Virtuoso says goodbye to cofounder and visionary leader Jesse Upchurch

first_img FORT WORTH — Former Virtuoso chairman Jesse Upchurch has passed away at the age of 93, leaving behind a legacy that includes a 50-year career in travel.The visionary leader passed away on Feb. 26, reports Virtuoso, who hailed Upchurch for “changing the way many experience destinations from Mexico to Africa to India”. Upchurch co-founded Virtuoso in 1986 with his son, current Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch.“My father was a pioneer in this business, and I am forever grateful that he introduced me to the world and this industry at such an early age,” said Matthew. “He had a nose for knowing what the luxury traveller wanted, and it wasn’t necessarily the traditional refinement found in five-star hotels or transatlantic cruise liners. He knew the world offered more than that. His insatiable curiosity about the unknown, his passion for other people and their cultures, and his tendency to question conventional wisdom with a simple ‘why not?’ opened the door for others to experience countries that were not considered tourism-friendly yet. He left his mark on this industry that he loved so much.”The elder Upchurch’s career in travel began when he invested in Vagabond Cruises, a yacht-chartering company in the Caribbean’s West Indies islands. After realizing a market existed for both adventure and luxury travel, he built the first timeshare resort in Acapulco and purchased Turismo Antonio Perez and Hotels S.A. de S.V., a travel company and international hotel representation group.With the purchase of Percival Tours in 1962, Upchurch expanded operations into more exotic locales like the south Pacific and Asia. As chairman and CEO of Percival Tours, he successfully opened up tourism in markets previously considered only for the most adventurous traveller, such as Africa and India. He’s also credited with being the first to introduce air-conditioned motorcoaches for upscale guests.Upchurch was also heavily involved in conservation efforts as a founding member of world Wildlife Fund’s 1001 Club. In addition, he was a co-founder of the U.S. Tour Operators Association where he served as chairman, CEO and president.In 2000, Upchurch was named CEO of Virtuoso and he assumed the role of chairman in 2010.The family will honor Jesse Upchurch’s memory privately, and celebrations of his life in various communities will take place in the months ahead. Details for in-memoriam gifts will follow soon. << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: People, Virtuoso Thursday, March 1, 2018 center_img Virtuoso says goodbye to co-founder and “visionary leader” Jesse Upchurch Travelweek Group Sharelast_img read more

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These adventurous cats probably travel more than you do

first_img Travelweek Group Share These adventurous cats probably travel more than you do Tags: Animals, Instagram TOKYO — Cats are known for their independent streak, which often affords them the luxury of staying home alone or venturing on walks by themselves. But two gutsy felines have taken their independence up a notch by becoming a fearless travelling duo in the Far East.Daikichi and Fuku-Chan, two rescue cats in Japan, have become the latest Internet sensation for their incredible love of travel. As the travelling companions of their human, Daisuke Nagasawa, the faithful felines have visited all of Japan’s 47 prefectures over the course of eight years.The idea to take his cats along on his travels came to Nagasawa in 2011, when he first started travelling for work. He missed them so much (and vice versa) that he vowed to start bringing them along as his trusty sidekicks.Since then, the wanderlust trio has gained a huge following on Instagram, where Nagasawa documents their travels with adorable snaps. Daikichi and Fuku-Chan can be seen posing in front of cherry blossoms, visiting Mt. Fuji, being lugged around in backpacks, checking out waterfalls and seeing the sights in baby strollers.We can’t wait to see where their travels take them next!center_img Posted by Friday, May 3, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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State Rep Peter J Lucido named vice chair of House Judiciary Committee

first_img Categories: Lucido News 16Jan State Rep. Peter J. Lucido named vice chair of House Judiciary Committee On the second day of the 98th Legislature, state Rep. Peter J. Lucido was appointed to serve on four House committees.Lucido will serve as the vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as serving on the House Criminal Justice, Energy Policy and Financial Services committees.“As a first-term lawmaker, I look forward to bringing my experience as a lawyer and small business owner from Macomb County to these committees,” said Lucido, a Republican from Shelby Township. “Serving as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee and on the Criminal Justice Committee will give me the opportunity to use my private-sector background, particularly my experience in the legal field, to have a positive impact on these important committees as a freshman lawmaker.”House committees review all legislation that affects their issue area and make recommendations as to whether to the full House should take up the bills.Rep. Lucido can be contacted in Lansing by calling (517) 373-0843, at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514 or by email at peterlucido@house.mi.gov.###last_img read more

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Rep Theis bills protect minors involved in sex crimes

first_img07Feb Rep. Theis bills protect minors involved in sex crimes State Rep. Lana Theis today introduced a bipartisan legislative package to protect young victims of sexual-based offenses, while helping local school districts better protect their students who are victims of such crimes.The legislation is in response to a recent Livingston County case involving a 16-year-old offender convicted of criminal sexual conduct against multiple victims, one as young as 12.“The details of this case are heart wrenching and expose a significant need in our state involving juvenile victims and perpetrators in criminal sexual conduct cases,” said Theis, of Brighton. “Everything from the conviction, punishment and possibility of the offender returning to the same high school attended by the victims show we have to treat this crime with the severity it deserves.”Under current law, a school must expel a student who commits criminal sexual conduct in a school building or on school grounds. The legislation would require schools to expel students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil enrolled in the same school district; and prohibit an offender from enrolling in a school building where their victim attends school. The legislation also requires that if a personal protection order is ordered for the victim of sexual assaults, the offender, regardless of age, would be prohibited from entering the victim’s school.“Criminal sexual conduct needs to be dealt with more seriously, especially when it involves minors, because the punishment handed down in Livingston County did nothing – to rehabilitate the offender, get justice for the victims or protect the community,” said Theis, a member of the House Law and Justice Committee. “We need to do better in Michigan.”House Bills 5530 and 5531 were assigned to the House Law and Justice Committee.##### Categories: News,Theis Newslast_img read more

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Disneyowned sports broadcaster ESPN is considerin

first_imgDisney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN is considering making its content available via the Apple TV service, according to US reports.The sports channel operator is reportedly considering allowing authenticated pay TV customers access to the WatchESPN app via Apple TV although it is not, it said, yet involved ion active discussion to that end.WatchESPN, which includes digital channel ESPN3, is already available via Microsoft’s Xbox console and via certain pay TV subscriptions. ESPN has also worked with Facebook to allow authenticated users to watch content online.last_img read more

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The International Telecommunication Union ITU ha

first_imgThe International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has issued new recommended standards for 3D TV production and distribution.It has also recommended methods to evaluate 3D TV image quality, depth and viewer comfort level. The ITU said its work will provide a boost to the fledgling 3D TV sector.“3DTV has made a huge impact on TV viewers around the world and led to new developments and opportunities in the broadcast and manufacturing sectors,” ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Touré said. “The new ITU-R Recommendations will provide fresh impetus to this exciting television format.”David Wood, chairman of ITU-R Working Party 6C (WP 6C), said: “These recommendations will be of great value to those who make and distribute 3DTV programmes today and in the future. They will make the 3DTV world more comfortable for the media community, and will surely encourage the success and further development of 3DTV.”Christoph Dosch, Chairman of ITU-R Study Group 6 added,  “This suite of recommendations illustrates the coordinated work of experts from various disciplines working together in the ITU Study Group. The ITU-R’s main job is to agree recommendations, and we are clearly succeeding with 3DTV.”Separately, the ITU has launched its second IPTV Application Challenge, inviting individuals, small-to-medium-sized companies and corporations to submit ideas for socially beneficial smart TV applications.The winning application in the individual/SME category will be awarded a cash prize of US$3,000 (€2,400). There is a separate category for corporate entries. Winners will be announced at the quadrennial World Telecommunication Standardisation Assembly (WTSA-12), in Dubai from November 20-29.last_img read more

