Ericsson has split off its Broadcast and Media Services business into a separate business and has revived the Red Bee brand for its new name.Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services will now become Red Bee Media and will operate as a separate business fully owned by Ericsson. The Red Bee Media name and brand identity will apply to all of Ericsson’s Broadcast and Media Services businesses worldwide. The broadcast and media services business has operations in Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, United Arab Emirates, and the US. Red Bee Media employs around 2,500 broadcast and media specialists globally.Steve Nylund, CEO of Red Bee Media, said: “We looked at not only our vision and strategy for the future but also what we, as a business, now stand for. The Red Bee Media brand has a long and rich heritage in TV and media and is well recognized across the industry. Adopting this brand will enable us to strengthen our position as an independent and agile media services organization. It will provide the basis for our business, our people and our clients to unify around a shared identity that represents our purpose, brand positioning and values.”Earlier this year Ericsson said it was “exploring strategic opportunities” for its media business and split it into two groups: Broadcast and Media services and Media Solutions, to create a “stronger operational focus”. The company said it would continue to develop media solutions, tapping into the rapid growth in video traffic on networks including mobile.“It is apparent that Ericsson is struggling to sell off this asset. Many of its rivals are struggling in light of the challenging and competitive landscape. Therefore private equity could be the only realistic and viable option,” said Paolo Pescatore, VP, Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight, commenting on Ericsson’s latest move.“However, strategically content is proving to be a key battleground for all telcos which represents a significant step towards offering a suite of connected and smart home services. With this in mind Ericsson was undoubtedly bringing together a strong suite of assets in TV. Moving forward we expect to see rivals such as Huawei and Nokia place more focus on this area as a means of differentiating their offerings beyond connectivity,” he said.
Ginx Esports TV is due to launch in Latin America via over-the-top TV platform Zapping TV.Ginx TV aims to offer an “authentic eSports voice on TV” and is available in 40-plus countries around the world.“We are very happy to take our first step in South America with Zapping TV. Ginx TV creates and commissions exclusive content for its channel, representing every facet of eSports,” said Sam Butler, director of affiliate sales for Ginx Esports TV.Zapping TV CEO Gustavo Morandé said: “We are very excited about this partnership with one of the main eSports channels worldwide and to bring this exclusive offer to Zapping TV users in the whole region, starting by Chile where we are launching.”
France Télévisions is going to stop distributing complete programmes on YouTube, following director-general Delphine Ernotte’s earlier move to no longer distribute content on Netflix.Delphine ErnotteTaking part in a discussion on the future of television at an event organised by Les Echos and France Info – and sponsored by Google – at the end of last week, Ernotte said that the pubcaster is “going to stop putting complete programmes on YouTube” after describing the revenues gained from distributing content on the platform as little more than “a tip”.Ernotte was speaking after YouTube spokesperson Justine Ryst, speaking at the same event, had spoken about “the logic of complementarity and opportunity with media groups” and the “sharing of value” with the latter.While she conceded that YouTube was “a formidable tool” and the video consumption experience of choice for young people, Ernotte said that she would only engage in discussions when there is a greater choice of platforms and a “slightly less violently monopolistic situation”.Also present at the event, Gilles Pélisson and Nicolas de Tavernost, CEO of commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6 respectively, joined Ernotte in lambasting the unequal competition faced by broadcasters from internet giants and calling for changes in the rules to create a more equal playing field.Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada, meanwhile said that the best response to the likes of Netflix was to create a compelling rival digital offering. Saada said that Canal+ would launch a new low-cost on-demand offering at the end of the first quarter of next year to replace its failed CanalPlay SVOD service.Revealing that CanalPlay’s base had collapsed from 800,000 to 200,000 at a French Senate committee hearing in July, Saada blamed restrictions placed on it by France’s competition regulator preventing it from effectively competing with the likes of Netflix.France’s free-to-air broadcasters – France Télévisions, TF1 and M6 – are collaborating to create a rival joint on-demand offering, Salto to take on the might of the likes of Netflix, despite skepticism from a number of quarters. Ernotte had already called for French broadcasters to join her in retaining rights to their content rather than sell them on to third-party platforms such as Netflix.
Cable operators should view OTT services as an an opportunity rather than a threat, according to Luis Lopez, chief operating officer at Portugal’s Zon Multimedia.Speaking to DTVE, Lopes said cable operators could benefit from partnering with OTT operators, echoing similar comments made by Virgin Media’s CEO Neil Berkett.Lopes, meanwhile, believes Zon’s mix of entry level packages and next generation services, including Iris and broadband speeds of up to 360Mbps, will help the operator to win new customers and increase ARPU this year despite tough economic conditions.Cable operators could benefit from OTT partnerships, says Zon’s Lopes from Digital TV Europe on Vimeo.
ShareTweet Former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley said he was “heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend”.Writing on Twitter and referring to Michael by his family nickname of “Yog”, he added: “Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at large. 4ever loved. A xx”Image copyrightTWITTEROn Instagram, Sir Elton John posted a photograph of himself with Michael, writing: “I am in deep shock. I have lost a beloved friend – the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist. My heart goes out to his family and all of his fans.”Michael’s family announced news of his death in a statement issued through the singer’s publicist. “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” it said.“The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”South Central Ambulance Service were called to Michael’s property at 13:42 GMT. Thames Valley Police also attended and Michael was confirmed dead at the scene.They added: “At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post-mortem will be undertaken in due course. ”A small heart wreath and a rose are among the tributes left outside the front door of Michael’s home, a detached property by the River Thames.Michael, who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in north London, sold more than 100 million albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades.He first found fame with schoolfriend Ridgeley in duo Wham! – reaching number one in the UK singles charts on four occasions. One of the band’s most enduring songs Last Christmas, is currently number 16 in the UK singles chart.The song was originally released in 1984 and is the biggest selling single not to reach number one.It was kept off the chart’s top spot by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, which actually featured Michael.Solo albums followed, including the multi-million selling Faith in 1987.The follow-up Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 outsold Faith in the UK but led to Michael losing a court case with record label Sony over his frustration at how the album has been marketed.MUSIC WORLD STUNNED AS SINGER GEORGE MICHAEL FOUND DEAD AT HIS HOME was last modified: December 26th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: THE world of music has been stunned at the news singer George Michael has died at his home at the age of 53.The star, who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and had huge success as a solo performer, “passed away peacefully” on Christmas Day in Goring, Oxfordshire, his publicist said.His manager, Michael Lippman, said he had died of heart failure. MUSIC WORLD STUNNED AS SINGER GEORGE MICHAEL FOUND DEAD AT HIS HOME
Festivals and Events Officer with festival organisers Derry City and Strabane District Council, Andrea Campbell, said the outdoor events would appeal to a wide ranging audience.“I’m delighted that we see the return of our Al Fresco Jazz events this year,” she said. “It’s the perfect opportunity for families and younger audiences to experience some of the atmosphere that makes the Jazz Festival such a huge draw for music lovers from all over the world.“Each year we try to ensure that we programme a wide range of alternative events which will open the experience up to a variety of audiences and our outdoor events are always really popular. It creates a fantastic daytime buzz ahead of the busy schedule of night time performances throughout the city.”On Saturday join the members of the Errigal Groove Orchestra for a celebration of swing from 12.15pm in the Guildhall Square, before the St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s College Big Band take to the stage at 2pm, followed by the Foyle College, Lisneal and EA Jazz Ensembles from 3pm. ShareTweet THE final countdown is on to the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival 2017, and with just days to go until the annual May Bank Holiday celebration kicks off on April 27th, thousands will be planning their perfect weekend music experience.If you’re not one for pubs and clubs then never fear, the organisers of Derry’s most popular music event have ensured that there’s a wide range of alternative arenas in which to enjoy your jazz fix, including some fantastic outdoor performances in the city centre.Saturday sees a full line up of young local talent taking to the stage at the Guildhall Square throughout the afternoon, where the Walled City Market will be setting up stall over the course of the weekend, showcasing the very best local artisan products.And the Craft Village will also be reverberating to some groove-tastic tunes on both Saturday and Sunday, the perfect place to get in the mood for an evening out on the jazz trail. The Craft Village will also host a sensational weekend of al fresco performance featuring festival favourites the Harry Connolly Band, the Limavady Big Band and Pontius Pilate & the Nail Drivers from 1pm – 6pm on Saturday, and Andrew Monk and Mission Impossible on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1pm.The full City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival programme is available online at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com. Events will take place in various locations through Derry and Strabane from Thursday 27th April until Monday 1st May.For all the latest news and event updates check out City of Derry Jazz Festival on Facebook, or follow the Twitter page @derryjazzfest.This event is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Guinness and Tourism Northern Ireland Events Fund.For details on any remaining accommodation deals during the Jazz Festival contact www.visitderry.comDINE OUT ON SOME BANK HOLIDAY AL FRESCO JAZZ was last modified: April 21st, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: CITY OF DERRY BIG JAZZ FESTIVALDINE OUT ON SOME BANK HOLIDAY AL FRESCO JAZZ
