Alyssa Valdez is unfazed of THS pic.twitter.com/b8RcX6jluZ— Marc Anthony Reyes (@marcreyesINQ) August 25, 2017KUALA LUMPUR—Alyssa Valdez, one of the country’s most vaunted scorers, was left in awe of Vietnam’s performance after the Philippines lost a crucial group stage match Friday in the Southeast Asian Games.“They really prepared against us. They showed too much energy and confidence against us,” said Valdez in Filipino after the team lost to Vietnam, 26-24, 25-12, 25-23.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 shutoutBut the 23-year-old Valdez maintained the PH women’s team played well.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program READ: PH volleybelles bow to Vietnam, draw Thailand in semis UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games SEA Games: PH adds silver to lawn bowls medal haul LATEST STORIES “We have no regrets. We gave it our all in today’s game,” added Valdez.“It’s a learning experience for us, for the team and the whole Philippine volleyball,” added Valdez who scored 11 points. “Hopefully this would motivate us against Thailand.”The Philippines will face Thailand in the cross-over semis Saturday.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Read Next MOST READ PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View comments SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding
With a 4-3 win in the classic best-of-seven Governors’ Cup series carved out in front of record-setting audiences in the last three games at cavernous Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, there were times—a lot of it, actually—when the Gin Kings’ legions of fans were sitting on pins and needles.Even coach Tim Cone, who has seen so many battles in a decorated career, admitted to being nervous a lot of times with the gung-ho Bolts refusing to go away and fighting to the last ounce of their strength.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 shutoutBut, believe it or not, Cone cherished those moments.Moments after winning the 20th title in 32 Finals appearances of his career, Cone talked extensively about the game, about the thrilling series and then saved a few minutes with the Inquirer to talk about the future—and a lot of that bright future is cast on the 7-foot shadow of Ginebra star Greg Slaughter. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Slaughter certainly had his moments of brilliance against the Bolts during the Finals series.But there were also moments where he seemed lost, moments where Meralco pounced on his presence and managed to overturn Ginebra’s massive advantage in size to the Kings’ undoing.Cone absorbed all of those situations like a sponge, those instances now stored in his vast memory bank as he makes a long-overdue trip back to the United States on Monday to be with family and celebrate his latest conquest there.“Right now teams are trying to mismatch him,” Cone said as he obliged fans for selfies. “Teams have been trying to play us small, most especially in this series and these are the things we have to learn how to handle.“Teams have been throwing things at us that we’re asking ourselves: ‘What do we do?’” he went on. “But the more we have those situations, the more we develop as a team.”ADVERTISEMENT All eyes on SMBThe season started with all eyes on San Miguel Beer, on its giant June Mar Fajardo, and on their Grand Slam bid. There was one familiar question throughout the season: Was there a side out there that could stop the Beermen from completing a Triple Crown sweep?The Beermen certainly made everyone doubt there was. San Miguel dusted off Ginebra in the Philippine Cup finale and then dismissed TNT KaTropa in the Commissioner’s Cup title series.The table was set for a Grand Slam.Beer was being chilled even before tip off of the Governors’ Cup in anticipation of a celebration for the franchise’s second Grand Slam. Interestingly enough, Meralco’s Norman Black steered the team to its first season sweep in 1989.All San Miguel needed to do was sign up a great import and stay injury-free.The Beermen failed at both as import woes and a leg injury to Fajardo helped doom them to a sixth place finish in the eliminations, and—you guessed it—a twice-to-win handicap against Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals.It wasn’t even close, that playoff game.And Ginebra had everything in place once it sealed a Finals stint: Cone was coaching at his best, LA Tenorio was making a case as the best point guard in the conference despite a nagging elbow injury, Justin Brownlee was as deadly as last season, and Slaughter had returned from injury and was terrorizing the opposition in the shaded lane.Exploiting Slaughter John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “I feel that we’re just trying to exploit Greg,” Cone said of his center, admitting that he held back in playing him extended minutes in the championship because he “still didn’t know what to do in some situations.”“I feel like I haven’t exploited him yet,” Cone went on. “They were playing small and we couldn’t handle that at that time. But we’re learning. We learned a lot in this series.”Slaughter played in his first Finals series and went on to bag his first Best Player of the Conference citation.Tenorio, on the other hand, was the Finals MVP for the second straight season, while Japeth Aguilar has shown dramatic improvement ever since Cone got on board and has evolved into a dependent player on both ends, not just the 6-foot-9, athletic guy trying to knock down the three-point shot.Dominant forwardAguilar has metamorphosed into a dominant power forward, challenging every enemy attack in the shaded lane and shying away from those three-pointers.While talk in the final three games of the title series also centered on the Draft set at Robinson’s Place in Ermita on Sunday, where the Beermen now have the chance to snag 6-foot-7 Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger and come up with their own version of a twin-tower combo, Cone wasn’t into any of that.He feels that, with Slaughter, Aguilar, Tenorio and the valuable experience he gained as a coach, Ginebra has what it takes to remain dominant.More to come“You can always have pieces added,” Cone said when asked of the Draft, where they pick 11th overall, second-to-last in the first round. “But we still have guys who are developing and we’re pretty much OK. Things are looking UP QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:08Ginebra planning for long series vs San Miguel01:37Protesters 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion MOST READ CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA “I think we can challenge San Miguel a little bit,” he said. “June Mar is unbelievable, but the more we have him (Slaughter) and the more we see things (like the small-ball ploy of Meralco), the more we develop him and the more we improve as a team.”So it wasn’t out of just championship elation, or his amazement that the last three games of the title series was watched by close to 140,000 fans, but Cone certainly had his basis when he addressed the crowd in the din of the Ginebra celebration and said:“We’re not going to stop here, we have more championships to win.” Barangay Ginebra certainly had its hands full in completing the franchise’s first championship repeat in PBA history.ADVERTISEMENT View comments
