Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared on Bloomberg View:Not a moment too soon, America’s biggest banks have moved to ban their customers from using credit cards to buy bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.Banks and regulators have been slow to guard against the dangers of the bitcoin phenomenon — and central banks, in particular, need to move more forcefully.The problem, to be clear, is not the ingenious technology of cryptocurrency itself.Correctly applied, that’s a valuable and far-reaching innovation.Nor is there a problem with the vision of dispensing altogether with physical cash. That’s a goal well worth pursuing, so long as its digital successors have the government backing they need to function correctly as money. Without that crucial ingredient, though, risk arises from the misapplication of cryptocurrency technology and the speculative mania surrounding it.The danger is clearly articulated by Agustin Carstens, general manager of the Bank for International Settlements (the central banks’ central bank).Bitcoin, he says, “has become a combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster.”In principle, the blockchain technology underlying bitcoin allows cheap, fast transactions without a central counterparty.There are countless promising applications of this idea — but serving as a spontaneous private replacement for cash isn’t one of them.If an asset has no intrinsic value, is not recognized as legal tender, and lacks an effective way to regulate its purchasing power, it cannot reliably serve as money. Up to now, in fact, cryptocurrencies have been in demand not because of their utility as money, but because — like tulips in the 17th century or dot-com stocks in the late 20th — they offered naive investors the prospect of amazing returns. For a while, that’s what speculators got.More recently, the bubble has deflated, amid proliferating reports of thefts, fraud and technical breakdowns.As losses mount, thoughts should turn to the implications for the rest of the financial system. Carstens stresses three.First, there’s the need to protect investors — especially amateurs who might know no better — from the consequences of their own recklessness.Second, cryptocurrencies can be used to grease the wheels of tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes. This too requires a regulatory response.Third, and not least, the crypto bubble is big enough to raise questions about systemic safety.At its recent peak, the total value of cryptocurrencies approached a trillion dollars. Even at recent diminished valuations, the total stands at some $300 billion.This could expose not just the speculators but also their creditors and intermediaries to significant risk.Regulators need to be watchful, so that the integrity of their financial systems is not put in jeopardy.Providers of electronic-payment and money-transfer services are closely regulated in most jurisdictions.Cryptocurrency suppliers, no less than those other firms, interact with the rest of the financial system, relying upon its wider infrastructure to continue functioning. These links need to be supervised — and if they’re being abused, they need to be cut.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?
Ireland’s parliament has voted in favour of a bill forcing its sovereign wealth fund to divest from fossil fuel companies.On 26 January, the Daíl Éireann voted 90 to 53 to reject an amendment to the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill 2016 that would have negated its primary objective, to reduce the €8bn Irish Strategic Investment Fund’s (ISIF) exposure to carbon-heavy companies.The bill instructs the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which is responsible for the ISIF, to sell its holdings in fossil fuel companies “direct or indirect” within five years.Thomas Pringle, an independent politician who tabled the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, introduced the debate earlier this month with a strongly worded condemnation of the new US government’s stance on climate change. Speaking a day before US president Donald Trump’s inauguration, Pringle said: “We should not associate ourselves with Trump-era politics. His administration and its public display of affection for big oil is representative of the industry’s fading legacy and its last attempt to hold onto power.”He accused the oil industry of “buying political influence and deliberately concealing and manipulating the science of climate change” for more than a century.Divesting the ISIF from fossil fuels will help Ireland meet its emission reduction promises under last year’s Paris agreement on climate change, Pringle said.“Today offers an opportunity for us not only to catch up with the pace of climate change, but also lead on mitigating its effects,” he added.Earlier in discussions about the bill, Pringle claimed the ISIF lost €22m in 2015 due to the volatility of commodity prices, and “€100m in total over the past three years”.The amendment to Pringle’s bill was tabled by Simon Coveney, minister of state for the Department of Housing, Planning, Community, and Local Government.It argued that ISIF’s fossil fuel exposure was “limited”, and that it had already allocated €800m to energy – “the vast majority of which will be invested in renewables”.The ISIF’s current portfolio includes investments in a “waste to energy” project, an onshore windfarm, and forestry.Coveney further argued that, “because of its progressive record in these matters, ISIF’s investment options do not need to be underpinned in statute”.However, following last week’s vote the bill will now be assessed by the Irish parliament’s committee on finance, public expenditure, and reform.A spokesman for the ISIF said its holdings in fossil fuel companies included legacy assets purchased by its predecessor fund, the National Pensions Reserve Fund.“Such legacy investments are being sold off on a phased basis in line with ISIF’s new mandate to invest on a commercial basis to support economic activity and employment in Ireland,” the spokesman said.“The fund is committed to investing in the energy sector in a manner that is consistent with the state’s commitment to make the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and sustainable economy,” he added.
