first_imgOpengate Capital+1500(6%) Odds that one of the listed magazines will be sold this year National Geographic+600(14%) Rupert Murdoch+200(33%) Thomson Reuters+400(20%) Bloomberg+300(25%) Forget betting on which team will make it to this year’s NBA championship or who will take home the 2010 World Cup trophy. Now that Newsweek is up for sale, you can place bets on which company will acquire the troubled title. According to YouWager.com—a sportsbook, online casino and poker room—there’s a 33 percent likelihood that Rupert Murdoch will be the one to acquire Newsweek. Next up is Bloomberg (25 percent), Thompson Reuters (20 percent), Time Inc. (12 percent), McGraw Hill (9 percent) and OpenGate Capital (6 percent). [View the chart below for the return on wagers.]It’s fun to categorize buyers’ chances Las Vegas-style, but how did YouWager calculate the odds? “First comes the need to do some research,” YouWager.com Cory Scott tells me. “These are public companies, so it’s easy to see how they’ve been performing over the last few quarters. Next, you come up with your odds. Fans like to root for the favorite, while gamblers love a long shot, so you need to put up companies that have a possibility of going down based on performance, but it still needs to be unlikely to justify the larger payout.” People +700(13%) Scott adds that the site also takes into account the popularity of the companies being bet on. “People won’t bet if they don’t have an opinion, and they won’t have an opinion if they don’t know anything about the team or, in this case, the company,” he says.What are the Odds that Playboy Gets Sold?YouWager didn’t stop with Newsweek. The site has also placed odds on which major magazines will most likely be sold this year. Playboy tops the list at 29 percent followed by Time (25 percent), Vogue (20 percent), Sports Illustrated (18 percent), Vanity Fair (14 percent), National Geographic (14 percent) and People (13 percent). Scott came up with these odds by applying the same criteria as he did for Newsweek. “Playboy’s revenue for print and digital is down 26 percent, and this is a trend that has been going on for a while,” he said. “I compared Playboy to the other companies and decided they are the most likely candidates to go down based on recent and past performance.”Because Playboy has had financial trouble and because of the current state of the economy, Scott felt there’s a 25 to 30 percent chance that the company’s magazine would be sold, which equals roughly to +250 or $250 for every $100 risked. “After I set the odds, I need to ask myself whether people have an opinion on Playboy going down.  I think so, so the odds go up with Playboy as the ‘favorite’ to go down, but it’s still an unlikely outcome.” So, get your pocketbooks ready, and place your bets! [The +/- indicates the return on the wager. For Example: Betting on the candidate least likely to win would earn the most amount of money, should that happen. The percentage is the likelihood the contestant(s) will win.]center_img McGraw Hill+1000(9%) Odds that one of the options below will purchase Newsweek Vogue+400(20%) Time+300(25%) Time Inc.+750(12%) Vanity Fair+600(14%) Sports Illustrated+500(18%) Playboy+250(29%)last_img read more

first_imgEnlarge ImageKevin Durant wearing Master & Dynamic headphones. www.instagram.com/leaguefits Kevin Durant may be sidelined with a calf injury as his Golden State Warriors face the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals of the NBA playoffs, but he’s still making business moves. Thirty Five Ventures, the company Durant owns with sports business executive Rich Kleiman, has announced that it’s become an equity partner in New York-based Master & Dynamic, an audio company known for well-crafted headphones featuring premium materials and excellent sound.  “In addition to having part ownership in Master & Dynamic, the full partnership will also see Durant and Thirty Five Ventures work with the company on creative, design and building out the intersection of sports and music,” according to Master & Dynamic. Recently Master & Dynamic released its first noise-cancelling headphone, the MW65 ANC, and in June, the company says a special edition “Studio 35” version will hit stores in a color design that Durant selected. It’s unclear what those colors will be and whether they’ll offer any hints as to where Durant will play next year. He can opt-out of his contract at the end of the season and New York and Brooklyn are possible destinations — or so Knicks and Nets fans hope. Read: CNET’s full review of the Master & Dynamic MW65 ANCWe reached out to Durant for comment through Master & Dynamic and Thirty Five Ventures, but didn’t hear back from him. We were wondering what specifically drew him to the headphone brand. He’d been previously seen wearing Beats, which last year became the official headphone of the NBA. Unlike Beats, which are known for their strong bass, Master & Dynamic headphones feature a more balanced audio profile that’s more geared toward audiophiles. As part of the press release announcing the deal, Durant did have this to say about the partnership:”Master & Dynamic has been elevating the audio game since they launched in 2014 and I felt that they were a company I had to get involved with. Music is such a huge part of my life that their products have become an important part of my day to day, and I’m looking forward to some amazing collaboration between our teams.”For some reason Master & Dynamic didn’t have a professionally shot photo of Durant wearing the company’s headphones available for the announcement (the above photo is from Instagram). But the company did recently feature his mother, Wanda Durant, in a Mother’s Day blog post that’s worth reading.wanda-durant-1Enlarge ImageWanda Durant wearing the Master & Dynamic MW60. Master & Dynamic Share your voice 20 Photos Master & Dynamic MW65 ANC 0 Post a comment Tags Mobile Accessorieslast_img read more

first_imgHigh-CourtThe High Court on Sunday asked the election commissioner to accept the nomination papers of five BNP aspirants who are also municipal mayors so that they can contest the upcoming general election, reports UNB.A HC bench of justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and justice Razik-Al-Jalil passed the order after hearing on separate writ petitions filed by the five BNP leaders challenging the EC’s decision to reject their candidature.The five BNP aspirants are Fahmid Foysal Chowdhury of Nilphamari-3, Amzad hossain of Nilphamari-4, Syed Jahangir Alam of Dinajpur-3, Mohamamd Nazmul of Naogaon-5 and Touhidul Haq of Panchagarh-1 constituencies.Earlier in the day, the five BNP aspirants filed separate writ petitions challenging the legality of the EC’s decision that rejected their candidature as they were holding the post of municipality mayor.Lawyer Ruhul Kuddus Kajal stood for the petitioners while attorney general Mahbubey Alam represented the state.With HC order there will be no obstacles for the five BNP candidates for contesting the polls, said lawyer Ruhul Kuddus Kajal.EC has rejected the nominations of five BNP aspirants during the hearing on petitions filed with the commission.The returning officers concerned rejected the nomination papers of five BNP leaders saying all of them were holding respective posts of municipality mayors.The 11th national election is scheduled to be held on 30 December 2018.last_img read more

first_imgPeople shout slogans during a protest against what they say is the draft list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state of Assam, in Kolkata, India, 30 August 2018. Photo: ReutersNimai Hajong remembers almost nothing of the hills of eastern Bangladesh where he was born more than half a century ago, having fled as a small child to India where he has lived as a refugee ever since.The 58-year-old has been declared a foreigner — one of four million people effectively stripped of citizenship by the government of the northeastern state of Assam.Their names have been left off a draft list of citizens published late July that rights groups say threatens to render millions stateless if they cannot prove they are Indian.The controversial registry includes only those able to show they were in Assam before 1971, when millions fled to the state to escape Bangladesh’s war of independence, and their descendants.However, many whose families arrived before 1971 say authorities have rejected their papers and left them off the list.Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing government of prime minister Narendra Modi to bolster India’s Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.Many of those left off the list are Muslims, but those of other minorities and faiths — including Hindus — have also missed out.Assam, where one third of the population is Muslim, has for decades been wracked by tensions over migrants and is the only Indian state to compile such a register.Just over four million of the total Assam population of more than 30 million people who applied to be on the list were excluded from the draft, according to the registrar general of India.State officials say no “genuine” Indians need to worry about being left off the list, and there are avenues for appeal.But for Nimai — who fled persecution in Bangladesh as a five-year-old on his mother’s back — his world has been upended once more.- ‘Where do we go now?’ -His family are Hajong, a Hindu indigenous people from the Chittagong Hill Tracts bordering India and Myanmar, a region wracked by decades of ethnic conflict.They were shocked to discover their names left off after submitting the same paperwork to authorities that had allowed them to remain in India for more than 50 years.”What do we do now? We have accepted this land as our home since 1964, and we have nowhere to go,” Hajong told AFP in the small settlement of Bamunigaon, roughly 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Assam’s capital Guwahati.”We have lived here all these years as refugees, but I want to die an Indian.”The list will not be finalised until December, and state and federal governments have sought to allay concerns about the process.But that has done little to ease the anxiety of those excluded from the draft, who fear a life of limbo — or even deportation to Bangladesh.”I was told there was a massacre there, forcing my parents to flee with others from their village,” said Gunamoni Dalu, a Hajong woman whose family fled Bangladesh half a century ago to India.She was born in India in 1968, but was left off the list.”Since the death of my father, I have lived alone here,” she said, fretting about her future.News of the draft register sparked opposition protests in the national parliament and outrage in Assam, where the state government brought in 25,000 extra security forces in case of trouble.Assam, known for its lush tea estates and cool hill climate, has witnessed terrible violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.About 2,000 suspected migrants were butchered in a single day in Nellie in 1983. Nearly all were Muslim, and many were children.- Local tensions -Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won control of Assam in 2016 after promising to expel illegal immigrants and protect the rights of indigenous groups.Millions fled Bangladesh during its 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, but waves of refugees including the Hajong and the Buddhist Chakma had also escaped persecution to come to India before that.Many settled in Assam, which shares a long border with Bangladesh.Migrants have since been accused of illegally entering the state and taking land and jobs, causing tensions with locals.Rights groups have compared deletion from the citizenship list to Myanmar’s removal of rights and protections for its Rohingya community in 1982.Robin Koch had hoped the process “would have sealed our Indian identity once and for all”.”Instead, I don’t know what went wrong. I can’t eat and sleep at night,” said the 55-year-old Hajong man, whose family crossed the border in 1964.”After our parents escaped… we lost all links with our clan. We have no one there now.”last_img read more

