Alisson on Liverpool move I feel at home already

first_imgLiverpool new signing Alisson Becker is already feeling at “home” in his new surroundings after completing his first training session at the clubThe Reds announced the shock signing of Alisson for a transfer fee of £66.8m (72.5m euros), in what is a world record fee for a goalkeeper.While Alisson couldn’t make the team’s preseason tour of the United States, after having an extended summer vacation following his participation with Brazil at the World Cup, he has now trained with his new teammates for the first time on Tuesday at the club’s five-day training camp in Evian, France.“It has been a great day which I had been looking forward to,”Alisson told the club website.“I’ve had a good few resting days with my family but we all couldn’t wait to get the new season underway soon.“It’s only my first day and I feel at home already.”? @Alissonbecker ? pic.twitter.com/aK9EAcDXDC— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 31, 2018Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United. Last season’s Champions League runners-up will face Torino at Anfield on August 7 in their final pre-season friendly, before they take on West Ham United in their Premier League opener just five days later.“Although these two weeks don’t seem like a long time, it’s enough for us to be ready for our first game against West Ham,” said Allison.“We’ll play two friendlies before this game and I’m sure the hard work the squad have put in so far is going to help me become a member of the squad as quickly as possible so that I am 100 percent ready for our first game to kick off the Premier League in a good way.“This initial training session has been useful for me to see what our playing style should be in the Premier League.“It’s also showed me that the team are very well adapted to it and everyone seems to be physically fit, not to say technically — they’re all great players after all.“I’m very happy to have them alongside me and to be a part of this project that Liverpool have and the great work they have been doing over recent years.“I hope I can help and bring something extra to the team.”last_img read more

Real Madrid win their fourth Club World Cup in history

first_imgWith a dominant performance against Al Ain, Real Madrid becomes the only club in history to win three consecutive FIFA Club World Cups.During a season that has been as difficult as the one Real Madrid is experiencing at the moment, Los Blancos desperately needed the FIFA Club World Cup in the final against Al Ain to boost their confidence during the post-Ronaldo era.The Arab club surprised the world when they managed to defeat River Plate in the semifinals, which gave them the right to play this match against Santiago Solari’s squad, but this is as far as they were going to get.The truth is that Real Madrid was way too superior and the Arabs had absolutely no chances to defeat the Spanish giants, they did make them suffer during the first 60 minutes of the match and only a long distance screamer in the first half from Modric was able to keep them ahead in the scoreline before a full hour had passed.The shot that the Croatian midfielder took just before the 15-minute mark, was the perfect culmination to an already fantastic year he has as an individual player.However, Los Blancos still didn’t have a secured result and they required to push themselves further in order to get more goals that could make them feel more confident.¡REAL MADRID, TRICAMPEÓN DEL MUNDO!El momento esperado por los merengues: ¡Cuando levantan el título como campeones del #MundialdeClubesxFOX!Revívelo pic.twitter.com/gxd4dvESY6— FOX Sports MX (@FOXSportsMX) December 22, 2018Already in the second half, it was a beautiful long-distance volley from Marcos Llorente what gave Los Blancos that confidence they needed.The Real Madrid product has been playing amazing football under Santiago Solari this season, this goal is a reward for that effort he’s been making in order to get noticed.But a Real Madrid final cannot be completed without a Sergio Ramos header during a corner kick, the magical moment happened just before the 80-minute mark after Luka Modric sent a cross straight into Ramos’ head.The skipper has now scored goals in two Champions League finals, two European Supercup final, and two Club World Cup finals as well.It was 3-0 already, Los Blancos had secured their result and another trophy for the museum inside the Santiago Bernabeu.But the final still wasn’t over, Al Ain did score a goal near the end of the match through Shiotani in order to at least find a little comfort in a very difficult night for them.Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.Los Blancos still got a fourth goal after the 90th minute, they got it through an own goal scored by Yahia Nader.EL CAMINO AL TRICAMPEONATO #MundialdeClubesxFOX Así fue la goleada del Real Madrid al Al Ain en la Final⚽ – Modric (14′) ⚽ – Llorente (60′) ⚽ – Ramos (79′) ⚽ – Shiotani (86′) ⚽ – Nader [AG] (90′) pic.twitter.com/dBoXAQYywx— FOX Sports MX (@FOXSportsMX) December 22, 2018This 4-1 result was the final nail on Al Ain’s coffin, the one that sealed the result for Real Madrid and got them to claim the FIFA Club World Cup for the third consecutive time.Santiago Solari clearly stepped in with the right foot as the manager for this squad, he also reached a historic milestone that only four other managers have been able to accomplish it.The Argentine manager won the Intercontinental Cup back in 2002 as a Real Madrid player, today he wins the equivalent competition as a manager and writes his name next to the likes of Luis Cubilla, Juan Mujica, Carlo Ancelotti, and Zinedine Zidane.All five men were able to win the same competition both as players and managers.This result is worthy of celebration for Los Blancos, they will travel back to Spain and rest for the holidays but they will have to go back to reality soon after.This club is not doing so well in La Liga right now, maybe this new trophy can give them the boost they need in order to improve their results during the year of 2019.Congratulations to Real Madrid, they are the World Champions for the third consecutive year.🏆🎉 ¡CAMPEONES DEL MUNDO! #RMCWC | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/MCwui6I5Mw— Real Madrid C.F.⚽ (@realmadrid) December 22, 2018Who was the player you liked the most in the final between Real Madrid and Al Ain? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

40 Dominicans held for alleged poaching

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 21, 2017 – Providenciales – Forty Dominican poachers were caught by Police just before the weekend in TCI waters with some 39,000 pounds of marine product.Police vessel, Sea Defender intercepted the illegal crew around midday last Thursday southwest of White Cay.  The 30 footer, named Captain Blaze, had a number of dinghies hitched to it as the men robbed TCI waters of fish and more.  Once the poachers were caught, they did try to flee and it is reported that action was taken by officers to bring the vessel to a stop; what that action is can only be imagined as Police have strangely omitted elaborating any further.No one was hurt.   The Dominican boat was towed to Provo, where DECR confiscated the ill-gotten goods and the group was arrested on suspicion of illegal fishing and taken into custody.#MagneticMediaNews#DominicanspoachingTCIwaters#TurksandCaicosMarinePolice#SeaDefender#CaptainBlaze Related Items:#CaptainBlaze, #DominicanspoachingTCIwaters, #magneticmedianews, #SeaDefender, #TurksandCaicosMarinePolice Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

KPBSD Sends Annual Reminder To Parents About Security Cameras In School

first_imgAccording to Communications Liaison for the district, Pegge Erkeneff, the cameras were installed in 2013. Parents are sent a reminder at the start of each school year. For more information, view Board Policy 3515 School Safety and Security. Parents are asked to contact their school principal with questions regarding the cameras. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享All Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools are equipped with digital security cameras to allow administrators and, if needed, local police, to monitor school entrances, hallways and other areas. According to the letter the cameras are located in public areas inside and outside of the school buildings. The letter also states that no cameras are placed in areas where students, staff, or community members have a reasonable expectation of privacy, e.g., a bathroom or a locker room.center_img In a letter sent to KPBSD parents on Thursday from KPBSD Superintendent John O’Brien, “Each school day over 8,000 students attend our 42 schools. While at school, the safety and security of your child(ren) is always our number one priority. As a way to ensure this, the school district and the borough have installed security cameras at your child(ren)’s school. “ O’Brien: “School security is the main purpose for the cameras. However, recordings may be used in disciplinary proceedings. In addition, matters captured by the cameras may be referred to local law enforcement, as appropriate.”last_img read more

