‘Dancing dragon’ shows feathers grew differently on dinosaurs and birds

© Reuters. An artist's rendering of the newly discovered Chinese feathered dinosaur Wulong bohaiensis © Reuters. An artist’s rendering of the newly discovered Chinese feathered dinosaur Wulong bohaiensis

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An exquisite fossil of a fierce little Chinese dinosaur dubbed the “dancing dragon” that lived 120 million years ago – an older cousin of the Velociraptor – is showing scientists that feathers grew differently on dinosaurs than on birds.

The two-legged Cretaceous Period dinosaur, called Wulong bohaiensis, was a bantamweight meat-eater – a bit bigger than a crow – residing in a lakeside environment, researchers said. It possessed a scaly face, a mouth full of pointy teeth and one particularly dangerous toe claw, and probably hunted small mammals, lizards, birds and fish.

Wulong’s fossil, unearthed in Liaoning Province in northeastern China, includes a complete skeleton as well as soft tissues like feathers rarely preserved in such detail. Its long arms and legs each had sets of feathers that looked similar to those on bird wings, while most of the rest of its body was covered by fluffy filaments.

At the end of its long, bony tail – fused into a stiff rod – were two very long feathers.

“The specimen of Wulong is a gorgeous fossil. With the feathers and claws, I think it would have been beautiful and just a little bit scary. I’d love to see one alive,” said San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologist Ashley Poust, who led the research published this week in the Anatomical Record journal.

“I don’t think we know yet how it used its feathers,” Poust said. “It seems likely that they helped with temperature regulation and signaling to other animals, but what this would have looked like and how much these functions mattered remains unclear.”

Birds evolved from small feathered dinosaurs roughly 150 million years ago. But there were many feathered dinosaurs that did not fly, like Wulong. Scientists are eager to understand the plumage differences between birds and these feathered dinosaurs.

A close examination of bones showed this Wulong individual was about a year old, a juvenile still growing.

“Living birds shoot up to adult size very quickly, mainly as a way of getting strong enough to fly as soon as they can. But they may delay getting their adult feathers for a long time. Gulls, for example, don’t look like adults for three or four years even though they learn to fly in only three months,” Poust said.

The young Wulong appeared to have an adult’s plumage.

“Here is an animal that has all kinds of signals of being a juvenile, outside its bones, inside its bones, in its joints,” Poust said. “And it has long, isolated plumes extending from its already-very-long tail. This is quite different from living birds and tells us that these decorative feathers preceded adulthood in dinosaurs. Of course, perhaps they’re using these feathers in a very different way from living birds, too.”

Wulong means “dancing dragon,” so named because of its fossilized skeleton’s active-looking pose. It belongs to a group of meat-eaters called dromaeosaurs, which also includes Velociraptor. That dinosaur lived 75 million years ago in Mongolia and appears in the “Jurassic Park” films.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Sports and General News

China December trade data shows exports rise 9% y/y

December trade balance from China, these in ‘yuan terms’ 

Exports for the month +9.0% compared with +2.9% expected

  • For the year exports +5% y/y

Imports beat huge, +17.7% y/y, vs expected at +8.6%

  • for the Jan to Dec year imports +1.6% y/y

As part of the data release, shows trade between the US and China is down 10.7% y/y in 2019. 

ForexLive

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CES 2020: Quibi aims to change how we watch shows on phones

A new video-streaming service that limits the length of its programmes and shows to bite-sized chunks will launch in the US in April.

Quibi also keeps the action full-frame however viewers hold their phones.

It will feature exclusive entertainment content made by the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray and Reese Witherspoon.

And unlike Netflix, it will also screen specially-made news bulletins made by the BBC, NBC and Telemundo.

But will audiences pay $ 4.99 (£3.80) a month to watch it with adverts or $ 7.99 to go ad-free?

BBC Click’s Spencer Kelly met founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and chief executive Meg Whitman at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

Catch up with all the BBC’s CES 2020 coverage

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BBC News – Technology

Yuan hits multi-month highs as economy shows signs of stabilization

© Reuters.  © Reuters.

Investing.com – The hit almost five-month highs and the USD continued to retreat on the last day of the year in Asia.