first_imgGabonese soldiers stand in front of the headquarters of the national broadcaster Radiodiffusion Television Gabonaise (RTG) in Libreville on 7 January 2019 after a group of soldiers sought to take power in Gabon while the country`s ailing president was abroad. Photo: AFPGabon said it foiled an attempted coup on Monday after a group of soldiers called for a popular uprising while the country’s ailing president was abroad.The soldiers burst into state radio offices at dawn and urged the public to “rise up,” in a broadcast made as president Ali Bongo remained in Morocco after suffering a stroke last year.Three soldiers wearing the green beret of the elite Republican Guard, two of them carrying assault rifles, were visible on a video of the speech released on social media.But security forces stormed the building, capturing the rebel chief, killing two of his team and freeing journalists and technicians who had been held hostage and forced to help the mutineers make their broadcast, the presidency said.”The situation is under control,” it said in a statement.Shots were heard earlier around the RTG state broadcasting headquarters in Libreville, capital of the oil-rich West African nation, at about the same time as the message was read at 6:30 am (0530 GMT).Security forces were deployed in the capital and will remain there over the coming days in order to maintain order, a government spokesman said.The Republican Guard was stationed around the radio building, armoured vehicles blocked access to the area and a helicopter circled overhead, an AFP correspondent saw.In a rundown district nearby, dozens of young people torched a car and set fire to tyres, while the security forces fired teargas to try to disperse them.Elsewhere, much of the city appeared deserted, with businesses closed and local and foreign companies telling their workers to stay home.Internet access was also briefly cut on government instructions, said an employee of Canal, one of the main internet providers.The dramatic developments came as Bongo is living at a private residence in the Moroccan capital Rabat after suffering a stroke. He made a televised speech on New Year’s Eve but has not been in the country since October.- ‘Democratic transition’ -The rebel message was read on state radio by a person who identified himself as Lieutenant Ondo Obiang Kelly, describing himself as deputy commander of the Republican Guard and head of a previously unknown group, the Patriotic Youth Movement of the Gabonese Defence and Security Forces.He announced a “national restoration council” would be formed “to guarantee a democratic transition for the Gabonese people”.The movement “calls on all young people from forces for the defence and security and Gabonese young people to join us,” the officer said.”We cannot abandon our homeland,” the officer said.”The eagerly-awaited day has arrived when the army has decided to put itself on the side of the people in order to save Gabon from chaos.”If you are eating, stop; if you are having a drink, stop; if you are sleeping, wake up. Wake up your neighbours… rise up as one and take control of the street,” he said, calling on the people to seize public buildings and airports.The African Union and France strongly condemned the attempted coup and warned against any “unconstitutional” change of power in Gabon.- ‘A difficult period’ -The 59-year-old Bongo has not been back to Gabon since he fell ill in Saudi Arabia on 24 October.In his absence, the Constitutional Court transferred part of the powers of the president to the prime minister and the vice president.The statement read out on Monday attacked the arrangement as “illegitimate and illegal.”On 31 December, Bongo addressed the country for the first time since falling ill, saying in a recorded speech from Morocco that he had “been through a difficult period.”His critics seized on signs of apparent ill-health, pointing to an address that was unusually short, his slurred speech and a right hand that seemed stiff and immobile.The speech was “shameful,” the officer said in Monday’s address, describing Gabon as “country (which) has lost its dignity.”The Bongo family has governed the equatorial African nation for five decades.Bongo took over from his father Omar, who took office in 1967 and gained the reputation of a kleptocrat — one of the wealthiest men in the world, with a fortune derived from Gabon’s oil wealth.He was also a pillar of “Francafrique” — a now much-contested strategy by which France bound itself to its former African colonies through cronyism, often tainted with corruption and rights abuses.Ali Bongo was elected head of state after his father’s death in 2009.He was narrowly re-elected in 2016 following a presidential poll marred by deadly violence and allegations of fraud.last_img

first_imgIn this file photo taken on March 11, 2019 an Air China Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane is seen at Beijing Capital Airport. Photo: AFPBoeing and US aviation regulators are coming under intense scrutiny over the certification of the 737 MAX aircraft after news that two recent crashes share similarities.On 11 March, just a day after the Ethiopia crash left 157 dead, a grand jury in Washington issued a subpoena to at least one person involved in the plane’s certification, according to a Wall Street Journal article citing people close to the matter.The subpoena, which came from a prosecutor in the Justice Department’s criminal division, seeks documents and correspondence related to the plane, according to the report.A criminal inquiry is “an entirely new twist,” said Scott Hamilton, managing director of the Leeham Company, who recalled a probe of a 1996 ValuJet crash as the only other aviation probe that was not a civil investigation.”Unlike France, where criminal investigations into aviation accidents seems common, it is very, very rare in the US,” Hamilton added.The Transportation Department’s inspector general also is probing the approval of the 737 MAX by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), The Wall Street Journal also reported. Neither department responded to requests for comment from AFP.The probe is focusing on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, implicated in the Lion Air crash, which authorities have said shared similarities with the latest accident.The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 came less than five months after a 737 MAX 8 operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.While it may take months for definitive conclusions, Ethiopian officials said Sunday there were “clear similarities” between the two catastrophes based on information from the flight data recorder.The two incidents have prompted air transport regulators to ground 737 MAX aircraft worldwide, a surprising setback for a line of jets that has been flying for less than two years and is Boeing’s top seller.An investigation by The Seattle Times — in the city where Boeing has a large manufacturing presence — showed numerous problems with the MCAS, including that it would repeatedly override a pilot’s actions based on one faulty sensor. The paper asked for a response from Boeing and the FAA at least a week prior to the latest crash.Shares of Boeing dropped another 1.8 per cent on Monday to $372.28. The company has fallen about 12 per cent since the Friday before the crash.FAA officials had no comment Monday on the investigations but reaffirmed that the certification for the plane followed standard procedure.Boeing said it followed the rules in bringing the plane to the market.”The 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the identical FAA requirements and processes that have governed certification of all previous new airplanes and derivatives,” Boeing said.”The FAA considered the final configuration and operating parameters of MCAS during MAX certification and concluded that it met all certification and regulatory requirements.”Later Monday, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg sought to reassure clients and passengers of the firm’s commitment to safety in a video message.”Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and ensuring safe and reliable travel on our airplanes is an enduring value and our absolute commitment to everyone,” Muilenburg said.”Soon we’ll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 MAX that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident.”- Auto-certification? -The 737 MAX was certified as a variant of the 737 Next Generation, the plane it replaced, despite major differences in the engine and the addition of the MCAS, according to documents available on the FAA’s website.The motors on the new plane are heavier than in the 737 NG, posing more of a risk of stalling, so the MCAS was designed to protect against the possibility. But the Lion Air accident showed the system can erroneously correct for a stall when the plane is taking off, based on one bad sensor, and continuously fight the pilot for control.US pilots complained to Boeing about the issues following the Lion Air crash.Because of budget constraints, the FAA delegated aspects of the approval process to Boeing itself, according to sources.Under a program, known as the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA), employees of Boeing are accredited by the FAA to assist in approving the aircraft — including design, production, flight tests, maintenance and other systems — as well as signing off on the training procedures of pilots on new planes.The FAA last week said it already had ordered Boeing to develop a fix for problems with the MCAS system. But the agency was not able to describe any changes in the plane implemented by Boeing after the Lion Air accident.According to one aviation expert who requested anonymity, Boeing had readied some modifications for the system by the end of 2018 but the regulatory approval and subsequent installation of the changes were delayed by the five-week US government shutdown.Legislators Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Ted Cruz, who chairs a Senate transportation subcommittee, have each called for hearings to look into the 737 MAX’s certification.last_img read more

first_imgPool revenue using the Selfsh-Mine strategy for different propagation factors, compared to the honest Bitcoin protocol. Simulation matches the theoretical analysis, and both show that Selfsh-Mine results in higher revenues than the honest protocol above a threshold. Credit: arXiv:1311.0243 [cs.CR] . Explore further (Phys.org) —Bitcoin is a digital currency that has, well, gained currency, as a medium of exchange. Now two computer science researchers from Cornell find that this extensive ecosystem can be undermined and they outline how in a paper that they have posted on arXiv. More information: Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable, arXiv:1311.0243 [cs.CR]: arxiv.org/abs/1311.0243hackingdistributed.com/2013/11 … /faq-selfish-mining/www.newscientist.com/article/d … irtual-currency.html New fund launched for bitcoin investors The paper, “Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable,” is by Ittay Eyal, a postdoc member of the Computer Sciences department at Cornell and Emin Gun Sirer, associate professor at Cornell. According to the two researchers, “Empirical evidence shows that Bitcoin miners behave strategically and form pools. Specifically, because rewards are distributed at infrequent, random intervals miners form mining pools in order to decrease the variance of their income rate. Within such pools, all members contribute to the solution of each cryptopuzzle, and share the rewards proportionally to their contributions. To the best of our knowledge, so far such pools have been benign and followed the protocol.” Nonetheless, they describe a strategy that could be used by a minority pool to obtain more revenue than the pool’s fair share, that is, more than its ratio of the total mining power. “The key idea behind this strategy, called Selfish Mining, is for a pool to keep its discovered blocks private, thereby intentionally forking the chain,” they wrote. This selfishness can come out of people getting together to siphon off more money than a fair share for mining activities.The authors wrote that central to Bitcoin operations is a public log called the blockchain where all transactions are recorded. The security of the blockchain is established by a chain of cryptographic puzzles solved by a loosely organized network of participants called miners. The two researchers present an attack with which colluding miners obtain a revenue larger than their fair share. “This attack can have significant consequences for Bitcoin,” they warned, where rational miners join selfish miners and the colluding group increases increase in size until it becomes a majority. At this point, they said, the Bitcoin system ceases to be a decentralized currency. A Scientific American report on their findings further explained how damage might occur: Instead of releasing solutions to solved cryptopuzzles. The selfish crew can mine a branch in secret, hiding it from honest miners. The group would then get a higher share of coins than is fair for the resources they have contributed because they have forced other miners to waste computing power on the original chain. The problem gets worse as the selfish group recruits extra members.Elsewhere, the two were asked if they were trying to take Bitcoin down with their sober warning. “We’re Bitcoin supporters,” they blogged, ” and are working to make the currency stronger against a broader set of possible misbehaviors than what has been considered so far.” They proposed in their paper a practical modification to the Bitcoin protocol that protects against selfish mining pools. Can Bitcoin remain a viable currency? Sirer said, “Probably. We have shown that as long as selfish miners are below a certain threshold, they will not succeed.” Citation: Cornell researchers teach Bitcoin attack lesson in selfish mining (2013, November 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-11-cornell-bitcoin-lesson-selfish.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. © 2013 Phys.orglast_img read more

