WASHINGTON — With two men on, Washington Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor made a long run for a nice grab of a deep fly ball before bumping into the out-of-town video scoreboard to end the fifth inning.“I was thinking ‘triple’ right out of the box,” Mets batter Eric Campbell would say later.Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez sure appreciated the effort, raising his index finger to point in Taylor’s direction.“You’ve got to show love,” Gonzalez said, “when love is due.”Gonzalez got plenty of defensive help, Clint Robinson’s two-run double provided the biggest blow as the Nationals jumped on Matt Harvey for five runs in the first three innings July 21, and NL East-leading Washington beat second-place New York 7-2.“He went a long way,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said about Taylor’s play. “And that wall comes up quick. But it was a perfect read, perfect angle.”Third baseman Yunel Escobar made a diving stop, right fielder Bryce Harper made a sliding catch, and catcher Jose Lobaton made a stumbling grab in foul territory to back Gonzalez (7-4), who allowed two runs in six innings.A day after leaving 25 men on base and going 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position in an 18-inning victory at St. Louis, the Mets’ troubled offense left 10 men on and went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.Indeed, it was Harvey (8-7) who drove in New York’s runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth.Dialing up his fastball to 99 mph, Harvey retired the last 14 batters he faced after his rocky beginning. He wound up going seven innings, charged with five runs — four earned.“When you can’t find it, maybe you try a little bit too hard to find it right away, instead of toning it down a little bit,” Harvey said.Williams pointed to one particular key: staying away from Harvey’s high fastballs.Robinson, starting at first base for the injured Ryan Zimmerman, drove the ball over the head of center fielder Juan Lagares in a three-run third that also included Mets third baseman Daniel Murphy’s bad throw for his second error of the game.Zimmerman is one of four everyday Nationals on the disabled list, along with Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span.Mets Manager Terry Collins aligned his rotation to have his top pitchers face Washington, and he didn’t try to hide how important he believes this match-up is. The Nationals opened the series two games ahead of the Mets.“We’re trying to catch these guys, so it’s big,” Collins said. “It’s big for us.”(HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shares
Liverpool hero Hamann: I wanted to join Arsenalby Ansser Sadiq9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool legend Dietmar Hamann has admitted that he wanted to join Arsenal instead of the Reds!The German defensive midfielder played over 200 games for the club in the early 2000s.But when he left Newcastle in 1999, Hamann has revealed that his first choice was to go to Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.It is understandable, given the Gunners were competing for Premier League titles in those years.However, Hamann told The Athletic that he never got any serious interest from Arsenal, which meant that Liverpool was his best option for a step up from Newcastle.He signed for the club in an £8 million deal under Gerard Houiller and became a mainstay in the team for the next seven years. About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
Mississippi State Hype VideoMississippi State suffered a tough loss to Georgia Tech in last year’s Orange Bowl, but all in all, the Bulldogs had a great season. MSU opened the 2014 campaign with nine straight victories, including wins over LSU, Auburn and Arkansas, before falling in a close contest to Alabama. The Bulldogs, in early November, were the No. 1 ranked team in the country. And they posted double-digit victories for just the second time in their program’s history.The 2015 Bulldogs aren’t being picked by many to be quite as successful, but with star quarterback Dak Prescott returning, they may surprise a few people. Thursday, the school released an awesome hype video titled “Relentless” to tease the 2015 campaign. Enjoy, MSU fans:
VANCOUVER – Home sales in British Columbia plummeted last month compared with March of last year, but the B.C. Real Estate Association says the decline was not reflected in prices.Sales figures released by the association for March show 7,409 homes changed hands last month, a decline of 24.6 per cent over March 2017, while average property prices climbed 5.3 per cent over the same period.A news release from the association says the average home sold for $726,930 last month and it blames persistently high prices on the lack of properties available for sale.It says total active listings have changed very little since March of 2017, nudging a 12-year low across B.C.Association chief economist Cameron Muir forecasts prices will continue to climb as long as the trend continues.He is also critical of what he calls the “burdensome” mortgage qualification rules that took effect in January, saying they have had the “predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand.”“You simply cannot pull as much as 20 per cent of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand,” Muir says in the release.B.C. home sales in March tallied $5.39 billion, a 20.6 per cent tumble compared with March 2017, while the association says sales dollar volumes since January slipped 1.7 per cent to $13.9 billion, compared with the first quarter of last year.Residential sales also fell 9.4 per cent during the first three months of this year, while the association reports the average price of a home increased 8.5 per cent to just over $732,000 during the same period.
BERLIN – Germany will likely miss its goal of cutting emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, the country’s environment minister said Monday, an embarrassing admission for a government that wants to lead the charge on limiting climate change.Official estimates project that Europe’s biggest economy will trim its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent or less by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. The next target, a decade later, calls for a 55 per cent drop in emissions from 1990.“It’s painful for me to have to tell you that we will miss the targets we’ve set for ourselves for 2020,” Svenja Schulze told delegates from more than 30 governments who had gathered in Berlin to prepare for an annual global climate summit in December.Setting her country’s sights on 2030, Schulze said all sectors of the German economy would have to contribute cuts, but singled out transportation in particular, where emissions remain at 1990 levels.“The least has happened there,” she told reporters.Schulze also called for greater efforts to generate renewable energy and for an end to burning coal to produce electricity. The German government created an expert commission this month to study the politically sensitive issue of coal-fired power plants.The December summit in Katowice, Poland, will provide the first true test of the world’s ability to implement the 2015 Paris climate accord. The treaty set a political target of keeping global warming significantly below 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, but left open how that would be achieved.Scientists say the time to achieve the most ambitious goal — limiting a rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 — has almost passed.Germany has pushed for international unity on upholding the Paris accord, particularly since U.S. President Donald Trump said he was pulling out of the deal his predecessor negotiated. But Berlin’s inability to take drastic steps has led environmental groups to question Germany’s credibility on the issue.German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki are scheduled to speak at the Berlin climate meeting Tuesday.
Kolkata: Are you worried about the effects of harsh chemicals found in the colours that we use to play Holi?The city-based doctors have prescribed some guidelines on how to play a safe Holi without causing damage to the skin, eyes and hair. Holi is the festival of colours and people love to spend the day by rejoicing and merrymaking. Dr Madhumita Bhattacharya, consultant, department of dermatology at a private hospital in the city, shared effective tips to avoid the side-effects of the chemicals found in colours. Here are some tips to help you take some precautionary measures for a beautiful Holi. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Dr Bhattacharya said the amount of colours and water one uses during Holi can have a serious toll on your skin unless you are well-prepared in advance. So, here’s what you should do before stepping out of your house. Dr Bhattacharya suggests you should rub ice cubes on your face which will help to close pores on your skin and ensure colours don’t seep into your skin and cause breakage. One should apply oil on your face. Those who have dry or normal skin, can apply oil on their face and body. Oil will keep your skin moisturized all along. People can use coconut oil, castor oil and olive oil for this purpose, she said. One should also use a waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe doctors suggested the women to apply nail paints before playing Holi which can be removed later. People are also advised to drink lots of water before playing Holi. It keeps one hydrated and will provide energy. The doctor said one should wear sunglasses and remove contact lenses before going outdoors. If colours enter the eyes one should immediately rinse with cold water. Dr Bhattacharya said one should avoid scented or perfumed colours as they might cause allergies. One should wear dark full sleeves cotton clothes which will cover the whole body and can protect from harmful colours. She also urged people to use organic colours. After playing Holi, people should use a mild soap to remove the colours from their skin and use baby shampoo to wash their hair followed by conditioner. One should strictly avoid the use of kerosene, petrol and spirits to remove stains as they will damage the skin.
Members of the Ohio State men’s hockey team know now is not the time to start letting doubt creep in, even after dropping its last three games. OSU only has one win in its last 10 games, a 3-1 victory at Ferris State on Jan. 11. The team has suffered a lot of injuries this season, something OSU coach Mark Osiecki said “drastically” hurts the team’s chemistry. “Our roster has been different every game because of it,” Osiecki said. “You don’t want to use that as an excuse at all, but it’s definitely affected it.” Despite the team’s recent struggles, Osiecki stressed the importance of the team consistently maintaining a positive attitude, even if its play has not been consistent. “They’ve got a great attitude,” Osiecki said. “They love coming to the rink. If (the Schottenstein Center) was open every day, they would be in here every day shooting pucks on the ice, using open ice. That’s the mentality.” It is that mentality of working hard every day that could help the Buckeyes toward closing out the season on a high note, said senior goalie Brady Hjelle. “All the cards are right there ready to go,” Hjelle said. “We are ready to go, we just got to stay positive and keep working hard every day.” Sophomore forward Max McCormick said he agreed with Hjelle and said staying positive is key. “We can’t get down on ourselves and hang our heads,” McCormick said. “We’ve got to have a good work ethic in practice and prepare for the weekend.” OSU is scheduled to host Lake Superior State (13-12-1, 8-9-1-1 CCHA) this weekend at the Schottenstein Center. The series against the Lakers begins a stretch where OSU will play eight of its next 10 games in Columbus. “It’ll be nice to be back home here,” Osiecki said. “At home you got a full roster and we gotta play with an attitude.” Junior defenseman Curtis Gedig also said he is happy to be at home and playing in front of the home crowd, something the team has not had the chance to experience since before Christmas. “I love the building, love the atmosphere,” Gedig said. “We don’t have to worry about catching up on school because we are traveling, so that is nice.” Osiecki said the team is closer to 100 percent health than it has been since the beginning of the season, adding that he is looking forward to getting some of the players back to “knock the rust off.” Even with the roster being nearly at full strength, he said his team does not have a lot of time to waste before the end of the regular season. “Guys have to get to game speed quickly,” Osiecki said. “There’s not enough time to sit around and ease into it.” Hjelle said winning games is a must for any team at this point in the season but is happy to have the majority of the remaining games at home, which he said helps with morale. “It’s always a good time to start winning a lot of games,” Hjelle said. “It’s definitely nice being at home. It’s going to be huge for us.” Osiecki said he and the rest of the coaching staff have not had to say much in practice to keep the team focused on what they need to do. “I think the sky is still the limit,” he said. “Our guys have the right attitude. Now it is just a matter of getting some sort of comfort and chemistry going.” Gedig agreed with Osiecki that the team just has to find a way to win. “The excuses have got to come to an end,” Gedig said. “We are so close, and I believe with this team we are good enough and it will come for us.”
