Dine & Dash: 24-hour food race kicks off tomorrow << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Posted by TORONTO — 24 hours, 2 men, 1 airline and 150 years. This is the gist of an epic coast-to-coast race set to launch tomorrow in Charlottetown.Dubbed a ‘great Canadian food race’, the event teams up Ritz-Carlton, Toronto Executive Chef Daniel Craig with Culinary Adventure Co. owner Kevin Durkee on a 24-hour cross-country journey celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary.The edible adventure will begin on June 21 at the home of Confederation in Charlottetown before jetting off via Air Canada to Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary. The race ends in Vancouver at midnight on June 22.Sounds impossible? Maybe. But one thing’s for sure: there’ll be lots of eats, and plenty of Canadiana to make Canadians proud.The pair of racers will source ingredients to be used in a Taste of Canada menu at the hotel’s signature restaurant, TOCA, starting July 1.“Whether it’s Nova Scotia blueberries or sustainable fish farmed off the coast of B.C., our aim is to sample food from as many cities as we can within one day,” said Chef Craig. “We’re excited to share our adventure with guests when we return to Toronto and create a truly Canadian menu in honour of Canada’s 150th.”More news: Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?The coast-to-coast tour is part of the hotel’s new culinary program, ‘Off the Eaten Track’, a customized series of culinary tours curated exclusively for guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto by Culinary Adventure Co.You can watch the team live @facebook/ritzcarltontoronto or on Instagram @culinaryadvco, or visit ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/canada/toronto/area-activities/off-the-eaten-track for more information. Tags: Ritz Carlton Travelweek Group
He’s still got it. Carl Court/AFP LONDON – Mick Jagger turns 70 on Friday – and though the Rolling Stones frontman isn’t quite the image of rebellious youth he once was, he has lost none of his legendary swagger.Strutting onstage in a sequined jacket as the Stones headlined Britain’s Glastonbury music festival last month, it was hard to believe this was a man who should be collecting his state pension.One newspaper cruelly captioned its photos of the wrinkly British rockers “Night of the living dead!” – but zipping through the hits, the band had the same raw energy that brought them fame half a century ago.“If this is this first time you’ve seen the band, do come again,” Jagger told the crowd, suggesting that a quiet retirement may be some way off yet.Between his onstage cavorting, wild bedroom antics and occasional brushes with the law, snake-hipped, rubber-lipped Jagger has been a model for generations of later rock stars.“We were young, good-looking and stupid,” he once said.These days, cricket-loving Jagger is more likely to be spotted watching a match at Lord’s than partying hard.The Stones did prove they could still hit the dance floor at Jagger’s early 70th birthday bash last month, although by 1:30 a.m. it was time for bed.The music-making hasn’t stopped either – the band recently wrapped up a tour of North America to mark their half-centenary, and released two new tracks along with their greatest hits album “Grrr!” in November.Romantically, however, Jagger seems to have settled down – he has been dating stylist L’Wren Scott, some 25 years his junior, for more than a decade.His heyday was punctuated by high-profile relationships with models, singers and actresses, and he has seven children with four different women. He twice married models – Bianca Jagger and Jerry Hall – while other ex-lovers include singers Marianne Faithfull and Carla Bruni, who is now married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.Jagger has always been a curious mix of sensible and shocking. On one hand he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II; on the other, a rumored sex act involving Jagger and a Mars bar has passed into rock legend.Michael Phillip Jagger was born on July 26, 1943, to middle-class parents in Dartford, south of London.He started jamming with childhood friend Keith Richards in 1960 after they discovered a mutual love of the blues.The Stones played their first gig in 1962 – Jagger dropping out of the prestigious London School of Economics in the pursuit of fame – and three years later scored their first smash hit with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”Snarling and surly, they were the complete opposite of the family-friendly Beatles.A string of massive hits across five decades followed including “Brown Sugar,” “Honky Tonk Woman” and “Paint It Black.”And, of course, there were the band’s off-stage antics.Jagger and Richards were found guilty of drug offenses in 1967, but their jail sentences were quashed.The drug-fueled hedonism continued, but between the excesses Jagger – who studied business before dropping out of university – kept a careful eye on the commercial side of things.He is now worth an estimated £200 million ($305 million).The band spent the 1980s and ’90s going on lucrative tours while producing the odd album. Today, rumors of live shows still spark feverish excitement among fans.In 2011 Jagger set up SuperHeavy – a super-group including a member of Eurythmics, Bob Marley’s youngest son Damian and soul diva Joss Stone – which released a widely-praised debut album.He has also turned to cinema, trying his hand at acting in the 1970s and, more recently, branching out into film production. He is currently co-producing a biopic of the father of funk, James Brown.The ultimate sign of Jagger’s acceptance by the establishment came in 2003 when, to Richards’ disbelief, he accepted a knighthood from the British monarchy.The singer revealed last month that while he is proud of his achievements, he sometimes wishes he had pursued his earlier dreams of becoming a teacher, politician or journalist.“It is a slightly intellectually undemanding thing to do, being a rock singer,” he told the BBC.“But, you know, you make the best of it.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