US setting up facial recognition at major airports without proper vetting says

first_img Tags CBP is planning to employ facial recognition tech at 20 top US airports by 2021, says report.  Getty Images The US Department of Homeland Security is reportedly rushing to set up facial recognition systems that will scan all international passengers — including US citizens — in the top 20 US airports by 2021. This is being done without proper vetting or regulatory safeguards, according to a BuzzFeed News report Monday. There were reportedly “no limits” on how partnering airlines could use facial recognition data collected by the US Customs and Border Protection program, according to BuzzFeed News’ deep dive into 346 pages of documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit research group. CBP reportedly limited participating companies and third-party firms from using this data in December, but it’s unclear how the new rule is being enforced.CBP didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but told BuzzFeed News that it would keep photos of non-US citizens departing the country for up to 14 days.”By partnering with airports and airlines to provide a secure stand-alone system that works quickly and reliably, which they will integrate into their boarding process, CBP does not have to rebuild everything from the ground up as we drive innovation across the travel experience,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. Critics of facial recognition tech have said advances in artificial intelligence and the proliferation of cameras have made it increasingly easy for governments to watch and track what individuals are doing. Microsoft in December urged governments to enact legislation in 2019 that requires facial recognition tech to be independently tested to ensure accuracy, prevent unfair bias and protect people’s rights. Amazon’s shareholders in January called on the e-commerce giant to stop selling its Rekognition technology to government agencies, following criticism from civil liberties groups, members of Congress and Amazon’s own employees.BuzzFeed News said airports currently included in the CBP’s facial recognition program are in Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington (Dulles and Reagan), Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Houston Hobby, Dallas-Fort Worth, JFK, Miami, San Jose, Orlando and Detroit. Comment 1 Security Sci-Tech Politics Facial recognition Share your voicelast_img read more

Words With Friends Live brings on Garth Brooks for season finale

first_img Gaming Music Share your voice Tags Post a commentcenter_img Country singer Garth Brooks chats with Sangita Sarkar, director of product marketing for Words With Friends, about his love for the game at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday. Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET Excited murmurs filled the room as around 80 people, some donning cowboy hats, eagerly anticipated Garth Brooks’ arrival at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters Wednesday. Five people in the third row held up square foam boards spelling GARTH as the country singer, wearing a black cowboy hat, blue button-down shirt and light jeans, made his way to the stage. The letters his fans held up called upon the design of those featured in Words With Friends, the popular multiplayer word game developed by Zynga.Sangita Sarkar, director of product marketing for Words With Friends, sat with Brooks to chat about his love for the game, which he says he’s been playing for nine years. It didn’t take long for the singer to chime in with a word suggestion.”I think ‘y’all’ ought to be accepted,” he joked. “We’ll see what we can do to add it to the dictionary,” Sarkar laughed. To celebrate the Words With Friends’ 10th anniversary, Zynga launched a partnership last week with Brooks featuring themed in-game activities in Words With Friends 2. Brooks dropped by to co-host the season finale of Words With Friends Live, a daily trivia game broadcast within Words With Friends 2, at 6:15 p.m. PT.20190501-181000A quick performance by Garth Brooks at Zynga’s San Francisco headquarters. The country singer co-hosted the season finale of Words With Friends Live, a daily trivia game broadcast within Words With Friends 2. Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET Brooks isn’t new to merging tech with his musical career. The country singer has used Facebook Live to connect with fans, answer questions and share the latest updates on his music. He touched on the importance of being genuine when interacting with people on social media.”You can tell even through a text, even through a post, if people are sincere or not,” he said. He later elaborated on the connections technology has allowed him to have with fans around the world.”You couldn’t get to people 10, 15 years ago,” Brooks told me. “You could sign autographs all day long, and you’d probably reach 200, 300 people. But here, you can reach tens of thousands of people in a single setting and make it personal.”Brooks also launched the final pre-order window for the Legacy Collection, a seven-disc vinyl box set featuring music spanning his career.In a world of streaming, he said, there’s an irreplaceable value to possessing physical copies of music. After all, CDs and vinyl records have been making a comeback in the music industry. “I don’t think people want their music to be background,” Brooks said. “They want it to be part of their lives.” Brooks wrapped his fireside chat by referencing the title of his hit song Friends in Low Places that just about everyone in the room saw coming.”Maybe we can talk and bring Words With Friends in Low Places,” he joked. 0last_img read more

Plastic Aishwarya Rai to Akshay Kumars extra inches 5 Scandalous statements made

first_imgInstagramTrust Karan Johar, his couch and his coffee shots on the show – Koffee with Karan to stir up quite a storm. From scandalous statements to accidental confessions, celebrities from all walks of life have managed to grab headlines after every episode of the show. Let’s take a look at 5 most scandalous statements made by celebs on the show.Plastic Aishwarya Rai: Emraan Hashmi and chachu Mahesh Bhatt’s rapid-fire on Koffee with Karan, can most certainly be called the most controversial one. While Emraan Hashmi didn’t leave a stone unturned in creating a storm with his answers, Mahesh Bhatt too, was strongly uninhibitedly opinionated. While Emraan Hashmi said called Aishwarya Rai plastic and also said that Shraddha Kapoor should eat something.Overrated Kajol: Mahesh Bhatt was also in no mood to mince his words and gave some straight forward, sharp answers. On being asked who is an overrated director and actor in the industry. Mahesh Bhatt named Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Kajol.Housewife Sonakshi Sinha: On being asked what could be an alternate career option for Sonakshi Sinha, the candid Kareena had said, “Housewife.”Akshay Kumar’s extra inches: Known for her wit and humour, Twinkle Khanna gave it back sharply to Karan Johar during the rapid fire round. When Karan asked Twinkle ‘what is that one thing that Akshay have but the Khans don’t? Khanna cheekily said, “Few extra inches”. While she meant in terms of height, for many the answer did veer towards a different direction. Ahem!Priyanka Chopra’s accent: Until they appeared on the show together, there was no denying the fact that both Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor have been fierce competitors. So, when Karan asked Kareena what is that one question she woild like to ask Priyanka, Kareena was quick to say, “Where does she get the accent from?” And in her response, Priyanka too nailed it by saying, “The same place her boyfriend gets it from.”Ouch! Weren’t these some of the most shocking and scandalous statements ever made on the show.last_img read more

10 exdefence officers join Gano Forum

first_imgTen retired defence officers formally join Kamal Hossain-led Gano Forum ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections at a programme at Kamal Hossain’s Motijheel chamber on Monday afternoon. Photo: Prothom AloTen retired defence officers on Monday formally joined Kamal Hossain-led Gano Forum ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections.They joined Gano Forum, a key component of Jatiya Oikya Front, inclusive of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), at a programme at Kamal Hossain’s Motijheel chamber in the afternoon.The defence officers are retired lieutenant colonel and freedom fighter Khandakar Faridul Akbar, retired lieutenant colonel Sheikh Akram Ali, retired lieutenant colonel Mohammad Shahidullah, retired lieutenant colonel AFM Nuruddin, retired major Masudul Hasan, retired major Md Imran, retired major Md Badrul Alam Siddiqui and retired squadron leader Md Forkan Alam Khan, retired squadron leader MD Habib Ullah and retired squadron leader MD Mahmud.Kamal was not present at the programme due to his other engagement.Gano Forum executive president and lawyer Subrata Chowdhury welcomed the ex-defence officers.“We welcome 10 retired army and air force officers as they are going to start a new journey in politics by joining Gano Forum,” Subrata said adding, “We’ll work together for the country and restoration of democracy and people’s voting rights”Subrata hoped that people will win the battle of ballot on 30 December as it is the last chance for bringing a change in the country’s politics.Senior Gano Forum leaders, including its presidium members Jaglul Haider Afrik, AHM Shafiq Ullah, Gano Forum training affairs secretary Rafiqul Islam Pathik and executive committee member retired major Amin Ahmed Afsari were, among others, present.Earlier, Reza Kibria, son of slain former Awami League finance minister Shah AMS Kibria, joined the party and submitted its nomination paper to Kamal on Sunday to contest the 30 December parliamentary polls under Jatiya Oikya Front from Habiganj-1 constituency.last_img read more