Navyasree999 @Navyasree9991 This song is going to rock #PsychoSaiyaan Can’t watch for the full song…. On repeat mode… Goutham @goutham4098 WOW! the duo #Prabhas ‘n’ @ShraddhaKapoor looking SUPER HOT in the 1st glimpse of #SaahoFirstSingle #PsychoSaiyaan out on 8th July. Loved the teaser, eagerly wait for the video … #Saaho @UV_Creations @TSeries Prabhas and Shraddha Kapoor’s dashing new look in the first Saaho song Kadal PsychoTwitterThe makers of Saaho released the teaser of Telugu, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam versions of its first song Psycho Saiyaan / Kadal Psycho on Friday, July 5. The video is getting positive responses from music lovers. Saaho, which is Prabhas’s next release after Baahubali 2, is scheduled to hit the screens on August 15. The makers of the movie have kept most of its promos under wraps.However, the Baahubali actor’s fans have been desperately waiting for the release of its songs and trailer. The makers revealed the title of its first song Psycho Saiyaan / Kadal Psycho on Thursday and said that they would soon release its teaser.The makers announced on Thursday that they would unleash the teaser of all the four versions of the first soundtrack from Saaho. The bosses of UV Creations tweeted, “Get ready to catch a glimpse of our #PsychoSaiyaan/#KadalPsycho from #Saaho! Teaser out tomorrow.”The UV Creation took to Twitter on Friday to post the links of the teaser. “Just a little tease by our Saiyaan is enough to make you go Psycho! Here comes the teaser of #PsychoSaiyaan/#KadalPsycho from #Saaho! Telugu, Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam,” they tweeted.The teaser of the groovy track shows that the music video of the song is set against a party backdrop. The soundtrack is going to have trendy lyrics, foot-tapping music and beautiful voices. The teaser ends with the revelation of its release date, which is July 8.The teaser is not just an instant hit with the music lovers but has also doubled their excitement for listening to the full versions of the song.The teaser is now trending on top in all the social media channels. Here is what some audience say about it on Twitter.Shiv. Dutta▫▫ @imshiva17 #psychosaiyaan teaser out nw actorprabhas did jst few steps in teaser( v can expect many more steps in full song )bt mindblowing @shraddhakapoor also,their pair is amazing in d song #saaho
IndiGoIndia’s low-cost carrier, IndiGo is considering investing in Jet Airways if it fails to acquire a stake in Air India. With this move, the carrier aims to expand its international footprint, Mint reported.InterGlobe Aviation– the parent company of IndiGo– run by aviation entrepreneurs Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal, was the first to show interest in Air India on the same day the government decided to sell a stake.IndiGo has a great chance to crack the Air India deal with new foreign direct investment (FDI) policy on aviation in sector in place. The new FDI policy says that rule allowing foreign airlines to invest up to 49 percent in an Indian airline does not apply to Air India, which rules out all the possibilities of a foreign airline buying into India’s national carrier, the business daily reported.A senior official, who was briefed on IndiGo’s strategy, told Mint that the airline will take the organic route if it can’t acquire a stake. But the process would be slower, he added.Currently, the foreign airlines fly about 65 percent of international passengers in and out of India. The rest is mostly carried by the state-owned Air India and Jet Airways.Given the circumstances, IndiGo would go all out to get Air India’s international business as the state-owned carrier has international flying rights and slots, the official said.Another alternative could be Jet Airways. IndiGo “sees an opportunity there” in a year, he said. Earlier in 2013, Jet sold 24 percent stake to Etihad.In case, neither of the options work out, IndiGo would like to start international operation on its own by buying bigger planes from Airbus or Boeing. But that will be a “very slow process” and it will be the last resort for the airline, he said.With a fleet of 139 planes, IndiGo is currently the largest domestic airline in India. To build managerial bandwidth IndiGo has roped in several experts from the US and other markets in departments such as finance, commercial, airports and flight operations.
Bangladesh Awami general secretary Obaidul Quader. File PhotoAwami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Saturday said BNP has nothing other than complaining to foreigners after its failure in both the election and its movement, reports UNB.He also described the remarks of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir over the national election as ‘delirium of a failed politician’.Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, came up with the remarks while talking to reporters before a joint meeting of Awami League presidium members and the party’s different associate bodies at its Bangabandhu Avenue office.”They (BNP) couldn’t wage a movement over the last 10 years. We thank them as they joined the national election. But they utterly failed in the election, too,” he said.Quader further said, “What can be their (BNP’s) resort now as they have failed in its movement and the election? Now they’re complaining to foreigners and it’s their old habit.”He said the Awami League was more united during the 11th parliamentary election than in the past. “We achieved a massive victory as we could show a stronger unity through excellent coordination under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.”The Awami League general secretary said their president Sheikh Hasina’s strong stance against evil and communal forces also helped the party get an unforgettable victory in the election.The minister said their party will celebrate the victory through a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan on 19 January.At the beginning of the meeting, one minute silence was observed paying homage to party former secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam.Four days after being elected an MP of the 11th parliament, Awami League presidium member and public administration minister Syed Ashraful Islam died of lung cancer at a hospital in Thailand on Thursday night at the age of 67.
July 1, 2015 5 min read Enroll Now for Free Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now In a townhall Q&A session on Facebook yesterday, Marc Zuckerberg answered a handful of user-posed questions, tackling the specific (his workout routine, what’s on his reading list, the average number of hours he clocks in at the office each week) as well as the more far-reaching (predictions for Facebook’s future, the future of AI and the importance of creating a connected world).Below are a few highlights from the session, which drew questions from Richard Branson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others.On his workout routineZuckerberg works out three times a week, usually first thing in the morning, and tries to take his dog for a run whenever he can, saying it makes for a “hilarious” scene because it’s “basically like seeing a mop run.”(Fun fact: This nugget of information comes courtesy of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who asked Zuckerberg to shut down the whole “but I’m too busy to work out” excuse millennials are apparently fond of throwing around. “Mark, I always tell people that nobody is too busy to exercise, especially if Popes and Presidents find time,” he wrote. “You’ve got to be one of the busiest guys on the planet, and younger generations can probably relate to you more than they can the Pope – so tell me how you find time to train and what is your regimen like?”)On his work scheduleWhile he’s only physically in the office 50 to 60 hours a week, Zuckerberg doesn’t unplug when he leaves the building. “If you count all the time I’m focused on our mission, that’s basically my whole life,” he wrote.Related: Surprise! Mark Zuckerberg Isn’t a Workaholic. Well, Not Exactly.On the benefits of a connected world Richard Branson was on hand to ask Zuckerberg about why he’s working to connect the entire global population to the internet.While there are tangible benefits – such as “access to education, health information, jobs and so on,” he wrote – Zuckerberg believes that connecting more people will lead to more innovation. “Think about how many brilliant entrepreneurs there are out there who have great ideas and the will to change the world, but just lack basic tools to do so today,” he wrote. “If you go by the population, almost two-thirds of these entrepreneurs don’t have Internet access today. Once they get connected, we may have three times as many good ideas and amazing new services built that will benefit everyone around the world.”On artificial intelligenceIf Facebook’s ability to recognize and tag individuals in photos freaks you out, you won’t like what’s coming. “Our goal is to build AI systems that are better than humans at our primary senses: vision, listening, etc.,” Zuckerberg wrote. “For vision, we’re building systems that can recognize everything that’s in an image or a video. This includes people, objects, scenes, etc. These systems need to understand the context of the images and videos as well as whatever is in them.”On virtual realityLast year, Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion. So what are Zuckerberg’s plans for the company? In part, Zuckerberg says we can expect to see the social network use virtual reality to enhance online communication: “Just like we capture photos and videos today and then share them on the internet to let others experience them too, we’ll be able to capture whole 3D scenes and create new environments and then share those with people as well. It will be pretty wild.”Related: Mark Zuckerberg: I Would Only Hire Someone to Work For Me If I Would Work For ThemOn telepathyWhen asked “whats going on with facebook in the future?” Zuckerberg again focused on new methods of communication, this time going beyond advances in VR.If Facebook has anything to do with it, in the future we will be able to communicate telepathically. According to Zuckerberg, it’s the next natural advancement once swapping virtual reality experiences with one another becomes mainstream. “After that, we’ll have the power to share our full sensory and emotional experience with people whenever we’d like,” he wrote. “One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology. You’ll just be able to think of something and your friends will immediately be able to experience it too if you’d like. This would be the ultimate communication technology.”On pokingWhy’d he come up with the now defunct feature? “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”You can find Zuckerberg’s entire townhall session here, including answers to questions from Shakira, Arianna Huffington and Stephen Hawking. Related: To Improve His ‘Media Diet,’ Mark Zuckerberg Announces Virtual Book Club This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.
