Newport Rhode Island – The Wayfarers introduces t

first_imgNewport, Rhode Island – The Wayfarers introduces two new rich and inspiring Walks to its Girlfriend Getaways lineup, designed with special appeal for the adventurous female traveler, mothers and daughters, old friends eager to reunite, and new friends in the making. Developed around the achievements of two famous authors and one famous architect, the two new Walks include all meals, accommodations, transfers and gratuities. The trips are also great for solo travelers, and single supplements are available.The Bront Trail, July 26 31, 2009 This new six-day, five-night trek set in Bront Country is the perfect escape for women looking to appreciate one of Britains most evocative literary landscapes. Walkers will get a sense of the creative inspiration nurtured here as they explore Yorkshires Haworth Village and several locations from Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and learn about the Bronts lives with expert Ann Dinsdale. Spectacular views of ruined farmhouses, picturesque valleys, and remote plains make this trip a dream for the literary- and fitness-minded. Beginning in Haworth and ending in Chatsworth, this Walk of 8 12 miles per day is priced at $3,695 per person based on double occupancy.Venice and the Veneto, September 27 October 3, 2009 An unusual twist on a Venetian holiday, this new seven-day, six-night exploration of the Veneto region begins in the medieval town of Vicenza and explores the area through the eyes of one of its most famous architects, Palladio. Walkers will wander the streets and admire the beautiful countryside while also visiting some of Palladios greatest villas, cathedrals and bridges. The trip also includes a private boat tour and a regional Asiago cheese, grappa and Prosecco tasting. Participants will discover the opulence of the Venetian empire contrasted with a region with tunnels and trenches of World War I as well as alpine meadows and mountain villages. This walk of 7 10 miles per day ends in Venice and is priced at $3,995 per person based on double occupancy.Just for WomenThe Wayfarers Girlfriend Getaways guests enjoy special complimentary treats that give extra value to these programs. A sparkling wine reception is a social occasion for getting to know fellow travelers and sharing other Wayfarers walking experience. Guests receive a collection of souvenirs and other appealing take-home items. Additionally, walkers may choose from a menu of specially priced extra activities if they wish to break away from the group itinerary and explore on their own. Possibilities include cooking lessons and spa treatments. Details and rates for these add-on activities will be quoted on request.About The WayfarersOffering an eco-aware walking holiday of both culture and fitness, The Wayfarers newest Walks/hikes traverse more countries than ever before, and now offer 83 Walks in 18 countries in four continents. Women-only Walks add opportunities for shopping, museums, spa treatments, and more. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, and named one of the Best Outfitters on Earth by National Geographic Adventure, The Wayfarers offer exclusive on-foot entre into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks range from 5-12 days and are rated easy to challenging, with distances of 4-5 miles, 6-10 miles or 12-15 miles per 800- 249-4620last_img read more

A government can do great harm in its own territor

first_img A government can do great harm in its own territory, but its options are extremely limited regarding assets outside its borders. Politicians in South Africa, for example, can’t tax or regulate a mine in British Columbia. Only one party has complete freedom to choose which projects to back and what jurisdictions to take a chance on: the investor. There will always be some risk when investing in mining—but what if you could find an opportunity where the host government is so low risk, it actually promotes mining? Mining Investment Nirvana If you’ve no appetite for investments that tank because of crazy dictators and the like, the good news is that it is possible to say goodbye to unnecessary political risk—and we’ve found a place where you can do it. Our new stock pick in the October issue of BIG GOLD has a political-risk rating so low that it’s essentially negligible and enormous upside potential—what Louis James called an “impossible” stock. How do we know the risk is so low? We spent months developing what we call our “Casey Country Score” for each of 74 countries with significant amounts of mining around the world—a proprietary indicator that taps a variety of sources to assess a country’s investment climate. Combined with site visits when possible, the end result is a comprehensive analysis of the political risk for buying a gold or silver stock in that country. You won’t find it anywhere else. Our “Impossible” stock has a political-risk rating lower than any other stock in our portfolio—which says a lot, because the BIG GOLD portfolio is already rated 30% lower than the global average. The political system in the jurisdiction where this company operates is very stable. The local government promotes mining and offers exceptionally generous tax incentive programs for mineral exploration. It even collects geological data for the mining community and has one of the largest such databases in the world. A refreshing thing to hear in the present environment, eh? Explosive Potential Of course, low political risk alone can never be our sole reason to buy a stock… so what about the upside? This company is a little different from what I normally recommend in BIG GOLD. That’s because it’s not a producer, but an explorer with massive potential—and cash flow. Lucky for us, the political Shangri-La this company operates in is also known for its exceptional mineral potential, and the company controls almost two dozen properties there—which means the odds of making a game-changing discovery are much higher than average. The company cleverly lowers its exploration risk by establishing partnerships with other mining companies. The upside is also shared, but not every exploration project works out, and this reduces the company’s financial commitment. A key part of this investment is that the company is led by an enormously successful, award-winning exploration geologist. He’s under the radar of most retail investors, yet he’s already found half a dozen economic mineral deposits, which is about half a dozen more than most geologists find in their lifetimes. I’ve dubbed him “the best explorer you don’t know.” But the best part is that management made one of the richest gold discoveries anywhere in the world over the last decade, and now has a substantial royalty on the mine being built there—with advance royalty payments already rolling in. This is important because most exploration companies are what Doug Casey calls “burning matches,” i.e., they burn out when the money runs out. To have cash flow to fund exploration for the next giant gold deposit instead of diluting shareholders to the point of no returns is so exceptionally rare, it really is almost an impossible accomplishment. This is an opportunity I just recommended to our BIG GOLD subscribers last week, so I can’t give away the name of our Impossible pick. However, you can take advantage of it by giving BIG GOLD a try today (and I haven’t even revealed another angle to this stock that is just as exciting as the exploration potential). It’s completely risk-free: You have 3 full months to test BIG GOLD, and if you’re not 100% satisfied—for whatever reason—just cancel within those 3 months for a full refund of every penny you paid. Even if you cancel later, you’ll still get a prorated refund. Simply click here to start your risk-free trial now. As a metals analyst, I sometimes find a stock that seems to have everything going for it—but then some darn politician steps in and ruins the investment… On April 5, 2011, I recommended Pan American Silver (PAAS) to BIG GOLD subscribers. It was virtually a no-brainer pick—and yet we ended up selling for a loss. It was why we sold that really grated me. At the time, the company generated a million dollars per day in operating cash flow, had a pristine balance sheet, and was headed by “broken slot machine” Ross Beaty, who earned the nickname from his uncanny ability to return a profit every time you invested in one of his companies. But the real prize was the giant Navidad silver deposit in Argentina, which, if permitted, would have paved the way for Pan American’s production to jump by 65%, to a whopping 40 million ounces per year. This would catapult PAAS to the rank of largest silver producer in the world—an exciting prospect. But the politicos threw us a curveball. The local governor announced he wanted “greater state ownership” of the mine and to increase the royalty from 3% to 8%. The leftovers were too little for Pan American to turn a profit; management was forced to admit that the world’s largest pure silver deposit was “uneconomic at any reasonable estimate of long-term silver prices.” Navidad still sits idle today. Greed Is Good—Until You’re the Victim Unfortunately, there are many stories like this—and the trend is getting worse. Veteran gold mining investors have witnessed the growing move of governments increasing their take in mining projects through higher taxes and royalties, higher regulatory or environmental bars, and sometimes outright nationalization. The kicker is that a management team can do everything right and have a great project—much like Pan American—but a voracious government can render it uneconomic to develop or too burdensome or unprofitable to operate. Unreasonable political interference doesn’t just hurt mining companies or local communities. It hurts investors, too. Stock prices take a hit, and portfolios absorb losses. The pain spreads as money flees other companies operating in that jurisdiction. Trust is hard to re-earn. The temptation is to hurl four-letter pejoratives at politicians. But it’s more constructive to simply focus our money where it’s safer. Beat the Politicians: Vote with Your Investment Dollars Three parties are involved in a mining project: the mining company that operates the project; the host country where the asset is located; and investors who back the project and buy the stock. Two of these parties have very limited options: The mining company can’t move the deposit to a more friendly business environment. If local politicians demand more earnings, management teams have no choice but to negotiate. It can get more diabolical: the host government may permit a project and let the mining company spend millions (or billions) developing the project, only to add onerous taxes or royalties after it begins operation—if it doesn’t just steal the whole thing.last_img read more

