Nordic Banks – Nordbi http://www.nordbi.org/ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 19:26:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 http://www.nordbi.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/nordbi-icon-150x150.png Nordic Banks – Nordbi http://www.nordbi.org/ 32 32 The Fintech Fix 21/09/2022 | Fintech Finance http://www.nordbi.org/the-fintech-fix-21-09-2022-fintech-finance/ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:46:38 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/the-fintech-fix-21-09-2022-fintech-finance/

Welcome to The Fintech Fix, where we cover the biggest fintech stories of the working week. Whether it’s the next groundbreaking trend in crypto, or a new partnership that’s about to change the global economic landscape, this is the place to keep up with the breaking news of the future.

In with the New

This week’s big stories can be characterised by one word: beginnings. Fintechs are thinking outside the box, and developing products and services more attuned to the new age. The mysterious newfound credit card issuing fintech, Power, has finally emerged from stealth. After securing $16.1 million in seed funding, and $300 million in a credit facility, the startup is lifting the curtain on its operations and sharing their vision of credit to the world.

“After just over twelve months, Power is already live in the market and on track to issue thousands of credit cards this year,” says Randy Fernando, Founder and CEO at Power. “Looking ahead to next year, we plan to issue tens of thousands of cards across consumer, commercial and banking categories and process millions of dollars in transaction volume.”

San Mateo Unicorn, Tipalti, takes a further splash into the Eurozone, recently setting up a new Benelux office in Amsterdam. The company, currently valued at $8.3 billion+, previously launched in the UK last October and has now amassed over 100 UK-based customers. Hitting the central European market through the Netherlands will only grow Tipalti’s presence in the region with their leading automated global payables solutions.

Looking more into product expansion, global payroll and compliance solution, Deel, has announced the launch of two new products, Deel Shield and Deel API/the Deel Partner Program. The former is designed for contractor compliance, giving businesses the agency to hire across the world with a low level of misclassification risk or liability. Deel API is more geared toward demands in-house, allowing businesses to deliver their HR products with Deel’s hiring software.

Commenting on the launch, Alex Bouaziz, Co-Founder & CEO at Deel, said: “We built Deel Shield to empower businesses to hire global talent at record speed with zero misclassification risks and enjoy all the benefits that come with working with a contractor, without the HR or compliance hassle. This way, it’s our liability, not yours. As for Deel API – this is just the beginning. We have big plans to expand our API’s capabilities so companies can build more global hiring solutions.”

We are also at the dawn of a new payments revolution with the introduction of the UK’s New Payments Initiative and ISO 20022. In our recent Virtual Arena, we brought together the brilliant minds of Nationwide, ACI Worldwide, and Pay.UK, to talk about NPA and the infrastructure necessary to facilitate faster, and more secure, payments. In the VA, leaders Mark Nalder, Shane Warman, and Andrew Moseley spoke in depth about the possibilities afforded by faster payments and how the industry needs to work together to create a solid ecosystem if we want to make our payment goals actionable.

Working Together to Work Apart

Something else is brewing in the world of payments. In an international effort to improve Cross Border Payments (CBP) and align them with the aims of the European Commission’s EU digital identity wallet program – a consortium of Europe’s identity experts have proposed to deliver a large-scale, cross-border payments pilot.

In the effort, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia and Norway, led by NOBID (Nordic-Baltic eID Project), plan on showing how payments and ID can be combined across borders and in multiple currencies. With a focus on payments, the pilot will leverage the existing payment infrastructures from the respective countries to facilitate features like instate payments and issuance.

Parallel to this grand collaboration, NCR Corporation, a tech provider for banks, retailers and restaurants that it will be splitting into two independent, publicly traded companies. Hopefully concluding by the end of 2023, one company will be focused solely on ATMs, and the other on digital commerce – this will be done in a tax-free process. The aim of this separation is to further bolster up the growth of NCR’s product offerings, by having their teams focus on building those specific services.

“This announcement is the right next step in NCR’s transformation. The separation would create two strong companies at scale, each with distinctive business goals and capital structures and allocation, as well as increased flexibility to innovate,” said Michael D. Hayford, CEO of NCR.

M&A are going worldwide this week with news of global payments provider PayU securing the endorsement of Columbian regulatory authorities to acquire electronic payments fintech, Ding. Already well integrated into the Columbian online payment space, PayU will have more reach to create and develop online products fitted to a developing customer base.

This is a huge win for Columbia, as with the further building of a robust payments ecosystem, the country can enforce financial inclusion amongst the unbanked and financially compromised members of its population.

Big Funding Rounds are Back!

After the understandable dry period in funding from the last two quarters, fintechs have bounced back, delivering a promising outlook for investment in 2023. B2B/C fintech Roslay, has attracted $10 million in their Seed Round, led by Fin Capital. The backing will filter into the startup’s growing effort to deliver their financial HR products to companies who want to build stronger employee loyalty and financial education.

Roslay is unique in their corporate offering as it aims to help European employees get paid in a system which suits them, rather than the consensus on monthly paychecks. With further investment, this could be huge for corporate working in Europe, changing everything from employee satisfaction to operations.

Focused again in the Eurozone, HSBC has awarded pan-European digital banking platform, Monese, with $35 million in investment, bringing their total funding to $208 million. The investment will go toward Monese’s further development of their Platform as a Service business.

Taylan Turan, Group Head of Retail Banking and Strategy, Wealth and Personal Banking at HSBC, said: “HSBC is continually pioneering new wealth and banking innovations for our digitally-savvy customers – we want to help clients make smarter decisions so they can meet their financial goals with innovative digital tools. This new partnership is a key step towards helping us deliver digital wealth and banking tools at pace and scale, combining Monese’s fintech credentials with our own global wealth and banking capabilities.”

Landing squarely in the African insurtech sphere, Turaco, a provider of insurance products and services to over a million people in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, has secured $10 million in a Series A equity round, led by AfricInvest. The company, who specialise in L&H, and vehicle-related insurance services, is on a mission to free people of financial insecurity caused by potential unexpected health risks. With their partnerships and backing from leading financial institutions like Enza Capital, Global Partnerships, and Zephyr Acorn, the company can further reach their audience of low income earners who may be put off from protection due to the high fees and interest rates involved.

Turaco CEO and co-founder Ted Pantone said, “We are proud to help drive insurance adoption, especially among low-income earners. 90% of our customers have never had insurance before, but the surprising thing is that people really want to buy insurance! They just don’t have easy access to products that really work for them. This investment enables us to scale our business to serve millions of insurance customers across our current markets and beyond. We are thrilled to have these great new investors join our team for this next season of growth.”

As is evident, new beginnings do not come without new struggles, and with something as integral to society as payments and insurance, institutions must work together in partnership to build a more inclusive fintech community.

That concludes your weekly Fintech Fix! Stay tuned for another round of big fintech buzz, right here at FF News.

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US Federal Reserve to lead 500 basis point global assault on inflation http://www.nordbi.org/us-federal-reserve-to-lead-500-basis-point-global-assault-on-inflation/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 01:45:00 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/us-federal-reserve-to-lead-500-basis-point-global-assault-on-inflation/

The US Federal Reserve and a number of its global counterparts will launch a rapid-fire attack on inflation in the coming week as their commitment to bringing consumer prices under control gets ever more resolute.

