JUST OUT: 3.9% Unemployment. 4% is Broken! In the meantime, WITCH HUNT!
JUST OUT: 3.9% Unemployment. 4% is Broken! In the meantime, WITCH HUNT!
Three months after departing the Amazon series “Transparent” amid accusations of sexual harassment, the actor Jeffrey Tambor is poised to return to television.
Mr. Tambor, who left his Emmy-winning role on “Transparent” after being accused of harassment by a fellow cast member and a former assistant, will appear regularly during the forthcoming season of “Arrested Development” on Netflix, according to a spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television, the studio behind the show. The season, the show’s fifth, was filmed last year, before the allegations were made against Mr. Tambor, the spokesman said.
It is not clear if there were any discussions about pulling Mr. Tambor from the show or not using the scenes in which he appeared. A Netflix spokeswoman did not immediately respond to inquiries. Mr. Tambor plays the patriarch of the Bluth family, the dysfunctional clan at the center of the show.
Last year, Netflix fired Kevin Spacey from “House of Cards” after he faced numerous allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The next and final season of “House of Cards” will appear later this year, without Mr. Spacey.
A premiere date for the new season of “Arrested Development” has not been announced. But Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator of the show, said this week that the return would be “real soon.”
The first three seasons of the series, which was a critical hit and beloved by its fans but struggled to find an audience, aired on Fox between 2003 and 2006. The fourth season appeared on Netflix in 2013.
“What we’re seeing is not necessarily good for society, but it is rational behavior by these companies,” he said.
The two new Facebook labs are part of wider expansion for the company’s A.I. operation. In December, Facebook announced that it had hired another computer vision expert, Jitendra Malik, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He now oversees the lab at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Even with its deep pockets, Facebook faces fierce competition for talent. Mr. Allen recently gave the Allen Institute, which he created in 2013, an additional $125 million in funding. After losing Mr. Zettlemoyer to Facebook, the Allen Institute hired Noah Smith and Yejin Choi, two of his colleagues at the University of Washington.
Like Mr. Zettlemoyer, both specialize in natural language processing, and both say they received offers from multiple internet companies.
The nonprofit is paying Mr. Smith and Ms. Choi a small fraction of what they were offered to join the commercial sector, but the Allen Institute will allow them to spend half their time at the university and collaborate with a wide range of companies, said Oren Etzioni, who oversees the Allen Institute.
“The salary numbers are so large that even Paul Allen can’t match them,” Mr. Etzioni said. “But there are still some people who won’t go corporate.”
Others researchers believe that companies like Facebook still align with their academic goals. Nonetheless, Ed Lazowska, chairman of the computer science and engineering department at the University of Washington, said he was concerned that the large internet companies were luring too many of the university’s professors into the commercial sector.
Three women sued Charlie Rose and CBS on Friday, alleging that they were sexually harassed by the former anchorman while working for him and that the network did nothing to stop it.
On Thursday, The Washington Post published an article that detailed accusations against Mr. Rose by numerous women, including the three who are suing, and alleged that CBS managers knew about harassment complaints against Mr. Rose before he was fired in November.
CBS has said it was not aware of any allegations about Mr. Rose’s behavior before a November article by The Post that detailed accusations from multiple women and led to his firing as a host of “CBS This Morning” and a correspondent for “60 Minutes.” PBS, the longtime home of the “Charlie Rose” interview show, also cut ties with Mr. Rose.
At the time, Mr. Rose expressed “embarrassment” for pursuing what he believed to be “shared feelings” with women who had accused him.
TV networks are under an intense spotlight to explain how they have handled cases of sexual harassment and misconduct. NBC has said it will soon release findings from an internal investigation about what the network knew about the actions of Matt Lauer, who was fired in November as a host of the “Today” show for inappropriate sexual behavior. Top NBC News executives have denied knowing anything about Mr. Lauer’s behavior before an allegation that led to his dismissal.
The lawsuit against Mr. Rose and CBS was filed by three women in their 20s: Katherine Harris and Sydney McNeal, former employees of Mr. Rose, and a current CBS employee, Yuqing Wei, who also goes by Chelsea.
