China Warns Economists to Brighten Outlooks (WSJ)
Securities regulators, media censors and other government officials have issued verbal warnings to commentators whose public remarks on the economy are out of step with the government’s upbeat statements, according to government officials and commentators with knowledge of the matter. The stepped-up censorship, many inside and outside the ruling Communist Party say, represents an effort by China’s leadership to quell growing concerns about the country’s economic prospects as it experiences a prolonged slowdown in growth. As more citizens try to take money out of the country, officials say, regulators and censors are trying to foster an environment of what party officials have dubbed “zhengnengliang,” or “positive energy.”
Seven big banks settle U.S. rate-rigging lawsuit for $324 million (Reuters)
Seven of the world's biggest banks have agreed to pay $324 million to settle a private U.S. lawsuit accusing them of rigging an interest rate benchmark used in the $553 trillion derivatives market. The settlement made public on Tuesday, which requires court approval, resolves antitrust claims against Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Barclays Plc (BARC.L), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS.L).
Two Fed Officials Signal Markets May Be Wrong to Doubt June Hike (Bloomberg)
Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart and San Francisco’s John Williams both signaled on Tuesday that the U.S. economy could warrant a rate hike when the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee gathers on June 14-15. Investors currently only see a 12 percent chance of such a move, according to pricing in interest rate futures contracts.
Beyonce Goes From Lemonade to Watermelons With Juice Investment (Bloomberg)
Beyonce, fresh off one of the most elaborate record promotions in music history, is investing in a three-year-old startup that sells watermelon water, becoming the latest celebrity to take a more entrepreneurial approach to endorsements. The entertainer on Tuesday announced an investment in World Waters LLC, which produces a sports drink made with watermelon juice processed at high pressure.
Bert and Ernie used in ad for at-home STD testing service (NYP)
The makers of a new, at-home testing service for people with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases has been using Bert and Ernie in a campaign to promote their company. “Help us take STD Testing out of the Stone Age,” the company, Matley, writes on Facebook, in a post accompanied by a picture of the famous Sesame Street duo. The show has claimed for years that Bert and Ernie were simply buddies, but that didn’t stop the New York-based developers from using the pair to help raise money and promote their services, which appear to be aimed at homosexual males. The pals — long rumored to be lovers — can be seen in the Facebook post looking at a set of papers, with Bert taken aback. “See Ernie, you’ve got nothing to worry about, everything is positive!” a caption reads. Along with the ad, Matley linked to an Indiegogo fundraising page, which is currently seeking $500,000 in donations. The decision to use the Sesame Street characters didn’t sit too well with show.
China's Improbable Commodities Frenzy Leaves Stocks in the Dust (Bloomberg)
The intensity of futures trading on Chinese commodities exchanges is making some of the world’s most liquid markets look leisurely. The average iron ore and steel rebar contracts on the Shanghai Futures Exchange are held for less than four hours, compared with almost 40 hours for WTI crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Just give the US a flat tax, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman says (CNBC)
"You don't have to have just one tax for everyone; you can have one or two and get rid of all deductions," Schwarzman told CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report," adding the revenue from a flat tax would be enough to fund the entire U.S. government. "It tends to work all over the world. One should look empirically: We have a tax code that's so long ... that nobody figures it out. What happens when you get simple numbers, whether it's 10 percent at the bottom and 20 percent at the top, you get rid of all deductions … it has a sense of working," he said.
Offices Give Workers Some ‘Me Time’ (WSJ)
While her co-workers reviewed budgets back at the office one recent Friday, Holly Pickering was wandering in the woods at a yoga retreat. Ms. Pickering, a yield analyst at a travel company, wasn’t on vacation, nor was she taking a mental-health day. She was indulging in some “me time,” and her employer was all for it. A handful of companies have begun offering workers paid days off to spend on themselves, in addition to vacation time and personal and sick days. LinkedIn Corp. employees get monthly meeting-free “InDays” to hang out or go on company outings. At Waterford Research Institute LLC, a nonprofit group focused on education, staff members get twice-a-year “Ferris Bueller” days, named for the 1986 Matthew Broderick movie about students who skip school to spend an antic day in Chicago. Outdoor outfitter REI’s 13,000 employees get two paid “yay days” annually to commune with nature—and document their exploits on social media.
Website boasts realistic 'fake doctors notes' with money-back guarantee (UPI)
A website offering "fake doctors notes" to help customers get out of work, school or other duties is offering a 100-percent-refund guarantee. The website, BestFakeDoctorsNotes.net, offers phony excuses purporting to be from healthcare providers including general practitioners, dentists, gynecologists, oncologists and other types of doctors. The site offers purported testimonials from supposedly satisfied customers who used the faux doctors notes to get out of work and school commitments...The service includes call-back numbers that will play a pre-loaded MP3 message to anyone who tries to verify the authenticity of the notes. The site offers a one-year "no questions asked" refund guarantee for anyone whose notes fail to pass scrutiny.