Three days of central-bank decisions are expected to deliver interest-rate hikes adding up to more than 500 basis points combined, with the potential for a bigger tally if officials opt for more aggression.

Starting the onslaught will be Sweden’s Riksbank on Tuesday, with policy makers anticipated by economists to accelerate tightening with a 75bp move.

That’s just a prelude to the main event, when US officials are expected on Wednesday to raise borrowing costs by the same amount to keep up the pressure on resurgent inflation. After another consumer-price index report topping forecasts, some investors have even bet on a mammoth 100bp hike.

Thursday will see the most widespread action. Central banks in the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan are all expected to raise rates. The focus then shifts to Europe, with hikes of half a point or more predicted from the Swiss National Bank, Norges Bank and the Bank of England. Further south, the South Africa Reserve Bank will continue the efforts with a 75bp move expected, and Egypt may act as well.

Three major central banks are likely to be conspicuously absent from the hiking fray, though. On Wednesday, Brazilian policy makers may pause after an unprecedented series of increases over the past 18 months.

The next day, Bank of Japan officials are likely to persist with an unchanged stance even as they worry about weakness in the yen. Then, their Turkish peers will probably continue their unorthodox approach of keeping rates low — despite inflation above 80 per cent.

Elsewhere in the coming week, US housing data, a fiscal announcement from the new UK government, and Japanese inflation data will also draw the attention of investors.

Australia

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Jonathan Kearns will speak on Monday about rates and property prices, while RBA Deputy Governor Michele Bullock will be speaking at Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Minutes due on Tuesday from the RBA’s board meeting will be watched closely, with analysts on the lookout for more clues regarding future rate hikes.

The minutes will provide some context for the fifth consecutive rate hike that was announced by the central bank on September 6.

United States

While all eyes are focused squarely on the Fed decision and Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference, the economic data calendar will provide clues about the impact from central-bank tightening so far this year.

Reports on August housing starts and previously owned home sales are set for release Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The median projection for purchases of existing properties calls for a seventh-straight monthly decline.

Weekly jobless claims and S&P Global manufacturing and services surveys for September will round out a relatively quiet data week.

Asia

The BOJ’s board will make its policy decision Thursday amid speculation that Japan is close to intervening in the currency markets as the yen tests 145 to the dollar.

Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is expected to stand firm on keeping policy unchanged, although he’s likely to end his COVID support loans program, which may open the path toward adjusting forward guidance.

Thursday will feature a central-bank marathon in Asia, with Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan all setting policy, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority reacting to the Fed’s overnight move.

On the data front, Japan’s national inflation data out Tuesday is expected to keep creeping up. South Korea’s early trade data on Wednesday will continue to give insight into the pace of slowdown in the global economy. And Singapore releases inflation data on Friday.

Europe and Middle East

While the UK will take Monday off as a national holiday for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, monetary-policy business as usual will resume on Thursday in a decision delayed by a week to allow for mourning.

The BOE meeting will be the first opportunity for officials to respond to the altered outlook created by new Prime Minister Liz Truss’ efforts to contain the cost-of-living crisis, and the pound’s drop to the lowest since 1985. Economists predict at least a half-point rate increase as officials confront inflation that remains uncomfortably high.

The next day, new Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver a “fiscal event” where he’s expected to confirm plans to reverse a recent rise in national insurance — a payroll tax — and set out more detail about Truss’s support package.

The SNB might raise rates by 75bp at its quarterly decision on Thursday, an aggressive move to match the euro zone’s increase, even as inflation in Switzerland is much lower than in the rest of Europe. The Norwegian central bank will likely hike half an hour later too, keeping up an accelerated pace after core consumer prices clearly exceeded its forecasts.

Earlier in the week, alongside an expected rate increase by Sweden’s Riksbank, investors will focus on how much policy makers plan to accelerate future tightening plans amid growing evidence that the largest Nordic economy is headed for a recession in 2023.

In the euro region, speeches by European Central Bank Vice President Luis de Guindos and Bundesbank chief Joachim Nagel may focus investors, along with the first round of purchasing manager surveys for September, due on Friday.

Turkey on Thursday is likely to leave rates on hold after a shock cut in August, though a slowing economy and the approach of next year’s elections mean more stimulus remains on the agenda.

Africa

Data in Ghana on Tuesday will likely show economic growth decelerated to 3 per cent in the second quarter because of rising rates and a slump in the cedi that’s caused already-surging prices to soar further.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a report in South Africa is set to reveal that inflation eased in August after gasoline costs declined, though the rate is still expected to stay above the central bank’s 6 per cent ceiling.

Concerns about further rand weakness and a de-anchoring of price expectations will be a focus of the SARB’s Monetary Policy Committee on Thursday. Forward-rate agreements starting in one month — used to speculate on borrowing costs — are fully pricing in a 75bp increase, with odds of a bigger move of 100bp at 82 per cent.

Egypt will likely hike interest rates on the same day as inflationary pressures rise and the pound continues its gradual decline.

Latin America

The Brazilian central bank’s prized survey of economists leads off the week, with the gaze firmly on 2023 and beyond. Later on Monday, Colombia reports July economic activity, likely showing some cooling from May and June.

Next up, second-quarter output figures in Argentina may show surprising strength given the political and market turmoil buffeting the South America’s second-largest economy.

The highlight in Chile will be minutes of the central bank’s September meeting, where policy makers accelerated tightening with a bigger than expected 100bp hike to push the key rate to a record 10.75 per cent.

Look for Mexico’s mid-month consumer price readings to edge up ever so slightly from 8.77 per cent, suggesting that the peak inflation Banxico forecast for the third quarter may have arrived.

Brazil’s central bank is widely expected to hold its key rate unchanged at 13.75 per cent after a record 12 straight hikes from 2 per cent in March 2021.

Traders see a less than a 50 per cent chance of another increase in the months ahead, and it’s possible that Brazil — among the first to start tightening worldwide in March 2021 — also becomes among the first to finish.

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The Hot Spot: Eastern Townships http://www.nordbi.org/the-hot-spot-eastern-townships/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 15:17:17 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/the-hot-spot-eastern-townships/

Nestled along the Canada–U.S. border, the Eastern Townships, or Les Cantons-de-l’Est, blend English and French-Canadian culture with local food, wine, art and music. The Townships have long been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and wellness seekers—visitors can luxuriate in surreal outdoor spa experiences, thanks to the area’s lakes, rivers and mountain ranges—but hip new wine bars and distilleries have transformed the region into a contemporary all-season haven. Here, a selection of standout spots to savour while exploring the Townships’ natural beauty.

Best Farm-to-Table Feast 

21 Chemin Taylor, Austin | parcellesaustin.com

Natural wine and locally sourced ingredients reign at this farm-to-table jewel in Austin. Almost every bite comes from the restaurant’s backyard: crudités, seasonal vegetable dishes and wood-fired pizzas dotted with raw-milk cheese. The ethos extends to Parcelles’ gardens, where in the warmer months guests can enjoy an outdoor picnic among the flora.