How One Nonprofit Is Trying To Fix Four Challenges In STEM Education

first_img X 00:00 /03:37 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen PexelsThe nonprofit JASON Learning tries to make science education exciting through hands-on projects and expeditions.This summer, teams of students and teachers traveled to places like Alaska and the Bahamas. It wasn’t for vacation, but for science. The expeditions are part of a partnership between 11 Houston-area school districts, from Alief to Pasadena, and a nonprofit called JASON Learning. Together, they’re trying to improve education in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.Laura IsenseeEleanor Smalley leads the nonprofit JASON Learning, which has partnered with 11 Houston-area school districts.JASON Learning’s CEO Eleanor Smalley highlighted four challenges they’re trying to address in STEM education.“Students and communities don’t really know, adults don’t necessarily know what the jobs are or how to prepare educationally for them … and it’s because the science is changing.”“Students have to have role models that they can see that look like them. So, if you are a girl and you want to enter into the science world, then you need to see a role model who you can identify with.”“STEM requires a lot of background information, not only in science and technology, but also mathematics. And we tend to, as a country, not start early enough and we tend to not think that everyone can learn it.”“And it has to be fun and exciting.”Click the audio play button above to hear more. Sharelast_img read more

EN ESPAÑOL ¿Puede el voto latino decidir el empate entre Ted Cruz

first_imgLa contienda electoral entre el senador republicano Ted Cruz y el demócrata Beto O´Rourke, que será decidida en noviembre en las urnas, está en empate en intención de voto, según una encuesta reciente.Jerónimo Cortina explica En Pocas Palabras por qué  los latinos podrían tener la llave del desempate. Sharelast_img

Orr Elem Set to Receive New Building

first_imgOn May 25, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) was joined by D.C. Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, D.C. Council members David Grosso (I-At Large) and Trayon White (D-Ward 8), Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education member Markus Batchelor, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles, and Director of General Services Greer Johnson Gillis to break ground on the new Benjamin Orr Elementary School in Southeast Washington. “My administration is committed to accelerating school reforms that gives all children, in every ward the opportunity to reach their full potential,” the mayor said. “Today’s groundbreaking marks the beginning of a great new chapter for the entire Orr community, including its incredible students, teachers, and families.”The projected design of the new Benjamin Orr Elementary school in Southeast D.C. (Courtesy Photo)The existing Orr Elementary school is an open space school built in 1974. Batchelor told the AFRO the open space concept is outdated and he is excited about the school’s new look.Orr is located in Ward 8 on Minnesota Avenue, S.E. and borders Ward 7 in a predominantly Black and working-class Fairlawn neighborhood. The school has 412 students and is 98.1 percent Black with less than a handful of Latinos and no White students according to District public school data.StartClass.com, a public school rating service, reports that 100 percent of Orr’s students are eligible for free lunch.That is in contrast with Janney Elementary School in predominantly White Ward 3 which is 74 percent White and seven percent Black with only three percent of its student body eligible for free lunch, according to the web site ElementarySchools.org.For decades, there have been news reports and complaints from Orr’s faculty and staff and community leaders that the school is uncomfortably hot in the spring and fall and extremely cold in the winter. There have also been complaints about rodents in the facility.Since the school modernization program began under D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007, Fairlawn activists and every Ward 8 D.C. council member since then has called for Orr’s building upgrade. It is not clear why the beginning of Orr’s modernization started a decade later, but Bowser told the AFRO not to blame her.“I can only speak for the past two years,” the mayor said.  “We have been working on this for the past two years and the great thing is that the students don’t have to move to a new site.”Grosso concurred on the point of students going to school at the same site. “You will have a new building right here on the property,” he said. “That’s not true around the city.”The new school will feature 26 individual but flexible classrooms for students in pre-K through 5th grade. In addition to these teaching spaces, the new building will include a parent resource center, a dedicated suite for special education, a new library with an adjacent laptop lab and maker space, a music room, an art room with kiln, and an outdoor learning space.Wilson visited Orr a few months ago and was impressed with the instruction but not the facility.“I said ‘this school needs a new building’,” he said. “Bringing a new, world-class facility to the Orr Elementary School community so that our Ward 8 students can get high-quality teaching and learning in a high-quality building is a great achievement for our city.”The existing school will remain operational while the new building is under construction. Once the new school building opens in the Fall of 2018, the old building will be demolished. The project is slated to cost $47 million.The building will also have green, environmental sensitive features such as photovoltaic panels, onsite storm water retention, permeable paving, energy efficient equipment, daylight harvesting, and HVAC energy recovery.Carolyn Jackson-King, principal at Orr, said the modernization is just one of the “great” things that are happening at her school. “Orr has one of the largest pre-K populations in D.C.,” the principal said. “We believe in building relationships and every adult in the building makes a point of mentoring a student or a few students. We have an Emerging Males of Color grant for boys and for the girls, we formed the Pearls of Southeast. We are working under a $250,000 blending learning program. We are winning at Orr.”last_img read more

TMC issues whip to LS MPs to be present in House on

first_imgKolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) issued a whip today to its Lok Sabha members to be present in the House on July 20 when the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion would be taken up for discussion. TMC chief national spokesperson Derek O’Brien told PTI that the whip was issued to all 34 party MPs in the Lok Sabha. “They (the MPs) will participate in the discussion and voting in the Lok Sabha and return to Kolkata,” he said. O’Brien added that the party would observe its annual “Martyr’s Day” rally in Kolkata on July 21. This year’s rally will be the 25th anniversary of the event. Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced that the House will take up discussion and voting on the no-confidence motion on July 20. The motion was brought against the Narendra Modi government by the TDP and opposition parties.last_img read more

TMC to observe black day to protest leaders manhandling in Assam

first_imgKolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) will observe “black day” throughout West Bengal on August 4 and 5 to protest against the detention and “manhandling” of its leaders at the Silchar airport in Assam yesterday, a senior party leader said today. TMC secretary general and West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the party will observe “black day” in every block and district of the state on Saturday and Sunday. “We condemn the way the public representatives were manhandled and detained by the Assam police at the Silchar airport. They being MPs had every right to visit a place, but all rules were violated and our party delegation was stopped. This is shameful,” he told reporters here. An eight-member TMC delegation, which had six MPs, were stopped at the Silchar airport when they tried to enter Assam’s Cachar district to assess the ground realities after the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published in the north-eastern state on Monday.last_img read more

Catalonias tourism faces a 10 hit in fourth quarter

first_img By: Pan PylasSource: The Associated Press Tags: Spain, Trend Watch Tuesday, November 7, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >> LONDON — The restive Spanish region of Catalonia faces a potential $500 million financial hit in the fourth quarter as business-related travel dips following the attack in Barcelona and the uncertainty generated by the disputed independence referendum.In an interview Monday with The Associated Press at the World Travel Market in London, Catalonia’s top tourism official Patrick Torrent said the region will likely see a 10-12 per cent fall in tourist numbers during the fourth quarter, which would equate to around 450 million euros. The large bulk of that fall is related to a drop-off in business travel to events such as conventions.Despite the anticipated fourth-quarter decline, the executive director at the Catalan Tourist Board, said Catalonia is set to see revenues this year outstrip those last year and that the expectation is that revenues will rise again next.However, more insight will emerge at the turn of the year when the bulk of pre-reservations are made. His staff, he said, are “on alert” about the impact on the main booking season.The worry among many economists is that deteriorating business environment in Catalonia, which has seen around 1,500 firms move their headquarters out of the region, could worsen further amid all the uncertainty. Credit ratings agency Moody’s has warned that the region’s financial recovery is being jeopardizedMore news:  Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong Kong“Moody’s believes that the political instability will negatively affect the region’s economy, in particular foreign investor sentiment and the tourism sector, and add pressure to the region’s already weak finances,” it said last week.The Catalan tourism industry, a key income generator in what is Spain’s richest region, has had a difficult few months. After the August attacks in Barcelona and a nearby town that saw 16 people killed, the region has been embroiled in a battle of wills with Spain over the disputed independence referendum in early October which prompted Madrid to impose direct rule and seek the arrest of members of the Catalan government, including its leader, Carles Puigdemont, who has fled to Brussels.The impact of the attack in Barcelona on holiday travellers was short-lived, according to Torrent, and “less important” than other cities in Europe, such as Brussels or Paris.“The perception of Barcelona and Catalonia as a safe destination has not suffered any impact,” he said, noting figures showing tourism numbers higher in September.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsTorrent said he met up with Alvaro Nadal, the Spanish minister of energy, tourism and digital matters, on Monday for the first time since the triggering of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution which imposed direct rule on Catalonia.Torrent said the Spanish government has made no requirements upon him or his staff and that it is “business as usual” until an early Catalan regional election on Dec. 21.“It’s not intervention. It’s more a kind of co-ordination,” he said. “It’s easy, it’s not complicated, with good relations without problems, at this moment.”Before direct rule, Torrent would speak with Spanish tourism officials two or three times a month. Now, it’s that amount of times a week.Torrent urged all participants in upcoming demonstrations in Catalonia before the election, including one this Saturday, to remain peaceful and law-abiding.“It’s important to say that our streets are normal, our restaurants are working as usual, our destination is exactly the same situation,” Torrent said. Catalonia’s tourism faces a 10% hit in fourth quarter Sharelast_img read more

