Cassius Winston Michigan State CommitMichigan State head coach Tom Izzo has done it again. Friday, the Spartans officially landed the services of four-star point guard Cassius Winston. Winston chose MSU over Stanford and Pittsburgh during a ceremony at his high school – Detroit Jesuit. Cassius Winston selects @msubasketball today! pic.twitter.com/yOKAYj5q8C— Athletics (@udjesuitsports) September 18, 2015Detroit Jesuit guard Cassius Winston just committed to Michigan State. Tom Izzo may be on the verge of his best recruiting class ever.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) September 18, 2015Winston, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 194 pounds on 247Sports, joins five-star guard Joshua Langford and four-star power forward Nick Ward in Michigan State’s 2016 class. If the Spartans are also able to land five-star small forward Miles Bridges, they may have the top recruiting class in the entire country.
Trina Roache APTN National NewsFor decades, the Mi’kmaq who live in Potlotek First Nation in Nova Scotia have struggled with poor water – from boil water advisories to muddy water coming out of the taps.Indigenous Affairs is working on a fix but not fast enough for the community.And now frustration is boiling over.Find more here: Watertroache@aptn.ca
New Delhi: Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice Admiral Vimal Verma has approached an armed forces tribunal seeking to know why he was overlooked as the next navy chief despite being the senior-most in the line of command, official sources said Monday.The government last month named Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as next chief of the naval staff, succeeding Admiral Sunil Lanba who retires on May 30. The government made the selection following a merit-based approach and did not go with the tradition of appointing the senior-most eligible officer to the post. Vice Admiral Verma is senior to Singh and was among the contenders for the top post. Sources said Vice Admiral Verma had approached an armed forces tribunal in the national capital to know why the government ignored his seniority. His petition is likely to be taken up Tuesday, they said
In the last four months, the national capital of India has witnessed a series of claims and counter-claims prophesying a prospective alliance between the Indian National Congress (INC) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Two days ahead of the last day of filing nominations, both parties announced that the discussions and meetings had yielded nothing and, as a result, no alliance between the two could be formed. Until the announcement, neither INC nor Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had declared its candidates for Delhi. After the failure of an alliance, BJP announced its candidates followed by the Congress. AAP had already announced its candidates a few months back. Also Read – A race against timeJust like the 2014 polls, Delhi is all set to witness another triangular poll where all major stakeholders will battle for victory. In this election, AAP has focused on new and young faces whereas BJP has mostly retained its sitting MPs with Congress nominating most of its veterans. Key candidates & seats Being the national capital, Delhi has always attracted the attention of political parties and this election has been no exception. The capital is divided into seven parliamentary constituencies – East, West, South, New Delhi, Chandni Chowk, North East and North West. Also Read – A Golden LootIn the last Lok Sabha election of 2014, BJP had won all seats. In terms of vote share, BJP managed nearly 46 per cent, followed by AAP at nearly 35 per cent and Congress trailing behind with just 15 per cent. The vote-sharing pattern led to the conclusion that an alliance between Congress and AAP is likely to be more effective in defeating BJP across all seven constituencies. The North East seat has become one of the star seats – Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, renowned Bhojpuri actor and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and popular AAP face Dilip Pandey are up against one another. Similarly, the East Delhi seat has also become a key attraction as former cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir is fighting for BJP against one of AAP’s most popular faces, an alumnus of Oxford University, Atishi. For the same, Congress has nominated former