Ms. Harris, who worked at CBS before going to work for Mr. Rose in 2017, and Ms. McNeal, who became his executive assistant last year, said he had inappropriately touched them and repeatedly made sexual remarks. At one point, they said, he told them, “You just need to become lovers already.”
The suit said that when Ms. Harris wore a miniskirt covered in images of roses, he told her “that the roses on her skirt are his roses.” The lawsuit also alleged that Mr. Rose referred to Ms. Wei as “China Doll.”
In the suit, Ms. Wei, an assistant, said she expressed concerns last year to the current executive producer of “CBS This Morning,” Ryan Kadro, about the amount of attention that Mr. Rose lavished on Ms. Harris outside the office. She also claimed that she had told Mr. Kadro, “I’m telling you in case you have a lawsuit on your hands.”
When asked for comment, CBS referred to Mr. Kadro’s comments to The Washington Post, in which he said, “Ms. Wei did not tell me about inappropriate behavior by Charlie Rose towards Ms. Harris at any time.” He also said, “Regarding the question about suggesting there would be a ‘lawsuit’ — I don’t believe she used that word.”
CBS said in a statement, “We will vigorously defend against the allegations pertaining to CBS News and Mr. Kadro.”
Mr. Rose did not respond to an email and a phone call seeking comment.
The suit also accuses Mr. Kadro of harassment, saying that at one point last year he “kicked and shoved Ms. Wei’s chair with substantial force, startling, intimidating and scaring Ms. Wei.” It alleges that Ms. Wei went to CBS’s human relations department to complain about Mr. Rose and Mr. Kadro shortly after Mr. Rose was fired.
“CBS never got back to Ms. Wei about her complaint,” the suit said.
The suit claims that the network reached out to Ms. Wei and Ms. Harris in March “to deter plaintiffs from pursuing claims.” Ms. Wei has been on medical leave since March, the suit said.
In an email sent to CBS staff on Thursday, the network’s president, David Rhodes, provided an update on some of the measures that it is taking to create a safe work environment.
“We will continue our accounting for what has happened here before,” he wrote, “and we will be the best place to do what we do in the future — I know we can be.”
Whoever owns the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby knows one bet will pay off: The breeding fees for that champion colt will dwarf what he has earned on the racetrack.
Take American Pharoah, who captured the first Triple Crown in 37 years when he won the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in 2015. His stud fees started at $200,000 per cover, the equestrian term for a live breeding, before his fee became private.
“A horse like American Pharoah may breed four times a day,” said John Grau, farm manager at Sunnyfield Farm in Bedford, N.Y., which has two horses sired by American Pharoah and plans to sell them at auction this summer. “Some of those top stallions can breed over 200 mares in a season and then go to the Southern Hemisphere and breed again.”
In other words, a horse like American Pharoah could earn his owners tens of millions of dollars in a few months. And he isn’t even the highest-paid stallion: That honor goes to Tapit, a white stallion with a so-so race record but a prodigious breeding history. He commands $300,000 a cover.
If horse racing is the sport of kings, thoroughbreds are the kings of horse breeding. And the business of breeding a winning racehorse is as lucrative — and risky — as any investment.
Other types of horses have the potential to be good investments, too. While the auction prices may not be as eye-popping as they are in the thoroughbred world, there is still plenty of money to be made in the dressage, reining, hunter and jumper styles of horses.
Still, the risks are plentiful. Mr. Grau noted that the full stud fee was payable once the foal could stand and nurse, which can be as quick as 15 minutes after it’s born.
“Then, what do you do if the horse gets sick in the next week and dies?” he asked. “You’ve got to start over.”
The individual ways that people breed horses for profit are as unique as the horses themselves. While there are some large equine operations, the majority of the business remains the province of individuals with deep pockets, big ideas and a high tolerance for risk.
American quarter horses are used in the sport of reining, a sort of Western dance in which rider and horse are in sync as the horse spins and runs around a rink.
Michael Miola, a breeder of quarter horses who made his fortune as the founder of the mutual fund technology company NorthStar Financial Services, runs Silver Spurs Equine. He has farms in Arizona and Oklahoma with 34 stallions and 100 mares, but few horses go to him.
