Microsoft Announces Its Tablet

first_imgThe two versions are differentiated by more than just their capacity. The 32-GB version features the Windows RT operating system, which is Microsoft’s mobile version of its Windows OS. The 64-GB device will feature a full version 8 of Windows. Additionally, the 32-GB Surface has stepped-down USB 2.0 and MicroSD slots. The smaller Surface is also lighter—676 grams versus 903 grams on the 64-GB version.The Surface, as many of the reports are noting, is a very different tactical move for Microsoft in that it’s producing a piece of hardware—something that Bloomberg Businesweek’s Ashlee Vance points out is competitive to not only Apple, but other PC makers such as HP, Dell and Acer. It’s also a move that, like it or not, veers Microsoft much closer to Apple’s hardware/software strategic playbook. As of yet, no pricing information is available. Microsoft has announced that it’s entering in the tablet arms race with its own product, a touchscreen tablet called Surface that will debut in two versions this fall.The company is stretching the term a bit, Surface’s cover is actually a 3mm-thick keyboard (that comes in 5 different colors) and the device features a “kickstand” that swings out from the back to prop the tablet up. Lean-back goes to lean-forward.Other features include a 10.6-inch display, cameras on the front and back, a USB port and a MicroSD card slot to handle more media. last_img read more

Game of Thrones writers sign a huge multiyear deal with Netflix

first_img Game of Thrones Netflix 3:38 50 Photos Tags Game of Thrones season 8 VFX breakdown Post a comment 2019 TV shows you can’t miss David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have signed an overall deal to develop new films and series for Netflix pic.twitter.com/57gLQOSTLE— See What’s Next (@seewhatsnext) August 7, 2019center_img Share your voice 0 In a joint statement, the pair said, “We’ve had a beautiful run with HBO for more than a decade and we’re grateful to everyone there for always making us feel at home.” They say they are “honored” Netflix has brought them on board.”We are thrilled to welcome master storytellers David Benioff and Dan Weiss to Netflix,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, in a statement. “They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling. We can’t wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members.”A brief glance at the response to this new signing, on Twitter, isn’t particularly kind to D&D. Some users balked at the signing just days after Netflix cancelled The OA.The anger stems from a divisive final season of Thrones. Many fans have torched the Game of Thrones creators after they failed to stick the landing in the show’s final year. Even though the public response was relatively brutal, the show managed to rack up 32 Emmy nominations this year. TV and Movies Now playing: Watch this: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Jeff Kravitz The two minds behind HBO’s mega-hit turned mega-disappointment Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have struck a multiyear deal with Netflix, according to a report by Deadline on Wednesday. The duo will create exclusive content for the streaming giant outside their deal with Disney to direct an upcoming Star Wars trilogy.D&D, as they’ve come to be known, were in high demand, with media giants Netflix, Amazon and Disney all in talks to secure their services. Netflix ultimately won out with sources telling the Hollywood Reporter the deal is worth $200 million and will include film and TV projects. The pair had spent over 10 years at HBO working on Game of Thrones.last_img read more

After posting bold picture for Virat Rohit Mahika Sharma makes fun of

first_imgMahika Sharma in middle.InstagramControversial actress Mahika Sharma has now made a big fun of Pakistan cricket team, after they lost the world cup match against India.Earlier before the match, Pakistan launched an ad making fun of wing- commander Abhinandan Varthaman asking him to enjoy a cup of tea. In reply to that, Mahika Sharma posted a message to Pakistan on her Instagram account.The post reads, “Pakistan. A kind request to you people atleast bring some hot and sexy captain like Shahid Afridi next time to treat the eyes of girls. Because you can never treat yourself with a victory from we Indians. You can only enjoy the time before the game by teasing us with your nonsense ideas like Abhinandan Ad. Lets enjoy a cup of tea guys. Hope if not cricket Sarfaraz Ahmed makes a good tea.”Earlier Mahika also revealed her crush for Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi and had said that she won’t mind getting intimate with him.On Sunday, Mahika also posted her semi-nude picture teasing Indian cricketers Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli,  calling them ‘naughty daddy’.last_img read more

One killed in Coxs Bazar gunfight

first_imgA Prothom Alo IllustrationA person was killed in what the law enforcement called a gunfight with members of Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar early Monday, reports UNB.According to BGB, the deceased who could not be known yet was a drug trader.Md Faisal Hasan Khan, BGB commanding officer of Teknaf-2, said on information that a group of smugglers entering the country from Myanmar with a consignment of yaba a BGB team went to Hlila Jadimura border area on the bank of Naf river.Sensing their presence, the smugglers opened fire on the law enforcers forcing them to fire back in self defence, triggering a gunfight, he said.Later, a team of police led by Teknaf model police outpost sub-inspector Sujit recovered a bullet-hit body, 50,000 yaba pills, a locally made gun from the spot.The body was sent to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital for autopsy.last_img read more