Last month parole commissioners refused to approve his release from Maghaberry prison.This was despite support from politicians including Sinn Féin national chairman Declan Kearney who said the decision “is a denial of justice and due process.”A former republican prisoner, Taylor was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 1994 for IRA activity and for three years in 2011 for possession of a rifle.Those who took part in the parole hearing earlier this year are banned from speaking about it.Mr Carlin said: “It is argued that his recall is internment in all but name.“It is without justification and sets a very dangerous precedent for republican ex-prisoners.”A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”TONY TAYLOR TO SUE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT was last modified: July 3rd, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: Derry republican prisoner Tony Taylor who is languishing behind barsDERRY republican Tony Taylor is to sue Secretary of State James Brokenshire for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.Mr Taylor has spent more than a year in jail without charge after his early release licence was revoked by then Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.She sent him back to jail on the word of faceless spooks in MI5. Mr Taylor’s solicitor Aiden Carlin told today’s Irish News that a writ has been served on Mr Brokenshire.The legal action was launched after Mr Taylor’s legal team argued that his detention in March 2016 was unlawful.He said the Northern Ireland Office later “rescinded the original order and issued a new one dated 31 March 2016”.The solicitor said compensation is now being sought for the first three weeks Mr Taylor spent in detention. ShareTweet JAMES BROKENSHIREMAGHABERRY PRISONMI5NIOPSNITONY TAYLORTONY TAYLOR TO SUE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FALSE IMPRISONMENT
500 generous donation to Derry hospital’s breast screening unitALTNAGELVIN HOSPITALbreast screening unitDebbie DunneDerryPatient’s £1strathfoyle ShareTweet A FORMER patient has raised a four figure sum for Altnagelvin Hospital’s breast screening unit.Debbie Dunne from Strathfoyle in the city presented the unit with a cheque for £1,500. Following Debbie’s treatment for breast cancer in the Breast Screening Unit she took part in the Walled City Marathon and raised £1,500 in acknowledgement of the excellent care and treatment she received. The Western Trust say: “This donation will be used for the benefit of patients and staff in the Unit. “Debbie and her daughter Jolene visited the Unit to make the presentation to Breast Screening Unit staff Julie McLaughlin, Marietta Connor, Dr Diggin, Mandy Bradley and Leona Kee.”Patient’s £1,500 generous donation to Derry hospital’s breast screening unit was last modified: August 29th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags:
ShareTweet DETECTIVES have charged a 35 year old man to appear before Limavady Magistrates’ Court today, Wednesday, June 26. He has been charged with drugs offences including cultivating cannabis, possessing article infringing copyright, possession of a Class A drug, possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply and possession of a Class B drug. He has also been charged with trading counterfeit products. As is normal procedure, the charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service. During the search, quantities of suspected Class A and Class B drugs were seized.Man charged to Co Derry court on drug dealing and fake goods charges was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: He has been released on police bail pending further enquiries in relation to grievous bodily harm with intent and theft.The charges follow a search in the Ballymena area earlier on Tuesday by detectives investigating a paramilitary style attack on a 20 year old man.He was attacked by three men as he walked through the pedestrian underpass between Moat Road and Crebilly Road in Ballymena on Thursday 30th May. The men also stole cash and a mobile phone before making off. cultivating cannabisLIMAVADY MAGISTRATES’ COURTMan charged to Co Derry court on drug dealing and fake goods chargesPolicepossessing article infringing copyrightpossession of a Class A drugpossession of a Class A drug with intent to supplyPSNI
Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey distributed more than $117,000 to victims of a burial association, which the Attorney General has accused of engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices.Tri-County Burial Association stood accused of misrepresenting that a paid membership to the association would provide benefits equal to one’s entire burial expense, a failed promise that left consumers with no prior notice of reduced benefits and eventually a dissolved association.“Businesses must comply with every aspect of our state’s consumer protection laws,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I commend our office’s tireless efforts to recoup as much money as possible for the affected consumers.”A Raleigh County circuit judge’s final court order required the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to divide Tri-County Burial Association’s remaining assets, minus mailing costs, among eligible members or the estates thereof.The Attorney General’s Office mailed checks to 632 eligible recipients Monday. Each will receive $185.85. Per the court’s order, any checks returned as undeliverable will be considered unclaimed property and delivered to the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office.The restitution process involved the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division reviewing membership documents obtained from Tri-County Burial Association and processing submitted claim forms, all actions consistent with the court’s order.Tri-County Burial Association was an unincorporated association based in Beckley. It dissolved in October 2014. Home NewsWatch Attorney General Morrisey Distributes $117K Judgment in Burial Association Case NewsWatchState NewsTop Stories Attorney General Morrisey Distributes $117K Judgment in Burial Association Case By Tyler BarkerSep 17, 2018, 21:23 pm 419 0 Next PostCrews on scene after powerlines go down in Beckley Google+ Linkedin Pinterest Tumblr Twitter Previous PostPolice say man who huffs spray paint accused of beating mother with spatula Mail Facebook
Oil91.7195.3679.68 Silver34.8532.1028.69 One Month Ago Dear Reader,With gold back up within reach of its nominal record high last year, a lot of new investors are thinking about gold mining stocks.With this in mind, today we take a peek at one of the issues that confuses some metals investors: cash mining costs. It’s simple in a way, but also nuanced and subject to misinterpretation. I’ll let Andrey Dashkov explain.The point, for now, is no surprise; be careful, think things through, be thorough in your due diligence. But there are opportunities out there, and more coming.Sincerely,Louis JamesSenior Metals Investment StrategistCasey Research TSX Venture1,344.981,246.271,413.65 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)24.8222.0328.22 Gold1,784.001,690.001,617.00 Silver Stocks (SIL)25.3921.8020.99 Cash Cost Figures: Are They For Real?By Andrey Dashkov, Research AnalystWhen you read about mining companies, you’ll often see “cash cost” figures given for production. “XYZ Gold Corp. produced 25,000 ounces of gold from its mines this quarter at a cash cost of $676 per ounce.” This is a non-GAAP figure similar to the general idea of “cost of sales” – what it takes to calculate a gross margin.Why would anyone report something so near the top line when it’s the bottom line that’s, well, the bottom line? Because it’s useful. The bottom line can be subject to major fluctuations from quarter to quarter, even in large companies if they get hit with one-time write-downs, changes in taxes, changes in accounting, etc. that are separate from the actual profitability of mining operations. By looking at cash costs, we can make our own estimations of how rich a company’s mines are, and hence how much abuse a company can take on non-mining costs and still deliver to the bottom line over time.For exploration and development companies, of course, there is no EBDITA, and the bottom line is almost always negative. Reasonable cash cost projections can give us a basis for evaluation when normal metrics don’t apply.With rising costs, we’ve been hearing industry talk about shifting away from reporting cash costs, which can make mining companies seem more profitable than they are to the financially illiterate – like politicians. Political leaders in some countries are pursuing windfall profit taxes, higher royalties, etc., because they see higher metals prices and relatively low cash cost figures, when in reality there may be little or no windfall profits to be taxed.At a recent meeting at the Denver Gold Forum sponsored by the World Gold Council, the idea of moving away from the traditional cash cost reporting figures was proposed. A more standardized, “all-in” cost figure has been proposed, to include operating costs, sustaining capital expenditures, and general and administrative costs. If adopted, this figure would provide a more accurate and definitive picture of actual mining costs.Here at Casey Research, we aggregate our own “all-in” costs when not reported by a company, so such a change would not impact the way we look at companies much. However, for others who are used to looking at cash costs, the “all-in” figures could come as a bit of a shock, and could result in negative investor reactions toward companies that make the change. That’s probably just as well; the smart money will be back – it already knows there’s much more to the picture than cash costs.More on this shortly. First, let’s have a quick look at cash costs for gold producers today.Cash Cost UpdateThe latest update to the Thomson Reuters GFMS Gold Survey reports that in the first half of 2012, average cash costs for gold producers increased to a new high of US$727 per ounce. However, higher year-on-year gold prices have seen producer margins increase by 11%. Still, GFMS also points out that “on a quarterly basis, margins have in fact declined for the last three quarters.”The chief reasons cited for cash costs increasing are declining ore grades, labor cost increases, higher energy prices, and other input factors. Our expectation is that on average, these costs will continue to rise throughout this year and beyond.However, profit is not a one-variable calculation. With the underlying commodity – gold – rising faster than cash costs for over a decade now, many mines that were previously unprofitable have become profitable.Sharp investors have noticed that many profitable mining companies aren’t seeing fatter margins. Why? Because mines with higher-grade material start processing previously uneconomic lower-grade ore while they can do so at a profit, adding to the life of their mines and total cash flow while maintaining their bottom lines today. In other words, what was once waste becomes ore, leading to increases in overall production and profit. It’s a good business strategy, but it also contributes to the rise in average mining costs.Still, while costs have risen in nominal terms, gold has continued upward as well. As a result, average operating margins, based on the spot gold price, have gotten wider in recent years. The below quarterly comparison of the average cash cost vs. the average price of gold over the past seven years shows this quite clearly.