Welcome to Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Regular host Walt Hickey is still on vacation, and NCAA basketball is still happening. As a result, I’m still here with another all-March Madness SigDig. Enjoy! 0.015 rating pointsThere are close matchups, and then there are close matchups. Tonight’s Notre Dame-Wisconsin tilt belongs in that second category, with the teams separated by just 0.015 points in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. It’s basically as close to a coin flip as you can get — our prediction model lists the game as exactly 50-50 for both teams. [Kenpom.com]19 percentage pointsIn a Sweet 16 field largely devoid of Cinderella candidates, 10th-seeded Syracuse will have to do. According to the FiveThirtyEight model, they started the tourney with a 1 percent chance of making the Final Four; now that probability is 19 percentage points higher, the biggest gain of any team left standing. [FiveThirtyEight]1995 seasonThe University of Virginia will be looking to make its first Elite 8 appearance since the 1995 tournament when it takes on Iowa State Friday evening. By most measures — including winning percentage, the AP poll and the Simple Rating System — this year’s Cavaliers are better than the 1995 version, but they’ll have to win to prove it — the bracket doesn’t lie. [Sports-Reference.com]3,950 winsNorth Carolina and Indiana are two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball, having combined for 3,950 victories in 5,728 games since 1901, and they’ll face each other in Friday’s late game. With a 73 percent chance of winning, UNC has the edge to take win No. 3,951, according to our model. [Sports-Reference.com]118 winsThe University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has been completely unstoppable with Breanna Stewart leading the way these past few seasons. They’ve won 118 of their last 119 games — all by double-digits, and all but 18 by 20 or more points. UConn looks to extend their run against Mississippi State Saturday morning. [FiveThirtyEight]If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.And if you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey — or to @Neil_Paine, I guess, if you feel like it.
The positive mood seen in the markets this week after a gap of three weeks of continued selling will be replaced by hopes of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill being passed during the winter session of the Parliament, and expiry of contracts in Futures & Options (F&O) segment next week.Overall, the benchmark indices rebounded over 1% in the week tracking a rally in global markets after US Federal Reserve hinted at raising interest rates in December but would remain cautious on further monetary tightening.The S&P BSE Sensex gained 257.96 points or 1.01% to close at 25,868 points in the week ending 20 November, while the 50-share Nifty rose 94.30 points or 1.21% to end the week at 7,856 points.”Nifty rebounded sharply this week to regain control above 7,800 taking cues from gains in global markets. Thursday’s move has led to a breakout from a downward sloping trendline on the short-term charts. Only a move above 7,890 would confirm a breakout from a base which could push the rally higher towards 8,000 in the near term. In the process, Nifty managed to regain control above its 100-WMA,” said IIFL in a note.The gains were also driven by reforms announced by the Modi government including the stake sale in Coal India and reviving struck road projects. “After a debacle in Bihar state elections, BJP government attempted to catch up lost time as a spate of policy changes were announced this week,” said IIFL.”As a result, key indices after being on a constant downtrend, rose from the ashes and rallied by 1%,” it said.Markets were also supported by the salary hike recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission for government employees. Overall, it proposed a 23.55% increase in salaries, raising hopes of a boost to domestic consumption.However, the markets saw some pressure from a sell-off in global markets following the terrorist attacks in France last week.But going into next week, investors will closely watch the developments ahead of the winter session of the Parliament, which starts on 26 November.The BJP-led government’s defeat in the Bihar assembly elections has raised concerns over its ability to get key economic legislations passed during the winter session.The markets will remain closed on 25 November on account of Guru Nanak Jayanti and the global events are likely to dictate the direction in the absence of any major domestic economic data release next week.The F&O expiry for the month of November will also influence market direction next week.
Neyveli Lignite Corporation, a state-owned Indian enterprise based out of Chennai, is now NLC India Limited. The company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Friday that it got 97.52 percent of the votes polled in support of the special resolution for the name change and for altering its Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association.The company had sought approval through postal ballot and e-voting for changing its name. The votes were scrutinised on Wednesday.Neyveli is the name of a town in Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu. The company, incorporated on Nov. 14, 1956, took its original name from the town and is predominantly engaged in lignite excavation and generating power from it.On March 15, the company informed the BSE of the notice being sent to its shareholders seeking approval for changing the name of the company.”The company has expanded its activities to other parts of the country and also has embarked upon expansion plans to add power generation capacity by foraying into coal and renewable energy sources like wind and solar based power generation. Further the company has also plans to acquire power assets and engage in coal mining besides development of domestic coal block(s) allotted by the government of India.”Since the present activities of the company are no longer restricted to lignite mining and confined to Neyveli region alone as brought out above, approval of members is being sought through postal ballot for the change in the name of the company from Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited to NLC India Limited and consequent alteration in Memorandum and Articles of Association.”On Feb. 23, the company informed the BSE that the union coal ministry conveyed allocation of two coal blocks (Talabira-II & III) in Odisha to NLC to generate power for NLC Tamilnadu Power Limited, Neyveli Uttar Pradesh Power Limited and Sirkali Power Project.NLC India posted net profit and revenues of Rs. 47.61 crore and Rs. 1,225.25 crore, respectively for the quarter ending December 2015.The NLC stock closed at Rs. 71.20 on Wednesday on the BSE, up 0.92 percent from its previous close. The government of India holds 90 percent stake in the company.
Donald TrumpDonald Trump made his name with opulent hotels and a dramatic reality TV show, but his inauguration on Friday as the 45th US president is shaping up as a more understated affair, with big names in entertainment staying away.Like those who came before him, Trump will take his oath on the steps of the US Capitol building and lead a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, but there will be fewer official balls and less glitz and celebrity talent to welcome in the new president.Inaugurations have been star-studded affairs since 1941, when President Franklin Roosevelt held a gala with actors Charlie Chaplin, Mickey Rooney and other stars of the era, said Jim Bendat, a historian who has written a book on US inaugurations.But this year, several singers – including Elton John and Charlotte Church – declined invitations to perform at inaugural events. Trump, a New York businessman and former star of “The Apprentice” TV show, won with a populist platform that included promises to build a wall along the Mexican border, restrict immigration from Muslim countries and dismantle Obamacare.Broadway star Jennifer Holliday said yes to performing, but backed down after a backlash from fans.“You can’t really find precedent for that,” Bendat said in an interview.The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, singer Jackie Evancho and the Rockettes dancing troupe are among those slated to perform, although individual Rockettes will be allowed to opt out of performing if they so choose.Trump’s inaugural committee has said it is intentionally avoiding top entertainers.“We’re fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect,” Tom Barrack, inaugural committee chairman, told reporters at Trump Tower in New York last week.“So what we’ve done, instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers, is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place,” Barrack said.Trump is slated to attend three official galas. Other modern inaugurations have had around 10 official balls, which the president and first lady would attend in rapid succession, typically dancing during each appearance.Then-President Bill Clinton held a record 14 balls during his 1997 inauguration, Bendat said.On Thursday, a series of choirs and marching bands will perform at the Lincoln Memorial, followed by a concert featuring country music star Toby Keith.Trump, who is entering office with unusually low approval ratings, has repeatedly pushed back against reports that his inauguration may be lacking in star power or have low attendance.“People are pouring into Washington in record numbers,” Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday. “Bikers for Trump are on their way. It will be a great Thursday, Friday and Saturday!”Officials expect about 800,000 spectators for the events – down from the estimated 1.8 million who flocked to Washington for Obama’s 2009 inauguration.Just 40 percent of Americans said they had a favourable view of Trump versus 55 percent who had an unfavourable view, according to a Gallup poll taken from Jan. 4 to Jan. 8.At a similar point before he took office in 2009, Obama was viewed favourably by 78 percent of Americans. Before taking office in 2001, President George W. Bush had a 62 percent favourable rating, according to the Gallup data.“What is most likely to distinguish Trump’s inauguration is the number of protesters,” said Brian Balogh, co-host of American history radio show BackStory.The National Parks Service has granted permits to protest for 27 groups. On Saturday, the National Mall will draw what organisers estimate will be about 200,000 people to a Women’s March to protest Trump.The Women’s March, which is expected to be the largest protest, is aimed at bringing attention to human and civil rights issues. Honorary co-chairs of the protest include activist Gloria Steinem and actor Harry Belafonte.
