Kuwaiti newspaper newspaper Argentina and how to avoid a global financial disaster

Argentina’s current debt holds an average interest rate of 7%, which is seven percentage points higher than the zero interest that Germany paid on its government bonds for 30 years, and nearly six points for the 1.2% interest paid by the US Treasury, and Argentina noted that an interest rate of 7% It will necessarily result in default.

When one car slides down an icy road, fifty cars can crash, and this is what happens with the international financial markets, as Mexico’s failure to pay debts in 1982 led to the accumulation of debt of dozens of countries, and the devaluation of Thailand caused July 1997, the Asian financial crisis, and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, triggered a Great Recession worldwide.

The IFIs must be smarter than starting with the collapse of 2020 due to Covid 19, and their wisdom will be tested soon.

Argentina was experiencing a debt crisis again, even before Covid-19 plunged the world economy into its worst economic recession since the Great Depression, and as has often happened in the history of defaults in Argentina, has proven an ill-conceived agreement with rebel creditors. In 2016, which was followed by a rapid return to bond markets, it was a dream of the then president of Argentina, and the country’s creditors.

The fiscal deficit undermined stability, as the 2018 bailout failed to succeed with the International Monetary Fund, and Argentine debt, which has very high interest rates, proved unsustainable.

Yet Argentina was not the only borrower, with lenient lending standards thanks to financial markets, and as a result of ample liquidity pumped by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, many developing countries to borrow heavily in recent years, and it was increasingly recognized that distress Sovereign debt is a major comprehensive risk, and a session at the 2019 IMF Spring Meetings was entitled “Addressing the Next Wave of Sovereign Debt Crises”.

In the context of Covid-19, the collapse of oil prices in March, the start of the near-global closure, the decline in government revenues, and the huge public spending for the survival of the population, led to an unprecedented global financial crisis in peacetime, and the US budget deficit will increase About 18 percent of GDP, or higher, and for many emerging economies, the financial picture cannot be darker.

But even in this context, Argentina made a realistic and appropriate offer to restructure its debt to its creditors, and its creditors must respond positively to it. Here are the details of the offer:

Argentina’s current debt holds an average interest rate of 7 percent, which is nearly seven percentage points higher than the zero interest that Germany paid on its government bonds for 30 years, and nearly six points from the 1.2 percent interest paid by the US Treasury, and Argentina noted Indeed, a 7 percent interest rate would necessarily result in default. The International Monetary Fund has agreed that it is unsustainably high, with hardly any governments – including the United States – able to bear a 7 percent interest rate in this economic environment.

Argentine creditors say they need an interest rate of 7 percent, or even higher, because of the possibility of defaults, but they seem to be unaware that if Argentina’s interest rate is lowered to approach the US interest rate, defaults will not necessarily happen And the high interest rate of 7 percent is a self-fulfilling prophecy: it makes defaults inevitable, while that will not necessarily happen if the interest rate is low.

Argentina proposed to refinance existing debt with low safe interest rates, thus avoiding the need for a “reduction” in the capital. (In fact, in line with Argentine law, the offer of exchange includes a small symbolic reduction of the face value of debt, which, in my view, should be canceled in any final deal) Similar to the mortgage refinancing process, existing bonds will be replaced by bonds that reflect low interest rates Today, however, instead of an interest rate equal to the price of US treasury bonds, Argentina offers an interest rate of 2.3 percent, higher than the yields of the treasury bonds in its creditors ’portfolios, and there are details of the grace periods, and the time paths of interest performance operations that must be negotiated and refined, And put the finishing touches on it, in light of the horrific and evolving economic facts.

But the creditors ’phases are strange. They claim that Argentina imposes a significant reduction in the value of the debt, although it is not essentially available. The Argentine government proposes a safe return that is higher than the safe interest rate of the United States, and its offer is logically correct. Causes the risk of default? Why do creditors prefer Argentina’s default on its economic recovery?

Creditors calculate the alleged debt undervaluation in Argentina’s offer using a 10-12 percent discount rate, as if they deserve a risk-free return of 10 percent or higher, when the US Treasury rate is just above 1 percent, and the press is keeping pace In these financial circumstances, it indicates, motivated by a sense of duty, that Argentina imposes a significant reduction on creditors, while it does not do so. In fact, Argentina is reducing the interest rate at risk of default to an interest rate that will not cause this.

