4 days agoReal Betis coach Rubi urges calm: We’ll move forward

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Real Betis coach Rubi urges calm: We’ll move forwardby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Betis coach Rubi has urged calm after defeat to Real Sociedad.While admitting he was worried, Rubi dismissed talk of relegation.“Everything worries me, I don’t want to see Betis where it is now, I don’t want to see Betis suffering but I am convinced that we will finish in a good position and we will pass 50 points,” he said. “You can remind me when the season is over.”Rubi added: “My personal situation does not worry me, I am convinced that we will move forward.” last_img read more

Primary-School Students Present Gifts to Centenarian

first_img Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller Wisdom told JIS News that the outreach programme, which has been a feature of the school for many years, falls within its strategic plans. Story Highlights Students and teachers of the Rose Hall-based John Rollins Success Primary School, accompanied by their principal, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, wrapped up their 2017 Christmas outreach programme on December 18.Their final stop took them to Barrett Town, to the home of 100-year-old Merinda Bryan, where they presented the centenarian, who is fondly called ‘Miss Mim’, with several gifts, including a new remote-controlled electric fan.Only several days before, they had visited basic and infant schools and homes of the sick and the elderly in other neighbouring communities of Zion, Spot Valley, Cornwall, Palmyra, Lilliput and Barrett Town to spread the Christmas cheer.Miss Mim, who was born on December 6, 1917, is the mother of six children, 16 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.She said she was happy to receive the gifts, which came less than two weeks following her birthday celebrations.A member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Miss Mim said in her youthful days she worked at the Tryall Estate in Hanover as a farmhand, and later became a shopkeeper.Meanwhile, Mrs. Miller Wisdom told JIS News that the outreach programme, which has been a feature of the school for many years, falls within its strategic plans.She said the Christmas outreach programme was among several other similar activities that the school undertakes each year, and which are driven by a community outreach coordinator and a committee.She noted that the 932 students at her institution are organised into clubs and societies, and each of the groupings is required to undertake fundraising activities, as well as source donations of food, toys and other items, which are taken to the school during its official barrel drive at Christmas to be sorted and packaged into individual presents.There are eight clubs and societies in operation at the John Rollins Success Primary School – the Red Cross, Brownies, K-Kids, Culture, Science Club, Cub Scout, Environmental Club and the Bible Club.“As part of our school-improvement plan, one of the objectives is to participate in community outreach. And so, we believe that the students are supposed to be exposed as much as is possible, not just to focus on the academics, because to get a job in the future, they need to be able to relate to others. Coming out into the community and reaching out to others, that is just one aspect… so at this stage, we have to train them,” Mrs. Miller Wisdom said.Eleven-year-old sixth-grader and President of the K-Kids Club, Elizabeth Minors, told JIS News that she was very pleased that her club, which is a junior arm of Kiwanis International, was able to contribute to the activities, especially the visit to Miss Mim.“It is a privilege to come and be able celebrate the hundredth birthday with a centenarian, and I hope that God blesses her and allows her to see many more days,” she said.Coordinator for the outreach programme at the school, Margaret Harwood Farquharson, said the students at the institution are always eager to participate in humanitarian activities, which became a major part of the institution as far back as 2006.“Our school was officially opened in 2004, and we saw the need to impact our community, so, as a result of that, we coordinated the activity and got the teachers involved,” she explained.“I think it is very important to get the students involved in outreach, because it gives them the opportunity to share with others. So, when they grow up, they will be able to socialise better, and when they see a need, they will be able to assist,” she added. Students and teachers of the Rose Hall-based John Rollins Success Primary School, accompanied by their principal, Yvonne Miller Wisdom, wrapped up their 2017 Christmas outreach programme on December 18. Their final stop took them to Barrett Town, to the home of 100-year-old Merinda Bryan, where they presented the centenarian, who is fondly called ‘Miss Mim’, with several gifts, including a new remote-controlled electric fan. last_img read more

Dutch ACM Investigates Possible Bunker Cartel

first_imgzoom An investigation has been launched into a possible cartel in the bunker sector in the Netherlands and Belgium, according to the Dutch competition authority.This investigation involves several companies that are active in the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, which may have concluded illegal price-fixing agreements, according to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).The Dutch Public Prosecution Service provided ACM with valuable information about the bunker sector coming from the police. That information was one of the reasons to launch this investigation. ACM has already conducted several dawn raids in this sector.Fines for cartel activities imposed on companies can be as high as 40 percent of their combined global turnover. The maximum fine on individuals that have exercised leadership over cartels is EUR 900,000.In the coming months, ACM will assess whether the Dutch Competition Act has indeed been violated by investigating the actual practices in greater detail.last_img read more

Supreme Court majority sides with censured former BreX lawyer Joe Groia

first_imgA lawyer who aggressively defended a client embroiled in a billion-dollar mining scandal did not violate the rules of courtroom civility when he accused the prosecutor in the case of misconduct, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.The split decision in favour of Joe Groia marked the culmination of a lengthy legal battle that pitted the Toronto securities lawyer against the Law Society of Ontario, the organization that regulates attorneys in the province.Years after Groia successfully defended Bre-X vice-president John Felderhof, the law society scrutinized his courtroom conduct in the case and found he had breached civility rules.Groia appealed in part on the grounds that his frequent tussles with prosecutors were rooted in a mistaken understanding of a legal matter as well as the need to advocate for his client. Ontario’s top court rejected his arguments, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court.The majority of judges on Canada’s highest court sided with Groia, whose lawyer lauded the decision.“Joe lost at every level, but if you’re only going to win once, the Supreme Court of Canada is the place to win,” Groia’s lawyer Earl Cherniak said of the ruling.The law society focused attention on Groia long after the acrimonious trial that ultimately concluded in an acquittal for Felderhof, the only Bre-X executive to face charges in the case. Investors lost billions when Canadian-based Bre-X collapsed in 1997 after claims of an Indonesian gold find turned out to be bogus.By all accounts, including the Supreme Court decision, the trial featured several tense exchanges between Groia and opposing lawyers and numerous allegations that prosecutors were abusing process.The top court ruling described the trial as having “a toxicity that manifested itself in the form of personal attacks, sarcastic outbursts and allegations of professional impropriety” that ground the proceedings to “a near standstill.”The law society, finding Groia had breached civility rules, at one point suspended him for two months and ordered him to pay $247,000 in costs — later reduced to one month suspension and $200,000.Cherniak said that many of Groia’s attacks were based on a sincere misunderstanding of legal rules regarding when prosecutors were obliged to introduce evidence in a trial.Six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court supported that view and said Groia could not be found guilty of incivility because he was making his arguments in good faith.“Finding a lawyer guilty of professional misconduct on the basis of incivility for making an abuse of process argument that is based on a sincerely held but mistaken legal position discourages lawyers from raising these allegations, frustrating the duty of resolute advocacy and the client’s right to make full answer and defence,” wrote one of the judges who ruled in Groia’s favour.The majority of judges found that while the law society has reasonable and context-specific standards for evaluating whether or not a lawyer breached civility rules, it did not apply them properly in this case.The law society did not comment on the ruling as it related to Groia specifically, but did express some satisfaction with the court’s characterization of the role it plays in upholding standards of courtroom conduct.“The law society welcomes the Supreme Court’s recognition of the importance of civility in the courts and its decision to endorse the Law Society Tribunal Appeal Panel’s test for incivility in court,” it said in a statement. “This decision upholds the law society’s jurisdiction to regulate the legal professions’ conduct in court.”Nonetheless, three Supreme Court justices expressed concern that the ruling may undermine the oversight body.The dissenting justices expressed concern that the majority ruling could “immunize erroneous allegations from sanction by the law society, validate improper conduct and threaten to undermine the administration of justice.”The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which intervened in the case, took a more positive view of the decision, calling it “a good result for freedom of speech.”“The majority of the Supreme Court … recognized the central importance of allowing lawyers the freedom to express themselves, particularly in defence of their clients’ rights,” the association said in a statement. “It also noted that incivility prosecutions should target behaviour that has a negative impact on the administration of justice or the fairness of a particular proceeding.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Earl Cherniak’s last name.last_img read more

Sir Patrick Stewart Attends Duchess Of Cornwalls Reception For Survivors Of Domestic

first_imgHer Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception last week for survivors of domestic abuse, those working in the field, and charities aiming to raise awareness of the issue at Clarence House.The Duchess meets Sir Patrick Stewart at a reception she hosted at Clarence House for domestic abuse survivors and campaignersCredit/Copyright: www.princeofwales.gov.uk/The Duchess decided to hold this reception after a hearing stories of domestic abuse survivors during a visit to the charity, SafeLives back in February of this year. The Duchess also held a similar reception for survivors of rape and sexual abuse and has heard from them how helpful it was to share their experiences with policy makers.The Duchess was joined by Sir Patrick Stewart, a long-time campaigner for women and children affected by domestic abuse and by Louiza Patikas, whose role as Helen from BBC’s ‘The Archers’ is shining a light on the issue of domestic abuse.Source:www.princeofwales.gov.uklast_img read more

