Visa, MasterCard to pay $3bn to stay in Russia – Morgan Stanley

Visa, MasterCard to pay $3bn to stay in Russia - Morgan Stanley

Visa, MasterCard to pay $3bn to stay in Russia – Morgan Stanley
Published time: May 15, 2014 15:30
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Reuters / Jonathan Ernst

Under Russia’s new legislation, Visa and MasterCard will have to pay $3 billion in ‘security fees’ to continue operating in Russia, more than five times higher than the companies combined revenues, a new Morgan Stanley report says.

Under the new plan, Visa will be required to pay Russia’s Central bank $1.9 billion, and MasterCard will have to fork out $1 billion, according to an estimate by Morgan Stanley, Kommersant reported on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on foreign payment systems on May 5 that requires foreign payment systems to be levied at 25 percent of an average amount of transfers profit during one calendar day in Russia, to be paid each quarter to the Central Bank. The law will be enacted on July 1.

Morgan Stanley has calculated that it is unprofitable for both Visa and MasterCard to continue to work in Russia.
The Morgan Stanley Report titled “The Russian Bear: Impacts of V and MA” said the fees will be more than five times the two companies’ combined annual revenue in Russia. Analysts at Morgan Stanley report net sales for Visa to be between $350-470 million, and $160 million for MasterCard.

A possible loophole would be to create a separate, non US-owned entity to run the Russian Visa and MasterCard divisions. Visa already has such an operation in Europe.

“MasterCard has worked in Russia for more than 20 years. We are continuing to study all components of the new law, and are sure that some of the provisions will not only create serious difficulties for our operations in Russia, but will damage the Russian market of electronic payments in the long-term,” the company told Kommersant in a statement, adding they “continue to work closely with government agencies, financial institutions, and commercial enterprises in Russia.”

Visa has declined comment on the report.

The first wave of US sanctions prompted a mix-up with Visa and MasterCard, which led to unlawful payment freezes at three Russian banks in March and demands from the Russian government to compensate for the mix-up.

The $3 billion (100 billion ruble) estimate is much higher than the original 80 billion ruble lawmakers previously discussed slapping the companies with.

Visa and MasterCard control 90 percent of the Russian payment systems market, but Putin said that both companies will lose market share if there are any future payment disruptions.

The creation of a National Payment System (NPS) for Russia is being worked out by the country’s central bank, with the government hoping to complete work on the project within the next six months.

Leaked New York Times Memo Admits MSM Being Made Redundant by New Media

Leaked New York Times Memo Admits MSM Being Made Redundant by New Media

But report ignores the elephant in the living room

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
May 15, 2014

A leaked New York Times memo admits that the newspaper, a bastion of the mainstream press, is being made redundant by new media, but the report ignores the elephant in the living room – that trust in the establishment media is collapsing because of its refusal to act in an adversarial role against the state.

The 96-page internal New York Times report, obtained by Buzzfeed, bemoans the fact that the newspaper “is hampered primarily by its own storied culture” because it is staffed by “a cadre of editors who remain unfamiliar with the web” and social media.

Although the report lists a number of organizational failures at the Times which have left it trailing new media startups, the memo completely fails to mention the primary factor why establishment outlets like the NYT are losing their audience – because of a complete collapse in trust on behalf of the public.

From infamous lies about weapons of mass destruction before the invasion of Iraq to more recent embarrassments regarding fabricated anti-Russian propaganda, the newspaper is emblematic of a widespread perception that the mainstream press has become de facto state media.

As former New York Times correspondent Daniel Simpson revealed after he resigned in 2012, the newspaper is a “propaganda megaphone” for the ruling elite.

“It seemed pretty glaringly obvious to me that the ‘news fit to print’ was pretty much the news that’s fit to serve the powerful,” Simpson remarked, adding, “The way that the paper’s senior staff think is exactly like those in power — in fact, it’s their job to become their friends.”

The new memo isn’t the only indication that the New York Times, and by extension the dinosaur media as a whole, is on the ropes.

Back in February the New York Observer interviewed more than two dozen current and former NY Times writers, virtually all of whom were unanimous in acknowledging that the Old Gray Lady is becoming increasingly insignificant.

“I think the editorials are viewed by most reporters as largely irrelevant, and there’s not a lot of respect for the editorial page,” one source told the newspaper. “The editorials are dull, and that’s a cardinal sin.”

