Ferrari’s Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel will not face any further sanction for his ‘road rage’ collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the governing FIA said on Monday.The German, four times world champion, had been given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty during the race for angrily banging wheels with his Mercedes rival while they were behind the safety car.He had risked a heavy fine, disqualification from the Baku results or even a race ban after the International Automobile Federation decided last week to review the causes of the incident.Vettel, who turned 30 on Monday, attended a meeting at the FIA’s Paris headquarters with Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.The driver admitted full responsibility, pledged to make a public apology and also “committed to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events”.The governing body said that “in light of these developments, FIA President Jean Todt decided that on this occasion the matter should be closed”.He also instructed that Vettel should not endorse any road safety activities until the end of the year.’ROLE MODELS’ Todt, a former Ferrari boss, recognised that top-level sport was an intense environment where passions ran high and noted also that the Italian team were aligned with the values and objectives of the FIA.”However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with that pressure calmly and to conduct themselves in a manner that not only respects the regulations of the sport but which befits the elevated status they enjoy,” he said.advertisement”Sportsmen must be cognisant of the impact their behaviour can have on those who look up to them. They are heroes and role models and to millions of fans worldwide and must conduct themselves accordingly.”Todt said any repetition of such behaviour would lead to Vettel, who already has nine penalty points on his Formula One licence and is just three away from a race ban, being immediately referred to the FIA’s International Tribunal.The collision in Baku on June 25 divided opinion within the sport. The German ultimately finished fourth, a place ahead of Hamilton, and some commentators suggested he had got off lightly.Hamilton had led from pole and was keeping a distance to the safety car, which was about to return to the pits, when Vettel hit the rear of his Mercedes.The German, who accused his rival of ‘brake testing’ him by suddenly slowing, pulled alongside and waved his fists before banging wheels.The race was halted soon after. When it resumed, Hamilton had to pit to fix a loose headrest, losing what had looked like a nailed-on victory. Afterwards, the Briton called Vettel “a disgrace”.FULL RESPONSIBILITYThe FIA said Monday’s meeting was attended by top officials including race director Charlie Whiting and safety director Laurent Mekies.”Following detailed discussion and further examination of video and data evidence related to the incident, Sebastian Vettel admitted full responsibility,” the FIA said.A formal apology was published on Vettel’s personal website (www.sebastianvettel.de).”During the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car. With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions,” he said.”In the heat of the action I then overreacted, and therefore I want to apologise to Lewis directly, as well as to all the people who were watching the race. I realise that I was not setting a good example.”I love this sport and I am determined to represent it in a way that can be an example for future generations.”
TUSCALOOSA, AL – SEPTEMBER 30: Minkah Fitzpatrick #29 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after he and Isaiah Buggs #49 sack Shea Patterson #20 of the Mississippi Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)The weather in New Jersey has been decidedly less than ideal this winter, and more snow is on the way tonight into tomorrow. Residents all over the Garden State are anxious for spring to finally arrive.But some residual snow didn’t deter Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep 5-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, an Alabama signee, from getting in an off-season agility workout this afternoon. Fitzpatrick hit the (covered) turf at his high school’s practice field to do some footwork drills, and he posted video of the training on his Twitter account. Nice day at the beach GET RIGHT! pic.twitter.com/S7yxv06o3J— Minkah FitzMagic (@minkfitz_21) March 4, 2015Fitzpatrick is known for his smooth style of play, good footwork and strong technique. If he can maintain those assets in the snow, just think what he might be able to do in Tuscaloosa when the weather will be nicer.
WASHINGTON – House Republicans, straining to make last-minute changes to their far-reaching tax proposal, on Tuesday delayed the rollout by a day after they failed to finalize the details.The plan pushed by President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress is a top legislative priority. The details originally were to be unveiled on Wednesday, but that was delayed until Thursday, said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.The committee had worked throughout the day and evening to produce a plan for the first overhaul of the nation’s tax code in three decades.“We are making excellent progress. We are very close,” Brady told reporters late Tuesday night. “A lot of work remains with the drafters, they are continuing to work through the night. We are moving forward.”At the White House, an official said Trump looked forward to seeing legislation this week, adding the administration was confident the delay wouldn’t affect the ultimate timing of the bill. Brady said his panel plans to vote on the bill next week.Although they had settled on some key details — such as a cut in the corporate tax rate to 20 per cent and maintaining the top personal income tax rate for the wealthy of 39.6 per cent — other elements still had to be resolved, including the income levels for the tax brackets.Trump has intensified his lobbying for the nearly $6 trillion tax overhaul plan, seeking a major legislative achievement after the collapse of the health care repeal. Republicans see taxes as a political imperative that will decide whether they keep their congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections.The president set an ambitious timetable and predicted a grand signing ceremony before Christmas at “the biggest tax event in the history of our country.”Late Tuesday, Trump renewed his cheerleading on Twitter.“The Republican House members are working hard (and late) toward the Massive Tax Cuts that they know you deserve. These will be biggest ever!”The plan originally unveiled by Trump and congressional Republicans called for shrinking the number of tax brackets from seven to three, with respective tax rates of 12 per cent, 25 per cent, 35 per cent. That plan drew immediate criticism from Democrats, who complained it was too favourable to the wealthy and undermined Trump’s rhetoric about it benefiting the middle class.The current Republican plan calls for nearly doubling the standard deduction used by most average Americans to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families, and increasing the per-child tax credit. In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate, it also seeks to repeal inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates, a big break for the wealthy.Brady did not answer directly when he was asked — while leaving House Speaker Paul Ryan’s suite Tuesday — whether the drop in the corporate tax rate would happen immediately. But, he said: “I want as much growth right from Day One as I can.”Trump intensified his lobbying for the tax overhaul plan even as its shape was still under negotiation by the Republicans on Capitol Hill.“The process is complicated but the end result will not be that complicated. It’s going to be: People are going to pay less tax by a lot, companies are going to pay less tax by a lot – that’s a big difference — and companies are going to start rebuilding and they’re going to stay here,” Trump said in the Roosevelt Room, where he was joined by the heads of more than a dozen business and trade allies.Trump said he’s directing Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and other administration officials to stay behind when he heads for Asia on Friday so they can help sell the tax proposal. The White House said Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, had cancelled plans to accompany the president to China and South Korea to help push the package.The president said he was hopeful the House will approve the tax bill by Thanksgiving. But his overly optimistic timetable didn’t address the concerns of lawmakers from states such as New York and New Jersey who have opposed a proposal to eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes, arguing it would hurt their constituents and subject them to being taxed twice.A battle continues over contributions to 401(k) retirements accounts. The financial industry and some Republican lawmakers insist that the GOP plan not change the tax benefits of the popular savings vehicles, as has been floated by GOP leaders.__Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Marcy Gordon, Erica Werner and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.
