Inside the Staggering Wealth of the World’s Richest Family: The Al Nahyan Dynasty

The Al Nahyan royal family, rulers of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, has secured its position as the wealthiest family globally, boasting a staggering fortune of $305 billion (Rs 25,38,667 crore) as of 2023. This places them ahead of the heirs of Walmart Inc., whose net worth totals $232.2 billion (Rs 19,31,374 crore), according to a report by Bloomberg.

Led by the influential United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, commonly known as MBZ, the Al Nahyan family holds approximately six percent of the world’s oil reserves. Their strategic investments span various industries, from Rihanna’s lingerie line Savage X Fenty to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, as highlighted in The New Yorker.

One of the key figures in their financial empire is UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon, also known as Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He heads the International Holding Co., an investment company whose value has surged almost 28,000 percent in the last five years, reaching a market value estimated at around $235 billion, making it one of the largest firms in the Middle East. The company boasts a diverse portfolio, with interests in agriculture, energy, entertainment, and maritime, employing tens of thousands of individuals worldwide.

Presidential Palace and Luxurious Properties

The Al Nahyan family’s opulent property portfolio includes a collection of magnificent palaces. Foremost among these is the Qaṣr Al-Waṭan, a presidential palace in Abu Dhabi valued at $475 million (Rs 4078 crore). Spanning an expansive 380,000 square meters, the palace features a 37-meter-wide dome and a chandelier adorned with 350,000 crystal pieces. Divided into eastern and western wings, it houses a “House of Knowledge” with prized historical artifacts and halls used for official functions. Opened to the public in 2019, the palace stands as a symbol of the Middle East’s grandeur.

In addition to Qaṣr Al-Waṭan, the Al Nahyan family owns other lavish properties worldwide, including the Chateau de Baillon in northern Paris and several residences in the UK. Former family head Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan earned the moniker “landlord of London” for his extensive property holdings in affluent neighborhoods, rivaling even the British royal family’s London assets in 2015.

World’s Biggest Megayachts

The Al Nahyan dynasty’s fleet extends to some of the world’s most luxurious megayachts, surpassing even the possessions of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Notable yachts include the Azzam and the Blue superyachts, each valued at $600 million (Rs 4992 crores). Azzam, the world’s longest yacht at 591 feet, boasts accommodation for over 100 people and features a golf training room, overshadowing Jeff Bezos’ 417-foot superyacht, nicknamed ‘Koru.’ The $597 million (Rs 4967 crore) Blue, measuring 525 feet, ranks as the fourth-largest yacht globally, while the $660 million (Rs 5490 crore) A+ was even borrowed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Eight Private Jets

The Al Nahyan family’s presidential fleet comprises eight aircraft, including the Airbus A320-200 and three Boeing 787-9s. Notably, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s personal collection includes the $478 million (Rs 3977 crore) Boeing 747 and the $176 million (Rs 1464 crore) Boeing 787, reflecting the family’s commitment to a lavish lifestyle.

Uber-Expensive Fleet of Cars

Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan’s car collection is museum-worthy, with over 700 vehicles, including the world’s largest SUV and the coveted Willys Jeep. Meanwhile, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s impressive collection features five Bugatti Veyrons, a Ferrari 599XX, McLaren MC12, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, and a Lamborghini Reventon, as detailed by The New Yorker.

Premier League Football Club

Beyond the realms of luxury, the Al Nahyan family has left its mark in the sporting world. The Abu Dhabi United Group, under Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s ownership, acquired the English football team Manchester City for $255 million (Rs 2122 crore) in September 2008. Moreover, the investment company holds an 81 percent majority stake in the City Football Group, managing football clubs like Manchester City, Mumbai City, Melbourne City, and New York City.

The wealth of the Al Nahyan royal family transcends conventional boundaries, reflecting not only in their financial holdings but also in their ownership of iconic properties, megayachts, private jets, luxury cars, and a prominent presence in the world of sports. As the world’s wealthiest family, the Al Nahyan dynasty continues to shape global investments and redefine opulence on an unprecedented scale.

Gautam Adani Now 15th Richest In The World

Gautam Adani, Adani Group Chairman is now the 15th richest in the world after adding more than $ 12 billion in a massive rally in Adani Group stocks. Adani was back in the list of top 20 richest people in the world in November following the rally in Adani Group stocks.

As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adani is now the 15th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $82.5 billion. Adani’s wealth jumped by more than $ 12 billion following the rally in Adani Group stocks on Tuesday.

Adani Group market cap hit an 11-month high, reaching Rs 13.8 lakh crore in mcap in Tuesday’s trade.

The Adani conglomerate clinched its best-ever single-day market performance adding Rs 1.92 lakh crore in one day gains.

Tuesday’s strong gains also come on the heels of reports indicating that the US International Development Finance Corp (DFC) did not find the allegations of corporate fraud by short-seller Hindenburg Research relevant. Before extending a significant loan to the conglomerate for a port project in Sri Lanka, the DFC reportedly conducted a thorough examination of the claims against the Adani Group.

All 10 stocks in the Adani group clocked gains ranging from 7-20 per cent with Adani Green Energy and Adani Energy Solutions hitting gains of 20 per cent. The Group’s flagship company Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) saw a staggering rise in its share price by 16.91 per cent, increasing its market valuation by a substantial Rs 48,809 crore. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) also performed solidly with a 15.3 per cent gain in share price, contributing Rs 29,043 crore to the market cap.

Other group stocks also gained with Adani Energy Solutions and Adani Green Energy Solutions clocking gains of 20 per cent each. Both stocks added over Rs 55,600 crore to the group’s market cap. Adani Power Ltd (APL) and Adani Total Gas Limited (ATGL) registered gains of 15.81 per cent and 19.88 per cent, respectively. (IANS)

US Averts Government Shutdown With Stopgap-Funding Bill

The U.S. Congress passed a stopgap funding bill late on Saturday with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party’s hardliners for a partisan bill.

The Democratic-majority Senate voted 88-9 to pass the measure to avoid the federal government’s fourth partial shutdown in a decade, sending the bill to President Joe Biden, who signed it into law before the 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) deadline.

McCarthy abandoned party hardliners’ insistence that any bill pass the House with only Republican votes, a change that could cause one of his far-right members to try to oust him from his leadership role.

The House voted 335-91 to fund the government through Nov. 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.

US Averts Government Shutdown With Stopgap Funding Bill (BBC)
Picture: BBC

That move marked a profound shift from earlier in the week, when a shutdown looked all but inevitable. A shutdown would mean that most of the government’s 4 million employees would not get paid – whether they were working or not – and also would shutter a range of federal services, from National Parks to financial regulators.

Federal agencies had already drawn up detailed plans that spell out what services would continue, such as airport screening and border patrols, and what must shut down, including scientific research and nutrition aid to 7 million poor mothers.

“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “Democrats have said from the start that the only solution for avoiding a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are glad Speaker McCarthy has finally heeded our message.”


Some 209 Democrats supported the bill, far more than the 126 Republicans who did so, and Democrats described the result as a win.

“Extreme MAGA Republicans have lost, the American people have won,” top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries told reporters ahead of the vote, referring to the “Make America Great Again” slogan used by former President Donald Trump and many hardline Republicans.

Democratic Representative Don Beyer said: “I am relieved that Speaker McCarthy folded and finally allowed a bipartisan vote at the 11th hour on legislation to stop Republicans’ rush to a disastrous shutdown.”

McCarthy’s shift won the support of top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, who had backed a similar measure that was moving through the Senate with broad bipartisan support, even though the House version dropped aid for Ukraine.

Democratic Senator Michael Bennet held the bill up for several hours trying to negotiate a deal for further Ukraine aid.

“While I would have preferred to pass a bill now with additional assistance for Ukraine, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, it is easier to help Ukraine with the government open than if it were closed,” Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said in a statement.

McCarthy dismissed concerns that hardline Republicans could try to oust him as leader.

“I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try,” McCarthy told reporters. “And you know what? If I have to risk my job for standing up for the American public, I will do that.”

He said that House Republicans would push ahead with plans to pass more funding bills that would cut spending and include other conservative priorities, such as tighter border controls.


The standoff comes just months after Congress brought the federal government to the brink of defaulting on its $31.4 trillion debt. The drama has raised worries on Wall Street, where the Moody’s ratings agency has warned it could damage U.S. creditworthiness.

Congress typically passes stopgap spending bills to buy more time to negotiate the detailed legislation that sets funding for federal programs.

This year, a group of Republicans has blocked action in the House as they have pressed to tighten immigration and cut spending below levels agreed to in the debt-ceiling standoff in the spring.

The McCarthy-Biden deal that avoided default set a limit of $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2024. House Republicans are demanding a further $120 billion in cuts.

The funding fight focuses on a relatively small slice of the $6.4 trillion U.S. budget for this fiscal year. Lawmakers are not considering cuts to popular benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“We should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis,” Biden said in a statement after the vote. “House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.”

Reporting by David Morgan, Makini Brice and Moira Warburton, additional reporting by Kanishka Singh, writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Andrea Ricci and William Mallard

India and UAE Initiate Local Currency Trade, Impact on US Dollar

In a significant move, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have officially commenced trading in their respective local currencies, marking a departure from the traditional reliance on the U.S. dollar for international transactions.

The Indian government made an announcement on Monday, revealing that Indian Oil Corp., a major petroleum refiner in the country, had used the Indian rupee to purchase one million barrels of oil from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, instead of using the U.S. dollar as the standard transaction currency. This landmark transaction underscores the growing trend towards local currency trade arrangements.

This development follows another noteworthy transaction involving the sale of 25 kilograms of gold from a UAE-based gold exporter to an Indian buyer for approximately 128.4 million rupees (equivalent to $1.54 million), as reported by Reuters. These two transactions serve as prime examples of the increasing shift towards conducting trade using local currencies.

The implications of this trend for the role of the U.S. dollar on the global stage are worth exploring. As these nations forge ahead with local currency trade agreements, questions arise about the potential impact on the U.S. dollar’s status as the dominant international currency.

Picture : Tribune India

India’s central bank laid the groundwork for this shift by introducing a new framework aimed at settling global trade using the rupee. This framework materialized last month when India, a significant oil importer and consumer on the global stage, entered into two agreements with the UAE. The primary objective of these agreements is to streamline cross-border transactions and payments by conducting trade in their respective local currencies. This move is anticipated to reduce transaction costs and eliminate the need for dollar conversions. In addition to local currency trade, both countries have also committed to establishing a real-time payment link, further simplifying cross-border money transfers. The Reserve Bank of India elucidated that these agreements will facilitate “seamless cross-border transactions and payments, and foster greater economic cooperation.”

While India and the UAE are at the forefront of this local currency trade trend, they are not alone in their efforts to reduce reliance on the U.S. dollar. Several influential countries worldwide, including China and Russia, have been exploring avenues to diminish the dollar’s prominence due to concerns over aggressive U.S. sanctions and foreign policy maneuvers. This global trend, often referred to as “de-dollarization,” has gained momentum, raising discussions about the future dominance of the U.S. dollar in international trade.

Janet Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, sought to address these concerns by emphasizing that no currency currently possesses the capacity to replace the U.S. dollar. Yellen’s assertion followed an 8% decrease in the dollar’s share of global reserves in the previous year. In response to this trend, central banks around the world have been diversifying their reserves, transitioning away from the dollar and towards other assets such as gold.

India and the UAE have embarked on a path of local currency trade, signaling a shift away from the traditional reliance on the U.S. dollar in international transactions. This move, driven by the desire to streamline cross-border trade and payments, highlights a broader trend of “de-dollarization” observed in various countries, including China and Russia. While these developments raise questions about the future status of the U.S. dollar, experts, including Janet Yellen, maintain that no currency currently possesses the necessary attributes to fully replace the greenback. As central banks diversify their reserves in response to this evolving landscape, the dynamics of global trade and finance continue to undergo transformation.

India Receives Record Remittances

India received close to $90 billion in remittance flows from around the world in 2022. The total remittance flows during the 2021-22 fiscal year were the highest received by India in a single year, data from India’s Ministry of Finance showed. India’s fiscal year starts on April 1 and ends on March 31.

The US, the world’s largest economy, was the biggest source of remittances to India, with a 23.4 per cent share in total remittance flows, followed by the UAE at 18 per cent. The UK was in third place with a 6.8 per cent share and Singapore was fourth with a 5.7 per cent share.

Singapore also ranked among the top remittance-sending countries to India. The Gulf countries, including the UAE, play a significant role in supporting India’s economy, as a large number of Indians residing there send money back home.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy, was the sixth biggest source of remittances to India with a total share of 5.1 per cent in total remittances, while Kuwait, Oman and Qatar had a share of 2.4 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

Recently, India and the UAE signed agreements to promote the use of local currencies and enhance cross-border transactions, further strengthening economic ties between the two nations.

The agreements, which promote the use of the Indian rupee and the dirham bilaterally, are expected to boost investments and remittances between the two countries, the Reserve Bank of India said on its website.

The two countries also agreed to co-operate on linking their fast payment systems – India’s Unified Payments Interface with the UAE’s Instant Payment Platform – to ease cross-border money transfers.

Last year, India and the UAE also signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, boosting economic ties between the two countries.

Senate GOP Introduces “Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act”

Senate Republicans have announced their own plan to address student debt, which was introduced as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on President Biden’s student debt relief program. The GOP’s “Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act” comprises five bills aimed at tackling the underlying causes of the student debt crisis, including rising tuition fees and students taking out loans they cannot afford. The package was initiated by Senators Bill Cassidy, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Tommy Tuberville, and Tim Scott.

Two of the package’s bills deal specifically with how colleges provide information to prospective students. The “College Transparency Act” would reform the way colleges report on outcomes of their graduates to provide more accurate and useful information for prospective students. On the other hand, the “Understanding the True Cost of College Act” would require colleges to use a standardized format for financial aid letters, including a breakdown of the aid offered, so that students can compare offers more easily.

The remaining three bills in the package concern student loans and look at improving the information provided to borrowers and limiting some forms of borrowing. The “Informed Student Borrower Act” requires individuals to acknowledge receipt of student loan entrance materials, and the materials must include information about loan repayment periods, monthly payment amounts, and potential earnings for graduates of specific programs. This information will be given to students annually.

One of the remaining bills in the package aims to simplify the nine different student loan repayment options available. The proposal cuts that number down to two, leaving the 10-year standard repayment plan in place and modifying the REPAYE repayment plan. The latter provides loan forgiveness to students with low balances and low incomes.

Undergraduate or graduate programs that have not been shown to lead to higher earning potential than high school graduates or bachelor’s degree holders will be ineligible for loans under the bill. The final proposal in the package aims to put pressure on graduate schools to reduce costs, which account for almost half of all student loan debt taken out each year. If passed, this legislation would end Graduate PLUS loans, a type of loan that has been left unrestricted since 2006 and that Republicans consider “inflationary.”

