About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea boss Lampard dead against Champions League expansionby Paul Vegas7 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea manager Frank Lampard is dead against the expansion of the Champions League.Lampard – who lifted the trophy in 2012 – does not think that more matches will fit into the calendar.A proposed reform of the Europe’s elite competition – led by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli – seeks to expand from 17 to 21 matches for the finalists.”The feeling is that you’re in the ultimate club competition, and the reason for that is because you have the best teams from each league, and the best team from the year before that deserve to be there,” he said.”The year we won the Champions League we came second the year before. We know the format, we know what it is, but whenever you play in the Champions League you know you’re playing against the best and for me that is the format and the beauty of it.’ “As a manager I actually feel weight of games more than I did as a player, even though I was running around as a player,’ he explained. “As a manager you’re thinking about how can you keep the team fresh, and it’s a challenge with all the competitions we have now.”I have a soft spot for the League Cup because we won it a couple of times at Chelsea, and it was the first competition I ever won. Domestically it gives teams a feeling you can compete on a level in a cup at home, which is important.”If you ask me can we play more European games, I personally don’t believe you can fit them in amongst our busy schedule. “I would find it hard to keep the quality level and the freshness within the players. If you did do that there would be a lot of discussion about how that would work practically. At the minute I think the level is about right. I like the format personally.”
Aaron Connolly grateful to Brighton boss Graham Potterby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAaron Connolly is grateful to Brighton boss Graham Potter for his first team chance.Potter seems committed to blooding academy graduates, fielding nine in the recent EFL Cup game against Aston Villa.Connolly told the Daily Mail: “The previous manager [Chris Hughton] gave me my debut against Barnet and I will never say a bad word about him. But this new gaffer is a breath of fresh air. “He has looked after me and Steve. We were hoping for that chance to impress. He showed a lot of faith in us by letting other players leave the club. It’s all about repaying that trust now.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Man Utd No2 Phelan offers explanation for form slideby Paul Vegasa day agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United assistant Mike Phelan has argued it was inevitable that the club’s form would dip last season.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment as caretaker manager in December brought about a run of 11 wins from 11 games.However, after Solskjaer’s permanent appointment, the Red Devils were unable to win any of their last six matches.”We’d taken them from nothing to sky high, but they bottomed out because it was just too much, they weren’t prepared for it,” Phelan told The Athletic. “So we had a lot of things to work on.”Ole relates well with the players, he understands what Man United is. It is definitely a difficult moment, but Ole hasn’t got his team yet.”He’s had three players (signed), you need more than three to be the manager of your own team.”We can build on something, I think. Ole just needs that opportunity to create the culture again.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Director for Sports Policy Development in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Suzette Ison, told JIS News that the conference will promote conversations on intellectual property rights in sport, the infringement of rights relating to sport, the sport marketing industry and athletes support framework. Story Highlights Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m. Jamaica will host a two-day regional conference on the ‘Strategic Use of Intellectual Property in Sports’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Jamaica will host a two-day regional conference on the ‘Strategic Use of Intellectual Property in Sports’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown, Kingston, beginning on September 19.The conference, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, is being held in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m.Other presenters will include President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda; Executive Director of JIPO, Lillyclaire Bellamy; Vice-President of the Calgary Flames of Canada, Mr. Jim Bagshaw; Head of the Caribbean Section, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and representative of WIPO, Carol Simpson; Head of Copyright and Content Affairs at the International Olympic Committee, Carlos Castro; and Jamaican Olympian, Veronica Campbell-Brown.Director for Sports Policy Development in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Suzette Ison, told JIS News that the conference will promote conversations on intellectual property rights in sport, the infringement of rights relating to sport, the sport marketing industry and athletes support framework.The conference will also look at strategies for developing sponsorship and merchandising agreements, and how athletes’ support personnel and business advisors can manage their brand.Miss Ison said the Ministry is seeking to enhance and leverage the sport component of brand Jamaica, listed as one of the priorities of the country’s National Sport Policy.“As a country, we don’t want to be left behind with what is happening in sport and the economic benefits to be derived in sport. The Ministry is staging this conference as one of the activities that we believe will achieve the required outcomes,” she said.The Director for Sport said that although a few Jamaican athletes have been benefitting from Sport, it does not necessarily mean that the country is benefitting.“What we want to do is to be able to provide opportunities to facilitate discussions at this point, bringing all stakeholders together in the sport sector and talking about how we can make sport an important contributor to what we call brand Jamaica,” she added.
The Frank J. Selke Award is given to the NHL forward who most demonstrates a high level of proficiency at both ends of the ice — responsible in his own zone, productive in his opponent’s. Boston Bruins center iceman Patrice Bergeron has won three of the last five Selkes, effectively taking the torch from Pavel Datsyuk as the league’s best two-way forward.Bergeron is not going to win the Selke this year. It’s not because he’s shirking responsibilities on defense — he’s a plus-1 on a team that can’t score — he has simply stopped being productive on the other end. More than a quarter of the way into the season, Bergeron has just eight points (four goals, four assists). But point production doesn’t tell the whole story — Bergeron is actually having a very good season. He just can’t seem to put the puck into the other team’s net.Among NHL players who’ve taken more than 400 faceoffs this season, Patrice Bergeron’s 58.6 win percentage ranks fourth. His Corsi For Percentage of 63.1 percent — a score above 50 implies a player’s team controls the puck more than 50 percent of the time that player is on the ice — is the best in the league among skaters who take a regular shift. His Fenwick For Percentage of 62.4 percent — Fenwick is another proxy for a team’s puck possession against a given player’s ice time — is third only to his linemates Brad Marchand (63 percent) and David Pastrnak (62.7 percent). And yet despite downright sterling possession metrics — faceoff percentage included — Bergeron is scoring at a historically low clip.Bergeron’s eight points in 23 games is good for an anemic .35 points per game — not great for a guy who’s used to scoring points in three of every four games he plays (entering the 2016-17 season, Bergeron had notched 618 points in 820 games). Somewhat bizarrely, linemates Marchand and Pastrnak are each having historically great seasons. Marchand is on pace to notch around 70 points — this would be a career high — and Pastrnak is on pace to tally close to 50 goals, which would shatter his previous high of 15. How is it that the wingers of the Bruins’ top line are each scoring at a hellacious pace while their centerman is struggling to find the stats sheet?It’s not like Bergeron isn’t getting his shots. Entering this season, Bergeron had averaged 2.8 shots per game for his career — in 2016-17, he’s taking 3.5. (It’s hard to tell exactly where those shots are coming from because, somewhat confoundingly, no one is doing a great job of keeping up-to-date shot charts, but it’s hard to imagine that Bergeron, who’s a centerman, is taking the bulk of his shots from outside his preferred slot/high slot region.) Bergeron’s four goals on 80 shots is good for a career-low shot percentage of 5. For reference, he entered the 2016-17 season with a career shot percentage of 10.3. While that’s not the shot percentage of a world-beating sniper, it’s still pretty damn good.Bergeron’s shots-per-goal ratio is necessarily up, too. He usually scores on every 9.9 shots he takes — this season, that number has swelled to 20. His power-play scoring percentage is also down from last year — 25 percent this season vs. 37.5 percent from last. He scored more than a third of his 32 goals in 2015-16 on the man advantage but is only on pace to net just under four on the power play this season.Something is amiss. But what?Part of Bergeron’s scoring dearth might be because of hot goaltending. In the seven games, Bergeron has taken five or more shots and not scored, opposing goalies have a combined save percentage of .931. Take Jake Allen’s .909 and Robin Lehner’s .921 out of the mix, and that combined save percentage rises to .940. If that were an individual goalie’s stat line, it would be good for the third-best mark in the NHL. Some of Bergeron’s drought must be related to the quality of goaltending he’s faced — and some of it could just be due to that beast the hockey gods call “puck luck.”The law of averages and his historical performance and his league-best possession metrics all dictate that Bergeron will right the ship. But the Bruins go as their alternate captain goes, and for a team that’s struggling to score this season — they rank 23rd in goals scored per game — it’s imperative for Bergeron to right that ship sooner than later. Otherwise, they risk missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year, which is something that hasn’t happened since a dismal stretch between 1959 and 1967 saw them miss out on postseason hockey for eight straight seasons.Some second-year guy named Bobby Orr helped end that eight-year slide in 1967-68. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they don’t currently have the second coming of Orr in their system. For now, it’s on their beloved alternate captain to start appearing on the stats sheet.
