Sharapova determined to prove point on Slam return

first_imgFILE – In this Aug. 27, 2014, file photo, Maria Sharapova, of Russia, returns a shot to Alexandra Dulgheru, of Romania, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, in New York. Sharapova has been granted a wild-card invitation for the U.S. Open’s main draw. Sharapova is among eight women who were given entry into the 128-player field by the U.S. Tennis Association on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, and by far the most noteworthy. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)Former world number one Maria Sharapova makes her first Grand Slam appearance next week since serving a 15-month doping suspension, bringing renewed passion and resolve to the US Open.The 30-year-old Russian was given a wildcard into the tournament by the US Tennis Association (USTA), a move critics complained about earlier in the season but another key step in the road back for the five-time Grand Slam winner.ADVERTISEMENT “When it comes to tennis, good or bad — there’s really only one thing that I know for certain — I’ve missed it,” Sharapova wrote on the Players’ Tribune website.“Though these last two years have been tougher -— so much tougher -— than I ever could have anticipated… my passion for the game has never wavered. If anything, it has only grown stronger.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSharapova was issued a two-year suspension after testing positive for the banned heart and blood boosting drug meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced the ban on appeal.She said that she had taken it for several years and did not know it had been placed on the banned list at the start of 2016. SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program Sharapova has missed three of the past four US Opens, her last visit ending in the 2014 fourth round.The USTA defended its wildcard offer, saying, “Her suspension under the terms of the tennis anti-doping program was completed and therefore was not one of the factors weighed in our wildcard selection process.”“Consistent with past practice, a wildcard was provided to a past US champion who needed the wildcard for entry into the main draw.”Former world number one Sharapova won the 2006 US Open as well as Wimbledon in 2004, the 2008 Australian Open and the 2012 and 2014 French Opens.“I’m sure this is a great moment for her to have an opportunity to be back to a place where she has done so well,” seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams said.Sharapova plays catch-upSharapova was bolstered by fans with “Welcome back Maria” signs in Germany and cheering support last month in Stanford, her first US match in more than two years.“I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you,” Sharapova said.Sharapova defeated American Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 in her Stanford opener but suffered a left forearm injury and has not played competitively since.“I feel like I’m playing catch-up against everyone who has had a head start,” she said of being hurt during US Open tuneup events. Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding SEA Games: ‘Stand-in’ Ferrera nails hammer throw bronze LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:02PNP to prove activists’ link to CPP NPA00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Sharapova made her return in April at Stuttgart, reaching the semi-finals as a wildcard, but such invitations sparked criticism from some WTA rivals, saying she should have to work her way back without such benefits, some suggesting a life ban.“I’m aware of what many of my peers have said about me and how critical of me some of them have been,” she wrote.“If you’re a human being with a normal, beating heart… I don’t think that sort of thing will ever fully be possible to ignore.”Sharapova was refused a wildcard by French Open organizers and missed Wimbledon with a thigh injury, so the US Open will be her first Grand Slam event since last year’s Australian Open.Shaking off criticism after the French Open snub, Sharapova tweeted, “If this is what it takes to rise up again, then I am in it all the way, everyday. No words, games or actions will ever stop me from reaching my own dreams. And I have many.”ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games LATEST STORIES SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief View commentslast_img read more

Statistics Canada says manufacturing helps boost economic growth in November

first_imgOTTAWA – Strength in manufacturing helped boost economic growth in November as the sector posted its largest monthly increase since February 2014.Statistics Canada said Wednesday real gross domestic product increased 0.4 per cent in November following a flat reading for October.The result matched the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters.TD Bank senior economist Brian DePratto said equally important to the strength of growth was its breadth.Of the 20 industrial sectors tracked, 17 posted increases.“The Canadian economy fired on all cylinders in November: production resumptions led the way, but nearly all major sectors reported gains on the month, an encouraging sign,” DePratto wrote in a report.The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate target earlier this month on the back of a string of unexpectedly solid economic data. It was the third rate increase since last summer.“Looking through monthly volatility, though, the GDP numbers add to the evidence that the Canadian economy as a whole continues to grow at a modestly ‘above-potential’ pace even as it increasingly looks to be operating at or beyond its long-run capacity,” Royal Bank senior economist Nathan Janzen wrote.The growth in November came as goods-producing industries rose 0.8 per cent boosted by the manufacturing sector and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.The manufacturing sector gained 1.8 per cent in November as non-durable manufacturing rose 1.1 per cent while durable manufacturing increased 2.5 per cent.Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction increased 0.5 per cent.Meanwhile, services-producing industries climbed 0.3 per cent, led by the real estate and rental and leasing, wholesale and retail trade sectors.Real estate and rental and leasing rose 0.4 per cent in November while retail trade gained 0.6 per cent and wholesale trade rose 0.5 per cent.last_img read more

Battle formation

first_imgSoon after the elections were announced, West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress unveiled its list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday. New faces and significant ommissions featured in the list as TMC gears up for the battle to ‘save democracy’ – as reiterated by their chief Mamata Banerjee who is focussed on ousting NDA from power. A list merely announced the representatives of a party that will be instrumental in getting votes for the party. From the micro outlook of elections, it is these representatives and their credibility which will be pivotal besides the party popularity and ideology. Of course, TMC’s credibility is well-known in West Bengal but even then, a reinforced approach in choosing the right person for the right place has been followed by the party to ensure the 42 seats of the state. Each name, new or old, has been chosen for its respective constituency with the collective objective of ensuring victory – as should be the case. But Mamata has done the shuffling to ensure victory all the more in a strong attempt to not let BJP grab those seats. The party objective is crystal clear down to the last fragment. Their representation features a 41 per cent representation to women, higher than 35 per cent in 2014, with 7 candidates from the Muslim community and 12 from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The concoction that Mamata has prepared for BJP in her bastion is no less than a formidable fort’s strong defence line. Mamata expressed her disappointment at the polling schedule which has pitted West Bengal’s polling across all seven phases of the mandate. Her expected criticism was directed towards the saffron party for playing vendetta politics by allegedly influencing the election schedule to disturb the state. She stated the peculiarity of conducting polls in West Bengal with 42 seats in all seven phases but keeping Tamil Nadu’s mandate with 39 seats in just one phase. The Election Commission’s autonomy certainly cannot be questioned, however, the facts definitely tinker curiosity. Not just West Bengal, Mamata’s list fields candidates in other states ensuing from Mamata’s improvised ploy and her efforts in uniting opposition parties against BJP prior to the announcement of elections. Targetting seats in other states where usually other regional parties are supposedly stronger is either a desperate move to maximise outreach or aid allies in their battle. With TMC’s precise objective, evident through the United India rally and pre-poll mutual agenda of dethroning Modi, Mamata has exercised every inch of her arsenal in giving BJP a tight competition besides her bastion – whichever way possible. TMC has declared candidates for three seats in Jharkhand, six in Assam, two in both Bihar & Odisha as well as a solitary seat of Andaman & Nicobar islands. Mamata has ensured that her efforts in these states do not hurt the regional parties by noting that her party will contest the polls in those states in consultation with allies. Politics might be a civil affair but it involves experienced strategising to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved – much like Military affairs. While it is true that public opinion shapes the outcome graph, still there are additional factors which influence polls and both BJP and TMC will certainly look to utilise it to their advantage. Mamata wants to ensure that BJP does not take advantage of TMC’s candidates in the fray since usually multiple candidates by multiple parties only aid fragmentation of votes – a scenario where BJP can capitalise. TMC’s representation of time tested politicos along with the support extended to aid parties in other states devises a perfect plot to ensure that BJP is unable to garner votes. Mamata reiterated that her party would not ally with anybody before the election and urged the strong regional parties to take on BJP on their turfs. A post-poll alliance is on the cards for which not just TMC but all the parties will fix their bargaining power in the formation of a coalition government that the united opposition parties desire. It is the common aim to oust BJP that has demanded them to sideline individual differences and unite. It is not very different from what a general military tactic would be in a foreign land where advantage rests with the regional forces. In this context, TMC has assumed the battle formation, all set to fight!last_img read more