Facebook Comments Related posts:Thanksgiving feasts, festivities abound in Costa Rica 2016 Delicious eats for your holiday celebrations Off the eaten path: La Deportiva Charlie’s Bar Off the eaten path: Aguila y Sol If you’ve got any room left in your belly after the delectabletamales most of us will eat this holiday season in Costa Rica, you might find yourself searching for the perfect Christmas Eve (or Day) feast – but what’s open, and what will strike the right festive note? Here are a few of our top picks for a special meal and activities to enjoy with your family.Barceló HotelThe Ánfora restaurant at the Barceló San José Palacio Hotel will offer a delicious and varied Christmas buffet. The appetizers include cucumber salad with yogurt and strawberries; purple cabbage escabeche with vinegar; grilled pineapple dip with almonds; grape salad with pecans and spinach; cabbage salad with crispy bacon; smoked salmon; potato salad with carrots, peas and tuna; queen salad with cheddar cheese; crab salad with avocado and starfruit infusion; sliced Serrano ham; and a varied cheese selection, and we’re only naming about a third of the options.The main courses include choices such as lobster bisque, a pumpkin and pejibaye cream, pork leg with beef gravy and plums, smoked turkey served with blueberrie, roast chicken cooked a la naranja and marinated in garlic and star anise, trout fillet with almonds and secchi tomato, filet mignon cooked in wine with caramelized mushrooms and mint, and cheese-filled chicken breast with spinach and tomato cooked with a honey mustard sauce with dill, all with a variety of sides. Desserts include Catalan cream, a frozen mango shot with kiwi, a fruit cup covered with syrup, chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, pistachio tiramisu, profiteroles and the traditional Christmas cake.The special menu is offered on Dec. 24 at the Restaurante Ánfora, San José Palacio, San José Costa Rica. Starting at $40 with tax included for adults and $20 with tax included for children. Reservations: 2220-2034 ext. 715. The restaurant Áncora at the Hotel Barceló San José will be offering a festive buffet. Courtesy of Barceló San JoséHotel Alta las PalomasYou’ll enjoy the famed Alta las Palomas view of Santa Ana while dining at the Restaurante La Luz. The menu includes appetizers such as a mixed lettuce, spinach and arugula salad served with caramelized seeds, black olives, dried tomatoes, avocado and fresh cheese with a balsamic reduction dressing, and a cream soup with the season’s vegetables and croutons. For the main course, choose between beef tenderloin filled with grapes served with shrimp and mixed nuts in a red wine sauce along with smashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, or sea bass cooked with a beurre blanc sauce served with mini roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables. To round off your meal, choose from two dessert options: soursop panna cotta or chocolate cake with red fruits. Served with a glass of red or white wine.The special menu is offered on Dec. 24 at the Restaurante la Luz, Alto de las Palomas, Santa Ana. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. $50 plus 23% tax for adults and $25 plus 23% tax for children. Reservations: 2282-4160 or firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner with your loved one at Hotel Alta in Santa Ana. (Via Hotel Alta’s Facebook)Sheraton HotelEnjoy time with family and friends while eating a full Christmas meal at the Sheraton Hotel in Escazú, near Multiplaza Escazú. The feast will be held at the Ivory Garden restaurant.The special feast is offered on Dec. 24 at the Ivory Garden restaurant, Escazú, San José. 7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. $49 with taxes included for adults and $25 with taxes included for children 6 to 12 years old. Children under 6 eat for free. Reservations: 4055 0505 or email@example.com
Paul Davies, communications and marketing manager, Yospace, talks about the benefits of digital advertising insertion technology at a time when broadcasters are increasingly streaming their channels online. How often do you watch television on your laptop, tablet or smartphone? If you’re anything like the majority of modern-day viewers, the answer to that question will be ‘fairly regularly’. Our viewing habits are changing, and we’re choosing to watch more content on portable devices.Let’s use tennis fans as an example of this technological shift. If they want to watch the latest match during the Australian Open, they can simply tune in and start watching from wherever they are using a portable device — there’s no longer any need to set up camp in the living room or head to the nearest bar to watch it.We’re at a point now where all major broadcasters in the UK offer online live streams of their channels, making it easier than ever before to take advantage of this new viewing habit. While viewers are offered more freedom, broadcasters can benefit from Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) for live streaming, which is an effective and somewhat vital monetisation tool for live online content.Unlike previous client-side ad insertion solutions, which have become notorious for their “clunkiness”, server-side DAI inserts the adverts into the stream before it’s delivered to the player, which results in a single, seamless stream that plays out without any of the usual buffering or delays. Add that to close integrations with the broadcaster’s playout systems to ensure frame-accuracy, and viewers are often completely unaware that any change has taken place. In other words: it is broadcast television, and not just another video.As well as the more natural user experience that is ensured by DAI, the technology also allows broadcasters to reap the numerous benefits of online advertising, including the tailoring of adverts to audience demographics that tune in. This allows them to take advantage of these demographics by serving them targeted advertising that is likely to be of more interest to them — something that’s extremely effective during live sports events like the Australian Open.This is exactly what the Australian broadcaster Seven Network did during its coverage of the nation’s premium tennis tournament. With live online broadcasts of all 16 courts, Seven needed to find a solution that could successfully monetise each stream and deliver a return on the significant broadcast investment.“Sports live streaming is massively popular, with long streaming sessions, so we sought to unlock the advertising potential of midroll advertising, for every host broadcaster court stream,” said Jeremy Brown, Solutions Architect, Video and Advertising at Seven Network. “Midroll advertising had to perform with the precision placement of broadcast. The integrity of the stream could not be compromised and viewers should never miss any action.”To achieve the seamless, high-quality experience Seven was hoping for, it adopted server-side DAI as its monetisation solution, which also made each of the 16 court streams financially viable to the broadcaster.The technology also helped to maximise its multi-platform reach. By stitching in advertising on the server side, the amount of work required in the player on the user’s device is vastly reduced, which in turn reduces the amount of app/player management by Seven. The benefit is that no matter which platforms or devices viewers are watching on, Seven can be confident that it is delivering premium advertising throughout the duration of the streaming session.With all of this in mind, DAI provides huge benefits for broadcasters and for the viewers. For Seven, it provided the broadcaster with mid-roll advertising revenue that would have been non-existent otherwise, and at a premium rate. For viewers on the other hand, they’re more likely to sit back and enjoy advertising that is relevant without disruption.Speaking on DAI’s positive impact on Seven’s Australian Open coverage, Jahn Erdogan, ad tech specialist at Seven, said: “The DAI platform opened up a whole new body of inventory during the Australian Open which was otherwise inaccessible. Across 16 live channels for a premium sporting tournament, that represents a hugely significant amount of ad revenue.“Meanwhile, we were also able to curate the advertising according to the user’s location, device or platform, and even the frequency that they were watching the Seven tennis streams. As a result, viewers were getting advertising that was far more relevant to their interests, and without the ad fatigue that can come if you see the same ad multiple times.”As we continue to see substantial growth in online viewing, consumers are simultaneously opening up a whole new stream of revenue for broadcasters in live stream advertising. By adopting DAI, broadcasters and content owners are able to benefit from the successful monetisation of its online content, while maintaining viewer engagement in the process.
