About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Crystal Palace boss Hodgson: Norwich play some extremely good footballby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is concerned meeting with Norwich City.He admitted to watching the Canaries opener at Liverpool – a 4-1 defeat – and thinking “they are a very good team”.”I think they are very good and they play some extremely good football,” Hodgson said. “I’m pretty certain the win against Manchester City tells you everything you need to know about them.”I would rather we played against another team than Norwich, a team I feared a bit less, but this is the fixture that is in front of me.”
October 27, 2019
As we noted Sunday night, Kentucky head coach John Calipari was on-hand for the NBA All-Star Game in New York City, and he brought his daughter Erin along for the festivities. It looks like the younger Calipari might have been on her own the whole night, however.Coach Cal took to Twitter Monday morning, telling his followers that he’d accidentally forgotten to introduce Erin to former President of the United States Bill Clinton. She also mentioned Sunday night that she’d been photobombing her father all night.I felt so bad yesterday at the NBA All-Star Game. My daughter @TheErinCalipari and I both go down to see @billclinton. …— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 16, 2015.@billclinton was so in to our team that when he started talking, I totally forgot @TheErinCalipari was standing there. LOL.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 16, 2015.@TheErinCalipari finally nudged me and said, “Hi, I’m his daughter Erin.”— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 16, 2015We’re not sure why Calipari admitted all of this, but it is fairly amusing. Luckily, his family is very supportive of his career, so he’s unlikely to get one of those work-life balance talks.
October 13, 2019
SQUAMISH, B.C. — The Squamish Nation has approved economic benefit agreements for Woodfibre LNG, a project worth up to $1.8 billion in British Columbia’s Howe Sound.The approval of the agreements by an eight to six vote means the First Nation could receive cash and contract benefits worth almost $1.1 billion.Woodfibre LNG is licensed to export about 2.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas a year for the next 40 years from a former pulp mill about seven kilometres south of Squamish.The First Nation says in a news release the agreements include annual and milestone payments totalling about $226 million, a cultural fund and cash for employment opportunities.It says the agreements also mean the Squamish Nation and member-owned businesses could be awarded up to about $872 million in contracts, but only if they are fully qualified to win the bids.Squamish councillor Khelsilem says it was a difficult decision for many in the community.“The next steps will be holding the proponents accountable for the life of the project and beyond; that includes the construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of Woodfibre LNG.”The First Nation says it will help develop management plans for the project and will have its own monitors to report any non-compliance with environmental, cultural, employment and training requirements.The deals also mean nine parcels of land would be transferred to the Squamish Nation for housing and economic development along with five cultural leases in Howe Sound.In a statement issued Friday, the company says it has already received environmental approvals from the federal, provincial and Squamish Nation governments.Byng Giraurd, vice-president of corporate affairs at Woodfibre LNG, says it is pleased to have fulfilled another key condition of the project.“The Woodfibre LNG project is the first industrial project to undergo Squamish Nation’s groundbreaking environmental assessment process and is the first industrial project in Canada to be awarded an environmental assessment certificate by an Indigenous government.”The Canadian Press
October 12, 2019
Kolkata: The sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Bengal witnessed high-handedness of BJP candidates, particularly from Bharati Ghosh and Dilip Ghosh. While the former IPS officer, who is the BJP candidate from Ghatal, was found barging into booths illegally with her body guards, Dilip Ghosh, who is contesting from the Midnapore seat, was found using instigating language just beside a polling booth at Rampuria Primary School at Egra.The Commission had to restrict the movement of Bharati Ghosh and seized the vehicle in which she was moving, after it was found that she did not have the necessary permission to use the car. Ghosh, who faced agitation from Trinamool Congress supporters and some common people at several booths, lost her cool and one of her security guards resorted to firing at a booth near Dogachia in Ghatal, in which one Bakhtiar Khan sustained bullet injuries. The Election Commission has initiated FIRs against Ghosh and her associates for videographing and firing in booth, while an FIR was also lodged against Dilip Ghosh, who is also the state president of the saffron party, for a clash with TMC supporters in front of a booth where he allegedly used instigating language. Voting in the sixth phase that covered four districts of Jangalmahal, namely Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore and Jhargram, was peaceful apart from some sporadic incidents of trouble. The average voting percentage was 79.93 percent till 5 pm, which was a clear indication that people braved the sultry weather conditions and exercised their franchise. The Central Forces opened fire at five places and 26 people were injured in clashes related to elections. The police arrested 16 persons across the parliamentary constituencies that went to vote in specific cases, for incidents of violence that could have marred the peaceful voting process.
October 12, 2019
Marrakech- King Mohammed VI chaired this Monday the launching of the project “Marrakech city of permanent renewal” that reflects the Sovereign’s strong will to secure a balanced, integrated and sustainable development of the ochre city.Chairwoman of the Urban commune of Marrakech, Fatima-Ezzahra El Mansouri underscored in a speech delivered on this occasion the objectives of this four year program (2014-2017) that will promote the city to the level of international metropolises.Based on a innovating approach which consists in overarching, integrated and coherent public actions, the project will support the city’s urban and demographic development, consolidate its economic attractiveness, reinforce its status as a world tourism pole, improve social, cultural and sports infrastructures and promote human development indicators. The program, requiring 6.3 billion MAD in investments, revolves around developing cultural legacy, improving urban mobility and integration, promoting good governance and preserving environment.The Marrakech, city of permanent renewal project features the establishment of a city of folk arts, a museum of immaterial legacy, a music academy, a museum of Moroccan water civilization and renovation of the Royal theater, of the Zaouiya El Kettania, of walls and old gates.Several avenues and streets around the project will be upgraded, while the bus station will be transferred, a new information system will be used to organize traffic and accessibility of disabled persons will be enhanced.The project further includes a tourism promotion component, building two public hospitals, two health center and 18 schools in addition to renovating 8 existing schools.The project further includes a citizen space, new public markets, six swimming pools, new mosques and Koran-teaching schools and the upgrading of some districts. Concerning the promotion of good governance, the project includes the modernization of communal services management, generalizing the use of new information and communications technologies, rationalizing communal property management and establishing a digital monitoring system. On this occasion, the King chaired the signing ceremony of two conventions: a framework convention related to the project was signed by interior minister Mohamed Hassad, habous and islamic affairs minister, Ahmed Toufiq, housing and urban policy minister, Mohamed Nabil Benabdellah, education and vocational training minister Rachid Belmokhtar, equipment, transport and logistics minister Aziz Rebbah, youth and sports minister, Mohamed Ouzzine, health minister El Hossaine Louardi, and culture minister, Mohamed Amine Sbihi.Other signatories of the framework convention include delegate minister for environment Hakima El Haïti, delegate minister in charge of water, Charafat Yadri Afilal, wali of the Marrakech-Tensift -Al Haouz region Mohamed Faouzi, chair of the urban commune of Marrakech, Fatima Ezzahra El Mansouri, chair of the prefecture council of Marrakech, Jamila Afif, chair of the urban commune of Mechouar Kasbah Mohamed Fouad El Houri, and general manager of the authority of water and electricity distribution, Mustapha El Habti.A second convention establishing a regional tourism promotion fund was also signed. The 400 million MAD convention provides for reinforced cooperation between signatories in air transport, communication, conferences, tourism vents, thematic offers and products. The Sovereign also launched the Mhamid citizen space project (189 million MAD), which is an integral part of the Marrakech, city of permanent renewal project. The space will feature a polyvalent sports hall, a swimming pool, football and rugby stadiums, a mini-football stadium, a library, a music academy and a mosque.It will also comprise a center for persons with specific needs, an exhibition space of handicraft products, a playground, a center for associations and a shelter for the elderly.