TORONTO – Luxury home sales in the Greater Toronto Area, Oakville and Hamilton-Burlington have fallen by almost 60 per cent year-over-year, according to a RE/MAX report.The real estate company says 76 freehold and condominium properties in the GTA sold for more than $3 million between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, down from 180 sales during the same period last year.In Oakville, six homes in the same price range sold early this year, in comparison to 15 a year ago.Homes priced above $1 million in Hamilton-Burlington saw a 55 per cent drop to 59 homes sold at the start of the year from 133 in 2017.Though RE/MAX says the luxury market’s record-breaking pace from last year has slowed, it is still expecting plenty of activity this year.Already RE/MAX says it has seen increases in luxury home sales in the GTA’s Kingsway/Princess Anne Manor and Rosedale neighbourhoods, where 10 homes have sold so far this year, including the most expensive one for $8.4 million.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May looks to be on a collision course with Parliament over her Brexit plan.Lawmakers are beginning five days of debate Tuesday leading up to a Dec. 11 vote on the divorce deal agreed between May’s government and the European Union.May insists the deal “delivers for the British people.” But there’s a strong chance Parliament will reject it, leaving Britain staring at a Brexit precipice: exit on March 29 with no deal in place.Here’s a look at what might happen if lawmakers vote down her deal.___RENEGOTIATE AND TRY AGAINAn EU summit is scheduled for Dec. 13-14, and Britain could go back to the bloc seeking changes to the deal. EU leaders insist it is not renegotiable, but while the 585-page withdrawal agreement is locked down, the declaration on future relations is shorter and vaguer.If that were tweaked, the government could bring the amended deal back to Parliament and hope for a different result.But British lawmakers differ on what a better deal would look like. Many Brexiteers seek a cleaner break with the bloc, and want to change the Irish border “backstop” that would bind the U.K. in a customs union with the EU. It is very unlikely the bloc would re-open this.Pro-EU lawmakers want a softer divorce — the so-called “Norway option” — that keeps Britain inside the EU single market for goods and services. The EU might be open to the idea, but it would mean accepting free movement of people from the bloc to Britain, a red line for many U.K. Brexit supporters.___CHANGE THE LEADERMay insists she has no plans to resign, but she may have no choice if she loses the vote by a wide margin.Alternately, pro-Brexit Conservative rebels who have long wanted to oust her can trigger a no-confidence vote if they amass 48 letters of support. If May lost the vote, there would be a leadership contest with the winner decided by a ballot of party members — a process that would take several weeks.May would remain prime minister in the meantime, but without much in the way of authority or a mandate, as the clock ticked down to March 29, the day Britain officially leaves the EU.___HOLD AN ELECTIONThe main opposition Labour Party says it will try to trigger an election by calling a no-confidence vote in the government.Winning it would require support from some Conservatives, who may be unwilling to support an election that could well see them ousted from power.If May’s government lost a no-confidence vote, it would have two weeks to overturn the result with a new vote by lawmakers. If that failed, there would be an election, a process that takes five to six weeks.Whatever new government emerges would have little time to solve the Brexit conundrum before March 29.___NEW REFERENDUMThe campaign to revisit Brexit in a second referendum — driven largely by supporters of the losing “remain” side last time around — has been gathering steam as the pitfalls and complexity of the divorce process become clear.But the government is firmly opposed, and it’s unclear whether a majority of lawmakers would back the idea in a parliamentary vote.And what would the question be? Many pro-EU politicians want a choice between leaving on the proposed terms and staying in the EU, but others say leaving without a deal should also be an option. There’s a strong chance any new referendum would be as divisive as the first.There also is not enough time to hold a plebiscite before March 29, so Brexit would have to be paused — and that would require agreement from the EU.___NO DEAL“No deal” is the outcome almost no one wants — but it is also the default option. If the divorce deal is not approved, altered or put on hold, Britain will cease to be an EU member at 11 p.m. London time on March 29.The Bank of England has warned that a “no-deal” exit could plunge Britain into its deepest recession in nearly a century, and businesses warn the sudden end to longstanding trading agreements with the EU could see gridlock at British ports and shortages of food and medicines.___NO BREXITThe government says stopping Brexit would betray voters’ decision to leave the bloc. But some lawmakers want it to be an option, and have asked Europe’s top court to rule on whether Britain could unilaterally change its mind about Brexit. On Tuesday the European Court of Justice’s advocate general said that in his opinion, it could. The full court ruling is due within weeks.___ALL BETS IN PLAYIt’s difficult to predict which outcome is most likely. Bookmakers certainly don’t know how the Brexit process will end, though they appear to be pretty sure that May won’t get her deal through Parliament next week. Ladbrokes, for example, is offering odds of 4 to 1 against her deal getting approved.“I would not want to bet on anything,” said Rob Ford, a professor of political science at the University of Manchester.“This is a situation of what some probability scientists would call radical uncertainty. We just don’t know what the relative chances of these options are because this is an unprecedented situation in lots of ways, and these outcomes are interacting, they’re dynamic, they’re complex. It’s like a chaotic weather system.”___See the AP’s Brexit coverage at: https://www.apnews.com/BrexitJill Lawless, The Associated Press
Using portable radar equipment and an electronic digital board, volunteers monitor speeds in school and playground zones, high crash zones, and neighbourhood streets. Volunteers record the speed of vehicles and forward these reports to police and ICBC. Areas with high incidents of speeding will be considered for future RCMP enforcement.Cpl. Francoeur said that the program is now also able to be expanded to include distracted driving campaigns.The Block Watch program is a partnership between police and citizens that draws on members of the community for help in preventing and reducing neighbourhood crime. It is a neighbour-helping-neighbour program that teaches citizens to secure their property, be aware of their surroundings, and report any suspicious activities to police.Block Watch contributes to more cohesive neighbourhoods as a result of encouraging camaraderie between neighbours and can also facilitate the resolution of minor issues locally.“Volunteering with the RCMP is an opportunity to invest in safety and security of the community,” added Cpl. Francoeur.To inquire about volunteering with the RCMP, call the Fort St. John detachment at (250) 787-8100. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John RCMP is currently recruiting volunteers for several crime prevention programs in the Energetic City.Cpl. Steven Francoeur says that the RCMP has partnered with the North Peace Justice Society for the Speed Watch and Block Watch programs.Speed Watch is an educational program sponsored by ICBC that is aimed at reducing incidents of speeding. This program not only provides awareness to drivers who are speeding, but also provides valuable data to the RCMP and ICBC in areas where speeding is a significant problem.
Another year of major championship golf has passed without Tiger Woods hoisting the trophy above his head. It has been four years now, and he has to be getting anxious to get one to reaffirm his standing.Last weekend, Woods crumbled over the weekend – again — after leading the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island after two rounds. Saturday is called “Moving Day” in golf, and Woods moved in reverse, while eventual champion Rory McElroy took leaps forward.Remarkably – remarkable in an unbelievable way — Woods said he falter on Saturday because “I came out with probably the wrong attitude,” Woods said after a final-round 72 left him 11 shots back of McElroy, tied for 11th place. “I was too relaxed, and tried to enjoy it, and that’s not how I play. I play intense and full systems go. That cost me.”Not saying that’s a bunch of hogwash, but that sounds like a bunch of hogwash.It wasn’t as if Woods was out there slapping high-fives with folks in the gallery or chatting it up with his playing partners. What, exactly, does “too relaxed” mean in Tiger Woods world?“I was trying to enjoy it, enjoy the process of it,” Woods said. “But that’s not how I play. I play full system go, all out, intense, and that’s how I won 14 of these things. That’s something I rectified (Sunday) and I played a lot better because of it.”Better was only even par, which was hardly enough to challenge for his 15th major. Woods began the fourth round five shots behind McIlroy and finished 11 shots back. You do the math.He shot 74 Saturday and 72 Sunday, meaning this year he did not break 60 on any of eight weekend rounds of the majors. That’s so unTiger-like.Woods has four top-five finishes in majors; he’s played well enough ot contend, not well enough to win.“The thing is to keep putting myself there,” he said. “I’m not going to win them all and I haven’t won them all. I certainly have lost a lot more than I’ve won. But the key is putting myself there each and every time and I’ll start getting them again.”
