Twitter/@ThisIsMachadoTexas and Texas A&M haven’t met on the gridiron since 2011, but it certainly seems like Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong is open to the idea of resuming the series. Friday, according to OrangeBlood’s Anwar Richardson, Strong, at the Touchdown Club of Houston, said that Texas is “trying” to work something out with its old rival. Richardson is also reporting, however, that Texas itself says no specifics have been discussed. So perhaps Strong got a little ahead of himself.Texas coach Charlie Strong was asked when the Longhorns would play Texas A&M again. Said there is something being worked out— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) June 10, 2016Texas coach Charlie Strong says something is being worked out to play Texas A&M again pic.twitter.com/RZVHNpGGs7— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) June 10, 2016A UT spokesperson said no specifics have been discussed about Texas playing Texas A&M again when asked about Charlie Strong’s comment— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) June 10, 2016Texas vs. Texas A&M used to be an annual affair – until the Aggies left the Big 12 for the SEC. It’s certainly one of the rivalries that college football fans miss the most.
TORONTO — An exemption to a law that automatically branded a dental hygienist as a sexual abuser for cleaning his wife’s teeth remains under government review more than four years after regulators proposed the change.While Alex Tanase said he was hoping for a “miracle” and was trying to raise money for legal bills, a spokesman for Ontario’s Ministry of Health offered no explanation why the process has taken so long.“The ministry is aware that the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario has submitted a proposed regulation which would allow its members to treat their spouses,” said David Jensen. “The proposal is currently under review and will be brought forward for the minister’s consideration at the earliest available opportunity.”In the interim, however, Alex Tanase, 39, of Cambridge, Ont., has lost his licence for at least five years for treating his wife.While working at a clinic in Guelph, Ont., a colleague told Tanase that hygienists were allowed to treat spouses. In fact, the college approved a spousal exemption in 2015 but the legislature has never adopted the rule — as it did for dentists in 2014. Another colleague saw a Facebook post from Tanase’s grateful wife, Sandi Mullins, and complained.“I have cleaned my wife’s teeth and I was charged with sexual abuse by the College of Dental Hygienists,” Tanase said in a public appeal for help. “After a three-year battle in courts and no more insurance coverage, my licence was revoked for five years, leaving my wife and I at the edge of failure and desperation.”Both the college’s disciplinary committee and Divisional Court expressed regret at the “harsh” punishment. Both bodies, however, said their hands were tied by the blanket ban on health professionals having sexual contact with patients that labels any such contact — even if consensual —sexual abuse.“There is no other case of any dental hygienist anywhere in Canada who has been found guilty of sexual abuse for treating his wife,” the court said in its recent ruling. “It is indeed unfortunate that the (discipline committee) elected to proceed with the complaint.”The college did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday but in an interview, Tanase said he simply couldn’t accept the punishment meted out to him.“I fall under a category based on the law, but this is slander and discrimination,” Tanase said. “I can’t accept this as a person — not as a dental hygienist.”Tanase is hoping Ontario’s top court will hear his case and side with him, but said he had run out of money to fund an appeal. He has launched a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of raising $35,000 to cover his estimated legal fees. Any excess, he said would go to a charity that fights sexual abuse.As of Thursday, the six-day campaign had collected about $4,300.One $50 donor, identified online as Dana Moraru, called the situation “outrageous.” The law, Moraru said, discriminates against spouses of hygienists in that they can’t choose who takes care of their teeth.“To declare a man a sexual predator because he cleaned his wife’s teeth is just plain stupid!” Moraru said. “Where is any common sense in those who apply that law?”The health minister, Christine Elliott, referred questions on the case to the ministry.It remains unclear what impact an exemption would have on Tanase’s situation and Jensen offered no time-table for potential passage of one.“Each regulation submission is subject to prior review by the minister of health and approval of the lieutenant governor in council,” Jensen said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2019.Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The School District #60’s Board discussed developments on the new Northeast Elementary School during its first meeting of the new school year on Monday.During the meeting, SD60 Assistant Superintendent Doug Boyd explained that construction on the new school’s foundation would start immediately, as the district already hired Yellowridge Construction LTD to manage said construction.“The Northeast school as you are well aware has received approval and will start with soil stipping,” said Boyd. “Our construction management term for this project is Yellowridge, so basically we’ve hired local contractors to do the screening.” The district will now tender a contract for work on the school’s foundation with an award coming in the next few days. Once the district awards the contract, construction will commence as soon as possible.“At this point, it’s only the weather that could give us hiccups or delays.”Boyd added that soil at the new school has already been stripped and moved to Margaret Ma Murray Elementary, where it will be used as a foundation for sod.The new school, which will be built on 86th street and 112th Avenue, is receiving $30.8 million from the province to go towards the project. Northeast Elementary is expected to be completed by the fall of 2021 and will host students from Kindergarten to Grade Six.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has announced that October is LiveIt! Green Month in the city, and the month-long initiative is kicking off this weekend with an event to promote local businesses using locally-sourced ingredients.LiveIt! Green Month is a month-long initiative that aims to promote and celebrate green projects and activities in the community and to educate citizens on some green ideas they can use in their homes.Each week focuses on a unique topic including food security, water management, waste reduction, and energy literacy. Taste of the Town, which is held from September 29th to October 6th, is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to support local businesses, producers, and restaurants while sampling fresh, locally produced food and beverage.Participating businesses include Whole Wheat & Honey, Fort St. John Farmers’ Market, Hip Peace Produce, Homesteader Health, Beard’s Brewing Co., Mighty Peace Brewing Co., NEAT, and Spicy Fusion.Residents are encouraged to use the Taste of the Town Passport by picking one up at the Fort St. John Visitor Centre or downloading it at www.fortstjohn.ca/taste-town and returning it by October 12 for a chance to win a prize.Additional events during LiveIt! Green month include a Home Game Butchering Workshop, Gardening Series with NEAT, fermentation demonstration, Yard Waste drop-off, Passive House and Water Treatment Facility tours, and various project showcases.More information about the many green activities and projects can be found at www.fortstjohn.ca/liveitgreen.
