Friday, October 21, 2016 National strike brings Italy to a halt for 24 hours Posted by Tags: Italy, Strike Share Travelweek Group ROME — Italy is dealing with a 24-hour general strike today, impacting not just flights but public transport and the public sector as well.Anyone flying to or from Italy is advised to check with their airline. Airports in Pisa (where there is an addition 24-hour industrial action) and Venice are expected to be hit hard by the strike action. Major airlines including British Airways are attempting to operate a normal schedule today but warn of baggage delays.Rome is also seeing major disruptions on its public transport routes, with two Metro lines stopped completely, and bus routes and commuter rail lines facing delays and stoppages as well.pics from today of strikes, demos and blockades as part of the #generalstrike across #Italy #scioperogenerale pic.twitter.com/ksTnDm2kPh— bethan bowett (@BethanBowett) October 21, 2016 @Ryanair do strikes in italy affect international flights (flying into Rome and out of it) ?#oct21 #strike in #italy pic.twitter.com/TMcSQh8qQo— Edrea20 (@edrea20) October 19, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>
The Arizona Cardinals will host a holiday food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance prior to the start of Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.Volunteers from St. Mary’s, along with Cardinals cheerleaders, will be at collection points at all five stadium entrances and the Great Lawn. Donations that will be accepted include non-perishable food items and/or money donations.St. Mary’s Food Bank is the world’s first food bank and is a nonprofit organization that reaches out to nine of the 15 Arizona counties, with more than 400 sites. With over 82,000 volunteers, St. Mary’s gave out 70 million pounds of food to families and individuals last year and had enough food to provide 250,000 meals every day. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Jaron Brown (13) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Comments Share
Broadcasters are looking to new hybrid delivery technologies to ensure that their services stay relevant in the digital age. Anna Tobin reports on the latest developments.The demise of broadcast TV has been predicted for years as audiences increasingly choose to watch content online and on-demand. It’s not dead yet though. In fact, broadcast businesses across Europe are very much live and kicking.The word live is key here. Live TV remains the USP of broadcasters. They have the legacy infrastructure that ensures that they can transmit live programming to the greatest footprint in the highest quality, something that the OTT world is not yet coming close to. What broadcasters are quickly learning, however, is that it makes business sense to build supplementary streaming services.The technology behind streaming media is still not perfected, which is the primary reason broadcasters haven’t fully embraced it. “The internet was not meant for delivery of broadcast content from a single source to multiple people and it wasn’t meant for real-time delivery. It was always meant for file delivery,” says Gideon Gilboa, SVP of product and marketing at Kaltura’s media and telecom group. “From a technology point of view, there is no doubt that at the moment at least there are still some barriers to moving to a world that is only IP for video.”The 2019 US Super Bowl final was broadcast to 98.2 million people and streamed to just over two million. Although an impressive figure, it demonstrates that the number of concurrent users on IP streaming is still low in comparison to broadcast.Broadcast TV will be around for many years, surmises Gilboa, but nevertheless he still believes that there will be a continuing steady move by broadcasters towards OTT delivery. “I think broadcast TV is on the verge of significant change,” he says. “I have no doubt that in the longer term, all video consumption will be IP-based. There are some technology hurdles, but I think that that will ultimately happen and IP and streaming will be the primary means for delivering video to consumers, wherever they are.”Ahead of that, broadcasters are investing heavily in straddling both the linear and OTT worlds. Some are attempting to take on global streaming giants, such as Netflix and Amazon, by going direct-to-consumer with their own platforms. UK broadcasters the BBC and ITV, for example, have recently announced plans to launch a version of their joint venture US-streaming service BritBox in the UK. While other broadcasters are concentrating on syndicating their content to the big global players and some are experimenting with a combination of the two.“We are seeing an evolution in the way people consume TV with consumers getting the best of both worlds through linear and non-linear services,” says Laurie Patten (right), director of strategy and ventures at Arqiva. “Notably, while both services are important, when it comes to key programming such as major sporting events, soaps, reality TV and others, broadcast remains the nation’s favoured choice.”Patten believes that hybrid delivery, where streaming and linear services are offered via a single platform, will continue to develop into the primary delivery model for broadcasters. “Hybrid TV delivery is now an integral feature of the DTT platforms offering viewers a modern, dynamic and personalised viewing experience,” she says. “Freeview Play is a native hybrid TV platform offering a seamless connected TV experience. This facilitates improved content discovery and access to catch-up and on-demand content, in addition to linear TV. It offers viewers a powerful search engine, provides dynamic content recommendations and a seven-day backwards electronic programme guide (EPG) for easy access to catch-up content. Viewers can also access catch-up and on-demand content through the various players, such as BBC iPlayer, which are all designed to work seamlessly on Freeview Play compliant smart TVs.”Kaltura’s video platform and solutions are deployed globally by thousands of customers.It’s crucial that consumers are not aware of the means by which their content is delivered to them, says Peter MacAvock, chairman of the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) consortium. “For the foreseeable future there will be a demand and enthusiasm for broadcast TV,” he says. “It’s very much about the services that are provided and the best way of delivering them, and broadcasting is very efficient at what it does. What we will see, however, is a gradual move to the hybrid space so that, as consumers watch a broadcast or other service offered via a broadcaster, they will become less aware of the type of network that is used to deliver that service. There will be a seamless link between the traditional broadcasting and the online propositions.”The initial focus, says MacAvock, is an integrated EPG.“The immediate short-term application is in the area of offering a seamless electronic programme guide so the consumer has access to a linear service which is the live feed, if you like, and a library of content, which is provided to them through some form of selection tool. It’s about ensuring that the consumer sees no difference in channel change time, picture quality and audio quality between that linear broadcast service and the on-demand stuff; the consumer simply doesn’t know.”Making the switch between linear and OTT services undetectable is vital for broadcasters if they are to leverage the time viewers spend in the linear space to lead them to their online offerings, agrees Frode Hernes, SVP of products, core and modules at Vewd (left). “The red-button applications are shortcuts for the place you spend the most time, so if and when viewers transition to OTT, the broadcaster has a chance to catch them on their offering,” he explains. “We also see now, with LOVEStv in Spain and, soon, with Salto in France, how HbbTV can be leveraged to ‘bundle up’ services from multiple broadcasters and create an offering which has a critical mass as a vital service for a country. Now, in Spain and France, we may see pay TV operators struggle, because the broadcasters keep catch-up to HbbTV, which is typically supported on retail TVs on free-to-air, and not on pay TV devices.”HbbTVThe Hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) specification is designed to promote and harmonise the coming together of broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment services to multiple screens and devices.“HbbTV is all about enabling interoperability through common international standards for Hybrid TV,” explains Patten at Arqiva. “By adopting these standards countries and platforms can maximise scale and help drive down costs for the benefit of all stakeholders: advertisers, broadcasters, platform operators and ultimately consumers.”Recognising the need for the industry to collaborate on the latest innovations, the HbbTV initiative is working closely with the DVB-I project. “Both the DVB-I project and the HbbTV initiative are similar in structure and they are peopled by the same people,” explains MacAvock at the DVB. “I retain a position of responsibility within HbbTV also. The DVB project is going to work closely with HbbTV to define how the DVB-I initiative – which is all about trying to make the online experience easier for the consumer – fits in with what they have done on things like operator applications and also the common work that we are doing on targeted advertising. I see HbbTV as a compliment to the way in which DVB does its work.”The most recent HbbTV initaitve, HbbTV OpApp, is designed to allow TV operators, in partnership with TV manufacturers, to provide an operator-branded experience as an application on TVs. This virtual set-top-box has proved more of a bonus to retailers than broadcasters however, claims Hernes, who in addition to his role at Vewd is also a member of the HbbTV steering board.“The HbbTV OpApp is designed specifically for small to medium operators that wish to avoid investing in operator-controlled devices. It is an opportunity for the retail TV manufacturers to establish a commercial relationship with these operators and gain some after-market revenue. For broadcasters, OpApp is less important, as the services a broadcaster normally needs are already in the standard HbbTV 2.0.2 specification,” he says.Hernes says it is too early to judge whether the working partnership HbbTV has with DVB-I will prove successful, but he is watching it with interest. “If the DVB-I initiative is successful in Europe, it will be important to have HbbTV on those channels. But there are of course other ways to serve live channels over the internet also.”The HbbTV organisation is currently working on several new initiatives. These include application discovery over broadband – the functionality to let a TV connected to a pay TV device or TV service that does not support HbbTV use the internet to detect and load HbbTV applications. Another initiative is targeted advertising – specific functionality to improve the user experience when a broadcaster or operator replaces a broadcast advertisement with one loaded over IP. “This is already possible with today’s HbbTV 1.5 and newer, but with this new initiative, we believe we can give the user a better experience, and also improve the ‘backend side,’” explains Hernes.The organisation is also working on HbbTV updates. “We are currently discussing what is required to keep HbbTV relevant and easy to use for content owners,” says Hernes.