And I will add another point, some friendly official creditors, or multilateral institutions, can improve the deal by guaranteeing some or all of Argentina’s payments on new bonds, and such a guarantee will be a completely safe bet: with a low interest rate, and a new maturity structure, Argentina will not default Payment.

And often the global financial markets are in a state of panic when one country, not to mention many countries, begins to slip, as it is possible that there are 30 to 40 countries suffering severe financial stress now, and all these countries need to refinance their debts this year and next year, Until the recovery from the epidemic restores global economic activity, restores government revenues, and reduces the need for emergency expenditures.

In such cases, collective rationality in financial markets requires guidance from the International Monetary Fund, and the leadership of a number of major creditors. Otherwise, this will lead to a creditors’ race to extract assets. Each creditor says to the other: “You refinance the debt while I receive the payment, thanks is yours”.

If debt service payments for this year are dealt with cautiously, they can be recapitalized, at low interest rates, but in order to avoid financial accumulation, and if not, 2020 will represent a new and destructive episode of the global financial crisis.

When banks panicked in 1907, it was J. Perponte Morgan and his bank who led the financial system away from the brink, and in 2020 the leader must be BlackRock, which was managing $ 6.5 trillion in assets at the end of The first quarter of the fiscal year, which is one of Argentina’s major creditors, and Black Rock could direct the bondholders to refinance Argentina’s debt at a safe interest rate, and do the same with other sovereign borrowers, who are suffering from the epidemic.

It’s your turn, Larry Fink, to help prevent a global financial disaster.

* Jeffrey D. Sachs

* Professor of sustainable development, professor of health policy and management at Columbia University, director of the Colombia Center for Sustainable Development and director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Network.


“A physician must anticipate the worst so that it will not happen “

Article published in Pilgrim no. 7175

The Pilgrim : After three months on the front lines of the pandemic, how do you feel ?

Nicolas Robin : As someone who comes out of custody, it is the case today. Otherwise, I remain dismayed by what happened. Angry also.

Why this resentment ?

N. R : Because this wave of the epidemic would never have had to occur. Our past experience, we had prepared for this type of situation. In 2004, the H5N1 flu had populations of birds, in 2009, it was the avian flu, then the H1N1 influenza transmitted by pigs. We laughed, then, Roselyne Bachelot, with its spending on vaccines. But she had expected, acted as it should. As from December 2019, we knew that the epidemic Covid was going to hit us and we are left with the arms dangling.

According to you, what should we have learned from the past to avoid such a serious situation ?

N. R : For a long time, we know the effectiveness of the measures barrier. With the plan influenza pandemic of 2009, the reception capacity in hospitals have been increased, but then reduced drastically. In 2007, the creation of the Eprus – establishment of preparedness and response to health emergencies – would be able to react quickly to pandemics. Again, this structure was dissolved in 2016. Just as the institut de veille sanitaire, absorbed in 2017 by public Health, France. The ministry of Health reorganizes them into constantly these instances of surveillance and all of this was transformed into a nebula ineffective.

→ PODCAST. “Emergency room physician, the coronavirus shook my certainties “

But epidemics are anyway phenomena the inevitable…

N. R : Of course ! As long as there is life on Earth, the man will be exposed to bacteria and viruses. We will face others in the future. This is the reason why you should be prepared to combat it. Anticipate the worst, to avoid the catastrophe, it is the fundamental mission of the doctor.

How to place the arrival and taking care of patients in the intensive care unit at the centre of South Seine-et-Marne ?

N. R : At the beginning, in panic. We didn’t have enough devices, surblouses, sleeves, masks. Some of us worked with plastic ponchos. We had to use the famous masks FFP2, ” six hours instead of four, to ration the doses of curare and drugs to put you to sleep. We have reviewed all our practices to the economy because the equipment and personnel were missing, while we had patients in respiratory distress.

How your health care team and you-you lived through this period of crisis ?

