First Read

Maureen Downs, Rosenthal Collins Group – Brutally Honest: The Role of the Mentor

“Everyone wants to be on their team. They understand human nature, they bring people together, they know how to resolve conflict. That makes a great mentor.”

Maureen Downs never had a mentor, but she knows what it takes to be a good one. A mentor is not supposed to be your personal cheerleader, or a mommy figure, or a career navigator, and certainly not a fairy godmother who can wave a wand and make your career awesome. A mentor is a leader, one with energy, fresh ideas, a get-it-done attitude, and an ability to resolve conflict.

Downs offers a direct, insightful and sometimes brutally honest look at the role of the mentor, how to be a good mentee, and a few tips on how to manage crises, failures, and the “nasty people” we all encounter from time to time. She says it is OK to greet failure with anger or self pity, but only for one day. Then it is time to take the next positive step forward.

Words to live by.

Watch the video »

Chicago 2016 Video Releases to Date
Lisa Dunsky, OCC – Hit By A Brick: How Setbacks Shape Your Career
Kate Maehr, Greater Chicago Food Depository – Volunteerism: Good for the community and good for you!
Christian Domin, GlenStar Properties – Value Investing: Office Space and Associated Risks
Rob D’Arco, Rival Systems – Technology: the Center of the (Financial) World
Jeff Levoff, Partner, DRW – Make a Market: Proprietary Trading in the Modern Era
Walt Lukken, FIA – The New Normal and the Five Tips
Rumi Morales, CME Ventures – Investing in the Future of Fintech
Drew Shields, Trading Technologies – Next-Generation Product Development
Karen Wuertz, National Futures Association – Opportunity Behind Many Doors


Eurex trader onboarding programme
The Executive Board of Eurex Frankfurt AG has decided to introduce an onboarding programme supporting Members of Eurex in developing Eurex product and derivatives trading expertise of young talents, as admitted Eurex Traders or via Order-Routing, and successfully educating these talents in the usage of Eurex products.

***** Surf’s up!


A new Fed first: FOMC official takes to Twitter to pan banker
Greg Robb – MarketWatch
A new era in Federal Reserve communication dawned Thursday when a senior U.S. central banker took off his gloves and slammed a former official on twitter. At issue was an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday written by former Fed governor Kevin Warsh.

***** Don’t start a fight with people who print dollars by the billions?


From Bench to Benchmark: Jose Canseco Is Twitter’s Favorite Financial Analyst
Chelsey Dulaney – WSJ
Wall Street was caught off guard by this year’s big oil rally. The spread of negative interest rates has befuddled economists. Most polls failed to predict Brexit.
Into this vacuum slipped a muscle-bound former baseball outfielder who exposed baseball’s rampant steroid use and nearly blew off his middle finger with a handgun. Jose Canseco, who slugged his way through the major leagues, has now developed a cult following after some of his contrarian predictions about financial markets came true.

***** Hopefully his partner is not Lenny Dykstra.


Teen hedge fund manager’s father accuses regulator of ‘thuggery’
Julia La Roche – Yahoo Finance
Teenage hedge fund manager Jacob Wohl — nicknamed “Wohl of Wall Street” — had his first run-in with a regulator. The National Futures Association (NFA) — a self-regulator for the US futures market — has issued a complaint against the 18-year-old and his (now former) firm, NeX Capital Management, alleging they failed to cooperate with the regulator in its attempted examination of the fund.

***** The NFA staff is a lot of things, but “thugs” is not one of them.


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Top Five Stories Of The Week
Our most read stories from the past week are:
Friday – The Wolf Of Wall Street Fake Cocaine Put Jonah Hill In Hospital
Monday – How This Hedge Fund Robot Outsmarted Its Human Master
Tuesday – CME Group suspends gold, natural gas trader for spoofing
Wednesday – Why French businessmen dress better
Thursday – Maureen Downs of Rosenthal Collins Group


Thursday’s Top Three
Maureen Downs of Rosenthal Collins Group speaking at our MarketsWikiEduction event about the role of a mentor leads our list today. Unfortunately our second most read story had a broken link yesterday. 8 Tips to Protect Your Phone and Money From Hacking made the number two spot (this time the link works). Worth a read too. And rounding out the top three is Derivatives users hit as negative rates raise collateral costs


Lead Stories

Thought Volcker Rule Went Too Far? There’s More Coming for Banks
Jesse Hamilton – Bloomberg
Regulators said poised to issue report on risky investments; Limiting banks’ copper holdings said to be among proposals
After years of grappling with the Dodd-Frank Act, banks will soon learn what regulators want to do next to rein in Wall Street’s risky investments.