In his book The Theory of Interest Irving Fisher

first_imgIn his book The Theory of Interest, Irving Fisher, whom Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman called “America’s greatest economist,” created the Fisher equation. It states that the nominal yield of a bond is equal to its real yield plus expected inflation. This equation serves as the pillar of all of macroeconomics and as the foundational tenet of the bond market. It has been reconfirmed many times by scholarly examination and by the sheer force of historical experience. If we examine periods of both low and high inflation, we’ll see how each variable in the Fisher equation affects the outcome. From 1871 to 1948, a period of relatively low inflation, the US Treasury bond yield averaged 2.9%, with the inflation rate 1.0% and the real yield 1.9%. From 1948 to 1989, a period of higher inflation, inflation jumped to 4.3% on average. The Treasury bond yield increased to 6.0%, but the real yield remained close to historical norms at 1.7%. More recently, the inflation rate has declined, but the real rate has remained close to historical averages. My point is that while average inflation and bond yields were volatile, the average real yield was far more stable. Over longer stretches, the real yield was never far from its post-1871 average of 2.2%. Thus, over long periods of time, bond yields fluctuated in response to rising and falling inflation. However, the real bond yield steadily reverted to its mean. Inflation While a host of factors caused inflation to vary in the aforementioned periods, two significant ones are easily identifiable. First, the 70-year span between 1871 and 1948 (excluding the World War years) was an extended global market era. A new paradigm of uninterrupted transcontinental railroad travel plus the completion of the Suez Canal ushered in this era of rapidly expanding global trade. By 1871, 10% of US railroad traffic carried globally traded goods. This era produced increasing returns to scale and minimized price pressures. Second, the 1871-1948 period encompassed two episodes of high indebtedness: the 1870s, and then the 1920s until the mid- to late 1940s. Both severely destabilized economic activity and produced minimal inflation, which in turn led to depressed bond yields that eventually reached slightly less than 2%. Those episodes roughly correspond with the two 20-year periods of that era when the total return on long-term Treasury bonds exceeded the total return on the S&P 500: one from the 1870s to the 1890s and another from 1928 to 1948. On top of that, the traditional demographic vibrancy in the United States ended during the 1930s as both the birth rate and total increase in population slowed dramatically. The period from 1948 to 1989 differs markedly. By 1948, a global market did not exist, and the excessive indebtedness of the 1920-1930s had been eliminated. In the late 1940s, the Iron and Bamboo Curtains imposed by Russia and China removed roughly 50% of the world’s population from global trade, reducing economies of scale. During the war years, from 1933 to 1948, the US ratio of public and private debt to GDP dropped from 295% to 139%, as the personal saving rate jumped from below zero to 28%. With normal and sustainable debt levels the US entered the post-war boom, a period of rapidly rising prosperity that produced greater returns on the S&P 500 than on long-term Treasury bonds. Additionally, the abysmal demographics of the 1930s gave way to the post-war baby boom as households became more optimistic about their economic prospects. Today, conditions resemble the 1871-1948 period. Global trade is once again less inhibited, and public and private debt is high and rising. The saving rate is greatly depressed. Demographics have soured. The birth rate in 2013 fell to its lowest level on record, and the rate of population increase was the slowest since the Depression-era year of 1937. Thus, fundamental conditions are now conducive to an inflation rate averaging 1% or less. Based on the Fisher equation, long-term bond yields should be comfortable trading at 3% or lower. Many factors influence the global inflation rate, but the current bout of low inflation and insufficient demand are both symptoms of extreme over-indebtedness. Price weakness is evident in numerous different measures. Over the last twelve months ending November, the durable and nondurable goods components of the US personal consumption deflator fell by 2.0% and 0.6%, respectively. Prices of imported goods fell 1.5% over the same period; excluding oil, the decline was nearly as large. Facing weak domestic demand, foreign producers cut prices on goods headed toward the US market, and this forced domestic producers to match those lower prices. A lack of pricing power is likely to continue in 2014, for three main reasons. First, the global economy continues to incur more indebtedness. Both public and private debt in the major economies of the world continue to rise further above the levels that depress economic activity. Second, monetary conditions moved in the wrong direction last year, partly as a result of misguided policy efforts at quantitative manipulation of reserves. Third, although the sequester of government expenditures will be less in 2014 than in 2013, fiscal policy in the broadest sense is not supportive of economic growth. Indebtedness Academic research shows that a public and private debt-to-GDP ratio above the range of 260-275% depresses economic growth. In 2000, the US debt level exceeded this range. Since then, the bond yield has averaged 4.6%, with inflation at 2.1% and the real yield 2.5%. By comparing growth and debt figures prior to 2000 with those afterward, we can assess the magnitude of the problem and likelihood of its persistence. From 1871 to 1999, private and public debt averaged less than 165% of GDP (well below the 260-275% critical level), and the trend growth in real GDP was 3.8%. From 2000 through 2013, GDP growth has faltered to just 1.9%. Based on the latest 2013 figures, total private and public debt amounted to $58.2 trillion, or 344% of GDP. If the debt-to-GDP ratio were currently the same as the average from 1871 to 1999, total debt would be only $30.5 trillion, or almost half of the existing level. The debt-to-GDP ratio declined since peaking in 2009, but not enough to reenter the normal range. Moreover, the ratio resumed its upward trajectory in 2013. Thus, the US appears to be following the Japanese example of trying to cure a debt problem by accumulating more debt. Scholarly research conducted in the US and Europe over the past three years indicates that the amount of government debt relative to GDP has reached levels that historically have produced a deleterious effect on economic growth. This effect has historically lasted two decades or longer. As termed by European researchers, the current levels have reached the “non-linear zone.” This means that the negative effects on growth are likely to intensify as this debt ratio moves higher. Ignoring this research is ill advised, especially since the debt levels are still advancing. Although the US budget deficit was smaller last year, the more critical debt ratio continued to rise. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), general US government gross financial liabilities as a percent of GDP reached 104.1% in 2013, the highest level since the early 1950s. (Gross, rather than net, government debt is the appropriate measure; netting out the government debt held in other government accounts is not appropriate since the social insurance trusts have far greater liabilities than they have government securities to fund those future commitments.) By the end of 2015, the OECD projects this figure to jump to 106.5%. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next 25 years, government debt to GDP will move dramatically higher. Since European fiscal policies mirror those in the US, it is not surprising that European growth prospects remain dismal. According to the OECD, general government gross financial liabilities in Europe reached 106.4% of GDP in 2013, up from 95.6% in 2011, an even faster rise than in the United States. New research shows that the world average of total public debt, expressed as a percent of global GDP, is approximating its highest level since 1826 (IMF Working Paper WP/13/266, “Financial and Sovereign Debt Crises: Some Lessons Learned and Those Forgotten,” December 2013, by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff). Private debt to GDP in the Eurozone and the UK (and interestingly, in Japan) are all higher than in the US and even further above the levels that research has identified as being detrimental to growth. Monetary Conditions Monetary policy continues to be a negative for growth. Three academic papers presented at the Jackson Hole conference last August determined that the present approach of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve has actually slowed economic activity. Four considerations show that monetary policy is working against economic growth. First, monetary policy works primarily through price effects. The level of real interest rates determines the price of credit. In 2013, long-term Treasury bond yields rose 100 basis points, or 1.0%. The inflation rate, measured by the year-over-year change in the Fed’s targeted core personal consumption expenditure deflator, dropped 50 basis points. This pushed the real yield on the 30-year bond to nearly 3% at the close of 2013. Thus, real yields currently carry a significant premium to the long-term average. The effects of this rising price of credit are visible in the high-frequency housing data. Recently, pending and existing home sales fell below year-ago levels. Mortgage applications for home purchases in December were at their lowest level in more than a decade. Second, the money multiplier that reflects the conversion of bank reserves into deposits (money) by the banking system fell to a new 100-year low of less than 3 in late December 2013. This indicates that the Fed’s large-scale asset purchases (LSAP) are not currently producing real, tangible economic effects and are not likely to in the future. Since 1913, $1 of high-powered money has, on average, resulted in an increase of $8.20 of M2. The current multiplier constitutes an unprecedented historical gap. To accelerate economic growth from a monetary perspective, an increase in the multiplier would be necessary. The best indicator of whether this acceleration process is working would be the expansion of bank credit, which includes bank investments and bank loans. Unfortunately, for the past 12 months the expansion of total bank credit is only 2.0% higher than one year ago, and bank loans have expanded by only 1.9%. Third, in spite of the Fed’s LSAP, which was larger in 2013 than 2012, M2 expanded at a considerably slower pace of 5.3% in the 12 months ending December 2013, down from 8.2% a year ago. The reduced money growth is an indication that LSAP is becoming more counterproductive. Fourth, the velocity of money (V) continues to reject the argument that monetary policies are gaining traction. Velocity, or the speed at which money turns over, links M2 to the level of nominal economic activity. With the money supply expanding at 5.3% in the latest year, it would be reasonable to expect the same growth rate in nominal GDP if V were stable. Unfortunately, since 1997 velocity has been falling—and in the last 12 months it has dropped by 3.0% to 1.57, the lowest level in six decades. While a myriad of factors influence velocity, the rate of change of financial innovation and lending for productive purposes affect its direction. If debt generates an income stream that repays principal and interest and creates other activities, it will tend to expand economic activity and cause V to rise. Student, auto, and other loans for consumption (which represent the bulk of the increase in consumer credit in 2013) do not meet that criterion—those forms of debt are merely an acceleration of future consumption and tend to inhibit the borrower’s ability to increase consumption down the road. Further, new regulations on our financial industries are discouraging financial innovation, and this could bring further downward pressure on velocity. In 2014, if velocity erodes at a generously low (and unlikely) 2% pace and money supply continues to grow at its current rate, nominal GDP will expand at about a 3% growth rate. If 2013 growth rates in velocity and money persist in 2014, then nominal growth would be even less. Fiscal Issues Based on scholarly research, only half of the negative economic impact emanating from the $275 billion 2013 tax increase has been registered so far. Due to the recognition and implementation lags, the remaining drag on growth from the tax increase will occur this year and again in 2015. Carrying a negative multiplier of 2 to 3, this impact far outweighs the sequester (which is expected to be slightly less in 2014 than in 2013) since the multiplier for government expenditures is zero, if not slightly negative. An important fiscal policy event for 2014 is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Health care is the largest US industry, comprising 17.2% of the economy in 2012. That’s more than twice as large as residential construction, oil and gas exploration, and the automotive sectors combined. The scope and scale of ACA may divert energy and activity away from more productive endeavors. The ACA’s employer mandate was waived in 2013, as were similar obligations of labor unions and others, but these waivers expire this year. Firms may have to cut full-time employees to part-time, reduce total employment, or cut benefits since they lack pricing power to cover these costs. As such, this will place the burden of adjustment on consumers. On January 1, health insurance premiums that target small businesses and individuals were raised. These groups create jobs and are vital for growth, so although the amount of the increase is small, this is not a positive development for the economy. While the ACA is an unprecedented event for which no historical point of comparison exists, history does confirm that substantial increases in government regulation are not a springboard for innovation, the lifeblood of economic activity. The slow nominal growth rate anticipated for 2014 should continue to put downward pressure on the inflation rate as insufficient demand continues to foster highly competitive markets. With slower inflation, lower long-term interest rates are a probable outcome. Dr. Lacy H. Hunt is executive vice president of Hoisington Investment Management Company ($4.5 billion under management) and author of two books, and articles in Barron’s, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Journal of Finance, the Financial Analysts Journal, Business Economic, and the Journal of Portfolio Management. Previously, he was Chief US Economist for the HSBC Group and Senior Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.last_img read more

