About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Solskjaer: Angel Gomes deserved chanceby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Angel Gomes deserved his chance last week.Gomes featured in victory over Huddersfield.Solskjaer said, “It sends a signal to the boys that ‘you are close’, because they are. “They’ve done really well in training. When you get the chance to put a player out there for 15 minutes at Old Trafford to give him that experience, Angel was, of course, the one I wanted to put on. And we probably would have still done it if we’d needed a goal, as well, because he’s that sharp.”
Keown: Daniel James will be regretting Man Utd moveby Paul Vegas18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal title winner Martin Keown says Daniel James will be regretting his move to Manchester United.Keown reckons the Wales international is United’s youngest but best player. Heaping praise on James, Keown said on Match of the Day: “Daniel James must be thinking ‘who have I signed for here?’ “He’s their youngest player, but he’s their best player.”Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle on Sunday. About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
zoom The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI) has taken delivery of a 2001- built second-hand very large gas carrier (VLGC), the largest in its gas carrier fleet.The 82,488-cbm ship BW Vision, now renamed to Nanda Devi, was previously owned by Singapore’s BW LPG, part of BW Group.According to Capt. Anoop Kumar Sharma, C&MD, SCI, with the addition of VLGC Nanda Devi, SCI has become a six-million deadweight company.“SCI is the first and only Indian shipping company to reach this milestone,” he added.At 53,503 deadweight, Nanda Devi has a gross tonnage of 46,506 and complies with the latest and most stringent international regulations.The ship, built by Japanese Kawasaki Heavy Industries, is valued at USD 33.2 million, based on VesselsValue’s estimation.As pointed out by SCI, the acquisition of the gas carrier is expected to further strengthen SCI’s position in the energy transportation sector.SCI’s total fleet strength stands at 70 vessels totaling in 6.01 million DWT and gross tonnage of 3.35 million. In addition, SCI also manages 53 vessels (0.55 million GT and 0.39 million DWT).
ROME — A consumers’ group says an Italian tribunal has ordered a public information campaign about the possible health risks of cellular and cordless phones.The Lazio region’s administrative tribunal ruled that Italy’s health, environment and education ministries must begin the campaign within six months about the phones’ proper use.Consumer advocacy group A.P.P.L.E. had argued in court that improper use causes exposure to electromagnetic fields that are particularly harmful to children.The tribunal, based in Rome, was closed on Wednesday evening. A.P.P.L.E. made available a copy of the ruling, which was published Tuesday.In 2017, a different Italian court ruled that improper, long-term use of a company-issued cellphone caused an employee’s non-cancerous brain tumour.Scientific studies in several countries have produced inconsistent findings on cellphones and brain tumors.The Associated Press
Madrid: Antoine Griezmann was jeered during his last game for Atletico Madrid and Rodrigo might have scored his final goal for the club as they came from behind to draw 2-2 against Levante in La Liga on Saturday. Griezmann received whistles at the City of Valencia Stadium from the visiting fans, who were also heard chanting “out, out, out” before goals from Sergio Camello and Rodrigo ensured Atletico at least ended the season with a draw. Diego Simeone has dismissed fears of a mass exodus, despite both Diego Godin and Griezmann already announcing their departures, with the likes of Rodrigo, Juanfran and Filipe Luis all expected to follow. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuIf this was to be their farewell outing for Atletico, it was an underwhelming finale as Levante, who only secured safety from relegation last weekend, claimed a deserved point. They might have been disappointed not to take all three after leading 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Erick Cabaco and Roger Marti before then playing against 10 men for the best part of 40 minutes after Angel Correa was sent off. But Atletico fought back, Rodrigo firing into the top corner before 18-year-old substitute Camello scored his first goal for the club, finishing at the back post. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersGriezmann was unable to add to his tally of 133 goals in 257 games across all competitions in what became a bitter end to his five successful seasons for the club. Godin was given a rousing goodbye ceremony at the Wanda Metropolitano last weekend but the timing of Griezmann’s announcement, perhaps deliberately, meant he avoided a last meeting with the Atleti fans. But those that made the trip to Valencia were determined to make their displeasure known and it was noticeable that Griezmann made a swift exit after the final whistle. Camello, born in Madrid and a product of Atletico’s academy, delivered a more positive message for the future and a timely reminder of Atletico’s ability to endure in recent years, despite the departures of their biggest stars. Levante took the lead through a brilliant opener from Cabaco, who flicked in with the back of his heel after a header back from Ruben Vezo. Roger doubled the advantage shortly before half-time, intercepting a loose pass from Thomas Partey before skipping over Rodrigo and firing past Antonio Adan, who was standing in for the injured Jan Oblak. Atletico’s task became more difficult when Correa was sent off for a petulant kick on Chema but Rodrigo gave them hope with a stunning strike into the top corner, before Koke’s shot fell kindly for Camello at the back post.