October 12, 2019
Rabat- Two Journalists for the Moroccan TV channel 2M were arrested on Wednesday and had their equipment confiscated before they were released by the authorities in Algeria.Two days earlier, Amnesty International accusedAlgeria of silencing critics and curbing freedom of expression, in particular press freedom in the presidential elections. It seems that the curbing the freedom of press in Algeria has become a broader suppression of media, as the Algerian authorities prevented Moroccan journalists from covering the presidential elections.According to H24 Info, the cameraman and the correspondent from 2M in Oujda were arrested on Wednesday morning in the Houari Boumediene airport. The authorities released them after the journalists had their equipment confiscated until they could get accreditation. 2M’s journalists immediately went to see an official in the Algerian ministry of Communication to solve the accreditation problem. According to the same source, after several hours of waiting, the minister explained to the journalists that they could cover the presidential elections after they got the accreditation from the Algerian embassy in Rabat.The journalists tried to object to the official’s decision, explaining that it meant going back to Morocco without covering the elections that were going be held on Thursday, April 17th. Yet the minister refused to change his decision, saying “I explained what the law says.”On the other hand, deputy director of 2M Samira Sitail said that the journalists followed all the procedures on time in order to obtain their accreditation from the Algerian embassy in Morocco. “But they did not get any response,” said Sitail.According to H24 Info the TV channel’s demands to obtain accreditation from the Algerian embassy in Rabat to cover the presidential elections in Algeria “were denied without explanation.” The same source added that Algeria promised the TV officials they would approve their journalists’ accreditations when they arrived at the Algerian airport.Yet the Moroccan journalists did not find their accreditation waiting for them in the Algerian airport; instead, they found the policemen waiting to confiscate their cameras and send them back to Morocco without covering the presidential elections. Edited by Jessica Rohan
September 18, 2019
Former Chelsea midfielder Dennis Wise says he agrees with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese gaffer claimed his team would finish in the top four spot in the Premier League this season.The Red Devils’ form has improved lately, and Wise believes United can secure qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League.“I think United will be looking at the top four and thinking they can get above Arsenal and Tottenham,” he said, according to Sky Sports.“They have had a poor start and the amount of goals they have conceded is not like a Jose Mourinho team. Usually, they don’t give a lot away, so things have not been quite right, but I think – looking at the players they have got and the fact I think they will buy big in January – they will make the top four.”Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…Asked about where they would need to strengthen, Wise said: “I think you are looking at the two centre-halves. I think that was his main concern in the summer.“They need a full-back on the right side too, I am sure he would like an established right-back.“I am sure there a few slots he wants to fill to make the team. This team, the way they are playing and the goals they are conceding, it’s not a Jose Mourinho team.”
September 3, 2019
Jatiya Oikya Prokriya convener Kamal Hossain speaks at a press conference at the National Press Club on Saturday. Photo: Prothom AloEvidently happy to see former president Badruddoza Chowdhury’s exclusion from the new opposition coalition, ruling Awami League is confident of victory in the next general elections.Yet, AL leaders are preparing for the elections keeping their eye on the coalition, renamed as Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front).The AL policymakers consider the Front without Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh of B Chowdhury to be weak and say this ‘vulnerable’ coalition will not be able to realise its demands such as poll-time neutral govenment.”We’ve nothing to worry about the unity of the opposition. It has been forged at a time when they will not find much time to reach the people,” AL presidium member Abdur Razzaque told Prothom Alo.His reaction followed announcement of the Front by reputed jurist Kamal Hossain, and senior BNP leaders and a few other opposition parties and groups, at the National Press Club on Saturday.The AL leader said it would not be possible for the opposition coalition to realise their demand to hold the election under a neutral government, nor could it gain electoral favour due to time constraints.Razzaque shows confidence that their party’s early election preparations would pay off.However, while taking preparing for the elections, the ruling party will keep its focus mainly on what the opposition coalition does, AL insiders admitted.“The 11th parliamentary election will be a bit different from the one held on 5 January 2014. This time around, the Awami League will have to face the National Unity Front led by Kamal Hossain and the BNP,” said one of the AL policymakers seeking anonymity.Some of the AL leaders were relieved when former president Badruddoza Chowdhury and his son Mahi B Chowdhury refrained from joining the unity process at the last moment.The AL camp is firm that the government would hold the 11th parliamentary election in due time and the election would be held under prime minister Sheikh Hasina.The elections will be arranged in a manner free from conflict, according to the AL’s plan. The AL leaders hope none will be able to stop the AL-led 14-party alliance from emerging as victorious in the next election as well.Sheikh Hasina, also AL president, asked the party leaders to take preparations keeping in mind the current electoral system, the opposition’s unity process involving the BNP and other opposition parties.She made the directive when the party held its meeting on election manifesto, the day the court delivered the verdict on the 21 August grenade attack case convicting a number of BNP leaders including acting chairman Tarique Rahman.Some AL leaders said in view of the court judgement, the AL’s control over the administration, and ‘geopolitical realities’, nobody will be able to challenge the AL in the elections.The AL is now focussed on election-time government, authoring the election manifesto, selecting party nominees tackling intra-party conflict and expansion of the 14-party alliance.The party is in touch with the left-leaning parties and religion-based political parties and groups.AL leaders said they are trying to ensure participation of highest number of parties in the election if the opposition parties including the BNP boycott the elections.Different government agencies are also active in commissioning the AL plan, the leaders said.Abdur Razzaque, who is assigned to prepare the manifesto, said it has not been finalised yet.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.
