Trump, Community Bankers Team Up to Boost Lending to Small Business

 

How regulations are affecting community banks

American Bankers Association CEO Robert Nichols weighs in on his meeting with President Trump over financial reform efforts that affect community banks.

President Trump met with community bankers from across the country to find out the potential regulatory reforms and other steps the federal government could take to help boost lending to U.S. small businesses as well as consumers.  American Bankers Association CEO Robert Nichols discussed how the meeting went on the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto Coast to Coast.

According to Nichols, community bankers were optimistic about Trump’s potential appointments to the government’s federal regulator posts.

“We had a great exchange with the president about the need to have people with real world experience in a number of those positions.”

When asked if the bankers in the meeting offered the president any advice, Nichols responded, “They all did Neil, that’s a great question, we talked in some specificity about a series of rules again, some legislative, some regulatory that are kind of getting in the way of additional lending.”

Nichols then pointed out the impact of mortgage and other lending rules on small business job creation in America.

“So we talked about some of the mortgage rules, we talked about some small business lending rules, which of course are so important to the small business communities all across the United States, which are a huge labor force driver in the United States.”

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Though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin anticipated tax reform by August of this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he thought it would take longer.  According to Nichols, bankers hoped lawmakers would pick up the pace on tax reform.

“The desire to get our tax code more internationally competitive vis-a-vis our peers and to reduce some of those rates, clear out the underbrush and get rid of some of those kind of loopholes… we hope that can occur expediently as well.”

Underwater video from 2013 ended up capturing an elusive whale

NOW PLAYINGFirst-ever underwater video of elusive True’s beaked whales

A group of students got an unforgettable science lesson in May 2013—but just how unforgettable is only now coming to light. While on an expedition in the Azores some 950 miles west of Portugal, as many as four beaked whales surfaced and spent about 10 minutes near a small inflatable boat, giving the instructors time to capture underwater footage of the whales.

But not just any whales: A study in PeerJ reports they turned out to be the rarely seen True’s beaked whales, which were first described in 1912 and had never been filmed underwater.

Only seven live sightings had previously been recorded—and New Scientist points out not all were verified—in part because of the elusive whales’ behavior: a brief surfacing followed by dives that can last up to two hours and take the creatures as deep as two miles down.

True’s beaked whales are identifiable by a white patch on their head that looks like a beanie, but the video shows new markings, including one with a white mask, reports Seeker.

That discovery could be a sort of wrench, explains senior author Emma Carroll, who says “it might be more difficult to tell the different beaked whale species apart in the wild than previously thought” as the Cuvier’s beaked whale bears similar coloration.

But there’s a flip side to the coin: More data on their markings could also make it easier for scientists to identify the whales. New Scientist explains that most such data to date comes from stranded whales, whose coloration can be darkened by the sun.

Getting better at identifying them could allow scientists to do something they’ve never done before: estimate just how many True’s beaked whales are out there. (This is the deepest-diving mammal on the planet.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Underwater Video From 2013 Ended Up Being a Big Deal

Biblical king’s palace uncovered beneath shrine destroyed by ISIS

The remains of the Tomb of Prophet Yunus, destroyed by Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, January 28, 2017. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)

The remains of the Tomb of Prophet Yunus, destroyed by Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, January 28, 2017. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)

Archaeologists in Mosul have made a stunning find beneath the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah that was destroyed by Islamic State militants in 2014: the long-hidden palace of ancient Assyrian King Sennacherib.

Experts were documenting the jihadists’ destruction of the tomb’s ruins when they located the palace, which dates back to 600 B.C. ISIS had dug tunnels into the site in a search for ancient artifacts to plunder, according to media reports.

The Telegraph reports that Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih found a marble cuneiform inscription of Assyrian King Esarhaddon inside one of the tunnels. The inscription is believed to date to 672 B.C. when the palace was part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

TREASURE HUNTERS STRIKE GOLD WITH ANCIENT JEWELRY FIND

One of the earliest forms of writing, cuneiform harnesses wedge-shaped marks and was widely used in ancient Mesopotamian civilizations.