Modern Times Group has secured exclusive Nordic media rights to the 2020 EHF European Handball Championship. The agreement covers both the men’s and women’s championships.Under the terms of the deal with rights-holder Infront Sports & Media, MTG acquires exclusive media rights to 2020 EHF European Handball Championship.Matches will be broadcast on MTG’s video streaming service Viaplay and Viasat pay-TV channels in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Matches involving the Nordic teams, as well as the semi-finals and final, will be shown on MTG’s free-TV channels in each country. The coverage will also include local commentary, studio interviews, feature programming and highlights shows.The 2016 women’s EHF European Handball Championship is currently taking place in Sweden, and is being broadcast by MTG in Sweden and Norway. MTG also holds the rights to the 2018 competition.Peter Nørrelund, MTG’s EVP and CEO of MTG Sport: “Handball attracts large and loyal audiences in the Nordic region. The current women’s championship in Sweden is getting massive attention, and in 2018 and 2020 we will make the championships more broadly available than ever before – enabling as many fans as possible to watch live and on any device.”Stephan Herth, executive director Summer Sports at Infront said: “Handball and EHF Euro are extremely important and popular in the Nordic countries hence the digital, highly engaged sports fans want access both to the best sport and to world-class commentary and production – whether in front of your UHD TV at home, or on the go with your mobile. MTG’s multi-platform offering and expertise represent the perfect response to these requirements.”Separately French broadcaster TF1 has secured exclusive free-to-air rights for men’s World Handball championship in France. The broadcaster will air the quarter final and the semi-final in the case of qualification by France’s team.TF1 will also air the quarter final and semi-final of the women’s championship in the case of qualification by the French national team.
SINN Féin Councillor Mickey Cooper has welcomed the news that Derry City & Strabane District Council is to provide four large community grit boxes to areas across the city.This will allow community organisations to distribute grit to streets which do not meet the criteria for grit boxes. Councillor Cooper said: “I have been lobbying council hard on this issue for some time and It is anticipated the boxes will be in place before the end of the financial year.“Through the scheme four large grit boxes will be located in Creggan, Shantallow, Waterside and the rural district.“The logistics will involve consignments of grit being provided by Road Service for collection and distribution by community organisations during periods of extreme weather.“The grit will be stored in the boxes which will be administered by the local community organisations.“It can then be distributed into areas of the city where grit boxes are not provided by Roads Service as the streets in question do not meet the criteria for a grit box.“The community organisations will be able to liaise with elected reps and other community activists to identify where the demand for grit exists to ensure the supply is used most effectively.“I am sure that residents of streets which are regularly affected by icy footpaths but which don’t have a grit box will be delighted that this additional service will now be available,” added Cllr CooperCOMMUNITY GRIT BOXES ON THE WAY TO DERRY – COOPER was last modified: February 13th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet COMMUNITY GRIT BOXES ON THE WAY TO DERRY – COOPERCOUNCILLOR MICKEY COOPERCRegganroads serviceshantallowSinn FeinWaterside
(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. 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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. 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It’s been clear to anyone paying attention that the October “rollout” of Obamacare has been a turbulent, confusing disaster. Sloppy IT systems and technological failures combined to cripple Obamacare’s sign-up systems. Security flaws put Americans at risk for identity theft. In an almost comical understatement, President Obama summarized these massive failures as “a few glitches.” I think that Luke Chung, IT expert and president of database solutions firm FMS, explained the situation much more accurately: “What should clearly be an enterprise quality, highly scalable software application felt like it wouldn’t pass a basic code review. It appears the people who built the site don’t know what they’re doing, never used it and didn’t test it.” Chung went on to call it a “technological disaster.” Think about what this ineptitude means