Quarterback Chase Daniel is guaranteed to make at least $7 million over the next two years playing football for the Chicago Bears. But Daniel is unlike most of the NFL signal callers who lock in that type of money: There’s a very good chance he won’t actually be playing football.Teams usually deal with the backup quarterback position in one of two ways: Invest in young talent to push the incumbent starter to a higher level of play — and potentially usurp the starter down the road — or hire a veteran with a dad bod to effectively be another coach with a clipboard, providing mentorship and game-management advice. Daniel is certainly the latter. And yet, after a season in which a backup quarterback hoisted the Lombardi Trophy and another brought his team to the NFC Championship Game, the position is unquestionably important.It also might be the best gig in the NFL. The backup QB is the player who sees the least amount of time on the field — and has an infinitesimal chance of injury — while still cashing a hefty paycheck. In nine seasons as a professional, Daniel has started two games and attempted 78 passes. To put that in perspective, Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger attempted 66 passes in a single game last season.But what the 31-year-old Daniel lacks in experience, he makes up for in income. Perhaps no player in the history of the sport has monetized the position of backup quarterback to the degree the Missouri graduate has. This offseason, Chicago signed Daniel to back up its franchise quarterback of the future, Mitch Trubisky. If Daniel plays a significant amount this year, something has gone very wrong for the Bears. But the team still rewarded him with a two-year, $10 million deal with $7 million guaranteed. Only 18 quarterbacks currently have a higher percentage of guaranteed money, and that list is largely made up of marquee players, like Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins, and novice quarterbacks who were taken early in the NFL draft — players whose contracts are locked in by the rookie wage scale.1Daniel trails just 35 quarterbacks in terms of total guaranteed money.Daniel has generated $24.3 million over his career. That equates to $311,594 per pass thrown or $261,337 per yard ran. Daniel is No. 72 on the all-time earnings list among quarterbacks. Should he receive all $10 million of his deal, his career earnings would stretch to $34.3 million; only 51 quarterbacks have ever netted that much over a career.2Clearly, resources have changed. The 2018 NFL salary cap reached $177.2 million, a 412 percent increase from the $34.6 million it was set at in 1994, the year the cap was introduced. Contracts signed even five years ago hardly compare with the ones signed this offseason. There’s a reason that Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly earned less total money than Joey Harrington.Consider that, among the top 100 quarterbacks all time in career earnings, the average gunslinger started 93 games, threw for 21,817 yards and amassed 134 touchdowns through the air. Daniel’s figures scarcely compare. In his first four seasons carrying a clipboard in New Orleans, Daniel attempted just nine passes. Then came two productive seasons in Kansas City in 2013 and 2014 in which he started a game each. But over the past three seasons, Daniel has heaved precisely three passes. By comparison, Johnny Hekker has attempted three times as many passes over that stretch. Johnny Hekker, by the way, is a punter.All this isn’t to say that Daniel can’t sling the ball around. When he was a Heisman Trophy finalist at the University of Missouri, Daniel threw for at least 400 yards four separate times. But since he made it to the NFL, he has as many interceptions as he does touchdowns.3One of each.We can use Approximate Value4Pro-Football-Reference.com’s method of approximating a player’s value in any given season. to evaluate a player’s on-field impact more comprehensively. Offensive standouts like Aaron Rodgers, Todd Gurley II and Antonio Brown might produce a single-season AV of 15. League-average offensive players might produce a single-season AV of around 5. Daniel has produced a career AV of 2. The last time Daniel brought measurable on-field value to his team was 2014, when he played for the Chiefs. In fact, the only quarterback since the 1970 merger who accumulated less approximate value over the first eight years in which he accumulated any statistics was Doug Pederson, now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.5Daniel played for Pederson in 2016. In the same time frame, only 24 players across all positions accumulated less approximate value than Daniel over their first eight years in the league.To get a better understanding of suitable player compensation, we can divide a player’s career earnings by his AV to roughly distill how much the player was paid to perform. Daniel has earned $12,152,158.50 per AV point. No other active player ranked in the top 250 in career earnings has netted more than $3.4 million per AV point, with the average player on the list earning less than $900,000 per AV point.A sizeable portion of this has to do with opportunity. Daniel has barely seen the field in the past three seasons, appearing in only four total games. It’s no wonder he hasn’t been getting the reps, though. Upon entering the league, Daniel served as a backup to Drew Brees from 2009 to 2012, Alex Smith from 2013 to 2015, Carson Wentz in 2016 and Brees again last season. Playing second fiddle (or, in some cases, third) to an all-time great, an above-average talent and a recent MVP candidate is nothing to sneer at. And given that understanding, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Daniel has thrown fewer passes over his first eight NFL seasons than any quarterback in league history.The average NFL career is short — about 3.3 years. That’s what happens when you play a sport where each play feels like a car crash. Quarterbacks fare longer, with an average career span of 4.4 years. Daniel has more than doubled that. It can’t hurt that he’s only been sacked seven times in his career; no quarterback has been dropped less over his first full eight seasons. For comparison, at this point in his career, Steve Young had already been tackled behind the line of scrimmage 146 times. As Daniel told The Athletic, “I don’t have any mileage on my body.”Despite hardly playing, Daniel is a success story in many respects. Only 21 undrafted quarterbacks since the 1970 merger saw in-game action in at least nine seasons. Daniel will likely be the 22nd. And while his career has been a far cry from the Warren Moons and Tony Romos of the world, he at least has a Super Bowl ring.Right now, even Daniel’s own teammates don’t always recognize him (for real). One injury could change that and thrust Daniel into a role of utmost importance. This would be the opportunity that has eluded him his entire career — even if his bank account suggests otherwise.
Tuesday 1/23Audio Player01-26-2018-THIS-WEEK-TUESDAY-FINAL.mp3Vm01-26-2018-THIS-WEEK-TUESDAY-FINAL.mp300:00RPd8.0 Earthquake Rattles The Kenai Peninsula, Rescued Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Calf Cannot Be Released Back To Wild, Soldotna Council To Consider Approval Of Airport Master Plan Phase III, What To Do In The Event Of A Tsunami Warning On The Peninsula Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The KSRM News Department compiled some of the top stories from this past week. Wednesday 1/24Audio PlayerJennifer-Wednesday-0124.mp3VmJennifer-Wednesday-0124.mp300:00RPdEarthquake Caused Small Spill At Nikiski Refinery, Three-Peat! Kassik’s Takes Home Third Consecutive Win At Beer And Barley Wine Festival, Ban On Distilleries Serving Cocktails Approved By Board Monday 1/22Audio PlayerJennifer-Monday-0122.mp3VmJennifer-Monday-0122.mp300:00RPdCity Of Kenai Looks At Permits For Dip Net Fishery Vendors, CES Fire Marshall Arrested For DV Assault, Ravn Alaska Agents Stole Roughly $500,000 In Goods, According To Feds, NOAA Donates Funds For ‘Bycatch’ Reduction Program Thursday 1/25Audio Player01-26-2018-THIS-WEEK-THURSDAY-FINAL.mp3Vm01-26-2018-THIS-WEEK-THURSDAY-FINAL.mp300:00RPdSmoking Ban Continues To Advance In The Legislature, Project Homeless Connect Offers Basic Care And Comfort To The Kenai, Walker Appoints Lincoln To Vacant Alaska House Seat, Soldotna Parks And Recreation Creates Skating Path At Soldotna Creek Park Friday 1/26Audio PlayerJennifer-on-friday-0126.mp3VmJennifer-on-friday-0126.mp300:00RPdTwo Arrested In Connection With Burglary At Kenai Central High School, Early Morning Collision On Seward Highway Involving Two Semi Trucks, Sen. Murkowski Seeks To Scale Back Plans For Offshore Leasing In Alaska, State Institutes New Review Process For Clemency Requests
SpiceJet, the Ajay Singh-owned budget airline, will be declaring its December 2016 quarter (Q3) results next week. Jet Airways and Interglobe Aviation, owner of IndiGo, have already announced their Q3 financial performance, reporting a fall in net profit due to weak pricing and high fuel costs.”Spicejet Ltd has informed BSE that the meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company will be held on February 14, 2017, inter alia, to consider and approve, the un-audited financial results of the Company for the third quarter ended December 31, 2016,” the company had said earlier this month.Read: SpiceJet cabin crew and ground staff get new uniform courtesy Nimish Shah; 5 best airline uniformsFor Q3, Interglobe Aviation posted net profit of Rs 487 crore, down 25 percent from Rs 650 crore in the corresponding period last financial year while Jet Airways saw its net profit fall 69 percent to Rs 142 crore in comparison to Rs 467 crore for the third quarter in 2015-16. The companies had attributed lower ticket prices and rising fuel (ATF) costs to the fall in net profit.The share price of SpiceJet closed 0.23 percent higher at Rs 64.05 on Friday (February 10, 2017) on the BSE. Jet Airways shares ended 0.19 percent lower at Rs 373 apiece while Interglobe closed 0.89 percent lower at Rs 838.For the second quarter ended September 2016, SpiceJet had reported 103 percent spurt in net profit to Rs 58.9 crore from Rs 29 crore in the corresponding period last year, on the back of lower fuel costs and higher operating income. It was also the seventh straight quarter when the airline earned net profit after years of losses.Its income from operations rose 35 percent to Rs 1,400.39 crore from Rs 1,040.13 crore in the year-ago period.Recently, SpiceJet was in the news for its mega order to buy 205 aircraft from Boeing for $22 billion.”SpiceJet’s new order underscores its drive to compete more effectively in India’s cut-throat low cost travel market. The deal for up to 205 737MAXs will certainly put it on par with Indigo for domestic dominance and the added range of the 737MAX fleet will allow SpiceJet to open up routes deeper into Asia and even parts of Europe/CIS states,” Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, told the International Business Times, India.The current fleet size of SpiceJet is 40 aircraft as against 126 of IndiGo and 114 of Jet Airways.Other players in the Indian civil aviation market include unlisted entities such as state-owned Air India, AirAsia India, Vistara and GoAir.IndiGo has the largest market share in terms of passenger volumes in the domestic air traffic business.