The palace was built for the Assyrian King Sennarcherib, expanded by his son Esarhaddon, and renovated by his grandson King Ashurbanipal, according to the Telegraph, which notes that the palace was partly destroyed during the sack of Nineveh in 612 B.C. Sennacherib’s invasion of the ancient kingdom of Judah is extensively documented in the Bible. Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal are also mentioned in scripture, although feature less prominently.

Elsewhere in the tunnel, archaeologists found ancient Assyrian stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, the Telegraph reports.

ANCIENT HONORS: INSCRIPTIONS UNCOVERED AT SYNAGOGUE IN ISRAEL

The Tomb of Jonah, or Nebi Yunus in Arabic, is located on a hill in Eastern Mosul. The site was recaptured from ISIS by the Iraqi army last month during its Mosul offensive.

Jonah is revered in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. The Prophet’s tomb, which was located within a Sunni mosque, was destroyed by ISIS militants in July 2014.

Dr. Paul Collins, Chair of The British Institute for the Study of Iraq, which is working with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and UNESCO to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage, told Fox News that there could be more damage at the site. “The tunnels, probably dug for looting, are in imminent danger of collapse,” he explained, via email. “If this happens the result will be even more destruction at a site that had already been devastated by the explosions that destroyed the ancient Shrine of Jonah – in effect we will lose a place where Iraq’s ancient, medieval and modern cultural heritage rests one above the other.”

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Archaeologists have been aware since the nineteenth century that ancient Assyrian royal buildings are beneath the shrine, according to Collins, who notes that inscriptions and a relief from a dig in the 1870s are now in the British Museum. “Iraqi excavations in the 1950s revealed an entrance to an Assyrian royal arsenal and in 1990 a large Assyrian building to the east of the mosque guarded by colossal human-headed winged bulls was excavated, but this work came to an end with the Iraq/Kuwait war,” he said.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

 

 

A picture taken inside the cave complex  (MICHAEL SCOTT/CATERS NEWS)

A rabbit hole in the UK conceals the entrance to an incredible cave complex linked to the mysterious Knights Templar.

New photos show the remarkable Caynton Caves network, which looks like something out of the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The shadowy Knights Templar order is said to have used the caves.

The Sun reports that the caves are hidden beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire. The site was visited by photographer Michael Scott after he saw a video of the caves online. “I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it,” Scott said.

BIBLICAL KING’S PALACE UNCOVERED BENEATH SHRINE DESTROYED BY ISIS

Once inside, Scott encountered arches, walkways, and carved niches. He described the caves as cramped, noting that anyone nearing six-feet tall has to bend down inside the complex. “I had to crouch down and once I was in it was completely silent,” he said. “There were a few spiders in there but that was it.

Said to be 700 years old, the caves have been long been linked to the Knights Templar – a Catholic military order that played a key role during the Crusades. Named after Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the order was based, the order was founded in 1119 protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.

With the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars’ military influence waned, although they still held great economic sway in medieval Europe. In 1307 the French King Philip IV, who wanted to wipe out his debts to the order, launched a plot to bring the Knights Templar down. Many Templars were arrested on charges including heresy and dozens were later burned at the stake.

TREASURE HUNTERS STRIKE GOLD WITH ANCIENT JEWELRY FIND

Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312.

The caves had been closed for a number of years before Scott’s visit. Black magic ceremonies reportedly forced the owners to seal up the entrance to the caves in 2012.

While some people believe the caves are 700 years old, others think that the complex was carved out by followers of the Templars in the 17th century.

Treasure hunters strike gold with ancient jewelry find

The Leek Frith Torcs (Staffordshire County Council).

The Leek Frith Torcs (Staffordshire County Council).