Delhi Pradesh Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely. Interestingly, the South Delhi seat has also become a major attraction with AAP nominating its youngest face, Raghav Chadha, a 30-year-old chartered accountant. Chadha will fight against Congress party’s star candidate, Vijender Singh and BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri. Poll agenda Poll agenda has always featured as a major issue dividing political parties. AAP, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has made the demand of full-statehood its prime poll agenda. The demand for granting full-statehood to Delhi is not a new issue but, nevertheless, a much-discussed topic among political parties, even though the residents of Delhi care little for it. Earlier, both BJP and Congress had proposed granting full-statehood to Delhi. In fact, the proposal also found its place in BJP’s manifesto of 2014. However, this year, the BJP manifesto has included no such promise. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been addressing this issue in every rally across the city. Moreover, opposition political parties like TDP and TMC are also supporting this demand. The party is connecting the demand with issues like law and order, unemployment, higher education and demand of housing for all. While AAP, being largely a Delhi-based political party, has kept its focus on Delhi-centric issues, both Congress and BJP have posited national issues as their poll agenda. The Congress party’s key poll agenda will be its much emphasised NYAY scheme. The Congress party’s 2019 election manifesto has promised a Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme (MIGS), formally called Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), to five crore ‘poorest families’ covering 25 crore people by assuring them a guaranteed minimum income of Rs 6,000 per month or Rs 72,000 a year. DPCC chief Sheila Dikshit has also promised the same for Delhi residents. Meanwhile, BJP is preparing for the election in Delhi keeping Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face most prominent. The party will focus on schemes announced by the BJP-led Centre, which includes the universal health scheme, housing schemes, among others. Demography & voting According to the census report, Delhi is the fifth most populous city in the world and the largest city in India area-wise. In 2016, Delhi had an estimated population of 18.6 million. Nearly 12 per cent of the population of Delhi comprises Muslims, a traditional vote bank of the Congress. However, in the 2015 Vidhan Sabha polls, AAP secured 77 per cent of the total Muslim vote. According to earlier data, in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, AAP got 56 per cent of Muslim votes, followed by Congress at 39 per cent and BJP at 2 per cent. Before 2014 too, available data showed that, in Delhi, BJP had a very narrow base among Muslim voters while the Congress was the strongest. The Sikhs, 4 per cent of Delhi’s population, also rallied behind AAP – 57 per cent in the 2015 assembly elections. Earlier, the Sikh community was also a stronghold of the Congress. The upper-caste and OBC vote base, earlier with the Congress, shifted towards BJP in the 2014 election, largely a product of the anti-incumbency wave which had reached its peak in 2013-14. According to surveys, AAP has always had a strong base among Muslims and Dalits in Delhi. A study by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) shows that 56 per cent Muslims voted for AAP in 2014 and 41 per cent Dalits who were earlier, in 2009, with the Congress, had voted for AAP in 2014. In 2009, 78 per cent Muslims voted for Congress followed by 58 per cent Dalits. The Congress also lost much of its Sikh vote to the BJP in 2014 and Dalit vote to AAP. The Other Backward Classes vote, meanwhile, shifted partly to BJP and partly to AAP. By the 2015 election, Congress retained substantial support among only the Muslims. But even then, a section of the community went with AAP. With polling due in a week, Delhi is witnessing a riot of colours panning political allegiances. Road shows, rallies and door-to-door campaigns are visible across corners of our walled city. Between promises and failures, jibes and vibes, rallies and allies, blames and names, the Capital is all set for another triangular contest with three major political parties looking to wrest each other’s clout.