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

first_imgStudents hold candles during a vigil in Christchurch on March 18, 2019, three days after a shooting incident at two mosques in the city that claimed the lives of 50 Muslim worshippers. New Zealand will tighten gun laws in the wake of its worst modern-day massacre, the government said on March 18, as it emerged that the white supremacist accused of carrying out the killings at two mosques will represent himself in court. AFPThey came together as one, more than 1,000 students from rival Christchurch schools and different religions, joining voices to honor the 50 lives lost in a massacre that has deeply wounded the cozy New Zealand city.In a park across from the Al Noor mosque, where dozens were killed by a white supremacist gunman, the students sat on the grass in Monday’s fading daylight, lifting flickering candles to the sky as they sang a traditional Maori song.Hundreds then stood to perform a passionate, defiant haka, the famed ceremonial dance of the indigenous Maori people.For many, joining the vigil for the victims of the mass shooting was a much-needed opportunity to soothe their minds after a wrenching few days.Most of the students spent hours locked down in their schools on Friday as police tried to determine if any other shooters were involved in the attacks.Those at the vigil told harrowing tales of being forced to hide under classroom tables or on a school stage behind a curtain, of being instructed not to speak, and to urinate in a bucket rather than risk leaving the classroom for a bathroom.Sarah Liddell, 17, said many of her peers felt intense anxiety since the attack. There was a sense of safety in coming together on Monday, she said.”I feel like it’s just really important to show everyone that one act of violence doesn’t define a whole city,” she said. “This is one of the best ways to show everyone coming together. Some schools have little funny rivalries, but in times like this we all just come together and that’s all forgotten.”The students draped a fence along the park with chains of colorful paper notes, each emblazoned with messages of love and hope and sorrow: “You are not alone.” ”This is your home. You are part of us.” ”We all bleed the same colour.”For 17-year-old Portia Raharaha, who attended the vigil with other students from her Catholic high school, watching the haka was particularly moving.”All the races combining, all students, all ages, both genders, we’re all just coming together,” Raharaha said. “It definitely makes you feel like New Zealand really does come together in a time of darkness and we can really just be who we are,” she said. “Nothing has really changed. Maybe it’s shaken us, but it really hasn’t changed us.”After the ceremony officially ended, many lingered, standing in circles, arms draped around each other’s shoulders, singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and Maori songs. People wandered around with “free hugs” signs, embracing those in need. There were tears, but also smiles.The students’ vigil was a striking and healing counterpoint to Monday’s developments in the mass shooting.A Christchurch gun shop acknowledged selling guns online to the 28-year-old white supremacist accused of killing 50 people in shootings at two mosques that have upturned New Zealand’s reputation as one of the world’s most tolerant and safe nations.At a news conference, Gun City owner David Tipple said the store sold four guns and ammunition to Brenton Harrison Tarrant through a “police-verified online mail order process.” The store “detected nothing extraordinary” about the buyer, he said.Separately, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said gun law reforms would be announced within 10 days and an inquiry conducted into intelligence and security services that failed to detect the risk from the attacker or his plans. There have been concerns intelligence agencies were overly focused on the Muslim community in detecting and preventing security risks.Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police are certain that Tarrant was the only gunman but aren’t ruling out that he had support.”I would like tostate that we believe absolutelythere was only one attackerresponsible for this,” he said at a news conference. “That doesn’tmean there weren’t possibly otherpeople in support and that continuesto form a very, very important partof our investigation.”None of the guns sold to Tarrant were military-style, semi-automatic weapons, according to Tipple. It was not clear if any of the firearms Tarrant purchased from Gun City were used in the shootings.In vowing to tighten gun laws, Ardern has said the attacker used five guns, two of them semi-automatic, which were purchased with an ordinary gun license and modified.Tipple said he was disgusted by the killings but felt no responsibility for the tragedy and refused to say whether he believed gun ownership laws should change in New Zealand, insisting that a debate over guns should be held at another time.His store has been criticized, in the wake of the shootings, for leaving out a roadside advertising billboard that shows a parent helping children with rifle target practice.Tarrant, an Australian citizen who lived in New Zealand, appeared Saturday in court, where the judge read one murder charge and said more would likely follow.Tarrant had posted a muddled, 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto online before the attacks and apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to stream live video of the slaughter.Relatives of the dead are now anxiously awaiting word on when they can bury their loved ones. Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.Ardern has said authorities hope to release all the bodies by Wednesday and police said authorities are working with pathologists and coroners to complete the task as soon as they can.Members of the Muslim community and police were at a cemetery that has been fenced off and obscured with white netting. Backhoes had stopped digging and police officers said they were setting up a media area inside the cemetery.Kawthar Abulaban, 54, who survived the shooting at the Al Noor mosque, came to the cemetery to see the preparations. She did not mind the row of photographers and reporters lined up outside.”It’s good for the world to see what’s happened because people around the world, they thought we were terrorists because some stupid people, they said they are Muslims, they go and kill innocent people,” said Abulaban, who migrated to New Zealand from Jordan 17 years ago.”I will not change my opinion about New Zealand. It’s my country,” she said. “You know I have lots of support, lots of love, lots of kindness from all of the New Zealand people.”last_img read more

Judge Separated Families Must Be Reunited Within 30 Days

first_imgA judge in California on Tuesday ordered U.S. border authorities to reunite separated families within 30 days, setting a hard deadline in a process that has so far yielded uncertainty about when children might again see their parents.If children are younger than 5, they must be reunified within 14 days of the order issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego. Sabraw, an appointee of President George W. Bush, also issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or doesn’t want to be with the child. He also requires the government provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days.More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in recent weeks and placed in government-contracted shelters — hundreds of miles away, in some cases — under a now-abandoned policy toward families caught illegally entering the U.S.Amid an international outcry, Trump last week issued an executive order to stop the separation of families and said parents and children will instead be detained together. A Department of Homeland Security statement over the weekend on reuniting families only seemed to sow more confusion.“The facts set forth before the Court portray reactive governance_responses to address a chaotic circumstance of the Government’s own making,” Sabraw wrote. “They belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution.”The ruling was a win for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit in March involving a 7-year-old girl who was separated from her Congolese mother and a 14-year-old boy who was separated from his Brazilian mother.“Tears will be flowing in detention centers across the country when the families learn they will be reunited,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.The Justice and Homeland Security Departments did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Tuesday.It’s not clear how border authorities will meet the deadline. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Congress on Tuesday that his department still has custody of 2,047 immigrant children separated from their parents at the border. That is only six fewer children than the number in HHS custody as of last Wednesday. Democratic senators said that wasn’t nearly enough progress.Under questioning, Azar refused to be pinned down on how long it will take to reunite families. He said his department does extensive vetting of parents to make sure they are not traffickers masquerading as parents.Also challenging will be the requirement the judge set on phone contact.At a Texas detention facility, immigrant advocates complained that parents have gotten busy signals or no answers from a 1-800 number provided by federal authorities to get information about their children.Attorneys have spoken to about 200 immigrants at the Port Isabel detention facility near Los Fresnos, Texas, since last week, and only a few knew where their children were being held, said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia.“The U.S. government never had any plan to reunite these families that were separated,” Sandoval-Moshenberg said, and now it is “scrambling to undo this terrible thing that they have done.”A message left for HHS, which runs the hotline, was not immediately returned.Many children in shelters in southern Texas have not had contact with their parents, though some have reported being allowed to speak with them in recent days, said Meghan Johnson Perez, director of the Children’s Project for the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, which provides free legal services to minors.“Things might be changing now. The agencies are trying to coordinate better,” she said. “But the kids we have been seeing have not been in contact with the parents. They don’t know where the parent is. They’re just distraught. Their urgent need is just trying to figure out, ‘Where is my parent?’”The decision comes as 17 states, including New York and California, sued the Trump administration Tuesday to force it to reunite children and parents. The states, all led by Democratic attorneys general, joined Washington, D.C., in filing the lawsuit in federal court in Seattle, arguing that they are being forced to shoulder increased child welfare, education and social services costs. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the multistate lawsuit.“The administration’s practice of separating families is cruel, plain and simple,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement. “Every day, it seems like the administration is issuing new, contradictory policies and relying on new, contradictory justifications. But we can’t forget: The lives of real people hang in the balance.”In a speech before the conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Los Angeles, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the administration for taking a hardline stand on illegal immigration and said the voters elected President Donald Trump to do just that.“This is the Trump era,” he said. “We are enforcing our laws again. We know whose side we are on — so does this group — and we’re on the side of police, and we’re on the side of the public safety of the American people.”After expressing reluctance in May to get too deeply involved in immigration enforcement decisions, the judge who issued Tuesday’s ruling was clearly influenced by Trump’s reversal last week and the Homeland Security Department’s statement on its family reunification plan Saturday night, which, he said, left many questions unanswered.“This situation has reached a crisis level. The news media is saturated with stories of immigrant families being separated at the border. People are protesting. Elected officials are weighing in. Congress is threatening action,” he wrote.Outraged by the family separations, immigrant supporters have led protests in recent days in states such as Florida and Texas. In Los Angeles, police arrested 25 demonstrators at rally Tuesday ahead of Sessions’ address.Outside the U.S. attorney’s office, protesters carried signs reading, “Free the children!” and “Stop caging families.” Clergy members blocked the street by forming a human chain. Police handcuffed them and led them away.Later, protesters gathered outside the hotel where Sessions gave his speech. As the attorney general’s motorcade arrived, the crowd chanted, “Nazi, go home.” Sharelast_img read more

Arthur Sherman Evans Jr Award Winning Educator Dies

first_imgArthur Evans, Jr., a long-time professor at Florida Atlantic University, who also served as the school’s chair of the Department of Sociology, died Dec. 11 after a prolonged battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. He was 66.Arthur Sherman Evans, Jr. (Courtesy Photo)Evans was born to Arthur and Evelyn Evans in Baltimore, Oct. 19, 1951. He was educated in the public school system. He attended Delaware State College, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Sociology in 1973. He later attained his Masters degree from Kansas State University in 1975 and his Doctorate degree in 1978, also at Kansas State.It was at Kansas State, where he met and fell in love with Annette Mirocke, who he was married to for 39 years.He began his teaching career at Indiana University in 1978, then two years later landed at Florida Atlantic University, where he served in various capacities including chair of the Sociology Department and director of Ethnic Studies. Evans authored several scholarly papers and publications and won various research and teaching awards, including the “Degree of Difference,” award at Florida Atlantic. He is the only person in the school’s history to win the honor twice.Evans leaves to mourn: his wife Annette Evans, his only son Damien Ross, father Arthur S. Evans, Sr., two brothers, Dr. Anthony Evans and Maurice Evans, a sister Beverly E. Johnson, three grandchildren, a great grandson, and many other family members and friends.last_img read more

Firefox OS Simulator offers playpen for primetime

first_img(Phys.org)—Mozilla is inviting developers to play around with its experimental Firefox OS Simulator. The Firefox OS Simulator is a Firefox add-on for web developers who would be interested in building apps for Mozilla’s coming mobile Firefox operating system. The simulator will make it easier for developers to stay current with future updates to Firefox OS. Mozilla has talked for a while about a mobile operating system of its own, Firefox OS, and in July this year boasted of growing global industry support behind such an idea of a fully open mobile ecosystem based on HTML5. The advantage was seen by the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor who were backing the open Firefox OS as an “exciting new entrant” to the smartphone marketplace. Now Mozilla has made a prototype simulator available for developers, though technology bloggers note that it is definitely “early alpha.” No matter what downsides might be attached to an early-alpha experience, the history of Firefox and its historic role in the open source community is always seen as a winning factor for Mozilla, and will be a factor in raising developer interest for working with its mobile OS. This is an open platform. Mozilla’s Andreas Gal, speaking recently at a London event said, “The goal is not to lock people into our services, but to create a level playing field.” Developers will use the web as a basis for apps, capable of building a single app that works on many platforms. Mozilla has said that its OS advantage is in the fact that it would be free from the encumbrances of the rules and restrictions of proprietary platforms.Mozilla’s initial market target will be an optimized platform for entry-level smartphones. Rather than trying to win a race with iOS, Android, or any other mobile system, reports are that Mozilla’s focus will be on an operating system to power the most affordable phones. The first Firefox OS devices are expected to go on sale in 2013. Alcatel and ZTE are the first manufacturers to climb on board. Mozilla unleashes sleek new Firefox Web browser © 2012 Phys.org What’s more, TCL Communication Technology and ZTE announced intentions to manufacture the first devices to feature the new Firefox OS, using Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm. The Firefox OS for mobile devices is built on Mozilla’s “Boot to Gecko project” which resolves limitations of web development for mobile computing, in that it allows HTML5 applications to access the capabilities of a phone that otherwise are only available to native applications. Standards-based web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) are at play here and, as Technology Review commented, “the OS has Web DNA through and through.” More information: www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefoxos/ 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. Citation: Firefox OS Simulator offers playpen for primetime (2012, November 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-firefox-os-simulator-playpen-primetime.html Explore furtherlast_img read more

Being your own master is another kind of high

first_imgSinging, songwriting, beatboxing, live looping, and producing sounds with an array of gadgets on stage, this one woman army does it all by herself. Blending classical Indian, folk and western contemporary styles, Vasudha Sharma enlivens her audience through her music. Being out on a solo journey is a conscious decision? No, I am not trying to do it individually. I do collaborate and jam with other musicians at times. It’s just that I like to make my basic compositions and then get others on board. I like to control the inception phase. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Your music carries Indian folk and western sensibilities at the same time, how did this come about?I made a great leap that way. When I was four, my summer vacations were spent learning braj music in Mathura. I had no inkling of even Bollywood music back then. After I joined Hindu college for my graduation, I was introduced to Alanis Morissette. That’s when I started imbibing her style of music; you know the way youngsters do. That was my transition from Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflixbraj rasiya to western.And which way did you decide to go from that juncture?I was really confused as I knew very little about western music. Then I got this scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston,USA. That’s when I decided to delve into western theory of music. Now, I can fuse both the styles together.Coming back to India, you dabbled in Bollywood as the music director of ‘Sharukh Bola Khubsoorat Hai Tu’. (Cuts in) I used to frequently visit Prithvi theatre for plays. One day I saw Makrand Deshpande in a café. I casually went up and told him that I was a singer songwriter and would like to make music for theatre. A year later or so, this offer came along.Bollywood, indie music or both, which way do you plan to steer ahead?Being your own master is another kind of high. I love the space I am in. I am producing my own album Attuned Spirits, for which I had recorded some songs in Boston. Jaagi Jaagi Raina, one of the singles from the album is already out in the market. I am enjoying the way things are panning out for me.last_img read more

Webel to set up 3D printing institute on behalf of ITE dept

first_imgKolkata: The state Information Technology & Electronics (IT&E) department is working on to set up an institution on 3D printing and Webel has been given the responsibility to set up this institute on behalf ofthe department. “We have already come up with a state-of-the-art animation academy and there is a 90 percent chance of employability after completing the course from this academy. We are hopeful of coming up with an institution on 3D printing. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeWe will not only train people but also provide assistance in taking up business ventures on this,” a senior official of the state IT&E department said on the sidelines of Edtech 2018 organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). “The state government is leaving no stone unturned to position Bengal as the centre of animation, 3D printing and emerging technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Embedded Technology, Cyber Security etc,” said Debashis Sen, state Additional Chief Secretary of IT&E department at the inaugural session of the event. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe state IT&E department will soon hold a meeting with the state School Education department and place a proposal to encourage students to learn programming from school level. “We have roped in PWC for doing a detailed research in Bengal and India in the area of emerging technologies. We have found that the way in which AI is opening up job opportunities we have to make our students learn one or two programming like C+, Python or Java right from school level. This will also help them develop logical thinking right from an early age,” Sen added. It may be mentioned that China is imparting programming lessons right from Class III for a long time and is a global leader in emerging technologies for quite some time. In order to create a buzz, the state government has been organising knowledge workshops every month. “Blockchain Congress scheduled for December 18 and 19 at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre in New Town as Kolkata is a part of this endeavour,” Sen maintained.last_img read more