N. R : All caregivers are tight elbows because it is our mission to treat patients regardless of the risk. So we all have dark without we scroll. I’ve seen doctors, nurses coming to work in fear because we are a generation that has not experienced the plague, the war, the gas… We did not know how to cope. Of course, we felt supported by the population. Some brought us cakes ! We even made an appeal for donations and we were offered glasses of protection.

The weak management of the epidemic is the fact that the general situation of the hospital ?

N. R : The problems of the hospital, apart from salaries, are based on the governance. The directors of the hospital institutions do not know the occupations of caregivers and do not have a medical culture so that they are called to take critical decisions. At the same time, teachers, or doctors become department heads and they do not necessarily have a training manager, the skills to operate in the best teams, commit to them, to defend them.

You say that the hospital system in France is a nebula, opaque. How to describe it ?

N. R : We have university hospital centers, university hospitals, placed in the guardianship of the ministry of Health, ministry of higher Education and the regional Agencies of health, the ARS. In these large centres are trained to the students, the future doctors. Then, we have the hospitals of the prefecture, in the heart of the cities, which have all the specialties that are generally supported by the local institutions even if they depend on ARS. Finally, there are the peripheral centres, such as that of Fontainebleau, where competences are distributed on various sites.

They also depend on the ARS but are unable to agree among themselves, which produced a big mess. This organization is redundant, cafouilleuse. And at its head the kingdom the management accountant of the health.

A State may not, however, spend thoughtlessly public funds. Savings seem to be necessary…

N. R : Perhaps, but on the ground we find ourselves in situations that are irrational. We work with systems that are unsuitable. We have a software to read the radio, another for the biological results, yet another one for the prescriptions… and all of these tools do not communicate between them.

The patients can see it clearly : when they arrive in the emergency room, a doctor asks them questions, take their contact details and a whole bunch of information. When they come into the intensive care unit, we start again with the same questions ! Because we do not have access to the folder… Now we hold the lives of patients in our hands. We don’t imagine that an airline pilot can take the controls of his plane without the essential data.

What is the job of the intensivist ?

N. R : Patients in the icu are in a life-threatening emergency, between life and death. It can be a distress renal, cardiac, neurological, often respiratory because there is a great interaction in the functioning of our bodies.

The services of resuscitation to manage that interdependence and supplement these deficiencies through machines, dialysis, respirators, medications.

With the Covid-19, have you had to cope with more deaths than usual ?

N. R : We had 35 patients in the icu, 18 patients intubated, and of these, 9 have died. For me, who have twenty years of experience in the icu, many patients in distress, and for a same pathology represents an unprecedented wave. The loss of four or five sick at the result, it’s terrible !

How to leaves it in combat anyway ?

N. R : You get used to this promiscuity with death, because our speciality is sometimes the last chance of survival of the patient. I am a believer and I think this helps me, supports me, gives me hope.

Sometimes, it was more of a commitment to some people. I had a sick Covid 36-year-old that I had to intubate her. She was worried and I reassured her when she asked me if she was going to wake up. Finally, she did not exit.

The loss of a patient affects us but we need to take a step back and protect ourselves. We do not have the choice to continue.

Resuscitate or not ? How such a decision does it ?

N. R : The decision criteria are variable and relative. We take into account the patient in his entirety : his age, his life, if he lives alone or not, his family, his children and his wife, his will is that he can talk and what motivates him.

Some people may refuse to go to resuscitation. We analysis and discuss with them when a future is possible. Our mission is to evaluate the remaining life and the quality of this remaining, the heaviness of care, their chances of success…

What do you think of the promises made by the government to health care providers ?

N. R : Promises of more ! In 2019, we were promised the erasure of the debt of the hospital in three years. For us caregivers, it doesn’t mean anything. What we need are staff, beds, equipment. Ways.


Nicolas Robin in a few dates :

1964 Born in Antony (Hauts-de-Seine). Father engineer and mother at home.

1982 Obtained his bachelor’s degree. Studies of medicine at the university of Paris-XI.

1993 Obtained his diploma of general medicine.

2001 Diploma of medical ethics. Published The Clones have a soul ? Ed. the Harmattan, 152 p. ; 12,70.

2005 Passes the degree of doctor intensivist.

1995-2017 Working in the hospital of Nemours, Montereau-Fault-Yonne paris and Fontainebleau (77).

