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Dette américaine: confrontation politique mardi à la Maison-Blanche

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Le président américain a dit vendredi que les républicains tentaient de prendre l’économie américaine « en otage ». (Photo: Getty Images)

L’heure tourne avant un éventuel défaut de paiement: Joe Biden organise mardi un face-à-face avec les chefs de l’opposition parlementaire, pour tenter de trouver un compromis sur la plus lourde dette publique du monde. 

Le président américain retrouvera son principal adversaire dans ce dossier, le chef républicain de la Chambre des représentants, Kevin McCarthy, ainsi que Mitch McConnell, leader de la minorité conservatrice au Sénat, l’autre chambre du Congrès.

Sur la table des négociations: la réputation financière de l’Amérique, et aussi beaucoup de crédit politique.

Le démocrate de 80 ans sait que la manière dont il gérera cette crise pèsera sur sa campagne de réélection qui débute.

Kevin McCarthy, péniblement élu au perchoir de la Chambre, à la tête d’une très courte majorité, joue gros lui aussi.

Otage

Le président américain a dit vendredi que les républicains tentaient de prendre l’économie américaine « en otage », en conditionnant leur vote d’un relèvement du plafond de la dette à des coupes budgétaires « draconiennes ». 

« Les deux choses ne sont pas liées », a-t-il affirmé.

Pour Joe Biden, le respect des engagements financiers accumulés par les administrations américaines successives oblige les parlementaires des deux bords, alors que le budget annuel peut, lui, faire l’objet d’un débat politique.

Dans une interview à MSNBC, il a estimé que Kevin McCarthy était un « honnête homme », mais qu’il avait dû, pour sauver son poste, se rallier aux positions « extrêmes » dans son parti. 

« Nous, républicains, avons fait ce qu’il fallait. La balle est dans le camp des démocrates », estime au contraire sur Twitter l’un des élus de l’opposition à la Chambre, John Rose, en reprochant à Joe Biden de fuir une discussion « sérieuse » sur le projet de budget des conservateurs.

Ce bras de fer part d’une particularité institutionnelle américaine: régulièrement, le Congrès doit voter pour relever le montant maximal de dette que le gouvernement fédéral est autorisé à accumuler.

Jusqu’à la présidence de Barack Obama, c’était plus ou moins une formalité. Mais dans une Amérique où les clivages partisans sont béants, ce n’est cette fois plus le cas. 

La Maison-Blanche et la droite n’ont plus beaucoup de temps pour s’entendre. 

1er juin

Le Trésor américain a averti que sans vote du Congrès d’ici le 1er juin, le gouvernement devra tailler dans les dépenses courantes et les prestations sociales s’il veut continuer de pouvoir rembourser ses créanciers et payer les intérêts.

Le plafond de la dette est jusqu’ici fixé 31 000 milliards de dollars — le record de toutes les dettes souveraines dans le monde en valeur absolue.

Ce montant a été atteint à la mi-janvier, mais le gouvernement fédéral a jusqu’ici géré la situation par des manœuvres comptables.

Si l’impasse se poursuit pendant l’été, les États-Unis se trouveraient non seulement dans l’incapacité de payer factures et salaires, mais aussi de rembourser leurs créanciers.

Pour la première fois, des porteurs de bons du Trésor américains, le placement roi de la finance mondiale ne pourrait plus récupérer leur mise. 

Alors, la Maison-Blanche l’assure, finie la reprise économique robuste dont le président américain s’attribue le mérite: les marchés s’effondreraient, la récession serait historique et le chômage flamberait aux États-Unis — avec des conséquences sur toute l’économie mondiale. 

Le calendrier est d’autant plus serré que la Chambre des représentants ne siégera que douze jours d’ici le 1er juin. Tandis que Joe Biden s’en va dans deux semaines pour une tournée diplomatique de plusieurs jours au Japon et en Australie.

Certains commentateurs estiment que l’administration Biden pourrait, en cas de blocage insoluble, faire une sorte de coup de force juridique et émettre malgré tout de nouvelles créances en invoquant le 14e amendement de la Constitution. Ce texte pose que « la validité de la dette publique des États-Unis (…) ne doit pas être remise en question ».