“This mainly means adding new, media formats and features to the platform to ensure that the best quality experience can be achieved, and that content owners can serve the same media streams to HbbTV devices as to other devices out there.”The disconnect between the various mobile devices and the main screen platforms is impeding the development of a range of common solutions to be offered across all the different platforms, says the DVB’s MacAvock.“What I think we will see over time, and what the DVB project is working on, is trying to minimise those differences and simplify the proposition for the broadcasters. Currently, the broadcasters have to serve all of these platforms differently; ideally, they would serve them all the same way,” he says. “The other big issue in this is the fact that people consume content on different devices in different ways. So what works on mobile doesn’t necessarily work on a large screen and vice versa. The classic example is if you look at the statistics in relation to Netflix usage, you will see that once the ‘sunrise period’ of adherence to the platform wanes, after about one month, viewing migrates to the main screen which is for consistent long-form, high-quality, serialised drama and films.”It works the other way as well, says MacAvock. “If you look at the way in which RTÉ, the local broadcaster in Ireland, has tailored its offering; on its online platform it produces content specifically designed for mobile devices, which is more short-form based,” he says. “So different content works on different devices in different ways at different times of the day to different types of users. Getting that mix right is critical, but at the basic level, and where the DVB project comes in, it is about being able to deliver content to different devices, but in pretty much the same way.”Spectrum WarsAs broadcasters move over to streaming, it is predicted that they may be pushed to give up some more of their free-to-air terrestrial or satellite spectrum. And there are other entities waiting in the wings to pick this up.“Spectrum, particularly spectrum in the lower part of the UHF band, is very attractive for a number of different applications. It brings with it the possibility of traditional broadcasting coverage and it also brings a reasonable data rate. It is a valuable resource and as a valuable resource it needs to be deployed for the good of the population that it serves,” says Peter MacAvock, chairman of the DVB. “It’s all very healthy. If there were no demands for spectrum then I think it would be more difficult to ensure that the best use of that spectrum is guaranteed.”There are quite a few satellite operators that are already thinking about when there won’t be so much demand for satellite capacity from broadcasters, points out Gideon Gilboa, SVP of product and marketing at Kaltura’s media and telecom group. But, while broadcast satellite spectrum may be relinquished, Laurie Patten, director of strategy and ventures at Arqiva, doesn’t see free-to-air broadcast spectrum being rescinded by many broadcasters soon.“Broadcasters are likely to hold on to valuable spectrum for a long time to come because the services and content they provide continue to be extremely valuable, widely used and play a very important role culturally and within society,” he says. “For instance, over 18 million households in the UK regularly use DTT services and the number of primary DTT households has actually continued to grow through the ongoing success of platforms such as Freeview Play, BT TV and Talk Talk TV, which are also built around the DTT platform.”Frode Hernes, SVP of products, core and modules at Vewd agrees that spectrum sacrifice is possible, but unlikely to happen on a wide-scale in practice. “There is some push to get some spectrum freed for mobile services, but achieving this is extremely complicated,” he says. “There was an attempt in radio, closing down FM and introducing DAB with much more efficient codecs and better services, but in the end, full adoption did only happen in Norway, and even in Norway we cannot re-use those frequencies since our neighbours – Sweden mainly – did not close FM.”BBC Three was one of the first UK channels to migrate from being a digital terrestrial channel to being purely streamed via the BBC’s iPlayer service. Yet, it remains one of the exceptions to the rule. Most of Europe’s long-standing broadcasters have dipped more than their toes into the OTT space, but neither the technology nor the viewing culture is quite ready to leave the old linear world behind just yet. Broadcast media is not about to become extinct, and it has not yet made the endangered list.
Dear Reader,It is with a troubled heart that I sit down to write today, there being reports of casualties in new fighting in eastern Ukraine. I worry, of course, about my friends and students in the country who may well be in physical danger soon, if the conflict escalates. But that’s personal; as an investment analyst, it’s the financial war the Russians seem quite willing to wage that really has my attention.It should have yours as well.As one of the experts in our just-released Meltdown America video noted, the Kremlin had already made moves to dethrone the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency before the renewed East-West tensions of this year. Putin has openly threatened what amounts to economic warfare as a response to sanctions placed on Russia after its Crimea grab.Now bullets are flying—can Putin’s financial ICBM be far behind?Mind you, the US and global economies are on such shaky ground, they could come crashing down without any help from Gospodin Putin.One of the things that really struck me while watching Meltdown America was the way the writing was clearly visible on the wall in past cases of financial collapse and hyperinflation—but no one wanted to believe it.That’s the way I see the US today. Life seems so normal and there’s so much wealth even in poorer regions, it’s hard to believe the cracks in the foundation could really bring down everything built on it. And that’s exactly why the cracks never get fixed; people don’t want to see them, and politicians do everything possible to deny they exist. So they widen and deepen until the collapse becomes inevitable—and I believe we have already passed the point of no return.It’s just a matter of time now.Gloomy thoughts indeed, but I’m not here to depress anyone. Hopefully, I can help deliver a wake-up call, as per our Meltdown America video. Perhaps even more useful, I can tell you what I’m doing about it.As you probably know already, precious metals are a key part of my strategy. As Doug Casey likes to say, gold is the only financial asset that is not simultaneously someone else’s liability. It’s solid value you can hold in your hand, and come what may, use to store and protect wealth, as well as to make payments when all other systems fail.Again, as Doug says, I buy gold for prudence and gold stocks for profit. If I’m right about the economic trouble ahead, gold will protect me, and my gold stock picks will make me a fortune. This is why we focus so much on precious metals and related mining stocks in these Metals & Mining Monday daily dispatches. Fear not; we’ll have plenty more relevant ideas and actionable information in future editions.But Doug also says that our biggest risk today is not market risk; it’s political risk. He has moved to rural Argentina to get out of harm’s way. He’s picked a beautiful place, and I had intended to move to Cafayate myself, but then I got married… and plans changed. Specifically, I need to remain in the US for some years to come.So instead of expatriating, I’ve moved to Puerto Rico, a US territory that is rapidly becoming the only tax haven that matters for US taxpayers.People keep asking me why I chose Puerto Rico and if I’m happy with my choice, so I’ve decided to skip writing about metals this week and write instead about my move here. It’s a break from tradition, but one I hope will provide as much value as anything I could write about rocks at this time.Sincerely,Louis JamesSenior Metals Investment StrategistCasey Research Oil96.8593.1384.96 Gold Producers (GDX)24.4928.5044.77 Silver Stocks (SIL)11.7213.8318.61 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)9.1611.5919.21 Copper3.053.303.50 One Year Ago One Month Ago Silver19.6622.4527.61 Gold1,235.301,391.801,604.20 Rock & Stock StatsLast TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)12,129.1112,732.6111, 596.56 TSX Venture881.40953.711,190.99 How I Intend to Survive the Meltdown of AmericaAs I type here in my new home office, I glance up and see waves of Caribbean blue crashing on the palm-lined beach. Surfers are out in force. Scattered clouds add to the already amazing variety of colors in the ocean. I wonder if I will have time to go for a swim before dinner—and I’m amazed yet again to think that it was a shot at lower taxes that brought me here to Puerto Rico.It seems almost unnatural for me to be able to enjoy so much beauty while saving money, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.The view from my new home office.You see, the economy here never really recovered from the crash of 2008. This is very bad news for long-suffering Puerto Ricans trying to make ends meet. When I first came here with my wife to check the place out, locals kept asking us why we were thinking of moving here; jobs are scarce, and something of an exodus is taking place in the opposite direction (Puerto Ricans are US citizens and can travel and work freely anywhere in the US).But I wasn’t coming to Puerto Rico to sell hot dogs. My income doesn’t depend on the local economy, so its woes are an obvious opportunity for a contrarian speculator like me.Take the most simple and basic asset class one can invest in as a Puerto Rico play: real estate. The market has been so devastated that million-dollar condos are selling for half price. When we closed on our new place, the seller came up short, and we had other options, so we weren’t willing to pay more. The real estate agents involved were so eager to keep the deal from falling through, they kicked in with their own money to help the seller out.Personally, I’m not a big fan of gated communities, but for people who are concerned about possible social unrest in the future, it’s good to know that you can buy properties in some of the most posh and secure communities on the island with no money down.Now, as much as I like a contrarian bargain, and as much as my wife loves the tropical