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The Missile – November 25

THE WORLD IS SMOLDERING….how many more have to die before we force a negotiated settlement?  Where is leadership?

Russia Expands Shelling of Kherson, as Power Shortages Drag On in Kyiv
Russian forces stepped up their shelling of the southern city of Kherson, killing seven people and injuring at least 21 others in the latest round of strikes, according to local officials. 
Two weeks have passed since Russian troops retreated from Kherson, and residents—though still joyous at their liberation from Russian occupation—are confronting a new set of challenges. The city, like much of Ukraine, remains without electricity, heat or running water. Cell signal is weak. Tents offering heat, water and internet access have been set up around the city.
Now shelling from Russian positions across the Dnipro River is quickly becoming part of daily life, a contrast from the first nine months of the war, when Kherson had survived largely intact after being seized in the first days of the invasion. Pops of outgoing Ukrainian artillery fire also echo through the streets during the day.

Crypto Firm FTX Landed in the Bahamas With a Bang, and Now the Bahamas Is Picking Up the Pieces
The never-built new headquarters illustrates the promise that FTX brought to the Bahamas and the frustration it left in its wake. The island nation has been encouraging crypto firms to make themselves at home, promising a copacetic regulatory touch—exactly what founder Sam Bankman-Fried was looking for when he decided to move FTX headquarters from Hong Kong last year. 
FTX wasn’t the only crypto player in town but it was the flashiest, leasing fleets of cars for its employees to drive, The Wall Street Journal reported. It snapped up units in a luxe resort called Albany—a private neighborhood that has counted Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake as investors. Now, local caterers, drivers and cleaners who depended on FTX for work are in a bind.

Binance’s Crypto Rescue Plan Fails to Quell All the Fears of Post-FTX Contagion
Zhao said he’s seeking to limit damage to the crypto sector from FTX’s implosion — an event the Binance chief himself helped accelerate with a Nov. 6 tweet about plans to sell a $530 million holding of FTX’s native digital token. Before his empire fell, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried had agreed to several now stranded deals, such as the purchase of bankrupt lender Voyager Digital.

Backers of Farmworker Visa Overhaul Make Year-End Push for Immigrant Labor Deal
Lawmakers, agriculture groups and farmworker organizations are pushing to pass an overhaul of the farmworker visa program through both chambers of Congress before the GOP takes control of the House next year. 
A bill providing a path to citizenship for about one million farmworkers—and creating a capped number of new year-round visas—passed the House in March 2021, with the support of 217 Democrats and 30 Republicans. 
The measure is generally supported by immigrant advocacy groups and by farmers who say they struggle to find enough people to harvest their crops. Republicans generally oppose efforts to provide legal status to people who immigrated to the U.S. illegally, though some have tentatively backed an exception for farmworkers, who work in a core business constituency. 
“It’s almost impossible to ever get an American citizen to come work on a dairy farm,” said Steve Obert, executive director of Indiana Dairy Producers, a trade group. The work involves manual labor in “conditions some people would say are smelly and dirty,” he said.

DCG’s Barry Silbert reveals crypto firm has $2 billion in debt as he tries to calm investors after FTX
In a note to shareholders on Tuesday, Silbert addressed all the “noise” about the financial health of DCG’s subsidiaries, which includes trading firm Genesis, Grayscale Investments and mining company Foundry. 
Specific to DCG, investor confidence took a hit in the last week, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Genesis had been trying to raise $1 billion from investors before ultimately halting some withdrawals. There were reports that Genesis would soon file for bankruptcy, which the company publicly refuted. 
Fear spread to the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, known by its ticker GBTC, which lets investors get access to bitcoin through a more traditional security. GBTC is currently trading at a 42% discount to bitcoin, up from a discount of closer to 30% two months ago. 
Regarding Genesis’ lending business, Silbert said in the letter that the suspension of redemptions and new loan originations on Nov. 16 was “an issue of liquidity and duration mismatch” in the loan book. These issues, he said, had “no impact” on Genesis’ spot and derivatives trading or custody businesses, which “continue to operate as usual.” 
The company loaned Genesis roughly $575 million, priced at “prevailing market interest rates,” which is due in May 2023. It also absorbed the $1.1 billion debt that the bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital owed Genesis.
He acknowledged that Genesis has hired financial and legal advisors, as the firm considers its options. 
DCG’s debts amount to just over $2 billion.

China Central Bank Boosts Stimulus to Aid Covid-Hit Economy
China’s central bank cut the amount of cash lenders must hold in reserve for the second time this year, ramping up support for an economy racked by surging Covid cases and a continued property downturn. 
The People’s Bank of China reduced the reserve requirement ratio for most banks by 25 basis points, it said in a statement Friday. The adjustment takes effect on Dec. 5 and will inject 500 billion yuan ($70 billion) of liquidity into the economy. 

Apple’s Reliance on China Grows Perilous With Chaos in iPhone City
Xiao Han was just wrapping up the weeklong quarantine that marked the beginning of his latest stint working at the sprawling manufacturing complex in Zhengzhou, China, known as iPhone City when violence erupted there in late November. A large part of the 200,000-person workforce had already spent weeks living in forced isolation in trash-filled dormitories, subsisting on meager rations because management wanted to keep churning out Apple Inc. devices while squelching a Covid-19 outbreak. On Nov. 23 hundreds of workers, angry to learn they might not get the wages they’d been promised unless they kept at their jobs throughout the Spring Festival and into mid-March, pushed past the security staff guarding their living quarters, setting off a physical confrontation with riot police.

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