Why Banks Can’t Pay Enough To Attract Tech Talent
In the dotcom boom, beanbags and foosball helped attract the bright, young things who understood the internet. It’s not so easy for banks these days especially as competition for tech talent heats up again.

Exclusive – Exchange Bats eyes new EU base outside London after Brexit
By Huw Jones – Reuters
Europe’s biggest stock exchange Bats Europe could open a base outside London following Brexit, its head told Reuters, voicing doubts about whether the City of London would secure sufficient access to the European market.

Rethinking Speed in Financial Markets, Part 3: The Speed Rule
Donal Byrne, Corvil via TABB Forum
In today’s markets, information about speed is becoming more valuable than speed itself. If we can’t tell time in the machine-traded world, and can’t see exactly what is happening, we will never have a market structure that everyone accepts to be transparent, fair and robust.

The Sinister Side of Cash
Kenneth S. Rogoff – WSJ
When I tell people that I have been doing research on why the government should drastically scale back the circulation of cash—paper currency—the most common initial reaction is bewilderment. Why should anyone care about such a mundane topic? But paper currency lies at the heart of some of today’s most intractable public-finance and monetary problems. Getting rid of most of it—that is, moving to a society where cash is used less frequently and mainly for small transactions—could be a big help.

Years of Fed Missteps Fueled Disillusion With the Economy and Washington; Once-revered central bank failed to foresee the crisis and has struggled in its aftermath, fostering the rise of populism and distrust of institutions
By Jon Hilsenrath – WSJ
In the past decade Federal Reserve officials have been flummoxed by a housing bubble that cratered the financial system, a long stretch of slow growth they failed to foresee and inflation persistently undershooting their goal. In response they engineered unpopular financial rescues, launched start-and-stop bond buying and delayed planned interest-rate boosts.

Japan’s government pension fund hit by $52bn quarterly loss; Japan’s GPIF blames Brexit vote and US jobs data for tumble in stocks
by: Leo Lewis in Tokyo – FT
The world’s largest pension fund has said the UK’s surprise vote in late June to leave the EU was partially to blame for a $52bn quarterly investment loss.

Voice-to-text software touted as Mifid II quoting fix; Quotes given over phone can be transcribed and broadcast, claim ‘soft turret’ firms
Luke Clancy –
Until a few months ago, Paul Christensen and Germán Soto Sanchez were doing similar jobs at rival banks. Today, both men are doing similar jobs at rival technology companies. Their aim is to replace a trading desk’s souped-up phone console, or turret, with cheaper, browser-based software. But it’s not just about cost. From next year, the firms plan to offer speech recognition and transcription tools that will automatically convert voice into text in real time – the best way to satisfy new rules…

Can Economists Put a Value on a Good Night’s Rest?
Piotr Skolimowski and Scott Hamilton – Bloomberg
For an example of the problems with the standard measure of economic growth, look at beds. Or media. Beds account for a tiny share of gross domestic product even though sleep is tremendously useful to consumers, according to an academic paper presented at a conference this week in Dresden, Germany. The authors made the point to illustrate their research into free online media and its impact, or lack of it, on official GDP figures.

More than 20 global fintech hubs to form federation in innovation push
By Jemima Kelly – Reuters
Financial technology groups from more than 20 cities across the world plan to form a federation of ‘fintech’ hubs this year in what would be the first attempt to coordinate and globalize web-based innovation transforming the financial industry.

Hedge-Fund Demand for London Offices Hits Five-Year Low: Chart
Jack Sidders- Bloomberg
Hedge funds and private-equity firms leased the smallest amount of central London office space since 2011 in the second quarter, according to broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. More hedge funds closed than were started during the first five months of the year, according to data from Eurekahedge. Hedge funds globally recorded net outflows of $55.9 billion through July, eVestment

Index IDEA: US indexes in the black when Fed chair speaks at Jackson Hole
FTSE Russell Blog
As we approach the annual Fed symposium at Jackson Hole later this week and Fed chair Janet Yellen’s scheduled speech on Friday, FTSE Russell looked back at US equity market index performance in the trading week following the last six conferences. The Fed’s annual late August Jackson Hole gathering has become a closely watched market event, to which market participants look for clues on the possible direction of US monetary policy and Fed outlook on the US economy.