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Click to enlarge Renewed Fiscal Crisis by Earl

first_img (Click to enlarge) Renewed Fiscal Crisis by Early September At present, the US Treasury is playing daily accounting games in order keep its borrowings—subject to the debt ceiling—from exceeding the ceiling. The July 3, 2013 Daily Treasury Statement showed those borrowings to be just $25 million shy of the roughly $16,999.421 billion ceiling. The US Treasury estimates that the ability to play games will end, and the debt limit will have to be raised, sometime early in September 2013. The long-postponed and unresolved budget-deficit conflicts within the Congress and with the White House are likely to surface anew at that time. What is being played out here is still part of the fiscal-crisis confrontation of July and August 2011, which almost collapsed the US dollar and brought about a downgrade in the sovereign credit rating of the United States. The issues never were resolved. They were put off until after the 2012 election, and other than for minimal sequestration, they remain in play, going into a post-Labor Day 2013 showdown. The global markets, which broke into brief but extreme turmoil with the unresolved crisis in 2011, await a resolution. The markets have been patient with the US dollar through the ensuing sequestration, and continued postponements of serious negotiations that have accompanied successive displays of the political inability of the US government to address its long-range solvency issues. Further efforts at delay and/or obfuscation not only should invite an intensifying crisis of global confidence in the US dollar, but also will invite a further downgrade to the sovereign credit rating of the United States. The crux of the dollar-debasement and ultimate, severe-inflation/hyperinflation issues indeed is this political inability of the United States to cover its long-range obligations, other than by printing the money it needs. Based on the US Treasury’s financial accounting of the federal government using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), the GAAP-based federal budget deficit was $6.6 trillion in fiscal-year 2012 (year ended September 30). Well beyond the simple cash-based deficit of $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012, the GAAP-based annual deficits have been in the range of $4 to $5 trillion for the six years leading up to 2012. The largest difference here is that the GAAP numbers include annual deterioration in the net present value of unfunded liabilities for programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Those GAAP levels are not sustainable or containable. Beyond the likelihood that the economy is at the tipping point on taxes, where higher taxes actually would increase the deficit due to resulting slower economic growth, the government cannot raise taxes enough to cover the actual deficit in any given year. The annual shortfalls also are so large that every penny of government spending (including defense) could be cut to zero except for the social programs, and the fiscal circumstance still would be in deficit. The options open to those running the government are limited in terms of new taxes and have to include significant spending cuts and restructurings of Social Security, Medicare, etc., so that those programs are solvent over the long haul. Such actions are a political impossibility at the moment. Given continued political contentiousness and the use of overly optimistic economic assumptions to help ten-year budget projections along, little but gimmicked numbers and further smoke and mirrors are likely to come out of pending negotiations or confrontations. Economic Plunge and Recovery versus Plunge and Stagnation The official version of recent economy activity is that a deep recession began in December 2007, hit bottom in June 2009, and that business activity has been in recovery since. That pattern is reflected in the accompany graph of headline, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP). The economy regained its pre-recession high in fourth-quarter 2011 and has been expanding ever since. Unfortunately, no other major economic series has shown the full and expanded recovery suggested by GDP reporting. Those “errant” series include payroll employment, industrial production, consumer confidence, and housing starts, among others. (Click to enlarge) Other Factors Impacting the US Dollar, Inflation, and Precious Metals Highlighted here have been several issues where recent shifts in market sentiment have neutralized or reversed the impact or otherwise had been significant, negative elements for the outlook of the US dollar, and supportive elements of the outlook for domestic inflation and the prices of gold and silver. Market sentiments should shift again, both as the economy shows an intensifying downturn and as the clock runs out on fiscal-crisis delaying tactics. A new factor—not yet widely anticipated in the markets—is that still-developing political scandals tied to the Obama administration could threaten global perceptions of political stability in the United States, placing significant downside pressure on the value of the US currency. The popular press generally has been highly sympathetic to the political needs of the administration, so increasingly negative press in these areas suggests that recognition of the “scandals” has gained some momentum. In the event that a Watergate-type circumstance evolves from the current hubbub of touted misdeeds, it could become a seriously negative factor for the US dollar. After Nixon floated the US dollar in March 1973, the Watergate scandal began to break open with Congressional hearings. Despite other turmoil of the time, including an Arab-Israeli war and an Arab oil embargo, the day-to-day developments in the Watergate scandal dominated day-to-day trading in the US currency. When the US dollar again comes under heavy selling pressure, oil prices will spike anew, separate from the effects of political crises in the Middle East. The inflation, so driven, should reflect dollar weakness from Federal Reserve policies that Mr. Bernanke will find he cannot escape, and from dollar weakness reflecting the inability of the US government to address its long-term sovereign-solvency issues. Ongoing economic weakness will exacerbate the dollar-negative circumstances, intensifying the problems with Fed easing and US fiscal deterioration. The inflation will be driven by US dollar weakness, not by strong domestic demand for goods and services. As fundamental dollar selling kicks in, full-fledged dollar dumping along with heavy sales of dollar-denominated paper assets are likely to unfold. Preceding, or coincident with that, the global reserve status of the US dollar should be challenged. As the rest of the world moves out of the dollar, domestic confidence in the US currency will falter as well, eventually fueling severe domestic inflation, and setting the early base of a likely hyperinflation. Such an environment is one for which physical gold and silver would serve as primary hedges against the ultimate debasement of, and loss of purchasing power in the US dollar. Economist Walter J. “John” Williams publishes www.shadowstats.com. ShadowStats specializes in assessing the reliability of government economic data and in looking at alternative economic measures from the standpoint of common experience, net of heavily politicized methodological changes of recent decades (inflation, unemployment and GDP). Other analyses include estimates of ongoing money supply M3, which the Fed ceased publication in 2006, or less-commonly followed series such as the federal government’s GAAP-based financial statements. Articles related to the accompanying comments on the understatement of official inflation and federal-deficit reality, and an article outlining risks of a US hyperinflation, are available to the public in the upper right-hand column of the ShadowStats home page. (Click to enlarge) Closer to common experience, there never was a recovery following the economic downturn that began in 2006 and collapsed into 2008 and 2009. What followed was a protracted period of business stagnation that began to turn down anew in second- and third-quarter 2012. The “recovery” seen in headline GDP reporting was a statistical illusion generated by the use of understated inflation in calculating the inflation-adjusted series. During the last three decades, a number of methodological changes were made to inflation-estimation techniques that have had the effect of artificially reducing annual inflation rates. Of particular relevance to GDP estimation has been the introduction of hedonic quality adjustments, which adjust inflation rates for the effects of nebulous quality changes. These changes—ranging from new features with computers and washing machines to the use of colored pictures in college textbooks—cannot be measured directly, only estimated by econometric models, with the usual effect of reducing related inflation. The lower the inflation rate that is used in adjusting a series, such as GDP, for inflation impact, the stronger will be the resulting inflation-adjusted growth. When the US first used this process in its GDP reporting, countries such as Japan and Germany did not follow. Hence, stronger relative US versus Japanese GDP growth at the time reflected the difference of use in inflation gimmicks, more so than actual differences in economic activity. The hedonic changes used in US GDP estimates never have been applied consistently and do not reflect common experience. The following graph of corrected real GDP is adjusted for the removal of roughly two percentage points of aggregate, hedonically understated annual inflation. It shows a pattern of economic plunge and stagnation, as opposed to the official pattern of plunge and recovery. Our guest contributor today needs no introduction, but I’ll give him one anyway. John Williams, founder of Shadow Government Statistics (often referred to as “ShadowStats”), has been debunking federal government statistics for years. John adjusts government economic data to be more honest and realistic, and publishes the results on his website. Among other statistics, John has developed his own inflation, unemployment, and GDP measurements that aim to