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Flu cases remain widespread in San Diego County, with medical officials confirming more than 500 new diagnoses, county health officials announced today.The county confirmed 564 cases last week, down from a revised total of 692 confirmed cases the week before. County officials have identified influenza A H3N2 as the season’s primary strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the county’s Health and Human Services Agency both issued advisories last week, reminding doctors to consider influenza as a possible cause of respiratory issues in patients.The county received only one report of a resident dying due to flu-related causes last week. The county has confirmed 55 flu deaths and 8,470 flu cases this season, a far cry from the 325 deaths and 20,097 cases reported at this time last flu season.“Given the elevated level of influenza activity, the flu season is likely to last several more weeks,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “If you have not gotten a flu shot, do it now, especially if you’re part of the groups at higher risk of developing complications.”County health officials and the CDC strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially in demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people older than 65 and people with chronic conditions.Flu shots are available at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, community clinics and the county’s public health centers. Residents can also call 211 or visit the county’s immunization program website, sdiz.org, for a list of county locations administering free vaccines. Categories: Health, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter April 3, 2019 KUSI Newsroom More than 500 new flu cases reported, season likely to last several more weeks Posted: April 3, 2019 KUSI Newsroom,
Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska State Troopers were dispatched to milepost 88 of the Sterling Highway for the report of a male who sustained injuries due to an ATV accident, on June 30, at 7:30 a.m. Troopers arrived on scene to assist medics currently on scene treating Christopher J. Bledsoe, age 50, of Sterling for injuries sustained as a result of the ATV accident. According to the online Trooper dispatch, Bledsoe had been operating the ATV alone on the off road trails traveling Southbound towards Soldotna. Bledsoe lost control of the ATV, and entered the roadway where the ATV rolled over causing him to be ejected from the ATV and land in the travel lane of the highway. Bledsoe was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital where he was treated for the injuries, and is currently listed in stable condition. There are no other vehicles involved and alcohol is suspected to be factor. Investigation continues.
Logo of BNPThe BNP on Wednesday alleged that the government has approved a Tk 38.25 billion project to procure 150,000 electronic voting machines (EVMs) to hold another ‘voter-less’ election and ‘plunder’ huge public money.”The prime minister approved a project for buying 1.5 lakh (150,000) EVMs at an ECNEC meeting. The government has relied on forgery machine EVMs abandoning people,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.Speaking at a press conference at the BNP’s Naya Paltan central office, he further said, “The government has two objectives–holding a voter-less rigged election and embezzling huge amount of public money-behind the move to procure EVMs.”On Tuesday, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) cleared a Tk 3,825.34 crore (Tk 38.25 billion) project to procure 150,000 EVMs at its weekly meeting held with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.Rizvi alleged that two government officials went abroad to procure the EVMs many days before the Ecnec’s approval of the project despite the strong objection by different political parties and socio-political organisations to the use of the machine in the national polls.The BNP leader said the government has taken such a project as it needs an election, but not people’s votes. “Procuring EVMs is very essential for the government to return to power as voters are not necessary to take votes through the machines.”He alleged law enforcers arrested many BNP leaders and activists and lawyers as they went to Detective Branch (DB) of police office to see arrested BNP Dhaka south city unit president Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel on Tuesday night.The BNP leader claimed that police arrested their party’s 93 leaders and activists, including Sohel, on Tuesday from different parts of the country.Rizvi also alleged that the government is creating various obstacles to ensuring treatment of their party’s ailing chairperson Khaleda Zia in jail.”An experienced and senior therapist of Dhaka Medical College Hospital used to provide our leader physiotherapy regularly. But, the government now has appointed an inexperienced and pro-ruling party therapist to do the job dropping the experienced one. It’s a mysterious move of the government,” he said.Rizvi alleged that the government is conspiring to put Khaleda’s life at stake gradually by snatching her human rights and leaving her in serious sufferings.
(PhysOrg.com) — Canonical is releasing Ubuntu 9.10, the Karmic Koala, the latest version of its open-source operating system, and it aims to attract business and enterprise users to join the growing numbers of Linux enthusiasts. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Installing some drivers can be an effort with Linux if they do not automatically install, especially if you are not used to using a command line, and a few peripherals will not work with Linux. A lively Ubuntu community provides help for anyone having difficulties.The release of Ubuntu 9.10 comes after Microsoft’s release last week of its Windows 7 to replace the unpopular Windows Vista. Apple also released a new version of its operating system, Snow Leopard, in August of this year. Ubuntu was recently brought to prominence when several major PC companies, such as HP, Acer, Toshiba and Dell, offered it as an alternative to Windows on their computers, and with the latest release, it may further increase its market share.The final, stable version of Ubuntu 9.10 is being released on October 29.More information: • Official Ubuntu website• Review: Ubuntu 9.10 v Windows 7© 2009 PhysOrg.com If you already have Ubuntu installed, upgrading is easy because it starts automatically and steps you through the process. Not only is the operating system kept up to date, but so is any software you have installed. If you do not have Ubuntu, you can download it from Ubuntu’s website and burn it to CD to create your own installation disk. You can either run Ubuntu from the disk or install it to your hard drive. Installing it alongside Windows is a simple matter with Ubuntu’s Wubi application, so you can use it without losing your Windows system. When you boot up, you will have a choice of which operating system to use. Citation: Ubuntu 9.10 just released (2009, October 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-10-ubuntu.html Ubuntu is one of the most popular of the hundreds of Linux distributions, and is renowned for its simplicity of use, and its appeal. Ubuntu was developed by the Linux offshoot Canonical. New supported versions are developed and released every six months, and they are numbered after the year and month of their release. Downloading and upgrading Ubuntu is free.According to Jane Silber, Canonical’s chief operating officer, the latest version of Ubuntu has more user-friendly features and more operating system options. Among the features likely to be of interest to business users is the migration from Add/Remove Software to the Software Center, which will include commercial software for the first time, along with the open source software that has always been available. Another feature is an automatic file/folder synchronization tool similar to DropBox, with a free option offering 2 GB of space, and a paid one with 50 GB for $10 a month.An addition for software developers is an application called Quickly, which aims to accelerate software development (a bit like a Ruby-on-Rails type application for Ubuntu). Also useful are new utilities such as Palimpsest, a new GNOME utility that simplifies working with hard disks and partitions. Ubuntu 9.10’s improved support of Intel graphics will boost performance for most users, as will the short boot time of just over 10 seconds. As with all Linux systems, Ubuntu offers users with older computers an operating system that works. Explore further Ubuntu 7.04 to Arrive April 19
The display organised on the occassion of 52nd Raising Day celebrations of the Force by Himveer Wives’ Welfare Association (HWWA), welfare arm of the ITBP, continued till 29 October. The exhibition consisted of various products diaplying the skills of ITBP families and welfare activities undertaken by HWWA and ITBP. The pieces exhibited were prepared and manufactured in the welfare centers of the battalions located all over India. The exhibition also showcased rare artifact, handicraft and cultural heritage of the Himalayas. The proceeds gained from the exhibition are to be utilised for the welfare of the Force personnel. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Various field units of ITBP had displayed a wide variety of products in the HWWA exibition. The special attractions of the show were Pasmina shawls, silk cushions, chandan malas, Budha statues from Ladakh; Kullu shawls, Kinnori topis, apple and dry fruits from Himachal Pradesh; buransh juice, rajma pulses, kulth pulse from Uttarakhand; Darjeeling tea, Cap pashmina, litchi juice from Sikkim; Assami gamchha, Naga shawl, Bamboo hut, Assam tea from Arunachal Pradesh; Chanderi saries from Madhya Pradesh, Lucknowi chikan and carved furniture of Saharanpur from Uttar Pradesh. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHWWA works for the welfare of the families of the Force personnel with a specific focus on women empowerment. It trains families in food processing, tailoring, weaving, stitching, beautician course, home management, computer training, yoga classes, embroidery, pattern making, painting and child care. Training of Spoken English is given to the ITBP wards, free of cost. A special stall showcasing the history, training, operations, welfare activities and adventure sports in ITBP was also set up and became the centre of attraction.
