Fed Stress Tests Clear 31 of 33 Big U.S. Banks to Boost Returns to Investors – By RYAN TRACY and DONNA BORAK Updated June 29, 2016 7:22 p.m. ET


U.S. banking units of Deutsche Bank, Santander fail, same as last year; Morgan Stanley’s approval is conditional and bank has to resubmit capital plan

The Fed issued a broadly positive verdict on the U.S. banking sector with the results of this year’s stress tests.

The Fed issued a broadly positive verdict on the U.S. banking sector with the results of this year’s stress tests. — PHOTO: BROOKS KRAFT FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

 

Big U.S. banks won permission from regulators Wednesday to boost dividends and buybacks, offering investors some welcome news after the sector got hammered when the U.K. voted last week to exit the European Union.

All but two of 33 institutions passed the final round of the Federal Reserve’s annual “stress tests,” conducted to gauge how such firms would fare in a new financial crisis. (See this interactive graphic on how each bank fared.)

Big firms such as Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., which struggled on the tests in recent years, passed this time. Morgan Stanley also passed but received a bit of a rebuke. The Fed said it found “weaknesses” in internal risk- management processes and required the bank to submit a revised capital plan by the end of the year, though it will still be able to return capital in the meantime.

Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman said that the firm is able to increase its capital return to shareholders for the fourth consecutive year, adding “we are committed to addressing the Fed’s concerns about our capital planning process and fully expect to meet their requirements within the established time frame.”

Article continues:

From YouTube Pioneer Sal Khan, A School With Real Classrooms – ERIC WESTERVELT June 30, 2016 5:03 AM ET


Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, sits in the main room of his laboratory school in Silicon Valley.

Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, sits in the main room of his laboratory school in Silicon Valley.

Sami Yenigun/NPR

After some 10,000 online tutorials in 10 years, Sal Khan still starts most days at his office desk in Silicon Valley, recording himself solving math problems for his Khan Academy YouTube channel.

“OK, let F of X equal A times X to the N plus,” he says cheerfully as he begins his latest.

Khan Academy has helped millions of people around the world — perhaps hundreds of millions — learn math, science and other subjects for free.

But these days, just one flight of stairs down from his office, there is a real school that couldn’t be more different in form and structure from those online lectures.

Most Fridays, the lunch option includes a Socratic dialogue with Khan himself on a wide range of issues, ideas and trends.

“So the last couple of seminars we’ve been talking about technologies that will potentially change the world,” the 39-year-old Louisiana native tells the students. “We did self-driving cars, virtual reality; we talked about life extension, and robots.”

He’s sitting on a picnic table with a small group of seventh- and eighth-graders, who are nibbling on their lunches. The seminar topic when I visited? The prospects and perils of artificial intelligence.

Article continues:

 

Terrorism and Turkey’s Deal with Israel – By Michael J. Koplow June 29, 2016


Will Cooperation Work?

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at Jun 30, 2016 2.54

On Tuesday, three machine gun-wielding suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport, killing 41 and injuring hundreds. News of the attack quickly overshadowed the week’s other major development in the country: a deal to normalize relations between Turkey and Israel after a six-year falling out. Although the two events might seem unrelated, they are connected in that one of the major factors driving reconciliation was cooperation on intelligence and counter-terrorism. Whether the deal will survive long enough for such benefits to be realized is a question that only becomes more urgent after the horrific terrorist attack.

Israel and Turkey’s announcement that they had agreed on the terms of their reconciliation came after years of false starts. Under the deal, Israel will pay Turkey $20 million in compensation for the nine Turkish citizens killed during the raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010, allow Turkey to send humanitarian supplies to Gaza via the Israeli port city of Ashdod, and permit Turkey to support building projects in Gaza, including a hospital, power plant, and desalination plant. In return, Turkey has promised to end the lawsuits still pending in its courts against four high-ranking Israeli military officials involved in the flotilla raid, stop Hamas from launching or financing terrorist operations against Israel from Turkish territory, and intercede with Hamas on Israel’s behalf to secure the return to Israel of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held in Gaza. Both sides have also agreed to return their ambassadors to the other country and to drop any remaining sanctions against each other.

Article continues:

#OscarsLessWhite: the Academy just invited nearly 700 new members to improve diversity – Updated by Aja Romano on June 29, 2016, 7:19 p.m. ET


Director Ryan Coogler (L) and actor Michael B. Jordan were among the latest crop of Academy invitees. -- Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

Director Ryan Coogler (L) and actor Michael B. Jordan were among the latest crop of Academy invitees. — Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

After two consecutive years of fielding persistent criticism over the ubiquitous whiteness of its Academy Award nominees — criticism that was most visibly expressed via the #OscarsSoWhite Twitter hashtag and subsequent boycotts of the 2016 ceremony — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is actively trying to diversify its membership.

On June 29, the Academy issued a record 683 membership invitations to various filmmakers and other Hollywood elites. And in keeping with the new membership diversity initiative it announced in January, many of these invitations went to women and people of color.

However, don’t expect to see immediate changes in the Academy’s overall diversity numbers; because the organization as a whole is still so predominantly white and male, its new “class” of entrants will only increase its overall diversity to about 38 percentup from 33 percent before the new invites were sent out. This stat, as noted in the Hollywood Reporter, includes both female and nonwhite members.

In other words, even with this record-breaking invitee list, the Academy still skews 62 percent white and male.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, 46 percent of the Academy’s 683 newly issued invites went to women, and 41 percent went to people of color. Many of the most prominent potential recruits from among the Academy’s efforts to recruit women and creatives of color were attention-getting names. You can see the whole list at THR, but here are a few of our most notables.

Article continues:

Chinese Startup Wants to Predict Your Health With a Digital DNA Avatar – Natasha Khan June 29, 2016 — 3:00 PM PDT


Wang Jun. Photographer: Calvin Sit/Bloomberg

Wang Jun. Photographer: Calvin Sit/Bloomberg

Wang Jun spent 16 years expanding the world’s understanding of what living things are made of — sequencing genomes including those of the giant panda and potatoes.

Now he’s attempting to build on that: using DNA as one component to create online avatars that could act as health-care test dummies for people. Asia’s biggest internet company believes he’s onto something.

Wang’s iCarbonX wants to construct a “digital you” containing biological samples such as saliva, proteins and DNA; bolstered by environmental measurements such as air quality; and lifestyle factors such as workout regimes and diet. The Shenzhen, China-based company is developing algorithms to analyze the data, with the intention of recommending tailored wellness programs, food choices and possibly prescription medicines.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Zhongyuan Union Cell & Gene Engineering Corp. invested in iCarbonX, making it one of only three health-care startups in China with a $1 billion-plus valuation, according to CB Insights. Preventive medicine is burgeoning in the nation as cancer and diabetes diagnoses increase. Artificial intelligence systems will generate $6.7 billion in global revenue from health care by 2021, compared with $811 million last year, researcher Frost & Sullivan said.

Article continues: