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As Trump considers relaxing guidelines, Pelosi says ‘people are dying’

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  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, calling it “deadly.”
  • Her comments come amid reports the White House Coronavirus Task Force will recommend a pathway for re-opening shuttered businesses and schools in portions of the country.
  • Trump has previously said he hopes to get portions of the country re-opened by Easter.
  • “His delaying of getting equipment — he continues to delay getting equipment — where it is needed is deadly, and now I think the best thing to do is to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up,” Pelosi told CNN.
  • Pelosi also implied Trump’s coronavirus response will be subjected to an “after-action” review: “What did he know and when did he know it?” she said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized the president’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, and in particular, his repeated claims that he hopes to soon relax social distancing guidelines.

“The president’s denial at the beginning was deadly,” Pelosi told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “His delaying of getting equipment — he continues to delay getting equipment — where it is needed is deadly, and now I think the best thing to do is to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up.” 

The Washington Post on Sunday reported that Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would later Sunday bring to the president recommendations on whether to re-open some shuttered areas. 

CNN’s Nick Valencia tweeted Sunday that an official privy to the plans of the task force said that members planned to offer the president guidelines that created somewhat of a middle ground between those, like Trump, who want to reopen businesses to bolster the economy, and those, like his own health experts, who warn prematurely opening businesses and other public spaces could hinder efforts to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases. 

 

The proposed recommendations would reportedly call for cities to meet particular “benchmarks” before they can begin to re-open businesses and schools, Valencia tweeted Sunday. The plans would reportedly recommend that at-risk individuals continue to telework, but those who are considered “healthy” would be asked to “phase back into the workplace,” the CNN journalist tweeted.

Areas like Manhattan in New York City, which has been hardest hit by the novel coronavirus in the US, would not be impacted by the new guidelines, an official told Valencia. As he noted, the guidelines stand as recommendations, and it would be up to President Trump to decide whether to implement them.

“We all have to get smart,” Trump said when on the phone with governors on March 26, a recording of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “We have to open up our country, I’m sorry.”

The president has said he hopes to get the country closer to normal operations by Easter. On Saturday, Trump said weighed placing New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on an “enforceable quarantine,” but later backtracked. 

 

 

As she called for more coronavirus testing, Pelosi told Tapper she didn’t understand the “purpose” of the president’s actions including “his denial at the beginning” of the outbreak and delaying equipment, she said. 

US intelligence agencies were warning President Donald Trump about an impending pandemic as early as January, The Washington Post recently reported. According to the report, officials were giving Trump classified briefings on the matter at the same time that the president was publicly downplaying the risk of the novel coronavirus and insisting the US was well prepared to handle the outbreak.

“I don’t know what the scientists said to him,” she said. “But as the president fiddles, people are dying, and we just have to take every precaution.”

Pelosi also implied Trump’s handling of the coronavirus response could be under review.

“When did this president know about this, and what did he know?” she told Tapper. “That’s for an after-action review.”

The president tweeted Sunday morning that he would hold a press conference on the novel coronavirus at 5 p.m.

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Wall Street Insider May 30: Top finance stories

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Welcome to Wall Street Insider, where we take you behind the scenes of the finance team’s biggest scoops and deep dives from the past week. 

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to Wall Street Insider, you can sign up here.

It’s hard to believe that Memorial Day has come and gone already, and that we’re just about at the end of May. One area of Wall Street certainly didn’t seem to take much time off over recent days. As Alex Morrell reports, US ECM offerings roared back this month to close out with a record $72 billion. 

Pandemic-fueled debt binges aren’t gone, exactly, but the script has flipped. There’s debt fatigue among investors, bankers say, and some corporates are now turning to equity markets instead to raise cash to ride out any more downturns – and in some cases, potentially do some deals.

And while much of the May activity was follow-ons and convertibles, there’s signs that the IPO market has been thawing, too. For one, Warner Music Group, which announced an IPO in February before the pandemic had gripped the US, is moving forward with its public offering and set to start trading next week. 