Phlipp HummWhile fixed-mobile convergence in the form of bundling is a reality in most European countries, “true convergence” has yet to emerge will only happen if enabled by a favourable regulatory regime, according to Philipp Humm, Vodafone’s CEO for Europe.“So far convergence has been driven by discounts and the herd effect,” said Humm, delivering a keynote at Cable Congress in Brussels this morning. “The higher the discounts the more customers will choose a converged product.”While take-up had accelerated in countries like Spain and Portugal, where incumbents and alternative providers had engaged in intense price competition, in countries where discounts were low only a small proportion of customers were converged, said Humm.Humm said that mobile players like Vodafone had bought fixed assets to avoid being squeezed out by incumbents. However, while convergence had been a defensive move initally, but it was now a strategic priority and “the right choice for our customers”. He said that “convergence is our future and one that we are committed to”.Humm said that consumers will come to understand that they can consume content everywhere as content and software move to the cloud and TVs become computers, while 4G becomes ubiquitous. In the UK, he pointed out that 4G customers currently use 2GB of data but Netflix 4G customers use four to five GB.“Once you are in the cloud you will never return to device storage,” said Humm. Operators will migrate to all-IP networks and Vodafone is already doing this, he said, while virtualisation of mobile networks is already happening.True convergence will happen when content and software is in the cloud, said Humm.“The beauty of true convergence is that it is super-sticky,” said Humm. “Let’s hope that on the way we don’t destroy value as the incumbents in Spain and Portugal have done already.”Humm said that “intelligent regulation” was nevertheless required, enabling in-market consolidation and facilitating cross-market consolidation. There should be non-discriminatory access to NGNA broadband outside existing operators’ footprints, he said.Humm said that the EC seems to be more supportive towards consolidation now, but operators like Vodafone hope to see action to match the talk.He also said that public subsidies had to take into account of the nature of infrastructure investment.“We see ourselves as an infrastructure based player. You need to create a level playing field. The way subsidies work is you are kind of subsidising the incumbent. Operators can upgrade their existing infrastructure to VDSL, which is cheaper than investing in the ground. If we invest we need to invest from scratch,” said Humm.Humm said operators need access to premium content. He said operators had to convince content rights owners to give up monetising every distribution channel individual and “monetise customers instead”. He said they should “never stand in the way of what customers want”. He said he also looked to regulation to prevent exclusive content tie-ups that would not benefit consumers.“We don’t want to buy rights; we want to distribute content. But if others buy exclusive rights, we will need to buy exclusive rights,” he said.Humm said Vodafone had 10 million TV customers currently. Fixed networks account for 15% of revenues. He said Vodafone wanted to “get Europe back to growth” and fixed would be “a major factor in turning our European business around”. Humm said Vodafone could not have “one solution for all markets” but would move in this direction over time. At the same time it is investing in Project Spring for the upgrade of its mobile networks.Taking questions after his presentation, Humm said mobile operators had to learn how to market fixed networks. “We see huge benefits of getting cable know-how to kick-start our DSL business again,” he said. “The biggest synergies in acquisitions are always in-market. The biggest is if you can merge mobile to mobile but mobile to cable enables you to create synergies from the backhaul network and so on.”Addressing future trends, he said that Vodafone is investing in machine-to-machine applications, particularly in automotive, as well as energy monitoring and smart home applications. Humm said as Vodafone penetrates more a more consumer areas, it will see a big uptake of 5G, where low latency enables the distribution of HD video on the move. “That will be the next wave,” he said.
Wait until you see what could happen in America as early as this MAYAn unbelievable phenomenon is set to sweep the nation as early as this May…The railroad age… the steel age… the electronics age… the technology age – this phenomenon triggered them all. And now it’s taking shape again!Watch this special, time-sensitive presentation now for full details on how it could affect your job… your lifestyle… and your wallet. Sponsor Advertisement As Ted Butler pointed out on Saturday, the configuration of Friday’s COT report for both gold and silver is still very bullish, with lots of room to run to the upside.The gold price came under steady selling pressure starting at precisely 8:00 a.m. Hong Kong time on their Monday trading day. The sell off accelerated a bit shortly after London opened…and the low of the day was in about 9:30 a.m. GMT.The price bounced off that bottom a couple of times after that, but the moment that the Comex opened in New York at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time, it was up…up…and away. But once the price broke above $1,732 spot, there was obviously a seller there to make sure that the price didn’t finish the day above the Friday New York close.Gold closed at $1,730.30 spot…down $7.00 on the day. Net volume was a very light 79,000 contracts…or thereabouts.Silver’s price path was similar…and it’s low came at 11:30 a.m. in London, which might have been an early London silver fix. The subsequent rally ran out of gas at 11:00 a.m. in New York right on the button, which also happened to be the close of London trading.After the London close, silver got sold off about 40 cents, but gained about half of that back by the close of electronic trading in New York at 5:15 p.m. Eastern.Silver closed at $33.50 spot…down 49 cents on the day. Net volume was on the light side at 27,500 contracts, a lot of which would have been of the high-frequency trading variety.The dollar index opened in a rally mode the moment that trading began in New York at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening…and at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time yesterday morning, was up about 55 basis points…and then spent the rest of the trading day giving back about 30 points of that gain. The dollar index closed at the 79.10 level…up about 25 basis points from Friday.The gold stocks pretty much followed the gold price action…and the HUI finished down 1.08%.Considering the fact that silver was down about 50 cents on the day, the shares themselves hung in their very well…and Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index only closed down 0.84%.(Click on image to enlarge)Well, the CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed all the deliveries for First Day Notice for the February delivery month in gold. There were 893 gold and 114 silver contracts posted for delivery tomorrow. The big short/issuer in gold was the Bank of Nova Scotia with 845 contracts…and taking the lion’s share of the deliveries was Deutsche Bank with 472 contracts…and Credit Suisse First Boston with 247 contracts.In silver, it was the three ‘usual suspects’ with the lion’s share of the action. This time Jefferies was joined by the Bank of Nova Scotia as a short/issuer…with 38 and 76 contracts respectively…and JPMorgan stopped/received 100 of those contracts…49 for its client account and 51 for its in-house [proprietary] trading account. The link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report, which is worth skimming, is here.The GLD ETF had no report yesterday…but the SLV ETF did. Authorized participants added 3,158,805 ounces of silver…replacing, almost to the ounce, everything that had been withdrawn since the end of December. Ted Butler suspects that much more is owed to the fund than that.The U.S. Mint had a sales report. They sold 1,500 ounces of gold eagles…1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 385,000 silver eagles. Year-to-date the mint has sold 122,500 ounce of gold eagles…12,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 6,082,000 silver eagles.Friday was another busy day at the Comex-approved depositories. They reported receiving 927,431 troy ounces of silver…and shipped a smallish 83,501 ounces out the door. The link to that action is here.Silver analyst Ted Butler has his usual weekly review posted for his paying subscribers on Saturday…and here are two free paragraphs…“The price takedown starting in late-September and lasting through the end of December was all about commercial COT positioning and price manipulation. Especially in silver, the epic decline in price with the concurrent radical change in the COT structure was deliberate and intentional. Only a fool, or someone who refuses to see, would fail to recognize what just occurred. Silver (and gold) were driven lower in price to force speculative selling and to allow the commercials to buy massive quantities of what the speculators sold. After the commercials bought as much as they could possible buy, then prices rallied sharply. It’s impossible for this commercial activity to have occurred with collusion and intent. That the CFTC sat by and allowed this to occur (once again) without defending and protecting the public or our free markets is beyond shameful.