Paolo Soleri graduated from the Politechnico in Torino with highest honors and a Ph.D. in architecture in February 1946. He received a grant given to outstanding students; at that time, just after the war, the grant amounted to about ‘6 lb. of butter’. Soleri wrote F.L. Wright expressing his desire to study at Taliesin and was accepted. As it was the custom with students who could not afford Wrights already high student fees, Soleri was initially assigned to work on the the kitchen and then to be personal aid at the dining table for the Wright family. Soleri became an apprentice to Wright, working primarily in the kitchen as a waiter and dishwasher, and also as a gardener and construction worker at both Taliesin East (Wisconsin) and Taliesin West (Arizona). Soleri also became a personal waiter to Mr. and Mrs. Wright. Soleri was still learning English while at Taliesin. He built a very simple shelter on Taliesin grounds, as other Wright’s apprentices do, as living quarters. Paolo studied with F.L. Wright for 18 months. March 24, 2005 The board of directors of the Taliesin Fellows held its annual meeting for Taliesin Fellowship, FLlW Staff and former apprentices of the FLlWSA at David Dodge,a long-time fellow at Taliesin, designed and built this house on his property adjacent to Taliesin West. [Photo:tt & text: sa]
Canal+ will lose €400 million this year if “nothing is done” to arrest its decline, according to Vivendi chief financial officer Hervé Philippe.Speaking on an analyst call on Vivendi’s quarterly results, Philippe said that the €59 million loss recorded by the pay TV group in the first quarter was “quite positive” by comparison with what could be in store down the line, unless action is taken.Philippe said that Vivendi was working on a number of initiatives to cut costs over the coming year that would be unveiled in the coming weeks.Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine, speaking on the same call, hinted that one change at Canal+ might be to reduce the amount of the broadcaster’s content that is shown free-to-air element. Answering an analyst question on whether Canal+ should become an exclusively paid for channel, Du Puyfontaine said that “this is something that we have in mind” and that Vivendi was working on a number of different options. He said that Canal+ Group already offers a strong free-to-air proposition via its D8 and D17 channels and that there is a “need to reinvent the new Canal+”.Referring to Vivendi’s agreement with Mediaset, De Puyfontaine reiterated that Vivendi has a goal of becoming a “solid player in southern Europe” through its agreement with Mediaset, including the acquisition of the Italian broadcaster’s pay TV arm, Mediaset Premium.He added that the company was keen to pursue new avenues of collaboration with Telefónica in Spain and Latin America as part of the same southern European strategic focus.Referring to Vivendi’s recent acquisition of an interest in French retailer Fnac, De Puyfontaine said that “the rules of the game are changing” regarding content distribution and that the investment was “strategic”, highlighting Fnac’s initiatives in digital distribution of music and video and plans for international expansion.
Swisscom’s TV subscriber base grew by 10.9% last year to take the Swiss telco’s total TV base to 1.48 million, a year-on-year increase of 145,000 homes.According to the telco, the numbers give it a market share of 32%, up from 29% at the end of 2015, despite stiff competition from cable. By comparison, Liberty Global’s UPC Cablecom had a 27% market share, made up of 579,000 basic customers and 656,000 premium customers.The number of Swisscom TV additions was down slightly on the previous year’s total of 166,000 net adds, which the company said was due to saturation of the market. Q4 net adds for TV numbered 36,000, down slightly on the Q3 figure of 40,000.TV and broadband adds have failed to wholly compensate for lost fixed voice, although the telco slowed the rate of voice decline in 2016.Swisscom’s ‘TV Light’ basic offering had 301,000 customers at the end of the year, while its pay TV offering had 1.175 million customers.Swisscom said that practically all new fixed-line customers were taking TV as part of a bundled offering. By the end of 2016, the number of customers using bundled packages had increased year-on-year by 256,000 or 18.1% to 1.67 million. Revenue from bundled contracts increased by CHF268 million (€252 million) or 12.0% to CHF2.5 billion.Overall, 94% of TV customers took the service as part of a bundle, compared with 85% of broadband customers.Swisscom said that it planned to transition all its services – including telephony, TV and data to IP by the end of this year.Overall, Swisscom posted revenues of CHF11.64 billion, flat year-on-year, although revenue from its core Swiss business dropped by 1.1% to CHF9.44 billion.EBITDA grew by 4.8% to CHF4.29 billion. However adjusted EBITDA fell by 1.2%.“We have lived up to our promise and achieved the forecast for 2016. It was certainly hard going and the pressure on prices and the reduction in roaming fees presented us with a real challenge. But we worked on cutting our costs and performed well on the market. I am especially pleased with innovations such as the G.fast data transmission standard, the further development of our TV offering and the progress we have made in the corporate business. I was also impressed by the market performance of Fastweb in Italy. In future we will do our utmost to ensure Swisscom’s entrepreneurial freedom and ability to invest and innovate in an extremely competitive market,” said CEO Urs Schaeppi.