September 3, 2019
US president Donald Trump addresses a Congressional Medal of Honor Society reception at the White House in Washington, DC, on September 12, 2018. AFPThe number of illegal voters. Crowd size. The GDP.US president Donald Trump loves to cite stats and numbers to bolster his political standing. He just doesn’t seem to care much about whether they’re true.More than any other president in recent memory, Trump openly embraces shaky numbers to shape his reality. No amount of fact checking or finger-pointing has steered him toward the truth. He rarely corrects himself and often leaves aides scratching their heads about where he gets his information.On Thursday, Trump’s factually challenged tweeting took a new grim turn. He claimed the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year was inflated – “3,000 people did not die,” he tweeted – falsely blaming Democrats for a count intended to make him “look as bad as possible.”More than any other public fight over the numbers, the comment rattled aides and stunned much of Washington. One Republican called it a “new low.” Many others dodged.Although Trump is far from the only politician to cherry-pick favorable statistics, the president frequently engages in wholesale distortion, manipulating numbers to score a political point and leaving aides to clean up the mess. His questionable claims have addressed the success of the economy, the number of illegal voters in the 2016 election, the size of his inaugural crowd and much more. Those off-base numbers are often repeated by aides, regurgitated by conservative media and embraced by supporters.Earlier this week, Trump tweeted: “The GDP rate (4.2 percent) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9 percent) for the first time in over 100 years!”Not quite: The GDP hit that number 12 years ago. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, acknowledged that Trump was incorrect and said he wasn’t sure where the president received his information.“Let me just say that the history of thought of how errors happen is not something that I can engage in,” Hassett told reporters. “And at some point, somebody probably conveyed it to him.”Other aides have defended the president’s factually challenged comments, with senior aide Kellyanne Conway supplying “alternative facts” and lawyer Rudy Giuliani advising that “truth is not truth.”Trump this summer told a rally crowd that “what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”In the case of Puerto Rico, the official government conclusion is that nearly 3,000 Americans died from the storm and there is no evidence that Democrats attempted to manipulate the data. White House aides did little to explain the president’s tweets other than to suggest that Trump was marking the lower death total that was known when he visited the island two weeks after the storm hit.Puerto Rico’s governor last month raised Maria’s official death toll from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the sweltering aftermath had been severely undercounted. Previous reports from the Puerto Rican government said the number was closer to 1,400.Trump’s attack on the number of dead enraged Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla, who told reporters that Trump has a “warped mind that would turn this statistic into fake news.”“It might be a new low,” said Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring from Congress. “Boy, that’s saying something.”Even Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he believes the president “sees every attack on him as sort of undercutting his legitimacy. I don’t think it’s bad to say we could have done better in Puerto Rico.”The sources of Trump’s bad information can be varied but often derive from cable news or Twitter.Trump, who lost the 2016 popular vote to Hillary Clinton but won the electoral college, pushed the theory soon after his election that 3 million or more votes were illegally cast by noncitizens, an idea first floated in a series of tweets by Gregg Phillips, a little-known conservative activist. Phillips never backed up his claims. The authors of two studies on voting – one in the journal Electoral Studies, the other by the Pew Center on the States – accused then-press secretary Sean Spicer of misrepresenting their findings to support the president’s claim.Spicer also infamously claimed that more people attended Trump’s inauguration than President Barack Obama’s swearing-in, a claim disproven by visual evidence. This week, The Guardian newspaper obtained documents that revealed that a government photographer edited official pictures of the 2017 inauguration to make the crowd appear larger.Trump at times has promoted flat-out lies and conspiracy theories, including suggesting that Obama was not born in the United States, that his predecessor may have wiretapped him or that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the plot to kill President John F. Kennedy. The habit predates his political career, though in his 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” he engages in a little spin, suggesting that his falsehoods were playing “to people’s fantasies.”“That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular,” he wrote then. “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration – and a very effective form of promotion.”Case in point: He added 10 floors to Trump Tower, the Manhattan skyscraper where he lived for decades. In promotional materials, the high-rise is listed as having 68 stories.In reality, it has 58.
September 3, 2019
News News • Photos of the Week Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,(RNS) – Faith leaders are calling on New York City police to launch a hate crime investigation into a violent attack on a Hindu priest near his temple in Queens.Swami Harish Chander Puri, the 62-year-old priest who leads the Shiv Shakti Peeth temple in the Glen Oaks neighborhood, said he was walking outside his temple the morning of July 18 when a man came up behind him and began hitting him repeatedly.Locals said they believe the priest was targeted because of his religious clothing and that the attacker screamed “this is my neighborhood” during the assault, according to media reports and a letter published by Sadhana, a progressive Hindu movement based in New York City.“The remarks uttered by Swami Puri Ji’s attacker are a blatant example of hate speech,” the letter reads. “Thus, we urge the NYPD to investigate this matter as a hate crime.”An NYPD spokesperson told media that investigators do not currently believe there is a hate crime component to the attack.Police arrested 52-year-old Sergio Gouveia in connection with the attack and have charged him with assault, harassment and criminal possession of a weapon. Puri has since been released from hospitalization and is recovering from the cuts and bruises on his head, nose, chest, arms and legs.The Shiv Shakti Peeth temple in the Glen Oaks neighborhood of Queens. Photo courtesy of Google MapsInterfaith activists linked the attack to President Donald Trump’s recent inflammatory rhetoric against four democratic Congresswomen of color, suggesting that they are un-American.“Bigotry and xenophobia does not distinguish between Hindus and Muslims, or black or brown skin,” the letter said. “When the US President targets immigrants and refugees and encourages chants of ‘send her back’ at rallies, this results in real harm inflicted on our communities.”Sadhana’s letter was also signed by community activists and faith leaders in New York and beyond, including leaders of the Shri Shakti Mariammaa Temple, the Shakti Mission, American Baptist Churches, Park Avenue Christian Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, Ecclesia Ministries of New York, Auburn Seminary, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Union Theological Society, United Clergy Task Force and other groups.Afaf Nashar, executive director at Council on American-Islamic Relations’ New York chapter, signed the letter.“No human being should suffer through an assault because of his color or faith,” he said. “As hate crimes continue to break record numbers, our president revels in promoting a divisive, racist nation. The president can help our nation heal if he wanted to, but he shamefully chooses to stoke flames for his political gain.”The letter also noted that Queens was named America’s most diverse large county earlier this month, according to a report of 2017 census data produced by Axios.“This type of brutal act is un-American, and the person who committed this heinous crime is a coward,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-Queens, in a statement expressing solidarity with local Hindus. “People from across the globe call Queens home, and we are proud to embrace this rich diversity that exists in our communities and neighborhoods.” Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts Aysha Khan ayshabkhan Pope places sanctions on bishop investigated over sexual harassment, lavish spending Aysha Khan Aysha Khan is a Boston-based journalist reporting on American Muslims and millennial faith for RNS. Her newsletter, Creeping Sharia, curates news coverage of Muslim communities in the U.S. Previously, she was the social media editor at RNS.,Load Comments,Husband of Christian blogger and father of 6 dies in beach accident Catholicism Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! Share This! Tagshate crime Hindu homepage featured New York City Top Story,You may also like Photos of the Week August 30, 2019 As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 By: Aysha Khan ayshabkhan Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! By: Aysha Khan ayshabkhan By: Aysha Khan ayshabkhan Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email