weather, what really brought us here were the new tax incentives the government of Puerto Rico enacted to make the island more attractive to investors and employers.The critical point here is that Puerto Ricans are exempt from US federal income taxes, even though they are US citizens. They pay Puerto Rican taxes, of course, and those have generally been similar to US taxes, so the island has never been seen as a tax haven before. That all changed in 2012, when Puerto Rico passed Acts 20 and 22.Act 22Act 22 is basically a 100% capital-gains tax holiday designed to attract investors to come live in Puerto Rico. Exactly what is included or excluded is beyond the scope of this article, but for me, the important thing is that it covers the stocks I already owned when I moved here on January 1, 2014. Given that the market bottomed at almost the same time, I have no gains to be taxed on for 2013, and will not be taxed for the gains I make going forward—all the way to 2036.This alone was worth the move to Puerto Rico, in my opinion.Happily, the application process was simple. My wife downloaded the form and filled it out. I signed it, and a couple weeks later, we got an official tax holiday decree in the mail—no questions asked. I had to accept the conditions of the decree in front of a notary and send in an acceptance form with a $50 filing fee, and that was it. Didn’t even have to hire a lawyer.This tax break is not available to current residents of Puerto Rico—it’s designed to attract wealthy people to come live on the island, after all—but it’s available to all others who move here, including but not limited to US taxpayers.Act 20Act 20 is a tax break on corporate earnings designed to incent job creation in Puerto Rico. The idea is to persuade US employers who might set up call centers in India, or create other similar jobs abroad, to do so closer to home, by offering them a 4% corporate earnings tax rate.My fellow Casey Research editor Alex Daley has moved to Puerto Rico as well, and we’ve formed a company here that exports writing and analytical services to Casey Research in Vermont. This is the basis of our application for Act 20 tax benefits, which has not been approved yet, but which we understand is close.If we get our Act 20 decree approved, we’ll still have to pay regular income taxes on our base salaries, but the lower tax rate applied to our corporate income will result in a drastically lower total income tax rate for us as individuals.I’ll be sure to let readers know when we get our Act 20 decree approved.All 100% LegalThe beauty of this is that Puerto Rico’s tax breaks are not shady tax dodges set up by entities of questionable legality or trustworthiness, but perfectly legal tax incentives within the US.Act 20 and Act 22 benefits are available to non-US persons, but they are especially important to US taxpayers because, unlike almost every other country in the world, the US taxes its serfs citizens whether they live in the US or abroad.In other words, while a Canadian can get out of paying Canadian income taxes by moving out of Canada, a US person cannot escape US taxes by moving to Argentina, or anywhere else—anywhere besides Puerto Rico.It’s like expatriation without having to leave the US, truly a unique situation.And it’s a win-win situation; people like us bring much-needed money, ideas, and energy to the island, while getting to keep more of what our crisis-investing strategy nets us. We create jobs, rather than take them. We are part of the solution here, and we’ve been made very welcome.Is It Safe?So that’s why I’m here. Whether or not my Act 20 status gets approved, I’m so happy about my Act 22 decree that I’m convinced we did the right thing moving here.When I tell people what I’ve done and why, most get immediately excited by the idea—and then they balk. The first question they ask is usually: What about crime?Puerto Rico isn’t a large island, and a good chunk of its three million inhabitants are clustered in and around the capital city of San Juan. Of course there is crime here, as there is in any large city. There are places I would not walk alone at night—just as there are in New York City.Mexico City, Buenos Aires, La Paz… the capital of any other Latin American country or Caribbean country I’ve been to is much larger, more polluted, and more dangerous than San Juan. In my subjective view, San Juan, with its old Spanish fortifications and amazing beaches, is more beautiful. And you can drink the water here.Sure, it might be cleaner and safer in Palm Beach, Florida—but it’s a lot more expensive there, it has less charm, and there’s no Act 20 nor 22. It’s a matter of priorities.When I say this, most people remain skeptical; they read about the economic problems Puerto Rico has and the financial trouble the government is in, and they wonder if things could get worse.Of course they can—but if Doug is right about The Greater Depression about to envelop the whole world, things are going to get worse everywhere.Here at least, people are already used to massive unemployment. It won’t come as a shock; it’s never left since 2008.Another way of looking at it is that since tropical storms hit the island from time to time (southern Florida is much more prone to major hurricanes than Puerto Rico, but they do happen), people here are more prepared for disasters than in many other parts of the US. The better apartment buildings and hotels have their own electricity generators. Nobody can freeze to death here, anyway, and fruit trees grow all over the island.There’s a lot more I could say, but the bottom line is that I think Puerto Rico is a much better place to ride out a global financial storm than Miami, or Anchorage, or almost any city in between. A self-sustaining farm in rural Alabama might be better, but that’s not the sort of place I want to live.I Like It HereThat last is an important point: if I have to hunker down to ride out an economic storm, it should be in a place where I like being.Puerto Rico is beautiful and bountiful year-round. I speak Spanish, but most people in San Juan are bilingual, so that’s not really an issue. Our new flat is blocks from the best schools, shops, and restaurants in town—and even the hospital.I open the window and the fresh air coming off the ocean carries the sound of waves, sometimes laughing children. There’s more noise pollution during the day, but at night, the city calms down, and we can hear the famous Puerto Rican coquí frogs, which my daughter calls “happy frogs.” Ten floors up, the ocean breeze is cool enough that we have yet to turn on the air conditioning.The beaches are fantastic, and the clear water makes for great diving. I’ve never been a surfer, but the waves here are famous too, so I’m thinking of trying it out. There’s no end of other things to try out, and the neighboring islands have their own charms to offer as well.Granted, my wife and I try to be smart about what we do and where we go, but we’ve never felt unsafe here—well, apart from the crazy drivers.We like it here. We’re happy. For tax reasons, for quality of life, and with the potential meltdown of America in mind, we’re glad we made the move.Find Out MoreDoug Casey’s International Man Editor Nick Giambruno, Alex Daley, and I have coauthored a special report on Puerto Rico’s stunning new tax advantages. The report gets into all the details I didn’t have time or space for here. We cover all the specifics of what, why, and how. The report includes links to the forms you need, as well as recommended resources, from lawyers to realtors.Whether you’re thinking about expatriating or you’re just tired of paying high taxes, I think Puerto Rico is a place you should consider. I know of no better resource to help you get started than our special report.For your own health, wealth, and enjoyment, I encourage you to get your copy today.Gold and Silver HEADLINESPalladium Bulls Prepare for a Run (CNBC)As we’ve pointed out for some time, this article reminds us that the fundamental reasons for higher palladium prices are in place. Supply is squeezed from both major-producing countries South Africa and Russia, while overall demand is growing, especially automobile demand.South Africa, which produces about 70% of the world’s palladium, continues to suffer from labor strikes. Russia, the second-largest producer of the metal, has unresolved tensions surrounding the sanctions and may cut its supply.Meanwhile, the demand for the metal (which is used for catalytic converters in gasoline cars) is poised to expand, driven by robust increases in auto sales in major markets, especially in the US and China.The ongoing disruption between supply and demand is the reason for our bullish views on palladium.Dubai Gold Trade Reached $75 Billion in 2013 (Mining.com)A hefty $75 billion worth of gold, or about 40% of the world’s physical bullion exchanged, was traded through Dubai last year, said Ahmad Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). This is an incredible twelvefold growth, compared to $6 billion worth of the precious metal traded in 2003, when the DMCC started its operations. Global demand fell 15% last year, but Dubai showed near-record consumption demand growth.Dubai had become one of the world’s major gold trade centers in the past decade, and will increase its trade volumes further, said US-based analyst John Hathaway.The blossoming of Dubai’s gold trade reveals “a significant shift in the balance of global demand flows”—namely, the shift in demand from the West to the East. There are other reasons for the growth in Dubai, including trade transparency, its strategic location, and a rising number of tourists.Matchmaking Miners and China’s $7 Trillion in Saving (Mining.com)Australian media reminds us that Asian investors have huge amounts of cash. In 2013, the Chinese had US$7 trillion in savings. Some of this could make its way to mining and other hard assets.It’s common knowledge that China is hungry for iron ore and other metals, including precious metals. Just last year, Chinese overseas investment totaled $61.6 billion at the end of September, a 17.4% year-on-year increase. For 2014, China’s authorities expect overseas investment to continue growing at double-digit rates.In 2013, the worst year for global-mining mergers and acquisitions in nearly a decade, China accounted for nearly 14% of all mining M&A activity by value, outpacing Canada, Australia, and the United States. PricewaterhouseCooper’s latest outlook suggests that Beijing’s share of global mining deals is set to grow again this year.Recent News in International Speculator and BIG GOLD—Key Updates for SubscribersInternational SpeculatorThe news of a fourfold plant expansion and upcoming low-cost figures validate our renewed confidence in this company.This explorer just arranged an earn-in joint venture, which could provide significant cash flow in a relatively short period of time. This is a win-win for us shareholders.BIG GOLDAs the bidding war for Osisko continues, only one stock is rated a Best Buy of the companies involved.