Negotiators made substantial progress over the weekend on a fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill, and as of Sunday afternoon both parties were aiming to release the text of the measure late Monday.Significant issues still remained as Democrats and Republicans strived to strike a deal on a $1.1 trillion year-end spending agreement, though, and the schedule remains uncertain, reported CQ.The latest timeline means Congress may be forced to pass a third continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown after midnight Wednesday. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has pledged to follow the GOP rule requiring legislation to be available for three days before the chamber can vote on it, so lawmakers likely will need at least one additional day to clear the omnibus. The Senate also would need additional time to advance the spending package.On Friday the House passed a five-day CR, which President Obama signed later that day.The omnibus is expected to contain full-year spending plans for all 12 annual spending bills. One outstanding question Republican leaders need to determine is whether to attach a package of permanent tax extensions to the spending package.House Appropriations Chair Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) on Friday described the high-level talks as “slow” and “snail-like, glacial, in fact.” Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. November 25, 2013 5 min read Economists and others who warn of the business impact of excessive regulations are often derided as Chicken Littles and proto-anarchists who put corporate profit over public safety. I should know, since I’m often on the receiving end of such screeds.But it isn’t Laissez-Fairy-dust dreams that drive such vigilance. Rather, it is people like Rep. Albio Sires.Last week showed why some regulatory schemes can be downright scary – and need to be killed in the crib.During the first congressional hearing over autonomous cars, much of the regulatory concern surrounded the issue of liability. In the event of a fender-bender or worse, who is on the hook to pay? It is a legitimate issue for these cars, now being developed by a range of companies, from Google to Daimler-Benz. After all, most regulations come down to who has to pony up cash when a violation occurs. With autonomous, of self-driving, cars, is it the driver (who isn’t driving, by the way), the auto manufacturer, or the creator of the SkyNet computer that is behind the wheel?All good questions, which no doubt will be resolved, and are being handled on a state-by-state basis.Related: A 3-D Printed Electric Car That Can Drive Across the U.S. on 10 Gallons of GasYet, autonomous cars may crash and burn for other reasons. Here’s one: Will driverless cars be so advanced that they will put people out of work?Yep, that question was actually raised at last week’s hearing, by Sires, a New Jersey Democrat. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, Sires is afraid that today’s hard-working auto mechanics just won’t be up to the job of fixing these darned newfangled things that the kids today are making.“You’re going to have to send these cars back to the shop,” he said. “I can’t see anybody doing work on these things. I mean, you have to be so sophisticated. And I guess that’s where we’re headed. So can anybody tell me if we’re going to put people out of work?”Um…There are a number of problems with this view. First, all technology implements change of some kind. The flat-panel television made obsolete the need for someone who knew how to swap out vacuum tubes in the back of your TV. Advances in slot-machine technology went from the mechanical to the digital, requiring a whole new breed of service technicians. Video killed the radio star. Why is it worth any conversation that someone more comfortable to an ’80 Malibu be protected against this big, bad menace of a job destroyer?Second, it fails to understand workplace dynamics and the resilience of the American worker. We adapt pretty well to new technologies, which almost always create, rather than destroy, jobs. Sires need only talk to his mechanic friends in West New York to see this. Cars themselves have become so advanced that the way we fix them has changed dramatically. You don’t tinker with an engine anymore. Instead, you do a precision diagnostic check, aided by computers that monitor what works and what doesn’t. Rather than put people out of work, it has attracted a whole new breed of auto-repair technicians, less grease monkey than tech junkie. Advances like a self-driven car are an opportunity, not a challenge. Mechanics can and — if past be prologue – will adapt, and they probably would cringe if you suggested they were somehow not “sophisticated.”Related: Mind Control Technology, Elon Musk’s James Bond Submarine and a Real-Life Bionic ManLastly, and perhaps more scarily, is the idea that regulations, rather than protecting safety, can have different purposes from a policy perspective. Given the horrendous state of employment right now, Congressmen like Sires want to “do something.” So, hey, we’re sitting in this hearing, let me throw out the jobs card. The folks back home in Hudson County will love me for it. (One should probably be thankful that, given Hudson County’s political-criminal record, Sires didn’t inquire whether an autonomous car would be allowed to vote, and how much that vote would cost.) When you throw out a completely unrelated issue like jobs, and suggest you may want that included in whatever laws come out of the hearing, you are adding needless complexity and burden to an issue that may well need some legislative oversight, opinion and guidance. You might as well have asked whether the self-driving technology could be used to save Obamacare.Autonomous cars, whenever the hell they get here, will be here to stay. And they will benefit the economy in huge ways. Morgan Stanley recently said autonomous cars would create $1.3 trillion in savings to the U.S. economy alone. That amount of money will no doubt trickle down into jobs for people.There is no evidence that this exciting and disruptive technology will make legions of folks be tossed out of their jobs. All Sires’ musings do is ensure that I get to keep mine.Related: Options for Deducting Your Company’s Auto Expenses
Enroll Now for Free July 5, 2016 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now When it comes to making new friends, sometimes mother really does know best. Such was the case with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.Gates didn’t want to meet Buffett at first, but his persistent mom, Mary, eventually wore him down and convinced him to. “I’m a technology nerd,” the Microsoft co-founder reflects on his blog. “[Buffett’s] an investor who doesn’t use email. In fact, I never expected to be friends with him.”The power duo’s billionaire bromance kicked off 25 years ago today. On that fateful day, July 5, 1991, Gates was determined to spend “no more than two hours” with Buffett. But then the “Oracle of Omaha” fired off a flurry of clever questions, one after the other, that no one had ever asked Gates before. “We were suddenly lost in conversation and hours and hours slipped by,” Gates recalls in a touching blog post commemorating the anniversary today.Related: The Top 25 Self-Made Billionaires In the WorldThey laughed, they related, they bonded, and an “unexpected friendship” was born. “It was a deep friendship from our very first conversation,” Gates writes. Despite their differing styles (Buffett likes Oreos for breakfast and Gates prefers Cocoa Puffs), the mega moguls were soon thick as thieves. They eagerly swapped book recommendations, battled it out at bridge and stitched up starring roles in each other’s sweeping spheres of influence. Sure enough, Buffett is a Gates Foundation trustee and Gates sits on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, because of course they do. That’s what friends are for.Certain connections have their benefits, especially ones of this caliber. After all, billionaire BFFs stick together like birds of a feather.To celebrate their friendship’s silver anniversary, Gates and Buffett created a photo album and virtual reality video together. No worries if you don’t have a VR headset. You can still watch the clip from a web browser, just as you would any video. Check it out here. Sorry, bub, you might never see your bestie the same. 2 min read
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA mountain rescue team were deployed after a couple and their dogs became stranded on sheet ice near the Staffordshire Moorlands/Derbyshire border as Storm Deirdre hit the UK. Buxton Mountain Rescue Team (BMRT) were called for after the pair, who live locally, left the A53 at Axe Edge and tried to return to their home in the Brandside area at around 3.30pm yesterday (Saturday December 15). The couple, and their dogs, were helped by rescuers wearing microspikes who took them to stay with relatives in Whaley as bad weather hit the region. A spokesman for BMRT, an independent charity which relies on fundraising, said: “Due to being unable to reach home, the lady was left without her prescribed medication. Read MoreHow YOU can help Chester Zoo after major fire breaks out “The team called into Clowes Chemist on Cavendish Parade in Buxton, who was more than happy to help and issued an emergency prescription.” A Met Office Amber Weather Warning for Ice was in force across a large swathe of the area but expired at 6am this morning (Sunday December 16) – with a yellow weather warning for snow and ice also no longer in force. A number of vehicles were involved in accidents or became stranded on ice in the Staffordshire Moorlands on Saturday, with police in the area warning of extreme weather in areas including Morridge Top. Brown Lane in Flash was also closed briefly but has now reopened. Read MorePlans for £42m road development in town revealed Inrix, the traffic data company, reports the A54 remains closed between Buxton and Bosley due to ice – with a number of accidents reported on the route on Saturday and fallen trees reported elsewhere in Cheshire East. At around 9.30pm on Saturday night Cheshire Police confirmed the nearby A537, known as the Cat and Fiddle Road, remained open. A police spokesman said: “On the high ground of the A537, there is still a lot of ice. The road is clear at the time of writing, but travel with care. The A54 will remain closed overnight as sections of the road are covered in ice. The A54 remains closed due to ice (Image: Cheshire Police) Staffordshire County Council and Cheshire East Council both said yesterday that their gritters would be out overnight. Outdoor markets in Leek were cancelled yesterday – although today’s Sunday Supplement event in the town is set to go ahead as planned. The annual Star Bikers Charity Toy Run in Stoke-on-Trent is also set to take place as scheduled. Read MoreStolen Range Rover hit motorbike, car, two police vehicles and telegraph pole… and now three people have been arrested The latest Met Office Weather forecast for North Staffordshire states: “Early fog patches will possibly be slow to clear this morning. “Then mostly dry with sunny spells before a band of showery rain arrives from the southwest later in the afternoon.” Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive .
This month SLH welcomes five independently-minded hotels to its portfolio. From a stately home in Queenstown to a classic alpine lodge in Austria there is plenty for the discerning traveller to choose from.Owl and the Pussycat Hotel, Galle, Sri LankaRooms from 26800 LKR per nightOne of Sri Lanka’s newest boutique hotels, having opened in January 2016, the 16-suite Owl and the Pussycat Hotel is a luxurious coastal retreat with a laid-back feel. Situated close to the UNESCO-listed historic Galle Fort and Buddhist temples, the hotel provides access to an unparalleled authentic Sri Lankan experience with an imaginative twist. Each spacious suite is a little different, but guests can expect eye-catching artwork, vivid colours and panoramic sea-views in every one. The property was designed by New York architect Udar Dhar and houses furniture, colourful textiles and artwork, handmade by 20 artists from all over the world, including local craftsmen. Together with its jazz band and selection of musicians playing at the weekend, and its local learning programme and philanthropic heart, this new hotspot is inspired by local influences, while still promising sophistication and style. ‘The Runcible Spoon’ restaurant is another nod to the hotel’s namesake, ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ by British author Edward Lear, and serves traditional Sri Lankan cuisine with a Mediterranean influence.SLH Insider Tip: Perched on a hill five minutes from the town of Galle, The Sun House bar is a perfect spot to enjoy a drink with a panoramic view of the ocean and town.Oak Suite at Foxhill ManorFoxhill Manor, Cotswold, EnglandRooms from 375 GBP per nightWith just eight rooms, Grade II-listed Foxhill Manor is an intimate retreat set on the magnificent 161-hectare Farncombe Estate near Broadway. The hotel’s charm lies in its home-from-home feel, with characterful bedrooms and cosy furnishings. Boasting a ‘whatever you fancy, whenever you fancy’ ethos, the team invites guests to help themselves to cake and cocktails in the Drawing Room, snacks from The Pantry or a homecooked meal from the chef. Foxhill Manor is pet-friendly so beloved pooches are welcome to join their owners for a country walk or popcorn and a film in the onsite cinema room. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to sister property, Dormy House, where guests have access to the expansive spa, restaurant and facilities there too.SLH Insider Tip:Take a hand-drawn map from the hotel and use it to explore the surrounding countryside on a leisurely walk before ending up at one of Broadway’s many charming gastropubs.Palm Lounge at Hulbert HouseHulbert House, Queenstown, New ZealandRooms from 925 NZD per nightJust 10 minutes from the centre of Queenstown, Hulbert House sits halfway up a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu. The stately villa was built during the height of the gold rush in 1887 and has been lovingly restored by award-winning designer Neil Lachlan, leaving the boutique property brimming with vintage style. The six individually decorated rooms each have a stunning lake, garden or skyline view. Where one room boasts a canopy bed or a wood-burning fireplace another is home to an antique writing desk or a teardrop chandelier, each one unique in its style and feel. The chef lovingly prepares breakfast and evening canapés in the dining room using home-grown produce for guests to enjoy with some of the finest wine in New Zealand.SLH Insider Tip: Climb Queenstown Hill Summit for some of the most incredible views in New Zealand; a round trip from the hotel should take around two and a half hours with time for pictures at the top.Villa della PergolaVilla della Pergola, Alassio ItalyRooms from 325 Eur per nightAntonio and Silvia Ricci, bought Villa della Pergola to save it from destruction. Since then, the couple has worked tirelessly to restore the grounds and villa with the help of famous Italian architects Paolo Pejrone and Ettore Mocchetti, creating an airy space still very much in keeping with the architectural bones of the property. Twelve bedrooms are split across three buildings and each room has its own individual style, ambience and furnishings dedicated to the many figures that have stayed in the hotel in the past. The grounds of the hotel extend over 22,000 square metres and are a true Garden of Eden, renowned for the abundance of Mediterranean flora and exotic evergreens. The hotel restaurant, Ristorante Nove, is headed up by Executive Chef Giorgio Servetto and serves traditional Ligurian cuisine in an elegant setting.SLH Insider Tip: Treat yourself to some Baci di Alassio – small but powerful little macaroons packed with cocoa, hazelnuts and rum from the Terre Di Mare deli in Il Budello. Das PostHotelDas PostHotel, Tyrol, AustriaRooms from 195 Eur per nightDas PostHotel is a classic alpine lodge with 27 rooms and an eco-conscious design, deeply rooted in mountain traditions. The hotel oozes character with its contemporary furniture and colourful fabrics and is rich in raw pine, oak and native spruce. The owners, the Binder family, live next door to the property and are the largest timber producer in Austria. Sustainability is at the heart of the resort which shows in the many design features like the solar-heated pool, as well as in the kitchen with the organic menus at HeLeni restaurant. The bedrooms are spacious and each is individually designed with colourful fabrics, rustic wood panels and a quirky take on tradition chalet décor. Das PostHotel is situated in the Zillertal ski area of Austria, boasting groomed pistes, super modern lift facilities and guaranteed snow – you can even ski all year round on the snow-sure slopes of the Hintertux Glacier.SLH Insider Tip: Opt for the Skyloft penthouse suite and take a bath with a view overlooking the mountains.
Polish broadcaster Telewizja Puls has struck a programming deal with NBCUniversal that gives it a raft of the studio’s TV and film content.TV Puls, which said this it the biggest studio deal it has agreed, will put out the NBCU content on its TV Puls and Puls 2 channels. The deal covers current and library series as well as over 100 of the studio’s movie titles including Inglourious Basterds, Bridesmaids and Ted.The deal, agreed between TV Puls and NBCUniversal International Television Distribution, kicks in this month.“We are thrilled about the finalisation of the agreement with NBCUniversal. They are a leading global media company and this deal is very important to us,” said Dariusz Dąbski, president of Telewizja Puls.