Best Day Date

100 Chemin Lakeside, Knowlton bolt-cafe.com

Knowlton’s wine-slinging coffee shop has become a favourite among in-the-know residents. Fair-trade coffee and classic espresso beverages are served in the morning, with natural wine and craft beer poured all day long. The menu includes a breakfast burrito with a smoked jalapeño sauce; vegan banh mi; and a classic grilled cheese for only $5. A tip for travellers: linger on the terrace with lunch or a latte. It won’t take long to feel like you’re among friends.

Where to stay: Best Splurge

575 Rue Hovey, North Hatley | manoirhovey.com

Built in 1900 on the banks of Lake Massawippi, this sophisticated lakeside escape has earned its reputation as a world-class wellness retreat with unparalleled charm. The Mount Vernon–styled estate features 36 rooms, suites and cottages (from $330 a night) that combine modern amenities—like L’Occitane skincare products—with classic country appeal. There’s a Quebec-inspired restaurant on-site, where chef Alexandre Vachon grows and forages ingredients for a hyper-local seasonal menu—try the Lake Saint-Pierre caviar or the eggplant with edible flowers. Outside, guests can enjoy beautifully landscaped gardens, forest bathing in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter.

Where to stay: Best Budget

1087 Rue Main, Ayer’s Cliff | aubergeayerscliff.ca

You’ll find casual comfort food and a cuddled-up rustic atmosphere at this humble auberge. The century-old building houses just 10 cozy guest rooms, starting at $105 per night, outfitted with locally sourced antique furniture and exquisite woodwork—a nod to its history as a former stagecoach house. The pub offers fare like salmon tartare and a smoked meat sandwich on bagnat bread. Guests can enjoy craft beer on the stunning seasonal terrace, with views of a wildflower garden.

Best Locavore Lunch 

41 Rue Principale, Frelighsburg beatetbetterave.com

The frelighsburg brewpub is a wholesome yet cool community gathering place, serving rotating vegetarian and omnivorous options, most of which are harvested from the on-site vegetable garden. The dining room and seasonal patio transform from quaint café to convivial concert hall—this month, check out singer-songwriter Elliot Maginot and raucous rock trio Gros Mené.

Laiterie de Coaticook

1000 Rue Child, Coaticook laiteriedecoaticook.com

Quebec may be known for its butter and cheese, but skipping the ice cream would be a big mistake. This Coaticook parlour is one of the top ice cream makers in the province, largely due to its production sans modified milk ingredients. The facilities include a built-in milk bar where visitors can sample classic and rotating ice cream flavours—for a real Québécois experience, get the maple taffy. 

Best Spa 

883 Route Missisquoi, Bolton-Est | spabolton.com

The scenic splendour of the Eastern Townships is synonymous with high-end wellness. Set at the base of the Missisquoi River falls, this Nordic-inspired spa leans into the natural abundance surrounding the property with outdoor polar baths and riverside massages in heated yurts, scored by the soothing sounds of the river. Treatments include facials, body scrubs and pedicures. 

“​​On the shores of Lac Memphremagog is Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, a spectacular monastery where black-robed monks—whose vocation is award-winning cheese-making—sing services in Gregorian chants. There is, in the basement, a wonderful shop where religious objects sit cheek-by-jowl with cheeses and chocolates and home baking.” – Louise Penny, author  


This article appears in print in the October 2022 issue of Maclean’s magazine. Buy the issue for $8.99 or better yet, subscribe to the monthly print magazine for just $29.99.

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People news: Norway adds to SWF’s Council on Ethics | News http://www.nordbi.org/people-news-norway-adds-to-swfs-council-on-ethics-news/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 11:26:15 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/people-news-norway-adds-to-swfs-council-on-ethics-news/

GPFG/Council on EthicsVigdis Vandvik has been appointed as a new member of the five-strong Council on Ethics (Etikkrådet) for the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), Norway’s Ministry of Finance announced. Vandvik, a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Bergen, has been appointed for a term ending 31 May 2025 and is replacing Trude Myklebust.

Vandvik is also director of the Centre for Sustainable Area Management (CeSAM) and has been affiliated with the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research since 2017, according to the Council on Ethics. Among her other roles, she a member of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Norwegian government’s Environmental Risk Committee.


Robeco/AmundiAlexander Preininger returns to Robeco as global head of sales and marketing and executive committee member effective 1 November 2022.

Preininger joins from Amundi where he was global head of institutional clients coverage. Prior to that, he was head of institutional coverage EMEA at Robeco for two years, following his position as head of institutional coverage EMEA, head of solutions EMEA and member of the board of managing directors at DWS International GmbH – formerly Deutsche Asset Management – in Frankfurt.

Preininger also held several senior positions at DWS, including head of asset and wealth management in Japan, and global co-head of client solutions at DWS in Frankfurt.

Meanwhile at Amundi, Francesca Ciceri has been named head of institutional clients coverage.

Prior to her new appointment, Ciceri was head of institutional business for Italy at Amundi. From 2011 to July 2017, she was head of institutional and wholesale distribution Italy at Pioneer Investments, in charge of Italian, Greek, Cypriot and Maltese markets.


House of Reach/AlectaHans Sterte, the chief investment officer of Sweden’s largest pension fund Alecta who is due to leave on 11 November, is to join Stockholm-based business development consultancy House of Reach as senior partner on 1 January next year, the consultancy announced.

House of Reach said in a post on LinkedIn that Sterte had “a truly unique background with a solid track record” as CIO at some of the largest and most sophisticated institutions in the Nordics.

“Hans Sterte will create value for all our clients, with tons of experience from a tier 1 institutional investor’s perspective,” the firm said.

It was recently announced that Aviva Investors has entered into a partnership with House of Reach, to expand its presence in the Nordic markets.

Meanwhile at Alecta Fastigheter, the real estate arm of Alecta, has appointed Assur Badur as its new general counsel. The domestic property subsidiary, which was established last year, said the legal function had a key role in the build-up and growth phase it was currently in.

Badur, who will take up the new role on 3 October, most recently worked in the Stockholm office of law firm Vinge, where he was head of real estate.


MetLife Investment Management (MIM) – The institutional asset management business of MetLife Inc. has named René Zeidan a director in its institutional client group, where he will be responsible for institutional client strategy and the delivery of investment solutions to clients in Europe.

Based in Frankfurt, Zeidan will primarily focus on the German and Austrian markets.Zeldan’s addition to this newly-created position expands MIM’s European presence, building on its recent authorisation by the Central Bank of Ireland to manage and distribute MIM’s full range of investment capabilities across the European Economic Area.

Prior to joining MIM, Zeidan was a director at Allianz Global Investors where he was responsible for business development and client service efforts for European insurance companies. He was also a vice president and product specialist at MainFirst Asset Management.


Richard Hill at Cohen & Steers

Cohen & SteersRichard Hill has been named senior vice president and head of real estate strategy and research, a newly-created position. Hill will lead the real estate strategy group, a team responsible for identifying and analysing long-term and secular real estate investment ideas, as well as building an integrated listed and private real estate strategy function to help investors optimise portfolios both strategically and tactically. He reports to Jon Cheigh, CIO and head of global real estate.