« Je n’en suis pas encore là », a dit Joe Biden à MSNBC, sans écarter formellement cette option.

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Société

Bitcoin en route vers les 60 000 $ ? Analyse du 18 juin 2024

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Après avoir échoué à atteindre son dernier sommet, Bitcoin démontre une pression vendeuse accentuée. Analysons ensemble les perspectives futures du cours du BTC.

Logo Bitcoin fond rouge et bleu avec de parts et d’autres un ours rouge et un taureau bleu enragés. En haut de chacun, on peut voir la barre de pouvoir de chacun.

Situation du cours du Bitcoin (BTC)

Après avoir rejeté les 72 000 $, Bitcoin a subi une pression vendeuse qui a entraîné son cours en dessous du premier support notifié dans l’analyse du 11 juin, soit autour des 67 000 $ – 66 000 $. Ainsi, la courte période de range à ce niveau de prix semble avoir pris fin. Désormais, une structure vendeuse est apparente à court terme et ouvre la voie à une poursuite du mouvement baissier jusqu’aux 60 000 $. Néanmoins, avant d’atteindre ce dernier niveau de prix, on peut noter une zone de valeurs pouvant agir en tant que support, autour des 63 000 $.

Au moment de la rédaction de ce texte, le cours du Bitcoin se négocie aux alentours de 65 600 $. On peut voir que la cryptomonnaie a récemment suscité un intérêt acheteur autour des 65 000 $, ce qui en fait une zone d’intérêt à surveiller. On peut également noter que cette zone de prix se situe au même niveau que la moyenne mobile sur 50 jours. Ainsi, il serait plus rassurant de se maintenir au-dessus de ce niveau de prix pour ne pas remettre en question la structure moyen-long terme du BTC. Concernant la dynamique du cours du Bitcoin, elle semble continuer à faiblir comme le démontrent son cours lui-même ainsi que les oscillateurs. Ainsi, cela ne soutient pas le camp acheteur.

Graphique du BTCUSD en Journalier
Graphique du BTCUSD en Journalier

L’analyse technique actuelle a été réalisée en collaboration avec Elie FT, investisseur et trader de passion sur le marché des cryptomonnaies. Aujourd’hui formateur chez Family Trading, communauté de milliers de traders à compte propre active depuis 2017. Vous y trouverez des Lives, des contenus éducatifs et une entraide autour des marchés financiers dans une ambiance professionnelle et chaleureuse.

Les hypothèses pour le cours du Bitcoin (BTC)

  • Tant que le cours du Bitcoin parvient à se maintenir au-dessus des 65 000 $, on peut anticiper la réintégration des 67 000 $ pour atteindre ensuite les 72 000 $. La prochaine résistance à prendre en compte, si le mouvement haussier se poursuit, serait l’ATH du Bitcoin en dessous des 74 000 $. Plus haut, on peut mettre en valeur le premier niveau des extensions de Fibonacci identifiées aux 78 300 $. À ce stade, cela représenterait une hausse équivalente à 19 %.
  • Si le cours du Bitcoin ne se maintient pas au-dessus des 65 000 $, on pourrait envisager un soutien de l’intérêt acheteur aux 63 000 $. Le prochain niveau à prendre en compte, si le mouvement baissier se poursuit, serait compris autour des 60 000 $. À ce stade, cela représenterait une baisse proche des – 9 %. 

Conclusion

Bitcoin a récemment subi une pression vendeuse entraînant une rupture de support clé et signalant une possible continuation du mouvement baissier à court terme. Cependant, une zone de soutien s’est manifestée, offrant une lueur d’espoir pour les acheteurs. La dynamique actuelle reste faible, et sans un maintien au-dessus des 60 000 $, la structure à moyen et long terme pourrait être remise en question. Ainsi, il sera crucial d’observer attentivement la réaction des prix aux différents niveaux clés pour confirmer ou infirmer les hypothèses actuelles. Il est également important de rester vigilant face aux potentiels « fake outs » et « squeezes » de marché dans chaque scénario. Enfin, rappelons-nous que ces analyses sont basées uniquement sur des critères techniques et que le cours des cryptomonnaies peut par ailleurs évoluer rapidement en fonction d’autres facteurs plus fondamentaux.

