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Here’s What Abe Can Learn From His Flying Visit to the Nordics

Shinzo Abe may draw inspiration from his Nordic hosts to tackle three of his country’s biggest problems: chronically slow growth, an aging population and a stubbornly high gender gap (Spoiler alert: The solutions are closely related).

The Japanese prime minister will be paying a visit to Sweden, Finland and Denmark after attending the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg. It’s unclear if any major business will be conducted (he’s just reached a major free trade agreement with the European Union), but that doesn’t make the two-day visit less interesting.

Population Growth

While in Stockholm, for instance, he may want to take a close look at how Sweden has successfully boosted short-term growth while also laying the groundwork for higher expansion rates in the future. The key is population growth.

Sweden breached the landmark figure of 10 million inhabitants in January, with the total projected to reach 13 million in 2060, according to Statistics Sweden. Japan’s population, in contrast, is expected to drop. A young and growing population is key to maintaining a generous welfare state (the number of Swedes aged 65 and above will account for a quarter of the total population by 2060). In Sweden’s case, it has also helped boost growth via extra investments, for instance in housing.

Sweden’s growth is fueled by two factors: Immigration (the country received one of the highest proportions of refugees per capita in Europe in 2015) and a birthrate that’s one of the highest in the continent.

Gender Equality

One good way of boosting the birthrate in a mature economy is to empower women. On this front, the Nordics are the experts.

Source: WEF, 2016

Abe’s stop in Helsinki would be a good place from where to steal some ideas on how to reduce the gender gap: Finland ranks second in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, while Japan is closer to the bottom. Of Finland, WEF says it has "fully closed the gender gap" on education and health and is the global runner-up in terms of political empowerment.

While in Copenhagen, Abe may want to reflect on the fact that Denmark is stuck at sub-2 percent growth rates for the foreseeable future. Two reasons are being put forward for that: A slow down in its pursuit of full gender equality and a tightening of immigration laws that has left the country short of skilled workers.

    Country Gender gap (global ranking)
    Finland 2
    Sweden 4
    Denmark 19
    Japan 111

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-08/here-s-what-abe-can-learn-from-his-flying-visit-to-the-nordics

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    Tourists, Locals Buy Nevada’s Legal Recreational Marijuana

    Las Vegas (AP) — Cheers and long lines of tourists and locals alike greeted the first day of sales of recreational marijuana on Saturday as Nevada became the fifth state with stores selling pot to the public in a market that is expected to outpace all others in the U.S. thanks to the millions of visitors who flock to Las Vegas each year.

    Veteran consumers, first-timers, twenty-somethings and retirees were among those who defied triple-digit temperatures before they made it into stores across the Las Vegas area, some of which opened shortly after midnight and later provided free water, live music, valet parking and coveted promotions on their valuable product. Eager employees guided customers and answered questions from product potency to Nevada's consumption regulations.

    Minnesota resident Edgar Rosas Lorenzo on Saturday flew with his family to Sin City for his sister's wedding. But even before he checked in to his hotel, he stopped at a dispensary on the Las Vegas Strip.

    Lorenzo, 21, said he learned of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada while he was at the airport waiting for his flight to depart. He drove with his sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law from the rental car facility in Las Vegas straight to the dispensary. They waited in line about 40 minutes before he could buy one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana and hemp wraps.

    "It was worth the wait. I'm going to come get some more tomorrow," Lorenzo said after paying about $60 in cash at Essence dispensary. "It helps me sleep. I get back pain. I have a slipped disk."

    Some dispensaries took to social media to spread the word or tried to draw in buyers with special events. Some gave away free marijuana to their first 100 customers, and at least one entered buyers into a raffle for free pot for a year.

    Those 21 and older with a valid ID can buy up to an ounce of pot. As of Friday, the state had licensed 44 dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana. Thirty-nine of those shops are in the Las Vegas area.

    Tourists — 42 million of which stop in Sin City every year — are expected to make nearly two of every three recreational pot purchases in Nevada. But people can only use the drug in a private home as it remains illegal to consume it in public, including the Strip, hotels and casinos. Violators face a $600 fine.

    "I have yet to figure that out," Lorenzo said of where he will smoke the weed he got at the Essence dispensary, which along with others had stacks of pamphlets stating the regulations in every checkout station.

    Meanwhile, Kristin Deneal got in line outside a pot shop at 5:45 a.m., after a different store that opened at midnight closed before she could make a purchase. She brought a folding chair and sat by the door, striking conversations with the security guard and others as the line continued to grow before doors opened at 9 a.m.