Iconic noodle factory in Kalimpong goes up in flames

first_imgDarjeeling: Kalimpong lost a slice of history with a noodle factory razed to the ground in a fire on Saturday night. This was no ordinary noodle factory but the factory that had featured in the bestseller book The Noodle Maker Of Kalimpong: the Untold Story of My Struggle for Tibet, an autobiography of Gyalo Thondup, the elder brother of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.Thondup was a known face in Kalimpong but it was only after the year 2009 that people came to know that he was the elder brother of the Dalai Lama. Thondup had crafted the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet along with being granted political asylum in India. He occupies an important position in Tibetan history. Thondup was born in 1928 at Amdo in Tibet. He was the Dalai Lama’s special envoy and an interlocutor between Tibet, China and India. Later, he continued the freedom struggle for Tibet on a diplomatic level. In 1999, he retired and settled in Kalimpong looking after his noodle factory. On Saturday night, the noodle factory located on 8th Mile adjacent to St. Philomena School caught fire. “Around 9pm we got information of the fire and rushed to the location. The fire was blazing then. It took 3 fire engines to battle the flames. Around 11 pm the fire was doused. The factory is totally gutted except for some machinery partially damaged. The cause of the fire is not known,” said Mani Tamang, fire officer. However, “Takster House” the house in which Thondup lives in the same compound escaped the flames. “I had bought this 3 acre property in 1962 for Rs 7,200. In 1967 we started the factory,” said the 91-year-old to media persons. The factory had 20 employees. Kalimpong noodles is sold in different parts of the country including Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and even exported to Nepal and Bhutan.last_img read more

Urban Meyer Buckeyes not taking dangerous Fighting Illini lightly

Urban Meyer might’ve sized up Ohio State football’s season in a sentence. “At times, we’re really good,” the Buckeyes coach said. “At other times, we’re not.” In a year highlighted with triumphs against Michigan State, Nebraska and Penn State, the Buckeyes have often looked the part of their No. 6 national ranking. Rather bewildering, sloppy melees against perceived-to-be inferior competition in contests against the likes of Purdue, Indiana, California, Central Florida and Alabama-Birmingham often has, convincingly, suggested otherwise. At an impressive 9-0, it’s hard to look at the Buckeyes one way or the other without remaining cognizant of the juxtaposition between an OSU team playing in the spotlight and when it’s not. Buckeye cornerback Bradley Roby said it’s a matter that’s been addressed. “I mean, that’s just all mental mistakes that you have to fix,” the redshirt sophomore said. “You have to play (at a) high level every week. You see Alabama, they don’t care who they play against, they play at a high level. “That’s the (kind of) teams that we think that we’re at the same level with, so we have to play dominant like them … we have to come out and dominate from the very beginning.” An argument could certainly be made that the Crimson Tide – college football’s defending national champions – are playing at a higher level than the Buckeyes. But here Meyer and OSU are, undefeated nine games into his first season at the helm in Columbus and off to the program’s best start since 2007. Regardless of a game-to-game ebb and flow this year, OSU has found ways to win the types of games it probably would’ve collapsed in 2011. At 9-0, Meyer might have the Buckeyes back to believing they can win again. Which is all Buckeye Nation can ask for, right? While the former Florida coach has successfully and effectively navigated OSU this far, his squad has yet to put together a win since its opener against Miami (Ohio) where they’ve blown out their competition. A place like OSU, Roby said, demands more. “That’s typical for Ohio State football,” he said “and we haven’t done that yet this year.” Roby and the Buckeyes, though, might have a chance to do that against a struggling Illinois team (2-6, 0-4 Big Ten) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. “That’s something we kinda want to do this game coming up,” Roby said. The Thorpe Award semifinalist, though, said they’re not taking the Illini lightly. History suggests they shouldn’t, either. Despite their 0-3 record on the road in coach Tim Beckman’s first season in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois has won three of the last five meetings in Columbus (1999, 2001, 2007). Maybe more ironic is the fact the Illini snapped the Buckeyes’ 10-0 start in 2007 with a 28-21 toppling of the then-ranked No. 1 team in the nation. Now, nearly five years later, Illinois finds itself again in a position to thwart this OSU team’s attempt to match that record for the first time since. “I think they’re very dangerous,” Meyer said Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “I think Illinois’ got every bit as much talent as we do.” Meyer said if the Buckeyes execute and “find a way” to win, they should be okay. And while that concept might not be astrophysics, it could be the difference between OSU putting together what some might call a complete game, compared to contests where they stumbled out of the gate. If anything, though, Meyer said Illinois might be another look in the mirror, another gut check, another chance to see what the Buckeyes are and what they’re not. “Here’s the thing: how good are we? That’s the question we’re asking ourselves,” Meyer said. Good enough to be 9-0? Their record speaks for itself. Good enough to be 10-0? Roby said the Buckeyes aren’t succumbing to the weight of such a feat. “Nah, no pressure. No pressure,” he said. “We feel like we can win every game, we said it at the beginning of the season, so why not? Why give up? Why stop right now?” Kickoff for OSU’s second-to-last home tilt of the season against the Illini is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday. read more

NFL draft Cameron Johnston signs as undrafted free agent with Philadelphia Eagles

Sophomore punter Cameron Johnston (95) and freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger (96) walk off the field during a game against Maryland on Oct. 4 in College Park, Md. OSU won, 52-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorOhio State’s former punter Cameron Johnston has signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent, according to a tweet by Johnston.https://twitter.com/Cam_Johnston/status/858461311570673664He was not among the players drafted by a team in the seven-round 2017 NFL draft, but like former teammate Dontre Wilson, was signed to a contract right after the draft.Johnston leaves OSU as the school record-holder for most punts within the 20-yard line over his career (109), as well as the single-season record-holder for punts within the 20-yard line (31 set in 2015). The fifth-year punter averaged 44.9 yards per punt over his career, the second-longest such distance by any punter in Buckeye history, behind only Andy Groom (2001-2002).Considered one of the top punters in the nation, Johnston was named as a Ray Guy finalist — an award given to the NCAA’s best punter — three years in a row from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, he was also named the Eddleman-Fields Big Ten Punter of the Year, and was also named first-team All-Big Ten.Now with the Eagles, Johnston will slot in as the backup punter with Donnie Jones, the Eagles punter since 2013, likely retaining his starting role. read more

