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Pelosi excludes Trump loyalists from Jan.6 probe, prompting GOP boycott



She said Ms Pelosi was correct to exclude Mr Jordan and Mr Banks from the panel, saying Mr Jordan was a potential ‘important witness’ and Mr Banks had ‘disqualified’ himself with recent disparaging comments. the work of the committee.

Mr Banks has been criticized for arranging a recent trip for House Republicans to join Mr Trump on the Southwest Border, in which a participant in the Capitol riot sometimes served as a translator. He also issued a combative statement on Monday evening in which he accused the Biden administration of its response to the riot – which occurred in the last days of the Trump administration – and said he would not allow that the committee “be transformed into condemning millions of Americans for their political beliefs.”

On Wednesday, he and Mr Jordan accused Ms Pelosi of failing to secure the Capitol against rioters, who harassed her in the hallways on Jan.6 chanting “Nancy”.

Congressional leaders do not oversee security on Capitol Hill, although they do hire those who do. It is controlled by the Capitol Police Board, which includes the sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate and the architect of the Capitol. At the time of the attack, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving had been in office since 2012 when he was hired by Ohio Republican President John A. Boehner. Then-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger was hired in 2018 when Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell headed the chamber.

Mr. Jordan, who called the committee’s work a political attack on Mr. Trump, was among a group of House Republicans who met with the former president in December to help him plan efforts to contest Mr. Biden’s victory. Democratic members of the select committee were considering calling him as a witness in their investigation.

Mrs. Cheney reportedly clashed with Mr. Jordan on the house floor on January 6, blaming him for the riot, according to a new book by two reporters for the Washington Post.

Ms Pelosi had said she would accept Mr McCarthy’s other three candidates on the panel – Rep. Rodney Davis from Illinois, Rep. Kelly Armstrong from North Dakota and Rep. Troy Nehls from Texas – and said she had encouraged Mr. McCarthy to come up with two new choices to replace Mr. Jordan and Mr. Banks.



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China rushes to set up bailout funds for indebted state-owned enterprises



Local governments in China are rushing to launch multibillion-dollar bailout funds to bail out state groups after a wave of high-profile bond defaults that rocked international investors.

Public records showed that six Chinese provinces have committed at least 110 billion Rmb ($ 17 billion) in funds since the end of last year, as money crisis among indebted public enterprises are hitting local economies.

The wave of defaults included companies such as Yongcheng Coal and Electricity Holding Group, which plunged the local economy of central Henan Province into crisis when it collapsed. missed a Rmb1bn debt payment last year and stopped paying some of its 180,000 workers.

“The whole province has suffered economically because a single state-owned company failed to make the bond payments on time,” said an official from Henan, which launched a bailout fund in April.

While the Chinese economy has been one of the first to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the rebound has been uneven in some provinces that depend on state-owned industries.

Distressed bonds issued by state-owned enterprises totaled Rmbn 119 billion last year, the highest since China started allowing state-owned enterprises to default in 2014, and up from Rmbn 22 billion in 2019. faults have worried investors, who had previously assumed that the bonds would be guaranteed by the state.

The increase in provincial bailout funds marked the latest effort by local Chinese authorities to restore creditors’ confidence. But analysts have warned that the strategy could instead get worse China’s over-indebtedness, which they called a time bomb for the world’s second-largest economy.

“The purpose of the bailout funds is to send a message to the market that the government will step in when things go wrong,” said Zhang Pan, head of research at Raman Capital, a Shanghai-based asset manager. “They will not make a poorly run public enterprise into a better run business.”

As China weathered an economic slowdown in the 1990s by shutting down tens of thousands of loss-making state groups, Beijing is reluctant to start over.

President Xi Jinping sees state-owned enterprises as the “bulwark of the economy”, unlike former Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, who in the 1990s adopted the “keep the big and abandon the small” approach. To cope with the failures of state-owned enterprises.

The heavily indebted northern province of Hebei was the first to set up a rescue vehicle, a Rmbn SOE 30 billion “credit guarantee fund” launched in September.

At the end of May, Jizhong Energy, a troubled state group in Hebei, had withdrawn Rmb15 billion, or the equivalent of three-quarters of its revenues last year, from the provincial CGF to repay the principal and interest on the bonds.

“Our liquidity problem has eased considerably after the bailout,” said an executive from Jizhong, adding that the group remained heavily in debt and would request an additional Rmb 15 billion from Hebei CGF in the coming months.

The funds derive most of their financing from other companies controlled by local authorities. In Henan Province, 26 state-owned enterprises ranging from coal mines to copper processors provided Rmb 30 billion of seed capital for a CGF.

“The provincial government wanted us to help each other when external funding dries up,” said an executive from Pingmei Shenma, an energy conglomerate and shareholder in Henan CGF.

Following Yongcheng Coal’s default, bank loan issuance fell 10% in Henan in the first half of the year, compared to nationwide growth of 6%.

