Letter From New York 04 17 15 Clouds billowing, going north…

Stepping out of the apartment this morning, I encountered a world that was grey and filled with the promise of rain. Luckily, I had found an umbrella squirreled away so I faced the world with some verve, with a bit of jauntiness to my step.

It was cool but not chill, feeling a bit more like a fall day than one in spring but not unpleasant. Walking over to Amsterdam, I picked up my favorite pair of shoes from the cobbler and headed down to my friend Todd’s office.

He and my godson, Paul, are friends and the three of us went to lunch with another one of their mutual friends, Nick. It was good to see Paul again, for another farewell before his Sunday return to Los Angeles.

I had a couple of conference calls and then headed for the train, crowded with folks heading north for the weekend, now that the weather is better.   The sun came out, teasing us with hope for a fair weekend.

As the train travels north, I am perusing the news of the world, a rather grim pursuit, I’m afraid.

The market plunged today by 280 points. Greece’s woes are rearing their ugly heads again, rattling markets. China is working to temper its runaway stock market. Adding to the concerns, Bloomberg Financial Terminals went offline for two hours, causing the British government to delay a sale of bonds for a week because the terminals are so central to trading.

Not that I am sure I object, the Time-Warner/Comcast deal seems to have run into some serious obstacles. Certain sectors are giddy with relief; I am sure that M&A lawyers are in a funk.

Al Qaida is tightening its noose in Yemen with 150,000 now displaced.

Iran, as I recall no great fan of the UN, is appealing to that body to do something about the Saudi bombings in Yemen.

In Iraq, things happened: a car bomb went off outside the US Consulate in the Kurdish capital and Saddam Hussein’s #2, on the run for all these past twelve years, was killed today while forty more were killed in bombings in Baghdad. Despite the loss of Tikrit, IS continues to control much of northern Iraq and part of Syria.

China, flexing its muscles to the dismay of its neighbors, is building some artificial islands in the South China Sea. On them it is building a significant airfield. The Spratlys are also claimed in whole or part by Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines. China seems to be operating on the “possession is 9/10ths of the law” rule.

The British elections are hotting up, with no clear leader right now. Labour has declared the Tories “in a panic.” However, the Tories are feeling a bit bolstered by some good economic news. May 7th is the election.

Anti-immigrant attacks have now spread to Johannesburg in South Africa, drawing rebukes from both within the country and without.

Two weeks after a “framework” for a deal with Iran was announced, the gaps between the two sides seemed to be widening instead of narrowing. Obama will sign a bill that would allow the Senate to reject the treaty if more than 2/3rds disapprove, another wrinkle in the process.

There was a moving ecumenical service in Cologne’s Cathedral today for the 150 victims of the Germanwings crash. 500 relatives attended. The city stopped to mourn.

And as has been for days, there is a war of words going on over whether the Turks committed genocide on the Armenians a hundred years ago. Some in Congress want to officially call it that but doing so is complicated by Turkey’s role in the current fighting going on in the Mideast. The Turks have hardened their stance in recent years about the events of a century ago, defiantly denying that there were any acts of genocide committed.

The sun is setting through billowing grey clouds over the Hudson River as I move north. Everyone is working or sleeping, winding down from the week. At the end of my trip is a dinner with friends at the Red Dot and then home to my own bed and a weekend full of activities.

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