Goncalo Guedes desperate for Valencia move

first_imgParis Saint-Germain winger Goncalo Guedes is desperate to seal a permanent move to Valencia this summer after a successful loan spell last season, reports Football-EspanaThe Portugal international made 38 appearances for Los Che during his loan stint the last term and managed to score six goals as the club secured a top-four spot in La Liga and a return to the Champions League.But it appears that Guedes’ circumstances at PSG have not changed upon his return to France this summer and now the 21-year-old is reportedly desperate to seal a permanent return to Valencia before the end of the summer transfer window.David Villa, SpainQuiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.Although, it remains to be seen whether Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side will be able to match PSG’s asking price of between €40m to €50m.The Ligue 1 champions are still under pressure for the UEFA over the Financial Fair Play regulations and they will likely want to recoup as much money as possible from Guedes sale in order to satisfy the football governing body.last_img read more

Fowler slams totally unacceptable Salah diving debate

first_imgLiverpool legend Robbie Fowler has risen to Mohamed Salah’s defence over the “hostile” diving debate and suggested he’s being singled out as a foreign player.Due to his apparent willingness to fall to the ground too easily in a challenge, Salah has faced plenty of backlash over the last few weeks.Unlike fellow Reds legend John Aldridge, however, Fowler reckons Salah is within his rights to go down to the ground when touched.“I was never one for diving — if I had a chance to get a shot off, I’d always take it,” Fowler wrote in the Daily Mirror.“Yet, I’ve been shaking my head in disbelief at the criticism aimed at Mohamed Salah in recent weeks for what people have been particularly eager to call cheating.“It’s been sustained and hostile, and I’m wondering why.“Why it’s been much worse than that aimed at Harry Kane this season, for instance, or in the past say Michael Owen or David ­Beckham (and I’m not singling them out!).“We have to be very careful as football fans. We need to stop and think about whether Salah is being targeted for where he comes from and who he is.“It seems like stereotyping, and­ possibly because he’s an overseas player.“If that is the case, it’s totally ­unacceptable.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.He added: “Yes, there have been times when Salah has gone over a bit ­theatrically, ­sometimes he may have gone down a bit easily.“Two things. One, who doesn’t now? Two, he’s ­almost always been kicked.“In fact, he has been kicked mercilessly for 18 months. And if he doesn’t go down in a way which lets the ref see he’s been kicked, then will he get the decision? No chance.“Watching the Arsenal-Manchester United game on Friday, Paul Pogba went through early, got hacked from behind, but didn’t go down and then lost the ball. No free-kick.“Soon after, goes through again, gets pulled back slightly. What does he do? Of course, he goes down, because otherwise, he knows if he tries to get a shot off and fails, he gets nothing again. It is not as simple as people are making out.“If Salah was this massive cheat people seem to be trying to portray him as, why was the penalty he ­converted against Newcastle at the end of December the first awarded for Liverpool at Anfield in 18 months?“In that time, he’s scored almost 50 league goals, and not one until this past Boxing Day was a penalty in a home game.”Fowler is a former striker, who scored 183 goals in 369 games across two separate spells for Liverpool.The 43-year-old won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup in his time at Anfield and is considered a “god” among the supporters.last_img read more

Borough Issues Disaster Declaration For Seldovia Nanwalek

first_imgThe Native Village of Nanwalek has restricted water use and implemented distribution of non-potable water for non-consumption purposes. In addition, Nanwalek has received, and is distributing, bottled drinking water until a solution to the community’s problems can be found. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) on Thursday  issued a Local Disaster Declaration on behalf of the City of Seldovia and the Native Village of Nanwalek due to a rapid depletion of water the communities’ water reservoirs. Water conservation measures have been implemented, and bottled drinking water has been ordered. The KPB’s local disaster declaration initiates a request for a State Declaration. The request to Governor Mike Dunleavy asks for activation of state public assistance program to address ongoing emergency needs in both communities.center_img Specifically, the KPB has requested technical assistance and access to state resources in order to keep both communities supplied with water. The Borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is responsible for coordinating the resources and entities contributing to the management of this emergency. Here is a link to the Emergency Declaration: https://tinyurl.com/Emergency-DeclarationHere is a link to the media release: https://tinyurl.com/Declaration-News-Releaselast_img read more

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT 3 Wilmington Students Named To Deans Presidents Lists At Framingham

first_imgFRAMINGHAM, MA — The following Framingham State University Students from Wilmington were named to the Dean’s List or President’s List for the Fall 2018 semester:Alison Evans (Dean’s List)Emma Griffin (President’s List)Emily Troy (President’s List)To be selected for the Dean’s List, a matriculated undergraduate student, carrying a minimum of three course credits, must earn a GPA of 3.30 or higher for the semester. To be selected for the President’s List, a student must have been named to the Dean’s List for three consecutive semesters.(NOTE: The above announcement is from Framingham State University.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT: 6 Wilmington Students Named To Dean’s List At Bridgewater State UniversityIn “Education”7 Wilmington Students Named To Dean’s List & President’s List At Framingham StateIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: 3 Wilmington Students Named To Dean’s List At Regis CollegeIn “Education”last_img read more

Did IBM fire 100000 employees in last few years just to look

first_imgLast month, IBM sacked more than 2,000 employeesCredit: ReutersIn a shocking revelation by a former vice president in an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit, International Business Machines Corp (IBM) has laid off as many as 1,00,000 employees in the last 7 years. The deposition further said that IBM took the step to enhance its appeal towards millennials and look “cool” and “trendy” as Amazon and Google. It is to be noted that the Armonk-based IT giant is facing several lawsuits accusing it of sacking older employees, including a class-action case in Manhattan and individual civil suits filed in California, Pennsylvania, and Texas.In a statement, IBM said, “The Company hires 50,000 employees each year, and spends nearly a half-billion dollars on training our team. We also receive more than 8,000 job applications every day, the highest rate that we’ve ever experienced, so there’s clear excitement about IBM’s strategy and direction for the future”.As per a report published in Bloomberg, IBM’s revenue has been shrinking since last seven years. In order to cut down on costs, the company has fired thousands of people in the US, Canada, and other high-wage markets. At the end of the year 2018, IBM’s workforce has slumped to its lowest point in six years with 3,50,600 employees globally which is 19 percent since 2013. michiganmodern.orgThe latest revelation by Alan Wild, former vice president of human resources in one of the lawsuits, claimed that IBM sacked 50,000 to 1,00,000 employees in just the last several years. In a submission to the court Wild said IBM face huge recruitment problems and with the objective to show that IBM was not “an old fuddy-duddy organization” and show itself as “as [a] cool, trendy organization” like Google and Amazon, the company sacked older employees. The document further added that following this strategy, IBM fired Texas-based Jonathan Langley, 61 after 24 years of his services in the company who filed a case. IBM filed a motion requesting the court to dismiss his case, in turn, Langley’s lawyers filed an opposition to that motion.Last month, IBM sacked more than 2,000 employees. The company had said, “We are continuing to reposition our team to align with our focus on the high-value segments of the IT market – while aggressively hiring in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM.”last_img read more