He has set up a system where horse owners can order breeding online for about $3,000 to $5,000. Like any retailer, he offers online discounts, as low as $550 a breeding, and incentives for booking a stallion early.
“I make it up in volume,” Mr. Miola said. “We sell about 2,000 to 3,000 breedings a year.”
The push in the reining world, as it is with thoroughbred horses, is to breed a winning stallion as much as possible in his first three years — when his offspring are still unproven in competition. But Silver Spurs also aids in egg embryo transfers for mares that are still competing. Mr. Miola’s farms have some 150 mares that act as surrogates, he said.
In dressage, the costs can be lower still. Louise Leatherdale, owner and co-founder of Leatherdale Farms in Long Lake, Minn., which is considered among the best breeders of dressage horses, said she might charge as little as $2,000 for two breedings.
But the horses need to be approved by Mrs. Leatherdale’s farm to ensure that the bloodlines of dressage horses remain strong. (Dressage horses trace their roots to Germany and the Netherlands.)
And raising dressage horses for sale takes several years, largely because championship qualities don’t emerge until the horse is 5 or 6, Ms. Leatherdale said.
Tom Grossman, who got into horse breeding 15 years ago as a tax deduction when he worked at Goldman Sachs and then in hedge funds, left the financial world in 2011 to concentrate full time on breeding two types of horses at his Blue Chip Farm in Wallkill, N.Y. He said his standardbred horses, for harness racing, were like reliable stocks, while he sees his show-quality jumping horses as private equity investments that may pay off big or not at all.
Mr. Grossman typically has $20,000 to $25,000 invested in each standardbred horse — which includes a breeding fee of around $7,000 to $10,000 — and looks to sell the horse for around $60,000 after the first year, he said. His highest sale price was $240,000 for a horse he had invested $50,000 in.
One reason for the lower price for these racehorses — which pull a buggy and a jockey around a track — is that the winnings aren’t as substantial. They’re competing in races with prize pools of about $100,000 or less. The Kentucky Derby pool is expected to be around $2 million, with about two-thirds going to the winner.
Mr. Grossman said he had branched out into jumpers because he had seen a chance to build a program for a type of horse that was typically bred only in Europe. It began with a mare named Sapphire who won two Olympic gold medals. The farm now has 52 show jumping horses, from a few days old to 7 years.
But he said he couldn’t properly value the show jumping horses until they were at least 5. Annual costs run about $40,000 when their training starts at age 3.
“I have the land and the staff, and I have patience,” Mr. Grossman said. “There aren’t that many people willing to invest in a purely cash-flow-negative business for the first few years. It’s like vintages of private equity funds: There are no realizations, just money out the door.”
The risks of investing in horses are legion. Foals are stillborn. Colts and fillies break legs. Horses that fetched top prices on great promise can’t run, or struggle to compete. And the horse that makes it through a great competitive career can have complications: Stallions don’t always perform, and mares can die giving birth.
In 2002, Ms. Leatherdale bought a stallion named His Highness, considered among the finest in his day. The horse bred 536 times as a 2-year-old. But at age 6, he broke a leg and had to be euthanized.
Still, the return for the horses that make it is enough to keep breeders chasing a great one.
James Fairclough, a professional rider who trains sport jumping horses, said a good rule of thumb was to assume that out of 100 horses, 65 may break even or lose money at sales prices of $5,000 to $15,000. Of the remaining 35, most will sell for above $50,000, but only the top five will command the high six-figure prices that support the breeding program.
These prices are far from the $1 million prices for top 1-year-old thoroughbreds. But whatever the breed, the goal is to raise sound horses and turn a profit.
“When we had our inspections, the inspectors said you just need to keep them healthy for three more months and you’re good,” Mr. Grau said of Sunnyfield’s two horses sired by American Pharoah. “It’s a lot of pressure. I’ve been on farms and the horses are just going through the fields, and they break their leg.”
What do you do if there is no one willing to undertake a long-term commitment?