UKTV has shaken up its executive leadership team

first_imgUKTV has shaken up its executive leadership team, following the separation of BBC Studios’ and Discovery’s joint interest in the company, which sees BBC Studios take full ownership of UKTV. Marcus Arthur, president of BBC Studios UK & Ireland is UKTV’s new CEO, replacing Darren Childs who announced his departure earlier this year. Suzanne Burrows, Sam Tewungwa and Sarah Sparkes have joined in the roles of chief financial officer, chief commercial officer and senior counsel respectively. All three will be based at UKTV’s office in Hammersmith and they hold these positions in conjunction with their current roles at BBC Studios UK, which are finance director for the UK Region and global operations, commercial director UK, and director of business and legal affairs, UK. Finally, Simon Michaelides, who was UKTV’s chief commercial officer, is taking on the role of chief transformation officer in the new structure, and Simon Brown’s current role is expanding to include responsibility for strategy across UKTV and BBC Studios UK region. His new title is Director Strategy BBC Studios UK and Strategy, Insight & Regulatory Affairs UKTV. UKTV’s Leadership team also includes Zoe Clapp, chief marketing and communications officer, Sinead Greenaway, chief technology and operations officer, Claire Astley, HR director, Steve North, genre general manager for comedy and entertainment, Adrian Willis, genre general manager for Drama & Lifestyle and Richard Watsham, director of commissioning.last_img read more