Texas Legislators Propose Raising The Age To Buy Tobacco

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /01:13 X Share Two Houston law makers want to prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing cigarettes or other tobacco products.Richmond Republican representative, John Zerwas is the author of House Bill 1908, and feels passionate about the issue.“It kills 28,000 people in Texas every year, and more than 480,000 nationwide,” says Zerwas. “And nearly half a million Texas kids alive no will ultimately die prematurely from smoking if the current trends continue.”Doctor Ernest Hawk is the head of cancer prevention at MD Anderson Cancer center.Doctor Hawk stated that the proposed legislation could reduce respiratory infections, asthmatic attacks, and low birth weight pregnancies.“So a whole host of near term benefits from such a policy,” says Hawk.The second bill proposed is Senate Bill 910 by Senator Joan Huffman of Houston.She wants this legislation to pass so that Texas can set an example for the rest of the country.“I really believe that if we do it other states will follow, and so that’s why it’s so important for Texas to lead on this issue,” says Huffman.Both legislators are also concerned with the effect tobacco has on the healthcare system.They say it adds 8.8 billion dollars annually to the Texas health care bill.last_img read more

Galveston May Cut Some Bus Service Due to Funding Issues

first_img Share Gail Delaughter Island Transit buses in downtown Galveston.Like a lot of public transportation systems, Galveston’s Island Transit depends heavily on federal support. But the community lost population after Hurricane Ike, so that means fewer dollars from Washington. Galveston Assistant City Manager Rick Beverlin says it costs over $4 million a year to run Island Transit. That leaves local government to make up the difference. “We are up to in the budget approximately $800,000 on paper,” explains Beverlin. “But in reality at the end of the year they’re putting it over a million dollars.”   To keep Island Transit afloat, Galveston is thinking about changing its night and weekend service. Instead of the current routes officials are considering a circulator bus. Beverlin says they’re also looking at subsidized taxi service for disabled riders.“This is a preemptive planning exercise to make sure that we don’t have any big surprises when we get to the next fiscal year,” adds Beverlin. Galveston transit riders can learn more about the proposed changes at a public meeting Wednesday afternoon. It’s from 4:00 to 6:00 PM in the Galveston City Council Chambers. X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /00:54 last_img read more

Season Preview Cards Open New Era Under Coach Holly Aprile

first_img“I think that we have some people that will move around to different positions, so we’re not necessarily deep at any particular field position,” said Aprile. “I do think that we have some versatility to be able to play some people at different places, so that’s a positive. The competition has been great. We have a lot of people that can fit different roles and embrace that and buy into it. Like any team, it will be important that we stay healthy, especially on the pitching mound, we need to be able to keep our people healthy there and we’ll manage that throughout the season.” Sophomore Danielle Watson (Osceola, Ind.) will look to pick up where she left off after gaining a year of experience as a starter. During her rookie season, Watson collected 14 wins and posted a 3.13 earned run average while striking out 105 batters in 129.2 innings of work. Redshirt senior Sidney Melton (Columbus, Ohio) brings a great deal of experience to the infield and could see time at third base or shortstop. The 2018 all-ACC honoree led the Cardinals with 45 runs and 54 hits, stood second on the team with 15 stolen bases and finished her junior year with a .329 batting average, placing her third on the team. “The team dynamic has been good and I think we’ve all adapted well to the new coaching staff,” said senior Megan Hensley at UofL’s spring sports media day. “We’ve all been coming together as a team. You can definitely see the progress from the early fall to now and I think we’re ready for the season.” Fellow sophomore Kyra Snyder (Lake Forest, Calif.) will bring more depth to the pitching rotation. Last year, she made 16 appearances, most of them in relief and posted a 3.07 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. ScheduleThe Cardinals will take on a tough 2019 slate which includes a total of 17 games against teams that qualified for the 2018 NCAA Tournament – including national champion Florida State. UofL will also face five opponents ranked among the preseason top 25 and four receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA polls. InfieldersThe Cardinals return a bevy of infielders from last season. Snyder played in all 52 games with 51 starts either at first base or pitcher last season while fellow sophomore Madison Ciaccio also saw a great deal of time at first base and fielded the position well. Aprile has been pleased with the team as a whole, both on and off the field.   “I’ve been talking them a lot about some intangible things. I think that we have a ton of talent on the field. Now bringing that talent together, being able to communicate well, being able to handle adversity – and we know that’s coming – so when the first thing doesn’t go right, how are we going to handle that together as a team. Those are the things that we’ve been working on mentally and being able to put that together with our physical skills.” OutfieldersJunior Celene Funke (Carmel, Ind.) will anchor a young outfield that includes at least three underclassmen at the start of the season. The speedy outfield had a breakthrough season in 2018, leading the team with a .356 batting average and 17 stolen bases. Looking aheadThe Cards are coming off of a 33-20 campaign in 2018. Back from that team are 14 letterwinners and six starters as well as five pitchers. Louisville also welcomes the addition of five freshmen and one redshirt freshman to the 2019 roster. The corps of outfielders also includes sophomores Jordyn Wolfe (South Elgin, Ill.) saw time in 27 games with 11 starts and Riley Schindler (Borden, Ind.) also played in 17 games. Freshman Charley Butler will also compete for a starting role after a strong performance in the fall season. “I think we will pitch the ball well. We do have some depth in the pitching staff and I’m excited about that.  We’re also returning of the top offensive production in the conference, so I think we’ll be able to put those things together. I always think that pitching and defense go directly together, so that’s been something we’ve really focused on with point of emphasis on communication.” The transition began in the fall when the team – a balanced mix of veterans and underclassmen –became acquainted with the new coaching staff and began to learn a new system which produced wins against Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, Morehead State, Western Kentucky and Kentucky. Prior to joining the Cardinals, the 2018 ACC Coach of the Year spent 10 seasons (2009-18) as Pittsburgh’s head coach and five years (2004-08) as an assistant. In 2018, she earned ACC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Panthers to the 2018 ACC Coastal Division title and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament. Darrianne Hale (Mesquite, Texas) also returns to the circle for her final season. The senior transferred to Louisville last year from Butler Community College and helped contribute on the mound after rehabbing from an injury she sustained in the offseason. Story Linkscenter_img Second base will likely be anchored by Maddy Newman, who is coming off of an impressive rookie campaign in which she earned ACC all-freshman team honors. The speedy left-handed hitter posted a .315 batting average and scored 22 runs with eight stolen bases. The Cardinals could also look to freshman Erin Wilbur (Sugar Hill, Ga.) to bring depth to the position. Paige Schindler rounds out the sophomore class of pitchers. The Borden, Ind., native gained valuable experience in last season and in the fall and is ready to contribute to the Cardinals’ success on the mound. Freshman Cassady Greenwood (Birmingham, Ala.) will add to the Cardinals depth and turned in impressive results in the fall and early spring practices. Fellow freshman Rebecca Chung was recovering from by injury in the fall, but will also look to contribute behind the plate. The University of Louisville softball team will officially open a new era with head coach Holly Aprile at the helm when the Cardinals travel to Fullerton, California for the Titan Classic this weekend. As Louisville softball enters its 20th season, Aprile looks continue the tradition of success and elevate the program to new heights. “We have been working hard at a lot of different things,” said Aprile. “We’re to have a great group of returners and a strong nucleus of leadership which helped us out in the fall and with the new staff.” CatchersFollowing the graduation of three-year starter Jenna Jordan, the Cardinals will have several options to complete the battery in 2019. Senior Madison Cousineau (Franklin, N.C.) will bring veteran leadership to the position after playing in 23 games with five starts last year following her transfer from Mississippi State. She finished her junior season with a .323 batting average, two doubles a home run and seven RBIs. Louisville’s pitching staff will count on senior Megan Hensley (Ashland, Ky.) to help lead the way. The two-time NFCA all-Southeast Region and all-ACC selection enters her final season ranked among the Cardinals’ top-10 in career wins, strikeouts, saves and games started and finished. She has also been vital to Louisville’s offensive production and stands in the top 10 in career RBI, home runs and grand slams. PitchersThe 2019 roster features a great deal of depth in the circle with five returners combined with the addition of redshirt freshman Taylor Roby. Roby joins the rotation after taking a redshirt season in 2018. The Mt. Washington, Ky. native brings a stellar resume, earning Metro Louisville Player as well as Sixth Region Player of the Year honors in high school. Junior Caitlin Ferguson (Versailles, Ky.) is coming off of an solid sophomore year which culminated in NFCA all-Southeast Region honors. While splitting time between third base and shortstop, she posted a .317 batting average and stood second on the team with 40 RBIs. “We’re really excited about our schedule,” said Aprile. “It is challenging, but we’re really looking forward to that. I think some of the teams that we’re going to play early on will really set us up for success moving into the ACC.” Louisville’s preseason-ranked opponents include No. 1/3 Florida State, No. 8/8 Tennessee, No. 13/15 Kentucky, No. 17/17 Auburn and No. 19/14 Michigan. Notre Dame, Northwestern, Cal State Fullerton and Missouri are all receiving votes.  Print Friendly Version Aprile brought with her a dedicated and talented group of staff members in assistant coaches Griffin Joiner, who worked with her at Pitt, and Ashley Lane who was previously at Middle Tennessee State. Both Joiner and Lane bring impressive resumes as coaches and as members of Women’s College World Series teams at Kentucky and Michigan respectively.  last_img read more