Hill joins Cohen & Steers with 21 years of real estate experience. He most recently served as the head of US REIT equity and CRE debt research at Morgan Stanley, where he oversaw public REIT equity research, CRE debt strategy and macro property research. Prior to that he worked at RBS Securities as the director of CMBS and CLO strategy and at Bank of America as a vice president and strategic transaction banker.


Swedish Pensions AgencyMia Liblik is to start a new job at the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) as its new communications manager. Until July, she was chief executive officer and board member of Folksam Tjänste, the new occupational pension company under IORP II regulations formed from Swedish pensions and insurance group Folksam’s life insurance business. Before starting in that role in 2021 she was CEO of another of the group’s subsidiaries, Folksam LO Pension.

Liblik will take up her new role on 1 October, taking over from Carl-Magnus Löfström, the Swedish Pensions Agency said.


Neuberger Berman – The asset manager has hired Niall O’Sullivan for a newly-created role as chief investment officer, multi-asset strategies, EMEA.

Working closely with the firm’s global investment teams, O’Sullivan will be responsible for leading the multi-asset team’s investment activity in the region, driving portfolio construction and outlook development for EMEA client portfolios. He will join the firm’s asset allocation committee and be proactive in developing, authoring, and delivering market insight, commentary, and differentiated thought leadership and collateral to engage sophisticated investors in the region.

O’Sullivan has more than 25 years of experience managing investment portfolios and programs, globally. Most recently, he worked with Mercer Investments as CIO of its Outsourced CIO (OCIO) business for Europe, Middle East and Asia. Prior to joining Mercer in 2010, he was with QED in Dublin, where he focused on solution-driven investment opportunities with banks and insurance companies.


LSR – The Reykjavik-based pension fund for government employees has appointed Halla Kristjánsdóttir as its new CIO, replacing Björn Hjaltested Gunnarsson, who retired this summer.

Kristjánsdóttir has worked in the pension fund’s asset management department since 2006 and has had various duties at the institution over the years. Most recently, she was fund manager of LSR’s foreign investments. LSR is Iceland’s largest pension fund, with total assets of just over ISK1trn (€7bn) at the end of 2021.

The latest digital edition of IPE’s magazine is now available

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How many NFL teams have changed their names? History, name changes and original team names http://www.nordbi.org/how-many-nfl-teams-have-changed-their-names-history-name-changes-and-original-team-names/ Tue, 13 Sep 2022 11:27:41 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/how-many-nfl-teams-have-changed-their-names-history-name-changes-and-original-team-names/

The history of the NFL and how it was founded is a rather interesting one. The league’s number of teams fluctuated from 1920 to 1970 with the “original eight” forming part of the NFL in 1932. It wasn’t until the AFL-NFL merger that the league became the real NFL we know today, with 32 competent teams and a dominant fanbase in the United States.

In July of 2020, the Washington Football Team, previously known as the Redskins, announced their rebranding, and then in 2022 this was confirmed as a full official change to the Washington Commanders. It is uncommon for teams to change their names in the NFL these days, however, before 1999, there were quite a few. Let’s take a look at how these teams got their original names, and the history behind their name changes.

NFL Teams that changed names without moving cities

Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been teams that moved cities, and in doing so changed names, like the Houston Oilers becoming the Titans after moving to Tennessee. And then there have been teams that just adopted new mascot names without moving cities; the latest being the aforementioned Washington in honor of Native American players.

There are three other teams in the NFL that have changed their mascots without moving: the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears, while the Dallas Cowboys (previously Dallas Rangers) and Oakland Raiders (Oakland Senors previously) each rebranded their official names before playing any games in 1960.

The New York Jets, “New York Titans”

The Jets were known as the “Titans” from 1960-1962 when they played at the Polo Grounds. After moving to the Shea Stadium in 1963, they were called the Jets as a representation of the aircraft in the skies above.

Pittsburgh Steelers “Pittsburgh Pirates”

In 1940, Art Rooney, Pittsburgh’s owner, decided to change the NFL franchise’s name to something different than the MLB’s name at the time. The name ‘Steelers’ was chosen as a way to honor all the steel workers, fans and city.

Chicago Bears “Chicago Staleys”

They were the Decatur Staleys until they moved to Chicago in 1921. Already having moved, they decided to change Staleys to the Bears, since the town’s MLB team was called the Chicago Cubs.

NFL teams that changed names and moved cities:

Arizona Cardinals “Card-Pitt”

Founded in 1898 in Chicago, the Cardinals were named the Racine Cardinals- after the street where they played their home games. The origin of the Cardinals’ name came from founder Chris O’Brien when he received a shipment of faded maroon jerseys that he called “Cardinal red”. In 1944, the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers combined to form “Card-Pitt” during the last full year of World War II. In 1950, they moved to St. Louis and it wasn’t until 1999 when they settled in Phoenix, AZ and became the Arizona Cardinals.

Baltimore Ravens “Baltimore Browns”

Founded in Cleveland by Art Modell, the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Browns after moving to Baltimore. The NFL franchise chose the name “Ravens” because of a poem by the respected writer, Edgar Allan Poe, who had been one of Baltimore’s most famous former residents.

Detroit Lions “Portsmouth Spartans”

The Lions went by the “Portsmouth Spartans” from 1930-1933 where they trained at the Spartan Municipal Stadium on the banks of the Ohio River. After moving to the Motor City, Detroit, the team changed its name to the Lions, after the town’s MLB “Tigers” team.

Indianapolis Colts “Baltimore Colts”

Indiana’s NFL franchise was referred to as the Baltimore Colts from 1953-1983. The team moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984 by its owner at the time, Bob Irsay- who is the current owner’s father. The team was named the “Colts” in honor of the area’s history of horse breeding.

Kansas City Chiefs “Dallas Texans”

This team was known as the Dallas Texans until they moved to Kansas City for the 1963 AFL season. The name change signified the Native Americans and the mayor at the time who’s nickname was “Chief”.

Philadelphia Eagles “Steagles”

The Eagles were created when the Frankford Yellow Jackets went defunct. In 1943, they merged with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the country was recovering from the Great Depression and were known as the “Steagles”. The team’s name came from their founder, Bert Bell, who was inspired by the government organization’s logo, the eagle, as it gave him a sense of hope and optimism.

Tennessee Titans “Tennessee Oilers”

The AFL team were referred to as the Houston Oilers when they played in oil-rich Houston from 1960 to 1996. In a tribute to the team’s town in Nashville upon their move, they were named the Titans, which meant “The Athens of the South.”

Houston Texans ‘Houston Oilers”

The Texans replaced Houston’s previous NFL franchise, the Houston Oilers, who are now the Tennessee Titans. In 2000, the Oilers were revived by owner Bob McNair, to become the “Texans”. He preferred the simple ‘Texans’ over the suggested Apollos and Stallions.