Subsea 7 has completed a cable pull-in at Camp Pendelton in Virginia, US, for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project. Jan De Nul’s offshore jack-up installation vessel Vole au vent completed her trans-Atlantic journey to Halifax earlier this week. Dominion Energy and Ørsted plan to commission the demonstration wind farm by the end of the year. There, the jack-up will load the components, and transport and install them at the site. The company deployed the cable layer Seaway Aimery on the project. The wind farm’s turbine components and monopile foundations reached Halifax, Canada at the end of April. The 12 MW CVOW demonstration project is being jointly developed by Dominion Energy and Ørsted. Subsea 7 won the contract for the supply and installation of inter-array cables at the wind farm in 2018 through Seaway Offshore Cables (SOC), an entity in the company’s Renewables and Heavy Lifting Business Unit. The CVOW will feature two Siemens Gamesa 6 MW turbines installed on monopile foundations some 27 miles off Virginia Beach.
Nigeria international goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa would love to play alongside Odion Ighalo at Manchester United but also has a soft spot for Real Madrid.Manchester United made Ighalo the first Nigerian to join the club when they brought him in from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua on a shock deadline-day loan deal in January. The 30-year-old was over the moon to join the club he supports but the transfer was labelled a panic signing after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed out on a host of targets.He has proved a host of critics wrong, however, bagging four goals in eight appearances.Ighalo’s attempts to win a permanent contract could prove successful – and he could be joined by a compatriot if Katsina United goalkeeper Ezenwa’s dream comes true.When asked about his favourite teams on Instagram Live, Ezenwa replied: “I will join my friend ‘Mummy’ Ighalo in Manchester United.“It is possible but I supported Real Madrid growing up.” Ezenwa also believed that Ighalo is one of the most professional trainers he has ever come across.“Any training session, he teases me my neck must shake and even though we have trained and trained at the tail end he’ll score,” he said.Ezenwa has won 21 caps for his country and was part of Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup.He is unlikely to be heading to the Premier League to link up with United, however, because of the club’s wealth of riches between the sticks.David De Gea is the club’s No 1, but his place is coming under threat from Dean Henderson, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United. The 23-year-old has been hugely impressive in the Premier League, conceding only 22 goals in 27 appearances for the Blades, keeping 10 clean sheets in the process.He is seen as the club’s long-term first-choice stopper but has no interest in returning to be De Gea’s back up in the short term.The Red Devils also have Argentina international Sergio Romero on the books.Romero has played second fiddle to De Gea since joining on a free transfer but is considered by many to be one of the best No 2 goalkeepers in the Premier League.RelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ Breaking: Ighalo blocked Osimhen’s Man U move — Brother UEFA Nations League: Spain’s Gaya nets late goal to snatch draw with Germany He has kept 11 clean sheets in 14 appearances in all competitions this term.Tags: David De GeaIkechukwu EzenwaOdion IghaloOle Gunnar SolskjaerShanghai Shenhua
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is excited by the return of Luis Suarez after suspension. Suarez had an even better record up to his 10-match ban, imposed for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April, with 17 goals in his last 21 Liverpool games. The prospect of the two spearheading Liverpool’s attack is an intriguing one as Liverpool look to bounce back from dropping five points in their last two league matches. “Now he comes back we are getting a £50-60million striker back in the team and that is exciting for us,” Rodgers told talkSPORT. “This is a player who can come in and make a difference for us.” Liverpool, of course, turned down a now infamous £40,000,001 bid from Arsenal in the summer as the Uruguay international tried to manufacture a move away by claiming his manager and the club reneged on a deal to allow him to move to a Champions League side. Rodgers insists that is now firmly in the past but he accepts Suarez may have some convincing to do in the eyes of some fans who felt he betrayed the club with his comments in the close season. “All you can do now is judge him by his performances on the field. The measure for Luis now is on the field,” he added. “His way to say sorry or make any contribution back to the supporters is to play with his heart 100 per cent and score goals and make this team successful and I am confident that will happen. “He can’t play any other way.” Rodgers is confident his players