Blending traditional music from South and North India

first_imgExperimenting in the field of art, The Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) recently organised a mesmerising program in its auditorium where two senior artists from two different genres of Indian classical music tradition performed.Enlightening the evening in the capital were well-known flute player of the North Indian Music tradition (Hindustani style) Pandit Ronu Mazumdar and Saraswati Veena Maestro Jayenti Kumaresh, who performed a ‘jugalbandi’. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDoing justice to the theme of the event, the artists who mastered in two different styles of music were seen engaged in absolute chemistry together. Jugalbandi which was based on the ragas from the 13th-14th century – the time when there were no such things like the Carnatic and Hindustani style in India but only the Indian classical music existedThe evening started with the North-South Ragas in which Pandit Ronu Majumdar played ‘puri’ and ‘Sohini’ Raga on his flute while Jayanti Kumaresh chanted the song of Saraswati Veena on the string of Saraswati Veena – which was composed in metaphor rhythm. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAfter this, both of them performed Karharprariya, Kaphi , Alap, Joda, Jhala, Ragas, which were composed in aadi taal and teen taal.Jayanti Kumarasad performed aadi taal on the Veena and Ronu Majumdar presented teen taal on the flute. The program concluded with “Sri Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhajaman” Bhajan. In this Jugal Bandi the performance of Arjun Kumar, well-known tabla player and Abhijeet Banerjee on Mridangam were also appreciated.This unique event witnessed the presence of many scholars of Indian music including the famous dancer, Dr Sonal Mansingh, Dr Sachchidand Joshi, Member Secretary of Indira Gandhi National Art Center and others.last_img read more

This Wearable Chair Looks Ridiculous But It Solves a Real Problem

first_img 2 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Look, it’s fairly easy to dismiss The Chairless Chair — a wearable exoskeleton developed by Swiss company Noonee that allows you to sit wherever — as a ridiculous piece of technology.But once you shake off the initial giggles of seeing someone wearing a robot suit and squatting by their workstation, the applications of the device become clear. For people who work with heavy machinery or on production lines or do other jobs that require long periods of standing, The Chairless Chair could be a lifesaver.Related: Google Glass Enterprise Edition Is Ready for WorkSitting is not always feasible in those kinds of environments, due to the clutter chairs could create. And standing in non-ergonomic positions for long periods of time can lead to joint issues. The company claims its product could lead to fewer employee absences caused by injuries.The Chairless Chair supports up to 220 pounds in each leg and locks into place when its user wants to sit. It then unlocks when the wearer stands up to walk.Related: Why Warren Buffett Is Investing in Wearable TechKeith Gunura, co-founder and CEO of Noonee, told Fortune that Audi, BMW, Daimler and Airbus are interested in The Chairless Chair.He said in a video (below) that the company sought to create a “simple exoskeleton that solves just one problem.” It plans to produce around 10,000 units over the summer. July 26, 2017center_img Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.last_img read more

Software glitch causes check in delays at airports worldwide

first_imgTags: Airports, Amadeus MADRID — Authorities say passengers at airports around the world have suffered some delays because of a problem with check-in systems.The Spain-based company Amadeus, which provides software to airports, airlines and the tourism industry, confirmed Thursday that a network issue caused disruption to some of its systems and services.It said its technical teams identified the cause of the problem and services were gradually being restored.It would not say how many airlines or airports were affected.London’s Heathrow airport said a small number of airlines were experiencing intermittent issues with their check-in systems at airports around the world. It said there might be delays but that passengers would be able to check in. Share Software glitch causes check in delays at airports worldwide Source: The Associated Press Thursday, September 28, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

We love our travel agents Norwegian toasts new YHMDublin direct service

first_imgTags: Dublin, Hamilton, New Routes, Norwegian Air, Tourism Ireland About Latest Posts Cindy SosroutomoDeputy Editor at TravelweekCindy is Deputy Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 2007. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Kenya, Morocco, Thailand and Turkey among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Cindy Sosroutomo (see all) Frustrations mount over elusive consumer-pay model: Will it ever happen? – July 16, 2019 “It’s in everyone’s best interest to stay open”: Beaches Turks & Caicos will not close in 2021 – May 15, 2019 Putting “Partners First”: NCL’s CEO lauds agents and the new Norwegian Joy – April 29, 2019 Share Posted by “We love our travel agents”: Norwegian toasts new YHM-Dublin direct service << Previous PostNext Post >> Cindy Sosroutomo TORONTO — How would one toast Norwegian’s new direct service from Hamilton to Dublin? With a Guinness, of course.Ireland’s most famous brew flowed freely at PJ O’Brien’s pub in Toronto yesterday, where the low-cost carrier – along with Tourism Ireland and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM) – hosted a media lunch to celebrate the upcoming daily direct flights, launching March 31, 2019.It’s Guinness o’clock in #Toronto, where we’re kickin’ back with a cold one with @TourismIreland & @Fly_Norwegian. The low-cost carrier kicks off Hamiton-#Dublin service in March 2019. Read all about it 2moro at https://t.co/yvLIguDyas! pic.twitter.com/TgWdqeunLS— Travelweek (@TravelweekGroup) December 5, 2018Norwegian first announced in June that it was entering the Canadian market with service from Montreal to the French Caribbean (Martinique and Guadeloupe), which commenced in October. Now, the carrier is looking forward to launching Dublin out of YHM, marking its first-ever flight between Europe and Canada as well as the return of transatlantic service to Hamilton following a 10-year hiatus.Speaking to Travelweek, Anders Lindström, Director of Communications, North America for Norwegian, said that Canada has “so much opportunity”, although the carrier’s Canadian approach has been very different from that of the U.S. where it has grown exponentially to 60 routes since its U.S. launch in 2013.“In the U.S. we launched a number of routes into airports that were not served or did not have transatlantic routes, thus creating a market,” he said. “But in Canada, we’re doing the opposite. We’re going in and seeing where there is a lot of demand and where we can compete instead, and then growing it from there. We’re going to grow slow and profitable and sustainable, to make sure it really works well in Canada.”The 6.5-hour direct flight from Hamilton-Dublin will take off onboard the brand new Boeing 737 MAX; Norwegian was the first airline to operate the 737 MAX to/from North America last summer. Two fare options are available – Low Fare and Low Fare Plus – with prices starting at $209 one way, including taxes in April-May, and $279 during the peak months of June and July. Upgrading to Low Fare Plus, which includes airfare, meals and luggage, would cost an additional $70.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTWhen asked how Norwegian is able to offer such affordable fares, Lindström was quick to praise the new aircraft.“We’re very pleased with the 737 MAX. What it does is allow us to go further – from short-haul to medium-haul – and offer more seats. It’s also one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the world, which brings the cost down, which then makes it cheaper for customers,” he said.Of course, with Canada’s ultra low-cost carrier market filling up with the recent entries of WestJet’s Swoop, Flair Airlines and still-to-come Canada Jetlines (neither Swoop or Flair offer direct service to Europe), ‘cheaper’ has become the new standard. And although Norwegian is a low-cost airline – not a ULCC – Lindström is certain that it can compete with Canada’s new lot of budget carriers.“We know that Canada already has ULCCs competing to Europe, and we know that we’re not the first or the trendsetters in this market. But we also know that we have a competitive product and a competitive fare,” he said.Norwegian’s stance on affordable air perfectly aligns with YHM’s overall vision. Dina Carlucci, Director, Marketing & Communications at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, told Travelweek that Norwegian’s entry is yet another milestone in YHM’s journey to becoming a global gateway for affordable travel and goods movement.“We’re not looking to compete with Toronto Pearson in any way for what they do as a main global hub in the southern Ontario market,” she said. “We’re looking to establish ourselves in a niche that focuses on low-cost carriers like Norwegian. We’re already working with others who are doing quite well, and we’re expecting the same for Norwegian.”Carlucci, who said that nearly 20% of YHM’s customers originate from the Greater Toronto Area, added that Canadian travellers naturally gravitate to airlines with “low-cost, nonstop and daily service”, and that the new Hamilton-Dublin route would be a match for the market in the region.This is precisely what Tourism Ireland is banking on, as Canada remains one of its top markets. Dana Welch, Manager, Canada of Tourism Ireland, told Travelweek that the destination has seen double-digit growth from Canada for the past couple of years, with over 220,000 Canadians visiting in 2017.More news:  Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”“We’re definitely on track for additional growth this year,” she said, adding that it’s never been easier for Canadians to get to Ireland. “Having this new direct flight is really important, it’s a great opportunity to expand in another origin within Canada to get into Dublin.”Lindström, Carlucci and Welch all agree that travel agents continue to play an essential role in driving growth, and were quick to note that agent support is available at all times. Welch encouraged all agents to sign up for Tourism Ireland’s webinars, attend ongoing industry events and reach out for brochures and materials, while Lindström reminded agents to use Norwegian’s agent portal – agents.norwegian.com – which allows them to get different fare structures.“When an agent books through the portal, they can make sure their client always gets their luggage and meals included and book seat reservations. And they can price all this, allowing them to add their own commission, so to say,” he said. “We love our travel agents and we know that Canada is more of a market where travellers book through them.”For more information go to norwegian.com/us. Thursday, December 6, 2018 last_img read more