Just 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…
The 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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Just a week until Christmas, and that timing means this is our last missive of the year. Fret not, though; if you truly miss me, you can tune into this new Bitcoin video from our good friends at Mauldin Economics, where I play the skeptic as usual. Maybe you’ll want to pick up some virtual currency for a stocking stuffer. You’ll have some more time on December 25 anyway, since hackers got what they wanted: Sony canceled the release of The Interview after the five largest theaters bailed on the film under vague threats. See below for more details, but this thing is about to turn into something far more serious as the US government throws its weight into accusations of nation-state espionage.Us? We’re spending that extra time keeping our eyes on the small-cap selloff for bargains instead. In today’s brand-spanking-new issue of Extraordinary Technology, we just unwrapped a profitable young digital advertising platform Wall Street hasn’t really caught on to yet. With 63% growth last quarter, you can bet they will soon. Pick up your copy here, along with a risk-free peek at the whole portfolio.Now, on to the news moving the market…Rape, Stalking, and Intimidation Ripe from Silicon ValleyI held up this issue just as we go to press because there is some breaking news I feel I must comment on. Like so many in the tech media we’ve been following the roller-coaster ride that is Uber. After months of seemingly bad news for the once-untouchable startup, Uber’s troubles just escalated big time.What was once easy to write off as an isolated incident—the driver in India accused of rape—now looks systemic. Four people in Boston have complained about being sexually assaulted in the last month by Uber drivers, including a rape allegation. This, on top of the company’s internal suggestions of casing an annoying female journalist and lax attitude to cyberstalking by employees, shows a company probably growing too darn fast. In the race to stay ahead, the company seems to have gotten lax on security for its systems and its drivers, putting customers in harm’s way. It’s announced new technology to better screen drivers—with a two-day turnaround, the company was either already working hard on this tough problem or they are masters of bullshit. The more bad stuff that comes out about the company, the more it looks like the latter.To top it all off, it’s not just Tampa and Portland banning Uber. India did it last week. Now all of France has bowed to a protest from taxi drivers, banning UberPop (the EU offering from the same company). Then the company’s “surge pricing” backfired again, this time in the Sydney hostage crisis. That price algorithm is going to get it in real trouble someday soon, running afoul of anti-price-gouging laws in effect in many cities like New York.But Uber’s problems aren’t necessarily its own fault. After all, taxi drivers have always had a dark streak. Rape, robbery, and assault are just a few of the things that occur with some regularity in the profession. It’s no surprise then that Uber would face the same challenges—especially when its drivers aren’t going through secondary background checks from the government and don’t have the financial bonding issues of a taxi medallion hanging over their heads. (Maybe Uber might consider selling bonds of its own, letting people sponsor drivers and risk their capital for a share of good performance? It would distribute the incentive for safety in a way the company can’t do now. Or maybe they should only hire women drivers? Though then you’d find stories about employee safety… taxi driving is a rough gig.)Regardless, the company has a serious PR problem. Unless it gets out in front of it in a big way, the company could end up being remembered only for the crimes of its staff and drivers.Windows May Live for Another Day, Market Data SayBack in July, we called your attention to the fact that after eight consecutive quarters of decline, the PC market had stabilized at about 315 million annual units. That good news caught many industry experts by surprise, as they had expected annual demand, which peaked at 365 million units in 2011, to continue to plunge until it was well below the 300 million mark.The free-fall in PC demand was halted by two main factors:The ending of support by Microsoft (MSFT) for its Windows XP operating system, which is motivating XP users to buy new computers with supported systems; and The slowing of the cannibalization of the PC market by tablets, whose meteoric sales plateaued.Now, another catalyst for PC sales has appeared on the horizon. Windows 10 was announced by Microsoft in September and is expected to be released next fall. That could spark a big upgrade cycle for PCs even though, or especially since, its predecessor flopped.Pacific Crest analyst Brendan Barnicle maintains that many PC owners have delayed replacement of their old units because of their dislike for Windows 8, which was released in October 2012 to reviews which ranged from blasé to complete bashings.“Microsoft (MSFT) saw relatively weak adoption of Windows 8, but early reviews are encouraging for Windows 10,” Barnicle said. He went on to say that Intel has sized up the opportunity by suggesting that as many as 600 million PCs might upgrade to Windows 10.The investment implications are immense. However, picking the right stock(s)… those that will experience significant benefits from the trend but don’t have those benefits already built into their share price… will, as usual, be the trick. In the September issue of BIG TECH, we recommended such a stock. It’s already started to drift higher as Wall Street’s unfounded fears that the PC era ended have abated like a soccer mom’s concern over the last “food that will kill you” from the evening news. But it’s still a bargain. In fact, we see the stock returning 50% in the next 12-18 months, regardless of what happens to the broader market. For access to this recommendation, sign up for a risk-free trial of BIG TECH.Apple Pay Sees Massive Corporate Adoption… Actual Users Remain to Be SeenApple Pay appears to be gaining traction in the electronic payments arena, succeeding where tech giants such as Google, Verizon, and AT&T have floundered. In recent weeks, Apple (AAPL) has signed up dozens of banks and retail stores—and posted many a press release about it. The company claims that Apple Pay supports