Cell 411 Smartphone App is Police’s Worst Nightmare

“The Cell 411 app lets you call on your friends or a group of trusted people if you are in an emergency situation and don’t want to involve the police.  This app has been created by activists and within no time, it has taken the world of activism by storm. It is available for iOS and Android platforms. The primary purpose of Cell 411 is to help you address emergency situations by sending alerts to your family members, neighbors, friends and anyone you trust. The feature that is being praised by users a lot is that you can notify your trusted friends and get out of emergencies without informing police and having to deal with lengthy Q&A rounds.”

Cell 411 Smartphone App is Police’s Worst Nightmare

Tulsa police shoot dead unarmed black man with hands in air

“Dash cam video released by the Tulsa Police Department on Monday showed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher with his hands above his head moments before he was shot and killed by one of the officers at the scene.  At a press conference on Monday, Chief Chuck Jordan explained that the video was ‘very disturbing — very difficult to watch.’ The video shows multiple police cruisers approach Crutcher’s vehicle, which appears to be broken down in the middle of the road. Crutcher is seen with his hands in the air. Both hands appear to be empty.”


Uber’s First Self-Driving Fleet Arrives in Pittsburgh This Month

“Starting later this month, Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved. Google, widely regarded as the leader in the field, has been testing its fleet for several years, and Tesla Motors offers Autopilot, essentially a souped-up cruise control that drives the car on the highway. Earlier this week, Ford announced plans for an autonomous ride-sharing service. But none of these companies has yet brought a self-driving car-sharing service to market.”


German bank starts charging customers to hold their cash

“When the European Central Bank introduced a negative interest rate on lenders’ deposits two years ago, few thought things would ever go this far.  This week, a German cooperative savings bank in the Bavarian village of Gmund am Tegernsee — population 5,767 — said it’ll start charging retail customers to hold their cash. From September, for savings in excess of 100,000 euros (US$111,710), the community’s Raiffeisen bank will take back 0.4 per cent.  Introducing the sub-zero policy in June 2014 with a cut to the deposit rate to minus 0.1 per cent, ECB President Mario Draghi said the move was ‘for the banks, not for the people.'”


Wall Street Can’t Agree on When to Halt the U.S. Stock Market

“On Thursday, the nation’s three major exchange operators upgraded their rules to help prevent a repeat of the chaos seen on Aug. 24, 2015, when many securities suddenly sank. But a major sticking point remains, according to an official who spoke at an event hours after NYSE Group, Nasdaq Inc. and Bats Global Markets Inc. announced their changes.  The U.S. stock market has a circuit breaker that briefly stops all trading when there’s a big enough decline. It imposes a 15-minute pause when a 7 percent drop occurs, another 15-minute suspension at 13 percent, and a full-day halt at 20 percent.”


Despite all-time highs, many investors are cashing out of stock mutual funds

“The latest data from fund-industry group ICI shows domestic stock funds suffered a net outflow of $7.4 billion in the week ended Aug. 3. Since the week ended July 6 — which was the week before the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index hit its first of eight record highs — fund investors have yanked a net $37.4 billion out of long-term mutual funds that invest in American companies.  As has been the case in recent years, money flowed into bond funds, despite the fact that yields on most fixed-income assets, such as U.S. government bonds, high-yield corporate bonds and other income-producing investments, are at or near record lows.”


First Italy, Now Portuguese Banks “Unexpectedly” Need A Taxpayer Bailout

“Portuguese banks, already undercapitalised and loaded with bad debt, are bracing for even more heavy losses from Lisbon’s so far unsuccessful attempts to sell Novo Banco.  Estimates of the potential bill facing banks, which finance the resolution fund that bailed out Novo Banco in 2014, range from €2.9bn to €3.9bn. Some bankers are even doubtful that the rescued lender will attract any acceptable offers, leading to its possible break-up or liquidation.  In a recent report, Barclays estimated that Portuguese lenders could need up to €7.5bn to resolve a ‘systemic banking crisis’ that was bringing the country under ‘close market scrutiny’.”


Junk-Rated Borrowers Reap Rewards in a World of Negative Yields

“For investors with $12 trillion of negative-rate bonds worldwide, U.S. junk securities and their 6.9 percent average yield look like a gold mine. But with so many investors streaming into the market, the debt is now yielding almost 3 percentage points less than the average of the past two decades, Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data show. And they’re buying it up at the same time that junk-rated borrowers default at the fastest pace in six years.”


Party like it’s 1999! Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq all hit new highs

“It’s the first time all three major market gauges have set new closing marks on the same day since 1999 — specifically, New Year’s Eve of that year.  Shares of Macy’s soared  17.1% after the department store retailer posted better-than-expected quarterly profit and sales and said it plans to close 100 stories, or about 15% of its total stores.   In economic news , the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans filing for first-time jobless claims fell 1,000 to 266,000, which ‘points to healthy labor market conditions across the U.S.,’ according to Barclays.  Oil prices on the U.S. market also rebounded off lows for the day, and jumped $1.65, or 4%, to $43.37 a barrel.”


DEA regularly mines Americans’ travel records to seize millions in cash

“DEA agents have profiled passengers on Amtrak trains and nearly every major U.S. airline, drawing on reports from a network of travel-industry informants that extends from ticket counters to back offices, a USA TODAY investigation has found. Agents assigned to airports and train stations singled out passengers for questioning or searches for reasons as seemingly benign as traveling one-way to California or having paid for a ticket in cash.  It is a lucrative endeavor, and one that remains largely unknown outside the drug agency. DEA units assigned to patrol 15 of the nation’s busiest airports seized more than $209 million in cash from at least 5,200 people over the past decade.”