2009 Published in self-publishing to Survive the flu. Available in ebook format on Kobo.

2017 Is attached to the centre hospitalier Sud-Seine-et-Marne, created at Fontainebleau.


food industry has avoided shortage

“There has been no shortage and there will not be. Michel Nalet, who is in charge of Lactalis’ outdoor advertising, wants to believe that the worst is behind the food industry. There have been occasional breaks in the store, especially kitchen products: milk, butter, cream, grated emmental cheese … But nothing that cannot be resolved in one or two days.

→ LIVE. Coronavirus: most of the day of April 21

An optimism shared by the rest of the sector, thanks in particular to the return of workers to the factories. If absenteeism figures may have panicked the big names in the food industry at the announcement of containment, this is no longer the case today. The production lines were under tension at first, confirms François Eyraud, managing director of Danone fresh produce France. But the pre-emptively confined employees begin to return. We still have around 10% absent, but it is a structural absenteeism, for example for childcare.

A hygiene culture

The € 1,000 premium, tax-free, paid to employees who agree to work, and the effective implementation of sanitary measures encouraged employees to return to work. These are measures that are well known in the food industry, explains Michel Nalet. Apart from social distancing, our hygiene rules are very close to barrier gestures: washing your hands, putting on alcoholic gel, wearing masks and charlottes …

François Eyraud confirms: There is a culture of hygiene in our sector. Danone, thanks to its implantation in the four corners of the world, had even anticipated government directives and was one of the first companies to require temperature measurement, control of hand washing, markings on the ground, or even plexiglass windows to receive carriers. Overall, the big groups have rather played the game , confirms Laurent Rescanières, in charge of the agro-food sector at FO.

A contrasting situation

Still, the epidemic will leave its mark. According to Ania, 70% to 80% of the 700 food-processing companies saw their often drastic decline in turnover in March. ” The aceituation is contrasted, explains Barbara Bidan, director of communications at Fleury-Michon. We have a big activity in large and medium-sized stores, but a decline in ready meals because people cook more. Two branches of the group have come to a complete standstill: airline meals and business delivery.

→ READ. During confinement, eat differently

The additional cost of raw materials (up 3% to 16% since the start of the crisis), the cost of sanitary equipment but also the rising prices of carriers weigh on the accounts of companies.

Prepare for after deconfinement

For the rest, “We have no visibility, notes Michel Nalet, at Lactalis. Catering outside the home, in canteens or businesses, has taken a hit and it will take time to regain the pace before the crisis.

“We will have to think about the return of our 4,000 employees currently teleworking “, add François Eyraud. That is to say reorganize the offices to maintain social distancing, limit contact as much as possible, or even eliminate breaks at the coffee machine.


the other ephemeris 25 years ago, Valvi avoided relegation by winning in Lugo

? St. George’s Day and Girona basketball have a special relationship. A title for girls and a virtual salvation for boys. In the latter case you need to take a look back in time a little further back. Today, just 25 years ago, Valvi Girona avoided relegation by winning, in an agonizing way, on the Breogan track in Lugo. The team then led by Quim Costa won 68-69, tying the series to two and forcing the fifth game, which would end up playing in Fontajau. On Galician soil, on April 23, 1995 the main protagonist was Ricardo Aldrey, in charge of hunting a crucial rebound and scoring two free throws, ignoring the pressure of more than 7,000 spectators who went against him. The end of the match, well pressed and disputed, had everything. Even an incident, just after the horn, when local Maxey attacked one of the two referees with a punch to the face. The eliminatory one was decided a few days later in Girona and the Valvi prevailed (77-67) certifying the permanence.


Salary cuts to avoid further economic damage

With football paralyzed for more than a month and with no prospect of resuming any time soon, more than half of the league’s clubs have already reached agreements with their players to lower their salaries and avoid further economic damage. Not only the personalities of footballers, coaches and executives, who assume that in such a severe loss moment and with a future of so much uncertainty, it is necessary to reduce their salaries, but also for the rest of the employees of clubs or corporations, than with the Agreements reached will not see their wages reduced in most cases.

