This giant Gundam robot makes its first moves in Japan

The huge Gundam robot has made his first moves in Yokohama, Japan. Picture: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images It stands just over 18 metres tall and weighs 25 tonnes. And, after years of painstaking work, a life-size Japanese Gundam robot has just proved to its legions of fans that it really can move.Modelled on one of the robots from the hugely popular 1970s anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, the huge machine was put through its paces this week at its new home in the the port city of Yokohama. Life-sized Gundam in Yokohama is now in testing mode.pic.twitter.com/51HVoraPb7 — Catsuka (@catsuka) September 21, 2020 The humanoid was due to become the centrepiece of Gundam Factory Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on 1 October, but the virus pandemic means it will not be officially unveiled until later in the year, according to the site’s operator. “This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of our fans and employees in response to the worldwide spread of Covid-19,” it said in a statement. “We apologise to all of our fans who were looking forward to our grand opening and ask for your understanding. In the meantime, we will be making preparations so that all of our visitors can enjoy themselves in safety.” Fans of the multibillion-dollar Gundam franchise, which has expanded to include films, manga, plastic models and video games, were given a sneak preview this week when a speeded-up video showed the towering creation taking a knee and moving its right arm and fingers, watched by workers on a nearby observation deck. [embedded content] Engineers reportedly started designing the robot six years ago to ensure each piece met weight restrictions to prevent its limbs from buckling and that all 24 moveable parts worked seamlessly. Despite Gundam’s military sci-fi background, the robot’s transformation from a collection of parts to fully functioning humanoid brushed with tradition when Shinto priests purified its soon-to-be-installed head in an adaptation of a jotoshiki, a roof-laying ceremony usually performed to mark the near-completion of a new building. More information about the giant Gundam robot on The Guardian, CNET, Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. Follow us: Facebook and Twitter. By the way you can also support us on Paypal. Please and thank you!

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Swamponomics: Ultra-Low Interest Rates Here to Stay, For a While

Please respect our republishing guidelines - Click Here It was a busy week for three of the world’s biggest central banks: the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England (BoE), and the Bank of Japan (BoJ). Despite these institutions presiding in three different continents, they showed their love for low interest rates. So, what happened during their September policy meetings? America, England, and Japan Walk into a Bar The U.S. central bank completed its two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) powwow, and the results were not too surprising. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his merry band of central bankers agreed to keep its benchmark fed funds rate unchanged in the 0% to 0.25% target range. The Eccles Building revealed that it intends to leave rates where they are until 2023, or until inflation runs higher than the 2% target rate. It also modified its economic projections slightly higher: the Fed expects 4% GDP growth in 2021, 3% in 2022, and 2.5% in 2023. The most significant development from the meeting was its new inflation approach that would see the Fed allow inflation to rise without hiking rates to support the economic recovery. Yoshihide Suga Soon after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was elected by the National Diet to succeed Shinzo Abe, the BoJ convened its meeting. The central bank also left its benchmark rate the same at –0.1%, while maintaining its aggressive bond-buying program. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his associates said they would keep its 10-year government bond’s yield at 0%. The BoJ confirmed that it plans to coordinate with Suga on fiscal and monetary policy. Will the United Kingdom say pip, pip, cheerio to above-zero interest rates? The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain its historically low rate of 0.1%. But the minutes were the real headliner from the meeting as the institution noted that it is looking into “the effectiveness of negative policy rates.” It has long been speculated that the BoE would adopt subzero rates, something that the central bank routinely downplayed. Now it looks like the NIRP is coming. So, Britons, keep a stiff upper lip and all that. Could the U.S. become the next nation to institute a NIRP? The Fed has said that it does not plan to bring rates below zero, but if it fails to resuscitate the economy and maintain the impressive stock market recovery, it may have no other choice but to fire this unconventional weapon. It is comparable to buying stocks. The central bank has been scooping up corporate bonds, so why would it refrain from acquiring shares in Apple, Walmart, or General Electric, should the equities arena tank? Is Soybean the Comeback Kid? What an impressive few years it has been for U.S. soybeans. While prices are still below their record high of $17.43 a bushel from 2012, they have topped $10 for the first time since 2018. The crop had been one of the casualties in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Still, it has also been one of the chief beneficiaries of his phase one deal with Beijing as the world’s second-largest economy enhances its purchases of the agricultural commodity. How much longer can this bull run survive? That might depend on Brazil and China. The former has seen its harvest surge to record highs this past summer, and the latter is continuing to boost demand to add to its domestic inventories. Argentina may play a factor, while foreign exchange rates will also linger in the background. Whatever the case, this is good news for American growers since they can take advantage of higher prices, a weaker U.S. dollar, and government subsidies. IPO Like It’s 1999, Baby! Do you even IPO, bro? The initial public offering market is booming, despite the U.S. economy in the middle of a pandemic and uncertainty in the broader financial market. Nothing seems to be stopping the IPO industry from partying like it is 1999. Snowflake, a cloud-based database platform, had a monumental opening, raising close to $4 billion before selling a single stake to Salesforce and Berkshire Hathaway. It was a wild ride. The company initially proposed a price range of $75 to $85 per share, but then raised it to around $100. The shares were finally offered for $120. The stock then opened at more than $200 during the September 16 trading session. Shares slumped nearly 20% since. Still, this was the largest valuation of a firm to double its price in a market debut. When Warren Buffett gets in on the IPO frenzy, you pay attention. JFrog Ltd., a service that allows businesses to release their software upgrades to all their users and employees quickly, had a similar story. JFrog shares debuted at $77 before falling 10% by the end of the September 17 session. Indeed, there are many similarities between the IPO mania of the 1990s and today. Simultaneously, there are still plenty of differences to potentially lend credence to the popular Wall Street phrase: “It’s different this time.” The chief fact is that today’s tech firms have a lot more revenues than young internet companies during the dot-com bubble. They might not be profitable, which is prevalent in the IPO market, but they generate revenues. That said, with cheap money laying around like face masks littering city streets, courtesy of the Fed, it is more than likely that the IPO mania will expand for the remainder of 2020 and into next year. What are you going to do? Buy a low-yielding Treasury? You have no choice if you want to grow your money. ~ Read more from Andrew Moran.