(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)[Skype rings: It’s Doug Casey, calling from Cafayate, Argentina. He sounds tired, but pleased with himself.]Doug: Lobo, get out your mower; it’s time to cut down some green shoots again, and debunk a bit of the so-called recovery.L: Ah. I have to say, Doug, the so-called recovery is looking more than “so-called” to a lot of smart folks. Even our own Terry Coxon says the recovery is real, albeit weak.Doug: Terry’s probably looking at it by the numbers, some of which are reported to be improving. But let’s come back to the numbers later and start with fundamentals. The first order of business, as usual, is a definition: a depression is a period of time in which the average standard of living declines significantly. I believe that’s what we’re seeing now, whatever the numbers produced by the politicians may seem to tell us.L: I was just shopping for food and noticed that the bargain bread was on sale at two for $5. My gas costs almost as much per gallon. That’s got to hurt a lot of people, especially on the lower income rungs. I don’t need to ask; a member of my family just got a job that pays $12 per hour – about three times what I made working for the university food service back when I was in college – and it’s not enough to cover his rent and basic bills. If his wife gets similar work, they’ll make ends meet, but woe unto them if anyone in their family crashes a car or requires serious medical treatment.Doug: That’s just what I mean. Actually, the trend towards both partners in a marriage having to work really started in the early ’70s – after Nixon cut all links between the dollar and gold in August of 1971. Before then, in the “Leave it to Beaver” era, the average family got by quite well with only the husband working. If he got sick or lost his job, the wife was a financial backup system. Now, if something happens to either one, the family is screwed. I think, from a very long-term perspective, historians will one day see the ’60s as the peak of American prosperity – certainly relative to the rest of the world… but perhaps even in absolute terms, even taking continued advances in technology into account. Maybe the ’59 Cadillac was the bell ringing at the top of that civilizational market.My friend Frank Trotter, president of EverBank, was just telling me that the net worth of the median US citizen is only $6,000. That’s the median, meaning that half of the people have less than that. Most people don’t even have enough stashed away to buy the cheapest new car without going into debt. It used to be that people bought cars out of savings, with cash. Now they have to finance them over at least five years… or lease them – which means they never ever have even that trivial asset, but a liability in the form of a lease.The bulk of the 49 percent below this guy don’t even have that – with the concentration of wealth among the top one percent, most of those below average have seriously negative net worth, at least compared to their earning capacity. In other words, the US, Europe, and other so-called First World countries are in a wealth-liquidation cycle that will be as profound as it will be protracted.By that I mean that people are on average consuming more than they produce. That can only be done by living out of capital – consuming savings – or accumulating debt. For a time, this may drive corporate earnings up, and give this dead-man-walking economy the appearance of returning health, but it’s essentially, necessarily, and absolutely unsustainable. This is an illusion of recovery we’re seeing – the result of our Wrong-Way Corrigan politicians continuing to encourage people to do the exact opposite of what they should do.L: Which is?Doug: Save. People shouldn’t be getting new cars, new TVs, and new clothes. They should be cutting expenses to the bone.The Obama administration, just like the Baby Bush administration before it – there really is no great difference between the Evil Party and the Stupid Party – and its minions in the US and its cronies around the world, stubbornly stick to the bankrupt idea that economic growth is driven by consumption. This is confusing cause and effect. Healthy consumption follows profitable production in excess of consumption, resulting in savings – accumulated capital – that can either be spent without harm, or invested in future growth.Consumption doesn’t cause an economy to grow at all. To paraphrase: “It’s productivity that creates wealth, stupid!”L: Policies aimed at encouraging consumption, instead of increasing production, are what turned the savings rate negative in the US and resulted in the huge sovereign debt issues we’re seeing in supposedly rich countries…Doug: Well, the governments themselves have spent way more than they had or ever will have, and that’s par for the course when you believe spending is a virtue. However, it’s the false signals government interference sends to the market that caused the huge malinvestments that only began to go into liquidation in 2008. That has to do with another definition of a depression: It’s a period of time when distortions and malinvestments in the economy are liquidated. Unfortunately, that process has barely even started. In fact, since the bailouts started in 2008, these things have gotten much worse. If the government had gone cold turkey back then, cut its spending by at least 50% for openers, and encouraged the public to do the same, the depression would already be over, and we’d be on our way to real prosperity. But they did just the opposite. So we haven’t yet entered the real meat grinder…L: Those false signals the government sends to the market being artificially low interest rates?Doug: Yes, and Helicopter Ben’s foolish leadership in the wholesale printing of trillions of currency units all around the world – I don’t really want to call dollars, euros, yen, and so forth money anymore. When individuals and corporations get those currency units, they think they’re wealthier than they really are and consume accordingly. Worse, those currency units flow first to the state – which feeds it power – and favored corporations, which get to spend it at old values. It’s very corrupting. There is also an ongoing regulatory onslaught – the government has to show it’s “doing something” – which makes it much harder for entrepreneurs to produce.In addition, keeping interest rates low encourages borrowing, and discourages saving – just the opposite of what’s needed. I don’t believe in any state intervention in the economy whatsoever, but in the crisis of the early 1980s, then-Fed Chairman Paul Volker headed off a depression and set the stage for a strong recovery by keeping rates very high – on the order of 15-18%. They can’t do that now, of course, because with the acknowledged government debt at $16 trillion, those kind of rates would mean $2.5 trillion in annual interest alone – more than the government takes in taxes. At this point, there’s no way out. And there’s much more tinkering with the system ahead, at the hands of fools who remain convinced they know what they’re doing, regardless of how abject their past failures have been.L: And yet, the interventions seem to be working. The “orderly default” in Greece seems to have saved the Eurozone for now, and critically important employment figures in the US show definite signs of improvement.Doug: Perhaps, but let’s take a closer look. I advocate the Greek government defaulting, overtly and immediately, on 100% of its debt, for several reasons. First, it would punish those who lent it money to do all the stupid and destructive things it’s done. Second, it would ensure that the Greek government wouldn’t be able to borrow again for a very long time. Third, it would liberate young and yet unborn Greeks, who are being turned into serfs by all that debt. It would also mean that most European banks would fail. Tough luck for those who relied on them. When new banks are established it will serve as a lesson to people to be more careful about where they put their capital. Anyway, it would be much less of a catastrophe than the way we’re currently heading.Here in the US, the twelve-month fiscal deficit is still over $1.2 trillion, an extreme situation that is gutting the value of the dollar, because it’s mostly financed by the Fed buying US debt. It’s temporarily expanded the eye of the storm we’re in, but it’s done nothing to dissipate the storm itself. Their easy-money policies may have bought them a little more time, but they will only make it worse when we do exit the eye of the storm.There’s a third definition of a depression that I use: a depression is the end phenomenon of an inflation-caused business cycle. Inflation is the sole cause of business cycles, and inflation is caused by governments and their central banks printing money. The government – the state – is 100% responsible for society’s economic problems. But it arrogantly represents itself as the cure. And people believe it. There’s no hope until the psychology of the average person changes.L: As Bob Lefevre used to say: “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.” Want to update us on when you think the economy will return to panic mode?Doug: Earlier this year, I was expecting it sooner than I do now. Unless some black-swan event upsets the apple cart suddenly, I would not expect us to exit the eye of the storm at least until after the US presidential elections this fall. Maybe not until early 2013, as the reality of what’s in store sinks in. I pity the poor fool who’s elected president. In a way, I hope it’s Obama who wins, mainly because the worthless – contemptible, actually – Republican candidates yap on about believing in the free market, which means if one of them is somehow elected, the free market will be blamed for the catastrophe. Too bad Ron Paul will be too old to run in 2016, assuming that we actually have an election then…L: So, what about those numbers, then? Employment is up, and the oxymoronic notion of a “jobless recovery” was one of our criticisms before…Doug: Yes, but look at the jobs that have been spawned; they are mostly service sector. Such jobs can create wealth for certain individuals – it looks like we’ve put more lawyers to work again, as well as waiters and paper-pushers – but they don’t amount to increased production for the whole economy. They just reshuffle the bits around within the economy.L: Unlike my favorite – mining – which reported 7,000 new jobs in the latest report, if I recall correctly.Doug: Yes, unlike mining, which was more of an exception than the rule in those numbers. But that’s making the mistake of taking the government at its word on employment figures. As we’ve discussed before, if you look at John Williams’ Shadow Stats, which show various economic figures as the US government itself used to calculate them, unemployment has actually reached Great Depression levels.The US government is dishonestly fudging the figures as badly as the Argentine government – which is, justifiably, viewed as an economic laughingstock in most parts of the world. One reason things are going to get much worse in the US is that many of those with economic decision-making power think Cristina Fernandez Kirchner is a genius. A little while ago there was an editorial in the New York Times – the mouthpiece for the establishment – written by someone named Ian Mount. Get a load of this. I’ve got it in front of me.If you can believe it, the author actually says: “Argentina has regained prosperity thanks to smart economic measures.” The Argentine government “intervened to keep the value of its currency low, which boosts local industry by making Argentina’s exports cheaper abroad while keeping foreign imports expensive. Argentina offers valuable lessons … government spending to promote local industry, pro-job infrastructure programs and unemployment benefits does not turn a country into a kind of Soviet parody.”Well, no, I guess it turns it into something the US can ape. He goes on: “Argentina is hardly a perfect parallel