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American and Chinese officials have reportedly begun to hash out documents that could form the basis of a trade deal, but there are growing concerns that leaders of both nations are softening on key demands. More on the progress from Bloomberg, citing an unidentified source:
• Several memorandums of understanding “would cover areas including agriculture, non-tariff barriers, services, technology transfer and intellectual property, said the person.”
• “The enforcement mechanism remains unclear, but would likely be a threat that tariffs would be reimposed if conditions aren’t met, the person said.”
• “No breakthrough is expected during this week’s talks,” though an extension to a March 1 deadline is still a possibility.
But there’s a new fear surrounding the deal. According to Lingling Wei and Bob Davis of the WSJ, there are “growing concerns on the home front” in both America and China that their leaders — and President Trump in particular — are “going to cave in to the other side”:
• Some officials reportedly believe Mr. Trump is “tiring of the trade dispute and is poised to cut a deal that won’t lead to fundamental changes by China.”
• “American Enterprise Institute China scholar Derek Scissors said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a China hawk, holds significant leverage over Mr. Trump to keep to a hard line — including, potentially, the threat of resigning if the deal falls short.”
More trade news: Mr. Trump reportedly continues to consider E.U. car tariffs — levies that Volkswagen says could cost it billions of euros per year. And is the clothes maker American Giant, which makes all its products in the U.S., a model for Mr. Trump’s ambitions?
Hedge funds and investment banks think they’ve found a big new moneymaker, according to Matt Goldstein and Jim Tankersley of the NYT: so-called opportunity funds, part of President Trump’s tax package to steer money to poor areas by offering large tax breaks.
• “More than 80 of the funds have sprung up since January 2018, even though the Trump administration has not finalized regulations governing them.”
• The pitch to potential investors: outsize returns while fighting poverty.
• The provision that created opportunity funds “lowers capital gains taxes — potentially dramatically — for investors who finance projects in about 8,700 so-called opportunity zones spread across the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.”
• The financial benefit? “An investor who keeps money in such a fund for 10 years is able to exclude 15 percent of the original capital gain from taxation. And — potentially much more lucratively — the investor would not owe taxes on any gains that accrued if the investment increased in value in that time.”
• “Skeptics worry that the funds will mostly target real estate and other projects that probably would have attracted investment even without the tax break, and may not deliver the returns being dangled.”
The British prime minister was in Brussels yesterday to press for changes that could save her Brexit deal. She may finally be making some headway, though she still needs to convince lawmakers of any changes to her plan.
She made her case to the E.U. In discussions with the European Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, she pressed for “legally binding changes” to her existing deal that she hopes will make it palatable to British lawmakers. Britain’s attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, and Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, are expected to propose wordings for those legal tweaks today.
Some progress may have been made. “A Brexit agreement is already being hammered out in Brussels, according to Spain’s foreign minister, as the bloc seeks reassuring language that can convince British members of Parliament to back the deal,” Bloomberg explains.
But the E.U. may demand that any changes are first approved in Britain. The E.U. “doesn’t want to call leaders for a summit to sign off on changes that are then rejected by the U.K. Parliament,” Bloomberg reports, adding that “once there’s an agreement, it should be tested in Parliament, and only after that will leaders be asked to sign off on it at a summit.” And it is far from clear that lawmakers would approve.
More Brexit news: Nine more Conservative party lawmakers have reportedly said that they could resign from the party in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The credit agency Fitch may downgrade Britain’s double-A rating over concerns about Brexit.
The White House has spent the last year trying to convince Europe that the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is a national security threat and shouldn’t be given any role in developing new wireless networks. So far, that plan doesn’t appear to be working.
British officials don’t seem to agree with the White House. “Ciaran Martin, who leads Britain’s National Cyber Security Center, expressed confidence at a conference in Brussels that any security risks Huawei posed could be managed,” Adam Satariano of the NYT reports.
Nor do those in Germany. The news follows a WSJ report yesterday that said “the German government is leaning toward letting Huawei Technologies Co. participate in building the nation’s high-speed internet infrastructure.”
“If Britain does not ban Huawei, it would be a defeat for the White House,” Mr. Satariano writes. “Because Britain belongs to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance with the United States, whatever it decides on Huawei is likely to affect how other countries treat the company.”
The German lender suffered one of its biggest-ever trading losses from a decade-long wager on a municipal-bond investment that spiraled out of control, the WSJ reports, citing unnamed sources.
• The bank bought .8 billion worth of municipal bonds in 2007, later covered with insurance purchased from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
• The WSJ says Deutsche Bank “resisted for years reducing the value of those bonds and related derivatives on its books to a level that markets suggested they were worth,” and dismissed concerns from auditors.
• “Internally, the bank acknowledged losses on the trade only incrementally. After it finally liquidated the position nine years after buying the bonds, bank executives debated whether to restate past financial results, but never did so.”
• Deutsche Bank finally liquidated the position in the summer of 2016, after its C.E.O. at the time, John Cryan, demanded the trade be wound down.
