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Huge Sibos event shows surging clout of banking and fintech

  • And by the looks of hundreds of booths representing the world's biggest banks in the vast exhibition hall – which are more like fully blown bank branches – it's clear some serious business is being done here this week too.
  • More than a hundred of the biggest banks in the world, including the Australian big four, are set up in an area that would cover several football fields.
  • Wells Fargo has stuck an old horse-drawn carriage adorned with its logo in front of its area; Society General is making the most of its sponsorship of next year's Rugby World Cup. In the ASX booth, screens appear to be running a demo of its blockchain.
  • McKinsey's report on Monday says global digital commerce volume will exceed $US3 trillion in 2017 – and that will more than double by 2022, at which time the Asia-Pacific (thanks to China) will comprise 70 per cent of the global payments market.

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DeSantis and Gillum spar over race, Trump in contentious Florida governor debate

  • DeSantis spent more time on the offensive, perhaps feeling he needed to change the trajectory of a campaign that's found him consistently on the back foot, while Gillum sought to downplay accusations of impropriety, while talking up his health care plan and casting himself as the more competent choice to lead the state.
  • Early on in the course of a rollicking hour, the candidates also broke into a heated exchange over suggestions from the DeSantis camp that an ongoing FBI investigation into public corruption in Tallahassee has implicated Gillum in wrongdoing.
  • The candidates' exchange over health care was less bruising, but pushed DeSantis into a political corner inhabited by many Republicans this midterm season, as he effectively pitted himself against the party's own efforts to dismantle Obamacare.

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The Central American caravan has swelled to an estimated 7,000 migrants. Despite Trump's threats, it's heading north toward the US border.

  • The ever-growing caravan of Central American migrants swelled on Sunday to an estimated 7,000 people, who are largely dedicated to traveling north in the hopes of reaching the United States.
  • President Donald Trump has raged against the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, whom he accused of not doing enough to stop the mass exodus of Central Americans.
  • The growing caravan and seeming inability to stop it highlights a number of complex issues at play: The labyrinthine US asylum system, which the Trump administration loathes for its protections against detaining and quickly deporting children; the gargantuan task of securing a 2,000-mile border with Mexico; and the often desperate circumstances in the countries that prompt people to flee, which US government officials recently visited Guatemala to address.
  • Lopez Obrador, who takes office December 1, ran on a pro-immigration platform, promising jobs and work visas in Mexico to Central American migrants.

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Geoffrey Rush claims his earnings have fallen to $44,000 since Telegraph story

  • Actor Geoffrey Rush has taken the witness stand in his defamation case against Sydney's Daily Telegraph after his barrister claimed that articles accusing him of sexual assault had " destroyed" his reputation.
  • He is suing News Corp, publisher of the Telegraph and journalist Jonathan Moran over a poster and two articles in November 2017 that said he inappropriately touched a cast member – later revealed as Eryn Jean Norvill – during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear, which ran from November 2015 to January 2016.
  • Mr McClintock said another journalist, Rosemary Neill of The Australian, had contacted Mr Rush about four weeks before the Telegraph first published on November 30, 2017.
  • Ms Neill did not publish a story on the allegations but Mr Rush followed up her call by contacting Sydney Theatre Company director McIntyre saying he "needed to know what the complaint was".

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Bank boards are full of former regulators

  • Are our economic regulators at risk of capture from the financial services industry because of the potential lure of working in a highly paid and powerful job at a big bank in their post-public service career?
  • In a case of "game keeper turned poacher", the boards of financial institutions are littered with former heads of Treasury, the Reserve Bank of Australia and other government agencies.
  • Nevertheless, it is undeniable some of the aforementioned individuals and other less senior regulators did not pick up on the misconduct of the financial institutions during their time in public office, when they had the ability to influence policies and laws affecting the businesses they were later employed by.
  • A more benign interpretation may be that incumbent regulators, when weighing policy changes or regulatory crackdowns, may be reassured by the mere presence of other former senior government officials on the board of the institution under the microscope.