In This Issue. * US data turns the dollar around… * FOMC begins their much anticipated meeting… * AUD rallies but then does a 180… * Gold claws higher in front of FOMC… And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. The dollar does an ‘about face’ on disappointing US Data … Good Day! Chuck is headed down to the southeast coast of Georgia this morning so I will get to share my thoughts with all of you readers over the next few days. Many of the ‘traders’ seem to be taking a few days off as everyone awaits the results of the two day Fed meeting which begins today. I don’t expect to see too many new positions put on by investors until after we get some ‘guidance’ from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on how quickly she and her compatriots are going to ratchet up interest rates here in the US. But as Chuck told all of us yesterday, the week is full of data in addition to the FOMC meeting, and some of that data did move the markets yesterday. The US dollar reversed its march higher yesterday after data showed US industrial production unexpectedly dropped in August. Chuck sent me this note regarding yesterday’s data: I was working in my office and not on the trading desk yesterday, so I didn’t see the Industrial Production number as it printed. And by the time I saw it, the markets must have just shrugged it off. I walked out to the desk and the currencies and Gold were trading about the same as they were when I was out there in the early morning, writing the Pfennig. What gives? Industrial Production for August fell -.1% (consensus was for .3% gain). And, July’s previous print of +.4% was revised downward to +.2%… And to top it off, Capacity Utilization fell from 79.1% in July to 78.8% in August! A look under the hood revealed that there was a .4% drop in manufacturing activity in August, which is, as the spin doctors like to explain it, merely a reflection of slower motor vehicle output, after an outsized increase in July. I prefer to refer to this as the “QE tapering effect”. Yes, after all this time, after all this money added to the system, all this excess liquidity in the markets, we’re beginning to see the effects of taking it away. And this is why I believe the Fed will be back to the QE Table before too long. Chris again.. As Chuck stated, the markets had a bit of a ‘delayed reaction’ to this data; as if they maybe didn’t believe the numbers. But over the course of the day the dollar continued to drift lower. Perhaps it was due to the extreme long position the market has on dollars right now. And moves were also muted by the upcoming FOMC meeting. Right now just about everyone believes the US dollar will continue to strengthen through the end of the year, and with everyone on one side of the trade any indication that it may be the wrong side can cause some of these investors to get a bit worried about being in such a crowd. All of these long positions on the dollar could possibly restrain further gains in the dollar going forward; but the FOMC will have a lot to say about that. Chairman Yellen kicks off two days of meetings today in what has become one of the most anticipated Fed meetings this year. The end of the bond buying is a foregone conclusion, but investors are now focusing on the language which will be used in the statement which will be released tomorrow afternoon. The statement has contained the words ‘considerable time’ for a considerable amount of time, and most Fed watchers believe these words will be removed tomorrow. These words have provided some comfort to the markets, as they assured investors that a steady stream of liquidity would give the markets a rising tide to float them higher. But the Fed is now expected to pull this ‘security blanket’ away and replace them with some indication on when rates will start moving higher. Instead of leaving the timing open ended, the Fed is now expected to tie their next move to a combination of labor market readings and inflation expectations. But I still believe any interest rate increase is still a year away; and yesterday’s data showing the US manufacturing sector is still not firing on all cylinders certainly doesn’t bode well for those who expect an increase in interest rates as early as next spring. While we are talking about the Fed, I read yesterday that they have created a new committee on ‘financial stability’. The committee, headed by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer has been tasked with making sure important parts of the financial sector do not overheat. Many believe the Greenspan and Bernanke policies of the past were exactly what led to many of the largest asset bubbles which the Fed has now formed a committee to pop! I’m sure many of you will not be surprised by this latest committee, as it is another sign of a much more ‘active’ Fed. The pound sterling joined with the dollar in moving lower yesterday and actually fell to the weakest point this year vs. the US$ after a report showed UK inflation has slowed to the lowest level in five years. CPI in the UK fell to 1.5% from 1.6% in July according to data released yesterday. This disappointing number sparked selling of the pound sterling as investors already on edge regarding the Scottish independence vote dumped the currency. The BOE will release minutes of its most recent policy meeting tomorrow, and some had been expecting to see an indication that interest rates will be heading higher in response to an improving British economy. But the recovery has been overshadowed recently by the independence vote in Scotland. The pound has fallen over 3 percent in the past month as polls showing Scotland may vote to split from the UK weighed on investor sentiment. The latest numbers indicate that the vote will be close, but my gut tells me Scotland will remain part of the UK. The Australian dollar began to show some signs of life yesterday after the release of the RBA minutes which pointed out that rates will remain stable for the time being. The Aussie dollar had been selling off due to the thought that the RBA may be leaning toward a rate cut as the Australian economy struggles to gain a foothold. But the positive feelings for the AUD quickly reversed in overnight trading and it is moving lower again this morning. Perhaps investors read through the minutes of the Australian central bank meeting again and focused on the RBA’s statement that the relative strength of the currency is a drag on the economy since it has remained “above most estimates of its fundamental value.” Investors may now be worried that these words foreshadow further efforts to ‘jawbone’ the currency lower in order to protect exports. Brazil’s real dropped for a sixth straight day as investors try to handicap the presidential election. President Dilma Rousseff is currently locked in a very tight race with opposition candidate Marina Silva. The real will continue to be volatile as investors eagerly await the next poll to try and guage who will win. The first round of elections is set for October 5th and most expect the first round to result in a runoff between Rousseff and Silva which would occur on October 26th. The Brazilian economy continues to struggle, and the central bank is currently ‘on hold’ until after the elections which will determine the future path of economic reforms and the possibility of further government intervention in the currency markets. Rousseff has seen a downgrade of Brazil’s credit rating and the economy has slowed during her administration. But inflation is starting to fall which could give the new administration some room to lower the benchmark interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. But these relatively high interest rates are all that are keeping many investors interested in the Brazilian currency, so a move lower could have a detrimental impact on the real. Gold added to the small overnight gains this morning as investors prepare for the start of the FOMC meeting. Gold investors, like everyone else, are focused on whether Fed Chairman Yellen will be taking a more ‘hawkish’ tone in tommorow’s announcement. Many have been betting the Fed will signal a willingness to raise rates sooner than the mid-2015 estimate which most have. Higher rates sooner would be another drag on precious metals, as it raises the carrying costs of metals and also makes alternatives more attractive. But if the rates are rising because of rising inflation, well that would be a good thing for commodities and precious metals. I have to think Gold will continue to face selling pressure in front of the meeting, as most investors believe we will see Yellen take a slightly more hawkish tone. But these sell-offs could be a good time to add to positions, as the Fed Chairman has a long history of wanting to error on the side of accommodation instead of risking choking off what appears to be a fairly fragile recovery. For What it’s Worth. Ty Keough knew I was writing the Pfennig this morning, and sent me a story he came across in the NY Times which he thought would be some good Pfennig Pfodder, and I agree! The story is actually an oped piece written by Jared Bernstein back on August 27, 2014. Readers of the Pfennig know that Chuck believes the US$ is in serious danger of losing its reserve currency status. And in this Op Ed Mr. Bernstein takes the position that this is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll share some of what I consider the highlights of the piece, but you can read the full op ed at the following: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/opinion/dethrone-king-dollar.html?AID=3818&_r=1 . …After all, who wouldn’t want their currency to be the one that foreign banks and governments want to hold in reserve? But new research reveals that what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles. To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status. …It is widely recognized that various countries, including China, Singapore and South Korea, suppress the value of their currency relative to the dollar to boost their exports to the United States and reduce its exports to them. They buy lots of dollars, which increases the dollar’s value relative to their own currencies, thus making their exports to us cheaper and our exports to them more expensive. …If trade-surplus countries suppress their own consumption and use their excess savings to accumulate dollars, trade-deficit countries must absorb those excess savings to finance their excess consumption or investment. Note that as long as the dollar is the reserve currency, America’s trade deficit can worsen even when we’re not directly in on the trade. Suppose South Korea runs a surplus with Brazil. By storing its surplus export revenues in Treasury bonds, South Korea