Netflix now has more than 50 local partners in 25 countries, with the SVOD giant committed to doing more deals in order to drive further growth and promote ease of use for the viewer.Maria FerrerasThese were a couple of points raised by Maria Ferreras, Netflix’s vice-president of business development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, during a presentation and wide-ranging question and answer session at IBC this morning.Discussing ‘the next chapter in Netflix’s growth story,’ Ferreras said that while Netflix had long partnered with makers of devices like games consoles and smart televisions, it is now taking this approach “to the next level” – both in terms of the number of deals, geographic reach and the depth of partnerships.“At Netflix we’re committed to partnerships,” said Ferreras. “We want to keep exploring partnerships, because we believe they bring growth, they force through innovation and also they provide a great consumer experience.”Earlier this year the SVOD giant announce a new partnership to bundle the full Netflix service into a new Sky TV subscription pack. Netflix plans to give Sky customers access to its service through the Sky Q platform and Ferreras said that the deal will begin at the end of this year in the UK and will also roll out to Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.“The most important thing is we work in long-term partnerships,” she said. “It shouldn’t be that we sign a deal and we walk away.”For Netflix, guaranteeing a consistent Netflix experience regardless of the device or platform that a viewer is using to access it is a critical point. Netflix also now has a dedicated partner marketing team to work with partners and promote the work they do together.In terms of localisation, Netflix recently moved to a local pricing model in South Africa and is working to make payments seamless even in non-Western markets – for example Saudi Arabia, where Ferreras said that credit card penetration was less than 30%. The company also offers gift cards in 18 countries.On the content front, Netflix now claims 100 projects created in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “That means doubling up from last year,” said Ferreras. “That means more than 35,000 people working in those local productions, and that means we’re producing in 16 countries in 16 different languages.”She added that most new productions are either 4K or HDR, with more than 2,000 hours of 4K and HDR content now found in Netflix’s library – a number that “keeps growing and growing.”
The BBC and Sky have called on the European Commission to take formal action against Saudi Arabia over pirate broadcaster BeoutQ providing illegal access to content including the English Premier League.Both broadcasters have sent letters to Anna Malmström, the EC’s commissioner for trade, adding their voices to calls for a formal EU protest to the Saudi government, which is widely believed to be supporting BeoutQ as part of its campaign against neighbouring Qatar. Qatar-based BeIN Media holds most of the rights in the Middle East pirated by the Saudi outfit.Sky said that BeoutQ’s rapid growth presented a threat to European broadcasters and rightsholders, while the BBC said that the pirate outfit’s making its content available across the region was commercially damaging, impeding its ability to license content to players in Europe.BeoutQ set-top boxes are now widely available internationally, including in Europe, enabling users to illegally stream channels.Last month, BeIN Media launched an international investment arbitration action against the Kingdom, claiming damages to the tune of US$1 billion. BeIN Media says that it has been unlawfully driven out of Saudi Arabia and subjected to an unprecedented piracy campaign.The media group said that it believed its action was the first to be brought in connection with state-supported illegally broadcast piracy.In addition to being subject to the BeoutQ piracy campaign, BeIN Media has cited the unilateral revocation of its right to operate in Saudi Arabia, the prohibition of its channels, a ban on the importation of BeIN Media set-tops, a suspension of monetary transactions with BeIN and the blocking of its websites and call centre.BeIN Media filed a case with the World Trade Organisation, alleging non-compliance with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
Here’s Looking at You, KidBy Doug Hornig, Senior EditorLovers of liberty have seemingly had a good bit to celebrate over the past two weeks.First, there was an unprecedented outpouring of negative public sentiment about the Congressional bills SOPA (House) and PIPA (Senate); they are legislation that would have thrown a large governmental monkey wrench into the relatively smooth-running cogs of the Internet. Millions of Americans signed online petitions against the bills (I did) after seeing websites’ various protests. Google shrouded its search page in black; Wikipedia, and Reddit went dark entirely (although Wikipedia could be accessed if one read the information available via clicking the sole link on its protest page); Facebook and Twitter urged users to contact their representatives; and many other core Internet businesses also raised their voices in opposition.Such was the outpouring of dissent that even Washington, D.C. had to listen. The bills, which a week earlier had seem assured of swift passage, suddenly turned to poison. Supporters, forced to concede that the public really was pissed off this time, fled. Leadership in both houses tabled the legislation, pending further review and revision.But before we get too self-congratulatory, however, it’s wise to note that this victory dish is probably best enjoyed with a serving of caution. As Casey Extraordinary Technology editor Alex Daley summed up the situation for us here at Casey Research: “Be sure this will come back again, likely post-election, and snuck through as part of a bigger package. It arrests power from the judiciary, and the legislature likes nothing more than to thumb its nose at those ridiculous judges and all their due process this and Constitution that. It will eventually pass, just not like this.” We can’t now go to sleep on this one.Second, on Monday the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that police may not attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s car without a search warrant. This is a landmark decision, to be sure, but one that was carefully circumscribed by the justices. The placing of the device constituted a physical intrusion on the suspect, they wrote, and thus was impermissible. Left unruled upon was the larger question of tracking someone’s movements when there was no physical violation, as would be the case when, say, police access signals from a GPS-enabled smartphone. Though it wasn’t directly addressed, the concurring opinions strongly suggest that the justices might be more sharply divided on that issue.A lapse of vigilance in these matters would be a mistake.Since both of them are tech-related, and also since it’s January, this is probably a good time to review how individual freedom fared over the past year vis à vis the technology of surveillance in general.But before I do, I need to make a couple of things clear.Where We StandAt Casey Extraordinary Technology, we are not technophobes. We don’t think that it would be a good thing to retreat to the woods and live out our days spearing game and cooking it over fires. Quite the contrary. We’re technophiles who appreciate what tech has done to improve human living conditions, and we believe that it holds the key to the solution of many, if not all, of our present problems. We like to err on the side of hope.In addition, we understand that society has a powerful interest in maintaining a certain level of order. It’s intolerable that personal disputes should be settled by gun battles in the streets or that serious infringements on the rights of others – whether it be physical crimes such as robbery, rape, or murder, or non-physical ones like fraud – should be ignored. The most ardent libertarian would generally agree that a government ought to have the authority to prevent or punish the aggression of one individual upon another and to enforce contracts freely entered into. Thus tradeoffs with our basic right to do as we see fit must be made if man’s worst impulses are to be deterred.That said, the tricky part is deciding where to draw the line between reasonable and overzealous laws and enforcements. Surveillance technology is at the center of this debate. It’s good and getting ever better. Even the most law-abiding of citizens have been subjected to steadily increasing levels of governmental – as well as private sector – watchfulness over their daily lives. That has occurred with no indication that the public is yet prepared to say, “Enough. This is where we draw that line in the sand.”The past year was no exception. I won’t go into developments I’ve already written about, such as the growth of the TSA’s VIPR operations, last summer’s lemonade-stand busts, the ghastly E-Verify proposal , and the Fed’s Social Listening Program. But the sad truth is that there are plenty more from which to choose. Space considerations permit a close examination of only a few, but a liberty-oriented legal foundation provides a quick overview of the year.It‘s a Bird, It‘s a Plane, It‘s…… a drone.Remote-controlled drone aircraft, like the famed Predator, have become a staple of the nightly news. We see them launching missiles against terrorists, conducting spy missions over Pakistan, patrolling the borders looking for drug smugglers and alien infiltrators. Now we’re going to have to get used to seeing them in the skies over, well, all of us.Yes, those same Predator drones are being used increasingly by local law enforcement in the US.That was unknown to most Americans before late last year, when the great North Dakota cattle-rustling incident hit the press. It seems that back in June, six neighbors’ cows had the misfortune to wander onto a 3,000-acre farm in eastern North Dakota owned by the Brossart family, whose members allegedly belong to the Sovereign Citizen Movement, an anti-government group that the FBI considers extremist and violent.When the sheriff attempted to reclaim the cows, the family refused to give them up, ordering him off its property at gunpoint. A 16-hour standoff ensued, with the sheriff requesting the usual reinforcements: state highway patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. But