first_imgA little appreciation and a sense of belonging from mentors may be helpful in reducing adolescents destructive behaviour and delinquent activities, says a new study, emphasising the importance of mentoring the youth.The study revealed that of the natural mentors the respondents identified, teachers or coaches at their school had a significant impact on reducing dangerous behaviour.”If you are made to feel useful and important to others, especially in this case by a non-kin and education-based mentor, then you are more likely to have a reduction in delinquency and dangerous behaviour,” said lead author, Margaret Kelley from the Department of American Studies at the University of Kansas in the US. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe findings may be encouraging for educators, parents and those who work with youths, especially in trying to prevent at-risk adolescents from heading down a path of delinquency and dangerous behaviour that could jeopardise their future.”Making them feel appreciated and providing a sense of belonging for them at this crucial point in their adolescence can change those trajectories,” Kelley said, in the paper published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review,” said Kelley.Further, the research showed males found guidance and advice from their mentors while women tended to receive emotional nurturing.”The study also indicated the importance of female mentors in serving as positive role models, as well as the importance of helping children establish non-kin mentoring relationships early,” Kelley added.last_img read more

first_imgSouth Cheshire Newcastle Borough Staffordshire Moorlands Full list M6, A500, A50 A- M Aston-by-Stone: Lane closure on A34 Stafford Road Southbound on November 7 Adbaston: Roadworks and road closure on Main Road near Marsh Meadow from October 22 until November 23 Cold Meece: Two way traffic controls on Yarnfield Road outside landfill site from November 1 until November 9 Cotwalton, near Oulton: Two way signals on A520 Hayes Bank from November 8 until November 12 Derrington: Roadworks and road closures on Church Lane and Mount Pleasant from November 5 until January 30 2019 Eccleshall: Roadworks and road closure on Green Lane from October 15 until November 9 Eccleshall: Carriageway incursion on B5026 High Street until November 6 Eccleshall: Two way traffic signals on Stafford Street near mini-roundabout between A519 and A5013 from November 5 until November 7 Enson: Roadworks and road closure on Enson Lane at the junction with Marston Lane from November 5 until November 7 Garshall Green: Roadworks and road closures on Garshall Green Lane from November 8 until November 14 Haughton: Multi-way traffic lights on Newport Road near Oak Tree Farm from November 6 until November 10 Meir Heath: Two way traffic signals on B5066 Hilderstone Road from November 2 until November 6 Milwich: Roadworks and road closures on B5027 Uttoxeter Road near Calton Farm from November 5 until November 9 Read MoreDriver arrested after running off from accident Stafford Stafford: Roadworks and road closure on Baswich Lane near the canal bridge from September 10 until December 14 Stafford: Temporary traffic lights and roadworks on Beaconside until April 2019 Stafford: Carriageway incursion on Bridge Street outside number 11 from November 5 until November 7 Stafford: Multi-way traffic signals on Drummond Road from October 15 until November 30 Stafford: Roadworks and road closure on Eastgate Sreeet from November 8 until November 9 Stafford: Two way traffic signals on A5013 Eccleshall Road from October 22 until November 9 Stafford: Give and take traffic control on Marston Road from November 1 until November 5 Stafford: Carriageway incursion on Market Street near Lloyds Bank from November 5 until November 11 Stafford: Carriageway incursion on Newport Road from November 8 until November 13 outside Egremont Stafford: Give and take traffic control on Riverway near junction with Lichfield Road from November 5 until November 7 Stafford: Multi-way lights on School Lane and Hillfarm Close from November 1 until November 5 Stafford: Two way signals on Shackleton Way from October 24 until November 6 Stafford: Roadworks and road closures on Shakespeare Road, Coleridge Drive, Tennyson Road and Somerset Road from August 6 until November 9 Stafford: Carriageway incursion on B5066 South Walls on November 7 – near Nationwide Building Society Stafford: Roadworks and road closure on Thorneyfields Lane in Castle Bank over M6 until April 2019 Stone: Roadworks and some overnight closures at Aston Roundabout from August 20 until November 16 Read MoreCCGs say there are enough flu vaccines for over-65s despite reported supply issue Rugeley: Rugeley: Lane closure on Main Road near junction with Bates Way from November 7 until November 9 Rugeley: Two way traffic signals on Setterfield Way from November 7 until November 13 Rugeley: Two way signals on Sitting Mill Road from November 9 until November 13 Uttoxeter and surrounding areas: Denstone: Roadworks and road closure on Stubwood Lane from November 5 until November 6 Doveridge: Give and take traffic control on Marston Lane from November 5 until November 7 Fole: Roadworks and road closure on Fole Lane between Folebank Barns and Godley Farm from October 31 until November 9. Uttoxeter: Roadworks and road closure on B5030 Ashbourne Road from November 1 until November 7 Uttoxeter: Give and take traffic control on Stafford Road on November 11 Uttoxeter: Multi-way traffic signals from the junction with the A522 New Road and Bentley Road to the access into JCB World Parts Centre until November 18. Uttoxeter: Roadworks and road closure on A522 from October 4 until January 18 2019. Withington: Roadworks and road closures on Nobut Road from November 5 until November 7 Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here.center_img Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailDrivers are being warned to expect traffic and travel delays due to roadworks across Stafford Borough this coming week. Motorists hitting the roads of the area on Monday morning can expect a raft of delays and road closures waiting for them. The following roadworks are taking place in the Borough between Monday November 5 and Sunday November 11 – with this list also including Rugeley, as well as Uttoxeter for those who live, work and travel through the East Staffordshire town. This list contains only the roadworks considered to be most likely to cause delays on key routes as well as those involving road closures and temporary traffic lights. It is not exhaustive and does not feature some minor or emergency repairs that come up after publication. Other roadworks may finish or start before schedule or be cancelled altogether. If you only want information about roadworks in a different area of North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, visit the links below, otherwise scroll down for the roadworks most likely to disrupt your journey in Stafford Borough in the coming week All information from Highways England, local authorities and utility companies. Read MoreRoadworks from November 5 until November 11 Stafford Borough, Rugeley, Uttoxeter 1,100 accidents on one stretch of M6 Stoke-on-Trentlast_img read more

first_img Tuesday, August 29, 2017 Share Posted by Travelweek Group NEW YORK — Virtuoso is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by highlighting 20 experiences available at the network’s original 20 hotels.Over the course of a quarter-century, Virtuoso has grown from just 20 hotels in 1992 to today’s 1,246, which include more five-star properties than any other organization. Nearly 500 of the program’s partner hotels work solely with Virtuoso, and nearly half of the hotels within its program are under 100 rooms, offering clients ‘hidden gems’ around the world.To date, Virtuoso has added 94 properties in 2017, and has annual sales of US$21.2 billion. Its portfolio encompasses hotels, resorts, lodges, tents, camps, private islands, villas and apartments.“Since its inception, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts has thrived due to its superior collection of world’s-finest properties, its commitment to excellence, and its continual innovation,” said Albert Herrera, Virtuoso senior vice president, Global Product Partnerships. “However, it’s the commitment to working with travel advisors and the value these hotels place on the human connection, be it the advisor-client relationship or the hotel-advisor partnership, that makes them stand apart from other luxury hotels. The magic of the program is that it is constantly advancing to deliver exciting options to upscale travellers.”Here are the 20 experiences at Virtuoso’s original 20 hotels:Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane: Guests can re-energize at the hotel’s glass-walled rooftop floor, featuring a spa, fitness centre and lounge. There are also private shower suites.Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay: Guests can explore local religious traditions with the resort’s Hindu priest, who leads ceremonies, blessing rituals and shrine visits.Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea: Guests can join award-winning photography duo Cesere Brothers on a customized seasonal whale-watching and photography adventure.Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara: Sporty clients can play beach volleyball with two-time Olympian, gold medalist and Santa Barbara native Todd Rogers.The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale.The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale: A 30-minute helicopter flight takes guests on an unforgettable exploration of Arizona.Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland: Guests can stay in a unique two-bedroom suite: inside a historic lighthouse on a world-famous golf course built atop the ruins of a medieval castle.The Lanesborough, Oetker Collection, London.The Lanesborough, Oetker Collection, London: Enjoy afternoon tea with a Debrett’s Social Etiquette Advisor. Anglophiles will learn why afternoon tea became one of the most beloved British pastimes.Mandarin Oriental, Geneva: Guests can experience a watch-making workshop in the city renowned for its luxury timepieces.Mandarin Oriental, Munich: At BMW World, guests will enjoy an exclusive individual experience that includes a ride to and from the museum in a private BMW.Belmond La Samanna, Saint Martin.Belmond La Samanna, Saint Martin: For those who enjoy adventures at sea, this hotel offers charters of yachts used in the America’s Cup Regatta.The Peninsula Beverly Hills: Kids will become celebrity VIPS in an interactive simulation, where they experience a day in the life of Hollywood’s hottest stars. They will film a live-action movie and walk the red carpet at the film’s premiere, complete with paparazzi.The Peninsula Hong Kong: Guests can become dumpling masters during a dim sum class at Michelin- starred Spring Moon. At the end of the class, they can savour their own delicacies.Rosewood Mansion On Turtle Creek, Dallas: Consult with one of Dallas’ top fashion experts at the iconic NorthPark Center. A stylist will provide bespoke fashion recommendations and advice for clients who want to grow, customize and refine their personal flair. A two-hour private session and US$100 shopping spree at the upscale center will get them started.The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia IslandThe Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island: Experience unspoiled natural beauty on a guided kayak tour through the scenic salt marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway.The Ritz-Carlton, Naples: Design a personal keepsake alongside Conrad Williams, a Dale Chihuly-trained glass artist. Guests can choose from a rainbow of colors and work with the artist, forming molten glass with their breath and shaping tools. When done, they can take home their creation as a one-of-a-kind souvenir.The Pierre, a Taj Hotel, New York: Music lovers have a treat awaiting them at the hotel’s swanky Two E Bar: a live jazz performance three nights a week. The bar’s Art Deco surroundings, as well as the hotel’s status as a Jazz Age landmark, also enhance the experience.Claridge’s, London: Executive chef Martyn Nail will share secrets behind the cooking and presentation of Claridge’s menus while preparing dishes, assisted by class members. Each dish will then be served to the audience with complementing wines chosen by the hotel’s sommelier.The Connaught, LondonThe Connaught, London: For those who have always wanted to know how to effortlessly stir and shake their way to the perfect blend, the world-renowned Connaught Bar introduces a series of mixology masterclasses led by award-winning Director of Mixology Agostino Perrone.Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort: he young, and young at heart, can learn to ride the waves at the Flow House Boca, the ultimate surfers’ destination. Body surfing, stand-up surfing, even night sessions – guests master surfing in whatever style they prefer at the ultimate surf-on-land experience, the FlowRider dual-sided wave simulator.The St. Regis New York: he hotel’s King Cole Bar is the birthplace of the Red Snapper, the original Bloody Mary. Created in 1934, the hotel recently celebrated the millionth sale of the cocktail. Patrons can sip a Red Snapper in the intimate lounge, named Best Bar by Virtuoso.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsFor more information on Virtuoso’s Hotels & Resorts collection, or to book a stay, visit virtuoso.com/hotels.center_img Virtuoso: 25 years, 20 experiences, 20 original hotels Tags: Luxury Travel, Virtuoso << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