The was down 0.06% to 96.69 by 8:45 PM ET (01:45 GMT), continuing a multi-day slide.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the reference rate for the yuan at 6.9762, stronger than the 6.9805 fix set on Monday and its strongest point since early August.

China’s economy continues to show signs of stabilization. The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for December released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Tuesday morning came in at 50.2, steady from a month earlier. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

On a positive note, a sub-index that focuses on new orders for export rose above 50 for the first time in 19 months. However, the non-manufacturing PMI fell to 53.5 from 54.4.

The private Caixin PMI is due out Thursday.

The subdued but positive PMI reading comes as China and the U.S. prepare to sign a phase one deal on their ongoing trade war that has hit both economies.

The pair was up 0.17% to 0.7006 and the was up 0.17% to 0.6736. Both currencies have found gains in the dollar’s slide.

The pair was down 0.15% to 108.70. The Japanese has gained some ground against the greenback this week and is ending a volatile year at roughly the same value as where it started.

The was up 0.09% to 1.3125.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Video shows Hong Kong police officer shooting protester

What keeps the Hong Kong protests going?

Tensions in Hong Kong continued to escalate Monday morning as at least one pro-democracy protester was shot by a police officer. Video of the shooting was streamed live on Facebook.

The video shows two masked protesters in the Sai Wan Ho neighborhood of Hong Kong confronting a police officer during an early morning protest designed to disrupt rush hour traffic. It’s unclear what exactly prompted the scuffle, but the officer quickly drew his gun and shoved it into the chest of one of the protesters while grabbing him with his free arm. The second protester approached the struggle and the cop appeared to shoot him somewhere in the torso.

The protester quickly fell to the ground. The officer fired two more shots and the other protester was also brought to the ground, but it is unclear if he was hit. Both protesters were then handcuffed and taken to the hospital. They were alive and conscious when they arrived, according to CNBC.

Hong Kong protests
A still image from a social media video shows a police officer aiming his gun at a protester in Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong, China, on Monday, November 11, 2019. Cupid Producer via Reuters

The Hong Kong government said in a new release that police had been responding to reports of vandalism and disruptions to traffic prior to the incident.

Trending News

“During police operations, one police has discharged his service revolver, one male was shot,” according to the release. They denied online rumors that officers had been ordered to “recklessly use their firearms,” slamming the allegation as “totally false and malicious.”

Monday’s clash came on the heels of the death of a 22-year-old student, who had fallen from a parking garage during an earlier protest, on Friday and the arrest of several pro-democracy lawmakers over the weekend. Hong Kong has seen a steady and increasingly violent stream of protests throughout the year.

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World – CBSNews.com

Guggenheim’s Recession Probability Model shows US recession can not be avoided

Guggenheim recession forecast model showed a 58% chance of the economy being in a recession by mid-2020

  • 77% chance of one beginning in the next 24 months
  • “aggressive policy action can delay recession, but not avoid it.”

From a note written by Guggenheim Partners global chief investment officer Scott Minerd.

  • Minerd oversees more than $ US240 billion in assets under management

As an aside, when folks quote probabilities at something like 77% instead of rounded to 70, or 80, or 75 or some such they tend to gain more credibility. 

I’m not dissing Guggenheim here, just making an observation. Which is accurate 76.38% of the time. 

😉

And another thing …. if the probability is 77% then it can be avoided, right? (at least in the time frame specified) 

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China Yuan Fixing Shows Preference for Stability Over Weakness

© Reuters.  China Yuan Fixing Shows Preference for Stability Over Weakness © Reuters. China Yuan Fixing Shows Preference for Stability Over Weakness

(Bloomberg) — The Chinese authorities sent a clear signal via the daily currency fixing that it wants to maintain stability in the yuan as the U.S. amps up pressure on the nation’s imports.

The People’s Bank of China set the reference rate for onshore trading stronger than 6.9 per dollar on Friday, even after the offshore currency tumbled to as low as 6.9786 in the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement about new tariffs. That helped widen the gap between the onshore spot rate and the fixing to the most since June 10.

The PBOC hasn’t set the fixing weaker than 6.9 since December, suggesting officials are reluctant to use yuan weakness as a weapon in the trade war, especially in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

The yuan was down 0.55% at 6.9359 a dollar as of 11:29 a.m. in Shanghai, taking the drop this week to 0.8%.