Before we get into this weeks topic I want to re

first_imgBefore we get into this week’s topic, I want to remind everyone that I will be at the upcoming Cambridge House Investment Conference in Vancouver on January 22 and 23, along with other Casey Research editors including Louis James and Jeff Clark. If you are an investor and you are serious about making money, investment conferences like this are indispensable. In the showroom you’ll have the opportunity to meet with management teams from more than 500 companies, while in the presentation halls industry leaders teach audiences about current trends, investment techniques, and commodity forecasts.This year we are making it easier for you to learn from our in-house experts by setting up a Casey Pavilion. Inside you will find a steady stream of investment information as our Casey editors give talks and have panel discussions amongst themselves and with our Explorers’ League honorees and the members of the Casey NexTen.Check out the full list of Casey Pavilion events. If energy is one of your areas of interest, be sure to check out my talks, including a talk on The Truth About Fracking on Sunday afternoon. Casey Energy team analyst Joe Hung is also speaking that day, as are NexTen members Amir Adnani and Morgan Poliquin.If you will be in Vancouver on January 22 and 23, you should make time to come by the show. Register now at the Cambridge House website – the show is free if you register ahead – and mention you learned about it through Casey Research.Best regards,Marin KatusaChief Energy Investment Strategist Casey Research Green Energy Is a Financial ParasiteAny politician who talks of a green, utopian US – where wind and solar produce most of our energy, electric cars put power back into the grid, green fields of corn produce clean fuels, and millions of Americans work in green technology factories – is creating a fanciful vision so far detached from reality it should really be called a lie. Such tales are designed to encourage a public that is increasingly despondent about the future, but the policy moves that have been made in support of these fantasies have cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. Much of it is money that will not be repaid, because a whole whack of the companies and industries that accepted green grants, loan guarantees, and tax credits have turned out to be complete failures.Two green subsidies expired with 2011, and not a moment too soon. In fact, we wish more of the US government’s initiatives to support green energy had ended with the stroke of midnight, because the green energy industry has become completely dependent on a steady stream of government money. Protected by this “green gold,” green technologies from corn ethanol to solar power have not had to compete against other power sectors based on their merits. If they had, many would have already failed.Let’s a take tour through some of the US’s green subsidies and examine just how they have tipped the scales in favor of technologies that generally don’t stand the test of economics, are often worse for the environment than conventional methods, and are costing taxpayers dearly.There‘s nothing good about corn ethanol fuelOn New Year’s Eve the corn ethanol subsidy quietly expired, 30 years after it was implemented. In those three decades ethanol became the US’s top recipient of alternative-fuel funding, with corn ethanol in particular becoming the darling of the biofuels craze. As a darling should be, the industry was showered with money: Over the last 30 years the federal government has spent $45 billion supporting corn-ethanol producers. In 2011 alone the feds spent $6 billion on corn ethanol subsidies, equating to 45¢ for every gallon of ethanol. Even with that support, US corn ethanol was not able to compete with Brazilian ethanol, which is made from sugar cane. To rectify that, lawmakers instituted a 54¢-per-gallon tariff against the Brazilian product. Together, the 45¢ subsidy and the 54¢ tariff meant American-made corn ethanol was supported to the tune of almost $1 per gallon.That would be great were ethanol a good way to reduce greenhouse gases, lower energy costs, or increase US energy independence. Unfortunately, it fails on all of those fronts. A growing left-right coalition has been speaking out against ethanol as a fuel for some time now; the latest voice to join the chorus is none other than the National Academy of Sciences. In October, NAS researchers concluded that grain ethanol “could not compete with fossil fuels in the U.S. marketplace without mandates, subsidies, tax exemptions, and tariffs… This lack of competitiveness raises questions about the use of government resources to support biofuels.” The report went on to discuss how biofuels actually increase net carbon emissions: pumping energy-intensive row crops into gas tanks leads to land use changes that increase greenhouse gases.Continuing down the list of ethanol-as-a-fuel failures, it turns out ethanol is very tough on vehicles – a bill to allow gasoline to contain 15% ethanol (compared to the max 10% now allowed) was shot down after every major automaker said that much ethanol would cause significant engine corrosion. Then there’s the fact that corn ethanol subsidies also generated a host of painful side effects. One is literally making us fatter: widespread use of high fructose corn syrup. Starting in the mid-1980s farmers realized that, even when sale prices for corn were low, the government’s largess meant it was still worthwhile to grow the stuff. More and more corn was grown, beyond what could be consumed by people or livestock or made into fuel. What were producers to do with the rest of it? Make high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that is now in hundreds of thousands of products and that contributes thousands of empty calories to the average American diet every week.So ethanol is uneconomic unless the government spends billions of taxpayer dollars supporting it, worse for the atmosphere than fossil fuels, and really hard on engines, while the support system to encourage corn-based ethanol production is contributing to the US obesity epidemic. Why, then, is ethanol even used in fuel? Because of all those government subsidies and mandates. After major lobbying efforts from the agricultural and biofuels industries, Congress mandated annual increases in use of renewable fuels, including ethanol, starting with 15 billion gallons in 2007 and growing to 36 billion gallons in 2022.So fuel makers have to include ethanol in their mixtures. Too bad that rule did not also expire.Electric vehicles: expensive toys that basically burn coal instead of oilAnother lesser-known tax break also expired with 2011: the credit that gave electric car owners up to $1,000 to defray the cost of installing a 220-volt charging device in their homes, or up to $30,000 to install one in a commercial location. A related subsidy that did not end still gives $7,500 in tax credits to purchasers of electric vehicles. For a variety of reasons, like the ethanol subsidy none of these incentives should have existed in the first place.Electric vehicles have failed on one front after another. To start, they are inordinately expensive – the much-lauded Chevy Volt costs $40,000, while the Karma from Fisker costs a whopping $100,000. This means electric vehicles are only affordable for the wealthy; it’s pretty hard to understand why American taxpayers should subsidize cars for the wealthiest members of society. The subsidies go beyond direct tax credits and rebates – government loans and grants in support of the Volt alone total $3 billion, which means each car produced to date has been subsidized to the tune of $250,000. (Volt supporters contest this number, saying subsidies only total $30,000 per vehicle… still not an insignificant amount.)Then, for all that money, you still can only drive short distances. The Volt’s official range is 30 miles, but reports show it can actually travel only 25 miles before needing to either recharge or switch to gasoline. There’s also the issue that electric vehicles still need power, and the electricity that charges their batteries comes primarily from the US power grid, to which the largest contributor is coal-fired power plants. As such, a Volt essentially burns coal instead of gasoline, at least for the 25 miles it can drive before switching to gas.At least coal is a domestic resource, compared to gasoline derived from imported crude oil, right? Well, let’s see just how much electric vehicles will reduce US oil consumption. Assuming there are 6 million of them on American roads in ten years, out of 300 million passenger vehicles, and assuming that passenger vehicles continue to account for 40 to 45% of total US oil consumption, in ten years these tens of billions of dollars spent to support electric vehicles will have reduced US oil consumption by less than 1%. When you add in the fact that lithium-ion batteries are pretty toxic items, and that coal- or natural-gas-derived electricity demands will go up with each electric vehicle, the case for electric vehicles becomes pretty darn weak.Solar and wind power: a financial sinkholeElectric vehicles and corn ethanol fuel are not the only green industries that have been producing pitiful returns on government investment: Solar and wind power are just as guilty of eating up huge subsidies and still failing to break even economically.Let’s start with an example – one that was highlighted in a recent New York Times article. NRG Energy is building a 250-MW solar project in San Luis Obispo Country (northwest of Los Angeles), known as California Valley Solar Ranch. The ranch’s one million solar panels will provide enough energy for 100,000 homes, but it will cost $1.6 billion to build. Most of those dollars are coming from government subsidies or low-interest loans.All told, NGR and its partners secured $5.2 billion in federal loan guarantees plus hundreds of millions in other subsidies for four large solar projects. The crazy thing is, the government is giving out these grants and loans despite information from its own researchers that solar power is uneconomic now and will remain so in the future. The US Energy Information Administration predicts that by 2016 the total cost of solar photovoltaic energy will be about $211 per megawatt-hour, compared to $63 for an advanced natural-gas combined-cycle power plant.Just as with corn ethanol, it’s the taxpayer who bears the brunt of this obsession with expensive solar power. The main federal subsidy currently covers 30% of the cost of a residential solar system. When other subsidies are added in, as much as 75% of the cost can be covered. Obama’s administration has spent $9.6 billion on solar and wind power through the Section 1603 Treasury grant program over the last few years.With that kind of support, it’s no wonder America is in love with solar power. In 2011, solar installations