Sen. Cassidy remarked that “our federal higher education financing system contributes more to the problem than the solution. Colleges and universities using the availability of federal loans to increase their tuitions have left too many students drowning in debt without a path for success. Unlike President Biden’s student loan schemes, this plan addresses the root causes of the student debt crisis. It puts downward pressure on tuition and empowers students to make the educational decisions that put them on track to academically and financially succeed.”

Although Republicans do not control the Senate, they have a chance of winning approval for the bill if it gains the support of centrist Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin. Manchin recently joined with other senators, including Jon Tester and Kyrsten Sinema, in a vote to overturn President Biden’s student debt relief plan, which was vetoed by the White House. The Republican package was released ahead of a possible Supreme Court decision on the legality of Biden’s student debt relief program, providing the GOP with a plan to present should the high court strike down the president’s initiative.

Overall, the GOP’s Lowering Education Costs and Debt Act represents one approach to addressing student debt and the growing student loan crisis. With rising tuition costs and student debt levels that have reached unsustainable levels, addressing the root causes of the problem is critical to helping students cope with the costs of higher education and providing them with the resources necessary to succeed academically and financially. Whether the bill gains the support needed to become law remains to be seen, but the issue of student debt, and how it is addressed, will remain a key concern for lawmakers and students alike.

Top 10 Billionaire Hotspots

In June, Wealth X unveiled its yearly analysis of the global billionaire population. Utilizing RelSci, a data-driven platform, the organization examined a database containing 11 million influential individuals and 1.8 million organizations to determine where billionaires reside, based on their primary business addresses. The report revealed that the top-ranked cities housed 29% of the world’s billionaires in 2022, with nearly all of them being major global cities. This demonstrates the ongoing appeal of high-end businesses, as well as cultural and lifestyle opportunities for the ultra-wealthy.

Here are the top 10 cities with the highest number of billionaires:

New York City

Hong Kong

San Francisco




Los Angeles




New York City leads the pack with 136 billionaires in 2022. Despite losing two billionaires from 2021 to 2022, the city remains the global capital for billionaires. As the report states, “New York is home to the world’s largest stock markets, New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, and is also considered the biggest regional economy in the U.S.”

Hong Kong follows closely behind with a total of 112 billionaires, experiencing a similar decrease of two billionaires. The Wealth X report explains that although Hong Kong’s wealth portfolios were less exposed to the fluctuating global economy, the region’s divided political developments impact its attractiveness for billionaire non-financial businesses.

San Francisco ranks third with 84 billionaires, one less than in 2021. Despite this slight decline, the city witnessed a 68% growth in its high-net-worth population between 2012 and 2022, according to a Henley & Partners report. A March study from Wealth-X and REALM reveals that “there’s one ultra-wealthy homeowner in San Francisco for every 505 residents.”

Over the past decade, San Francisco has become synonymous with Silicon Valley, which experienced significant growth in 2022. The tech hub extends from the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area to other cities such as San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Jose, Palo Alto, Cupertino, and Mountain View. Silicon Valley hosts major companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Nvidia, and more.

End Of The Student Loan Pause Is Imminent

The student loan pause has been in place since March 2020, initially enacted by former President Trump using emergency authority in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was later solidified through legislation passed by Congress. The moratorium halted payments and interest on government-held federal student loans and ceased collection efforts against defaulting borrowers.

Initially planned for six months, the pause was extended by the Trump administration as the pandemic persisted. Upon taking office, President Biden continued this trend with several short-term extensions. Biden’s latest extension is connected to the Supreme Court legal battle over his separate student loan forgiveness plan.

In the recent bipartisan bill to raise the debt ceiling, Biden succeeded in maintaining his primary student debt relief initiatives, such as his loan forgiveness plan. However, during negotiations with congressional Republicans, he agreed to set the end of the student loan pause for this summer. Payments are now scheduled to recommence after August. Given the new legislation, it is improbable that Biden will be able to extend the student loan pause beyond that, unless a new national emergency arises.

Significant Changes in Student Loan Servicing

As borrowers prepare to resume repayments, they will encounter one of the most substantial changes in the student loan landscape: student loan servicing. Loan servicers are contractors who manage borrower accounts on behalf of the Department of Education.

Over the past three years, the student loan servicing sector has experienced significant upheaval. Several contracted Department of Education servicers have exited the Federal Student Aid system, and others have stepped in to manage those accounts. A recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reveals that more than 40% of borrowers will have a different loan servicer compared to before the student loan pause was implemented.

Major changes include FedLoan Servicing’s departure, with accounts being transferred to EdFinancial, MOHELA, and other loan servicers. Navient also transferred its Department of Education accounts to Aidvantage, while Great Lakes Higher Education has been moving its department portfolio to Nelnet.

Student loan servicers fulfill crucial roles such as accepting payments, reviewing repayment plan requests, processing forms and paperwork, and addressing borrowers’ questions. Advocates have cautioned that due to the alterations in loan servicing and financial constraints, the Department of Education’s student loan servicing might struggle to handle the pressure of millions of borrowers resuming repayments simultaneously.

Biden’s Emerging Student Loan Repayment Plan

The Biden administration is currently working on a new income-based student loan repayment plan (essentially revamping an existing income-driven repayment plan). The latest proposal suggests that this plan could decrease some borrowers’ monthly payments by 50% or more and expedite student loan forgiveness.

However, the plan is not yet finalized and won’t be fully accessible when payments restart later this summer. The Department of Education is expected to release updated proposed regulations in the coming months and may begin implementing certain aspects of the plan later this year or in 2024. This would offer borrowers a potential new path to more affordable payments after the student loan pause concludes. As the new plan is introduced, some existing income-driven plans might be phased out, potentially causing confusion among borrowers.

Account Adjustment Potentially Leading to Student Loan Forgiveness This Summer

While President Biden’s flagship student loan forgiveness plan (which can eliminate up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt) awaits a Supreme Court decision, another significant debt relief program is advancing.

The IDR Account Adjustment will enable the Department of Education to credit borrowers with previous loan periods towards their 20- or 25-year student loan forgiveness term under income-driven repayment plans. Borrowers with government-held federal student loans can automatically receive these benefits, even if they aren’t currently enrolled in an IDR plan.

Borrowers who accumulate enough credit to meet the threshold for student loan forgiveness under IDR programs will be eligible for loan discharge. The department anticipates beginning loan balance discharges by August, coinciding with the resumption of repayments. As a result, some borrowers who were expecting to make payments might not have to.

Other borrowers who obtain retroactive IDR credit but fall short of the forgiveness threshold will have their accounts updated sometime next year. These borrowers should then consider switching to or continuing with an IDR plan to make ongoing progress.

New Student Loan Forgiveness Regulations

New student loan forgiveness regulations established by the Biden administration will take effect on July 1. These regulations will influence almost every major federal student loan forgiveness program.

The new rules will solidify some recent temporary flexibilities for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, easing the definitions of qualifying payments and qualifying PSLF employment, enabling more borrowers to receive PSLF credit and ultimately, loan forgiveness.

Additionally, new regulations will expand access and relief and simplify the application process for other student loan forgiveness programs, such as the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program and Borrower Defense to Repayment. Unlike Biden’s new student loan repayment plan, which is still being finalized, these regulatory changes are essentially complete and should be in effect when borrowers return to repayment.

Biden’s New Repayment Plan, Loan Servicing Changes, and Forthcoming Forgiveness Regulations

The suspension of student loan payments is quickly approaching its end, and it is highly unlikely that President Joe Biden will grant another extension. This means that over 40 million borrowers will have to resume repayments after more than three years – a truly unparalleled situation.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the student loan environment has undergone significant changes since before the pause, affecting various aspects such as loan servicing, repayment, and forgiveness programs. Advocacy groups for borrowers are worried that these substantial shifts, even if well-intentioned, may lead to confusion and mistakes, ultimately resulting in an increase in defaults.

Age, Education, and Gender Impact on Average Salaries in the U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’1 research on American earnings reveals that the median salary in the United States peaks within the 45 to 54 age range. A deeper analysis of the average salary by age in the U.S. uncovers some interesting insights.

Key Findings on Average Salary by Age in the U.S.:

  • Median American earnings reach their highest point in the 45 to 54 age range.
  • The most significant salary increase from one age group to another is between 20 to 24 and 25 to 34, indicating that this is when most individuals experience major career advancements.
  • Younger earners in the 16 to 19 age group typically earn 49.92% less than older workers.

The data underscores the notable salary growth for workers transitioning from the 20 to 24 to the 25 to 34 age group. This substantial increase in earnings suggests that the most significant career progressions usually take place during this time, supported by factors such as skill development, education, and work experience.

Furthermore, a considerable wage gap exists between younger earners in the 16 to 19 age group and their older counterparts. On average, these young workers earn 49.92% less, which can be attributed to factors like limited work experience, a smaller skill set, and entry-level positions. This information is crucial for policymakers, educators, and employers, as it emphasizes the importance of skill development and work experience in closing the income gap. As younger individuals grow, develop their skills, and gain work experience, their earning potential will significantly improve, driving overall salary growth throughout their careers.

Noteworthy Observations on Average Salary by Age and State:

  • New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland are the states with the largest income jumps from one age range to the next.
  • New Hampshire is the state where young people have the highest average income, with a salary of $52,926.
  • New Jersey is the state with the largest pay gap between younger and older workers.’s2 comprehensive research reveals intriguing regional disparities regarding income progression across age groups in the United States. The states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland exhibit the most substantial income jumps between age ranges, indicating unique economic dynamics in these areas and suggesting that professionals in these states may experience more significant salary increases throughout their careers.

New Hampshire stands out as the state where young people have the highest average income, boasting an impressive salary of $52,926. This data highlights the favorable economic conditions for young professionals in New Hampshire, making it an ideal destination for ambitious individuals seeking to maximize their early career earnings.

On the other hand, New Jersey showcases the largest pay gap between younger and older workers, emphasizing the importance of understanding regional differences when evaluating career prospects and income potential across the United States.

Key Points on Average Salary by Age and Educational Level:

  • The median salary for individuals older than 25 with a bachelor’s degree is 76.24% higher than for those older than 25 with a high school diploma.
  • The median salary for people older than 25 with an advanced degree is 70.64% higher than for those older than 25 with a bachelor’s degree, and 143.54% higher than those with an associate degree.

The National Center for Education Statistics3 offers compelling data demonstrating the impact of education level on earning potential. People aged 25 and above with a bachelor’s degree earn a median salary that is 76.24% higher than those with only a high school diploma, emphasizing the value of pursuing higher education and its long-term benefits for career growth and financial stability.

Data shows that individuals over 25 with an advanced degree have a median salary that is 70.64% higher than those with a bachelor’s degree and a remarkable 143.54% more than those with an associate degree. These findings underscore the profound effect of advanced education on salary prospects and the potential rewards of investing in graduate or professional degrees.

Average Salary by Age and Gender:

  • The most substantial gender pay gap is observed in the 45 to 54 age group.
  • The smallest gender pay gap is present in the 16 to 19 age group.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics^1 highlights a notable disparity in wages between genders, particularly in the 45 to 54 age group. In this age range, the male median annual wage amounts to $72,228, while the female median annual wage is considerably lower at $57,096. This translates to a wage discrepancy of $15,132 or a 26.5% difference favoring males.

Conversely, the gender pay gap is significantly smaller in the 16 to 19 age group, with the median annual wage for males standing at $32,188 and females at $31,096. This results in a difference of $1,092 or a mere 3.5% wage disparity in favor of males.

The information gleaned from these statistics emphasizes that the gender pay gap is not uniform across age groups. Instead, it widens as individuals progress in their careers and attain higher income levels. This trend suggests a complex interplay of factors, such as career choices, professional growth, and work-life balance, may disproportionately impact women during their mid-career stages.

Is The End Of Dollar Supremacy Coming?

(IPS) – Half a century ago, the dominance of the United States dollar in the international finance and trade system was indisputable.

By 1977, the US dollar reached a peak of 85 per cent as the prevailing currency in foreign exchange reserves; in 2001, this position was still around 73 per cent. But today, it is at approximately 58 per cent.

The dominance of the dollar and the hegemonic position of the United States have for long been intertwined. And the recent global transformations are affecting American’s ability to sustain this: the gradual movement of the centre of gravity from the West to the East, the unravelling complexities of US domestic politics, the growing muscle of the international projection of China and an international assertiveness among the countries of the Global South have restrained the American dollar’s supremacy and status.

And yet, the currency still holds by far the largest share of global trade, foreign exchange transactions, SWIFT payments and debt issued outside the United States. In fact, Western financial agents, government officials and renowned experts tend to downplay the so-called de-dollarization arguing that a relatively debilitated dollar doesn’t necessarily mean its demise.

Notwithstanding controversial standpoints, it is undeniable that the world system faces more complex, diverse and plural challenges that involve currency competition and new inventive financial pathways.

Resistance against the US Dollar

The so-called de-dollarization in global finance has its landmarks. The launch of the Euro in 1999 was crucial since the European currency, by now, represents 20 per cent of the global foreign exchange reserves. By the dawn of the 21st century, an Asian Currency Unit came to life as well: it represented a salad bowl of 13 currencies from East Asian nations (ASEAN 10 plus Japan, China and South Korea).

Along with the successful spill overs of economic regionalisation, Western-led geopolitics also came to be a source of global financial novelties that affected the US dollar’s pre-eminence.

The growing recourse to a sanction regime against countries such as Iran, especially since 2006, and Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea, encouraged alternative currency arrangements. As of today, Washington’s sanctions policy punishes 22 nations.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2022 and the extension of sanctions hampering the use of the US dollar encouraged even more de-dollarized practices. In response to the decision to disconnect Russia from SWIFT, Moscow advanced bilateral fuel transactions with partial payment in Rubles.

Simultaneously, Russia and a group of African countries initiated talks to establish settlements in national currencies, discontinuing both the US dollar and the Euro. Meanwhile, China is trying to insulate itself from the West and is attempting to internationalise the Renminbi, even though it represents less than 3 per cent of the official reserves worldwide.

Moscow and Beijing are coming closer in terms of financial cooperation, France and Saudi Arabia agreed to use the Renminbi in certain oil and gas deals, while Bangladesh became the 19th country to commerce with India in Rupees.

Last but not least, a gold rush is also picking up. As Ruchir Sharma has recently observed, key buyers are now central banks, which are procuring ‘more tons of gold now than at any time since data begins in 1950 and currently account for a record 33 per cent of monthly global demand for gold […] and 9 of the top 10 are in the developing world.’