Just what are cash and cash options Some of u

first_imgJust what are “cash” and “cash options?” Some of us take those terms for granted, but after a recent article on sector allocation, one of our subscribers wrote in asking for clarification. Money Forever recommends holding approximately one-third of your portfolio in cash or cash options, but what does that really mean? To clear up any confusion, “cash options” are not publicly traded options. “Cash alternative” is probably a more appropriate phrase. I had a pleasant surprise over the holidays, as my own baby-boomer children struck up several kitchen-table discussions. They are wrestling with how to fund their children’s college followed by their own sprint to the retirement finish line. My daughter Dawn said it best: “Dad, this time it feels different. In the past the government would sell Treasuries, and people would lend us money to pay our bills. Now the government is just creating money out of thin air. Isn’t that eventually going to cause the dollar to collapse?” Of course, that was followed by a discussion of how we can protect ourselves. They understand the gray cloud looming on the horizon very well. We no longer have a safe, good, interest-bearing account to park our cash in. We need to find safe alternatives, including ways to diversify outside of the US dollar. Finding cash alternatives is one of the most important issues affecting us as investors. To help this make sense, let me begin at the beginning… the good old days of 2007, when most of us kept our cash in brokerage “sweeps” accounts. Sweeps accounts automatically “swept” a portion of our brokerage account into an interest-bearing account so that our idle cash would provide some income. At that time, my Schwab sweeps account was paying 4% interest. To keep the math simple, imagine a person with a $150,000 portfolio who wanted to earn 10% overall – that’s $15,000. If one-third of that portfolio ($50,000) were in cash, earning 4% interest, that’s $2,000. That means that the other two-thirds of the portfolio has to earn $13,000, or 13%, on the remaining $100,000. That wasn’t so outrageous in 2007. Many conservative portfolios would take a portion of that remaining $100,000 and invest it in fixed-income instruments paying 6% or more. Even then, the remaining balance could be invested wisely to make for a 10% overall return with only a portion of the capital at any real risk. Now fast forward to 2012. Today my sweeps account pays exactly 1/100th of 1%. That same $50,000 only earns $5.00 in interest annually. That means that the other two-thirds of the portfolio has to earn close to 15% to reach the same target of 10% overall… in a down economy. That’s a tall order. I want to really emphasize this point for all of our readers. In 2007, it took $50,000 to earn $2,000 in interest in our normal cash account. To earn the same $2,000 today, we would need $20 million in our sweeps account. In addition, back in the “good old days” part of the remaining two-thirds of a conservative portfolio would have been invested in CDs or top-quality bonds. What’s happened to that portion? The best rate I can currently find for a five-year CD is 1.2%. Not only has the one-third cash allocation taken a huge hit, so has the portion that would have been safely invested in CDs and high-quality bonds.Betty B., Defensive Solider in the War on Seniors and Savers I received a very interesting letter from a subscriber, Betty B., who wrote in after reading Straight Talk About Working in Your Golden Years. She has kindly allowed me to quote from her letter. She writes: “If I were able I could have written the today’s straight-talk message. I am an 80-year-old widow. When my husband died in 2000 he left me quite comfortable. I invested [a certain amount] in bank certificates of deposit paying good monthly interest. I also purchased a large Georgia Power bond paying 6% each month. Also I had some other utility bonds paying monthly.“Well, today I do not have one CD, and all of my bonds have been called as of this year. So I have had to do exactly what you wrote about and start managing my own money. I must say I have lost some and am now depending on dividends mostly and I have had to start living off my principal. I just hope now that my money will last as long as I live. I once lived very well, but I now am trying to be frugal. I worry about older people who did not have anything to fall back on except Social Security, which for the first time I have to admit I look forward to my Social Security check.” In essence, the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates artificially low to support banks that made poor business decisions. They are doing so at the expense of the public; seniors and savers are often the hardest hit. A few months ago, I wrote that I felt like the federal government had declared war on seniors and savers. Much to my surprise, some folks took issue with that remark. Today my response to those folks is, “Talk to Betty B.” Or perhaps they should ask all the retired people who have unretired and found a job to help pay the bills how they feel. We must make up for the difference in yield somewhere; that is the reality retirees face today. There are no cash instruments that will make up that difference with the same safety that was available in 2007.Investors – particularly those who are retired or getting close to it – have to come to grips with the fact the investing paradigm has changed, and it will likely continue to change. Today, investing cash the same way we did in 2007 will provide only a small fraction of the yield. The current challenge with the cash portion of your portfolio is to find safe, somewhat liquid investments that provide some sort of yield, hopefully enough to keep you even or ahead of inflation. Sad to say, even a 1% return is 100 times greater than what you’d earn on a current sweeps account. And you have to earn double that just to try to stay even with the government reported inflation. (Take a peek at Paul Revere, The Fearmonger if you have the sneaking suspicion that the figure isn’t quite right.) The reality today is that same $50,000 in your cash account will earn $5 in interest and lose $1,000 in buying power due to inflation during the year.Building a Hedge with Cash Alternatives In the September issue of our premium publication, I interviewed Chuck Butler of EverBank, who knows more about this issue than anyone I know. One hedge against inflation is foreign currencies. If you can find one that’s paying interest, even better.EverBank has 90-day, FDIC insured CDs that are denominated in foreign currencies. One particular currency that Chuck outlined is currently paying 1.63% while appreciating against the US dollar. Would you rather tie up your money for five years to earn a meager 1.2%, or commit to 90 days and earn 1.63% while adding inflation protection against the declining value of the dollar? I sure know my answer to that question. My wife Jo and I currently have a portion of our personal cash in three EverBank 90-day CDs, with one maturing each month. They’re liquid enough for our comfort level, and they earn us much more than any long-term US-dollar-denominated CDs would. Exchange-traded funds are another avenue for accessing the benefits of foreign currencies. Vedran Vuk, our senior research analyst, did a terrific analysis of some liquid, short-term bond funds in The Cash Book. Sure, the yields are not like they used to be, but they’re certainly better than 1/100th of 1%. It’s 2013, and good old days of 2007 are long gone. No one can afford to keep one-third of their portfolio in a US-dollar-dominated cash, totally liquid, interest-bearing account. The yield isn’t there anymore; it fact, it’s virtually nil. That’s why finding cash alternatives becomes so critical. Our team here at Money Forever still believes that one-third of your portfolio should be in cash or cash alternatives. It just shouldn’t all be in US dollars, nor all in a cash account. There are other options out there, and investors need to consider them, at least for a portion of their cash. It needs to be safe, predominately liquid, and providing some yield to take the pressure of the other two-thirds of your portfolio. Particularly for seniors and savers, trying to earn unrealistic gains in the market means putting too much capital into speculative investments, at too huge of a risk. But the thought of letting $50,000 in cash sit idly, earning a measly $5 annually is truly detestable. It’s like trying to invest your life savings with one hand tied behind your back. What this really means for seniors and savers is simple. Wake up and smell the coffee! The Federal Reserve has made it quite clear that it is not going to change its interest-rate policy anytime soon. As I realized at our kitchen table this week, the situation is not one exclusive to seniors; baby boomers trying to accumulate wealth are facing the same challenges. Those who are close to either side of the cusp of retirement have worked hard and saved money, and likely made retirement projections based on the old rulebook. Now those rules have changed… for good. As a young Marine, I learned that with a bit of training and good practice, it’s not that difficult to hit a moving target. Investing today is not a whole lot different. It may seem impossible, but with a little practice you can learn to hit your target. Our premium subscription includes three special reports which dig deeper into these issues and recommend potential cash alternatives for safety-conscious investors: The Cash Book, The Yield Book, and our most recent release, Money Every Month. Our team has put in hundreds of hours looking at various ways to help our subscribers invest cash wisely. Folks who’ve to saved up a nest egg are not afraid of hard work. It takes ingenuity, intelligence, and common sense to build up a nice retirement – the same attributes that will keep you ahead of the crowd. We are here to help you make that hard-earned nest egg work for you. If you have not taken advantage of our premium subscription, I urge you to take advantage of our 90-day guarantee. Sign up and get your copy of my book Retirement Reboot, all of our monthly reports and special reports – including The Annuity Guide and Income-Producing Stocks, and check out what we have to offer. If you don’t like what you see, you can cancel your subscription within the first 90 days and receive a 100% refund (and keep the material as a thank-you from me to you for looking us over).On the Lighter Side Congratulations to the NFL teams that survived the season and made it to the playoffs.  It seems “Black Monday” lived up to its name with several coaches and general managers were handed their walking papers. We scrambled to get the tree down in order to motor over to Jacksonville, FL to watch Northwestern win their first bowl game since 1949 – when I was 8 years old.  It wan cool watching the entire team after the game thanking their fans and those who have supported them for many years. And finally… Over the holidays we had many cute moments with the little ones – there is so much humor in having young grandchildren. I received this timely message from a friend that warmed my heart: “Our four-year-old grandson came home from the doctor with a prescription for some pills. When Grandma reminded him, ‘It’s time to take your pill,’ he was allowed to swallow it with a cup of root beer to turn it into a treat. “Our grandson struggled and could not open the bottle. He finally handed it to Grandma, who promptly opened it and took out the pill. The little boy asked, ‘Grandma, how come it was easy for you to open the bottle, but I couldn’t?’ “Grandma responded with, ‘The bottle has a childproof cap.’ “That was followed with a puzzled look on the little guy’s face as he said, ‘How does it know I am a kid?’” Until next week…last_img read more