]]> Best hotels in Norway – Times Travel http://www.nordbi.org/best-hotels-in-norway-times-travel/ Fri, 09 Sep 2022 15:35:00 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/best-hotels-in-norway-times-travel/

Norway takes its lead from nature when it comes to the country’s most unique sleeps: be it a swanky design-led hotel at the foot of whopping great mountains, an avant-garde city escape hugging the shores of a bluer-than-blue fjord or a log cabin full of rustic, fire-warmed romance snuggled away in forests where reindeer roam. Whether you’re looking for an ultra-luxe boutique hideaway with a Michelin-starred restaurant in the basement, or an igloo freshly sculpted with the first big dump of winter snow, going beyond the avalanche of cookie-cutter chains opens up Norway in entirely new and exciting ways.

Masters of reinvention, the Norwegians love breathing new life into old bones: cue 16th-century trading posts, fish warehouses, banks and rickety barns reborn as glam hotels with personality, bearing the hallmark of venerable architects. Hotels here aren’t cheap, but it’s worth the hit to your bank balance to see the rising sun illuminate a fretwork of fjords and the aurora swaying above snow-frosted mountains in the high Arctic.

Main photo: Juvet Landscape Hotel, Valldal

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Isbreen The Glacier

 Far north of the Arctic Circle, this eco-minded fantasy escape sits in a ludicrously beautiful spot, where the dark Finnmark Alps whoosh up above steel-blue Jøkelfjord and a glacier calves directly into the sea. If the setting is dramatic, the modern-day glass igloos, or geodesic domes, are coolly understated in true Scandi style: icy palettes of blues and greys, goose-down duvets, slickly designed furniture, wood-fired stoves, telescopes and vast windows for fjord, star and northern lights gazing. After a day boating out to the glacier, whale-watching, dog sledding or ski touring, your hosts whip up feasts of local reindeer, fish and berries. Oh, and did we mention the sauna and outdoor hot tub by the sea? Isbreen is open year round, but it’s pure Narnia in winter.

Spa Y
Pool N
Price £££

Woodnest hotel Norway
Woodnest

2. Woodnest, Odda, Vestland

Forget bending down on one knee and popping open a ring box: when Kjartan wanted to propose to the love of his life — Sally, from Sydney — he built her the treehouse of her wildest dreams. And so the seeds for this staggering retreat were sewn. Perched like eyries in tall pines above the mountain-rimmed, sapphire-blue Hardanger Fjord and reached via a stiff uphill hike, these sustainable, wood, shingle-clad tree houses in Odda have been designed to resemble Norwegian pinecones. Architects were brought in to help design the rustic-chic, black-alder interiors, with wrap-around windows framing fjord views, handcrafted chairs and underfloor heating. Breakfast includes locally baked sourdough, eggs, juice and coffee.

Spa N
Pool N
Price ££-£££

Storfjord Hotel Norway
Storfjord Hotel

Spread across a cluster of dark-timber, turf-roofed houses, on a hillside looking out across west-coast Storfjord and the Sunnmøre Alps, Storfjord really couldn’t be more Norwegian. Inside, the boutique retreat seduces with candles, fireplaces, an intimate spa with a forest-facing jacuzzi, and a low-key gourmet restaurant bigging up local produce. The atmosphere in the nouveau-rustic rooms is as warm as a hug, with handcrafted log walls, muted colours, tweeds and down duvets. Borrow walking poles, fishing rods (there are some serious cod to catch in these waters), snowshoes and boats. Or find your own private nook to read, write, rest and dream.

Spa N
Pool N
Price £££

Sorrisniva Arctic Wilderness Lodge Norway
Sorrisniva’s Arctic Wilderness Lodge

In Alta in the high Arctic, the aurora regularly dances in clear night skies — as you might expect from the town home to the Northern Lights Cathedral. In the snows of winter, Sorrisniva is magical. Ice sculptors are drafted in to handcraft its igloos, where you can spend a surprisingly comfortable night in a reindeer hide-draped ice bed after a day snowshoeing, tobogganing, dog or reindeer sledding. There’s even a chance to get crafty and hook onto a two-hour crash course in ice sculpting. Grog at the ice bar warms you up nicely for dinners expertly knocked up with locally sourced reindeer, moose, seafood and wild berries. Should you be planning to tie the knot, there’s even an ice chapel.

Spa N
Pool N
Price £££

Eilert Smith Hotel Norway
Eilert Smith Hotel

“Boutique” has become a bit of a catch-all, but Eilert Smith in the fjord-side city of Stavanger really nails it: just 12 individually designed rooms echoing the building’s 1930s architecture, and two-Michelin-starred, 25-cover RE-NAA in the basement. This is not just a hotel but an act of love — architects have aimed for the avant garde, but have carefully preserved original curves, geometric patterns and modernist materials, such as travertine, brass, marble and wood. Furniture is custom-made, colours are pure and the light streaming in through slim horizontal windows is quite special. Plump for the penthouse suite, spun around a spiral staircase and looking out across Stavanger harbour.

Spa N
Pool N
Price £££

As the final frontier before the North Pole, Svalbard is where Norway takes a serious turn for the wilder — an archipelago home to more polar bears than people. The final flicker of civilization is Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, the world’s northernmost settlement. In winter, this is a wondrous place of bone-chilling cold and stark beauty, best seen by dog sled or snowmobile as the aurora flashes away in the sky. Conservation-focused Basecamp Explorer is a cracking base, designed like a modern-rustic trapper’s lodge, with rooms filled with driftwood, sealskins, maps and pictures of explorers, and a snug lounge for post-expedition chilling. Better still, they arrange all kinds of fun, from glacier hikes to dog-sledding and multi-day snowmobile trips into the Arctic proper.

Spa N
Pool N
Price ££

Angvik Gamle Handelssted hotel Norway
Angvik Gamle Handelssted (Classic Norway-Christer Olsen Photo)

Hunkering down on the northern shore of slender Tingvoll Fjord in western Norway, this charmingly white-washed, timber-fronted hotel is a delicious slice of preserved heritage: it acted as a trading post back in the 1500s, when ships from Holland sailed here to buy timber. Most rooms have soothingly pretty views of the fjord and are classic in design — soft greys and creams, warm lighting and tarted-up antiques. The restaurant is more of a traditional, woody affair, with a chef taking pride in local sourcing from nearby farms and fjords. The clincher, however, is Badehuset Spa, lodged in a converted, glass-walled 18th-century granary overlooking the fjord, with hot baths, a sauna and luscious treatments.

Spa Y
Pool N
Price ££

Hotel Brosundet Norway
Hotel Brosundet

On a peninsula slinging its hook into the North Sea, Ålesund is one of Norway’s most vibrant and fetching port towns, with a parade of gabled, candy-coloured art nouveau houses casting mirror images in the Brosundet canal. An intimate, family-run affair, this reimagined fishing warehouse combines one-of-a-kind architecture with minimalist edge and contemporary elegance. A huge fire blazes away in the lobby, which soars up to a central gallery, and rooms riff modern on the Nordic look in charcoals, chocolates and whites, with hints of the building’s original flair in arched windows and exposed beams. They’ve thought of the lot: a corner café for locally brewed coffee, much-lauded restaurant, Apotekergata No. 5, serving just-caught seafood, a cocktail bar and a glam fitness and wellness area. Romance-wise, it has to be room 47 in Molja Lighthouse at the end of the jetty.