This Independence Day, restaurants in the national capital are offering a taste of patriotism with ‘tricolour’ dishe. Cheesecakes to chocolate brownies and hara kababs to achaari paneer tikka, mouth-watering delicacies will be served in colours of the national flag– saffron, white and green.Like at Zing in The Metropolitan Hotel where one can enjoy a sumptuous three-course tricolour meal.Relish kulfi, a thali and mocktail – all sporting green, white and saffron colours and priced at Rs.1,200 plus taxes.”We love our country and want our guests — be it Indians or foreigners — to remember and celebrate the day through the food,” said Rajesh Khanna, the hotel’s head of food and beverage. “Last year too, we had a colourful menu to salute the Indian flag,” Khanna told IANS.At Royal China, an unlimited and colourful dimsum brunch is on offer. One can relish steamed prawn dumplings with coriander, vegetarian dumplings, mushroom buns and seafood dumplings in the three colours and wash them down with Chinese tea.The restaurant is also offering a special chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce in tricolour. The menu is priced at Rs.1,350 per person plus taxes.”We were looking for a special theme on Independence Day and the tricolour theme was the best. Last year we introduced ‘tricolour’ dishes and mocktails while this year, chocolate brownies in the three colours are the highlight,” says Eric Khoo Thium, the chef.”Giving such offers on important days helps us fetch footfalls. It also allows us to participate in the patriotic fervour,” he says.Khaaja Chowk restaurant too is celebrating Aug 15 with special vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebab boxes– each carrying 20 pieces. Vegetarians can enjoy hara kababs and achaari paneer tikka priced at Rs.549 plus taxes.Those who love non-vegetarian dishes can try galauti kababs, murg malai tikka and chicken tikka and many more for Rs.649 plus taxes.Blues bar and restaurant is not only offering a tricolour menu but also a ‘tricolour’ ambience. It serves ‘tricolour’ lasagne, chilli chicken with steam rice, non-vegetarian pasta with arrabiata, bolognaise sauce, garlic bread and biryani. The decor of the place has been changed to match the day’s mood. It is offering 60 percent discount on the menu.”We have done up the place with kites and balloons in tricolour to give the visitor a patriotic feel,” says Sammir Chawla, the bar and restaurant’s owner. Those who have a sweet tooth, Mocha has tricolour cheesecakes, priced at Rs.150 plus taxes.advertisement
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd chief Woodward comes clean on Fernandes pushby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has set the record straight on the club’s pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.The midfielder was linked with United all summer before eventually staying with Sporting Lisbon.And Woodward says the club must be cautious about player’s using them to boost their contract demands.”It hit a peak five seasons ago with 250 players,’ Woodward told United We Stand.”It was 177 two seasons ago. It’s around 200 every year.”We’re usually after three players, so we might be talking to nine in reality.”What you are referring to in the original question does happen, but it’s less likely to happen give our closed-door approach to recruitment targets.”But it does exist and we have to be wary of that [players using the club.”Sometimes, the amount of time a player or his agent invests into discussions, meetings and contracts shows that there is an interest.”If it was only a flippant interest then they could go and put a fake story then go to a club president and go say ‘Look at who is in for me.’ That happens all the time as well.”What sometimes also happens is that we do have a player in an agreed position, but his club refuse to sell and, because the club refuse to sell, the player then uses that to get a new contract”From our perspective, we have to try and see through it and make sure that the club is not being used.”We don’t waste time, we’re more robust.”
Story Highlights Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (September 25), to discuss activities for World Maritime Week, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said the approach is particularly important as shipping technology changes. The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is welcoming the thrust of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) towards industry-led maritime education and training.Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (September 25), to discuss activities for World Maritime Week, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said the approach is particularly important as shipping technology changes.“The shipping industry now has very advanced vessels. For example, there is now the mandatory inclusion of an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) or Electrical Officer on board some vessels,” Mr. Brady said.The ETO is a licensed member of the engine department of a merchant ship as per Section A-III/6 of the International Convention of Standards and Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Code, and is the most vital in the technical hierarchy of modern advanced ships with automated and conventional electrical and electronic systems.The Director General said this is necessary because the average marine engineer could not cope with the advanced electronics with which modern ships are equipped.“You could look, for example, at communications. All communications that you enjoy ashore can be enjoyed at sea, but it takes a little bit more to ensure that it is done and kept as efficiently,” he said.“The communication is sustained over a long period of time because as you may realise, the marine environment is very rough. It can be very hostile because of the content of salt in the atmosphere and, therefore, our equipment has to be maintained more frequently,” Mr. Brady added.The Director General pointed out that the expertise required involves dealing with offshore communications systems and satellite communications systems.“We even have communications systems for the controls on the ship itself from ashore, thousands of miles away that have revolutionised shipping completely.This means that while you still have to train people to work at sea, you’ll have fewer people on board the ship and more people ashore tending to the ship remotely,” he said.This, he argued, is the future of shipping, and that is what persons in the industry have to be trained to do.The Director General said the technology is now so far advanced that “we have to equip our people to be competent as opposed to just learned or educated”.“You must be able to apply the knowledge that you learn to whatsoever you are doing at sea, so the addition of the Festo Lab at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the technological advances that they have there and the emphasis that’s being placed on industry is not only critical to the maritime sector but also timely and visionary,” he said.On September 19, the CMU officially opened the world’s largest Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre at its Palisadoes Park Campus, aimed at bringing a responsive approach to industry needs.World Maritime Week is being observed from September 23 to 28. “The shipping industry now has very advanced vessels. For example, there is now the mandatory inclusion of an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) or Electrical Officer on board some vessels,” Mr. Brady said. The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is welcoming the thrust of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) towards industry-led maritime education and training.