September 2, 2019
APIn this Oct. 4, 2017, photo, a device called a “bump stock” is attached to a semi-automatic rifle at the Gun Vault store and shooting range in South Jordan, Utah. The National Rifle Association announced its support Ton Oct. 5 for regulating the devices that can effectively convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons and that were apparently used in the Las Vegas massacre to lethal effect. It was a surprising shift for the leading gun industry group, which in recent years has resolutely opposed any gun regulations. Immediately afterward the White House, too, said it was open to such a change. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)In the immediate aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, there was a fevered pitch to ban bump stocks, the device that allowed the shooter’s semi-automatic rifles to mimic the rapid fire of machine guns.With that push stalled at the federal level, a handful of states and some cities are moving ahead with bans of their own.Massachusetts and New Jersey — two states at the time led by Republican governors — as well as the cities of Denver and Columbia, South Carolina, have enacted laws prohibiting the sale and possession of the devices, which were attached to a half-dozen of the long guns found in the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter who in October killed 58 people and injured hundreds more attending a nearby outdoor concert. A little over a dozen other states are also considering bans on bump stocks.Gun-control advocates say the push fits a pattern in gun politics: inaction in Washington that forces states to take the lead. Gun-rights advocates call it a knee-jerk reaction that will do little to stop bad guys from killing, and vow a legal challenge.For Zach Elmore, the issue is deeply personal. His sister among those wounded in the Las Vegas attack. He finds hope in the statewide and local efforts to ban bump stocks.“Hopefully it’s the start of a big movement versus just a flash in the pan,” Elmore said. “Obviously you cannot legislate (against) evil, but you can legislate the things with which bad people will use to perpetrate evil.”The devices were originally intended to help people with disabilities and were little known and little sold until the Las Vegas shooting. They fit over the stock and pistol grip of a semi-automatic rifle and allow the weapon to fire rapidly, some 400 to 800 rounds per minute, mimicking a fully automatic firearm.The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reviewed the devices and approved them in 2010, ruling they did not amount to machine guns that are regulated under the National Firearms Act that dates to the 1930s.Richard Vasquez was assistant chief of the ATF’s technology bureau and led the review of bump stocks. He stands by the agency’s 2010 ruling, which relied on a key difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms: While semi-automatic firearms require a separate and independent pull of the trigger to fire a bullet, fully automatic firearms can fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull. ATF determined bump stocks didn’t convert a semi-automatic firearm into one that is fully auto.“It’s a proper determination. Everybody wants to jump the gun and say that ATF made a mistake,” said Vasquez, who left the agency in 2014. “ATF didn’t make a mistake.”The federal agency is reviewing its ruling, something Vasquez and others caution is a dangerous move without Congress first changing the law to specifically make such devices illegal.“If ATF is allowed to write a regulation to change the definition of this device, instead of a law, it’s going to give all government agencies authority to change their regulations, which could affect us in a wide variety of ways,” Vasquez warned.Legislation in Congress has remained in limbo despite early signs from a bipartisan mix of lawmakers and advocates who voiced alarm that such a device was deemed legal and on the market. Even the National Rifle Association sounded open to great regulation of bump stocks.Joyce Malcolm, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, said the bans likely would withstand a legal challenge, but she wonders about more practical matters: How might they be enforced?“I don’t see a real constitutional issue. I just wonder about actually getting these devices out of circulation for people who already have them,” she said.It’s not known how many of the devices are in circulation. At the time of the Las Vegas shooting, gun dealers said they rarely had customers wanting to buy one — but then couldn’t keep up with the demand in the days and months afterward. The leading manufacturer of bump stocks, Texas-based Slide Fire Solutions, briefly stopped selling them, posting a notice on its website that it had suspended sales to keep up with demand. It has since resumed sales.Massachusetts, which has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, enacted its ban a month after the Las Vegas shooting, pushed through a Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed into law by a Republican lieutenant governor. New Jersey followed suit last month with a measure signed into law by outgoing Republican Gov. Chris Christie. About a dozen other states are considering similar bills.“This is a very familiar story. The Congress cowers in the face of the NRA, and the states act,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for tougher gun laws.Connecticut, home to some of the world’s most legendary gun makers, is among the other states considering bans.Rep. William Tong, a Democrat and House chairman of the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, called it a commonsense measure that puts public safety first.“The federal government has demonstrated that, given the composition of the Congress right now, it’s not possible to pass commonsense gun laws,” he said. “Connecticut can’t wait.”Gun-rights advocates say the efforts undermine the Second Amendment and will do little to stop criminals.“Anti-gun Democrats love to ban things. That is their answer,” said Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who added bump stocks have rarely, if ever, been used in a crime before the Las Vegas shooting. “This is their chance to say, ‘Hey, we’re doing something. Look at us. We’re doing something.’ It’s not going to do anything.” Share
August 31, 2019
Kolkata: Police recovered an elderly women, who was locked up inside an apartment by her daughter-in-law, on Krishna Chatterjee Lane in Bali police station limits on Tuesday.The police said Jyotsna Das Gupta (80) lived with her daughter-in law Sujata in the four-storeyed apartment. Her son had died two years ago. Because of ailment she could not walk without taking support. While leaving her alone at home, Sujata had made arrangments for her medical care. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe police did not arrest any one in the case as Sujata and her daughter Indrani Dasgupta tendered an apology and assured the cops that they would never lock up the elderly woman at home. On Saturday, Sujata left for her daughter’s house in Bhadreshwar and she locked up the elderly woman at home. On Sunday, occupants of other apartment saw newspaper were piled outside the gate of the house. They tried to reachout to the elderly woman but they failed and informed the police. Officers from Bally police station arrived on Tuesday morning and they broke open the gate. Cops called up Indrani Dasgupta, the granddaughter of the woman, who was a schoolteacher. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIndrani told the police that often went out leaving her grandmother alone and locking up the apartment from outside. Sujata arrived almost one-and-a-half-hours after the cops informed her about the situation. She opened the room and police found that the elderly woman was sleeping on a cot. The woman is stone deaf and cannot walk without taking support. Both the mother and the daughter admitted their mistake and tendered unconditional apology. The police arranged for doctors who treated the elderly woman.