“The CFTC’s failure to regulate aside, this last few months seem to have developed as explained in advance, if not predicted. I did not predict (or expect) the 35% price smash over the last few days of September; but I feel I have explained it adequately. There is no way that one can be invested in a market and not invested at the same time. All you can do is pay your money and take your chances. Risk grows as prices increase, but the structure of the COT is still bullish and not bearish. Maybe that will change in time, but until it does it is reasonable to expect higher prices. And maybe sharply higher prices.”Reader and technical analyst, Scott Pluschau, has a few things to say in his current blog. His e-mail read “This week’s COT report was an eye-opener in the 10-year treasury futures.” If you’re interested in this sort of thing, here’s the link to his blog.Here’s a graph that Washington state reader S.A. sent me yesterday. It looks suspiciously similar to the one that was posted in a zerohedge.com article headlined “Europe’s Scariest Chart” that reader Richard Craggs sent me yesterday.(Click on image to enlarge)Since it’s Tuesday, I have more than the usual number of stories posted, so I hope you have the time to skim them all.“I cannot predict how long policymakers can hold economic Armageddon at bay with spin, money creation, currency swaps, intervention in gold and silver markets, and outright lies. The onset could be sudden and take place this year, but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of spin over a gullible public that trusts ‘their’ government and fervently believes that Muslim terrorists are out to get them…and that the demise of the Constitution, the product of a eight hundred year struggle that produced Anglo-American civil liberty, is worth the price of ‘safety’. There is no safety in a police state and a debauched currency. The comfortable world that Americans have known is falling apart at the seams.” – Dr. Paul Craig Roberts…January 6, 2012For the last trading day of the month going into First Notice Day of the February delivery month for gold, I really wasn’t expecting a lot. With net volume as light as it was, it wasn’t hard for any interested party to knock gold and silver down…and they took the opportunity to do so…although platinum and palladium prices were barely affected. But, with the January delivery month now off the board, it’s a brand new ball game, so we’ll see how things unfold from here.The preliminary open interest numbers for yesterday showed a decent decline in gold…and a modest increase in silver o.i. But whatever it means in the grand scheme of things, won’t be know until this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report.The same can be said for last Friday’s final open interest numbers. Despite the big rallies in both metals, gold o.i. was down a decent amount…and silver o.i. was basically unchanged. I was very encouraged by those numbers.As Ted Butler pointed out on Saturday, the configuration of Friday’s COT report for both gold and silver is still very bullish, with lots of room to run to the upside. But, as per usual, how high the price goes…and how fast this rally unfolds…is 100% dependent on how the traders in the Commercial category respond as the tech funds and small traders place their long positions…and I know that Ted is watching their every movement like a hawk. So am I.And as you can tell from the gold analysts above, everyone is expecting the prices of both gold and silver to rise significantly in the not-too-distant future. As of this writing…and according to the netdania.com website…gold is up 11.5% so far this year…and silver is up 22.6%. If all these predictions turn out to be true, it’s going to a wild year in the precious metals…and all the trials and tribulations from last year will soon be forgotten. We’ll see.As I mentioned in my first column of 2012…I considered the lows of December 29th to be the bottom for this move down, so the big rallies we’ve experienced over the last month have not come as a real big surprise to me. It’s what happens from hereon in that I’ll be most interested in.Both gold and silver are up a bit now that London has been open for trading for over two hours. Gold is up $11 bucks…and silver is up two bits. Volumes in both metals as of 5:13 a.m. Eastern time are already pretty chunky, so it’s obvious that these rallies…small as they are…are not going unopposed. It would be my guess that a large percentage of the current volume in each metal, would be of the high-frequency trading variety.That’s all I have for today…and I await the New York open with great interest…but always keeping in mind that “there are no markets anymore, only interventions.”See you tomorrow.
As mentioned above, sukuks are typically denominated in the currency of the issuing country. No surprise, then, that Malaysian ringgit-denominated sukuks accounted for 63% of total issue value for 2013. What might surprise is that 15% of total issue value in 2013—US$28 billion—was sukuks denominated in US dollars, up from 13.9% in 2012. If the US Fed continues to make good on its promise to taper its QE program, and if US interest rates indeed rise, the dollar should continue to strengthen and benefit US dollar-denominated sukuks. Total sukuk issuance is estimated to reach US$70 billion in 2014, according to Moody’s. The governments and government-related entities in the GCC will be the main drivers of sukuk issuance going forward. Being based in Dubai, I can say anecdotally that it is once again on track to become the construction-crane capital of the world. With the real estate market rebounding strongly, development activity has started up across the entire city. In addition, a number of large-scale projects that were put on hold are now moving forward. Many of these new projects will be funded through sukuk issuance. The Dubai government has the explicit ambition to become the center of the Islamic economy. One potential way to profit from this growth will be the sukuk issuances from high-quality sovereign and government-related entities in the United Arab Emirates and other GCC countries. Ankur Shah is the founder of the Value Investing India Report, a leading independent, value-oriented journal of the Indian financial markets. Ankur has more than eight years of equity research experience covering emerging markets, with a focus on Southeast Asia. He has worked as both a buy-side investment analyst for a global long/short equity hedge fund and a sell-side analyst for an emerging markets investment bank. Ankur is a graduate of Harvard Business School. You can learn more about his latest views on global markets at the Value Investing India Report and follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/AnkurShah47. Islamic finance remains one of the bright spots in the global financial industry post the 2008 financial crisis. Despite two decades of strong growth, the industry is now finally poised to break into conventional financial markets in the West. Islamic finance is comprised of instruments, infrastructure, institutions, and markets that apply Sharia rules and principles. You might be wondering how Islamic finance impacts you, if you’re based in a non-Muslim country. Increasingly it’s being viewed as an avenue of growth for global banks, as the industry caters to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. The advent of Islamic finance allowed devout Muslims the ability to access financial products and services without compromising on their beliefs. As a result, total global Islamic banking assets are projected to surpass US$2 trillion in 2014. The Islamic finance sector is primarily comprised of Islamic Banking, Sukuk (Islamic Bonds), Takaful (Islamic Insurance), and Islamic Mutual Funds. The geographic centers of Islamic finance are primarily in Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates). At its core, Islamic finance is governed by fundamental principles outlined in Sharia law. The main distinction between conventional finance and Islamic finance is that the latter prohibits riba (usury/interest). Thus, virtually all Islamic finance products are based on the principle of risk sharing as opposed to risk transfer. For example, an Islamic mortgage transaction would entail the bank purchasing a property and then reselling it to the homebuyer at a fixed profit. The buyer would then have the option to make the payments in installments. However, due to the concept of risk sharing, the bank could not charge additional penalties for late payments but would retain ownership until the loan was paid off. Global Investors and Islamic Finance For global investors, the sukuk (Islamic bond) market is probably the area of greatest interest within Islamic finance. The sukuk is an asset-backed security, which represents ownership in a tangible asset. With a sukuk the initial face value of the bond isn’t guaranteed. Unlike a conventional bondholder, a sukuk investor shares the risk from the underlying asset. In practice, some sukuks are issued with repurchase guarantees, which would result in the investor receiving face value at maturity, much like a conventional bondholder. However, not all Sharia scholars agree this structure is Sharia compliant. Traditionally, governments and government-related entities in Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issued sukuks denominated in the local currency to domestic investors. However, increased demand from global investors has led to increased cross-border issuance from non-traditional sources. Last September, rating agency Moody’s observed, The year 2014 has become a landmark year for sovereign sukuk, with the UK issuing its inaugural sukuk, and with Hong Kong and South Africa expecting to conclude sales in September 2014. All three are major non-Islamic countries, and the transactions indicate a significant change in the potential size, depth, and liquidity of this market. This move into sukuk finance by countries with populations that are not predominately Muslim marks a shift in the long-held perception that Islamic finance is the domain of Muslim countries. In an effort to assist countries that seek to issue sukuk, Islamic institutions like the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector offer help with the structure of sovereign sukuk finance. Malaysian Dominance Malaysia dominates the sukuk finance sector both on a new issuance and outstanding basis, as shown in the following charts.