CALGARY – Shares in Canadian pipeline companies Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corp. failed to recover fully Friday from a steep sell-off on Thursday after the U.S. said it would eliminate a tax break for owners of certain interstate pipelines.Both Calgary-based companies hold such pipelines in the United States through master limited partnerships or MLPs.The decision by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to no longer allow MLPs to recover an income tax allowance from cost of service tariffs came in response to a 2016 court ruling that found its long-standing tax policy could result in double recovery of costs.Enbridge shares fell by 4.2 per cent to $41.06 on Thursday but recovered to close at $41.28 on Friday, up 22 cents, after it issued a statement that says it is not expecting a “material change” to its financial guidance over the next three years because of the FERC ruling.TransCanada shares dropped 2.1 per cent to $55.89 on Thursday. On Friday, they rebounded to reach an interday high of $56.45 but closed two cents lower.The company had no immediate comment.FirstEnergy Capital said in a report TransCanada will be less affected than Enbridge because its main exposure is through its interest in TC PipeLines.Enbridge has two MLPs, Enbridge Energy Partners, and Spectra Energy Partners.It said in its statement the former is expected to experience an $80-million decrease in annual distributable cash flow because of the FERC decision, but that will be somewhat offset by a revenue increase on the Canadian Mainline system held by Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc.About 60 per cent of Spectra’s gas pipeline revenue comes from negotiated or market-based tariffs and are not directly affected by the FERC policy revisions but the remainder is from cost of service-based tariffs which “could be subject to tax recovery disallowance,” it said. Spectra pipelines that move oil and other petroleum liquids are not expected to be affected.CIBC estimated the FERC ruling would knock about $3 per share from of its valuation of Enbridge and $1 per share for TransCanada.“We cannot help but wonder about the long-term viability of MLPs,” it said in a report.“Our expectations are that many of the MLPs held by corporations will need to consider converting to corporations if no consideration is given to the fact that they are held by taxable U.S. entities.”The report says the implications of the FERC decision are difficult to quantify given the strategies companies may employ to deal with it and the mix of existing rate structures and rate settlement terms, but the impact should decline over time as newer pipelines tend to employ negotiated rates, not cost of service tariffs.Follow HealingSlowly on Twitter.Companies in this story include (TSX:ENB. TSX:TRP)
MONTREAL – Power Corp. is prepared to invest more than $10 billion over the next five years to expand its empire while it also looks to sell some assets and exit the newspaper business, the holding company’s co-CEOs said Friday.“We have a capacity in the coming five years to put capital exceeding $10 billion at work to play a consolidation game and to play the game in the big leagues,” Paul Desmarais Jr. said at a news conference after its annual meeting.He said the sum will be larger when including money to be invested by subsidiaries like Power Financial.A key area of focus is the U.S. pension fund business that is expected to undergo consolidation. Currently, it owns Putnam Investments, acquired in 2007.“It’s a very fragmented business and we will have an opportunity to be one of the big consolidators in this industry.”Desmarais added that the large Canadian holding company — which has assets around the world including a large stake in China Asset Management Co. — is examining some of its capital intensive businesses to see if they can be sold at attractive prices.Co-CEO and brother, Andre Desmarais, added that insurer Great-West Life and fund manager IGM Financial are not on the sales block.Desmarais said he expects other Canadian newspaper owners will take a hard look at its decision to transform its Montreal La Presse news group into a not-for-profit structure.The 130-year-old newspaper is owned by Square Victoria Communications Group, a subsidiary of Power, which plans to grant $50 million to the venture.Under the new structure, Power Corp. would no longer own the media company or have any ties with the not-for-profit structure.“I think it makes a lot of sense and I think it makes sense for English Canada as much as it does for Quebec,” he told reporters.Desmarais noted that all news media outlets are grappling with the rise of digital competitors such as Google and Facebook, and will have to figure out how to proceed.“Everyone will have their why now moment and probably a public company will have a why now moment a lot faster than a private company.”Part of the shift in La Presse’s ownership structure is designed to allow it to get donations and funding from government, which is unfeasible as long as it is owned by one of Canada’s richest families.“If I was in government I wouldn’t give a subsidy to the Desmarais family. It would be misinterpreted,” he said.But Andre Desmarais said he’s optimistic that the federal government, which is studying funding for national newspapers, will end up providing funding because it would want to help a medium that supports democracy. He noted that the CBC gets about $1 billion a year, but just for the broadcast medium.Meanwhile, Paul Desmarais told shareholders that the Lafarge board of directors, on which he is a member as the owner of 9.43 per cent in Lafarge-Holcim, was not aware of the cement maker allegedly funding Syrian militants until it was reported on by the media in 2016.“As soon as this matter was brought to its attention, the board of directors immediately initiated an independent internal investigation, the results of which were, on its own initiative, turned over to the authorities with the assurance of its co-operation,” he said in a statement read to reporters.It also implemented additional compliance and internal control measures.French and Belgian authorities are investigating several ex-employees for their alleged roles in indirectly funding groups including the Islamic State to guarantee safe passage for staff and supply of plants.The wrongdoing precedes Lafarge’s merger with Swiss company Holcim in 2017.Power Corp. says its net earnings more than doubled to a record $525 million or $1.13 per share in the first quarter, compared with $258 million or 56 cents per share in the prior year quarter.Excluding restructuring and other charges last year, adjusted profits were $269 million or 58 cents per share in the first quarter of 2017.Power increased its quarterly dividend 6.6 per cent to 38.20 cents per share, payable June 29 to shareholders of record June 8.———Power Corp. holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with a subsidiary of the Globe and Mail and Torstar Corp.Companies in this story: (TSX:POW, TSX:PWF).