Read the full story here:

On the real-estate front, Dan Geiger explained how a potential court fight over a Victoria’s Secret flagship NYC store highlights a wider battle between retail tenants and landlords. He also broke the news that IBM is ditching a big WeWork office in Manhattan, revealing the risks of the popular flex-space model as the pandemic prompts Blue Chip companies to rethink their real-estate footprints.

And in case you missed it last weekend, Casey Sullivan and Meghan Morris’ definitive inside story of elite law firm Boies Schiller is a must read— Pay rifts, a partner divide, and a threat at the Ritz Carlton: 50 insiders reveal all on a massive shakeup at BSF.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend, 

Meredith 


Student housing owned by Blue Vista

Student housing owned by Blue Vista

Blue Vista


As Meghan Morris reported, student-housing providers have seen a wave of money in recent years from public-markets investors and private groups like pension systems and sovereign wealth funds. Now the sector is undergoing its first real test.

With campuses closed for in-person learning and timelines uncertain for reopenings, the basic investment thesis of student-housing being recession-proof is being rewritten. Experts shared their outlook for the sector — and how some are seeing big buying opportunities.

Read the full story here: 


Sabine Keller Busse UBS



UBS


Dakin Campbell spoke with Sabine Keller-Busse, UBS’s chief operating officer, who laid out the key lessons the bank has drawn from its coronavirus response and how those will inform its strategy going forward.

Keller-Busse described five areas where the bank will make or accelerate changes: the use of robots, staff insourcing, remote hiring, its real-estate footprint, and how heavily it will rely on business continuity sites. 

Read the full story here: 


Nigel Morris

Nigel Morris, QED Investors

QED Investors


Nigel Morris, a cofounder of Capital One who spent 10 years as its president and chief operating officer, told Dan DeFrancesco that now is the right time for deals between fintechs and banks.

For fintechs, the market downturn brought on by the coronavirus will force investors to take a harder look at the startups than they have previously, Morris said. And banks have needs as well. The coronavirus has demonstrated the need for many of them to establish better digital strategies. 

Read the full story here: 


Fintech

Wealth and investing

Real estate

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Hong Kong’s financial hub will lose business to Singapore on China law

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  • Tensions in Greater China have led analysts to warn that many businesses can move from Hong Kong to Singapore. 
  • China approved a law on Thursday that tightens its grip over Hong Kong, seen as a violation of Hong Kong’s “one country, two principle” systems. 
  • Hong Kong ranked as the world’s sixth-largest financial center in 2020 and Singapore took the fifth position.
  • Analysts say Singapore could overtake Hong Kong if it loses lucrative business. 
  • Singapore is facing its worst recession since Independence and expects GDP to drop as much as 7% in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hong Kong, currently the world’s sixth-largest financial center, may struggle to retain its position as companies consider moving to neighboring Singapore to escape the wrath of a new Chinese draconian law, analysts say. 

If realized, the prediction will be a blow to Hong Kong after months of political turmoil that has rocked the region.

On Thursday, China approved a new law that targets subversion of state power, terrorism activities, and foreign interference in the former British colony.

The US responded by declaring it no longer considers Hong Kong to be autonomous from China. 

So far, stock reaction has been muted, but analysts question Hong Kong’s long-term ability to stop the decline of its financial hub. 

The 27th edition of the global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) ranked Hong Kong marginally behind Singapore, the world’s fifth-largest financial center in 2010.

GFCI ranked Singapore as fourth-biggest in 2019, a position it lost in this year’s ranking.

But analysts think Singapore is set to outperform Hong Kong significantly and the gap between both countries’ rankings could widen further.

Arthur Dong, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, said: “The bill will accelerate the decline or demise of Hong Kong as one of the world’s biggest financial centers.”

Dong added: “Hong Kong’s status as East Asia’s premier financial center is supported by Hong Kong’s unique status under “one country two systems” granted by China during the 1997 handover from Britain to China.”

He pointed out two factors that have secured Hong Kong’s global financial center is the protection of property rights and predictability, adding that the law violates both principles. 