Recommended Link Take a look at this image. Bet you don’t know what it is… It’s a rare commodity that’s no longer produced in the U.S… but it’s 100% essential to nearly every item used by our military today. And one major country (not North Korea) is about to use it to sabotage the U.S. Armed Forces. When Pentagon officials turn to the only company that can supply this powder, shareholders could multiply their money by 10x or more… Click here to learn how to access the name of this company and its ticker. Rare Refined Powder Can Return 10x More Profits Than Bitcoin? By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily Dispatch Apple just threw out the playbook. The tech giant is going straight to the source to secure one of the world’s most strategic metals. It’s not copper. It’s not gold. It’s not silver… It’s cobalt. Most people don’t even know what cobalt is. But that will soon change. That’s because cobalt has become one of the world’s most sought-after resources. Apple and many other major companies need it to make money. Because of this, Apple’s talking directly with cobalt miners for the first time ever. Bloomberg broke the story yesterday: The iPhone maker is seeking contracts to buy several thousand metric tons of cobalt for five years or longer. This is clearly a big deal for Apple. But this story also has massive implications for everyday investors. I’ll explain why in a second. And I’ll show you how to turn this news into huge profits. But first—why is Apple taking such drastic measures? • In other words, the EV revolution is about to trigger a huge explosion in cobalt demand… However, supplying all this cobalt won’t be easy. There are a couple reasons for this. Number one, about 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to the International Speculator team, that’s a major problem: The DRC has been relatively stable for the past 10 to 15 years, but it has a long and recent history of extremely bloody conflict and wars. The DRC is also ground zero for the uproar over “conflict minerals.” This makes cobalt supply extremely susceptible to disruptions in supply. Not only that, cobalt is a byproduct. About 98% of it comes from copper and nickel production. That makes getting a steady supply of cobalt difficult. Louis and his team wrote in a recent issue of International Speculator: This makes for a fairly complex supply chain. And it’s one that’s prone to bottlenecks. In other words, most producers will not mine more to meet rising demand if the price of nickel and/or copper doesn’t justify it. As demand for cobalt is growing faster than for nickel and copper, this increases pressure on cobalt supply. According to Louis, this one-two punch of soaring demand and tight supply will lead to a massive supply crunch. Just look at the chart Louis and his team put together. You can see that the cobalt supply is about to get extremely tight. In fact, Louis and his team project that we could see a massive shortfall by 2025.• That’s why Apple is in direct talk with miners… It can’t afford to not have a dependable cobalt supply. And it’s not the only giant multinational company taking drastic measures, either. BMW is also in the process of locking in a long-term cobalt supply. According to Bloomberg, it’s doing this because it expects its demand for cobalt to “surge 10-fold by the middle of the next decade.” Volkswagen AG and Samsung SDI are also looking to pen long-term cobalt supply contracts. This tells you everything you need to know about where the price of cobalt is headed. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to speculate on cobalt. There’s no cobalt exchange-traded fund (ETF). And there are few cobalt pure plays out there.The good news is that we can help. You see, Louis recently recommended a world-class miner that’s highly leveraged to the price of cobalt. Not only that, this company’s cobalt project is located in the United States. That makes it one of the safer ways to speculate on this megatrend.You can learn more about this company by signing up for International Speculator. Click here for details.Regards, Justin Spittler Tulum, Mexico February 22, 2018 Chart of the Day: The U.S. Dollar’s Demise By Joe Withrow, analyst, Casey Research The U.S. dollar is in a major long-term downtrend… That’s the story of today’s chart, which tracks the U.S. Dollar Index from 1982 to today. As you can see, the U.S. dollar has lost 46% of its value since 1985. And as Casey Report editor E.B. Tucker told his subscribers recently, that’s the big story that the mainstream media refuses to report on. Here’s E.B.: Notice how the dollar moves in broad multi-year cycles. Over time it moves lower. Each rally in strength is weaker than the last, followed by a plunge. We’re already in the early stages of the next plunge. You won’t hear much about this in the mainstream press. That’s not a conspiracy; it’s just not what the financial media does. Once the dollar collapses, they’ll write a story about it. That will be too late to help investors. So how do you protect yourself from the dollar’s demise? As E.B. put it, foreign stocks, gold and silver mining firms, and anything related to hard assets should shine. —Joe Withrow Reader Mailbag Today, a reader tells us how he’s preparing for a market crash: I have a few stocks that I’ve learned about from Casey and Stansberry. I know virtually nothing about investing/speculating, but have put in $17,000 and within a year, have shown $10,000 in profit. I have trailing stop losses on all companies that allow them, and I’m going to sell the companies not allowing them after the next correction comes and the prices rise again. (Most have hit the trailing stop loss, though.) Also, I’m continuing to learn. Trying to “keep it simple, stupid,” but at less than 50% profit a year, I must add other means of gaining, because I’m convinced the crash is going to be catastrophic to at least the US economy. Thanks a million for all you’re providing. And don’t take any wooden nickels! Wait… take them! They’re more valuable than the paper! – Jimmy To help all of our readers prepare and profit during a market crash, we just put together a comprehensive report that’s loaded with tips and strategies from the analysts across our business. It’s been popular with our readers so far, and we hope it can help you, too. Click here to download for free. Also, we’d love to hear your thoughts on where you think the market’s headed over the next few months. If you have five minutes, please take this survey we just put together. Your answers will help us find the most compelling investment ideas to share with you, and help improve our services. In Case You Missed It… With the flick of a switch… Beijing could cut the U.S. military down to its knees. At a recent Senate hearing, CIA director Mike Pompeo admitted China’s control of the technology behind this “kill switch” is “a very real concern.” But there’s one company outside of China that could resupply our troops with this key material if that happens. And now, this company is expected to surge 1,127% in the coming months. Click here to learn more. • Cobalt is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries… These are the batteries that power iPhones and every other smartphone on the planet. Because of this, smartphones account for about a quarter of all global cobalt demand. But Apple and other companies like it have been buying massive amounts of cobalt for years. So why is Apple doing this now? Simple. It’s worried about a cobalt supply crunch. • You see, cobalt demand has shot through the roof… Cobalt consumption has spiked 13% since 2013… and it is expected to increase another 30% by 2020. We’ve seen this massive surge in demand for a simple reason: electric vehicles (EVs). EVs, as you probably know, aren’t like traditional vehicles. They run on electricity instead of gasoline. Not long ago, the market for these vehicles hardly existed. There were just a few hundred EVs in the entire world. Today, it’s a much different story. As I’ve shown you many times over the past few months, the market for EVs is exploding. It’s one of the world’s biggest megatrends. And now, the EV revolution has forced Apple’s hand.• EVs use lithium-ion batteries, too… But here’s the thing: EVs require far more cobalt than smartphones. In fact, the typical 60-kilowatt EV car battery contains around eight kilograms (18 pounds) of cobalt. Using that number, International Speculator editor Louis James estimates that the EV market could use around 78,400 tonnes of cobalt by 2025. That’s 19 times more cobalt than what was consumed in all of 2016. Recommended Link Congress Expected to Tweak Title 49 of U.S. Legal Code—Accelerates Rollout of Revolutionary New Car – According to estimates by Deloitte, this could cause a $2 trillion shift within America’s auto industry. – Business Insider: We could see 10 million of these cars on the roads by 2020. That would represent a 49,000% spike. – For the full details on this breaking story, click here. — —