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Family Trading avatar

Family Trading

Family Trading est une Communauté de traders a compte propre active depuis 2017 offrant Lives, contenus éducatifs et entraides autour des marchés financiers dont celui des cryptomonnaies avec à ses côtés Elie FT, investisseur et trader de passion sur le marché crypto.

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Top Shipping Flag Cuts Approval for Sanctioned Russian Insurer

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The world’s largest shipping register withdrew its approval for Russia’s Ingosstrakh Insurance Co. to provide a key document enabling ships to enter ports.

The Liberian Register — under whose flag 16% of the world’s ships by capacity sail — said in a circular that it no longer authorizes Moscow-based Ingosstrakh Insurance Co. to issue so-called blue cards. Blue cards provide proof of cover against risks including oil spills and collisions. They are essential for port entry.

Last week, the UK sanctioned Ingosstrakh as part of a set of wide-ranging Group of Seven measures designed to target Russia as it continues its war in Ukraine. The firm has become an important provider of cover against spills and collisions for Russian oil exports, effectively displacing western entities.

UK Puts First Sanctions on Russia’s Shadow-Fleet Oil Tankers

In practice, the Liberia’s move may well prove symbolic. There are only three vessels covered by Ingosstrakh that sail under the flag of Liberia and none of them are oil tankers, according to a vessel database maintained for the International Maritime Organization. However, the move reinforces a growing divide between the parts of the global shipping fleet that are able to serve Russia and those that can’t.

Any ship with Ingosstrakh cover will receive a 90-day grace period, the circular said.

Despite its name, the Liberian register is headquartered in the US. National shipping registries are a common feature of the international shipping industry, applying common sets of rules that vessels must stick to in order to fly a nation’s flag.

Photograph: Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored off the Strait of Gibraltar July 20, 2019. Photo credit: Marcelo del Pozo/Bloomberg

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.

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Remontada des memecoins face à la baisse du marché crypto

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8h00 ▪
3
min de lecture ▪ par
Fenelon L.

Alors que le marché crypto connaît un ralentissement généralisé, certains memecoins de l’écosystème The Open Network (TON) enregistrent des gains surprenants au cours des dernières 24 heures, défiant ainsi la tendance baissière.

Les memecoins montent sur le marche crypto

Une tendance haussière inattendue sur TON malgré la baisse globale du marché 

Selon les données de CoinGecko, plateforme de référence pour le suivi des prix des crypto, certains memecoins de l’écosystème TON ont connu une envolée surprenante au cours des dernières 24 heures. Resistance Dog (REDO) a bondi de 32%, The Resistance Cat (RECA) de 49% tandis que Ton Inu (TINU) progressait de 9,5%.

Cette dynamique haussière contraste avec la tendance baissière qui prévaut sur le marché crypto dans sa globalité. Là où la capitalisation totale de marché n’a reculé que de 0,1% à 2,54 milliards de dollars, une performance relativement résistante, les deux mastodontes Bitcoin et Ethereum ont pour leur part cédé environ 0,2% chacun.

L’indice GMCI Meme de The Block, qui suit les principaux memecoins par capitalisation boursière, a même dévissé de 2,88%. Ces statistiques illustrent la trajectoire singulière, voire contre-intuitive, des memecoins ancrés sur l’écosystème TON face au vent de panique soufflant actuellement sur le marché crypto.

TON, un écosystème crypto atypique et prometteur 

Issues des équipes à l’origine de la populaire application de messagerie Telegram, la plateforme TON intègre des fonctionnalités blockchain et crypto particulièrement innovantes. Bien que son jeton natif Toncoin ait reculé de 0,4% à 7,78 dollars, les memecoins ancrés sur son écosystème semblent tirer leur épingle du jeu dans ce contexte de marché agité.