first_imgTV delivered strong growth for Deutsche Telekom in the German market in the first quarter, delivering high revenue growth, but growth remained slow or negative throughout much of central and eastern Europe. Deutsche Telekom grew its German IPTV and satellite TV base by 74,000, or 3%, to reach 2.516 million subscribers in the first quarter.Over the year, Telekom’s domestic TV base grew by 11.6%, while the international base grew by 5.1%.In Germany, the number of broadband lines increased by 76,000 in the first three months of 2015.TV revenues in the German market amounted to €277 million, up 10.4%, out of total fixed revenues of €2.45 billion, down 2%.The telco’s international TV base grew by 27,000 over the same period, or 0.7%, to reach 3.741 million.In Greece, Telekom subsidiary OTE had 367,000 satellite, cable TV and IPTV customers at the end of the period, up from 354,000 at year-end and up 32% year-on-year.In neighbouring Romania, Telecom Romania’s TV numbers were up only 3.2% year-on-year to 1.414 million. Also in the CEE region, Hungarian unit Magyar Telekom’s TV numbers rose by 4.2% year-on-year to reach 934,000. In Croatia, TV subscribers declined by 0.5% year-on-year to end the quarter at 390,000. Slovakia saw some growth however, with TV numbers growing by 6.8% to 474,000.In the Czech Republic, Telekom discontinued its TV service last year, leaving it with 2,000 TV customers still on its books.last_img read more

first_imgThe internet accounted for 71.8% of the UK’s entertainment revenues in 2015 compared with 28.2% for bricks and mortar stores, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).However, the UK trade organisation’s latest research claims that the number of physical stores selling music, video and games has reached an all-time high of more than 14,800.DVD and Blu-ray discs were available in 14,852 stores in the UK last year, while CD and, or vinyl music releases were available in 14,727, according to the ERA.“Conventional wisdom has always suggested that the internet spelled the end for physical entertainment stores, but these numbers show that traditional retail still has a place, particularly for impulse purchases and gifts. After all, you can’t gift-wrap a download or a stream,” said ERA CEO Kim Bayley.“Just as the internet has demonstrated that accessibility and convenience are key to selling entertainment, physical stores are demonstrating that if you put entertainment in front of people, they will buy it.”Despite this, the ERA said in January that digital revenues from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky Store exceeded £1bn for the first time in 2015. It also said that claims that it is “almost certain” that video will become a majority-digital business in 2016, after digital video revenues grew by 30.3% year-on-year in 2015.last_img read more

first_img Gross profit (billions $) 14.7 Other 16.7 Addition of carriers. Currently, Apple has relationships with and supplies about 250 carriers in over 100 countries. However, there is significant potential for growth with telecoms that do not have relationships with Apple. China Mobile – China’s largest telecom with over 700 million subscribers – is a prominent example. We’ve concluded that adding carriers in emerging markets could provide Apple with an incremental 60 million units of iPhone sales annually. However, carrier expansion will likely be pushed out toward the back half of 2013 and into 2014. In the following calculation of gross profit for Apple’s iPhone segment for 2014, we have assumed a unit volume of 185 million. We’ve also modeled the impact that a low-cost phone will have on average sales price and gross margins. High customer satisfaction around other Apple products (iPods, iPhones, and iPads) creates a halo effect, which drives customers to Macs when they are ready to buy a PC. For these reasons, we think Apple’s Mac sales will continue to resist the overall trend, and at worst, remain flat for the next 18 months. We also foresee little change in average sales price and margins. Here’s our resulting forecast for the PC segment: Gross profit % 46 Units (millions) 18.2 The case presented above yielded earnings per share of $50.32 for fiscal year 2014. Currently, Apple’s share price multiple is about 10 times, well below the current market multiple of 18. This may seem too low; however, we think this is a good number to apply to our estimate. Multiples are usually a reflection of anticipated growth. Because Apple faces the law of large numbers, the market is apt to be perpetually nervous about its ability to grow, and therefore will continue to assign it a low earnings multiple. Nevertheless, 10 times our earnings estimate would result in a share price of $503, a return of about 25% in 18 months. This is by no means a spectacular return, but it is based on conservative projections. So it is, in our view, very achievable. What Will Move Apple Just as a stationary ball needs a push to provide it initial momentum, the undervalued stock needs a catalyst to fuel its price move. With Hewlett-Packard, a stock we recommended in the October issue of BIG TECH, one catalyst we foresaw was breakup speculation. Our thinking was that Hewlett-Packard had become so grossly undervalued, that it was only a matter of time before activist investors and Wall Street analysts began calling for a breakup of the company as a way to unlock shareholder value. That’s exactly what happened. We were also helped along by another catalyst: the Dell buyout news. When it was all said and done, our strategy yielded a 50% profit in just shy of five months. Never let it be said value investing is boring. With Apple, there are a handful of short-term catalysts that could send the stock higher. The ones that immediately come to mind are: The successful launch of a new product – such as the long-rumored smart TV and/or the iWatch – that catches fire in the marketplace. A deal to distribute iPhones with China Mobile, China’s largest mobile network provider with over 700 million subscribers. A sizable dividend hike and/or a sizable share buyback. On the flip side, a disappointing earnings report could send shares lower. But that’s probably baked into the cake. And besides, CEO Tim Cook will probably have some good news in his hip pocket (i.e., a big dividend hike) if he thinks earnings will disappoint. Of course, there’s always the possibility of a major market correction. If that happens, almost every stock will get hit. But since Apple is down big over the last few months, it will probably withstand a downturn better than most. Long story short, Apple possesses the characteristics we look for in a stock. Given its future earnings prospects, it looks undervalued, and it has multiple short-term catalysts. For these reasons, it looks like a decent buy at current levels. Bits & Bytes The Alibaba Phenomenon (The Economist) When thinking of e-commerce companies, Alibaba is probably not one of the first names that comes to mind… but that may soon change. Rumor has it that China’s e-commerce king is planning to go public, with valuation estimates ranging from $55 billion to more than $120 billion. That would make it one of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the world. Bitcoin ATMs Coming Soon (CNN Money) Bitcoins are taking a step into the real world, with an entrepreneur planning to introduce ATMs for the virtual currency. The Bitcoin ATMs will accept dollar bills and instantly convert the amount to Bitcoins and deposit the result in your account. Aereo Could Bring Down Broadcast TV (CNN Money) Aereo, an upstart online service which provides low-cost access to broadcast TV over the Internet, could be a huge step toward a future when programming options come à la carte, divorced from the expensive packages assembled by cable and satellite carriers. Tablets The tablet computer – a cross between a laptop, a smartphone, and a personal digital assistant – is not a new concept. Computer scientist Alan Kay began advancing ideas about component miniaturization, touchscreens, and WiFi technology way back in 1968. However, not until 2010 did any version of the tablet meet with meaningful commercial success. That’s the year that Apple launched the iPad. On launch day, 300,000 iPads were sold. Over the next year, more than 15 million were sold. The era of the tablet had arrived. Why did it take so long? Well, there were some attendant and powerful circumstances that prevailed in 2010 that either did not exist or were not sufficiently mature during earlier attempts to market tablets. Though inferior to the PC for content creation, the tablet is ideal for content consumption. Thanks to the advent of the Internet and WiFi and the spawning of thousands of apps, there is now a lot of content to consume. In addition, battery life has been extended from three hours on early versions of the tablet to over 12 hours on some current models, making these devices more portable and, therefore, more appealing to consumers. Those circumstances have driven astonishing adoption rates every year since 2010. In fact, the market for tablets has ramped up faster than any technology in history. 38.7 Personal Computers Much has been written in recent years about the decline in sales of personal computers (desktops and notebooks). As we all know by now, mobile computing devices are the cause. As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis. According to Gartner, PC shipments peaked in 2011 at 364 million units, a 3.7% increase over the prior year. In 2012, year-over-year shipments decreased by 6.3%, and the slide is expected to continue in 2013 and 2014, with decreases of 7.6% and 4.1% respectively. However, Apple’s Mac division has experienced no such letdown; unit sales of Apple personal computers actually increased by 9% for the 2012 fiscal year. We think Apple is defying the PC trend for two main reasons: Apple serves the high end of the PC market. Because these high-end users are content creators, they are less likely to abandon the Mac for a tablet. Revenue* 108.3 Operating expenses* (Click on image to enlarge) This is not a fad. Rather, it is structural and will prevail for many years. Technology research firm IDC estimates that tablet shipments will reach 191 million units in 2013 and grow at a compounded annual rate of 16.6% for four years thereafter. Upon reinventing the tablet category in 2010, Apple dominated the market with a whopping 70% share. Since then, several formidable competitors have entered the fray, including Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple’s share had dropped to 46%, owing to the increased number of competitors and to Apple’s unwillingness to participate in a race to the bottom on pricing. IDC estimates that by 2017, the company’s share will drop to 43.5%. Conservatively, we have built our projections on the assumption that its share will be 40% for next fiscal year (September 2014). For fiscal year 2012, the average sale price of an iPad was about $531. However, in November 2012, Apple released the iPad Mini with a retail price of $329. Estimates are that the Mini will comprise 40% of total iPad sales. We estimate that that will lower the average sale price to about $450. Gross margin on iPads was 42.7% during fiscal year 2012, but the shift in sales mix to the Mini will put downward pressure on those margins. We estimate margins will fall to 38% for tablets in 2013 and stabilize at that level for 2014. Putting this all together, here is our projection for tablets down to the gross profit line for 2014: PCs Tablets Gross profit % 24.5 Apple units (millions units) 86 Gross profit % 38 When the market turns against a stock, watch out. Just ask Apple investors. From its peak just seven months ago, Apple is down over 40%. That’s an incredible move for a company of Apple’s size. Several factors have contributed to the decline, including: management departures, low-cost competition, and concerns that Apple’s well of innovation may have run dry with the loss of Steve Jobs. Each of these factors is cause for concern. However, healthy skepticism can quickly give way to a herd mentality, causing an overreaction in share price. Could that be what we’re seeing with Apple? To find out, we decided to take a look at the prospects for each of Apple’s major business segments. Smartphones Worldwide shipments of smartphones topped 700 million units in 2012, according to tech research firm IDC, an increase of 46% over 2011. Torrid growth is expected to continue; in 2013, IDC expects a 27% increase in smartphone shipments and another 17% in 2014, lifting sales to over 1 billion units annually. Analysts look for Apple’s smartphone growth to stay pretty much in lockstep with the market: fiscal year 2013 iPhone shipments are estimated to increase by about 25% (from 125 million to 156 million units), while a 19% increase is foreseen for FY 2014 (from 156 million to 185 million units). These estimates look very achievable and possibly even conservative. Here’s why: Introduction of a low-cost phone. In the US, Apple depends heavily upon a carrier-subsidized business model. Under this model, Verizon, AT&T, and other telecoms buy iPhones from Apple, then resell them to consumers well below their costs. In exchange for the discount received on the phone, the consumer signs a long-term contract (typically two years) with the carrier. In many regions outside the US, the subsidy model is not utilized. In order to penetrate the market in those regions, Apple needs a low-cost phone. Speculation has it that such a phone is on the way and will be introduced sometime around mid-year. In addition to driving growth internationally, an iPhone in the $300-$400 price range should help Apple capture share with non-contract (known as prepaid) US carriers. Pre-tax income* Revenue (billions $) 23.2 26.1 Units (millions) 185 Putting It All Together In the table below, we aggregate the information for the segments we discussed above. We add in the combined revenues from the iPod, iTunes, and accessories segments with the assumption that the iPod segment will decline at a 25% annual rate, while iTunes and accessories will increase at about a 12% annual rate. And finally, we assume that operating expenses and income taxes, consistent with the last two years, will be 8.5% of sales and 25% of pre-tax profits, respectively. 39.5 Income tax* Gross profit % 46.0 Refresh of iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 is due for a refresh. One is expected at mid-year, about the same time as the low-cost phone introduction. If that’s the case, it will be just in time for the upgrade cycle, as iPhone 4 customers who bought phones in the fall of 2011 will be coming off their two-year contracts and looking for new subsidized phones. It’s a safe bet that most of these customers will stick with Apple. A recent survey from Morgan Stanley and AlphaWise found that Apple leads the smartphone industry in customer retention. Among those surveyed, 83% of iPhone users said they plan to buy another iPhone. Total 63.8 Average sale price     450 23.2 Revenue (billions $) 108.3 Average sale price 585 Addressable market (millions units) 214 24.5 10.3 14.7 41.0 * Numbers in billions Gross profit (billions $) 5.7 Gross profit* 49.8 Average sale price 1,275 Net income* Revenue (billions $) 38.7 196.3 Smartphones 38.8 5.7 Apple share 40% 80.5 47.8 16.0 Gross profit (billions $) 49.8last_img read more