in the bigger debate about Obamacare. The administration spent 3½ years and $698 million of taxpayers’ money to develop this software. They’ve known since earlier this year that the system wasn’t ready to support the rollout of the exchanges. Yet they proceeded anyway, apparently unconcerned about their faulty software costing Americans millions of hours of frustration and lost productivity. These same bureaucrats continue to assume more and more control of our medical care. What does their incompetence say about how they will handle making life-or-death medical care decisions? Like a parasite taking over its host, Obamacare will commandeer almost 20% of our economy, crowding out private options. With 2014 fast approaching, what should we expect in its next phase? Here’s my list Top Ten list for 2014: 1. The expansion of Medicaid, with increased cost burden for taxpayers. Medicaid is a combined state-federal program initially designed to help the neediest among us. But it has burgeoned to cover medical costs for about one in every five people. Today, Medicaid pays for two of every five babies born in the United States, and three of every five people in long-term care facilities in the US. Obamacare will add another 20 million new Medicaid dependents. According to the Kasier Family Foundation, that Medicaid expansion will add an average of 13% to state budgets in costs for 2014 alone. Even though Medicaid was designed to help the poor, studies have consistently shown that Medicaid recipients receive worse medical care than people without any health insurance at all! Medicaid patients have longer waits to see a doctor, fewer specialists to choose from, and poorer medical outcomes overall. A particularly morbid piece of evidence is that on average, Medicaid patients die sooner after surgery than people who have no medical insurance. Essentially, Obamacare is forcing 20 million more Americans into second-class medical care with Medicaid. 2. “Sticker shock” as the reality of higher health insurance premiums hits home. The majority of Americans, especially those who are young and healthy and therefore have paid low premiums in the past, are seeing their health insurance premiums rise between 50% and 150%. Further, employers are cutting full-time workers back to part-time by reducing employees’ hours per week from 40 to 29 or less, to avoid having to provide those employees with expensive, Obamacare-compliant coverage. The “Affordable Care Act” has become anything but affordable for most people. 3. Large and small employers are cutting health insurance benefits. Obamacare expands the requirements for what all health insurance policies must cover. So it’s no mystery why premiums have risen: Americans now must pay for a host of features, whether they want to or not. For example, in my office, the women employees are all menopausal. Yet Obamacare requires our small-business health insurance policy to cover pregnancy and maternity care! That means our policy costs more. These higher premiums force employers to pass on the costs to employees (in the form of higher co-pays and deductibles) and/or customers (in the form of higher product costs). 2014 will bring even higher premiums for most individuals and businesses. To deal with this onslaught of rising costs, businesses have a series of bad options: fire or lay off workers, cut health insurance benefits for everyone in the company, or reduce full-time employees to part-time so they don’t qualify for health insurance benefits, as I mentioned above. Unfortunately, some businesses will be forced into the worst option of all: going out of business. 4. The employer-based health insurance policies that remain will have higher out-of-pocket costs for employees. Because businesses must pay more to purchase Obamacare-compliant plans, they will require employees to pay higher co-pays and deductibles before coverage begins. 5. Fewer types of health insurance policies can be offered under Obamacare. Many small-business plans and existing physician networks are being terminated due to the expanded coverage requirements under Obamacare. We just received notice that our own small-business plan is being terminated. Candidate and then President Obama promised, “You can keep your insurance plan.” Nope. 6. Many people cannot keep their doctors. Candidate Obama promised, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” But many patients who like their doctors are being forced to find new ones due to changes in physician networks, as well as doctors leaving insurance plans to start fee-for-service or “concierge” practices. Sadly, when a patient is pushed out of a long-standing relationship with a physician who understands their medical history, medical outcomes often deteriorate. This is especially true for special-needs patients, who often fall between the cracks when doctors are pressured to see 40 or 50 patients a day in five-minute visits. 