Cependant, ces récentes fluctuations n’empêchent pas les analystes de Bitfinex de sonner l’alarme sur les risques d’un « hiver crypto » prolongé. Ils citent notamment les pressions réglementaires croissantes comme principale menace planant sur l’ensemble du secteur crypto.

Si elle se confirme, la dynamique haussière inattendue des memecoins TON pourrait représenter un rare motif d’optimisme dans un marché miné par l’incertitude ambiante.

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Fenelon L. avatar

Fenelon L.

Passionné par le Bitcoin, j’aime explorer les méandres de la blockchain et des cryptos et je partage mes découvertes avec la communauté. Mon rêve est de vivre dans un monde où la vie privée et la liberté financière sont garanties pour tous, et je crois fermement que Bitcoin est l’outil qui peut rendre cela possible.

DISCLAIMER

Les propos et opinions exprimés dans cet article n’engagent que leur auteur, et ne doivent pas être considérés comme des conseils en investissement. Effectuez vos propres recherches avant toute décision d’investissement.

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Supreme Court to Hear Nvidia Bid to Scuttle Shareholder Lawsuit

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a bid by Nvidia to scuttle a securities fraud lawsuit accusing the artificial intelligence chipmaker of misleading investors about how much of its sales went to the volatile cryptocurrency industry.

The justices took up Nvidia’s appeal made after a lower court revived a proposed class action brought by shareholders in California against the company and its CEO Jensen Huang. The suit, led by the Stockholm, Sweden-based investment management firm E. Ohman J:or Fonder AB, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia is a high-flying company that has become one of the biggest beneficiaries of the AI boom, and its market value has surged.

Related: US Regulators to Open Antitrust Inquiries of Microsoft, OpenAI and Nvidia

In 2018, Nvidia’s chips became popular for cryptomining, a process that involves performing complex math equations in order to secure cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

The plaintiffs in a 2018 lawsuit accused Nvidia and top company officials of violating a U.S. law called the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making statements in 2017 and 2018 that falsely downplayed how much of Nvidia’s revenue growth came from crypto-related purchases.

Those omissions misled investors and analysts who were interested in understanding the impact of cryptomining on Nvidia’s business, the plaintiffs said.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. dismissed the lawsuit in 2021 but the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 ruling subsequently revived it. The 9th Circuit found that the plaintiffs had adequately alleged that Huang made “false or misleading statements and did so knowingly or recklessly,” allowing their case to proceed.

Nvidia urged the justices to take up its appeal, arguing that the 9th Circuit’s ruling would open the door to “abusive and speculative litigation.”

Nvidia in 2022 agreed to pay $5.5 million to U.S. authorities to settle charges that it did not properly disclose the impact of cryptomining on its gaming business.

The justices agreed on June 10 to hear a similar bid by Meta’s Facebook to dismiss a private securities fraud lawsuit accusing the social media platform of misleading investors in 2017 and 2018 about the misuse of its user data by the company and third parties. Facebook appealed after a lower court allowed a shareholder lawsuit led by Amalgamated Bank to proceed.

The Supreme Court will hear the Nvidia and Facebook cases in its next term, which begins in October.

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Lawsuits

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Société

City in Upstate New York Restoring Systems Disrupted by Cyber Incident

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The city of Newburgh in New York’s Orange County is today reopening its City Hall while continuing to work on restoring municipal services following identification of a cyber incident last Monday.

The network security incident led to a temporary disruption of some city functions, including the ability to process payments for property taxes, water, sewer, sanitation, permit fees, and parking tickets.

The city has engaged outside information technology experts and other professionals who are continuing to work towards full restoration of operations.

According to officials for the city, which has a population of about 29,000, its police, fire, water, sewer, sanitation, engineering and recreation departments have continued with only minor disruptions and 911 services have remained fully functional.

The schedule calls for city phone and email services to be restored beginning today with systems for processing payments being phased back in over the next seven-to-10 days. The city said there will be a grace period for late payments due to the downtime.

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New York

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Société

Strong Winds Driving Southern California Wildfire

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Strong winds drove a wildfire that forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 visitors to a recreation area and threatened nearby properties over the weekend.