Six months ago, I found myself preparing for battle.I was lying in bed at 5:30 a.m., going over in my head how to handle the next encounter with my 3-year-old daughter, Rosy.Goodness knows, I love her so much. But there’s a fire in that little belly. And to be honest, I have no idea how to handle all the anger — the tantrums, the screaming and, most of all, the hitting.When she’s angry and I pick her up, she has a habit of slapping me across the face. Sometimes it really hurts. I’ve even started ducking like a boxer when I lift her up.At first, I reacted as my parents did, with bluster and sternness. That only backfired. All she did was arch her back and fall on the ground.Then I consulted Dr. Google and decided calm and firm was the “correct way.” But Rosy could tell I was still upset and trying to control her.Slowly, a wall was rising up between Rosy and me. And I began dreading our time together. Ugh.Then back in early December, I had an opportunity of a lifetime. I traveled to the Canadian Arctic to report on a story about the Inuit and their remarkable ability to regulate anger. During the trip, I got the chance to hear advice from arguably the calmest, coolest moms in the world: Inuit moms.It was like these moms had handed me the manual on how to communicate with small children. And their advice completely shifted how I discipline.She’s not ‘pushing your buttons’For thousands of years, the Inuit have raised children in one of the harshest places on Earth. During that time, they’ve developed a suite of powerful parenting tools to teach children emotional intelligence, especially when it comes to anger.At the center of these tools is a major tenet: Never shout at small children.”Yelling? There was no yelling at kids [in traditional Inuit culture],” says Martha Tikivik, 83, who was born in an igloo and has six children.In fact, there’s no reason for a parent to get angry at a small child, Tikivik says: “Anger has no purpose. It’s not going to solve your problem. It only stops communication between the child and the mom.”When a child is misbehaving or having a tantrum, the child is too upset to learn, says 89-year-old Eenoapik Sageatook, whose family was forced to settle in a town when she was a little girl. So there’s no reason to scold or shout during these moments.”You have to remain calm and wait for the child to calm down,” she says. “Then you can teach the child.”In other words, cool your jets, Mama Doucleff. Stop blowing your fuse. Stop taking the toddler’s behavior personally. And stop thinking that Rosy is “pushing your buttons,” says Inuit mom and radio producer Lisa Ipeelie.”You think little kids are mad at you,” she says. “That’s not what’s going on. They’re upset about something, and you have to figure out what it is.”OK. I admit that following this advice was really hard. I mean really, really hard. It took weeks of practice (and another trick I learned about anger). At first, I just stopped saying anything to Rosy when she had a tantrum or hit me. I knew that if I opened my mouth, the words would be tinged in anger. So I would just close my eyes to calm myself down and then wait for Rosy to calm down herself.Once I learned not to be angry with Rosy, I began trying to help her with her own anger by loving her. I’d ask if she needed a hug, or I’d hold her really tightly.Then after she calmed down, I took inspiration from the Inuit moms and turned discipline into fantasy and theater.Tell a story Instead of yelling or telling kids what to do, Inuit parents traditionally discipline through storytelling, says Goota Jaw, who teaches an Inuit parenting class at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit, Canada.For example, she says, to get kids to stay away from the dangerous ocean, parents tell them about a sea monster that lives in the water. If you go too close to the water, the parents say, the monster will put you in his pouch, drag you down to the ocean and adopt you out to another family.There are stories to get kids to listen to adults, wear hats in the winter, not take food without asking and go to bed on time.At first, these types of stories sounded too scary for a 3-year-old. Then a few weeks after returning from the Arctic, I flipped my opinion 180 degrees.One afternoon, Rosy and I were in the kitchen, preparing dinner. I was trying to get her to close the refrigerator door. I deployed my typical strategy: adult logic followed by nagging. I explained several times how she is wasting energy.It was like I was talking to a wall.After a few minutes, I found myself in the all-too common predicament of arguing with a proto-human. I was ready to blow a fuse when my thoughts turned to Goota Jaw and the sea monster. So I said, with a half-serious, half-playful tone, “You know? There’s a monster inside the refrigerator, and if he warms up, he’s going to get bigger and bigger and come get you.”Then I pointed into the refrigerator and exclaimed, “Oh my goodness. There he is!”Holy moly! You should have seen the look on Rosy’s face. She closed the door lightning fast, turned around and said, “Mama, tell me more about the monster in there.”Since that moment, storytelling has become a go-to parenting tool in our home. Rosy can’t get enough of these stories and even asks me to make them scarier.Here are a few popular ones right now:1. Sharing Monster: Living up in a tree outside the kitchen window, the sharing monster grows bigger and bigger when little kids aren’t sharing. At some point, he could come up, snatch you and take you up in the tree.2. Yelling Monster: He lives in the ceiling and comes down to snatch little kids who yell and are demanding.3. Shoe Monster: She makes sure kids get their shoes on in the morning — quickly — or else she’ll take you down into the heating vent.4. Dress Spiders: Back in January, Rosy wore the same pink dress day and night for about five days. I couldn’t get her to take it off. I tried talking logically: “Rosy, if we wash it tonight, it won’t have stains on it for school tomorrow.” She looked at me as if I were speaking French.Finally, I got close to her and whispered, “If the dress gets too dirty, spiders will start to grow in it.”Rosy didn’t say a word and slowly slipped the dress off. When I pulled the dress out of the dryer, I held it up and exclaimed, “See? So nice and clean!”Rosy didn’t miss a beat. “And no spiders,” she emphasized.Overall, storytelling has opened up a huge communication channel between Rosy and me. I feel like I’m finally speaking her language. She couldn’t care less about kilowatts of power or stains on the dress. But a monster that grows and spiders that crawl — those ideas she can wrap her head around.Put on a playStorytelling has definitely decreased the yelling, nagging and blown fuses in our home. But the stories didn’t stop the hitting. For that, I needed inspiration from another Inuit strategy, which anthropologist Jean Briggs studied for more than 30 years ago.In a nutshell, here’s how the approach works:When a child misbehaves — hits someone or has a tantrum — there’s no punishment. Instead, the parent waits for a calm moment and then acts out what happened during the misbehavior.Typically the performance starts with the parent tempting the child to misbehave. For example, “Why don’t you hit me?”Then the child has to think: “What should I do?” If the child takes the bait and hits, the parent doesn’t scold or yell but instead acts out the consequences. “Ow, that hurts!” Mom or Dad might exclaim, to show that hitting hurts.Briggs documented that the parent continues to emphasize the consequences by asking follow-up questions such as “Don’t you like me?” or “Are you a baby?”The goal is to give the child a chance to practice the proper behavior at a time when the child is open to learning and not emotionally charged. Throughout the drama, the parent keeps a playful tone and a wink in the eye.With Rosy and her hitting, I definitely had not been reacting in a playful way. Just the opposite: I was stern and serious. So with a hefty dose of skepticism, I abandoned that strategy and gave this playful approach a try.Each time Rosy hit me, no matter how hard she slapped and how infuriated I was, I didn’t get angry. Instead, I said in a dramatic way, “Ooo, that hurts! Goodness that hurts!” to show that hitting hurt me physically and emotionally.Then I asked her this one question, with an exaggerated sense of pain and suffering: “Don’t you like me?” (To hear what I sound like, take a listen to the radio story).Immediately, this fun tone changed Rosy’s behavior. The tension between us melted away, and the hitting decreased. I could see the little gears in her brain churning. “Wait! Am I hurting Mom’s feelings?” she seemed to be thinking. (And I could see that Ipeelie was right. Rosy wasn’t pushing my buttons. She cared about my feelings.)So I thought I’d try putting on a little drama by asking her, “Why don’t you hit me?” The first few tries were rough. She would wallop me. But I stuck to the script, and slowly I could see her thinking before she struck. She started to play-hit me or stopped mid-swing. After about a month, a tiny miracle occurred.We were in the kitchen, having a snack, and I said, “Rosy, why don’t you hit me?””No,” Rosy responded.”No? Why not?” I asked.”Because I love you,” she whispered.”Because you love me?” I said, in complete shock. “That’s very nice.”Nice — and a testimony to teaching kids through stories, play and practice. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