skyrocketed, with 1,700 MW installed during the year, an 89% increase over 2010. Still, all of the panels now installed across the nation produce only about as much electricity as a single coal-fired plant. And even with demand growing rapidly, the industry is awash in debt and bankruptcy.US solar manufacturers are being pushed out of the market by low-cost Chinese manufacturers, which get even more support from their government than Obama gives to American producers. In California, for example, Chinese producers held 29% of the market at the beginning of 2011; by the end of the third quarter they had grown their market share to 40%, while US manufacturers saw their share fall from 37% to 29%. And with the Chinese flooding the market with cheap solar panels, prices for solar panels fell by 40% in 2011.Falling prices for solar panels and dwindling market shares forced three US solar companies into bankruptcy in 2011 and recently necessitated staff cutbacks at another two companies. This is all happening despite billions in loan guarantees to these companies. First Solar, for example, took $3 billion in loan guarantees from the federal government to develop three solar farms in Arizona and California. Now the company is cutting half of its staff, including 60 jobs in California where it received $3 million in state sales tax credits.Of course, the most notable solar bankruptcy of 2011 was Solyndra, the California-based company that went bankrupt months after receiving a loan guarantee of $535 million from the US government and despite increased demand for solar panels in the country following implementation of state mandates for solar energy.And things are about to get a lot tougher for struggling solar panel producers in the US, because the 1603 program expired on January 1. When you add up grants, subsidies, loans, and tax credits that have been helping the solar and wind industries along, then add in mandates that require utilities to buy renewable power at set prices from the alternative energy producers for decades, you are left with an industry that is wholly dependent on taxpayers, not on its own technology’s capabilities. Forced to go it alone in the power industry, solar and wind producers are not going to survive.Leveling the playing fieldIn chasing the green power dream, the US is not alone. In fact, it trails several European countries in the effort. Germany and Denmark have the largest installed bases of alternative energy in Europe and are often held aloft as examples of how to encourage wind and solar power. Proponents usually stay mum on the fact that retail customers in Germany and Denmark pay the highest electricity rates in the European Union.It is true that progress is never easy and is often expensive. From that pulpit, advocates argue that continued investment in green technologies will drive prices down in the long run. However, this reasoning ignores the other side of the problem: solar and wind can never produce baseload energy. The average wind plant in the United States runs at about one-third of its rated capacity, while solar plants runs at about 25% of their nameplate capacity. Since there is no way to store large amounts of electricity, the variable outputs from solar and wind facilities will only ever be able to replace a modest amount of conventional baseload power.When you look at green subsidies on an energy production basis, the disparity becomes pretty stunning. Wind’s 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour is more than 85 times that of oil and gas. Solar power costs 13 times more than wind, making solar more than a thousand times more expensive than conventional fuels.Wind and solar power, corn ethanol, and electric vehicles are not infant industries in need of support. They are perennially inferior industries that only still exist in their current forms because of a constant stream of “green gold.” That stream is slowly drying up, thankfully. The only way to achieve the very admirable goal of transforming society into an energy-efficient space is to eliminate all of the subsidies that are currently directed at green energy and clean technology while increasing taxes on the things we are trying to minimize, such as gasoline consumption and plastic bags. That would force everyone to innovate, compete, and win or lose according to merit.[With green energy unable to fulfill its promise as a viable alternative to conventional fuels, crude oil prices are poised to skyrocket. That will be bad news at the pump, but good news for investors who get in on a little-known “energy dividend.”] Additional Links and ReadsSinopec, Total Pour $4.5 Billion into US Shale (Reuters)On the first Tuesday of the year, China’s Sinopec and France’s Total SA both announced major deals to buy stakes in US shale projects; the combined $4.5 billion investment indicates that the global appetite for US energy assets remains strong. Foreign oil and gas producers are eager to invest in America’s shale formations, home to billions of cubic feet of natural gas and liquids. Sinopec signed a $2.2-billion deal with Devon Energy (N.DVN) for a 33% interest in five shale fields ranging across parts of six states, while Total’s $2.3-billion deal with Chesapeake Energy (N.CHK) gave the company 25% of 619,000 acres in the Utica Shale in Ohio.Shale Bubble Inflates on Near-Record Prices (Bloomberg)The Sinopec and Total deals described above were part of a whopping $8 billion in shale deals completed in the first two weeks of the year. Competition between Chinese, French, and Japanese energy explorers for acreage has pushed prices for shale projects almost to the peak set in 2008 before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, with recent deals seeing Japanese commodity trader Marubeni Corp. paying $25,000 per acre for a stake in Hunt Oil’s Eagle Ford shale property in Texas and Marathon Oil (N.MRO) paying $21,000 an acre for nearby prospects. In the Utica shale of Ohio and Pennsylvania, deal prices have jumped tenfold in five weeks to almost $15,000 an acre. It seems that companies are willing to risk spending too much in order to secure holdings in the world’s largest gas play, rather than be left behind.Iran Could Close Hormuz – But Not for Long (Reuters)This article provides a nice explanation of how Iran could indeed close the Strait of Hormuz, disrupting a fifth of all globally traded oil and sending oil prices skyrocketing, but that such an action would prompt swift retaliation from the United States and others that could leave the Islamic republic militarily and economically crippled. As such, Tehran’s threats to close the Strait are likely to remain hollow, and Iran’s ongoing naval exercises in the region are mostly a diversion from its real goal…Secret Nuclear Test Could Be Iran’s Trump Card in Strait of Hormuz Showdown (National Post)The more significant threat from Iran, at least according to this journalist, would be a nuclear test. Political analyst Peter Goodspeed agrees that a Strait of Hormuz blockade would be short-lived and invite serious retaliation that would leave Iran heavily damaged, and suggests Iran wants nothing to do with such conventional forms of aggression. Instead, he suggests Tehran is doing its all to prepare for a nuclear test, as any demonstration of nuclear capacity would pre-empt conventional attacks against Iran and set the stage for a very different set of diplomatic negotiations.Iran Trumpets Nuclear Ability at a Second Location (New York Times)Iran’s top nuclear official just announced that the country is on the verge of starting production at its second major uranium enrichment facility, reinforcing Tehran’s commitment to pursue its nuclear program despite international condemnation. The new enrichment site creates difficult new choices for the US and its allies in how far to go to limit Iran’s nuclear abilities: It is buried deep underground, is well defended against air strikes, and would be very difficult to disable once in operation. The news does not significantly affect estimates of how long it would take for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, as it would still take six months to a year to enrich enough uranium for a weapon, and the new site is inspected regularly by the United Nations.EU Agrees to Embargo on Iranian Crude (Reuters)In early January Europe’s governments agreed in principle to ban imports of Iranian oil, days after President Obama signed into law several tough new sanctions that give the US the ability to severely limit Iran’s ability to buy and sell oil. EU diplomats reported unanimity on the concept of an Iranian oil embargo, though the details are not finalized. EU countries buy about 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iran’s 2.6 million bpd in exports, making the bloc the second-largest market for Iranian crude after China.Venezuela Will Not Recognize World Bank Ruling in Exxon Case (Reuters)In our December Casey Energy Report, which gave our forecasts for 2012, we labeled this the “Decade of Nationalization.” In short, we foresee a major pinch arising as oil production declines in many countries just as their need for more oil, both domestically and for export, increases. One way countries will solve this problem will be by nationalizing assets. Venezuela is a trailblazer in the modern resource nationalization movement, and this article leaves no question as to President Hugo Chavez’s intentions: He believes Venezuela’s resources belong to Venezuelans, regardless of whether foreign companies spent billions finding and developing the assets. In this specific story, Exxon has taken Venezuela to the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), seeking as much as $12 billion in compensation after Chavez nationalized the Cerro Negro oil project in 2007. Chavez says he will not recognize any decision by the ICSID, calls Exxon “immoral,” and says his country will not bow to imperialism and its tentacles. Many are following the Cerro Negro case closely, as the decision there is expected to set a precedent for future disputes between companies and producing states.Big Statoil Arctic Find Boosts Norway’s Oil Future (Financial Post)Norwegian oil firm Statoil announced a second big oil discovery in the Barents Sea in less than a year and predicted more to come in the region. It is the latest in a series of discoveries in Norway and another move in an accelerating race to find and develop energy reserves in the Arctic. The new oil find, named Havis, could hold 200 to 300 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent. Combined with reserves from the nearby Skrugard field, discovered in April, Statoil now has 400 to 600 million barrels in the area. Finding oil in the Barents Sea has proven notoriously difficult, but Statoil’s continued efforts highlight the global need to search for oil in more challenging areas, because the “easy” oil is being tapped out.last_img read more