August 30, 2019
This story appears in the December 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 2 min read Imagine taking your desktop computer display, rolling it into a compact tube and tossing it into your briefcase. You’ve just imagined a future scenario with flexible display technology. It’s a future that could include displays built into fabrics, advertising wrapped around objects, cell phones that conform to your hand and screens that curve.Janice K. Mahon, vice president of technology commercialization at Universal Display, a leading technology developer in the field, says, “To make communications work, you need portability. LCDs just aren’t good enough.” Universal Display works with a technology called OLED, or Organic Light Emitting Diodes (or Device). Mahon describes the current state of flexible displays as “mid-development,” and says, “Our focus is to get to super-flexible, full-color, power-efficient OLED displays.”Companies large and small are pursuing flexible displays. R&D company Eikos, founded by Joe Pich�, 49, has 20 employees and works with Japanese customers and the Department of Energy. The business is trying out a different sort of flexible display material–carbon nanotube technology that can be applied to special surfaces with an inkjet machine. A demonstration of their work shows a screen being rolled up into the size of a pencil. On the other end of the spectrum, Siemens has demonstrated flexible displays that could reach the market next year. Potential uses include business cards, food cartons and medicine packaging.Growing businesses may be in on the ground floor of developing flexible display technologies, but even more businesses will be affected when these devices reach the wider market. Expect advertising uses to be among the first to hit the mainstream. Mahon sees the production costs coming down considerably as the manufacturing process improves: “Twenty years from now, [it will be hard to] imagine the day that a display wasn’t flexible.” December 1, 2006 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »
August 19, 2019
WOW air reaches tentative agreement with last-minute investor << Previous PostNext Post >> PHOENIX — After Icelandair’s buyout deal fell through earlier this week, another company has swooped in to save the struggling WOW Air.Indigo Partners LLC, a Phoenix-based private equity firm that owns Frontier Airlines, has announced an in-principle agreement has been reached with WOW to invest in the Reykjavik-based ULCC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Following successful completion of due diligence, both parties would work to close as soon as practicable. WOW’s CEO and primary shareholder, Skuli Mogensen, would remain a principal investor in WOW upon completion of the transaction.“The demand for low-cost air service continues to expand rapidly worldwide, and with Indigo as a partner, we hope to take full advantage of this highly attractive market segment,” said Mogensen. “I am excited to work with Indigo and I am convinced it is the best long-term move for our people and passengers.”Bill Franke, Managing Partner of Indigo Partners, added: “Skuli and WOW’s management and employees have done a remarkable job in creating a well-regarded, successful ULCC brand. We have a strategic vision for the airline, and look forward to working with its employees and agents to deliver that vision.”More news: GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsEarlier this week, it was reported that Icelandair backtracked on its plans to purchase rival WOW, a conclusion that interim President and CEO Bogi Nils Bogason called “disappointing”. Icelandiar announced its intention to purchase the ULCC in early November. Tags: Frontier Airlines, Icelandair, WOW air Share About Latest Posts Alex Keerma Latest posts by Alex Keerma (see all) WestJet adds to network, nonstop flights between Austin and Calgary – May 3, 2019 Senior Travel Advisor – Peterborough Office – April 12, 2019 “I didn’t know she was married”: Kimpton’s social experiment inspires new themed rooms – March 6, 2019 Alex Keerma Friday, November 30, 2018 Posted by
August 7, 2019
Roku 4 boxRoku is reportedly in advanced talks about raising US$200 million in a new funding round that would carry a valuation of roughly US$1.5 billion.According to Fortune, which cites sources familiar with the matter, the round will be led by US-based investors and could exceed US$200m as it may include “secondary sales by existing investors”.The privately-owned, streaming device firm has reportedly raised some US$210 million to date, including US$45 million last year, which was revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).Roku also raised US$25 million in 2014, and the US company counts 21st Century Fox and European pay TV operator Sky among its investors.The company has not commented on reports of the new funding round.
August 7, 2019
Virtual reality startups face a “challenge to survive” until mobile platforms that support virtual experiences reach critical mass, according to a panel of speakers at MIPTV.However, the group said that the merging of VR and social media usage could have a transformative impact on the way the technology is perceived.Speaking on the panel, Julian Price, chief marketing officer at vTime, said that VR companies face a challenge to survive until they are able to deliver sustainable revenues. The key will be the availability of mobile devices that can support VR experiences as a mass-market product, he said.“Mass market [appeal] will be driven by the hardware,” said Price, adding the companies that will survive are those with proven products and those that “stay lean and agile” and don’t burn through too much cash.He said companies may have to focus more on B2B commercial projects in the near term in order to get through to the mobile ‘promised land’ of virtual entertainment.MIPTV session attendees also heard that ‘social VR’ – the integration of VR with social media – would add “a different flavour” to regular VR experiences, and would help boost interest.VR outfit LiveLike will introduce a social VR experience at the Roland Garros tennis championship this summer, enabling viewers to experience the matches and interact with friends in real time.Fabrice Lorenceau, co-founder and head of productions, LiveLike, said that the company carried out a small trial at Roland Garros last year, but this year will see a much wider deployment.Lorenceau said that LiveLike had been surprised by the amount of time people spent in a virtual environment watching and interacting with live events. He said that VR sports can broaden out the availability of live events while delivering social connectivity.Lorenceau added that his company had been able to deliver some social VR experiences with several thousand users. However, he said: “The industry is still in a maturing phase.”
August 4, 2019
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. Sponsor Advertisement Scanning the precious metals battlefield, I’d guess that we’re getting very close to, or are already at, another record low Commercial net short position.The gold price struggled to stay above the $1,600 mark through most of Far East and London trading during their Thursday. But a rally began shortly before 1:00 p.m. in London…8:00 a.m. in New York…and by the time the high tick of the day was in about forty-five minutes later, gold had reached $1,616.60 spot.But that’s as high as it was allowed to get before it got sold down hard…and that, as they say, was that.From there, gold got sold progressively lower until around 12:30 p.m. Eastern time…which appeared to be its low of the day at $1,582.60…and then gained back a handful of dollars going in the close of the New York trading session.Gold closed at $1,588.30 spot…down $11.80 on the day…and volume was pretty high at around 171,000 contracts, which was about the same as Wednesday’s volume.Here’s the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart so you can view the trading action in New York in greater detail.Silver’s price path was virtually the same as gold’s, with little action in overnight trading…the rally beginning just before 8:00 a.m. Eastern time…the hard sell-off that took silver from it’s high tick of $27.94 spot down to about $27.30 in less than ten minutes flat.From that point, silver ‘drifted’ lower, with it’s low tick of $26.85 coming around 11:40 a.m. Eastern time, if the Kitco data is accurate. From that low, the silver price recovered around two bits, closing at $27.13 spot…down 31 cents on the day. Net volume was pretty heavy at around 44,000 contracts.And here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart that shows the New York market on its own.All four precious metals got hit hard yesterday, with palladium getting it the worst of all…down 2.41%.The dollar index opened around the 83.10 mark in early Far East trading yesterday…and by 7:30 a.m. Eastern time had dropped about 20 basis points. Then in an hour the index fell out of bed all the way down to its low of the day which was 82.39 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. From there, in thirty minutes flat, the dollar blasted higher by 90 basis points…and got as high as 83.48 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, which was gold’s low tick of the day.From that point, the dollar index sold off a bit…and closed the Thursday trading session at 83.32…up about 22 basis points on the day.I am more than aware that Mr. Draghi opened his mouth in Europe about that time…and all hell broke loose the moment everyone realized that instead of decisive action, it was just more promises of action…so I suppose it’s the required thing to say that the precious metals got hit for that reason. However, being the suspicious fellow that I am, it’s my opinion that there was probably more going below the surface than met the eye…and I’ll have more on that in ‘The Wrap’.Not surprisingly, the gold shares gapped down at the open…but quickly rallied into positive territory…and stayed there until about half an hour before the close of the equity markets. Then they got sold off…and the HUI, which had been up more than one percent on several occasions…closed down 0.74%…just above the 400 mark. There was no corresponding sell-off in the Dow at that time.The junior producers in silver didn’t have a particularly good day yesterday…but the more senior producers that make up Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index had a better time of it overall…and that index closed up a tiny 0.20%…but it’s better than the alternative.