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first_img Sponsor Advertisement The dollar index finished the Thursday trading session at 80.21—and sank 13 basis points to 80.08 just minutes before the London open.  The tiny rally from that point took it back to almost unchanged on the day by shortly before 11 a.m. BST in London—and it was all down hill from there, closing virtually on its low at 80.03—down 18 basis points from Thursday.  Will there be a not-for-profit buyer waiting in the wings to prop up the dollar index at the open on Sunday night in New York, one wonders. The gold stocks spent most of the first half of the Friday session trading in positive territory, but rolled over about 12:30 p.m.—hitting their lows minutes after 1 p.m.  After that they chopped quietly higher, finishing just barely in the plus column, up 0.16%. Palladium didn’t do much, but did manage to close up 4 bucks—the same amount it close up on Thursday. The silver stocks more or less followed the same pattern as the gold stocks, with the low also coming shortly after 1 p.m EDT.  But the low tick was down almost 2 percent from Thursday’s close—and the subsequent rally wasn’t able to get the silver equities in the black.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.42%. Platinum spent most of Friday in positive territory—and began to rally with some authority the same time silver did, about 30 minutes before the Comex open.  The price almost made it to $1,485.00 spot by 10:30 a.m. in New York, before a willing seller showed up and by 2 p.m. EDT, they had the price down ten bucks and change from its high tick.  From there it traded sideways into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.  Platinum closed up 9 bucks. The silver price had a bit more shape to it—and the rally that began about 20 minutes before the Comex open lasted until around 9:15 a.m. EDT.  From there it traded sideways until fifteen minutes after the Comex close—and looked like it was going to finish the day above the $21 spot price mark.  But someone had other plans—and by the time they were through, silver was back below the $21 spot price market once again. The low and high ticks were $20.90 and $21.205 in the July contract. Silver closed in New York at $20.87 spot, down 24.5 cents from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was huge—54,000 contracts in the new front month, which is September.center_img Of course prices could also be allowed to rise from here, as the technical funds start adding to their long positions now that gold and silver are back above their respective 200-day moving averages.  But it’s a lead pipe cinch that the raptors and the other Commercial traders will be taking the short side of the trade—and then it’s just a matter of when, not if, JPMorgan et al pull the pin and harvest the technical funds for fun, profit—and price management purposes. And after looking at yesterday’s COT Report, you should have no illusions about the fact that the Commercial traders, led by JPMorgan Chase have, as Ted Butler said in his article, “captured the pricing mechanism for gold, silver and copper away from the influence of the actual supply and demand fundamentals.”  And as the Bank Participation Report shows, this situation also applies to platinum and palladium—and there’s no sign that they are about to loosen their iron grip on these markets anytime soon.  Only the lunatic fringe, or the willfully blind, can’t see this—or refuse to acknowledge it if they do. Based on my observations of the precious metals market for the last 15 years, there are only three ways that prices will rise to anywhere near where they should be— 1] if JPMorgan allows it, or is instructed to let it happen or,  2] there is a physical shortage or,  3] If there’s a black swan event of some type—and this could be derivatives related, financial, political—you name it. Here are a couple of charts Nick Laird sent around on Friday evening—and as pretty as they are, these breakouts mean nothing to me, as these are 100 percent made by JPMorgan et al—and they can paint them any way they wish—and have done so for a very long time. Not surprisingly the last Daily Delivery Report from the CME for the June delivery month wasn’t must to see, as only 1 gold contract was posted for delivery on Monday—and as of 9:54 p.m. EDT on Friday evening, they hadn’t posted the First Day Notice numbers for silver. When I checked back at 11:31 p.m. EDT, the First Day Notice numbers for Day 1 of the July delivery month were posted as expected—and they didn’t disappoint.  The CME reported that 21 gold and 1,804 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday.  The four largest short/issuers were Jefferies, Credit Suisse, and Newedge USA with 239, 204 and 142 contracts respectively.  But towering far above all of them combined was JPMorgan in its in-house [proprietary] trading account with 1,147 contracts.  The three largest long/stoppers were JPMorgan in its client account with 530 contracts—Barclays with 495 contracts in its client account—and Deutsche Bank with 237 contracts in its in-house [proprietary] trading account.  The list of long/stoppers is huge—and yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is definitely worth a minute of your time.  There were decent deliveries posted in copper an platinum as well. There were no reported changes in GLD—and as of 9:54 p.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. There was another small sales report from the U.S. Mint yesterday.  They sold 1,500 troy ounces of gold eagles—1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 155,000 silver eagles. Month-to-date the mint has sold 45,000 troy ounces of gold eagles—15,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—2,372,000 silver eagles—and 700 platinum eagles.  Based on these sales, the silver gold ratio at the moment sits at  39.5 to 1. There was a small amount of in/out movement in gold at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, as 3,858 troy ounces were reported received—and 628 troy ounces were shipped out.  In silver, 5,078 troy ounces were received—and 740,657 troy ounces were shipped out.   The link to the silver action is here. The Commitment of Traders Report was worse than even Ted imagined it would be, as my hoped-for scenario didn’t even come in second in a 2-horse race.  Ted has never been wrong yet—and I must have been dreaming in Technicolor if if I thought I was going to best him on this one. In silver, the Commercial net short position exploded by 20,059 contracts—100 million ounces of paper silver—or to put it another way, 44 days of world silver production.  The Commercial net short position almost doubled in a week to 214.5 million troy ounces.  JPMorgan’s short position is about a third of that amount. It was almost all technical fund covering of short positions as they raced to cover as moving averages were broken to the upside—and the raptors [the Commercial traders other than the ‘Big 8’] let them off easy and sold them all the long contracts these technical funds wanted. Even JPMorgan got into the act—and Ted Butler feels that they went short about 1,500 additional silver contracts during the reporting week, bringing their short-side corner in the Comex silver market up to 14,500 contracts, or 72.5 million ounces. As bad as the silver number was, the number in gold was gargantuan, as the Commercial net short position in that precious metal blew out by 53,282 Comex contracts, or 5.33 million troy ounces—the biggest 1-week change that I can remember.  The Commercial net short position increase by 70 percent in just one week—and now stands at 13.16 million ounces. Once again it was the gold raptors selling longs to the technical funds as they covered short positions and, like silver, even JPMorgan showed up, selling about 4,000 of their long-side corner in the Comex gold market.  Their long-side corner is down to 30,000 contracts, or 3.0 million troy ounces. Ted pointed out on the phone that in the last three weeks, the Commercial net short position in silver has increased by about 33,000 contracts.  So if you’re looking for a reason when the silver price is up only two bucks, that’s the reason. Once again it should obvious to anyone with more than two synapse to rub together that the rallies of last Thursday and Friday—and since the June 5 low—were just about 100 percent caused by short covering in both metals.  I should also include copper, as the blow-out in the Commercial net short position in that metal was massive as well—and for the same reason. As Ted Butler said—and rightly so—this is the technical funds/speculators being gamed by another set of speculators—the raptors—with these ones dressed up as Commercial traders.  There’s not a damn thing ‘Commercial’ about them.  They’re there for fun, profit—and price management.  Why this isn’t obvious to most market analysts is a complete mystery to me. The big question that both Ted and I have is why the raptors let the technical funds off so easy.  They could have skinned them for megabucks, rather than for less than the two bucks they took out of their hides.  But since the raptors all trade as one entity, it has to involve price management. Ted figures that there was more technical fund short covering since the Tuesday cut-off—and I certainly agree.  But, like this last COT Report, we’ll have to wait until next Friday to see how much more damage was done—and now that I think about it, there probably won’t be a report next Friday because of the U.S. holiday on that day. I’m happy to say that I have very few stories again today and, like yesterday, I’m hoping that there are a few in here that you find interesting in the midst of such meagre fare. Through corrupt trade practices, the COMEX has stolen and captured the pricing mechanism for gold, silver and copper away from the influence of actual supply and demand fundamentals. Replacing the law of supply and demand as the price determinant, the COMEX has substituted a private club run by a few large traders who, in turn, dictate prices to metal producers, consumers and investors. The federal commodities regulator, the CFTC, is complicit in the price capturing, but the prime culprit is the CME Group. Ironically, it is data from the CME and published by the CFTC that prove price manipulation on the COMEX. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 27 June 2014 Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ isn’t a pop song at all, but it’s so famous that it was a big hit on the pop charts even though it was a jazz classic.  I certainly remember it from 50 years ago—and if you’re of that vintage, you’ll know it instantly as well.  The link is here.  [On a personal note, I made an unsuccessful attempt to learn the piano part of this tune when I was in my early teens—and the obscure key of E-flat minor was more than I could handle.] Taking a cue from the above jazz classic, here’s Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Elegie, Op. 3, No. 1 that was written in 1892.  It, too, was composed in the key of E-flat minor—and here’s Sergei himself playing it.  The link is here. The trading week ended with a whimper.  Not that I’m complaining too much, mind you, because of these overbought conditions, there’s nothing stopping JPMorgan and the raptors from pulling the pin on the technical funds and whipsawing them back on the short side, just as they’ve covered their current short positions. Here are the 30-day charts for both gold and silver—and as you can see there has been very little price movement in either precious metal since the rally on Thursday, June 19.  Like I said on Thursday, it’s almost like we’re in a holding pattern. Avrupa and Antofagasta intersect copper-rich VMS in Pyrite Belt, Portugal •             First Greenfields discovery of massive sulfide mineralization in 20 years in the Iberian Pyrite Belt •             10.85 meters of massive and semi-massive/stockwork sulfide mineralization grading 1.81% Cu, 2.57% Pb, 4.38% Zn, 0.13% Sn, and 75.27 ppm Ag •             Including 7.95 meters @ 2.21% Cu, 3.05% Pb, 4.82% Zn, 0.15% Sn, 89.8 ppm Ag •             Followed by 2.90 meters @ 0.71% Cu, 1.27% Pb, 3.17% Zn, 0.092% Sn, 35.4 ppm Ag •             Avrupa and Antofagasta sign an amended Joint Venture Agreement Please visit our website to learn more about the company and current exploration program. It’s just a matter of when, not if, JPMorgan et al pull the pin It was a nothing day for gold on Friday—and the highs and lows aren’t worth mentioning. Gold finished the week at $1,315.10 spot, down $1.80 from Thursday.  Volume, net of June and July, was fairly light at only 110,000 contracts.  Of that amount about 5,000 contracts was traded in the far months, mostly September and December, so they could have been roll-overs out of the August contract. Now that the raptors have allowed the technical funds to slip out from underneath their record short positions virtually unscathed, it’s impossible to tell where prices will go from here. Then there’s the little matter of the 7 million troy ounces of silver owed the SLV ETF, which flies in the face of the 8.1 million ounces that have been withdrawn from this same ETF since the rally began back on June 5.  The same can be said for GLD, as that ETF has shown a net withdrawal as well, since gold’s rally began.  Will all this metal ever, in fact, show up?  A question without an answer at the moment. So, if you’re looking for some guidance from me, I don’t have any.  The precious metal market is now so rotten to the core that it’s hard to predict anything from day to day—and I would stay miles/kilometers away from any of the so-called experts that say they can, because it’s a certainty that they don’t know what they’re talking about. And on that happy note, I’m off to bed.  Enjoy what’s left of your weekend—and I’ll see you here next week.last_img read more