(Click on image to enlarge)A real eye-opener, however, comes from another chart we built using the same data set. Here you’ll see that wider margins mean that cash costs – stated as a percentage of the price of gold – were at multiyear lows earlier this year.(Click on image to enlarge)This year we have observed rising costs, so it will be interesting to see how this chart looks going forward. If gold continues trading sideways, the window of profitability will shut down for marginal operations. However, if gold heads much higher – as we expect it to – the trend in the chart above could keep margins fattening.CapExCapital expenditure – “capex” – is also a cost of doing business for mining companies, but as the name implies, it’s capitalized. That means it’s subject to depreciation and not treated as an expense, and doesn’t show up in operating costs. You still need to pour this money into the ground to build and operate your mine, of course, so it does affect the bottom line, where depreciation, taxes, and other costs are all taken into account. For exploration and development companies, you look for the impact of capex in internal rate of return (IRR) and net present value (NPV) figures.Capex has been ballooning of late, due to higher labor and material costs and much greater regulatory burdens. There’s nothing new in this trend, but it seems to be accelerating substantially, especially for larger projects. We don’t have updated industry-wide average figures for this, but one of most striking recent examples of skyrocketing capital costs is Barrick’s Pascua-Lama project on the Chile-Argentina border.Business News Americas reports: “A previous cost estimate for Pascua Lama was US$3.3bn-3.6bn, but this was revised up to US$4.7bn-5bn after a review in 2011.” The current cost estimate is about US$8 billion.Barrick’s situation is a vivid example of why capex has become a significant detriment to building new mines – more so than rising operating costs. When it comes to calculating a project’s IRR, the size of the initial investment has a huge impact. So, in spite of the rising gold price, we’re not seeing as many new mines being built as we might expect.Indeed, the relatively low pace of mergers and acquisitions among mining companies this year may be principally due to concerns about rising capital costs. Many of the larger companies that might have been snapping up successful exploration companies while they were on sale over the summer had their plates full with huge projects they were already committed to.That will change at some point; the majors must replace depleting ounces or cease to be major mining companies. However, that tipping point does not seem to have been reached yet.ConclusionOperating costs are rising, but on a yearly basis over the last ten years, production margins have been rising faster. The industry, recognizing problems with cash cost reporting, is considering a new metric that would provide a more accurate picture. However, many in the industry hesitate: some executives want to keep using the cash cost figure since it reflects how much it costs to mine right now.We don’t know how that issue will turn out, but unless and until the industry does adopt a more comprehensive and accurate figure, we’ll keep using our own “all-in” estimates. All investors in the sector need to remember that the real cost of any mining is going to be higher than what companies report as cash costs.And – obviously – there’s much more to evaluating a precious metals producer than just costs. Does its management team have a track record of success? Does it have enough money (or access to it) to move its projects forward? Is the company likely to be taken over by a major producer?That last point is particularly important, because when juniors are bought out, their investors usually get big windfalls. Right now Louis has identified seven companies that are especially ripe for takeover.Gold and Silver HEADLINESRupee Aids India’s Gold Buying Ahead of Festivals (The Economic Times)An appreciated Indian rupee pushed local gold prices to a five-week low, providing an opportunity for gold importers in that country to stock up on bullion for upcoming festivals. The world-famous Indian festival and wedding seasons start in late October, a time when people traditionally buy gold for gifts and dowries.The rupee rose to its highest level against the dollar in more than five months, which kept prices of the precious metals in rupee terms subdued, even as dollar-priced gold hit an 11-month high above $1,795 last week.“There is heavy demand, because the rates have come down on rupee appreciation,” said Ganesh Agarwal, director of Shiv Sahai and Sons India Limited, a Chennai-based wholesaler, noting that investors were also among recent gold buyers.It is unlikely that the autumn festivals and revived demand will offset the considerable decline in India’s gold consumption that we’ve been seeing during the year. A weak rupee and higher import duties on gold imposed by the government in an attempt to cut the deficit were among the main reasons for demand decrease from Indian customers.$2,200 Is a Realistic Target for Gold in 2013 (Mining.com)In a recent interview, Kitco’s head of precious metals, Peter Hug, said gold prices could hit the $2,200 level next year. However, he doesn’t expect to see gold reaching such lofty highs prior to the year’s end.Hug observes the market as constructively bullish, given aggressive stimulus plans by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. But he says gold prices could dip short-term on profit-taking, providing a buying opportunity for investors.These expectations are in line with our own. For more information, read an exclusive Kitco interview with BIG GOLD‘s Jeff Clark.For Both Gold and Apple Fans: A 24-Karat Gold-Plated iPhone 5 (Mining.com)London jeweler Gold & Co. has hit the market with a 24-karat gold-plated iPhone 5 that costs “only” $4,380 (£2,695).“This stunning iPhone is uniquely crafted. Best quality crystal stones are added to its own mounted 24ct gold logo and home button. Like the diamond setting process, each stone is individually set into cut clasps adding seductive detail.”We like gold, but we also know it’s a soft metal. Somehow, this plating doesn’t seem very practical – but, we suppose that’s the point.Striking South Africa Miners Fired by Platinum Producer (Toronto Star)Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has embarked on a massive layoff of striking miners. The company reported that “approximately 12,000 striking employees chose not to make representations, nor attend the hearings, and have therefore been dismissed in their absence.” The company representatives said that a more detailed statement would be issued soon.80,000 miners – about 16% of the country’s mine workforce – are on strike, causing mine stoppages and political complications. The country’s president called for “constructive social dialogue,” but the turmoil continues.We’re keeping a close eye on the situation in South Africa. The current crisis may present interesting investment opportunities – and our subscribers will know about them first. Rock & Stock StatsLast Copper3.793.533.10 TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)12,418.9911,990.1411,457.22 One Year Ago Gold Producers (GDX)53.6547.9354.88
Sticking with fact versus self-serving fiction, the Centre for Ocean and Ice plotted the daily mean temperature for the Arctic (you know, where the warming is supposedly causing widespread ice melting and a die-off of polar bears) for the period between 1958 and 2013. It, too, found no statistically meaningful deviation from the mean in 2013. Here’s the link. So, let me ask again… what the hell is wrong with Obama? Why would he use the powers of the executive to unleash yet another bungling army of bureaucrats and foist yet another expensive body of regulations upon the nation – and do so at such a precarious time for the economy… a period when businesses need help, not hindrance? I can only assume he is doing so not because he is ignorant about the science, but because he is pandering to the “progressives” (a misnomer that, corrected, would read “regressives”) and others his party needs the support of in order to prevail in the next election. Fortunately, slowly and steadily the truth will come out. My favorite recent public turnaround was delivered by the mayor of London, the straight-talking Boris Johnson, in an article he penned for the Telegraph titled, The Weather Prophets Should Be Chucked in the Deep End. A relevant quote: For more than 20 years now, we have been told that this country was going to get hotter and hotter and hotter, and that global warming was going to change our climate in a fundamental way. Do you remember that? We were told that Britain was going to have short, wet winters and long, roasting summers. It was going to be like 1976 all over again, with streakers at Lord’s and your Mr Whippy melting before you could even lick it, and Hyde Park scorched into a mini Kalahari. They said we were never going to have snow again, and that we should prepare for southern England to turn gradually into a Mediterranean world. There were going to be olive groves in the Weald of Kent, and the whole place was going to be so generally broiling in summer that no one would be able to move between noon and 4pm, after which people would come out to play boules and sip pastis, to the whine of a mandolin, in the dusty square that had once been a village green. That’s what they said: the BBC, and all the respectable meteorologists – and I reckon there were tens of thousands of people who took these prophecies entirely seriously. Omigod, they said to themselves, we are all going to fry. He goes on to suggest, tongue-in-cheek, that every English homeowner who anticipated taking advantage of the pending warmer climate by building a swimming pool should be able to file a claim against the government for reimbursement. In that same vein, I would propose that the tab for hundreds of billions in wasted taxpayer funds on electric cars, solar, and so forth be divided up and sent for payment to Obama, Al Gore, and anyone else found to have profited – financially or politically – from climate alarmism. Some of the money collected could be spent trying to deprogram a generation of state-schooled students who now unquestionably accept the bad science of manmade climate warming, despite the huge body of science pointing to the contrary. Weekend Reads Save Us from the Meddlers… this from the always excellent Reason.com: Starting this fall, high school students in New Jersey who taunt each other during games will be