A gauge of expected swings in the yuan over the next month slid to the lowest level in nearly two years on Wednesday.

A gauge of expected swings in the yuan over the next month slid to the lowest level in nearly two years on Wednesday.

A gauge of expected swings in the yuan over the next month slid to the lowest level in nearly two years on Wednesday.

A gauge of expected swings in the yuan over the next month slid to the lowest level in nearly two years on Wednesday.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Video shows moment carnival ride snaps in half, killing 2 people

India carnival ride turns deadly

A popular pendulum-style ride at an amusement park in India broke suddenly in midair on Sunday, killing two people and injuring dozens, officials said. Video of the incident in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad captured the moment the joyride turned into a tragedy.

According to the office of the city’s mayor, two people were killed and 29 others were injured. Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra tweeted that a criminal investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the accident. 

Footage showed the “Discovery” circular pendulum ride at Kankaria Amusement Park starting off smoothly until part of it snapped off. Part of the ride then fell to the ground, leading to deaths and injuries, many of them critical.  

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Chief Fire Officer M F Dastoor told the Ahmedabad Mirror that the accident happened as the pipe of the main shaft of the ride broke, causing it to fall. 

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“There are 32 seats in the ride that go round,” he said. “The pipe of the main shaft broke and crashed on the ground. How that pipe broke is a matter of investigation by Forensic Science Laboratory.”

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World – CBSNews.com

Trump’s Concern About Strengthening Dollar Shows Up in Fed Interviews

© Bloomberg. Larry Kudlow  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg © Bloomberg. Larry Kudlow Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump has grown concerned that the strengthening is a threat to his economic agenda and has asked aides to cast about for ways to weaken the greenback, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trump asked about the dollar in job interviews with both Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller last week, whom he’s selected for seats on the Federal Reserve’s board, the people said. He lamented that the currency’s strength could blunt an economic boom that he expects to carry him to a second term.

The president’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both oppose any U.S. intervention to weaken the dollar, the people said.

The president’s questioning of Waller and Shelton follows months of Trump hectoring the Fed to cut interest rates, a move that would have the effect of weakening the dollar. But beyond regular scolding of the central bank and its chairman, Jerome Powell, Trump hasn’t taken steps to reduce the greenback’s buying power.

Mnuchin hasn’t been directed to publicly talk down the dollar’s value, for example. And the Fed is now seen as less likely to cut rates after a surprisingly strong jobs report last week.

Waller, the executive vice president at the St. Louis Federal Reserve bank, told Trump that central bankers don’t consider the value of the dollar when setting interest rates, the people said. Kudlow, who participated in the Oval Office meeting, reminded the president that the Treasury Department is responsible for monitoring the strength of the dollar.

‘Not Employment’

But in an interview at a CNBC event in Washington on Tuesday, Kudlow said: “Price level stability and a steady dollar is what the Fed should aim for. Not employment.”

The Federal Reserve is mandated by Congress to seek maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates. The White House press office didn’t respond to a request for comment, and a Treasury spokesman declined to comment.

Trump’s focus on the dollar was heightened after the European Central Bank said June 18 it may lower rates for the euro region, prompting a fall in the currency’s value against the greenback. Trump has since complained that the Fed is putting U.S. exporters at a competitive disadvantage by not also considering a rate decrease, and has said that the U.S. would be better off with ECB President Mario Draghi in charge of its central bank instead of Powell.

A strong dollar gives American consumers more buying power for imports while raising prices for U.S. exports, widening trade deficits that Trump has vowed to close.

The greenback has gained ground against currencies of many other major world economies in 2019. While the Bloomberg is roughly unchanged on the year, a Fed trade-weighted measure of the U.S. currency is not far below the strongest since 2002, underscoring the headwinds American exports face overseas.

Dollar Scapegoat

Trump appears poised to treat the strong dollar as a scapegoat should the economy falter before his re-election. In that, he is not alone on the campaign trail.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren last month called for “actively managing” the dollar to bolster U.S. jobs and growth. Her proposal is akin to Trump’s rhetoric and would similarly break from a long-standing agreement among the world’s 20 major economies not to intervene in currency markets.