The NY Times’ editorial content is increasingly seen as “utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual,” according to another source.

On the whole, faith in the accuracy of mainstream media is rapidly on the decline, with a recent Gallup poll finding that just 23 per cent of Americans trust the institution of television news.

From November 2012 to November 2013, MSNBC lost almost half its viewers over the course of just 12 months, shedding 45 per cent of its audience. CNN also lost 48 per cent of its viewers over the same time period.

The figures make bad reading not just for the networks and newspapers, but also for the White House given that large portions of the establishment media now serve as little more than regurgitators of the official narrative, routinely failing to challenge the Washington consensus.

As Glenn Greenwald outlined in a recent interview, the mass media is increasingly becoming “neutered,” “impotent” and “obsolete” because most reporters only seek to “amplify mindlessly claims of the government,” which is why the corporate press is losing its audience to new media outlets that are more dynamic and at least attempt to get to the truth of an issue while taking an adversarial stance against authority in the public interest.

Department of Agriculture buying unknown amount of submachine guns and high-capacity magazines

Department of Agriculture buying unknown amount of submachine guns and high-capacity magazines

The United States Department of Agriculture is probably one of the last federal agencies you’d expect to request a substantial amount, if any, of firearms, but that’s precisely what it did last week.

In a solicitation posted on the government’s Federal Business Opportunities website on May 7, the Agriculture Department requested an unknown number of submachine guns. The department also states it wants to get its hands on weapons with night sights in the front and the rear and magazines with a 30-round capacity.

The solicitation, which also calls for the submachine guns to be lightweight and feature slings, says:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical [sic] acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts [sic] trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe [sic] or folding, magazine – 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation.”

Exactly why the USDA wants or needs to acquire multiple submachine guns is unclear, as the solicitation does not go into much detail regarding the purpose. RT attempted to reach both of the individuals listed as contacts on the USDA solicitation to learn more about the request, but was unable to immediately obtain a response from either.

The request has captured the attention of many conservative, pro-gun websites, though, which have raised questions about it.

One possible explanation for the request could be that the weapons would be used by the law enforcement division of the United States Forest Service, which falls under the jurisdiction of the USDA. The Forest Service is not listed specifically in the text of the solicitation – again, nothing is mentioned that could be related to the ultimate purpose of the acquisition – causing some to fret over the possibility that the guns would be used elsewhere.

“[The USDA] will no doubt attempt to justify their purchase of military hardware by explaining that they conduct criminal investigations and may need to do armed raids,” wrote Bob Owens at the website Bearing Arms. “This is part of a trend to arm every branch of federal government, whether the individual agency has a legitimate need for a paramilitary force or not.”

There has been concern recently over the purchasing decisions of government agencies, particularly the Department for Homeland Security, which critics have claimed buys excessive amounts of ammunition. A report by the Government Accountability Office in January, however, dismissed such concern, saying ammunition purchases by DHS have actually gone down since 2009.

Meanwhile, earlier this week a journalist at WND made headlines for suggesting the State Department is shopping for large amounts of explosives and detonator devices. Solicitations for explosives were also posted on the FBO website, but when asked to comment on the requests an agency official laughed off the question, saying “I’m not sure what you’re looking for.”

Panera Bread CEO: If The Minimum Wage Is Increased, I’ll Just Pass The Increase On To My Customers

Welcome to the undeniable reality of Economics 101.

Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. That would be awesome because poor people would be getting more money, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Liberalism at the grass roots level represents the road to hell paved with good intentions. We are convinced that many voting Democrats really want to help poor people, the elderly, and those who are disenfranchised.

However, there are often consequences associated with their attempts to help people. Raising the minimum wage is no exception.

If the minimum wage is increased, that represents an inflation in the cost of labor. How will businesses handle that? The same way that they handle any other aspect of inflation: They’ll pass that cost on to their customers.

That, of course, will result in higher prices for consumers. Do you see how this works?

There seem to be a number of liberals out there who simply don’t understand how this works. Government cannot simply regulate away certain inequalities and even certain injustices. When the government does try to fix these types of problems, it just creates more problems, often making things worse.

Hey, don’t take our word for it. Listen to Ron Shaich, the founder and CEO of Panera Bread. He explained to Stuart Varney that a higher minimum wage would increase prices for his customers.