The precious metal mining companies fully aware o

first_imgThe precious metal mining companies, fully aware of what’s happening, do nothing As as has been the case for a while, all four precious metals got sold down in early Far East trading on their Monday morning. Gold was no exception—and it hit its low price tick shortly after 1 p.m. Hong Kong time.  The subsequent rally lasted until around 11:30 in New York—and that was pretty much it for the day, as it got sold down a few dollars going into the 5:15 p.m. EST electronic close. The CME Group recorded the low and high ticks as $1,318.70 and $1,339.20 in the April contract. Gold closed the Monday session at $1,336.60 spot, up $10.50 from Friday’s close.  Volume, net of February and March, was pretty decent at 143,000 contracts. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff  the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, ir@freegoldventures.com The gold stocks opened in positive territory—and then chopped and flopped sideways for the rest of the day.  The HUI finished up 0.35%.  I was underwhelmed. The dollar index closed at 80.27 on Friday afternoon in New York—and traded in a 15 basis point range on either side of that number for the entire Monday session.  The dollar index closed 80.22—down 5 basis points on the day. Sponsor Advertisement Platinum and palladium both got sold down in morning trading in the Far East.  From those lows, they rallied right up until almost the 1:30 p.m. EST Comex close—and then both got sold down into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.  Both finished up a few dollars on the day.  Here are the charts. I was even more underwhelmed by the performance of the silver shares.  They were up about 1.5% until shortly after 1 p.m. EST—and then down they went, closing in the red—and on their absolute low of the day.  Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.08%. Silver really got hit pretty hard in early Far East trading on Monday, with the low tick coming shortly afternoon Hong Kong time.  From that point, the silver price rallied back to unchanged by the London a.m. gold fix at 10:30 a.m. GMT—and then it really took off to the upside, and appeared to go ‘no ask’ shortly after 11 a.m. GMT. That state of affairs wasn’t allowed to last long—and once that spike was beaten down, the rally assumed a more leisurely pace, with the high in New York coming at the same 11:30 a.m. EST that gold did.  From that point, the silver price ran into selling pressure—and by the 5:15 p.m. electronic close, the price was safely back under the $22 spot price once again. The low and high ticks were recorded as $21.59 and $22.18 in the March contract, an intraday move of almost 3%. Silver finished the Monday trading session at $21.965 spot, which was up 11.5 cents from Friday’s close.  Net volume was pretty chunky at 37,500 contracts.  We are in the final days of the roll-over out of the March delivery month in silver, so volumes will be quite high for the next three trading days.  First Day Notice numbers will be posted on the CME’s website late on Thursday evening EST—and I’ll have all that for you on Friday. The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for Monday showed that 9 gold and 1 silver contract were posted for delivery tomorrow within the Comex-approved depositories.  Checking the CME’s website  I note that there are still several hundred gold contracts are open in the February delivery month—and it remains to be seen how many will stand for delivery between now and Thursday. There were deposits in both GLD and SLV yesterday.  In GLD an authorized participant added a decent 106,025 troy ounces—and in SLV there were 384,740 troy ounces deposited. The U.S. Mint had a sales report on Monday.  They sold a chunky 825,500 silver eagles—and that was it. There was only a small movement in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday.  They reported receiving 5,144 troy ounces—and that was all.  All of it went into Scotia Mocatta’s vault. The link to that activity is here. There was a big deposit in silver on Friday as well—and all 1,566,700 troy ounces ended up in Scotia Mocatta’s vault, too.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if this silver wasn’t being brought in to cover their short position in the Comex futures market.  As I’ve said on many occasions, it’s my opinion that outside of JPMorgan Chase and two other U.S. bullion banks, Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia is the only bank that holds a material short position in that metal.  The link to that ‘action’ from Friday is here. It was a very eventful weekend—and I have the most stories that I can ever remember posting—and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you. After buying back short silver contracts in the prior two reporting weeks (as well as adding long gold contracts), JPMorgan returned to the sell side in silver with a vengeance, accounting for the entire big 4 short increase or more than 43%  of the commercial silver selling this [past] week. While there’s no doubt in my mind that the raptors behave conclusively with JPMorgan in playing the technical funds, it must be noted that the raptors were selling existing long positions, not adding to shorts. In the reporting week, JPMorgan increased its short COMEX silver position to 17,500 contracts, or to a 15% net market share (minus spread positions). From what I can tell, JPMorgan was the only commercial increasing short positions in the reporting week, something that has recurred on previous silver price rallies. Please think about that for a moment. JPMorgan was the sole short seller in COMEX silver and the largest seller in COMEX gold, accounting for 43% and 52% of all the commercial selling in each market this week. How could such large shares of net weekly trading not be manipulative to the price of silver and gold? And why is the nation’s largest bank also allowed to be its largest precious metals speculator? – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 22 February 2014 Precious metal prices yesterday followed a pattern similar to what they did most of last week, which was down in Far East trading—and then a rally back from there.  There were a couple of times during the Monday trading session, one in London and the other in New York, where  it appeared that a not-for-profit seller showed up and touched the brakes on these rallies in gold.  Once just after 11 a.m. in London—and the other at 11:30 a.m. in New York.  If these sellers hadn’t put in an appearance, the closing price in gold would have been materially different. And if that was true for gold, it was beyond blatantly obvious in silver, as the price appeared to go ‘no ask’ shortly after 11 a.m. GMT in London—and JPMorgan et al hammered that spike flat in short order.  