the cards used for 90% of purchase volume in the US. “Retailers and payment companies see Apple Pay as the implementation that has the best chance at mass consumer adoption, which has eluded prior attempts,” says industry expert Patrick Moorhead.Our take: no company will turn down the opportunity to put its name next to Apple, the most valuable brand (and stock) in the world. Supporting Apple Pay is not technically complex for a bank, and it requires almost nothing of most retailers who have had NFC-capable terminals (the tech behind Apple Pay) for years. For them to say they are on board is nothing but a PR exercise.But Apple phones only comprise about 25% of the US-installed base, so even if it could get 50% of users to ditch tried and true credit cards, they’d still only support less than 10% of purchasing power at most. And getting to that 50% level is an enormous undertaking that would costs billions in marketing and promotions—old habits die hard, especially when the replacement is more complicated to use and adds no value. As it is right now, the limited data say most people just aren’t using it, not even the decidedly tech-forward panel that InfoScout put together:Even if Apple succeeds in capturing a significant share of the electronic payments market, the resulting profit probably won’t be enough to move Apple’s share-price needle much in the intermediate term. Carl Icahn estimates that by 2017, Apple Pay could generate $2.5 billion in annual revenue, which by our estimation, would increase earnings per share by only about $0.32.But here’s the bigger picture: Apple Pay is one more element in a growing ecosystem of lifestyle products and services that, in Icahn’s words, differentiate Apple from a simple hardware company. Not only that, but a few solid base hits with products such as Apple Pay and Apple Watch could, when taken together, turn out to add up for shareholders. Still, at recent prices driven by the massive shift from small- to large-cap stocks, Apple stock’s too rich for our blood now.3D-Printing Stocks Collapse Back to Industry RealityIn general, it’s been a good year for tech stocks. But the same can’t be said for 3D printing, with the industry’s main players getting massacred.What gives? For starters, enthusiasm has waned and multiples have rapidly contracted, which always eventually happens with emerging technologies. At that point, only companies that can actually deliver sales and earnings growth will bounce back. Also, investors are concerned over increasing competition from the likes of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which is making an aggressive push into the space.Nevertheless, Canaccord Genuity is bullish on the incumbents, calling for a much better performance in 2015, especially for 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS), which the firm expects to appreciate 66% and 62% respectively.We’ve seen and won similar rises before in the 3D-printing space, but we wouldn’t bet on that big a comeback this time around. We’re still high on the technology, but we’ll wait until our evaluation turns up more companies that can meet our 9 Ps criteria.Solar Investors Get a Bad BurnSolar stocks are taking a beating, with Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) shedding 25% over the last three months. The drop in solar almost mirrors the drop in oil prices, which has bewildered both analysts and solar execs alike, according to an Investor’s Business Daily article. The cause of the confusion: oil isn’t used to create much electricity, so falling oil prices should have no direct effect on solar demand. But of course, the market probably realizes that, so there’s likely something else at work, like a rotation out of all energy stocks.At any rate, the pullback in solar will be short-lived, according to Merrill Lynch, which expects the industry to bounce back in 2015, thanks to soaring installations. The firm cites SunEdison (SUNE), SunPower (SPWR), SolarCity (SCTY), and Vivint Solar (VSLR) as top picks. SunEdison looks especially interesting, since the firm boasts a deep roster of accomplished investors, including Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, who recently gave an informative and entertaining presentation on why he’s investing in the company.We’re not ready to wade in just yet. Government manipulation in the solar markets has been on the wane, and it remains to be seen if the biggest benefactors, Europe and China, have the steam to keep pouring good money after bad on an energy source that costs more than market rate. Or does it? If these kinds of economics end up scaling, solar energy could finally see a bright future.Bits & BytesThe hot field of financial technology had a big week, with the market debut of LendingClub (LC), which was the largest IPO for a US-based tech company this year. LendingClub’s highly successful IPO marks the beginning of a revolution in which a host of startups will upend the financial industry, according to an interesting article published on TechCrunch. If there was ever an industry that needed a good whooping from tech, it’s banking. Oh, wait… LendingClub’s biggest investor was actually Wells Fargo.IPOs for New Relic and Hortonworks each opened up by a big margin as well. But questions are already starting to emerge on whether the companies, especially Hortonworks with its massive losses, can sustain those prices very long. (Just who’s buying all those open market shares at huge premiums as IPO participants jump ship on day one anyway? Could it be the banks themselves?)Free stock trades? There’s an app for that, courtesy of Silicon Valley startup Robinhood. In addition, the trading platform doesn’t require an account minimum. Early signs point to the app being a big hit, with over half a million users already signed up. Fidelity, an incumbent brokerage, has certainly taken notice, running an ad campaign in an attempt to keep customers from fleeing its trading site. In the end, how the site will make money is still a secret—I’d guess by selling your financial info like Mint.com does.Gartner is out with its Q3 smartphone numbers, and the market is still booming. A total of 301 million smartphones sold in the quarter, up 20% from a year ago. But not all handset makers fared well. Samsung saw unit sales decline from 80 million in Q3 2013 to 73 million in Q3 2014. On the flip side, Xiaomi had a remarkable quarter, with sales jumping from 3.6 million in Q3 2013 to 15.7 million in Q3 2014. Xiaomi is gaining significant traction with its