Friday’s games mark the start of the quarterfinals and feature a UEFA vs. UEFA matchup in the morning followed by a CONMEBOL vs. CONMEBOL game in the afternoon. In the first match of the day, Germany has a 52.5 percent chance of defeating France and advancing to the semifinals, according to FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup predictions. In the second, however, Brazil is heavily favored to defeat Colombia (72 percent to 28 percent) and play the winner of Germany vs. France in the semifinal next week.France vs. Germany: 12 p.m. EDTBrazil vs. Colombia: 4 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.IN DEPTHAll eight teams still in the tournament won their respective groups, so there are no true underdogs left. But if we go back to the beginning, Brazil and Germany both had very good chances of reaching this stage of the knockout rounds (80 percent and 68 percent) compared to Colombia and France (46 percent and 45 percent).France and Germany are old foes, having faced each other 25 times since 1930 (prior to 1990, Germany competed as West Germany). In those games France has been victorious 11 times compared to Germany’s eight. However, almost all of these games were friendlies. The last time these two teams met competitively was in the 1986 World Cup semifinals, and Germany edged France 2-0. ESPN’s Soccer Power Index rates France vs. Germany as the most evenly matched of all the quarterfinal games.Brazil vs. Colombia, on the other hand, is supposed to be anything but even. Strangely, these teams have also met 25 times, and Colombia has managed to win only twice. A Seleção have slaughtered Los Cafeteros on more than one occasion, 9-0 in 1959 and 6-2 in 1969, but this is a different Colombia team. Their last meeting with Brazil, a friendly in the U.S. in 2012, ended in a 1-1 draw.Brazil trumps Colombia in overall and offensive SPI ratings (90.6 and 3.1 to 89.4 and 2.6) but Colombia’s defense is slightly better, with an SPI rating of 0.4 average goals allowed to Brazil’s 0.5 (lower defensive scores are better). Brazil’s defense has something to worry about in James Rodriguez, this World Cup’s breakout star for Colombia, who has tallied five goals — the most of any player so far — including this beautiful chest-to-volley on the turn against Uruguay:But Brazil’s Neymar (and Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Germany’s Thomas Muller) are only one goal behind Rodriguez, so if Brazil clinches a win in this clash of the golden boys, Rodriguez may be out of the race for this year’s golden boot.OFF THE PITCHFrance and Germany are neighbors, and each has international power and its own distinct culture — berets and baguettes vs. lederhosen and bratwurst. So given the ease of travel between the countries, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of cross-tourism. According to the French Ministry of Handicrafts, Trade and Tourism, there were about 6.3 million overnight stays in France from German tourists in 2012. Conversely, the German National Tourist Board reported that there were roughly 3.1 million, or half as many, overnight stays in Germany from French tourists in the same year. When adjusted for each country’s total population at the time, this means that about 8 percent of Germany’s 80.4 million people stayed overnight in France at least once in 2012, while about 5 percent of France’s 65.7 million people stayed overnight in Germany. They may not be the best of friends, but it looks like the old enemies have at least upgraded to a friendly rivalry — at least as far as tourism goes. — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGWith the U.S. Out, Which World Cup Team Will Americans Root For?Tim Howard Lost, But He Just Had the Best Match of the World CupA Chart For Predicting Penalty-Shootout Odds in Real TimeCORRECTION (July 4, 10:57 a.m.): An earlier version of this post had the incorrect year of the last competitive meeting between France and Germany. While the two teams did face off in 1982, they also met in the 1986 World Cup semifinals.
Gaming Music Share your voice Tags Post a comment 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.A 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. 0
Police recovered a throat-slit body of a man from a pond in Kuladi village of Bharara union in Pabna Sadar upazila on Sunday morning, reports UNB.The deceased is Abdur Rashid Biswas, son of certain late Wahid Ali Biswas of the village.Police on Sunday recovered the body of Abdur Rashid from the pond near his house and sent it to Pabna General Hospital morgue for autopsy, said Abdur Raja Bahadur, officer-in-charge of Sadar police station.Abdur Rashid might be killed over a previous enmity, the OC said.
Share Sen. Ted Cruz, challenger Beto O’Rourke agree to debateThe University of Houston (UH) will host a debate between Senator Ted Cruz and his opponent Congressman Beto O’Rourke on September 30.Ryan Poppe/Texas Public RadioSenator Ted Cruz.Cruz, a Republican who represents Texas in the Senate, and O’Rourke, a Democrat who represents Texas’ 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced three debates last week.The first one will take place on September 21 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.UH will host the second debate and the third one will take place on October 16 before a live television studio audience in San Antonio.Al Ortiz/Houston Public MediaU.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke.O’Rourke is a three-term Congressman from El Paso who’s giving up his seat to challenge Cruz, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012.Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, but O’Rourke’s campaign has attracted considerable attention nationally.