for the United States. But the stark difference between its austere policies and low growth of the late 1990s and the pro-government, high-growth 2000s offers a test case for how to get an economy moving again. Washington would do well to pay attention.”The guy has obviously never been here, though he admits that “Argentina is far from perfect.” His modest concession is that the taxes to imports and exports have “scared away some foreign investment, while high spending has pushed inflation well over 20 percent. And it would be laughable to suggest that the United States follow its lead and default on its debt.”When I first read the article, I thought I was reading a parody in The Onion. I love Argentina and spend a lot of time down here. It’s a fantastic place to live – but not because of the government’s economic policies. Its only competition in state stupidity is Brazil, which regularly destroys its currency. Fortunately, though, the Argentine government is quite incompetent at people control, unlike the US. It leaves you alone. And there’s a reasonable chance the next president down here won’t be actively stupid, which isn’t asking much. But it’s amazing that the NYT can advocate Argentine government policy as something the US should follow. A collapse of the US economy would be vastly worse than that of the Argentine economy – the US dollar is the world’s currency. Here in Argentina they’re used to it and prepared for it to a good degree. Very unlike in the US.L: In the US, the welfare state has bloated beyond imagination. The damage already done is less visible because where there used to be private charity soup kitchens, there are now “food stamps” that look like ordinary credit cards, making the destitute among us look like everyone else at the supermarket. There are 50 million recipients, and that number is growing, not declining.By the way, John Williams is a speaker at the Casey Research Recovery Reality Summit we have coming up, April 27-29 in Weston, Florida. Perhaps this would be a good time to invite our readers down to hear John’s take on what the numbers really are – and to meet us. We’ll both be there.Doug: That’s true. Several readers made it to the event we just had at La Estancia de Cafayate, which went very well. We have some of the most interesting people in the world reading these conversations – it’s fun to get to meet more of them.L: Ah, that must be why you sound both upbeat and tired. A pity I didn’t get to sit in on Coffee with Casey with you in the new spa you built down there…Doug: Yes, it’s been a long couple of weeks, but I am pleased. You should see the place now; not only has the spa been completed since you were last here, they’re making good progress on the hotel, and there are houses going up all over the place. I’m tickled pink with our world-class 3,500 square-foot gym, where I was pumping iron for an hour today, and resistance swimming pool, among lots of other stuff. But the real attraction isn’t the toys, it’s the people.L: I’ll see it next time. It may be time to sit down with an architect. Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, what are the investment implications if the Crash of 2012 gets put off until the end of the year, or even becomes the crash of 2013?Doug: There are potentially many, but generally, the appearance of economic activity picking up is bullish for commodities, especially energy and raw materials like industrial metals and lumber. That’s not true for gold and silver, so we might see more weakness in the precious metals in the months ahead. I wouldn’t count on that, however, because government policy is obviously inflationary to anyone with any grasp of sound economics. That will keep many investors on the buy side. Plus, the central banks of the developing world – China, India, Russia, and many others – are constantly trading their dollars for gold. There are perhaps seven trillion dollars outside the US, and about $600 billion more are sent out each year via the US trade deficit.L: I know I bought some gold and silver in the recent dip and would love to have a chance to do so at even lower prices ahead.Doug: That’s the logical thing to do, given the fundamental realities we started this conversation with, but a lot of people will be scared into selling if gold does retreat. A good number will sell low, after buying high – happens every time, and is a big part of why commodities have such a tricky reputation. Most investors just don’t have the strength of conviction to be good speculators. Instead of looking at the world to understand what’s going on and placing intelligent bets on the logical consequences of the trends, regardless of what anyone else says or does, they go with the herd, buying when everyone else is buying and selling when everyone else is selling. This inverts the “buy low and sell high” formula. They let their thoughts be influenced by newspapers and the words of government officials.L: In other words, everything you see calls for gold continuing upward for some time – years – making any big retreats along the way great buying opportunities for those with the guts to act on them. Same for silver, and doubly so for the precious-metals mining stocks, and triply so for the junior stocks.Doug: Just so. I look forward to the day when I can sell my gold for quality growth stocks – but we’re nowhere near that point. But silver might correct less than gold if gold corrects due to the appearance of economic recovery – silver is, after all, an industrial metal as well as a monetary one.L: Agreed. And I can see the positive implications for energy as well, but Marin was just saying that natural gas has dropped below $2. That’s apparently starting to force oil and gas companies to remove reserves from their books – because reserves need to be economic, not just exist – which the market isn’t going to like. He sees some great bargains on solid companies ahead, and not just “gas” companies as many oil companies, including the major ones, produce both. Marin said one major company gets half its top line from gas sales. This is a huge shift.[Ed. Note: Louis is referring to Marin Katusa, chief energy investment strategist for Casey Research and editor of Casey Energy Opportunities and Casey Energy Report.]Doug: The devil is always in the details – it’s dangerous to oversimplify things, painting with a broad brush, as in, “A recovering economy will be bad for gold” or “A recovering economy will be good for energy.” You have to understand these markets well enough to really see how different forces and factors will affect them. Marin is unquestionably one of the sharpest analysts I’ve met in my life. He’s actually something of a genius, both academically smart and very street smart, in addition to being a workaholic. He runs a lot of my money. He’s done spectacularly well, and I expect him to do even better, because he constantly learns. Not much gets by him.L: Good reminder. So, if we’re looking at signs of economic recovery for a time, would you buy into copper, nickel, or other base-metal plays?Doug: Well, just because we might see signs of a temporary economic recovery, that doesn’t mean we will – and even if we do, they could easily be swept aside by any number of events, such as Europe taking another turn for the worse, or Japan or China starting to come apart at the seams. But, as a hedge, some near-term bets on industrial metals might not be a bad thing.L: How about agriculture?Doug: That’s one thing for which demand can never go down. Economic upturns or downturns may affect the mix of what people eat, but they won’t stop people from eating – or, if they do, we’ll have more pressing concerns than which way to play the markets. I remain especially bullish on cattle.L: Anything else?Doug: [Laughs] Many things. The right technology companies should do well; finding ways to do things faster-better-cheaper always adds value. Select mainstream equities in currently profitable sectors might do well as well – but I’d be very careful there. I can’t stress enough how close to the edge of collapse the global economic house of cards is – it could take another year or more to topple, or it could be starting today.L: Which leads to the other reason for owning precious metals – not as a speculation on skyrocketing prices, nor as an investment for good yield, but for prudence.Doug: Yes. Gold remains the only financial asset that is not simultaneously someone else’s liability. Anyone who thinks they have any measure of financial security without owning any gold – especially in the post-2008 world – is either ignorant, naïve, foolish, or all three.Look, we saw it coming, but everyone in the world could see Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall in 2008. Now we’re just waiting for the crash at the bottom, and no amount of wishful thinking otherwise is going to change that. It’s a truly dangerous world out there, and blue chips are no longer the safe investments they once seemed to be. You don’t have to be a gold bug to see the wisdom of allocating some capital – and not just a token amount – to cover the possibility that I’m right about what’s coming. There’s some opportunity cost associated with taking out this kind of insurance, but it’s not catastrophic if I’m wrong, and the cost of failing to do so if I’m right is catastrophic. That really is the bottom line.L: Financially. If you’re right about the coming Greater Depression, people also need to take steps to batten down the hatches on their physical life arrangements.Doug: Right. As we’ve said many times now, your government is the greatest threat to your well-being these days. If at all possible, you should be taking steps to diversify your political risk. Foreign bank accounts are not illegal for most people in most countries, though they need to be reported. Getting one is a good start. Buying real estate I like in various countries is one of my favorite ways to diversify risk in my life. That’s partly because I like speculating in real estate, but much more so because whichever government thinks you’re its tax slave can’t force you to repatriate real estate you own abroad. Most of all, it’s because it’s good to have places to go if things get ugly wherever you happen to be.L: Very well. Any particular triggers you think we should watch out for – warning signs that we really are about to exit the eye of the storm?Doug: In the US, the Fed being forced to raise interest rates would be one, or inflation getting visibly out of control – which would force a change in interest rates – would be another. Who knows – Obama getting reelected could tip the scales. War in the Middle East could do it, or, as we already mentioned, China or Japan going off the deep end. The ways are countless. Black swans the size of pteranodons are circling in squadron strength. A lot of them are coming in for a landing.People will just have to stay sharp – sorry, there’s no easy way to survive a depression. As my friend Richard Russell says, “In a depression everybody loses. The winner is the guy who loses the least.” It will take work and diligent attention to what’s going on in the world and around us. We’ll do our best to help with The Casey Report, but each of us is and must be responsible for ourselves.L: Okay then, thanks for the guru update. No offense, but in spite of the investments I’ve made betting that you’re right, I hope you’re wrong, because the Greater Depression is going to destroy many lives, and the famines and wars it spawns even more – millions, I’m sure. Maybe more. The mind balks.Doug: Oh, I agree. I only wish I could believe otherwise, because I’m sure it’s going to be even worse than I think it will be… although I hope to be watching it in comfort and safety on my widescreen TV, not out my front window.L: I think we need to find something more upbeat to talk about next time.Doug: [Chuckles] Maybe. If there’s something important in the news we should cover it. It’s sure to be fodder for comedy – at least black comedy.L: As you say. ‘Til next week then.