Magic Tricks and Vanishing Directors
Matt Levine – Bloomberg View
Here is a U.S. patent application for a “Computer Assisted Magic Trick Executed in the Financial Markets.”

Out-of-work financial execs still feeling bite of economic crisis
Gail MarksJarvis – Chicago Tribune
About 30 years ago, Lise Rosengard was persuaded by family and friends to set aside her passion for art and go for a secure job with good earning potential.
She went to work in banking and worked her way up to vice president at one of the world’s most prominent financial institutions, Societe Generale. Then came the financial crisis of 2008, and she found herself out of work along with hundreds of thousands of other people.

Risk managers wary of op risk securitisation; Sfr270 million transaction by Credit Suisse and Zurich thought unlikely to be copied due to SMA
Michael Hegarty –
Credit Suisse scored an industry first in May by securitising its operational risk exposures, but risk managers and industry experts say the transaction is unlikely to be replicated by other firms. While other banks are intrigued by the deal and its funding structure, the transaction took years to come to fruition, and the level of investor interest was lower than initially anticipated. Moreover, likely changes to capital rules from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision will stop banks from…

Exchanges, OTC and Clearing

LSE and Deutsche Börse submit tie-up plan to EU authorities
Philip Stafford – Financial Times
Deutsche Börse and the London Stock Exchange Group have submitted their plans to create Europe’s largest exchange group to antitrust authorities in Brussels, triggering a regulatory process that could decide the fate of the EUR24bn merger. The formal filing kicks off a rigid schedule for examining the deal to create one of the world’s largest exchanges operators, a transaction that is likely to be highly resisted by some politicians and rivals in Europe.

FIA releases SEF Tracker for July
Total trading volume on SEFs averaged $407.0 billion per day during the month of July, down 29.0% from the record high of the previous month but up 2.6% from July 2015. All asset classes showed significant decreases in volume from last month, especially rates which reached its lowest average in 2016.

CBOE, C2 and CFE Trading Schedule for the Labor Day Holiday
Press Release
CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) today announced the following trading schedule for Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), C2 Options Exchange (C2) and CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, Montréal Exchange and TSX Alpha Exchange Closed for Labour Day
Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, Montréal Exchange and TSX Alpha Exchange will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2016 for the Labour Day holiday.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), part of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), today celebrates the listing of two new ETFs from First Trust, marking the first time an issuer has utilized the new streamlined generic listing rules approved last month.


Economists Who’ve Advised Presidents Are No Fans of Donald Trump; In a WSJ survey, no former members of the White House Council of Economic Advisers—spanning eight presidents—openly support Mr. Trump
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has broken with many of the GOP’s traditional positions on economic policy, garners no support from any of the White House economists who have advised U.S. presidents for the past half-century.

Citigroup: A Trump Victory in November Could Cause a Global Recession
Luke Kawa – Bloomberg
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States could lead to chaos in markets and increased policy uncertainty that tip the world into recession, according to Citigroup Inc. “A Trump victory in particular could prolong and perhaps exacerbate policy uncertainty and deliver a shock (though perhaps short-lived) to financial markets,” writes a team led by Chief Economist Willem Buiter. “Tightening financial conditions and further rises in uncertainty could trigger a significant slowdown in U.S., but also global growth.”

Top Currency Strategy of 2016 Turns Perilous as Risks Rise
Ye Xie, Natasha Doff and Elena Popina – Bloomberg
Currency traders basking in the relative calm of August markets just received a jarring reminder of the dangers of chasing high yields. Recent flare-ups in political risk in emerging markets weakened their currencies and helped send returns on carry trades — borrowing in locales with relatively low interest rates and investing the proceeds in places where they’re higher — tumbling from the highest in a year. Turmoil among South Africa’s political leadership this week prompted such a drop in the rand against the dollar that it cut the return on this quarter’s best carry trade in half.

Snapchat Lures More Campaign Spending as Candidates Court Young Voters
Nicole Piper – Bloomberg
Snapchat has no proven track record in election advertising. It shares only limited data about its audience, and caters mainly to a demographic that hasn’t traditionally turned out in big numbers to vote. That’s not stopping political campaigns from devoting more ad dollars to reach the millions of millennials who spend hours every week on the social-media app.

