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Mets claim second title, winning Men’s 20’s division

first_imgThe Sydney Mets have beaten Sun Coast in a thrilling game in the Men’s 20’s final at the 2009 X-Blades National Touch League in Port Macquarie.The game was intense up until the final siren, with both teams desperately trying to take hold of the game, with the Mets eventually winning 8-7.Tim Good opened the scoring in the 5th minute, putting the Mets in front 1-0.The Mets nearly made it 2-0 two minutes later, but their touchdown attempt was disallowed. This came back to haunt them as Sean Baldwin from Sunshine Coast scored to level the game.Sun Coast was in again just two minutes later, when Kelvin Jones scored from a great ball from Jason Schmidt, to put them into the lead for the first time in the game.Tim Good scored his second try in the 11th minute, but soon after got sent from the field as a forced interchange, and Baldwin scored his double in the corresponding set of six, giving Sun Coast the lead again. Macquire Tatola and captain Matthew Yiangou both scored for the Mets in the last five minutes of the first half, sending the Sydney team to the half time break with a 4-3 lead, despite several disallowed touchdowns against the Mets in the first half.Dave Shaw extended the Mets lead soon after the break, giving them a two touchdown advantage.Back to back tries to Sun Coast put the teams on level terms, with tries to Luke Mendham and Zach Stasser, but it wasn’t long before Shaw scored his second touchdown of the game, capitalising on some slow defence on the line. The Mets’ Luke Eisenhuth broke through the line of defence in the 7th minute, fooling Sun Coast defenders on his way, giving the Mets some breathing space.This didn’t last long, however, with Nathan Sullivan the recipient of a great cut out pass to close the gap for Sun Coast six minutes out from full time. The Mets had many opportunities to run away with the game in the second half, but numerous penalties for forward passes and over the mark calls gave Sun Coast plenty of good field position.Another penalty in good field position gave Sun Coast a great opportunity to level the scores, and that’s what they did when captain Tyson Brough led by example, scoring in the 18th minute to level the scores.The scores weren’t level for long, as Ben Antonio dived through the Sun Coast defensive line in the next set of six, to put the Mets back in front with one minute to go.Sun Coast were disallowed a try due to a forward pass in the dying seconds, handing the Mets an 8-7 win.last_img read more

4 days agoFIGC president Gravina has message for Totti – and Juventus pair

first_imgFIGC president Gravina has message for Totti – and Juventus pairby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFIGC president Gabriele Gravina has sent a message to Roma icon Francesco Totti.The Italian great is currently out of football since quitting a desk job with the Giallorossi at the end of last season.Gravina told Le Repubblica: “Totti? I spoke with him three times. My intention is to include him in the training of young people. “But he must study to be a director.”Gravina also stated two Juventus players were in his plans.He added: “I heard from (Gigi) Buffon, I see him as a great coach in the future. And then I think of (Giorgio) Chiellini.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Bovada Releases March Madness Odds For All 68 Teams

first_imgSunday night, the 2015 NCAA Tournament field was revealed, and unsurprisingly, Kentucky was named the overall No. 1 seed. The Wildcats are also the odds-on favorite to win this year’s national title, per Bovada. In fact, Kentucky is almost at even money to take home the trophy – they’re currently listed at 6:5 to win it all.Arizona, the 2-seed in the West Region, actually has the second-highest odds. Wisconsin checks in third, with Duke fourth. Villanova and Virginia come in at 10:1.Here’s a list of all 68 tournament teams, along with their odds to win the championship. You could make a lot of money betting on a 16-seed to win it all, but we wouldn’t advise it. No 16-seed has ever even won an NCAA Tournament game, much less a title.Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.23.19 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.24.09 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-16 at 12.24.38 PMWho are you betting on?last_img

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Routed by Baltimore Ravens in Preseason

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco started the preseason right where he left off last year. On his way to helping his team destroy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he completed seven of nine passes for 57 yards. Ravens running back Bernard Pierce scored on a 20-yard run, and Baltimore’s defense pummeled Tampa Bay, forcing four turnovers in the 44-16 victory on Thursday night.“We’re a very different team than we were, so we were really anxious to get on the field and just see who we are, because we really don’t know in a lot of ways,” coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens said after Thursday night’s 44-16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We suspect we have a chance to be a good team, but we’ve got a long way to go as far as being on the same page in a lot of ways, so it’s a good thing we’ve got preseason, obviously.”The Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw two TD passes, including a 21-yarder to LaQuan Williams, who also scored on a blocked punt recovery in the end zone.“It’s good to see him step up and make plays,” Harbaugh said of Williams. “Here’s a guy that just brings his lunch pail every single week, puts on his blue collar work shirt and goes to work. To see him make those plays, he’s got tremendous talent.”The Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions, and by the looks of it, they may be a heavy contender for this season’s playoffs. Then again, it’s only preseason. read more

The Secret To Nadals Dominance On Clay

3Roger FedererSwitzerland55.5 7Juan BalcellsSpain54.3 In particular, Dominic Thiem, who knocked out Nadal in Madrid, was able to significantly erode Rafa’s second-serve dominance with a 7-5, 6-3 win. It was the only match Nadal lost on clay this season.What have these players done to put a dent — however temporary — in Nadal’s second serve? To answer that question, we must first look at why it’s so dominant to begin with.In the men’s game at the pro level, the first serve is a statistical powerhouse. It’s a guessing game for the returner — a nightmare of speed, spin and precision. When a player connects on his first serve, he usually wins the point.When a player misses the mark, it’s time for the second serve. That’s when anything can happen and where break points are won. It’s the real contest. It’s also where Nadal is making everyone else look like fools, statistically speaking.What makes Nadal’s second serve so goodThe second-best second server on clay is John Isner, a 6-foot-10 acing titan who can hammer balls more than 150 mph. Many of the career leaders in this second-serve category are like Isner — they bring the heat. 2John IsnerUnited States55.7 The clay-court masters of the second serveCareer leaders in share of points won off second serves on clay courts Alexander Zverev2ndItalian Open38–– Source: ATP OpponentSetTournamentSecond-Serve Points Won 1Rafael NadalSpain56.7% 5Andy RoddickUnited States54.8 10Thomas MusterAustria54.0 8Stan WawrinkaSwitzerland54.2 Dominic Thiem1stMadrid Open40%–– Beating Nadal means beating back his second serveShare of second-serve points that Rafael Nadal won in the four sets he lost on clay this season Fabio Fognini1stItalian Open50–– Rafael Nadal is likely more dominant at clay-court tennis than any other athlete is at any one thing. Winning a set, let alone a match, against Nadal on clay can seem almost hopeless. As he nears 32 years old, he’s already won 56 clay-court titles and a record 10 French Open championships — with a chance to add an 11th next week.While his forehand is explosive and his backhand is relentless, it’s possible Nadal’s greatest advantage is that he turns an element of the game that’s a weakness for so many others into a weapon: the second serve. He has had more success on his second serve than any player in tennis history, and on clay, his prowess here is even more pronounced.In his career, Nadal has won 56.7 percent of his second-serve points on clay. In the past year, he’s upped that percentage to 66.4 percent.1Data reflects his numbers going into the French Open. On Thursday, Nadal advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over Guido Pella. For most pro players, anything better than break-even on second serve is considered good. Nadal has taken the safety net of the sport and turned it into a battle ax.This also unlocks the secret to beating him on his favorite surface. Occasionally players can and do make Nadal more human in this area. Bringing him back to Earth by cracking into his second-serve points, players can make the King of Clay look more like … just a prince, let’s say.This clay-court season, Nadal has lost exactly four sets of tennis. Notice what happened to the percentage of second-serve points Nadal won in those four sets: 6Stefanos TsitsipasGreece54.4 But Rafa’s not about speed on the serve. He’s not even close to the ATP Tour leaders in aces. In fact, his 1.9 career aces per match on clay is the lowest on the table above. (Isner’s rate is 16.3.) Nadal averages around 110 to 115 mph on his first serve and less than 100 mph on this statistically dominant second serve. Very meh speeds.The elements that make his second serve so crushing, particularly on clay, are part intuitive and part mystery. Nadal plays left-handed — a topsy-turvy problem for players conditioned to a world full of right-handed serves. A lefty slice serve travels the opposite way of what players are used to.But slice isn’t the menace on clay that it is elsewhere because players have more time to get to balls on this surface. So if slice is mitigated, why would Nadal’s lefty slice be more potent on clay?John Yandell is a tennis editor and coach who has examined the spins and techniques of hundreds of professional tennis players. He analyzed Nadal’s serve spins and concluded that while Nadal’s second serve “has an element of topspin” and is “heavy” at around 4,000 rotations per minute, it’s not categorically different from other serves on tour, which combine slice and topspin.“Most likely it’s just Rafa,” Yandell said. “What he does after he puts the serve in play.”So the secret could be in what he’s doing when that second serve comes back — a shot sometimes called “the plus-one.”How to win points off his second serveRafa has become a master at managing space on European red clay, where balls travel so far off the bounce that the court plays bigger and wider. On returns, he famously stands far back behind the baseline to take a big swing at the serve, then repositions himself according to where his shot lands. Though he can’t start deep behind the baseline when he serves, he uses that same repositioning approach with his plus-one shot, taking advantage of errors by overzealous returners to dominate these second-serve points.At the French Open on Tuesday, Nadal won a straight-sets victory in what was considered a tough first-round match. He not only took 62 percent of second-serve points, he also tempted Simone Bolelli into going for too much on those points and committing an unforgivable 23 errors — with only four winners.So what about the tougher competition? In Rome on May 19, Nadal faced Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest returners in tennis. The two clashed intensely before Nadal won the first set in a tiebreak. It was a set in which Nadal hit a lot of second serves and won his usual high percentage of second-serve points. It’s also a good case study in what Nadal does so well here in terms of positioning.In this video, Nadal’s second serve puts Djokovic in a defensive position early. An extended rally ensues until Nadal sees his opportunity to step into the court and strike with a forehand winner.But even what Djokovic did above is preferable to the alternative, which is missing the return all together. If you can prolong the rally, at least you have a fighting chance: Contrary to his reputation, Nadal doesn’t do nearly as well in long rallies as he does in short ones.Take note, Rafa challengers. Dominic Thiem2ndMadrid Open29–– RKPlayerCOUNTRYSecond-serve point win share 4Borna CoricCroatia55.2 Source: ATP 9Juan Carlos FerreroSpain54.1 read more