nudges up the relative value of the dollar against our competitors’ currencies, and our trade deficit increases, even though the original transaction had nothing to do with the United States. …Dethroning “king dollar” would be easier than people think. America could, for example, enforce rules to prevent other countries from accumulating too much of our currency. In fact, others do just that precisely to avoid exporting jobs. The most recent example is Japan’s intervention to hold down the value of the yen when central banks in Asia and Latin America started buying Japanese debt. Of course, if fewer people demanded dollars, interest rates – i.e., what America would pay people to hold its debt – might rise, especially if stronger domestic manufacturers demanded more investment. …Others worry that higher import prices would increase inflation. But consider the results when we “pay” to keep price growth so low through artificially cheap exports and large trade deficits: weakened manufacturing, wage stagnation (even with low inflation) and deficits and bubbles to offset the imbalanced trade. But while more balanced trade might raise prices, there’s no reason it should persistently increase the inflation rate. We might settle into a norm of 2 to 3 percent inflation, versus the current 1 to 2 percent. But that’s a price worth paying for more and higher-quality jobs, more stable recoveries and a revitalized manufacturing sector. The privilege of having the world’s reserve currency is one America can no longer afford. Interesting slant on the whole question of reserve currency status, and while I don’t necessarily agree that reserve status is a ‘burden’ I agree with Chuck that there is a good possibility that this ‘burden’ will be lifted from the shoulders of the US sometime in the not too distant future – thanks to China. The largest worry for me is the impact of higher interest rates which would likely accompany the loss of reserve currency status for the US. With the staggering amount of debt the US has accumulated, any increase in interest rates demanded by investors would have a very dramatic effect on the US’s very fragile fiscal situation. To recap. Disappointing US data sent the dollar lower, but it has steadied this morning as the long awaited FOMC meeting begins. Investors await the statement, with expectations that the ‘considerable time’ wording with regard to low rates will be removed, but what will it be replaced with? The Pound Sterling fell as the latest inflation report showed prices are not moving up as fast as before. The RBA released minutes from their last meeting which at first rallied the AUD but this uptick was quickly reversed. The Brazilian real moved lower on election worries and gold actually caught a bit of a bid overnight as investors await the FOMC meeting. Currencies today 9/16/14. American Style: A$ .9027, kiwi .8163, C$ .9077, euro 1.2946, sterling 1.6196, Swiss $1.0719. European Style: rand 10.955, krone 6.3923, SEK 7.1342, forint 242.70, zloty 3.2413, koruna 21.272, RUB 38.681, yen 107.12, sing 1.2610, HKD 7.7511, INR 61.055, China 6.1462, pesos 13.22, BRL 2.3401, Dollar Index 84.21, Oil $92.80, 10-year 2.57%, Silver $18.67, Platinum $1,359.00, Palladium $833.75, and Gold. $1,234.88 That’s it for today. I was anxiously watching last night’s football game, as I have Andrew Luck as my quarterback and needed him to post at least 10 points in order to remain undefeated in our FFL. Luckily he had scored that by halftime, so I got to get some sleep before waking up a bit earlier than usual in order to get this Pfennig out. Both Chuck and Frank will be hitting the road this week and will have an exciting announcement for everyone – you’ll have to wait until Friday to hear the big news as I don’t want to steal their thunder! With that little tease I will go ahead and put a bow on this one and hit the send button. I hope everyone has a Terrific Tuesday, and thanks for reading the Pfennig. Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets
The government of Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola after at least two people were infected and possibly as many as 17 died from the disease in the country’s northwest.”Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an international public health emergency,” the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s health ministry said in a statement.The ministry says that of the five samples sent to the National Institute of Biological Research in Kinshasa, two came back positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola in the country’s Equateur province, according to The Associated Press.Before the outbreak was confirmed, local health officials reported 21 patients with signs of hemorrhagic fever. Seventeen of them died.Ebola is just one type of hemorrhagic fever, so it is not immediately clear whether some or all of the original victims died from Ebola.”Since notification of the cases on 3 May, no deaths have been reported either among the [hospitalized] cases or the healthcare personnel,” the Health Ministry statement said.On May 3, medical teams from the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders collected five samples from active cases in the area, two of which tested positive for Ebola, according to the WHO and the Congolese government.As Reuters notes, “Ebola is believed to be spread over long distances by bats, which can host the virus without dying, as they infect other animals with which they share trees, such as monkeys. Ebola often spreads to humans via infected bushmeat.”An Ebola epidemic that hit West Africa in 2014 infected some 28,600 and killing more than 11,300 before WHO declared the region Ebola-free two years later. The epidemic was concentrated in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.Since then, a vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV has been developed to prevent the spread of the disease, which has a particularly high mortality rate. (However, a recent article in The Lancet medical journal questions the vaccine’s efficacy.)In the past few years, there have been isolated outbreaks, including one in Congo last year that infected eight, killing four of them.Experts were expected to go to the area of infection on Wednesday to implement procedures to halt the spread of the disease, the ministry says. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record, according to a report released this week by NASA and NOAA.From Vox:In the short term, scientists expect the world to get hotter. This year, a simmering El Niño cycle threatens to bring more scorching weather. “We do anticipate the next El Niño will bring record or near-record temperatures,” said NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt during a conference call with reporters.Already, Australia was baked in its hottest January on record, followed by massive flooding. So another record-setting year will likely lead to more heat waves around the world, along with drought and drying vegetation, contributing to massive wildfires. That in turn will cost jobs, homes, and lives.During the State of the Union this week (during which climate change did not come up), President Donald Trump announced that there would be a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to be held in Vietnam at the end of February.That left some observers wondering what such a meeting could accomplish.Pope Francis visited the United Arab Emirates this week, and during the trip, he acknowledged reports of sexual and physical abuse of nuns by priests. Through an interpreter, Francis said “there are priests and even bishops who have done that. And I believe it still happens because something doesn’t stop just because you have become aware of it.”NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports:For years, cases of abuse of women in the church have long been known. The problem persists particularly in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Italy. And yet church authorities have rarely addressed the issue publicly. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, a #NunsToo movement has emerged, and the issue has been more widely reported. Last week, even the women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported on nuns having abortions or giving birth to children fathered by priests or bishops.And we also learned this week that rapper 21 Savage was born in the U.K. We know we’re not alone in thinking he was from Atlanta.Here’s how critic Jon Caramanica described him:His success, however, is especially American. Growing up in some of Atlanta’s poorest communities, 21 Savage had a troubled childhood. He’s said that he dropped out of school to sell drugs, and has spoken in interviews of a youth marked by violence and crime. But after losing a close friend and a brother to gun violence, he turned to rapping. And within a year, he was one of Atlanta’s most promising prospects.This is the American promise, no? To start from nothing and turn it into a bounty. To receive a cruel hand and still emerge victorious.And yet there is this other American promise, or threat, which is that all that comfort can be easily ripped away if it isn’t achieved in the correct fashion.In the case of 21 Savage, whose public image was built on a kind of impenetrable toughness mixed with weary resilience, this moment of vulnerability was destabilizing. Even in his most intimate music, he never presents as anything other than an agent of control.The rapper, whose name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement due to an expired visa. He has three children who were born in the United States.Jay-Z has reportedly hired a lawyer to defend Abraham-Joseph, according to the BBC.This week, more nations recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guido as president of his country, while President Nicolas Maduro has withheld food and medicine and other humanitarian aid from coming into Venezuela.We’re recapping the week in global news headlines.Text by Gabrielle Healy.GUESTSShane Harris, Intelligence and national security reporter, The Washington Post; Future of War fellow, New America; author, ‘At War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex’ and ‘The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State’; @shaneharrisPeter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst; vice president and director of the international security program at New America; author of “United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists”; @peterbergencnnDorothy Parvaz, Global politics reporter, ThinkProgress; @dparvazFor more, visit https://the1a.org.© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio. Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.
