The COVID-19 crisis and banking system resilience | OECD

This paper outlines the findings of a simulation analysis that assesses the extent of the potential rise in bank NPLs, taking into consideration assumptions under extensive monetary and fiscal support versus a scenario without continued support measures in keeping with conditions that prevailed in the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis. The paper also investigates the subsequent implications for bank capital and discusses whether policy responses may be needed to clean balance sheets.

Source: The COVID-19 crisis and banking system resilience – OECD

COVID-19: Experts Say India Worst Hit Country in World | Time


India became the country with the world’s second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, surpassing Brazil, and now second only to the United States. But experts say that low testing in the country suggests the real total is far higher than both.

India now has 13.5 million confirmed cases, compared to the U.S.’s 31.1 million. The country is currently in the midst of a second wave of the virus, with confirmed daily infections reaching an all-time high of 168,912 on Monday.

But the official numbers only tell part of the story, according to multiple studies.

Source: COVID-19: Experts Say India Worst Hit Country in World | Time

Toxic and Radioactive: The Damage From Mining Rare Elements | EcoWatch


More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Though made in large part of plastic, glass, ceramics, gold and copper, they also contain critical resources. The gallium used for LEDs and the camera flash, the tantalum in capacitors and indium that powers the display were all pulled from the ground — at a price for nature and people.

“Mining raw materials is always problematic, both with regard to human rights and ecology,” said Melanie Müller, raw materials expert of the German think tank SWP. “Their production process is pretty toxic.”

The gallium and indium in many phones comes from China or South Korea, the tantalum from the Democratic Republic of Congo or Rwanda. All in, such materials comprise less than ten grams of a phone’s weight. But these grams finance an international mining industry that causes radioactive earth dumps, poisoned groundwater and Indigenous population displacement

Source: Toxic and Radioactive: The Damage From Mining Rare Elements – EcoWatch

TfL’s Andy Byford: We Shouldn’t Give Up on Public Transit | Time


Andy Byford was feeling guilty.

It was March 2020, and he had just left his job as head of the New York City Transit Authority, after Governor Andrew Cuomo moved him off a massive revamp of the ailing subways. Stuck in his English hometown of Plymouth because of pandemic travel restrictions, he sat feeling “frustrated and impotent” as COVID-19 decimated ridership and revenues in public transit in New York and around the world. “Had I known the full horror of what was to emerge,” Byford, 55, says grimly, “I would have put my resignation on hold and stayed to see New York City transit through the crisis.” He even reached out to the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and offered to come back, he says.

Source: TfL’s Andy Byford: We Shouldn’t Give Up on Public Transit | Time

Live Animal Markets Should Be Closed to Prevent the Next Pandemic | EcoWatch


The exact origin of the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which started the COVID-19 pandemic, is still unclear. Early reports suggested that the virus jumped from an animal to a human at Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, a “wet market” that sells live animals. On March 30, the international team of scientists assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report of their recent visit to Wuhan to investigate the source of the virus and confirmed the “zoonotic source of SARS-CoV-2.”

“Evidence from surveys and targeted studies so far have shown that the coronaviruses most highly related to SARS-CoV-2 are found in bats and pangolins, suggesting that these mammals may be the reservoir of the virus that causes COVID-19,” the WHO report states. “In addition to these findings, the high susceptibility of mink and cats to SARS-CoV- 2 suggests that additional species of animals may act as a potential reservoir. … Several samples from patients with exposure to the Huanan market had identical virus genomes, suggesting that they may have been part of a cluster.”

Source: Live Animal Markets Should Be Closed to Prevent the Next Pandemic – EcoWatch

Driver’s Responsibility Must Be a Yes-or-No Question | EE Times


Is a driver responsible when a Level 3 vehicle crashes? According to Level 3 definitions, it’s hard to tell.

That there is still no definitive answer to the question is seriously troubling, and so the debate over SAE Level 3 is flaring back up. The controversy is not about the nuts and bolts in the SAE J3016 technical standard put together by SAE International. Instead, the spotlight shines on a broad spectrum of interpretations and loose claims that automakers and tech suppliers are conjuring as they call their new vehicles the “Level 3 of Driving Automation.”

The debate within the industry spilled into the public arena with Tesla’s recent admission that neither Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving (FSD) will be autonomous systems, an admission that set off an enormous tweet storm.

Source: Driver’s Responsibility Must Be a Yes-or-No Question | EE Times

64% of World’s Farmland at Risk From Pesticide Pollution, Study Finds | EcoWatch


About one third of the world’s agricultural land is at high risk from pesticide pollution, a new study has found.

The research, published in Nature Geoscience Monday, looked at the use and spread of 92 active pesticide ingredients in 168 countries. They considered an area at risk if the concentration of a chemical exceeded the limit at which it would have no effect, and at high risk if that concentration exceeded the limit by a factor of 1,000.

Source: 64% of World’s Farmland at Risk From Pesticide Pollution, Study Finds – EcoWatch

If Democrats Gut Filibuster, Republicans Have a Final Option to Delay Biden’s Agenda


As frustrations mount over opposition to President Joe Biden‘s legislative agenda, more Democrats are getting on board with ending the filibuster, and if Democrats were to gut the Senate rule, Republicans‘ final attempt to delay partisan legislation could be to not show up to work.

The passage of the American Rescue Plan along party lines signaled to Democrats that moving Biden’s agenda through the Senate won’t be an easy task, reigniting talk of ending the filibuster. That would put Democrats in a position of passing legislation without Republican support, but it could come back to haunt them and require them to force senators to come to the floor for votes.

Source: If Democrats Gut Filibuster, Republicans Have a Final Option to Delay Biden’s Agenda

GM and Ford struggle with global chip shortage as Biden reviews supply chain | Vox


This year, some of GM’s newest cars won’t have a critical feature — an advanced fuel management system that saves gas — because the company couldn’t get enough chips, the transistor-filled semiconductors that keep so many of the devices we use today running. The company announced last week that customers who buy the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups between now and the end of the summer will have a lower fuel economy, showing that even a year after the pandemic started wreaking havoc on global supply chains, a chip shortage is still disrupting entire industries.

Source: GM and Ford struggle with global chip shortage as Biden reviews supply chain – Vox

How inheritance became a gift, a necessity, and a curse | Vox


Technically, Megan is a farming heiress.

Her mom grew up on a wheat farm, and for years, the government had been paying her family $15,000 a year to not farm. It was an attempt to keep land from being overused, and that money was basically the extent of Megan’s relationship with agriculture: the source of a yearly gift, the money she and her mom would wait for before, say, buying furniture or making home repairs. Now Megan, who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym to speak freely about her finances, receives that money directly.

In 2019, at the age of 64, Megan’s mother died. It was expected and unexpected. Her mom had been a cancer survivor for 20 years. But chemotherapy had damaged her heart, and two years ago, she went into cardiac arrest.

On the phone, Megan, 38, runs me through the process of settling her mother’s estate.

Source: How inheritance became a gift, a necessity, and a curse – Vox