subject to investigation not only by the state’s athletic association, but the state’s government. “The days of taunting, baiting and trash-talking during high school sporting events are over,” reads a press release from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). Thanks to collaboration between NJSIAA, the New Jersey Attorney General, and the New Jersey Civil Rights Division, “discriminatory conduct will also be reported to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and may result in further investigation.” Oh, and the regulation applies to off school grounds as well. The Making of a Global Security State. Terry Coxon forwarded me an excellent article on the topic by Tom Engelhardt that appeared in the Asia Times. Here’s the link. Despicable He – If you want to confirm just how degraded the US government and its various corporate quislings have become, check out this story about the IRS Deputy and the $500 million contract he awarded to a buddy… then refused to testify about it. And with that, I will leave you for the week by thanking you for reading, and for being a Casey Research subscriber. I hope I didn’t come off overly pessimistic in today’s musings – I am actually quite optimistic, but that may only be because I don’t have my head stuck in the sand about where things are likely heading. As a result, I continue to take the steps I feel are personally necessary to weather the storms ahead. Then I go about living the best life I can manage. If you’d like a bit of help in making your own plans, I’d highly recommend taking a risk-free trial to our flagship publication, The Casey Report… and signing up for our October 4 – 6 Casey Research Summit in Arizona before it sells out. These are tough markets to be going alone. And here’s a link to another analysis by a serious scientist that shows just how far off the predictions of global warming have been when compared to actual temperatures. Thou Shalt Not Fail to Rebalance After Big Run-Ups. The sector in which he is so heavily invested, US equities, has already had a big run-up. As you can see from the chart here, it is looking perilously close to a near-term top. As an aside, the pattern evident in the chart suggests a trading pattern you might want to use to your advantage. It should continue for awhile – maybe even until the entire Fed-led Ponzi scheme collapses the economy. Underscoring the global warming purportedly caused by excessive carbon, a clearly overheated Obama dramatically wiped his face with a white hanky during his out-of-doors announcement. Given that summer in Washington DC is famously hot and humid, maybe some staff member should have scheduled an air-conditioned room for the announcement… oh, wait… silly me, the whole sweating thing was staged! Duh! (Do these people really think that the public consists entirely of gullible morons?) Quoting Bloomberg on the president’s announcement… Saying that science had put to rest the question about whether the planet was warming, Obama vowed to use his executive powers to act, arguing that limiting emissions would spur technological advancement and new jobs. “I don’t have much patience for anyone that denies that this challenge is real,” Obama said in the speech at Georgetown University. “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.” The irony here is that, at least as far as I can tell, the science tells us nothing of the kind. In fact, for the last seventeen and a half years – a period over which the climate alarmists tell us the planet has been dangerously warming – the planet has shown no warming. Quoting a recent article by Christopher Monckton on the always excellent Wattsupwiththat.com site… Superimposing the temperature curve and its least-squares linear-regression trend on the statistical insignificance region bounded by the means of the trends on these published uncertainties since January 1996 demonstrates that there has been no statistically significant warming in 17 years 4 months: The rapid increase in social spending reflects the unintended consequences of the “chicken in every pot” promises that have become the basis of every election campaign for decades now. This is a picture of what happens when you train the masses to look to the government, and not the free markets, to solve every problem, water every plant, kiss every boo-boo. Thanks to the surge in socialism, this pattern is mirrored the world over. It’s now projected that Italy will need a bailout from the EU within six months – again due to its unfunded and non-payable social obligations. Since the latest crisis began, we have seen governments around the world “socialize” the bad debts of failing financial institutions by transferring those debts from private balance sheets to those of the governments (and the central banks). This has only exacerbated an already impossible situation, requiring the widespread adoption of global monetary madness. Seriously, who in their right mind could possibly think creating trillions in new monetary units in order to support virtually unchecked government spending is a sound and sustainable policy? Yet that’s exactly the operating model of the leadership in most of the world’s largest economies. I suspect this is so only because they simply don’t see any other way to delay the inevitable. Flash riots in places like Brazil only encourage these governments to continue acting like monetary sluts in order to keep the public slops flowing. And to the extent that it helps even temporarily mollify the expectations of the masses, expect other equally counter-productive measures as well. In the case of Brazil, its government is seriously levying yet another tax on the successful to pay for the social spending being demanded by the rioters. And the global economy continues to spiral around the drain. When might the hard truths become unavoidable? For an answer, I turn to Ayn Rand’s classic Atlas Shrugged… “Do you wish to know when that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.” –Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged, p. 385 (1957) If Rand is right, we’re getting close. Meanwhile, for those of you deluded enough to believe the US government will someday soon get its fiscal house in order, the social and political consequences of doing so be damned, here’s a quick snippet from USA Today last week… WASHINGTON — The U.S. House failed to pass a sweeping five-year farm bill with sharp cuts to food stamps, a surprising development that sets the stage for an uphill fight in Congress to craft a new law. The Republican-led House soundly rejected a $500 billion measure by a vote of 195-234, failing to muster enough support from conservative Republicans concerned about costs and Democrats and concerned about deep cuts to the country’s popular food stamp program. Of course, per the above parable, when it comes to keeping hogs and people happy, a steady supply of food is essential. So, do you really think the US government is going to cut back the food stamps now being provided to 1 in 5 households (approximately 50 million people)? Hardly. The simple reality is that “We the people” took the slops, and the consequences of passing our personal responsibilities to the nation-state are yet to be paid in full. As the nation-states have no path open to them to continue to meet their obligations – at least no path that doesn’t end in widespread pain – expect things to get very, very bizarre in the months and years just ahead. Remain vigilant. Friday Funnies A Lesson in Irony… Apropos to the Above Article The Food Stamp Program, administered by the US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever, to 46 MILLION PEOPLE. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the US Department of the Interior, asks us, “Please Do Not Feed the Animals.” Their stated reason for the policy is: “The animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.” THUS ENDS TODAY’S LESSON IN IRONY. Leno on the Scandals “I was going to start off tonight with an Obama joke, but I don’t want to get audited by the IRS.” On NSA surveillance: “We wanted a president who listens to all Americans – now we have one.” On a new IRS commissioner: “He’s called ‘acting commissioner’ because he has to act like the scandal doesn’t involve the White House.” On closing the Guantanamo prison for terrorists: “If he really wants to close it, turn it into a government-funded solar power company. The doors will be shut in a month.” Concerning the Benghazi, Associated Press, and IRS scandals: “Remember in the old days when President Obama’s biggest embarrassment was Joe Biden?” On Obama saying he didn’t know about the IRS scandal: “He was too busy not knowing anything about Benghazi to not know anything about the IRS.” “The White House has a new slogan about Benghazi: Hope and change the subject.” “It’s casual Friday, which means that at the White House, they’re casually going through everybody’s phone calls and records.” “It is not looking good for President Obama. Today his teleprompter took the fifth.” “FOX News has changed its slogan from ‘Fair and Balanced’ to ‘See, I told you so!’” “These White House scandals are not going away anytime soon. People in Kenya are now saying he’s 100 percent American. That’s how bad it’s gotten.” On Obama’s commencement address: “He told the young graduates their future is bright – unless, of course, they want jobs.” On a Chicago man who set a record for riding a Ferris wheel: “The only way to go around and around in a circle that many times is to read the official report on Benghazi.” On White House claims of ignorance on the scandals: “They took ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ out of the Pentagon and moved it into the White House.” Concerned about NSA Spying? Here’s one (funny) solution: everyone should begin speaking like a terrorist… here’s the video link. Thou Shalt Not Fail to Watch Your Investment Expenses. In this case, a full-service broker has been charging him 2% (and maybe more) to underperform in the sector he has him in up to his ears. And, I suspect, does a fair bit of trading. Essentially, the client takes all the risk and the brokerage house earns a bigger net return. Additionally, if the broker is aggressive, then there’s a good chance he’s not particularly attentive when it comes to short- versus long-term capital gains. Thou Shalt Not Keep Too Much of Your Money in a Single Institution. Effectively, he has all of his money in a single financial institution. As the investors with money on account at MF Global will attest, in today’s world that’s just plain reckless. Very few banks and brokerage houses aren’t entangled in the obscure and impenetrable web of derivatives markets and so are at risk. (This is a topic that David Webb will be addressing in depth at our only Casey Research Summit in 2013, Oct. 4 – 6 in Tucson, Arizona. Details here, registration is limited. ) Thou Shalt Not Be Ignorant About What You Own, and Why. His portfolio is made up entirely of investments that he doesn’t even know the names of, let alone the basic metrics related to their underlying value or financial soundness. David Galland Managing Director Casey Research More Irony Donald Grove, The Casey Report’s man in Washington, sent along the following, which, though true, properly belongs in the Friday Funnies section. Here’s the text of his email: “The White House is