Amazon has chosen recipients from all over the world to be awarded the Alexa fellowships. The Alexa Fellowships program is open for PhD and post-doctoral students specializing in conversational AI at select universities. The program was launched last year, when four researchers won awards. Amazon’s Alexa Graduate fellowship The Alexa Graduate Fellowship supports conversational AI research by providing funds and mentorship to PhD and postdoctoral students. Faculty Advisors and Alexa Graduate Fellows will also teach conversational AI to undergraduate and graduate students using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Services (AVS). The graduate fellowship recipients are selected based on their research interests, planned coursework and existing conversational AI curriculum. This year the institutions include six in the United States, two in the United Kingdom, one in Canada and one in India. The 10 universities are: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD MIT App Inventor, Boston, MA University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX University of Washington, Seattle, WA University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Amazon’s Alexa Innovation Fellowship The Alexa Innovation Fellowship is dedicated to innovations in conversational AI. The program was introduced this year and Amazon has partnered with university entrepreneurship centers to help student-led startups build their innovative conversational interfaces. The fellowship also provides resources to faculty members. This year ten leading entrepreneurship center faculty members were selected as the inaugural class of Alexa Innovation Fellows. They are invited to learn from the Alexa team and network with successful Alexa Fund entrepreneurs. Instructors will receive funding, Alexa devices, hardware kits and regular training, as well as introductions to successful Alexa Fund-backed entrepreneurs. The 10 universities selected to receive the 2018-2019 Alexa Innovation Fellowship include: Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ California State University, Northridge, CA Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Emerson College, Boston, MA Texas A&M University, College Station, TX University of California, Berkeley, CA University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA “We want to make it easier and more accessible for smart people outside of the company to get involved with conversational AI. That’s why we launched the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Services (AVS) and allocated $200 million to promising startups innovating with voice via the Alexa Fund.” wrote Kevin Crews, Senior Product Manager for the Amazon Alexa Fellowship, in a blog post. Read more about the 2018-2019 Alexa Fellowship class on the Amazon blog. Read next Cortana and Alexa become best friends: Microsoft and Amazon release a preview of this integration Voice, natural language, and conversations: Are they the next web UI?
Tony Cohen has stepped down as FremantleMedia CEO and will be replaced by Cécile Frot-Coutaz. She is currently the CEO of FremantleMedia North America and has been with the company for seventeen years. FremantleMedia said that Cohen is stepping down to “focus on his non-executive work”.Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO of FremantleMedia parent company RTL Group said: “I want to thank Tony Cohen for his outstanding achievements. He transformed FremantleMedia from a collection of individual entities into a global content power house.”
TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 12,065.55 12,773.87 12,153.69 We Buy @ Spot + $1.90 Per Oz (Spot + $1.90 X 715) Sold Out Amark 1 Oz. Silver Rounds ( Made By Sunshine ) Pure .999 BU 500 Coin Min. Spot + $4.99 Per Oz (Spot + $4.99 X 715) Rock & Stock Stats Last Sold Out Gold Producers (GDX) 28.59 37.58 46.61 Oil 88.01 92.52 102.72 Copper 3.15 3.41 3.63 One Month Ago TSX Venture 939.07 1,106.51 1,396.77 One Year Ago 2013 Sealed Mint Boxes Of 1 Oz. Silver American Eagles “San Francisco Mint” Brand New Coins 500 Coin Min. (1 Sealed Box) Gold Crash 2013 – Deliberately Engineered? By Bud Conrad, Casey Research Chief Economist How can we explain gold dropping into the $1,300 level in less than a week? Here are some of the factors: George Soros cut his fund holdings in the biggest gold ETF by 55% in the fourth quarter of 2012. He was not alone: the gold holdings of GLD have contracted all year, down about 12.2% at present. On April 9, the FOMC minutes were leaked a day early and revealed that some members were discussing slowing the Fed $85 billion per month buying of Treasuries and MBS. If the money stimulus might not last as long as thought before, the “printing” may not cause as much dollar debasement. On April 10, Goldman Sachs warned that gold could go lower and lowered its target price. It even recommended getting out of gold. COT Reports showed a decrease in the bullishness of large speculators this year (much more on this technical point below). The lackluster price movement since September 2011 fatigued some speculators and trend followers. Cyprus was rumored to need to sell some 400 million euros’ worth of its gold to cover its bank bailouts. While small at only about 350,000 ounces, there was a fear that other weak European countries with too much debt and sizable gold holdings could be forced into the same action. Cyprus officials have denied the sale, so the question is still in debate, even though the market has already moved. Doug Casey believes that if weak European countries were forced to sell, the gold would mostly be absorbed by China and other sovereign Asian buyers, rather than flood the physical markets. My opinion, looking at the list of items above, is that they are not big enough by themselves to have created such a large disruption in the gold market. The Paper Gold Market The paper gold market is best embodied in the futures exchanges. The prices we see quoted all day long moving up and down are taken from the latest trades of futures contracts. The CME (the old Chicago Mercantile Exchange) has a large flow of orders and provides the public with an indication of the price of gold. The futures markets are special because very little physical commodity is exchanged; most of the trading is between buyers taking long positions against sellers taking short positions, with most contracts liquidated before final settlement and delivery. These contracts require very small amounts of margin – as little as 5% of the value of the commodity – to gain potentially large swings in the outcome of profit or loss. Thus, futures markets appear to be a speculator’s paradise. But the statistics show just the opposite: 90% of traders lose their shirts. The other 10% take all the profits from the losers. More on this below. On April 13, there were big sell orders of 400 tonnes that moved the futures market lower. Once the futures market makes a big move like that, stops can be triggered, causing it to move even more on its own. It can become a panic, where markets react more to fear than fundamentals. Having traded in futures for over two decades, I want to provide some detail on how these leveraged markets operate. It’s important to understand that the structure of the futures market allows brokers to sell positions if fluctuations cause customers to exceed their margin limits and they don’t immediately deposit more money to restore their margins. When a position goes against a trader, brokers can demand that funds be deposited within 24 hours (or even sooner at the broker’s discretion). If the funds don’t appear, the broker can sell the position and liquidate the speculator’s account. This structure can force prices to fall more than would be indicated by supply and demand fundamentals. When I first signed up to trade futures, I was appalled at the powers the broker wrote into the contract, which included them having the power to immediately liquidate my positions at their discretion. I was also surprised at how little screening they did to ensure that I was good for whatever positions I put in place, considering the high levels of leverage they allowed me. Let me tell you that I had many cases where I was told to put up more margin or lose my positions. Those times resulted in me selling at the worst level because the market had gone against me. The point of this is that once a market moves dramatically, there are usually stops taken out, positions liquidated, margin calls issued, and little guys like me get taken to the cleaners. Debates rage about the structure of the futures market, but my personal opinion is that a big hammer to the market by a well-heeled big player can force liquidations, increase losses, and push the momentum of the market much lower than the initial impetus would have. Thus, after a huge impact like we saw on April 13, the market will continue with enough momentum that a well-timed exit of a huge set of short positions can provide profits to the well-heeled market mover. Moving from theory to practice, one of the most important things to keep your eye on is the Commitment of Traders (COT) report, which is issued every Friday. It details the long and the short positions of three categories of traders. The first category is called “commercials.” They are dealers in the physical precious metals – for example, gold miners. The second category is called “non-commercials.” They include hedge funds and large commercial banks like JP Morgan. Non-commercials are sometimes called “large speculators.” The rest are the small traders, called “non-reporting” since they are not required to identify themselves. The ones to watch are the large speculators (non-commercials), as they tend to move with the direction of the market. Individual entities could be long or short, but in combination the net position of the group is a key indicator. The following chart shows the price of gold as a blue line at the top, and the next panel down shows the net position of these large speculators as a black line. You can see that over the long term, they move together. When the net speculative position is above zero, this group is betting on rising gold prices. Of course, the reverse is true when it’s below zero. In this 20-year view, the large speculators were holding net negative positions during the lowest point of the gold price, around the year 2000. As the price of gold rose, their positions went net long, and they profited. An interesting thing about the chart above is that the increasing amount of net longs reversed itself before gold peaked in 2011, suggesting that these large speculators became slightly less bullish all the way back in 2010. The balance remains net long, but it remains to be seen how long that lasts. What is not so obvious is that these large speculators are so big that they can affect the market as well as profit from it; when they initiate massive positions in a bull market, they drive the price of the futures contracts even higher. Similarly, when they remove their positions or actually go short, they can push the market lower. So what happened a week ago was that a massive order to sell 400 tons of gold all at once hit the market. Within minutes the price plummeted, and over a two-day period resulted in the largest drop of the price for futures delivery of gold in 33 years: down $200 per