more accurately describe reality than the government’s own numbers. In some cases, the government has made his job easy—John simply uses the government’s own calculations from many years ago, before they were massaged, revised, and “improved” to the point that they’re hardly recognizable. For others, he strips out distortions and adjusts the statistics to more truthfully describe the real world. For instance, I’d bet that your grocery bill would agree that ShadowStats’ inflation rate of 9% is much closer to reality than the government’s own calculation of 1.4%. To whet your appetite, I grabbed two more of the more stunning stats from John’s piece below: The government reports its 2012 deficit as $1.1 trillion. If you calculate the deficit using generally accepted accounting principles, as publicly traded companies in the US are required to, the deficit would be $6.6 trillion. So far in 2013, the Federal Reserve purchased 90.5% of the US government’s net issuance of debt. The article is equal parts eye opening and sobering. Before moving on to the article, however, a brief announcement. A Casey phyle is starting up in Charlotte, NC. If anyone reading is interested in joining it, please drop an email to phyle@caseyresearch.com to learn more. I’ll keep it short today by signing off here, as I’m still putting the final touches on this month’s The Casey Report, due out on Thursday. It’s going to be a good one, as we’re analyzing when nasty inflation might return to the US. If you’re not a subscriber already, check it out—it’s absolutely risk-free. See you next week. Dan Steinhart, Managing Editor of The Casey Report Market Shocks Ahead Should be Positive for Gold, Negative for the US Dollar By John Williams, Founder, ShadowStats.com Nothing is normal: not the economy, not the financial system, not the financial markets and not the political system. The financial system still remains in the throes and aftershocks of the 2008 panic. A number of underlying problems of that time, tied to the risks of a near-systemic collapse and the related, extreme economic downturn, were pushed into the future—not resolved—by the extraordinary liquidity and systemic-intervention actions taken by the Federal Reserve and federal government. Further panic is possible, and severe US dollar debasement and inflation remain inevitable. Nonetheless, several major misperceptions appear to have developed in the last month or two concerning an end to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, the level of crisis posed by US fiscal imbalances, and an unfolding recovery in the US economy. Contrary to currently hyped expectations in the popular financial media, chances are negligible for any serious, near-term reduction in the Federal Reserve’s purchases of US Treasury securities. The Fed has locked itself into ongoing quantitative easing, with fair prospects of expanded, not reduced accommodation in the year ahead. Separately, the long-term solvency issues of the United States should return to the center of attention for the global financial markets by early September 2013. At present, prospects of the US government meaningfully addressing its extreme fiscal imbalances are nonexistent. Exacerbating financial-system solvency concerns for the Fed and intensifying US fiscal instabilities, the US economy never recovered from its 2008 plunge, and now it is slowing anew. Increasing recognition of these factors, complicated by the potential of a domestic political scandal taking on Watergate-style status, promise difficult times ahead for the US dollar, with resulting domestic inflation problems and significant upside pressure on the prices of gold and silver. Federal Reserve’s Primary Function Is to Preserve Banking-System Solvency Despite a Congressional mandate that the Federal Reserve pursue policies to foster sustainable US economic growth in an environment of contained inflation, those issues are secondary to the Federal Reserve’s primary mission, which is to preserve the stability of the banking system. While Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has acknowledged that there is little the Fed can do at present to boost economic activity, the weak economy remains the foil for banking-system difficulties, serving as justification for more easing by the Fed. Accordingly, since the breaking of 2008 crisis, the Fed’s accommodation, liquidity actions, and direct systemic interventions have been aimed at maintaining the stability and liquidity of the banking and financial-market systems. As bank bailouts became politically unpopular, the Fed increasingly used the weakness in the economy as political cover for its systemic-liquidity actions. In response to critics of excessive accommodation, the US central bank recently put forth several rounds of jawboning on exiting quantitative easing, in an effort to quell inflation fears. Those efforts have been a factor in recent gold selling. Comments from the June 19 Federal Open Market Committee meeting and Mr. Bernanke’s subsequent press conference were clear but largely ignored by the markets. The shutdown of quantitative easing—specifically the bond buying of QE3—would not happen until such time as the economy had recovered in line with the relatively rosy economic projections of the Fed. As the stock market began to sell off in response to the Fed chairman’s initial press-conference comments, he sputtered something along the lines of, “No, you don’t understand me. If the economy is weaker, we’ll have to increase the easing.” The economy is going to be weaker; banking problems will persist, and the Fed will continue to ease. Nonetheless, the consensus perception appears to be that QE3 will be gone by the middle of 2014, despite the stated economic preconditions. As will be discussed, though, intensifying economic deterioration should become obvious to the markets in the next several months, and that should help to shift perceptions. The harsh reality remains that the Fed is locked into its extraordinary easing by ongoing solvency issues in the banking system (only hinted at in Bernanke’s post-FOMC press conference), and by the political cover provided by a weakening economy. In the latest version of quantitative easing (QE3), the Fed has been buying US Treasury securities at a pace that is suggestive of fears that the US government otherwise might have some trouble in selling its debt. Through July 3, 2013 and since the expansion of QE3 at the beginning of 2013, the Fed’s net purchases of Treasury securities has absorbed 90.5% of the coincident net issuance of gross federal debt. That circumstance is exacerbated somewhat by gross federal debt currently being contained at its official debt ceiling. Still, in the pre-crisis environment of 2008, the St. Louis Fed’s measure of the monetary base (bank reserves plus cash in circulation) was holding around $850 billion, with roughly $40 billion in bank reserves. As a result of intervening Fed actions, today’s monetary base is around $3.2 trillion, with more than $2.0 trillion in bank reserves (primarily excess reserves). Under normal conditions, the money supply would expand based on the increase in bank reserves, but banks have not been lending normally into the regular flow of commerce, due largely to their impaired balance sheets. While there has been no significant flow-through to the broad money supply from the expanded monetary base, there still appears to have been impact. As shown in the accompanying graph, there is some correlation between annual growth in the St. Louis Fed’s monetary base estimate and annual growth in M3, as measured by the ShadowStats-Ongoing M3 Estimate. The correlations between the growth rates are 58.1% for M3, 39.9% for M2, and 36.7% for M1, all on a coincident basis versus growth in the monetary base. The June 2013 annual growth estimates are based on four weeks of data. The ShadowStats contention, again, remains that the Fed’s easing activity has been aimed primarily at supporting banking-system solvency and liquidity, not at propping the economy. When the Fed boosts its easing but money growth slows, as seen at present, there is a suggestion of mounting financial stress within the banking system. Further, underlying US economic reality is weak enough to challenge domestic banking stress tests. In this environment, the Fed most likely will have to continue to provide banking-system liquidity, while again, still taking political cover for its accommodation activity from the weakening economy. (Click to enlarge) Not only do a number of large, consumer-oriented companies find that the “corrected” pattern of activity more closely resembles their business activity, but this same pattern also is reflected in underlying fundamentals that drive broad activity, such as household income. The primary issues facing the economy are structural liquidity problems for the consumer, who generates more than 70% of GDP activity. Without real income growth, the consumer cannot sustain growth in real consumption, except for the possible use of short-lived credit expansion. Yet, credit availability has been limited. Without credit expansion (all growth in post-debt-crisis consumer credit outstanding remains in federally owned student loans), the consumer is unable to borrow in order to cover the shortfall in living standards. The next graph shows median household income through May 2013, deflated by the CPI-U (data courtesy of Sentier Research). Monthly median household income plunged as the economy purportedly began its strong recovery in June 2009. Further, in the last two years, income has been bottom-bouncing near its cycle low, consistent with the “corrected” GDP series. The numbers here are based on monthly surveying by the US Census Bureau. So long as consumer liquidity remains constrained, the economy has not and cannot recover. Accordingly, any near-term hype from an occasional “good” economic statistic most likely is no more than hype. Economic reality will continue to surprise on the downside, and that is a negative for the US dollar, as well as for budget-deficit and Treasury-funding projections. The US economic weakness is long-term and structural, and increasing global recognition of that in the months ahead will contribute to eventual pummeling of the US dollar in the global markets.last_img read more