–shares Bernie Sanders Has Named a Bill After Jeff Bezos Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Amazon Add to Queue 3 min read Nina Zipkin Next Article Entrepreneur Staff It’s called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies (BEZOS) Act. September 5, 2018 Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. This story originally published on Aug. 30, 2018.Sen. Bernie Sanders is taking a closer look at how big corporations treat their workers, especially ones overseen by billionaires such as Amazon and Walmart. Here is what you need to know about the conflict between Jeff Bezos’s ecommerce empire and the senator who has built his platform on issues of economic equality.Sanders’s inquiryThe senator from Vermont posted a form on his website asking Amazon employees to share their experience of working for the company, particularly if they used public assistance programs.Sanders invoked Jeff Bezos in the explanation for why he was seeking these accounts, writing on his website, “Amazon is one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, and its owner, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man on the planet, worth over $155 billion. Despite this, Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they are forced to depend on taxpayer-funded programs.”While Amazon encouraged its employees to “to tell Senator Sanders their truth,” the company’s leadership also took issue with Sanders’s characterization of the fulfillment center working conditions, saying that the senator was making “misleading accusations.”Amazon’s responseIn a blog post addressing the inquiry, the company claimed that Sanders had not toured a fulfillment center despite invitations to do so.The post also included details about the company’s payment and benefits package, writing that the company created more than 130,000 jobs in the last year. ”Sanders claims that Amazon’s median U.S. salary is $28,446, despite the fact that we’ve made clear that this number is global and includes part-time employees,” the company wrote. “In fact, the median U.S. salary for full-time Amazon employees is $34,123. We encourage anyone to compare our pay and benefits to other retailers.”The post also criticized Sanders’s use of the term “food stamps” when referring to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), in part because the lexicon had been phased out in recent years and because those who were participating in the program included “people who only worked for Amazon for a short period of time and/or chose to work part-time — both of these groups would almost certainly qualify for SNAP.”Sanders’s legislationSanders and Rep. Ro Khanna on Sept. 5 introduced a piece of legislation called Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, or the Stop BEZOS Act.At the top of a press conference with Khanna, Sanders referenced Bezos, noting his net worth of $168 billion and that since the start of 2018, the Amazon founder’s wealth has increased by about $260 million daily, and proceeded to read from some of responses his office solicited from former and current Amazon employees who were participating in programs such as SNAP, Medicaid and subsidized housing.Sanders said the aim of the legislation was created to “have Mr. Bezos and the Walton family of Walmart and other billionaires get off of welfare and start paying their workers a living wage.” He added, “Specifically, this bill would establish 100 percent tax on corporations with 500 or more employees equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their low-wage workers.” Register Now » Image credit: Juli Hansen | Shutterstock Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
June 22, 2016 Add to Queue McDonald’s Could Fetch Up to $3 Billion for China and Hong Kong Stores This story originally appeared on Reuters Image credit: Reuters | Tyrone Siu Next Article Reuters 4 min read McDonald’s –shares McDonald’s Corp. has received more than half a dozen bids for its China and Hong Kong stores, including offers from Beijing Tourism Group, Sanpower and ChemChina, in an auction that could fetch up to $3 billion, people familiar with the matter said.Buyout firms including Bain Capital, TPG Capital and Carlyle Group too are participating in the auction with a view to teaming up with Chinese strategic bidders, they said.The U.S. fast food company had announced in March it was reorganizing its Asian operations by bringing in partners who would own the restaurants within a franchise business. Competitor Yum Brands is also restructuring its China operations by spinning it off ahead of a likely IPO next year.The planned sale of China units by McDonald’s and Yum indicates they are seeking local partners who could help ward off growing competition from domestic rivals and also better manage public perception in the wake of food-safety scares that hit the two fast-food giants in the last few years.”Given the difficulties Western chains have had recently with public perception, local players have become a serious competitive threat,” said Elizabeth Friend, consumer foodservice analyst at Euromonitor International.Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s has hired Morgan Stanley to run the sale of about 2,800 restaurants in China, Hong Kong and South Korea, Reuters previously reported. The sale in South Korea is being run separately and it was not known if the same parties have expressed interest in that sale, the people added.As part of the deal, McDonald’s is offering a 20-year master franchise agreement to buyers, with an option to extend it by another 10 years.It has stipulated that private equity firms remain a minority partner in any bidding consortium, restrictions that discouraged some buyout funds from participating in the auction, the people added.Among those who were preparing to place first-round bids ahead of the June 20 deadline were Beijing Capital Agribusiness Group, which is McDonald’s current China partner, and GreenTree Hospitality, the people added. It was not immediately clear if they made the bids.McDonald’s will now draw up a shortlist of bidders for the next round in the coming weeks.Volatile EarningsMcDonald’s does not break out country-by-country revenue details but industry data shows it is China’s number-two fast food chain behind Yum, which operates the KFC and Pizza Hut chains.McDonald’s China and Hong Kong business posted about $200 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for fiscal 2016, and could be sold for about 15 to16 times its core earnings, taking the deal value to about $3 billion, one of the people said.But the earnings have been volatile, jumping from $65 million for 2015, which is likely to weigh on how some of the suitors could value the business, the people added. Some sources said the sale is likely to fetch around $2 billion.Officials at China National Chemical Corp. and technology and real estate firm Sanpower were not immediately available to comment, while Beijing Tourism said it did not know about the matter. An official at Beijing Capital Agribusiness said the company did not participate in the bidding. A spokeswoman for GreenTree said the company was not bidding currently.Bain, Carlyle and TPG declined to comment. The sources declined to be identified as the sale process is confidential.A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the company was “making progress” in the sale process. “As no decisions have been made, it would be premature to speculate further,” she said in an email.(Reporting by Denny Thomas and Saeed Azhar; Additional reporting by Tris Pan and Lindsy Long in HONG KONG; Editing by Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman) Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 19 2018In an editorial published today in the BMJ, researchers from King’s College London and the University of the Arts London (UAL) argue that it is a worsening problem, with levels regularly exceeding international recommendations.”Even in intensive care units, which cater for the most vulnerable patients, noise levels over 100dB have been measured, the equivalent of loud music through headphones,” said lead author Dr Andreas Xyrichis.Noise in hospitals is known to hinder communication among staff, causing annoyance, irritation and fatigue, and detrimentally impact the quality and safety of healthcare. High noise levels and noise-induced stress impact negatively on staff performance and wellbeing, compromising caring behavior and contributing to burnout.The team highlight that it can also impact a patients’ ability to rest, heal and recover, since it has been linked to the development of ICU psychosis, hospitalization-induced stress, increased pain sensitivity, high blood pressure and poor mental health.”We know hospital noise has disruptive consequences for sleep – machine sounds in particular have a greater negative effect on arousal than human voices. Post-hospitalization recovery is also compromised. For example, coronary care patients treated during noisy periods were found to have a higher incidence of rehospitalization compared to those treated during quieter periods,” explained Andreas.Patients report that hospital noise can have a cumulative effect on their hospital experience. Patients who are in hospital for several nights are left feeling trapped and stressed, leading to requests for premature discharge from hospital and heightened risk of trauma and readmission.The team from King’s and UAL believes that the following areas urgently need to be addressed to ensure significant progress in this slow-moving field: Source:https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ Noise is often incorrectly associated with high sound pressure levels (SPLs). Dripping taps for example, may register low SPLs yet still be considered noisy. Prioritizing SPL reduction does not ensure improved noise perception. Therefore, a new approach is needed, one that views the hospital soundscape as a positive and malleable component of the environment. There are a number of potential sources of noise in hospitals. Alarms, televisions, rattling trolleys, and ringing phones, as well as staff, visitor, and patient conversations. However, not all of them are perceived as noise by patients – for example, some find the sound of the tea trolley pleasing, associating it with receiving a warm drink. Research has also shown that some ICU patients welcome ringing telephones as a sign that they are not alone. So far ways to measure patients’ perceptions of noise are limited, and more research investment is needed in this area. Patients and families need clear information about likely noise levels during admissions, so they are better prepared in advance, and can consider simple solutions such as headphones with their own choice of audio content. Education for staff is also needed, to encourage a culture that considers noise reduction an integral part of safe high quality healthcare. Related StoriesResearch finds link between air pollution and coronary heart disease in ChinaLiving environment, air pollution may be linked to increased risk of hypertensionInternational tourists are more susceptible to harmful effects of air pollution”Measures to tackle this problem have included ear plugs, noise warning systems, acoustic treatment panels, educational initiatives and noise reduction protocols, which have provided some benefit,” said Andreas.”However, so far, patients have been seen as passive recipients of hospital noise rather than active participants in its creation. It is essential that future solutions should have greater patient participation as a key feature.”Guides about potential ward sounds could also enhance patients’ understanding of their surroundings and increase relaxation. Sound masking – the addition of background, broadband sound optimized for particular environments to reduce noise-induced disturbance – has also been used widely in open-plan offices for many years and has recently shown promise for improving sleep in hospitals.”