Flames burned through dry brush along Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles on Sunday, and officials issued warning residents in the wildfire’s path to be prepared to possibly evacuate if the fire continues to grow.

The Post fire grew to 14,625 acres and was just 8% contained, according to CalFire.

High temperatures and lower humidity are forecasted for today, with wind gusts possible up to 20 MPH and stronger winds on the ridge tops potentially reaching 50 MPH.

“Crews are working to establish perimeter fire lines around the fire’s edges,” a CalFire update states. “Aircraft are being utilized to halt the fire’s forward progress but are facing challenges due to limited visibility. The California State Park Services have evacuated 1,200 people from Hungry Valley Park, and Pyramid Lake is closed due to the threat from the Post Fire.”

An evacuation warning has been issued for areas south of Pyramid Lake between Old Ridge Route and the LA County line, including Paradise Ranch Estates.

The cause of the fire, which started on Saturday, is under investigation. There are 1,148 firefighting personnel assigned to fight the blaze.

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Catastrophe
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Personal Auto

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US Lawmakers Grill Microsoft President Over China Ties, Hacks

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Microsoft President Brad Smith fielded questions about the tech giant’s security practices and ties to China at a House homeland security panel on Thursday, a year after alleged China-linked hackers spied on federal emails by hacking the firm.

The hackers accessed 60,000 U.S. State Department emails by breaking into Microsoft’s systems last summer, while Russia-linked cybercriminals separately spied on Microsoft’s senior staff emails this year, according to the company’s disclosures.

The congressional hearing comes amid increasing federal scrutiny over Microsoft, the world’s biggest software-maker, which is also a key vendor to the U.S. government and national security establishment. Microsoft’s business accounts for around 3% of the U.S. federal IT budget, Smith said at the hearing.

Lawmakers grilled Microsoft for its inability to prevent both the Russian and Chinese hacks, which they said put federal networks at risk despite not using sophisticated means.

The company emails Russian hackers accessed also “included correspondence with government officials,” Democrat Bennie Thompson said.

“Microsoft is one of the federal government’s most important technology and security partners, but we cannot afford to allow the importance of that relationship to enable complacency or interfere with our oversight,” he added.

Lawmakers drew on the findings of a scathing report in April by the Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) – a group of experts formed by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas – which slammed Microsoft for its lack of transparency over the China hack, calling it preventable.

“We accept responsibility for each and every finding in the CSRB report,” Smith said at the hearing, adding that Microsoft had begun acting on a majority of the report’s recommendations.

“We’re dealing with formidable foes in China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and they’re getting better,” said Smith. “They’re getting more aggressive … They’re waging attacks at an extraordinary rate.”

Thompson criticized Smith’s company for failing to detect the hack, which was discovered instead by the U.S. State Department. Smith responded saying: “That’s the way it should work. No one entity in the ecosystem can see everything.”

But Congressman Thompson was not convinced.

“It’s not our job to find the culprits. That’s what we’re paying you for,” Thompson said.

Panel members also probed Smith for details on Microsoft’s business in China, noting that it had invested heavily in setting up research incentives there.

“Microsoft’s presence in China creates a mix of complex challenges and risks,” said Congressman Mark Green from Mississippi, who chaired the panel.

Microsoft earns around 1.5% of its revenue from China and is working to reduce its engineering presence there, said Smith.

The company has faced heightened criticism from its security industry peers over the past year over the breaches and lack of transparency.

Smith’s responses at the hearing earned praise from some on the panel, such as Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. “You said you accept a responsibility, and I just want to commend you for that,” Greene told him.

Following the board’s criticisms, Microsoft had said it was working on improving its processes and enforcing security benchmarks. In November it launched a new cybersecurity initiative and said it was making security the company’s top priority “above all else – over all other features.”

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Société

Florida Insurance Agents Will Soon Need to Be Appointed With 3 Carriers Before They Can Sell Citizens’ Policies

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Starting July 1, Florida insurance agents must have at least three appointments with authorized carriers before they can sell policies for the state-created Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

That’s the mandate laid down by Florida House Bill 1503, signed into law in May by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Upon the law becoming effective, Citizens will require each agent writing business with Citizens to hold at least three appointments with authorized insurers for each line of business,” reads a bulletin posted by Citizens.