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Chinese top Macau representative dies after falling from his building

  • Zheng Xiaosong, the head of China's liaison office to Macau, had been suffering from depression, the Hong Kong and Macau Office of the Chinese government's State Council said in a statement, adding representatives of the Beijing government visited Macau to offer condolences.
  • Like neighboring Hong Kong, Macau operates under China's "one country, two systems" policy and is ruled by a chief executive, who is chosen via an election but must get approval from Beijing to formally take office.
  • Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui said in a statement that he was "shocked" about Zheng's death and expressed condolences.
  • Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam also issued a statement expressing "deep sorrow" for Zheng's death.
  • A statement published on Friday on the Macau liaison's office website showed that Zheng met with the head of a think tank the day before his death.

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Argo Investments boss Jason Beddow says it's still too risky to buy the banks

  • It's probably too early for investors to be buying back into the big four Australian banks even though they have fallen close to one-year lows, says the managing director of the $6 billion listed investment company Argo Investments.
  • But Mr Beddow said Australian companies broadly are still generally expected to continue growing at about 7 per cent on average in 2018-19, with the domestic economy gaining momentum and interest rates still at historical lows.
  • Mr Higgins, who has just stepped down as a director of Telstra after nine years on the telco's board, said those franking credits should have the same value to all Australian taxpayers regardless of their marginal tax rate.
  • Mr Beddow said Argo was still a believer in the long-term value of private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care, which had been de-rated by the market since hitting a share price peak in September, 2016.

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First-Class Automatic Differentiation in Swift

  • Reverse-mode AD computes vector-Jacobian products, i.e. partial derivatives with respect to each input parameter, and it has become a prerequisite for implementing gradient-based learning methods.
  • The linear function that takes a vector and right-multiplies the Jacobian value matrix is called a differential, and it can also be defined in Swift as a higher-order function in terms of 𝒟.
  • More recent AD systems like Stalin∇ (pronounced Stalingrad, available as a dialect of Scheme) achieved good usability by integrating the differential operator into the language, and are equipped with a complete set of AD features (such as forward/reverse, nested AD, Hessians, Jacobians, directional derivatives and checkpointing).
  • AD in Swift aims to solve real-world usability problems by providing the best generalizations, best error messages in failure cases, composable differential operators, and fully customizable types and derivatives.

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A new way to measure nearly nothing: Ultracold trapped atoms to measure pressure

  • The new gauge tracks changes in the number of cold lithium atoms trapped by a laser and magnetic fields within the vacuum.
  • Every time a cold atom is struck by one of the few molecules moving around in the vacuum chamber, the collision kicks the lithium atom out of the trap, decreasing the amount of fluorescent light emitted.
  • The faster the light dims, the more molecules are in the vacuum chamber, making the fluorescence level a sensitive measure of pressure.
  • The new portable system is the result of a NIST project to create a tabletop cold-atom vacuum standard (CAVS) that will be used to make measurements of fundamental atomic properties.
  • With rubidium or cesium, which have relative high vapor pressures at room temperature, eventually you will coat the walls of the vacuum chamber with enough rubidium or cesium metal that the coatings will start emitting atoms.

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uBeam wireless power’s CEO Meredith Perry steps aside amidst B2B pivot

  • After repeatedly missing self-imposed deadlines for progress on its wireless charging-at-a-distance phone case, uBeam’s CEO Meredith Perry has decided to shift out of the CEO position and into a board member and senior advisor role.
  • Now rather than trying to build its own consumer products like wireless power transmitters and receivers that could charge your phone from across the room using ultrasound frequencies, uBeam is pivoting to licensing its technology for use in other companies’ products.
  • In the meantime, larger competitors like WattUp-maker Energous and COTA-maker Ossia have started to make real progress on over the air wireless charging.
  • A recent deep-dive by PC Mag revealed how these two companies are starting to be able to deliver 1 watt of power across a room.

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