Besides, some African nations seem willing to trade in currencies backed by rare-earth metals. In the Global South, in fact, there is a growing perception that de-dollarization is a step towards a multipolar world in which new actors, interests and rules interplay. In that sense, it is becoming evident that a multi-currency trading regime is slowly emerging.

How Brazil ‘de-dollarizes’

De-dollarization has been included in Brazil’s foreign policy strategy. Since the inauguration of his third mandate, President Lula da Silva rapidly disclosed the intention of overcoming his discrepancies with Western rule-setting. An adjourned narrative that contests the Global North’s preponderance in the World Order has resurfaced.

Demands for inclusive reforms in global governance, the condemnation of geopolitical worldviews leading to securitised methods and military escalation, and the questioning of the Dollar’s dominance in international trade and finance have arisen. In the present context of tensions and rivalries between the Great Powers, Brazil strives to speak of an autonomous voice of the Global South.

And thus, Lula has tried to promote peace in Ukraine on the basis of negotiations that recognize the voices of all parties involved in the war.

Lula’s de-dollarization standing has been stimulated by Brazil’s association with the BRICS, as well as its expanded bilateralism with China. The continuously record-breaking Brazilian-Chinese trade relationship reached a peak of $150,5 bn in 2022 (while the Russia-China trade relationship for the same year was $190,2 bn).

As bilateral ties are expanding further, during Lula’s recent state visit to China, novel settlements are being negotiated, aiming to put trade and financial operations on track directly with Chinese Renminbi and Brazilian Reais.

Concurrently, the Brazilian government has decided to use the New Development Bank (NDB), the BRICS’ multilateral bank, as a platform to defend a de-dollarized trade system among its members and with the countries that benefit from NDB credit lines.

By positioning former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as the head of the bank, Lula has upgraded the Brazilian political commitment to this frontline. Most certainly, this will become a reiterated pledge in Brazil’s performance in global governance arenas, with mention to its 2024 presidency of the G20.

It is remarkable how the Lula government has sought a prudent strategy balancing its anti-dollar hegemony signals among its BRICS partners with a constructive presence in a dollar-dominating terrain such as the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).

By holding the presidency of the IDB since last December, supporting the candidacy of Brazilian ex-IMF official Illan Goldfajn, Brazil has stretched its footprint in international finance from Washington to Shanghai.

Beyond Brazil

Brazil has made a first attempt to bring in the de-dollarization card to its South American neighbourhood, particularly together with Argentina. Last February, bilateral talks took off to begin working on a common currency project that could reduce reliance on the US dollar. This could mean ingraining de-dollarization within the MERCOSUR area.

Following Brazil’s example, Argentina has started to consider the use of the Renminbi in its trade with Beijing. For Brazil, these are moves that could, step-by-step, lead to a regional financial terrain with relative distance from US dollar dominance. However, ongoing macroeconomic turbulences in Argentina, together with an extremely low level of foreign exchange reserves, will surely obstruct these plans in the short term.

Besides, more than two will be needed to tango. If a sustained economic recovery of Argentina takes place, Brazil will need to assure the support of extra-regional, heavyweight, non-Western actors, particularly China and India, in investment and trade flows to trigger a renewed insertion of MERCOSUR into the world economy.

De-dollarization could become a part, among others, of a dynamic reconfiguration of financial and productive intersections of Brazil and its neighbours with other regions and economic powerhouses of the global economy. Needless to say, this is a long-term strategy. The key consideration is the role of South America, that, in the near future, may play into the promotion of a multi-currency trading regime.

For now, while a strident flag of Lula’s presidential diplomacy, Brazilian ties with the US Dollar can be reduced but remain of unquestionable relevance. Decision-making in Brazil is conducted by a complex inter-ministerial web responsible for the states’ international sector that cannot avoid the influence of key production segments in the private sector.

Thus, transforming the Brazilian international financial modus operandi will depend on major accommodations that cannot overlook a broad domestic negotiation process, particularly if conjoined with the strengthening of democracy.

Monica Hirst is a research fellow at the National Institute for Science and Technology Studies in Brazil; Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is Provost at the Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Source: International Politics and Society (IPS), published by the Global and European Policy Unit of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Hiroshimastrasse 28, D-10785 Berlin. (IPS UN Bureau)

Student Loan Forgiveness Eligibility in Three Key Areas

The Biden administration has begun implementing the IDR Account Adjustment, a significant initiative aimed at expediting student loan forgiveness for numerous borrowers. Recent guidance from the Education Department indicates that the program’s scope may be even more extensive than initially anticipated. Here’s what borrowers need to understand:

How the IDR Account Adjustment Will Lead to Student Loan Forgiveness

Picture : ABC News

Introduced last year by the Biden administration, the IDR Account Adjustment is a long-awaited solution addressing well-known issues with Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) programs. IDR encompasses various repayment plans, allowing borrowers to repay their federal student loans based on factors such as income, marital status, and family size. Payments are recalculated annually, and after 20 or 25 years (depending on the plan), any remaining balance can be completely forgiven.

Historically, IDR plans have had stringent rules. Only time spent in an IDR plan counts towards loan forgiveness, and certain actions like consolidating or failing to re-certify income when required could hinder a borrower’s progress. Investigative reports have also exposed multiple administrative issues with the programs, including loan servicers that “wrongfully steered borrowers into costly forbearances” and a system that inadequately tracked borrowers’ IDR progress.

The IDR Account Adjustment aims to rectify these past problems. This initiative will enable the Education Department to credit borrowers with time that would not typically count towards their 20- or 25-year IDR student loan forgiveness term, including most repayment periods and some non-payment periods like deferment and forbearance. Borrowers don’t even need to be currently enrolled in an IDR plan to benefit from the initiative.

Furthermore, the IDR credit can also be applied to loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, another program plagued by long-standing issues.

The Education Department published comprehensive new guidance last month on the IDR Account Adjustment’s implementation. The Biden administration seems to have broadened the eligible loan periods that can count towards loan forgiveness, possibly offering even more extensive relief to millions of borrowers.

Parent PLUS Loans Eligible for Credit Towards Student Loan Forgiveness

Historically, Parent PLUS loans have been excluded from many federal student loan relief programs, including IDR plans. While Parent PLUS borrowers could consolidate their loans into a federal Direct consolidation loan to qualify for the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan, this is the most expensive IDR option. Under previous rules, borrowers would receive no IDR or PSLF credit before consolidating, and Parent PLUS borrowers were also excluded from the Limited PSLF Waiver.

However, recent Education Department guidance confirms that Parent PLUS loans, even unconsolidated ones, can receive credit towards loan forgiveness under the IDR Account Adjustment. Borrowers who obtain 25 years of IDR credit can achieve complete loan forgiveness, while others may speed up their progress towards eventual loan forgiveness, reducing their repayment time and saving money.

Parent PLUS borrowers may still need to consider Direct loan consolidation, as they would need to continue making payments under an IDR plan to progress towards loan discharge. The only available IDR plan for Parent PLUS borrowers is ICR, accessible only if their loans are consolidated into a Direct loan.

Recent Default Periods Can Be Credited Toward Student Loan Forgiveness

Initially, the Biden administration stated that default periods would not count towards loan forgiveness under the IDR Account Adjustment. However, updated guidance in April marked a significant change, allowing borrowers to be credited with “periods in default from March 2020 through the month they exit default,” as long as they do so before the end of the “Fresh Start” period (expected to last one year after the current student loan pause ends this summer).

For borrowers who were already in default when the student loan pause began in 2020, this extended eligibility could result in over three years of additional IDR and PSLF credit towards student loan forgiveness, provided they take the required steps to exit default and return to good standing.

Consolidation Can Accelerate Student Loan Forgiveness

The Education Department’s new guidance states that borrowers who consolidate federal student loans with varying repayment lengths will receive the maximum amount of loan forgiveness credit based on the individual loans being consolidated. For example, if one loan has 10 months of credit and another has 80 months, a Direct consolidation loan combining those two loans could receive 80 months of credit towards loan forgiveness under the IDR Account Adjustment.

What Borrowers Need to Know About Student Loan Forgiveness Under IDR Account Adjustment

The Education Department will automatically implement the IDR Account Adjustment for borrowers with government-held federal student loans, including Direct federal student loans and some FFEL-program loans administered by the department.

Borrowers with commercially-held FFEL loans and other non-Direct loans must consolidate those loans before December 31, 2023, to qualify for relief. Other borrowers may also want to consider consolidation (such as those with a mix of older and newer loans, and Parent PLUS borrowers needing access to the Income-Contingent Repayment plan). However, consolidation may have drawbacks that borrowers should consider.

The Biden administration is expected to begin discharging federal student loans under the adjustment later this year for borrowers who immediately qualify for student loan forgiveness. All other borrowers will see the benefits of the adjustment sometime in 2024.

Pakistan’s Rupee Hits Record Low as Violence Erupts Over Ex-PM’s Detention

Following a court order extending the detention of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, violence erupted in the country triggering rupee to slump to a record low.

The rupee fell by 1.9% and closed at an all-time low of 290.22 against a dollar based on State Bank of Pakistan data. On Thursday, bonds maturing in 2031 fell to their lowest point since November at 33.10 cents to the dollar due to these circumstances.

In response to the protests, Pakistan’s government requested the aid of their military to end the violent events after a judge ordered the 70-year-old politician to be in the custody of the anti-graft agency for eight days. He was detained on Tuesday.

Impacted by this unrest is Pakistan’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to restart its bailout program, without which the country would fall into default.

“The rupee is weakening on economic and political uncertainty, especially the delay in the IMF loan program,” said Owais-ul-Haq, a currency trader at Arif Habib Ltd. “The arrest of Imran Khan just worsened the situation.”

Biden Faces Legal Risks, Financial Peril With 14th Amendment

The extraordinary measure of President Biden invoking the 14th Amendment to prevent a national default could potentially result in legal ambiguity surrounding the already delicate financial system. Markets are worried about a possible default, which might occur as early as June 1 if Biden and legislators fail to reach an agreement. However, if the president were to take unilateral action, the financial system could suffer, with the risk of a default being entangled in legal disputes.

On Tuesday, President Biden acknowledged that discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of invoking the 14th Amendment to avoid a default, but added, “I don’t think that solves our problem now. I think that only solves your problem if, once the court has ruled that it does apply for future endeavors.” If he were to act on his own, Biden might face lawsuits from Treasury bondholders waiting for debt payments from the US. Additionally, Republican lawmakers could sue the president, claiming that he violated Congress’s authority over federal spending and taxation by disregarding the debt limit.

Legal questions loom over strategy

The legal debate centers on a clause stating that the US sovereign debt “shall not be questioned.” This amendment was adopted after the Civil War, and the relevant section pertains to suppressing future insurrections. Nevertheless, some legal experts believe it also grants the president authority to instruct the Treasury to continue borrowing money and disregard the debt limit.

David Super, a constitutional law expert at Georgetown University, said that if the president deems the debt limit unconstitutional, he can invoke the 14th Amendment. However, he cautioned about the severe consequences of such an unprecedented move. “Given how polarized the country is and how determined the Republicans are to use the debt limit for extortion, they surely would arrange for somebody to sue,” Super mentioned.

He added that if someone with standing to sue were found, “the courts could determine whether the president’s determination is correct and could conceivably order him to cease making payments.” However, this would be a monumental decision and likely wouldn’t happen quickly.

Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar at George Washington University, warned that “any litigation would come with potentially high political and legal costs.” He explained that “the House has the constitutional control of the purse and is using that authority to seek budget cuts in future expenditures, including some not previously approved by Congress.”

Senior White House officials reportedly consider the notion of Biden acting unilaterally as a last-resort emergency measure. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen cautioned that invoking the 14th Amendment to avoid a default could spark a “constitutional crisis.”

This situation places the Biden administration in a legal predicament. The debt limit seems to conflict with both the 14th Amendment and laws requiring the federal government to make specific expenditures, such as Social Security payments. Although other ideas, like minting a trillion-dollar coin, have been suggested, Biden has publicly dismissed them.

Financial fallout

The Biden administration is considering all potential options to avert a disastrous default, which could undermine global confidence in US debt, increase borrowing costs for Americans, and cause millions of job losses, as per Moody’s Analytics analysis. The US Treasury market serves as the foundation of the financial system since all assets are compared to historically risk-free Treasury bonds.

However, experts warn that utilizing the 14th Amendment—where the Treasury Department continues to issue debt beyond the statutory limit—poses its own risks to financial stability. During an extended period of legal uncertainty, buyers might perceive newly-issued Treasury bonds as riskier or illegitimate, potentially causing interest rates to skyrocket. Long-term political instability could also drive investors away from the US market, experts noted.

If a court issued an injunction preventing the federal government from issuing new debt or invalidating bonds issued after the limit was breached, the nation could fall into default anyway. “One of the great virtues of US government debt is that there’s no credit risk. If that debt is invalidated, suddenly you’ve introduced it,” said Brian Knight, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

On the other hand, some experts believe that if the Treasury Department were allowed to issue debts beyond the limit, it would find plenty of buyers interested in securing higher interest rates until the crisis is resolved. “The debt that would be issued to bridge this period would end up being very, very short-term debt,” said Daniel Alpert, managing partner of Westwood Capital. “First, you’ll see a spike in rates, but when people actually start getting paid, that will calm down.”

The financial system is still recovering from three of the four largest bank collapses in US history. Banks are holding massive unrealized losses on Treasury bonds that lost value when the Federal Reserve aggressively increased interest rates. Opponents of the debt limit view the 14th Amendment as a long-term solution to credit risk that arises every time the GOP threatens to block an increase. Prominent bankers, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, have called on Congress to abolish the debt ceiling.

The constitutionality of the debt limit has not been challenged in court until recently. On Monday, the National Association of Government Employees sued to end the debt limit, stating that the statute grants the president “unchecked discretion to cancel or curtail the operations of government approved by Congress without the approval of Congress.” The union, representing 75,000 federal government workers, cited the 14th Amendment in its complaint. “This litigation is both an effort to protect our members from illegal furloughs and to correct an unconstitutional statute that frequently creates uncertainty and anxiety for millions of Americans,” said David Holway, the union’s president, in a statement. The lawsuit targets Biden and Yellen. If a court ruled in the union’s favor, the Biden administration could simply choose not to appeal, according to legal experts.

Russia’s Richest Billionaires Added $152 Billion To Their Wealth in 2022

Russia’s richest individuals have seen their collective wealth increase by $152 billion over the past year, according to Forbes Russia. The billionaires on Forbes’ list increased to 110, up 22 from last year, and their total wealth has grown to $505 billion. However, the list would have been longer if it were not for five billionaires renouncing their Russian citizenship.