on a roll this morning. The audacity of this administration! That it would suggest that it has any credibility for instilling financial responsibility in young people just takes my breath away. The secretary of the Treasury will have oversight. That will keep it on the up and up, won’t it?” Don is referring to the Obama administration’s Executive Order earlier this week establishing The Presidential Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans (or TPACOFCFYA, for short). Quoting from the Executive Order… “By starting early, young people can begin to learn the difference between wants and needs, the importance and power of saving, and the positive and productive role money can play in their lives. Having a basic understanding of money management from an early age will make our young people better equipped to tackle more complex financial decisions in their transition to adulthood, when critical decisions about financing higher education and saving for retirement can have lasting consequences for financial security. Strengthening the financial capability of our young people is an investment in our nation’s economic prosperity.” Don adds, “How about advising young people to observe the fiscal and monetary practices of the federal government and simply do the opposite at every turn?” Sounds about right to me. A Good Laugh My golf buddy Frank sent this along a few minutes ago. Even though the Friday Funnies is longer than usual, I just had to share it. It’s the voice of a man leaving a message for his boss when he witnesses a car accident… and the incredible events that then follow. It’s really funny. Here’s a link to the recording. What the Hell Is Wrong with Obama? – Part Two This week, the Panderer-in-Chief moved forward with his initiative to curb carbon emissions. Thou Shalt Not Blindly Rely on the Advice of a Commissioned Broker. It’s their job to get you to trade. It’s how they earn the money to buy that nice house. Sure, if a commissioned broker provides real value, then they have earned their commission. But you need to do your own homework and not just acquiesce to their every recommendation. That’s how you end up with 90% of your retirement assets at risk in a single investment sector. As an alternative for those who want to leave their investing to a pro, a pure fee-based money manager can make sense as their only goal is (or should be) to impress you so you’ll continue to retain their services. For a few days the hogs waited patiently for their usual rations, but when the farmer failed to come through, the hungry hogs began to fight over the reduced slops provided. It was not long after that the farmer – confident that the hogs were properly domesticated – let himself into the pen only to find himself surrounded by angry hogs who made him what’s for lunch. The moral to the longer-version story is that the domesticated hogs will remain docile only for as long as you keep them snout-deep in slops. Which brings me to the riots in Brazil, the latest footnote on the continuum of the slow-motion global financial collapse now underway. Simply, years of expanding politically motivated social welfare programs around the world have raised the expectations of the masses to the point where they simply can’t be met. The results are that growing segments of the previously submissive masses, seeing their slops reduced in both quantity and quality, are now drifting back towards a more feral state. (Note the Mad Max hair in the photo above… yet another example of life mimicking art.) You can see the problem in this chart showing the federal government’s expenditures by function. While the chart is a little out of date, the trend couldn’t be clearer… or more concerning. Dear Reader, For today’s missive, I plan on keeping things fairly loose… no major themes, just bits and pieces, mostly related to some of the news items that have caught my eye, and maybe yours. And with that uncharacteristically short warm-up, it’s on to the news. What the Hell Is Wrong with Obama? In recent polls, 65% of Americans said they were against the US government becoming involved in Syria. Yet, the Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that it will now actively support the rebels there. Disturbingly, our so-called allies in this fight – the anti-Assad rebels – are the sort of people who use suicide bombers to achieve their goals. Which is not surprising given that Al-Qaeda has openly taken a leading role in the opposition the Obama administration now sees fit to support. And so it is that the very same Al-Qaeda that the US claims is Enemy #1 will soon be receiving weapons from the US, and probably already has. In one particularly notable display of the world view of our new friends, a prominent rebel leader named Khalid al-Hamad was videotaped snacking on the lung of a dead enemy soldier. The highly placed member of the intelligence community whom I briefly referenced in my last missive told me that the most favorable interpretation of this barbaric act the analysts could come up with was that the fellow was actually trying to eat the heart, but ate the lung instead. This was taken as “favorable” because Commander Cannibal’s lack of basic human anatomy suggested that eating internal organs was not a regular practice among our new BFF. Now, as to the “bad guy” in this entire drama … he is the son of Hafez al-Assad, the man who in 1973 changed the constitution of Syria to drop the provision that only Muslims could be president… triggering a running battle against Muslim extremists demanding that the country be Muslim and not secular. In 1987, Syria actually participated in the so-called willing countries in supporting the US invasion of Iraq. In 2000 Bashar Assad, the second son of Hafez, succeeded to power after his father’s death and five months later ordered the release of hundreds of political prisoners. Now, that’s not to say that Assad is a wonderful fellow. No one would argue the fact that he’s accustomed to using a hard hand to keep the discontented in line. And given that those discontented are dominated by the sort of folks willing to blow themselves up in pursuit of religious goals (or, at least encourage the more gullible into doing so), the actions of the Assad government have, on occasion, been uncompromising. As an aside, you may remember that in 2006 our current allies, the radical jihadists that Assad has also been trying to keep a lid on, attacked the US embassy in Damascus… and now we’re on the same side. Funny how a little time heals all wounds, eh? Even so, until this latest phase in the conflict blew up in 2011, the level of violence was relatively minor. But that was then. Now, with the place in flames, the death toll has soared with the latest body count at over 100,000 and counting. Which brings me back to the question above, what the hell is wrong with Obama? Or, more accurately, what the hell is the US government thinking to interject itself in the conflict? Why would we want to hand the largely secular country over to the jihadists? Who wins? I thought this quote out of an article on the situation by the folks at CATO worth sharing. Those most serious about intervention, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, want to do everything. Their joint statement demanded: “provisions of arms to vetted Syrian opposition groups, targeted strikes against Assad’s aircraft and SCUD missile batteries on the ground, and the establishment of safe zones inside Syria.” Graham also argued that “you’ve got to get on the ground” to seize chemical weapons stockpiles. Sound familiar? Though I am not privy to any special information on the political calculations of Washington, it sure seems like we are following the script set down by the neocons (Kristol, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Abrams, et al.) that years ago infiltrated the US military-political complex. This is the “Might is right” crowd who believe in exercising US power proactively to knock down the dominos of all Middle Eastern countries Israel feels threatened by, with the end goal of remaking the Middle East as a region dominated by friendly democracies (or, in the case of Saudi Arabia, friendly dictatorships). Failing functioning democracies, turning the outcast countries into failed states that pose no real threat to US or Israeli interests in the area also works. It’s never been a secret that Syria is a prominent domino: as recently as 2009, Israel bombed a site in Syria where they claim secret nuclear research was being conducted. According to the script, after Syria the US will escalate its targeting of Iran. Given the hostile neighborhood it’s in, it’s understandable that Israel feels the need to act aggressively to dull the threat. Like individuals, nation-states possess finely honed survival instincts. I do, however, blame President Obama and the State Department and all the many sycophants in government and parasites in businesses that profit from war for once again entangling the country in a foreign conflict. That they do so in the face of overwhelming opposition among the public reveals “government of the people, for the people” as the meaningless platitude it has become. That our new allies are jihadists who upon taking power will oppress the country like Assad never did, then turn their weapons against the Great Satan that provided them, makes our support of them not just a bad joke but spectacularly bad karma. Then there’s the tens of thousands of innocents who will suffer and die before this is over. But, hey, it’s the Middle East where life is priced very low, so why should anyone care? The neocons certainly don’t. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the constant turmoil in places like Syria, and the hardships it causes to the civilian population, is a damn shame, but it’s not our damn shame. Left to their own devices, maybe – just maybe – they’d finally get their act together. That the Obama administration would ignore the will of the people and deliberately make the troubles in Syria our own, and freakishly do so in an alliance with jihadists, strikes me as highly suspect and even treasonous. One can only hope that one shiny day not too far down the road, these people would be held accountable for their actions. Maybe starting by impeaching the president? I’m not holding my breath. Death of (the Retirement Dreams of) a Salesman Last week I played in a semi-serious golf tournament hereabouts. It’s only the second such tournament I’ve played in, and I had great reservations about doing so again. Mainly because of the stress associated with playing tournament golf. As one’s state of mind has a huge effect on one’s state of play, undue stress can result in all manner of bad outcomes. In this tournament, my usually reliable putting went out for coffee and didn’t come back until near the end of the third match, at which point it was way too late. Even so, I mostly enjoyed the experience and didn’t mind losing as the competition played significantly better than I and were nice fellows, to boot. I mention this only to set the context of a rather revealing conversation I had over a consolatory beer in the clubhouse. The fellow who so kindly bought me that beer was a sales manager who, over the course of the conversation, revealed to me that he was hoping to retire in the coming year in order to spend his golden years