BRUSSELS — The European Union has withdrawn its threat to ban Thai fisheries exports into the bloc after Bangkok pushed through reforms to contain illegal fishing.Thailand, one of the main global fish exporters, had been faced with the threat of a ban for more than three years over its failure to combat illegal fishing, but consultations with the EU and legal and compliance reforms allowed the bloc to take back the so-called yellow card.EU fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella met with Thai deputy prime minister Sarikulya Chatchai Tuesday and said that as combating illegal fishing remains a priority for the EU, he was “excited that today we have a new committed partner in this fight.”The Associated Press
Book signing flyer. Photo by Jenna Morland. “This is where I live, this is where my husband works and it just seems right I guess you could say,” said Morland. “This community, when it comes to supporting the arts, has always been good at that kind of thing. There is a lot of talented people in this town.”Local Author Jenna Morland with her book Empress Unveiled. Photo by Jenna Morland.Morland added that her book was published after she entered a Twitter pitch party. A pitch party is when authors pitch their book to publishers in 150 characters or less, if the publishers like the book, they will pick it up.“The publisher I have now liked the tweet, I sent them all the stuff and then three months later there was an offer for a publishing deal.”The book launch will be from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on September 8th, all residents are welcome to come. Eric Clark will be a special guest performing live music while Morland will be on hand to do a reading. Residents who buy books or t-shirts will be entered into a prize draw for a 30-minute, four-person Highland Helicopters ride.Residents who would like to learn more about “Empress Unveiled” can do so by visiting Morland’s Instagram, Twitter and website. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John author Jenna Morland is set to launch her new book next weekend at Brown’s Socialhouse.The book is titled “Empress Unveiled” and is a young adult fantasy. The story is a fantasy romance that follows an ill teenager, her very human best friend and a fae sentenced to death. The main character must battle love, broken hearts, death and the crown. Morland explained that launching her book in Fort St. John just felt right.
CAIRO – Three years after a popular uprising forced out ex-general Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s army is again pushing a commander to stand for president after he ousted the first civilian head of state.On Monday, the army endorsed its Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s candidacy for an election he is expected to win amid a strong nationalist fervour since he overthrew president Mohamed Morsi.In just over six months, Sisi has managed to win accolades from a vast section of Egyptians for leading the ouster of Morsi and crushing the Muslim Brotherhood movement to which the Islamist belongs. Morsi was toppled after one turbulent year in office following mass street protests amid allegations of grabbing power and ruining an already deteriorating economy.Announcing its backing for Sisi, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that “the people’s trust in Sisi is a call that must be heeded as the free choice of the people”.Sisi is soon expected to resign as army chief and announce his candidacy in a presidential election scheduled to be held by mid-April.A victory for the 59-year-old would keep alive a tradition of Egyptian presidents being drawn from the armed forces.Mubarak and all of his predecessors came from the military, starting with the charismatic colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, who ruled Egypt between 1954 and 1970.And after Mubarak’s ouster, it was Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who ruled Egypt until the election of Morsi in June 2012. But Tantawi’s tenure was marred by deadly street protests before Morsi was elected.Sisi is riding a wave of nationalist fervour, however, amid a heavy handed crackdown on Morsi’s supporters, which according to Amnesty International has left at least 1,400 people dead.To Sisi’s supporters, he is the best option for ending three years of political instability following the 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak’s reign.And to his critics and experts it is the military’s decades-old iron grip on Egypt that has once again brought an army man to the forefront after civilian leaders blew their shot at power.“There is definitely a political vacuum with no civilian parties able to throw up a good leadership,” said Mohamed Ghorab, an activist from a group that campaigns against military trials of civilians.“We saw this with the Muslim Brotherhood, (and) they failed. We hoped that another liberal party would come up and fill the vacuum, but that didn’t happen.“Hence given the backing from a section of the society, the military is now filling the vacuum,” he said in his personal capacity.‘Old demons of repression’ returningSince Morsi’s ouster, Sisi has emerged as a nationalist icon, but simultaneously Egypt is also witnessing the return of the feared security services which were widely hated under Mubarak.In recent months a deadly crackdown that began against Morsi’s Brotherhood has widened, with activists who spearheaded the anti-Mubarak revolt finding themselves behind bars.Top anti-Mubarak campaigners Ahmed Douma, Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Alaa Abdel Fattah have been detained for organising protests the military-installed authorities say were illegal.The authorities had defended the removal of Morsi on the back of mass street protests against his rule.“Their current policies are a betrayal of all the aspirations of bread, freedom and social justice” of the anti-Mubarak revolution, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International in a statement marking the third anniversary of the 2011 revolt.She charged the security forces had also not been held to account for using “excessive” force in dealing with protests staged by Morsi’s supporters who continue to demand his reinstatement.Analysts say the repressive old regime of Mubarak is returning to the fold, but that it is unleashing even more force on dissent than before, now that the military is clearly at the helm.“Even if the military authorities try to maintain a democratic face, it is now clear that Egypt is being overtaken by old demons of repression, authoritarianism and personal power,” said Karim Bittar of the Institute of International Strategic Relations.“The hopes aroused by the revolution of January 25, 2011 among the liberals and progressive (people of Egypt) are about to go up in smoke.”