Kangana Ranaut mocks Deepika Padukone Katrina Kaif others laughs at their acting

first_imgKangana RanautSTR/AFP/Getty ImagesKangana Ranaut once again took a jibe at her contemporary actresses including Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif. The Queen actress said that all these celebs mentioned are “stars but not actors”.In an interview with India Today, Kangana was asked who among her contemporaries she thinks is the best actress. The host also mentioned names of Deepika, Kareena, Anushka and Katrina, and asked her who she thinks is the best actress among them.In response to this, Kangana said that all these mentioned people are “stars but not actresses”. She also mocked them saying that their fans go crazy if these stars show the slightest bit of acting on screen.”I think most of my contemporaries were either super-models or things like that. I do not think their USP was acting. There is nothing wrong in that. I mean all over the world, there are actors and there are stars. There are many actors who are probably not stars. The ones you have mentioned, I think come more under the category of stars, they are not actors. Even if they do slightest bit of acting also, everyone goes like ‘look it happened there in one second,” she said, followed by a laughter.It is certainly a big statement to make as Deepika, Kareena, Anushka and Katrina are considered to be some of the top actresses of the industry right now. No doubt Kangana is among the highest paid and most critically acclaimed actresses, but mocking her contemporaries with regard to their acting certainly won’t be received well by the divas.However, Kangana has been relentlessly targeting top celebs from the industry, and her mocking the actresses does not seem much surprising anymore. It will be interesting to see how the other actresses react to this.Who, according to Kangana Ranaut, is her favourite actress? #InDaClub Watch her full interview with @Sushant_IToday: https://t.co/rDBct8cBdm pic.twitter.com/HugU7N9SjU— India Today (@IndiaToday) July 16, 2019last_img read more

TSX Venture 125102 124007 192422

first_imgTSX Venture1,251.021,240.071,924.22 Oil84.0393.9894.81 Rock & Stock StatsLast One Year Ago Gold1,627.051,543.781,530.65 TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)11,524.9011,343.0512,972.03 Dear Readers,I’ve just returned from Victoria, BC, where I spoke at the HoweStreet.com Money Expo 2012. The show was smaller than many shows, but the location is beautiful, a major plus for anyone whose spouse doesn’t want to go to Toronto in March for PDAC. I’d never been to Victoria before and hadn’t expected the touch of Old-World charm the place has – it reminded me more of Quebec than western Canada.Or maybe I just had the Old World on my mind, since the Greek elections could well have marked the beginning of the visible disintegration of the Eurozone. As of Sunday night, it seems that Greece will not leave the European Union – at least not yet. It remains to be seen if the slender majority that the pro-EU faction gained in Greece will lead to a coalition government that can actually deliver the austerity program needed to keep the bailout funds coming.For now, the world keeps turning as it did last week. But thinking about the Old World reminds us of one of history’s greatest lessons in hyperinflation, a lesson no one can afford to ignore. The Casey metals team has a look at gold during the Weimer hyperinflation of the 1920s in this week’s article. Good food for thought.Sincerely,Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)20.5318.0333.72center_img Does Gold Keep Up In Hyperinflation?By Alena Mikhan and Jeff ClarkInflation is a natural consequence of loose government monetary policy. If those policies get too loose, hyperinflation can occur. As gold investors, we’d like to know if the precious metals would keep pace in this extreme scenario.Hyperinflation is an extremely rapid period of inflation, but when does inflation (which can be manageable) cross the line and become out-of-control hyperinflation? Philip Cagan, one of the very first researchers of this phenomenon, defines hyperinflation as “an inflation rate of 50% or more in a single month,” something largely inconceivable to the average investor.While there can be multiple reasons for inflation, hyperinflation historically has one root cause: excessive money supply. Debts and deficits reach unsustainable levels, and politicians resort to diluting the currency to cover their expenses. A tipping point is reached, and investors lose confidence in the currency.“Confidence” is the key word here. Fiat money holds its purchasing power largely on the belief that it is stable and will preserve that power over time. Once this trust is broken, a flight from the currency ensues. In such scenarios, citizens spend the money as quickly as possible, typically buying tangible items in a desperate attempt to get rid of currency units before they lose value. This process increases the velocity of money, setting off a vicious cycle that destroys purchasing power faster and faster.The most famous case of hyperinflation is the one that occurred in Germany during the Weimar Republic, from January 1919 until November 1923. According to Investopedia, “the average price level increased by a factor of 20 billion, doubling every 28 hours.”One would expect gold to fare well during such an extreme circumstance, and it did – in German marks, quite dramatically. In January 1919, one ounce of gold traded for 170 marks; by November 1923, that same ounce was worth 87 trillion marks. Take a look.(Click on image to enlarge)Inflation was at first benign, then began to grow rapidly, and quickly became a monster. What’s important to us as investors is that the price of gold grew faster than the rate of monetary inflation. The data here reveal that over this five-year period, the gold price increased 1.8 times more than the inflation rate.The implication of this is sobering: while hyperinflation wiped out most people’s savings, turning wealthy citizens into poor ones literally overnight, those who had assets denominated in gold experienced no loss in purchasing power. In fact, their ability to purchase goods and services grew beyond the runaway prices they saw all around them.One can’t help but wonder how the people whose wealth evaporated in Germany during this time felt. In effect, they were robbed by the government – they were on the losing end of a massive transfer of wealth. Of course, there are two sides to the story, as those who held significant amounts of gold and silver were the recipients.Could the US experience a wealth transfer like the one that wracked the Weimar Republic? While the federal government and most so-called economic “experts” dismiss the notion, the economic data suggest that it’s already started.We can’t help but speculate about whether most citizens dismissed the idea of inflation during the calm period in 1920-’21. Did respected economists scoff at the idea that Germany could suffer hyperinflation, just before it struck? Did some politicians proclaim that “a little inflation would be good?”Those who today argue that our obscene debt levels, runaway deficit spending, and money-printing schemes are sound strategies and believe they won’t lead to out-of-control inflation might want to rethink those beliefs. We’ve seen this movie before: it doesn’t have a happy ending.The historical record is clear on what happens when countries embark on fiscal and monetary paths today’s leading economies are embracing. If gold’s recent price performance is anything like the calm before Germany’s hyperinflationary storm, this is a time to be accumulating more gold.Keep in mind that hyperinflation is not a rare event. Since Weimar Germany, there have been 29 additional hyperinflations around the world, including those in Austria, Argentina, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, and Zimbabwe, to name a few. On average, that’s one every three years or so.While hyperinflation devastates those who experience it, there is a healing aspect to it. Since the responsibility for this type of disaster lies solely at the feet of government, there may be some Darwinian justice to the way hyperinflation purges the perverse fiscal and monetary imbalances from an economy. After the Weimar Republic hyperinflation, the second half of the 1920s was a strong period for Germany, with low inflation and steady growth.It’s no secret that many currencies around the world, including the US dollar, are choosing the path of inflation. If we were to slip into hyperinflation, there will be disastrous consequences for those unprepared. Given that the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, the problems would spread to practically every country on earth. Hyperinflation will shake people’s confidence not only in the US dollar, but in the paper currency system as a whole.What will actually come to pass, we don’t know. What we do know is that the measures to cure hyperinflation include tying the currency to a hard asset or even replacing it with one. When creditability in fiat money dissipates, gold may be the only viable option left standing.Again, the investment implication is obvious: continue to accumulate gold.How much is enough? Well, how many ounces do you own in relation to your total assets? Anything less than 5% will not offer you a sufficient level of protection in a high inflationary environment.Another way to look at it is this: how many ounces do you need to cover your monthly expenses? In Weimar Germany, inflation rose uncomfortably for two years – and then pinched harder, spiraling into a destructive hyperinflation for another two. Consider what it would take to maintain your standard of living for a couple years instead of just a couple months.And don’t listen to any government’s ongoing pronouncements of confidence in the current system, along with the mainstream media’s noisy and frequently inaccurate portrayals of the gold market. (For example, these two headlines appeared on the same day: Gold Edges Lower as Worries over Europe Simmer; and Gold Settles Higher on Spanish Bailout Plans.) In a world awash in ignorance about real money, if not deliberate obfuscation, you have to study the relevant history, draw your own conclusions, and stick with them.This example shows how gold can perform during hyperinflation. If that worst case scenario comes to pass, will the example your family’s finances sets be a positive or a negative one? Gold and Silver HEADLINESKazakh Central Bank Intends to Have 20% of Reserves in Gold (Reuters)Kazakhstan’s central bank plans to boost the share of gold in its foreign currency reserves to 20% from the current 14-15% level.Last year the central bank bought 5.3 tonnes (0.17 million ounces) of gold, but this year their purchases accelerated, already purchasing 10.3 tonnes (0.33 million ounces).Kazakhstan is one of a number of countries that have been increasing their official gold holdings in recent years. Others include Mexico, Russia, Colombia, and South Korea. Last year central banks bought a record 450 tonnes (14.5 million ounces).Even if the amount of gold purchased by central banks this year ends up slightly less than last year, as some analysts expect, it’s still a big share of total gold demand and lends strong support to the price.Gold Coin Collecting a Deadly Business as Metals Prices Rise (Mineweb)Criminal syndicates now consider thefts of gold, silver, and rare coins to be both less risky and more profitable than robbing banks or other well-protected targets. As precious metals increase in price, more and more cases of larceny are taking place. The FBI estimates that only about 4% of stolen precious metals and jewelry is recovered annually.While many investors know it’s not wise to talk about the gold you own, this article shows that that behavior can have dire consequences. Besides being a valuable asset, gold coins can also be viewed as art, lulling the vigilance of the owner. Showing your collection even to friends and family is tempting, but don’t overlook the potential consequences.Learn more about how to safely store gold at home; Jeff Clark offers some good, practical tips.Indian Gold ETF and E-gold Investments Swell as Rupee Remains Weak (Mineweb)In India, the gold price in rupee terms reached an all-time high of $544.74 (Rs 30,420) per 10 grams. In Mumbai, standard gold prices have risen by 27% over the last year. On one hand, a weak rupee makes gold less affordable, while on the other, it makes it a robust investment asset.Indian ETFs are said to have seen a marked rise in activity, as investors continue to buy the yellow metal as a safe haven and diversification from equities.Assets under management of gold funds in India were $1.83 billion (Rs 102.18 billion) in April 2012. The assets held under India’s gold ETFs nearly doubled year on year. The assets were valued at $981 million (Rs 54.63 billion) a year ago.Recently another gold-purchasing option became available for Indian investors: e-gold trading at the Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX). Since its launch on June 1, volume has soared nearly 300%, with US$16 million traded. This Week in International Speculator and BIG GOLD – Key Updates for Subscribers International SpeculatorAn exploration stock announced that it received a major environmental permit. Read what we think. BIG GOLDGet the latest on your BIG GOLD stocks from the portfolio page. Silver28.6427.7035.76 Silver Stocks (SIL)19.4416.9022.81 One Month Ago Copper3.393.524.12 Gold Producers (GDX)46.9239.3453.06last_img read more