To alleviate the crisis that is shaking an industry that represents 1.37% of the country’s GDP, the clubs of the highest category in Spanish football are carrying out two measures. The ERTE, applied, according to the order of the First classification, by Barcelona, ​​Seville, Atlético de Madrid, Alavés and Espanyol; and the agreements, in order to avoid temporary employment regulation files, which have already been reached by Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Athletic, Osasuna, Betis, Levante, Valladolid and Celta.

The footballers’ salary reduction would reach 20% in the event that the competition could not be resumed for Real Madrid (if football returns it would be 10%), Real Sociedad, Osasuna and Levante, although the Navarrese club has announced that “the salaries of all the club’s workers will be maintained during the months of March, April and May, the most complicated of the health crisis”, and “if the season can end, the workers will receive one hundred percent of their wages normally”. For Athletic and Valladolid, if the championship were to be permanently suspended, the drop in chips would be 17%, and for Betis, 15%. «It is difficult to talk about money when there is a serious health problem, but the economic scenario is difficult for Betis if the League is not resumed. We have put the club, its fans and its workers above all, because doing an ERTE would have brought a lot of instability, “admitted the president of the Verdiblanco club, Ángel Haro, who when he announced the agreement thanked the” generosity “of the players and the coaching staff.

If the remainder of the competition could be concluded behind closed doors, as LaLiga wishes, Levante would reduce its salary by 3%, according to an agreement “that” avoids taking drastic labor measures for the rest of the workers in the club »which also includes the president, Quico Catalán, At double the salary, 6%, the Athletic footballers would then resign, with matches without an audience, who joined the list on Wednesday; and 5% those of the Real Sociedad.

Just two weeks ago, LaLiga urged, “given that the conversations with the Association of Spanish Soccer Players (AFE) are very distant -and thus still remain-“, he urged the First and Second clubs «to initiate ERTE to reduce working hours due to force majeure authorized by the Government as an exceptional mechanism to avoid and alleviate the negative impact that the Covid-19 is having on the sector ». Since then, after Alavés, Espanyol, Barça and Atlético were ahead of that measure required by the employers, Sevilla has been the only one that has presented an ERTE that can reach, and actually reaches in clubs, up to 70% of the reduction in working hours and, therefore, in wages. “The position of AFE, by responsibility, is the application of the reduction of working hours, if the ERTE is justified, and to avoid that all the economic impact falls on the public purse”, insists the syndidate of players.


How to make the declaration of income in 2020

It is still almost a month before the income campaign begins, but the Provincial Treasury is already sending the first self-assessment proposals to the taxpayers of Biscay and the keys to processing the declaration via the Internet. Whether you send us a draft or if we take care of ourselves making the statement, it’s time to review some basic tips to make sure that we don’t make any silly mistakes that deprive us of a deduction or generate a requirement.

1. Always make the statement

Although finally you do not process it. You may not be in the cases or thresholds in which it is mandatory to take a portrait before the Treasury, but make the statement. Maybe you will find that it comes back to you. Doing it should always be done, throw it out … We’ll see.

2. A statement or two?

If you have a spouse or domestic partner, study whether it is more profitable for you to file individual returns or make a joint. Important, the joint must include all minor children, whether or not they have their own income.

3. Do not leave anything in the inkwell

Do not forget to indicate the deductions that you can apply for descendants, ascendants or disabilities of any of the members of the family unit, as well as the fees that you may pay to unions and political parties or the donations you make to foundations or non-governmental organizations.

4. Eye to the data

Along the same lines, if the Treasury has sent you a proposal for a declaration, carefully review all personal data, especially if there have been developments in your family situation throughout 2019. You may have changed your address or marital status, you may have had (or adopted) a child, that an older person has moved in with you or that the degree of disability of a family member has changed, and some of these new factors may lead to the right to tax deductions.

5. Each one on his own, and our goods too

If you have separated, check that the allocation of the goods after the distribution appears correctly and, if they exist, make sure that the compensatory and maintenance pensions are duly reflected. If there are children in common, also check the convenience of one of the parents making their declaration together with them.

6. Check your real estate assets

Examine how the properties that you may already have or have acquired during the last year are registered. Make sure, for example, that the percentage of ownership that corresponds to you is well indicated or that you have included the returns obtained with them if you have them rented.