In This Issue   Currency metals rally but in

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Currency & metals rally but in a tight range. *  NZ Unemployment Rate drops to 6.2%! *  Australia’s Trade Deficit shrinks. *  That’s 5 Fed Heads wanting to extend stimulus. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Another Fed Head Has An Epiphany! Good day.  And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! I just realized something, that I guess I’ve known for a long time, but just registered it in my mind. I love the smell of blueberries! I opened the package for a Blueberry cereal bar, and there it was! The wonderful blueberry aroma! My mind immediately flashed back to when I was a young boy and would spend weeks of summer on my grandparents farm, and we would be sent out to gather the berries. My grandma had blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and other stuff that she always used in baking. But we would get some of the fresh berries, run the cistern water from the well over them and have ourselves a treat! Sorry to go off on that tangent, but it’s just another example of my stream of thought. Yesterday I left you with the thought that only a few currencies were gaining VS the dollar, and Gold was down $2. But soon after I sent the letter out, the currencies rebounded, along with Gold. Chris called me, (he’s out of town) and wanted to know what was going on, and I told him that the turnaround was interesting in that there wasn’t anything to cause it, the U.S. data wasn’t out yet, and the only thing I saw was data from the UK that showed that the servicing industry had expanded in October.  The rest of the day though, the currencies and metals were stuck in the mud. Funny, thing, when I was 18 and traveling around the country with my guitar, my friend, and our drummer, Preston, used to call people my age now, “old sticks in the mud”. And that pretty much describes the currencies yesterday, overnight and into this morning. sticks in the mud.   Recall yesterday that I told you the New Zealand dollar / kiwi was the best performing currency overnight as traders were thinking that the labor report that was due to print that afternoon, would be strong, and that usually meant good things for kiwi. Well, it appears that the traders were rewarded for their foresight, as New Zealand’s Labor report was even better than forecast! The consensus going into the report was for a drop in the Unemployment Rate from 6.4% to 6.3%, but in the 3 months ending September 30th, the New Zealand Unemployment Rate actually fell to 6.2%! The Labor report really placed kiwi firmly on the rally tracks, and this morning, the currency is trading at a 6-week high, as everyone and their brother now expects the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) to hike rates early next year. Another component of the report showed that Ordinary Time Private Sector Wages rose 1.6% in the quarter and up 2.6% year-on-year!  Can you say “inflation problems are coming?” I knew you could! And maybe, just maybe, because you never know, the RBNZ will hike rates before early next year! Well, since the middle of last week, the euro has been on the slippery slope for a few reasons that we’ve talked about, but the reason that has weighed the most on the euro, has been the drop in inflation in the Eurozone, which brought the rate cut campers out of the woodwork. But as I explained two times already, but will do it again for those that missed class those days. I don’t see the benefits to cutting rates when they are already at all-time lows.  And believe it or don’t, the markets are beginning to come around to Chuck’s way of thinking. Now, that would be a story! I can see the headline: Market Comes Around To Chuck’s Way of Thinking.  And the reporter would ask the first question. “Now Chuck, what do you think the ECB will do?”  OK, if you’re not laughing with me, you’re laughing at me! Stop that! Another currency that was showing a gain yesterday morning, and is pumping out an even larger gain overnight is the Swedish krona. In just a few hours we’ll see the color of the last Riksbank (Central Bank) meeting, and the markets believe they’ll be able to find indications that the Riksbank is ready to hike rates. That thought has the krona hitting on all 8 this morning. Hey! Another U.S. Fed Head had his epiphany about the economy yesterday. San Francisco Fed President, John Williams, fessed up about the economy saying that, “Up until recently, I was thinking we would start seeing more of that self-powered growth in the second half of this year. Unfortunately, that’s not really been happening and we haven’t seen a real pickup. We’re still a long ways from where we want to be.” So. It’s apparent that the economic growth that Williams was looking for has fallen short of his expectations, and now he’s losing faith that the labor markets’ gains will endure without monetary stimulus..  Of course, the 3 Fed Heads we talked about yesterday, and now Williams only had to read the Pfennig many months ago to know that I said they were being over optimistic about the economy, and maybe they would have tempered their exuberance about the economy. And then we wouldn’t have had the Taper Capers, spoil the currency & metals soup. But then, I still think that Big Ben and the Fed Heads (sounds like Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons!)  were simply attempting to let some air out of the stock market bubble that they created with all this stimulus, by talking about Tapering. I’m writing this morning, while listening to Led Zeppelin’s all-time best song. Kashmir. Now that’s a song that needs the volume cranked to 10!  Hey. I just saw something on the TV that shocked me. They showed a survey result that shocked me! 34.3% of Americans say they don’t want a job!  And apparently, the total of Americans wanting to have a job has been declining since 1980! That’s not a good thing for us Baby Boomers who have either already retired, like 90% of my classmates that attended my 40th H.S. reunion, or starting to prepare to retire. Oh, the things that I see, hear & read about that make my skin crawl!  But you know what I’ve finally realized? That while I can write about it, and attempt to get people to think about these things, I can’t change them. I used to have these thoughts that if I wrote about something that was wrong that people would read it, think about it, and do something like call their representative or whatever, and that would eventually change things!  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Hey! Down Under in Australia, where they are enjoying spring, their Trade Deficit came in better than expected for September, printing at A$ 284 million, VS A$ 500 million expected. And the August total was revised downward. The Aussie dollar (A$) is back above 95-cents, and looking forward to the latest Employment Report that will print tonight. I would look for an increase in jobs for October, and that should support this latest uptick in the A$. The A$ deserves some lovin’, after taking body blows from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Gov. Stevens last week and this week. This has my spider sense tingling folks. You don’t think that Stevens knew ahead of time that the data was going to be good this week, and went about verbally assaulting the A$, getting it weaker, ahead of the data?  Nah. that would be giving too much credit to a Central Banker, and I’m tough when it comes to grading! In the UK, the pound sterling has really been a roll this week. First it was the strong servicing Index performance, and today it was a strong Industrial Production print that pushed the pound sterling to 1.61. Industrial Production pushed higher to a gain of .9% in September, up from the August negative print of -1.1%…  In addition, Home Prices showed their biggest gain (+.7%) in 3 months.  The Bank of England (BOE) meets tomorrow, right after these strong economic data prints, but I doubt it will move the BOE to change rates from their near zero level, or change their bond buying program. And that’s why I still don’t think the pound has strong legs to take it from here. If the BOE still believes that near zero rates and bond buying is needed, then they are a country mile away from hiking rates, which I believe will be needed to take the pound higher from here. But that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong! I see where the Chinese decided that two days of gains in their currency the renminbi / yuan, was enough, and they weakened the fixing level overnight.  I read a story on the Bloomberg that talked about how the Chinese fear that the Fed will begin to taper in December. Hey! Here’s a Memo to China. Don’t worry about tapering. 4 Fed Heads this week have pretty much put the kyboshes on tapering any time soon, and don’t forget that a 5th Fed Head, Evans, laid out the scenario where tapering would never happen. I was looking at Google+ last night and came across a posting that someone made that reminded me of the slide that Frank and Chuck use in presentations that show men that have painted themselves into corners.  This posting had just one person that had painted themselves into a corner, with a caption that read: Before You Start Anything. Learn How To Finish It! And so it goes with the Taper Capers. Gold is up $6 this morning, with Silver, Platinum and Palladium all posting gains too! But when you step back and look at a chart of these metals, you see that they’ve been range trading for what seems like a month of Sundays.  I read a story by Gold Enthusiast James Turk yesterday, about how the world had reached a tipping point, as the next catastrophe approaches. While I see that certainly capable of happening, I have to stop and remember that it was Turk that said we would have a Black Swan event this year. Remember that? (I guess we just barely averted one with the default last month, eh? ) I know one thing, that it is far better to make your forecasts without giving time frames for them to happen! The U.S. data cupboard has the Leading Index report for September this morning, and that’s it. the Leading Index report has really shifted upward in recent prints, which surprises me a bit, in that usually this is good forward looking data, but I don’t see anything in the economy that leads me to feel warm and fuzzy about an uptick in the leading index report. Before I head to the Big Finish this morning, I have a funny from Jay Leno. “According to a new study out of Harvard, it is easier for people to be moral in the morning. They say people are more moral at the beginning of the day, but they become more dishonest as the day goes on. So when people say Congress is as dishonest as the day is long, we now have scientific proof.” For What It’s Worth. On the heels of the announcement that the CFTC’s Bart Chilton was stepping down, the U.S. derivatives regulator announced yesterday that they plan to curb market speculation in commodities. Here’s a snippet of the story as it appeared on Reuters. “The Commodity Futures Trading Commission  (CFTC) proposal will set caps on the number of contracts that a single trader can hold in energy, metal and agricultural markets, a measure aimed at capping speculation that some blamed for the spike in raw material and food prices prior to the 2008 financial crisis. The redrafted rules sought to answer some of the deficits that a judge pointed out last year. The agency cited two of the biggest cases of market manipulation in history – the Hunt Brothers’ silver corner and hedge fund Amaranth natural gas bet – as evidence of why curbs were necessary. The new rules will also make it easier for big banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Barclays PLC to remain in the market by allowing them to exclude positions held by entities in which the banks own minority stakes – a key trigger for the banks to sue the agency.” Chuck again. Well, that’s all fine and good, but I doubt it gets past the Bullion Banks that have the large short positions. They’ll take it to court once again, and once again a judge will shoot the CFTC’s regulation down. That’s because as I’ve told you over and over again, this dance is gonna be a drag, no wait! What I’ve told you over and over again is that in my opinion, which was formed by the Wikileaks Cable, the Gov’t is behind all this. And therefore, there will be no regulation that takes away the ability of the Big Bullion Banks to hold short positions in metals that are larger than the size of the market! To recap. The mixed bag of results early yesterday morning for the currencies and metals turned around mid-morning, and gains were eked out VS the dollar on the day, but in the end, these asset classes are stuck in the mud, trading ranges. The BOE & ECB will meet tomorrow, and strong recent data from the UK, has pound sterling rising, but without a rate hike, and there will be none any time soon, the pound has no strong legs to stand on. New Zealand Unemployment Rate drops more than expected, and kiwi is the best performer overnight. Currencies today 11/6/13. American Style: A$ .9525, kiwi .8405, C$ .9570, euro 1.3515, sterling 1.61, Swiss $1.0970, . European Style: rand 10.2110, krone 5.9645, SEK 6.5075, forint 219.70, zloty 3.0845, koruna 19.0825, RUB 32.37, yen 98.65, sing 1.2425, HKD 7.7515, INR 62.40, China 6.1475, pesos 13.13, BRL 2.2835, Dollar Index 80.53, Oil $94.08, 10-year 2.65%, Silver $21.95, Platinum $1,463.68, Palladium $758.58, and Gold. $1,318.34 That’s it for today. A good shootout win for our Blues in Montreal last night, I went to bed and it was tied 2-2. the Blues are off to a good start to the season. Yadier Molina is a finalist for NL MVP, even if he doesn’t win, and he should, but has the “sentiment vote for the Pittsburgh Pirates player” going against him, that’s a great accomplishment for him! Two other Cardinals are finalists, Wainwright for Cy Young, and Miller for Rookie of the year. But I doubt any of them get the final vote. But again that doesn’t take away from their great seasons! Jessie Colin Young and the Youngbloods are singing their 60’s anthem, Let’s Get Together on the IPod right now. That’s a song we used to play!  The swimming season begins to wind down tonight for Alex, with the Conference prelims. Hey! What Day is it? Mike, Mike, Mike, what day is it? Come on, you know. It’s HUMP DAY!    Ok, let’s go have a Wonderful Wednesday and Hump Day! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