ounce. We don’t have the name of the entity that did this. However, the way the gold was sold all at once suggests that the goal was not to get the best price. An investor with a position of this size should have been smart enough to use sensible trading tactics, issuing much smaller sell orders over a period of time. This would avoid swamping the market; and some of the orders would be filled at higher prices and thus generate more profit. Placing a sell order big enough to affect the overall market price suggests that someone with powerful backing wanted to drive the price of gold down. Such an entity could have been a large speculator who already had a sizable short position and could gain by unloading some of its short position once the market momentum had driven the price even yet lower. Or it could be a central bank – one that might be happy to have the gold price move lower, as it would provide cover for its printing of more new money. Of course, it could be some entity that owned long contracts and wanted to get out of the position all at once. We don’t know, but this kind of activity, resulting in the biggest drop in 30 years, raises more than just suspicion when we consider how important the price of gold is to many markets around the globe. Can markets really be influenced by big players? Well, was the LIBOR rate accurately reported by huge banks? Have players ever tried to corner markets? The answer to all the above, unfortunately, is yes. There’s an even bigger problem with the legal structure of the futures market: even the segregated funds on deposit can be pilfered by the broker for the brokerage’s other obligations. That is what happened to MF Global customers under Mr. Corzine. (I had an account with a predecessor company called Man Financial – the “MF” in the name. I also had an account with Refco, which is now defunct. Fortunately, the daggers did not hit my account, since I was not a holder when the catastrophes occurred.) My take: the futures market is dangerous, and not a place for beginners. One last note: after the Bankruptcy Act of 2005, the regulations support the brokers, not the investors, when there are questions of legality about losses in individual investment accounts. Casey Research will be producing a report with much more detail on this subject in the near future. So, what now? We aren’t going to see a secret memo – no smoking gun to confirm that what happened on April 13 was an attempt to affect the market. Still, the evidence is suspicious. When big entities can gain from putting on big positions, the incentives are big enough for them to try – LIBOR, Plunge Protection Team, Whale Trade, etc., all support this view. The Physical Gold Market Previously, there was little difference between the physical and paper markets for gold. Yes, there were premiums and delivery charges, but everybody regarded the futures market as the base quote. I believe this is changing; people don’t trust the paper market as they used to. Instead of capitulating to fear of greater losses, the demand for physical gold has hit new records. The US Mint sold a record 63,500 ounces – a whopping 2 tonnes – of gold on April 17 alone, bringing the total sales for the month to 147,000 ounces; that’s more than the previous two months combined. Indian markets, which are more oriented to physical metal, now have a premium of US$150 over the futures price in Chicago. Demand at coin dealers has increased as the price has dropped. And premiums are much bigger than they were as recently as a week ago. Here is a vendor page that quotes purchase prices and calculates the premiums on an ongoing basis. It shows premiums of 50% and more in many cases. On eBay, prices for one-ounce silver coins are $33 to $35, where the futures price is quoted as $23. A look on Friday April 19 shows one vendor out of stock on most items: 2013 Sealed Mint Boxes Of 1 Oz. Silver American Eagles – Brand New Coins 500 Coin Min. (1 Sealed Box) (Click on image to enlarge) Buying Opportunity or Time to Flee? So what does it all mean? The paper price of gold crashed to $1,325 in the wake of this huge trade. It is now hovering around $1,400. My first reaction is to suggest that this is only an aberration, and that the fundamentals of the depreciating value of paper currencies will eventually take the price of gold much higher, making it a buying opportunity. But what I can’t predict is whether big players might again deliver short-term downturns to the market. The momentum in the futures market can make swings surprisingly larger than the fundamentals of currency valuation would suggest. Traders will be looking for a significant turnaround to the upside in price before entering long positions. However, a long-term, fundamentals-based trader has to look at the low price as a buying opportunity. I can’t prove it, but I think the fundamentals will drive the long-term market more than these short-term events. The fight between pricing from the physical market for bullion and that from the “paper market” of futures is showing signs of discrimination and disagreement, as the physical market is booming, while prices set by futures are seemingly pressured to go nowhere. In short, I think this is a strong buying opportunity. We also advocate stashing a good chunk of your gold outside your home country. In fact, international diversification of all your wealth should be at the top of your to-do list this year. To help you get started, at 2 p.m. EDT on April 30, Casey Research is premiering a free web video event, Internationalizing Your Assets. It features some of the world’s top experts on internationalization, including Casey Research Chairman Doug Casey, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, and World Money Analyst Editor Kevin Brekke. Together they will reveal how they personally protect their assets abroad – and how you can, too. Registration is free. Gold and Silver HEADLINES Ron Paul Is Relaxed About Gold’s Slump (Mining.com) Gold bug Ron Paul recently weighed in on last week’s events. Paul has taken gold’s abrupt decline in the past week with calm, asserting that the key issue is the value of the dollar and not the sharp movements in the precious-metals market. According to Mining.com, the former US Congressman was unnerved when asked if he was worried about this week’s gold-price collapse happening again. “It was an abnormal market phenomenon, but obviously the weak holders had to get out, and the strong holders are back and buying.” We couldn’t agree more. Demand for Krugerrands Skyrockets (Mineweb) As we all know so well, the gold price dropped to its lowest level in two years earlier this week due to a variety of factors, including the possibility that Cyprus might sell some gold in order to help finance its bailout. However, this has not been an altogether one-sided story, as the demand for physical gold – such as Krugerrand gold coins – shot through the roof during last week’s drop, as investors capitalized on the lower gold price. Jewelers Head for Gold as Investors Fled (BullionStreet) A slump in the gold price also led to a jump in gold jewelry sales in India. Seemingly, while the price decline last week made the metal unappealing to portfolio investors and money managers, gold retailers in India struggled to cope with the demand, as shoppers rushed to snap up gold ornaments ahead of wedding season. The article states: “Jewelers are eyeing incoming wedding season and Akshaya Tritiya, an auspicious day to buy gold as per Hindu mythology, to boost their sales in the global market, as the gold price fell below US$1,400 per troy ounce for the first time in 15 months.” This Week in International Speculator and BIG GOLD – Key Updates for Subscribers International Speculator One of our producers released its first-quarter production report from its Mexican mining operations, showing greatly improved mining and processing abilities. 90% Silver Coin Bags 50¢ Half Dollars $1,000 Face Value We Ship in 2 $500 Face Bags $1,000 Face Value Min. We Buy @ Spot + $2.10 Per Oz (Spot + $2.10 X 715) Buy @ Spot -15c Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research Buy – Sell On Silver Bullion 90% Silver Coin Bags (Our Choice Dimes Or Quarters) $1,000 Face Value Figured at 715 Ozs Per $1,000 Face $1,000 Face Value Min. Clearly, the physical gold market today is sending different signals than the paper market. The Case for Gold Is Still with Us The long-term fundamental reasons to hold gold are undeniably still with us. The central banks of the world are acting in concert in “currency wars” or “the race to debase.” As they print more money, the purchasing power of each unit declines. They are caught between the rock of having to keep interest rates low to support their governments’ huge deficits and the hard place of the long-term effect of diluting their currency. If rates rise, even First World governments will be forced to pay higher interest fees, leading to loss of confidence in their ability to pay back their debt, which will bring on a sovereign debt crisis like what we have seen in the PIIGS or Argentina recently. The following chart shows the rapid growth in the balance sheets as a ratio to GDP for the three largest central banks. I’ve extrapolated the expected growth into the future based on the rate at which they propose to buy up assets. One could argue about how long these growth rates will continue, but the incentives are all there for all central banks to bail out their governments and their commercial banks. I fully expect the printing game to continue to provide the fuel for hard-asset investments like gold and silver to increase in price in the years to come. Buy @ Spot + $1.80 Dear Reader, Doug and I have received some polite but strong encouragement to not dismiss the possibility that there are entities – particularly the Fed – with a vested interest in manipulating the precious-metals markets to suppress prices. Doug just doesn’t buy it. Personally, I find the usual arguments persuasive, but have seen them linked to predictions that have not come true for many years. My view is that if manipulation of these markets exists, its impact is short term, and the fundamentals will determine the long-term outcome. We don’t presume to have the power to settle these debates, but I do want readers to know that we do look at all evidence and arguments regarding our markets. Case in point: Bud Conrad’s analysis of the recent market fluctuation in gold, which we offer in this edition. I hope you find it interesting, whichever side of the debate you fall on. Sincerely, This exploration company announced drill results, including some excellent hits at its gold project in Canada. The company is delivering, and we consider the current sell-off as a buying opportunity. BIG GOLD One of our Best Buys announced a stock buyback program – here’s what it means for our shares. Sold Out 90% Silver Coin Bags Walking Liberty Half Dollars $1,000 Face Value We Ship in 2 $500 Face Bags $1,000 Face Value Min. Sold Out Silver Stocks (SIL) 13.93 18.01 21.13 Gold 1,406.50 1,611.30 1,641.40 Sold Out Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 12.01 16.87 22.46 Buy @ Spot + $2.00 Silver 23.29 28.84 31.78 We Buy @ Spot + $1.70 Per Oz (Spot + $1.70 X 715) This dividend payer reported a drop in production – but we’re not concerned and are buying first tranches.