I loudly applaud Jim Sinclair’s efforts to get the PM miners to do something about this outrageous price management situation.Gold began to rally in fits and starts just before 10:00 a.m. Hong Kong time…and hit its zenith less than fifteen minutes after Comex trading began in New York yesterday morning…and that, as they say, was that.The gold price got sold off, but began to rally again shortly before 10:00 a.m. in New York. That rally also failed to get very far above the $1,590 spot price level.From there it traded more or less sideways until a thoughtful soul decided to sell it down into the Comex close. The New York low came at precisely 2:00 p.m. in electronic trading. From that low, gold rallied a bit before trading almost ruler flat into the 5:15 p.m. close.Gold finished the Thursday trading session at $1,581.70 spot…up $8.20 on the day. Net volume was around 113,000 contracts, which was a few thousand contracts higher than Wednesday’s volume.Silver’s price path was very similar to gold’s right up until the 8:35 a.m. Eastern time high tick of the day. After silver got sold down going into the London p.m. gold fix, its price never recovered for the rest of the Thursday trading session and, like gold, got sold off some more going into the close of Comex trading.The absolute New York low for silver was also at precisely 2:00 p.m. Eastern time…the same time as gold. From there, it recovered a little going into the close.Silver finished the day at $27.28 spot…up a whole dime. Net volume was around 27,500 contracts…a bit higher volume than on Wednesday.Here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own. Note the sell off going into the close of Comex trading…and the precise 2:00 p.m. low tick. This sort of timing doesn’t happen by accident.The dollar index didn’t do a lot on Thursday, it just jumped around a bit either side of 83.00…and close pretty much where it opened on Thursday morning. But you will carefully note that the low and high ticks of the dollar index in New York yesterday corresponds almost exactly with the high and low ticks for gold and silver.The shares gapped up…and then stayed up. The stocks hit their high of the day [a hair above 400 on the HUI] came just before the sell off began going into the close of Comex trading…and the HUI finished up 1.14%.Most of the silver stocks turned in a pretty decent performance yesterday…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up 1.63%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report is hardly worth mentioning, as zero gold and only 2 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday. The number of silver contracts still open in July has now fallen all the way down to 126…so the July delivery month should finish quietly when it wraps up about ten days from now.There was a rather large 291,035 troy ounces of gold withdrawn from GLD yesterday…and no reported change in SLV.There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday, as only 100,000 silver eagles were reported sold.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 608,904 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 924,891 out the door. The link to that activity is here.Reader Scott Pluschau has a new blog posted. It’s headlined “Complex Head-and-Shoulders on the dollar”…and the link to that is here.I have the usual number of stories for a weekday…and the final edit is up to you.It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore RooseveltWith crude oil, copper and the grains all rallying strongly yesterday, it was obvious that the precious metals were not being allowed to join the party. You can tell from the price action that they all attempted to move higher, but there was always that not-for-profit seller waiting in the wings to make sure that it didn’t happen. It appears as if all four precious metals are being held in place by brute force.I loudly applaud Jim Sinclair’s efforts to get the PM miners to do something about this outrageous price management situation…but I doubt very much that they will lift a finger to help themselves, or their shareholders. Their response will be what it has always been…stony silence. I always like to quote John Embry at this point, as he said many years ago that the “miners are either ignorant, naïve…or complicit.”But having said all that, I would certain get on the blower and raise hell with a few of the companies that you own shares in…and try to be as polite as you can. I’ve been doing it by phone, e-mail…and in person for over a decade now. They all know what’s going on…and most of the gold and silver producers are complicit by their very silence. These are not brave men when it comes to speaking up on behalf of the real company owners…us.Today we get two data points of interest…the latest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday…and The Central Bank of the Russian Federation updates its website with their June numbers. I’m hoping that they added a goodly chunk of gold to their reserves…and I’ll have all of this information for you in tomorrow’s column.The gold price traded flat through most of the Friday session in the Far East…and the tiniest of rallies has begun now that London is trading. Volumes in both metals were exceedingly light at the London open, but have now picked up a bit as of 4:56 a.m. Eastern time, as even these small rallies in gold and silver are running into resistance. The dollar index is up about ten basis points from Thursday’s close.Before hitting the ‘send’ button, I’d like to point out the upcoming “Casey’s Fall Summit – Navigating the Politicized Economy”. It’s being held over three days…September 7-9th at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California. It’s being co-sponsored by my good friend Eric Sprott…and it will be well worth attending…and like every other Casey Research summit, it will sell out quickly. You can find out more by clicking here.Have a good weekend…and I’ll see you on Saturday…Sunday west of the International Date Line. Sponsor Advertisement Tosca Mining Corporation’s goal is to acquire advanced stage projects that can be placed into production quickly. The company’s primary asset is the Red Hills Molybdenum/Copper project located in Presidio County, Texas. A program to confirm, and expand the considerable size and potential of the project and evaluate various economic scenarios was completed in 2011. Tosca recently received results from the 13 remaining holes from its phase two, 16,000 M (4,873 m) diamond drill program. Per Tosca’s Chairman, Dr. Sadek El-Alfy, “the drill program has successfully verified historic drill results of the shallow Copper-Molybdenum cap and confirmed the presence of a deeper, well mineralized Molybdenum Porphyry deposit.” The results of 21 holes drilled through the copper/moly cap in Tosca’s 2011 drill program give a weighted average grade of 0.39 % Cu over a core length of 113 feet (34.5 m). Since the copper cap is subhorizontal, the average core length can be interpreted as being approximately equivalent to true width. The copper/moly cap is crescent shaped, approximately 4,000 feet (1220 metres) long and 400 feet (122 m) to 1000 feet (305 m) wide.The 2011 program encountered numerous thick Molybdenum mineralized intervals including Hole TMC-25 wich intersected 1,189 feet (362.4 m) averaging 0.089 per cent Mo including 830 feet (253 m) of 0.1 per cent Mo from 359 feet (109.8 m) to the bottom of the hole. Hole TMC-29 cut 989 feet (301.4 m) averaging 0.09 per cent Mo including 139 feet (42.4 m) of 0.16 per cent Mo. The molybdenum grades are similar and in some cases higher than those of projects currently considered of potential economic interest.”Aggressive plans are in place for 2012 to conduct metallurgical tests, produce an updated resource estimate and Pre Economic Assesment. Tosca is operated by an experienced mine development team, operates in Texas, a mine-friendly jurisdiction and its property iseasily accessible with infrastructure in place to advance operations. Please visit our website to learn more about the company ad request information.
The government’s scheme aimed at encouraging employers to take on disabled staff is “trivially easy to abuse” and allows organisations to describe themselves as “Disability Confident” even if they do not comply with anti-discrimination laws, new research suggests.Disability Confident was relaunched this month, but disabled researcher David Gillon says his analysis shows it is little better than the scheme it has replaced, the much-criticised Two Ticks.The scheme has also been criticised this week by a leading organisation of employers, the Business Disability Forum.Gillon’s analysis comes just days after Disability News Service revealed that many of the organisations that have signed up – and have declared themselves “disability confident” – have troubling track records when it comes to their attitudes to disabled people, including outsourcing giants Capita and Maximus, as well as Northampton police, which has had to refer two separate incidents involving young autistic men to the police watchdog.Gillon says Two Ticks was “a sham” and “rarely policed”, but Disability Confident was even weaker in some key areas.He says: “The reality for disabled people was that employers would sign up to Two Ticks, add the logo to their headed paper in order to impress their customers and the great and the good, and then carry on not employing disabled people in just the same way they always had.”He says employers will be able to do exactly the same if they sign up to Disability Confident.Research published in 2014 by academics at two business schools showed that less than one in six (15 per cent) organisations that displayed the Two Ticks symbol kept all five of its commitments, while almost one in five (18 per cent) carrried out none of them.But Gillon says that employers can get away with keeping fewer commitments than under Two Ticks and still display the Disability Confident logo, while any pretence at monitoring by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been dropped.Under the newly-relaunched scheme, employers can apply for three levels: Disability Confident Committed (level one), Disability Confident Employer (level two) and Disability Confident Leader (level three).Employers can reach the first two levels simply by assessing themselves on their own performance, after which DWP will send them a badge and a certificate that they can use to promote their “disability confidence”.It is only if they want to become a Disability Confident Leader that their self-assessment has to be “validated” by another organisation.Gillon says employers can declare themselves Disability Confident by doing less than under Two Ticks, because at level one – the level likely to be chosen by most employers – there is no longer a requirement to provide disability equality training for all staff, and no annual self-assessment of how to improve.And he says that the new commitments that were not offered by Two Ticks, and which an employer must make under Disability Confident level one – such as making reasonable adjustments for disabled staff and jobseekers, and ensuring an inclusive and accessible recruitment process – are no more than are required under the Equality Act.Of the nine level one options, of which they have to to choose only one, an employer could become Disability Confident simply by offering unpaid work experience.At level two, employers must make more commitments, but most of them would be considered reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act, says Gillon, while there are still no checks on whether the employer is carrying out these pledges.One of the few strong new measures is to encourage suppliers and partner firms to be Disability Confident, and to identify and share good practice with them, he says.But employers can still assess themselves as level two – and be assessed successfully by another organisation as a level three employer – if they have an inaccessible environment for both employers and customers.This is because “providing an environment that is inclusive and accessible for staff, clients and customers” is only an “option”, and so an employer can choose another option instead.Gillon says this suggests that membership as high as level three can therefore be granted to employers that are still breaching the Equality Act.And he says it is also possible to achieve Disability Confident level three – becoming a Disability Confident Leader – without employing a single disabled person.He concludes: “We were promised a stronger scheme with increased external supervision, [but] we have been delivered a weaker scheme with no external supervision.