That said, Facebook had 241 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada for the second quarter of 2018. The TDG survey results indicate that in the U.S./Canada, Facebook Watch has a base of about 50 million viewers, with a highly active group of around 14 million users.Obviously, Facebook would like to see more usage of Watch. But even with the survey’s finding of low awareness about the service, Facebook’s long-term potential as a large-scale video provider can’t be discounted, said TDG president Michael Greeson. “Prominent social platforms like Facebook are looking for ways to exploit their massive scale to sell new video services to their users, much as Amazon has done with Prime,” he noted.One of Facebook Watch’s breakout shows the talk show “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith and her family. The show now has 2.9 million followers since debuting May 7, and its official Facebook discussion group has more than 366,000 members (up from 260,000 two months ago) who talk about the show and submit questions to the hosts each week.Another top Facebook original has been “Ball in the Family,” produced by reality-TV specialists Bunim-Murray Productions. The show — which follows LaVar Ball and his basketball-playing clan, including son Lonzo, a point guard for the L.A. Lakers — has 1.6 million followers, after season 3 premiered June 10. Facebook is expected to spend between $1 billion and $2 billion on content deals for Facebook Watch over the next year, its video destination for episodic content the social giant launched about one year ago.But 12 months in, Facebook Watch has an awareness problem. According to a new survey by research firm the Diffusion Group, fully 50% of adult Facebook users in the U.S. said they have never heard of the free Watch video service, while 24% have heard of it but never used it. Another 5% said they’ve used Facebook Watch — but not recently.Just 6% of respondents said they use Facebook Watch at least daily, while 8% use the service weekly and 7% have watched shows once or twice per month. The results are based on TDG’s survey of 1,632 U.S. adult Facebook users conducted in May 2018. Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided various locations and office premises of Shree Ganesh Jewellery House here in connection with a Rs 2,672 crore money laundering case, an official said. “Our officials have started search operations at 11 locations including Shree Ganesh’s office premises and residences of its senior officials in the city,” an ED official said. The agency has been investigating the case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed Based on a complaint of defrauding a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) for non-payment of loan to the tune of Rs 2,672 crore, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had earlier commenced an investigation against the company. Subsequently, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had, in June 2018, arrested Nilesh Parekh, the promoter of the company in the alleged diversion of primary gold of over 1,700 kg. According to DRI officials, the firm having several units in Manikanchan Special Economic Zone (MKSEZ), Kolkata, was allegedly involved in diversion of gold imported duty free on the strength of being a nominated agency and also in its capacity as an SEZ unit. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose “Currently, Parekh is on an interim bail and there was restriction on his movement outside of the city. We are in process of finalising a charge sheet against him, which will be filed soon,” a DRI official told IANS. During investigations, the agency found the accused to “be actively involved in the fraud of diversion of primary gold of over 1,700 kg among other violations like non-realization of remittance on account of export of gems and Jewelleries to the tune of Rs 7,500 crore” to the several dummy and shell companies at Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.