In This Issue. * Disruptions reside in U.S. now. * Dollar continues to get sold. * U.S. data begins to get printed this week * Eric Sprott speaks And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! It’s Now Time For Taper Capers! Good day. And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well! Looky, looky, my two beloved teams, are getting quite a bit of attention these days! My Cardinals are in the World Series, and my Missouri Tigers, after beating the Florida Gators, soared to #5 in the country! WOW! My friend, Ed’s Auburn Tigers won, but my friend, Rick’s Clemson Tigers lost. But it was all seashells and balloons for me, sports-wise this weekend, and that’s a good thing! The goings on in Washington D.C. finally calmed down after weeks of bashing each other with words, a lot of drama, and some funky accounting. The U.S. dollar continues to remain under pressure. Can you blame the currency traders, et. al? Like I said last week, if the U.S. wants to continue to accumulate massive debt, and not do anything about it, then they are more than happy to continue to sell dollars. Think about this for a moment before we get into everything else, and it will be our theme for the day and weeks to come, I believe. 3 years ago, all the disruptions to a smooth running economy resided in the Eurozone, and the euro got hammered until, they addressed the problem, and then, and only then, did the relative calm come over the Eurozone and euro. Today, all the disruptions to a smooth running economy reside here in the U.S. and therefore it only makes sense for the dollar to get hammered, just like the euro did, for basically the same stuff. Debt. So, keeping that theme in mind. The euro continues to add to its gains last week, and has been as high as 1.3688 overnight, very close to moving past the 1.37 handle. Who’da thunk it? I mean, guys like, oh, never mind, you all know the guys I would name, but in my kinder, gentler persona, I’ll just say we had people stomping their feet, pounding the podiums, and placing the hard earned reputations on the line, saying they “knew” for sure the euro was going to collapse a couple of years ago. In addition, in Germany this past weekend, it appears a coalition Gov’t could be a done deal this week, and that goes a long way to calming the ruffled feathers in Germany, the Eurozone’s largest economy. So, the euro has a couple of things going for it this morning, but remember what I always tell you. The euro is the offset currency to the dollar, so things could be on tenterhooks in the Eurozone, and the euro would still be allowed to gain, IF the dollar is getting sold. The challenger to the euro, as the offset currency to the dollar, would be the Chinese renminbi / yuan. The renminbi / yuan will have to leapfrog over currencies like yen, pounds and francs when it comes to liquidity and number of currency units traded each day, before the real challenge comes. The renminbi / yuan was allowed to appreciate to another 20 year record level last night. The pressure on the Chinese Gov’t to keep appreciating their currency is growing, especially after the U.S. shutdown, and near default. Nothing like pushing your girlfriend toward your best friend. The Chinese 3rd QTR GDP, as I reported to you last week, grew 7.8% up from 7.5% in the 2nd QTR, and so, this strong direction of the Chinese economy is really helping out with the appreciation of the currency, and really providing an underpin for the Aussie dollar (A$). The A$ is flat this morning at .9670. I think that most of the gains from the RBA rate comments, that we talked about, the new Gov’t, and the rebound in the Chinese economy, has all been priced into the A$ at this point. Now, we’ll have to see more reasons to push the A$ higher, and those could come this week, with their latest reading of CPI (consumer inflation). For if CPI doesn’t look dicey, the calls for a rate cut will come back into play faster than you can say stupid rate cuts! And that won’t be good for the A$… So, we need to keep an eye on CPI tomorrow night (Wednesday for them) Later this week (Thursday), both the central banks of Norway and Sweden, the Norges Bank and Riksbank respectively, will meet to discuss rates. I don’t expect either of these two Central Banks to change rates, choosing to leave them unchanged, and then follow the announcement with a statement that will be positive, thus giving the markets the feeling that rates are heading higher here, next year. It might be helpful to take a step back, and list the countries that we know of that have either come out and said rates will be hiked in 2014, or have tightening biases that appear to be ready for the trigger to get pulled on higher rates. They include: New Zealand, Brazil, Norway, Sweden. And a couple of the fence. Australia and Canada. Notice, a few that’s not on that list, like: the U.S., Japan, U.K., Eurozone. And with the U.S., Japan, U.K. and Eurozone all on the near zero rate policy train tracks, one would think that Gold would take that opportunity to shine. I had a conversation with the very well respected analyst, Steve Sjuggerud, one day last week, and we were talking about China’s currency, not paying interest, and Steve said, “well, I told my readers that they aren’t getting paid much on their dollar accounts, so they aren’t really losing anything, interest rates wise, by switching into renminbi.” I said, “hey, Steve, you know what? I’ve been telling our clients and readers the same thing for a long time now.” So, you see it’s not all about getting a yield advantage with another currency, the ZIRP in the U.S. allows you to look to things that have equally low rates, like Chinese renminbi, and Gold. Well, not that long ago, Japan used to enjoy a strong Current Account Surplus, which allowed investors to have an easy feeling about owning yen. For, even if the Gov’t debt was a problem, they had this strong Current Account Surplus. But then the Surplus began to melt away, and Japan began printing Trade Deficits! What? Yes, and when the first one printed over a year ago, I said then that it was not a good thing for Japan, and received some notes from people saying that I always say a swallow doesn’t make a summer, and one bad print isn’t a trend. And they were right! I always did say that, so I backed off, until getting to see more Trade Deficits print in Japan. One bad apple might not spoil the whole bunch, girl, but it did in this case! In keeping with the rot on Japan’s economic vine, September’s Trade Deficit booked a yen 932.1 Billion Deficit ($9.5 Billion in dollar terms), marking the 15th consecutive month booking a deficit. The thrill is gone for yen folks. Bad Gov’t Debt, a worsening Current Account Deficit, and an economy in a 2-decade funk. But, what about all the stimulus that the Japanese Gov’t provided over the years for the economy? Or what about all the Quantitative Easing / QE that’s still going on today? ZIRP has been in play for 15 years, and every attempt to hike rates has been met with a further downturn in the economy, thus immediately erasing the increase in rates. So. If I hadn’t started that off by telling you it was Japan, you could almost close your eyes and imagine there’s no countries, It isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for. No wait! How’d I go there? What I was getting at was you could very easily imagine that I was talking about the U.S. No, we haven’t experienced 15 years of ZIRP, of a 2-decade economic funk.. YET! Gold really hasn’t moved much since the initial jump higher after the Debt Deal last week. I really thought that with the market participants now knowing that the U.S. was going to continue down the road to ruins, that Gold would take off to higher ground. It did. but hasn’t added to those initial gains. I told you last week, that now that the Debt Debacle was kicked down the road, that the focus would return to the Taper Capers. You know, whether or not the Fed Heads will begin to Taper or not. I say, “NOT YET”. The Gov’t shutdown probably saw to the delay in Tapering. But I guess the Gold buyers want confirmation of that. And I guess we’ll see confirmation of the delay next week, as the Fed Heads get together for a pre-Halloween meeting on October 30th. Let’s hope the Fed Heads don’t think that a good scare would be fun! But should the Fed Heads confirm the delay, as I expect them to do, I would think that Gold would get back to adding to its gains, but that’s 9 days away.. And remember, even though, I kept talking about the risks of the Fed Heads not tapering being in the markets, I thought Big Ben would make an announcement that tapering was beginning last September, and that was wrong. The U.S. data cupboard gets back to giving us economic prints this week, now that the Gov’t is “back to work”. I say that facetiously of course! The first data print will be the Jobs Jamboree for September that will print tomorrow! Then Retail Sales on Wednesday, and so on. The week will be chock-full-o-data. I actually thought it was quite nice not having trumped up data and cooked books thrown at us these past two + weeks. The “experts” have had a couple of extra weeks to research the Jobs Jamboree, and they have come up with a forecast of 180,000 jobs created in September, and the Unemployment Rate remaining at 7.3%… Me? I really don’t care, for the numbers are all trumped up, massaged and cooked to make you feel better. I prefer to look at the Avg Hourly Earnings, the Avg Weekly Hours Worked, and the Participation Rate. Before I head to the Big Finish. My friend, Ed, sent me this on Friday, and I thought it to be “True” that I just had to put it here for it is exactly how I view life. From John Lennon: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” For What It’s Worth. I found this interview with Eric Sprott of Sprott Asset Management LP over at KingWorldnews.com and I found it to be interesting, in that he is saying the same stuff I’ve said for years now, so it’s nice to see a billionaire like Mr. Sprott come around to my way of thinking! Here’s Eric Sprott. “We’ve had so many false starts (and promises) — ‘The economy is going to be great in 2010,’ and it’s not. ‘It’s going to be great in 2011, 2012, 2013,’ and it’s not. Now, they are already talking about it being ‘great in 2014.’ But we are actually regressing, even though they (central planners) don’t want to admit it, because the numbers are all manipulated in one way or another. It will happen that gold will be accepted as the asset to back a (major) currency. And the currency with the most gold behind it, which I suspect is already the Chinese yuan, and growing rapidly, will be the dominant currency going forward. Of course this doesn’t portend well for all of the central planners currencies. They (the Chinese) are doing the smart thing by buying real physical assets. So I guess the best way of putting it is, just follow the Chinese, my friend, and you are going to be OK here.” Chuck again. You can read the whole interview by clicking here if you want. One more thing I found interesting in this interview. Sprott was talking about the suppression of the Gold & Silver price, and said, “it is staggering to think that demand (for gold) is twice (global) mine production. It’s almost unimaginable.” To recap. The most important things for today is that the Cardinals are in the World Series, and my Missouri Tigers are #5 in the country! OK. Markets wise. the sell dollar bias remains, but has settled down a bit, as the markets wait for the FOMC meeting next week, and get a look at the economic data that will begin to print again this week. Norway and Sweden central banks will meet this week, and lay the groundwork for rate hikes in 2014, and the euro continues to gain reversing the trade that existed when the disruptions resided in the Eurozone. The disruptions now reside in the U.S. Currencies today 10/21/13. American Style: A$ .9670, kiwi .8460, C$ .9710, euro 1.3675, sterling 1.6150, Swiss $1.1070, . European Style: rand 9.8450, krone 5.9225, SEK 6.4340, forint 214.75, zloty 3.0605, koruna 18.85, RUB 31.88, yen 98.15, sing 1.2410, HKD 7.7530, INR 61.51, China 6.1352, pesos 12.85, BRL 2.1745, Dollar Index 79.71, Oil $100.05, 10-year 2.59%, Silver $22.17, Platinum $1,439.90, Palladium $744.00, and Gold.. $1,317.92 That’s it for today. Wow! The World Series! This is our 4th trip to the World Series in the past 10 years. No! I’m not bragging! I’m just saying. Boy was I off a week last Friday, when I talked about Homecoming at Mizzou. It wasn’t last weekend, it’s this coming weekend, and it looks like the family is going! YAHOO! Alex gave it his best on Saturday, but wasn’t able to come up with an individual medal at the swimming invitational. I watched the Game 6 NLCS Clinching win with friends at a local watering hole last Friday night. We had a blast cheering and high fiving, and enjoying the win. Steely Dan is playing, My Old School right now, great song! And with that, I thank you for reading the Pfennig, and Hope you have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
Today is International Women’s Day, a day that aims to celebrate the achievements of women in all arenas: social, economic, cultural, political and personal, as well.Over the past year, NPR has profiled some remarkable women, from a 101-year-old runner from India to a Yemeni refugee who didn’t let war stop her from being a scientist.Now, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us about a woman who’s making life better for other women — especially in the developing world.It can be a woman you know personally, a woman you’ve read about in the news or an under-the-radar woman whose story you think the world needs to know. We’re looking for activists, scientists, researchers, brave individuals who have overcome incredible obstacles.We’re taking submissions until March 16. Use the form below to send in your nomination. Please tell us what this woman has done that inspires you — and would be inspiring to our readers as well.We will pick a woman to profile at the end of the month. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
A leading disabled people’s organisation has called on the local authorities that part-own Manchester Airport to address the “embarrassment” of it being found to be the worst airport in the country at providing assistance for disabled passengers.The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced in its third annual review of the assistance provided at the UK’s airports that Manchester is now the only one assessed as “poor” for assistance.In last year’s review, the airport was one of four described as “poor”, but CAA says the other three have all improved over the last 12 months.Disabled passengers are entitled to free assistance when travelling by air under European Union regulations, and CAA is the regulatory body that monitors the quality of this assistance.Manchester Airport is part of Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which is nearly two-thirds owned by Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities, with Labour-run Manchester City Council owning more than a third of MAG.CAA’s annual review of assistance services for 2017-18 said of Manchester Airport: “Information provided to us shows that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility took significantly longer to move through the airport than other passengers, with an unacceptable number of disabled and reduced mobility passengers waiting more than 20 minutes for assistance with, in some cases, passengers left waiting for assistance for more than an hour.“This is not an acceptable situation for passengers that need to use the assistance at the airport.”Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) called on the 10 councils and the elected mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to pressure the airport to improve its services to disabled passengers.Brian Hilton, GMCDP’s digital campaigns officer, said: “Manchester Airport is a major gateway to both the region and the country and I would hope that the mayor is suitably embarrassed and stirred into action that at present we are officially the worst airport in the country for disabled access.“12 months have passed since the CAA first highlighted Manchester Airport’s failings in relation to disabled people and its failure to improve since then shows a total disregard for disabled people.”He said anecdotal evidence suggested that “whilst policies might be in place to assist disabled people, practices and procedures are still sadly lacking”.He said the coalition had called for action to improve the airport’s performance in its manifesto for last year’s mayoral election, which Burnham won.Hilton warned last year that many staff at Manchester Airport “treat disabled people little better than cattle, moving people without telling them what was happening or where they were going”.A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council refused to say what action the local authority would take to ensure the airport’s provision of assistance improved, or whether it was embarrassed about the airport’s performance.But she said in a statement: “It’s important to us that our local airport is accessible to everyone, and it’s clearly also important for the many thousands of international travellers who pass through the airport every day.“As major shareholder in MAG, we’re pleased the CAA report recognises a number of positive changes made by the airport over the last year to improve services for people with disabilities.“We’re confident that the airport’s £1 billion long term transformation programme – Manchester Airport Transformation Programme – will deliver the further changes needed to significantly improve services for all passengers.”A spokesman for Burnham said that it was important to note that MAG “does not fall under the purview of the mayor”.He said: “While he is in frequent contact with the management of the airport and makes his views and opinions heard he has no direct control over its running.”But Burnham said in a statement: “It is important that all public spaces, including transport hubs, across Greater Manchester are fully accessible.“The CAA’s report is clear in identifying areas where Manchester Airport should improve its accessibility.“I welcome the improvements already implemented and will be in regular dialogue with Manchester Airports Group to ensure further steps are taken.“Across the city-region there is much to be done to improve accessibility on public transport though progress is being made; every Metrolink tram and tram stop has step-free access and the new Bolton transport interchange has been designed with disability access at its heart.“But I will continue to challenge the transport operators to ensure that all facilities are fully accessible.” A note from the editor:For nine years, Disability News Service has survived largely through the support of a small number of disability organisations – most of them user-led – that have subscribed to its weekly supply of news stories. That support has been incredibly valuable but is no longer enough to keep DNS financially viable. For this reason, please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support its work and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please remember that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring, and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