An incredible haul of ancient gold jewelry has been unearthed the U.K. by two treasure hunters using metal detectors.

Detectorists Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania found the four torcs, a form of ancient necklace or bracelet, on farmland in Staffordshire in December. The finds, which were handed over to the U.K. government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme, were announced Tuesday.

Dubbed the Leek Frith Torcs, the finds may date as far back as 400 B.C. and could be the earliest examples of Iron Age gold ever discovered in Britain, experts say. The torcs, which include three neck torcs and one bracelet, are thought to be from continental Europe, possibly Germany or France.

HUGE 3,000-YEAR-OLD GOLD ‘BELT’ UNEARTHED IN THE UK

Dr. Julia Farley, curator of the British & European Iron Age Collections at the British Museum, assessed the items. “This unique find is of international importance. It dates to around 400–250 BC, and is probably the earliest Iron Age gold work ever discovered in Britain,” she said, in a statement. “The torcs were probably worn by wealthy and powerful women, perhaps people from the continent who had married into the local community. Piecing together how these objects came to be carefully buried in a Staffordshire field will give us an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.”

The site in the Staffordshire Moorlands area was investigated by archaeologists from Stoke-On-Trent City Council, who described the find as “complete” with no evidence of other pieces.

The BBC reports that the pieces will be on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke for the next three weeks.

ALTAR OF VIKING SAINT-KING DISCOVERED IN NORWAY

“This amazing find of gold torcs in the North of the county is quite simply magical and we look forward to sharing the secrets and story they hold in the years to come,” said Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins in the statement.

An inquest Tuesday declared that the find was treasure, the BBC reports, with the artifacts deemed the property of the Crown, or British state. The UK Government’s Treasure Valuation Committee will offer a value to the metal detectorists that found the haul, the landowner where the discovery was made, and any museum that wants to acquire the torcs, according to the BBC.

Once the parties agree on the valuation, the museum would have to raise the money to pay for the artifacts. The finders say they will share the proceeds with the landowner.

FARMER’S FIELD YIELDS HOARD OF ENGLISH CIVIL WAR COINS

This is the latest stunning ancient jewelry find in the U.K. In 2015 a huge 3,000-year-old gold belt, described as one of the largest ever discovered, was unearthed in Cambridgeshire.

‘Wind jewel’: Archaeologists find incredible Mayan jade pendant

jade

 (UC San Diego)

Archaeologists have discovered a remarkable jade pendant fit for a king. Covered on one side with hieroglyphs, the buried jewelry belonged to a Mayan king who would have sported it on his chest ceremonially, the University of California, San Diego announced.

Not only is the hieroglyph-filled item itself fascinating to experts, but so is the fact that it was found in a rainy, parrot-filled corner of Belize, at the periphery—  and not the hub— of the ancient Mayan world. There, archaeologists have excavated a Mayan palace and tomb.

“We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world,” Geoffrey Braswell, a professor of anthropology at UC San Diego, said in a statement about the discovery. “Instead, here it was, far from the center.”

Braswell is the coauthor of a recent study on the find (described in the paper as a “wind jewel”) in the journal Ancient Mesoamerica as well as the author of another forthcoming study on the archeological site where it was found.

RESEARCHERS UNCOVER NEW CLUES ABOUT MAYAN CIVILIZATION’S COLLAPSE

In 2015, Braswell and others excavated the jade pendant— as well as pottery and a couple of teeth— in a tomb that dates to around the year 800 A.D and is located in a place called Nim Li Punit in the south of Belize. According to Braswell, in the year 672, the jade pendant was used for the first time in a ritual focused on summoning wind and rain, which was essential for Mayan crops. Eventually, the precious artifact—which “had immense power and magic,” Braswell said— was buried.

Measuring over seven inches across, about four inches high, and just over a quarter inch thick, the jade pendant is the second-biggest of its kind to be found in Belize. On one side are the hieroglyphs, and on the other, a T-shape. That T, according to the statement on the find, is a glyph known as “ik,” meaning “wind and breath.”