he also called nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base and asked for help from a $154 million MQ-9 Predator B drone, normally used to secure the Canadian border for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).Long story short, the drone silently surveilled the farm from two miles up, relaying information from its sophisticated sensors as to what the Brossarts were doing. When the surveillance showed that the family members had put their weapons down (yes, it can see that well at that distance), the authorities moved in, neutralizing the Brossarts and making the first known, drone-assisted arrests of US citizens.Law enforcement was pleased, perhaps rightly so. No blood was spilled. Another Ruby Ridge was avoided. The cows – street value $6,000, but now rather a bit more costly – were recovered.But that was just the beginning. Local North Dakota police say they have used the Grand Forks Predators to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have also used Predators for domestic investigations, officials admit. And Michael Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, says that Predators are flown “in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis.” [emphasis mine]Who knew?Apparently not Congress, for one. Spokespersons for Customs, which owns the drones, claim there is legal authorization for this usage because it was clearly indicated in the purchase request for the Predators that one purpose was “interior law enforcement support.” But those four words sailed right by Congresswoman Jane Harman – Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee at the time the drone purchases were approved – who insists that “no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police.” So this expanded civilian use of military surveillance hardware came about with no new law, no public discussion, not even a written regulation… just a few words buried in a budget request that no one in charge of approving it noticed.There will be mission creep here, as there always is. Expect drones to gather data on any large political demonstration, for example – only, to be fully accurate, you won’t be noticing them above you. They fly too high and are too silent for that.Internet SurveillanceIn addition to SOPA/PIPA, there is PCIP. SOPA/PIPA were about shutting down Internet sites that the federal government deems offensive. PCIP is about gathering information.As is so often the case with “well-meaning” legislation, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981, or PCIP) is allegedly aimed at something about which all agree. Nobody argues against shielding kids from pornographers.Not that the problem addressed isn’t real. The Internet has proven to be a fertile stalking ground for sexual predators. As a society, we have already agreed to a certain level of cyber-entrapment, allowing police to run online sting operations against those who are actively targeting kids. If that catches some innocent people in the net, so be it. The public majority is willing to accept such collateral damage so long as the real bad guys are found and put away.And yes, H.R. 1981 also contains some non-controversial provisions. Stricter punishment for interstate commerce transactions that promote child porn? Sure. Bolstering laws to protect child witnesses? No problem.But, as always, the details are alive with devils. PCIP is also about pre-crimes – i.e., it entails gathering evidence before any crime is committed… perhaps even before said crime is contemplated. The goal is that, in the event of an arrest, supporting online records can quickly and easily be subpoenaed.In order to accomplish that, everyone must be considered a potential criminal. Everyone.What PCIP will mandate is that Internet providers keep detailed records about each one of us, including: name, address, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, all Internet activity for the previous 12 months (something sure to be extended after the first successful busts), and any IP addresses assigned to you – without a search warrant, court order, or even the slightest suspicion of criminal activity.In other words, the government is proposing to expand the ranks of de facto private-sector cops, the same way that banks are now forced to report any “suspicious financial activity.” The legislation would enlist – nay, require – ISPs to compile detailed dossiers on every citizen, and to have them readily accessible for whatever “crime-fighting” or other purposes authorities want them. This thereby saves federal government officials the trouble and expense of doing it themselves. It’s breathtaking. You almost have to admire the elegance of their solution to the universal ‘Net surveillance problem that’s vexed them for some time.No wonder the Electronic Frontier Foundation has scornfully tabbed this the “Data Retention Bill,” warning that the stored data “could become available to civil litigants in private lawsuits – whether it’s the RIAA trying to identify downloaders, a company trying to uncover and retaliate against an anonymous critic, or a divorce lawyer looking for dirty laundry.” And in a grotesque illustration of the law of unintended consequences, the EFF adds: “These databases would also be a new and valuable target for black hat hackers, be they criminals trying to steal identities or foreign governments trying to unmask anonymous dissidents.”H.R. 1981 sailed through the House Judiciary Committee in late July of last year but is yet to be voted on (although it was slated for “expedited consideration” in mid-December). Will it provoke the kind of public outcry directed against SOPA? Don’t count on it. What politician in his or her right mind would dare oppose legislation that “protects kids from pornographers?”Reverse SurveillanceMeaning: when we turn the cameras on the government.In a sense, we are all now street journalists. Most famously, the name “Rodney King” would mean nothing to anyone today but for a bystander with a cell phone camera. As these devices have become all but ubiquitous, we ordinary citizens now have an unprecedented ability to record crimes in progress, regardless of what side of the law the perpetrators are on.Or do we?While police understandably have welcomed citizen recordings that help them with their cases, they are again understandably not so sanguine when they themselves are the potential lawbreakers. And they’re hitting back. People filming unfolding events are routinely ordered away from the scene by the police, even if they happen to be standing on their own private property – and threatened with arrest if they don’t put the camera away.Considering the First Amendment to the Constitution, that’s been a bluff… at least until recently.Now authorities are asserting their right to charge video- or audiographers of police events with crimes ranging from obstruction of justice to eavesdropping to illegal wiretapping.So far, to their credit, the courts have been mostly unsympathetic. In August, a jury acquitted a Chicago woman who used her cell phone to secretly record a conversation with police investigators about a sexual harassment complaint she was filing against the department. Also in August, the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in favor of the defendant in a case involving a complaint filed by a Boston man who filmed the scene of an October 2007 arrest on his cell phone, only to be arrested himself and charged with a violation of Massachusetts wiretapping laws.In Illinois in September, a judge threw out five eavesdropping indictments – which carried maximum penalties of 15 years in prison on each count – against a man who had recorded conversations with local police officers who he claimed were harassing him on his own property. In a stinging rebuke to the prosecution, the judge wrote, “A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties. Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information.”So far, so good. Still, these kinds of busts are on the rise nationwide. Even if they’re all laughed out of court, the mere threat of arrest (and the potential concomitant bodily harm) is often enough to make most people think twice about the wisdom of challenging a police order.And, truthfully, would you trust the current Supreme Court – a majority of which has consistently supported government rights over that of citizens – to rule correctly on this?Target: Casey Research!One of the most ominous developments for us personally crawled out from under its rock in November. Again without any public debate, DHS unleashed its National Operations Center’s Media Monitoring Initiative. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like: The NOC’s Office of Operations Coordination and Planning is going to collect information from news anchors, journalists, reporters, or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”Thus Washington, D.C. unilaterally grants itself the right to monitor what you say. Doesn’t matter if you’re the New York Times, Brian Williams, a basement blogger, an online whistleblower, or known government critics like ourselves. They’re gonna take note of your utterances and file them away for future use.Journalists are not the only targets, by the way. Also included among those subject to this surveillance are government officials (domestic or not) who make public statements; private-sector employees who do the same; and “persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest,” however large that umbrella might be.At Casey Research, we’re not about to engage in self-censorship just because some bureaucrat somewhere has nothing better to do than watch what we’re saying. They’re welcome to it, and we’ll save them the trouble of archiving it; most of it’s preserved on our website, anyway.The larger speculation is: what’s the endgame here?Data Storage CapacityBack in 1997, I wrote an article entitled Here‘s Looking at You, which examined the ways in which big government was encroaching upon our private lives. The piece was published in February 1998 in a very popular national men’s magazine. (In my defense, I hasten to add that these glossy periodicals were among the very few public outlets, before Casey Research was born, for journalists who wrote about such “fringe” topics.)As I was writing this piece you are now reading, I couldn’t help but take a look back fourteen years. It seems almost like a prehistoric era… before 9/11, the PATRIOT Act, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drones, “free-speech