And as I mentioned at the top of this column, they also closed silver back below the $22 spot price once again. The price action of the precious metal shares didn’t impress me, either. So despite the rallies in all the precious metal since the New Year began, it’s obvious that their rallies are being managed, as JPMorgan et al are letting the technical funds shorts off the hook easily, without ripping out a pound of flesh by demanding much higher prices.  If “da boyz” stood back and did nothing, there would be a disorderly rally in hours, or maybe minutes—which is the last thing that the powers that be want. As Ted said on the phone yesterday, these rallies could go on for months—but whatever length of time they last [or are allowed to last] the ending will be the same; an engineered price decline where JPMorgan et al ring the cash register one more time.  It was ever thus. Of course the precious metal mining companies, fully aware of what’s happening, do nothing. In Far East trading on their Tuesday, all four precious metals got sold down just a bit.  The exception was silver, which got sold down over a percent going into the London open, an event that occurred about 10 minutes ago as I write this paragraph.  Gold volume is already sky high at 33,000 contracts—and all of it is of the HFT variety.  Silver’s volume isn’t exactly light, either—although a goodly chunk of it is roll-overs out of the March contract and into May, which is the next front month.  The dollar index has rolled over a bit and is down 9 basis points at this time. And as I send this off to Stowe in Vermont two hours later at 5:15 a.m. EST, the precious metal prices aren’t doing much—and with the exception of platinum [at least for the moment] the other precious metals are all down from Monday’s close in New York.  Gold volume is over 40,000 contracts—and all of it of the HFT variety.  Silver’s volume, even net of roll-overs is way up there as well.  Based on these volumes, it’s a good bet that JPMorgan et al are selling up a storm in order to prevent prices from rising.  The dollar index, which dipped dangerously close to the 80.00 mark in late Far East trading, is now rallying a bit, as it appears that someone was there to catch that proverbial falling knife once again. I have no idea what’s in store for prices during the New York trading session, but the big volumes at this time of day—considering the tepid price action—doesn’t make my heart go pitter patter, if you get my drift.  But, in this market, you just never know. That’s more than enough for today—too much, actually—and I’ll see you here tomorrow.last_img read more

This week the governor of Connecticut proposed a

first_imgThis week, the governor of Connecticut proposed a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. Several cities have already enacted such soda taxes to raise money and fight obesity. And there’s new evidence suggesting that these taxes do work — although sometimes not as well as hoped.Kris Madsen, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the researchers who has been studying soda taxes, in part because she’s convinced that sugary drinks are a menace to society, a direct cause of obesity.”It’s a pretty high bar for public health to be able to say that something is causing a major epidemic,” she says. “We can do that for sugar-sweetened beverages.” Berkeley was the first U.S. city to tax those drinks, making them more expensive, and Madsen is leading a team of researchers that’s trying to see how the tax is working. “We’ve been going out to the same neighborhoods every year for the last five years, and we’ve been asking people the same questions,” she says. Researchers interview people on the street, primarily in low-income neighborhoods.They started doing this before the soda tax went into effect four years ago, and they’ve continued every year since.”We saw a 52 percent decline in consumption over the first three years” since the tax went into effect, she says. “This has a huge impact.” Madsen’s study was published online this week by the American Journal of Public Health.Memories, of course, aren’t totally reliable; also, it’s possible that people in Berkeley may be underestimating their consumption because they don’t want to admit that they’re still drinking lots of soda.Other researchers, meanwhile, are trying to quantify the impact of soda taxes by looking at sales data from retail establishments, including grocery stores and convenience stores.Anna Tuchman, at Northwestern University, is part of a group studying Philadelphia’s soda tax. Philadelphia’s tax is different from the one in Berkeley. It’s bigger, and it also covers both beverages sweetened by sugar and drinks containing low-calorie sweeteners. This is partly because the goal of the tax is largely to raise more money for schools and playgrounds.Tuchman says that sales of those drinks in Philadelphia have dropped sharply, by 46 percent, since the tax went into effect.But there’s a catch. “We find a very large increase in sales of soda and other taxed products at stores that are located zero to four miles outside the city,” she says.Basically, it seems that a lot of people in Philadelphia are driving to stores right outside the city to buy their beverages. This is especially true in the case of sugar-sweetened drinks (and less so of artificially sweetened drinks). When you take that into account, sales in and around the city dropped about 20 percent, not 46 percent. And sales of sugar-sweetened drinks fell even less.This gets in the way of both of the city’s goals for its soda tax. “People are able to maintain their sugar and calorie intake, and the city is falling short in their ability to raise tax revenues,” Tuchman says.Tuchman and her colleagues are still revising their paper; it hasn’t been formally reviewed by other scientists yet. Right now, though, it does show some of the difficulties that cities face with their soda taxes. There are political obstacles as well. The soda industry has been fighting back, arguing that soda taxes are unfair to consumers and won’t really make people healthier. In fact, it recently strong-armed California’s legislature into reluctantly passing a moratorium on further soda taxes by cities in that state.San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., however, have soda taxes already in place, and Seattle implemented one at the beginning of 2018.Soda tax advocates, meanwhile, say that there’s a simple way to keep people from avoiding the tax by going outside the city: Just pass a tax that covers an entire state — or maybe even a whole country.Mexico, in fact, put in place a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in 2014. That tax is smaller than the soda taxes in the U.S., and its effect on consumption also has been smaller. According to one study, consumption of sugary drinks fell on average by about 8 percent as a result of the tax. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Dockless electric scooters are available for rent