Reps Bellino and Sheppard host St Mary Catholic Central state champion softball

first_img State Reps. Joe Bellino and Jason Sheppard welcomed the St. Mary Catholic Central softball team from Monroe to the Capitol last Wednesday. This year’s team, coached by John Morningstar, had an extremely successful season that ended with the Kestrels capturing their 3rd straight Division 3 state title.“Thanks to an excellent coaching staff and an abundance of dedication from its players, St. Mary’s softball program has entered an era similar to great sports dynasties,” said Rep. Bellino of Monroe. “I am extremely proud to be a St. Mary Catholic Central alumnus and have this opportunity to recognize these accomplished athletes at the state Capitol.”Rep. Sheppard of Temperance said: “It was a pleasure to join Rep. Bellino in welcoming this very talented team to the Capitol.  These ladies, as well as their coaches, represented their school, and all of Monroe County well and we are extremely proud of them and their success.”Both state representatives and Sen. Dale Zorn presented the team and their coach with a special tribute on the Senate floor for winning the championship.State Rep. Jason Sheppard, State Rep. Joe Bellino and Senator Dale Zorn (center) are pictured with the 2017 St. Mary Catholic Central state championship softball team and their coaches at the Capitol in Lansing. Categories: Bellino News,Bellino Photos 21Jul Reps. Bellino and Sheppard host St. Mary Catholic Central state champion softball team at Capitollast_img read more

