World
US Taxpayers Fund Yet Another Unneeded Building in Afghanistan
The US military shelled out millions before deciding the project was unnecessary, bringing the total for unused buildings spotted by the Inspector General for Afghanistan to nearly $42 million
 
The beat goes on. For the third time in four months, the watchdog for spending on the war in Afghanistan has released a report that shows the U.S. military commissioned a multimillion-dollar building in Afghanistan it didn’t need. 
 
This time around, it’s a headquarters for a Special Forces base in Kandahar that was canceled halfway through at a cost of $2.2 million.
 
The latest disclosure raises the total for surplus buildings uncovered by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to nearly $42 million. There was the $25 million headquarters in Helmand that three generals said was not needed but was built anyway and never used. Then there was a warehouse in Kandahar for $14.7 million that was also never used, because the unit for which it was intended ended its mission in Afghanistan before the building was completed. 
 
In the latest report released Tuesday, SIGAR detailed how the military decided in July 2012 that it wanted a new, single headquarters on Camp Brown in Kandahar. The camp was home to troops with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. (SIGAR also sent the Pentagon a more detailed, classified letter about its findings on the building.)
 
The military hired an Afghan company to build a $5 million, two-story building with administrative space and a secure communications room for logistics, maintenance, personnel and operations management, according to the report. The building was scheduled to be completed in July 2013 – just as the United States greatly reduced its military presence in the country and only 18 months before the combat mission was scheduled to end. 
 
The contractor, Road and Roof Construction Company, fell almost a year behind schedule, and in October 2013, the commanders whose troops had been assigned to occupy the building decided it was no longer needed, SIGAR said.
 
Six months later, the military canceled the project. 
 
By this time, $2.2 million had already been spent. The building remains half constructed, with no stairs to the second floor, electrical wiring or plumbing, SIGAR said. It has never been used.
 
Military officials told SIGAR that they halted construction because the operations planned for the region had changed, making Camp Brown’s existing facilities sufficient. The inspectors said this decision was reasonable, but suggested that the military should consider completing the building for the Afghan government’s use. 
 
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was responsible for the contract, told SIGAR that it was still negotiating a final settlement with the contractor. Because negligence was not involved in the cancellation, it’s possible that the company could demand the rest of the contract be paid.
 
Courtesy: ProPublica

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Book Review of ‘The New Trading for a Living’
A classic book on trading re-issued
 
Alexander Elder grew up in former Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), hated the system, and longed to escape. But emigration was impossible. He entered college at 16, graduated from medical school at 22, completed his residency and became a doctor on a ship. When the Soviet vessel berthed in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he jumped ship and ran straight to the United States embassy, with his crew-mates hotly chasing him through the narrow, clogged and dusty streets. The embassy put him up in a safe house and then on a flight to New York. He landed at the Kennedy Airport in February 1974, arriving with $25 in his pocket. Elder spoke a smattering of English but did not know a soul in America. The last thing he knew was stocks, bonds and commodities, futures and options. 
 
In the summer of 1976, when he was a first-year resident of psychiatry, Elder drove from New York to California, packing in his old Dodge car, a few books on psychiatry, several books on history and also a paperback copy of How to Buy Stocks by Louis Engel and Brendan Boyd, a dog-eared paperback borrowed from a lawyer friend. 
 
The book changed the course of Elder’s life. Elder says he gulped down the book in campgrounds across America, finishing it on a Pacific beach in La Jolla, California. When he returned to New York, Elder bought his first stock and a terrible thing happened: he made money! Worse, he made money even in his second trade, entrenching in his mind the idea that it’s just so easy to make money in stocks. It took Elder multiple losses and two years to get rid of this overconfidence bias that easily sets in when you make money from stock trading. 
 
Elder continued to practise psychiatry but came to be known as a professional trader—and a trainer of traders. Since successful investing and, more so, trading, is a first a game of the mind, Elder’s technical expertise in psychiatry provided him with great insights into psychology of trading, which he applies in ‘Traders’ Camps’—week-long classes for traders. Elder is the author of many books on trading but Trading for a Living, which first appeared in 1993, is a classic and an international bestseller. Now, 21 years later, Elder has come out with a revised edition. It is almost a new book.
 
The book explains the three crucial pillars on which successful trading rests—psychology, trading system, and money management—as well as the factor that ties them together: honest record-keeping. The first two chapters are devoted to individual psychology and mass psychology. The next six chapters are devoted to trading tactics—classical chart analysis, computerised technical analysis, volume and time, general market indicators, trading systems, and trading vehicles.
The ninth chapter, probably the most crucial one, is devoted to risk management. There is a saying that the best of systems won’t work if it cannot control risk while the worst of the system will profit if proper risk management is followed. As Elder writes, “Markets can snuff out an account with a single horrible loss that effectively takes a person out of the game, like a shark bite. Markets can also kill with a series of bites, none of them lethal but, combined, they strip an account to the bone, like a pack of piranhas. The two pillars of money management are the 2% and 6% Rules. The 2% Rule will save your account from shark bites and the 6% Rule from piranhas.” 
 
The first rule prohibits the trader from risking more than 2% on any single trade, a strategy also underlined by successful trader Victor Sperandeo, also known as Trader Vic. The second prohibits the trader from launching any new trades for the rest of the month when his losses for the current month exceed 6% of his account equity. 
 
The 10th chapter is devoted to “Practical Details” like how to set profit targets of stops and chapter 11 to record-keeping. “Technically trading isn’t very hard. Psychologically, it’s the hardest game on the planet.” The New Trading for a Living is an excellent compass to help you steer through the tough terrain.

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