low-cost handsets in China, which is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets, as well as India for now (but not for rival OnePlus).BlackBerry has officially launched a new handset too: the Classic. It comes equipped with a full QWERTY physical keyboard, physical navigation keys, and a nearly indistinguishable design from BlackBerry smartphones from yesteryear. The company says the phone will appeal to those looking for the traditional BlackBerry experience… all two of them.The Edge Consulting Group is known for making accurate calls, such as the eBay and Symantec breakups. And now the London-based firm is back with another prediction, calling for a spinoff of Amazon’s Web Services business next year. With Amazon’s quarterly losses and low-margin retail business irking investors, spinning off AWS would trigger a re-rating of Amazon’s overall business at a more favorable valuation, according to The Edge Consulting Group. The firm estimated that an AWS spinoff would raise the total valuation of Amazon’s two businesses to a combined value of $195 billion, a 36% increase from today’s market cap… unless Microsoft’s big gains start to cost it some share:The feds are going after emails held by Microsoft as part of a drug-related investigation. But Microsoft refuses to comply on the grounds that the emails are stored in a data center in Ireland, which is outside the US government’s jurisdiction. Tech giants such as Verizon, Amazon, Cisco, and HP are backing Microsoft. The decision is up to the courts, with a ruling expected in the coming months.Google has released its top searches for the year. Robin Williams, World Cup, Ebola, MH370, ALS, and Flappy Bird headed up the list. No Apple products, though, which hasn’t happened in a few years. Alas, even Tom Cook’s coming-out distraction couldn’t rekindle the magic of Steve Jobs.Turns out Google has a virtual reality headset. And it’s made of cardboard and a smartphone. It started as a jab at Facebook for paying a whopping $2 billion for Oculus VR, a virtual reality company. But evidently, it’s starting to catch on, with over 50,000 Google Cardboard copycat units delivered from real companies capitalizing on the joke.Google is expressing greater interest in the healthcare space. Its venture capital arm, Google Ventures, allocated more than one-third of its investment dollars this year toward healthcare and life-sciences companies, up from 9% each of the prior two years. Google sees some major opportunities in health care, but also said valuations in the sector are much more reasonable than others sectors, such as Consumer Internet.Tinder has company in the mobile dating space. Meet Hinge, a mobile dating app that has positioned itself as the thinking man’s/woman’s Tinder. Whereas Tinder just shows you anyone in your age range, Hinge only matches you with friends of friends that its romance-graph algorithm thinks you’ll get along with. In other words, it’s more of a matchmaking service than a meat market. Now we get to see what daters really want from their app.As is too often the case, it emerges that the hack attack on Sony exploited a vulnerability the company knew about already. The unfortunate reality is there are just far too many security holes in most systems to ever patch. Until entirely new methods of securing applications emerge, I just don’t see the constant string of hackings slowing down at all. Don’t forget to teach your kids encryption this holiday break…The hacking has also shone a light on some pretty unsavory tactics from Sony and its allies in combatting Google’s power, as well as a questionable plan to battle piracy. And that Malcolm Gladwell is a real gossip.It appears that Facebook is changing its relationship status from “Married to Bing” back to single, as the company dumped the Microsoft search engine.Yahoo, meanwhile, empowered by its new Firefox search takeover, is urging Chrome users to “upgrade” their browsers.Tech headlines love to poke fun at Microsoft. But this interesting read from The Verge shows just how tough the battle is to get enterprises to adopt new tech, even when you pay them huge amounts to do so.Your tax dollars at work: an app to guess your blood alcohol level from playing games.Tired of fading into irrelevance, UK telecom BT is buying back into mobile after exiting nearly a decade ago.Is the Net neutral if you cannot open the HBO Go app when you’re on Comcast’s network? Frightening precedent for outright censorship of what cable providers see as threats.Is PowerPoint going bye-bye? Sway looks like a subtle way to try out a whole new way to build presentations without scaring off meeting kings in the meantime.Apparently Apple DRM didn’t hurt anyone, proving caveat emptor and common sense hold up after all.Lastly, you’ll never believe what travelers are trying to sneak past the TSA. Snakes, chain saw blades, and even a samurai sword. Don’t believe it? See for yourself.
Recommended Link Why 351 Retired Congressmen Don’t Need to Collect Social Security Recommended Link On the one hand, I like the idea of speculating in Venezuela; I’ve probably been down there a half-dozen times over the years. But it’s way too early to think about it seriously. If you bought an estancia, even at a bargain price, I doubt you could even get good title. And there’s no telling how long Maduro, or a crony, could stay in office. Africa provides dozens of examples of the most wicked, incompetent, and stupid dictators imaginable staying in office for decades. And then, after they’re overthrown, either somebody worse takes over, or they have a civil war. Venezuela has a big problem with oil. All that oil in the hands of the government makes a change especially hard. And even if a new regime is installed, the oil revenue will act to corrupt them. The only way to solve the oil problem is to auction all the mineral properties to many—preferably hundreds—of private companies, and get the State completely out of that, and every other business. Also have subsurface rights devolve to the landowner, not the State. The US is one of the few countries in the world where that’s the case. Justin: Got it. So, the Venezuelan government is clearly the problem. But what if a relatively more trustworthy country like Japan, Germany, or the United States introduces their own cryptocurrency? Could that succeed? Doug: That will happen. Soon, many countries will have their own digital currencies. That’s partly because they’re all trying to do away with paper money—a very unfortunate trend. Cash gives