The Forbes’ report highlights that “last year’s rating results were also heavily influenced by predictions about the Russian economy, which led to apocalyptic projections”. Forbes said the total wealth of Russia’s billionaires had reached $606 billion in 2021, before the Ukrainian war.

Despite the war, which led to the West imposing severe sanctions on Russia’s economy, the country was able to sell oil, metals, and natural resources to global markets, particularly to China, India, and the Middle East. Last year, the price of Urals oil, the lifeblood of the Russian economy, averaged $76.09 per barrel, up from $69 in 2021, and fertilizer prices were high.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its growth forecast for Russia in 2023 to 0.7% from 0.3% earlier this month, but lowered its forecast for 2024 to 1.3% from 2.1%, citing labor shortages and the exodus of Western companies that could harm the country’s economy.

According to Forbes’ Russia list, Andrei Melnichenko, who has made a fortune in fertilizers, was the country’s richest man, with an estimated worth of $25.2 billion, more than double his estimated worth from last year. Vladimir Potanin, the president and biggest shareholder of Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and refined nickel, was ranked as the second wealthiest person in Russia with a fortune of $23.7 billion. Vladimir Lisin, who controls steelmaker NLMK and was ranked as Russia’s richest person last year, was placed third on the Forbes Russia list with a fortune of $22.1 billion.

Over the past year, several billionaires renounced their Russian citizenship, including DST Global founder Yuri Milner, Revolut founder Nikolay Storonsky, Freedom Finance founder Timur Turlov and JetBrains co-founders Sergei Dmitriev and Valentin Kipyatkov. The Forbes’ report suggests that Russian domestic demand has remained strong despite years of sanctions, as new billionaires have emerged from snacks, supermarkets, chemicals, building, and pharmaceuticals.

The billionaires on the Forbes’ list made their fortunes during the Soviet Union’s collapse, and a small group of tycoons known as the oligarchs convinced the Kremlin to hand over control of some of the world’s largest oil and metals companies. The privatization deals often catapulted the tycoons into the league of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Under Putin, original oligarchs, such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky, were stripped of their assets, which eventually ended up under the control of state companies typically run by former spies.

Western sanctions are viewed as clumsy and even racist by many of Russia’s billionaires. Although sanctions have disrupted some industries, the country has diversified its exports and attracted investments from non-Western economies. Also, domestic demand has remained strong, with middle-class Russians weathering the economic downturn.

Russia’s billionaires have become more prominent in the nation’s politics, with some billionaires financing opposition parties, while others support Putin’s United Russia party. The Kremlin has vigorously resisted Western efforts to curb the influence of Russian billionaires, even as several have become subject to international investigations, raising suspicions of corruption and fraud.

The nation’s economic progress in recent years has prompted some observers to question whether Putin’s aggressive foreign policy and authoritarian rule are sustainable. The Kremlin has used the nation’s newfound wealth to promote its agenda abroad, including military interventions in Syria and the Middle East. However, Russia’s economic growth is now showing signs of stagnation. The nation’s GDP growth rate has been below 2% since 2013, and economists predict it will stay that way until structural reforms are undertaken.

In conclusion, Russia’s billionaires have seen a sharp increase in their collective wealth over the past year, driven by high commodities prices and their ability to diversify into non-Western economies. Despite years of sanctions and geopolitical tensions, their domestic businesses have remained buoyant. However, geopolitical risks and structural challenges could threaten the nation’s continued economic growth.

IRS Isn’t Calling You. It Isn’t Texting Or Emailing You, Either

Your phone rings and it’s someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. Ominously, they say the police will be knocking on your door in minutes if you don’t pay your taxes right then and there.

Don’t fall for it. It’s not the IRS getting in touch with you.

Since 2018, more than 75,000 victims have lost $28 million to scammers impersonating the IRS over the phone, email, texts and more.

That’s according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces consumer protection laws, including those against fraud. The true number is almost certainly even higher, including reports to other agencies and victims who don’t make reports. And there are other types of tax scams altogether, like phony tax preparers and tax identity theft.

“Email and text scams are relentless, and scammers frequently use tax season as a way of tricking people,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a news release last month.

As Tax Day approaches, here’s how the IRS actually contacts taxpayers and how you can spot imposters.

How the IRS will really contact you

“If the IRS contacts you, they’re never going to contact you first via email or telephone — they’re going to contact you in writing a letter,” says Christopher Brown, an attorney at the FTC.

A call or a visit usually only happens after several letters, the IRS says — so unless you’ve ignored a bunch of letters about your unpaid taxes, that caller claiming to be from the IRS is probably lying.

The IRS won’t threaten to have the police arrest you or demand that you make an immediate payment with a specific payment type, like a prepaid debit card. “That’s a sure sign that it’s a scam,” Brown says.

Taxpayers can always question or appeal what they owe, according to the IRS. Caller ID can be faked, so don’t think it’s real just because the caller ID says IRS, Brown says.

If you think a caller claiming to be from the IRS might be real, the IRS says you should ask them for their name, badge number and callback number, which you can verify with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 1-800-366-4484. Then, you can either call the IRS back or report the scammer here.

What scams often look like

Aggressive and threatening scam phone calls impersonating the IRS have been a problem for years. Callers demand immediate payment, often via a specific payment method, and threaten arrest, driver’s license revocation and even deportation if you fail to pay up or provide sensitive personal information.

There isn’t data on the most common contact methods specifically for IRS imposter scams, but for government imposter scams overall, phone calls are the most common, Brown says.

These scams spread into emails and texts. Known as phishing and smishing scams, respectively, they were featured on this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list, an IRS campaign to raise awareness about tax scams.

“People should be incredibly wary about unexpected messages like this that can be a trap, especially during filing season,” Werfel, the IRS commissioner, said.

People get texts or emails that say “Your account has been put on hold” or “Unusual Activity Report” with a fake link to solve the problem. Clicking on links in scam emails or texts can lead to identity theft or ransomware getting installed on your phone or computer.

But scammers are always evolving. “Initially what we saw more was the threat with a demand that you make a payment, but then there was that new twist, which is, ‘Let’s not threaten, let’s sort of entice,’ ” Brown says.

That newer tactic of luring people with promises of a tax refund or rebate is more often employed over email or text as a phishing or smishing scam, Brown says. But both the threatening and enticing tactics are still prevalent, and they can be employed through any method of contact.

Consumers who are victims of imposter scams can report them to the IRS or to the FTC.

Regardless of the specifics, here’s a good rule of thumb from the FTC for spotting scams: “The government doesn’t call people out of the blue with threats or promises of money.” (NPR)

Yellen Says, Climate Change Is ‘Existential Threat’

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday pushed back against a GOP congressman who voiced skepticism about the threat of climate change, suggesting the issue was being used by the Biden administration to secure funding and was not a serious concern.

“Can you provide to me, or do you know any research on your own to justify this drastic climate change that we have to do today or the next four or five years this world’s going to come to an end?” Rep Jerry Carl (R-Ala.) asked Yellen at a hearing on the banking system.

When Yellen pointed to an “enormous amount of research” summarized by a United Nations group about the threat of climate change, Carl claimed that the global organization “makes a lot of money off the climate change scenario.”

“There is a strong scientific consensus and enormous body of research,” Yellen responded.

Picture : YouTube

Carl, who is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, downplayed the significance of the changing climate by pointing to the environment in his home state of Alabama. Carl noted one could go 300 feet above sea level and find oyster shells in an embankment, then travel 40 feet below sea level and find a petrified forest under water.

Carl said he believes the literal definition of climate change, but questioned the idea that it is a grave threat to the planet. He argued that the issue of climate change was being used by the Biden administration so it could secure funding for its various priorities.

“The way it’s being used now is like a Trojan horse. Everything you want to use it for to get into the conversation is climate change related,” Carl said.

“We’re seeing enormous increases in concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Yellen said. “Where in America are we seeing that?” Carl asked.

“It’s a global phenomenon; it’s not just in the United States,” Yellen replied, noting that an increase in the intensity of hurricanes is another cause of concern.

“Climate change, I believe, is an existential threat, and we will leave a world to our grandchildren and great grandchildren that will become uninhabitable if we don’t address climate change,” Yellen continued. “We have let decades pass in which we have understood that this was a problem and not taken meaningful action.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said he believed there is general skepticism among critics of the Biden administration that the billions of dollars being spent on the environment will meaningfully change the temperature of the planet.

Yellen has made fighting climate change a key part of her work as Treasury secretary, arguing that the U.S. economy will suffer if the planet continues to warm. The department previously created a climate hub, a division meant to drive investments toward projects to reduce carbon emissions and insulate the economy from extreme weather and other risks.

The Inflation Reduction Act, the administration’s signature piece of legislation passed last year, contains $27 billion in funding for green banks, credit unions, housing finance agencies and projects to cut pollution and energy costs.

Think Tank CPR’s FCRA Suspended, Gets I-T Notice On Tax Exemptions

Centre for Policy Research (CPR), one of the leading public policy think tanks, said last week that it has been “intimated” by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs that its registration under the FCRA had been “suspended for a period of 180 days.”

Weeks before it was informed that its registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) had been suspended, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) received a show cause notice from the Income Tax Department, asking why the registration granting it tax exemptions should not be cancelled.

The CPR had been granted tax exemption status until 2027 under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act. That status has now been questioned by the I-T officials, who collected huge amounts of documents and data during a survey on September 7, 2022 and followed it up by dispatching over a dozen summons to its staff — from its senior researchers to the office peon.

The I-T Department challenged the tax exemptions with a 33-page show cause notice, sent on December 22, 2022 alleging that the CPR was in violation of being involved in activities which were “not in accordance with the objects and the conditions subject to which it was registered”.

The I-T Department included in the show cause notice several observations and allegations not directly related to its operations as an entity.

For instance, there is a list of 19 persons, described as “non-filers” – mostly members of its staff who have either not filed or filed their I-T returns irregularly. The office peon has been included in the list of “non-filers” and the CPR asked to explain how the Rs 2.49 crore given to these individuals collectively (mostly remunerations paid between 2017 and 2021) were payments related to the objectives of the CPR.

The I-T has described the “non-filers” as “persons whose “genuineness is questionable” or not as per the mandate of the CPR.  After scrutinizing accounts, the I-T Department has also questioned activities of the think tank such as bearing the cost of publishing books of its employees.

The show cause notice contains a list of seven authors and observed that while CPR has subsidized the publication of their books, it does not draw any financial benefit from it.

The CPR has been asked to explain how publication of books could be categorized as a “charitable” activity, and told to submit all expenses incurred during the book launches.  The CPR has been challenging the allegations contained in the post-survey summons and notices received.

On the issues raised by the I-T in its show cause notice, Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive of CPR, told The Indian Express, “There is no question of our having undertaken any activity that is beyond our objects of association and compliance mandated by law.”

“Our work and institutional purpose is to advance our Constitutional goals and protect Constitutional guarantees. We are absolutely confident that the matter will be resolved speedily, in fairness and in the spirit of our Constitutional values.”

Some of the ineligible “activities” listed by the I-T Department include:

* Funds to the tune of Rs 10.19 crore (since 2016) from the Namati-Environmental Justice Program. These funds, according to the I-T Department, “are used to file litigation and complaints instead of carrying out any research or educational activity”. The CPR has been asked to provide details of how funds received under the Namati project were used and how they relate to the objectives of the CPR.

* The I-T has show caused CPR for being “involved” in the Hasdeo movement (launched by activists against coal mining in the Hasdeo forests of Chhattisgarh) through the Jan Abhivyakti Samajik Vikas Sanstha (JASVS). The I-T has shown calculations that in the past four years, the JASVS received between 87%-98% of its donations from the CPR and, according to them, this too, “was not in pursuance of its approved objectives”.

* There are a whole bunch of allegations which have been conveyed to the CPR in the show cause notice on how they were in violation of provisions of the FCRA.

The show cause lists alleged “sub-grants” by the CPR and states that financials provided by the CPR show that its FCRA funds have got “mixed up” with its core funds. The observation, “CPR appears to be crediting the commercial receipts and foreign contribution in FCRA designated accounts and thus, there is an intermingling of funds, which is in violation of provisions of FCRA”.

Calculations have been provided to the CPR on how there was wide discrepancy between its annual receipts of funds as per their Income Tax filings and the funds received as per their account books. The “discrepancy” has been, for instance, calculated at Rs 1.43 crore for the year 2017-2018 to Rs 81.45 lakh for the year 2021-2022.

Yamini Aiyar told The Indian Express that replies to specific allegations could not be made by CPR since it would be outside the remit of the process and would undermine its objectivity and confidentiality.

“As an academic institution, whose primary objective is to produce high quality education and training related work, we enjoy tax exemption status accorded to us under Section 12 (A) of the Income Tax Act. Our work, including books written by our faculty, and research related partnerships are in pursuit of these objectives. We are in complete compliance with the law and are routinely scrutinised and audited by government authorities including the Comptroller Auditor General of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs, FCRA division. We have annual statutory audits and all our annual audited balance sheets are in the public domain,” she said. (The Indian Express)

Ajay Banga Wins Positive Reviews At G20 Finance Meeting

(Reuters) – The U.S. nominee to lead the World Bank, ex-MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, gained traction with leading members on Friday, a sign that he will likely have a smooth ride to confirmation by the bank’s executive board.

The finance ministers of France and Germany gave positive reviews to Banga, nominated on Thursday by U.S. President Joe Biden as a surprise choice to lead the institution’s transformation to fight climate change and other global challenges.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on the sidelines of a G20 finance leaders in India that Banga‘s nomination was a “very remarkable” proposal because his private sector experience would be potentially helpful in mobilizing private investment in the fight against climate change and for development projects.

Lindner said that Germany would follow the nomination with “great attention” and expressed “sympathy” for the proposal.

The comments mark a turnabout from Tuesday, when German international development minister Svenja Schulze said the next World Bank chief should be a woman.

“I think he is a good candidate. I need to meet him to know a little bit more about him,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Reuters.

Asked whether Europe would try to nominate its own choice, Le Maire said: “You know, we have this (U.S.) candidate, so I think it’s wise to meet him, get to know more about him.”

The G20 ministers meeting is being held on the outskirts of the Indian tech hub city of Bengaluru.

India’s finance ministry has not commented on the nomination of Banga, an Indian-born U.S. citizen, which played prominently in Indian media on Friday.

But the government was expected to support Banga, India’s new executive director at the International Monetary Fund, told Reuters in Washington.

Krishnamurthy Subramanian, the former top economic adviser to the Indian government, called the nomination “an elegant solution”.