7. Further destruction of Medicare. In 2014, Medicare patients will discover several unwanted changes: higher premiums for their supplemental policies fewer types of Medicare supplement policies available more cutbacks in Medicare-covered services longer delays to see doctors, because many doctors are closing their doors to Medicare patients due to the cuts in reimbursements fewer cancer care specialists taking Medicare patients higher costs for hospital-based cancer treatments, as private offices with lower costs are closed due to reimbursement cutbacks fewer hospital-based surgeries being approved because as of October 2012, Obamacare rules incentivize hospitals (i.e., paid more by Medicare) to do fewer surgeries and procedures. Medicare patients who sign the Advance Beneficiary Notice (ABN) agreeing to pay for services Medicare does not cover will find that they now have higher out-of-pocket costs to pay for these non-covered services. Patients over 80 are already finding reduced approvals for certain procedures and medicines. Expect to see more of this age-based rationing as the Medicare cuts increase over the next decade. 8. Loss of ownership of your medical records. Your doctors, hospitals, and other health professionals are being pressured to adopt electronic medical record systems and send patient information to the federal government’s medical database by 2015. If they don’t comply, they’ll be penalized with reduced payments for services. This means the government will own your personal, private information, and you have no say in the matter. I consider this a complete loss of your privacy, as well as a violation of the Constitution’s 5th Amendment “Takings” clause. 9. More waivers and exemptions for the political elites and Democrat cronies. The Obama Administration and its political appointee, HHS Secretary Sibelius, have granted over 1,000 waivers and special exemptions to various Democrat donors, political allies, unions, and others. Obama’s politically connected friends are the only Americans who won’t suffer under Obamacare’s onerous regulations, ballooning costs, and 20 new taxes. 10. On January 1, 2014, the Individual Mandate to purchase Obamacare-compliant health insurance goes into effect. “Mandate” may sound benign, but it carries the force of law. Those who do not comply face another Obamacare tax (as the Supreme Court defined it), though called a “penalty” by Democrats when they forced the healthcare law through Congress on a partisan vote. At the end of the day, Obamacare shifts a bigger burden onto taxpayers and increases the number of people on the dole. In other words, it pushes the US in the exact opposite direction it needs to go to solve its massive debt problems. The most serious problems of Obamacare, however, will be felt at the individual level. You’re going to wait longer to see a doctor, you’re going to pay more for fewer treatment options, and healthcare quality will deteriorate as doctors and hospitals go out of business. Obamacare seeks to replace the adaptability and efficiency of our free markets with heavy-handed government control and micromanaging by bureaucrats who don’t have a clue about what really helps patients. We need the opposite: patient-centered, free-market reforms. Such programs have been successfully implemented in states like Indiana and businesses like Whole Foods and Safeway. They used health savings accounts and other incentives to empower consumers to make their own medical spending decisions. It’s possible to reform and improve the broken payment system while keeping our excellent medical care and innovative atmosphere that relieves suffering and improves quality of life. Unfortunately, Obamacare is pushing our country in the wrong direction. Dr. Vliet writes as an independent practicing physician with medical practices in Tucson and Dallas focused on issues of endocrine aging in men and women from puberty to late life. Dr. Vliet is a registered political Independent, and is also medically independent of all health insurance contracts since 1986. Her allegiance is to and for patients. Dr. Vliet is the 2007 Voice of Women Honoree by the Arizona Foundation for Women for her pioneering work on the overlooked hormone connections in women’s health, and she is the author of six consumer books on health topics. She has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and TV shows discussing the healthcare law as well as a variety of health topics for women and men. Dr. Vliet was one of the speakers at the just-concluded 2013 Casey Research Summit. (Click here to pre-order the complete Summit Audio Collection and save $100 off the normal price. This discount offer ends tomorrow.) Dr. Vliet’s medical websites are www.herplace.com and www.InternationalHealthStrategiesLtd.com. Follow Dr. Vliet on twitter @healthandcents