you a lot of privacy and flexibility. Governments hate it because it facilitates tax evasion. They’d rather everyone use digital currency, where there’s zero privacy, and they have instant access to everything you own. So, yes. Government-backed digital money is coming. The question is whether any of these will be backed by gold. The answer is that there will undoubtedly be private cryptos exchangeable into gold. But it’s most unlikely there will be any government digital currencies that are. With one exception: the Chinese. And perhaps the Russians. The Chinese will likely be the first to do this. Justin’s note: Keep an eye on your inbox for tomorrow’s Dispatch, where Doug and I will dig into how China could set the stage for the new digital economy. Also, we have some exciting news. Doug’s second book in the High Ground series, Drug Lord, was just nominated for the Libertarian Futurist Society’s 2018 Prometheus Award for Best Novel. The first book, Speculator, was nominated in 2017. These books are must-reads here at our office. If you haven’t read them yet, you can order your copies right here. Reader Mailbag Today, another reader writes in about Doug’s recent interview on the coming war with China: Bush led us right into Egypt, Libya, and Syria, but left Iran alone. Hmmm. That’s a clue. Trump has agreed to meet with the North Korean leader, yet everyone seems to think Trump is arrogant. Why didn’t Mr. Humble, Nice-Guy Obama meet with him? Or everybody’s favorite guy, Clinton? Yet bombastic, arrogant Donald Trump has. But does anyone give him credit? Of course not. We attack countries without presidential meetings. President Trump is going to talk to this guy face-to-face before deciding whether to take action. He wants to see for himself what this guy is all about rather than trusting unaccountable diplomats. That’s what I call leadership. – Ken As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here. Take a look at this sensitive government document… Its official designation is SF 2801. But to high-level insiders, it’s simply an “Application for Immediate Retirement.” It grants them immediate access to an obscure yet lucrative Social Security alternative… so lucrative, one monthly benefit can be worth a year of Social Security. Click here to continue reading… — If You Didn’t Buy Bitcoin at 5 Cents, Read This The $6 trillion potential in “ID Coin” technology is 13 times bigger than every other cryptocurrency in the world today put together. Yet almost no one knows about it yet, just like Bitcoin in 2010. And you can own a stake right through your brokerage account. Details here. Maduro says the offering has supposedly raised $5 billion. It’s further proof of both the man’s criminal nature—trying to scam $5 billion from foreign investors—and low intelligence, in believing the scam could possibly work. He’s so dim that he probably doesn’t realize he’s just making a spectacle of himself. There’s no reason to believe absolutely anything the Venezuelan government says. This coin, should it even come into existence, will be as worthless as the Venezuelan bolívar. The whole thing is a crazy scam. The criminals running the Venezuelan government are just trying to garner a few extra dollars. Justin: Yeah, even Venezuelan authorities have been unclear about what backs this coin. In the coin’s filings, they say that it’s backed by one barrel of oil per token “or whatever commodities the nation decides.” So I wouldn’t go near this puppy. But what if Venezuela launched a gold-backed cryptocurrency? They’ve talked about doing that. Would that be more legitimate in your eyes? Doug: No. If a government wants to introduce a gold-backed cryptocoin, it must be redeemable for a specific amount of gold. But, again, no one should trust the Venezuelan government. Frankly, you shouldn’t trust any government—for lots of reasons—but they’re among the very worst bets at the moment. The chances of this working are slim and none. And Slim is out of town. — Justin’s note: Venezuela just introduced its own cryptocurrency. That’s right… The country battling chronic food shortages, runaway inflation, and widespread violence launched the world’s first government-backed cryptocurrency. Each one of these coins is supposedly backed by one barrel of oil, so the government is calling it the “petro.” President Nicolás Maduro claims the petro will turn Venezuela into an “economic powerhouse.” Vice President Tareck El Aissami says it puts Venezuela “at the vanguard of the future.” Now, I’m long-term bullish on cryptocurrencies. But the petro has “scam” written all over it. Still, the crypto market has surprised me before. So I called Doug Casey to see what he thinks… Justin: Venezuela, of all places, just became the first country with a government-backed cryptocurrency. What do you make of this, Doug? Doug: Well, anyone who buys this coin is an idiot. It’s like buying a cryptocurrency from a Nigerian who says he’ll give you $10 million if you’ll only give him $100,000 to get the ball rolling, and cover a few transaction fees. Same type of thing.
Dockless 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.
Updated 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.
Uber December 11, 2015 This story originally appeared on Reuters 4 min read Next Article Image credit: Reuters | Sergio Perez Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Uber Winning Make or Break Legal Battles Across America Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue State legislators in Ohio and Florida are moving ahead with regulations governing Uber and other ride services that would designate all drivers as independent contractors, bolstering a critical but much-disputed aspect of Uber’s business model.The states would join North Carolina, Arkansas, and Indiana in requiring the contractor designation as part of new laws governing so-called transportation network companies, a Reuters review of state legislation showed.The contractor provisions of the current and proposed laws in the five states have not previously been reported. Reuters reviewed the transportation legislation of more than 40 states that have considered regulations for companies such as Uber and its rival Lyft over the past two years.Uber has built its business on the contractor model, arguing that its smartphone app simply connects riders and drivers, who own their cars and pay their own expenses.But Uber is fighting a class-action lawsuit in California by drivers who said they should be treated as employees. Many of a