Posted by MIAMI — Carnival is offering a sneak peek at its new high-level Carnival Excel suites making their debut on new-build Mardi Gras, slated to enter service in August 2020.Currently under construction at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, Mardi Gras is scheduled to launch in Europe on Aug. 31, 2020, before repositioning to New York for a series of voyages before shiftomg to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises starting in October 2020. Bookings for Mardi Gras opened in January 2019.Mardi Gras will offer 180+ suites across 11 styles including the new premium category Carnival Excel suites with select amenities and access to a new open-air enclave called Loft 19. Carnival President Christine Duffy says “all of our accommodations have been designed to exceed our guests’ expectations, and the suite offerings will kick that up a notch or two for those who want an extra special Choose Fun vacation.”The new premium suite level on Mardi Gras includes 32 suites in four categories: Carnival Excel Presidential Suite – Two Presidential Suites – the largest in the fleet – located on Deck 17 that feature living, dining and sleeping areas along with the fleet’s most expansive balconies with sea views, large sunbed and lounging areas, as well as a private outdoor hot tub and shower. These suites also include access to the spa’s thermal suite and the Havana pool area.Excel Presidential SuiteExcel Presidential Suite LoungeCarnival Excel Aft Suite – 12 suites overlooking Summer Landing and boasting separate living rooms and bedrooms with large wraparound balconies offering impressive ocean views, as well as a private outdoor hot tub and areas for al fresco dining and relaxing.Excel Aft. Suite BalconyCarnival Excel Corner Suite – 12 suites on the port and starboard sides of the ship featuring separate sleeping and lounging areas, a wet bar and wraparound balconies with lounging and dining areas.Carnival Excel Suite – Six suites on Decks 10, 11 and 12 with sleeping, dining and relaxing areas. The spacious balconies include loungers and a dining area.Excel SuiteAll suites onboard Mardi Gras will include an amenities package that includes priority boarding and debarkation, priority main dining room seating, plush bathrobes and bottled water upon arrival.Guests in the 32 Carnival Excel suites will enjoy standard suite amenities plus the following:Unlimited access to Loft 19Dedicated concierge phone lineGuaranteed specialty dining times (with the exception of Bonsai Teppanyaki and the Chef’s Table)Complimentary Bottomless Bubbles soda package, room service and laundrySparkling wine and fresh fruit basket upon arrivalUpgraded bathroom amenitiesMore news: Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthMeanwhile Loft 19, located on the ship’s highest deck, is another new concept for Carnival with full bar service, a private pool surrounded by sun loungers and spacious cabanas available for rent. Cabanas are fully stocked with beverages, plush robes and chilled towels, fresh fruit, lunch delivery and dedicated concierge service. Carnival Excel suite guests will receive priority when reserving Loft 19 cabanas.Loft 19 Cabana ViewLoft 19 Pool ViewIn addition to the Carnival Excel class suites, Mardi Gras will also feature:Ocean Suites – separate sleeping and lounging areas with ergonomically-friendly design.Tropics-inspired Havana Suites – private patios with a swing chair and direct access to The Lanai.Extra-roomy Family Harbor Suites – nautical décor, large-scale windows and toddler benches.Cloud 9 Spa Suites – with special spa privileges such as two fitness classes, access to the ship’s Thermal Suite and a scrub kit.The new suite options are in addition to the Mardi Gras’ accommodations with turquoise hues and enhanced by design touches like floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors; new sofas that flip into beds; more 110V power outlets and USB connections than on any other ship; flexible bedside reading lamps; a larger, more customizable wardrobe with extensive storage options; and spacious bathrooms with glass shower doors, a first for the line, along with an in-shower shaving bar. Wednesday, April 10, 2019 Travelweek Group Share Carnival prioritizes high yield segment with new Carnival Excel suites Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Mardi Gras, Openings & Renovations << Previous PostNext Post >>
State Rep. Julie Alexander will sponsor office hours in Jackson throughout the month of May at the Jackson County Tower Building, 120 W. Michigan Ave. in Jackson.Office hours will take place on the following dates:Monday, May 1 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.;Friday, May 12 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.;Monday, May 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; andFriday, May 26 from 10:30 to noon.Rep. Alexander will also be sponsoring a special Milk Break at Candi’s BZB Café, 225 S. Mechanic St. in Jackson on Friday, May 26 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.“I’m excited to meet with the people of Jackson County,” Rep. Alexander said. “I encourage everyone to come and join me at any of these meetings.”No appointments are necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Alexander at 517-373-1795 or via email at JulieAlexander@house.mi.gov. 18May Rep. Alexander announces May office hours Categories: Alexander News
Wuaki.tv, the streaming video service owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, has launched in France, just two weeks after the launch of Netflix in the country.Wuaki.tv will be available on the interent, game consoles, tablets, PCs smart TVs and via the Chromecast HDMI dongle in France.Unlike Netflix, Wuaki.tv has until now adopted a transactional video-on-demand model, with titles available from €3.99. Titles available in France will include Qu’est-ce que j’ai fait au bon Dieu, Les Garçons et Guillaume à table! and La Belle et la Bête.Jacinto Roca, CEO of Wuaki.tv, said that the group was in discussion with ISPs, but that access via set-tops was not an immediate priority and that nothing is expected on this front before Christmas.Wuaki.tv has an advantage in France in the shape of PriceMinister, the country’s second-ranking e-commerce site, which is owned by its parent company, which already has 20.8 million registered users. Wuaki.tv has been operating in France in beta mode for some time, available for the most part to PriceMinister customers. Roca said that the two services would seek to maximize synergies.Wuaki.tv, which is already available in Spain and the UK, plans to launch in 15 European countries over the next year, including Germany and Italy. Following that, it will look to expand into other international territories where Rakuten has a presence, including the US, Asia and Latin America.
