In The News Today

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Is this a variation of the US’s strategy of “economic hitman”?

Angola’s Chinese Oil Debt-Trap
May 13, 2018

Angola repays its $25 billion debt to Beijing with crude oil, creating a host of problems for its economy, reports Yinka Adegoke, Quartz’s Africa editor, in his weekly brief.

Why it matters: That means Angola’s ability to repay debt is dependent on the price of oil. And it leaves the country with lower volumes of oil to sell to other trading partners.

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The bigger picture: Angola is an example of the debt-trap in Chinese diplomacy, through which small countries accrue massive debts by accepting Beijing’s offer to build much-needed infrastructure. Then China has leverage to set the terms of future engagement, whether that’s determining the mode of repayment or demanding rights to use the infrastructure.

The backdrop…

Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, and 99% of Angolan exports to Beijing are petroleum products, per the Washington Post.

Since establishing diplomatic ties with Angola in 1983, China has lent $60 billion to the small nation through direct investments and infrastructure projects.

“Every Angolan owes $754 to China,” as the local newspaper Expansão put it.

As China keeps growing, its demand for crude does too. It’s also the largest consumer of Iranian oil.

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

I guess we now need to expand “the three greatest lies” to four?

I Asked Siri, Alexa And Google Assistant If They’re Spying On Me — Here’s What They Said
May 13, 2018

A lot of people are worried that voice assistants like Amazon (AMZN)’s Alexa, Apple (AAPL)’s Siri or the Google (GOOGL) Assistant are spying on us at home.

All three companies have said the assistants are not listening all the time, but only listen for a wake word — or perhaps hidden commands humans can’t hear.

So I asked all three voice assistants if they’re spying on us, just for kicks. Here’s what each one said.

“Hey Alexa, are you spying on me?”

Here’s what Amazon Alexa said:

“I only send audio back to Amazon when you activate me. For more information, and to view Amazon’s privacy notice, visit the help section of your Alexa app or alexa.amazon.com.”

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Bill Holter’s Commentary

Name names, please!!!