In the meantime, official data has shown that the net financing of the province’s corporate bonds – new bond issuance minus interest plus principal payments on existing bonds – was minus Rmb 20.1 billion over the course of the first six months of the year. This compares to Rmb71bn a year earlier.

Henan credit crunch convinced Beijing to start put pressure on local authorities to help public enterprises in difficulty. As a result, only one has defaulted on bond payments this year. But investors remained concerned about the lack of reform among struggling state-owned enterprises.

“The government does not have a long-term plan to turn bad state-owned enterprises into good ones,” said an adviser to the Hebei State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the state-owned enterprise regulator. . “Its priority is simply to get through the short-term liquidity crisis. “

State banks, the largest providers of credit, are also cautious.

“The bailout funds are too small to meet the demand for financing from a large number of cash-strapped state-owned enterprises,” said a risk management official at one of the country’s major lenders. “We need to prioritize performance over local interests. “

In Hebei, an executive from one of the local CGF shareholders said the company decided to contribute to the rescue fund for political rather than business reasons.

“We don’t expect a return to the investment market,” the official said.



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The Klipsch Cinema 1200 Dolby Atmos smart sound bar features Dolby Atmos decoding for realistic sound »Gadget Flow


Revolutionize your home theater with the Klipsch Cinema 1200 Dolby Atmos smart soundbar. It goes beyond traditional audio with full Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 decoding. In fact, it delivers realistic sounds in all directions, including above. In this way, it fills your home with surprising depth and clarity. And, with 1,200 watts of power, discreet speakers and a wireless subwoofer, you get all the features of a movie theater. In addition, this sound bar is compatible with the smart home thanks to the Wi-Fi integration. It works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Spotify and Connect. Plus, the large 12 ″ subwoofer provides thrilling bass. Plus, the built-in elevation speakers adapt to your media and automatically deliver a full Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 mix. Plus, you get cutting edge video with HDMI-eARC and 8K video passthrough. Finally, with premium materials like wood, the Cinemas 1200 is as beautiful as it looks.





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Slow progress on chrome ore tax hurts government pockets



As South Africa continues to try to manage what is proving to be the most difficult wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the chromium enrichment industry faces significant challenges and needs key protection through the implementation of an export tax on crude chromium ore.

A recent statement from Save SA Smelters points out that the government’s slow adoption of a tax on the export of crude chromium ore is costing the country an estimated taxable income of R15 billion based on the tonnages of ore exported to from 2020.

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More worrying is the fact that – according to Save SA Smelters – the slowness of the government’s approach to the implementation of this tax endangers around 3,000 jobs and between 8,000 and 9,000 downstream jobs.

This would have a devastating impact on the chrome mining industry, which is expected to meet global demand with a reduced workforce.

Related sectors

Lindelani Nyathikazi, co-organizer of Save SA Smelters, points out that countries like China and other Asian giants are looking to construction to revitalize their economies after Covid-19. South Africa needs to align its policy to meet this demand.

“The growing Chinese and Indonesian markets are growing and will dominate the demand for chromium ore and ferrochrome in the future.

“If the price disparity between China and the West is allowed to continue, then there will be no South African fusion industry,” Nyathikazi said.

“The Chinese marvel at South Africa’s growing indifference to allowing its minerals to be shipped overseas to the detriment of its domestic industry,” [which] is worrying.

“It will also be a betrayal of the great policies of the Mining Charter and the Charter of Freedom of the country … The imposition of this tax on the export of chromium will make this industry grow in South Africa instead of China and other countries.”

In the first line

Steph van Sittert, COO of the smelter at Samancor, says the impact this export tax would have on the industry should not be underestimated.

“Recent studies commissioned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition have revealed that it will be difficult to replace the volume of SA’s current chrome ore exports to China with alternative sourcing and that there is therefore a low probability.[s] for local chromium miners to absorb the proposed export tax on unenriched ore.

“Failure to apply the tax would lead to more risk of loss of industrial capacity not only for the ferrochrome producers but also for the supply industry, and would lead to further deindustrialisation of the South African economy,” said Van Sittert .

“The implication is that more and more minerals are exported at the expense of industrial capacity. There is, however, a continuing imperative to ensure the structural transformation of the South African economy and measures are needed to support further processing and manufacturing. ”

Energy costs

One of the biggest challenges facing South African chrome miners is the inflation of electricity prices, which has led to the closure of many smelters.

“These increases are not sustainable for the industry and without urgent interventions such as the tax on the export of ore, [the] the closure of other smelters will continue, ”said Van Sittert.

“The industry has engaged with all relevant government and Eskom departments for a number of years to discuss interventions and possible solutions to rising electricity prices.

“It was agreed by all parties that the use of an export tax as a stand-alone measure to support industry is insufficient and must be accompanied by other measures taken by both government and industry. , with an emphasis on energy efficiency. ”

Van Sittert adds that while there are players in the ferrochrome industry who were not sustainable in the face of rising electricity prices, the industry however maintained production levels until early 2020, despite the fewer players.