3 Takeaways From a Young Company’s International Media Tsunami Add to Queue Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business –shares 7 min read In the wee hours of a July Saturday morning, Walter Carr set out for his first day at a new job. Sounds like a pretty ordinary story, right?Sure. Except for one thing. To get to that job, Carr had to walk 20 miles from one Birmingham, Ala., suburb to another. Yes, he walked.Walking across Alabama.You see, Carr’s car had broken down, and he couldn’t find anyone to give him a ride. What about public transportation, you ask? Let’s just say Alabamians aren’t blessed with a bevy of such options (as is the case with many of their Southern neighbors). So, Carr walked.Related: Team-Building Tips: 8 Ways to Make Sure Every Employee Feels IncludedStarting out just after midnight, he left Homewood for Pelham, a 20-minute drive — or a five-hour walk. After trudging down the roadside a few hours, a Pelham police officer spotted Carr, pulled over, and asked where he was heading at such an odd hour. When Carr explained he was walking to his job, the police officer decided to drive him the rest of the way, stopping first to get him breakfast.Social media started the wave.The job Carr walked to was as a mover with Bellhops, a young, VC-backed, tech-enabled moving company headquartered in Tennessee. And the customer, Jenny Lamey, after hearing about how he got to work — and being pleased with his work performance — shared Carr’s story that Saturday evening in a Facebook post for their friends to see. And no, she didn’t tag Bellhops.By early Sunday morning, members of the Bellhops communications team, led by Kyle Miller, caught wind of the social media post and immediately got it in front of company leadership. The response was unanimous: They all wanted to do something for Carr. What, though?You get a car!Miller said they “threw around some ideas knowing that Walter needed reliable transportation more than anything, but also that we couldn’t buy him a brand new car,” given Bellhops’ startup budget.That’s when CEO Luke Marklin decided to give Walter his own personal ride. “Later that day, Luke called me and said, ‘I am going to give him my car.’ I laughed, and then he said, ‘I’m serious. Let’s figure out what I need to do to give him my car tomorrow.’”With that decision, Miller knew the story would attract some attention. Yet the amount of attention it generated was surprising. Almost unheard of, really.Sensing a PR flood.Most communications directors for young businesses spend much of their time trying to figure out how to get media coverage. Rare is the occasion when the tide turns and managing a wave of media requests becomes an all-consuming task. That, however, is precisely what happened.Related: 5 Reasons Why PR Is Important For Your StartupUnder the guise of taking Carr for coffee to say thanks for a job well-done, Marklin and some of the Bellhops HQ team drove from Chattanooga to Birmingham that Monday morning.“We got everything lined up to give Walter the car in Birmingham,” said Miller. “We coordinated with the local police department and Jenny so that everyone could be there… and we sent out a media advisory to the local Birmingham outlets.”The goal was to shine a spotlight on Carr, surprise him with a car, and help drive local donations to a GoFundMe account the customer had set up for Carr. Those turned out to be modest expectations.“The first outlet to publish the story was AL.com, and as we drove back to Chattanooga, we watched the story spread,” Miller told me. “It went viral, landing on the front page of Reddit. At that point, it was clear that this was going to be a big story. We started prepping for inbound media requests, but we didn’t realize just how big it would get.”PR as a team effort.As the Bellhops team made the two-hour drive from Birmingham to Chattanooga, Miller began getting his team — as well as the rest of the company — ready for a possible flood of media outreach. To him, “the number one thing was to make sure we could respond to every request quickly and be able to anticipate the needs of each reporter. I feel like we did that really well.”When it was all said and done, Carr was featured on most major broadcast and cable news television channels and was in more than 2,000 online articles worldwide.Hindsight being 20/20, Miller said if he’d had more lead time “the big thing I would have done would have been making sure everyone had a clear role because events like the one we went through develop very fast and there is no downtime. Luckily, the team jumped right in, and everyone helped out a ton.”Which gets to the three big takeaways Miller got from the experience.Three lessons from riding the big (PR) wave.Good public relations is not done in a vacuum: It takes a lot of people to manage the multiple moving pieces. Bellhops drew people in to help from across the company.Speed is everything in situations like this: The more prepared you are to respond, the better you will be able to help reporters tell the right story.You can’t manufacture stories like Carr’s. You need a strong company culture that values hard work and celebrating it. It has to be real. If what you’re doing isn’t real, people will sniff the insincerity out and move along.Related: 7 Characteristics of Startups Built to Weather Any StormOnce the tide ran out.For Carr’s story to reach the masses, multiple people had to do the right thing.He, of course, had to show his gumption to get to work; the police officer had to give him a ride (and feed him); the customer had to write a Facebook post; the CEO had to want to reward him; Miller had to help reporters tell the story quickly.And if any of those variables didn’t happen, there’s a good chance my Airbnb host in Boston a couple weekends ago wouldn’t have said, “Bellhops, I know them. They’re the ones that gave the kid the car, right?”In the fast-paced world we live in, Carr’s story isn’t in the headlines anymore. That’s to be expected. So, where is he now?Carr is still a mover in Birmingham, easily the most popular. Bellhops gets regular requests that he be assigned to specific jobs, though no cameras are around anymore waiting on him to lug a couch into a U-Haul.With that reality in mind, Bellhops didn’t want the past national exposure to simply be a wondrous blip on the radar for Carr. The GoFundMe account set up for him — with an original goal of raising $8,000 — surpassed $90,000 recently, and Bellhops connected him with a financial advisor to help him manage that windfall as he nears college graduationThat’s par for the course for Bellhops.That spirit-inspired company leadership to reward a deserving Carr — it rallied an entire HQ team to help tell the world about him, and it makes it possible for another good media tsunami one day. September 11, 2018 David Martin Image credit: AL.com Next Article Guest Writer Did you hear about the guy who starting walking 20 miles to work and was rewarded with a car? Of course you did! 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The United Nations has sternly warned civilization to end its addiction to fossil fuels within a decade or so to avoid a long “or else” list that includes submerged coastal cities, acidic oceans, devastating cycles of drought and flood upending agriculture and … oh come on, how long does the list need to be for you to get the picture?The report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the latest and shrillest — or perhaps just the least understated — of periodic IPCC scientific assessments issued since the 1990s. However, and perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the same day as the depressing IPCC report was issued the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to two U.S. economists, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, who have argued for many years that economics is both the cause and the cure of the global environmental crisis.Related: ‘This Is Climate Change’ Tells an Urgent Message Via Virtual RealityNordhaus, 77, has taught and researched economics at Yale University since 1967. He built the first economic model that combined data and theory from chemistry, physics and economics that “describes the global interplay between the economy and the climate,” according to the Swedish academy. Norhaus was the first person to advocate for taxing carbon emissions to combat climate change, an idea now widely embraced by economists (if not politicians).Romer, 62, has worked for decades modeling the interplay of economic growth and regulation. According to the award statement, “Romer showed that unregulated markets will produce technological change, but tend to underprovide R&D and the new goods created by it.”Governments can offset this tendency through “well-designed government interventions, such as R&D subsidies and patent regulation. [Romer’s] analysis says that such policies are vital to long-run growth, not just within a country but globally. It also provides guidelines for policy design: patent laws should strike the right balance between the motivation to create new ideas, by giving some monopoly rights to developers, and the ability of others to use them, by limiting these rights in time and space.”Related: Can Corporates Save the World from Climate Change?Although the two economists work separately, the prize committee awarded them jointly because, in the words of committee member Per Krusell, a Swedish macroeconomist, they are both thinking about “long-run, global” issues.Taxes, regulations and even the science of climate change (and perhaps science generally) are currently far out of vogue politically in the U.S., but a carbon tax is broadly favored by business leaders. One idea advocated by the fossil fuel industry is a U.S. carbon tax with the proceeds refunded directly to taxpayers. The proposal has been met with suspicion by climate activists because it would also end the many lawsuits that have been (and likely will be) filed against the coal and oil industry for damages from climate change, eliminate regulations on the theory they are redundant and preclude government using the revenues for crucial R&D, infrastructure upgrades and everything else needed to adapt to higher oceans and extreme weather.What does all this mean for entrepreneurs? Tough to say, though a few things are good to keep in mind, not least is that millennials are deeply concerned about climate change. It also seems increasingly clear that taxes are not invariably bad and that the market won’t solve every problem, including most obviously those that are not profitable. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence that taxes and policies that treated climate change as an existential threat would create huge new industries and save trillions of dollars in avoided damages (to say nothing of social upheaval from forced migration). It might be that for entrepreneurs, climate change is more a question of what to do as a citizen than as a business person. –shares Climate Change Next Article Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Add to Queue 4 min read Entrepreneur Staff Senior Editor for Green Entrepreneur October 8, 2018 Register Now » Peter Page UN Warns Climate Change May Doom Us, but Nobel Committee Suggests Taxing Pollution Might Save Us The latest and most pessimistic warning about climate catastrophe came the same day as the Nobel Prize committee honored two economists for their work exploring potential solutions. Image credit: Douglas Sacha | Getty Images
Restaurateurs Engaging Customers with Mobile Offerings Today, but Are Not Confident in Keeping Pace with the Mobile Innovations of TomorrowA recent survey of food and beverage leaders highlights that while a large percentage feel confident in their restaurant’s current use of mobile technology, only 48 percent feel prepared to capitalize on future innovations. Sixty-two percent of respondents expressed doubts over their ability to keep up with the speed of mobile technology changes. And more than half (59 percent) agreed that their company faces the threat of disruption from their more mobile-enabled competitors.“The rise of mobile ordering and on-demand food delivery services are completely changing the restaurant and guest experience,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager for Oracle Food and Beverage. “In order to remain relevant to a rapidly evolving audience, restaurants must act quickly to modernize their mobile strategy and offerings. Today, the experience a customer has ordering online or from a kiosk can be just as essential as if they were ordering in the store.”The study findings point to a clear and urgent need for restaurants to embrace the right mobile and back-end technology to drive higher ticket value, turn tables faster and enable more cross and upsell. In addition, the findings highlight the need to embrace mobile technology to avoid being outpaced by the competition, help cut labor costs and improve the guest experience – all critical components to revenue growth.Marketing Technology News: Glocally and Storied Partner to Develop Digital Ad Units Distributing Local Social ContentImproving Loyalty and the Dining Experience Today’s foodies want choices. In addition to great food, what drives their loyalty is easy ordering and delivery, fast, seamless payments, and a personalized experience.86 percent of operators say branded mobile apps increase their speed of service and therefore revenue93 percent believe their guest-facing apps enhance the guest experience, promote loyalty and drive repeat businessCutting Costs, Saving Time Equals Increased RevenuesRestaurants are investing in mobile technology to cut costs and save time in areas such as hiring less serving staff but more runners, keeping a close eye on stock levels to avoid over-ordering and waste, and the ability to quickly change the menu and offer specials when there is an overstock of inventory.84 percent of food and beverage executives believe the adoption of guest-facing apps drives down labor costs96 percent agree, with 40 percent strongly agreeing, that expanded mobile inventory management will drive time and money savingsPerceived Future Benefits of Mobile TechnologyRestaurants are already using mobile devices for table reservations, taking orders, and processing payments, but what value do restaurateurs believe will come from future mobile innovations?82 percent believe partnerships with third-party delivery services like Uber Eats and GrubHub will help grow their business89 percent believe check averages will increase thanks to in-app recommendations95 percent believe the guest experience and customer loyalty will continue to improveMarketing Technology News: BSI Reports Top Supply Chain Themes for 2019The Road AheadWhile most organizations rated themselves as highly able to meet new consumer demands, an undercurrent of anxiety about the future was also apparent with only 48 percent of respondents reporting that they have the tools they need to meet the mobile demands of tomorrow. The mobility study findings show a clear path for restaurateurs including applying mobile innovation to broader areas such as inventory efficiency, getting new customers in the door, serving them more efficiently, and keeping them coming back.Marketing Technology News: New Research from Fresh Relevance Highlights Impact and Adoption of Influencer Marketing Is Overestimated 62 Percent of Restaurants Feel Unprepared for a Mobile Future PRNewswireApril 26, 2019, 4:03 pmApril 26, 2019 Marketing TechnologyMobile Futuremobile technologyNewsOracleRestaurateurs Engaging Customers Previous ArticleWhy Measurement is the Secret to Agency SuccessNext ArticleGroundTruth Names Chris Yamaoka Chief Privacy Officer
Chorus.ai Named #1 Sales Coaching Momentum Leader in G2’s Summer 2019 Momentum Grid Business WireJune 27, 2019, 6:05 pmJune 27, 2019 “Chorus is great because of how easy it’s scaled across our sales organization. We’ve rolled it out to every team, BDRs and AEs, and each group uses it in a different way.”Marketing Technology News: Mobile Data Use Nearly Doubles, CTIA Annual Survey Shows“Chorus.ai earned its position as a Momentum Leader in G2’s Summer 2019 Momentum Grid Reports for Conversation Intelligence and Sales Coaching by demonstrating high growth indicators and high user satisfaction over the last year,” said Kara Kennedy, Market Research Director at G2. “With its continued momentum of earning high ratings for satisfaction, and growing its employees and digital presence, Chorus has shown that it is outpacing industry growth solutions that meet the evolving needs of their users.”Marketing Technology News: Extreme Networks to Acquire Aerohive Networks Chorus.aiConversation IntelligenceLuca VingianiMarketing Technology NewsMomentum GridNewssales coaching Previous ArticleNew Research Reveals Employees Are Ready to be Empowered by Automation TechnologyNext ArticleLytics Named a Strong Performer in Customer Data Platform Report by Independent Research Firm Chorus.ai, the Conversation Intelligence Platform for high-growth sales teams, announced it is a momentum leader in the G2, formerly G2 Crowd, Summer 2019 Momentum Grid Reports for Conversation Intelligence and Sales Coaching. Chorus led the market in its placement as a momentum leader.“We’re honored to lead G2’s Conversation Intelligence and Sales Coaching quadrants in Momentum and Customer Satisfaction,” said Roy Raanani, CEO and Co-Founder of Chorus.ai. “G2 has become a critical input to delighting our customers by informing our product investments. Our G2 NPS of 75 and Customer Satisfaction score of 96 are a reflection of the product investments we’ve made. For example, our recently launched AI-Assisted Coaching Initiatives and Scorecards proactively flags calls and moments for Managers to review, and measure the impact of coaching on quantifiable results.”Marketing Technology News: Human Connection Matters to Gen Z: Ooma Survey Busts Myths Around Generational Communication PreferencesChorus.ai has worked with hundreds of high-growth companies to increase quota attainment and shorten new hire ramp times by creating visibility and analyzing prospect-facing meetings at scale. The company’s proprietary AI automatically identifies and curates such moments for sales and customer success teams, thus freeing sales representatives to focus on building relationships that impact selling outcomes and use those insights for real-time sales coaching and to replicate sales best practices.“Chorus has been an essential coaching tool,” said Luca Vingiani, Global VP of Inside Sales at Crossover for Work. “We have a goal to create a team of highly consistent, trusted sales advisors in a high sales volume environment. In order to achieve this, we needed a tool that would help us measure and coach call quality with consistency versus a subjective analysis. We’ve found that call quality can impact sales outcomes by as much as 65 percent. And in 12 weeks, we improved quality scores from an average of 5% to 100% and this has translated to raising our retention rates to over 90%.”Highlights from customer reviews on G2 include:“It’s been called the best investment our company has ever made in a tool, including Salesforce.” “The most valuable thing for my team is the meeting insights. Chorus breaks down talk time, watches for critical moments, and is incredibly informative about the quality of the conversations you are having with clients.” “The most impactful coaching on the market. It not only helped reduce the ‘ramp’ time of new AEs, but also helped nearly double the close rate of the existing AE team.” “Chorus is basically a cheat code. It’s an incredible training tool, and I would recommend it to all sales departments.”