In This Issue… More thoughts on bonds … RBA

first_imgIn This Issue… * More thoughts on bonds … * RBA greases the tracks… * German DAX outperforms S&P… * Yen repatriation is over… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Strong PMI’s All Around The Globe! Good day… And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! A tricky, but successful first day on our brand spanking new computer system was had yesterday… Still some things to work out, but as our first IT guy used to say, “it’s not a bug, it’s a feature”, still rings true! So, onto day 2, and let’s see what’s in store for us today! Which is very similar to the currencies and metals… let’s see what’s in store for them today, eh? The volatility continues to rain down on these two asset classes… But in the whole scheme of things, the dollar remains in the down trend, and will remain there, with blips higher from time to time, until we correct the debt / deficit problem, or at least, get on the road to correcting them, but as I like to say in my presentations, the U.S. GPS navigation system isn’t working, for they can’t even find the road to correction! Ok… I spent a lot of time yesterday talking about the nearing end of the long standing bond rally… Here’s another thing to keep in mind regarding that thought, and that is: That the Fed’s Twist & Shout, I mean, Operation Twist, will end in the 2nd QTR… which means that the market will have to absorb more than 70% more in bonds per quarter going forward… and that alone could very well be enough to send yields even higher! Well, yesterday I also talked about the Chinese PMI (manufacturing index) and how strong it printed… Well, it must be something that’s catching around the globe, because not only did the U.S. too print a stronger than expected PMI (we call it ISM), but so too did Canada! And that’s a real good sign for global growth, folks… And like I said yesterday, the proxy for global growth has always been the Australian dollar (A$), and I do believe the A$ will continue to be supported by the global growth machine that’s beginning to show up around the world. Right now, the A$ is feeling a bit pinched because the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) sounded quite dovish last night, and mentioned rate cuts in their statement, which sounded like…. “Interest rate expectations are going to fall, and this will continue weigh on the Aussie dollar”… As I said yesterday, I don’t see the need for the rate cuts, given the data I’ve seen, but this whole scenario plays well with James Rickards’ book Currency Wars… The thing I didn’t talk about yesterday, with China’s manufacturing report is that the reports of a hard landing for the Chinese economy seem to be exaggerated, eh? Recall that I’ve said all along that I believed that the Chinese economy would “moderate”, not collapse… The U.S. stock rally continues to amaze me… But then, the Fed has been priming the stock market pump for some time now, so eventually, we should have seen a stock rally… But I saw something this morning that caught my eye… The German DAX is beating the S&P 500 by the most since 2006… Again, this is a result of the global growth news… But let’s not downplay this move in the DAX, for the German stock index has topped every developed market tracked by Bloomberg this year… As I’ve said for some time now… if we could just buy Germany… but we can’t, not without all the baggage… Speaking of the baggage, while everyone is focused on Spain… Ireland is beginning to rumble again… But yet, the euro gains in value… It’s called relative value… Here in the U.S. we saw a data print on Friday, that I failed to talk about yesterday, basically because the news item was buried in the over 850 emails I had to sift through yesterday… Recall me talking about the TV commercial from the world famous St. Louis rock station, KSHE, where the daughter is appalled that her dad hears the opening chords to the song, Brown Sugar, and begins to play the air-guitar, and she cries… “Mom, he’s doing it again”… Well, that same thing could be played out for the U.S. Consumer… Once again, we are on a path to destruction, as we spend more than we make… Personal Spending in February was stronger than expected at .8%, while Personal Income was up only .2%, thus causing a drop in the savings rate from 4.3% to 3.7%… But it’s not just one month here folks… January and December spending rates were revised upward… When will we ever learn? When, will, we, ever, learn? But this is what the Fed wants… they’ve primed the pump for another bubble, folks… you never know where a bubble is going to pop up, but with all the Quantitative Easing, stimulus, and everything else that’s gone into reviving the U.S. Consumer, a bubble was imminent… While I’m on stuff here in the U.S., this Friday will be the Jobs Jamboree for April, using March jobs data… This Friday is also Good Friday for those of us that observe Easter, which means the stock market will be closed, so a large piece of the markets will be missing… and that could cause some very volatile reaction to the jobs number… Right now, the “experts” are thinking that 205,000 net jobs were created in March… But going back over the years on Good Friday, the Jobs Jamboree has held some HUGE surprises for the markets… Since 1994, there have been 5 previous Good Friday Job Jamborees, and 3 of the 5 held some HUGE surprises to the upside for the Jobs Jamboree participants… So, we need to keep that in mind as we head into Friday… The price of Oil rebounded by $2 yesterday, back to $104… but for the most part, the petrol currencies are not reacting to that move… There comes a time when the volatility in the asset prices just becomes noise, and the assets just don’t react to the daily gyrations… As I like to say, they become Comfortably Numb… The Brazilian real has really fallen on difficult times, as once again the Brazilian Gov’t complains about Currency Wars, but then goes about doing what it can to weaken its own currency… We’ve seen several of these moves to weaker values in the real over the years, only to be eventually reversed… I don’t know if this is another case where a reversal will be seen, but at least you are armed with the fact that the real has reversed in the weak moves in the past… The price of Gold is pretty flat this morning… I read a report from Jeff Clark of Big Gold yesterday that really made sense to me, and plays well with my “everyday observations”… What Jeff wrote about was that the price of Gold is being supported by the fact that “real interest rates” in the U.S. are negative… He points out that the Fed continues to say that current rates will remain near zero for at least another year, and maybe longer. He then points out what I’ve pointed out for some time now that inflation continues to grow higher, which means the “real interest rate” will remain negative… For those of you new to class, “real interest rates” are derived from the net of bellwether, 10-year Treasury yield, minus inflation… Ok… enough of that! The Japanese yen continues to defy gravity… The need for the “safe haven” trade in yen is over… but I think for the most part that March repatriation of yen which is what we see every year, offset the unwinding of safe haven trades… So, Bullwinkle, what do you have up your sleeve to amaze the markets now? I still don’t think yen is a so-called safe haven, and I certainly don’t think that it has much else going for it, at this point. Then There Was This… So… did you hear about the CFTC (Commodities, Futures Trading Commission), accusing the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) of “wash trades”? here’s the skinny and then my thoughts… From the Wall Street Journal… “U.S. regulators alleged a “wash trading scheme of massive proportion” by Royal Bank of Canada, which was accused in a lawsuit of unlawfully trading hundreds of millions of dollars in stock futures in order to get tax benefits. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed the civil lawsuit against the Canadian bank in the Southern District of New York on Monday. The CFTC alleged that Royal Bank of Canada broke laws banning “wash trades,” or trades a firm does with itself to make it look as if stocks or other securities have been bought and sold.” Chuck again… OK… RBC denies these claims, and said, the allegation was “absurd.” And the spokesperson went onto say that, “The lawsuit is “meritless and we will rigorously defend ourselves against such baseless allegations.” Well… that’s all fine and good… but I want to know when the CFTC is going to do anything about the allegations that the whistle blower made about metals price manipulation… To recap… Manufacturing around the world is on an upswing, which is good news for the global growth campers… China, the U.S. and Canada all reported stronger than expected manufacturing index numbers. The RBA left rates unchanged but greased the tracks for future rate cuts… I still don’t believe they are necessary, but the RBA seems to have an axe to grind here. Be careful of the Good Friday Jobs Jamboree this week… Currencies today 4/3/12… American Style: A$ $1.0380, kiwi .8225, C$ $1.0085, euro 1.3345, sterling 1.6015, Swiss… $1.0185, … European Style: rand 7.6680, krone 5.6705, SEK 6.5865, forint 220.10, zloty 3.0945, koruna 18.4375, RUB 29.28, yen 82, sing 1.2515, HKD 7.7645, INR 50.67, China 6.2862, pesos 12.75, BRL 1.8315, Dollar Index 78.80, Oil $104.44, 10-year 2.18%, Silver $32.98, and Gold… $1,678.55 That’s it for today… Congrats to the Kentucky Wildcats on their NCAA Basketball Championship… I held Kentucky in our office pool that we do for fun… it just means I get to buy lunch! I feel bad for missing this, but it was my first day back yesterday… But Happy Birthday to both Tim Smith and Antione Lawrence who celebrated birthdays on April 1 and 2 respectively… I got to see Alex play a little at his Water Polo game last night. His team was winning by a large margin, so the freshmen all got more playing time… Last week, he scored 6 goals in a game! Little Braden Charles was at the game, and we exchanged Aw’s before he fell asleep. How anyone can sleep at a Water Polo Game is unbelievable, but he did! And with that, I’ll get out of your hair for today… I thank you for reading the Pfennig, and hope you can go out and have a Tom Terrific Tuesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

