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Report: powerful companies increased profits, added to inflation

(NewsNation) — Many businesses protected or raised profits as inflation soared and households struggled, according to a new study from a pair of UK-based think tanks.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Common Wealth released their findings Thursday, underscoring the “excess profits” the groups say are driving inflation.

If companies instead allowed their profits to take a hit rather than “pass on their higher costs to others,” inflation would ease, researchers said.

The original inflation spike was spurred by global supply chain issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and energy prices after Russia invaded Ukraine,” IPPR Senior Economist Carsten Jung said in an official statement.

“Our research finds that markets aren’t working efficiently, enabling large companies to make profits that likely amplified inflation,” Jung said. “This has made the cost of living crisis worse for most people, and for many smaller firms across the economy.”

ExxonMobil, Shell, Glencore, Archer-Daniels-Midland, and Kraft-Heinz were among the companies that increased their profits the most, according to the report.

The findings suggest that the market power of a small number of companies can be a main factor in profitability. In the U.K. 90% of nominal profit increases occurred in just 11% of publicly listed firms, according to IPPR.

Researchers urged policymakers to explore a new international approach to taxing excess profits as well as looking into updated competition policy to stop powerful companies from “taking advantage of economic emergencies.”

“Inflationary shocks cannot be avoided, but they need not persist so long,” Common Wealth Chief Economist Chris Hayes said in an official statement. “Our analysis of companies suggests many large firms, beyond just the commodities sector, are using their power to preserve their profit margins. This pushes the shocks downstream to workers, consumers and labour-intensive industries that are less able to absorb them.”

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DeSantis student loan plan ‘one part of the solution’: Analyst

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(NewsNation) — During the fourth Republican presidential debate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested a solution to the student loan crisis could be to shift the burden of backing loans from the government to universities.

DeSantis said he doesn’t want taxpayers footing the bill and said he will stop incentivizing “useless degrees” by making universities responsible for the loans their students accrue.

“I don’t support having a truck driver having to pay a student loan for someone that got a degree in gender studies,” he said during the debate hosted by NewsNation. “These student loans are going to be backed by the universities because they need to have an incentive to produce gainful employment for people.

DeSantis criticized the system where students amass significant debt pursuing degrees that may not lead to lucrative careers.

“They need to have an incentive to produce gainful employment for people,” DeSantis said, adding that the state of Florida has doubled down on apprenticeships.

“Don’t let anybody tell you that the only way you can be successful is through a four-year Brick and Ivy degree,” DeSantis said.

While DeSantis received credit for addressing a growing issue, some experts, including former Goldman Sachs analyst Trish Regan, expressed concerns about the complexity of the proposal.

Regan joined “On Balance With Leland Vittert” to discuss DeSantis’ proposal, saying, “Not that it won’t work, it is just a whole lot more complex.”

Regan acknowledged the need for universities to have “skin in the game” but highlighted the importance of maintaining diversity in academic pursuits.

“I like what he’s (DeSantis) saying, in essence, but I also just worry,” she siad. “But I do worry that you want some diversity in the student body in the subjects that they study.”

“You don’t want everybody to get an economics degree or be a business major or engineering major,” she continued. “We need a lot of them. But you need the musicians, you need the artists, you need the philosophers. So you’ve got to come up with some kind of construct.”

Regan pointed out the historical evolution of the student loan system, originating in the 1960s, and how it has transformed into what some now see as a flawed model.

“Basically, they’ve given these kids blank checks, go buy whatever you want, right? If somebody gives you a blank check to buy a house, like you don’t think that that’s gonna cause the price of the house to go up all the houses to go up,” she said.

Regan also emphasized the necessity of containing costs and reforming the entire system.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, The five institutions with the largest endowments at the end of fiscal year 2021 were Harvard University ($53 billion), Yale University ($42 billion), The University of Texas System Office ($40 billion), Stanford University ($38 billion), and Princeton University ($37 billion).

Chief Washington anchor Leland Vittert said American taxpayers are in effect underwriting the universities.

“Why not put the universities on the hook and say, ‘Look, if you want all these tax breaks, then you’ve got to fund the music majors and everybody else'” Vittert asked.

Regan called it a “fair idea,” but only “if we put those requirements around them.”

“I think that we need to rehaul this entire system,” she said. “I appreciate what he’s saying. I don’t think it’s perfect. I think it’s one part of the solution, finding a way for schools to have some more skin in the game. also finding a way to contain these costs.”