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Take oil and gasoline for example Oil is far rem

first_img Take oil and gasoline, for example. Oil is far removed from final use (gasoline) and has varied from $30 to $140 a barrel during the past ten years… and yet the gasoline price (final consumption) is far more stable, varying from $3 to $4 a gallon. But there’s a silver lining in this story. While commodity prices are far more volatile, it also means that commodities and commodity stocks can be much more profitable on the upside… if you buy right. And with commodity prices down 40% or more (with oil being an exception), now may be a great buying opportunity. For example, Newmont Mining (NEM) is currently selling for book value at only eight times current earnings and sports a 5.1% dividend that is rising. It looks like a bargain to me. Good investing, AEIOU, Mark Skousen Editor, Forecasts & Strategies www.markskousen.com “To trace something unknown back to something known is alleviating, soothing, gratifying and gives moreover a feeling of power. Danger, disquiet, anxiety attend the unknown—the first instinct is to eliminate these distressing states. First principle: any explanation is better than none. —Friedrich Nietzsche “Nobody really understands gold prices and I don’t pretend to understand them either.” —Ben Bernanke, July 18, 2013 (6 days ago) As Nietzsche understood, humans like to have an explanation for everything. Unknowns are stressful. Behavioral psychologists will tell you that when you come to understand a previously baffling phenomenon, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. Humans are chemically wired to seek knowledge for the sake of certainty, real or imagined. That’s not to say humans who don’t seek answers about a particular subject have some sort of handicap. Some topics are simply of no interest. For instance, I don’t know why my dog likes to lick my face, but I’m not going to spend precious time looking it up, because I don’t really care. However, if I were chairman of the Federal Reserve and didn’t understand the forces that move gold, learning about them would be near the top of my to-do list, if for no other reason than a large swath of the investment community uses gold as a barometer to evaluate how good a job I’m doing. Bernanke’s clueless quote paints a stark contrast between the academic and real world. Upon observing the recent correction in the price of gold, how many asset managers do you think threw their hands up in confusion and proclaimed that no one can possibly know what’s going on, so why even try? My guess is zero. Instead, they researched, reached out to their contacts, and tried to find out what the heck was happening. Collectively, they hatched a multitude of theories—the vaunted QE taper, JPMorgan’s dominance of the paper gold market, stricter gold buying laws in India—as to why the gold price fell. Some were more viable than others. The point is that human nature compels us to seek answers to pertinent questions, especially if those answers impact your wealth, your employment, or both. Bernanke, apparently, is immune to these forces. It’s curious that he doesn’t even try to understand gold. Perhaps he’s short on serotonin receptors… though it’s more likely that he doesn’t want to understand, because doing so would call into question virtually every action he has taken since becoming Fed chairman in 2006. Or maybe he does understand the connection between his printing trillions of dollars and the sevenfold rise in the price of gold, but pretends not to. Only Ben knows for sure. Our feature article today approaches the issue of gold volatility from a broader angle by explaining why not just gold, but all commodities, are so volatile. Have you ever wondered why the price of coffee beans has dropped 34% in the past year, but the price of a venti at your local Starbucks hasn’t budged? Mark Skousen, today’s featured author, has the answer. If you aren’t familiar with Mark, he is an Austrian School economist, investment expert, and newsletter editor. He’s written several books, is the founder of FreedomFest (at which our own Doug Casey was a keynote speaker just a few weeks ago), and is in general a heavyweight in the combined fields of economics, investing, and freedom. Enjoy Mark’s article, and see you next week. Dan Steinhart Managing Editor of The Casey Report Why Are Gold and Commodities So Darn Volatile? By Mark Skousen, Editor, Forecasts & Strategies Why are commodities and commodity stocks so volatile? Commodity speculating is not for the faint of heart, and many investors give up on gold, silver, and mining stocks because they can lose 40-90% of their value in a short period of time. Gold’s recent drop from $1,900 to $1,200 is a case in point. You have to expect a volatile market. The reason why commodity prices vary so much can be found in an understanding of Austrian economics, the free-market school that is endorsed by Doug Casey, Rick Rule, and many other commodity experts. As developed by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek in the 20th century, the Austrian school of economics explains why commodity prices are so volatile. Austrian economists call it “the structure of production.” As a follower of the Austrian school, I wrote a book titled The Structure of Production (New York University Press, 1990). Rick Rule told me he loves the book and has bought hundreds of copies to give to his clients. Austrian economists emphasize the structure of the economy—the structure of interest rates, production, employment, and inventories. It is a complex theory, but the basic idea is that price volatility depends on how far away the product or service is from final consumption. Consumer prices are the most stable, producer or wholesale prices less stable, and commodities are the furthest from final use; therefore, those prices are the most volatile. You can see this difference in the graph below, where the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is far more stable than the RBA Commodity Index.last_img read more

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As stories circulated of Iraqi cities falling to S

first_imgAs stories circulated of Iraqi cities falling to Sunni militia groups, I was struck by the words of Former Marine Staff Sgt. Keith Widaman, who spent a tour in Iraq: “When I left in April 2009, I said, ‘In five years there’ll be a civil war.’” Mr. Widaman was right, as we’ve all seen over the past few days, and the “high officials” were wrong. The result – and I say this with sympathy for the dead, injured, and traumatized – is that the fighting, “nation building,” and trauma were all for nothing. When it comes to war, always believe the men and women who spent time on the streets, not the politicians and generals. Iraq is not going to become a Western country. Afghanistan is not going to become a Western country. There is no foundation for Western life there, and as soon as overwhelming force pulls back, life there will return, more or less, to its usual ways. If you want to change a way of life, you have to change the deep cultural assumptions that give it its shape. Armies and corrupt sycophants won’t cut it. Saddam Was Necessary Please understand that I think Saddam Hussein was a monster, and that I’m pleased he’s no longer running around on this globe killing people. But that said, if you want a country like Iraq to hold together, you need more than the usual level of coercion; you require a tyrant. The borders of Iraq were drawn by the Brits in about 1920. In other words, a conquering power (the Brits ‘won’ World War I) drew lines on the map as it suited them. But when they did, they ignored the fact that they were forcibly grouping Sunnis and Shiites together, and that they hadn’t learned how to mix. Forced grouping is a very important subject, and one that is almost totally ignored by rulers. They control the borders and they expect everyone to get along. They have scribbles on papers called laws, after all! But when you force humans together against their will, all sorts of frictions, insults, and misunderstandings arise… and there is no way to escape them, because the grouping is enforced. If you leave people alone, they generally learn to co-exist. For example, there is a street in my old neighborhood lined with stores owned and run by both Indians and Pakistanis. These people – bloody enemies in their old countries – have learned to get along for one reason: No one forces them to live or work on that street. If they want to open a store or rent an apartment there, they can. If they don’t want to, they don’t have to. The result of freewill grouping is that people eventually learn to get along. The result of forced grouping is resentment, sectarianism, and all too often, blood. If you want a nation of Shias and Sunnis and Kurds to function as a single unit, overwhelming force – permanent overwhelming force – is required. Without it, things fall apart, and civil war is the typical result. So, if the Foggy Bottom Gang (that’s the State Department) is religiously committed to sacred, unchangeable borders, the US must become a colonial dominator. That means a permanent military occupation and our sons and daughters spending years, openly and knowingly oppressing people, “for their own good.” Afghanistan Afghanistan is a more homogenous country than Iraq, but it’s not going to become a Western nation either. I spent time in Afghanistan in 2007, outside of the safe bases where politicians and media show up, take a few photos, and leave. I dealt with real Afghans, from the lowly to high military. I saw a tremendous amount during my short stay, including the worst corruption I’ve ever seen, anywhere. Everything was corrupt, from the lowest levels of bureaucracy and police power to the Western aid agencies. It was a riot of domination, bribery, poverty, skimming, and dirty deals. That place is not going to become normal in any way that we understand. Not for a long time. A Few Have Done Well Seeing that the US government has spent about $2 trillion on these escapades (it was officially $1.283 trillion in 2011), someone had to make money on them. Those people were Dwight Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex (MIC), with the new mega-intelligence complex tacked on for good measure. The people who make killing machines have done very, very well. As have the people who build spying machines. Certain engineering and private military contractors have done very well too, but only those who had contacts inside the MIC. Independents got nothing. The people who were in positions to hand out contracts made a lot of money. Perhaps the oil companies and Middle Eastern royalty did well on it too, but that’s beyond my direct knowledge. Who Lost Badly The worst losers, of course, were the dead. I’m not sure how many Iraqis died; estimates range from 100,000 to over a million. That’s a lot of dead people – all of them sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends. The fact that these deaths were far away doesn’t make them any less tragic. The number of injured must be much higher, of course. On the Westerner side, only a number of thousand died, but that’s not trivial either, nor are the many more thousands of injured. And not only that, but returning soldiers are committing suicide in surprising numbers. Aside from the military-industrial-intelligence complex, everyone has lost, and the situations in both Iraq and Afghanistan are “reverting to the mean.” And there they will stay, unless Americans commit their children to serve as international oppressors. It really was all for nothing. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.comlast_img read more