This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 25 2019 San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is slated to vote Tuesday to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city. The city is the corporate home of Juul Labs, the biggest producer of e-cigarettes in the country.The ordinances would make the sale of e-cigarettes illegal in brick-and-mortar stores and online when shipping to San Francisco addresses.San Francisco Mayor London Breed has 10 days to sign the legislation, which she has said she will do. The law will be enforced seven months from that date, in early 2020.San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, who co-authored the legislation, sees it as part of a long-term battle against the effects of smoking.”We spent a few decades fighting big tobacco in the form of cigarettes,” Walton said. “Now we have to do it again in the form of e-cigarettes.”Under federal law, the minimum age to buy tobacco products is 18. California and 15 other states, however, have raised that age to 21 or passed measures that will set it to 21 by 2021. Despite this, use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has skyrocketed among teenagers nationally.Last year, 1 in 5 high school seniors reported vaping in the past month. That’s almost double the number from the year before. Even eighth graders are vaping in record numbers.These increases come after years of declines in teenagers smoking traditional cigarettes.Public health officials are concerned about the rising number of teenagers using e-cigarettes, as nicotine can harm a young person’s developing brain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that young people who vape may be more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes.Walton said he’s disgusted with the actions of Juul and similar companies, who he said are “putting profits before the health of young people, and people in general.”Despite the tobacco age limit, Walton noted that vaping devices are commonly confiscated from students in the city’s middle and high schools.The ordinance is accompanied by another that prevents the manufacture, distribution and sale of e-cigarettes on San Francisco property. The ordinance takes direct aim at Juul Labs, which leases space from the city on San Francisco’s Pier 70. The ordinance is not retroactive, so it would not remove Juul from the company’s current space, but it would prevent other e-cigarette makers from renting city property in the future. In a statement, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong wrote that, regardless, the company does not “manufacture, distribute or sell our product from this space.”Juul’s vaping device was introduced in 2015. It’s small, sleek and discreet, looking similar to a flash drive. The company now controls 70% of the vaping market.In a statement, Juul Labs said it shares the city’s goal of keeping e-cigarettes away from young people. The company said it has made it harder for underage buyers to purchase Juul off its website and has shut down Juul accounts on Facebook and Instagram.Related StoriesStudies show no evidence of fall in cigarette consumption due to WHO’s FCTCStudy finds increase in cigarette smoking among minority teens after college affirmative action bansCollege affirmative action bans may increase smoking rates among minority high school studentsBut, the company argues that “the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year.”Walton doesn’t buy that argument, however. He said that’s simply “trading one nicotine addiction for another.” What’s more, he’s concerned that for every adult that might benefit, dozens of young people could become addicted.San Francisco resident Jay Friedman said the complete e-cigarette ban goes too far. The software engineer smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, and smoking e-cigarettes has reduced his regular cigarette habit to two to three a day. He said he feels better physically.Friedman supported a ban on flavored tobacco that city voters passed last year. “I feel like it was good to get rid of the fruit flavors for kids,” he said, “but this feels like maybe a step too far.”If e-cigarettes are banned, he said, he would try to quit nicotine altogether. But, “there would be a point in a moment of weakness where I’d just end up buying a pack of smokes again and then it’s just a slippery slope from there.”Small businesses in San Francisco are concerned the ban will hurt their bottom line.Miriam Zouzounis and her family own Ted’s Market, a convenience store near downtown San Francisco. She said e-cigarettes are an “anchor” product: They draw people into the store.”When people come and want to purchase something at the store and we don’t have that exact item that they want, they’re not going to buy the rest of the items that they might on that trip: a drink or a sandwich,” Zouzounis said.She said sales from e-cigarettes account for at least $200 to $300 a day in sales. As a board member of the Arab American Grocers Association, she said she believes laws like this mostly affect businesses owned by immigrants.Abbey Chaitin is a 15-year-old lifelong San Francisco resident. She isn’t drawn to using e-cigarettes, she said, because she has seen peers become addicted to them.”I’ll see them in class fidgeting,” Chaitin said. “They need it to focus, to function.”And Chaitin predicted that, regardless of a ban, young people will still get their hands on e-cigarettes: “People my age can find a way around that if they really need to,” she said.Meanwhile, Juul is collecting signatures for a November ballot initiative to override the ban.This story is part of a partnership that includes KQED, NPR and Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Citation: UK lawmaker: Facebook misled Parliament over data leak risk (2018, March 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uk-lawmaker-facebook-misled-parliament.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Facebook accused of inaction over Russian ads in Brexit vote A British lawmaker accused Facebook on Sunday of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users’ data being shared without their consent, after a former employee of data firm Cambridge Analytica says his company harvested information from 50 million Facebook users. Conservative legislator Damian Collins, who heads the British Parliament’s media committee, said he would ask Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg or another Facebook executive to appear before his panel, which is investigating disinformation and “fake news.”Collins said Facebook has “consistently understated” the risk of data leaks and gave misleading answers to the committee.”Someone has to take responsibility for this,” he said. “It’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page.”Collins also accused the head of the U.K.-based data firm Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, of lying. Nix told the committee last month that his firm had not received data from a researcher accused of obtaining millions of Facebook users’ personal information.Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, which is best known for working on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, on Friday over allegations it retained improperly obtained user data after claiming it had deleted the information.Former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie said that the company obtained information from 50 million Facebook users, using it to build psychological profiles so voters could be targeted with ads and stories.Wylie told Britain’s Channel 4 news that the company was able to amass a huge database very quickly from an app developed by an academic that vacuumed up data from Facebook users who agreed to fill out a survey, as well as their friends and contacts—a process of which most were unaware.”Imagine I go and ask you: I say, ‘Hey, if I give you a dollar, two dollars, could you fill up this survey for me, just do it on this app’, and you say, ‘Fine,'” He said. “I don’t just capture what your responses are, I capture all of the information about you from Facebook. But also this app then crawls through your social network and captures all of that data also.”Wylie said that allowed the company to get roughly “50 million plus” Facebook records in several months and he criticized Facebook for facilitating the process.”Why Facebook didn’t make more inquiries when they started seeing that, you know, tens of millions of records were being pulled this way, I don’t know,” he said.Lawmaker Collins said he would summon Nix to reappear before the Parliament committee.”It seems clear that he has deliberately misled the committee and Parliament by giving false statements,” Collins said.