In This Issue   Fed Monetary Balance increases

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Fed Monetary Balance increases. *  While ECB’s decreases. *  Weak PMI’s for Russia & India. *  Swedish krona outperforms on data. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. A Soft Bias To Sell Dollars. Good Day! .  And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well another day of recovery in the rear view mirror, has me ready to slay a dragon this morning! HA! There are no dragons to slay, and if there were, I would be the biggest coward about slaying them! The only dragons these days, are cartoons, or Gov’t figures. Hmmm. Oh, stop it Chuck! Jimmy Buffett is singing, stars fell on Alabama to start the day, so that mellow song, just put me back on track to be a good boy. I had another email from a dear reader that asked me the question that I’ve answered so many times I could do it in my sleep! The question? Why, with all the problems in the Eurozone, is the euro more than 1/3-rd cent more valuable than the dollar? Ahhh, grasshoppers. I’ve got this one. There are lots of things to consider, but for now, the thing the markets are focusing on is the fact that the U.S. Fed’s Monetary Balance just keeps climbing. Last May it was roughly $3.3 Trillion, and this May it is roughly $4.276 Trillion. Nearly a $1 Trillion increase in a year, while over at the European Central Bank (ECB) their Monetary Balance is decreasing. Last May it was roughly 2.5 Trillion euros, and this May it is roughly 2.1 Trillion euros.  And in the end, the it is the opinion of the markets that the euro should be stronger than the dollar. Of course that could be questioned tomorrow, when the ECB meets and announces their flavor of stimulus that they’ve chosen for the Eurozone economy. Should they go too far, in the markets’ opinion, the euro could be sent to the woodshed, but, if they settle for what’s already priced into the euro, (negative deposit rates) the euro could very well rally. So the risk is high going into tomorrow’s ECB meeting. But, knowing the risk is out there, didn’t stop the euro from adding about ¼-cent to its value yesterday. The euro bugs were feeling a little frisky. But today, they have returned to the places with bright shining faces, and their tails between their collective legs, as the euro has given back those frisky feelings from yesterday. Speaking of the euro. Yesterday, I said that Eurozone inflation had ticked down from 11.8% to 11.7%…  Of course that couldn’t be correct, since inflation in the Eurozone isn’t even 1%! I was talking about Unemployment in the Eurozone. I guess I have inflation or the lack of it in the Eurozone on my mind, eh?   So, anyway, Unemployment ticked down in April.  Sorry for the confusion. I guess I was still feeling the effects of my whacked out day! Most of the currencies are flat to up just a bit this morning, as there is a slight bias to sell dollars in the markets, but that, as we are so darn well aware of, can change in a heartbeat, especially when the New York boys and girls arrive at their desks, and see what they’ve been told to do by management.  Yesterday, there was some good data printed in Australia, so let’s go downunder and see what’s going on, eh?  Aussie 1st QTR GDP increased from 2.7% in the last quarter to 3.5%! That beat the estimates (3.2%), and it really surprised the markets, who had drank the Kool-Aid that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) had been serving about the economy being bleak. There was some other news from Australia yesterday that I’m sure flew under the radar of the markets, except the bond-guys. And that is as of last week, there is a Record Net Holdings of Aussie Bonds by foreigners. Given the Huge maturities last month in A$ bonds, this is good news, as an mass exit from these bonds by foreigners could have really put the A$ in a tight headlock. So, the A$ is up just a small bit this morning. And as my longtime friend who also happens to be the Big Boss, Frank Trotter, likes to say. That’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. You know what? I just realized that since April 2010, Frank no longer says that to me. I think you know why. HA! The New Zealand dollar / kiwi is off a bit this morning, which is troublesome to me, in that this marks two consecutive days of weakness in kiwi, which should be garnering all the love it can stand from investors looking for positive rate differentials, with an added possibility of a boost in the differentials. Well, the PMI’s (manufacturing indexes) from around the world have, for the most part, printed and put to bed. And for the most part, the indexes from around the world have increased, which is a good sign for global growth. Of course we still don’t know for sure what happened in the U.S. and what the actual index number is, given the games that were played with the data the other day. But, the point I’m getting to here is that in two of the countries that have seen good rallies in their currencies, the Russia and India, their manufacturing indexes left a lot to be desired, thus taking the starch out of the rallies for their respective currencies. Someone asked me about Russian rubles the other day. And I said that we’re working on being able to offer the currency, but if you ask me what the ruble is all about, I would say that in my humble opinion, which could be wrong, the ruble is an oil play, plain and simple. What do you think about the price of Oil? I see where the Saudis issued a communique that talked about what they saw as a fair price for a barrel of Oil, which was $100. It must be storming like crazy outside, I’ve heard loud thunder, I’ve seen bright flashes of lightening, and now the TV’s we have on the trading floor are out. I could go into the problems that you have with storms when using a dish. but since that’s all we can get here, I think it’s not a problem at all! HA! And I’ve talked more about India and Indian rupees in the past few months than I’ve talked about them in all my time writing! So I won’t go into why I think that this weakness in the rupee is short-term, and look for better times, as new leader Modi implements his plans to unlock the Indian economy. Look, I went ahead and told you any way!  The Swedish krona is outperforming this morning on some stronger data prints. Industrial Production and their manufacturing index (PMI) both beat estimates and previous prints. Industrial Production in Sweden for April increased 4.5% VS 3.3% in March, and the May PMI increased to 58.5 from 57.9 in April.  So take that you rate cut campers!  It seems like that about every couple of weeks I’m writing about the krona outperforming the other currencies overnight on stronger data prints. But still the rate cut campers have a governor on the krona. There’s an old song. um, um, um, um, um, um.  Really! That’s the title of the song! And it’s what I sing a lot when I see data like this, and then a day later, it is swept under a rug. Gold is weaker this morning again. But I must point out something that had escaped my memory, which I must say, a lot of things are doing these days. But my good friends, the Aden Sisters, Mary Anne and Pamela, reminded me of.  I’ll let these two fabulous ladies tell you in their own words. “Gold is entering a seasonally slow period. This could last for another month or so, but seasonality alone doesn’t explain why the decline was so steep and sudden.” The U.S. Data Cupboard has some good stuff for us today. The ADP Employment Change for May, the April Trade Deficit, and the U.S. Fed Beige Book, along with some other not that so important data. Well, the U.S. Data Cupboard gave us a couple of prints yesterday. Leading off was the April Factory Orders print, which showed a .7% increase, which sounds good, but when compared with March, you know when bad weather was hurting the U.S., Factory Orders increased 1.5%…  So, more rot on the vine in April.  Then we saw the vehicle Sales for May, and I guess people are still out buying cars, and why not? Financing rates are still near zero, and unless you’re buying a Lamborghini, there are still opportunities to buy. And then there are three other things to talk about with the U.S. economy. I don’t mean to be gloom and doom folks, but I just want to point out that other people, and organizations that track this stuff are beginning to agree with me on the economy. It’s a groundswell of thoughts, we just need to get this to the point of a shouting campaign so that the Fed hears us loud and clear! OK. First out of the starters blocks is something I came across yesterday. So, I was going through zerohedge.com yesterday, as usual I must add, and came across something that really caught my eye. According to the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) the people that do a calc that gives us the actual corporate profits, there was a plunge in Corporate profits in the 1st QTR, and that plunge was the biggest since the collapse of Lehman Bros! OUCH!  So, the -1% decline in GDP has this little ditty to go to the dance with, and neither of them are very pretty! And then this piece of information, which doesn’t paint any pretty picture of the economy either. The uneven distribution of incomes is currently escalating and leads to growing social tensions.  In the US, between 1979 and 2011 the average household’s income rose by 64%, while the income of the top 1% of households increased by 300% and the income of the lowest quintile increased by only 18%.  This strongly rising increase in wealth concentration can be gleaned from the GINI coefficient, which has reached historic extremes in many countries.  This means that extremes at the lower and the upper end of the scale of incomes become ever more pronounced, while the classical middle class loses importance.  Thus the GINI coefficient in the US is, for example, currently at the same level as in the 1920s prior to the Great Depression. Chuck again. WOW. One calc has us on the precipice of repeating the Lehman Bros devastation, and the other has us on the precipice of the Great Depression..   Now, here’s hoping that neither of them come to fruition, I will say, that unless we do something about the debt and deficits in this country, I’m afraid we’ll have no choice.  No wait! I said there were 3 things. OK, here’s the 3rd thing.  The Unemployment Rate for teens ages 16 to 19 years old who don’t have a high school diploma yet is 54.2%!!!!!   OUCH! For What It’s Worth. We have a long-time colleague and friend, that we’ve worked with on and off for quite a few years. Joe Losos, comes in and shares his Financial Times (FT) with us on the desk, and there’s always a good ditty or two in the pages of the FT.  I didn’t find this story in those pages, but rather online, but I’m sure they’ll be there!  This is a snippet of the story about how banks routinely rigged Gold Fixing to defend their positions, according to the FT.  Let’s go to the tape! “When the UK’s financial regulator slapped a L26 million fine on Barclays for lax controls related to the gold fix, it offered more ammunition to critics of the near-century-old benchmark. But it also gave precious metal traders in the City of London plenty to think about. While the Financial Conduct Authority says the case appears to be a one-off — the work of a single trader — some market professionals have a different view. They claim that the practice of nudging a tradeable benchmark to protect a “digital” derivatives contract — as a Barclays employee did — was routine in the industry. As a result, customers of Barclays and other market-making banks may be looking to see if they too have cause for complaint, according to one hedge fund manager active in the gold market. “If I was at the Financial Conduct Authority I would be looking at all banks trading digitals. This could be the tip of the iceberg — there’s a massive issue with exotic derivatives and barriers.” Chuck again. Yes, this is a part of the Gold price manipulation, and should this continue to be unraveled as I suspect it will, then maybe we can go to the next step and investigate the paper trades. Then, we’ll have cut into a fat hog folks. To recap. There’s a soft bias to sell dollars in the market today, but the gains are minimal at best, with the Swedish krona taking the prize for outperforming the other currencies overnight, on some good strong data. Australia saw some good strong data too overnight, and the euro is still range bound. Gold is down again, and the Aden Sisters give us a reason for this. And Russia and India both see their currency rallies squashed out, by some weak PMI’s. Currencies today 6/4/14. American Style: A$ .9270, kiwi .8410, C$ .9155, euro 1.3625, sterling 1.6760, Swiss $1.1160, . European Style: rand 10.7470, krone 5.9930, SEK 6.6585, forint 223.95, zloty 3.0425, koruna 20.1550, RUB 35.18, yen 102.60, sing 1.2575, HKD 7.7530, INR 59.33, China 6.1693, pesos 12.94, BRL 2.2795, Dollar Index 80.55, Oil $103.32, 10-year 2.58%, Silver $18.81, Platinum $1,422.85, Palladium $834.35, and Gold. $1,245.79 That’s it for today. Man oh Man. 10 days ago, I thought my beloved Cardinals had finally come out of their funk. But they’ve slipped right back into it. This is a very disappointing team so far, and difficult to watch play.. They’ve got to find their mojo soon, or it will be too late! The Zombie Jamboree is playing on the IPod right now. Back to back, belly to belly. My spring training buddies will get a charge out that! OK. I have a ruptured vertebrae in my lower back, I had it cut back in 1991,with something called “micro-surgery”,  but re-ruptured it a year later, and have lived with that since. It normally doesn’t bother me, but I picked up a cooler full of beverages and melted ice yesterday, and I soon wished I hadn’t! So, now I have to walk around gingerly for a few days, and get it to calm down. UGH! My beautiful bride returns home tonight, so thus ends Chuck and Alex’s fraternity house! HA! I didn’t see Alex much as he’s always going somewhere! And with that, I’ll get out of your hair, hope I didn’t gloom and doom you too much today, I certainly don’t mean to. I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