The car sales boom is coming to an end This might

first_imgThe car sales boom is coming to an end.This might surprise some folks. After all, the auto industry has been one of the economy’s bright spots since the financial crisis. Sales have grown each year since 2009. Last year, carmakers sold a record 17.47 million vehicles.Many folks see the booming auto industry as proof that the economy is getting better.E.B. Tucker, editor of The Casey Report, sees it differently. He says the auto industry boomed because of cheap money. But, with the economy slowing, the easy money is drying up. According to E.B., this will put an end to the auto industry’s seven-year boom.As you’re about to see, it looks like a crisis could already be underway. That’s because the auto loan market is starting to crack.Today, we’ll show you why this is a threat to your wealth even if you don’t own a single “car stock.” We’ll also show you how to turn this potential crisis into a money-making opportunity.• The Federal Reserve made it incredibly cheap to buy a car…That’s because the Fed has held its key interest rate near zero since 2008.This has made it cheaper than ever to buy a car. In 2007, the average interest rate for auto loans was 7.7%. It’s now 4.3%.Because it costs almost nothing to borrow money, everyone is buying cars on credit. According to Experian, 86% of people who bought new cars in the fourth quarter of 2015 took out a loan. That’s up from 81% in 2010.• It’s also never been easier to buy a car…Lenders will give money to practically anyone these days. According to Experian, “subprime” loans now make up more than 20% of the auto loan market. Subprime loans are loans made to borrowers with bad credit.Lenders haven’t just loosened their standards. They’ve also stretched out loan terms to get more folks to buy cars. E.B. Tucker wrote in this month’s issue of The Casey Report:According to Edmunds.com, the average length of a car loan hit 68.3 months last November. That’s up 8% from a decade earlier. Credit reporting firm Experian says 30% of new car loans had terms of 73–84 months in early 2015.E.B.’s even seen one dealer offer a 0% interest loan for as long as 84 months. In other words, they’ll let you drive a car for seven years before you have to pay a penny in interest.• Cheap credit and lax lending standards have caused the auto loan market to explode…This year, the value of outstanding auto loans topped $1 trillion for the first time ever. It’s now 42% bigger than it was in 2009.The subprime market has grown even faster. The Wall Street Journal reported in April:Auto lenders have been increasingly comfortable lowering credit standards. They gave out 6.1 million subprime auto loans in 2015, up 8% from a year prior and up 118% since they bottomed out in 2009, according to credit bureau Equifax. New subprime loans totaled $109.5 billion in 2015, the sixth consecutive annual increase, and up 11% from the year prior, according to Equifax.• Last month, JPMorgan Chase CEO James Dimon said the auto-lending market was getting “a little stretched”…Dimon warned that “someone is going to get hurt.”The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a watchdog for the lending industry, also thinks auto lending is getting out of hand. Last week, it called the incredible growth in auto loans “unprecedented.”It warned of rising delinquencies. (A loan is delinquent when a borrower falls 60 days behind on payment.)• Auto loan delinquencies are already soaring…In February, subprime auto loan delinquencies hit 5.16%. That’s the highest level since October 1996.The next month, E.B. said we would see “a lot more” delinquencies. He was right.Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that subprime lenders are bracing for huge losses:Eighteen percent of auto-loan principal dollars securitized by subprime lenders in 2015 aren’t likely to be repaid, according to a report by credit-ratings company DBRS Inc. If so, that would mark a sharp rise from 14.4% in 2014 and 12.8% in 2012…Also up: Loss expectations for loans securitized by nine smaller subprime issuers that either launched or restructured after the financial crisis. Just over 19% of their auto-loan dollars securitized last year are expected to not be repaid, up from 18.4% in 2014 and 16.7% in 2013.• E.B. expects auto loan delinquencies to keep rising…According to E.B., more folks will struggle to pay their car loans as the economy weakens. Lenders will take big losses. This will lead them to tighten lending standards. Easy money will dry up in the process.Casey Research founder Doug Casey says this will create serious problems for the auto industry:I expect a collapse of the new car market in the near future. People are going to have to keep their cars longer, and fix them up instead of trading them in.This is clearly bad news for carmakers. But it’s an opportunity for companies that help cars stay on the road longer.• Last week, E.B. recommended the largest provider of used car parts in North America…E.B.’s thesis is simple. Folks will put more wear and tear on their cars the longer they drive them. That means more trips to the repair shop.E.B.’s newest recommendation dominates the used parts business. Its sales have grown by 24% on average since 2011. And it has fat profit margins.You can learn more about E.B’s new stock pick by signing up for a risk-free trial of The Casey Report. If you act today, you’ll receive The Casey Report for 50% off the regular price. To learn how, watch this short presentation.In it, E.B. explains why the spike in auto loan defaults is part of a much bigger problem. As you’ll see, a giant “credit squeeze” is sweeping across America. It’s even spread to the banking sector, the bedrock of America’s economy. As E.B. explains, this could trigger a crisis far worse than anything you’ve ever seen.The good news is that it’s not too late to protect yourself. To learn how, watch this short presentation.Tech Recommendation of the Day: Buy or Sell Apple?For the next few days, we’re sharing a special new feature with you. In place of our usual “Chart of the Day,” you’ll find valuable insight on technology stocks from tech expert Jeff Brown. In an interview format, Jeff will explain why you should buy or sell popular tech stocks like Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), or Facebook (FB) right now.If you don’t know Jeff, he’s a true tech insider and angel investor. Jeff is a 25-year veteran who’s built early-stage startups and ran organizations generating hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenues. You can learn more about him by clicking here.Today, we’re featuring Jeff’s take on Apple, the maker of the popular iPhone and the world’s largest publicly traded company. Keep in mind, what you’re about to read came a recent interview between Jeff and Amber Lee Mason, head of our affiliate Bonner & Partners.Amber Lee Mason: Alright, so let’s start with the company most of our readers wanted to know more about – Apple.Jeff Brown: That’s a great place to start. And some may be surprised, but this is absolutely a sell for me. As much as I love the company, the innovation within Apple has been slowing significantly. The iPhone 7, which is due out in a few months from now, is unlikely, from my perspective, to be a driver for increased revenues. There really isn’t that much, from a feature perspective, to drive the next round of upgrades. The rumors are… improved cameras and no audio port, so a wireless audio solution. Equally important is that the smartphone shipments on the high end are really slowing down.So this is a market industry dynamic. It’s only forecast to grow about 3% in 2016 compared to 2015. And that compares to about 10%-plus growth that we saw in 2015. So for the first year since the iPhone was launched in 2007, the number of iPhone shipments this year will actually decrease compared to last year. The sales in China are falling, and that’s one of the highest growth markets in the world for smartphones.The Apple Watch forecasts have been reduced significantly. Apple Pay, which is the contactless digital payment solution from Apple, has been very weak in the United States. Apple has been very far behind in terms of the application of artificial intelligence to its software platform. So I see probably about a 20% downside from where we are today and a complete lack of catalyst to get the company back on track, certainly within the short term (12–18 months).Now, I will say this… There will be a time to get back into Apple, and it probably is in that 12-to-18-month timeframe. And the things that I’ll be looking very closely for are Apple’s not-so-secret project to have an electric vehicle, a car. The project is called “Titan,” which was originally targeted to have a car by 2019. It looks like it’s been pushed back another year or so to 2020. But for a company that does $200-plus billion a year in revenue… this year, there needs to be a significant product offering to drive enough revenue to impact its valuation in a meaningful way. So the automotive industry is a perfect example of something that might do that.The other thing is that, depending on what the iPhone 8 looks like, if there are any attractive alternatives or new features for the iPhone 8 that’ll be expected in fall of 2017, that could be a potential catalyst for a major upgrade cycle and increase in valuation.ALM: Okay. So there may be a time to buy Apple in the future, but right now it’s a sell on your list.JB: Definitely.last_img read more