will bounce back quickly from their poor performance at Anfield which resulted in surprise defeat – their first since March – to Saints. “There’s no doubt after Southampton at the weekend, we haven’t felt like that for a long time. It was hard to swallow,” he added. “We didn’t perform and it’s as simple as that. We were nowhere near our level. “That’s going to be the season – sometimes it’s going to be up and down. All we can ever do is work hard and keep believing. “We’re back focused, working hard and knowing this is a season where we’ll have those ups and downs. “We’ve just got to make sure, like we have done, when we have a disappointment we bounce back and go again.” The Reds boss believes the team will benefit from having a “£50-£60million” striker back in the side and the timing is perfect as they face arch rivals Manchester United in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford. In Suarez’s absence the Merseysiders have won seven, drawn two and lost just once – last Saturday against Southampton – as Daniel Sturridge took up the goalscoring mantle netting 11 in nine matches. Press Association
President Trump is weighing in on this week’s shocking developments in the Jussie Smollett case. […]
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoTwo games into the 2006-07 season, and the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team already feels as though it has some momentum going.”When you can start the season out 2-0, any team would be happy with that,” senior guard Kammron Taylor said. “We do have some momentum going into the game on Sunday, but we can’t take that for granted.”Wisconsin hosts Southern University Sunday, and the game will serve part of the first round for the South Padre Invitational Basketball Tournament. The Badgers will travel to South Padre, Texas, for the rest of the tournament over Thanksgiving break, with Auburn and Oklahoma State also competing.After a rollercoaster ride last year in which the Badgers finished 19-12 and lost to some unsuspecting teams such as North Dakota State, Wisconsin has certainly learned from its mistakes.”This year, we’re not going to make the mistake of overlooking anyone,” Taylor said.And Southern should not be a team Wisconsin overlooks.Despite opening the 2006-07 season with a disappointing 97-37 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, the Jaguars are a team that made the NCAA tournament last year.After winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Southern earned a No. 16 seed in the tournament. Matched up against No. 1 Duke, the Jaguars actually gave the Blue Devils a run for their money, only leading by nine heading into halftime, but eventually lost 70-54.This season, Southern is picked to finish second in the SWAC, and head coach Rob Spivery — in just his second season in Baton Rouge, La. — has scheduled a tough non-conference game. Aside from already playing at Georgia and traveling to Wisconsin this weekend, Southern will also be playing at Oklahoma State and defending champion Florida.The Jaguars are led by senior forward Deforrest Riley-Smith, a former Penn State transfer who averaged 11.1 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game and 1.1 steals per game last season, but Southern loses three starters from a year ago.And to make matters worse, starting sophomore guard Javaris Bradford will not be ready to play until the second semester.”The question about our team would be the unknown,” Spivery said in a SWAC teleconference. “I, as coach, don’t know exactly what we have yet until we get deep into the season.”There’s a lot of questions about our team.”One thing that’s certain about Southern’s team, however, is that it relies on perimeter play, rather than inside. Six-foot-10 Costa Rican center Jefny Anderson-Brown is the Jaguars’ tallest player, but they often go with a four-guard lineup.Inside or outside, the Badgers have a deep lineup that is able to adjust to any style of play. This was evident in Wednesday night’s game, in which Wisconsin took UW-Green Bay out of its transition game plan.”We get up and down the court just as fast as anybody in the country; we just pick our spots,” Taylor said. “People look at us as a half-court team, but we have different styles of basketball; we’re not just a half-court team.”And with the swing offense UW head coach Bo Ryan runs, the Badgers believe they have the perfect inside-outside combination.”The swing is based on getting the ball inside and then looking for the open guy on the perimeter,” junior guard Michael Flowers said. “We try to set each other up and set ourselves up.”Regardless of the opponent, Wisconsin will be looking to defend its home court advantage at the Kohl Center, where it has only lost five games under Ryan in his six seasons at the helm.”Even if we weren’t ranked, we always want to protect our home court — that’s a mentality we always have to have,” senior forward Alando Tucker said. “And we’ve always been good at protecting our home court.”The rankings don’t mean anything.”