The petrodollar system is the reason foreign count

first_img The petrodollar system is the reason foreign countries keep such large US dollar reserves. Now China is set to hit the petrodollar with a mortal blow… Why the US Dollar Is So Special The petrodollar system is the big reason the US dollar is so unique. Here’s how it works… Oil is by far the largest and most strategic commodity market in the world. And, until recently, virtually anyone who wanted to import oil needed US dollars to pay for it. Every country needs oil. And if foreign countries need US dollars to buy oil, they have a very compelling reason to hold large dollar reserves. This creates a huge artificial market for US dollars. It also gives a tremendous boost to anyone who lives in the US or holds US dollars. Nick Giambruno and Ron Paul A new technology is about to put big pharma out of business… And an FDA anomaly this December could be the catalyst that brings this new biotech to the forefront. For a limited time, you can watch our brief video presentation, The Biggest Medical Breakthrough Since Antibiotics. Click here to see the best way to play this medical breakthrough. China Wants Pricing Power One of China’s key goals here is to reduce the dollar’s influence over oil pricing. China is the world’s largest oil importer. Developing the new crude contract gives it some global pricing power. Currently, most of the $1.7 trillion worth of oil traded each year is priced off of two US dollar-denominated crude benchmarks: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent. Beijing thinks the yuan crude contract will reflect the market conditions in Asia better. It could become the most important oil benchmark in Asia. The vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission recently said: The country will make crude oil futures the new starting point of opening up all futures markets… And then, we will allow foreign players, whose enthusiasm is very high at present, to enter other futures markets, such as iron ore and PTA, when conditions are ripe. In other words, oil is just the beginning. Eventually, China plans to challenge the dollar’s dominance over all commodities. 4%, it would need over $1.2 trillion, or over half of what it currently snatches from taxpayers—again, just to pay the interest. 2%, it would need over $800 billion. Why Medium Sour Crude? The INE crude futures will be priced in yuan per barrel and be for 1,000 barrels. Brent and WTI futures contracts are for light, sweet crude. “Light” means it has relatively low density, and “sweet” means it has a low sulfur content. The INE contract, on the other hand, will be for medium sour crude. There are a handful of reasons for this: Silicon Valley Rocket Scientist Declares: An anomaly at the FDA could launch a new biotech industry 35,000% starting December 19 Clearly, none of this is sustainable. Trump was correct last year when he noted: “What happens if that interest rate goes up 2, 3, 4 points? We don’t have a country.” In many ways, this could turn into President Trump’s financial 9/11. The petrodollar system has allowed the US government and many Americans to live way beyond their means for decades. The US takes this unique position for granted. But it will disappear once the petrodollar system breaks down. When that happens, inflation could be severe. This will likely be the tipping point… Afterward, the US government will be desperate enough to implement capital controls, people controls, nationalization of retirement savings, and other forms of wealth confiscation. I urge you to prepare for the economic and sociopolitical fallout while you still can. Expect bigger government, less freedom, shrinking prosperity… and possibly worse. It’s probably not going to happen tomorrow. But it’s clear where this trend is headed. It is very possible that one day soon, Americans will wake up to a new reality. Until next time, Nick Giambruno Editor, Crisis Investing P.S. I started to see the pieces falling into place late last year. That’s why I told readers the death of the petrodollar would be the No. 1 black swan event of 2017. Eventually, I think people will look back and see China’s Golden Alternative as the catalyst that made it happen. We recently released a video that shows how it could all go down… Click here to watch it now. Reader MailbagToday, one reader’s skepticism of the crypto mania… It is understood there is a real chance of cyber warfare in the future where all internet, and possibly all computer activities, might be affected (in which case, only older VW beetles might continue to work because they have no computer components). If this is the case, then cryptocurrencies, whether government currency or otherwise, would be frozen, along with credit and bank cards. This means, of course, that only physical currency such as precious metals would be an acceptable transaction medium—real money! Yours truly, astounded at the crypto mania.—Vern We’d love to hear from you. If you have a question or comment on the Dispatch, you can send it to us right here. Medium sour crude oil accounts for over 40% of global crude output, but there is currently no price benchmark for it. The first major “win” for the Trump Presidency The mainstream press hasn’t written a word about HR 835… But Congress’s new bill has already helped send one little-known market soaring 1,025%… And according to a Goldman Sachs insider, prices could rocket 4,900% higher in the months ahead. There’s still time for you to get in – if you act before Trump signs HR 835 into law (no later than December 31). “There is a wall of money coming,” says one hedge fund manager, “and we’ll see an explosion in prices.” Click here for the full story. Bottom line, it will allow oil producers to sell oil for gold. Producers will be able to completely bypass the petrodollar system and any restrictions/regulations/sanctions of the US financial system. I recently spoke with the officials at the exchange. They told me they plan to go live with the INE crude contract before the end of the year. Immediately convert the yuan they receive from selling oil into physical gold at the spot price for immediate delivery. Recommended Linkcenter_img Or, lock in the gold to be delivered at a future date for a fixed yuan price with a gold futures contract. This eliminates any uncertainty because of fluctuating prices. — Recommended Link China recently announced a mechanism that will make it possible to trade oil for gold on a large scale for the first time in many decades. This mechanism could undermine the petrodollar system—the system that’s supported the US dollar as the top global currency since the 1970s. I call it China’s “Golden Alternative” to the petrodollar. PetroChina and Sinopec, two giant Chinese oil companies, will provide liquidity to the new yuan crude futures. But non-Chinese companies will be welcome, too. The crude yuan future will be China’s first commodities futures contract open to foreign investors. JPMorgan and UBS have already gained approval to trade. So have over 6,000 individual traders. It’s just a matter of time before the other big global players join. Remember the big idea here… the new yuan crude futures contracts will be a huge hit to the petrodollar. And it’s going to make a lot of money flood into gold—money that would have otherwise gone into the US dollar and US Treasuries. “We Don’t Have a Country” The breakdown of the petrodollar will cause a financial crisis. Here’s how things will unravel… The petrodollar system is one of the most powerful forces driving the US bond market. Oil-producing countries accumulate hundreds of billions of US dollars in oil profits, which they recycle back into US Treasuries. This keeps interest rates lower than they would be otherwise. It allows the US government to finance enormous deficits with debt at an artificially low cost. If the petrodollar system unravels, interest rates will soar. (Interest rates are currently near historic lows.) Even a small rate increase is a lethal threat to the US budget. The US government currently needs over $400 billion from taxpayers just to pay the interest on its debt. Tax receipts are just over $2 trillion. If interest rates rise… Justin’s note: Today, I’m sharing an urgent essay from Crisis Investing editor Nick Giambruno. Below, Nick discusses what will undermine our current petrodollar system—and why now is the time to prepare before it’s too late… By Nick Giambruno, editor, Crisis Investing Ron Paul told me this would happen… Dr. Paul first laid out his theory in 2006, in a little-known speech, during an otherwise dull session of Congress. I think it’s his most important speech ever. During the speech, Paul traced the history of the US dollar within the international financial system. Crucially, he pointed out the one thing that would precipitate the US dollar’s collapse. Now that one thing is about to happen. Here’s the most important part (emphasis mine): The economic law that honest exchange demands only things of real value as currency cannot be repealed. The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better. In other words, we’ll know the dollar-centric monetary system is about to end when countries start trading oil for gold or its equivalent… not dollars. Now—thanks to China—that’s about to happen in a very big way. China’s Golden Alternative to the Petrodollar Throughout history, every great power has had money that’s recognized around the world. Usually, these currencies have been tied to gold and silver. Ancient Greece had the silver drachma. Rome had the silver denarius. The Islamic Caliphates had the gold dinar and the silver dirham. Venice had the gold ducat. Great Britain had the gold sovereign. The United States used silver in its coins until 1964. And the dollar was under a pseudo-gold standard until 1971. Now it’s China’s turn. It’s no secret that China has been stashing away as much gold as it can. Today, China is the world’s largest producer and buyer of gold. According to informed observers, China now has official reserves of over 160 million ounces. It also has 400 million ounces in the ground that it could potentially mine. (The US, by contrast, claims it has official reserves of around 260 million ounces.) China’s Golden Alternative is the reason it’s been stashing so much gold. The Golden Alternative will allow anyone in the world to trade oil for gold. It will totally bypass the US dollar and the US financial system. For many, it will be much more attractive than the petrodollar system. The Golden Alternative is the beginning of the end of the international monetary system that has reigned since the early 1970s. Here’s how it will work… The Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) is about to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan. It will allow oil producers to sell their oil for yuan. Of course, most oil producers don’t want a large reserve of yuan. China knows this. That’s why China has explicitly linked the crude futures contract with the ability to convert yuan into physical gold through gold exchanges in Shanghai (the world’s largest physical gold market) and Hong Kong. The system won’t touch China’s official gold reserves. Oil producers will have two ways to do this: Medium sour crude is the main type of oil China and its neighboring countries import. 3%, it would need $1 trillion. I discussed all of this with Ron Paul extensively at a past Casey Research conference. He told me he stands by his assessment. — The supply/demand dynamics of medium sour are not the same as light sweet crude. 1%, the government would need over $600 billion to pay the interest on its debt.last_img read more