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Tapering is “all priced-in”. *  Summers says thanks but no-thanks. *  Retail Sales disappoint in the U.S. *  Gold manipulation whistleblowers. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Dollar Gets Sold Like Funnel Cakes At A State Fair! Good day.  And a Marvelous Monday to you! What a wonderful weather-wise weekend (how about that poetic use of alliteration so early in the morning!)  for us here in St. Louis this past weekend! We had our “block party” in the subdivision that I live in, so that was a good time, and the grandkids had a “dance party” at the house Friday night, so darn cute! Well, I came in this morning, turned on the currency screens, and what to my surprise! A currency rally! 2 days before the Fed will announce tapering to boot! So, what gives? Why would the dollar be getting sold now? Ahhh grasshopper, come, sit, and listen to a tale of what they call in the markets of an event being “priced in”. Apparently, traders came to the realization last night that the Fed’s tapering, is already “priced in”, and the only thing left is for the Fed to disappoint them, with the announcement of a small amount of pull-back, or a delay. So, the dollar is getting sold like funnel cakes at a state fair this morning. The other item that’s weighing on the dollar was the announcement this weekend that Lawrence Summers has withdrawn his name from the list of those wishing to be the next Fed Chairman.  OK. there are three things here that come to mind as to why Mr. Summers decided to pull out ahead of the nomination process. 1. He could have skeletons in his closet, and the confirmation process would expose those. 2. He got a glimpse of the Fed’s balance sheet, and decided that he didn’t want to be the one who’s name was attached to that mess. or 3. He read the Pfennig last week, and got scared.  So, actually, I think he took what was behind door #2, with #3 coming in close! So, here’s the skinny on why this news is bad for the dollar. You see, Summers was thought to have been a Fed Chairman that would favor tightening at a much quicker pace, and higher interest rates in the U.S. is what a lot of traders were looking forward to. On the other hand, Janet Yellen, the other person close to the nomination is thought to be “pro-growth”, which means interest rates would remain near zero longer.  And, before we go any further, you all know that I’m just having some fun with his reasons for withdrawing his name, right? So, there you go! Two reasons for the currency rally and dollar selling this morning! Let’s review very quickly. The markets came to the realization that they had already priced-in the Fed tapering this week, too far. and 2. Summers grabs his hat from the Fed Chairman ring. On a side bar. Wouldn’t it be something if Janet Yellen also withdrew her name as a Fed Chairman possibility? Then NY Fed Head Dudley would be next, and then he said thanks, but no thanks?  I doubt that will happen, as these Fed Heads are pretty egotistic, and probably believe that they “have the plan to save the world”.  And when they announce that plan to save the world, you might want to make plans to take a long vacation. The Emerging Markets took the Summers news as a sign that they too should rally, and rally they did!  The Indian rupee surged higher, and the Turkish lira made its strongest move in 2 years!  These wild swings is one of the reasons people get squeamish when it comes to investing in the Emerging Markets, which is why it makes sense to go into them with Principal protection, like that’ s afforded to the holders of our Evolving Markets MarketSafe CD, which by the way, we’ve brought back for another round. So, if you couldn’t pull the trigger on the first one, this is your last chance saloon. The best performing currency overnight is the Aussie dollar (A$) which is up over 1-cent this morning.  Knowing that the U.S. rates will be anchored for some time to come, is good news for the currencies like the A$, kiwi, and even the Brazilian real, for those interest rate differentials are really making a comeback as a key fundamental. And that puts a smile on my face. Reminds me a dentist’s card I saw many years ago. It had printed on the card: “Smile, it improves your face value”. Gold just can’t seem to catch a bid these days, and is down $10 this morning. Did you see the report last week from Goldman Sachs, that said they see the risk of Gold going below $1,000? OK. Quick Quiz. What have I told you in the past about Big Brokerage Houses’ Calls for assets? That they very well could be trading their book, or their future needs. In this case, the brokerage firm could be short the asset, and needing to buy it back at cheaper levels, So, they issue a letter to their clients and tell them what they see, in hopes of getting everyone to sell, thus cheapening the price of the asset, and then the firm can go in a buy cover their shorts, at cheaper prices.  Now, I’m not saying this is what this firm is doing right now. I’m just saying that we need to take these calls with a grain of salt, and see them for what they could possibly be. It’s funny, I saw this news story on the Bloomberg Friday morning, and the story below this one was one from HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp.) “HSBC Lifts 2013 Gold Price Forecast on Higher Physical Demand”.  So, which one  of these stories are you going to hang your hat on? Me?  I think I’ll just keep a steady Eddie focus on owning Gold as a store of wealth, and not get caught up in forecasts! OK. The euro is much stronger to start the week at 1.3350 this morning. The German Federal Elections are next Sunday, and the only thing out there that could hurt the euro in these elections is IF the anti-euro party (AFD) wins 5% of the vote, and makes it into parliament. Right now the polls have then at 4%, which is where they will need to stay to keep the euro well bid next week. If the 5% level is achieved, I would think that the euro would take a hit. The Chinese renminbi / yuan is much stronger this morning as the Chinese Gov’t allowed a strong appreciation overnight. There was an article in the China Finance magazine that talked about how conditions in China have matured to further open Capital account. This is the stuff that I’ve been telling you was going to happen, folks. I love it when a plan comes together! But getting back to the renminbi movement. We saw these kinds of moves last spring too, when hot money flooded the Chinese markets, but then left when they got scared that China’s economy was going to shut down. When that didn’t happen, the hot money has begun to flow into China again. You see, interest rates “in China” are good, and we all know that interest rates sure aren’t good in the U.S., Japan, or Eurozone! And in Norway, the Norwegian August Trade Surplus narrowed to NK28.8 Billion from NK 35.3 in July. But this news wasn’t seen as bad for the krone. This drop in the Surplus isn’t new or surprising, as this data is very volatile. The chart on the Surplus looks like a chart for someone on a trampoline!  I think the thing to keep in mind the most here is that Norway has a Trade Surplus, and that’s something a lot of countries don’t have. And they didn’t need to weaken their currency to achieve this Surplus. Well, the data from last week was interesting, I’ll give it that! The Big Kahuna data print last Friday, the 13th I might add, was U.S. Retail Sales from August, which came in weaker than expected at +.2% (.5% was forecast). So, the Fed Heads have that on their minds as they begin to gather this week for a two-day meeting. The U. of Michigan Consumer Confidence report fell from 82.1 to 76.8. not a good thing.  Today, we get my two faves. Industrial Production, and Capacity Utilization.  Nothing that’s going to turn the dollar around today. For What It’s Worth. JMR Doug, sent me this link to the story on King World News. So thanks JMR  Doug! He said in his note to me, “Looks like the mainstream media will finally have to admit what you’ve been preaching for years Mr. Chuck.” So.. this was in King World News. Here’s the link to the whole story. And my snippet. In a stunning development, two JP Morgan whistleblowers have confessed that the bank manipulates the gold and silver markets.  This is truly a shocking admission by the courageous JP Morgan whistleblowers.  In a blockbuster King World News interview, London metals trader Andrew Maguire told KWN that the two JP Morgan employees came directly to him with hard evidence that the bank was actively manipulating the gold and silver markets.  This is a truly catastrophic event for JP Morgan, which up to now has denied manipulating these markets.  Below Maguire takes KWN readers around the world on a trip down the rabbit hole as he discusses how he led the two JP Morgan employees to turn over the evidence to a law firm which specializes in high profile whistleblowers, and also to the CFTC.  According to Maguire, the CFTC has virtually buried this information.  Is this a cover up, or the next LIBOR scandal about to be exposed? Chuck again. I like the fact that a major news outlet like King World News, ran this story. now, if the cable news stations would pick it up, we might get some traction. Other than that, this will die out again. But don’t worry, we’ll get plenty of coverage from the cable news stations on Miley Cyrus.  Speaking of her, I saw a very funny cartoon last week, it was Dr. Brown from the Back to the Future movies sitting in the DeLorean talking to Marty and the quote was: “Marty, we have to go back in time to help Billy Ray Cyrus from getting into “trouble”..  And make no mistake. I’m just reporting the story here. To recap. The dollar is getting sold like funnel cakes at a state fair this morning, as the markets realize overnight that they have already priced in the Fed’s Tapering, and the news that Lawrence Summers pulled his name from those being considered as the next Fed Chairman, thus leaving the nomination to Janet Yellen, who is a pro-growth Fed Head, and that means ZIRP remains in place longer, which is not good for the dollar. Currencies 9/16/13. American Style: A$ .9380, kiwi .8210, C$ .9710, euro 1.3355, sterling 1.5930, Swiss $1.0790, . European Style: rand 9.7570, krone 5.9090, SEK 6.5105, forint 223.75, zloty 3.1430, koruna 19.2855, RUB 32.26, yen 98.90, sing 1.2595, HKD 7.7540, INR 62.83, China 6.1554, pesos 12.91, BRL 2.2795, Dollar Index 81.14, Oil $106.64, 10-year 2.81%, Silver $21.73, Platinum $1,444.43, Palladium $704.20, and Gold. $1,311.03 That’s it for today. Lucky me! I came in this morning to find some chocolate chip cookies wrapped in foil that were left here for me from Kathy G, when she visited last week! What a sweetheart! My beloved Cardinals are hanging on, but need to get some separation from the Pirates and Reds. Markets could get pretty volatile this week with the Fed meeting, so be prepared to hunker down. Next week I’ll be in Houston for a visit to the oncologist and the other doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Clinic. It’s been a year, since my first visit there. I can’t express my gratitude enough to my beautiful bride who insisted that I apply to MD Anderson. Now, the goal is to NOT have to visit them any longer! Wouldn’t that be nice!  And with that thought, I’ll send you out to tackle this day and week. I hope you have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