Detroit show has SUVs horsepower but electric cars are few

first_imgDETROIT — Automakers have promised to start selling hordes of electric cars in the next few years, but only two will be unveiled at the big Detroit auto show that kicks off this week — and those aren’t even ready for production.Meanwhile, there will be plenty of SUVs and high-horsepower sports cars on display as cheap gasoline helps SUV and truck sales continue their dramatic climb.So how credible is the industry’s pledge to move toward fuel-efficient vehicles when it keeps cranking out more lucrative trucks and sport utilities?Some environmental groups contend that companies aren’t really interested in efficiency because they’re making tons of money from the sales of less-efficient SUVs and pickup trucks. These groups also say that without government fuel economy requirements, automakers won’t make progress toward electric vehicles that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Auto executives, however, say they’re already moving to more fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs, some now coming with gas-electric hybrid power systems. Soon there will be many electric SUVs, they say.“Every one of our SUVs has hybrids somewhere in the future, hybrids or electrified vehicles of some sort,” says Craig Patterson, Ford’s SUV marketing manager.Patterson will help show off a new version of the Ford Explorer big SUV at the auto show starting Monday, and it will have an optional hybrid power system. It is Ford’s first hybrid SUV in six years, and the company also has plans for a fully electric SUV based on the Mustang sometime next year. Seven battery-powered vehicles are planned for the U.S. by 2022, even a hybrid pickup truck.General Motors plans a Cadillac electric vehicle in 2021, and more than 20 that run on batteries or hydrogen in four years. Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, wants to increase the number of electric models from six to over 50 by 2025. Other brands such as Audi, BMW and Porsche and Jaguar are rolling out electric vehicles.But in December, almost 72 per cent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were SUVs and trucks, up from 49 per cent at the end of 2012. Because of the shift, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors are cancelling some or all of their sedan lines. At the same time, they are hedging their bets by planning electrics and hybrids to give people fuel-efficient SUV options should gas prices rise from the current national average of around $2.24 per gallon.Design work on the Explorer and other vehicles being introduced at the North American International Auto Show began more than three years ago, when automakers thought their new vehicle fleet had to average about 36 miles per gallon by 2025 under U.S. fuel economy standards. That’s about 10 mpg more than the current standards.But the Trump administration has proposed freezing those standards at 2020 levels, a move that will spark a court challenge and a fight with California, which can set its own gas mileage and greenhouse gas standards. A decision on freezing the standards at around 30 mpg is expected later this year.Simon Mui, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council who works on clean vehicles, said if the standards are frozen, years of improved efficiency will come to a halt.“I tend to treat these automaker promises to roll out electric vehicles kind of like New Year’s resolutions,” he said. “There’s often a gap between what they promise and what they actually deliver.”The government requirements are needed to make sure each automaker does their part, Mui said. Stable requirements bring down technology costs, and consumers benefit from using less fuel, he said.But auto executives say they’ve been working to squeeze more efficiency out of the internal combustion engine, to the point where there isn’t much else they can do except add electric power.Ford’s Patterson says even though gas is cheap, the company will sell the higher performance of hybrids, with gas engines boosted by instant electric power for acceleration. Consumers, he says, will be willing to pay for that. Also, due to technology breakthroughs, Patterson says hybrids no longer cost much more than standard engines.Ford plans to keep working as if the government won’t freeze fuel economy standards because it doesn’t know what will happen. “You have to meet it at some point, and you’re going to have to build (for) California,” he said.Still, selling hybrid and electric vehicles is tough in an era of cheap gas. In the U.S., fully electric vehicles amounted to less than 1 per cent of new vehicle registrations through August last year. Yet globally, Navigant Research predicts huge growth in the next seven years, from just over 1 million sales this year to 6.5 million by 2025. The surge is expected because of government incentives in China.Even so, automakers could get stuck with slow-selling electrics in the U.S. because of concerns over their limited range, and because it will take three to five years for battery and other costs to fall to about the same as gasoline engines, said Asutosh Padhi, senior partner and co-leader of the automotive unit at the McKinsey management consulting firm. U.S. consumers always want more utility and performance for less or the same price, he said.Another problem is a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles is starting to expire for some automakers, Padhi said.“It’s yet another headwind for electric vehicles in the near-term, until the performance picks up, until we get to cost parity,” he said.Tom Krisher, The Associated Presslast_img read more

High levels of bacteria found in raw meat dog foods

first_imgFeeding your pooch with raw meat could pose potential health risks as they contain high levels of bacteria, researchers have warned. A study by researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden showed that many raw meat products contain enterobacteriaceae species, which are indicators of faecal contamination and hygiene standards. Such food products can also cause health risks to people, particularly infants, elderly and those with poor immunity, the study said. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainA raw meat-based diet has become increasingly popular with dogs in recent years because it is seen as a “healthier natural alternative” to the widely available commercial products. But unlike commercial feeds, raw meat products are not heat treated or freeze dried to pasteurise, the research team added. For the study, published in the journal Vet Record, researchers took samples from 60 packs of raw meat samples that were analysed for bacteria, including enterobacteriaceae species – clostridium perfringens, salmonella and campylobacter. Nearly 31 samples (52 per cent) contained bacteria levels that exceeded the 5,000 bacteria per gram maximum threshold set by the European Union regulations, said the study. Escherichia coli was found in about a third of the samples. Clostridium perfringens, another marker of faecal contamination and hygiene standards, was found in 18 samples (30 per cent).last_img read more

South Korea to mark summit anniv with or without North

first_imgSeoul: South Korea will this week celebrate the first anniversary of a landmark summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — but Pyongyang may not take part, Seoul said Monday. The pair held their first meeting on April 27 last year in the Demilitarised Zone dividing the peninsula amid a rapid diplomatic thaw, paving the way for a historic summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June. But one year later, little progress has been made on North Korea’s denuclearisation, with Pyongyang and Washington deadlocked since a second summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February broke down without a deal. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USMoon, who brokered the first meeting between the two mercurial leaders, has tried to salvage the diplomacy although the North has remained largely unresponsive. Since Hanoi, the North has not attended any of the eight regular weekly meetings of the heads of their joint liaison office in Kaesong, and has not taken part in other joint projects, such as excavations in the DMZ. Seoul will hold a ceremony on Saturday at Panmunjom — where Moon and Kim exchanged warm smiles and brotherly hugs — the unification ministry said, but Pyongyang’s attendance remained unclear. “When we notify the North (about the event), we will provide additional details,” ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min told reporters. Moon and Kim met three times last year — including a second impromptu encounter after Trump threatened to cancel the Singapore summit just weeks before it was due. But exchanges between Seoul and Pyongyang have significantly decreased since the failure to reach agreement in Hanoi.last_img read more

JNU student commits suicide in study room

first_imgNew Delhi: A JNU student allegedly committed suicide Friday by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in a study room of the university, police said. They said they were informed about the incident around 11.30 am. The MA 2nd year student of the prestigious university was rushed to a nearby hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead, a senior police officer said. Police and crime team are at the spot and further details are awaited.last_img

Andrey Dubovskov Russian service provider MTS has

first_imgAndrey DubovskovRussian service provider MTS has extended the contract of current president Andrey Dubovskov for a further three years.Dubovskov’s contract, which was due to expire on March 5 has been extended to 2017. He joned MTS in 2004 as Nizhny Novgorod branch director and was appointed president and chairman in 2011.last_img