The United States, the lender’s dominant shareholder, has chosen every World Bank president since the instititution’s founding at the end of World War Two.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she did not know whether there would be other nominees for the job, but said Washington moved quickly with a well qualified candidate to ensure that tradition would continue.

“… we’ve tried to find a nominee who was really well qualified and brings a unique set of skills to the job that we think will be attractive,” she said.

Other countries have until March 29 to nominate an alternative candidate and the World Bank board intends to announce a choice by early May.

But with the United States and European countries supporting Banga, along with some key emerging markets, a challenger would have almost no chance of succeeding and would be a largely symbolic effort to protest what is seen by many countries and stakeholders as a non-transparent selection process stacked for too long in Washington’s favour.

Yellen told reporters that Banga has “the right leadership and management skills, experience in emerging markets, and financial expertise” to lead the bank and reform it to boost lending on climate change, while maintaining its core anti-poverty mission.

Adani Group Stocks Rout Continues; Adani Enterprises Crashes Over 10%

The rout in stocks of Adani group companies continued on Wednesday, as shares of all its firms fell tracking domestic equities. Adani Enterprises crashed 10.43 per cent, to close at Rs 1,404.85 on the BSE. ACC, meanwhile, tumbled 3.97 per cent, to Rs 1,755.20 on the Mumbai-based exchange.

Ambuja Cement fell 4.92 per cent, while Adani Power, Adani Transmission, and Adani Total Gas, were locked in 5 per cent lower circuit.

Investors continued to exit Adani firms as domestic markets fell sharply today. BSE Sensex crashed 928 points, or 1.53 per cent to 59,744.98. Nifty50 tumbled 272.40 points, to Science17,554.30.

The combined equity market value of Adani group’s 10 companies has slipped below $100 billion as firms have lost around Rs 11 lakh crore since the release of a report by US-based short seller Hindenburg Research on January 25. The report stated that the ports-to-power conglomerate was involved in “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme.”

Adani Crisis May Spark Wider Financial Turmoil In India

Both the Houses of India’s parliament were adjourned on Friday last week amid chaotic scenes as some lawmakers demanded an inquiry following the meltdown of shares in billionaire Gautam Adani’s group companies, which some fear could spark wider financial turmoil. Opposition parties continue to highlight that Life Insurance Corporations (LIC) of India’s and State Bank of India’s (SBI) high exposure to stocks in the Adani Group can have wider economic repercussions.

Picture : Bloomberg

Shares in Adani companies recovered after sharp falls, but the seven listed firms have still lost about half their market value – or more than $100 billion combined – since U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research last week accused the group of stock manipulation and unsustainable debt, Reuters reported.

The Reserve Bank of India on Friday said India’s banking sector is “resilient and stable” and the central bank maintains constant vigil on the lenders, in a statement issued in the light of the Adani crisis, triggered by a US-based short seller’s allegations of stock manipulation, fraud and use of tax havens by the Adani Group.

The stock rout led to Adani Group losing around $108 billion since Hindenburg Research published its report on January 24. But signs of recovery were visible on Friday.

But the government differs

Talking about the risks to the Indian banking system and lenders emanating from the ongoing crisis, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that the country’s banking system is in a sound position. “They (LIC and SBI) have very clearly said that their exposure (to Adani Group stocks) is very well within the permitted limits and with valuation falling as well, they are still over profit. That is the word from the horse’s mouth,” Sitharaman said in an interview with CNBC-TV18.

The stock market turmoil created by the rout in Adani group shares is a “storm in a teacup” from a macroeconomic point of view, finance secretary TV Somanathan said on Friday, emphasising that India’s public financial system is robust. The senior-most bureaucrat in the finance ministry also said that movements in the stock market per se is not the government’s concern and there are independent regulators to take necessary action. Read more here.

Mukesh Ambani Regains The Crown As World’s Richest Indian

As the rout in Adani group’s stocks triggered by short seller Hindenburg Research’s allegations touched $92 billion on Wednesday, as per news agency Bloomberg, business tycoon Gautam Adani lost his status as the world’s richest Indian to fellow Gujarati businessman and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani.

The richest

Sixty-year-old Adani has now been pushed to the No. 15 spot on the list of world’s richest billionaires, compiled by Forbes, with his wealth now estimated at $75.1 billion. Sixty-five-year-old Ambani is at 9th position with a net worth of $83.7 billion. Over the last three years, Ambani and Adani have swapped positions as world’s richest Indian on several occasions.

With that, Ambani also became the world’s richest man from Asia, sharing the top-ten space in the Forbes list of billionaires with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Larry Page among others.

Brotherhood of billionaires

Adani groups, on Tuesday, secured a $2.5 billion share sale amid the short-seller storm, triggered by allegations of stock manipulation, accounting fraud and use of tax havens against the conglomerate.

While the heavy lifting was done by a $400 million investment from a conglomerate based in Abu Dhabi, a few other uber-rich surprisingly came to the last-minute defense of their compatriot.

People who’re neither financial institutions nor small investors bid for 3.3 times the stock reserved for them as a class. A Delhi-based industrialist, three Gujarati pharmaceuticals billionaires and a steel magnate from Mumbai were among the share sale’s white knights, according to the Economic Times. Read more here.

But, FPO cancelled

However, Adani Enterprises sprung up a surprise on Wednesday evening, announcing that it has “decided not to go ahead with the fully-subscribed Follow-on Public Offer” and assured that all proceeds will be refunded to investors. In a statement, it cited “unprecedented” market fluctuations and “extraordinary circumstances” to conclude that going ahead would not be “morally correct”.

Markets Surge As Fears Of The Economy Fade. Why The Optimists Could Be Wrong

Stocks have surged since the start of the year. The Nasdaq is up nearly 15% this year after posting its best January since 2001. And it’s not just stocks: bonds have risen and even bitcoin has made a roaring comeback, though all markets fell a tad on Friday.

This is all after a miserable 2022, when markets were hit hard by fears about surging inflation and about how the Federal Reserve was fighting it, with the biggest increases in the country’s interest rates since the early 1980s.

Today, hope has replaced that fear. Inflation has eased substantially and investors now believe the Fed will soon stop raising interest rates – and even cut them later this year to prop up a sagging economy.

And many on Wall Street no longer dread the worst about the economy, turning from their predictions of a big recession to hope that any downturn will be mild, or even that a recession may not happen at all.

But should there be this much optimism? Here’s why Wall Street is getting so excited about the economy – and why others believe it may end in tears.

The case for hope

The recent Wall Street gains could perhaps be explained in a single word: inflation. There are plenty of signs that inflation is starting to ease substantially after reaching its highest levels in around 40 years last year.

Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 6.5% in December, down from a peak of 9.1% in June. The Fed’s preferred inflation yardstick is also down substantially from its recent peak.

And economists are hopeful inflation will continue to ease. Supply chains, for example, have improved. And wage gains have softened in recent months, allaying economists’ worries that rising wages could push up prices.

Prices are still high, of course, in fact, too high for the Fed’s comfort. But even Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expressing some hope about inflation while warning, repeatedly, that the fight against inflation is far from done.

Recession? What recession?

Then, there are the shifting views on the economy. In 2022, markets were bracing for the worst as they looked to history.

In the past, the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes to tame inflation have sparked recessions.

Higher interest rates can have all kinds of negative effects on the economy: mortgages get more expensive, which hurt the housing market; companies pull back on spending; and so forth.

But now, many on Wall Street believe any recession could be mild, like the short one during the pandemic in 2020 that barely made a blip in the markets (the S&P500 surged 16% that year, while the Nasdaq soared 44%).

Some economists even believe the economy may not suffer a recession at all, slowing down into a “soft landing,” or avoiding a contraction and a spike in unemployment.

That optimism is not completely unjustified.

For one, the labor market is very strong. Data on Friday showed U.S. employers added a whopping 517,000 jobs, much stronger than most forecasts, while the unemployment rate dropped to a 53-year low.

“The labor market continues to be very resilient with no clear signs of stopping yet,” investment bank Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients on Friday.

Investors are also taking comfort in earnings, which have largely proven resilient, though there are exceptions, notably, in the technology sector.

GM, for example, reported this week a surge in profits in the most recent quarter. Then again… There is one big downer in the market, however: the Fed. Some optimists believe the Fed will make an abrupt U-Turn and pivot to cutting interest rates as early as this year, after raising them one last time, likely at its March meeting.

That would mean the Fed would go from fighting inflation by slowing down the economy to doing exactly the opposite — revving up that very same economy with cheaper, easier borrowing.

The big issue with that premise? That’s not what the Fed is saying it plans to do at all. Powell, in his news conference on Wednesday may have sounded hopeful about the economy, but he also said it’s way too premature to declare victory against inflation, and he reiterated the Fed has no intention of cutting interest rates any time soon.

The message does not appear to be swaying the optimists on Wall Street so far, however. Some investors still believe the Fed is being too cautious about inflation. After all, the central bank for months played down inflation by calling it “transitory” until it suddenly reversed course and aggressively raised interest rates.

“The Fed is still firmly in the driver’s seat, but the market continues to fight the Fed, believing that they will pause and/or cut rates much sooner than they’ve guided,” said Amanda Agati, the Chief Investment Officer of PNC Financial Services.

But there are big dangers in fighting the Fed, as the famous market adage goes.

The Fed is the most powerful economic player in the world, with the ability to move markets from New York to Hong Kong with a single word.

And so far, the Fed has said, clearly, that the fight against inflation will go on. And is the economy really that strong, anyway?

Then, beyond the Fed, there’s the risk that plenty can still go wrong for the economy. For one, inflation could prove much more entrenched than the Wall Street bulls expect.

A strong labor market is great for workers, but it remains a major worry for the Fed given that it can keep inflation elevated, forcing companies keep wages high and fueling more consumer spending by those who are employed.

What tracking one Walmart store’s prices for years taught us about the economy

Furthermore, there’s plenty of other data that raises the prospect that the economy could end up hitting a recession after all.

The housing market, for example, has taken a major hit since the Fed started raising rates. And retail sales are showing signs of declining, a big concern in an economy so reliant on consumer spending. Market bulls are fond of noting that “as goes January, so goes the year,” an expression that refers to a historic trend in which strong January gains tend to portend a good year for Wall Street.

But that’s not always the case. In 2001, the Nasdaq similarly rallied in January, ending the month up 12%. It did not end well. The economy skidded into a recession, and the Nasdaq slumped a whopping 30% over the next 11 months, with losses magnified by the Sept. 11 attacks. As it turns out, all that optimism in January 2001, proved to have been misplaced.

Gautam Adani Lost Half His Wealth In A Flash

CNN — Less than two weeks ago, Gautam Adani was the fourth-richest person in the world. With a personal fortune estimated at $120 billion, the self-made Indian industrialist was wealthier than either Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.

Then Hindenburg Research, an American short seller with bets against Adani’s companies, accused him of pulling off “the largest con in corporate history.”

Adani’s firms have lost $110 billion in value since then, and his own wealth has been halved to little more than $61 billion as investors pull their support.

While the Adani Group has condemned the report as “baseless” and “malicious,” investor questions about its claims linger, and the fallout is growing. Adani’s business partners and lenders are clarifying their ties to the conglomerate, while India’s federal government is reportedly launching an investigation of his business after an outcry by opposition lawmakers.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Gautam Adani?

Gautam Adani is a 60-year-old tycoon who founded the Adani Group more than 30 years ago.

college drop-out, he built a sprawling business empire that spans infrastructure, logistics, energy production and mining. That success has earned him comparisons to John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt, who created vast monopolies during America’s Gilded Age in the 1800s.

He was Asia’s richest man, and last September briefly surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the second-wealthiest person in the world. He’s also seen as a close ally of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi.

What are the accusations against him?

Hindenburg Research stunned investors in late January when it published a report accusing Adani and his companies of widespread fraud and “brazen stock manipulation” that it alleged took place over decades. The firm said it had taken a short position in Adani Group companies, meaning it would benefit from a drop in their value.

Hindenburg pitched 88 questions to Adani that cast doubt on his conglomerate’s financial health. Those ranged from requests for details on the group’s offshore entities to why it has “such a convoluted, interlinked corporate structure.”

The Adani Group has said it’s considering legal action in response to the claims. It charged Hindenburg with launching “a calculated attack on India” and said the investment firm is only interested in its own financial gain. But analysts say Adani Group hasn’t convincingly answered the questions raised by the report.

What do investors think?

Investors, spooked by the claims, are bailing, not wanting to get caught on the wrong side of a trade. Shares of Adani Enterprises, Adani’s flagship firm, have plummeted almost 55% since Hindenburg’s report was published on January 24.

The company is now struggling to raise new funding as a result. On Wednesday, Adani Enterprises abruptly abandoned a $2.5 billion deal to sell shares, just 24 hours after it was sealed.

Stocks of most Adani Group companies slumped again on Friday. India’s stock exchanges halted trading in five listed Adani firms after their shares crashed by the daily limits, set at 5% and 10%.

Meanwhile, TotalEnergies, a major business partner, said Adani had agreed to let one of the “big four” accounting firms carry out a “general audit.” There was no confirmation from Adani.

The French energy giant described its $3.1 billion exposure to Adani, via joint investments in India, as “limited”. It also said these partnerships were “undertaken in full compliance with applicable — namely Indian — laws.”

What happens next?

The wave of selling is raising questions about how Adani’s businesses will continue to cover their costs.

The large debt load of Adani firms — one of the concerns raised by Hindenburg — is under the microscope. Ratings agency Moody’s said Friday that the turmoil was likely to reduce the group’s ability to raise capital.

In a statement Wednesday night, Adani stressed that his business remains on solid footing, and that executives would review its capital market strategy “once the market stabilizes.”

“Our balance sheet is very healthy with strong cashflows and secure assets, and we have an impeccable track record of servicing our debt,” he said.

The consequences of the sell-off may not be contained to Adani. Indian banks that hold Adani Group assets could also be affected if the value of those holdings continues to drop.

The Reserve Bank of India said Friday that the banking sector “remains resilient and stable” based on its latest assessment and pledged to continue to monitor the situation.

In its first statement on the recent market turmoil, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said Saturday that it had observed “unusual price movement in the stocks of a business conglomerate.” It said that if any information comes to SEBI’s notice,” it would be examined and “appropriate action” would be taken.

The market regulator added that it “is committed to ensuring market integrity.”

India Inc. on the defensive

At the same time, the ordeal is the source of growing political turmoil in New Delhi. Opposition lawmakers in India have demanded a probe into the Hindenburg report. They staged a protest in the country’s parliament on Wednesday while the country’s finance minister presented the annual budget.

Their demands that normal business be suspended Friday to allow an emergency debate on the Adani crisis led to an uproar, resulting in the adjournment of both houses of parliament until Monday.

