The British Colombia leader of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Gary Smith has been denied his application to wear a pirate hat in his driver’s licence photo.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)  has deemed the headgear “unacceptable.”

“We do not recognize you as a member of a religious group that requires accommodation in the context of a service customarily available to the public under the British Columbia Human Rights Code,” ICBC manager of driver licensing integrity and oversight Mario Bourdages said.

But Smith – who is also known as the church’s captain – argues his hat is part of his religious headwear.

He identifies himself as a Pastafarian and a member of the church who’s members are known to wear either a pasta colander or a three-cornered hat known as a pirate’s tricorn on their heads.

Smith claims ICBC should allow the photo request just as it has already been allowed for his ID as a marriage commissioner and for his firearms acquisition licence.

And it’s not just ICBC Smith finds himself at odds with. He’s also been trying to wear his pirate hat for a security guard licence ID.

Good luck to ya matey.

To Markets …

The ASX 200 is down 29.10 points or 0.39% at midday today to 7,461.00.

Following the slide in US markets yesterday after remarks from Fed officials Lael Brainard and Mary Daly about ramping up efforts to tame inflation, the market tone has soured fairly significantly.

European stocks sunk as the “mood music over more onerous sanctions on Russia ratchets up further, in anticipation of the fact we could well see evidence of further Russian atrocities in the coming days,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson says in a research note.

The Fed raised interest rates in March for the first time since 2018. Minutes from that meeting showed that central-bank officials last month considered raising rates by a half-percentage point but decided on a quarter-point increase in light of the uncertainty surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Matthew Luzzetti, Deutsche Bank’s chief US economist, said in a report Tuesday that aggressive tightening by the Fed “will push the economy into a recession.”

“It is very clear to everyone [the Fed is] going to engineer a rapid tightening cycle,” said Samy Chaar, chief economist at Lombard Odier. “It is possible that the Fed engineers a soft landing, but it would be quite miraculous,” he added, referring to a situation in which the central bank brings inflation under control without pushing the US economy into recession.

Plus, record Covid-19 cases in China – one of the world’s biggest economic engines – are adding to concerns about global supply chains and growth. Key manufacturing indexes in China recently hit their lowest levels since the February 2020 Covid-19 shock, according to ABN-AMRO Senior Economist Arjen van Dijkhuizen.

“With lockdowns in large cities such as Shanghai continuing, we expect these drags to remain visible in April, and perhaps longer,” he wrote in a Wednesday note. “The Chinese leadership has repeatedly stressed the need for vigilance on the pandemic front.”

ASX SMALL CAP WINNERS

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Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Group subsidiary Hancock Magnetite Holdings Pty Ltd has jumped into Legacy Iron Ore (ASX:LCY) and Hawthorn Resources (ASX:HAW) Mt Bevan Joint Venture in WA.

Historically, the iron ore project was a joint venture between Legacy Iron (60% interest) and Hawthorn (40% interest) but now Hancock will make an initial investment of $9m for a 30% interest in the Project, with $8m cash being paid to Legacy Iron ($4.8m) and Hawthorn ($3.2m), and the remaining $1m to be available as working capital for the new JV.

On completion of the Initial Investment, Hancock will hold a 30% interest – with Legacy Iron and Hawthorn holding 42% and 28% respectively.

“The Mt Bevan project has a favourable orebody geometry indicating it should be amenable to low-cost open pit mining, with potential for a high-quality magnetite concentrate with low impurities, and potential for a premium priced product as magnetite demand increases to meet the growing demand for cleaner steel-making,” Hawthorn MD Mark Kerr said.

Hancock can increase its interest by a further 21% through the funding of a completed PFS, after which it would will hold 51%, Legacy will hold 29.4% and Hawthorn will hold 19.6%.

ASX SMALL CAP LOSERS