Florists, chimneysweepsBut the “workhorse of the 21st century”, as the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper dubbed it, has yet to win over the masses.Just one percent of Germans own a cargo bike, a study released by the transport ministry in March found—although seven percent said they considered buying one.Becker believes this will change “in the next few years”. “First people need to be able to try it out” without spending 1,300 to 5,000 euros ($1,500-$6000) depending on the model, she said.Keen to promote the climate-friendly cargo bikes, several initiatives have emerged to lend them to companies and individuals for free trials. Last year, German firm Velogut began loaning them out to 150 companies in Berlin.Among the sign-ups have been photographers, coffee and pastry vendors, florists, chimneysweeps, beekeepers, Christmas tree deliverers and even a travelling anaesthetist.The federal government has also got in on the act by introducing a rebate of up to 2,500 euros for the purchase of an e-cargo bike with a load of more than 150 kilos, while Berlin authorities offer subsidies of 500 to 1,000 euros. Explore further Today Germany is Europe’s largest market for cargo bikes in terms of volume—with industry data showing sales for electrically assisted cargo bikes alone surged to 21,000 in 2017, 42 percent over the previous year ‘Protect us’But experts say the biggest roadblock to cargo bikes going mainstream is the lack of adapted infrastructure: safe cycle lanes, secure parking and easy-to-find repair shops.”If they want clean air, they have to protect us,” said Antje Merschel, co-initiator of a recent Berlin referendum on cycling policies.”We’re not going to risk our lives on a bike.”Online retailer Amazon has started using cargo bikes for deliveries, while shipping giant UPS has been running battery-powered freight bikes in German cities since 2012.But the big players in delivery are still waiting for bike manufacturers to catch up and mass-produce reliable low-maintainance models, which are so far mostly made by small, independent companies.There is also the complication of needing “micro-hubs” in often high-rent urban areas from where couriers can collect trucked-in goods for the final kilometres to the client’s front door.”For families, the bikes are here and they’re reliable,” said urban planner Francisco Luciano of the French cargo bike manufacturer Douze Cycles. “When it comes to cycle logistics, we’re still learning.” Bike-share companies are transforming US cities – and they’re just getting started Today Germany is Europe’s largest market for cargo bikes in terms of volume—with industry data showing sales for electrically assisted cargo bikes alone surged to 21,000 in 2017, 42 percent over the previous year.No sweatOver the years, cargo bikes have evolved from bulky two-wheelers that required serious leg muscle. Modern upgrades offer lighter frames and more spacious carriers, while e-cargo bikes have allowed the less physically active or those living in hilly areas to also jump in the saddle.Cargo bikes “now reach a wider audience, people who don’t want to arrive at work sweaty or aren’t especially sporty,” said Sophia Becker, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam near Berlin.According to the European CycleLogistics project, a staggering 174 models of cargo bikes are now available, while some 50 brands vied for attention at Berlin’s International Cargo Bike Festival in April. Citation: Pedal power: the rise of cargo bikes in Germany (2018, May 2) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-power-cargo-bikes-germany.html © 2018 AFP A desire to go green has been key to the rise of cargo bikes in a country where dozens of smog-choked cities are considering diesel driving bans to combat air pollution.”The diesel scandal is a major incentive,” said Arne Behrensen, one of the top promotors of cargo bikes in Germany, a mode of transport as old as the bicycle itself which refers to a two- or three-wheeled bike with a fixed load carrier, usually at the front.Financial incentives, more choice in models and the promise of zipping past rush-hour traffic in the bike lane have added to the appeal.”In the ’90s, we were happy to sell one a year,” said Gaya Schuetze of Berlin’s Mehringhof bicycle shop, one of the capital’s leading cargo bike centres.”Then we noticed more and more interest, first from families and then companies.”Commonplace in northern Europe until the mid-20th century, freight bikes were used to deliver everyday essentials such as milk, bread and newspapers.But these heavy, unwieldy bikes quickly fell out of favour and into oblivion as motorised vehicles gained ground.The cargo bike’s revival began some two decades ago in cycling-mad Denmark and the Netherlands, blessed with flat landscapes and comfortable bike lanes, before reaching Germany. Modern cargo bikes offer lighter frames and more spacious carriers, while electrically assisted ones allow the less physically active or those living in hilly areas to also jump in the saddle Whether they’re hauling parcels or children, cargo bikes are becoming a familiar sight in German cities as the nippy, clean alternative to cars and delivery vans—and shaking up urban transport in the process. Industry observers say the cargo bike craze has yet to run its course because “they can handle situations where a car previously seemed indispensable”, says Becker.”In an average European city, half of all motorised trips related to goods transport could be shifted to bicycle or cargo bikes,” Karl Reiter of the CycleLogistics project calculated in a 2014 study, based on journeys of a maximum of seven kilometres (4.3 miles) with loads of less than 200 kilos (440 pounds). Experts say the biggest roadblock to cargo bikes going mainstream is the lack of adapted infrastructure: safe cycle lanes, secure parking and easy-to-find repair shops The cargo bike craze has yet to run its course because “they can handle situations where a car previously seemed indispensable,” says green researcher Sophia Becker 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.
A view of the illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan during the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday – RV Moorthy BJP national politics SHARE Published on A little-known Odisha MP shares spotlight with Modi May 30, 2019 national elections Two persons stole the show during the nearly two-hour-long swearing-in ceremony. The first of them may have been easy to guess: Narendra Damodardas Modi. But the second one was quite a surprise. When Pratap Chandra Sarangi, first-time Member of Parliament from Balasore, Odisha, was called upon to take his oath as Minister of State, a section of the 5,000-plus crowd was on its feet, clapping. Sarangi had been called 56th (out of 58) on the list, at the fag end, but the invocation of his name set off a frisson of energy. Sarangi contested the election with very limited resources. He used a bicycle and public transport to campaign. Sarangi was a surprise inclusion in the Ministry. Another surprise induction was that of S Jaishankar, the former Foreign Secretary. He had been given a seat in the first row. There are six women in the Ministry, accounting for 10 per cent of the total. Three of them have Cabinet rank; the three others are Ministers of State. The Ministry has four bureaucrats and one Army General. And going against expectations, it has only a small representation from West Bengal and Odisha, where the BJP performed better than expected. Four allies became part of the Council, but one partner, the JD (U), did not join; it is believed to have sought more than one ministerial post, whereas the BJP was willing to include one Minister each from all its allies.The President interrupted five of the Ministers who stumbled over their oaths. One Minister, G Kishan Reddy, ended with a ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan. Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, and other film stars were present; but it was Mary Kom and Gautam Gambhir who got the most number of requests for selfies. Strikingly, cell phones were allowed to be carried to the venue. SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT COMMENTS