“Action is being taken against Adani all over the world, but PM Modi is quiet,” the main opposition Congress party tweeted. “When will our govt take action?”

Questions about the health of Adani’s empire are clouding the outlook for India Inc., which just weeks ago was out in force at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland touting opportunities for foreign investors.

The country’s emissaries leaned into its relatively robust economic outlook. The World Bank projected last month that India would log the strongest economic growth of any major economy this year.

“The Adani saga has opened a big can of worms,” said Manish Chowdhury, head of research at brokerage Stoxbox. “The India story is looking weak” to foreign investors now, he added.(CNN.COM)

Shah Rukh Khan, Only Indian On World’s Richest Actor List

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan with his more than three decades of work in the film industry has garnered millions of fans all over the world and an estimated net worth of ₹627 million ($770 million), making him the richest actor in Asia and fourth richest actor all over the world.

Beating famous actors like Tom Cruise, Jackie Chan, and George Clooney, Shah Rukh Khan took the fourth position in the list of eight richest actors of the world released by World of Statistics.

Shah Rukh Khan who is ready to make his comeback with his action thriller Pathan in Janaury 2023 had been away from movies for a period of almost four years sans his cameos in R. Madhavan’s Rocketry: The Nambi Effect and Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva. The richest actor according to this list was Jerry Seinfeld with a net worth of ₹82 billion ($1 billion). The American actor tied with Diary of a Black Woman fame Tyler Perry at $ 1 billion. They were followed by Dwayne Johnson at ₹64 billion ($800 million).

Richest actors in the world: Jerry Seinfeld: $1 Billion Tyler Perry: $1 Billion Dwayne Johnson: $800 million Shah Rukh Khan: $770 million Tom Cruise: $620 million Jackie Chan: $520 million George Clooney: $500 million Robert De Niro: $500 million

Dr. Aarti Pandya Defends the Decision to Settle the Case Without any Admission of Liability or Wrongdoing

“Rather than continue to expend significant time and resources defending herself against these unfounded allegations, which were initially filed in 2013, Dr. Pandya made a business decision to resolve the case without any admission of liability or wrongdoing so she can go back to serving her patients,” Dr. Aarti Pandya’s attorney said in a statement.

Dr. Pandya, an Indian American doctor had recently agreed to pay $1,850,000 for allegedly billing Medicare for eye surgeries and diagnostic tests that were allegedly not medically required.

However, Dr. Pandya denies doing anything wrong. Dr. Pandya has served as an ophthalmologist in the Conyers, Rockdale County area for decades.  Dr. Pandya has steadfastly maintained that she did not engage in improper billing or otherwise fail to properly treat her patients and bill for their care.

As per the statement issued by the Attorney, “Dr. Pandya has been defending herself in a lawsuit initiated by her former office manager, Laura Menchion Dildine, that accused Dr. Pandya of improper billing in violation of the False Claims Act.”

The attorney’s statement questioned the credibility of Ms. Dildine, describing her as “a convicted felon who was solely responsible for billing and coding while employed by Dr. Pandya at her office in Conyers, Georgia.” The statement went on point out how “After Dr. Pandya refused to write an opioid prescription for Ms. Dildine, Ms. Dildine began using Dr. Pandya’s name to commit prescription fraud while employed as office manager.”

Responding to the report, Dr. Pandya said she has been defending herself in a lawsuit initiated by her former office manager, Laura Menchion Dildine, that accused her of improper billing in violation of the False Claims Act.  The statement said Dildine is a convicted felon who was solely responsible for billing and coding while employed by Dr. Pandya at her office in Conyers, Georgia.

“After Dr. Pandya refused to write an opioid prescription for Dildine, she (Dildine) began using Dr. Pandya’s name to commit prescription fraud while employed as office manager,” the statement alleges.

As per Dr. Pandya’s attorney, Ms. Dildine was arrested at the office of Dr. Philip Newman, another ophthalmologist in Conyers, Georgia, and was jailed by the Newton County Sheriff under felony charges. Ms. Dildine was employed by Dr. Newman as a biller at the time of her arrest, and resumed her employment with Dr. Newman after being released on bail.  On June 16, 2014, Ms. Dildine was arrested again and charged with felony fraud/forgery and jailed at the Rockdale County Jail.

According to Piedmont, Dr. Pandya has been highly appreciated by her patients with a score of 4.5 out of 5 ratings with reviews by 289 ratings by her patients. (

Dr. Arati Pandya, MD is an Ophthalmology Specialist in Conyers, GA and has over 28 years of experience in the medical field. She is affiliated with Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. Dr. Pandya, who had graduated with a Medical Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, completed her Graduate Medical Education in Ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington , Kentucky.

She is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Dr. Pandya, says, she looks forward to continuing to serve her patients and the community now that this case is behind her.

As per reports, to protect federal healthcare programs and beneficiaries going forward, Pandya and the Pandya Practice Group have entered into a detailed, multi-year Integrity Agreement and Conditional Exclusion Release (IA) with the Office of Inspector General.

“We must assure patients and taxpayers that healthcare is dictated by clinical needs, not fiscal greed,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This settlement should serve as a reminder that the FBI will not tolerate healthcare providers who engage in schemes that defraud the industry and put innocent patients at risk.”

Dr. Pandya however, said she looks forward to continuing to serve her patients and the community now that this case is behind her.  She said she remains committed to providing quality patient care for years to come.

US Treasury Secretary Warns Of Default On Debt, With Catastrophic Consequences

The United States Treasury Department has stated the US could default on its debt as soon as June, setting up one of the first major battles on Capitol Hill after Republicans took control of the House.

The US will reach the debt limit on January 19 and then “extraordinary measures” will need to be taken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. She said that the Treasury Department will pursue those measures, but they will only last a limited amount of time.

It is unlikely that the government will exhaust its cash and the “extraordinary measures” before early June, though she said there is “considerable uncertainty” around that forecast, Yellen wrote. She urged lawmakers to “act in a timely matter” to increase or suspend the debt limit.

The Treasury Department said Friday the US could default on its debt as soon as June, setting up one of the first major battles on Capitol Hill after Republicans took control of the House.

The US will reach the debt limit on January 19 and then “extraordinary measures” will need to be taken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrote in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. She said that the Treasury Department will pursue those measures, but they will only last a limited amount of time.

Picture : YouTube

It is unlikely that the government will exhaust its cash and the “extraordinary measures” before early June, though she said there is “considerable uncertainty” around that forecast, Yellen wrote. She urged lawmakers to “act in a timely matter” to increase or suspend the debt limit.

“Failure to meet the government’s obligations would cause irreparable harm to the US economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability,” she wrote.

The debt limit is the maximum that the federal government is allowed to borrow, after Congress set a level more than a century ago to curtail government borrowing. Congress has in the past raised the debt limit to avoid a default on US debt that economists have warned would be “financial Armageddon.” That’s what lawmakers did in late 2021 following the last standoff over the debt ceiling.

The immediate measures include some accounting maneuvers involving the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund and the Federal Employees Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan.

However, these moves will not affect retirees’ ability to access their savings, experts said. The funds will be made whole once the impasse is settled, Yellen wrote.

‘Not the time for panic’

Yellen’s letter reinforced that the debt ceiling limit is an issue that Congress will have to deal with soon. But it’s not an immediate problem, experts said.  “This is not the time for panic. We are many months away from the US being unable to meet all of its obligations,” said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “But it is certainly a time for policymakers to begin negotiations in earnest.”

Just how long the Treasury Department can continue the “extraordinary measures” will depend in part on how much 2022 tax revenue the government collects this spring. Also, inflation and interest rates have risen faster than some experts estimated last year, and new policies, including the student loan forgiveness program, were introduced, potentially shortening the window.

House Republicans are preparing contingency plans, but dealing with the debt ceiling limit will not be an easy task for Congress, especially now that the GOP has taken control of the House. It is expected to unleash a battle between conservatives GOP members, who want to tie any lifting of the limit to spending cuts, and Democrats, who fiercely oppose any reductions.

The Washington Post first reported the emergency plans. McCarthy, in part of his negotiations to become speaker, promised to pass a proposal by the end of March telling the Treasury Department which payments should be prioritized if the debt ceiling is breached, GOP Rep. Chip Roy confirmed to CNN.

Roy, one of the key players in the standoff over McCarthy’s speakership, cautioned that the contours of the proposal are still being worked out, noting there are several different versions of a payment prioritization plan circulating inside the House GOP.

McCarthy is stuck in the middle, with his party holding only a razor-thin majority in the chamber. Also, any member can call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair, one of several concessions McCarthy made to gain the top post after 15 rounds of voting last week.

At a news conference, McCarthy took a hard line over the debt limit.  Asked if he could guarantee that Republicans would provide the votes necessary to raise the debt ceiling, McCarthy said: “We don’t want to put any fiscal problems to our economy and we won’t, but fiscal problems would be continuing to do business as usual.”

McCarthy also said he “had a very good conversation with the president when he called me, and I told him I’d like to sit down with him early and work through these challenges.”

Republicans, he said, would not allow “spending money wastefully.”  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN he thinks Republicans will ultimately “come to reality” and raise the limit. “If you’re worried about inflation, default would be huge,” Schumer said.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that the debt ceiling negotiations will likely be tied to the fiscal year 2024 federal spending package, which Congress must pass before October 1 or risk a government shutdown.

The debt ceiling was last raised in December 2021 to $31.4 trillion.

The deadline comes sooner than some experts had expected. They were predicting the debt ceiling limit would not be breached until later this year, when the Treasury Department would have to start taking extraordinary measures to avoid defaulting on the government’s obligations.

A default could cause chaos

Goldman Sachs warned last month that a close call could set off turmoil on Wall Street that causes losses in the retirement accounts and investment portfolios of everyday Americans.

“It seems likely that uncertainty over the debt limit in 2023 could lead to substantial volatility in financial markets,” Goldman Sachs economists wrote, noting that the 2011 standoff helped cause a deep selloff in the US stock market.

Beyond markets, Goldman Sachs said a failure to raise the debt limit in time “would pose greater risk to government spending and ultimately to economic growth than it would to Treasury securities themselves.”

That’s because in order to avoid a default on US debt, the federal government would shift money around to keep paying interest on Treasuries. That would create a massive hole that would need to be filled by delaying a host of other payments — including ones that millions of Americans count on such as paychecks to federal employees, benefits to veterans and Social Security payments.  “A failure to make timely payments would likely hit consumer confidence hard,” Goldman Sachs wrote.

White House says no concessions or negotiations.

The White House said Friday it will not offer any concessions or negotiate on raising the debt ceiling.  “We will not be doing any negotiation over the debt ceiling, but broadly speaking, at the start of this new Congress, we’re reaching out to all the members … making sure that we have those connections with those new members,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

She said in the past “there’s been a bipartisan cooperation when it comes to lifting the debt ceiling, and that’s how it should be.”

“It should not be a political football,” she added. “This is not political gamesmanship, and this should be done without conditions.”

Asked why Yellen was notifying Congress just six days before the debt limit is reached, Jean-Pierre referred those questions to Treasury, but said the “sooner Congress acts the better.”

“Even the prospect of not raising the debt ceiling will damage the full faith and the credit of our nation,” she said. “There’s going to be no negotiation over it, this is something that must get done.”

7 Changes Considered By Congress For Retirement Beneficiaries

There soon may be new retirement rules in place that could make it easier for Americans to accumulate retirement savings — and make it less costly to withdraw them — if lawmakers pass a major spending package this week.

The retirement savings provisions – known as Secure 2.0 – were drawn from a House-passed bill and bills that were passed by two Senate committees.

“[SECURE 2.0] will help increase savings, ensure greater access to workplace retirement plans, and provide more workers with an opportunity to receive a secure stream of income in retirement,” said Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and CEO of TIAA, one of the largest US retirement service providers.

Here’s a look at seven of the provisions in the package, known on Capitol Hill as an omnibus, based on a breakdown from the Senate Finance Committee.

1. Require auto enrollment in 401(k) plans

Most employers starting new workplace retirement savings plans could be required to automatically enroll employees in the plan. (It is currently optional for employers to do so.) It would then be up to the employee to actively opt out if they don’t wish to participate.

The Secure 2.0 provision would require employers set a default contribution rate of at least 3% but not more than 10% for the employee plus an automatic contribution escalation of 1% per year up to a maximum contribution rate of at least 10% but not more than 15%.

The provision would go into effect after December 31, 2024.

2. Allow employer contributions for student loan payments

When you have to pay down student loan debt, it makes it harder to save for retirement. Secure 2.0 would let employers make a matching contribution to an employee’s retirement plan based on their qualified student loan payments. That way, it would ensure that the employee is building retirement savings no matter what.

The provision would take effect after December 31, 2023.

3. Increase the age for required minimum distributions

It used to be that when you turned 70-1/2 you had to start withdrawing a required minimum amount from your 401(k) or IRA every year. Then, the age moved up to 72. Under the Secure 2.0 package, it would move up to 73 starting in 2023 and then to 75 a decade later.

4. Help employees build and access emergency savings

Normally if you tap your 401(k) before age 59-1/2, you must not only pay taxes on that money, but also pay a 10% early-withdrawal penalty.

For employees who are dissuaded from saving money in a tax-deferred retirement plan because they are concerned it would be too complicated and costly to access it for emergencies, Secure 2.0 may assuage that fear: It would let employees make a penalty-free withdrawal of up to $1,000 a year for emergencies. While employees would still owe income tax on that withdrawal in the year it’s made, they could get that tax refunded if they repay the withdrawal within three years.

If they don’t repay the withdrawal, they would have to wait until the three-year repayment period ends before being allowed to make another emergency withdrawal. Enter your email to subscribe to the CNN Business Newsletter.

The provision would go into effect after December 31, 2023.

5. Raise catch-up contribution limits for older workers

Currently, if you’re 50 or older you may contribute an additional $6,500 to your 401(k) on top of the $20,500 annual federal limit in effect this year.

Under the retirement package, instead of $6,500, those aged 60, 61, 62 and 63 would be allowed to contribute $10,000, or 50% more than the regular catch-up amount in 2025, whichever is greater.

The provision would take effect after December 31, 2024.

To help pay for the cost of the retirement package, however, another provision which would go into effect a year earlier would require anyone with compensation over $145,000 to “Rothify” their catch-up contributions. So, instead of making before-tax contributions up to the catch-up limit, you could still contribute the same amount but you would be taxed on it in the same year. Your contribution would then grow tax free and may be withdrawn tax free in retirement. But the federal government would get the tax revenue from the original catch-up contribution up front.

6. Enhance and simplify the Saver’s Credit

An underutilized federal match exists for lower-income earners’ retirement contributions of up to $2,000 a year. The new package would enhance and simplify the so-called Saver’s Credit so more people could use it. Eligible filers (e.g., married couples making $71,000 or less) could get a matching contribution from the federal government worth up to 50% of their savings, but the match cannot exceed $1,000.