Before 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.
Drilling Intersects 102 Meters of 1.97 gpt Gold at Columbus Gold’s Paul Isnard Gold Project; Drilling Confirms Depth Extension of Gold MineralizationColumbus Gold Corporation (CGT: TSX-V) (“Columbus Gold”) is pleased to announce results of the initial five (5) core drill holes at its Paul Isnard gold project in French Guiana. The holes confirm depth extension of gold mineralization below shallow holes drilled on the 43-101 compliant 1.9 million ounce Montagne d’Or inferred gold deposit at Paul Isnard in the 1990’s and support the current program of resource expansion through offsetting open-ended gold mineralization indicated by the earlier holes.Robert Giustra, CEO of Columbus Gold, commented: “These drill results validate Columbus Gold’s approach to adding ounces with a lower-risk drilling program designed to infill and to extend the mineralized zones to 200 m vertical depth from surface; a depth amenable to open pit mining.” Fourteen (14) holes have been completed (assays pending) by Columbus Gold in the current program and drilling is progressing at the rate of about 3,000 meters per month with one drill-rig on a 24 hour basis. Columbus Gold plans to accelerate the current program by engaging a second drill-rig as soon as one can be obtained. Please visit our website for more information about the project. It was more than obvious [at least to me] that a heavy hand showed up in these markets at, or just before, the London p.m. gold fixGold didn’t do a lot on Tuesday, either. The rally that developed in early Far East trading, ran into a seller just before 11:00 a.m. Hong Kong time…which was the same thing that happened during the Monday trading session.From there, the gold price didn’t do much until the 8:20 a.m. Eastern Comex open. At that point the dollar index cratered…and gold took off…running into a not-for-profit seller at the London p.m. gold fix which came shortly after 10:00 a.m. in New York. The high tick at the ‘fix’ was $1,739.10 spot.Despite the fact that the dollar continued to decline, the gold price continued to get sold down until around lunch time on the East coast…and from there traded sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.Gold finished the Tuesday session at $1,732.50 spot…up only $7.70 on the day. Net volume was the same as Monday’s…115,000 contracts.It was basically the same story in silver as well, except for the fact that the rally at the Comex open was so strong, that a not-for-profit seller had to enter the market around 9:35 a.m. Eastern, or silver would have been materially higher [and well above $34 spot] by the London gold fix, which occurred thirty minutes later. The high tick of the day at that point was $33.95 spot.And, like gold, despite the fact that the dollar index was declining steadily, silver continued to get sold off to its New York low…$33.30 spot…which came about 3:20 p.m. in electronic trading. The price recovered a hair into the close.Silver finished the day at $33.48 spot…up a meager 14 cents from Monday. Volume, 38,000 contracts, was down quite a bit from Monday’s 48,500 contracts…but still very high.Without doubt, both gold and silver would have finished materially higher if a willing seller hadn’t show up at, or just before, the London p.m. gold fix in both metals…and it was precisely the same story in platinum and palladium as well.The dollar index opened around the 80.40 mark on Monday evening…and chopped around that point until about 3:20 p.m. Hong Kong time, or about forty minutes before the 8:30 a.m. BST London open. During the next hour, the index dropped a bit over 20 basis points…and then more or less traded sideways until 8:30 a.m. in New York. Then the index headed south with a vengeance…and by 11:30 a.m. Eastern, the dollar index had shed another 40 odd basis points to its low of the day, which was around 79.82…and then recovered a handful of basis points going into the close. The dollar closed down 50 points on the day at 79.89.If you check all four precious metal charts from yesterday, you’ll note that all had a very positive reactions to the pre-London open dollar index decline. And that state of affairs continued in New York when the index did another face plant starting around 8:30 a.m. Eastern. All the precious metals took off to the upside…and all