    Deneal, a Las Vegas resident, said she is elated at being able to legally buy the drug that for decades she has had to buy through acquaintances. Smoking marijuana helps her cope with health conditions while also working a stressful job at a bank, she said.

    "It looks like they have enough stuff for everyone, it's just a question of getting through the door," Deneal, 57, said.

    State Sen. Tick Segerblom, one of the main proponents of marijuana legalization in Nevada, made the first purchase at The Source dispensary at a strip mall. Deneal and others followed. An hour after the door opened, at least 80 transactions had been recorded.

    Some facilities are in strip malls, while others, in stereotypical Las Vegas fashion, are in neighborhoods shared by strip clubs. Some dispensaries have ATMs inside because they only accept cash transactions for marijuana.

    Lorenzo immediately posted photos of his stash on Snapchat. His friends have said they're jealous and asked where he bought the products, he said, adding that he'll plan another trip to Las Vegas specifically to legally purchase marijuana, not to visit the city's world famous casinos.

    "We just got here … Instead of looking around in Vegas, I'm in a dispensary," he said.

    In the afternoon, people walking along the Strip seemed to be obeying the state's ban on public pot smoking.

    Recreational marijuana sales began shortly after midnight, just months after voters approved legalization in November, marking the fastest turnaround from the ballot box to retail sales in the country.

    Hundreds of people lined up outside dispensaries that opened from 12 a.m. to 3 a.m. and had to turn away customers like Deneal. At Essence on the Strip, people were excited and well-behaved as a lone security guard looked on. A cheer erupted when the doors opened.

    Despite the limits on where people can get high and restrictions on where the industry can advertise, dispensaries worked furiously to prepare for the launch. They stamped labels on pot products, stocked up their shelves, added security and installed extra checkout stations.

    Nevada joins Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in allowing adults to buy the drug that's still banned by the federal government.

    "I've been living in Vegas for 15 years, and I keep missing the cities that legalize marijuana and edibles. So I'm happy that it's here now," said Babs Daitch, who was waiting in line.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Sally Ho contributed to this report.

      Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-01/nevada-launches-sales-of-legal-recreational-marijuana

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      Mom shares the crushing cost of her son’s medical care before the Senate votes on healthcare bill

      Before the Senate votes on its bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, many people are sharing stories of how the bill would affect them.

      One story struck a chord with thousands of Twitter users this weekend. The mom of 3-year-old Ethan Vikash shared a photo of a medical bill for her son’s open heart surgery. The 24-line item bill came to $231,115 for 10 hours in surgery, one week in the hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit, and one week on the hospital’s cardiac floor.

      With insurance, Ethan’s family only had to pay $500 out-of-pocket. But if Congress passes a healthcare bill that imposes lifetime caps on what insurance companies will cover, families that deal with childhood illnesses or heart conditions like Ethan’s would be well beyond priced out of life-saving care.

      The thread covering the cost of Ethan’s healthcare got turned into a Twitter moment.

      The story resonated with thousands of Twitter users who are scared about what will happen if Congress and President Donald Trump gut the Affordable Care Act’s restrictions on lifetime caps.

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/24/twitter-moment-lifetime-caps-healthcare-gop/

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      Google Doodle honors Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American to earn a medical degree

      Google honored a deserving figure in American history on Saturday: Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first Native American to earn a medical degree.

      Picotte was illustrated as the Google homepage’s Google Doodle on Saturday in honor of what would have been her 152nd birthday.

      Image: screenshot/google

      Picotte was a doctor and an activist. The Omaha Native American physician advocated for land, and money for the sale of land to be paid to members of the Omaha tribe. As a reformer for public health, she was a leader in the temperance movement and fought tuberculosis on the reservation where she worked as a physician.

      She also advocated for the elimination of communal drinking cups and the installation of screen doors to keep out disease-carrying insects, Google said in their description.

      The Google Doodle features the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, where Picotte earned her medical degree, and the hospital she built on her hometown reservation in 1913.

      Happy birthday, Dr. Sue!

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/17/dr-sue-google-doodle/

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      URGENT: The Latest: 3 Australians Among Injured in London Attacks

      London (AP) — The latest on the attacks in the London Bridge area (all times local):

      12:18 a.m.

      Australia's foreign minister says three Australians have been injured in the knife attacks at London Bridge and in London's Borough Market.

      Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Candice Hedge is recovering in St. Thomas' Hospital and Andrew Morrison had received stitches for a wound and was on his way home to Australia. Both had been stabbed in the neck. The government is still making inquiries into the third Australian's condition.

      Hedge, a 34-year-old waitress, has been living in Britain for about a year and was working in the Borough Markets area where witnesses say she was stabbed as she tried to hide under a table.

      She posted on social media: "Hey everyone, just so you know im doing ok. Bit of pain but I will survive."

      Morrison, an electrician from Darwin, posted on social media that he had been stabbed leaving Belushi's London Bridge bar after watching the Champions League soccer final.

      Morrison said in a video: "All of a sudden this guy comes up with a knife. I just, like, push him off. I walk into a pub and I'm like: 'Someone help me, I've just been stabbed.' "

      ___

      10:45 p.m.

      The SITE Intelligence Group says Islamic State's news agency is claiming fighters for the extremist group carried out the van and knife attack in London that left seven people dead.

      SITE said in a statement Sunday that the Islamic State's Aamaq news service cited "a security source" in the Arabic-language posting claiming the attack.

      Islamic State has often made such claims not just when it has sent attackers, but when extremists carrying out deadly plots were inspired by the group's ideology.

      It's the third attack this year that Islamic State has claimed in Britain, after the bombing in Manchester and a similar attack in the heart of London in March.

      The three attackers in Saturday's attack have not been identified.

      ___

      10:30 p.m.

      A Canadian woman who was among the seven people killed in the London van and knife attacks has been identified by her family as Christine Archibald.

      The Archibald family said in a statement released by the Canadian government on Sunday she worked in a homeless shelter until she moved to Europe to be with her fiance.

      Her family in Castlegar, British Columbia, says Archibald "would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death."

      They say she was 30 years old.

      They asked those who want to honor her to volunteer their time or donate to a homeless shelter and to tell them "Chrissy sent you. "

      ___

      10:25 p.m.

      The city of London is convening a public vigil for the seven people killed in the van and knife attack on London Bridge and at nearby restaurants.

      A statement from Mayor Sadiq Khan's office said the vigil will be held at 6 p.m. local time on Monday at Potters Fields Park, an open space which surrounds City Hall on the River Thames near Tower Bridge.

      The mayor's office says the gathering is an opportunity for Londoners and visitors "to come together in solidarity to remember those who have lost their lives in Saturday's attack, to express sympathy with their families and loved ones and to show the world that we stand united in the face of those who seek to harm us and our way of life."

      Participants also will be invited to place flowers by the flagpoles outside City Hall.

      The invitation issued by Khan's office says the vigil also is meant to show "We will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism."

      ___

      7:50 p.m.

      France's foreign minister has announced that a French citizen was among those killed in the London attacks and that another remains missing.

      Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday that seven other French nationals are hospitalized, four of them in serious condition.

      French officials had earlier said that four French were injured in the Saturday attacks on London Bridge and at nearby restaurants and pubs. Le Drian revised the count upward hours later.

      The minister tweeted that he was traveling to London on Monday.

      ___

      7:30 p.m.

      A resident of a suburban London town where police have conducted a raid says he thinks one of the London Bridge attackers was a neighbor who was known for religious proselytizing.

      Jibril Palomba said he recognized the man who lived in an apartment armed police raided early Sunday in Barking as one of the dead assailants in a widely published photo.

      Palomba says he and his wife first encountered the neighbor after his wife became concerned about how the man spoke to their children and others in a local park "about religion, Mohammed, this kind of stuff."

      He says his wife reported the neighbor's behavior to police, but nothing came of it.

      Palomba says he later became friendly with the man and never suspected he could be planning attacks.

      ___

      6:30 p.m.

      Social media giants Google and Twitter are responding to British Prime Minister Theresa May's statement that internet companies are complicit in terror attacks by giving extremist views "the safe space it needs to breed."

      Representatives for the two companies issued statements on Sunday saying they've been working to improve the technology to identify and remove inappropriate content, including posts and files that are terror-related.

      Nick Pickles, UK head of public policy at Twitter, said: "We continue to expand the use of technology as part of a systematic approach to removing this type of content."

      Google said, "We are committed to working in partnership with the government and NGOs to tackle these challenging and complex problems, and share the government's commitment to ensuring terrorists do not have a voice online."

      London police haven't said what role, if any, social media or information from the internet factored into Saturday night's attack that killed seven people.

      ___

      5:20 p.m.