Recommended Link

first_imgRecommended Link Jeff Clark Editor, Delta ReportP.S. Another temptation investors should avoid worrying about is the crash I see coming this year. It’s only a matter of time before the bubble bursts again.I’m looking forward to it – because I know how to make money during the crash… and my technique could double or triple your money when it comes.I’m revealing how it all works tonight at 8 p.m. ET. There are only a few hours left – reserve your free spot now.Reader MailbagOne reader shares our excitement that the Crypto Winter is finally ending:I’m already in on the crypto bull run! I have about 42 open positions and in the last 24-48 hours my entire portfolio jumped up about 10-14%, with a little pullback today. Frankly I’m sad I’m not sitting on a bunch more cash because I would just keep throwing it down if I could. Particularly on Bitcoin when it pulls back. I not only consider it good speculation but a good way to store some wealth away.Thanks as always for these updates – they help keep my focus and confidence in a very volatile and difficult market. Yet it’s a market that I actually understand so I do much better in this space than in the highly manipulated circus of a “market” that is the stock market.– BrendanAs always, send any questions, comments, or concerns to Early-Bird Discount for a “Mini-Vacation”The second annual Legacy Investment Summit is only a few months out… and you can save $300 if you take advantage of the early-bird discount by May 31.We don’t want you to miss out on the chance to join us in Southern California – at the five-star Park Hyatt Aviara Resort – for a net cost of less than $0.If you’re on the fence, check out what one of your fellow readers had to say about last year’s Summit in Bermuda:Superb, superb, superb in every way. Absolutely five-star! Been to many, many conferences over the years but have NEVER been to one that pulled out all the stops from a standpoint of the caliber of speakers and content, the venue selection, and the awesome manner in which Legacy Research hosted this event.But I would be so VERY remiss not to specifically mention and compliment on those incredible “spreads” of food and drink. The fact that you not only fed us breakfast and lunch but evening cocktail parties every day, with the most wonderfully lavish buffets, has to be one of the things that was over the top in excellence and that everyone we spoke with, without exception, raved about.This Summit wasn’t just a learning experience but turned into a lovely mini-vacation. Your organization’s effort and the unsurpassed result was truly first-class and sincerely appreciated. I can’t layer on any more superlatives to make my points and simply will end with, “Thank you all for a most enjoyable event.” See you next year!– Ann Don’t delay, reserve your seat right here. Click here to reserve your free spot TONIGHT at 8 pm ET, we’re publicly airing: — Click here to continue reading The ONE STOCK you absolutely must avoid at all costs… The ONE WORD that will set off the crash… (Hint: It starts with the letter “o”)Which sector will be a bloodbath… Which sector will be the SAFEST PLACE to keep your money… and how it could help you make 100% to 200% gains along the way… The exact day stocks could crash in 2019… It’s important to understand that longevity as a trader has nothing to do with achieving the maximum profit on any one position. It has to do with consistently taking profits on trades as they reach your price targets.You’re never going to consistently buy at the low and sell at the high. Trying to do so will eventually lead to missing out on good trade setups and holding on to trades longer than you should.So avoid the temptation of looking back at the trades you’ve exited. Be happy with your decision to get out of town. Focus on the future and don’t look back.Lot and his family left Sodom and prospered in the neighboring town of Zoar. Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.Regards, Once you’ve exited a position – whether for a gain or a loss – it doesn’t matter what happens to that trade anymore. There’s nothing to be gained by looking back at it. Focus on the future and the opportunities in front of you.If you look back, you run the same risks as Lot’s wife… Not that you’ll be turned into a pillar of salt, of course – but that you’ll be rendered fragile and immovable.Think about this…If you’ve taken a profit on a trade and then choose to look back at it, then one of two things will happen:The position will reverse. You will have sold at the perfect time. And you’ll expect to be able to do that consistently in the future. This leads to overconfidence and the belief that you’ll always be able to get out of town just before the market gods unleash their wrath. This is a dangerous thought process.Or the position will go on to even bigger profits. You will have sold too early. And even though you took a good profit on the trade, you’ll feel bad because you could’ve made so much more. This leads you to question every future trade. You’re more inclined to hang on longer than you should. And you may not be able to get out of town in time.If you’ve taken a loss on the trade and look back at it, then even if the position continues falling, you’ll still feel bad about having taken a loss.And if the position turns around and starts moving in your favor, then you’ll likely start hanging on to other losing trades longer than you should – hoping they’ll start moving in your favor as well.So traders have nothing to gain from looking back at trades they’ve already exited. You can’t change your decision whether it’s proven brilliant or stupid. All looking back will do is paralyze you – like a pillar of salt – on future trades. Recommended Link The Democrats’ Secret Plan to Take Down Trump in 2020?Have you seen this SHOCKING story yet? The struggle to take control of the White House in 2020 is now getting underway… And Government Insider Jim Rickards has uncovered a secret plan that could ruin Trump that could affect the bank accounts of millions of Americans… As early as June 30th. Justin’s note: No one can buy low and sell high all the time. But master trader Jeff Clark doesn’t get upset when he misses out on the absolute top or bottom. It’s all about making money – no matter the market environment.Today, he reveals why the key to investor longevity has nothing to do with making maximum gains on any single position.He tells us why it’s more important to focus on consistent profits – which you can only do by not looking back…By Jeff Clark, editor, Delta Report“Don’t look back.”That was the advice the angels gave to Lot and his family as they led them out of the city of Sodom, just before it was destroyed by the wrath of God.Whatever happened to the city after he fled was no longer Lot’s concern. It was no longer any of his business. He couldn’t do anything about it.So “don’t look back” was the angel’s way of saying, “Look forward. There’s nothing to gain by watching what happens behind you. Focus on your future and what’s ahead of you.”As the Bible tells us, Lot’s wife wasn’t all that good at following directions. She couldn’t resist the temptation to look back and see what happened to the city she just left. And she was turned into a pillar of salt.Why salt? Who knows? Maybe it’s because too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. Maybe it’s because a pillar of salt is fragile, yet immovable.Whatever. The bottom line is: Lot’s wife shouldn’t have looked back. And neither should traders. —last_img read more