So what do the hieroglyphs say? While Braswell and another expert aren’t precisely sure, they do think they know the king’s name, Janaab’ Ohl K’inich, as well as information about his parents.

“It literally speaks to us,” Braswell said, about those hieroglyphs. “The story it tells is a short but important one.”

Pregnant Fossil Confirms Live Birth in Ancient ‘Sea Monster’

A plesiosaur giving birth.

A plesiosaur giving birth.  (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)

The unique 78-million-year-old fossils of an adult plesiosaur and its unborn baby may provide the first evidence that these ancient animals gave live births, according to scientists.

The 15.4-foot-long adult specimen is one of the giant, carnivorous, four-flippered reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era. Dr. F. Robin O’Keefe of Marshal University in Huntington, W. Va., and Dr. Luis Chiappe, director of the Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Institute, have determined that the skeleton contained within the creature is an embryo — including ribs, 20 vertebrae, shoulders, hips, and paddle bones.

The research — to be published August 12 in Science magazine — establishes that plesiosaurs gave birth to live young, rather than hatching their offspring from eggs on land.

“Scientists have long known that the bodies of plesiosaurs were not well suited to climbing onto land and laying eggs in a nest,” O’Keefe said. “So the lack of evidence of live birth in plesiosaurs has been puzzling. This fossil documents live birth in plesiosaurs for the first time, and so finally resolves this mystery.

O’Keefe also believes the find gives further clues of plesiosaur behavior.

“Many of the animals alive today that give birth to large, single young are social and have maternal care,” O’Keef continued. “We speculate that plesiosaurs may have exhibited similar behaviors, making their social lives more similar to those of modern dolphins than other reptiles.”

Plesiosaurs have no known living relatives, but were common in the world’s oceans during the age of dinosaurs. They were among the top predators in the Western Interior Seaway, the vast, tropical body of water that split North America during the Cretaceous when waters from the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico flooded onto the continent and met.

The remarkable NHM specimen was discovered in 1987 by Charles Bonner on the Bonner Ranch in Logan County, Kan. Virtually complete except for parts of the adult’s neck and skull, the “mother” specimen and her baby were given extensive conservation by NHM and then mounted for display with the supervision of O’Keefe and Chiappe.

The specimen is currently on display in the Dinosaur Hall, the new 14,000-square-foot exhibition at NHM featuring more than 300 fossils and 20 complete mounts of dinosaurs and sea creatures.

Fossil of ‘monster’ worm with snapping jaws discovered

worm

 (Luke Parry)

A giant worm with “terrifying” jaws has caught researchers’ eyes, who say the huge extinct marine worm is a new species known to science. What’s more, it’s been named after the bass player from a death metal band called Cannibal Corpse.

The scientists discovered the fossilized remains of the worm not in the wild, but in a museum. The worm fossil and others had actually been in Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum since 1994, after a researcher took samples from a remote site in Ontario only reachable by helicopter. Based on the fossil, they think the worm was over three feet long and had jaws over a quarter of an inch in size. (Usually, the jaws of these kinds of worm are much tinier.)

“Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance,” the lead author of a new study on the worm, Mats Eriksson of Lund University, said in a statement. “It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in a fossil species.”

PLANE-SIZED FLYING REPTILE WAS A FEARED KILLER IN TRANSYLVANIA

Over 400 million years old, the giant fossilized creature was known as a bristle worm. The University of Bristol compares this ancient worm to modern-day Bobbit worms, which ambush and eat fish or cephalopods like squids.

The scientists gave the new worm species an interesting name: Websteroprion armstrongi. The second part of that name is in honor of Derek K Armstrong, a member of the Ontario Geological Survey who took the helicopter ride to collect the samples in the first place.

The first part is more interesting. That’s in honor of a musician named Alex Webster, a bass player for Cannibal Corpse, a death metal band. According to the statement on the discovery, this is because Webster was a “giant” on the bass, just like the worm itself was giant.