Orange has launched a new low-cost ad-free TV service aimed at millennials that will be available to its TV and mobile customers and will incorporate Canal+’s mobile short-form offering Studio+ as well as eSports and music services.The new service, Pickle TV, aimed at 15-35 year-olds, will be available across all screens and will cost €4.99 a month, with the first month’s viewing free of charge. The service will be available without an ongoing commitment.The service can be accessed via the Orange TV decoder, is a dedicated TV channel, on mobile or the web.In addition to Studio+, the service includes French eSport channel ES1, gaming channel Game One and comedy channel Golden Stories from established internet comedy platform Golden Moustache.Other channels on the service include manga channel Manga One from Game One, South Park, hip-hop and street culture channel OKLM, Clubbing TV and documentary channel Spicee.Orange’s new offering marks its entry into ‘mobile-first’ TV aimed at a millennial audience. The telco has its own low-cost mobile service, Sosh, that is also aimed at this audience, but Pickle TV is bundled with its mainstream multi-play service Open, whose subscribers can access it free for the first six months via the Orange et Moi app.Orange has already made moves to cement a relationship with millennials through, for example, its exclusive partnership with Spotify rival Deezer and a partnership with bandes dessinées specialist Izneo.Orange already has a TV partnership in place with Canal+ to distribute the pay TV leader’s channels over its network.At the end of last year, Orange CEO Stéphane Richard said that Orange was open to content partnerships with multiple providers, including rival operators.
In This Issue. * US data sends the dollar higher… * Could the Fed begin the end of bond their bond buying??? * Chinese home prices rise. * Gold continues to see selling. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Both Consumer Confidence and Leading Indicators surprise on the upside. Good day. Storms knocked the power out at my house last night, so I woke a bit later than I wanted to and had to scramble to get ready by the light of my phone (yes, I have finally caught up with the rest of my family and have become dependent on my phone for more than just phone calls). I saw a number of branches littering the roads on the drive in, so the wind must have been pretty strong. The weather man said we will be getting more storms this morning, I hope Chuck was able to sneak out of here down to Houston for his ‘regularly scheduled maintenance’ with his docs down there. The dollar continued to power its way higher on Friday as both the confidence report and Leading Indicators showed the US economy will continue to improve. As both Mike and Chuck suggested last week, the markets have been all about the growth story here in the US and that has boosted the dollar. Friday’s data supported the recent ‘love fest’ for the US$ as the U of Michigan Confidence reading came in at 83.7 compared to expectations of 77.9 and substantially higher than last month’s reading of 76.4. This was the best reading since the summer of 2007 and shows the resiliency of Americans as they have faced down a combination of higher taxes and federal spending cuts. Many believe the increase in confidence is a direct result of the record levels of the US equity markets and the beginning of a housing recovery. I guess all the work the Fed has been doing in keeping the printing presses in overdrive is beginning to show up in the attitudes of US consumers. But I still worry about the labor market here in the US, and while confidence can certainly be pushed higher along with the stock market, you can’t ‘spend’ confidence at the store, so we continue to need to see more improvement in the labor markets. The leading indicators were also released on Friday and painted a fairly rosy picture for the near term future of the US economy. The Conference Board’s gauge of the economic outlook for the next 3 to 6 months climbed .6% in April, a big turn-around from a .2% drop in March. Economists had predicted the leading indicators to come in at a .2% increase so the markets were surprised by the strength of Friday’s data. This strong reading supports the thought that the US economy will start to pick up steam in the second half of this year which could mean an early end to the quantitative easing efforts of our Federal Reserve. This thought is what has been rallying the dollar over the past few weeks, as more Fed heads have been talking about beginning an exit from the $85 billion monthly bond buying program which began in September of last year. Fed Bank of San Francisco President John Williams made the speaking circuit rounds at the end of last week suggesting the central bank may begin to taper the bond buying sooner rather than later. This is a big change for Williams who is generally seen as a dove when it comes to monetary policy. Williams joins three other Federal Reserve regional bank presidents who have been calling for phasing out the month purchase of mortgage backed securities. Dallas President Richard Fisher, Philadelphia President Charles Plosser, and Richmond President Jeffery Lacker have all been calling for an end to the bond buying. “It’s not good for the bank to be holding lots of mortgage paper” Plosser said on Friday. Fisher warned that if the bond buying continues at the current levels, the Fed could eventually be buying up to 100 percent of the MBS issuance which is “not only excessive, but also potentially disruptive to the proper functioning of the MBS market.” The FOMC will release minutes of its April 30th meeting on Wednesday, and traders and economists will be looking for indications that an end of QE is starting to come into focus. We won’t have any big data releases here in the US today, nor any tomorrow so the markets will have to look overseas for any news on the global economy. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify before the Joint Economic Committee this Wednesday which could produce some good ‘Pfennig pfodder’ as our congressional leaders push him for more information on when he plans on ending QE. Chuck should have plenty to write about as the end of the week will be chock-full-o data. We get the existing homes data on Wednesday followed by the weekly jobs claims and some more housing data on Thursday. These housing numbers have taken on an even greater importance with the positive data we saw on Friday. If the housing data comes in strong, it would support the thought that the US economy will be able to withstand the reduction of federal spending which will accompany the end of QE. And Friday we will close out the week with April’s reading of durable goods orders which are predicted to show a positive 1.5% increase after a fairly large drop in March. In Europe, car sales rose in April for the first time since September of 2011 adding to signs that the latest recession in Europe may be short-lived. Another report showed consumer confidence in Europe increased in April to the highest level since July of last year. Last weeks trade data showed European exports expanded 3.4% from a month