Week InReview
Friday | Oct 23, 2020
To globe-trot or not to globe-trot.
Illustration: Dave Urban/The Wall Street Journal
The call of nature, what Thoreau called the “tonic of wildness,” is hard to ignore during times like these. Millions of adventure travelers are jonesing for a restorative getaway. Weekend cyclists dream of peddling along flat, empty roadways in the bucolic Loire Valley. Recreational climbers itch to scurry along the limestone rock walls in the Greek islands.

As countries around the world gradually re-open to tourists, many jetsetters are wrestling with the question: Is it safe and responsible to travel? Or am I being reckless and selfish? 

The Wall Street Journal
let's recap...
Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
Collateralized loan obligations offer investors higher yields and credit grades than other asset classes thanks to large doses of Wall Street alchemy. But that safety may be fleeting, according to a new study, which says that the widespread failure of rating companies in recent months to downgrade CLOs in line with their underlying loans has made them significantly riskier than they appear. (Bloomberg Markets | Oct 22)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is poised to ease the approval process for certain exchange-traded funds that use derivatives to try to secure gains. The SEC will vote on whether to adopt new rules for leveraged and inverse ETFs Oct. 28, according to an open meeting notice posted Wednesday. The rules will stem from a 2019 proposal that would let some leveraged and inverse ETFs use the same streamlined approval process available to standard ETFs, rather than seek special consent from the agency. (Bloomberg Law | Oct 22)

The market turmoil triggered by the coronavirus pandemic early this year uncovered weaknesses in the U.S. financial system that regulators are seeking to fix, said Randal Quarles, Federal Reserve vice chair for supervision and Financial Stability Board chair. (The Wall Street Journal | Oct 20) see also Federal Reserve debates tougher regulation to prevent asset bubbles (Financial Times | Oct 17)

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted 3-1 to adopt a final rule to set a so-called net stable funding ratio (NSFR), and other regulators are expected to follow suit. The FDIC and other regulators also approved a rule change for total loss-absorbing capacity (TLAC), which discourages banks from taking on excessive exposure to other banks' debt. (The Wall Street Journal | Oct 20)

The Federal Reserve and other central banks will eventually discover that breaking up isn’t easy after partnering with their governments and the financial markets to avert a pandemic-driven depression. Investors and lawmakers enamored with cheap money may well balk when monetary authorities try to throttle back their quantitative easing and other stimulus measures. (Bloomberg Economics | Oct 18)
the cyber cafe
Illustration: Kevin Hand/The Wall Street Journal
NSA details 25 tech vulnerabilities 
A National Security Agency advisory provides Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) known to be recently leveraged, or scanned-for, by Chinese hackers, along with steps to fix them. Affected products include virtual private networks, networking gateways, and email software, among others.

FSB encourages use of cyber incident response and recovery toolkit
The Financial Stability Board published a toolkit of effective practices for financial institutions’ cyber incident response and recovery. The FSB encourages authorities and organizations to use the toolkit to enhance their cyber incident response and recovery activities.

How to build a 'human firewall' at your firm
The unprecedented shift to remote work necessitated by the pandemic has created a sea change in the assumptions of how and where we work. Security consultant Aamir Lakhani outlines four areas in which to educate workers: multifactor authentication; how to identify attacks, including ensuring others in the home are knowledgeable; password security; and upgrading home networks with a security application.
binge reading disorder
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How to make this winter not totally suck, according to psychologists
Before you run out and buy a fire pit, consider an idea that may help you conquer the dread of pandemic winter. Think about a single organizing principle that is highly effective at generating positive feelings across the board: Shift your focus outward.

The work-from-anywhere era. How ready are you?
Covid-19 hurled us into a state of near-paralyzing uncertainty. And the longer the virus lingers, the clearer it becomes that any form of normal – new or old – will be slow to materialize. The good news is that we are not without reliable guides in this era of change.

The 'game theory' in the Qanon conspiracy theory
Qanon, the online conspiracy that claims Trump is saving the world from corrupt pedophiles, is actually a LARP (i.e. a live-action role-playing game).
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