Updated at 110 pm ETThe Trump administration is

first_imgUpdated at 1:10 p.m. ETThe Trump administration is outlining two possible ways certain drugs that were intended for foreign markets could be imported to the U.S. — a move that would clear the way to import some prescription drugs from Canada.”Today’s announcement outlines the pathways the Administration intends to explore to allow safe importation of certain prescription drugs to lower prices and reduce out of pocket costs for American patients,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement about the plan. “This is the next important step in the Administration’s work to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first.”The Department of Health and Human Services outlined two “pathways” for importing the drugs to the U.S.In one initiative, the Food and Drug Administration and HHS will rely on their rulemaking authority to use existing federal law to set up pilot projects from states or wholesalers “outlining how they would import certain drugs from Canada that are versions of FDA-approved drugs that are manufactured consistent with the FDA approval.”Separately, the FDA will work on safety guidelines for drug manufacturers who want to import any drugs they sell in foreign countries to the U.S. market. The HHS statement says manufacturers would use a new National Drug Code that could allow them to price drugs lower than what is required by their current distribution contracts.”This pathway could be particularly helpful to patients with significantly high cost prescription drugs,” HHS says. “This would potentially include medications like insulin used to treat diabetes, as well as those used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.”Wednesday’s announcement marks the first step in the process. It could take years to implement the plans — which could also be challenged in court.A growing number of U.S. states have been considering their own plans to import prescription drugs from Canada, hoping to bargain for better deals than the current system allows.Strapped with high costs from paying for prescription drugs through Medicaid and state employee plans, Florida, Vermont, Maine and Colorado have approved their own drug import laws. More than half of all U.S. states have proposed such measures this year, as Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, told NPR’s Selena Simmons-Duffin last month.But before those states can actually start cutting their own deals to import drugs, they need approval from the HHS. With today’s announcement, the federal government is making a move in that direction.As for why Canada enjoys lower drug prices, Rachel Sachs, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told Simmons-Duffin that it’s a matter of negotiation.”In the U.S., we’ve constructed a system where pharmaceutical companies are able to charge far higher prices because there’s no mechanism to push back,” Sachs said. “There’s no way to say, ‘We’re not going to pay for that drug unless we get it at a better price.’ “Less than a year ago, President Trump spoke out against the idea of bringing prescription drugs in from Canada.”We want our drugs to be made here,” Trump said last October. “When you talk prescription drugs, we don’t like getting them from foreign countries. We don’t know what’s happening with those drugs, how they’re being made. Too important.”Trump’s remarks came after signing the NAFTA-replacing U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — a deal that was criticized for introducing protections for pharmaceutical companies.By setting in motion a plan to import medications from Canada, Azar is embracing an idea he had previously dismissed as a gimmick. In May 2018, Azar said:”Many people may be familiar with proposals to give our seniors access to cheaper drugs by importing drugs from other countries, such as Canada. This, too, is a gimmick. It has been assessed multiple times by the Congressional Budget Office, and CBO has said it would have no meaningful effect.”The secretary was apparently referring to a 2004 analysis in which the CBO reported that any “reduction in drug spending from importation would be small,” given the size of Canada’s drug market compared with that of the U.S.In that analysis, the CBO also said that “proposals to permit parallel trade with a large group of countries would offer greater potential savings.”And there are regulatory hurdles to consider. Criticizing the deal as a “fantasy solution,” pharmaceutical industry analyst Dr. Adam Fein said Wednesday that the proposal would complicate U.S. efforts to secure its drug supply chain and keep counterfeit and impure drugs off the market.”There is no legal or operational way of transforming a drug packaged for a foreign market into a drug that meets the U.S. requirements of our in-progress track-and-trace system,” Fein said in an email to NPR. “What’s more, there is no way to alter the law to enable importation without undermining the law’s purpose and value.”There are already signs that some in Canada’s medical industry might balk at the idea of sharing its supply of pharmaceutical drugs with the U.S.”The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers,” a coalition of health, hospital and pharmacy groups said in a letter to Canadian Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas-Taylor.The letter noted that Canada is allocated certain quantities of drugs based on national estimates, and warned that the county’s prescription drug shortages could grow even worse if the U.S. begins to tap into its neighbor’s supply.But some in the U.S. and Canada have said those concerns are overblown.”Most of the shortages Canadians are currently having are generics — and those are not the drugs we would look to import,” says Trish Riley of the NASHP. “The focus is on high-cost drugs,” she adds.In response to Wednesday’s announcement by the U.S., Petitpas-Taylor issued a statement saying the health ministry constantly monitors the supply of drugs in Canada.Promising that her agency will work to ensure the new U.S. proposal won’t harm Canadians, she added, “We’re in touch with U.S. officials and look forward to discussing today’s announcement with them.” Copyright 2019 NPR. 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The Department for Work and Pensions DWP has bee

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been criticised by the information commissioner over the way it dealt with a request to reveal the identities of seven foreign governments that asked for advice on disability reform.After facing a probe by the commissioner into its refusal to release the information, DWP is now claiming that the written information it refused to release never existed.Disability News Service (DNS) has been trying since last October, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to secure details of which ministers for disabled people from other countries had been asking their UK counterpart for advice on issues such as social security reform.Penny Mordaunt (pictured), at the time the minister for disabled people, told MPs last October that she frequently received requests for advice from her “opposite numbers around the world” about “how to set up welfare systems and improve accessibility, employment and representation”.She claimed she was “keen to promote what we are doing” because her government’s work on disability was “a catalyst for change elsewhere in the world”.And she insisted that her government had “shown what can be done to facilitate disabled access, both physical and service-based, and how that can be achieved in co-operation with business and the third sector”.Mordaunt had been attempting to defend her government’s record on disability rights, weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had said its policies had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.Following her remarks to MPs, DNS submitted a freedom of information request, asking which countries had asked for such advice.DWP’s freedom of information team replied that there were seven countries that had approached Mordaunt, but it refused to identify them, claiming that there was “a very strong public interest in maintaining good relations between the United Kingdom Government and overseas governments”.It argued that “given all circumstances of the request, the public interest in not releasing the information outweighs the public interest for disclosure”.DNS asked DWP to reconsider its answer and to release the written requests for advice from the foreign governments, as well as Mordaunt’s replies.When DWP refused to change its decision, following an internal review, DNS appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office.The information commissioner Elizabeth Denham has now completed her investigation and has said that she is “most concerned” about the way DWP dealt with the DNS request.But she also concluded that – on the balance of probabilities – DWP never possessed any recorded information about the foreign governments that had requested information from Mordaunt.DWP had told Denham that there had been “some confusion” around the original request from DNS, mainly because some of its staff “appear not to have made the critical distinction between recorded information and what people knew, recollected or had been told by others”.Denham said that she “questioned how the Minister was able to make a statement in Parliament without recorded information being held by DWP” but was told that Mordaunt had relied on “a briefing, some of which was written”.DWP told the commissioner that meetings were often held “on an informal basis and sometimes in the margins of other meetings and in this case that may explain the lack of recorded information” and therefore “formal invites or requests for meetings/information may never have existed”.Denham told DNS that it was “now apparent that DWP has erred in its handling of your request” and she said she was “most concerned by DWP’s handling of this request for a variety of reasons… especially given that DWP is a public authority well versed in handling FOIA requests”.In a letter to DNS, DWP’s central freedom of information team apologised “for any confusion that we may have caused you”.DWP told DNS that it was now “reviewing processes” to ensure that “everyone involved in handling FOI requests recognise the requirement to meet statutory duties under FOIA”.It added: “We accept that we may have given the impression that more information was held, which was not the case.”It insisted that “although administrative errors were made, your request was answered in good faith and in accordance with our duties under the Freedom of Information Act 2000”.It is not the first time DWP has been criticised by the information commissioner.In March 2017, Denham questioned why the government had failed to keep track of whether it had implemented 10 recommendations on improving the safety of “vulnerable” disabled people that had been made in its own secret reports into benefit-related deaths.Denham said then that DWP’s failure to keep track of its actions on “such sensitive cases” was “highly unusual”, after the department told her it had no idea whether it implemented the 10 recommendations.last_img read more