Spa Y
Pool N
Price £££

Opus 16 hotel Norway
Opus 16

An ode to 19th-century Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg, this modern classic hotel is run by his descendants. Originally Bergen’s swankiest bank, the building echoes its past in marble columns, polished granite and weighty chandeliers, while taking a definite leap into more contemporary waters with sleek furnishings, bespoke wall coverings and occasional flashes of punchy colour. You’re right in the heart of things here on Vågsallmenningen, one of Bergen’s most photogenic squares, just paces from historic Bryggen waterfront, the fish market and the funicular trundling up to Mount Fløyen. The handsome brasserie delivers afternoon tea with a splash of sophistication and, on Sundays, live jazz.

Spa N
Pool N
Price £££

Walaker Hotel Norway
Walaker Hotel

Walaker reclines dream-like on the shores of Lustrafjord, which reaches out a startlingly blue finger to touch the high, glaciated peaks of Jotunheimen and Jostedalsbreen national parks. It’s here that you’ll find Norway’s oldest hotel, run by the Nitter family since 1690, this historic retreat doesn’t give a damn about the 21st century. The cream-timber villa sits in lush floral gardens spilling down to the fjord, and rooms charm with heritage wall coverings and heavy antique furnishings. Dinner — served at 7.30pm sharp — is a set-menu feast of fjord-fished seafood, forest venison, mushrooms and fruits. Old fashioned and insanely idyllic, Walaker Hotel is somewhere you’ll remember and rave about forever more.

Spa N
Pool N
Price ££-£££

Trondheim is Norway’s historic city poster-child, with its heart-stealing fjord setting, upbeat vibe and flurry of great restaurants, cafés and museums. Do it in style by staying at the Britannia, which opened its doors in 1870 to attract British aristocrats off to fish for the world’s best salmon. Looking dashing after a top-to-toe makeover, its rooms evoke a Nordic winter in silvers, whites and greys, with handcrafted Hästens beds and Carrara marble bathrooms. Top billing, if budget is irrelevant, goes to the vast, extravagantly opulent Tower Suite, with its own grand piano and butler kitchen. After a romp around town, the skylit Palmehaven (for afternoon tea), domed spa, Michelin-starred restaurant and dark, sexy wine cellar await.

Spa Y
Pool Y
Price £££

Juvet Landscape Hotel Norway
Juvet Landscape Hotel

More nature-inspired art installation than hotel, Juvet is beautifully caught between mountain and fjord. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls act as the frame for changing lights, weathers and entrancing views over forested slopes and the Valldøla River. The log houses are contemporary, monochrome and purist in design: from cubic, stilt-perched “Landscape Rooms” to tinier, simpler “Bird Houses”. The stripped-back look and lack of curtains is intentional so as not to detract from the wonder of the outdoors; for more space and luxury, book the Writer’s Lodge. After skiing, rafting or soul-searching hiking, return to the cocoon-like warmth of the riverside bathhouse and eat incredibly well in the revamped century-old cow barn.

Spa N
Pool N
Price ££-£££

The Thief hotel Noreway
The Thief

A burst of dark, new-Nordic glamour on Tjuvholmen (“Thief Island”), right opposite the Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, The Thief is Oslo’s hottest boutique ticket. Nordic architects, interior designers and curators conjured up this wonder in glass and granite, filling it with nooks, flattering light, rich colours and eye-grabbing works by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. Gold-kissed rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows capture the light and moods of Oslofjord, the rooftop restaurant plays up inventive, season-driven cuisine, and the backlit spa and grotto-like pool make this hands-down Norway’s sexiest city escape.

Spa Y
Pool Y
Price £££

Out on a limb, Røisheim sits on the cusp of Jotunheimen National Park, where glaciers glint atop dark, fang-like mountains and Norway’s highest peak — 2469m Galdhøpiggen — rises. Tucked discreetly between the pleats and folds of forested slopes, this reborn 18th-century coaching inn enchants with 14 tar-painted, turf-roofed timber houses — all faithfully restored with features such as fireplaces, hand-painted four-poster beds and wooden bathtubs. Artists, playwrights, weary travellers and mountaineers have long flocked here for warm hospitality, big wilderness and food that sings heartily of the seasons — a winning mix still today.

Spa N
Pool N
Price ££

Take me there

Inspired to visit Norway but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from BA Holidays* and Expedia*.

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Energy ministers to thrash out EU approach to gas and electricity crisis | Energy industry http://www.nordbi.org/energy-ministers-to-thrash-out-eu-approach-to-gas-and-electricity-crisis-energy-industry/ Thu, 08 Sep 2022 23:01:00 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/energy-ministers-to-thrash-out-eu-approach-to-gas-and-electricity-crisis-energy-industry/

EU energy ministers will gather for emergency talks in Brussels on Friday to thrash out common measures in an effort to counter a gas and electricity price crisis that threatens to make energy bills unaffordable for households and businesses and tip Europe into recession.

The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has set out a five-point plan, which includes a price cap on Russian gas that is likely to draw strong opposition from some member states.

Her proposals also include a windfall tax on oil and gas profits; an energy savings drive; and a cap on the cost of low-carbon electricity. They were published the day before Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, unveiled a £150bn freeze on energy bills.

A senior diplomat said there was no majority in favour of capping Russian gas, a measure designed to limit Kremlin revenues used to finance the war in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin has dismissed the idea as stupid and threatened to completely cut energy supplies to Europe if the plan goes ahead. Because Russia now only supplies 9% of the EU’s gas imports, down from 40% before the war, the European Commission believes it can manage the risk of a total shutdown.

But a trio of EU member states that import a large amount Russian gas from Russia – Austria, Hungary and Slovakia – oppose the idea. Hungary, which is highly dependent on gas from Russia recently signed a contract with the Russian state energy firm Gazprom for extra supplies, argues the price cap is a sanction and should only be decided by unanimity, giving Budapest veto power over the decision.

On the other hand, a dozen other countries, including France, Italy and Poland, support a cap, but argue it should apply to all imported forms of the fuel, including liquified natural gas (LNG). A former top civil servant at the European Commission’s directorate-general for energy, Philip Lowe, told the Guardian he supported that position.

“If the objective is to protect European businesses and households from the current high gas prices [and not just impose a further sanction on Russia] a wholesale price cap needs to be applied to any gas regardless of its origin,” said Sir Philip Lowe, now a partner at the Oxera economics consultancy.

“The market for gas, whether transported as LNG or by pipeline, is increasingly part of one global market and world demand for gas is growing, so capping prices in only one segment of the market won’t be enough,” Lowe added.

Germany is undecided, but fears the policy risks spoiling EU unity; the Netherlands has voiced reluctance over any price cap, arguing it contradicts the EU’s goal of boosting supplies of tanker gas.

When it comes to gas, “Europe has two problems: quantity and price”, said Dr Simone Tagliapietra, a senior fellow at the Bruegel thinktank. “We need to tackle the second problem without making the first worse. That is the difficult trade-off policymakers are facing. And if we put a cap on all gas we might risk to compromise the first point, which is the ability to secure the volumes in the winter.”