One Month Ago

first_imgOne Month Ago Silver34.6928.9240.25 The #1 Reason Inflation Will WinJeff Clark: I was struck at our summit by how many speakers have come to the same basic conclusions we have – that there’s really no way out of the US debt hole. That has a lot of implications, but first, in your view, how bad is it?Terry Coxon: It isn’t so bad that you should think of it as the end of the world, but there is a lot of trouble stored up, and I think “no way out” describes the situation accurately. Most of our economic trouble has been built up by government actions to solve past problems, and what they’ve done is to buy time and provide painkillers, but in doing so they’ve made the problems even worse.Jeff: Why, specifically, is there no way out?Terry: Let’s start with the Federal Reserve and the money supply. In response to the collapse of the housing bubble and most financial markets in 2008-2009, the Federal Reserve began printing like crazy. The monetary base more than doubled, and the M1 money supply at this point has risen a little over 60%. The reason we haven’t seen rapid price inflation is that people are still squirreling away dollars because they’re still very worried about the prospects for the economy. But that’ not the end of the story. The Federal Reserve will keep printing – as everyone knows by now, Mr. Bernanke has pledged allegiance to the printing press and assured the markets that the printing isn’t over and won’t be over until the economy revives.Sooner or later, the Federal Reserve will have created so much cash that many people – maybe most people – will be glutted with dollars, and buying anything will look good compared to holding on to more dollars. At that point, the urge to buy – whether it’s capital goods or consumer goods or commodities – will revive the economy, and the recession will come to an end. That will reduce the level of caution people feel to something near normal. The result will be that all of the excess money that has been created since 2008 will come pouring out. For a little while it will look like happy days are here again – the economy will seem to be booming. But then the excess cash will set off hair-curling price inflation. And that’s just the monetary side of the problem.Now look at the budget side of the federal government. They have been operating on the old Keynesian formula of deficit spending to revive a stagnant economy. What Lord Keynes perhaps never considered was that even if that prescription worked – and there is precious little evidence that it does work – there is a limiting factor over the long run. That limiting factor is the ability of the government to service debt that gets larger and larger. The US balance sheet is already at the gateway to the danger zone. When accumulated debt exceeds annual gross domestic product (think of it as annual income for the whole country), that’s where governments start to get into trouble in the capital markets.Now the budget situation – or the debt-financing situation for the US Treasury – has been made exceptionally easy by the exceptionally low interest rates that have been engineered by the exceptionally rapid growth in the money supply. When the economy starts to revive, interest rates will go up, and then the cost to the US Treasury of rolling over its now $16 trillion in debt will become a noticeable element in the overall budget. That pushes the government closer to a debt spiral, where the rise in interest rates makes it more expensive to service debt, which means the debt accumulates even faster. At that point, doubts about the ability of the government to service the debt over the long run forces another kick up in the government’s borrowing costs. It becomes a nasty and vicious feedback cycle that is similar to what is going on now in Greece and Spain. This is a predicament the US government is just whistling about. They’ve closed their eyes to the risk.So between the built up inflationary pressure that will come roaring out when the economy revives and the constantly growing US government debt, there is no solution to the economy’s problems that is politically acceptable.Jeff: Some economists think we’ll eventually grow our way out of this. We’re still the superpower of the world and still generate a lot of GDP, so can’t growth eventually pay back all this debt?Terry: In principle, such a thing is possible, but it would require political measures that are impossible. They would have to throw out most regulation of the economy, sell off an empire of unneeded real estate, stop using soldiers, ships, and planes as pieces in a “big boys’ really big chess set,” and starting saying “no” to the many people – both rich and poor – who now live off the government.Jeff: Why aren’t more economists expressing concern or even outrage over the predicament we’re in? It seems so obvious.Terry: If you studied economics when you went to school, the economics department probably was within a short walk of the science building, where they studied physics and chemistry. That leaves people with the false impression that economics is a hard science like physics or chemistry, where there are clear, proven principles anyone can test and everyone can agree on. In fact, economics today is about where medicine was in the 17th century, when people were debating whether the blood circulates through the body or just sits there. That was the level of knowledge by the best minds of the day, and it is the level of understanding by economists today. So you shouldn’t be surprised that most economists are sure that most other economists are wrong.Jeff: So what happens – high inflation? There are some strong deflationary signals in the economy right now.Terry: Even if there are episodes of deflation, they will just inspire even faster money printing. In the contest between inflation and deflation, inflation always gets another turn until it wins.Jeff: Good point. Is inflation imminent? The CPI is still pretty low.Terry: Well, it’s never going to be imminent in the sense that today it’s not happening and next week it is happening. It’s more like a river rising. And when you see the economy start to revive, the rate of price inflation will start rising noticeably in a year or year and a half.Jeff: This has obvious investment implications.Terry: Yes. You and your family should think about how to protect yourselves, and the formula sorts out to something very simple. One, you need some gold in your financial life, and two, you don’t need any bonds in your financial life.Jeff: Yes. Anything else?Terry: Well, those are the most obvious – gold yes, bonds no. You should also keep a good holding of cash in your investment portfolio, because there probably will be one or more replays of what we saw in 2008 and 2009. And when that happens, you will be glad you have cash because you can take advantage of the bargains.Conventional stocks are a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, the equity market welcomed the restarting of the printing press. On the other hand, the equity markets, as they go up, are diverging from economic reality. So I suggest thinking of a portfolio of conventional stocks as a machine that sits in your office and churns out ten-dollar bills, but eventually is going to blow up. If you want to take the risk that you’ll know when to get out, well, at the end of the day, if you’re right and you get out in time, you will be glad that you invested in conventional stocks. If you are thinking about a portfolio that you can just put away and forget about, then conventional stocks should not be part of it.Jeff: Bernanke said the $40 billion of bond-buying every month is open ended, implying it could last awhile. Any sense for how long it goes on before the economy revives?Terry: Open-ended is an extraordinary thing to announce. The fact isn’t surprising, but I am surprised they would ‘fess up to it.The picture I have is someone sitting next to a pile of damp firewood, lighting matches and just throwing them on. Eventually those matches are going to dry out the firewood, and then you will get a big blaze; and that’s what the Federal Reserve is doing to the economy right now. The difficulty is that if you’re in charge of printing all the new dollars, you won’t know that you’ve printed enough until you’ve printed way too much.Jeff: That implies gold and silver prices have a long way to go yet.Terry: Yes, I certainly believe so.Jeff: What kind of price levels do you expect?Terry: The only reasonable thing that I can say is, a lot higher. The reason that it doesn’t do much good to put a number on it is that we don’t know how long rapid rates of inflation will run.Jeff: What about gold stocks? If you’re lukewarm on the stock market, can gold stocks still do well?Terry: The basic answer is, if you want to own stocks right now, don’t own red stocks, don’t own blue stocks, own gold stocks.Jeff: Silver is considered a monetary metal, too, but is there a scenario under which gold does well but silver does poorly?Terry: Yes: runaway inflation and a very sick economy that is not consuming a lot of silver. That could leave silver behind, but it would have to be a very ugly economic situation.Jeff: But wouldn’t the Fed just print more money and make silver as attractive as gold?Terry: Not necessarily. The demand for gold is financial demand, period. Silver is a different story altogether. It is partly financial demand and partly industrial consumption.Jeff: What odds do you give for something like that happening?Terry: I don’t expect that to happen. If it happens at all, it’s years away.Jeff: So the bottom line to all this is, make sure you own enough gold.Terry: That’s exactly right.Gold and Silver HEADLINESMining Investment to Grow Ever More Complex and Costly, Industry Leaders Fear (Mineweb)Baker & McKenzie surveyed more than 300 senior mining industry leaders across six mining jurisdictions – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia, and South Africa. The key themes in the study were the complexity of the legal and regulatory environment, political stability, resource nationalism, access to infrastructure, and skilled labor. A common thought expressed by the majority of the respondents across these jurisdictions is that “investing in mining is becoming more difficult and less certain,” and they believe that mining sector investment will continue to be more complicated.This research confirms what other mining industry surveys report. Resource nationalism, named the #1 threat for mining, is expected by the majority of respondents (78%) to increase over the next 20 years. That’s why it is so important to understand investor friendliness of any given jurisdiction. And navigating the political landscapes is exactly what we do in International Speculator and BIG GOLD.Silver ETF Holdings Nearing Record Levels (Silver Institute)The Silver Institute reports that silver ETF holdings have totaled more than 608 million ounces with a value of US$20.5 billion through September 15. Investors have added more than 32 million ounces to their silver ETF accounts so far this year. Investor demand was one of the most important factors cited in silver’s recent price rise.“Investors and analysts are bullish on expectations that additional central banks will do more to attempt to stimulate economies in order to increase consumption and spur employment, leading to even greater investor attention on the 4,000 year allure of silver as a safe haven and a store of value,” said Michael DiRienzo, Executive Director of the Silver Institute.We agree that investor interest for silver will drive the price higher. TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)12,383.6012,116.9211,955.01 Gold1,784.501,639.501,793.00 Copper3.773.463.75 Oil91.8796.6885.92 Silver Stocks (SIL)25.2620.5626.29center_img TSX Venture1,345.721,239.321,703.78 One Year Ago Rock & Stock StatsLast Dear Reader,Economist Terry Coxon and BIG GOLD Editor Jeff Clark had some interesting discussions during the recent Casey Research Summit on Navigating the Politicized Economy. They noticed a near-consensus among the speakers that there’s no way out for the over-indebted US government – or the Eurozone for that matter – which has consequences for all participants in the global economy. Below, you can read why Terry (and others) are convinced there’s no way out, why he’s convinced the problem will end in inflation, and what the investment implications are for gold and silver.How do we profit from that? Even as you receive today’s Daily Dispatch, Jeff and I will be flying down to Mexico to look at a silver mine one of our companies recently acquired. Due diligence: pick right and sit tight. That’s how we do it – and you can too.If you want to learn more about the Casey Research process or pick our brains in some other way, please consider joining Doug Casey, our Chief Energy Investment Strategist Marin Katusa, and myself next month in New Orleans. We’ll all be speaking at the New Orleans 2012 Investment Conference, which will be held October 24-27. You won’t want to miss Doug’s debate against James Carville and Charles Krauthammer – it’s sure to be a memorable event. The markets are getting really interesting, so you’ll be sure to learn a lot.Sincerely,Louis JamesSenior Metals Investment StrategistCasey Research Gold Producers (GDX)54.8146.3864.28 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)25.4621.4635.10last_img read more