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Japan’s Abe Passes the Torch to Suga

Please respect our republishing guidelines - Click Here Japan will say sayonara to the Shinzo Abe era and welcome Yoshihide Suga with a kon’nichiwa. After eight years as prime minister, Abe will now officially resign, giving way to Suga to be his successor. On day one, Suga will grapple with many challenges on different fronts, including the Coronavirus pandemic and an economic downturn. So, what does Suga’s ascent to the top of Mount Fuji mean for the world’s third-largest economy, the yen, and 126 million people? Yoshihide Suga: A Primer Yoshihide Suga has worked in Japanese politics nearly his entire adult life. After finishing university, Suga worked behind the scenes in the upper house of the National Diet for more than a decade. He chose to pursue his political career in 1986, starting at the local level. Ten years later, he was elected to the Diet and was re-elected multiple times. Suga climbed the ranks, serving as Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications and Chief Cabinet Secretary. After Abe announced his resignation, Suga tossed his name in the hat for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party and won with 377 of the 534 total votes. Many speculated that he was already being groomed to succeed Abe when he was chosen to represent Japan in 2019 when he met with Vice President Mike Pence. Yoshihide Suga Suga and Spice – And Everything Nice Will Japan go through an ideological transform with Suga at the helm? At this time, it is highly unlikely. When Abe was prime minister, Suga played an instrumental role in crafting public policy, from the economy to foreign policy. He led the government’s efforts to boost tourism, attract foreign workers, slash mobile telephone rates, and support the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) ultra-aggressive measures to fight deflation. Suga was also a key advisor to Abe on the nation’s Coronavirus response, lamenting on the country’s bureaucracy that prevented Tokyo from taking better action to stop spreading the highly infectious respiratory illness. Put simply, a lot of what Japan experienced under Abe, Suga helped put together. Early reports, citing sources close to Suga, have indicated that not much would change. Even some members of Abe’s Cabinet would stay in their positions, including Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, LDP secretary-general Toshihiro Nikai, and Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura. He has also pledged to maintain Abenomics, an economic doctrine of aggressive monetary policy, fiscal stimulus, and growth. The Nikkei Asian Review did note that there might be some divergence, reporting that party officials believe he will be less fiscally aggressive and will champion a weaker yen. Could Suga dissolve the lower house of parliament and call snap elections next month? While this would afford him a full three-year term as LDP head, Suga does not seem to be cheerleading the possibility, telling reporters: “What’s important now is to contain the pandemic while also reviving the economy. I don’t think we can immediately (dissolve the lower house) just because the pandemic is contained. That’s a decision that must be made looking comprehensively at various factors.” Pass the Suga Will four decades of political experience be enough to turn the country around? Before the COVID-19 public health crisis, Japan has tried to overcome many hurdles, such as a swelling budget deficit, an aging population, a deteriorating health care system, and geopolitical tensions. In the post-Coronavirus world, the bombardment is all these problems and a pandemic that Suga will contend with during his time as head of state. As the old Japanese proverb goes, “Different body, same mind.” Suga is a continuation of Abe. Whether this is a good thing or not will be decided during the next election – whenever Suga decides it would be appropriate. ~ Read more from Andrew Moran.