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for ‘Day 4’ of the August delivery month, showed that 799 gold and 2 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday from the Comex-approved depositories. [This gold just changes owners within the depositories, it doesn’t go anywhere except maybe on different racks…and if they don’t change racks, they just put a ‘sticky note’ on it/them to say who the bar[s] belongs to.]In gold, the only short/issuer of note was the Bank of Nova Scotia with 787 contracts to be delivered…and the two largest long/stoppers were HSBC USA and Deutsche Bank…waiting to receive 425 and 242 contracts respectively. There were about a dozen different issuers and stoppers in yesterday’s report…and the link to that action is here.There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday…but over at SLV an authorized participant deposited a chunky 1,615,395 troy ounces.Over at Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank, they finally updated their gold and silver ETFs as of the close of business on July 31st. Since July 23rd, they reported adding 72,914 troy ounces of gold…and 450,047 troy ounces of silver.While on the subject of big piles of silver stored in a safe place, Sprott’s Physical Silver Trust has added another 1.11 million ounces of silver to their stash since their big 5.23 million ounce addition that Nick Laird reported on July 11th. That’s 6.34 million ounces, with at least another 1 million ounces to go.The U.S. Mint had its first sales report for the month of August. They sold 3,000 ounces of gold eagles…2,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 180,000 silver eagles.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday, they reported receiving 861,404 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 1,148,947 ounces of the stuff out the door. The link to that activity is here.I have another rather large pile of stories for your reading ‘pleasure’ today…and the final edit is up to you as it always is.The most surprising thing about Thursday’s precious metal/dollar index price action was that despite the 90 basis point rise in a 30-minute time period yesterday morning…and about 110 basis points in four hours…the precious metals didn’t get the living snot kicked out of them even more than they did…although the palladium price action would certainly qualify.These big dollar rallies are custom made for JPMorgan et al to really pound what few long contract holders in the Comex futures market that are still left…and I’m more than curious as to why their efforts were so half-hearted yesterday.And, for the second day running, the precious metal shares held up strongly almost to the end of trading before getting sold off. Was it the ‘powers that be’ buying shares to cap the next rally in the precious metals…or was it buyers with insider information that know that a major rally in the precious metal shares is imminent? We will, as they say, find out in the fullness of time.Today we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held as of the 1:30 p.m. Eastern close of Comex trading on Tuesday. As I mentioned in yesterday’s column, the big engineered price decline didn’t start until after the cut-off, so we won’t really know what happened in the last half of this week until we get next Friday’s COT report. So, whatever today’s COT report shows, it will already be “yesterday’s news” as Ted Butler is wont to say.Scanning the precious metals battlefield, I’d guess that we’re getting very close to, or are already at, another record low Commercial net short position in all four precious metals. As I said yesterday, there may be more room to the downside, because the high-frequency traders can engineer just about anything they want, but even they have their limits at these price levels…and the law of diminishing returns is in full force at the moment.In overnight trading, there wasn’t a lot of price activity in the Far East in the early going…but a smallish rally in gold began as the dollar began to slide shortly after 2:00 p.m. Hong Kong time. Volumes in both metals are fumes and vapours once again…and most of that is probably of the high-frequency trading variety. The dollar index is down about 21 basis points, gold is up about six bucks…and silver is up a dime…as hit the ‘send’ button at 5:20 a.m. Eastern time.Despite all the long faces in the precious metals world these days, I just can’t shake the feeling that a major upside surprise is in the cards sometime during the next thirty days or so, as the COT report is just screamingly bullish…and that the PM prices are being held in check until that moment arrives. We’ll see.Since today is Friday, I’m prepared for any eventuality when Comex trading begins. Will we get one last opportunity to buy the precious metals at give-away prices, or is the bottom already in?Stay tuned.Before signing off for the day…I’d like to point out that today is your last change to register for the upcoming “Casey’s Fall Summit – Navigating the Politicized Economy”….and still get a registration discount. 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.Enjoy your weekend…and I’ll see you on Saturday…or Sunday…depending where you live on Planet Earth.
August 4, 2019
Florida Avenue is the main drag in our little town in central Florida. In less than a mile, you’re likely to see three or four folks standing on the sidewalk wearing headphones, bopping to music, and waving big glittery signs or arrows with “We Buy Gold” written across them. It’s a common sight across many cities today. During my annual trip to Arizona, my friend Phil asked me about gold. He owns some gold with no emotional value tied to it, and I convinced him of two things. First, he should not sell his gold; and second, he should hold it in a portable form with an easily recognizable value, like Gold Eagles. If things really get tough, he wouldn’t want to have to barter jewelry with no easily agreed-upon value. There are many places where he could probably sell his jewelry, but how would he know if he was getting a fair price? I didn’t know either, but I knew I had a friend who would. I called up my good friend Rob. His family has owned a pawnshop for decades; it even has a “We Buy Gold” sign in the window. Who better to ask? Rob explained his position as a dealer. For him, gold is a highly volatile asset; its price swings can have a major impact on his margins. When he buys gold, he must hold it – sometimes for several months – until he has enough to sell to a refinery. His highest percentage payout at the refinery is tied to the volume he sells. Under Florida law, even if he buys the gold outright, as opposed to taking a pawn, he’s required to hold the item for at least 30 days. The normal “We Buy Gold” facilities have a 15-day minimum hold. When the price of gold is rising, a lot of folks come into his store to sell. When it drops, Rob can get caught with inventory he can’t sell at a profit. The dealer does take a sizeable risk. Rob walked me through the process his clerks use to evaluate gold, using a necklace as an example.Weight First they put the item on a scale to weigh it. Most dealers weigh the item in “pennyweight,” not ounces. One pennyweight is 1/20 of a Troy ounce. I asked Rob, “If I weighed a gold necklace on my wife’s Weight Watcher’s scale and it weighed 1 oz., that’s 20 pennyweight on your scale, right?” He replied, “Not exactly.” A Troy ounce is not the same unit of measurement as the “ounce” on a postal scale or the scale you weigh yourself on at home. When you see the price of gold quoted in the paper, it’s in Troy ounces. He also mentioned that some dealers weigh the gold in grams. There are 31.1 grams in a Troy ounce. (I’m using pennyweight in our example because that’s what Rob uses in his store.)Karat The second step is to determine the karat weight (abbreviated “K”) of the gold. “Karat” is the term used for purity; 24K gold is 99% pure. Commercially made jewelry will always have a karat marking on it. If there’s no marking, it’s a huge red flag, and most dealers won’t buy it. A dealer will still verify that the karat marking on the gold is accurate. There are several