ran into the same not-for-profit seller at the London p.m. gold fix…except for silver.As I said further up, its rally was so strong, it had to be dealt with early, or it would have blasted through the $34 spot price like a hot knife through soft butter…and that was obviously not going to be allowed…just like it wasn’t allowed in early morning trading in Hong Kong on Monday. Check the silver chart above for the details.From the London p.m. gold fix, until the dollar index nadir at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, the dollar index and the precious metals prices all declined together. That’s just too cute for words.There are no market anymore…only interventions.Although the gold price hit its zenith shortly after 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, the shares powered a bit higher, hitting their high of the day around 11:30 a.m. Eastern…which was the dollar index low. After that they went into decline but, like Monday, finished just off their lows…and the HUI closed up 0.55%. Excuse me for thinking out loud at this point, but the saw-tooth pattern to this chart tells me that someone with a fairly large position appeared to be selling into this rally.The silver stocks finished mixed…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed up 0.67%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report was rather interesting. There was no delivery activity in gold, but there were 270 silver contracts posted for delivery within the Comex-approved warehouse system on Thursday. The only short/issuer was Jefferies…and the biggest long/stopper was, once again, JPMorgan…with 202 contracts in its in-house [proprietary] trading account…and 23 for their client accounts. The Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth a quick look…and the link is here.There were no reported changes in either GLD or SLV yesterday.Nick Laird advised me that Sprott added another 40,535 troy ounces of gold to their Physical Gold Trust on Monday. That should just about cover the entire amount received in their follow-on offering…but I expect there’s a bit more when the underwriters exercise their ‘Greenshoe Option’.Over at the U.S Mint, they reported selling another 50,000 silver eagles…and I do hope that you’re getting your share, dear reader.The action at the Comex-approved depositories on Monday is hardly worth mentioning, as only a few thousand ounces of silver were received…and shipped out.I don’t have very many stories today…and that suits me just fine. I hope you have the time to skim them all.Despite the positive closes in all four precious metals, it was more than obvious [at least to me] that a heavy hand showed up in these markets at, or just before, the London p.m. gold fix at 3:00 p.m. BST…10:00 a.m. in New York. With the dollar index in free-fall, the precious metals were not allowed to do what they wanted to do…and that is close the day materially higher than they did on Monday.You’re perfectly entitled to your own opinion on this, but that’s the way it appeared to me…and if you have some other explanation for yesterday’s 180 degree move in the precious metals while the dollar index was falling out of bed, I’d love to hear it.Yesterday, at the 1:30 p.m. Eastern time Comex close, was the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report…and as I’ve been stating all along, it will not make for happy reading…especially with the huge volumes [and price increases] we’ve seen in both gold and silver since last Tuesday’s cut-off on September 4th. JPMorgan et al are still acting as short sellers of last resort and preventing the precious metal prices from blowing sky high. I’ll be curious to know how much larger JPMorgan’s short position in silver has become since last Friday’s report. Ted Butler says it’s north of 27% of the entire Comex futures market in silver on a net basis. Will it break 30% on Friday?I’m still of the opinion that we’ve seen a short-term top, but would love to be proven wrong. A quick engineered sell-off by “da boyz” to relieve the current overbought condition wouldn’t bother me in the slightest…and would be a buying opportunity that I would take full advantage of. Of course if/when the sell-off does come, it will allow these short sellers of last resort to harvest all the new long positions that have been placed and ring cash register one more