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Strategic Winning – Samsung and HK Hynix Stop Next-Gen Chip Sales to Huawei…

A few days ago Samsung announced they would stop production and manufacturing of Televisions in China by November.  Today they announce they will stop the sales of high-tech chips to Chinese owned Hauwei. ANDROID HEADLINES – In the latest blow to Huawei, South Korean chip manufacturers Samsung and HK Hynix will reportedly cease all trades with the Chinese company beginning next week. This comes after the US Department of Commerce last month announced an amendment to the trade restrictions it imposed on Huawei back in May. According to reports from various Korean news outlets, the companies will suspend trade on September 15th. That’s when the new set of rules come into effect. The rules bar any American or non-American company that uses a US-origin software or technology from selling components to Huawei. Any such trade would require the companies to obtain special approval from the American government. TSMC has reportedly already suspended trades with Huawei following the first round of restrictions in May. With Samsung and HK Hynix also now forced to stop selling components to the Chinese giant, it poses a serious threat to the company’s smartphone business. (READ MORE) Not coincidentally in May Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) announced they were going to invest in a new high-tech center in Arizona.   A manufacturing facility for advanced 5 nanometer chip manufacturing is a steep investment decision costing around $12 billion.  The primary use of the chips would be for Apple Inc. These moves are a direct result of President Trump playing the economic long-game with an assembly of interests… three results, all connected within a much bigger picture. President Trump has been creating a dual position for several years; this is very unique because it is the same strategy used by China.  By expressing a panda mask, yet concealing the underlying dragon, President Trump’s policy to China is a mirror of themselves. Historic Chinese geopolitical policy, vis-a-vis their totalitarian control over political sentiment (action) and diplomacy through silence, is evident in the strategic use of the space between carefully chosen words, not just the words themselves. Each time China takes aggressive action (red dragon) China projects a panda face through silence and non-response to opinion of that action;…. and the action continues. The red dragon has a tendency to say one necessary thing publicly, while manipulating another necessary thing privately.  The Art of War. President Trump is the first U.S. President to understand how the red dragon hides behind the panda mask. First he got their attention with tariffs.  Then… On one hand President Trump has engaged in very public and friendly trade negotiations with China (panda approach); yet on the other hand, long before the Wuhan virus, Trump fractured their global supply chains, influenced the movement of industrial goods to alternate nations, and incentivized an exodus of manufacturing (dragon result). It is specifically because he understands that Panda is a mask that President Trump messages warmth toward the Chinese people, and pours vociferous praise upon Xi Jinping, while simultaneously confronting the geopolitical doctrine of the Xi regime. In essence Trump was mirroring the behavior of China while confronting their economic duplicity. There is no doubt in my mind that President Trump has a very well thought out long-term strategy regarding China. President Trump takes strategic messaging toward the people of china very importantly. President Trump has, very publicly, complimented the friendship he feels toward President Xi Jinping; and praises Chairman Xi for his character, strength and purposeful leadership. To build upon that projected and strategic message – President Trump seeded the background by appointing Ambassador Terry Branstad, a 30-year personal friend of President Xi Jinping. To enhance and amplify the message – and broadcast cultural respect – President Trump used Mar-a-Lago as the venue for their first visit, not the White House.  And President Trump’s beautiful granddaughter, Arabella, sweetly serenaded the Chinese First Family twice in Mandarin Chinese song showing the utmost respect for the guests and later for the hosts. All of this activity mirrors the duplicity of China.  From the November 2017 tour of Asia to the January 2020 China phase-1 trade deal, President Trump has been positioning, for an economic decoupling and a complete realignment of global trade and manufacturing. The announcements by TSMC, HK Hynix and Samsung are one part of a much bigger economic reset currently underway.  Beijing isn’t stupid, they can see themselves being outwitted and outplayed.  President Trump is winning. Share this: Like this: Like Loading...

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Mysterious gas stench worries geologists in Kanagawa Prefecture near the convergence of the Nankai Trough, Sagami Trough, and Suruga Trough, 3 extremely dangerous fault lines in Japan

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Milk Tea Alliance Takes on China’s Little Pinks in Meme War

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