The provision would go into effect after Dec 31, 2026.

7. Make it easier for part-time workers to save

Part-time workers currently must be allowed to participate in a workplace retirement plan if they have three years of service and work at least 500 hours a year. The new package would reduce that service time to two years. The provision would go into effect after Dec. 31, 2024. (courtesy: CNN Business)

India Received Over US$100 Billion In Remittances In 2022

People of Indian origin settled around the world are on track to send home a record amount of money this year, boosting the finances of Asia’s third-largest economy, which is poised to retain its spot as the world’s top recipient of remittances.

Remittance flows to India will rise 12 per cent to reach US$100 billion (S$136 billion) this year, according to a World Bank report published on Wednesday. That puts its inflows far ahead of countries including Mexico, China and the Philippines.

A World Bank report released on Nov.30, 2022 predicted that remittances to India will increase by 12 percent to US$100 billion making it the only country to see such a massive gain in 2022.

Highly skilled Indian migrants living in wealthy nations such as the United States, Britain and Singapore are sending more money home, according to the report. Over the years, Indians have moved away from doing lower-paid work in places like the Gulf. Wage hikes, record-high employment and a weakening rupee also supported growth.

Inflows from the world’s largest diaspora are a key source of cash for India, which lost almost US$100 billion of foreign exchange reserves in the past year amid tightening global conditions that weakened currencies including the rupee against the US dollar. Remittances, accounting for nearly 3 per cent of India’s gross domestic product, are also important for filling fiscal gaps. 

Cash transfers to India from high-income countries climbed to more than 36 per cent in 2020-21, up from 26 per cent in 2016-17. The share from five Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, declined to 28 per cent from 54 per cent in the same period, the World Bank said, citing Reserve Bank of India data. 

The trend is not uniform across South Asia. Remittances earned by migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to drop this year, the World Bank noted, as domestic and external shocks hit those countries especially hard.

Senators Sound Alarm On Need To Stop Medicare Physician Pay Cuts

Forty-six US senators have signed a letter to Senate leaders Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., expressing serious concerns regarding the stability of Medicare payments for physicians and support for bipartisan, long-term payment reform. The “dear colleague” letter, led by Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso, also urges Congress to address the budget-neutrality cuts scheduled to take effect in next year’s Medicare physician payment schedule.

The letter comes on the heels of the release earlier this week of the 2023 Medicare physician payment schedule, which has put “Congress on notice that a nearly 4.5% across-the-board reduction in payment rates is an ominous reality unless lawmakers act before Jan. 1,” according to American Medical association (AMA) President Jack Resneck Jr., MD.

In a statement posted on the AMA website, it stated, although the senators’ letter does not address all of the immediate concerns that doctors nationwide have regarding Medicare physician payment, the AMA welcomed the letter as a sign that pressure is building in the Senate to take the actions needed to protect older adults’ access to physician care.

What the AMA is seeking:

Before the end of 2022, Congress should:

  • Provide relief from the scheduled 4.42% budget-neutrality cut in Medicare physician fee schedule payments.
  • End the statutory annual freeze and provide a Medicare Economic Index update for the coming year.
  • Extend the 5% Advanced Alternative Payment Model participation incentive and halt the impossible-to-meet revenue threshold increase for five years to encourage more physicians to transition from fee-for-service into alternative payment models.
  • Waive the 4% pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) sequester triggered by passage of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The AMA offered detailed comments on the proposed 2023 payment schedule.

Picture : TheUNN

“It was immediately apparent that the 2023 Medicare physician payment rates not only failed to account for inflation in practice costs and COVID-related challenges to practice sustainability but also included the damaging across-the-board reduction,” Dr. Resneck noted. “Unless Congress acts by the end of the year, physician Medicare payments are planned to be cut by nearly 8.5% in 2023—partly from the 4% PAYGO sequester—which would severely impede patient access to care due to the forced closure of physician practices and put further strain on those that remained open during the pandemic.”

In their letter, 46 senators agreed that “Congress must address these vital payment challenges before the end of 2022 to ensure seniors continue to have access to care through a wide network” of physicians and other health professionals.

Senate leaders should work with members of Congress “on a bipartisan basis to address” the physician payment cuts that are imminent. “Going forward,” the letter says, “we support bipartisan, long-term payment reforms to Medicare in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Keep doctors’ doors open

Doctors and other health professionals “across the country are facing significant financial hardship due to higher practice costs and the impacts of COVID-19,” the senators’ letter to Schumer and McConnell notes. “Financial uncertainty due to pending payment cuts will only compound these challenges.”

Action should be taken “in the coming weeks” to ensure that doctors and other health professionals “have the resources they need to keep their doors open for seniors and families,” the letter says.

The AMA strongly supports H.R. 8800, the “Supporting Medicare Providers Act of 2022.” The bipartisan legislation aims to stop the scheduled 4.42% cuts to the Medicare physician pay rate and was introduced by Reps. Ami Bera, MD, a Democrat from California, and Larry Bucshon, MD, an Indiana Republican.

“Failure to act in the coming weeks could result in reduced staffing levels and office closures, jeopardizing patient access to care,” the senators noted. “We are especially concerned about this impact in rural and underserved communities. Failure to act on longer-term reforms will undermine Medicare’s ability to deliver on its promises to future seniors and generations.”

The AMA—in collaboration with 120 other physician and health care organizations—has outlined the essential principles (PDF) that can put the nation’s health care system on sustainable financial ground.

Biden Administration Seeks Supreme Court Nod For Student Debt Plan

The Biden administration on Friday urged the Supreme Court to clear one of the legal obstacles blocking its student debt relief program, as part of the administration’s broader legal effort to have the policy reinstated.

The administration is currently fending off two separate rulings issued over the last two weeks that have effectively halted President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which would give federal borrowers making less than $125,000 a year up to $10,000 debt relief.

In its Friday filing, the Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the administration, urged the justices to lift a ruling issued Monday by the St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit that halted the loan relief program, saying its current legal status has left “vulnerable borrowers in untenable limbo.”

“The [8th Circuit’s] injunction thus frustrates the government’s ability to respond to the harmful economic consequences of a devastating pandemic with the policies it has determined are necessary,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices.

Biden’s policy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will cost about $400 billion over 30 years, has drawn numerous legal challenges. Its aim is to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those making under $125,000 annually and up to $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants, which assist students from lower-income families.

The administration’s move on Friday comes after a unanimous three-judge panel on the 8th Circuit halted Biden’s massive debt relief plan, which had already been blocked nationwide by a separate court ruling.

The panel, which comprised two Trump-appointed judges and one appointee of former President George W. Bush, said its order would remain in effect until further notice by the 8th Circuit or the Supreme Court.

The ruling was a win for six conservative-led states — Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina — that challenged the program on the grounds that they were harmed by a freeze on the collection of student loan payments and interest. The court’s six-page ruling singled out the impact on a large, Missouri-based holder of student loans called the Higher Education Loan Authority of the State of Missouri.

“The equities strongly favor an injunction considering the irreversible impact the Secretary’s debt forgiveness action would have as compared to the lack of harm an injunction would presently impose,” the panel wrote. “Among the considerations is the fact that collection of student loan payments as well as accrual of interest on student loans have both been suspended.”

The White House, for its part, maintains that its policy is authorized by a 2003 federal law known as the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, which both the Trump and Biden administrations have drawn upon to alleviate student borrowers’ financial strain during the global pandemic.

In a related legal development last week, a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas invalidated the program, saying the presidential action unlawfully encroached on Congress’s power. The Biden administration has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to halt that ruling while it mounts a formal appeal.

Several other similar challenges to Biden’s plan have so far proved unsuccessful. Among them were two cases that eventually sought emergency relief in the Supreme Court but were unilaterally rejected by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

The Supreme Court may be more inclined to intervene now that the U.S. government is the party seeking relief and as courts across the country reach different conclusions about the program’s lawfulness.

The DOJ, in its Friday filing, told the justices they could choose to construe the government’s request as a formal petition for appeal and place it on a procedural fast-track.

The DOJ filing comes as student loan borrowers are anxiously awaiting for payments to restart at the beginning of 2023.

Advocates have been pressuring the Biden administration to extend the pause on payments, which began at the beginning of the pandemic, while the debt relief program is going through the courts.

Before the legal challenges, millions of borrowers applied for the debt relief through an application on the Department of Education’s website. Borrowers were told to apply before Tuesday in order to have a chance at their debt being forgiven before the payments began.

Since then, the applications have been taken down, and borrowers could have to wait months to get a final decision on the legality of the program from the courts.

The Washington Post previously reported talks were happening in the White House to extend the payment pause again due to the court challenges, despite Biden telling borrowers there would be no more extensions.

However, there has been no official word from the White House on the issue with only a month and a half left before payments resume. (Courtesy: The Hill)

FCC Recommendations To Stop Phone Scammers Who Have Tricked Americans Of $40 Billion In 2022

Despite the rise of sophisticated crypto frauds and ransomware plots, phone scams continue to trick Americans out of tens of billions of dollars each year. Phone scams are on the rise. Truecaller, which makes an app that blocks spam calls, estimates that nearly 70 million Americans have lost money to phone scams in 2022, and that those scammers made off with nearly $40 billion in total. Phone scams include frauds that begin with calls and text messages.

“It’s very cheap to set up an automatic dialer and to plug a bunch of phone numbers into it, whether they’re random or they are very intentional by geography or by demographic, and place millions of phone calls in a very short period of time,” said Clayton LiaBraaten, senior executive advisor at Truecaller. “It’s a numbers game.”

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stated that “Unwanted calls – including illegal and spoofed robocalls – are the FCC’s top consumer complaint and our top consumer protection priority. These include complaints from consumers whose numbers are being spoofed or whose calls are being mistakenly blocked or labeled as a possible scam call by a robocall blocking app or service.

“The FCC is committed to doing what we can to protect you from these unwelcome situations and is cracking down on illegal calls in a variety of ways:

  • Issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement actions against illegal robocallers.
  • Empowering phone companies to block by default illegal or unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics before the calls reach consumers.
  • Allowing consumer options on tools to block calls from any number that doesn’t appear on a customer’s contact list or other “white list.”
  • Requiring phone companies to implement caller ID authentication to help reduce illegal spoofing.
  • Making consumer complaint data available to enable better call blocking and labeling solutions.

Check out the consumer guide on Call Blocking Tools and Resources, which includes information on many of the call blocking and labeling tools currently available to consumers.

Picture: YouTube

Learn more about FCC Initiatives to Combat Robocalls and Spoofing and download the FCC Report on Robocalls.

File a complaint with the FCC if you believe you have received an illegal call or text, or if you think you’re the victim of a spoofing scam.

Consumer Tips to Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Avoid Phone Scams

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
  • If you use robocall-blocking technology already, it often helps to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others.
  • To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.

Mortgage Rates Rise Above 6% Since 2008

Mortgage rates jumped again, surpassing the 6% mark and reaching the highest level since the fall of 2008.  The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.02% in the week ending September 15, up from 5.89% the week before, according to Freddie Mac. That is significantly higher than this time last year, when it was 2.86%.

Stubbornly high inflation is pushing rates up, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“Mortgage rates continued to rise alongside hotter-than-expected inflation numbers this week, exceeding 6% for the first time since late 2008,” he said.

After starting the year at 3.22%, mortgage rates rose sharply during the first half of the year, climbing to nearly 6% in mid-June. But since then, concerns about the economy and the Federal Reserve’s mission to combat inflation have made them more volatile.

Rates had fallen in July and early August as recession fears took hold. But comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and recent economic data have pulled investors’ attention back to the central bank’s fight against inflation, pushing rates higher.

The 10-year Treasury yield moved higher last week as markets prepared for further monetary tightening by the Fed, said George Ratiu, manager of economic research at

The Federal Reserve does not set the interest rates borrowers pay on mortgages directly, but its actions influence them. Mortgage rates tend to track yields on 10-year US Treasury bonds. As investors see or anticipate rate hikes, they often sell government bonds, which sends yields higher and with it, mortgage rates.

Investors reacted to August’s inflation numbers, which showed that consumer prices continued to rise at 1980s levels, said Ratiu.

“Core inflation remains stubbornly elevated, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to maintain an aggressive stance on monetary tightening,” he said. “Markets are keeping a close eye on the central bank’s meeting next week, expecting another 75-basis-point increase in the policy rate, if not a 100-basis-point jump.”

Sales are slowing, but affordability is still a challenge

As mortgage rates rise and home prices remain high, home sales are slowing.  With rates essentially double where they were a year ago, applications for home loans have dropped and applications to refinance into a lower payment have fallen off a cliff, down 83% from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“Higher mortgage rates … have contributed to more homebuyers staying on the sidelines,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

A year ago, a buyer who put 20% down on a $390,000 home and financed the rest with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at an average interest rate of 2.86% had a monthly mortgage payment of $1,292, according to calculations from Freddie Mac.

Today, a homeowner buying the same-priced house with an average rate of 6.02% would pay $1,875 a month in principal and interest. That’s $583 more each month.

“With real median household incomes remaining relatively unchanged, many first-time homebuyers are finding the door to homeownership is closed for this season,” said Ratiu.

He said that with borrowing costs expected to continue rising in the next few months, it is becoming increasingly clear that home prices need to decline to bring balance back to housing markets.

“Many sellers are recognizing the shift in market conditions and are responding by cutting their asking prices,” he said. “These changes are coinciding with the time of the year when buyers have historically found the best market conditions to find a bargain.”

Bezos Loses Title of World’s Second Richest Man to Indian Billionaire

Gautam Adani, the Indian tycoon who has climbed the wealth rankings at breakneck speed this year, surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world’s second-richest person. Jeff Bezos has lost the title of second richest man in the world behind Elon Musk, electric-vehicle leader Tesla’s  (TSLA)  chief executive.

The founder and executive chairman of tech and online-retail giant Amazon  (AMZN)   dropped to No. 3, on Sept. 16 at around 10:38 a.m in New York, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

At that time, Bezos had a fortune estimated at $145.8 billion compared with $146.9 billion for the Indian tycoon Gautam Adani who ended the day with a fortune of $147 billion, thus consolidating his second place won in the morning. Bezos has risen a bit and is also worth roughly $147 billion. The day started with Adani at No. 3 and Bezos at No. 2.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, just $1 billion had separated Bezos from Gautam Adani, the Indian billionaire and chairman of Adani Group, an industrial conglomerate.

Bezos’ fortune was then valued at $150 billion in this ranking, while Adani’s was estimated at $149 billion.