earlier as the EU trade surplus widened to 8.1 billion euros from just 1.6 billion euros in February. German auto sales finally showed an increase, jumping 3.8% in April ending five consecutive months of falling sales. The largest increases were in the UK where registrations increased 15% and in Spain where they were up over 11%. Both France and Italy showed drops in the number of cars sold. Interest rate reductions by the ECB were given some credit in turning around the auto data, and ECB President Mario Draghi said he is still considering further cuts if the economic outlook deteriorates. But with rates near zero, any additional cuts could move rates some rates below zero, and the overall impact of negative interest rates is still largely unknown for an economy the size of Europe. The Japanese yen finally strengthened a bit after Japan’s economic minister Akira Amari warned that further losses in the currency could negatively affect Japanese citizens. Amari suggested that the dramatic drop in the value of the Japanese yen has already corrected a lot of the imbalances in the Japanese economy. This was the first indication from a Japanese leader to suggest the Japanese yen is getting close to where they would like to see it. I guess the 20% move of the yen over the past six months is just about what the Japanese leaders were wanting, and they apparently would like to see the yen take a breather while the markets digest this huge move. Staying in Asia, China’s housing inflation accelerated to its fastest pace in two years. Average new home prices rose almost 5% from a year ago after a 3.6% increase last month. The rising prices add complexity to the job of Chinese leaders who would like to be able to spur a stronger overall economic recovery. These leaders have been trying to cool the housing market with measures aimed directly at this sector, but many thought these moves weren’t broad enough to have a meaningful impact. Home prices continue to move higher in the large Chinese cities, with prices in Beijing rising 10.3% and Shanghai prices up 8.5% both of which were the fastest YOY gains since January of 2011. With property inflation edging higher, Chinese leaders will have less room to enact measures to try and stimulate their economy. Closer to home, Mexico’s peso fell again on Friday heading for its worst week since last June after data showed GDP rose at the slowest pace since 2009. GDP rose just .8% in the first quarter from a year earlier, much slower than Mexico’s leaders would like to see. The data may force Mexico’s central bank to cut rates which would definitely be a negative for the Mexican peso. Holders of the peso have enjoyed a nice 12% increase in the currency over the past year, partially due to the higher rates available to investors. A cut in rates, which could be seen to be necessary to stimulate the Mexican economy, would definitely be a negative for the Mexican peso. And the Canadian dollar continued to get beat up on Friday as inflation data bolstered recent calls for relaxing monetary policy. Consumer prices in Canada rose just .4% in April down from a 1% increase the month before. This was the slowest pace of price increases in Canada since October of 2009. As Chuck suggested on Friday, the new Prime Minister Stephen Poloz has supported trade policies in the past which would seem to indicate he may reverse outgoing BOC Governor Mark Carney’s bias toward higher interest rates. While most investors felt the BOC’s next move would be higher, the change in leadership along with softer inflation data has many thinking rates could be headed lower. Commodity currencies were softer across the board, as the Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, and South African rand all followed the Canadian dollar down over the weekend. The slower global inflation is what seemed to be weighing on all of these currencies. A consumer confidence measure in New Zealand helped put a floor under the kiwi, showing confidence ‘down under’ climbed to a three year high. And another report showed producer prices in New Zealand rose .8% in the first quarter, the most since June of 2011. Gold had another off day, dropping nearly $30 on Friday and another $10 over the weekend. With the dollar rising to nearly a 3 year high (according to the dollar index) there continues to be increased selling pressure on the precious metals, which have had an inverse relationship with the greenback. Talk of an exit from QE programs here in the US has added to the selling in gold, as inflation expectations seem to be softening. I still think these levels represent a great place to add or better yet start the accumulation of a position in the precious metals. To recap. Data released on Friday sent the dollar higher as both the consumer confidence and leading indicators surprised on the upside. Fed heads are starting to discuss the exit from QE, and some believe we could now see a reduction in bond buying in the next few months. No data here in the US today or tomorrow, but the end of the week will bring Chuck plenty to write about. European car sales increased, perhaps the recession will be short lived? Chinese home prices shot higher, but Chinese leaders still want to stimulate their economy. And the commodity currencies all fell over the weekend as global inflation expectations caused a sell-off in precious metals and raw materials. Currencies today 5/20/13. American Style: A$ $.97746, kiwi .8140, C$ .9723, euro 1.2859, sterling 1.5192, Swiss $1.0327. European Style: rand 9.4649, krone 5.8355, SEK 6.6724, forint 225.95, zloty 3.2522, koruna 20.3023, RUB 31.2895, yen 102.56, sing 1.2554, HKD 7.7622, INR 55.1062, China 6.1998, pesos 12.3216, BRL 2.0352, Dollar Index 84.042, Oil $95.53, 10-year 1.95%, Silver $21.685, Gold. $1,354.16, and Platinum $1,445.55. That’s it for today. Congratulations to all of the new graduates! I attended the high school graduation of my niece (and goddaughter) Meaghan yesterday evening. The event was held outdoors under the massive oak trees in front of her high school, and the weather cooperated to make it a wonderful event. Unfortunately the weather prediction isn’t so good for the second phase of her graduation, the beautiful ‘Maypole’ dance which all of the senior girls are scheduled to perform this evening. They have been practicing for months now, and there is no ‘indoor option’ so I really hope the storms move through quickly and leave them a window of opportunity this evening. Meaghan graduated with honors, and is now on her way to Rhodes College where she will play field hockey and study psychology and art. Next week her twin brother will graduate and then head off to Georgetown University. I am extremely proud of both of them, as they have worked hard in high school and have set themselves up to be a success in life. Time really flies, it seems like I was holding the twins in my arms just a few years ago! I’ll get this out the door now, and call home to check and see if the power is back on. Thanks for reading the Pfennig, and I hope everyone has a Marvelous Monday! Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
The 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.