7. Time to settle accounts (with past declarations)

Check if you have negative balances (capital losses generated for example in unfortunate stock transactions) in any of the previous four fiscal years. If so, please include them on the return to offset positive gains or returns generated during 2019.

8. Do you sell it or donate it? It doesn’t matter, declare it

Declare if in 2019 you have transmitted goods by sale but also by donation. To calculate the gain or loss of wealth in the IRPF that the operation has supposed, you have to subtract the value of the acquisition of the good sold or donated to that of its transmission without forgetting to include the expenses of both procedures.

9. Review your mortgage contract

If you deduct for the purchase of your habitual residence, see if you can also include payments for life or home insurance; they are deductible when they are expressly included in the conditions of the mortgage loan.

10. Saving for retirement has its advantages today, too

Don’t forget to include your contributions to EPSVS or pension plans, reducing them from the tax base.

11. The unemployed and retirees are also portrayed

Not being active does not release us from our tax obligations. Unemployment benefits and retirement pensions are taxed.

12. Death does not free us from the Treasury

If your spouse has died during the last financial year, you must file the returns on their behalf or (if you are more interested) make a joint including their income and deductions.

Income 2019 Bizkaia: who does the draft send to the Treasury?


The G20 supports stabilizing the oil market, but avoids citing cuts | Economy

New shock in the oil market. Mexico’s refusal to accept the production cut proposed by Russia and Saudi Arabia puts a global agreement at risk. To the point that the G20 ministers avoided this morning giving explicit support to the reduction in production in a statement that had to be delayed for several hours precisely because of that uncertainty.

In this way, the final communiqué of the G20 energy ministers was decaffeinated, stressing the importance of guaranteeing the stability of the energy market and their commitment to use all resources so that the sector can contribute to the recovery of the economy. after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But no reference to production cuts, given the disagreements of Mexico, which rejects the proposal, despite an offer of mediation by President Donald Trump, according to Reuters.

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia and its Russian-led allies, which together form the OPEC + group, on Thursday closed a pact to cut crude production by 10 million barrels per day (bpd) equivalent to 10% of supplies. worldwide. Russia and OPEC said they wanted other producers, including the United States and Canada, to cut an additional 5%. Experts believe that even that 15% drop will be insufficient: global supplies will still leave excess supply as demand has fallen by 30%.

But Mexico said it would only cut production by a quarter of what OPEC + requires. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Trump has offered to make additional cuts in the United States on his behalf, an unusual offer by the US president, who has long criticized OPEC, Reuters reports. López Obrador said that Mexico had been asked for an initial cut of 400,000 bpd, or 23% of its current production, and that it was later reduced to 350,000 bpd. The Mexican president has made increasing oil production one of his priorities.

Measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus have plunged demand for jet fuel and cars, straining the budgets of oil-producing nations and hitting the American shale industry (crude that is extracted by hydraulic fracturing), more vulnerable to low oil prices due to its higher costs.

The G20 statement this morning therefore does not cite the cuts. “We commit ourselves to take all necessary and immediate measures to guarantee the stability of the energy market,” said the G20 statement, published by the Canadian delegation more than ten hours after the start of the meeting and in which the forum recognizes “the commitment of some producers to stabilize energy markets “.


Privacy and security issues shake up Zoom’s success | Innovation

A simple line of code has opened the Pandora box for the privacy and security of the Zoom video conferencing app. A line with which the company itself activated a software development kit – better known as the SDK for its Facebook acronym – that allowed both the social network and the application to collect certain data, such as IP, without the consent of the users. , the type of device, the operating system, and the location and time use of the connection. “It has only affected the Apple ecosystem. This Monday they already amended the error, but the damage has been done. They have amassed massive data whether you have a Facebook account or not. Now they can profile those who have connected, “says attorney Natalia Martos, founder of Legal Army.