But its infuriating to use The system is compris

first_img But it’s infuriating to use. The system is comprised of not one, but two 7-inch screens. One’s a touchscreen, while the other isn’t. One is hidden from the sun under a hood; the other is invisible in the glare of sunlight. There are still a few physical controls, too… but only for some of the least often used things, like adjusting the auto-climate control, not for common things like changing the radio station. These problems haven’t gone unnoticed by the automotive and technology press, which regularly deride the companies for falling so woefully short in the design department, letting gimmicks substitute for building it right. But that’s because these companies have taken on a herculean task, trying to build complex operating systems and third-party apps… a job that is best tackled by thousands of engineers as it is with Windows at Microsoft, iOS at Apple, and Linux’s hordes of volunteers and foundations. With quite a bit of time logged behind the wheel of a Tesla, which boasts an amazingly easy to use, single giant touchscreen, it’s shocking to use the competition’s systems. They’re hastily assembled messes of whiz-bang features that don’t really work. In the age of the iPhone, that’s just not acceptable. And it’s an experience so bad that it’s beginning to hurt people’s perceptions of the traditional automotive companies, driving customers elsewhere or at least to opt for fewer features. But I don’t make this point just to rant. It’s to demonstrate two things: First, we’re nowhere near the end of the technological ramp. Even some of our most expensive and advanced technologies are absolutely awful. Anyone who’s tried to use one of those brand-new state health exchanges—actually, pretty much any product Oracle makes (and the company made quite a few of those health exchanges, I might add)—or Nissan’s new telematics system can attest to that. Add in all the other frustrating and inefficient aspects of our lives, and it’s abundantly clear there are still a great deal more technological advances to be made, letting alone the giant markets like health care and education that have only been grazed by tech so far. Second, the success or failure of a technology has increasingly less to do with what it’s capable of. More and more often, it’s about how realistically accessible its benefits are. As buyers get used to the more elegantly designed and intuitive generation of smartphones and tablets, they expect the same simplicity in other areas. I’m not saying that some minimalist mantra is taking over the corporate world or our home lives. We’re not going to start sitting down to dinner on tatami mats, using only one pair of shoes, and eschewing the big comfy chairs in the conference room. Rather, buyers are becoming savvier in understanding that a system’s design and the ease of use of its features are just as important a consideration in buying technology as its capabilities. Better design can mean more productivity gains, or lower costs, or both. (For end users, it can also mean they don’t go off on rants about their awful new cars and just get that much closer to never buying a traditional vehicle again…) And the companies that are embracing better design for their products seem to be winning the war for customers. The iPhone’s staying power amidst a cadre of competitors with lots of whiz-bang new features is an obvious example. So is Salesforce.com, which competes with big and expensive systems from Oracle and SAP by offering a “no software” pledge and easy-to-use website. The result: meteoric increases in revenue as Salesforce’s customers opt for less over more. Or take a service like Dropbox. Despite an onslaught of fierce competition from giants like Google and Microsoft, the “little folder-sharing company that could” has been growing like a weed—official numbers are few and far between for the still-private company, but most surveys show it with penetration rates 2 to 10 times that of its larger rivals. Success in technology involves more complexities than investing in the commodities with which we may be more familiar. If you dig a hunk of iron out of the ground, chances are your iron is a lot like everyone else’s. Sure, there will be minor variations in the quality or the cost of extraction, but at the end of the day, it’s just a hunk of metal. The same goes for a retail company selling brand-name products, like a car dealer selling the same Jetta as the next guy. The market sets the price, quality is irrelevant (it’s the same thing), and you spend your life trying to differentiate on service alone. Once upon a time, Amazon’s pair of shoes was no different than Foot Locker’s. That led to “showrooming,” where a customer walked into Best Buy, picked out a TV or stereo, then bought it on his or her smartphone from Amazon for 12% less. Even though it pioneered the practice, Amazon saw the threat of showrooming to its own business, as more and more brands started to control channel prices. Amazon can bully the poorly run book publishers into letting it set the price, but not Microsoft on the Xbox. Amazon’s advantage was lost when it couldn’t be cheaper, and so the company shifted gears and started making products of its own. From Amazon Basics cables that cost a fraction of those ripoffs at Walmart, to the Kindle readers and tablets, to original movies and series made just for its Prime subscribers, Amazon has moved beyond its status as just a middle-man retailer and also become a maker and marketer of products… products it hopes are superior enough to win and retain customers better than my Nissan radio will. That new focus has helped Amazon grow from $5 billion behemoth into a $20 billion a quarter juggernaut over the past five years: Sounds great on paper… and done well, it’s the kind of thing that gets you talking about and recommending a car to others. Problem is, it never works. The system was designed with good intent but is both horribly buggy and poorly designed. Neither my wife’s nor my phone can reliably connect. When they do, the simple act of making a phone call almost never works—the other day, an attempt to call out froze the whole system and I had to “reboot” the car at a stop light just to get my radio back. Remember those old jokes about what if Microsoft made cars? Seems life is starting to imitate art. Worse still, to make those more advanced apps work at all, we must install a middle-man application called Nissan Connect. It runs in the background on our phones and is supposed to make connections to the car better. But it doesn’t. My phone recognizes the car maybe 1 out of 10 times. My wife’s sees it half the time, but it won’t ever let her connect regardless of recognition, because she apparently doesn’t have a paid subscription—to a service that cannot be signed up for anywhere we can find and for which I would never imagine anyone would pay. Instead of honing the experience and making it work, the engineers seem to have spent their time adding in hidden features for future monetization. Worse still, the navigation system lags, missing turn indicators, and crashing along with everything else. Thus, the “infotainment” system—or “telematics” as the car industry likes to call it internally—is beyond useless: it’s borderline dangerous. Now, these features were all of a few hundred dollars of the total cost for my Rogue, included with a bunch of other options. It’s just simple software, so it makes sense it would be pretty cheap. Here’s what’s amazing: the company charges $7,000 extra to get the same options on an Infinity SUV (and about $5,000 on the Pathfinder, which is really just a bigger Rogue). I know because despite my frustration with the infotainment portion of the system, we absolutely love the cameras and sensors. For those alone we started looking at Nissan’s luxurious sister line to replace our other car. That exorbitant add-on pricing sent us across the street to the Acura dealership, where we picked up an MDX. It’s a great truck that hauls all our people and stuff in luxury and style. And it, too, sports an awful electronics system. Unlike the Nissan, I’m able to connect without a problem every time. Pandora works flawlessly, with full control over the app without the need for any special manufacturer application. Nothing ever crashes. It’s Honda reliable, as it should be. It even looks pretty cool. Earlier this week, David Galland emailed you a link to a speech I gave in San Antonio. In it, I covered three of my favorite stock picks for today and why I like those companies. The central theme behind all of it was—no surprise to longtime readers—growth. No matter how good a technology is, no matter how revolutionary, no matter how complex… if you cannot find buyers, then it matters little to me as an investor. However, those companies with a formula to steadily increase revenues quarter after quarter can surmount almost any market and overcome all sorts of hurdles. Figuring out which technologies will sell well is one of the most overlooked aspects of finding great investments. But how do you know which will sell and which won’t? The answer to that question begs another. Have you ever noticed how much awful technology exists in the world? I do. Maybe I’m just too close to the subject, but I make it a point to personally check out every new technology I can manage to try safely, and to get a demo of or data on whatever I cannot use myself. So maybe that’s why I see it all the time. Take automotive technology, for instance. I’m not talking engines and shocks and struts right now. This isn’t another lecture on Tesla’s game-changing innovations. I’m talking about the electronics in every other car on the road. This year I’ve bought two new cars. Both suck. For those not familiar with that technical term, I mean to say that their usefulness, and thus marketability, is impeded by substandard design. The first, a Nissan Rogue, is a wonderful car in many ways. We love the 360-degree cameras, lane-drift warnings, blind-spot detectors, and other safety features that have saved us from bumps and bruises many a time already. (Driving in Puerto Rico, where we spend most of our time, is hazardous to your health and paint job.) But it also has a navigation system and “apps.” The radio has morphed into a hub for accessing Google, Pandora, and other services.center_img The company’s digital media sales, largely fueled by the Kindle product line, have now grown to be as big as the entire company’s revenues at the beginning of this shift. Product design and differentiation is not the be all and end all for achieving the kind of success needed by a technology company that pays back for shareholders. There’s still a whole host of other factors that must properly align—the classic mix of people, promotion, and the other “Ps” of success that Doug Casey has espoused for years in natural resources investing, as well as a few that are unique to the technology markets, such as Intellectual Property. But when evaluating the prospects for success or failure of a new technology, it all begins with understanding the product and its target market: Who will buy it? How many of them are there? How much will they pay? How does it stack up to the competition? And so on… That’s the first and most important difference between finding great technology vs. finding a company that makes for a great investment: the quality and usefulness of its products. However, it’s the least appreciated or understood… which is why we’ve written an all-new guide on how to evaluate speculative investments in the technology sector. Modeled on Doug Casey’s classic 8 Ps formula, it’s a step-by-step manual to the process we use when starting our own due diligence on a potential investment. We’re making it available completely free, no strings attached. Click here and give it a read for yourself. At a minimum, it will help you understand how we’ve racked up market-beating returns year after year in Casey Extraordinary Technology. And if we’ve done our job with it, then it will help guide you through exploring the sector on your own, let you avoid some bad investments, and hopefully allow you to find your own personal Amazon, Salesforce, Netflix, or Google, and garner some 1,000%-plus gains to show for it.last_img read more