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
Return to article. Long DescriptionThe world-acclaimed Actors From The London Stage will perform “King Lear” at Hamman Hall.The international touring theater troupe based in London and at the University of Notre Dame will be in residency at Rice from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2, 2019. They will perform “King Lear” at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 at the university’s Hamman Hall, 6100 Main St.Tickets are $15 for Rice students, alumni, faculty, staff and senior citizens; $20 for general admission; and $10 per person for groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 713-348-4005 or emailing email@example.com.Founded by famed actor Patrick Stewart, Actors From The London Stage is now in its 38th year. Beginning as an educational program developed by Homer Swander at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the troupe tours up to 20 universities each year to provide communities, students and faculty the opportunity to experience dynamic and enriching performing arts.All roles will be played by five veterans of classical theatre: Richard James-Neale, Tricia Kelly, Ffion Jolly, Fred Lancaster and Jonathan Dryden Taylor. The performers all hail from prestigious theater companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and have made numerous appearances in film and television.The troupe’s residency is underwritten by the Alan and Shirley Grob Endowment for Shakespeare and the Grob Fund for Shakespeare in Performance, with additional support from Rice University’s Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts and the Department of English.For more information on the performances, visit http://vada.rice.edu. For a Rice University map and parking information, visit http://rice.edu/parking.-30-For more information, contact Katharine Shilcutt, media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.For a Rice University map and parking information, visit http://parking.rice.edu.Related information:Actors from the London Stage: https://baylinartists.com/actors-from-the-london-stage-biography/Rice Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts: https://vada.rice.edu/Rice Department of English: https://english.rice.edu/High-resolution images for download:https://news.rice.edu/files/2018/12/KL-011-RETOUCHED-PRINT-1sm85mg.jpghttps://news.rice.edu/files/2018/12/KL-029-RETOUCHED-PRINT-1tkz7f0.jpgLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview. Share2Rice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media RelationsMEDIA ADVISORYKatharine Shilcutt713email@example.comInternational Shakespeare troupe to perform at Rice Actors From The London Stage will perform ‘King Lear’ at Hamman HallHOUSTON — (Dec. 10, 2018) — “Nothing can come of nothing,” utters Lear as he begins his slow descent into madness in William Shakespeare’s tragedy “King Lear.” The world-acclaimed Actors From The London Stage are set to bring the tragic tale of Lear, his three daughters and the many warring noblemen to life at Rice University. The world-acclaimed Actors From The London Stage will perform “King Lear” at Hamman Hall. AddThis
AIDark DataDark Data ReportfundingMarketing TechnologyNewsSplunkTRUE Global Intelligence Previous ArticleThe Trade Desk Partners with Samba TV to Unify Digital and TV Media Strategies for the World’s Largest AdvertisersNext ArticlePimcore Launches Data Hub To Strengthen Content-As-A-Service Capabilities For Enhanced Data Delivery and Consumption Survey Finds New Skill Sets and AI to Be the Future; Organizations Not Turning Massive Data Opportunity into Meaningful Business OutcomesSplunk Inc., delivering actions and outcomes from the world of data, released research that shows organizations are ignoring potentially valuable data and don’t have the resources they need to take advantage of it. The research reveals that although business executives recognize the value of using all of their data, more than half (55 percent) of an organization’s total data is “dark data,” meaning they either don’t know it exists or don’t know how to find, prepare, analyze or use it.