      Cricket rivals India and Pakistan have held a minute's silence for the victims of the London Bridge attacks amid enhanced security at the Edgbaston ground in Birmingham, England.

      The West Midlands venue was hosting a game on Sunday as part of the two-week Champions Trophy tournament, which involves eight countries, including England.

      World cricket's governing body says extra security had been put in place after the Saturday night attacks in the capital.

      The International Cricket Council said in a statement that all team hotels went into lockdown and teams, match officials and staff were all quickly accounted for after the attacks.

      ___

      4:35 p.m.

      London's police counterterrorism chief says the public should expect to see increased security measures as authorities investigate the latest attack to strike Britain.

      Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said Sunday that police need to establish whether others were involved in planning Saturday night's vehicle and knife attack on London Bridge and at nearby restaurants.

      Seven people were killed in the attack and 21 are in critical condition.

      Rowley says police are confident that the three men fatally shot by officers in the minutes after the assault were the only attackers, but there is "clearly more to do" in the investigation.

      He says the white van they used to mow down pedestrians on London Bridge was rented by one of the men.

      Security cordons will remain around London Bridge indefinitely.

      ___

      4:25 p.m.

      London's assistant police commissioner says eight police officers fired "an unprecedented number" of bullets at the three men suspected of carrying out the attack on London Bridge and at nearby restaurants.

      Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said during a news conference on Sunday that the officers fired 50 rounds at the men, striking and wounding a member of the public in the process.

      Rowley says the injured civilian's injuries are not believed to be critical and there will be an independent investigation.

      The attackers were shot dead. Rowley says they had "already killed members of the public and had to be stopped immediately."

      ___

      4:15 p.m.

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a Canadian is among those killed in the terrorist attack in London.

      Trudeau said in a statement Sunday he is heartbroken.

      Trudeau says Canada strongly condemns the senseless attack and stands united with the British people.

      He says the Canadian government will not provide more details about the citizen killed in Saturday night's attack out of respect for the family.

      ___

      4:10 p.m.

      British Prime Minister Theresa May has paid a private visit to some of the victims of the vehicle and knife attacks in central London.

      May visited King's College Hospital, which is caring for 14 of the 48 people hospitalized after the Saturday night attacks on London Bridge and at nearby restaurants.

      The National Health Service says 21 people remain in critical condition.

      A van mowed down pedestrians on the bridge before its occupants got out and started stabbing people. Police shot three attackers dead.

      Hundreds ran for their lives in the chaos.

      ___

      3:55 p.m.

      Former Secretary of State John Kerry says Britons are going to have to sort out whether tolerance of extremism has gone on for too long, as British Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

      Kerry tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that "a lot of ingredients" went into the attacks on London Bridge and at nearby restaurants Saturday night that left seven dead and nearly two dozen injured. Twelve people have been arrested.

      He says one of the issues the country needs to get a handle on is the experience of Muslim residents, who've "had a long-standing problem with respect to greater levels of alienation, a harder time assimilating into the broader British society."

      Kerry says the answer lies in building community to lessen the distance between governments and their people, a gap he thinks is a problem "all over the world."

      ___

      3:45 p.m.

      Germany's Foreign Ministry says German citizens were among the people wounded in the attack in London, and one of them has serious injuries.

      No further details were available Sunday on the Germans who were injured or the exact number.

      In all, dozens of people were injured in the attack Saturday night on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.

      ___

      This item has been corrected to state that dozens were injured, not killed.

      ___

      3 p.m.

      A Romanian chef has been hailed as a hero on social media after he took in some 20 terrified people in the bakery where he worked as attackers targeted restaurants and bars in Borough Market.

      Florin Morariu, who works at the Bread Ahead bakery in the market, told The Associated Press: "We were looking out of the window because we saw that everyone was agitated, everyone was running, people, women… they were fainting, falling and we went outside to see what was happening."

      He said when he went outside and saw two people stabbing others, he at first "froze" and didn't know what to do. But then he went and hit one of the attackers on the head with a crate.

      "There was a car with a loudspeaker saying 'go, go' and they (police) threw a grenade…. and then I ran."

      He added that when he saw that "people were desperate," he let about 20 people into the bakery and pulled the shutters down.

      ___

      2:45 p.m.

      France's minister for Europe says that four French citizens are among the dozens of wounded in the London terror attack that killed seven people.

      Marielle de Sarnez expressed her condolences to the families affected and "absolute solidarity" with the British in a statement on Sunday.

      Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe visited a crisis center at the French Foreign Ministry that fields calls from anxious citizens after attacks.