Everything has this Alice in Wonderland feel to it

first_imgEverything has this Alice in Wonderland feel to it After a little bump up at the 6 p.m. open on Thursday evening in New York, the gold price chopped sideways in Far East trading on their Friday morning before developing a negative bias starting around 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.  There was a bit of rally once the a.m. London gold fix was in at 10:30 GMT—and from there it traded flat until JPMorgan’s HFT boyz and their algorithms showed up at the 8:30 a.m. EST job numbers report.  The low tick appeared to come about ten minutes after the 1:30 p.m. COMEX close—and the price edged unevenly higher for the remainder of the electronic trading session. The high and low ticks were reported by the CME Group as 1,200.00 and $1,162.90 in the April contract. Gold finished the Friday session in New York at $1,168.70 spot, down $29.30 from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was pretty big at 185,000 contracts.  And as big as the volume was, I was expecting somewhat more than that. The silver equities followed a similar pattern, with their lows coming at 13:40 p.m. EST as well.  From there they recovered a little into the close.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 6.09 percent. In silver, ‘3 or less’ U.S. banks hold 3,865 COMEX contracts on the long side—and 17,364 contracts on the short side, for a net short COMEX position of 13,499 contracts.  [This compares to the 18,968 contracts these ‘3 or less’ banks held net short in February’s BPR.]  JPMorgan currently holds both long AND short contracts in silver, but it’s a 100 percent certainty that they are net short a minimum of 15,000 contracts, which is more than the March net short position on its own.  The other two U.S. banks that could be on the long side would be HSBC USA and Citigroup. Also in silver, ’12 or more’ non-U.S. banks are net short 22,734 COMEX futures contracts, an improvement from the 28,753 COMEX futures contracts they were short in February’s BPR.  And in silver, as in gold, it’s my opinion that Canada’s Scotiabank is net short about 80 percent of this amount all by themselves.  As I’ve been saying for many months, it’s also my opinion that Scotiabank is now the big silver short on the COMEX, but with JPMorgan not far behind.  Between them I’d guess they’re short more than 30,000 but less than 35,000 COMEX contracts. Here’s the BPR chart for silver.  Note in Chart #4 the blow-out in the non-U.S. bank short position [blue bars] in October of 2012 when Scotiabank was brought in from the cold.  Also note August 2008 when JPMorgan took over the silver short position in Bear Stearns—the red bars.  It’s very noticeable in Chart #4—and really stands out like the proverbial sore thumb in chart #5. As you can tell from the RSI traces, we’re already oversold in gold—and fast approaching it in silver and platinum. Can we go lower from here?  I suppose, but as I said further up—and Ted mentioned in the quote of the day—once the Managed Money traders decide that they’re full up on the short side, the bottom will be in.  And as I said, once that occurs, JPMorgan et al can “huff and puff” all they want, but it won’t matter, as the law of diminishing returns comes into play rather quickly—and they know it. So we wait some more. As far as I can see in all directions, it’s wall-to-wall ugly out there—and I see no way that the current economic, financial and monetary situation is going to resolve itself quietly.  Everything has this “Alice in Wonderland” feel to it at the moment—and there’s some sort of Potemkin village down every rabbit hole I look—dead ends in all directions. How long the world can continue to muddle along in this state remains to be seen, but whatever end awaits us, it won’t be pretty. And when this situation does resolve itself, it would be a reasonable assumption that the precious metals will be sporting new prices—and the price management scheme in the COMEX futures market will be relegated to the dustbin of history. China and Russia, either individually or collectively, are certainly in a position to end it any time they wish—and as I’ve said on numerous occasions, they may do so if it’s in their best interests.  And the moment that they, along with the other “hewers of wood—and drawers of water” on Planet Earth decide to rise up against the current Western establishment—and put their markers down on this 21st century form of enslavement, there will certainly be a New World Order, but it won’t be the one that the current powers-that-be have in mind. See you on Tuesday. The price action in silver was the same, but different.  The price began to ‘drift’ lower starting shortly before lunch in Hong Kong—and got smacked below the $16 spot mark at 9 a.m. sharp in London trading.  I would guess that a decent sized short position was put on at that point.  From there it rallied into the jobs report—and although the HFT boyz huffed and puffed, the low tick of around $15.75 spot, which came minutes after 12 o’clock noon EST, was the best they could do.  From there it rallied rather impressively into the close—and well off its low. The high and low ticks were recorded as $16.235 and $15.745 in the May contract. Silver finished the Friday session at $15.925 spot, down 27.5 cents from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was only 40,300 contracts.  A lot, yes, but like gold, I was sort of expecting more than this, so maybe this was all that JPMorgan et al could entice the technical funds traders in the Manged Money category into going short.  I’ll have more on this in The Wrap. The palladium chart looked similar, except the $810 low tick came shortly after 9:00 a.m. in New York—and it recovered a decent amount shortly after that, before chopping sideways into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.  Palladium finished the Friday session at $816 spot, down only 7 dollars. The platinum price was manhandled by the HFT boyz almost exactly the same as gold.  So much so in fact, that their respective daily charts are virtually interchangeable.  Platinum was closed down $19 on the day to $1,157 spot. The second and third photo are ones I cropped for maximum visual impact, as there was too much sky—and there was a fence in the foreground of photo #2 that I couldn’t get rid of any other way, but you can see a bit of it in photo #3.  These were taken as a left-to-right 2-photo collage from the top of the mesa where the Sedona airport is situated—and overlooks part of the town.  It’s an absolutely spectacular setting—and I’d never seen anything like it before—and I’ve been around. Here’s the 5-minute gold tick chart.  It goes all the way back to the close of COMEX trading on Thursday.  The Friday session starts at the 16:00 mark, as this chart is done for Mountain Standard Time, so you have to add 2 hours for EST.  Note the huge volume spikes when the HFT traders spun their algorithms.  The ‘click to enlarge’ feature really helps here. I thank Brad Robertson for sending this. In palladium, ‘3 or less’ U.S. banks are net short 8,285 COMEX futures contracts.  They’ve held this size of short position almost continuously for the past five months running.  They are net short a bit more than 25 percent of the entire futures market in this metal. Also in palladium, ’12 or more’ non-U.S. banks are net short 3,085 COMEX futures contracts, that’s an increase from the 2,370 contracts they were net short in February’s BPR.  These non-U.S. banks are net short 12 percent of the COMEX futures market between them.  And unless they’re acting in collusion, their short positions are immaterial. Here’s the BPR chart for palladium updated with the March report’s data.  Just look at the long positions vs. the short positions held by the U.S. banks in Chart #5.  You couldn’t make this stuff up!  You should note that the U.S. banks were almost nowhere to be seen in the COMEX futures market in this metal until the middle of 2007—and they became the predominant and controlling factor by the end of Q1 of 2013, where they remain today.  I would bet that JPMorgan holds the vast majority of the U.S. banks’ short position—and maybe all of it.  Palladium as well.  And how about silver? Along with yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report came the companion Bank Participation Report [BPR] for the month of March.  And as I said in yesterday’s missive—“This is data extracted directly from the COT Report, which shows the COMEX futures contracts, both long and short, that are held by the U.S. and non-U.S. banks as of Tuesday’s cut-off.“ In gold, ‘3 or less’ U.S. banks are net short 38,437 COMEX gold contracts, or 3.84 million troy ounces.  That’s an improvement from the 5.67 million troy ounces that they were short in February’s BPR. Also in gold, ’22 or more’ non-U.S. banks were net short 51,151 COMEX futures contracts in gold, or 5.15 million troy ounces, which is down from the 7.63 million ounces they were short in February’s BPR.  And I’m still of the opinion based on CFTC data from October 2012, that Canada’s Scotiabank holds about one third of the non-U.S. bank short position all by itself. Here’s Nick’s chart of the Bank Participation Report for gold going back to 2000.  Charts #4 and #5 are the key ones here.  Note the blow-out in the short positions of the non-U.S. banks [the blue bars in chart #4] when Scotiabank was outed in October of 2012. Along with a couple of Wall Street investment houses, these are “da boyz’—the sellers of last resort—and you can call them what you like.  Until they decide, or are instructed to stand back, the prices of all four precious metals are going nowhere—supply and demand fundamentals be damned! As Jim Rickards so correctly put it, the price management scheme is now so obvious, they should be embarrassed about it. I have a very decent number of stories for you today—and I hope you have enough time left in your weekend to read the ones that interest you the most. I’m still of a mind that there may be 40,000 long contracts of non-technical funds in the managed money category not likely to be liquidated on lower prices. So it’s hard for me to see where all the selling will come from that would enable the big commercial shorts to buy back significant numbers of short contracts. After all, the commercials can’t buy COMEX silver (or gold) contracts from the ether; there must be a contract sold for every contract bought. Nothing would make me happier than to see the big silver commercial shorts run out of room to rig prices lower because of a lack of technical fund selling capacity, but I also know how crooked these commercial shorts are—and must consider that if they are stuck, they are likely to resort to extreme measures rather than go down without a fight (to lower prices). A wild card here is that if JPMorgan is as heavily long physical silver as I imagine, they could always survive and prosper on higher silver prices despite holding a big short position. If your physical long position is much larger than your paper short position, that means you are net long and not afraid of higher prices. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 28 February 2015 Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ is from about 50 years ago.  I remember it well, as it was from 1966—my last year in high school.  Anyone of my vintage should know it—and the group—instantly.  The link is here.  And while I’m at it, here’s another one of their hits, this one from 1967. Today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is one I’ve wanted to feature for ages, but could never find a recording on youtube.com that I liked—and I still haven’t, so the one here will have to do.  It’s the incomparable Dutch violinist Janine Jansen playing the fiddle in Ralph Vaughan Williams classical composition “The Lark Ascending“.  I heard it on CBC-FM yesterday—and figured the time was right.  The link is here. Well, it turned out as I feared—and it’s a given that the technical funds in the Managed Money category pitched the rest of their long positions and went massively short in both gold and silver yesterday, especially in gold.  That’s the only reason that prices went down yesterday.  We’ll have to wait until next Friday’s COT Report to see the numbers. I’m guessing that “da boyz” will show up at the open on Sunday evening to press their advantage further, but it appears that we’re at, or close to another major bottom.  The next two trading days should tell us a lot.  If you’re looking to “place your bets”—I would guess that the time is at hand. Here are the 6-month charts for all four precious metals. In platinum ‘3 or less’ U.S. banks are net short 5,226 COMEX futures contracts—and that’s down from the 7,522 contracts they were net short in the February BPR. Also in platinum, ’17 or more’ non-U.S. banks are net short 8,469 COMEX contracts, down from the 9,782 they were collectively short in the February BPR.  It’s a given that only one or two of these non-U.S. banks hold a material short position in this metal, at least compared to the gross and obscene short positions held by the ‘3 or less’ [more likely ‘2 or less’] U.S. bullion banks.  That means that the short positions of the remaining 15 banks are not material, unless they’re all trading together on cue—and it’s impossible to know that. Here’s the BPR chart for platinum—and please note that the banks were never a factor in platinum until mid 2009.  Now look at them.  If you want to know why the platinum price isn’t going anywhere, despite the supply/demand fundamentals, look at the total long positions the banks have vs. their collective short positions.  Palladium too!  That tells you all you need to know.  The banks are net short 20 percent of the entire COMEX futures market in platinum. As bad as the shares performed yesterday—and for the entire week, you have to wonder who was buying everything that was being sold. For the week, the HUI declined by 13.29 percent—and the silver stocks by 11.76 percent.  Ouch!  I thank Nick Laird for providing that data last night. Gold gave up all its gains for 2015 as well. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 17 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Tuesday.  Once again it was JPMorgan stopping 11 of those contracts in its in-house [proprietary] trading account.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest for March fell by 5 contracts—and is now down to 148 contracts outstanding.  Silver’s March o.i. also declined by 5 contracts—and it stands at 951 contracts remaining, minus the 17 posted above.  One has to wonder how many of these remaining contracts are owned by JPMorgan.  So far they’ve stood for delivery on more than 50 percent of the March silver contracts that have been issued. I have more to say about this in my comments on the COT Report—and the companion Bank Participation Report further down.  Ted will certainly be revisiting this issue in his weekly review today as well. There was another very decent withdrawal from GLD yesterday, this time an authorized participant removed 143,981 troy ounces.  And as of 6:51 p.m. EST yesterday, there were no reported changes in SLV.  It will be very interesting to see what withdrawals are forthcoming from these two ETFs next week. There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint. Month-to-date the mint has sold 6,500 troy ounces of gold eagles—1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 587,000 silver eagles.  That puts the silver/gold sales ratio at 73 to 1. There was a lot of in/out gold movement at the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday, as 171,852 troy ounces were reported received—and 49,890 troy ounces were shipped out the door.  The link to that activity is here. It was a bit quieter in silver, as 482,282 troy ounces were shipped in—and 111,735 ounces were shipped out.  The ‘in’ action was at Scotiabank—and the ‘out’ movement was at Brink’s, Inc.  The link to that action is here. Both Ted and I were hoping for a little bit of improvement in yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report, but we were both shocked to see huge improvements in both gold and silver—but there was absolutely nothing in the price action during the reporting week to justify the numbers that were in the report. The only two reasons I can think of why this COT Report is this far out from what the price movements indicated it should be, is because the a correction was made because of prior reporting errors, or data was either accidentally or deliberately withheld. But the numbers are what they are. In silver, for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, the Commercial net short position declined by a chunky 2,435 contracts, or 12.2 million troy ounces.  The Commercial net short position is now down to 198.5 million troy ounces.  Because JPMorgan now has a long position of unknown size in silver to go along with their short-side corner, it was tough for Ted to nail down exactly what JPMorgan is net short, but I’m guessing between between 75 and 82.5 million troy ounces based on Ted’s thoughts yesterday—which are certainly open for revision in his commentary to his paying subscribers this afternoon. Ted said that the Big 4 traders decreased their short position by 1,500 contracts—and the ‘5 through 8’ large traders decreased their short position by the same amount.  The rest of the Commercial traders, Ted’s raptors, sold 600 long contracts. But it was under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report where the real surprise was, as the technical funds in the Managed Money category decreased their long position, plus added to their short position to the tune of 8,503 contracts in total!  That’s a huge 1-week swing—and moves like that would normally affect prices far more substantially than what was shown in the reporting week.  That’s why this week’s COT Report in silver was such a surprise. As much as the silver COT Report was a surprise, there was an even bigger surprise in gold.  There, the Commercial net short position declined by a very chunky 12,307 contracts, or 1.23 million troy ounces.  The Commercial net short position is now down to 12.34 million troy ounces. Ted said that the Big 4 traders covered 3,200 contracts of their short position—and the ‘5 through 8’ didn’t do much, covering about 100 contracts.  The small commercial traders, the raptors, added 8,900 contracts to their already burgeoning long position. Under the hood in the Managed Money category, the technical funds sold 9,316 long contracts—and added 7,212 short contracts, for a 1-week swing of 16,528 contracts, or 1.65 million ounces.  Once again, activity such as this should have had a far bigger impact on prices than what occurred. Since the cut-off at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, “da boyz” have been taking small slices off the silver and gold salami every day since, culminating in the meat cleaver attack on Friday.  Without doubt, next week’s COT Report  will show huge improvements in the Commercial net short positions once again, especially in gold. The only unknown, as Ted and I were discussing, is just how willing the technical funds in the Managed Money category are prepared to go short on these ongoing engineered price declines.  They certainly did in gold yesterday, but with the blunted price action in silver, that may show that these traders don’t have any more long positions to sell—and aren’t prepared to short the silver market any further.  If that’s the case, then the bottom is basically in for silver. “Da boyz” can, like I said earlier, “huff and puff” all they want, but if the technical funds don’t have any longs left to sell—and aren’t prepared to go short any further than they already have, JPMorgan et al are stuck with the short positions they have—with no palatable way out. I’ll be more than interested in what Ted Butler has to say about all this as well. Here’s Nick Laird’s now famous “Days of World Production to Cover COMEX Short Positions” of the 4 and 8 largest traders in all physical commodities on the COMEX.  I note that the short positions of the Big 8 traders in silver has dropped from 156 days down to 141 days of world silver production.  How’s that for a short-side market corner? This is a head and shoulders shot of a Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat.  I didn’t take it. Here’s the 1-year U.S. dollar index chart, so you can see the flight to “quality” for yourself.  Doug Noland’s commentary this week is headlined “King Dollar Tipping Point“—and it’s further down in the Critical Reads section. The gold stocks gapped down big at the open—and continued lower until gold’s low tick, which came at 1:40 p.m. EST.  They rallied a bit from there, but some thoughtful soul/day trader bailed in the last few minutes before the close, taking the stocks back to almost their low ticks of the day.  The HUI got crushed to the tune of 7.47 percent. The dollar index finished the Thursday trading session at 96.35—and began to develop a slight positive bias about the same time that the precious metals began to develop a negative bias.  The rally gathered more steam shortly after London opened—and of course the index went vertical on the job numbers—and most of the gains were in by the London p.m. gold fix.  The 96.73 high came during the New York lunch hour—and it didn’t do much after that.  The dollar index finished that day at 97.72—which was up 137 basis points from Thursday’s close. How to Cash In on the Jackpot When Gold Recovers The smart money is circling the mining sector, with $8 billion cash in hand—and gold producers are starting to acquire undervalued assets. Is it a sign that the next gold bull market is underway? Maybe. But one thing’s for sure: beaten-down companies with ounces in the ground and great management teams have only one way to go: up. Free online event GOING VERTICAL. Click here to learn more and register. These three shots are the last from the Sedona area. This first is just a general shot on one of the many walks around the area—and you don’t have to go far to find a photo op in this place.  I must admit that this much red ochre colour in all directions was something I never quite got used to, although it made for spectacular photos.  Green grass seems to be easier both on the eyes—and the soul.  Don’t forget the ‘click to enlarge’ feature.last_img read more