• “The prolonged struggle over how to handle the investment sheds light on cultural and financial challenges inside one of Europe’s biggest banks that have hampered its ability to compete with stronger U.S. rivals.”
More Deutsche Bank news: Executives were reportedly so worried about the Trump Organization defaulting on 0 million in loans during the Trump presidency that they discussed extending repayment dates until 2025.
The Swiss bank was hit by one of France’s biggest-ever financial penalties yesterday for helping wealthy French clients hide money from the authorities.
The judgment was seven years in the making. French authorities began investigating after whistle-blowers tipped them off. According to the NYT, prosecutors said that UBS bankers in France eager for big bonuses “had alerted their counterparts in Switzerland to potential ‘big potatoes’ ” — French citizens with assets of at least €500,000, or about 0,000.
Bankers used “James Bond” methods to hide their work. They “followed a UBS ‘security governance manual’ that included instructions for using encrypted computers, using business cards without the bank’s logo and switching hotels frequently,” according to the NYT.
UBS will appeal. The firm said that the case was “based on the unfounded allegations of former employees,” and its C.E.O. derided the verdict as “superficial” and “astounding.”
Major companies including Nestlé and Epic Games said yesterday that they had stopped buying ads on Google’s video platform. The reason, the NYT reports: Pedophiles were swarming the comment sections of children’s videos.
The companies acted after a user posted a video that pointed out that innocent videos of youngsters were being overrun with suggestive comments aimed at the children.
The video’s creator, Matt Watson, accused YouTube of “facilitating the sexual exploitation” of children. He added that the site’s recommendation system guided predators to other videos featuring minors.
A Google spokeswoman said the company had taken action by deleting accounts and offensive comments. “Any content — including comments — that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube,” she said.
At this point, the blood-testing company is over. But Nick Bilton of Vanity Fair writes that in its final months, Theranos’s founder, Elizabeth Holmes, tried to abandon a high-spending lifestyle and attempted to convince employees that everything was O.K.:
• “Holmes had a hard time weaning herself off certain luxuries. She still had her own personal security detail, drivers, personal assistants and a personal publicist who was on retainer for ,000 a month.”
• “By late 2017, however, Holmes had begun to slightly rein in the spending.” She agreed to give up her private-jet travel, and moved the company’s premises from Palo Alto to Newark, to premises that former employees called “crummy.”
• “Yet through all of this, former employees of the company have told me, Holmes had a bizarre way of acting like nothing was wrong. Even more peculiarly, she appeared happy. ‘The company is falling apart, there are countless indictments piling up, employees are leaving in droves, and Elizabeth is just weirdly chipper,’ a former senior executive told me.”
Those in the upper echelon are hoarding money and privilege to a degree not seen in decades. But that doesn’t make them happy at work, Charles Duhigg writes in the NYT:
• “A surprising portion of Americans are professionally miserable right now. In the mid-1980s, roughly 61 percent of workers told pollsters they were satisfied with their jobs. Since then, that number has declined substantially, hovering around half, according to data collected by the Conference Board, a nonprofit research organization.”
• “Even among professionals given to lofty self-images, like those in medicine and law, other studies have noted a rise in discontent.”
• “Why? Based on my own conversations with classmates and the research I began reviewing, the answer comes down to oppressive hours, political infighting, increased competition sparked by globalization, an ‘always-on culture’ bred by the internet — but also something that’s hard for these professionals to put their finger on, an underlying sense that their work isn’t worth the grueling effort they’re putting into it.”
Dane Butswinkas is stepping down as Tesla’s general counsel, only two months after joining the carmaker from the law firm Williams & Connolly.
Keith Rabois, the veteran investor, is leaving Khosla Ventures for Founders Fund, the venture capital firm run by his longtime friend Peter Thiel.
Robin Phillips, a co-head of HSBC’s global banking division, will reportedly step down this summer.
Serena Williams joined the board of Poshmark, an online retailer.