Dong is not alone. 

Read more: Bank of America says a new bubble may be forming in the stock market — and shares a cheap strategy for protection that is ‘significantly’ more profitable than during the past 10 years

Dr Ying Wu, Assistant Professor at School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology, said: “This April, we already noticed a dramatic down drop of almost 100 billion dollars of the global capital out of emerging markets, including China, from all around the world. “

Dr Wu said: “The bill has strengthened the expectation that money would further be leaving the Asian financial hub, such an important bridge between China economic engine and the rest of the world.”

As of March, she pointed out that foreign currency deposits at both domestic and international banks operating in Singapore have nearly doubled since July, totaling $15 billion.

“Although it is not disclosed where the capital comes from economists perceive it is the signal that money has started to flow out of the city and into Singapore, another regional safe haven,” Dr Wu added. 

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia-Pacific at OANDA, said: “The big winner out of this could be Singapore if we do see an exit of companies from Hong Kong. 

“If Hong Kong is imposing Chinese law by the backdoor in Hong Kong, it questions why companies need to be in Hong Kong. 

“If they don’t want to be under Chinese law but want to be more under a Western legal system, then they may as well go to Singapore,” Halley added. 

But Hernando Gomez, principal-in-charge of the business valuation division at MBAF, thinks it may not be that easy for Singapore to snatch business from Hong Kong, as the island is facing its worst recession in the history of its independence. 

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 25 stocks that are wildly popular with hedge funds — and have crushed the market this year

“One could say that some rival cities like Singapore or Shanghai may benefit from the chaos but unfortunately, under the current circumstances, I do not see that many winners as the city has been dragged into a recession.”

The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged two of Singapore’s key industries, tourism and shipping. 

The country’s trade ministry warned this week the economy could contract as much as 7%  this year and 4% in a best-case scenario. Previous growth forecasts for the country lay between -4 to -1%, 

But Halley added: “I can only see Singapore progressing. Singapore is also pushing very hard for financial centers to put data centers there. Most of the world’s financial data runs between three hubs Tokyo, London, and New York.”

“Now they are starting to put huge data hubs also in Singapore. Hong Kong has been competing for some of that business as well but I don’t see how they are going to be competitive if Hong Kong is against the Great Firewall of China.”

But Hong Kong’s stock exchange group received a boost as it was able to snatch a key derivatives licensing agreement from Singapore after 23 years, this Wednesday. 

It paves the way for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to offer options and futures from June based on 37 of MSCI’s equities indices. 

So there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for Hong Kong. Whether the US slaps sanctions against the former British colony or China may ultimately determine how much better Singapore ranks as a financial hub relative to Hong Kong.

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Read retired Navy SEAL William McRaven’s speech to MIT’s Class of 2020

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  • William H. McRaven is a retired four-star admiral in the US Navy where he served for 37 years, former chancellor of the University of Texas system, and former foreign policy advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
  • In his commencement address to MIT’s class of 2020, he shared what he believes to be the most important qualities to nurture in today’s world: courage, humility, perseverance, and compassion.
  • McRaven said that above all, in order to be great and do your part to save the world, you have to be willing to sacrifice everything.
  • Read the full transcript of McRaven’s speech below.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Thank you very much for that kind introduction. President Reif, distinguished guests, members of the faculty, and of course, the MIT graduating class of 2020. It is truly an honor for me to have the opportunity to address you today.

I had an entirely different speech prepared for this afternoon. It was a nice little speech. It was about how you, the brilliant men and women of MIT are like the Navy SEALs of academia. I made some good analogies. I had some cute little anecdotes and some lessons from my career. But somehow, that speech just didn’t seem right in light of all that has happened in the past five months. The fact that I am standing here alone, and that you are isolated somewhere at home, is proof enough that the world has changed.