“the organization that has the most data is going to win.”The State of Dark Data Report, built using research conducted by TRUE Global Intelligence and directed by Splunk, surveyed more than 1,300 global business managers and IT leaders about how their organizations collect, manage and use data. In an era where data is connecting devices, systems and people at unprecedented growth rates, the results show that while data is top of mind, action is often far behind.76 percent of respondents surveyed across the US, UK, France, Germany, China, Japan, and Australia agree “the organization that has the most data is going to win.”60 percent of respondents said that more than half of their organizations’ data is dark, and one-third of respondents say more than 75 percent of their organization’s data is dark.Business leaders say their top three obstacles to recovering dark data is the volume of data, followed by the lack of necessary skill sets and resources.More than half (56 percent) admit that “data-driven” is just a slogan in their organization.82 percent say humans are and will always be at the heart of AI.Marketing Technology News: Snap Inc. Names Kenny Mitchell Chief Marketing Officer“Data is hard to work with because it’s growing at an alarming rate and is hard to structure and organize. So, it’s easy for organizations to feel helpless in this chaotic landscape,” says Tim Tully, chief technology officer, Splunk. “I was pleased to see the opportunity people around the world attach to dark data, even though fewer than a third of those surveyed say they have the skills to turn data into action. This presents a tremendous opportunity for motivated leaders, professionals and employers to learn new skills and reach a new level of results. Splunk can help those organizations feel empowered to take control of identifying and using dark data.”Respondents are Slow to Seize Career and Leadership OpportunitiesWhile respondents understand the value of dark data, they admit they don’t have the tools, expertise or staff to take advantage of it. Plus, the majority of senior leaders say they are close enough to retirement that they aren’t motivated to become data-literate. Data is the future of work, but only a small percentage of professionals seem to be taking it seriously. Respondents agree there is no single answer, though the top solutions having potential included training more employees in data science and analytics, increasing funding for data wrangling, and deploying software to enable less technical employees to analyze the data for themselves.92 percent say they are “willing” to learn new data skills but only 57 percent are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic to work more with data.69 percent said they were content to keep doing what they’re doing, regardless of the impact on the business or their career.More than half of respondents (53 percent) said they are too old to learn new data skills when asked what they were doing to educate themselves and their teams.66 percent cite lack of support from senior leaders as a challenge in gathering data and roughly one-in-five respondents (21 percent) cite lack of interest from organization leaders as a challenge.Marketing Technology News: Factual Launches Measurement Intelligence to Track Real-World Conversions and Optimize Campaigns Across New and Emerging Digital ChannelsAI is Believed to Be The Next Frontier for Data-Savvy OrganizationsGlobally, respondents believe AI will generally augment opportunities, rather than replace people. While the survey revealed that few organizations are using AI right now, a majority see its vast potential. For example, in a series of use cases including operational efficiency, strategic decision making, HR and customer experience, only 10 to 15 percent say their organizations are deploying AI for these use cases while roughly two-thirds see the potential value.A majority of respondents (71 percent) saw potential in employing AI to analyze data.73 percent think AI can make up for the skills gaps in IT.82 percent say humans are and will always be at the heart of AI and 72 percent say that AI is just a tool to solve business problems.Only 12 percent are using AI to guide business strategy and 61 percent expect their organization to increase its use of AI this way over the next five years.Regional Differences Fuel Range of Opinions: China Furthest Ahead in Understanding the Potential of Dark DataThe research also discovered some distinct differences in attitude and opinion between the seven countries polled. For example, French, German and Japanese respondents seem less concerned about the value of data skills to their careers, with affirmative answers roughly 25 percent lower on average, than their counterparts in other countries. Respondents in China overwhelmingly voice the most enthusiasm and confidence in AI but their current adoption is only slightly higher than the global average. (20 to 16 percent)Marketing Technology News: Mobile Is Key to Boosting Guest Experiences Say HoteliersAustralian respondents implied the lowest AI adoption rates among all countries surveyed with 43 percent saying AI is already – or will in the near future be – an important part of their organizations’ operations compared to the global average of 52 percent.Although China leads response rates on the value and impact of AI across the research, 93 percent of Chinese respondents also believe machines can never replace human qualities like curiosity, creativity and initiative – the highest of any country.Only 64 percent of French respondents think data is a central component of an organization’s success compared to 81 percent globally.Only 58 percent of German leaders think data will grow more valuable over the next decade compared to 71 percent globally.Nearly four out of ten people in Japan (38 percent) say they are excited about working with data, lagging behind the global response of 57 percent.39 percent of people in the United Kingdom strongly believe AI can make up for the skills gap versus only 27 percent globally. Dark Data Research Reveals Widespread Complacency in Driving Business Results and Career Growth PRNewswireMay 2, 2019, 6:31 pmMay 2, 2019
Source:https://www.tum.de/nc/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/detail/article/35173/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019If a pregnant woman gains excessive weight, it can pose a problem for both the mother and child. As a solution, regular counseling appointments have been proposed. Based on results with 2286 women, a team of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in cooperation with the Competence Center for Nutrition (KErn) has now shown that although counseling appointments as part of routine prenatal care can encourage a healthier lifestyle, it does not reduce weight gain.If a woman gains excessive weight during pregnancy, it could lead to gestational diabetes, an increased risk of cesarean section or excessive birth weight of the newborn. The goal of the Bavarian Healthy Living in Pregnancy Study (GeliS) was to make pregnant women aware of the problem and to improve their dietary behavior and physical activity. More than 70 medical and midwife practices in Bavaria participated in the study.Women in the study group received three counseling sessions (30?45 minutes each) from week 12 of pregnancy, followed by another consultation several weeks after childbirth as part of their preventive check-ups. They also received additional information material as well as forms that allowed them to independently record and monitor their weight gain and physical activity. The control group only received the information material.Slight reduction in newborn weightStudy Director Professor Hans Hauner, Professor of Nutritional Medicine at the TUM, explains the initial findings: “Unfortunately, the counseling concept proved unsuccessful and had no measurable effect on maternal weight gain.” Despite the counseling, over 45 percent of the participants gained more weight than recommended by the international standard of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) ? over 14 kilograms on average. Nor did the counseling lead to a reduction in complications such as gestational diabetes, hypertension or premature labor.Related StoriesPre-pregnancy maternal obesity may affect growth of breastfeeding infantsOpioids are major cause of pregnancy-related deaths in UtahNew research examines whether effects of alcohol/pregnancy policies vary by raceNevertheless, his research team did find some positive effects: An initial look at the extended data shows that many pregnant women did in fact pay close attention to their diet and exercised regularly. In addition, more than 85 percent of women continued the program to the end and readily took the advice they received to heart. “Evidently, that was not enough to reduce their weight gain. What we saw, however, was a reduction in the size and weight of the babies of the women who participated in the program. That, too, is a small but important achievement,” Hauner says. The study team also recommends that counseling sessions be started before the 12th week of pregnancy.Main criterion: suitability for routine useIn addition, a special feature of the study was the fact that the counseling sessions were integrated into routine prenatal check-ups. It is the largest study in the world to use this approach. “It was important to us that the concept be suitable for routine use. The pregnant women did not have to appear for any additional appointments, and the effort on the part of the doctors and midwives was well defined. Only such solutions are practicable. “Numerous studies have looked after and monitored pregnant women with the help of separate regular appointments,” Hauner says. “Even if that has a positive effect, it’s not a practical solution for all pregnant women ? and that should be the goal,” Hauner says.