Investing and Trading

A simple model of aggregate dividend growth
Erik Norland, CME Group – S&P Dow Jones Indices: Indexology
Dividends are getting more and more into the spotlight as overall corporate earnings growth continues to face many challenges in a low inflation and relatively slowly growing world. And, a U.S. Treasury 10-year note yield of sub-2% certainly adds interest to the dividends that can be earned from S&P 500 companies. And, dividends may also provide a modest potential hedge against changes in nominal GDP growth, should the economy decelerate unexpectedly.

Pre-crisis mortgage bonds still haunting investors
Joy Wiltermuth – Reuters
A New York City property that investors were told would be the home of another iconic Apple store has instead wound up stuck in a mortgage bond facing hundreds of millions in unpaid debt. Apple never built a store on the 34th Street site and, like much of the bond’s remaining US$1.7bn collateral, not one penny of the principal on its US$100m mortgage has been repaid.

Swedish Debt Office Says Central Bank Is Nearing Limit of QE
Johan Carlstrom – Bloomberg
The man in charge of managing Sweden’s state debt signaled the Riksbank may soon be reaching the limits of its government bond purchase program amid signs that liquidity is suffering.

Bank Supervisors’ Bark May Exceed Bite on EU Capital Revamp
Boris Groendahl – Bloomberg
EU Commission proposes giving banks lead on capital adequacy; nPolicy Watch says proposal would disarm bank supervisors
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England may soon find that their most powerful tool for overseeing lenders doesn’t pack the punch it once did.

Investor lessons from a market bubble that cost Isaac Newton a bundle
By Barbara Kollmeyer – MarketWatch
A street scene in London at the time of the South Sea Bubble in 1720.
It says a lot about human nature that the scientist responsible for the law of gravity was sucked into an investment that for a time defied gravity.

Next time you hear “Bond Liquidity Crisis”, show them this
by Joshua M Brown – The Reformed Broker
I’m out all day at a Dimensional Funds applied investment workshop in midtown but I wanted to check in with something cool we’re discussing…


The Fed Knows How to Hit Its Target
Narayana Kocherlakota – Bloomberg View
My former Federal Reserve colleague Kevin Warsh has penned an article in the Wall Street Journal that assails the central bank for its “deeply flawed” management of the economy. I disagree with many elements of his argument, but I want to focus on one: that the Fed doesn’t know how to achieve its inflation objective.

US banks just recorded their most profitable quarter EVER
Jeff Cox – CNBC
American banks spent the second quarter crying all the way to the, well, bank.
Despite an increasing regulatory burden and amid lackluster share performance, the industry logged record profits for the period, topping the second quarter of 2015, according to figures from SNL Financial and S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Out West, Debate Asks Whether Fed Is Serving Bankers or Busboys
Jeanna Smialek – Bloomberg
As Federal Reserve officials and top economists meet in Jackson Hole this week, the Fed Up coalition will be criticizing the central bank’s structure from the sidelines. The pro-worker group, an initiative of the Center for Popular Democracy, expects to have 120 workers and activists at the annual economic symposium in Wyoming. On Thursday evening, representatives will meet with Kansas City Fed President Esther George and her fellow bank presidents William Dudley, Neel Kashkari, Loretta Mester, Robert Kaplan, Eric Rosengren and John Williams, along with Fed Governor Lael Brainard, said Fed Up organizer Jordan Haedtler.

Deutsche CEO: Negative rates have ‘fatal consequences’
Jeff Cox – CNBC
The head of Germany’s embattled Deutsche Bank believes negative interest rates are posing an imminent danger to the economy, savers and pension funds.

The World’s Monetary System Is Broken and Banks Will Continue to Suffer
Chris Vermeulen – TheStreet
With low and negative yields, why do so few have the confidence to invest in real capital projects? Easy money has given rise to stock dividends and buybacks but it seems that investors would much rather lose money over a 10-year horizon than invest in building dams, repairing pipes, creating better grids and starting new businesses. A new monetary order must replace the existing one, and as soon as possible.

Libor Shouldn’t Sneak Up on Fed
Lisa Abramowicz – Bloomberg
It’s becoming harder to ignore the spike in the London Interbank Offered Rate.
This key benchmark rate for trillions of dollars of debt has risen to the highest level since 2009, largely because of new money-market rules that go into effect in October. Regardless of the cause or permanence of the rate increase, broader effects can already be seen throughout markets, and the Federal Reserve should take greater notice.