time.In Far East trading on their Wednesday, both gold and silver prices chopped slowly higher. For a change, volumes in both metals are significantly lower than they were on either Monday or Tuesday, so I wouldn’t read a whole heck of a lot into the price action. The dollar index is down about 11 basis points as London opens for trading at 8:00 a.m. local time…3:00 a.m. Eastern.London trading opened quietly, but that all changed around 9:15 a.m. BST, when gold and silver blasted higher in seconds, not minutes. Gold was up fifteen bucks…and silver shot through $34 spot at warp speed. The reaction from JPMorgan et al was instantaneous. Gold volume jumped from 13,000 contracts to 34,000 contracts in a heart beat…and silver’s volume went from around 4,800 contracts to 9,500 contracts in the same period of time…seconds. Then, after that assault, it appears that another rally is underway…and silver is now back at $34.00 spot once again…and gold is struggling higher. No ‘for profit’ seller ever sells into a rally like that…EVER!!! This is in-your-face price management by the bullion banks…and the farthest thing from a free market that one can imagine. It was obvious that ‘da boyz’ were lying in wait for this event.Here’s what Kitco’s silver chart looked like at 5:14 a.m. Eastern time…I would guess that this price action was centered around the announcement from the German court…and we’ll probably find out more as the day goes along.Before I sign off today, most of you may already have heard that we have a new writer at Casey Research…and his name is Dennis Miller. He’s been a regular reader of my column for many years…and now, like me, he’s working for Doug. Dennis is retired…and has been working tirelessly to rebuild his nest egg since the crash of 2008, when his CDs were recalled and it was cut by 50%. He’s documented his journey in his book Retirement Reboot…and he thinks highly enough of what I’ve had to say over the years, to mention my name in a couple of places in it. The book is priced at a pittance…a mere $9.95…and you can find all about it here. It costs nothing to check it out.It could be an interesting day during Comex trading in New York today.See you tomorrow. Sponsor Advertisement
In 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 1-314-647-3837
When 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/.
As 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.
A 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”.
Back to Glorious Goodwood on Saturday for four rides after riding at Newmarket on Friday night.SATURDAYGLORIOUS GOODWOODCHAGATAI (1.50pm)We’re drawn bang in the middle, so hopefully I’ll have options in this hugely competitive opener. He has plenty of weight for a three-year-old but wasn’t beaten far at Ascot last time out despite finishing sixth of nine. His one career turf win came on firm ground and he usually likes racing up with the pace which is likely to be frenetic here.PLATITUDE (2.25pm)The stable had a winner with Desert Path here on Friday and I’m hopeful of a good from this fella who was fifth in this last year but should be much more at home on the quicker surface. He comes into this on the back of a second in a Listed race at Sandown (two miles) and prior to that had a course and distance win here. He’s only up 2lb since that win so must have a fighting chance in a competitive renewal.TIS MARVELLOUS (3.40pm Stewards’ Cup Handicap)The biggest cavalry charge of them all and I’m in with a live chance on Tis Marvellous if he can repeat his fantastic run in the Wokingham where I finished fourth on him. We’ll need the usual giant dollop of good luck, especially as it’s his first trip to Goodwood but the ground is fine and we know he can cope with the hustle and bustle of a big handicap. The danger? All of them.CLOCK AND DAGGER (4.15pm)Only beat one home on debut here in June but it was on soft ground and it was much more like it at Haydock last time out when we couldn’t quite peg back Armageddon who made all but it was still a much improved run from my fella who pulled nicely clear of those in behind him. His form stacks up well against those who have already run but there are six debutants so it’s hard to get a feel of what will be needed to win this.Good luckADAMYOUR SAYIf you have a question for Adam drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…