zones” at political conventions, wall-penetrating radar, iPhones, and wholesale government monitoring of email and phone conversations, among a zillion other things. Heck, even the Internet was still more or less a novelty: I found that I had cautioned readers to be mindful of an insidious newfangled thing called “cookies.”The tech of today is light-years more advanced. But even back then, I was concerned. And I predicted where I saw the trend heading. Naturally enough, not all of my predictions came to pass – I was certain for instance that by now we’d have a national ID card – but unfortunately, most of them did.The reason I bring this up here is not to tout myself as particularly prescient. It’s to note something of actual importance. In 1998, I could still maintain that our saving grace was that data-storage capabilities were way insufficient for the total surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans and probably would be for a long time to come.How wrong I was.It is already technologically feasible for governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.Before long, it’ll also be financially feasible to archive it, according to a sobering report published last December by the Brookings Center for Technology Innovation.The report concludes that: “Plummeting digital storage costs will soon make it possible for authoritarian regimes to not only monitor known dissidents, but to also store the complete set of digital data associated with everyone within their borders. These enormous databases of captured information will create what amounts to a surveillance time machine, enabling state security services to retroactively eavesdrop on people in the months and years before they were designated as surveillance targets. This will fundamentally change the dynamics of dissent, insurgency and revolution.”Emphasis mine. Consider the implications.The key, according to the Brookings report: “Over the past three decades, [data] storage costs have declined by a factor of 10 approximately every 4 years, reducing the per-gigabyte cost from approximately $85,000 (in 2011 dollars) in mid-1984 to about five cents today.” Using GPS, mobile phone and WiFi inputs, “identifying the location of each of one million people to [a 15-foot] accuracy at 5-minute intervals, 24 hours a day for a full year could easily be stored in 1,000 gigabytes, which would cost slightly over $50 at today’s prices.” Fourteen cents a day to archive the collective movements of any selected million of us.Phone calls? “The audio for all of the telephone calls made by a single person over the course of one year could be stored using roughly 3.3 gigabytes. On a per capita basis, the cost to store all phone calls will fall from about 17 cents per person per year today to under 2 cents in 2015.”Video storage takes far more space, of course, and there are also major logistical problems involved in managing such a huge amount of data. But the point is made. Technological innovation will provide the tools. And as soon as government can do something, they invariably will do it.InvestingThese few examples, winnowed from hundreds of others I could cite, testify to a mushrooming new industry in the US, what some have called the cyber-industrial complex.It’s big business. How big we don’t know, because much of it is shrouded in either government or corporate secrecy. The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest, twice a Pulitzer winner and one of the few true investigative journalists in America still working inside the mainstream media, published some groundbreaking work on the subject in the summer of 2010. If you haven’t read it already, you should. The website is dynamic, with regular updates posted on the subject and reader input invited.Several other recent probes also have opened the shadowy surveillance world to a little more light. You can check out some of the latest techniques and which companies are implementing them at The Surveillance Catalog published by the Wall Street Journal and The State of Surveillance: The Data,published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.Perhaps in your browsing you’ll find some publicly traded companies that will attract your investment interest. For our part, at Casey Extraordinary Technology we prefer to seek out companies that are engaged in changing our world for the better rather than the worse. Those are the ones you’ll find in our portfolio.In the end, we must acknowledge that technological advancement, especially at the rate we’re experiencing it in the present era, is bound to spawn evil applications along with the good. But we’re optimists here. We believe humanity is in a long-term uptrend, with technology setting torches on the path to a better life.But that all depends on keeping people free. That’s why we will continue to expose – and oppose – government efforts to stifle innovation, creativity, and personal liberty. I’m not holding my breath but perhaps eventually Washington, D.C. will get the point, and follow our lead.Bits & BytesPolice Frisking from a Distance (Technology Review)In keeping with the surveillance and Big Brother theme of today’s issue, heres a story about how the NYPD is developing a device with the Department of Defense that could essentially frisk people from up to 75 feet away. The device measures terahertz waves (the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared), which are naturally emitted by people and objects and pass through nonconducting materials like clothes, so scanners sensitive to them can reveal guns and other hidden objects. Obviously, the announcement by the NYPD that it is developing such a scanner – and plans to mount them on cars to capture images of basically everything within a certain range – has sparked privacy concerns since its general use would seem to be a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.Apple Astonishes Again (Apple)Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 first quarter yesterday, and the numbers shattered what could have been considered lofty expectations. The stock is currently up 6.3% from Tuesday’s close. Record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion smashed the Street’s expected $39.14 billion by more than 18%. Meanwhile, net income rang in at $13.06 billion, which translated into earnings of $13.87 per diluted share, or nearly 37% above the consensus estimate EPS of $10.16. Apple’s run over these past few years has been nothing short of remarkable. This is a company that now has a market capitalization over $415 billion, and it just posted quarterly revenue growth of 64% sequentially and 73% year over year. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen. Eventually, growth will slow; it has to. But that doesn’t mean that 2012 won’t turn out to be a great year for the consumer electronics juggernaut given its recent gains in smartphone market share, an announcement about the iPad 3 coming soon, the iPhone 5 perhaps arriving by summer, and an iOS-based TV launch maybe at the end of the year.Hacking the Hackers (Technology Review)An innovative security software company called Mykonos is taking a new approach to protecting PCs and websites. Instead of acting like a locked door to shut hackers out, Mykonos Software instead invites hackers in through a fake entrance and plays tricks on them until they give up. The idea is to take a lot of the automated tools hackers often use out of the game and waste the assailant’s time, thereby changing the economics of attacking websites, according to company CEO David Koretz. “We have the ability to hack the hacker,” says Koretz.
In This Issue. * 234,000 of 288,000 jobs added by BLS… * Factory Orders drop in March. * RBA to meet tonight. * Chuck channels his inner Stevie Wonder. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Making It All Up, As We Go Along. Good Day! . And a Marvelous Monday to you! It’s the 5th of May, which to some translates to: Cinco de Mayo. A day that, here in the U.S. we observe only to have a day to share a drink with friends, but in Mexico, they celebrate their independence. Quite a few years ago, I told a story about how the 5th of May reminded me of a time in Cancun when I grabbed a street performers microphone and began singing to the crowd. Some dear reader, didn’t take too kindly to me carrying on about the 5th of May and send me an email calling me a MAK. I’ll let you figure it out. OK. Well, the Big News on Friday, was the fabtabulous, sensational, super-duper, with a cherry on top, Jobs report for April. According to the BLS, (Bureau of Labor Statistics) 288,000 jobs were created in April. I pause for a minute to point out a key word here. “created”. For a majority of the 288,000 jobs reported created in April, were “created” from the minds of the BLS. 234,000 of those 288,000 jobs were added to the surveys by the BLS using their Birth / Death model. It was as if: We’re Making it all up as we go along. In addition, right after this 288,000 number printed, Mike Harrell, shouted across the desk: “more than 800,000 were dropped from the roster of people looking for jobs, and if the 800,000 were added back the Unemployment Rate would have been 6.8%… OK. I had to do some quick math here. A couple of years ago, I told you that 10,000 Baby Boomers were going to retire every day for the next 18 years. So, knowing that, if there were 30 days in April, that takes care of 300,000 people dropping off the list (10,000 x 30), But what about the other 500,000? Hello? Yes, am I on the air? Good, Hey. I’m a long time listener, first time caller, and I have a question for the financial wizard. Here goes. Well. OK. Here you go. What would you say if I told you that of the 288,000 net jobs created in April according to the BLS, 234,000 of them were added by the BLS using their Birth / Death model to the survey numbers? And I do have a follow up question. What do you think of the news that over 800,000 people dropped off the unemployment roll? Thank you, I’ll hang up now so I can listen to your answer. The Impressions are singing, It’s alright, have a good time, and it’s alright, yes, it’s alright. And that’s what I’m going to do. I could get all lathered up and rant and rave about this traveling snake oil sales convention, called the Jobs Jamboree. But I won’t. It’s alright, have a good time. So, what went on after the report printed? Gold immediately shot down in price, along with the euro and other currencies, for the initial knee-jerk reaction to