Several students of various private universities are taken to Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate court on Tuesday. Photo: Suvra Kanti DasA Dhaka court on Thursday denied bail to 12 private university students accused in two cases filed over vandalism and attacks on police during the student movement demanding road safety, reports UNB.The students are–Iftekhar Hossain, Shakhawat Hossain Nijhum, Shimanta Sarker, Ajijul Karim Antar, Shihab Shahriar, Saber Ahmed Ullas, Rashedul Islam, Md Hasan, Mushfikur Rahman, Redwan Ahmed, Reza Refat Ahmed and Nur Ahmmed.Metropolitan magistrate Laskar Shohel Rana passed the order after hearing their bail petitions.Earlier on 9 August, bail was denied to 22 private university students and they were sent to jail after completing their 2-day remand in the cases.Four of them sought bail again on Sunday and eight others on Monday, but their prayers were also turned down.Twenty-two students of seven private universities were arrested in connection with two cases filed with Badda and Bhatara police stations on the ninth day of the road safety movement on 6 Aug.
Story Links The University of Louisville Cardinals made a splash that included a podium appearance and an American record on the opening day of the FINA World Championships in Gwangzu, Korea. In the women’s 400M Freestyle Relay, Team USA with Mallory Comerford and Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, won a silver medal with a time of in 3:31.02. Comerford put up 52.98 lead-off split, touching just behind Australia. Team USA teammate Abbey Weitzeil put up a 52.66 on the second leg to take the lead, passing Sweden’s Michelle Coleman (53.88) and Australia’s Brianna Throssell (53.34). Kelsi Dahlia split 53.46 for the Americans, handing off to Simone Manuel who produced a 51.92 to pull ahead of Canadian anchor Maggie MacNeil (53.18) for silver. In the 50m Fly, UofL redshirt freshman Haridi Sameh took the lead in heat 7 in a time of 23.54 to rank 15th to qualified for semi-finals, then finished 16th in the semi-finals with a time of 23.68. In the 100M-fly, Kelsi Dahlia won her first heat to qualify for semi-finals, In the semi-finals, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom put up an initial split of 26.12, finishing in 56.29. Canadian Maggie MacNeil finished with a 56.52, while Kelsi Dahlia touched third to finish in 57.06, good for 7th overall. In the 400 M free, Louisville’s distance specialist Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador finished 7th in his heat in a time of 3:55.06 to touched 7th in heat 3 for a final ranking of 31st. Print Friendly Version
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from Montenegro, the Czech Republic and Croatia has found a possible genetic link between early big-game hunters of the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture and modern Herzegovinian men. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes how they surveyed a large number of Bosnian and Herzegovinian men and compared what they found with a gene believed to be at least partly responsible for causing people to grow taller than average. More information: Pavel Grasgruber et al. The mountains of giants: an anthropometric survey of male youths in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Royal Society Open Science (2017). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.161054AbstractThe aim of this anthropometric survey, conducted between 2015 and 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), was to map local geographical differences in male stature and some other anthropometric characteristics (sitting height, arm span). In addition, to investigate the main environmental factors influencing physical growth, the documented values of height would be compared with available nutritional and socioeconomic statistics. Anthropometric data were collected in 3192 boys aged approximately 18.3 years (17–20 years), from 97 schools in 37 towns. When corrected for population size in the examined regions, the average height of young males in BiH is 181.2 cm (181.4 cm in the Bosniak-Croat Federation, 180.9 cm in Republika Srpska). The regional variation is considerable—from 179.7 cm in the region of Doboj to 184.5 cm in the region of Trebinje. These results fill a long-term gap in the anthropological research of the Western Balkans and confirm older reports that the population of the Dinaric Alps is distinguished by extraordinary physical stature. Together with the Dutch, Montenegrins and Dalmatians, men from Herzegovina (183.4 cm) can be regarded as the tallest in the world. Because both nutritional standards and socioeconomic conditions are still deeply suboptimal, the most likely explanation of this exceptional height lies in specific genetic factors associated with the spread of Y haplogroup I-M170. The genetic potential for height in this region could then be the greatest in the world. Future studies should further elucidate the roots of this intriguing phenomenon, which touches an important aspect of human biodiversity. Human chromosomes during metaphase. Credit: Steffen Dietzel/Wikipedia Explore further A tall story: Why do the Dutch tower over us? © 2017 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. It has been noted that men from Herzegovina are taller on average than men in other places—the average male height is just over six feet. But why the men there are so tall has been a mystery, especially considering the relative poverty of the area for very long periods of time. The region, in the Dinaric Alps, actually boasts the tallest average male height, though the Netherlands, a country that has enjoyed a high standard of living and thus a strong diet for a very long time, holds the record for tallest average for an entire nation. To understand why men in Herzegovina are so tall, the researchers started by looking at the I-M170 chromosome, which prior research has shown is highly prevalent in Herzegovinian people—approximately 70 percent have it.The new research entailed surveying 3,207 Herzegovinian men between the ages of 17 and 20 regarding details on height and other body measurements—they found the average male height to be 181.2 cm. They then noted that prior research has shown that people of the Gravettian culture were exceptionally tall, as well, many of them averaging over six feet. They also noted that people in Herzegovina tend to ingest more calcium than people elsewhere due to minerals in the limestone bedrock in the area making their way into food sources. Putting all the data together, the researchers concluded that the most likely cause of larger-than-average height of Herzegovinian men is lifestyle during the Paleolithic—men hunted large animals such as mammoth for survival—such a diet, heavy in protein, combined with small population densities, would have provided ideal conditions for height selection, resulting in increasingly taller men who passed the trait down through their I-M170 chromosome to future generations. Journal information: Royal Society Open Science Citation: Tallness in Herzegovinian men linked to gene passed down from ancient big game hunters (2017, April 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-04-tallness-herzegovinian-men-linked-gene.html
Friday, November 3, 2017 Posted by Save 20% on select Cuba tours includingCuba Colonial (15 days, Havana to Havana) was $2,629, now $2,103Biking in Cuba (eight days, Havana to Havana) was $1,899, now $1,814More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJFor more information visit gadventures.com/stop-book-and-go. TORONTO — With G Adventures’ year-end ‘Stop, Book and Go’ sale, clients looking to travel by Jan. 31, 2018 can save up to 30% on select trips to South America, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Cuba.“It’s not too late to pack your bags and check another destination off your bucket list,” says Aizaz Sheikh, Canadian Marketing Director, G Adventures. “There’s still time for one more adventure and we hope our ‘Stop, Book and Go’ sale will help agents secure additional bookings in the remaining two months of 2017. We’re offering huge savings on some of our most popular destinations and itineraries.”Bookings must be made by Dec. 31, 2017 for trips departing before Jan. 31, 2018. Highlights include:Save 20% on select Peru tours such as:Inca Empire (15 days, La Paz to Lima) was $2,749, now $2,062Amazon Riverboat Adventure in Depth (nine days, Lima to Lima) was $2,799, now $2,239Peru Panorama (15 days, Lima to Lima) was $3,549, now $2,959More news: CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionSave 20% on select Southeast Asia tours including:Thailand & Laos Adventure (14 days, Bangkok to Hanoi) was $1,909, now $1,575Vietnam on a Shoestring (12 days, Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi) was $1,209, now $967Cambodia on a Shoestring (10 days, Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City) was $1,089, now $871Sailing Thailand Phuket to Phuket (seven days, Phuket to Phuket) was $2,199, now $1,759Save 30% on select Mekong River Cruises including:Mekong River Encompassed (eight days, Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City) was $2,879, now $2,015 Tags: G Adventures << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Save up to 30% with G Adventures’ ‘Stop, Book and Go’ sale Save 15% on select South America tours including:Highlights of Chile & Argentina (10 days, Santiago to Buenos Aires) was $2,399, now $1,919La Paz to Buenos Aires Adventure (15 days, La Paz to Buenos Aires) was $2,099, now $1,980
TEGUCIGALPA – The Honduran Supreme Court ruled against a plan to build a series of “model cities,” each with their own independent tax and justice systems, similar to those in Hong Kong.The 15-judge panel voted 13-2 to reject the proposals, claiming that legislation permitting the creation of specialized development zones was outside the jurisdiction of Honduran law, and the project would unconstitutionally involve the creation of a state within the state.Supporters of the project said that the court’s decision was a massive blow to Honduras’ ongoing effort to attract more international investment.Originally, the model cites initiative was authorized by the Honduran Congress in January 2011 during a controversy over control of regional territory. A U.S.-based investment group was expected to put up some $15 million to start the project.The cities were to be located at Puerto Castilla on the Caribbean coast. The idea was that the cities would have their own government, judicial system and police forces. Facebook Comments No related posts.