“If we were to aggressively knock the dollar down to improve trade, it would understandably lead to very, very strong reactions around the world,” said Fred Bergsten of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, who served as an assistant Treasury secretary in the Carter administration.

Trump has placed blame for the strong dollar squarely on Powell. White House officials say the dollar is too strong because the Fed has kept rates too high, which is why Trump expects the Fed — and not Mnuchin — to weaken the greenback.

The Treasury Department’s dollar policy has been relatively consistent over the past three presidential administrations: a strong dollar is in the nation’s best interest. That stance, first developed by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, is underpinned by the view that a robust currency reflects a healthy economy and bolsters foreign demand for U.S. debt.

Mnuchin caused jitters in financial markets in January 2018 by seeming to endorse a weaker dollar at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities,” he said at a briefing. He spent the rest of the conference trying to clean up the remarks, insisting there had been no change in U.S. policy.

Economic Risks

Wall Street currency strategists have lately contemplated the notion that the administration could seek to weaken the dollar.

“Although it would be highly unusual for a U.S. government to attempt further measures to weaken the dollar, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Trump administration will try,” Jane Foley, head of currency strategy for Rabobank, wrote in a July 5 note to clients.

Trump’s options to weaken the dollar are limited. He could seek an international pact with other large economies to jointly weaken the currency, but a senior White House official said there are no plans to pursue such an accord. Another option would be for Mnuchin to order the Fed to intervene, which would be executed by the New York Federal Reserve using money from Treasury’s exchange stabilization fund and the Fed’s own dollar-denominated assets.

Talking the dollar lower introduces economic risks largely out of Mnuchin’s control. The U.S. doesn’t have the kind of vast foreign-exchange reserves that trade rivals such as China and Japan maintain. The U.S. Treasury has intervened three times in currency markets, according to the New York Fed. The last time was in 2011, when then-Secretary Timothy Geithner acted in concert with the G-7 to sell the yen after it surged following an earthquake and tsunami that caused meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

If the currency were to depreciate in a restrained way, the modest inflationary effects could boost prices of imports, aiding the Fed as it tries to raise inflation closer to its 2% annual target.

However, if the fall in the greenback’s value became disorderly, intensifying inflationary pressures might force the central bank to raise rates faster than either Powell or Trump would like. Should long-term bond yields rise as well, the economy could potentially slow, raising costs to finance the nation’s ballooning budget deficits.

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Euro holds steady after EU vote shows pro-Europe parties cling to majority

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar and Euro notes are seen in this picture illustration © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar and Euro notes are seen in this picture illustration

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – The euro barely budged in early Monday trade after pro-European Union parties held on to two-thirds of seats in the EU parliament elections, limiting gains in nationalist opponents.

The common currency was little changed at $ 1.1210 in Asian trade and off a two-year low of $ 1.11055 touched on Thursday, as the markets studied the outcome of the vote.

While center-right and center-left blocs are losing their shared majority, surges in the Greens and liberals meant parties committed to strengthening the union held on to two-thirds of seats, official projections showed.

The results dented the hopes of anti-immigration, anti-Brussels National Rally led by Marine Le Pen, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and others who have been opposing attempts to forge closer EU integration.

“The focus is on how each government will react and how the Brexit negotiations will play out after this elections. So far we’ve seen limited market reaction as far-right, populist parties didn’t do as well as some had feared,” said Shin Kadota, senior FX and rates strategist at Barclays (LON:).

Trading was seen subdued on Monday due to market holidays in London and New York.

The dollar was little changed against other currencies.

The U.S. currency traded at 109.35 yen, not far from a three-month low of 109.02 touched two weeks ago, hit amid worries about escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology.

The dollar has been also capped against the yen as U.S. President Donald Trump is seen putting pressure on Japan to take measures to reduce its trade surplus with the United States.

Trump, who arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, tweeted on Sunday that much of the trade negotiation with Japan will wait until after the country’s election in July.

The British pound was steady at $ 1.2725, having regained some ground after Prime Minister Theresa May set out a departure date, bouncing back from a 4-1/2-month low of $ 1.2605 set on Thursday.

But the prospect of a “no deal” Brexit was fast becoming the central battle of the race among contenders to succeed May, with four of eight leadership hopefuls having said Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31 even if this means a no-deal Brexit.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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