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On the first night of Hanukkah, hundreds call for a cease-fire at a Manhattan menorah lighting

More than 500 people gathered in New York’s Columbus Circle Thursday evening to mark the first night of Hanukkah and to call for a cease-fire in Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

Organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and other left-leaning groups, the two-hour event featured prayers, songs and speeches from activists and politicians who denounced Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which according to health officials has killed more than 17,000 Palestinians. 

The centerpiece of the event was a menorah, about 14 feet high, emblazoned with the word “ceasefire.” The crowd said the traditional Hanukkah blessings and sang about peace and healing off a  songsheet passed out by organizers.

Crowd at the “ceasefire now” menorah lighting ceremony at Columbus Circle in Manhattan on Dec. 06, 2023. Photo by Camillo Barone

Speakers — activists, rabbis and politicians — lambasted Israel, which is still reeling from Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. On that day, Hamas’ terrorists from Gaza killed 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped 240 — more than half of whom are still held captive.

Israel has vowed to dismantle Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Hamas has vowed to attack Israel again. But organizers of Thursday’s event, which began shortly after sundown, said Israel’s war flouts Jewish values. Many speakers equated it with genocide.

“We’re told to break any law, violate any tradition for this one thing: do anything that you can for pikuach nefesh, to save a life. Any life, anytime, anywhere,” said Rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman, director of student life at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Fighting in Gaza has intensified dramatically in recent days, with no sign of a cessation of hostilities two months into the war. 

Wallace Shawn, the actor perhaps best known for his performance in “The Princess Bride,” compared the Israeli government to Hamas, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group.

“The leaders of Hamas and the government of Benjamin Netanyahu both think that it’s sometimes appropriate to slaughter the innocent on the other side,” Shawn said. “I don’t accept that.” He accused the U.S. of being “full participants in it.”  

Crowd at the “ceasefire now” menorah lighting ceremony at Columbus Circle in Manhattan on Dec. 6, 2023. Photo by Camillo Barone

Among the elected officials at the event were City Comptroller Brad Lander, the city’s highest-ranking Jewish official; and Councilmember Shahana Hanif, a Bangladeshi American Muslim who represents a Brooklyn district once represented by Lander. It includes neighborhoods with many Jews, such as Park Slope, which leans left, and Borough Park, home to many Orthodox.

“That period when hostages were coming home and bombs and rockets were not falling seemed like one moment when you start to imagine a way out of this, that is safer for Israelis and Palestinians,” Lander said in an interview. “It doesn’t look to me like anyone is getting safer or more secure with what is happening now.”

Lander has backed calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, and signed a statement with five other Jewish elected officials saying they are “deeply distressed” by the military campaign and approach being taken by the Netanyahu government in Gaza.

A recent poll showed that a majority of New York City voters —54% — support Israel’s military response in the Gaza Strip. However, liberal voters are largely divided — 46% to 43% — with a plurality saying that killings of Palestinian civilians should be condemned without hesitation. 

Other speakers included Peter Beinart, the editor of Jewish Currents, a news outlet that has been highly critical of Israel; Rabbi Abby Stein, affiliated with the Rabbis 4 Ceasefire group; and Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour, the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

The post On the first night of Hanukkah, hundreds call for a cease-fire at a Manhattan menorah lighting appeared first on The Forward.

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В заповеднике “Красноярские Столбы” показали черного плотника за работой


В объектив сотрудников национального парка “Красноярские Столбы” попал крупнейший из дятлов – желна, он же черный дятел и черный плотник.

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Грузовые вагоны сошли с рельсов на станции в Новосибирске


На железнодорожной станции Инская в Новосибирске четыре пустых вагона сошли с рельсов.

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Автобус с детьми сломался на трассе Новосибирской области в сорокаградусный мороз


Группа девятилетних хоккеистов из Казахстана застряла на трассе в Новосибирской области в мороз.

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‘Kremlin fuels border crises’: Ukraine Counteroffensive Update for Dec. 8 (Europe Edition)


Kyiv urges electricity efficiency after strikes; Drones hit grain industry near Odesa; AFU advances by Kupyansk; Russia moves in on Avdiivka; African immigrants converge on Finnish, US borders

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ТАСС: в Керчи произошло возгорание газопровода

На данный момент ведется ликвидация аварии.

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Байден сообщил о сокращении американского контингента в странах НАТО

В Европе находится около 80 тысяч американских солдат.

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Many Israeli Evacuees Afraid to Go Home

About 200,000 Israelis have been evacuated from their homes in communities near the border with Gaza in the south or Lebanon in the north. They’ve been in hotels and guest houses for two months and have no idea when they’ll be able to go home. Linda Gradstein reports. Camera: Ricki Rosen.