Books Donated by George Soros’ Foundation Burned in Russia


Dozens of books about humanitarian education were burned in a northern Russian republic by officials seeking to enforce a restriction against the Open Society Foundations. According to a news report filed by Kalyeena Makortoff of CNBC, the book burning incident took place in the Komi Republic.

The Open Society Foundations is a non-profit network founded by billionaire investor George Soros, whose philanthropic work dates back to the late 1970s. Soros has always advocated for democracy, civil liberties, personal freedoms, access to education, government accountability, transparency, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

The incident, which evokes a dystopian vision straight out of the pages of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451, unfolded in early January and was confirmed by an official letter by education officials in the Komi Republic.

More than 400 other books allegedly provided by the Open Society Foundations were seized from the libraries of industrial colleges in the Komi Republic. These books will later be shredded.

News reports have confirmed that the Open Society Foundations have been marked in Russia as charities that promote ideologies contrary to what the Kremlin considers to be the Russian way of life. However, the Federal Ministry of Culture has taken exception to the book burning and has ordered an investigation. According to a report by the TASS news agency, book burning is not something that the Culture Ministry condones.

In Russia, affiliates of the Open Society Foundations promote critical thinking among the population of a country that is still transitioning from a totalitarian regime to a democracy. Historically, Soros has been interested in disseminating information that empowers democracy and freedoms; to this effect, in the 1980s he distributed Xerox machines in Eastern Bloc regions for the purpose of copying texts that had been prohibited by communist regimes.

As of mid-January, neither Soros nor the Open Society Foundations had commented on the matter.

George Soros: Apocalypse Then and Apocalypse Now

Over the last three to four years, the United States has been enjoying a somewhat solid and gradual economic recovery. For most people in the U.S., the dark days from late 2008 to late 2011 spanned the worst period of the Great American Recession and the Global Financial Crisis, but what about the rest of the world?

It so happens that not all global markets have recovered in the same fashion as Wall Street. The European banking system, for example, never quite snapped out of the debt crisis created by sovereign default, and turmoil in the Asian markets could create a systemic effect that may prompt a dreaded domino effect. At least this is what billionaire investor, philanthropist and political activist George Soros believes.

In early January 2016, active traders who subscribe to Bloomberg terminals noticed an ominous article by Anusha Ondaatjie and Adam Haigh about what George Soros thinks is happening to global markets. Speaking before an audience gathered in the capital of Sri Lanka, Soros told investors that they should be very cautious and vigilant in what he considers to be a time of economic crisis.

Soros believes that current conditions are similar to 2008 on various levels, and thus they warrant concern. Before Soros walked to the podium in Colombo, global markets failed to impress anyone in the New Year. Two items of major concern were: China’s currency plunging to levels that its own central bank has been unable to contain and investors’ reaction to the U.S. Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates for the first time in many years.

Should investors be concerned about Soros’ gloomy forecast? The short answer is yes; Soros is someone who clearly understands markets at the macroeconomic level. In 2011, Soros firmly predicted the debt crisis of the European banking system, and institutional investors certainly listened. So far, investors seem to be paying attention to Soros once again, particularly in Shanghai and London, where major stock indices have taken considerable hits.

It may be too early to tell whether Soros is right insofar as the coming financial crisis being as severe as that of 2008; after all, the economy of the United States holds promise for the near future with a recovering housing market. Still, many investors are certainly going to take his advice to heart and lower their exposure to Asian markets. The effects of capital flight in China could trigger a widespread economic slowdown because such are the effect of globalization in the 21st century.

Andy Wirth Seeks Connection of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows through Gondola

In the mountains of Olympic Valley lies the promise of a ski lover’s dream: the connection of two equally respected and popular ski resorts, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. These ski resorts merged in 2011 following the purchase of Alpine Meadows by the parent company who owns Squaw Valley, KSL Capital Partners, and are considered some of the best skiing in the continental United States.

Earlier this year, Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Alpine, announced that a gondola would be constructed to better serve skiers of both resorts. Speaking to Powder Magazine in an exclusive interview, Wirth indicated that the percentage of skiers who were on both mountains stood at 25%. This was enough to warrant a discussion of creating a transportation system that took skiers off potentially dangerous roads while still providing them access to both resorts.

The gondola, which will operate in three parts, was made possible by the cooperation of Troy Caldwell, who owns the stretch of land that separates Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, also known as White Wolf. Through an agreement with Wirth, the gondola will begin at the base of Squaw Valley, rise up and over the ridge that separates the mountains, and down to the base of Alpine Meadows, effectively taking a significant amount of cars off the road.

Andy Wirth has been instrumental in Squaw Valley’s development, having signed on as CEO in the summer of 2010. Wirth was responsible for the massive $70 million renovation that saw Squaw Valley rise to the top of the highest-recommended ski resorts in the United States. In 2011, Wirth helped negotiate the purchase of Alpine Meadows, further cementing the ski resort merger as the largest in the country.

Andy Wirth has been active in the resort industry for nearly 30 years, beginning his esteemed career at Steamboat Spring Resort until 2007, when he moved on to become CEO and President of Squaw Valley. Prior to his work in the resort and hospitality industry, Wirth worked as a park ranger, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather. He lives in Tahoe, California, with his wife.