A few months ago I wrote a check for 12000 but

first_imgA few months ago, I wrote a check for $12,000 but couldn’t figure out exactly why.The payment was to secure a place for my mother at Sligo Creek Center, in Takoma Park, Md. It’s a nursing home and rehab center owned by Genesis Healthcare.My mother was about to be discharged from Holy Cross Hospital, in nearby Silver Spring, after a fall. Medicare wouldn’t pay for her rehabilitation care.So before the Sligo Creek Center would let her through the door, I had to prepay for a month — $12,000 — or nearly $400 a night.Now, my mother had paid into Medicare her entire working life, and since she retired, the Social Security Administration has automatically deducted $130 for her basic Medicare premium from her $1,650 monthly check. On top of that, she pays about $300 a month for a prescription drug plan and supplemental “Medigap” insurance.But because of dueling rules and laws that have been well-known to Medicare officials and members of Congress for years, none of that covered my elderly mother when she needed care.This is a story of how money, outdated laws and federal budget rules can interfere with patient care and leave elderly patients vulnerable.The fallI found my mother lying on the floor of her apartment one evening in early January. I had stopped by because she didn’t return my calls. It was Wednesday, and she had fallen sometime in the previous 24 hours.She was awake, but confused. Her lips were chapped, her skin was too pink, and her thick white curls were a mess on her head. I needed help getting her up and into bed. When my husband and I couldn’t do it, we called the local fire department.There were no obvious injuries and she was speaking coherently, so I spent the night with her and tried to care for her the next day, thinking she just needed rest and food. But it soon became clear she needed medical help.She couldn’t walk, couldn’t even move her left leg. Her confusion was getting worse. Her doctor recommended I take her to the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.An ER doctor there examined her, saw that she couldn’t move her leg, couldn’t really even hold her body upright and had trouble with her memory. He said he would admit her to the hospital’s observation unit to figure out what was going on. He mentioned she might need rehab care to get up and walking again.The word observation triggered an alarm deep in my brain. I had read that patients on observation status sometimes weren’t eligible for rehab care, and I told the doctor that I was concerned.He said he and the hospital “do all they can to be sure their patients’ care is covered.” I was reassured.My mother spent four nights at Holy Cross. She was on IV antibiotics for an infection. She got nine X-rays, two MRIs, scans of her carotid arteries and lungs, and a CT scan. Hospital staffers drew blood no less than six times because they were concerned she might have had a mild heart attack or stroke that had caused her to fall.Administrative mazeOn the day they decided to release her, a social worker named Jay called to say the doctors were recommending she go to an inpatient rehab center — and then he said Medicare wouldn’t pay for it.My mother was caught in an administrative wonderland where she slept at a hospital for four nights, but the paperwork said she was an inpatient only one of those nights. Medicare’s rules, dating back to the 1960s, require people to spend three nights in a hospital before the federal program will pay for inpatient rehabilitative care.It would cost upward of $12,000 a month, Jay told me.I sped to the hospital in a rage. I demanded to know why they were releasing her when she still couldn’t walk. Further, I wanted to know, why were they calling her an “outpatient” when she was sleeping in their bed, under their blankets, wearing their hospital gown and being cared for by their staff.Here were some of the things a parade of social workers and nurses told me that day.The doctor couldn’t admit her as an inpatient because she didn’t have a qualifying diagnosis.Her status was changed from observation to inpatient on the third day because Medicare requires that.They could not change her status to inpatient for the entire stay because they didn’t want to be audited.She couldn’t go to acute rehabilitation, which Medicare pays for, because there was no evidence she had had a stroke or heart attack.They didn’t say much about her medical care. It was all about the rules.For the record, my mother has no money. She lives on Social Security. She has no car, no house, no savings. My siblings and I help pay her bills.And now they were saying she had to leave the hospital. But she obviously couldn’t go home.Holy Cross kept her one more night — at no charge — while we figured out where she could go. They said she could apply for Medicaid, and a social worker handed me a 17-page application. I picked a handful of rehab centers from a list, after a quick search of reviews on my iPhone. One was full, one rejected her because she was listed as “Medicaid pending,” and finally, Genesis Healthcare said they would take her — on the condition that I come by with a $12,000 check that day.So I did.Rules, rules, rulesSo now I was out $12,000 — borrowed from a home equity line of credit — and I wanted to know why.And here’s what I learned.Medicare, in its zillions of pages of guidelines and regulations, has two competing rules. The first says patients must spend three nights as a hospital inpatient to qualify for inpatient rehabilitation or skilled nursing care once they’re discharged. The second encourages hospitals to keep patients on observation status or risk being audited.The reason? Medicare pays more for short inpatient stays than short outpatient stays. But once a patient has been at the hospital for a number of days, that calculus flips, and outpatients end up costing more. So in its effort to control costs, Medicare forces hospitals to justify their decisions about inpatient and outpatient status.”It was always kind of assumed that when you go to the hospital, people know what hospital care is,” says Judy Stein, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy. “Hospital admission is when you’re admitted to the hospital.”Her group is leading a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services, seeking to give patients the right to appeal their status as observation patients.Stein says the use of observation status has grown dramatically in the past decade, in part because Medicare has become far more aggressive in going after hospitals the agency said were inappropriately — and expensively — admitting patients who didn’t need hospital care.A study in the journal Health Affairs found that the number of Medicare patients who spent three or more days in a hospital under observation rose 88 percent from 2007 to 2009. That increase came just after Congress authorized Medicare to use contractors to audit hospitals for overcharges. But the trend in observation care has continued.A report by the HHS inspector general found that in fiscal year 2014, more than 633,000 Medicare beneficiaries spent three or more days in the hospital but were considered outpatients, an increase of 8 percent over the previous year. A separate report found that in 2012, about 24,000 patients went to skilled nursing homes or rehab centers and had to pay their own way.New UnitHoly Cross built a dedicated observation unit around 2011, according to Yancy Phillips, the hospital’s chief quality officer, who spoke to me at length about the use of observation status.That was where my mother spent those four nights. She had her own room, with glass doors that were covered by a curtain. The nurses station was right outside her door. It looks like a cross between a traditional patient floor and the emergency room. Doctors came around at least once a day.Phillips says that Holy Cross has no financial motive to classify patients like my mother one way or another because Maryland law requires the same payment for the same services. It’s the only state with such rules.But the hospital still has to follow Medicare’s rules when it comes to inpatient and observation care.”There’s really no financial advantage to us except if we get the status wrong,” he said. “Medicare has come back to us and said, ‘No, no, no, this should not have been an inpatient.’ “When that happens, Medicare pays nothing at all.To avoid losing money, Holy Cross, like many other hospitals, uses “decision support” software — in this case a package called InterQual, sold by McKesson — that guides doctors or case managers in making the call on whether a person should be admitted or kept on “observation.”The programs are designed to ensure that hospitals don’t get dinged by Medicare for overcharging or providing inappropriate services.Phillips says doctors use their own judgment about whether a patient should be admitted. But he also acknowledges that InterQual is embedded in the electronic health record software used at Holy Cross. It was likely this program that concluded that my mother didn’t meet Medicare’s criteria for inpatient care.The thing about all this is that this problem is well-known to everybody involved.But lawmakers and Medicare haven’t taken action to fix it.A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., have proposed bills multiple times that would simply require Medicare to count all the time patients spend in a hospital toward its requirements for nursing care.The House version attracted 162 co-sponsors from both parties, but neither bill has gotten a hearing on Capitol Hill or been close to a vote.Jonathan Blum, the former Medicare director at CMS, suggests another fix: Get rid of the three-night requirement altogether.”It’s really an artifact,” he said. “It was put in place as a budgetary control and it was designed when the average length of a hospital stay was seven, eight or nine days.”Everyone I talked with agrees that the root of the problem is money. There has been no formal analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, but most people believe that eliminating the three-night requirement would end up costing the government more money.”These are insurance rules. They’re policies. They can be changed,” says Phillips of Holy Cross Hospital. “But it would have enormous financial implications for the country. And we may have an appetite for tax cuts, but I don’t see that we have an appetite for something that would increase Medicare costs.”It’s not clear that it would cost more, however. Two pilot programs from the late 1970s showed mixed results from eliminating the three-night rule, with Medicare costs rising in Massachusetts, but falling in Oregon, according to an article in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.That article concluded, however, that the rule may be preventing patients from getting appropriate care.And that would have been the case with my mother, who couldn’t have written a $12,000 check to secure a rehab bed for herself.Two weeks into her therapy at the Sligo Center, my mother fell again. This time, she broke her hip and needed hip replacement surgery. Because she didn’t stay the whole month getting rehab care, I got a refund of about $6,000.Under Medicare’s rules, that surgery meant she was automatically eligible for post-surgical rehab care. So after she was released from the hospital, she went to a new center — no deposit required. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Top MBA Recruiters SP Global