If we can’t find anyone in their lives, we explore people who have signed up with You Gotta Believe to be parents to older youth. The volunteers are evaluated, go through a background check and then take a series of training classes to learn about late adolescent issues.
How do you match up prospective parents and young people?
We have gatherings, which can be picnics in a park, with volleyball and Frisbees, in the summer months. We also have indoor events where people engage with one another through activities, games — and eating — so they hopefully spark a connection that will lead to a lifelong bond.
Who wants to get involved?
We get all kinds of people — families, couples, single people — many of whom have been thinking about this kind of commitment for a long time. Some have adopted before, and some have children who are grown and are ready for another commitment.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been working in this field since my early 20s. I was a youth in foster care and not adopted. I lived in a group home, so I know personally the struggles and emotional needs of such kids. I left at 19 but later returned there and worked for more than 11 years helping the residents with their lives. After that, I joined You Gotta Believe.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
It happened recently, when one of the kids got discouraged, crying that “I just want someone to stick around.”
Those days are challenging because it’s a reminder that those kids deserve a family that provides them unconditional love and support.
The report analyzed data on federal loans that entered repayment from fiscal years 2009 through 2013, and focused on nine companies that offer default prevention services, out of about four dozen such companies. (The nine served about 1,300 colleges, and accounted for about 1.5 million borrowers who entered repayment in 2013.)
Of the nine, five encouraged forbearance over other options, and four sometimes provided “inaccurate or incomplete” information to borrowers, the G.A.O. found. In one case, a consultant mailed forbearance applications to past-due borrowers, along with a letter incorrectly stating that they could lose federal benefits like food assistance if they defaulted on their student loans.
The report did not identify the consultants or the colleges that had hired them. Abby Shafroth, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, said such consultants may often be retained by for-profit colleges, which tend to rely heavily on federal student aid programs for revenue.
Some companies that promote default prevention services on their websites focus on two-year community colleges, although some include testimonials from traditional, four-year colleges.
Here are some questions and answers about forbearances:
Does a forbearance ever make sense?
Forbearance may be a helpful tool for short-term financial setbacks — say, an unexpected medical bill — that you can resolve in a few months to perhaps a year, loan experts say. But they are a bad idea if you simply can’t afford your loan payments and you don’t expect the situation to change anytime soon. In that case, flexible plans that tie monthly payment amounts to your income may make more sense, said Diane Cheng, associate research director at the Institute for College Access and Success.
What should I do if I’m contacted by a default prevention consultant?
If a consultant suggests forbearance, it’s wise to call your loan servicer on your own and explore alternatives, including plans that offer affordable payments tied to your income. A servicer is the company that officially manages your loan, handling tasks like sending you statements, collecting payments and processing changes in your repayment plan. (In some cases, the consultant may even be an affiliate of the servicer, Ms. Cheng said, but it’s the servicer that actually makes the changes.) “Borrowers,” she said, “should know they have options beyond forbearance.”
Several plans are available that adjust monthly payments to reflect your income and family size. Depending on how low your monthly payment is, your debt could actually grow over time, in some cases. But any loan balance remaining after 20 or 25 years (depending on the plan) is forgiven, so there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still, there is a downside to consider: You’ll pay income taxes on the amount forgiven.
The China Horse Club has about 200 members, according to its vice president, Eden Harrington. Membership costs a minimum of $1 million, according to some reports, but Mr. Harrington said the club offered different tiers of investment and that the fee was a credit that went toward the purchase of horses. He declined to give a range, and the club does not disclose the identities of members, who include wealthy citizens from China’s mainland and beyond.
The club’s success, however, has led to questions about where its money is coming from, how it is being used, and how the club has been able to spend so much overseas when the Chinese government’s sweeping anti-corruption crackdown has halted billions of dollars of international deals.
Teo Ah Khing, the man behind the high-flying club, is a self-described billionaire from Malaysia with big ambitions. Mr. Teo, a Harvard-educated architect, does not want to just win races, he wants to build a horse racing mecca in China, where gambling is still illegal. He has also broken ground on a horse racing “resort and lifestyle development” in St. Lucia, a Caribbean island that currently has no thoroughbred industry but does have a citizenship-by-investment program that provides passports to anyone who invests $100,000 in the country — an attractive perk for wealthy Chinese citizens who want to escape pollution and seek better education for their children.