Wisconsin assistant captain Jamie McBain leads all WCHA defensemen in points and is a finalist for college hockey\’s top prize, the Hobey Baker Award.[/media-credit]With six national championships, three WCHA regular season titles and 11 WCHA tournament championships, it is an obvious understatement to claim the Wisconsin men’s hockey team has an impressive history.Despite all those accolades, however, the storied program has never seen a Hobey Baker Award winner.With junior defenseman Jamie McBain leading all WCHA blue liners in points this season, that surprising anomaly might change soon.“People know [McBain’s] offensive ability, but they don’t see how good he is defensively,” sophomore defenseman Brendan Smith said. “He has always got the puck — you don’t really see it all the time, but when you see him in practice he is great. I think he is a Hobey Baker for sure.”Since 1981, the Hobey Baker Award has been given annually to college hockey’s top player, including WCHA players 12 times. With only five of the 28 winners manning the blue line, McBain finds history stacked against him a little bit.Not that the Badgers’ assistant captain is thinking about it.“It’s in the back of your mind,” McBain said of the Hobey Baker Award. “But obviously after the week I got nominated and after it was a big deal — since then I haven’t focused too much on it. Obviously you know and it’s there, but for the most part I just focus on each game each weekend.”Coming into the season, McBain — like most athletes — set some individual goals for the year. Although the award wasn’t his top goal, the Minnesota native admits it was somewhere on the list.“I felt I had a chance coming into the season,” McBain said. “Coming into the year my goal was about 40 points, and I am right in the range, right where I wanted to be. Hobey nominee is such a huge deal — 40 points was just kind of the marker I was shooting for.”Watching McBain play, it doesn’t take long to realize why the junior has been so successful. With superb vision on the ice, McBain has racked up 22 assists in 22 conference games — better than any other defenseman or forward.“We always joke as a team which guys have sick vision and sick hands,” junior captain Blake Geoffrion said. “[McBain] definitely has unbelievable hands, unbelievable vision, he’s got a great stick. He doesn’t get beat a lot, but every once in a blue moon someone will beat him and he will come back right back with his stick.”Head coach Mike Eaves — the leading scorer in Wisconsin history — might be even more complimentary of McBain.“He is one of those guys that has a combination of understanding the game,” Eaves said. “He can see the game, and see what needs to be done. From a skill standpoint he has the package to get those things done. A quarterback can see a receiver being open, but does he have the arm to get it there? Jamie has that arm to get it there and he sees it too.”This season, McBain has found a lot of his success on the power play. With McBain recording 20 points on the man advantage, UW ranks second in the WCHA, converting 21.9 percent of their chances.“I just have to do one thing — just shoot it,” Smith said. “He does everything. He has got great hands, and he can find everybody, so he makes everybody better, and that is why he has so many points.”Though McBain became a Hobey Baker finalist with his offense, the second round pick from the 2006 NHL draft isn’t a liability on the defensive end. If anything, his uncanny vision on the ice aids him in the defensive zone as well.“Probably his defense is his ability to read plays, have position and have a great stick,” Eaves said. “His stick is as good as anybody’s taking away passing lanes, shooting lanes and those type of things.”Right now, the biggest hindrance to his Hobey Baker candidacy is a -9 goal differential when McBain is on the ice. While McBain is deferential when asked about it, his teammates and coaches flare up at the mention of the statistic.“That stat in hockey is one of the worst I think,” Geoffrion said. “A guy like Bainer logs at least 29 to 32 minutes a game. In every situation he is playing against the other team’s top lines. … I think that stat is not necessarily accurate, I would say.”Though successful in his first two years as a Badger — recording 18 and 24 points, respectively — his team has seen improvement in a less tangible area: leadership. Donning the assistant captain badge since the beginning of the season, McBain was thrust into a more prominent leadership role when senior captain Ben Street went down.“We talk about what makes a good leader, what are the key factors?” Eaves said. “And in our estimation, it’s do you make people better around you? And that is what he has done in spades this year.”