The maker of OxyContin one of the most prescribed

first_imgThe maker of OxyContin, one of the most prescribed and aggressively marketed opioid painkillers, will no longer tout the drug or any other opioids to doctors.The announcement, made Saturday, came as drugmaker Purdue Pharma faces lawsuits for deceptive marketing brought by cities and counties across the U.S., including several in Maine. The company said it’s cutting its U.S. sales force by more than half.Just how important are these steps against the backdrop of a raging opioid epidemic that took the lives of more than 300 Maine residents in 2016, and accounted for more than 42,000 deaths nationwide?”They’re 20 years late to the game,” says Dr. Noah Nesin, a family physician and vice president of medical affairs at Penobscot Community Health Care.Nesin says even after Purdue Pharma paid $600 million in fines about a decade ago for misleading doctors and regulators about the risks opioids posed for addiction and abuse, it continued marketing them.”I think it’s similar to the tobacco industry learning they could sell tobacco without spending a lot of money on advertising. My guess is this decision is in their self-interest,” he says.A nationwide lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for deceptive marketing continues to grow. Seven cities in Maine have joined, including Portland, Lewiston and Bangor, along with five counties, to recoup some of the costs of addressing the addiction crisis.A spokesman for Purdue Pharma said in an email that the decision to stop marketing to prescribers is voluntary and independent of any litigation.Nesin says that at the very least, the company’s decision to refrain from promoting opioids to doctors reinforces the need for caution when prescribing the drugs.Maine Medical Association President Dr. Robert Schlager agrees that Purdue Phama’s move is a good, if small, step to fight the opioid epidemic. “I wouldn’t expect it to have a very large role in limiting opioids further,” he says. “Because most of us, as prescribers, do limit our information exchange with the drug representatives who have been marketing opioids.”Since 2016, doctors in Maine have also adhered to prescribing limits enacted by the Legislature. As of December 2017, legislatures in 17 states had enacted prescribing limits and nine others had authorized other state entities to enact them.Schlager says Purdue Pharma should go further and suspend opioid marketing worldwide. “It seems a little bit not honest to just limit it here in the United States,” he says.In an email, Purdue Pharma’s spokesman says that the company operates only in the United States, and that an associated company, Mundipharma, has not marketed opioids in Europe since 2013.A Los Angeles Times investigation in 2016 found that the family that owns Purdue Pharma has a network of international companies that employ the same kinds of marketing practices that made OxyContin a blockbuster seller in the U.S.This story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, Maine Public Radio and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 Maine Public. To see more, visit Maine Public.last_img read more

The private sector has implemented the Equality Ac

first_imgThe private sector has implemented the Equality Act far better than central and local government a committee of peers has been told by a prominent disabled campaigner.The peers were told that the focus on disability discrimination had faded since the “generic” Equality Act replaced legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had replaced the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and other equality watchdogs.Fazilet Hadi, director of engagement at the disability charity RNIB, told the committee that she did not think the Equality Act was taken seriously enough by local and central government.She was giving evidence in the second public session of the Equality Act 2010 and Disability Committee, set up by the House of Lords to examine the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people.Hadi said: “I think we have seen better implementation of the act from the banks, the utilities, the John Lewis-es, the private sector, than we have ever seen from central or local government, and that is a bit of an indictment given that this is government legislation.“In 2015, there are still government departments that do not have proper mechanisms for giving blind and partially-sighted people and other people with disabilities info in accessible formats.“That’s not rocket science. They should have been doing it since 1999 and they are still not doing it.“We have got inaccessible websites, we have got inaccessible streetscapes, we have got inaccessible services.“Government really should be leading the way, they should be role models for this stuff, and they’re not.”Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, who also gave evidence to the committee, said that the sense of “moving in a positive direction seems to have slightly stalled” since the Equality Act was introduced, while “the hope that is attached to it is not as strong as it was”.She said the act could be “better promoted, used more systemically, and not just left to the individuals to pursue things”, for example, through the courts.Sayce said there needed to be more focus on the public sector equality duty (PSED), which imposes duties under the Equality Act on public sector organisations, including central government departments.She said: “I think we need a revived, high-level commitment to the PSED and to the principle of systemic change, not just reliance on individual redress.”Sayce said that DR UK was hearing frequently though its advice line that disabled people were “finding it very difficult to exercise their rights” in the workplace, and to access goods and services.She said: “It would be good to have a stronger, cross-government leadership on these issues… I don’t see the equality frame being used all that much and I think it would be really useful if it was.”Both Hadi and Sayce also criticised EHRC.Sayce said the EHRC had not been as active as the DRC in engaging with stakeholders, such as disabled people’s and business organisations and unions.She said: “As a stakeholder of the EHRC, I don’t see that kind of engagement.“The budget has gone down, the engagement has gone down, and although there are examples of good initiatives, I don’t see evidence of a systemic approach to really moving forward on disability equality that is strong enough.”Hadi added: “I, personally, as the director of a disability charity, have very little contact [with EHRC].“When the Disability Rights Commission was around, in those good old days, I would go there regularly, we’d talk to them regularly.”last_img read more

