News Sputnik

COVID-19: Bolsonaro is Losing Ground & Becoming Isolated in Brazil’s Political Arena, Journo Says

Brazil’s COVID-19 outbreak is threatening to get out of control, while President Jair Bolsonaro is urging state governors to lift coronavirus restrictions, says Brazilian journalist Alan Dantas. According to the journalist, the walls are closing in on the president as his former allies are turning their backs on him.

Brazil is now ranking third in terms of the number of infected, with a fatality rate floating at around 6.4%. Earlier, Bruno Covas, the mayor of Sao Paulo, warned that Brazil’s biggest city’s public hospitals are “near collapse”, as over 90% of their beds are occupied by patients and urged President Jair Bolsonaro to shut down the country. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump signalled that he was considering restricting travel from Brazil as the country’s pandemic is seemingly spiralling out of control.

‘Lack of Management’ Exacerbating the Problem

“The situation in Brazil becomes more critical every day and the number of contagions and deaths continues to break new records every 24 hours”, says Alan Dantas, a Brazilian journalist and editor of Dossier Sul, an online political magazine. “The lack of capacity of the central government to work to avoid these numbers is becoming more and more evident. Jair Bolsonaro’s government, together with [Brazilian] businessmen, is campaigning for the country to reopen its economic activities and expose people to risk. In many states, health systems have collapsed and in the poorest regions, people remain without health care and die inside their homes”. 

The journalist refers to neighbouring Argentina and Venezuela, which have largely managed to get the pandemic under control due to strict quarantine measures and have so far reported 10,649 and 944 confirmed coronavirus cases respectively.

“Brazil lost control of COVID-19 and now the disease already kills more than other health problems”, Dantas opines. “The big problem is still the lack of management by Jair Bolsonaro’s government, which besides not taking care of the disease, makes fun of the death of its citizens”.

From the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak Bolsonaro dismissed it as a “media trick” and a “little flu” and publicly subjected quarantine restrictions to ridicule. “We will all die one day”, the president said as quoted by Último Segundo in late March. A month later, he shrugged off news about a spike in coronavirus-related deaths: “So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” he responded to journalists, as cited by The Guardian.

Behind Bolsonaro’s calls for opening the country up is a strong lobby from the Brazilian corporate sector, as well as the financial lobby, according to the journalist.

Previously, the president insisted on the necessity to prioritise the economy: “Are people dying? Oh, yeah. But there will be more people dying, many, many more, if the economy is destroyed by these lockdown measures imposed by governors”, Bolsonaro stated earlier this month, as cited by Euronews.

According to the journalist, Bolsonaro’s “economic crisis” narrative is aimed at persuading Brazilians that the country’s economy will collapse unless its state governors lift the lockdown.

Bolsonaro is on Thin Ice

“The Bolsonaro situation tends to become increasingly unsustainable“, the journalist continues. “His lack of management in the face of the pandemic and the crisis that Brazil is going through are causing his popularity rates to be lower and lower among the population”.

Bolsonaro’s approval rating has fallen to 39.2% from 47.8% in January, according to a CNT/MDA survey, while disapproval of the president has mounted from 47.0% to 55.4%.

The resignations of two health ministers and Justice Minister Sergio Moro’s decision to step down in late April “indicate that Bolsonaro is losing more and more space and has become isolated in the national political scenario”, the journalist suggests.

Moro resigned after Bolsonaro fired Mauricio Valeixo, the federal police chief, in an alleged attempt to shield one of his sons from criminal prosecution. “I didn’t enter the government to serve a master. I entered it to serve the country, the law”, the former justice minister told Time Magazine, commenting on the matter. The president resolutely denounced the assumptions and even called Moro “Judas”.

“The [unfolding] scenario triggers many questions about the continuity of [the Bolsonaro] government in the medium term and whether there would already be a propitious scenario for an impeachment process against him, a letter that is already being put on the table”, highlights Alan Dantas. “It remains to be seen whether Bolsonaro will passively accept this process or risk a coup d’état in the midst of the pandemic”.

On Friday, Brazil’s Supreme Court released a video of a cabinet meeting showing Bolsonaro bemoaning his inability to get information from the country’s law enforcement officials and vowing to protect his family members. The two-hour video with some portions redacted was made public as part of the ongoing inquiry concerning the president’s alleged meddling in a criminal investigation into his son. Although the recent exposure has further escalated tensions in the Brazilian government, Bolsonaro is still strongly denying any wrongdoing.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Source link

Coindesk News

Pantera Capital’s Crypto Hedge Funds Are Losing Double Digits, But Its Bitcoin Fund Is Up 10,000% to Date

Heavy losses are rocking alternative crypto-asset funds at Pantera Capital, one of the oldest cryptocurrency investment managers, and providing stark contrast to its bitcoin fund’s gains.