But there is a part of the speech that I retained. It was the part about heroes and how after all these years I came to realize that the heroes we need are not the heroes I had been looking for. When I was a young boy growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, I always envisioned myself as the hero. I always wanted to be Superman, with his powers to fly, with his invulnerability, with his super strength. A hero who saved the world every day from some catastrophe. Or Batman, Spiderman, the Black Panther, the team of the X-men, and the Fantastic Four, and my favorite of all — Aquaman. I so wanted to ride on the back of a seahorse and fight evil underwater.

But as I grew up and travelled the world, and as I saw more than my share of war and destruction — I came to the hard truth that Captain America isn’t coming to the rescue. There is no Superman, no Batman, no Wonder Woman, no Black Widow, no Avengers, no Justice League, no Gandolf, no Harry Potter, and no Aquaman. If we are going to save the world from pandemics, war, climate change, poverty, racism, extremism, intolerance — then you, the brilliant minds of MIT — you are going to have to save the world.

But, as remarkable as you are, your intellect and talent alone will not be sufficient. I have seen my share of real heroes, on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the hospitals fighting COVID-19, on the streets keeping America safe and open — and I know that there are other qualities necessary to be today’s hero. So, if you will bear with this old sailor for a minute or two, I would like to offer some thoughts on the other qualities you will need to help save the world.

First, you must have courage. Winston Churchill once said that courage was the most important quality of all because it guaranteed all the rest. He was not just talking about the physical courage to charge the hill, run into a burning building, or stop a madman with a gun. He was also talking about moral courage. The courage to stand up for your convictions. Physical courage has long been the hallmark of a great warrior, but I would offer that the moral courage to stand up for what’s right has an equal place in the pantheon of heroes.

If you hope to save the world you will have to standby your convictions. You will have to confront the ignorant with facts. You will have to challenge the zealots with reason. You will have to defy the naysayers and the weak-kneed who have not the constitution to stand tall. You will have to speak truth to power.

But if your cause is good and decent and worthy and honorable and has the possibility of saving even one of God’s creatures, then you must do what all heroes do. You must summon the courage to fight and fight hard for your convictions. You must yell them from the mountaintop. You must shout them from the lectern. You must write in bold, cursive, and underlined phrases. You must bring your convictions out from the darkness and the subtly of your heart — into the light of day. They must be made public and challenged and confronted and argued.

There will always be those who don’t want to hear your convictions. Particularly if they are true.

Speaking the truth can be dangerous at times. But those that came before you, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Madam Curie, Grace Hooper, and Katherine Johnson — those brilliant minds, those tellers of truth, who made the world a more knowledgeable place, a more compassionate place, a more livable place, they had courage. If you are going to save the world, you will need courage.

If you are going to save the world, you will need to be humble. In my career, I have been blessed to be around some great minds. I have seen how the brilliant men and women have helped eradicate disease, reduce poverty, create technological masterpieces but, conversely I have seen how the misguided geniuses, filled with conceit and convinced of their own righteousness, have tampered with nature, built apocalyptic machines, dehumanized social interaction, and tilted toward tyranny. If you do not approach the world with humility, it will find a way to humble you quickly.

I found in my time in the military that no experience on earth was more humbling than combat. The crucible of war teaches you everyday that you are not invincible — that the enemy in bare feet and carrying only Kalashnikovs can sometimes defeat the best soldiers and the best technology in the world.

And if you believe for a moment that you are superior, you will be humbled quickly. But if you approach every mission with a decent respect for the mountains, the rivers, the oceans, and the enemy — you are more likely to succeed.

In Plato’s great rendition of Socrates Apology, Socrates defends the charges against him by telling the jury of Athenian nobles that he is the wisest man in the world — far wiser than any of the robed men sitting in judgment. When questioned about how he could be so bold as to make this statement, Socrates says that he is the wisest because he knows so very little of the world. To solve the world’s problems you will have to realize how little you know. You must be able to look to the stars, peer through a microscope, gaze at the ocean — and be humbled.