ANA Brings Innovation to Kyushu Saga International AirportANA Brings Innovation to Kyushu Saga International Airport All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest and 5-star airline for six consecutive years, is partnering with Saga prefecture to transform Kyushu Saga International Airport (hereinafter referred to as Saga Airport) into one of the world’s smartest, best-connected airports. The move will make Saga Airport a proving ground for the latest connected technologies, turning it into a hotbed of innovation and a premier logistics hub in the region.Saga Prefecture and ANA will collaborate to modernize Saga Airport in response to changes across the aviation industry. The modernization drive aims to make Saga Airport a model airport that serves as a platform to showcase labor-saving technological innovation on the world stage. As a prominent testing ground, Saga Airport will collect data on the effectiveness of new technology featured at the site, acting as a template for future “Simple & Smart” airports.“We seek to innovate and reimagine how the travel experience can be improved by harnessing the potential of technological innovation,” said Shinzo Shimizu, Senior Executive Vice President of ANA. “The on-the-ground tests that ANA will be conducting at Saga Airport will lead to important breakthroughs that streamline and improve service on the ground. This will allow us to complement our exceptional in-flight service with a similar level of logistical support.”“We aim to set the standard for modernization at Kyushu Saga International Airport through our partnership with ANA,” said Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Governor of Saga Prefecture. “Saga has a history of innovation, serving as the base of Japan’s industrial revolution, and has leveraged its creativity to build a strong legacy of global leadership in manufacturing. I hope to continue building on these achievements and making Saga a transmission point for the fourth industrial revolution: AI and IoT.”New technology to be featured in the first round of trials at Saga Airport includes a wearable robotic exoskeleton, remote-controlled aircraft pushbacks, automatic baggage loaders and automated towing tractors. The robotic exoskeletons for heavy duty loaders entered service in February, while the first autonomous towing tractors are set to roll out between late March and early April. The latest pushbacks will start the trial in mid-April, with the automated baggage loaders being the last of the first batch to undergo testing sometime in the FY 2019.Officials at Saga Airport and ANA will monitor the performance of these devices closely, using the data gained from these trials to improve efficiency across the airport. This information will also be instrumental in the implementation of other innovations at Saga Airport in the future. Source = All Nippon Airways
Starz Play ArabiaStarz Play Arabia is launching Arabic content on its SVoD platform to complement its Hollywood fare.Starz, which launched in 17 territories in the region a year ago, will bring about 1,000 hours of Arabic content to the platform, according to Saniel Jesse Bates, CCO, speaking on a panel session at TV Connect yesterday.Bates said that ninety per cent of subscribers to the platform are Arabic speakers. Saudi Arabia is a key market with high demand for Hollywood content.He said Starz had tried not to become “all things to all men” by focusing primarily on Hollywood content rather than introducing packages targeted at expatriate and migrant workers. “We wanted to create strong clear positioning and we’ve added Arabic content to complement that,” he said.Addressing the challenges of SVoD in the region more generally, Bates said that an SVoD subscription could work in the Arabic region by adding value and delivering a high quality user experience, including delivering everything in HD.He said Netflix’s entry into the market had been positive for all players, making people aware of the SVoD category. “We saw a large lift in our numbers as a result of Netflix coming in,” he said.Bates said Netflix’s offering was two dollars more expensive than Starz, and faced a number of challenges.“One of the challenges they have is that their full service is not subtitled for the region,” he said, adding that Netflix was also challenged by its lack of rights to key properties. He said that Starz had not seen a significant impact on the price of rights as a result of Netflix’s entry. The latter had however made the company more aggressive in searching out key rights that it wants to tie down.Bates said that carrier billing was key for SVoD players as other payment methods were not common or were not trusted. “About 40% of our customers are coming from carrier billing. This is something Netflix will have to adjust to too.”Bates said that mobile across the region is predominantly pre-paid. However, about 80% of people sign up on their mobile phones, even though many watch the content on their TV screens. “The dynamics vary market by market,” he said. “But the number of people who come to us via mobile sign up has been surprising.”Samer Abdin, co-founder and CEO of rival SVoD service Istikana, speaking on the same panel session, said that his service had, in contrast with Starz, launched with a primary focus on premium Arabic content. “Pay TV is dominated by Hollywood and sports. In the Arabic content space, how to attract customers is about a combination of breadth with a large range of multigenre content and things that are hard to find on FTA, and convenience and quality,” he said.Samer said that the availability of legal content was the best way to tackle piracy. “VPNing is huge, but now Netflix has launched. If HBO did the same no one would access the US via a VPN to pirate it. As more content becomes available legally, the level of piracy will go down,” he said. He said legal attacks on piracy have a very limited impact, because people always find a way round restrictions and only a few players are every prosecuted.Samer said that Netflix did not have a full catalogue of content for the region, with House of Cards being owned by OSN, for example. He said that people who had been aware of the whole Netflix catalogue through VPNs were aware of how restricted the Netflix local catalogue was.Samer said that billing was an issue across the region, with few people having access to banking or ATM cards in many territories. He said that content discovery as well as sign up was often via mobile. Consumption of the service is about 50% via mobile devices and 50% via the TV.
In This Issue. * No taper talk * Second quarter growth * ADP on the rise * Third time is a charm And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Let’s hurry up and wait some more… Good day.and welcome to the month of August as well as another Thursday morning. The month of July ended up with more twists than a good thriller novel, but at the end of it all, the Fed was the main character and it looks like this will continue to be the case. It’s all about the Fed. What will the Fed think about this or that? How will the Fed react to this or that? Every bit of data is scrutinized as to how it would impact the Fed’s view on tapering. As data exceeds or falls short of expectations, the markets will continue their erratic behavior until the Fed is not so mysterious in their ways. Unfortunately, the Fed meeting did nothing to address any of the question marks that have been present in the markets for the better part of a month and a half. The statement following the meeting contained no new language on the conditions for maintaining the current pace of asset purchases. These statements are so open ended and can be interpreted in several different ways, but I think most economists would still consider this a dovish environment. The Fed did refer to the pace of growth as modest instead of moderate as it had in the past while they also acknowledged that housing has been strengthening but mortgage rates have been on the rise. The biggest change came by way of saying the committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2% objective could pose risks to economic performance, but it does anticipate that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term. This was apparently a nod to St. Louis Fed president Bullard who was banging the drum on the dangers of inflation running too low. Both you and I know that real world inflation is much, much higher than the government’s calculation, but they feel this low inflation could hamper growth. At the end of the day, all of the pomp and circumstance for tapering got pushed once again, so don’t expect any slowdown in market volatility for at least another month. Actually, at this point it’s actually closer to another six weeks since the next meeting will take place on September 17 and 18. If the Fed is concerned about higher interest rates via bonds and if they do decide to taper in Sept, who is going to be lining up at the door to buy such a low yielding asset. Will the Fed heads now shift focus toward doing what’s necessary to keep mortgage rates down? I guess we’ll need to stay tuned. Moving on to GDP, we had the initial reading of second quarter results come in much higher than expected. It’s still nothing that would light any fires, but the 1.7% annual pace beat the expected result of 1.0% as well as the first quarter’s revision down to 1.1% from 1.8%. So, let me get this right. First quarter GDP is at 1.1% and second quarter GDP is at 1.7%, so where is this progress that economists are pounding their chests about and justifying an imminent taper. From a realist standpoint, why would the Fed decide to taper in September when GDP yielded a sub-2% rate for a third straight quarter unless they are trying to cut deficit spending. As nice as it would be to say, I don’t think the latter is the case. When the bar is