“The replacement for Two Ticks turns out to be worse in almost every respect.“It is trivially easy to look at the way that Two Ticks was abused and see that Disability Confident further enables that abuse rather than preventing it.”The Business Disability Forum, a membership organisation, formerly known as the Employers’ Forum on Disability, which “makes it easier and more rewarding to do business with and employ disabled people”, is also critical of aspects of Disability Confident.George Selvanera, the forum’s strategy and external affairs director, said the process of improvement on disability employment was “not straightforward” and requires “strong leadership and must always be grounded in the lived experience of disabled candidates and employees themselves”.The forum runs its own Disability Standard, a “best practice management tool that helps employers plan and measure their disability improvements across 10 functional areas of any organisation”.Selvanera said that Disability Confident was “helpful in drawing light on the benefits for employers from recruiting and retaining disabled people”, but he said the forum believed that level two status should “only be available to employers that are experienced at employing disabled people”.He said: “It seems risky to the scheme to have employers self-assess and then publicise that they’re confident at recruiting and retaining disabled people when they don’t have any actual experience, whether in the past or currently, of doing so.“We think as well that it will be helpful to make sure only organisations with appropriate expertise are validating organisations as Disability Confident Leaders.”He added: “It’s not yet clear what metrics Disability Confident will use to measure success and its own contribution to the recruitment and retention of the one million plus extra disabled people the government aims to have in paid employment as part of halving the disability employment gap.“So we think it’s important also we must not have excessive expectations of what Disability Confident on its own [will] deliver.”A DWP spokeswoman dismissed Gillon’s analysis.She said: “The researcher appears to have misunderstood the scheme. The scheme was developed by a task group that included employers, disability charities, and disabled people*. “This has helped ensure a balance between a scheme that is accessible and straight-forward for employers to use – particularly smaller employers – whilst being rigorous and commanding the confidence of disabled people.”And she suggested that Disability Confident could not be compared directly with Two Ticks.She said: “The new scheme is fundamentally different and explores a whole range of employer practices to ensure disabled people can be successfully recruited, retained and developed.“Building on the previous two ticks scheme, we have worked with employers and disabled people to develop a new Disability Confident assessment and accreditation scheme, that is both accessible for employers, particularly smaller ones, and rigorous enough to command the confidence of the disabled community.”Asked whether employers could call themselves Disability Confident while still breaching the Equality Act, she said: “Legally all employers must comply with the Equality Act.“The DC scheme is about encouraging employers to be inclusive and to do more in recruiting, retaining and training disabled people.”And asked if employers could achieve level three status with no disabled employees and an inaccessible environment for staff and customers, she said: “The scheme has been designed so that all employers, regardless of size or sector, can sign up.“Some employers may not be in a position to take on permanent employees but can still offer opportunities including apprenticeships, training or supported internships.“‘Proactively offering and making reasonable adjustments as required’ is a core action within the Disability Confident Employer level (page eight) and ‘Ensuring there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff’ is also a core action (page 19).”But Gillon said in response to the statement: “As a replacement for Two Ticks, Disability Confident is confused, opaque, and has gaps so wide you could sail a supertanker through.“It could have been so much better, and could easily be reworked to address its flaws.“But ultimately, the disability employment gap will only be filled when employers treat disability as normal and employ disabled people as they would any other.”*In July, Mike Adams, the disabled chief executive of Purple (formerly ecdp) – and a member of the task group – said he would have liked to have seen the new version of Disability Confident “much stronger and more ambitious”.Picture: David Cameron speaking at the original launch of Disability Confident in 2013
New concerns have been raised about the government’s Disability Confident employment campaign, after a leading disabled social entrepreneur said that some businesses could be finding it easier than intended to secure the highest level of accreditation.Mike Adams, chief executive of the social enterprise Purple, said he was concerned that some organisations providing Disability Confident accreditation might not be as strict on potential “leaders” – the highest of the three Disability Confident levels – as they should be when carrying out the validation process.Disability Confident has previously been heavily-criticised, with critics arguing that it is easy for employers to sign up to the scheme, but still continue to discriminate against disabled people.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has itself been validated as a Disability Confident leader, despite being found guilty of “grave and systematic violations” of the UN disability convention, and a Civil Service survey showing that more than 1,400 disabled DWP civil servants had claimed they had faced discrimination in the workplace.Purple offers a strict, detailed accreditation process for employers that want to be approved as Disability Confident “leaders”, but Adams fears that other organisations offering accreditation are making the validation process far easier.He said he believed there was a “quality assurance issue” over how validation is carried out, and that the government had not been clear enough about which organisations can carry out this process.Adams said that Disability Confident would only work if the organisations carrying out the level three validations were as thorough in their demands as Purple is.The organisations carrying out the validation might not even be accredited themselves as a Disability Confident “leader”.Adams said: “The issue is, it is not in the public domain who did the validation.“If Disability Confident is going to be the driver that the government want, then it has got to set out its real credentials around what it is and how people get it.“We have had people come to us and go, ‘Your template is a bigger hurdle than the template DWP use and you’re charging us. We could go somewhere else and get it for free and the hurdle’s not so big.’“And we go, ‘Well, don’t come to Purple then.’ We’ve done that on a number of occasions.”Adams said he still believed that the government had “missed a trick” by not insisting that organisations should also be accredited on how “disability confident” they are in the relations with their disabled customers, and not just on their disability recruitment and employment policies and procedures.He is still pushing the government on this issue.But he does still believe that Disability Confident is a useful way of having “different conversations with businesses”.Only last week, one of the organisations that Purple has validated as a Disability Confident “leader” said that it was about to appoint its first disabled employee as a result of being “inspired” by the training they had received from Purple.He said: “On some levels you can say Disability Confident is just a bit of paper, but what we are starting to see is real changes, real impact on the ground.“In the organisations that we have a relationship with, we are starting to get traction.“If you come to Purple and we take you through Disability Confident, we scrutinise everything that gets said and we ask challenging questions, and we expect them to have an action plan.”A DWP spokesman said: “We frequently hear from employers, disabled representative groups, and disabled people themselves that Disability Confident is a big step forward from what went before.“It is much more comprehensive, assessing a wide range of practices and procedures that employers need to follow to successfully recruit, retain and develop disabled people, and coupling that with advice, guidance, case studies and more so employers can get better.“Disability Confident has always been seen as a journey. Employers can progress up through the levels, but even if they reach DC Leader stage we encourage them to continue to develop and improve their practices.“And the scheme itself will continue to develop to ensure it keeps up to date with best practice and continues to be respected and valued.”He added: “Mike Adams was part of the original task group that developed the Disability Confident scheme and keeps in touch with the department about further possibilities for developing the scheme.“He has raised these and other points with us and we will work with him and other experts to consider them and see where it makes sense to incorporate them.”Adams was speaking as Purple launched a new campaign to encourage retail and hospitality businesses to provide disability awareness training to their in-store staff, and to sign up to Disability Confident.Help Me Spend My Money has been backed by the shopping centre owner intu, Marks and Spencer and the Institute of Directors.It calls on businesses to sign up to Purple’s charter, which commits them to provide disability awareness training to instore staff, provide an accessible website, provide key customer information in large print, Braille, and easy read formats, and sign up to Disability Confident.And it points out that – according to the Extra Costs Commission set up by Scope – three quarters of disabled people have left a shop or deserted a business because of poor disability awareness or understanding.Adams said that that research was backed up by the disabled people and their families that he spoke to in the day he spent at intu Lakeside shopping centre when launching the campaign last week.They described how retail staff would often “swerve down the aisle to avoid having to meet a disabled customer” because of a fear of “saying something that is unintentionally offensive or wrong”. He said: “What we have been saying is that can be rectified through your customer service training that you should be having anyway.”Adams said that organisations that sign up to the charter “absolutely have to do something”, rather than just express support for its principles.He said that “investing in disability confidence isn’t just about social responsibility, there’s also a big commercial opportunity to be had if you get it right”.Almost exactly a year ago, Adams announced that the disabled people’s organisation (DPO) he ran, ecdp, was ending its commitment to being a user-led charity in a bid to become a national player in the employment support market, and was relaunching as Purple, a community interest company.A year on, Adams says he has no regrets about extending the services the organisation offers away from a focus solely on providing services to disabled people and towards also finding disabled people permanent jobs and supporting businesses to become Disability Confident.Despite that change in focus, Purple – which no longer calls itself a DPO, although three-quarters of its board are still disabled people – has secured disability-related contracts worth more than £650,000 in the last two months, including direct payments support contracts in both Essex and Cambridgeshire, and it is hoping to secure another direct payments support contract in the north of England.Adams said: “Our absolute commitment to the legacy services, of what ecdp stands for, absolutely remains, as we build the offer to business as well.”Picture: Adams (centre) with intu’s Helen Drury and Alexander Nicholl, at intu Lakeside
SAINTS Academy face a do or die clash with arch rivals Wigan this Saturday.Derek Traynor’s men will host the Warriors at Langtree Park with a 12pm kick off.The winner will progress to the Grand Final to take on Warrington after they edged Saints 36-32 last weekend.Saints were good for their 32-30 lead but the Wolves sneaked it right at the death.Entry for the game will be £5 and £2.