doing little more than playing golf. Without any urging, he then expressed some concern that the amount of money he had saved up might not be enough to see him through his retirement. It’s a valid concern: with a steady stream of advances in medicine and the fact that he is a fit 64 years old, his retirement could easily last twenty years. And thirty or even forty years isn’t out of the question. That’s a lot of time, and a lot of money. In the way of idle conversation, I asked him how much of his assets he has in the stock market. The answer, “Something over 90%,” made my eyebrow inadvertently twitch. “What sort of stocks are you in?” “I don’t know, stuff my broker said I should own. I think I have some stuff in the health industry, but I’m not sure.” “Have you looked into how the companies you own might fare under ObamaCare?” “No, I sure hope my broker does, it does kind of worry me.” “What kind of broker do you use?” “A full-service one. He’s kind of a friend.” “And you keep all your money with a single broker?” “Yes.” “How much commission do you pay on a trade?” “Ah, um…” “You don’t know?” “No, but I seem to recall it’s around 2%.” “Does your broker live in a pretty nice house? Better than yours?” “Yeah, he’s very successful.” As I didn’t want things to get awkward or spoil his happy day, I nudged the topic in a different direction. Yet when I got home, I couldn’t help but shake my head at the idea that someone could be so unmindful about the funds he is relying on for retirement. Which, reading between the lines, is an amount just a bit over $1,000,000 – the rewards of a lifetime of hard work. In fact, as far as I could tell, he had committed what might be called the 7 Commandments of Investing. Thou Shalt Not Over-Concentrate. For starters, his portfolio is way over-concentrated in a single asset class. Thou Shalt Not Be Ignorant About Managing Money. Anyone who hopes to maintain and increase their portfolio over time needs to have at least passing familiarity with the fundamentals of investing and managing money. Otherwise you are likely to violate the preceding commandments. And you need to keep yourself informed about the macro-picture for the economy and for the primary asset classes in which you are invested. These are not easy times to be an investor. Especially when you consider that global stock markets are now rallying on bad economic news – as that is (correctly) taken as providing an excuse for the Fed to continue the money printing. That should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the big picture. As Terry Coxon, co-editor of The Casey Report, recently put it, “The stock market is levitating on QE. When QE ends, the stock market falls to earth.” Thus, your investment returns depend not only on investing in the right individual asset, but on whether the Fed in all its infinite wisdom (or proven lack thereof) decides to withdraw liquidity… or, as was the case recently, ponders doing so. Simply put, we will see a lot of volatility between now and when the vultures finally come to rest on the bones of this crisis (either through a deflationary collapse, but more likely an inflationary one). In the interim, the “right” investment for the long term might turn out to be a very wrong investment for the short and medium term. As to the longer term, again quoting from Terry Coxon, the smartest person I know on central banks and matters related to monetary policy… “The Fed is not going to exit the business of monetary easing. They may pause now and then, but when they see the results, they will resume. Every hyperinflation has been punctuated with pauses during which the central bank resolved to stop printing, to avoid destroying the currency.” At the end of the day, for any of us to successfully make it to the other side of this crisis with our assets intact is going to require diversification, bullet-proof income investments, a fair bit of cash, a focus on quality, and, while it may not seem the case at the moment, gold. Of course, we’ll be addressing all those topics and a whole lot more at our Casey Research Summit this October 4 – 6 in Tucson. Hope to see you there. (Because gold has been much in the news this week, and because he’ll be participating as a faculty member side by side with the audience over the three days of our Summit in Arizona, I thought you might enjoy this quick clip of Jim Rickards sharing his outlook for gold.) Speaking of the Summit, one of the panels will feature Ron Paul and Doug Casey, among others, addressing the topic of “Politics Gone Wild.” This topic is of no small importance, as the entire world is currently locked into a destructive paradigm of sick nation-states committed to doing “whatever it takes” to maintain the status quo. Yet, as the result of decades of irresponsible governance driven by political expedience and vote gathering, the underpinning of the status quo has been shattered, and there’s no easy way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Consequently, it’s all but certain we’re going to go through social, as well as financial, hardships before this thing is over. Which delivers me somewhat seamlessly to the next item catching my eye this week… Failed Expectations, Failing States There is a parable about a Southern farmer who takes up the challenge of capturing a herd of particularly aggressive feral hogs. The story proceeds with him putting out some food where he knows the hogs will find it. He then continues putting the food out day after day while, at the same time, slowly building a pen around the feeding spot. The story ends with the farmer simply closing the newly constructed gate on the hogs while they are snout-deep in their slops. If one so desired, however, one could continue the parable as follows… Some months later, the farmer found himself facing hard financial times and decided he could no longer afford to keep feeding the hogs at the same level. The decision made, the next day he cut back the quantity of their rations and substituted the higher-quality feed he had been dishing out with far less tasty tidbits.
By WVUA 23 Reporter Elizabeth ElkinStudents, staff and parents said goodbye to Northington Elementary School Thursday. The school will consolidate with University Place and Arcadia Elementary schools.“it’s been awesome,” said Northington Principal Ingrid Edwards. “It’s been wonderful. This is a family here. We’ve built an empire. Great learners, teachers, and we’ve collaborated well with the community.”Officials don’t yet know what will happen to the building.“Closing a school, Northington, is bittersweet,” said Superintendent Mike Daria. “This is a school that has taught and loved students in Tuscaloosa for so long, and the teachers here, the faculty and staff here, there’s a family here. The idea of closing that down to move to the next step for Tuscaloosa City Schools, it is bittersweet.”The school is home to around 450 students and over 50 staff members. Students were sad to say goodbye to the place they’ve learned and grown. Parents say this school has been a wonderful place for their children .“To see teachers and staff that actually care about the students that’s absolutely like just wonderful, mind blowing, so I’m gonna miss it,” parent Alisha Hayden said. I really am.”Though saying goodbye is hard, Edwards said good things are coming for the students and staff.“It is sad, but change is great,” she said. “They will be in great hands with the two schools that they are going to – Arcadia and University Place Elementary School. But I’m so proud of Northington. we’ve been tight knit, a real good family here and the teachers are awesome wonderful.”What will she keep dear to her heart?“Memories,” Edwards said. “Fond memories of teaching and learning and just having a great time.”
TweetPinShare0 Shares RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Virginia Thrasher went through a three-week spring whirlwind, winning three NCAA titles and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Shooting team.The precocious 19-year-old closed out the summer with her biggest surprise yet.Keeping her nerve on sport’s biggest stage, Thrasher on Saturday earned the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics, outlasting two-time gold medalist Du Li to capture the women’s 10-meter air rifle title.“This is beyond my wildest dreams,” Thrasher said. “I knew it was a realistic expectation for me to get into the finals and once you get into the finals, anything can happen. For me, this year has been incredible.”Thrasher had a quick rise to the top.A figure skater growing up, she switched sports five years ago after a hunting trip with her family. Thrasher killed a deer with her first shot of her first hunting trip and has continued to hit the mark wherever she’s gone.Thrasher was not expected to be among the top five scorers — all that counts in NCAA competition — at shooting powerhouse West Virginia, yet got better as the season progressed. She became the first freshman to win both NCAA rifle titles and led the Mountaineers to the team championship.Less than a month later, Thrasher won the U.S. Olympic Trials, earning a spot in Rio.She didn’t flinch at the sport’s brightest spotlight — or an air horn.Though not expected to be a medal contender, Thrasher finished a spot behind fellow American Sarah Scherer at sixth in qualifying to make the eight-person final.She opened the elimination finals — a new format in this year’s Olympics — with a perfect 10.9 and was in the lead after Scherer became the first shooter knocked out.Thrasher stayed in the top spot as her competitors fell off, consistently hitting 10s despite a fan blowing an air horn at random times.Thrasher entered the final with a 0.7-point lead and opened with a solid 10.5, which Li matched. Thrasher smiled after a 10.4 left a slight opening, but Li’s 10.1 on her final shot sent Thrasher on a surprising trip to the podium.“In the finals, about halfway through, it kind of became clear to me that I was in contention for a medal,” Thrasher said. “But I quickly pushed that thought away and focused on breathing, just taking one shot at a time.”Thrasher pulled it off against two of the world’s best rifle shooters, Li and Yi Siling.Li won gold medals in air rifle in 2004 at the Athens Games and in 3-position rifle in Beijing four years later. She also competed in the 2012 London Games and pulled off a clutch shot in the Rio final, hitting 10.9 to stay alive in the second round.Yi took a similar path as Thrasher’s, earning air rifle gold at the 2012 London Games just three years after starting her international shooting career.Thrasher stood her ground against the two Chinese shooters in the medal eliminations, hitting nothing lower than 10.4. Yi went out after a 9.8 on her final shot to earn bronze and Thrasher finished with a cumulative score of 208.0 to beat Li by a point in front of a rowdy crowd.“I heard the cheers and the horns and it was very disturbing,” Yi said. “But I just had to control myself. I also looked up and saw that Virginia and Du Li were doing well themselves.”Thrasher ended up on top of the podium and her whirlwind will wind down soon; a biomedical engineering major, she starts classes again at West Virginia on Aug. 17.“I’m actually looking forward to getting back to school again,” Thrasher said.She will have a new title when she returns: Olympic champion.