first_imgThe toy trap: we all have friends who’ve fallen in. I received a wave of emails after publishing Debt: The Last Social Taboo?, all sharing similar sad stories. Author Dave Ramsey summed up the problem best: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Malcolm Forbes, lover of all-things extravagant, likely originated the phrase “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Few of us could ever afford Forbes’ Fabergé egg collection or the ostentatious parties he threw, but many a retiree or near-retiree has overspent on cars, boats, homes, and a surgically enhanced trophy wife or two. My wife Jo tells me this isn’t just a “guy thing” either. She has friends with two or three closets filled with designer clothes. We have one friend who’s been retired for over a decade, yet who still makes monthly trips down Michigan Avenue in Chicago to shop, shop, shop. Her closet is full of enough fur coats to spark a PETA riot. So is there room in 2014 for a return to financial modesty—room to reject the toy trap? I say yes! Here’s our five-step guide to doing just that.#1—Someone always has a bigger, faster boat. Playing the game is futile, because no matter how much wealth you have, you can’t win. Someone will always have more. Rush Limbaugh once boasted about buying the newest, biggest, fastest Gulfstream jet, a G650. He mentioned something about flying nonstop from Raleigh to Honolulu with 20 of his best friends. I won’t begrudge a man any toy he can truly afford, but Limbaugh is in for a rude awakening. As far back as 2009, the CEO of Gulfstream’s parent company had already announced it was working on developing a plane “beyond” the G650. What will Limbaugh do then? In the meantime, some oil baron from the Middle East is looking down from his 747 with a smirk on his face. I was on a 13-hour flight from London to Miami years ago and totally bored, so I made a list of all the material things I would love to own. Yeah, I included a private jet and a yacht. Then I calculated the cost of buying and maintaining those toys and realized I’d have to win the lottery every year to afford such luxury. Time to get real! The sooner you get a handle on needs versus wants, the better off you and your family will be. Owning cool stuff is fun. Most real people, however, have to choose between the neat toys they’d like and saving enough to retire comfortably. So until those lottery wins come in, I’ll continue flying commercial with the other mere mortals. If you want to treat yourself, pay a little extra to upgrade your seat.#2—Don’t misunderstand status. In dictionary terms, status means:sta·tus rank: the relative position or standing of somebody or something in a society or other group prestige: high rank or standing, especially in a community, work force, or organization condition: a condition that is subject to change In Miller terms, there are least two different types of status. The first I call “pseudo-status.” In the article mentioned above, I wrote about my friend Tom, the poster child for spendaholics anonymous. Tom spent a good portion of his adult life trying to impress others and move up in the pecking order. Could Tom have really bought his way to the top? No. The second type of status I call “earned status.” Each major professional sport has a hall of fame. The players enshrined in them stood out among their peers and earned their status in those communities. Earned status is a laudable aspiration. A mentor of mine once said:“Real status does not come from telling people how important you are, but rather from others recognizing your achievements above the rest. Accomplish something, and they will know you are good. You won’t have to say a word.”#3—You don’t have to be a scrooge. Owning nice things can make life more enjoyable. There is nothing wrong with buying cool stuff that makes you happy. Enjoying an expensive glass of wine at dinner does not make you an alcoholic or a spendaholic. However, buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have will eventually affect your family, your retirement, and your health. Tom had closets crammed full of clothes, but he still made regular trips to the big city men’s store where he’d drop $10,000 or more each visit. He would leave the store carrying nothing—everything had to be monogrammed and shipped. I can’t remember the last time I saw Tom in a non-monogrammed shirt. After he died, one of his children confided that his designer jeans and socks were monogrammed too. No wonder they said he had an addiction.#4—Short-term gratification is just that: short term. Tom’s life saddens me. He had a great business, employed many people, earned a good income, and was an asset to the community. Had he focused on long-term goals rather than indulging short-term emotional needs, he would have achieved the status he so desperately wanted. Tom fell prey to his desire to constantly feel important. He seemed to think the only way he could satisfy that hunger was to constantly buy clothes and toys. Unfortunately, that addiction is what kept him from his goal. He died bankrupt, and everyone in town knew it.#5—Remember the lessons your grandparents taught you. You can’t buy real friends, nor can you maintain a friendship by constantly flaunting your wealth. True friendship has nothing to do with money. It comes from who you are and how you behave. I have a friend whom I’ve known since high school. He grew up on a farm in a single-parent home. He has built quite a business empire and has more than his share of cool and very expensive toys. Unlike Tom, however, he can actually afford to write a check for them. The friends he is most comfortable with are the ones who knew him when he was poor and are happy for his success. This friend was too busy on the farm growing up to participate in many high school activities. When the school bell rang, he rushed home to work late into the night. Tom, on the other hand, had a different childhood. His parents looked after him financially. They even started the family business that Tom eventually took over. He never learned to save. Money magically appeared when he wanted it for many decades—until it didn’t. Maybe things just came too easy for Tom. He never valued having money, only what it could buy him. I’ll leave that for the professionals to ponder. Forbes and countless T-shirts in the 1980s said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” There was another popular T-shirt, though—one I’d be proud to wear—that said, “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” Toys are not the measure of a man. The true captain of his own ship looks after his crew and their welfare until his dying day. The folks I know who are truly happy have done just that. A man who doesn’t fixate on toys he neither needs nor can afford has a much better chance at finding lasting happiness. I am a big believer that being “rich” is a state of mind. As you cross the threshold toward retirement, the ability to maintain your lifestyle without worry can help keep you in that mindset. Retirement shouldn’t involve a lot of money worries… and it doesn’t have to. Our goal at Miller’s Money Forever is to help our subscribers become truly rich and make their golden years the best of their lives. Our portfolio is doing quite well, and we have optimal safety precautions in place. If you have not done so already, I urge you to take advantage of our 90-day risk-free offer. We are reasonably priced ($99/year). If you feel we are not for you, cancel within the first 90 days and receive 100% of your money back, no questions asked. Click here to subscribe today.On the Lighter Side I had another good chat with Chad Slagle on his television and radio program. I was in the hot seat, as they say. You can watch along here: Dennis Miller on the Chad Slagle Show. Next week is St. Patrick’s Day, and we love to go to Fountain Hills to watch the green fountain shoot up 300 feet. In Chicago they make the river green, but the fountain is a lot more fun to watch. Last week we went to a Cubs game at the new facility in Mesa, AZ. We were thrilled to see the Budweiser Clydesdale team. Such magnificent animals! I whispered to the lead horse how much I enjoyed his Super Bowl commercial and darned if he did not bob his head up and down a couple of times. Who says those animals aren’t smart? Our good friend Phil works at the Surprise, AZ spring training facility. Each year he gets tickets for our group of Chicago Cub fans in the area. This year 26 couples are going to dinner and the game. It’s always a lot of fun. And finally… Dear friend Toots sent some cute remarks about aging: You’re getting old when you don’t care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don’t have to go along. Statistics show that at the age of 70, there are five women to every man. Isn’t that an ironic time for a guy to get those odds? Old age is when you have stopped growing at both ends, and have begun to grow in the middle. Old age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier. A man has reached old age when he is cautioned to slow down by his doctor instead of by the police. And my favorite: You’re getting old when “getting lucky” means you find a great parking space. Until next week…last_img read more