Canada and Quebec province, as well as tech giant Apple, announced Thursday their backing of aluminum producers Alcoa and Rio Tinto’s new joint venture to develop a carbon-free smelting process. Citation: Canada, Apple back development of carbon-free aluminum smelting tech (2018, May 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-canada-apple-carbon-free-aluminum-smelting.html © 2018 AFP Aluminum is used in everything from cars and planes, softdrink cans, foil and window frames, as well as in Apple smartphones, tablets and computers Toyota invests Can$1.4 billion in Canada plants This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement with executives of the three companies on hand.Apple is investing Can$13 million (US$10 million) in the joint venture, and will provide technical support.Rio and Alcoa are investing Can$55 million (US$43 million), while the Canadian and Quebec governments will each invest Can$60 million (US$47 million) in a first round of financing.The technology promises to be “the most significant innovation in the aluminum industry in more than a century, and marks a decisive step forward in the fight against climate change,” said a statement.”Once fully developed and implemented, the ground-breaking technology will virtually eliminate the Canadian aluminum industry’s carbon footprint.”Aluminum is used in everything from cars and planes, softdrink cans, foil and window frames, as well as in Apple smartphones, tablets and computers.The sector employs 10,500 people in Canada.Alcoa is the largest aluminum producer in the United States and Rio is the world’s second-largest miner.Their joint venture is to be named Elysis and headed by Rio executive Vincent Christ. It will be based in Montreal, with a research facility in Quebec’s Saguenay region.The new technology is expected to be ready for licensing to retrofit smelters or build new facilities by 2024.According to Ottawa, it has the potential to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 6.5 million metric tonnes in Canada—the equivalent of taking 1.8 million cars off the road.”We are proud to be part of this ambitious new project, and look forward to one day being able to use aluminum produced without direct greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing of our products,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in the statement. Explore further
Explore further A ‘new outlook’ for the economy Ghana flooding kills 34 during heavy rains Norway’s Aker Energy on Thursday said it had discovered oil in commercial quantities off Ghana, which the government welcomed as a potential boost to the economy. The oil and gas operator said exploratory drilling indicated an “estimated 450-550 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe)” in the Pecan field, 166 kilometres (100 miles) off Takaradi.Further exploration could increase total volumes to 600-1,000 mmboe, the company said in a statement.Ghana’s government said the announcement was “good news” that could bring “a new outlook to the economy” and alternative funding for social projects in the future.Aker Energy began operating the Pecan field last year. It holds a 50 percent stake. Others include Russian energy firm Lukoil and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.Ghana first discovered oil in 2007 and became a producer in 2010, helping to speed up the rate of economic growth. It is believed to have five to seven billion barrels in reserves.The resolution of a long-standing maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and neighbouring Ivory Coast sparked predictions the country would see an oil boom.President Nana Akufo-Addo said the favourable ruling opened up “possibilities of development, progress and prosperity”, which would help boost funding for schools, hospitals and roads. Citation: Five-hundred fifty million barrels of oil discovered off Ghana coast (2019, January 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-five-hundred-fifty-million-barrels-oil.html © 2019 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Credit: CC0 Public Domain Cybersquatting was rife in the early days of the World Web of the 1990s. An individual would register a domain name that was perhaps associated with an organisation or company and even a trademarked term. The cybersquatter might then use the domain for their own purposes whatever they might be or endeavour to sell the domain to the organisation. At first, it was unclear whether cybersquatting was illegal. Laws were tightened, domain registrars would take a dim view of such activity and commonly the domain would be handed over to what would appear to be the more legitimate owner. However, there are blurred lines when it comes to generic terms rather than company names or trademarks. Provided by Inderscience Citation: Criminal cybersquatters (2019, June 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-criminal-cybersquatters.html Explore further More information: Manik Lal Das et al. Privacy-preserving targeted online advertising, International Journal of Social Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems (2019). DOI: 10.1504/IJSCCPS.2019.10021908 Cybersquatting disputes grow in 2010 Some pundits perceive cybersquatting as unethical. It still goes on. Others suggest that it is beyond unethical it is criminal. Writing in the International Journal of Social Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems, a team from India suggests that cybersquatting, rather than being an artefact of an immature Web of a quarter of a century ago, is still rife and exploitative. The team offers many examples of cybersquatting and highlights how the activity is detrimental to the growth of the internet and society as a whole.There may well be instances where cybersquatting was intentional. This author can point to a US government website that has essentially hijacked the name of a well-known personal and commercial website for its own use by using the domain with the .gov suffix where the .com already existed!The team points out that there are no useful methods to prevent cybersquatting and in India and elsewhere it is increasing on a daily basis as new companies emerge only to find that the most pertinent domain for the website has been taken by a third party. There is a need to increase awareness of the problem before algorithms could be implemented at the registrar level to help preclude this unethical and often criminal activity on the internet. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.