In the future, however, the risk is that without the export tax, the industry will experience further erosion of domestic ferrochrome production, impacting the entire chromium ore export sector.

“The export tax would be a catalyst to give the industry the confidence to make the investments necessary to regain its competitiveness and increase its capacity, which in turn will support 8% of the basic electricity supply. ‘Eskom and associated revenues, with the potential to increase long-term supply as the industry increases its capacity,’ says Van Sittert.

“The export tax will not solve the problem of electricity pricing, but would put foundries on a competitive basis in terms of total cost of production.”

Significant value

The cornerstone of the South African economy has long been its rich abundance of minerals and its ability to capitalize on them before exporting them to international clients. In 2019, the mining sector contributed around 226.2 billion rand to the country’s GDP.

According to Charmane Russell, spokesperson for the Minerals Council South Africa, the added value of mineral enrichment in South Africa is quite significant.

“About 94% of South African cement is made locally from locally mined products. Eighty-three percent of South Africa’s steel is made locally from locally mined iron ore, chromium, manganese and coking coal, she says.

“About 30% of the country’s liquid fuels are produced from locally mined coal, as is 85% of its electricity. Most of our household chemicals, fertilizers, waxes, polymers, plastics are made from locally mined minerals and charcoal. Finally, 8% of the world’s platinum catalytic converters are produced locally, ”adds Russell.

She says the Minerals Council estimates that fortification adds about R500 billion to the overall value of commodity sales. In addition, he estimates that more than 200,000 jobs are created in downstream enrichment industries.

Lily: Police accused of standing still during invasion of chrome mine

Slow progression

Nyathikazi points out that Save SA Smelters has started a dialogue with the government. However, progress towards a viable solution is nowhere in sight.

“A special team has been formed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Mineral Resources to discuss the issue of taxation. They fully support it and believe that preserving jobs is vital for South Africa at a time when we need to develop our economy. ”

” The problem is [National] Treasure, ”says Nyathikazi. “We need to convince the Treasury that the taxation of chromium ore and the ramping up of enrichment plants across the country can add significant value at little cost.

“A special team has been set up to study what it would take to accelerate the ramp-up of the Lydenburg foundries. In addition, there are foundries in eNtokozweni [Machadodorp], Rustenburg and other factories across the country that will add significant value at little cost.

Additional constraints

In addition to the Treasury’s reluctance to commit immediate funding to develop smelters across the country, the energy crisis is a binding constraint when it comes to upgrading chromium ore.

“This is an important problem that the government is aware of. We are working with various government task forces as well as the foundries themselves to find alternatives to alleviate the pressure they place on Eskom. However, this is not an easy problem to solve, ”says Nyathikazi.

The enrichment industry in South Africa adds significant value to the fiscus and employs a significant number of people in a country facing an unemployment crisis. Taxing the export of crude chromium ore will not only add more value to the fiscus, but will force countries like China and Indonesia to buy enriched ore rather than profit from it in their own countries.



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After $ 27.7 billion deal, Salesforce aims to connect businesses through Slack By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with the Slack logo sits in a basket on a keyboard in front of the Salesforce logo shown in this illustration photo taken December 1, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Business software maker Salesforce.com (NYSE 🙂 closed its $ 27.7 billion purchase of Slack Technologies (NYSE 🙂 Inc on Wednesday, a massive bet that Slack’s app will work will become popular for collaborations within and between companies.

U.S. antitrust regulators cleared the deal this week, allowing for the creation of a stronger challenger for Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ :), the leading provider of work software whose Teams app competes with Slack for market dominance.

The merger partners hope the deal will bolster efforts to connect their mutual customers to secure joint business deals, Salesforce chairman Bret Taylor and Slack chief executive Stewart Butterfield said on Wednesday in a statement. interview.

They also want to reduce the complexity of using the hundreds of different cloud apps that have crept into the workplace, they added.

For example, a Slack “channel” can be created to replace all emails, phone calls, and video conferences that might otherwise occur between a sales team making a deal with a sourcing team from another company. . Thousands of apps work with Slack, so documents from third-party platforms like Google (NASDAQ 🙂 Drive can be signed into the channel with services like DocuSign (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc, Taylor said.

“We did the due diligence for the acquisition of Slack from Slack,” Taylor noted.

“I joked that he had the highest billable hours of any channel because we had all the lawyers there and the investment banks,” he said, but “it was truly a transformative experience. “

While analysts see Teams as Slack’s biggest rival, Butterfield said Slack will continue to integrate with the Microsoft app in line with its goal of making things easier for employees.

“What customers want is interoperability. They don’t want to have to make tough choices,” Butterfield said. “We’ll fit in with everyone – Microsoft and Salesforce, of course, but also ServiceNow (NYSE 🙂 and Workday (NASDAQ :), and more or less anyone you can think of.”

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