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This Country Wants Everyone to Have 100 Grams of Gold

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A landlocked nation perched between China and Kazakhstan is embarking on an experiment with little parallel worldwide: shifting savings from cattle to gold.

One of the first post-Soviet republics to adopt a new currency and let it trade freely, Kyrgyzstan’s central bank wants every citizen to diversify into gold. Governor Tolkunbek Abdygulov says his “dream” is for every one of the 6 million citizens to own at least 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of the precious metal, the Central Asian country’s biggest export.

“Gold can be stored for a long time and, despite the price fluctuations on international markets, it doesn’t lose its value for the population as a means of savings,” he said in an interview. “I’ll try to turn the dream into reality faster.”

In the two years that the central bank has offered bars directly to the population, about 140 kilograms of bullion have been sold, Abdygulov, 40, said by phone from the capital, Bishkek.

“We are hopeful that our country’s population will learn to diversify its savings into assets that are more liquid and — more importantly — capable of retaining their value,” he said. In rural areas, cattle is still the asset of choice for investors and savers, according to Abdygulov.

Kyrgyzstan has bucked a trend among central banks, the biggest owners of bullion, by stepping up buying even as its counterparts cut purchases in 2016 to a six-year low. Global combined bar and coin demand fell, according to the World Gold Council.

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Here’s a Big Signal That More Investors Are Putting Cash to Work

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They are energetic, diverse destinations intent on preserving local heritage and revitalizing undervalued neighborhoods, and they possess distinct personalities that set them apart from other metropolises. Whether it’s the city you’ve called home for years or one you only just stumbled upon during your travels, the best destinations are intriguing cultural centers that can’t be replicated anywhere else. No city proves this better than Kyoto, Japan, which returned for the second year in a row to the No. 1 spot on Travel + Leisure’s annual World’s Best list.

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

Steve Jobs – Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997

Readers called it the quintessential Japanese experience, offering visitors everything from history (in the form of spiritual shrines) to notable cuisine (shojin ryori) and encounters with Geisha. Italy’s classic crowd-pleasers, Florence and Rome, once again appear on Top 10 list — as they have for 10 consecutive years. Bangkok, likely bumped from the list in 2014 due to governmental unrest, has returned to the number six spot. Below is the full list of the World’s Best cities in 2015, which is compiled based on reader surveys. For more of Travel + Leisure’s 2015 World’s Best Awards, which cover everything from hotels to airports, click here: www.travelandleisure.com

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Finance

Hedge Funds Are in Trouble, and Billions Is On It

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When the first episode of Showtime’s Billions premiered in January of 2016, a Democrat was in the White House, #OscarsSoWhite was trending on Twitter, and the top 10 performing hedge funds with assets of more than $1 billion had averaged a 28.6 return over the previous 12 months.

What a difference a year makes.

By the time the second season of Billions premieres this Sunday, Feb. 19, many hedge funds will have suffered through the worst four quarters in their history. Others, including Blackstone’s Senfina fund, have folded entirely. The show, built on celebrating—and castigating—hedge fund managers’ stupendous fortunes, is beginning to show cracks.

Last season we were introduced to alpha-males Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), a top hedge fund manager, and his antagonist, the U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), doing battle in a drama set among the trappings of finance’s super-rich. There was a certain giddiness as Axelrod bought a $63 million home in the Hamptons, as Rhoades nobly resisted the funds of his old-money Park Avenue family, and even, as both of their lives fell into disarray, they continued to throw money and Maseratis at their problems.

The intense glorification of vast wealth, and the implication that everyone participating in the creation of that wealth was, in various ways, corrupt, allowed the narrative to have its steak and eat it too. There was no one character to root for—both protagonists were the villain in their own, smarmy way.

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Finance

Facebook Plans to Rewire Your Life. Be Afraid

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Good news for kindred spirits – the irrepressible Anne of Green Gables will be returning to the small screen in 2017.

Breaking Bad writer Moira Walley-Beckett will be heading up the new series, which will be an eight-part adaptation for CBC. Anne of Green Gables follows the titular character as she arrives at Green Gables farm, “ordered” from an orphanage by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. They had wanted a boy to help with the work, but due to a mix up, found a young girl waiting at the station.

The story itself isn’t a complicated one. Anne ends up staying with the Cuthberts, and has lots of jolly adventures (and many more misadventures) as she grows up. It’s not the plot that has enraptured so many, though. It’s Anne herself that captures the heart of her readers. Despite her difficulties, she is a precious and charming girl, the perfect combination of open-hearted and pig-headed. The Anne Shirley series is heartwarming, funny and romantic.

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