Mr. Teo did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Mr. Teo’s introduction to the world of horse racing began when he designed the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His club is now the world’s ninth-ranked owner, according to a calculation by the website Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
Mr. Harrington said the club kept its membership private to shield members from potential public scrutiny amid a Chinese government led anti-corruption campaign which has “created a culture of fear where people didn’t want to be seen to be spending money in a way that may be seen as excessive.”
The club, he said, “took a stance to ensure that we would race under the banner of the club to protect our members to that end.” He added that the club has undertaken its own reviews to make sure members did not come by money illegally.
Adding to the China Horse Club’s mystery, Mr. Teo runs it through a complicated network of companies that are registered in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and the Cayman Islands.
Corporate filings in China show Bai Zhisheng, a senior official in the city of Tianjin, as a director of two companies in partnership with Mr. Teo, including Desert Star Holdings, the entity that owns the China Horse Club. Mr. Bai has been a member of a regional committee charged with reforming state-owned companies since 2014. He did not respond to a request for comment.
The club has marketed itself as both an investment opportunity and a networking group. Investors might see another potential benefit: a way to invest money overseas at a time when strict currency controls make it otherwise difficult. Mr. Harrington said that concept has never been a part of the club’s business plan, that the club also invests in China itself, and investors participate because they are drawn to the sport. The club closely vets all applicants before it accepts them, Mr. Harrington said.
Shortly after the club was formed, Mr. Teo set up a joint venture to develop a property in Tianjin, less than two hours southeast of Beijing, billing it as Tianjin Equine Culture City. Little development occurred.
Mr. Teo then shifted his focus to the China Equine Cultural Festival, an annual “lifestyle, business and thoroughbred racing” event. It has been held for the past two years in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, a quiet and largely empty city in northern China, and includes four races and multiple ceremonies honoring advisers and local government officials spread across two days.
Around 17,000 people attended last year’s event, the club said, including John Warren, a member of the club’s international advisory council who is also the bloodstock and racing adviser to Queen Elizabeth; Allen Chastanet, the prime minister of St. Lucia; and Elliott Walden, the president and chief executive of WinStar Farm, with whom the club partnered, along with Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing, on Justify and Audible.
Building a horse racing empire in a market as large as China is alluring. The Chinese New Year Raceday in February in Hong Kong, where racing is regulated and wagering is legal, attracted 89,084 people searching for a lucky start. The all-sources handle, or money bet, was about $221 million. The attendance for last year’s Derby was 158,070, but the handle was $209 million.
However, significant hurdles remain, including the ban on wagering in China. Many wealthy businessmen have tried before Mr. Teo and failed. Tracks and veterinary facilities are inadequate, and there is a lack of quarantine facilities, which makes it difficult to get horses out of the country.
The club’s events are organized on a local level, without the recognition of major regional or international bodies governing the sport.
Mr. Teo’s project in St. Lucia, which is also a member of the British Commonwealth and home to about 200,000 people, includes plans for a casino, marina, mall, resort, free-trade zone and racetrack with room for 1,000 horses. In November 2016, Prince Harry, Mr. Chastanet and Mr. Teo broke ground. Then quarantine issues and legal problems over land acquisition delayed the nearly $3 billion project for more than a year.
Mr. Chastanet said he did not know any other members of the club except Mr. Teo. The country’s passport program was a big draw for Mr. Teo, as well as the fact that there was no established horse racing industry, “so he was not stepping on anyone’s toes,” he said.
Despite challenges on the development front, the club has made a splash in racing, with nearly 20 Group I or Grade I victories in Australia, England, France, Ireland, Singapore and the United States; and partners like Coolmore, WinStar and SF (Soros Fund) Bloodstock; and the international bloodstock advisers Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Wallace. About three years ago, it set its sights on the American market.
“We did a lot of research and watched from afar for a good 12 months before we came on board,” said Mr. Wallace.
