitization is merely a mode for delivery of solutions and not the solution itself.

While digitization of a process may help in enhancing the outreach, its design process must establish clear objectives and an inclusive and good planning.

.. The agricultural lard records available online are not free of errors; also these cannot be used for legal purposes (as the website itself claims). In short, the government assumes no responsibility for the land records, they have facilitated on their websites.

In fact, the entire process has become even more cumbersome than before, thanks to the entry of another layer of authentication, the tehsildar.

Source: The perils of going digital with an imperfect design

Elephant dies in Kerala after eating plastic: Who is to blame? | The News Minute

[India]


Every year, thousands of pilgrims trek through dense forested hills in the Pamba River basin to the abode of Lord Ayyappa during the annual pilgrimage. Sabarimala is part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, a rich biodiversity home to several species of wild animals and plants.

However, pollution caused by pilgrims, especially dumping of plastic waste, has emerged as a threat to the ecosystem in and around the famous temple.

When a group of wildlife and environment volunteers from the state visited the path leading to Sabarimala a few days ago, they found huge amount of plastic waste in the forest, including wrappers, bottles, carry bags, etc. They allege that the cleaning staff responsible for clearing garbage from the pathways usually dump it in the forests after collection.

Source: Elephant dies in Kerala after eating plastic: Who is to blame? | The News Minute

Germany considers free public transport to address air quality crisis


Germany will launch a pilot project offering free public transport in five cities to address environmental concerns, local media reported on Tuesday.

Among the cities considering the municipalization of transport services are the former West German capital, Bonn, and Essen, Reytlingen, Mannheim, and Herrenberg.

Source: Germany considers free public transport to address air quality crisis

Don’t Be Complacent About Italy’s Elections | Bloomberg


The trouble is, the elections seem unlikely to help. Italian politics consists of three main groups: the center-left, led by Matteo Renzi; the center-right, headed by Silvio Berlusconi; and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, led by Luigi Di Maio.

According to recent polls, none will be able to form a government. The expected result is either a wobbly “grand coalition” or a prolonged stalemate, leading in due course to new elections.

This time will be different. Italy’s public debt stands at a towering 132 percent of gross domestic product, and the policies needed to put it on a sustainable downward track are nowhere in sight.

Source: Don’t Be Complacent About Italy’s Elections – Bloomberg

Global Debt Crisis II Cometh


The ducks are beginning to line up for yet another global debt crisis. US mortgage rates are hinting at another crash, student debt crises loom in both the US and UK, consumer and corporate debt is at record levels and global debt to GDP ratio is higher than it was during the financial crisis.

When you look at the figures you realize there is an air of inevitability of what is around the corner. If the last week has taught us anything, it is that markets are unprepared for the fallout that is destined to come after a decade of easy monetary policies.

Global debt is more than three times the size of the global economy, the highest it has ever been.

Source: Global Debt Crisis II Cometh

Europe’s $1.2 Trillion Soured Loan Headache in Five Charts


For European banks, it’s a headache that just won’t go away: the 944 billion euros ($1.17 trillion) of non-performing loans that’s weighing down their balance sheets.

There are various ways of calculating soured loans. The European Central Bank advises that non-performing asset indicators should be interpreted with caution because the definition of impaired assets and loss provision differ between countries.

Source: IBC: What It Takes To Become A Suitable Bidder

Looming debt crisis as interest payments set to rocket over next five years, research by Labour uncovers | Mirror Online


The combined annual cost of servicing debts for all families in the UK is expected to climb from £56billion to an “eyewatering” £72billion.

It comes after years of cheap credit fuelled the economic recovery from the 2007-08 financial crisis, with rates held at a record-low of 0.5% for seven years, before being slashed to 0.25% in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Source: Looming debt crisis as interest payments set to rocket over next five years, research by Labour uncovers – Mirror Online