When humorist and writer Mara Altman was 19 and at

first_imgWhen humorist and writer Mara Altman was 19 and attending college at UCLA, she learned something about herself which, she says, felt devastating at the time.It happened while she was flirting with a server at a Mexican restaurant one evening. His name was Gustavo and he said five simple words: “I like your blonde mustache.”Now, she knew about this blonde mustache. But she had been bleaching it for years in the hopes that no one else would notice it.Altman’s latest book, Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (And Back), is a personal, darkly witty investigation into the human body — how we think about it and how it works. In a mix of personal anecdotes, science and cultural reporting and interviews, Altman explores pressing questions like, is PMS real? How come some people sweat so much? And who decided women shouldn’t have body hair, anyway?In an interview with NPR’s Ailsa Chang, Altman says she began the book with her fuzzy lip story because she wanted to reframe the shame she and the rest of us often feel about our physical selves — and lighten the taboo. She decided to face the facts — starting with a confession to her now-husband, Dave, that she does everything she can to rid herself of facial hair.”I needed him to know that he was marrying a woman with a goatee,” she says with a laugh. “I just didn’t want (1) to have him find out later and be upset, and (2) to just have to hide it anymore. I was just so tired.”Her husband’s response when Altman told him? “It’s just hair!” She says he couldn’t have cared less.INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS On where the idea that women should be mostly hairless comes from[Women in] the United States in the early 1900s — they were fine being hairy. But then … advertisers came on strong in the 1930s. They said that having armpit hair was dirty and gross; being clean-shaven was respectable, feminine. And then you also look at another kind of theory that we are all so afraid of our mortality; that we cover up anything that kind of hints at us being beasts, or animals. We put on perfumes, we cover up our holes — anything that excretes or is moist we don’t want anything to do with.On what it was like to grow up in a family that encouraged ‘going natural’I still had the experiences at school where I didn’t feel like I totally fit in. I was trying so hard to be natural, to be authentic like my parents said. But you still have the friends on the schoolyard who are like, ‘Ah, she’s hairy — gross!’ … I was in junior high and I was in PE class just getting ready to play dodgeball or something. And a girl pointed at my legs and said, ‘Ew, gross, you’re hairy!’ And I just felt totally seen and ashamed and wanted nothing more than to rip out every single hair on my body. And yet that went against everything in our household about being natural. And then I had to confront my mom about it, and finally ask her if I could shave.On what a psychology professor said when she asked whether premenstrual syndrome is real She said that when we say that PMS made us do something, that we’re using it as a scapegoat — and kind of discount it. And she also said that hormones don’t create moods, but they can exacerbate moods. [Those feelings are] very legitimate; we should pay attention to them. Every time we say that PMS made us do it a misogynist gets his wings! It feeds into this idea that we’re angry; that we don’t know what we’re doing. But really — like a woman who just feels really strong feelings and in another society would be extremely respected.On how she found out sweat is awesome The sweat researcher that I talked to said that if we were overheating and we couldn’t sweat, we’d basically die in, like, 20 to 30 minutes. So when I see my own sweat stains now on my pits, which is probably daily, I try to appreciate that that’s where we come from. That’s how we’re human. And I think that researching or learning about our bodies can also lessen the shame around it.On being at a nudist resort while pregnant with twins — for research You know, I wrote this book to kind of investigate why we feel the way we feel about our bodies. But a wonderful bonus was kind of realizing that we all have such a big variation. … I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! All these people. So many various sizes [and] shapes don’t fit into any of the beauty standards we typically talk about or see. There are rolls! There’s cottage cheese! There are hairy moles!’ … And they’re walking around indulging in life. And you’re like, OK, you know what? We’re just lucky we have bodies. That we get to do all this cool stuff in our bodies.Alyssa Edes and Renita Jablonksi produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Alyssa Edes adapted it for the Web. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

As nearly 75 million Americans contend with cover

first_imgAs nearly 7.5 million Americans contend with covering the skyrocketing costs of insulin to manage the disease, diabetics in Colorado will soon have some relief. A new law, signed by Gov. Jared Polis earlier this week, caps co-payments of the lifesaving medication at $100 a month for insured patients, regardless of the supply they require. Insurance companies will have to absorb the balance. The law also directs the state’s attorney general to launch an investigation into how prescription insulin prices are set throughout the state and make recommendations to the legislature. Colorado is the first state to enact such sweeping legislation aiming to shield patients from dramatic insulin price increases. “One in four type 1 diabetics have reported insulin underuse due to the high cost of insulin … [t]herefore, it is important to enact policies to reduce the costs for Coloradans with diabetes to obtain life-saving and life-sustaining insulin,” the law states. The price of the drug in the U.S. has increased exponentially in recent years. Between 2002 and 2013, it tripled, according to 2016 study published in the medical journal JAMA. It found the price of a milliliter of insulin rose from $4.34 in 2002 to $12.92 in 2013. And a March report from the House of Representatives, found “prices continued to climb, nearly doubling between 2012 and 2016.” Dramatic price hikes have left some people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who use insulin to control their blood sugar levels in the unfortunate position of making dangerous compromises. They either forego the medication or they ration their prescribed dose to stretch it until they can afford the next prescription. In some instances, those compromises can lead to tragedy. As NPR reported, an uninsured Minnesota man who couldn’t afford to pay for $1,300 worth of diabetes supplies, died of diabetic ketoacidosis, according to his mother. The man, who was 26, had been rationing his insulin. The move in Colorado comes on the heels of recent commitments by manufacturers to limit the drug’s cost to consumers, which in turn comes on the heels of mounting pressure (and some skewering) from elected officials. Following a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing in February and a subcommittee hearing in the House in April, pharmaceutical company leaders have reluctantly admitted they have a role to play in reducing drug prices. Last month Express Scripts, one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers in the country, announced it is launching a “patient assurance program” that will place a $25 per month cap on insulin for patients “no matter what.” In March, insulin manufacturer Eli Lilly said it will soon offer a generic version of Humalog, called Insulin Lispro, at half the cost. That would drop the price of a single vial to $137.35. “These efforts are not enough,” Inmaculada Hernandez of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy tells NPR, of the latest legislation in Colorado. Hernandez was lead author of a January report in Health Affairs attributing the rising cost of prescription drugs to accumulated yearly price hikes.While the Colorado out-of-pocket caps will likely provide financial relief for diabetes patients, she noted “the costs will kick back to all of the insured population” whose premiums are likely to go up as a result.”Nothing is free,” Hernandez said.”It also doesn’t fix the real issue,” she added, pointing to her own research which found “that prices have increased because there’s not enough competition in the market, demand will always be high and manufacturers leverage that to their advantage.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

A crossbench disabled peer has called for an end t

first_imgA crossbench disabled peer has called for an end to government-led austerity and the “personal misery” it has caused.Lord [Colin] Low, speaking in the Lords debate on last week’s Queen’s speech, said he believed the result of the general election showed voters were “no longer willing to buy neoliberal austerity”.He told peers that austerity had caused “a great deal of personal misery”, with one in four children living in poverty, the use of foodbanks continuing to rise, and a social security system that was “increasingly inhuman and self-defeating”.He pointed to disabled people losing their Motability cars – and consequently their jobs –because of the government’s personal independence payment reforms, while other benefit claimants have had their payments sanctioned for “unavoidably missing appointments”.He added: “The film I, Daniel Blake is all too true to life. The iniquitous work capability assessment finds people fit to work who are patently unfit and who, coroners find, are taking their lives as a result.”Lord Low (pictured, speaking in the debate) said that this “misery” was caused by “conscious, strategic decision-making” by the government, including cutting £12 billion from social security spending in the last parliament, on top of nearly £20 billion cuts under the coalition government.He said this was part of a 40-year project to “systematically shrink” public sector spending to just 36 per cent or less of national income, compared with 44 per cent in Germany and 50 per cent in Denmark.And he told fellow peers that the Grenfell Tower fire showed the harm caused by this attack on state spending, with the NHS and other public services in crisis and local services unable to cope.He said: “Local government, which provides many of these services, will have lost 60 per cent of its funding by 2020.“The election and the Grenfell Tower fire should serve as a wake-up call that we need to change course.”He called instead for government to borrow while interest rates are low in order to “invest in infrastructure, thus giving people work, getting them off the dole and being productive, fuelling growth by spending and creating demand for consumer goods, and paying taxes and boosting receipts for the exchequer”.The independent peer said he believed that voters in the general election had been attracted by the alternative to “neoliberal austerity” offered by the policies of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, which although they were widely described as “hard left” were in fact “fairly standard social democracy”.Lord Low also said that the “colossal misjudgements” of the last two prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May – over calling the Brexit referendum and a snap general election – showed that it was “surely no longer possible to sustain the pretence that the Conservative party is self-evidently more effective than the Labour party as a vehicle for governing the country”.And he said that “people should realise that the centre of gravity has shifted [leftwards], in defiance of the political establishment, the media and the commentariat”.last_img read more