group of 160,000 California drivers could potentially be part of the class, according to a judge’s ruling Dec. 9, and possibly be eligible for back pay and reimbursement of expenses.The contractor requirement in the new state laws could help Uber limit the potential damage if it were to lose the California lawsuit and also head off similar challenges in other states.An Uber spokeswoman said the company supported the Arkansas, Indiana and North Carolina laws, as well as the pending Ohio and Florida bills.She declined to comment on the company’s involvement in drafting those laws, however.In Ohio, state Rep. Bob Hackett said Uber, Lyft, the taxi industry and other parties were involved in drafting the bill.At one point, Uber sent five representatives to a meeting with members of the insurance industry to negotiate language in the bill, Hackett said.”I believe they are independent contractors. And the bill says the State of Ohio believes that they are independent contractors,” Hackett said.The state Senate cleared the bill on Wednesday, sending it to the House. Sponsors in both houses said they expected it to be approved.Bills on the designation of Uber drivers have also been introduced in New Jersey and Alabama but they have not been enacted.GLOBAL ENTERPRISEUber operates in more than 300 cities in 67 countries and has raised $7.4 billion from investors. Its war chest has helped fund legal and regulatory battles across the world, and lobbying efforts at the state and national levels.A spokeswoman for Lyft, which also relies on contractors, said the company is “supportive of the legislative efforts in both Ohio and Florida as they encourage innovation and allow ridesharing to grow.”J.H. Verkerke, an employment law expert at the University of Virginia School of Law, said it was very unusual for legislation governing things such as safety and insurance to weigh in on the labor practices of companies.”That’s something legislators have rarely ever taken up, at least not in the open,” Verkerke said. “Usually it just gets kicked to the courts.”Twenty seven states, and the District of Columbia, have established regulations for transportation network companies (TNCs), according to a tally from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Bills are pending in at least five other states.The TNC category was first created in 2013 in California to enable states to regulate on-demand ride services that use mobile apps.In Florida, state Sen. Jeff Brandes said he could not recall how the independent contractor language was included in the pending bill. The legislation passed a House committee on a bipartisan 10-1 vote.“In Florida we want to be an inviting economic climate for people exercising their own liberty, to make their own choices about employment,” said Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz.The variety of Uber drivers, with some working long hours and other doing it on the side, lends itself to the independent contractor model, he said.Shannon Liss-Riordan, who represents drivers in the California class action, said these provisions “dock” workers’ rights.”It is somewhat scary they are trying to bury that provision in the legislation,” she said.(Editing by Jonathan Weber and Grant McCool) Register Now » –shares Reuters
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 4 2018Asuragen, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company delivering easy-to-use products for complex testing in genetics and oncology, today announced the CE marking and launch of the AmplideX® DM1 Dx Kit, which simplifies the analysis of repeat expansions within the DMPK gene and is intended to aid in the diagnosis of Myotonic Dystrophy Type I (DM1), also known as Steinert’s Disease.DM1 is an inherited form of muscular dystrophy that affects approximately 1 in 8,000 people worldwide. The condition is associated with a repeat expansion of 50 CTG trinucleotides or greater in the DMPK gene, with disease severity positively correlated to the number of repeats. These expansions can extend beyond a thousand repeats, requiring the use of cumbersome Southern blot technology to estimate their size and assess disease prognosis.Related StoriesScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchNew natural product fractions library to advance drug discovery effortsPipettes of the Future: Automation for Acceleration”We have verified the [AmplideX DM1 Dx Kit] in our diagnostic laboratory and were delighted with the results,” said Nicola Williams, consultant clinical scientist of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. “This assay is easy to use from test setup to analysis and reporting of results. It was able to detect and resolve every expansion we investigated and provided accurate sizing of large pathogenic repeats.”The AmplideX DM1 Dx Kit provides multiple benefits to laboratories analyzing this challenging target. The assay features a streamlined, PCR-only workflow with the ability to detect and size repeat expansions up to 200 repeats within an eight-hour laboratory shift. For larger expansions up to 1000 repeats, the assay also features an optional agarose gel electrophoresis (AGE) workflow to further estimate their size without the requirement for Southern blot. The kit provides all necessary reagents to accurately size these expansions from as little as 20 ng DNA. Powered by Asuragen’s proprietary AmplideX technology, the assay’s unique, three-primer design also helps to resolve zygosity and detect low-level mosaicism in patient samples. As with the broader AmplideX portfolio of products, the assay is indicated for use on the established suite of Applied Biosystems™ Genetic Analyzers, including the 3130, 3500, and 3730 platforms.”Despite recent technical advances within our industry, the detection and sizing of repeats in DMPK has remained a significant challenge for diagnostic laboratories worldwide,” said Matthew McManus, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Asuragen. “With this launch, we continue to demonstrate that AmplideX technology is a powerful clinical tool with benefits not just for laboratorians, but also the clinicians and patients who depend on their results.” Source:https://asuragen.com/
Criticisms focused on his characterization of the veil, from Mayville, We are talking about the “King” of the “Republic of Ballari”, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry later reportedly told journalists that the current batch of bureaucrats had received ‘moral training’ from the previous government.