ATLANTA (AP) — Bradley-Wright Phillips scored two second-half goals in the New York Red Bulls’ 3-1 victory over Atlanta United on Sunday night.New York (7-3-0) has won four in a row, outscoring its opponents 12-4 during that span.Wright-Phillips headed home Michael Murillo’s cross to the center of the box to give the Red Bulls a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute. About four minutes later, Wright-Phillips capped the scoring with a header, off an entry from Alejandro Romero Gamarra, that banged in off the crossbar.Atlanta’s Ezequiel Barco put away a deflected through pass from Miguel Almiron to open the scoring in the 26th minute.Daniel Royer converted from the spot in the 42nd to make it 1-1 after Wright-Phillips drew a foul in the area conceded by Miles Robinson.Atlanta (8-3-1) lost for just the second time since opening day.Wright-Phillips has eight goals this season, tied with Almiron and Columbus’ Gyasi Zardes for the most in MLS.Atlanta’s Greg Garza was shown a straight red card in the 71st minute for a serious foul.TweetPinShare0 Shares
In Great Britain, midwives deliver half of all babies, including Kate Middleton’s first two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. In Sweden, Norway and France, midwives oversee most expectant and new mothers, enabling obstetricians to concentrate on high-risk births. In Canada and New Zealand, midwives are so highly valued that they’re brought in to manage complex cases that need special attention.All of those countries have much lower rates of maternal and infant mortality than the U.S. Here, severe maternal complications have more than doubled in the past 20 years. Shortages of maternity care have reached critical levels: Nearly half of U.S. counties don’t have a single practicing obstetrician-gynecologist, and in rural areas, the number of hospitals offering obstetric services has fallen more than 16 percent since 2004. Nevertheless, thanks in part to opposition from doctors and hospitals, midwives are far less prevalent in the U.S. than in other affluent countries, delivering about 10 percent of babies, and the extent to which they can legally participate in patient care varies widely from one state to the next.Now a new study, a systematic look at what midwives can and can’t do in the states where they practice, offers new evidence that empowering them could significantly boost maternal and infant health. The five-year effort by researchers in Canada and the U.S., published Wednesday, found that states that have done the most to integrate midwives into their health care systems, including Washington, New Mexico and Oregon, have some of the best outcomes for mothers and babies. Conversely, states with some of the most restrictive midwife laws and practices — including Alabama, Ohio and Mississippi — tend to do significantly worse on key indicators of maternal and neonatal well-being.”We have been able to establish that midwifery care is strongly associated with lower interventions, cost-effectiveness and improved outcomes,” said lead researcher Saraswathi Vedam, an associate professor of midwifery who heads the Birth Place Lab at the University of British Columbia.Many of the states characterized by poor health outcomes and hostility to midwives also have large African-American populations, raising the possibility that greater use of midwives could reduce racial disparities in maternity care. African-American mothers are three to four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than their white counterparts; black babies are 49 percent more likely to be born prematurely and twice as likely to perish before their first birthdays.”In communities that are most at risk for adverse outcomes, increased access to midwives who can work as part of the health care system may improve both outcomes and the mothers’ experience,” Vedam said.That’s because of the midwifery model, which emphasizes community-based care, close relationships between providers and patients, prenatal and postpartum wellness, and avoiding unnecessary interventions that can spiral into dangerous complications, said Jennie Joseph, a British-trained midwife who runs Commonsense Childbirth, a Florida birthing center and maternal care nonprofit. “It’s a model that somewhat mitigates the impact of any systemic racial bias. You listen. You’re compassionate. There’s such a depth of racism that’s intermingled with [medical] systems. If you’re practicing in [the midwifery] model you’re mitigating this without even realizing it.”The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, analyzes hundreds of laws and regulations in 50 states and the District of Columbia — things like the settings where midwives are allowed to work, whether they can provide the full scope of pregnancy- and childbirth-related care, how much autonomy they have to make decisions without a doctor’s supervision, and whether they can prescribe medication, receive insurance reimbursement or obtain hospital privileges. Then researchers overlaid state data on nine maternal and infant health indicators, including rates of cesarean sections, premature births, breastfeeding and neonatal deaths. (Maternal deaths and severe complications were not included because data is unreliable).The differences between state laws can be stark. In Washington, which has some of the highest rankings on measures such as C-sections, premature births, infant mortality and breastfeeding, midwives don’t need nursing degrees to be licensed. They often collaborate closely with ob/gyns, and can generally transfer care to hospitals smoothly when risks to the mother or baby emerge. They sit on the state’s perinatal advisory committee, are actively involved in shaping health policy, and receive Medicaid reimbursement even for home births.At the other end of the spectrum, North Carolina not only requires midwives to be registered nurses, but it also requires them to have a physician sign off on their application to the state for approval to practice. North Carolina scores considerably worse than Washington on indices such as low-birthweight babies and neonatal deaths.Neel Shah, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a leader in the movement to reduce unnecessary C-sections, praised the study as “a remarkable paper — novel, ambitious, and provocative.” He said licensed midwives could be used to solve shortages of maternity care that disproportionately affect rural and low-income mothers, many of them women of color. “Growing our workforce, including both midwives and obstetricians, and then ensuring we have a regulatory environment that facilitates integrated, team-based care are key parts of the solution,” he said.To be sure, many other factors influence maternal and infant outcomes in the states, including access to preventive care and Medicaid; rates of chronic disease such as diabetes and high blood pressure; and prevalence of opioid addiction. And the study doesn’t conclude that more access to midwives directly leads to better outcomes, or vice versa. Indeed, South Dakota, which ranks third from the bottom in terms of midwife-friendliness, scores well on such key indicators as C-sections and preterm births. Even North Carolina is average on C-section rates, breastfeeding, and prematurity.The findings are unlikely to quell the controversies over home births, which are almost always handled by midwives and comprise a tiny but growing percentage of deliveries in the U.S., or fears among doctors and hospitals that closer collaborations with midwives will raise malpractice insurance rates. In fact, said Ann Geisler, who runs the Florida-based Southern Cross Insurance Solutions, which specializes in insuring midwives, her clients’ premiums tend to be just one-tenth of premiums for an ob/gyn because their model of care eschews unnecessary interventions or technology. Far from being medical renegades, the vast majority of midwives want to be integrated into the medical system, she said.Generally, licensed midwives only treat low-risk women, Geisler said. If the patients become higher risk, midwives are supposed to transfer them to a doctor’s care. Since many ob/gyns only see midwife patients when a problem emerges, she said, they may develop negative views of midwives’ skills.You can read a full report from our partner, ProPublica, here. Copyright 2018 ProPublica. To see more, visit ProPublica.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, most frequently diagnosed among adults over 65. To catch those typically slow-growing malignancies early, when they can often be cured, most doctors’ groups recommend colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50.But the American Cancer Society this week changed its advice and is recommending that screening start five years earlier.”There is compelling evidence that the optimum age to start is now 45,” says Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer of the society, who cites a sharp increase in deaths from colon and rectal cancers among men and women under age 50.”People born in the ’80s and ’90s are at higher risk of developing colon cancer, particularly rectal cancer, than people born when I was born back in the ’50s,” Wender says.And the rise is not just because detection is getting better, he says. In fact, the risk of developing colon cancer is twice as high as it was years ago and the risk of developing rectal cancer is four times higher.”We just have to face reality,” says Wender. “We just don’t know why it’s increasing.”Some of the increase could stem from the increase in obesity in the U.S., a known risk factor for colorectal cancer, he says.”But we don’t think that explains the entire change,” he adds. “There is a great deal of interest and a lot of research beginning to try to answer that question.”So far, other groups are maintaining their recommendation that colon cancer screening start at age 50, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine.Stanford University internist Douglas K. Owens, the task force’s vice-chairperson, says the group’s 2016 recommendations were based on extensive review of the benefits and harms of colorectal screening at the time.”There was limited data on screening people under age 50,” Owens says. The new American Cancer Society guidelines, he adds, should prompt more research into the relative benefits and harms of screening among younger people.Dr. Robin B. Mendelsohn, a gastroenterologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, says there’s been an “alarming” increase in cancer among younger adults. She’s the co-director of the recently established Center for Young Onset Colorectal Cancer there.Over the last 10 years, Memorial Sloan Kettering has seen 4,000 new colorectal cancer patients under age 50, she says. Many of them did not have traditional risk factors such as obesity, smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity or a diet high in fat or low in fiber.In fact, Mendelsohn says, they were typically less likely to smoke and less likely to be overweight than their older counterparts.”Anecdotally, when you talk with these patients, [some] are marathon runners who don’t eat red meat, don’t smoke, do everything ‘right’ and say ‘why did this happen to me?’ ” she says.Often, they tell her they’ve seen multiple doctors because of rectal bleeding, but have been told, since they’re under 50, they “can’t have cancer.” That’s clearly not the case, she says.Ongoing studies are looking at a multitude of factors that might be contributing to the earlier cancer incidence. Potential culprits include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines, antibiotics and antidepressants, as well as multiple vitamins, probiotics and other dietary supplements.The new recommendations should bring greater attention to the value of screening, says Mendelsohn, who suggests that future studies investigate whether even younger people — in their early 40s or even 30s — should be screened.A first colon cancer screening does not have to be a colonoscopy. In its new recommendations, the cancer society recommends choosing from one of six screening tests, which are also currently recommended by other expert groups. The guidelines don’t prioritize among screening choices.The choices include three at-home kits that test stool for blood.These kits need to be ordered by a doctor; primary-care providers often have them on hand in the office to give to patients, Wender says, or they may be mailed.”It’s done in the privacy of your own home,” he says. Patients mail the sample to a research facility which tests for microscopic traces of blood.If the test is positive, a colonoscopy is recommended, Wender says; but only one in five people test positive for blood in their stool.Typically, these home tests of feces are repeated every year for good results.Alternatively, some patients opt for what’s called a “virtual” colonoscopy — essentially a CT scan of the colon — which should be done every five years, according to the new recommendations.Another approved option is a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which looks at the lower part of the colon, and is followed up by a colonoscopy if polyps are found.A positive result picked up in these screening tests is typically followed up by a colonoscopy, which uses a tiny camera to investigate the entire colon. It is not only a search for early cancer; more often than not, Wender says, it detects pre-malignant, suspicious lesions, or polyps, which are removed during the procedure.”When we find and remove polyps we actually prevent any future chance of that developing into cancer,” he says.Despite the high cure rate when colon cancer is caught early, only two-thirds of Americans over 50 get screened.The American Cancer Society says it endorsed the full range of screening tests “without preference” in order to improve the rate of screening. In its latest advice, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says head-to-head comparison studies have shown that no one screening test is more effective than another in early cancer detection.While they differ on the age of first screening, both groups suggest that screening over age 75 should be a joint decision between patient and doctor. And after age 85, screening is no longer necessary, the doctors’ groups agree. That’s because the risk of colonoscopy among this elderly population can outweigh any benefit. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Lights. Out. David Manning-USA TODAY Sports More: Fight Motion! Watch Holloway, Cyborg Do Work Via Ghost Cam There’s UFC Heavyweights, And Then There’s Shaq Standard Ranked Rashguard Midnight Mania! Trump Family In The ‘Chaos’ Corner? Sale Amanda Nunes’ Biggest Threat? Latest From MMA Warehouse Lockdown duffle bag Gloves Brock Lesnar’s WWE Future After UFC Retirement ProMax 440 BJJ GI Good Night Tee Timeline of Israel Adesanya’s Rapid Rise to UFC Contender Nightmare Matchup for UFC’s Biggest Stars More From MMAmania.com Latest From Our Partners No, seriously.It didn’t start out that way, of course, as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim heavyweight titleholder Fabricio Werdum was once, at best, a UFC washout. The Brazilian — coming off a bookie-busting knockout loss to Junior dos Santos in late 2008, was shipped off to San Jose, California, where combat sports careers were sent to die.Or to be resurrected.The Strikeforce promotion, under the leadership of mixed martial arts (MMA) darling Scott Coker, provided shelter for whatever talent couldn’t make hay while the sun shined in UFC. That included under-performing “names” of yesteryear, like Dan Henderson and Andrei Arlovski, whose price tags caused sticker shock at the ZUFFA bargaining table.That said, the ladder back to the top of the fight world was a relatively short one.In the hurt business, nothing warrants a second look more than the ability to earn money for the competition. Not surprisingly, both “Hendo” and “The Pitbull” are back in the good graces of UFC, and both former champions are ranked within their respective divisions.That brings us back to Werdum.”Vai Cavalo” wasted little time getting back to his winning ways, firing off three straight wins inside the “Golden State” Hexagon. After toying with Mike Kyle, Werdum won an uninspired slap fight against friend and former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva.In hindsight, it’s understandable if fight fans were laughing when the crowned prince of Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) was announced as cannon fodder for Fedor Emelianenko. After all, the former PRIDE heavyweight kingpin hadn’t lost a contest in over a decade, an astonishing 28-fight unbeaten streak.Even his lone loss — a questionable doctor stoppage at the turn of the century — was debatable.But Werdum quickly defeated the Combat Sambo champion by way of angry tap in June of 2010 and as expected, was showered with dismissive praise. Fedor was careless, critics would cry, and the underdog skated from the HP Pavilion with what amounted to the luckiest “W” in the history of MMA — or so we thought.Then he kept winning.Well, there was that little hiccup against an old foe. Despite out-striking and out-grappling Alistair Overeem in the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix (the cold, hard numbers right here), the butt-scooting Werdum dropped a lazy decision to the hulking Dutchman.”Vai Cavalo” was understandably blasé about his final Strikeforce performance, citing a satisfactory submission win over “The Reem” back in 2006.Besides, this was a time for celebration, as the former TUF coach was already en route to the sport’s hallowed ground.What followed was an unlikely five-fight winning streak that started with a three-round shellacking of the brick-fisted Roy Nelson, and ended with a stunning technical knockout win over the granite-chinned Mark Hunt. One that would send Werdum into a title unification bout opposite Cain Velasquez.Where? The UFC 188 pay-per-view (PPV) main event in Mexico. When? Sat., June 13, 2015, somewhere at or around the stroke of midnight.It’s not outrageous to suggest that Velasquez is the finest heavyweight in the game today, and the baddest 265-pound bruiser since Junior dos Santos held that title in 2011. “Cigano” would eventually fall to his American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) nemesis in a pair of lopsided title fights.Cain’s only other opponent during the last five years — due in part to excessive injury layoffs — was the increasingly-brittle Antonio Silva.Nevertheless, Velasquez is still king of the heavyweight castle because he’s mastered the very essence of MMA. Not only is he a ferocious striker, his wrestling is top shelf and he can maintain a murderous pace for 25 straight minutes, perhaps more if the commission allowed it.Simply put, he’s the man.And to be the man, you gotta beat the man. If Werdum can depose Velasquez at this weekend’s UFC 188 extravaganza — and especially if he manages to finish him — it will be difficult to deny that he is the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time.Not convinced?Then I ask you … if victory is attained this weekend in Mexico City, what task remains unfulfilled?I believe the line up speaks for itself:Mark Hunt, K-1 World Grand Prix Champion: Defeated by knockoutAntonio Rodrigo Nogueira, former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by submissionRoy Nelson, former IFL Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by unanimous decisionFedor Emelianenko, former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by submissionAlistair Overeem, former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by submissionAntonio Silva, former EliteXC Heavyweight Champion: Defeated by unanimous decisionOnly one name missing from that prestigious index.Werdum doesn’t have a win over Dos Santos, but he doesn’t need one at this time because “Cigano” is no longer the best fighter in his division. That label belongs to the house of Velasquez, though I’m sure vengeance against “JDS” would be a welcome feather in his cap.Is calling “Vai Cavalo” the “best ever” still a tough pill to swallow?I think it’s important to recognize that GOAT status is not like one of those old stickers we used to plaster all over our Trapper Keepers (you know the ones with the industrial-strength adhesive, cocooned in a plastic womb and birthed by those red surrogates at the local grocer).No, this is one distinction that can bend and mold to fit the fighter who summons it. Becoming the GOAT on Saturday night does not infer that said distinction will still be applicable in six months, or a year, or however long it takes Velasquez to smoke Werdum in a guaranteed rematch.And if the Brazilian goes up two-zip on Cain?Then another rising heavyweight — or established veteran — will be there to try to take his place.Outside of Velasquez, Emelianenko was, and to many fans still is, the best combatant to ever step foot inside the arena of pain. In less than two days, when the lights go down in the (Mexican) city, there could be another name added to that argument.Or depending on the will of the reigning champion, eliminated from it completely. Gordon Ryan Competition Kit Which is More Dangerous – MMA or Football? Standard BJJ Gi Top Contenders for Fight of the Year Bizzy Was Sneaking Needles Into The Toilet For GSP Fight Accessories Greatest Highlights of Anderson Silva’s Career King Ryan Longsleeve Shirt Apparel