Previous law required agents to have only one appointment, or authorization agreement from a carrier.

“Agents who are unable to, or choose not to obtain the required appointments will lose the ability to write, service, or renew business in that line of authority,” the bulletin notes.

Citizens will notify agents if they are in violation. At that point, agents will have to obtain appointments with other carriers or transfer their book of business to an eligible agent, Citizens said.

The law, which also allows surplus lines insurers to take out Citizens policies on secondary homes, is part of a continuing effort by lawmakers and regulators to trim the girth of Citizens and steer more business back to the private market–without removing the statutory cap on Citizens’ rate increases. Citizens, by far the largest property insurer in Florida, reported 1.18 million policies in force at the end of April.

The new requirement could be painful for some agents who have relied on Citizens and its often-lower premiums to cover properties in the stressed Florida market.

“I would think it would be new agents that would be most affected – those that are trying to start their business and don’t have many appointments,” said Clayton Fischer, an agent with Blue Marlin Insurance, an agency in Miami that holds appointments with more than 15 carriers.

The logic behind the law is not disputed.

“It’s not a bad thing for consumers,” said Karen Roeling, a commercial lines producer with Seibert Insurance Agency in Tampa. “It gives more options.”

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Denmark Seeks to Limit Shadow Tanker Fleet Carrying Russian Oil

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Denmark is considering ways to limit a so-called shadow fleet of tankers from carrying Russian oil through the Baltic Sea, the Nordic country’s foreign minister said on Monday, in a move that could heighten tensions with Moscow.

Russia sends about a third of its seaborne oil exports, or 1.5% of global supply, through the Danish straits that sit as a gateway to the Baltic Sea, so any attempt to halt supplies could send oil prices higher and hit the Kremlin’s finances.

Since Western nations imposed a price cap on Russia’s oil in an attempt to curb vital funds for its war in Ukraine, Russia has relied on a fleet of often aging tankers based and insured outside the West.

Russia’s Ingosstrakh Weighs Legal Action After UK Sanctions

Denmark has brought together a group of allied countries evaluating measures targeting this shadow fleet, Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Reuters in an emailed statement.

He did not say what measures were being considered.

“There is broad consensus that the shadow fleet is an international problem and that international solutions are required,” Lokke Rasmussen said.

“It’s important that any new measures can be implemented in practice and that they are legally sound with regards to international law,” he added.

Countries involved in the talks included other Baltic Sea states and European Union members, the minister said.

Denmark is concerned that old tankers transporting oil through its straits represent a potential danger to the environment.

Russia’s embassy in Denmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news was reported by Danish daily Information and online media Danwatch.

(Reporting by Louise Rasmussen; editing by Terje Solsvik and Mark Potter)

Photograph: An oil tanker is moored at the Sheskharis complex, part of Chernomortransneft JSC, a subsidiary of Transneft PJSC, in Novorossiysk, Russia, on Oct. 11, 2022. (AP Photo, File)

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Florida Appeals Court Says Detroit Tigers Owe Little to Injured Pitcher

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If the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team needs money to rebuild its roster next year, a Florida appeals court just saved the team more than $14,000 in workers’ compensation payments to an injured minor league pitcher.

Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals struck out a compensation judge’s decision to award lefty pitcher Austin Sodders indemnity benefits of $349 per week, more than twice as much as Sedgwick Claims Management had argued for. The court said that the comp judge, Robert Arthur, had abused his discretion by skirting statutory requirements and rejecting the terms of the player’s contract.

“The JCC (judge of compensation claims) does not have discretion to reject the contract’s plain language, even where he finds it too ‘stringent,’” the 1st DCA wrote last week. “Nor does the law permit the JCC to supplement the contract’s explicit terms with his own more flexible terms.”