first_img regions: Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago / Dallas / Denver / Houston / London / Los Angeles / Miami / New York City / Online / Philadelphia / Research Triangle / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Toronto / Washington, DC In 1869, Henry Varnum Poor published an investor’s guide to the American railroad industry. As it approaches its 160th year, New York City‘s S&P Global, the company that bearing his name, is an elite firm that organizes an index fund for the stock market and provides important financial information to businesses around the world.S&P Global is one of the largest financial analytics firms in the world, which means that many MBAs who aspire to roles as quants should read on.Why MBAs Love S&P GlobalFor those familiar with the Wall Street Journal, S&P Global’s massive international presence in the financial market is hard to miss. MBAs who want to pursue international opportunities or return to their home countries can find many opportunities with S&P Global, operating 65 offices spread across six continents. Given the prominent position in finance, S&P Global offers extremely competitive wages to its employees. According to Glassdoor, MBAs who begin their careers at S&P Global as associates can earn an average of $110,397, with an additional $15,000 in cash bonuses.Life at S&P GlobalS&P Global and S&P Global Market Intelligence both emphasize strong work-life balance and benefits. In addition to comprehensive health, vision, dental, and retirement benefits, S&P provides employees with support for child and elder care, adoption assistance, and a maternity management program for new mothers. S&P also offers employees a $5,000 refund for continuing education courses.Another major benefit that employees extol is the high quality of their colleagues, who are described as extremely smart and open to collaboration. Some also mention how S&P Global is a fantastic place to learn about the business and get a foothold in the field.Landing a Job at S&P GlobalThe firm operates on three primary principles: relevance, integrity, and excellence. S&P also seeks candidates who embody the following leadership qualities:Operate outside-inElevate peopleAdopt a worldviewDrive performanceSpeak the truthExecute with discipline.It is critical that all prospective employees to understand what these values mean to them and how they can be applied to their work at S&P Global.The application process is rather straightforward. For example, prospects for the associate position are first screened through a 30-minute phone interview. If the phone interview is passed, candidates are called in for a series of interviews and a two-hour in-house rating assessment, which requires that the candidate writes a one-page recommendation based on information provided to them by the firm.As noted above, throughout this process, the firm attempts to assess the candidate’s fit within the S&P Global culture. S&P also looks to ensure that candidates have the technical skills necessary to thrive in the job if hired.The best candidates will have made contact with current employees to review what systems are being used at S&P Global, particularly in their desired area of employment, and will know how their experience and mentality fits with the firm’s values and principles.Current S&P Global Jobs OpeningsThe company is currently looking for a litany of MBA talent in and outside of the United States. There are over 300 openings at S&P Global Market Intelligence alone. Just last week, the following positions opened up:Sales Associate – Investment Banking/Private Equity – New York City, U.S.While this position does not explicitly require an MBA degree, the company notes that is preferred, in addition to “Investment Management, Hedge Fund, Private Equity and Investment Banking space.” Business school grads with a passion for sales are prime for this role, who will need to “identify key decision makers and influencers with target prospects and execute sales strategy collaborate with sales members, client services, product management, operations, technology, and legal to optimize product and service delivery.”Product Manager – Digital Storefront – New York City, NY or Charlottesville, VA or Centennial, CO, U.S.For business school grads less interested in the art of sales and more inclined to the world of strategy, a Product Manager role may be perfect. The role looks for people who can “build out a new digital storefront for all of our data sets products. You will work alongside S&P Global Technology, Commercial, Content and Operation teams to define executable business requirements that are aligned with Clients needs as well as the broader S&P Global strategy and goals.”An MBA degree is not a requirement for the position. Rather, in line with the experience many MBAs have already earned by the time they earn a degree, the Product Manager should have at least three years of business analysis or project management experience, and four to six years of business experience in general.Marketing Manager – New York City, U.S.Business grads with at least five years of related experience may be very interested in the company’s Marketing Manager role in New York. They’re looking for candidates that can craft a compelling marketing narrative, working alongside the sales, research, and product teams, helping to build the brand. Top MBA Recruiters: S&P Global About the AuthorJonathan PfefferJonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.View more posts by Jonathan Pfeffer center_img Last Updated Apr 16, 2019 by Jonathan PfefferFacebookTwitterLinkedinemail RelatedNew Finance Careers Openings AnnouncedMany MBA graduates pursue careers in financial services after completing their degrees. Jobs in this field include product managers, financial analysts and asset managers, as well as roles in related emerging sub-sectors like FinTech. For MBAs looking to break into this field, check out our list of five exciting new…June 5, 2019In “Boston”PwC, Credit Suisse Highlight Newest MBA Finance JobsWhile an MBA can be applied to any field, most graduates leverage their advance business degree to a new MBA job in the financial services field. Are you on the lookout for a hot new MBA job in the financial services sector? You’re in luck — here’s a selection of…March 5, 2019In “Credit Suisse”The Best International Business MBA Programs in New York CityLinguists and frequent flyers need not be the only types who heed the call to jet set around the world. In today’s increasingly decentralized global economy, more and more business is being conducted between borders, which means its better know than ever to earn one of the world’s best international…January 25, 2017In “Featured Home”last_img read more

Samara scholars assessed a new way of skin cancer early diagnostics

first_img Source:https://ssau.ru/english/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 25 2018A team of scholars of Samara National Research University and Samara State Medical University as well as clinic specialists of Samara Regional Oncology Centre (SROC) tested a new way of skin cancer early diagnostics with the help of original complex of three devices.The efficiency of oncology treatment is directly connected with the timeliness of their detection. For instance, for melanoma – the most aggressive form of skin tumor detected at the first stage – five-year survival rate after the treatment makes 98% and does not exceed 15% with diagnostics at the fourth stage.Methods created by the team of Samara scholars allowed enhancing the efficiency of active and early skin neoplasm diagnostics up to 97% when the exactness of usual standard clinical research does not exceed 50-60%.The research results are given in the article “Combined Raman and autofluorescence ex vivo diagnostics of skin cancer in NIR and visible regions” which was published in one of the most authoritative journals devoted to the use of modern optical technology for research in Medicine and Biology – Journal of Biomedical Optics.In the basis of methodology developed by Samara scholars at the Department of Laser and Biotechnical Systems of Samara University (headed by professor Valeriy Zakharov) is a system of spectral measurement of problem skin areas with the further medical interpretation of the received data offered by the Department of Oncology of SSMU (headed by professor Sergey Kozlov).As professor Zakharov explained the developed system of spectral measurement allows registering parameters of a patient’s skin in many spectral ranges simultaneously and this gives opportunity to spot pathological changes on cell level as ill cells in their range are different from the healthy ones.This means is the most suitable for screening programmes: not only it allows diagnosing pathology rather precisely and quickly, but it also does not require any use of additional consumable materials and chemical agents and permits to do without the use of invasive method of diagnosis confirmation. “For example, in case of suspicion in skin melanoma incorrect biopsy of a tumour increases the risk of metastasis”, – Alexander Moryatov, the curator of the project, associate professor of the department of Oncology of SSMU added. – In any case after examination of a patient and surgical treatment we finally confirm the diagnosis morphologically”.The scholars use three devices for diagnostics.The first one is an experimental setting for measurement of Raman scattering, it studies spectral characteristics of neoplasms, first of all, skin melanoma. According to Sergey Kozlov this device is suitable for precise diagnostics of a malignant tumor nature allowing to diagnose and differentiate between melanoma and other forms of skin tumor quickly and safely. “This setting can be set in an ordinary regional hospital”, – the professor specified.Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsThe second device – dermatoscope – gives a visual picture of tumor with the maximum approach to its surface and allows seeing and fixing characteristic signs of this disease in real time. According to Sergey Kozlov this device can be compared favorably with the similar ones in respect of a user-friendly interface, the ability to conduct analysis in the mode of polarized light, as well as with the help of special highlight to study peculiarities of melanin, hemoglobin, structure of capillary network in the studied skin area.The third – hyperspectral camera – allows in a short period of time to make several tens of shots in different ranges (for different skin neoplasms are characteristic different optical characteristics) with high definition.All three devices represent a joint development of Samara University scholars, SSMU and SROC and are directed at comparative research of optical characteristics of healthy and pathologically changed tissues in which analysis of different types of neoplasms is built on the basis of joint interpretation of their ranges got with the application of completely safe technologies and laser light sources of different wavelengths.It is said about two types of spectral analysis the character of which depends on biochemical composition of tissues under investigation – Raman spectrum (RS) and autofluorescence spectrum (AS). “Thus “double” spectroscopy allows, as our experiments show, getting information about tissue structure on the basis of which different types of skin tumor can be identified rather precisely”, – Ivan Bratchenko, associate professor of Department of Laser and Biotechnical Systems of Samara University, asserts.All three devices work at the department of Oncology of SSMU, clinical site of Samara Regional Clinical Ontology Dispensary and have already been used for several months when oncologists examine patients. With the help of this equipment more than 400 people have already been examined. “The received results give hope that we approach precise diagnostics comparable with morphological research”, – Alexander Moryatov mentioned.According to Sergey Kozlov diagnostic devices showed high resolution and with time can emerge in the market of medical equipment: “We have few rivalries in Russia and abroad and here we have received better results”.Samara scholars connect perspectives of their research in diagnostics of skin neoplasm with the increase of its resolution due to the complication of mathematical analysis of spectrum data. Their further plans are to integrate a complex of three devices with fiber-optics to use them for diagnosis of inner located tumors (gastrointestinal tract, lungs, etc.) preserving with this safe for a human being research principle – spectral analysis of tumors.last_img read more