      Philippe noted the attack came as French living overseas begin voting in advance of June 11 first-round legislative elections. He said voting in London would continue with reinforced security.

      ___

      2:20 p.m.

      The British Transport Police chief says that an officer who was wounded in the London Bridge attack was armed only with his baton when he confronted the three knife-wielding assailants.

      The officer, who was stabbed in the face, head and a leg, was one of the first responders.

      British Transport Police Chief Constable Paul Crowther visited the officer at a hospital and said that he's in stable condition. Crowther said that "it became clear that he showed enormous courage in the face of danger."

      Crowther added that "for an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud."

      Seven people died in the attack and dozens were wounded. In addition, the three attackers were killed by police.

      ___

      1:15 p.m.

      British police say they have arrested 12 people in east London over the attack in the London Bridge area.

      Police said in a statement that the arrests were made Sunday morning in Barking by counterterrorism officers.

      Officials said that seven people died in the Saturday night attack and roughly 48 were wounded. A British Transport Police officer and an off-duty officer were among the injured. In addition, three attackers were shot dead by police.

      Police say the investigation is progressing rapidly. Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed Islamic extremists.

      ___

      1 p.m.

      Britain's interior minister says the country's terrorism threat level will not be raised because police believe there are no perpetrators still on the loose.

      Home Secretary Amber Rudd says "we don't believe there are additional elements" at large.

      The level was raised to "critical" for several days after the March 22 concert bombing in Manchester, as police raced to track down the attacker's possible accomplices.

      It now stands at "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely.

      Three men were shot dead by police on Saturday, minutes after a van mowed into pedestrians on London Bridge and multiple people were stabbed around nearby Borough Market. Police say seven people were killed and 48 hospitalized.

      Rudd told ITV television that more must be done to fight the "onslaught of jihadi propaganda that is radicalizing people online."

      ___

      12:40 p.m.

      Arab Gulf countries and Turkey are condemning the attack in London that left six people dead and more than 40 others injured.

      The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait issued separate statements condemning such attacks and expressing their support for the British government.

      The Saudi Embassy in the U.K. called on their citizens in London to exercise caution in crowded areas and follow police instructions.

      In Turkey, the foreign ministry has expressed its "deep sadness." The ministry says that as "Turkey and the Turkish people, who have been subjected to similar attacks many times, we understand and share the pain of the people of the United Kingdom."

      The ministry emphasized Turkey's readiness to support the U.K. in its fight against extremism

      ___

      12:10 p.m.

      The attack in London Bridge, a busy area filled with hotels and restaurants, has left many visitors and tourists stranded after police cordoned off a large area near the crime scene. Many spent the night in improvised sleeping spaces, from the floors of hotel bars or restaurants to chairs of conference rooms.

      Sue and Jason Dunt and a second couple, Richard and Michelle Orme, were out enjoying a post-matinee dinner on London's Embankment on Saturday. They tried to make it back to their hotel but were stymied by the police cordon thrown up around the attack site, and eventually found shelter in another hotel's conference room.

      "We were wandering the streets until three in the morning," said Richard, a 40-year-old retail worker.

      "There were people sleeping in the sofas in the reception and the restaurant. It was really good of them," he added.

      ___

      11:45 a.m.

      Pope Francis has offered prayers for the victims of the London attacks during a traditional Sunday blessing following Mass that marked the Pentecost holiday.

      Francis invoked prayers that the Holy Spirit "grants peace to the whole world and heal the wounds of war and of terrorism, which also last night, in London, struck innocent victims."

      The pope asked for prayers for the victims and their family members caught up in the attack in London Bridge Saturday, which left seven dead and almost 50 wounded.

      Pentecost concludes the Easter season.

      ___

      11:25 a.m.

      British media are reporting an armed police operation taking place in east London. Scotland Yard declined to comment about the reports of the raid, or say whether the operation was linked to Saturday's attacks in London Bridge.

      Footage from Sky News and social media show a police cordon around an apartment building in Barking, a suburb in east London.

      Authorities have said officers shot dead all three attackers in Saturday night's attack, which left seven people dead, but that the investigation is continuing.

      ___

      This version corrects the day of the attack to Saturday.

      ___

      11:15 a.m.

      Spain's Foreign Ministry says that one Spaniard is among the dozens wounded in the London attack.

      A ministry spokeswoman has told The Associated Press that the Spanish man has been taken to a hospital where he is being treated for wounds described as not serious. The spokeswoman spoke anonymously in line with ministry policy.