The government has ignored key evidence that demon

first_imgThe government has ignored key evidence that demonstrates widespread breaches of the UN disability convention, according to disabled people’s grassroots groups and organisations that are working together to expose its failings.They spoke out after the government submitted its response to concerns raised earlier this year by a UN committee, which described where it had questions about whether the UK may have failed in its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).The UK government’s 168-paragraph response to the “list of issues” produced by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) is the latest step in a process that will see it examined in public in Geneva next month on how it has implemented the convention.But disabled activists and campaigners who have been working to highlight the UK’s breaches of the convention said this week that the government’s defence of its position was “poor quality” and lacking in evidence.Ellen Clifford, a spokeswoman for the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) – a national anti-cuts network of user-led organisations – said the government had claimed in its response that its policies were having a positive impact on disabled people, without providing any evidence for those claims.She said the government had claimed that the Care Act 2014 was “helping to overturn traditional approaches to disability in health and social care by placing greater power in the hands of service users, including disabled people”, when there was substantial evidence to show that the act was not being implemented.There is no mention in the government’s response of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) own evaluation of the closure of the Independent Living Fund, in which it had found that some former recipients had experienced a loss of support, a greater reliance on unpaid care and a negative impact on their physical and mental health after it closed.Only last week, Disability News Service reported how leading figures in the disability movement had described how the concept of disabled people using personal assistants had been severely damaged by years of austerity and government policies that have “degraded” the support mechanisms designed to enable independent living.Clifford pointed also to the second paragraph of the response, where the government claimed that it “embraces the social model of disability”.She said there was substantial evidence to show the government was instead influenced by the discredited biopsychosocial model of disability in its welfare reforms, by the psychiatric model in mental health services, and by the medical model in the use of assessment and treatment units for people with learning difficulties, all of which had caused harm to disabled people and led to breaches of the convention.Clifford said the government’s response overall was “just a list of policies” and “doesn’t deal with any of the substantive issues” raised by the UN in its list of issues.She said: “It just doesn’t present a picture of the experiences of Deaf and disabled people in the UK in 2017.”Dr Rosalind Tyler-Greig, human rights policy and engagement officer for Inclusion Scotland, said the government’s response “once again demonstrates its refusal to engage with many of the most important issues affecting the lives of disabled people”.She pointed to “telling” omissions, including the government stating that it spent nearly £17 billion on personal independence payment (PIP) and disability living allowance (DLA) in 2015-16, compared to £11 billion in 2006-07, but ignoring new figures – reported last week by Disability News Service – that showed more than half of those previously eligible for the higher mobility rate of DLA had lost that eligibility after being reassessed for PIP.And where the government states that legal aid “continues to provide access to justice for people in the most serious cases”, Tyler-Greig said that many disabled people with housing, employment or social security concerns “now find themselves priced out of justice” because of the UK government’s legal aid reforms.She added: “The government claims to have embraced the social model of disability. “However, this statement is merely a case of lip service and there is little evidence to support it.”In Scotland, she said, there had been progress in dealing with the impact of austerity, with the Scottish government promising “a different and non-discriminatory approach to social security”.But she said the delivery of social care “remains a significant concern in Scotland, and there is little in the state response to address this.“Inclusion Scotland is working with a range of partners to ensure that this UN process provides the appropriate levers to drive progress for disabled people in Scotland as well as in the UK.”There is also anger about the government’s continued failure – repeated in its response to the list of issues – to address the recommendations made by the UN committee following a separate inquiry into breaches of the convention.That inquiry – taken under article six of the convention’s optional protocol – found last year that the UK government was guilty of “grave” and “systematic” breaches of three specific articles of the human rights treaty.Most of those breaches – under articles 19 (independent living), article 27 (work and employment) and article 28 (adequate standard of living and social protection) of the convention – were caused by policies introduced by Conservative DWP ministers between 2010 and 2015.The government said last November that the inquiry report presented an “inaccurate” picture of life for disabled people in the UK, and dismissed all 11 of its recommendations.And in this month’s response to the list of issues, it says only that it “maintains the position of its response” to the article six inquiry and planned to “further showcase [its] commitment to progressing the rights and lived experience of disabled people” through the examination of its overall record on implementing the convention.Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), which played a key part in persuading the UN to carry out the article six investigation, is to meet with the UN committee next month in Geneva to discuss progress in following up the results of the inquiry, which is a separate but parallel process to the routine examination.DPAC has already told the committee that it believes “rights are regressing even further” since the publication of the inquiry report, including through further cuts to social care, concerns about DWP’s new health and work conversation, and the “utter disaster of universal credit”.Linda Burnip, a DPAC co-founder, said: “The message is very much that this isn’t over yet, and I will be speaking about the UN inquiry in the European parliament in September to MEPs and hammering home how shamefully the Tories have behaved.”ROFA and other organisations that visited Geneva in March to give evidence to the committee about the UK’s breaches of the convention – including Inclusion Scotland, Disability Wales and Disability Rights UK – are now working on a joint response to the government’s response, and have until the end of this month to submit it to the committee.Picture by Natasha Hirst: Representatives of ROFA and DPOs including Disability Wales and Inclusion Scotland in Geneva in Marchlast_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The government has finally launched a new temporary fund that will support disabled candidates who want to stand for elected office, but only for the next 15 months.The Government Equalities Office (GEO) said the EnAble “interim” fund would provide £250,000 to help cover the disability-related expenses of standing for elected office.The EnAble Fund for Elected Office (EFEO) will go live in January and will end in March 2020, covering expenses such as British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, assistive technology, personal assistants and taxi fares.The funding is likely to be used by candidates for May’s local elections and police and crime commissioner elections in May 2020, although a GEO spokeswoman said that its use by prospective candidates for a general election would also be considered if one was called.But there has been no guarantee that there will be any further funding post-March 2020, with the department’s focus apparently on working with political parties to make their own policies and procedures accessible to disabled candidates.The fund is being administered by Disability Rights UK (DR UK), which will be paid £75,000 by the Local Government Association (LGA) for about 18 months’ work.The interim fund replaces the Access to Elected Office Fund, which was frozen by the government in 2015 after just three years.The new funding was first announced in May after lawyers for three disabled politicians – Labour’s Emily Brothers (pictured, right), Liberal Democrat David Buxton (pictured, second from left) and the Green party’s Simeon Hart – wrote to the government to warn that the government had breached the Equality Act by failing to reopen the Access to Elected Office Fund.They said they had effectively been unable to stand as candidates in a general election since the government froze the fund.Buxton this week welcomed the launch of the new interim fund, even though it was only open for 15 months, and he said he was glad it would be administered by a disabled people’s organisation, which would be “able to understand the barriers we face”.But he said there was “still a lot of room for improvement”, with “no long term solution” and the delays in launching the new fund meaning there were now just six months until May’s local elections.He said the experience in Scotland, where the Scottish government has set up its own Access to Elected Office Fund, showed that the longer potential candidates had to secure financial support with disability-related expenses before an election, the more successful such a fund would be.Brothers welcomed the announcement as a “first step”, but she said the funding was “insufficient and short term” and “fragmented”.She said: “I have concerns that EnAble is being set up so close to the next local elections, with selections well in hand and only six months to polling day.“The LGA and DR UK will need to get their act together very quickly, but for many disabled people it may well be too late.”She added: “I believe a permanently resourced Access to Elected Office Fund needs to be established to support the participation of disabled people in political and public life.“The representation of disabled people is woeful, our voices are not being heard and consequently laws, policy and practices persist in failing to meet our needs and aspirations. That has to change.”Deborah King, co-founder of Disability Politics UK, said: “The new fund is a drop in the ocean.  “Funds also need to be made available to political parties and providers of premises where political meetings are held for reasonable adjustments to be made.“Premises are often inaccessible and this needs to change.“For example, funding for hearing loops, ramps, sign language interpreters need to be provided through a central fund which facilitates access to the political process as a whole.” Sue Bott, deputy chief executive of DR UK, said: “Around 10 per cent of local councillors are disabled, but around 20 per cent of adults are disabled.“This fund will provide practical help and support to try and close that gap. Help with issues like transport, assistive technology or sign language interpreters can make a significant difference on whether to stand for elected office if you’re disabled.“We hope this is the beginning of something which will see funding increase, and broaden in scope, so that disabled people can get more involved in public life; from being a local councillor to becoming a member of parliament.“And we hope – and expect – to see political parties do much more to encourage their disabled members to stand for office.“Political parties across the spectrum have a poor track record when it comes to selecting and supporting disabled candidates.“They should be doing better, and the establishment of this fund is a reminder of that.”Announcing the new funding on Monday, the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Penny Mordaunt, the women and equalities minister, said: “Everyone has the right to stand and represent their community – and it is vital no-one is held back.“Empowering people with disabilities leads to better decisions and more effective outcomes for all of us.                                                       “Unless every one of our citizens can reach their full potential our nation never will.”last_img read more