the labor print was that, “This is the report that’s going to get the Fed to arch its back and raise interest rates”. But then calmer heads took over, and soon the markets were of the realization that the Fed is not going to fall for the old, ” show em the right and hit them with the left”, and that the what the Fed is looking for is Wage Inflation.. And from the reports on Friday. The Avg. Hourly Earnings fell to 1.9% from 2.1%… There’s no wage inflation folks. not yet anyway. Oh, and Factory Orders for March fell from 1.5% in Feb to 1.1% in March. That’s not a good report, folks, but it got put on the back burner with the Jobs data. So, soon, after this realization, things got turned around on Friday, and Gold headed toward $1,300, and the euro regained its lost mojo. This morning, there has been a void in activity, as Japan and the U.K., two top money centers for the overnight markets, are on holiday, so the activity in the currencies and Gold was pushed to the European continent. And so far. today, we have Gold up another $13, and the Chinese renminbi looking at another night of appreciation. There’s a report out this morning that Portugal is ready to exit their rescue. That should be a good thing for the euro, which was dragged through the mud by the peripheral countries, or Club Med, as I used to call them, when they had all their problems. The likes of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, have all improved their balance sheets, but still have tons of work to do, but one by one, they have been paying back their loans, and re-entering the bond markets. The European Central Bank (ECB) will meet this Thursday, and I think that for the first time in what seems to be a month of Sundays, the ECB won’t be hearing the calls for additional stimulus. That should take all the drama out of the ECB meeting, and thus allow the euro to move freely about the country. Speaking of Central Bank meetings. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will meet tonight (tomorrow for them), and while there were some wild calls going on last week for a rate hike at this meeting, those have all calmed down, and now we should see the RBA remain steady Eddie at this meeting. That thought has taken some of the shine off the Aussie dollar (A$) overnight. Later this week, Australia will report on their labor picture, and then the tallies will begin again on the pros & cons regarding a rate hike at the next meeting. I’m of the opinion that rates will remain on hold for some time in Australia (remember I was the ONE that said the RBA would not cut rates again, when everyone else said they would!), and I think we just might hear the RBA say that this evening. As I said above, Gold finally caught some wind in its sails on Friday, and when I searched for what caused the abrupt turnaround in the shiny metal, all I could find were stories about how the tensions in Ukraine were the reason. And I said out loud on the desk, “Really? These guys just found out that there was a problem in Ukraine?” I know, I know, I had been questioning why Gold was soaring with the tensions rising in Ukraine, and now that it is, I’m mocking the guys responsible. Hey! That’s how I roll! Seriously, though, did they really just find this out? Hey, did you hear that Deutsche Bank has sent letters to their U.S. customers of its operations in Belgium and asked them to close their accounts and transfer their funds by June 10th? The new FACTA law has prompted this move. So expect to hear others follow Deutsche Bank here. Well, what do we have here? Why yes! It’s a Treasury bond rally! Yields have dropped again folks. which, tells me that more air is being pumped into the Treasury Bubble. I hope you got a chance to read my Sunday Pfennig yesterday or today. I go through the interest rate trends, and how this “ultra-low interest rate trend” has just about run its course. The trends through the years have not run any longer than 8 years, and we’re heading to that number next year. And one more thing to think about here that I didn’t mention, (I probably did, but got cut by the editor) and that is, with the Fed ending their bond buying program this year, who’s going to be the gatekeeper responsible for keeping Treasury yields low? Well, a quick look across the landscape of Currencies is not pretty this morning. But it’s also not ugly. It’s just kind of so-so. The euro is up by a couple shekels. And as I said above the Chinese renminbi / yuan is stronger overnight. Most of the currencies are flat to down, so like I just said, it’s not ugly, just so-so, today. I think the aftermath of the Jobs Data last week is weighing heavily on the currencies’ ability to break out and rally. That won’t last too much longer, as in a couple of days, the Jobs Jamboree will be in the rear view mirror. Canada will print their labor numbers for April today. They usually print them the same day as the Jobs data from the U.S. is printed, but seeing that they get no movement from the report, and no press from it either, they print today! Recall that March had a huge increase in jobs for Canada, at 43,000. It would go a long toward some Canadian dollar / loonie strength if the April report can follow March’s number with a positive gain in jobs. I had to stop and sing along with Stevie Wonder’s song: My Cherie Amour. What a great song! And look now it’s Dusty Springfield singing Son of a Preacher Man. Now that’s a good two-song combo this morning! Ok, I’m back now. HA! The U.S. Data Cupboard is pretty bare today, with only the Markit and U.S. reports on the service sector here in the U.S. As I said a few years ago. “We’ve become a country centered on Service, and our Service stinks!” Tomorrow, the Trade Deficit print, but other than that there’s not a lot to see in the Data Cupboard this week. You know, I got a kick out of all the pundits and so-called “experts” that came out pounding the big bass drum that “all’s well and the U.S. economy is growing just fine” I guess they didn’t see that drop in the Factory Orders data that I talked about above. You know, as I’ve said before, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt” I bet some naysayers would say to me, ” you should heed your own advice”! HA! For What It’s Worth. Well, with all the jumping and shouting about the Jobs Jamboree last week, I thought this article that dear reader Bob G. sent me, played nicely with others here. It was written by Michael Snyder. “Did you know that there are nearly 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now? And 20 percent of all families in the United States do not have a single member that is employed. So how in the world can the government claim that the unemployment rate has “dropped” to “6.3 percent”? Well, it all comes down to how you define who is “unemployed”. For example, last month the government moved another 988,000 Americans into the “not in the labor force” category. According to the government, at this moment there are 9.75 million Americans that are “unemployed” and there are 92.02 million Americans that are “not in the labor force” for a grand total of 101.77 million working age Americans that do not have a job. Back in April 2000, only 5.48 million Americans were unemployed and only 69.27 million Americans were “not in the labor force” for a grand total of 74.75 million Americans without a job. That means that the number of working age Americans without a job has risen by 27 million since the year 2000. Any way that you want to slice that, it is bad news. Well, what about as a percentage of the population? Has the percentage of working age Americans that have a job been increasing or decreasing? As you can see from the chart posted below, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has been in a long-term downward trend. As the year 2000 began, we were sitting at 64.6 percent. By the time the great financial crisis of 2008 struck, we were hovering around 63 percent. During the last recession, we fell dramatically to under 59 percent and we have stayed there ever since…” Chuck again. Only the BLS and all the trumpet blowers that are employed by the Gov’t can make this labor stuff sound good, folks. To recap. I got in trouble on Friday, when I didn’t have a “recap”. So, here we go! The U.S. labor picture got muddled quite a bit on Friday, but initially, all was seashells and balloons, as the BLS reported 288,000 jobs gained in April. The problem was that 234,000 of those jobs added don’t really exist. And the wages in the U.S. dropped once again, so there’s no wage inflation, and there’s your reason why Treasuries rallied, and Gold jumped back to $1,300! That and the realization that there is tension in Ukraine. The RBA meets tonight and the ECB on Thursday, but neither will have any drama surrounding the meeting, and that should be good for each respective currency. Currencies today 5/5/14. American Style: A$ .9260, kiwi .8665, C$ .9105, euro 1.3875, sterling 1.6865, Swiss $1.1395, . European Style: rand 10.5170, krone 5.9595, SEK 6.5470, forint 221.80, zloty 3.0330, koruna 19.7710, RUB 35.82, yen 101.95, sing 1.2495, HKD 7.7525, INR 60.21, China 6.1560, pesos 13.03, BRL 2.2200, Dollar Index 79.50, Oil $100.31, 10-year 2.58%, Silver $19.63, Platinum $1,446.63, Palladium $814.50, and Gold. $1,311.71 That’s it for today. Whew! Warm weather finally! Yesterday was absolutely beautiful here in St. Louis, it was warm, with blue, sun drenched, umbrella sky, the Big Green Egg smoking some apple wood pork steaks, and the grandkids all playing in the pool. The only thing that could have been better was if the Cardinals had been playing their usual Sunday day game, and not one of those smartless Sunday night games for television! The Lindbergh High School Water Polo team took 4th place in the tournament last week, and have one more regular season game before the playoffs begin. It will be “Senior Night” tomorrow night, as the season begins to wind down for Alex. It’s Senior Awards night for academic stuff tonight, so I’ll have to tape the return of Jack Bauer! That’s right! Jack is back! The great series 24, returns tonight! YAHOO! I’ve been lost searching for a new series to watch since 24 ended a few years ago. I should be getting my results from the scans last week, today. fingers crossed. And with that, I hope you have a Marvelous Monday! (Jack’s Back!) Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets
A San Francisco federal jury unanimously agreed on Tuesday that Roundup caused a man’s cancer — a potentially massive blow to the company that produces the glyphosate-based herbicide currently facing hundreds of similar lawsuits. After five days of deliberation the jury concluded the weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Edwin Hardeman, a 70-year-old Sonoma County man. The verdict is the second in the U.S. to find a connection between the herbicide’s key ingredient, glyphosate, and the disease. In August, another San Francisco jury determined Roundup had caused cancer in a former groundskeeper. It also decided Monsanto, the company that developed the popular weed killer, deliberately failed to warn consumers or regulators about the product’s risks. In that case, jurors awarded the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson $289 million. However a judge later slashed the damages payout to $78 million. The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in June. In a statement Tuesday, the company said it is disappointed with the jury’s decision “but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.””We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer,” Bayer added. The jury in Hardeman’s case is now tasked with determining liability and damages. More than 750 cases Roundup cases against Bayer have been consolidated in San Francisco’s federal court. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
A UN committee has told the UK government to make more than 80 improvements to the ways its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights.In its “concluding observations” on the progress the UK has made in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the committee raised concerns and made recommendations on all but three of the 33 treaty articles it could have breached.It was, said the committee, the highest number of recommendations it has ever produced for a country undergoing the review process.The section highlighting the committee’s “principal areas of concern and recommendations” was more than 6,500 words long, compared with a “positive aspects” section of less than 120 words which mostly related to actions carried out by the Welsh and Scottish governments.Among its recommendations, the committee – made up of 18 disabled human rights experts from across Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Australasia and the Middle East – called on the UK government to incorporate the convention into UK law, and to carry out a “comprehensive crosscutting review” of its laws and policies, to address what it described as the “uneven” implementation of the convention and “discriminatory” laws, regulations, and practices.The committee also said the UK government should recognise disabled people’s right to live independently, and called for a “comprehensive plan” – addressing education, childcare, transport, housing, employment and social security – that should be aimed at removing disabled people from institutions and instead developing homes for them in community-based independent living schemes.Stig Langvad (pictured), the CRPD member who led the UK examination, highlighted independent living as one of the areas the committee was most concerned about.He said: “Persons with disabilities are in our view not able to choose where to live, with whom to live and how to live… [they] are still facing the risk of institutionalisation and not being able to live within the community.”He said the UK was “going backwards” on independent living, with reduced funding meaning “the right to choose where to live, with whom to live and how to live through independent living schemes where you have personal budgets are limited or even more limited than previously”.He said this meant that disabled people were “still being faced with living in either families or institutions” against their will.The committee also called for government action – in close consultation with disabled people’s organisations – to prevent any “negative consequences” caused by Brexit, and for it to implement the remaining sections of the Equality Act 2010.There were several recommendations around the rights of disabled children, including a call for action to address the higher level of poverty experienced by their families, and for stronger measures to prevent bullying, hate speech and hate crime experienced by disabled children.The committee was highly critical of the UK government’s approach to inclusive education, and the “persistence of a dual education system” that segregates increasing numbers of disabled children in special schools.It called instead for a “coherent strategy” on “increasing and improving inclusive education”, which would include raising awareness of – and support for – inclusive education among parents of disabled children.Langvad said the committee was “very concerned” that the UK government was maintaining a reservation [an opt-out] on part of the convention’s article 24, on inclusive education, which “means that the UK is not fully living up to its international commitment to allow all the right to inclusive education”.On the criminal justice system, the committee called for action to address the “low awareness” about disability rights among judges, prosecutors, police officers and prison staff, to provide free or affordable legal aid for disabled people “in all areas of law”, and to remove employment tribunal fees.It also raised concerns about the way that disability hate crime is dealt with by the criminal justice system, and called for a comprehensive legal definition of disability hate crime and “appropriate prosecutions and convictions”.Several recommendations related to the rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act, with the committee raising concerns about the “continued use of physical, mechanical and chemical restraint”, including the use of Tasers in prisons, the youth justice system, and healthcare and education settings.The committee also said it was “deeply concerned” that such practices disproportionately affect black and minority ethnic disabled people.And it called for a “targeted measurable and financed plan of action” aimed at eliminating the “uneven access to health” for disabled people across the UK, and for the government to address reports of healthcare professionals failing to attempt resuscitation of people with learning difficulties and mental health conditions.In the wake of the report, Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, wrote to David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, to ask the government to respond to the report in the House of Commons.She said it was “of vital importance” that MPs had a chance to debate the report.She added: “I hope that a debate would allow the government to set out how they plan to address these failures, which affect millions of disabled people across the country, many of whom are now living in poverty, and to uphold disabled people’s rights in the future.”a DWP spokeswoman said, before Abrahams’ intervention: “These concluding observations are the latest part of a standard review process that all member states that ratify the convention go through.“We are considering the full report in the context of cross-government work on disability issues, and will provide further information to ministers in DWP in due course.”She added: “We’re disappointed that this report fails to recognise all the progress we’ve made to empower disabled people in all aspects of their lives, and our ongoing commitment to furthering the rights of disabled people.“Almost 600,000 disabled people have moved into work over the last four years and we spend over £50 billion a year to support disabled people and those with health conditions – more than ever before, and the second highest in the G7*.“The UK is a recognised world leader in disability rights and equality, which is why we supported the development of the UN convention.“The UK has some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world, including the Equality Act 2010, and we will continue to make sure that these rights are protected.“This government believes that a disability or health condition should not dictate the path a person is able to take in life – or in the workplace.“This forms the foundation of our reforms to help disabled people realise their potential in the labour market and wider society.”*The other G7 countries are the USA, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Canada
This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Add to Queue Image credit: Jeff Chiu — AP PayPal Next Article 2 min read PayPal to Drop Purchase Protection for Crowdfunding Projects May 9, 2016 –shares David Z. Morris Effective June 25, PayPal will drop Purchase Protection coverage for backers of crowdfunded projects, the Verge reports. The move comes as awareness of the risks of crowdfunding grows, but while less protection may sound like a bad thing for platforms like Kickstarter, the change may actually help prevent a repeat of some recent frustrating episodes.Last year, Kickstarter funded a University of Pennsylvania study that found 9 percent of projects on the platform failed to deliver rewards. They also commissioned reporter Mark Harris to do a deep dive into one of the most high-profile failed projects, the Zano drone. More recently, the Coolest Cooler project ran out of cash before delivering its product to all backers.But while failed projects frustrate everyone, the Zano case shows how PayPal’s Purchase Protection actually added to the heartache. As Harris reported, Torquing Group, the creator of the Zano, did ship a few hundred of the drones before entering liquidation in failure. But they went to backers who pledged directly through Torquing’s website using PayPal, not to Kickstarter backers.The reason was PayPal’s policy of holding pre-order payments until a product is delivered, to back up its Purchase Protection service. That means that projects offering add-ons or preorders outside of Kickstarter found themselves financially pressured to send products to those customers first.That understandably enraged many who pledged through Kickstarter — which, importantly, does not allow PayPal payments, and expects backers to shoulder all the risk for failed projects.PayPal’s new policy might help avoid similar foulups in the future, by releasing funds to projects more quickly, and making it easier for projects to serve early Kickstarter backers first. If that leads to higher overall satisfaction for Kickstarter funders, it would be a boon to the crowdfunding model at a moment when it’s starting to show cracks.