A disabled campaigner has described how he was kn

first_imgA disabled campaigner has described how he was “knocked for six” after learning that he had been recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.Shaun Webster becomes one of a select group of people with learning difficulties who have been recognised with such an honour.Among his achievements are his work with the human rights organisations Change, including a project working with children and young people with learning difficulties in eastern Europe as the long-stay institutions they had been living in were closed down.He said: “I was teaching them how to speak up for themselves, to believe in themselves, how to talk to other people, to be confident.“I gave them confidence and belief in themselves to train to be a professional like me. Every time I came over and trained them, they got more confidence.”Webster also co-authored a book, Leaving Institutions. Voices for Change – published by Change, Enable Housing Association and the children’s charity Lumos – which aimed to help social workers involved in the de-institutionalisation process.He said he hoped that his MBE would “open doors” for him, and help other people with learning difficulties secure a “proper paid job, with proper respect, and be treated equal like we do at Change, not tokenistic”.One of his proudest moments, he said, was speaking at a conference in Austria earlier this year, and being told by a Bulgarian woman with learning difficulties: “I want to be a role model like you.”He said: “People tell me I speak from my heart and I do. I am passionate about giving people and children with learning disabilities a real voice.“Giving someone with learning disabilities an award from the government will make a big difference to adults and children with learning disabilities.“They will think, ‘If he can get an MBE and he is making a difference, why can’t I?’”He added: “I just couldn’t believe it, it knocked me for six. I felt really happy. I felt very proud.”He said he believed he was awarded the MBE because he was a “hard worker”.He said: “I am very passionate about what I believe in, because I work nationally and internationally, because I am a role model.“I give people with learning disabilities a real voice and confidence and belief in themselves because they see what I can do.”Helen Dolphin (pictured), director of policy and campaigns for Disabled Motoring UK, was another disabled campaigner to receive an MBE.She has campaigned for more than 10 years to improve the blue badge parking scheme, and on other motoring and mobility issues for disabled people.She said: “Maybe people have realised I have had quite a big impact in how disabled people can park. I hope that’s what it’s for.”She has also been a member of the government’s advisory body, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, and has volunteered for many years for the charity Meningitis Now, speaking to and visiting other people who have lost limbs through meningitis.Dolphin is also studying for a law degree, and is one of the fastest swimmers in the country in her S5 category.She said she was delighted and surprised by the MBE, but she added: “To a degree as well, life is really difficult for me and it would be easy not to work and it would be easy not to get up at five o’clock in the morning.“I can’t get up quickly, I’ve got to have the carers come in. I have to be home at a certain time.“Life is considerably harder and I don’t think people know what I have even gone through before I have got to the office that day sometimes.”She pointed to the more than six per cent of people recognised in this year’s birthday honours who said they were disabled people, which she said was “on the up, and that too is a good thing”.Another disabled person to be recognised was Paralympian Jordanne Whiley, who said she had to read the letter informing her of her MBE five times before it sunk in.The wheelchair-tennis star said: “I didn’t understand at first what it was and then I was like, ‘Surely not me! It’s the wrong person!’ When it sank in, it was an amazing feeling.”Whiley said she hoped to use her MBE to raise her profile, with the long-term aim of setting up her own charity after she retires from sport.She said: “I want to get my status as high as I possibly can so that I can influence other people to play sport, and be a role model to young children, especially [girls and] women.“I have had a lot of fan mail from children with the same disability as me, saying that I am their idol and because of me they are now playing sport. It is such an amazing feeling to have helped just a few people.”Whiley said she liked to take a one-to-one approach with many of the fans who contact her, often calling them or meeting up with them when she is at home.She said: “I just like it when it’s one-to-one. You can make such a difference in one person’s life if you take one hour out of your day to make them see the person you really are.”The tennis star, who has now won five Grand Slam doubles titles, will be competing in the women’s wheelchair doubles at Wimbledon from 10 to 12 July, with her focus also on next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.She said that the MBE had “relit a spark” with her training and confidence, and that she was “feeling really good going into Wimbledon”.Other disabled people recognised in the birthday honours include Lorraine Mercer, for services to the community and to charity in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, who said she was “very honoured and excited” by her MBE.She has been a volunteer at The Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath for 18 years, and visits patients on the rehabilitation wards, who are often “coming to terms with losing their mobility and having to use a wheelchair, so I can understand what that is like”. She said: “I like to think that me going in and chatting and having time to spend with people helps them to stay positive.”A former patient who wrote a reference for her described how he had been lying in bed feeling depressed after a stroke, when Mercer arrived in her electric wheelchair with “a very positive attitude – so positive that it was infectious; so infectious that I caught it, and having caught it from then on I began to fight”.Another disabled campaigner awarded an MBE was Mikey Argy, a member of the Thalidomide Trust’s National Advisory Council, who was recognised for services to thalidomide survivors.About 70 recipients of awards in the Queen’s birthday honours considered themselves to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010, about one in 16 of all successful candidates.last_img read more

The governments new universal credit benefit syst

first_imgThe government’s new universal credit benefit system could “wreak havoc” and has created a “digital barrier” that prevents many disabled people and other disadvantaged groups from accessing the support they are entitled to, according to a UN human rights expert.Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the government’s “test and learn” approach to universal credit risked treating such groups “like guinea pigs” and could “wreak havoc in real people’s lives”.And he said that the preparations being made by local authorities and charities for the rollout of universal credit had “resembled the sort of activity one might expect for an impending natural disaster or health epidemic”.He said: “They have expended significant expense and energy to protect people from what is supposed to be a support system.”Alston was speaking to journalists at the end of a 12-day visit to the UK, as he published a preliminary statement on his findings. He will present a full report to the UN Human Rights Council in June.Earlier this month, Disability News Service reported how written evidence submitted to Alston’s inquiry described how a man with learning difficulties had died a month after attempting to take his own life, following a move onto universal credit that left him hundreds of pounds in debt.Alston said in his report that a key feature of universal credit was the imposition of “draconian sanctions”, even for minor infringements. He said: “Endless anecdotal evidence was presented to the special rapporteur to illustrate the harsh and arbitrary nature of some of the sanctions, as well as the devastating effects that resulted from being completely shut out of the benefits system for weeks or months at a time.”Alston also warned of the impact of the government’s decision to make universal credit the first major government service that is “digital by default”, with the expectation that claimants will rely on an online service rather than human interaction with DWP staff.He said: “We are witnessing the gradual disappearance of the postwar British welfare state behind a webpage and an algorithm.“In its place, a digital welfare state is emerging. The impact on the human rights of the most vulnerable in the UK will be immense.”Asked about Alston’s concerns about universal credit, the new work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, told MPs on Monday that she had been “disappointed, to say the least, by the extraordinary political nature of his language” in the report.She said: “We on the Conservative benches will always engage with professionals, experts and non-governmental organisations – we are not so proud that we do not think we can learn as we try to adjust universal credit for the benefit of everybody – but that sort of language was wholly inappropriate and actually discredited a lot of what he was saying.“We look forward to working with experts in the area to make sure that we get the right outcome for the people whom we want to look after.”She later described her new department as “a force for good”, but she admitted that there were “problems with universal credit, despite its good intentions”.She said: “I have seen them for myself. I will be listening and learning from the expert groups in this area who do such good work. I know it can be better.“I will make it my role to ensure that we deliver that through our discussions within the DWP and through discussions with the Treasury.“We will have a fair, compassionate and efficient benefits system.”In response to Rudd’s comments, Alston said on Twitter that the government had “a set of talking points about poverty and employment” that fail to address poverty, use “carefully chosen and misleading statistics to paint a rosy picture” and “ignore the horrible situation in which a large number of Britons live.He added: “That’s not the way to find solutions.”He also told Disability News Service: “I am hoping the secretary of state’s criticism of my report is not a substitute for a more systematic policy response to the many issues I have raised. “My report recounts in some depth the many problems experienced by adversely impacted groups, and especially by people with disabilities, and I would hope that DWP will seek to improve the system so that it does not cause such hardship and make already very difficult situations even worse.” A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Papa Johns Launches Program to Help Employees Pay for College