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Just Who Has the Right Skills to Turn Uber Around

first_img Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Add to Queue Nina Zipkin Uber 5 min read Image credit: Shutterstock Entrepreneur Staff 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue.center_img Just Who Has the Right Skills to Turn Uber Around? Experts says that communication and a capacity for empathy is a good place to start. August 1, 2017 –shares Apply Now » Next Article Last week, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman decided to clear the air. The executive took to Twitter — an account that largely hadn’t been active since 2011 — to make this statement about whether she would step into Uber’s CEO position vacated by Travis Kalanick.(3/3) We have a lot of work still to do at HPE and I am not going anywhere. Uber’s CEO will not be Meg Whitman.— Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman) July 28, 2017Her answer was a resounding no. So who is it going to be? Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and GM CEO Mary Barra apparently aren’t interested either. Two of the names that have floated to the surface are Jeffery Immelt, who will leave his post as CEO of GE this week, and Mark Fields, who was CEO at Ford.Kyle Jensen, associate dean and director of entrepreneurship at the Yale School of Management, says he thinks that those leaders would be sensible choices.“Each is a Silicon Valley outsider and each presided over complex multi-national operations, which is relevant as Uber races Lyft and others around the globe,” Jensen says. “Unfortunately for Uber, its culture was ill-shaped by the leadership of founder Travis Kalanick. Uber is in the enviable position of leading the ride share market, which will provide some breathing room and time to instill more sound ethics in the organization. Until the culture is fixed, it will be a tax on the company.”The search continues for a new person to helm the embattled ride hailing company, but reports indicate it hasn’t been the smoothest transition. And that’s before you get into turning around a company that has spent months beset by scandal.As Kalanick remains on Uber’s board, how much of an impact the former CEO will have on the day-to-day operations of the company remain somewhat unclear, but it would seem that he isn’t quite comfortable with the idea of taking a backseat to new leadership.Related: Travis Kalanick Stepped Down, But Uber’s Problems Won’t Be Instantly SolvedAccording to Kara Swisher in Recode, some are concerned that Kalanick is “trying to game the outcome in his favor, after he told several people that he was ‘Steve Jobs-ing it.’ It is a reference to the late leader of Apple, who was fired from the company, only to later return in triumph.”In April, Uber’s valuation was hovering around $50 billion — still high, but a significant dip from the $70 billion valuation that made it the most valuable private company in the world. For the members of the board who have put money and time into the growth of the company, finding a new CEO isn’t just about righting Uber’s cultural woes but also getting a return on their investment.“This next CEO could potentially be the CEO to take the company public,” notes Dr. Marsha Ershaghi Hames, managing director of strategy and development at LRN, a firm that specializes in helping companies build cultures and systems of leadership that promote ethical behavior. But in order for the new leadership to succeed, it can’t just be about the money.Related: Uber Recently Gave Pay Raises, But Are They Enough to Keep Employees Around?“We’re in this era where we’re doing well when we’re doing the right thing,” Ershagi Hames says. “My advice to whoever is leading the recruitment and evaluation for the next Uber CEO is there isn’t going to be one individual or one silver bullet. That individual put into the position of leadership needs to lead by building trust, by driving an open and transparent dialogue, by being willing to listen first and by connecting profit with purpose.”One of the central tasks that a new CEO will have to contend with is recreating the company’s culture. The investigation conducted by former attorney general Eric Holder highlighted the most toxic elements that need to be removed in order for Uber to move forward, but Heather Huhman, career expert and the president of Come Recommended, says that it can be tough to impose a new culture, especially if it is seen as coming from an outsider.“Culture is discovered rather than created — and a new leader will need to listen very carefully to the people inside Uber to find the stories and values that they can amplify to propel them forward,” she says. “This will be the defining trait of the right person — that they are able to find a voice for the people that are there, rather than bringing all the ideas from outside. These are hard questions that the company needs to grapple with, and they will require an extremely skilled listener and communicator to turn the ship.”Related: The Rise and Fall of Uber and Travis KalanickBrett Stephens, the CEO of executive search and leadership consulting firm RSR Partners, agrees. He says that he thinks the main trait that a successful CEO leading a turnaround must have is a capacity for empathy.“Uber is a perfect example of how artificial intelligence and digital disruption are quickly recalibrating the CEO’s desired skillset,” Stephens says. “These chief executives need to be experts in collaboration, engagement and human interaction. This ability to connect with others will likely be the defining leadership trait of our generation. If deployed adeptly, empathy will enable a new CEO to not only excel at reshaping the company, but also build a culture that empowers employees, strengthens the company and rewards investors.”While Uber’s first era was marked by sharp elbows and a win-at-all-costs mentality, for the company to succeed in its next chapter, the person at the helm will do well to listen rather than talk.last_img read more

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Cryptocurrency and the Allure of a Cashless Cannabis Industry

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Green Entrepreneur Podcast Listen Now 3 min read May 24, 2018 Next Article Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. Add to Queue Cannabis Guest Writer Cryptocurrency and the Allure of a Cashless Cannabis Industry –shares dispensaries.com The legal marijuana industry in the United States is awash in cash. Literally.With reports that cannabis businesses generated almost $61 million in tax revenue for California in just the first quarter of recreational marijuana sales, it’s important to remember that the money moving through the marijuana financial system is almost 100 percent in cash. Why? Most banks won’t touch money from legal marijuana businesses because cannabis remains a Schedule I illegal drug at the federal level, meaning banks in the strictest sense risk committing crime providing the industry ordinary commercial banking services. That leaves marijuana entrepreneurs working in a cash-only world.It’s more than just inconvenient. It makes it more difficult to create a safe environment for both employees and customers. It makes it next-to-impossible to get loans to start or grow a business. It also makes tracking marijuana transactions more difficult for businesses and the government.Related: For the Perfect Social-Impact Investment, Look No Further Than CannabisCryptocurrency OpportunityCryptocurrency companies, using blockchain technology, are hoping to step into the gap. At the recent CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference in New York City, many companies touted blockchain and cryptocurrency as a potential cure for the marijuana industry’s financial headache. The conference attracted thousands. More than $17 million in ticket sales were made for the event, held at the New York Hilton Midtown.Blockchain provides a transparent, secure digital transaction record that can be accessed by all users. It’s most associated with Bitcoin. One of the main topics at the conference was how can blockchain be used in the cannabis industry.The idea of cryptocurrency in the marijuana industry gained momentum late last year when researchers at IBM advised the government in British Columbia, Canada, to use blockchain to for seed-to-sale tracking of legal marijuana. Legal recreational marijuana sales are expected to begin in July across Canada.Related: Why Some Veterans Are On the Front Lines to Legalize HempCryptocurrency StartupsNow startups, or more specifically their financial backers, are putting their money behind this theory. Companies that have developed blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies aimed at use in the marijuana industry are springing up like weeds. For examples:Cannabis social media hub MassRoots is now transitioning to a marijuana-focused software company, tying blockchain to its marijuana point-of-sale tracking business, MassRoots Retail.Alt Thirty Six, which uses the cryptocurrency Dash, has partnered with cannabis software company Webjoint to provide access to its digital transaction system for the marijuana-related businesses Webjoint serves in California.Software company Greenstream is building a blockchain-based supply chain system for the cannabis industry that could be accessed by retailers, suppliers and regulatorsRelated: DEA Chief’s Congressional Testimony About Legal Marijuana Angered Some, Baffled ManyIf it all seems a bit like Silicon Valley in the 1990s and 2000s, that’s because it is. The marijuana industry has gone from nowhere to a multibillion-dollar industry in just a few years, yet people are still carrying around their profits in leather satchels. At some point, that is going to end. If the federal government doesn’t provide a solution, then cryptocurrency might.Follow dispensaries.com on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news. Marijuana prohibition never stopped marijuana sales. Blocking legal marijuana businesses from the legal banking system isn’t working, either. Image credit: MARK GARLICK | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY | Getty Images Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community.last_img read more