set low, its easy to get excited. Consumer spending slowed in the second quarter when compared to the first quarter, but I didn’t see any headlines bringing light to that bit. I saw where the revisions made to the way GDP is calculated added 0.6% to the 2012 bottom line, so now the economy grew 2.8% last year. In the end, we still have two more revisions before the third quarter results arrive, but if history is a guide, revisions haven’t exactly been friendly. Then again, the calculation is now different so we shall see. In the precursor to jobs jamboree Friday, payrolls as reported by ADP came in much higher than expected by rising to 200k. We also saw the June report get revised upward by 10k to 198k. The report indicated that manufacturers, construction companies, and other goods producing industries increased by 22k while payrolls at service providers climbed 177k.Thats great news to see employers added 200k workers in the month of July, but we need to know what kind of jobs we’re talking. There’s a big difference between part-time, lower wage positions compared to full time jobs that would contribute to self sufficiency and a money spending lifestyle the country needs to survive. While the spot light was solely on the US yesterday, we will see it shift across the pond as both the ECB and BOE have policy meetings going on as I write. The dollar finished the day lower, but it was interesting to watch it move throughout the day. After we had the US economic reports, the dollar shot up and gold was, at one point, down $20 as traders were getting juiced up on the better than expected data. Once the Fed statement failed to address any tapering plans, or really anything of any importance for that matter, we had a nice little turning of the tide. The Norwegian kone and Swedish krona finished the day in positive territory by close to 0.75%. There wasn’t any data to push them to the top, so it looks as though the big sell off after Swedish GDP disappointed may have been overdone. The rest of the currencies in positive territory had less than 0.5% gains on the day while the euro was able to retain the 1.33 handle as I walked out the door last night. The paring back of the dollar helped, but the number of people unemployed in the eurozone fell for the first time in two years. Since we’re only talking 24k people compared to the 19 million out of work, it didn’t impact the unemployment rate. A currency that has been seeing a lot of red, the Brazilian real, came to the surface for some air and actually appreciated a fraction of a percent. It was a very ugly morning for this currency yesterday as it fell to 2.3016 and marked the weakest point since April 2009. It looks like the Brazilian central bank is trying to defend the 2.30 handle as they intervened in the currency market three times yesterday morning and succeeded in propping the real to about 2.28. Higher inflation remains a problem in Brazil so a weaker currency helps fan the flames of inflation, hence the government action. As I came in this morning, the dollar is up pretty much across the board as the market is waiting for the ECB to do its thing. It’s similar to what we saw yesterday prior to the Fed meeting in that traders want to remain on the cautious side in case policy makers overplay the stimulus card. We did see a eurozone manufacturing report break into the positive side of 50 by rising to 50.3 in July. Other than that, just playing the waiting game. For What Its Worth.”In the end, I abandoned my initial aversion to holding gold,” concludes N. Gregory Mankiw in The New York Times. Mankiw is about as establishment as it gets – a “New Keynesian” who runs the Harvard economics department and was chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush. A few weeks ago, a friend asked him if gold belongs in his investment portfolio. “My instinct was to say no,” but instinct wasn’t enough. So Mankiw dug a little deeper and made several shocking discoveries. To wit: . “All the gold ever mined amounts to 174,100 metric tons. If this supply were divided equally among the world’s population, it would work out to less than 1 ounce a person.” . “Its price is largely uncorrelated with stocks and bonds. Despite gold’s volatility, adding a little to a standard portfolio can reduce its overall risk.” Yes, we know. Your mouth is agape at such revelations. Wrote Mankiw, “A small sliver, such as the 2% weight in the world market portfolio, now makes sense to me as part of a long-term investment strategy.” Well, it’s a start. We also had Richard Russell, the dean of newsletter men who begain penning his Dow Theory Letters in 1958 which was the same year Mankiw was born say “I like the way [gold is] acting,” Mr. Russell has noticed the gold stocks – represented by the GDX ETF – are now trading above their 50-day moving average for the first time all year. “Since the miners tend to move before bullion,” he concludes,” I consider this action bullish for the whole gold universe.” To recap.The question marks prior to the Fed meeting still remain as there was no mention of tapering stimulus measures. The statement following the FOMC meeting is still dovish, while the Fed voiced concern about low inflation (government calculated) and rising mortgage rates. Second quarter GDP came in much higher than expected but remained below 2% for a third straight quarter. Personal consumption also fell while the ADP jobs report says we added 200k workers in July. The BOE and ECB meet today, so we’ll see if there are any sound bites. Norway and Sweden topped the list yesterday while the Brazilian central bank had to intervene three times in one day. Currencies today 8/01/13. American Style: A$ .8983, kiwi .7945, C$ .9706, euro 1.3228, sterling 1.5223, Swiss $1.0739, . European Style: rand 9.8776, krone 5.9266, SEK 6.5691, forint 225.86, zloty 3.1990, koruna 19.6025, RUB 33.0310, yen 98.76, sing 1.2719, HKD 7.7558, INR 60.4437, China 6.1778, pesos 12.7407, BRL 2.2746, Dollar Index 82.05, Oil $106.91, 10-year 2.60%, Silver $19.85, Platinum $1,440.55, Palladium $732.45, and Gold. $1,324.00 That’s it for today.I had a very nice surprise at the office yesterday as all of the folks in the St. Louis office threw a baby shower for me as well as the others who either recently had or will soon have a new edition. I am blessed to be surrounded with such a wonderful group and for that, I am thankful. Thanks again to all involved. The MLB trade deadline was yesterday, and much like the Fed meeting, there was a lot of chatter leading up to it but there wasn’t much action once the dust settled. That about does it for me today. Until tomorrow, Have a Great Day! Mike Meyer Assistant Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
In This Issue. * Rate Differentials to narrow? * Gold sees attempt to recover fade. * Chuck’s kiss o ‘death is still alive. * ECB meeting to disappoint once again? Bullard Throws A Cat Among The Pigeons! Good Day! . And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! The skies are a Tub Thumpin’ this morning, as we get pelted with more rain. The temperature is supposed to rise to 77 today, which puts us smack dab in the middle of the high chances of a tornado that would come out of the storms today. So, for all the local folks, if you here the warning sirens, head to the basement. Tornadoes are nothing to mess with! When I look out at the currencies and metals this morning they appear to have been scattered about by the bad storms too! Yesterday, after signing off, Gold took off for higher ground, and before you could say, “look at Gold”, it was up $15, and looking like it was ready to head back to $1,300. But that euphoria didn’t last, as Fed Head James Bullard decided to throw his two-cents into the discussion on interest rates. Well, St. Louis Fed President, James Bullard, really lathered up the markets a bit yesterday, and caused some slippage in the currencies & metals VS the dollar by saying that he expects a rate hike in the first quarter of next year. This is 3 months ahead of the most aggressive interpretation of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s “considerable time after QE has ended”.. It’s important to note that Bullard is a non-voting member this year, but if that’s how he feels now, imagine when he is a voting member next year! But once again, I think the Fed Heads are being overly optimistic. And I address this later today, with a quote from Richard Duncan on the Fed’s Tapering. I still believe that strong economic growth is far from given. and in fact I think it’s a pipedream. But in either case, this comment by Bullard sure acts as a wakeup call for the markets. So, at first, when the markets got all loosey Goosey about Yellen saying that rates would rise after some considerable time after QE ends, that was fine. Let them be wrong! But now they are carrying this rate hike talk into the rate differential discussions, and that would be funny if it weren’t true! But now the markets are saying, “that with interest rates in the U.S. going higher (as if that were written in stone) the rate differential to the Antipodean currencies will narrow. And therefore they see that as a reason to sell the Antipodean currencies! UGH! For those of you new to class, the Antipodean currencies are those of Australia and New Zealand. And now you know that I’m a lazy writer, in that I would rather refer to the two currencies with one word, instead of 5 words! HA! So, I hope you see what I’m saying here. the markets are already thinking that interest rates are going higher in the U.S. sooner than later (Chuck thinks later, and when they do they’ll soar higher, but let’s not let that get in the way of our discussion!) and therefore the U.S. dollar should be bought. Hmmm. Oh well, I think this too will pass, but for now, we have to let the kids play outside! And before we go on, it’s important to tell you about