first_imgEducation Papa John’s Launches Program to Help Employees Pay for College Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images –shares Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Add to Queue Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. 2 min read The embattled pizza chain is partnering with Purdue University.center_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now » Next Article Entrepreneur Staff Nina Zipkin Papa John’s announced last week that it will partner with Purdue University to offer both corporate and restaurant employees full tuition to the school’s online courses. The initiative nets out to $5,250 per person per year, and the embattled company said it aims to work with other universities going forward.Roughly 20,000 workers will be able to take advantage of the program, with the company covering tuition and other attendant fees, including books and classroom materials, for Papa John’s employees that work at least 20 hours a week.Franchise locations also are eligible for the initiative, with slightly different requirements. Franchise employees will receive 20 percent off tuition for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and 14 percent off for master’s degrees.In an interview about the new program with Bloomberg, Chief People Officer Marvin Boakye said, “This is a great message to candidates that, not only can they have a place to be employed at, but a place to continue to develop,” with the intent to “drive our employer brand and quite frankly build retention.”With the initiative, Papa John’s joins a growing list of corporations that help their employees cover college tuition, including UPS, Starbucks, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Home Depot, Chipotle, Best Buy and Walmart.The move comes after a prolonged period of upheaval for the company’s leadership. In the fall of 2017, founder John Schnatter stepped down from this role as CEO after he said on a conference call that the NFL’s ongoing player protests were adversely affecting Papa John’s sales. In July of 2018, the then-chairman was recorded on another conference call — this call set up with a marketing firm with the goal of preventing additional PR issues — using the N-word. Shortly after, he resigned his position as chairman. February 20, 2019last_img read more

How to Set Up a CrossPlatform Network

first_img As your company grows and you add employees, computers, and an office to house them, you’ll need a network to connect everyone to each other and to the Internet. But at this point maybe your startup crew uses a collection of Macs and PCs, with the graphics people favoring OS X, the software developers relying on the tools that come with Linux, and everybody else preferring Windows. Fortunately, these three operating systems can communicate and coexist on a single network. By using suitable off-the-shelf networking equipment and the various operating systems’ built-in tools, you can connect your heterogeneous hardware to the universe in short order.First, There Was EthernetYour first question when setting up an office network may be “Wired or wireless?” Unless you have serious security constraints, the answer should be “Both.” Wireless networks are more convenient, allowing untethered laptop users to work anywhere in the office. Wired connections are the better choice for stationary PCs and printers because they’re faster, more secure, and easier to configure–and they leave maximum wireless bandwidth for your free-range connections to use.Before you run out and buy the first $99 wireless router you see, however, take a moment to assess your specific networking needs and your office’s topology. First, is network wiring already in place? If so, does it go to the places where you want to connect computers and other networked devices, such as printers?Ethernet cables are fairly inexpensive. To create an uncluttered, professional-looking environment, however, you may want to have an electrician install ethernet cabling in the walls before you move into a new office space. But even if your budget is too tight for electricians and interior designers, it makes sense to draw a plan showing where your connected and wireless devices will be.All of that wiring has to end up somewhere–and often the destination turns out to be a closet, where the cables plug into an ethernet router. The router does a number of important jobs: providing computers on your network with a private, local IP address (required to communicate with each other); coordinating connections between those private addresses and servers on the Internet; and blocking unwanted incoming and outgoing connections with a firewall. The router may also incorporate a wireless access point.If your Internet connection enters the premises in the same closet, so much the better. And if your business is small–say, five people or so–you may be able to get by with a cheap wireless router after all (for likely candidates, see our most recent roundup of wireless routers). Most routers incorporate a wired ethernet hub with three to five connections, and a few offer eight ports–the more the better, for a growing business.If you need additional wired connections, you’ll have to purchase an additional ethernet switch that you can set up between the router and the clients to increase the number of available ports. Most routers can assign addresses to up to 254 devices (wireless and wired), though some of them top out at 20 or so wireless clients.Still, even the fastest wireless routers may show signs of bogging down when hosting ten or more active users, depending on the bandwidth demands of each. Alternatively, you can opt for a wired router (with lots of ports, of course) and a separate wireless access point that connects to it. Walls, masonry, metal cabinets, and other structures can interfere with the radio signal used by wireless ethernet, so a wired router plus wireless access point is a good option if your network wiring hub is fairly distant from your wireless workers.For optimum performance, position your wireless router or access point as close as possible to the wireless work areas. Upgrading to the latest wireless technology–the draft 802.11n specification–can significantly speed up your wireless connections as well. Sometimes draft or nonstandard wireless technology delivers its best results when you purchase the router or access point and the wireless client hardware from the same manufacturer. Read the manual before installing a router, and be sure to heed its urgent warning to change the router’s default password before connecting it to the Internet.Hooking Up PrintersOne great reason to network your business PCs is to share printers. Printers that connect directly to the network via ethernet constitute one of the most brilliant innovations ever. Simply plug a printer in and turn it on, and soon it is available to every computer on the network.To find and install a network printer in Windows, go to Control Panel, open Printers and Faxes (just plain Printers in Vista), click Add a printer, and use the network printer option in the resulting dialog box to browse for the printer on the network. Windows Vista will detect and install a driver for it, if one is available online; Windows XP offers a list of available drivers. Network printers may not show up in Windows XP if your Workgroup name differs from the one that the printer belongs to (often, ‘WORKGROUP’). To locate the printer, temporarily join its workgroup (click Change in the Computer Name tab of Control Panel’s System Properties) before browsing for the printer. In general, it is much easier to share resources between computers if all of them are configured with the same Workgroup name.To find and install a printer in OS X 10.5, open System Preferences, choose Print and Fax, click the lock icon to allow changes, then click the plus sign to add a printer. If your printer doesn’t appear in the Default list of printers, you may find it listed under the Windows category, which allows you to select printers shared on any local Windows Workgroup. Select the printer and click Add. To install a printer in Ubuntu Linux (the popular distribution we use as an example in this article), choose System.Administration.Printing, click New Printer, select the printer in the resulting list, and click Forward to select the correct driver and install the printer.The wonderfulness of networked printers notwithstanding, you may want to share a printer that’s connected directly to a PC with other computers on the network. To share a printer in Windows, first enable file and printer sharing. In Windows XP, open Network Connections in Control Panel, right-click your active network connection and choose Properties, check File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks in the ‘This connection uses…’ list, and click OK. In Windows Vista, open the Network and Sharing Center in Control Panel, expand the Printer sharing section, select Turn on printer sharing, and click Apply. While you’re there, enable Network discovery and File sharing if you want to share your files with other users on the network. Next, in the Printers and Faxes dialog box, right-click the printer you want to share, select Share this printer, enter a name in the ‘Share name’ field, and click OK.In OS X, select the printer from the list of printers in Systems Preferences’ Print and Fax page, and check Share this printer. Although Ubuntu can share its printers with other systems–and browse Windows printers by default–it can’t share its own printers as Windows shares until you install the Samba utility, which emulates Windows’ Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing and printer-sharing protocol.The fastest way to install and configure Samba in Ubuntu is via command-line tools. Nonexperts can install the program graphically, however: Choose System.Administration.Synaptic Package Manager to open Ubuntu’s software installation interface; then click Search, enter Samba, and click Search.Scroll through the resulting list, select the entry that reads simply Samba, and check it. Synaptic package manager will select the other necessary packages. To install the software, click Apply. For details on configuring Samba, start with the official guide.Share Your FilesLike printers, storage can be much more useful when it’s networked. In the past, sharing files meant dedicating an entire computer to the job. Now, Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices–often no larger than an external hard drive–provide always-available disk space to anyone on the network via the lingua franca of file sharing, the SMB protocol.To connect to an SMB share from Windows–whether on a NAS device or on another computer sharing it via SMB–open My Network Places, and browse the shares available on the current workgroup. As with printers, Windows XP will show only the shares available on the workgroup you are a member of. To view files shared on the local network via SMB in OS X, browse them in the Finder; available servers are listed under ‘Shared’ in the window’s left-hand pane, or choose Go.Network in the menu. In Ubuntu, choose Places.Network.As with printer sharing, not all storage is attached directly to the network. OS X, Windows (Vista and XP), and Linux all allow you to share files stored on your computer with other users on the network, as well as to browse file shares on other PCs. To share files in Windows, first enable file and printer sharing (as detailed above). In Windows XP, browse to the folder you want to share, right-click it, choose Sharing and Security, and check Share this folder on the network. If you want other users to be able to edit, delete, and create new files in the shared folder, check Allow network users to change my files. Click on OK to finish.By default, Windows Vista requires users to provide a log-in name and a password before they can gain access to its file shares. If you’d like to share files with anyone on the network without having to create a user account and a password for each person, set Password protected sharing to Off in the Network and Sharing Center before you attempt to share files or folders. To share a file or folder in Windows Vista, right-click it, choose Share, select Everyone (all users in this list) from the list of users and groups available to share with, click Add, and then click OK.To share files in OS X, open System Preferences, click Sharing, check File Sharing, click Options, select the shared home folders (if any) that you want to share via SMB (public folders are shared by default), check Share files and folders using SMB, enter the account password for any checked home folder when prompted, and click Done. To share a folder with everyone on the network in Ubuntu, select the folder in File Browser, choose File.Properties, select the Share tab, check Share this folder and Guest access, andclick Create Share.After following all of these steps, you should have your company’s network up and running. Now your employees can focus on advancing your business to the next level.Scott Spanbauer is a Contributing Editor for PC World. Your business–and the computers that power it–may have started with an idea that popped into your head while you sat in front of your laptop, freeloading off of the local coffee shop’s wireless network. But you can’t work out of the Java Hut forever. Add to Queue November 25, 2008 Next Article Technology Scott Spanbauer Brought to you by PCWorldcenter_img 10 min read How to Set Up a Cross-Platform Network Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals –shares Register Now »last_img read more