      Spain's King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have expressed their condolences for the victims of the attacks.

      The Spanish Royal Family wrote on Twitter: "The British people will overcome this barbarism and senselessness. We are united today in pain and in our tireless defense of freedom."

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-04/the-latest-india-s-prime-minister-condemns-london-attacks

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      Mystique Vs. Mayhem in Unlikely Stanley Cup Final

      Pittsburgh (AP) — The dynasty that once appeared so certain is again in the offing for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

      Four victories against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final would make Pittsburgh the first franchise to win back-to-back championships in nearly 20 years and the first in the parity-driven salary cap era. It would give stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin their third Cup, one more than their boss — owner Mario Lemieux — earned during his Hall of Fame career and check off whatever boxes remain unchecked for a duo that is becoming one of the most accomplished in NHL history.

      Yet for all the resiliency the Penguins have shown during their injury-marred title defense, they are taking nothing for granted heading into Game 1 on Monday night.

      Not their home-ice advantage. Not their massive edge in Stanley Cup Final experience (156 games vs. just five for the Predators, all by captain Mike Fisher while playing for Ottawa a decade ago). Not their ability under coach Mike Sullivan to thrive under the pressure that once seemed to crush them.

      "I think the fact that a lot of guys went through it last year and they can draw from that experience is good," Crosby said. "But it doesn't guarantee anything."

      Certainly not against the swaggering and well-rested Predators.

      One of the last teams to qualify for the playoffs is now the last one standing between the Penguins and another parade in downtown Pittsburgh. Just don't call Nashville the underdog. The Predators have hardly played like one while beating Chicago in a lopsided four-game sweep then outrunning St. Louis and outlasting Anaheim to reach the Cup final for the first time.

      "I know we were the eighth seed but we didn't feel like a group that we were," Fisher said.

      Now the guys from the place that calls itself "Smashville" have a chance to bring the Cup to a place that is hardly a hockey hotbed, as Carolina did 11 years ago. That team, like this one, was led by coach Peter Laviolette. This team, like that one, has nothing to lose.

      "This year we were kind of mediocre in the standings and maybe that's what we needed just to come into the playoffs not really caring about home ice or who we were playing but just knowing comfortably and confidently as a team we could be in this position," said Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

      A position the Penguins have become increasingly comfortable in under Sullivan. The core that Crosby and Malkin led to the Cup in 2009 went through seven frustrating and fruitless springs before returning to the top in 2016. Now they're here again, aware of the stakes but hardly caught up in the hype.

      "I think that it's a tough road no matter how you get here," Crosby said. "We found ways all season long and in the playoffs we've found ways. We've had that same mentality and that's helped us. I think that's kind of been our biggest strength."

      Some things to look for in would could be a highly entertaining final:

      HOMECOMINGS (KIND OF)

      One of Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford's first moves when he took over in 2014 was to send forward James Neal to Nashville for forward Patric Hornqvist. It's worked out beautifully for both sides. Hornqvist, who will be a game-time decision for Game 1 while recovering from upper-body injury, gives the Penguins a nearly intractable net-front presence. Neal possesses the kind of shot that can change the complexion of things dramatically.

      MISSING PARTS

      Both sides have been forced to navigate their way through serious health issues . The Penguins are playing without star defenseman Kris Letang, out for the season after neck surgery. The Predators lost center Ryan Johansen to a severe thigh injury.

      Pittsburgh's defense has thrived even without Letang . Nashville's lengthy layoff since the conference final mean Fisher and forward Craig Smith should be available for Game 1.

      MADE IN THE USA

      This is the first time in the history of the Cup final the coaches on both benches are American. Both Laviolette and Sullivan have stressed the series is about the players, but there's no denying the ability of both men to cut through the noise. Laviolette has given the Predators the edge they've always needed while Sullivan's straightforward approach and expert button-pushing have made Pittsburgh seemingly immune to any kind of Cup hangover.

      PEKKA AND HIS FAB FOUR

      Pittsburgh's strength is up front. Nashville's is in the back. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is playing the best hockey of his career at 34 (1.70 goals against in the playoffs) while the Predators' defense seems to know when jump in the fray. Nashville's defensemen combined for a league-high 181 points while also making Rinne's job easier at the other end of the ice.

      Malkin called playing the Predators "the hardest challenge of my life."

      "We see who's better," Malkin said. "I know it's going to be hard."