styles of test kits that dealers use; Rob noted that karat markings are usually accurate, but not always. Some inaccurate markings are actually there to deceive you. For example, “14K Filled” or “14K HGE” (heavy gold electroplated) are both gold-plated designations. That’s why they check.Doing the Math – “Cheat Sheets” Provided! After that, it’s a matter of math. It’s not especially complicated, but the terminology used by the jewelry industry can puzzle people. Assume you have a 20-pennyweight piece of 18K gold, which means it’s 75% pure gold. Fifteen is 75% of 20, so you have 15 pennyweight of 24-karat gold. And since 20 pennyweight equals one Troy ounce, that’s 0.75 oz. of 24K (pure) gold. To make this process even more straightforward, I – with Rob’s help – put together two Gold Conversion Worksheets for you. They walk you through the process step by step.That’s Great, But How Much Money Will I Get? On average, “We Buy Gold” dealers pay about 76% of the spot price to sellers for their gold. As a dealer, Rob loses approximately 5% when he takes the gold to the refinery. Because the refiner actually melts down the gold, its appraisal is even more accurate than Rob’s. When he weighs the gold in the store, there may be steel (not gold) springs, a little filler, or even some soap scum (remember we are talking about used jewelry) on the product; that all adds to its weight. One pennyweight is 1/20 of an ounce, so it doesn’t take much to register a little more weight on Rob’s scale. When the refiner melts out the actual gold, it’s usually about 5% less than what he calculated. Rob emphasized that his weight estimates never quite match what’s left after the gold’s been melted down. The refiner never buys the gold at spot price; when you boil it down (pun intended), his margins are normally 10-12%… certainly not exorbitant. When I asked Rob if he had any suggestions for our readers, he said to take one item and shop it around. He suggested using a heavy item; it will give you a more accurate reading of what the jeweler is paying per Troy ounce. Go to three or four places and get quotes, and you will likely get a variety of prices. Also, always ask the dealer for the weight and the karat of your item. They will probably quote the weight in pennyweight, knowing full well that most folks cannot convert it to Troy ounces. Write it down so you can easily compare dealers’ offers. If a couple of dealers give you the same weight, and then one is different, ask them to recheck it; don’t hesitate to mention that other dealers told you something else. If the jewelry has a karat mark and the dealer tells you it’s inaccurate, ask why – and get a second opinion.Secret Shoppers Today’s market for gold buyers is more competitive than you might think. To learn what the competition is offering, dealers will periodically send a secret shopper around with a gold item to their competitors to ask for a bid, should they decide they want to sell it. Some gold buyers are very aggressive. Rob mentioned one store where the appraiser stands behind a piece of thick plastic, like at a currency exchange, and the customers slide their gold through an opening. In one instance, a lady went into a particular store to have her jewelry appraised; the clerk slid paperwork and cash back through the slot, and refused to return her jewelry. It took fifteen minutes of escalating demands before she was finally able to speak to a manager and get her jewelry back. If you’re shopping around, trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! There are plenty of reputable places that will buy your item, so do business where you feel comfortable. Shopping around can easily net you a few hundred dollars more for your item.Remember Those Late-Night Commercials for Mail-In Gold Dealers? I asked Rob about the firms where you mail in your gold, and they send you back the cash. Just like dealers in town, some are reputable, and some are not. Many also charge a high “assay fee,” which lowers your total return. From a practical standpoint, it’s much more difficult to comparison shop and negotiate through the mail.Selling Directly to a Refiner I asked Jeff Clark, the editor of BIG GOLD, if he had any suggestions. He indicated that local gold markets vary throughout the country. Some markets lack competitive buyers, so shopping around is paramount. He also pointed out that gold refiners do not negotiate. They take the metal, melt it down, and pay you accordingly. Jeff pointed me toward two refiners, Dillon Gage and Precious Metal Recovery, and I phoned them both. Dillon Gage has a $10,000 minimum order and requires a tax ID number. It pays out 99% of spot price, minus an assay fee for analyzing the gold. Precious Metal Recovery pays 93%-96% depending on quantity, with no assay fee. If you ask, it will also provide a coupon for a portion off the shipping for larger orders. Just like with dealers, if you go directly to a refiner, it’s still important to compare prices and shop around.On the Political Side… As much as I can try to ignore the political side of things, the next 30 days are going to impact most all of us as investors. You have likely heard many politicians discuss the “fiscal cliff” looming on the horizon. These are the makings of a perfect storm – and unfortunately, you’re on a ship managed by a committee. Remember the old adage: “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” It does not function well as a horse, and it’s chock-full of compromises so that all committee members can save face. This is particularly true when that committee is political and spending other people’s money. Here are the factors at play. First, we have a lame-duck Congress which has just been through an election and wants to get home for Christmas. Second, the last time Congress raised the debt ceiling it was supposed to take care of things. That issue looms large. Like every other increase in the debt ceiling, it took care of things… until the next time. Third, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. If that’s not addressed, there will be a huge tax increase placed on all Americans, particularly those with investment income. A tax increase of that magnitude will almost certainly have a negative effect on the economy and employment. And finally, there are massive spending cuts looming, sure to cause some unrest if they go into effect. Oh, and did I mention that Congress wants to go home for Christmas? Our friends at Mauldin Economics are offering a free online seminar, The Post-Election Economy, next Tuesday, November 20 on all things cliff-related. I recommend signing up to watch the seminar online along with me. They’ve assembled an impressive panel of experts – a powerful team that gets it and can lend some real insight. Panelists include:Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and co-CIO at trillion-dollar bond management firm PIMCO.Gary Shilling, one of the most recognized market analysts of our time and publisher of the widely read INSIGHT newsletter.Barry Ritholtz, market strategist, author of Bailout Nation and editor of The Big Picture, which is among the most widely read economics blogs among market insiders. And John Mauldin himself. I’m looking forward to watching. As a primer on the fiscal cliff, you can’t do much better. As a general rule, I have always felt posturing your investment portfolio around current tax policy has some disadvantages. If I feel a particular investment still has a good upside, I’m often inclined to hang on to it and worry about taxes when I sell. On the other side, if you’re sitting on a decent profit, wondering if you should take some profits, then why not sell some or all before the taxes go up? What do I expect from politicians and pundits? More of the same – much on posturing and show, low on substance. Both sides immediately took the public position that they “want to work with the other side” and are “willing to compromise.” Last time I heard that it was followed by: “I won, you lost!” Congress has not had a balanced budget in years, so what makes anyone think it will be different and they will really get together and attempt to solve our nation’s fiscal problems? It will kick the can down the road as always, blame the other side for its inflexibility, and then head home for their Christmas break. What I really find sad is this: I spent last weekend in the Florida Keys with over 100 of our SSR club friends. I did not meet one person who is opposed to paying higher taxes – with one caveat. They must be used to reduce the deficit. Our annual debt has doubled from something like $500 billion to over a trillion dollars annually. Congress spends the money first, then screams about the deficit as justification for increasing taxes once again. Once it gets more money in the till, it immediately finds something more to spend it on. I agree with the blurb that was going around the Internet, supposedly quoting Warren Buffett. Simply put, if Congress and the President cannot balance the budget, none of them should be eligible for re-election. Kinda the same way it works in private industry: keep losing money and you get fired.On the Lighter Side Well, I had my annual checkup last week. Yes, I got on the scale and got scolded. I told my doctor about an article I read on the Internet by another doctor regarding health, weight, and exercise. Here is some of what he had to say: Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio? A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one. Q: Is chocolate bad for me? A: You crazy?!? HEL-LO-O!! Cocoa bean! Another vegetable! It’s the best feel-good food around! For those of you who watch what you eat, here’s the final word on nutrition and health. It’s a relief to know the truth after reading all of those conflicting nutritional studies. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you. My doctor was born in Poland. She grinned and I think muttered something to me in Polish as she shook her head. Then she had the last laugh as she handed me a chart about weight, body fat, and longevity, and told me to go home and read it. So far today I’ve consumed 635 calories and it’s almost dinner time, but who’s counting? Until next week…