There is more consensus about other parts of the European Commission’s plan, such as windfall taxes on oil and gas companies that have reaped large profits from turbulence in the energy market. Unlike the UK where Truss has ruled out new windfall taxes, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are among EU countries that have promised or introduced levies on extraordinary profits to fund their support programmes for struggling households.

EU governments are also supportive of an efficiency drive to reduce demand for electricity, although many capitals think the targets should be voluntary, rather than mandatory, as favoured by Brussels. Across Europe energy savings campaigns are gaining momentum: this week French citizens have been urged to turn down heating and air conditioning, while Italians were asked to turn off the hob once pasta water starts boiling.

Several governments are anxious not to dilute EU climate goals: Germany, Spain and the Nordic states are vying to protect the European emissions trading system (ETS), the bloc’s flagship scheme to cap industrial pollution. As energy prices have risen, Poland has resumed its long-standing campaign to cap the price of ETS permits, which opponents fear blunts the signal to cut pollution.

Also gaining broad support are plans to tweak EU state aid rules and market regulations, amid growing concern that utility companies could be forced into insolvency due to a lack of cash. Earlier this week Finland and Sweden announced plans to offer billions of euros in liquidity guarantees. Utility companies trading electricity futures are facing growing demands from banks to deposit more cash (margin requirement) as a safety net. Finland’s government said that without €10bn (£8.7bn) of liquidity support the sector risked “a kind of a Lehman Brothers”, referring to the bankruptcy of the US investment bank in 2008 that was widely seen as triggering the financial crisis.

On Thursday, the UK signalled it was set to follow suit, with a £40bn liquidity facility for energy companies underpinned by the Bank of England.

The European Commission is expected to publish formal legal proposals on the energy plan next Wednesday when Von der Leyen gives an annual speech outlining her policy programme for the year ahead.

Diplomats predicted the discussions would be complex, as EU member states have very different energy mixes and varying exposure to a potential Russian gas shutdown.

“What is easily implementable in country A could be impossible to implement in country B,” one senior diplomat said. “But there is an openness from everyone to look at [these proposals], which is different from two or three months ago.”

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Turkey turns into haven for money launderers as Iran and Russia use Turkish banks to avoid sanctions http://www.nordbi.org/turkey-turns-into-haven-for-money-launderers-as-iran-and-russia-use-turkish-banks-to-avoid-sanctions/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 22:01:05 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/turkey-turns-into-haven-for-money-launderers-as-iran-and-russia-use-turkish-banks-to-avoid-sanctions/

Abdullah Bozkurt/Stockholm

Turkey, already under monitoring by global money-laundering watchdog FATF for backsliding in combatting money laundering and terrorism financing, has taken yet another step in boosting the illicit transfer of wealth with no questions asked by the authorities.

The move, put on parliament’s agenda with a last-minute amendment to a bill during debate on the floor, allowed the transfer of cash, gold and other assets to Turkey without a requirement to explain their origin and with no penalties imposed by Turkish authorities.

The amendment was quickly approved by parliament, which is controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) amid protests from the opposition that Turkey had turned into a haven for money laundering and illegal funding.

In the last decade Turkey, under Erdoğan’s corrupt regime, has become a country where both state and non-state actors find it quite easy to park their money, especially using state banks, with senior political leaders enriching themselves by undisclosed commissions on such transfers.

Both Iran and Russia have tapped into Turkey’s banking system to bypass sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies, while organized crime networks and jihadist terror organizations were allowed to use Turkey as a hub for moving funds.

 

The wealth amnesty bill rushed through the Turkish parliament by the government: 

wealth_amnesty_bill

 

The amendment was brought to parliament’s agenda by Erdoğan’s party when lawmakers were debating Law No. 7417, which basically introduced changes to public employment payroll calculations. It had nothing to do with what the government called “wealth amnesty,” or varlık barışı in Turkish.

No provision was included for such an amnesty in the draft bill, and no amendment was proposed during the debate in the relevant parliamentary committee before it was sent to the floor. The goal was to avoid any discussion of money laundering allegations. The opposition parties were informed about the amendment 10 minutes before it was introduced on the floor, depriving them of an opportunity to thoroughly examine the text and file motions to stop or at least delay it.

When the bill was presented to the General Assembly for a final vote on July 1, 2022, a group of lawmakers led by Erdoğan confidant Mustafa Elitaş, a former minister, submitted the amendment. It was quickly approved with little debate about what the amendment actually entailed. It became law when it was signed by President Erdoğan four days later and published in the Official Gazette.

According to the amendment, both individuals and entities have until Match 31, 2023 to bring cash, gold and other capital wealth from abroad that were not previously disclosed in Turkey. The bill does not allow any audit or investigation into such assets under any circumstances, providing total immunity for money launderers, drug traffickers and others who transfer their wealth to Turkey. Those who were already under investigation by government auditors will also be able to exploit this law if they claim that the wealth under audit was obtained with such transfers.

The government will not impose any taxes on such transfers if the transferred funds were kept in a bank for at least a year.

The opposition, caught by surprise by the last-minute amendment, protested the bill and claimed the Erdoğan government was bent on turning Turkey into a money laundering hub. “If you pass laws that allow the laundering of money and turn Turkey into a money laundering center with such amendments, it means you are throwing this country into a disaster,” said Abdüllatif Şener, an opposition lawmaker from the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“You submit a bill that launders money obtained from smuggling, the drug trade, the trafficking of women and terrorism, which ought to be the subject of criminal investigation. You’re trying to do this from parliament,” he added.

He underlined that the government did not include such a provision in the original draft bill and did not present it at committee hearings in order to hide its true intentions and limit debate on the risks of adopting such a bill. He accused the Erdoğan government of turning Turkey into a mafia state.

 

A money counting machine and cash were found in the home of former Interior Minister Muammer Güler’s son, Barış Güler, on December 17, 2013.

This is not the first time the Erdoğan government has pushed for loopholes for people who bring cash and assets into the country with no questions asked about how they were earned or where they originated. In 2016 a similar provision was pushed through parliament providing total immunity from both from criminal and administrative investigations into such transfers. The provision, intended to be temporary, has been extended seven times since then.

The government did not reveal how much money was declared as part of the wealth amnesty in 2016 and the following year. The only figures that were publicly available were provided for the years 2018 and 2019 by a lawmaker from the ruling party during a debate in parliament in October 2020 — TL 16 billion and TL 17 billion, respectively. No figure was revealed for the following years.

In addition to money that went to Turkey from criminal organizations and some foreign government-linked entities, President Erdoğan also reportedly brought in billions from abroad that he obtained from kickbacks and bribes. Fearing that the US might come after his wealth hidden abroad, he reportedly instructed his cronies to secure his money by bringing it into Turkey under various schemes.

Erdoğan’s move came after the US House of Representatives on October 29, 2019 passed H.R.4695, the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act (PACT), which would have required the State Department to report on the estimated net worth and known sources of income of Erdoğan and his family members including assets, investments, other business interests and relevant beneficial ownership information. The secretary of state would have been instructed to consult with the secretary of the treasury and the director of national intelligence in preparing the report.