A One Hour Translation OHT Survey Finds out How Good Google Assistant

first_imgA One Hour Translation (OHT) Survey Finds out How Good Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri Are in Translating Some of the Most Popular Phrases of All Times MTS Staff WriterApril 18, 2019, 4:06 pmApril 18, 2019 Marketing TechnologyNeural Machine TranslationNewsOne Hour Translationonline translation serviceYaron Kaufman Previous ArticleSmile Launches TextExpander for Chrome BetaNext ArticleBeeswax Announces “Bid Models” to Power Programmatic In-Housing 60 Well Known Phrases in English Were Translated by the Three Leading Assistants into French, Spanish, Chinese and German Google Assistant Scored the Best in Three out of Four Language Pairs and Amazon Alexa in ChineseTake the most famous phrase from the Godfather – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from the inaugural address of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and see just how the virtual assistants do in translating them using their newly introduced Neural Machine Translation (NMT) capabilities. One Hour Translation (OHT), the world’s largest online translation service, conducted a study to find out just how accurate these new services are.OHT used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from the Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri from English to French, Spanish, Chinese and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6.Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed – English to French, English to German and English to Spanish and second in English to Chinese.  Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English to Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English to French and English to Spanish and third place in English to German and English to Chinese.  All three virtual assistants are compatible with mobile phones.Marketing Technology News: Improvado Raises $8 Million to Automate Full-Stack Marketing Analytics Through 60 Silicon Valley Investor“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. He predicts that “there is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly, is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.”A lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years.  All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort. “OHT is working with several of the leading NMT providers to improve their engines through the use of its hybrid online translation service that combines NMT and human post-editing,” notes Kaufman. He adds that this will no doubt have a huge impact on the use of assistants for translation purposes.Marketing Technology News: Adswerve and Google Cloud Break Down Data Silos for MarketersOHT has made a name for itself in assessing the level of translations by NMT engines.  Its ONEs Evaluation Score is a unique human-based assessment of the leading NMT engines conducted on a quarterly basis and used as an industry standard.Marketing Technology News: Zaius Adds New Dimension to Customer Behavior Analytics Using Predictive Intelligencelast_img read more

Kent State professor receives grant to study role of oxytocin in the

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 12 2018Heather Caldwell, Ph.D., a professor in Kent State University’s Department of Biological Sciences, recently received a $450,000 grant to study the role that oxytocin plays in the developing brain.Labeled by some as “the bonding hormone,” oxytocin is well known for helping pregnant mothers with uterine contraction while in labor, milk letdown while breastfeeding and a feeling of euphoria when cuddling with their infants. But, there is still much that researchers do not know about how this hormone works in the brains of children.The grant, which came from the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, will enable a study on the three-year project titled “Sex differences in the developing oxytocin system.” The study will provide insight into how oxytocin affects the development of the female and male brain and contributes to the neural regulation of social behavior. Dr. Caldwell’s lab group will be the first to examine the function of oxytocin signaling during early development. Liz Aulino, a Kent State Ph.D. student in Dr. Caldwell’s lab, will focus on this topic for her dissertation.”This research has relevance to public health because many of the neural chemicals, neural substrates and circuits that underlie social behaviors are evolutionarily conserved,” Dr. Caldwell said. “Using an animal model, we hope to improve our understanding of the contributions of oxytocin to the development of social behaviors in humans.”The researchers aim to determine how the developing oxytocin system differs between female and males and also to identify how it differentially impacts their neurochemistry.The brain hormones do not themselves cause behavior, but they modulate it. The key is how they interact with a receptor, in this case, a protein in the cell’s membrane. The developing mouse brain does not make oxytocin early in development, but it has oxytocin receptors ready to signal.Related StoriesRush University Medical Center offers new FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysmsMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskEmerging evidence shows that, during early brain development, oxytocin helps to organize neural circuits in the brain and that these organizational effects may help the brain develop the capacity to execute sex-specific and context-appropriate social behaviors later in life.”We think these experiments will reveal a novel role for oxytocin in organizing sex-specific brain circuits that are critical for typical displays of social behaviors,” Dr. Caldwell said. “Across mammalian species, oxytocin is important for social cognition and social functioning, and deficits in social behaviors are characteristic of several neurodevelopmental neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.”This type of National Institutes of Health grant, an R15, is an Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) and specifically supports the research, education and training of future scientists through undergraduate research support for students interested in a career in biomedical/behavioral science. Dr. Caldwell will recruit students to collaborate with her and Ms. Aulino, as well as a technician who she plans to hire for the three-year term.Dr. Caldwell developed an interest in the effect of hormones on behavior after doing fieldwork with sea turtles and working on mouse chemical signals as a student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in biology. Her interest in how hormones affect behavior led her to pursue a doctorate at Georgia State University, which has a large National Science Foundation-supported Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. She spent four years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health and joined the Kent State faculty in 2007. Dr. Caldwell has been studying how neurochemistry regulates behavior such as aggression, and her primary research focus has been on the closely linked hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.​​Source: https://www.kent.edu/kent/news/new-study-kent-state-researcher-examine-role-oxytocin-developing-brainlast_img read more

Mapping fiber layers of mammalian cerebral cortex reveals clues to their evolution

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 20 2018[Background]The cerebrum plays the most important roles in the higher functions of the brain. In particular, the cerebral cortex, among other parts of the cerebrum, is essential. Humans have by far the most developed cerebral cortex among animals and it is thought that we have acquired specific abilities thanks to this. In addition, the cerebral cortex has received special attention, since various parts are involved in various brain diseases, psychiatric disorders and others.The developing cerebral cortex of higher animals like humans contains two axonal fiber layers that transmit neural information and are, therefore, considered to be important in brain functions. The cerebral cortex of the mouse, the most commonly used model animal in research, was not found to have equivalents of the axonal fiber layers, which made mouse research on this subject very difficult. Thus, research on these fiber layers has been much retarded.The present research group at Kanazawa University has been promoting studies using the ferret, since it is important to conduct research using higher animals with a more developed cerebrum, closer to that of the human than the mouse. Research techniques for the ferret were previously not available, so in 2012 and 2013 the group developed an appropriate technique, in utero electroporation, for use in ferrets at the gene level. They have thus led research into the brains of higher mammals including the development of disease model ferrets in 2015 and 2017.[Results]In the present study, the Kanazawa University group has mapped the fiber layers of the developing cerebrum of a higher mammal, the ferret, using its own unique research technique. They have also found an important clue to the evolution of these fiber layers. More specifically, the following three points have been established: A trace of axonal fiber bundles is found in the mouse brain. So far, equivalents of the two fiber layers were not described in the mouse cerebral cortex. The group applied the same technique, used to reveal the two fiber layers in the ferret brain, to the mouse brain. Unexpectedly, they found one fiber layer as well as a trace of axonal fiber bundles. This trace pathway is thought to have later evolved to become the second axonal fiber layer of higher mammals. This raises the possibility that it is this second axonal fiber layer, i.e. the outer fiber layer, which is important in the development of higher brain functions. The two axonal fiber layers have different destinations in the brain. Upon investigation of the destinations of the two fiber layers, the one on the surface side of the cerebral cortex has destinations in the proximal areas of the cerebral cortex; i.e. it represents a short-distance pathway (Figure 1 lower panel, indicated with an arrow); on the other hand, the other in the deep side of the cerebral cortex has destinations in the cerebral cortex of the opposite hemisphere and to the other brain regions; i.e. it represents a long-distance pathway. Thus, selection of the axonal fiber layers takes place depending on their destination. The two axonal fiber layers found in the human and monkey brain also exist in the ferret brain. By introducing GFP (green fluorescent protein) into neurons in the ferret cerebral cortex, it was found that axons in two fiber layers are derived from the neurons of the cerebral cortex .center_img [Significance and future prospects] In this study, the Kanazawa University group has elucidated the destinations of the two axonal fiber layers in the cerebrum and the process of their evolution with the use of their unique research technique for the ferret. This finding is of major significance, since there have been very few studies on these two fiber layers. This study should contribute to our understanding of brain evolution in higher organisms up to the human, which has been very difficult with the mouse, a conventional model animal. Further, it should help reveal causes of various brain disorders. Source:https://www.kanazawa-u.ac.jp/latest-research/63084last_img read more