MarTech Interview Series CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is the leading affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs that drive results for businesses around the world. The CJ Network helps to reach and connect with millions of online consumers every day by facilitating productive partnerships between advertisers and publishers. Drive more sales and expand your reach – experience the network effect with CJ. About CJ Affiliate About WaleedAbout CJ AffiliateAbout Waleed “Affiliate is constantly evolving, and if you look at its impact on customer value and incrementality, the channel is underrepresented in terms of advertising investment..” Waleed is a Entrepreneurial leader with a successive track record of growing companies at multiple stages. He is passionate about developing high-performance organizations, fostering collaborative and creative cultures, and building businesses that lead through innovation and dynamic growth strategies. The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick. MarTech Interview with Waleed Al-Atraqchi, President at CJ Affiliate Sudipto GhoshJune 13, 2019, 3:30 pmJune 13, 2019 Tell us about your role and journey into Marketing. What inspired you to be part of CJ Affiliate?I always wanted to be in business since I was a kid. I was living in New York when I bought and ran a Bagel shop—it was doing well but I wanted to do more, so I eventually sold it. Running my own business taught me that success is driven by the products you sell and how you market them. I believe Product and Marketing are the core drivers of the business, so that’s what captured my imagination. A few years later, I did my MBA and was focusing on Marketing, before journeying into technology. I joined CJ Affiliate because Technology and Data are transforming the Marketing industry and I was inspired by the opportunity to lead the world’s largest affiliate network during this transformation.How does CJ Affiliate fit into a modern Marketing technology stack?From a Digital standpoint, Affiliate typically represents 15% of e-commerce sales for U.S. companies. The health of the Affiliate channel is strong and growing at a rate that’s similar or even higher than e-commerce growth in general.The success of the channel is largely due to the fact that Affiliate Marketing is highly effective at reaching customers wherever they are in their purchase journey and lifecycle. The variety of affiliates/publishers that exist today—from content to loyalty to coupon/deal—are a focus on meeting a myriad of customer needs and creating unique value. Whether a shopper is simply doing research and perusing product reviews or is ready to purchase from a deal site they trust, affiliate’s performance-based model is a low-risk, high-reward approach to reaching and converting customers.Not only that, but our data shows that affiliate is likely undervalued in the overall marketing mix. Affiliate is constantly evolving, and if you look at its impact on customer value and incrementality, the channel is underrepresented in terms of advertising investment.CJ Affiliate is particularly well-positioned in the space. We’re growing globally and making strategic investments to meet the evolving and ever-changing needs within the industry.What advice do you have for marketers to better prepare for automation and Data-driven Commerce?More aspects of the business are automating which, from a career perspective, means that Marketing jobs are becoming more about creativity, strategy, and interaction with people.Data is central to running an effective business. So, while you need the data, marketers also need to be able to analyze it. Analyticalskills and expertise are becoming a pre-requisite to any marketing position because it’s the actionable, smart decisions that derive from data that make the difference.How do your Affiliate Marketing services benefit marketing teams?Our goal is to deliver scalable growth for our clients, which requires having a deep understanding of their overall business needs—not just within the Affiliate channel.As a full-service affiliate network, CJ Affiliate is like a “swiss army knife” for Affiliate marketers. We either fill gaps in clients’ in-house resources or complement their existing marketing efforts. Regardless of the type of partnership, we build mutually beneficial, performance-based relationships between advertisers and publishers that drive measurable growth.While we tailor our approach based on clients’ growth KPIs, CJ’s philosophy is more about leading rather than pleasing. For example, an advertiser may want to drive new customers, but might be overlooking the fact that their return customers have a higher AOV (average order value). In that scenario, CJ Affiliate uses data to highlight the importance of focusing on both new and returning customers, along with the strategies and solutions to grow revenue in those areas.We also help our clients achieve greater efficiency in their marketing spend by making the most effective use of their investment in the Affiliate channel. What are the core principles driving your product roadmap?Our product roadmap is grounded in a commitment to innovation and excellence for the primary purpose of addressing client needs. We are focused on staying ahead of any industry headwinds of market pressures that may affect our clients and remain as agile as possible to address those dynamics. Recently, with the introduction of GDPR and ITP and an increased focus on consumer privacy, CJ Affiliate is the first-to-market with solutions to help clients navigate regulations and ensure compliance.CJ Affiliate’s Product and Engineering teams—and the company as a whole—believe in collaborative innovation. We bring clients in early and often to ensure we’re creating value in the solutions we develop.How do you identify the biggest advantages and challenges in Digital Commerce? What role does CJ Affiliate play in overcoming these challenges?It’s about paying attention to what our clients are saying. Digital is a quickly evolving space. It’s incredibly high stakes for everyone, so there’s no lack of ideas. We stay really close to our clients to get that fodder and understand the challenges they are facing.One of the biggest advantages – or you can argue, the biggest opportunities – is the use of data to make smarter decisions. CJ Affiliate has invested in building more data assets and making them available and actionable. Today, we can move beyond the simple notion of a making sale, to know what kind of customer it is (new, returning, lapsed, etc.), we can compare publisher performance, provide personalization within the channel, and we can measure incrementality of Affiliate compared to other channels. All because we were able to harness the challenge of big data and use it as an advantage.How do you help your customers scale and achieve their revenue goals?We do this in multiple ways, but one critical part of advertiser success is ongoing Strategic Publisher recruitment. We know that it is important to continue to nurture your true publishers, but long-term growth depends on continually recruiting new publishers into the mix. Our data shows that on average, 63% of advertiser program revenue comes from publishers who are recruited into an advertiser’s Affiliate program after the first year. In other words, while publishers that were in the program in the first year still contribute a meaningful percentage of advertiser program revenue, most program revenue comes directly from newly recruited publisher partnerships.What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions caused by Data Intelligence and Analytics technology for Affiliate Marketing in 2019-2020?I see disruption coming from a few areas.Multi-touch attribution and insights. We are at a point where marketers have the capability to match customers to their different devices, understand how customers shop and research their purchases, and ensure every interaction a customer has with an affiliate can be tied to their future purchases and decisions. Multi-touch insights, such as customer journey analysis and CRM insights, will change the game as they provide a more holistic view of customers and full transparency into all affiliates involved in a customer’s path to conversion. They will change how marketers think about investment, ROI and how to influence the customer journey.Personalization. Consumers are presented with an abundance of offers online, but not all of them are personally and individually relevant. According to Epsilon research, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. CJ recently introduced Affiliate Personalization to drive more personalized messaging in the affiliate channel. Whether the focus is on customer acquisition or retention, personalization is proving to improve conversion rates and bring more efficiency to the marketing spend.Global expansion. We’re seeing that online shoppers are increasingly buying from global e-commerce sites outside their own country. Nearly all of the retailers in our network have seen website visitors from other countries this year. The affiliate channel is a strategic way for advertisers to enter a new market and introduce their product or services to a new consumer, particularly through global affiliates who understand shoppers in different markets and can help engage them in the way they prefer.Privacy. Lastly, the ongoing evolution of the way businesses require to handle consumer data in light of privacy regulations will continue to have an effect across all of the marketing, not just affiliate. This is a key focus for our business and we’re invested in ensuring our clients are set up for long-term success.How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?The true potential of AI will only unleash by hiring the types of people who know how to apply it to solve problems. It’s not something that happens magically overnight. As a business leader, you need to invest in those competencies.How do you inspire your people to work with technology?I believe in creating an environment where people can be open and honest and empowered to work together to solve problems. We want every role across the organization to feel valued and impactful.One word that best describes how you work. Collaborative.What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?Microsoft Excel.What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?Go talk to people instead of sending an email, especially if it’s something that can be easily discussed in person.What are you currently reading?How-to material related to architecture and design.What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?If you work hard and don’t give up, you can achieve anything.Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?Optimism and Persistence. I also hire really smart people.Thank you, Waleed! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon. AIAOVCJ Affiliatecrminterviewsmarketing industryMarTech InterviewWaleed Al-Atraqchi Previous ArticleGenpact Artificial Intelligence Engines Help Companies Accelerate AI AdoptionNext ArticleZilliant Announces New Partnership with SAP and Major Expansion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Related StoriesNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingTransgenerational BPA exposure may contribute to autism, study findsProblem behaviors may provide clues on gastrointestinal issues in children with autismAll told, the project is the fruit of six years of painstaking research and data collection, say the researchers. That includes banking patients’ saliva samples collected during clinical visits for future retrospective analyses to determine which genetic mutations were correlated with behavioral and functional brain deficits, Corbin adds.”Lauren Kenworthy, who directs our Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, and I have been talking over the years about how we could bring our programs together. We homed in on this project to look at about a dozen genes to assess correlations and brought in experts from genetics and genomics at Children’s National to sequence genes of interest,” he adds. “Linking the bench to bedside is especially difficult in neuroscience. It takes a huge amount of effort and dozens of discussions, and it’s very rare. It’s an exemplar of what we strive for.” Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 8 2019A mutation of the gene PAC1R may be linked to the severity of social deficits experienced by kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), finds a study from a multi-institutional research team led by Children’s faculty. If the pilot findings are corroborated in larger, multi-center studies, the research published online Dec. 17, 2018, in Autism Research represents the first step toward identifying a potential novel biomarker to guide interventions and better predict outcomes for children with autism.As many as 1 in 40 children are affected by ASD. Symptoms of the disorder – such as not making eye contact, not responding to one’s name when called, an inability to follow a conversation of more than one speaker or incessantly repeating certain words or phrases – usually crop up by the time a child turns 3.The developmental disorder is believed to be linked, in part, to disrupted circuitry within the amygdala, a brain structure integral for processing social-emotional information. This study reveals that PAC1R is expressed during key periods of brain development when the amygdala – an almond-shaped cluster of neurons – develops and matures. A properly functioning amygdala, along with brain structures like the prefrontal cortex and cerebellum, are crucial to neurotypical social-emotional processing.”Our study suggests that an individual with autism who is carrying a mutation in PAC1R may have a greater chance of more severe social problems and disrupted functional brain connectivity with the amygdala,” says Joshua G. Corbin, Ph.D., interim director of the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children’s National Health System and the study’s co-senior author. “Our study is one important step along the pathway to developing new biomarkers for autism spectrum disorder and, hopefully, predicting patients’ outcomes.”The research team’s insights came through investigating multiple lines of evidence: Source:https://childrensnational.org/ They looked at gene expression in the brains of an experimental model at days 13.5 and 18.5 of fetal development and day 7 of life, dates that correspond with early, mid and late amygdala development. They confirmed that Pac1r is expressed in the experimental model at a critical time frame for brain development that coincides with the timing for altered brain trajectories with ASD. They looked at gene expression in the human brain by mining publicly available genome-wide transcriptome data, plotting median PAC1R expression values for key brain regions. They found high levels of PAC1R expression at multiple ages with higher PAC1R expression in male brains during the fetal period and higher PAC1R expression in female brains during childhood and early adulthood. One hundred twenty-nine patients with ASD aged 6 to 14 were recruited for behavioral assessment. Of the 48 patients who also participated in neuroimaging, 20 were able to stay awake for five minutes without too much movement as the resting state functional magnetic resonance images were captured. Children who were carriers of the high-risk genotype had higher resting-state connectivity between the amygdala and right posterior temporal gyrus. Connectivity alterations in a region of the brain involved in processing visual motion may influence how kids with ASD perceive socially meaningful information, the authors write. Each child also submitted a saliva sample for DNA genotyping. Previously published research finds that a G to C single nucleotide polymorphism, a single swap in the nucleotides that make up DNA, in PAC1R is associated with higher risk for post-traumatic stress disorder in girls. In this behavioral assessment, the research team found children with autism who carried the homozygous CC genotype had higher scores as measured through a validated tool, meaning they had greater social deficits than kids with the heterozygous genotype.