 

A US House bill titled the Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act (PACT) mentioned the investigation of the wealth of the Turkish president and his family members : 

House_bill_Erdogan_wealth

 

A similar provision concerning Erdoğan was also adopted by the Senate in the Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act of 2019 (S.2641).

Graft probes in 2013 revealed that Erdoğan and his associates took a huge amount of bribes from an Iranian operative named Reza Zarrab, who laundered Iranian government funds using Turkish state bank Halkbank in order to avoid US sanctions. Again, the same probes showed that Erdogan’s son Bilal secretly took money from one-time al-Qaeda financier Yasin al-Qadi, a close friend of the Turkish president.

With the sanctions imposed by the US and EU on Russian oligarchs since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Turkey has become an outlet for many Russians to park their wealth and tap into the banking system. The Erdoğan government publicly announced that it would not join the Western sanctions, making Turkey only NATO ally that did not impose any sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The crackdown on organized crime networks in Europe in recent years have also prompted many crime figures to settle in Turkey and move their wealth there to protect it from seizure. Drug traffickers in particular have turned to Turkey to exploit the permissive environment offered by the Erdoğan regime as long as they pay their dues to the political leadership.

In October 2021 the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, placed Turkey on its grey list of countries because it found a number of strategic deficiencies in combatting money laundering and terrorist financing. Turkey does not seem to care about the FATF designation as it still has not addressed these shortcomings. In fact, more loopholes were deliberately created by the Erdoğan government by means of legislative and administrative changes.

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Euro, Stocks Tumble as Russia Pulls Rug on Gas Supplies http://www.nordbi.org/euro-stocks-tumble-as-russia-pulls-rug-on-gas-supplies/ Mon, 05 Sep 2022 00:50:33 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/euro-stocks-tumble-as-russia-pulls-rug-on-gas-supplies/

European stocks dropped for the sixth time in seven days, and the euro sank to a 20-year low, after Russia escalated the continent’s energy crisis by shutting off key gas taps, signaling a long cold winter ahead for businesses and households in the region.

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(Bloomberg) — European stocks dropped for the sixth time in seven days, and the euro sank to a 20-year low, after Russia escalated the continent’s energy crisis by shutting off key gas taps, signaling a long cold winter ahead for businesses and households in the region.

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European nations led by Germany announced measures over the weekend to tackle a cost-of-living crisis and spiraling energy prices after Russian state gas producer Gazprom PJSC Friday said it would indefinitely halt supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline.

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The common currency dropped as much as 0.8% to 98.78 US cents on Monday, the weakest since 2002. Europe’s benchmark Stoxx 600 fell as much as 1.7%, led by automakers and chemicals companies. Germany’s DAX Index and Italy’s FTSE MIB both tumbled more than 2%, while safe-haven German bonds fell in volatile trade, pushing the 10-year yield 3.1 basis points higher.

The gas halt “is another blow to the European economic outlook, which has left the euro weak in the near term due to governance-related risks,” said Piet Philip Christiansen, chief strategist at Danske Bank in Copenhagen. 

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“At the same time, yet another stimuli package from Germany is an attempt to keep growth afloat, which makes inflation forecasting and the job for the ECB more tricky.” 

This may lead to additional tightening due to prolonged inflationary pressures, pushing front-end yields higher, he added.

Read More: Throttled Trade Gives Euro Bears Even More Reason to Hit Sell

The energy crisis has been deepening since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed commodity prices sharply higher and damaged relations between the Kremlin and Europe. This was a significant factor pushing the euro to parity with the dollar last month for the first time in two decades. The new strains on energy supplies ahead of the winter threaten to put a further drag on the regional economy at a time when soaring consumer prices are putting pressure on the ECB to tighten monetary policy. 

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Read More: Europe’s Energy Crisis Deepens After Russia Keeps Pipeline Shut

Lagarde’s Challenge

There are growing expectations for the ECB to raise rates by 75 basis points as soon as Thursday. The decision remains a challenging one as chief Christine Lagarde and her colleagues manage the twin problems of high inflation and an impending recession. 

“At some point markets may start to question how much inflation central banks are willing to tolerate if economies slip into recession, especially if that root of that inflation is supply driven,” said Su-Lin Ong, head of Australian economic and fixed-income strategy at Royal Bank of Canada. “Weaker growth, or recession, and a weaker labor market are ultimately the price to be paid, but prolonged elevated energy prices could temper the extent to which the ECB moves both this week and over the cycle.”

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In a sign of the severity of the problem, Germany unveiled Sunday a relief plan worth about 65 billion euros ($65 billion) while Finland said it would stabilize the power market with a $10 billion program. Sweden on Saturday announced a $23 billion emergency backstop for its utilities as it seeks to head off a broader financial crisis. 

Read More: Nordic Utilities Get $33 Billion Backstops as Power Markets Fray

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts led by Kamakshya Trivedi cut their forecasts for the euro to 97 cents over the next three months from 99 cents previously, they said in a note Friday before the various relief packages were announced. They also believe the euro will remain below parity with the dollar over a six-month period. Previously they forecast a recovery to 1.02 dollars.

“While the euro area has made good progress in amassing gas storage for the coming winter, this has come at the cost of significant demand destruction via production cuts, and does not totally eliminate the risk of a more severe disruption over the winter,” they said in the note.

(Adds comment, update bund move from third paragraph.)

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Manchester City Starting XI Prediction at Aston Villa http://www.nordbi.org/manchester-city-starting-xi-prediction-at-aston-villa/ Fri, 02 Sep 2022 18:11:14 +0000 http://www.nordbi.org/manchester-city-starting-xi-prediction-at-aston-villa/

The sack watch is on for Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa. Only one side, the selling-off club that is Leicester City, are below them in the standings. And now Stevie G. has to host juggernaut of juggernauts, Erling Haaland and Manchester City. The Nordic Meat Shield is coming off back to back hat tricks, with the potential for third one tomorrow night is actually quite high. It’s only five games, sure, but Haaland is on pace for about 70-71 goals this season.

The all-time record for the English top flight is Dixie Dean, who scored 60 goals for Everton in 1927-28. What an amazing time for storied individual record chasing in sports. Aaron Judge, of the New York Yankees, is closing on Major League Baseball’s pre-steroid era (so some would say is the “real”) home run record. He has 51 homers right now, and is on pace to finish with 63, two ahead of Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961. It would be great to see both records fall.


2022 Summer Transfer Window Report Cards

Man United  Man City    Chelsea   Arsenal   West Ham   Liverpool

Manchester City at Aston Villa FYIs

Kick off: 7:45pm, Saturday  Sept 3, Villa Park

Team news for both sides: go here

PL Position:  Man City 2nd, 13 pts   Aston Villa 19th, 3pts

Form Guide: Man City WWDWW  Aston Villa  LLLWL

Google Result Probability: Man City 73%  Aston Villa 11%   Draw 16%

Haaland starts each and every non-cup competitive match. Here’s the rest of the team sheet prediction

Manchester City Starting XI Prediction at Aston Villa:

Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Walker; B. Silva, De Bruyne; Foden, Alvarez, Grealish; Haaland

Prediction: City 4, Aston Villa 0

It’ll “only” be a brace this time, not a hat trick, for Haaland.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.

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