Updated 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. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
The 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.
Betadecentralized financial transactionsMarketing TechnologyNCDawareRankNewsSocial MediaU°OS Network Previous ArticlePeerLogix OTT Data Insights: Game of Thrones New Episodes Provide Significant and Progressive Boost to Streaming LibraryNext Article98.55% of People use at Least 4 Social Media Platforms Daily U°Os AIMS to Become the Digital Reputation Standard on the Web, Making Network Economies More ProductiveU°OS, a blockchain protocol that translates economic and social actions into reputation, proposes a universal portable reputation system and aims to become the standard on the Web. Adjustable to any e-commerce, social media, review platforms, and any network in general, the U°OS Network is underpinned by a unique Delegated-Proof-of-Importance consensus algorithm, developed in-house, and based on NCDawareRank. After being in research and development for over a year, U°OS is launching the public beta on May 15, 2019 with the top EOS block producers on board.The emergence of distributed protocols has taken the first step in creating the Web 3.0. U°OS are moving towards a true peer-to-peer interaction without an intermediary that holds the keys to their digital selfhood. While cryptocurrencies enable decentralized financial transactions, infrastructure protocols let them run decentralized apps on the chain, the truly peer-to-peer social communications, reputation, and identity systems have just started showing their green shoots.“Centralized services have a biased incentive structure for interpreting reputation data and disproportionate power to modify it. We are not controlling our reputation — it is confined to a single platform and context, thus cannot be detached and transferred to another place. This translates into a time-consuming task to understand who is truly behind the digital avatar of an individual or an organization. The absence of a universal and distributed reputation system is the reason why the decision-making process is slow and costly” — John Sneisen, two times best-selling author, monetary history expert, and U°OS Advisor.Marketing Technology News: Cloudinary Identifies Opportunities to Raise Visual Storytelling Impact in its Inaugural State of Visual Media ReportThe U°OS reputation model enables people to interact in the digital environment as sovereign individuals, solving the problem of not having complete and unequivocal ownership of one’s digital selfhood and network influence. U°OS allows digital entities — individuals or organizations — to have a unified reputation for a natural decision-making process about the trustworthiness of the peer. The U°OS reputation is multi-context, transparent, and distributed.The key characteristics of the U°OS reputation system are:Transparency — the blockchain-recorded data is public and increases trust to a digital entity;Universality — the system can be integrated into any existing application via API and OAuth;Portability — algorithmic operation on the public ledger without belonging to any centralized authority;Privacy-friendliness — users are not required to reveal their identity to use the system;Marketing Technology News: BlueVenn and London Research Release Customer Data Platform Maturity Model“Despite being seemingly complex, U°OS is already neatly packed into user-friendly interfaces and APIs to make the user experience as smooth as possible for casual users as well as developers” — Andrew Perepelitsa, U°OS Head of Developer Relations.The U°OS beta launches with U°Community — a decentralized application to run Decentralized Autonomous Communities (DAC) and Decentralized Autonomous Communities (DAO). The beta will also see the very first plug and play case: integration with the U°Today, a news, research and educational agency covering the blockchain industry and new generation technology.Marketing Technology News: Three Quarters of Retailers Believe Their Model Needs to Change for Them to Remain Relevant U°OS Network — a Universal Portable Reputation System — Launches Beta PRNewswireMay 16, 2019, 2:03 pmMay 16, 2019
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 20 2018Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, are leading a cutting-edge project, named the “MONARCH” study, that could benefit eye disease patients whilst saving both time and money within the NHS.The MONARCH study aims to investigate if patients with an eye condition called wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could test their vision at home, rather than attend a hospital appointment.The most serious type of AMD, known as wet AMD, develops when abnormal blood vessels form underneath the macula stops functioning as well as it used to. AMD patients experience blurred distorted vision, difficulty seeing in dim lighting and problems reading.Current treatment for wet AMD is a series of monthly injections which reduce the growth of new vessels which limit vision loss. Following treatment, patients attend regular hospital check-ups where clinical staff monitor the macula by taking photographs and doing vision tests, checking whether any follow-up treatment is needed.Most patients will not require follow-up treatment, but about 30% do. Hospital check-up appointments are important for preventing further loss of vision. However, these check-up appointments put a huge strain on already-stretched resources, and limit the capacity for seeing new patients who, if not seen urgently, are at high risk of losing their vision.Dr Ruth Hogg, from the Centre of Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast and Co-Chief Investigator of the MONARCH study explains: “Injections for AMD have been very successful, with about half of patients retaining vision sufficiently good for driving. However, the burden on the NHS and patients has been considerable due to the need for frequent injections and intensive monitoring throughout the follow-up period. In Belfast, evening and weekend clinics have been added, yet it’s still not enough.”We urgently need to rethink how services are offered as the current setup isn’t sustainable. AMD is a huge burden to the NHS through time spent by clinical staff monitoring patients of whom the majority do not require treatment.”The study aims to find out whether monitoring vision by patients themselves at home could potentially alleviate some of the burden of AMD on the NHS, as well as be more convenient for patients, without compromising their safety or wellbeing. If home eye tests can detect when treatment is needed, it would mean that patients