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Nuxeo Insight Cloud Delivers the Next Generation of Enterprise AI and Intelligent

first_imgNuxeo Insight Cloud Delivers the Next Generation of Enterprise AI and Intelligent Content Services MTS Staff WriterJune 4, 2019, 9:11 pmJune 4, 2019 Artificial Intelligencecontent managementContent Services PlatformMarketing TechnologyNewsNuxeoNuxeo Insight Cloud Previous ArticleBioz Launches the Next-Generation of Its Industry-Leading AI Search Engine for Life Science ExperimentationNext ArticleMedia.net Partners with Amino Payments to Offer Third Party Supply Chain Transparency for All Media.net Marketplace Transactions Nuxeo AI Enables Enterprises to Easily Leverage their own Data Sets to Create, Train, and Deploy Custom AI Models Nuxeo, the leading cloud-native Content Services Platform (CSP), announced the immediate availability of Nuxeo Insight Cloud, a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) offering that enables enterprises to employ machine learning models that non-technical users can use and train with their own specific data sets, which automates and delivers greater intelligence to content-driven processes.Business-specific metadata is the foundation of effective search, workflow, and other value-creation activities in content-centric business applications. The challenge has always been the manual effort and investment required to properly and accurately identify content and link it to related materials. Existing content enrichment AI services address this challenge in one of two ways. Some services are easy to deploy and provide generic metadata not based on a business’s specific content. Others allow custom model development, but require scarce data science expertise to use.Nuxeo Insight Cloud is the first content enrichment AI service designed for business users that enterprises can train with their own data, and as a result, leverage AI models that are inherently more accurate and relevant. It automatically generates (meta)data values to enrich content, drive workflows, and increase intelligence about information.Marketing Technology News: CloudSense and Ad-Juster Work Together to Maximize End-to-End Ad Campaign Efficiency and ProfitabilityBecause Nuxeo Insight Cloud is powered by the Nuxeo Platform, it provides two additional AI capabilities that are new to the market. First, Nuxeo Insight Cloud provides a microservice to intelligently describe content in disparate systems like Box, Dropbox, and legacy enterprise content management (ECM) repositories. And second, all machine learning models are versioned and provide a comprehensive audit trail for machine-generated (meta)data values.“Nuxeo has long been on the leading edge of AI for content and we have offered integration with public cloud offerings like Google Vision and Amazon Comprehend for several years now,” said Chris McLaughlin, chief product and marketing officer at Nuxeo. “But, Nuxeo Insight Cloud sets an entirely new standard for our industry. Customers can now easily create their own, custom AI models using content and data that they already have. And, with these custom models, they will be able to extract more insight and much greater value from their information.”Marketing Technology News: Pernix Launches Attribution Application Solution to Brings Full Transparency to Performance Marketing Programs“We’re leaving the era of content management as more enterprises are looking to put content in motion to achieve key business outcomes,” said Jim Lundy, founder and CEO at Aragon Research. “Companies want to leverage AI to simplify their content-based processes while also creating a more connected and intelligent information management ecosystem. As the need to automate and manage all forms of enterprise data and content intensifies, vendors like Nuxeo that we’ve identified as ‘Leaders’ are well-positioned to deliver on this market demand.”Marketing Technology News: Upland Software Acquires Kapost, Raises Guidancelast_img read more

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Scientists develop monoclonal antibodies combinations that protect animals from Ebola viruses

first_img Source:https://www.usamriid.army.mil/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 11 2019Scientists from academia, industry, and government have developed a combination of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that protected animals from all three Ebola viruses known to cause human disease. Their work is described in two companion studies published online in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.The mAb “cocktail,” called MBP134, is the first experimental treatment to protect monkeys against Ebola virus (formerly known as Ebola Zaire), as well as Sudan virus and Bundibugyo virus, and could lead to a broadly effective therapeutic, according to the authors.Over 20 Ebola virus outbreaks have occurred since the first outbreak was documented in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC (formerly called Zaire). The 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in Western Africa–the largest outbreak to date–sickened more than 28,000 people and caused more than 11,000 deaths. An ongoing outbreak in the eastern Kivu region of DRC is already the second largest on record, according to the World Health Organization.No Ebola virus medical countermeasures have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An experimental vaccine and several experimental therapeutics–including three based on mAbs–are being studied in the field. Despite their promise, all target only a single Ebola virus (Zaire) and are ineffective against the other two.”Developing a single treatment that could potentially be used for patients suffering from all the different types of Ebola viruses is an enormous advancement in the field,” commented John M. Dye, Ph.D. of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), one of the authors.Related StoriesSynthetic antibody rapidly prevents Zika infection in mice and non-human primatesNewly discovered antibody broadly inhibits multiple strains of pandemic norovirusAntibody-drug conjugate effectively targets surface protein in childhood neuroblastomasCiting growing evidence of the value of monoclonal antibodies for treating even the most virulent infections, Dye added, “This discovery has implications not only for the treatment of Sudan and Bundibugyo viruses, but for newly emerging Ebola viruses as well.”The two mAbs that make up MBP134 were previously discovered by the same research team in the blood of a human survivor of the 2013-2016 outbreak in Western Africa and were shown to target key sites of vulnerability shared by Ebola viruses.In the first study, a team led by Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein) engineered one of the mAbs to improve its activity against Sudan virus. They demonstrated that this enhanced mAb could work especially well with the second naturally occurring mAb to block infection by all three viruses and protect guinea pigs against both Ebola virus and Sudan virus. Additional modification of both mAbs to harness the power of “natural killer” immune cells enhanced MBP134’s broad protective efficacy in guinea pigs even further.In the second study, a team led by Dr. Zachary A. Bornholdt, Ph.D., of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. (MappBio) evaluated the MBP134 cocktail in large animal models that mimic Ebola virus disease in humans more closely. They found that a single low dose of MBP134 could protect monkeys against all three Ebola viruses associated with human disease, even when treatment was begun 4-7 days after the animals were infected.last_img read more

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Researchers study molecular mechanism of interplay of clock proteins for circadian oscillation