Despite the Trojans’ success through the air against Minnesota, Kiffin might opt to employ a more balanced attack against the Utes after senior tailback Marc Tyler was reinstated Tuesday following a one-game suspension.“He’s practiced really hard, so we’ll mix him in there some most likely, and see what happens there in the game,” Kiffin said.With Tyler in the fold, USC, which ran the ball less than 40 percent of the time against Minnesota, now boasts a crowded backfield with sophomore Dillon Baxter, redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan and junior Curtis McNeal all vying for playing time.The Utes, however, feature one of the nation’s best defensive lines, as it allowed just 111.6 rushing yards per game last season — good for 11th nationally. Against Montana State, it allowed just 75.“Since we’ve been back this time, I would say this is the best front four we’ve seen and had to face,” Kiffin said. “The front seven in general is really, really good and dominant at times.”The Trojans’ defense, although not boasting similar 2010 numbers, did look much improved a week ago, allowing just 302 yards of total offense against the Gophers — the lowest in its last 22 games.“We started pretty well,” senior linebacker Chris Galippo said. “We answered a lot of questions. There are a lot of things you don’t find out until game day. We just need to continue to work, be stingy and make plays.”Facing the Utes’ offense will be familiar, at least to some degree, as Utah hired celebrated offensive coordinator Norm Chow to install his West Coast offense this offseason. Chow served as USC’s coordinator from 2001-2004 and as UCLA’s from 2008-2010, running a scheme similar to the Trojans’ own.“It’s nice,” Galippo said of facing a familiar offense. “We can come out here and practice and go against our offense and still get looks that will prepare us for Saturday.”Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on Versus. The last time USC faced Utah, the Trojans were upset by the Utes 10-6 in the Las Vegas Bowl — the lowest scoring game in the bowl’s history.That was 10 years ago. Much has changed.He’s back · USC coach Lane Kiffin reinstated senior running back Marc Tyler this week after serving a one-game suspension. Though redshirt freshman running back D.J. Morgan is listed as the starter, Tyler could see a prominent role after USC struggled to run the ball last weekend. – Daily Trojan file photoOver the past decade, Utah (1-0), then a .500 team from the Mountain West Conference, has finished with two undefeated seasons, two BCS bowl victories and five seasons with at least 10 wins.The Utes will square off against USC (1-0) on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a conference foe, marking the first-ever Pac-12 game.“There’ll be a lot of energy around it,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “I’m sure it’s a huge game for them, coming down to the Coliseum — regardless of it being the conference opener. And for us, first place in our division is on the line.”Utah, along with Colorado, officially joined the Pac-12 on July 1, marking the first time the conference had expanded since 1978 when it added Arizona and Arizona State.If recent history is any indication, the Utes won’t need much time to adjust to the new setting. Over the last three seasons, they have won a total of 33 games. Under coach Kyle Whittingham, who took over for Urban Meyer following the 2004 season, they have compiled an overall mark of 57-20. Not to mention, since 2003, the program is 7-3 against the Pac-10.“This is a very good team; a team that over the last 10 years has been as good as anybody in the country,” Kiffin said. “They’re not going to be intimidated by coming to ’SC or the Coliseum, so we’re going to have our hands full.”Last week Utah faced Football Championship Subdivision Montana State and finished with just 292 yards of total offense and three touchdowns en route to a 27-10, a score closer than most anticipated.Similarly, USC experienced a few problems offensively as well in its opener against Minnesota, as it was outscored by Minnesota 14-0 in the second half.“The inexperience showed up,” Kiffin said of the team’s second-half struggles. For whatever reason, in the first half, the inexperience didn’t show up as much.”The tandem of junior quarterback Matt Barkley and sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods largely concealed that inexperience, especially in the first half, combining for 17 receptions, 177 yards and three touchdowns. Woods, as a result, eclipsed the school single-game mark for receptions.“It’s a combination of the work we put in and the chemistry we have,” Barkley said when asked about his connection with Woods. “He’s a really consistent guy that I trust. If it’s in his vicinity, he goes up and gets it.”