might only need to attend hospital appointments to have treatment.Related StoriesEye research charity funds development of ‘organ-on-a-chip’ to fight glaucomaStudy reveals a revolutionary way to treat eye injuries, prevent blindnessAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology shares tips for staying safe around fireworksPatients participating in the study will be provided with three different eye tests for them to do at home, comprising a paper-based booklet of reading tests and two tests (“apps”) that run on an iPodtouch. Patients will be asked to do all three tests weekly at home. The results of the tests are sent automatically via the internet to the Study Management Centre in Bristol.Professor Reeves, from the Bristol Medical School and Co-Chief Investigator of the MONARCH study says: “We are excited to be collecting data from the apps automatically, via the internet. These kinds of methods, with data flowing directly from the data source to the study database, should increase both the accuracy of the data and the efficiency of their capture.”Throughout the study participants will attend their normal hospital check-up appointments and the results of the tests done at these appointments will be compared with the results from the home eye tests.Patricia Strong, an AMD patient added: “Since completing a course of treatment for wet AMD, I’ve had regular appointments to check my vision and get photographs taken and I’ve occasionally needed further injections. I spend quite a lot of time getting to the hospital and the cost of transport does add up so being able to check for myself at home would make a real difference for me, saving time and money.”The study aims to recruit 400 participants from five different hospitals around the UK, including Belfast. Patients will be provided with equipment and support to do the three home eye tests weekly over a period of one to two years. It is hoped that the data gathered will lead to a shift in services provided to AMD patients, so that only those who require treatment will be required to attend hospital appointments.Source: http://www.qub.ac.uk/News/Allnews/QueensdevelopneweyeteststhatcouldhelppatientsandreduceburdenonNHS.html
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 1 2019In a world first, La Trobe University research has shown how peer-led support programs for family and friends who provide regular support to an adult diagnosed with a mental health condition can significantly improve carer well-being.Family Education Programs (FEPs) – led by trained individuals with their own personal experience of caring for someone with mental health issues – provide education and support for groups of carers.Over a period of seven years, researchers surveyed 1,016 carers enrolled in 207 FEP courses operated nationally by Wellways Australia.Lead researcher, La Trobe Associate Professor John Farhall, said the study gives greater confidence to health professionals and funders – as well as to potential participants – that FEPs can be used as a critical first step in reducing carer burden.Related StoriesOnline training program helps managers to support employees’ mental health needsAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CT”Until now, very little research has been done on how these programs work,” Associate Professor Farhall said.”The results show that the key ingredients of the program – increased knowledge and peer support – were associated with helpful changes reported by carers, including improved communication with the person they were caring for.”Importantly, it was the degree of peer support that explained reductions in caregivers’ overall distress.”When carers were surveyed at the completion of the eight-week program, researchers found:- Mental health knowledge in carers increased by 16.6 per cent- Communication between carers and family members improved by 11.7 per cent- Psychological distress in carers decreased by 8.6 per cent- Carer self-blame decreased by 5.7 per cent- Positive feelings between carers and family members increased by 7.6 per cent- Relationship quality between carers and family members increased by 5.3 per cent- Carer’s stigmatizing attitudes toward mental health conditions decreased by 4 per cent Emma Constantine, research co-author and General Manager of peer education programs at Wellways Australia, said that the findings strengthen the increasing evidence base for peer support.”These programs build resilience for carers and improve outcomes for the whole family – peer education needs to be part of the standard range of supports available in our mental health and disability system,” Ms Constantine said. Source:La Trobe UniversityJournal reference:Farhall, J. et al. (2019) Outcomes and change processes of an established family education program for carers of adults diagnosed with a serious mental health condition. Psychological Medicine. doi.org/10.1017/S0033291719000965. It’s important to note that improvements reported at the end of the main program had been maintained when we followed up with carers 10 months later.Peer-led courses such as these can help unpaid caregiving remain rewarding and effective for both the carer and their loved one.”Associate Professor John Farhall, La Trobe University
SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE Supreme Court of India Published on fraud May 20, 2019 Saradha chit fund scam COMMENTS Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of the seven-day protection granted to him by the apex court in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case.Kumar’s lawyer mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna.The counsel said the apex court had on May 17 granted seven days time to Kumar to approach the competent court for legal remedies but they want extension of time as lawyers in Kolkata courts are presently on a strike.Also read: SC vacates order granting protection from arrest to Rajeev Kumar Kumar’s counsel said four days have already elapsed and they needed time to approach the competent court in Kolkata. However, the bench said since the May 17 order was passed by a three-judge bench, they can approach the registry for listing of the matter before an appropriate bench.“You are a lawyer and you know that CJI is the master of roster,” the bench told Kumar’s counsel and asked him to approach the registry for listing of the matter.On May 17, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had withdrawn the protection from arrest granted to Kumar by its February 5 order. The bench, however, had said that the protection to Kumar would continue for seven days from May 17 to enable him to approach the competent court for relief. COMMENT