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 7 2019Organisms on this planet, including human beings, exhibit a biological rhythm that repeats about every 24 h to adapt to the daily environmental alteration caused by the rotation of the earth. This circadian rhythm is regulated by a set of biomolecules working as a biological clock. In cyanobacteria (or blue-green algae), the circadian rhythm is controlled by the assembly and disassembly of three clock proteins, namely, KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC. KaiC forms a hexameric-ring structure and plays a central role in the clock oscillator, which works by consuming ATP, the energy currency molecule of the cell. However, it remains unknown how the clock proteins work autonomously for generating the circadian oscillation.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairResearch on cannabis use in women limited, finds new studyTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchThe research groups at Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Nagoya City University and Exploratory Research Center on Life and Living Systems (ExCELLS) and Institute for Molecular Science (IMS) of National Institutes of Natural Sciences investigated this mechanism by native mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. They found that KaiC degrades ATP into ADP within its ring structure, which triggers the leaping out of the tail of KaiC from the ring. KaiA captures the exposed KaiC tail, facilitating ADP release from the ring, thereby setting the clock ahead.This “fishing a line” mechanism explains the clockwork interplay of the KaiA and KaiC proteins. Elucidating this mechanism will provide deep insights into not only the circadian clock in cyanobacteria but also that in plants, animals, and humans under physiological and pathological conditions, including jet lag and sleep disorders.Source: National Institutes of Natural SciencesJournal reference: Yunoki, Y. et al. (2019) ATP hydrolysis by KaiC promotes its KaiA binding in the cyanobacterial circadian clock system. Life Science Alliance. doi.org/10.26508/lsa.201900368.last_img read more

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Deion Jones signs 4year 57M extension with Falcons

first_imgThe Falcons have another key piece of their defense locked down.Atlanta extended linebacker Deion Jones on a four-year deal, the team announced Wednesday. NFL-NFLPA end ‘productive’ talks about new CBA early, report says The new contract is worth $57 million, with $34 million of that guaranteed, his agent told ESPN.Falcons are signing LB Deion Jones a four-year, $57 million extension, including $34 million guaranteed, @RosenhausSports tells ESPN. Jones is now tied to the Falcons through the 2023 season.- Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 17, 2019The Falcons’ announcement comes two days after the team agreed to terms with Grady Jarrett, who had the franchise tag placed on him. Jarrett agreed to a four-year deal worth a reported $68 million. Related News Jones, 24, was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by Atlanta. He missed 10 games last season due to a foot injury, but was able to return for the latter part of the year.center_img Falcons, Grady Jarrett reach 4-year deal before franchise tag deadline In three seasons in the NFL, Jones has 297 tackles, 27 pass defenses, 15 tackles for a loss, eight interceptions and three touchdowns. He would have been a free agent in 2020.Atlanta is working on a contract extension with the team’s top wideout, Julio Jones, as well. It has been reported that both sides are trying to come to an agreement before training camp starts next week.last_img read more

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Iran calls on Britain to release seized oil tanker immediately

first_img World 08 Jul 2019 Iran’s defence minister says Britain’s seizure of oil tanker was threatening act Related News DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran called on Britain on Friday to immediately release an oil tanker that British Royal Marines seized last week on suspicion it was breaking European sanctions by taking oil to Syria, a foreign ministry spokesman told state news agency IRNA.”This is a dangerous game and has consequences … the legal pretexts for the capture are not valid … the release of the tanker is in all countries’ interest,” the spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said.Iran has warned of reciprocal measures if the tanker is not released. Britain said on Thursday that three Iranian vessels tried to block a British-owned tanker passing through the Strait of Hormuz, which controls the flow of Middle East oil to the world, but backed off when confronted by a Royal Navy warship. Related News World 08 Jul 2019 Iran’s Zarif calls on UK to immediately release captured oil tankercenter_img Iran denied that its vessels had done any such thing.Tension between Iran and the West has increased a week after Britain seized the tanker and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.Mousavi accused Britain of seizing the tanker under U.S. pressure. “Such illegal measures could increase tensions in the Persian Gulf,” he told IRNA. For decades, Shi’ite-led Iran and its U.S.-backed Sunni Gulf Arab rivals have been locked in proxy battles for predominance in the Middle East, from Syria to Yemen.Britain is among European parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, which President Donald Trump pulled out of it last year, reimposing sanctions on Tehran. Washington tightened sanctions from the start of May, ordering all countries and companies to halt imports of Iranian oil or be banished from the global financial system. In retaliation to Washington’s mounting pressure, Iran has decreased its commitments to the nuclear pact, in defiance of a warning by European countries. The United States, Iran’s longtime foe, blames Tehran for a series of attacks on shipping in the world’s most important oil artery since mid-May, accusations Tehran rejects. The capture of the Iranian tanker comes at a time of sharply increased U.S.-Iranian confrontation in recent weeks. Washington has also dispatched extra troops to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats. “Foreign powers should leave the region because Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security,” Mousavi said.”…Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to hold talks with its neighbours to resolve disputes.” (Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Nick Macfie) World 09 Jul 2019 British capture of Iranian tanker won’t go ‘unanswered’ – officer {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

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Please stand by us

first_img“I knew who were my real friends when things were rough. Some disappear when the athletes needed them the most.“I hope all sports officials will give their best for their respective athletes – more so when they are down or struggling. Yesterday, Chong Wei thanked many officials but made a special mention of Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria for standing by him during the darkest days of his badminton career when he was banned for eight months for the usage of banned substance dexamethasone in 2015.Norza is currently the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president.Chong Wei said his career could have ended earlier if not for Norza and a few others, who helped him come through the doping case. “Then, he was only the BAM deputy president but he went out of his way to support me. Through Sports Minister (Khairy Jamaluddin), they hired the best lawyer for me,” said Chong Wei.“It was one of the hardest eight months of my life but Norza called four to five times every week to make sure I was okay.“It did not matter to him whether I made it back as a badminton player at that time, all he wanted was to ensure that I would have a good future.” Thanks to the overwhelming support, Chong Wei eventually made a superb comeback and went on to win a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.Chong Wei said Norza had also stood up for the athletes on several other occasions. He faced the media bravely after every failure and gave Chong Wei the support he needed when he was diagnosed with nose cancer last year.Chong Wei admitted though that Norza had ruffled the feathers of others several times as many could not handle his aggressive approach. “At times, some of the officials have to be tough to make changes. It’s hard to please everyone. I’ve learnt that myself too,” said Chong Wei.“But as a former athlete, I will not forget the good deeds of some of these officials. I would not be where I am if not for their sacrifices,” he added. Badminton 08 Jun 2019 BAM: Let Chong Wei have his say Badminton 13 Jun 2019 Chong Wei to make public of his future Related News KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s chef-de-mission to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Datuk Lee Chong Wei (pic) hopes sports officials will stand by their athletes through their ups and downs. This is Chong Wei’s personal plea after experiencing different treatment from officials during his tenure as a player over two decades.He hopes that officials will manage athletes well especially ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.“Many officials showed up when I was at the top but they were not there when I was down. I’ve seen this happen year after year,” said cancer-survivor Chong Wei, who retired from competitive sport last month after choosing to put his health first. center_img Badminton 12 Jun 2019 Chong Wei likely to announce retirement tomorrow (June 13) {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related Newslast_img read more