Pantera Capital’s flagship bitcoin fund – a fund holding bitcoin (BTC) since 2013 and bitcoin cash (BCH) since 2017 – lost 75.6% in 2018 and gained 87.7% in 2019, according to internal materials seen by CoinDesk. The last two years dragged the bitcoin fund’s historical returns to 10,162%, down 54% from 2017’s peak of 22,321% but still exceeding all-time returns at elite funds hundreds of times over.

On the newer end, three hybrid Pantera Capital hedge funds created in 2017 were solidly negative, suggesting access to deals was not indicative of investment performance and that novel coin vehicles were highly risky or hard for the firm to actively manage. 

From its inception to the end of 2019, a Pantera Capital digital asset fund that trades a hodgepodge of free-floating virtual currencies – like ether (ETH), ripple (XRP) and zcash (ZEC) – lost 72.8%. An initial coin offering (ICO) fund, 42.2% under, lost roughly three times more than a long-term twin fund’s 14.5% decline. About $1 million to $5 million was allocated to each of Pantera’s nearly 40 ICO deals meant to crowdfund project and company investments in custom virtual currencies, the materials say.

Read more: Investors in Polychain Capital’s Crypto Hedge Fund Saw 1,332% Gains – If They Stomached the Dips

“A lot of the ICO assets are relatively young compared to bitcoin. And because of their relative youth, the expectation should be that it should take time for those assets to come into their own,” a Pantera Capital fund investor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CoinDesk.

The more exotic investments in the digital asset fund were ERC-20 tokens, coins borrowing from the ethereum blockchain’s technology, and contracts on Augur, a crypto-betting portal spawned by Pantera Capital co-chief investment officer Joey Krug. Dan Morehead, the first chief investment officer and formerly Tiger Management’s chief financial officer and head of macro trading, founded Pantera Capital in 2013.

Pantera Capital did not respond to requests for comment. The cryptocurrency investment firm recorded $470 million in assets under management across seven non-venture and venture funds at the close of the 2019 fiscal year. The passive bitcoin fund had $110 million, the three hedge funds had $90 million and the three venture funds had $270 million.

Around $95 million was committed to venture funds one and two between 2013 and 2019, and the third venture fund has been raising $175 million since 2018 to invest in cryptocurrency companies of all sizes. Notable Pantera Capital venture investments have been Bakkt, a cryptocurrency futures subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange-owning Intercontinental Exchange parent company, and ErisX, a TD Ameritrade-financed cryptocurrency derivatives platform.

Fund dynamics

Pantera Capital’s track record underscores how market forces can shape a fund’s performance. The best year, 2017, propelled by a breakout run-up in cryptocurrency prices, delivered the bitcoin, digital asset and regular and long-term ICO funds 1,565%, 145.6%, 347.6% and 6% gains in that order. The worst year across the board – 2018, driven by a crypto-market comedown – cut 87.2% from the digital asset fund, 83.1% from the regular ICO fund and 9.6% from the long-term ICO fund.

Year-to-date losses of 1.9%, 23.5% and 9.6% compounded the downward direction of the digital asset, regular ICO and long-term ICO funds, respectively, in 2019. More time could turn the newer funds around, though, as earlier years did to cushion a blow of 2014’s second-worst 58.1% loss to the bitcoin fund. The bitcoin fund’s 2017 return was rivaled by a second-best annual 1,004.4% gain in 2013, and gains of 32.1% in 2015 and 120.3% in 2016 reversed course after 2014.

Read more: Bitcoin Dominance Is Making Investors Rich, Thanks to Crypto Hedge Funds

As far as monthly directions, on the upswing were 40 of 78 bitcoin fund months, and nine, nine and eight of 26, 30 and 25 respective digital asset, regular ICO and long-term ICO fund months, potentially piling onto how redemptions were affected. At least $100,000 is required to invest in the four Pantera Capital funds, which reportedly have Benchmark Capital, Fortress Investment Group and Ribbit Capital on their roster of limited partners, and which permit withdrawals quarterly with the alternative crypto-asset funds and daily with the bitcoin fund.