7 new Earth-like exoplanets discovered, NASA announces

NOW PLAYINGAstronomers discover seven Earth-sized planets

Talk about lucky number seven. Astronomers have discovered not one, not two, but seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1.

What’s more, three of them are in the habitable zone— the happy place where liquid water can exist on the surface of rocky planets, as it’s not too hot or cold. (Although liquid water could potentially exist on any of the seven, NASA said, it likes the odds on those three best.) The space agency calls the discovery of the fascinating solar system record-breaking.

“The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second Earth is not just a matter of if, but when,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, said at a news conference announcing the discovery.

Zurbuchen called it a “major step forward” towards the goal of answering the very big question: Is there life on other worlds?

The discovery “is very promising for the search for life beyond our solar system,” Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium, added during the press conference.

This is the first time astronomers have found so many Earth-sized planets circling the same sun.

Since the seven planets orbit the star– which is roughly 40 light years away– fairly close to each other, the view from one planet would reveal other planets to look as big, if not bigger, than the way we see the moon from Earth.

“If you were on the surface of one of these planets, you would have a wonderful view [of] the other planets,” Gillon said, adding that they would be much more than just “dots of light” in the sky, as we see other planets, like Venus, from our home planet.

NASA IDENTIFIES 1,284 NEW EXOPLANETS, MOST EVER ANNOUNCED AT ONCE

The three planets in the habitable zone, also known as the Goldilocks Zone, are called TRAPPIST-1e, f, and g. Exoplanet “e” is about the same size as Earth and even gets around the same amount of star light as we do.

Scientists already knew of thousands of planets beyond our own solar system.

All told, the tally of confirmed exoplanets stood at 3,449 on Wednesday. But only a small number of discovered exoplanets meet the criteria for being possible Earths– Earth-sized planets that are not too big, and in the habitable zone of a star.

NEW NEIGHBOR: SCIENTISTS DISCOVER CLOSEST HABITABLE EXOPLANET

While this discovery was made using the Spitzer Space Telescope, one of the most important instruments in the search for other planets is the Kepler Space Telescope, which is credited with 2,331 confirmed exoplanet discoveries. It uses a technique called the transit method, watching for a star to dim when a planet passes in front of the distant sun. About 74 percent of known exoplanets have been discovered using that method, according to NASA.

Exoplanet discoveries just keep coming.

Earlier this month, astronomers announced that they had evidence of perhaps as many as 114 new exoplanets; the data they used to find those came from Hawaii’s Keck Observatory, which made observations of over 1,600 stars for over two decades. One of those newly-discovered planets that has garnered attention is a hot, rocky “super Earth” called Gliese 411b.

Scientists have even discovered a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, aside from the sun. Called Proxima b, that planet is somewhat larger than our own planet and lies about four light years away— close by cosmic standards but still incredibly far away from a human perspective. (One light year— the distance light can travel in one Earth year— equals almost 6 trillion miles.) The important Proxima b discovery was announced last August.

Follow Rob Verger on Twitter: @robverger

MYSTERY: Half-eaten shark on Florida beach raises speculation about what killed it

0221 fla shark

 (Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue)

A half-eaten shark that washed up on a Florida beach Saturday raised questions about a bigger fish possibly lurking in the water.

A Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue lifeguard snapped a photo of the shark on New Smyrna Beach. Beach Safety spokeswoman Tammy Morris told News 4 Jax that the shark was “definitely” eaten by a bigger fish. She added that the shark was either a blacktip or spinner shark.

A 14-foot great white shark named Katherine was spotted off the Florida coast in January. Another great white shark was spotted in the waters on Feb. 1, Florida wildlife officials said.

Morris said half-eaten sharks do not wash up on the beach often, but she has seen it before.

Officials said the shark might have been about 5-feet long, according to Fox 13 News.