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looking just the sl

looking just the slightest bit downcast."His father was having none of it. “But we’ve reached a situation in which the preliminary skirmishes have become serious, call (701) 746-2720 by March 26.Y. July 2014 Kevin Kunstadt for TIME 1 of 11 Advertisement The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now View Sample Sign Up Now Listen to the most important stories of the day Write to Helen Regan at helenregan@timeasiacomAndreas Dracopoulos is not a popular man among the wealthiest one percent in Greece As an heir to one of the greatest shipping fortunes in modern history he has been among the only members of this secretive caste to speak up about its failure to help Greece through its financial crisis As that crisis hurtles toward an all-out catastrophe this week he says its time for Greek tycoons to start pulling their weight "Im very upset with this class of people" Dracopoulos says in an interview in his Athens office a plush and heavily guarded compound across the street from the American embassy "Its nothing personal I know some of them Theyre my friends old schoolmates But Im very vocal ethically practically that they are not doing enough that they could do more" Over the past five years even as the Greek economy has suffered a downturn deeper and more protracted than the US Great Depression many of the countrys richest families have been sitting on their hands and their fortunes as millions of their fellow Greeks descend into poverty "You have all these people who have money but who dont do any of the three things they should do” Dracopoulos tells TIME "They dont do philanthropy they dont pay taxes and they dont start businesses" The tax status of Greek shipping magnates has been a particular point of contention during Greeces fraught negotiations with its creditors Under a provision written into the Greek constitution half a century ago the government is forbidden from taxing what the ship owners earn abroad a hallmark of the political influence these oligarchs have enjoyed for decades In recent weeks European leaders have urged Greece to shift more of the countrys financial burden onto the super rich and have apparently been rebuffed "I had to do the job of the Greek government" lamented the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker who has been a key figure in the recent efforts to save Greece from crashing out of the European currency union During a press conference in Brussels on June 29 when those efforts broke down Juncker revealed how he had pushed the Greek government to "impose a less favorable tax treatment for ship owners although this is common sense and in line with tax justice" Before coming to power earlier this year the far-left Syriza party seemed to agree with his message Its leader Alexis Tsipras pledged at the height of the crisis in 2012 to seek an agreement with the shipping industry that would abolish "the provocative 58 different tax exemptions" its businesses enjoy But Tsipras has backed off of these promises since he became Prime Minister in January and has focused instead on getting debt relief from Greeces foreign creditors This approach has robbed Greece of a vast pool of potential revenue says Haris Theoharis a Greek lawmaker who was in charge of the national tax police until late last year The exemptions for the shipping industry he says cost the government a source of income worth up to one percent of GDP per year The shipping industry has a tax burden of about 3% while other industries pay an average of 20-25% in taxes "This skews the numbers" Theoharis tells TIME "Its very easy for them to get their way Not just through lobbying and political pressure Theyre covered They say OK this is shipping money and its zero Its written into the constitution: no taxes on shipping" The political will to change this anomaly in the Greek constitution has been remarkably weak for generations Part of the reason has to do with the sheer size of the Greek shipping industry which employs about 200000 workers and sustains another 300000 of their family members in a nation of only 11 million people The Greek merchant fleet is also the largest in the world comprising nearly a quarter of all the bulk carrier ships globally and according to the Greek chapter of the International Chamber of Commerce Greek-owned ships carry about one sixth of all the seaborne cargo in the world "We are the taxi drivers of the world economy" boasts Nicos Vernicos the Chambers President and a prominent Greek ship owner Shipping tycoon Nicos Vernicos pictured on one of his tugs at Piraeus Port in Athens on July 1 2015 Andrew McConnell—Panos for TIME Amid the crisis he says that rich Greeks have been giving back to their communities in quiet ways staying true to a long tradition of avoiding conspicuous displays of wealth especially at times of growing poverty "When the Greek people are suffering I cannot go to my island with an expensive car" says Vernicos whose familys shipping empire was founded in the mid-19th century by his ancestor Emmanuel Vernicos "My heart is blue" he continues "I cannot go out in the night and break plates like I was doing when I was your age" But blue as his heart may be Vernicos says it would be unwise for the government to antagonize ship owners by dramatically raising their taxes He points out that Greek shipping companies already agreed to a "voluntary" increase in their tax burden in 2013 collectively offering an extra 105 million euros in annual revenues to the government through 2017 when the agreement will expire But forcing the industry to pay much more would only encourage shipping companies to move their operations offshore "I need money to buy new ships" Vernicos explains And if the tax rate in Greece ceases to be competitive "the banks who finance me theyre going to say Mr Vernicos we like you youre very good But we cannot support you now that shipping [in Greece] is bad and you have to pay tax" In Greece there is an extra level of protection for ship owners in the enormous pride the locals take in their industry It is the only business where this seafaring nation has maintained its dominance for generations and along with tourism it has been a rare island of prosperity amidst the financial crisis In 2002 when Greeces admission into the European currency union allowed its mints to release a Greek version of euro coins the government even put an oil tanker on the back of the five-cent piece It seemed a fitting homage in those times of plenty to the era of the so-called Golden Greeks Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos whose rivalry on the high seas fascinated the tabloids of the 1960s and 70s Back then Niarchos would entertain Hollywood celebrities on his yacht while at the height of his wealth and influence in 1968 Onassis married the widow of an American President Jacqueline Kennedy Dracopoulos who along with his two cousins inherited much of the Niarchos shipping fortune after Stavros Niarchos died in 1996 says the constitutional tax exemption has outlived its purpose It was instated to lure Greek shipping fortunes and their patriarchs back home to Greece from their tax havens in places like Monaco "Thats when Onassis and my uncle came back" and began investing heavily in Greece building oil refineries shipyards and other infrastructure says Dracopoulos "It was a different law for different circumstances It was done so you could bring money in because Greece needed investments But I believe this law has been abused" he says Vernicos who is a board member of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping counters by listing all the ways Greek ship owners have given back "Go to any island and you will see that the schools the hospitals the city hall its all built by ship owners" he says including on the Vernicos familys ancestral island of Sifnos In Athens the main cardiovascular hospital was built by the Onassis familys foundation And countless development projects have indeed been bankrolled by these elites over the years But during the financial crisis the developments have not always been targeted to the neediest segments of the population Under an agreement reached with the Greek government in 2006 about two years before the crisis hit the Niarchos family agreed to build an enormous cultural center in Athens worth $600 million When it is unveiled early next year it will include a new opera house and a new national library even though the Greek capital already has those things Dracopoulos who serves as co-president of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation acknowledges that operas and libraries may not be the primary need of the Greek people at a time when half the youth is unemployed He is also sensitive to the criticism that the Greek state which has proven shockingly inefficient even at the task of tax collection may not be able to run the culture center properly once the foundation hands it over with no strings attached "Its like the stupid uncle from America who comes gives the money and goes" says Dracopoulos a naturalized US citizen who spends most of his time in New York City When the pain of the financial crisis became acute for Greece in 2010 he says "We did question ourselves what the hell are we doing here building a cultural center when Greece is struggling" Ultimately the family decided to carry on with the project as a way to boost public morale and create hope for a more prosperous future "Its a social investment" Dracopoulos says To alleviate the most immediate effects of the crisis his familys foundation donated $100 million to fight hunger and poverty in 2010 and another $100 million to combat youth unemployment in 2012 This week as Greeces failure to secure another bailout brought the country to the edge of bankruptcy the Niarchos Foundation announced another $100 million program to help the worst-affected citizens weather the crisis More broadly it has become easier to secure philanthropic donations from wealthy Greeks since the crisis began says Marilena Mamidakis a shipping heiress who heads a charity for impoverished children and their families Last Monday when Greek banks shut their doors to prevent a run on deposits she says she got a call from one of the wealthiest ship owners in Greece "He told me Anything you need anything just ask and it’s yours" she says declining to name the caller In quiet ways other wealthy Greeks have been giving back she says including through the purchase of guns and fuel for the police force But she acknowledges that their aid is not always commensurate with the size of their fortunes "They could buy half of Greece" she says At the very least they could invest a lot more in local businesses to help alleviate unemployment or give cheap loans to young entrepreneurs says Dracopoulos "As a class of people they should go out and do more" he says "And dont let anybody fool you They could do a lot" Contact us at editors@timecom Kevin Kunstadt 36th Ave. Flushing Queens NY, scientists at Allergan and outside of the company began studying whether Botox could be a successful therapy for people with a condition called severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis.

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Edmond Hui retraces how scientists used to think the heart worked compared to how it actually works. Asked about the "demise" of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab,742. read more

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