These practices have prompted New York Attorney General Letitia James to open a judicial investigation. In a letter sent to the organization, it asks that it specify what kind of information it collects, for what purposes and to what other entities it provides consumer data. “It is a company that does not take privacy into account. Although difficult to prove, this is a full-blown data sale. It has taken a slice. No one sells information for free. More or less is what happened with Cambridge Analytica ”, argues Martos. But this lack of privacy only represents the tip of the iceberg of all the controversies that the coronavirus-imposed quarantine has uncovered in an application whose downloads have grown thanks to 86% confinement in a month, according to the Crunchbase portal.

An investigation of The New York Times It has revealed this Thursday that the application had a data mining function, just start the session, which automatically linked user names and email addresses with LinkedIn profiles. It didn’t matter that during the call someone used a pseudonym or opted for anonymity. If a user activated the LinkedIn Sales Navigator service, they could access the profiles of this social network of other participants in the video call by clicking on an icon next to their names. The CEO of the company, Eric S. Yuan, has announced that for the next 90 days he will freeze these types of options to correct them and reverse the security and privacy problems detected.

Attacks of trolls, intrusion into external video calls, public links to the rooms, a default configuration for file sharing that allows sending malware… An excessive accumulation of vulnerabilities for recently reaped success. The use of Zoom has become popular during this crisis thanks to the arrival at forced marches of telework, video calls between friends and family, distance classes and all kinds of remote connections.

As the days go by, the controversies multiply. Some users have confirmed that it is relatively easy for someone to monitor their activity while using the application. For example, the One Zoom feature alerts the caller if a guest has been more than 30 seconds without the open program in the foreground. That way a boss could know if someone has followed a meeting with more or less attention. The management of emails has also generated controversy. The app automatically adds other people to a user’s contact list if they sign in with a mail that shares the same domain. It can help in the search for a specific partner, although the hidden face is that the company, by unifying them as if they worked for the same organization, exposes the personal information among everyone. “If this occurs in the European Union, the fine would be impressive,” ditch Martos.

Zoom has defended itself against the allegations with an entry on its corporate blog. He argues that he does not sell any type of personal information; that it respects privacy laws such as the European Data Protection Regulation and the California regulations, known as CCPA; and that it does not control meetings or the content exchanged. The latter has raised a stir. It was advanced by the digital medium The Intercept by claiming that there is no true end-to-end encryption in video calls, but one TLS. That is, third parties do not access audio and video, but the app Yes, you can do it through the server through which the information runs. “We will continue to improve and evolve our privacy approach to ensure that we are doing the right thing for our users,” says the company.

In the meantime, the cybercriminals take advantage of the moment to scam users. Despite being a free application, in mobile stores we can find it for about four euros. It is an obvious example of phishing –A set of techniques that seek to deceive a victim, earning their trust by posing as a trusted person, company or service. They supplant the Zoom image with an identical one, as if they superimposed the false identity on the original one. “There are no magic recipes to detect it. You have to be very careful and check everything. If we look closely, companies often incorporate authenticity data, ”says Óscar Lage, a cybersecurity expert at Tecnalia.

Repairing part of the errors is already impossible. As Lage maintains, these problems are the result of products that simply focus on functionality. “Privacy and security are not included from the beginning. The only solution they have left is to patch the app. The ideal would be to use open source, community-maintained and auditable applications, ”he explains. There are more options to maintain digital contact or continue working from home. Each with its characteristics and limitations, but the success of Zoom has not monopolized video calls. “Google Hangouts and Skype would be good alternatives. They are subject to very strict privacy, “concludes Martos.


It will take two and a half to a year for the consumer to be compensated | Economy

The extension of the social protection umbrella deployed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic last Tuesday with the latest royal omnibus law decree approved by the Council of Ministers incorporated a specific chapter aimed at protecting consumers. Faced with the impossibility that they enjoy during the alarm state of multiple goods or services contracted prior to the health emergency, the Executive establishes a series of protocols that establish when and how they can be compensated. The text, however, also seeks to give some air to the companies that served them, making it easier for them to delay compensation for a general period of up to two and a half months or a full year in the case of travel.

A priori, article 36 of the rule, in force since last Thursday, stipulates that if the measures associated with the state of alarm make it “impossible” to comply with contracts for the sale of goods or the provision of services, consumers and users “will have right to terminate the contract within 14 days ”.