By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.May 2 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Adults who are obese and commute by car are at a 32% increased risk of death from any cause, compared with normal-weight peers who walk or cycle to work, report researchers. The finding, which was recently presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity, was based on an analysis of more than 160,000 British individuals.Pair Srinrat | ShutterstockFor the study, researchers from the British Heart Foundation examined data from 163,149 people (aged between 37 and 73 years) who provided information about whether they drove to work, walked and cycled (active-mixed), only cycled or only walked, as part of a UK Biobank study.Previous assessments of UK Biobank data have found that active modes of commuting such as cycling or walking were associated with a 50% decreased the risk of death, compared with commuting by car.A 32 percent difference in premature deathGiven that in the UK, 57% of men and 66% of women in the UK are overweight or obese, lead investigator Carlos Celis and colleagues investigated whether different ways of commuting to work may have an impact on the link between obesity and adverse health outcomes.Obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 and the health outcomes being assessed were death from any cause, death due to heart disease and hospital admission due to non-fatal heart disease.At the congress, Celis reported that a total of 2,425 participants died and 7,973 developed heart disease over a mean follow-up period of five years.Compared with normal-weight individuals who had an active-mixed commute, obese people who drove to and from work were at a 32% increased risk for premature death, a two-fold increased risk for heart disease and an almost 60% increased risk for non-fatal heart disease.By contrast, obese individuals who said they had an active commute were found to be at a similar risk for death from any cause as normal-weight active commuters, suggesting that an active commute could decrease the detrimental health effects of being obese.However, obese people who had an active commute were still at an 82% increased risk for heart disease, compared with normal-weight individuals who also had an active commute.Active commutes are easily ‘fitted within our daily routines’The study’s lead author, Edward Toke-Bjolgerud, says the results suggest people who are overweight or obese could decrease the risk of premature death if they walked or cycled to work. U.S studies have reported similar adverse health outcomes associated with overweight or obesity.The findings are not new. A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of Cambridge found that each five-unit increase in BMI (from 30 to 35, for example) was associated with a 49% increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease, a 38% increased risk for death from respiratory disease and a 19% increased risk for death from cancer.The authors of the current study say that irrespective of body weight, engaging in physical activity could partly reduce the health risks associated with obesity.The authors conclude: Our findings, if causal, suggest that people with overweight or obesity could potentially decrease the risk of premature mortality if they engage in active commuting.However, compared to other forms of physical activity – such as gyms and exercises classes – active commuting can be implemented and fitted within our daily routines, often with no additional cost, but at the same time could increase our overall physical activity levels and therefore help to meet the current physical activity recommendations for health.”
An attendee takes pictures of the new Samsung Family Hub smart refrigerator during a news conference at CES International, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Human sleeves are on display to promote Netflix’s sci-fi series “Altered Carbon” at CES International Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) People look through Samsung Gear VR virtual reality goggles at the Samsung booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Tesla’s enormous battery amazes in quick outage response Citation: Got batteries? Outage stalls giant tech show in Las Vegas (2018, January 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-batteries-outage-stalls-giant-tech.html LG’s David Vander Waal introduces the InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator during a news conference at CES International, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) People watch a demonstration of Intel Mobileye sensor technology at the Intel booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Human sleeves are on display to promote Netflix’s sci-fi series “Altered Carbon” at CES International Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) A sign advertises 5G devices at the Intel booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) What happens to all those internet-connected refrigerators, robots and other devices when the power goes out? Mariana Marcaletti laughs as she tries on a Spartan boxer, an underwear that blocks radiation from wireless devices, during CES Unveiled at CES International Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Moodo’s smart fragrance box is displayed during CES Unveiled at CES International Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The Huawei Mate10 Pro phone is on display at the Huawei booth during CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) Moodo’s smart fragrance box is displayed during CES Unveiled at CES International Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Explore further Thousands of people attending the world’s biggest consumer technology show got a chance to test the battery life of the latest gadgets Wednesday when some showrooms and hallways went dark inside the vast Las Vegas Convention Center.The power has been out for at least an hour in some areas of the annual CES event. Conference organizers said on Twitter that it was an “isolated power outage” they were working to resolve.Dozens of reporters queued quietly for lunch boxes in a darkened press room. The room was dimly lit thanks to emergency overhead lights and the glow of laptops running on battery power.Rick Rohmer, a product engineer with electrical-systems specialist Legrand, said the power outage affected only part of a booth for Qi, a consortium of companies that make wireless chargers. Most of its display was lit as hundreds of attendees passed by in the dark on their way to a brightly lit giant screen TV over the convention center’s fully functioning South Hall.”We lucked out,” he said. “If our extension cord went over there we’d be out of power.”NV Energy, the region’s power supplier, hasn’t responded to requests for comments. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Reliance Industries said it was integrating its own music app, Jio Music, with Saavn and that the combined entity would be worth $1 billion Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries said Friday it was integrating its music app with sector leader Saavn in a $1 billion deal that shows the high hopes for streaming in the billion-plus market. Music streaming giants Spotify, Tencent invest in each other © 2018 AFP Explore further Citation: Reliance merges music apps amid streaming rise in India (2018, March 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-reliance-merges-music-apps-streaming.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Reliance, a company with holdings from oil to telecoms run by India’s richest person Mukesh Ambani, said it would pump $100 million into the combined platform, one-fifth of it immediately, in hopes to make it “one of the largest streaming services in the world.”Reliance said that it was integrating its own music app, Jio Music, with Saavn and that the combined entity would be worth $1 billion.Saavn, based in New York, has sought to tap into the appetite for music by tech-savvy Indians by offering a vast catalog of songs across 15 languages.But like many streaming apps including global leader Spotify, Saavn has struggled to turn rapid growth into profit. It said last year that it had 22 million monthly users, a sliver of the potential in India.A joint statement did not specify how the joint platform would be branded but said it would preserve one of the key attractions of Saavn—original content by artists from the subcontinent.”Nearly 10 years ago, we had a vision to build a connected music platform, dedicated to South Asian culture across the globe,” Rishi Malhotra, the co-founder and CEO of Saavn, said in a statement.”Our alignment with Reliance enables us to create one of the largest, fastest-growing and most capable media platforms in the world,” he said.As part of the deal, Reliance will take a stake in Saavn for $104 million while Malhotra and his two fellow co-founders will keep their leadership posts.Existing stakeholders in Saavn include the German media giant Bertelsmann and US investor Liberty Media.Streaming has rapidly transformed the music industry around the world by providing unlimited, on-demand songs online.Reliance’s deal with Saavn comes amid expectations that Spotify will soon launch in India, with reports that the Swedish company has located office space and hired key employees.