first_imgIn This Issue. * Dollar fights back yesterday * But currencies try to rally again this morning. * Foreign Investment flows into India soar! * Money can’t buy you love, but Gold can! And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Eurozone Starts Negotiations With A Tough Stance. Good Day!…  And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! I’m greeted this morning with a song from the late 70’s while Chris was dancing at a mixer to disco music, by Ambrosia. That’s How Much I Feel..  Yes, there was “other music” being made besides disco in the late 70’s. Chris and I always have fun claiming the other one liked disco music. But I KNOW I didn’t! Now, Chris? I think the possibilities are great!   Remember me whining and complaining about the lack of volatility in the currencies the past 3 to 4 years? Well, I whine no more! Volatility has returned, and the leader of the pack is the euro, which is trading with the most volatility that it has seen since 2011!  And that volatility has been brought to the euro by the goings on in Greece. Funny, isn’t it, that the last time we visited problems in Greece it was 2011. Hmmm.  So, since the euro trading is all about the goings on with Greece, we might as well take a stab at those goings on, eh?  Well, the rug was pulled out from under the euro’s rally yesterday. After a good start to the day, the news from the Eurozone / Greece meetings became very dark, and pulled the rug with a quick, strong yank! So for those of you who want to get into all this drama coming from the Eurozone, I’ll get into it. For those of you who could do without it, because life is so full of drama on a daily basis, go on and skip ahead. At its non-monetary policy meeting yesterday,  the ECB’s Governing Council decided to lift the waiver that allowed bonds issued or guaranteed by the Greek government to be eligible at the Eurosystem’s refinancing operations (you know the LTRO’s we’ve discussed and other forms of refinancing that is used)  despite their sub investment grade rating. As a consequence, such bonds are not eligible anymore as collateral to the ECB’s regular liquidity operations, starting from the maturity of the current main refinancing operation on February 11. So, the Greeks have to go back to the drawing board, and figure out if they want loans or not, because if they do want loans, and they’ll run out of money by the end of this month, they’ll have to accept and maintain austerity programs. The news on the Bloomberg this morning, say the Greeks are going to keep their “anti-austerity” talk. YIKES! Obviously, these are the opening salvos being thrown out to see where the negotiations start, but to me, this is going to get ugly, folks.  There are other things going on, that really get pretty hairy with their description of what’s going on, but in essence, this main point that I’ve discussed here, is what it all boils down to. So don’t let all that other stuff, about eligible or non-eligible get in the way of what’s important here. The euro got whacked on this news, but in reality, I would ask why?  Here is a governing body that represents 17 countries and they decided that one country has not done anything close to what they were asked to do, and now wants more, and the governing body, decided to say “no mas”. We won’t accept your bonds any longer, unless you agree to adopt our terms.  The great 70’s rock group, Foghat, had a song called. Take it or leave it.  Take it or leave it, tell me what you’re going to do.. Take it or leave it, now the choice is up to you.  I can’t wait until tomorrow, tomorrow may be too late. take all the sorrow, I can’t wait! I bet you’re wondering, where the heck does he come up with these bands? Foghat? Ahhh, grasshopper, Foghat songs were the soundtrack of many a party in the 70’s. Slow Ride, Fool for the city, Drivin’ Wheel, and so on. So there’s your Rock history for today.. A changeup was badly needed folks. Don’t you agree?   Today. believe it or don’t, the euro is rallying, along with the Aussie dollar (A$), N.Z. dollar / kiwi, Norwegian krone, and well, heck most of the currencies except the Chinese renminbi, and Gold. With the renminbi weaker this morning, what does that indicate the performance of Indian rupees will be? That’s right! If you were paying attention in class yesterday, I told you that these two currencies (renminbi & rupee) should in my opinion trade together, but in recent trading they move in opposite directions. So that means the rupee is rallying today. I have to say that one of the first things I check each morning, are the prices of Oil, Gold, the 10-year Treasury and the euro.  And this morning, I noted that the price of Oil had dropped again, losing the $50 handle, making the two-day run in Oil earlier this week a thing of the past, and I thought to myself, that the petrol currencies must be under pressure.  But then when I switched over the full currency screen I was stunned and amazed to see not only the Norwegian krone rallying, but too the Russian ruble, Canadian dollar / loonie, Brazilian real, and so on.  So, what gives with that? The price of Oil drops, but the petrol currencies rally?  Well, I’ll tell you sometimes you get ½ the answers and have to live with it. and this is one of those times. So, let’s just move along here, there are not the droids we’re looking for.   Getting back to the Indian rupee for a moment. I saw some stuff on the Bloomberg this morning regarding investment flows to India, which would go a long way toward the rupee rally. And investment flows to India and Indian Gov’t bonds in January were the biggest since last July. Recall that last July we had the euphoria in India about a new PM.   For those of you keeping score at home, foreign investors bought $464 Million more rupee-denominated bonds at the auction yesterday, and in January the total was $3.3 Billion!  The yield on the 10-year Gov’t bond is around 7.7% (for institutional buyers) That’s nearly 600 Basis Points greater than the same tenor U.S. Treasury.  Sure, India is no match to the U.S. as far as size, strength, and safety, but. 600 Basis Points would certainly make me think twice about opting for an investment in India. Now, I’m not saying you should go right out and buy Indian bonds. I’m simply pointing out why the foreign investment flows into India are strong right now, and when that happens, the rupee should be the beneficiary. There’s a report out this morning from Citigroup regarding Denmark, and I have to say I love it!  Citigroup says that it’s unlikely that Denmark will scrap the peg to the euro.  So, wait a minute Chuck, didn’t you say something opposite to that in the Daily Reckoning? (www.dailyreckoning.com)  Well, thank you for being on top of this!  Yes, I did say something opposite of that in the Daily Reckoning, but. You know me. Citigroup has probably dozens of researchers that contributed to this report, and here it’s just little old me.. So, when someone says something opposite of what I’ve said, I take it as they read what I said, and decided to prove me wrong. Yes, it’s a very myopic viewpoint, but what the heck! Now we have to wait-n-see who turns out to be right. Well, Gold can’t seem to find a bid again this morning. UGH!  The Beatles are singing “Money can’t buy me love” on the iPod, right now, and that may be true, but I bet Gold can buy you love! HA!  And then that song was followed by Pink Floyd’s song: Money.  strange how that all came about, eh?  Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.  Notice they didn’t sing: Gold is the root of all evil today!  Silly stuff, I know, but so is watching the price manipulators take the price of Gold lower. Ed Steer’s daily letter just showed up in my email box, and clicking on it, I see the headline is: “Buy Gold and Short Federal Reserve, Says Marc Faber Once Again!”  Have I ever told you the story about me sitting on a panel at the New Orleans Investment Conference, the granddaddy of all investment conferences, and this is the first time I ever met him.  I was totally impressed with his ponytail, and then at one point of the discussion, he even told the crowd that they should listen to me.  So, now when I see something he has written or a video interview, I click on it immediately, for this guy must know what he’s talking about, he told people to listen to me! The U.S. Data Cupboard is gearing up for tomorrow’s Jobs Jamboree. Just the usual Tub Thumpin’ Thursday stuff for us today, like the Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, we’ll see if last week’s drop was a “true drop” or one that was a result of the week being short a day. Yesterday’s Data Cupboard, printed a weaker than expected ADP Jobs report. Hmmm. 230,000 was expected and only 213,000 printed. Hmmm. On a sidebar. I had the TV on yesterday while I was doing some reading, and the funny Geico commercial with Pinocchio as a failing motivational speaker was on, and it made me laugh, and immediately my mind began thinking about this. Pinocchio is asked to be a motivational speaker to countries.. And he begins by pointing to a country, like Japan, and saying “and you have a strong economy” and his nose grows, then points to the U.K. and repeats “you have a strong economy” and his nose grows, and then points to the U.S. and says, “I really see potential because of your strong economy” and his nose grows a foot!  Now, tell me how many people would have thought of that? For What It’s Worth. I have something different for you this morning. Just something else to think about. Thanks to dear reader Bob for sending along to me, and you can read the whole article here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/04/japanese-bank-introduces-robot-workers-to-deal-with-customers-in-branches “Japan’s biggest bank is preparing to unveil robot employees with a human touch. Nao, a 58-centimetre (1ft 11)-tall humanoid developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics – a subsidiary of the Japanese telecoms and internet giant SoftBank – will begin work on a trial basis at one or two branches of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group from April. Depending on his performance, more robots could appear at other branches in the coming months. Equipped with a camera on his forehead, Nao is programmed to speak 19 languages. He analyses customers’ emotions from their facial expressions and tone of voice, enabling him to greet customers and ask which services they need. The 5.4-kg robot, who was “born” in Paris in 2006, lived up to his billing with a faultless interaction with an English-speaking customer, during a presentation in Tokyo this week.” Chuck again. WOW! Robots in bank branches! I doubt that it catches on here for many years, but in my opinion, if I was concerned about online banking before, I wouldn’t be now!  Where’s a good online bank I hear you asking?  Ahem. you’re reading this letter that’s sponsored by such a bank! To recap. Well, the playing nicely in the sandbox ended up with some sand being kicked in the faces and kids crying and pointing fingers at who started it. Germany opened the negotiations with Greece by dropping Greek bonds from the lending facility (LTRO) and the Greeks answered by saying they were keeping their anti-austerity stance. Needless to say the euro got whacked and led the rest of the currencies lower yesterday. But today is different, and the currencies for the most part are rallying, led by the euro.  The renminbi and Gold are down today, while the rest of the currencies dance. Currencies today 2/5/15. American Style: A$ .7805, kiwi .7390, C$ .7980, euro 1.1430, sterling 1.5245, Swiss $1.0780, . European Style: rand 11.4205, krone 7.5425, SEK 8.2600, forint 269.45, zloty 3.6520, koruna 24.2915, RUB 67.26, yen 117.35, sing 1.3460, HKD 7.7525, INR 61.73, China 6.1366, pesos 14.79, BRL 2.7295, Dollar Index 93.94, Oil $48.98, 10-year 1.77%, Silver $16.94, Platinum $1,246.48, Palladium $791.50, and Gold.. $1,260.22 That’s it for today. It’s a downpour outside this morning, so no going out to see the ocean while I wait for the review for me this morning. This is the first day that it’s rained in the early morning since I’ve been here. And it’s pouring outside!  So, how is your tax accounting going this year? Sorry to bring up such a nasty subject, but it something that has to be done once a year for most, so we might as well face up to it! Mine is not coming along too well, but that’s OK. it’s always a last minute thing with me! I have no idea what I started talking about that. UGH!  I guess I had a pain somewhere and that reminded me. HA!  Well, it was announced yesterday that two more baseball teams will play close to me down here. The Astros and Nationals are moving near here, which is a good thing. I had to laugh right now, I just saw a LinkedIn message that was featuring the story I had for yesterday from the CEO of Gallup, talking about how the Unemployment Rate is a fabrication. So, I run it one day, and LinkedIn runs it the next day. Hmmm. that has to be a co-inkee-dink!   Emerson Lake and Palmer (ELP) is playing their song: Lucky Man, on the iPod right now, this was the first song I remember hearing a synthesizer being played.  I used to play this song on my guitar, so those song are always special for me to listen to..  And with that. it’s time to go! I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday! Chuck Butler Managing Director EverBank Global Marketslast_img read more