• Lyft plans to begin its I.P.O. roadshow on March 18, paving the way to begin trading publicly on the Nasdaq stock market by early April. (NYT)
• The activist hedge fund Starboard Value nominated five directors to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s board, a potential attempt to derail the drugmaker’s acquisition of Celgene. (Bloomberg)
• With Sainsbury and other major British retailers out as buyers for Walmart’s Asda unit, will a private equity firm step in? (Bloomberg)
• The C.E.O. of Kraft Heinz says that food company valuations have become “more attractive” recently, suggesting he may try to strike deals. (FT)
Politics and policy
• The Justice Department reportedly could announce that Robert Mueller has completed his Russia investigation as soon as next week. (CNN)
• Coal companies hired Bill Wehrum’s law firm to fight Obama-era environmental rules — then Mr. Wehrum joined President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency. (Politico)
• House Democrats plan to introduce a bill blocking President Trump’s emergency declaration for a border wall by tomorrow. (Politico)
• A disinformation campaign aimed at Democratic presidential candidates like Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders is underway. Foreign state actors appear to be involved. (Politico)
• Apple is reportedly working on a way for developers to create one app that works on iPhones, iPads and Macs. (Bloomberg)
• Samsung thinks it has seen the future of smartphones — and it’s a folding device that will cost almost ,000. (NYT)
• Digital ad spending in the U.S. is expected to surpass nondigital this year. (Axios)
• Mark Zuckerberg says that an ad-free Facebook isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds. (Recode)
Best of the rest
• Court documents revealed that the health care joint venture of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase plans to redesign health insurance, among other things. (WSJ)
• The Fed paused interest rate rises because “the global economic outlook became less certain and financial markets failed to appreciate the Fed’s willingness to shift if the economy weakened.” (NYT)
• The Justice Department and S.E.C. are investigating Johnson & Johnson over concerns about possible asbestos contamination of its popular baby powder. (NYT)
• The S.E.C. is now investigating Danske Bank over its money-laundering scandal. (Bloomberg)
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“【无】【知】【狂】【妄】【的】【人】【类】……”【地】【魁】【望】【着】【只】【有】【一】【条】【腿】【露】【在】【地】【面】【上】【的】【商】【人】，【满】【意】【的】【走】【开】【了】。 【地】【魁】【按】【照】【阿】【兹】【尔】【发】【给】【他】【的】【地】【理】【坐】【标】，【朝】【着】【啸】【风】【的】【方】【向】【走】【去】。 【望】【着】【这】【条】【繁】【荣】【的】【街】【道】，【地】【魁】【的】【眼】【神】【中】【闪】【烁】【着】【不】【祥】【的】【光】【芒】。 “【人】【类】……” 【终】【于】，【在】【走】【过】【了】【五】【条】【街】【后】，【地】【魁】【来】【到】【了】【一】【个】【宏】【伟】【的】【宫】【殿】【前】。 “【站】【住】！【没】【有】【老】【大】
【妈】【妈】【都】【会】【在】【宝】【宝】【睡】【觉】【前】【给】【宝】【宝】【洗】【澡】，【但】【很】【多】【时】【候】【宝】【宝】【是】【不】【喜】【欢】【洗】【澡】【的】，【除】【非】【洗】【澡】【对】【他】【们】【来】【说】【是】【一】【件】【有】【趣】【的】【事】【情】。【但】【是】【大】【多】【数】【宝】【宝】【好】【像】【都】【喜】【欢】【泡】【澡】，【记】【得】【小】【时】【候】，【每】【天】【都】【让】【妈】【妈】【接】【一】【盆】【水】，【自】【己】【能】【在】【里】【面】【玩】【一】【晚】【上】，【在】【放】【上】【几】【个】【玩】【具】，【一】【边】【玩】【水】【一】【边】【玩】【玩】【具】，【简】【直】【再】【幸】【福】【不】【过】【了】。【最】【近】【有】【个】【妈】【妈】【为】【了】【特】【殊】【功】【效】，【给】【宝】【宝】【泡】“【橘】【子】【浴】”，【这】【位】【妈】【妈】【给】【宝】【宝】【的】【洗】【澡】【方】【式】【引】【起】【了】【网】【友】【争】【议】。彩民网高手论坛“【哎】，【回】【来】，【别】【着】【急】，【我】【们】【已】【经】【让】【人】【守】【在】【那】【里】【了】。”【唐】【妈】【妈】【赶】【紧】【拉】【住】【要】【往】【外】【冲】【的】【唐】【芯】。 【要】【不】【是】【自】【己】【一】【直】【都】【在】【锻】【炼】，【加】【上】【最】【近】【唐】【芯】【体】【力】【稍】【有】【变】【差】，【不】【然】【还】【真】【的】【拉】【不】【住】【她】。 “【你】【们】【派】【了】【谁】？”【唐】【芯】【看】【着】【自】【己】【认】【识】【的】【人】【都】【聚】【在】【这】【里】，【差】【点】【问】，【派】【去】【的】【人】【可】【靠】【吗】？【心】【脏】【在】【砰】【砰】【砰】【的】【直】【跳】。 “【请】【的】【职】【业】【保】【镖】，【放】【宽】【心】【吧】
【小】【说】【终】【于】【写】【完】【了】，【感】【谢】【大】【家】【的】【支】【持】。 【这】【部】【小】【说】【前】【前】【后】【后】【写】【了】【四】、【五】【年】（【由】【于】【懒】【惰】），【只】【想】【敦】【促】【自】【己】【快】【些】【写】【完】，【也】【好】【对】【得】【起】【自】【己】。 【毕】【竟】，【人】【还】【是】【要】【写】【点】【东】【西】【给】【自】【己】【看】【的】。 【还】【是】【特】【别】【开】【心】【终】【于】【完】【结】【了】【的】，【还】【是】【感】【谢】【大】【家】【的】【支】【持】，【还】【有】【编】【辑】【大】【大】【的】【关】【心】。 【本】【来】【想】【了】【一】【堆】【话】【要】【说】，【却】【说】【不】【出】【来】【什】【么】【了】。 【如】【果】