However, the resolution can only be executed within this period if it is not possible for the contracted company to offer some type of alternative compensation proposal before the reimbursement. The text contemplates options such as the offer of substitute bonds or vouchers and delays the option for the consumer to claim the money until “a period of 60 days has elapsed since the impossible execution of the contract without agreement between the parties on the proposal” alternative.

If an agreement is not reached in those two months, the employer must return the money to the client that requires it, with the same formula with which the payment was made, within a period of 14 days and discounting the “incurred expenses duly itemized”.

In the case of the provision of recurring services (successive contract contracts), such as gyms or academies, what is foreseen is the recovery of the service afterwards and the return of payment only if the consumer does not accept for the period of services not provided ” to reduce the amount resulting from future installments ”. In addition, the company will refrain from charging new fees until service resumes normally.

Finally, in the case of package tours that have been canceled by the pandemic, the organizer or the retailer that will market them may provide the consumer with a voucher to be used within one year from the end of the state of alarm and its extensions. Only if after these 12 months the client continues to claim the money, will the refund proceed.

. “The decree is clearly not intended to protect the consumer, but rather to avoid an avalanche of claims against businessmen,” giving them time to stagger the reimbursements or try to offer alternatives, explains Manuel Jesús Marín López Professor of Civil Law at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and member of the Center for Consumer Studies. Marín recalls that the legislation already provided for the right of consumers to obtain financial compensation for a service not provided or purchased that is not delivered. “The article does not give new rights to the consumer”, he asserts, maintaining that, in fact, it imposes on the client the obligation to wait during those 60 days of term until he can claim the money against the alternatives that are presented to him even if that is his intention since the first day.

Despite this, there is no lack of those who recognize that the rule establishes basic principles of consumer protection in an exceptional state that could well lead companies to allege the impossibility of facing reimbursements. “It is an extraordinary and new situation”, emphasizes Carlos Ballugera, president of the Council of Consumers and Users, who gives a “very positive general assessment” to the decree and that the Government has included requests from the body and consumer associations. “The recognition of the right to return in frustrated supplies or services, in the face of the doubts that force majeure could generate as an excuse for the company not to return, clarifies the situation and recognizes a high level of protection for the rights of persons consumers ”, he defends. “The decree looks at both the interest of the company and the consumer,” he concludes.

Material for claims before the CJEU

Litigation. Beyond “not giving new rights to consumers”, for Manuel Jesús Marín López Professor of Civil Law at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, the decree “could violate European standards.” This would be the case of the year of margin that is given to agencies to return the money of canceled combined trips, given the community directive that requires the money to be refunded directly if a journey is canceled, which it assumes could end up being the subject of lawsuits before the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). It would also be the case of the 14 days to claim for other services, or the fact that the expenses of the company can be subtracted from the refund, which would go against the European directives of 2011 and 2019 that impose the full refund with at least two Years warranty.

Confusing deadlines. At the same time, Marín considers that the text has “very confusingly defined” the times when the deadlines for claiming it collect start to run. Although a priori the text gives 60 days to find an alternative solution to reimbursement from the moment the service stops being provided or the good is not delivered, and 14 days to claim the money, the professor asks how he will contact the entrepreneur at that time to start the negotiation if his business is closed as a result of the state of alarm.


Ireland recommends ‘sexting’ and masturbation to avoid infection

The sexual health service of the Republic of Ireland has published a guide to action against the epidemic of COVID-19 in which it recommends ‘sexting’ (exchange of texts or explicit photographs on the internet) and masturbation to avoid infections, whenever wash your hands before and after.

“You should only be sexually active with someone with whom you live and who does not have the virus or have developed symptoms,” stresses the text released by HSE Sexual Wellbeing.

Despite the fact that the recommendation is not to have sexual relations or kiss anyone outside the home, “if it is done, it is important to limit it to as few partners as possible,” the agency emphasizes.

The guide urges the Irish to use virtual dating, ‘sexting’ and chat rooms for socializing, while recommending ‘disinfect keyboards and touch screens when shared by others’.

Regarding masturbation, he says that “it will not spread the coronavirus, especially if you wash your hands and any sex toy with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, before and after.”

In the Republic of Ireland 3,447 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed so far and 85 deaths have been recorded.