first_imgA disabled activist has won a three-year battle with his bank over its refusal to allow him to communicate by email and provide him with a direct telephone contact number as reasonable adjustments.The Financial Ombudsman ruled that the Co-operative Bank had failed in its duties under the Equality Act, and awarded Adam Lotun £800 compensation.He had repeatedly asked over more than three years for the bank to make reasonable adjustments to take account of his hearing impairment, autism and memory problems.As well as turning down Lotun’s request for a way to communicate with the bank by email, it failed to provide a direct telephone number for him and other disabled people to contact staff who were trained to deal with customers with access needs.On several occasions, Lotun (pictured) was stranded away from home without any money because his card had been blocked without his knowledge, as a result of the high level of PayPal transactions on his account.The ombudsman found that he had been unable to unblock the card because he could not stay on hold on the phone for long periods.On one occasion, Lotun had to wheel himself five miles from a retail park and didn’t arrive home until quarter to one in the morning after his card was rejected at a supermarket checkout and he was left without any money for a taxi.The ombudsman said that if he had had a direct contact to call, “all of these occasions would’ve been avoided” because he could have called to get his card unblocked “with ease”.The ombudsman also told Lotun that the bank had told him he could use its text relay system instead of an email, but that “if the time had been taken to understand your needs it would’ve become clear that this isn’t suitable”.The ombudsman concluded: “Overall, I don’t think the adjustments you’ve asked for are unreasonable – namely to be able to communicate with Co-op via e-mail [and] to have a direct telephone contact for emergency situations only.“The former has been rejected by Co-op on several occasions on the basis that they didn’t have a secure e-mail facility.“I don’t think that this was a good enough reason and an attempt should’ve been made to explore this more fully. And I can’t see that Co-op ever proposed suitable alternatives.”The bank has now agreed to set up a secure email address for him, and has provided a telephone number for a team set up to deal with “vulnerable” customers.The ombudsman concluded that Lotun had been caused “unnecessary distress and inconvenience by Co-op’s failure to put your reasonable adjustments into place sooner”, although this appeared to be the result of the bank’s “limited resources” rather than discrimination.The ombudsman said that “a period of three or four years of having to constantly ask for adjustments that weren’t actually that demanding is far too long a period of time.“I also think that if the reasonable adjustments had been put into place in good time you would’ve been spared a lot of distress and inconvenience on several occasions.”A spokesman for the bank said it accepted the ombudsman’s decision.He said: “Since 2013, we have made significant progress in rebuilding the bank, and part of this process has been to completely review how we deal with vulnerable customers, leading to the creation of a vulnerable customer team in late 2016.”He said the bank had introduced company-wide “customer vulnerability awareness training” for its staff, “front-line training in the identification and engagement of vulnerable customers”, and enhanced training for the new “specialist customer vulnerability support teams”, as well as an advice line for its staff.As a result of a new partnership with Citizens Advice Manchester, a full-time advisor from the charity has been appointed to the bank to support customers with “multiple issues” who need support with such areas as housing, benefits and access to social support.The spokesman said: “We also provide appropriate customers with a single point of contact within our central vulnerability teams via a freephone number, via mail or in some instances a secure/encrypted e-mail platform.“We have made significant progress in improving our support for vulnerable customers since this matter was first raised in 2014 and we apologise to Mr Lotun for any inconvenience caused from his ongoing dealings with the bank.”Lotun, who has been a Co-op customer for more than 20 years, said it had been a “long and hard-fought battle” to secure the reasonable adjustments he needed.He said: “The Co-op have now been forced to recognise that they have consistently treated disabled customers negatively and that they have also been forced to recognise their actions and to also create and implement a specialist team to provide the best services possible for disabled customers.“In my view, a bank that promotes itself as a ‘ethical bank’ should not have to be challenged for so long in this way for ‘ethical standards’ to be put into place.”last_img read more

first_img Ex-Apple exec Scott Forstall is best known as one of Steve Jobs’s most trusted lieutenants, and a co-inventor of the iPhone. Forstall told the story of how he first met Jobs — and how Microsoft went to extreme measures to win him over instead — at an event at the Computer History Museum on Tuesday night celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of the first iPhone. Circa 1992, Forstall had just gotten his graduate degree, and lined up interviews with two big tech companies: Microsoft, where he had previously been an intern, and NeXT Computer, the computer startup that Steve Jobs had founded after his ouster from Apple. A few minutes into Forstall’s job interview at NeXT, Jobs rushed in, pulled his first scheduled interviewer aside, and took over. Jobs “peppered me with questions,” says Forstall. The two talked for 15 minutes before Jobs seemed to make up his mind. “I don’t care what anyone says the rest of the day, we’re giving you an offer. Pretend you care in the interviews, though,” Jobs told Forstall. “I’m giving you an offer, and I know you’re going to accept it.” In this April 4, 1991, file photo, Steve Jobs of NeXT Computer Inc. poses for the press with his NeXTstation color computer at the NeXT facility in Redwood City, Calif.Image credit: AP ImagesAt that time, NeXT was already struggling financially. As Forstall noted, it had amazing technology, but very few customers. Still, as a young upstart, he was intrigued by the possibility of working for Jobs and the team of experts he had assembled. And so, he did indeed take the job at NeXT, and politely turned down an offer from Microsoft. Big fishThe very next day, a package showed up on his doorstep: A “very large dead fish,” on ice, with no message, but a return address on the Microsoft campus. This caused Forstall to freak out a little bit, and he called the Microsoft recruiter with whom he had been speaking.”You know, I watched movies about the mafia,” Forstall remembers telling the recruiter. “What the hell?” It turns out there was an innocent explanation. Microsoft thought that a deeper appreciation of Seattle and Washington state, where the company is based, might get Forstall to reconsider the offer. So the recruiter went to Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, picked out the biggest fresh fish they could find, and had it overnighted to Forstall.Seattle’s Pike Place Market.Image credit: ShutterstockIt didn’t impress Forstall: “I will clearly change my mind because there are no fish in the [San Francisco] Bay Area,” where NeXT was based, he joked. “I did barbecue it that night,” he says. The postscript here is that Apple would go on to buy NeXT for $429 million in 1997, in a move that brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, paving the way for him to become CEO. Forstall came along for the ride, leading the user interface team for what would become Mac OS X. When the iPhone project began, it was Forstall who was chosen to lead the iOS team. That one funny interview with Jobs ended up leading to much bigger things. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Ex-Apple exec Scott Forstall is best known as one of Steve Jobs’ most trusted lieutenants, and a co-inventor of the iPhone. This story originally appeared on Business Insider Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. 3 min read –shares Image credit: Getty Scott Forstallcenter_img iPhone Add to Queue June 23, 2017 A Co-Inventor of the iPhone Explains His Funny Job Interview With Steve Jobs and the Time Microsoft Sent Him a ‘Very Large Dead Fish’ Matt Weinberger Next Article Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

first_imgAcquisitions Companies Place Bids for Virgin America Takeover March 29, 2016 Reuters Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article center_img Add to Queue Image credit: Chris Parypa Photography | Shutterstock.com –shares 3 min read Virgin America Inc. has received takeover bids from JetBlue Airways Corp. and Alaska Air Group Inc. as the U.S. budget airline backed by British billionaire Richard Branson explores a sale, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.Asian airlines have also expressed interest in buying Virgin America, although they would have to partner with a U.S. bidder under foreign ownership rules governing U.S. airlines.The source asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential.JetBlue, Alaska Air and Burlingame, California-based Virgin America declined to comment.In the past year, Virgin America has faced steep declines in unit revenue, or sales relative to flight capacity, as bigger rivals have added seats to gain share and take advantage of lower fuel costs that make it cheaper to operate flights. A tie-up with another airline could give Virgin America more flights that would help it compete.Analysts said a deal could make sense particularly for New York-based JetBlue, which has room to grow on the U.S. West Coast. Both carriers fly the same type of aircraft, which means JetBlue would not need to train pilots or maintenance crew on how to operate Virgin America’s planes.Buyers would benefit from Virgin America’s corporate accounts with major technology companies such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc., Sterne Agee CRT analyst Adam Hackel said.A buyer would have to assume Virgin America’s aircraft leases, likely at above market rates, however, and might have to hike its pilots’ lower-than-average wages, JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker said in a research note last week after news of a potential sale broke.Mega-mergers among larger U.S. airlines in the past decade have reduced the industry to four top players: American, Delta, United and Southwest, which control more than 80 percent of the market.MJ Moltenbrey, a partner at law firm Paul Hastings and a former director at the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, said a deal with JetBlue or Alaska Air would likely pass an antitrust review.”A combination of two of the smaller airlines would result in significant efficiencies by giving them a bigger footprint, and would make the merged airline a more effective competitor to the big three,” Moltenbrey said.News of the offers, first reported by Bloomberg, pushed Virgin America’s stock up 10 percent, while JetBlue rose 3 percent and Alaska Air gained 1 percent.Virgin America went public in November 2014 and has a market capitalization of $1.3 billion.(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Grant McCool) Register Now »last_img read more

first_img A co-founder of Liberty Reserve, which operated a widely-used digital currency, was sentenced to ten years in prison on Friday after agreeing to help authorities prosecute his ex-partner for helping cyber criminals launder hundreds of millions of dollars.Vladamir Kats, 44, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan, a week after she imposed a 20-year prison term on Arthur Budovsky, Liberty Reserve’s other co-founder, for conspiring to commit money laundering.Kats, who has been in custody since his arrest in May 2013, was also ordered to forfeit $6.5 million. He pleaded guilty later in 2013 to money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.Before being sentenced, Kats said he was remorseful. His lawyer, Christopher Flood, asked for a sentence of time served.Cote, however, said Kats’ “enormous criminal activity” called for a longer sentence.Liberty Reserve operated a widely used digital currency, processing more than $8 billion in transactions while helping launder proceeds from Ponzi schemes, credit card trafficking, identity thefts and computer hacking, prosecutors said.The company was shuttered in May 2013 as Kats and Budovsky were arrested amid U.S. efforts to crack down on the use of digital currencies including bitcoin to evade law enforcement.Beyond Kats and Budovsky, three other people pleaded guilty, including Azzedine El Amine, a Costa Rican citizen and former Liberty Reserver manager, who is scheduled to be sentenced later on Friday.Kats and Budovsky, who met as teenagers working as camp counselors in Brooklyn, previously were convicted in 2006 on New York state charges for operating an earlier digital currency exchange as an unlicensed money transmitting business.In 2005, they launched Liberty Reserve, which later relocated to Costa Rica. In 2008, Budovsky pushed Kats out of Liberty Reserve, complaining he had not done enough, prosecutors said.With Liberty Reserve, users would buy and redeem its digital currency, LR, through third-party exchangers who in turn bought and sold LR in bulk from Liberty Reserve.Users did not have to validate their identities, prosecutors said, allowing an undercover Secret Service agent to create an account for a “Joe Bogus.”After his arrest, Kats turned government cooperator, assisting the investigation, agreeing to testify against Budovsky had he gone to trial, and admitting to other conduct, including possessing child pornography, prosecutors said.The case is U.S. v. Kats et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-00368.(Reporting by Nate Raymond and Brendan Pierson; Editing by Bernard Orr) Digital Currency Firm Co-founder Gets 10 Years in Prison in Cash-Laundering Case Court Cases Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Add to Queue May 13, 2016center_img Reuters –shares 3 min read Next Article Image credit: manx_in_the_world | Getty Images Register Now »last_img read more