–shares Cannabis regulators, advocacy organizations and trade groups are also abruptly hard to find. Marijuana-related companies, regulators and trade groups around the globe recently stopped appearing in Facebook searches, becoming casualties in what appears to be the social media platform’s latest attempt to filter results related to “marijuana” and “cannabis.”The phenomenon is known as “shadow banning,” in which posts on an online social community such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram become invisible to users searching for them.Facebook, to be sure, has shuttered thousands of pages belonging to cannabis businesses and related entities over the years. But the social media giant also allows MJ businesses and related entities to maintain pages – provided they don’t violate the platform’s community standards.That’s why the latest developments are raising alarm bells among MJ companies. Many rely on Facebook to engage with consumers and educate people about marijuana and MJ products.“While Facebook has held a pretty hard line on advertising, which cannabis companies have been dealing with for years, this a big hit to cannabis businesses and brands,” observed Rosie Mattio, founder of New York’s RMPR, a public relations firm that works with marijuana businesses. “A company’s social pages are as important, if not more important, than their website.”Here are some of the MJ industry’s main concerns surrounding the situation — and Facebook’s response.Related: Cannabis Companies Likely to Raise More in 2018 Than the Last 3 Years Combined1. Questions and inconsistencies swirl around Facebook’s search policy — and raise concerns about financial fallout. Critics charge the new search filter is the most recent example of Facebook enforcing community standards inconsistently for marijuana businesses and affiliated organizations. “It’s ridiculous,” said Mason Tvert, the vice president of public relations and communications at VS Strategies, a Denver-based cannabis consulting firm. “(Marijuana is) a major political issue at the federal level, as well as in many states. There’s no rational reason for blocking searches involving the word marijuana when it’s such a popular topic of discussion.”Among MJ businesses, inconsistencies in how and when the Facebook search ban occurs — and how it’s applied — have raised concerns about the potential impact on companies’ bottom lines. One recent example of the fallout: You could not find a company like Maine’s Summit Medical Marijuana dispensary in a Facebook search result. You could, however, see two of its competitors, Canuvo and the Wellness Connection.Another example: While Ontario-based Aphria appears in search results, Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis doesn’t — even though marijuana is federally legal in Canada.Related: Marijuana Is a $794 Million Windfall for the States That Have Legalized Adult Use2. Facebook’s response leaves many questions unanswered.A spokesperson for Facebook declined to be quoted for this article but acknowledged the company’s methods for enforcing community standards and filtering search terms is imperfect. In statements provided to Marijuana Business Daily, the spokesperson said:Facebook uses a combination of technology, human review and community reports to enforce community standards.Mistakes are made. If something was removed that shouldn’t have been, reviewers quickly work to restore it.Facebook is actively making it harder for users to find content that facilitates the sale of opioids or other drugs on its platform.The social media site has filtered search results for many terms associated with drug sales. In some cases, such a search will only return links to drug-related news articles or permissible information that is shared on Facebook.As a result, users may see inconsistent results related to specific search terms.Related: Business Ideas for Those Who Don’t Want to ‘Touch the Plant’3. The fallout is far reaching — from state cannabis regulators to licensed businesses and more.In addition to MJ businesses, cannabis regulators, advocacy organizations and trade groups are among the victims in Facebook’s latest attempts to filter search results related to “marijuana” and “cannabis.”The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), for example, stopped appearing in some Facebook searches last week. Similar issues reportedly zapped the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Their pages still exist, but the change to Facebook’s search filters makes them more difficult to find.If you search “Bureau of Cannabis Control,” “Marijuana Policy Project” or “National Cannabis Industry Association” on Facebook, you’ll see no results. By contrast, search “MPP” or “NCIA” and their pages show up — at least at the time this story was written.The inconsistencies don’t stop there. Type in “CalCannabis,” the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s cultivation licensing page on Facebook, and it’ll be one of the first results you see. Search for “Drug Policy Alliance” and “Ganjapreneur” and they pop up, too.But a Marijuana Business Daily search brings no results.Related: 3 Ways to Work in Weed Without Ever Touching The Plant4. The situation is having an impact on regulatory efforts.Facebook is a vital part of the California BCC’s communications strategy, said Alex Traverso, the bureau’s chief of communications. But the social media giant’s new search filtering tactics have had a big impact on the state agency’s ability to reach its 10,000 followers.Typically, the BCC’s posts reach about 4,000 users, Traverso said. Last week — when the bureau’s page stopped appearing in some search results — that reach was cut in half and only about 2,000 users interacted with some posts. To make matters worse, it’s a crucial time for cannabis businesses in California. They only have until Aug. 27 to comment on the state’s permanent MJ regulations, and the BCC uses its Facebook page to promote public comment events and encourage licensees to participate in the process.Now, however, that content is harder to find on Facebook. “We’re doing what we can to continue to try to work all our other communication channels that much more to get people the information they need,” Traverso said.The problem: Facebook has been one of the state cannabis agency’s more reliable ways to share news and events with its followers, he said. The BCC has even paid to have posts promoted on the site. “From our point of view, we’re not a cannabis business,” Traverso said. “We’re a state agency. We don’t sell cannabis products. We don’t advocate for the use of cannabis.“We’re strictly informational, and we use the site as a way to communicate with people about the work we do and to be transparent about the work we’re doing.”Related: The New ‘This Is Your Brain On Cannabis’ Ad Is Rad5. Following the rules doesn’t ensure you’ll be found. Social media specialists have provided best-practice recommendations for using social media platforms like Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. Experts note that users can appeal when their pages are removed. But it can often be an exercise in futility.“I’ve followed the rules to a ‘T’ on Instagram and lost an Instagram account,” said Amy Donohue, the owner of Hybrid Social, a Phoenix-based social media firm that works with several Arizona dispensaries. “Even if you’re playing by the rules, you’re still vulnerable to being taken down.” Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Image credit: Omar Marques | Getty Images Omar Sacirbey and Joey Pena Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily Add to Queue August 10, 2018 7 min read Download Our iOS App Facebook Has ‘Shadow Banned’ Marijuana Businesses Free Green Entrepreneur App Facebook Marketing Next Article