first_imgDockless electric scooters are available for rent in dozens of U.S. cities. While the companies behind them are quick to extol their benefits, some health and safety experts are starting to see the challenges that come along for the ride. Scooter companies and city officials say they are aware of the issues, but solutions aren’t coming anytime soon.Stand-up electric scooters have been around since the 1980s. But the latest trend in micromobility — dockless electric scooters — launched in 2017. They arrived in the District of Columbia in 2018, and now, just over a year later, thousands of scooters are on the streets.”They sort of just popped up out of nowhere,” says Matthew Lachance, who works in fundraising for an international AIDS relief nonprofit in D.C. Lachance says he rents scooters often, even throughout the winter, because they’re fun and convenient.But not all rides are quite so fun. Some end in injuries. Fractures and head injuries most commonScooter-related injuries are a common sight at the George Washington University Hospital, says Dr. Kate Douglass. “Almost during every shift, you’ll see somebody come in with an extremity injury or a head injury or a laceration or something along those lines,” she says. Douglass says that’s partly to do with how riders actually use them. With riders in the streets, in the bike lanes and on the sidewalks, there’s a greater potential for injury.Dr. Joann Elmore sees the same things in emergency rooms in Los Angeles. Elmore was the principal investigator on a team from the University of California, Los Angeles that looked at scooter injuries over their first year as a ride-share offering in L.A. In their study, published in January, they observed the most common injuries to be fractures and head injuries — about 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively. They also discovered that, of the scooter users they observed, fewer than 5 percent were wearing helmets.”It is immensely easy to use and … given this ease, many of us underestimate the potential for public health and trauma-related issues,” she says. But even though injuries can be common, Douglass at George Washington says the injuries she’s seeing are relatively minor — broken wrists and bruised knees. Severe injuries and even fatal injuries are far less common. And most injuries are preventable.Scooter companies part of the solutionInjury prevention is also on the minds of micromobility companies. They are working to educate their users on how to ride safely through city streets. They’re also working to educate users on where to leave scooters when they’re no longer needed.Juliette Rizzo is a disability rights activist and pedestrian advocate who leads what are called “walking audits.” The goal of the audits is to assess pedestrian access. In other words, what challenges stand in the way of safely navigating a city?During a recent walking audit in downtown D.C., Rizzo brought attention to a scooter found blocking the sidewalk. This prompted a conversation with Beaudry Kock, who was along for the audit. He works for Spin, one of the five companies with licenses to operate scooters in Washington.Kock voiced his frustration about scooter placement. “There’s no excuse. There’s really no reason,” he said. Kock said the responsibility of scooter placement is just as much on the companies as it is on the users.Ultimately, most of these companies feel that the best way to address all safety concerns is to push for long-term solutions — solutions like redesigning city streets and improving traffic flow for all vehicles, including bikes and scooters. The District Department of Transportation agrees. Jonathan Rogers, a policy analyst at DDOT, says that infrastructure and building safe streets are the foundation of tackling scooter-related issues. But improving infrastructure and building safer streets make for a slow and expensive process. The same could be said for building safer sidewalks.While temporary measures like flex posts and paint can help in the short term, most of the solutions are still months, if not years, away. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Updated at 535 am ETAn Arkansas federal judge h

first_imgUpdated at 5:35 a.m. ETAn Arkansas federal judge has temporarily blocked three new abortion restrictions, including a requirement that physicians providing the procedure be board-certified — a move that would likely have caused the closure of the state’s only surgical abortion clinic.The clinic in question, Little Rock Family Planning Services, and Planned Parenthood, backed by the ACLU of Arkansas, challenged the restrictions that also included a ban on abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy and one that would prevent a woman from obtaining an aborting solely for the reason that the fetus was diagnosed with Down syndrome.Just before midnight on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted a 14-day temporary restraining order to block the restrictions from taking effect.The restrictions, approved by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature and signed in March by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, were scheduled to go into effect on Wednesday.According to Little Rock’s KATV, Dr. Linda Prine, who performs abortions in New York City, told the court that the restrictions would require women to travel out of state to get an abortion, a delay that could increase risk.”Women would die because of this law,” Prine said.There is “no relationship” between board certification and the ability of a physician to perform a safe abortion, she testified, according to KATV.Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Monday in a statement to KATV that the hearing was “the initial step in our defense of Arkansas Laws that protect the sanctity of life for mothers and their unborn children.”Tuesday night’s ruling will allow Little Rock Family Planning Services to remain open to provide medical abortions up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy.The new restrictions in Arkansas are among several passed in recent weeks by states such as Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama and Georgia that have sought to place ever-tighter constraints on abortion.In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld part of an Indiana law signed by Vice President Pence when he was governor of the state that requires aborted fetal remains to be buried or cremated. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

Solution to IsraeliPalestinian conflict topic at Rices Baker Institute Oct 13

first_imgShareMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruthdavid@rice.edu713-348-6327Jeff Falkjfalk@rice.edu713-348-6775Solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict topic at Rice’s Baker Institute Oct. 13HOUSTON – (Oct. 7, 2014) – Yair Hirschfeld, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, will discuss his new book, “Track-Two Diplomacy Toward an Israeli-Palestinian Solution, 1978-2014,” at the Baker Institute Oct. 13. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.Who: Yair Hirschfeld, the Baker Institute’s Isaac and Mildred Brochstein Fellow in Middle East Peace and Security in Honor of Yitzhak Rabin.Edward Djerejian, the Baker Institute’s founding director and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, will provide introductory remarks.What: A presentation titled “Track-Two Diplomacy Toward an Israeli-Palestinian Solution.”When: Monday, Oct. 13, 6:30-8 p.m.Where: Rice University, James A. Baker III Hall, Kelly International Conference Facility, 6100 Main St.The struggle for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an important component in the wider struggle between the forces of extremism and moderation in the region, according to event organizers. For more than 30 years, Hirschfeld has been involved in this effort, and his new book, “Track-Two Diplomacy Toward an Israeli-Palestinian Solution, 1978-2014,” highlights the successes, failures and lessons learned from his decades of experience working to establish a lasting peace, organizers said.In the book, Hirschfeld describes the causes that led to the successful conclusion of the Oslo Accords, as well as an inside look at the treaty’s later failures and stumbling blocks. The book also addresses the importance and problems of U.S. mediation, the impact of regional powers and the ongoing struggle between radical militant Islamic forces on one side and the pragmatic pro-Western Arab states and Israel on the other.A book signing will follow the presentation. Copies of Hirschfeld’s book will be provided for sale by Rice University Bookstore.Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.The public must register to attend this event at http://bakerinstitute.org/events/register/1666/?submit=RSVP.For a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to www.rice.edu/maps.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInsitute.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 15 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog. AddThislast_img read more