      ___

      More AP NHL: http://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-28/mystique-vs-mayhem-in-unlikely-stanley-cup-final

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      A hedge fund at Emerging Sovereign Group that has bet against the Chinese economy sunk about 62 percent this year through April.

      The Nexus fund dropped 8.2 percent last month, according to an email to investors seen by Bloomberg News. The April results mark at least the third consecutive month of negative returns for the fund.

      China bears have suffered as economic growth accelerated in the first quarter and officials have been guiding the yuan higher against the dollar in a move that’s caught market watchers by surprise. The Nexus fund gained 35 percent in 2015, profiting from moves by China’s central bank to devalue the yuan by the most since 1994. But the fund has underpeformed since 2016 when it dropped 15.5 percent, Bloomberg has reported.

      ESG is run by co-founders Kevin Kenny, Mete Tuncel and Jason Kirschner, who bought out Carlyle Group LP’s 55 percent stake and took full control of the firm in October. Most of the assets at ESG, which managed $3.5 billion as of December, are in two of its other funds.

      A spokesman for New York-based ESG, which started in 2002 with seed capital from Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management, declined to comment. 

      Puerto Rico Winner

      Candlewood Investment Group’s Puerto Rico SP fund gained 5.7 percent in the first two weeks of May, bringing year-to-date returns to 9.4 percent, according to an investor update seen by Bloomberg. The $105 million fund targets securities including general-obligation bonds, or GOs, and other opportunistic areas within the Puerto Rico municipal bond market. Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy in May.

      "There have been several recent events which we believe confirm our investment positioning and thesis," the $1.2 billion firm said in a separate letter for April. "The most notable was the Commonwealth’s restructuring proposal which clearly prioritized GO and GO guaranteed debt above other bondholders."

      Michael Ardisson, partner and director of business development at Candlewood, declined to comment.

      Millennium Underwhelms

      Millennium Management’s main fund has been posting middling results this year along with its multistrategy peers. The Millennium International fund returned 0.3 percent in April to bring returns for the first four months of the year to an estimated 2.5 percent, according to an investor update seen by Bloomberg.

      Hedge Fund Research Inc.’s multistrategy index rose about 2 percent in that time, as did hedge funds on average.

      The largest driver of the Millennium fund’s performance last month was the relative value fundamental equity strategy, which gained 0.2 percent on the strength of the technology, financials and health-care sectors, the update shows. A spokeswoman for the $35 billion firm run by Izzy Englander declined to comment.

      Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-23/esg-china-fund-drops-62-as-candlewood-puerto-rico-pool-jumps-9

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      China Stocks Slump, Yuan Falls After Moody’s Cuts Credit Rating

      China’s stocks headed for their lowest level since September, the yuan retreated and default risk increased after Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating on the nation’s debt for the first in almost three decades.

      The Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.8 percent at 10:17 a.m. local time, poised for its biggest loss in two weeks. The yuan dropped 0.1 percent against the dollar, and the cost of insuring five-year sovereign debt from nonpayment rose 3 basis points.

      The Moody’s downgrade to A1 from Aa3 comes as local investors desert the equity and bond markets amid a government campaign to cut risk in the financial sector. The Shanghai gauge is the world’s worst-performing major benchmark index this quarter, sliding 6 percent. The yield on China’s 10-year government debt is at 3.68 percent, close to a two-year high.

      Chinese stocks are facing a "bigger challenge" than the Moody’s downgrade, said Hao Hong, Hong Kong-based chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings Co. "As the market wobbles, many of the stocks used for pledged loans are nearing the level that could trigger margin calls. This is probably a bigger risk near term. So together with this rating downgrade, it is negative for the market – but not just the downgrade itself."

      Moody’s cited the likelihood of a “material rise” in economy-wide debt and the burden that will place on the state’s finances. Total outstanding credit climbed to about 260 percent of GDP by the end of 2016, up from 160 percent in 2008, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

      "The timing of the downgrade came as a surprise," said Sandra Chow, senior analyst at CreditSights in Singapore. "So the surprise element may cause a knee-jerk negative reaction, but the chase for yield may draw spreads back in eventually.” 

      Moody’s lowered China’s credit-rating outlook to negative from stable in March 2016, citing rising debt, falling currency reserves and an uncertainty over authorities ability to carry out reforms. About a month later S&P Global Ratings also warned that rising local debt was pressuring the nation’s rating.

      Consumer staple, health-care and utilities shares were among the biggest losers on mainland markets. The ChiNext gauge of small-cap companies erased a loss of 1.6 percent to trade 0.1 percent higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 0.3 percent.

      Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-24/china-stocks-slump-yuan-falls-after-moody-s-cuts-credit-rating

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      Climate change expected to make turbulence stronger and more frequent

      (CNN)Climate change is expected to affect your life in some surprising ways in the coming decades. From worsening pollen allergies to lowered sex drives, raising the planet’s temperature by continued greenhouse gas emissions has wide ranging impacts — but did you know that global warming may also make your plane ride significantly bumpier?

      There is a growing amount of research that shows that as the planet warms from climate change, the second half of this century will see an increase in turbulence, especially along the heavily-traveled transatlantic routes in the Northern Hemisphere (like routes between Europe and North America).
      “Climate change is strengthening the north-south temperature difference that drives the jet stream,” according to Dr. Paul Williams of the University of Reading in the UK.

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        “A stronger jet stream is less stable and means more clear-air turbulence,” Williams told CNN.
        Clear-air turbulence is the most common cause of your in-flight roller coaster, and can result in significant injuries, such as earlier this week on a Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Bangkok, Thailand.
        Williams and his colleagues most recent research, published last month in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences showed that turbulence of all severities increases in model simulations of a warming climate — but the largest increase is seen in “severe turbulence” — the kind that hit the Aeroflot flight.
        “Increases in light and moderate turbulence will not injure anyone, but they will cause anxiety amongst nervous fliers.” Williams said.
        “On the other hand, the 149% increase in severe turbulence that we have calculated does have the potential to cause more serious injuries.”
        Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is caused by rapid changes in speed or direction of air movement.
        This occurs most commonly in and around an invisible current of rapidly moving air called the jet stream, which can be found at a height similar to where commercial planes fly, around 30,000-40,000 feet above the ground.
        The jet stream generally follows the boundary between hot and cold air, and is strongest when the difference between the hot and cool sides is the strongest, which occurs during the winter months.
        The idea behind the climate change and turbulence link is fairly straightforward. If climate change influences the intensity and position of the jet stream, the turbulence resulting from that jet stream would be impacted.
        Human-produced emissions contribute heavily to climate change. There may be a bit of high-level irony here: The aviation industry is a significant emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
        Williams said there’s evidence the rate of turbulence injuries has risen significantly since the 1980s, even after correcting the statistics to account for the growth in aviation, but he stopped short of saying that it is caused by the warming we have already seen.
        “We need to interpret this evidence more carefully,” Williams said.
        According to current projections, future changes in the jet stream will cause significant disruption to aviation.

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        “The consensus of the climate models is that global climate change will cause the [average] position of the jet stream to shift closer to the poles in both hemispheres,” according to Dr. Jason Furtado, an assistant professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.
        Furtado, who researches how climate change will influence the upper levels of the atmosphere, said, “The strength of the jet stream is also anticipated to increase, as the temperature change with latitude in the upper troposphere [which is where planes fly] increases in the future.”
        This would be a double whammy to aviation.
        An increase in the speed of the jet stream would increase the turbulence in and around it, meaning more incidences of aircraft hitting these pockets of severe clear-air turbulence.
        Potentially more concerning would be the movement of the jet stream closer to the poles. In the Northern Hemisphere, this would mean a shift to the north, putting the jet stream right in the path of the “North Atlantic Tracks,” a sort of highway in the sky that marks the frequently traveled routes across the Atlantic between Europe and North America.
        Not only would climate change make the turbulence more frequent and intense, it would cause it to potentially impact thousands of more flights a day, based on current routing.
        And there’s this: Increased turbulence would likely mean airliners will try to avoid certain areas, resulting in added fuel and other costs. A stronger jet stream might make trips from Europe to North America longer and more expensive (more fuel needed). On the flip side, the reverse route would be faster and cheaper.
        While Williams’ studies have focused on the transatlantic routes in the Northern Hemisphere, he feels the impacts will be felt globally.
        “I would expect the same conclusions we have reached about the North Atlantic to apply to other mid-latitude flight routes around the world (in both northern and southern hemispheres). We are currently crunching the numbers for these routes,” Williams told CNN.

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        But don’t cancel your post-2050 flight travels just yet, according to Furtado, “there are some questions as to the robustness of the poleward/strengthening jet stream findings” in some of the latest climate model runs.
        Furtado told CNN “the conclusion of a poleward and strengthening jet stream might vary regionally and seasonally,” and is “something climate scientists need to study and understand further.”

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/world/climate-change-and-turbulence/index.html