August 3, 2019
When it comes to the nitty, gritty details, life in antiquity was pretty stinky – in a literal sense. Without high food and personal hygienic standards, most people probably contracted an intestinal worm at some point or another, says veterinary scientist Martin Søe. “I think it’s fair to say it was very, very common. In places with low hygienic standards, you still have a lot of whipworm and round worm.”That also means lots of parasitic eggs dumped into latrines through the years. In a scientist like Søe’s eyes, that’s a historical record of what people ate and what ailed their guts. So he and his colleagues at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University began exhuming ancient excrement from toilets of yore to reconstruct snapshots of food and health in bygone centuries.Most of the samples came from the early 11th century to the 18th century in northern Europe – present-day Denmark, Netherlands and Lithuania. “For the oldest ones it looks like high organic soil you might find anywhere,” Søe says of the samples that are old enough to have fully decomposed. Waste that is only a few centuries old has maintained a more recognizable form. “The 400-year-old [samples], some of those you can easily see that there is human feces in parts of it. Some of it even smells a little.”By filtering the samples through fine meshes, the researchers were able to easily collect parasite eggs for a DNA analysis. “When you filter and wash these samples, you also still get the DNA of plants and animals, like fish or whale, in the samples,” Søe says. The team sequenced all of the genetic material they found and began identifying plants, animals and parasites by comparing the sequences they found to those in a database of known genomes. They report the findings in PLOS ONE on Wednesday.Søe says he can infer what people were eating from some of the parasites that show up in the privies. “[For example,] we see that [Northern Europeans] ate a lot of fish because they were eating fish tapeworms,” he says.In Danish latrines from 1600, Søe detected tapeworm eggs that can only be contracted from eating raw or under-cooked pork – though not beef tapeworms, suggesting cow meat may have been more thoroughly cooked. Alongside pork and fish tapeworms, Søe say they also found the DNA of fin whales in Danish latrines from the Viking age. “So they were hunting or maybe collecting the whale meat,” he says.The team’s data also reveal some other curious things about life in the past. The waste they examined included DNA from cats, horses and rats – as well as the eggs of intestinal worms that survive solely in some of these animals. “Whipworms excreted from mouse feces were mixed up in the samples, too,” Søe says. That means it wasn’t just the human denizens of medieval and colonial-era Europe who were riddled with parasites centuries ago – plenty of four-legged residents had diarrhea, too. Presumably the animal excrements were swept up and tossed into the toilet by humans.The paper provides a detailed picture of which parasites infected people during the study period, says Piers Mitchell, an archaeologist at Cambridge University who was not involved in the research. While older analyses of medieval feces have found intestinal worm eggs, this new study offers some finer detail on which parasites people had. “They found some interesting stuff. The DNA work is good. It’s all [parasites] found before in the region, but the DNA shows they found pork rather than beef tapeworm [for example],” he says.However, the study doesn’t do much other than describe what was in the feces, Mitchell says. “It’s hard to digest because there’s so much in it,” he says. “There isn’t a list of simple conclusions about what they’ve found. It would be great if they could talk a little more about what the results tell us about life in the past or the spread of disease and migrations.”But that work is coming. The research has added to a wealth of ancient genetic data that could fuel more future analyses, says Maanasa Raghavan, a zoologist also at Cambridge who did not work on the study.”This provides us with empirical data on what those diseases might have been in the past,” she says. “Having these datasets will help us look further at how these pathogens evolved over time or how people moved around.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
August 3, 2019
Updated at 8:48 p.m. ETThe birthrate fell for nearly every group of women of reproductive age in the U.S. in 2017, reflecting a sharp drop that saw the fewest newborns since 1987, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.There were 3,853,472 births in the U.S. in 2017 — “down 2 percent from 2016 and the lowest number in 30 years,” the CDC said.The general fertility rate sank to a record low of 60.2 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 — a 3 percent drop from 2016, the CDC said in its tally of provisional data for the year.The results put the U.S. further away from a viable replacement rate – the standard for a generation being able to replicate its numbers.”The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971,” according to the report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.The CDC calculates a “total fertility rate” by estimating how many babies a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would likely have over their lifetime. That measure now stands at 1,764.5 births per 1,000 women — a 3 percent drop from 2016. The replacement rate is 2,100 births per 1,000 women.”The decline in the rate from 2016 to 2017 was the largest single-year decline since 2010,” the CDC said.The 2017 numbers also represent a 10-year fall from 2007, when the U.S. finally broke its post-World War baby boom record, with more than 4.3 million births.Historically, the number of babies born in the U.S. has gradually risen since a sharp decline in the early 1970s. But that growth has been inconsistent, and over the same time frame, the birthrate has shown a general decline. The numbers are often subject to spikes and sudden dips, driven in large part by the country’s economy, generational size and other factors.The numbers seem to correspond with what the Census Bureau and others have been predicting for years: America’s population growth will increasingly depend on immigrants, after decades in which the U.S. enjoyed a relatively high fertility rate when compared with that of other developed countries.As The Associated Press reports, the U.S. birthrate is “still above countries such as Spain, Greece, Japan and Italy, but the gap appears to be closing.”Broken out by age, the 2017 birthrate fell for teenagers by 7 percent, to 18.8 births per 1,000, a record low. That figure is for women from 15 to 19 years old. For that same group, the birthrate has fallen by 55 percent since 2007 and by 70 percent since the most recent peak in 1991, the CDC said.Women in their 40s were the only group to see a higher birthrate last year. Between the ages of 40 and 44, there were 11.6 births per 1,000 women, up 2 percent from 2016, according to the CDC’s provisional data.Birthrates fell by 4 percent both for women from 20 to 24 years old and for women of ages 25 to 29.For women in their 30s — a group that had recently seen years of rising birthrates — the rate fell slightly in 2017. The drop included a 2 percent fall among women in their early 30s, a group that still maintained the highest birthrate of any age group, at 100.3 births per 1,000 women.For the third year in a row, both the preterm birthrate and the low birth weight rate rose. The CDC said that the 9.93 percent rise in preterm births was due to late preterm births and that the early preterm rate had not changed from 2016’s 2.75 percent.Low birth weight — defined as newborns that weigh less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces — rose slightly above the highest level previously recorded, with 2017’s 8.27 percent topping 2006’s 8.26 percent.The overall cesarean delivery rate nudged upward in 2017, rising to 32 percent from 31.9 percent – still below the all-time high of 32.9 percent in 2009.The CDC also tallied births by race and cultural data (but it doesn’t yet have the data to compare those figures to the overall populations).Here’s how some of the 2017 numbers were reported:All Races and Origins: 3,853,472White: 1,991,348Hispanic: 897,518Black: 560,560Asian: 249,214American Indian or Alaska Native: 29,878Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 9,418Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.