New astronomy workshop for students with hearing loss

first_img Source:https://www.ucr.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 6 2019Astronomers at the University of California, Riverside, have teamed with teachers at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, or CSDR, to design an astronomy workshop for students with hearing loss that can be easily used in classrooms, museums, fairs, and other public events.The workshop utilized a sound stage that allowed the CSDR students to “feel” vibrations from rockets, stars, galaxies, supernovae, and even remnants of the Big Bang itself. The members of the team have made their materials public and written up their experiences to help teachers and other educators worldwide to similarly engage the deaf community in STEM activities.Since 2015, Gillian Wilson, senior associate vice chancellor for research and economic development and a professor of physics and astronomy at UCR, and Mario De Leo-Winkler, director of the National System of Researchers of Mexico and a former postdoctoral scholar at UCR, have developed astronomy outreach activities – astronomy photography competitions, traveling astronomy exhibitions, K12 workshops, interdisciplinary honors thesis projects, hands-on undergraduate astrophotography – that have touched 40,000 people.They have worked closely with CSDR teachers before, ensuring American Sign Language, or ASL, at public astronomy events, but had never developed an activity targeted for the deaf community.Around 360 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. In the United States, about 11 million citizens are functionally deaf or report some trouble hearing. The city of Riverside contains a large concentration of deaf students because it is home to CSDR, the only public school for the deaf in Southern California.”Designers of informal STEM education and public outreach activities often overlook people with hearing loss,” De Leo-Winkler said. “For our workshop we decided to focus on astronomy -a gateway to science- because of the breathtaking imagery it offers, the big questions it tackles, and its increasingly interdisciplinary nature. We used storytelling, videos, and images in the workshop to bring meaning to the sounds of the universe — all of which made for a very engaging experience for the students.”Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTMalaria drug may help those with hereditary hearing loss finds studySmarter, more educated people get a cognitive ‘head start’, but aren’t protected from Alzheimer’s”The students clearly loved the experience,” said Wilson, “and that’s the whole point.”De Leo-Winkler and Wilson presented the workshop multiple times over three days at CSDR, using feedback from the teachers and students not only to better convey the scientific concepts, but also to improve the students’ experience. Their presentation took the students on a cosmic voyage: the students “traveled” from Earth, where thunderstorms were raging, to the sun, where they experienced a solar storm. The voyage continued to Jupiter, flew through the rings of Saturn, and continued on to stars Alpha Centauri A and B. The students flew past the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy and encountered a supernovae explosion. The voyage ended by encountering the Cosmic Microwave Background, the radiation leftover from the Big Bang. Temperature variations in this radiation were sonified to allow the students to experience them as vibrations.”Deaf individuals have a more developed sense of touch than hearing people due to their brain ‘rewiring’ in a process called neuroplasticity,” De Leo-Winkler said. “We paid close attention to this when designing the workshop. The students sit on a special interlocking wooden floor and face a TV screen. When sounds are played, they are transmitted by the sound system onto the floorboard as vibrations. Meanwhile videos and images that provide information are displayed on the screen. We tell the story and an interpreter signs what we say in American Sign Language.”The workshop opens a new way of communicating cosmic phenomena, related to sound, to the deaf community, and opens the door for further developments in public outreach using vibrations to engage and excite students.”It was very important to us to make our materials publicly accessible,” Wilson said. “There are dozens of these sound stages in the U.S. alone. Our workshop could easily be adapted to include other astronomical phenomena or to focus on another scientific discipline. I hope knowing that this was such a positive experience for us will inspire others.”last_img read more

Sperm quality not affected by one course of postoperative treatment for early

first_img Source:https://www.esmo.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 25 2019First study to investigate long-term effect of postoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy on sperm count and concentrationMen with early stage testicular cancer can safely receive one course of chemotherapy or radiotherapy after surgery without it having a long-term effect on their sperm count, according to a study published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology today (Monday).Although it is known already that several rounds of chemotherapy or high doses of radiotherapy given to men with more advanced testicular cancer can reduce sperm count and concentration, it has been unclear whether a single cycle of chemotherapy or radiotherapy would have a similar effect in men with stage I disease.Dr Kristina Weibring, a cancer doctor at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, who led the study, said: “We wanted to examine in more detail if postoperative treatment, given to decrease the risk of recurrence after the removal of the tumorous testicle, would affect the sperm count and sperm concentration long term in testicular cancer patients with no spread of the disease. To our knowledge, no such study has been done before.”This is important to find out, since treatment with one course of postoperative chemotherapy has been shown to decrease the risk of relapse substantially, thereby reducing the number of patients having to be treated with several courses of chemotherapy.”Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 40. When it is diagnosed, all patients have the testicle containing the tumour removed, a surgical procedure called orchiectomy.In this study, 182 men aged between 18 and 50, diagnosed with stage I testicular cancer and who had had an orchiectomy within the past five years, took part in the study between 2001 and 2006. They were treated either in Stockholm or Lund. After surgery, they received radiotherapy (14 fractions of 1.8 Gy each, up to a total dose of 25 Gy) or one course of chemotherapy, or were managed by surveillance, meaning there was no postoperative treatment. They provided semen samples after orchiectomy but before further treatment, and then six months, one year, two years, three years and five years thereafter. From 2006 onwards, radiotherapy was no longer used as a standard treatment in Sweden because of the risk of causing secondary cancer.”We found no clinically significant detrimental long-term effect in either total sperm number or sperm concentration, irrespective of the type of postoperative treatment received,” said Dr Weibring. “Among men who received radiotherapy, there was a distinct decrease in average sperm number and concentration six months after treatment, though not in those who received chemotherapy. However, sperm number and concentration recovered in the radiotherapy group after six months, and continued to increase in all groups up to five years after treatment.Related StoriesResearchers use AI to develop early gastric cancer endoscopic diagnosis systemLiving with advanced breast cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumors”I am very excited to see these results as I wasn’t expecting sperm to recover so well after postoperative treatment. I didn’t expect as negative an effect as if the patient had received many courses of chemotherapy, since it is much more toxic, but I was not sure how much the sperm would be affected by one course.”With the results of this study we can give the patients more adequate information on potential side effects from postoperative treatment. Testicular cancer patients are often young men wanting to father children at some point, and we find, in many cases, that the patients are afraid of the potential risk of infertility caused by chemotherapeutic treatment. These findings should provide some reassurance to them.”A well-known problem for men diagnosed with testicular cancer is an impaired ability to create sperm. A condition called testicular dysgenesis syndrome, characterised by poor semen quality among other things, may play a role in this and is also associated with a higher risk of developing testicular cancer. In addition, the orchiectomy and the cancer itself may also affect sperm quality. The removal of one testicle does not necessarily affect a man’s sperm count and concentration as the remaining testicle can compensate.Dr Weibring concluded: “Our results are promising but more studies are needed, and we still recommend sperm banking before orchiectomy as a number of patients may have low sperm counts at the time of diagnosis that persists after postoperative treatment. In addition, the type of testicular cancer and whether or not it will need further treatments are unknown factors before the orchiectomy. Assisted reproductive measures may be necessary for these patients regardless of any treatment given.”Editor-in-chief of Annals of Oncology, Professor Fabrice André, Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France, commented: “This study, together with other research efforts, explores the paths to recovering a normal life after cancer. The finding that one course of chemotherapy has minimal impact on sperm count offers hope for thousands of patients worldwide, but we all must keep in mind that these data are preliminary and will require validation before we can use them in clinics. The next step will be to establish how to predict the toxic effects on sperm count of different chemotherapy regimens.”last_img read more

World Bank says demand for blockchain bond tops expectations

first_img Explore further Banks don’t want to be weakest link in blockchain revolution The Washington-based bank, which has embraced blockchain as a valuable tool in its economic development mission, had initially expected to garner Aus$50 million ($36.8 million) for the two-year bond, with a possible doubling of that size depending on investor interest.”I am delighted that this pioneer bond transaction using the distributed ledger technology, bond-i, was extremely well received by investors,” World Bank Treasurer Arunma Oteh said in a statement.”We are particularly impressed with the breadth of interest from official institutions, fund managers, government institutions and banks.”Blockchain is a digital public registry of transactions that has aroused considerable enthusiasm in financial and government circles over its potential to facilitate transactions and improve supply chains and product verification in myriad industries.World Bank areas of focus that could be helped by blockchain and other disruptive technologies include land administration, health, education and carbon markets, the bank said.Investors included Commonwealth Bank of Australia, First State Super, Northern Trust and the Treasury Corporation of Victoria.Derek Young, chief operating officer for group investments at QBE Insurance Group, another investor, said in remarks provided by the bank that blockchain offered “untapped potential for the application of this product to capital markets.”There is no central bank behind blockchain. The vehicle will be organized around Australian dollars. The technology is most often associated with cryptocurrencies—like bitcoin—which often raise suspicions about their reliability and volatility, as well as their use for criminal purposes. However, even some critics of bitcoin have said blockchain offers significant potential among emerging financial technologies.Microsoft was an independent code reviewer for the bond offering, while TD Securities served as market maker. © 2018 AFP Bitcoin mining is viewed at BitFarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec in 2018center_img The World Bank raised Aus$110 million ($80.9 million) in the first-ever blockchain bond offering following investor demand that exceeded expectations, the global lender announced Thursday. Citation: World Bank says demand for blockchain bond tops expectations (2018, August 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-world-bank-demand-blockchain-bond.html 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.last_img read more

Pentagon postpones press briefing on Russian missile system delivery to Turkey

first_img Related News Related News The briefing was supposed to take place earlier on Friday with senior leaders on the Pentagon’s response to the parts of the Russian made S-400 being delivered to Turkey.The Pentagon added that Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had spoken with his Turkish counterpart for about 30 minutes on Friday, but did not provide details on the discussions. (Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Richard Chang) World 11 Jul 2019 U.S. Air Force finds no evidence of misconduct by top general World 10 Jul 2019 Turkey rejects Greek, EU claims that drilling off Cyprus illegitimatecenter_img WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Friday it had indefinitely postponed a press briefing on Turkey accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defence system. World 11 Jun 2019 Russia says to deliver missile defence system to Turkey in July {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more