To believe for even a moment that you have all the answers, that you know the truth of the universe, that you are wiser than all the men and women who came before you, is the tale of every great man and woman who amounted to nothing. Only when you are humble, only when you realize the limits of your understanding, the shortfalls of your knowledge, the boundaries of your intellect — only then can you find the answers you are seeking.

If you are going to save the world you must persevere through the difficult times. Life as a SEAL is all about perseverance. Can you make it through SEAL training without ringing the bell? Can you make it through the long family separations, the exhausting deployments, the loss of a fellow warrior in combat? Sometimes saving the world is just about holding on. Never quitting no matter what obstacles face you.

A good friend of mine, who graduated from the University of Texas in 1969, pursued a career in medicine. His mother had died of Lymphoma when he was eleven and he was obsessed with finding a cure. For decades, he pursued an idea that most in the medical field dismissed as fantasy. Could the human body really use its own immune system to fight cancer? He never gave up on his pursuit and in 2018, Dr. Jim Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

There are the occasional great men and women of science who changed history at an early age, but most discoveries, most achievements, most triumphs are the product of a long and painful process and only the most resolute, the ones that can persevere through the failure, the rejection, the ridicule, the emotional and physical strain of time — those are the ones most likely to save the world.

If you hope to save the world, you must be prepared to sacrifice. The special operation forces are filled with memorials of remarkable men and women who gave their all in the defense of the nation. Medal of Honor recipients like Mike Murphy, Mike Monsoor, John Chapman, and Robby Miller. Remarkable women like Ashley White and Jennifer Moreno. The heroes of helicopters Turbine 33 and Extortion 17 — SEALs and soldiers who answered the call and never returned. All great Americans who sacrificed their lives so that their teammates might live.

But, there is a more mundane, yet still essential sacrifice, that is required if you want to want to save the world. As SEALs we train every day. Long tortuous hours of hard physical pain, ruck sac marches, open ocean swims, miles of running, and hours of calisthenics. They are all sacrifices necessary to be ready — when the world needs you.

In his time, Thomas Edison developed 1,500 patents. From the electric light, to the phonograph, to the movie camera, to the vacuum diode, and the carbon microphone. He saved the world from darkness. But in doing so it required him to work 20 hour days, his home front was often strained, his other business ventures struggled to survive, and his health always seemingly in jeopardy.

It would be easy to stand up here and tell you that there is wondrous place where you can be great at both work… and life, where your efforts to make a difference in the world come easy — but I have never found that place. In the end, if your goal is a noble one, then your sacrifice will be worth it. And you will be proud of what you have accomplished.

To save the world, you will have to be men and women of great integrity. Always trying to do what is moral, legal and ethical. It will not be easy and I dare say, you will fail occasionally. You will fail because you are human. You will fail because life often forces you into a seemingly untenable position. You will fail because good and evil are always in conflict.

And when you fail to uphold your integrity, it should make you sick to your stomach. It should give you sleepless nights. You should be so tortured that you promise yourself never to do it again. You see, being a hero will not be easy. It will not be easy because, you are not men and women of steel, you are not cloaked in a suit of armor, you are not infused with unearthly powers — you are real heroes. And what makes real heroes are their struggles and their ability to overcome them.

But no matter how mightily you might struggle, the world will believe in you, follow you, allow themselves to be saved — if they know you to be honest, trustworthy, of good character and good faith. Men and women of integrity.

Finally, to save the world, you must have compassion. You must ache for the poor and disenfranchised. You must fear for the vulnerable. You must weep for the ill and infirmed. You must pray for those who are without hope. You must be kind to less fortunate. For what hero gives so much of themselves, without caring for those they are trying to save.

As we sign off from this virtual commencement, I want you to promise me one thing.

Promise me that you will be the last class — the last class to miss a commencement — because of a pandemic. The last class to miss a commencement because of war. The last class to miss a commencement because of climate change, unrest, tyranny, extremism, active shooters, intolerance, and apathy.

Batman and Superman are not coming to save the world. It will be up to you. But never, never in my life, have I been so confident that the fate of the world is in good hands. Go forth and be the heroes we need you to be.

Thank you and congratulations!



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