Acxiom Continues to Expand Global Data Offerings and Digital Capabilities

first_imgAcxiom Continues to Expand Global Data Offerings and Digital Capabilities PRNewswireJune 12, 2019, 1:44 pmJune 12, 2019 Strengthens Industry-Leading Global Data Capabilities in Global MarketsAcxiom, the data and technology foundation for the world’s best marketers, announced that it has expanded its digital and global data capabilities to Japan, Australia, Spain and Canada. Acxiom is building on its position as the industry leader in global data, with ethically sourced data offerings for 2.5 billion addressable customers across the globe. As a trusted partner for brands worldwide, Acxiom will continue to focus on expanding its global and digital data capabilities to enable clients to know more about their existing customers, find look-alike customers, and enable them to reach and engage audiences anywhere with relevant messages across channels and throughout the customer journey, resulting in a better experience for consumers.“Our top priority is to ensure that all of the data leveraged is both ethically sourced and privacy-compliant”Today’s marketers need to connect with audiences across the globe through a growing number of offline and digital touchpoints, while also navigating the data use and consumer privacy regulations that vary by region. Acxiom’s suite of global data products enhances what marketers already know about their target audiences with insights derived from ethically sourced data. Acxiom’s data products also help leading publishers, giving them a better understanding of their end-user and enhancing their analytics capabilities. The expansion of Acxiom’s global data products in Japan, Australia, Spain and Canada benefits multi-national companies who have audiences in those regions and are looking to create successful borderless marketing campaigns, in addition to providing support to marketers on-the-ground in those regions.Marketing Technology News: Tellius Named by Gartner as a 2019 Cool Vendor in Analytics“As brands, ad platforms, and publishers continue to expand their services worldwide, Acxiom’s global data and digital marketing capabilities enable marketers to anticipate their customers’ specific needs by proactively developing their next priority audiences,” said Karen Caulfield, Group Vice President of Global Data Products at Acxiom. “Acxiom is the only industry partner in the market that’s able to address companies’ offline and digital needs and take their unique customers on a global journey across the omnichannel ecosystem. Data fuels exceptional customer experiences, no matter where you are in the world, and today marks another step forward in our vision of borderless marketing.”Acxiom’s suite of global data offerings can be viewed through Acxiom’s Global Data Navigator catalog tool, which allows users to easily locate data elements by geography, category and service while also outlining which Acxiom identity and activation services are available in the marketer’s selected geographies. Acxiom’s global audiences are available on leading platforms, making it easy for marketers across the world to access and activate Acxiom’s rich set of data and digital segments.Marketing Technology News: BabbleLabs Raises $14 million Series A Financing from Dell Technologies Capital and Intel Capital to Accelerate Speech TechnologyAdhering to Acxiom’s global data ethics program, Acxiom’s data complies with ethical data use methodologies and data governance across each participating country. Acxiom maintains global privacy teams for every region to strictly maintain data protection rules, cross-border requirements and appropriate uses of data.“Our top priority is to ensure that all of the data leveraged is both ethically sourced and privacy-compliant,” added Caulfield. “Our Global Data Ethics Program is dedicated to upholding the rights of consumer privacy and data transparency along with abiding with data governance regulations. As we’ve done in the past and will continue to implement with all our supporting services, we’ve taken the necessary steps and processes to safeguard data across each new international market offering.”Marketing Technology News: Neongecko Inc. Launches “Neon AI SDK” – New “Software Development Kit for Artificial Intelligence” Supports AI Conversations in Multiple Languages AcxiomGlobal Data EthicsGlobal Data NavigatorKaren CaulfieldMarketing TechnologyNewsTechnology Previous ArticleFull Circle Insights Ready to Deliver Next-Generation User ExperienceNext ArticleRapidAPI Raises $25 Million Series B, launches RapidAPI for Teamslast_img read more

Pilot study shows how migraine can be treated without medicine

first_img Source: Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 4 2018By slightly changing the body’s own molecules using a small inhaler, certain migraine patients can either cut down on medication or do without it completely. This is shown by a pilot study which has been published in the scientific journal Cephalalgia.Patients who suffer from migraine with aura, which is where they experience either sensory or visual disturbances before the painful headaches begin, have been examined in the study. Eleven patients participated in the pilot study, which will now be followed by a large clinical trial.Related StoriesDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaLiving with advanced breast cancerStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusOne of the authors is MSc in Engineering and PhD Troels Johansen, who carried out the study as part of his PhD at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and the Headache Clinic at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.He explains that migraines occur as part of a chain reaction during which the veins in the brain contract and the blood cannot therefore supply the brain with sufficient oxygen.”We utilize CO2 and oxygen, which are the body’s natural molecules for mobilizing its own defense against migraine attacks. The inhaler expands the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen by up to seventy percent and thereby stops the destructive chain reaction,” says Troels Johansen, adding that the effect of the treatment starts after a few seconds.The pilot study was carried out from 2016-2017 with eleven patients with migraine with aura. One of the results was that the effect of the pain relief increased significantly with each use of the inhaler. Forty-five percent experienced an effect the first time, and that number rose to 78 percent the second time.”The study shows some very significant physiological effects in the body,” says Troels Johansen, who currently teaches at the Aarhus University School of Engineering. Together with a team of employees, he has put the inhaler into production through the company BalancAir.Since the pilot project is limited to migraine with aura and only comprised eleven patients, Troels Johansen is now planning to conduct a large clinical trial that will also include migraine without aura and chronic migraine.last_img read more

Study may lead to a greater understanding of the mechanisms behind neuropathic

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 1 2019In animal models of a totally crushed peripheral nerve, the damaged axons are broken down, allowing healthy ones to regrow. But humans rarely suffer complete axonal damage. Instead, axons tend to be partially damaged, causing neuropathic pain — a difficult-to-treat, chronic pain associated with nerve trauma, chemotherapy and diabetes. A new study in Cell, led by Michael Costigan, PhD, at Boston Children’s Hospital, explore the role of immune cells in breaking down damaged nerves. The findings may change our understanding of neuropathic pain and how to treat it.The study was published online on January 31.Targeted destruction Early in their work, Costigan’s collaborators in Seoul, South Korea, noticed that immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells would strip away the axons of neurons in a petri dish. NK cells are part of our body’s rapid, innate immune response to threats such as viruses and cancer.The team then started growing sensory neurons in a petri dish. They noticed these dissociated neurons began expressing large amounts of RAE1, a protein that invites NK cells to attack. When these neurons were co-cultured with activated NK cells, the NK cells began breaking down the injured nerves.”We found that the natural killer cells would eat away at the axons of the neurons, but wouldn’t destroy their cell bodies,” says Costigan, co-senior author on the Cell paper with Seog Bae Oh, PhD, of Seoul National University. “This which was exciting as it allowed for the possibility that new, healthy axons could grow from them.”Watching immune cells and neurons interact in live miceThe team then looked to see whether these results held up in a living animal. They increased the function of NK cells in mice and then partially crushed their sciatic nerve, the main nerve that runs down the back of the leg. Then they waited and watched.Related StoriesIntegrator complex proteins are crucial for healthy brain development in fruit flies, study findsScientists find ragweed compounds as potential neuroprotective agentsNon-invasive vagus nerve stimulation improves disease symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis”It was as if the neurons knew what happened,” says Costigan. “They started to express the receptors that leave them susceptible to a natural killer cell attack. And the natural killer cells were responding, coming into the nerve and clearing those damaged axons.”Within days after the nerve crush, tests indicated that the immune-stimulated mice had significantly reduced sensation in the affected paw. But once the damaged axons were cleared, healthy ones began to grow back in their place. At around two weeks after the crush, the mice’s paws regained sensation.Other mice, whose NK function wasn’t enhanced, had a similar recovery timeline. But because their partially damaged axons hadn’t been cleared away as efficiently, tests continued to show high levels of touch-induced pain 30 days or more after the injury. This scenario is analogous to human neuropathic pain, in which damaged nerves that aren’t fully broken down may continue sending pain signals to the brain, causing chronic pain and hypersensitivity.Looking to the future Interfering with the immune system always carries risk, but the team’s work suggests that finding a way to modulate NK cell function could perhaps clear out damaged axons, allowing healthy axonal regrowth and potentially decreasing chronic neuropathic pain. Ultimately, understanding more about the role of NK cells in selective axonal degeneration will lead to a greater understanding of the mechanisms behind neuropathic pain. And with greater understanding, better treatments will follow.last_img read more

Bacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancer

first_imgBacteria Lactobacillus, lactic acid bacteria which are part of normal flora of human intestine and are used as probiotics and in yoghurt production, 3d illustration Credit: Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyStructure of bacteria responsible for traveler’s diarrhea decipheredOn the other hand, the women in the low-risk third group had vaginal microbiomes which were predominantly composed of Lactobacillus.The study indicates a potential link between the loss of these bacteria and the risk of ovarian cancer. The mechanisms responsible for such a link are unknown currently. It could be that the imbalance in the vaginal microbiome reflects a disease process in other parts of the woman’s reproductive organs, including the site of origin of most ovarian cancers in the fallopian tubes. Or it may be true that microbiome imbalance causes inflammation which is a known predisposing factor for cancer development. It is equally possible that observed abnormalities in the vaginal bacteria are just a marker of another background change which is the real cause of the increase in cancer risk.If the findings are confirmed, then it is likely that new ways of introducing the Lactobacilli into the vagina will be devised to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. If so, this could be a very easy way to reduce the risk for a very deadly condition.The current population risk for ovarian cancer is about 2%, but in women with the BRCA1 mutation it is as great as 40% to 60%. The risk of developing breast cancer is also elevated in these women. As a result, many of them choose to undergo a preventive bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) and bilateral ovariectomy (removal of both ovaries) at a very young age, as in their twenties. This has both psychological and physical impacts on their health, besides preventing any chance of normal conception and pregnancy.Such interventions could help women at high risk safely delay such decisions to a significantly later stage to reduce their sequelae. For instance, women could choose to try to complete their families naturally before opting for ovarian removal. As one patient, Hayley Minn, said after having a preventive mastectomy, “I do want children. So anything that buys me more time and reassures me that ovarian cancer isn’t developing, is a game-changer for me.”Martin Widschwendter, head of the department of Women’s Cancer at UCL, commented: “This is a novel approach and could revolutionize the way that we can intervene and change the implications of being at high risk of ovarian cancer development.” Source: reference:Association between the cervicovaginal microbiome, BRCA1 mutation status, and risk of ovarian cancer: a case-control study, Lancet Oncology, DOI:, By Dr. Liji Thomas, MDJul 11 2019A new study shows that something as simple as a cervical swab might have the potential to help hundreds of women who are at extremely high risk of ovarian cancer because they have a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.These women have been shown to have significantly fewer numbers of one type of protective bacteria, called Lactobacillus, in the birth canal, in addition to having a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Women who already have ovarian cancer are also known to have lower populations of these bacteria. The most marked reduction below normal bacterial counts is found in younger women in both groups.For the first time, this study showed a link between the presence of a gene mutation and the vaginal bacterial populations. Moreover, it suggests that a simple non-invasive test could help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.The study, published in the Lancet Oncology, was carried out by researchers from the University College of London. The researchers looked at samples of cervical smears from 580 women across various countries in Europe, namely, Germany, Italy, Norway, the UK, and the Czech Republic. The age group varied from 18 to 87 years. The women belonged to one of three groups: those who had ovarian cancer, others who were BRCA1-positive and therefore at high lifetime risk for ovarian cancer, and women who had neither ovarian cancer nor the mutation.Among the women in the first group, Lactobacilli composed less than 50% of the vaginal microbial population (the vaginal microbiome) in 60% of patients. Lactobacilli are important because they produce lactic acid which reduces the pH of the vagina, preventing hostile bacteria from overgrowing and dominating the vaginal microbiome.Women in the second group (BRCA1 carriers), who had the high-risk BRCA1 mutation but not ovarian cancer, had on average a three-fold reduction in Lactobacillus numbers. In this group, over 25% women under the age of 30 years showed this sharp decrease in Lactobacillus population, compared to same-age women who lacked the mutation. Women with a close family history of ovarian cancer also showed fewer numbers of Lactobacilli.last_img read more

EU ignores US calls to ban Huawei in 5G security blueprint

first_imgIn this Sept. 26, 2018 file photo, a staff member uses a laptop at a display for 5G wireless technology from Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. The European Commission recommends member countries share information as part of new cybersecurity measures for next-generation mobile networks. However, the commission is ducking U.S. calls to ban Chinese tech supplier Huawei. The executive Commission on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 released its roadmap for securing new ultrafast fifth-generation, or 5G, telecom systems that European Union countries will soon start rolling out. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File) 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. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Danish telecom group shuns China’s Huawei for 5G rollout Huawei said in a statement it welcomed the commission’s “objective and proportionate” recommendations. The privately owned Chinese company has repeatedly said there’s never been evidence it was responsible for any security breaches.Huawei still faces scrutiny under Brussels’ plan. Security Commissioner Julian King said EU countries should identify and manage security risks, including by ensuring a diverse range of equipment makers and factoring in “legal and policy frameworks governing third-country suppliers.”Countries would have the right to ban companies for national security reasons and could also agree on EU-wide measures to identify products or suppliers considered potentially unsecure, the commission said.Commission guidance is non-binding but EU countries often use it as the basis for joint policies. Huawei CEO Richard Yu looks on during the presentation of the new Huawei P30 smartphone, in Paris, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Explore further 5G mobile networks promise superfast download speeds with little signal delay, advances that are expected to underpin a new wave of innovation, including connected cars, remote medicine and factory robots.Huawei is the world’s biggest maker of telecom infrastructure equipment such as radio base stations and network switches. Telecom providers like its equipment because it’s good quality and cheaper than Scandinavian rivals Nokia and Ericsson.The issue has taken on more urgency as EU countries prepare to auction off 5G frequencies to telecom operators. The U.S. warned Germany, which began its auction earlier this month, that allowing untrustworthy companies to supply equipment could jeopardize the sharing of sensitive information. In its guidance for the rollout of ultrafast fifth-generation, or 5G, telecom systems across the European Union in coming years, the Commission urged member states to assess cyber threats to the 5G infrastructure in their national markets.That information should then be shared among EU countries as part of a coordinated effort to develop a “toolbox of mitigating measures” and minimum common standards for 5G network security by the end of the year, the EU’s executive branch said.The proposals are a setback for the United States, which has been lobbying allies in Europe to boycott Huawei over fears its equipment could be used by China’s communist leaders to carry out cyberespionage.The EU’s digital commissioner, Andrus Ansip, acknowledged those concerns, saying they stem from Beijing’s 2017 intelligence law that compels Chinese companies to assist in intelligence gathering.”I think we have to be worried about this,” Ansip said at a press briefing in Strasbourg.However, commission officials signaled they prefer to secure Europe’s critical digital infrastructure with a more nuanced approach, rather than bowing to U.S. pressure for blanket bans. Huawei CEO Richard Yu displays the new Huawei P30 smartphone during a presentation, in Paris, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) The European Commission ignored U.S. calls to ban Chinese tech supplier Huawei as it announced Tuesday a series of cybersecurity recommendations for next-generation mobile networks. Huawei CEO Richard Yu displays the new Huawei P30 smartphone during a presentation, in Paris, Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Citation: EU ignores US calls to ban Huawei in 5G security blueprint (2019, March 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from read more

Kerala speaker rejects private bill on Sabarimala

first_imgNovember 27, 2018 COMMENT Kerala SHARE SHARE EMAIL Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan has disallowed the introduction of a private bill by a Congress legislator in the assembly on the issue of entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple.The bill, urging the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to consider devotees of Lord Ayyappa as a separate religious group and a new legislation to protect their traditional rituals and customs, was proposed by Kovalam MLA M Vincent.‘Unconstitutional’The Speaker’s office told PTI that the private bill was rejected based on the advice of the Law Department that a legislation in this regard would be “unconstitutional” and against the September 28 apex court verdict, permitting women of all age groups into the hill shrine.“The Speaker used to refer the private bills to the Law Department whether such bills had constitutional backing. We had sent this proposed bill on Sabarimala to the State Law secretary for legal scrutiny,” an official said.“According to the Law Secretary, such a bill is unconstitutional and not qualified to be presented in the House as it will be against the Supreme Court verdict,” the official said.The Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple has been witnessing intense protests by devotees and right-wing activists against the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s decision to implement the apex court verdict.Session adjournedThe 13th session of the Kerala Assembly, which got underway here on Tuesday, was adjourned for the day as a mark of respect to MLA P B Abdul Razak, who passed away recently. The session is expected to be stormy as the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP have announced that they would rake up the Sabarimala issue in the House.A crucial UDF meeting here decided to stall proceedings of the 13 day-long assembly sessions till the Pinarayi Vijayan government withdraws the prohibitory orders invoked by police in Sabarimala and surrounding areas.A BJP statement said that the saffron party will cooperate with the P C George-led Kerala Jana Paksham in the ongoing assembly session on the Sabarimala issue.Both parties were in support of the Lord Ayyappa devotees, who had been on a war path to protect the traditional rituals of the hill shrine, it said. Former union minister O Rajagopal is the lone BJP MLA in the assembly. Published oncenter_img sabarimala COMMENTS SHARE state politicslast_img read more

UAEdeported men reveal IS plot in Tamil Nadu

first_imgCHENNAI: A day after 14 Islamic radicals were deported from the United Arab Emirates, their statements recorded by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Tamil Nadu police revealed a “meticulous plan to foment unrest” in Tamil Nadu using terror modules/activities. NIA officials said one of the suspects, Hasan Ali, is an Islamic State (IS) operative assigned to collect explosives, poison, vehicles and knives and also get recruits. Ali and his associate Harish Mohammed were picked up from Nagapattinam district. All 16 were produced before a special court at Poonamalee on Tuesday and were remanded in judicial custody till July 25. An official of the NIA said the suspects had formed several fronts, such as Wahadat-e-Islami, Jamaat Wahadat-ui-Islam-al-Jihadiya, Jihadist Islamic Unit and Ansarallah, to “spread terror” and “establish an Islamic State” in Tamil Nadu. The officials, however, could not confirm whether they had any hand in the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, and if the arrested Nagapattinam duo received funds from the 14 to fuel terror activities in Tamil Nadu. On Saturday, NIA officials raided the house and office of Wahadat-e-Islami leader Syed Mohammed Bukhari in Chennai, besides the houses of Hassan Ali and Harish Mohammed. They seized nine mobiles, 15 SIM cards, seven memory cards, three laptops, five hard disks, six pen drives, two tablets and three CDs/DVDs besides documents. “All of them had been to the UAE on work visas on different occasions, and all of them indulged in collecting funds for terrorist activities. One of the suspects who was arrested had been employed in a UAE firm for about 32 years now,” an official said Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for youlast_img read more