The club secured its biggest victory in the United States to date last year at Churchill Downs, when Abel Tasman, co-owned by Clearsky Farms, came back from last place to win the Kentucky Oaks. The filly went on to win the Eclipse Award for 3-year-old Filly of the Year.
On Saturday, Justify and Audible’s jockeys will be wearing WinStar’s white-and-green silks, a matter of following a rotation, Mr. Walden said. Abel Tasman’s jockey will be in the China Horse Club’s red-and-yellow silks on Friday, as will Sassy Sienna’s. The club bought into that filly just a few days ago.
Most of the club’s American partners say they do not know much about how the club is run or about its projects, but it has gained a reputation among owners and breeders for paying its bills on time in a business where that often does not happen.
“Mr. Teo is a first-class man that we’ve had a tremendous relationship with,” Mr. Walden said. “He’s extremely smart and energetic and a great owner for our business.”
That business now has even the biggest powers teaming up.
“Why buy one horse when you can buy five, why buy five when you can buy 10, why buy 10 when you buy 20?” said Sol Kumin, a hedge fund executive who runs Head of Plains Partners, a co-owner of Justify and Audible. He is also involved with several other successful partnerships, including Monomoy Stables, which owns Derby entrant My Boy Jack and the Oaks favorite Monomoy Girl.
Jack Wolf and his wife Laurie, who run the syndicate Starlight Racing, jumped at the opportunity to buy into Audible and Justify because they usually invest in unproven yearlings.
“In my mind, as risky as this business is, and how capital intensive it is, then the partnership makes a lot of sense,” Jack Wolf said.
About 20 members from the China Horse Club were said to be coming in for the Derby, in addition to partners from Head of Plains and Starlight. They may have different backgrounds, but they all know that in this business, nothing is a sure thing, not even space in the winner’s circle.
“If either one of these horses wins, let’s hope there’s even enough room,” Jack Wolf said outside Audible’s barn. Presumably that space will be sufficient for a proper after-party.
Time to shuck off school exams for months, head to the local beaches or to a relative’s house in the country. Or maybe, just maybe, to give in to the wanderlust and have a grand adventure in a distant land.
This often takes money — for planes, trains, food and lodging.
But for 20,000 to 30,000 European teenagers, travel this summer may have just gotten easier.
The European Commission has set aside 12 million euros to provide young people living in the European Union free InterRail passes to travel to up to four countries on the continent on almost any train.
We’re talking places like Spain, Croatia, France, Italy and, yes, even, Britain, which is negotiating its divorce from the bloc.
The aim, according to a statement by the commission, is to “help foster a European identity, reinforce common European values and promote the discovery of European sites and cultures.”
Nathalie Vandystadt, a commission spokeswoman for education, youth, culture and sport, said by email on Friday that the initiative would be open to 18-year-old citizens of the European Union “regardless of social or educational background.”
Teenagers must be 18 — and only 18 — on July 1, 2018, to qualify for a ticket, a commission spokesman said by phone from Brussels on Friday.
That means if you live in the European Union (including in Britain) and were born between July 2, 1999, and July 1, 2000, you can apply online through the European Youth Portal.
Why only 18-year-olds? It signifies adulthood, the commission spokesman said.
For Europeans, at least, it’s an important age, one that brings certain basic civil rights, like voting, and social milestones, like the ability to legally imbibe alcohol, across the bloc’s 28-member states, the spokesman said.
The application period starts on June 12 and ends June 26. Young people can indicate on the portal which four European cities they wish to visit (including those in Britain).
After a week, they will be notified if they got that ticket to ride.
A group application will be considered as one application. A regular ticket will allow travel by train to at least one and up to four European countries for a maximum of 30 days. The trip must start between July 9 and Sept. 30, 2018.
Sorry, lodging is on you; the commission will pay only for transportation. (Flights are allowed in some exceptions, and so will some trips by bus or ferry.)
But traveling by rail will be the thing, the commission says in a statement:
“The scenery from European trains gives an ever-changing, endlessly entertaining variety of towns, countryside and landscapes that can promote discovery and a better understanding of Europe.”