Steve Eisman Is Leading A Hedge Fund Revolution
Rupert Hargreaves – ValueWalk
Steve Eisman is somewhat of a celebrity in the hedge fund world. And after the release of the film adaptation of Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, Eisman has also become a star outside of the financial community as well.

Citadel poaches ex-Blackrock sec lending head for equities
Paul Walsh – The Trade
Hedge fund giant Citadel has appointed Blackrock’s former global head of securities lending and finance Michael Weaver as COO of its Surveyor Capital equity group. Weaver, who left his position with Blackrock in December, will be based in New York in his new role.

Pimco’s Kiesel Sees U.K. Bank Credit as Bright Spot After Brexit
Claire Boston – Bloomberg
U.K. banks offer one of the few bright spots in European bond markets, according to Mark Kiesel at Pacific Investment Management Co.
While the U.K.’s vote in June to leave the European Union has put the country’s economy at risk, the banking sector has almost doubled its capital in the past five to six years, Pimco’s chief investment officer for global credit said in a television interview on Bloomberg TV on Thursday.

BGC Partners announces agreement to acquire Perimeter Markets Inc., an operator of electronic trading platforms in Canada
Press Release
BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) (“BGC Partners,” “BGC,” or “the Company”), a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets, today announced that BGC1 has entered into an agreement to acquire Perimeter Markets Inc. (“Perimeter Markets”). Perimeter Markets is an independent provider of electronic fixed income and futures trading in Canada, through its CBID™ platforms.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Is Nominated for a Second Term
Jackie Calmes – NY Times
President Obama on Thursday nominated Jim Yong Kim for a second five-year term as president of the World Bank despite persistent complaints among staff members about his leadership when the mission of the global development institution is in question.


Calling all stock trading geeks: Quantopian wants your trading ideas
Bob Pisani – CNBC
Calling all stock market geeks: did you ever have an idea for a trading program? There’s a firm who wants to hear from you. Quantopian recently made headlines when it announced that it had received a $250 million investment from Steve Cohen’s Point72 family home office.

This Is Your Company on Blockchain
Peter Coy and Olga Kharif – Bloomberg
You don’t have to be an expert on digital currencies like bitcoin to be intrigued by the potential of the technology underlying them. Blockchain, as it’s called, is something new in computing. It mashes up cryptography and peer-to-peer networking to create what amounts to a shared database of transactions and other information—which can be open to all, controlled by no one. It’s not just for securely recording payments in crypto-coinage; a blockchain can handle complex transactions, even entire contracts.

BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank and others join UBS for blockchain initiative
Anthony Noto – New York Business Journal
Wall Street’s power players don’t like being left out on the latest trends. Recall how the New York Stock Exchange felt threatened by IEX’s signature “speed bump,” which slows down high-speed trading orders. Its response was to possibly come up with its own version of the technology as a necessary tactic to stay relevant. Big banks are in a similar scenario with digital currency, which has indeed shaken up the traditional settlement system used by banks.

WhatsApp paves way for messages from businesses
Hannah Kuchler – Financial Times
WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy to allow businesses to message its billion-plus users, opening up a potential revenue stream for the Facebook-owned app. The policy shake-up — the first since it was acquired by Facebook in early 2014 — will allow companies to send messages that many people now receive by SMS. WhatsApp plans to test these new services, such as fraud alerts from banks and updates from airlines on delayed flights, in the next few months.

Financial Networking Company Prepares for ‘Post-Quantum’ World
Jeremy Kahn – Bloomberg
IPC turns to U.K. startup for encryption, authentication; Quantum computing could break existing encryption models
When it comes to cybersecurity, no one can accuse IPC Systems Inc., the New Jersey-based company that builds communications networks for trading firms and financial markets, of preparing to fight the last war.

Billionaire’s 28-Year-Old Son Picks Digital Music Empire Over Palm-Oil Riches
Yoolim Lee – Bloomberg
Kuok Meng Ru didn’t spend much time with his billionaire father when he was growing up.


Regulators to dig deeper into worries over money-laundering checks
Huw Jones – Reuters
Global regulators will try to get more insight into why major banks are withdrawing from handling cross-border payments, making it harder for people to send money to relatives and loved-ones abroad. Banks say it has become more costly to comply with tougher customer checks against money-laundering and terrorist financing, putting pressure on regulators to ease up.