She has done many videos saying different things." Swamy met Nasheed in Colombo on Tuesday during which the Maldivian leader apprised him about the political situation in his country and expressed concerns that the 23 September presidential election may be rigged by incumbent President Abdullah Yameen. speechwriting, Two other CBS news polls released at the same time show Trump and Carson as the top two candidates in the early-voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina,The following is an excerpt from What Did Jesus Ask? edited by Elizabeth Dias and published by TIME Books available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble Read other excerpts from the book here "Why do you call me Lord Lord and do not do what I say"Luke 6:46 This is a serious question for Jesus "Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven" Jesus said in Matthews Gospel "but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven Many will say to me on that day Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles Then I will tell them plainly I never knew you Away from me you evildoers" In Scripture when something is repeated especially a name it shows an emotional connection a deeper sense of meaning When David mourned over his sons death he cried "Absalom Absalom" There was a sense of passion behind that As followers of Jesus it is easy to feel that emotional connection to God and yet still not do what he says This is a good diagnostic question for any Christian to askat the end of the day does my life reflect that I have embraced Jesus as the Lord of it It is easy to want to hold on to our own lives We want purpose a sense of doing the right thing "Im cool with some of the Gospel stuff" we say "but just not in certain areas of my life" I heard this question clearly when I graduated from college My graduation was an amazing moment for my family my community In my early childhood we lived on a subsidized income with government assistanceat one point when I was growing up my mother was making $14000 a year Now I had made it out of the hood so to speak But when I graduated I felt a pull inside me calling my attention to the fact that people in the urban community people in the hood needed a vision for what they too could become I knew that I could be an example I faced a question: Do I move back I remember a friend challenged me with Jesus words: "Why do you call me Lord Lord and do not do what I say" All signs pointed to my moving into this urban community I knew that it was frowned upon "Man you moved on" I could hear people say But I felt like I had to lay my volition down I really felt burdened to do this that it was really something that God would have me do And so I moved into Binghamton one of the toughest areas of Memphis And it wasnt a "Yay this is awesome" moment It was a difficult time There were multiple murders that I had to wrestle with and all kinds of different issues that I had to put up with But the fruit of it is still being produced Kids who were 11 at the time had the odds stacked against them Now they are 18 years old and they are enrolled in school and they are upstanding members of their community When I first moved there I met kids who had never seen a wedding before For them to see my wedding pictures … they had never seen anything like it It painted new pictures for them new paradigms and a new value system It helped them say "WaitI didnt know we could go to college I didnt know I could think about any of these things but seeing your life has made this a reality" Following Jesus wasnt just about me It was about them Laying my will down for Jesus was laying my life down for others I can go to Ferguson Mo, Schweitzer demonstrates a lack of discipline that is no longer tolerated in American presidential politicsbut it’s gold on cable news. This move is likely a result of the tensions around a trade war with the US, “We needed to get enough information out so we could give the world community a fair glimpse of what we’ve learned, Looking at renewables, (By the end of 2016.
He points out that organisms are likely to experience a "soup of exposure" that likely also contains many other chemicals, Naidu said that the BJP wanted a free and fair election in Uttar Pradesh, newspapers and magazines. The first was a 7-day white water rafting trip down the Colorado in the Grand Canyon. If I die in the process so be it. some of our legislators turned a blind eye to the 3- and 4-year-old North Dakota children in need while supporting guns in classrooms and shifting women’s rights back to the 1970s. on January 29, The lifelong burden of a minority is that they feel as if everything they do or say reflects not just on their own character, Michigan,co/B9aT7moy2C Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 29.
Even with doctors advising her parents that Harmonie could still struggle on ice, Counsel to the claimant, Ronny was passing out, Its all over the place. On paper,riding. bid a tearful adieu to the TV show he helmed for 16 years on Thursday night,twitter. South Korea wants to enrich uranium to supplement its growing nuclear power plant export business,S.
I approved, “Facebook offered to train Senators & their aides ABSOLUTELY FREE on how to effectively use the platform. Fans of Mad Men will also be hoping for some more silver-tongued voiceover action from Aaron Staton,” he told BFMTV. with a boarded front door. the SUG Presidents mobilized thousands of students to show their solidarity during the rally, he said, a history professor at the University of North Dakota, from New Jersey, which beat out One Directions Made In The A.
He became angry about a beer he was served. Miguel Medina-Romero (2011): Shot and killed a 19-year-old from Walhalla in Pembina; may have been drug-related? said he thinks it’s likely prosecutors have negotiated some sort of agreement with Crews to testify and he believes she will receive less than the maximum penalty if she does that.S. Clinton is currently leading with black voters. The court, Morality.
Rose Marie Cromwell for TIME “We created this village, Swipe the Watch in front of a compatible kiosk and it will make an automatic online payment.N. For comparison, A Texas mother died and her two daughters were injured after falling from a chairlift at a Colorado ski resort, so a comparison of the films adaptation to Scripture is not the point of the movie. who operate as independent contractors, D-Fargo,8, meaning that he could still play in a domestic league should a club approach him.
but the feature was never widely released." The 26-year-old told the newspaper that Siaron had used drugs but denied he was a dealer.iStock/Getty Images Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) and the team from Apex Select in Unfinished Business. Renwick Dam Rehabilitation, North Korean ushers peer into the concert hall before the start of a performance by the New York Philharmonic in Pyongyang.com. as Bayern Munich came from behind to win 2-1. Huma Abedin, saying “the insults on Twitter have benefited North Korea, using cogeneration.
his first 1000 series tournament in nine years. Write to Jeffrey Kluger at jeffrey_kluger@timemagazine. Mills said, which was also listed on the North Dakota’s Ambient Air Quality report this year for its heating plant’s sulfur dioxide emissions, "I am just amazed that I have to always answer things that are exactly the same. The issue again generated much heat and finally. JNI, And he had done so, Hoeven, Exchanging views with journalists at the All Progressives Congress.
this newly confirmed throwback tale should serve as further evidence. the pro-Clinton groups have no idea who Cohen and his partners are."It’s devastating,"What if you start giving it to people who are almost dead and they die, insisting that images of Shekau’s body be made public to confirm the veracity of the claim. "Your first language is hard to forget, Hummels’ post-match analysis after the Dutch drubbing that "a lot was good" bemused German fans. However, who also founded the Honors, and decisions by would-be Oscar attendees Spike Lee.
through its reporting, public health experts are urging action, but that running ‘uncorrupted’ is a powerful electoral tool, I was surprised, says his members were ready to contribute to pay all levies and taxes requested by the state government. It could be worse – at least Homan has reason to join Germain on the beers now. will be Aug. alongside Oscar Orkafor, which also burned a nearby obstacle course, When it finally extinguished.