Regulatory barriers could be as much to blame as the market volatility inherent to cryptocurrencies. Some Pantera Capital ICO investments were arranged with Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs), contracts that shoehorn crypto-asset investments into securities laws without registering them as securities. 

The appeasement is no guarantee in the United States, Pantera Capital’s home field, and may explain shortcomings with the ICO investment model: the Securities and Exchange Commission sidelined the SAFT framework in an injunction halting the Kik messenger’s $100 million offering of a Kin coin that was backed in part by Pantera Capital. 

“There is no question the ICO environment has been affected by regulatory pressure,” the Pantera Capital limited partner said.

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source link

News RT

CNN’s Stelter LOSING IT over Flynn news shows depths media will go to divert attention away from stories they DON’T LIKE — RT USA News

By Zachary Leeman, a US-based journalist and author of the novel Nigh.

CNN’s Brian Stelter got plenty of attention when he lost it on air over “right-wing media” paying too much attention to Michael Flynn and not enough to Covid-19 – and ramming the message home by likening it to 9/11 “every day.”

“They’re treating the Michael Flynn story like it’s a bigger deal than the deaths of 2,000 Americans a day,” Stelter complained, about conservative outlets that have been covering news of charges against retired General Flynn being dropped. 

Flynn, President Donald Trump’s original national security adviser, was the most prominent member of the administration to get caught up in the ‘Russiagate’ investigation. He was let go from his position in 2017 and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but the Justice Department has now dropped charges against Flynn after finding them to be without merit and following numerous reports about the questionable tactics the FBI used to get a confession.

Stelter doesn’t believe the story is worth all that much media coverage because the coronavirus should be taking precedence. The controversial CNN host tried to relay just how important the pandemic is, by comparing it to both the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US, as well as the New Orleans flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“It’s like New Orleans floods every day … It’s like the planes go into the towers every day.”

Also on
White House accuses FBI of ‘MANUFACTURING CRIME’ in case against General Flynn

“It’s so disappointing to look at what we’re seeing from right-wing media these days, where there’s such an obsession with the deep state and these revelations about the Russia probe and the decision about Michael Flynn,” Stelter continued.

Stelter’s bizarre comparison between Flynn and the coronavirus has gotten the attention of even the president, who slammed the host as a “lapdog.”

Stelter may not feel like the exoneration of a retired general and former White House staff member is a big story – but maybe it’s because it derails the Russiagate narrative the host has been trying to push for years.

Multiple FBI documents have shown that the transcript of Flynn’s interview was edited and he was interrogated despite higher-ups in the agency having “no derogatory information” on the man. They also show investigators were purposefully trying to get Flynn to lie, despite knowing he was not guilty of a separate crime. The fact that an interview was conducted by none other than Peter Sztork, who bragged about the Russia investigation being an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidential victory, makes an already murky probe look even murkier. 

Flynn’s specific ‘lie’ was that he supposedly misled the FBI about contact with the Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. He said he did not discuss sanctions against Russia with the ambassador, but a transcript suggested he did. 

Also on
HBO hires ‘king of fake news’ Brian Stelter from CNN to produce documentary on… the dangers of fake news

Flynn pleaded guilty under advice from counsel and while also dealing with financial strains – he sold his house to pay for legal fees. 

Stelter was once one of the many journalists at CNN covering the Russiagate investigation on an almost non-stop basis, so the fact that he would swipe away such a huge “scandal” –his words– stemming from the investigation screams more of an agenda than any concern about a pandemic, which is already covered endlessly in cable news segments and headlines.

To put Stelter’s words into more perspective, this is the same journalist who ran a report on First Lady Melania Trump “disappearing” after she had allegedly not been seen for over a week. The very-important segment ignored the fact that she was recovering from surgery and had actually been seen by a CNBC journalist only days before.

Stelter’s journalistic standards from there provide a rabbit hole of questionable decisions, including defending Jussie Smollett and interviewing celebrities posing as experts on everything from the Russia investigation (Robert De Niro) to the novel coronavirus (Stephen King).

Stelter being triggered by Flynn coverage speaks to a striking unwillingness of Trump critics in the mainstream media to exercise honest reporting when it comes to the Russia-collusion investigation. It was a story we could not hear enough about when the focus was on the president, and the ‘investigators’ were controlling the narrative, but now that the tables have turned and the bias of the probe has been laid bare, it’s suddenly not a story.

The Flynn news may shine a negative light on the FBI and the entire Russia-collusion investigation, but it is also putting a much-needed spotlight on the not-so-well-hidden agendas of reporters like Stelter.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Source link