another non-voting Fed Head who differs in opinion with Bullard. Fed Head Williams who I’m told is a non-voting member this year, but. and that’s a big but and no I’m not going there again! I’m also told that he used to work for Yellen at the SF Fed. So the thought here is that maybe he has an inside to Yellen. Anyway, Williams said that “it makes no sense to start raising rates in the 2nd Half of 2015, and that the Fed needs to keep rates well below the historic norm of 4% even into 2017.” WOW! Now. in my best Andy Rooney voice. Ever Wonder why Bullard got all the press, and Williams not a mention? I think you know what I’m saying here, so I’ll just move along, for these are not the droids we’re looking for! The euro lost about ¼-cent yesterday, and is flat this morning ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, that’s taking place as I write. Remember last month when the markets were convinced that ECB President Draghi, would announce additional stimulus, and I said “hogwash”? Well, who was right then? That’s correct it was little old me! HA! Well, this month, there are still some naysayers to the Chuck way of thinking and they are standing still with their thoughts that additional stimulus is coming from the ECB. Again, I say hogwash! Not now, anyway! Things are not dire in the Eurozone, Germany, the Eurozone’s largest economy, is seeing their economy grow, unemployment drop, and exports remain high, so you have to take a flyer on the additional stimulus in my opinion. So, the weakness in the euro the past two days, will most likely be a thing of the past once we get through today’s ECB meeting. The recent data from the U.K. has really been disappointing, especially given the strength of the data leading up to recent reports. I kept telling you all that the U.K. was not that strong! The recent report that confirms weakness is back is the services data which was very disappointing. And then good old Mark Carney, you know the new Bank of England Gov. and former Gov. of the Bank of Canada, he of the bag of promises that never get out of the bag, is seeing what I was seeing. Carney told a newspaper that “There’s slack in the labor market that needs to be used up before policy makers raise interest rates.” So, the pound sterling backs off its previous lofty levels, that were falsely pumped higher by shaky data. And as usual, Chuck puts his kiss of death on a currency by talking glowingly about it. Yesterday morning, I told you all about the 6 month moves in the Indian rupee, only to see it get whacked overnight, on what Bloomberg calls “technicals”. You know, when a currency reaches a certain point on a chart that tells traders that they need to sell. Long time readers know me, and I’m not a chartist, but I believe that in conjunction with fundamentals they can be useful at times. This is one of those times that I don’t think they are useful. So, maybe this whacking is a good opportunity to buy at cheaper levels than prior to the whacking! Man! I just felt the building move! The light standards overhead are swaying back and forth, it must be a real doozy of a storm outside! Talk about scary! You know when you’re sitting in a chair in a building and you feel like you need to reach for the Dramamine that things are getting weird. OK. my phone just said there’s a tornado in the area and that I need to take shelter, I’m going to step away for a minute. In my best Arnold voice. I’ll be back! China tried to address the economic slowdown in the country by announcing that they will introduce a package of measures to support the economy. The package includes: railway spending and tax relief. And in concert with that announcement, the Chinese also pushed their currency, the renminbi / yuan, down this morning. With the first couple of days this week showing the Chinese allowing appreciation of the renminbi / yuan once again, I thought maybe their “teaching the markets a lesson” was over, and we could get back to the task at hand, which is an appreciating renminbi / yuan. But I guess not! I guess the lesson is not over! Another BRIC currency, the Brazilian real, saw some love yesterday after the Brazilian Central Bank (BCB) hiked rates again, this time 25 Basis Points (1/4%) to an internal Selic rate of 11%… Of course that’s nowhere near where deposits get paid interest, but the point is that rates moved higher again in Brazil, as inflation continues to be a real problem in the country. I would have to think that the BCB is getting pretty close to tying the rate hikes into a bow. So, the real might be left to its own devices. and left to my own devices I probably would. No wait! Didn’t mean to go all Pet Shop Boys on you this morning! Well, yesterday the U.S. Data Cupboard was good to the economy by printing a stronger than expected Feb Factory Orders report. Factory Orders for Feb grew 1.6% VS a -.7% in January. I guess the “bad weather” that affected everything else in February wasn’t at play here, eh? So, good for Factory Orders. Unfortunately, the New York regional manufacturing index fell from 57 to 52 in March. The ADP Employment Change for March printed at 191,000 jobs created, missing the target of 195,000 but the miss was small, so for the folks at home keeping score, this was a good report. not great, but good. Today, we’ll see the Data Cupboard yield the Feb Trade Balance (read deficit!) The Usual Thursday Weekly Jobless Claims, and the Challenger Job Cuts year on year for March. And then tomorrow is the day the markets have been waiting for. the Jobs Jamboree that will show once and for all that the previous months bad reports were damaged by bad weather! Well, that’s what the markets think so far. Well, before I head to the Big Finish, I wanted to comment on a story that hit my email box yesterday from the WSJ, stating that, “for the FIRST TIME within General Motors, executives will be told of vehicle safety problems when they are first reported.” In the words of a local car dealer, Are you kidding me? I just cringe when I hear stuff like this, don’t you? I mean going back to the tech scandals, Enron, and so on, until now, you have to question why, foreigners would look to buy U.S. assets given all these things that continue to be revealed. Investors here in the U.S. have grown comfortably numb to the scandals and just keep buying. Need I say more? For What It’s Worth. I need to do some building of this story first, so here we go. Long ago I read a book by Richard Duncan called “The Dollar Crisis” It sealed my beliefs of the dollar’s future, and when many people over the years would ask me what book should they read to get them started, I would tell them about this book. Since then I’ve read “The New Depression” and “The Corruption of Capitalism” by Richard Duncan. All well worth someone’s time to read. So, seeing that my friend, Bill Bonner, quoted Richard Duncan yesterday certainly caught my eye and led me to relaying that quote to you this morning, dear reader! First of all I need to tell you about Bill Bonner’s new letter titled: Diary of a Rogue Economist. And can be found by clicking: http://www.bonnerandpartners.com/category/dre/ And then Richard Duncan talking about QE. “Duncan expects the coming quarter to produce a record of excess liquidity. The Fed is still pumping liquidity into the market at the rate of $65 billion every month. Meanwhile, it is tax time, so the government’s needs for borrowing will be relatively low. And according to Duncan, the difference between the available liquidity and the need for it in the regular economy has to go somewhere. But after this quarter, the outlook changes. The Fed is scheduled to wind down QE by the end of the year. And the federal government’s rosy budget scenario will begin to fade – meaning more government borrowing. That means the third quarter is expected to produce only a slightly positive excess of liquidity. And in the fourth quarter, says Duncan, the excess turns into a shortage. If the Fed persists in its plans to taper QE, in other words, the third quarter will likely see a selloff in the US stock market. This will give the Fed’s forward guidance a kick in the rearward quarters. Instead of continuing to taper, the Fed will panic. Its entire theory of life… its philosophy… and its sacred religion will be challenged. In its view, credit, prices and stocks must ALWAYS go up. “ Chuck again.. I see that Richard Duncan is in line with my call that the tapering of QE will be stopped this year. To recap. Fed Head James Bullard threw a cat among the pigeons yesterday by pushing the envelope on the timing of the first Fed rate hike. The markets are now taking this newfound feeling that interest rates in the U.S. are going up, to the currency and metals markets, and talking about narrowing rate differentials to the Antipodean currencies, and so on. Chuck believes this is all gobbledygook, but you have to let the kids play outside. Currencies today 4/3/14. American Style: A$ .9240, kiwi .8545, C$ .9080, euro 1.3765, sterling 1.6590, Swiss $1.1275, . European Style: rand 10.6455, krone 5.9835, SEK 6.5110, forint 223.15, zloty 3.0315, koruna 19.9510, RUB 35.55, yen 103.90, sing 1.2625, HKD 7.7575, INR 60.20, China 6.1520, pesos 13.12, BRL 2.2682, Dollar Index 80.25, Oil $99.20, 10-year 2.80%, Silver $19.79, Platinum $1,434.25, Palladium $785.25, and Gold. $1,282.80 That’s it for today. Well, yesterday was our Antione Lawrence’s birthday, and while I knew it before I started writing, I had a brain drain while writing. So, Happy Birthday Antione! I want to thank Cheryl Harper and Jessica Witt, for baking me birthday cakes that were brought in yesterday. I’m always gone on my birthday, so these two got together and decided to bake me my fave cakes for when I returned. A Pineapple upside down cake, and German chocolate cake were so delicious! Then the desk sang Happy Birthday to me, even though it was Antione’s Birthday! I truly appreciate the attention for my birthday, that for the past 6 years I’ve looked forward to so much. Well, it appears that my beloved Cardinals left their bats with hits in them, in Florida, for they’ve only scratched out 8 hits in two games. UGH! And thoughts and prayers are needed for the folks at Ft. Hood, where a 2nd shooting in past 5 years took place yesterday. So sad. And with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today. I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets
Reports have surfaced that tout replacements to platinum and/or palladium. However, these are mostly research projects and are at least two to three years away from commercial viability (some will never make it). It’s quite the dilemma. One of the major reasons we’re so bullish on platinum group metals—palladium, in particular—is because of the intractable problems with supply. But most of the producers are backed into corners, with few options for improving their outlook. There’s simply no way for these metals to avoid a long-term production deficit due to the deep-seated problems with the companies that produce them. So, how to invest? Since we’re talking about profiting from a metals bull market, we could just buy bullion—and we have indeed recommended doing so to our readers. But to really maximize your leverage to the upside (and avoid more risky futures and options), a stock in a company that produces the metal is normally the way to go. Unfortunately, as above, the pickings are slim. For us to invest in a PGM producer, the company would have to be: Outside of South Africa and Russia. The problems with miners in both countries are numerous and difficult. Making money. Many producers are not profitable at current prices because production costs are so high. And they won’t come down when the strikes end—they’ll go up, due to higher wages. Have a strong growth profile. We want a company that can capitalize on burgeoning demand, which would add further leverage to our investment. Have strong management (of course!). The last thing we want is a team with no experience navigating a volatile market such as this. Does such a stock exist? It’s a tall order, but it turns out that the answer is: Yes. The company we recommend in this area meets all the criteria above—and is the safest speculation in this space. We consider it so safe, in fact, that we just “graduated” it from the International Speculator to BIG GOLD. How’s This for Leverage? This profitable mid-tier producer is perfectly positioned: it’s not so small that we’re purely speculating on some uncertain game-changing event, and yet it’s small enough to generate much larger share price gains than would be possible for one of the major mining companies. On the other hand, it’s big enough to catch the attention of mainstream investors. Here are seven reasons why we’re excited about this company and the leverage we think we’ll get by owning shares… #1: Big, High-Grade Assets The company has two distinct but closely related mine sites. These alone will support the company’s growth for many years. However, only nine miles of an estimated 28 miles of known mineralization has been developed between them—essentially one-third of one giant mineralized structure. Management thinks it has an additional 102 million tonnes of undeveloped resources waiting to be dug up. And get this: the average grade of their proven and probable reserves is 0.45 ounces per tonne, the world’s highest-grade PGM deposit. Of these, 78% is palladium, a very attractive figure since we’re even more bullish on it than platinum. At the right metals prices, this company could double or triple production and still maintain a very long mine life. #2: Growing Production and Low Costs The company grew 2013 production by 10,000 ounces, but has yet to use all its milling capacity. It currently uses about 3,600 tonnes per day (tpd) of its 6,000 tpd total capacity. The company is working to increase ore production this year, which is good timing for us. With a much cleaner balance sheet and a forecast of $800-$850 per ounce for all-in sustaining costs (AISC) in 2014, the company looks poised to make money in the current price environment—and a lot of money in the supply squeeze we anticipate. #3: Recycling Business In addition to mining, this company recycles depleted catalyst materials to recover palladium, platinum, and rhodium at its smelter and base metal refinery. It’s been doing this since 1997, and business is booming. Pre-tax earnings last year rose a whopping 233% over 2012. And management says it will expand this end of their business over the next few years. #4: Strong Financial Performance This company reported over a billion dollars of revenue last year, up nearly 30% from 2012. It finished the year with a very strong working capital position of almost a half billion dollars. #5: Unique North American Operations The company is one of only a few PGM producers in North America. Nearly all other PGM mines operate in South Africa (Impala, Amplats, Lonmin, etc.) or Russia (Norilsk). Therefore, this company is more stable than most that mine in other jurisdictions. #6: Upgraded Management A prior management team made a poor investment in Argentina a few years back, which led to major changes in the board of directors and top management last year. The new president and CEO is a 21-year industry veteran and has experience in both M&A and mine optimization. He’s already corrected past mistakes, and we’re happy with the direction he’s taken the company. The technical people on the ground seem competent and are getting admirable results. And finally… #7: We’ve Been There! Our Chief Metals Investment Strategist Louis James conducted a due diligence trip to the company’s operations last year, and says: I liked the story when I visited and considered it to be the company to buy in a safe mining jurisdiction. But I didn’t want to bet on the team in place at the time. Flash forward and now it’s under new management, which is very focused on cutting costs and expanding the core business. The company’s results for 2013 were quite impressive, and I expect them to get better going forward. I’m convinced this company is uniquely positioned to benefit from potential supply shortages. Coupled with a likely rise in demand from the global auto industry in the years ahead and this stock is a very attractive play. Here’s a picture from his visit. Platinum demand in India is expected to grow 35% this year. The Russian government has been reportedly buying palladium from local producers, since it appears its stockpiles are near exhaustion. Exports ticked higher last month, but that was likely in anticipation of potential sanctions. Existing stockpiles of these metals have dwindled. Based on prior estimates from Citigroup, only nine weeks of palladium and 22 weeks of platinum supplies remain—and half of those are in Russia. Standard Bank projects that stockpiled material from South African producers will run out in a month or less. The key point is that platinum and palladium supply is in a structural deficit. Prices will pull back when the strikes end—and that is your opportunity. The bull market in these metals is really just getting underway. And we have the primo pick in the space. The shares of this stock would have to climb 50% just to match its 2011 highs—and that’s without the platinum/palladium supply crunch we’re speculating on. As you’ve surmised by now, I can’t give away the name of this stock in fairness to paid subscribers. But you can get it by giving BIG GOLD a risk-free try. You’ll receive our full analysis and specific buy guidance, along with an exclusive discount on a popular gold coin in the June issue. And, if you want the absolute safest way to invest in PGMs, check out the options recommended in the May issue of BIG GOLD. If you’re not 100% satisfied with the newsletter, simply cancel during the 3-month trial period for a full refund—no questions asked. Whatever you do though, don’t miss out on the best stock pick in the PGM bull market. Start your no-risk subscription to BIG GOLD right now. Holdings of physically backed palladium ETFs continue to hit record highs. In less than two months, a half million ounces were added to ETFs. Fund holdings will likely continue to climb and push the palladium market further into deficit. Pay dirt: this is what the company’s palladium-platinum mineralization looks like before blasting. You can see the closely spaced holes that will be blasted a fraction of a second before the surrounding ones—in successive waves—so the ore is blasted inward. This high-grade resource in a safe and stable jurisdiction is the heart of our speculation. The Only Stock to Buy, in a Market Backed into a Corner Johnson Matthey, the world’s leading authority on PGMs, estimates the platinum market will register a deficit of at least 1.2 million ounces this year. This would be the largest shortfall since it first compiled data in 1975. While it will take an enormous amount of time and expense to recover from the strikes in South Africa, that’s only the first layer of problems for the industry: According to consultancy GFMS, 300,000 ounces of platinum and 165,000 ounces of palladium could be lost after the strikes end, as it will take time and money to ramp up to full capacity—if that’s even possible since some mines have been damaged. The Implats CEO said it will take his company at least three months to return to full production, and they’ve already put the development of three new replacement shafts in the Rustenburg area on hold. Anglo American announced just last week that it plans to sell its platinum operations. Some recyclers announced they are holding back on sales, as they believe prices will move higher. Auto sales in the US, China, and Europe, the three biggest regions by consumption, were up 12% through May over 2013.