Fracking and the burning question of regulation
The Guardian
With respect to Professor MacDonald (Letters, 22 August), a recently published analysis of peer-reviewed literature between 2009 and 2015 demonstrates that 84% of the studies contain findings that indicate public health hazards, elevated risks or adverse health outcomes in fracking areas, all of which were confident no doubt that their regulations were world class. There are similar high levels of anxiety concerning water and air quality in fracking areas.

SEC Adopts Rules to Enhance Information Reported by Investment Advisers
The Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted amendments to several Investment Advisers Act rules and the investment adviser registration and reporting form to enhance the reporting and disclosure of information by investment advisers. The amendments will improve the quality of information that investment advisers provide to investors and the Commission.

Investment Advisers Paying Penalties for Advertising False Performance Claims
An SEC enforcement sweep of investment advisers found that the 13 firms accepted and negligently relied upon claims by F-Squared Investments that its AlphaSector strategy for investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) had outperformed the S&P Index for several years. The firms repeated many of F-Squared’s claims while recommending the investment to their own clients without obtaining sufficient documentation to substantiate the information being advertised. F-Squared later admitted in an SEC enforcement case that what was purportedly its real, historical track record was only back-tested performance that turned out to be substantially inflated.

****SD: Reuters’ take here


Hedge Funds Are Suddenly Winning on China’s Most Dangerous Short
Lisa Pham and Ye Xie – Bloomberg
Stock traders who stuck with China’s most painful short sale are finally getting some relief.
After suffering through a 953 percent rally in shares of Yirendai Ltd. since mid-February, hedge funds and other bearish speculators were rewarded over the past four days as the Chinese peer-to-peer lender sank 35 percent in U.S. trading. Holding on to the trade has been especially costly after annualized borrowing rates for Yirendai shares jumped to about 40 percent, the highest level among big Chinese companies tracked by IHS Markit Ltd.

RBI lets banks issue masala bonds, to accept corp bonds in LAF
Economic Times
Reserve Bank today announced a slew of changes in fixed income and currency markets such as allowing lenders to issue ‘masala bonds’ and to accept corporate bonds under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).

China’s Top Search Engine Freezes Bitcoin Ads Without Warning
Lulu Yilun Chen, David Ramli – Bloomberg
China is the largest market for bitcoin trading and mining; Country’s central bank is studying blockchain technology
Baidu Inc. has quietly removed advertising for bitcoin and all other forms of virtual currency from its online service, two of China’s largest bitcoin exchanges say, signaling a growing wariness over the proliferation of online scammers.

India should let market determine seed prices: foreign seed firms’ alliance
An official from the newly formed alliance of major international seed companies in India said on Friday that market should determine prices of seeds rather than regulatory mechanism.


Europe plans news levy on search engines
Duncan Robinson – Financial Times
European news publishers will be given the right to levy fees on internet platforms such as Google if search engines show snippets of their stories, under radical copyright reforms being finalised by the European Commission.

The Sad State of Mics Is Holding Back Siri and Alexa
Matthew Braga – Bloomberg
Apple,, Google, and Microsoft are among the companies trying to get you talking—to your phone, to your TV remote, to the funny-looking speaker on your desk. Amazon’s Alexa can order a cookbook and Apple’s Siri can set an oven timer for the cake, while Google’s Home silences the smoke alarm and Microsoft’s Cortana texts party guests to bring a dessert, all via voice commands. It’s impressive right up until the virtual assistants start responding with a familiar chorus along the lines of: “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.”

Apple’s Cook Reaped $373 Million in Stock in Five Years as CEO
Caleb Melby and Alex Webb – Bloomberg
Tim Cook, who marked his five-year anniversary as Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer on Wednesday, received shares valued at $373 million during that period as the iPhone maker’s stock doubled on his watch. When Cook took the helm in 2011, he was granted 1 million shares. Originally, 50 percent of those were scheduled to vest on his five-year anniversary, with the rest coming due after a decade with the company. That changed in 2013, when Cook voluntarily tied one-third of the award to outperforming the S&P 500 Index and the shares began vesting annually.

Warren Hinckle, Ramparts Editor Who Embraced Gonzo Journalism, Dies at 77
William Grimes – NY Times
Warren Hinckle, the flamboyant editor who made Ramparts magazine a powerful national voice for the radical left in the 1960s and later by championing the work of Hunter S. Thompson and helping introduce the no-holds-barred reporting style known as gonzo journalism, died on Thursday. He was 77.

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