Five international leaders appointed as CoChairs for HIVR4P 2020

first_imgFeb 25 2019The International AIDS Society (IAS), secretariat for the 4th biennial HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P 2020) conference, has announced the appointment of five international leaders in HIV prevention research, implementation and advocacy as Co-Chairs for the meeting.The conference Co-Chairs will guide the development of HIVR4P 2020, to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 11-15 October 2020. The IAS assumes the role of HIVR4P conference secretariat as part of its collaboration with the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, which organized the first three HIVR4P conferences. The IAS is excited to take on the role of secretariat for HIVR4P 2020 at this critical moment in HIV prevention research and implementation. These co-chairs represent expertise across prevention research, science, and community that will advance the evidence-informed, human rights-based approaches that can help make the enormous promise of biomedical HIV prevention available to all.”Kevin Osborne, IAS Executive Director Related StoriesNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedHIV DNA persists in spinal fluid despite treatment, linked to cognitive impairmentHIV persists in spinal fluid even after long-term treatment and is linked to cognitive deficitsThe HIVR4P 2020 Co-Chairs announced today are:Linda-Gail Bekker – Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, and Chief Operating Officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation.Pontiano Kaleebu – Director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and Director of Medical Research Council (MRC)/UVRI and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit.Sheena McCormack – Senior Clinical Scientist at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London.David O’Connor – Medical Foundation Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Chair of the Global Infectious Diseases division of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.Mitchell Warren – Executive Director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention.Together, the Co-Chairs will guide the HIVR4P 2020 Programme Organizing Committee to: develop the conference theme, vision and programme; review research abstracts and scholarship applications; select conference award winners; support the meeting’s outreach and fundraising efforts; and ensure that HIVR4P continues to move the global HIV prevention paradigm forward. Since 2014, the biennial HIVR4P conference has brought together leaders in every field of biomedical HIV prevention – from vaccines to PrEP to emerging, long-acting strategies – to address both cross-cutting challenges in the field and the research, policy and implementation issues specific to each prevention approach. Guided by these outstanding Co-Chairs, HIVR4P 2020 will continue to be one of the most innovative, integrated and collaborative conferences in the field.”Anton Pozniak, IAS President Source:https://www.iasociety.org/last_img read more

Air France shares nosedive after CEO bails Update

Citation: Air France shares nosedive after CEO bails (Update) (2018, May 7) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-air-france-tailspin-ceo.html Air France shares went into a tailspin on the Paris stock exchange Monday after the strike-hit company’s CEO resigned and the government seemed to worry about the carrier’s very chances of survival. Air France-KLM boss Jean-Marc Janaillac announced his resignation Friday after staff at the carrier’s French operations rejected a pay deal aimed at ending months of walkouts.In late morning Paris business Air France stock was down 12 percent at 7.13 euros, having earlier traded as low as 6.93.Societe Generale analysts said the company’s employees “have not only forced the group CEO to resign, but also made the investment case obsolete”.Switching to a “sell” recommendation from a previous “buy”, Societe Generale said the staff vote “not only puts the cost efficiency targets at risk in our view, but even the integrity of the group”.Janaillac, who had been in the post for under two years and staked his future at the company on staff accepting the deal, deplored their decision as a “huge waste”.Staff and management at the carrier have been locked in a dispute over pay since February.Intermittent strikes in recent weeks have prompted the cancellation of a quarter of flights on average.Unionised staff are set to walk out for the 14th day on Monday as they press for a 5.1-percent salary increase this year as the company recovers from years of losses and restructuring. The carrier’s chairman staked his job on the staff vote—and lost © 2018 AFP Who’ll want his job?”Air France-KLM is now without a boss and will find it hugely difficult to attract a high-level manager,” analysts at French brokerage Aurel-BGC said.France’s economy minister on Sunday warned that the survival of Air France was now in the balance.”I call on everyone to be responsible: crew, ground staff, and pilots who are asking for unjustified pay hikes,” Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told the BFM news channel.”Be responsible. The survival of Air France is in the balance,” he added.He warned that the state, which owns 14.3 percent of the group, would not serve as a backstop.”Air France will disappear if it does not make the necessary efforts to be competitive,” he warned.The announcement of Janaillac’s departure came as Air France-KLM released its first-quarter earnings, which showed a net loss of 269 million euros ($322 million), weighed down by three days of strikes which cost about 25 million euros per day according to the company.The group warned the dispute would shave at least 300 million euros off its operating profit for the full year, pulling earnings “notably below” last year’s 1.9 billion euros.Societe Generale analysts warned the weaker earnings performance could lead to a rift between Air France and its profitable Dutch partner, KLM.”KLM might (rightfully) ask why the profits are being generated in the Netherlands but the losses being made in France,” they said.”The situation is neither healthy nor sustainable, in our view,” they said. Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Heavy turbulence for Air France, including on the stock market Air France’s future in the balance, warns economy minister read more

Streaming to subscriptions Video games enter new frontiers

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In this Nov. 20, 2018, file photo Leslie Hatch of Rusk shops with Rylan Hatch, 7, and Bailey Hatch, 6, at GameStop at Broadway Square Mall in Tyler, Texas. The video game industry is entering new frontiers. In the past, you plunked down $60 at GameStop for a copy of Grand Theft Auto or Madden NFL and played it out. Now, you’ll increasingly have the choice of subscribing to games, playing for free or possibly just streaming them over the internet to your phone or TV. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph via AP, File) © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This Wednesday, March 6, 2019, photo shows a “Level up!” screen as a gamer plays “Apex Legends” in Jersey City, N.J. Electronic Arts’ “Apex Legends” got 50 million players worldwide in its first four weeks. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane) Penfield loves that Fortnite is free and says he can’t see himself spending $60 again for a game upfront. He estimates he spends about $10 a month on in-game purchases—meaning he’s spending twice as much in just one year.The trend started a few years ago with Candy Crush and other mobile games that appealed to casual gamers looking to pass the time on a subway or doctor’s waiting room. The success of Fortnite shows that this model works with more sophisticated styles of games, too. Despite being free to play, it raked in an estimated $2.4 billion in 2018, according to SuperData.And there are many signs Fortnite isn’t a one-hit wonder. Electronic Arts’ Apex Legends got 50 million players worldwide in its first four weeks. While it doesn’t have a mobile component—yet—its style of game play and revenue model are similar to Fortnite. Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard is working with Tencent on a mobile version of its popular Call of Duty first-person shooter franchise.But it’s a gamble if users don’t spend enough money in the game itself.”Even though we can start to see the shape of things to come, it will take a while before they come into focus,” van Dreunen said. The video game industry is entering new frontiers. Explore further Game retailer GameStop’s shares fell Wednesday, a day after it projected a revenue drop of 5% to 10% in 2019. And major video game publishers Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard have announced layoffs.Responding to changing consumer behavior, video game makers and new entrants like Google are offering new ways to play.GAME STREAMINGBig players are entering the arena: Google announced Stadia , a console-free game streaming service due out this year. The platform will store a game-playing session in the cloud and let players jump across phones, laptops and browsers with Google’s software.Google didn’t say how much its new service will cost, whether it will offer subscriptions or other options, or what games will be available at launch —all key elements to the success of a new video-game platform. Google will be hoping to avoid the fate of OnLive, which debuted in 2010 and streamed high-end video games over the internet. The service had promise, but failed to garner a big enough user base. It shuttered in 2015. In this Sept. 11, 2018 file photo, Nick Overton, a professional video game player, plays “Fortnite” while engaging with his fans online from the game room at his home, in Grimes, Iowa. “Fortnite,” a free-to-play game that has become a massive hit with its “battle royal” mode winning over millions of fans. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) In the past, you plunked down $60 at GameStop for a copy of Grand Theft Auto or Madden NFL and played it out—after which you could trade it in or let it gather dust.Now, you’ll increasingly have the choice of subscribing to games, playing for free or possibly just streaming them over the internet to your phone or TV.Welcome to a new world of experimentation in an industry that hasn’t been seriously shaken up since Nintendo launched its home gaming console in the U.S. in 1986 or when mobile gaming surged in popularity a decade ago.”We’re in an environment where people want content and media when they want it, how they want it,” CFRA analyst Scott Kessler said. “You can play a great video game with a console or on a computer or with a mobile device and you might not have to pay anything. That’s a dramatic departure from even a few years ago.”Of course, people will still buy and use traditional video games and consoles for years to come. But as games have become more accessible online and on mobile, it is becoming harder to convince people to spend a chunk of money upfront, said Joost van Dreunen, co-founder of research company SuperData. SUBSCRIPTIONS Citation: Streaming to subscriptions: Video games enter new frontiers (2019, April 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-streaming-subscriptions-video-games-frontiers.html Has ‘Fortnite’ peaked? As season 8 arrives, research suggests revenue dipped in January In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo Henry Hailey, 10, plays one of the online “Fortnite” game in the early morning hours in the basement of his Chicago home. “Fortnite,” a free-to-play game that has become a massive hit with its “battle royal” mode winning over millions of fans. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine, File) Apple announced a subscription service that some are calling the “Netflix of Games .”Apple Arcade subscribers will get to play more than 100 games, curated by Apple and exclusive to the service. Games can be downloaded and played offline—on the Apple-made iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Notably, Apple says players won’t have to pay for virtual weapons and other extras—something free mobile games typically charge for. The company didn’t say how much Arcade will cost when it launches this fall.FREE-TO-PLAY GAMESAnd then there is Fortnite, a free-to-play game that has become a massive hit with its “battle royal” mode winning over millions of fans. In this mode, 100 players battle one another for weapons and armor until only one player is left. Created by Epic Games, which is backed by Chinese mobile behemoth Tencent, a key aspect of the game is being able to play it on anything from your phone to a decked-out gaming PC.”I like the interactiveness and being able to play with your friends,” said Patrick Penfield, a Syracuse University student. “There are infinite possibilities.”Free-to-play games such as Fortnite make money from in-app purchases. In Fortnite, for instance, players use real-world money to buy for their characters outfits, gear or “emotes”—brief dances that have become a cultural phenomenon performed on playgrounds, in social media posts and in the scoring celebrations of professional athletes.last_img read more