As head of New York City’s correctional health services, Dr. Homer Venters spent nine years overseeing the care of thousands of inmates in the jails on Rikers Island. Though he left Rikers in 2017, what he witnessed on the job has stayed with him.”What’s important to consider about jail settings is that they are incredibly dehumanizing, and they dehumanize the individuals who pass through them,” Venters says. “There is not really a true respect for the rights of the detained.”Venters is now a senior health and justice fellow at Community Oriented Correctional Health Services. In his new book, Life and Death in Rikers Island, he describes a number of traumatic outcomes related to what he says was subpar medical care at the jail complex, including the death of Carlos Mercado, a man with diabetes who was denied insulin during the intake process.”This type of death really shows, in a very stark way, how jails confer health risk to people,” Venters says. “For a person to know that they are insulin-dependent — to report that and then for any state institution to fail to act on that, really puts the onus and responsibility for this man’s death directly on the jail system.”During his tenure at Rikers, Venters pushed to improve the electronic medical records system, allowing health data from the jail to be shared with outside agencies, including the Department of Justice. He sees it as a first step in a larger effort to address abusive conditions and improve inmate care.Working at Rikers, Venters says, “left me with a zeal to continue this work all over the country. … The problems of Rikers are in many cases the problems of jails and prisons everywhere in the United States.”Interview highlightsOn his first time at Rikers IslandI happened to go there for the first time on a day where there was a very strong snowstorm. As someone was showing me around some of the facilities, the snow was coming down so quickly it really did seem like a scene from a sci-fi movie. I couldn’t believe that the structures looming up one after the other were real. [And] the yelling coming out — the two biggest and most well-constructed facilities at the time on the island were these big buildings that look like hotels. But they were built for solitary confinement, so people [were] screaming and yelling out of those big structures, through this very thick snowfall. It left an indelible impression on me.On not being able to find patients who need medical care because of delays in paperwork and an antiquated paper logging systemPatients would be moved from one housing area to another, and sometimes their move would be updated a couple of days later. Somebody would have to type it into a computer system. But it would mostly be updated on a paper-based log. Since I left they’ve started implementing some wristbands that could be scanned, but it’s the same problem — an officer has to do something, [and] you have to affirmatively track it.So for us with a big health service — thousands of patients on medications every single day — we had pharmacy technicians, psychologists [and] nurses who were working hard just to find the patients who had missed medicines — who could be facing a life-threatening event if they miss that medicine. It was so routine that we couldn’t find our patients that there was no thought that we could find everybody who didn’t get their medicine today. But we would make short lists of the people who missed medicines that were what we would call “life-sustaining medicines,” or who could face a very dire health outcome, and that expenditure of energy for that purpose would become revealed when patients had very bad outcomes.On tracking data about inmates sustaining injuries from correctional officersOne data point that’s really incredible to consider is that there was a time when, if an adolescent was in a violent conflict with someone in Rikers Island, if the conflict was with a correctional officer they were more likely to sustain a blow to the head than if the conflict was with another inmate. It’s stunning, because obviously correctional officers have enormous amounts of training about avoiding blows to the head. … And also you would think that most inmate fights start with a shot to the head. But that data point alone … we could only do because we had developed this injury surveillance system. But it was one of many that we pushed to the D.O.J.On what data revealed about solitary confinementThe other big data set that we found very, very helpful is we did a large-scale analysis — I think the first-ever large scale analysis — of exposure to solitary confinement. We looked at 225,000 jail admissions and we found that the people … exposed to solitary confinement had about seven times higher risk of being a self-harm cohort. That is to say, to physically harm themselves. That data set … helped us really push the Department of Corrections to move from wanting more solitary confinement for mentally ill people, to actually eliminate the practice of solitary confinement for persons with serious mental illness.On the conditions of solitary confinement units, where raw sewage often overflows because of clogged toiletsIt is horrific but also dehumanizing. It really reflects quite well the end result of the practice of solitary confinement. That is to say, you have officers trying to act as if they are conducting normal business. You have patients with mental health problems who are decompensating [– functionally deteriorating under the stress –] or simply doing extreme things to try and get out of there. You have health staff coming on and off those units as quickly as they can, because while they want to protect their patients, they also are seeing this day after day after day. …I’ve been inside these cells to talk to patients multiple times when they’ve smeared feces all over the inside of the cell. Or they’re working to light a fire inside their cell. It’s just very, very extreme behaviors and any one of these observations should be enough to reaffirm that this is a horrible practice– that we should have never built this unit and we need to back away from its use everywhere.On if he believes Rikers Island should closeThe closing of Rikers is absolutely necessary. It’s not sufficient to transform the criminal justice system in New York City to become more humane, but it’s necessary. The jails that are in operation are crumbling. If you’re a correctional officer, almost anywhere you work, any housing area, any hallway, any intake pen is so dilapidated and falling apart that inmates easily can arm themselves — and do for their own protection — with bits of hardened material that are broken off from walls; from pipes; from ceilings.I think the other important element to this is that we have much more work to do to lower the jail population. We’ve made great strides in New York City, more than most big cities have. There were probably [22,000 to] 23,000 people in the jails when [Rudolph] Giuliani was mayor. It’s now under 8,000, so really incredible progress. But there is much more work that can be done to create alternatives that involve treatment for people with serious mental illness, and also to really develop supportive housing, which is an important element to why people cycle in and out of jail. [There’s] a lack of stable housing. [Housing] can also involve treatment for addiction and for mental health problems.Roberta Shorrock and Seth Kelley produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for Shots. Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.
What sounds like music to us may just be noise to a macaque monkey.That’s because a monkey’s brain appears to lack critical circuits that are highly sensitive to a sound’s pitch, a team reported Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.The finding suggests that humans may have developed brain areas that are sensitive to pitch and tone in order to process the sounds associated with speech and music.”The macaque monkey doesn’t have the hardware,” says Bevil Conway, an investigator at the National Institutes of Health. “The question in my mind is, what are the monkeys hearing when they listen to Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony?”The study began with a bet between Conway and Sam Norman-Haignere, who was a graduate student at the time.Norman-Haignere, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, was part of a team that found evidence that the human brain responds to a sound’s pitch.”I was like, well if you see that and it’s a robust finding you see in humans, we’ll see it in monkeys,” Conway says.But Norman-Haignere thought monkey brains might be different.”Honestly, I wasn’t sure,” Norman-Haignere says. “I mean that’s usually a sign of a good experiment, you know, when you don’t know what the outcome is.”So the two scientists and several colleagues used a special type of MRI to monitor the brains of six people and five macaque monkeys as they listened to a range of sounds through headphones.Some of the sounds were more like music, where changes in pitch are obvious.Other sounds were more like noise.And Conway says it didn’t take long to realize he’d lost his bet.”In humans you see this beautiful organization, pitch bias, and it’s clear as day,” Conway says. In monkeys, he says, “we see nothing.”That surprised Conway because his own research had shown that the two species are nearly identical when it comes to processing visual information.”When I look at something, I’m pretty sure that the monkey is seeing the same thing that I’m seeing,” he says. “But here in the auditory domain it seems fundamentally different.”The study didn’t try to explain why sounds would be processed differently in a human brain. But one possibility involves our exposure to speech and music.”Both speech and music are highly complex structured sounds,” Norman-Haignere says, “and it’s totally plausible that the brain has developed regions that are highly tuned to those structures.”That tuning could be the result of “something in our genetic code that causes those regions to develop the way they are and to be located where they are,” Norman-Haignere says.Or, he says, it could be that these brain regions develop as children listen to music and speech.Regardless, subtle changes in pitch and tone seem to be critical when people want to convey emotion,” Conway says.”You can know whether or not I’m angry or sad or questioning or confused, and you can get almost all of that meaning just from the tone,” he says. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
However, the company still does not have any black or African American employees in leadership positions, and its technical positions still have a ways to go in terms of diversity. “Our gender imbalance remains. And we still have a lot of work to do to ensure we are building an inclusive culture,” Wanstrath wrote.The company plans to make changes on its recruitment processes, look beyond formal education and base people on their skills, provide more training to its staff, expand its benefits to include fertility treatments and transgender healthcare, and build more partnerships.Going forward, the company is expected to release diversity updates annually and share any lessons it learns throughout its diversity journey.“I’ve personally learned a great deal over the past few years,” wrote Wanstrath. “One huge lesson for me has been learning that everyone has the potential to be a great developer, but not everyone has the opportunity. That’s something we want to fix in our company and our community, and I invite you to join us in doing so.”The full report is available here. GitHub is releasing its diversity data to the public for the first time, and just like the rest of the industry, the company still has a long way to go. The company hoped by publicly releasing its diversity and inclusion statistics it can be more transparent about the progress GitHub is making, and where it still needs to grow.“At GitHub our goal is to help everyone build better software. To do that, we know we must create a company where anyone, regardless of what they look like or where they come from, can grow and thrive,” wrote Chris Wanstrath, CEO and cofounder of GitHub, in a blog post. “When we deliberately seek different perspectives, life experiences and identities, we can build better products for developers all around the world.”(Related: Women in technology need role models and mentors)According to GitHub, women of color make up 10% of its workforce today, compared to less than 1% in 2014. In addition, the number of women in leadership roles has grown to 35%, and the number of overall women has grown from 21% to 36%. Latinos make up 6% of the company’s U.S. workforce, and employees who identify as transgender, genderqueer or nonbinary make up more than 1%. “We are proud that these are all growing segments of our company,” Wanstrath wrote.