Since the immense fortune of the two men rests mainly in the shares each holds in his respective company, the safe bet was that Adani would overtake Bezos by the end of the day.

The current volatility in the markets — due to fears about the health of the economy in the face of an aggressive rate hike by the Federal Reserve to fight inflation — is particularly weighing on technology groups like Amazon.

Amazon stock is down around 26% since January. This translates into a drop in Bezos’s fortune, which has shrunk by $45.5 billion this year.

Adani’s Meteoric Rise

Conversely, Adani is experiencing a meteoric rise. His fortune has increased by $70.3 billion since January.

His countryman, Mukesh Ambani, ranked tenth richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $88.7 billion, was the other top 10 billionaire to have seen his fortune increase (+$1.02 billion) this year until Sept.15. But the following day, Ambani, who is chairman and managing director of the Reliance Industries conglomerate, lost of his gains. He’s now down by $1.3 billion.

At the beginning of the year, Adani became the richest person in Asia, ahead of Ambani. Adani first overtook India’s Mukesh Ambani as the richest Asian person in February, became a centibillionaire in April and surpassed Bill Gates and France’s Bernard Arnault in the past two months. It’s the first time someone from Asia has featured this highly in the top echelons of the wealth index, which has been dominated by US tech entrepreneurs.

Adani, 60, dropped out of college to try his luck in Mumbai’s diamond industry in the early 1980s before turning to coal and ports. His conglomerate has since expanded into everything from airports to data centers, cement, media and green energy, focusing on areas that Prime Minister Narendra Modi deems crucial to meeting India’s long-term economic goals. The nation’s largest private-sector port and airport operators, city-gas distributor and coal miner are all part of Adani’s empire, which also aims to become the world’s largest renewable-energy producer. Last year, it pledged to invest $70 billion in green power, a pivot that has been criticized by some as greenwashing given that so much of the group’s revenue still comes from fossil fuels.

The push into renewables and infrastructure has earned Adani investments from firms including Warburg Pincus and TotalEnergies SE, helping boost his companies’ shares and his personal fortune. This year, he added about $70 billion to his wealth — more than anyone else — while many have seen losses.

World Could Face Recession Next Year: World Bank Report

The world could face a recession next year amid simultaneous tightening of monetary policy by central banks around the world, the World Bank has said in a new report that called for boosting production and removing supply bottlenecks to ease inflation. Several indicators of global recessions are already “flashing signs”, the report said. The global economy is now in its steepest slowdown following a post-recession recovery since 1970, it added.

Global interest rate hikes by central banks could reach 4%, double that in 2021, just to keep core inflation — which strips out volatile items such as food and fuel — at 5% levels, the bank said.

From the US to Europe and India, countries are aggressively raising lending rates, which aim to curb the supply of cheap money and thereby help bring down inflation. But such monetary tightening has costs. It dampens investment, costs jobs, and suppresses growth, a trade-off faced by most nations, including India.

“Global growth is slowing sharply, with further slowing likely as more countries fall into recession. My deep concern is that these trends will persist, with long-lasting consequences that are devastating for people in emerging market and developing economies,” World Bank president David Malpass said in a statement after the report was released on Thursday.

The world is facing record inflation due to factors including the Ukraine war that has dwindled food supplies, knock-on effects of the pandemic on supply chains, poor demand in China due to its persistent Covid lockdowns, and extreme weather that has upended forecasts of agricultural output.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a third repo rate hike to 5.40% in August, up 50 basis points. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The RBI maintained its inflation estimate at 6.7% for 2022-23 while forecasting real (inflation-adjusted) GDP growth at 7.2%.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained

What the program means for you, and what comes next

President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the U.S. Department of Education have announced a three-part plan to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers transition back to regular payment as pandemic-related support expires. This plan includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. Many borrowers and families may be asking themselves “what do I have to do to claim this relief?” This page is a resource to answer those questions and more. There will be more details announced in the coming weeks. To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

The Biden Administration’s Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

Part 1. Final extension of the student loan repayment pause

Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times. Because of this, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dollar in loan payments since President Biden took office.

To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the Biden-Harris Administration will extend the pause a final time through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to do anything to extend my student loan pause through the end of the year?

No. The extended pause will occur automatically.

Part 2. Providing targeted debt relief to low- and middle-income families

To smooth the transition back to repayment and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume, the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households.

In addition, borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know if I am eligible for debt cancellation?

To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households)

If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.

If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.

What does the “up to” in “up to $20,000” or “up to $10,000” mean?

Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding debt.

For example: If you are eligible for $20,000 in debt relief, but have a balance of $15,000 remaining, you will only receive $15,000 in relief.

What do I need to do in order to receive loan forgiveness?

Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because relevant income data is already available to the U.S. Department of Education.

If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data – or if you don’t know if the U.S. Department of Education has your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application in the coming weeks.

The application will be available before the pause on federal student loan repayments ends on December 31st.

If you would like to be notified by the U.S. Department of Education when the application is open, please sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full-time for federal, state, Tribal, or local government; military; or a qualifying non-profit.

Temporary changes, ending on Oct. 31, 2022, provide flexibility that makes it easier than ever to receive forgiveness by allowing borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.

Enrollments on or after Nov. 1, 2022 will not be eligible for this treatment. We encourage borrowers to sign up today. Visit to learn more and apply.

Part 3. Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers

Income-based repayment plans have long existed within the U.S. Department of Education. However, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that will substantially reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers.

The rule would:

Require borrowers to pay no more than 5% of their discretionary income monthly on undergraduate loans. This is down from the 10% available under the most recent income-driven repayment plan.

Raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary income and therefore is protected from repayment, guaranteeing that no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level—about the annual equivalent of a $15 minimum wage for a single borrower—will have to make a monthly payment.

Forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for borrowers with loan balances of $12,000 or less.

Cover the borrower’s unpaid monthly interest, so that unlike other existing income-driven repayment plans, no borrower’s loan balance will grow as long as they make their monthly payments—even when that monthly payment is $0 because their income is low.

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to quickly implement improvements to student loans. Check back to this page for updates on progress. If you’d like to be the first to know, sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

Singapore Unveils Long-Term Work Visas To End Talent Crunch

Singapore is overhauling visa rules to attract foreign workers and ease a tight labor market that’s contributing to wage and price pressures. The new rules will allow foreigners earning a minimum S$30,000 ($21,431) per month to secure a five-year work pass, with a provision to allow their dependents to seek employment, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

The new rules will allow foreigners earning a minimum S$30,000 ($21,431) per month to secure a five-year work pass, with a provision to allow their dependents to seek employment, according to the Ministry of Manpower. Exceptional candidates in sports, arts, science and academia who don’t meet the salary criteria are also eligible for the long-term visa under the so-called Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) pass that will take effect Jan. 1.

“Both businesses and talent are searching for safe and stable places to invest, live and work in. Singapore is such a place,” Manpower Minister Tan See Leng told reporters on Monday. “It is therefore timely to leverage on this opportunity to cement Singapore’s position as a global hub for talent.”

The announcement is the latest in a string of decisions this year that are meant to address a still-tight labor market, as well as attract international business to drive the city-state’s ambitions as a global financial hub, after a pandemic-era slump in white-collar workers from abroad. Many parts of the economy have seen pay increases this year to lure talent, stoking fears wage-cost escalation will add to headline inflation that’s touched a 14-year-high and force the central bank to tighten monetary policy further.

Effective Sept. 1 next year, Singapore plans to exempt jobs, comparable to those held by top 10% of Employment Pass holders, from the need to be advertised locally before hiring foreigners under a system called Fair Consideration Framework. The duration of FCF advertisements, where applicable, will be halved to 14 days, the ministry said, adding that processing time for all EP applications will be cut to 10 business days from the current maximum three weeks.

The rule change will help the city-state better compete with rival business hubs like Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates and catch up to Australia and the UK, which have similar global talent visas. More than 700 finance professionals moved to Singapore from Hong Kong last year, according to recruitment firm Robert Walters.

The UAE this year made it easier for expatriates to work without being sponsored by an employer, as well as switched to a Saturday-Sunday weekend to align the country with global markets as it seeks to win more businesses, with Dubai positioning itself as a crypto hub.

Singapore has had to grapple with especially challenging labor-market dilemmas as the nation lives with Covid and the need to recharge sectors like hospitality and food and beverage that suffered disproportionately amid social mobility restrictions that are finally all but canceled.

A key gauge that measures the imbalance between demand and supply of workers rose earlier this year to the highest level since 1998. That trend is a risk to productivity in the economy, which officials expect will grow by 3%-4% this year, narrower than the 3%-5% seen before — a pace that will be among the slowest in Southeast Asia.

The country is witnessing an easing of labor market tightness, Minister Tan said, adding that labor supply in manufacturing and construction, among others, have gone back almost to pre Covid levels.

The problems are at the high end of the income ladder — where Singapore wants to attract top global talent particularly in next-generation, technology-heavy industries — as well as the lower end. The government fielded criticism during the pandemic that treatment and broader policies for migrant workers primarily employed in the construction industry needed a reboot.

“This is an age where talent makes all the difference to a nation’s success,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his Aug. 21 National Day Rally speech. “We need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent, in the same way we focus on attracting and retaining investments.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci To Step Down In December After More Than 50 Years Of Public Service

Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the president and longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said he will be leaving those positions to “pursue the next chapter in my career.” Fauci, 81, has led the NIAID for 38 years, and has advised every president since Ronald Reagan.

“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” Fauci said in a statement Monday. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”

Fauci has become a household fixture during the Covid-19 pandemic, battling back misinformation — sometimes from the highest levels of government. His steadfast commitment to science, challenging former President Donald Trump on everything from the use of hydroxychloroquine to mask mandates, made him a quasi-celebrity in the process.

The 81-year-old has advised seven U.S. presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan through the HIV/AIDS epidemic, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola, Zika and, most recently, Covid and monkeypox.

In a statement, President Biden praised Fauci as a dedicated public servant with a “steadying hand” who helped guide the country through some of “the most dangerous and challenging” public health crises.


Fauci has been at the forefront of every new and re-emerging infectious disease threat the country has faced over the past four decades, including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved. As he leaves his position in the U.S. Government, I know the American people and the entire world will continue to benefit from Dr. Fauci’s expertise in whatever he does next,” Biden said.

Biden worked closely with Fauci during the Zika and Ebola outbreaks when he was vice president, and has leaned heavily on Fauci’s expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden noted one of his first calls as president-elect was to ask Fauci to become his chief medical advisor.

Fauci previously said he does not plan to stay beyond the end of President Biden’s first term in 2025, but had yet to give a formal announcement.

“I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats,” Fauci said.

Fauci said he would use his remaining time in government to “continue to put my full effort, passion and commitment into my current responsibilities” and to help prepare his institute for a leadership transition.

Fauci has been one of the leading infectious diseases researchers for decades, but he became a household name at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Trump administration as part of the White House pandemic response team.

It was in this role that Fauci became a political lightning rod. He fell out of favor with Trump after numerous public disagreements over unproven COVID-19 treatments as well as the level of danger posed by the virus.

Fauci’s embrace of mitigation measures like masks and temporary business closures early in the pandemic made him a villain to conservatives, who view him as a symbol of government overreach and “lockdown culture.”

Threats from the public led to Fauci needing a security detail. Fauci has clashed repeatedly with Republicans in Congress, who are are eagerly floating investigations into the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic if they win back control of the House or Senate in November’s midterm elections.

Fauci’s fiercest clashes have come against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a libertarian ophthalmologist who has repeatedly antagonized Fauci over the benefits of masks, vaccinations and the origins of COVID-19.

“Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He will be asked to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the lab leak,” Paul tweeted Monday.

Following Fauci’s announcement Monday, House Republicans also indicated Fauci’s decision to leave government won’t shield him from any potential investigations.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement Monday Fauci needs to answer questions about what he knows about the origins of the coronavirus, including whether the National Institutes of Health helped fund controversial research that led to the virus’s creation in a lab in Wuhan, China.

“Retirement can’t shield Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight,” Comer said. “The American people deserve transparency and accountability about how government officials used their taxpayer dollars, and Oversight Committee Republicans will deliver.”

The U.S. intelligence community has ruled out the possibility that COVID-19 was a bioweapon developed by China, but beyond that the origins of the virus are unclear.

Some scientists have said the idea that it escaped from a lab needs further investigation but acknowledge that won’t happen without China’s help. Many others think that it spilled into the human population from animals sold in a Wuhan market. Still, there is little evidence to suggest it was created in a lab or with funding help from the National Institutes of Health or Fauci.

When Will The Indian Rupee Stop Falling?

The Indian Rupee breached the psychological 80-mark for the first time against the US dollar on Tuesday, July 18th, declining to 80.06 per Dollar. The Reserve Bank of India intervened in the currency market to help the Rupee steady after hitting seven straight intraday record lows. A recovery in domestic shares also favored the Indian currency.

According analysts, a wobbly global macroeconomic environment marked by a spell of monetary tightening unleashed, firstly, by the Federal Reserve and being mimicked in earnest by the major central bank governors across the globe has led to an exodus of hot money from developing economies to the “safe haven” of the Dollar. The scenario is compounded further by record-breaking crude oil prices, which balloon India’s imports, diminish the cumulative value of India’s exports and widen our trade deficit.

It is a regular demand-supply market. Currently, there is a greater demand for Dollars than there is for the Rupee. Two factors have pushed demand — India’s current account deficit has sharply widened particularly after Russia invaded Ukraine, and investment in the Indian economy has fallen due to heavy flight of funds in recent months.

Depreciation of the Rupee makes imported items — including petrol and mobile phones — and gives India’s export a competitive edge. But India is a net importer. For those eyeing a trip abroad, earlier budgets on food, boarding, and transportation will now fall short – leaving one with the option to either expand their budgets or opt for countries where the rupee commands a stronger position compared to their domestic currencies.

The dollar has been appreciating against all currencies including the Euro. Market watchers, in fact, say that the Rupee has fared better compared to other currencies including the Euro.

In FY’22, as per the provisional figures released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s current account deficit widened to $38.7 billion from a surplus of $23.9 billion in the previous FY.

A widening current account deficit indicates that Indians have been converting more of their rupees into dollars to complete trade and investment transactions consequently spiking up the demand for dollars. It doesn’t help that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been dumping Indian equities after a strong bullish spell, and making a beeline for US treasury notes and bonds.

The RBI has intervened by selling Dollars to check the Rupee’s slide. Else, the free market would have seen a further weaker Rupee. The current exchange market scenarios suggest that the rupee’s fall may continue for a few more months, breaching even the 82-mark. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor took a dig at the Rupee’s slide saying a “strong government” is “giving us a weaker Rupee”.