Canada forward Sidney Crosby, far right, stands with teammates for the Canadian national anthem after beating Sweden 3-0 in the men’s gold medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)PITTSBURGH (AP) – Sidney Crosby’s second Olympic experience was last dramatic and just as rewarding.Crosby returned from Sochi, Russia, with his second Olympic gold medal, this one as the captain of the Canadian team. Leading a national team certainly brings a different sense of responsibility, but the same expectation.“I think everybody feels a sense of pride, but also a sense of relief knowing you were able to do what everybody expected,” Crosby said Wednesday. “It’s not easy to win, but to be able to go in there with the goal of winning and achieve it is a great feeling.”Now, Crosby and fellow Canadian gold medalist Chris Kunitz are ready for a return to normalcy in the NHL, joining head coach Dan Bylsma and five Olympic teammates, including Russia’s Evgeni Malkin, as the first-place Penguins prepare for a stretch run that features 24 games in 46 days.“It’s good to get into a routine again,” Crosby said. “Managing rest is something we definitely have to keep in mind.”Canada steamrolled through Sochi, allowing three goals in six games for its third gold medal in the last four Olympics and record ninth overall.“Everybody talks about our defense, but I think we were able to control the puck a lot in the offensive zone and when you do that teams don’t get a lot of time or energy to come against you,” Crosby said.The Canadians, who became the first team to go unbeaten through the Olympic tournament in 30 years, never trailed, a dominating effort that culminated in back-to-back shutouts of the United States and Sweden in the semifinals and gold medal game.“The last three games, especially, we were at our best, but I think we got better as it went on,” Crosby said. “The scores were close, but we felt like we controlled the last three games and played the way we wanted to.”Once again, Crosby’s shining moment came in the gold medal game, this time during the second period against Sweden when he deked goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to the ice before depositing a backhander across the line.“We hadn’t had a two-goal lead that often up to that point and with the way we had been playing to get a two-goal lead was nice,” Crosby said. “I think that was going through my mind more than the fact that I hadn’t scored yet.”It didn’t carry the weight of his Golden Goal, the 2010 overtime game-winner against the Americans, but Crosby’s first goal of the tournament effectively clinched the gold medal for the defensive-minded Canadians.“It was a great experience,” Crosby said. “Obviously, winning makes it better.”It was a different experience for Malkin, who came up empty at the Olympics after the host Russians were eliminated on their home soil in the quarterfinal round by Finland.“It’s not easy, it’s always tough,” Malkin said. “I remember in Vancouver we lost and now it’s worse.“Of course it’s pressure, we played at home. I know everyone played hard, 100 percent, we played together and I think it’s tough to have lost.”Bylsma understands Malkin’s disappointment and challenged his star forward to channel the emotion and try to help the Penguins to a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.“They had the Olympics at their venue,” Bylsma said. “This was their gold medal to win. There’s disappointment. I talked to Evgeni and probably the third thing out of his mouth (was) Stanley Cup. We need to come back here and focus on that.”