The measure partly fulfills a proposal put forth by the European Parliament in 2017 that calls for every European to get a free InterRail pass (a multicountry pass can cost upward of €100) on his or her 18th birthday.
The initiative, known as the DiscoverEU program, could also be seen as a way to counter growing nationalism across the continent. Tibor Navracsics, the commissioner for education, culture, youth, and sport, said in a statement that the goal was also to discover “the cultures and traditions of our fellow Europeans.”
A YouGov survey of 6,000 young Europeans in seven countries last year showed that just half of Europeans aged 16 to 26 believe democracy is the best form of government.
The survey also said that a majority of the young people polled saw the European Union more as an economic alliance (76 percent) than a grouping of nations with common cultural values (30 percent).
The DiscoverEU program could well stretch beyond the summer of 2018. The spokesman said that on Thursday, the commission presented to stakeholders a proposal to fund it for the next seven years.
The funds in the 2018 budget reached a mere 0.4 percent of 18-year-olds in Europe, the spokesman said. There are currently about 5.5 million European 18-year-olds.
Depending on how much money the member states pitch in, he said, the aim is to set aside €700 million for the program — reaching 100 million teenagers per year.
Those who make the trip this year will be encouraged to share their adventures on social media and become, perhaps, ambassadors of the grand adventure.
Many enthusiasts of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are motivated by deep skepticism of the central banks that control the world’s money supply.
But what if central banks themselves entered the game? What would happen if the Federal Reserve, or the European Central Bank or the Bank of Japan used blockchain technology to create their own virtual currencies? Besides, that is, having some cryptocurrency fans’ heads explode?
A former Fed governor — who was also a finalist to lead the central bank — thinks the idea deserves serious consideration.
“Most central banks have a view that these crypto-assets are clever, like guys in the garage did it and it’s kind of cool, or risky,” given the potential investor losses and widespread fraud, said Kevin Warsh, who was a governor at the Fed from 2006 to 2011 and was a top contender to become its chairman late last year when President Trump instead appointed Jerome Powell.
If he had returned to the Fed, Mr. Warsh said, he would have appointed a team “to think about the Fed creating FedCoin, where we would bring legal activities into a digital coin.”
“Not that it would supplant and replace cash,” he said, “but it would be a pretty effective way when the next crisis happens for us to maybe conduct monetary policy.”
He added that blockchain technology, which allows reliable, decentralized record keeping of transactions, could be useful in the payment systems operated by the Fed, which enable the transfer of trillions of dollars between banks.
“It strikes me that a central bank digital currency might have a role to play there,” Mr. Warsh, who is now a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, told several reporters Thursday evening.
Some central banks are already doing work in this vein, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of England. And Mr. Powell acknowledged the potential applications in his confirmation hearing for the Fed chairmanship in November, saying, “We actually look at blockchain as something that may have significant applications in the wholesale payments part of the economy.”
It would be quite a twist if a technology whose most ardent fans are motivated by distrust of central banks became a key tool for those banks.
But it would address some of the concerns connected to Bitcoin and its many privately created rivals. To the degree that the value of existing cryptocurrencies fluctuates wildly, they are ill-suited as a medium of exchange. Central banks have spent hundreds of years learning how to keep the value of money stable.
And to the degree Bitcoin and the like facilitate tax evasion, money laundering and fraud, they will be a target of global law enforcement. Central banks are used to building systems that allow enforcement of those laws.
It’s clear that central banks weighing use of blockchain technology don’t share the more anarchist impulses of some of the most die-hard cryptocurrency enthusiasts. But there may be more commonality than it might seem. As Mr. Warsh argues, if people really do believe that digital currencies in some form are the future of money, it would behoove central banks to treat them as more than a novelty.
“Congress gave the Fed a monopoly over money,” Mr. Warsh said. “And if the next generation of cryptocurrencies look more like money and less like gold — and have less volatility associated with them so they would be not just a speculative asset but could be a reliable unit of account — as a purely defensive matter I wouldn’t want somebody to take that monopoly from me.”
In other words, if cryptocurrency enthusiasts are correct that this technology could become a better way of carrying out even routine transactions, the Fed and its counterparts are the institutions that have the most to lose.