IMF Works With Bank Regulators on Contingency Plans for Greek Default (WSJ)
As part of the discussions, the IMF has asked national supervisors to ensure that subsidiaries of Greek banks have enough assets that they can exchange for emergency financing at their own central banks—in case financing from their parent institutions is suddenly cut off—and that deposit-insurance funds are at sufficient levels, he said.
Merkel Pressed to Give Up on Greece as Germans Urge Strong Euro (Bloomberg)
“The euro would be strengthened if Greece left,” Alexander Radwan, a Merkel-affiliated lawmaker who voted for granting Greece a temporary extension of its bailout in February, said in an interview. “The other countries could then move closer together and apply the rules more strictly.”
Late to the party, global banks try to muscle into India's start-up boom (Reuters)
Global investment banks are scrambling to get a piece of the action from India's booming technology start-ups, having missed out on the initial flurry of deal-making to their better-connected but much smaller domestic rivals. Banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are looking to hire more bankers in India and are now regularly attending "bake-offs" to pitch for advisory roles on deals, according to several banking industry sources.
U.S. Urges Openness From Hedge Funds, an Industry Not Used to Sharing (Dealbook)
“I encourage you to come in and talk to the F.B.I. and prosecutors,” John P. Carlin [the head of the Justice Department’s national security division] told an audience of financial advisers and hedge fund managers at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference. But, he quickly assured the audience, “You will not leave the office with handcuffs.” After years of close regulatory scrutiny after the financial crisis — and indictments and prosecutions of insider trading — there is no shortage of hedge fund managers who complain that the financial industry has become a punching bag for government regulators. Mr. Carlin and his department want the industry to engage in a dialogue with the government to help prevent the proliferation of what he called cyberweapons of mass destruction. “What they are stealing is what you have,” Mr. Carlin said of online criminals the department has monitored. “They are stealing economic information. They are stealing your negotiating strategies, and they are stealing your algorithms.”
Theme park in China offers 'death ride' (UPI)
The Window of the World theme park in China has a new attraction that some are just dying to ride. It's called Samadhi: 4D Experience of Death, and it's designed to give riders the sensation of being dead, cremated, and reborn. First, the visitor goes on a journey through a "morgue." Next, they are placed in a casket and put on a conveyor belt for "cremation" -- which is simulated by a sudden blast of hot air over the rider to simulate flames. The air reaches temperatures up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The attraction also uses flashes of light to give the rider "an authentic experience of burning." Finally, an image of a womb is projected onto the ceiling and riders must crawl until they reach a white, padded room -- where they are "reborn."
Uber Fund-Raising Points to $50 Billion Valuation (NYT)
The mobile car-hailing application is in early talks to raise a new round of financing that could value the start-up at $50 billion, according to a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke anonymously because the process is confidential. Uber could raise around $1.5 billion, given the amount of interest from investors in the company, the person said. The new capital will not be used primarily for expansion purposes, unlike Uber’s previous financing rounds. Instead, the funding is strategic, with an eye on partnerships, the person said.
Study shows ‘millionaires are insecure’ (NYP)
Although most say they’re “highly satisfied,” many millionaires are insecure — one nasty shock like unemployment or a market crash could wipe them out, they fear, according to a new report by UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA). Half of the group with $1 million to $5 million are afraid of losing it all, compared with 34 percent of respondents with $5 million or more, according to UBS
Americans Are Drinking Less But Spending More on Fancy Booze (Bloomberg)
Because of consumer tastes, the number of small craft breweries is booming. Many are brewing at or near their capacity, says Bart Watson, staff economist at the Brewers Association. Even Congress has noticed. Two competing bills—one preferred by craft brewers and one by larger beer companies and distributors—would lower excise taxes on beer to encourage small breweries to get bigger.
A Bitcoin Technology Gets Nasdaq Test (WSJ)
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. is testing a new use of the technology that underpins the digital currency bitcoin, in a bid to transform the trading of shares in private companies. The experiment joins a slew of financial-industry forays into bitcoin-related technology. If the effort is deemed successful, Nasdaq wants to use so-called blockchain technology in its stock market, one of the world’s largest, and potentially shake up systems that have facilitated the trading of financial assets for decades.
Man uses foreskin to smuggle heroin from China to Tibet: news reports (NYDN)
The man was travelling by train from China to Tibet, reports the Telegraph. Officers carrying out routine checks on passengers travelling from Beijing to Lhasa decided the man was behaving strangely and asked him to take a urine test. It showed up traces of morphine, but after searching his clothes, officers found no drugs. He was then interrogated and told the cops that he was carrying a small plastic wrap of heroin, containing one-tenth of a gram, in the eye-wateringly novel place.