The decision highlights how tricky it can be to calculate the average weekly wage for some part-time or seasonal workers, particularly ballplayers. Florida law has four different subsections that speak to the methods by which wages should be calculated. Sodders had elected not to pursue a seasonal-worker allowance in the law, and two other sections did not apply; that means that the contract and Sodders’ actual, full-time weekly wages should govern, the court said.

“Under section 440.14(1)(d), the claimants’ full-time weekly wages are ‘determined prospectively by using either the contract of employment or the actual earnings on the job where Claimant was working at the time of the injury,’” District Court Judge Robert Long Jr. wrote in the court’s June 12 opinion.

The 6-foot, 4-inch Sodders, out of Riverside, California, was playing for the Detroit Tigers’ Class-A Minor League team in Lakeland, Florida, in 2018, when he injured his throwing shoulder. Until then, he had posted a respectable earned-run average of 2.72, according to Minor League statistics on milb.com. The Athletic publication called him a top minor league prospect in 2018.

Not long after his injury, though, the Tigers released him. Sodders filed a workers’ compensation claim for temporary total disability. The team paid 70 weeks of benefits at $144 per week, for a total of $10,170. In 2022, Sodders hired well-known claimants’ lawyer Michael Winer, of Tampa, who filed a petition arguing that the team had miscalculated the benefits, and the player’s weekly wage amount should be more than doubled, with benefits totaling at least $24,360.

Both sides agreed that the player had been paid $1,500 a month in salary, per a standard, five-month Minor League contract. Sodders and Winer argued that the wage and comp benefits should be based on a full year of pay at the rate of $1,500 per month, producing an average weekly wage of $349.

Sedgwick countered that the player’s five-month total should be spread over a year to determine a fair weekly pay: $1,500 per month multiplied by five months and divided by 52 weeks equals $144.

Florida compensation judges in at least two previous baseball cases, for a Chicago White Sox player in 1996 and a Houston Astros player in 2012, had followed that same reasoning, Sedgwick attorney Michelle Langlois noted in her response to Sodder’s request for an adjustment to his benefits. Otherwise, it would be produce a windfall for the injured worker.

“The methodology suggested by claimant in his petition for benefits results in annual temporary partial disability benefits that far exceed his total annual earnings,” Langlois wrote.

The comp judge, Arthur, wrote that his reading of Sodders’ contract was that it was not, in fact, for a five-month period and that it required the player to be available for year-round events, including winter-league baseball. The player’s wage calculation should also include his potential earnings from an off-season job, along with a signing bonus.

“The wages which the claimant was prevented from earning during that period were not his wages as a baseball player, as his contract had been terminated on August 7, 2019, but were wages that could have been earned on the open labor market,” Judge Arthur said.

The claimant “should not be restricted by the stringent terms of the minor league baseball contract under which he played, which limited the payments of salary to the championship season, despite its control over the claimant’s activities for the entire year,” the comp judge noted.

The fairest and most reasonable way to calculate the average weekly wage is to simply divide the monthly salary by 4.3 (weeks in a month) for a base wage of $349, the judge said. Otherwise, the employer gains a windfall. He also awarded attorney fees to Winer.

But the appellate judges disagreed, noting that the statute requires the wage to be based on the contract, which appears to limit pay to the playing season, or “actual earnings” in the job in which he was working at the time of the injury. The contract did obligate the pitcher to some year-round commitments, but it also allowed him to seek employment during the offseason.

“Had Sodders earned income from other sources during the off-season, he could have included those amounts here. However, he had not earned other income through any off-season employment, and he did not elect calculation under this subdivision,” the DCA opinion reads.

The appeals court acknowledged that judges of compensation claims have broad discretion in determining a fair weekly wage amount. “But that discretion is not unfettered,” the court noted.

When interpreting contracts to determine the parties’ rights and responsibilities, the comp judge “cannot reform contracts or effect a remedy not provided’ by state law, the appellate judges said.

The DCA remanded the case to the comp judge to reset Sodders’ benefits based on the lower average weekly wage.

Sodders is now director of client solutions at a brand management and marketing firm for utility companies, based in Texas, according to his Linkedin page.

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Florida

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